Elkhart County

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Indiana State Police have announced they are investigating a death at the State Prison in Michigan City. The man who died was from Goshen, 30-year-old Daniel Heflin. Heflin pleaded guilty to murder in Elkhart county nearly a decade ago. 

Captured via WebX

Indianapolis-based design firm Performance Services has been chosen to build the consolidated Elkhart County Courts facility. The County Commissioners approved the partnership at their biweekly meeting on Tuesday, Jan. 19.

Last week, the county’s Technical Review Committee interviewed project teams and ranked them using factors like local participation and courthouse facility experience. Out of three finalists, Performance Services scored the highest.

 

Elkhart County Teen Sentenced To 63 Years For Murder

Jan 15, 2021
Pixabay

GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) — A teenager who was 13 when accused of killing another youth in northern Indiana was sentenced Thursday to 63 years in prison. Alphonso James III, now 16, was convicted of murder in the death of 18-year-old Jaren Minies in Elkhart last September. Minies was shot multiple times during a dispute over a gun, money and a video game system. Elkhart Circuit Judge Michael Christofeno found James guilty in a bench trial last year. Christofeno sentenced James on Thursday to the 55-year advisory prison term for murder plus eight years for aggravating circumstances.

The consolidation of the Elkhart County Courts is moving closer to reality, with three teams under consideration for the project’s final design and build.

The county’s Technical Review Committee interviewed the three teams on Jan. 12 and assigned each proposal a qualitative score. Those scores were based on factors like local participation, courthouse facility experience, and schedule management.

 

ISDH

The Indiana State Dept. of Health has updated its county-by-county COVID-19 map and it shows that Elkhart, LaGrange and Pulaski counties are in red. The red designation is the most serious on the map. A total of two dozen Hoosier counties are in the red as of now. 

For a third straight week, more than a quarter of Indiana counties are rated with the highest risk level of coronavirus spread in Wednesday’s state update that continued to show no area in the low or moderate community spread zones. The Indiana State Health Department tracking map labels 24 of the state’s 92 counties the most dangerous red category, down two from a week ago. All other counties are in the next-riskiest orange rating of the four-level system. The new county ratings come a day after state officials announced a flaw in Indiana’s COVID-19 reporting that is expected to change the state’s overall positivity rate and the metrics for individual counties once corrected.

Screenshot captured via YouTube

On Dec. 23, Elkhart County Commissioner Suzie Weirick will host a fourth “Candid Covid Conversation,” a series of online discussions with Elkhart County healthcare workers on the front lines of the pandemic. This week’s conversation will address the county’s Spanish-speaking community. 

Weirick said the conversation will be conducted almost entirely in Spanish, with a panel of bilingual nurses to answer questions and translators for any English-speaking panelists.

 

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — A teenager who was 13 years old when accused of killing an 18-year-old in northern Indiana has been convicted of murder. Elkhart County Judge Michael Christofeno delivered the verdict Wednesday, about three months after holding a bench trial. Alphonso James is now 16. He was 13 years old in 2018 when he was accused of repeatedly shooting Jaren Minies in a dispute over a gun, money and a video game system. The prosecutor chose to charge James as an adult. James testified in September, telling the judge that it was a case of self-defense.

Today the Elkhart County Health Department issued an update on the county's COVID-19 status. 

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The Elkhart Common Council voted Monday night on a city ordinance to support Elkhart County’s COVID-19 safety measures.

The ordinance, which passed to a second reading, would allow Mayor Rod Roberson to enforce the county’s fine structure for Elkhart businesses that violate COVID-19 safety protocols.

Roberson originally asked the council to fast-track the city ordinance so it could immediately support the county ordinance, which goes into effect on Dec. 17.

“We cannot wait any longer to assist and support our healthcare system. People are dying,” he said.

Three Elkhart County cities have committed to enforcing the county’s COVID-19 protocols. The mayors of Elkhart, Goshen and Nappanee will each bring an ordinance to their city councils next week.

