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August 30 - September 5 News Updates

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.

The Trump administration is ordering a halt on evictions nationwide through December for people who have lost work during the pandemic and don't have other good housing options.

The new eviction ban is being enacted through the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The goal is to stem the spread of the COVID-19 outbreak, which the agency says in its order "presents a historic threat to public health."

Housing advocates and landlord groups both have been warning that millions of people could soon be put out of their homes through eviction if Congress does not do more to help renters and landlords and reinstate expanded unemployment benefits.

East Chicago residents living in the West Calumet, Calumet and East Calumet neighborhoods are fighting in Federal Court to keep the lawsuit they filed in 2017 alive. The suit claim polluters DuPont/Chemours and Atlantic Richfield severely contaminated their neighborhoods. Residents say they suffered health and emotional distress because of the contamination that was found in their yards and homes.

The companies are trying to have the lawsuits dismissed. They say the statute of limitations protects them from being sued because of the long-ago manufacturing operations. They also site that the EPA is currently cleaning the sites.

The residents are being represented by David Chizewer, attorney with Goldberg Kohn, a Chicago law-firm that is working pro-bono on behalf of the residents.

A 50-year-old Munster man was scammed out of $700 by a person who falsely claimed to represent the Social Security Administration, police say.

The man reported Friday that the suspect told him his social security number had been compromised, and that an arrest warrant was about to be issued for him, according to Munster police.

Police say the man and his daughter then went to a local Target and purchased two gift cards worth $700, then gave the cards' redemption codes to the suspect.

Police remind the public that government agencies will never request payment through pre-paid cards. Anyone who is contacted by a potential scammer is urged to call their local police department.

Effective Tuesday, September 8, 2020, Gary Public Transportation Corporation (GPTC) will begin a new and improved bus schedule, providing more service with fewer transfers for Northwest Indiana.

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, and 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.

Lake County Finance Director Scott Schmal said as the county begins to work through the 2021 budget, the income tax revenue and casino revenues are taking a hit due to COVID-19.

The county is projected to lose a little over $3 million from the shut down of casinos in the spring. He also said the state is projecting that the county will see at least a 10% reduction in income tax revenue.

Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. and the Hammond Legal Aid Clinic are pleased to announce that beginning in September the Clinic will be offering legal services relating to immigration and DACA.

Alfredo Estrada, Partner at Burk Costanza & Carberry LLP, will be teaming with the Clinic to provide immigration legal services for qualified Hammond residents.

In order to receive services from the Clinic, you must be a resident of the City of Hammond for the last nine months and meet the economic guidelines for your household size. For more information please call the Clinic at 853-6611.

Testing at some Indiana University fraternity and sorority houses found infection rates above 50%, according to a statement released by the school, but university officials said Thursday that they were unaware of any infected students who needed hospitalization. The shared bathrooms and living spaces in those houses make preventing virus spread difficult.

The county health department has already ordered 30 of the 40 houses to quarantine due to the coronavirus. University officials said they can’t order the houses to close because they’re owned by the fraternity and sorority organizations, but they urged everyone living in them to move out.