Local News

Zach Herndon / WTIU News

A top lawmaker in Indiana is warning schools they could lose out on 15 percent of state funding if they start the new school year only online. 

Tony Webster / Flickr

The northern Indiana utility NIPSCO will pay one of the highest fines in state history for natural gas pipeline safety violations. The state said the company failed to timely find or mark some of its pipelines — which could have caused natural gas explosions. 

Youtube screenshot

Indiana schools are reopening for the new academic year, with some reporting cases of COVID-19 among staff or students, and the state's top school official says efforts to find people who have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus is proving difficult.

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.

Porter County, Indiana

PORTER COUNTY -
The Porter County Health Department is identifying metrics local health officials will use to advise school districts on what instructional models to implement, based on coronavirus outbreaks.

The "Times" reports a Porter County memo outlines a three-tier threshold for county positivity rates using a seven-day period.  A county average of 0-5% indicates schools should operate in person; at 6-12%, schools should operate in-person or with a hybrid model; and at 13% or higher, districts should pursue remote learning.

FILE PHOTO: Nick Janzen

According to a new report from Earthjustice and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, 70 percent of the most dangerous hazardous waste sites in the country are located within a mile of federally assisted housing.

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.

Did May Flooding Recontaminate Homes In East Chicago?

Aug 6, 2020
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Residents in the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago are worried that flooding in May could have recontaminated their homes with arsenic and lead. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency is ready to call the soil at several properties clean. 

State Launches COVID-19 Help Hotline For Schools

Aug 6, 2020
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The State Department of Health announced Wednesday it launched a hotline for school administrators to call with questions about COVID-19.

Courtesy of the Governor's Office

Indiana will launch a settlement arbitration tool for Hoosier landlords and renters as it braces for a flood of evictions when the state’s eviction moratorium ends Aug. 14.

Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana

SOUTH HAVEN - The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Northwest Indiana has just received one of it's biggest and most valuable donations it has ever gotten thus-far.

It has been given nearly two acres of land that is adjacent to the South Haven Boys & Girls Club on what is now the north end of the Club’s property.  The donation came from Indiana American Water.  According to a news release from the Boys & Girls Clubs, the lot is valued at more than $130,000.

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.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana says it has spent – or committed to spending – less than $1 billion in federal CARES Act money out of the $2.4 billion it’s received.

You Asked: How Contact Tracing Works

Aug 4, 2020
GORDON JOHNSON / Pixabay

Experts say contact tracing is key to understanding and managing the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, and many community members have questions about the process. Side Effects received dozens of those questions through our partnership with Indiana Public Broadcasting. 

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.

Jessica Whittle Photography / Flickr

Former Indiana Lt. Gov. John Mutz, a Republican, says pressure from President Donald Trump is the reason Gov. Eric Holcomb won’t allow many Hoosiers to vote by mail this fall.

July 30, 2020: NWI Midday News Update - Stay tuned for the latest on a shooting that left a toddler in critical condition, then one university's plans for admissions this fall, while another region high school moves to e-learning.

IU Press Bloomington IN

Today:  We have conversations with the new chancellor of Indiana University Northwest, Ken Iwama, and with former Congresswoman, gubernatorial candidate and I.U. ethics professor Jill Long Thompson.  Chancellor Iwama begins his post this weekend on the Gary campus, taking over from William Lowe, who returns to the university faculty.  Chancellor Iwama was selected from a field of finalists who each visited campus last February.  He came from a key administrative post at College of Staten Island, New York. Jill Long Thompson is the author of the book "The Character of American Democracy," available from Indiana University Press.   She is a former three-term U.S. Representative and was a candidate for Governor in 2008.  Her biography notes that her political career began in 1983 when she launched a successful campaign to win a seat on the Valparaiso City Council, a post she held from 1984 to 1986.  She is currently a member of the faculty of the Kelley School of Business at Indiana University.

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.

Hoosiers Sent Mysterious Seeds From China In The Mail

Jul 29, 2020
@IndianaChemist / Twitter

People in Indiana and around the country are receiving seeds in the mail from China that they didn’t order. State and federal officials are urging residents not to plant the seeds or throw them away where they could grow in landfills. 

Evictions, Foreclosures Banned For Another Two Weeks

Jul 29, 2020
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Hoosier renters and homeowners will be shielded from evictions and foreclosures for another couple of weeks.

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.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

The Department of Workforce Development says it will borrow from the federal government to shore up its unemployment trust fund, which has paid more than three-quarters of its balance to out-of-work Hoosiers through the pandemic.

Ivy Tech Community College

  

Today:    Ivy Tech Community College Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Margaret Semmer and Professor Paul Kamber, a member of the Northwest Indiana campus math faculty, are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the Ivy Tech "Learn Anywhere" program to begin classes in the fall semester.  Jill Powers with Goodwill Industries of Michiana is with us to talk about the Aug. 7 LaPorte Military Veteran Stand Down -- coming up at the Fairgrounds. And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

NORTHWEST INDIANA - The Calumet High School football program is underway again along with a few other high schools around the Region after the programs were suspended due to COVID-19.

Calumet and River Forest had suspended prep sports activities on July 14th.  Michigan City stopped its sports activities July 16th, after the school was notified one of its athletes tested positive for COVID-19.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

An extra $600 unemployment benefit (Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation) ended this Saturday, meaning unemployed Hoosiers will start getting just less than half their normal weekly income. 

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Voter advocates want Hoosiers to be able to vote by mail in this year’s general election.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 77 additional confirmed deaths over the last week, bringing the state’s total to 2,706. The state announced more than 62,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 701,000 Hoosiers tested.

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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