Courtesy of NIPSCO

A northwest Indiana utility plans to remove toxic coal ash from five of its ponds at its Michigan City coal plant. NIPSCO plans to excavate the waste and put it in a lined landfill at its other coal plant, R.M. Schahfer Generating Station in Wheatfield. 

Tyson Foods via AP

LOGANSPORT, Ind. (AP) — Tyson Foods Inc. will temporarily close its meatpacking plant in north-central Indiana after 146 employees tested positive for COVID-19. The Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Logansport produced 3 million pounds of pork daily. Tyson suspended production Monday to allow for cleaning and sanitizing. The plant reopened Tuesday and is running at limited capacity because of decreased worker attendance. The company on Wednesday announced it will stop all production by Saturday.

Coronavirus Was In Indiana Weeks Before Anyone Knew It

Apr 23, 2020
Justin Hicks/WVPE

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s health commissioner says the state's first coronavirus infections occurred at least a couple weeks before the first illness among a resident was confirmed in early March. That would indicate the virus could have been spreading around Indiana for perhaps six weeks before the statewide stay-at-home order took effect March 25.  Health Commissioner Dr. Kristina Box said Wednesday that infections have been tracked to at least mid-February. Indiana’s coronavirus death toll reached 661 as the state health department added 31 newly reported deaths on Wednesday. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 31 additional deaths Wednesday, bringing the state’s total to 661. The state announced more than 12,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 69,000 Hoosiers tested.

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio


A group at the University of Notre Dame is bringing a global nature observation challenge to Michiana starting this year.

The City Nature Challenge is usually a competition for people around the world to find and identify as many plants, animals and insects as possible this Friday through Monday. 

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana’s “Stay-At-Home” order has been in place for about a month, drastically reducing operations in the hospitality industry. Restaurants in the state are estimated to lose nearly $1 billion in sales in April.

Photos courtesy of Indiana University, Earth Charter Indiana, and Central Indiana Regional Transportation Authority

Wednesday is the 50th Earth Day. To mark the occasion, the Hoosier Environmental Council hosted a roundtable discussion with three environmental pioneers who once worked at the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. 

Justin Hicks/IPB News

State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box says there are enough labs up and running across Indiana to do the number of necessary COVID-19 tests the state is aiming for – 6,300 a day.


Businesses have closed, people are staying home, and life has come to a screeching halt due to the coronavirus crisis. On this Earth Day, there may be unintended benefits the pandemic is having on the environment.

Pence To Visit Kokomo GM Plant To Highlight Ventilators

Apr 22, 2020
Photo provided by General Motors and Ventec Life Systems

KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) — Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Kokomo next week to highlight the production of ventilators during the coronavirus pandemic. Pence’s office announced Wednesday that the former Indiana governor on April 30 will visit a General Motors electronics plant that has been retooled to make the medical devices. Additional details will be released later. On March 18, GM began working with Seattle-area ventilator maker Ventec Life Systems to increase the company’s production.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says she likely will extend her stay-at-home order beyond April 30 even if she relaxes restrictions to reopen parts of the economy. Whitmer said Wednesday that she hopes to talk more later this week about loosening the rules.

Michigan  has notified state employees of temporary layoffs necessitated by a drop in tax revenues due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The state will furlough 2,900, or less than 1%, of the 48,000-person workforce for two weeks to save about $5 million.

Niele Ivey To Muffet McGraw: "I'm Here Because Of You"

Apr 22, 2020
Screenshot from virtual news conference

NEW (Posted Apr. 23 at 1:05pm): 

The University of Notre Dame officially introduced Niele Ivey as the new head women’s basketball coach today.


Ivey played for Notre Dame. She was a part of the team that earned the Irish their first NCAA tournament win in 2001. Following the win, she spent five seasons playing for the WNBA on the Indiana Fever.  

Ivey returned to Notre Dame as an assistant coach under Muffet McGraw in 2007. She left ND to spend the last season as an assistant coach for the NBA’s Memphis Grizzlies.

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


Spectrum Health Lakeland is starting to put select appointments and procedures back on the calendar as the impact of social distancing measures begin to show in local COVID-19 numbers.


Elective procedures are not part of the change, and any emergency or urgent care will still be prioritized. But some procedures that could be safely postponed for a few weeks, but not longer, will start to be scheduled at Lakeland facilities.

Ball State University on Facebook

Ball State University says it will likely reschedule graduation ceremonies cancelled because of COVID-19 restrictions for either the summer or the fall, depending on what state recommendations are still in place.

