The number of Indiana counties in more serious color categories more than doubled this week on the state’s color-coded COVID-19 tracking map.

Screenshot captured via Zoom

The Goshen city council voted at its July 20 meeting to annex about 160 acres of land southeast of the city, near County Road 36. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

Several former South Bend Housing Authority employees, including its former director, are facing charges of wire fraud, bank fraud and more following a federal investigation.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

South Bend Community School Corporation's virtual school program is now enrolling full-time students. Covering kindergarten through grade 12, it was created last year in response to the pandemic.

In a news release, the district said grades nine through twelve will be taught by South Bend Community School Corporation teachers, while kindergarten through eighth grade will use teachers from online learning company Edmentum until the district hires more staff.

La Casa de Amistad


South Bend nonprofit La Casa de Amistad has won a $100,000 grant from the Lowe’s 100 Hometowns Initiative. The Latino and immigrant focused youth and community center is the only grant winner in Indiana. 


As part of the company’s 100-year anniversary, Lowe’s is funding 100 projects across the United States through the 100 Hometowns Initiative.


Screenshot captured via WebEx

Earlier this month, Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson signed an executive order giving two additional paid days off to city employees who get a COVID-19 vaccine by August 15, or who have already been vaccinated. Now, members of the city’s common council are questioning whether that incentive is legal.

At the council’s most recent meeting on Monday, Councilman David Henke said the mayor’s incentive would amount to over 10,000 hours in “lost time and services” – a cost that would be borne by the city’s taxpayers.


Justin Hicks/WVPE

The South Bend Common Council’s Rules Committee unanimously approved a resolution Monday night to request or subpoena personnel files and other background information on Joshua Reynolds from his time as an Indianapolis and Butler University police officer.

Screenshot captured via YouTube

Following back-to-back shootings in Elkhart earlier this month, Mayor Rod Roberson issued a video statement on Monday denouncing gun violence in the city.


Roberson extended the city’s condolences to the loved ones of the shooting victims, and encouraged community members to support one another. 


Notre Dame School of Architecture

This spring, students at the Notre Dame School of Architecture developed a plan to reimagine South Bend’s William Street corridor. The city has expressed interest in some elements of the plan, which aims to connect Downtown to the Near West Side. 

The University of Notre Dame
Jennifer Weingart

The University of Notre Dame has announced it will go ahead with plans to put a Chick-fil-A restaurant on campus, despite student and faculty concerns about the organization. 

Provided by the Potawatomi Zoo

The Potawatomi Zoo has announced that its resident red pandas, Maiya and Justin, recently welcomed two female cubs. 

Even though the mortality rate for red panda cubs is nearly 50 percent, the zoo says it’s cautiously optimistic –– both cubs have gained weight over the last three weeks and seem to be thriving.


(Read the full release from the zoo below.)


City of South Bend

South Bend is hosting its first Small Business Launch Pad at the Charles Black Community Center on Saturday. It’s part of a city effort to promote women and minority-owned businesses.

(Read the full release from the city below.)

The City of South Bend’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion is hosting its first Small Business Launch Pad event to celebrate the resilience of our community and small businesses during the economic challenges of the last year.


South Bend city officials had their first public conversation Wednesday night about how to spend the nearly $59 million the city will receive from the American Rescue Plan Act.

Indiana Department of Health

Indiana is seeing an increase in coronavirus cases, and two WVPE listener counties have moved to the “yellow” category, indicating moderate spread of the virus, on the state’s COVID-19 tracking map.


Both Fulton and LaGrange counties are now in the “yellow,” with Fulton receiving an extra alert due to a large number of weekly cases being traced back to close proximity gatherings. All other WVPE listener counties remain in the “blue.”


Justin Hicks/WVPE

South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board director Joshua Reynolds said he is not going to resign following last week’s revelation that he was suspended seven times during his work as an Indianapolis police officer.

Photo provided courtesy of Goshen Health

Goshen Health is expanding visitor access and its inpatient and outpatient facilities. 

