Arts & Culture
1:45 pm
Wed February 18, 2015

Drawing the Laughs: An Interview with Fort Wayne Cartoonist Steve Smeltzer

Fort Wayne cartoonist Steve Smeltzer says he actually thinks in cartoons, and naturally relates to life in a fun way.
Credit Courtesy / Steve Smeltzer

Cartooning is a tricky medium, and with fewer and fewer print outlets running daily strips, it’s a competitive one as well.

But for those with talent, drive, and a good sense of humor, cartooning can provide an outlet for comedy unlike any other.

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6:00 am
Wed February 18, 2015

The Three Rivers: Recreation

Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike Depot crew unpack a new tandem kayak.
Credit Virginia Alvino / WBOI News

Fort Wayne’s Rivergreenway trail system is drawing an increasing number of  people down to the riverside. But there may also be more folks than ever getting up close and personal with the water. We continue our series The Three Rivers with a look at opportunities for  river recreation, and who’s participating. 

In their winter boots, with snow on the ground, the Fort Wayne Outfitters and Bike  Depot crew is unloading dozens of new kayaks. 

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2015 Session
6:15 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Bill Could Reduce Incentives for Solar Energy

Some Indiana lawmakers want to change the way solar panel owners are credited for the energy they produce. 

If an individual or business installs solar panels and generates more energy than  they use, the power company buys it to sell to other customers. House Bill 1320 would reduce how much utilities pay for that excess energy, and  charge those who generate it fees for using the power grid. 

Dave Arland with the Indiana Energy Association says it’s just a matter of fairness. 

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Politics & Government
4:44 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

House Bill Would Eliminate Common Construction Wage

Leaders from Indiana’s construction industry spent more than four hours Tuesday debating a bill that would eliminate the state’s common construction wage.

The common construction wage is a sort of minimum wage for public construction projects.  It’s set for each individual project by a local wage board. 

Carmel Republican Representative Jerry Torr’s bill would end the 80-year-old system.  He says the common construction wage inhibits competition and artificially inflates wages. 

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Politics & Government
4:12 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Senate Passes Bill Changing Ed Board Appointment Process

Ind. Sen. Travis Holdman authored Senate Bill 1, which reorganizes how the State Board of Education is appointed.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana Senate Republicans

The Senate passed their version of a bill Tuesday to change how the State Board of Education is constructed.

Senate Bill 1 allows the members of the State Board of Education to select a board chair from within their ranks.

Right now, the state superintendent automatically assumes that position. But the General Assembly has taken it upon itself to change this, following months of strained relations among the board, current superintendent Glenda Ritz and Governor Mike Pence.

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3:50 pm
Tue February 17, 2015

Legislature Trying to Fast-Track ISTEP+ Changes

The General Assembly is trying to speed up the process for approving changes to this spring’s ISTEP+ test.

Late last week, the State Board of Education and Department of Education approved a handful of recommendations to shrink this year’s version of the test, which students can start taking in less than two weeks. 

By law, those changes must get the okay from the General Assembly. In order to fast-track that process, two things happened in the House of Representatives Tuesday:

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Politics & Government
10:33 am
Tue February 17, 2015

GOP Leaders Highlight Education in New State Budget

Indiana House Ways & Means Chair Tim Brown says education spending is a top priority in the GOP's new budget, released Monday.
Credit Brandon Smith / Indiana Public Broadcasting

House Republican budget architect Tim Brown says his caucus’ proposed budget will include more money spent on education than ever before in state history.  The House GOP’s budget proposal was unveiled Monday.

House Republican leaders have said for months that education was their top priority this session and that they planned a significant increase in funding for K through 12 schools. 

To that end, House Ways and Means Chair Tim Brown says, under the House GOP budget, schools would get $469 million more over the next two years than they did in the last state budget.

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10:09 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Protesters Pack Statehouse in Support of Ritz

Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz appeared at a rally at the statehouse Monday. Protesters packed the building to express opposition to several bills that would reduce Ritz's power.
Credit Rachel Morello / StateImpact Indiana

Educators, parents and even a few kids out of school for the snow day packed the statehouse in Indianapolis Monday to show support for state superintendent Glenda Ritz.

Icy relations have become the norm among the state’s top education policymakers, including Ritz, Governor Mike Pence, the State Board of Education and the Department of Education.

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Politics & Government
9:52 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Simplified Tax Code Bill Headed for a House Vote

Indiana Rep. Todd Huston sponsored a bill and several amendments aimed at simplifying the state's tax code.
Credit Courtesy / Indiana House Republicans

A measure aimed at simplifying the state’s tax code is on its way to the House floor.  But the version committee members passed doesn’t include as many changes as Governor Mike Pence was pushing for.

Pence’s proposed tax bill, sponsored by Fishers Republican Representative Todd Huston, aims to simplify the tax code by, in part, eliminating more than two dozen tax credits. It also included a change to a sales tax exemption for Hoosier businesses. 

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Health & Science
9:42 am
Tue February 17, 2015

Advocates Push to Reduce Indiana's Teen Suicide Rate

A new report says Indiana’s rate of teenagers considering suicide in the last year is the worst in the nation.  And the rate of Hoosier teenagers attempting suicide is second highest in the country. 

Now, suicide prevention advocates are working to make inroads at the Statehouse, preparing lawmakers to deal with the issue.

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