Local News

Credit Justin Hicks / IPB News

Hoosiers 55 and older can now register for appointments to receive a COVID-19 vaccine. The Indiana Department of Health announced the expansion Tuesday.

Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor

Today:   Anthony Swinger with the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor  is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the impending changes to Hoosier phone service here in the area, beginning with a six-month transition period in late-April.  Everyone in the 219 or 574 area codes (landline, VOIP or cell) is being encouraged to use ten digits, rather than seven, when making local phone calls.  It's in preparation for the mandatory ten-digit call changes that will occur nationally this fall.  Anthony has all the information that callers need to know.  Gary's GIVE executive director Burgess Peoples also is on the program with details of a survey going out to seek qualified low-income residents, for a lottery to choose 125 recipients for monthly guaranteed income for one year in a pilot program. Mayor Jerome Prince announced the city's participation in the national GIVE program last week.

Indianapolis Star

Today:    Jesse Kharbanda, executive director of the Hoosier Environmental Council, is on "Regionally Speaking" to bring us up-to-date on the bills dealing with the Indiana environment that are moving through the 2021 General Assembly session.  Donna Catalano, community development director of the Legacy Foundation, is also on the program with the latest on several programs she is involved in, including "NWI Biz Hub.com" and "Lake County Eats Local."  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Lauren Chapman has a feature report on the effort by legislators to attempt to criminalize protestors.

Indiana Public Media

Today:   "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the stories from the 2021 Indiana Legislature that he's put out in print and online.  Melina Rivera with Healthy Communities Of LaPorte County will talk about smoking cessation programs in her county and about a special Town Hall meeting to be conducted in Spanish tonight on Facebook Live.  It focuses on smoking and vaping and the impact they can have on dealing with the coronavirus.  

PNC Financial Services Group

Today:  PNC Financial Services economist Abbey Omodunbi is on "Regionally Speaking" for an update on the northwest Indiana and Midwest economic views and outlooks.  We also bring back our recent conversation with northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer, and his recommendations on how to be able to plan for a comfortable retirement in 2021.  Side Effects Public Media reporter Darian Benson also has more on how healthcare professionals are encouraging adults to talk to children about mental health issues since they, too, are being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Chicago Crusader website

Today:     Retired public school superintendents Tony Lux and Michael Berta and Merrillville Community Schools administrator Danny Lackey are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about Thursday's first of a two-webcast series co-hosted by Purdue University Northwest and the Northwest Indiana Coalition for Public Education that will focus on education and race, as barriers to learning.  The virtual panel discussion is free and available to the public on the Purdue Northwest  YouTube channel.  We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, a conversation with Griffith Town Council president Rick Ryfa on events and issues involving the town, and Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman joins us for the latest on the 2021 "Kids Count Data Book" just released.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:    Northwest Indiana political activist Ruth Needleman is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the ongoing issue of immigration in the Region. She also suggests some interesting Black-themed movies to "binge watch." Purdue University Northwest professor Richard Rupp is also on the program to talk about the first of a series of Zoom conversations over the next few months that center around an exploration of the post-COVID world from differing viewpoints. The conversations are with PNW scholars and community experts, on the opportunity for re-invention. Indiana Humanities fellow and independent researcher Nicole Poletika also talks about her research project that centers around the 1972 National Black Political Convention held in Gary.  

Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune

Today:   "Post-Tribune" reporter Carrie Napoleon is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the stories about the city of Gary that she's posted online and print.  They include stories about the cleanup effort after the recent winter storms.  "Inside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick spoke recently on his program with Gary Mayor Jerome Prince about his city's economic development successes and we have that conversation.  It includes the recent  announcements about Ackyumen Industries and the Hard Rock casino along I-80-94.  And Veterans Health Administration executive Dr. Patricia Hastings talks about the new Airborne Hazards and Open Burn Pits Registry that Hoosier veterans -- especially Gulf War veterans -- should sign up to be included. It could offer them some medical assistance, if they show any symptoms of any health problems associated with their overseas duty.

The Indiana Destination Development Corporation (IDDC) wants to hear from Indiana residents who once lived elsewhere but like it well enough to stay and make Indiana their permanent home.   

