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.

Chicago Tribune website

Today:  We hear from two northwest Indiana school district superintendents on their reopening plans for classes this fall: first, from School City of Hammond superintendent Scott Miller and, later, from Merrillville Community Schools superintendent Nick Brown, speaking with Sharon Jackson.  In between, Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman is with us to talk about the help that the Lilly Endowment and the state organization of United Ways is doing to help Hoosier nonprofits that serve young people -- agencies which have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.   The Lilly Endowment is creating a $20 million fund to help youth-serving organizations that it calls the Youth Program Resilience Fund. 

Post-Tribune

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable, "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden reviews his stories in print and online this week, including one about Lake County health officer Dr. Chandana Vivilala's visit to the County Council seeking funding for more help during the pandemic. He also talks about the Indiana GOP attorney general nomination.  "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete covers stories like one on re-purposing a vacant Target store in Calmuet City and on the 100th anniversary of a Gary institution: Koney King.  Ivy Tech Community College Indiana president Dr. Sue Ellspermann and the chancellor of the Lake County Ivy Tech campuses, Louie Gonzalez, join us live to talk about the reopening plans for campuses in August and of Dr. Ellspermann's visit to the White House.

Gary Community Schools/YouTube

Today:   Gary Community Schools emergency manager Dr. Paige McNulty is with us to talk about the reopening plan to bring students back to school, in accordance with the guidelines to be able to safely do so during this coronavirus pandemic.  We also find out about a northwest Indiana school district that will begin the academic year with virtual e-learning, instead of in-class learning.  Catisha Toney with Coates  Inc. talks about tomorrow's workshop for high school graduates and their families to help get ready for attending college this fall.  The workshop will be held at RailCat Stadiium in downtown Gary.  Military personnel getting ready to become veterans are taking advantage of a modernized Veteran Readiness and Employment Program, offered through the VA.  William Streitberger is the program director, and he joins  us to talk about how veterans are getting some high-tech help during this pandemic.

Nuvo Magazine website

Today:  Gary native and Indiana legislative candidate Belinda Drake is with us to give her eyewitness-view of a Saturday confrontation between state Senator Eddie Melton and a Statehouse police officer -- an incident which is now under investigation as an alleged racial profiling incident. Melton and his Indianapolis colleague JD Ford were with Drake and several other people who had participated in a rally outside the building and went indoors to escape a strong thunderstorm, but that was where the incident took place.  Senators Melton and Ford issued a joint statement Monday afternoon through the Indiana Democratic Party organization.  We also have another Welcome Project conversation, and we bring back our conversation with Lake County Plan Commission chairman Bill Emerson about a July 15th public hearing on zoning law changes that may affect citizen unput on solar panel farm projects.

NWI Times

Today:   Purdue University economist Larry DeBoer is with us to talk about the new analysis created for the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute on Indiana's taxing structure and its impact on local, county and state governments amd how the coronavirus pandemic --and the economic recession it caused-- is affecting urban, growing and rural counties.  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer talks about Wednesday's income tax return and tax payment filing deadline, extended from April 15th because of COVID-19.  And Union Township Schools superintendent John Hunter is with us to tell us about the successful campaign launched in June to ask voters to extend a 2013 tax increase to cover expenses for the Porter County school district.

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:   On this Reporter's Roundtable, we talk with "Times" education reporter Carley Lanich and her counterpart at the "Post-Tribune," reporter Hannah Reed, about their stories in print and online this week.  We also bring back our conversation with Edgewater Health chief executive Dr. Donita Johnson-Hughes about her recent "op-ed" piece in the "Post-Tribune" entitled "The Pandemic, The Police and Politics."  It is her thoughts on racial disparity, relations between minorities and police, and the political conditions of the day.

