Event Types

​Candida “Candy” Van Buskirk began her role as principal of Michigan City High School in the fall 2017 semester.

In her almost 20 years of teaching, coaching and educational leadership, Van Buskirk has served as associate principal of Michigan City High School, worked for New Prairie High School as an assistant principal, and at New Buffalo Schools, where she taught biology and chemistry. Her bachelor’s degree is from Bowling Green State University; her master’s in science from the University of Dayton; and her master’s in educational administration from Western Michigan University.

Additionally, Van Buskirk is a two-time All-American basketball player who has coached at both the high school and college levels. Her nonprofit “Coach Candy Basketball Camp” continues to teach participants character, attitude and teamwork.

Candida "Candy" Van Buskirk
Jan 11, 2018

Edward Seal grew up in New Buffalo, MI and now lives in Valparaiso, IN with his wife Jennifer and two children, Henrich and Eleanor. Edward began his career at the Swanson Center in 2009 shortly after graduating from Purdue North Central. He worked as an Assertive Community Treatment (ACT) case manager for five years before becoming the Project for the Assistance in the Transition from Homelessness (PATH) case manager in 2014. He is now the Coordinator for the PATH program as well as the Coordinator for the Home Team of La Porte County. Ed has serves on Homeward Bound board of directors and he is currently the Board Chair for the Moraine House. Edward loves caring for his children and animals (3 chickens, 1 dog and a fish) he drinks coffee and listens to music to relax. ​

Edward Seal, Coordinator
Jan 18, 2018

This year's Paul J. Alinsky Excellence Award will be presented posthumously to Councilman Al Whitlow, who passed away on November 19, 2017.

After his death, Al was described by The News-Dispatch as being “the epitome of a public servant.” He began working as an educator for Michigan City Area Schools in 1961. Over the next 30 years he served as a teacher, assistant principal, principal and coach – including as the assistant for the state champion 1966 Red Devils basketball team.

He later spent 13 years working as executive director for the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City. When he retired in 2014, Al successfully ran for an at-large seat on the Michigan City Common Council, serving until his death.

Al was also named Humanitarian of the Year by the Human Rights Commission in 2006.

His obituary states, “Allan was an invaluable presence to Michigan City, and his dedication, perseverance, passion, kindness and unpretentious attitude to everyone he encountered during his life will be missed by an endless amount of people.”

The Paul J. Alinsky Excellence Award is presented in honor of Paul Alinksy who was a past Chamber Chairman of the Board, Rotary Club President, and founder of Sentinel Alarm Company.  Paul passed away in 1997 and this award was created to keep his memory alive. The award is given annually to a person from the Michigan City community who exhibits dedication to community service and excellence, passion and innovation in their vocation/career.  These are the areas where Paul excelled. ​




Paul Alinsky Award
Jan 25, 2018

After graduating from Ball State University in 1993, Mike began his career in the financial services industry. Prior to joining Harbour Trust in 2001, Mike spent eight years serving as a Personal Trust Administrator with JP Morgan Chase. There, he was responsible for both personal trust and employee benefit accounts.

Mike has successfully completed the Personal Trust School program through Cannon Financial Institute at the University of Notre Dame. He earned the designation of Certified Trust Financial Advisor in 1997 and has enthusiastically worked to maintain this designation, as well as expand his knowledge of financial planning and investment management. In an effort to further broaden his knowledge of the trust and investment field, in 2012 Mike successfully passed the CISP exam and became a Certified IRA Services Professional through the Institute of Certified Bankers. He is the head of New Business Development at Harbour Trust and serves as head of the IRA Division.

Born and raised in Michigan City, Mike has two daughters and has served 3 terms as president of the Michigan City Rotary Club and as Rotary District 6540 Assistant District Governor. Mike is the President of the Board of Directors for the Lubeznik Center for the Arts.

