Local News

Brandon Smith, IPBS News

Today:  A conversation with Ed Feigenbaum, the creator and editor of the Indiana Gaming Insight and Indiana Legislative Insight newsletters,  about the March 2017 revenue report from the northwest Indiana casinos, the impact of outside forces on the riverboats -- and Ed's review of some of the big bills from the just-ended 2017 General Assembly session.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez joins us with some good news for the city of Gary -- a recent survey from the website shows that Gary mortgage holders are the third least over-leveraged in the country.

Money SmartWeek.org

Every spring, thousands of banks and other financial institutions join in a nation-wide financial education effort called “Money Smart Week.” It began 15 years ago in a meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago... and Doug Tillett was in the room for that first meeting and all of the others that've followed.  Doug came on "Regionally Speaking" on Tuesday to talk about how the project began and grew from a Midwest idea to across the country.

Shovels pierced the dirt to commemorate the start of a mitigation project that has been years in the making in Hobart, with a goal of ultimately restoring nearly 350 acres of various native wooded and wetland habitat types.  

Rep. Pete Visclosky says the project will improve the environment and the overall economy of the area.

"Two often we look at places such as this as a dumpsite in Northwest Indiana," said Visclosky.  "I'm convinced that what you have done today is change that.

Sr. Joseph's College

Today:  A group of St. Joseph's College faculty are suing the Catholic-affiliated college in Rensselaer for how the college is handling the suspension of operations and their employment status.  One of the faculty members talks about the group's frustration over not knowing when their employment will officially end and if they'll get any severance-related benefits or help in finding new jobs.

John Cain, host of "Eye on the Arts," talks with Mark Baer, Associate Professor of Acting and Directing at Indiana University Northwest, about IUN's upcoming 10 minute play festival, taking place April 28th and 29th at Theatre Northwest.

Purdue University Northwest

Purdue University Northwest officials say it took nearly 15 years of planning, persistence and efforts to get some vital legislative support... but lawmakers finally approved construction of a new instructional facility at Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond Campus.

The General Assembly early Saturday morning allocated $35.1 million for construction of the Bioscience Innovation Building on the Hammond Campus.  It will house state-of-the-art instructional and research facilities for nursing, biological sciences and STEM education.

City of Whiting

Whiting city officials are working on a nationwide marketing approach to its Mascot Hall of Fame, now under construction.  I went to Mayor Joe Stahura's office to get the latest on the project and others underway in his city.  Here's the conversation, which airs on "Regionally Speaking" on Wednesday, April 26th.

Governor Signs Bill Expanding Lead Testing In East Chicago

Apr 20, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Thursday designating parts of East Chicago, Indiana, as “areas of special concern.”

The bill indefinitely extends parts of Holcomb’s emergency declaration to expand lead testing in the city’s soil and water.

Environmental Activists take a wait and see approach to promises of help from the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made a visit to East Chicago this week, as Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore reports...

Supermarket News

Today: It is Reporters' Round Table day on "Regionally Speaking," as we call on local reporters who worked on some of the major stories of the week to review and talk about them. 

Highland based grocer Strack & Van Til announced Tuesday it will sell off 22 of its stores and close nine under performing stores immediately.  Strack's parent company Central Grocers Inc. is working with a legal team and financial advisors toward implementing a sale of Strack and Van Till stores, which will continue to operate as normal until a sale is official. Two of the 9 stores closing immediately are based in Indiana, the Gary Ultra and the Merrill Point Ultra in Merrillville, the rest of the seven stores are based in Illinois.

Howey Politics Indiana

Today:   Howey Politics Indiana editor-publisher Brian Howey joins us to talk about some of the topics in his recent newsletter columns, as well as his views on the final days of the 2017 General Assembly session.

 

Cyberbullying is the topic of a recent "CounterPoint with Garrard McClendon" television conversation.  His guests were Cathie Bledsoe of the Indiana State Police, Northwest Indiana Times editor Bob Heisse and School Town of Highland Superintendent Brian Smith.

 

Indiana Town Considers Water Utility Sale

Apr 18, 2017

 

Lake Station, Indiana, is treading water.

“We have no money whatsoever in this city,” says Bill Carrol, who manages the Ace Hardware in town.

Lake Station’s operating budget is $2 million overdrawn. Because of the city’s debt, the state is forcing budget cuts. So, Lake Station is considering selling its drinking water utility to a private company, Indiana American Water.

