WBEZ | Gary http://www.wbez.org/tags/gary Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Gary looks for answers as slain police officer is remembered http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-looks-answers-slain-police-officer-remembered-110488 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gary police 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Retired Gary police officer Kenneth Shannon has attended a lot of funerals over the years. Some of his fallen comrades died in car accidents and others were killed by gunfire.</p><p>Today, Shannon watched from a balcony seat in a downtown convention center as dozens of law enforcement officers walked passed a closed casket of Gary Patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield &ndash; the latest to die in the line of duty.</p><p>&ldquo;He was a very personable person. A well-liked guy,&rdquo; Shannon said. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a tragedy that someone would think of doing something like this to an officer.&rdquo;</p><p>That something occurred during the early morning hours of Sunday, July 6th &ndash; the very day Westerfield was to celebrate his 47th birthday.</p><p>The 19-year veteran responded to a call near 26th and Van Buren, only a couple of blocks from Michael Jackson&rsquo;s boyhood home. He was later found dead of a gunshot wound, sitting in his police cruiser about 5:30 a.m.</p><p>The death rocked a city that is no stranger to gun violence. And now some are asking if Gary has enough resources to protect not just its citizens &ndash; but its own cops.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s bad everywhere but the city is basically safe. You&rsquo;ve got a group of thugs that want to do what they want to do and there&rsquo;s nothing you can do about it.&nbsp;</p><p>Still, that doesn&rsquo;t mean the city isn&rsquo;t trying.</p><p>Gary officials want to boost patrols, but with a dwindling tax base there&rsquo;s not much money to go around. The city, once one of the largest in the state, is down to less than 80-thousand residents. It&rsquo;s not even the largest in Lake County, Indiana.</p><p>Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter says he&rsquo;s hoping to divert resources from the county level to help.</p><p>&ldquo;Gary obviously needs the assistance and you see our community being so aggressive with crime. You see it in Chicago too, but I think it goes back to parenting and kids and now we&rsquo;re paying the price for it,&rdquo; Carter said.</p><p>Longtime Gary City Councilman Roy Pratt also says Westerfield&rsquo;s death raises questions about police patrol tactics.</p><p>It&rsquo;s not so much manpower but we&rsquo;ve got to have more on the evening shift. He was alone by himself,&rdquo; Pratt said.</p><p>The City&rsquo;s Mayor, Karen Freeman Wilson, says she&rsquo;ll soon talk with the county sheriff&rsquo;s department about beefing up patrols. And she may ask Indiana Governor Mike Pence to assign state police to help as well.</p><p>She asked twice last year and was rejected both times. Although the Governor&rsquo;s office provided training and offered suggestions on improving the city&rsquo;s 227-member police force.</p><p>&ldquo;Of course today is for the family but tomorrow is really for us to analyze of what&rsquo;s going on and how we can do better,&rdquo; Freeman-Wilson said at today&rsquo;s funeral.</p><p>Some would say it&rsquo;s hard to do much better than an officer like Jeffrey Westerfield.</p><p>Dean Hensley lived on the same block as Westerfield in the Black Oak neighborhood. He says it was important to his fallen friend to live where he worked.</p><p>&ldquo;Jeff didn&rsquo;t have a hard job. Jeff was the kind of guy that could walk into any situation and defuse it in a heartbeat. He could turn a tragedy into a blessing,&rdquo; Hensley said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re just going to have to go on with life and remember him. Now, we have another angel watching over us.&rdquo;</p><p>Officer Jeffrey Westerfield leaves behind four daughters, a son and a fiance.</p><p>A person of interest is being held with criminal charges possibly coming soon.</p></p> Mon, 14 Jul 2014 17:26:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-looks-answers-slain-police-officer-remembered-110488 Open tryouts and 'indie ball blues' in Indiana http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/open-tryouts-and-indie-ball-blues-indiana-110216 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/bball.