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Whether you see the results or not, all work is important

In this age of specialization, the meaning of work gets harder to explain. I know that sounds like a bunch of drivel, but think about conversations that you have with people outside of work and you will have a clearer understanding of what I mean by the meaning of work.

3 hours ago

Human contact is the key to good winning over evil

For more than a week we have witnessed unspeakable hatred and pain, from our own heartland to the Middle East. From Ferguson, Mo. we have watched in horror scenes and images that appear to be straight out of the 1960s, while from Syria those with a stronger stomach than mine could watch the …

August 24, 2014 12:00 am

Those who look so happy might just be so sad

When I was much younger and had a lot more free time, I used to stay up late to watch standup comedy on cable TV channels. The 1980s were a golden age for that art form with Sam Kinison, Gallagher, Richard Pryor, Eddie Murphy, George Carlin, Billy Crystal, Whoopi Goldberg, Bobcat Goldthwait …

August 17, 2014 12:00 am

School starts soon, but summer's not over yet

The calendar shows that we are in the final weeks of summer. Many children go back to school this week, with teachers and students diving into math equations, diagramming sentences, dissecting worms and trying to get a grasp on the impact of Columbus discovering the Americas.

August 10, 2014 12:00 am

Doughboy stands in tribute to U.S. soldiers of WWI and beyond

“The muffled tongue of Big Ben tolled nine by the clock as the cortege left the palace, but on history's clock it was sunset, and the sun of the old world was setting in a dying blaze of splendor never to be seen again.”

August 03, 2014 12:00 am

Interest young children in reading and you have a reader for life

By any measure, we know that to do well in school, reading is fundamental. That is not just a catchy phrase, but a fact that teachers will talk at great lengths about, no matter the subject area.

July 27, 2014 12:00 am

Giving blood is an important service, and you can do it today

Being a writer does have its perks. For one thing, I get at least a couple of interesting emails a week.

July 20, 2014 12:00 am

Building the region one family, one home and one community at a time

I read a newspaper story about 20 years ago with a statistic that struck a chord. It said that in New Jersey, the average age of the buildings was 50 years. This, of course, factors in homes, businesses, schools and other structures.

July 13, 2014 12:00 am

We celebrate and reflect the independence of our forefathers

The story is familiar to us all. A gaggle of white men in powdered wigs sat around a table voted to declare our independence from the British Empire. There was Thomas Jefferson, the planter intellectual, John Adams, in many ways the man behind the scenes, and old Benjamin Franklin, the homes…

July 06, 2014 12:00 am

The arc of history bent 50 years ago with passage of Civil Rights Act

Fifty years ago, the landmark legislation known as the U.S. Civil Rights Act of 1964 became the law of the land. It's very passage was the culmination of a century worth of sweat and struggle to codify the gains made during the Civil War.

June 29, 2014 12:00 am

Taking stock after five decades in the Calumet Region

"And I would like to thank those that were there to ensure that I am standing here before you today. Let’s start with my family, principally mom and dad. (The camera pans the audience in search of the proud parents; they are looking down at their programs), and my fifth grade teacher, for le…

June 22, 2014 12:00 am

One generation shares with the next for "a new bag of coins"

“Why do men like me want sons?" he wondered. "It must be because they hope in their poor beaten souls that these new men, who are their blood, will do the things they were not strong enough nor wise enough nor brave enough to do. It is rather like another chance at life; like a new bag of co…

June 15, 2014 12:00 am

Red poppies are an annual reminder of those who served and sacrificed

Last week I received an email from a longtime reader who has moved out to California, but occasionally sends me emails about things on his mind. Since he is older than me and has seen more of the world, I tend to take his missives to heart a little more.

June 08, 2014 12:00 am

D-Day soldiers knew they faced long odds to do what was right

Friday marks the 70th anniversary of WWII's Normandy landing. On the morning of June 6, 1944 Lt. Colonel Robert Lee Wolverton, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 506th Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Divisio,n gathered his men for a final prayer before they went off to battle off the coast of…

June 01, 2014 12:00 am

It's bike riding season, let's all be careful no matter the vehicle

I don’t recall at what age I learned to ride a bike. It was probably when I was 5 or 6, a pretty normal age for a skill that gave me a way out of the little world that I inhabited.