The ordinances will recognize and support the county health department’s COVID-19 orders, which limit gathering sizes and mandate face masks, among other things. They will also support the County Commissioners’ ordinance that establishes fines for violating those health orders.

The Elkhart County Health Department has released graphing data with COVID-19 information. It shows the spike that has occurred in cases and deaths in the month of November. 

Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

The Elkhart County Board of Commissioners has passed an ordinance that allows fines for entities that repeatedly violate the health department’s COVID-19 order.

The fines will be the second step in the enforcement procedure laid out in the ordinance. The first step is a warning, followed by an education effort.

Then, fines can be issued per violation – not posting signs that announce a face-covering requirement, for example, means a $50 fine, while failing to maintain social distancing will cost $250.

(Courtesy of Johnson & Johnson)

In the wake of promising vaccine trials and still-surging COVID-19 cases, the phrase “herd immunity” has entered the popular vocabulary. 

It refers to the idea that if enough people in a community are exposed to a virus, it will eventually die out. It’s a real phenomenon, but it’s not possible without some sort of intervention.

Elkhart County Health Officer Lydia Mertz said it would take over five years to achieve herd immunity in Elkhart County without a vaccine – and that’s with every resource in every hospital dedicated to caring for coronavirus patients.

ISDH

Today, the Indiana State Department of Health updated the color coding on its map tracking COVID-19 cases in all 92 Hoosier counties. Based on information released at noon, 17 counties are now in the most serious "red" designation, which is four fewer than last week.

In the WVPE listening area, both Elkhart and LaGrange counties remain in the red. Elkhart County moved to the red designation on Nov. 18, and LaGrange County entered the red on Nov. 11.

Goshen students grades 7-12 were supposed to have the option to return to in-person learning Monday, Nov. 30, but according to Superintendent Steven Hope, worsening pandemic metrics in Elkhart County will keep students out of the classroom until at least Dec. 11.

Upper-level students originally moved to all-virtual learning on Nov. 16 “due to student and teacher absences.”

K-6 students will continue to attend in-person classes four days a week, with a virtual learning day on Wednesdays.

Photo provided courtesy of Goshen Health

Goshen Health is reporting that it is seeing a record high number of hospitalized COVID-19 patients. This comes less than a week after the Indiana State Dept. of Health designated Elkhart County as "red" on the state's county-by-county COVID-19 map. The designation is the most serious category a county can be in.


Courtesy of the Salvation Army

The sights and sounds of a Salvation Army bellringer and kettle are some of the most iconic of the holiday season, but this year is especially challenging for the Salvation Army, as we deal with Covid-19.

Elkhart Co. Health Dept.

Elkhart County has reopened its COVID-19 Call Center one day after being designated in the "red" by the Indiana State Dept.of Health. 

The county is also opening up an online concern form that people with complaints can fill out about COVID-19 precautions at businesses, restaurants, bars, nightclubs, events and gatherings.

You can find that form here. 

Today at 12:01am new public heatlh orders kicked in that were issued by the Elkhart County Health Dept. 

Many of the action items in the order appear to mimic language already put in place by the state for counties designated as red.

A face mask mandate is outlined with information that includes an incremental enforcement structure that starts with a written warning and could escalate up to having  the health department issue an order to close a business or issue a penalty of up to $2,500. Within the face mask mandate is a page worth of exceptions as to when a mask is not required.

A mitigation directive addressing the size of gatherings was also issued that contains a similar enforcement structure.

ISDH

Today the Indiana State Dept. of Health updated its color coding on its map tracking COVID-19 cases in all 92 Hoosier counties. Based on information released at noon, 21 counties are now in red, which is the most serious designation level the state assigns. Previously, nine counties had been in red. 

In the WVPE listening area, Elkhart County is now designated red. LaGrange County continues with a red designation as well. LaGrange County was put in the red as of Nov. 11. 

Elkhart Co. Health Dept.

