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July 5 - July 12 News

Last week, Governor Eric Holcomb announced Indiana was not moving forward with Stage 5 of his reopening plan, instead opting for a more cautious Stage 4.5, which will remain in effect until July 17.

Indiana State Health Commissioner Kristina Box said Indiana is seeing an uptick in overall positive COVID-19 cases. Box and Gov. Eric Holcomb are keeping an eye on the increases in new cases and hospitalizations.

Holcomb also said, no single factor or statistic will make the state go back to online learning for K-12 schools this fall. He said the state is going to do what it can to try to support schools so they can stay open," she said.

Gary school officials received approval Thursday from the state Distressed Unit Appeal Board to hold a referendum, likely in November, to support a tax increase to support the Gary Community School Corp.

Without a huge jump in enrollment, the corporation won’t be able to meet many of its obligations in the coming school year. Estimates show the Gary schools will lose about half of their possible tax levy, or about $17.7 million, to property tax caps.

While the state will fund school operating costs, including salaries and benefits; districts need property tax revenue for transportation costs, capital projects and debt.

Gary residents rejected a referendum in 2016.

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce surveyed 634 executives across the state who said COVID-19 was having a major impact on their business. Of those surveyed, 79% said their company suffered revenue loss, while 42% had cash flow concerns and 32% had to suspend operations at least temporarily.

Business leaders in Indiana identified top challenges as customer retention and workforce retention. Nearly 25% feared being sued by an employee or customer who contracted COVID-19 as a result of the company's actions despite the promise of federal legislation to relieve businesses of legal liability.

Hammond Mayor Thomas M. McDermott, Jr. has announced a new proposal for Hammond residents who are looking for an opportunity to fulfill their dream of becoming a Firefighter/Paramedic/EMT but can’t financially afford the expense.

Currently, the City of Hammond has 155 firefighting personnel, all who have been trained as paramedics/EMTs.

However, with longevity, many firefighters will soon be retiring and replacements will be needed to ensure an easy transition and protection of Hammond’s residents.

The Hammond Fire Department will begin taking applications between July 13th and July 24th at Central Fire Station, 6110 Calumet Avenue between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Applicants must be between the ages of 20 and 25.

Those interested should contact Fire Chief, Jeffery Smith at 219-853-6416 for questions and specifics about the application process.

The Environmental Protection Agency proposed Tuesday that part of the U.S. Smelter and Lead Refinery, Inc. Superfund site in East Chicago, be removed from the agency’s National Priorities List. The EPA has finished cleanup of more than 670 properties

However, the EPA and the state did not notify community representatives of the agency’s intent to do so, said Mark Templeton, director of the University of Chicago’s environmental law clinic.

Lead in the soil prompted a particle evacuation of the community in 2017.

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