<![CDATA[Ball State Daily RSS Feed]]> Tue, 31 Mar 2020 05:38:22 -0400 Tue, 31 Mar 2020 05:38:22 -0400 SNworks CEO 2020 The Ball State Daily <![CDATA[MCS distributes free meals for students during COVID-19 pandemic]]> Editor's Note: This story is part of The Partnership Project, a series of content written in an effort by The Daily News to follow the formal collaboration of Ball State University and Muncie Community Schools. Read more in this series here.

While she doesn't mind having her kids at home, Angelica Lucio said having to feed them extra meals because they're not in school due to the statewide K-12 school closure "is a lot."

Amid the global COVID-19 pandemic and the measures taken to limit its effects, the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) free meals distribution program is something Lucio finds helpful.

Although making sure that her family has enough food hasn't necessarily been hard, Lucio said, the food banks she usually goes to have been packed with people due to the ongoing pandemic.

"That has been kind of rough for us," she said. "This kind of covers some of the stuff where we would have to try to get to a food bank if we needed to. It's just nice to not have to worry about it."

Lucio said she was grateful there are many people who still help out when they don't have to be there - making sure students get education through learning packets and e-learning and helping parents out when things are chaotic.

"It's a great thing," she said. "It's very humbling and it's good to know that we have people who still care about making sure everyone is OK."

Throughout the school closure, which lasts until at least May 1, MCS will be distributing 10 free meals - five lunches and five breakfast meals - to its students each week. It has four locations where they distribute meals everyday and 22 locations where school buses distribute food every Monday.

Stephanie Fegan, resident district manager of Chartwells, the food service provider for MCS, said last week her team prepared 40,000 meals and served 32,000 meals. She said they have been distributing more food after the closure than the regular school year.

The meals that aren't distributed are given to local YMCA, churches, shelters and different communities that have children, Fegan said.

"It's been amazing, just knowing that we're able to give back and we're able to make sure that our students that we see everyday have the opportunity to have food," she said.

Chartwells employees aren't required to come to work if they need to be with their families. Fegan said they take all the necessary precautions - wash their hands, wear gloves, have wipes on every bus and maintain social distancing when prepping meals.

"I just want everyone to know that we're super grateful, we are here on the front lines and we're going to be here," she said. "It does take a village - all of us coming together. It's just been super humbling to see everyone come together and to see what everyone can do when a crisis happens."

Logistically, she said it's a little different from what Chartwells does during the regular school year - condensing what its team distributes over a week to sending out food all at once on a Monday.

For Iry Hogan, a local pastor and a bus driver for Auxilio which runs MCS buses said helping out the community is a "privilege" and "a great opportunity for us to come together and show unity in the community."

"Sometimes we get to doing our daily activities and we forget about each other," Hogan said. "It's a time when we get to come together and show that we care for one another."

Hogan, who was born and raised in Muncie, said he has seen the Muncie community come together before, but never with such magnitude as during the COVID-19 pandemic.

"I just want to thank the community for coming together and being a support to each other at a time like this. It's much needed," he said. "I'm just glad to be a part of that help and glad to see that everybody that can [is helping] and the willingness to help."

Lucio said she used to live in East Chicago, where she said people were hesitant to help one another. In Muncie, she said a majority of the community welcomes them and helps them "with open arms."

"We've hit some rough patches in some situations, [but] the people in the community have really showed out for us and really helped a lot," she said. "I'm very very grateful. It's why we're still here. I can't see myself being anywhere else."

Contact Rohith Rao with comments at rprao@bsu.edu or on Twitter @RaoReports.

<![CDATA[Indiana Scones: For the unloved shelter dogs]]>

Molly Ellenberger is a sophomore news major and writes "Indiana Scones" for the Daily News. Her views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

For all the shelter dogs in the world; I am so sorry. Humans sometimes see beautiful purebreds on television, in magazines and on sidewalks and think, "I need one of those."

My fiance and I have a Doberman Pinscher that we bought from a breeder, and we love him with all our hearts. But I sometimes feel guilty for not adopting a shelter dog.

Sure, many purebreds have perfect genes, a shiny coat and the poise of royalty, but sadly that doesn't always mean they will be loved forever. 3.3 million dogs per year enter animal shelters according to ASPCA. Dogs that were once a gift such as a Christmas present sometimes make their way back into the shelters, and make up 0.3 percent of the dogs per year in an animal shelter according to ASPCAPro.

That percentage may seem like a small number but out of 3.3 million dogs, that is 99,000 lives. Those unwanted presents all have a heart, and just want to be loved. Sadly, many of them die dreaming of the day their families will come back for them.

Among many other heartbreaking reasons, this is why people should adopt before they shop.

If someone is going to get a dog, whether it is from a shelter or a breeder, they need to realize it is their responsibility to love and protect that dog for the rest of its life. Getting rid of a dog because it is old, tears things up or has accidents on the floor is not a valid reason. A dog is a permanent choice and a forever responsibility until it takes its last breath.

When we got our Dobie named Moose, we made the commitment to love him for the rest of his life. Yes, he had accidents all over the floor, he chewed up three of his dog beds and was so high energy we wanted to pull our hair out, but everyday we reminded ourselves that we loved him with all our hearts, and he just needed some guidance and training. Moose is six months old now, and with all that guidance and training, he has come a long way. He has become our best friend and the dog we've always wanted.

Instead of giving up on an unruly dog, people need to use training and guidance to show the dog what is right and wrong, just like a child. There are days when the dog will act up terribly and really make you angry. But please don't give up on a dog - he or she doesn't deserve to go into a shelter.

If any one feels unsure or needs help with training and guidance, they can get online or call a local dog trainer for help. There's an awesome app called Puppr that has really helped me learn how to train Moose.

The next time you are thinking of buying a purebred dog, take a look at your local shelter. You just might find a purebred in there that was once a cute Christmas puppy, or maybe you will fall in love with an old lab that has sad eyes and just wants to be your best friend. I know the next time we get a dog, it will be from a shelter because no dog deserves to be behind bars. Although Moose is a purebred, my fiance and I are doing our part by giving our Dobie a forever home with lots of love and guidance.

To all the unloved, shelter dogs I hope one day you will get a forever home. To all people looking for a dog, I hope you look at a shelter and give an unloved dog the love he or she deserves.

Contact Molly with comments at mmellenberge@bsu.edu.

Sophomore Molly Ellenberger and her fiance, Tyler LaFontaine, pose with their dog, Moose, in front of Beneficence. The two got Moose from a breeder in November 2019. Molly Ellenberger, Photo Provided.

<![CDATA[Ball State extends deadlines, availability of credit/no credit option for students]]> In a campus-wide email Monday, Susana Rivera-Mills, provost and executive vice president for student affairs, said Ball State will provide grading alternatives for the spring 2020 semester by extending the deadlines and availability of the credit/no credit option.

"This is a very complicated issue, and I assure you that we are considering all options and their implications," Rivera-Mills said.

Whether or not a student should take a course for credit/no credit, she said depends on many factors - academic standing, financial aid, and certain licensure requirements.

"Our top priority is that all students make the right decision for their long-term academic and professional success," Rivera-Mills said. "Therefore, we will provide enhanced advising and financial aid counseling for students who wish to explore taking one or more of their current courses credit/no credit."

In seven-to-10 days, she said the university will email the campus community with additional information about the credit/no credit option and post it on the university's COVID-19 website and the Office of the Registrar's website.

This story will be updated.

Provost Susana Rivera-Mills speaks at the summer commencement ceremony July 20, 2019, at Worthen Arena. In an email addressed to Ball State's faculty, Rivera-Mills explained the majority of in-person classes will be moved to an online platform. Rohith Rao, DN

<![CDATA[5 international stories of the week]]> Editor's Note: This listicle is part of a weekly series by The Ball State Daily News summarizing five stories from around the world. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.

Stories related to the coronavirus pandemic, U.S. forces pulling out of Iraqi bases, the Trump administration's indictment of Venezuela's president, Prince Harry and Meghan's security in the United States and the death of an award-winning Polish composer make up this week's five international stories.

What you need to know today about the virus outbreak

COVID-19 continues its relentless spread, as the daily number of infections worldwide continues to jump sharply. World Health Organization figures show the increase in new infections is now about 70,000 per day. More than 32,000 people have died worldwide. Italy reported more than 750 new deaths Sunday, bringing the country's total to nearly 10,800 - vastly more than any other country. But the number of new infections showed signs of narrowing again.

Read more: Virus outbreak

US-led forces pull out of 3rd Iraqi base this month

The U.S.-led coalition in Iraq withdrew Sunday from a military base in the country's north. The K1 Air Base is the third site coalition forces have left this month, in line with U.S. plans to consolidate its troops in two locations in Iraq. A rocket attack on the base in late December killed one American contractor and culminated in the U.S.-directed killing of top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani and a senior Iraqi militia leader, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

Read more: Iraq

AP Explains: US indicts Venezuela's Maduro as narcoterrorist

The Trump administration has indicted Venezuela's President Nicolás Maduro and more than a dozen members of his inner circle, stepping up measures to drive the socialist leader from power. U.S. prosecutors announced the charges Thursday, accusing Maduro of narcoterrorism. The indictments come as Maduro has locked down Venezuela to halt the spread of the new coronavirus and as the oil-producing nation grapples with plunging global crude prices.

