NEW ALBANY, Ind. (AP) – A coroner says smoke inhalation was the cause of death of three young children who died in a house fire in southeastern Indiana.
Floyd County Coroner Leslie Knable tells the News and Tribune (http://bit.ly/1cUxnLz ) the names of the children killed in the fire about 2 a.m. Saturday in New Albany were 2-year-old Trinity Hughes, 4-year-old Tyrese Hughes and 6-year-old Tai’zah Hughes.
Another child, 5-year-old Taty’ana Hughes, survived and is being treated at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. New Albany fire officials say all four children were in the same bed when the fire started.
New Albany Fire Department reported the fire was caused by a space heater near the bed where the children were located.
MADISON, Ind. (AP) – The Indiana Court of Appeals has upheld a lower court’s ruling that the Ohio River city of Madison is not liable for injuries a man suffered when he tripped on a sewer grate.
Brad Haskin suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon in July 2008 when he tripped on the grate while walking from Madison’s riverfront. He sued Madison in 2009, alleging it was negligent in maintaining the sewer drain and did not properly illuminate it.
The Madison Courier reports (http://bit.ly/JMwKZj ) a Jefferson County judge had ruled that under Indiana law a city cannot be held liable for injuries caused by infrastructure like the grate that had been unchanged for 20 or more years.
The appellate agreed with that ruling, finding that the city was immune from liability in the case.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Travel advisories remain in effect across much of Indiana as cleanup continues from several inches of snowfall.
The National Weather Service issued a wind chill advisory for the Fort Wayne area with wind chill temperatures of about 15 below zero on Friday. The weather service reported air temperatures of colder than five below zero in parts of northern Indiana before dawn Friday.
Expected wind gusts of possibly 35 mph could cause travel troubles from snowfall that began Wednesday night and continued into Thursday.
Parts of northwestern Indiana’s Lake County saw more than 9 inches of snow, while 6 inches or more of snow fell across central Indiana.
The state Department of Homeland Security reported Friday that 37 of Indiana’s 92 counties had a travel advisory or watch in place.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Former state Rep. Suzanne Crouch has been sworn in as Indiana’s new state auditor during a ceremony at the Statehouse.
Gov. Mike Pence signed paperwork making fellow Republican Crouch the state’s chief financial officer while former Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Randall Shepard administered the oath of office during Thursday’s ceremony. Shepard and Crouch both hail from southwestern Indiana’s Vanderburgh County.
Crouch will serve out the remainder of former Auditor Tim Berry’s term, which runs through January 2015. Berry left the job this past summer after Pence tapped him to run the Indiana Republican Party.
Pence chose Crouch following the surprise resignation of Berry’s successor, Dwayne Sawyer. Sawyer said he was stepping down as auditor after just four months on the job for personal reasons, but declined to explain why.
JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (AP) – A volunteer group has raised most of the $11,000 needed to pay off a southern Indiana homeless shelter’s overdue sewer bills and avoid possibly having its water service shut off.
The Williams Emergency Shelter had Jeffersonville’s second-highest delinquent sewer bill and the city council in November approved allowing water service shut offs as the city tries to collect $1.2 million in overdue bills.
The shelter operated by Haven House Services averages about 70 residents. Director Barbara Anderson tells the News and Tribune (http://bit.ly/1essqZ7 ) that she’s grateful for the community support and is seeking a reduced billing rate from city officials.
City Councilman Dennis Julius helped organize the fundraising by the Jeff Cares group. He hopes enough money can be raised so the shelter has some cash in reserve.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Legal experts say the U.S. Supreme Court will likely take up the issue of whether religiously-affiliated nonprofits must pay for employees’ birth-control under the federal health care overhaul.
Federal judges in northern Indiana recently issued opposing opinions in separate cases in which the University of Notre Dame and Grace College and Seminary sought preliminary injunctions blocking implementation of the federal birth-control mandate.
The conflicting rulings mean Notre Dame must provide birth-control coverage, while Grace College and Seminary does not. The Grace College ruling also applies to the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend and Franciscan Alliance.
David Orentlicher, co-director of Indiana University’s Hall Center for Law and Health, tells The Indianapolis Star (http://indy.st/JLjOCK ) those and other conflicting rulings make it likely the nation’s high court will take up the issue.
INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – More than a dozen Indiana counties have issued travel advisories as a winter storm dumped several inches of snow across much of the state.
The National Weather Service placed all the state under a winter weather advisory on Thursday, with 2 to 5 inches of snow expected in the state’s central and northern counties. The weather service says some areas could see heavier accumulations and it reported 4.3 inches of snowfall in Indianapolis about 6 a.m. Thursday.
Traffic on the first work day of 2014 was snarled in places by scattered crashes, but no serious accidents were immediately reported Thursday morning.
The weather service says drifting could occur later in the day with wind gusts about 30 mph in central Indiana.