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  • Panel to select next Indiana Supreme Court leader Aug 6, 2014 6:22 AM
    The Indiana Supreme Court is about to get its second new leader since 2012. The Judicial Nominating Commission will meet Wednesday to interview Justices Loretta Rush, Mark Massa, Steven David and Robert Rucker before selecting a new chief justice to succeed Brent Dickson. Dickson took over the court’s leadership after longtime Chief Justice Randall Shepard retired in 2012. Dickson announced in June that he would step down as chief justice but remain an associate justice. Two years ago, the justices all recommended Dickson be named chief justice and the commission followed their recommendation. The nominating commission will hear from the justices in public and then meet privately to select the next chief justice for a five-year term.

     
  • 2 Indiana cities get $500,000 in EPA water grants Aug 6, 2014 6:26 AM
    The federal government has awarded two northern Indiana cities $500,000 for projects to improve Lake Michigan’s water quality by filtering the runoff from city life. Gary officials will use its $250,000 grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to install systems such as water-filtering bioswales to reduce the amount of sediments and pollutants that flow into the lake. That effort will also be funded by more than $83,000 in city money and $168,000 from the Cleveland Botanical Garden. The city of Hammond will combine its $250,000 EPA grant with $250,000 of its own money to build rain-collecting gardens and install permeable pavement at the city’s marina and a park. Those projects will help prevent contaminated runoff from being discharged into Lake Michigan during major storms.

     
  • Police nab man suspected of trying to hit trooper Aug 6, 2014 6:42 AM
    Police say officers have arrested a man who they believe tried to run over a state trooper in northeastern Indiana. State police Sgt. Ron Galaviz says the arrest was made Tuesday night after a person called 911 reporting someone who matched the description of the man who police spent more than four hours searching for in a rural area of Noble County about 20 miles northwest of Fort Wayne. Galaviz says the search started after a battery suspect a trooper was following near Big Lake drove onto a dead-end street and then tried to run over the trooper who had left his cruiser. The trooper shot at the car, but the driver wasn’t apparently wounded and soon fled on foot. Galaviz says the man was jailed on unrelated arrest warrants.

     
  • Northern Indiana firefighter dies at business fire Aug 6, 2014 6:34 AM
    Authorities say a firefighter was killed and another injured while battling a large blaze at a northern Indiana business. Officials tell WNDU-TV and WSBT-TV that members of the New Carlisle fire department were inside the building Tuesday night when a roof collapsed. The body of the firefighter who died was found a few hours later. Information on the severity of the injuries to the other firefighter wasn’t immediately available. The LaPorte County Herald-Argus reports the fire was at K-Fex Excavating and Trucking near New Carlisle, about 15 miles west of South Bend. The fire gutted much of the building, with flames shooting through its roof.

     
  • Chicago mayor calls for summit on drinking water Aug 6, 2014 6:28 AM
    Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel is reacting to reports Lake Erie has became tainted with a toxin that prevents water consumption by calling for a summit of Canadian and U.S. mayors. He says a meeting is needed to discuss ways of protecting and preserving the Great Lakes. In a statement, Emanuel says what happened in Toledo, Ohio, where thousands were forced to stop drinking tap water for more than two days, is a reminder that much must be done to protect the lakes. They provide drinking water in Chicago and many other communities in the United States and Canada. According to the statement, Emanuel’s office is contacting mayors in the Great Lakes region to convene the meeting in the next few weeks.

     
  • Plea deal rejected for ex-Indiana county auditor Aug 5, 2014 6:09 AM
    A judge has rejected an agreement under which a former county auditor in southern Indiana was expected to plead guilty to criminal charges of wrongly paying personal expenses with county-issued credit cards. The Owen County judge overseeing the case against former Monroe County Auditor Amy Gerstman said during a court hearing Monday that she had problems with the proposed plea agreement. The penalties in that deal haven’t been released. Special prosecutor Barry Brown tells The Herald-Times that the judge wanted Gerstman to face greater punishment. Gerstman faces felony counts of theft and official misconduct over some $11,000 in charges during 2010 and 2011 for clothing, travel to New York and Florida and her children’s school tuition. Gerstman’s lawyer says she has repaid all that money.

     
  • Central Indiana county 6th this year to adopt vote centers Aug 5, 2014 6:09 AM
    A central Indiana county is the latest to get vote centers for its elections. The secretary of state’s office announced Monday that Boone County, northwest of Indianapolis, had become the 18th Indiana county where vote centers are approved. Other counties have plans pending with the secretary of state’s office, which oversees elections in Indiana. A 2011 state law allows makes vote centers an option for any Indiana county. Vote centers are polling places where any eligible voters in the county may cast their ballots instead of a specific polling location.

