Local News

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.

Southlake Mall

HOBART - An officer was injured and three women were arrested in a fight at Southlake Mall Friday afternoon.

The "Times" reports two of the women are 26 years-old and one is 32 and they are from Hobart, Gary and Chicago.  One of the women will face a battering a law enforcement officer charge.

Officers were called to the Southlake Mall at about 1:10 p.m. and one of the Hobart officers sustained scratches and cuts on his face an arms while trying to break up the fight.

Indiana University Northwest

  

GARY- Ivy Tech Community College students now have a clearer path to earn a bachelor’s degree at Indiana University Northwest.

Northwest Indiana Business Magazine reports that's because of the Guaranteed Admission Agreement between both institutions that serves to ensure a smooth transfer for students, enabling them to complete their bachelor's degree on-time.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

Congress continues to debate next steps on federal assistance for small businesses and individuals. An advocacy group says more needs to be done to help many Indiana shops survive.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable, we talk to Indiana Public Broadcasting reporters Eric Weddle and Jill Sheridan and "Post-Tribune" reporter Meredith Colias-Pete about the stories and interviews they've posted online and, for Meredith, her stories in print.    Most deal with reopening public schools locally and around the state and about the coronavirus pandemic.  Meredith tells us about her story on contract tracing in northwest Indiana and of two stories dealing with toxic waste cleanup. Jill's interview is with a central Indiana official about how the pandemic is creating additional challenges for those going through reentry.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Attorney General Curtis Hill, in a non-binding opinion, says Gov. Eric Holcomb doesn’t have the authority to mandate Hoosiers wear masks in public or attach a criminal penalty to that order.

Courtesy of the Governor's Office

Most Indiana students – and all adults – must wear masks at school as buildings prepare to reopen to in-person instruction.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday Indiana would join neighboring states in a statewide mask mandate, starting Monday, July 27.

Seth Tackett / WTIU

Honey beekeepers in the U.S. lost about 22 percent of their colonies this past winter. While that might not sound good, the Bee Informed Partnership says that’s the second lowest winter colony loss it’s seen in more than a decade. 

Justin Hicks / IPB News

All Hoosiers will have to wear a mask in public starting Monday, July 27, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Wednesday.

LaPorte County

LAPORTE COUNTY - The LaPorte County Commission is giving 27 small businesses a lifeline grant from Phase 1 of the COVID-related LaPorte County Action Fund.

This program is funded by a grant LaPorte County applied for from the State of Indiana’s Office of Community and Rural Affairs.

President of the LaPorte County Commissioners Sheila Matias, announced on Wednesday that final approval had been received.

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana will have a statewide face mask mandate starting next week, joining many other states in the attempt to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana House and Senate Democrats want the governor to call a special session of the General Assembly to meet in August.

Purdue University Northwest

Today:   Chris Holford with Purdue University Northwest is with us to talk in more detail about the reopening procedure for both Hammond and Westville campuses this fall semester, as the coronavirus pandemic is still underway.   Classes are scheduled to resume on August 24th.  A recent study on the "Modern Healthcare" website suggests that a pregnant woman invested with COVID-19 might be able to spread the illness to the fetus.  Dr. Cameual Wright, a central Indiana OB-GYN and medical director for CareSource Indiana, talks about the concerns that pregnant Hoosier women have during the pandemic  about their child's health and their own health.

Flickr/Wikipedia

Today:  Mike Noland, the president of the South Shore Line commuter railroad, is with us with good news on the two major improvement projects: the West Lake Corridor and the Double Tracking projects.  Federal funding is due to be received soon to help begin the West Lake Corridor project that will build new tracks from Dyer, north through Munster and into Hammond, and create a north-south connection to the existing east-west tracks. The Double Tracking project adds and improves connections between Gary and Michigan City with new tracks and new stations.  Construction on the West Lake Corridor is slated to begin in October.  Urban League of Northwest Indiana president-CEO Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud tells more about the 75th anniversary of the Urban League this year, and about a fundraiser next month.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University -- and Jill Hoffmann with the White River Alliance tells us about the Third Annual (and virtual) Indiana Water Summit in Indianapolis.  It's an event that focuses on policy that encourages clean water supplies for all Hoosiers.

Courtesy of the Weinzapfel and Rokita campaigns

The field for Indiana attorney general is set, as Democrat Jonathan Weinzapfel faces off against Republican Todd Rokita.

Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles

INDIANA - The Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles is asking Hoosiers to limit using cash and pay with a credit card or check when possible.

The BMV is making this request because of the national coin shortage which has directly impacted its branches.

The United States Federal Reserve is experiencing a coin shortage that is currently impacting all Financial Institutions within the U.S.  As a result, the BMV is unable to access additional coin inventory to replenish its supplies.

Chicago Tribune website

Today:  We hear from two northwest Indiana school district superintendents on their reopening plans for classes this fall: first, from School City of Hammond superintendent Scott Miller and, later, from Merrillville Community Schools superintendent Nick Brown, speaking with Sharon Jackson.  In between, Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman is with us to talk about the help that the Lilly Endowment and the state organization of United Ways is doing to help Hoosier nonprofits that serve young people -- agencies which have been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.   The Lilly Endowment is creating a $20 million fund to help youth-serving organizations that it calls the Youth Program Resilience Fund. 

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