Coronavirus COVID-19

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Today:  On this "Reporters Roundtable" Thursday, Meredith Colias-Pete with the "Post-Tribune" reviews for us her stories related to the coronavirus pandemic, and "Inside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick talks to an Indianapolis-based standup comedian on how he had to shift from stage performances to virtual performances on Zoom.   Edgewater Health president and CEO Danita Johnson-Hughes gives us a preview of the organization's virtual fundraisier coming on December 19th.

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Today:  We revisit our conversation recorded here at Lakeshore Public Radio with Tom Dakich, the creator of the "Digital Crossroad" data center that is now open for business in Hammond.  An official grand opening late last month was postponed because of the pandemic.  Side Effects Public Media reporter Natalie Krebs has a report on businesses that are preparing for the pandemic's winter months. And Craig Miller, Franciscan Health's adminstrative director for ambulatory services, talks about the new remote urgent care services instead of a personal visit to a clinic.

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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.

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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.

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.

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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.

Each week, we answer "frequently asked questions" about life during the coronavirus crisis. If you have a question you'd like us to consider for a future post, email us at goatsandsoda@npr.org with the subject line: "Weekly Coronavirus Questions."

How long do you need to be exposed to someone with COVID-19 before you are at risk for being infected?

Updated Thursday at 12:48 a.m. ET

President Trump on Wednesday boasted of his improved health in a video posted to Twitter, calling his coronavirus diagnosis "a blessing from God."

The president's video address is one of several he has posted to the social media site in the days since he was admitted to and ultimately released from Walter Reed National Military Medical Center in Bethesda, Md.

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.

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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.

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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Today:   Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brandon Smith has an update on the issues surrounding vote-by-mail in Indiana.  The Hoosier State is one of only four states without expanded vote-by-mail for the general election.   Side Effects Public Media reporter Natalie Krebs looks into the issue of data tracking on COVID-19, and how it is being done in some states without help from state of federal health resources.  This is Suicide Prevention Month, and Jesse Brown VA Medical Center's Michelle Langlois talks about the ways to help loved ones and family know warning signs that someone may be in danger of taking ones' life.  And Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson talks with Valparaiso city redevelopment director Brandon Dickinson about the old White House Restaurant property.

Gary Community Schools Facebook page

Today:  We have an updated look at the upcoming school tax referendum for the Gary Community Schools, from the school district's manager Dr. Paige McNulty.  Voters in Gary will be asked in the November general election to approve a tax increase that would bring $8.9 million annually, over eight years, to the Gary Community Schools.  It is a move that district leaders are calling the quickest path toward improving education in the city and ending state intervention.   Purdue University distinguished professor Shelley MacDermid-Wadsworth is back to talk about their successful COVID-19-related Facebook group "Families Tackling Tough Times Together," and its next cycle to begin in October.  Home Instead Care Merrillville owner Sandi Haywood is with us to review the ways to care for loved ones with dementia or Alzheimers' disease during the pandemic or the flu season.  World Alzheimers' Month ends next week.  And Sam Gross with Slacker.com goes down the list to tell us which Indiana counties record the best and worst commutes  -- with a look at northwest Indiana.  

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Today:  We talk with Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman about her latest column topic: keeping Hoosier children healthy by feeding as well as we can during the coronavirus pandemic, when schools aren't able to help as much as in the past. Lake Area United Way president-CEO Lisa Daugherty is also with us to bring us up-to-date on programs that help working families-in-need in Lake County during the COVID crisis.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University and the second part of Indiana Public Broadcasting's Ella Abbott's two-part series on "Sundown Towns" in Indiana: how the past is affecting present day life in those communities.

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Today:  Legacy Foundation president Carolyn Saxton talks about the cooperative initiative between the Lake County community foundation, the Knight Foundation, Indiana Black Expo and the cities of Gary and East Chicago to set up the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund.  It's been designed to provide one-time grants to applicants that are minority-owned and operated businesses in both cities. Applications are being accepted now, with grants to be issued in October.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Ella Abbott has the first of a two-part report on what are called "Sundown Towns," and the curator of the Samara House in West Lafayette, Linda Eales, joins us to tell us more about the 64-year-old landmark home designed by Frank Lloyd Wright and the recent $1 million grant from Indiana Landmarks to help restore it to its original condition.

