Local News

South Bend Tribune

Today:  Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, has the latest from the Statehouse on environmental bills still moving through the General Assembly, including two that are up for review in separate Environmental Affairs Committees this week.  The HEC's Kim Ferraro tells us about the Indiana Supreme Court decision on a request to review an appeals court case about "factory farms" and their impact on local farms and residents.  And  also speaking of the environment, we have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio," with Carl Lisek of South Shore Clean Cities.  "Off Mic" host Michael Puente spoke recently with Gary attorney Tony Walker about Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill's legal problems, and we revisit that conversation. Walker served as chairman of the state Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission.

Roads and Bridges website

Today:  Terry Velligan and Laura Weber with Cline Avenue Bridge LLC join us to give us an update on the new toll bridge going up over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago. Right now, plans call for completion and its opening to traffic this summer.  We have today's  "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody is another new mayor in the Region, and we find out from him on how his first couple months in office are going. And Dr. Bill Carroll, the consultant working with the St. Joseph's College Board of Trustees, tells us about the revival of the college in Rensselaer that is based on a three-year plan that calls for partnerships with other educational institutions and with the community.

Andy S/Youtube

Today:  Michael Noland, president of NICTD, is with us to tell us the latest about the South Shore Line expansion projects.  The first of a series of public meetings begins in Michigan City on Wednesday, and continues into March and into this summer, about the Double-Tracking (Gary to Michigan City) and the West Lake Corridor (Lake County) projects.  We bring back our conversation with Indiana University Northwest professors Charles Hobson and Micah Pollak about a study that showed that returning veterans are very employable.  And VA Undersecretary for Field Operations Willie Clark tells us about the concerns the VA has that Vietnam War veterans on ships stationed off the coast could be just as much at risk, as the sailors on river boats, for contracting illnesses related to Agent Orange.  The VA has expanded the list of medical conditions associated with Agent Orange.

Holcomb Orders Action On Erosion Along Lake Michigan

Feb 20, 2020

Gov. Eric Holcomb issued an executive order on Thursday to help cities along Lake Michigan experiencing erosion. Among other things, it directs the state to speed up approvals for projects that protect homes and infrastructure and determine whether Indiana can declare an emergency to receive federal dollars. 

The Associated Press

Today:  We begin with "Post-Tribune" reporter Meredith Colias-Pete's stories she put in print and online, including the news that Indiana Medicaid must reimburse the federal government about $1.1 million for payments made to Medicaid patients who reportedly died but not cleared from the payment system.   Meredith also reported the news of a legal disciplinary hearing officer's report on Indiana Attorney General  Curtis Hill,  Lakeshore Public Radio's Dee Dotson talked with the founder of an organization that focuses on inspiring and empowering the next generation of entertainers -- and we revisit Sharon Jackson's conversation with an American Lung Association board member about the ALA's request to the FDA to crack down on vaping product makers who claim they are in the "quitting smoking" business.   We also revisit our conversations with immigration attorney Alfredo Estrada and Northwest Indiana Forum chief executive Heather Ennis.

Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune

Today:  Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy joins us in an at-length conversation about succeeding Jon Costas in office last month, his first "State of the City" address on January 28th, and what he is proposing for the city as he takes over the administrartion. He talks about city projects and programs that are continuing or willget underway this spring.  We also have an encore edition of "Green Fleet Radio" with Carl Lisek of South Shore Clean Cities, and Allison Schuette with the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University talks about tonight's "Flight Paths" presentation and workshop in the Anderson Library Conference Center at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.  

IMDB website

Today:  Gary native, Hollywood actor and film festival host William L. Johnson talks about the 9th annual Black Film Festival, to be held this Friday evening and Saturday evening at the Glen Theatre in Gary.  The focus of the festival is on the achievements of African-American actors and filmmakers.   We have a new edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation, and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  Jesse Kharbanda with the Hoosier Environmental Council is at the Statehouse to keep an eye on environmental bills still before the 2020 General Assembly, and he talks with us about HB 1414 -- a major bill affecting clean energy and public utilities.  It is coming up soon before the Senate Utilities Committee for a hearing.

