Local News

Porter County Parks website

Today:  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer is with us to talk about an important deadline coming up, for anyone who withdrew funds from retirement accounts under the terms of the CARES Act during this pandemic -- and now wants to return that money to the retirement accounts.  Porter County veterinarian Dr. Larry McAfee and Porter County Parks and Recreation superintendent Walter Lenckos join us from Sunset Hill Farm, outside Valparaiso, to talk about a donation of antique veterinary instruments used by his father Dr. John McAfee during his time as Sunset Hill Farm's veterinarian from the 1940s to 1960s.  The farm is now a Porter County park.  And we have post-speech comments from state Representative Earl Harris Jr of East Chicago, the vice-chairman of the Indiana Black Legislative Caucus about Governor Eric Holcomb's proposed plan to address racial inequity in Indiana.  The proposal includes creation of a new state government position.

IdentoGO

HAMMOND - The Indiana Welcome Center in Hammond is now offering state and federal identity services.

Erika Dahl, Director of Communications for the South Shore Convention and Visitors Authority says the South Shore CVA was approached by a company called IdentoGO, that was looking for new office space.  

Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Gov. Eric Holcomb says he wants to be a “barrier buster” to help reduce racial inequality in the Hoosier State.

Photo provided

Today:  Purdue University Northwest is holding a series of interdisciplinary lectures and discussions beginning Sept. 3rd entitled "Race, Racism and Anti-Racism" that focuses on race relations and racism in America.  We have one of those presenters on the program:  associate professor of criminal justice Nicky Jackson who, along with exoneree Roosevelt Glenn, will speak on "Race and Wrongful Convictions" on October 6th.  All of the lectures will be free, open to the public and viewable via Zoom and Facebook Live.  More information's available on the PNW website.   We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University and the CEO of Merrillvile-based tech company Cimcor, Robert E. Johnson III, joins us to talk about his firm's association with Zoom to give the videoconferencing giant better security and compliance through its new software.  Zoom began using CimTrak software in 2019.

Screenshot of Microsoft Teams

The Hoosier Lottery generated more than $300 million for the state in the last fiscal year, which supports teacher retirement and police and firefighter pensions.

United States Department of Justice

HAMMOND - A 41 year-old Schererville man and member of the Latin Kings has been sentenced to 87 months in prison after pleading guilty to conspiracy to participate in racketeering activity.  

According to a news release from the Department of Justice and the office of U.S. Attorney Thomas Kirsch, U.S. District Court Judge Philip P. Simon issued the sentence on Monday in Hammond.  As part of his guilty plea, Mark Toney also gets 2 years of supervised release.

City of Hobart website

Today:   Hobart Mayor Brian Snedecor joins us to talk about how his city is coping with the coronavirus pandemic, and he explains in detail his reasons for switching political affiliations from Democrat to Republican.  Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman's produced another public column about helping Hoosier youth during the COVID-19 pandemic and the important role that teachers play in the process.  She talks about the column, as school systems attempt to reopen during the pandemic.  Susan Bannwart, the community engagement manager for the LaPorte County Public Library, explains how its new Mobile STEAM Classroom can help prepare for high-skilled and good-paying jobs in northwest Indiana.  And Brad Miller, the northwest field director for Indiana Landmarks, talks about the latest Ten Most Endangered List and one of this year's additions is Gary Roosevelt High School.  It is one of the three high schools that provided unprecedented learning opportunities to African Americans.

Premiere YMCA Could Be Coming to Highland

Aug 13, 2020
Town of Highland / Town of Highland

HIGHLAND/WICKER PARK - YMCA officials are considering building premiere facility in the Wicker Park area of Highland.  

It would be similar in "size and scale" to Crown Point's 120,000 square foot location that was renovated and unveiled last year.

Jay Buckmaster, CEO of Crossroads YMCA, told the "Times" the organization is exploring a $35 million project with stakeholders, including officials with the town of Highland and North Township for a "new regional YMCA."

