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From fur traders to cyber companies, the Calumet Region thrives

Newspapers are filled with stories about what the Calumet Region will do with its rich land. The next invasion should be the elbowing into the region of lusty information age companies.

February 23, 2014 12:00 am

East Chicago pipeline stocked winning football bowl teams

With all of the news about football bowl games in the air, we can be reminded of the fact that the Calumet Region stocked many of the teams that created the history of the bowl system.

January 19, 2014 12:00 am

Christmas shopping used to require a bus trip or two

Christmas shopping ain’t what it used to be.

December 29, 2013 12:00 am

Local version of the Christmas story offers hope for peace

EDITOR’S NOTE: This tale was first told in this space in December, 1981, and has been retold every year since.

December 22, 2013 12:00 am

Current cold snap recalls coal handlers and clock house boys of '43-44

This past week has given us the coldest temperatures of the winter. It should take a few weeks for the effects to pass, but once passed, it may be that winter has been blunted for the year.

December 15, 2013 12:00 am

Change angle, add perspective to get clear picture

We all know that what something appears to be depends upon the angle at which it is observed. That is, an object can look different from the left side or the right side or the top side or the bottom side, and so forth.

December 01, 2013 12:00 am

Just a walk around "the Harbor" provided plenty of excitement

Some young adults seem to have difficulty getting their days started. One effect has people kicking and lurching their way out of bed.

November 24, 2013 12:00 am

No matter what sport, park league ball games were tops

As sports become more sophisticated, they employ increasingly more gadgets. Sometimes the gadgets are prosaic.

November 10, 2013 12:00 am

Popularity of Halloween may be about doing the unthinkable

Let’s have a show of hands. What is your favorite holiday of the year? How about Halloween? That’s what I thought.

October 27, 2013 12:00 am

Spooky stuff leads to cultural superstitions that abound in region

I have never quite figured out why Halloween has been my favorite holiday. I think it has to do with the fact that all the spooky stuff in life is concentrated into one day and that has led to our natural response to place “funny stuff” at the base of the holiday.

October 13, 2013 12:00 am

Baseball was the name of the game in East Chicago

About this time every year, we would brace ourselves for a feed for having been the best baseball team in the Kiwanis League. That usually meant either a dinner or luncheon at the First Baptist Church of Indiana Harbor, which had the best kitchen in town.

October 06, 2013 12:00 am

Basketball tournaments meant good times in the region

Among the most pleasant experiences I can recall in the Calumet Region are those associated with basketball tournaments.

September 29, 2013 12:00 am

Indiana Harbor had athletic fields, a band shell – and a zoo

We had a variety of diversions in my hometown of Indiana Harbor. The most obvious was our zoo.

September 22, 2013 12:00 am

Len Garment - a bright light of politics shines no more

I try mightily to keep this column from being a necrology, since many of the departing people I know best have names that, at one time or another, were spelled in bright lights.

September 08, 2013 12:00 am

Youngsters pushed the limits with surfboards and abandoned cars

One of the practices common in the 1930s was the dumping of abandoned vehicles in empty lots. Naturally, this represented an invitation to youngsters who used those lots for recreation to gravitate toward the vehicles.

September 01, 2013 12:00 am

Neighborhood holes were an invitation to digging and pitching

Holes. Much of the Calumet Region’s history can be found in holes. Such daubs of history, however, would be evanescent. Much of it would be whimsical.

August 18, 2013 12:00 am

Images of a lifetime a montage of memories

Eventually, young people get around to being interested in their parents. The interest takes several forms. One of the most unique, for me, came from one of my daughters.

August 11, 2013 12:00 am

Pickup games created scabs, sink holes, plenty of memories

One day I dropped in on Richard Nixon's attorney, Len Garment, in Brooklyn Heights, N.Y. Seeing a football in the backyard, I reached over, picked it up, and heaved it at a crowd of people.

August 04, 2013 12:00 am

How a Midwest conservative joined the Nixon campaign

As most of you know, I was director of information for the Nixon for President campaign nationally. That fact is strange on many levels, the most basic of which is that I am a conservative and consider anyone from the West Coast an alien. If I had my way, California would be returned to Mexi…

July 28, 2013 12:00 am

Hitching rides and learning about people

There are a number of words that dance around our collective lexicons that are unique to the Calumet Region, or close to unique. One of these is Monon.

July 21, 2013 12:00 am

It all depends on how you look at things

It’s strange how a single event, however small, can change your entire life.

July 07, 2013 12:00 am

I'd know a Calumet Region native anywhere — if I can hear them

You all know people who grew up in Indiana Harbor, perhaps a next door neighbor, perhaps a sidekick at work, perhaps a fellow churchgoer. And you would know that person in a totally strange atmosphere. I’ve heard people say that if they ran into a regionite abroad, they would know their root…

June 30, 2013 12:00 am

Welsh women and steelmakers influenced Calumet Region settlement

There are a number of characteristics to the pattern of settlement in the Calumet Region, one of which is the importance of certain ethnic customs and another is the custom of women.

June 16, 2013 12:00 am

Nationalities helped settle communities in Calumet Region

Most of the early communities of the Calumet Region derived from commonalities of interest. The most apparent of these was nationality.

June 09, 2013 12:00 am

Athletics became a way for E.C. youth to attend college

Before the Great Depression, there was little talk in the Calumet Region about high school graduates going on to college. That changed when outstanding athletes began breaking through and were followed by others from the high same school.

June 02, 2013 12:00 am

Boys will be boys, no matter the sport or the season

This is the time of year that once was owned in large part by junior high school boys. That is, boys big enough to play men’s games, but not so big as to destroy the person they were playing against.