Body Found in Snowbank in Valparaiso

Feb 17, 2021

VALPARAISO - Police say a man has been found dead in a snowbank in Valparaiso following this week’s snowstorm.  He has been identified, but the Porter County Sheriff’s Office said Wednesday it cannot release his name or provide other information about him until his family is notified. The department says the case remains an “open investigation.” Porter County Coroner Cyndi Dykes says a Valparaiso property owner found the man’s body Tuesday evening in a snowbank, and an autopsy is scheduled for Thursday.

Ivy Tech Community College

Today:  Ivy Tech Community College Lake County campus IT program chairman Matthew Cloud and recent graduate Daniel Lopez are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the local version of the statewide program to prepare students for careers in cybersecurity and IT.  Jordan Stanfill with Housing Opportunities in Valparaiso is also on the program to talk about the organization's assistance to homeless Porter County citizens, including adding more beds to accomodate more people on frigid, snowy nights. Additional funding from the state made the effort possible through about mid-March.  And Indiana Public Broadcasting's Brock Turner has a report on the racism-related issues healthcare workers face in trying to persuade Blacks to be vaccinated for COVID-19.

How to draw/easy drawing

NORTHWEST INDIANA - At one point in the later part of Tuesday afternoon at around 4 p.m. 14,000 people in Northwest Indiana were without power, both customers of NIPSCO and customers of  Kankakee Valley REMC.

NIPSCO Public Affairs Manager Dana Berkes told Lakeshore Public Radio the issue was at a substation.  She said all repair crews were sent to the scene to get customers restored as quickly as possible.  Repair crews had to switch the effected customers to another circuit.

Visit Indiana website

Today:  "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter creator and editor Ed Feigenbaum is on "Regionally Speaking" with the Indiana Gaming Commission's monthly report on casino revenues around the state, including northwest Indana, and other gambling-related news.  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer talks about gettng ready to fill out those income tax returns, and Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy talks about the latest topics in his city. They include digging out from the latest snowstorm and the strategic planning process that is underway. City officials are seeking community input this month.

Sharon Jackson, Show Host/Reporter

NORTHWEST INDIANA- Northwest Indiana is getting hit hard with yet another winter storm. Travel has been hazardous Monday and Tuesday and it's recommended not to take any unnecessary trips.  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson spoke with Matt Friedlein, Meteorologist with the National Weather Service in Chicago about this weather event.

wikipedia.org

WASHINGTON D.C. - Congressman Frank Mrvan has his committee assignments for the 117th Congress.

Mrvan announced on Friday that he will serve on the House Education and Labor Committee and the House Veterans’ Affairs Committee in the 117th Congress.  He will also be the Chairman of the Veterans’ Affairs Subcommittee on Technology Modernization.  

During the organizing meeting for the Education and Labor Committee, Mrvan obtained positions on the Health, Employment, Labor, and Pensions Subcommittee, and the Civil Rights and Human Services Subcommittee.

Schererville Police Department / Schererville Police Department


SCHERERVILLE - The Schererville Police Department is doing an emergency hiring, looking for two experienced police officers to replace two who have recently retired.   

Sergeant Tim Arvanitis says applicants can learn about the positions and access the application at schererville.org.

"Currently what we're looking for is officers that are already certified either in the state of Indiana or Illinois, that are prepared to come aboard our agency and assist us for the next 20 to 30 years," Arvanitis said.

Sharon Jackson, Show Host/Reporter / Lakeshore Public Radio

CHESTERTON - The National Park Service has implemented the federal mask mandate at the Indiana Dunes National Park.

Bruce Rowe, Supervisory Park Ranger and Public Information Officer said in a news release that the mandate was put in place to protect the health of those who live, work, and visit national parks and National Park Service facilities, and in support of President Biden’s executive order on protecting the federal workforce and requiring mask-wearing.

Sharon Jackson, Show Host/Reporter / Lakeshore Public Radio

NORTHWEST INDIANA - The bitter cold temperatures and a little snow are going to stick around in the Region this week.  Eric Lenning, Meteorologist for the National Weather Service in Chicago, explains.

"Well you know lately people have happy if it's actually double digits.  That's our light at the end of the tunnel right now and that's pretty much going to be the case through the remainder of the week," Lenning says.

Stephen Nichols, engineer with Otis Worldwide. This and more on Regionally Speaking home page.

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Organizers are planning the return of the county fairs in Lake, Porter and LaPorte counties.  

Although it's not a 100% guarantee the events will be held this summer, Lake County Fair Board President Tom Lump told the "Times" he has cautious optimism.

