General News

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

One of Lafayette’s most historic properties has finally been sold after many months on the market. The Moses Fowler House had been owned by the Tippecanoe County Historical Association, which couldn’t afford to maintain it any longer.

It’s now owned by a recently-created not-for-profit called the 1852 Foundation – named for the year the home was built.

Purdue-Zoo Partnership Aims To Save The Hellbender

Jun 11, 2015
Rob George /

North America’s largest salamander is disappearing, but Purdue scientists are trying to save it from extinction.

The university is spearheading a conservation effort which involves raising the amphibians in captivity for a few years before releasing them into their natural habitat.

In 2013, a team from the university’s Aquaculture Research Lab collected hellbender eggs from the Blue River in southern Indiana -- currently the only location in the state where the salamander is found.

Indiana Agriculture Commissioner Ted McKinney predicts a recent egg price spike will also raise the cost of products that use liquid eggs, like salad dressings or breakfast sandwiches. He says the flu epidemic is not the only reason prices have gone up, but it’s certainly played a role.

He hopes the flu outbreak will raise awareness about the importance of keeping food supplies secure and livestock safe from contamination.

"Keeping one’s birds contained, isolated, looked after, is probably the biggest thing," McKinney says.

Summer Food Program Combats Hunger And Learning Loss

Jun 10, 2015
Kristin Malavenda/WBAA News

Nearly half of all public school students in the United States receive a free or reduced price lunch.

That’s according to the latest Kids Count survey from the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

But during the summer, kids don’t have access to those meals.

Tippecanoe County Courthouse Dome In Need Of Repair

Jun 9, 2015
kdemerly /

Tippecanoe County could have a fairly sizable unexpected expense in its 2016 budget.

Commissioner Dave Byers told the county council Tuesday the courthouse dome is in need of repair.

He says the maintenance director alerted him to pieces of metal falling off the outside of the dome onto the roof of the courthouse.

FCC To Vote On Subsidies For Broadband Service

Jun 9, 2015
nrkbeta /

The Federal Communications Commission will vote this month on a plan to provide federal subsidies for high-speed internet access.

The proposal from FCC chairman Tom Wheeler would expand the Lifeline program that was created under President Reagan‘s administration in 1985, a program that provides monthly subsidies for low-income Americans to help them obtain home telephone service.

Corey Templeton /

The creation of food hubs, which connect local producers and buyers, could help boost Indiana’s economy and fulfill demand for local food products, according to an Indiana State Department of Agriculture a study released Monday.

Food hubs can be a broad term, but Agriculture Department Director Ted McKinney says people should think of the word “aggregation.”

It’s a way for farmers and food producers, often via a website, to connect with buyers.

Benson Kua /

LGBT advocates say they’re waiting on pins and needles for a U.S. Supreme Court ruling later this month on marriage equality.

But they say regardless of the outcome, there’s more work to be done.

Ohioan Jim Obergefell married his husband John Arthur in Maryland in 2013.

But when John died a short time later, Ohio didn’t allow Obergefell to be recognized as Arthur’s husband on the death certificate.

The ensuing court case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court and could ultimately legalize same sex marriage across the country.

Lafayette Planning Millions In Streetscape Improvements

Jun 8, 2015
kdemerly /

The city of Lafayette will spend up to seven-million dollars in the next several months to replace sidewalks, curbs, and gutters along several downtown streets.

Economic Development director Dennis Carson says streetscape improvements began in 2005, mainly around the courthouse square.

They’ve since expanded the projects to include more of downtown.

Carson says it’s a way to do more than just fix deteriorating infrastructure.

United Soybean Board /

A week after imposing a travel ban on poultry, Indiana‘s Board of Animal Health is turning its attention to what comes next.

Spokeswoman Denise Derrer says the board will take public comment online for the rest of the month about ways to again allow poultry shows in Indiana while minimizing the risk of spreading bird flu.

Chris Phan /

Just as Indiana begins a long-debated study of redistricting reform, the U.S. Supreme Court may throw a wrench into the process.

The high court will decide this month whether Arizona‘s redistricting commission is unconstitutional.

The case affects only congressional districts, but Common Cause Indiana‘s Julia Vaughn says a ruling striking down commissions would likely torpedo the chance of a creating a similar panel to draw Indiana’s state legislative districts.

cycleluxembourg /

As the city of Lafayette finalizes its Bicycle and Pedestrian Master Plan, officials in West Lafayette and Tippecanoe County are looking into developing similar documents.

Area Plan Commission Senior Transportation Planner Doug Poad says the county has started preparing to put a plan together, including noting the location of all existing sidewalks, bicycle lanes, and trails, based on satellite photography.

Kevin Harber /

Tippecanoe County officials have begun discussing an ordinance requiring a permit for businesses providing body piercings or tattoos.

Health Department Administrator Craig Rich says the state has guidelines to make sure these activities are done safely, but leaves it up to individual counties whether to establish ordinances.

tkamenick /

Drivers can expect even more delays when traveling around West Lafayette.

The intersection of Happy Hollow Road and River Road shuts down to all traffic starting today.

West Lafayette Public Works Director Dave Buck expects the closure to last nearly six weeks.

Buck says detours will be clearly marked in all directions, although many residents are used to having to find alternate routes in that area.

“Because the river often closes different parts of River Road anyway, we’re pretty sure that folks know what to do when there’s a closure going on,” he says.

Joe Hren /

State leaders celebrated last week over news that Indiana’s unemployment rate is at its lowest level in seven years, while the total number of jobs surged to a near-record high. But some analysts say it’s not time to pop the champagne yet.

Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped to 5.4 percent in April, reaching its lowest level since May of 2008.

But Indiana Institute for Working Families senior policy director Derek Thomas says he’s concerned that over the last three months, while the private sector added about 16,000 jobs, 18,000 people left the state’s labor force.