St. Joseph County


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. 


Screenshot captured via Zoom

The St. Joseph County Commissioners voted to establish the county’s redistricting process Tuesday.

State and local lawmakers are required to redraw the boundaries of their districts once every ten years, based on new census data. 


In August, the county commissioners hired Indianapolis law firm Kroger, Gardis and Regas to help with the process. The firm is managed by former Republican state House Speaker Brian Bosma.


Jakob Lazzaro / WVPE


Created in August 2020 as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Motels4Now program provides low-barrier shelter for the chronically homeless in the Knights Inn at 3233 Lincoln Way West.


The Supreme Court struck down the CDC’s nationwide eviction moratorium last week, but emergency rental assistance is still available

St. Joseph County ERA Administrator Corey Szczypka said Tuesday the county is currently processing 343 rental assistance applications and has another 630 waiting in the online portal


Princeton University Eviction Lab

Judy Fox is a University of Notre Dame law professor and directs the school’s Economic Justice Clinic. She’s represented low-income clients on eviction cases for more than two decades but said now is the worst she’s ever seen.

Bird Feeders Allowed Again In Some Indiana Counties

Aug 9, 2021
Joe Myers/Wikimedia Commons

Though we still don’t know what’s causing a mysterious illness in songbirds, the state said residents in most Indiana counties can fill their bird feeders and baths again. But the Department of Natural Resources has asked 16 counties to keep feeders down while the investigation continues.

The St. Joseph County Department of Health reported Friday that the West Nile Virus has been found in northern Osceola. 

There are no human cases so far, but health officials still recommend taking personal protective measures and taking measures to eliminate potential mosquito breeding grounds.


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

St. Joseph County logo

The St. Joseph County Council is set to discuss its first round of spending from the American Rescue Plan Act Tuesday evening. About $10.5 million of the county’s nearly $53-million allotment is on the table. 

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

St. Joseph County health officials say two cases of the highly contagious Delta variant have been identified in the county so far.

At the most recent board of health meeting Wednesday, Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said those two cases occurred back in May. He said there’s a significant lag time between when the state samples cases and when a variant case is reported. 


“It’s a minimum of two weeks, but more realistically, it’s six weeks,” Fox said. “So when we get the report of a variant, we know what ancient history was.”

flickr/Charles Williams / Flickr -

St. Joseph County and South Bend leaders voted this week to opt out of Indiana’s settlement plan for lawsuits against opioid companies.

Both the county and city have pending lawsuits against different opioid manufacturers, marketers and distributors. They’re seeking redress for the effects of the opioid epidemic on local communities, as well as financial compensation for public funds used to address those effects.


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

Coronavirus cases in St. Joseph County are at the lowest level since the start of the pandemic, and the county’s COVID-19 tracking metrics are all in the green for the first time ever.

(Provided by IU Health)

If you live in St. Joseph County, you’ll have an opportunity to get the COVID-19 vaccine nearly every day this week. The Indiana Department of Health will be hosting two mobile vaccination centers in South Bend. 

The first will be on Tuesday and Wednesday at La Casa de Amistad on South Michigan Street. The second will run from Thursday to Saturday at the Civil Rights Heritage Center on West Washington Street. 


St. Joseph County logo

If you’ve struggled to pay rent in St. Joseph County during the COVID-19 pandemic, help is available through the county’s emergency rental assistance program.

County Commissioner Andy Kostielney said the program has been “open and active for a couple of months,” but the county is now able to take on more applications through its online portal. 


He said the county has already paid over $1 million in assistance since the program opened.


Screenshot captured via Facebook

At the last regular COVID-19 update on Friday, St. Joseph County and South Bend leaders said the tide of the pandemic has turned decisively in the county.

Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says the county’s seven-day rolling average of new cases is at its lowest point since September of last year, with the exception of a “historical data dump” on May 15 that resulted in a one-day case spike. 


Fox said those cases date back to February, and aren’t a result of the CDC’s updated mask guidance.


(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

The Indiana legislature’s new law restricting local health officials’ emergency powers won’t immediately affect St. Joseph County, but Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said it will have consequences in future public health emergencies.


The law requires local health officials to get approval from elected officials if they want to enact emergency rules that are stricter than the state’s. State legislators overrode Gov. Eric Holcomb's veto on the bill on Monday.


Captured via Facebook Live

St. Joseph County Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox expressed concern at the county's COVID-19 update on Friday that vaccinations in the county might be plateauing.


He said there are now 30 distribution sites around the county, and enough available appointments for everyone who wants a shot to be able to get one.


However, he said the county’s vaccination rate still isn’t rising as steeply as it has been over the last several weeks.


