St. Joseph County

A St. Joseph County School Embraces Solar Power For Energy

16 hours ago

WALKERTON, Ind. (AP) — A school in northern Indiana expects to be powered by the sun by March. The project at North Liberty Elementary in St. Joseph County is part of a broader effort to improve energy efficiency in the John Glenn district. Principal Randy Romer says the 846 solar panels can be used as an education tool as students learn how output varies depending on the weather. A monitor will be placed in a common area so students can see how much power is being produced.


A bicyclist died in South Bend Friday after colliding with a semi. 

Captured via Facebook Live

St. Joseph County and South Bend City officials were able to offer some positive news at their biweekly COVID-19 update on Friday, Jan. 15. 


The county’s Deputy Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox says the county’s 7-day rolling average of new cases has improved steadily since Thanksgiving, and the post-holiday “bump” in new daily cases has not been dramatic. 


He also says county hospitalizations are at their lowest point since the beginning of October.


Photos provided by St. Joseph Co. Police

St. Joseph County Police announced that two women have been arrested in connection with a string of porch thefts throughout portions of Michiana. 

 (You can read the release from police below.) 

Photo provided by St. Joseph Co. Police


Upon further review, St. Joseph Co. Police now say that two people rescued from a vehicle in a ditch on Dragoon Trail earlier today were not there for two days after all. 

Here is the latest statement from police on a corrected version of the timeline of events: 

After further investigation County Police have received information which questions the original time of the crash. Information given to dispatch by the 911 caller and sent out on to officers was that the two occupants of the Red Dodge Charger in the ditch off Dragoon Trail were trapped for two days. Upon further investigation it is now believed that the occupants were trapped for less than 24 hours. 

The property owner has told county police he was in the field on Monday January 4 around noon and did not see the vehicle. The property owner believes the vehicle likely entered the property after dark on January 4th and missed a curve while driving down the dirt lane. The occupants of the vehicle stated that they were not sure when they crashed or how long they had been trapped.



Today St. Joseph Co. Police released details of a crash in which two people were stranded in a vehicle in a ditch for two days before being found by hunters.

 (You can read details from the release below.) 


St. Joseph County and South Bend city offices will extend limited in-person availability through mid-January due to the pandemic.

(You can read more from a release issued by the City of South Bend below.) 

Based on the recommendation of the St. Joseph County Department of Health, most offices for the City of South Bend and St. Joseph County will continue to limit in-person access to the County-City Building and Courthouse Complex through Friday, January 15, 2020.

St. Joseph County has reported 40 homicides this year, more than any other year since the County Metro Homicide Unit began keeping track in 1993.


St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter says Metro Homicide recorded more than double the number of homicides this year as compared with 2019.

It’s a dramatic jump, but Cotter says St. Joseph County isn’t alone in seeing an increase. 

“Homicides have substantially upticked throughout the United States, especially in areas that have larger populations,” Cotter said.

LOCKPORT TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) — A police cruiser has been stolen and wrecked in southwestern Michigan by a 25-year-old woman who slipped from handcuffs after being arrested earlier for drunken driving. Authorities say the woman had been taken into custody about 3 a.m. Monday after a crash in Lockport Township. She was placed in the rear seat of a St. Joseph sheriff’s office vehicle. After getting free of the handcuffs, she climbed through a partition and into the driver’s seat as deputies searched her vehicle.

(Lauren Chapman/IPB News)

St. Joseph County Health Department officials in South Bend released a new order indicating that the county's face mask mandate that has been in place for months will be extended through the end of March 2021. The previous order was due to expire at the end of 2020. 

Facebook Live

Deputy Health Officer Mark Fox was able to note some positive trends at the St. Joseph County biweekly COVID-19 update on Friday, Dec. 18.


The county's new daily case count has decreased over the last 10 days, which Fox called "some of the best news we've had in a while." The "second-best news," he said, is that the county's 7-day rolling average of new cases is below 200 for the first time since early November.


