WBEZ | Karen Freeman-Wilson http://www.wbez.org/tags/karen-freeman-wilson Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en Chicago grad students aid struggling steel town http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-grad-students-aid-struggling-steel-town-107452 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gary 1.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Sarah Taylor is a senior citizen living in Marshalltown, a neighborhood on the east side of Gary, Indiana.</p><p>There are abandoned homes and crime tends to be a problem, but Taylor and a few dedicated residents are trying to make things better.</p><p>&ldquo;We just go down our street and clean it up. It can be a garbage can or some debris. Usually it&rsquo;s just 4 or 5 of us, all women. All old women,&rdquo; Taylor said Thursday.</p><p>But now Taylor is hoping reinforcements in the form of young college students can help pick up the slack.</p><p>Taylor was on hand for a press conference at Gary City Hall to highlight the Marshalltown Neighborhood Revitalization Project.</p><p>Over the last several weeks, a handful of students have been meeting and talking with residents in Marshalltown. This weekend, they will arrive in the neighborhood again for a community-wide clean-up effort and begin cataloguing abandoned homes.</p><p>&ldquo;Today&rsquo;s project launch represents the fruit of the students&rsquo; labor and it&rsquo;s only the beginning,&rdquo; Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson said.</p><p>The effort began last fall when Freeman-Wilson spoke at the University of Chicago&rsquo;s Harris School of Public Policy, where former Chicago Mayor Richard M. Daley teaches. Following that, Daley initiated a project that involves several graduate students to assist Gary with developing ways to improve communication between residents and the city.</p><p>Program director Carol Brown says the project will give students real work experience.</p><p>&ldquo;While at the same time, we&rsquo;re bringing the resources of the university to benefit the city of Gary,&rdquo; Brown said. &ldquo;This project was a priority for Mayor Daley because he feels very strongly about the power of residents and government working together to solve problems.&rdquo;</p><p>Daley may have a soft spot for Gary, since his grandfather worked on portions of Gary City Hall in the 1920s.</p><p>Brown said the Marshalltown project is actually a pilot program. If it proves successful, it will be duplicated in other Gary neighborhoods. Graduate student Michael Crowley echoed that sentiment and said their project isn&rsquo;t a one-day effort.</p><p>&ldquo;The work will continue throughout the month of June and beyond,&rdquo; Crowley said. &ldquo;City staff and residents will work together to maintain and actually build off the work that we started.&rdquo;</p><p><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana bureau reporter. Follow him&nbsp;<a href="http://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews" target="_blank">@MikePuenteNews</a></em></p></p> Fri, 31 May 2013 08:52:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/culture/chicago-grad-students-aid-struggling-steel-town-107452 Gary Airport loses only passenger airline http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-airport-loses-only-passenger-airline-107402 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/main-images/Gary Airport_130528_MP.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The only passenger airline flying out of Gary, Indiana will end service this summer.&nbsp;</p><div>Allegiant Airline starting flying out of the Gary-Chicago International Airport 15 months ago to much fanfare.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson was on hand to see the first flight take off, along with a host of other local politicians and dignitaries.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The contract with Allegiant was seen as a sign that the Gary airport could be a serious player in the sweepstakes to become the Chicago area&rsquo;s third major airport. But now, the Las Vegas-based airline says it will stop its twice-a-week route to Orlando, Florida by August 10th.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Allegiant informed the airport in a letter earlier this month. In a statement, the airline cited a lack of strong demand for the flights.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The airline will end its run by offering $70 one-way tickets to Sanford, Florida, outside of Orlando, beginning in June. Allegiant Air says it&rsquo;s open to flying out of Gary again in the future, but as of now, the service doesn&rsquo;t meet its revenue model.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Allegiant Air joins a growing list of airlines that have come and gone at the Gary airport. Other notable failures were a re-booted Pan Am Airlines, and the notorious Hooters Airline which both ended flights around a decade ago.