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>On a cold, gray morning in Gary, Ind., about 40 baseball hopefuls sat in the Gary Railcats&rsquo; home dugout, looking up at Manager Greg Tagert.</p><p>It was a bleak day, and Tagert&rsquo;s speech to them was equally bleak.</p><p>The men in the dugout had plunked down $40 for a chance to try out for the &lsquo;Cats - an independent-league team that is about as low on the hierarchy as you can get and still be considered pro ball.</p><p>The players trying out were minor-league washouts trying to hold on, or college stars looking for their big break.</p><p>Tagert told them that only a handful of them would make the cut today - five or less. And even those lucky few couldn&rsquo;t count on making the roster.</p><p>Whether or not you&rsquo;re a fan - baseball means American summer as much as barbecues, fireworks and the beach.</p><p>But for the men in that dugout it means something more -- it&rsquo;s an obsession, a dream job.</p><p>WBEZ spent the day at the open tryouts for the Gary Railcats.</p><p>The Railcats were last season&rsquo;s American Association champions - but the team&rsquo;s players are still looking for a way to move up.</p><p>Even though the small-time, Single A Durham Bulls--remember the movie Bull Durham?-- would be a dream come true for many of them, they are all really good at baseball.</p><p>Just about all the guys who tried out starred on their high school baseball teams. They&rsquo;re not good enough for the big leagues, but they are still way better than you.</p><p>The team&rsquo;s home opener is at 7 Thursday evening against the Wichita Wingnuts.&nbsp; They&rsquo;ll be playing at the U.S. Steel Yard in Gary.&nbsp;</p><p><em>Video producer<a href="https://vimeo.com/jscott1908"> John Scott</a> is a filmmaker who lives and works in Chicago.</em></p><p><em>Patrick Smith is a WBEZ Producer and Reporter. Follow him on twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/pksmid" target="_blank">@pksmid</a>.</em></p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/150617705&amp;color=ff5500&amp;auto_play=false&amp;hide_related=false&amp;show_artwork=true" width="100%"></iframe></p></p> Wed, 21 May 2014 14:50:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/open-tryouts-and-indie-ball-blues-indiana-110216 As Gary charter wins basketball titles, public schools fall farther behind http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/gary-charter-wins-basketball-titles-public-schools-fall-farther-behind-109937 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Bowman 2.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Hoosier Hysteria will hit a fever pitch this weekend in Indianapolis.<br /><br />Not only is the city hosting the Midwest Regional for the NCAA men&rsquo;s basketball tournament, but the boys state high school basketball title games as well.<br /><br />Northwest Indiana will be well represented in the tournament with three region teams heading downstate looking for a crown in their respective classes. They include traditional programs like Lake Central in St. John and Michigan City Marquette, as well as relative newcomer Bowman Academy in Gary.<br /><br />Bowman is a charter school trying to repeat as state champions and win its third title in four years.&ndash; unheard of even in this basketball-crazed corner of Indiana. This from a school that started competing only six years ago.</p><p>But neither success nor acceptance has come easy for Bowman, a non-religious school named for African-American Roman Catholic nun Thea Bowman.</p><p>&ldquo;A couple of years, didn&rsquo;t nobody know who Bowman was. We couldn&rsquo;t play a good team for nothing,&rdquo; says Bowman&rsquo;s star guard, 6&rsquo;5 Davon Dillard, a junior who is already being pursued by the likes of Purdue, Indiana and Michigan State.</p><p>Dillard and his teammates chowed down on pizza and chicken wings before boarding two white vans early Thursday afternoon to make the two-hour trek south to practice at Bankers Life Fieldhouse &ndash; home of the NBA&rsquo;s Indianapolis Pacers.</p><p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;ve gained a lot of respect by proving it on the court, you know. Coming to Bowman, I&rsquo;ve been playing in some of the biggest championship games I&rsquo;ve ever played in,&rdquo; Dillard said. &ldquo;Being able to go down to state every year, that&rsquo;s a good feeling.&rdquo;<br /><br />But Bowman&rsquo;s quick rise also reveals just how far some of the other Gary schools have fallen &ndash; and not just in basketball.<br /><br />&ldquo;We get a lot of criticism but we just stay humble you know. We focus; we play hard, you know, we&rsquo;ve got a good coach in Marvin Rae. He gets the job done,&rdquo; Dillard said.