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Michigan Manufacturers Begin Re-Opening Factories

May 11, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

The State of Michigan is allowing some plants back online today, even as it orders residents to remain at home to limit the spread of the coronavirus.

 

STEVE CARMODY / MICHIGAN RADIO

The coronavirus pandemic has sparked financial hardship for many in Michiana, including cities. South Bend, Niles, and Elkhart are preparing for a large hit to their budgets.

Michigan Reports Coronavirus Death Toll Reaches 4,551

May 10, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan officials have reported 25 additional coronavirus-related deaths, increasing the state's outbreak death toll to 4,551 people. The Michigan Department of Health and Human Services on Sunday also reported 382 more cases of COVID-19 infections been confirmed. That brings the statewide total to 47,138 people with confirmed coronavirus cases. Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Thursday extended Michigan's stay-at-home order through May 28, though manufacturers may go back to work Monday. Bars and restaurants have asked to be allowed to reopen May 29.

 

Indiana's Confirmed, Presumed Virus Death Toll Tops 1,500

May 10, 2020
(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — State health officials say Indiana’s death toll from confirmed or presumed coronavirus illnesses has topped 1,500 people. The Indiana State Department of Health on Sunday reported 17 newly confirmed COVID-19 deaths that occurred between Wednesday and Saturday, along with one additional death considered coronavirus related by doctors but without confirmation of the illness from test results.

Two Great Lakes Break Water Level Records In April

May 10, 2020

TRAVERSE CITY, Mich. (AP) — Water levels at two upper Great Lakes have broken records as predicted, and they're expected to get higher in coming months. The Traverse City Record-Eagle reports that Lakes Michigan and Huron set new water level records in April and were 13.4 inches higher than last year at this time and almost 3 inches higher than the record set in 1986.

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

DELPHI, Ind. (AP) — A pork processing plant in north-central Indiana has resumed limited production, two weeks after company officials temporarily suspended operations amid the coronavirus pandemic. Workers returned Friday to Indiana Packers Corp.'s Delphi plant following the completion of coronavirus testing of its 2,267 workers and contractors. Indiana Packers says in a statement that the testing found 301 plant workers who tested positive for the coronavirus. That's about 13% of the plant's workforce. The testing was completed with help from Carroll County and state health officials.

Richard Drew/AP Photo/File

INDIANAPOLIS — A federal investigation into how Indiana's safety agency reviewed an Amazon employee's death in 2017 has found it prematurely released the company from citations and fines. According to The Indianapolis Star, the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration gave advice to Amazon representatives on how to dismiss safety violation orders without proper evidence.

Virus Takes Higher Indiana Death Toll, Cuts State Revenues

May 9, 2020
(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's budget director says state revenue collections for April fell nearly $1 billion short of projections amid the economic downturn brought on by the coronavirus outbreak. Budget Director Cristopher Johnston says collections for the month were forecast last December at just over $2.2 billion but came in $964 million under target, in part because of delayed income tax filings and the loss of all casino taxes amid social distancing steps to slow the spread of the outbreak. 

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

During the weekly St. Joseph County, Indiana COVID-19 update Friday, officials continued to stress caution as businesses start reopening and people begin venturing out. 

(FILE PHOTO: Peter Balonon-Rosen/IPB News)

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos's latest guidance on emergency relief money for K-12 schools has education leaders puzzled. The U.S. Department of Education's recent directive means private schools will get a larger share of emergency aid funding – while low-income schools will get less.

(C-SPAN Clip Screenshot)

Vice President Mike Pence has come under fire after video of him delivering personal protective equipment (PPE) to a Virginia nursing home caught him asking to carry empty boxes "for the camera."

(WFIU News file photo)

A class action complaint has been filed against the Indiana University Board of Trustees for COVID-19 related tuition reimbursements. 

The complaint was filed May 6, by Indianapolis-based Cox Law Office and Charleston, South Carolina-based Anastopoulo Law Firm in the Monroe County Circuit Court. 

The plaintiff is Justin Spiegel, an undergraduate student on the Bloomington campus from Illinois studying informatics, according to the complaint. 

