Local News

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Today:  We bring you three conversations from 2020 -- two of them focusing on the efforts by St. Joseph's College trustees and administrators to follow through on the plan to revitalize the Catholic-affiliated college.   First, we speak with executive director William Carroll, and then with alumnus and Texas businessman Mark Zwartinski, who offered the Board of Trustees an ambitious plan of action.  We also have our conversation with former legislator and Indiana University professor Jill Long Thompson, who wrote a book titled "The Character of American Democracy," published by I.U. Press. Dr. Thompson began her political career as a Valparaiso City Councilperson.

Foster Success website

Today:  The recent COVID-19 stimulus bill passed by Congress and signed by the President will have an impact on Hoosier foster youth as they leave their foster homes and move on toward adulthood.  Dr. Maggie Stevens, president and CEO of Indianapolis-based "Foster Success," talks with us about the provisions of the bill that can best assist them.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, this time a young Black talks about trying to make friends, after moving into a new neighborhood.  Ty Warner with the Northwestern Indiana Regional Planning Commission talks about a recent report entitled "E-commerce in Northwest Indiana."  It's a report that addresses in more detail the dynamic shifts in the local economy.  And Pangere Corp. safety supervisor Don Babcock tells us more about a recent educational collaboratin with a Purdue University Northwest professor to offer students a way to be better prepared for careers after graduation.

Indiana Democratic Party website

Today:  State Senator Eddie Melton (D-Gary) is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the issues coming up in the 2021 General Assembly session -- a session that is not only a biennial budget-writing session but one marked by revenue concerns due to COVID-19.  Tammi Davis with the Gary Sanitary District is also a member of an Indiana advisory committee to the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights.  She tells us about an in-depth report on environmental injustice dealing with lead poisoning in Indiana -- a topic of great interest in northwest Indiana. And we have another edition of "Neighborhood Voice" minority business owner conversations from the Legacy Foundation, as Erica Fizer talks to a Hammond cafe owner.

Metro Oasis CDC Twitter

Today:   Toya Dumas Robinson, CEO of Metropolitan Oasis CDC, is on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the organization founded by her late father in Gary and the new program that the Indiana DCS is asking the organization to do.   We also bring you edited highlights of Wednesday's ribbon cutting ceremony on the new Cline Avenue toll bridge in East Chicago.  The structure, planned and built over the past five years, was described by the contractor as the “Gateway of Lake County.”  It takes the place of a defective Cline Avenue bridge over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal that was demolish

City of Gary

GARY - The city of Gary is activating its warming centers with the upcoming cold weather that's moving into the area, once the outside temperature drops to 32 degrees and below.

Michael Gonzalez, Director of Communications for the city of Gary says several Gary city employees worked together to provide the needed service even with the new challenges this year.

City of Gary / City of Gary

GARY - Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker got a COVID-19 vaccination Friday morning at Methodist Hospital-Northlake.

Walker said he wants to demonstrate the importance and value of the vaccination to African-Americans, Hispanics and other people of color.

Michael Gonzalez, City of Gary Communications Director says Walker wanted to put people in his community at ease about the vaccine and has been a leader in keeping the residents of Gary informed during this entire pandemic.

Franciscan Health / Franciscan Health

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Franciscan Health hospitals in Crown Point, Hammond and Michigan City are going to start inoculating health care workers.  

Robert Blaszkiewicz, Communications and Media Relations Specialist for Franciscan Health - Northern Division, says the three Franciscan locations are among the hospitals designated to administer the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine.

"We have received our initial doses of vaccine," Blaszkiewicz says. "And so we are ready to being vaccinating front line health care workers tomorrow on Friday."  

Post-Tribune/Chicago Tribune

Today:  For this "Reporters' Roundtable" program, we talk with "Times" chief political reporter Dan Carden about the stories he's put out in print and online.  They include the latest in the dispute between the Lake County Commissioners and County Council over who has jurisdiction over purchasing matters, and a look at how state legislators from northwest Indiana will play a role in shaping state policy when the General Assembly session begins next month.  "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete talks about his stories, including his comprehensive look at changes in the local steelmaking industry with a new player: Cleveland-Cliffs, and one about a gain in northwest Indiana population despite the early-2020 job losses.  And Hammond Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. joins us for a lively city-wide update.   

3 Floyds Brewpub to Remain Closed Permanently

Dec 16, 2020
3 Floyds / 3 Floyds

MUNSTER - A Northwest Indiana icon has decided to stay closed permanently.  

The "Times" reports 3 Floyds' owner Nick Floyd and his team has decided to permanently close its landmark brewpub in Munster, which has been a major draw to Northwest Indiana for years.

