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SOUTH BEND AS A CITY SUCKS LET'S ADMIT IT: UPDATE


Guest SirJohn

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Guest SirJohn

SOUTH BEND SUCKS: A RUNAWAY FREIGHT TRAIN

 

I am bringing up an issue that's alternatingly boring, important then ignored.

 

The present administration of South Bend are the greediest, cheapest good ole boys since Mayor Charles Daily in Chicago.

It's interesting to see all those stories about Notre Dame being greedy in the media. We sure do make a bunch of money everyone else envies. But look around at the campus. Notre Dame plows it back into facilities, scholarships and attracting more and more qualified people from professors to football stars and even into non revenue sports.

 

A new entrance way into Notre Dame, a new gilt on the dome, the Jordon Hall of Science new walkways and even the Gug. What have you done lately South Bend?

 

I've read of projected facilities on/off campus featuring condominiums and lots of new small shops and stores by Notre Dame. What have you done South Bend? Perhaps a store in your downtown area might do some minor landscaping in the distant future?

 

Does the administration running South Bend realize just how much money Notre Dame brings into the tills and to you by way of taxes? Where did it go? Just about a year ago South Bend wanted some $16,000 from Notre Dame for police work involving our game days. Notre Dame refused. We took some bad media being "CHEAP AND GREEDY" this was even in the South Bend Tribune. Excuse me but Notre Dame is popular. It seems to me fans flock in to South Bend to eat, sleep buy things and drink. This sort of makes jobs and money for South Bend doesn't it? Where did it go? On the one hand our traffic makes you wealthy and the other hand you want us to go pay for it? You want Notre Dame to pay to fill your stores cash registers?

 

I have seen frequent articles about 'slum areas' in South Bend. Major media in the West pointing out the town is badly in need of a coat of paint. We have recruits who decline to come to Notre Dame as there is absolutely nothing to do in South Bend. Just recently a recruit mentioned that, published in websites. I don't expect South Bend to be a Dollywood north but can't you minimally at least, get some of your town takers to plow back money to improve where they live 24/7 or are they all absentee landlords living in Miami?

 

Just recently a company had a proposal to buy the existing rail line in South Bend and haul in coal Notre Dame wanted by train. (Boring news?)

 

The Mayor of South Bend immediately fired off a letter to the University objecting. This would mean the crossing of some 20 streets and the closing of a few. It would cost South Bend $1,000,000 dollars. Gee Whiz! What happened to all the taxes poured into South Bends coffers by Notre Dame fans? Where did it go?

 

Rather then be loathed by South Bend, Notre Dames Executive Vice president issued a decree we would not do business with this proposed company willing to buy the railroad. Notre Dame caved in. I'm sorry to see that happen, I'm sure Jenkins wants to be a good neighbor but he should have told you more politely in a priestly way to 'shove it.'

 

I left out that the company had ideas to bring fans to Notre Dame by rail car. I mean these are fresh exciting ideas, not stagnant good ole boy same ole same ole.

 

I am sure all of us have been occasionally stopped in traffic by a train so that's a valid objection. I presume it's OK to be stuck behind slow moving huge trucks spewing diesel fumes and hauling coal? The Teamsters union bothering you South Bend about a rail line?

 

These gentlemen had an idea. You know when my children were younger they had grown up with television, cell phones and computers. It completely blew their minds when we took a scenic trip on a train to Metamorah Indiana. In addition we did a dining car excursion on another. I admit with slums and lack of paint and crummy facilities South Bend is not too scenic. No fresh ideas, no place to go, no coats of paint.

 

So maybe a hundred fans in a train do not stop at a South Bend shop. (Hey, we is greedy) As well can't ticket them for illegal parking. Instead you sit and drool over the money that the close proximity Notre Dame brings you and rub your hands. Fresh ideas are not welcome at South Bend. The Mayor and Administration like the city as it is.

 

The Mayor prefers going on television announcing a major Notre Dame commitment and then having South Bend police cars escort him to campus but wishing Notre Dame paid for it all.

 

That's your tax money at work? You do get, among those recruits we try to obtain those that pan South Bends lack of everything. They say how beautiful the campus is, another world. Seems to me stepping off the campus curb you hit South Bend which they don't mention.

