Indiana News Digest at 1 a.m. All times EST.
If you have a news tip or questions about the report, call the supervisor at 317-639-5501 or 800-382-1582. For technical problems, call 800-457-6224. The AP technical center in Kansas City can be reached at 800-243-5752.
For reruns of stories, photos or graphics, use http://www.apexchange.com
NEW THIS CYCLE:
— DEER HUNTING — The state Department of Natural Resources reports hunters in Indiana took advantage of changes in equipment regulations and extra hunting dates to kill a record 136,248 deer last year.
— DANIELS-SPACE PROGRAM — Purdue University President Mitch Daniels has joined a panel that will make recommendations about the future of the nation's space program.
— INDIANA BICENTENNIAL — Indiana first lady Karen Pence will be helping promote activities for the state's bicentennial celebration coming up in three years.
— PURDUE BAND-IRELAND TRIP — Purdue University's marching band will travel to Ireland next month during spring break to participate in Dublin's St. Patrick's Day Parade.
INDIANAPOLIS — Gov. Mike Pence and House lawmakers are split over whether the state's health savings account plan can successfully be expanded to cover an additional 400,000 residents under the federal Medicaid expansion. Pence is pushing for the state to use its Healthy Indiana Plan for the expansion, but House Public Health Chairman Ed Clere says there are concerns the program might not work for more than the 40,000 people it covers now. By Tom LoBianco.
INDIANAPOLIS — House Republicans are blocking a vote on Gov. Mike Pence's tax cut with a promise to take up the issue in April. Republicans voted along party lines to keep House Democrats from forcing a vote on the tax cut Thursday. The effort came as lawmakers advanced a $30 billion biennial budget that swaps the cut for more spending on schools and roads. By Tom LoBianco.
INDIANAPOLIS — House lawmakers on Thursday approved a proposal to expand Indiana's private school voucher program to allow kindergartners and some other students to be immediately eligible for the program and shelved bills that would shift administration of the program away from Democratic state schools superintendent Glenda Ritz. By Tom Davies.
INDIANA LEGISLATURE-COAL GAS PLANT
INDIANAPOLIS — A Senate committee is leaving a contentious battle over a proposed $3 billion coal-gasification plant in the Indiana Supreme Court's hands for now. By Tom LoBianco.
SPENDING CUTS-NATIONAL GUARD
FORT WAYNE — Nearly 1,000 Indiana National Guard members would face temporary furloughs if automatic federal spending cuts take effect next month. Unless Congress heads off the cuts set for March 1, Guard officials say the military technicians would lose one day's work, and pay, each week for 22 weeks. That would cost them at least $7 million in wages. The furloughs would start in mid-April and last through September.
INDIANAPOLIS — The national gun-control debate sparked by December's deadly Connecticut school shooting is spurring a surge of applications in Indiana for gun permits. Indiana State Police have been getting up to 4,000 permit requests each week — triple the volume of a year ago. That surge has created a backlog of unprocessed permits and longer waits for permit approvals.
LAKE COUNTY-GUN SHOWS
CROWN POINT — The commissioners of an Indiana county that borders Illinois have decided not to do anything to better regulate vendors at gun shows, after law enforcement officials from the two states said the shows are a potential source of weapons flowing into Chicago. Lake County Sheriff John Buncich asked commissioners to tighten regulations after a guns summit last week in Gary attended by about 80 representatives from a dozen local, state and federal agencies in the two states.
ISU-COAL TAR CLEANUP
TERRE HAUTE — Terre Haute has finished cleanup on the oldest known manufacturing site the city has excavated, clearing the way for construction on a new Indiana State University residence hall.
ANDERSON — The Indiana Gaming and Horse Racing commissions have given final approval of the sale of the bankrupt Indiana Grand and Downs in Shelbyville to the owner of the Hoosier Park racino in Anderson, allowing the two sides to complete the deal.
INDIANAPOLIS — WellPoint Inc. said it plans to raise the quarterly dividend it pays shareholders by 30 percent, an announcement that comes about week after the health insurer's stock started slipping after it named a new CEO. The Indianapolis company said Thursday that it will pay a dividend of 37.5 cents per share in the first quarter, up from its fourth-quarter payout of 28.7 cents per share. The new dividend is payable March 25 to shareholders of record at the close of business on March 8. By Business Writer Tom Murphy. Moved.
SHELBYVILLE — Armed with state-of-the-art equipment and soon a roomier location in the Carnegie East Wing, the Shelby County Library's Genealogy Department is gearing up to go digital. Genealogy and Local History Director Judy Cheatham said while historical documents will be scanned and stored on computers for patrons' use, the originals will remain available for viewing on bookshelves. By C.M. Schmidlkofer. The Shelbyville News. AP Photos pursuing. Moved.
