<![CDATA[Ball State Daily RSS Feed]]> Sun, 12 Jul 2020 15:58:22 -0400 Sun, 12 Jul 2020 15:58:22 -0400 SNworks CEO 2020 The Ball State Daily <![CDATA[6 tips for stargazing in your own backyard and beyond]]> With summer in session, warm nights are the perfect time to get outside and look at the sky. Stargazing is a hobby anyone can pick up and it can be an inexpensive way to connect with nature and the universe around us. Here are six tips that will help you appreciate this activity.

1. Look for clear skies

The only thing you truly need to stargaze is a patch of clear sky. It's important to look for evenings with no cloud cover and less humidity because it can cause a haze and prevent you from seeing as much of the sky as possible. It also helps to try and limit the light pollution around you, which can obscure your view of the sky. You can do this by getting away from street lights and buildings, if possible. If not, you can still see plenty of the brighter stars even with light pollution.

2. Let your eyes adapt to the darkness

The longer you look up at the dark sky, the more stars you will begin to see. This is because of a process our eyes undergo, called dark adaptation. Our eyes are able to adjust and become more sensitive to smaller sources of light over time. This process typically takes our eyes anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour to reach our maximum night vision. That being said, it's important to not look at bright lights, such as street lamps or cell phones, while our eyes are adjusting.

When stargazing, it can be useful to have a red light with you for seeing things in the dark. Red lights allow for you to have visible light without affecting your eye's dark adaptation. Some astronomy apps offer red light interfaces so you can still use your phone to learn about the sky while you're stargazing.

3. Download astronomy apps

One of the best ways to learn about the stars you see in the sky is through astronomy apps. They sometimes allow you to point your phone at the sky and tell you what stars, constellations, satellites and comets you are viewing. Here are a few popular apps recommended by Rachel Williamson, Charles W. Brown Planetarium show specialist, that can help you learn about the night sky while you are stargazing.

  • Google Sky: This free website helps you explore the far reaches of the universe using Google Maps to position the planets and constellations with your own surroundings.
  • Stellarium: There is a $2.99 mobile version and a $9.99 version. The mobile option has an extensive catalog of space information. There is also a free open source planetarium computer program. It shows a realistic sky in 3D, just like what you see with your own eyes.
  • SkySafari: This smartphone app costs $3 for the artificial reality version and there is a plus version for $14.99 and a pro version for $39.99. This app shows you 120,000 stars, 222 of the best-known star clusters, nebulae, and galaxies in the sky; including all of the Solar System's major planets and moons, and more than 200 asteroids, comets, and satellites.
  • Star Tracker: This smartphone app has a free lite version and a pro version for $3. You can see stars, constellations and deep sky objects by pointing your phone at the sky and all of this data is available offline.

4. Be prepared

When stargazing, you want to make sure you are prepared to be outside for a while. Blankets, lawn chairs, bug spray, drinks and snacks are good to bring, as well as a red light and phone charger. If you are stargazing from home, it's still a good idea to get all of your supplies nearby so you aren't having to turn on lights and lose your dark adaptation. If you have binoculars, they can help you see stars in more detail, however, they aren't necessary to get a good view of the sky.

5. Look for easily recognizable constellations

The Earth is constantly rotating on its axis, but the stars are fixed. So, while the stars appear to be rotating, they are moving together across the sky. Being able to recognize a few constellations allows you to learn more about the Earth's celestial sphere.

6. Find stargazing friends

Finding people who either know a lot about the stars already or want to learn alongside you can make your stargazing experience even better. Many communities have local astronomy groups that encourage new membership of any skill level. In Muncie, there is the Muncie Astronomy Club. They host and attend astronomy classes as well as hold sky tours around Muncie. There is also the Charles W. Brown Planetarium on Ball State's campus, which typically holds free astronomy shows for the public. It can also be beneficial to join Facebook groups or online forums for more tips and tricks about stargazing.

Contact Sarah Jensen with questions at sejensen@bsu.edu or on Twitter @jensenesarah2

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Sarah Jensen, DN

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<![CDATA[Ball State responds to new ICE directive for international students]]> On July 6, United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement's (ICE) Student and Exchange Visitor Program (SEVP) announced modifications to temporary exemptions for nonimmigrant students taking online classes due to the pandemic for the fall 2020 semester.

The directive states nonimmigrant F-1 and M-1 students attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the country. Additionally, it restricts F-1 students to a maximum of one class or three credit hours online.

F-1 nonimmigrant students pursue academic coursework and M-1 nonimmigrant students pursue vocational coursework while studying in the United States.

It states nonimmigrant F-1 students attending schools adopting a hybrid model - a mixture of online and in person classes - will be allowed to take more than one class or three credit hours online. These exemptions, however, will not apply to F-1 students in English language training programs or M-1 students pursing vocational degrees.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, SEVP previously instituted a temporary exemption regarding online courses for the spring and summer semesters. This policy permitted nonimmigrant students to take more online courses than normally permitted by federal regulation to maintain their nonimmigrant status during the COVID-19 emergency.