Mike Hackett
Feb 01, 2018

 Hon. Richard Stalbrink graduated from Ball State University in 1990 with a degree in political science. Thereafter, he attended law school at Valparaiso University School of Law and obtained a Juris Doctorate in 1993. He has practiced law in the State of Maryland and the State of Indiana. For the first four (4) years of his career, Mr. Stalbrink practiced law in a firm in the State of Maryland focusing on criminal defense and insurance defense.
Mr. Stalbrink returned to LaPorte County, Indiana, in 1998, and opened his private law practice while maintaining a part-time position as a deputy prosecuting attorney with the LaPorte County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Mr. Stalbrink has been an adjunct professor for Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University and is a guest instructor at Notre Dame Law School for their Intensive Trial Advocacy Program.  In January 2007, Mr. Stalbrink accepted a position with the LaPorte County Judiciary as a full-time magistrate. In 2008 Mr. Stalbrink was elected as Judge of LaPorte Superior Court 2, in Michigan City, Indiana. Mr. Stalbrink has presided over many jury trials involving both civil and criminal matters. Mr. Stalbrink has served on the Domestic Relations Committee for the Indiana Supreme Court which serves to review and revise the Indiana Child Support Guidelines and the Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines. Mr. Stalbrink has graduated from the Indiana Judicial College and the Indiana Graduate Program for Judges.
When he is not serving in a judicial capacity, Mr. Stalbrink is active in the community in many volunteer organizations. Mr. Stalbrink is a past chairman of the LaPorte County Chapter of the American Red Cross. He is a past president of the LaPorte County Fair Board. He is also a past president of the 4-H Horse & Pony Committee. He has served as the senior leader of the LaPorte County 4-H Horse & Pony Club.​

Judge Richard Stalbrink
Feb 08, 2018

Dean Mazzoni, who has held executive positions at five hospitals during the course of his career, including for-profit and not-for-profit facilities, is the current president and chief executive officer of Franciscan St. Anthony Health-Michigan City. He assumed his duties in mid-January, 2016. Mazzoni has served for three years in his previous position as vice president and site administrator at Voorhees Hospital, a 398bed facility in Voorhees, N.J. Prior to joining Voorhees, he was vice president of operations at Marlton Hospital, a 198-bed facility in Marlton, N.J., for six years. Mazzoni was chief operating officer for two years at the 257-bed, two-campus, University Medical Center in Lebanon, Tenn. Mazzoni received his undergraduate degree in social and behavioral sciences from Johns Hopkins University, a master’s degree in public health/health care administration from UMDNJ/Robert Wood Johnson Medical School, and a master’s degree in business administration, with a concentration in corporate finance/strategy, from the University of Notre Dame.Mazzoni is a fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives, has served as a mentor for the Healthcare Leadership Network of Delaware Valley, and is a member of the American Public Health Association. He has been active in numerous civic organizations, among them the Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and has served on their boards of directors. He is currently on the Board of the Northern Indiana Education Foundation based in Michigan City.      ​

Dean Mazzoni, President and CEO
Feb 15, 2018

The Michigan City Police Department’s Underwater Search and Rescue Divers (SCUBA Team) consists of 6 divers at this time. All of the members are certified divers, with one also being trained as a dive medic in case injuries or medical injuries occur. We practice twice a month and were diving as late as November this year. Officers volunteer to be on this team and are on-call for water emergencies.  

Michigan City Police Department SCUBA Team
Feb 22, 2018
Bobby Talamine is one of the most prolific rock n' roll photographers in the world. Very much in demand, he is regularly published in leading international newspapers and magazines, and has been included in numerous books, exhibitions, advertising campaigns, and on CD and vinyl album jackets. He has photographed virtually every notable musical act since 1977, including artists as diverse as Led Zeppelin, Bob Dylan, Pink Floyd, The Rolling Stones, Bruce Springsteen, Paul McCartney, and The Grateful Dead. Recently, Bobby has worked extensively with Ariana Grande, Radiohead, Metallica, Halsey, Flume, Disclosure, Chance the Rapper and Beyonce.
Bobby Talamine
Mar 01, 2018
Born and raised in Baltimore, Amy grew up on the sounds of Sinatra, Ella, Motown, showtunes, sock hop hits, and the American Songbook.
Known for brilliant performances, stunning vocals, and unassuming wit, charm, and candor on stage, Amy has played music halls, bars, opera houses, living rooms, sanctuaries, and theatres all across North America, with festivals from Florida's 30A Songwriters Festival to Alaska's Folk Fest, and will be heading overseas for her first UK tour in fall 2018. An award-winning, tree-hugging, ever-traveling (with her dog in tow), modern day torch-singer and songwriter, Amy's voice is one you want to experience live.
Amy Andrews
Mar 08, 2018

