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Country Regional : United States : Indiana

Indiana is a U.S. state located in the Midwestern and Great Lakes regions of North America. Indiana is the 38th largest by area and the 16th most populous of the 50 United States. Its capital and largest city is Indianapolis.


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Indiana Latest News

‘Get the nursery ready’: Fragile twins overcoming odds

The babies' combination of conditions occurs in just 1% of twin pregnancies.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Drew twins weren’t expected to leave the NICU alive after battling a rare combination of conditions.

But on Tuesday, one baby got to head home, and doctors hope the other will soon, too.

Four months ago, Lena and Delaney Drew were fighting for their lives. They are monoamniotic monochorionic twins, meaning they shared the same amniotic sac and placenta in the womb, so one twin did not receive as many nutrients as the other, which can lead to developmental issues. It occurs in just 1% of twin pregnancies.

The twins also had twin-to-twin transfusion syndrome, meaning they received unequal amounts of blood in the womb.

That combination is extremely rare, and when the girls were born, they faced a 50% survival rate.

“We didn’t know coming into this, just how fragile 24-weekers are,” Emma Drew said. “And we’ve kind of come to realize that we’re lucky that they both even made it and that they’re both doing as well as they are.”

This week, baby Lena donned her graduation cap and prepared to move into a world outside the hospital.

“One of the doctors said, ‘Go ahead and get the nursery ready,’ and I told him, I said, ‘It’s been ready for a while,'” Emma Drew said.

But Lena will graduate without her sister Delaney, who is expected to be released in December.

“It’s bittersweet,” Emma Drew said. “I mean, we wanted them both to come home at the same time, but as long as they’re both coming home, that’s what matters to us.”

Delaney has faced challenges, having to be intubated twice and struggling with lung issues.

“She’s grown and she’s gotten stronger and everything else,” Emma Drew said. “So we’re hoping maybe this time — third time’s the charm. Right? And that she’ll be able to come home without needing a (tracheotomy) this time.”

Doctors say the twins are going to be delayed developmentally but should catch up around age 2. After that, life should look pretty normal.

“Life in Evansville? Hopefully school and high school and prom and you know,” said Dr. David Boyle, a neonatalogist at Riley Hospital for Children.

The Drews just hope seeing their babies doing well and going home encourages other parents to keep hope.

“Stay strong,” Eric Drew said. “If you’re at Riley, Riley’s a great place and they’re going to take care of your kids, and they’re going to get them out of here healthy.”

The Drews say they’re hoping to bring Delaney home for Christmas.

Click here to learn more about the Drew family, from when we first met them.


Docs: Man tried to ‘blow the building up’ after getting kicked out of strip club

At the time, 40 to 50 people were inside of the building.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The manager of an Indianapolis strip club believes a man tried to “blow the building up” after getting kicked out.

33-year-old Nicholas Miller of Greenfield faces charges of attempted arson and criminal recklessness in the case. Both charges are felonies.

According to court documents, Miller was removed by staff at Dancers Show Club at 8013 West Washington Street for “causing a disturbance.” Just after midnight on Nov. 7, officers with the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department responded to the club after receiving a report that a man tried to set the building on fire.

The manager at Dancers says that Miller was served two beers after arriving around 11 p.m. on Nov. 6, then was asked to leave for “acting strange by standing over other patrons staring at them,” according to court documents.

An employee said Miller left without incident.

The manager watched on a camera as Miller left the building, then went to pull something out of his trunk.

Video of the incident was turned over to IMPD by the manager. Investigators say Miller can be seen placing a gas can next to the building, underneath a gas meter. A shirt was wrapped around the gas can’s spigot.

Miller is then seen on video lighting a cigarette, taking several tokes on it, then holding the cigarette near the gas can and shirt. After it fails to ignite, investigators say he threw the cigarette toward the gas can, then ran to his vehicle.

It again failed to ignite. No damage was done to the building.

The manager told police he thinks Miller was trying to “blow the building up,” according to court documents. At the time, 40 to 50 people were inside of the building.

Formal charges were filed on Tuesday. Online court records do not indicate a future court date for Miller.


Indiana education leader tweets about upcoming teachers’ rally

A spokesperson for Jennifer McCormick said she declined further comment Tuesday.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana superintendent of public instruction on Tuesday morning sent out a tweet that has raised some eyebrows.

