Voices News Feed - LaPorteCountyLife https://laportecounty.life Mon, 17 Feb 2020 18:21:18 +0000 en hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.2.2 This history of the New Year’s Resolution and what Lifers resolve for 2020 https://laportecounty.life/article/this-history-of-the-new-years-resolution-and-what-lifers-resolve-for-2020/ Tue, 31 Dec 2019 23:18:49 +0000 Stacey Kellogg https://laportecounty.life/article/this-history-of-the-new-years-resolution-and-what-lifers-resolve-for-2020/ It’s said that the ancient Babylonians may have been the first people to make New Year’s Resolutions, some 4,000 years ago. So now at least we know whom to blame when we’re waiting 45 minutes for the elliptical at the gym until March or so.

Regardless of whether you resolve something for the New Year, it almost always feels like a time to declare something grand, or even make a small promise to yourself for someone else. Or at the very least, it’s an excuse to set your spell check to replace everything 2019 to 2020, because you KNOW you’re going to mistype that a few hundred times.

We have big plans at GreatNews.Life, and you’ll learn more about that as the coming year unfolds. Until then, here’s a glimpse into how some Lifers intend to make the world a better place in 2020. What’s your resolution? Share with us!

Tommy Elwood, New Media Journalist
My two New Year’s resolutions are to save more money and to stay more organized, especially because I will be a college student. Thanks, and Happy New Year!

Gena DeMuth, New Media Journalist
I would like to say my resolution is to have more control of the TV remote, but my husband says that won’t happen. So, being realistic, I would like 2020 to be the year I worry less about failure, stepping out of my comfort zone more. 

Stephanie Swearington, Operations Director
I am working on me in 2020, both mind and body. This year is my year and I am ready to come at it!

Curtis Hankins, New Media Journalist
If I had to decide on a resolution, I’d say it’d be to listen to more music. There are so many great new artists and albums out there, but I played it pretty safe last year and mostly stuck to my favorites. I’d like to change that up a bit.

Zavier Colon, IT Assistant
My new year’s resolution is to make smarter decisions with how I use my finances. I am trying my hardest to not live in my parents’ house my whole life, and unfortunately, that means I’ll need to start cutting out so many trips to Starbucks.

Kole Rushmore, Contributing Editor
Hoping for an exciting year filled with adventure and amazing experiences with my family.

Dan Petrekis, New Media Journalist
I don’t really make resolutions. I instead prefer to concentrate on areas where I’ve found myself to be lacking and make small but earnest plans to correct that. Heading into 2020, I plan to continue to take incremental, manageable steps to secure my financial future. I would hope to see the community where I live lose some of the negativity that I too often see and regain some sense of pride in what Michigan City has to offer, and what its future holds. Perhaps most of all, I’d just really hope to see more people being nice to each other, without any personal agenda – just for the sake of being a nice person. Just brightening one person’s day can have such a profound effect on the world, one gentle, good deed at a time.

Beth Ireland, Contributing Editor
I have always loved books and been an avid reader. Lately, however, I’ve been neglecting my old friends (books) and as I head into 2020, I’m going to focus on getting back into the habit of reading. My goal is to read one new book a month and maybe visit some of those old friends I’ve read before as well.

Kayla Belec, Contributing Editor
This year, my goal is to be a lot kinder to myself, mentally and physically. Also, I really need to stop drinking boxed wine (a relatively new and bad habit of mine).

Sarah DeMars, Graphic Design & Editorial Assistant
My resolution would have to be to challenge myself more artistically and push myself harder to tackle challenges in a positive way. I always aim to go somewhere new every year too!

Stacey Kellogg, Editorial Director
“I found things in the woods that I didn’t know I was looking for… and now I’ll never be the same.” – Jennifer Phar Davis. I resolve to spend more time hiking, backpacking and being outside in general, using the principals of Leave No Trace, and hopefully inspiring others to discover nature and the benefits of it.

This history of the New Year’s Resolution and what Lifers resolve for 2020
Top 10 feature articles on LaPorteCounty.Life in 2019 https://laportecounty.life/article/top-10-feature-articles-on-laportecounty-life-in-2019/ Sun, 29 Dec 2019 11:35:42 +0000 https://laportecounty.life/article/top-10-feature-articles-on-laportecounty-life-in-2019/ Looking back on the year at LaPorteCounty.Life, it’s truly amazing how many good things are constantly happening in our community. We’ve profiled hundreds of people for Life in the Spotlight articles, heard from our #1StuddentNWI students, and generally been around to find the good news happening in the community.