Michigan Restaurants Push Governor For May 29 Reopening

May 8, 2020
Credit Jennifer Weingart / WVPE

  

(Courtesy of the Myers campaign)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Democratic gubernatorial candidate Dr. Woody Myers has selected former state Rep. Linda Lawson to be his running mate as his choice for lieutenant governor. Lawson was the first woman to lead a caucus in the Indiana House when she was chosen as minority leader in 2012. She also was the first female police officer in the Hammond Police Department, rising to the rank of captain after a long career as a patrol officer and member of the sex crimes and domestic violence units. Lawson moved to Brown County after retiring from the legislature in 2018.

Sean Tackett/WFIU/WTIU

Sherrie Sanders says she last spoke with her husband, George, on April 12. It was Easter Sunday. 

“He told me he was very sick. He had a fever of 102,” she says. “He knew he had [COVID-19], but they weren’t checking him. That’s the last I heard from him.“

Sherrie says her husband has diabetes and other medical issues that make him susceptible to even minor illnesses. “Whenever he gets sick, he’s hospitalized.” 

(Hoosiers By The Numbers)

Just under 44,000 Hoosiers filed initial claims for unemployment benefits last week. While that number declines, the Department of Workforce Development is still struggling to handle high call volumes. 

FILE PHOTO: Doug Jaggers/WFYI

The Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department says a police chase Wednesday ended in a fatal officer-involved shooting.  IMPD provided updates on the incident at a press conference Thursday. 

Police say Dreasjon Reed was driving erratically when police started pursuing the vehicle he was driving. Reed streamed the chase live on Facebook while thousands of people watched. 

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 31 additional confirmed deaths on Thursday, bringing the state’s total to 1,295. The state announced more than 22,500 total confirmed cases, with nearly 125,000 Hoosiers tested.

(Justin Hicks/IPB News)

State officials say bar owners across Indiana have to use “common sense,” in part, to decide whether they’re allowed to reopen soon.

FILE PHOTO: Peter Balonon-Rosen/IPB News

Because some businesses have shut down due to COVID-19, states in the central part of the country are using less energy. That likely means cleaner air from utilities. 

Screenshot of televised news conference

Today, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an Executive Order to extend Michigan’s Stay Home, Stay Safe order to May 28. The governor’s order will allow manufacturing workers, including those at Michigan’s Big 3 auto companies, to resume work on Monday, May 11 as part of her MI Safe Start Plan. 

Today an email was sent to students, parents and other members of the Purdue University community outlining further plans for a return to campus for in-person classes in August. The plan calls for eliminating any breaks during the semester and once students go home for Thanksgiving, having them stay at home. The remainder of the semester would then be completed remotely. 

Screenshot from YouTube video released by Elkhart Police of burglary

Elkhart Police released a video created from surveillance images of an April 28th early morning burglary at North End Cycle. In the video you can see mutliple individuals running in the store to load up bikes from the business into a U-Haul truck they parked outside the business.

69K File For Michigan Unemployment; Pandemic Total Now 1.3M

May 7, 2020
(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Nearly 69,000 people filed initial claims for unemployment last week, bringing Michigan's seven-week total in the coronavirus pandemic to more than 1.3 million. The number of new claims dropped for the fourth straight week but still approached the weekly high recorded in the Great Depression, according to federal data released Thursday. The state Unemployment Insurance Agency has said more than 1.1 million jobless have been paid benefits. To expedite claims for people waiting in a queue for help, Gov.

Annacaroline Caruso / WVPE Public Radio

The St. Joseph County Jail in South Bend is on lockdown after a new inmate tested positive for COVID-19. This is the jail’s first confirmed COVID-19 case.

Indiana Jobless Claims Top 600,000 During Virus Outbreak

May 7, 2020
(AP Photo/Michael Conroy)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Almost 44,000 people applied for unemployment benefits in Indiana last week from business shutdowns caused by the coronavirus outbreak. Federal statistics released Thursday show Indiana has had about 612,000 people seek jobless aid over the past seven weeks. Last week’s applications were the fewest the state has received during that period _ but still about 15 times more than Indiana’s weekly pace before widespread business shutdowns began in mid-March. Indiana Gov.

