COVINGTON, Ind. (WISH) — Coming into the Fountain County Courthouse, people are required to wear a mask, according to the signs on most every door.
The county government has stocked the building with hand sanitizer, and most of the people working the early-voting polls are following COVID-19 health guidelines by wearing masks and doing social distancing.
However, Fountain County Clerk Paula Copenhaver, who is in charge of the election including early voting, is not wearing a mask.
Why isn’t she wearing a mask?
“There are exemptions under the governor’s mandate and, if somebody has an exemption, it is none of my business to why they are not wearing a mask,” Copenhaver told I-Team 8’s Richard Essex. “There are exemption under the governor’s mandate.”
She wouldn’t say what exemption or exemptions apply to her, but she’s made telling statements in the local newspaper.
“I said that I’m part of the government, but I will not be part of the government overreach,” Copenhaver said.
The county clerk claims to not be an “anti-masker” and says if people feel comfortable wearing one, they should.
I-Team 8 talked to courthouse visitor who were not comfortable with the clerk’s actions.
“Well, Fountain County right now is one of the highest in the state of Indiana for cases,” said “Mary,” who chose not to give her last name.
“Mary” wore two masks and two pairs of gloves as she exited the Courthouse.
The COVID-19 positivity rate in Fountain County is 18%, the highest in the state. The drive-thru lanes for COVID-19 testing in Attica at the Fountain and Warren County Health Department were packed Tuesday afternoon.
Tess Milan rode her bike to the drive-thru testing. Diane and Michael Young sat in their car waiting for tests.
Dr. Sean Sharma, the Fountain County health officer, said, “It has been a challenging couple of weeks.”
Sharma says the Health Department had expected an increase in cases, as locals are finally taking the virus seriously.
He also said the department has received complaints about the Fountain County clerk not following the governor’s mask mandate.
The doctor said of the clerk’s actions, “I think it is short-sighted. It is an unfortunate interpretation of the restriction to the governor’s order on masking. I think some people look for any way to get out of safety precautions and I think that is not what we need to be doing at this time.”
News 8 asked Copenhaver if her standing in the community as an elected official meant she should follow the governor’s mandate.
“I’m not going to tell somebody that they have to wear something, that is not my job, especially an elected official,” Copenhaver said.
Fountain County is doing contact tracing and, so far, not found any patterns in positive cases linked to the Courthouse, but the Health Department is keeping a close eye on new cases.
- Indiana State Department of Health coronavirus information (includes phone number to state hotline)
- Sign up for COVID-19 vaccinations in Indiana
- WISH-TV coronavirus coverage
- WISH-TV’s “Gr8 Comeback”
- Original Indiana Back on Track plan
- Revised Stage 3 of Indiana Back on Track plan (May 12-June 13)
- Revised Stage 4 of Indiana Back on Track plan (June 12-July 3)
- Governor’s order, July 1: Stage 4.5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Aug. 26: Extension of Stage 4.5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Sept. 24: Revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan
- Governor’s order, Jan. 28, 2021: 11th renewal of statewide emergency
- Governor’s order, Feb. 25, 2021: 12th renewal of statewide emergency
- Indianapolis government’s COVID-19 Community Resources page
- Gleaners Food Bank distribution sites in Indianapolis area, south central Indiana
- Second Harvest of East Central Indiana “tailgate” food distribution sites
- Food Finders distribution sites in west and north central Indiana
- Coronavirus COVID-19 global cases map from John Hopkins University
- CDC’s coronavirus page
- Marion County Public Health Department coronavirus information
- U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan program
- Indiana PPE Directory (for businesses, nonprofits and schools only)
Indiana coronavirus timeline
With information from the Indiana Department of Health through March 4, 2021, this timeline reflects updated tallies of deaths and positive tests prior to that date.
- March 6, 2020: Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) confirms the first case in Indiana. Officials say the Marion County resident had recently traveled to Boston to attend a BioGen conference as a contractor.
- March 8: ISDH confirms a second case. A Hendricks County adult who had also traveled to the BioGen conference was placed in isolation. Noblesville Schools says a parent and that parent’s children will self-quarantine after attending an out-of-state event where someone tested positive.
- March 9: Avon Community School Corp. says a student on March 8 tested positive.
- March 10: ISDH launches an online tracker. Ball State University basketball fans learn the Mid-American Conference tourney will have no fans in the stands. Three businesses operating nursing homes in Indiana announce they will no longer allow visitors.
