Local News

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Today:  Indiana economist-writer-speaker Morton Marcus is back on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the topics in his recent "Eye On The Pie" columns. They range from the Hoosier economy in general, to his observations on the U.S. Census reports just released, to the need for properly retraining residents for available jobs and new careers.  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer connects a link between pop star Britney Spears's financial problems and making sure that one has an estate plan in place.   "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter creator and editor Ed Feigenbaum has the latest regional and statewide casino news.  And Side Effects Public Media reporter Carter Barrett has a report on the concerns of Hoosier hospitals that there may not be enough ambulances to transport patients because of the issues surrounding reimbursement for those EMS services.

Merrillville Community School Corporation

The Merrillville Community School Corporation released a statement Wednesday saying that it will work to try and maintain an in-person learning environment for the 2021-2022 school year.

Superintendent of Schools Nicholas Brown says for the start of the 2021-2022 school year, masks will be required.  Brown says this aligns with the recommendations of the CDC, State Department of Health, and Lake County Department of Health.  The new state guidelines leave the decision on mask mandates at the local level.

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Provided / Ravinia Festival

Indiana Public Media

Today:  On this "Reporters Roundtable Thursday," "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden and "Post-Tribune" Lake County government reporter Alex Kukulka talk about the stories they've put out in print and online lately.  Dan reports on the Indiana Supreme Court decision to temporary suspend a former Portage city official's law license and a happy day for a local legislator on the ceremonial signing into law of a bill he introduced to deal with an issue that he's fought to resolve.  Alex's stories include updates on the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in northwest Indiana and of the local public meeting about the impending work by state legislators to redraw the legislative and congressional district maps.  And Mark Dollase with "Indiana Landmarks" is with us to talk about the August 19th video tour of several mid-century modern homes around the state.  The virtual tour includes an exclusive look into a unique 1964 house in Munster which shows the influences of post-war American and Scandinavian design. Anyone who wants to see the video tour can purchase tickets in advance on the "Indiana Landmarks" website.

Today:  Chuck Harris and Dawn Pelc with the Porter County Substance Abuse Council are on "Regionally Speaking" with a previous conversation about the county's substance abuse issues and how the Council is working with addicts to keep them out of jail.  We revisit our conversation with Charmaine Bogue with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs on the 77th anniversary of the GI Bill. Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele has a report on what may be an unnecessary concern about banning reusable shopping bags from supermarkets during the COVID pandemic.  And Side Effects Public Media's Darian Benson continues her series of reports on Black women and HIV that includes a conversation with a woman who's been HIV-positive for 30 years.


Today:  Indiana Youth Institute president-CEO Tami Silverman is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the return of high school sports activities (like last fall's Indy Chatard-Merrillville football game, pictured above) and their importance to young people as they get ready to return to classes.  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer talked about where one should get investment advice (not from the social media pundits) and we bring back that conversation.   Side Effects Public Media's Darian Benson begins a series of reports about a hidden HIV epidemic: among Black women. And we have a conversation from IPB News on the concerns that some have about police officers stationed in public schools who aren't specifically trained to be around students.


Today:  Steve Coxhead, the president of the Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about Amtrak's "2021 Corridor Vision" statement and the Alliance's long-range plan for improving rail transportation in the state.  "One Sight" global vision nonprofit president and executive director K-T Overbey talks about the importance of National Eye Exam and Childrens' Vision Health month of August.  "One Sight" has a clinic in Gary.  And Tim Brown, the executive director of Lake County Community Economic Development Department, tells us about the funds available to help renters avoid eviction and (for some landlords) property foreclosure, and of the local partner agencies helping the county get the funds out to those who need it. Lake County received $13 million in federal funds for covering rent, utilities and internet service.

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Today:  Lake County Fair board treasurer Arlene Marcinek is back on "Regionally Speaking" with her conversation about this year's Fair that is opening in Crown Point on Friday and running through Aug. 15th.  Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Dylan Peers McCoy has a report on how a curious alumnus found a way to honor the first Black woman to graduate from a largely-white high school. And financial planner and student loan expert Brian Walsh tells us how parents and students can reduce the expected headaches in coming up with ways to pay for college, for both tuition and for living costs on campus.