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The difference being that not long after ending passenger service from Gary, those airlines ceased operations entirely. That&rsquo;s not likely to be the case for Allegiant Air, which still flies to a number of destinations.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Gary airport authority board chair Nathaniel Williams says the ending of the service had more to do with Allegiant Air than with Gary.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;They have a history of doing this in other cities,&rdquo; Williams said Tuesday morning at the board&rsquo;s regular meeting. &ldquo;We offered them great service here.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Williams says for now they want to concentrate on completing a multimillion dollar upgrade before year&rsquo;s end -- or risk losing FAA funding for it.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;Our initial project is to try to extend that runway,&rdquo; Williams told WBEZ. &ldquo;So, what we&rsquo;re trying to do is get underway with it and make sure that&rsquo;s solid before we start our business development.&rdquo;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Williams says once the effort to extend its main runway is complete, he&rsquo;s confident the airport will be able to attract larger passenger jets and airlines. But Williams admits the effort to persuade several railroad companies to move rail tracks that are in the way of the new runway has been difficult.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;We just have a little snag in the road right now,&rdquo; Williams said.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The airport will also soon seek proposals to take the airport private. Board member David Bochnowski, who is a well known bank president in Northwest Indiana, says inquiries have been strong.&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&ldquo;I believe a public-private partnership makes sense but we&rsquo;re going to let the market tell us,&rdquo; Bochnowski said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;ve had interest come as far away as London.&rdquo;&nbsp;</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Corporate and private charter jet service continues at the airport.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div><em>Michael Puente is WBEZ&rsquo;s Northwest Indiana Bureau reporter. Follow him on Twitter at <a href="https://twitter.com/MikePuenteNews">@MikePuenteNews</a></em></div><div>&nbsp;</div></p> Tue, 28 May 2013 16:45:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/gary-airport-loses-only-passenger-airline-107402 Gary's new mayor makes history--and plans to revitalize the city http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/garys-new-mayor-makes-history-and-plans-revitalize-city-94417 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/segment/photo/2011-November/2011-11-29/Democrat Karen Freeman-Wilson is greeted by a shopper at Fresh County Market in Gary, Ind. as she campaigns on election day Tuesday Nov. 8, 2011. (AP PhotoSun-Times Media, Stephanie Dowell).jpg" alt="" /><p><p><a href="http://karenaboutgary.com/Advisory-Task-Force/index.html" target="_blank">Karen Freeman-Wilson</a> won the race for mayor of Gary, Indiana back in November; in the process, she made history. Freeman-Wilson is the state’s first African-American female mayor and Gary’s first female mayor.</p><p>Freeman-Wilson was born and raised in Gary and attended <a href="http://www.law.harvard.edu/index.html" target="_blank">Harvard Law School</a>. Her hometown faces big struggles, from high unemployment to chronic crime, but Freeman-Wilson said she has a plan: It is called Blueprint for Rebuilding Gary.</p><p>Her ambitions include bringing new business to the area, creating jobs and improving the city’s infrastructure. However, her biggest challenge will be getting citizens to have hope in their city.</p><p>Mayor-elect Freeman-Wilson joined <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em> to talk about what she hoped to accomplish and how she planned to do it. She will officially be sworn into office on Dec. 31.</p><p><em>Music Button: Louis Armstrong and the All Stars, "Back Home Again In Indiana", from the album The California Concerts, (Decca)</em></p><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Tue, 29 Nov 2011 15:30:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-11-29/garys-new-mayor-makes-history-and-plans-revitalize-city-94417 Gary’s mayor-elect wants a new police chief http://www.wbez.org/story/gary%E2%80%99s-mayor-elect-wants-new-police-chief-94123 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-November/2011-11-16/KFW.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>The mayor elect in Gary, Indiana plans to look far and wide for a new police chief in a city where crime is a big concern.</p><p>Democrat Karen Freeman Wilson easily won the general election last week. She says she wants to have a new police chief in place soon after she takes office January 1st.