Category Archives: State and National

Governor announces more actions to reduce state spending

INDIANAPOLIS  – Governor Mitch Daniels has initiated state agency spending reductions following the fourth straight month of lower than forecast state revenues for Fiscal Year 2010.
For October, revenue collections were again below the May 2009 forecast. Total tax collections were $46 million below the forecast amount for the month. For the first four months of the fiscal year, general fund revenues are $309 million or 7.4 percent below forecast.
Reductions ordered by the governor are expected to save the state about $300 million to $400 million over the biennium.
Budget actions taken:
* State agencies will reduce spending by at least 10 percent from the as-passed budget. The governor had already ordered a five percent spending reduction in July.
* The lieutenant governor, auditor, treasurer, secretary of state, and superintendent of public instruction have committed to 10 percent spending reductions in their own office budgets.
* Reimbursements to some Medicaid providers will be reduced.
* State employees will not receive a pay increase in 2010, the same action as 2009. The last time there were back-to-back years with no pay raises was in 2002 and 2003.
* Governor Daniels will not accept his full pay in 2010, the same action he took for 2009 when his salary was due to increase from $95,000 to $107,882.
* State agencies will offer voluntary unpaid leave for the remainder of the current fiscal year.
* State agency capital projects will be deferred. This includes new buildings or structures, infrastructure and system upgrades, and site improvements.
* Some dedicated funds will be transferred to the general fund. Amounts will vary and will not disrupt the long-term viability of the program supported by the dedicated funds.
The state ended Fiscal Year 2009 with $1.3 billion in reserves. If the current revenue trend continues and the governor had not ordered spending cuts, state budget agency officials estimate the state’s reserves would be depleted by August 2010.
“We agreed to dip into reserves $300 million over two years, and now it’s gone in four months.  If we keep dipping, it will all be gone next August,” said Daniels.

INDIANAPOLIS  – Governor Mitch Daniels has initiated state agency spending reductions following the fourth straight month of lower than forecast state revenues for Fiscal Year 2010. For October, revenue collections were again below the May 2009 forecast. Total tax collections were $46 million below the forecast amount for the month. For the first four months of the fiscal year, general fund revenues are $309 million or 7.4 percent below forecast.

Gene Stratton-Porter Holiday Walk this Saturday

Rome City, Ind. — Visit the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site when it is all decked out for the holidays!
A Dream of Beauty Holiday Walk is scheduled for Saturday, November 21 from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Mrs. Porter’s Cabin at Wildflower Woods, nestled in 125 acres of fields, woods and formal gardens along the shores of Sylvan Lake, will be open and decorated in accordance with the traditions of a 1917 Christmas. The site is the former home of Gene Stratton-Porter, one Indiana’s most widely read authors and one of the world’s first nature photographers.
Entertainment, holiday goodies, crafts and activities are sponsored by the Gene Stratton-Porter Memorial Society, Inc. Another special activity will be wagon rides given by the Noble County Draft Horse Association. Visitors will be able to ride a horse-drawn wagon from the parking area to the Cabin in Wildflower Woods.
Cost is $3 per person or free with a Rome City Holiday Town Walk ticket. Please call (260) 854-3790 or visit indianamuseum .org/stratton-porter for more information.

ROME CITY — Visit the Gene Stratton-Porter State Historic Site when it is all decked out for the holidays! A Dream of Beauty Holiday Walk is scheduled for Saturday, November 21 from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m.

Governor Daniels declares November 15-21 Winter Weather Preparedness Week

Governor Mitch Daniels declares November 15-21 Winter Weather Preparedness Week
Review tips that may save a life
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Governor Mitch Daniels urge motorists to use next week to prepare vehicles for inclement weather.
* ACCELERATE GRADUALLY on ice or snow to avoid slipping and sliding.
* DRIVE SLOWLY and carefully to avoid rear-end collisions and sliding on curves.
* FOLLOW THE CAR AHEAD at a greater distance; it takes more time to stop on snow and ice.
* BRAKE EARLY, break slowly, never slam on the brakes; if you have anti-lock brakes, press the pedal down firmly and hold it; if you don’t, gently pump the pedal.
* NO CRUISE CONTROL, avoid abrupt steering maneuvers.
* GIVE SNOWPLOWS ROOM to operate; don’t tailgate or try to pass.
A winter survivor kit in the car can be a life saver. The kit could contain: a blanket, rain gear, extra mittens, gloves, hat, bright colored cloth used to flag for help, cat litter or sand for traction and a small shovel, flashlight with extra batteries, bottled water, snack food and newspapers, which can be used as insulation.
Eleven of 17 winter weather-related deaths occur in motor vehicles. With proper precaution, many could be avoided. INDOT advises drivers:
1. Before leaving home, find out about driving conditions.
2. Clear snow and ice from your vehicle’s windows, lights, and brake lights.
3. Inspect the vehicle’s tires, belts and hoses.
4. Plan to take sufficient time to reach your destination.
5. Watch out for “black ice” approaching intersections, at off-ramps, bridges and along shaded roadways.
6. Don’t count on 4-wheel drive to stop you faster—it won’t.
For additional winter driving tips, please visit www.winterdrivingsafety.in.gov.