     
  • Indiana agency honored for mine reclamation work Aug 5, 2014 6:09 AM
    Federal officials are honoring the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for its work at an abandoned coal mine in southwestern Indiana’s Pike County. The Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining gave the DNR the 2014 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Award for its work to remove a dangerous ledge left from the removal of soils above coal seams near the town of Augusta. The ledge was more than 4,000 feet long and was up to 100 feet high in spots. Crews also replaced a deteriorating county road and built a stream channel as part of the project. DNR officials negotiated with Triad Mining to perform the work for about $300,000. The original cost estimate was $6.2 million.

     
  • Indiana Gov. Pence honors breastfeeding advocate Aug 5, 2014 6:09 AM
    Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is honoring a breastfeeding advocate as part of state and worldwide events celebrating the practice. The Indiana State Department of Health says Pence has recognized Terry Jo Curtis, the founder of the Indianapolis-based Indiana Black Breastfeeding Coalition. Curtis died on Mother’s Day in May. In a recent letter to Curtis’ family and friends, Pence said Curtis “was a true role model for Indiana citizens, one who broke barriers and lived by the belief that understanding and compassion are the means to impact change.” Pence has proclaimed Aug. 1-7 as Breastfeeding Week in Indiana in conjunction with World Breastfeeding Week.

     
  • Busy I-65 exit near Indianapolis draws concerns Aug 4, 2014 10:03 AM
    Leaders of two northern Indianapolis suburbs say they’re worried about the safety of an Interstate 65 intersection and are asking state officials to make changes. Commuter traffic from Indianapolis often backs up at the I-65 exit for Indiana 334 into the growing suburbs of Zionsville and Whitestown. Zionsville Town Council president Jeff Papa tells The Indianapolis Star that he’s not sure the Indiana Department of Transportation is fully aware of the interchange’s dangers. Agency spokeswoman Debbie Calder says it has completed several projects to ease congestion in the area, including an additional travel lane that was finished last year. Traffic on I-65 could’ve been lessened with a proposed exit to Zionsville off I-865, but town officials didn’t support the plan after area residents objected to it.

     
  • 2-hotel tower planned near Indianapolis arena Aug 4, 2014 10:03 AM
    A developer is looking to build two high-end hotels in a single 15-story building near Bankers Life Fieldhouse in downtown Indianapolis. Plans filed with city officials say Minneapolis-based CSM Corp. is planning the hotels totaling 286 rooms at what is now a surface parking lot across the street from the arena. Ratio Architects president Bill Browne tells the Indianapolis Business Journal that plans include a parking structure and restaurants on the hotel’s street level and second floors. The developer’s proposal says the hotels would carry the Aloft and Element brands. Browne says developers hope for city approval of the project this fall, with construction starting sometime after that.

     
  • Lower northern Indiana lake poses boating danger Aug 4, 2014 10:03 AM
    Boaters on a northwestern Indiana reservoir are facing more dangers with lower water levels. The state Department of Natural Resources says Lake Freeman near Monticello has fallen below its normal level because of low rainfall in the area recently. Gary Creigh of Tall Timbers Marina tells WLFI-TV that some people haven’t been able to get their boats into the water off lifts. He says other boaters aren’t going out because of the greater danger from tree stumps and other below-water hazards. The dam on the lake about 20 miles north of Lafayette is operated by Northern Indiana Public Service Co. Utility spokesman Nick Meyer tells the Herald Journal that water flow has to be maintained to protect beds of endangered mussels in the Tippecanoe River.

     
  • Indiana city considers golf carts on streets Aug 4, 2014 6:13 AM
    A southwestern Indiana city is considering allowing golf carts and all-terrain vehicles that are properly registered on city streets. The Evansville Courier & Press reports the Boonville City Council is scheduled to consider the proposed ordinance on Thursday. Two city council members say they are for the ordinance, two are opposed and the fifth says he won’t disclose his decision until he votes on Thursday. Boonville Assistant Police Chief Bryan McKain says he is concerned the golf carts and ATVs could lead to an increase in personal injury accidents. The ordinance would require drivers be at least 18 years old. The golf cart or ATV would have to be registered and inspected by the Boonville Police Department.

     
  • Police remind drivers to be aware of school buses Aug 4, 2014 6:13 AM
    Indiana State Police are reminding drivers to be alert for school buses as summer vacation comes to an end. State police say they receive numerous complaints about drivers failing to stop for school buses with red lights flashing and stop arms extended. On one day in April this year there were 2,577 stop arm violations reported in Indiana. State police say drivers approaching a school bus that is stopped with its flashing red lights activated and its stop arm extended are required to stop even on multiple lane highways. Drivers on a highway divided by a barrier or unimproved median are required to stop only if traveling the same direction as the school bus. Disregarding a school bus stop arm is punishable by a maximum fine of $10,000.

