While they have their playoff spot locked up, the last three weeks of the 2017-18 NBA season are still very important for the Indiana Pacers. They are currently in a tough battle with the Cavaliers, Wizards and 76ers for home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. The Pacers improved their chances of hosting a playoff series in Indianapolis when they earned an impressive comeback victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on Monday, March 19.
The Los Angeles offense was red-hot after the opening tip-off. They seemingly scored every time they went down the court in the first quarter. Since the Pacers had no luck on defense, they were down eight points after the first quarter. Indiana finally found a way to slow down the Lakers in the second quarter. The improved defense helped them close the deficit to two points before halftime.
Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner completely took over the game in the third quarter. The top two stars for the Pacers were not going to let their team lose on Monday. They led the Pacers to 35 points in the third quarter to gain a 12-point lead. This big lead allowed Indiana to rest a lot of their starters in the fourth quarter. While the offense really struggled late in the game, the Pacers were still able to get a 110-100 win over the Lakers.
They may not have played their best basketball, but every win counts right now for the Pacers. Indiana will play the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday, March 21.
The state highway located in Kokomo, Indiana, will be closed on a temporary basis. This will allow construction on a new pedestrian bridge to be completed that will expand the northern Indiana recreational trail over the highway. This bridge is something that legislators have been talking about for a very long time. However, they had a very hard time getting all of the financing together in order to pay for the construction of the bridge. The total cost is estimated to be in the neighborhood of $2 million.
The bridge project should be completed by Memorial Day. The total length of the trail is roughly 40 miles. The city will provide updates to residents about the status of the construction. This will let people know when the highway will be opened up again. Many people believe that the bridge should have been opened a long time ago. However, the contractors who will be building the bridge say that a project like this should not be rushed. It must be done right in order to ensure that it lasts for many years to come.
There were rumors that the bridge would be built five years ago. City planners had even started to talk to local contractors to get price estimates. However, the project fell through at that time because the money could not be raised. Residents are very happy that the bridge construction is finally underway. They believe this will be a huge upgrade for all of the local community to enjoy.
On Thursday, the National Weather Service issued a winter storm watch for Indiana ahead of a snowstorm that is expected to reach the state on Friday night. Meteorologists are predicting from 3 to 6 inches of snow across portions of the state. Some areas may receive as much as 8 inches of snow. The watch will remain in effect until late Saturday afternoon.
Residents of Indiana are already dealing with the aftermath of Wednesday’s snowfall, which saw some parts of the state covered in 8 inches of snowfall. Eastern and central Indiana were particularly hard hit by the nor’easter, causing several accidents on the state’s slippery highways. The town of Salem in southern Indiana received more than 8 inches of snow, while Indianapolis saw around 2 inches of snow.
Friday’s storm is projected to dump a mixture of freezing rain and snow in central and northern Indiana, while more southerly areas around Evansville and Mount Vernon should only experience rain. Authorities cautioned motorists to be careful while driving on snowy roads as visibility is expected to be reduced. Meteorologists also stressed that the storm could change course and affect other counties in the state.
The watch has also been issued for several other states, as the spring storm is expected to move across the Midwest on Friday and Saturday, dropping snow and rain on residents. Southeast Minnesota, northeast Iowa, southwest Wisconsin and northeast South Dakota are all included in the winter storm watch.
The Indiana Legislature has had a contentious session this year, and now it will go on a little longer. Governor Eric Holcomb stated that he will be calling for lawmakers to come back for a special session to convene in May.
Governor Holcomb stated that there are several important measures that he wants the lawmakers to consider that they left undone during the regular session. It will be the first special session in Indiana since 2009.
Democrats are reacting critically to the call for a special session. They are stating that the session is a waste of taxpayer money due to the fact that each day of a special sessions costs approximately $30,000.
