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September 4, 2013

KITCHELL: For once, a black cat would be good luck

One of the more unusual news items of the year to come out of Indiana is the upcoming presentation by the National Mascot Hall of Fame to the city of Whiting, Ind.

It seems the hall founder, a former Philadelphia Phillies’ mascot, is planning to meet with officials of the northwest Indiana city next week to discuss the possible establishment of the new hall there.

Why Whiting? Well, it’s anyone’s guess, but it’s not your usual city. Other than its driving distance to Chicago, its only other claim to fame is an annual pierogi festival.

If ever there was an economic development opportunity Logansport should pounce on, this is the one. What better city to be home to a mascot hall of fame than the only city in the country where Felix the Cat is the mascot? Not only that, Felix was the first high school mascot in Indiana and is permanently enshrined in the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame and Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

This is the kind of project that fits with the sports theme of the state of Indiana from amateur sports to the Indianapolis 500 to the Indianapolis Colts and Indiana Pacers. It fits with the home of the NCAA headquarters and the motto, “The Crossroads of America.” If we Hoosiers are anything, it’s rabid about sports.

I have nothing against Whiting, but the highway access here is just as good. And who could argue with a feel-good thing like a mascot hall of fame? Who wouldn’t smile when they saw the San Diego Chicken?

It may not happen, but it’s interesting to note sometimes how much business comes into communities from other states, let alone counties. Just this week, it was refreshing to drive by the Dentzel carousel in Riverside Park and see license plates from four states on the cars parked across the street from it. There was no one playing softball or basketball on a rainy day, but there were plenty of people visiting Riverside Park from outside Indiana.

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