In The News


Nonprofit grows organic greens, employs autistic adults

By Kevin Allen, South Bend Tribune

SOUTH BEND – January isn’t normally part of the planting season in northern Indiana, but Green Bridge Growers was seeding a crop of Swiss chard last month.

Despite single-digit temperatures outside, the air inside the organization’s greenhouse at Hannah & Friends was a relatively comfortable 55 degrees.

Matt Coleman deposited seeds for germination into a bed of moist rockwool. Brandon Hudson sprinkled a few pinches of fish food into a 100-gallon tank for koi that will help fertilize the seeds and turn them into leafy greens.

Those seed beds will float on foam boards on top of the nutrient-rich water. The plants will grow and, in turn, purify the water. Then the cycle will start all over again.

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Martin’s first in nation to provide special needs families a new Caroline’s Cart in every store

SOUTH BEND, IN/December 17, 2013/Martin’s Super Markets/ — Parents of children with special needs are making their shopping trips to Martin’s Super Markets easier with “Caroline’s Cart,” a groundbreaking new shopping cart designed specifically to accommodate the unique shopping needs of families with children living with disabilities that limit their mobility.

The new cart is available at all 21 Martin’s Super Market locations in Northern Indiana and Southwest Michigan. The carts’ manufacturer says that Martin’s is the first supermarket in the nation to make a Caroline’s Cart available in every store.

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Weis’ lessons in raising family led to charity for children

by Brice Cherry (

Losing humbles a man like little else. In his three-decade tenure as a football coach, Charlie Weis has been delivered that slice of humble pie more times than he cares to count. Weis is 3-15 in the midst of his second season of a rebuilding project at Kansas, so his self-esteem has absorbed a litany of hits on autumn Saturdays.

But Weis’ team could lose by 40, and it wouldn’t humble him like his daughter, Hannah.

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Four Shirts, Seven Weeks, Three Words: “Awareness and Compassion”

by Christin Kloski, The Observer, News Writer

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — I’ve had the same awkward tan lines for four weeks. My arms have a farmer’s tan from the shirt I wear every day, and my legs are three different shades from where my shorts decide to land. I have a line straight across my forehead, reminding me not to wear a bandana when the sun is blazing on my face. My shoe marks vary from wearing tennis shoes or flip flops; the sun decided to be sneaky and leave its mark for both shoe types.

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Hundreds Support Hannah & Friends Race

by Denise Bohn, WSBT-TV Reporter

400 people showed up for the first annual “Hannah & Friends” Race fundraiser in South Bend.

The goal…to help take the “dis” out of disabilities.

250 runners participated in the 5k and 150 people in the 1-mile walk, which was held at the Hannah & Friends Farm off of Hollyhock Road.

The 40-acre facility was started by former Notre Dame Coach Charlie Weis and his wife, Maura, inspired by their daughter Hannah who has special needs.

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KU football coach Charlie Weis’ Hannah & Friends celebration a wild success during first year in Kansas

By Matt Tait

Over the weekend, I was one of a group of five or six media members who got the opportunity to participate in the Hannah & Friends 10th anniversary celebration at Prairie Band Casino and Firekeeper Golf Course, just north of Topeka.

Hannah & Friends, as most of you surely know by now, is the non-profit charity founded by Kansas University football coach Charlie Weis and his wife, Maura, to help individuals with special needs like their daughter Hannah.

Last summer, I did an in-depth story on Hannah & Friends and how it came to be, and, in the month or so that I worked on it, came away believing I knew just about all there was to know about the heart-felt charity.

But it wasn’t until this past weekend, when I met people who have so graciously donated their time and money to the cause and saw the looks in the eyes of those for whom a weekend like this is an annual occurrence, that I really felt like I understood what Hannah & Friends was all about.

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Hannah and Friends big hit locally

By Jon Kirby

When you walked into the ballroom at the Prairie Band Casino it didn’t take long to recognize some of the people in the room. From Rob Riggle, who hosted the ESPN Espy’s last year to several NFL players, the Hannah and Friends Celebrity Golf Classic showed off some star power.

It also didn’t take long to realize why over 200 people attended the auction on Friday night and the golf classic on Saturday.

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Firekeeper event hits close to home for KU’s Weis

By Austin Meek

Charlie Weis leaned back at a table in what could have passed for an NFL war room on draft day and pulled out his phone.

This was the room at Prairie Band Casino & Resort where Weis and his wife, Maura, planned the annual fundraiser for their Hannah & Friends charity. It was no small task — there was the ice sculpture, the band flown in from New York, the prime-rib buffet, the chocolate cake with chocolate frosting to celebrate Charlie and Maura’s 21st wedding anniversary. With all the details finally in place, Weis pointed to a picture on his phone that illustrated the reason for the event.

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