Ball State put out a press release Wednesday stating it is closely monitoring the situation and assessing the impact these changes may have on our students.

Following the ICE directive, Ball State's Rinker Center for International Programs is communicating with international students about what they need to do, the press release states.

The center is advising academic F-1 students to enroll in face-to-face or hybrid classes as much as possible, although more than one online/distance class can make up part of a full course load.

The center is also checking with the federal government whether the change to all online instruction for the last three weeks of the fall semester will affect students. For the fall 2020 semester.

Ball State previously announced classes would be moving to remote learning for the remaining three weeks of the semester after Thanksgiving break.

The press release state Rinker Center will update students about this as information becomes available.

On-campus classes at Ball State will start Aug. 24 as scheduled and is modifying how it conducts classes. Through all majors and programs, the press release states Ball State will deliver courses through different modalities - including on-campus interactions with modified seating, hybrid personalized instruction with alternate activities and attendance rotations and online courses.

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A new directive from United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement announced international students holding F-1 and M-1 visas attending schools operating entirely online may not take a full online course load and remain in the United States. Ball State's Rinker Center for International Programs is communicating with international students about what they need to do. Jordan Huffer, DN File

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<![CDATA[Former Ball State employee indicted on child pornography charges]]> MUNCIE,Ind. (NewsLink) - A former Ball State employee was indicted on federal charges of distributing child pornography.

James Hague was indicted on five charges on June 24, according to court documents. Hague's indictment includes three counts of distributionof visual depictions of minors engaging in sexual explicit conduct, one count of receiving sexually explicit content and one count of sending it.

The indictment said Hague distributed the images inside and outside of Delaware County on Jan. 12, May 17 and May 25.

Hague was the former Director of Student Life at Ball State University until recently, according to Marc Ransford, Ball State Marketing and Communications spokesperson. It's unknown if or when Hague submitted his resignation or if he was terminated.

NewsLink Indiana reached out to BSU and received a statement:

"Ball State is aware of the allegations made against one of its employees and the University is committed to assisting law enforcement's investigation. As policy, the University does not comment on personnel matters."

It's unclear in the indictment which agencies were involved in the case.

This story will be updated.

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<![CDATA[Former Ball State employee faces federal child pornography charges]]> Jim Hague, former director for the Office of Student Life at Ball State, has been charged with five counts involving child pornography, according to court documents from the United States Attorney's Office in the Southern District of Indiana.

William H. Dazey Jr., the attorney defending Hague, confirmed Hague's identity July 8.

A federal grand jury indicted Hague on June 24, on three counts of distribution of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct, one charge of receipt of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct and one charge of possession of visual depictions of minors engaging in sexually explicit conduct.

According to court documents said that "beginning at a date unknown and continuing until at least May 26," Hague allegedly had "knowingly received visual depictions using any means or facility of interstate or foreign commerce and in and affecting interstate or foreign commerce, by any means including computer, where the producing of such visual depictions involved the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct and such depictions were of such conduct …"

The documents define visual depiction as "underdeveloped film and videotape, data stored on computer disk or by electronic means which is capable of conversion into a visual image, and data which is capable of conversion into a visual image that has been transmitted by any means, whether or not stored in a permanent format."

All charges have penalties of up to $250,000 fine and range from five to 20 years in prison.

"Ball State is aware of the allegations made against one of its employees and the University is committed to assisting law enforcement's investigation. As policy, the University does not comment on personnel matters," said Marc Ransford, senior media strategist at Ball State.

This article will be updated.

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<![CDATA[Ball State UPD accepting lateral transfer applications for police officer]]> Ball State's University Police Department (UPD) announced it is accepting lateral transfer applications to work as a police officer at the university.

According to UPD's website, its officers undergo the same training as all police officers in the State of Indiana and receive the same certification and police powers.



Applicants must have at least an associate degree or two years of college or equivalent experience in law enforcement. They should also have successfully completed the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy's (ILEA) basic training course within the first year of employment or an equivalent program approved by the Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board.

Additionally, they should be able to perform all mental and physical requirements as outlined in each job duty, meet ILEA's physical fitness standards and pass a psychological evaluation and polygraph test after being offered the position.

Preferred qualifications include having a bachelor's degree and law enforcement experience related to a campus or university environment, in addition to the above mentioned requirements.

The selection process might take 30-60 days and applicants will be notified by letter of possible employment with the department, UPD's website states.

Applications will be accepted until 4 p.m. July 31. A written test will be conducted 8 a.m. Aug. 15. More information about the application can be found on UPD's website and university-specific polices pertaining to the position of a police officer can be found in UPD's service personnel handbook.

