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.

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.

Town Planner website

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable Thursday," "Times" reporters AnnMarie Hilton and Joseph Pete talk about the stories they put out in print and online, including AnnMarie's education-beat story of the opening of the new Hammond Central High School and Joseph's business-beat story on the lawsuit filed by the city of Gary against Akyumen.  Indiana Public Broadcasting workforce reporter Justin Hicks talks about his visits to the PepsiCo plant Teamsters picket line in Munster for his stories for IPB News, as the strike goes into its third week. And we find out more about next week's Lake County Fair from Fair Board secretary Arlene Marcinek. The County Fair begins Aug. 6th and runs through Aug. 15h in Crown Point.

Photo provided by PierogiFest

Today:  "Mr. Pierogi" is back on "Regionally Speaking" to give a recap on the past weekend's festival in downtown Whiting -- from the parade which kicked it off, to the sudden thunderstorms that failed to dampen everyones' spirits, to the display of tasty treats and live music events, and everything in between.  We also revisit our conversation with Gary Literacy Coalition executive director Lori Kuykendall about the organization and its mission: to support, promote, enhance and coordinate programs for access to literacy programs in the Steel City.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting environment reporter Rebecca Thiele tells us about an idea being floated among state transportation officials to provide some "while-you-drive" charging power to electric vehicles.

Indiaa state Democratic Party website

Today:  Indiana state Representative Carolyn Jackson (D-Hammond) is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about being a panelist for the next "Women4Change" online forum on Wednesday, July 28th that will focus on reducing the state gender pay gap.  Jackson joins WGU Indiana chancellor Alison Bell in the discussion.  Sophie Quinton with the Pew Charitable Trusts' "Stateline" project talks about a new report on state tax revenues which grew into surpluses in some states, like Indiana, during the pandemic.  Indiana's surplus will trigger a tax return to Hoosiers.  Sophie will discuss what the "Stateline" team discovered in what the states plan to do with the additional funds coming in over the next few years, and any impact it may have on long-term budgeting.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Today:  Adam Parkhouse with the INDOT LaPorte District office is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the study into the best ways to deal with the congestion on I-80-94 -- which is most certainly the state's most heavily-travelled highway -- and of three public meetings -- two of them in-person -- being held this week and next, for citizens to comment.  Indiana Parenting Institute executive director Laura Wynn talks about a "relaunch" of the organization next month, and "Sundays With Shep" creator-producer-host Ryan Priest is in the Lakeshore Public Radio studio to help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of  Hammond's master storyteller.  Jean Shepherd was born on July 26, 1921. Ryan talks with Nick Mantis, who's working on a  documentary film about "Shep."

South Shore CVA

Today: On "Reporters' Roundtable," "Times" freelance repoter Deborah Laverty talks about the stories she's put out in print and online, including a look at the 2021 Porter County Fair and this year's local observance of World Civility Day.  "Off Mic" host and reporter Michael Puente recently spoke with Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter about the state bills enacted into law this year focusing on criminal justice and on plans to create a local cybercrime-fighting task force, and we have a conversation with a Merrillville businessman who helped tornado victims in Illinois recently -- by making pizzas for them.

Rail-Volution website

Today:  Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission executive director Ty Warner is on "Regionally Speaking" in an encore conversation about "transit-oriented development" (one such project is pictured above) and how it fits in with projects like the South Shore Line expansion.  We have more about a veterans' job fair to be held Thursday at Soldier Field in Chicago, co-sponsored by the DAV and other groups.  And Erika Dahl of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority talks about a big sporting event this weekend.  More than 180 softball teams from across the Midwest are in northwest Indiana to compete in the National Softball Association Girls’ Fast Pitch “B” & “C” Northern World Series.   Games are being played in communities across the region, and it's expected to have a big local economic impact. 