 

Have you guys ever sat down and really thought of what you COULD do?

 

'I dream of things that never were and ask why not?'

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Guest irishrick

big attaboy sj, i was thinking the same thing as we were there in south bend a few weeks ago, i was surprised that the city was in somewhat poor condition, just between you and i i think there jealous of the beautiful campus, if the mayor is listening it takes money to make money get the people behind you and clean up, i went over my trip expenses and come to find out we had four meals in the city, purchased 32 gals of fuel would have spent more but the atmosphere in south bend needs a face lift, we also spent over 100 dollars on items from the nd bookstore. i won't say all of south bend is in need of repairs there are a lot of beautiful homes there, so Mr mayor get with the program, notre dame pulls its weight maybe you should try the same, i hope to make another trip this fall, and spend more in south bend ????????? get the picture. hey south bend tribune you can help also. :lol:

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Guest SirJohn

Why Lo and Behold :lol: :lol: here's a little train trip on how to avoid South Bend just a few hours after my post.

*********************

 

This story originally published on TheBootleg.com

 

The Boot-Train is Back!

 

By: Mike Eubanks

Publisher

Date: Jul 7, 2006

 

Get on board the Boot-Train with hundreds of other Cardinal diehards as we take you from Chicago to South Bend and back for the October 7 collosal clash with the Fighting Irish. It is the most talked about travel event of the 2006 Stanford sports calendar, and seats are limited. Read on for details and ordering information for this unparalleled Stanford sports experience - back again for 2006!

 

 

2006 Notre Dame Boot-Train Fact Sheet

2006 Notre Dame Boot-Train Order Form

2006 Notre Dame Boot-Train PayPal Payments

 

Four years ago at this time, there was a mixture of confusion, anger and sadness spreading throughout the Stanford Football fanbase. The beloved Notre Dame train trip was being discontinued, and Cardinalmaniacs™ were mourning the loss of one of the great travel traditions in all of college sports. In much the same vein that The Bootleg started its initial print publication a decade ago to fill a void for Stanford sports fans, we hopped to the rescue by announcing an emergency train package just six weeks before the October 5, 2002 game in South Bend. It was an unmitigated success that left satisfied passengers and their friends clamoring for the next train in 2004, and once again today. After much consultation with our legal counsel, plus hours of professional therapy, we have decided to answer the call and are launching the 2006 Notre Dame Boot-Train.

 

For several Stanford games in the 1990s against the Flailing Irish in South Bend, the Stanford Alumni Association had put together a package of transportation, camaraderie, food, drink and much merriment to get Cardinalmaniacs™ from Chicago to the game and back on game day by way of train. It was frankly a wonderful and unique service for Stanford fans, which the SAA pioneered and made wildly successful through blood, sweat and tears. Although the Stanford Alumni Association's tour group couldn't do the trip for a reasonable price in 2002, we at The Bootleg sponsored the event ourselves and cut the cost to $109 per person (game ticket not included) by organizing it directly. The SAA was going to have to charge $160 that year, and thus this transition to the Boot-Train was a great boon to you the consumer. Four years later, once again defying the fundamental tenets of economics, we have held the cost this year to a mere $125. Adjusted for inflation, we have inexplicably made this vaunted voyage cheaper!

 

For those who have not previously been on this treasure trip, let me paint a picture. You arrive at the Randolph Street Station early on the crisp Saturday morning of October 7. Though the city is not yet alive, you sense a heightened level of electricity as you head underground and see a sea of cardinal. In a town all too saturated with leprechauns and Domer hysteria, you know you are boarding a train amongst kindred Cardinal spirits, and fellow rabid fans. As you board the train, you see an array of breakfast goodies and coffee awaiting you, and you are handed your own special Bootleg souvenir of the game and trip. The nourishment for your body is welcome, but it pales in comparison to the nourishment for your Cardinal & White soul that the next couple hours will bring. You look to your left and your right. All the rows ahead of you and all behind you are packed solid with Cardinalmaniacs™. The mix of ages might surprise you, with a couple rows of twenty-something and thirty-something folks ahead, and some vivacious octogenarians just behind you. Though the generations span seemingly discontinuous cultures, the unifying bond of Stanford fandom makes quick friends, blind to age. As a younger buck myself, I personally love the breadth of experiences from all the chats you strike up... especially the stories.

