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Gov. Eric Holcomb believes there's no reason to expand vote by mail to accommodate persons who can't also vote in person on or before Election Day.

Holcomb said unlike the primary election, which was moved from May 5 due to the pandemic and took place while Hoosiers were living under a modified stay-at-home order, most of Indiana now is open for business and there's no need for expanded mail-in voting.

The South Shore Line will offer free October tickets to show continued appreciation and understanding of ongoing impacts from COVID-19, all monthly tickets purchased for the month of September will remain valid throughout October 2020.

Passengers purchasing a paper September monthly ticket should plan to keep that ticket and use it through October. Passengers purchasing a digital September monthly ticket via the mobile app will see an October ticket uploaded to their account prior to October 1, 2020.

If additional assistance or further clarification is needed, please contact SSL through the online contact form at mysouthshoreline.com forward slash contact.

Gary Mayor Jerome Prince and Gary Health Commissioner Dr. Roland Walker updated COVID-19 information for the City of Gary on Friday August 14. Walker said that Gary had 32 new cases from Wednesday to Friday. However, there have been no new deaths and the number remains at 72. The mortality rate, based on the number of cases, is 5%. Walker said that is a significant number since the average around the world is 3.5%.

Walker also said he would advise schools and parents to be cautious about school sports.

Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill complained that Governor Eric Holcomb’s executive orders during the coronavirus pandemic have sent inconsistent and confusing messages to Hoosiers statewide.

The attorney general said Holcomb has been unclear about which components of his executive orders related to the pandemic are mandates and which are requirements.

Hill also referenced recent anxieties experienced by Indiana schools leaders after mixed messages were released by both lawmakers and the governor over potential cuts to school funding as a result of the pandemic.

The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office is warning motorists to be on the lookout for a police impersonator.

Thursday morning, police say a woman reported being stopped along U.S. 20 by a man dressed in all black wearing a plain black baseball cap and mask bearing the Michigan City Police Department logo.

State law requires all officers to be in uniform or driving a marked police vehicle to make a traffic stop. If suspicious of being stopped by a police impersonator, the sheriff's office encourages drivers to immediately call 911.

The LaPorte County Sheriff's Office asks anyone with information about the suspect or the car he was driving to email Deputy Austin Epple at aepple @ lcso.in.gov.

The Lake County Council voted on an ordinate that will revamp the county's tax sale rules and procedures.

Tax sale bidders will be required to certify they, either as an individual or business entity, do not have any unpaid property taxes in any Indiana county, including Lake, or an open bankruptcy proceeding.

Bidders will be explicitly prohibited from bidding "on behalf of", or "at the direction of", any other person or entity, and must pay for tax sale certificates won at the auction on their own behalf.

According to the proposed ordinance, any person who bids on behalf of a person owing delinquent property taxes is committing fraud, and the county auditor will be empowered to vacate any winning bids by that person and ban the person from future tax sales.

NIPSCO has received the largest fine by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission in state history. The utility is facing a $1.1 million because of natural gas pipeline safety violations and specified that the company cannot pass that cost onto its ratepayers.

They were cited for instances of failing to locate or mark underground pipelines within two days of a request being made, as is required by pipeline safety procedures in advance of any excavation work.

The commission, which released its decision August 5, said the violations dating to 2018 posed a public safety threat.

Celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay has come to the aid of one his Master Chef Junior former contestants. Ramsay donated $50,000 Friday to help with the medical bills of Ben Watkins, a Northwest Indiana boy suffering from aggressive tumors after losing his parents in a murder-suicide three years ago.

Ben, 13, is currently undergoing treatment for a rare condition at Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago. He appeared as a contestant on Ramsey’s show three years ago.

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The State of Indiana has received more than 24,000 applications for the states’COVID-19 rental assistance program. Lake County has the most applications with 4,427 applications, which is 17% of total applications. St. Joseph has 2593, Allen has 2,074, Tippecanoe has 10100 and Vanderburgh has 957.

Renters may be eligible if they have lost income because of the pandemic. Applicants cannot receive rental assistance from another source during the same month when participating in the state’s program. Renters may be eligible if they are having trouble paying rent and face eviction and payments are sent to landlords on the renter’s behalf.

Call toll free at 1-877 GET HOPE

WFYI Indianapolis reports that Residents in the USS Lead Superfund site in East Chicago are worried that flooding in May could have re-contaminated their homes with arsenic and lead. At the same time, the Environmental Protection Agency is ready to call the soil at several properties clean.

Even before the flood, residents were concerned that contaminated groundwater could be seeping into their basements. In several areas of the Superfund site, the EPA has removed only the top two feet of soil.