- March 11: The Indianapolis-based NCAA announces the Final Four basketball tournaments will happen with essential staff and limited family attendance. The Big Ten announces all sports events, including the men’s basketball tournament at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, will have no fans starting March 12. Ball State University suspends in-person classes the rest of the spring semester. NBA suspends all games, including the Indiana Pacers, until further notice. Butler University and the University of Indianapolis extend spring break, after which they will have virtual classes.
- March 12: Gov. Eric Holcomb announces new protections that led to extended public school closings and the cancellation of large events across the state. The NCAA cancels its basketball tournaments. The Big Ten suspends all sporting events through the winter and spring seasons. The league including the Indy Fuel hockey team suspends its season. Indy Eleven says it will reschedule four matches. Indianapolis’ annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade is canceled.
- March 13: The Indiana High School Athletic Association postpones the boys basketball tournament. Wayzata Home Products, a Connersville cabinet maker, shuts down and lays off its entire workforce due to market uncertainty. Holcomb announces actions including the elimination of Medicaid co-pays for COVID-19 testing and the lifting of limits on the number of work hours per day for drivers of commercial vehicles. Franklin College says it will begin online classes March 18 and empty residence halls of students in two days. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis closes indefinitely. The Indianapolis Public Library joins other libraries across Indiana and closes all facilities indefinitely.
- March 14: The Indiana Gaming Commission says all licensed gaming and racing operations will close in two days for an indefinite period.
- March 15: Indiana had its first death. St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis announces it will suspend all elective, non-urgent surgeries.
- March 16: Indiana had its second death. Gov. Holcomb announced the first Hoosier death. He closes bars, restaurants and nightclubs to in-person patrons, but maintains carryout and delivery services.
- March 17: Indiana had its third and fourth deaths. ISDH announces Indiana’s second death. Gov. Holcomb activates the National Guard. Purdue, Butler and Indiana State universities cancel May commencement ceremonies.
- March 18: Indiana had its fifth death. Eli Lilly and Co. says it will use its labs to speed up testing in Indiana. The 500 Festival suspends all events. Simon Property Group closes all malls and retail properties.
- March 19: Holcomb extends Indiana’s state of emergency into May. Holcomb says he’ll close all K-12 public and nonpublic schools; standardized testing was canceled. The state’s income-tax and corporate-tax payment deadline was extended to July 15. Holcomb says the state will waive job search requirements for people applying for Temporary Assistance to Needy Families. Indiana’s high school boys basketball tournament was canceled.
- March 20: Indiana’s death toll rose to 9. ISDH announces Indiana’s third death. Holcomb moves the state’s primary election to June 2. Indiana University says it is postponing May commencement ceremonies on all campuses.
- March 21: Indiana’s death toll rises to 14. ISDH announces Indiana’s fourth death. Indiana National Guard says it and the state Department of Transportation are distributing medical supplies to hospitals.
- March 22: Indiana’s death toll rises to 18. ISDH announces seven deaths.
- March 23: Indiana’s death toll rises to 23. Holcomb orders nonessential Hoosiers to “stay at home” from March 24-April 7. Eli Lilly & Co. begins drive-thru testing for the coronavirus for health care workers with a doctor’s order. Ball State University cancels the May commencement.
- March 24: Indiana’s death toll rises to 28. Fred Payne of Indiana Workforce Development says any Hoosiers out of work, including temporary layoffs, are eligible to apply for unemployment benefits.
- March 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 33. Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Indianapolis 500 is moved to Aug. 23.
- March 26: Indiana’s death toll rises to 42.
- March 27: Indiana’s death toll rises to 45.
- March 28: Indiana’s death toll rises to 58.
- March 29: Indiana’s death toll rises to 77.
- March 30: Indiana’s death toll rises to 91.
- March 31: Indiana’s death toll rises above 100, to 113. Holcomb extends the limits of bars and restaurants to offer only “to go” and “carryout” through April 6.
- April 1: Officials extend Marion County’s “stay at home” order through May 1. Marion County health officials say they will start COVID-19 testing services for front-line employees.
- April 2: The state announces K-12 schools will be closed for the rest of the school year. Indiana High School Athletic Association cancels spring sports seasons.
- April 3: Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. The Indiana National Guard says it, the Army Corps of Engineers and state health officials will begin to assess sites for alternate health care facilities.
- April 6: The state reports a Madison County nursing home has had 11 deaths. Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order through April 20. He also limits additional businesses to carry-out only.
