Annie Ropeik

IPBS Economy Reporter

Annie Ropeik is the economy and business reporter for the Indiana Public Broadcasting network, based at WBAA. She’s covered farming, fisheries and other industries at public radio stations from Massachusetts and Delaware to Alaska’s Aleutian Islands, and earned accolades from the Alaska and Delaware Press Clubs for her reporting on rural business issues. Originally from Silver Spring, Md., Annie has a Hoosier mother and a degree in classics from Boston University. She also performs a mean car concert, boasts a worryingly encyclopedic knowledge of One Direction lyrics and is a Hufflepuff.

In East Chicago, Indiana, federal officials have approved a plan to allow involuntary relocation of families who remain in lead-contaminated public housing beginning on April 1.

These would be considered “emergency transfers” to units that have been inspected for lead in East Chicago and, in Illinois, Cook County and Chicago. Families would stay in these units while they kept looking for permanent housing, still using the same rent vouchers and other HUD-provided counseling and resources.

Wednesday, March 1, is the deadline for residents of a lead-contaminated East Chicago, Indiana, housing complex to renew their federal housing vouchers.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD, gave out the Section 8 vouchers late last year to help residents find new homes.

As of this month, HUD says 106 families still live in West Calumet Housing Complex, and 91 of those have not yet found a new place to live – including Keesha Daniels and her sons.

 

Indiana House lawmakers passed a bill Monday requiring doctors to inform women their drug-induced abortions could be reversed – and also to say there’s no scientific study to support that claim.

The vote for the measure, authored by Rep. Ron Bacon (R-Boonville), came over bipartisan opposition.

 

A lead-contaminated public housing complex in East Chicago, Indiana could soon become a lead-contaminated vacant lot – and if local and federal officials can’t resolve a key dispute, it might stay that way for a long time.

That’s because the city and Environmental Protection Agency are at odds over redevelopment plans for the neighborhood.

A new report from the Indiana Commission for Higher Education says a rising number of people are getting educational certificates from two-year Indiana colleges, which may help fill the state’s open manufacturing jobs.

The CHE report focuses on credit-bearing certificates – the kind college students can earn in less than one or two years, from programs that “commonly have a career or occupational focus.”

In Indiana, CHE found a 32 percent increase in production of these certificates since 2012, mostly from two-year public schools like Ivy Tech Community College.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb will visit East Chicago on Friday to discuss his disaster declaration for the city’s ongoing lead contamination crisis.

Meanwhile, lawyers for residents being displaced by the contamination say the order doesn’t properly address the biggest concerns.

In Indiana, Vice President Pence's hometown has one of the top concentrations of skilled immigrant workers in the country. In Columbus, Ind., manufacturers and residents depend on open borders to move both products and people, but continued uncertainty over the Trump administration's immigration policies is leading to some anxiety there.

An Indiana House committee approved a bill Wednesday that tweaks the permitting process for big livestock farms – despite some public confusion and concerns about the impact of the changes.

The bill, from Rep. David Wolkins (R-Wabash), streamlines the permitting process for confined feeding operations (CFOs) and their larger counterparts, concentrated animal feeding operations (CAFOs).

Gov. Eric Holcomb is declaring a disaster in a lead-contaminated neighborhood of East Chicago, Indiana. The order, announced Thursday, fulfills a request that former Gov. Mike Pence denied before he left office.

In the declaration, Holcomb says he’ll ask for federal assistance to relocate residents still living in the affected area. And those families say they need all the assistance they can get.

The 30-day emergency declaration spans the city’s 322-acre Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site, which includes the Calumet neighborhood and around 3,000 residents.

A new report says some Indiana cities could be among the most impacted in the country by a potential trade war.

The Brookings Institution says Columbus is just more than 50 percent dependent on exports – more than any other metro area in the country. Elkhart, Kokomo and Lafayette are also in the top 10.

Pages