</p><p>She plans to place ads in trade publications in her national search. Under current Gary Mayor Rudy Clay, the police department is now under its ninth chief since he took office five years ago. Freeman-Wilson says she doesn’t think putting in yet another chief will upset the rank and file.</p><p>“That is a cause for some concern but we believe if there is yet another change that we would be able to transition that person in a while that it would work well for both the citizens as well as the police personnel,” Freeman-Wilson said at a Wednesday news conference.</p><p>The salary for the new chief will be limited, given the city’s budget crunch. Freeman-Wilson is tapping the expertise of Dennis Rittenmeyer to head her search committee.</p></p> Thu, 17 Nov 2011 04:12:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/gary%E2%80%99s-mayor-elect-wants-new-police-chief-94123 Roundup of Northwest Indiana primaries http://www.wbez.org/story/roundup-northwest-indiana-primaries-86036 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-04/Karen Freeman Wilson.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>The city of Gary, Indiana, could be a step closer to getting its first female mayor.</p><p>Karen Freeman-Wilson won Tuesday’s Democratic primary over eight other candidates, including Ragen Hatcher, the daughter of Gary’s first black mayor, Richard Hatcher, who won election in 1967. Freeman-Wilson, a graduate of Harvard Law School, would also become the first black female mayor in Indiana history if she wins the general election this November.</p><p>A former Indiana attorney general and one-time Gary City Court judge, Freeman-Wilson received the endorsement of Gary’s current mayor, Rudy Clay. Clay, 75, dropped out of the race in early April because he said he’s battling prostate cancer.</p><p>With nearly 20,000 votes cast, unofficial election results show Karen Freeman-Wilson securing nearly 58 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, Hatcher, a member of the Gary City Council, garnered nearly 35 percent.</p><p>In East Chicago, Mayor Anthony Copeland secured the Democratic nomination. Last fall, Copeland was selected to finish the term left by George Pabey, who resigned following his conviction in federal court. Ironically, Pabey, who rode into office in 2004 with ideas of cleaning up corruption, will be sentenced in U.S. District Court in Hammond on Thursday.</p><p>Copeland is the first African-American mayor in the history of East Chicago, a city that’s predominately Latino.<br> His main challenger was Councilman Richard Medina, a close friend of Pabey.</p><p>If history is any guide, Freeman-Wilson and Copeland have little to worry about in the fall; Republicans haven’t taken mayoral seats in either city in decades.</p><p>The same cannot be said for Hammond.</p><p>Incumbent Mayor Tom McDermott Jr. easily secured victory in the Democratic primary over three other challengers, including Oscar Sanchez, who finished a distant third. Sanchez had the backing of former Lake County, Indiana Sheriff Roy Dominguez.</p><p>But McDermott may not want to put his campaign check book away just yet. He’ll face Republican challenger George Janiec in the general election in the fall. Four years ago, Janiec and McDermott went head to head in a protracted campaign. Janiec lost that contest by a mere 500 votes.</p><p>In this election cycle, Janiec faced an obstacle even before getting to the primary. For the last two months, he fought to retain a place on the Republican primary ballot. The Lake County Election Board ruled in March that Janiec was ineligible to run for office because he sits on the Hammond School Board.</p><p>A Lake County judge agreed and ordered his name kept off the ballot, unless he resigns from the school board.<br> But the Indiana Supreme Court ruled less than two weeks ago that Janiec did not violate any state law that would keep him off the primary ballot.</p><p>Janiec promises a better-funded and more organized campaign this time around. Incumbent mayors in Portage, Crown Point and Lake Station also secured victories. Crown Point voters also approved a referendum that will increase property taxes to fund public schools.</p></p> Wed, 04 May 2011 05:08:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/roundup-northwest-indiana-primaries-86036 Crowded race for mayor of ‘Steel City’ http://www.wbez.org/story/crowded-race-mayor-%E2%80%98steel-city%E2%80%99-85869 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-29/gary.jpg" alt="" /><p><p style="text-align: center;"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><img alt="Seal of the City of Gary, Indiana" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-April/2011-04-29/Gary20Seal.jpg" style="width: 350px; height: 263px;" title="Seal of the City of Gary, Indiana"></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">What do a teacher, a Realtor, a member of Gary City Council and a former attorney general have in common? They are bumping shoulders in the Democratic primary for mayor of Gary, Indiana.