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.

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Today:  Ty Warner with the Northwetern Indiana Regional Planning Commission talks about the new report "E-commerce in Northwest Indiana," which follows the explosive growth of ecommerce in the Region as a result of the coronavirus pandemic, and makes some recommendations to help adapt to the changes.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele has another feature on the economic impact of coal-fired power plants on the communities where they are located. We also bring back our conversation with Linda Eales, the curator of the Samara House in West Lafayette.  It's a structure that was designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright back in the 1950's for a Purdue University professor and his family. The house is now on the National Register of Historic Places and Indiana Landmarks is setting aside one million dollars for continued restoration of the structure.

Lakeshore Public Radio

IU Northwest economics professor Micah Pollak was on "Regionally Speaking" last month to talk about a study commissioned from EMSI, on the economic impact that IU Northwest has on students, alumni and the community at large.  He also talked about his Twitter posts that update local residents on the COVID pandemic.  These remarks came as the number of cases began to rise dramatically. IPB News reporter Rebecca Thiele has a feature about the Michigan City NIPSCO power plant, and Purdue Research Foundation's David Broecker talks about a wireless high-speed internet initiative that will benefit students and families in the Kankakee Valley Schools district next year.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  Terry Velligan, the general manager for operations at the Cline Avenue bridge construction site, is with us with an update on the near-completion of the bridge that is over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago.  The final segment constructed on-site was raised into place earlier this month and the finishing touches are being made to get ready to open the bridge to traffic  in early winter.  CareSource Indiana president Steve Smitherman talks about the non-profit organization's efforts to assist Hoosiers in getting their 2021 health insurance needs met.  And northwest Indiana community activist Ruth Needleman has the latest on local racial and community-police issues.

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Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable" Thursday, we have Lakeshore Public Radio reporter Sharon Jackson's conversation with Crown Point Mayor David Uran, who is convalescing at home after having tested positive for COVID-19 about 18 days ago.  He is doing well, and he shared his experiences with Sharon.  "Post-Tribune" reporter Hannah Reed and "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete are talking about the stories they wrote and posted online and in the print editions.  Hannah's stories are pandemic-related, about school districts changing their students' instruction modes, and Joseph's stories run the gamut, from business layoff-related (BP in Chicago and Whiting) to the downtown Gary demolition projects to the passing of Gary teenaged chef Ben Watkins.

CDC.org

Today:  The president of the LaPorte County Board of Commissioners, Sheila Matias, is with us to give an update on the COVID-19 health crisis in her county and of the latest restrictions that include closing county government offices effective Monday.   And "Off Mic" host Michael Puente talks with newspaper reporter Mike Hutton, who is involved in a clinical trial for a coronavirus vaccine.

Lee Lewellen, Indiana Landmarks

Today:   William Carroll, the executive director of St. Joseph's College in Rensselaer, is with us to give us the latest in the effort to continue the liberal arts college's return to educational solvency, so to speak, following some financial issues in recent years.  The college resolved those obligations  and approved a three-year plan.  Carroll and his Board of Trustees are soliciting ideas and have heard from at least one alumnus.  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer joins us to talk about some of the things that family members can discuss when they get together for the holidays, whichever way that may be.  That may include updating retirement accounts or even estate planning, if needed. 

Indiana Public Media

Today:  We have two environmental topics that are linked to northwest Indiana and NIPSCO's coal-fired plants.   Hoosier Environmental Council director of environmental health and water policy director Dr. Indra Frank talks about the release of a 32-page white paper entitled "Our Waters At Risk, Part 2: The Impact of Coal Ash."  It addresses the concerns about groundwater contamination by power plants' coal ash "impoundments"  -- the unlined pits in flood plains of Lake Michigan and Indiana rivers.  Jamie Palmer, a policy analyst with the I.U. Public Policy Institute talks about a recent analysis designed to help Hoosier lawmakers discuss the state's shift from coal to emerging technologies to create electricity.  PNC Financial Services Group economist Abbey Omodunbi joins us for the first of a monthly series of conversations about the local and national economies.  And Indiana Youth Institute president-CEO Tami Silverman talks about her recent column on helping get family members ready for a very different Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Kyle Telechan / Post-Tribune

