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Indiana is not trending in the right direction when it comes to Covid-19. The state set another record on Friday with 1800 new cases.

The Indiana Amvets conference was held at the Wyndham Hotel In Indianapolis the weekend of September 25. Between 80 and 90 people were in attendance. Within days and during COVID-19's 14-day incubation period, people started getting sick.

The Amvets won't release how many people have become ill, But enough people have been diagnosed to prompt three Amvets posts to temporarily shut down for deep cleaning.

Those posts include:

Post 99 - in Indianapolis Post 12 - in Muncie Post 23 -in Hartford City

Dr. Kristina Box , Indiana Health Director, said several counties in southern Indiana have seen increases in COVID-19 cases. The county that is particularly of concern is rural Pike County. However, Box said that everyone must still be cautious and aware of the pandemic.

The pandemic is a very big challenge.

Franciscan Health’s Community Health Improvement team is partnering with Purdue University’s College of Health and Human Sciences (HHS) to help families strengthen their resilience during the COVID-19 pandemic.

For nine weeks this fall, Families Tackling Tough Times Together, a partnership between Franciscan Health and Purdue University Northwest, will provide weekly collections of ideas for families to use. These tools are free, flexible, and informed by science. They are designed for families of all types, with tailored suggestions for children, youth, young adults and older adults, and suitable for both civilian and military families.

The program will provide:

· Nine weekly collections of resilience-building activities you can use.

· Information about resilience for you and your family.

· Opportunities to ask questions of experts.

· Messages of support and encouragement.

Families are invited to join a public Facebook group H H S Families Together or visit the project website at hhs .purdue.edu where they will find materials and activities tied to a specific aspect of resilience.

NIPSCO natural gas residential customers can expect their overall bills during this year’s winter heating season to be slightly higher when compared to last year, assuming normal weather and usage.

The slight difference is largely due to the higher overall cost of natural gas – although the commodity cost of natural gas remains near historic lows. Over the course of the upcoming five-month winter heating season — Nov. 1 to March 31 — NIPSCO’s average natural gas residential customers could expect to pay approximately $425 in total. In comparison, last year’s average bill for the same five months, with a normal usage pattern, would have been approximately $400. This represents about a $25 difference or $5 per month on average for the five total months.

The City of Gary has acquired ownership of two vacant Gary community School Corporation schools – Edison Middle School at 5400 W. 5th Ave. and Ivanhoe Elementary School at 5700 W. 15th Ave.

the Post-Tribune reports that City of Gary Corporation Counsel Trent McCain said the city is also acquiring vacant William A. Wirt High School, Nobel and Aetna elementaries through intergovernmental transfers, but those deals haven’t closed yet.

The School Corporation transferred the deeds to the city through intergovernmental transfer. The stipulation of the transfer was that the property could not be sold to or developed into another any school.

The Fall installment of Lake County Property Taxes due date is November 10.

You may pay your property tax bill by visiting the Lake County government website OR at the following banks from October 5, 2020 to November 10, 2020:

American Community Bank, Centier Bank, Demotte State Bank, Dyer Bank and Trust, First Financial Bank, First Merchants Bank, First Midwest Bank, Horizon Bank, Peoples Bank, Tech Credit Union.


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Rocio Villasenor

News Coordinator

Not all college students are taking Covid-19 as lightly as recent news reports have shown. According to a September 19 Time article, college students have been fearful about COVID-19 risks on campus and believe schools are not doing enough to prevent spreads of outbreaks.

Jay-Lan Halliburton, 23, is a sixth-year student majoring in Theatre/Performing Arts at Indiana University Northwest (IUN) in Gary has no worries. He praises the work IUN has done since the pandemic began in March. “I believe that the campus is doing a great job at handling the situation. By putting procedures into place for every possible case situation, creating a system for all students and staff to abide by. As well as keeping nonstop contact with students. IUN has made it safe for all students to be able to still have their regular school routine despite the pandemic.”