3 Floyds wrote in a letter to investors that the pandemic has not been kind to the restaurant industry including them.

Today:   Abbey Omodunbi with PNC Financial Services Group is back on "Regionally Speaking" with another analysis of the local, regional and national economic pictures.   Side Effects Public Media reporter Farah Yousry has another in her feature series on COVID-19 and diabetes.  And we revisit our conversation with  Terry Velligan with Cline Avenue Bridge LLC, as next week's official opening of the new toll bridge in East Chicago approaches.

Humane Indiana / Humane Indiana

MUNSTER - Humane Indiana's Home to Home program is serving the organization well in getting animals permanent homes while keeping them out of shelters, even with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Humane Indiana Shelter Director, Jessica Petalas-Hernandez, says the program started at Humane Indiana before the pandemic took hold, in the spring of 2019 and last year 61 animals were adopted as a result of the program.

Pew Research Center

Today:  We revisit our conversation with Purdue Research Foundation's David Broecker talks about a wireless high-speed internet initiative that will benefit students and families in the Kankakee Valley Schools district next year.  The current plans call for connections to be made in January.  Side Effects Publc Media reporter Farah Yousry has a report on the concerns that diabetics -- particularly those with Type I diabetes -- have, in trying to stay healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic with a condition that has been found to develop severe symptoms and complications if they contract the virus. We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, from a northwest Indiana resident whose family came to the U.S. from Mexico.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Hoosiers are split over whether Indiana lawmakers should draw their own districts – as they currently do – or an independent commission should be responsible for redistricting.

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Today:  We revisit our conversation with Chris Bayh, the son of former Senator Birch Bayh, and Joe Allen, a former Bayh staffer who now heads up the "Bayh-Dole-40" initiative that marks the 40th anniversary (actually observed earlier this month) of the passage of the Bayh-Dole Act.   The Bayh-Dole Act fundamentally changed the nation's system of technology transfer, by enabling universities to retain title to inventions and take the lead in patenting and licensing groundbreaking discoveries.  We also have Tami Silverman with the Indiana Youth Institute to talk about her latest column entitled "Still Home for the Holiday: Supporting Our Kids Over Break." Young people usually await the holidays to enjoy being with friends and family, as well as the presents.  But the pandemic changed all that and added stress to the holiday plans.  Tami offers some tips in dealing with that stress.

Justin Hicks / IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 551 additional confirmed deaths over the last week – the most reported in a single week during the pandemic, and nearly double the high reported in April. That brings the state’s total to 6,495 confirmed deaths. ISDH also reported nearly 43,000 new cases in the last week.

Twitter

NORTHWEST INDIANA - The Chicago National Weather Service in Romeoville has issued a lakeshore flood advisory for Lake and Porter Counties across the shorelines of Northwest Indiana.

It's in effect from 3 p.m. Saturday until 9:00 a.m., Sunday, December 13th.

Minor lakeshore flooding is expected due to large waves of eight to 12 feet, high lake levels, and up to a one foot surge.

Meteorologist Matt Friedlein says it will feel colder after the system moves into the area.

Gary Police Department

GARY- Gary Police are looking for information in connection to a shooting of a 15 year-old.
According to Gary Police Department Public Information Officer Lieutenant Dawn Westerfield, officers responded to the 800 block of West 36th Avenue at around 9:15 a.m. Thursday for reports of a gunshot victim. 

"When the officers arrived they did discover a 15 year-old male from Gary who had a gunshot wound to the leg.  That victim was transported by ambulance to the hospital for treatment and we had information that the suspect was in the wooded area nearby," Westerfield says.

Lt Governor's Office/WKVI Radio website

Today:  "Times" reporters Mary Freda and Carley Lanich are with us to talk about the stories they posted on the newspaper's website and in print editions this week, including the latest on COVID pandemic-related issues with regional schools, a court decision that affects the former owner of the Crown Theatre in downtown Crown Point, packages being stolen off residents' porches and plans for major expansion projects in the Crown Point Community Schools. There is now a third round of COVID-19 response grants available for communities to help those impacted by the pandemic. Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs are working with and overseeing the program. Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson spoke with the Lieutenant Governor about the next round of grants. And we bring back our conversation with Edgewater Health executive Dr. Danita Johnson-Hughes about this evening's virtual fundraiser.

Indiana Office of Community and Rural Affairs

INDIANAPOLIS - There is now a third round of COVID-19 response grants available for communities to apply for to help those impacted by the pandemic. Lieutenant Governor Suzanne Crouch and the Office of Community and Rural Affairs are working with and overseeing the program. Crouch says some Northwest Indiana counties were awarded grants during the initial launch of the program in April and in the second round, in August.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  Northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer is on "Regionally Speaking" with a look back at the important financial issues of 2020 and putting them in perspective as we look into 2021. Pangere Corp. safety coordinator Don Hancock also talks about his work with a Purdue University Northwest construction science and leadership class on giving students some "real world" experience thay can use when they begin their careers. They created a PowerPoint presentation that can be used to train others on OSHA and other safety training procedures.

