Latest Indiana news, sports, business and entertainment

INDIANA-SCHOOL GRADES

Ind. education board establishes 'A-F' outline

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — The State Board of Education is signing off on a new outline for state school grades, but waiting until next year to fill in the details.

The board voted 9-1 Wednesday to approve new school grade categories and broadly accept the recommendations of a bipartisan panel formed in the wake of the Tony Bennett grade-changing scandal earlier this year. But the details of how those grades are determined will be set throughout next year.

The vote was a rare moment of unity between Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz and the other members of the board in an ongoing education war. Ritz accused Gov. Mike Pence Tuesday of conducting a "complete takeover" of education policy over the past month. A Pence spokeswoman said he has worked "in good faith" with Ritz.

HENDRICKS COUNTY REMAINS

Bones found in C. Ind. are of man at least 40

(Information in the following story is from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com)

BROWNSBURG, Ind. (AP) — Investigators say decayed human remains found this summer inside an old well tank in suburban Indianapolis belong to a man at least 40 years old.

Hendricks County sheriff's Lt. Jim Yetter says the bones found in July could be of someone missing for years. The Indianapolis Star reports a University of Indianapolis forensics team believes the man was about 5 feet 9 inches tall.

Police say the new owner the property just west of the Marion-Hendricks County line found the 120-gallon tank while clearing the land, and someone who intended to scrap the metal found the dirt-caked bones when it was cut open.

Detective Terry Judy says the tank might've been used for a time as a roller pulled behind a tractor to level uneven ground.

SEMI CRASH-BOY KILLED

2-year-old killed in semi-van crash in SW Indiana

(Information in the following story is from: Washington Times-Herald, http://www.washtimesherald.com)

WASHINGTON, Ind. (AP) — Police in southwestern Indiana say a semitrailer drove through a stop light and crashed into a family's van, fatally injuring a 2-year-old boy and hurting other family members.

The Daviess County Sheriff's Department says the crash happened Tuesday when the semi traveling on U.S. 50 near the city of Washington ran into the van at the Indiana 257 intersection. The semi hit the driver's side of the van, pushing it through the intersection.

The department says Noah Briggeman of Washington was in child restraints but died after being taken to a Bloomington hospital for his injuries. The Washington Times-Herald reports Noah's mother and 5-year-old brother were in stable condition at Daviess Community Hospital, while his father was treated and released.

The semi driver was cited for failure to yield.

OBIT-INDIANA BEACH OWNER

Longtime Indiana Beach owner dies at 100

(Information in the following story is from: Journal and Courier, http://www.jconline.com)

MONTICELLO, Ind. (AP) — Longtime Indiana Beach amusement park owner Thomas Spackman has died at the age of 100.

A funeral home says Spackman died Monday at a Monticello (mahn-tuh-SEL'-oh) nursing home.

His father founded the Ideal Beach park along Lake Shafer near Monticello in 1926. Spackman became the park's CEO in 1945 and changed the name to Indiana Beach in 1952.

He added numerous rides at the park that became known for its commercial jingle "There's more than corn in Indiana." Indiana Beach was drawing about 750,000 visitors a year when the Spackman family sold it in 2008.

White County Community Foundation director Leslie Goss tells the Journal & Courier that Spackman was always willing to take risks to improve the park.

Spackman's funeral is Friday at Monticello Christian Church.

ILLIANA EXPRESSWAY

Ind. seeks investors for tollway near Chicago

(Information in the following story is from: The Times, http://www.thetimesonline.com)

MUNSTER, Ind. (AP) — Indiana officials are giving potential investors about two months to show interest in the state's part of the planned $1.3 billion tollway linking highways south of Chicago.

The Indiana Department of Transportation and the Indiana Finance Authority have set a Jan. 10 deadline for investors to submit qualifications for the Illiana Expressway project.

Both states are seeking private companies to finance construction of the 47-mile link from Interstate 65 near Lowell to Interstate 55 near Wilmington, Ill.

The Times of Munster reports Indiana's investor solicitation includes plans for widening about a dozen miles of I-65 north of Lowell. Highway department spokesman Jim Pinkerton says the state doesn't plan to have tolls for that section of I-65 as that work will be paid for with traditional highway funding.

IURC-JOB CHANGE

Ind. utility regulator criticized over job change

(Information in the following story is from: The Indianapolis Star, http://www.indystar.com)

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Some consumer groups are criticizing the move of an Indiana utility commission member to a job with a private organization that oversees the Midwestern electrical grid.

The state inspector general has cleared Kari Bennett's decision to resign from the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission and become senior corporate counsel the Carmel-based Midcontinent Independent System Operator. The Indianapolis Star reports the inspector general found a waiting period wasn't required because Bennett won't be lobbying the utility commission.

Bennett joined the commission in 2011 after its then-chairman was fired following private meetings with Duke Energy executives about cost overruns at its $3.3 billion coal-gasification power plant in southwestern Indiana.

IURC general counsel Doug Webber says Bennett won't lobby any state office for the grid organization or the dozens of companies it represents.

MUNCIE HIGH SCHOOLS

Muncie board criticized over school closing plan

(Information in the following story is from: The Star Press, http://www.thestarpress.com)

MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) — The Muncie School Board is taking more heat over its plans to close one of the city's two high schools and end bus service for students because of budget troubles.

Dozens of people wearing red Muncie Southside High School shirts packed Tuesday night's school board meeting. The Star Press reports some people demanded the resignations of board members and top district administrators.

Board members are planning to vote Monday on closing Southside High School, leaving the district with a single high school after years of declining enrollment. Voters last week defeated a proposed property tax increase that officials said was needed to keep school buses running.

Board member Robert Warrner says no resignations are being sought and that the district's administrators are highly respected across the state.

REDEDICATED CEMETERY

NE Ind. cemetery from 1800s cleaned, rededicated

(Information in the following story is from: The Journal Gazette, http://www.journalgazette.net)

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) — An honor guard fired a salute to a Civil War veteran as a rural cemetery near Fort Wayne was rededicated after a cleanup project.

The ceremony was held Tuesday near the grave of James McConaughy, who died in 1895 and was buried near his parents in the Pleasant Valley Cemetery outside the community of Hoagland.

Daughters of the American Revolution member Cindy Gravatt tells the Journal Gazette the cemetery is now in amazing shape. The group's survey of Allen County cemeteries had found Pleasant Valley a "disgrace" with broken gravestones, untrimmed trees and litter.

Madison Township Trustee Troy McDonald says he didn't know until a year ago that the cemetery was the township's responsibility. He says some longtime residents told him the cemetery had looked bad for many years.