Today:   A conversation with Indiana economist, writer and public speaker Morton Marcus on how the Indiana Economic Development Corp. shouldn't have offered state funds to two businesses to relocate jobs inside a county, a move that won't affect the overall state economy -- and how local and state decisions can be affected by proposed Trump administration budget cuts. 

A recent "Byline" report from the Times of Northwest Indiana looks at a Gary city government commission that focuses on crime fighting and crime prevention in the Steel City. 

Monique French speaks at a rally to raise the tobacco tax in Indiana.
(Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

In the last few hours of the legislative session, as lawmakers work out the final details of the budget, the proposed cigarette tax increase faces its last chance to pass.

Sharon Jackson / Lakeshore Public Media

March until June is nesting season for Canada geese, and that can become a problem for Hoosier property owners.  During nesting season these geese are especially aggressive, sometimes attacking and nipping at people to protect their nests.  But you can get a permit in Indiana to destroy their eggs, nests and even kill the adults.

Valparaiso Church Recieves a "Golden" Donation

Apr 17, 2017
coins.ha.com

A gold coin donated to a northwestern Indiana church is so rare it's helping pay for construction of a new church building. Pastor Ben Lamb Says Grace Point Church was founded in 2009 with a bare bones budget and operated out of an elementary school.  As the Church grew, the congregation came together and raised enough money to purchase a building. However, with general maintenance and renovations figured into the cost, the church was still short $300,000.

Ball State University

Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research Executive Director Michael Hicks came on "Regionally Speaking" on Monday to talk about the Indiana and national job outlooks, as well as the latest about factories of not only Indiana-based firms -- but companies with only a presence in the Hoosier State. 

Hicks also tells us about a new report from the CBER on the link between educational attainment and earnings.  Here's the conversation.

Ray Steele blog

Today:  Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research Executive Director Michael Hicks joins us to talk about the Indiana and national job outlooks, as well as the latest about factories of not only Indiana-based firms -- but companies with only a presence in the Hoosier State.  Hicks also tells us about a new report from the CBER on the link between educational attainment and earnings.

"Great Lakes Today" reporter Rebecca Thiele tells us about potential changes of the U.S. lakefronts when more nuclear power plants shut down. 

MERRILLVILLE - Lakeshore Public Radio – 89.1 FM won 3 first place 2016 Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters Association awards, on Saturday, April 15, 2017.

Provided

John Cain talks with Kirk Muspratt about the 75th Anniversary of the Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra and Northwest Indiana Symphony. 

IPBS

Today: our first "Regionally Speaking" Reporters' Roundtable discussion of the big local stories of the week, including updates on the East Chicago lead-arsenic contamination cleanup and the impact of the contamination on the West Calumet Housing Project.  The EPA Secretary  and HUD Secretary will visit East Chicago to see first-hand the issues and the cleanup.  We also discuss the investigation into a leak of the chemical chromium-6 from a U.S. Steel waste outlet into Burns Waterway in Portage, just hundreds of feet from Lake Michigan.

Steven Lattimore / Lakeshore Public Media

Residents from across the Midwest say they are banding together to fight for environmental justice.  They held an Anti-Trump march in downtown Chicago, on Tuesday, April 11th, to fight a proposed plan to defund the Environmental Protection Agency.  As Steven Lattimore reports, East Chicago advocacy groups were there to make their voices heard as they deal with the lead contamination crisis that has impacted residents of the West Calumet Housing Complex.

U.S. Steel Chemical Spill Threatens Lake Michigan

Apr 12, 2017

The Environmental Protection Agency is responding to a chemical spill, which threatens beaches and the nearest public water intake, from the U.S. Steel facility in Portage.

US Steel reported Tuesday the wastewater spill into Burns Waterway, about 100 yards away from Lake Michigan. In a statement released late Wednesday, U.S. Steel says the spill resulted from an equipment failure and it has idled all production processes at the facility.

edutopia.org

For Financial Literacy Month,  we asked northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer to come on "Regionally Speaking" on Wednesday to give us some basic tips and advice to follow on planning and implementing some sound financial goals. 

A recent national study found two out of every three American adult lack financial literacy.  Here's the conversation.

The Second Annual Civility takes time out to encourage good behavior. And as Steven Lattimore reports it might seem like something simple but organizers say the result it something special .

Community Healthcare System

Today:  a conversation with two Community Hospital officials on the new Surgical Center at the Munster hospital that is in its final stages of completion.  Dr. Richard Berkowitz and John Olmstead talk about the goals and objectives behind the $20 million project and how it fits into northwest Indiana's overall  healthcare picture. 

Pages