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Get in the Know with Kim’s Friday News & Headlines

Governor Pence is blaming the media for the national outrage over the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. In an interview with a local radio station (down the dial), Pence called the concerns “understandable,” but said the bill has been “misconstrued” and urged Hoosiers to read it for themselves. Pence says the bill establishes the same standards that have existed at the federal level for more than 20 years.  He signed the controversial measure into law Thursday flocked by supporters from both the religious and business communities.

The backlash on the so-called “Religious Freedom” legislation continues both locally and nationally. The NCAA, which is headquartered in Indianapolis, is raising serious concerns and said they’ll look at this more closely. Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff announced that the San Francisco-based company would immediately cancel all travel to Indiana, while San Francisco Mayor Ed Lee has banned his city’s employees from traveling to Indiana for anything work-related.  Celebrities like Broadway star Audra McDonald, Miley Cyrus, Keith Olbermann and George Takai—also known as “Mr. Sulu” of sci-fi TV show “Star Trek” and who recently gave a speech at Clowes Memorial Hall on Butler’s campus—have blasted Pence on social media.

In another Pence-related move, he’s giving authorities in Scott County—located in Southeastern Indiana, the approval to start a short-term needle exchange program to help fight a serious HIV outbreak. Seventy-nine cases have been confirmed, thus far with all linked to opiod intravenous drug use and sharing those dirty needles. Pence declared a public health emergency there on Thursday. In doing so, the governor also said the state is sending resources there to help people register for the Healthy Indiana Plan which covers both, HIV testing and treatment.

A multi-million dollar drug ring here in Indy is now dismantled. Police raided three west side locations Thursday seizing more than 35 kilograms of cocaine and heroin, along with 42 pounds of meth, 25 guns and more than $4 million in cash. Cops nabbed and arrested four people in this major bust, including the suspected ringleader. U.S. Attorney Josh Minkler says taking down this ring has effectively killed a huge drug supplier for the city.

There was another homicide in Indy Thursday—this time, on the eastside. A woman is dead and a man critically injured from what police say was a drug deal gone bad. Indianapolis Metro police say the two victims knew each other and met at a Valero gas station Thursday night at 21st Street and Arlington Avenue. They say both were armed and opened fire for unexplained reasons. A person of interest is in custody.

Eric Holcomb is entering the race to replace retiring U.S. Senator Dan Coats. Making a promises, that’s how Holcomb kicked off his campaign on Thursday. He wants to focus on national security, the economy and growing the “next generation of leaders” if elected. He is a former Mitch Daniels adviser and chairman of the Indiana Republican Party.  He recently served as the chief of staff for Coats, but resigned earlier this week.

The co-pilot accused of deliberately crashing a jetliner into the French Alps earlier this week was being treated for severe depression. The German daily newspaper “Bild” is reporting Andres Lubitz got psychiatric help in 2009 for what was described as “a bout of heavy depression.” The paper says Lubitz was still getting regular private medical treatment for depression. One-hundred-fifty people, including three Americans, died in Tuesday’s crash. The investigation continues.

Following an explosion and devastating fire in New York that leveled three buildings, there’s now word that a Harlem man is unaccounted for. Nicholas Figueroa was on a lunch date at a Japanese restaurant Thursday at the time of the blast and his family says their 23-year-old son is now missing. The woman he was with was one of the at least 25 people hurt in the explosion and Figueroa hasn’t been heard from since the blast and there have been other reports early Friday morning that as many as six people may be missing.

A member of the U.S. Army National Guard and his cousin are under arrest for allegedly trying to join ISIS. The Justice Department says the FBI arrested the Chicago-area men Wednesday night.  Court papers say Army National Guard Specialist Hasan Edmonds and his cousin Jonas Edmonds were planning an attack on an Illinois military installation. The men had told an undercover FBI employee about the plot. The two men were going to use army uniforms and military knowledge to access the installation and attack officers.

While you were sleeping…in an early morning 52-46 vote, the Senate is joining the House in giving a green light to a massive budget blueprint. The GOP plan sets spending parameters for the 2016 fiscal year. A Senate-House negotiating committee will seek to resolve differences in the two non-binding measures.

In Sports:

PGA star Tiger Woods is making a donation to launch a scholarship in the name of late golfer Charlie Sifford. The 93-year-old was considered the Jackie Robinson of the sport as the first African American to break golf’s color barrier. Sifford died in February. Woods is giving ten-thousand-dollars to the University of Maryland Eastern Shore to help create the scholarship in Sifford’s honor. The school offers a professional golf management program.

In March Madness action Thursday night in Cleveland, third-seeded Notre Dame got the win over seventh-seeded Wichita State in the Sweet 16. The score was 81-70 for Indiana’s last remaining team still hooping in the men’s tourney. The Fighting Irish will go head-to-head with the undefeated Kentucky Wildcats who clobbered West Virginia also last night in the next round—the Elite Eight—Saturday at 8:49 p.m. Eastern on TBS. Other teams that advanced last night include, Arizona and Wisconsin. The second half of the Sweet 16, are in action tonight Gonzaga takes on UCLA, Louisville faces North Carolina State, Duke matches up against Utah, and Oklahoma plays Michigan State.

Friday’s weather: Clouds hanging over the metro area with a few flurries or snow showers possible. Today’s High: 37 degrees.

Get your tickets today to see Iyanla Vanzant and actors Laz Alonzo, Tasha Smith and more at our May 2nd Women’s Empowerment Series HERE…and check me out on “Access Indy” Sunday morning at 8 a.m. Eastern on our sister station, 106.7 WTLC and streamed online at tlcnaptown.com. My legal eagles, “The Gaithers” are dropping by to discuss the legality and the fallout of the so-called Religious Freedom legislation and why it concerns you.

I’m Kim Wells…make it a great day!!!

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