The Welcome Project at Valparaiso University

Digital Crossroad website

Today:  The "Digital Crossroad" data center and tech incubator along Lake Michigan in Hammond is up and running, and its creator -- Tom Dakich -- is on the program today to talk about it.  The $40 million project has plenty of room for expansion for any interested client, and Tom talks about the great economic development benefits of the "Crossroad" for the entire city of Hammond.   We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and we bring back our conversation with Karen Toering, the creator of the Gary International Black Film Festival, the ten-day event underway today, that this year is "virtual."  

Franciscan Health NWI

Today:   Franciscan Health Northwest Indiana spokesman Robert Blaszkiewicz tells us about the changes in visitor  restrictions that had to be put in place at the healthcare provider's hospitals in Dyer, Hammond and Munster on Friday because of the surge in COVID-19 cases in northwest Indiana.  We also bring back our conversation with Aaliyah Stewart, a young northwest Indiana resident who wants to establish a youth center in Gary and is raising funds toward its construction.   Seema Verma, the Adminstrator for the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services in Washington, D.C. (and a former Hoosier healthcare consultant) talks about the open enrollment period for Medicare for 2021 that is currently underway through December 7th.  This is the only time of year when more than 60 million Americans on Medicare -- 1,280,707 in Indiana -- can review their health coverage to find new health and drug plans and new benefits and, in the process, save money.  And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

resource recycling magazine-shutterstock

Today:   We revisit our conversation with Ron Taylor with the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction District and Valparaiso University professor Julie Peller on plastics pollution in the county, as found during a recent study, and add to it a recent "Morning Edition" segment about the history of how America got so deeply involved in plastics recycling.  Caren Jones with the YWCA of Northwest Indiana tells us the history of the organization that is now 100 years old.  A virtual gala celebrating the YW's 100th anniversary is coming up on Halloween.  We bring you another in our series of conversations with young Indiana activists, and more local conversations from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:   Indiana University Northwest economics professor Micah Pollak is with us to talk about the recent study commissioned by I.U. with EMSI, a worldwide provider of economic impact studies to colleges and universities, that explains the economic value that IUN adds to the students and alumni of the university and to the northwest Indiana community at large.  For example: the impact of increased earnings of IUN alumni and the businesses they work for is equal to an economic boost that is similar to hosting the World Series 37 times.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Side Effects Public Media reporter Carter Barrett looks into the struggle that rural hospitals face in trying to bring in enough revenue from a pandemic-stunted economy to stay open -- and serve their communities.  Indiana Youth Institute president-CEO Tami Silverman also reviews her latest monthly column entitled "Talking Politics With Our Kids."  It's an appropriate topic in this "election season." The entire column can be found on the IYI website.

Photo provided

Today:   We revisit our conversation with Carolyn Saxton of the Legacy Foundation about the initiative that  the Lake County community foundation established with the Knight Foundation, Indiana Black Expo, and the cities of Gary and East Chicago to help small businesses in both cities stay open during the coronavirus pandemic.  The application deadline for the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund ends during the month of October,  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Habitat for Humanity Northwest Indiana executive director Dawn Michaels tells us the latest house under construction in Gary's "Field of Dreams" neighborhood, in the 1700 and 1800 blocks of Adams and Washington Streets, which will give another family an affordable place to live sometime early next year. The owner of Majestic Star Casino, Spectacle Entertainment, is partnering with HFH on this project.  Reporter Michael Puente also spoke to several Latin-x supporters of President Donald Trump, and he offers us that conversation.

Suzanne Tennant / Post-Tribune

  

Today:  "Times" business reporter Joseph Pete has written another book that looks into the Region in great detail.  This latest book, published by Reedy Press, is titled "100 Things to Do in Gary and Northwest Indiana Before You Die." There will be several opportunities in October to buy and have a signed copy from the author.  Reporter Michael Puente tells us about Latino voters who support President Donald Trump.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  And Michelle Fajman, the director fo the Lake County Election and Voter Registration Office, has the latest on the process of preparing for the November 3rd general election.  Thousands of absentee ballots have already been cast and they are expecting thousands more to come in  -- ahead of the early voting period beginning next month.

GettyImages.com

Today:  We talk with Indiana Youth Institute president and CEO Tami Silverman about her latest column topic: keeping Hoosier children healthy by feeding as well as we can during the coronavirus pandemic, when schools aren't able to help as much as in the past. Lake Area United Way president-CEO Lisa Daugherty is also with us to bring us up-to-date on programs that help working families-in-need in Lake County during the COVID crisis.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University and the second part of Indiana Public Broadcasting's Ella Abbott's two-part series on "Sundown Towns" in Indiana: how the past is affecting present day life in those communities.

