Regionally Speaking

Monday - Thursday, 12-1 PM
  • Hosted by Chris Nolte

Addressing the most important local issues facing the Region during a daily hour of stimulating conversation with local news-makers.


Today:  Tri-Creek School Corporation in south Lake County is the recipient of a March "Innovators Award" from the Society of Innovators in Northwest Indiana.  Superintendent Debra Howe joins us to talk about the programs that led to the award, beginning with a student-pilot project on solar energy that led to a district-wide program and will save tens of thousands of dollars in energy costs each year -- more than enough to cover the cost of the project.

Tom Pappas is a member of the city of Portage veterans' committee, which holds monthly meetings in Portage to bring together veterans across northwest Indiana to learn more about issues that affect them, including healthcare and -- as Tom mentioned on "Regionally Speaking" -- Porter County's Veterans Court.  Here's the latest conversation.

VA website

Today:  City of Portage veterans' committee member Tom Pappas joins us for a monthly review of the latest committee meeting, with guest Porter County Veterans' Court Judge Jent.  He also talks about VA healthcare issues that include why veterans' claims get denied, and the 70th anniversary of the Department of Veterans Affairs' work with medical colleges across the country to give physicians-in-training valuable experience in veterans' health issues.

Two Purdue University Northwest faculty members and an alumnus attorney discussed the issues surrounding “Executive Power & Legal Questions about Immigration” on Tuesday. Feb. 28th on the Purdue University Northwest Hammond Campus. It was aired Thursday on "Regionally Speaking."

The event, offered collaboratively with Northwest Indiana Lakeshore Public Radio, was held in the Student Union & Library's "Room with a View."

Today:  Michigan City Mayor Ron Meer joins us to talk about his "thank you" message to the special education program employees at the Michigan City Area Schools on Wednesday, to kick off Indiana Disability Awareness Month.  Similar events are scheduled for later this month in Gary.

The Governor's Council for People with Disabilities says just over 19-percent of Hoosiers have some sort of disability, but they want to be recognized and accepted as people who want to be included in their communities, just like everyone else.

Indiana Landmarks

Today:  Todd Zeiger with Indiana Landmarks talks about the next "Logs to Lustrons Tour" at the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore, May 13th and 14th.  Homes representing more than a century of architecture, ranging from log cabins built by Swedish settlers to the houses from the Century of Progress at the 1930s Chicago World's Fair to Lustron-construction houses will be available for viewing, some not normally open to the public.  Some are also vacant landmarks in need of a new use.

Ancestry Blog

Indiana first female County Sheriff is the subject of a play to be performed this weekend in the Maki Ballroom of the historic Old Courthouse in downtown Crown Point. And infamous gangster John Dillinger plays a role in her career as well.

"Lillian" is a play that was written decades ago but wasn't allowed to be performed until the passing of all of those involved, including Lillian Holley and her daughters.  I talked with playwright Marion Kellum for "Regionally Speaking."  He begins the conversation with the importance that Lillian Holley played in Lake County history.

Today:   A conversation with Marion Kellum, the Crown Point resident who learned about the first (and, for now, only) Lake County Sheriff, Lillian Holley, and her link to the infamous gangster John Dillinger.  Kellum wrote a play several decades ago about Lillian but it's just now coming to the "stage" in the Maki Ballroom of the historic Old Courthouse in Crown Point this coming weekend.


"Howey Politics Indiana" creator and publisher Brian Howey wrote a column for his newsletter this week that looks at how former Governor - now Vice President - Mike Pence views his career in the context of the Trump administration.  Brian came on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about it.

U.S. Dept. of Defense

Today:  a conversation with Elizabeth Burden about an Indiana Parenting Institute-sponsored discussion Friday morning in Merrillville on the issue of substance abuse's impact on families.  The two-hour event begins at 10:00 a.m. at the IBEW Local 697 hall on Mississippi Street.

Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore has more on a decision by the Lake County Council to approve a vendor's bill for food for the County Jail as they review the Sheriff's Department bookkeeping procedures.


This is income tax return preparation season and northwest Indiana financial advisor Greg Hammer came on "Regionally Speaking' on Wednesday to offer his advice to harried taxpayers to save time and reduce stress while preparing the return. 

His advice also included the top 20 deductions that Hammer says return preparers should not miss.


Indiana Dunes Tourism, the agency that supports the tourism and convention activities in Porter County, released its annual report on the economic impact of  visitors to all of the businesses and attractions in 2016.

Lorelei Weimer, the executive director of Indiana Dunes Tourism, was on "Regionally Speaking" on Wednesday to talk about the report from Certec.  You'll be surprised to learn just how much all those visits mean to the Porter County economy.  Here's the conversation.


Today:  Northwest Indiana financial adviser Greg Hammer joins us to talk about ways to make preparing and filing those income tax returns a little less stressful, including the top 20 deductions that all taxpayers should take advantage of.

Indiana Dunes Tourism executive director Lorelei Weimer tells us about the recent Certec report on the economic impact of travel and tourism to Porter County -- and you'll be surprised to hear just how much those tourist visits mean to the local economy.

Today:  an update on recent heroin overdose deaths in LaPorte County and some insight into the opioid addiction problem from Dr. Chris Johnson, chief medical officer of Pinnacle Treatment Centers.  The company operates the RecoveryWorks residential center in Merrillville.  Dr. Johnson says many times, the problem begins with efforts to deal with alcohol abuse.

An update from Indiana Public Broadcasting's Becca Costello on the effort to establish syringe exchange programs across the state.

City of Valparaiso website

The city of Valparaiso is getting ready to launch a cooperative venture with Valparaiso University that will give students an opportunity to easily travel into the downtown business district from the VU campus. The city government is also taking the initial steps to obtain and transform an underused ex-factory site into, among other uses, a new depot and parking lot for the popular Chicago Dash bus service between Valparaiso and Chicago.  


