The South Bend-Elkhart region manufactures approximately 80% of all RVs in America. Furthermore, it manufactures the majority of amenities and parts that go into them. From large luxury RVs with televisions and sound systems to "toy haulers" for transporting smaller recreational vehicles such as motorcycles, dirt bikes, or ATVs, there is no doubt that the area is the capital of RV manufacturing. Yet this fact makes it easy to overlook something even more important.
This region produces more than campers and RVs. There are many companies in the area manufacturing boats and other outdoor recreation products. We build recreational equipment and vehicles that facilitate the enjoyment of the outdoors for families all across the country. What we have is not just an RV industry, but a thriving outdoor industry that we should be proud of. The products that we make here help individuals nationwide experience the outdoors, and get closer to nature.
Camping and outdoor recreation is a thriving industry that includes many different types of activities that families can enjoy throughout the year. By celebrating more than just the RVS we manufacture, we can bring attention to the many fantastic companies in the area producing a wide range of outdoor products. Our concentration of outdoor equipment and recreational vehicle manufacturing makes us a hub for the outdoor industry. Acknowledging this can help our local businesses grow and attract entrepreneurs and companies to the area.
Every year, more and more people discover the joy of outdoor recreation. Whether it is camping, boating, fishing, or canoeing, there is a bevvy of family friendly outdoor activities for everyone. The continuing trend of filling the calendar with outdoor activities for the summer months means that there is still much room for the outdoor industry to grow. People have a desire to get back in touch with nature and spend some time away from the concrete jungles of the city.
Research has shown that spending time outdoors and surrounded by nature can greatly improve mental and physical health. As individuals become more health conscious and aware of the need to disconnect every now and then, outdoor recreation becomes increasingly popular. For many families, summer months are filled with camping trips, hiking, biking, and swimming. Even during the winter months, outdoor activities such as skiing or snowboarding attract many. The potential for growing our outdoor industry in this region is immense.
In order to do so, we must start by recognizing that we offer much more than RVs. Our region is capable of manufacturing a wide range of outdoor products that are in high demand by consumers. By positioning ourselves as a hub of the outdoor industry, we can make our community much more prosperous. We can give the many companies producing outdoor equipment in the area the recognition they deserve and attract others to set up shop in Michiana. Sometimes all it takes is a new perspective in order to bring about positive changes to the community.
It has been reported that mosquitoes found in Elkhart County have tested positive for West Nile virus. The Elkhart County Health Department made a public announcement regarding the issue on June 28th. The county will continue to collect and test mosquitoes throughout the summer until September. Residents in the area are advised to take precautions to protect themselves from mosquito bites in order to minimize the risk of infection.
The first case of West Nile virus was identified in the West Nile District of Uganda in 1937. The majority of infections in humans present with few or no signs or symptoms, however, in some individuals infection can result in West Nile fever. In 1% of cases, the West Nile virus causes neurological disease affecting the central nervous system. Such cases are on the severe end of the spectrum and are much more rare. Common symptoms of West Nile fever can include headaches, nausea, muscle soreness or aches, fatigue, loss of appetite, vomiting, or rash. Children, elderly individuals, and those with immunodeficiencies are most susceptible to these symptoms.
It is important for residents to take an active role in keeping the community as well as their families safe. Remove any standing water on your property where mosquitoes can breed. Check your windows and screens to ensure that they are secure and intact to prevent mosquitoes from entering your home. When going out, especially into wooded areas or in the evenings, remember to apply insect repellent to your skin and clothing. Concentrations above 15 DEET are not recommended for children. Residents may also consider purchasing mosquito coils or citronella candles or torches to keep the area free of mosquitoes during BBQs, picnics, or other outdoor get-togethers during the evening or at night.
Blood borne illnesses and infections can be spread by mosquitoes. Whether it is the West Nile virus or malaria, residents should always take care when going out during the summertime to avoid mosquito bites. In addition to unpleasant itching and swelling, mosquito bites can carry other risks to human health as well.
The county often takes measures to reduce the mosquito population during the summer. You can do your part by keeping your property clean and making sure there is no standing water around your home. Do not forget to check your gutters for clogs or other issues that may hinder the flow and disposal of runoff and rain water. Ponds, fountains, and bird baths are other areas where mosquitoes may breed. These water features should be maintained regularly.
