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.

CareSource Indiana

  

Today:  We speak with Steve Smitherman, the president of CareSource Indiana based in Indianapolis, which is a nonprofit that focuses mainly on healthcare -- but knows that high-poverty areas are also affected by substandard and unaffordable housing.  CareSource is allocating $5 million as a financial investment the organization is making to Indiana housing projects -- provided that it can find partners in the Hoosier State.  CareSource has for years been helping communities in affordable housing through grants from its Foundation.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  We bring back our conversation with Purdue economist Larry DeBoer about a project that his research team did with the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, on local governments' services and revenues used to pay for them.

Gary Public Transportation Corp.

Today:  David Wright with the Gary Public Transportation Corp. is with us to review the new and improved bus schedule that takes effect on Tuesday, September 8th.  It's a schedule that brings riders closer to more locations that they say they want to visit, like the Adam Benjamin VA Outpatient Clinic in Crown Point.  Find more information here.  We also bring back our conversations with a LaPorte County PFLAG board member about a new social media group called "Out in LaPorte," and with Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor, who made a major decision to switch political party affiliations.    

UC San Francisco

Today:   Masks are everywhere these days, and we asked an expert to talk about them -- choosing the proper mask, how to wear it and how to care for it (if it's a cloth mask.)  Purdue University clinical nursing professor Joy Pieper is with us to talk about this subject.  She is teaching two courses this semester on the West Lafayette campus on healthcare history and wartime influences on healthcare, and she says the 1918 flu pandemic is worth learning about wearing masks.  We also talk with Purdue University agricultural ecnomist Russell Hillberry about a report that he will present on Thursday at a webinar that discusses the economic impact of wind energy on Hoosier communities.  Profesor Hillbery and his team did extensive research into existing wind farms in Benton and White Counties and will reveal their findings.  The webinar is sponsored by two conservative organizations -- the Indiana Conservative Alliance for Energy and Land and Liberty Coalition.

Geminus Corp.

Today:  Geminus Corp. program director Amanda Morrison joins us to talk about the $300,000 grant from SAMHSA that will be toward expanding the Lake County organization's programs to assist youth and children with effective prevention practices that reduce or delay substance abuse.   It is a major problem that young people face during the coronavirus pandemic.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Allison Vaulx with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and Jewel-Osco spokesperson Mary Frances Trucco explain the events and outreach programs for "Hunger Action Month."  

Purdue University Northwest

Today:   Leslie Plesac, the executive director of the Sinai Forum at Purdue University Northwest, is with us to introduce to you the speakers for the two "virtual" sessions coming this fall for the celebrated speaker series, as well as a look at three speakers of the five who are planned for the 2021 season.   The speakers planned for earlier this year were  all postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The "virtual" speakers will be a delight for sports fans, as well as those concerned about the issues that we face on free speech and of cancel culture.   Gary Sanitary District executive Tammi Davis talks about the financial opportunities for minority-owned businesses in the region.  And Lake County Democratic Party chairman Jim Weiser offers his thoughts about Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura, who faces federal fraud charges, and Weiser speaks about the hazards and temptations that political campaign contributions can bring to those running for public office. 

Photo provided

Today:   This "Regionally Speaking" focuses on business. The Indiana director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Barbara Quandt, is with us from Indianapolis to tell the latest about how Hoosier small businesses are coping with the effects of the pandemic.  We bring back our conversation with Indiana University (Bloomington) Kelley School of Business professor Bipin Prabhakar on Project HOPE, a program that helps small businesses create a digital presence if they do not have one.  And "Inside Indiana Business" television host Gerry Dick has a conversation with Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger about new business announcements which included Alliance Steel's ribbon-cutting of its new headquarters in Gary.

South Shore CVA

Today:   Sherri Ziller,  the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority's chief development officer, is with us to talk about "transit development districts," what they are -- how they fit into the overall plans for the South Shore Line's expansion -- and how the public can comment about them.  We also revisit our conversation about the series of online lectures and discussions beginning next month with Purdue University Northwest professors and speakers. It's entitled "Race, Racism, Anti-Racism."  Criminal justice professor Nicky Jackson is one of the speakers in October, for a program about race and wrongful convictions.