Read more: Venezuela

Trump says US won't pay for Meghan and Harry's security

Responding to reports that Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have moved to California, U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted on Sunday: "I am a great friend and admirer of the Queen & the United Kingdom. It was reported that Harry and Meghan, who left the Kingdom, would reside permanently in Canada. Now they have left Canada for the U.S. however, the U.S. will not pay for their security protection. They must pay!"

Read more: Prince Harry

Polish composer, conductor Krzysztof Penderecki dies at 86

Krzysztof Penderecki, an award-winning conductor and one of the world's most popular contemporary classical music composers whose works have featured in Hollywood films like "The Shining" and "Shutter Island," died Sunday. In a statement, the Ludwig van Beethoven Association said Penderecki had a "long and serious illness" and died at his Krakow home. The statement called Penderecki as "Great Pole, an outstanding creator and a humanist."

Read more: Krzysztof Penderecki

Silvius von Kessel, cathedral organist, choirmaster and composer, conducts residents playing and singing 'By loving forces silently surrounded...' by Dietrich Bonhoeffer on their balconies and windows March 29, 2020, in Erfurt, central Germany, Sunday. (AP Photo/Jens Meyer)

<![CDATA[Trump extends virus guidelines, braces US for big death toll]]> By ZEKE MILLER and JILL COLVIN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Bracing the nation for a grim death toll, President Donald Trump on Sunday extended the voluntary national shutdown for a month, bowing to public-health experts who told him the coronavirus pandemic could claim over 100,000 lives in the U.S., perhaps significantly more, if not enough is done to fight it.

It was a stark shift in tone by the president, who only days ago mused about the country reopening in a few weeks. From the Rose Garden, he said his Easter revival hopes had only been "aspirational."

The initial 15-day period of social distancing urged by the federal government expires Monday and Trump had expressed interest in relaxing the national guidelines at least in parts of the country less afflicted by the pandemic. But instead he decided to extend them through April 30, a tacit acknowledgment he'd been too optimistic. Many states and local governments have stiffer controls in place on mobility and gatherings.

Trump's impulse to restore normalcy met a sober reality check Sunday from Dr. Anthony Fauci, the government's top infectious disease expert, who said the U.S. could experience more than 100,000 deaths and millions of infections from the pandemic. Trump's decision to extend the guidelines reflected a recognition that the struggle will take place over the longer haul and the risk of deaths spiraling into the hundreds of thousands is real.

"I want our life back again," the president told reporters in the Rose Garden.

Trump, who has largely avoided talk of potential death and infection rates, cited projection models that said potentially 2.2 million people or more could have died had the country not put social distancing measures in place. And he said the country would be doing well if it "can hold" the number of deaths "down to 100,000."

"It's a horrible number," Trump said, but added: "We all together have done a very good job."

Brought forward by Trump at the outdoor briefing, Fauci said his projection of a potential 100,000 to 200,000 deaths is "entirely conceivable" if not enough is done to mitigate the crisis. He said that helped shape the extension of the guidelines, "a wise and prudent decision."

The federal guidelines recommend against large group gatherings and urge older people and anyone with existing health problems to stay home. People are urged to work at home when possible and avoid restaurants, bars, non-essential travel and shopping trips.

The extension would leave the federal recommendations in place beyond Easter, April 12, by which time Trump had hoped the country and its economy could start to rev up again. Alarmed public-health officials said Easter was sure to be too soon.

The U.S. had more than 139,000 COVID-19 cases reported by Sunday evening, with more than 2,400 deaths. During the course of the Rose Garden briefing, reported deaths grew by several dozen and the number of cases by several thousand.

As some of his allies had predicted, Trump was clearly rattled by the haunting images coming out of New York, some from Elmhurst Hospital in his native Queens.

"I've been watching that for the last week on television," he said. "Body bags all over, in hallways. I've been watching them bring in trailer trucks - freezer trucks, they're freezer trucks, because they can't handle the bodies, there are so many of them. This is essentially in my community, in Queens, Queens, New York," he continued. "I've seen things that I've never seen before."

One in 3 Americans remain under state or local government orders to stay at home to slow the spread of the virus, with schools and businesses closed and public life upended.

Dr. Deborah Birx, head of the White House coronavirus task force, said parts of the country with few cases so far must prepare for what's to come. "No state, no metro area, will be spared," she said on NBC's "Meet the Press."

Full Coverage:Virus Outbreak

Most people who contract COVID-19 have mild or moderate symptoms, which can include fever and cough but also milder cases of pneumonia, sometimes requiring hospitalization. The risk of death is greater for older adults and people with other health problems. Hospitals in the most afflicted areas are straining to handle patients and some are short of critical supplies.

Fauci's prediction would take the death toll well past that of the average seasonal flu. Trump repeatedly cited the flu's comparatively much higher cost in lives in playing down the severity of this pandemic.

Trump had eyed a "reopening" of the U.S. economy by Easter, but in recent days medical professionals warned that would be far too soon for the nation's heavily affected urban areas.

Just on Saturday, Trump was discussing tightening restrictions, suggesting then backing away from an "enforceable" quarantine of hard-hit New York, Connecticut and New Jersey. Instead, the White House task force recommended a travel advisory for residents of those states to limit non-essential travel to slow the spread of the virus to other parts of the U.S.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi suggested that Trump shouldn't be so quick to reverse the social distancing guidelines, saying more testing needs to be in place to determine whether areas currently showing fewer infections are truly at lower risk.

Trump's "denial" in the crisis was "deadly," she told CNN.

"As the president fiddles, people are dying, and we have to take every precaution," she said. She promised a congressional investigation once the pandemic is over to determine whether Trump heeded advice from scientific experts and to answer the question that resonates through U.S. political scandals: "What did he know and when did he know it?"

Trump minimized the gravity of the pandemic for weeks. Asked whether she is saying that attitude cost American lives, Pelosi said: "Yes, I am. I'm saying that."

It put Pelosi out of lockstep with former Vice President Joe Biden, the likely Democratic presidential nominee, who said he wouldn't go so far as to lay the blame for deaths on the president. "I think that's a little too harsh," he told NBC.

Biden faulted Trump for holding back on using his full powers under the recently invoked Defense Production Act to spur the manufacture of the full range of needed medical supplies - and for making erratic statements about the pandemic.

"He should stop thinking out loud and start thinking deeply," Biden said.

Meanwhile, governors in other hotspots across the country were raising alarm that the spread of the virus was threatening their health-care systems.

"We remain on a trajectory, really, to overwhelm our capacity to deliver health care," Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards said on ABC's "This Week." "By the end of the first week in April, we think the first real issue is going to be ventilators. And we think it's about the fourth or fifth of April before, down in the New Orleans area, we're unable to put people on ventilators who need them. And then several days later, we will be out of beds."

He said officials have orders out for more than 12,000 ventilators through the national stockpile and private vendors, but so far have only been able to get 192.

President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing in the Rose Garden of the White House, Sunday, March 29, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

<![CDATA[COVID-19 updates: What you need to know about the virus outbreak]]> On Jan. 30, 2020, Ball State undertook its first measures in response to the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak by suspending all work-related travel to China.

Following Indiana's first-ever confirmed illness linked to the virus outbreak, The Daily News has been covering the global pandemic as changes unfold in the Ball State and Muncie communities while also sharing international, national and statewide stories related to the pandemic.

The following is a compilation of all stories posted on the The Daily News website relevant to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in Delaware County

As of late Sunday, the Delaware County Health Department (DCHD) has reported a total of three individuals within the county testing positive for SAR-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection.

Trump adds 30 days to distancing guidelines as virus spreads

President Donald Trump is extending the voluntary national shutdown for a month as sickness and death from the coronavirus pandemic rise in the U.S.

Trump signs $2.2T stimulus after swift congressional votes

President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law Friday, after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress this week to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic.

Piatt: Sports world now has brand new meaning for 'normal'

During The Daily News' editorial board meeting March 12, I got a call back from Ball State Athletic Director Beth Goetz. I excused myself from the room and asked her a few questions, just trying to figure out what in the world was happening.

House passes $2.2T rescue package, rushes it to Trump

Acting swiftly in an extraordinary time, the House rushed President Donald Trump a $2.2 trillion rescue package Friday, tossing a life preserver to a U.S. economy and health care system left flailing by the coronavirus pandemic.

Board of Trustees approves paid leave plan for Ball State employees impacted by COVID-19

Ball State's Board of Trustees approved the Extraordinary Temporary Paid Leave Plan at its virtual meeting Friday to prevent university employees from being adversely affected economically by the impact of COVID-19.