- April 7: Indiana health commissioner Box says four long-term care facilities have 22 deaths that appear to be related to COVID-19.
- April 10: ISDH said 24 residents of a long-term care facility in Madison County have died from COVID-related illness.
- April 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 500.
- April 16: Indiana records more than 10,000 positive coronavirus tests. The governor says he expects Indiana to experience a reopening in early May.
- April 20: Holcomb extends the “stay at home” order to May 1. The governor also says if the medical supply chain is in good shape, other elective medical procedures can resume April 27.
- April 22: The Tyson facility in Logansport voluntarily closes so 2,200 employees can be tested for COVID-19.
- April 24: The Indianapolis City-County Council approves $25 million to help small businesses. Fishers City Council creates a city health department.
- April 25: ISDH says it will launch an antibody testing study for Hoosiers; thousands of residents were randomly selected to participate in the study.
- April 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 1,000.
- April 28: Indiana officials say they will open COVID-19 testing to more Hoosiers, with expanded criteria and new testing services at 20 sites around the state.
- April 29: The state says it will spent $43 million on contact tracing.
- April 30: Indianapolis extends its stay-at-home order through May 15.
- May 1: Gov. Holcomb announces a phased reopening plan for the state of Indiana. He also extends the “stay at home” order to May 4.
- May 3: Indiana records more than 20,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- May 4: Indiana enters Stage 2 of its Back on Track plan, which excludes Cass County until May 18, and Lake and Marion counties until May 11.
- May 6:The state begins testing for all Hoosiers at 20 sites, with plans to expand the number of sites to 50 in a week. Ivy Tech Community College says it will continue virtual classes when summer courses begin in June.
- May 8: Cris Johnston, director of the Office of Budget and Management, says the state missed out on nearly $1 billion in anticipated April revenues; all state agencies will be given budget-cutting goals. Purdue University OKs plans to reopen for the fall semester with social distancing and other safety measures.
- May 13: The first phase of a state-sponsored study of the coronavirus estimated about 186,000 Hoosiers had COVID-19 or the antibodies for the novel virus by May 1. Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett announced plans for limited reopenings of worship services, retail establishments, libraries and restaurants.
- May 15: Simon Property Group reopens Castleton Square Mall, Circle Centre Mall, and Fashion Mall at Keystone
- May 18: Indiana reports its first case of multisystem inflammatory syndrome in a child. The Farbest Foods turkey-processing plant in Huntingburg is closed for three days; 91 people had tested positive there.
- May 21: Indiana records more than 30,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- May 22: Indiana advances to Stage 3 of the Back on Track reopening plan. Indianapolis closes portions of five streets to allow restaurants to reopen with outdoor dining only.
- May 26: Indiana’s death toll rises above 2,000.
- May 27: Indiana University says the fall semester will have in-person and online courses, plus an adjusted calendar through May 2021. Ball State University says the fall semester will be 13 straight weeks of in-person classes with no day off on Labor Day and no fall break.
- May 29: Places of worship in Marion County can begin holding indoor services at 50% capacity with proper social distancing. Jim Schellinger, Indiana secretary of commerce, said the federal Paycheck Protection Program has made 73,430 loans in Indiana totaling $9,379,164,461, the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loan program has made 5,070 loans in Indiana totaling $445,428,500, and the federal Economic Injury Disaster Loans Advance program has made 38,365 grants in Indiana totaling $136,554,000.
- June 1: Marion County restaurants begins serving customers indoors and outdoors with 50% capacity. Marion County salons, tattoo parlors reopen by appointment only. Marion County gyms, fitness centers and pools reopen with 50% capacity and no contact sports. However, a Marion County curfew that began the night of May 31 and continued into the morning of June 3 after rioting impacted the reopening of some businesses.
- June 3: Phase 2 of statewide testing of random Hoosiers by the Indiana University Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI and the Indiana State Department of Health begins.
- June 5: Indiana reports May tax revenues were 20% short of projections made before the coronavirus closings started.
- June 8: Indianapolis leaders agree to spend $79 million in coronavirus relief funding on contact tracing, rent relief, personal protective equipment and support for small businesses.
- June 12: Indiana, excluding Marion County, advances to Stage 4 of reopening plan.
- June 15: Casinos and parimutuel racing reopen in the state. Marion County’s public libraries begin a phased reopening. Indiana records more than 40,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- June 19: Marion County advances to Stage 4 of state’s reopening plan.
