1. Medical transport service under federal investigation, dialysis patients left without rides
A dozen dialysis patients who relied on Empowerment Non-Emergency Medical Transportation were without rides early Wednesday, April 2, because the Elkhart medical transportation company is currently under investigation for healthcare fraud.
Federal electronic court documents show that Empowerment owner Wanda Shorter was indicted on March 12 with one count of healthcare fraud and forfeiture and three counts of aggravated identity theft and aiding and abetting.
2. Northridge teacher fired because of poor performance, school says
The Middlebury school board called a special meeting on Wednesday, April 2, to cancel Kevin Pack's teaching contract. A press release from Middlebury Community Schools stated that Pack "was merely a poor teacher, whose overall performance regressed throughout the school year and showed no potential for improvement."
School boards usually approve the termination of employees during regularly scheduled meetings as part of a consent agenda. Superintendent Jane Allen said the board had not dismissed Pack earlier because of a "due process" that had to be followed.
3. Moore laments end of compact fees, arrival of new state laws in state of the city address
Mayor Dick Moore focused on budget and crime in his annual state of the city address Wednesday, April 2. He took aim at city council and state lawmakers for legislation which he predicts would hurt the city's finances and budget.
Moore said the decision to phase out compact fees in the city this year will result in a $1.3 million loss in revenues. He also criticized the Indiana General Assembly for legislation which would prevent the city from carrying out development plans and collecting revenue.
Moore also spent time addressing crime in the city. He said the department dealing with the issue in a number of ways, which includes using more search warrants and utilizing new technology. Moore said that detectives who were assigned to more than 2,000 cases last year "cleared" nearly 70 percent of those cases.
4. Indiana Medicaid covers treatment to quit smoking
The report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) named Indiana as one of the seven states in the U.S. to cover a full range of evidence-based treatments to help Medicaid recipients stop smoking. The Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report that was released late last week took nine treatments into account: individual counseling, group counseling, nicotine patches, nicotine gum, nicotine lozenges, nicotine inhalers, Bupropion and Varenicline.
The report said 30.1 percent of the country's adult Medicaid enrollees smoke while only 18.1 percent of U.S. adults of all ages smoke.
5. Marathon gas station shooting suspect arrested by Elkhart Police
The Elkhart Police Department arrested a man in connection with a shooting that occurred at a gas station in the south side of Elkhart in March. Eric T. Talley, 26, was arrested on preliminary charges of aggravated battery with a dangerous weapon and illegal possession of a handgun, according to a news release from the Elkhart Police Department.
Police responded to a report of a fight at the Marathon gas station at 290 W. Hively Ave on March 13. They later located Tyrone R. Morris, 25, of Elkhart at his home in the 100 block of West Cleveland Avenue suffering from a gunshot wound to the hip.