Ball State School of Music to host virtual concert series

In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several Ball State organizations have had to cancel their in-person events for the rest of the semester, including the Ball State School of Music's public performances.

Indiana governor signs new executive order to help fight COVID-19

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a new executive order Thursday that adds to the state's additional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

3.3 million seek US jobless aid, nearly 5 times earlier high

Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week - almost five times the previous record set in 1982 - amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

6 tips to work, study from home more efficiently

With online learning being a part of Ball State students' daily routines, some students may have trouble concentrating, which can be incredibly time consuming. While adjusting to the new online schooling environment, consider these six tips to go about your school work efficiently and effectively by staying focused on the task at hand.

Senate unanimously passes massive coronavirus aid plan

The Senate passed an unparalleled $2.2 trillion economic rescue package steering aid to businesses, workers and health care systems engulfed by the coronavirus pandemic.

Second Harvest hosts food tailgate at Muncie Mall

Being the manager of a cafe that is now closed, Sophia Hopkins, general manager for Riverside Cafe, said that she "likes to play it safe."

Ball State seniors reflect on cancellation of May commencement and abrupt end to school

Anxious, nervous and frustrated - that's how Gabriel Kinder described his feelings on the numerous changes implemented at the university and elsewhere.

Ball State provides information on resources for students during COVID-19 pandemic

While Ball State closes residence halls and some facilities in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, resources in Muncie and the university are still available for students.

Second Harvest Food Bank helps feed community during COVID-19 pandemic

Ralph Whysong said he has been a truck driver for Second Harvest Food Bank for nearly 10 years, and he's never seen a turnout for free food distribution like he did March 21 at Delta High School.

Tokyo Olympics postponed, U.S. closes in on relief package

The International Olympic Committee on Tuesday postponed this summer's Tokyo Games for a year as coronavirus deaths mounted around the world and U.S. lawmakers closed in on a nearly $2 trillion deal to help cushion the economic damage from the crisis.

Ball State to close residence halls by March 24

Following Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb's stay-at-home order and communication from Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns, Ball State will be closing all residence halls earlier - by Tuesday, March 24.

Muncie City Council holds virtual special meeting

Muncie City Council's special meeting Monday started with the invocation of the Pledge of Allegiance, except for one change - it was done over a teleconference meeting.

Indiana Gov. Holcomb announces 'stay-at-home' order

Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb delivered a statewide address Monday to order Hoosiers remain in their homes except when they are at work or for permitted activities, such as taking care of others, obtaining necessary supplies and for health and safety.

Ball State cancels May commencement ceremonies

In an email sent Monday morning, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns announced the cancelation of the spring 2020 commencement ceremonies.

Virus outbreak means (mis)information overload: How to cope

The coronavirus pandemic is leading to information overload for many people, often making it difficult to separate fact from fiction and rumor from deliberate efforts to mislead.

Ball State updates COVID-19 action plan in response to disaster emergency declaration

Following Delaware County's emergency disaster declaration Friday, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns sent a campus-wide email updating the university's action plan in accordance with the declaration.

Delaware County has first death due to COVID-19

In a press release, the Delaware County Health Department (DCHD) confirmed the first death due to SAR-CoV-2, the virus that causes the COVID-19 infection.

Delaware County commissioners update emergency disaster declaration

The Delaware County Board of Commissioners signed an emergency disaster declaration Friday listing additional closures of businesses in the county, effective immediately.

IU Health begins COVID-19 testing through its pathology laboratory

Indiana University (IU) Health now has the capability to test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, which causes COVID-19, using its pathology laboratory, according to a press release from the hospital.

Delaware County Health Department reports county's first case of COVID-19

The Delaware County Health Department (DCHD) reported late Friday that an individual within the county has tested positive through lab testing for SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19 infection, according to a (DCHD) press release.

Here's where Muncie Community Schools is distributing meals

All schools in Indiana, including Muncie Community Schools (MCS), will remain closed until May 1, following the announcement by Gov. Eric Holcomb Thursday.

Indiana's May 5 primary postponed due to coronavirus threat

Indiana political leaders said Friday that they decided to postpone the state's May 5 primary because of concern about the coronavirus pandemic.

Income tax filing deadline moved to July 15 from April 15

The income tax filing date has been pushed back from April 15, to July 15, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

6 feet apart: How to stay entertained while social distancing

For the remainder of the semester, most Ball State events students turn to for entertainment have been canceled due to COVID-19, including University Program Board's Late Nites, Ball State's Theatre and Dance performances and more.

Ball State closes recreational facilities after disaster emergency declaration

In light of Thursday's joint disaster emergency declarationby Delaware County and the City of Muncie, Ball State announced it will be closing all its recreational and sports facilities effective immediately until further notice.

Indiana National Guard to support emergency operations amid COVID-19 pandemic

In an executive order signed Monday, Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the activation of the Indiana National Guard to support efforts and operations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Muncie, Delaware County declare disaster emergency in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Delaware County's board of commissioners and the mayor of Muncie signed and enacted a disaster emergency declaration Thursday, stating that certain measures must be put into place to slow the spread of COVID-19.

Indiana governor announces all K-12 schools closed, extends emergency policies

Indiana Gov. Eric. J Holcomb signed new executive orders to slow the spread of COVID-19, according to a press release sent out Thursday. The current state of emergency has extended an additional 30 days.

Ball State UPD shares advice for students moving out of residence halls

Ball State's University Police (UPD) tweeted out advice for people coming to the university to pick up their students before Ball State residence halls close 5 p.m. March 29.

Ball State students reflect on university's changes in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Pushing down a cart with boxes and suitcases of her belongings on a windy Tuesday morning, freshman visual communications major Madison Clark made her way to her mother's car.

Ball State SGA hosts first virtual meeting

Ball State's Student Government Association (SGA) hosted its first virtual meeting Wednesday through Cisco's Webex online video conference platform.

Delaware County HSEMA director updates community on COVID-19 response

Delaware County's Emergency Operations Center has been closed to the public and has been activated in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, said Jason Rogers, Delaware County emergency management director, in his Tuesday briefing.

IU Health to reschedule elective surgeries, begins to move to virtual care

In a press release sent out March 16, an Indiana University Health (IU Health) spokesperson said in the release that to ensure the safety of their team members and preserve resources, new guidance has been given to IU Health providers and team members.

White House seeks $850B economic stimulus for virus response

The White House was asking Congress on Tuesday to approve a sweeping emergency stimulus package to help businesses and taxpayers cope with the economic fallout of the coronavirus pandemic. It's the most far-reaching economic rescue package since the Great Recession of 2008.

2nd death reported in Indiana due to COVID-19

In a press release, the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced Tuesday morning that a second death due to COVID-19 was reported in Johnson County.

Ball State president updates university response to COVID-19 pandemic

In a campus-wide email Monday, Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns updated the university's response to the coronavirus outbreak with new changes including closing the residence halls, canceling and postponing events, dining services and faculty and staff operations.

Ball State's Counseling Center updates campus on changes amid COVID-19 concerns

Following Ball State beginning to move to online classes, its Counseling Center will begin to make its own changes, according to an email sent out Monday by the center.

US tells older people to stay home, all ages to avoid crowds

The White House on Monday urged all older Americans to stay home and everyone to avoid crowds and eating out at restaurants as part of sweeping guidelines meant to combat an expected surge of coronavirus cases.

Indiana confirms 1st death from COVID-19

At a press conference Monday, Indiana Governor Eric J. Holcomb and the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH) announced the first Indiana death from COVID-19.

Indiana governor ordering restaurants, bars to close

Indiana's governor is ordering restaurants and bars closed to in-person customers in another step toward stemming the spread of the coronavirus.

Coronavirus vaccine test opens as US volunteer gets 1st shot

U.S. researchers gave the first shot to the first person in a test of an experimental coronavirus vaccine Monday -- leading off a worldwide hunt for protection even as the pandemic surges.

Government official: Coronavirus vaccine trial starts Monday

A clinical trial evaluating a vaccine designed to protect against the new coronavirus will begin Monday, according to a government official.

Trump calls on Americans to cease hoarding food, supplies

President Donald Trump on Sunday called on Americans to cease hoarding groceries and other supplies, while one of the nation's most senior public health officials called on the nation to act with more urgency to safeguard their health as the coronavirus outbreak continued to spread across the United States. Dr. Anthony Fauci says he would like to see aggressive measures such as a 14-day national shutdown.

Takeaways from Ball State's new guidelines for student organizations

Following guidelines for hosting events issued by Ball State's president and the governor of Indiana, Ball State's Office of Student Life has issued new guidelines for student organizations effective immediately.

Ball State professor: cleaning devices could help slow the spread of COVID-19

Cleaning phones and other electronic devices could "go a long way" in slowing the spread of COVID-19, according to a Ball State health science professor.