<br /><br />Head coach Marvin Rae agrees.</p><p>&ldquo;You know, when we first started, there was some animosity, actually we didn&rsquo;t play the Gary schools, they opted not to play us,&rdquo; Rae told WBEZ. &ldquo;When we first started, we had to travel to Rushville, Illinois to get games. We had to travel around. Our first year, we literally only had eight games.&rdquo;<br /><br />Suburban schools in Northwest Indiana didn&rsquo;t want to play Bowman because of its small size. And &ndash; rightly or wrongly &ndash; because of Gary&rsquo;s reputation as an unsafe place to visit.<br /><br />But the city schools didn&rsquo;t want to play Bowman either.<br /><br />&ldquo;I was not going to play Bowman because I knew right away what charter schools were built for: They are built to destroy public school systems,&rdquo; said John Boyd, a former teacher and coach at Gary&rsquo;s West Side High School, a basketball powerhouse and state champion in 2003.</p><p>Despite being a much larger school than Bowman, Boyd agreed to play one game against them in 2009.</p><p>&ldquo;I had gotten sick of people telling me I was afraid to play Bowman when I had some of the best talent in the state of Indiana,&rdquo; Body said. &ldquo;So, we ended up playing them and there was a situation that occurred.&rdquo;<br /><br />What occurred, according to Boyd, was a fight that ended any further games between Bowman and Gary schools.</p><p>But now, because of dwindling finances and declining enrollment &ndash; Gary public education struggling to keep its public high schools open. Of its five public high schools, only two still have basketball teams.<br /><br />Bowman&rsquo;s success &ndash; in the classroom and on the court &ndash; is now luring most of Gary&rsquo;s top talent in basketball and academics.<br /><br />And with other charter schools having varying success in Gary, Boyd says it&rsquo;s only going to get tougher for the Steel City.<br /><br />&ldquo;These charter schools are taking away students from the Gary public schools. Gary is actually a case study in how charter schools can come in and absolutely take over a school corporation which means that yes, Gary will have to close schools until they only have one high school,&rdquo; Boyd said.<br /><br />Gary&rsquo;s charter schools are often criticized for shifting resources away from public schools. Bowman&rsquo;s Rae says while he understands that criticism, &ldquo;we just kind of keep to ourselves and do what we do best and focus on each other,&rdquo; he said.</p><p>Bowman&rsquo;s success now attracts top teams from all over the region that flock to Gary to play them, with most games attracting the attention of college recruiters. Because of their packed scheduled, Marvin Rae says there&rsquo;s no room to play Gary schools now even if they wanted to.<br /><br />&ldquo;It&rsquo;s not a matter of do we want to play, at this point our schedule is full,&rdquo; Rae said.<br /><br />Rae insists he&rsquo;s not gloating. As someone who used to play at Gary Roosevelt High School &ndash; a one time powerhouse &ndash; he knows Gary&rsquo;s public schools are stressed.<br />&nbsp;<br />&ldquo;If we can sit down and help the Gary community schools and anyone else, we&rsquo;re always open to help anyone with suggestions and ideas,&rdquo; Rae said.</p><p>Even rival coach John Boyd has come to terms with Bowman&rsquo;s unmatched success and called Rae recently to wish him luck in Indy this weekend.<br /><br />&ldquo;They are probably the premier basketball program in Northwest Indiana right now. When you are winning championships you have to be revered,&rdquo; Boyd said. &ldquo;The Bowmans of the world bring attention to Gary, Indiana. We need to want Bowman to be successful.&rdquo;</p></p> Fri, 28 Mar 2014 15:30:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/gary-charter-wins-basketball-titles-public-schools-fall-farther-behind-109937 Snow, severe cold shuts down Northwest Indiana http://www.wbez.org/news/snow-severe-cold-shuts-down-northwest-indiana-109472 <p><p>Northwest Indiana road conditions are improving but the area is far from normal and may be days away from recovering from an arctic blast of super cold temperatures.</p><p>Motorists and truckers had to deal with closed roads and highways for much of Monday, and after briefly reopening, by 5 p.m., INDOT had once again closed I-65 due to hazardous road conditions; I 80/94 remains open.