Hair Cutting Protest Outside Michigan Capitol

May 20, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Police have ticketed seven people for cutting hair during a protest outside the Michigan Capitol, where about a dozen barbers and hair stylists defied stay-at-home orders to give free hair cuts. At one point, about 300 people attended Wednesday's demonstration organized by the Michigan Conservative Coalition to protest the measures imposed by Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to curb the coronavirus. Seven barbers have been cited for disorderly conduct after being warned by state police. The cases were referred to the state attorney general.

Michigan Unemployment Skyrocketed Last Month

May 20, 2020
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

DETROIT (AP) — Michigan’s unemployment rate rocketed in April, likely setting an all-time high at 22.7%, as coronavirus restrictions shut down businesses and put people out of work. April was the first full month of stay-home orders and business shutdowns. People have been urged to wear masks and avoid each other to reduce the spread of the virus. The state said the April jobless rate likely set a record when compared to estimates recorded since at least 1976. The previous high was 16.5% in December 1982.

Flooding Now Threatens Dow Superfund Site In Michigan

May 20, 2020
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Floodwaters that overtook dams and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people in Central Michigan now threaten a Dow Superfund site and downstream communities. The Tittabawassee River crested in Dow's hometown of Midland Wednesday at just over 35 feet, about 3 feet under what officials previously forecasted. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer had warned the city could end up under about 9 feet of water by Wednesday evening. Dow says floodwater has begun mixing with on-site containment ponds, prompting the company and U.S. Coast Guard to activate emergency plans.

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) — Researchers at the University of Notre Dame violated the federal animal welfare policy last year, according to documents the school filed with a federal agency saying that mice were found in a campus laboratory with missing limbs and another rodent was intentionally hit against a table. The South Bend Tribune reports that those documents, including letters and reports from university research administrators to the federal Office of Laboratory Animal Welfare, were obtained and released to media outlets by the animal advocacy group Stop Animal Exploitation Now.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Indiana is moving forward early to the next stage of its plan to relax COVID-19 restrictions. Stage 3 of the governor’s “Back On Track” timeline will now begin Friday for all but three counties statewide.

Ex-Congressman Rokita Joins Indiana Attorney General Race

May 20, 2020
Tyler Lake/WTIU

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita has entered the Indiana attorney general’s race. Rokita said Wednesday that he will challenge embattled Attorney General Curtis Hill because his fellow Republican has been “wounded” by allegations he drunkenly groped a state lawmaker and three other women at a party. Rokita's entrance comes after the state Supreme Court ordered a 30-day law license suspension for Hill over the groping allegations. Hill has denied doing anything wrong. Rokita says he’s seeking the GOP nomination to help Republicans keep the statewide post in November.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

Many barbershops in Northern Indiana have been reopened to appointments only for a little more a week. Some local shops are seeing a flood of customers in need of a haircut.


Fairs in Indiana could be allowed to open on or after the 4th of July with some restrictions under Governor Eric Holcomb’s Back on Track Plan. Several local fairs have started making decisions about whether or not to open this summer amid the coronavirus pandemic.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 57 additional confirmed deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 1,678. The state announced more than 28,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 189,000 Hoosiers tested.

2 Dams Breached In Michigan Forces The Evacuation Of Thousands

May 20, 2020
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

MIDLAND, Mich. (AP) — Rapidly rising water has overtaken dams and forced the evacuation of about 10,000 people in central Michigan, where flooding struck several communities along rain-swollen waterways.

Michigan Has More Than 5,000 Deaths Related To COVID-19

May 19, 2020
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — The number of Michigan deaths from COVID-19 has crossed 5,000. The state health department says the death toll rose by 102 to 5,017, although 43 of the newly recorded deaths could have occurred days or weeks ago. It can take time to match death certificates to confirmed cases. The number of new coronavirus infections rose less than 1% statewide to 52,350. More than 28,000 people have recovered since March. In southeastern Michigan, some Catholic churches opened their doors for public Mass for the first time in two months.