Do you have good news you’d like to share with us? Visit  https://greatnews.life/share and we’ll take a look! 

Without further ado (and in no particular order!), here are the top 10 feature articles from LaPorteCounty.Life in 2019!

Fellow educators: we need daring classrooms and daring schools

“Hey, y’all.”

I should have been prepared for that charming greeting, especially after this Hoosier girl had already been introduced to tacos for breakfast, Topo Chico, longhorns on the front of SUVs, intense humidity, and southern hospitality. But the humble and kind hello struck me because I knew who it was coming from.

#1StudentNWI: “A Night of One Acts” at Marquette Catholic High School

Casey Martin, Marquette Catholic High School social studies department teacher and coach for Blazer Baseball, wanted a way for the Marquette community to donate to a cause that would benefit American veterans.

#1StudentNWI: November at Westville High School

Everyone’s favorite time of the year is here! The month of November is a lively and joyous time for the Westville community.

Cancer Survivor Series: Esther Lewis

In January of 2019, Esther Lewis, then 39, found a small lump in her breast. Having dealt with swollen lymph nodes before, she thought this lump was most likely that. But being cautious and proactive, Lewis sought confirmation that would end up saving her life.

#1StudentNWI: Forming character and giving back at La Lumiere

La Lu’s JV and Varsity girls volleyball teams held their annual Breast Cancer Awareness Fundraiser Games. The girls put together a raffle for exciting gift baskets including a Pink Basket, Polaroid Basket, Beats Basket, and a famous homemade cheesecake. All proceeds from the event went to the Side-Out Foundation.

Cancer Survivor Series: Joe Blandford

A bell’s ring is a short sound, but resonates through time. It can be symbolic of the end of something, but also the beginning of something else.

Rush in the Region: Michigan City’s Lighthouses

Michigan City’s lighthouse and pier have become a staple in Northwest Indiana. So much so that it’s the first thing people think about when they hear those two words, “Michigan City.” Each year, the city’s lighthouse and pier headlight are greeted with visitors from near and far. What many don’t know is the rich history of the lighthouses that have served the Michigan City harbor since the 1800s.

#1StudentNWI: Escape room coming to La Porte, look back at County Fair

The 174th annual La Porte County Fair took place from July 7th through July 13th at the La Porte Fairgrounds.

New Prairie High School holds pep rally to honor nicest teacher

Teaching can be a thankless job. The position comes with long hours and often little appreciation for the amount of work good education requires.

Blair Milo remembers former Indiana Senator Dick Lugar

I was a rising high school senior when Senator Lugar’s leadership first fanned the spark of love for this country I’d begun to discover through Girls State. By getting to join a symposium of ideas with fellow students, hosted by Senator Lugar and moderated by thought leaders in policy development, I was enthralled with the complex challenge of serving a country as beautifully diverse as America.

Top 10 feature articles on LaPorteCounty.Life in 2019
LEAP President of Chamber Services recaps 2019 for members https://laportecounty.life/article/leap-president-of-chamber-services-recaps-2019-for-members/ Tue, 03 Dec 2019 00:21:37 +0000 Mike Riehle https://laportecounty.life/article/leap-president-of-chamber-services-recaps-2019-for-members/ It has been an exciting ride for the LEAP staff in 2019. We started our journey back in February of this year by partnering the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce and the Greater La Porte Economic Advancement Partnership. With this transition came several exciting changes in terms of brand, technology enhancements, staffing, marketing and community engagement. The Traditional foundation both of these entities has brought to our community throughout the years continues with a renewed vision and focus on making our community a destination for business.

Over the past ten months we have tried to pay particular attention by providing an exceptional level of professionalism and value to our members and investors. We have taken a much more detailed view of our committee structure as well as our member engagement. We have visited over 65 member businesses this year gaining a better understanding of the needs and opportunities within our business community. We focused on improving our event attendance with overwhelming success. Some of these successful events include, State of the City, State of the County, Disney Institute, New Teacher’s Welcome Luncheon, Sunflower Fair, Made in

La Porte County, Candidates Forum, and Downtown for the Holidays to name a few. LEAP made significant strides in advocating for our member businesses by supporting legislation, at both the local and state level, that benefits our businesses and community as a whole. We developed a focused legislative agenda for 2020 which includes items such as improved housing supply, elimination of tax fraud from contracted services, career and technical support for our local schools and initiatives to improve movement of pedestrian and auto traffic throughout the Greater La Porte area. Lastly, our Ambassador Committee has been bolstered and trained to support our LEAP events and member interaction platforms. This group often serves as the face of LEAP at our events, ribbon cuttings and projects throughout the year.

