Regionally Speaking

Monday - Thursday, 11 AM -12 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.

Valparaiso Unversity Youtube

Today:  We revisit conversations this week, during this End of Calendar Year Membership Drive: first, with Valparaiso University accounting professor Anton Lewis, about his courses taught at VU and how they relate to his book "Counting Black and White Beans: Critical Race Theory in Accounting." And we hear again from former northwest Indiana lawmaker Chris Chyung about his work with the Washington D.C.-based think tank "Center for American Progress."

The Shoppers Weekly Illinois website

Today:  Diana Bosse, the city of Crown Point's entertainment superintendent, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the 2021 "Adopt-A-Family" program, which will assist 12 local families and about 30 children during the holiday season.  Indiana Youth Institute's Tami Silverman was on the program recently to talk about ways to help children learn about the importance of kindness and giving.  We bring back that conversation, along with one with Paige Sharp with the Indiana Arts Commission about an annual program that helps Hoosier artists become better entrepreneurs.  South Shore Arts is a local partner in the program.  Side Effects Public Media reporter Carter Barrett also has a report on conservatorships -- with an example of a Hoosier who was under one for years, controlled by his parents, even though he was an adult with a wife and a child.


Today:  Purdue University Northwest psychologist and "Pandemic Parenting" creator Amanda Zelechoski is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the new podcast and companion website she's involved with: "Roadmap to Resilience," which offers practical information for helping youth who are experiencing stress and trauma.  The chief nursing officer st St. Mary Medical Center in Hobart talks about the new high-tech hospital beds which are now in place throughout the Hobart facility, and how they benefit patients and hospital staff.   And Kim Olesker, the director of museum operations at the Barker Mansion in Michigan City, along with her programs and events coordinator Michele Gustin, talk about the historic mansion and its long-anticipated opening next month after extensive renovation.  A number of events are planned in December, before more renovation work is done during the winter months.  The museum then opens again to visitors and for individual events in the spring.

Indiana University Northwest

Today:   Indiana University Northwest economist Micah Pollak is on "Regionally Speaking" with an update on his Twitter-feed conversation on the impact of COVID-19 on northwest Indiana and with the latest news on northwest Indiana's economy.  Some of it is related to the pandemic and of its impact on the local workforce.  Drew Richardson, the vice-president of product and business development for IHIE, the Indiana Health Information Exchange, talks about the nonprofit organization and of its work to expand across northwest Indiana, because of new health system contributors.  We also bring back our conversation with Rex Richards with the Valparaiso Chamber of Commerce, about new and existing businesses in the city, as we near the end of 2021. And the Indiana Toll Road is getting "greener," which will benefit the Region's broadband internet services.   We have a report on that.

Indiana Public Media

Today: On this "Reporters' Roundtable Thursday," "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden and "Post-Tribune" freelance reporter Carrie Napoleon talk about the stories they've put out in print and online, including stories from Dan from the recent Organization Day at the Indiana General Assembly, what legislators may discuss when the session officially begins in January, and of a legal request sought in federal court in Hammond to halt the selection of a new Lake Superior Court judge.  Carrie tells us about an economic development project in Gary which could bring new jobs to the city and a way to deal with the region's solid waste:  a proposed facillity that would convert trash into jet fuel.  And "Inside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick spoke with a Hoosier businessman about the unique role that Indiana is playing, in keeping products moving through a supply chain crisis.  

Today:  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the impact of inflation  (5.4% CPI increase in the past year, the highest increase in almost 13 years) and its impact on retirement income.  He keys it to the 2022 COLA rise for Social Security recipients:  average retiree checks will be rising by $92 a month next year.  Greg says every retiree needs an income plan that doesn’t rely on the government or on cost-of-living adjustments.  We also revisit our conversation with Neil Samahon, the president and CEO of Porter County-based Opportunity Enterprises.  OE is expanding its Respite House service with a new facility along Lake Eliza, which will help persons with disabilities and their families enjoy a higher quality of life.  And Todd Rossow, the Midwest regional manager with the U.S. Federal Trade Commission, has a holiday scam alert which covers online purchases, travel and charitable giving.  

