Local News

Senate Rejects Amendment To Sunday Sales Bill

Jan 18, 2018

The Indiana Senate soundly rejected Thursday a change to legislation that legalizes Sunday alcohol carryout sales.

The bill eliminates the ban on Sunday sales but would only allow alcohol carryout on the seventh day between 12 p.m. and 8 p.m. Sen. Karen Tallian’s (D-Portage) proposed amendment would remove that restriction and make Sunday sales like every other day – 7 a.m. to 3 a.m.

Lakeshore Public Media

Today:  On this Reporters Roundtable we bring in "Times of Northwest Indiana" reporters Bill Dolan and Carmen McCollum and, for his initial visit, "Inside Indiana Business" senior writer-reporter Dan McGowan.  They talk about the stories they worked on that appear online on the internet and, in Bill's and Carmen's instances, in print.

NPR

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indianapolis has made Amazon’s list of 20 remaining options for the online retail giant’s second headquarters, while the city of Gary’s long-shot bid didn’t make the cut.

Seattle-based Amazon on Thursday named the cities it’s still considering for what the company says will be a $5 billion project that could employ as many as 50,000 people.

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) — An environmental group is suing U.S. Steel, alleging that one of the company's northwestern Indiana plants has repeatedly violated its wastewater permit with illegal discharges.

The federal lawsuit filed Wednesday in Hammond by the Chicago Chapter of the Surfrider Foundation contends that discharge violations are ongoing at U.S. Steel's Portage plant and include an April 2017 spill of a potentially carcinogenic chemical.

Nearly 300 pounds of hexavalent chromium entered a Lake Michigan tributary in that incident.

Eventbrite / Calumet Artist Residency

GARY - The Calumet Artist Residency is taking on a mission to let people know that the city of Gary is rich with nature.  The organization's year-long project this year focuses on nature.  The Miller-based arts nonprofit's year-long Nature Project is to remind people of the woods, lagoons and lakes, prairie and plants that can be found in Gary.  Calumet Artist Residency Secretary Sam Love says there are numerous nature areas in the city that people don't even realize exist.

A House committee heard testimony on a bill Wednesday that would help the state identify schools facing financial problems, but the bill has already been met with criticism. Both Gary and Muncie Schools were taken over by the state last year after their finances reached crisis levels.

NUVO Magazine, Indianapolis

Today:   Hoosier Environmental Council executive director Jesse Kharbanda joins us to talk about the HEC's 2018 General Assembly policy priorities -- one of which isn't usually considered an environmental issue.  More information about them all is on the HEC website.

Carl Lisek of South Shore Clean Cities has the first episode of "Green Fleet Radio," a regular Wednesday feature on "Regionally Speaking."  He talks today with two Indiana Department of Environmental Management staffers:  Shawn Beals, the senior environmental manager and his colleague Ryan Clem.

Democrat Harper Announces Bid For Secretary Of State

Jan 17, 2018

Indiana Democrats have their first declared candidate for Secretary of State.

Valparaiso attorney Jim Harper announced Wednesday his bid to unseat incumbent Republican Connie Lawson this fall.

In his announcement video, Harper says he wants to promote small businesses, help protect investors against fraud, and advocate for election reforms.

“Like expanded early voting, same-day registration, and an end to political gerrymandering,” he says.

IN.gov / IN.gov

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Northwest Indiana has had lake effect snow developing throughout the day on Tuesday.  Mike Bardou, Meteorologist at the National Weather Service office in Romeoville, says Tuesday morning the lake effect snow was on the western shore of the lake and it moved through Lake County in the afternoon hours then by around the 3:30 the system was focused on Porter County.  

"It'll be gradually progressing eastward and reaching areas to the east of Porter and LaPorte, some parts of Stark and Berien County, Michigan as we go into the evening hours," Bardou says.

A new state report shows the number of students who transfer in or out of the school corporation boundary they reside in to attend other districts, charter schools or private schools.

The Public Corporation Transfer Report was created by a 2017 state law. The intent is to offer a better understanding of the mobility of students living within a school corporation’s boundary, according to the Indiana Department of Education who compiled and released it.

Congressman Peter Visclosky's office

Today:   We revisit our conversation about the South Shore Leadership Center's upcoming "Vision Project" delving into northwest Indiana issues and ways to deal with them.  The "Project's" task this time is on tourism.  Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson reports on gasoline prices and why they're so high this year compared to 2017. 

GasBuddy / GasBuddy

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Average retail gasoline prices in Gary have risen just over three cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.57/g Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 314 gas outlets in Northwest Indiana. This compares with the national average that has increased almost 4 cents per gallon in the last week to $2.52/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy.com says this winter's prices have been different from past winters.

Lake County government

Today:  We bring you at-length conversations with Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. about the Sheriff's Department itself and the efforts to fight cross-border crime and the  opioid epidemic... and with Joan Machucua, an Ogden Dunes resident who is helping organize northwest Indiana residents to attend the upcoming Womens March Chicago.  She talked recently with Lakeshore Public Radio's Sharon Jackson.

Womens' March Chicago / Facebook

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Northwest Indiana will once again have a presence at this year's Women's March Chicago. Ogden Dunes resident Joan Machuca, who is a retired Director of Special Education turned activist, is helping organize Northwest Indiana Women for the event at which about 400,000 people are expected.  It's at 11 a.m. Saturday, January 20th at Grant Park in Chicago. Lakeshore Public Radio Show Host/Reporter Sharon Jackson spoke to Machuca about this year's March, last year's March and her organization efforts in Northwest Indiana.

 

IDOE Releases 2017 Graduation Rate Data

Jan 12, 2018

The Department of Education released 2017 graduation rate data Friday.