We want to give a special thanks to our Boards of Directors for both the Greater La Porte Chamber of Commerce and the Greater La Porte Economic Development Corporation for their vision of what a combined entity could accomplish and providing the support to make it happen. We particularly want to thank Matt Hagenow and Jackie Dermody for their leadership over the past year, Mayor Mark Krentz for his leadership and service on the GLEDC board for the past 8 years, and both Tom Larson and Damon Gasaway for their service on our boards. LEAP has also recently awarded our 2019 Ambassador of the Year to co-recipients Brooke Christ of Centier Bank and Dawn Zigler with Meridian Title. These two members have been consistent faces of LEAP at our events and anything LEAP promotes throughout the year.

There is no doubt that 2019 was a great year but we have many more things we hope to accomplish in 2020. We are building on our committee structure, implementing a more simplified and transparent dues and sponsorship structure for 2020 and continuing to push the initiatives listed above. The five of us at LEAP would like to thank all of our members and investors for your time and support and hope you will continue to work with us to make the Greater La Porte community the best place in the Midwest to live and work.

LEAP President of Chamber Services recaps 2019 for members
Rush in the Region: Making America Graze Again https://laportecounty.life/article/rush-in-the-region-making-america-graze-again/ Thu, 14 Nov 2019 22:57:54 +0000 Kole Rushmore https://laportecounty.life/article/rush-in-the-region-making-america-graze-again/

The City of Hobart is home to many great attractions such as Deep River County Park, the Art Theater, and Festival Park, but many don’t know it’s also home to Broken Wagon Bison farm. Family-owned and operated by Wally, Bud, and Ruth Koeppen, the farm brings back America’s past, as one of Bud’s baseball caps conjures: Make America Graze Again.

It all started in 2003, when the two brothers, Wally and Bud Koeppen, inherited their 160-acre family farm. 

“My grandfather started this farm growing corn and soybeans in 1932,” Bud said. “We weren’t making enough with the little acreage we had. My brother and I thought, if we’re going to lose money, we might as well do something a little more interesting. So we started raising bison.”

The two brothers got to work building fences for their 10 pastures, a corral, and a handling facility for the ranch. Then, in the fall of 2003, the Koeppen’s purchased their first 10 bison – seven females, or cows, two heifer calves, and a male yearling, or bull, named “Big Bad John.” 

“When we were installing the fences, people driving down 650 West would slow down as they were driving to try and figure out what we were doing,” Bud said. “When we purchased our first herd, cars would stop on the side of the road to look at them. We caused a traffic jam on a country road – it was a sight to see!”

Fast forward to today – Broken Wagon Bison has become a tourist destination and is home to more than 120 bison. With summer tours running from June through September, guests can meet North America’s largest native land mammal (in the safety of the bison tour wagon, of course). 

The Koeppen family has a deep-rooted appreciation for the American bison, treating each one of their animals almost as a family member. They know the species so well that they’ve even been known to bottle feed babies, because first-time mothers sometimes will reject their first calves.

The ranch also features an expansive bison meat selection and a gift shop filled with hand-made leather belts, purses, pillows, jewelry, and clothing. 

“We want to see a million bison back on the continent. We think the way to get the bison to one million is to have more people eat more bison,” Bud said.

Bison meat is touted as highly nutritious, a fact many people might not realize. Along with being recommended by the American Heart Association, bison meat has been shown to reduce LDL (the bad) cholesterol by 45 percent over six months of eating four ounces of bison meat four to five times a week. 

“The more people know more about bison and the nutritional value, the higher demand there is and the more people will raise them, thus growing the population,” Bud said. 

More than a century ago, an estimated 70 million American bison roamed the United States plains. In the 1700s as settlers began to move west their migration, along with the invention of the .50-caliber rifle, lead to what is now known as “the Great Slaughter,” and the majority of the bison’s’ demise. The species was on the brink of extinction and diminished to less than a thousand. 

As the species became scarce, the extinction of bison seemed to be inevitable. In 1905, Theodore Roosevelt and a few other men formed the American Bison Society to ensure the American bison’s survival. At that point in history, New York’s Bronx Zoo and Yellowstone National Park had also established bison preserves. Then, the federal government created the National Bison Range in Montana.

Today, the U.S. Department of Agriculture states there are more than 250,000 bison in the country. Bud said along with the preservation efforts, the driving force behind the bison’s population increase is thanks to ranches like Broken Wagon Bison.

“This animal means a lot to me,” Bud said. “I love what the animal stands for in this country.” 