Mike Hackett will discuss the upcoming Apple Dumpling Project and Jim Welborne will give us an update on the polio efforts.

Rotary Club Programs
Mar 15, 2018

Prosecuting Attorney John Espar is a La Porte County native, born and raised in Michigan City. He graduated Elston High School in 1980, and attended Indiana University~ Bloomington, where he received his bachelor’s degree in 1984, cum laude with special honors in Forensic Studies and a second major in English. Upon graduation, John was inducted into Phi Beta Kappa, the nation’s oldest academic honor society. In 1987, John received his law degree from the University of Southern California~ Los Angeles. Prosecutor Espar has spent his entire 30-year legal career as a prosecutor seeking to balance a victim’s plea for justice, a justice system’s obligation to right the wrongs of others, and the community’s right to peace and security. Over the past 30 years, Prosecutor Espar has personally prosecuted some of the most-difficult and most-disturbing cases imaginable, including the death penalty prosecution of Timothy Buss for the abduction, sexual mutilation and murder of a nine-year-old child – one of two cases which instilled in John a passion to pursue justice for the victims of violence, and in particular, justice for the most-vulnerable among us, our children. Prosecutor Espar began his first term as the elected Prosecuting Attorney for La Porte County, in 2015 after securing more than 70% of the vote in a contested primary and 100% of the vote in an uncontested general election. Upon taking office in January 2015, Mr. Espar immediately set out to overhaul the very structure of the Office of Prosecuting Attorney and the very manner in which the staff of prosecutors conducted the people’s business within the criminal justice system, saying, “We were not elected to maintain the status quo; We were elected to overturn it.” In his first act as the newly-elected prosecutor, Mr. Espar set out to dismantle an office structure comprised of a staff of part-time prosecutors, divided between the demands of their private clients and their duties to the public as prosecutors. Today, the entire criminal division of the Office of the La Porte County Prosecuting Attorney is staffed by full-time prosecutors, dedicated as public servants to seek justice for victims of crime, accountability for criminal offenders and peace and security for our community. Prosecuting Attorney Espar launched a number of other unprecedented initiatives under his new administration, including the formation of the La Porte County Internet Crimes Against Children (ICAC) Unit to investigate, intervene and prosecute, individuals who use technology and the Internet to prey upon children for purposes of sexual exploitation. Prosecutor’s Espar’s ICAC Unit works in conjunction with the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, the Indiana ICAC Task Force, and various other federal, state and law enforcement agencies across the country, to intervene in the online exploitation of endangered children. After forming the Internet Crimes Against Children Unit, Prosecutor Espar formed the first Prosecuting Attorney’s Special Victims Unit and spearheaded the formal implementation of the La Porte County Sexual Assault Response Team (SART), bringing together a multi-disciplinary team of compassionate professionals to meet the unique needs for the effective investigation and prosecution of crimes of sexual assault. Prosecuting Attorney Espar has been called to testify before the Indiana Senate Judiciary Committee in support of legislation on behalf of the Indiana Crimes Against Children Task Force. And Mr. Espar’s work on behalf of child-victims of crime, has been recognized by the Dunebrook Child Advocacy Center, which named him the 2017 recipient of the Lester Radke Community Service Award.  John is a member of the National Internet Crimes Against Children Program, the Indiana Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force, the Association of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys, Inc. and the National District Attorneys Association. On a personal note, John is the fifth of seven children born to Margaret and Bill Espar. In 1985, John and Yolla began their, now 32-year marriage, during which they raised their three, now adult, children, Christina, Emily and Andrew. John and Yolla are members of Queen of All Saints Church where John serves as a lector. He is also a member of the Knights of Columbus, the Saint Anthony Maronite Aid Society and is presently on-leave from active membership in the Rotary Club of Michigan City.