May 26, 2013 12:00 am

Hammond indictments took the heat off EC...for a while

Have you ever noticed that when there is a slow news day, the media takes a painful bite out of East Chicago? That’s in large part because East Chicago is so open to criticism.

February 24, 2013 12:00 am

Minor sports deserve recognition in local halls of fame

In the recent listing of rodeo information relative to the Elizabeth Stampede, one of the three officials named was Mark Longoria. If I’m not mistaken, this is the same Mark Longoria who graduated from the late lamented East Chicago Washington High School in 1979.

February 17, 2013 12:00 am

Admitted embezzler had an ace up his sleeve at trial

Howard Duncan had a photographic memory for numbers that he put to good use for personal gain as the assistant treasurer at NIPSCO in the 1920's and 30's. After confessing to the company president that he had embezzled $132,000, he offered to help NIPSCO auditors unravel his scheme in exchan…

February 10, 2013 12:00 am

Gambling debts led exec to tap the till almost a century ago

Howard Duncan had a photographic memory for numbers that he put to good use. He had been with NIPSCO and its predecessor companies since 1908, starting at the bottom and working his way up until 1924, when he became assistant treasurer, a position he would hold for nine years.

February 03, 2013 12:00 am

Vaudeville star was popular with Calumet Region audiences

Think back over the past half century and identify the stars of electronic media. You’ll find that it’s surprisingly difficult to do.

January 27, 2013 12:00 am

Dutch family migrated to Midwest and grew in number, notoriety

The present flu epidemic is about to surround us, but let us hope that it is nothing like the 1918-19 version, which killed more people than WWI, somewhere between 20 and 40 million worldwide.

January 20, 2013 12:00 am

Gary school boasted official and unofficial nicknames

As someone once said, or should have, there is aristocracy in all classes. Most schools prior to World War II had a “Four Hundred.”

January 13, 2013 12:00 am

Shorty was long on musical talent in the Big Band era

Back in the Big Band era of the 1930s and 40s, most of us had favorites, much like having a favorite baseball team. Mine happened to be Les Brown.

January 06, 2013 12:00 am

Mayhem visited upon Hammond court by knight errant in 1916

The mass murders that occurred in a small Connecticut town this month could, I think, have occurred anywhere. That kid of tragedy almost happened here nearly a century ago, as I described in my book “Reejin Archetypes:”

December 30, 2012 12:00 am

Christmas a time to welcome those who need shelter

EDITOR’S NOTE: This tale was first told in this space in December, 1981.

December 23, 2012 12:00 am

Memories of days in the miltary and the medical field

The headlines of the past week or so have caused me to reflect on my past and conclude that a good deal of my adult life has been spent in matters medical. I had basic training in Washington state and, after finishing, was transferred to, of all places, an installation on Lake Shore Drive in…

December 09, 2012 12:00 am

Shirley Heinze Land Trust protects nature and educates

Women’s liberation! It’s wonderful, that is, if you happen to be married to a beautiful and brainy Southern belle with a college education, a highly successful career as an executive, and an annual income that would choke an ATM.

December 02, 2012 12:00 am

Park and lagoon made Horace Mann High construction unique

The Calumet Region reached its apogee in 1929, just before The Crash.

November 18, 2012 12:00 am

From burgers to chicken, Restaurant Row was the place to eat

Not long ago, someone raised the question within our conversation group, “How often did you eat out when you were in high school?”

November 11, 2012 12:00 am

Gary's Alex Karras was a character, on the field or on a stage

I was always very good at touch football, and even tackle football in the park, but when it came to playing varsity football, a player had to weigh 130 pounds and have other assets. I didn’t even weigh 120 pounds.

November 04, 2012 12:00 am

Region youth "followed the band" as closely as top athletes

When I was a lad just itching to get into high school, one of the favorite classroom games we played had to do with what I will call “follow the band.”

October 28, 2012 12:00 am

Kallares sons made their mother (and the region) proud

One of the growing social issues of our time is the one-parent family. That usually means that a mother is the only parent. Just who manages such a family is, I guess we could say, the luck of the draw.

October 21, 2012 12:00 am

Stiglitz brought fame (and Nobel Prize) to Calumet Region

A person only had to stand around the Calumet Region and soak it up to become an expert on one thing or another.

October 14, 2012 12:00 am

Horace Mann High produced Gary and state pageant winners

After downstaters got over their apprehension about “Duh Reejin,” they discovered that the Calumet Region produced the most attractive girls in all of Indiana.

October 07, 2012 12:00 am

Region tenor sang like 'locomotive at full throttle'

If you were a football coach at a Calumet Region high school during the 1940s and you came across a player who outweighed everyone in sight, your cup runneth over.

September 30, 2012 12:00 am

Bridges often do more than span a body of water

One of the strongest-running local news story has to do with the bridge over the Indiana Harbor ship canal. Despite all these stories, I’m not sure that any of us are any the wiser about why the bridge failed. However, I’m inclined to think it has something to do with our obsession with bridges.

September 23, 2012 12:00 am

Choices may vary, but breakfast starts the day off right

For as long as I can remember, people who should know have been telling me that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. I never had reason to doubt it.

September 16, 2012 12:00 am

When it comes to community service, nobody beats Platis brothers

What with the national conventions of both political parties running end to end, there has been an unusual number of news articles on what various politicos have contributed to their communities.

September 09, 2012 12:00 am

Marrying squires made Crown Point popular place to get hitched

Maybe it’s my imagination, but it seems to me that marriage in this country has made a strong comeback.

September 02, 2012 12:00 am
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