Gemma DiCarlo

Reporter

Gemma DiCarlo comes to Indiana by way of Athens, Georgia. She graduated from the University of Georgia in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and certificates in New Media and Sustainability. She has radio experience from her time as associate producer of Athens News Matters, the flagship public affairs program at WUGA-FM. 

Gemma is originally from Harrisburg, Oregon, and is looking forward to covering all things Michiana. 

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE

In the midst of a redistricting process they say has been “closed off and restrictive,” Indiana Senate Democrats are holding a series of public input sessions across the state. 

Jakob Lazzaro / 88.1 WVPE

Brandon Williams was killed in the Kelly’s Pub mass shooting two years ago. Now, his life is being commemorated on Sept. 25 — the South Bend Common Council passed a special resolution Sept. 13 in honor of Williams to establish a day of remembrance for murder victims.

Image provided by OUCC

Currently, anyone living in Indiana’s 574 and 219 area codes can dial local calls with seven digits instead of 10 –  but that’s set to change next month.

Starting Oct. 24, residents will have to dial those area codes – which cover most of WVPE’s Indiana listening area – if they want to complete a local call.

 

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE


Purdue University President Mitch Daniels paid a visit to South Bend’s Purdue Polytechnic High School Thursday. 

Screenshot captured via Facebook

Berrien County Interim Health Officer Courtney Davis says the county’s school mask mandate is working. 

Photo provided

More than a decade ago, a Goshen man opened a lockbox that was found in the basement of his grandparents’ former store. 

 

“My mom called me and she said, ‘Hey, the people who bought Plaut’s Store called me about a lockbox. What do you think that is?’” Steve Gruber said. “I said, ‘I don’t know. I hope it’s money!’”

 

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE

Goshen officials unveiled a new trail project Tuesday that’s meant to engage people with physical, intellectual and developmental disabilities. 

The city partnered with local nonprofit ADEC to turn four miles of existing public trails into an interactive experience. 

 

Over the last year, naturalists and programmers have cataloged plants, animals and fungi along sections of the Pumpkinvine and Maple Heart trails and built an app around the sensory experience they provide.

 

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE

South Bend’s Swanson Traditional School was recently named a 2021 National Blue Ribbon School by the U.S. Department of Education.

It’s the second school in the district to receive the award, which recognizes a school’s overall academic performance or its progress in closing achievement gaps. LaSalle Intermediate Academy was recognized in 2012.

Screenshot captured via WebEx

The Elkhart Common Council approved American Rescue Plan funding for a new small business program Monday. 

 

The city’s department of development services requested $400,000 in federal COVID-19 relief funding to set up the Small Business Continuity Program.

 

The program is designed to counter the effect of shutdowns, worker shortages, supply chain disruptions and other pandemic-related obstacles on small businesses. 

 

(Screenshot of IndianaHousingNow.org)

Starting next month, Elkhart County residents who need rental assistance will have to apply through the state, rather than the county. 

 

The county has managed its own program since March, but county commissioners announced Monday they would be closing out the local rental assistance program. 

 

Board of Commissioners President Suzie Weirick said that doesn’t mean rental assistance won’t be available.

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE

The Indiana Historical Bureau dedicated a new marker in downtown South Bend this weekend, the second in the city commemorating Black history.

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE


U.S. Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas gave the 2021 Tocqueville Lecture at the University of Notre Dame Thursday. Thomas is only the second Black justice appointed to the court and is currently its longest-serving justice.

Screenshot captured via Zoom


The St. Joseph County Council approved a new funding plan Tuesday night for the county's 911 dispatch center. The center will now be funded by county income tax revenue, which means big cuts for other public entities.

IDOH


All WVPE listener counties have maintained their color status from last week on Indiana’s COVID-19 tracking map, except for one. 

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The Elkhart County Health Department opened a new COVID-19 testing center Wednesday.

Free drive-through tests are now available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays at the Pierre Moran Park pool (119 Wolf Ave., Elkhart).

 

The health department says only PCR tests will be available due to a shortage of rapid antigen tests. No appointments, ID or insurance is necessary to get tested.

 

The health department asks that cars enter on East Hubbard Avenue from Prairie Street. 

  

City of Elkhart

The Elkhart Common Council dedicated $6.6 million in federal COVID-19 relief funding to two city infrastructure projects at its meeting Sept. 13. 