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University Police Department Lt. Terrell Smith hugs a participant Jan. 20, 2020, during the MLK Unity March. UPD helped direct the traffic on McKinley Avenue during the march. Bailey Cline, DN

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<![CDATA[Ball State temporarily discontinues operations at E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center]]> In a message tweeted by Ball State President Geoffrey Mearns, he announced his decision to temporarily discontinue operations at the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center located near Minnetrista.

It suspended activities in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mearns said. Due to the current risk of the resurgence of the coronavirus, he said it will not be able to resume live programming and public gatherings until the end of the year at the earliest, and possibly not until sometime in the spring 2021 semester.

This center is a historic residential property that once belonged to members of the Ball family, the university's namesake, and currently offers education programs to the local community in the form of classes, seminars and workshops, according to Ball State's website.

Mearns said it was gifted to the Ball State University Foundation by the Ball Brothers Foundation for use by the university as a continuing education facility in 1975.

"I remain committed to reopening the facility and to maintaining the family legacy items," he said. "The former family home is a true gem and an important part of the Minnetrista campus, the Ball Family legacy, and Ball State University."

As Ball State anticipates the end of the pandemic, Mearns said it will begin to develop a plan to seek input and guidance from Muncie community members, local organizations and the campus community regarding the facility.

"Given its historic connection to our community, it is important for us to work together to honor and further build upon the legacy of the home," he said.


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Ball State will temporarily discontinue operations at the E.B. and Bertha C. Ball Center due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The center has been closed since March and might not open until sometime in the spring 2021 semester. Ball State University, Photo Courtesy

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<![CDATA[Ball State releases guidebook for event management, community engagement]]> Ball State released its event management and community engagement guidebook this week to provide guidelines for planning on- and off-campus events and off-campus, in-person engagement during the pandemic.

Event Approval:

The guidebook states events will need to be approved and prioritized by the concerned university vice president or director for hosting a division or organization.

The criteria for approving these events include whether it is directly connected to Ball State's core mission or its current strategic plan priorities, required by the university or an external entity, unable to be replicated virtually, can be accommodated with an appropriate amount of available resources, can ensure compliance with health and safety guidelines and sufficiently planned using COVID-19 event management considerations with the appropriate departments.

All event organizers will be required to complete the event proposal form, detailing information about the event, the guidebook states. These forms will be given for approval to the university vice president or director responsible for hosting the division or organization.

The vice president or director will then make a decision considering the following tiers of mission centrality and the overall nature of the activity or event:

  • Tier 1 (Primary): These activities are aligned most closely with the core academic mission - teaching and learning, research and course-based community engagement.

    Examples: student teaching, immersive and other experiential learning activities, clinical experiences, studio courses, living-learning Communities and faculty and student research activities.
  • Tier 2 (Secondary): These activities and events directly align with the mission of student engagement and development.

    Examples: co-curricular and other student activities and events, non-academic public lectures, recreation activities, student organization-hosted activities and events and student community service.
  • Tier 3 (Tertiary): These activities align with the mission to engage and support the external communities the university serves.

    Examples: arts and entertainment events, volunteer board meetings and events, donor events, celebratory and holiday events, receptions, recognition events and official university ceremonies and events.
  • Tier 4 (Ancillary): These activities are tangential to the core mission.

    Examples: external use of the university's indoor and outdoor spaces and off-campus student events.

Once the event is approved, the guidebook states it may proceed to the booking stage. Approved event proposal forms will be returned to the organizer. This, however, does not guarantee the event will occur as the venue scheduler might not be able to accommodate the requirements or have the space available.

Each facility and venue will develop its own protocols and procedures to comply with Ball State's COVID-19 return to campus plan, campus visitor plan and general sanitation guidelines.

General safety guidelines:

The guidebook states Ball State community members are asked to:

  • Wear face masks when in the presence of others and physical distancing is not practicable.
  • Maintain at least a distance of 6 feet from other people at all times.
  • Avoid crowded places and mass gatherings.
  • Wash hands frequently and often.
  • Have activities that minimize touching of items when possible.
  • Regularly sanitize environments and have hand sanitizer available.
  • Post signage related to hygiene requirements in multiple locations.
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Locals play a game of pick-up ultimate Frisbee in the quad at Ball State University Aug, 23, 2019. Quad Bash is a community event for students and locals to hang out and make friends after the first week of classes at Ball State. Eric Pritchett, DN

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<![CDATA[5 national 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 across the United States. All summaries are based on stories published by The Associated Press.

President Donald Trump's election donors receiving coronavirus loans early, protective gear for medical workers running low, the Trump administration's push to get all schools to reopen in the fall, charges against Ghislaine Maxwell and shootings during the Fourth of July weekend make up this week's five national stories.


Trump donors among early recipients of coronavirus loans

As much as $273 million in federal coronavirus aid was awarded to more than 100 companies that are owned or operated by major donors to President Donald Trump's election efforts. Many were among the first to be approved for a loan in early April, when the administration was struggling to launch the lending program. And only eight businesses had to wait until early May before securing the aid, according to the Associated Press review of data released Monday.

