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Indianapolis Ins and Outs

Anyone who knows or lives in Indianapolis, IN can tell you it is like a big city with a little city inside.  It isn’t that everyone knows one another; it is just that you are probably one step away from knowing everyone.  For a city of almost 900,000 people, it is the 14th largest city in the country, and that is saying something.  Despite being the crossroads of America, Indianapolis is home to another 1.5 million people in its entire metro area.

Indianapolis is known for its Mile Square grid which the city eventually grew out of.  It is marked by four diagonal streets which intersect in the center of the business district called Monument Square.  The square is punctuated by the Soldiers’ and Sailors’ Monument, a tall tower reminiscent of the obelisks that dot the European continent but with its own unique architectural spin.

From the north, I-65 winds its way through Indiana and continues its flow through Louisville.  I-74 connects Indiana to Illinois on the west and Ohio on the east as does I-70.  I-69 also connect Indy to Ft Wayne and on to Lansing, Michigan.

Indianapolis is located in what is affectionately referred to as tornado alley in the Midwest.  Spring and fall weather systems that pass through the center of the country invariably impact Indianapolis with power outages, flooding from area rivers and high winds.  Winter driving is similarly impacted due to the city’s location which is frequently on a dividing line between snow and ice.

The has always fancied itself as a sports destination.  Indeed, with the number one race car attraction in the U.S., the Indy 500, that is probably not far from the truth. Recently, a pro football team, the Colts, moved from Baltimore to Indianapolis.  And of course, there is professional basketball.  The state is renown for their basketball teams with the University of Indiana, in nearby Bloomington, a perennial top-ranked college team.

The election of 2016 has seen Indiana Governor Mike Pence get the nod as a vice presidential candidate. As the state capital of Indiana, Indianapolis is no stranger to Governor Pence and a host of partisan politics.

Marketing Weight Loss Programs

Weight Loss Search Marketing Solutions

As someone who has battled the bulge for most of her adult life, it is getting to be that time of year when a great majority of ads will focus on losing weight for the holidays…which are followed immediately by New Year’s promotions for exercise equipment, programs and food plans.

This is not an American phenomenon.  Indeed, throughout advanced cultures all over the world where food is plentiful and the chief activity is sitting all day, there is a weight problem.  Up until about 100 years ago, people did physical activities all day, whether it was working in the fields, or in a factory. Weight Loss Marketing Tips Now the only joints and muscles that get regularly exercised are the fingers…tapping away at a keyboard all day long.  What is new, however, the number of people that are obese.  Obesity is a heart-breaking condition that affects health in so many ways – some of which are frankly life threatening.

What is the best way to reach people that really do need weight loss help?  Do you reach out to them?  Or is it better to let them find you?  If you put yourself in the shoes of a seriously overweight person, they are most likely ashamed of their condition and feel powerless to make a change.  So ask yourself, what do they want and need to know to make the first step?

That is a good place to start with your weight loss marketing strategy.  Be sympathetic.  Be helpful.  Don’t be judgmental.  Offer hope.  Offer a permanent solution.  Offer security and anonymity.  These are all things the separate the mindset of someone who is obese and one that just needs to lose 20 or 30 pounds so that their jeans fit better.  Getting people to take the first step to change their lives, deal with the complications that obesity entails and the personal dramas that accompany them is a way to get on the radar of potential patients who can truly use your help.