The governor has five areas that he wants the lawmakers to vote on in the special session. The major area that will be focused on involves the schools in Muncie, Indiana. The schools in Muncie are facing difficulty, and the governor wants a vote on giving a special loan of $12 million to the district. There may also be consideration of a measure that would have Ball State University take over the administration of the district. School safety grants will also be considered during the special session.
The Indiana House and Senate will also consider measures to bring the state tax code of Indiana in line with the new federal tax regulations that went into effect at the beginning of the year. A vote must also be taken to conform with new IRS regulations regarding the safeguarding of taxpayer’s personal information.
The people of New Castle, Indiana, are embroiled in a debate over a statue of a World War I soldier after plans were revealed to move the public monument to a new location.
The statue, called The Spirit of the American Doughboy, was erected in 1929 in Memorial Park where it has resided for 89 years. The sculpture is an American soldier carrying a rifle in one hand while the other hand is raised in the air clutching a grenade. It’s the work of sculptor of E.M. Viquesney.
The Doughboy statue was mass produced and distributed in a number of locations around the U.S., including Indiana’s Henry County near New Castle.
Park authorities recently removed the statue so that it could be sent to Michigan for refurbishing. But when the decision was made to relocate the monument to a more visible location upon its return, many local residents became upset.
At a recent park board meeting, a host of concerned citizens showed up to voice their displeasure with the relocation decision. Included among them was 92-year-old Irma Bliss who is an American War Mother. She told the park board that the statue should, “go right back where it was.”
Bliss added that relocating The Doughboy was like, “taking someone out of his grave.”
But other New Castle residents favor moving the statue. They say more people will see it in its new location where the lighting is better. Also, it will be more secure because security cameras are positioned in a nearby museum.
In the second round of the 2018 NCAA Tournament, while everyone else was focusing on historic upsets and wrecked brackets, the state of Indiana witnessed a fun battle between two of its favorites.
In the East region, the 2-seed Purdue Boilermakers – representing West Lafayette, IN – faced off against the 10-seed Butler Bulldogs – from Indianapolis, IN. It was a fun and wild game that came down to the final moments before the favorites came out on top.
Prior to the game, besides focusing on the in-state rivalry aspect of the contest, the main story line focused on Purdue senior center Isaas Haas. Haas took a bad fall in the opening round, breaking his elbow. There was some question about his availability for the Butler game up until tip off. Haas tried to give it go with a heavy, bulky brace, but he had little range of motion, and the NCAA didn’t approve the brace for competition regardless.
That left Purdue short-handed and forced to play smaller than normal. It was freshman Matt Haarms who picked up the slack inside, playing the most minutes in a game in his young career.
Butler received a Herculean effort from senior Kelan Martin – 29 points on 18 field-goal attempts – but it wasn’t enough to defeat the balanced attack of the Boilermakers. Purdue finished with four players in double figures and escaped into the Sweet 16 with a 76-73 victory over their foes from Indianapolis.
The Indiana Pacers have essentially locked up a playoff spot, but every game left in the regular season is still vitally important. They are fighting with five other teams for the right to host a first round playoff series, and all of these teams are only separated by three games in the standings. Home-court advantage is going to be huge in the playoffs because every team in the Eastern Conference is very talented. Indiana’s quest for home-court advantage took a big hit when they got embarrassed at home by the Utah Jazz yesterday.
Indiana entered their game with the Jazz on a four-game winning streak, but Utah was also one of the hottest teams in the league. They played a close game for most of the first quarter, but the Jazz went on a big run in the final five minutes to get a 12-point lead. The Pacers struggled with their shooting throughout the second quarter, but they stopped Utah from extending the lead by playing solid defense. Utah ultimately went into the halftime break with a 10-point lead.
Indiana’s shooting troubles did not get any better in the second half. They needed to overcome a 10-point deficit in the final 12 minutes, but they could not create any offense. After only scoring 15 points in the fourth quarter, the Pacers fell to the Utah Jazz 104-84. The Pacers will look to start another long winning streak when they return to action on Friday, March 9, against the Atlanta Hawks.