Letter From the Editor: The news doesn't stop, and neither does The Daily News

Our paid staff will continue to work diligently in a sanitized and safe workspace as long as we are able, while other staff members work just as hard remotely to continue providing thorough, quality coverage of Ball State and Muncie.

Delaware Community School Corporation closes amid COVID-19 concerns

Delaware Community School Corporation (DCSC) schools will be closed beginning March 16 through at least April 3, said DCSC Superintendent Reece Mann in his letter.

Trump declares virus pandemic a national emergency

President Donald Trump announced Friday that he is declaring the coronavirus pandemic a national emergency, as Washington struggles with providing Americans with relief and officials race to slow the spread of the outbreak.

Muncie Community Schools moves to e-learning amid COVID-19 concerns

Starting March 16, all schools in the Muncie Community Schools district will observe e-learning instruction, said CEO of MCS, Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, in a letter addressed to families of MCS students, faculty and staff.

Ball State athletes, coaches react to season cancellations

On March 12, the Mid-American Conference made the announcement it would be canceling regular season, championship and non-traditional competition for the rest of the 2019-20 academic school year in concern with the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Burris, Indiana Academy move to online instruction

According to letters addressed to parents of students attending Burris Laboratory School and Indiana Academy, the schools will deliver all instruction online starting March 16 until further notice.

Minnetrista cancels events in response to COVID-19 pandemic

Following guidelines from the Indiana Department of Health and the Center for Disease Control, Minnetrista announced it is canceling several upcoming events to protect its employees and the Muncie community, according to Minnetrista press release.

Ball State art students show surrealist statue in Atrium

It rose above the crowd of students as they made their way through the Thursday-night dinner rush in the Atrium.

Ball State Provost updates university's COVID-19 response plan

A Twitter thread sent out around 4:30 p.m. Thursday afternoon discussed an adjusted plan moving forward following President Geoffrey Mearns' announcement Wednesday night regarding the suspension of all in-person classes for the duration of the spring semester.

Indiana schools being allowed 20-day break to stem virus

Indiana schools will be allowed to close for up to 20 days this school year without penalties, the governor's office announced Thursday among steps toward helping stem the coronavirus spread.

Gov. Eric Holcomb releases steps to help protect from COVID-19

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb released new steps to be taken to protect Hoosiers from the COVID-19 virus, according to a press release from the governor's office.

March Madness: NCAA Tournaments canceled due to coronavirus

The NCAA canceled its men's and women's basketball tournaments on Thursday because of the spread of coronavirus, putting an abrupt end to the season less than a month before champions were to be crowned.

Here is what has been canceled in the world of sports

With the multitude of unprecedented cancellations of athletic events in the last 24 hours due to the coronavirus, The Daily News has done its best to compile a list of what all has been canceled or suspended in the world of sports.

Muncie's St. Patrick's Day parade to be postponed amid COVID-19 concerns

Muncie's annual St. Patrick's Day parade, previously scheduled to take place Saturday, has been postponed, according to a statement released on the City of Muncie's Facebook page.

Mid-American Conference Basketball Tournament canceled due to coronavirus concerns

Mid-American Conference commissioner Jon Steinbrecher announced at a press conference at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse on March. 12 that the 2020 MAC Basketball Tournament has been canceled over concerns of Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Trump suspends travel from Europe to US for 30 days

Taking drastic action Wednesday, President Donald Trump announced he is cutting off travel from Europe to the U.S. and moving to ease the economic cost of a viral pandemic that is roiling global financial markets and disrupting the daily lives of Americans.

Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson test positive for coronavirus

Tom Hanks and his actress-singer wife Rita Wilson have tested positive for the coronavirus, the actor said in a statement Wednesday.

Ball State responds to COVID-19 concerns with unprecedented strategy to ensure community safety

Beginning March 16, all in-person classroom instruction for the duration of the spring semester at Ball State has been suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, said President Geoffrey Mearns in a campus-wide email.

Ball State cancels classes, moves to online due to COVID-19 concerns

Ball State administrators have chosen to suspend all in-person classes for the rest of the spring semester, according to an email Wednesday night from Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns.

WHO declares that virus crisis is now a pandemic

Expressing alarm both about mounting infections and slow government responses, the World Health Organization declared Wednesday that the global coronavirus crisis is now a pandemic but also said it's not too late for countries to act.

Muncie Community Schools prepares for coronavirus outbreak

As more cases of the novel coronavirus are confirmed worldwide, in the United States and in Indiana, Muncie Community Schools (MCS) has taken steps to prepare schools in case the virus spreads to Muncie.

Ball State prepares for coronavirus outbreak

In preparation for the coronavirus outbreak, Ball State has suspended all work-related travel to three countries and cancelled future study abroad programs, among other steps, according to a campus-wide email sent out March 5.

Indiana has 1st illness linked to coronavirus outbreak

The man with Indiana's first confirmed illness from the coronavirus outbreak was in isolation Friday after going to an Indianapolis hospital with mild symptoms, state health officials said.

Ball State suspends work-related travel to China

Ball State has suspended all work-related travel to China starting Jan. 30, according to a statement sent out by the university.

US declares emergency, new entry restrictions due to virus

The United States on Friday declared a public health emergency and announced significant entry restrictions because of a new virus that hit China and has spread to other nations.

This article will be updated as more information regarding COVID-19 is released.

In response to the global COVID-19 pandemic, since March 16, 2020, Ball State's in-person classes have moved to online instruction and since March 24, several Ball State students have left campus residence halls. Since March 26, the United States has had the most number of confirmed positive cases of the virus. Jacob Musselman, DN Illustration

<![CDATA[The Mask "Seller"]]> Because of the outbreak of coronavirus in the United States, many people are trying to wear surgical masks to protect themselves. However, people cannot buy surgical masks at regular prices right now. Hongyi Zheng, a Ball State student, is trying his best to help people get surgical masks at a normal price.

People are being told to wear a surgical mask to prevent coronavirus by Nanshan Zhong, the member of China Engineering Academy. "Surgical masks can block most virus-borne droplets from entering the respiratory tract," Zhong said. However, Walmart and CVS don't sell surgical masks because Americans are not used to wearing a mask for cultural reasons. Therefore, the only way to buy a surgical mask is online, but the price of surgical masks is higher than usual.

Zheng says he has a friend in New York who has the supply of high-quality surgical masks and can get them below market price. Zheng counts people's demand for surgical masks every day and buys surgical masks from New York every two weeks. Then, he sells surgical masks to people in need at the original price.

"I don't think that making money by mask is ethical under this situation. I just hope that I can help as many people as possible with my efforts through this difficult period," Zheng said.

It's not just the high price. The quality of surgical masks purchased online is uneven. Stephanie Crawford, the professor of Department of Pharmacy Administration from University of Illinois at Chicago, said, "The lack of effective regulation is one of the biggest problems of internet medical device and pharmaceutical industries."

Yu Zhang used to buy lower-quality surgical masks online at a very high price. The qualified surgical mask should have three layers, but the mask Zhang bought only has two layers. She said she really hopes there is a reliable way to buy better surgical masks.

"When I found the mask I bought online is fake, I actually feel more worried than angry, because I don't have a mask to protect myself from coronavirus," Zhang said. "I also went to Walmart and all CVSs in Muncie for a mask, but I can't find it. I really hope there is a reliable way for me to buy masks."

The surgical mask that Zheng sells is qualified. In February, when the Chinese epidemic was at its worst, he sent these surgical masks back to China to donate to the hospital at his hometown. After these surgical masks arrived in China, they were checked by the local Red Cross and sent to the hospital. "These surgical masks were also used by Chinese medical staff a month ago," Zheng said.

So far, the first customers have received surgical masks from Zheng.

"I am very grateful to Hongyi," said Guanju He was the first person to get the surgical mask. "He helps me get surgical masks at a very low price, and the quality of the surgical masks is also very good."

Zheng is keeping helping people get surgical masks. For people who also need surgical masks can connect to him by e-mail: 1120833696@qq.com.

<![CDATA[Muncie video game store revives nostalgia with retro-themed arcade]]> Arcades were always a great place for friends and fun, however nowadays there are fewer and fewer arcades and fun spots for smaller communities.

It's the present day at Fudd's in Muncie. The classic game store has much more than meets the eye, as it recently added it's own retro themed arcade room. Store Owner Chris Wallace explains why he wanted to create this throwback arcade.

The Arcade had been open for over three months and has seen a good amount of success. Targeting both young teens, and their parents at once, is a feat this arcade has been able to pull off. The weekends here are always bustling according to Manager Brandin Gardner, however on a weekday afternon or evening, there might hardly be anyone the entire day. He says that he might sell one or up to thirty five passes on a weekday, but on a Saturday afternoon, he can sell thirty five in just an hour.

The benefit of these passes is that the eight dollar cost gives customers a full day of all-you-can-play fun in the arcade. With all the games set to free play, it makes it an amazing deal for fans and is a big money saver over a traditional quarter insert for play.

This arcade marks the only one of it's kind in all of Delaware County. Wallace takes pride in his new creation, but it's the customers, the arcade gamers. Those are the ones who are appreciating this new haven the most.