Today:   "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson talks about the stories that she put out in print and online -- including the Gary Community Schools referendum vote results and the demolition of several vacant and blighted buildings on Broadway in downtown Gary.  (See the photo of an abandoned bank with a wall that once housed a mural of the Jackson 5.)  Burgess Peoples with the city of Gary Faith Leaders and Community Partnerships organization reviews the latest of the series of virtual panel discussions with law enforcement, elected officials, ministers and community members about important local topics. Jesse Kharbanda with the Hoosier Environmental Council has more about their participation in a federal lawsuit against the EPA and "Greening the Statehouse 2020" going virtual this year.  And Jena Bellazza with the Indiana Parenting Institute tells us about two major events, one of them an annual conference coming up.

Digital Crossroad website

Today:  The "Digital Crossroad" data center and tech incubator along Lake Michigan in Hammond is up and running, and its creator -- Tom Dakich -- is on the program today to talk about it.  The $40 million project has plenty of room for expansion for any interested client, and Tom talks about the great economic development benefits of the "Crossroad" for the entire city of Hammond.   We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and we bring back our conversation with Karen Toering, the creator of the Gary International Black Film Festival, the ten-day event underway today, that this year is "virtual."  

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Today:   Gary Redevelopment Department staff member Deb Backhus is on the program to talk about the work underway to create a comprehensive pedestrian and bicycle master plan for the city.  City officials want to link neighborhoods to each other and offer some transportation options besides pubic transit.  They also see some major improvements that can come about in recreation for residents and visitors to Gary.   Purdue University civil engineering professor Pablo Zavattieri also talks about research being done on campus, and elsewhere around the country, to develop new materials with the same herculean toughness as the shells of the diabolical ironclad beetle.  Zavatteri says the beetle can survive being run over by a car but be as ductile as a paper clip.

Justin Hicks, IPB News

Today:  Dan Carden, the chief political reporter for the "Times," is on this program with his stories from Tuesday's election which include his conversation with Democrat Frank Mrvan as he waited for the returns that will eventually lead to his victory and to his next assignment: going to Capitol Hill next year as First District Congressman.   Gary Community Schools manager Dr. Paige McNulty is with us to talk about the  school district's successful community-based referendum which will lead to more opportunities and support for students and the first pay raise for Gary teachers in more than a decade.  About 60.2-percent of Gary residents who cast ballots voted "yes" in support of the eight-year tax increase initiative.    And former Indiana Congresswoman Jill Long Thompson talks about her book  "The Character of American Democracy."

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Today:   Officials with NEO New Vistas, a school in Portage, and Indianapolis-based SunFunded Ed will hold a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday, Nov. 5, on a solar energy array that will save the school money on their electricity bills as well as support renewable energy and "green jobs" in northwest Indiana.  One of the founders of SunFundedEd, Region native Kelly Hipskind, joins us to talk about his organization and its goals, how it has helped school districts across the state in reaching their goals, and how SunFunded is giving back to his "hometown" community.   Congressional candidate Frank Mrvan joins us to talk about his Election Night victory and how he will prepare for his trip to Capitol Hill to succeed the retiring Congressman Pete Visclosky.  Mrvan, a Democrat, defeated Republican Party candidate Mark Leyva and Libertarian Michael Strauss in Tuesday's First District congressional elections in Lake, Porter and part of LaPorte Counties.

Indiana Public Radio, Muncie

Today:  Jena Bellezza, the COO of the Indiana Parenting Institute, is with us to talk about the two recent online public forums dealing with issues like implicit bias, racism, child abuse and neglect that were part of the series that took the place of an Indiana University Northwest Annual Forum -- that would have been presented in April, had it not been cancelled by the coronavirus pandemic.  Side Effects Public Media's Jake Harper has a report on the staffing problems at the Miami Correctional Facility.    We bring back our  conversation with Gary Community Schools manager Paige McNulty on the tax referendum that is on the Nov. 3rd election ballot, and "Post-Tribune" reporter Carrie Napoleon talks about the stories she put out in print and online.  They include this week's announcement of the Akyumen Industries' plans to move its headquarters to the Midwest and open a big manufacturing facility in Gary.

