GAY MARRIAGE-INDIANA-ATTORNEY GENERAL
Zoeller will defend Ind. marriage law against suit
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Attorney General Greg Zoeller (ZEL'-ur) says he is ready to defend the state's marriage laws against a federal challenge filed by four gay couples.
Four couples from southern Indiana filed suit in federal court Friday looking to overturn the state's ban on gay marriage and the refusal to recognize gay marriages from other states. The legal team that successfully challenged Kentucky's refusal to recognize same sex unions from out of state is representing the four couples.
Zoeller said he was prepared to lead any defense in trial court and on appeal. Zoeller also filed a "friend of the court" brief last year looking to uphold the federal Defense of Marriage Act and California's marriage ban.
Tax collections drop after winter storms
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Severe winter weather is being blamed for a sharp drop in tax collections by the state.
The State Budget Agency reported Friday that tax collections came in $54 million less than expected in February. Sales tax collections fell $19 million below expectations, largely because of the polar vortex that hit the state.
The drop in collections comes as Republican Gov. Mike Pence is seeking approval for new spending in a handful of areas, including early childhood education. Senate Republicans have expressed apprehension about approving new spending this session, in part because of the state's budget constraints.
The tax numbers for February follow a few months after Pence was forced to cut agency budgets and put the state plane up for sale because of a roughly $300 million budget downturn.
INDIANA STORM-FEDERAL AID
Ind. seeks fed storm aid for cities, non-profits
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Gov. Mike Pence is asking for federal grants for government and certain non-profit organizations in 49 Indiana counties hit hard by an early January storm.
The storm dumped more than a foot of snow in some places and brought the state its coldest temperatures in two decades.
Pence says the grants would help replenish local government funds and directly alleviate further burden on local taxpayers. If approved, the grants would pay 75 percent of eligible expenses including debris and snow removal, emergency protective measures such as search and rescue, and damage to buildings and equipment.
The counties where the state is seeking assistance stretch from northern Indiana to the southern part of the state.
Noted psychiatrist may testify in Purdue shooting
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Defense attorneys for a Purdue University engineering student accused of killing another student on campus may call a psychiatrist who has testified in high-profile cases like those of a woman who drowned her five children in a bathtub and the man who kidnapped Elizabeth Smart.
Dr. Phillip Resnick's name appears on a defense witness list entered into court documents this week by attorneys for Cody Cousins. The 23-year-old Cousins has been charged with murder in the January killing of 21-year-old Andrew Boldt of West Bend, Wis.
Resnick testified in 2012 at the trial of a teenager convicted of killing three students in a shooting at a school near Cleveland, Ohio. He's also testified in the trials of defendants such as Andrea Yates, Brian Mitchell and Unabomber Ted Kaczynski.
Ball State issues all-clear following bomb threat
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) - Ball State University has issued an all-clear after alerting students and staff of a reported bomb threat at one of the Muncie campus' buildings.
Ball State spokesman Tony Proudfoot says police swept the Burris Laboratory School and issued an all-clear late Friday morning.
The building was not evacuated during the alert, which warned students and staff to avoid the building.
Burris Laboratory School is a kindergarten through twelfth grade teaching school located on the west side of Muncie.
Century-old Gary tower to be renovated, get bank
GARY, Ind. (AP) - The new owner of a century-old Gary office tower is planning a $2.5 million renovation that will include bringing the beleaguered city's downtown its first bank in six years.
Hobart-based developer Gateway Partners LLC recently purchased the 10-story Gary State Bank building for an undisclosed sum.
Gateway managing partner Vance Kenney tells The (Munster) Times that a community bank in northwestern Indiana has agreed to move into the building's first floor, and will get naming rights for the renovated tower.
Chase Bank had most recently occupied the building's stately interior but it vacated the site in 2008.
Kenney says plans call for tearing down three adjoining buildings south of the tower to make room for a two-lane bank drive-thru, an off-street parking lot and park-like green space.
INDIANA HS GIRLS CHAMPIONSHIPS
Familiar foes return to girls' state title weekend
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - This year's girls' state basketball championships have a familiar look.
Seven of the eight teams playing in Terre Haute on Saturday, have played previously for state titles. Three of last year's champions are trying to defend their crowns. One of the top Miss Basketball candidates in the state, Evansville Mater Dei's Maura Muensterman, will headline the Class 3A game. And Bedford North Lawrence coach Damon Bailey is trying to help his hometown school win a fourth girls title nearly one-quarter century after leading the same school to its only boys' state title.
The games Saturday are: Oregon-Davis (22-2) vs. Vincennes-Rivet (22-4); Heritage Christian (26-1) vs. Fort Wayne Canterbury (20-4); Mater Dei (26-1) vs. Western (22-3); and Bedford North Lawrence (26-1) vs. Penn (25-1).
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