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Now that the Kankakee River is a designated Water Trail, the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association is looking to continue to offer educational opportunities and to further brand the Kankakee River as a National Water Trail.   Dan Plath is the Chief of Resource Management for the Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore and the former President of the Northwest Indiana Paddling Association.  He says the National Water Trail designation could offer great benefits to the Region.

Lakeshore Public Media

Today:  It's another Reporters' Round Table discussion of the big news stories of the week here in northwest Indiana.

Times of Northwest Indiana health and healthcare business reporter Giles Bruce, Post-Tribune reporters Carole Carlson and Carrie Napoleon and Indiana Public Broadcasting Stations education reporter Claire Mcinerny join us to talk about the stories and issues.

Another day, another water drive in East Chicago. The crisis is moving people from all over Northwest Indiana to come to the aid of residents in the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago. Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore has the story.
 

EAST CHICAGO--A program that has enough funding to plant over 3,000 trees throughout Northwest Indiana kicked off Wednesday morning in a popular park in East Chicago. Volunteers gathered in Washington Park from 10 a.m. until noon with a goal of planting 50 trees as part of the CommuniTree Program.  Mayor Anthony Copeland said in a press release:

Wikipedia

Today:  a conversation by "Living On Earth" host Steve Curwood with environmental journalist Dan Egan, on his new book that looks at the death -- and life -- of the Great Lakes.

Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura talks about his marketing campaign for the new Mascot Hall of Fame, now under construction, and other projects in the city -- and he offers an update about major lakefront economic development.

Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction

Valparaiso-based Porter County Recycling & Waste Reduction will help Porter County residents with their spring cleaning by providing a collection event that will accept old tires and household hazardous waste. Restrictions or fees may apply.

Unlike the first collection of each year in previous years, electronics and appliances will not be accepted, as there are other readily available options to recycle those items.

Becky Malewitz / South Bend Tribune via AP

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — A trash fire burning in a northern Indiana landfill sent a huge plume of smoke into the sky and prompted warnings for nearby residents to stay indoors.

Authorities say the fire at the Earthmovers Landfill just south of Elkhart was reported about 3:45 a.m. Wednesday. Crews were working to smother the flames, but fire continued burning several hours later.

Annie Ropeik, IPBS

U. S. Senator Joe Donnelly gave Lakeshore Public Radio an update on several big issues here in northwest Indiana, the Hoosier State and on Capitol Hill in a Wednesday-morning conversation that airs today on "Regionally Speaking."

Donnelly began his comments with his latest efforts to get the head of the Department of Housing and Urban Development to tour East Chicago's lead-tainted neighborhoods.

Resident's in the Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago  deal with life using water filters and bottled water. Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore talks to residents to see what life is like now in this new normal...

NWI Times

The Indiana Gaming Commission issued its March revenue report from the Hoosier State's casinos and analyst Ed Feigenbaum came on "Regionally Speaking" to talk about how the northwest Indiana riverboats did -- as well as about gaming-related legislation that came up during the 2017 General Assembly session. 

Ed also talked about other bills and issues that were debated and passed by lawmakers this past session.  Here's the conversation, aired on Tuesday.

Brandon Smith, IPBS News

Today:  A conversation with Ed Feigenbaum, the creator and editor of the Indiana Gaming Insight and Indiana Legislative Insight newsletters,  about the March 2017 revenue report from the northwest Indiana casinos, the impact of outside forces on the riverboats -- and Ed's review of some of the big bills from the just-ended 2017 General Assembly session.

WalletHub analyst Jill Gonzalez joins us with some good news for the city of Gary -- a recent survey from the website shows that Gary mortgage holders are the third least over-leveraged in the country.

Money SmartWeek.org

Every spring, thousands of banks and other financial institutions join in a nation-wide financial education effort called “Money Smart Week.” It began 15 years ago in a meeting at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago... and Doug Tillett was in the room for that first meeting and all of the others that've followed.  Doug came on "Regionally Speaking" on Tuesday to talk about how the project began and grew from a Midwest idea to across the country.

Shovels pierced the dirt to commemorate the start of a mitigation project that has been years in the making in Hobart, with a goal of ultimately restoring nearly 350 acres of various native wooded and wetland habitat types.  

Rep. Pete Visclosky says the project will improve the environment and the overall economy of the area.

"Two often we look at places such as this as a dumpsite in Northwest Indiana," said Visclosky.  "I'm convinced that what you have done today is change that.