Currently, due to the COVID-19 Pandemic, the arcade has temporarily closed. However they plan to keep the game store itself open for now, and plan on re-opening the arcade soon.

<![CDATA[Trump signs $2.2T stimulus after swift congressional votes]]> By ANDREW TAYLOR, ALAN FRAM, LAURIE KELLMAN and DARLENE SUPERVILLE

WASHINGTON (AP) - President Donald Trump signed an unprecedented $2.2 trillion economic rescue package into law Friday, after swift and near-unanimous action by Congress this week to support businesses, rush resources to overburdened health care providers and help struggling families during the deepening coronavirus epidemic.

Acting with unity and resolve unseen since the 9/11 attacks, Washington moved urgently to stem an economic free fall caused by widespread restrictions meant to slow the spread of the virus that have shuttered schools, closed businesses and brought American life in many places to a virtual standstill.

"This will deliver urgently needed relief," Trump said as he signed the bill in the Oval Office, flanked only by Republican lawmakers. He thanked members of both parties for putting Americans "first."

Earlier Friday, the House of Representatives gave near-unanimous approval by voice vote after an impassioned session conducted along the social distancing guidelines imposed by the crisis. Many lawmakers sped to Washington to participate - their numbers swollen after a maverick Republican signaled he'd try to force a roll call vote - though dozens of others remained safely in their home districts.

The Senate passed the bill unanimously late Wednesday.

"The American people deserve a government-wide, visionary, evidence-based response to address these threats to their lives and their livelihood and they need it now," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

The $2.2 trillion legislation will speed government payments of $1,200 to most Americans and increase jobless benefits for millions of people thrown out of work. Businesses big and small will get loans, grants and tax breaks. It will send unprecedented billions to states and local governments, and the nation's all but overwhelmed health care system.

"This pathogen does not recognize party lines, and no partisan solution will defeat it. Neither will the government acting alone," said GOP Whip Liz Cheney of Wyoming. "This is not a time for cynicism or invective or second-guessing. This is a time to remember that we are citizens of the greatest nation on Earth, that we have overcome every challenge we have faced, and we will overcome this one."

Despite reservations, arch conservatives joined with progressives like Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., to back the bill, which moved quickly through a Congress that's been battered by partisanship and is itself not immune to the suffering the virus has caused. Rep. Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., announced Friday that he has tested positive, just the latest infection in Congress.

Tea party Republicans said government orders to shutter businesses merited actions that conflict with small-government ideology. Liberals accepted generous corporate rescues that accompany larger unemployment benefits, deferrals of student loans, and an enormous surge of funding for health care and other agencies responding to the crisis.

"I'm going to have to vote for something that has things in it that break my heart," said conservative Rep. David Schweikert, R-Ariz.

Many lawmakers summoned the bipartisan spirit of 9/11 and efforts to fight terrorism. Others praised the roles low-income workers play in keeping the country going and the heroism of health care workers. Some, like Iowa Democrat Abby Finkenauer, who had just learned of two additional coronavirus-related deaths in her district, came close to tears.

Others couldn't restrain their partisan impulses. Republicans chided Democratic leaders for delays and provisions they see as extraneous, such as funding for public broadcasting and the arts; Democrats said too many elements are a bailout for corporations that may not need it.

Still, in a chamber increasingly dominated by lawmakers whose chief skill often seems to be partisan attacks, Friday's debate was a noteworthy break.

"We have no time to dither," said Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va. "We have no time to engage in ideological or petty partisan fights. Our country needs us as one."

The run-up to the vote contained an element of drama because libertarian conservative Thomas Massie, R-Ky., announced plans to seek a vote. The leaders of both parties united to prevent that because it would have forced lawmakers back to the Capitol or blemished their voting records if they stayed home. Instead, they made sure enough lawmakers would attend Friday's session to block Massie's move under the rules, and lawmakers took the unprecedented step of sitting in the visitors galleries to establish the necessary quorum.

The House promptly adjourned for a weeks-long recess but will return later in the spring to consider further legislation.

"This bill is not only a rescue package, it's a commitment - a commitment that your government, and the people whom you elected to serve you, will do everything we can to limit the harm and hardship you face, both now and in the foreseeable future," said Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy.

The legislation will give $1,200 direct payments to individuals and make way for a flood of subsidized loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses facing extinction in an economic shutdown caused as Americans self-isolate by the tens of millions. It dwarfs prior Washington responses to crises like 9/11, the 2008 financial crisis, and natural disasters.

The massive CARES Act started as a draft plan among Republicans controlling the Senate who were seeking a greater voice in the coronavirus response efforts -- especially after Pelosi was a dominant force in earlier legislation imposing a sick leave mandate on businesses.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., welcomed Democratic participation a week ago, and signed off on a major expansion of unemployment insurance, but his efforts to freeze out Pelosi and force a quick agreement were met with Democratic demands for large infusions of aid to states and hospitals, as well as an assortment of smaller items. McConnell and top Senate Democrat Chuck Schumer of New York wrestled for days, along with Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and other administration officials.

Negotiations finally produced a deal early Wednesday morning, and the Senate passed the measure by a 96-0 vote.

Key elements are untested, such as grants to small businesses to keep workers on payroll and complex lending programs to larger businesses. Rebate payments will go to people who have retained their jobs. Agencies like the Small Business Administration and state unemployment systems will be severely taxed, and conservatives fear that a new, generous unemployment benefit will dissuade jobless people from returning to the workforce.

The bill amounts to a bridge loan for much of the economy and carries a price tag that equals half the size of the entire $4 trillion-plus annual federal budget.

The legislation also establishes a $454 billion program for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries in hopes of leveraging up to $4.5 trillion in lending to distressed businesses, states, and municipalities.

There is also $150 billion devoted to the health care system, including $100 billion for grants to hospitals and other health care providers buckling under the strain of COVID-19 caseloads.

It also seeks to strengthen the safety net for the poor and homeless. Schools and students would get relief, small business loans payments would be deferred. Evictions from public housing would be put on pause.

Republicans successfully pressed for an employee retention tax credit designed to help companies keep workers on payroll. Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax. A huge tax break for interest costs and operating losses limited by the 2017 tax overhaul was restored at a $200 billion cost in a boon for the real estate sector.

Most people who contract the new coronavirus have mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.


AP writer Zeke Miller contributed.

President Donald Trump speaks before he signs the coronavirus stimulus relief package in the Oval Office at the White House, Friday, March 27, 2020, in Washington. Listening are from left, Larry Kudlow, White House chief economic adviser, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., and House Minority Leader Kevin McCarty of Calif. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

<![CDATA[Piatt: Sports world now has brand new meaning for 'normal']]> Zach Piatt is a junior journalism major and is a columnist for The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

During The Daily News' editorial board meeting March 12, I got a call back from Ball State Athletic Director Beth Goetz. I excused myself from the room and asked her a few questions, just trying to figure out what in the world was happening.

What she told me left me a little flustered.

"There won't be any competitions - not regular season, not conference, not non-conference, not offseason - no competitions for the remainder of the academic year," she said.

I had to hold back tears as I walked back into the meeting and told everyone sports were essentially done for the year.

It's still March, but the madness that comes with it has been, for lack of a better term, different. "Normal," especially for us sports fans, is anything but right now.

The last professional sports game took place March 11, a hockey game between the Ottawa Senators and Los Angeles Kings. It's been 16 days. It's only been 16 days without sports, and I have no idea what to do with myself. Even after all the time I've had to take this in, I'm still confused. I'm still nowhere near 100 percent sure what to do.

What I am sure of, though, is it's OK to feel this way right now.

Adam Schefter tweeted, according to Elias Sports, 1883 was the last time there were no professional games in the four major American sports (NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL) in the month of April.

It's been 137 years since the last time we've had no sports to watch. Not a single person walking this earth was alive to experience the last time.

We weren't prepared for this. We weren't prepared to have our sports - our lifestyle - taken away overnight. This sucks, I know, but it's OK. It's OK none of us have the answer just yet, and I believe it's OK if none of us ever do.

From what I can see, these 16 days are just the beginning, and we very well may be on our way to another sports-less April.

It's been hard - depressing really - to look at the sports schedule each morning and see nothing day after day. Sports are my life, much more than something I enjoy writing about. Because of that, I've found a way to keep them in my everyday life.

March is a time every sports fan is supposed to be glued to the TV, constantly checking their phone for updates and marking up all their different NCAA Tournament brackets. I've been playing some NCAA Basketball 2010 on the dusty ol' PlayStation 3 and watching endless highlights of previous tournaments to keep the March Madness feeling alive.

And don't worry, I've still filled out my fair share of brackets, but they're a little, for lack of a better term, different. I've got "Forrest Gump" taking down "Jurassic Park" in the final matchup of this '90s movie bracket I found, Culver's beating McDonald's in the championship of the ultimate fast-food tournament and "She's So High" topping "Take On Me" as the best one-hit wonder of all time.

