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Today:   we look at last week's Regional Transportation Summit, sponsored by the Gary Public Transportation Corp. and held at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.  The Summit brought together a number of public officials as well as planners, administrators and advocacy groups to explore the future of public transportation in northwest Indiana.

Heather Eidson / The Times

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — Environmental groups are urging northwest Indiana residents to comment on a proposed federal settlement over a U.S. Steel plant's discharging of a potentially carcinogenic chemical that entered a Lake Michigan tributary.

The Times reports that the public comment period on the proposed settlement ends June 6. Save the Dunes and the Ogden Dunes Environmental Advisory Board will host a public meeting Wednesday about the settlement.

Lauren Cross / The Times

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — Authorities in Indiana are continuing an investigation into a weekend shooting that wounded two off-duty police officers.

The Times reports that both officers were patrons at Growlers Bar in Highland, Indiana, when they were shot early Saturday.

The officers are from East Chicago and Gary.

Gary-Chicago International Airport

GARY, Ind. (AP) — The Gary/Chicago International Airport has reopened its main runway after a three-week closure to rebuild much of it.

Airport officials say crews were able to complete work for the $7.9 million runway project on Saturday. The project involved replacing the aging asphalt with concrete on about 4,000 feet of the nearly 9,000-foot-long main runway, along with installing new storm drain piping.

The Gary airport says the project increases the runway's weight limit and allows it to handle larger planes. Crews completed the runway work a day ahead of schedule.

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CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — A former Lake County Sheriff's Department official has pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI during a public corruption investigation that led to the conviction of former Sheriff John Buncich.

The Post-Tribune reports that former Deputy Chief Dan Murchek appeared Monday in U.S. District Court.

Kiichiro Sato / AP Photo

RENSSELAER, Ind. (AP) — Former Chicago Bears coach Mike Ditka is helping out a now-shuttered northwestern Indiana college that once hosted the Bears' preseason camps.

Ditka will be the featured speaker at a June 9 fundraiser benefiting the renovation of a former St. Joseph's College campus building.

That building would become a new residence hall for the Rensselaer campus if a proposed partnership with Marian University allows it to reopen as a two-year school. The Catholic school closed last year under $27 million in debt.

metro recycling

Today:   An extensive conversation with Neil Samahon, the CEO of Metro Recycling -- northwest Indiana's  metals recycling operation.  The company, based in Blue Island but with big operations in Griffith and Valparaiso,  just received a "Business of the Year" award from Northwest Indiana Partners for Clean Air.  Neil talks about not only his operations -- but about the impact that overseas trade and tariff issues can have on the business.

Geese swim in overflow from the St. Joseph River,
Jennifer Weingart / WVPE

Three new Disaster Recovery Centers opened in Northern Indiana this week to help residents still dealing with aftermath from this year’s floods.

The centers operated by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency are intended to help those seeking federal assistance for flood damages. Center workers are available to help navigate resources and assist with registration.

MERRILLVILLE - Indiana State Police confirmed this Thursday that they have been asked to investigate an excessive force complaint against three Lake County sheriff's officers. 

The investigation was spurred by an excessive force complaint filed with the Gary Police Department by Miata L. Lawson, 27, of Gary following her arrest on May 9th, for suspicion of disorderly conduct, resisting arrest, battery on law enforcement and public intoxication.

WRTV/General Assembly

Today:  On this Reporter's Roundtable Thursday, we asked Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations' statehouse reporter Brandon Smith to talk about the special legislative session on Monday, and Joseph Pete of the "Times of Northwest Indiana" to tell us about the stories he posted online and in print.   They included the dramatic rise in gasoline prices in northwest Indiana and of an upcoming cable TV network documentary about a Hobart woman who could be considered a serial killer.

Streets Blog Chicago website

Today:   Gary Public Transportation Corp. general manager Daryl Lampkins and Northwest Indiana RDA spokesman Dave Wellman are in the studio to talk about this week's Regional Transportation Summit -- a day-and-one-half-long event that begins on Thursday at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond.  The mission of the event is to hold "crucial conversations" dealing with the challenges, efficiencies, connectivity and growth of the Region's public transportation system.

The state department of education hosted a school safety roundtable Tuesday, with school safety specialists from across the country.

Sharon Bohling, Crossroads YMCA / Griffith Police Department

GRIFFITH - Shortly after Greg Mance became Chief of the Griffith Police Department, he became aware of a big challenge of the job, getting female and minority applicants to apply. Then there was the even bigger challenge of getting them successfully through the application and testing process, to getting hired as an officer.  Mance enrolled other organizations to help solve that problem.

National Association of Realtors

Today:   Northwest Indiana Realtor associate Laura Konieczny of LaPorte talks about the REMAX Integra Midwest 2018 home buying and selling market report -- which includes an update for the region.  She says the average home selling price rose 8.8% from this time last year to $120,278.  That's the highest first-quarter price for the past five years.  Laura also notes what other Realtors are saying -- buyers are competing for fewer homes on the market.

IU-Purdue Fort Wayne

Andy Downs, the executive director of the Mike Downs Center on Indiana Politics in Fort Wayne came on "Regionally Speaking" on Monday to talk about last week's primary elections and his "take"on the winners and how he sees the campaigns shaping up during the months before the November general election.  This includes the contentious Republican Party race for U.S. Senate, won by Mike Braun.  Here's the conversation.

Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) says some Hoosier taxpayers would have seen tax increases without legislation approved during the special session. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Lawmakers approved two substantial tax measures during Monday’s one-day special session.

