Federal funds target minority vaccination

INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana is getting $60.8 million in federal funding to support efforts to get minority populations disproportionately affected by the pandemic vaccinated against COVID-19.

The funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will help programs such as door-to-door outreach to raise awareness about vaccinations or help people sign up to get vaccinated, The Indianapolis Star reported.

The money comes from pandemic relief funding approved by Congress.

Senate blocks repeal of permit law

INDIANAPOLIS — The Republican-dominated Indiana Senate is blocking a bill that would repeal the state’s permit requirement for carrying a handgun in public.

Republicans easily pushed the proposal through the Indiana House, but Senate leaders have decided against taking up the bill in the final weeks of this year’s legislative session even though it was co-sponsored by 21 GOP members of the 50-person Senate.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Liz Brown told The (Fort Wayne) Journal Gazette that the panel wouldn’t consider the bill before Thursday’s deadline for action. Instead, the Senate will support eliminating the $75 fee for a lifetime permit after the Legislature eliminated the state’s five-year permit fee in a 2019 bill.

Reward in killings grows to $325,000

DELPHI — The reward for information leading to a conviction in the 2017 killings of two teenage girls slain during a hiking trip has grown to $325,000, state police said Monday.

The reward fund was boosted by an anonymous donation of $100,000, Indiana State Police said in a statement which said the full $325,000 reward “will be given to anyone who can provide information that leads to the arrest and conviction of the person responsible for the deaths of Abigail Williams and Liberty German.”

The bodies of German, 14, and Williams, 13, were found in a rugged area near a hiking trail on Feb. 14, 2017, one day after they vanished while walking on that trail near the Monon High Bridge, just outside their hometown of Delphi.

Woman killed in gas pump crash

EAST CHICAGO — A woman who died Sunday after a sport-utility vehicle crashed into a gas pump at a northwest Indiana gas station and caught fire has been identified as a Gary woman.

Vashnie L. Willis, 35, was pronounced dead at a hospital after Sunday afternoon’s crash, the Lake County coroner’s office said Monday.

Willis was driving an SUV when it struck a gas pump at a Luke gas station in East Chicago and burst into flames. An eyewitness said multiple people tried to pull Willis from the SUV after the crash, The (Northwest Indiana) Times reported.

Associated Press

Body found in brush fire identified

HOBART — A body discovered by firefighters as they were extinguishing a weekend brush fire in northwest Indiana has been identified as that of a man who lived nearby, police said Monday.

The Porter County Sheriff’s Department said the dead man was Joseph W. Magura, 82, who lived in Portage Township in the area where the brush fire occurred.

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