Sr. Joseph's College

Today:  A group of St. Joseph's College faculty are suing the Catholic-affiliated college in Rensselaer for how the college is handling the suspension of operations and their employment status.  One of the faculty members talks about the group's frustration over not knowing when their employment will officially end and if they'll get any severance-related benefits or help in finding new jobs.

John Cain, host of "Eye on the Arts," talks with Mark Baer, Associate Professor of Acting and Directing at Indiana University Northwest, about IUN's upcoming 10 minute play festival, taking place April 28th and 29th at Theatre Northwest.

Purdue University Northwest

Purdue University Northwest officials say it took nearly 15 years of planning, persistence and efforts to get some vital legislative support... but lawmakers finally approved construction of a new instructional facility at Purdue University Northwest’s Hammond Campus.

The General Assembly early Saturday morning allocated $35.1 million for construction of the Bioscience Innovation Building on the Hammond Campus.  It will house state-of-the-art instructional and research facilities for nursing, biological sciences and STEM education.

City of Whiting

Whiting city officials are working on a nationwide marketing approach to its Mascot Hall of Fame, now under construction.  I went to Mayor Joe Stahura's office to get the latest on the project and others underway in his city.  Here's the conversation, which airs on "Regionally Speaking" on Wednesday, April 26th.

Governor Signs Bill Expanding Lead Testing In East Chicago

Apr 20, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed legislation Thursday designating parts of East Chicago, Indiana, as “areas of special concern.”

The bill indefinitely extends parts of Holcomb’s emergency declaration to expand lead testing in the city’s soil and water.

Environmental Activists take a wait and see approach to promises of help from the Environmental Protection Agency. EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt made a visit to East Chicago this week, as Lakeshore Public Radio's Steven Lattimore reports...

Supermarket News

Today: It is Reporters' Round Table day on "Regionally Speaking," as we call on local reporters who worked on some of the major stories of the week to review and talk about them. 

Highland based grocer Strack & Van Til announced Tuesday it will sell off 22 of its stores and close nine under performing stores immediately.  Strack's parent company Central Grocers Inc. is working with a legal team and financial advisors toward implementing a sale of Strack and Van Till stores, which will continue to operate as normal until a sale is official. Two of the 9 stores closing immediately are based in Indiana, the Gary Ultra and the Merrill Point Ultra in Merrillville, the rest of the seven stores are based in Illinois.

Howey Politics Indiana

Today:   Howey Politics Indiana editor-publisher Brian Howey joins us to talk about some of the topics in his recent newsletter columns, as well as his views on the final days of the 2017 General Assembly session.

 

Cyberbullying is the topic of a recent "CounterPoint with Garrard McClendon" television conversation.  His guests were Cathie Bledsoe of the Indiana State Police, Northwest Indiana Times editor Bob Heisse and School Town of Highland Superintendent Brian Smith.

 

Indiana Town Considers Water Utility Sale

Apr 18, 2017

 

Lake Station, Indiana, is treading water.

“We have no money whatsoever in this city,” says Bill Carrol, who manages the Ace Hardware in town.

Lake Station’s operating budget is $2 million overdrawn. Because of the city’s debt, the state is forcing budget cuts. So, Lake Station is considering selling its drinking water utility to a private company, Indiana American Water.

Today:   A conversation with Indiana economist, writer and public speaker Morton Marcus on how the Indiana Economic Development Corp. shouldn't have offered state funds to two businesses to relocate jobs inside a county, a move that won't affect the overall state economy -- and how local and state decisions can be affected by proposed Trump administration budget cuts. 

A recent "Byline" report from the Times of Northwest Indiana looks at a Gary city government commission that focuses on crime fighting and crime prevention in the Steel City. 

Monique French speaks at a rally to raise the tobacco tax in Indiana.
(Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

In the last few hours of the legislative session, as lawmakers work out the final details of the budget, the proposed cigarette tax increase faces its last chance to pass.

Sharon Jackson / Lakeshore Public Media

March until June is nesting season for Canada geese, and that can become a problem for Hoosier property owners.  During nesting season these geese are especially aggressive, sometimes attacking and nipping at people to protect their nests.  But you can get a permit in Indiana to destroy their eggs, nests and even kill the adults.

Valparaiso Church Recieves a "Golden" Donation

Apr 17, 2017
coins.ha.com

A gold coin donated to a northwestern Indiana church is so rare it's helping pay for construction of a new church building. Pastor Ben Lamb Says Grace Point Church was founded in 2009 with a bare bones budget and operated out of an elementary school.  As the Church grew, the congregation came together and raised enough money to purchase a building. However, with general maintenance and renovations figured into the cost, the church was still short $300,000.

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