Category Archives: Blog

ELKHART, GOSHEN, NAPPANEE MAYORS SUPPORT NEW COUNTY HEALTH PROTOCOLS WITH ENFORCEMENT

The Mayors of Elkhart, Goshen and Nappanee will each bring a city ordinance to their councils that will support both the Elkhart County Commissioners’ Restated Ordinance 2020-38, and the Elkhart County Health Department’s new protocols to eliminate COVID-19 from our community.

Mayor Jeremy Stutsman, City Council Majority leader Brett Weddell and Council Minority leader Julia King have called a special meeting to take place Monday, Dec. 7. Elkhart and Nappanee City Councils also will meet on Monday to pass their respective ordinance in support of the countywide effort. The City ordinances will last for the duration of the public health orders.

The ordinances, which recognize and support the adoption of Elkhart County’s Public Health Orders 05-2020 and 06-2020, as well as Restated County Ordinance 2020-38, authorize the mayors to designate enforcement teams to help implement the terms of the County ordinance within each city’s boundaries.

On Tuesday, Dec. 1, the Elkhart County Commissioners passed Ordinance 2020-38, outlining a countywide incremental fine structure for businesses and individuals who violate the Health Department’s new pandemic guidelines.

The purpose of the incremental fine structure is to help better educate the business owners and individuals about the ways in which they can contribute so that our communities can recover faster.

“We all want to emphasize that these measures have been put in place to cultivate an understanding of how this pandemic is affecting those who live in our county and the ways we can help get rid of the virus from our community,” Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson said. “Our focus is to be helpful and informative, not punitive.”

The County Ordinance notes that businesses found to be in violation of the Health Orders will be given a written warning, along with informational resources to correct the issue. Elected officials hope that through this incremental fine structure, businesses and residents alike will learn more about how the pandemic has affected Elkhart County and surrounding areas.

“We are concerned for the safety and well-being of our residents, and so we’ve worked hard to find ways to slow the impact of the pandemic in our communities,” Mayor Phil Jenkins said. “Our hope is the residents in our cities and towns will step up and take personal responsibility through their actions to help keep their families, friends and neighbors safe.”

The new protocols are the product of a joint effort between all the city and county offices within Elkhart County.

“I am grateful for my colleagues and for the work we have achieved in the weeks leading to the county ordinance and theses city ordinances,” Mayor Stutsman said. “Our communities have come together as one voice, regardless of political affiliation, to help slow the spread of this pandemic.”

LAST LEAF PICKUP BEGINS MONDAY DECEMBER 7

The Goshen Street Department will make one last round of leaf collecting beginning Monday, December 7. Residents who miss this round can still take their leaves to the Environmental Center.

Located at 20100 CR 19, the center accepts brush and leaves, loose or in bags, at no charge to Goshen residents. However, if leaves are bagged, the bags must be emptied.

Please keep this information in mind when raking your leaves for pickup:

Leaf piles:

  • Rake leaves into long piles on the grass next to the street or sidewalk beside the curb, not more than 6 feet from the curb.
    • For the safety of pedestrians and bicyclists, if you must pile leaves on the sidewalk, please leave as wide a walking path as possible.
  • Leaves must be kept out of the street.
    • The piles of leaves interfere with the flow of traffic.
    • Later in the autumn, if it snows, the snow plows will be forced to drive over/through the leaf piles and end up throwing leaves from the piles far back into the yard.
  • Residents and property owners that have a storm drain in front of their property are asked to keep the drain area clear of leaves. This will help reduce the chances of water backing up on City streets.
  • When finished raking, spraying the piles down with water will help keep them from blowing away during periods of high wind.
  • Bagged leaves will be collected, but it slows the city-wide collection down drastically.  The leaf vac crew has to empty the bags out in order to vacuum up the leaves and they will leave the bags on the property.
  • Do not place leaves in the alley—they will not be removed.
  • Do not put sticks, twigs and other trash into or on top of the leaf piles.  These items can damage the vacuum equipment and force crews to pluck these items from the leaves—another time-consuming task. 

Parking:

  • Never park over a leaf pile.  A hot catalytic converter can easily ignite the dry leaves and, in turn, your vehicle. 
  • Please do not park cars in front of leaf piles. The crews will not be able to collect the leaves.
  • Park cars with at least 15 feet between leaf piles and vehicles.
  • Please use off street parking during this time if available.

ROAD CLOSURES AND DETOURS IN EAST GOSHEN

Starting Wednesday afternoon, Dec. 2, construction crews will shift the lane closure in East Goshen. Traffic will still be only one-way, going westbound, but vehicles will be directed into the eastbound lane. This is to allow paving to be completed on the road cuts in East Goshen.

The intersections at N 21st Street, N 23rd Street, and S 22nd Street will be blocked starting Wednesday, Dec. 2, to allow for paving at these locations on Thursday, Dec. 3. (N 20th Street will be also be blocked, but only during the day on Dec. 3.)