MISHAWAKA, Ind. (AP) — Relatives of two local teenagers killed in a hit-and-run crash last week as police chased another vehicle remembered the young couple during a candlelight vigil at the crash scene. Nineteen-year-old Clayton McClish and his 18-year-old fiancé, Elizabeth Johnson, died Dec. 2 when McClish's car was struck by a vehicle fleeing police in Mishawaka, just east of South Bend. The driver of that vehicle fled the scene on foot with another male. Both remain at large.

Facebook Live

Now that Thanksgiving is in the rear view mirror and the December holidays loom large, South Bend Mayor James Mueller says, "It's not inevitable we will have a medical catastrophe." But he reminds area residents that he believes there is "no margin for error." 

"These are gonna be dark days in the winter," he acknowledges as fears continue that more holidays will mean more spikes in local COVID-19 cases. 


8,527 cases and 60 deaths from COVID-19 were reported Wednesday, Dec. 2 by the Indiana State Dept. of Health. The single day number of cases is the most yet since the pandemic started.

A stunning 859 of those new cases reported yesterday were in St. Joseph County alone, doubling the county's previous one-day high of 445 on Nov. 13. Deputy County Health Officer Dr. Mark Fox said the dramatic increase is likely the result of a data glitch. 

The St. Joseph Co. Prosecutor's Office has released information regarding skeletal remains found over the weekend in a creek bed in the North Liberty area.

Screenshot via Facebook Live

Friday St. Joseph County and South Bend leaders provided an update on an ever worsening situation with COVID-19 locally.

Dr. Mark Fox, Deputy Health Officer for St. Joseph County, says he expects the county will move into a "red" designation from the Indiana State Dept. of Health by the Wednesday after Thanksgiving. County Commissioner Andy Kostielney echoed that concern saying that he is also concerned about hospitals being able to provide care. 

Jeanie Lindsay/IPB News

After the St. Joseph Co. Health Dept. provided guidance Wednesday suggesting that schools move high schools and if possible middle schools, to online learning only, School City of Mishawaka and PHM have taken action. In notices posted on both schools websites, announcements were made to indicate that high school and middle schools would move to virtual learning only through mid-January of 2021.

The schools will move to virtual learning as of Mon., Nov. 23.

South Bend City offices and St. Joseph County offices in the County-City Building and the Courthouse will be restricting access starting next week through the end of 2020 due to COVID-19.

St. Joseph County businesses can now be fined up to $250 for failing to enforce mask-wearing among employees. The County Board of Commissioners voted 2-1 to pass the enforcement order Tuesday morning. 

District 3 Commissioner Deb Fleming voted against the ordinance, citing her concern about what she says is a lack of scientific evidence that face masks effectively slow the spread of COVID-19. Many scientists and doctors claim otherwise.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — At least two more Michigan legislators have tested positive as the coronavirus continues surging to record heights, including one who attended Senate session and committee hearings on Thursday. That was same day the House canceled votes due to infections among members. Those with COVID-19 include Sen. Kim LaSata and Rep. Ann Bollin, both Republicans.

LaSata represents Michigan's 21st Senate District which includes all of Berrien, Cass, and St. Joseph counties. 


Just over a week after Election Day, St. Joseph County’s offices are seeing a small spike in COVID-19 cases among some employees.

County Health Officer Bob Einterz couldn’t say how many employees were infected or affected by the virus. But in a workplace as large as the County-City Building, he said there’s bound to be some cases. 

“It’s inevitable that employers of this size will be seeing cases of COVID," Einterz said. "With the surge happening within our county, it’s simply inevitable.”

UPDATE: On Sunday Indiana Reports Nearly 7,000 New COVID-19 Cases, 22 Deaths

Nov 12, 2020

NEW (Nov. 15):

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Public health officials have reported another 6,844 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Indiana and 22 additional deaths. The Indiana State Department of Health on Sunday reported 53,776 administered tests with an 11.3% average positive test rate over seven days. Since the beginning of the pandemic, there have been 251,597 confirmed cases in Indiana and 4,660 deaths. Starting Sunday, most of the state will fall under a new governor’s order reinstating limits on crowd sizes after weeks of steep increases in coronavirus-related deaths and hospitalizations. 


