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.

Northwest Indiana Photos website

Today:    Merrilville Town Councilman Leonard White is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the town, what it plans (for now) to do with the American Rescue Plan funds it will receive from the federal government and about its new businesses, including the recent groundbreaking for the new Domino's Pizza supply chain facility. Gary native and community activist Korry Shepard shares his thoughts on historic preservation and economic development in his hometown.  And we revisit "Off Mic" host Michael Puente's conversation with a concerned Valparaiso resident and member of "Allies Against Racism," over the controversy that a recent Popcorn Festival parade float brought to her city.

Today:  A Region native and documentarian focused one of his programs on the old Lake County Jail in Crown Point.  Darren Zancan is back on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his "History Alive" series episode with a local touch, and he offers some little-known facts about the old lockup.  Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Ella Abbott has a report about what are called "sundown towns," where Blacks were told to stay out of some towns in the North after the sun went down.  She looks at the impact of those towns (a few of them in Indiana) on other communities -- decades later -- and how it ties in with the current civil unrest.

Today:  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about healthcare costs for retirees reaching a national high, and he offers some strategies for getting ready to meet the rising costs.  Side Effects Public Media's Farah Yousry has a report on how far some people will go to get COVID-19 vaccines -- even flying across the globe to get them, if they don't have access to them at home.  And a historic Asian festival is being celebrated this week at a northwest Indiana casino cafe with a very special dessert -- moon cakes.  


Today:  Alfred “Chip” Cooke, the special agent in charge of the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration northern Indiana office, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the drug enforcement and prevention efforts because of the overdose epidemic.  The culprit is fentanyl, a deadly opioid which is increasingly being laced into heroin, cocaine, ecstasy and other dangerous and illicit drugs, as well as prescription pills that have been diverted from appropriate medical use.  Andy Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue Ft. Wayne, has an update on the General Assembly's work on new district maps -- legislative and congressional -- before they vote on them and send them on to the Governor's office.  Citizen groups are angry that they haven't had much input into the drawing of the maps, and only a few public meetings are scheduled before they are voted upon.  And Dr. Elizabeth Brill, deputy chief medical officer for Veterans Health Administration, joins us to talk about the VA’s mandatory vaccination requirement for all employees, to protect veterans who come into their facilities from contracting the virus.

Brandon Smith, Indiana Public Broadcasting

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable Thursday," we talk with "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden about the new Indiana House and Congressional district maps released by legislators this week and their impact on northwest Indiana lawmakers' current seats and taxpayers.  "Times" correspondent Bill Dolan talks about a case in federal court in Hammond that involves properties purchased at Lake County property tax sales and how one man is alleged to have taken advantage of the process.  And "Post-Tribune" Lake County government reporter Alex Kukulka talks about her stories on the latest votes by the Lake County Council about COVID-19 mask mandates in schools, a big purchase order from the sheriff's department and the 2022 county budget process.  

CWI website


Today:  The Valparaiso-based Center for Workforce Innovations' adult education program is helping   northwest Indiana residents who don't have high school diplomas work toward their High School Equivalency certificates.  We talk to one of the program's latest graduates and with her teacher on "Regionally Speaking."  The young woman's led a tough life, but is working hard to turn it all around now.  We bring back our conversation with U.S. Army (Afghan War) veteran and Dyer resident Chris McClanathan on his effort to bring his one-time interpreter and his family out of Afghanistan.  And we find out more about the Indiana data in a report from "Safewise" on the state of gun safety in America.   


Today:  Karina Donayre with the Interfaith Community for Detained Immigrants, advocates for immigrants and their families, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the shift of some detainees from Illinois county jails serving as ICE detention centers.  Some immigrants are being released,  but others are merely shifted from one county jail into another and remain in detention.   Neil Samahon, the  president and CEO of Opportunity Enterprises in Porter County, talks about the organization's expansion plans along Lake Eliza: an 18,000 square foot Respite House.  Antonio Ciaccia, president of 3 Axis Advisors working with the National Consumers League, has the latest on what we should know about keeping prescription drugs costs under control -- by being aware of the role of pharmacy benefit managers. 

Photo provided

Today:   Bill Moreau, the co-founder of the Indiana Citizen Education Foundation and publisher of "The Indiana Citizen" online newsletter, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the 501(c)(3) nonprofit, non-partisan platform that is dedicated to inceasing the number of Hoosiers engaged and informed about civic matters.  The "Citizen's" main topic right now is political boundary redistricting.  We also revisit our conversation with activist and film producer Peter Samuelsen, the organizer of a campaign to get 430,000 signatures on a petition to end for-profit foster care.  State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) is pushing state officials to stop ordering Hoosiers who received pandemic unemployment benefit checks to return the money.  We revisit the conversation, along with one with Ivy Tech Community College Valparaiso chancellor Aco Sikoski on the new courses offered this semester to prepare students for jobs in the growing broadband communications industry. 


