Jakob Lazzaro

Reporter

Jakob Lazzaro comes to Indiana from Chicago, where he graduated from Northwestern University in 2020 with a degree in Journalism and a double major in History. Before joining WVPE, he wrote NPR's Source of the Week e-mail newsletter, and previously worked for CalMatters, Pittsburgh's 90.5 WESA and North by Northwestern.

Jakob grew up mostly in Charleston, South Carolina, but was born in Stockholm, Sweden and lived in Sydney, Australia for several years in the late 2000s.

Jakob is looking forward to telling important stories in Michiana.

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.

Captured via YouTube / NBC's The Voice

A local South Bend band has advanced into the competition on the NBC singing reality show The Voice. Girl Named Tom is made up of three siblings — Caleb, Joshua and Bekah Liechty.

During the Monday night premiere of The Voice’s twenty-first season, the acoustic pop trio performed Crosby, Stills & Nash's "Helplessly Hoping” in a blind audition where show’s celebrity judges listen to the performance while facing the audience.

eVgo Network/Wikimedia Commons

Michiana has two free electric vehicle expos coming up in celebration of National Drive Electric Week.

The first takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. this Saturday, Sept. 25 in the parking lot of the University of Notre Dame’s Innovation Park and features test drives and discussions with local EV owners. It’s part of the 15th annual Notre Dame Energy Week.

Notre Dame
Jennifer Weingart / WVPE

The University of Notre Dame is requiring all students to get a free flu shot this fall. In a news release, the university said the requirement will minimize cases on campus and preserve testing resources for COVID-19

JENNIFER WEINGART / WVPE PUBLIC RADIO

  

Black Lives Matter South Bend held a press conference Wednesday morning to raise their concerns over the city’s ongoing budget process.

Indiana Department of Health

Almost all WVPE listener counties have maintained their color status from last week on Indiana’s COVID-19 tracking map. But LaGrange County has joined Fulton County in the “red,” indicating unchecked community spread of the virus.

BCHD

The Berrien County Health Department is hosting a free educational event Thursday focused on preventing infant mortality.

In a news release, the county health department said the event is part of Infant Mortality Awareness Month. 

Infant mortality means a baby died before their first birthday. In 2019, Berrien County had a 3-year average infant mortality rate of 7.4 deaths for every 1,000 live births, which is higher than the Michigan three-year average of 6.6 deaths for every 1,000 live births.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

 


The South Bend Community School Corporation approved a one-time COVID-19 bonus for its bus drivers during the Sept. 21 board meeting. Many drivers appreciated the stipend, but are still frustrated over staff shortages and the lack of a union contract.

Captured via YouTube

Local activists have been pushing for school resource officers to be removed from South Bend Community School Corporation schools. SROs were not on the agenda of the Sept. 20 board meeting, but several members of the public spoke in favor of their removal.

WVPE File Photo

 


 

A former University of Notre Dame football player is suing the university and the NCAA, alleging that they “recklessly disregarded” information related to the medical dangers of concussions and head injuries.

South Bend-Elkhart Regional Partnership

 

More than 60 percent of Michiana employers hired workers in the last six months, and 80 percent are planning to hire more this year. That’s according to a new survey of employers by the South Bend — Elkhart Regional Partnership.

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

 


After hours of debate Tuesday night, the St. Joseph County Council voted 6-3 to extend the Motels4Now homeless shelter program through March at a cost of $829,000. The funding is coming from the county’s share of federal COVID relief dollars through the American Rescue Plan.

The Goshen Community School Board approved three resolutions Monday evening to issue a three-year, $2.7 million general obligation bond. The money will be used for improvements to school buildings, as well as technology purchases and equipment upgrades.

District chief financial officer Bob Evans said the proposed school upgrades are expected to cost $2.6 million. Issuing the bond will cost $100,000, for a total of $2.7 million.

“The purpose of the project is to provide an improved educational environment for students,” Evans said.

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

 

The South Bend Common Council has unanimously passed a pair of bills moving the salary for the director of the Community Police Review Board from the city clerk’s office to the mayor’s office.