IPB News - Justin Hicks

Today:  We revisit our conversation of September 29th with Michelle Fajman, the director of the Lake County Election and Voter Registration office, about next Tuesday's general election.  She goes into detail on how ballots, both ones cast on Election Day and absentee ballots mailed in to her office, will be tallied and she talks about the possibility that final, unofficial totals won't be available right away. We also talk with Walter Mueller, the northwest Indiana representative for "Voters For A Green Indiana," about the non-partisan organization's "green voters guide" that is up on their website.  "Voters" is made up of volunteers who take climate change seriously and want to inform voters about candidates that accept climate science and support policies and action to reduce carbon pollution.

Franciscan Health NWI

Today:   Franciscan Health Northwest Indiana spokesman Robert Blaszkiewicz tells us about the changes in visitor  restrictions that had to be put in place at the healthcare provider's hospitals in Dyer, Hammond and Munster on Friday because of the surge in COVID-19 cases in northwest Indiana.  We also bring back our conversation with Aaliyah Stewart, a young northwest Indiana resident who wants to establish a youth center in Gary and is raising funds toward its construction.   Seema Verma, the Adminstrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington, D.C. (and a former Hoosier healthcare consultant) talks about the open enrollment period for Medicare for 2021 that is currently underway through December 7th.  This is the only time of year when more than 60 million Americans on Medicare -- 1,280,707 in Indiana -- can review their health coverage to find new health and drug plans and new benefits and, in the process, save money.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

NWI Life website

Today:   Municipal government finances expert and Highland town clerk-treasurer Michael Giriffin is with us for an extensive conversation about the background and the issues surrounding the Lake County Council efforts to shift purchasing and IT expenses from the County Commissioners over to the Council.  It's an issue dealing with "home rule" that dates back into the 1980s, and may have to worked out between the two government bodies.  We also have Chuck Harris, the board president, and executive director Dawn Pelc, with the Porter County Substance Abuse Council about the organization's efforts to reduce the number of former jail inmates coming back behind bars because of drug-related crimes.  Many of those who return to jail don't have the education and skills to find meaningful jobs in the community, and the PCSAC works with other groups to resolve the issues with things like education, jobs and family assistance.  

Public Radio WXVU / AP

Today:  It's "Reporters Roundtable Thursday" and "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden joins us to talk about his stories in print and posted online, including his coverage of the first Indiana gubernatorial debate from Indianapolis and his story on First Congressional District candidate Mark Leyva's comments posted on his Facebook page and reaction to them.  "Post-Tribune" columnist Jerry Davich created what he called a "psychological experiment" and later wrote about it:  he bought and wore Trump and Biden-Harris campaign T-shirts in public for one month.  Jerry talks about the reaction he got from residents at the time and of comments that were posted later to his Facebook pages.  And we complete our four-part series on young Indiana activists from the  "America Amplified: Election 2020" initiative, using community engagement to inform and strengthen local, regional and national journalism. "America Amplified" is a public media initiative funded by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. 

Indiana Public Media

Today:  We continue a look at the candidates running in the November 3rd general election, with the Indiana House District 19 race.  Incumbent Democrat Lisa Beck is seeking another term of office and former Representative Julie Olthoff, a Republican, is seeking a return to the position she held for two terms.  They talk about the issues, what they each want to achieve in the next General Assembly session and how they can campaign during the COVID-19 pandemic. We have the third of the four-part series of conversations with young Indiana activists with an IUPUI student who wants to protect a street that has historic significance for Indianapolis' Black community.  And we have an "Art On The Air" Spotlight that focuses on the LaPorte County music community.