</font></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">Early voting wraps up Monday in Northwest Indiana’s second-largest city. In-person precinct voting is 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, May 3.</font></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">As is often the case, the Democratic primary is crowded (nine candidates) compared to the GOP side (one candidate). Gary hasn’t elected a Republican mayor in nearly 60 years.</font></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">Balloting in the Democratic contest is complicated by the fact that one especially prominent person on the ballot—incumbent mayor Rudy Clay—has taken himself out of the running. On April 8, Clay ended his campaign for another four-year term due to treatment for prostate cancer.. Election officials say he dropped out too late for ballots to be reprinted. </font></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">Clay is endorsing Karen Freeman-Wilson, an attorney who once served as Gary City Court Judge and as Indiana’s attorney general.</font></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">The Democratic primary also features Gary City Council member Ragen Hatcher, who serves as board attorney for the Gary Community School Corporation.</font></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">Hatcher’s father, Richard Hatcher, served as mayor of Gary for 20 years. He gaine</font></font><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">d national recognition for becoming the first African-American to hold mayoral office in a major American city, when Gary had a population of more than 150,000.&nbsp; His election in 1967 was seen as a victory in the Civil Rights movement.</font></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">Whoever takes the mayoral seat will have to confront several challenges, including a declining population, shrinking property tax revenue and a tight budget. </font></font></p><p><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial"><font class="Apple-style-span" color="#000000" face="Arial">WBEZ’s Michael Puente secured interviews with each candidate in the contested Democratic primary.</font></font></p><p><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">(ballot order, minus Rudy Clay)</span><br> <br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Jeffery L. Tatum</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Police officer, Gary </span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/tatum.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Karen Freeman-Wilson</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Attorney</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Former Gary City Judge</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Former Indiana Attorney General</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/karen.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Robert L. Lewis</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Employee of carpentry firm</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/robert-lewis.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Saba S. Mohammed</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Realtor and tax preparer</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/saba.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Larry Evans</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Hardware store owner, Gary</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Employee, Indiana Department of Corrections</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/evans.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Richard Nash</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Owner of Lifesavers Training Center, Gary</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/richard-nash.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Harold Foster</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Teacher, West Side High School, Gary</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Former head of Gary Chamber of Commerce</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Former board member of the Gary Chicago International Airport</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/foster.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Ragen Hatcher</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Attorney</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Gary Community School Corporation, corporation counsel.</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Gary City Council, at-large member.</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/hatcher.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p><p><br> <strong><span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Lester L. (Chip) Lowe, Jr.