Today:  On this special edition of "Regionally Speaking," we have three conversations on the 20th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  State Rep. Ed Soliday of Valparaiso was an executive with United Airlines when the terrorists commandeered and flew aircraft into the World Trade Center, the Pentagon and a jetliner that crashed into a field outside Shanksville, PA on 9-11-01.  He recalls the events which followed.  Two of the four hijacked aircraft were United Airlines flights.  Purdue University Northwest associate political science professor Richard Rupp has some observations about the aftermath of the terrorist attacks and how it changed national and world policy.  (pictured: the 9-11 Memorial in New York)  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Dylan Peers McCoy spoke with a Chesterton high school history teacher about how he  conducted his class on September 11, 2001. 

Photo provided

Today:  Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about Thursday evening's Hohman Avenue Redesign Project public meeting at the HUB of Innovation. The first phase of the project will slow down traffic on Hohman Avenue and make the historic downtown district more conducive for future development.  (pictured is a planners' conception of part of the Hohman Avenue area, from the city's historic downtown Hammond master plan). Mayor McDermott will also talk about other city economic development projects like Oxbow Landing -- and he'll speak briefly about the initial work on his 2022 campaign for U.S. Senate. We also bring back our conversation with Penelope Love with the Aetna Manor Revitalization Program, currently going on in a community outside Gary that was a bustling community before the Steel City was even conceived. 

Kyle Telechan / Post-Tribune

Today:  Heather Ennis with the Northwest Indiana Forum is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the economic development initiatives that her organization is conducting along with the READI program supported by Governor Eric Holcomb (he's seen here being escorted into the Indiana Dunes State Park Pavilion for his visit on Aug. 24).  We also bring back our conversation with the leaders of the Lake Area United Way and the United Way of Porter County about their impending merger. And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Ivy Tech Community College

Today:  Ivy Tech Community College Valparaiso campus Chancellor Aco Sikoski is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the launch of a broadband SEAL program which will give students an opportunity to learn skills that can lead to new jobs in new technologies in fiber optics and related fields. Indiana state officials are promoting programs like this one, to boost high-tech employment in northwest Indiana.   The state of Indiana's Office of Work-Based Learning and Apprenticeship Certificates is recognizing the Ivy Tech program.  Afghanistan war combat veteran Dan Jarvis talks about his participation in a nonprofit that is dedicated to helping heal PTSD in veterans and first responders. He has personal experience with the disorder, and can relate to what returning Afghanistan veterans might be facing.  Elisabeth Menning with PFLAG Crown Point NWI tells us more about the local branch of the national organzation and the return of in-person "First Thursdays" meetings for families, friends, allies and members of the LGBTQ+ community.

Today:  Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy is back on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his city: the latest action by the City Council to deal with issues like properties which become public nuisances -- in particular, too many police calls -- and establishment of the new Youth Council, along with updates on street repaving projects.  We also bring back our conversation with Foster Success president-CEO Maggie Stevens about a recent study and its report issued in partnership with the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, on programs established at the state's public colleges and universities to assist students coming out of foster care who need help in finding enough to eat or a place to live, when they arrive on campus for the new school year.  


Today:  We speak with Dyer resident and U.S. Army veteran Chris McClanathan who – like many veterans – is doing his best to get an Afghan, who was an interpreter with him while on-duty in northern Afghanistan in 2011, out of the country (along with his family) as the Taliban take over the country.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, with another viewpoint on the city of Gary.  And we also talk with Gary attorney Tracy Coleman, and two of her clients, about a federal court lawsuit filed against the state of Indiana and a local election board.  They want state control of Gary Community School Corporation removed, and return it to local -- elected official -- control.   The 18-page lawsuit claims the district’s 2020 successful 72.1 million dollar, eight-year referendum violated the state’s constitution.

Today:  Gary Community School Corp. manager Dr. Paige McNulty is on "Regionally Speaking" with an update on how the school district has done as the new school year gets underway, including on the needed repairs to some buildings to deal with the (physcially) hot beginning to a new year.  The creators of a new documentary on the late PBS painter Bob Ross talk about the new program, now streaming online.  And Julia Vaughn with the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission talks about the public pressure on Hoosier legislators not to make the same mistakes of the past that resulted in "gerrymandered" legislative and congressional districts.  General Assembly members return to Indianapolis early next month to begin their work -- but citizen advocates are worried that they've already made up their minds.