 

Depending on your fancy, you can imbibe some yell juice as the train approaches South Bend, or you can also partake in non-alcoholic drinks. The ride back tends to be a little more rowdy, with more courage for people to throw down drinks as they revel in the game day experiences and prepare for a night in the Windy City.

 

And the beauty of this whole shindig is that it allows you to go see the good guys Emasculate the Irish™ without spending your weekend in South Bend! Stay in Chicago and enjoy the nightlife of Rush Street, the world class deep dish pizza and the shopping at Water Tower. No worries about driving or parking early Saturday morning, plus the freedom to have a few drinks each way.

 

An innovation we created in 2004 was the Parents Package, allowing for the close family and friends of the Stanford players to stay longer after the game to greet their beloved Cardinal when they come out of the locker room. We made arrangements for a much later train that comfortably departed South Bend with this special suite of Stanford rooters. I personally assisted and accompanied this group back to Chicago, and it was a whale of a time. Email me at me97@thebootleg.com, for more details and pricing, if you are a friend or family member of a Stanford player anxious to join our triumphant return voyage of the Parents Boot-Train. Space is limited, so don't delay.

 

Frankly, this is the only way to go watch the Notre Dame game. Those who have been there will tell you, and those who are jumping to go on their maiden voyage will not be disappointed. It is the Stanford sporting experience of a lifetime.

 

So, get on the Boot-Train while you still can. We have no plans to take walk-ups on game day (October 7), and urge you to get your reservations in today. There is limited seating, and we are marketing this through several regional and national channels. We know of the demand from what the Alumni Association operated, and we sold out in both 2002 and 2004. Factor in the rebirth of Stanford Football under Walt Harris and the #1 preseason ranking for Notre Dame, and demand this year will be hotter than ever. Don't delay, and get your order form filled out and mailed in with your check today! That train is pulling out on October 7, and we want you on board!!!

 

 

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

 

Are you fully subscribed to The Bootleg? If not, then you are missing out on all the top Cardinal coverage we provide daily on our website, as well as our full-length feature articles in our glossy magazine. Sign up today for the biggest and best in Stanford sports coverage with TheBootleg.com (sign-up) and The Bootleg Magazine (sign-up)!

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Guest rontdtarchala

thanks for the post guys, couldn't agree more. The west side is dismal to say the least...there is truly so much more to say! ND is South Bend, period!!! Those in charge need to buck up and make some changes happen...NOW!!!

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Guest SirJohn

All true: We are focusing the spotlight of the nation there. I have to feel the Cities fathers and mothers don't give a hoot as long as the tills ring.

 

Where's community pride? Clean up,, paint up and fix up? Haul off junk day? Operation brightside? No wonder people want to spend there real money in Chicago. I'm not joking,we have major media saying SB is deplorable. We have recruits who don't want to come to Notre Dame because there is nothing to do off campus. At fist glance i would say to heck with a recruit like that but then he's going to spend four years of his life there. He most likely would like to get off campus once in awhile.

 

What's with the licensing portion of the city? I'm not talking about hootchie koochie bars here.

 

What's with the churches and schools there? Can't they volunteer to at least brighten areas up? Mow yards at abandoned houses? I mean all these are free ideas while one wonders where all the tax dollars go.

 

Sure, I am an outsider and sure some South Bend individuals have pride. However, I too am a Notre Dame fan. I can read and see Notre dame is another world, yet right off that boundry line what? The real world?

 

Since I surely doubt the current Administration of south Bend would change; what appears to be a long long standing policy of do nothing at all. It's up to fans and individuals to scream, volunteer and at least jump start the process of meaningful change.

 

In the last analysis South Bend is your HOME. Your hiome is what you make or don't make of it.

 

As well I certainly am disappointed in Notre Dames administration to kow tow to SB over the train to be a good neighbor. It seems that's the problem at south Bend her own neighbors and neighbor hoods don't give a damn. No I am not talking about affluant homes.