May 25, 2014 12:00 am

We the People gives students a chance to explore government

Every year, sometimes more often, I sit in as a judge at the district level for the We the People competition. This offers a great opportunity to think about the foundation of our nation and its guiding principles.

May 18, 2014 12:00 am

Today's the day to show mothers how our love has grown

One of the great pleasures of this column appearing on a Sunday is that every once in a while the date coincides with something great, like Mother’s Day.

May 11, 2014 12:00 am

Political signs, hand shaking and door-to-door canvassing end Tuesday

Sometime in early April the signs started popping up like mushrooms in yards all across the region. Campaign season will do that to most any disciplined political organization.

May 04, 2014 12:00 am

Boston Strong dayes back to the American Revolution

As is customary, the Boston Marathon kicked off the annual running season Monday. The events of the last week show that Boston Strong truly means something.

April 27, 2014 12:00 am

Easter means golumpkis, Earth Day and Arbor Day

This is one of those columns that I think should be taped to the refrigerator door or pinned to the bulletin board. Not because its a Pulitzer Prize-winning piece of literature, but as an important reminder of why we like April so much.

April 20, 2014 12:00 am

A day in the life of a South Shore Line commuter

I still remember the first time that I rode to Chicago on the South Shore Railroad by myself. It was 1982, my senior year in high school, and I was going downtown to be inducted into the military at the old MEP Center on Michigan Avenue.

April 13, 2014 12:00 am

Record Store Day takes music lovers back to the days of LPs and 45s

I don’t watch a lot of television. My family can attest that to me at least, most of what passes for entertainment is pretty low brow.

April 06, 2014 12:00 am

“Saving Lincoln” is a well-told story worth venturing out to see

When I was a history teacher, many years ago, I used to ask my students trick questions. Really, they were thought provokers.

March 30, 2014 12:00 am

Steel yourself for the return of the Road Warrior

When I was a young, idealistic writer for the Purdue University Calumet Chronicle, I wrote a great deal about two subjects - the U.S. Steel strike of 1986 and the sad condition of the Borman Expressway.

March 23, 2014 12:00 am

Two heartwarming local stories outshine chilling one from sunshine state

“People generally see what they look for, and hear what they listen for.”

March 16, 2014 12:00 am

Encourage children to read and they'll never lack for adventure

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”

March 09, 2014 12:00 am

Now, as always, Mom knows best and is happy to share

In honor of the start of Women’s History Month and my own dear Mom, in retirement in the warm climes of Arizona, I present to you the lessons she taught me over the years.

March 02, 2014 12:00 am

We are all influenced by the voices and deeds of remarkable women

When next this column appears in print, it will be Women’s History Month, so I thought what the heck, close enough.

February 23, 2014 12:00 am

You can't remain anonymous once you've been U.S. president

As a rule, I generally remain pretty quiet when I am on the train. I sit in the same seat with my right leg on the aisle side to alleviate cramping. There, I read my book and take a short nap. It is a nice little routine if I can pull it off three times a week.

February 16, 2014 12:00 am

From Iron Mountain to Atlanta, we all have snow to write about

Over the last several months I have taken up the art of letter writing. Rather, I have found someone willing to read my letters, rambling though they may be.

February 09, 2014 12:00 am

Statistics are just numbers until one of them touches your heart

Last year, I wrote a column about the escalating number of deaths on Illinois highways. Every day, it seemed, the numbers kept climbing on the macabre overhead signs along the Dan Ryan Expressway.

February 02, 2014 12:00 am

Super Bowl important to some for the game, others for commercials

Super Bowl XLVIII. . . I am sure looking forward to a much shorter title.

January 26, 2014 12:00 am

Celebrate the changes 100 days after the start of the school year

Many students and teachers likely marked the end of the 100th day of school without acknowledging its significance. After all, we are in the depths of winter and the boredom of the whole routine has probably affected our good judgment. Don’t be so quick to discount the meaning, though.

January 19, 2014 12:00 am

It wasn't his words, but his actions that defined Martin Luther King Jr.

It has been a while since I wrote about Martin Luther King Jr. Day. The reason is pretty simple; there isn’t much that I can say about an American icon that hasn’t already been said.