Photo Provided

Today:   We bring back two conversations with I.U. Northwest professors on the books they wrote or had a big hand in writing,  We begin with history professor emeritus James Lane who,  along with co-author Ronald Cohen, put together the latest edition of “Gary – A Pictorial History.”  Professor Lane says the latest book includes events in the Steel City into the 21st Century.  Then, a revisited conversation with Indiana University Northwest sociology professor Jack Bloom about "Class, Race and the Civil Rights Movement," a book he wrote and was published more than 30 years ago and is still relevant today -- so much so, that he added some new material for the second edition -- now in print.   NFIB Indiana director Barbara Quandt also joins us with an update on efforts by Indiana small businesses to recover more quickly from the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indiana University Northwest

Today:   Ellen Szarleta, the director of the Indiana University Northwest Center for Urban and Regional Excellence is with us to talk about the summer non-credit class offerings this year, done differently  because of the coronavirus pandemic.  They include courses about career training, Social Security and COVID-19, emergency preparedness for seniors -- and a summer reading program for all agea.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, with a Gary resident's recollections of her school days. And we bring back our conversaton with I.U. Northwest economist Micah Pollak about his coronavirus Twitter feed.

City of Hammond website

Today:  Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. talks about how the city is recovering from the coronavirus pandemic, its impact on city services and events like those at the Sportsplex, on businesses and how the reduced casino revenue eill affect the city's 2020 budget.  He also has some good news about the latest firefighter-paramedics hired into the department, which include the first female hired since 1969.  Big Shoulders Fund CEO Josh Hale is with us with an update on the initiative to support the schools in the Catholic Diocese of Gary and the impact of COVID-19 on the schools, as they prepare to reopen for the fall semester.

Mark Leyva For Congress website

Today:  Mark Leyva, the Highland resident who is the Republican Party candidate for the First Congressional District seat currently held by Pete Visclosky, is on the program to talk about himself, his position on the issues in his campaign and how he is dealing with campaigning during the pandemic.  We also ask Lake County Surveyor and Plan Commission chairman Bill Emerson to explain the July 15th public hearing on an amended ordinance that, if approved, will set guidelnes for public meetings in the future for citizens to speak out about solar panel farms, if any are proposed for their area. A Chicago company is already interested in putting up a site in south Lake County.  And we we revisit our conversation with Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy about this weekend's Fourth of July celebrations in his city.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  "Indiana Gaming Insight" creator and editor Ed Feigenbaum has an update on how Hoosier casinos, including the local ones, are progressing in their post-COVID-19 shutdown reopenings.  He also has the latest on sports betting, post-pandemic, and the recent "virtual" Indiana political party conventions.  Northwest Indiana immigration attorney Alfredo Estrada is also with us to talk about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting DACA and its impact on young people and their residency status in the Region.  We also bring you another conversation from The Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

NWI Times

Today: Barbara Quandt, the state director for NFIB, joins us to talk about how Hoosier businesses are recovering from the coronavirus pandemic.  She highlights some northwest Indiana firms on her comments.  Donna Catalano, the new community development director for the Legacy Foundation, tells us more about her new position and the South Shore Neighborhood Corp.  We also have comments about the impact of COVID-19 from Lake County health director Dr. Chandana Vavilala.  And State Senator Eddie Melton of Gary has the latest on the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus' efforts to promote its stance on police reform -- including some proposals that may come before the 2021 General Assembly.  

Kyle Telechan, Post-Tribune

Today:  Indiana University Northwest economics Professor Micah Pollak talks about his major COVID-19 related project: almost daily entries in his personal Twitter account with data, observances and views on the impact of the pandemic on northwest Indiana.  Check it out here.   Joseph Pete with the "Times of Northwest Indiana" reviews his recent stories out in print and online, many of them as updates about the coronavirus' impact on local and regional business.  Stories include some projected casino layoffs and the latest unemployment report.  He also talks about a project to bring three new restaurants into a busy Schererville business corridor.