IPB News - Brandon Smith

Today:  Andy Downs, the executive director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue Ft. Wayne is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about what Hoosier legislators are supposed to be doing when they return to Indianapolis this fall: redrawing state legislative and congressional district maps.  Andy offers some insight to the process and has some suggestions.  The work on redrawing the maps is being delayed because of the lack of new U.S. Census data.   We bring back our conversation with U.S. Health and Human Services pediatrician Dr. Michael Warren about the vaccines that young people should receiving this summer, aside of the COVID-19 vaccine (if they can receive it).  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune

Today:  The 2021 Sustainable Transportation Conference and Expo held by South Shore Clean Cities is coming next month in Michigan City, and SSCC executive director Carl Lisek is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about it.  The event includes a luncheon chat between Lisek and U.S. Senator Mike Braun.  (a view from last year's Convention and Expo is pictured above.) UniFirst, a commercial and industrial uniform and workwear service firm, is opening a brand-new state-of-the-art facility in Hammond on Wednesday, and we talk to Unifirst senior VP Matt Croatti about it. And Side Effects Public Media's Christine Herman spoke with a university professor about the impact that the COVID pandemic's having on childrens' development -- especially as they learn to speak.  She has a report.

Money Magazine

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable, "Post-Tribune" reporters Alexandra Kukulka and Carrie Napoleon are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the stories they've put out in print and online.  Alex talks about her story on public concerns about the state's minimum wage (a recent protest elsewhere is pictured above) and a story on local prosecutors' battles against cybercriminals.  Carrie reviews her latest story about the makeup of the South Shore CVA board and the board's discussions about its contract with CEO Speros Batistatos.  We have a brief conversation from "Inside Indiana Business" about a womens' conference coming up this fall, and NFIB Indiana senior director Barbara Quandt talks about the latest NFIB survey of Hoosier small businesses trying to recover from the pandemic. The latest focus in the survey is on finding enough people to fill jobs, as businesses reopen.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today: PNC Financial Services vice president and economist Abbey Omodunbi is on "Regionally Speaking" for his monthly look at the regional and national economies, a look at labor shortages and how long they could last -- and his thoughts on consumer confidence and concerns about inflation.  We revisit our converation with Kristen Marlow, the executive director of the American Red Cross northwest Indiana chapter, on the dire shortage of blood in the Region and elsewhere, and we hear from two I.U. Northwest professors on healthcare privacy laws during the pandemic.

Photo provided by Hard Rock Casino

Today:  Ed Feigenbaum with the "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter, published by Hannah News Service,  is on "Regionally Speaking" with the latest Indiana Gaming Commission revenue data from all of the state's casinos -- including northwest Indiana casinos.  We also hear from the Indiana Youth Institute's Tami Silverman on what young people should know about racism and how to explain it to them, depending upon their age. Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer explains in detail why one shouldn’t get financial advice from social media to create an investment plan… especially from those who are social media influencers.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Legacy Foundation

Today: Legacy Foundation community development director Donna Catalano and her colleague vice-president Kelly Anoe are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about projects that include the summertime farmers' markets in Lake County and a recent series of grants going out to community organizations from the Foundation.  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson talks with Carrie Higgins with the Porter County Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition about the proposed "smoke-free ordinance" in Portage that is under review by the City Council. And Rebecca Edwards with "SafeWise" discusses the concerns that Hoosiers have over gun violence, as addressed in its latest "State of Safety in America's" Indiana statistics. You can read the full State of Safety report by visiting

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable, "Times" reporter Dan Carden talks about the stories he's put out in print and online, including news from Washington on U.S. House approval of funding for northwest Indiana road projects and the new laws now in place from last General Assembly session. Celina Weatherwax with the MAAC Foundation talks about their latest acquisition: a state-of-the-art K-9 simulator. And we find out more about a July 22nd veterans' job fair to be held at Soldier Field in Chicago co-sponsored by the DAV and "RecruitMilitary."