Minding The Workplace blog

Today:  Valparaiso University business law professor Elizabeth Gingerich is on "Regionally Speaking" for an initial conversation about what she teaches in the College of Business, which includes a strong emphasis on the environment and regional economics.  We also revisit Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele's visit to Michigan City and the impact the eventual closing of the NIPSCO coal-fired power plant will have on the community.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and we bring back our conversation with Food Bank of Northwest Indiana executive director Victor Garcia.  He focuses on the mobile markets which they regularly offer to food-insecure minorities, primarily in north Lake County.   And we have reaction to plans for a pilot project by the Indiana Supreme Court to allow media recording in some courtrooms, including here in northwest Indiana.

Nuvo magazine

Today:  Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about this weekend's 14th annual "Greening The Statehouse" conference which is, once again, being conducted virtually due to the pandemic. There will be expert panel discussions on urban and rural environmental justice, climate policy, solar energy, wetlands policy, and changing the paradigm in areas of higher pollution like here in Northwest Indiana.  Gary Public Transportation Corp. planning and marketing director David Wright talks about the Fall Summit, an opportunity to learn about plans for renovations and new bus shelters, new branding for the paratransit service “Access 219” and about the rollout of new vehicles, including new electric-powered buses coming to GPTC routes.   And Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman is here with the monthly chat on issues surrounding children.   This one covers the upcoming holidays, and the benefits of teaching kindness and gratitude to our children.


Today:  Ahead of Veterans' Day, we talk with Veterans Health Administration Chief of Staff Jon Jensen  about how the VHA's evolved over its 75-year history to meet the unique healthcare needs of veterans from every era as well as contribute to medical advances that help them.  He says many private sector physicians and healthcare workers got their professional start with the VA.  Forty-seven billion dollars in the federal infrastructure bill just signed by the President will go to make U.S. communities more resilient to natural events like flooding, drought, and extreme heat. The White House says it's the largest such investment in American history. Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele speaks with an IUPUI researcher about the impact of the measure.  Later, a Purdue University mechanical engineering professor and his team is working on a way to -- perhaps -- eliminate air conditioning on buildings in warm-weather climates forever.  The solution is with a whiter-than-white paint. 

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:  Sinai Forum executive director Leslie Plesac is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the unique way that Holocaust survivor Max Eisen spoke last Sunday to the audience on Purdue University Northwest's Westville campus.  Leslie also has details on available season tickets for the series, since many are attending the speeches virtually, rather than in-person on campus.   Pew Charitable Trust project director Tiffany Russell talks about the deep research that her team conducted into whether 911 call centers around the country are ready to handle more behavioral health crises.  She says they are not.  Sheila Matias, the executive director of the PNW Society of Innovators, talks about the Nov. 17th luncheon and 2021 Innovators induction ceremony.  It will be held at Avalon Manor in Merrillville.  Sheila reviews the list of inductees, which include representatives of business, industry and nonprofit organizations that are offering innovations toward solutions, benefiting society and creating measurable value to the community at-large. 

Chesterton Tribune

Today:   David Reynolds II, the son of current Porter County Sheriff David Reynolds, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his candidacy in next year's Democratic Party primary election for County Sheriff.  Reynolds talks about himself, his experience in law enforcement -- including working for the Chicago office of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (a job which he had to quit, to be able to run for office) --  and as a patrol officer for the Sheriff’s Dept.   Greg Ellis, an actor/producer/author, talks about his book “The Respondent: Exposing The Cartel of Family Law.”   It's a book based, in large part, on his personal experiences in dealing with divorce and the family court system.  He’s encouraging reform of the family court system.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Lee Gaines reports that many Indiana educators and families worry about the pandemic’s social and emotional toll on students with special needs.