Edgewater Health

Today:  Dr. Danita Johnson Hughes, the president and CEO at Edgewater Health, is with us to talk about the guest column she wrote for the "Post-Tribune" entitled "The Pandemic, The Police and Politics."    It is a column with her thoughts on the issues of  the coronavirus crisis, racial disparity, relations between minorities and police and the political conditions of the day.  Julie Wendorf, director of the Crown Point Community Library, joins us to talk about the reopening of the Crown Point and Winfield branches on June 15th when the governor's plan allowed it to happen.  The Lake County Public Library is going through the reopening process right now, with the Merrillville branch to reopen on Monday.  And Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy talks about his city's ongoing efforts toward equality with established organizations working with police and citizens, how the community's coping during the COViD-19 pandemic and the city's  big plans for the July 4th holidays.

file photo

Today:   We revisit our conversations with Lake County Democratic Party chairman Jim Weiser and Republican Party chairman Dan Dernulc about the June 2nd primary election that was marked by the changes caused by the COVID-19 pandemic:  the shift, for many, to vote-by-mail and how candidates had to focus more on social media instead of in-person campaigning.  "Post-Tribune" columnist Phil Potempa joins us to talk about the observance this week of the 1918 Hagenbeck-Wallace Circus train wreck on tracks between Gary and Hammond and the horrendous fire that led to 86 deaths and 127 injuries.  The victims, many of them unidentifiable because of their burns, were buried at "Showmen's Rest," in an Illinois cemetery.  The wreck happened on June 22nd, 1918.

IU Northwest

Today:    Robert Blaszkiewicz with Franciscan Health has an update today on how the healthcare facilities are holding up, during the pandemic. He also tells about a blood drive to be held Tuesday at Bulldog Park in Crown Point.  Northwest Indiana political activist Ruth Needleman is also with us, to discuss the protests and their local impact, the cases reviewed by and handed down from the U.S. Supreme Court and some of the documentaries she's watched while at home.

Indiana Economic Digest

Today:  On this "Reporters Roundtable," we talk to "Times" reporter Mary Freda about the protest-related stories she's written for print and online -- including one that has the views of Region officials and residents as to what comes after the protests.  "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson just finished her attendance at today's virtual meeting of the DUAB, and has the latest on the state board and its contract with MGT Consulting, the firm that is emergency manager for the Gary Community Schools.  "Off Mic" host Michael Puente has a feature on the calls for policing reform and how they pertain to the city of Gary.

Chicago Fire Wire

Today:  We revisit our conversation with Franciscan Health's  Dr. Erica Kauffman West about a study on how well "convalescent plasma" can treat coronavirus patients.  Purdue University economist Larry DeBoer is back to talk about the public school referenda questions on the June 2nd primary election ballot, an election changed by COVID-19 and by so many people using "vote-by-mail."  And mid-way through the program, we talk with Gary firefighter Tyrone Jackson Jr., whose recent remarks on his Facebook page about Fire Chief Sean O'Donnell have led to controversy.  It's Jackson's chance to tell his side of the story, after hearing on Tuesday from Mayor Jerome Prince and Chief O'Donnell.

NPR

Today:  Dr. Yolanda Watson with "Complete College America" talks about the issue of the gaps in racial equity in higher education, and how there are major implications for Hoosier students and leaders in higher education in dealing with the gaps.  Tami Silverman with Indiana Youth Institute reviews how grownups can talk about racism with younsgsters and what to say, based on their age.  Another conversation from a Gary resident from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  And Gary Mayor Jerome Prince and his Fire Chief Sean O'Donnell respond to recent comments on social media about the fire department leadership. 

Lake County Public Library

Today:   We talk to three organizations offering programs and events, as northwest Indiana slowly reopens from the COVID-19 pandemic's impact.    Caren Jones with the YWCA of Northwest Indiana tells us about the reopening of the facility today -- Nicholas Neal with Geminus Corp. talks about two community resource fairs happening late this month -- and Lake County Public Library director Ingrid Norris has the latest on how the library system is restoring services to the community.  She gives us the "Big Scoop" on the reopening of library branches, beginning with Merrillville on June 29th.

