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Indiana Republicans say law adequate despite school fraud

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana Republican leaders are resisting steps toughening state laws on privately operated online schools, pushing aside blame in the alleged enrollment inflation by two such schools that wrongly collected $69 million in taxpayer money. The state audit of Indiana Virtual School and Indiana Virtual Pathways Academy released this month outlined how they improperly claimed about 14,000 students as enrolled between 2011 and 2019, even though they had no online course activity. Republicans who dominate the state Legislature have rejected complaints from Democrats that responsibility for the fraud rests with lax regulations. Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb and GOP legislative leaders are giving up campaign contributions from sources related to the two schools.


Appeals court throws out southwestern Ind. man's convictions

EVANSVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A southwestern Indiana man's convictions on charges of killing his wife and shooting his adult twin daughters have been overturned because the jury forewoman didn't disclose a prior criminal charge and her history as a domestic violence victim. The Evansville Courier & Press reports the Indiana Court of Appeals on Friday ordered a retrial for Clinton Loehrlein of Darmstadt, who was serving a 150-year prison sentence for murder and two counts each of attempted murder and aggravated battery. He was convicted last August of fatally shooting and stabbing Sherry Loehrlein, 52, in January 2017 and shooting their two daughters.


Local Indiana leaders oppose plan that could pollute water

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Local government officials and environmentalists oppose a project proposing to burn or harvest parts of the Hoosier National Forest because they are concerned it could contaminate the only source of drinking water for more than 140,000 people. The U.S. Forest Service approved the Houston South Vegetation Management and Restoration project last week. Federal officials point out that projects such as this are a common means of maintaining forest health. But critics say it could worsen existing water-quality issues in the Lake Monroe reservoir, which serves all of Monroe County.


Indiana county's former poor house on the market for $200K

ROCKVILLE, Ind. (AP) — A western Indiana county's former home for the poor has hit the market, with an asking price of $200,000 for the grand but well-worn building. The old Parke County Poor Asylum was built in 1930 in the Gothic/Greek Revival style and features soaring columns with a brick exterior of steel-reinforced concrete construction. The three-story building was originally built to house people with no income, including the unemployed, widows, orphans and those with mental health issues, but it's been vacant since 2010. Eric Wolfe of Prime Real Estate Group tells the Tribune-Star the building would make a good hotel, rehab facility, condos or rental apartments.


Grissom Air Museum seeks help on Cold War-era bomber exhibit

BUNKER HILL, Ind. (AP) — The aircraft museum at northern Indiana's Grissom Air Reserve Base is seeking $100,000 boost from local government toward a building to protect and display one of the few surviving Cold War-era B-58 Hustler bombers. Grissom Air Museum leaders are asking for Miami County economic development fund money as they plan the estimated $700,000 exhibit space featuring the bomber, dozens of which were stationed at the Indiana base in the 1960s. The B-58 was the U.S. Air Force's first operational supersonic bomber. Officials hope to build a roof over the Hustler this year while continuing to raise money for the project.


Mom helps 2 men rescue truck driver days after giving birth

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — An Indiana woman who had given birth three days earlier says her instincts kicked in when she stopped along a highway to help save the driver of a tanker truck who was on fire. The truck loaded with jet fuel later exploded. Thirty-five-year-old Holly McNally helped two men smother the driver's flames Thursday and move him away from his overturned truck on Interstate 465. Officials say the 59-year-old driver remains in critical condition Friday morning. McNally tells WXIN-TV in Indianapolis that she had just visited her newborn boy at a hospital when she saw the burning truck.


Police: Couple forced boys off road, angered by Trump flags

HOBART, Ind. (AP) — Police say a northwestern Indiana couple allegedly used a car to force two teenage boys off a road, angered that the twin brothers were riding bicycles adorned with flags supporting President Donald Trump. Hobart police say Snapchat videos of the alleged attack helped officers secure intimidation and criminal recklessness charges against 23-year-old Kyren Gregory Perry-Jones and 18-year-old Cailyn Marie Smith. A probable cause affidavit says the boys told officers that a vehicle followed them before the male driver asked one of the boys “if they were Trump supporters” and that boy replied that they were. Perry-Jones alleged ripped one of the sibling's flag from his bike.


Despite strong start, Buttigieg seeks $13 million for Mar. 3

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg says he needs to raise $13 million to stay competitive through the 14-state Super Tuesday contests on March 3. That's a tricky financial picture despite the former South Bend mayor's strong finish in Iowa and New Hampshire. Buttigieg reported spending more than twice in January what he raised in January, hoping surprising finishes in the leadoff caucus and primary states would open the fundraising floodgates. But delayed and muddled results from Iowa dampened what some donors say the campaign expected, though the campaign says it has raised $11 million to date in February.