John Espar
Mar 22, 2018
Mar 28, 2018 2:30 PM

La Porte County joined Indiana’s High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area group in January 2017, focused on people bringing drugs to La Porte County from Chicago or Detroit on Interstate 94, on the South Shore train, etc. Sheriff John Boyd told the media that he applied for this designation under a belief that the drug war is best attacked as a region and the effort locally, although enhanced the past several years, wasn’t enough.  Through the HIDTA group, the La Porte County Sheriff’s Department has partnered with other agencies including the FBI, U.S. Drug Enforcement Agency, U.S. Attorney’s Office and Indiana State Police.  This brings additional manpower, funding and resources to aid in La Porte County’s war on drugs.

Sgt. Andy Hynek
Mar 29, 2018

Talei Thompson is a professional speaker. He specializes in leadership growth and personal development as a member of Dr. John C. Maxwell’s leadership team. He volunteers his time as a mentor for the Black Star Project, a non-profit organization that seeks to enhance the educational experience of students in the Chicago land area.  As a volunteer for this organization he speaks to thousands of students each year, encouraging them to use their talents, gifts, and abilities to accomplish their dreams, goals, and aspirations. 

Talei is the C.E.O of E.T and T Enterprises Inc. He is the former interim President of the Chicago land south suburban chapter of SPAA, the Speakers Publishers and Authors Association.  He is also a board member and president of the Rotary Club of Maywood-Proviso, recognized as a Paul Harris Fellow. Talei also serves on the Board for The Answer Inc., an Autism awareness non-profit organization.

Mr. Thompson studied at Morehouse College in Atlanta Georgia, is the loving father of two boys, as well as a member of Fellowship Baptist Church on the south side of Chicago

Talei Thompson
Apr 12, 2018
Apr 25, 2018 12:00 PM

Since 2015, Brandi Lewis has served as Executive Director for the Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City. Prior to joining the Boys & Girls Club movement, she worked for Dunebrook for over 14 years developing her passion for empowering others and serving the community. Under her leadership, Boys & Girls Club of Michigan City has benefited from an array of innovative programs, expanded partnerships and increased involvement in the greater Michigan City community. 

Brandi studied for 3 years at Indiana University Bloomington before receiving both her undergraduate degree in Communications and MBA from Purdue North Central.  She is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., and a graduate of Leadership Northwest Indiana. Born and raised in Michigan City, she is married to her high school sweetheart with 3 children.

Brandi Lewis
Apr 26, 2018

The Rotary Club of Michigan City will present its inaugural Teacher of the Year Award, honoring an educator within the Michigan City Area Schools system who embodies the Rotary motto of Service Above Self and exemplifies this message in his or her classroom.

Service Above Self Teacher of the Year Award
May 10, 2018
May 23, 2018 12:00 PM

Since 1992, Unity Foundation of La Porte County has served donors, nonprofits and local communities. As La Porte County’s community foundation, it manages approximately $31 million in assets, administers more than 325 charitable funds, and has distributed approximately $16 million through direct grants and scholarships. Unity’s mission is to strengthen La Porte County now and forever by building permanent endowments; providing leadership; offering philanthropic vehicles for everyone; and, being a catalyst for social and economic vitality

Unity Foundation of La Porte County
May 24, 2018

The Social and Learning Institute has been serving the La Porte County area since 1976 as a privately funded non-profit organization providing a day program for adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. The Institute’s mission is rooted in the idea that all people with intellectual and developmental disabilities are defined by their own strengths and abilities--not by their disability--and that each person deserves every opportunity to thrive and participate fully in society. Programming is designed to expand minds, teach essential life skills, and help individuals recognize their worth through a structured balance of socialization and learning activities. Learn more.

Debbie Sellers
May 31, 2018
Jun 27, 2018 2:30 PM