Town of Griffith

GRIFFITH-State Senator Rick Niemeyer, who represents Indiana's 6th District, has put his support behind Griffith's efforts to leave Calumet Township.  The Senator from Lowell authored Senate Bill 365, which he says would allow Griffith out of Calumet Township, even if they are not accepted by an abutting township.

Ivy Tech Community College

Today:   We have a conversation about Democratic Party politics, as more states hold primary elections -- northwest Indiana political observer Joseph Conn and a supporter of candidate Amy Klobuchar spoke with "Off Mic" host Michael Puente last Friday and we have that conversation on today's program.  Ivy Tech Community College president Sue Ellspermann joins us to talk about the next series of eight-week-long courses to be offered on IVTC campuses beginning March 16th.  She says this is the largest group of courses designed for people who want to take classes and fit them into their busy lives.  And we bring back our conversation with National Weather Service senior hydrologist Scott Franklin about the new designation of flooding along the Kankakee River -- important changes to note, during this icy time of year.

Chicago Crusader website

Today:  For this "Reporters'  Roundtable" program we ask "Times" reporters Dan Carden and Joseph Pete and "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson to talk about their latest stories in print and online.  Carole has the latest (as of Thursday morning) on the Gary Roosevelt building situation, as decided by the Distressed Unit Appeals Board.  Dan reviews local politics, including Lake County Recorder Michael B. Brown and candidates who've withdrawn from the May 5th primary election ballot, as well as stories from the Statehouse.  Joe Pete has business news for us, including another hazardous waste investigation in East Chicago, and an interesting story about his brother Tom.  Chuck Garber with Valparaiso University also joins us with details on Saturday's annual "Polar Plunge" benefit for Special Olympics Indiana, happening on campus.

Diocese of Gary website

Tioday:  On this first day of Roman Catholic Diocese of Gary Bishop Robert McClory's being the Region's new shepherd, we revisit our conversation with him last week.  He was ordained and installed on Tuesday in a liturgy in Gary.  We have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio," from South Shore Clean Cities and NIRPC with Carl Lisek. And northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer joins us with some important tips   that can go toward offering a Valentines' Day gift that goes beyond candy or flowers: financial security that can last for years.

IU Northwest/Portage Life website

Today:  We talk with Jana Szostek, the director of the Indiana University Northwest Center for Professional Development, a component of the School of Business and Economics.  The center provides assistance to northwest Indiana businesses of all sizes, including helping employees with professional certifications or aiming them toward college degrees, if they choose.    Kevin Comerford hosts another edition of "Building Northwest Indiana," from the Construction Advancement Foundation, and we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. Isaiah Mears with the Indiana Federation of College Republicsns is back with an update about a letter that he and other young GOP officials just sent out to Indiana's Republican congressional delegation about the need for a climate change plank in the party's platform this election year.  They say it's an important issue to be taken rom an economic view.

Indiana House Democrats

Today:  We begin with highlights from a February 5th "Indivisible NWI"' forum where State Rep. and Democratic Party congressional candidate Mara Candelaria Reardon spoke and answered residents' questions at the Griffith-Calumet Township Library branch.  Reardon is one of 14 candidates who will be on the ballot, seeking to be on the November general election ballot to seek the seat held by retiring Congressman Pete Visclosky..  Donna Muta with the city of Hammond is with us to talk about this Saturday's 5th annual "219 Day," at the Civic Center, billed as a "fun, weird and wacky event that celebrates everything Region."   and Northwest Indiana Symphony Orchestra conductor Kirk Muspratt talks about the March 6th concert that features works by Beethoven, Rachmaninoff and Vivaldi.

LaPorte County

LAPORTE COUNTY - After many years of working on it, LaPorte County will soon have an industrial park that can be served by two Class One rail carriers and it'll be a one-of-kind in the midwest. 

The county has entered into an agreement with the Indiana Economic Development Corporation for a $1 million performance-based grant to support the connection of LaPorte County's $6 million rail spur at Kingsbury Industiral Park with the CSX mainline.  The CSX mainline is adjacent to the park's southern border.

WTHI-TV Terre Haute website

Today:  We have Governor Eric Holcomb's complete "State of the State" address from last month at the Statehouse.  Among the topics he brings up: education and teachers' pay.  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson has her conversation with Tony Rodriguez, the director of LaPorte County's office of community and economic development, on the plans for the use of a performance-based grant to link the Kingsbury Industrial Park with two major railroad lines.  And Lakeshore Public Radio's Dee Dotson offers her conversation with "Emma's Footprints" creator Amelia Kowalsyn, about the organization she founded to help families whov'e lost babies after birth deal with their grief.

