RICH JAMES: These are a few of my favorite things

2013-11-27T00:00:00Z RICH JAMES: These are a few of my favorite thingsBy Rich James nwitimes.com
November 27, 2013 12:00 am  • 

It's that time of year. I’m thankful …

That U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky is finally putting pressure on local officials to come up with a funding plan for South Shore Railroad expansion.

For puppy dog kisses.

That it appears the Illiana Expressway will become a reality.

That former Sens. Birch Bayh and Dick Lugar graced my life.

For the call of the loon on a pristine lake.

That I got to see the Chicago Blackhawks win two Stanley Cups.

That Hoosiers elected Glenda Ritz superintendent of public instruction.

That Barack Obama is president.

For those who are working on a daily basis to bring Northwest Indiana together.

For having had the ability to quit smoking.

That I knew the late Gov. Frank O’Bannon — the finest man I’ve ever met in Indiana government.

That the White Sox are the only Chicago team to win a World Series in the past 100 years.

For the sounds of summer after being cooped up all winter.

That IU is back at the top of the college basketball heap.

That Speros Batistatos never changes.

That Lake County came to its senses and adopted an income tax.

That someone invented beer.

For the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore.

That trade unions are on the way back when it comes to influence.

That IU no longer is the worst Indiana football team in the Big Ten.

That Opening Day is just over four months away.

For when it comes time to plant flowers in the spring.

That Lake County is on the verge of meeting a state mandate to merge all E-911 units into one system.

That people are starting to realize the Tea Party is poisoning the country.

For steak and lake perch.

That Mayor Joe Stahura is doing a wonderful job in Whiting.

That law enforcement has come together to reduce crime in northern Lake County.

That the Lake County Animal Shelter is a no-kill facility.

That Hillary Clinton likely will be the next president of the United States.

That Marc Trestman is coach of the Chicago Bears.

That at least one area team, Andrean, will play in a state football championship game.

That Joe Hogsett, the U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Indiana and a former secretary of state, is about to get back on the ballot.

That I am old enough to have witnessed the Camelot days of JFK.

That I got to see the sandhill cranes gather one fall at the Jasper-Pulaski Wildlife Refuge.

That I know a member of the last class to graduate from Hammond Tech.

That there is a glimmer of hope Indiana might return to a one-class basketball tournament one day.

But mostly, I am thankful for family and friends. Without them, all the rest wouldn’t matter.

Rich James has been writing about state and local government and politics for more than 30 years. Email him at rjames@219.com. The opinions are the writer’s.

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