Murder Trial May Be Delayed Due to News Article

A Pendleton woman’s murder trial may be delayed after defense attorneys filed a change of venue motion because of a deputy prosecutor’s comments made to The Herald Bulletin.  Jury selection in Kathy Jo Ward’s murder trial was scheduled to start today in Madison Circuit Court. But defense attorney Bryan Williams filed a motion to change the venue early Monday after reading a story in The Herald Bulletin previewing the trial.  Specifically, Williams took exception to comments Madison County Deputy Prosecutor Pat Regains made to the newspaper referring to the chances of a plea deal being made in the case.

Former Muncie South Football Standout Arrested

A former minor league football player, who scouts said would likely join the NFL, was arrested Saturday for allegedly trying to sneak marijuana into the Correctional Industrial Facility in Pendleton.  The Indiana State Police arrested former Canadian Football League player LaDrelle M. Bryant, Muncie, on suspicion of trafficking with an inmate, a Class C felony, and possession of marijuana, a Class A misdemeanor.   The 24-year old Bryant, a former standout football player at Muncie Southside High School, is being held in the Madison County Jail on $10,000 bond. He faces two to eight years in prison if convicted on the Class C felony.

Church of God Convention Smaller

The annual North American Church of God Convention is still a boon for Anderson businesses, despite a drop in the number of churchgoers who make the pilgrimage every year. Cheryl Shank, director of conferences  at Anderson University, said there are about 1,800 Church of God members staying in either Anderson University dorms or the campground. However, she said, the total number of convention-goers has dropped.  Shank said the university’s decision to change commencement from May to June has had an impact, as have changes to the convention’s schedule.  Ralph Day, executive director of the Madison County Visitors and Convention Bureau, said that although the convention isn’t as big as it once was, the city still sees some economic benefits.

Some Workers Happy with Delphi-UAW Deal

In the four-year pact negotiated with Delphi and GM, the UAW managed to keep three more plants open than Delphi had proposed/  It also got a series of options for longtime workers, including a $35,000 annual payment for three years to production workers whose wages will be cut from around $27 per hour to a lower pay scale of $14 to just over $18 per hour.  But most newer workers interviewed after the briefing were thrilled with the deal, which preserves their jobs making instrument clusters, fuel pumps and other parts until at least 2015.

Promotion at State Police

Indiana State Police announced Monday the promotion of Major Richard S. Weigand, a Winchester resident, to assistant superintendent.  Weigand graduated from Rising Sun High School and Vincennes University. A 27-year veteran of the state police, he was assigned to the Redkey District and served as trooper, squad sergeant, assistant district commander and district commander.  He most recently served as commander of the training division for state police.

Prisoner Handshakes Out….

Prisoner handshakes are out and fist bumps are in under a new directive issued by Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner J. David Donahue.  The commissioner wants to see people great each other with a “gentle bump” of their fists instead of a handshake. Anyone confused will be able to refer to one of the informational posters being posted in prisons. Indiana got the idea from Oklahoma as a way to cut down on the spread of illnesses, according to Department of Correction spokeswoman Java Ahmed.    A spokeswoman for Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels, said this was a prudent precaution in light of fears of a flu pandemic.

Neal Letter a "Confession" According to Attorney

A letter written from prison by John Neal is being termed “a confession.”   Indianapolis attorney J. Gregory Garrison, who is suing Neal on behalf of special Prosecutor Kit Crane, calls the letter a “blunt confession” that the 400-plus Cherry Master machines Neal placed in his numerous taverns were in fact gambling devices.  A rural Yorktown resident who formerly headed the Teamsters union in Indiana, Neal has claimed over the years that Cherry Masters were games of skill. According to prosecutors, the machines are games of chance — electronic facsimiles of slot machines that have predetermined outcomes that players are unable to influence. On July 6, Special Judge Steven Nation will preside over a scheduled two-hour status conference on the RICO (racketeer influenced and corrupt organizations) lawsuit that Garrison brought against Neal last year in Madison County.

New State Laws Take Effect Sunday

A series of new state laws take effect this coming Sunday.   Effective July 1st, smokers will pay more, and almost everyone will be required to wear seat belts under dozens of new state laws that take effect.    The state plans to use the extra money from smokers—and hopefully matching federal dollars — to provide health insurance to more than 100,000 low-income Hoosiers and fund other health initiatives.   More people will have to buckle up under a law that some legislators spent years trying to enact.  Current law doesn’t require back-seat passengers age 16 or older or occupants in vehicles plated as trucks, which can include pickups, SUVs and minivans, to be restrained. That will change July 1, but the new law will no longer allow police to use check points to enforce seat-belt compliance.

Delphi to Offer Workers Buyouts

Delphi Corp. will offer workers buyouts, severance packages, early retirement incentives and other payments in exchange for ratification of a wage-concession deal meant to help the struggling auto supplier emerge from bankruptcy and avoid a strike. The incentives for ratifying the deal vary in order to appeal to Delphi’s many hourly constituencies, the Detroit Free Press reported Sunday, citing people familiar with the deal whom it didn’t name. Delphi and United Auto Workers leadership signed the agreement Friday, but it still must be approved by the company’s 17,000 UAW members and a federal bankruptcy judge in New York. Union members expect to hear details on the pact beginning Monday.  Delphi has about 6,000 employees in Indiana — 5,200 workers in Kokomo, with about 2,300 of those being union workers, plus operations in Anderson.

BSU Student Named "Miss Indiana"

Nicole Rash, a Ball State University student from Plymouth, late Saturday won the Miss Indiana competition held at the Zionsville Performing Arts Center.  Rash had previously been named Miss Ball State University 2007.   Rash will now be the state’s representative in the Miss America pageant and earn money for higher education.