American Rails website

Today:   Indiana Passenger Rail Alliance president Steve Coxhead is back with us to answer a listener question:  why does passenger rail service work in Europe, but not here (in the U.S.)?  He has a very complete explanation behind the rail systems and the changes over the decades leading up to today.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, and Jill Schleuter-Kim, the executive director of "Girls on the Run Northwest Indiana," talks about the organization and how it helps 8-to-13-year old girls in become empowered and learn life skills through lessons and running.  GOTR has to adapt to the coronavirus pandemic, and Jill outlines the changes for the fall season of events, the group's 27th such season.

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.

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."  

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.

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.

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.

Indianapolis Motor Speedway

Today:  Indianapolis Motor Speedway historian Donald Davidson joins us to talk about the delays and cancellations of the Indianapolis 500 Mile Race in years past --some due to wars, others due to weather.  This year's running of the "Greatest Spectacle in Racing," the 104th running, will be on August 23rd but it will be run without spectators.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University today, and Sandra Noe and Rachel Hurst with Meals on Wheels in Northwest Indiana will talk about the organization's mission throughout the coronavirus pandemic to continue providing meals to people who need them the most, as well as making sure that those meal recipients are safe.

Ivy Tech Community College

  

Today:    Ivy Tech Community College Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs Margaret Semmer and Professor Paul Kamber, a member of the Northwest Indiana campus math faculty, are on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about the Ivy Tech "Learn Anywhere" program to begin classes in the fall semester.  Jill Powers with Goodwill Industries of Michiana is with us to talk about the Aug. 7 LaPorte Military Veteran Stand Down -- coming up at the Fairgrounds. And we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Flickr/Wikipedia

Today:  Mike Noland, the president of the South Shore Line commuter railroad, is with us with good news on the two major improvement projects: the West Lake Corridor and the Double Tracking projects.  Federal funding is due to be received soon to help begin the West Lake Corridor project that will build new tracks from Dyer, north through Munster and into Hammond, and create a north-south connection to the existing east-west tracks. The Double Tracking project adds and improves connections between Gary and Michigan City with new tracks and new stations.  Construction on the West Lake Corridor is slated to begin in October.  Urban League of Northwest Indiana president-CEO Dr. Vanessa Allen-McCloud tells more about the 75th anniversary of the Urban League this year, and about a fundraiser next month.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University -- and Jill Hoffmann with the White River Alliance tells us about the Third Annual (and virtual) Indiana Water Summit in Indianapolis.  It's an event that focuses on policy that encourages clean water supplies for all Hoosiers.

Nuvo Magazine website

Today:  Gary native and Indiana legislative candidate Belinda Drake is with us to give her eyewitness-view of a Saturday confrontation between state Senator Eddie Melton and a Statehouse police officer -- an incident which is now under investigation as an alleged racial profiling incident. Melton and his Indianapolis colleague JD Ford were with Drake and several other people who had participated in a rally outside the building and went indoors to escape a strong thunderstorm, but that was where the incident took place.  Senators Melton and Ford issued a joint statement Monday afternoon through the Indiana Democratic Party organization.  We also have another Welcome Project conversation, and we bring back our conversation with Lake County Plan Commission chairman Bill Emerson about a July 15th public hearing on zoning law changes that may affect citizen unput on solar panel farm projects.

Indiana University Northwest

Today:   Ellen Szarleta, the director of the Indiana University Northwest Center for Urban and Regional Excellence is with us to talk about the summer non-credit class offerings this year, done differently  because of the coronavirus pandemic.  They include courses about career training, Social Security and COVID-19, emergency preparedness for seniors -- and a summer reading program for all agea.  We have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University, with a Gary resident's recollections of her school days. And we bring back our conversaton with I.U. Northwest economist Micah Pollak about his coronavirus Twitter feed.

Lakeshore Public Radio

Today:  "Indiana Gaming Insight" creator and editor Ed Feigenbaum has an update on how Hoosier casinos, including the local ones, are progressing in their post-COVID-19 shutdown reopenings.  He also has the latest on sports betting, post-pandemic, and the recent "virtual" Indiana political party conventions.  Northwest Indiana immigration attorney Alfredo Estrada is also with us to talk about the recent U.S. Supreme Court decision supporting DACA and its impact on young people and their residency status in the Region.  We also bring you another conversation from The Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

NPR

Today:  Dr. Yolanda Watson with "Complete College America" talks about the issue of the gaps in racial equity in higher education, and how there are major implications for Hoosier students and leaders in higher education in dealing with the gaps.  Tami Silverman with Indiana Youth Institute reviews how grownups can talk about racism with younsgsters and what to say, based on their age.  Another conversation from a Gary resident from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  And Gary Mayor Jerome Prince and his Fire Chief Sean O'Donnell respond to recent comments on social media about the fire department leadership. 

