Off Mic, with Michael Puente

Friday @ 11 AM

A weekly local news show addressing issues in Northwest Indiana and Chicagoland. Hosted by Michael Puente.

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Today on Off Mic: Money, money and more money is coming to Indiana as well as the rest of the country as part of the president’s $1.2 Trillion investing into infrastructure bill. We’ll speak to one Lake County lawmaker who was there for the signing.  And we get an update on one safety net hospital in East Chicago.  We’ll replay a conversation about economic development and food insecurity in northwest Indiana. All of this on Off Mic…

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Today on Off Mic ....

A public forum will take place next week that some in East Chicago hope will address concerns about the future of a safety-net hospital;

We talk about food insecurity in Northwest Indiana as the Thanksgiving holiday approaches;

And, as we near the end of the year, we want to highlight some of Northwest Indiana's biggest wins in terms of economic development.

All this on Off Mic.

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Today on Off Mic:  We revisit the conversation about northwest Indiana police departments trying to lure Chicago police officers across the state line. This is happening as Chicago police are at odds with the city over a vaccine mandate. We hear from a local sheriff who is hiring Chicago police officers. We talk to the new president of the Lake County Bar Association and what makes his appointment mean in terms of history. And the fallout of the Chicago Blackhawks sexual assault scandal continues to grow. We hear from a reporter who has been covering the scandal. All this on Off Mic.

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Today on Off Mic …An Indiana senator recruits Chicago Police officers to apply for law enforcement jobs in Northwest Indiana.  Is that a good move? And – no fooling around – we hear about an upcoming comedy show. And move over Bulls – there’s a new basketball champion in town. And we wrap up the show giving you a fresher course on Dia de los Muertos …. All this on Off Mic.


Today on Off Mic: October is a time we celebrate Hispanic and Native American culture, the coming of fall and Halloween but it’s also a time for serious issues like domestic violence and preventing it. We talk to one Indiana State representative who views domestic violence as a public health crisis, including right here in Northwest Indiana. We get an update on the DACA program and why there are long delays for those needing to renew their status to work and to live freely.

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Today On Off Mic: Latinx are traditionally Democrats but a sizable percentage vote Republican. We talk with the author of a book who chronicles the history of Hispanics and the GOP, from Nixon to Trump. And, it is true? Are da Bears heading to da burbs? We'll talk about how Chicago hopes to keep their beloved Bears in the city. And, we'll find out what are the chances of the White Sox going deep in the playoffs. All this on Off Mic.

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Today on Off Mic: We talk about the controversy over a 9-11 parade float in Valparaiso last week and more issues of potential bias happening in that city. We talk to to a motivational speaker about being positive and authentic. And it’s Hispanic Heritage Month. We talk about the issues and get a jump start on the month.  All this on Off Mic.

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Today on “Off Mic” with guest host Post-Tribune columnist Jerry Davich we’ll take a look at the broader picture behind all the “We’re Hiring” signs at local businesses, with insights from an economics professor at IUN about the ongoing "great reassessment of work,” as it’s called.

We’ll also hear from a Gary pastor who says he went through hell after contracting COVID-19 – “the worst 17 days of his life” – and how he now feels compelled to spread the gospel about vaccinations for the deadly virus.

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Today on Off Mic with guest host Michael Gonzalez: We’ll take a quick look at the proposed $26 Billion settlement between several pharmaceutical companies and 15 states, including Indiana. We also have a glimpse at what the opioid crisis means for police in one local community. The opioid crisis may have some unintended effects for chronic pain sufferers, as we’ll hear from one guest. We’ll also talk with a local parent following a years-long ordeal as she watched her son struggle with side effects of a number of different prescription drugs, including psychotropic drugs. What do we look for and how do we help our loved ones who need help navigate a complicated mental health system? We’ll also visit with a psychiatrist and author who says we’ve become a “quick fix culture” and offers direction on making sure we get the proper care for mental health issues. And we finish off with a look at this year’s Gary International Black Film Festival. All of this coming up on “Off Mic.”


Today on Off Mic with guest host Michael Gonzalez: We’re celebrating athletics as the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games wind down. We’ll hear about the late, great Dianne Durham, of Gary, the first African-American Senior National Gymnastics Champion and how she paved the way for many of the superstar athletes we see today. Along with the 2020 Olympics, 2021 has become the year of seeing sports psychology in action. What does it mean and what should we make of it? Gary has a long history in professional and amateur boxing.

Michael Puente

Today on Off Mic: Gary native Clifford Johnson has been nominated to become the next U.S. Attorney for the Northern District of Indiana. We talk about what his selection may mean and talk to two people who know him well. And if covid infections are going up, why then aren’t more people getting vaccinated? We talk to two ladies who are trying to boost vaccine rates in NWI. And there is continued unrest in Cuba, we talk to someone who knows the country well and gives us his thoughts about U.S. involvement.

There is continued unrest in Cuba.

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Today on Off Mic: One hospital in Northwest Indiana has already announced plans to dramatically downsize. Could another follow? We talk to two Indiana state lawmakers who are trying to get answers about the future of St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago; we also talk to one doctor who has worked at St. Catherine for decades and hear her worries about the future of the hospital; and finally a discussion about a new Indiana law that will give the public a new tool to get answers from not-for-profit hospitals. 

Today on Off Mic, It’s Pride Month. We take a look back at the struggle gay people faced for the right to marry across the nation and here in Indiana.  We talk to one local gay man on acceptace in Northwest Indiana and the future of the LGBTQIA movement. And now that wedding receptions are back in full swing, what’s the hot music and classics that are sure to get folks on the dance floor?  One local wedding DJ gives us the scoop. All This on Off Mic … 

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Today on Off Mic: It's not the London Bridge but it's a bridge nonetheless. There's a growing concern about the demolition of a pedestrian bridge in East Chicago. School children often use it to cross a busy roadway. But, coming next week, it's being demolished and not being replaced. We'll give you another look inside the new Hard Rock Casino in Gary. And, did you see that play by the Cubs' Javy Baez? We'll catch you up. All this on Off Mic.