Today:   Valparaiso University assistant accounting professor Anton Lewis is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the courses he teaches in the College of Business and how they relate to his book "Counting Black and White Beans: Critical Race Theory in Accounting." This is the first of monthly conversations with professor Lewis, an expert on diversity, equity and inclusion in business.  We bring back our conversation with journalist-historian-playwright Jeff Biggers on "Kaminski's Lot," his play that's being performed at Indiana University Northwest.  Biggers is IUN's Climate Narrative Playwright-in-Residence.  "Family Promise of Porter County" board president Robin Wilkening talks about the organization and its work to combat family homelessness, and Beth Murphy with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has the latest on expanded benefits for disability claims for Gulf War-era veterans. The claims are related to conditions that veterans may have suffered, from toxic exposures while on duty in several campaigns overseas.

Police1 website

Today:  More police across Lake County and other northwest Indiana counties will soon have a new way to identify and to keep drug-impaired drivers off the road. Devon McDonald with the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the SoToxa handheld analyzers headed to police officers on patrol.   Side Effects Public Media reporter Farah Usury has the story of a central Indiana man who hopes that football can keep kids in school and out of trouble.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith has a report from a national nonprofit research group on the 2020 U.S. Census figures from Indiana. Indiana could've lost some federal funding if the Census had been more accurate.

town of Dune Acres website

Today:  Lou Dzierak, the editor-in-chief of "Outforia," an online resource that encourages everyone to get outdoors, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about a recent survey into home prices near National Parks around the country -- including the Indiana Dunes National Park in Porter County.  The survey showed that  average home prices in the area closest to the park are among the highest home prices in the nation. (Pictured: the view across Lake Michigan from the Dune Acres beaches.) We bring back our conversation with northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer to review the ways to help seniors, and those approaching retirement, keep accelerating healthcare costs in check.   A Valparaiso resident is featured in this week's conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Side Effects Public Media reporter Farah Usury has a report on some people travelling thousands of miles from their home countries to the U.S. -- even to Indiana -- to get their COVID-19 vaccination.

Photo provided

Today:  Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor spokesman Anthony Swinger is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about ways that northwest Indiana residents can save money this winter on their heating bills, or get help in paying them.  This includes the federally-funded LIHEAP program.  Regional farmer Keith Kudla, the CFO of Artesian Farm, talks about his unique business, using an old building to house vertical hydroponic agriculture technology -- an operation that uses 98% less land and 95% less water to grow green crops that can be harvested 365 days a year. Artesian Farm's crops are marketed to customers in Midwest cities like Merrillville and Michigan City through "Market Wagon."

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:  Dianne Durham, the first African-American senior national gymnastics champion, is being remembered in a "celebration of life" next week in Gary.  "Off Mic" guest host Michael Gonzalez spoke with Dianne's husband Tom Drahozal about her legacy and how she paved the way for many of the superstar athletes that we know of today. "Post-Tribune" reporter Alex Kukulka is on "Reporters' Roundtable" this week to review the stories she put out in print and online, as is "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete. He talked about the revised plan that NIPSCO has for the utility's future, including an earlier-than-announced retiring of the Michigan City coal-fired power plant.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Dylan Peers McCoy has a report on the Gary Community Schools' financial situation. 

LGBTQ Community Center Cleveland OH

Today:  Indiana Youth Institute president-CEO Tami Silverman is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the role that teachers and other people have in creating supportive environments for Hoosier LGBTQ+ youth. CIFI executive director Phil Black talks about the organization -- with an office in Hammond -- and the $125,000 it just received from the U.S. Treasury Department that goes toward minority businesses.  Indiana Public Broadcasting environmental reporter Rebecca Thiele has two reports and we bring back our latest conversation with Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda.

