Coronavirus COVID-19

Indiana Public Media

Today:   "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the stories from the 2021 Indiana Legislature that he's put out in print and online.  Melina Rivera with Healthy Communities Of LaPorte County will talk about smoking cessation programs in her county and about a special Town Hall meeting to be conducted in Spanish tonight on Facebook Live.  It focuses on smoking and vaping and the impact they can have on dealing with the coronavirus.  

PNC Financial Services Group

Today:  PNC Financial Services economist Abbey Omodunbi is on "Regionally Speaking" for an update on the northwest Indiana and Midwest economic views and outlooks.  We also bring back our recent conversation with northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer, and his recommendations on how to be able to plan for a comfortable retirement in 2021.  Side Effects Public Media reporter Darian Benson also has more on how healthcare professionals are encouraging adults to talk to children about mental health issues since they, too, are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Ivy Tech Community College

Today:  Ivy Tech Community College Lake County campus IT program chairman Matthew Cloud and recent graduate Daniel Lopez are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the local version of the statewide program to prepare students for careers in cybersecurity and IT.  Jordan Stanfill with Housing Opportunities in Valparaiso is also on the program to talk about the organization's assistance to homeless Porter County citizens, including adding more beds to accomodate more people on frigid, snowy nights. Additional funding from the state made the effort possible through about mid-March.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brock Turner has a report on the racism-related issues healthcare workers face in trying to persuade Blacks to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

Chicago Tribune

Today:  There've been a lot of concerns voiced about how safe it is to travel in elevators during the coronavirus pandemic -- but very little solid research into those concerns.  Otis Worldwide commissioned Purdue University mechanical engineering professor Yan Chen to look into it, and Otis engineer Stephen Nichols is on "Regionally Speaking" to reveal the study's findings.  February 7th is National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day and Dr. Laura Cheever with the Ryan White HIV-AIDS Program in Washington DC speaks about the significance of the day and of the legacy of Ryan White himself.  The Hoosier teenager died from the disease in April 1990.  And Andy Campbell, the lead person on the renewable assets team with NIPSCO, and NIPSCO spokesperson Tara McElmurry join us to talk about the solar and wind projects that the utility is working on... or, in the case of two wind farms, has put online.  It's part of the utility's renewable energy initiative to be "coal-free" by 2028.

Indiana Public Media

Today:   Indiana Dunes National Park superintendent Paul Labovitz is with us to talk about the beachfront remediation done last year to correct the growing erosion problem along Central Avenue Beach and the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.  He also talks about other projects at the National Park which are planned for 2021.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele has a report on the push to allow reusable shopping bags during the coronavirus pandemic.  Later in the program, Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Ft. Wayne has a review of the first month of the 2021 General Assembly session.  

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  Noted Indiana economist-speaker-writer Morton Marcus is back on "Regionally Speaking" with the latest "Eye On The Pie" columns he's put out, most of them dealing with the economic impact of COVID-19.  Dr. Kalyani Gopal, the founder and president of the SAFE Coalition for Human Rights talks about the importance of being aware of human trafficking and how to recognize the signs of it.  January is National Slavery and Human Trafficking Prevention Month.  The Coalition's phone number is 312-998-2339 and you can reach their website here. And we also have another "Art On The Air" Spotlight, this one focusing on public library virtual programs.

Porter County Recycling website

Today:  Ron Taylor with Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District is on "Regionally Speaking" with an update on what is being recycled in Porter County these days, including the latest on plastic bags recycling. Addiction specialist Joshua Andrus talks about a series of books for young people that helps them better cope with the pandemic. One specific book is titled "Thriving During COVID And Beyond."  And Sandi Haywood with "Home Instead" focuses on the importance of caregivers assisting seniors who would rather live at home instead of in a facility.  Sandi says they are looking for more people who might be interested in helping out part-time, or in a career as a caregiver.

Building Indiana website

Today:  NFIB For Indiana Director Barbara Quandt is on "Regionally Speaking" to give the latest on how Hoosier small businesses are coping in the pandemic, and on what state lawmakers are considering this session to help them survive.  We revisit our conversation with Lake County Democratic Party chief Jim Weiser on the Jan. 30th caucus at the Hammond Civic Center to choose a new North Twp. Trustee.   And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Gemma DiCarlo has a feature report on a research team at University of Notre Dame that has been tracking the presidential transition process.  Lakeshore Public Radio is carrying the inauguration ceremonies in Washington, D.C on Wednesday.

Indiana Department of Health

Today:  Dr. Indra Frank, the environmental health and water policy director at the Hoosier Environmental Council, tells us about two bills now before the Indiana General Assembly that, if passed and enacted into law, would make improvements in coal ash disposal procedures for Hoosier coal-fired power plants.  State Representative Pat Boy and State Senator Karen Tallian are co-sponsors.  Dr. Frank has more on an online policy forum on Thursday, Jan. 14 at 6:30 p.m. on the subject of coal ash disposal.  Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Rebeca Thiele has a feature on the impact of power plant closings on the communities in which they are located.  The latest news on COVID-19 vaccines given out locally and across the state, and a report on how legislators are addressing redrawing political boundaries are also topics on the program today.

Purdue University Northwest

Today:   We continue our conversations with leaders of northwest Indiana higher education institutions with Purdue University Northwest Chancellor Thomas Keon.  We also speak with Robert Blaszkiewicz with Franciscan Health Northern Division about the next distribution of coronavirus vaccines, this time for seniors age 80 and older.  Appointments can be made online or by calling 211.   We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, this time with someone who is very knowledgable about properties in the city of Gary and the importance of neighborhoods. 