As one of five major higher education institutions in Northwest Indiana, IUN in Gary has a variety of measures put in place to help ensure the health and safety of students, staff and faculty. According to an IUN press release, the school requires masks on campus, six feet social distance, and have made “investments to support mitigation testing and contact-tracing, structural modifications to physical spaces, and providing increased cleaning regimes.”

During the week of September 28, officials reported two of nine individuals received a positive result in symptomatic testing. Only one of the university's 504 total mitigation tests were reported as positive cases. “The students, faculty or staff who tested positive would have been told to isolate for 10 days (the infectious period)...A contact tracer would have then been in contact to let the person know what next steps to do and also determine any close contacts,” said Marisa Villalobos, Director of Marketing and Communications at IUN. “Anyone who is a close contact of a positive tester is asked to quarantine for 14 days,” she added.

Students, staff and faculty can keep up to with data on the University Covid-19 dashboard, which provides updates of cases throughout the Indiana University system every Monday morning.

Villalobos said IU closely monitors cases and “there is no specific number of individuals required to close down campus.”

IU’s FAQ page states that “unless you are a close contact, you will not be informed that a person in your class, residence, building, department, or organization has tested positive.” Close contact is someone “who was within 6 feet continuously for more than 15 minutes.”

Halliburton recalls receiving an email from IUN stating that there were students breaking the rules in the first few days of the fall semester. He said since then the school has “cracked down harder on the rules.”

IU has a Medical Response Team of experts led by top doctors at IU’s School of Medicine who meet daily on how the virus is spreading across school campuses. “They use their medical expertise and a variety of ongoing metrics to shape decisions regarding campus operations in a way that prioritizes health and safety,” Villalobos said.

Universities across the country who decided to have all in-person classes this fall have been experiencing higher cases of positive college students with COVID-19. . While several other universities in the area have experienced outbreaks, IUN may be fortunate because of a lack of student housing.There has been speculation that some universities who are larger and have dormitories on campus report higher COVID-19 cases, according to reports from USA Today and The New York Times. IUN is strictly a commuter campus.

There needs to be nonstop communication with students emphasized Halliburton. “I believe a lot of larger campuses are struggling due to them being larger. So not being able to handle every single situation or have eyes at every location at once.”IUN has approximately 3800 students.

When asked about this, Villalobos said “Because there are multiple factors involved in acquiring the virus, it is difficult to comment on the number of cases at another university.”

IUN sent out emails over the summer about their re-opening plans and course teaching methods Halliburton said. Some courses are full remote online, others in-person and hybrid. Fall semester resumed on August 24.

This is Halliburton’s last semester – he has one online course this fall. It does not bother him adjusting to online courses since he had taken them before. The only concern is his internet connection at home. In March, when all schools closed down and switched to online “it caught everybody off guard,” he said. “Everything just happened so fast. I couldn’t believe it myself at first.” He shared that his professors were being flexible with assignments because of this. IUN is offering students laptops and mobile Wi-Fi hotspots. During the spring, he used one of the hotspots, which are also available in the parking lot.

Even though Halliburton has an online course, he frequents campus five days a week. “I’m not really worried because of the precautions [IUN] has taken to keep everyone safe. As well as me practicing safety.”

“It feels pretty different this semester. There’s less students,” he added.

After Thanksgiving, IUN will be moving to full remote classes until February 8, 2021, according to a message from former Chancellor William Lowe on May 28. This decision was done by IU’s Restart Committee Recommendations Report, which is “being used to fully develop a phased return to campus operations,” according to IU’s FAQ page.

Most of Halliburton’s time is working at City Life Center in Gary part-time. He works mostly with children and middle age adults.At home it is just him and his mom.

“I hope we’re able to still do things normally with social distancing and following rules,” he said.

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Indiana health officials are warning residents to take coronavirus precautions seriously over the Labor Day weekend. new statewide COVID-19 risk ratings show most counties have minimal or moderate virus spread.