- June 24: Holcomb says the state’s moratorium on the eviction on renters will be extended through July. Indiana announces it will create a rental assistance program July 13. Indiana Pacers guard Malcolm Brogdon says he has tested positive for COVID-19.
- June 27: Indiana hospitalizations for COVID-19 begin to increase, with about 33 new patients a day through July 1.
- July 1: The governor pauses Stage 5 final reopening plan, announces Stage 4.5 from July 4-17.
- July 4: Indiana’s Stage 4.5 reopening plan begins.
- July 9: Indiana records more than 50,000 positive coronavirus tests. Marion County mandates mask-wearing.
- July 10: Indianapolis Public Schools announces its reopening plans.
- July 11: Indy Eleven resumes 2020 season with victory at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Children’s Museum of Indianapolis reopens.
- July 13: Indiana begins rental assistance program for all counties but Marion County. Marion County begins its own rental assistance program.
- July 15: Indiana announces the Stage 4.5 reopening plan will continue another two weeks. The WNBA season begins.
- July 16: Indianapolis suspends applications for its rental assistance program due to overwhelming demand.
- July 24: Bars, taverns and nightclubs in Indianapolis are shut down again. City officials also return to other previous restrictions.
- July 25: Indiana Fever begins WNBA season after delays.
- July 27: Indiana governor’s order to wear face coverings begins. Great Lakes Valley Conference, which including University of Indianapolis, postpones most fall sports, including football, men’s and women’s soccer, and volleyball, until spring.
- July 30: NBA season resumes.
- Aug. 4: Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the Aug. 23 Indianapolis 500 will be run without fans.
- Aug. 9: Indiana records more than 75,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Aug. 11: Indiana’s death toll rises above 3,000.
- Aug. 17: Indianapolis Public Schools restarts with online-only classes. News 8 learns the 2021 NBA All-Star Game will not happen on Presidents Day weekend in 2021.
- Aug. 20: Purdue University suspends 36 students after a party at a cooperative house.
- Aug. 21: Indiana high school football season begins with some teams not playing due to COVID-19 concerns.
- Aug. 23: Butler University tells undergraduates that instruction will occur remotely for the first two weeks of the semester, starting Aug. 24, instead of in classrooms.
- Aug. 24: Purdue, Indiana, IUPUI and Ball State universities resume in-person classes.
- Aug. 25: Reports say a fraternity, a sorority and a cooperative house at Purdue University are under quarantines.
- Aug. 26: Gov. Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Sept. 25. Indiana’s rental assistance program will take applications for one last day.
- Aug. 27: Indiana University says eight Greek houses are under 14-day quarantines.
- Sept. 2: Indiana University tells 30 Greek houses in Bloomington to quarantine.
- Sept. 6: Indiana records more than 100,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Sept. 8: Marion County allows bars and nightclubs to reopen with 25% capacity indoors and 50% capacity outdoors.
- Sept. 12: The Indianapolis Colts open their season with a loss in a Jacksonville stadium with a limited number of fans.
- Sept. 21: The Indianapolis Colts home opener is limited to 2,500 fans.
- Sept. 23: Gov. Eric Holcomb extends the mask mandate through Oct. 17.
- Sept. 24: The state’s mask mandate is extended through Oct. 17.
- Sept. 25: The Mid-American Conference announces it will start a six-game football season Nov. 4, with the championship game Dec. 18 or 19.
- Sept. 26: Indiana advances to a revised Stage 5 of Indiana Back on Track plan with relaxed limits on gatherings, restaurants, bars, nightclubs and more. Marion, Monroe and Tippecanoe counties decided to have more restrictive limits, however.
- Sept. 27: The Indianapolis Colts second home game is limited to 7,500 fans.
- Sept. 28: Purdue University says it’s suspended 14 students, including 13 student-athletes, for violations of a pledge designed to curb the coronavirus pandemic on campus.
- Sept. 30: The Indiana State Department of Health’s online coronavirus dashboard began showing data on positive coronavirus cases in Indiana schools.
- Oct. 1: IU’s website shows two additional fraternities and a sorority at the Bloomington campus have been issued “cease and desist” orders.
- Oct. 2: Franklin College suspends classes and moves to virtual education and activities through Oct. 9 after a “concerning and unusual” increase in the positivity rate for COVID-19.
- Oct. 12: Franklin College returns to in-person classes.
- Oct. 13: Indianapolis-based drugmaker Lilly pauses its trial of a combination antibody treatment for coronavirus for safety reasons.
