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Latest Indiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT

Latest Indiana news, sports, business and entertainment at 9:20 p.m. EDT
Published: Jul. 13, 2020 at 3:23 AM EDT
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VIRUS OUTBREAK-INDIANA BEACH

Indiana beach to be shut down due to virus fears

WHITING, Ind. (AP) — A beach along Lake Michigan in northwestern Indiana will be shut down as part of efforts to stem the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that Whiting Mayor Joe Stahura says that starting Wednesday, Whihala Beach will be closed until further notice. Stahura says large crowds at the beach have been unable to consistently follow social distancing guidelines amid the coronavirus pandemic. Whiting Lakefront Park also will be closed to vehicular traffic starting Wednesday. Bike and walking trails will remain open for pedestrian use. The Indiana State Department of Health said Monday that 452 additional virus cases have been confirmed, bringing the state’s total to more than 52,000.

RACIAL INJUSTICE-INDIANA ATTACK

Attorney: Indiana hate crime allegation is 'smear campaign'

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An attorney for two people involved in a reported assault of a Black man at a southern Indiana lake says his clients are victims, not attackers. Vauhxx Booker says the men pinned him against a tree, shouted racial slurs and one of them threatened to “get a noose” at Monroe Lake near Bloomington over the Independence Day weekend. But an attorney for Sean Purdy and Caroline McCord said in a press conference Monday that Booker threatened them and punched Purdy three times before he had to be restrained. The state Department of Natural Resources and FBI are investigating but no charges have been filed.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-INDIANA SCHOOLS

Indiana school districts grapple with reopening decisions

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — One of Indiana's largest school districts has announced it won’t reopen schools this fall after previously approving plans to reopen with a brick-and-mortar option. The announcement Monday by Washington Township schools follows threats by President Donald Trump to hold back federal money if districts don’t allow students back in class in the fall. Other school leaders around the state have started to announce their reentry plans, though uncertainty remains whether those plans will include options for students to enter physical classrooms. The Washington Township school board has decried the lack of specific guidance from the state on how to proceed.

AP-US-FEDERAL-EXECUTION

Judge blocks federal executions; administration appeals

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) — A U.S. district judge has ordered a new delay in federal executions, hours before the first lethal injection was scheduled to be carried out at a federal prison in Indiana. The Trump administration immediately appealed, asking a higher court to allow the executions to move forward. The executions, pushed by the administration, would be the first carried out at the federal level since 2003. The new hold on executions came a day after a federal appeals court lifted a hold on the execution of Daniel Lewis Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, which was scheduled for 4 p.m. EDT on Monday.

FATAL FREEWAY CRASH

Trucker sentenced for Indiana crash killing mother, 2 girls

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A truck driver has been sentenced to 9 years in prison for causing a highway construction zone crash in Indianapolis that killed a woman and her 18-month-old twin daughters. A Marion County judge ordered the prison term Monday for 58-year-old Bruce Pollard of Sturgeon, Missouri, after he pleaded guilty but mentally ill to reckless homicide and other charges for the July 2019 crash. Pollard was driving a semitrailer that prosecutors said was going 65 mph  and didn’t begin to break until the truck hit the first of several vehicles slowed for an Interstate 465 construction zone.

VIRUS OUTBREAK-INDIANA

More Indiana cities mandating masks as virus illnesses grow

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — More Indiana cities are imposing mask mandates as health officials reports the state’s most hospitalizations of people with coronavirus-related illnesses in nearly a month. West Lafayette’s mayor announced Monday an immediate requirement that face coverings be worn in public places, citing the expected upcoming return of Purdue University students among the risks for spreading COVID-19. A mask requirement is scheduled to take effect Wednesday in Evansville, following similar mandates in Indianapolis and three northern Indiana counties. Hospitals around the state had 764 coronavirus patients as of Sunday. That is the most since June 19.

INDIANA LAKE-GIRL'S DEATH

9-year-old dies after swimming in northwestern Indiana lake

PORTAGE, Ind. (AP) — Police say a 9-year-old girl died after she went missing while swimming in a northwestern Indiana lake. An Indiana conservation officer says emergency crews were called Sunday evening to Lakeshore Camp Resort in Portage, where the girl began struggling in the water near a swim platform. Lifeguards immediately began a search but the girl was found about a half hour later by a firefighter in about 15 feet of water. The girl was taken to a hospital where she was pronounced dead.

FEDERAL EXECUTION-VICTIMS' FAMILY

Victims' relatives most vocal opponents of man's execution

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Family members of three people slain in Arkansas more than 20 years ago are among the most vocal opponents to the federal government’s plan to execute one of the men convicted of killing their loved ones. Relatives of the victims of Daniel Lewis Lee have pleaded for him to receive the same life sentence as the ringleader in the plot that led to the slayings. Now, family members say their grief is compounded by the push to execute Lee, of Yukon, Oklahoma, in the middle of the coronavirus pandemic.