(Alex Paul, WTIU/WFIU News)

The St. Joseph County Department of Health is holding a free COVID-19 vaccine clinic on Tuesday from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. The clinic will be held at Real Services at 1151 South Michigan Street in South Bend

Each person getting a vaccine will get a $25 Walmart gift card and a free lunch from the Real Grille

Individuals may register in advance online by entering Zip code 46601 and selecting SJC Mobile Clinic Vax 3. Walk-ins are welcome.

Contact Jakob at jlazzaro@wvpe.org or follow him on Twitter at @JakobLazzaro.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

A man was shot and killed early Sunday morning after a party at a South Bend house police say is leased by several Holy Cross College students.

 

Police identified the victim as 24-year-old Montell O’Neal of South Bend.

 

He was killed at 821 East Washington Street, which is located near the intersection of East Washington and Notre Dame Avenue. No arrests have yet been made.

 

Captured via YouTube

The Elkhart County Council voted unanimously Saturday to not apply for a federal health grant that would have helped educate minority populations about chronic diseases.

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

 


Created in August 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Motels4Now program provides low-barrier shelter for the chronically homeless in the Knights Inn at 3233 Lincoln Way West.

Indiana Department of Health

 


 

All WVPE listener counties have maintained their color status from last week on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map, but most are “orange,” indicating high spread of the virus.

Captured via Zoom

 


 

Local activists are pushing for school resource officers to be removed from South Bend schools, and Black Lives Matter South Bend hosted a panel discussion on the matter Tuesday night.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE

 


The newly renovated main branch of the St. Joseph County Public Library will have its grand opening Nov. 14. Located in downtown South Bend, the branch has been closed since November 2019 for a long-planned renovation.

City presentation to South Bend Common Council

  

The South Bend Common Council held its fourth meeting to go over the proposed 2022 budget Wednesday. It focused on strategic operations spending, or money spent on city priorities in addition to the normal, baseline budget.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News


Amid surging COVID-19 cases, the Berrien County Health Department has issued a public health order requiring students, teachers and staff at any county school — pre-kindergarten through grade 12 — to wear face masks indoors regardless of vaccination status.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

 


 

The St. Joseph County Police Department is getting nearly $2.2 million to purchase a body camera system. The funding is coming from $10.5 million first round of the county’s nearly $53 million in American Rescue Plan dollars.

FBI and Marshall County Police Department


Justin Miller, the man who was babysitting 11-month-old Plymouth baby Mercedes Lain when she was reported missing earlier this month, has now been charged with murder.

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

 

 

Southwest Michigan students are heading back to school this week. And amid a surge in COVID-19 cases, some districts are requiring face masks. 

 

Benton Harbor Area Schools are requiring masks for all students, teachers and staff. So are St. Joseph Public Schools — the board voted unanimously last week to implement a universal mask mandate.

 

Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE

 

An Elkhart police officer shot and killed a man Friday morning who police say was suspected of shooting and killing a toddler a few minutes earlier. Elkhart police say they responded to a report of a shooting with injuries at 514 West High Street at 10:22 a.m. on Friday.

City of Goshen, Indiana

Goshen mayor Jeremy Stutsman has been appointed to a local advisory committee for the Environmental Protection Agency. After being nominated in April, Stutsman was one of 11 new members appointed to the Small Communities Advisory Subcommittee this week.

 

The EPA received more than 150 nominations for the subcommittee when it began soliciting them in March.

 

Justin Hicks/WVPE

 

After deliberating for more than seven hours Thursday, a jury found 19-year-old Jaheim Campbell not guilty of murder in the death of a 7-year-old girl who was killed in a South Bend drive-by shooting last August.

 

Chrisyah Stephens was attending a birthday party at High and Donald streets near Riley High School. Prosecutors said Campell opened fire on the gathering, aiming for another man, and hit Stephens instead.

Princeton University Eviction Lab


Judy Fox is a University of Notre Dame law professor and directs the school’s Economic Justice Clinic. She’s represented low-income clients on eviction cases for more than two decades but said now is the worst she’s ever seen.

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