MAAC Foundation Valparaiso

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable, Amy Lavalley, the editor of the "Chesterton Tribune," talks about the stories in today's edition which include the recent MAAC Center Demonstration Day (an aerial view of the Center in Valparaiso is pictured above) and a story on a years-long securities fraud case from Porter County that is now before the Indiana Court of Appeals.  "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson talks about her stories on local schools and the COVID-19 pandemic and of complaints by Gary Community Schools patrons about its management.  "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete joins us to talk about, among other stories, the latest unemployment data in northwest Indiana.

Today: Northwest Indiana coordinator for "Resilience Cohort" Kathy Sipple is back on "Regionally Speaking" with her earlier conversation on this summer's greenhouse gas emissions inventory project with participating municipalities. It's part of a statewide effort to better understand such emissions, and how communities can reduce them.  Team members in the participating communities are wrapping up their work. Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele has a report on how federal funds will support upcoming research on relying more on insects to help feed livestock, pets and perhaps ourselves as well.  Film producer Peter Samuelson, the organizer of a campaign to get 430,000 signatures on petitions, calls for an end to for-profit foster care -– thru -- and Jeffery London, director of Loan Guaranty Service at the U.S. Dept. of Veterans Affairs, joins us to give an update on the VA Home Loan Program and an expanded nationwide effort of save veterans who are homeowners from losing their homes to foreclosure. 

U.S. Dept of Justice

Today:  Griffith Police Chief Greg Mance is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about Saturday's "Prepare To Serve and Protect Workshop" at Griffith YMCA.  It's an opportunity for those interested in a career in law enforcement to learn tips and techniques to become successful in the hiring process.  Side Effects Public Media's Stephanie Whitesides has a report on student nurses and the more stressful environment they need to learn about, when they return to class this fall.  Matt Schuffert, the general manager of Hard Rock Casino Northern Indiana in Gary, talks about the first months of the casino's operation since its May opening.  And "Save The Dunes" executive director Natalie Johnson has the list of September events, including an important IDEM virtual hearing on a Burns Harbor water pollution hotspot on Sept. 1st.  

United Way of NWI

Today:  David Nicole with Lake Area United Way and Kim Olesker with United Way of Porter County are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the merger of the two local United Way organizations to become the United Way of Northwest Indiana.  The merger is projected to be completed late this fall.  We also revisit our recent conversation with Tom Brown with the Lake County Community Economic Development Department about the funds available to help renters avoid eviction.  Lake County received $13 million in federal funds for covering rent, utilities and internet service for eligible residents.

Today:  Amateur Gary historian and Facebook group leader Korry Shepard is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his love of history in his hometown and seeks answers to his questions. One question is: why are there so many abandoned houses in Gary?  He brings up the subject of historic housing discrimination in the city.  Pediatrician Dr. Tina Tan talks about the importance of getting youngsters ready for in-person learning this year with vaccination.  The delta variant is affecting children at a higher rate than previous variants of the virus. Dr. Tan is an attending physician with the Lurie Childrens' Hospital in Chicago.

Today:  Indiana University Northwest professors Linda Galocy and Dorinda Sattler are on "Regionally Speaking" with their earlier conversation on privacy laws during the COVID-19 pandemic -- and what businesses can ask of their customers and of their employees.  State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) talks about her demand that the state Department of Workforce Development stop demanding that "gig economy" Hoosiers who received pandemic unemployement benefits repay the state for the benefits. And Side Effects Public Media's Carter Barrett has a conversation with colleague Lauren Bavis on the impact of ransomware attacks on healthcare organizations. An Indianapolis-based healthcare provider is still trying to bring affected systems back online, two weeks after the hackers' attack.


Today:  Jill Powers with Goodwill Industries of Michiana is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about this Friday's LaPorte Military Veteran Stand Down, an informational and supportive event for veterans and their families.  The event takes place once again this year at the LaPorte County Fairgrounds, but it is an "in-person" event.  Last year's Military Stand Down was a drive-through event because of the COVID-19  pandemic.  Foster Success president and CEO Maggie Stevens also joins us to talk about the project the organization did with the Indiana Commission on Higher Education, to survey Indiana public colleges and universities about the ways they support students facing housing and food insecurities isues.  She talks about the report with data gathered from about 76% of the campuses surveyed, and more about food pantries and emergency funds available to students.  The report can be found here on the Foster Success website.