Read More: Small business


Protective gear for medical workers begins to run low again

Personal protective gear is running low again as the virus resumes its rapid spread and the number of hospitalized patients climbs. A national nursing union is concerned gear has to be reused, a doctors association warns physicians' offices are closed because they cannot get masks and other supplies and Democrats in Congress are pushing the Trump administration to devise a national strategy in anticipation of the crisis worsening into the fall.

Read More: Virus Outbreak


DeVos rejects part-time reopening for schools amid pandemic

Education Secretary Betsy DeVos on Tuesday assailed plans by some local districts to offer in-person instruction only a few days a week and said schools must be "fully operational" even amid the coronavirus pandemic. Anything less, she says, would fail students and taxpayers. DeVos made the comments during a call with governors as the Trump administration launched an all-out effort to get schools and colleges to reopen.

Read more: Betsy DeVos


Maxwell moved to NY for Epstein-related sex abuse charges

Jeffrey Epstein's longtime confidante Ghislaine Maxwell was transferred Monday to a New York City jail as she faces charges that she recruited girls, one as young as 14, for him to sexually abuse. Maxwell, 58, the daughter of the late British publishing magnate Robert Maxwell, was the former girlfriend and longtime close associate of Epstein, who killed himself at a federal jail in Manhattan last August while he awaited trial on federal sex trafficking charges.

Read More: Ghislaine Maxwell


'Senseless crime': The victims of July Fourth shootings

From San Francisco to South Carolina, a spate of shootings claimed the lives of people celebrating or just taking a drive over the Fourth of July weekend. Chicago saw one of its bloodiest holiday weekends in memory, with 17 killed and 70 wounded by gunfire. The incidents come amid fears the coronavirus pandemic, protests against racism, rising gun sales and an election year could make for a particularly deadly summer.

Read more: Shootings

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<![CDATA[How Ball State's Cardinal Lanes will operate during the COVID-19 pandemic]]> Ball State released the full operation recovery plan for the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Monday, detailing how the Student Center and its amenities - including the bowling alley Cardinal Lanes - will operate during the summer and fall 2020 semesters.

Cardinal Lanes will remain closed throughout the summer, the plan states. Prior to reopening in the fall, it will be cleaned and sanitized, after which bookings, including private parties, will be made at 50 percent capacity throughout the semester with the use of every other lane or an empty lane between groups.

The plan states Cardinal Lanes' operations will follow guidelines set by the United States Bowling Congress for operations of a bowling center during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It states staffing will be adjusted to adequately maintain sanitization of all areas including equipment as it is used. Hours of operation at the bowling center will be limited to allow time for appropriate sanitizing and disinfecting.


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Ball State's Cardinal Lanes bowling center will be operating at 50 percent capacity throughout the fall 2020 semester. Its hours of operation will be limited to allow for appropriate sanitizing and disinfecting. Breanna Daugherty, DN File

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<![CDATA[Muncie City Council passes resolution condemning racism]]> Muncie City Council unanimously passed a resolution at its Monday meeting condemning racism in the City of Muncie.

Councilwoman Anitra Davis said it was important for the council to address racism in some way.

"I want people to know that racism wastes time and it prevents us from moving forward. It has no place here on council," Davis said.

She also said there are a lot of language and barriers to contracts and economic development that can be covert.

"I just want us to make sure that we're watching our decision making, that we're checking with one another to make sure that we're not accidentally doing or saying things to exclude others because it can happen," Davis said. "We're going to work together, recognize that there are problems and work through them together."



During the public comments on the resolutions, Ari Hurwitz, Delaware County Council candidate, thanked the council for the resolution and recognized its importance.

"I hope it is only a first step to doing some real soul searching for structural change," Hurwitz said. "Throughout the country we see everything from statements to Confederate statues falling and other things. I think while that's all wonderful and maybe an indicator of a movement finally taking hold after over 400 years of massive structural racism and bigotry in this country, statues falling and statements are not going to end any of those systemic practices."

Hurwitz said issues regarding structural racism are just as alive in Muncie and Delaware County as anywhere else. He said people watching the Muncie City Council meeting will be looking for "consistent and continuous structural change."

In other business, the council also appointed new board members - one to the Muncie Indiana Transit System (MITS) board and two to the Muncie Animal Care and Services Commission.

Julie Mason was appointed to the MITS board in a 7-2 decision. Mason said she was born and raised in Muncie, has worked for the U.S Army for 26 years, is an Indiana University alumna and is the daughter of Muncie's first African-American councilperson, James Albert Johnson. She said she would use the experience from working in the army and seeing different types of transportation in California and around the world in her position.

"You can tell how great a city is in how they move their people around," Mason said, "If you can't get people to their jobs and for them to get their food, clothing and those basic things they need, then we have a problem."