Indiana Public Media

Today:   "Reporters Roundtable" guests today are "Post-Tribune" reporters Hannah Reed and Carole Carlson.  They talk about the stories they put out in print and online, and all involve public school districts.  Hannah's stories are about local schools either returning to in-person classes and the number of COVID-19 cases found during the first month of in-person classes.   Carole will talk about Portage Township Schools students returning to in-person classes next month, and about the Gary Common Council endorsement of the upcoming Gary Community Schools referendum vote.  The Council heard Manager Paige McNulty explain, before their vote, the eight-year $71.2 million referendum that would support the school district's operating costs. 

Forbes Magazine website

Today:   Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer is with us to outline what he calls the Five Ways to Stop the "Pandemic Panic" when working on planning for retirement in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.  Side Effects Public Media reporter Darian Benson talked with some Hoosiers about the topic of racism in medicine, and she has a report.  And U.S. Census Bureau spokesperson Virginia Hyer gives us an update on how the all-important count of Americans this year is going, here in the Hoosier State.  The official count will end soon.

American Rails website

Today:   Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance president Steve Coxhead is back with us to answer a listener question:  why does passenger rail service work in Europe, but not here (in the U.S.)?  He has a very complete explanation behind the rail systems and the changes over the decades leading up to today.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Jill Schleuter-Kim, the executive director of "Girls on the Run Northwest Indiana," talks about the organization and how it helps 8-to-13-year old girls in become empowered and learn life skills through lessons and running.  GOTR has to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, and Jill outlines the changes for the fall season of events, the group's 27th such season.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  We chat with "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden and business reporter Joseph Pete about the stories they've written and put out in print and online.  Dan's stories focused on different aspects of the upcoming general election: about the judicial retention questions that voters will be asked on both local and state judges, as well as the recent federal court decisions concerning laws that impeded voter registration.  Joseph's stories include a comprehensive look at northwest Indiana labor unions as their members return to work in the pandemic, amid reduced union membership, and a look at the newspaper's "Enterprise of the Year," Cimcor, based in Merrillville.  We end the program with our conversation with Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District's Ron Taylor and Valparaiso University environmental chemistry professor Julie Peller, about professor Peller's work earlier this year with her students into the extent of the problem of local plastics pollution.

Updated at 4:40 p.m. ET

President Trump is defending himself after interviews from a new book by legendary reporter Bob Woodward reveal that Trump acknowledged the deadliness of the coronavirus in early February and admitted in March to playing down its severity.

Purdue University Northwest

Today:   Sheila Matias, the executive director of the Leadership Institute at Purdue University Northwest, is with us to talk about the program that has for years given members of the community a way to become  more insightful, stronger leaders.  The coronavirus pandemic offered the Institute an opportunity to expand the access to the landmark "Leadership Northwest Indiana" program through a virtual program.   Another LNI class is about to be launched.   Marie Pittman, program manager of "Lake County Eats Local" joins us to talk about this year's series of land-based and mobile food markets that battle food insecurity in communities like Gary and East Chicago.  The organization joined with Methodist Hospitals Northlake Campus, ArtHouse: A Social Kitchen, Gary Housing Authority and other groups to sponsor this summer's markets.

After a steady rise in coronavirus cases, Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania has restricted students to their dormitories and moved all classes online in a sweeping quarantine that began Tuesday and will last at least through the end of the week.

Gettysburg, which has more than 2,000 students enrolled, is believed to be the first U.S. college to enact such a measure.

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.

Adam Johnson enjoys going into the office. It helps that he works in one of the nicest buildings in Midtown Manhattan: a 35-story art deco high-rise at the corner of 58th Street and Fifth Avenue, overlooking Central Park and the Plaza Hotel.

Johnson's a stock picker — he writes an investment newsletter called Bullseye Brief — and, ostensibly, he shares the sixth floor with a real estate showroom and an assortment of hedge funds. They all left months ago.

"I am the only person who's been coming in here since April 1st," he says.

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. 

Under normal circumstances, it could take years — if not decades — to bring a new vaccine to market. The COVID-19 pandemic has changed all that. In May, the Trump administration launched Operation Warp Speed with the goal of delivering initial doses of a safe and effective vaccine by January 2021 — shortening the development time from years to months.

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