</p><p>Earlier in the day trucker Tom Kenman of Joliet, IL passed the time in the cab of his semi truck listening to music and reading. Kenman works for a contractor that delivers mail for the U.S. Postal Service. He&rsquo;s ready to return home after being stuck at a Speedway gas station near Interstate 65 and 61st Avenue in Merrillville. As of this morning, it didn&rsquo;t look good for Kenman.</p><p>&ldquo;Things were kind of hazardous. About 6 p.m. (Sunday), things were hazardous so I jumped off on Route (U.S.) 30. I do maybe 20, 25 mph. That&rsquo;s it. Even before they shut it down, I decided forget it. I-65 is a mess. I don&rsquo;t know what I&rsquo;m going to do.</p><p>With most restaurants and businesses closed, even a nearby McDonald&rsquo;s, Kenman waited it out slurping Speedway&rsquo;s coffee and munching doughnuts.&nbsp;</p><p>I-65 was closed to all traffic yesterday afternoon because of heavy snow and slippery conditions. Semi trucks were lined up along U.S. 30 in Merrillville, waiting for I-65 to reopen, along with nearby Interstate 80/94.</p><p>Kenman and other truckers finally got some good news in the afternoon, when the Indiana Department of Transportation reopened I-65 around 2 p.m.&nbsp;</p><p>&ldquo;Drivers are advised to use extreme caution, take it slow, and travel at their own risk. Like the majority of roads across Northwest Indiana, and the state, conditions are extremely hazardous and non-emergency travel is strongly discouraged,&rdquo; said INDOT spokesman Matt Deitchley.</p><p>But the respite on I-65 was short-lived as officials would shut it down again only a few hours later.</p><p>Earlier in the day, Deitchley told WBEZ that some drivers had been driving around protective barriers to keep them off of I-94.</p><p>&ldquo;Those roads are shut down, but people are still driving around the barricades anyway. INDOT and Indiana State Police don&rsquo;t have the manpower right now to physically stop these drivers, but the roads are closed,&rdquo; Deitchley said. &ldquo;They are taking their lives in their own hands, and jeopardizing the emergency personnel who may have to rescue them.&rdquo;</p><p><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/NWI%20Snow%202.jpg" style="height: 263px; width: 350px; float: right;" title="Trucks are lined up near a Speedway gas station. This is not a truck stop but truckers had no where to go Monday because nearby I-65 was closed. (WBEZ/Michael Puente)" />Drivers should expect to continue to encounter slick conditions and blowing and drifting snow both on the main line interstates and ramps.</p><p>In fact, many motorists in Gary were struggling to drive along Broadway, the city&rsquo;s main drag, with cars getting stuck in snowdrifts.</p><p>Local officials had declared a state of emergency for Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties during Sunday&rsquo;s heavy snow storm.</p><p>Indiana Gov. Mike Pence ordered the Indiana National Guard to help stuck motorists along the highway.</p><p>Much of the state is dealing with heavy snow and severe temperatures but Pence acknowledged at a news conference today in Indianapolis that Northwest Indiana may have been hit the hardest.</p><div class="image-insert-image ">That&rsquo;s why the Republican governor was sending more resources to &ldquo;da Region,&rdquo; often divided from the rest of the state because of political and cultural differences.</div><p>&ldquo;That (Northwest Indiana) is an area of the state, particularly with lake-effect snow, that is no stranger to severe weather events,&rdquo; Pence said, &ldquo;but we&rsquo;re moving resources into the region to recognize that the combination of heavy snow and brutally cold temperatures and wind gusts represents a real public safety hazard.&rdquo;</p><p>Early Monday, even with warnings by police to stay off the roads, some had no choice but to head to work.</p><p>Hammond resident Gus Lopez said driving to his job at ArcelorMittal Steel in neighboring East Chicago felt odd.</p><p>&ldquo;It was really desolate out. Hardly anyone out driving,&rdquo; Lopez told WBEZ. &ldquo;It reminded me of my time in North Dakota, where this type of weather and this type of conditions is not unusual at all for folks up there, that far north.</p><p>And this winter at least, &quot;da Region&quot; is starting to feel more like North Dakota than Northwestern Indiana.</p><p>Most schools in Northwest Indiana will be closed Tuesday but government offices are expected to reopen.</p><p>The Indiana General Assembly is also expected to open its session down in Indianapolis, a day later than originally scheduled.