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Week in Review June 7 - June 13

Stage 4 of Governor Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Indiana plan began Friday, June 12.

In Stage 4 gatherings of up to 250 people will be allowed and entertainment and tourism in the state will begin opening at 50% capacity.

Other changes in Phase 4 include:

movie theaters and bowling alleys opening at 50% capacity;

  • bars and nightclubs opening at 50% capacity;

  • restaurants open at 75% capacity;

  • government offices to fully open with social distancing.

  • Racing venues may open at 50% capacity.

Stage 5, which will allow the state to fully reopen with social distancing in place, is still expected to begin July 4.

The Westville Correctional Facility has 179 inmates and 107 staff that have tested positive for COVID-19. The Indiana Department of Correction reported totals of 172 inmates and 94 staff have recovered.

Since the start of June, 14 states and Puerto Rico have recorded their highest-ever seven-day average of new coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data tracked by The Washington Post: Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Florida, Kentucky, New Mexico, North Carolina, Mississippi, Oregon, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas and Utah.

The Indiana Court of Appeals will allow a 2017 lawsuit to go forward that was filed by more than 300 East Chicago residents. The lawsuit will allow the residents to seek damages against a group of companies that subjected them to decades of lead contamination on their properties resulting in physical and emotional distress.

The court found in favor of the Calumet neighborhood residents who lived within the U.S.S. Lead Superfund site.

The Lake County elections board has finalized the votes in the June 2 primary. Lake County Elections Director Michelle Fajman said the vote tally becomes final and official at noon today.

Although most races were decided within a few hours of the polls closing, the final results of the race in the Democratic primary for Lake County Recorder weren’t known until three days later.

Glenn Johnson, a Gary businessman, who was more than 900 votes behind the declared winner, Regina “Gina” Pimentel of Crown Point, questioned the validity of the count last week, saying vote totals posted just after the election varied from receipts generated from voting machines in at least five Gary, Calumet and Griffith precincts.

Johnson could demand a recount, now that the vote tally is official.

Mayor Jerome Prince of Gary said he will establish a police reform commission. The commission will investigate what, if any, policing responsibilities can and should be shared or shifted to other departments. The commission will begin work in the next 30 days and will present its final recommendation 60 days following.The commision will be comprised of citizens, business and police professionals.

Prince said that public safety is his top priority. Which may include considering new public safety models.

The Indiana Department of Transportation announces two ramp closures to northbound I-65 near Crown Point and Merrillville.

The ramp from 109th Avenue northbound I-65 will be closed beginning Tuesday, June 9 for concrete patching. The ramp will reopen by the end of June, 2020.

The ramp from eastbound U.S. 30 to northbound I-65 is also currently closed. This ramp is expected to reopen in the beginning of July.

Drivers should seek an alternate route.

Power outages were significantly down in the Region early Friday, though NIPSCO was still working to restore power in several areas after a heavy storm tore through parts of Northwest Indiana.

The electric company's website showed about 300 NIPSCO customers were affected statewide Friday, down from roughly 1,400 the day before.

Crews were working throughout Thursday to restore power for customers across the state.

Inside Indiana Business magazine reports that an Illinois-based mechanical contractor has broken ground on a new facility in East Chicago.

Manhattan Mechanical Services says it is investing $2.5 million to build the 20,000-square-foot facility and create up to 100 jobs over the next few years.

Construction of Northwest Indiana’s first inland casino in Gary is on schedule, but likely won’t be ready by its original Dec. 31 opening date. John Keeler, vice president and general counsel of Spectacle Entertainment LLC says it opening may happen sometime in the first quarter.

He said footings for the Hard Rock casino have been poured, steel framing is in place and the roof is on. The skin of the building is up, but Keeler said a lot of site work still needs to be done. Bids for interior work will be sought soon.

The $300 million 200,000-square-foot casino will offer 1,650 slots, 80 table games and a 2,000-seat entertainment venue.

Cranes Chicago Business announced that the City of Gary will build a 300-unit housing complex in downtown Gary. Groundbreaking is scheduled for July. READ HERE