Jeff Biggers website

Today:  Award-winning historian-journalist-author-playwright Jeff Biggers is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his play "Kaminski's Lot," which will be performed at IU Northwest beginning next week.  Biggers is the Gary campus Climate Narrative Playwright-in-Residence.  The Climate Season Project is a year-long initiative combining arts, climate change awareness and campus community outreach and engagement.  Side Effects Public Media reporter Carter Barrett visited a western Indiana city to learn more about "community para-medicine, which aims at preventing emergencies in the first place.  And Michael Letts, the founder and president of "In-Vest-USA," a national grassroots nonprofit that provides bullet-proof vests to law enforcement across the country, talks about a slaying in Houston which should never had happened, if the officers who responded had been wearing special vests.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  Indiana economist-writer-speaker Morton Marcus is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his "Eye On The Pie" columns dealing with the Hoosier State's economic issues.  We also bring back our conversation with Indiana Universary Northwest associate dean Kristen Huyskin about two grants which will help new students on campus - one of them is a five year, $5 million grant from the U.S. Department of Education to increase the number of students receiving IUN degrees in the STEM fields. 


Today:  "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the stories he's put out in print and online, including tonight's selection of someone to fill state Senator Karen Tallian's final year of her term of office, effective Nov. 1st. Dan also talks about the selection of a permanent U.S. Attorney for northern Indiana and of U.S. Senator Mike Braun's urging Chicago police who refuse mandatory vaccination in Illinois to come work in Indiana.   And we revisit our conversation with Jill Long Thompson, the former U.S. Representative and one-time gubernatoral candidate who began a political career as a member of the Valparaiso City Council from 1984-86.  She's written a book -- published by I. U. Press -- titled "The Career of American Democracy."

Photo provided

Today: Erin Stojic, the Financial Wellness Coalition Coordinator for the United Way of Northwest Indiana is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about Thursday's virtual "Get Smart About Credit Day."  We also revisit cour conversation with Paul Schreiner with "Project Neighbors" in Valparaiso about the nonprofit's latest projects, including a second Respite House to serve men who are recovering from addiction.  A member of NIPSCO's energy efficiency team, Ryan Tedeschi, has some pre-winter tips to save energy and money. And Lake County elections officials made some adjustments to some precinct maps to reflect the changes made by srare legislators based on U.S. Census data.  We review the list and note that some changes won't affect any voters at all.

Food Bank NWI / Linked-In

Today:  Victor Garcia, the executive director of the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the Mobile Markets out around the region and how important they are to fighting food insecurity – especially in Hispanic- and Black-populated neighborhoods.  Hispanics make up a big number of the food-insecure in the region -- and many are afraid to use the Mobile Markets because they must prove by ID of being an Indiana resident.  We also bring back our conversation with Gary Chamber of Commerce president Chuck Hughes and Dr. Marlon Mitchell, about what could a life-changing opportunity for many in the city of Gary: a chance for better housing and a better job.   We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Duluth MN media illustration

Today:  We revisit our conversation with DEA Agent-In-Charge in northern Indiana Alfred "Chip" Cooke about the drug enforcement and prevention efforts because of the overdose pandemic, and in particular against fentanyl.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brock Turner has a report about having Indiana National Guard troops help overworked hospital workers as they deal with a surge in COVID-19 cases.  And we talk with former northwest Indiana legislator Chris Chyung, who is now working for the Washington, D.C. think tank "Center for American Progress."  He's spent a lot of time on state climate policy and lately, analyzing the reconciliation bill which is currently moving through Congress.

Hammer Financial Group website


Today:  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer is back on "Regionally Speaking" about some important money matters that should be accomplished before the end of the calendar year.  That includes converting one's Roth IRA and making charitable contributions.  Side Effects Public Media reporter Christine Herman spoke with a chaplain who is dealing with COVID vaccine hestitancy, mistrust and misinformation from those who seek his advice.  And Julie Wiejak, the interim executive director of undergraduate admissions at Purdue University Northwest, talks about the two "Preview PNW" campus information sessions for high schoolers who are interested in college or for adults (including veterans) who want to return to college for their degrees.  The first session is Saturday, Oct. 16th on the Hammond campus and the second is on Nov. 13th on the Westville campus.  Both sessions begin at 8:30 a.m. and more information is online.

