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Indianapolis has been designated as a “Let’s Move Outside” city. Mayor Joe Hogsett says the initiative, headed by First Lady Michelle Obama, will help children use what the city has to offer outdoors to better their communities. The initiative provides two years of funding to the Indianapolis YMCA to increase the number of children using public lands to play, learn and work. Indy joins 26 other cities in this effort.
Prosecutors in southern Indiana say the man arrested with a car-full of weapons nearby the West Hollywood Pride Parade, in the Los Angeles area, went to California to evade pending sex charges in Clark County. Investigators say James Howell knew he was about to be arrested for molesting a 12-year-old girl and fled. Police still don’t know why Howell had the guns and explosives.
You can now text 911 from anywhere in Indiana. Police across the state say text lines are now open and in all 92 counties. Police say the option is best for people without a landline or people who don’t want to call. But the same warning applies, only text 911 in a true emergency.
Indiana is losing more jobs. Another appliance maker is leaving the state. GE announced plans on Wednesday to close its refrigerator plant in Bloomington. GE says 329 jobs will be eliminated. Company officials say the demand for refrigerators is down sharply.
The Senate will have a vote on gun control after a 15-hour Democrat-led filibuster. Refusing to give up the floor to lead this filibuster before noon yesterday was Connecticut Democratic Senator Chris Murphy. He said that lawmakers agreed to hold votes on one proposal to ban people on the terror watch list from getting gun licenses. Another measure would require background checks for sales at gun shows and online. Murphy was joined by Democratic senators Richard Blumenthal of Connecticut and Cory Booker of New Jersey to keep the filibuster going.
As President Obama heads to Orlando today to visit privately with victims’ families after Sunday’s mass shooting at gay nightclub “Pulse,” businesses are helping those families in the aftermath. Online retailer 1-800-Flowers.com is helping with funeral arrangements for the victims. The New York-based gift company says it’s working with member florists through BloomNet, a floral wire service it owns. Another New York company, JetBlue, is offering free air travel to family members and domestic partners of people killed or wounded when gunman Omar Mateen opened fire and killed 49 people, including one Hoosier (see next story), and injured more than 50 others.
Darryl Roman Burt, II—a 2005 graduate of Plainfield High School, here in Central Indiana, was one of those victims who lost his life to gunman Mateen at Pulse. The 29-year-old college financial aid officer was a member of the leadership training group the US Junior Chamber of Commerce—known as the Jaycees. The Jaycees set up a Gofundme account to help his family with expenses. It is still accepting donations. If you’d like to help, here’s the link.
The Supreme Court might decide today whether it will hear a challenge to Connecticut’s assault weapons ban. Connecticut passed the law in 2013, four months after a 20-year-old man killed more than two-dozen children and educators at Sandy Hook Elementary School. A gun rights group is challenging the ban. Court observers don’t expect the justices to take up the case. Since it upheld the right to own guns at home for self-defense in 2008, the court has refused to overturn any state or municipal gun restrictions.
The search is over for the body of a toddler dragged by an alligator into the waters at a Walt Disney Resort. An Orange County Sheriff dive team recovered the intact remains of two-year-old Lane Graves, of Elkhorn, Nebraska Wednesday near where the gator pulled him under the surface. Officials said the boy most likely drowned. He will undergo an autopsy. Meanwhile they are still looking for the alligator that was responsible.
The judge presiding over the latest Freddie Gray-related case is expected to decide today whether to dismiss any or all of the charges against Baltimore police van driver Caesar Goodson. On Wednesday, Goodson’s defense filed a written motion for a judgment of acquittal after the state rested its case. Goodson is facing the most serious charges of the six officers implicated in Gray’s in-custody death last year, including second-degree “depraved heart” murder.
The Food and Drug Administration is telling Whole Foods to clean its kitchen. The FDA has released a warning letter it recently sent to the health-food chain. The letter describes unsanitary conditions in the prep kitchen where the company makes ready-to-eat food for its Northeast stores. The conditions include condensation from the roof and pipes dripping directly into food prep areas, and some kitchen equipment testing positive for bacteria that could lead to food poisoning. Whole Foods says it has already taken “thorough and tangible” steps to solve the problems.
First-time unemployment claims are up more than expected. The Labor Department says it received 277,000 initial requests last week. That’s up some 13,000 from the week prior. Most economists had been expecting about 270,000 new claims.
The Pacers are still evaluating prospects as the countdown to the 2016 NBA Draft winds down to next Thursday’s tip off in New York. Six prospects worked out for the Pacers Wednesday, highlighted by Baylor forward Taurean Prince and Maryland big man Diamond Stone. Indiana has the 20th overall pick in first round and also holds the 40th choice in round two.
The Fever hit the road to face the San Antonio Stars Friday night. Indiana is now 4-and-7 on the year and hopes to snap a three-game losing streak. The Stars sit at just 2-and-7 on the year.
Sunshine to start, then a few afternoon clouds. High 87 degrees.
Pacers player Paul George has a new pet and he named him after another superstar of the game. George introduced the white pit bull puppy named Kobe on Instagram this week. Yes, as in Kobe Bryant. Shortly before Bryant announced his retirement in November, George told The Indianapolis Star that Kobe was his idol growing up.
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