Belt Publishing

Today:  We talk with Gary activist Sam Love, who is the editor of "The Gary Anthology," a series of stories and poems from Gary residents that cover topics like steel, violence, race and urban blight -- but also tell stories of hope.  It's available from Belt Publishing.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, with a Gary resident who remembers his years in the public schools. Celina Weatherwax with the MacMillan Foundation also tells us about last weekend's First Responder Appreciaion and Demonstration Day at the MAAC center in Valparaiso.  It was a way for visitors to learn more about how first-responders are trained to help address emergencies.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  We welcome back into the studio Indiana economist-writer-speaker Morton Marcus, to talk about his recent "Eye on the Pie" columns that find a way to explain and to comment on sometimes complex economic issues in the Hoosier State in an entertaining way.  We also bring back our recent "welcome to northwest Indiana" conversation with the new Chancellor of Indiana University Northwest, Ken Iwama. 

USGS

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable" program we have "Times" reporters Lauren Cross and Mary Freda and "Post-Tribune" reporter Carrie Napoleon talking about the stories they put out in print and online.  Lauren's stories on Gary city government included one on the federal fraud charges against former city official Mary Cossey and of more grand jury subopoenas served at Gary City Hall for information in undisclosed investigations.  Mary talks about stories that include one on a new hospital proposed for Crown Point and discussions in Winfield about flooding.  And Carrie's stories include the city of Gary's community benefits agreement and a grant headed to Cedar Lake to help the community's historical association.

Porter County Parks website

Today:  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer is with us to talk about an important deadline coming up, for anyone who withdrew funds from retirement accounts under the terms of the CARES Act during this pandemic -- and now wants to return that money to the retirement accounts.  Porter County veterinarian Dr. Larry McAfee and Porter County Parks and Recreation superintendent Walter Lenckos join us from Sunset Hill Farm, outside Valparaiso, to talk about a donation of antique veterinary instruments used by his father Dr. John McAfee during his time as Sunset Hill Farm's veterinarian from the 1940s to 1960s.  The farm is now a Porter County park.  And we have post-speech comments from state Representative Earl Harris Jr of East Chicago, the vice-chairman of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus about Governor Eric Holcomb's proposed plan to address racial inequity in Indiana.  The proposal includes creation of a new state government position.

Photo provided

Today:  Purdue University Northwest is holding a series of interdisciplinary lectures and discussions beginning Sept. 3rd entitled "Race, Racism and Anti-Racism" that focuses on race relations and racism in America.  We have one of those presenters on the program:  associate professor of criminal justice Nicky Jackson who, along with exoneree Roosevelt Glenn, will speak on "Race and Wrongful Convictions" on October 6th.  All of the lectures will be free, open to the public and viewable via Zoom and Facebook Live.  More information's available on the PNW website.   We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University and the CEO of Merrillvile-based tech company Cimcor, Robert E. Johnson III, joins us to talk about his firm's association with Zoom to give the videoconferencing giant better security and compliance through its new software.  Zoom began using CimTrak software in 2019.

City of Hobart website

Today:   Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor joins us to talk about how his city is coping with the coronavirus pandemic, and he explains in detail his reasons for switching political affiliations from Democrat to Republican.  Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman's produced another public column about helping Hoosier youth during the COVID-19 pandemic and the important role that teachers play in the process.  She talks about the column, as school systems attempt to reopen during the pandemic.  Susan Bannwart, the community engagement manager for the LaPorte County Public Library, explains how its new Mobile STEAM Classroom can help prepare for high-skilled and good-paying jobs in northwest Indiana.  And Brad Miller, the northwest field director for Indiana Landmarks, talks about the latest Ten Most Endangered List and one of this year's additions is Gary Roosevelt High School.  It is one of the three high schools that provided unprecedented learning opportunities to African Americans.

Emmis Communications

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable," we talk to "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden and to business reporter Joseph Pete about the stories they put out in print and online.  Dan Carden's stories include updates on financial assistance to arts and tourism groups hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the state schools superintendent's support for vote-by-mail in November because of the pandemic.  Joseph Pete's stories focus on assistance from the CARES Act to NIRPC, the pandemic's impact on BP and on Lear Corporation that have important local repercussions, and a very quiet act of kindness by a television chef toward a Region teenager who is battling a very rare form of cancer.  Also on the program today -- Politicking App co-founder and Gary native Jordan Wilson talks about a virtual civic mixer this weekend in collaboration with two local organizations.

Franciscan Health

Today:   Robert Blaszkiewicz with Franciscan Health here in northwest Indiana joins us to talk about, among other topics, the participation of the Hammond facility  in an Eli Lilly clinical study evaluating the safety and effectivemess of an antibody treatment drug for early-stages of the coronavirus. He also tells about how the latest thermal scanning technology is being used to screen visitors to all of its facilities.  We bring back our conversation with Big Shoulders Fund CEO Josh Hale about the work the organization is doing with the Diocese of Gary schools. And Purdue University biomedical engineering professor Young Kim talks about how he and his research team are developing an airborne disinfection method -- using edible food coloring dyes -- that could be an effective sterilization process in the fight against COVID-19. 