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today: There is concern among state lawmakers about the non-profit hospitals in northwest Indiana and their ability to make business decisions that can have an impact on residents’ lives – especially when it comes to healthcare costs.    “Off Mic” host Michael Puente spoke with a local legislator recently about the topic for his program and we bring you that conversation. We also revisit our conversation with Lake County Elections and Voter Registration executive director Michelle Fajman about the company that is creating an electronic system, to be in place by the 2022 elections, that tracks election equipment used in the county’s precincts as well as sets up payroll and training for election workers and creates maps for poll workers.  And we have the second in Side effects Public Media reporter Carter Barrett's series on families seeking help for mental health issues.

Portage Life website

Today:  NIRPC chief transportation planner Mitch Barloga is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the recently-completed segments of the Marquette Greenway in Burns Harbor, and other trails in northwest Indiana (Pictured: the Marquette Greenway Trail in Portage).  The Indiana DNR worked with Burns Harbor town officials and Portage city officials on the projects.  The Next Level Trails program makes critical trail connections within and between communities.  "Mr. Pierogi" joins us from Whiting to talk about the July 23rd parade through Hammond and into Whiting, and of the big festival itself, July 23, 24 & 25.   Greater Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors CEO Peter Novak discusses the latest seven-county home sales report and a look  at the rest of 2021.  And Side Effects Public Media's Carter Barrett begins a two-part series on families needing help in dealing with mental illness.


Today:  Leslie Plesac, the director of Purdue University Northwest's Sinai Forum program, is on "Regionally Speaking" for an extended conversation about the guest speakers for the 68th season for the Sinai Forum -- beginning with medical expert Dr. Deborah Birx  (pictured)  on October 17th.  Other guests who will speak this season include Holocaust survivor Max Eisen, civil rights lawyer and social justice activist Bryan Stevenson and Silicon Valley icon Steve Wozniak.  Pediatrician Dr. Christina Johns talks about the COVID vaccines available (and soon-to-be available) for children and of the importance of deciding if they should be vaccinated.  And Gary Literacy Coalition executive director Lori Kuykendall talks about the organization and its mission in the Steel City to support, promote, enhance and coordinate programs for citizen access to literacy programs.

Porter County Recycling website

Today:  Erika Mihalek with the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about how last weekend's household hazardous waste collection event in Chesterton helped residents properly dispose of some items that shouldn't be kept too long in garages or basements -- and event  planners can take advantage of free recyclables containers this summer.  Erika also has an update on the county's drop off recycling sites (one of them is located at the Valparaiso compost site, as pictured last winter).  Also on the program is Brian Rock of Merrillville, a gourmet pizza-making businessman who gives back to the community in need, by making free wood-fired pizzas for people affected by disaster – in this case, people affected by the recent tornadoes.  And we have this week's conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.


Today:  Susan Thomas and Ashley Williams with "Just Transition NWI" are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about last weekend's screening in Michigan City of the documentary "In The Water," a film that explored Indiana's utility industry and the environmental hazards of storing coal ash (as pictured, coal ash spread on a road in the Town of Pines area).  Filmmaker and environmental journalist Beth Edwards visited the Town of Pines in producing the documentary in 2018.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Justin Hicks has a feature report on working remotely, and we have a new feature: "Womens' Worth" with Deborah Cundiff and Tamara Taylor, who focus on womens' financial health and wealth.   

Photo provided

Today:  Gary native Chris Robinson is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his documentary about his hometown, "Looted," which will premiere Sunday afternoon at the ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen.  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs education program director Charmain Bogue talks about the 77th Anniversary of the GI Bill -- a program which is still, for many veterans, the number-one reason they joined the military.   "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete joins us on "Reporters Roundtable Thursday" to talk about the recent stories he put out in print and online.  And reporter Michael Puente has a feature focusing on concerns in East Chicago about the future of the community hospital in that city.