Many of the provisions sought to conform state tax laws with major policy changes made by the recent federal tax reform bill – which Sen. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) says is part of what made a special session necessary.

Today:   Andy Downs, the executive director of the Mike Downs Center on Indiana Politics in Fort Wayne joins us to talk about last week's primary elections and his "take"on the winners and how he sees the campaigns shaping up during the months before the November general election,  This includes the contentious Republican Party race for U.S. Senate, won by Mike Braun.

Celina Weatherwax of the Valparaiso-based MAAC Foundation talks about the addition to the training center curriculum of OSHA safety training courses for northwest Indiana businesses and industries.

Donnelly-Braun Race Shaping Up To Be Contentious

May 11, 2018
Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and his Republican challenger Mike Braun. (Photos courtesy of the U.S. Senate and Indiana General Assembly)
Brandon Smith

The Senate race between incumbent U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Ind.) and Republican Mike Braun is fully underway as both men gear up for what’s likely to be a contentious campaign. 

Today:   It's Reporter's Roundtable Thursday and we asked three "Times of Northwest Indiana" reporters to join us to talk about the May 8th primary election races they kept track of -- Bill Dolan, Dan Carden and Carmen McCollum.  Carmen reported on the Lake Central and Crown Point school referenda questions.  The "Times'" Lauren Cross talked about her story on the financial questions under review of the city of Gary's ambulance and EMS-related bank accounts.  And Chicago "Tribune" reporter Michael Hawthorne talks about his story of more lead contamination found in neighborhoods in northwest

IndyStar.com

Today:  we have highlights of the races in the May 8th primary election, along with reaction from winners and from the "Times" reporters and political observers who joined us on Tuesday night's four-hour broadcast.

Voters Across Indiana Approve More School Funding

May 8, 2018

Every one of the 12 school funding measures on the primary ballot passed this week.

Anderson Community Schools had two measures on the line, for school operations and construction. Both passed with around 60 percent of voter approval.

Goshen Community Schools also had two measures up for consideration, but the margin of victory was a bit closer – both passed with a little more than 50 percent of the vote.

Sharon Bohling, Crossroads YMCA / Griffith Police Department

GRIFFITH - The Griffith Police Department has had a difficult time attracting female and minority applicants and is working to solve that.  Shortly after Greg Mance, became Chief of the department in 2013, he discovered how few minoriti es and females had an interest in applying for the police department. Many of those who did apply had a difficult time with the application process.

Today:   Ahead of Tuesday's primary election -- and Lakeshore Public Radio's Election Night coverage, beginning at 6PM -- we offer a look from Indiana Public Broadcasting's Barbara Brosher about the importance of young voters, if they come out to the polls. Barbara says many young voters don't participate in the primary election process.

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention / American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

KOUTS - People will once again remember victims and family and friends of those who have committed suicide during the Out of the Darkness Walk on Sunday, May 6th.

Cindy Perkins, who is a Middle School and High School Teacher at Kouts Middle High School and advisor for the school's Family Career and Community Leaders of America club says the FCCLA is organizing the walk at the school.  It will be held at the Kouts school track.

Wes Aldridge

CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) — Police departments in northwestern Indiana are turning to key fobs as a way to unlock doors at local schools electronically so officers can quickly enter if there's an emergency.

The Times reports that the newly implemented system in Crown Point gives officers access to all doors at every school in the district. Officers will also be issued a school ID card.

People are said to experience food insecurity when they do not have access to enough food for all family members to live a healthy, active life. An annual report measures the rate of food insecurity in Indiana slightly under the national average, almost 14 percent of the population. 

The county where the Map the Meal Gap report found the highest rate of food insecurity is Marion County, at 18.3 percent. The county with the lowest measured rate is Hamilton County, at 8.8 percent.  

Chris Starnes / Trains Magazine

KOSCIUSKO COUNTY - An investigation is underway into a CSX train derailment in which two people were injured.  Captain Chris Mckeand, of the Kosciusko County Sheriff's Department says it happened at 12:45 a.m. on Thursday near Nappanee in Kosciusko County. 

He says the injuries to the victims were minor and they were treated and released.  Mckeand spoke to Lakeshore Public Radio at about 1:30 in the afternoon on Thursday.  

(Darron Cummings/Indiana Debate Commission)

On this Reporter's Roundtable Thursday, we turn to Dan Carden of the "Times of Northwest Indiana" for his stories on the final U.S. Senate candidates' debate held in Indianapolis and other stories this week -- and to Carole Carlson of the "Post-Tribune" for her stories about the upcoming primary election.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith completes his series of Senate candidate conversations with Todd Rokita. And we also have reporters and editors from the "Times" in one of the "That's So Region" podcasts. 

John Luke / The Times

VALPARAISO, Ind. (AP) — A special prosecutor will investigate allegations that a developer moved forward with a construction project at Indiana Dunes State Park without a permit.

The Times reports the Porter County prosecutor made the request because his senior staff members are acquaintances with developer Chuck Williams.

Counties Want Out Of New Indiana Abortion Lawsuit

May 2, 2018
Planned Parenthood of Indiana and Kentucky CEO Christie Gillespie (left) and ACLU of Indiana Legal Director Ken Falk discuss a recent victory in an abortion lawsuit. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Three Indiana county prosecutors don’t want to defend the state’s new anti-abortion law against a suit brought by Planned Parenthood.

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