by D. Banner, owner Luxury Private Jets

If your idea of a great summer dining experience is to enjoy just-picked produce from your garden, then you are probably one of the millions that grow tomatoes.  And while tomato plants yield scores of tomatoes from every plant, it is not as easy as it looks to get a consistently flavorful and disease-free harvest.
Here in the Midwest, certain fungi live in the soil, so the choice is either to manage that situation or grow your tomatoes in containers with fresh soil every year.  Either way, you can enjoy one of the flavors of summer and their bounty with these tomato-growing tips.
The most flavorful tomatoes are either the heirloom varieties or the hybrid varieties.  Hybrids are like bushes, they are best for containers and grow to about 3 feet tall.  The heirloom varieties of tomatoes grow on vines, and will yield tomatoes as long as there is a growing season.  Some people swear by heirloom tomatoes for their colors, their textures and most of all their taste.  Heirloom tomatoes can be found at specialty groceries and are pricey – usually $4 a pound and up.
Hybrid tomatoes are the more disease-resistant type, but no type of tomato is completely disease-free.  To manage the diseases that affect tomatoes, professional growers recommend that you consider these tips:
•    Provide plenty of air circulation around each plant.  This means planting tomatoes on the edge of the planting bed, not in the center.
•    Use black plastic landscape fabric to keep a barrier between your plants and soil-borne (and disease-causing) spores.  This will also keep the soil warm and offers weed control.
•    By stripping the lower leaves from each plant, there is less opportunity for spores to migrate up the plant from the ground.
•    Stake each plant at least 18” apart and prune them regularly.
•    Don’t overfeed your plant.  The faster they grow, the greater chance for diseases to form.
Tomatoes need at least 7 hours of full sun each day.  If your planting bed doesn’t get that much sun, consider plating your tomatoes in large containers that you can locate in a very sunny spot.  They also like a soil with a balanced pH of 6 to 6.5 and amended with compost as the weeks progress.
You can find tomato seedlings at nearby garden centers.  Look for plants that are stocky and look hardy.  Plants that are dark green and measure five inches in each direction are good choices.  When you plant your seedlings, make sure that you feed them with a liquid fertilizer at the base of each plant to get them going.  Plant from 18” to 2 to 3 feet apart and either stake or provide a cage for the plant to grow on.  Caged plants need more air circulation than staked plants, so you will want to calculate a little more space for caged plants.
When you stake your tomato plants, you have to keep pruning them to manage the stems to a reasonable number – one or two should suffice.  Staked plants will yield faster ripening and larger tomatoes than un-staked ones.   Alternatively, when you cage your tomatoes, you will get a higher yield from each plant since there will be more stems and branches.  Cages make great structures support plastic sheeting that will protect young plants early in the season from the wind and against frosts early and late in the growing season.

Tomato plants thrive with consistent watering – the equivalent to an inch of rain – applied with a soaker hose or drip hose.   The end of a hose is just too powerful and too much volume for optimal watering.  Water in the early morning hours is best so that the foliage has time to dry during the day.  During the growing season, you will want to fertilize again just before the plants hit their maturity.
No matter which type of tomato variety you choose to grow, you will have the luxury of fresh-picked freshness for your next salad, salsa or pasta sauce.  Even if you can’t abide tomatoes, your family and neighbors will appreciate the fruits of your labors all summer long with flavors that you can’t duplicate in store bought produce.

Heart of the Home

Here in the US, we speak of the kitchen as the heart of the home. It is where the family gathers. It is no wonder why the term “open concept” has been ingrained in the lexicon of every red-blooded American. No one wants to be left out of the family activities and those activities seem to happen in that room surrounded by yards and yards of beautiful kitchen cabinets, stainless steel appliances, natural stone surfaces, intricate tile patterns and natural light. Oh, just gotta have natural light. Most people want an open concept kitchen and living area because they think it will mean that the cook can join in the conversations happening in the other rooms or that mom can keep an eye on the kids.

I would like to propose a different motivation for the open concept kitchen. Rather than permitting the cook to participate in the activities in the other contiguous rooms I would like to postulate that the goal is rather to keep everyone else OUT of the kitchen. There is no reason for the kids sitting in the family room to come and bother mom in the kitchen if they can see what she is doing. There is no reason for party-goers to interrupt the cook as he or she is preparing the meal. That keeps everyone out of the kitchen, and isn’t that what true cooks really want from the kitchen design? Everyone knows that during a party, everyone congregates in the kitchen. not to help, of course, perhaps to supervise? Or to ask questions the cook doesn’t have the time or inclination to answer? I know this sounds like heresy, but unless your kitchen has 6 foot wide aisles and is the size of a racketball court, do you really want people in it making your job harder than it is or at least blocking the passageway of that can’t-live-without work triangle?

Yes, we Americans are sometimes convoluted in our thinking and the “second reason why” sometimes becomes the “primary reason” just because it is convenient or socially correct. Think about it. In case you are wondering what open concept is, check this out.

New Editor

Hi Everyone! Just a quick blog update to let you know that this blog will now be written in English and we have a new editor. Her name is Quinn and she will be blogging about all things American and not just travel. We know you will enjoy the new perspective and will learn about how this country runs on the energy and innovation of its people. It is a journey that you won’t want to miss. Enjoy discussions about life, work, natural wonders, careers and other subjects that impact the lifestyles of everyday Americans. So fasten your seat belts everybody, it is going to be one heck of a ride!


Nagrody dla uczestników i zwycięzców

Popatrzcie na relacje i doświadczenia, które uzyskali zwycięzcy z ostatnich lat: Adam (pobierz PDF) i Oliwia (pobierz PDF).

Komisja konkursowa, która wyłoni zwycięzców, będzie składała się z naszych ekspertów: amerykanistów, przedstawicieli Fundacji Wspomagania Wsi i Ambasady USA. Poza dobrymi wynikami testu i wypowiedzi ustnej w języku angielskim na zadany temat, kandydaci będą oceniani także pod kątem umiejętności komunikacyjnych.