 

The first project, estimated to cost $3.6 million, will install new water and storm sewer mains in the area of Lasalle Street, McKinley Avenue and Benham Avenue. 

 

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE

Though many businesses start with a lifelong dream, Crossroads Solar is not that company. Co-founder Patrick Regan said he never thought he’d be making solar panels.

WVPE News

South Bend officials discussed affordable housing at their most recent budget meeting Friday, including $6 million dollars in American Rescue Plan proposals.

The city proposed dedicating $2.5 million dollars in ARP funds to home repair assistance, another $2.5 million to housing financing and the remaining $1 million to home buying assistance.

 

According to the city’s presentation, housing financing and home buying assistance haven’t previously been funded in the city budget. 

 

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

After months of controversy, Joshua Reynolds has officially resigned as director of South Bend’s Community Police Review Board. 

(Mount Comfort RV)

COVID-19 concerns have cancelled the Elkhart RV Dealer Open House for the second year in a row. 

 

According to the RV Industry Association, THOR Industries and Forest River, Inc. officials announced they were cancelling their open house activities in a joint release Wednesday. 

 

Screenshot captured via Facebook

Berrien County health officials say the county is still seeing a steady rise in COVID-19 transmission.

Alan Mbathi/IPB News

Starting Thursday, Sept. 9, students, staff and visitors at all Goshen Community Schools will have to wear a mask indoors. 

Kindergarten through sixth grade students have had to wear a mask since Aug. 23, while staff and visitors at the district’s K-6 schools have had to wear them since Aug. 12.

 

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

Several thousand Michiana residents were left without power following Tuesday’s severe thunderstorms.

 

As of 8:45 p.m. Tuesday, Indiana Michigan Power had 6,090 customers without power. About half of those customers were in the Three Rivers area, which saw almost 2,900 outages.

 

Almost 1,600 customers lost power in the Elkhart area and over 1,100 in the Benton Harbor area. I&M did not have an estimate for restoration Tuesday night.

 

Provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention/ Alissa Eckert, MS

Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait said Friday she expects the county’s rise in COVID-19 cases to continue for at least the next three weeks. 

According to the state’s COVID-19 dashboard, Elkhart County has a 7-day positivity rate of 8.6 percent, and recorded 236 cases per 100,000 residents over the last week. The county recently moved to the state’s “orange” category, which indicates high spread of the virus.

 

Justin Hicks/WVPE

The city of South Bend announced Thursday it will withdraw its police officers from both the County Metro Homicide Unit and the Special Victims Unit starting next year.

The multidisciplinary units have been in place since 1993 and 2003 respectively, and investigate homicides, sexual assaults and domestic violence cases, among other things. 

 

Due to staff shortages, the South Bend Police Department will take over all investigations within South Bend city limits from the County Metro Homicide and Special Victims Units beginning in 2022.

The St. Joseph County Department of Health is warning Michiana residents to guard against mosquito-borne diseases this Labor Day weekend.

Though there have been no human cases so far, the health department says the West Nile virus has been detected in Mishawaka, Osceola, South Bend, Clay and Penn Townships and Elkhart County, as well as in Berrien and Cass Counties in Michigan. 

 

Health officials say Eastern Equine Encephalitis has also been detected in lower Michigan –– though again, no human cases have been reported.

JUSTIN HICKS / WVPE Public Radio

Ahead of the Labor Day holiday on Sept. 6, the Indiana Department of Health will be offering COVID-19 tests and vaccines in Goshen. 

A spokeswoman for the Elkhart County Health Department says the clinic is in response to the county’s rising positivity rate and recent move to the state’s “orange” category, which indicates high community spread of the virus.

 

IDOH

Nearly all WVPE listener counties are now in the “orange” category on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map, and one has returned to the most serious “red” category.

St. Joseph, Elkhart, LaPorte and Starke counties all moved to the “orange” category this week, which indicates high spread of the virus. They join Pulaski, Marshall and Kosciusko counties, which all maintained their orange status from last week.

 

WVPE News

The Supreme Court struck down the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium last week, but emergency rental assistance is still available

St. Joseph County ERA Administrator Corey Szczypka said Tuesday the county is currently processing 343 rental assistance applications and has another 630 waiting in the online portal

 

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