AP/Politico

Today:  The Gary Chamber of Commerce is hosting a "Virtual Conversation with U.S. Senator Todd Young" on Friday afternoon on Zoom,  and Chamber executive director Chuck Hughes talks about what he will discuss, including the coronavirus pandemic and the recent racial protests.  Eli Lilly and Company chief executive Dave Ricks  discusses the Indianapolis drugmaker's early-stage trial on a potential treatment for COVID-19.  And we have a report from Side Effects Public Media repoerters Darian Benson and Carter Barrett on some of the health inequities that are part of the protests held across the country.

IN.gov

Today: The November election is just around the corner and we catch up with Lake County Democratic Party Chairman Jim Wieser as well as the Lake County GOP Party Chair Dan Dernulc to discuss results of the primary election.

Hanover Community School Corporation logo

Today: Hanover Community Schools Superintendent Mary MacAuley joins us to discuss the great news after the community voted “yes” on two referendum questions — one seeking to extend existing funds supporting teachers and classroom supplies and another requesting support for $79 million in construction funds to build a new third through fifth grade upper elementary school and expand facilities at Hanover Central Middle School and Hanover Central High School.

Courtesy of Kieran Fahey/City of South Bend

Today: Lake County residents affected by recent flooding or sewage damage due to recent storms are encouraged to fill out a Disaster Intake/Assessment Form. American Red Cross Executive Director Kristin Marlow-Kellerman along with Lake Area United Way Vice President, Community Impact Andrea Proulx Buinicki join us to tell us how the data collected will help FEMA assess the need for the county.  June marks the mid-way point of 2020 and there were a lot of unanticipated events that have impacted the economy.

Mrvan for Congress Facebook page

Today: “Times” reporter Dan Carden  joins us to talk about the stories he put out in print and online, including an update on primary elections. Julian Marsh, Executive Director of the Gary Housing Authority joins us to discuss the collaboration with FAITH Community Development Center to spearhead the COVID-19 Food Relief Initiative. The drive-up food giveaway will take place every Thursday in June.

Today is Election Day in Indiana as the state expanded vote-by-mail to anyone who wanted it for this year’s primary, a reaction to the COVID-19 pandemic. Brandon Smith has a special report on why it may take days for the final tally of many races to come in as more than 500,000 Hoosiers requested an absentee ballot. Mark Edward Wilows is a children’s book author. He joins us to discuss his latest project-- the heartwarming story “Silas and Sophie”.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

The latest topics surrounding COVID-19 dominate this "Reporters' Roundtable." 

“Times” reporter joins us to talk about the stories he put out in print and online, including an update on the latest with massive layoffs at the Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City as well as White Lodging at its corporate headquarters in Merrillville. Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson talked to Karen Marlow-Kellemen, executive director of the Northwest Indiana Red Cross about a virtual version of its “Zero to Hero” program.

Borden Dairy

Today: The City of Gary partnered with Borden Dairy to distribute thousands of gallons of free milk as part of the Mayor’s Milk Initiative. Attorney Tony Walker  joined us to tell us more about it as well as the provide details about the weekly food distributions at the Gary Genesis Center. Indiana University Northwest announced that it’s School of Business and Economics has received an extension of its AACSB International accreditation, a designation earned by only five percent of the world's schools offering business degrees at the bachelor's level or higher.

Andrew Harnik/AP

Today: Bob Wernes is a Cedar Lake man who can’t wait to have a hip replacement surgery. Bob along with his surgeon Dr. Denis Nam join us to talk about how the shelter in place order during the coronavirus pandemic affects patients who urgently need surgical procedures. Memorial Day is an American holiday honoring the men and women who died while serving in the U.S. military. As we remember those that have sacrificed for our country World War II veteran Eugene Polisnky recently joined us to reflects on his missions over Nazi occupied Germany.

Photo Provided

Today: Kathy Shoaf is a former nurse and the owner of a travel agency catering to clients with special needs. She joins us to discuss the travel industry during the time of the coronavirus pandemic as well share her plans to help fulfill experiences of a lifetime for her clients.  We revisit a conversation with Bishop Robert McClory, the new bishop for the Diocese of Gary. He was ordained and installed earlier this year in a liturgy in Gary. And, we bring you another edition of Green Fleet Radio.  

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