For the Muncie Animal Care and Services Commission, the council re-appointed Dr. Michael Brown, a veterinarian, and newly appointed Mary Stilts, a Muncie citizen, in a 9-0 vote.

Stilts, who has lived in Muncie all her life, said she has been active in helping and supporting the Muncie animal shelter for a long time and can help with getting donations and volunteers to help out at the shelter.

"I think I could really do the city as well as that animal shelter, a lot of justice," she said.



A city ordinance that was tabled from the last city council meeting was passed 9-0.

The ordinance gave additional appropriations to the parks department in the amount of $305,362. It was initially tabled so the parks department would have a chance to get quotes and take the proper steps to confirm the amount needed. The ordinance was first amended to change the amount needed to $299,693.

The appropriation will go towards giving trash trucks to the parks department. Carl Malone, president of the parks department, said the cleanup from 4th of July celebrations could've been done sooner with the help of the trucks.

"We had trash in nearly every neighborhood, had we had trucks out we could've gotten the trash out on Saturday or Sunday, prior to having to get it Monday morning," he said.

Malone also said the trucks should be in service as early as Wednesday.

The ordinance to amend the city code regarding urban chickens and being able to keep them within city limits remained tabled so the ordinance could be rewritten following two public discussions on the ordinance in the Land and Traffic Committee.

The next city council meeting will take place Aug. 3 and Monday's meeting can be viewed in full on the City of Muncie's Facebook page.

Contact Jake Merkel with comments at jamerkel@bsu.edu or on Twitter @jakemerkel4.

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Muncie City Hall. Andrew Smith, DN File

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<![CDATA[How Ball State University Hotel will operate during the COVID-19 pandemic]]> Ball State released the full operation recovery plan for the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Monday, detailing how the Student Center and its amenities - including the University Hotel - will operate during the summer and fall 2020 semesters.

The University Hotel will start its phased reopening process Monday, the plan states. Prior to opening, the hotel will be cleaned, disinfected, and sanitized.

RELATED: Ball State releases COVID-19 operations plan for Student Center

On July 13, the hotel will re-open at 25 percent room occupancy for three weeks, it states. Reservations will only be available for four nights a week, Monday through Thursday, due to limited availability of building operations.

The plan states hotel occupancy will be increased to 50 percent beginning Aug. 3. The days of the week will be extended as the building re-opens for weekends.

Cleaning and sanitization at the hotel will follow the American Hotel & Lodging Association guidelines for enhanced industry hotel cleaning standards in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Additionally, the plan states glass barriers have been installed at the hotel's front desk and the Student Center's campus information desk.

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Ball State University Hotel will begin its phased reopening process July 6, 2020. Starting July 13, the hotel will be reopened at 25 percent occupancy and starting Aug. 3 it will be operating at 50 percent occupancy. Rachel Ellis, DN File

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<![CDATA[Ball State releases COVID-19 operations plan for Student Center ]]> Ball State released the full operation recovery plan for the L.A. Pittenger Student Center Monday, detailing how the Student Center and its amenities will operate during the summer and fall 2020 semesters.

Currently, the plan states building access at the Student Center is limited to the first floor and basement for the services provided in those areas. Access to the building is only through the North and South doors and building access will remain limited through July.

It states the Student Center will employ a phased reopening of the building as faculty, staff and students return to campus. The hours of operation reflect the phased approach to campus re-entry to campus with up-to-date operating hours provided on its website.

Face masks and shields will be required according to Ball State's guidelines, the plan states. Face masks will be required in the Student Center because it is an indoor space where physical distancing is not always practicable.

It will follow recommended guidelines for surface and electronic equipment disinfection procedures and post signs for physical distancing procedures and proper hand-washing procedures.

RELATED: How Ball State University Hotel will operate during the COVID-19 pandemic

Events:

The Student Center's reservations office will follow guidance set forth by the Event Management and Community Engagement Guidebook for holding events in the building, the plan states.

The center will accommodate reservations for groups according to physical distancing protocols, including room and space occupancy limits, it states. The amount of setup time between all events will increase to allow for proper cleaning and sanitization, with some spaces only able to accommodate one or two events per day.

Indoor spaces will be prioritized for events that are approved and cannot be hosted virtually or online. The plan encourages meetings to be held in a video conference or phone format whenever possible. It also encourages event organizers to reserve and use outside spaces as much as possible and as long as the weather allows.

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The L.A. Pittenger Student Center will employ a phased reopening of the building as faculty, staff and students return to campus. The hours of operation reflect the phased approach to campus re-entry to campus. Samantha Brammer, DN File

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<![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.

India's ban on TikTok and other Chinese apps, Iran's damaged nuclear site, the United Kingdom's sanctions on Russians and Saudis implicated in human rights violations, the Canadian prime minister turning down an invite to the White House and a positive story from the Czech Republic make up this week's five international stories.