Michigan Mails Absentee Ballot Applications To All Voters

May 19, 2020
Jocelyn Benson via Facebook

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan has spent $4.5 million to mail absentee ballot applications to all 7.7 million registered voters ahead of the August primary and November general election. Secretary of State Jocelyn Benson, a Democrat, said Tuesday the cost will be covered by federal coronavirus relief funding. Michigan saw record turnout for May local elections when the state sent absentee ballot applications to all voters in affected jurisdictions without first being asked to do so.

Justin Hicks/WVPE


Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The Indiana Department of Education has recognized all Indiana teachers collectively as the 2021 Teacher of the Year. The department traditionally has recognized a single educator with the award each year. State Schools Superintendent Jennifer McCormick said in a statement Tuesday that "the COVID-19 pandemic brought new complexities and challenges to schools with no advance warning.

(Daniel X. O'Neil/Flickr)

Indiana expects to collect less money from the state lottery this fiscal year than it budgeted for. But the projected shortfall isn’t as bad as some state officials feared.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Indiana Chamber of Commerce says it’s disappointed the governor’s office has not decided to implement a work share program. It’s a common system in other states that lets workers keep jobs while accessing some unemployment benefits.


Starting this week, families whose children receive free or reduced lunch at school will receive additional SNAP benefits, or food stamps. 

(FILE PHOTO: Samantha Horton/IPB News)

Downtown Indianapolis will go this summer without the thousands of game enthusiasts who attend Gen Con. On Tuesday, the tabletop game convention announced it was canceling the in-person event in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

Coronavirus Outbreak Closes Southern Indiana Poultry Plant

May 19, 2020
(AP Photo/Darron Cummings)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — About 100 workers at a southern Indiana poultry processing plant have tested positive for the coronavirus in an outbreak that has it closed until at least Wednesday. Farbest Foods says the nearly 600 workers at its Huntingburg plant were tested on Friday and the company was working Monday and Tuesday to notify healthy employees on when to return. Farbest’s plant is at least the fourth Indiana meat or poultry processing plant that has faced outbreaks of COVID-19 among its workforce.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Indiana Supreme Court refused to tell Gov. Eric Holcomb whether he can appoint a replacement for Attorney General Curtis Hill.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 14 additional confirmed deaths on Monday, bringing the state’s total to 1,621. The state announced more than 28,000 total confirmed cases, with nearly 184,000 Hoosiers tested.

WVPE Stock Photos

The University of Notre Dame announced plans on Monday for students to return to campus for the fall 2020 semester. Students have been taking online classes since mid-March due to the pandemic.

Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

A homeless tent city popped up recently near downtown South Bend and City officials say they’re working toward a solution for the homeless who are living there. 

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

Indiana has its first confirmed case of a new condition known as multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children.


The Indiana Department of Environmental Management is facing a class action lawsuit over who can get reimbursed for cleaning up leaking underground gas tanks through a state fund.

US Autoworkers Return, While Possible Vaccine Shows Promise

May 18, 2020
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

WARREN, Mich. (AP) — More than 130,000 autoworkers returned to factories across the U.S. in one of the biggest steps yet to restart American industry, while an experimental vaccine against the coronavirus showed encouraging results in an extremely small and preliminary study. Overall, new cases of the novel coronavirus in the U.S. were declining slightly, though infectious disease specialists worried about spikes as states loosen restrictions.

Whitmer: Retail Businesses In Northern Michigan Can Reopen

May 18, 2020
Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Gov. Gretchen Whitmer has announced that retail businesses in much of northern Michigan, including restaurants and bars, can reopen starting Friday. The bars and restaurants will have to limit their capacity to 50%. Groups will be required to stay 6 feet apart and servers will wear face coverings. The move affects two of the eight regions identified in the governor’s gradual reopening plan amid the coronavirus pandemic. One covers the Upper Peninsula and another includes 17 counties in the northern Lower Peninsula, including the Traverse City area.

Photo Provided by the University of Notre Dame

Notre Dame has announced that in-person mass will resume at the Basilica on campus as of Sunday.   

(You can read the university's announcement below.)

Auto Plants Reopening In Michigan Today

May 18, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The Detroit Three automakers’ assembly lines are running again starting today. Workers are mixed about whether they feel it’s safe enough because of the potential for spreading the coronavirus.

Paul Sancya / AP / File

A Michigan Court of Claims judge could decide as soon as this week whether the state of emergency declared by Governor Whitmer is invalid.