- Oct. 14: Indiana health commissioner Dr. Kristina Box announces she has tested positive for COVID-19.
- Oct. 15: Gov. Holcomb issues executive order to extend mask mandate and Stage 5 reopening plan.
- Oct. 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 4,000.
- Oct. 18: The Indianapolis Colts third home game was limited to 12,500 fans.
- Oct. 23: The Big Ten begins its football season.
- Oct. 30: Gov. Holcomb extends the public health emergency through Dec. 1.
- Nov. 1: Indiana National Guard to begin deploying to long-term care facilities to provide coronavirus assistance. The Mid-American Conference football teams begins its six-game regular season.
- Nov. 5: Indiana records more than 200,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Nov. 8: The Indianapolis Colts fourth home game was limited to 12,500 fans. .
- Nov. 10: Indiana’s death toll rises to 5,000.
- Nov. 12: Indianapolis calls for schools to go to virtual learning by Nov. 30.
- Nov. 15: Indiana adds coronavirus-control restrictions for all businesses and gatherings in counties with the highest number of new cases as part of an update to the statewide COVID-19 pandemic response.
- Nov. 16: Indianapolis limits capacity inside bars, private clubs, fraternal organizations and gyms to 25%; inside restaurants, libraries, funeral homes, swimming pools and shopping malls’ food courts to 50%; and inside religious services to 75%. Marion County Health Department requires preregistration for COVID-19 testing after increased demand at three drive-thru locations.
- Nov. 22: Indiana records more than 300,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Nov. 23: Indianapolis Public Schools returns to virtual learning through Jan. 18.
- Nov. 24: The NCAA men’s and women’s basketball seasons begin; some games had no fans in the stands.
- Nov. 25: Indiana’s death toll rises above 6,000.
- Nov. 26: Butler University men’s basketball cancels Nov. 29 game against Eastern Illinois after a positive COVID-19 test.
- Nov. 28: Butler University men’s basketball team postponed two more games because of a positive COVID-19 test.
- Dec. 1: Bankers Life Fieldhouse hosts its first NCAA men’s basketball game, Kansas vs. Kentucky, since the start of the pandemic.
- Dec. 2: Indianapolis ends its rental assistance program.
- Dec. 5: The men’s basketball game of No. 1 Gonzaga and No. 2, Baylor at Bankers Life Fieldhouse is postponed 90 minutes before tipoff after two Bulldogs test positive.
- Dec. 6: Indiana’s death toll rises above 7,000.
- Dec. 9: Indiana records more than 404,000 positive coronavirus tests. Holcomb says virus restrictions will now by county based on ratings that show the local virus spread. Indiana and Purdue universities cancel the Old Oaken Bucket football game set for Dec. 12.
- Dec. 10: Indiana House Speaker Todd Huston says he tested positive for COVID-19.
- Dec. 11: The Pacers lose to the Cavaliers as the NBA preseason begins. The Carmel Walmart in Westfield closes for nearly two days to sanitize the store.
- Dec. 12: Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns tests positive for the coronavirus.
- Dec. 14: Health care workers receive the first coronavirus vaccinations in Indiana.
- Dec. 15: Vice President Mike Pence holds a roundtable in Bloomington at pharmaceutical maker Catalent on the distribution of COVID-19 vaccines. Indiana and Purdue again cancel the Old Oaken Bucket football game that’d been reset for Dec. 18.
- Dec. 16: Indiana’s death toll rises above 8,000.
- Dec. 20: The Indianapolis Colts allows up to 10,000 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s game against the Houston Texans.
- Dec. 22: NBA starts league’s 75th season, delayed and shortened to a 72-game schedule because of the pandemic.
- Dec. 23: In response to the high volume of unemployment claims, Holcomb extends the suspension of certain requirements to expedite the hiring and training of temporary workers to more quickly resolve unemployment issues. Indiana Pacers to host first home game against New York Knicks with no fans present.
- Dec. 27: Indiana’s death toll rises above 9,000.
- Dec. 29: Indiana records more than 500,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Dec. 31: Indiana’s death toll for 2020 is 9,459 (as recorded through March 4, 2021).
- Jan. 1, 2021: Indiana’s death toll rises above 9,500.
- Jan. 3: The Indianapolis Colts allow 10,000 attendees at Lucas Oil Stadium for the team’s game against the Jacksonville Jaguars.
- Jan. 4: Grades 1-12 schools in Marion County are allowed reopen to in-person learning. Perry Township Schools is the only district to reopen to in-person learning.