India bans TikTok, other Chinese apps amid border standoff

Indian TikTok users awoke Tuesday to a notice from the popular video app saying the company was working to comply with an India government ban on dozens of Chinese apps amid a military standoff between the two countries. The ban was largely symbolic since the apps can't be automatically erased from devices where they've already been downloaded. The move was a response to a border clash with China where 20 Indian soldiers died earlier this month.

Read more: Technology


Iran confirms damaged nuclear site was centrifuge facility
Iran on Sunday confirmed that a damaged building at the underground Natanz nuclear site was a new centrifuge assembly center. Iranian officials had previously sought to downplay the fire, which erupted early on Thursday, calling it only an "incident" that affected an "industrial shed." However, a released photo and video of the site broadcast by Iranian state television showed a two-story brick building with scorch marks and its roof apparently destroyed.

Read more: Iran


UK sanctions Russians, Saudis under new Magnitsky powers

Britain on Monday announced economic sanctions against individuals and organizations from Russia, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar and North Korea under new U.K. powers to punish human rights offenders. The sanctions targeted those behind human rights violations like senior Saudi intelligence officials accused in the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi and Russian authorities implicated in the death of Sergei Magnitsky, a lawyer who died in a Moscow prison.

Read more: Jamal Khashoggi


Trudeau turns down White House invitation amid pandemic

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has turned down a White House invitation to celebrate the new regional free trade agreement in Washington with U.S President Donald Trump and Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Trump and López Obrador are due to meet Wednesday Washington, but Trudeau spokesperson Chantal Gagnon said Monday that while Canada wishes the U.S. and Mexico well, Trudeau won't be there.

Read more: Trade agreements


Czech volunteers develop functioning lung ventilator in days
Working around the clock, a team of 30 Czechs developed a fully functional ventilator - Corovent - in a matter of days. The team is an informal group of volunteers formed by IT companies and experts who offered to help the Czech Republic fight the pandemic. The virus struck the country slightly later than in western Europe but the number of infected was rising and time was running out just as ventilators had become a precious commodity.

Read more: One Good Thing

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A worker checks a lung ventilator "Corovent" June 17, 2020, manufactured in Trebic, Czech Republic. A group of volunteers in the Czech Republic was working round the clock to prevent critical shortage of ventilators for COVID-19 patients. (AP Photo/Petr David Josek)

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<![CDATA[Ball State, Ivy Tech create guaranteed admissions pathway]]> Some Ivy Tech Community College graduates will now have a guaranteed admission to Ball State under the new Guaranteed Admissions Agreement (GAA) between the two institutions, according to a Ball State press release.

The agreement allows Ivy Tech students who earn an associate of science degree in Transfer Single Articulation Pathways (TSAP) programs to be guaranteed admission into designated bachelor degree programsat Ball State, the press release states.

TSAP degree programs allows students to complete their first two years at Ivy Tech, earn an associate degree from Ivy Tech and then transfer to any Indiana public four-year institution with a junior status, according to Ivy Tech's website.

"This new agreement provides a seamless way for students from Ivy Tech Community College to find their new home at Ball State," said Susana Rivera-Mills, Ball State's provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, in the press release. "Without question, Ivy Tech students are highly motivated for success. And our University is well positioned to assist these new Cardinals as they become acclimated to our campus."

Students who enrolled at Ivy Tech on or after June 1 will be eligible for this guaranteed admission option, the press release states. Those who complete an associate degree at Ivy Tech and then apply for admission into Ball State in a program not covered by GAA may be admitted on an individual basis.

"Ivy Tech is proud that many of our students complete their degree at Ivy Tech and transfer to Ball State seamlessly," said Ivy Tech Muncie Chancellor Jeffrey Scott in the press release. "This guaranteed admissions agreement is the latest example of doing the right thing for the right reason."

Ball State's Transfer Center assists students considering a transfer to the university by allowing them to make an appointment to speak with a staff member about their options, how their credits will transfer and plan courses at their current school to integrate with curriculum at Ball State.

Earlier this year, Ivy Tech announced its GAA partnership with Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis and all Indiana University regional campuses.

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A sign directs toward Ivy Tech Community College's Cowan Road location Dec. 10, 2019. Ivy Tech gifted Muncie Community Schools its South Instructional Building location on Cowan Road. Rohith Rao, DN

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<![CDATA[More than 5,000 gallons of milk distributed through Delaware County program]]> As part of his project at the Muncie Food Hub Partnership (MFHP), Joshua Gruver, associate professor of natural resources and environmental management, helped distribute around 1,500 gallons of milk each week to local emergency food organizations throughout the month of June.

Gruver, who serves as director of MFHP, said in email the milk distribution program was part of a collaboration with Delaware County Purdue Extension and Prairie Farms in Anderson, Indiana.

"The purpose of this project is to get food products that would be thrown out/wasted into the hands of people who would benefit from extra food and sustenance," he said.

