Local News

Theatre at the Center


The only professional theatre company in Northwest Indiana, Theatre at the Center, in Munster has canceled its 2020 season due to COVID-19.

The "Times" reports the performing arts theater, which is at 1040 Ridge Road in Munster, has called-off all plans in the immediate future to create original theatrical productions.  

Theatre at the Center, is housed in the Center for the Visual and Performing Arts.  It has over 400 seats configured in a tight semi-circular space.  

CareSource Indiana


Today:  We speak with Steve Smitherman, the president of CareSource Indiana based in Indianapolis, which is a nonprofit that focuses mainly on healthcare -- but knows that high-poverty areas are also affected by substandard and unaffordable housing.  CareSource is allocating $5 million as a financial investment the organization is making to Indiana housing projects -- provided that it can find partners in the Hoosier State.  CareSource has for years been helping communities in affordable housing through grants from its Foundation.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  We bring back our conversation with Purdue economist Larry DeBoer about a project that his research team did with the Indiana Fiscal Policy Institute, on local governments' services and revenues used to pay for them.

Gary Public Transportation Corp.

Today:  David Wright with the Gary Public Transportation Corp. is with us to review the new and improved bus schedule that takes effect on Tuesday, September 8th.  It's a schedule that brings riders closer to more locations that they say they want to visit, like the Adam Benjamin VA Outpatient Clinic in Crown Point.  Find more information here.  We also bring back our conversations with a LaPorte County PFLAG board member about a new social media group called "Out in LaPorte," and with Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor, who made a major decision to switch political party affiliations.    

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Indiana is evaluating how Hoosiers will be affected by the recent eviction moratorium issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

State of Indiana Suing Crown Theatre Manager

Sep 2, 2020
Crown Theatre

CROWN POINT - The Indiana attorney general's office is suing the manager of the now defunct Crown Theatre, for violating the Indiana Deceptive Consumer Sales Act, as well as the Indiana Senior Consumer Protection Act. Crown Productions, LLC, is also named in the lawsuit.

The "Times" reports Brad Strom, the manager of the theatre, failed to issue refunds to people who purchased tickets, seat sponsorships and VIP membership cards after the theater's doors remained closed due to construction delays.

UC San Francisco

Today:   Masks are everywhere these days, and we asked an expert to talk about them -- choosing the proper mask, how to wear it and how to care for it (if it's a cloth mask.)  Purdue University clinical nursing professor Joy Pieper is with us to talk about this subject.  She is teaching two courses this semester on the West Lafayette campus on healthcare history and wartime influences on healthcare, and she says the 1918 flu pandemic is worth learning about wearing masks.  We also talk with Purdue University agricultural ecnomist Russell Hillberry about a report that he will present on Thursday at a webinar that discusses the economic impact of wind energy on Hoosier communities.  Profesor Hillbery and his team did extensive research into existing wind farms in Benton and White Counties and will reveal their findings.  The webinar is sponsored by two conservative organizations -- the Indiana Conservative Alliance for Energy and Land and Liberty Coalition.

PORTER COUNTY - The official misconduct felony case against former Portage Clerk-Treasurer Chris Stidham got underway Tuesday, but came to an abrupt pause when the judge recused herself from the case over a past confrontation she had with Stidham.

When Porter Circuit Court Judge Mary DeBoer was serving as a court magistrate, Stidham, then an attorney, failed to show up for a family law case, which left his client without representation.

Geminus Corp.

Today:  Geminus Corp. program director Amanda Morrison joins us to talk about the $300,000 grant from SAMHSA that will be toward expanding the Lake County organization's programs to assist youth and children with effective prevention practices that reduce or delay substance abuse.   It is a major problem that young people face during the coronavirus pandemic.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Allison Vaulx with the Food Bank of Northwest Indiana and Jewel-Osco spokesperson Mary Frances Trucco explain the events and outreach programs for "Hunger Action Month."  