- Jan. 5: Purdue and Nebraska postpone a men’s basketball game over health and safety concerns.
- Jan. 7: Indiana’s death toll rises above 10,000.
- Jan. 8: Hoosiers 80 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- Jan. 13: Hoosiers 70 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine.
- Jan. 18: NFL announces the scouting combine will not happen in Indianapolis in February.
- Jan. 20: Indiana records more than 601,000 positive coronavirus tests. Indiana Pacers host up to 1,000 at a game at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, the first fans since the pandemic began.
- Jan. 21: Indiana’s death toll rises above 11,000.
- Feb. 1: Hoosiers 65 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine. The Indianapolis St. Patrick’s Day parade is canceled for the second year in a row.
- Feb. 4: More than 1,500 coronavirus deaths were added to the Indiana State Department of Health’s dashboard after an audit found they were not recorded. News 8 learns all games for the Big Ten men’s basketball tourney will move from Chicago to Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium.
- Feb. 7: Indiana to change school protocols for classroom quarantine and contact tracing.
- Feb. 14: Indiana’s death toll rises above 12,000. Indiana records more than 650,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- Feb. 17: Indiana officials announced plans for a $448 million program to give housing assistance to Hoosiers.
- Feb. 19: The NCAA says up to 25% capacity will be allowed for all rounds of the men’s basketball tourney including the Final Four. The Indianapolis Motor Speedway announces the May 30 Indianapolis 500 will have fans.
- Feb. 19: Indiana’s death toll rises above 12,100.
- Feb. 23: Hoosiers 60 and older can get the coronavirus vaccine.
- Feb. 25: Indiana records more than 660,000 positive coronavirus tests. Capacity limits at bars, restaurants, gyms, and music venues in Marion County were adjusted after a consistent trend in the community’s COVID-19 positivity rate.
- Feb. 25: Indiana’s death toll rises to 12,200.
- Feb. 28: Indiana National Guardsmen to end assistance to long-term care facilities.
- March 1: The 500 Festival Mini-Marathon says it will be virtual for the second year in a row.
- March 2: Hoosiers 55 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- March 3: Hoosiers 50 and older start receiving the coronavirus vaccine.
- March 4: News 8 learns up 8,000 fans will be allowed in Lucas Oil Stadium for Big Ten men’s basketball tournament games. Indiana records more than 665,000 positive coronavirus tests.
- March 5: A three-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic opens at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for 16,800 Hoosiers.
- March 12: A two-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic was set for Ivy Tech Community College in Sellersburg.
- March 18: NCAA men’s March Madness games, all of them at venues in Indiana, to start with First Four games in Bloomington and West Lafayette.
- March 26: A two-day, drive-thru, mass-vaccination clinic was set for Compton Family Ice Arena at the University of Notre Dame.
- March 31: Holcomb’s emergency declaration with county-based restrictions and a mask mandate set to end at 11:59 p.m.
- May 4: Indianapolis Indians set to begin delayed season with away game against Iowa Cubs.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children on Thursday listed more than 25 children as missing in Indiana.
In two weeks, a new state law takes effect to allow children with special needs to be included in the state’s Silver Alert system for missing people.
A report said 48 Silver Alerts were issued in 2017. When you hear the term “Silver Alert,” you might think, for example, of an older adult with Alzheimer’s disease, a progressive, irreversible neurological disorder and the most common form of dementia.
A bill from State Rep. Sharon Negele that became a law expanded the Indiana Silver Alert definition by adding “missing and endangered child.”
The Republican from Attica said, “When we say ‘missing endangered child’ in the state of Indiana, we’re talking about a child that is incapable of returning to their residence without assistance because of mental illness, intellectual disabilities or another physical or mental disability.”
Negele created the bill after a parent came to her saying a 15-year old son with autism wandered away from a facility. “There was no alert mechanism in place for his unique situation. They went through four days of trying to get an alert out, a quite traumatic event and they eventually found him.”
So, what about children 2 or 3 years old who disappear from home but don’t fit the new Silver Alert definition or live with special needs?
Indiana State Police Sgt. John Perrine said, “Get in that area and saturate that area for a search. Maybe they don’t necessarily actually qualify for a Silver Alert as a different platform. We will still utilize every resource we have.”
Perrine said police said they are covered, “whether that be helicopters, drones, search teams, all public safety. Get as many people as we can to start that search for that missing child.”
