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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


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.


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?


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


Indiana Congressman Pushes For A National Park

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


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.


Advocates Request Federal Funding To Investigate Drinking Water In East Chicago

Advocacy groups asked the federal government to expand its role in making sure drinking water is safe in East Chicago, Indiana.


Residents In Lead-Contaminated Community Still Looking For A Home

About 100 people remain at an East Chicago, Ind., house complex after the city ordered residents to move out because of lead in the soil.


Migrant Workers Could Be Scared Away By Trump’s Policies

Robert White of the Indiana Farm Bureau said food costs could rise as much as 30 percent if enough migrant workers are not found.


Gary’s Disappearing Public Schools

In the last two years, Gary has closed six buildings amid declining enrollment, dwindling tax revenue and competition from charter schools.


Indiana Governor Pledges State Aid For East Chicago Lead Problems

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb told East Chicago officials that the state will do all it can to address the city's lead contamination problems.


Indiana Governor Issues Disaster Order Over East Chicago Lead

Two months earlier, then-Gov. Mike Pence rejected the city's request.


Gary Cop Killer Sentenced To Life In Prison

Carl Blount was sentenced to life in prison without parole for shooting death of patrolman Jeffrey Westerfield.


Man Who Killed Gary Cop Released From Prison After 35 Years

Gary police Lt. George Yaros was killed in 1981. His son believes the killer “should be executed.”


Travel Ban Prevents Woman From Visiting Sick Mother

A Syrian native attempting to visit her sick mother in Valparaiso, Indiana, was not allowed into the country this weekend, her family said.


Can Indiana Benefit From Vice President Pence?

Indiana residents are hopeful Mike Pence can use his new influence to help the Hoosier state -- but that could be wishful thinking.

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