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Michael Puente

Michael Puente

Northwest Indiana Reporter

Michael covers news and issues primarily in Northwest Indiana, Chicago’s Southeast side and South Suburbs.

The first 13 years of Michael’s journalism career was in print. He’s worked for the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana (part of the Sun-Times Media Group) and the Daily Herald based in Arlington Heights, Ill. Michael got his start in radio as co-host of the Latin Lingo Show on WJOB AM 1230 in Hammond. He joined WBEZ in 2006.

The NWI Studio in Crown Point is WBEZ’s only studio outside the City of Chicago. He earned a B.A. in Communications from Calumet College of St. Joseph in Hammond, Indiana where he now teaches as an adjunct professor.

Michael’s stories on WBEZ have earned more than three dozen awards including from the Indiana and Illinois Associated Press broadcasters associations, Indiana Society of Professional Journalists, the Chicago Headline Club, and National Headliner Awards. Michael is a member of the National Association of Hispanic Journalists and a former board member of the Latino Council on the Media of Chicago.

Michael is an avid White Sox, Bulls, Blackhawks and Bears fan. He also acts on occasion in community theater in Northwest Indiana.

Recent Stories

WBEZ News

Struggling Gary Schools Open Under New Leadership — The State of Indiana

The state took control of the district this year because of the district's crumbling finances and poor academic performance.

WBEZ News

State GOP Lawmakers Seek To Repeal Cook County Beverage Tax

The proposal would prevent a home rule county, like Cook, from collecting a tax on sweetened beverages based on volume sold.

WBEZ News

Restraining Order On Cook County Soda Tax Extended A Week

A Cook County judge has extended for another week a temporary restraining order blocking a proposed tax on sweetened beverages.

WBEZ News

Cook County Sheriff's Office Pushes Back On Preckwinkle's Budget Cuts

Cook County Sheriff Tom Dart is laying off far fewer employees than Board President Toni Preckwinkle had demanded.

WBEZ News

Berrios Defends ‘Flawed’ Property Tax Evaluations

Cook County Assessor Joseph Berrios defended his methods in the face of criticism from County Commissioners.

WBEZ News

Funding Shortfall Could Portend Bus Woes In Gary

Bus service from Gary to Hammond, Indiana could end if more money isn’t found by year’s end.

WBEZ News

Without Soda Tax, Sheriff’s Office May Lay Off 1,000 Employees

The penny-per-ounce tax on sugary beverages was put on hold due to a lawsuit that claimed it violated the Illinois constitution.

WBEZ Updates

Budget Impasse Still Hurting Victims Of Domestic Violence

Advocates say shelters and services for victims of domestic battery continue to be hurt by Illinois’ ongoing budget stalemate.

WBEZ News

Some Opt Out Of County Minimum Wage Increase

In July, Cook County’s minimum wage increases to $10 an hour. But not everyone in the county will be getting that raise.

WBEZ News

New Park Or Revitalized Port?: The Debate Over Lake Calumet

A proposed state bill has reignited a debate over an industrial site that state and city officials promised to transform into a new park.

WBEZ News

How Would Trump’s Budget Affect Illinois?

The cuts won't be deeper in Illinois, but residents could be hit especially hard because of the state's budget impasse.

WBEZ News

Is It Worth It When Cook County Settles Small-time Jail Lawsuits?

If the lawsuits are frivolous, why spend the money? And if they’re not, can jail officials solve the problems?

WBEZ News

Ex-Aide To Dorothy Brown Indicted

The former high-ranking official lied about selling tickets to Brown's campaign fundraisers to fellow employees, federal prosecutors say.

WBEZ Updates

EPA Chief Visits Lead-contaminated East Chicago Site

EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt visited the site amid rumors that the regional Chicago EPA office may be closed.

WBEZ News

Cook County To Offer Community-Shared Solar Power

Cook County will install solar power systems at more than a dozen sites, and anybody can plug in and power up.

WBEZ News

Environmental Group To Close Amid Declining Government Funding

The leader of the environmental group Chicago Wilderness said a “perfect storm” of funding problems will force it to close for good on Friday.

WBEZ News

Veterans Groups Ask How Money Will Be Spent

The Department of Veterans Affairs could get an extra $4.4 million under Trump’s proposed budget.

WBEZ News

President's Budget Cuts EPA Funding In Great Lakes States

The president’s budget blueprint cuts $2.6 billion from the EPA’s budget, including cuts that could affect Superfund cleanup sites.

WBEZ News

Indiana Congressman Pushes For A National Park

There’s a push to create Indiana’s first national park along the shores of Lake Michigan.

WBEZ News

Preckwinkle: Obamacare Repeal Might Cost Cook County Nearly $300 Million

The head of the Cook County Board said repealing the ACA could mean the loss of hundreds of millions of dollars in federal funding.

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