Lake Station Community Schools Seeking TIF Funds

Dec 8, 2020
Lake Station Community Schools

LAKE STATION - Lake Station Community Schools is seeking a portion of the municipality's tax increment financing district proceeds.

The "Times" reports the city created a TIF district in 2019 to capture funding for economic development endeavors. The TIF is expected to start generating money in 2021, but it isn't known how much will be generated.

State law allows school districts to petition for as much as 15 percent of TIF revenue.

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Today: La Lumiere School's Head of School Adam Kronk is with us to talk about how they managed to be able to provide "in person" learning during the COVID-19 pandemic by conducting nearly all classes outdoors.  The LaPorte County private college-prep school is now on "remote learning" between the Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks because of the colder weather.  We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, with Gary Mayor Jerome Prince. He talks about his early schooling while living in the city's Glen park neighborhood.

GasBuddy

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Gas prices in Northwestern Indiana have risen 1.5 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $1.99/ per gallon Monday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 314 stations. Region gas prices are just over 3 cents per gallon lower than a month ago and stand almost 48 cents per gallon lower than a year ago.

According to GasBuddy price reports, the cheapest station in Gary is/was priced at $1.75 per gallon as of today/Monday while the most expensive is $2.19/ per gallon.

Today: Businessman and St. Joseph's College alumni Mark Andrew Zwartzynski wants to help his alma mater and he's proposed an ambitious  plan to revive the Rensselaer campus, the city of Rennselaer and the entire area.  Mark joins us for an at-length conversation about it.  He presented a 128-page proposal to the college's board of trustees last month, but they decided not to vote upon it at this time. Noted Indiana economist-writer-speaker Morton Marcus is back with more of his "Eye On The Pie" columns to talk about.  Some deal with the township governments and the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on the economy.

Rebecca Thiele / IPB News

Energy prices in states surrounding Indiana are expected to go up — which could make Indiana more attractive to businesses. That’s according to a new study released by the Indiana Chamber of Commerce. It comes just a few weeks after a legislative task force finalized its recommendations for a statewide energy plan. 

U.S. Steel Restarting Blast Furnace

Dec 3, 2020
apnews

GARY - U.S. Steel is restarting a blast furnace at its plant in Gary earlier than expected after it shut down in April for a maintenance project then stayed idled due to COVID.

The "Times" reports at the time, U.S. Steel warned the state it would temporarily furlough up to 3,800 steelworkers at Gary Works and at the Midwest Plant in Portage.

U.S. Steel executives warned  investors it likely would keep the No. 4 blast furnace at Gary Works and blast furnace A at Granite City Works in Illinois idled through at least the end of 2020.

CDC.gov

Today:  On this "Reporters Roundtable" Thursday, Meredith Colias-Pete with the "Post-Tribune" reviews for us her stories related to the coronavirus pandemic, and "Inside Indiana Business" host Gerry Dick talks to an Indianapolis-based standup comedian on how he had to shift from stage performances to virtual performances on Zoom.   Edgewater Health president and CEO Danita Johnson-Hughes gives us a preview of the organization's virtual fundraisier coming on December 19th.

Star America website

Today:  We revisit our conversation recorded here at Lakeshore Public Radio with Tom Dakich, the creator of the "Digital Crossroad" data center that is now open for business in Hammond.  An official grand opening late last month was postponed because of the pandemic.  Side Effects Public Media reporter Natalie Krebs has a report on businesses that are preparing for the pandemic's winter months. And Craig Miller, Franciscan Health's adminstrative director for ambulatory services, talks about the new remote urgent care services instead of a personal visit to a clinic.

United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund

UNDATED -Beachfront Dance School in Gary has received a $15,000 dollar grant.  The organization is one of an additional sixty-one Midwestern arts and culture organizations that received COVID-19 relief grants Tuesday from Arts Midwest.  The funds come from the United States Regional Arts Resilience Fund.

The Associated Press

Today:  Our colleague Michael Puente from Chicago Public Radio WBEZ sent along his recent "Off Mic" conversation with Andy Downs, the executive director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Fort Wayne, on the political futures of Vice President (and former Governor) Mike Pence and former South Bend Mayor (and presidential primary candidate) Pete Buttigieg.  We bring it to you, along with conversations from northwest Indiana's minority business community on "Neighborhood Voice" and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso Univeity.  Today's conversation is with a well-known Gary public official.

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