Inside Indiana Business

Today:  NFIB Indiana state director Barbara Quandt is on "Regionally Speaking" with the latest report on how Hoosier small businesses are coping with staff shortages and other issues during the pandemic and a new national NFIB Small Business Optimism Index report.  Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman talks about the IYI's latest series of reports focused on Hoosier LGBTQ+ youth, and Lake County Economic Alliance executive director Karen Lauerman has a big list of projects to talk about, including prospective economic development sites, here in the region that can attract new or expanded businesses.

Indiana University Northwest

Today:   Indiana University Northwest associate dean for student success in the College of Arts and Sciences Kristin Huysken is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about two federal grants -- one of them, a five-year grant totalling $5 million, which will support efforts to increase the number of students graduating with degrees in the STEM field.   The other grant is supporting efforts to allow first-year IUN students make the transition into college, through the "RedHawks Rise" program.  Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda is leaving the post that he's held for the past 13-plus years.  We talk with him about the legacy that he's leaving with the HEC and his next step into the future (which will include writing about the  environment).  And Side Effects Public Media reporter Steph Whitesides speaks with a local public health official about the new vaccine boosters being made available. 


Today:  Gary Chamber of Commerce executive Chuck Hughes and one of the founders of the city's Eastside Community Development Corp. and Computer Skills and Training Center, Dr. Marlon Mitchell, are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about what could be a life-changing opportunity for young people who need training for the jobs of the future.  PNC Financial Services economist Abbe Omodunbi joins us with his view of the regional and national economies.  "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson attended last week's official installation of I.U. Northwest Chancelllor Ken Iwama and wrote both print and online stories, and she talks about the event.  She also talks about the Illinois-based demolition contractor which will tear down the closed and abandoned Lew Wallace High School building in Gary.  The school district's management team recommended the firm to the Distressed Unit Appeals Board in Indianapolis.

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:  Paul Schreiner with Project Neighbors in Valparaiso is on "Regionally Speaking" with an update on several projects, including the recent opening of its second Respite House, which is a second halfway house to serve men recovering from addiction.  He also talks about other new housing projects to assist low-income residents in the city, to address the affordable housing shortage... and about a special series of audio documentaries that feature minority students attending Valparaiso High School.   Indiana Public Broadcasting's Lee Gaines and Dylan Peers McCoy have a feature report on efforts to end issuing emergency licenses to people to teach special education classes in the state. And NIPSCO energy efficiency team member Ryan Tedeschi offers some important tips to save energy as colder weather approaches, along with a few year-round energy saving tips.

Indiana Tourism website

Today:  Paige Sharp with the Indiana Arts Commission is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the IAC's partnership with the state's Small Business Development Center for its annual "On Ramp Entrepreneur Accelerator which helps Hoosier artists, and the businesses they run, to be more resilient and be able to deal with the pandemic and the financial impact it brings.  South Shore Arts is a local partner in the program.  Karen Anaszewicz with the Mascot Hall of Fame in Whiting talks about how the downtown attraction is doing during COVID-19 and has the details on two big projects which include a November 5th fundraiser -- with the accent on "fun."  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Indiana University Northwest

Today:  The official installation ceremony for Indiana University Northwest Chancellor Ken Iwama was held on Friday and his remarks, along with those of I.U. President Pamela Whitten before she makes the installation official, are on "Regionally Speaking."  Iwama has actually been on the job on the Gary campus for a year, but his ceremony was postponed due to the pandemic. We also talk with Toni Simpson, whose mother, Lela Mae Washington celebrated her 100th birthday recently. Toni talks about the big birthday celebration, complete with a parade and with proclamations from local and state officials.  And she hopes that others who have loved ones celebrating such milestones will take the same steps that she did, to help make her mother's celebration so special.