When Ball State cancelled its early May spring commencement, it sent out a survey on what to do next.  The school says the more than 4,000 responses overwhelmingly showed people wanted an in-person ceremony, not a virtual effort.

Photo provided by the State of Michigan

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer says President Donald Trump’s plan to suspend immigration is distracting from efforts to combat the coronavirus pandemic and part of “inconsistent messages” that scare people and put the public in greater danger.

The Democrat told The Associated Press Tuesday that pronouncements about immigration policy now are “scary” for immigrants, those hoping to immigrate and others.

Justin Hicks/IPB News

The Indiana State Department of Health reported 61 additional deaths Tuesday, bringing the state’s total to 630. The state announced more than 12,000 total confirmed cases, with more than 67,000 Hoosiers tested.


Those with underlying health conditions are most vulnerable to COVID-19, the disease caused by the novel coronavirus. The virus is especially dangerous to people with heart disease.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana House Democrats sent a letter to the governor’s office asking the state to better protect the safety of essential workers.The state’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration has seen thousands of non-formal COVID-19 complaints related to various safety issues in the past month.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

Indiana State Health Commissioner Dr. Kris Box announced Tuesday that at least 43 more deaths linked to long-term care facilities have happened in the past week. The 162 deaths from 74 facilities that the state health commissioner said had occurred represent nearly 26% of Indiana’s COVID-19 fatalities.

Earlier today the President of Purdue, Mitch Daniels, announced that the university is planning to hold fall 2020 semester classes in person. 

Jennifer Weingart / WVPE Public Radio

Beaches around the world are usually busy in warmer weather, that can be dangerous during a pandemic. Some beach towns in Southwest Michigan are preparing to stay safe in case the coronavirus crisis continues through summer.

Earth Day Climate Protest Goes Digital

Apr 21, 2020
Rebecca Thiele/IPB News

A statewide climate strike is going digital this Earth Day. Wednesday marks the 50th anniversary of the first Earth Day in the U.S. Organizers of the event want Hoosiers to remember the global climate crisis isn’t stopping for the pandemic. 

(Courtesy of Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and Hoosiers For Adam Krupp)

There’s been a shakeup in the Republican race for Indiana Attorney General. Decatur County Prosecutor Nate Harter announced his bid Tuesday while former Department of Revenue Commissioner Adam Krupp dropped out.

Harter is in his second term as Decatur County Prosecutor. The conservative lawyer says he’s running for Attorney General because the office is the “tip of the spear” or “last line of defense against big government and the radical left.”

Indiana Governor Easing Virus Restrictions On Surgeries

Apr 21, 2020

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana’s governor is easing restrictions on hospitals from performing elective surgeries even as the state health commissioner remains concerned over whether coronavirus infections are slowing in the state.

Gov. Eric Holcomb said Monday while he was extending the statewide stay-at-home order until May 1, hospitals would be allowed starting Tuesday to resume procedures to diagnose and treat medical conditions.

Justin Hicks / WVPE

More mobile COVID-19 testing events are taking place across Michiana.

Justin Hicks / WVPE Public Radio

Health officials with the St. Joe County Health Dept. in South Bend issued new information about total deaths and cases, including revelations about the extent of an outbreak at one long-term care facility. 

This weekend Gov. Whitmer made the rounds of the Sunday talk shows to talk about her concerns surrounding the lack of adequate COVID-19 testing as it relates to being able to reopen the economy. Whitmer is holding a news conference today at 3pm.  

You can watch it live here. 

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — Purdue University students who oversee a small community farm are raising crops for local food banks to help feed students and local residents alike during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Purdue Student Farm usually sells its produce to Purdue food services for use in the university’s dining service. But the farm found itself without customers after on-campus classes were canceled amid the pandemic.

Courtesy of Indiana Landmarks

Indiana Landmarks awarded $22,900 to help nonprofits and cities around Indiana save meaningful places.

Here are some of the places in the WVPE listening area receiving awards:

People Engaged in Preservation, LaPorte: $3,500 for a rehabilitation study of the 1915 LaCrosse High School in LaCrosse.

City of Knox: $2,500 for a feasibility study and rehabilitation plan for the nineteenth-century commercial building at 8 South Main.

Justin Hicks/WVPE

Hundreds of cars snaked around the University Park Mall in Mishawaka Monday morning to receive free face masks. 

The line of cars stretched out into the road, all waiting to receive a coveted face mask for protection against COVID-19.