The St. Joseph Co. Health Dept. has just released information indicating the local face mask order will be extended through May 27. However, it appears the face mask order will end for good on May 27. The public health order says it will not be "renewed, revised or extended beyond May 27, 2021."

You can read more in the release below. 


Monday morning, St. Joseph Co. health officials announced another new variant of the coronavirus has been detected in the county. 

Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said the "California" variant is less contagious than the U.K. variant, which was identified in the county earlier this month. But, he said it’s still about 20 percent more contagious than the original strain, and it doesn’t seem to be as sensitive to the current vaccines.


Fox said that shouldn't stop people from getting their shots. He said they’ll still provide some protection, and will ultimately keep new variants from emerging.


“Even though this variant may not be as responsive to the vaccines, they will help decrease the conditions that allow different variants to flourish,” Fox said.


Fox said if community members want to stop the spread of more contagious variants, all they have to do is carefully follow the mitigation strategies – wearing a mask, washing their hands, and keeping their distance from anyone outside their household.

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

Leaders from Elkhart, St. Joseph, Marshall and Kosciusko counties came together on Tuesday to oppose state legislation they say would divert money from public schools.

Representatives from over 20 local school districts attended a collaborative event hosted by Strong Public Schools For Strong Communities, where local mayors, business leaders, chamber officials and community members took turns reading from a four-county declaration to Indiana legislators and Governor Eric Holcomb.

Drugs, Guns & Cash Seized In Granger Raid

Mar 19, 2021
Photo provided by St. Joseph Co. Police

St. Joseph Co. Police have released information about a drug raid in Granger earlier this week that resulted in seizures of drugs, guns and cash. So far no arrests have been made. 

Screenshot via Facebook Live

As of now, St. Joseph Co. Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says that 10% of the county's residents are fully vaccinated. Deaths from COVID-19 are coming down. The county has only seen two deaths from the virus in March and there were 20 deaths in February of s021. Fox says the number of cases has hit a plateau. He says the U.K. variant that has now been detected in the county is likely to infect more people and may cause more deaths. 

"We don't want to become hysterical, but we don't want to become complacent," Fox said in reference to the B.1.1.7 variant.  

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

St. Joseph County health officials announced Thursday that the more contagious UK strain of the coronavirus had been identified in the county.

Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said the B.1.1.7 strain of the virus is more contagious and, in some cases, more deadly than the original strain. 


“It’s hard to sort out whether there are more cases and that’s why there are more deaths, or if the strain itself is actually more lethal,” he said.


Screenshot captured via YouTube

At the Indiana COVID-19 briefing Wednesday afternoon, state officials announced a new rental assistance program for renters who have suffered financially from the COVID-19 pandemic.


There are a couple of exceptions for local renters, though. Both Elkhart and St. Joseph counties have their own rental assistance programs, meaning renters have to apply through their local government instead of the state program.

Courtesy MACOG

St. Joseph County was recently recognized for being “solar-friendly” and for protecting pollinator habitats in its development projects. The county received the SolSmart Gold designation for meeting national benchmarks to encourage the growth of solar energy. 

SolSmart helps local governments meet those national benchmarks by streamlining zoning approvals and reviewing planning and zoning guidelines. St. Joseph County was recognized for having efficient permitting and zoning processes and training staff on solar energy codes, among other things.

(Joey Mendolia/WFIU/WTIU)

The CDC and FDA authorized the Johnson & Johnson COVID-19 vaccine for emergency use this weekend. Ahead of the vaccine's rollout, local health officials are encouraging residents to get a dose of any approved vaccine once they're eligible.

St. Joseph County health officials are announcing a major expansion in vaccine availability. 

 (You can read more in the release below.) 

Captured via Facebook Live

At St. Joseph County and South Bend’s biweekly COVID-19 update Friday afternoon, South Bend Mayor James Mueller said officials feel that spring is on the way.


“It seems brighter, the weather’s warmer," Mueller said. "That’s both in terms of the actual weather, but also in terms of where we are in this pandemic.”

The Indiana Dept. of Homeland Security shared a video during the state's weekly COVID-19 briefing that highlighted a program to vaccinate homebound Hoosiers. The video focused exclusively on efforts in St. Joseph County and South Bend. 

Watch the video here.

Screenshot from Facebook Live

The latest update on the status of COVID-19 in South Bend and St. Joseph County had all leaders participating in a Friday briefing expressing cautious optimism.   

Metro Homicide Investigating Infant Death

Feb 1, 2021

The Metro Homicide Unit in St. Joseph County is investigating the death of an infant.