Finally, Lincoln Avenue will be closed just west of Steury Avenue during the day on Thursday, Dec. 3, for paving the road cut there. The parking lot drive just south of Steury Avenue will also be closed.

SHORT-TERM RENT & UTILITY ASSISTANCE PROGRAM

The City of Goshen CDBG-CV Short-Term Rent & Utility Program is a program to expend federal CARES Act funds to benefit low to moderate income renters in the City of Goshen who are experiencing financial hardship as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Assistance is first-come, first-served, subject to eligibility, the provision of required documentation and availability of funds. Households can only receive a max of 3 months’ worth of assistance. Maximum limits apply. Only past-due rent and gas/electric bills (NIPSCO/AEP) are eligible for payment.

Please call or email Meaghan Bylsma, Community Development Specialist, at (574) 533-9370 or meaghanbylsma@goshencity.com if you’re interested in applying or getting more information.

Due to the increase in COVID-19 cases in our area, City buildings are closed the public except by appointment. It is strongly preferred that appointments be virtual or by phone at this time. Masks are REQUIRED for any in-person appointments.

*Please note, renters residing in income-based housing or mobile homes are not eligible for this program. If you are a homeowner struggling to pay your mortgage, please contact (877) 438-4673 or visit http://www.877gethope.org

See goshenindiana.org/covid19help for links to printable program forms and more information about eligibility and required documentation.

THANKSGIVING

All City of Goshen offices will be closed Thursday, November 26 and Friday, Nov. 27, in observance of Thanksgiving Day.

Trash collection will be delayed by one day after Thursday, November 26.

BOIL ORDER ISSUED: EAST GOSHEN

A boil order has been issued for the area of East Goshen, from Steury Avenue east to the city limits.

In Consultation with the Indiana Department of Environmental Management, it has been determined that the water customers should boil their drinking water. This precautionary measure is recommended because the water main has lost pressure within your service area.

It is recommended that all cooking and drinking water be brought to a complete boil for five (5) minutes before using. Please continue to boil all cooking and drinking water until we notify you that it is no longer necessary. We appreciate your cooperation during this time and will update you as necessary until the drinking water problem has been solved. If you have any questions concerning the drinking water problem, please contact your water department at 534-5306.

A Boil advisory is not as bad as it seems. Whenever there is a disruption of water service, it is always a cautious measure to issue a boil advisory allowing our customers to make an informed decision based on their particular situation.

There is an inherent risk of contamination when the soil around the pipe is disturbed due to the main break and subsequent repair of the water pipes. We take every precaution to minimize the risk of contamination. Water is then tested in cycles of 24 hours to ensure that there are no contaminants present. Two sets of samples are taken 24 hours apart, when both samples come back clean the boil advisory is lifted.

COVID-19 CALL CENTER REOPEN

The Elkhart County Health Department has reopened its COVID-19 Call Center to help our community navigate through the COVID-19 pandemic and help clarify local and statewide policy changes. If you have questions about testing sites in Elkhart County, wonder about how Public Health Orders may affect your life or have concerns about a business not operating safely, please feel free to contact us at (574) 523-2106, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

ELKHART COUNTY PUBLIC HEALTH ORDERS RELEASED

The Elkhart County Health Department issued Public Health Orders 05-2020 and 06-2020, as efforts to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

You can find Health Order no. 05-2020 here: https://health.elkhartcounty.com/…/public-health-order-05…/…

To view Health Order no. 06-2020, click here: https://health.elkhartcounty.com/…/public-health-order-06-…/

Further explanation about these orders is below:

The following is a letter by Dr. Lydia Mertz, Elkhart County Health Officer

The transmission and number of people becoming infected by COVID-19 are at record high levels in Elkhart County. And we continue to see large increases every week. In addition to the exponential rise in cases, our numbers of hospitalizations and deaths due to COVID-19 are also rising at alarming rates. Our county hospitals planned for and are now experiencing surges, but they are reaching the limits of their ability to expand services and are having to forego some other procedures to address COVID-19 patients. Local government, business, and healthcare leaders are concerned about what will happen if this trend continues. We must take steps now to prevent additional hospitalizations and deaths before we reach a crisis.

We have been sending out information and warnings to the public as the number of cases has risen, and have been asking the public to do everything they can to slow the spread in Elkhart County. We now need to take decisive action as our numbers continue to spike. Medical experts, and public health experts agree indoor spaces where people gather are high-risk places, especially if masks are not used. Epidemiology shows that much of our increase now is stemming from smaller indoor social gatherings, such as visiting with friends and relatives, weddings, funerals, and other social environments where it is easy to let our guard down.