My sister is amazed I can still talk about sports when none of them are going on, and I tell her it's because I have to in order to stay sane. We all do.

Yes, there is still madness in March, but it's certainly not the kind we were looking for. Unfortunately, for the next however long, this is the new "normal."

Contact Zach Piatt with comments at zapiatt@bsu.edu or on Twitter @zachpiatt13.

Zach Piatt sits with his head in his hands March 22, 2020, at Parkview Field in Fort Wayne, Indiana. "Anytime I walk into an empty sports venue, something feels off," Piatt said. "It's not right. It's supposed to be buzzing." Jacob Musselman, DN Illustration

<![CDATA[House passes $2.2T rescue package, rushes it to Trump]]> By ANDREW TAYLOR, ALAN FRAM and LAURIE KELLMAN

WASHINGTON (AP) - Acting swiftly in an extraordinary time, the House rushed President Donald Trump a $2.2 trillion rescue package Friday, tossing a life preserver to a U.S. economy and health care system left flailing by the coronavirus pandemic.

The House approved the sweeping measure by a voice vote, as strong majorities of both parties lined up behind the most colossal economic relief bill in the nation's history. It will ship payments of up to $1,200 to millions of Americans, bolster unemployment benefits, offer loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses large and small and flush billions more to states, local governments and the nation's all but overwhelmed health care system.

Trump said he would sign the measure immediately.

"The American people deserve a government wide, visionary, evidence-based response to address these threats to their lives and their livelihood. And they need it now," said House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif.

"We are going to help Americans through this. We are going to do this together," said House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif.

Passage came after Democratic and Republican leaders banded together and outmaneuvered a maverick GOP lawmaker who tried forcing a roll call vote.

With many lawmakers scattered around the country and reluctant to risk flying back to the Capitol, that could have delayed approval.

But after Rep. Thomas Massie, R-Ky., a libertarian who often bucks the GOP leadership, tried insisting on a roll call vote, the presiding officer - Rep. Anthony Brown, D-Md. - ruled that there was no need for one and the bill passed.

For the most part, Democrats who saw a taxpayer giveaway to big business and Republicans who considered it ladened with waste backed the measure for the greater good of keeping the economy alive.

There were hand sanitizers at the end of each aisle in the chamber, where most lawmakers sat well apart from one another.

Massie's moved infuriated Trump and many lawmakers, who would have been forced to return to the Capitol to vote on legislation that was certain to pass anyway.

Trump tweeted that Massie is "a third rate Grandstander" and said he should be drummed out of the GOP. "He is a disaster for America, and for the Great State of Kentucky!" Trump wrote.

Massie, who opposed the massive bill, was in the chamber during the debate, chatting occasionally with others and checking his phone. Posting on Twitter, he cited a section of the Constitution that requires a majority of lawmakers - some 216 of them - to be present and voting to conduct business.

The debate was mostly conciliatory, with members of both parties praising the measure as a rescue for a ravaged nation. The lecterns in the chamber's well were wiped down between many of the speeches.

"While no one will agree with every part of this rescue bill, we face a challenge rarely seen in America's history. We must act now, or the toll on lives and livelihoods will be far greater," said Rep. Kevin Brady, R-Texas.

"We have no time to dither," said Rep. Gerald Connolly, D-Va. "We have no time to engage in ideological or petty partisan fights. Our country needs us as one."

But still, there were outbursts.

Freshman Rep. Haley Stevens, D-Mich., donned pink latex gloves and yelled well beyond her allotted one minute, saying she was speaking "not for personal attention but (to encourage you) to take this disease seriously." Much of what she said could not be heard above Republican shouts.

Numerous high-ranking Republicans called Massie in an attempt to persuade him to let the voice vote proceed, according to a top House GOP aide. They included McCarthy and Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., whom Trump has chosen as his new chief of staff. The aide spoke on the condition of anonymity to describe private conversations.

Democratic leaders urged lawmakers who are "willing and able" to come to the Capitol to do so. And members of both parties were clearly upset with Massie.

"Heading to Washington to vote on pandemic legislation. Because of one Member of Congress refusing to allow emergency action entire Congress must be called back to vote in House," Rep. Peter King, R-N.Y., wrote on Twitter. "Risk of infection and risk of legislation being delayed. Disgraceful. Irresponsible."

South Dakota GOP Rep. Dusty Johnson posted a selfie of himself and three other lawmakers from the upper Midwest traveling to Washington on an otherwise empty plane.

Friday's House session followed an extraordinary 96-0 Senate vote late Wednesday. The bill's relief can hardly come soon enough.

Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell said Thursday the economy "may well be in recession" already, and the government reported a shocking 3.3 million burst of weekly jobless claims, more than four times the previous record. The U.S. death toll from the virus rose to 1,300.

It is unlikely to be the end of the federal response. Pelosi said issues like more generous food stamp payments, aid to state and local governments and family leave may be revisited in subsequent legislation.

The legislation will give $1,200 direct payments to individuals and make way for a flood of subsidized loans, grants and tax breaks to businesses facing extinction in an economic shutdown caused as Americans self-isolate by the tens of millions. It dwarfs prior Washington efforts to take on economic crises and natural disasters, such as the 2008 Wall Street bailout and President Barack Obama's first-year economic recovery act.

But key elements are untested, such as grants to small businesses to keep workers on payroll and complex lending programs to larger businesses.

Policymakers worry that bureaucracies like the Small Business Administration may become overwhelmed, and conservatives fear that a new, generous unemployment benefit will dissuade jobless people from returning to the workforce. A new $500 billion subsidized lending program for larger businesses is unproven as well.

The bill finances a response with a price tag that equals half the size of the entire $4 trillion-plus annual federal budget. The $2.2 trillion estimate is the White House's best guess of the spending it contains.

The legislation would provide one-time direct payments to Americans of $1,200 per adult making up to $75,000 a year and $2,400 to a married couple making up to $150,000, with $500 payments per child.

Unemployment insurance would be made far more generous, with $600 per week tacked onto regular state jobless payments through the end of July. States and local governments would receive $150 billion in supplemental funding to help them provide basic and emergency services during the crisis.

The legislation also establishes a $454 billion program for guaranteed, subsidized loans to larger industries in hopes of leveraging up to $4.5 trillion in lending to distressed businesses, states, and municipalities. All would be up to the Treasury Department's discretion, though businesses controlled by Trump or immediate family members and by members of Congress would be ineligible.

There was also $150 billion devoted to the health care system, including $100 billion for grants to hospitals and other health care providers buckling under the strain of COVID-19 caseloads.

Republicans successfully pressed for an employee retention tax credit that's estimated to provide $50 billion to companies that retain employees on payroll and cover 50% of workers' paycheck up to $10,000. Companies would also be able to defer payment of the 6.2% Social Security payroll tax. A huge tax break for interest costs and operating losses limited by the 2017 tax overhaul was restored at a $200 billion cost in a boon for the real estate sector.

An additional $45 billion would fund additional relief through the Federal Emergency Management Agency for local response efforts and community services.

Most people who contract the new coronavirus have mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, or death.

In this image from video, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of Calif., speaks on the floor of the House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, Friday, March 27, 2020. (House Television via AP)

<![CDATA[Ball State Board of Trustees approves scope and budget of Cooper Science renovation]]> Apart from the COVID-19 response, the Ball State's Board of Trustees approved the scope and budget of the $59.9 million renovation and partial demolition of the Cooper Science Complex at it virtual meeting Friday.

Alan Finn, Ball State's vice president of business affairs and treasurer, said this project was initially funded through fee replacement bonds, but earlier this year was converted to a cash project.

During his March 19 COVID-19 response, Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced the state will not immediately move forward with using $300 million in reserves to pay for several capital projects approved in the recently concluded legislative session.

Instead, the government will maintain flexibility to utilize the funds as needed for relief efforts and to maintain current services, the governor's website states. The state will consider using bonding authority to move forward with the just-approved capital projects.

"Included in this resolution is flexibility depending on which way the government decides to go," Finn said.

Virtual meetings will be held starting next week with state officials regarding the possibilities of using bonding or cash for this project, he said. At this time, Finn said no changes are expected to the timeline of the project.

The project includes renovation of 161,000 square feet of Cooper Science and demolish 131,000 gross square feet, Finn said. Biology and chemistry departments will be moving to the Foundational Sciences Building and the departments for physics and astronomy, geography, geology and natural resources and environmental management will remain in Cooper.

He said the rough breakdown of the total cost is - $48 million for the renovation and demolition, design fees around $6 million and other expenses amounting to $5 million.

Finn provided the timeline of this project as it currently stands:

  • Fall 2020: Work begins on Cooper Science Complex
  • July 2021: Biology and chemistry departments will move to the Foundational Sciences Building
  • April 2023: The renovation of Cooper Science will be complete
  • June 2023: Move in to the renovated Cooper Science will commence
  • December 2023: East end of Cooper Science will be demolished

The board's approval will now move to State Budget Committee which is expected to meet in May.