EVANSVILLE — Basketball is in the Duncan blood and has always been a family affair. Grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins rarely miss a chance to cheer on brothers, Ernie, Stanley and Everett Duncan, three stars of the Harrison High School basketball team. That has been no different for 6-year-old Brianna Duncan, who has attended her cousins' basketball games her whole life. From the sidelines, she has watched game after game, and cheer after cheer. Taking it all in, Brianna began concentrating on the cheerleaders. By Erin McCracken. Evansville Courier & Press. AP Photos pursuing. Moved.
EXCHANGE-ART OF RECYCLING
ST. MARY-OF-THE-WOODS — Trash from the Wabashiki Fish and Wildlife area will be transformed into an art project at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. The temporary art "installation," scheduled to be completed by April 20, ties in with the 2013 Year of the River celebration, said Rebecca Andrews, chairwoman of the college's Department of Text & Image. By Sue Loughlin. Tribune-Star. AP Photos pursuing. Moved.
LAFAYETTE — Kindergartner Enrique Medieta was busy running his fingers along a world map rug in a Glen Acres Elementary classroom as his English teacher, Marge Hemmer, smiled at him. "Enrique, escucho!" Hemmer said, knowing it would be silly to tell him "listen" in English. The boy's family moved from Mexico to Lafayette two weeks ago. He's one of 1,900 local students being evaluated in English proficiency this month as part of a statewide test called LAS Links. The exam is required for any student whose parent indicates on a survey that a language other than English is spoken in their home. By Jessica Contrera. Journal & Courier. AP Photos pursuing. Moved.
— UNDERAGE DRINKING-CHARGES — A Bloomington periodontist and a companion face charges of contributing to the delinquency of a minor after 43 juveniles were ticketed for illegal drinking at a party held at the dental surgeon's home.
— MOTORCYCLE GANG-INDIANA — An Indianapolis man and a Fort Wayne man who pleaded guilty to federal racketeering charges have been sentenced to prison for their roles in a motorcycle gang.
— INDIANAPOLIS MAYOR-INDIA — Indianapolis Mayor Greg Ballard has postponed a trade mission to the southern Indian city of Hyderabad following a pair of deadly bombings in that city.
—INDIANA LEGISLATURE-IMMIGRANT TUITION — Indiana lawmakers are considering rolling back the state's two-year-old immigration law so that illegal immigrants who were attending public colleges then would again be eligible for in-state tuition rates. Moved.
— INDIANA LEGISLATURE-SCHOOL STANDARDS — Statewide hearings would have to be held on whether Indiana should keep a national set of reading and math education standards under a bill approved by the state Senate. Moved.
— CORONER CONVICTED-SENTENCE — A former northwestern Indiana county coroner convicted of taking more than $24,000 from child support incentive funds he controlled while he was county clerk has been sentenced to 18 months in prison. Moved.
— BICYCLISTS KILLED-SENTENCING — A northern Indiana man who struck and killed two bicyclists while driving along a road has been sentenced to 18 years in prison. Moved.
— EXOTIC ANIMALS RELOCATED — Thousands of exotic animals from Ohio might need new homes this year and Indiana is taking some of them in. Moved.
— OLD FORT-NEW ROOF — A nonprofit group that operates a reproduction of Fort Wayne's early 19th century fort is seeking donations to help replace its worn-out roof. Moved.
— WOMAN SHOT-CHILDREN — Southern Indiana police are searching for a man who allegedly shot his wife twice in front of her three children. Moved.
— TRUCK CRASH-LAWSUIT — The husband of a northeastern Indiana woman who died when a semi-trailer rear-ended two cars in January is suing the truck driver and the truck's owner. Moved.
— ILLEGALLY DUMPED TIRES-CLEANUP — A central Indiana county is footing the bill for cleaning up hundreds of old tires illegally dumped on county-owned land in the city of Muncie. Moved.
FBN--NFL COMBINE-LINING UP
INDIANAPOLIS — This year's offensive line draft hopefuls create an interesting combination of talent and stories. Texas A&M's uke Joeckel could be the No. 1 pick. Albama's Barrett Jones has made the All-America team three times at three different positions. Khaled Holmes grew up in a football playing family listening to Homer and Plato instead of children's stories. And Kyle Long is a late-bloomer who is trying to overcome his bad-boy image and trying to add to the family legacy. By Michael Marot.
INDIANAPOLIS — The New York Jets made one thing clear Thursday. They're not planning to trade Darrelle Revis. In their most detailed comments since rumors surfaced the team might be shopping Revis, coach Rex Ryan and new general manager John Idzik said they expect Revis to return from his season-ending knee injury as a Jet. By Sports Writer Michael Marot.
INDIANAPOLIS — NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch said Thursday the league and players association need to reach agreement soon on HGH testing. The NFL and the union agreed in principle to HGH testing when a new 10-year labor agreement was finalized in August 2011. But protocols must be approved by both sides and the players have questioned the science in the testing procedures, delaying implementation.
Other separates on merit.