Regionally Speaking

Monday - Thursday, 12-1 PM
  • Hosted by Chris Nolte

Addressing the most important local issues facing the Region during a daily hour of stimulating conversation with local news-makers.

Chicago Crusader website

Today:  Reporters Sharon Jackson with Lakeshore Public Radio, Michael Puente with WBEZ (in his role as "Off Mic" Friday program host) and "Times of Northwest Indiana" business reporter Joseph Pete are on the program.  Sharon's offered to us her discussion of the latest on the Griffith-Calumet Township relationship  issue with Town Council president Rick Ryfa.  Griffith's asking state lawmakers to support a bill that would allow the town to handle its own township services.  Michael has his "Off Mic" conversation with the new Mayor of Gary, Jerome Prince. And Joseph covers the business stories he sent out in print and online for "Times" readers.  They include news of two  local "Pier 1" store closings and how Pizza Hut wants to expand in the midst of takeout and delivery competition.  We also talk to Linda Hadley with Methodist Hospitals about Friday morning's Northwest Indiana Health Disparities Council meeting in Merrillville.  It will be the first community forum of 2020 addressing local healthcare topics and issues.

NWI Times

Today:   Jeff Hyman, the senior staff attorney for the Conservation Law Center, based at the I.U. Maurer School of Law in Bloomington, is with us to talk about the CLC's assistance to "Save the Dunes" and other groups over the bill in the Indiana House of Representatives concerning public access to Lake Michigan beaches.  The landmark 2018 Indiana Supreme Court ruling -- that affirmed the shoreline of Lake Michigan is owned by the state and held in trust for use by all Hoosiers -- is at risk of being undone, if a bill now under review is approved by the Legislature this esssion.  We have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio" from South Shore Clean Cities and NIRPC.  And, later in the program, Laura Odom with Purdue University Northwest talks about next week's Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day events on the Westville and Hammond campuses. The university's been celebrating the memory and work of Dr. King with an annual program for 25 years now.

PBS.org

Today:   Byron Martin, the executive director of International and Intercultural Engagement at Valparaiso University, is in the studio to talk about the 2020 Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration and Convocation entitled "Our Time," to be held Monday, January 20th at the Harre Union.   It includes a speech by noted author and speaker Dr. Imani Perry. More information can be found here.   We have another edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation, and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  And we talk with Merrillville High School senior Xavier Thompson, and his assistant principal Michael Knocke, about how Xavier's love of cooking with his grandmother is leading him toward a career in culinary arts -- through his classes at MHS and a $17,000 scholarship from Johnson and Wales University in Florida.  Thompson took advantage of classes in the high school's CTE Pathways program.

Hannah News Service

Today:  Ed Feigenbaum, the editor of "Indiana Legislative Insight," "Indiana Gaming Insight" and "Indiana Education Insight" newsletters published by Hannah News Service, is with us to talk about the 2020 Indiana General Assembly session just begun and his "take" on the issues and the bills that are up for review.  He also talks about the latest data from the Indiana Gaming Commission on end-of-2019 Hoosier casino revenues that include the northwest Indiana boats.  We bring back our conversation with Griffith Police Department social worker Erica Rios, and last month's conversation with Democratic Congressional candidate Ryan Farrar -- one of several residents who are campaigning in the May 5th primary election to succeed Pete Visclosky.

Hannah News Service

Today:  Ed Feigenbaum, the editor of "Indiana Legislative Insight," "Indiana Gaming Insight" and "Indiana Education Insight" newsletters published by Hannah News Service, is with us to talk about the 2020 Indiana General Assembly session just begun and his "take" on the issues and the bills that are up for review.  He also talks about the latest data from the Indiana Gaming Commission on end-of-2019 Hoosier casino revenues that include the northwest Indiana boats.  We bring back our conversation with Griffith Police Department social worker Erica Rios, and last month's conversation with Dem

WNIN Public Radio

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable" Thursday we talk to Dan Carden, who covers Lake County and state government stories for the "Times," about what he put out in print and online and to "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson.  Dan's stories were on the first days of the 2020 General Assembly session and the announcement from State Senator Eddie Melton of Gary that he was discontinuing his gubernatorial campaign.  Carole talked at length with outgoing Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson on her accomplishments as she was leaving office -- and Karen's regrets on things she worked on while Mayor that she had to leave to her successor Jerome Prince.  Carole also talks about the new Lake Station Mayor, Bill Carroll, and about the Gary gun violence rally and vigil  held on Wednesday afternoon. 