Jennifer McCormick’s tweet read:

“Since Jan. 2017, I have not been asked for data representing IN districts’ local choice surrounding the usage of differing instructional delivery platforms.

“Any idea why policymakers are now asking for data about eLearning Days and sch. cancellation waiver days?”

“Policymakers” appears to refer to state lawmakers and their staff.

Local school districts, not state law, make the rules on how e-learning days are used.

She ended the tweet with the “questioning face” emoji and a red dot followed by “4Ed,” referring to the upcoming Red for Ed rally on Nov. 19. The Indiana State Teachers Association, the sponsor of the event, estimates more than 300,000 students will be out of school that day.

Similar rallies around the country have put pressure on state leaders to increase funding for teacher pay and public education. The Indiana teachers’ association and Republican lawmakers have been at odds for decades over teacher salaries, school funding and standardized testing.

A spokesperson for McCormick said she declined further comment Tuesday.


After 2018 referendum, IPS gives raises to teachers, service workers

The raises totaling more than $31 million would take effect by year's end.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — A year after voters approved a referendum to raise taxes for operating costs, Indianapolis Public Schools Board on Tuesday night approved raises for teachers and service workers.

The raises totaling more than $31 million would take effect by year’s end.

Teachers and service workers had previously approved a contact adopted by the board during a meeting at Arlington Middle School.

Services workers with the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees would receive salaries of up to 7.4%.

A visual presentation to the board indicated teachers the minimum starting salary would be $45,200 in the first year and $47,800 in the second year. The maximum salary would be $82,800 in the first year and $90,000 in the second year.

The minimum raise for a teacher is $2,600. The maximum raise is $9,400 in the first year and $4,200 in the second year.

Julia Deng will have reports on News 8 at 10 and 11. Stream it here.

IPS news release

Here is the news release from the district spokeswoman:

(Nov. 12, 2019) – The Indianapolis Public Schools (IPS) Board of School Commissioners unanimously approved the largest teacher pay increase in the district’s history with the ratification of the latest Indianapolis Education Association (IEA) bargaining agreement.

The Board also approved the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME) contract.

Together, these two-year agreements not only include increased compensation for district teachers, but also service workers, such as custodians, and food service and transportation employees.

The overall estimated investment for teachers, certified staff and service workers between both contracts is $31 million. In addition to increasing pay, IPS will continue to be efficient in managing operating expenses to sustain pay increases long term.

“IPS is committed to ensuring our employees receive the best compensation possible to bring employees in line with market rate,” said IPS Superintendent Aleesia Johnson. “While we’re not where we want to be, we are moving in the right direction and will continue the push to reward our employees for the remarkable work they do to support the students and families of the district.”

IPS began addressing compensation improvements in December 2018 with raises and bonuses for eligible teachers and service workers. Efforts continue to shift salaries to market rate to solve for previous pay freezes.

“The IEA is very appreciative of Superintendent Aleesia Johnson and the IPS Board of School Commissioners for keeping the promise to increase compensation and benefits with the referendum monies from the November 2018 election,” said IEA President Ronald Swann. “We, the certified staff and IEA members, supported IPS in this endeavor to pass the referendum that was presented to the community to increase teacher funding and are grateful to see substantial pay increases for all teachers.”  

“AFSCME Council 962 and Local 661 are pleased with the progress being made to foster a more cooperative relationship between the dedicated employees of IPS and management,” said Vincent Bibbs, local AFSCME president. “In the latest negotiations, action was taken to restore key components of the wage step structure and we are thankful to see all represented units addressed in this contract.”

Details of the IEA and AFSCME contracts: 
IEA

  • 2-year contract
  • Estimated investment is $30 million
  • Pay Increases
    • New ranges raise starting pay and maximum pay:
      • Year 1: $45,200 to $82,800
      • Year 2: $47,800 to $90,000
  • Raises are based on market adjustment, using level of experience to solve for previous freezes or compression of the model over years.
    • Minimum raise: $2,600
    • Maximum raise: Year 1 – $9,400; Year 2 – $4,200
    • Differences in amounts are based on effectiveness, years of service, high need/hard to staff subject areas (dual credit, STEM, SPED) 

AFSCME

  • 2-year contract
  • Estimated investment is $1.2 million
  • All groups shifted to market adjustment
    • Custodial: 7.4 percent or average increase of $2,350
    • Food Service: 1.4 percent or average increase of $450
    • Paraprofessional: 3.7 percent or average increase of $1,100
    • Transportation: 2.7 percent or average increase of $1,000

Raises are expected to go into effect before December 31, 2019.