Porter County Recycling

Today:  We have a coronavirus update for northwest Indiana, with the first three COVID-19 cases reported at hospitals in Lake and Porter Counties.

Photo Provided

Today:  We continue our conversations with new northwest Indiana Mayors with Portage Mayor Sue L:ynch.

Johns Hopkins Medicine

Today:   Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics in Ft. Wayne joins us to talk about the 2020 General Assembly session which is in its final weeks, and the bills that've been come up so far for review.  Dr. Erik Mikaitis with Franciscan Health Crown Point explains the coronavirus, its symptoms and how the healthcare system is getting ready to deal with it -- in the hopes that they don't have to.  We have another edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. Purdue University Northwest is observing Women's History Month with a series of events, and Kimberly Trajkovski tells us about a program this weekend at the Hammond campus on "believing in restorative justice."

Roads and Bridges website

Today:  Terry Velligan and Laura Weber with Cline Avenue Bridge LLC join us to give us an update on the new toll bridge going up over the Indiana Harbor and Ship Canal in East Chicago. Right now, plans call for completion and its opening to traffic this summer.  We have today's  "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody is another new mayor in the Region, and we find out from him on how his first couple months in office are going. And Dr. Bill Carroll, the consultant working with the St. Joseph's College Board of Trustees, tells us about the revival of the college in Rensselaer that is based on a three-year plan that calls for partnerships with other educational institutions and with the community.

Amy Lavalley, Post-Tribune

Today:  Valparaiso Mayor Matt Murphy joins us in an at-length conversation about succeeding Jon Costas in office last month, his first "State of the City" address on January 28th, and what he is proposing for the city as he takes over the administrartion. He talks about city projects and programs that are continuing or willget underway this spring.  We also have an encore edition of "Green Fleet Radio" with Carl Lisek of South Shore Clean Cities, and Allison Schuette with the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University talks about tonight's "Flight Paths" presentation and workshop in the Anderson Library Conference Center at Indiana University Northwest in Gary.  

IMDB website

Today:  Gary native, Hollywood actor and film festival host William L. Johnson talks about the 9th annual Black Film Festival, to be held this Friday evening and Saturday evening at the Glen Theatre in Gary.  The focus of the festival is on the achievements of African-American actors and filmmakers.   We have a new edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation, and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  Jesse Kharbanda with the Hoosier Environmental Council is at the Statehouse to keep an eye on environmental bills still before the 2020 General Assembly, and he talks with us about HB 1414 -- a major bill affecting clean energy and public utilities.  It is coming up soon before the Senate Utilities Committee for a hearing.

IU Northwest/Portage Life website

Today:  We talk with Jana Szostek, the director of the Indiana University Northwest Center for Professional Development, a component of the School of Business and Economics.  The center provides assistance to northwest Indiana businesses of all sizes, including helping employees with professional certifications or aiming them toward college degrees, if they choose.    Kevin Comerford hosts another edition of "Building Northwest Indiana," from the Construction Advancement Foundation, and we have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. Isaiah Mears with the Indiana Federation of College Republicsns is back with an update about a letter that he and other young GOP officials just sent out to Indiana's Republican congressional delegation about the need for a climate change plank in the party's platform this election year.  They say it's an important issue to be taken rom an economic view.

Diocese of Detroit

Today:  We have two conversations on the program, ahead of the February 11th ordination and installation event for the new shepherd of the Diocese of Gary, Bishop Robert McClory.   Frs. Marty Dobrzynski and Mike Yadron talk first about the planning for the event at the Catherdral of the Holy Angels in Gary and of the work getting the new Bishop readty for his work in northwest Indiana.  We then follow with our conversation, recorded late last week, with the Bishop.   We also have a new edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University. 

WFYI Public Radio

Today:  Updates on the 2020 Indiana General Assembly session -- first, from Andy Downs with the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Ft. Wayne, and later, from Dr. Indra Frank with the Hoosier Environmental Council,  which is closely watching environmentally-related measures moving through the Legislature.  We have a new edition of "Building Northwest Indiana" from the Construction Advancement Foundation and a new conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.

Hanover Community Schools website

Today:  We bring back our conversation with Wabash College student and Indiana College Republicans leader Isaiah Mears, on the state Young GOP organization's partnering with a national team to come up with a conversation on climate change.  We also have another "Building Northwest Indiana" conversation from the Construction Advancement Foundation.   And Hanover Community School Corporation Superintendent Mary MacAuley is with us to talk about the south Lake County school district's $79 million capital improvement project and their request for patron support, when it comes up as a question on the May 5th primary election ballot. More information can be found here.   We also have another conversation from the Welcome Project at Valparaiso University.  Today, a Gary senior remembers the neighborhood of her childhood.

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