Mosquitoes pose a health risk for residents all across the U.S. Stay alert for public announcements and news regarding outbreaks or suspected cases of infections. In recent years, there has been major concerns about the Zika virus, West Nile virus, and several other viruses carried by mosquitoes. To find out if there is currently a risk of infection in your area, please contact your local or state health department for more information.
In past years, there has been a shortage of summer programs for children in the Elkhart area. This year, Elkhart Education Foundation introduced a new summer camp called Summerscape Day Camp for children entering first through eighth grade in the fall. The camp aims to provide a safe and fun environment that can offer educational enrichment for children during the summer months while they are out of school. The camp runs for a week at a time between June 5th to July 28th . Parents can register their children for a half day or whole day program, and additional after hours care can be arranged for an extra fee.
The demand for summer programs for children is high. Many parents work during the day, and it is often difficult to find reliable and affordable care for their children while they are at work. During the school year, parents have the peace of mind that their children are safe at school. Once summer rolls around, it becomes a scramble to make alternate arrangements to accommodate the new schedule. Summer day camps provide some relief for parents, while offering children an opportunity to continue practicing social skills, learning, and remaining physically active during the break.
Summerscape Day Camp will be offering 18 different camp themes throughout the summer. From Animal Adventures to Hands On Science, children will be able to experience many new and exciting things. Many studies have shown that it is important for children to stay engaged and mentally stimulated to prevent regression over the summer. Summer programs can give many kids a leg up for the next school year and help keep their progress steady.
The camps will be led by Elkhart Community Schools teachers with assistance from local high school students for younger children. Parents who are searching for supervision or day care for their children during the week while they are at work can look into the Summerscape Day Camp program. Prices start at $95 for a half day to $165 for a full day. For families with more than one child, each additional child registered will receive $10 off. The program starts at 8 a.m. and runs until 4:30 p.m. Half day can begin at 8 a.m. or 12:30 p.m. The after hour care begins at 7 a.m. and runs until 6 p.m.
Parents can look forward to much less stressful summers with the introduction of this program. It has long been an unmet need for Elkhart area families. Elkhart Educational Foundation is changing that. Their day camp helps families find affordable and reliable care for their children over the summer. Kids will have something to look forward to over the summer, and parents can enjoy a much smoother transition between school years. Summerscape Day Camp provides a much needed bridge across the gap. If interested, you are still able to enroll your children for the remainder of this summer. If you've already made arrangements, be sure to keep this program in mind for next summer.
In many places, job shortages are a part of reality for residents. Individuals are pressured to attain four year degrees, accept unpaid internships, and spend full time hours handing out resumes to find a position. There can be hundreds or even thousands of applicants all vying for a single job. All in all, finding gainful employment can be difficult for those in regions with job shortages and high unemployment.
Yet, at this moment, Elkhart has quite the opposite problem. In an unusual twist, employers in the area find themselves the ones competing against one another to acquire and retain talent. There is an estimated shortage of 20,000 workers to fill the office, manufacturing, and customer service positions available. Some employers have even resorted to scooping up new hires from fast food restaurants. They come in and watch the employees, offering a higher paying job to the hardest working employee at the restaurant. This kind of poaching has created a crisis for many fast food establishments in the area. Many have been forced to reduce their hours of operation, close for periods of time, or close off the dining room and restrict their business to the drive-through.
Many companies are also suffering from higher churn. As the fierce competition for a limited pool of employees heightens, options for employees increases. Workers are leaving their jobs for better positions, higher salary, or improved benefits from other companies. It is a problem that needs to be addressed quickly by both employers as well as local government. While residents may enjoy increased employment rates and better wages, this shortage can lead to businesses being forced out of the area.
More importantly, despite the shortage and increase in wages, the median household income in the area has still failed to recover from the recession. Elkhart County's average hourly wage continues to fall behind the national average by 17%. The supply and demand need to be balanced out with a much more substantial increase in pay for employees. This is one way in which companies may be able to attract and retain skilled workers.
Another important consideration is transforming the area in a way that invites more people to come build a life in Elkhart County. The region needs to encourage families to come find a job, buy a house, and settle down here. It can only do that by making some much needed changes to the community. The Vibrant Communities initiative provides a plan of action, but it needs to be implemented more quickly in order to correct this shortage of employees soon.