resource recycling magazine-shutterstock

Today:   We revisit our conversation with Ron Taylor with the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District and Valparaiso University professor Julie Peller on plastics pollution in the county, as found during a recent study, and add to it a recent "Morning Edition" segment about the history of how America got so deeply involved in plastics recycling.  Caren Jones with the YWCA of Northwest Indiana tells us the history of the organization that is now 100 years old.  A virtual gala celebrating the YW's 100th anniversary is coming up on Halloween.  We bring you another in our series of conversations with young Indiana activists, and more local conversations from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Duke University

Today:  Republicans and Democrats can't seem to agree on anything these days -- but it wasn't always that way.   Forty years ago, then-U.S. Senators Birch Bayh of Indiana and Bob Dole of Kansas agreed that the country's public research and development system was inefficient and they worked "across the aisle" to fix it.  On today's program, Birch Bayh's son Chris and Joe Allen, one of Bayh's former staffers, talk about the 40th anniversary of the Bayh-Dole Act and its major importance to the U.S. economy.  We bring you the first of a series of Darian Benson's conversations on young women who are pushing for change in their Indiana communities.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Justin Hicks spoke with an activist who has turned one block of Main Street in Goshen into a lightning rod for political tension, and perhaps, even conversation.

Gary Housing Authority

Today:    Julian Marsh, the executive director of the Gary Housing Authority, and his Director of Resident Services Jose Ibarra are with us to talk about the new partnership with ConnectHomeUSA with its effort to bridge the digital divide for residents in its HUD-assisted housing units around the city.  The initiative will mean residents will have access to services like digital literacy training.  "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson joins us to talk about her story of the visit by the national president of the largest teachers' union, Randi Weingarten, to Gary on Wednesday.  She praised the Gary Community Schools' $72 million tax referendum, which is on the November 3rd general election ballot.  And Craig Miller with Franciscan Health has details about the healthcare system's 24-hours-a-day, seven-days-a-week Virtual Urgent Care service available for minor illnesses and injuries.  

chicago tribune

Today:   We have Michael Puente's conversation aired on "Off Mic" last week with northwest Indiana political activist Ruth Needleman about the demonstrations outside Gary-Chicago International Airport over the ICE flights out of the area with planeloads of undocumented immigrants.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith has another pre-Election Day feature on the Governor's race. And Carol Williams, the assistant director of the Hammond Public Library, explains how the library prepared for re-opening after the coronavirus shutdown and is dealing of the changes in programs and the reaction by patrons to what's been done so far.  The library closed for about two months in the spring but re-opened on May 26th.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:   Indiana University Northwest economics professor Micah Pollak is with us to talk about the recent study commissioned by I.U. with EMSI, a worldwide provider of economic impact studies to colleges and universities, that explains the economic value that IUN adds to the students and alumni of the university and to the northwest Indiana community at large.  For example: the impact of increased earnings of IUN alumni and the businesses they work for is equal to an economic boost that is similar to hosting the World Series 37 times.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Side Effects Public Media reporter Carter Barrett looks into the struggle that rural hospitals face in trying to bring in enough revenue from a pandemic-stunted economy to stay open -- and serve their communities.  Indiana Youth Institute president-CEO Tami Silverman also reviews her latest monthly column entitled "Talking Politics With Our Kids."  It's an appropriate topic in this "election season." The entire column can be found on the IYI website.

Inside Indiana Business

Today:  Ed Feigenbaum, the creator and editor of the "Indiana Gaming Insight" and "Indiana Legislative Insight" newsletters from Hannah News Service is on the program for an update on how Indiana casinos are doing financially these days of the coronavirus pandemic.  He also talks about some of the changes in the focuses on games in two local casinos.  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer talks about some of the end-of-year financial moves that investors and retirees need to make because of special money considerations they had in 2020 as a result of the pandemic.  And PNC Financial Services Group chief economist Gus Faucher explains what he brought up with attendees of two recent virtual financial sessions with local business owners.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  "Post-Tribune" reporter Carrie Napoleon joins us to talk about her stories in print and online this week, including one about the team of Gary city employees fighting the problem of illegal dumping. The city of Gary is one of the state's biggest cities, area-wise, and has many places where trash and junk can be easily dumped without being detected... until now.   "Inside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick talks with the president and CEO of the Indiana Restaurant and Lodging Association, Patrick Tamm, about the coronavirus pandemic and its impact on an industry that pumps nearly $15 million into the Hoosier economy every year.  We also bring you Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith's interviews with the two candidates for Indiana Attorney General in the Nov. 3rd election -- Todd Rokita and Jonathan Weinzapfel.

