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LAWMAKER CONFLICT

AP Exclusive: Turner had more than $4M on line

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - House Speaker Pro Tem Eric Turner made close to $8 million selling nursing homes the last two years and is poised to make upward of $1 million on each new project following the defeat of a proposed construction ban this year.

Turner lobbied in private during the final days of the 2014 legislative session to kill a proposed moratorium that would have cost him and other Mainstreet Property Group investors millions in profits.

A Mainstreet financial document obtained by The Associated Press shows Turner owns 38 percent of the company through his holdings in Mainstreet Capital Partners. Turner has previously acknowledged an ownership stake in Mainstreet Property Group but hasn't said how big his share was.

Turner's lobbying is the focus of a House Ethics Committee hearing next week

INDIANA WOMEN SLAIN

Indiana man gets 65-year sentence in 2002 killing

NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) - A southern Indiana man already facing the death penalty has been sentenced to 65 years in prison for a Florida woman's 2002 slaying.

A Floyd County judge sentenced 56-year-old William Clyde Gibson III on Thursday for the October 2002 murder of Karen Sue Hodella. Gibson pleaded guilty in March to killing the Port Orange, Fla., woman, whose body was found in early 2003 in Clarksville near the Ohio River.

Gibson was sentenced to death in November after jurors convicted him of killing his mother's best friend, 75-year-old Christine Whitis, during a 2012 attack in New Albany.

He's scheduled to stand trial in June in the murder of 35-year-old Stephanie Kirk. The Charlestown woman's remains were found buried in Gibson's backyard days after his arrest in Whitis' death.

LAKE STATION MAYOR INDICTED

NW Indiana mayor pleads not guilty to charges

HAMMOND, Ind. (AP) - A northwestern Indiana mayor, his wife and stepdaughter have pleaded not guilty to federal corruption charges.

Lake Station Mayor Keith Soderquist and the others entered the pleas during a federal court hearing Thursday in Hammond, a day after prosecutors announced the grand jury indictment against them.

Defense attorney Scott King says the Soderquists have been cooperating with federal agents for more than a year and that they disagree with investigators' interpretation of events.

The indictment charges the couple made withdrawals totaling at least $18,500 from the mayor's campaign account before casino trips. Another charge is that they took $300 from a city food pantry bank account.

The couple also is charged with helping the mayor's stepdaughter hide the theft of at least $5,000 from the city just east of Gary.

COUNTY TREASURER-CHARGES

Central Indiana county treasurer bonds from jail

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - A central Indiana county treasurer facing official misconduct charges is out of jail after a judge reduced his bond.

A judge on Wednesday cut the bond amount for Delaware County Treasurer John Dorer from $400,000 to $50,000. Dorer posted bond and left the jail two days after he was arrested on charges of theft, official misconduct and not depositing public funds on time.

The Star Press reports defense attorney Donald McClellan said Dorer would be pleading not guilty "to each and every one" of the charges.

Most of the counts charge Dorer with failing to deposit public funds within one business day, as required by law. The theft count alleges he stole $80.

McClellan says 27 of the 44 late deposit charges allege the transactions were one day late.

READING TEST

Indiana reading test results steady from last year

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - New test results show the reading levels among Indiana's third graders made slight progress from last year.

The Indiana Department of Education released data Thursday from the spring 2014 IREAD 3 test showing about 85 percent of students passed the test.

The results are up three-tenths of a percentage point from 2013.

Passage rates have inched higher in the past three years from a little under 85 percent in 2012, when the first official test was administered.

Between the year of the pilot test in 2011 and 2012, passage rates jumped almost 5 percentage points.

State schools superintendent Glenda Ritz says the results are another sign of the work that's happening in schools every day.

PRINTING PLANT CLOSURE

Printing plant in Evansville set for closure

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) - The company that owns an Evansville printing plant says it will be shutting it down in June and eliminating nearly 60 jobs.

Chesapeake Pharmaceuticals and Healthcare Packaging notified state officials on Wednesday about the closing decision for the plant where it makes a variety of printing and packaging products.

The New York-based company simply cites business reasons for the closing decision, saying it regrets that the action is necessary.

The company says the jobs of 59 employees are to be eliminated after operations at the plant are wrapped up by late June.

WORLD WAR I LETTERS

WWI love letters found in southern Indiana attic

JASPER, Ind. (AP) - Love letters from a World War I soldier to his sweetheart have been found stuffed in the attic wall of a southern Indiana home.

An electrician pulled the yellowed letters from inside insulation while doing remodeling work in the Jasper home of Phil Mathies.

The letters dated July 1918 were from Clement Berger to his future wife, Mary Borho, while he was preparing for deployment in World War I. Phil Mathies' sister, Barbara Schrader, tells WFIE-TV the letters show how much Berger wanted to be home while knowing he had his military obligation.

They were able to track down relatives of the couple who still live in Jasper.

Nancy Teder says the letters written by her uncle are an amazing find and will be given to the couple's grandchildren.

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