However, officials are urging people to wear masks and avoid crowds during the Labor Day weekend after large gatherings around the Fourth of July contributed to an increase in coronavirus cases during July and August.

Indiana University officials have asked all 40 fraternity and sorority houses on its Bloomington campus to shut down because high rates of coronavirus infections, but say they have no authority to force them to close.

The Gary Redevelopment Commission has approved the sale of the South Gleason Park Golf Course and Gilroy Field, to a private Illinois equity firm for $9 million. The parcel of land is 155 acres.

The commission accepted the purchase offer from Bradford Equities LLC in a 3-2 vote.

Redevelopment Commission president Eric Reaves said he couldn’t divulge the developer’s intent for the property, but said it’s centered around a distribution warehouse or light manufacturing operation.

Several council members are concerned about what the developers plan to build at the location since they were not made aware of the purchase. Also Attorney Rinzer Williams the third, who is a city attorney, said he had first right to purchase the property based on a 2019 Gary Park Board contract. He signed the contract with the park board in November 2019. But the city had already acquired the land in 2018.

As reported earlier, The COVID-19 pandemic will have an impact on Lake County government’s finances. Scott Schmal, the Lake County Council’s finance director, said income tax revenues — which amount to millions of dollars annually — are down 10% this year.

However, Lake County employees are still hoping to receive a 3% across-the-board salary increase in 2021. Lake County Council members still support the increase

The Gary Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC) has begun a new and improved bus schedule, providing more service with fewer transfers. The Broadway Metro Express will have three additional stops, which include Lake County Government Building; Adam Benjamin Jr. VA Outpatient Clinic; and Purdue Research Park Ivy Tech Campus. With the new schedule, it is now just one trip from Gary to Crown Point and from Crown Point to the South Shore Line. The Ivy Tech South Broadway Shuttle will be suspended as a separate route. Trips on the Broadway express will run every 30 minutes and will increase to every 20 minutes as ridership grows.

Leaders from Legacy Foundation, Indiana Black Expo, City of Gary, City of East Chicago, and South Shore Neighborhood Development Corporation will gather Wednesday, September 16 for a press conference at the Gary/Chicago International Airport to launch the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund. The partners will announce application guidelines, deadlines and how to submit.

There is an urgent need for assistance to sustain Gary and East Chicago small businesses with their immediate financial challenges as a result of a demonstrated economic injury due to COVID-19. With funding from Legacy Foundation, Indiana Black Expo, and the John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, the COVID-19 Small Business Relief Fund will provide one-time grants ranging from $2,500-$5,000 per business. Priority will be given to minority and woman owned businesses.

Hobart is experiencing a negative cash balance in their general fund of $5.1 million. Several options have been put forward by city councilmen including reducing the budget. They have also discussed instituting A wheel tax, food and beverage tax, a business licensing program and fire territory options are still being considered. No immediate action is expected on those proposals.

Mayor Brian Snedecor said there are nonprofit groups and other organizations that don't pay property taxes on their land, but the city provides services to them. They are also reviewing TIF money to determine if it could cover expenses currently paid from other funding sources.

Early voting begins Oct. 6. For Indiana registered voters. Voters can cast ballots at any of 11 locations:

• The Lake County Government Center elections board office, Room A 2 0 5,

• The county courthouses in East Chicago, Gary and Hammond

• St. John Township assessor’s office

• Lowell, Schererville, Winfield and Munster Town Halls

• Wicker Park Social Center

• and Hobart Police Community Center

Mayor Joe Stahura of Whiting entered a guilty plea Wednesday in federal court. Stahura is charged with wire fraud and filing a false tax return and the misuse of campaign funds on gambling and personal bills totaling $225,000.

As part of the plea deal, he pleaded guilty to the charges outlined in the Aug. 27 complaint which claims between April 2014 and November 2019 the Stahuras made 57 withdrawals totaling $55,700 from the Committee to Elect Joe Stahura account that was used in casinos in Hammond, Iowa and French Lick.

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