To learn more about Broken Wagon Bison, visit their website or call (219)-759-3523.

Rush in the Region: Making America Graze Again
Celebrating veterans day: a reminder from Sen. Ed Charbonneau https://laportecounty.life/article/celebrating-veterans-day-a-reminder-from-sen-ed-charbonneau/ Sat, 09 Nov 2019 14:52:38 +0000 State Senator Ed Charbonneau https://laportecounty.life/article/celebrating-veterans-day-a-reminder-from-sen-ed-charbonneau/ Every year on Nov. 11, Americans celebrate Veterans Day to commemorate and give thanks to the brave men and women who have served our country.

Armistice Day began in 1919 when President Woodrow Wilson proclaimed Nov. 11 as a day to celebrate the anniversary of the end of World War I, which was dubbed, “The War to End All Wars.” Several years later, in 1954, Armistice Day became what we now call Veterans Day after President Dwight D. Eisenhower announced the change, “in order that a grateful nation might pay homage to the veterans of all its wars who have contributed to the preservation of this Nation.”

The commitment to serve our country has deep roots in our Hoosier heritage, with nearly 500,000 veterans living in our state. Each year, lawmakers look for ways to continue our support for these brave men and women, whether it be through financial, tuition, health care or counseling assistance.

This session, we passed a measure that phases in an exemption for military retirement benefits by 2022. In addition, Indiana launched a new online portal to help veterans and their families access state benefits.

Since our country’s founding, generations of Americans have reaffirmed their dedication and loyalty to our country by serving in our military.
May we never take our freedom – and their sacrifices – for granted. When you see a veteran, please take time to thank them for their service.

Celebrating veterans day: a reminder from Sen. Ed Charbonneau
LEAP Chamber President recaps summer 2019 https://laportecounty.life/article/leap-chamber-president-recaps-summer-2019/ Tue, 08 Oct 2019 01:31:33 +0000 Mike Riehle https://laportecounty.life/article/leap-chamber-president-recaps-summer-2019/ It continues to be a very busy and exciting 2019 for the LEAP staff, members and the community as a whole. We are continuing to not only improve our processes but we have a distinct focus on bringing our membership a quality product while adding value to their businesses. We are only seven months into our transition but each day continues to bring clarity and optimism for great things to come. We want to thank all of you for your continued support in this process and your belief in our mission to make the Great La Porte area a destination for business.

First, we want to highlight the completion of the Downtown Facade Grants. Angela Rose, our Downtown Director, has continued to foster and expand this program with outstanding results. We completed six more buildings downtown in 2019 with bright colors and tremendous facade improvements to our historic Main Street. I encourage those who have not yet stopped to really take in the beautification of our downtown to take time and visit!

LEAP, through the efforts of our Downtown Director, are diligently working to revive and strengthen our La Porte Main Street Association. This group hopes to be the engine to drive not only excitement but economic development activity in our downtown. Angela is actively working to formalize the group and its leadership and recruit active members to the organization. The

La Porte Main Street Association not only acts as the hub to our downtown  but is a vehicle to acquire grant funds for improvements and events locally. Angela Rose presented, and was awarded a grant for $5,000 for the La Porte Togetherhood Project through the INspire Idea Grant at a recent regional Conference. This is only the beginning of opportunities for our local Main Street Association.

Over the past month we have created a partnership with our local La Porte Jaycees young professional group to help enhance the engagement of this sector and to work on creating an environment where our youth embrace not only philanthropic work but professional development. This initiative could go a long way to encouraging our youth to make the Greater La Porte area their home. We will be working with companies over the next several months to incentivize their young employees to get involved in this organization which will pay dividends for years to come. The La Porte Jaycees has been a staple of the La Porte Community and LEAP is thrilled to be a partner in their efforts.

Marketing and membership continues to be a tremendous value add for our business community and Lindsay Jongkind has been taking time to work with our members on ways to promote special events through our social media outlets and over 3,000 followers. She is also on the spot at all of our local ribbon cuttings, special anniversary celebrations, and company expansion events. If you have not reached out to Lindsay or attended one of our “Maximizing Your Membership” sessions please do so! LEAP has created this series to engage our members and to let them know how we can collaborate  to add value to their membership every day. This is a benefit and tool to utilize with your business on ways to improve your presence and networking capabilities with our fellow member organizations and your customers.

LEAP’s New Teacher’s Luncheon held in August welcomed over 180 attendees to “The Allure” to celebrate our new teachers and educators from the Greater La Porte area. This continues to be an extremely popular event within our business membership who annually come together to provide not only sponsorship of our educator’s meal cost but they provide all teachers with much needed supplies and welcome items for their school year.

