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Street departments focus on potholes with lack of snow to remove

This morning’s dusting of snow is the exception rather than the rule during this warmer-than-normal winter.  This means city street departments are spending time on another road hazard – potholes.  IPR’s Cody Butler reports.

Butler — Snow & Potholes

Muncie city officials encourage residents to report potholes online.  Other cities suggest calling the street department.

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State report blames construction company for deadly state fair stage collapse

The State Labor Department says the company that built the state fair stage ahead of last summer’s deadly collapse is responsible for its collapse.  A report out today says Mid-America Sound Corporation wasn’t qualified to perform the stage construction and did not properly secure stage structures.  The Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration fined the company sixty-three thousand dollars.   A stagehands’ union and the Indiana State Fair Commission have also been issued fines for safety violations.  The union was required to pay eleven thousand dollars for three violations.  The commission was given a six-thousand dollar fine for failing to create a safe space.  An independent investigation is still being conducted on the August stage collapse, which killed seven people and injured dozens.  Mid-America Sound Corporation officials say in a statement that they warned the commission their structures should not be used when wind speeds exceeded 25 miles an hour.  Company officials say they told fair staff the evening of the collapse that the stage area should be evacuated if winds reached over 40 miles an hour.

Indiana Public Broadcasting and the Associated Press contributed to this story.

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Conflicted automatic taxpayer refund bills in General Assembly

Two bills that make changes to Indiana’s automatic taxpayer refund look to be in conflict with each other.  As Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith reports, their authors aren’t sure how those differences will be reconciled.

Smith — Taxpayer Refund Changes Conflict

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Statewide smoking ban now in Senate

A statewide smoking ban’s fate now lies in the Indiana Senate, where it’s never passed out of committee.  And while hopes for its passage are bright, Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith tells us there are still significant obstacles to overcome.

Smith — Smoking Ban in Senate

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New education report shows statewide graduation rate of 85 percent

A new graduation rate report from Indiana’s Department of Education today shows more than 85 percent of Hoosier high school students graduated last year.  That’s the highest graduation rate since the state began keeping track in 2005.  In the IPR listening area, major school districts saw graduation rates close to the state average of 85 percent.  That includes Muncie Community Schools, whose graduation rate dropped 5 percent from 2010.

One exception is Anderson Community School Corporation.  Like most area schools, their graduation rate improved.  But a 2011 graduation rate of only 66.2 percent makes them the third worst district for graduating high school students within four years.

The district with the worst rate in the state is also the largest – Indianapolis Public Schools – with a graduation rate of just over 64 percent.  One Hoosier school achieved a 100 percent graduation rate last year.  All 17 students at New Harmony School in southwestern Indiana graduated on time.

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Indiana University removes permanent “Find Lauren” web banner

It’s been eight months since Indiana University student Lauren Spierer disappeared after a night out partying with friends and this weekend, the university removed a “Find Lauren” web banner from their homepage.  I-U spokesman Mark Land says the university has been in contact with Spierer’s parents and says the web banner was removed on Saturday.

Land on Find Lauren Banner

Lauren’s father, Robert Spierer released a statement on Facebook saying his family was disappointed by the university’s decision.   Land says one of the biggest worries is that if people see the same information for an extended period of time, they’ll stop noticing it.  The “Find Lauren” information will now be displayed the first week of every month on the homepage.  It is also available at any time on the school’s Protect I-U website.

— Indiana Public Broadcasting

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