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December 2010 Archives

The J.C. Penney Museum, Hamilton, Mo.

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HAMILTON, Mo.--If there is a penny for every one of Dean Hales hometown thoughts, then he is a rich man.
Hales is all things J.C. Penney in Hamilton (pop. 1,800) about 65 miles north of Kansas City.
He started the J.C. Penney Memorial Library-Museum here and once ran his Hy Klas food store next door to a J.C. Penney's at 215 N. Davis on the main drag of Hamilton.
Department store legend J.C. Penney was born in 1875 on a farm outside of Hamilton. His one-bedroom wood frame birthplace has been relocated to downtown, within walking distance from the museum. Penney moved to Denver, Colo. in 1897 to work in a dry goods store.
Hales also owns Penney's 1947 Cadillac Convertible......

Miles Nielsen on his own road

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There are rock n' roll gigs like the Hollywood Bowl and "Live at Budokan."
Then there's the homespun itinerary of Miles Nielsen, son of Cheap Trick guitarist-vocalist Rick Nielsen. He plays an ethereal mix of pop and folk-rock that travels well.

On Christmas night Nielsen and The Rusted Hearts headline Mary's Place in downtown Rockford, Ill. Last weekend they were at the The Lift in Dubuque, Ia.
New Year's Eve? Nielsen is at Cranky Pat's Pizzeria and Pub in Neenah, Wis., near Appleton. That's a long shot from Dick Clark's Big Apple New Year's Eve.

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Miles Nielsen and The Rusted Hearts in Blasthouse Studio A, Madison, Wis. (Photo by John Adams)

"I love secondary markets," Nielsen said earlier this month before a show at the Lodge at Four Lakes in west suburban Lisle (pop. 22,000). "Sometimes they're a little hungrier. We do Wausau, Wisconsin. Neenah. People hang with you all night. And because there's not 17 music venues in the city, you're it for live music. You just hope you play stuff they're into. I love those towns............"

Ron Santo: Honky Tonk Hero

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So here comes the first snow of the season and there goes Ron Santo.
The beloved Cubs third baseman and announcer died Thursday night in his Arizona home of complications from bladder cancer. He was 70.
He stood tall against life's bitter winds.

Santo was heartbroken to not have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, an honor he richly deserved (as did his former coach Buck O'Neil). He suffered at the wicked altar of Cubs near misses: 1969, '84, '89, '98, 2003, 2008. Have I missed anything?
Santo didn't miss much. I last sat down with him at Spring Training 2004. The previous fall he had tumors removed from his bladder. Between 1999-2004 he suffered two heart attacks.
His heart even stopped once, the heart he wore on his sleeve......

Kansas City's Unknown A.F.L.

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KANSAS CITY, Mo.--I'm old enough to have seen the tail end of the colorful American Football League on black and white television. I was a fan of the renegade spirit of the AFL (1960-69) more than today's corporate game.

A couple weekends ago I took a road trip to see the Kansas City Chiefs, one of the original AFL(All Fun League) teams. The Chiefs play in the new Arrowhead Stadium, built in 1972 and renovated earlier this year at a cost of $375 million. Arrowhead is the only NFL stadium to have a football shaped scoreboard. Its a more comfortable place to watch a football game than Richie Daley's renovated mistake by the lake.

I saw the Chiefs beat the Arizona (formerly Chicago) Cardinals and spent an enlightening Saturday afternoon touring Arrowhead's new Hall of Honor......

Dave Hoekstra

Dave Hoekstra has been a Chicago Sun-Times staff writer since 1985. His collection of Sun-Times travel columns, "Ticket To Everywhere," was published in 2000 by Lake Claremont Press. He was lead writer for "Farm Aid: Song for America" (Rodale Press, 2005) which commemorated the 20th anniversary of the Willie Nelson inspired effort.
He won a 1987 Chicago Newspaper Guild Stick O-Type Award for Column Writing. Hoekstra wrote and co-proudced the WTTW-Channel 11 PBS special: "The Staple Singers and the Civil Rights Movement," nominated for a 2001-02 Chicago Emmy for a documentary program/cultural significance.
He lives in Chicago.

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About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries from December 2010 listed from newest to oldest.

November 2010 is the previous archive.

January 2011 is the next archive.

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