The shortage of employees in Elkhart County provide an opportunity for young people to find financial stability and security without the investment in a four year degree. There are many positions available in the skilled trades and manufacturing that students can consider. The options are there, but it is important for young people to recognize them. Students who go away for college are encouraged to come back to work here.
In the real estate industry, a six-month supply of inventory is considered to be a stable market. With the recent increase in demand for housing, Michiana's real estate is currently experiencing a shortage of inventory. This is fantastic news for sellers and those thinking about selling their home, but it means buyers are facing much stiffer competition. Homes are being sold after only one day after listing. Many sellers are receiving multiple offers, and occasionally homes are sold for over the asking price.
The rising demand for homes in the area can be attributed to a number of reasons. The economy is flourishing, and the abundance of job opportunities and financial stability are incentives for many families to purchase a house in the area. With interest rates expected to rise in the next few years, buyers are jumping into the market rather than opting to wait any longer.
An early spring and warmer weather also helped to kickstart the real estate season. Buyers prefer to look at homes when conditions are more amenable. The snow and ice that accompanies winter can make the process of searching for homes and moving much more difficult and unpleasant. As such, real estate transactions are often less frequent during the harsh winter months.
What does this mean for you as a seller? If you have been considering listing your home for sale, now is a great time. Markets often balance themselves in the long run to bring supply and demand to an equilibrium. As residents begin to see a surge in home prices, more will be persuaded to list their homes. Those who have been putting off the sale of their home now have a greater incentive to do so. This real estate boom may not last, however. The increase in interest rates will be like to reduce the number of buyers in the market in the upcoming years.
For buyers who are worried about the prospect of being able to find their dream home in this real estate market, real estate experts have a few tips. First, it is important to have a clear idea of what you are looking for. Come prepared with a list of criteria when you begin your search, and be ready to place an offer right away if you find a house that meets your needs. With sellers often receiving multiple offers, there is less time to wait to make a decision. That being said, you should have a set budget and know what you are unwilling to compromise on. While there is currently that sense that you need to rush your decision in order to secure your home, a house is a big investment. It is not recommended that buyers go above what they can reasonably afford or settle in the moment for something that will become an issue later on. With the market being so competitive for buyers, a new construction may be a good alternative if you are unable to find what you are looking for.
Cultural events provide an excellent educational opportunity as well as fun new experiences for the whole family. Immerse yourself in the food, music, dance, and history of another culture, and gain a deeper understanding about the background of your neighbors, friends, or even your own family heritage. It is a chance to go on an adventure without a passport or a plane ticket. You don't even have to pack a bag. Just bring the kids and keep an open mind as you explore. Every year for the past 42 years, the Michiana Greek Festival has aimed to provide the community with insight into the customs, traditions, and culture of Greece. The event includes delicacies, performances, a traditional marketplace, and much more. Admission is only $3, and the event is appropriate for all ages. It's a great way for Michiana residents to spend a weekend with their family in a unique and fun way.
This year, the Michiana Greek Festival took place on the weekend of June 9th at Saint Andrew Greek Orthodox Church located on Ironwood. The event is always open to the public, and residents of all backgrounds and ethnicities are welcomed and highly encouraged to come check out the festivities. This long running event has drawn a diverse crowd of attendees year after year. It is a family friendly event with something for everyone to do, including activities and games for the kids. It is a celebration of Greek culture, and you are sure to discover many fascinating new things each year. Some in attendance over the weekend have been coming to the Michiana Greek Festival since its first year.
Events such as these help to bring the community together, both physically as well as on a deeper level. Removing the mystery surrounding other cultures helps the community to embrace diversity and accept those who have a different perspective on the world than themselves. Each culture has something valuable to share, and it is important to recognize that ultimately we have more similarities than differences between us.
Although this year's Michiana Greek Festival has already wrapped up, you can look forward to next year if this is something that is of interest to you. The event typically takes place during the beginning of summer, so keep your eyes peeled for advertisements and announcements around town. Our blog will provide readers with information and dates for the next Michiana Greek Festival as the date approaches, as well as let you know about the many other interesting festivals and events taking place in the area. If you've missed out on this year's event and its offerings of food, fun, and learning, don't let it happen again. Michiana Business Review helps our readers keep their finger on the pulse of the city, and lets you know about all the great things happening all around you on a regular basis. You'll be amazed just how much you have been missing out on.