</span></strong><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">Owner of liquor stores, Gary</span><br> <span style="font-size: 11pt; font-family: Arial; color: rgb(0, 0, 0); background-color: transparent; font-weight: normal; font-style: normal; text-decoration: none; vertical-align: baseline;">U.S. Marine veteran</span></p><p><audio class="mejs mediaelement-formatter-identified-1332483490-1" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/insert-image/2011-april/2011-04-29/chip-lowe.mp3">&nbsp;</audio></p></p> Fri, 29 Apr 2011 19:55:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/crowded-race-mayor-%E2%80%98steel-city%E2%80%99-85869 Gary awaits bailout decision http://www.wbez.org/story/distressed-unit-appeals-board/gary-awaits-bailout-decision-85107 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-13/Rudy20Clay.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Officials in Gary, Indiana are awaiting a decision from the state on whether it can avoid making painful cuts to its already bare-bones budget.</p><p>Indiana’s Distressed Unit Appeals Board (DUAB) will decide Wednesday whether to allow Gary to get around the state’s constitutionally required property tax caps, which stand at one percent for homeowners and two percent for businesses.</p><p>If it gets the exemption, the city could avoid cutting $11 million from its current budget of $41 million. If it doesn’t, Gary officials will likely have to make deeper cuts from public safety and other services. Just last fall, the city cut 30 firefighters due to a tight budget.</p><p>Gary Mayor Rudy Clay said he expects the DUAB to grant the city’s request for a lifeline.</p><p>“I’m extremely optimistic that they will approve our petition for tax relief but we take nothing for granted,” Clay said. “We still have a few butterflies but I’m optimistic.”</p><p>Clay made his statement at a press conference Tuesday, where he announced his endorsement of <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/gary/gary%E2%80%99s-mayor-backs-former-foe-85106">Karen Freeman-Wilson,</a> his one-time opponent in the Democratic mayoral primary. Clay recently dropped out of the race so he could concentrate on his personal health. He is currently fighting prostate cancer.</p><p>Both Freeman-Wilson and Clay plan to attend Wednesday’s meeting with the DUAB in Indianapolis. The DUAB has granted Gary property tax relief for the last two years. Clay said he expects similar support this year, because the city has cut millions from its budget over the past several budget cycles. He said he expects the board members to reward that effort.</p><p>“We’ve been sort of holding hands now for the last three years. I expect them to [approve] our petition for tax relief,” Clay said.</p><p>The tax caps have Gary particularly hard because its tax base has dwindled, mostly due to business disinvestment and continued population decline. U.S. Census figures suggest Gary lost approximately 20 percent of its residents during the last decade. A smaller population for Gary also means fewer federal tax dollars.</p><p>While Indiana’s property tax cap has reduced revenue for cities throughout the state, only Gary has asked the DUAB for state assistance. This is the third and final year Gary can ask for such help from the state from the DUAB, which disbands after this year.</p></p> Wed, 13 Apr 2011 01:04:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/distressed-unit-appeals-board/gary-awaits-bailout-decision-85107 Gary’s mayor backs former foe http://www.wbez.org/story/gary/gary%E2%80%99s-mayor-backs-former-foe-85106 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/story/photo/2011-April/2011-04-12/Karen Freeman-Wilson with Rudy Clay.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Rudy Clay beat Karen Freeman-Wilson for the Democratic nominee for mayor in Gary, Indiana, four years ago. But with Clay bowing out of this year’s contest because of his battle with prostate cancer, he’s now backing his former opponent.</p><p>Clay made his endorsement announcement at a Tuesday morning press conference at Freeman-Wilson campaign headquarters.</p><p>“I know her vision for the city. I know her qualifications to lead the city. And, I feel extremely comfortable that she would do that,” Clay said. ”In fact, one of the candidates said they didn’t want my support.”</p><p>Freeman-Wilson is now locked in an nine-way race for the Democratic nomination, with Gary City Councilwoman Ragen Hatcher being her principal opponent. Hatcher’s father served as mayor for more than a decade during 1970s and 1980s.&nbsp;A graduate of Harvard law school, Freeman-Wilson says she’s honored to have the current mayor’s backing.</p><p>“It shows that he’s a wise man. And it also shows that he wants what is best for the city,” Freeman-Wilson said. “It also shows that not withstanding the start of a hard-fought campaign, that people can really get beyond their differences, the criticisms of each others agenda. They can get beyond those actual issues and do what is best for the citizens. It was a good surprise.”