Local News

Times of Northwest Indiana

Today:   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.   We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Miller Beach Arts & Creative District executive director Meg Roman talks about the community's May 22nd “Art Still Lives” fundraiser.  

Indiana Democratic Party website

Today:  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.  Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Mitch Legan has a feature that focuses on COVID-19 vaccine hesitancy.  We also have a conversation with Lauri Keagle with South Shore Clean Cities and Charles Breitenfeld with the northwest Indiana office of the Indiana Dept. of Environmental Management, about last Friday's "Northwest Indiana Partners for Clean Air" awards and the 2021 scholarships program recipients, which were issued virtually.  Four awards were presented for voluntary actions taken to improve air quality during 2021.  Three young people will receive scholarships to help them in their future environmental studies at college.  

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Gas prices in Northwest Indiana have risen just under 9 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.91 per gallon on Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 314 stations in the Region.  Gas prices in Gary are just under 12 cents per gallon higher than a month ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Gary is priced at $2.74 per gallon on Monday while the most expensive is $3.29 per gallon.  

The national average price of gasoline has risen 0.7 cents per gallon in the last week, averaging $2.89 per gallon on Monday.

Patrick De Haan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy said the nation's gas prices perked up again last week as oil prices advanced to fresh multi-year highs on Covid improvements overseas and the switch to summer gasoline, which is basically now complete.

De Haan said last week saw the national average hit its highest level in two years, and with continued recovery in gasoline demand, the increase in price is likely to continue into the future.

He added that Americans may now want to brace themselves for the possibility of a $3 per gallon national average in the weeks ahead, as demand remains strong as Americans take to the roads.

Affordable Housing Online

Today:  two conversations about affordable housing:  first, with Jamie Palmer, the lead researcher on a project with the Indiana University Public Policy Institute which is examining challenges facing Indiana communities, including affordable housing – internet connectivity and drug abuse.  "Prosperity Indiana" policy director Andrew Bradley will later talk about a recent report from the organization and the National Low Income Housing Coalition, on where Indiana really ranks in being an affordable place to live.   And we have a conversation with Mike Mussallem, a Gary native and Irvine, California business executive who, along with his wife, set up a big scholarship fund to support NWI students to attend Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute.   

IN.GOV/INDOT / COMMUNITY CROSSINGS MATCHING GRANT PROGRAM

LOWELL - Several Northwest Indiana Communities are getting grant funds to improve roads and bridges through the Community Crossings Matching Grant Program.

State Senator Rick Niemeyer, a Republican from Lowell, said in a news release that cities and towns in Senate District 6 will receive nearly $3.5 million.

Cedar Lake received just over $101,450; Crown Point ..... just over $566,000; Dyer received just under $675,000; Kentland received around $142,000; Lowell received $1 million; Schererville received just over $410,000; and Winfield was awarded just over $535,000.

The Indiana General Assembly established the Community Crossings Matching Grant Program in 2016 to advance community infrastructure projects, strengthen local transportation networks and improve Indiana’s roads and bridges.

Since it was put into place, the program has awarded more than $930 million in state matching funds for local construction projects.

Twitter / Indiana Immunization Coalition

MERRILLVILLE - Free immunizations, not for COVID, but for a slew of other possible infections, are set to be available for children early next month.

The Indiana Immunization Coalition will be at three Merrillville schools on May 11 to provide free immunizations for children.

Merrillville Community School Corporation Public Information Officer Donna Stuckert said in a news release, that vaccines that may be administered include Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Polio, Rotavirus, Influenza, MMR, Human Papilloma Virus, Meningitis and Varicella.

We have three conversations with local reaction to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis, here is English Teacher Colette Morrow

We have three conversations with local reaction to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis. Here we have our second conversation with Griffith Police Chief Greg Mance

Indiana Republican Party website

Today:  On this "Reporters Roundtable Thursday," we speak with "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden about his recent stories on the General Assembly, including the Governor's signing into law a bill authored by Representative Hal Slager (R-Schererville) (pictured above)  that will benefit families and children who need to go to Chicago-area hospitals. The measure increases Indiana Medicaid reimbursement rates for care in out-of-state healthcare facilities.  Dan also talks about the lawsuit filed by the Governor against the Legislature over the overridden veto over a bill authorizing emergency legislative sessions with the Governor's consent... and has an update on the developing controversy over an obscene flag flying in the front yard of a Hammond resident. "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson is also on the program to talk about her stories in print and online, including one about the volunteer effort to spruce up Gary Roosevelt College and Career Academy's baseball field for the Little League season. 