</p><p><em>Follow WBEZ NWI Reporter Michael Puente on Twitter <a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">@MikePuenteNews</a>. </em></p></p> Mon, 06 Jan 2014 19:10:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/snow-severe-cold-shuts-down-northwest-indiana-109472 Remembering the 'Forgotten Hoosiers' http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/remembering-forgotten-hoosiers-109274 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-11-29 at 9.42.15 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p>High school basketball in Indiana is still the state&rsquo;s biggest sport.</p><p>But its heyday may have been in the 50s, 60s and 70s as the popularity of college and pro basketball was still building.</p><p>In many parts of Indiana, basketball wasn&rsquo;t merely a game. It was a way of life.</p><p>For some, it was almost like a religion.</p><p>Hollywood tried capturing that feeling in the 1986 film, &ldquo;Hoosiers.&rdquo;</p><p>The movies, starring Gene Hackman, is considered by many to be among the top movies about sports.</p><p>The film is loosely based on Milan High School, Indiana&rsquo;s state basketball champions in 1954.</p><p>The story behind Milan was glamorized mainly because it was a tiny school in southeast Indiana near Cincinnati that beat a much larger team from Muncie Central High School.</p><p>But it was the next year in 1955 that many feel really made history.</p><p>That&rsquo;s because for the first time in Indiana, two black high schools would faced each other for the state basketball championship.</p><p>&ldquo;You&rsquo;ve got to remember that this was 1955. This is the beginning of the convergence in America in terms of race, the doctrine of separate but equal,&rdquo; said Dick Barnett, a starting forward for the Gary Roosevelt High School team in 1955 who now lives in San Francisco.&nbsp;&nbsp; &ldquo;The civil rights movement was right ahead of us.&rdquo;</p><p>The Gary Chamber of Commerce will commemorate that game with activities this weekend and two basketball games in the Lakeshore Classic.</p><p>The City of Gary was a much different place back in the 1950s than it is today, a struggling industry town that&rsquo;s largely black with a host of social and economic problems.</p><p>In the 50s, Gary was much larger in terms of population, it was more prosperous and it was predominantly white.</p><p>Of the city&rsquo;s eight high schools, Roosevelt was created exclusively for black students.</p><p>&ldquo;Up until the late 60s, Gary was pretty much segregated. Gary was a very fractured city,&rdquo; says Ron Cohen, who lives in Gary and is a retired history professor from Indiana University&rsquo;s Northwest campus in Gary. &ldquo;Before 1949, black schools could not play white schools in basketball or any sport. Black schools, such as Roosevelt, could not play any high school in Gary. So Roosevelt played nationally. They only played other black high schools.&rdquo;</p><p>Even when Indiana dropped the rule, it was still tough when black schools played against white teams.</p><p>Roosevelt and a few other Northwest Indiana high school teams with black players found it especially difficult when traveling out of the Calumet Region to central and southern Indiana.</p><p>&ldquo;Getting out of the region to play those games was devastating, because you knew the referees are going to be against you,&rdquo; Cohen said.&nbsp; &ldquo;So, you had to put up with all of this crap and the referees and the stands were filled with all these white kids who want to see you destroyed.&nbsp; Indiana was not kind to black basketball teams.&rdquo;</p><p>Roosevelt player Wilson &ldquo;Jake&rdquo; Eisen remembers how tough those games could be.</p><p>But his coach, John, D. Smith, wanted his players focused on the game -- not anything else.</p><p>&ldquo;He would always say &ldquo;You go out there and do what you&rsquo;re supposed to do; Don&rsquo;t pay any attention to the refs or get on the refs,&rdquo; Eisen said. &ldquo;We had very few technical fouls. If you argued with the ref, he&rsquo;d pull you out and sit you on the bench.&rdquo;</p><p>But in 1955, Gary Roosevelt&rsquo;s basketball team did make it out and down to the state title game in Indianapolis.</p><p>It had a great shot at making history since the team also on its roster Wilson &ldquo;Jake&rdquo; Eison, voted that year as &ldquo;Mr. Basketball&rdquo; the top honor for high school basketball players in Indiana.</p><p>There was only one thing standing in the way.</p><p>&ldquo;We were just happy as teenagers to be playing, not only be there but try to match our skills with the Indianapolis Attucks and the great Oscar Robertson,&rdquo; Barnett said.</p><p>That&rsquo;s right &hellip; the Big O.