Work on the Cooper Science Complex renovation and demolition is scheduled to begin in the fall 2020 semester. The renovation of the complex will be completed by April 2023 and the demolition by December 2023. Samantha Brammer, DN File

<![CDATA[Input2 S8E4- Binge-watching Debunked]]>

Welcome back Podcasters! With everybody in isolation amid the COVID-19 pandemic, this week we are debunking the act of binge-watching! Why is binging so satisfying? What are we currently binge-watching? What do we suggest you binge? Find all this out and more in this week's episode of Input2!

Hosts: Tanner Kinney, Emily Worrell, Katherine Simon, and OK Schlatter

Edited by: Kellyn Harrison

Graphic by: Tyler Westman

<![CDATA[Board of Trustees approves paid leave plan for Ball State employees impacted by COVID-19 ]]> Ball State's Board of Trustees approved the Extraordinary Temporary Paid Leave Plan at its virtual meeting Friday to prevent university employees from being adversely affected economically by the impact of COVID-19.

Under this plan, if an employee is unable to work because of a COVID-19 related reason, President Geoffrey Mearns said the employee will receive regular full pay through the remainder of this fiscal year - which ends June 30 - or through the end of the employees regular employment period, whichever comes first.

The affected employees can use this "extraordinary" paid leave option and won't have to use their existing paid leave options in order to deal and manage with these absences, Mearns said.

RELATED: Ball State president issues new guidelines for university employees

The structure of the plan is initially targeted to those university employees who are unable to work remotely and presently not deemed essential. He said currently, there are approximately 100 employees that fall in this category.

Mearns said the plan recognizes the "dynamic situation" of the COVID-19 pandemic and would address those currently working remotely and future changes to the essential personnel on campus, in case they fall ill or need to take care of a family member.

"The plan provides the appropriate flexibility to allow us to adjust to the changing circumstances," Mearns said. "If we know anything that is a constant about this crisis, it's that it constantly requires us to change and adapt."

The pandemic, he said, will not affect their expected compensation and employees will receive nothing less, but also nothing more to increase the university's budgeted expenses.

"We believe that we should provide not just this compensation, but this reassurance during this time of uncertainty and anxiety," he said.

The plan also creates a donated paid leave bank, Mearns said. After June 30, an employee will be able to draw paid leave from this bank to cover COVID-19 related absences.

This bank will be initially funded through commitments from Mearns and the university's vice presidents and academic deans. Once the necessary policies and procedures to administer this bank are finalized, other university employees with available leave will be able to donate to the bank to support their colleagues.

Mearns said he hopes this plan "will relieve one source of stress in these challenging times."

"It's too early, I think, for us to determine whether we got every one of these difficult decisions correct," Mearns said. "Time will be the judge of whether we did, but I'm certain … throughout this crisis we have tried to do our best in making the right decision and on this one, I'm confident that what we are proposing is the right thing for us to do.

Apart from the COVID-19 response, the board approved the scope and budget of the $59.9 million renovation and partial demolition of the Cooper Science Complex.

It also reappointed Mark Ervin to a new four-year term on the Muncie Community Schools board. According to a Ball State press release, Ervin is an attorney for the local firm Beasley & Gilkison.

In this Jan. 31, 2020, photo, President Geoffrey Mearns signs the documentation to extend his presidency at Ball State's Board of Trustees meeting. During its virtual meeting March 27, the board approved the Extraordinary Temporary Paid Leave Plan to alleviate economical difficulties face by university employees during the COVID-19 pandemic. Bailey Cline, DN

<![CDATA[Ball State School of Music to host virtual concert series]]> In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, several Ball State organizations have had to cancel their in-person events for the rest of the semester, including the Ball State School of Music's public performances. Now, the School of Music will rebroadcast past concerts from 2017, 2018 and 2019 with its new "Virtual Concert Series." These rebroadcasts will take place 7:30 p.m Mondays-Saturdays and 3 p.m. Sundays on the School of Music's webcast page.

Here is the schedule for what concerts will be shown for the remainder of the semester:

Mondays: Masterworks performances

Tuesdays: Faculty Artist Series

Wednesdays: Jazz performances

Thursdays: Orchestra performances

Fridays: Band performances

Saturdays: Opera performances

Sundays: Choir performances

The Ball State School of Music will host virtual concerts for the rest of the semester in light of its canceled public performances due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Kyle Crawford, DN File

<![CDATA[Pizza King is celebrating over 60 years of quality pizza]]>

Pizza King is celebrating over 60 years of quality pizza and special ingredients to the Hoosier family. Pizza King has 11 locations across Delaware County with eight locations right in Muncie. Headquartered and raised right here in Muncie, Pizza King continues to serve "good to the very edge" pizza!

Whether you are in a rush between errands, getting the family ready for dinner, or need munchies for movie night, Pizza King has you covered. With seven sizes of pizza and 17 different toppings, what ever the occasion you can have the perfect pizza. They may be called Pizza King, but pizza isn't the only thing on the menu. They also have subs, chicken, salads and more! Check out their menu here!

Are you tired of cooking during? Did you forget to thaw something from the freezer to make dinner with? Don't worry-- even though Pizza King's dining rooms are closed for dine-in, they are open during standard business hours for carry-out and delivery orders!

Order ahead of time by calling any of the 11 locations around Delaware County. To find the location closest to you and order Muncie's Hometown Pizza, visit https://www.pizzaking.com/locations/

Also, after you grab a pizza and some bread stix, vote Pizza King in the Best of 2020 Reader's Choice Awards at BallStateDaily.com/Bestof2020 today! Vote for us in Best Restaurant, Best Pizza, Best Takeout, Best Family/Casual Dinning and Best Atmosphere!

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<![CDATA[Severe weather possible to end the week]]> We are tracking the potential for severe thunderstorms Friday and Saturday in association with a large weather system impacting the Midwest.

Tonight: We will see low temperatures drop into the upper 40s as showers continue to impact the region.

Tomorrow: Our first chance of severe weather arrives tomorrow. Much of the state is included in a level 1 out of 5 "marginal risk." Considering the cooler temperatures and relative lack of instability, tomorrow's threat is rather low. Watch out for some isolated damaging winds and large hail, as well as some localized flooding.
Expect scattered showers in the morning, with a break in the afternoon before thunderstorms arrive during the evening hours. The best chance for storms lies north of the area. Highs will reach the upper 50s to lower 60s.

This Weekend: Our best chance for severe weather is on Saturday. A warm front will move through the area Saturday morning, bringing with it multiple waves of showers and thunderstorms. Some clearing is possible during the afternoon hours, which will allow temperatures to soar. We could be talking the warmest air of 2020 so far, with highs entering the 70s for the first time. All of this warm air, moisture, and instability will make the atmosphere prime for severe thunderstorms Saturday evening into the overnight hours. For the time being, the Storm Prediction Center has placed areas off to the west in a level 2 out of 5 "slight risk" and kept our area in the level 1 out of 5 "marginal risk." All threats are on the table Saturday, including tornadoes, as the cold front moves through Saturday night. Sunday will be windy and much cooler behind the front. When all is said and done, 2 to 3 inches of rainfall are possible by the end of the weekend. Flooding will definitely be a concern during this time. Stay tuned to our Twitter and Facebook accounts for the latest updates concerning this severe weather potential.

Rest of the 7-Day Forecast: Next week looks to start with lots of sunshine on Monday, but more rain showers are possible on Tuesday. We look to dry out, however, on Wednesday and Thursday, with temperatures in the 50s. Overall, the forecast looks to make a turn toward cooler and drier conditions to open up April.

---Assistant Chief Weather Forecaster Nathan Gidley

Follow us on Twitter @NLIWeather for breaking weather updates.

NewsLink Indiana is a proud Ambassador for the NOAA Weather-Ready Nation program.

For more information about the Weather-Ready Nation program please click HERE

<![CDATA[Indiana governor signs new executive order to help fight COVID-19]]> Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed a new executive order Thursday that adds to the state's additional efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19.

According to a press release, the Department of Workforce Development has suspended the one-week waiting period required before paying unemployment benefits to recipients to get their checks faster. The suspension is retroactive to March 8.

Indiana residents with chronic health issues will be able to receive a 90-day supply of any non-controlled prescription medications, such as insulin and cholesterol medication, the release states.

Medicaid recipients are allowed to use their benefits to cover the costs of using alternative forms of transportation, such as a ride-sharing service, according to the letter, for appointments to see their healthcare provider.

The Family and Social Services Administration has additional funding flexibility to allow for additional home delivery of meals, the release states.

Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced all K-12 public schools in the state will be closed until May 1, 2020. All non-public schools have also been ordered to close. (AP Photo/Tom Davies)

<![CDATA[3.3 million seek US jobless aid, nearly 5 times earlier high]]> By CHRISTOPHER RUGABER

WASHINGTON (AP) - Nearly 3.3 million Americans applied for unemployment benefits last week - almost five times the previous record set in 1982 - amid a widespread economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus.

