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Michael Puente has been an award-winning Chicago area journalist for nearly 20 years, covering stories for print, magazine and broadcast.

In February 2006, Michael joined Chicago Public Media, WBEZ 91.5 FM as a reporter for its Northwest Indiana bureau in Chesterton, Indiana, the station’s first news bureau. WBEZ's new Northwest Indiana Bureau opened in July 2012. It's located at 111 W. Hack, Crown Point, Indiana. The number is (219) 310-8169.

Michael covers politics, environment, immigration and regional issues in Northwest Indiana, Chicago’s Southeast side and Chicago’s southern suburbs.

Michael also spent 13 years as a print journalist. He spent 11 years writing for the Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana, which is part of the Chicago Sun-Times Media Group. He also worked two years with the Daily Herald in Arlington Heights, Ill., the third-largest newspaper in Illinois, where he covered various northwest suburban communities as well as stories relating to Hispanic community.

He also co-hosted the Latin Lingo show on WJOB 1230 AM in Hammond, Indiana in 2005.

In 2004, Michael was named among the “Top 50 Most Influential people in Indiana Politics” by the Howey Political Report in Indianapolis for his investigative and political coverage for the Post-Tribune.

Since joining the staff of WBEZ, Michael has received numerous awards for his stories, including being named in 2008 “Best Reporter” by the Indiana Associated Press Broadcasters Association.

He won a total of seven first place awards in 2011 for his stories, including Best Investigative piece, Coverage of the Environment and Coverage of Minority Issues by the Indiana Society of Professional Journalists.

Michael’s reports have been aired from coast to coast on NPR’s All Things Considered, Weekend Edition, as well as Public Radio International, WFYI in Indianapolis, WNYC’s The Takeaway in New York City, and the BBC, as well as WBEZ’s sister station, Vocalo 89.5 FM.

Michael has also contributed stories for Café Magazine in Chicago and Northwest Indiana Business Quarterly Magazine.

Michael has a B.A. in Journalism from Calumet College of St. Joseph in Hammond, Ind., where he now works as an adjunct professor.

A big White Sox, Bulls and Bears fan, Michael and his wife Gricela are parents to daughters Stephanie and Jessica.

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"Thighs like stone columns." Check, I thought, as my belly dance teacher described the ideal body for this ancient art form. "Hips the circumference of earth." How about Jupiter? I frowned at the studio mirror. "A navel with many folds in the middle." I stared at my foldless innie. Well, 2 out of 3 wasn't bad.  Exiting, I grabbed a magazine from the dance school lobby. Suddenly, my stone columns crumbled as I read that Middle Eastern dancers are often honor killed. Why was this expression of female empowerment now the dance of death? The numbers - 400 honor killings annually in the US, 30,000 + abroad - unspooled my plans. I abandoned my stillborn novels and started writing stories to combat criminal traditions - ancient, ongoing rituals that kill or maim millions of females each year yet are rarely considered crimes.

This takes everything I've learned as a writer/producer at ABC-TV, J. Walter Thompson, Britannica Films, and USG Corporation; as the author of seven books; winner of two major writing competitions plus Ragdale and Wurlitzer Foundation residencies; as a participant in the 2011,12,13, and 14 United Nations Commissions on the Status of Women, and a Landmark Education graduate. Ultimately, my success is no longer about bestseller lists but about international laws with real teeth and the street level reality of saving lives.

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(TWITTER: @COSIllinois)

Vickie Deppe grew up in Illinois. Her father was a locomotive engineer and her mother worked factory and clerical jobs. She was the first in her family to attend college, earning her Bachelor's Degree at U of I, and a Master's Degree at Wheaton College. She has 30 years of project management experience in both the business and non-profit arenas.

After the 2012 elections, she realized that if our kids are going to enjoy the kinds of opportunities we had when we were starting out in life, she needed to do more than yell at the TV. She seriously considered a run for office, but decided that she agreed with Barack Obama on at least one thing: "You can't change Washington from the inside." In 2013 she joined the Convention of States Project as the Legislative Liaison for Illinois.

Vickie is also a LOOP Precinct Committeewoman in Lisle Township, a 2015 Lincoln Series Fellow, Secretary of the Illinois Republican Women PAC, Vice President of the Naperville Area Republican Women’s Organization, and has volunteered with campaigns ranging from school board to the United States Congress. She also serves on the executive committee of two non-profit organizations in her community. Vickie and her husband Jim live in Naperville, and are the parents of two adult daughters.