As to why the new law does not loop in those children, Negele said local police usually find them very quickly. “We know that there are children who wander away from home at a very young age and it does happen probably much more frequently. We also know these situations are resolved more quickly. It hasn’t been found to be appropriate to put into one of these alert systems because local police are able to resolve these issues very quickly.”
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indiana lawmakers are looking at how to expand the number of Hoosiers with access to broadband internet.
Thursday, they heard from community leaders and industry experts on what could be done.
It happened at the Statehouse during a study committee that focuses on broadband internet connection in rural parts of Indiana.
The possibilities could be endless for internet connection, including some being developed.
“This millimeter(-wave) 5G technology,” said William Soards, AT&T Indiana president. “There’s a lot of thought you can pop an antenna up in a city and beam a gigabit or more into people’s homes.”
But improvement is still needed until new technology arrives. Some rural communities don’t have access to broadband internet connection or their internet quality is quite poor and you’ll see video pixelating or, at the worst, the video will freeze.
“Broadband has gone from being a luxury to a necessity to fully participate in our economy and society, for citizens in Indiana,” said Rep. Sharon Negele, a Republican from Attica.
Community leaders addressed lawmakers saying poor internet connection impacts home prices, the size of school districts and students’ ability to work.
“When schools go one to one with tablets and kids take them home and they cannot do their homework, they cannot research, they cannot even connect to an online textbook,” said Lucinda Nord, from the Indiana Library Federation. “That is an issue that you need to pay attention to.”
In Nashville, a town of about 1,000 people about 30 miles south of Indianapolis, about half of students don’t have internet. Town manager Scott Rudd said they don’t have a breakdown of how many cannot access the World Wide Web.
Rudd said it would cost $15 million to work with a provider to bring high-speed internet.
“How do we bridge that gap in funding? What funds do we use from a local perspective? What funds can we bring from state,” he asked.
Others said Indiana inefficiently tracks homes that can access the internet by grouping many rural communities together.
The problem is if a provider reports one home has access to broadband internet, it applies to the entire area — when that may not be the case.
Another option is tracking by street.
“Only once that is measured accurately can Indiana’s broadband challenge be resolved,” said Brent Legg, the vice president of government affairs at Connected Nation, which works to bring better internet connectivity around the country.
Tracking high speed internet can affect who gets federal subsidies to improve internet connection. There could be federal action on the issue but he said the state could do something, too.
It wasn’t discussed how much any changes could cost the state of Indiana.
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ATTICA, Ind. (WLFI) – A portion of Attica is evacuated after police say they found a man with bombs in his vehicle.
Attica Police Chief Bob Cole tells WLFI in West Lafayette that Robert William Bandy II, 28, has been arrested after officers found bombs in his van. He said Bandy was also found wearing a bulletproof vest.
The initial call came into Fountain County Dispatch around 10:15 a.m. concerning the vehicle parked along Edgewood Drive. It’s located inside an apartment complex called Ravine Heights Apartments, off East North Street.
Cole says Bandy is on probation for multiple drug charges out of Montgomery County, and that’s what led to the van’s location and its contents. Probation officers were apparently stopping in for a routine check on Bandy, when they located him inside the white van.
Two bulletproof vests were also found in the van, and authorities believe one may have explosives strapped to it. They also may have found additional explosive devices.
The Indiana State Police bomb squad has been called in to assist. They are searching the van and assessing the items found.
According to Cole, investigators will search Bandy’s apartment too. The complex’s owner says it’s not his place but believes his grandmother lives there.
The area around Edgewood Drive, about half of the apartment complex, has been evacuated for safety purposes. Police still have a perimeter setup.
The owner said mostly senior citizens live in Ravine Heights.
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FOUNTAIN COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) – A student has been arrested after police said he made threats to an Attica school and specific students via a social media post.
According to Attica Police Chief Robert Cole, officers responded to Attica Jr.-Sr. High School around 1 p.m. Wednesday.
Cole said 18-year-old Nicholas Jordan was detained for questioning for allegedly making threats on his Snapchat account to shoot up the school. Cole said Jordan also threatened specific students.
“It was inappropriate in nature, threatening in nature,” said Attica Consolidated School Corporation Superintendent Derek Marshal. “Within a matter of minutes, they and the resource officer had him in their possession.”
Cole said Jordan admitted to sending out the Snapchats. He was then arrested and taken to the Fountain County Jail.
Marshal said he was surprised that Jordan was the one to send out the threat.