John J. Mosesso, USGS

Today: Ashley Williams with “Just Transition NWI” is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk in more detail about a recent report on “Earthjustice” that provides new evidence of community benefits gained by thorough cleanup of toxic coal ash -- rather than leaving it in place.   NIPSCO’s Michigan City Generating Station and others around the country were studied. Indiana University Northwest economist Micah Pollak is being featured in a University-sponsored podcast on research and creative activities.  Pollak has been tracking the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic impact for months.    The podcas

Purdue University West Lafayette

Today:  Purdue University's main campus is hosting another record number of freshmen this fall, and administrator Rob Wynkoop is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about how they're transitioning from "de-densification" last school year, due to COVID, to prepare for a big freshman class.  I.U. Northwest dean of student success in the College of Arts & Sciences Kristen Huysken talks about the "Summer Bridge" program Aug. 16-20, as a way for incoming first-year students to be ready for a new academic year. And IPB News's Lee Gaines has a report on concerns that federal funds, helping students get tutoring help during the pandemic, may run out soon.

Valpo Man Tells Judge He Wants to Remain Jailed

Jul 29, 2021

VALPARAISO - A Valparaiso man, who is accused of posting a threat of a mass killing on social media, told the judge he wants to remain behind bars.

The "Times" reports 50 year-old Brian Kelly, told the judge Thursday morning he wants to remain locked up because he is a danger to society.  

Porter Superior Court Judge Mike Fish upheld the current bond of $5,500 cash, but told Kelly he can opt not to post bond and remain behind bars.  Kelly faces two felony counts of intimidation. The most serious charge refers to committing terrorism.

Town Planner website

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable Thursday," "Times" reporters AnnMarie Hilton and Joseph Pete talk about the stories they put out in print and online, including AnnMarie's education-beat story of the opening of the new Hammond Central High School and Joseph's business-beat story on the lawsuit filed by the city of Gary against Akyumen.  Indiana Public Broadcasting workforce reporter Justin Hicks talks about his visits to the PepsiCo plant Teamsters picket line in Munster for his stories for IPB News, as the strike goes into its third week. And we find out more about next week's Lake County Fair from Fair Board secretary Arlene Marcinek. The County Fair begins Aug. 6th and runs through Aug. 15h in Crown Point.

Safe Coalition for Human Rights

NORTHWEST INDIANA- The United Nations Worlds Day Against Trafficking in Persons is Thursday. This year's event is the first-ever held in Northwest Indiana, commemorating victims of trafficking worldwide. 

Photo provided by PierogiFest

Today:  "Mr. Pierogi" is back on "Regionally Speaking" to give a recap on the past weekend's festival in downtown Whiting -- from the parade which kicked it off, to the sudden thunderstorms that failed to dampen everyones' spirits, to the display of tasty treats and live music events, and everything in between.  We also revisit our conversation with Gary Literacy Coalition executive director Lori Kuykendall about the organization and its mission: to support, promote, enhance and coordinate programs for access to literacy programs in the Steel City.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting environment reporter Rebecca Thiele tells us about an idea being floated among state transportation officials to provide some "while-you-drive" charging power to electric vehicles.

Indiaa state Democratic Party website

Today:  Indiana state Representative Carolyn Jackson (D-Hammond) is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about being a panelist for the next "Women4Change" online forum on Wednesday, July 28th that will focus on reducing the state gender pay gap.  Jackson joins WGU Indiana chancellor Alison Bell in the discussion.  Sophie Quinton with the Pew Charitable Trusts' "Stateline" project talks about a new report on state tax revenues which grew into surpluses in some states, like Indiana, during the pandemic.  Indiana's surplus will trigger a tax return to Hoosiers.  Sophie will discuss what the "Stateline" team discovered in what the states plan to do with the additional funds coming in over the next few years, and any impact it may have on long-term budgeting.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.



