I was recently interviewed by a wonderful young man, a student at Purdue University whose class was assigned to write news articles about local cities and towns.
He was given Whiting as his subject, so we talked for hours about the city's history, future, and uniqueness. Naturally, talk turned to Pierogi Fest, our new baseball stadium, Oktoberfest and Garage Mahal, which, by the way, is on May 18 this year.
He was impressed with Whiting and its people, which made me start thinking about some of the people who have really gone out of their way to make our city what it is.
One of these is Norb Dudzik, who I originally met when he volunteered at the Chamber. Norb was willing to do anything and his enthusiasm was impressive.
Today, Norb works for the city, doing a million things including making sure events run smoothly, and he created the city's Farmers Market. The market is held downtown every Saturday, starting in May. Last year, I bought the most beautiful giant basket of flowers there, and it became the focal point of our front porch for months.
While at the Chamber of Commerce, Norb suggested we start a Cruise Night. Since I knew nothing about cars and could have cared less, Norb got "in gear" and took on this brand new event.
Many other cities already had cruise nights, and Norb managed to personally contact people who were interested in showing their vintage cars. That was around eight years ago. I think there were about the antique and classic cars lined about two blocks that first year.
Today, every parking place on 119th Street is filled on Whiting Cruise Nights, which are held every Wednesday starting in May. Cruise Night is one of our most popular events. Classic 50's music plays while people walk around checking out the classic chassis.
Restaurants offer cruise night specials, merchants stay open late, and there's a real sense of fun in downtown Whiting, all thanks to one man and his vision.
Anytime you want to know what's going on in Whiting, go online to www.visitwhiting.com.
Junkyard Store co-owner Kathleen Ulm does a lot more for her hometown than make clever T-shirts. She created this online website which promotes every event, restaurant and shop in our city. It's a fun place to visit and it showcases the arts, organizations, and our park and recreation opportunities.
In addition, she and a friend recently started the "Our KIND of Town" program, whose purpose is to do "random acts of kindness." The program collects items for our local guys and gals in the military service, and asks readers to let them know who in town may need a helping hand. Our KIND of Town was a big help during the collection for fire victims back in January.
Norb and Kathleen are just two of the folks here who make Whiting a very special place to live and show how one person with a cool idea can really make a difference in "Our KIND of Town."