Flooding forces more evacuations in plains states

More widespread flooding in Kansas, Oklahoma and Texas has forced thousands more to evacuate from their homes.  An oil spill added to the distress after a pumping malfunction let 42-thousand gallons of crude oil to escape the Coffeyville Resources refinery in Kansas into the Verdigris River.  Rain continued to fall in Texas and eastern Oklahoma, while Kansas got a break from the two-week long period of rain.  Oklahoma City has seen rainfall for 20 straight days.

West Lafayette, Vigo County join smoke free community list

Two more Indiana communities have joined the list of places that are going smoke free.  West Lafayette has enacted a ban in most indoor public places, but does exclude some hotel rooms, bars and clubs.  Vigo County, which includes Terre Haute, has enforced a less restrictive ban that exempts bars for five years and lets restaurants make smoking areas by building floor-to-ceiling divides.

Construction to begin soon on I-465

The “Accelerate 465” project will begin in two weeks on the Westside of Indianapolis, resulting in numerous traffic restrictions for motorists.  The first part of the project will widen I-465 between West 56th Street and I-74 and cost 85-million dollars.  INDOT says West 46th Street will be closed on or after July 16th for about five months.

Report: Purdue student was drunk when electrocuted

A toxicology report from an independent consultant yesterday showed that Purdue University student Wade Steffey was drunk and over the legal limit when he was electrocuted in a utility vault on January 13th.  The Rimkus Consulting Group says the equipment in the room was in compliance with applicable codes and regulations, however a faulty door lock allowed Steffey to enter the room.  Steffey’s body was found more than two months later on March 19th.

Marion officials hopeful Thomson clean-up begins soon

More than two weeks after a fire destroyed a large portion of the Thomson plant in Marion, the clean-up effort still hasn’t begun.  Grant County Emergency Management director Bruce Bender says residents should avoid being in the plant due to many hazards that include sharp pieces of rubble.  The city’s building inspector, Larry Oradat, says the area should be secured soon by the property owner to start the clean-up effort, however a date has not been set.

Kentucky group buys Marion newspaper

A Marion newspaper has been sold to a privately-held newspaper group in Paducah, Kentucky.  Paxton Media Group made the announcement yesterday and introduced the Chronicle-Tribune’s new publisher, Neal Ronquist.  Outgoing president and publisher Julie Metzger announced in May that Gannett Company was donating the paper to the Gannett Foundation, which later completed the sale to Paxton.

Columbus police make arrest in slaying of teenage girl

A 14-year-old girl found slain in an apartment in Columbus, Indiana has resulted in the arrest of a 20-year-old man.  Demetrick Shepherd was arrested Sunday afternoon on preliminary charges of murder and burglary after the girl was found stabbed to death in an apartment.  Shepherd was being held without bond in the Bartholomew County Jail.

Ohio man arrested on cocaine charges

A Cleveland, Ohio man driving on the Indiana Toll Road was arrested Sunday after police found 22 pounds of cocaine hidden inside his car.  52-year-old Michael Spence is facing initial charges of felony drug dealing.  Authorities say they pulled him over for speeding and Indiana State Police Trooper Jason Carmin says Spence appeared “extremely nervous” and consented to a search of his car.

Minimum wage set to go up this month

The state minimum wage will go up 70-cents to $5.85 per hour starting July 24.  A law passed by the Indiana General Assembly earlier this year will link the state minimum wage to the federal rate.  The next increase will take place on July 24, 2008 when the minimum wage will then be $6.55.  By 2009, both the state and federal rates will be $7.25 per hour.