The Journal Gazette
Tuesday, March 31, 2020 1:00 am

Coronavirus roundup

Journal Gazette

Here are changes, cancellations and other updates related to the coronavirus outbreak. For a more detailed list, go to and under blogs select The Scoop.

Seminar slated for small businesses

The Indiana Better Business Bureaus are collaborating with the U.S. Small Business Administration to present a webinar, “COVID-19: Guidance for Small Businesses.” All Indiana businesses are invited to attend, though space is limited.

One session is scheduled for 10 a.m. Thursday and a second session will be at 10 a.m. Friday.

The webinar, led by Laura Schafnitz, SBA public affairs specialist with the Indiana District Office, will focus on helping small businesses affected by the COVID-19.

For more information or to register, go to the bureau's page on or through on Twitter @BBBNorthernIN.

Lutheran Health honors physicians

Monday was National Doctors' Day.

Since the day's inception in 1933, communities across the country have taken the day to recognize physicians who serve in so many ways, including preventive care, disease management, education, research, healing and advocacy, Lutheran Health Network officials said.

“As always, physicians are working tirelessly with the rest of the team – and their colleagues across the community – to provide safe, high quality care to our patients and to prepare for those who will need our help tomorrow,” Lutheran said in a statement. “But this Doctors' Day is different as we all work together to protect our patients, each other and our community in the battle against COVID-19.”

Caregivers sought for various needs

Direct-support professionals are needed to provide critical care for older Hoosiers and those with disabilities. And child care providers are needed to care for children of first responders, health care and other essential workers, the Family and Social Services Administration said Monday.

Family and Social Services is “working to link Hoosiers willing to serve Hoosiers with these available opportunities,” a news release said. Go to for an application.

I&M aware of scam schemes

Indiana Michigan Power said Monday that it is among utilities across the country that have had customers report scams.

Specifically, callers will impersonate an Indiana Michigan Power employee and, in some instances, spoof their phone number to make it look as if the call is authentic. Scammers then tell the customer that their bill is overdue and power will be disconnected. The fraudsters are seeking credit card or banking information.

Customers will often be told to call a separate number for payment. In some cases, the scammer will instruct the customer to buy a prepaid debit card and provide the number. 

Indiana Michigan Power reiterated that it has suspended disconnections for nonpayment during the pandemic, as have many utilities across the country. Indiana customers can call 800-311-4634 for assistance paying their bill. Michigan customers should call 800-311-6424.

US attorney warns of many frauds

The U.S. Attorney's Office for the Northern District of Indiana is warning the public to remain vigilant for coronavirus-related fraud. 

Scams could include fake testing kits, treatments or cures; nonexistent charities asking for donations; phishing emails posing as the World Health Organization or the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; phone calls supposedly from insurance agencies seeking personal information; and offers to sell hoarded supplies at inflated prices.

To report a scam, call 866-720-5721 or send an email to

For more information, go online to

REMC offering electric bill credit

Northeastern REMC is giving more than $1.23 million back to 21,000 people in the form of an electric bill credit.

The member-owned cooperative that supplies electric power to six northeast Indiana counties made the announcement Monday.

As a not-for-profit, the cooperative returns money to members at the end of each year. In the past, it would affect only long-term members according to the amount they contributed that year.

Over the weekend, the CEO and the board of directors decided to release those funds early and reach more members.

“These are unprecedented times, and the financial impact of what we're going through could be felt for months,” said Eric Jung, Northeastern REMC's chief executive. “We're hoping these bill credits will help stretch the budget when it is needed most.”

The decision follows the cooperative's suspension of disconnections due to nonpayment.

SHOPNoble starts, publishes listing

Individuals and businesses who choose to support locally operated small businesses in Noble County during COVID-19, and beyond, now have a new tool to help.

SHOPNoble has launched a website at

The site went live over the weekend and features a growing directory of locally owned establishments offering food and beverages, retail goods and various home and business services across Noble County, a news release said.

By Monday afternoon, the website had published a directory including almost 50 small businesses with information about how they are operating during COVID-19, hours of operation and links to websites.

Girl Scouts offers online services

Girl Scouts of Northern Indiana-Michiana  announced two new resources to serve members and the community during the pandemic.

Girl Scouts Cookie Care allows people to order and donate cookies online. And the organization also launched Girl Scouts at Home, a national online platform where all girls and families – not just Girl Scout members – can access free, self-guided activities from the national organization's programming.

“For 108 years, Girl Scouts has responded in challenging times,” Sharon Pohly, the region's CEO, said in a statement. “Now we are embracing new initiatives to help girls, their families and community members connect, explore, find comfort and take action.”

The national organization launched Girl Scouts Cookie Care as a way to safely order cookies for home delivery, pending local shipping availability, or to share the love by donating cookies to first responders, volunteers and local causes.

In addition to the new national platform that offers activities for young girls, the regional organization is offering several virtual activities, either in the home or through its Facebook page.

Both Girl Scouts and the public can enjoy activities that cover STEM, entrepreneurship, life skills and the outdoors, including from indoors. To learn more, go to

Circuit magistrate ceremony delayed

The Allen Circuit Court said the public swearing-in ceremony for new Magistrate Ashley N. Hand has been postponed. It was originally set for April 6.

Hand, who was selected as the new Circuit Court magistrate in the family division last month, will take the bench Wednesday. A date for the public ceremony has not yet been set.

Riley Relief Fund to help families

Riley Children's Foundation is asking the public to donate to a new relief fund that will provide emergency assistance to Riley patient families who are struggling to pay bills and meet everyday needs.

The Riley Relief Fund will also support the most pressing needs of Riley Hospital for Children at Indiana University Health throughout the public health emergency.

Gifts may be made online at

The first $100,000 in donations will be doubled due to a matching gift from longtime Indiana car dealership owner Bob Butler and his family.

Trine to help care workers' children

Trine University is offering dependents of health care workers and first responders a one-time $1,000 We Stand Together grant in honor of National Doctors' Day.

The nonrenewable award may be applied toward tuition only for academic year 2020-21. Any new or currently enrolled main campus undergraduate student for the 2020-21 academic year is eligible.

Those interested in applying should send their contact information along with their parent or guardian's name, occupation and employer to Kim Bennett, interim vice president for enrollment management, at

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