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Patrick Kiger

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Journalist Patrick J. Kiger tells the stories of people who make their mark in ways big and small.

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Andy Granatelli: The Indomitable Showman

Posted on 12/31/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyThough he immodestly titled his memoirs They Call Me Mister 500, Andy Granatelli actually was behind the wheel at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway just once, in the time trials in 1948. Back then, he was billed “Antonio the Great, Famed Italian Speed Ace,” even though he hailed from Chicago and had raced only a few times, on state fairgrounds and small tracks in the Midwest. Despite the hype, Granatelli’s career as an Indy driver ended ignominiously, when he crashed, …

The Congressman Who Broke All the Rules

Posted on 12/30/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyThese days we’re rarely shocked when we learn that a politician has enjoyed lavish benefits at public expense or found some way to exploit public office for personal gain. That makes all the more remarkable the story of former U.S. Rep. Andrew “Andy” Jacobs Jr. (D-Ind.), who during his three decades in Congress declined to accept the monthly disability payments to which he was entitled for his injuries in combat as a Marine during the Korean War. “He didn’t think …

Newest Retirement Destination: Mars!

Posted on 12/30/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

Bulletin Today | TravelLooking for an exotic retirement destination? Here’s a new possibility for you: Mars. No, we’re not kidding. Billionaire Dennis Tito, the engineer-turned-investment-mogul who in 2001 became the first-ever space tourist by buying a seat on a Russian space mission, wants to find a mature man and woman to serve as as a two-person crew on a private interplanetary fly-by. According to his Inspiration Mars Foundation, Tito hopes to launch in 2017 so as to be able to take advantage of …

Edgar Bronfman Sr.: Fighter for Jewish Causes

Posted on 12/23/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyAfter Edgar Bronfman Sr. took over the reins of Seagram in the early 1970s, he expanded the liquor company founded by his father Samuel into a sprawling global comglomerate, taking over juice-maker Tropicana and expanding into the oil and chemical businesses as well. But while Bronfman, who died on Dec. 21 at age 84 in Manhattan, was successful enough in those ventures to become a billionaire, he had a vastly more profound and far-reaching impact with his work as a …

Tom Laughlin: The Renegade Who Challenged Hollywood and Won

Posted on 12/19/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

LegacyAction flicks of the 1970s featured an army of  two-fisted tough guys with hard stares and gritted teeth, who angrily defied the establishment and did things their own way, especially if that entailed acts of violence at frequent intervals. But none was angrier, more defiant or more willing to kick butt and take names than Billy Jack, the protagonist of a trio of films by actor-director-producer Tom Laughlin. Laughlin, who died on Dec. 12 at age 82 in Thousand Oaks, …

Seeya, VW Microbus

Posted on 12/18/2013 by | Who's News | Comments

Bulletin TodayLike wow, this is a major bummer for former flower children everywhere. Dec. 31 looks to be the end of the line for Volkwagen’s Type 2 camper, usually known in the United States as the VW microbus  — that is, when we weren’t calling it the “love wagon,” the “hippie van” or some other more colorful term. Production reportedly is being discontinued in Brazil, the last place where the van is still being made, because  newly imposed safety regulations would …