</p><p>But Clay’s endorsement of Freeman, Indiana’s former attorney general, came as no surprise to Ragen Hatcher, an attorney with the Gary public school system. &nbsp;</p><p>“As we have said before, our campaign represents change and a new direction for Gary. Rudy Clay’s endorsement of Karen symbolizes the same old alignments between those who do not seek change to move Gary forward. The sign in [former Gary mayor] Scott King’s front yard for Karen is yet another signal that the old guard is trying to retake City Hall for its own purposes,” Hatcher said in a written statement. “If you liked the Clay administration and if you thought that Scott King was a good mayor, then Karen is your candidate.”</p><p>King served as mayor of Gary for more than a decade but stepped down in 2006 to seek work in the private sector.&nbsp;Freeman-Wilson didn’t take the swipe from Hatcher lightly.</p><p>“That statement shows a lack of maturity,” Freeman-Wilson said. “There is a lot to be gained from people who have gone before and we stand on the shoulders of many who have gone before. Our job is to take the baton and take it to a new and different level.”</p><p>Freeman-Wilson’s campaign also picked up the endorsements of five of Gary’s nine city council members, as well as Lake County prosecutor Bernard Carter, all of whom were present at Tuesday’s press conference.</p><p>Freeman-Wilson is set to have a fundraiser at Chicago’s Navy Pier on April 20.&nbsp;Early voting in the primary began last week. Traditional voting at polling sites is May 3.</p></p> Tue, 12 Apr 2011 22:29:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/gary/gary%E2%80%99s-mayor-backs-former-foe-85106 Gary mayoral race heats up http://www.wbez.org/story/gary-mayoral-race/gary-mayoral-race-heating <p><p><meta content="text/html; charset=utf-8" http-equiv="Content-Type"><meta content="Word.Document" name="ProgId"><meta content="Microsoft Word 11" name="Generator"><meta content="Microsoft Word 11" name="Originator"><link href="file:///C:\DOCUME~1\mpuente\LOCALS~1\Temp\msohtml1\01\clip_filelist.xml" rel="File-List" /><o:smarttagtype name="place" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="City" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><o:smarttagtype name="State" namespaceuri="urn:schemas-microsoft-com:office:smarttags"></o:smarttagtype><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:WordDocument> <w:View>Normal</w:View> <w:Zoom>0</w:Zoom> <w:PunctuationKerning /> <w:ValidateAgainstSchemas /> <w:SaveIfXMLInvalid>false</w:SaveIfXMLInvalid> <w:IgnoreMixedContent>false</w:IgnoreMixedContent> <w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText>false</w:AlwaysShowPlaceholderText> <w:Compatibility> <w:BreakWrappedTables /> <w:SnapToGridInCell /> <w:WrapTextWithPunct /> <w:UseAsianBreakRules /> <w:DontGrowAutofit /> </w:Compatibility> <w:BrowserLevel>MicrosoftInternetExplorer4</w:BrowserLevel> </w:WordDocument> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if gte mso 9]><xml> <w:LatentStyles DefLockedState="false" LatentStyleCount="156"> </w:LatentStyles> </xml><![endif]--><!--[if !mso]><object classid="clsid:38481807-CA0E-42D2-BF39-B33AF135CC4D" id=ieooui></object> <style> st1\:*{behavior:url(#ieooui) } </style> <![endif]--><style type="text/css"> <!-- /* Style Definitions */ p.MsoNormal, li.MsoNormal, div.MsoNormal {mso-style-parent:""; margin:0in; margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:12.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";} @page Section1 {size:8.5in 11.0in; margin:1.0in 1.25in 1.0in 1.25in; mso-header-margin:.5in; mso-footer-margin:.5in; mso-paper-source:0;} div.Section1 {page:Section1;} --> </style><!--[if gte mso 10]> <style> /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman"; mso-ansi-language:#0400; mso-fareast-language:#0400; mso-bidi-language:#0400;} </style> <![endif]-->We&rsquo;ve been hearing a lot about <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Chicago</st1:city></st1:place>&rsquo;s mayoral candidates: <o:p></o:p>who&rsquo;s going to run and challenges to certain candidate&rsquo;s bid for mayor.</meta></meta></meta></meta></p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p></o:p>But one of the more interesting races for mayor isn&rsquo;t even <st1:city w:st="on">Chicago</st1:city> but just across Lake Michigan from us in <st1:place w:st="on"><st1:city w:st="on">Gary</st1:city>, <st1:state w:st="on">Indiana</st1:state></st1:place>. Several candidates have come forward to throw their hat in the ring to lead <st1:place w:st="on">Northwest Indiana</st1:place>&rsquo;s largest city. <o:p></o:p>And even though the primary isn&rsquo;t for another five months there&rsquo;s excitement in the air.</p> <p class="MsoNormal"><o:p>WBEZ's Northwest Indiana reporter Michael Puenter spoke with WBEZ's Melba Lara about the race.</o:p><st1:city w:st="on"></st1:city><st1:place w:st="on"></st1:place></p> <p>&nbsp;</p></p> Sat, 11 Dec 2010 00:00:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/gary-mayoral-race/gary-mayoral-race-heating