General News

The State Street Project /

Now that West Lafayette has completed the bidding process on its 120-million State Street Redevelopment Project, the city, along with project partner Purdue University is ready, in the Joint Board’s words, to convert State Road 26 from “a state highway into a main street.”

An information meeting Thursday evening kicked off State Street’s next phase: educating city residents about the project and eliciting their input. More formal public hearings are to follow. 

Conservative Groups Hope To Use RFRA To Quash Four Cities' LGBT Protections

Feb 3, 2016
Joseph Hren / WFIU

Four Indiana cities are facing a lawsuit challenging LGBT protections in their human rights ordinances.

The complaint alleges the local laws in Bloomington, Columbus, Indianapolis and Carmel violate the Religious Freedom Restoration Act lawmakers passed last year.

Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop says the city stands behind its human rights ordinance.  

“The people that are suing us, they didn’t tell us, they told the newspaper, so I think it gives you a little bit of insight of what their motives are, but nonetheless, we intend to defend ourselves,” Lienhoop says.

Joe Gratz /

The state's highest court says Indiana is not liable for the damages assessed to Mid-America Sound, the company that provided the stage rigging that collapsed at the state fair.

Seven people were killed that night in August of 2011.

About 100 others were injured.

The state has already paid $11 million to victims.

Mid America argued it had no liability under its agreement with the State Fair Commission.

The State Supreme Court finds no "explicit language" to provide for that.

Gretchen Frazee / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Advocates on either side of the religious liberty/LGBT rights debate at the Statehouse say they’re not surprised a bill aiming to rewrite last year’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act died Wednesday without even receiving a vote. 

The proposed bill would’ve labeled certain constitutional rights – including freedoms of religion, speech, thought, and assembly – as “fundamental” and required judges to give deference to them. 

LGBT rights group Freedom Indiana opposed the bill, arguing it threatened to promote discrimination against the LGBT community. 

Andreas Klinke Johannsen /

Indiana’s unemployment rate ended 2015 by remaining stable at 4.4-percent, according to a year-end jobs report. 

The state’s private sector made no ground in adding jobs last month.

The Hoosier State’s unemployment rate remained unchanged for four consecutive months to end the year, holding steady at 4.4-percent since September. 

BasicGov /

Indiana Legal Services, or ILS, provides legal aid for Hoosiers in all 92 counties. Tuesday, Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced a new grant aimed at supporting their foreclosure prevention services for low-income residents. The grant will also be used to fund a partnership between Indiana law schools and ILS.

Attorney General Greg Zoeller says this grant will help residents who need legal aid during the foreclosure process.

Energy Companies Warn Consumers Against Phone Scam

Jan 18, 2016
Martin Cathrae /

A familiar scam targeting energy customers is popping up around the state again.

Duke Energy is among those warning its customers to be on the lookout for a phone call which sounds like it comes from the company.

On the other end is usually a threat – someone claiming to be from the utility who says they’ll shut off services if a bill isn’t paid immediately.

But the scam has one major hole – the person on the other end asks for a pre-paid debit card so they can drain the balance.

Duke Energy officials say that’s a practice they do not employ.

Helium Shortage No Laughing Matter, Scientists Say

Jan 11, 2016
Barbara Brosher

Helium - an element that plays a critical role in science and medicine - is becoming more and more difficult to find.

At the same time, the U.S. Geological Survey reports demand for helium has increased.

That’s causing prices to climb and researchers to worry. It’s also affecting business owners like Norm and Pamela Ladd.

Shannon Orem /

President Obama is scheduled to make an announcement on gun regulations Tuesday morning, expected to include executive orders that may affect how guns are sold, which could affect an unregulated type of sale that takes place throughout Indiana.

IU Professor and former head of the Brady Campaign to Prevent Gun Violence Paul Helmke expects Obama to use his executive order to reinterpret existing laws, which would then affect open air gun markets.

Fueled In Part By Women, Gun Sales Hit Historic High

Dec 28, 2015
Peter Anderson /

Gun sales are breaking records. Numbers have been soaring all year, and on Black Friday alone, the FBI ran more than 185,000 background checks.  At a time when many are requesting stricter legislation on gun sales, the number of firearm purchases has risen, and many say a lot of it has been driven by an increase of handgun sales to women. 

More than 800,000 gun background checks were completed in Indiana from January through November.  December numbers haven’t been released.