MICHIGAN CITY - The city of Michigan City has increased its starting wage for lifeguards to $25 dollars an hour.  

Today:  Adam Parkhouse with the INDOT LaPorte District office is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the study into the best ways to deal with the congestion on I-80-94 -- which is most certainly the state's most heavily-travelled highway -- and of three public meetings -- two of them in-person -- being held this week and next, for citizens to comment.  Indiana Parenting Institute executive director Laura Wynn talks about a "relaunch" of the organization next month, and "Sundays With Shep" creator-producer-host Ryan Priest is in the Lakeshore Public Radio studio to help us celebrate the 100th anniversary of the birth of  Hammond's master storyteller.  Jean Shepherd was born on July 26, 1921. Ryan talks with Nick Mantis, who's working on a  documentary film about "Shep."

Duneland School Corporation

CHESTERTON - The Duneland School Corporation is implementing a district-wide curriculum for social emotional learning this fall.

Assistant Superintendent Robert McDermott told the "Times"  it will be the first time the district will implement a standardized SEL curriculum with topics such as empathy, kindness, goal setting and emotion regulation.

McDermott said the district, and many schools across the country,  saw increased anxiety and depression among students. The district is creating the curriculum to be both proactive and reactive in helping students mentally, emotionally and academically.

Starting in the fall, all students will receive at least one 20 to 25 minute SEL lesson per week.

Students in kindergarten through fifth grade will take growth mindset and goal setting, emotion management, empathy and kindness and problem solving.

Sixth to eighth grade students, will learn mindset and goals, recognizing bullying and harassment, managing relationships and conflict and thoughts, emotions and decisions.

McDermott says applied neuroscience is becoming more common in schools.  It also includes learning interventions to help improve human function.

South Shore CVA

Today: On "Reporters' Roundtable," "Times" freelance repoter Deborah Laverty talks about the stories she's put out in print and online, including a look at the 2021 Porter County Fair and this year's local observance of World Civility Day.  "Off Mic" host and reporter Michael Puente recently spoke with Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter about the state bills enacted into law this year focusing on criminal justice and on plans to create a local cybercrime-fighting task force, and we have a conversation with a Merrillville businessman who helped tornado victims in Illinois recently -- by making pizzas for them.

Rail-Volution website

Today:  Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission executive director Ty Warner is on "Regionally Speaking" in an encore conversation about "transit-oriented development" (one such project is pictured above) and how it fits in with projects like the South Shore Line expansion.  We have more about a veterans' job fair to be held Thursday at Soldier Field in Chicago, co-sponsored by the DAV and other groups.  And Erika Dahl of the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority talks about a big sporting event this weekend.  More than 180 softball teams from across the Midwest are in northwest Indiana to compete in the National Softball Association Girls’ Fast Pitch “B” & “C” Northern World Series.   Games are being played in communities across the region, and it's expected to have a big local economic impact. 

IPB News - Brandon Smith

Today:  Andy Downs, the executive director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue Ft. Wayne is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about what Hoosier legislators are supposed to be doing when they return to Indianapolis this fall: redrawing state legislative and congressional district maps.  Andy offers some insight to the process and has some suggestions.  The work on redrawing the maps is being delayed because of the lack of new U.S. Census data.   We bring back our conversation with U.S. Health and Human Services pediatrician Dr. Michael Warren about the vaccines that young people should receiving this summer, aside of the COVID-19 vaccine (if they can receive it).  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune

Today:  The 2021 Sustainable Transportation Conference and Expo held by South Shore Clean Cities is coming next month in Michigan City, and SSCC executive director Carl Lisek is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about it.  The event includes a luncheon chat between Lisek and U.S. Senator Mike Braun.  (a view from last year's Convention and Expo is pictured above.) UniFirst, a commercial and industrial uniform and workwear service firm, is opening a brand-new state-of-the-art facility in Hammond on Wednesday, and we talk to Unifirst senior VP Matt Croatti about it. And Side Effects Public Media's Christine Herman spoke with a university professor about the impact that the COVID pandemic's having on childrens' development -- especially as they learn to speak.  She has a report.