If you have any questions, please contact Carrie Cline Black, IPS communications manager, at 317-605-3797.


Muncie councilwoman censured for ‘monkey’ comment

Linda Gregory said her comments about monkey business referred to criminal activity in the park.

MUNCIE, Ind. (WISH) — A Muncie councilwoman was censured Tuesday night after a comment to police that some believed to be racist.

At-large Council Member Linda Gregory told police in a September council meeting to look for monkeys in McCullough Park. Her comments were livestreamed and posted on the city’s Facebook page. She apologized for her comments in October and again Tuesday night during a council meeting at City Hall.

Gregory and Council President Doug Marshall voted against the censure, which was supported by the seven other council members.

Gregory, a Democrat, last week lost her reelection bid in a six-person race won by three Republicans.

In her apology, she said her comments about monkey business referred to criminal activity in the park. Plus, Gregory noted, she recalled the park had actual monkeys in the 1950s.

An April 1933 edition of The Muncie Morning Star says 31 rhesus monkeys were moved to a new home in the park in 1933 by the parks superintendent, according to an online report by Muncie Magazine. The monkeys were housed in an enclosure with an island with boulders and smaller stones in dirt that was surrounded by a trench to keep the animals contained.

Council member Julius Anderson said he was upset by Gregory’s comments and said her apologies did not seem to be heartfelt.

The censure was on the agenda for the council meeting in October, but, because of a long agenda of items, was delayed until Tuesday night.


Special South African gin is infused with elephant dung

They described the gin's flavor as "lovely, wooded, almost spicy, earthy" and one that changes subtly with the seasons and location.

MOSSEL BAY, South Africa (AP) — The makers of a South African gin infused with elephant dung swear their use of the animal’s excrement is no gimmick.

The creators of Indlovu Gin, Les and Paula Ansley, stumbled across the idea a year ago after learning that elephants eat a variety of fruits and flowers and yet digest less than a third of it.

“As a consequence, in the elephant dung, you get the most amazing variety of these botanicals,” Les Ansley said during a recent visit to their operations. “Why don’t we let the elephants do the hard work of collecting all these botanicals and we will make gin from it?” he recalled his wife suggesting.

Her idea came after a safari during which a wildlife ranger described an elephant’s digestive process.

Weeks later, he said his wife woke him up in the middle of the night with the inspiration. “OK,” I said sleepily. “Let’s give this a bash. Let’s see how it works out.”

The first batch of elephant dung came by mail from the park where they had taken their safari. Then the couple, both scientists, puzzled for a while before working out the gin-making process.

Now they collect the dung themselves, using their bare hands.

They described the gin’s flavor as “lovely, wooded, almost spicy, earthy” and one that changes subtly with the seasons and location.

The gin bottles are marked with the date and coordinates of where the elephant dung was collected. “So, you’re able to compare almost different vintages of the gin,” Ansley said.

After about five sizeable bags of dung are collected for a batch of 3,000 to 4,000 bottles of the gin, the droppings are dried and crumbled, then washed to remove dirt and sand. Eventually only the remains of the fruits, flowers, leaves and bark eaten by the elephants are left behind.

Those botanicals are then sterilized and dried again and placed in an airing cupboard. Think of it like a “spice cupboard,” Ansley said. Eventually, the remains are infused in the gin.

The couple are not above testing the gin on friends before explaining its provenance. Even with an explanation in advance, they get raised eyebrows.

“The initial reaction of most people is, ‘What? There’s no way.’ But most people are very keen to actually taste it,” Ansley said. And once people hear about elephants’ digestive process “it becomes a lot clearer to them, and they accept it very well.”

They decided to name the gin Indlovu, which means elephant in the Zulu language. The couple did not say how much of the gin they have sold. A bottle sells for around 500 rand, or about $32.

The gin is often a hit with tourists seeking a unique souvenir and a story to tell when they return home, the couple said. With that in mind, the gin is sold in game lodges and duty-free shops in addition to regular online sales.

“I even touched the elephant dung, and being close to the animals are very majestic,” said one South African visitor, Elsabe Hannekom. “So having a piece of them actually feels quite good. An export of the African experience, I would say.”

After a sip, another guest, Jade Badenhorst, weighed in: “Interesting. Very tasty. Very nice. I didn’t expect to be able to drink a gin smoothly.”


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