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:   "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter creator and editor Ed Feigenbaum joins us to talk about the latest revenue numbers from the Indiana Gaming Commission and how casinos are recovering from the pandemic. These figures show the first full month of casino business since they reopened. We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. And Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance president Steve Coxhead also joins us to about the impact of Amtrak's proposed changes on long-distance passenger rail service which will affect the nation, including to northwest Indiana.

IU Northwest

Today:  Northwest Indiana activist Ruth Needleman is back with us to cover some of the topics she watches, including economic development issues in the city of Gary.  She talks about a meeting on Zoom tonight that discusses the city's 2019 community benefits ordinance, which is up for amendment soon.  At issue is a new housing project in Gary that is not covered in the ordinance.  Schererville Realtor and board chairman of the Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, Craig Friendling, joins us to talk about the latest regional home sales and median selling price data this summer, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local home sales and buying.  And musician, songwriter and "Positive Vibes Only" founder R.J. Griffith tells about the group's second annual "Good Day" book bag giveaway on Aug. 15th in  East Chicago, which will be a drive-through event this year because of COVID-19.

Ivy Tech Community College

GARY -- Ivy Tech Community College's Lake County campus is ready for a new school year, even though it is the first ever during a public health emergency.  Chancellor Louie Gonzalez and his facilities director, Bruce Curry, were on "Regionally Speaking" on Thursday to talk about the myriad of safety measures that are in place to protect students, faculty and staff.

Indiana Public Media

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable Thursday, we focus on education stories put out by local reporters in print and online.  "Times" education reporter Carley Lanich first brings us up to date about some school districts which reported their reopening plans, including School City of Hammond and School Town of Highland. Next, "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson talks about her stories on the Gary Community Schools referendum  -- a request on the November general election ballot to voters in the city to approve a multi-year tax increase for operating expenses.  The referendum's goal is, among other things, to get the school district out of state takeover status. Finally,  "Post-Tribune" freelance education reporter Hannah Reed tells us about her conversations with several area parents who have their concerns about their children and themselves, when schools reopen for the new year and students start to mingle.

Free Thought Fort Wayne/YouTube

Today: Andy Downs, the director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Ft Wayne is with us to review the state of Hoosier politics during the pandemic, with the statewide candidates seeking votes and finances after the late primary election going into the November general election.  Andy also talks about the issue of "vote-by-mail" -- the push for it that was prompted by COVID-19  and whether it will return in November.  Lake Central School Corp. superintendent Dr. Larry Veracco also joins us to talk about the decision, by his board, for parents to have the choice of in-person or virtual learning for their youngsters as the fall semester begins.  He talks abut how future reviews of, among other factors, local  COVID positivity will play a role in keeping things as they are.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Today:  Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson joins us to talk about the delays and cancellations of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in years past --some due to wars, others due to weather.  This year's running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the 104th running, will be on August 23rd but it will be run without spectators.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University today, and Sandra Noe and Rachel Hurst with Meals on Wheels in Northwest Indiana will talk about the organization's mission throughout the coronavirus pandemic to continue providing meals to people who need them the most, as well as making sure that those meal recipients are safe.

Corey Ohlenkamp/The Star Press

Today: We talk with Ball State University professor Michael Hicks, the director of the Center for Business and Economic Research, about a new report just released that reviews the impact that the "digital divide" in Indiana schools and communities may have on students' abilities for e-learning when classes resume, in some form, this academic year. The report indicates that more than 84,000 K-12 students do not have the Internet access they need for proper learning -- and not all of the deficiencies are in rural school districts.  We find out more about the new social media group "Out in LaPorte" from PFLAG board member Esther Stiles.   And we bring back our conversation with Purdue University economist Larry DeBoer on a lengthy study about the impact of the pandemic the recession it caused for local, county and state government.

