Coronavirus COVID-19

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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.

WISH-TV Indianapolis

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.

State officials and federal agencies warn there's a new phone scam circulating: Callers posing as COVID-19 contact tracers are trying to pry credit card or bank account information from unsuspecting victims.

The grifters apparently are taking advantage of a genuine public health intervention that is crucial to stopping the spread of the novel coronavirus: contact tracing.

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.

Updated at 7:01 p.m. ET Monday

The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill is shifting undergraduate instruction entirely online after 130 students tested positive for the coronavirus during its first week of classes.

Chancellor Kevin Guskiewicz and Provost Robert Blouin announced the reversal Monday, one week after classes started and two weeks after residence halls opened at limited capacity. They noted that less than 30% of "total classroom seats" were being taught in person.

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. 

New York Times

GARY -- Mayor Jerome Prince is commending City of Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker.. for being nominated for a COVID-19 Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum... for his work in fighting the spread of the virus.

Mayor Prince said in a statement that Dr. Walker has given us guidance, solid medical advice, even as he has dealt with the illness in his own family.

The JFK Presidential Library and Museum will announce the winner in the fall.

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.

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.

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.

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