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Today on Off Mic: The move to get more Latino’s vaccinated is happening this weekend. A local state representative is sponsoring a mass vaccination site in Hammond where a Spanish singer, a food giveaway and flowers will be available to anyone who gets a vaccine. A new political organization is trying to get more moms elected. And the news that Northwest Indiana’s largest city will soon be without a full service hospital is not sitting well with the city’s mayor. Finally, the battle between DC and Marvel heats up again. Who wins? All this on Off Mic…

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Today on Off Mic, Running a small business these days takes more than luck. It takes positive thinking. We talk to one local caterer that offers luwith a side of inspiration. Low income northwest Indians parents of sick children can now seek medical treatment closer to home. And, what's this feud between Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and lawmakers that landed them in court? Finally, we catch up with a local artist that makes art  out of junk. All of this on Off Mic...

Today on Off Mic: It’s been an emotional week here in Indiana and across the country. The announced conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin in the murder of George Floyd and the continued outrage of the death of 13-year-old Adam Toledo in Chicago, has sparked discussion. We bring you that;Earth Day celebrations continue in Northwest Indiana. We talk about how one city is using the occasion in getting its citizens involved in cleaning up the community; and April is National Organ Donor Month.

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Today on Off Mic: The shocking video released yesterday of a Chicago police officer shooting to death a 13-year-old boy whom the officer who was told he had a gun, raises more questions about police accountability. We talk to one person who sees the situation as a former police officer, prosecutor, sheriff and defense attorney; aAnd a federal judge says BP Whiting violated air pollution standards, but what does the ruling really mean?

Today on Off Mic, Northwest Indiana is home to a new vaccination center. We’ll  visit with Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb and Indiana Health Commissioner Dr. Christina Box to tell us the significance of the opening of this new center in Gary; And while Gov. Holcomb’s mask mandate is now over, some of you tell me why you plan to keep wearing your mask; And, one town in Northwest Indiana is proposing making getting a vaccine mandatory for all employees; and April is National Donate Life l Month. We’ll learn about how and why you should become an organ donor.

Today on Off Mic: Indiana lawmakers aren’t exactly known for going out of their way to help Northwest Indiana. But, there is a bill that is nearing the finish line to getting passed that would save a lot of time and trouble for low income parents whose children are suffering from cancer or other illnesses; We also hear about an initiative in Michigan City to clean up the city; And, baseball is back and with fans. We’ll see how both sides of Chicago are expected to do this season. All this on Off Mic.

Today on Off Mic: Covid restrictions are easing up a bit in Indiana but does that mean Hoosier should let down their guard? We talk to the state’s top doc about that; We hear from the head of Northwest Indiana’s first land-based casino; And, we also hear about how folks on Chicago’s North and South Sides are gearing up for a new season of baseball. This time with fans in the stands; Also, an emotional conversation about depression among high school and college students; And what is it like to be a college basketball player playing in this time of Covid? All this on Off Mic


Today on Off Mic,  Later this Spring, the first land-based casino in Northwest Indiana will open. We talk to the head of the new Hard Rock Casino Northwest Indiana in Gary.  We also talk to those local vendors who want to work with the casino.  And, are you meeting your fitness goals? We have a personal trainer who will give you trips on staying fit;  And, what’s it like to pour all those beers at Wrigley Field and Guaranteed Rate Field? We talk to one man who has done it for five decades. All this on Off Mic. 


Today on Off Mic:

The pandemic has impacted movie theaters, live concerts and community theater. It’s forced some community theater groups to come up with creative ways to get their productions to the masses. We talk to the head of the Towle Theater in Hammond, Indiana; We talk to the new owner of the iconic African American magazine, Ebony, and the owner’s connection to Northwest Indiana; And preventing violence before it happens. We talk to the organizers of one such program in the City of Gary. All this on Off Mic.

TODAY ON OFF MIC….Indiana is a very agricultural state but if you live in the urban areas of northwest indiana – a farm is as foreign to you as Mars. But that could change under legislation to expand urban agriculture. There’s also plans to enhance economic opportunities on the lakefront in Gary; And – why aren't teachers given priority to get the covid vaccine in Indiana? We’ll talk to one teacher who has issues with that; And could the Chicago Bears land Russell Wilson? We’ll find out. All this on Off Mic.

Today on Off Mic,

President Biden is pushing through an aggressive plan to allow 11 million undocumented immigrants to become citizens. It’s a move that many welcome but those on the right, are opposed. We talk to one local professor on what this legislation may mean for those living in the shadows locally and nationally; We talk about African-American contributions to Major League Baseball, including the White Sox and Cubs. And, how historic was all this snow we got this week? We talk to a legendary Chicago weatherman. And, it’s cold outside but sports are heating up. All this on Off Mic.

Today on Off Mic …

Protecting the Environment. Indiana lawmakers seem to be going backwards in doing just that. From wetlands to solar power, some say Indiana is not moving in the right direction. We talk to the director of the Hoosier Environmental Council to see what needs to be done; And part of our ongoing series on people who have started a business during the pandemic, we talk to one man who got tired of looking for work – so he became his own boss; We also talk to the White House reporter for Politico; And --- this weekend’s Valentine’s Day. Many couples will be going out to celebrate. We talk to one person who says you might be able to bring a smile to a child for Valentine’s Day.All this on Off Mic ….