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Officials warn of icy travel conditions in Illinois, Indiana

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (AP) — Weather officials are warning of hazardous driving conditions in large parts of Illinois and Indiana. The National Weather Service has issued winter storm warnings and weather advisories for large central and southern portions of the states starting Sunday. In parts of Illinois up to 8 inches of snow is expected. In Indiana, up to 7 inches is expected in some areas. The Illinois Department of Transportation is cautioning motorists to travel slowly and make sure the gas tank is full. The Indiana Department of Transportation says a full call of snowplow trucks has been issued in its southeast district.


Court overturns man's murder conviction over Miranda rights

SALEM, Ind. (AP) — An Indiana appeals court has overturned a man's murder conviction, saying police failed to honor his Miranda rights. Joshua Risinger was found guilty but mentally ill after a 2017 fire at his trailer killed a homeless man. He appealed, arguing the trial court wrongly allowed statements made to police because he said, “I'm done talking.” The Indiana Court of Appeals agreed. The judges found that statement was “an unequivocal invocation of his right to remain silent'' and detectives failed to "scrupulously honor that right.'' Risinger's attorney says the decision is essential to affording people their right to remain silent.


Coroner: Body of central Indiana Army vet goes unclaimed

ELWOOD, Ind. (AP) — A central Indiana coroner says the body of an 89-year-old Army veteran has gone unclaimed. Madison County Coroner Danielle Noone says George R. Green of Elwood died Dec. 5. Noone tells The Herald-Bulletin she has had to make funeral arrangements for Green without his family's input because none of his relatives have come forward or been located. She says all of the leads she has had for relatives ”have led nowhere.” Noone says Green was born May 25, 1930, in Elwood and was a lifelong resident of the city who served in the U.S. Army.


Indiana community college offers firefighters free tuition

ELKHART, Ind. (AP) — A community college in Indiana is offering free tuition to volunteer firefighters and first responders seeking associate degrees. Ivy Tech Community College has joined with the Indiana Volunteer Firefighter Association. The school, with over 40 locations statewide, is providing $250,000 over two years starting in the 2020 spring semester. Organizers hope the tuition offer will boost the number of volunteers in Indiana. Those eligible will be able to seek associate degrees in any program except general studies and aviation. The head of the volunteer firefighter association says there's been a decline in volunteer firefighters for years.


Indianapolis program boosting low-income solar power access

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A new program is starting that aims to have the homes of up to 20 low and middle-income Indianapolis families running on solar power free of charge by the end of 2020. The program is a partnership between the city of Indianapolis and the national nonprofit Solar United Neighbors. It will provide grants toward the estimated $5,000 to $20,000 cost of installing solar panels for a home. City Office of Sustainability director Katie Robinson says the goal is to make solar power accessible to more homes.


Investigation underway after man dies at Indiana jail

RICHMOND, Ind. (AP) — Indiana authorities say they are investigating a man's death at a county jail. The Wayne County Sheriff says in a statement that 57-year-old Dean Lamb collapsed on Saturday afternoon at the jail. The Richmond Palladium-Item reports that the sheriff's office said Lamb collapsed due to an apparent medical issue. The Indiana State Police and the Wayne County coroner's office will investigate further. Lamb was set to be released in late January after pleading guilty to felony intimidation and misdemeanor public intoxication on Dec. 2.


Gary residents concerned about abandoned city schools

GARY, Ind. (AP) — A published report says recent checks across Gary's neighborhoods show the city's school district has failed to properly secure all of its abandoned school buildings. The Northwest Indiana Times says residents worry the increasing number of shuttered properties is leaving the door wide open for crimes. The Community School Corp.'s  emergency manager says the district is facing the challenge of continual vandalism but are doing their best to continue to secure and board up schools.


Former Gary, Indiana, Mayor Richard Hatcher dead at 86

One of the first black mayors of a big U.S. city has died. Former Gary Mayor Richard Hatcher is dead at age 86. His daughter, Indiana state Rep. Ragen Hatcher, says her dad died Friday night at a Chicago hospital. Hatcher became the political face of Gary and a political force for blacks after his ground-breaking election in 1967.  He had to overcome opposition from the local Democratic machine to become mayor of what was then Indiana's second-largest city. He went on to serve five terms. He also organized the 1972 National Black Political Convention in Gary and worked on Jesse Jackson's Democratic presidential campaigns in 1984 and 1988.