South Shore CVA website

Today:  Amari Victoria and Elisabeth Menning with LGBTQ Northwest Indiana are in the studio to talk about the organization, its inaugural "NWI Pride" event last summer in Highland, and the plans for 2020 events -- including another "Pride" day.  Carl Lisek with South Shore Clean Cities has another "Green Fleet Radio" conversation, and Indiana Public Broadcasting environmental reporter Rebecca Thiele reviews this year's Renewable Energy Day in Indianapolis.  The chairman of the Indiana Federation of College Republicans, Isaiah Mears, tells how the young-conservatives group is supporting climate change by joining a national campaign.  The goal is to come up with and support an alternative proposal to the "Green New Deal."

Indiana Senate Democrats website

Today:  Indiana State Senator Lonnie Randolph (D-East Chicago) talks about the 2020 General Assembly session that began on Monday and the measures he's supporting or sponsoring this "short" session. We also have this week's edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation  and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Burke Constanza & Carberry website

Today:  Northwest Indiana attorney Alfredo Estrada, whose primary practice is in immigration law, joins us to reflect on those issues as they happened during 2019, the need for comprehensive immigration reform, and his thoughts on what the candidates running for Congressman Pete Visclosky's seat should know about the issue.  District 15 State Representative Chris Chyung talks about the issues ahead as the 2020 General Assembly begins its "short" session and, later, Leah Nahmias with Indiana Humanities talks about the "INseparable" documentary film tour that makes its first stops next week here in northwest Indiana. It's part of the two-year-long initiative tbat focuses on how Hoosiers relate to each other across boundaries, real or imagined.

Ballotpedia website

Today:  Another Democratic Party primary election candidate for First Congressional District is in the studio to talk about the campaign ahead in 2020.  Ryan Farrar, who ran unsuccessfully for Indiana state Senate Dist. 6 in 2018, is now in the field of candidates who are seeking the nomination for Congressman Pete Visckosky's seat.  Farrar says he's centering his campaign around the issue of campaign finance reform.  Heather Ennis with the Northwest Indiana Forum takes a look at the organization's busy 2019 and looks ahead at 2020.  The Forum is a nonprofit focusing on regional economic development, with its current initiative entitled "Ignite The Region."   And we revisit our conversation with northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer about the window of opportunity to convert Roth IRAs.

commons.wikipedia.org

Today:  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson spoke with Griffith Town Councilman Rick Ryfa about the process that the community is going through to be able to secede from Calumet Township and shift into a different Lake County township.    Reporter Michael Puente has a remembrance of former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher, who passed away late last week.  The feature first aired on Lakeshore Public Radio on Monday.   Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith and his guests talk about the latest Indiana news topics on "Indiana Week In Review."  Reporter Annacaroline Caruso reports on ways to help Hispanics, especially undocumented immigrants, get healthcare in northern Indiana.  And NPR's Steve Inskeep and David Greene offer a feature on the latest "Star Wars" film coming out this weekend and how the original hit movie ended up as a radio drama on NPR, 40 years ago.

Indiana Economic Digest website

Today:  Ball State University Center for Business and Economic Research executive director Michael Hicks joins us to talk about his 2020 economic forecast for the U.S. and Indiana.  It's a forecast with good points and bad points, and he explains how he reaches the conclusions listed in the forecast.  We have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio" with Carl Lisek of South Shore Clean Cities.  His report is also supported by NIRPC.  Brandi Adams, the director of resource development with Lake Area United Way, talks about the recent "Santa's Worshop for Working Families" held at Wicker Park in Highland and how is part of the United Way overall local mission to help local families.  And we talk with Erica Rios, the social worker with the Griffith Police Department, about her work in her community and how she can help in times of crisis. 

Sheriff Dave Reynolds Facebook page

Today:  Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds joins us to talk about the just-completed work on the Indiana Jail Overcrowding Task Force, created to look into the issues surrounding county jail overcrowding  and how to resolve them.  The task force, made up of legislators, state officials and judges, toured the Porter County Jail during a series of meetings held around the state and Porter County's way of dealing with the issues received favorable attention.  The report can be found  here . We also have more about the Cline Avenue bridge project on "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation, and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.   

Frank J. Mrvan Facebook page

Today:  Indiana University Northwest professors Charles Hobson and Micah Pollak are in the studio to talk about a study that they and colleague Bala Arshanapali conducted on military-friendly businesses -- and learned that hiring veterans is good for business.  Merrillville town councilman Shawn Pettit talks about the community center project that they just broke ground on recently.  The land, which was once the site of a drive-in theatre along Broadway, will be home to several athletic fields as well as a facility that could rival Hammond's Sportsplex.  And North Township Trustee Frank J. Mrvan joins us in the studio to talk about his candidacy for the seat now being held by U. S. Congressman Pete Visclosky.  Mrvan will be on the 2020 Democratic Party primary election ballot.

