Local News

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.


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.

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.   


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.   


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.