JKAS board sends thanks for Chili Cook-Off

The Jerry Karstens Athletic Scholarship Board congratulates the Guardian Riders for winning the 13th Annual Karstens Club Challenge Chili Cook-Off held Saturday, Feb. 18, at the Elks Lodge. Congratulations also to Fish & Game Club and Moose Lodge for finishing second and third, respectively.

All winners received plaques for their finish and the Guardian Riders take possession of the Karstens Chili-Head Traveling Trophy. The Michigan City Exchange Club received the most votes and won the People’s Choice Award for the most popular chili.

The JKAS Board also wishes to thank the D.A.V., V.F.W., Elks Lodge, F.O.P., F.O.P. Associates, American Legion, Vans for Vets and St. Joe Club for participating. Special thanks to Elks Lodge for hosting, and to celebrity judges Michigan City Fire Chief Randy Novak, Michigan City High School Athletic Director Craig Shaman and Michigan City High School Football Coach Phil Mason.

Finally, we wish to thank the many folks for sampling chili and voting for their favorite, and for making the event a tremendous success while supporting our scholarship fund.

Garry Edson, Mike Wozniak, Jeremy Kienitz, Ree Labaj, Pastor David Albertin, Ron Kerwin, Tom Puckett, Donna Lutz, Frank Labaj and Joe Wozniak

JKAS Board


Hospitals have had chances to work together

“I challenge them (the four regional health care systems) to partner with our community health centers and mental health organizations to take ownership of the effort to transform NWI from one of the least healthy in the state to one of the healthiest.”

The above quote from Feb. 23 in The News-Dispatch is incongruous in that its author, Leigh Morris, has been a 30-plus year opponent of its fruition.

When I returned home from the service in 1965, La Porte County had five acute care hospitals: two in La Porte and three in Michigan City. This, for a population in the county of about 100,000. Federal monies were available through the Hill-Burton Act to replace aging hospital structures. Michigan City received money for the two non-profit hospitals, but La Porte received money for one. Holy Family Hospital left the city and La Porte Community Hospital was formed by merger of the previous entities. At the time, I wrote letters to more than 30 members of the Boards of Directors as to the idea of merging all hospitals in La Porte County and building one larger hospital. This would avoid repetitive costs and have the ability to offer more services to the residents of the county. That idea went nowhere. I learned that the learned business men on the boards of the hospitals were not even speaking with each other.

In the mid 1980s, behind the driving motivation of Dr. Robert McBride, another attempt was made to merge. Walters Hospital was converted to a mental health hospital. We all thought we were on the brink of success. But at the last minute, La Porte Hospital backed away. The author was then administrator of La Porte Hospital. The La Porte Hospital Board went into an agreement with IU Hospitals. Some of their physicians also went into an agreement with South Bend Memorial.

In 2015, La Porte Hospital Board of Directors again had the opportunity to unify the county and have one hospital. The Franciscan Alliance was ready again to bring that to fruition. This would have unified our medical staffs, making it easier to recruit new physicians. We would end the wasteful duplication of services and have a unified effort to attack the problems so appropriately laid out by Mr. Morris. The La Porte Hospital Board chose, unfortunately, to sell to CHS, an outside, for-profit conglomerate. CHS is beholden to shareholders and profits. So, another opportunity to unify and strengthen our county was lost due to La Porte Hospital board’s decision. Mr. Morris was a member of that board.

Prenatal counseling and care was offered to La Porte County in the late 1980s and seven other counties with high perinatal mortality rates. This was point No. 2 in the author’s article. La Porte Hospital turned down participation. St. Anthony accepted the task, and provided the services of lab, x-ray and staffing over and above grant dollars. The author had a chance then for acting on his ideology and passed.

John W. Luce M.D.

Michigan City


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