Dan Carden, "Times"

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable," we talk to Dan Carden and Bill Dolan of the "Times" and Carole Carlson with the "Post-Tribune" about the stories they put out in print and online.  Dan's stories include updates from the most recent Lake County Council meeting and Gov. Eric Holcomb's 2020 legislative agenda.  Carole covered stories from Gary Common Council and Airport Authority board meetings that include Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.  Bill Dolan covered the East Chicago City Counncil meeting where firefighters' work schedules were the big topic of debate -- and of a proposed ordinance that the Mayor may veto, if it passes. Bill also has an update on former Portage Mayor James Snyder's new federal court trial.

Tom McDermott Jr-Twitter

Today: We continue our conversations with northwest Indiana residents interested in the U.S. Representative seat now held by Pete Visclosky. Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. is one of the candidates who will appear on the May 2020 primary election ballot.  He talks about his experience, including that of mayor, and his views on the issues.  We have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio," supported by South Shore Clean Cities and NIRPC. And Lake County Councilman Charlie Brown is with us to talk about efforts to make the county government department budgeting process more efficient.  A committee chaired by Brown will be meeting next year to begin work on the issue, ahead of the 2021 budget year.

Sabrina Haake for Congress website

Today:  Another candidate for local Democratic Party voters to consider in the May 2020 primary election for U.S. Representative joins us in the studio -- attorney and activist Sabrina Haake.  She talks about herself and the issues that she feels are most important, including building a "green economy" in northwest Indiana.  We have another edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  And Ron Taylor and Keri Marrs Barron with the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District bring us up-to-date on the county's drop-off recycling centers, how users can help make them more efficient, and a sneak peek at the Earth Day Celebration next year at the Porter County Expo Center.

Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune

Today:  We begin our conversations with northwest Indiana residents who want to succeed Congressman Pete Visclosky.  The longest-serving U.S. Representative from our area decided not to seek re-election and several have already made their intentions known to be on the Democratic Party ballot in the May 2020 primary election.  Valparaiso attorney Jim Harper is one of them.  We also bring back our conversation with Dee Dee White with Ivy Tech Community College, about the series of casino dealer traiming courses being offered that can provide jobs at local casinos, including the new Hard Rock Casino to be built in Gary. 

National Park Service

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable," we talk with Meredith Colias-Pete of the "Post-Tribune" about her story on the concerns over the growing erosion on Portage's Lakefront and Riverwalk and the impact on the Pavilion.  "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete is with us to cover the stories he's put out in print and online, including the flooding at the U. S. Steel Gary Works and a year-in-review review of Region retail businesses. It covers those businesses which opened and closed in 2019.  Michael Puente also offers his "Off Mic" conversation with documentary filmmaker Paul Nelson on his latest project, covering Octave Chanute.

Photo Provided

Today:  Indiana University Northwest professor Jack Bloom's book "Class, Race and the Civil Rights Movement" is now in its second edition, and the subject is still as important today as it was decades ago. We bring back our conversation with professor Bloom -- along with conversation with IU Northwest professor Maureen Rutherford on the Gary campus' neuroscience degree program.  We also have a look at the changes coming to Hoosier cities and towns from the November elections from Andy Downs of Purdue University Ft. Wayne.  He is executive director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics.

stock photos

Today:  Peter Novak with the Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors talks about the latest report on northwest Indiana home sales and their median prices, issued last month for October, and a look ahead to 2020 local home building and sales and buying trends.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Jill Sheridan has a report on the Affordable Care Act in Indiana and about supporters who help Hoosiers apply for healthcare insurance.  We also have this week's edition of "Building Northwest Indiana," supported by the Construction Advancement Foundation.... and northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer.

Visist Indiana website

Today:  Valparaiso University geography professor Mike Longan talks about the research into the exurban culture in northwest Indiana that led to his studies into the geography of country music and the better understanding of rural working-class culture.  He's been able to travel to other countries to learn more and wants to write a book about the subject.  Erika Dahl with the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority joins us in the studio to talk about "A Christmas Story Comes Home," the displays and events held at the Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond this month surrounding the 1983 film based on the writings of master storyteller Jean Shepherd.  She talks about how the displays came to northwest Indiana as well as more  about the public events linked to the movie. 