Crossroads Chamber of Commerce

Today:  Lake Area United Way is continuing in its mission to help low-income Lake County residents with the services and assistance they need the most --including adequate child care for working families -- with a collaboration with Methodist Hospitals to create a new child care center at the hospital's Northlake campus in Gary.  Lisa Dougherty, the president and CEO with the United Way, is with us to talk about the "child care desert"  issues, the new project and the financial help they received from Early Learning Indiana to make it happen.  We have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio," from South Shore Clean Cities and NIRPC, and this one focuses on the Indiana Toll Road's sustainability programs.  Bill McCall with ITR is with host Carl Lisek.  And we bring back our conversations with Merrillville-based Cimcor chiel executive Robert Johnson III about cybersecurity concerns, and with Bill Wozniak of INVestEd about a recent Indiana study on higher education expenses.

Diocese of Detroit

Today:  We have two conversations on the program, ahead of the February 11th ordination and installation event for the new shepherd of the Diocese of Gary, Bishop Robert McClory.   Frs. Marty Dobrzynski and Mike Yadron talk first about the planning for the event at the Catherdral of the Holy Angels in Gary and of the work getting the new Bishop readty for his work in northwest Indiana.  We then follow with our conversation, recorded late last week, with the Bishop.   We also have a new edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. 

Scott Costello campaign website

Today:  We talk to another candidate for the First District Congressional seat held by Pete Visclosky.  Highland resident Scott Costello's name is at the top of the Democratic Party primary election ballot. He considers himself a progressive, and he talks about many of the issues in his campaign.    We also find out about the Human Trafficking Awareness Month campaign just completed from Indiana State Police public information officer Sgt. John Perrine.  And Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson has a conversation with LaPorte County Council president Randy Novak about the $1 million state performance-based grant to support the connection of the railroad spurs inside Kingsbury Industrial Park wih the CSX and CN railroads.

Northeast Indiana Public Radio

Today:  Hoosier Environmental Council senior policy director Tim Maloney and his colleagues have been closely watching the progress of bills in this General Assembly session that can affect the Indiana environment.  Tim is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the measures that he's been monitoring -- two of which made it through Senate committees.  "Inside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick and his panel of experts review the week's stories in this "INsiders" segment, and we bring you reporter Michael Puente's "Off Mic" conversation with Gary resident and activist Apostle East on the rise in crime in the Steel City. Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson visited south Texas near the Mexico border last year and talked to residents about the controversial issue of immigration.

Wikipedia

Today:  Steve Coxhead, president of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance, tells us more about the new initiative by IPRA and the Northern Indiana Passenger Rail Asociation to get state legislators to support the creation of the Indiana Passenger Rail Commission.  It would serve as a tool to focus and coordinate state advocacy groups as well as state agencies toward 21st Century passennger rail systems.  The proposal could be discussioned at a summer legislative study session.  We also have another edition of "Green Fleet Radio," with Carl Lisek of South Shore Clean Cities and supported by SSCC and NIRPC. And Indiana economist-writer-speaker Morton Marcus joins us in the Lakeshore Public Radio studio to talk about his latest "Eye on the Pie" columns.  They range from discussion of the current General Assembly session to a concept once taught in Economics 101 classes in college.

WFYI Public Radio

Today:  Updates on the 2020 Indiana General Assembly session -- first, from Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Ft. Wayne, and later, from Dr. Indra Frank with the Hoosier Environmental Council,  which is closely watching environmentally-related measures moving through the Legislature.  We have a new edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and a new conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Indiana Gaming Commission

INDIANA - Hoosier gamblers and visiting bettors will have the chance to bet this year on a non-gaming event that's been made legal to bet on, the Oscars!