(Read the full list of requirements and restrictions below.)

GOSHEN, Ind., July 14, 2021 – Effective today, Goshen Health adjusted visitor restrictions to allow for more patient visitation and support. Masks and entry screenings remain required at all facilities. 

Non-COVID-19 inpatients

Screenshot captured via YouTube

Goshen Community Schools is investing  in after-school care and tutoring for students at risk of learning loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic after receiving a $756,000 state grant.

The school district partnered with KidsCare and the Boys and Girls Club of Goshen to apply for the state’s Student Learning Recovery Grant, which aims to fund local programming that supports students who may have fallen behind during the pandemic. 


Justin Hicks/WVPE

Mayor James Mueller wants Joshua Reynolds, the recently hired director of the city’s Community Police Review Board, to resign or be fired, the South Bend Tribune reported July 12.


Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

South Bend Community School Corporation received $92.7 million in federal elementary and secondary school emergency relief funds. During a July 12 school board meeting, the district outlined plans to use the money for improving academic achievement, funding infrastructure and technology upgrades and supporting teachers.

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

A South Bend Tribune investigation published July 12 found that South Bend’s housing authority sites are some of the worst in the state. Local activists say residents should be moved out of those buildings before the situation gets worse.

Indiana Department of Health

The Indiana Department of Health is hosting a free mobile vaccination clinic in Elkhart County next week. The clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday, July 22 and is located at a Winnebago facility, 201 14th Street in Middlebury.


They are offering both the single-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine and two-dose Pfizer vaccine.


City of Elkhart

The City of Elkhart is making the COVID-19 vaccine available in its departments and offering extra paid time off in an effort to get more city employees vaccinated.

(Read the full release from the city below.)

To increase immunization from the COVID virus and its variants, the City of Elkhart is making it easy and attractive for staff to get vaccinated.

In partnership with Heart City Health, beginning Monday, July 12, the vaccine will be available at various city departments to be easily accessible to staff members.

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

With affordable housing being a perennial concern in South Bend, one local nonprofit is looking to fill some of the housing gaps using an unexpected material – shipping containers.

ContainArt Community was founded in 2019 with the goal of providing long-lasting, energy-efficient housing to low-income families in South Bend. 


Founder Ella D’Amico said even though the homes will be constructed from recycled shipping containers, people won’t be living in metal boxes. 


Justin Hicks/WVPE

According to a July 8 article in the South Bend Tribune, Joshua Reynolds — the recently hired director of South Bend’s new Community Police Review Board — had seven unpaid suspensions during the seven years he was an Indianapolis police officer.

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


Berrien County is continuing to see low COVID-19 cases. During a July 7 press conference, county health officer Nicki Britten said that on average, they’re seeing less than three cases per day. About three percent of tests are coming back positive, and the county currently has nobody in the ICU with COVID-19.

Britten also said the county has not detected any cases of the highly contagious Delta variant yet, but that does not mean there are none in the area.


All WVPE listener counties are in the “blue” for the second week in a row on the Indiana Department of Health’s COVID-19 tracking map.


However, almost three times as many counties are now in the more serious “yellow” category as compared to last week.

Screenshot captured via Zoom

Two years ago, the city of Goshen committed to draft a plan to reach zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2035. It was one of several environmental goals set by the city’s youth caucus back in 2019.


South Bend Department of Public Works


South Bend wants to raise water, sewer, stormwater and trash rates 3.5 percent per year over the next five years. The typical resident would see their monthly bills go up about $3 each year until 2026.


In December 2020, the federal government created the Shuttered Venue Operators Grant (SVOG) to help small businesses that had to shut down due to COVID-19. Now, some southwest Michigan venues are frustrated with the program.

SVOG funding was allocated back in January, but Michigan Radio reports it took until the beginning of June for any Michigan businesses to receive approval. 



A South Bend Schools employee has been charged with two felony counts of child seduction. 

Denise Freitag, a 55-year-old special education tutor at Riley High School, allegedly had sex with a 16-year-old student.