Thursday, September 4
Pence names new IURC commissioner
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Governor Mike Pence has appointed the Indiana State Department of Health's chief of staff to the commission that oversees Indiana's utilities.
Pence cited James Huston's unmatched "lifetime of public service" in naming him Wednesday as a member of the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission.
Huston fills a vacancy on the IURC created in May when James Atterholt, who had been the panel's chairman, stepped down to become Pence's chief of staff. Pence later appointed Carol Stephan the IURC's new chair.
Huston will serve the remainder of Atterholt's term, which expires on March 31st, 2017.
Huston has held a variety of government positions at both the federal and state levels during a career spanning more than 30 years.
BOARD OF EDUCATION-LAWSUIT
Education board pays $15,000 in public access deal
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The State Board of Education has agreed to pay $15,000 as part of a legal settlement in a case alleging a violation of Indiana's open meetings laws.
Democratic lawyer Bill Groth (grothe) announced Wednesday that the board members also agreed to avoid any future violations of the state's public access rules.
The settlement ends close to a year of legal battling between board members and Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and her supporters. Ritz, who chairs the board, sued the other members last year after they sought to speed up calculation of the state's "A-F" school grades.
The attorney general's office successfully argued that Ritz did not have standing to bring the suit. But other Democrats picked up the argument and filed the lawsuit that was settled Wednesday.
Divisive teacher rules approved by education board
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The State Board of Education has approved new rules for Indiana teacher licensing that will cut requirements for obtaining certain permits.
The licensing fight split along similar political lines as the many education battles which have peppered Indiana politics for the past few years. The board voted 7-3 Wednesday to approve the new standards.
Supporters of conservative education changes say the new rules will make it easier for more teachers to enter the classroom. But teachers unions and others say that the new rules cut the qualifications for new teachers and will reduce the quality of education.
Former Gov. Mitch Daniels and former Schools Superintendent Tony Bennett began the push for an overhaul in 2009 in part as a way to bring in alternative teaching groups like Teach for America.
BURGER KING-LABOR SECRETARY
Labor chief criticizes Burger King move to Canada
(Information in the following story is from: WIBC-AM, http://www.wibc.com/)
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez says Burger King's decision to move its corporate headquarters to Canada is shortsighted.
WIBC-FM reports Perez said during a visit to Indianapolis Wednesday that there's nothing to stop Burger King customers from eating elsewhere to punish the company.
Miami-based Burger King announced last week it was buying Ontario-based coffee-and-doughnut chain Tim Hortons and moving its corporate headquarters north of the border to lower its corporate tax rate.
A phone message seeking comment was left for a Burger King spokesman.
Democratic U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana joined Perez on a visit to Indianapolis Pike High School. Donnelly says Burger King trucks will still travel U.S. highways to make deliveries to franchises and the company should pay its fair share of taxes to support roads.
EAST CHICAGO CLEANUP
Feds reach settlement for East Chicago cleanup
EAST CHICAGO, Ind. (AP) — The federal government has reached a proposed settlement under which two companies will pay for an estimated $26 million cleanup of lead and arsenic contamination in an East Chicago neighborhood.
The Department of Justice and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency announced the deal Wednesday with Atlantic Richfield Co. and DuPont. A federal judge still must approve the settlement following a public comment period.
But EPA Regional Administrator Susan Hedman says the deal "ensures that almost 300 residential properties, parks and public spaces in East Chicago will be cleaned up."
The federal agencies say yards in East Chicago's Calumet neighborhood were tainted with lead and arsenic during industrial operations spanning from at least the early 1900s through 1985.
That tainted soil will be excavated, removed and replaced with clean soil.
Judge orders attorney to wear socks in courtroom
HARTFORD CITY, Ind. (AP) — An attorney who habitually appears in court without socks faces sanctions including possible fines if he shows up without them again in one Indiana courtroom.
Blackford Circuit Judge Dean Young issued an August 25th order directing attorney Todd Glickfield of Marion to wear appropriate business attire, including socks and a tie, in future proceedings in Young's Hartford City courtroom.
Glickfield appeared without socks in Young's court on August 22nd. The order says that during a break in proceedings, the court advised Glickfield that he wasn't appropriately dressed as required by court rules. The order says Glickfield replied, "I hate socks."
The order also states Glickfield previously appeared in court without a tie and with an open-collared shirt.
A message seeking comment was left Wednesday at Glickfield's office.
FIGHTER WING COMMANDER
Fort Wayne's 122nd Fighter Wing gets new commander
FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — The adjutant general of the Indiana National guard has selected a veteran commander to lead the Fort Wayne-based 122nd Fighter Wing.
Major General R. Martin Umbarger announced the selection Tuesday of Col. Patrick R. Renwick effective September 13th.
Renwick succeeds Colonel David Augustine, who announced last month he was retiring because of a medical issue that prevents him from flying. The announcement came 17 days after Umbarger said an investigation had cleared Augustine of allegations he had misspent taxpayer money or committed other improprieties.
Renwick is rated as a command pilot with more than 3,000 total hours and 148 combat hours. The Marshall, Illinois resident, currently serves as the vice commander of the 181st Intelligence Wing headquartered in Terre Haute (TEHR'-uh HOHT). He also has commanded maintenance and air support operations squadrons.