Usual food sales channels all over the country, Gruver said, had been disrupted by the pandemic. He said food such as milk, fruits and vegetables that can't be preserved for long periods of time are easy to throw away. As a result, some partnerships are distributing this food to those who need them most.

"Farmers have to apply to receive these funds - they then reach out to food distributors and others to help them get the food to where it needs to be," he said. "This is incredibly significant because there are not many partnerships like ours [that] have the ability to store large amounts of food products and bring food to smaller venues and distribution points that we have connections with and access to."

Prairie Farms, which applied for funding from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, provides milk for the program, Gruver said. They reached out to organizations, like MFHP, that could help them distribute.

The milk distribution program, he said, won't have a big impact on local distributors.

"Most regular food distributors service restaurants, groceries, and other typical food outlets. We operate in a special niche - we serve communities and people with low food access and often low income," Gruver said.

Purdue Extension reached out to MFHP because the organization knew MFHP had the expertise and knowledge to collaborate on the program, he said.

Laurynn Thieme, extension educator for agriculture and natural resources for Delaware County Purdue Extension, said in an email it is important to understand the community effort behind making a program like this possible.

"While we made the original contacts and pulled in MFHP - it still took the entire county and all of our connections as a community to get this [milk] into the hands of those that need it," Thieme said.

At this point, she said the program has helped distribute more than 5,000 gallons of milk.

Lindsey Cox, Community Wellness Coordinator at Purdue Extension serving Delaware and Blackford Counties, said in an email this six-week program concluded at the end of June.

Cox said this project helped the organization build and deepen relationships with local people and was a good way to help people get food.

"One local pantry told me that 'milk is a luxury item,' and have been really grateful to be able to distribute gallons of milk to their local families," she said.

The relationships built throughout the program was priceless, Cox said, adding she is excited to see what other opportunities might arise in the future through these relationships.

"Our community is full of amazing people and organizations, and seeing everyone come together to help get food and milk to our neighbors is inspiring," she said.

Contact Weiyu Ding with comments at wding@bsu.edu or on Twitter @WeiyuDing.

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Joshua Gruver, associate professor of natural resources and environmental management poses with crates of milk provided by Prairie Farms in Anderson, Indiana. Through a collaboration between Muncie Food Hub Partnership and Delaware County Purdue Extension, he helped distribute thousands of gallons of milk in Delaware County. Joshua Gruver, Photo Provided

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<![CDATA[Humans vs. Geese: How COVID-19 impacted coexistence with the honkers]]> Ball State's Canada geese and its student population have had a love-hate relationship for long - with light-hearted social media posts and an Instagram page created specifically for these feathered honkers.

David Shearer, doctoral student who was leading a Ball State student research team studying the birds' migration and nesting habits, said in an email being close to wildlife can make the connection between people and nature closer.

"I feel like having geese and other wildlife on a university campus can be enriching for all who occupy the area," he said. "When I started here at Ball State, I was amazed to see that they even have an Instagram account dedicated to the Canada geese on campus."

Shearer said geese attacks are common during nesting periods. According to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) website, these geese are particularly aggressive during breeding and nesting season with most problems in metropolitan areas occurring from March through June.

"During this time, geese can be very territorial, especially the male of a pair," Shearer said. "Which only makes sense; these geese are looking for a chance that comes once a year to pass on their genetic information and they protect that chance as much as they can."



However, Shearer said he believes minimal human-geese interaction during the stay-at-home orders amid the COVID-19 pandemic has led to fewer reports of geese attacking people.

"I think that COVID-19 has given geese some 'rest' from humans, limiting the conflict we often see with human-goose interactions," he said.

Shearer said the relationship between people and geese is beneficial, but it also has potential disadvantages, especially when people put their attention on negative interactions with the birds.

Alex Bird, graduate biology major working on a thesis involving urban Canada geese, said in an email that many people have a negative view of geese, which is mainly reflected in their negative interactions.

"The relationship between geese and humans seems to be one defined predominantly by the negative interactions between the two species," he said. "The generally negative opinion people have as it pertains to Canada geese hasn't seemed to impact their success in urban environments though."



Bird said geese and other animals try to ignore environmentally stimulating factors like COVID-19.

"Prior to COVID, campus geese may have been more comfortable within a closer proximity to humans than they will be post-COVID simply due to their limited interactions with humans over these past four months," he said. "The adults that were born prior to this season will likely resume being 'calm' shortly after being reintroduced to large groups of people."

While the coexistence of Cardinals and geese might be up for debate, Indiana DNR advises against people feeding geese. Doing so, it states, may lead to these active grazers congregating, damaging landscape with large amounts of excrement and clearing out lawns, turning them into barren, dirt areas.

More information on Canada geese can be found on the DNR's website, including a "conflict resolution" document for those having troubles co-existing with the honkers.

Contact Weiyu Ding with comments at wding@bsu.edu or on Twitter @WeiyuDing.