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Guest SirJohn

Hard on the heels of my original post

Fro the south Bend tribune

(Plans studies and drafts are WONDERFUL, also time consuming, (Voters forget) I know of bridge propsals across the Ohio river that have been studied, at cost and cost and cost for years and years.)

 

**************

South Bend's city plan projects small population growth

COMMENTARY

 

NANCY J. SULOK

 

South Bend's city plan projects a small population growth over the next 20 years, but not among people in the prime working years.

 

Demographic information in the so-called "final draft'' of the report paints a bleak picture for the city. It outlines the challenges city leaders will face as they try to overcome some serious problems.

 

For example, population projections compiled by the Indiana Business Research Center indicate the city will grow from 107,889 people in 2005 to 110,914 in 2025.

 

 

However, the number of people in the prime working years (25 to 54) will decrease by 3,762 over that period.

 

The IBRC said "a slow-growing, increasingly diverse community with an aging population and a declining number of people in the prime working age years'' are some of the challenges presented by the population projections.

 

The greatest population growth will be among the elderly, those at least 65 years old, who are expected to increase from 14,767 in 2005 to 19,756 in 2025.

 

The number of school-age children is expected to remain steady or decline a little.

 

The city is expected to become more ethnically diverse, with the white population projected to drop by more than 3,300 people.

 

The fastest growing racial or ethnic group is expected to be among people who identify themselves as "two or more races'' or Hispanic.

 

The IBRC said South Bend is anticipated to have only 12 percent of the county's population growth from 2005 to 2025.

 

Home values and home ownership present other challenges for the coming years, according to the city plan draft.

 

Twenty-seven percent of the houses in South Bend are valued at $50,000 or less. That compares to only 14 percent in the rest of the county.

 

The largest percentage of houses, roughly 68 percent, are valued between $50,000 and $150,000. That is not much different than the rest of the county, which lists 70 percent of its houses in that price range.

 

At the other end of the scale, only about 5 percent of the houses in the city are valued higher than $150,000, compared to about 15 percent of the houses elsewhere in the county.

 

Home ownership and housing costs are tied to income of city residents. Census numbers indicate that 54 percent of all households in the county that earn $25,000 or less live in South Bend.

 

Lower-income residents are less likely to own their homes.

 

The city plan draft says South Bend has experienced a decline in home ownership while the rest of the unincorporated county has had an increase.

 

In the 1980 census, South Bend had 29,530 owner-occupied houses. That number dropped to 27,054 in the 2000 census.

 

The rest of the county had 24,014 owner-occupied houses in 1980, but the number grew to 33,632 in 2000.

 

Houses with absentee owners are more likely to become neglected and run-down, and South Bend certainly has its share of problem properties.

 

Home values, of course, affect the tax base, the amount of money the city can take in from property taxes. To make up for declining home values, South Bend has the highest tax rates in the county.

 

The city plan draft calls for a comprehensive strategy to revitalize neighborhoods with problem properties.

 

Already under way is development of a data base of all privately held vacant or abandoned properties in the city. Once that is done, the plan calls for implementing a "third party transfer initiative'' that will allow a responsible party to rehabilitate the houses for resale.

 

At the same time, the city plans to lobby the state legislature for the authority to take possession of houses with extensive code violations.

 

For occupied rental properties, the city plans to work with landlord associations, the Police Department, social service agencies, neighborhood organizations and other to develop a landlord/tenant education program.

 

The proposed city plan calls for the development of design guidelines for city neighborhoods that preserve the scale, design and aesthetics of the area.

 

Getting people to view South Bend as a desirable place to live will be one of the biggest challenges for the next couple of decades.

 

Nancy J. Sulok's columns appear on Sundays, Mondays and Thursdays. You can reach her at nsulok@sbtinfo.com, or by writing c/o South Bend Tribune, 225 W. Colfax Ave., South Bend, IN 46626, telephone (574) 235-6234.

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Guest SirJohn

Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh Mayor it's called clean up Indianapolis 1st maybe that's why they flee??? Found by DD's IrishRick, posted 1st by him at Irish Conclave and permission to me to drop it here.