Sarah Neal-Estes / WFYI News

With just one month left to respond to the census, community groups are working to ensure everyone is counted. The U.S. Census Bureau will stop counting at the end of September, a month earlier than planned. That could threaten the accuracy of the census if many people go uncounted. 

Indiana State Police / Indiana State Police

HOBART - Indiana State Police are investigating a fatal crash that occurred Monday at just after 10:00 a.m.   

A preliminary investigation indicated that the crash involved a semi tanker and a Nissan passenger vehicle.  The tanker truck was loaded with 81,000 pounds of waste water.  

Police say that for unknown reasons, the driver of the Nissan swerved into the tanker's lane and made contact.  The two vehicles became entangled, and the tanker overturned, rolling on top of the passenger vehicle and entrapping the driver.

Region COVID-19 Numbers Week of August 17th

Aug 31, 2020
Indiana State Department of Health / Indiana State Department of Health

NORTHWEST INDIANA-The Indiana State Department of Health reports there are 90 new positive cases of COVID-19 in Northwest Indiana.

On the lighter side, there have been no additional COVID-19 deaths.

The Northwest Indiana death total numbers from Friday indicate there have been 296 in Lake County, 43 in Porter County, 31 in LaPorte County, 10 in Newton County and two in Jasper County.

New deaths were reported between Saturday and Sunday, according to the "Times."

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 69 additional confirmed deaths over the last week, bringing the state’s total to 3,072. The state announced more than 93,000 total confirmed cases – including two days with more than 1,000 reported cases – and more than 1,065,000 Hoosiers tested.

Purdue University Northwest

Today:   Leslie Plesac, the executive director of the Sinai Forum at Purdue University Northwest, is with us to introduce to you the speakers for the two "virtual" sessions coming this fall for the celebrated speaker series, as well as a look at three speakers of the five who are planned for the 2021 season.   The speakers planned for earlier this year were  all postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic. The "virtual" speakers will be a delight for sports fans, as well as those concerned about the issues that we face on free speech and of cancel culture.   Gary Sanitary District executive Tammi Davis talks about the financial opportunities for minority-owned businesses in the region.  And Lake County Democratic Party chairman Jim Weiser offers his thoughts about Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura, who faces federal fraud charges, and Weiser speaks about the hazards and temptations that political campaign contributions can bring to those running for public office. 

City of Gary

GARY - A food distribution program that was launched to help Gary residents in the wake of COVID-19 is wrapping up tomorrow/Saturday.

Gary Mayor Jerome Prince announced today (Friday) that the City of Gary and Vine Line Produce Distribution will host the final produce giveaway of the summer Saturday, August 29th, beginning at  9:30 at the Genesis Convention Center.

Screenshot of Zoom call

Central Indiana labor leaders and elected officials say they’re working on a number of issues, including the state’s gender pay gap and support for the federal HEROES Act. They discussed the issues Thursday night as part of a Labor Day Town Hall.

South Shore Line / Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District

CHESTERTON - The Northern Indiana Commuter Transportation District is the recipient of an advance grant for its Double Track project.

Michael Noland, President of the South Shore line, says the Federal Transit Authority notified him on Wednesday.

"Really excited, I got a call first this morning from FTA administrator Jane Williams in Washington letting us know that we're the recipient of an advance grant of $50.6 million dollars," Noland said.

Courtesy of the Governor's Office

The Indiana State Department of Health will launch a map – color-coded based on COVID-19 metrics – that can help guide decision-making at local schools and governments.

Rebecca Thiele / IPB News

The NAACP is offering up to $300 for African American residents struggling to pay their energy bills due to COVID-19. This comes about a week after the state allowed utilities to resume disconnections for unpaid bills. 

Jay Phagan / Flickr

A federal judge struck down an Indiana law that tried to more quickly – and illegally – purge people from its voter rolls.