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A female Canada goose shows a defense display during a routine check on her nest. David Shearer, doctoral student who was leading a Ball State student research team studying the birds' migration and nesting habits, said being close to wildlife can make the connection between people and nature closer. David Shearer, Photo Provided

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<![CDATA[Indiana governor modifies Back on Track plan]]> Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb announced modifications to the Back on Track plan, according to a press release from the governor's office.

Back on Track will remain mostly in version 4 of the plan until at least July 17, with some restrictions being lifted July 4, the press release states. The changes will push most of Indiana in a 4.5 phase of the plan.

"While most of our health indicators remain positive, our data indicates a need to be extra cautious, which is why we will pause much of our Back on Track roadmap," Holcomb said in the release. "I urge Hoosiers to maintain vigilance in social distancing and wearing masks so we can continue to reopen our state for business."

Elkhart County will be an exception to the lifted restriction, remaining fully in version 4 of the plan.

Lifted restrictions include allowing fairs, festivities and youth camps to open up. As well as allowing horse races to begin with 50 percent capacity.

School activities will be allowed after July 6 and schools may begin their academic year starting today.

Other restrictions will remain in place such as dining room food service at 75 percent capacity, the 50 percent capacity in movie theaters, bars, nightclubs, bowling alleys, raceways and more.

The state will also continue its 250-person limit on social gatherings.

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order June 30, 2020, extending the prevention of of evictions, foreclosures and utility disconnections. The executive order extended this date to July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Tom Davies)

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<![CDATA[Muncie Community Schools announces reopening plan]]> 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.

At the Muncie Community Schools (MCS) special board meeting Tuesday, Lee Ann Kwiatkowski, director of public education and CEO, announced the schools' reopening plan for the upcoming semester.

MCS students will have the option to choose between a traditional weekly in-person school schedule or attending the school online.

Kwiatkowski said while she hopes online schooling will be a semester-long commitment, students can reach out if they believe the format is not working for them.

"We want to make sure our students are successful," she said.

When in-person classes begin, MCS will not be conducting temperature checks for students. Kwiatkowski said this is because someone with COVID-19 may not show a high temperature and the checks might create large gatherings.

"If we had everyone in a group for temperature checks, we would be defeating our purpose," she said.

Separate plans will be in place for each level of school. For elementary schools, students will be assigned certain sections of the playground during recess and other classes will not come in contact with one another. Breakfast will be eaten in the classrooms and lunch will operate on a hybrid schedule with some classes using the cafeteria and others will using their classrooms.

"We believe that it's important for students to still get some time to have that cafeteria experience," Kwiatkowski said.

Other areas around the school may also be used for lunch tables, she said.



The middle schools and high school will have classes on a modified block schedule. Class periods one, two, three and four will be held one day and periods four, five, six and seven the next. Period four will happen daily for teachers who have classes in both the high school and middle schools. Teachers will be given an extra 20 minutes each day before students arrive to be able to have prep time for classes. MITS busses will arrive at the middle schools at 9 a.m. to drop off students and 8 a.m. for high school.

Lockers will not be used to avoid situations with large groups of people and students will be able carry backpacks to their classes. Kwiatkowski said the plan may be different when winter arrives.

"That's something we know we'll have to work through, we can't be carrying coats around all day. It will give us a chance to get started and then we'll keep working on what that means," she said.

Students who attend the Muncie Area Career Center (MACC) won't experience a change in daily schedule as they are keeping a seven period schedule. Kwiatkowski said this is because other schools will still be operating on a regular schedule.

Following the discussion of the reopening plan, Jim Williams, MCS board president, spoke briefly to thank those who helped put the plan together.

"I want to extend our deep appreciation to everyone who has continued to work under extraordinary and challenging conditions to get us to this point where we are prepared to address this reopening plan," Williams said.

The full reopening plan is available on the MCS website and the livestream of the school board meeting can be found on the MCS YouTube page.

Contact Jake Merkel with comments at jamerkel@bsu.edu or on Twitter @jakemerkel4.

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Kaiti Sullivan, DN File

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<![CDATA[Indiana governor extends prevention of of evictions, foreclosures and utility disconnections]]> Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order today preventing evictions and foreclosures until July 31, according to a press release from the governor's office.

Executive Order 20-33 extends the original prohibition of evictions from rental properties and the prohibition on filing foreclosures, the press release states.

The executive order will also affect utility companies regulated by the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and those that are not regulated - meaning all utility companies are prohibited to disconnect service and must extend their services through Aug. 14.

The order also extends the temporary licensing of certain healthcare professionals for an additional 30 days, the press release states.

Those Hoosiers who are struggling to pay rent may be eligible for rental assistance. The press release states applications for this assistance will be accepted beginning July 13.

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Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb signed an executive order June 30, 2020, extending the prevention of of evictions, foreclosures and utility disconnections. The executive order extended this date to July 31, 2020. (AP Photo/Tom Davies)

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