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Budget deficits impact IMPD and others

(Indianapolis)  — More budget problems for IMPD have led Public Safety Director Frank Straub to announce that some district outposts could be closed by the end of this month. Additionally, Marion County Sheriff John Layton says he may soon have to reassign dozens of deputies driving jail wagons and guarding Wishard Hospital’s detention unit. The task now is for a City-County Council committee to sort through the whys and hows of the $26 million dollar shortage. And if that’s not enough, in 2013 a projected preliminary deficit of $50 million to $70 million dollars across all agencies is looming.  It was last week that Straub painted a dire picture of a $10 million dollar shortfall within the public safety department  saying his department is so strapped for cash that “we may not be able to keep our lights on” at some districts.  The Sheriff’s Department is projecting a $16 million shortfall that largely is due to increased medical costs for inmates and arrestees treated at Wishard Memorial Hospital, mounting salaries and overtime and unfunded contracts. Meanwhile Layton says he had been warning city officials about the shortfall for over a year and that Mayor Greg Ballard and the council underfunded his department again this year. Layton also questions where Ballard’s priorities are in terms of keeping the city safe.  “The mayor’s got all the money,” Layton said. “It’s all about priorities. I was under the impression that public safety is job one. The Sheriff’s Department is 95 percent public safety.”

Indiana unemployment rate drops

(Indianapolis)  — Indiana’s unemployment rate has fallen to 8.7% for January.  The jobless rate fell two-tenths of a percent from December but remains higher than the national 8.3%. More than 13-thousand private sector jobs were added to payrolls in Indiana in January, which was the biggest increase in more than a year.  The drop in the jobless rate means the state is no longer eligible for federal Extended Benefits, which provide an extra 20 weeks of pay for those who are unable to find a job

Cause of death for school bus driver revealed

(Indianapolis)  — An autopsy performed on a school bus driver killed when he hit a concrete bridge Monday morning died from blunt-force trauma injuries he suffered during the crash. Thomas Spencer II, 60, and Donasty Smith, 5, were killed in incident which occurred in the 900 block of South Emerson Avenue, near Prospect Street. What is still being questioned however is if another medical condition could have led to the crash. The Marion County Coroner’s office is still conducting further testing. Fifty students, all attending Lighthouse Charter School were on the bus at the time of crash.  Ten students were injured and have been released; two other students remain at Riley Hospital for Children, last listed in critical condition.

Coach killed in train crash

(Brownsburg  — Students and faculty at Brownsburg High School are mourning the death of their school’s rugby coach this morning. Jeremy Strange, 25, a 2004 graduate of the school, was killed yesterday when his pickup truck was hit by a train.  The impact pushed his vehicle nearly 50 feet from the collision spot.  Church leaders, administrators and counselors met with the school’s rugby team yesterday morning at school after learning of the accident.

Tornado victims eligible for food stamps

(Indianapolis)  —  Disaster food stamp assistance is available for residents in six southern Indiana counties devastated by tornadoes almost two weeks ago. People in Clark, Jefferson, Ripley, Scott, Warrick and Washington counties may qualify for the federal help due to President Obama’s disaster declaration earlier this week. Thirteen people were killed by the tornadoes and some towns were completely destroyed. Applications for the food stamps will be available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. starting today at the One Stop Shop for Tornado Disaster Relief on the Ivy Tech campus in Sellersburg.

IMPD searching for shooting suspects

(Indianapolis)  —  Indianapolis Metropolitan Police are searching for several suspects after a man was shot and killed on the city’s southwest side. Michael Evans, 31, was gunned down yesterday morning in the 18-hundred block of Dawson Street. Evans later died at Wishard Hospital. Witnesses told police a gold or maroon colored car with three or four white men was seen leaving the area after the shooting.

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