     
  • 4 hit by careening truck at southern Indiana camp Aug 4, 2014 6:13 AM
    Police say an Indianapolis boy was badly hurt when he was hit by an out-of-control truck at a southern Indiana church camp. The Jackson County Sheriff’s Department says a pickup truck was pulling two wagons loaded with campers and counselors at the SpringHill Camps near Seymour when its brakes apparently failed while going down a hill. The driver pulled into a grassy area, but hit an adult and three children who weren’t able to get out of the way. Police tell The Tribune of Seymour that 7-year-old Shawn Harvel was flown to an Indianapolis hospital after Saturday’s crash with a broken collarbone and ribs and some other injuries. The camp counselor and two other children were taken to a Seymour hospital with less-serious injuries.

     
  • Evansville-area arrests net 14 pounds of meth Aug 4, 2014 6:13 AM
    Authorities say investigators seized 14 pounds of methamphetamine after two men tried to flee officers by driving between houses in a neighborhood near Evansville. The Vanderburgh County Sheriff’s Department says investigators received a tip about Arizona drug traffickers coming to the Evansville area. Police say the men made an exchange at a Gibson County gas station on Saturday and fled when officers tried to stop them in northern Vanderburgh County. The Evansville Courier & Press and WFIE-TV report the men ran from their car in a subdivision. One was caught within minutes while the other was arrested several hours later. A semitrailer driver with whom they made the exchange was also arrested. Police found 5 pounds of meth in men’s car and 9 pounds of meth in the semi.

     
  • Indiana students make small gains in ISTEP scores Aug 4, 2014 6:13 AM
    Indiana students made modest improvements across the board in last year’s ISTEP tests. Scores released by the Indiana Department of Education on Monday show that 74.7 percent of students passed both the math and English tests — up one percentage point from 2013. Students showed the strongest gains in the English and language arts portion of the statewide standardized test, with 80.7 percent passing. State schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz says the improvements show the great learning that is happening in Indiana. Education leaders are bracing for a possible drop in scores in the coming years as the state adopts new tests conforming to federal requirements. A new test will be used this coming school year and a second test will be developed for the 2015-2016 school year.

     
  • Nature Conservancy sweepstakes offers Honda hybrid Aug 4, 2014 6:13 AM
    The Nature Conservancy of Indiana is teaming with Honda to give Indiana residents with a love of exploring the state’s natural wonders a chance to win a new hybrid car. The Natural Treasures challenge began Friday and runs through Sept. 30 and will earn the sweepstakes’ eventual winner a new Honda Civic Hybrid. Participants can enter the sweepstakes by visiting as many as nine nature preserves around the state chosen for the challenge and take a “selfie” in that natural setting and upload that photo to the Natural Conservancy. One entry is allowed per each of the nine sites. Participants can also enter one entry of a “selfie” of themselves at their favorite place in nature. The winner will be announced after Sept. 30.

     
  • 2nd I-69 ethics investigation report release set Aug 1, 2014 6:19 AM
    Inspector General David Thomas plans to outline the findings of his investigation of land sales involving a former top Indiana Department of Transportation staffer. Former INDOT Chief of Staff Troy Woodruff’s family earned $1.86 million selling land adjacent to the highway to the state while Woodruff helped lead the agency. Thomas is scheduled to talk about his findings Friday morning. Republican Gov. Mike Pence asked for the new investigation last year after The Indianapolis Star published a series of reports detailing conflicts the inspector general missed in the first investigation. Woodruff announced he was leaving his job with the state Thursday. In an email to state employees, he said he could not wait for the completion of another investigation and blamed the news media for perceptions of corruption.

     
  • 2 top Indiana deputy attorneys general promoted Aug 1, 2014 6:19 AM
    Two top state lawyers have been promoted within the Indiana attorney general’s office. Former Chief Deputy Attorney General Gary Secrest will take over as assistant attorney general, a new post. Deputy Attorney General Matt Light will succeed Secrest as the chief deputy attorney general. Secrest has worked in the attorney general’s office since 2001. He became chief deputy in 2010. In his new role, Secrest will continue to develop litigation strategy and serve as the office’s representative on various boards and commissions. Among other duties, Light as chief deputy will act as the attorney general’s liaison with the Indiana General Assembly. Light was involved in designing the settlement package for victims of the 2011 Indiana State Fair stage collapse. Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced the moves Thursday.

     
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