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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 Updates

Valparaiso, Indiana City Council Considers Anti-Hate Resolution

The City Council in Valparaiso, Indiana is expected to consider an anti-hate resolution at its meeting this evening.

WBEZ Updates

Valparaiso, Indiana City Council Considers Anti-Hate Resolution

The City Council in Valparaiso, Indiana is expected to consider an anti-hate resolution at its meeting this evening.

WBEZ Updates

Illinois Residents Covered Under ACA To See Premium Hikes In 2018

Health insurance rates for people covered through the Affordable Care Act in Illinois will see dramatic premium increases next year.

WBEZ Updates

As Maria Comes, Natives Of Puerto Rico Living In Indiana Try To Stay In Touch With Family And Friends

Natives of Puerto Rico now living in Northwest Indiana are trying to stay in touch with family and friends on the island as Hurricane Maria moves through.

WBEZ Updates

Lake County, Indiana, Selects New Sheriff

A career police officer is the new sheriff in Lake County, Indiana, and will finish the term left by his predecessor who was convicted of corruption.

WBEZ Updates

DeVos Visits Gary Charter School, Bypasses Struggling Public Schools

U.S. Education Secretary Betsy DeVos visited a successful charter school in Gary, Indiana today where the traditional public schools are hurting. DeVos brought her “Rethink School” tour to 21st Century Charter — a mostly African-American, privately-run publicly-funded charter. The school is where students can earn college credit while in high school has garnered national attention. Critics say DeVos champions charter schools at the expense of traditional public schools. She doesn’t see it that way. DeVos says she’s highlighting schools that could be role models for other areas of the country.

WBEZ News

5 Things To Know About Attempts To Repeal The Sweetened-Beverage Tax

WBEZ reporter Michael Puente breaks down the tax — and attempts to repeal it.

WBEZ Updates

Cook County Commissioners Take First Step To Repeal Sweetened-Beverage Tax

Cook County Commissioners took the first steps Wednesday to repeal the controversial sweetened-beverage tax.

WBEZ Updates

Cook County Commissioner To Try To Start Pop Tax Repeal At Board Meeting

One Cook County commissioner say he’ll try to begin the process of repealing the sweetened-beverage tax at Wednesday's board meeting.

WBEZ Updates

Chicago Veterans March To Bring Awareness To Veteran Suicide

Veterans made a 22 kilometer trek on Chicago’s South Side Friday to bring awareness to the veteran suicide.

WBEZ Updates

South Chicago YMCA Plans To Close Its Doors In October

After more than 90 years in operation, the South Chicago YMCA plans to close its doors at the end of October.

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.

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