January 12, 2014 12:00 am Related

A life is measured not by numbers, but by the values left to us

Our modern lives consist of numbers and their accessories. For every passion, there is a set of associated data, whether that passion be the arts or sciences.

January 05, 2014 12:00 am Related

Thanks to those who serve others on Christmas, and welcome 2014

Before looking forward to 2014, I want to take a moment to thank some people who made last week much easier for the rest of us. We’ll start with the snow plow drivers who, while their families were snug in their homes, went out in the deep freeze to plow our streets Christmas Day.

December 29, 2013 12:00 am Related

Christmas memories of Aunt Judy, gift wrapping and Santa jingling

Whenever we get this close to Christmas Day, I always think of my Aunt Judy. Oh, I think of her at other times of the year, too, but at this time of the year she was at her most focused.

December 22, 2013 12:00 am Related

The kindness of a candle lights the way 10 years later

More than 10 years ago, I was in the hospital for the Fourth of July holiday and for more than a month. I mention this because I was reminded of it as the holidays approach.

December 15, 2013 12:00 am Related

I could get everything written on my notes done...if only I could find them

Among my little notes, I have nuggets of something that is a great quote, wonderful ideas and things I have to do. I am an inveterate note writer. I keep them in my pockets and surrounding my computer monitor. What bothers me right now is that somewhere in that stack is a Christmas shopping list.

December 08, 2013 12:00 am Related

Traditions help preserve sanity during hectic holiday season

Thanksgiving and Christmas are all about tradition. The first is a more secular holiday that is all about hearth and home, while the latter is a celebration of home and things above our poor power to comprehend. We take our traditions and habits seriously and moving the needle takes a great …

December 01, 2013 12:00 am Related

It's time to give thanks for the people who populate this column

How is your shopping list coming along? I’m sorry, I meant, how are your preparations for Thanksgiving coming along? I am easily confused at this advanced age; I thought we took one holiday at a time.

November 24, 2013 12:00 am Related

Tomorrow people look ahead and persevere despite hard times

For the last week or so I have been bugging my wife about a book that I am reading. Barb usually finds a way to shift the conversation, a skill honed during 20+ years of marriage.

November 17, 2013 12:00 am Related

One hundred years of conflict created an unbreakable bond

It is hard to imagine that 100 years ago a U.S. celebration of Veterans Day would have been considered an idea in some warped person’s imagination.

November 10, 2013 12:00 am Related

Resiliency helps us cope with academic pressures and loss

I have been holding two presumably opposite concepts in my head for the last week.

November 03, 2013 12:00 am

Strong workforce and volunteerism will help NWI, and Detroit, thrive

A friend asked me a few years ago where I picked up my political and social views. I told him that was easy, I generally changed the radio station or TV channel when someone started to give his or her opinion.

October 27, 2013 12:00 am

Thanks, Thomas Edison, for lighting up our world

All around us, we have the newest technology either at our fingertips or close enough to be able to access  it. There is the computer, the handheld electronic device, smart phones and other gadgets that would have been hard to imagine a mere 20 years ago. A touch of the button or a key strok…

October 20, 2013 12:00 am

Whether people or nature, it's still a world full of wonder

In my office I have a calendar, a collage really, of Norman Rockwell's Saturday Evening Post and Life magazine covers. As we approach his 119th birthday with a new biography coming out this year, we would do well to look at those paintings as snapshots of a world, in many cases nearly 100 years old.

October 13, 2013 12:00 am

Bikers line up to honor soldiers and veterans

About a week ago, I had the honor of attending the annual Lake County Taste of Care at Avalon Manor in Hobart, with proceeds to benefit Honor Flight Northwest Indiana.

October 06, 2013 12:00 am

Gold Star Mothers deserve a salute for the care they provide

Right in the middle of our commemoration of the Civil War and the bicentennial of The War of 1812, we find ourselves thinking of still another conflict, one largely lost to history.

September 29, 2013 12:00 am

Good neighbors are a treasure through thick and thin

Communities are made up of different kinds of neighborhoods. There are some neighborhoods that have a population that comes and goes pretty frequently. While that might not be a bad thing, depending on your needs and your situation, most of us prefer to live in an environment that is familia…

September 22, 2013 12:00 am
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