Review tips that may save a life

FORT WAYNE – The Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) and Governor Mitch Daniels urge motorists to use next week to prepare vehicles for inclement weather. 

* ACCELERATE GRADUALLY on ice or snow to avoid slipping and sliding.

Unemployment benefits extended by Congress

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Congress Passes 20-Week Extension of Unemployment Benefits
INDIANAPOLIS – The federal government last week enacted another extension of unemployment benefits. The legislation will provide up to 20 weeks of additional benefits to the unemployed in Indiana. This extension will result in eligible Hoosiers being able to claim up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.
The Indiana Department of Workforce Development (DWD) is waiting to receive the specific rules governing this extension, including eligibility requirements, from the U.S. Department of Labor. However, DWD anticipates providing these benefits to eligible Hoosiers beginning the week of November 23.
“Indiana was among the first states in the nation last spring to implement the federal government’s $25 increase in weekly benefits and DWD expects being among the first in the nation to begin providing this extension,” said Teresa Voors, Commissioner of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development.
Hoosiers who have previously exhausted their unemployment benefits, but remain unemployed, will be able to apply for this extension beginning November 23, through Uplink, the state’s online unemployment benefits system.  Updated information will also be posted at www.in.gov/dwd.

INDIANAPOLIS – The federal government last week enacted another extension of unemployment benefits. The legislation will provide up to 20 weeks of additional benefits to the unemployed in Indiana. This extension will result in eligible Hoosiers being able to claim up to 99 weeks of unemployment benefits.

Dr. Douglas Sheets to lead Medical society

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Dr. Douglas Sheets to lead Medical Society
Dr. Douglas Sheets, former resident of Churubusco, has delivered 3,883 babies into the world. After 31 years as an obstetrician, Sheets has been named the 156th President of the North Carolina Medical Society.
Mr. Sheets started off pre-dental in school, entered private practice with Rutherford OB-GYN Associates and joined the staff at Rutherford Hospital.
Sheets is the son of Lester and Doris Sheets of Churubusco, previous owners and operators of Sheets Funeral Home. His father was the local mortician and also ambulance driver.  Sheets said going with his father on calls may have led to his interest in medicine.
His siblings all graduated from Churubusco High School, including Diane Bair of Churubusco; Paul Miller of Fort Wayne; Terry Sheets of Milan; Deb Davis of Columbia City and Tim Sheets of Murfreesboro, TN.

Dr. Douglas Sheets, former resident of Churubusco, has delivered 3,883 babies into the world. After 31 years as an obstetrician, Sheets has been named the 156th President of the North Carolina Medical Society.

