SCHOOL PRAYER COMPLAINT
Complaint ends teacher prayer in Indiana district
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (AP) - A western Indiana school district is telling teachers and other employees they can't lead prayers during school-sponsored events.
The decision by the Vigo County School Corp. in Terre Haute follows a complaint made to the Freedom from Religion Foundation in May about a teacher leading a prayer to start a school awards banquet.
District superintendent Dan Tanoos tells the Tribune-Star that he'll continue to allow student-led prayers at events. He says he has previously allowed the teacher-led prayers but has to live within the law.
Freedom from Religion Foundation attorney Sam Grover says the group sent a letter to the school district because it believes public school teachers must remain neutral toward religion while in their official capacity.
Ex-employee says prison workers had sex on desk
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A federal appeals court has ruled that Indiana's prison agency mistreated a female employee when it shrugged off her complaints about workers having sex on her desk and later fired her for having an affair with an official.
The appeals court is sending the case back to U.S. District Court in Indianapolis.
Substance abuse counselor Connie Orton-Bell said the atmosphere at Pendleton Correctional Facility northeast of Indianapolis was saturated with sex and that when she complained about night shift employees using her desk for sex, she was told to clean it off. She also complained she and a prison official were fired for having an affair, but their appeals were treated differently.
The state attorney general's office declined comment Wednesday. The Department of Correction didn't immediately comment.
FORT WAYNE-RIGHT TO WORK
Fort Wayne council backs right-to-work ordinance
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) - The Fort Wayne City Council has voted to override the mayor's veto of a right-to-work measure covering the city's police officers and firefighters.
The Republican-led council voted 6-3 along party lines Tuesday night to approve the ordinance allowing firefighters and officers to drop their union memberships without losing their jobs in Indiana's second-largest city.
The vote comes four weeks after the GOP council members backed overriding Democratic Mayor Tom Henry's veto of an ordinance prohibiting collective bargaining for all city employees except police officers and firefighters.
Henry says the right-to-work ordinance was brought up this month without any public notice and was aimed at advancing ideological interests.
Council Republicans say the ordinance takes government out of the worker-union relationship.
Lightning strikes blamed for Indy-area house fires
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - Lightning from thunderstorms passing through central Indiana have been blamed for starting several house fires.
Emergency dispatchers told The Indianapolis Star that lightning strikes Wednesday started fires at three homes in Hamilton County north of Indianapolis and two in Hendricks County east of the city.
Sabastian Hardimon of Avon, about 10 miles east of Indianapolis, tells WTHR-TV that he and another neighbor broke out a window to rescue a sleeping teenage girl from a house that caught fire after a lightning strike.
The National Weather Service says Indianapolis received a record amount of rainfall for the date of 1.61 inches. The weather service posted flood warnings for several counties in central and southern Indiana.
Indianapolis Power & Light says about 17,000 customers lost power during the storm.
KNOX COUNTY MURDER-SUICIDE
Police say 2 killed in SW Indiana murder-suicide
BICKNELL, Ind. (AP) - Police say a man was fatally shot during an argument in a southwestern Indiana town and that the suspected gunman later killed himself while officers were pursuing him.
State police Sgt. Todd Ringle says the first shooting happened about 2 a.m. Wednesday in the Knox County town of Bicknell. Investigators believe 33-year-old Paul Russell of Bruceville saw 48-year-old Todd Godare of Bicknell approaching him and went into a nearby home for a baseball bat. The two men argued and Russell was shot.
Ringle says Godare drove away in a pickup truck that was spotted a couple hours later by police officers in the nearby city of Vincennes. Officers tried to stop the truck, but Godare continued driving for a few minutes before stopping and shooting himself with a handgun.
Woman's body found after house fire reported
MIDDLEBURY, Ind. (AP) - Police in northern Indiana say a 69-year-old woman was found dead inside her home after a fire was reported there.
The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department says officers responding to the fire call about 12:15 a.m. Wednesday found Lona Chutsch's body inside her Middlebury home.
The department says investigators didn't immediately find any signs of suspicious activities surrounding Chutsch's death or the fire in the town about 25 miles east of South Bend.
Detectives are working with the state fire marshal's office to determine the cause of the fire and the county coroner's office on what caused Chutsch's death.
BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY HOG FACILITY
Board gives approval for 2,000-hog facility
COLUMBUS, Ind. (AP) - A central Indiana farmer is being allowed to start raising 2,000 hogs at a time despite the objections of some nearby residents.
A Bartholomew County zoning board voted 3-1 to give farmer Jeff Shoaf permission to build the confined feeding operation a couple of miles from the town of Hope.
The Republic reports nearly two dozen residents attending the board the meeting. Some raised worries that the hog facility would lower the water table in the area, cause odors and increase truck travel near their homes.
Kyle Shepherd defended his father-in-law's proposal, saying hog farms are part of country living.
The hog operation needed the board's approval because it is within a half mile of the small crossroads community of Old St. Louis, which is zoned residential.
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