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August 9 - August 15 News Update

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.