We just completed the 21st Annual Sunflower Fair on September 21st. For the last 20 years this event has driven significant traffic to our downtown. We want to thank Phyllis Jones for her efforts as the main driver and founder of this event as she will be greatly missed after stepping back to hand over the reins to the 2020 committee. There were over 100 participant vendors and 13 food vendors, along with the traditional car show, rides, local music, rib cook off, art show and many other attractions for our community families to enjoy.

The “La Porte Togetherhood Project” brought to the community by our La Porte County YMCA through their national YMCA efforts was a great initiative that LEAP was glad to support. This event, though shortened by rain and not so wonderful weather, on September 27th & 28th was an example of several community organizations coming together to make this community a better place. The focus was on cleanup to our downtown and the YMCA is looking to coordinate a future time and date to finish items or reschedule the event for a wider focus this spring. For more information please visit Facebook – La Porte 2019 Togetherhood Project.

Made in La Porte County continued its tradition of showcasing our county’s manufacturing sector with over 45 vendors and 2,600 local students attending this year’s event. This event is free for all involved with a reception held on October 3rd for our vendors and young professionals. The event brought significant traffic to our vendor booths from student and local business representation. We want to thank our partnership with Economic Development Corporation Michigan City and the Michigan City Chamber of Commerce as they continue to be drivers in making this county event a continued success every other year!

Lastly, LEAP wants to “pack the house” for the LEAP Candidate Forum being held on October 24th at the LPHS Performing Arts Center in partnership with the La Porte Jaycees. We have reached out to all candidates and this is shaping up to be a great event to be emceed by our very own Bert Cook. We want to have great community engagement as this will be a significant election for our city and community’s future. This is your time to engage your candidates! There will be a forum from 6:00-7:00 PM with a Meet the Candidates session from 7:00-7:30 PM. We want to thank the La Porte Community Schools for providing this wonderful venue for such an important event.

Thank you for your continued support of LEAP!

LEAP Chamber President recaps summer 2019
Fact: donating blood changes lives, for donors and receivers https://laportecounty.life/article/fact-donating-blood-changes-lives-for-donors-and-receivers/ Sun, 01 Sep 2019 05:01:35 +0000 Peyton Mahlmann https://laportecounty.life/article/fact-donating-blood-changes-lives-for-donors-and-receivers/ A Lifer’s perspective on donating blood

Altruism (noun): “the selfless regard for the well-being of others.” 

Although it may be expressed differently by different people, altruism is a belief that perfectly describes the actions taken by the less than 10% of Americans who donate blood each year.

Physician William Harvey attempted the first blood transfusion in 1628 and since then, hundreds of thousands of people have donated blood. But according to the Community Blood Center, 4.5 million Americans are in need of blood transfusions every year, which translates to someone needing blood every two seconds. Blood shortages are a common occurrence.

As I continue to read U.S. statistics regarding the need for donated blood, how many lives it can save, and how it can even benefit the donor, I ask myself, “What is preventing healthy, capable people from donating their blood to help others?”

In an effort to raise that 10%, I have decided to take you along my journey as I donate blood at the American Red Cross truck stationed in the Culver’s parking lot in Valparaiso, and give you some information along the way.

Where to go and how it works

Visit the American Red Cross page here and type in your zip code to find the nearest location that accepts blood. Blood drives happen nearly every day all around Northwest Indiana. Schedule an appointment when you are feeling healthy and free of any symptoms of illness, such as cold, flu, fever, etc.

Before donating, it’s best to stay hydrated and eat a meal to prevent dizziness. However, most centers provide snacks and drinks for your comfort. Bring a picture ID and try to wear a loose-fitting shirt that can roll-up easily for the technician to find the correct spot on your arm.

The staff will help you get set-up once you arrive. After you answer some questions about your medical history and recent experiences, the technician will then perform a quick physical assessment of your blood pressure, heart rate, temperature, and hemoglobin level to ensure that all are suitable for donation. This will take at most 15 minutes.

Next, the technician will have you sit down and roll-up your sleeve. They will look for a good vein on your arm near the crook of your elbow. The small poke of the needle feels like a quick pinch that goes away in a few seconds. The process of withdrawing your blood will then start and continue for another 8-10 minutes, and you should not feel any pain. Your only job is to keep your arm still and let the machines do their magic! If the sight of blood makes you nervous, let the technician know and they can accommodate accordingly.