Today:  A conversation with city of Valparaiso Economic Development Director Patrick Lyp on two major 2017 projects: the implementation of the Bike Share program and efforts to create a larger parking lot for the city's Chicago Dash commuter bus service between Valparaiso and Chicago.  The Bike Share program is a joint project of the city and Valparaiso University.  The city is looking at buying and transforming much of the old Anco wiper blade factory site into a new bus depot and parking lot.

A food pantry established at a Cedar Lake church almost three decades ago is now part of the entire south Lake County area. 

Project Love Food Pantry is part of the United Methodist Church's local mission of service.  Pastor Ken Puent was on "Regionally Speaking" on Wednesday to talk about the facility, who it serves and with what items and how it's grown so quickly.  That growth is, in large part, because the local economy's shrunken.

Today:  Cedar Lake United Methodist Church pastor Ken Puent joins us to talk about the Project Love Food Pantry, a 28-year-old operation that has grown over the years -- in part, because the northwest Indiana economy's worsened with factory layoffs and the like -- into a food pantry that now serves the entire south half of Lake County.

Governor's Office

Indiana's new Governor, Eric Holcomb, held his first news conference last week -- one month after being sworn into office.   Andy Downs of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics joined us on "Regionally Speaking" on Tuesday to talk about that first official meeting with the media. 

Gary-Chicago International Airport

Northwest Indiana community activist Ruth Needleman and a group of citizens attended Monday night's Gary-Chicago International Airport Authority's first public workshop on the Master Plan Update. She joined us on "Regionally Speaking" on Tuesday to talk about issues were brought up that weren't related to the Master Plan -- but affect the Airport and the community at large. 

IU Northwest

Today:  Northwest Indiana community activist Ruth Needleman and a group of citizens attended Monday night's Gary-Chicago International Airport Authority's first public workshop on the Master Plan Update. She joined us to talk about what issues were brought up that weren't related to the Master Plan -- but affect the Airport and the community at large.  Ruth also talked about efforts underway at the Statehouse to force Lake County precinct changes, even though the County Election Board promised lawmakers that they'd make the changes themselves.

Gary-Chicago International Airport

The Gary-Chicago International Airport is planning for the future -- at least, the next ten years or so -- and the first of a series of public workshops will be held tonight (Monday, Feb 13) at 6:00 p.m. at the Airport Terminal offices for a presentation of the work done so far on a Master Plan Update.

The chairman of the Airport Authority, Stephen Mays, was on "Regionally Speaking" on Monday to talk about the need for a Master Plan Update, the company conducting the workshops and the impact that an updated plan will have on northwest Indiana.  Here's the conversation.

Indiana Economic Digest

Today:   The Indiana Gaming Commission says monthly revenue at Indiana casinos decreased in January.  "Indiana Gaming Insight" newsletter editor Ed Feigenbaum takes a look at why the northwest Indiana casinos didn't bring in as much. He also talks about a bill sponsored by State Rep. Todd Huston that -- if it passes and enacted into law -- would amend current law to eliminate the $3 floor admission tax.  That will mean a big hit in casino revenues to local governments.

Lakeshore Public Media

Today:  Mark Swiderski, Lake County's E-911 Director, joins us to talk about a new tool that his department is offering police and fire departments to give them more information about the kinds of calls their crews handle, based on the information that dispatchers receive.  He also tells us about the number of calls taken in 2016 -- you'll be surprised to learn how many.  He also says their new reporting software says their busiest hours last year were: 9 p.m., 10 p.m. and 11 p.m. on the Fourth of July.

Mark Hurt campaign

Today:  A conversation with central Indiana attorney and former Dan Coats aide Mark Hurt, who is -- for now -- the only Republican running for the U.S. Senate seat currently held by Joe Donnelly.  Hurt announced his candidacy last week. He stopped by northwest Indiana today.  I talked with him one-on-one and then sat in on a question-and-answer session that Hurt held with Marc Chase, Bill Dolan and Doug Ross of The Times of Northwest Indiana.  

My Fearless

A bill introduced by State Rep. Michael Aylesworth (R-11), who represents portions of Lake and Porter Counties, will come up for a House Environment Committee hearing on Wednesday in Indianapolis.

His measure would, if passed and enacted into law, eliminate some important state permit requirements for CAFOs in Indiana -- also known as "factory farms."  The Hoosier Environmental Council is concerned about the impact of these permit changes on Hoosiers who live near the facilities.

Joshua Claybourn - Vimeo

Today:  Josh Claybourn, an Indiana attorney, Republican and contributor to Howey Politics Indiana joins us to talk about his recent commentary about the first weeks of the Trump administration and its impact on the GOP.  He called it "a great fork in the road."


Today:   A conversation with Tami Silverman, the President and CEO of the Indiana Youth Institute, on the  "op - ed" pieces that the IYI is encouraging Indiana media to run, to ask Hoosier legislators to support more pre-kindergarten programs.  It's one of the topics that is on the 2017 General Assembly agenda.

In the past week -- the chaotic implementation of a travel ban barring people from 7 majority-Muslim nations from entering the U.S. and a deadly attack on Muslims at prayer in Canada.  There have been demonstrations of support in Canada - complete with placards and signs --  but shadows remain in that country and in Victoria, Texas, a mosque was burned to the ground.

Knight Foundation

The John S. and James L. Knight Foundation is conducting its third annual Knight Cities Challenge, a national call for ideas to make the 26 communities in which Knight invests become more vibrant places to live and work.  One of them is the city of Gary, where the Knight brothers owned and published the Post-Tribune.