Meet your Neighbors: Pat Colander


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Meet Pat! Pat Colander is currently the A&E Editor for Times Media print and digital products and has been the Associate Publisher and Editor of The Times Media non-daily, niche and specialty publications for ten years.

For 20 years, she has been active in the Northwest Indiana and southeast Chicago suburbs in community and professional organizations including the South Suburban College Foundation and the Partnership for a Drug Free Lake County (PDFLC) in the 1990s. 

What brought you to the dunes? Friends brought me to the best restaurant in Northwest Indiana at the time, in 1992, that was the Miller Bakery Café. I dug in a little deeper and six years later bought my first house in Miller.

How long have you lived here? 17 years

What is your favorite thing to do in the area? Go to the beach!

Tell us a secret about the dunes. The best way to get into Miller Beach is to take the first right off of US Hwy 12 and go around Hobart Road onto Grand Blvd. You avoid railroad crossings that tie up the other two entrances to the neighborhood.

Give us your top three “hidden treasures” (restaurant, shop, trail, beach, event…really anything!)

a) Lake Street Gallery (downtown Miller, actually the whole Lake Street area has come to life lately) b) The World’s Fair Houses in Beverly Shores c) The Dunes Nature Centers in Porter and Gary

What would you like to teach people about the dunes? I’m not qualified to teach, but I know the dunes have a rich geological and social history and that is just the beginning.  There are hundreds of species of wildflowers including orchids that I don’t know nearly enough about. Also, the Dunes cover 15,000 acres and I haven’t seen nearly enough of that land.

Anything else? Bartlett’s Gourmet Grill is a great place to eat and drink, even in the winter! Also, I love Aqua Spa Nails, El Salto and just about everything in Chesterton.

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Pat began her career as a feature writer at the Chicago Tribune in 1973 and was later a staff writer at the Chicago Reader. She was also an adjunct professor at Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University, Columbia College and Roosevelt University in Chicago. She has written three books, Thin Air: The Life and Mysterious Disappearance of Helen Brach; Hugh Hefner’s First Funeral and Other Tales of Love and Death in Chicago, a collection of nonfiction stories; and Neverland: Michael Jackson of Gary, Indiana available on Amazon Kindle.

She also served on Illinois Press Association board, as committee chair for Inland Press Association and a member of the American Society of Magazine Editors and the Magazine Publishers Association. She is a member of the Chicago Headline Club (SPJ).

Pat has served on the boards of the Lake County Convention and Visitors Authority (LCCVA), Northwest Indiana Lighthouse Charter Schools, the founding board of the Ronald Miller Scholarship Fund in Berrien County, Michigan and the Gary Human Relations Commission. Currently she serves on the board of South Shore Arts Association. She is a native of Chicago, Illinois, a journalism graduate from the University of Illinois at Champaign-Urbana and has an MS in Technology from Purdue (2011).

Pat is a very busy woman! We thank her for taking the time to do this interview.

You can read about more neighbors, right here.