The goal is to take 1 pint of blood. After it’s been collected, take it easy for the next 10 minutes and avoid strenuous, physical activity for the next few hours. Most often, you will feel refreshed after just a few minutes. Keep the bandage on your arm for a few hours as well.

From my experience, I have found the only con to be slight tenderness at the spot where blood was taken. This goes away in a day or two, and is completely worth it for the awesome pro of donating: knowing your blood is going to someone in need.

When all is complete, you are able to donate again in eight weeks!

Donating requirements and eligibility 

With only 37% of Americans being able to donate due to health and lifestyle reasons, it’s important to figure out whether you are eligible. The following are a few crucial factors listed by the American Red Cross that must be satisfied for donation:

  • Must be at least 17 years old (some locations allow you to donate at 16 with a guardian’s consent)
  • Must weigh at least 110 pounds
  • Must have a blood pressure under 180/100 at the time of donation (blood pressure medication does not disqualify you)

Some factors may prevent you from donating and are assessed at the time of donation:

  • Travel to certain countries within the past year may be unaccepted. For more detailed information, visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention..
  • Any use of self-injected, non-prescription drugs with needles
  • Anyone with a positive test for HIV (AIDS) or hepatitis 
  • Men who have engaged with other men at any time since 1977 
  • Anyone who has gotten a tattoo within the past year
  • Anyone with a tongue, nose, belly button, or genital piercing is not permitted (donors with ear piercings are accepted)
  • If you do not feel well or have an infection, you should wait until antibiotic treatments are finished to donate.
  • Chronic conditions, such as diabetes, are typically able to donate as long as symptoms are under control or regulated with medication.

For more specific requirements regarding medication use, vaccinations, or general health concerns, read the American Red Cross’ criteria here.

Where blood is needed

Blood transfusions are done to make up for a loss of blood in your body. They are needed where you may expect for procedures like organ transplants or surgeries, but they are also crucial if someone has been in a car accident or other traumatic accident, or is suffering from diseases like sickle cell, kidney or liver disease, or hemophilia. Severe infections in the body can also cause someone to need a blood transfusion to replenish them with healthy blood. Patients with cancer who have undergone chemotherapy or radiation treatments may also need a blood transfusion.

The list could continue for all the different ways in which blood is needed. The main thing to keep in mind is that as more people donate, it increases the amount of different blood types available for transfusions, which eases the stress of searching for the right blood type for a patient in need.

How the donor can benefit

Believe it or not, donating blood doesn’t just give sick patients a better chance at life. It can actually improve yours, too.

The donation process involves a short physical exam of your basic vitals: pulse, blood pressure, temperature, and hemoglobin level. Every pint of blood donated is tested for 13 different infectious diseases, which, in turn, provides every serious potential blood donor with valuable information they can then share with their own healthcare provider.

When you lose a unit of blood, your body begins to replenish it in the weeks following donation. As shared by the American Cancer Society, your body works to create more iron in your blood to return to its normal level. Too much or too little iron can be unhealthy for your blood vessels; thus, this regulation of iron helps train your body to stay at a healthy level.

Lastly, the gratification that I feel after donating is enough encouragement to keep me going back for another appointment. It can be fulfilling to know that you are capable of doing something so life-changing for someone you don’t even know. That feeling of pride is a pretty great benefit as a donor.

Fast facts

The following are 10 fast facts regarding blood donations as listed by the American Red Cross and the Community Blood Center:

  • Adults have around 10 pints of blood in their bodies, and only 1 pint is donated
  • Just 1 donation can save up to 3 lives
  • A single-car accident victim can require at most 100 pints of blood
  • Much of today’s medical care depends on a steady supply of blood from healthy donors
  • Blood and platelets cannot be manufactured for patients who need them, they can only be obtained from volunteer donors
  • Shortages of blood types tend to happen during the winter holidays
  • 46.5 gallons: the amount of blood you could donate if you begin at age 17 and donate every 56 days until you reach 79 years old
  • Four easy steps: medical history, quick physical, donation, and snacks/fluids 
  • It takes about 10 minutes to collect your blood, but the whole process including paperwork is done in under an hour
  • You will not contract AIDS by donating blood

Donating blood may be a small sacrifice, but it can make a big difference, and the need for blood around the country is always there. Whether it be a mass tragedy that urges you to donate to help those in need or to simply show an act of kindness, schedule an appointment today – you won’t regret it.

