News

Kurt Beard / https://www.flickr.com/photos/kurtbeard/19219078886

Indiana’s state parks resemble a bathtub that’s ringed with mildew. That’s how Department of Natural Resources officials describe the current state of park land.

DNR Deputy Director Mike Smith says in most parks, a ring of green sludge is all that remains from the heavy rains earlier this year.

Smith says the agency has had to cancel more than 4,000 reservations and has missed out on almost $700,000 of revenue it expected to generate.

Smith says most of that money was likely to come from in-state tourists.

Karen Tallian Out Of Governor's Race

Aug 18, 2015
Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

A second Democratic candidate is leaving the 2016 Indiana governor’s race.  In a statement released Monday, State Sen. Karen Tallian (D-Portage) says she is withdrawing and now supports John Gregg. Gregg was the 2012 Democratic gubernatorial nominee and is the only announced candidate left in the race.

In an interview with Indiana Public Broadcasting earlier this year, Tallian said because her senate seat wasn’t up for election in 2016, she could make a run for governor with “nothing to lose.” 

Underage Drinking Law Gets Social Media Relaunch

Aug 17, 2015
Maria Elena / https://www.flickr.com/photos/melenita/9386166498/

Indiana’s Lifeline Law allows underage Hoosiers to call the police without fear of getting into trouble for drinking if they see someone that is the victim of a crime or needs medical attention.

The law’s author, State Sen. Jim Merritt (R-Indianapolis), is renewing a social media campaign that aims to teach students about the law. he says this is the first year that campaign will emphasize that the law also applies if students are trying to help a victim of sexual assault.

John Dickerson campaign

Indiana’s U.S. Senate race to replace Dan Coats will feature two contested primaries next spring after a longtime advocate for those with intellectual and developmental disabilities announced Saturday he will join the Democratic primary.

John Dickerson says he was first urged to run months ago by longtime friend and former Lieutenant Governor Kathy Davis, before Dan Coats had even decided to retire. 

Purdue University

University officials at Indiana University and Purdue say they plan to continue working together despite IU’s plan to offer engineering degrees.

Historically, Purdue University has offered engineering programs while IU has focused on business and the liberal arts.

But the Indiana Commission for Higher Education unanimously approved Thursday an IU proposal to create a program called ‘intelligent systems engineering.’

Intiaz Rahim / https://www.flickr.com/photos/chocolatedisco/3442892513

The hunger for preschool across Indiana continues to grow, fueled by initiatives like the state’s On My Way Pre-K pilot program and Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard’s Indy Preschool Scholarship Program. 

Both initiatives are targeted toward low-income families. Momentum is so great that programs are popping up in places you might not otherwise expect them – like the Indianapolis Museum of Art.

Charlotte Tuggle / WBAA News

Amid concerns about cost and effectiveness, the State Budget Committee tabled a vote Friday on adding new security measures to Indiana Statehouse entrances.

Some of the concern from Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville) comes from the definition of the “turnstiles” the state proposes adding at a cost of nearly $900,000.

Kenley wondered how such equipment would stop people from entering the statehouse unmonitored, as happens with the current keycard system.

INDOT

4:30 p.m. Update:

INDOT now expects the bridge to be closed until mid-September.

The preliminary fix is to drive steel casings through the existing pier footings and deep into the soil.

But INDOT Deputy Commissioner Bob Alderman says that’s similar to the same process that caused the bridge to be unsafe – workers sinking a beam into an artesian well during last week’s construction work.

Alderman says water started pumping from the well into the ground around the bridge.

Zhu / Flickr / https://www.flickr.com/photos/xiaozhuli/8983389180

Keith Richards, legendary guitarist for the Rolling Stones, attributes his love of music  to his grandfather Gus. Gus is mentioned in Richards' autobiography, Life, and recently became the subject of Richards' children's book, Gus & Me. West Lafayette Public Library Director Nick Schenkel has compared and reviewed both books to better analyze the famous rocker. 

Re-entering The Workforce Series: Part 3 -- Veterans

Aug 14, 2015
Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The unemployment rate among Indiana’s veterans is about the same as the state’s overall average of 5.4-percent.

But when you break it down and look specifically at veterans who enlisted after 9/11, that number jumps to about 1 in 10 -- twice the state’s total unemployment rate.

Mike Demers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/mdd/9890957405/

Governor Pence is dismissing charges by opponents that the closure of a bridge on I-65 near Lafayette is a result of neglected maintenance.

Pence says the bridge over Tippecanoe County’s Wildcat Creek was scheduled for replacement next spring. But while engineers are still trying to determine exactly why the bridge sank several inches into the ground, Pence says INDOT's tentative conclusion is that other construction work caused the bridge to settle.

He says engineers are studying whether erosion around an underground aquifer may have played a role as well.

Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The Department of Child Services’ caseload is up a quarter over last year.  So the state is responding by hiring more than a hundred new caseworkers.

State law sets a standard for the average number of cases each DCS employee should be handling at one time.  The vast majority of the department’s regions have been out of compliance for years. 

The state responded earlier this year by hiring 100 new caseworkers and 17 supervisors -- but DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura says since then, there’s been a spike in demand.

City of Lafayette

The closure of Interstate 65 northbound has proven a hassle for many a driver over the last week. But it’s hurting businesses along the route, too – including at several Lafayette exits.

This week on Ask The Mayor, we find out what Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski is hearing from business owners and whether he thinks INDOT is working fast enough to solve the problem.

We also talk crime on today’s program. There have been a number of shootings in Lafayette lately, often between people who knew one another.

Joshua Duffy / https://www.flickr.com/photos/joshduffyphoto/7283981926

Indiana’s farmers are expected to produce significantly less corn this year while soybeans didn’t take as bad a hit after flooding that devastated parts of the state. 

Indiana corn crops are expected to decline by about 20-percent from last year, while soybeans are only down 9-percent.  That follows the second-wettest June and July in the state’s recorded history. 

Yet Purdue corn specialist Bob Nielsen says the expected output is a mixed bag across the state.

Max Anderson / https://www.flickr.com/photos/rexlibris/755989773/

Rossville students will attend a homeroom period this school year to learn about technological responsibility. Schools have also added three technology-centered courses.

The class addition came as part of Rossville Consolidated Schools’ technology program. New computers and tablets for K-12 students are to be distributed later this month. Teachers were required to attend training with the new computers this summer.

Superintendent James Hanna says the program aims to prepare students for a changing technological workplace.

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