**********************

Indianapolis mayor to receive innovation award

INDIANAPOLIS — The ability to approve charter schools has earned Indianapolis Mayor Bart Peterson national recognition, a report said.

 

Peterson was to receive Harvard University's Innovations in American Government Award today in Washington, The Indianapolis Star reported.

 

Peterson is the only mayor in the United States with the authority to sign off on charter schools, which depend on taxpayer money but are free of many regulations.

 

 

Twelve mayor-backed charter schools have opened in Indianapolis since state lawmakers gave Pe-terson that authority in 2001. About 4,000 students, or 4 percent of public school students in Mar-ion County, are expected to enroll in charter schools this fall.

 

The mayor's charter schools plan started in part as an idea to improve the city's public schools and stem the flow of families to suburban school districts.

 

The political risk of failure gave Peterson's charter school system the edge over hundreds of other local, state and federal entries, contest organizers said.

 

"It really is a tremendous risk for the mayor to be held accountable for this," said Carl Fillichio, vice president of the Council for Excellence in Government, which manages the award with Harvard.

 

Mayors from St. Louis and other cities are pushing for similar power in their states, said David Harris, the city's charter schools director.

 

The award includes a check for $100,000.

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I agree for the most part that South Bend is not the most beautiful city in the world, but disagree that it is even close to the least. The city is pleasent enough in most parts. My cousins live there in a very nice neighborhood which just happens to be one of many. Believe me that the recruits are not turned off because the city looks dumpy, they are turned off because it isn't a BIG city. There isn't very much entertainment in the Bend outside of campus. Kids want to go to Florida because there are amazing night clubs and amazing girls, not because the city is pretty. I guess I'll learn more when I'm on campus the next four years and when I look around town a bit more as a college student, but this is still my two cents. Take it for what it's worth, maybe you guys are right.

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Guest SirJohn

Hey FROSH Welcome to DD and I hope you do very well at Notre Dame. Your two cents was welcome. The whole article I wrote was intended to spur debate. Find some computer moments as a student to drop in this fall give us the campus lowdown and excitement game weeks.

 

I included two South Bend Tribune articles accentuating the positives by the current administration.

 

However I find they are things they 'intend to do' for the most part and one has to realize these negative remarks about South Bend as a city have been floating around for years. I'm sure they had plans and studies and efforts in 1980s 90's and up to 2005. There's no real rolling up the sleeves and honestly doing anything.

 

We are discussing the inner core, not the beautiful suburbs. Everyone wants to flee to the suburbs or outer regions where there is open space greenery and trees. I made a point about no Hootchy Kootchy joints. That is to invite entrepreneurs with new ideas to re vitalize that dismal drab downtown. Even Ara has Insurance offices in South Bend.

 

Who's putting back? A group had an Idea to haul coal and also Notre Dame fans in. Somehow quicker then the administration can get their long, long future plans and studies for a better South Bend all have been waiting for, they screamed it would cost them $1,000,000. WOW! Jeese! They sure got that figure awful fast didn't they? Anyone think of asking various Home Improvement Companies to donate paint, supplies or landscaping?

 

Come on Mayor there's PR value in that for everyone. Don't kill ideas.

 

Well, seems Stanford is bringing fans in by another train.

(Not the same rail line presumably.) So now they vow to push and to chase absentee slum landlords? (Yawn!)

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I'll definitely drop in from time to time to let everyone know the atmosphere on campus.

 

I do agree with you that with all the money ND brings into town you think they'd be able to keep things looking very nice. Many towns even without this great benefit do just fine. I see what you're saying, but was just, like you said, debating.

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Guest irishrick

welcome aboard frosh, i agree that there many parts on south bend that are very beautiful, i have been there several times for games and visits to our daughter in michigan an hour or so away from campus. its just a little slum in several places and seems like the city fathers could care less, i know for a fact that wal mart donates big bucks to the area, why is that being spent on things other than for the intended usees, just a little pride in washing and citting the grass would help,paint will do wonders, i wonder if there is a group at the university that would take on a small project in the city and do it up right, some times shame will get things done. this last visit there in june showed me that they need help more than ever. maybe you could give a report in six months on any cleanup project, if anyone wants a hand i can givr them a few examples on how to do things to clean it up without the fraud and greed. have a nice day. go irish. :)

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With all of the money that the college brings in and the wealthy alumni that become big footall boosters, how can the city be in such poor shape? That is pathetic. We lose a fair amount of recruits because they dislike the town...someone needs to sink some money into that place and build it up. With the amount of people tha flock into that place every football season how could it not be profitable.