The Indiana Senate is in the process of retooling a new bill that would allow unlicensed teachers to instruct students in Indiana public schools. The state is currently in the midst of a severe teaching shortage and is attempting to quickly curtail the teaching deficit before the problem worsens.
Indiana has fallen behind in its quest to attract educators. Indiana schools find it hard to compete with neighboring states like Illinois, Ohio and Michigan that pay teachers a higher average starting salary. Many students have opted for majors in better-paying fields or have decided to choose a career with more prestige. Many schools have been trying to lure former teachers out of retirement to fill the gaps; they have also allowed licensed substitute teachers to transition to full-time teaching.
Indiana’s state government has been concerned about the teaching shortage since 2016 when a Learning Policy Institute study listed Indiana as one of the five worst states for teacher recruitment and retention. State Superintendent Jennifer McCormick announced in 2017 that the government would adopt additional measures to attract more educators. These efforts include loosening teaching standards to access a larger pool of potential teachers. McCormick particularly wanted to utilize student teachers who have completed all their requirements, but are unable to teach due to poor scores on their licensing exams.
Senator Andy Zay of Huntington began working on a legislative solution in early January. Senate Bill 387 mandates that 90% of teachers must be either fully licensed or in the process of obtaining their teaching license. Also, the bill allows 10% of the teachers in each school to be unlicensed. If the bill is signed into law by Governor Eric Holcomb, it will go into effect immediately.
The Indiana Pacers hosted the Milwaukee Bucks at Bankers Life Fieldhouse on Monday, March 5. While both teams are securely in position to earn a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, they are still in a tough battle to advance in the standings. Earning the third or fourth seed would be huge for either team because that lets them host the first playoff series while also avoiding the Toronto Raptors or Boston Celtics.
A relatively small crowd showed up to the game in Indianapolis on Monday, but that did not stop the Pacers from gaining a home-court advantage. Indiana played suffocating defense on the Bucks throughout the first quarter, which helped them get a three-point lead despite only scoring 20 points. The defense was less effective for the Pacers in the second quarter, so they went into halftime down two points.
After struggling to find their shooting touch the entire first half, the offense finally came alive for the Pacers early in the third quarter. They quickly regained the lead and held it for the rest of the quarter. Despite having a 13-point lead at one point in the second half, Indiana was up by only one point with 60 seconds left to play. A big jump ball win by Bojan Bogdanovic in the final seconds secured the 92-89 win for the Pacers.
The Pacers now have the fourth-best record in the conference after the big win over Milwaukee. After getting a day to rest, they will return to action with a home game against the Utah Jazz on Wednesday, March 7.
Lawmakers in Indiana have rejected an effort by high-interest payday loan companies to set up shop in the Hoosier state. Advocates for lower income people are celebrating the victory, saying that payday loans target the poor who are often short on cash, and thus willing to pay ruinous interest rates for quick turn-around loans.
Even so, a bill allowing payday loan providers to practice in Indiana came close to passing. In fact, the bill was approved by the Indiana House before being rejected by the full legislature.
Payday loans are legal in many U.S. states. Some of them charge in excess of 500% interest. The Indiana bill would have allowed payday lenders to charge interest rates multiple times higher that what Indiana law has defined as “criminal loan-sharking.”
But those who favor payday loans say many people have no other options for getting credit. Traditional banks are unwilling to work with low income people or those with spotty credit ratings. They also are frozen out of the credit card market. Poor and bad-credit loan seekers have nowhere to turn.
But payday loans are not the answer, say critics of the practice. They suggest poor people turn to other resources, such as the United Way, community action agencies or local township programs for help.
Payday loans push low-income workers into a downward spiral of repeated short-term lending that morphs into a vicious cycle of high-interest paybacks that leaves even less money in the pockets of those who need it the most.