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August 16 - 22 News update

Over the past three days, Lake County had 83 new cases added to the county's tally of positive coronavirus cases, while Porter County saw 22 more, and LaPorte added 25 new cases. Jasper and Newton counties each reported three more COVID-19 cases.

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 13 new deaths statewide on Friday, bringing Indiana's total to 2,992 deaths. Statewide, 1,050 new cases were reported, bringing the state total to 84,317.

With The East Chicago schools going to e-learning due to the coronavirus pandemic, the school board unanimously approved to reduce staff. The cuts are in transportation, janitorial security and paraprofessional staff.

Superintendent Dee-Etta Wright said the 90 layoffs are intended to be temporary while the school city operates in a virtual learning instructional model for the start of the 2020-21 school year.

The private manager of Gary Community Schools received initial approval Thursday for a new two-year contract, worth potentially $7.4 million in state funds, to continue turnaround efforts in the cash-strapped, academically struggling district.

Members of the state Distressed Unit Appeal Board unanimously approved the contract extension for Florida-based MGT Consulting, the company hired by the state three years ago to oversee the district.

DUAB chairman Justin McAdam said the contract does not increase the pay to MGT, from the last year of its initial contract.

The contract’s total base compensation is $5.5 million plus an additional $1.9 million, if the manager can achieve each of the more than 40 benchmarks in the areas of academics, fiscal, operations and engagement.

The Hammond Career Center, the only school in the Hammond School District to open with in-person learning has reported a student with COVID-19 may have made two others sick on just the first day of class.

Despite a ban on carpooling, three students drove to classes together on day one at the Career center Wednesday. That night one of the three felt sick and now has a confirmed case of COVID-19. One of the other two is said to have symptoms. The third has no symptoms.

The School was only open for two days and now it is closed.

Hoosier voters are less likely to have their mail-in absentee ballot rejected, or find their voter registration purged without notice. This follows rulings by federal judges Thursday in two separate election law cases.

The decisions each strike down state laws aimed at minimizing voter fraud. However, it was determined that they were more likely to prevent legitimate voters from participating in the electoral process.

According to the Times of Northwest Indiana, The Lake County Commissioners unanimously approved a rewrite of the county's tax sale rules Wednesday to prevent participation by straw purchasers, tax scofflaws and other unwelcome bidders.

The sale is an auction of properties whose owners are behind on tax payments, which allows the county to recoup otherwise lost revenue and potentially enables winning bidders to take ownership of the properties.

In 2019, a serially tax-delinquent real estate speculator, and other straw buyers, allegedly purchased more than 500 property tax certificates on behalf of a newly formed corporate entity in apparent violation of the tax sales rules in effect at the time.

If you are not registered to vote in Indiana, you have until Oct. 5. You can register online at Indianavoters.In. gov.

You can also register by mail by printing a voter registration form, filling it out, and mailing it to your local election office. You can also register to vote in person at your election office.

To register in Indiana you must:

· be a citizen of the United States

· have resided in the precinct at least 30 days before the next election

· be at least 18 years of age on the day of the next general election

· not currently be imprisoned following a criminal conviction

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