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Education
5:53 am
Fri July 18, 2014

Infighting Leads To More Questions About Ritz's Authority

The Indiana Board of Education and Superintendent Glenda Ritz have had a turbulent relationship.
Credit courtesy photo

Kindergarten teacher Twyla Flint is worried.

"We’ve been hearing about the discourse, the difficulties that they’ve been having through, you know, television and news reports over the last several months," she says.

Flint could be describing Congress. But she’s actually talking about a more local group: Indiana’s State Board of Education.

The group has a lot of influence over what happens in her classroom so Flint went to watch the Board meeting last Wednesday like it was some kind of traveling sideshow.

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General News
1:37 pm
Thu July 17, 2014

Ask The Mayor: Frankfort's Chris McBarnes

Mayor McBarnes says as many as 20 landlords could soon be told their properties are slated for demolition if they aren't rehabbed.
Credit Courtesy City of Frankfort

A push by Frankfort’s mayor could help bring down blighted buildings in the city – but it might also force the people currently living in them to find a new home.

Chris McBarnes, speaking on WBAA’s “Ask The Mayor,” says letters will soon go out to as many as 20 landlords whose properties have been deemed unsafe by the city.

If those landlords don’t agree to a plan to refurbish them, the city may raze the property and evict any tenants. McBarnes says the city can’t do much more for those evicted than put them in touch with Frankfort’s landlord association, though.

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General News
6:00 am
Thu July 17, 2014

Untangling The Conflicted History Of Lew Wallace, One Summer At A Time

This historical marker outside the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville avoids controversy by simply listing Wallace's military engagements, rather than explaining them.
Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Each summer, the General Lew Wallace Study and Museum in Crawfordsville takes a look back at an important moment or aspect of the "Ben-Hur" author's life.

But that life is a conflicted one and portraying it objectively can be a problem. For instance, how to deal with longstanding criticisms that Wallace's missteps at the 1862 Battle of Shiloh may have cost some of the more than 20,000 men who died there their lives?

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Education
12:28 pm
Wed July 16, 2014

WGU Indiana Sees Growth, But State Still Lags In Number Of College Grads

At WGU, adults take classes online to earn degrees. But only about one of every five Hoosiers has completed a bachelor's degree or better, whether learning online or at a traditional university.
Credit Ed Yourdon / https://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon/2715583000

The Indiana arm of Western Governors University has grown more than ten-fold in the past four years, according to numbers released by school administrators.

260 students were enrolled four years ago. Today, more than 3,600 take classes from the online, nonprofit state university.

Chancellor Allison Barber says a new scholarship program could grow that number further.

"In celebration of our fourth anniversary, WGU Indiana just launched [its] largest scholarship offering. And it's $400,000 in scholarship money," Barber says.

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General News
6:00 am
Wed July 16, 2014

Purdue Technology Identifies Patients Most At Risk Of Falling

Purdue doctoral student Albert Kim, right, wears a smartphone modified so that it can be used to measure a person's walking gait. This is to prevent falls in people with compromised balance, such as the elderly or those with Parkinson's disease. Looking on is Babak Ziaie, a professor in the School of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Weldon School of Biomedical Engineering
Credit Purdue University photo/Mark Simons

Researchers at Purdue are using smartphones to help detect which people are most at risk of falling.

WBAA’s Kristin Malavenda spoke with Purdue professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering and Biomedical Engineering Dr. Babak Ziaie and Health and Kinesiology associate professor Dr. Shirley Rietdyk (REE dike) about the technology known as SmartGait.

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Business
5:44 am
Wed July 16, 2014

South Bend Council Rejects Smoking Ban After Businesses Object

The ordinance's author turned out to be the deciding vote against, not for, the measure.
Credit Raul Lieberwirth / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lanier67/237055775

A smoking ban has been rejected by South Bend‘s Common Council.

The bill would have gone a step further than the state‘s ban by prohibiting smoking in bars and private clubs. The vote was 5 to 4.

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Business
12:13 pm
Tue July 15, 2014

Convenience Store Lobby Will Continue Cold Beer Push

The law's detractors note some of the state's alcohol statutes originated in the time surrounding Prohibition.
Credit Michael Newman / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mzn37/235262894

At least one lobbying group remains hot that the beer its members can sell can’t be cold.

The Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association Tuesday announced it would continue to seek changes to the state‘s alcohol laws.

The group has filed an appeal in federal court and a lawsuit in state court that claims Indiana alcohol laws violates the 14th Amendment equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by restricting convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores to selling beer only at room temperature.   

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General News
6:00 am
Tue July 15, 2014

Norfolk Southern Train Uses Games And A Horror Story To Push Rail Safety

This train ran from Michigan to Illinois promoting ways to be safer around the rails.
Credit Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

In Indiana last year, 34 people – 19 pedestrians and 15 automobile passengers -- were killed by encounters with trains. That places the Hoosier State among the ten worst in America for train fatalities.

To try to stem that tide, Norfolk Southern Railroad officials have embarked on their yearly Project Lifesaver train rides. It’s an effort to keep pedestrians and motorists safer around train tracks.

Think about it like this: what sits beneath most rails? Often, it's loose gravel.

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Government
1:34 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

As State Posts Strong Balance Sheet, Democrats Decry GOP 'Bloodlust' For Tax-cutting

The state has more than $2 billion in its rainy day fund.
Credit Keith Cooper / https://www.flickr.com/photos/cooperweb/8363160192

Despite tax revenues that struggled for much of the fiscal year, Indiana closes its book with a surplus of more than $100 million and reserves topping $2 billion.  But Democrats say the state is hoarding money to make its bottom line look good.

Going into the final month of the fiscal year, Indiana was about $50 million short of expectations.  But a strong June helped the state end the year about $13 million above projected levels. 

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Politics
9:14 am
Mon July 14, 2014

Auditor Race Heats Up As State Closes Out Fiscal '14

Democratic state auditor candidate Michael Claytor says the state should save less and devote some of its existing savings to re-funding cuts made to the state education budget during the recession.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Indiana will close the books today on the fiscal year that ended June 30. State Auditor Suzanne Crouch updates Hoosiers on how the state’s revenues performed. 

But Crouch’s Democratic opponent in this fall’s election is accusing the Pence administration of “cooking the books.”

Indiana tax collections struggled for much of the fiscal year, prompting Pence to cut state agency and university budgets and even sell one of the state planes. 

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