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Mardi Gras theme set for Heart Association gala
Highland Chamber of Commerce Officers for 2004 are Director Bill Leep, Pleasant View Dairy, left, Treasurer, Sheila Courtright, Bank Calumet, Vice President Mary Shelton, Sand Ridge Bank, President Sally Resch, Miller's Friendly Mart, Director Jim Dal Santo, Attorney, and Past President Dale Hestermann, Kempo Jujutsu Martial Arts Academy.

American Heart Association has announced its fund-raiser gala for this year -- a mask-optional gala in the Celebrity Ballroom of Merrillville's Radisson Hotel at Star Plaza. Patrons will sip beverages during the reception hour, eat to their heart's content (heart-healthy gourmet food, of course), buy fabulous luxury auction items and take advantage of the opportunity to dance the night away, begining at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 21. Saving lives has never been so much fun. Whether you take your spouse, clients or friends, your support will help the American Heart Association raise $125,000 that will be used to fund life-saving cardiovascular disease and stroke research. Dr. Nazzal Obaid, of Northwest Indiana Heart Care and medical sponsorship, is serving as chairman for the event.

This elegant masked ball will feature a "traditional" Mardi Gras king cake that will contain a hidden treasure. The person served that particular piece of cake will be rewarded with a special prize. The gala will include a silent and live auction featuring Chicago travel weekends, an autographed official NFL football and other sports memorabilia, a stainless steel master grill set, palm pilots, digital camera, landscape packages and more, according to Red Cross regional director Diane Kemp. Live entertainment will include the band Monterrey and a theater group from Chicago.

John W. Matula of NiSource/NIPSCO will serve as executive chairman of this year's gala. The Heart of Life Award will be given to Dr. John Scully for his years of dedication to the American Heart Association's mission of fighting heart disease and stroke.

The title sponsor of the gala is Methodist Hospitals.

To purchase tickets, which are $125 per person, or to inquire about corporate sponsorship opportunities, call Kemp at (219) 996-4958 or e-mail

New Chamber officers

Highland Chamber of Commerce has elected and installed officers for this year. Serving are Sally Resch of Miller's Friendly Mart, president; Mary Shelton of Sand Ridge Bank, vice president; Sheila Courtright of Bank Calumet, treasurer; Dale Hestermann of Kempo Jujutsu Martial Arts Academy, past president, and attorney James Dal Santo, as a director.

Kudos to these folks who have committed themselves to a year of volunteer work for the community of Highland.

Cocoa? no...Koko

Blues legend Koko Taylor came to Buffington Harbor in Gary to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the new Koko Taylor's Blues Cafe at the begining of this year.

Taylor is famous for her first big hit, "Wang Dang Doodle," and she is one of Chicagoland's favorite blues singers. When at the casino restaurant, guests will be able to enjoy not only the cuisine but the photos of Taylor with other musical legends such as Lonnie Brooks, Ray Charles, Cher, Eric Clapton, Willie Nelson and Keith Richard.