Money Magazine

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable, "Post-Tribune" reporters Alexandra Kukulka and Carrie Napoleon are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the stories they've put out in print and online.  Alex talks about her story on public concerns about the state's minimum wage (a recent protest elsewhere is pictured above) and a story on local prosecutors' battles against cybercriminals.  Carrie reviews her latest story about the makeup of the South Shore CVA board and the board's discussions about its contract with CEO Speros Batistatos.  We have a brief conversation from "Inside Indiana Business" about a womens' conference coming up this fall, and NFIB Indiana senior director Barbara Quandt talks about the latest NFIB survey of Hoosier small businesses trying to recover from the pandemic. The latest focus in the survey is on finding enough people to fill jobs, as businesses reopen.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today: PNC Financial Services vice president and economist Abbey Omodunbi is on "Regionally Speaking" for his monthly look at the regional and national economies, a look at labor shortages and how long they could last -- and his thoughts on consumer confidence and concerns about inflation.  We revisit our converation with Kristen Marlow, the executive director of the American Red Cross northwest Indiana chapter, on the dire shortage of blood in the Region and elsewhere, and we hear from two I.U. Northwest professors on healthcare privacy laws during the pandemic.


PORTAGE - The Portage City Council has done its first reading of a proposed ordinance to turn the city smoke free.  But there could likely be amendments to that proposal.

Megan Fisher, Policy Committee Chairperson for the Porter County Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition says the ordinance committee is pulling back on the comprehensiveness of the original proposal.

Photo provided by Hard Rock Casino

Today:  Ed Feigenbaum with the "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter, published by Hannah News Service,  is on "Regionally Speaking" with the latest Indiana Gaming Commission revenue data from all of the state's casinos -- including northwest Indiana casinos.  We also hear from the Indiana Youth Institute's Tami Silverman on what young people should know about racism and how to explain it to them, depending upon their age. Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer explains in detail why one shouldn’t get financial advice from social media to create an investment plan… especially from those who are social media influencers.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Legacy Foundation

Today: Legacy Foundation community development director Donna Catalano and her colleague vice-president Kelly Anoe are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about projects that include the summertime farmers' markets in Lake County and a recent series of grants going out to community organizations from the Foundation.  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson talks with Carrie Higgins with the Porter County Tobacco Education and Prevention Coalition about the proposed "smoke-free ordinance" in Portage that is under review by the City Council. And Rebecca Edwards with "SafeWise" discusses the concerns that Hoosiers have over gun violence, as addressed in its latest "State of Safety in America's" Indiana statistics. You can read the full State of Safety report by visiting https://www.safewise.com/state-of-safety/.

Portillo's Coming to Schererville

Jul 9, 2021

SCHERERVILLE - Portillo's is coming to Schererville.

The beloved Chicagoland Iconic chain will be located on Indianapolis Boulevard.

Town Council member Kevin Connelly is cited in the "Times" saying that the town manager informed him that the company submitted an application to build a small footprint restaurant with a drive-thru.

Luke Family of Brands Development is building out the Oak District Development at 317 U.S. 41 on vacant land between Franciscan Health Fitness Center and Lowe's.

Northwest Indiana Responders Helping in Surfside, FL

Jul 8, 2021
Indiana Task Force One

UNDATED - Some rescuers from Northwest Indiana are on the scene in Surfside, Florida looking for people who went missing in the condominium collapse.

The "Times" reports 80 first responders and trained civilians of Indiana Task Force One spent their Fourth of July searching for the remaining missing people.  The building partially collapsed June 24th.

Jay Settergren, Indiana Task Force One leader and battalion chief for the Indianapolis Fire Department is at the site, as well as Captain Ryan Cusack, of Crown Point Fire Rescue, and Crown Point native Deanna Lazowski are among the group sent to Florida.  

They do not yet know their return date.