The department reports the statewide graduation rate landed around 87 percent – two points lower than in 2016.

IndyStar.com

Today:  On this Reporters Roundtable, we bring in northwest Indiana public radio reporter Michael Puente, "Post-Tribune" reporter Meredith Colias-Pete and Jon Gard, who covers LaPorte County events for the LaPorte "Herald-Argus" and the Michigan City "News Dispatch."  They're talking about the stories they covered online as well as in print and, in Michael's instance, his stories aired on Lakeshore Public Radio.

Indiana State Police / Indiana State Police

GARY- A portion of 80/94 was closed for about five hours Wednesday morning into the afternoon.  That was due to downed power lines.  Indiana State Police Department Public Information Officer Sergeant Ann Wojas says the interstate was closed from about 8:25 Wednesday morning until just after 1:15 p.m.

NIPSCO crews removed the power lines that were laying across the entire interstate and will return later this evening to replace the compromised power pole.  It is not expected that traffic on I-80/94 in either direction will be affected by this replacement.
 

Our Time Press website

 The annual observance of the tradition of honoring the life and work of Martin Luther King Jr. is taking place at universities around northwest Indiana – Valparaiso University's 28th annual observance is coming up on January 15th. Let's find out more from Byron Martin, the director of multicultural programs at VU. and Professor Heath Carter, the co-chairman of this year's committee.  Here is the conversation.

Darron Cummings, The Associated Press

Today:  Andy Downs of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at I.U.-Purdue Fort Wayne offers an analysis of Tuesday night's "State of the State" address from Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb.  The Governor made his comments before a joint session of the Indiana House and Senate at the Statehouse.

qz.com

NORTHWEST INDIANA - Northwest Indiana women will soon have an opportunity to have their voices heard at the upcoming Women's March Chicago. The event is January 20th in Grant Park at East Congress Parkway and Columbus Drive.  Ogden Dunes resident Joan Machuca, who is a retired Director of Special Education turned activist, is helping organize Northwest Indiana Women for the event.  She also helped organize Region women last year for the event in which women wore pink hats to stand up for womens' rights.  

Bloomington Herald-Times

Today:  Noted Indiana economist, speaker and writer Morton Marcus joins us once again to review the topics he brings up in his recent "Eye on the Pie" columns printed across the state on economic issues, including the state's workforce.

We revisit our conversation with Purdue University engineering graduate and inventor Ryan Frederickson, who came up with a different way to keep an opened bottle of wine fresh for months after the user first opens it.  It's called "ART Wine Refresher."

Lawmakers will consider legislation this session, that would create a type of early warning system to to help identify schools facing significant financial problems.

The state took over Gary and Muncie Community Schools last year after their finances reached crisis levels. Now, Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Gary) has filed legislation to prevent more major state takeovers by catching financial problems early. He says it’s a way the state could step in to help before it’s too late.

NORTHWEST INDIANA -  Average retail gasoline prices in Northwest Indiana have risen just under 7 cents per gallon in the past week, averaging $2.55/g Sunday, according to GasBuddy's daily survey of 314 gas outlets in the Region. This compares with the national average that has increased almost half a cent per gallon in the last week to $2.48/g, according to gasoline price website GasBuddy.com.

Patrick DeHaan, head of petroleum analysis for GasBuddy says the extreme cold weather, that exposed refineries to the elements, is to blame for the price hike.  

All Hoosier voters could cast absentee ballots by mail without any excuse under legislation advanced Monday by a Senate panel.

Under current law, a voter must provide a reason they’re voting absentee by mail – for instance, they’ll be out of town on Election Day. The bill from Sen. Frank Mrvan (D-Hammond) would eliminate that requirement – anyone could vote absentee by mail.

Bills Would Allow In-State Tuition For Undocumented Students

Jan 5, 2018

Two bills filed in the Indiana General Assembly would give different ways for immigrants who graduate from an Indiana high school to be eligible for in-state tuition.

Since 2011 Indiana makes immigrant students who cannot prove state residency pay the more expensive out-of-state tuition rate. It is one of three states with this requirement.

Sen. Mark Stoops (D-Bloomington) says Senate Bill 319 would help with a priority of the Republican supermajority: to better prepare students for jobs.

While Indiana’s health ranking ticked up on a recent annual report, health leaders say there’s more work to be done. A new data tool that highlights specific issues may provide some insight into focus areas. The tool from the Alliance for a Healthier Indiana breaks down top health priorities by county.

Transportation committee leaders in the Indiana General Assembly say their work isn’t done after last session’s landmark road funding bill.

Today:  On this Reporters Roundtable edition, we check with three northwest Indiana newspaper reporters to give us stories as featured in print and online.  This week, we have "Times of Northwest Indiana" Statehouse reporter Dan Carden and business reporter Joseph Pete, and -- from the "Post-Tribune" -- Carole Carlson joins us to talk about some of her stories.

GNIAR / Realtors website

Today:  We talk with Crown Point Realtor Clarence Webb for his view on how northwest Indiana home sales went in 2017 and a look at 2018.  We also talk with Denise Rodriguez with NIPSCO about the utility's payment programs -- including the Low Income Heating Assistance Program -- and how they can help customers pay their winter heating bills and "keep the heat on" on the colest days.

Plunkett Raysich Architects

Today:  The city of Portage's veterans committee holds its first 2018 meeting on Wednesday and, to go along with that, we bring back our conversation with Marc Magill, of the Jesse Brown VA Medical Center in Chicago.  He is also responsible for the operations at the VA outpatient clinics in Crown Point and other regional communities.  Marc is conducting regularly quarterly "town halls" to learn from veterans their concerns about healthcare.

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