Emmis Communications

Today:  On this "Reporters' Roundtable," we talk to "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden and to business reporter Joseph Pete about the stories they put out in print and online.  Dan Carden's stories include updates on financial assistance to arts and tourism groups hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic and the state schools superintendent's support for vote-by-mail in November because of the pandemic.  Joseph Pete's stories focus on assistance from the CARES Act to NIRPC, the pandemic's impact on BP and on Lear Corporation that have important local repercussions, and a very quiet act of kindness by a television chef toward a Region teenager who is battling a very rare form of cancer.  Also on the program today -- Politicking App co-founder and Gary native Jordan Wilson talks about a virtual civic mixer this weekend in collaboration with two local organizations.

Gayle Davis

NORTHWEST INDIANA- A Michigan City middle school teacher as been chosen as a Indiana Policy Fellow by Teach Plus Indiana for the 2020-21 school year.  

Teach Plus is a national nonprofit organization that is focused on empowering teachers in the classroom as well as at the policy level.  The organization empowers teachers to lead improvements in education policy and instructional practice.  

Gayle Davis, a teacher at Barker Middle School in Michigan City, was one of nine teachers chosen from across the state and is the only one from the Region.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.) says talks over another federal coronavirus relief package remain at an impasse.

Franciscan Health

Today:   Robert Blaszkiewicz with Franciscan Health here in northwest Indiana joins us to talk about, among other topics, the participation of the Hammond facility  in an Eli Lilly clinical study evaluating the safety and effectivemess of an antibody treatment drug for early-stages of the coronavirus. He also tells about how the latest thermal scanning technology is being used to screen visitors to all of its facilities.  We bring back our conversation with Big Shoulders Fund CEO Josh Hale about the work the organization is doing with the Diocese of Gary schools. And Purdue University biomedical engineering professor Young Kim talks about how he and his research team are developing an airborne disinfection method -- using edible food coloring dyes -- that could be an effective sterilization process in the fight against COVID-19. 

Ildar Sagdejev / Wikimedia Commons

UPDATE: On Wednesday, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission ordered state-regulated utilities to offer payment plans of at least six months for their customers. Late fees, disconnection fees and reconnection fees have also been suspended until Oct. 12. 

Last week, Gov. Eric Holcomb said the state has no plans to further extend a ban on utility shutoffs during the COVID-19 crisis. But more than 11 percent of Hoosiers are still unemployed and cases are going up. 

New York Times

GARY -- Mayor Jerome Prince is commending City of Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker.. for being nominated for a COVID-19 Courage Award by the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum... for his work in fighting the spread of the virus.

Mayor Prince said in a statement that Dr. Walker has given us guidance, solid medical advice, even as he has dealt with the illness in his own family.

The JFK Presidential Library and Museum will announce the winner in the fall.

MUNSTER - A disturbance at a bar and grill in Munster sent one person to the hospital.

The "Times" reports what's being described as a 'physical disturbance' happened late Friday.  Police responded to Marko's Bar & Grill at around 11:45 p.m.

A man was taken to a nearby hospital with a head wound.  Lieutenant John Peirick says there are no suspects in the case at this time.  

Anyone with information is asked to call the Munster Police Department at 219-836-6630.

 

Jeanie Lindsay / IPB News

Indiana's moratorium on evictions is set to expire this week and additional pandemic unemployment benefits have already ended, and schools are on edge for what it could mean for students with unstable housing. 

Justin Hicks / IPB News

It’s been one year since a northwest Indiana steel facility’s spill into a Lake Michigan waterway — which killed about 3,000 fish and forced beaches to close temporarily. The Environmental Law & Policy Center said ArcelorMittal’s pollution violations haven’t stopped in 2020. 

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:   "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter creator and editor Ed Feigenbaum joins us to talk about the latest revenue numbers from the Indiana Gaming Commission and how casinos are recovering from the pandemic. These figures show the first full month of casino business since they reopened. We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. And Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance president Steve Coxhead also joins us to about the impact of Amtrak's proposed changes on long-distance passenger rail service which will affect the nation, including to northwest Indiana.

