Looking for a fix.
Jugglers, kings and cattle thieves,
all they are is pricks.
wipe your nose.
You stop in for a beer.
No warmth, no nod, no
here or far and near.
“Alone,” you say, you raise
“Alone at last, my dear.
You screwed my friend
I thought was queer.
My life I must rethink.”
It’s 3:09 on a Thursday morning. This is not remarkable. People wake up in the middle of the night and can’t go back to sleep. There is nothing warm about sitting in the spare bedroom with the glow of a laptop. What it is is wasting time.
Maybe it’s time to take stock of My Radio Life one of these days. For now, consider that Hammond mayor Tom McDermott named a street “Dedelow Parkway” yesterday in a big celebration at Lost Marsh Golf Course. This is remarkable.
My cousin, Duane Dedelow Jr., was the mayor of Hammond, where my radio stations are, from about 1992 to 2003. He was a good mayor. A good Republican mayor. Then he lost to the current mayor, Democrat Tom McDermott Jr., in a close election. It was quite contentious.
One of the most contentious points in the election was that Duane had spent an exorbitant amount of money to build the Lost Marsh Golf Course. It was once known as the Barstow Property. It was nothing but an industrial wasteland where they dumped slag, a byproduct of the steelmaking process, for a good 50 years.
It’s an amazing golf course. Not only is it one of the toughest around because of the wind off Lake Michigan, but also because of the undulating terrain and tons of water. It’s my favorite place to play golf in the whole world.
Part of that has to do with the views. On almost every hole, you have a view of heavy industry. On number 14, you aim for the top of an oil tank. On east-facing holes, you aim for the top of the catcracker at the BP oil refinery. On the first hole, you hit into a valley with water on both sides. You aim for the skyline of Chicago.
It is a great golf course. People from Chicago crowd the fairways. There’s also now walking paths and bike paths and a music theater and boat rentals and the whole nine yards. Lost Marsh is a complete success. It is a model the world over for industrial renewal.
But it wasn’t that way in 2003. A lot of people in Hammond were wondering why Duane spent so much money to make a golf course on a slag heap. The upstart McDermott used it as a campaign issue. It was rough and tumble politics and, if you gotta admit it, pretty fun to watch.
At the time, that wasn’t the only McDermott vs. Dedelow match going on. The three or four of you who read my blog might remember the rather public matchup between me and the mayor’s dad, Tom McDermott Sr.
I was trying to buy radio station WJOB out of bankruptcy. I had it all set up and we went to court to get the deal approved – and out of nowhere showed up Tom McDermott Sr. to contest the deal. He wanted WJOB, which he had owned at one time.
So while Duane and the current mayor were going at it on the political stage, McDermott’s dad and I were going at it in court. It was a rather exciting time, really, filled with intrigue and animus. Ultimately, McDermott Jr. defeated my cousin by a few hundred votes.
On the radio side, I got so worked up over the whole thing that the judge threatened to throw me in jail. I stood up in open court and yelled at people and even threatened to beat a couple assess. This didn’t help my case.
In the end, my wife the cool and calm attorney had to step in. On the day of the showdown in Judge Dywan’s courtroom, I had to stay home to watch the kids. I wasn’t allowed there. My wife stood up to McDermott Sr. in a bidding war. I am to her forever grateful.
McDermott 1. Dedelow 1.That’s been the score ever since.
Now this brings us to the celebration yesterday. It’s a celebration that just goes to prove that if you live long enough, anything can happen.
I’m having a tough time describing it. I type a few words and then backspace over them and start over. I can’t do it. I’ll just copy and paste how NWIndianalife.com tells it.
Members of the Hammond community gathered along New York Avenue on June 27 to celebrate a project—and one of the leaders behind it—that’s been over 20 years in the making. Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr unveiled Dedelow Parkway as a capstone to Hammond’s Lost Marsh estates development. The parkway’s moniker honors former Hammond Mayor Duane Dedelow Jr, whose dedication to the city of Hammond and whose foresight led to Lost Marsh Golf Course and the subsequent housing development.
“We’re recognizing a man today that has lived in Hammond his whole life: he raised his family in Hammond, he served on the Hammond City Council, he served as Hammond’s mayor,” McDermott said.
“He had a vision—a lot of visions—but one vision in particular that really affected this part of our city.”
Dedelow oversaw the Lost Marsh project, which reinvented a towering mountain of slag—a byproduct of the steel mills—into the thriving 18-hole golf course it is today. The project was hailed by Environmental Protection Agency officials as the largest and most successful brownfield reclamation project in the Midwest, and Dedelow and other city officials were even invited to Johannesburg to speak about the project at the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development.
Now the project continues transcending itself, with whole neighborhoods being built around the former environmental disaster. Spearheaded by the Hammond Redevelopment Commission and in part by the Hammond Port Authority, the estates will include single-family homes near the cul-de-sac, and 14 townhomes along New York Avenue. Six lots have already been auctioned off to buyers.
Milan Kruszynski, Director of Hammond Port Authority, stated that this development would not have come to be without Dedelow.
“Mayor Dedelow decided to leave this space open for future development,” said Kruszynski. “It would have been easy to build the golf course all the way down to New York Avenue; his decision and thoughts as our construction-oriented mayor allowed this space to be developed when the time was right, when the dollars were available, and now it has come to fruition.”
“It was a no-brainer,” McDermott said on deciding to name the parkway after Dedelow.
Dedelow was humbled and honored by the namesake.
“When I first was approached by the mayor, yes, I received this well, but I felt that I did not deserve, quite frankly, such a high honor,” Dedelow said. “But as I thought about it, I realized this is not just for me. This is for the entire Dedelow family—the generations of Dedelows that have been here in Hammond since the late 1800s.”…
Before joining in the official unveiling of the Dedelow Parkway street sign (and receiving his own commemorative sign,) Dedelow paid special thanks to his wife, family, the Hammond community, city officials, and to Mayor McDermott for continuing the tradition of rebuilding and reinvigorating the city of Hammond.
“I want to take this forward and do everything in my power to always honor this great distinction,” Dedelow said. “We are all on the same side today: we are on the same side of building Hammond forward, making Hammond one, and moving into the future to make better neighborhoods and to make Hammond a great place to live and raise a family.”
Congratulations to my cousin for all that he did for Hammond. And congratulations to Mayor McDermott for continuing the vision and for a moment of grace.
That’s all I can say. It’s the middle of the night and I’m shaking my head. I can’t figure out life other than to keep repeating –
It just goes to show. If you live long enough, anything can happen.