Associated Press

VINCENNES, Ind. (AP) – A congressman is throwing his support behind a proposal to build Indiana’s first simulated coal mine for miner safety training.

Republican Rep. Larry Bucshon (boo-SHAHN’) represents southwestern Indiana’s coal country and joined coal industry, utility and other government officials Friday at a Vincennes University coal summit.

Bucshon says the goal of the simulated coal mine is to enhance safety without having to train miners on the job.

Currently, the closest simulated coal mines to Indiana are in Madisonville, Ky., and Rend Lake, Ill. Vincennes University has pledged $250,000 for the project.

But Bucshon says the money needed to develop a simulated coal mine for safety training in Indiana will come from a combination of federal, state, industry and university money.

CROTHERSVILLE, Ind. (AP) – Conservation officers say a southern Indiana woman is recovering after being rescued from her pickup truck that became stalled in a river’s flood waters.

Officer Jim Schreck says 43-year-old Teresa Hilton of Crothersville was treated for possible hypothermia at a Seymour hospital after other conservation officers plucked her from the roof of her pickup Saturday evening.

The truck had stalled in high water from the Vernon Fork of the Muscatatuck River about 2 miles northeast of Crothersville. Schreck says intermittent flood waters in the area hampered them but they were able to deploy an airboat and rescue Hilton.

The National Weather Service posted flood warnings for the Muscatatuck River and other streams in southern Indiana after they became swollen from snowmelt and heavy rains on Thursday.

WASHINGTON (AP) – The nation’s governors sound every bit as divided as Washington lawmakers on how best to help the nation’s economy.

Democratic governors such as Maryland’s Martin O’Malley and Connecticut’s Dannel Malloy are making pitches to raise the minimum wage as the nation’s governors meet in Washington for their annual conference.

Meanwhile, Republican governors such as Louisiana’s Bobby Jindal and Indiana’s Mike Pence are calling for more freedom from federal regulations and the opening of the Keystone XL pipeline.

Appearing Sunday on CNN, Malloy says the vast majority of people earning a minimum wage are trying to raise a family, and the minimum wage needs to keep up with inflation.

Jindahl told CBS’ “Face the Nation” that delaying mandates included in President Barack Obama’s health insurance overhaul would boost the economy.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – An Indiana House committee has approved a bill supporters say is needed to protect the rights of Hoosier farmers, but opponents say would give special protections to big agribusinesses.

The House Agriculture and Rural Development Committee passed the bill Thursday on a 12-1 vote, sending it to the full House for consideration.

The measure passed the Senate last month and includes language stating Indiana law “shall be construed to protect the rights of farmers.”

The Hoosier Environmental Council says that language has legal ramifications and would shield agribusinesses such as livestock farms that produce large amounts of manure from legal liability, “regardless of the harm those practices cause.”

Republican state Sen. Carlin Yoder of Middlebury says his bill simply lets judges know “the General Assembly stands with our farming communities.”

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – After weeks of propane shortages and high prices, some relief is coming to rural residents in the Midwest, South and other areas that have had trouble keeping their heating tanks filled during the bitterly cold winter.

The U.S. Energy Information Administration said Wednesday that residential propane prices have fallen for a second straight week, down from about $4 a gallon in late January to $3.76 a gallon on Feb. 10.

Supplies of the fuel the Energy Department says 5.5 million U.S. households use for heating have improved slightly thanks to efforts by the propane industry, the federal government and states.

But Propane Education & Research Council President Roy Willis says the nation’s propane supply remains low and more blasts of winter cold would quickly send prices back up.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The State Board of Education has agreed to extend ISTEP+ testing after weeks of frigid temperatures and heavy snowfalls that have forced repeated closures of many Indiana schools.

WISH-TV reports (http://bit.ly/1lDO2tb ) the board voted unanimously Thursday to approve extending the applied skills portion of the exam from March 3 until March 21. That testing had been scheduled for March 3 through March 12.

The board also extended ISTEP’s IRead-3 testing from March 17 until March 21, providing two more days of testing for third-graders.

Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz recommended the change after many Indiana schools closed for multiple days this winter because of heavy snows and subzero temperatures.

ISTEP+ exams are administered annually to third- through eighth-grade students and cover English, math, science and social studies.

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Indiana is one of seven states receiving federal money to improve their lowest-performing schools.

The Indiana Department of Education says it received more than $8.6 million in School Improvement Grants from the U.S. Department of Education last week.

The Education Department says in a news release that the funds are intended to aid states “to continue to turn around their persistently lowest-achieving schools.”

The other states receiving the grants are Colorado, Kansas, Massachusetts, New Mexico, Utah and Washington. Indiana’s share is the largest of $39 million in grants awarded

The federal grants are awarded to schools with the greatest need that have shown the greatest commitment to improve.

The state says the funds will be used during the school year that begins this fall.