“This student has not been a threat before,” Marshal said. “As a matter of fact, I was speaking to this student’s parent this morning about how excited that he is going into the Marine Corp.”
Cole said a teacher happened to see the message and alerted the principal immediately.
“There was no lockdown today because the student was in custody immediately,” Marshal said.
The student told police he sent out the post as a joke.
“As law enforcement officers and with the shootings in the schools, we take something like this very, very serious,” said Cole. “It’s one thing to say it’s a joke, but to the other students and the families involved – they don’t find it to be very funny.”
The teen was not armed and did not have any weapons with him at the time he made the threat. Jordan now faces charges for intimidation and false informing.
“He has been expelled from the school system and he will not be returning,” Cole said.
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ATTICA, Ind. (AP) – The Attica school district has approved new guidelines for school lunch balances after a recent audit showed that $940,000 was mishandled.
The Attica Consolidated School Board approved guidelines Monday for negative school lunch balances after one of the funds was found to have more than $414,000 in misappropriated. money
According to Superintendent Derek Marshall, the new guidelines say that when a student’s lunch balance reaches negative $20, he or she will be served a basic alternative lunch, and the student’s account will be charged $1. If a student’s lunch balance reaches negative $50, he or she won’t be allowed to participate in any extracurricular activities until the balance is fully paid.
Marshall said a basic lunch includes a peanut butter or cheese sandwich with vegetables and milk
Board members said the plan is fair because it gives children 30 meals before they’re excluded from extracurricular activities.
“It is more than fair,” said Chris Gayler, a board member. “Unfortunately, if it has gone on this long, then it is the next step.”
The board also approved an official bond for interim school board treasurer in absence of Carrie Brier, who previously held the position.
“We now have six applicants for the vacant treasurer position,” Marshall said. “I hope to begin interviewing them next week.”
Marshall said the district is taking additional steps to resolve the issues found in the audit, including interviewing subject matter experts to do an internal audit and to create the district’s checks and balances sheets.
ATTICA, Ind. (WLFI) – Severe storms caused damaged to Attica Jr.-Sr. High School Monday afternoon.
Part of the facade along the outside wall of the pool fell off during the storm.
Maintenance workers reported seeing the facade buckle under the wind for about an hour before falling to the ground. No one was injured, and other than some minor damage to the roof no other damage was reported.
Attica High School Principal J.T. Hoke says classes should not be affected.
“This won’t affect classes at all. In fact, we have athletes in the gym right now and there’s several practices occurring as we speak,” said Hoke. “Obviously, we are keeping people clear of the pool which is just on the other side of that wall. Just to keep everyone safe until we have assurance from engineers that it is safe to be in there.”
Roofers and engineers are expected to inspect the roof and wall on Wednesday and make sure it is safe until repairs can be made. But Hoke says the building remains safe for students and staff.
“Thankfully nobody is hurt. We’re keeping everybody safe in the meantime, and I think by the time school starts back up next Monday we’ll be back in business and keep doing our great things here,” said Hoke.
There is no estimate on the cost of the damage at this time.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Landmarks Indiana has announced the state’s most endangered historic places list:
-Rivoli Theater, Indianapolis: The theater opened in 1927 with decorative plaster walls and a domed ceiling above an auditorium that seated 1,500.
-Indiana Medical History Museum, Indianapolis: The museum is housed in the 1895 Old Pathology Building on the former campus of Central State Hospital.
-Former First Presbyterian Church and Lafayette Building, South Bend: The two landmarks are next door to each other and across the street from the city’s historic courthouses.
-I.O.O.F-United Brethren Block, Huntington: The three interconnected buildings are on Huntington’s Courthouse Square and are threatened with demolishment.
-McCurdy Hotel, Evansville: The eight-story, first-class hotel was built in 1917 facing the Ohio River and operated for decades.
-Elks Lodge, Bedford: The brick and stone structure built in 1917 has a gym and roof garden.
-Camp Chesterfield, Chesterfield: The site has origins as a summer tent camp in the 1890s before growing under the ownership of the Indiana Association of Spiritualists.
-McDonald House, Attica: Powerbroker James D. McDonald built the 4,800-square-foot home in 1855.
-Mills House, Greenwood: Indianapolis architect Harry Cooler designed the house in 1955 taking inspiration from Frank Lloyd Wright.
-Indiana County Homes: Seven historic county homes, once used to help the poor and disabled, are vacant and many face demolition and neglect.
Source: Indiana Landmarks