Indiana hunters to take aim at healthy deer population

Indiana’s annual firearms season for white-tailed deer opens November 14. During the 16-day season, which ends Nov. 29, hunters are expected to kill an estimated 86,000 deer.
“In 2008, hunters killed 86,454 deer during firearms season. I expect the numbers from 2009 to reflect a similar total,” said Chad Stewart, Indiana DNR deer biologist.
This year marks the 75th anniversary of Indiana DNR’s Division of Fish and Wildlife white-tailed deer reintroduction project. The opportunity to hunt white-tailed deer in Indiana represents a major success in wildlife restoration.
Indiana’s ’08 antlered deer harvest (50,845) was a 3 percent increase over 49,375 harvested in ’07. The antlerless harvest of ’08 (78,903) also increased over the 76,052 in ’07.
Deer hunters harvested 129,748 Indiana deer during the ’08 season, over 5,000 more than the 124,427 deer harvested during the ’07 season. Although the overall deer harvest for the last three years has averaged around 126,500, Stewart said, “2009 may mark the first year hunters kill more than 130,000 deer in Indiana. It’s only 252 more deer than last season.”
The combined ’08 archery seasons yielded 26,921 deer. Muzzleloader rifle season hunters killed 15,154 deer. Firearms hunters killed 86,454 deer, 66.6 percent of the entire ’08 harvest.
Hunters killed 17,418 deer on opening day of firearms season in ’08 and 13,746 on the second day. Opening weekend accounted for 36 percent of the total deer killed during firearms season. According to DNR wildlife chief, Wayne Bivans, this year’s opening weekend should be just as successful.
“Indiana’s deer haven’t experienced any serious threats this year. The weather has been fine, and we haven’t seen much disease. The overall deer population is healthy and thriving. I believe there is every reason to expect hunters to experience a successful opening weekend,” Bivans said.
The number of deer harvested in individual counties last year ranged from a low of 130 deer in Tipton County to 3,672 deer in Steuben County. Harvest exceeded 1,000 deer in 61 counties; exceeded 2,000 deer in 16 of those counties; and exceeded 3,000 deer in four of those counties.

Indiana’s annual firearms season for white-tailed deer opens November 14. During the 16-day season, which ends Nov. 29, hunters are expected to kill an estimated 86,000 deer. “In 2008, hunters killed 86,454 deer during firearms season. I expect the numbers from 2009 to reflect a similar total,” said Chad Stewart, Indiana DNR deer biologist.

Be prepared to care for family during disasters

BE PREPARED TO CARE FOR YOURSELF AND YOUR FAMILY DURING A DISASTER
INDIANAPOLIS -The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) advises all Hoosiers to take responsibility for their families and communities before a disaster strikes. Emergencies, both natural and man-made, are present in the lives of today’s Hoosiers. Fires, H1N1 flu, severe weather and the resulting flooding pose a continuing threat to Hoosiers. It is not a matter of should you prepare, but how quickly can you be ready?
Hoosier citizens must join the effort of being prepared. Be prepared to care for yourself and your family during a disaster. “You cannot change an event such as severe weather, but you can change how you react to it and your level of personal capability,” said IDHS Executive Director Joe Wainscott.  “During a disaster, being able to take care of your own needs, for even a short time, will help public safety professionals devote resources to assist those who need them most.”
During or immediately following a natural or manmade disaster federal, state and local emergency management agencies will be working extremely hard to provide emergency relief, and promote public safety and wellbeing. During wide spread or severe emergencies, however, assistance from these agencies may not be immediately available due to the type of emergency or the number of persons affected.
The best way to prepare for any emergency is to Get a kit. Make a plan. Be informed. Get involved.
Get a kit: Gather enough food, water, medicine and other supplies to sustain you and your household for at least three days, including your pets.
Make a plan: Know what to do for different emergencies. Share and practice a plan with your family members.
Be informed: Learn more about potential emergencies threatening the area where you live and appropriate ways to respond.
Get involved: Once you and your family are prepared for emergency situations, go out and teach someone else about being prepared.
To find out more about what to do in an emergency, visit the Indiana Department of Homeland Security website at www.in.gov/dhs and click on “Get Prepared.”
For breaking news and public advisories from IDHS, watch our facebook page or follow us on twitter at twitter.com/IDHS.

INDIANAPOLIS -The Indiana Department of Homeland Security (IDHS) advises all Hoosiers to take responsibility for their families and communities before a disaster strikes. Emergencies, both natural and man-made, are present in the lives of today’s Hoosiers. Fires, H1N1 flu, severe weather and the resulting flooding pose a continuing threat to Hoosiers. It is not a matter of should you prepare, but how quickly can you be ready?