Fact: donating blood changes lives, for donors and receivers
The Imperiled Political Center https://laportecounty.life/article/the-imperiled-political-center/ Sun, 25 Aug 2019 19:20:56 +0000 Leigh Morris https://laportecounty.life/article/the-imperiled-political-center/ The other day, I was driving down a road that was recently repaved but had not yet had striping to designate traffic lanes.  It occurred to me that the signs cautioning drivers could well apply to voters as well.

As a political centrist, I’m beginning to think of myself as a part of an endangered species. It seems to me that the political center—the middle of the political road—has been shrinking rapidly, allowing the far left and the far right to increasingly dominate the political scene. Nowhere is that more evident than in the U.S. Congress where there’s been such deterioration in the capacity to carry out its important role in dealing with scores of major issues.

No Labels, a group that advocates rising above partisanship, has evaluated our current political climate this way:

The far right and the far left are holding America hostage—becoming ever more strident, uncompromising and making governance impossible. They are small in number but drive the national agenda because they are organized, because they vote, contribute to and volunteer for campaigns. In short, they show up, while the vast political center has remained on the sidelines.

Former New Jersey Governor Christine Todd Whitman feels that one of the reasons that extremists are dominating so much of the political process is that the major political parties have become more ideological and fewer and fewer people are voting.  She observed that political parties “used to be like umbrellas, where you had a central handle which was the shared core beliefs, and then you had all the spokes that held up the canopy, and those were different ways of interpreting those beliefs. But you could still have that central core.”  

I’m a student of history, and I’ve been looking increasingly at the presidency of Dwight Eisenhower.  Ike was a centrist. He called his political philosophy “The Middle Way.”  He appealed to the majority of Americans by being neither a reactionary nor a socialist; neither an appeaser nor a warmonger.

Ike disliked extremists and demagogues, believing the far left and right were wrong on all political and moral issues.  He referred to the political spectrum as a bowling alley and the extremes as the “gutters” and said he was on the right track when getting attacked by “both sides.” 

In his book, The White House Years, author Jim Newton noted that Ike ‘was a gentleman, not a bomb thrower.  He did not publicly insult opponents by name. He also avoided criticizing the intelligence and motives of other politicians, believing this was impolite and unforgivable.”

Times have clearly changed since the 1950’s when Ike’s Middle Way enabled  the political parties and three branches of our federal government to function productively.  However, I think Ike’s basic principles are still valid. Revisiting them could lead us away from the current gridlock that comes from the prevalent “my way or the highway” approach to governing.  I hope and pray we can find a way to regain some of the many the many advantages of Ike’s Middle Way.

The Imperiled Political Center
Rush in the Region: Michigan City’s Lighthouses https://laportecounty.life/article/rush-in-the-region-michigan-citys-lighthouses/ Thu, 22 Aug 2019 23:03:10 +0000 Kole Rushmore https://laportecounty.life/article/rush-in-the-region-michigan-citys-lighthouses/ Michigan City’s lighthouse and pier have become a staple in Northwest Indiana. So much so that it’s the first thing people think about when they hear those two words, “Michigan City.” Each year, the city’s lighthouse and pier headlight are greeted with visitors from near and far. What many don’t know is the rich history of the lighthouses that have served the Michigan City harbor since the 1800s.

It all started in 1837 with Isaac C. Elston, a land speculator from Crawfordsville.

“Elston foresaw Trail Creek in Michigan City to be the busiest port on southern Lake Michigan. Hence, he and his wife deeded a piece of property at the lakefront to be used as a lighthouse because they knew it would be a very important issue,” said Jim Retseck, president of the Michigan City Historical Society.

The city’s first lighthouse was a simple, tall pole with a lantern located west of the present lighthouse. As time progressed, Michigan City became a hub for shipping grain and lumber, and the town found themselves in need of a brighter light. This lead to the construction of a more comprehensive light house that actually included sleeping quarters in 1958. It now stands as the Old Lighthouse Museum behind the current famous structure.

Over time, the lighthouse and lakeshore saw quite a few people come and go, but one particular person made her mark in lighthouse keeper history.

“By the time the lighthouse was no longer active, there were a total of seven lightkeepers who had lived at the structure and 14 assistant keepers,” said Tim Frame, harbormaster for the Michigan City Port Authority.

“The most famous lightkeeper is Harriet Colfax—a legend in lighthouse keeping,” Retseck added. “Harriet was Michigan City’s Lightkeeper from 1861 until 1904 – for a total 43 years. She was known as the ‘old faithful’ of the Great Lakes.”

Photo Credit: Michigan City Historical Society

Originally from Ogdensburg, New York, Colfax moved to Michigan City in the 1850’s. At age 37, Colfax became the lighthouse’s newest keeper and moved into the facility with her life-long friend, Ann Hartwell – a Michigan City school teacher who opened the first lending library in the area.

