Brandon Smith

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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News
5:57 pm
Wed August 27, 2014

State Explores Work Share Programs to Prevent Layoffs

State lawmakers are exploring the creation of a work share program to give companies the option of reducing employee hours rather than using layoffs during economic downturn. 

Work share programs allow companies to reduce employee hours in lieu of layoffs, while the workers  collect partial unemployment benefits. 

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Economy
3:31 pm
Mon August 18, 2014

State Private Sector Adds Jobs, Unemployement Rate Flat

Indiana’s private sector added nearly 10,000 jobs last month.  Yet for the fourth consecutive month, the unemployment rate failed to drop.  Still, Governor Mike Pence says July’s employment numbers tell him Indiana’s economy is “all systems go.”

The Hoosier private sector has added jobs for ten consecutive months, surging again in July with 9,900 jobs created.  That boost was led by the manufacturing sector, which added more than 5,000 jobs, the most in the country last month. 

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Arts & Culture
7:17 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

30,000 Fairgoers Had a Drink at the State Fair

Alcohol sales at the Indiana State Fair are exceeding expectations.  More than 30,000 fairgoers lined up to buy beer and wine.  It was the first time in 67 years alcohol sales were permitted.

Ryan Sweet spent three days at the Indiana Beer and Wine Exhibition with Taxman Brewing.  He says the experience was overwhelmingly positive, providing the new Bargersville, Ind., brewery with plenty of exposure. 

He says the only complaint he heard from fairgoers was about the rule against carrying the beer out of the hall.

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News
6:52 pm
Fri August 15, 2014

Fair Alcohol Sales Top Expectations

Alcohol sales at the Indiana State Fair are exceeding expectations. More than 30,000 fairgoers  lined up to buy beer and wine. It was the first time in 67 years alcohol sales were permitted. 

Ryan Sweet spent three days at the Indiana Beer and Wine Exhibition with Taxman Brewing. He says the  experience was overwhelmingly positive, providing the new Bargersville, Indiana brewery with plenty of  exposure. 

He says the only complaint he heard from fairgoers was about the rule against carrying the  beer out of the hall.

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News
6:12 pm
Thu August 14, 2014

More Cuts to Higher Education Budgets

Indiana is cutting another 2 percent from the state’s public colleges and universities in response to concerns about lagging tax revenues. That’s in addition to the 2 percent it cut last fiscal year.

Governor Mike Pence announced cuts last year to state agency budgets after tax collections came in  dramatically below expectations for the first half of the last fiscal year. He included a 2 percent cut  to higher education funding. The state ultimately ended the fiscal year just above projections.

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Politics & Government
4:17 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

State Will Fund Adoption Subsidies for Children with Special Needs

Indiana adoption advocates say there’s excitement in the community after the state announced it will resume funding the State Adoption Subsidy for parents who adopt special needs children from foster care.

The Department of Child Services stopped providing the subsidies in 2009.  It was the peak of the recession and agency budgets were being slashed. 

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Agriculture
3:56 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Record Corn and Soybean Harvests Possible Again in 2014

Indiana corn producers could see record yields again this year, if the weather cooperates.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Purdue agriculture experts say the crop report released Tuesday projects potential record highs for corn and soybeans, and experts say that’s good news for Hoosiers at the grocery store.

Indiana farmers are projected to harvest a little more than one billion bushels of corn this year, which would set a record for the second consecutive year.  The predicted soybean harvest would be the third-largest in state history and up nearly six percent from last year. 

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Politics & Government
5:37 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Donnelly Lauds Farm Bill on Statewide Tour

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly of Indiana.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly says the new Farm Bill is good legislation for the times the nation is facing.  Donnelly is traveling around the state this week talking to farmers about the bill.

Donnelly says the most recent version of the farm bill is strong in two important areas: a greater shift toward crop insurance and greater focus on conservation. 

The Indiana Democrat says past farm bills relied heavily on direct payments to farmers; the new bill does away with them almost entirely, which he says is better for taxpayers as well as farmers.

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Politics & Government
3:58 pm
Mon August 11, 2014

Effort to Clean Up Voter Rolls Continues

Indiana Sec. of State Connie Lawson.
Credit Courtesy / Wikimedia Commons

Indiana has identified more than 700,000 voter records that need to be updated or marked inactive in its effort to clean up the state’s voter rolls.

Earlier this year, Secretary of State Connie Lawson’s office sent postcards to every Hoosier on the voter list.  More than 750,000 came back as undeliverable. 

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Politics & Government
5:46 pm
Thu August 7, 2014

Attorney General Undecided on Appeal to Athiest Celebrant Rulilng

The Indiana Attorney General’s office says it hasn’t decided whether to appeal a ruling allowing atheist leaders to solemnize marriages in the state.  That’s despite the group that brought the lawsuit – atheist group Center for Inquiry – announcing its victory Thursday.  Still, CFI Executive Director Reba Boyd Wooden still says she’s ready to perform marriages.

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