Purdue University Ag. Economics

Today:  There will be 50 new mayors taking office in 2020 in Indiana cities and towns.   Many campaigned during the elections on promises -- and must now turn those promises into policy.  Purdue University economist Larry DeBoer joins us from his West Lafayette campus office to talk about some of the issues the new mayors will face, and how the Indiana economy has evolved over the years to treat urban, suburban and rural communities differently. He talks about research going into a new formula that he will unveil later this year.  We also have this week's edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Photo Provided

Today:  We talk to Purdue University Northwest professor Dietmar Rempfer, who is the director of the University's School of Engineering, about the new faculty internship program.  The School is expanding and deepening its connections with industry and manufacturing partners in new and unique ways that benefit them as well as the Hammond and Westville campuses and students who are taking engineering classes.  Northwest Indiana activist Ruth Needleman joins us in the studio for an update on topics ranging from immigration, to efforts in Gary Commun Council to enact benefits for both the city and its residents. to an opportunity to help Region residents through another "Can We Talk?" session.   And "Indiana Legislative Insight" and "Indiana Gaming Insight" creator Ed Feigenbaum reviews the recent legislative Organization Day, the municipal elections around the state and updates on Indiana gaming issues.

Nuvo.net

Today:  Jesse Kharbanda, the executive diretcor of the Hoosier Environmental Council, joins us to talk about the organization's 2020 General Assembly agenda, including efforts for passage of  bills that offer more solar energy options for homeowners and mass transportation that uses clean-energy processes.  He also talks about last weekend's "Greening the Statehouse" program.  And Josh Hale, the CEO of Chicago-based Big  Shoulders Fund, talks about the independent charitable organization's long-range efforts to assist schools in the Gary Catholic Diocese of Gary with the help of a $16 million gift over 10 years from the Bruce and Beth White Family Foundation.  It will be the Big Shoulders Fund's first venture into northwest Indiana.

Indiana Secretary of State Election Division

Today:  Andy Downs, the executive director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue Ft. Wayne is on the program to review the Indiana municipal elections this month.  He notes a number of changes  for mayor in several cities this past election and how incumbents mamaged to hold on to their mayoral positions in some cities like Indianapolis.  Regional Health Systems president-CEO Robert Krumweid is in the studio  to talk about his three-decades-long post with the area behavioral health care provider, beginning with a small location in East Chicago.  "Post-Tribune" columnist Jerry Davich discusses the thoughts behind his series of columns on the town of Ogden Dunes and issues between the chairman of the town's planning commission and residents and contractors.. 

Getty Images

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable" Thursday we turn to Dan Carden of the "Times" and "Post-Tribune" reporter Michael Gonzalez to talk about the stories they posted online and had in the print editions this week.  Dan covered the announcement from U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky that he would not seek re-election in 2020, and of two people who already are interested in seeking the longtime Congressman's seat -- Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. and North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan.  Dan also has the story about the Schererville town election where Councilman Michael Troxell won the Clerk-Treasurer's race.    Michael was in Portage on Election Night to watch how mayoral candidate John Cannon (who is serving out ex-Mayor James Snyder's term of office) and Sue Lynch did at the polls.  His story in the "Post-Tribune" detailed Lynch's election victory and post-election comments from Cannon.

HammondMan-Wikipedia

Today:   The Leadership Institute at Purdue Northwest is holding a discussion on Thursday with regional leaders, including some of the public officials who were involved in Tuesday's election.  PNW professor and LNI academic director Rachel Clapp-Smith joins us with the details of the event.  We have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio" with Carl Lisek of South Shore Clean Cities with the focus on Hammond's economic development program. The director of the Library of Congress' Veterans History Project, Karen Lloyd, talks about the project -- which is similar to Story Corps -- and its importance to keeping the lines of conversation with veterans alive.  And Tami Silverman with the Indiana Youth Institute is with us, with the IYI's tips on making holiday familiy gatherings  enjoyable, educational for young people, and with minimum conflict.

Roads and Bridges website

Today:   We bring back our conversation with Terry Velligan and Laura Weber, two of the United Bridge Partners staff members working on the Cline Avenue bridge project in East Chicago.  The toll bridge is scheduled to be completed early next year, to take the place of the structurally-unsound bridge near ArcelorMittal  that was demolished.  We have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio," hosied by Carl Lisek from South Shore Clean Cities.  And Indiana University Northwest economist Micah Pollak talks about Friday's annual "Business and Economic Outlook" program to be held at Ivy Tech Community College in Valparaiso.  Speakers include Professor Pollak and other academicians and northwest Indiana business and economic development leaders, who will offer their "big picture" look of 2020 in the Region.  Roman Bronson of "Indiana Plan" returns with news of another union construction trades job seminar next week at the ArtHouse -- A Social Kitchen in downtown Gary.

Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune

Today:   Lake County Democratic Party chairman Jim Weiser and his Republican Party counterpart, Dan Dernulc, talk about the last-minute campaigning efforts that their candidates are making, one week ahead of the municipal elections. They also talk about the joint letter they issued in response to remarks posted on Facebook by the former Libertarian Party chairman about two Hammond City Council candidates.  We have another edition of "Building Northwest Indiana," with host Kevin Comerford from the Construction Advancement Foundation -- and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. 

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