Sunday, Nov. 8, the Indiana State Dept. of Health issued new COVID-19 data. It shows that on Saturday, Nov. 7th St. Joseph County hit a new all-time high in COVID-19 cases with 300 cases reported. Hospitalizations in District 2, which covers most of the Indiana counties in the WVPE listening area, are at record high numbers of COVID-19 patients. As of Saturday, 283 coronavirus patients are being treated as inpatients.

Gemma DiCarlo/WVPE

Over 116,000 ballots were cast in St. Joe County, surpassing the 113,000 cast in 2016. 

Democrat Donald Westerhausen lost his second bid against Republican incumbent Dale Devon for the District 5 State House seat by less than 1.5 percentage points. 

Republican Jake Teshka flipped the District 7 state house seat, which has long been held by Democrats. He defeated incumbent Ross Deal by 8 percentage points. 

Screenshot from Facebook Live



Those were some of the words St. Joseph Co. Health Officer, Dr. Mark Fox, used to describe his reaction to the latest COVID-19 stats the county is facing.

NEW (Nov.5 )

The St. Joseph Co. Clerk's office has released the final count of unofficial vote results as of the end of the day on Thurs., Nov. 5th.

The full results are below.

Gemma DiCarlo / WVPE Public Radio

Polls opened in Indiana at 6 a.m. this morning, with long lines forming throughout the morning at some vote centers in St. Joseph County. 

Emily Collins was in line to vote at McKinley Elementary School in South Bend. She said she didn’t think she had ever seen it as busy as it was this morning. 

“I’m excited to see this many people out," Collins said. "And I don’t know if this is because people can vote anywhere, so there’s more people from other precincts coming, or if it’s because of this election.”


The St. Joseph County Prosecutor's Office has announced that the father of a 3-year-old who was dropped off at the ER and died has been charged with the child's murder. 

Trevion Dawon Shaver, 21, is already in custody on an unrelated charge in Michigan. According to charging documents he dropped his 3-year-old daughter, Kardie Weathersby, off at the ER at Memorial Hospital in South Bend earlier this month and left. It was later determined she sustained a brain injury and died of blunt force trauma. An officer quoted in the charging documents also says Shaver admitted to the girl's mother that he had gone "overboard" in disciplining her. 

Justin Hicks/WVPE

St. Joseph County is offering the first weekend of early voting this weekend. Voters can go to the County-City Building in downtown South Bend or the County Services Building in Mishawaka on Lincolnway West Saturday, Oct. 24th from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Oct. 25th from noon to 4 p.m. 

 Weekend voting will be offered next weekend in St. Joseph County as well. Early voting opportunities will still be available weekdays at the South Bend and Mishawaka locations mentioned above from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. through Nov. 1st. On Mon., Nov. 2nd (the last day of early voting) hours will be from 8 a.m. to noon.

Facebook Live

According to Dr. Mark Fox with the St. Joseph Co. Health Department, the county is seeing the highest number of patients in the hospital as compared with any previous point in the pandemic. He says there has also been a significant increase in deaths from COVID-19 in the county in September and October. For example, October has been the deadliest month so far. The virus has claimed 49 lives and the month isn't over. Last month, in September, 24 people died from coronavirus in the county. Fox says the increase in deaths is largely due to cases among individuals in nursing homes. 

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana's Attorney General is calling out the St. Joseph Co. Health Dept. for asking the county's faith leaders to  move their services online due to COVID-19. This comes as earlier this week St. Joseph County was moved into the more serious "orange" category for COVID-19 by the Indiana State Dept. of Health. Orange means that there is medium to high community spread of the virus occurring. The county also found that a cluster analysis done within the last seven weeks showed five outbreaks associated with church gatherings.