</p><p>Oscar Robertson was a sophomore for Indianapolis Crispus Attucks, Indiana&rsquo;s other all black high school.</p><p>&ldquo;This was a huge thing for the entire African American population of Indiana because before then it was just white on white,&rdquo; Cohen said. &ldquo;I think it was incredible and probably a big shock to all the white schools.&rdquo;</p><p>Unfortunately for Gary, Oscar Robertson dominated Roosevelt.</p><p>Robertson&rsquo;s brilliance wasn&rsquo;t lost on Barnett.</p><p>&ldquo;He was special then,&rdquo; Barnett said. &ldquo;He had all those attributes even as a sophomore in high school.&rdquo;</p><p>Attucks would go on to win the game 97 to 74 and thus lay claim to the title of being the first black high school basketball team to win a state championship in Indiana.</p><p>This weekend&rsquo;s commemoration is intended to remind Hoosiers and others of the accomplishments of Attucks and Roosevelt high schools almost 60 years ago.</p><p>Oscar Robertson, an NBA legend who some was the game&rsquo;s greatest player ever, is expected to be on hand.</p><p>The Gary Chamber of Commerce is bringing the two teams together, along with other festivities, including a game featuring the current Gary Roosevelt Panthers.</p><p>Chamber president Chuck Hughes.</p><p>&ldquo;In 1954, they made the movie Hoosiers. These guys, they&rsquo;re called the &lsquo;Forgotten Hoosiers,&rdquo; Hughes said. &ldquo;But that&rsquo;s the beauty of years and that&rsquo;s history. History will prove that that was a remarkable feat.&rdquo;</p><p>Even though Roosevelt lost the game, they had a lot to be proud of.</p><p>Jake Eisen, who went on to become a school teacher after serving in Vietnam, would be named Mr. Basketball that year, the top honor for high school basketball in Indiana.</p><p>His teammate, now known as Dr. Dick Barnett after earning a doctorate in education, would go on to have a legendary NBA career with the New York Knicks.</p><p>Barnett&rsquo;s Number 12 jersey was retired by the Knicks and it&rsquo;s hanging in the rafters of Madison Square Garden in New York City.</p></p> Fri, 29 Nov 2013 08:39:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/remembering-forgotten-hoosiers-109274 Architecturally-daring Gary church earns a spot on the National Register http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-10/architecturally-daring-gary-church-earns-spot-national-register-109025 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P3252247.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">A modernist Gary church has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places, capping a year-and-a-half long effort by the congregation to win recognition for its architecturally-daring building.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">St. Augustine&#39;s Episcopal Church at 19th and Ellsworth is Gary&#39;s first postwar National Register listing. The church received word this month from the National Park Service&mdash;keepers of the register&mdash;that the building made the list. Designed by Chicago architect Edward D. Dart and built in 1958 for an African American congregation, the church was cited for having &quot;noteworthy iconic stylistic hallmarks of the modern movement.&quot;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Congregation member Paula DeBois led the effort to get the church listed. Dart, a white North Shore architect working with the black professional congregation in Gary is a &quot;<span id="yui_3_2_0_1_1332894466970296">very unique and compelling American story&quot; she said when the campaign began in 2012.</span></div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">Dart designed about 100 buildings and churches including St. Procopius Abbey in Lisle and <a href="http://www.ship-of-fools.com/mystery/2000/193Mystery.html">First St. Paul&#39;s Evangelical Lutheran Church</a>&nbsp;at&nbsp;1301 N. LaSalle. He was also responsible for scores of modern suburban Chicago homes. Dart was a partner at what was then Loebl Schlossman Dart &amp; Hackl and designing Chicago&#39;s Water Tower Place when he died in 1975 at age 53.</div><div class="image-insert-image "><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P3252317.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image ">On a tight budget of less than $100,000, Dart gave St. Augustine&#39;s congregation a striking piece of architecture. He used brick, red oak and redwood&mdash;and then there is that remarkable, curved tent-like roof with exposed beams. The National Register listing also gives a nod to Richard Johnson, Sr., who was a member of the congregation and the project&#39;s structural engineer.