Church flier targets Indiana marriage amendment
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - A prominent Indiana conservative group has distributed a flier to churches around the state making dire predictions if a state constitutional amendment banning gay marriage isn't adopted.
The Sunday bulletin insert from Advance America warns that allowing same-sex marriages opens the door to such thing as ministers facing hate-crime charges for preaching against homosexuality and cross-dressing men being allowed in women's restrooms.
The proposed amendment will be a major topic during the legislative session that starts next month.
Advance America claims more than 3,700 member churches statewide, but The Indianapolis Star reports it is unclear how many have distributed it.
Gay-rights activists say Advance America is using isolated examples or misconceptions as scare tactics. Advance America director Eric Miller didn't immediately return a message seeking comment Friday.
Man rescued from cold along Bloomington road
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) - Authorities say a 78-year-old man is recovering after passers-by came to his aid when he was in the snow along a Bloomington road without a coat or shoes.
Samantha Valkyrie tells The Herald-Times she was driving home from work about 1 a.m. Thursday when she saw the man fall down in a median of the Indiana 45/46 bypass on the city's east side.
She says she and a security officer stopped and both put coats over the man in the single-digit temperatures until an ambulance arrived.
Police Sgt. Cody Forston says the man didn't know how long he had been outside. His car was found stuck down an embankment at his nearby apartment complex. The man was hospitalized in fair condition for exposure and cuts to his forehead.
N. Ind. teen sentenced for fatal drive-by shooting
ELKHART, Ind. (AP) - A judge has sentenced a northern Indiana teenager to 65 years in prison for the fatal drive-by shooting of another teen.
Seventeen-year-old Jesus Macedo-Perez of Elkhart read during Thursday's court hearing from a handwritten letter apologizing to the family of 16-year-old Braxton Barhams for the June 22 shooting.
Macedo-Perez pleaded guilty to murder charges in exchange for Elkhart County prosecutors not pursuing a criminal gang sentence enhancement.
The Elkhart Truth and the Goshen News report authorities say Barhams was walking in a neighborhood near downtown Elkhart when a car with Macedo-Perez inside drove past and the two exchanged gang signs. The car then made a U-turn and shots were fired at Barhams.
Authorities said Macedo-Perez first joined a gang when he was 14.
Blaze breaks out at NE Ind. firefighter's home
CHURUBUSCO, Ind. (AP) - Crews from a northeastern Indiana fire department had to rush to put out a blaze at the home of their assistant chief.
The fire was reported Thursday at the home near the Whitley County town of Churubusco (chehr-uh-BUHS'-koh) after assistant chief Kris Bair and his wife smelled smoke and began searching the house.
Churubusco-Smith Township fire chief Chris Tomlinson says the flames had spread to the attic and walls by the time crews arrived.
Tomlinson tells The Journal Gazette it took firefighters about an hour to get the blaze under control.
He says the house about 15 miles northwest of Fort Wayne sustained heavy smoke, fire and water damage. No injuries were reported and the fire's cause wasn't immediately determined.
Chicago man gets 50 years in ex-wife's death
CROWN POINT, Ind. (AP) - A Chicago man who pleaded guilty but mentally ill to murder in the New Year's Day beating death in northwestern Indiana of his former wife shortly after their divorce has been sentenced to 50 years in prison.
Forty-five-year-old Margarito Valdivia admitted entering the Munster home of Erica Valdivia, then striking and chasing the woman's boyfriend from the home. The Times of Munster reports he also admitted to repeatedly punching his former wife after her boyfriend fled.
Family members told police the couple's divorce was finalized the week of the murder.
Some dismayed Indiana tornado aid request rejected
KOKOMO, Ind. (AP) - Some people from central Indiana's Howard County don't understand how officials could have rejected giving federal aid to help in their rebuilding from damage caused by last month's tornadoes.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency turned down this week the assistance request for the Kokomo area, where state officials say about 1,000 homes were destroyed or damaged in the Nov. 17 storm.
The storm tore the roof off the Moore Title and Escrow building. Owner Dick Moore tells the Kokomo Tribune the damage is estimated at $200,000 and he doesn't know yet how much his insurance will cover.
Moore says he's discouraged that FEMA turned down the state's aid request.
The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has 30 days to submit an appeal.
INTERSTATE 65 WIDENING
More lanes planned for I-65 near Lafayette
LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) - State highway officials say an eight-mile section of Interstate 65 near Lafayette will be expanded to three lanes in each direction.
The project will widen the highway between Indiana 38 and Indiana 25 in an effort to relieve congestion on the heavily traveled route between Indianapolis and Chicago.
The Journal & Courier reports the highway agency plans to seek bids on the project next fall, with completion expected in late 2016 or 2017. The new lanes will be built in the existing highway median.
Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski says the additional lanes will be a big help for drivers in the area.
The project is estimated to cost $69 million.
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