Associated Press

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) – Some Monroe County residents say contractors building the Interstate 69 extension are ripping up their rural, two-lane roads by using them to haul heavy machinery and materials to construction sites.

John Moore says he busted a tire and wore out a new set of ball joints in about six months because of the condition if the roads. He and neighbor Rita Lawrence tell The Herald-Times ( ) that one road they use to get home was practically reduced to rubble. It has since been graded and covered with gravel.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield says contractors are responsible for working with local governments to determine the best haul routes for equipment and materials.

Monroe County Highway Department Director says some of the repairs must wait until the end of the construction season.

Of course, work continues on Section 4 of the highway between NSWC Crane and Bloomington. That stretch is expected to open to traffic by the end of this year.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP)- Record rainfall continues to take a toll on Indiana’s crops, with Purdue University experts estimating that farmers statewide have lost $486 million in corn and soybean production.

An average of 9 inches, more than twice the normal level of 4.2 inches, was measured last month at 200 recording stations across the state. State climatologist Ken Scheeringa says as much as 18 inches of rain fell in parts of northern Indiana.

The Indianapolis Star ( reports that some farmers in central Indiana’s Johnson and Shelby counties recorded 7 to 10 inches of rain.

Agricultural economics professor Chris Hurt says 21 percent of the state’s corn is in poor or very poor shape.

Crop insurance covers about 80 percent of losses in Indiana.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – New state figures show that the growing number of Indiana students taking career and technical education courses have a higher graduation rate than other high school students, a trend that is also holding true in southwestern Indiana.

A recent state Department of Education report shows 95 percent of students concentrating on career and technical education courses called CTE graduate from high school. That compares with a 90 percent graduation rate for all graduates.

The graduation numbers come as Gov. Mike Pence and state education officials continue pushing career readiness as a major priority.

About 85 percent of graduates with CTE concentrations go on to a two-year or four-year college or postsecondary program. And those attending college have a significantly lower rate of remedial math and English courses than other high school graduates.

Now local CTE graduation rates were slightly below the state CTE average for the most part. Region 11, which includes Dubois, Perry, Pike, Spencer and Warrick counties boasted a 94.5% CTE student graduation rate. Region 8, which includes Daviess and Martin counties, was slightly lower at 94.4%.

However, Crawford County is part of Region 10, which boasted an overall CTE graduation rate of 96.3%, well above the average and the 2nd highest rate in the state.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – State highway officials have narrowed to five the possible routes of the final leg of the Evansville-to-Indianapolis Interstate 69 extension.

The Indiana Department of Transportation said Tuesday it chose the five preliminary alternatives for the highway’s Martinsville-to-Indianapolis segment after reviewing public input and evaluations of the 14 initial proposed routes.

The five routes include Indiana 37. Federal and state officials identified that state highway in 2004 as the best possible route to complete the roughly 142-mile I-69 extension between Evansville and Indianapolis.

INDOT spokesman Will Wingfield says the agency will release more information late this year on the five alternatives that could include eliminating one or more of them.

An environmental document INDOT expects to publish in early 2017 will recommend one preferred route for I-69’s final segment.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The operators of 17 farms from all across Indiana have been picked to represent the “Year of the Farmer” at the Indiana State Fair, a contingent that includes a pair of local farmers.

One farmer was picked for each day of the 17-day fair that’s scheduled for Aug. 7-23. They will participate in various events and exhibits throughout the fair.

Locally, Dan Wehr of Jasper and Valerie Duttlinger of Gentryville are being honored. Duttlinger will be honored on August 7th for swine while Wehr will be honored on August 18th for trees and hardwood.

State Fair officials say those picked are individuals or families from various elements of Indiana agriculture, including grain, animal, fruit and tree producers along with an urban farmer from Indianapolis.

Vice President Rajan Gajaria of fair sponsor Dow AgroSciences says the farmers selected will give fairgoers a chance to learn more about those whom he calls “the heroes of modern agriculture.”

ST. MEINRAD (AP)- A Roman Catholic seminary in southern Indiana has launched a more than $10 million project to renovate and upgrade its monastery and infirmary.

Crews began the work last month at the St. Meinrad Archabbey about 50 miles east of Evansville.

The monastery was built in the early 1980s and houses about 90 Benedictine monks ranging in age from 24 to 96. The monastery isn’t nearly as old as other parts of the archabbey, which was established by two Swiss monks in 1854. But senior monk Brother Martin Erspamer says the improvements are overdue.

The monastery’s plumbing and heating and air conditioning systems will be updated at a cost of about $8.5 million. An infirmary expansion and other work will cost another $1.6 million.

BOONVILLE, Ind. (AP) – A southwestern Indiana man has pleaded guilty to assisting a criminal in the slaying of a man at a power plant.

The Evansville Courier & Press reports ( ) 31-year-old David Lackey accepted a plea agreement Tuesday in which charges of murder and conspiracy were dropped.

Lackey is the fourth of five people arrested in connection to the shooting death of 35-year-old Joseph Nelson of Martinsville, whose body was found Feb. 17, 2014, at Alcoa Warrick Operations. The fifth suspect, Mat McCallister, is set to go on trial Sept. 28 in Warrick Circuit Court.

Attorneys say Lackey will serve less than two years after sentencing credits, and likely will be placed on home detention.

Investigators say the suspects met Nelson at an Evansville hotel and drove to the power plant.