Photo provided by IU

Today:   Indiana University Northwest Chancellor Ken Iwama is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the university in 2020 and a look ahead to 2021. He reviewed the response to the COVID pandemic and its impact on higher education.  Side Effects Public Media's Farah Yousry has a report about the lengths that some diabetics will go, to make sure they have the insulin they need to stay alive. And we bring back a conversation about a new addition to the LaPorte County Public Library's community services: a way to offer education that can lead to high-skilled, good-paying jobs.

Foster Success website

Today:  The recent COVID-19 stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by the President will have an impact on Hoosier foster youth as they leave their foster homes and move on toward adulthood.  Dr. Maggie Stevens, president and CEO of Indianapolis-based "Foster Success," talks with us about the provisions of the bill that can best assist them.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, this time a young Black talks about trying to make friends, after moving into a new neighborhood.  Ty Warner with the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission talks about a recent report entitled "E-commerce in Northwest Indiana."  It's a report that addresses in more detail the dynamic shifts in the local economy.  And Pangere Corp. safety supervisor Don Babcock tells us more about a recent educational collaboratin with a Purdue University Northwest professor to offer students a way to be better prepared for careers after graduation.

Indiana Democratic Party website

Today:  State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the issues coming up in the 2021 General Assembly session -- a session that is not only a biennial budget-writing session but one marked by revenue concerns due to COVID-19.  Tammi Davis with the Gary Sanitary District is also a member of an Indiana advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  She tells us about an in-depth report on environmental injustice dealing with lead poisoning in Indiana -- a topic of great interest in northwest Indiana. And we have another edition of "Neighborhood Voice" minority business owner conversations from the Legacy Foundation, as Erica Fizer talks to a Hammond cafe owner.

Metro Oasis CDC Twitter

Today:   Toya Dumas Robinson, CEO of Metropolitan Oasis CDC, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the organization founded by her late father in Gary and the new program that the Indiana DCS is asking the organization to do.   We also bring you edited highlights of Wednesday's ribbon cutting ceremony on the new Cline Avenue toll bridge in East Chicago.  The structure, planned and built over the past five years, was described by the contractor as the “Gateway of Lake County.”  It takes the place of a defective Cline Avenue bridge over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal that was demolish

Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune

Today:  For this "Reporters' Roundtable" program, we talk with "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden about the stories he's put out in print and online.  They include the latest in the dispute between the Lake County Commissioners and County Council over who has jurisdiction over purchasing matters, and a look at how state legislators from northwest Indiana will play a role in shaping state policy when the General Assembly session begins next month.  "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete talks about his stories, including his comprehensive look at changes in the local steelmaking industry with a new player: Cleveland-Cliffs, and one about a gain in northwest Indiana population despite the early-2020 job losses.  And Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. joins us for a lively city-wide update.   

Today:   Abbey Omodunbi with PNC Financial Services Group is back on "Regionally Speaking" with another analysis of the local, regional and national economic pictures.   Side Effects Public Media reporter Farah Yousry has another in her feature series on COVID-19 and diabetes.  And we revisit our conversation with  Terry Velligan with Cline Avenue Bridge LLC, as next week's official opening of the new toll bridge in East Chicago approaches.

Pew Research Center

Today:  We revisit our conversation with 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.  The current plans call for connections to be made in January.  Side Effects Publc Media reporter Farah Yousry has a report on the concerns that diabetics -- particularly those with Type I diabetes -- have, in trying to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic with a condition that has been found to develop severe symptoms and complications if they contract the virus. We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, from a northwest Indiana resident whose family came to the U.S. from Mexico.

Photo Provided

Today:  We revisit our conversation with Chris Bayh, the son of former Senator Birch Bayh, and Joe Allen, a former Bayh staffer who now heads up the "Bayh-Dole-40" initiative that marks the 40th anniversary (actually observed earlier this month) of the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act.   The Bayh-Dole Act fundamentally changed the nation's system of technology transfer, by enabling universities to retain title to inventions and take the lead in patenting and licensing groundbreaking discoveries.  We also have Tami Silverman with the Indiana Youth Institute to talk about her latest column entitled "Still Home for the Holiday: Supporting Our Kids Over Break." Young people usually await the holidays to enjoy being with friends and family, as well as the presents.  But the pandemic changed all that and added stress to the holiday plans.  Tami offers some tips in dealing with that stress.

Lt Governor's Office/WKVI Radio website

Today:  "Times" reporters Mary Freda and Carley Lanich are with us to talk about the stories they posted on the newspaper's website and in print editions this week, including the latest on COVID pandemic-related issues with regional schools, a court decision that affects the former owner of the Crown Theatre in downtown Crown Point, packages being stolen off residents' porches and plans for major expansion projects in the Crown Point Community Schools. There is now a third round of COVID-19 response grants available for communities to help those impacted by the pandemic. Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs are working with and overseeing the program. Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson spoke with the Lieutenant Governor about the next round of grants. And we bring back our conversation with Edgewater Health executive Dr. Danita Johnson-Hughes about this evening's virtual fundraiser.

Photo Provided

Today: La Lumiere School's Head of School Adam Kronk is with us to talk about how they managed to be able to provide "in person" learning during the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting nearly all classes outdoors.  The LaPorte County private college-prep school is now on "remote learning" between the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks because of the colder weather.  We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, with Gary Mayor Jerome Prince. He talks about his early schooling while living in the city's Glen park neighborhood.

CDC.gov

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.

Star America website

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.

Photo Provided by Icon website

Today:  Ty Warner with the Northwestern 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.

Photo Provided

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.

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.

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?

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