We have three conversations with local reaction to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis  first, from state Senator Eddie Melton.

The president-elect of Indiana University, Pamela Whitten, is on "Regionally Speaking," as she visits regional campuses like Indiana University Northwest ahead of officially taking over for the retiring Michael McRobbie this summer. 

Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc. president and CEO Debie Coble is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about her career, beginning as a local store manager and going all the way to her becoming the chief executive of the regional Goodwill operation.

Join Chirs Nolte as he has a legendary chat with Micha Pollak.

Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune

Today:   Indiana University Northwest economist Micah Pollak is on "Regionally Speaking" with the latest from his Twitter COVID data feed, and he talks in more detail about a recent paper that he and his colleagues published on the connection between in-person K-12 instruction and the spread of the virus in Indiana. It could offer some insight in reviewing at the risks and benefits (particularly economic) of in-person learning in the state's public schools.  We also bring back our conversation with Purdue Northwest student Kayla Vasliko on her research on a silent movie actress born in Michigan City who later became an auto racing driver. Anita King's story will be told in a documentary film and as an exhibit in the LaPorte County Historical Museum.   

GUARANTEED INCOME VALIDATION EFFORT

GARY-  The first recipients of the pilot program, the Guaranteed Income Validation Effort, began getting notified Monday that they will receive $500 a month for 12 months, no strings attached.

Gary Mayor Jerome Prince and Prophetess Burgess Peoples, executive director of the program, also referred to as GIVE, conducted the notifications.

Photo provided

Today:   Goodwill Industries of Michiana, Inc. president and CEO Debie Coble is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about her career, beginning as a local store manager and going all the way to her becoming the chief executive of the regional Goodwill operation,  She is the next virtual speaker on Wednesday in the "Breaking The Glass Ceiling" series held by the Northwest Indiana Influential Women Association.  Indiana Public Broadcasting Statehouse reporter Brandon Smith has a wrap-up report on the 2021 General Assembly session.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Photo provided to IU by Kennesaw State Univ.

Today:   The president-elect of Indiana University, Pamela Whitten, is on "Regionally Speaking," as she visits regional campuses like Indiana University Northwest ahead of officially taking over for the retiring Michael McRobbie this summer.  We speak with Kristi Carney, director of behavioral health at CareSource Indiana about the organizations work with Hoosier’s suffering from substance abuse disorders and the impact of COVID-19 on them. Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda is also on the program to talk about the bills the HEC's been closely watching that did -- and didn't -- pass   through the 2021 General Assembly session.  And Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson has a conversation with Indiana Dunes National Park spokesman Bruce Rowe about the latest issues about Mount Baldy, the giant dune that swallowed a young boy a few years ago (he made it out all right) but is moving closer to a well-used parking lot.

City of Hammond Facebook page / City of Hammond

HAMMOND - The city of Hammond is incentivizing its employees to get the COVID-19 vaccine.  Enrolling in the program is voluntary and results in three days off for those who participate and complete the requirements.

The "Times" reports the program applies to any employee who has already received the Pfizer, Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.  Employees who have not been vaccinated have until August 1st to get the shots.

Employees must provide a completed vaccine card and signed affidavit affirming the documentation is true to qualify. The COVID-19 vaccine must be authorized by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and the complete number of doses must be administered.   

A city of Hammond supervisor or department head must approve the personal days an employee decides to take off and can't cost the city overtime to make up any personnel shortage caused by the participant's absence.

Those who don't wish to participate in the program won't lose anything and will still have their regular personal and vacation days.

The COVID-19 personal days for city of Hammond employees will expire December 31st, 2022.
 

AP News.com

Today:   We have three conversations with local reaction to the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial in Minneapolis  (pictured: post-verdict reaction from George Floyd family members) --  first, from state Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary), and then from Griffith Police Chief Greg Mance and finally, from Purdue University Northwest associate English professor Colette Morrow.  Melton has a post-verdict statement from his fellow Black legislators and the Indiana Democratic Party, and he talks about the measures that he authored or supported that will lead to police reform in Indiana.  Chief Mance brings us a local view of the issues that law enforcement face, including the training that his police officers receive to deal with them.   Professor Morrow held a Zoom meeting just hours after the verdict was announced, to offer a "safe place to speak and listen " about the tensions created after the George Floyd death.   She has some in-depth observations on these issues of the day.