NEW: Elkhart County's Health Officer has issued new public health orders as the county was given a "red" designation by the Indiana State Dept. of Health due to rising COVID-19 rates. Many of the action items in the order appear to mimic language already put in place by the state for counties designated as red.

A face mask mandate is outlined with information that includes an incremental enforcement structure that starts with a written warning and could escalate up to having  the health department issue an order to close a business or issue a penalty of up to $2,500. Within the face mask mandate is a page worth of exceptions as to when a mask is not required.

A mitigation directive addressing the size of gatherings was also issued that contains a similar enforcement structure. 

The orders go into effect at 12:01am on Wed., Nov. 19, 2020. 

Read more about the face mask mandate here. 

Read more about the mitigation directive here. 

Read Dr. Mertz's media release here.

Late Friday afternoon, the Elkhart Co. Health Dept. issued a letter to warn county residents that more restrictive health orders are coming in an attempt to try and bring down surging COVID-19 numbers. The letter was signed with the support of 56 health, government, business and school officials in the county. 

 

Today Elkhart County announced that the surge in COVID-19 is prompting county council and commission meetings to move online until further notice. 

Pixabay

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — A Michigan woman has been sentenced to 13 years in prison after pleading guilty to neglect charges in the drug-related Indiana death of her boyfriend’s 10-year-old daughter. An Elkhart County judge sentenced 31-year-old Erica Reschke to 16 years, with three years suspended, on a charge of neglect of a dependent resulting in serious bodily injury. The Elkhart Truth reports the Cassopolis, Michigan, woman also received a two-year sentence on a neglect of a dependent charge, with the two sentences to be served concurrently.

NEW: Just hours after the Elkhart County Health Officer came out with benchmarks to get the county's COVID-19 outbreak under control, the county sees a new all-time high in daily cases. On Nov. 5th Elkhart County reported 263 new cases, the most ever since the start of the pandemic. 

ISDH

Indiana's updated COVID-19 dashboard shows every county in the WVPE listening area but one now in orange which means medium to high community spread of the virus is going on. Marshall County is the only county in our area that is still in the yellow category.

The new data released today reflects data from yesterday, Election Day 2020. On that day the state reported a new record high in cases - 3,756 cases and 25 new deaths.   Hospitalizations statewide are at an all-time high, with 1,897 patients being treated. 

JUSTIN HICKS/WVPE

Unofficial election results have been posted by Elkhart County.

Elkhart Co. Health Dept.

Elkhart County's Health Officer is issuing new warnings about the transmission of COVID-19 in the county. In data released yesterday by the Indiana State Dept. of Health, the county reported a new all time high in cases for Mon., Nov. 2nd. Also on Monday, Elkhart's Mayor Rod Roberson tested positive for the virus.   

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

Polls opened in Indiana at 6 a.m. this morning, with long lines forming throughout the morning at some vote centers in St. Joseph County. 

Emily Collins was in line to vote at McKinley Elementary School in South Bend. She said she didn’t think she had ever seen it as busy as it was this morning. 

“I’m excited to see this many people out," Collins said. "And I don’t know if this is because people can vote anywhere, so there’s more people from other precincts coming, or if it’s because of this election.”

 

Another New Daily High In COVID-19 Cases In Indiana

Oct 29, 2020
ISDH

Newly released data from the Indiana State Dept. of Health indicates that on Wed., Oct. 28th the state recorded another new all-time high in new COVID-19 cases.

3,649 new cases were reported along with 33 additional deaths. Total deaths in the state have now topped the 4,000 mark at 4,024.

Elkhart County COVID-19 Case Increases By Zip Code

Oct 28, 2020
Elkhart Co. Health Dept.

Bristol, parts of Elkhart and Wakarusa are seeing some of the highest spikes in COVID-19 cases in Elkhart County in the last week. The data released covers a period from Mon., Oct. 19-Mon., Oct. 26, 2020. 

At least four zip codes in the county saw COVID-19 cases spike by more than 20% in the last week.  

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