On Wednesday, The City of Gary reported after two days of single-digit increases, the city had 26 new positive COVID-19 On Friday, they reported 19 additional cases.

Mayor Jerome prince said officials don’t have enough information to describe the one-day spike as a trend. Unfortunately, there is one new COVID-19 related death, for a total of 66 deaths.

Prince said more COVID-19 testing is occurring in the city, and more people are being tested, which means higher numbers of positive COVID-19 cases. However, the recovery rate from the COVID-19 virus in Gary is well above 90 percent.

The state's health commissioner acknowledged Wednesday reopening Indiana elementary and high schools for in-person instruction will assuredly lead to additional infections of the coronavirus.

But Dr. Kristina Box also is confident the number of new COVID-19 cases among students, teachers and parents can be minimized if Hoosier schools follow state safety guidance.

Unemployment claims, which are filed weekly, show that the pandemic has hit every industry in the seven counties that comprise Northwest Indiana at some level.

By city, Gary tops the region with an unemployment rate of 21.9% in June, with East Chicago close behind at 20.9%. Crown Point's unemployment rate was at 14.2% , Hobart's and Merrillville's at 17.7%, Hammond's at 16.3%, Schererville's at 12.4%, Portage's at 16.8% and Valparaiso's at 12.5%. The report only lists cities or towns with populations over 25,000.

A close confidant and former consultant to ex-Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson who once held various city government jobs during Freeman-Wilson’s reign in Gary has been charged with wire fraud.

Mary Cossey, A close confidant and former consultant to ex-Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson, is accused of concealing more than $250,000 in income and assets as part of her serial bankruptcy filings. Cossey has been charged with one count of wire fraud.

Federal agents added that the “unusual” large, frequent sums of cash deposited to Individual A’s bank account by Cossey came from “an outside or non-legitimate source.”

Former Lake County Sheriff John Bunsich was re-sentenced to 12 years and 6 months in prison on federal corruption charges.

In January 2018, Buncich, 74, was sentenced to 15 years and 8 months in federal prison after he was convicted of bribery and wire fraud, among other charges, for soliciting bribes from county tow operators.

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Gary Mayor Jerome Prince closed the Marquette Park Beach for the next two weeks based on recommendations from Health Commissioner Roland Walker. Gary, like most Lake County cities and towns, is seeing increases in cases of Covid-19.

Mayor Prince said that walking and cycling in the park is still allowed. All other parks are open.

ArcelorMittal, The Luxembourg-based steelmaker, has laid off more than a thousand employees around the country as the coronavirus pandemic continues to take a toll on the steel industry.

filed a Workers Adjustment Retraining and Notification Act, or WARN notice, with the state of Indiana announcing it's laying off 877 workers at the ArcelorMittal Indiana Harbor steel mill in East Chicago. That includes 774 union-represented employees being indefinitely laid off, and 103 professional salaried workers, not represented by the United Steelworkers union, whose termination is permanent.

The layoffs take effect Saturday.

Governor Eric Holcomb delayed the phasing up of Indiana to August 27th. Indiana has been seeing an uptick in cases over the last several weeks. Dr. Katrina Box, Indiana State Health Commissioner said that cases are rising however, the hospitalizations have not risen as much as the cases.

Northwest Indiana's COVID-19 positive case count continued steadily upward as the state topped 62,000 cases, according to updated statistics provided by the Indiana State Department of Health and local health departments on Sunday.

A new report from Ball State University indicates more than 84,000 Kindergarten through12th grade students in Indiana may lack internet access at home.

The study, conducted by Ball State’s Center for Business and Economic Research, points out the interruption of school in March due to the pandemic resulted in wide variation in delivering online education because there are large gaps in internet access across the state.

The study found that among households with school-age children and without internet access, 57% are single-parent households, 35% are low-income families, and 49% are households living in rental property.

The town of Merrillville recently finalized a four-year lease agreement to reestablish the north police station in Broadway Plaza at 5400 Broadway.

Police Chief Wiley Luther Cuttino said Hopefully it should be up and running by September.

The decision to reopen the north station comes after the community requested it.

The department operated a substation for several years in Broadway Plaza, but it closed about a decade ago.

The Lake County Sheriff’s Department has restored, and plans to expand, police bike patrols – including along bike trails and other recreational areas. The Department is also hoping that it will provide a greater opportunity to interact with the public.

The officers went through bike patrol training June 15 – 19.

The ten trained officers will ride in pairs and will have on Lake County Department uniforms that will be shirt, shorts and helmets. They will also carry side arms. Each bike is equipped with flashing red and blue lights. Sirens are being ordered for each bike.

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