State Health officials report first human rabies death in Indiana

STATE HEALTH OFFICIALS REPORT RABIES DEATH
INDIANAPOLIS—State health officials today announced the first human death from rabies in Indiana since 2006, and only the second human case overall since 1959.  The victim was from Clark County and had not reported any exposures of concern.   Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and nervous system of humans and other mammals. It is transmitted by saliva by a bite from an infected animal.  Testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the source of the infection was a bat.
“I was saddened to hear of an individual dying from rabies and my sincerest condolences to the family for their loss,” said State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe, M.D.  “Although rabies is a rare disease, it is a fatal disease.  If anyone is bitten by a bat or other suspected rabid animal, they should seek medical attention immediately.”
Rabies is almost 100 percent fatal. It is estimated 55,000 people die worldwide from rabies each year.  Vaccination of domestic animals has greatly reduced the risk of rabies in the United States, but state health officials report it is still a serious concern.  Rabies post-exposure-prophylaxis is one dose of rabies immune globulin on the first day of treatment plus a dose of vaccine in the arm.  A dose of vaccine is given in the arm 3, 7, and 14 days after the first dose.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, rabies can only be confirmed in a laboratory.  But any bat that is active in the day, is not able to fly, or is found in a place where bats are usually not seen, is very easy to approach, is far more likely to have rabies.  As a result, bats should never be handled.  Less than one percent of bats in the wild are rabid, but bites by bats are considered high risk.
“Early intervention is the key to preventing rabies,” said Dr. Monroe.  “I also urge Hoosiers to take precautions to avoid (bat) bites.  The first step is to bat-proof your house.  Second, don’t handle bats.  And again, if you are bitten, don’t wait, get proper medical attention.  Rabies is a preventable disease if rabies vaccine is administered immediately. “
Other precautions include:
·If you or other family members are awakened by a bat or a bat is seen in the room of a child or disabled person, try to capture the bat in a sealable container. If caught, do not release the bat. Submit it to your local health department for rabies testing.
· To capture a bat, use leather work gloves, a small box or coffee can, a piece of cardboard, and tape. When the bat lands, place the box or can over it, and slide the cardboard under the container to trap the bat inside. Tape the cardboard to the container and punch small holes in the cardboard to allow the bat to breathe. Contact your local health department to submit the animal.
· If you are bitten, or come in close contact with a bat, immediately discuss it with your local health department and physician to determine whether or not you should receive treatment.
· If you believe your pet has been bitten, contact a veterinarian.
· Contact a pest control specialist, for assistance in bat-proofing your home. Bats can enter through a hole as small as one-quarter inch.
For more information on rabies, visit the Indiana State Department of Health website at: www.statehealth.in.gov.

INDIANAPOLIS—State health officials today announced the first human death from rabies in Indiana since 2006, and only the second human case overall since 1959. The victim was from Clark County and had not reported any exposures of concern.   Rabies is a virus that attacks the brain and nervous system of humans and other mammals. It is transmitted by saliva by a bite from an infected animal.  Testing at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicates the source of the infection was a bat.

Bayh proposes tax relief for home-based small businesses

Bayh proposes tax relief for home-based small businesses
Washington—Seeking to make it easier for Indiana’s 180,000 home-based small businesses to take advantage of an important tax deduction, Senator Evan Bayh has proposed legislation to simplify the federal home office tax deduction and provide small businesses additional help to succeed.
The federal tax code currently provides small businesses operating out of the home with a tax deduction.  However, many small business owners fail to claim the deduction because the filing process is confusing and burdensome.  The IRS instruction manual for the current home-based small business tax deduction is 32 pages long.  Nationally, only 2.7 million of the eight million eligible taxpayers actually bother to claim the deduction, according to the National Small Business Association.
“Many enterprising Hoosiers have started their own home-based businesses to make ends meet during the economic downturn,” Bayh said.  “However, like much of the current tax code, the federal tax deduction available to these small business owners is too complicated and burdensome, which winds up costing them an important tax benefit.  This legislation offers accessible tax relief to Hoosier entrepreneurs who are utilizing their skill sets across a range of fields to support their families, such as operating a landscaping business, providing child care services or starting their own online business from home.”
The Simplified Home Office Deduction Act of 2009 creates a new, standard tax deduction of $1,500 or the annual gross income of the home-based small business, whichever sum is less. Small business owners who like the current rules can continue to use them.
The proposed change would make it significantly easier for 180,000 Hoosier small business owners and eight million home-based entrepreneurs nationwide to take advantage of the intended tax benefit.  Nearly half of all U.S. small businesses are home-based and contribute a combined $314 billion to the economy, according to the Small Business Administration.
Bayh introduced the legislation with Senators Barbara Boxer (D-CA), Jeff Merkley (D-OR) and Joe Lieberman (ID-CT).  The bill is supported by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Small Business Association, the National Federation of Independent Business and the National Association for the Self-Employed.

WASHINGTON – Seeking to make it easier for Indiana’s 180,000 home-based small businesses to take advantage of an important tax deduction, Senator Evan Bayh has proposed legislation to simplify the federal home office tax deduction and provide small businesses additional help to succeed.