The surge in weekly applications was a stunning reflection of the damage the viral outbreak is inflicting on the economy. Filings for unemployment aid generally reflect the pace of layoffs.

Layoffs are sure to accelerate as the U.S. economy sinks into a recession. Revenue has collapsed at restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, gyms and airlines. Auto sales are plummeting, and car makers have closed factories. Most such employers face loan payments and other fixed costs, so they're cutting jobs to save money.

As job losses mount, some economists say the nation's unemployment rate could approach 13% by May. By comparison, the highest jobless rate during the Great Recession, which ended in 2009, was 10%.

"What seemed impossible just two weeks ago is now reality," said Nancy Vanden Houten, an economist at Oxford Economics, a consulting firm. "The US economy will experience the largest economic contraction on record with the most severe surge in unemployment ever."

The economic deterioration has been swift. As recently as February, the unemployment rate was at a 50-year low of 3.5%. And the economy was growing steadily if modestly. Yet by the April-June quarter of the year, some economists think the economy will shrink at its steepest annual pace ever - a contraction that could reach 30%.


In its report Thursday, the Labor Department said 3.283 million people applied for unemployment benefits last week, up from 282,000 during the previous week. Many people who have lost jobs in recent weeks, though, have been unable to file for unemployment aid because state websites and phone systems have been overwhelmed by a crush of applicants and have frozen up.

That logjam suggests that Thursday's report actually understates the magnitude of job cuts last week. So does the fact that workers who are not on company payrolls - gig workers, free-lancers, the self-employed - aren't currently eligible for unemployment benefits even though in many cases they're no longer able to earn money.

With layoffs surging, a significant expansion of unemployment benefits was included in an economic relief bill nearing final approval in Congress. One provision in the bill would provide an extra $600 a week on top of the unemployment aid that states provide. Another provision would supply 13 additional weeks of benefits beyond the six months of jobless aid that most states offer. The new legislation would also extend unemployment benefits, for the first time, to gig workers and others who are not on company payrolls.

Separate legislation passed last week provides up to $1 billion to states to enhance their ability to process claims. But that money will take time to be disbursed.

Worldwide, the United Nations estimates that up to 25 million jobs could be lost in the economic upheaval from the viral outbreak. That would exceed the 22 million that were lost during the 2008 global financial crisis.

In Europe, companies are laying off workers at the fastest pace since 2009, according to surveys of business managers. Official statistics for Europe that would reflect the outbreak's impact are not yet out. But companies have been announcing tens of thousands of job cuts, both permanent and temporary. Major car companies like Fiat Chrysler and airlines like Lufthansa are suspending most of their operations, putting tens of thousands of workers on temporary leave, many with only a partial salary.

The unemployment rate in the 19 countries that use the euro was 7.3% at last count in January. It's expected to rise toward 10%, depending on the duration of the outbreak, economists say. The rise in joblessness may not be as sharp as in the U.S. because it's harder to fire workers in Europe, where many governments are supporting companies financially to keep employees on partially paid leave.

In the United States, the jump in applications for benefits is playing out in states across the country. In California, claims for unemployment benefits more than tripled last week to 187,000. In New York, they rose by a factor of five to 80,334. Nationwide, about 2.25% of the entire workforce applied for jobless aid last week. In Nevada, the figure was 6.8%, in Rhode Island 7.5%.

Gov. Gavin Newsom said 1 million claims for unemployment benefits had been filed in California since March 13. Many of those applications were likely filed this week, suggesting that next week's report could show an even bigger number of claims.

In Florida, Jessy Morancy of Hollywood was laid off last week from her job as a wheelchair attendant and customer service agent at Fort Lauderdale Airport. Morancy, 29, called the state unemployment office on Monday to try to file for unemployment benefits but encountered just a recorded message telling her to call back later.

She was also concerned that even a full unemployment benefit of $275 a week would be less than half of what she earned at her job and insufficient to provide for her children, ages 10 and 7.


"I'm still in a state of shock," Morancy said.

She said she has heard that airline employees might continue to receive salaries if Congress provides financial assistance to the airlines. Yet even so, it's not clear that employees like her who work for contractors - Eulen America, in her case - would be eligible.

"If these companies are going to get a bailout, why not include us?" Morancy said.

Even for those able to file a claim, the benefits will take time to kick in. It typically takes two to three weeks before applicants receive any money. State agencies must first contact their former employers to verify their work and earnings history. Only then can the employee's weekly unemployment benefits be calculated.

Worsening the problem, most state agencies that handle unemployment claims are operating at historically low funding levels and staffing that are intended to handle a trickle of claims. Just weeks ago, the job market was in the strongest shape it had been in decades.

Kim Boldrini-Sen, 41, has also struggled to file her claim. She has tried in two states: In Connecticut, where she works as an acupuncturist in a private practice, and in New York, where she lives and has her own acupuncture business.

In Connecticut, she thought her application had been submitted. But when she returned last week to re-file as applicants are required to do each week, she found there was no record of her initial filing. After taking an hour to re-file, she received a pop-up notice that she was ineligible to do so online.

In New York, the state's website repeatedly crashed when she was halfway through filling out her request. When she finally managed to press submit, she received a pop-up saying she had to file over the phone. That hasn't worked well, either.

"I've called at all hours of the day," she said. "That's been my life for a week, and I still can't get through to anyone."

On Wednesday, the New York State Department of Labor tweeted, "If you have been unable to get through our phone and/or online system this week, please keep trying."

"We are working as hard as we can to ensure that all benefits are paid and appreciate your patience," the agency said on Twitter.

Ellen Zentner, an economist at Morgan Stanley, said in a note to clients that 17 million jobs could be lost through May -- twice the entire 8.7 million jobs that were lost in the Great Recession. She expects the unemployment rate to average 12.8% in the April-June quarter, which would be the highest level since the 1930s.

Still, Zentner also expects the economy to start recovering by the second half of the year. But it will take time for things to return to something close to normal, she projects: The unemployment rate could still top 5% at the end of next year.


AP Writers Carlo Piovano in London, David Lieb in Jefferson City, Missouri, and Matthew Barakat in Falls Church, Viriginia, contributed to this report.

In this March 17, 2020, file photo, people wait in line for help with unemployment benefits at the One-Stop Career Center in Las Vegas. A record-high number of people applied for unemployment benefits last week as layoffs engulfed the United States in the face of a near-total economic shutdown caused by the coronavirus. The surge in weekly applications for benefits far exceeded the previous record set in 1982. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)

<![CDATA[6 tips to work, study from home more efficiently ]]> With online learning being a part of Ball State students' daily routines, some students may have trouble concentrating, which can be incredibly time consuming. While adjusting to the new online schooling environment, consider these six tips to go about your school work efficiently and effectively by staying focused on the task at hand.

Work at a desk or table, not your bed. Get comfy at your desk or living room table to start your online school work to retain your focus and concentration. According to American College of Healthcare Sciences, doing school work while in the comfort of your bed limits focus and decreases productivity. Instead of laying amongst familiar pillows and blankets, find a study space that has good lighting and enough room for you to spread out and work.

Listen to motivating music. Turn to your favorite music-streaming platform, such as Spotify, YouTube or Apple Music, to find studying soundtracks. Playlists that consist of white noise and other background music can help improve your productivity. According to a Stanford Medicine study, listening to music engages areas of the brain involved in making predictions and can sharpen the brain's ability to sustain attention. So, consider plugging in your headphones and queuing up a soundtrack that best fits your study environment.

Have healthy snacks on standby. Rather than running to your kitchen every time you're hungry, risking getting distracted by your family members and losing your motivation to work, keep a few snacks within your reach on your desk instead. According to NAU Canada Online, almonds, dark chocolate, popcorn, fruit salad, yogurt, veggies and homemade trail mix are all options to keep your mind sharp and boost your ability to focus as you work at home.

Use apps to improve your productivity. To keep yourself from getting distracted, consider downloading apps on your phone or computer that limit your use on certain websites. Apps such as Forest: Stay Focused and Flora - Focus Habit Tracker encourage users to put down their phones by growing virtual gardens the longer the phone isn't used. By downloading apps like these, your productivity at home increases, as they prevent social media or other websites from stealing your attention as you work.

Take frequent breaks. While studying, giving your mind frequent breaks may help keep you concentrated on the task at hand. According to Oxford Learning, students should take short and regular breaks rather than long breaks because it is harder to get back into a studying mode. Take a 15-minute break to walk around your neighborhood or to stretch to regain focus.

Keep a daily planner. Transitioning to online classes can be difficult, especially when it comes to keeping all of your assignments organized and turning them in on time. Without your professor helping you keep track of what is due, it can be easy to miss a due date completely. To make sure you don't forget about any assignments, keep a daily planner where you write down your homework assignments, due dates and important projects and tests. This will not only keep you organized but also help you pace out your work so you don't become too overwhelmed.