“She was called old faithful for a reason. She had an east and west light as well as Fresnel Lens on top of the structure,” Retseck added. “She never failed to make any of her required lightings, ever. Whether it was raining or snowing she always fulfilled her duties as the lightkeeper.”

Ten years into her career as keeper, Colfax began tending to a new addition to the city’s port. In 1871, the first beacon light was installed on the east pier. The new pierhead light was only accessible by a 1,500-foot-long walkway or catwalk. Later, this would become the structure that casts Instagram fame to Michigan City’s shoreline. No matter the weather conditions, Colfax had to climb the steep catwalk to the lanterns twice a night to trim the wick, polish the lens, and refuel the light. Three years later, the Lighthouse Board voted to move the pier from the east side to the west side of Trail Creek. The motion would add an additional 500 feet into Lake Michigan. At 80 years old, Colfax was starting to experience a decline in health due to the heavy lightkeeper responsibilities, so she retired.

As the lighthouse said goodbye to one of its most committed keepers, it said hello to a new era with a complete remodel of the house. The remodel was designed to accommodate a lighthouse keeper staff.

“It became more of a condominium,” Retseck said. “There would have been a head-keeper on the east side of the lighthouse, west side would have been the assistant lightkeeper, the third keeper was generally a single man who had a room downstairs where the historical society’s offices are today.”

Eventually, the old lighthouse was decommissioned and became the Old Lighthouse Museum. Since 1973, the Michigan City Historical Society has worked to restore and keep up the Old Lighthouse Museum that is now situated at the base of Trail Creek inside Washington Park, before the creek opens up into the lake where the newer, more famous beacon stands. The Old Lighthouse Museum is open to the public for tours April through October. The current lighthouse structure with the square red base is accessible to the public as well according to Washington Park operating hours. While the catwalk is closed, the pier is walkable to the public right up to the lighthouse. The public cannot go inside the structure, but can climb the narrow stairs to its base, and head to the back of the structure to sit on the pillars near the base of the water. Today, park and Coast Guard officials take special care to keep the public well informed when the water is too high to walk safely on the pier, and ask that visitors refrain from walking the pier to the lighthouse during high winds and waves. Large red digital signs inform park visitors of pier conditions.

Rush in the Region: Michigan City’s Lighthouses
Region pride: what’s the deal? https://laportecounty.life/article/region-pride-whats-the-deal/ Mon, 05 Aug 2019 17:03:04 +0000 Chris Mahlmann https://laportecounty.life/article/region-pride-whats-the-deal/ How do we define Region pride? Is it based on our industrial heritage? Is it based on a combination of mostly Illinois and Indiana people who blend together to make a unique Northwest Indiana? Is it because some organization tells us we are proud? Is there a good kind of pride, and a bad kind of pride? Is it OK to be proud of our gritty nature? If I am proud of you does that make me any less proud of someone else?

The Region is not defined by a hashtag, person, place, or thing. It is this gloriously diverse North Judson-to-Whiting spectrum that is working its tail off to stand tall when talking to Indy, Chicago, or the nation. Let it go. Stop being angry at someone else’s pride and just be glad that they are doing something good. The age of whether you are in this camp or that camp is over. Creating meaningful relationships with our neighbors, whether they are down the street or down the I-80/94 corridor or U.S. 30, is in.

Are you proud of our rural traditions? Awesome! Proud of city-centered development? Great. Proud of the rat or the dune or the urban or rural, old guard and rising stars, industrial to high tech, Ds and Rs, township to city… Can we all just drop the battle of the prides? We can be proud of our industrial heritage and Hoosier values, and excited to be connected to opportunities in Chicago without losing our Region badge.

We can all be proud, and we can all benefit from allowing others’ pride to show. It does not lessen our light; the day actually just gets brighter.

So, Region…

Whether you call yourself a Bulldog or a Wildcat, or you feel more at home at Festival of the Lakes in Hammond or fishing on the lakes in La Porte – stand up for what you are proud of and be proud of who you are. And then look around you to enjoy the light of others.

The mixture is what makes this place unique. Region, 219, NWI, Brickie, Slicer, left, right, center, young, and old. Find something to like about the people around you. It is just as easy as finding something you don’t, and the outcomes is better at a crazy high rate of return.

Try it. I swear you’ll like, and I am certain those who see the light on will as well.

P.S. Tell me what you are proud of, or where you see the light shining in the Region.

Region pride: what’s the deal?