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This Hour: Latest Indiana news, sports, business and entertainment

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Gay couples' lawyers object to full-court hearing

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Attorneys for same-sex couples challenging Indiana's gay marriage ban are objecting to the state's request that all 10 members of the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals hear the case.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, Lambda Legal and a private law firm argue in a brief filed Monday that a three-judge panel is enough.

Indiana has asked the full court to hear the case. Wisconsin has made the same request.

Federal judges have struck down bans in both states. The 7th Circuit Court of Appeals in Chicago consolidated both states' appeals two weeks ago.

Indiana argues the issue is important enough to warrant a hearing by the full court. The gay couples' lawyers say four other appeals courts have handled the issue with three-judge panels.


Indiana chooses 5 counties for preschool program

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Indiana's three most populous counties are among five picked for the state's pilot program that will allow low-income Hoosier children to attend preschool.

Gov. Mike Pence's office announced Tuesday that Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh counties were selected for the pilot program from among 18 counties that submitted applications.

Marion, Lake and Allen counties have the largest populations in Indiana.

State lawmakers passed a bill this year calling for the state Family and Social Services Administration to pick five counties for the pilot program for 4-year-old children from low-income families.

Under the plan, those families will receive vouchers for public or private preschools. The program will become Indiana's first state-funded preschool program.

The governor's office says the program is on track to begin early next year.


Storm-damaged elementary school nears reopening

LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - Desks and chairs are being put in classrooms and construction workers are wrapping up repairs on an elementary school that's been closed since November because of storm damage.

Officials say Mintonye Elementary School will be ready to open for the first day of school on Aug. 13.

The elementary school and neighboring Southwestern Middle School were both hit by the November storm, but Southwestern sustained more serious damage and will be closed for at least several more months.

Tippecanoe School Corp. facilities director Steve Tobias tells the Journal & Courier ( ) that Mintonye's roof and heating and air conditioning systems have been replaced. He says plans are to let teachers start setting up their classrooms next week.


Lowe's plans 1,000-worker Indianapolis call center

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Home-improvement retailer Lowe's says it will open a new call center in Indianapolis that could have up to 1,000 employees in the next couple years.

The North Carolina-based retailer announced Tuesday that it would spend about $20 million to buy and equip an office building in a business park on the city's northwest side. The company expects to open the center early next year.

Lowe's vice president Don Easterling says the Indianapolis site was picked to add a Midwestern location to its current call centers in North Carolina and New Mexico.

The Indianapolis center will occupy a building that housed information technology operations for drugmaker Eli Lilly and Co. until its lease expired last year.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Lowe's up to $5.5 million in tax credits.


Ponzi schemer's accountant settles with Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - The Indiana Secretary of State's office says an Indianapolis accounting firm has agreed to pay $1.8 million to settle a lawsuit over its work for a convicted Ponzi schemer.

Secretary of State Connie Lawson says the accounting work by DeWitt & Shrader PC lent credibility to the scheme by Fishers money manager Keenan Hauke, and it had a responsibility to check his work before issuing client account and tax statements.

Hauke was sentenced to 10 years in prison in December 2011 for securities fraud.

Lawson says the DeWitt and Shrader settlement will go toward repaying Hauke's victims, who lost $9 million. She says 97 investors have already recovered $1 million, and her office is working to recover more.


Body of Hammond man recovered at NW Indiana lake

MOROCCO, Ind. (AP) - The body of a Hammond man believed to be a drowning victim has been recovered from a northwestern Indiana lake.

Indiana conservation officers say Kentland firefighters on Tuesday morning recovered the body of 24-year-old Saul Lopez from J.C. Murphey Lake at Willow Slough Fish and Wildlife Area.

Officers say Lopez disappeared Saturday evening after jumping off a rubber raft at the lake about 45 miles south of Gary.

Officers say the raft had begun losing air and that Lopez and another person aboard it tried to row back to shore before Lopez jumped into the water to try to push it. Witnesses said Lopez swam for a short while before disappearing under the water and didn't resurface. He wasn't wearing a life jacket.


Authorities say man takes hostage at adult store

GIRARD TOWNSHIP, Mich. (AP) - Authorities say a man suspected of a robbery in Indiana fled to Michigan, where he took a person hostage inside an adult novelty store.

Branch County sheriff's officials tell WOOD-TV the suspect was taken into custody following a standoff Tuesday at the Lion's Den Adult Superstore. It's located in Girard Township, near Coldwater.

No one was hurt.

According to the sheriff's office, the man robbed a drug store in Angola, Indiana, before fleeing police. The office says the chase ended 25 miles north at the store just off Interstate 69.

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