OAKLAND CITY, Ind. (AP) – A southwestern Indiana wildlife refuge is receiving more than $3 million in grants to help draw more waterfowl and to improve water quality and recreation.
The federal Migratory Bird Conservation Commission has approved $1 million for an expansion of the Patoka River National Wildlife Refuge about 30 miles northeast of Evansville. The commission announced last week the project also has $2.1 million in matching grants.
The expansion is aimed at restoring and enhancing habitat within the 6,600-acre refuge. The work will include providing migration and breeding areas for waterfowl, helping rare and endangered fish and wildlife, improving water quality and providing recreation opportunities with local economic impacts.
PRINCETON, Ind. (AP) – A southwestern Indiana city’s old theater is coming back to life through a renovation that will transform it into a community theater with extra space for local events.
The Broadway Players community theater group owns the former Princeton Theatre, which received a $4 million Stellar Communities grant for the project.
Marketing director Robin Overby tells the Princeton Daily Clarion (http://bit.ly/1hsUjzG ) new seating will be installed in the auditorium, which will seat about 300 people when the project wraps in May 2015 about 25 miles north of Evansville. The existing stage will be expanded and fitted with a large drop-down screen for movies.
The theater’s marquee will be sent to Ohio to be refurbished before it’s reattached to the building. The marquee sign was damaged when a truck collided with it.
FRANKLIN, Ind. (AP) – A Central Indiana ravine full of trash that had been dumped there since 1957 has been cleaned up.
The Indiana Department of Environmental Management says an inspector who visited the site with a Johnson County Health Department officer last year found the ravine filled with household trash, old appliances, tires and other debris. The woman who lived there told officials she couldn’t afford to clean up the site, which has a ditch that carries a large amount of water when it rains.
The environmental agency says waste disposal company Republic Services offered to clean up the site in the county south of Indianapolis. Work crews finished cleaning up the site last month after using a backhoe to fill 30 roll-off trash containers.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – The Indiana Department of Transportation says the harsh winter has cost the agency an estimated $57 million.
Agency spokesman Will Wingfield told WIBC-FM on Thursday (http://bit.ly/1k4xGcu ) the estimate would be a record. It’s also about 67 percent more than about $34 million the agency spent each of the previous five years.
Wingfield says INDOT has used 437,000 tons of salt, more than 5 million gallons of salt brine and its trucks logged nearly 8.8 million miles. That’s equal to about 18 round trips to the moon.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) – Indiana’s seed commissioner has asked the federal government for permission to allow Hoosier farmers to begin growing industrial hemp under new state regulations.
Seed Commissioner Robert Waltz said Thursday that industrial hemp cannot be legally grown in Indiana until the state obtains federal approval.
Although the Legislature approved a measure allowing hemp to be grown in the state, Indiana still needs permission from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Waltz says the approval process could take several months, and even then hemp growers and handlers will need a license and have to adhere to stringent state regulations.
Hemp is marijuana’s non-intoxicating cousin but it cannot be grown under federal law without permission. Many products made from hemp, such as oils and clothing, are legal.
PRINCETON, Ind. (AP) – A coal company says a worker has been fatally injured at a southwestern Indiana mine.
Gibson County Coal says 41-year-old Timothy Memmer of Princeton died from the accident about 2 a.m. Tuesday at the mine in a rural area outside the city of Princeton.
The company tells the Evansville Courier & Press and WFIE-TV that Memmer and another employee were doing maintenance work on a piece of underground mining machinery when he was injured by an unexpected movement of the equipment.
The company says the other worker wasn’t hurt.
County emergency personnel and the county coroner were called to the mine about 30 miles north of Evansville.
VONORE, Tenn. (AP) — Officials in East Tennessee say they have found wreckage from an aircraft that was reported missing and the pilot, who was the only person aboard, is dead.
The aircraft — a single-engine World War II-era de Havilland DHC-1 — was reported missing Sunday evening after it didn’t arrive in Canon, Ga. The flight originated in French Lick, Ind.
Officials with the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office told media the wreckage was found in the Cherokee National Forest in an area that is not easily accessible by vehicle. Crews were able to access the area by air.
An investigation into the crash continues.