</div></div><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/P3252256.jpg" title="" /></div><div class="image-insert-image "><a href="http://www.nps.gov/history/nr/feature/places/pdfs/13000758.pdf">The National Register listing</a> also notes St. Augustine&#39;s is Gary&#39;s only postwar modern church structure. And the recognition shines a little more light on the work of Dart, whose buildings have often been torn down too soon. A 1953 home he designed in Wheaton <a href="http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/wheaton/ct-tl-wheaton-demolition-20131028,0,6212173.story">was demolished recently.</a> Dart&#39;s <a href="http://www.flickr.com/photos/metroblossom/444429813/" rel="nofollow" target="_blank"><span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1332894474_1">Emmanuel Presbyterian Church</span></a>,<span class="yshortcuts" id="lw_1332894474_2"> 1850 S. Racine,</span> was wrecked in 2007.</div><div class="image-insert-image ">&nbsp;</div><div class="image-insert-image ">And his 1972 addition to the Lorado Taft Midway Studio on the University of Chicago campus was razed in 2009 to make way for the Logan Center for the Arts.</div></p> Tue, 29 Oct 2013 05:31:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-10/architecturally-daring-gary-church-earns-spot-national-register-109025 Sen. Coats: Shutdown didn't work, but 'Obamacare' should still be delayed http://www.wbez.org/news/sen-coats-shutdown-didnt-work-obamacare-should-still-be-delayed-108997 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/coats.PNG" alt="" /><p><p>Republicans are still sorting through the aftermath of the government shutdown and debt ceiling standoff. While many in the GOP are taking their lumps, some are credited with helping to avoid a government default. One of them is U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana.&nbsp;WBEZ&rsquo;s Michael Puente spoke to Senator Coats earlier today.&nbsp;</p></p> Wed, 23 Oct 2013 17:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/sen-coats-shutdown-didnt-work-obamacare-should-still-be-delayed-108997 Take this job and shove it http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/take-job-and-shove-it-108780 <p><p>In 1949, when John Giolas was just 19, he started work at the U.S. Steel mill in Gary, Ind.</p><p>For a while, he had a plum job working in the metallurgical lab, testing all the steel. But then U.S. Steel started its downward slide, laying off workers. By the late 1950s, Giolas found himself working a series of increasingly &ldquo;low, demeaning jobs&rdquo; at the mill.</p><p>Giolas visited the StoryCorps booth with his sons Markus and Dale to remember the day he walked off the job and how he made a new life, despite his battles with depression.</p><p><strong>John Giolas</strong>: When you went in the mill, the gates closed. And there was no way you were going to get out until the next shift started, and that&rsquo;s when the gates opened. So I always called it a prison.</p><p>While Giolas was working at the mill, he started taking photographs of the other mill workers and their families.</p><p><strong>John</strong>: These guys would say, &lsquo;You do good work, this is your opportunity to get out of here, it&rsquo;s too late for us.&rsquo;&nbsp;</p><p>Lay-offs had started at the steel mill, and things grew worse:<img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/giolas with cam cropped.jpg" style="float: right; height: 215px; width: 250px;" title="" /></p><p><strong>John</strong>: I ended up in a pit of steaming water with coke falling off of a conveyor belt, and it was my job as it landed in the water to scoop it up and put it back on the conveyor belt. And on one midnight turn I just lost it, I blew up. I asked the foreman, I said, &lsquo;Where&rsquo;s the gate? I want to leave, I want to quit,&rsquo; and he said, &lsquo;You can&rsquo;t quit,&rsquo; so I stayed there &lsquo;til morning, daylight -&nbsp; walked out of the mill and never went back.</p><p>To find out how what Giolas did next, click on the audio above.</p><p><em>Katie Mingle is a producer for WBEZ and the Third Coast Festival.</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe frameborder="no" height="450" scrolling="no" src="https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=http%3A%2F%2Fapi.soundcloud.com%2Fplaylists%2F6250422" width="100%"></iframe></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 27 Sep 2013 08:21:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/series/storycorps/take-job-and-shove-it-108780 Gary celebrates Michael Jackson’s birthday but not much else http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-celebrates-michael-jackson%E2%80%99s-birthday-not-much-else-108567 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/MJ Gary.