Elkhart County

Screenshot captured via YouTube

Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait says the county’s COVID-19 situation has gotten significantly worse over the past three weeks.

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE


A year ago, the Elkhart County Council voted to move the county’s seven courts out of downtown Elkhart and Goshen and put them in a new building near the intersection of Reliance Road and U.S. 33 in Goshen.

Amazon

Last month, Amazon announced plans for two facilities in Elkhart County — a robotics fulfillment center and delivery station — both projected to open in 2023. And in the news release, the company said it plans to create 1,000 full-time jobs.

WVPE News

Both Elkhart and St. Joseph County recently passed their budgets for the 2022 fiscal year. 

The St. Joseph County Council passed a roughly $192 million budget Tuesday evening, putting the county at a $2.4 million deficit.

 

The spending will be used to boost salaries for county employees – the minimum salary is now $32,000 a year, or about $16.41 an hour. 

 

Alan Mbathi / IPB News

Transportation problems for schools are spilling over to some after-school programs. The lack of bus drivers or other staff across Indiana is hindering efforts to reach students who need additional academic support.

solar panels
Jennifer Weingart

Elkhart County officials will vote on a large-scale proposed solar project this weekend.

Scott Lewis/Flickr / Flickr


Amazon announced plans Thursday to open two new buildings in Elkhart County.

The Elkhart County Sheriff is requesting any information from the public related to a recent string of barn fires.

Two separate barn fires occurred last Friday, Oct. 1. They were the most recent in a string of eight incidents across the county dating back to April 2021. Residents and law enforcement officials suspect the fires may be the result of arson.

Here are the eight fires the sheriff’s office is seeking information on:

Agitpropist / Wikimedia Commons

Elkhart County boat manufacturer Smoker Craft, Inc. announced plans Sept. 28 to expand operations and create up to 100 new jobs by 2024.

The New Paris based company will invest $12 million to construct a new, 200,000 foot space on its current 600,000 square foot production campus located at 68143 Clunette St.

In a news release, the company said the expansion will allow them to serve growing consumer demand and the additional space will be operational by April 2022.

(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.

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 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.

 

Elkhart County

After 18 months, the Elkhart County Drug Court graduated its first class Monday afternoon. 

 

Established in 2019, the problem-solving court is a collaborative program for non-violent offenders with felony drug charges. It offers participants treatment plans and recovery resources to help prevent repeat offenses and continued addiction.

 

(Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News)

Starting Thursday, masks will be mandatory for students, staff and visitors at all Elkhart Community Schools. The ECS school board approved the mandate Tuesday in a 4-3 vote. 

Starting Monday, Aug. 23, Goshen Community Schools students at the following schools will have to wear a mask indoors: 

Bill Pennell/Unsplash

Black bears haven’t lived in Indiana since the late 1800s, but earlier this week, one was found just north of Bristol in Elkhart County. 

 

While black bears historically lived throughout the state, the closest population to northern Indiana is now in the upper part of Michigan’s lower peninsula. 

 

Indiana Department of Natural Resources mammalogist Brad Westrich said seeing a bear south of Grand Rapids is rare, but some young males will roam further in search of food and other resources. 

 

Courtesy of Ember Recreational Vehicles Inc.

Northern Indiana is adding another recreational vehicle maker to what is known as the “RV Capital of the World.” Ember Recreational Vehicles announced it will invest $4 million to build a facility in Elkhart County.

Elkhart County Health Department

The Elkhart County Health Department is recommending that all residents wear a mask indoors, regardless of vaccination status.

The Centers for Disease Controls has labeled the county as having “substantial” spread of the Delta variant, which is more contagious and more transmissible than other variants of the coronavirus.

 

JUSTIN HICKS / WVPE Public Radio

With fewer people needing a COVID-19 test due to the vaccine, Elkhart County is making some changes to its testing sites. 

The free testing site in the Concord Mall parking lot will permanently close at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, June 30. 

A new drive-up location will open at Elkhart Central Fire Station (500 East St. Elkhart, IN 46516) on July 6. That site will operate from noon to 6 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from 9 a.m. to noon on the first and third Saturday of each month.

 

Provided by Elkhart County Commissioners

Elkhart County leaders announced details for the county's new consolidated courts facility, which will be located between Elkhart and Goshen. 

(Read more in the release below.)

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

Once considered a coronavirus hotspot, Elkhart County’s COVID-19 cases are now at their lowest levels in a year. 

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The Elkhart County Health Department has announced several COVID-19 vaccination clinics over the next month, the first of which will be held tomorrow: 

May 11 (Tuesday)

Elkhart County

The Elkhart County Health Department kicked off a drive to persuade more county residents to get vaccinated Wednesday. 

 

“The better we do as a community and as a state in keeping COVID numbers down, the better we can do getting back into our businesses and supporting those people – the workers and the business owners – and really starting to get back to life as we know it,” Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman said.

 

Indiana Department of Health

The latest update to the state’s color-coded COVID-19 tracking map shows several counties across Northern Indiana, including Elkhart County, in the more-serious “orange” category.

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

State and local health officials kicked off a five-day mass vaccination clinic in Elkhart Tuesday morning by announcing the clinic now has enough vaccine supply to accept walk-in appointments.

Deputy State Health Commissioner Pam Pontones said the clinic at the Tolson Center can vaccinate between 500 and 600 people each day, enough to offer walk-in appointments to anyone who can’t easily schedule one. 

 

She said the walk-ins will hopefully help the county reach its younger population, where she says vaccine uptake has been lower.

Emma Atkinson/WTIU

Elkhart County’s extended face mask order went into effect Tuesday. On Monday, the Elkhart County Commissioners voted to rescind their enforcement of the mandate as it applies to businesses.

The Commissioners put an ordinance into effect late last year that originally included a monetary fine system for businesses that violated the health department’s COVID-19 orders.

 

Elkhart Co. Extends Face Mask Mandate

Apr 5, 2021

The Elkhart Co. Health Officer has extended the county's face mask mandate through May 14th. 

Elkhart County Health Department

Elkhart County health officials announced Wednesday the more contagious California variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the county. 

County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait also said Wednesday that she was awaiting the release of Governor Holcomb's executive order to make a decision about the county's mask mandate. 

(Read the full release from the health department below.)

Captured via Zoom

Elkhart County’s health officer said she feels the state department of health’s COVID-19 metrics for the county are “slightly deceiving.” 

At the county board of health meeting Thursday night, Dr. Bethany Wait said that while Elkhart County is in the state’s “yellow” designation, which indicates moderate spread of the virus, the county’s positivity rate has risen steadily over the last few weeks.

 

Several Elkhart County institutions are pooling their data to improve child wellbeing and safety in the county.

The Elkhart County Child Dashboard will use data from local nonprofits, healthcare systems, schools and government agencies to track factors that could affect different aspects of child wellbeing. 

 

Rebecca Shetler Fast, director of Elkhart County’s youth mental health network, The Source, and the lead on the project, says that kind of cross-sector collaboration isn't common.

 

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