1. Ten drivers fired from Elkhart County Highway Department in cost-cutting move
Ten of the Elkhart County Highway Department's 35 drivers were fired Friday, March 21, in a move that will save the county $400,000 per year.
Those who were let go were shocked and received little explanation as to why their employment was terminated. Loss of revenue from property tax caps has hit the highway department hard, leading to the decision to cut jobs.
"We understand we're putting them in a hard spot and we're trying to be as fair as possible," Elkhart County Commissioner Frank Lucchese said. "It wasn't performance. It was just budget."
2. Elkhart Community Schools extends school year a week
Elkhart Community Schools' students will be in class until Friday, June 6 – quite a change from the district's original May 29 end date.
This year's winter weather forced students to stay home for 12 days, which led to the extension. Two of the days were waived by the state, three will be made up before the end of the year and the remaining time will be made up for by cutting back on teachers' professional development time.
3. Multiple rollovers and a semi-truck crash reported on slick morning
Emergency units responded to a large number of crashes throughout the county Friday morning, March 21, due to slick road conditions.
An official with the Elkhart County 911 Center said 34 accidents and slide-offs were reported. A semi also crashed into an electrical pole during the course of the morning. Road conditions were so slick that emergency units had trouble getting to the scenes of some wrecks.
Fortunately, no one was seriously injured in the crashes.
4. Goshen car fire victim remains in critical condition; police investigating incident
After he was found in the back seat of a burning car in Goshen Wednesday, March 19, a man remains in critical condition.
William Tully was first airlifted to the St. Joseph Hospital's burn center, but is now in a Fort Wayne hospital. Firefighters found him in a blue two-door Scion while they were working to extinguish a fire that caught inside of it.
The Goshen Police Department is still investigating the incident.
5. City of Goshen canceling freeze warning for utility customers Friday, March 28
Seventeen days after it was issued, the city of Goshen will be lifting the area's freeze warning on Friday, March 28.
Recent warm weather has helped the area's frost line depth recede, leading to the decision. Customers will not have to inform the city's utility department they've stopped their water from trickling, and will be billed at normal, pre-warning rates starting March 29.