The summer events, which are a longtime tradition, with the LaPorte County fair being the oldest, had to be canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  

Brookings Institute website

Today:   Another in the Purdue University Northwest virtual lecture-discussion series "Race, Racism and Anti-Racism" was held on World Cancer Day and the topic is health equity and communities of color.  We talked with moderator Professor Karen Bishop-Morris and two participants in the conversation, Tranece Artis and Shari McKinley, ahead of the event.  We also have a conversation from "Indiana Lawmakers" program host Jon Schwantes and his guests about a bill in the General Assembly that focuses on law enforcement reform.  And two Indiana Landmarks preservation projects in Gary are getting financial support from the funds set up years ago by the man who became the first Black chemist with Eli Lilly and Company.  We'll tell you more about them.

Brock Turner / WTIU

A House bill aims to ensure reliable electricity for Indiana as utilities move toward renewable energy sources. It addresses a goal set by the 21st Century Energy Policy Development Task Force

Chicago Tribune

Today:  There've been a lot of concerns voiced about how safe it is to travel in elevators during the coronavirus pandemic -- but very little solid research into those concerns.  Otis Worldwide commissioned Purdue University mechanical engineering professor Yan Chen to look into it, and Otis engineer Stephen Nichols is on "Regionally Speaking" to reveal the study's findings.  February 7th is National Black HIV-AIDS Awareness Day and Dr. Laura Cheever with the Ryan White HIV-AIDS Program in Washington DC speaks about the significance of the day and of the legacy of Ryan White himself.  The Hoosier teenager died from the disease in April 1990.  And Andy Campbell, the lead person on the renewable assets team with NIPSCO, and NIPSCO spokesperson Tara McElmurry join us to talk about the solar and wind projects that the utility is working on... or, in the case of two wind farms, has put online.  It's part of the utility's renewable energy initiative to be "coal-free" by 2028.

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GARY - The Gary Common Council is considering changes to its approval process of day care businesses in the city.

The "Times" reports there has been a steady stream of applications being submitted to the Common Council for in-home day cares. According to the latest data available, there are already 55 registered in the city, as of last fall.

Councilwoman Tai Adkins, Democrat from the 4th district, said she noticed day care applications coming before the council nearly every month that they meet.

NPR.org/Getty Images

Today:   Evan Hock, the co-founder of Indiana-based website MakeMyMove is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the number of remote workers who are leaving expensive, congested cities to find places to upgrate their quality of life and still have a career.   Pew research shows about 54-percent of Americans who are working from home because of the pandemic won't want to go back into the office.  And Abhijit Karve, the director of business development with the Purdue Research Foundation is with us to talk about the "Purdue Technology Showcase," coming up virtually on Feb. 10th and 11th.    The showcase will feature novel innovations from inventors at Purdue, Indiana University, University of Notre Dame and other organizations.  Registration deadline is Feb. 9th and can be made here .

HealthLinc

NORTHWEST INDIANA -A Northwest Indiana health care organization is offering a sign-up list for people who want the COVID-19 vaccine.  Sharon Jackson spoke with the CEO of HealthLinc, Beth Wrobel, about the process of going to the HealthLinc website, getting on the waiting list and what to expect after that.

Indiana Public Media

Today:   Indiana Dunes National Park superintendent Paul Labovitz is with us to talk about the beachfront remediation done last year to correct the growing erosion problem along Central Avenue Beach and the Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk.  He also talks about other projects at the National Park which are planned for 2021.  Indiana Public Broadcasting's Rebecca Thiele has a report on the push to allow reusable shopping bags during the coronavirus pandemic.  Later in the program, Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Ft. Wayne has a review of the first month of the 2021 General Assembly session.  

UNDATED - School Choice Week is underway this week.  Shelby Doyle, Director of Communications and External Relations, for National School Choice Week, says they conduct the awareness campaign annually to let parents know they have options in choosing their child's education.

Associated Press

Today:  On this "Reporters Roundtable Thursday," we speak with Meredith Colias-Pete with the "Post-Tribune" about her stories related to COVID-19 vaccinations in Lake County.  She also reviews her story on a bill in the General Assembly that, if it becomes law, would affect protecting wetlands in Indiana.  "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson talks about her recent stories from the city of Gary, including the Gary Community Schools.  And we bring back a conversation with Lake County Democratic Party chief Jim Weiser, about this weekend's North Township caucus in Hammond.  It will be held with all health and safety precautions in mind because of the coronavirus pandemic.

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