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  • 2 weeks later...
Guest SirJohn

SOUTH BEND WILL MAKR ESTIMATED $44,000,000 from leeching notre Dame 2006. Wanna plow some of that tax base back into the City? I don't mean Air Port aprons, car rentals or motels.

***************************

From South bend Tribune

July 22. 2006 6:59AM

 

Airport adding parking spaces -- for airplanes

Up to 300 aircraft possible for ND's home opener Sept. 9.

 

 

JOSHUA STOWE

Tribune Staff Writer

 

SOUTH BEND -- Citing heightened demand from Fighting Irish football fans, the local airport is expanding its airplane parking capacity a year ahead of schedule to prepare for the Sept. 9 home opener against Penn State University.

 

The move is yet another indication that this football season could be especially lucrative for Michiana, pumping plenty of tourist dollars into the local economy, officials said.

 

The project at South Bend Regional Airport calls for expanding the general aviation apron, said John Schalliol, the airport's executive director. It is expected to cost more than $715,000, he said.

 

 

The expanded apron will be 1,600 feet long and 200 feet wide, allowing the airport to avoid the parking problems it faced last year during the USC game, Schalliol said.

 

"It will go a long way toward solving the congestion problems we experienced," Schalliol said. "I thought I had a year and a half to do this ... and all of a sudden, here comes Penn State with all this demand."

 

The apron expansion project was originally set for summer 2007, Schalliol said. But so far, all indications are that the first home game weekend will be quite busy, said Sam Heiter, general manager of Corporate Wings in South Bend.

 

The company provides services for private flights, including fueling and parking planes as well as arranging vehicle rentals and reserving hotel rooms for clients.

 

"We've already receiving a large number of requests for hotel reservations and rental cars from people who are our regular clients," Heiter said. "We're experiencing a very large game for the opening. We're very grateful that the airport is working with us on that. Every extra bit of concrete helps."

 

Schalliol estimated that the expanded apron would accommodate about 100 planes; Heiter said it would take at least 60, adding that Corporate Wings wants to ensure the parking area isn't overcrowded.

 

"We're expecting at least 225 airplanes this year for the opening game, but we're planning for 300," Heiter said, adding that Corporate Wings saw about 300 planes for last year's USC game.

 

The airport's earlier-than-planned apron expansion is the latest sign of Fighting Irish fan demand. In March, the South Bend/Mishawaka Convention and Visitors Bureau announced that hotel bookings for early games had led it

 

to start tracking hotel demand months earlier than usual.

 

At the time, Greg Ayers, the bureau's executive director, said that a conservative estimate indicates that visiting football fans spend about $6.3 million locally for each home game. With seven home games this season, he said, the local area could easily rake $44.1 million in tourist dollars.

 

Meanwhile, Heiter said he thinks this football season could be the busiest one yet for Corporate Wings, the airport and area merchants.

 

"We certainly do hope that happens," he said. "This is something that's good not only for us, but for the whole community."

 

Staff writer Joshua Stowe:

jstowe@sbtinfo.com

(574) 235-6359

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Guest SirJohn

Two too STRANGE SOUTH BEND STORIES

 

http://www.wndu.com/news/072006/news_51694.php

 

And

 

July 22. 2006 6:59AM

 

County orders budget cuts

Letter was expected to go out Friday.

 

 

JAMES WENSITS

Tribune Political Writer

 

SOUTH BEND -- In a letter that was expected to be sent out Friday, St. Joseph County government department heads will be told to cut their budgets by 2 percent, officials said Thursday.

 

The county is facing a budget deficit driven by runaway health care costs and decreases in tax revenues.