Indiana University Northwest

Today:  The chair of the search committee, IUK Chancellor Susan Sciame-Giesceke, is on "Regionally Speaking" to explain the process of seeking applicants for the impending vacancy in the Indiana University Northwest chancellor's office, and about the four finalists for the position.  They all will come to the Gary campus to meet with students, faculty, staff and community members (one is already on campus for his visit)  Chancellor William Lowe is stepping down effective July 31st and intends to return to teaching.  We talk with IUN staffers Nico Casas and Cindy Szmanski about today's screening of the biopic "Eva A-7063" in the Savannah Center on this International Holocaust Remembrance Day. INVestEd's Bill Wozniak joins us from Indianapolis to talk about the non-profit, its mission and of a new statewide study focused on student loans, their impact on the state economy and how employers and communities are helping those who are becoming part of the Indiana workforce of the 21st Century.  And Carl Lisek with South Shore Clean Cities talks about next month's Annual Sustainable Transportation Conference and Expo in Michigan City.

WTIU public television

Today:  We ask "Post-Tribune" reporter Meredith Colias-Pete about the stories she's worked on --including two from the 2020 General Assembly session.  One of them is about Rep. Ed Soliday's bill that could give utility regulators the ability to give their approval before utilities can close coal-fired power plants.   She also has a northwest Indiana update on a state report on infant mortalities.  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson has her conversation with Gary city spokesman Michael Gonzalez on the next phase of dealing with the issue of closed and abandoned Gary public school buildings.  Gary Mayor Jerome Prince is attending a U.S. Conference of Mayors workshop for new mayors, and we learn more about it from the mayor himself.  And we bring back our conversation with northwest Indiana immigration attorney Alfredo Estrada.

Tom Lounges/Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:   We bring back our conversation with Jesse Kharbanda and Dr. Indra Frank with the Hoosier Environmental Council on the recent merger of "Improving Kids' Environment" with the HEC -- and, later in the program, with Conservation Law Center staff attorney Jeff Hyman on HB1031, the measure in the Legislature dealing with public access to Lake Michigan.  "Green Fleet Radio" from South Shore Clean Cities and NIRPC is once again on-the-air with host Carl Lisek. And we talk with Valparaiso University freshman Steven Mileusnich about his petition drive, both on campus and on Change.org, to "Save VU Jazz!" 

Hanover Community Schools website

Today:  We bring back our conversation with Wabash College student and Indiana College Republicans leader Isaiah Mears, on the state Young GOP organization's partnering with a national team to come up with a conversation on climate change.  We also have another "Building Northwest Indiana" conversation from the Construction Advancement Foundation.   And Hanover Community School Corporation Superintendent Mary MacAuley is with us to talk about the south Lake County school district's $79 million capital improvement project and their request for patron support, when it comes up as a question on the May 5th primary election ballot. More information can be found here.   We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  Today, a Gary senior remembers the neighborhood of her childhood.

GARY - The Gary Community School Corporation is getting an opportunity to respond the citations brought against it for violation of the city of Gary's unsafe building ordinance.  

NWI Times

Indiana lawmakers are considering a bill that would undo a landmark Indiana Supreme Court ruling that affirmed that the shoreline of Lake Michigan is owned by the state and held in trust for use by all residents. 

Rep. Doug Miller sponsored legislation that would give up the state's ownership of large swaths of Indiana's lake shoreline to adjacent private property owners if their deeds indicate the land extends to Lake Michigan.

Data: Gary's 2019 homicide count highest since 2007

Jan 20, 2020
John J. Watkins / The Times via AP

GARY (AP) - The northwest Indiana city of Gary reported 58 homicides in 2019. That's the highest since 2007 when there were 71.

The Times reports the murder count last year was up 45% from 40 in 2019. Domestic killings jumped by nearly 90%, from eight in 2018 to 15 in 2019.  

Police Commander Jack Hamady says gang-related homicides were down compared to 2018. Police hope to increase funding for a recently reorganized drug unit and to receive outside funding for SWAT and K-9 programs, along with strengthening partnerships with local, state and federal agencies.

PBS.org

Today:  We recognize this Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day with his "I Have A Dream" speech from 1963 and Indiana University  Northwest's theatrical presentation on Tuesday with  James Wallace, the director of Diversity, Equality and  Multicultural Affairs.  Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman talks about Indiana National Mentoring Month and the IYI's special initiative called Mentor Indiana. We also bring back our conversations with Diana Rosenthal, jazz educator at Merrillville High School and jazz educator and musician Charkey Harrison, who was commissioned by MHS to prepare a piece he wrote for the school's Jazz Club. 

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