Indiana News

Indiana related news items and stories.


As 2016 winds down, there’s a lot to reflect on. A lot. While so much happened this year (seriously so much happened, I’m sure we blocked most of it out), we’re going to focus on the milestones of the Indiana education world: the most notable laws, conversations and changes in our classrooms.

The Ever-Evolving ISTEP+


State officials, health care leaders and lawmakers often use the phrase “can’t arrest our way out” when talking about Indiana’s so-called “drug epidemic.” But incoming Attorney General Curtis Hill says the state shouldn’t abandon what he calls “strict enforcement.”

The state’s recent criminal code reform was aimed at, in part, keeping low-level, non-violent drug offenders out of prison and into community corrections and treatment. But Hill, who’s been critical of the reform, rejects that premise; he thinks all drug crimes are violent crimes.

Donnelly Says Dems Shouldn't Change Basic Game Plan

Dec 23, 2016


U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-Indiana) says he doesn’t feel added pressure as the leader of the Indiana Democratic Party after its substantial losses.

Indiana Democrats lost big in 2016, leaving Donnelly as the only Democrat in statewide office. Donnelly says sometimes candidates can’t, in his words, “outrun the wave,” and that he doesn’t want to see his party’s game plan change too much.

“Our job is to recruit and train and encourage great young people, great older people who want to serve and, given the resources, work hard in all 92 counties,” Donnelly says.


Top fiscal lawmakers say the potential impact of President-elect Donald Trump’s proposed reforms could upend the new state budget they’ll write early next year.

Budget-writing lawmakers received a new economic forecast earlier this month; that helps provide guidance as they determine how much money they can spend in the next two-year state budget.

President-elect Donald Trump's latest Twitter target is a local union official who questioned the billionaire's account of how many jobs he saved at a Carrier plant in Indianapolis.

Trump has previously used social media to browbeat companies that move jobs offshore as well as entertainers whose acts he finds tiresome.

On Wednesday, Trump took aim at Chuck Jones, president of the United Steelworkers Local 1999.

Trump wrote on Twitter that Jones "has done a terrible job representing workers. No wonder companies flee country!"

SNAP Education Program Improves Food Security

Dec 22, 2016

A new study from researchers at Purdue University finds that education programs for food insecure people in Indiana can make a lasting impact. All the people in the study are enrolled in the federal supplemental nutrition assistance program also called SNAP.

A new report offers suggestions for Indiana’s education colleges and school corporations on how to better support young educators and prevent them from leaving the profession or seeking another teaching job.

E-Cigarette Use Up With Young People

Dec 21, 2016

A report released by the U.S. Surgeon General says a growing number young adults are using electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes and many think it’s a public health concern.

The report finds that e-cigarette use has tripled among middle and high school students since 2011. The U.S. Surgeon General calls the rise a public health concern and oncologist and lung expert with Indiana University Health Dr. Nasser Hanna agrees. He says e-cigarettes can contain harmful carcinogens.

More Babies Born Drug Dependent In Rural Areas

Dec 19, 2016

A new study finds an alarming increase in the number of newborns dependent on drugs. The new research shows the number of newborns drug dependent increased nearly fivefold since 2000. Rural areas were especially hard hit – nationally, up to 21% of infants are born suffering from withdrawal.

Sales Tax Misses

Indiana’s sales tax collections have failed to meet expected levels for 21 of the last 23 months. That’s prompting state fiscal analysts to change the way they project those revenues.

Indiana Jobless Rate Falls To 15-Year Low

Dec 16, 2016

November Employment Numbers

Indiana’s unemployment rate went down last month, reaching its lowest level in more than 15 years.

The Indiana unemployment rate declined in November to 4.2 percent. That’s the lowest it’s been since July of 2001.

Before he went to prison, Ernest killed his 2-year-old daughter in the grip of a psychotic delusion. When the Indiana Department of Correction released him in 2015, he was terrified something awful might happen again.

He had to see a doctor. He had only a month's worth of pills to control his delusions and mania. He was desperate for insurance coverage.

New Revenue Forecast Shows Positives for State Budget

Dec 15, 2016

Indiana’s new revenue forecast is much more positive than the vision laid out by budget-writing lawmakers.

For weeks, legislators preached caution when discussing the two-year state budget they’ll write in the upcoming session. Yet a new revenue forecast predicts they will have about one billion new dollars. And that’s even after the forecast says the state will collect about $300 million less this fiscal year than originally expected.

When the General Assembly convenes for the 2017 legislative session, expanding state funded pre-K will be a top priority.

Legislative leaders have already said they are motivated to expand the pilot program, On My Way Pre-K, which provides tuition scholarships to a limited number of low-income 4-year-olds – 1,792 are enrolled this year.

There are still questions about how far the expansion will go, but details are slowly starting to emerge.


Holcomb Happy to Take Time with Agenda

Dec 14, 2016

Governor-elect Eric Holcomb laid out the basic framework of his legislative agenda at the annual Bingham Greenbaum Doll Legislative Conference. But he offered few specifics and says he doesn’t want to rush them.

Holcomb’s speech to the conference sounded much like his campaign stump speech. Stated priorities include a data-driven infrastructure plan, expanding pre-k, and addressing the drug epidemic.