The best home décor doesn't always come with a hefty price tag. If you are willing to do a little bit of hunting outside of department stores and upscale boutiques, you can find amazing and unique art and items to decorate your home with. Savvy shoppers search yard sales, flea markets, classified ads, and arts and crafts shows for interesting and beautiful objects to adorn their home with. The best part is that you will often walk away with a bargain compared to retail prices.
Local artwork can make a great focal point for any room. If you have a bare wall that could use a touch of beauty of style, check out one of the local art fairs taking place throughout the summer. Leeper Park in South Bend recently played host to an art fair that featured work from local artists. The exhibit of arts and crafts included painting, handmade jewelry, and other one of a kind items created by the talented artists and craftsman of Michiana.
Many vendors came out to display or sell their creations and interact with the community. There were also numerous residents who flocked to the art fair to admire the variety of arts and crafts available and enjoy a beautiful weekend outdoors with their families. These community events help to bring attention to the local artists and artisans in the region, who often go unrecognized despite their amazing talents and passion. Whether or not you intend to make a purchase, arts and crafts fairs can be a fun experience for all ages. Attendees have the opportunity to talk to local artists and discuss their work. Artists come together to share ideas and find inspiration. It is a positive experience for everyone in the community.
Purchasing a painting or work of art from a local artist helps to support Michiana's art scene, and preserve arts and culture in the area. The price of local art can fall along a wide spectrum, but buyers get the opportunity to take home a one-of-a-kind, handmade work of art and meet the artist behind it. No matter your budget, you will be able to find something that is perfect for your home. The range of styles, mediums, and subjects will appeal to any art lover. Most art fairs offer free admission so anyone can come out and peruse the local art and meet the talented artists creating them.
To find out about other local art fairs and arts and crafts shows in the area, check your local newspapers as well as bulletin boards at cafes or restaurants in your area. Many of these events can go under the radar, with only the most ardent art lovers in the know. If you are new to art but interested in participating in one of the events, keep your eyes peeled. These events take place often all throughout Michiana. Michiana Business Review brings you up to date announcements and news about local events in your area.
Every veteran has a story to tell. Each sees the war through their own eyes from their own corner of the battlefield. They go through unique experiences that together make up the history that we learn in schools and textbooks. It is important to recognize and acknowledge these individual stories, and the perspective and understanding they can offer. These are the stories of real people who were directly affected by these real events. These are stories that you can put a face to. These stories humanize the soldiers, and help us to remember that they are people with loved ones and families and friends. They remind us that our soldiers are not just numbers or statistics.
Senator Joe Donnelly sponsors a project to archive the war stories and memories of veterans all across the state. His staff travel throughout Indiana to listen to the first hand stories told by veterans who have fought in the Korean War or World War II, and record their tales for future use by historians and teachers. These stories contain important lessons that may otherwise be lost forever with the passing of the individual. The volunteers involved in the project are enthusiastic about the opportunity to be able to save these memories and preserve them for future generations.
People of all ages attended a recent event where local veterans from a senior living community in Elkhart, Indiana regaled the audience with their fascinating war stories. Youths and adults listened with respect and awe as each veteran told his tale and shared his experiences. It is a chance to learn about history from the perspective of someone who was directly involved. In this way, participants are able to better engage with the history of this country and immerse themselves in it. It is a reminder that history is not as distant as we think.
This is an ongoing project that aims to preserve the memories of local veterans. The staff of Senator Joe Donnelly travel the state monthly to speak to individuals and communities. They welcome war stories from all veterans who have experienced World War II or the Korean War firsthand. If you or a loved one are a veteran with a story to tell, you can contact a member of the volunteer project for more information about where and how you share your war story.
Members of the public who would like to attend one of these events to learn about history directly from those who lived through it should keep an eye out for events happening in their community. Members of the project often travel to retirement or senior living communities to speak with veterans. Michiana Business Review will post more information about any upcoming events as we receive them. Check our blog regularly to find out about interesting opportunities and unique events all around the Michiana area. We frequently provide announcements about festivals, community events, and exciting opportunities for our readers.