Local News

Portage Lakefront Park Open Again

May 25, 2021
Doug Ross, The Times / The Times

PORTAGE - The Portage Lakefront Park is once again open, just in time for Memorial Day weekend.

Indiana Dunes National Park administration told the "Times" the area had been closed for the installation of more than 1,000 tons of boulders to protect the area from erosion and provide safer access to the shoreline.

The effort was a collaboration between the Indiana Dunes National Park and the city of Portage.

Park Superintendent Paul Labovitz says the project will protect the important public resource as the lake levels rise and fall.

CNN.COM

Today:  North Lake Environmental Partnership is providing free water sampling early next month in Gary and Hammond, so residents can determine if their tap water is contaminated with lead.  It is one of the lasting legacies of pollution in the Region. We’ll speak to one of the research team members working on the project -- Hope College (Michigan) chemistry professor Kenneth Brown.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs acting administrator Tom Murphy talks about some major changes the VA is making that can positively affect veterans' lives. And a Gary native and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology graduate is joining with his wife to provide a scholarship program that will assist young people attend the private engineering school in Terre Haute -- youngsters who might not otherwise be able to afford college. We bring back our conversation with Mike Mussellem.

Valparaiso Community Schools

VALPARAISO - Valparaiso Community Schools board meeting Thursday was postponed after 25 people showed up without masks and refused to put them on even when they were asked to.

The "Times" reports the school board moved the meeting to Wednesday and set it up as a virtual event.

The district sent out an agenda Monday morning that said the meeting would be held virtually in accordance with the state's public health emergency in place until May 31.

The agenda for Wednesday's meeting is largely the same as last week's with the addition of a school nutrition update.

The districts Return to Learn plan, which currently outlines in-person school five days a week with the option for students who wish to remain virtual to enroll in EdOptions Academy through Edmentum, is on the agenda for board consideration.

Public comments can be made by filling out an online form and submissions will be accepted until 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Anyone who wishes to watch the meeting can do so through livestream or can watch after on the VCS YouTube channel.

Gary Chamber of Commerce website

  

Today:  Chuck Hughes, executive director of the Gary Chamber of Commerce, is on "Regionally Speaking" with his thoughts on the new Hard Rock Casino in his city and on what role the Jackson family has had in supporting their youngsters' hometown.  We talked with him after the grand opening. Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer has some tips for new graduates -- high school and college -- to better prepare themselves, financially, for young adulthood.  And Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman talks about mental health care for youth and teachers in recovery efforts during the pandemic.  Her complete column on the subject is on the IYI website.

City of Crown Point Addresses Parking Issue Downtown

May 20, 2021
appadvice

CROWN POINT - After many years of dealing with congestion and parking limitations downtown, the city of Crown Point is looking at ways to solve the problem.

The city is investing just under $60-thousand dollars into a parking study that is to result in a final design of new parking solutions, according to the "Times."

The Crown Point Board of Works on Wednesday unanimously approved an agreement with American Structurepoint, an engineering consulting firm, that will conduct the parking study.

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:   Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy is on "Regionally Speaking" with an update on what's going on in the city.  Northwest Indiana resident and author Brian Vukadinovich is also on the program to talk about policing and police reform from his own personal perspective, and we find out the latest on efforts to get more Gary residents innoculated against COVID-19. And Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Jill Sheridan has a feature report on an Indianapolis woman who filed a housing discrimination complaint over a discrepancy in her mortgage refinancing application because she is Black.  

MERRILLVILLE COMMUNITY SCHOOL CORPORATION

MERRILLVILLE - Merrillville High School has a new girls varsity head basketball coach.

The Merrillville Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees approved the appointment of Kelly Kratz to the position at its meeting Tuesday night.
 
Kratz has served as girls’ varsity assistant coach under head coach Amy Govert since 2014. During her years as the assistant, the girls’ team won four sectionals and one regional, and they were regional runner-up twice.

Photo provided

Today:  The Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission-- made up of Republicans, Democrats and independents -- submitted a report based on a series of statewide public meetings to the General Assembly, which will return to Indianapolis later this year to draw new political district maps.  Julia Vaughn, policy director for Common Cause Indiana and representative for the Citizens Redistricting Commission, is on "Regionally Speaking" for an in-depth conversation on the report and what recommendations the commission is making to the map makers.  We revisit our conversation with Valparaiso city parks and recreation director John Seibert on what residents and visitors to the city can expect from their parks this year.  And educator and language pathologist Holly DeLeon talks about some "red flags" in learning loss that parents can spot in preschoolers because of the pandemic. 

WIKIDEDIA / INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION

INDIANA - The Indiana Department of Transportation is hosting hiring fairs at ten locations across the state and one of the locations is in Gary.  The events are being held on Thursday, May 20 from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Starting pay is $19 dollars per hour.