We have lowered our risk before, working together with distancing, masking, and hand washing measures. We can do this again. With these same actions we can lower the risk enough so we can go back to doing many of the things important to us. With more indoor activities taking place, it will take a strong commitment, and a sustained effort to slow the spread of this deadly virus. Let us use this holiday season to remember what we mean to each other, and what we mean to this community. Let’s support each other, and emerge from this pandemic a stronger community, with more of our loved ones alive and healthy.

By letter of support, dated November 13, 2020, the Mayor, County Commissioner, and many city and town council members, public safety officials, school superintendents, chambers of commerce, and business leaders “urged the Elkhart County Health Department . . . to issue a new Public Health Order designed to more Health Officer 608 Oakland Ave. | Elkhart, IN 46516 | 574-523-2105 elkhartcountyhealth.org Improving the Lives, Health and Environment of our Community significantly mitigate the spread of the virus.” They further expressed their “support [for] the work of the Elkhart County Health Department to develop and adopt a new Public Health Order that will help protect our residents from being infected by the coronavirus while also keeping our economy open.”

With this support, I have executed Public Health Order 05-2020 to address the face covering directives issued in Elkhart County and Public Health Order 06-2020 to address the COVID-19 mitigation directives required in Elkhart County. With the support of the County Commissioners and City Mayors, these two Public Health Orders contain provisions for inspection and enforcement to ensure we achieve the level of compliance necessary to mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

The Elkhart County Health Department is — both on their own and with the assistance of others — working to establish inspection and enforcement procedures. If, as a member of the public, you wish to report a concern regarding violations of Public Health Order 06-2020, you may contact the Elkhart County COVID-19 hotline at (574) 523-2106. Additionally, the Elkhart County Health Department will soon release an online form for submitting possible violations of Public Health Order 06-2020. Thank you for your effort and support as we work together.

OPEN ROAD: MAIN STREET

North Main Street, between Pike Street and Middlebury Street is expected to reopen on Friday, November 20th and remain open as final items are completed on the projects. The conclusion of this project, in conjunction with the Downtown Streetscape Project, sees the complete reconstruction of Main Street between Madison and Middlebury Street in the span of less than a year. The completion of the North Main Street leg, between Pike Street and Middlebury Street, includes extension of the Maple City Greenway to downtown with a brand new multiuse path, a safer pedestrian crossing at the railroad, and improvements to sanitary and storm sewer infrastructure that will improve the quality of Rock Run Creek.

The City of Goshen’s Engineering Department would like to thank Main Street’s residents, businesses and visitors for their patience and cooperation throughout the process.

THROUGH COFFEE POINTS CHALLENGE, MAYOR INVITES COMMUNITY TO SHOP LOCAL

Mayor Jeremy Stutsman is inviting the community to shop locally owned businesses this holiday season while having some fun.

This year has been challenging for local businesses, due to having shut down at the pandemic and having to add restrictions in the last several months to keep their customers and themselves safe and healthy.

“Local business owners—our neighbors and friends— have worked extremely hard this year to make customers’ experience as safe as possible, many times at the expense of their own revenue.” Mayor Stutsman said. “This holiday season, as you prepare to do your shopping, please consider buying from our various locally owned businesses.”

Local coffee shop The Electric Brew has a points system (Electric Brew Points) in which customers can earn points towards a free coffee with their purchases.

Mayor Stutsman, an avid coffee consumer at The Electric Brew, has been saving his points for several years in an attempt to accumulate more points than his friend and local business owner Alex Dugger for the top spot of most accumulated points.  “Since I couldn’t catch him I convinced him we should give our points away,” said Mayor Stutsman with a smile.

This year, they will be donating their collective 6,100 points to support local businesses—and get you a warm beverage this season!

To get a free coffee or hot chocolate at The Electric Brew between Nov. 9 and Dec. 24, present a receipt from any participating local business (see the Downtown Goshen Inc. map of participating businesses).

  1. The receipt must be dated the same day as your drink request.
    1. A minimum $5 purchase on the receipt is required.
    1. Only one receipt and one drink request per person.

The Mayor and Alex are challenging you to donate your Electric Brew Points as a thank you to frontline workers. The points donated will become part of a 2021 “thank you” for those who have kept our community running during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“By donating your points through the end of 2020 we can together show how much we appreciate all of our COVID-19 frontline workers,” Mayor Stutsman said.

Mayor Stutsman said that while the Coffee Points Challenge applies to downtown businesses, he wanted to emphasize that his invitation to buy local extends to all businesses throughout Goshen.

“We have locally-owned businesses all throughout the city, and outside of the downtown area. When you make your shopping list for loved ones, think of ways you can get them those gifts locally.”

*Note: Please call local businesses ahead of time to see their operation arrangements during the pandemic.

See a copy of a map with participating business by going to https://downtowngoshen.org/events/love-goshen-holidays/?fbclid=IwAR3-FUCIYPoSaOOzlziO5IXuuwGgWzSoVUFBrvQoxgWFWbM1IABJqLXGWaE