Today:  Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about Indiana's ranking in the 2021 "Kids Count National Data Book" issued by the Annie E. Casey Foundation.  While the National Data Book identifies many positive gains for Indiana, Silverman says more progress must be made to ensure that all Hoosier children thrive.  We also revisit our conversation with Lake County Surveyor Bill Emerson Jr. about the new "wetlands bill" enacted this year by the General Assembly and its impact on Lake County waterways, including the Kankakee River swamps and wetlands.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Ben Thorp looks into a Purdue University research lab that is working on ways to create cold food storage for space travelers.

WANE-TV Ft Wayne

Today:  A northwest Indiana travel specialist arranges professionally-accompanied group cruises and vacations for those with diagnoses like dementia-Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, MS, cancer and the like – and they include their caregivers and family members. The company's owner, Kathy Shoaf, is back on "Regionally Speaking" with a post-pandemic update.  Lake County Democratic Party chairman Jim Weiser talks about today's local visit from the "American Rescue Plan Tour," at Wicker Park in Highland.  State chairman Mike Schmuhl joins Congressman Frank Mrvan, Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. and AFT state chairperson GlenEva Dunham of Gary for the event. (Pictured: the official launch of the ARP Tour on June 3rd outside the Statehouse with former U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly.)

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:  Northwest Indiana political activist Ruth Needleman is on "Regionally Speaking" with her regular conversation on the issues that, this time, include deportations from the Gary airport, the continued fight against COVID-19 and a July 4th parade coming up in Hobart.  Financial advisor Greg Hammer wonders in his conversation whether 2021 should be called the "Year of Roth IRA," since there may be changes that will have an impact on those saving for retirement. And we bring back our conversation with Megan Telligman with Indiana Humanities about the new "Unearthed" statewide educational initiative about the environment.


Today:  Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. is on "Regionally Speaking" with the latest on this year's "Festival of the Lakes," to be held July 13th through the 18th at Wolf Lake.  It is considered the first big public event in Lake County after the statewide public health emergency is lifted.   Elisabeth Menning with NWI Pride is with us to talk about this weekend's "Love Runs the Region 5K" walk, beginning from the Lake County Fairgrounds, and other events during this Pride Month. Employment law attorney Elizabeth Owens Bille talks about the concerns that employees may have about returning to the workplace after the COVID-19  pandemic, and how employers can change their minds if workers decide to quit -- rather than come back.   

Getty Images-Medical News Today website

Today:  Kristin Marlow, the executive director of the American Red Cross northwest Indiana chapter, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the severe blood shortage the nation is facing because of the number of trauma cases, organ transplants and elective surgeries as the pandemic subsides.  We also hear from a pediatrician about the need for young people to get wellness checks and shots (including COVID vaccines)  before schools reopen this fall.  Indiana University Northwest professors Linda Galocy and Dorinda Sattler answer questions about privacy laws and COVID-19: what can businesses ask of their customers -- or of their employees?  And we hear from Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra conductor Kirk Muspratt about his return to the concert stage on Friday.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  Indiana economist-speaker-writer Morton Marcus is on "Regionally Speaking" to discuss the topics behind his "Eye On The Pie" columns dealing with issues about the Hoosier economy.  This time, his recent columns include one related to Father's Day.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  And we bring back our conversation with Urban Land Institute member Christopher Kunz and ULI staff member Tom Eitler about the recent ULI report to Hammond city officials of its upgrade of the city's master plan. The plan's been under discussion since 2019. 

Photo provided

Today:  "Indiana Gaming Insight" and "Indiana Legislative Insight" newsletter editor Ed Feigenbaum is on "Regionally Speaking" to discuss the latest gaming industry news from northwest Indiana and the rest of Indiana, along with other news topics of interest.  "Times" journalist and author Joseph Pete joins us to talk about some of the things that one can do in northwest Indiana during Father's Day weekend.  He outlines some of them which are in his latest book, published by Reedy Press.   And a central Indiana journalism professor emeritus and author talks about the increasing problem of hazing on college campuses.