The state’s leading education lawmakers want to extend Pearson’s testing contract, to avoid rushing into a botched replacement for ISTEP+. In this 2013 file photo, House education committee chair Bob Behning (left) and Senate education committee chair Dennis Kruse attend a state panel. (Kyle Stokes/StateImpact Indiana)

The State Board of Education approved school A-F grades for the 2015-2016 school year Tuesday. It reports a sharp decline in the number of schools receiving As and higher numbers receiving Bs or Cs.

A-F grades are mainly calculated using ISTEP+ scores, but this is the first year the grades were calculated with a new formula. The new formula prioritizes student growth on the test, rather than whether a student passed the test.

Even before he is sworn in, Donald Trump is putting his own stamp on the role of chief executive.

That has some people rejoicing — and others worried about where he's going to take the country. Here is why some of Trump's critics say the president-elect could be a threat to democratic institutions and why others say those fears are overblown.

President-elect Donald Trump said on the campaign trail that school choice is "the new civil rights issue of our time." But to many Americans, talk of school choice isn't liberating; it's just plain confusing.

Exhibit A: Vouchers.

Politicians love to use this buzzword in perpetual second reference, assuming vouchers are like Superman: Everyone knows where they came from and what they can do. They're wrong. And, as Trump has tapped an outspoken champion of vouchers, Betsy DeVos, to be his next education secretary, it's time for a quick origin story.

Indiana School District Is Going Completely Solar

Dec 9, 2016

Budgeting is one of those necessary evils. It’s tough, but you’ve got to do it.

And for school districts, with growing costs and fixed funding, it’s increasingly crucial.

So Sheridan Community Schools, a small, rural district in the heart of central Indiana, has taken a unique approach to managing energy costs: They’re now one of the state’s first completely solar powered school systems.

IU Scientists Win Prize For 3-D Dung Beetle Image

Dec 8, 2016
Eduardo Zattara/Armin Moczek/Jim Powers/Jonathan Cherry/Matthew Curtis / Indiana University

Biologists studying dung beetles at Indiana University have won an award celebrating a 3-D image illustrating their work.

The researchers' winning picture displays the metamorphosis of an adolescent beetle’s nervous system.

Three scientists were behind the colorful, award-winning image, which last month was declared a winner in the Federation for American Societies for Experimental Biology’s BioArt competition.


The Indiana Court of Appeals made a landmark property rights ruling on Dec. 7, finding land owners along Lake Michigan cannot prevent people from accessing the lake.

In a 3-0 decision, the court defined the boundary between private and public property along Lake Michigan at the Ordinary High Water Mark.

A war of words has erupted between President-elect Donald Trump and Chuck Jones, president of United Steelworkers 1999.

It began when Jones, who leads the local union branch representing workers at Carrier Corporation’s factory in Indianapolis, accused Trump of lying about the number of jobs he’d saved at Carrier. Trump responded through two tweets. Now Jones says he’s getting threats from Trump supporters.

Donald Trump could solidify his position as the Republican Party's all-but-certain nominee with a win in Indiana Tuesday.

Ted Cruz is hoping an endorsement from Indiana Gov. Mike Pence could help him buck recent polls and carry the Hoosier State.

But while Cruz is campaigning with Indiana's governor, Trump has been touring the state with a living Indiana legend: former Indiana University basketball coach Bobby Knight.

President-elect Donald Trump attacked the United Steelworkers union president who represents workers at Carrier in Indianapolis on Twitter Wednesday night.

Chuck Jones heads up Steelworkers local 1999, which includes the Indianapolis Carrier and Rexnord factories. Both have come under fire from Trump for sending some jobs to Mexico.

After 61 Years, Indiana Town Legalizes Pinball

Dec 8, 2016

Never mind legalizing pot. Kokomo, Ind., has legalized pinball.

The city council ended a ban that stretches back to 1955.

Back then, the council said pinball worked against "peace and good order."

Wives complained about husbands who gambled away their entire paychecks.

In more recent times, the ban seems to have been ignored.

At last the city council has revoked it, taking its chances on keeping the peace. Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit /

The Indiana State Department of Health has announced the recipients of $13 million in grants aimed at stemming Indiana’s high infant mortality rate.

The money comes from the departments Safety PIN grant program, which the state legislature created in 2015 as a response to the concerning trend.

Editor's note: There is language in this piece that some will find offensive.

Sometime in early 2016 between a Trump rally in New Hampshire, where a burly man shouted something at me about being Muslim, and a series of particularly vitriolic tweets that included some combination of "raghead," "terrorist," "bitch" and "jihadi," I went into my editor's office and wept.

I cried for the first (but not the last) time this campaign season.

A Hoosier Remembers Witnessing Pearl Harbor Attack

Dec 7, 2016

Photo: National Archives and Records Administration

The U.S. Navy battleships USS West Virginia (BB-48) (sunken at left) and USS Tennessee (BB-43) shrouded in smoke following the Japanese air raid on Pearl Harbor.

Pacers Hand Out Toys To Bloomington Kids

Dec 7, 2016

The Indianapolis Pacers brought the holidays to Bloomington early when they distributed toys to children Wednesday at City Hall.

It’s part of the team’s annual “Season of Giving,” where the Pacers join forces with the Indiana Fever to pass out more than 30,000 toys to kids in need. JAKKS Pacific provided the toys.

This is the first year the team’s come to Bloomington. Former player Darnell Hillman says his favorite part of the program is seeing kids’ reactions.