Photo provided

Today:   This "Regionally Speaking" focuses on business. The Indiana director for the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB), Barbara Quandt, is with us from Indianapolis to tell the latest about how Hoosier small businesses are coping with the effects of the pandemic.  We bring back our conversation with Indiana University (Bloomington) Kelley School of Business professor Bipin Prabhakar on Project HOPE, a program that helps small businesses create a digital presence if they do not have one.  And "Inside Indiana Business" television host Gerry Dick has a conversation with Indiana Secretary of Commerce Jim Schellinger about new business announcements which included Alliance Steel's ribbon-cutting of its new headquarters in Gary.

ArcelorMittal Must Prove it Made Corrections

Aug 26, 2020

INDIANA HARBOR - ArcelorMittal now has to prove that it made the corrections listed in an inspection report and the company must submit future compliance plans.  That's after a complaint led state inspectors to find multiple violations in water sample collection and handling procedures at the steel mill that released cyanide and ammonia into the Little Calumet River last year.  

South Shore CVA

Today:   Sherri Ziller,  the Northwest Indiana Regional Development Authority's chief development officer, is with us to talk about "transit development districts," what they are -- how they fit into the overall plans for the South Shore Line's expansion -- and how the public can comment about them.  We also revisit our conversation about the series of online lectures and discussions beginning next month with Purdue University Northwest professors and speakers. It's entitled "Race, Racism, Anti-Racism."  Criminal justice professor Nicky Jackson is one of the speakers in October, for a program about race and wrongful convictions.

School City of East Chicago / School City of East Chicago

EAST CHICAGO — The School City of East Chicago has laid off 90 employees because of a reduction in state funding after a move to virtual learning. The school board unanimously approved the staffing cuts in a special session meeting Friday night. The "Times" reports the cuts included 23 janitors, 18 special education paraprofessionals, 16 security services staff and 13 bus aides. Superintendent Dee-Etta Wright said the layoffs are intended to be temporary while the district uses virtual learning for at least the first nine weeks of the school year.


Belt Publishing

Today:  We talk with Gary activist Sam Love, who is the editor of "The Gary Anthology," a series of stories and poems from Gary residents that cover topics like steel, violence, race and urban blight -- but also tell stories of hope.  It's available from Belt Publishing.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, with a Gary resident who remembers his years in the public schools. Celina Weatherwax with the MacMillan Foundation also tells us about last weekend's First Responder Appreciaion and Demonstration Day at the MAAC center in Valparaiso.  It was a way for visitors to learn more about how first-responders are trained to help address emergencies.

HOBART - A Hobart woman and her boyfriend were arrested last week and are charged with abusing and neglecting the woman's grandmother and disabled aunt.

The "Times" reports the woman, 32-year-old Brittany Stewart, has an aunt with cerebral palsy and is nonverbal.

Police first questioned Stewart and 30-year-old Nathan Soria July 19th, after Stewart's 76-year-old grandmother climbed out of a window and told a neighbor "Nathan" was going to kill her, but she escaped.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  We welcome back into the studio Indiana economist-writer-speaker Morton Marcus, to talk about his recent "Eye on the Pie" columns that find a way to explain and to comment on sometimes complex economic issues in the Hoosier State in an entertaining way.  We also bring back our recent "welcome to northwest Indiana" conversation with the new Chancellor of Indiana University Northwest, Ken Iwama. 

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

For the month of July, Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped more than three points from the previous month down to 7.8 percent. But that metric is only a rough indicator of how the economy is improving. 

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Indiana counties can no longer reject a voter’s absentee, mail-in ballot because an official says their signature doesn’t match – without giving the voter a chance to fix it.

City of Gary

GARY - The city of Gary Common Council on Tuesday, August 11th passed the City of Gary Climate Resilience and Recovery resolution.  

The move calls for the city to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the goals of the United States Climate Mayors.

Brenda Scott-Henry is in charge of the Gary Office of Sustainability and Environmental Affairs.  The office will lead the city in the climate resiliency program, which includes a detailed Climate Action Plan.