Billy Joel Concert At Notre Dame Rescheduled To 2021

May 7, 2020
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP

Notre Dame has announced that the Billy Joel concert originally scheduled for next month at Notre Dame Stadium has been rescheduled. The new date is June 26, 2021. Ticket refunds will be available.

Annacaroline Caruso/WVPE News

Saint Mary's College announced online on the school's website that plans are being made to have students return to campus in the fall for in-person instruction.

The following statement was posted on the college's site on May 6:

(Joe Hren, WFIU/WTIU News)

The head of the American Hotel and Lodging Association says half of the hotels in the U.S. could close because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

The two biggest hotels in Indianapolis suspended operations more than a month ago. And in college towns across the state, hotels are missing out on one of their biggest money making times of the year – graduation season.

The pandemic has caused an 80-percent drop in hotel bookings nationwide. Visit Bloomington Executive Director Mike McAfee says within a few blocks of the courthouse square are about 700 hotel rooms.

Michigan AG Says Guns May Be Banned At Capitol In Lansing

May 7, 2020
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya File)

BREAKING: Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel says guns may be banned in the state Capitol. Nessel said so in a letter today (Fri) to the Michigan Capitol Commission. The commission sets rules for the public areas of the building. The commission has an online meeting scheduled for Monday.
 

This action is being considered after a large number of people carrying guns and dressed in para-military gear were among those who gathered for a protest last week at the Capitol.    (Read more below from a press release issued by the State of Michigan.) 

Michigan Attorney General Dana Nessel has sent a letter to the Michigan State Capitol Commission confirming that the Commission has the legal authority to prohibit the presence of firearms in the state Capitol, if it chooses to do so. That authority is consistent with the current state of the law regarding firearms in public buildings and an informational letter sent to Speaker Chatfield in 2018. 

“The Capitol is a place for free expression of thought and debate. But the freedom of civil discourse does not imply the right to threaten others with harm or violence,” Nessel said. “In our current environment and as the chief law enforcement officer in this state, I am gravely concerned for the safety of both our legislative members and the public at large. 

“With exceptions to those tasked with protecting our Capitol, the only way to assure that a violent episode does not occur is to act in concert with the many other state legislatures around the nation that have banned firearms in their capital facilities. The employees at our Capitol and members of the public who visit are entitled to all the same protections as one would have at a courthouse and many other public venues. Public safety demands no less, and a lawmaker’s desire to speak freely without fear of violence requires action be taken.” 

The Commission, which manages the Capitol grounds and building, is made up of the Secretary of the Senate, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, two individuals jointly appointed by the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House, and two individuals appointed by the Governor.  

Nessel wrote in her letter to commissioners that the Commission has the legal authority to ensure the “safety of the visiting public, as well as those who carry out the People’s work by prohibiting firearms within the Capitol building.” 

The Attorney General notes that the regulation of firearms generally stems from state statute, but the prohibition of firearms from public spaces does not need to originate from the Legislature.  

The Michigan Supreme Court, for example, adopted an administrative order that bars firearms from any courtroom, office or other space used for official court business or by judicial employees without prior approval. That order applies to open carry of firearms as well, Nessel notes, as it was cited in a Court of Appeals decision in an open carry challenge to a school district prohibition of weapons on school grounds. 

“The concept of ‘open carry’ in Michigan law does not provide the unfettered right to bring firearms into any public space,” Nessel wrote in her letter. 

The Supreme Court also ruled that state law, which preempts regulations by local units of government, does not apply to school districts. Therefore, a non-local unit of government – such as a school district, the Supreme Court or the Michigan State Capitol Commission – may lawfully impose regulations that impact firearms. 

Nessel notes in her letter that residents are currently permitted to enter the Capitol while clad in body armor and armed with high-capacity loaded semi-automatic assault weapons. 

“This is permitted during active legislative sessions and during moments of controversial debate where emotions and passions are known to run hot,” she wrote. “At the risk of stating the obvious, this is an absurdly dangerous combination that would cause the heart of any security expert to skip a beat.” 

During recent protests at the Capitol, many residents have been carrying firearms leading lawmakers and other Capitol employees to express that they felt threatened and feared for their safety. 

Nessel’s position on restrictions to open carry and weapons possession is consistent with guidance provided to House leaders from the previous administration of the Attorney General’s office

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