Sharon Jackson, Show Host/Reporter / Lakeshore Public Radio

MICHIGAN CITY - Mount Baldy at Indiana Dunes National Park, that once swallowed a 6 year-old boy digging in the sand in 2013, is now taking over the exit road and the exit to the parking lot.

Indiana Dunes National Park spokesman Bruce Rowe says Mount Baldy moves about 4 to 10 feet to the south every year.

"The movement is nothing new, actually in some years, not that long ago, it was moving up to 10 or even 11 feet to the south each year," Rowe says.  "Of course it's being moved by the wind slowly."

Photo provided/Facebook

Today:   Gary Public Transportation Corp. planning and marketing director David Wright is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about how the bus system that services 10 northwest Indiana communities is helping residents get to mass COVID vaccination sites and -- very soon -- to the new casino in Gary.   Indiana Public Broadcasting reporter Pria Mahadevan has a feature on the financial issues behind getting a misdemeanor off a Hoosier's criminal record.  And Julia Vaughn talks about Thursday evening's virtual public meeting on what state legislators will be doing later this year -- deciding on House, Senate and Congressional district boundaries. The link to register is on the "All IN For Democracy" website, an organization of which Vaughn is executive director.

City of Gary / City of Gary

GARY - Gary Mayor Jerome Prince is satisfied with the verdict in the Derek Chauvin trial.  

In a released statement Prince said he, like most Americans, was horrified at the way Chauvin tortured and killed George Floyd. Prince said in this case, the jury made the right decision and showed we can achieve moments of justice in our country.

Purdue University Northwest

Today:   Yohlunda Mosley with Purdue University Northwest is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the University's plans to disburse nearly 4 million dollars in federal pandemic-related assistance directly to PNW students in financial need. The latest round of funds were distributed to PNW by the U.S. Department of Education.  Andy Campbell and Tara MacElmurry with NIPSCO talk about the utility's renewable energy initiative, including the newest wind farms and other projects coming up.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. This time, a former Gary resident recalls how his old neighborhood changed over the years.

Chicago Tribune/Post-Tribune

Today:    Porter County Health Officer Dr. Maria Stamp is on "Regionally Speaking" with the latest on the county's battle against COVID-19, including the mass vaccination sites and other efforts to get Porter County residents immunized against the virus.  We have some COVID-related features today from Side Effects Public Media and Indiana Public Broadcasting reporters, and Valparaiso city parks and recreation director John Seibert is also on the program with how the city's parks and other facilities are re-opening during the pandemic and some warm-weather month activities.  

Gary HRC may Protect Age Class

Apr 15, 2021
GARY.GOV

GARY -

The Gary Human Rights Commission may start hearing cases dealing with age-based complaints, if the Gary Common Council approves a proposed amendment to the city’s civil rights ordinance.

The Public Safety Committee discussed the amendment on Tuesday that would give the Gary Human Rights Commission the ability to hear any case referred from the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission or the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

FILE PHOTO: Tyler Lake / WTIU

The Sierra Club has won a lawsuit against BP for pollution violations at its Whiting refinery in northwest Indiana. The plant exceeded its limits for particle pollution from 2015 to 2018 and also failed to do required follow-up tests.

Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about Financial Literacy Month, which is the month of April. 

Urban Land Institute member Christopher Kunz and ULI staffer Tom Eitler are on "Regionally Speaking" with details of a committee's final report to Hammond city officials on the upgrading of the downtown Hammond master plan. 

Blue Book Building & Construction Network website

Today:  "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about his stories in print and online, including stories involving Lake County government and the 2021 General Assembly session.  "Post-Tribune" freelance reporter Amy Lavalley is also on the program to review her stories coming out of Porter County, and "INside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick and his guests talk about a program underway to make the Jasper County Jail a "greener," more comfortable building by using solar energy technology.

"Post-Tribune" freelance reporter Carrie Napoleon and "Times" reporter Mary Freda are on "Reporters' Roundtable" to talk about the stories they put out in print and online. 

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