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>It took her more than 15 hours to drive from Tampa, Florida, but Mary Singer finally made it Thursday morning to Gary, Indiana. She says there&rsquo;s only one reason she drove all that way in the middle of the night.</p><p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s because of Michael Jackson. I wouldn&rsquo;t be in Gary, Indiana right now if it weren&rsquo;t for Michael Jackson,&rdquo; Singer told WBEZ while she stood outside the late singer&rsquo;s boyhood home.</p><p>Today kicks off a three day celebration of food and music centered around the small, one-story white house at 2300 Jackson Street. The neighborhood has seen better days &ndash; there are almos as many boarded up homes as occupied ones nowadays &ndash; but fans from all over the world are still expected to show up to mark what would have been Jackson&#39;s 55th birthday.</p><p>Singer says she was surprised not to find a more permanent installation honoring the King of Pop in his hometown.</p><p>&ldquo;This is Michael&rsquo;s legacy now. I think if there was a museum or something here in Gary where he was born that people would come here more often than just on his birthday,&rdquo; she said. &ldquo;Turn that little house into a museum,&rdquo; Singer suggested.</p><p>A year after Jackson died, there was an effort to build a massive, multi million dollar museum campus in Gary dedicated to Michael Jackson and his musical family. The idea had the backing of the late former Gary Mayor Rudy Clay and Joe Jackson, the patriarch of the Jackson family. The museum was to have been built over several acres near Indiana University Northwest, not far from Jackson&rsquo;s boyhood home.</p><p>But those plans quickly fizzled when it was learned that the property that the museum was eyeing was wetlands. There was also concern that the city would have to provide some financial backing to get the project off the ground.</p><p>When Karen Freeman Wilson was elected mayor nearly two years ago, having the city fund such a project was not a priority. Today, Freeman Wilson says it&rsquo;s not the proper role of government to back such a museum project &ndash; even for its best known former resident.</p><p>&ldquo;In the past I&rsquo;ve been pretty clear that I don&rsquo;t envision a museum. I am certainly am open to any type of lasting legacy to Michael Jackson and his contribution not just to the City of Gary but to the world that is done by any private entity,&rdquo; Freeman Wilson said. &ldquo;But as it relates to a city-funded or city-driven project like a museum, that is not our vision of a commemoration of Michael Jackson that we would be willing to invest in.&rdquo;</p><p>So for now, fans will have to be content with a little moonwalking on the sidewalk outside Jackson&rsquo;s home.<br />&nbsp;</p></p> Thu, 29 Aug 2013 16:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-celebrates-michael-jackson%E2%80%99s-birthday-not-much-else-108567 Early 1960s look at bustling Gary, Indiana http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-08/early-1960s-look-bustling-gary-indiana-108458 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Screen Shot 2013-08-20 at 10.20.02 AM.png" alt="" /><p><p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="415" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/PISaDmq73LQ" width="620"></iframe></p><p>We&#39;ve viewed and thought of Gary, Indiana as an urban ruin for so long, we&#39;ve forgotten what the city once was.</p><p>I found the above video on YouTube yesterday. It shows what the steel town looked like around 1960: a vibrant city of more than 100,000 souls. Broadway &mdash; Gary&#39;s main drag &mdash; bustles with commerce and even a parade in the video. We see a new, modern school, the Marquette Park bathhouse, designed by Chicago architects Maher &amp; Sons and more.</p><p>The video was posted on YouTube by Anthony Diaz, director of imaging for the Mid-American Heritage Preservation Foundation, a non-profit group in Whiting, Indiana that digitally restores old film depicting Northwest Indiana. More good stuff <a href="http://www.youtube.com/user/mahpfoundation?feature=watch">to watch here.</a></p></p> Tue, 20 Aug 2013 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blogs/lee-bey/2013-08/early-1960s-look-bustling-gary-indiana-108458