Photo provided

Today:  Indiana economist-writer-speaker Morton Marcus is back on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the topics in his recent "Eye On The Pie" columns. They range from the Hoosier economy in general, to his observations on the U.S. Census reports just released, to the need for properly retraining residents for available jobs and new careers.  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer connects a link between pop star Britney Spears's financial problems and making sure that one has an estate plan in place.   "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter creator and editor Ed Feigenbaum has the latest regional and statewide casino news.  And Side Effects Public Media reporter Carter Barrett has a report on the concerns of Hoosier hospitals that there may not be enough ambulances to transport patients because of the issues surrounding reimbursement for those EMS services.

Indiana Public Media

Today:  On this "Reporters Roundtable Thursday," "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden and "Post-Tribune" Lake County government reporter Alex Kukulka talk about the stories they've put out in print and online lately.  Dan reports on the Indiana Supreme Court decision to temporary suspend a former Portage city official's law license and a happy day for a local legislator on the ceremonial signing into law of a bill he introduced to deal with an issue that he's fought to resolve.  Alex's stories include updates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in northwest Indiana and of the local public meeting about the impending work by state legislators to redraw the legislative and congressional district maps.  And Mark Dollase with "Indiana Landmarks" is with us to talk about the August 19th video tour of several mid-century modern homes around the state.  The virtual tour includes an exclusive look into a unique 1964 house in Munster which shows the influences of post-war American and Scandinavian design. Anyone who wants to see the video tour can purchase tickets in advance on the "Indiana Landmarks" website.

Today:  Chuck Harris and Dawn Pelc with the Porter County Substance Abuse Council are on "Regionally Speaking" with a previous conversation about the county's substance abuse issues and how the Council is working with addicts to keep them out of jail.  We revisit our conversation with Charmaine Bogue with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the 77th anniversary of the GI Bill. Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele has a report on what may be an unnecessary concern about banning reusable shopping bags from supermarkets during the COVID pandemic.  And Side Effects Public Media's Darian Benson continues her series of reports on Black women and HIV that includes a conversation with a woman who's been HIV-positive for 30 years.

Today:  Indiana Youth Institute president-CEO Tami Silverman is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the return of high school sports activities (like last fall's Indy Chatard-Merrillville football game, pictured above) and their importance to young people as they get ready to return to classes.  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer talked about where one should get investment advice (not from the social media pundits) and we bring back that conversation.   Side Effects Public Media's Darian Benson begins a series of reports about a hidden HIV epidemic: among Black women. And we have a conversation from IPB News on the concerns that some have about police officers stationed in public schools who aren't specifically trained to be around students.

Today:  Steve Coxhead, the president of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about Amtrak's "2021 Corridor Vision" statement and the Alliance's long-range plan for improving rail transportation in the state.  "One Sight" global vision nonprofit president and executive director K-T Overbey talks about the importance of National Eye Exam and Childrens' Vision Health month of August.  "One Sight" has a clinic in Gary.  And Tim Brown, the executive director of Lake County Community Economic Development Department, tells us about the funds available to help renters avoid eviction and (for some landlords) property foreclosure, and of the local partner agencies helping the county get the funds out to those who need it. Lake County received $13 million in federal funds for covering rent, utilities and internet service.

Photo provided

Today:  Lake County Fair board treasurer Arlene Marcinek is back on "Regionally Speaking" with her conversation about this year's Fair that is opening in Crown Point on Friday and running through Aug. 15th.  Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Dylan Peers McCoy has a report on how a curious alumnus found a way to honor the first Black woman to graduate from a largely-white high school. And financial planner and student loan expert Brian Walsh tells us how parents and students can reduce the expected headaches in coming up with ways to pay for college, for both tuition and for living costs on campus.

John J. Mosesso, USGS

Today: Ashley Williams with “Just Transition NWI” is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk in more detail about a recent report on “Earthjustice” that provides new evidence of community benefits gained by thorough cleanup of toxic coal ash -- rather than leaving it in place.   NIPSCO’s Michigan City Generating Station and others around the country were studied. Indiana University Northwest economist Micah Pollak is being featured in a University-sponsored podcast on research and creative activities.  Pollak has been tracking the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact for months.    The podcas

Purdue University West Lafayette

Today:  Purdue University's main campus is hosting another record number of freshmen this fall, and administrator Rob Wynkoop is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about how they're transitioning from "de-densification" last school year, due to COVID, to prepare for a big freshman class.  I.U. Northwest dean of student success in the College of Arts & Sciences Kristen Huysken talks about the "Summer Bridge" program Aug. 16-20, as a way for incoming first-year students to be ready for a new academic year. And IPB News's Lee Gaines has a report on concerns that federal funds, helping students get tutoring help during the pandemic, may run out soon.