Ritz, school board members meeting with mediator
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Democratic schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and other members of the Indiana State Board of Education are meeting with a mediator called in to help with the state's ongoing education battles.
The group started its meeting Wednesday morning by hearing from the National Association of State Boards of Education's executive director. Ritz and Republican Gov. Mike Pence agreed last week to bring in the national group after disagreements escalated.
Ritz stormed out of a board meeting last month after a Pence-appointed member pressed a measure Ritz said would shift power from her office. She previously sued board members alleging violation of the state's public access laws.
Ritz is chairwoman of the education board, but the other 10 members have been appointed by either Pence or former Republican Gov. Mitch Daniels.
INDIANA AFL-CIO PRESIDENT
Ind. AFL-CIO ousts leader from right-to-work fight
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - The Indiana State AFL-CIO has elected a new president, replacing the labor union's leader who directed its unsuccessful campaign to block passage of the state's right-to-work law.
Delegates voted Tuesday during the group's state convention in Terre Haute to elect Brett Voorhies as the new president. An AFL-CIO spokesman says Voorhies defeated Nancy Guyott (GUY'-aht) in her bid for a second four-year term.
Voorhies has been president of the Central Indiana Labor Council since 2011 and a political coordinator for the United Steelworkers.
Guyott became in 2009 the first woman elected state AFL-CIO president. The group organized protests by thousands of union members during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions in opposition to the Republican push to ban the collection of mandatory fees for union representation.
Owner of closed NW Ind. plants plans marina, homes
HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) - The new owner of a closed power plant along Lake Michigan says he's looking to transform the site by building a marina and residences with lakefront views.
Those plans include demolishing the State Line Energy plant in Hammond that was a coal-burning generating facility for eight decades before it was shut down last year.
New owner Alan Beemsterboer tells The Times of Munster it will take several years to move ahead with the plans and that his ideas are conceptual at this point.
Beemsterboer has purchased 34 acres of the plant's 77-acre site at the border of Hammond and Chicago.
The other section includes where a massive coal heap once stood. A Texas company owns that property and has been decommissioning the plant and cleaning up the land.
NATURAL GAS STATION
1st liquefied natural gas station opens in Ind.
SELLERSBURG, Ind. (AP) - The opening of Indiana's first liquefied natural gas refueling station has officials touting the use of the alternative fuel.
A ceremony was held Tuesday marking the opening of the station just off Interstate 65 in Sellersburg, a few miles north of Louisville, Ky.
Greater Indiana Clean Cities Coalition director Kellie Walsh says the state started 2013 with six natural-gas stations, all of which sold compressed natural gas.
Walsh tells the News and Tribune that the Sellersburg site is Indiana Indiana's 15th natural-gas station and the first with the super-cold liquefied gas.
State Rep. Randy Frye of Greensburg says the state is encouraging trucking companies to convert semis to natural gas with $15,000 tax credits.
ALLEN COUNTY HOMICIDES
Allen County reaches record homicide mark for year
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - An ongoing string of shootings has put Indiana's third-most populous county in the dubious position of tying its record for homicides in a year.
Allen County's 44th homicide for his year happened on Tuesday when police say a man was shot multiple times inside a house on Fort Wayne's southeast side. The Journal Gazette reports Allen County reached the same number of homicides in 1997.
Fort Wayne Police Chief Rusty York blames much of the violence on robberies and retribution among those involved in gangs and drug dealing.
York tells WANE-TV that it's been a disturbing year for the city. He says officials must look for better ways to fight crime and for more revenue for the hiring and training of police officers.
Ex-youth pastor admits sexual contact with girl
(Information in the following story is from: (Greenfield) Daily Reporter, http://www.greenfieldreporter.com)
GREENFIELD, Ind. (AP) - A former youth pastor at a suburban Indianapolis church has pleaded guilty to charges that he had sexual contact with a girl who attended the church.
A Hancock County judge sentenced 61-year-old Steve Harding to spend two years in a community corrections program and a year on probation. Harding pleaded guilty on Tuesday to a felony charge of sexual misconduct with a minor for his actions while he was a youth pastor at New Palestine United Methodist Church.
The Daily Reporter reports prosecutors dropped a more serious charge of child molesting.
Judge Richard Culver told Harding he took advantage of the girl's trust in him as a family friend and mentor.
Authorities say the sexual conduct happened in 2009 and 2010 when the girl was 13 and 14.
Notre Dame releases mystery $10,000 tip to workers
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (AP) - Four workers at a University of Notre Dame campus bar will soon be sharing a $10,000 tip.
The big tip has been left in limbo since mid-October, when a group of three men left a pair of $5,000 tips on a credit card at the Legends of Notre Dame on the day of the Notre Dame-Southern California football game.
Notre Dame spokesman Dennis Brown says the tip is being released to the workers after it was reviewed for possible fraud.
Legends server Ashley Sullivan tells the South Bend Tribune she's unhappy with the delay but glad to be getting the money before Christmas.
The men signed the receipts with "TipsForJesus," which is the name of an Instagram account where big tips have been chronicled around the country.
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