Purdue University Ft Wayne

Today:   It's Indiana politics day on "Regionally Speaking."  Andy Downs, the director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Ft Wayne, is with us with a pre-Election Day update which includes his thoughts on the latest vote-by-mail decisions, early voting opportunities, the Attorney General candidates on the ballot and concerns about voting equipment security issues.  That is also the subject that Indiana University Public Policy Institute analyst Joti Martin talks about.  The Institute just issued a new analysis that finds that Indiana's reliance on older paperless voting machines could pose security risks in the upcoming election.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith has a feature on the 2020 Governor's race and of the three candidates on the ballot. 

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Today:   We revisit our conversation with Carolyn Saxton of the Legacy Foundation about the initiative that  the Lake County community foundation established with the Knight Foundation, Indiana Black Expo, and the cities of Gary and East Chicago to help small businesses in both cities stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.  The application deadline for the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund ends during the month of October,  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Habitat for Humanity Northwest Indiana executive director Dawn Michaels tells us the latest house under construction in Gary's "Field of Dreams" neighborhood, in the 1700 and 1800 blocks of Adams and Washington Streets, which will give another family an affordable place to live sometime early next year. The owner of Majestic Star Casino, Spectacle Entertainment, is partnering with HFH on this project.  Reporter Michael Puente also spoke to several Latin-x supporters of President Donald Trump, and he offers us that conversation.

The Conversation website

Today:  Claire Fiddian-Green, the president and CEO of the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, is with us with details of the report of a study, commissioned by the foundation, that takes a comprehensive look at Indiana's school funding since the 2008 property tax reforms.  It warns of school funding inequities that affect low-income communities, racial groups and types of schools -- and that those inequities will likely continue through the COVID-19 crisis.  Vanetta Keefe with the Indiana Department of Transportation talks about the review of the Indiana Rail Plan, a plan that guides improvement of freight and passenger rail service in the state.  Federal law requires an update every four years, and this is the year for the update.  Vanetta is seeking public input and it can be made online very soon.  And from the Lake County Public Library -- branch services coordinator Carol Daumer Gutjahr says library branches will reopen with regular hours beginning October 15th at the Central Library in Merrillville and the other eight branches on October 19th.  She tells us why it is finally time to reopen.

South Shore CVA

Today:  "Times of Northwest Indiana" reporters Andrew Steele and Joseph Pete talk about the stories they wrote for print and online, including updates on the South Shore Line expansion projects, the impending sale of ArcelorMittal USA to Cleveland-Cliffs, Inc. for $1.4 billion, and a way to deal with a food desert in Gary with creation of a food truck park.  Indiana Public Broadcasting Statehouse reporter Brandon Smith interviewed the three candidates for Governor in the November 3rd general election -- incumbent Republican Eric Holcomb, Democrat Woody Myers and Liberterian Donald Rainwater.  We bring you all three conversations. 

INVestEd website

Today:  Bill Wozniak, the vice president of marketing with INvestEd, Indiana's non-profit financial aid literacy and student loan organization, is with us to talk about the next opportunity for students, families and individuals seeking a change of career through postsecondary education to file the FAFSA (Free Application for Federal Student Aid) form.  He explains the form, why it is so important and how the coronavirus pandemic's changed the way they help Hoosiers find grants and other financial sources.   From Ivy Tech Community College Lake County: vice chancellor for academic affairs Margaret Semmer, vice chancellor for enrollment Keisha White and workforce consultant Dee Dee White talk about the next series of eight-week-long courses for IVTC students.  And Valparaiso University psychology professor Amanda Zelechoski explains her newest project -- a website fueled by COVID-19 titled "Pandemic Parenting."

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