INDOT has more than 100 open positions in a variety of careers, but the greatest need is for skilled trade positions. INDOT recently increased starting pay for highway technicians and several other positions to $19 per hour, with opportunities to move up to $20 per hour with a valid commercial driver's license (CDL).

PNC Financial Services Group

Today:   PNC Financial Services economist Abbey Omodunbi is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the latest concerns caused by the federal stimulus package, supply dislocations and other economic issues in the northwest Indiana, Midwest and U.S. economies.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, a visit from "Women4Change" executive director Rima Shahid about the May 22nd virtual training session for women interested in seeking public office, and a look at how returning to a pre-pandemic life can cause anxieties for some Hoosiers.

Wanna catch up on the latest in video games, movies, anime, streaming shows, and internet trends? Look no further, Region Nerd Alert has your back. We have all the updates on big conventions as well as interviews from people in the industry. Get the latest news about your favorite interest without scrounging about the internet. Catch Region Nerd Alert Every Saturday at 7pm ON lakeshore public radio as well as online wherever you listen to your podcast.

 

Methodist Hospitals

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Methodist Hospital has a new person on staff that will serve to help guide women and children entering the health care system.  Marla Hoyer-Lareau, Senior Vice President and Chief Nursing Officer told Lakeshore Public Radio the hospital has named Tracie Shelton to the position.  Shelton is the new Service Line Director of Women and Children's Services at Methodist Hospitals.  We spoke to Shelton and Hoyer-Lareau about how and why the Service Line Director role is important to the Region and how Methodist Hospital campuses are taking part in the continued fight against C

We have an in-depth conversation with state Senator Karen Tallian (D-Ogden Dunes) on the 2021 General Assembly session just ended.  She offers her thoughts about, among other topics the new two-year state budget, her bills that passed and signed into law and those that did not. 

A conversation with Lake County Elections and Voter Registration executive director Michelle Fajman, about a company working with county officials that by the 2022 elections could have an electronic system in place that tracks election equipment, sets up payroll and training for poll workers, and creates maps of polling locations. 

Dean and Barbara White Foundation

Today:   We revisit our conversation with Bill Hanna, the new executive director of the Dean and Barbara White Foundation.  Reporter Michael Puente has a report on the new Gary casino that opened for business on Friday and the impact that a new Chicago casino, if it opens, could have on the city of Gary's fortunes.  We talk to Michael Jackson's second-grade music teacher who recognized the innate talent that he had, even at that early age.  And Lorelei Weimer with Indiana Dunes Tourism and Indiana Landmarks regional field office director Brad Miller talk about some upcoming events. Brad talks about the May 22nd "Logs to Lustrons" 2021 virtual talk. Two couples share their experiences revitalizing two homes in Indiana Dunes National Park: one of them, a 19th Century log home and the other, a post-World War II steel Lustron home. 

Patrick Maloney, the president-CEO of Franciscan Health Dyer-Munster-Hammond and Cal Bellamy, the chair of the northwest regional Franciscan Health board of trustees, are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the plans to downsize the hospital on Hohman Avenue in Hammond into a more compact healthcare facility.

Lake County Surveyor Bill Emerson Jr. is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the impact that the new statewide wetlands law

Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about law enforcement-related measures that made it through the 2021 General Assembly session to become law that affect criminal justice reform.

Gary Community School Corporation

GARY - The Gary Community School Corporation (GCSC) revealed on Thursday how it plans to spend $71 million of federal funding at the Distressed Unit Appeal Board (DUAB) meeting.

The plan is academics-centered and focuses on instruction, technology, facilities, equipment, and personnel. The school corporation kept certain goals in mind in developing its strategy for using the federal funds.  The goals are to continue improving academics and continue building a sustainable district.  

Porter County Sheriff's Department/Facebook

Today:  Porter County Sheriff Dave Reynolds is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about law enforcement-related measures that made it through the 2021 General Assembly session to become law that affect criminal justice reform.  They include changes involving juveniles. We talk with Tom Murphy, the new acting under-secretary for benefits with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs about some new initiatives that can transform veterans' lives.  Region native and documentary producer Dan Zancam created a series called "History Alive" and his latest episode examines some little-known facts about the Old Lake County Jail.  We talks with him about that and what he has planned for the future.  And "Post-Tribune" reporter Hannah Reed talks about her recent stories in print and online, two of them some post-pandemic "good news" stories.

Jared Pike / Purdue University

WEST LAFAYETTE - Purdue University engineers have developed a variant of the process for making fresh water out of seawater, a move that could make a big difference in water security world-wide.

A news release from the Purdue University News Service says making fresh water out of seawater usually requires huge amounts of energy. The most widespread process for desalination is called reverse osmosis, which works by flowing seawater over a membrane at high pressure to remove the minerals.  