Laureat pierwszej nagrody zostanie zaproszony w ramach Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Fellows Program na trzytygodniowe letnie seminarium młodzieżowe Benjamin Franklin Transatlantic Summer Institutes do Stanów Zjednoczonych. Koszt przelotu i uczestnictwa w całości poniosą Ambasada Amerykańska oraz Fundacja Wspomagania Wsi. Organizatorzy programu ustalili ramy wiekowe: 1 lipca 2013 uczestnik musi mieć nie mniej niż 16 i nie więcej niż 18 lat. Ograniczenie dotyczy tylko tej nagrody, pozostałe dostępne są dla wszystkich uczestników.

Kolejne nagrody to trzy indeksy na studia I stopnia w Ośrodku Studiów Amerykańskich Uniwersytetu Warszawskiego. Jedynym dodatkowym warunkiem jest zdana matura z języka angielskiego na poziomie rozszerzonym z wynikiem minimum 50% (aby można było przyjąć, że dana osoba poradzi sobie ze studiami po angielsku).
Więcej informacji na temat programu studiów:

W trzecim etapie konkursu członkowie komisji wyłonią także osobę, która odbędzie miesięczny staż w Amerykańskiej Izbie Handlowej w Warszawie. Stażysta dostanie też nagrodę pieniężną wysokości 1500zł na dofinansowanie kosztów utrzymania w Warszawie.

Autorów najlepszych esejów (maksymalnie 30 osób) zaprosimy do Warszawy na 3 dni (wszelkie koszty, w tym m. in. koszty podróży, noclegów i wyżywienia ponosi Fundacja). Przygotujemy dla laureatów program kulturalny. Na spotkaniu w Warszawie omówimy wyniki konkursu a następnie przystąpimy do uroczystego rozdania dyplomów i nagród książkowych. Laureaci zostaną ponadto zaproszeni na spotkanie do Ambasady USA, gdzie wysłuchają przygotowanych przez pracowników prezentacji, związanych z tematem konkursu.

Przewidziane są również nagrody książkowe dla szkół, z których będą pochodzili zwycięzcy


Guest Post

Konkurs składa się z trzech etapów. W pierwszym uczniowie, po zarejestrowaniu się na stronie konkursu, “internetowo” odpowiadają na 40 pytań w języku polskim i 40 pytań po angielsku. Pytania mają formę testu wielokrotnego wyboru, obejmującego takie dziedziny jak kultura, popkultura, historia, amerykański system polityczny, bieżąca sytuacja społeczno-gospodarcza, stosunki polsko-amerykańskie, system edukacji, geografia, “słynne cytaty”, sport. Liczbę prawidłowych odpowiedzi liczy komputer. 60 uczestników pierwszego etapu, którzy uzyskają najwięcej punktów zakwalifikuje się do drugiego etapu, który będzie polegał na napisaniu eseju (po polsku), na jeden z 15 tematów. Szczegółowe informacje dotyczące wymagań w tej części zostaną przedstawione na stronie konkursu w momencie opublikowania tematów prac pisemnych. 15 autorów najlepszych esejów przejdzie do III etapu. Odbędzie się on w Collegium Civitas w Warszawie i będzie składał się z części pisemnej (testu) i części ustnej w języku angielskim. Część ustna będzie rozmową na jeden z tematów podanych na liście, która zostanie opublikowana w połowie stycznia.

30 (maksymalnie) autorów najlepiej ocenionych esejów zostanie zaproszonych na koszt Fundacji do Warszawy na trzydniowe spotkanie laureatów.

W programie między innymi spotkanie z dyplomatami amerykańskimi pracującymi w Warszawie, wykład związany z tematyką konkursu, wizyta w szkole amerykańskie i rozrywki kulturalne.

Wśród głównych nagród są dwa miesięczne staże: w dziale kulturalno-prasowym Ambasady Amerykańskiej i w American Chamber of Commerce w Warszawie, a także nagrody pieniężne. Więcej informacji na ten temat udostępnimy w listopadzie.

Wszyscy laureaci otrzymają dyplomy i książki, przewidziane są również nagrody dla szkół, z których będzie najwięcej laureatów oraz nagrody specjalne za najciekawsze eseje.

Pytania do konkursu i tematy esejów układają wykładowcy Collegium Civitas, Ośrodka Studiów Amerykańskich, dyplomaci polscy i amerykańscy w Warszawie i w Waszyngtonie oraz członkowie Stowarzyszenia Euro-Atlantyckiego.

Cel, jaki stawiają sobie organizatorzy, to pogłębienie wiedzy polskiej młodzieży o Stanach Zjednoczonych oraz promowanie Internetu jako środka komunikacji i narzędzia do poszukiwania informacji.