Local Coverage

An explosion at a residence in Holland sent 1 person to the hospital and caused some evacuations earlier today.

Just after noon today, Holland Volunteer firefighters were called to a home at 2nd Avenue and Main Streets on a reported gas line explosion with potential injuries.

Holland assistant fire chief John Hemmer says a gas line behind a home along 2nd Avenue exploded. Fire from the explosion then spread to a nearby backhoe, which Hemmer says was completely engulfed when fire crews arrived.

Hemmer says work had recently been done in the area where the fire started:

Hemmer says Community Natural Gas crews were able to get to the scene very quickly. He says gas was shut off to the whole town at that point.

Hemmer says the exact cause of the explosion is undetermined at this point. He says the backhoe operator was taken to Memorial Hospital for treatment of what are believed to be minor injuries. The backhoe was a total loss.

Hemmer says the Hummingbird Daycare along with a block radius of houses in the immediate area were evacuated. No other injuries or property damage were reported.

The Holland fire department responded with 4 trucks and 11 men. They were on scene for about 1 hour.

Dubois County Sheriff’s deputies, Indiana State Police, and Dubois County EMS also assisted. Now due to the explosion and fire, gas service in Holland was disconnected. Town board president Tom Thacker says crews with Community Natural Gas remained on scene this afternoon to complete repairs. Thacker says crews will go door-to-door to notify residents when the work is done. They will also help folks with relighting of furnaces and other gas-operated appliances once repairs are finished.

Education remains a hot topic on the national level and the issues begin at the K-12 level for government officials and everyday people.

During Tuesday night’s congressional forum in Jasper, 8th District candidates Larry Bucshon, Tommy Spangler, and Andy Horning talked about many topics, but education was one of several that drew the most attention. Each candidate pointed to issues within the federal government, specifically with the US Department of Education, as to why the education system has become problematic.

All 3 candidates expressed frustrations with recent efforts at the federal level such as No Child Left Behind. NCLB was originally passed back in 2001 under the George W. Bush administration.

Bucshon says the best way to improve the system is to give more control over education to state and local government:

Meanwhile, Spangler says the federal problems with education are rooted in teachers spending their time teaching for standardized tests rather than teaching the students. He also says fixing education would go a long way towards fixing our national economy and unemployment situation:

For his part, Horning says neither political party has made any strides in solving educational issues. He says too much government involvement in education is to blame:

Now the Obama administration has passed legislation of its own in an attempt to undo NCLB. Some of the recent initiatives aimed at K-12 education include the implementation of Common Core. Common Core was designed as a state-led effort to outline standards for student learning, but to grant flexibility to teachers in how they teach. More than 40 states have since implemented the standards.

Indiana dropped out of Common Core standards earlier this year. The state is currently in the process of writing its own new standards.

More details have been released about Governor Mike Pence’s scheduled visit to Dubois County next week.

Pence is set to be the featured speaker at a GOP rally in Huntingburg next Monday November 3rd. That rally gets underway at 3 o’clock eastern time at the Huntingburg Events Center.The rally is sponsored by Mike Pence for Indiana and the Dubois County Republican Party.

Now next week’s rally is part of the “Road to Victory 2014″ statewide bus tour. Pence is leading that tour to campaign for candidates for state, Congressional, and General Assembly offices.

Pence is scheduled to arrive at 3:25 pm. He will speak beginning just after 4 pm. 8th District Congressman Larry Bucshon will introduce Pence.

The rally will begin with a band playing at 3 o’clock. Huntingburg mayor Denny Spinner will welcome guests at 3:20 and Jasper mayor Terry Seitz will lead the Pledge of Allegiance. Dubois County candidates will be introduced just before Pence arrives. GOP candidates will then take their turns speaking before Pence takes the stage. These include Mark Messmer, Mike Braun, Lloyd Arnold, Erin Houchin, and Secretary of State Connie Lawson among others.

The rally will conclude at 4:30 pm. The public is invited to attend.

A consortium aimed at highlighting the progress of Interstate 69 is coming to Dubois County next month.

The Celebration of Innovation for the I-69 Innovation Corridor will be coming to the Huntingburg Event Center on Thursday November 13th. The event will take place from 9 am to 1 pm. Lt. Governor Sue Ellspermann will give the opening speech.

The consortium is made up of southwestern Indiana government leaders, representatives for business, healthcare and education, and various economic development officials. The goal is to build capacity along the new I-69 corridor through southwestern Indiana. They also want to showcase the area as a corridor for innovation, entrepreneurship, and creativity.

The overall goal of the consortium is to increase the innovation index by 20 percent by the year 2025. This will be tried through programs falling into a group of initiatives. These include Brainpower, Branding Experiences, Civic Collaborations, and Quality Connected Places among others.

This consortium is convened by the University of Southern Indiana. It’s free and open to the public, though registration is required by Friday November 7th. Lunch will be provided.

For more information, you can contact Michael Thissen at 812-464-1851 or by email at mathissen@usi.edu.

OAKLAND CITY, Ind. (AP) – A southwestern Indiana city councilman has resigned his seat after pleading guilty to obstruction of justice.

Oakland City Councilman Darrell Corn entered the plea Wednesday in Gibson Superior Court. He admitted he tried to bribe a policeman $500 in August to drop minor consumption charges against his grandson. Indiana State Police say the officer refused and reported the incident to his chief.

City Attorney Jason Spindler says the 74-year-old Corn resigned his city council seat.

It wasn’t clear when Corn will be sentenced or the penalties he might face. Obstruction of justice is a Level 6 felony, the lowest classification of felony in Indiana.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP)-5 local counties are among 17 across Southern Indiana that will be sharing 330 thousand dollars in funding from the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

The funds come from the Division of Forestry’s sale of timber from trees that were cut down in state forests. The DNR says half of the money that each county receives will go to rural and volunteer fire departments that maintain a cooperative agreement with the DNR’s fire control headquarters.

More than 135 departments will benefit from the program. Fire departments are encouraged to use the funds to improve their wild land firefighting capability.

Monroe County is getting the largest share of the money at nearly $108,000, followed by Brown County at $55,000. Here locally, Dubois County will be getting just over $8,000. Crawford County is getting just over $9,900; Martin County will get just over $39.500; Perry County just over $4,400; and Pike County will get just over $5,600 in all.

The DNR’S Division of Forestry allocates 15 percent of timber sale revenue from state forests to counties where the harvests occur.

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. (AP) – State correction officials say an Indiana man who fatally stabbed and shot a fellow Purdue University student earlier this year has been found dead in his prison cell.

The Indiana Department of Correction released a statement Wednesday saying 24-year-old Cody Cousins was pronounced dead from an apparent suicide about 30 minutes after he was found unresponsive Tuesday night at the Indiana State Prison.

The department says Cousins suffered self-inflicted lacerations to his neck and arms.

Investigators say Cousins entered a classroom filled with students on the West Lafayette campus on Jan. 21 and attacked 21-year-old Andrew Boldt. Boldt was from West Bend, Wisconsin.

Cousins was sentenced last month to 65 years in prison after pleading guilty to murder.