 

The missive will give department heads who exceed the 2 percent cut permission to give raises to employees, providing those who get raises assume the duties of those employees who leave or have left county employment.

 

 

The letter also will call for realistic budgeting, such as basing fuel needs on $3 per gallon gasoline and will ban any additional fund allocations next year.

 

The letter, signed by County Commissioner President Cindy Bodle, County Council President Rafael Morton and County Auditor Michael C. Eby, sets the tone for budget talks that will begin in earnest early next month.

 

According to Eby, the 2 percent cut will save $1.2 million.

 

Eby, county commissioners and members of the County Council are also considering changes in the county employee health care plan that will likely boost the premiums paid by county workers.

 

Eby estimated that it will cost about $3 million to eliminate the deficit between what is budgeted for health care costs and actual costs.

 

The first step in that direction was made Thursday when county officials agreed, beginning Sept. 1, to limit payments for gastric bypass surgery to a lifetime maximum of $20,000, and to require pre-certification for outpatient surgery.

 

Eby estimated earlier this year that the county's health care fund deficit will be at $12 million by the end of this year.

 

County officials are also considering cutbacks in the number of take-home cars used by county employees.

 

Staff writer James Wensits:

jwensits@sbtinfo.com

(574) 235-6353

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Guest SirJohn

Although in SBT I missed it and IE as well as SVO there said OK, he found it first.

 

A small way to spruce up SB. :)

******************

 

July 28. 2006 6:59AM

 

Bank becomes doctors' office

Vault, teller windows, drive-through will stay.

 

 

CHRISTINA HILDRETH

Tribune Staff Writer

 

SOUTH BEND -- This weekend is going to be extremely busy for employees at Northwest Family Medicine.

 

But not because of a large influx of sick people.

 

Instead of checking the blood pressure and temperature of patients, the practice's staff will be packing. And moving. And unpacking.

 

 

After 14 years of leasing their present office, the four doctors and 15 other staff members have outgrown the winding hallways of the building at 3575 Portage Ave. They will move to the MFB bank building at 2930 West Cleveland Road.

 

Where tellers took deposits and cashed checks on Friday, nurses will check patients in and file insurance forms on Monday. Where an old vault held mortgage documents, nurses will record patients' vital signs.

 

The 10,000-square-foot building was once headquarters for Sobieski Bancorp, which capsized after a loan scandal in 2002. After the Mishawaka-based MFB bought out many of Sobieski's assets in 2004, the building was used as an MFB branch. But executives always knew it was much more space than they needed.

 

"Our intention was to occupy the building and lease the extra space," said Chuck Viater, president of MFB Financial Corp.

 

That idea changed last fall when Viater, who recently took a position on the board for Saint Joseph Regional Medical Center (the group that owns Northwest Family Medicine), was at a University of Notre Dame football game.

 

There, someone who worked at the hospital mentioned that the bank building would be the perfect size for Northwest Family Medicine's practice.

 

That got the wheels turning in Viater's mind.

 

"We realized that we could sell the building and build a prototype building next door," said Viater. MFB acquired a vacant parcel of land adjacent to the building at 2850 West Cleveland Road when it bought out Sobieski. There, it just completed construction on a 3,300-square-foot prototype branch.

 

So, while nurses and doctors carry boxes of stethoscopes and medicine in, tellers and loan officers will carry boxes of bond certificates and deposit slips out in a hectic bustle to set up for the Monday opening of both businesses.

 

Doctors and nurses at the office say

 

the new building, which has $225,000 worth of renovations, will work out perfectly, giving them about 3,000 more square feet to work in.

 

But the family health care practice had to make one major concession: They found it impossible to remove the bank's vault.

 

"We can't find anyone to take off the door," said office manager Jennifer Stone. She explained that removing the 3,000-pound door would destroy the surrounding floor, ceiling and walls.

 

Still, doctors can't wait to get into the new building.

 

"We'll have covered entrance ways, a handicap door, wider hallways, larger exam rooms and a drive-through for refills," said Dr. Michael Helms, who has been with the practice for 14 years. "If we intend to grow we need more space."

 

Staff writer Christina Hildreth:

childreth@sbtinfo.com

(574) 235-6271

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