WFYI Public Media

Today:  Lake County Surveyor Bill Emerson Jr. is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the impact that the new statewide wetlands law -- passed by the Legislature this session -- will have on Lake County property owners.  (The wetland shown above is in Marshall County.)  Michael Santos with Northwest Indiana Mutual Aid Initiative, composed of three grassroots, volunteer-based organizations, will talk about last weekend’s “Mutual Aid Pop-up” event in East Chicago and any others planned for the months ahead.  And Rima Shahid, executive director of "Women4Change" talks about the May 22nd virtual training session for women who are interested in seeking public office.

Provided by Bob Luakcsek / Northwest Indiana Times

HAMMOND - Wildlife officials have confirmed the presence of a parasitic flatworm in wild swans from Wolf Lake in Hammond.  According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, diagnostic testing was conducted at the U.S. Geological Survey’s National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin.

Mute swans examined by the USGS had fatal infections of an intestinal parasite, Sphaeridiotrema globulus that causes death in many species of waterfowl.  Swans also tested negative for toxic levels of lead.

Franciscan Health NWI-Inside Indiana Business

Today:  Patrick Maloney, the president-CEO of Franciscan Health Dyer-Munster-Hammond and Cal Bellamy, the chair of the northwest regional Franciscan Health board of trustees, are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the plans to downsize the hospital on Hohman Avenue in Hammond into a more compact healthcare facility.  They discuss the plan for the historic facility and the impact on the neighborhood, already under review for improvements.  We have another conversation from the "Welcome Project" at Valparaiso University. Reporter Steve Burger traces the path of a COVID-19 vaccine vial from its manufacturer to the dose that went into the arm of a Hoosier at a recent mass-vaccination clinic.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Emma Atkinson has a report on the impending explosion of millions of cicadas from their deep underground sleep.

South Shore CVA

 

Today:  One of the participants in the last of a series of Zoom forums sponsored by Purdue University Northwest is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the subject.  Professor Godwin-Charles Ogbeide is director of the PNW White Lodging School of Hospitality and Tourism Management.  The panel talked about the impact of the pandemic on local and regional tourism and hospitality and about some strategies to be able to "bounce back."  I.U. School of Medicine adjunct professor and opthamologist David Gross talks about the importance of  "Healthy Vision Month" and Clarence Hulse, executive director of the Michigan City Economic Development Corp., join us with news of a partnership with Purdue Extension in LaPorte County on a study that will lead to solutions about the community's "food deserts."  There are two neighborhoods in Michigan City where there are no stores that sell fresh, wholesome food. 

Courtesy of Google Maps

A former northwest Indiana union official was recently sentenced to more than four years in prison for extortion after an assault on non-union workers. It started when members of a local union found out work was being done without union workers in their area.

FRANCISCAN HEALTH

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Franciscan Health is partnering with non-profits to help support health programs for at-risk populations.

The organization received funds to support healthcare-related programs for non-profit, health and human service organizations in at-risk communities and will allocate funds through its Social Impact Partnership Program (SIPP).
 

Franciscan Health NWI-Inside Indiana Business

Today:  "Times" business reporter-writer Joseph Pete is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the stories he's put out in print and online, including a comprehensive look at how northwest Indiana florists and other flower vendors are dealing with some of the worst shortages and highest prices they've ever seen, as Mothers' Day approaches.  "Off Mic" host Michael Puente talked to a state legislator who's been advocating for better healthcare for young people in the Region, and we bring you that conversation.  "Meals On Wheels" volunteer coordinator Charlie Misovye talks about their new campaign called "Swing Into Spring." And Dr. Andrea Klemes, the chief medical officer of MDVIP, is on the program to talk about a survey that reveals the lack of information that women are not receiving to address the health risks they face during the COVID-19 pandemic.  

City of East Chicago

EAST CHICAGO - For anyone looking for a job, the City of East Chicago has many openings.  The city is hiring for both full and part-time jobs in a variety of positions.

Steve Segura, Director of the multi-media department for the City of East Chicago,
says there is a long list of job openings which encompass many different roles and types of work one can do for the city.

"Everything from code enforcement officer in the building department to an electrical engineer in the filtration plant, an accountant at the Controller's office, from laborers at the marina," Segura says. "They need a nurse over at the health department, planning recreation leaders."

The high number of openings is due to people retiring and leaving for other opportunities and the vacancies have been hard to fill, Segura says.

"We've tried to put these notices out before but for some reason nobody wants to work right now so we're just trying to get the word out and let people know that let people know there's full time and part time positions available in the city," Segura says.

Applications are available online at the city of East Chicago website.

Samantha Horton / IPB News

An East Chicago ordinance that would have limited the city’s cooperation with federal immigration enforcement was struck down recently by an Indiana judge.

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