Tom Maloney

NORTHWEST INDIANA - A severe thunderstorm hit Northwest Indiana Monday afternoon that brought high winds, heavy rain and knocked out power to about 21,800 NIPSCO customers.

During the afternoon on Monday Northwest Indiana was under a severe thunderstorm watch that was expected to possibly bring  winds up to 100 miles per hour.

Meteorologist Brian Leatherwood with the Chicago National Weather Service in Romeoville told Lakeshore Public Radio before the storm that everyone should take cover.  

IU Northwest

Today:  Northwest Indiana activist Ruth Needleman is back with us to cover some of the topics she watches, including economic development issues in the city of Gary.  She talks about a meeting on Zoom tonight that discusses the city's 2019 community benefits ordinance, which is up for amendment soon.  At issue is a new housing project in Gary that is not covered in the ordinance.  Schererville Realtor and board chairman of the Northwest Indiana Association of Realtors, Craig Friendling, joins us to talk about the latest regional home sales and median selling price data this summer, and the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on local home sales and buying.  And musician, songwriter and "Positive Vibes Only" founder R.J. Griffith tells about the group's second annual "Good Day" book bag giveaway on Aug. 15th in  East Chicago, which will be a drive-through event this year because of COVID-19.

Zach Herndon / WTIU News

A top lawmaker in Indiana is warning schools they could lose out on 15 percent of state funding if they start the new school year only online. 

Tony Webster / Flickr

The northern Indiana utility NIPSCO will pay one of the highest fines in state history for natural gas pipeline safety violations. The state said the company failed to timely find or mark some of its pipelines — which could have caused natural gas explosions. 

Youtube screenshot

Indiana schools are reopening for the new academic year, with some reporting cases of COVID-19 among staff or students, and the state's top school official says efforts to find people who have potentially been exposed to the coronavirus is proving difficult.

Ivy Tech Community College

GARY -- Ivy Tech Community College's Lake County campus is ready for a new school year, even though it is the first ever during a public health emergency.  Chancellor Louie Gonzalez and his facilities director, Bruce Curry, were on "Regionally Speaking" on Thursday to talk about the myriad of safety measures that are in place to protect students, faculty and staff.

Porter County, Indiana

PORTER COUNTY -
The Porter County Health Department is identifying metrics local health officials will use to advise school districts on what instructional models to implement, based on coronavirus outbreaks.

The "Times" reports a Porter County memo outlines a three-tier threshold for county positivity rates using a seven-day period.  A county average of 0-5% indicates schools should operate in person; at 6-12%, schools should operate in-person or with a hybrid model; and at 13% or higher, districts should pursue remote learning.

FILE PHOTO: Nick Janzen

According to a new report from Earthjustice and the Shriver Center on Poverty Law, 70 percent of the most dangerous hazardous waste sites in the country are located within a mile of federally assisted housing.

Indiana Public Media

Today:  On this Reporters' Roundtable Thursday, we focus on education stories put out by local reporters in print and online.  "Times" education reporter Carley Lanich first brings us up to date about some school districts which reported their reopening plans, including School City of Hammond and School Town of Highland. Next, "Post-Tribune" reporter Carole Carlson talks about her stories on the Gary Community Schools referendum  -- a request on the November general election ballot to voters in the city to approve a multi-year tax increase for operating expenses.  The referendum's goal is, among other things, to get the school district out of state takeover status. Finally,  "Post-Tribune" freelance education reporter Hannah Reed tells us about her conversations with several area parents who have their concerns about their children and themselves, when schools reopen for the new year and students start to mingle.

Did May Flooding Recontaminate Homes In East Chicago?

Aug 6, 2020
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

Residents in the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago are worried that flooding in May could have recontaminated their homes with arsenic and lead. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency is ready to call the soil at several properties clean. 

State Launches COVID-19 Help Hotline For Schools

Aug 6, 2020
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

The State Department of Health announced Wednesday it launched a hotline for school administrators to call with questions about COVID-19.

Courtesy of the Governor's Office

Indiana will launch a settlement arbitration tool for Hoosier landlords and renters as it braces for a flood of evictions when the state’s eviction moratorium ends Aug. 14.

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