INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Indiana House of Representatives’ Statehouse chamber and committee rooms are getting a $750,000 upgrade that includes new leather chairs.
The improvements include new carpeting throughout the chamber, improved digital cables and 127 new leather chairs. The chairs were bought from the Indiana Furniture Company in Jasper for $760 apiece.
The Indianapolis Star reports (http://indy.st/Vh1U0O ) House staff has allocated $338,000 so far for upgrades to the House chambers and committee rooms. Roughly $130,000 has been spent so far this summer.
Republican House staff said they are selling the old chairs to earn back some of the money.
Office upgrades at the Statehouse have been a political sticking point for some. Republicans questioned Democratic Schools Superintendent Glenda Ritz’s decision to spend $86,000 on improvements at her offices last year.
AUGUSTA (AP)-Federal officials are honoring the Indiana Department of Natural Resources for its work at an abandoned coal mine in southwestern Indiana’s Pike County.
The Department of the Interior’s Office of Surface Mining gave the DNR the 2014 Abandoned Mine Land Reclamation Award for its work to remove a dangerous ledge left from the removal of soils above coal seams near the town of Augusta.
The ledge was more than 4,000 feet long and was up to 100 feet high in spots.
Crews also replaced a deteriorating county road and built a stream channel as part of the project.
DNR officials negotiated with Triad Mining to perform the work for about $300,000. The original cost estimate was $6.2 million.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Indiana Department of Transportation has told highway crews to suspend road work during the Fourth of July weekend to try to improve the flow of traffic.
INDOT officials say the road work moratorium begins at noon Thursday and will run through Monday morning. Contractors have been told to pull back barrels and barricades to the safest extent possible, although some closures and restrictions will remain in place on larger projects that cannot be safely opened to traffic.
Transportation department officials are urging drivers to comply with speed limits, keep a safe distance from other vehicles and avoid driving aggressively.
SANTA CLAUS, Ind. (AP) – A southern Indiana amusement park has removed what once was touted as the world’s tallest water ride.
WEHT-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1tVThWJ ) that teardown on the ride formerly called “Pilgrim’s Plunge” began earlier this month. The site of the ride is now merely concrete.
The ride was recently renamed “Giraffica.”
Park President Matt Eckert says the decision was difficult, but the ride was closed more often than it was open.
Holiday World and Splashin’ Safari is scheduled to open this weekend with a new swinging ship ride and a Friday night fireworks display.
The park was founded as Santa Claus Land in 1946. It’s located in Santa Claus, about 35 miles east of Evansville.
MOUNT VERNON, Ind. (AP) – A southwestern Indiana man has pleaded guilty to fatally shooting his estranged girlfriend last year in front of their teenage son.
The Princeton Daily Clarion reports (http://bit.ly/1hZ58zw ) 32-year-old Jason S. Perry pleaded guilty Friday in Posey Circuit Court in Mount Vernon to murder and being a habitual offender.
Authorities say Perry shot 34-year-old Jessica Tice twice at close range last May as she and their 13-year-old son were walking to a car outside a Princeton restaurant where they had celebrated his eighth-grade graduation.
Perry’s sentencing is scheduled for May 19. He faces a 55-year sentence on the murder charge and 30 years on the habitual criminal count, with the sentences to be served consecutively.
The case was moved from Gibson County to Posey County at Perry’s request.
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) – The son of basketball great Larry Bird has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of criminal recklessness as part of a plea deal.
The Indianapolis Star reports (http://indy.st/Q9CcsD ) 22-year-old Connor Bird entered the plea Wednesday after prosecutors agreed to drop battery and marijuana charges from a February 2013 altercation with an ex-girlfriend.
The son of the Indianapolis Pacers president was arrested by Indiana University police after the woman reported he drove his car at her during an argument.
The deal calls for Bird’s sentencing to be deferred for 12 months if he commits no criminal offenses, continues to take part in a mentoring program and provides proof of completing counseling. The deal also calls on him not to use alcohol or controlled substances and not to possess firearms.
HANOVER, Ind. (AP) – The president of southern Indiana’s Hanover College is stepping down next year.
The college says President Sue DeWine has informed the schools trustees that she would retire in June 2015.
She’s served as the 15th president of Indiana’s oldest four-year college for seven years.
A fundraising campaign started during her tenure raised more than $26 million to pay for a new outdoor athletic complex, residence hall and student center. The Presbyterian-affiliated liberal arts school says DeWine has overseen total enrollment increasing 20 percent to about 1,200 students.
DeWine says the timing is right to retire with the capital campaign ending this fall and to bring in new leadership to implement ideas that are in development.