IU Press Bloomington IN

Today:  We have conversations with the new chancellor of Indiana University Northwest, Ken Iwama, and with former Congresswoman, gubernatorial candidate and I.U. ethics professor Jill Long Thompson.  Chancellor Iwama begins his post this weekend on the Gary campus, taking over from William Lowe, who returns to the university faculty.  Chancellor Iwama was selected from a field of finalists who each visited campus last February.  He came from a key administrative post at College of Staten Island, New York. Jill Long Thompson is the author of the book "The Character of American Democracy," available from Indiana University Press.   She is a former three-term U.S. Representative and was a candidate for Governor in 2008.  Her biography notes that her political career began in 1983 when she launched a successful campaign to win a seat on the Valparaiso City Council, a post she held from 1984 to 1986.  She is currently a member of the faculty of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

Indiana University

Indiana University Northwest's new Chancellor comes from the East Coast but says he's excited to now be a part of the Region.

Ken Iwama was on "Regionally Speaking" on Thursday to talk about his new job, his first impressions of northwest Indiana when he came in for his on-campus interview and his leadership goals for I.U. Northwest, especially during the pandemic.  He begins the conversation, by noting that Lakeshore Public Radio was one of the first "voices" he heard, as a finalist for the position back in February.

Photo Provided

Today:  We ask Lake County Public Library director Ingrid Norris and Crown Point Community Library director Julie Wendorf about the latest measures, in how libraries are doing in dealing with so many service changes because of the coronavirus pandemic.  The changes include patrons' curbside pickup of materials outside the branches themselves, quarantining materials brought back to the drop-off boxes before redistributing them, and making everyone wear face coverings in the buildings.   The pandemic's impact on reopening public schools includes how crowded classrooms might be -- when students actually come back to school.  Zippia.com did a survey of all states and reports that Indiana is ranked number nine on the Top 10 States with Crowded Classrooms.  Kathy Morris with the career support website joins us to talk about it.

Ivy Tech Community College

  

Today:    Ivy Tech Community College Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Margaret Semmer and Professor Paul Kamber, a member of the Northwest Indiana campus math faculty, are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the Ivy Tech "Learn Anywhere" program to begin classes in the fall semester.  Jill Powers with Goodwill Industries of Michiana is with us to talk about the Aug. 7 LaPorte Military Veteran Stand Down -- coming up at the Fairgrounds. And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

IU Kelley School of Business

Today:  I.U. Kelley School of Business professor Bipin Prabhakar explains the new Project HOPE, a joint project between the business school in Bloomington and the Indiana Small Business Development Corp. that helps small businesses build an online presence, if they don't have one.  Dr. Woody Myers, the Democratic Party gubvernatorial candidate, made several campaign stops in northwest Indiana late last week and we ask him about them and the latest issues surrounding COVID-19. And we bring back "Off Mic" host and reporter Michael Puente's converssation with an IUPUI medical researcher about his concern that things will get worse before they improve, as far as the pandemic is concerned.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable, we talk to Indiana Public Broadcasting reporters Eric Weddle and Jill Sheridan and "Post-Tribune" reporter Meredith Colias-Pete about the stories and interviews they've posted online and, for Meredith, her stories in print.    Most deal with reopening public schools locally and around the state and about the coronavirus pandemic.  Meredith tells us about her story on contract tracing in northwest Indiana and of two stories dealing with toxic waste cleanup. Jill's interview is with a central Indiana official about how the pandemic is creating additional challenges for those going through reentry.

Purdue University Northwest

Today:   Chris Holford with Purdue University Northwest is with us to talk in more detail about the reopening procedure for both Hammond and Westville campuses this fall semester, as the coronavirus pandemic is still underway.   Classes are scheduled to resume on August 24th.  A recent study on the "Modern Healthcare" website suggests that a pregnant woman invested with COVID-19 might be able to spread the illness to the fetus.  Dr. Cameual Wright, a central Indiana OB-GYN and medical director for CareSource Indiana, talks about the concerns that pregnant Hoosier women have during the pandemic  about their child's health and their own health.

Flickr/Wikipedia

Today:  Mike Noland, the president of the South Shore Line commuter railroad, is with us with good news on the two major improvement projects: the West Lake Corridor and the Double Tracking projects.  Federal funding is due to be received soon to help begin the West Lake Corridor project that will build new tracks from Dyer, north through Munster and into Hammond, and create a north-south connection to the existing east-west tracks. The Double Tracking project adds and improves connections between Gary and Michigan City with new tracks and new stations.  Construction on the West Lake Corridor is slated to begin in October.  Urban League of Northwest Indiana president-CEO Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud tells more about the 75th anniversary of the Urban League this year, and about a fundraiser next month.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University -- and Jill Hoffmann with the White River Alliance tells us about the Third Annual (and virtual) Indiana Water Summit in Indianapolis.  It's an event that focuses on policy that encourages clean water supplies for all Hoosiers.

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