Feb. Year End


Engineers, chemists, professors and other professionals teamed up to work with Center Grove schools to develop stronger math, science and engineering courses to prepare students for future careers.


More than $320,000 was spent at Johnson County schools for security officers to patrol the buildings and to create more secure entrances. School officials were waiting to see how much longer that commitment would last. State lawmakers committed $20 million over two years to schools to do security updates after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Connecticut.


Construction hadn’t started on any of the five GoodSports facilities proposed in other cities. In multiple places, the projects are stalled because GoodSports was still working to purchase land or get funding, staff from those cities said. The company had pledged to build a sports complex in Greenwood with hotels.


Police found cash and a significant amount of cocaine packaged to be shipped and sold in a Greenwood motel room. Police called the bust one of the biggest in memory. Dewayne L. Lewis was arrested on a charge of dealing cocaine.


A list of 25 projects to improve safety for students walking to and from school was compiled by Franklin schools and the city. If all the projects were finished, it would total more than $2.7 million, but neither the schools nor the city had the money to do the projects all at once.


School principals voiced their opinion over the updated ISTEP tests, calling the plan ridiculous and scary. For the first part of the test, third-graders would spend up to three hours and 15 minutes taking practice tests before they take the applied skills portion, which will take about six hours. Then third-graders would take another two hours and 25 minutes of practice tests before taking the actual test, which would last about six hours and 20 minutes.


Officials warned residents early in the planning process to expect to pay more when the new aquatic center opened. The city park board approved the hours, prices, name and logo for the new aquatic center, named Freedom Springs.


Gov. Mike Pence signed an executive order to reduce the length of the ISTEP, which at least 470,000 Hoosier schoolchildren ages 8 to 14 were set to take. The governor instructed the office of management and budget to hire nationally recognized testing experts to find ways to shorten ISTEP.


The Indiana Department of Education told schools to continue to plan to begin the ISTEP and that any effort to shorten the length of the test could require legislative approval.

Goodwill Industries of Central Indiana agreed to a list of eight conditions above and beyond what would normally be required by the city in order to build the 125,000-square-foot building on Emerson Avenue.


Costco announced plans for a store on the southside, bringing its third central Indiana store to County Line Road. The members-only discount wholesaler Costco planned to build on about 19.5 acres, just west of Emerson Avenue on the Indianapolis side of County Line Road, across the street from the Greenwood Municipal Airport.


Collaborating for Kids, which offers pediatric therapy, and five other medical services companies were interested in moving into the former Greenwood city hall building. The companies, which have offices in Greenwood and Bloomington, would move about 150 jobs from other locations into the one building.


Under a proposal to cut testing time, the Indiana Department of Education’s plan included reducing the number of open-ended, analytical questions that students would be asked on the test and having fewer students answer sample questions that would be used to create future tests.

County officials found out that a discount offered to owners of certain vehicles, such as motorcycles, was not allowed under state law. And it was also not allowed for scooters, meaning legislation would need to be changed before any discount could be offered for smaller vehicles.


All but one building owner was interested in taking part in the downtown façade renovation program planned by Greenwood. The plan was contingent on Greenwood getting a $400,000 state grant. Thirty-three of 35 façades would be redone.


State Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and two consultants hired by the state agreed on several actions that would shorten the ISTEP test. But some of those recommendations, including reducing the number of open-ended, essay-style questions and dropping the social studies test for fifth- and seventh-graders, required approval from state lawmakers.


Kroger announced plans to move its Franklin store from the current location in Northwood Plaza to a location behind Bob Evans. The grocer said it needs a bigger building to sell other goods, such as clothing and jewelry, and that the parking lot in the current location was always jammed.


Center Grove, Clark-Pleasant, Franklin, Greenwood and Nineveh-Hensley Jackson schools were set to receive between $200 and $400 more for each student they had enrolled by 2017 under the new funding formula state lawmakers were considering. Edinburgh schools would lose about $215 per student under the proposal.


Greenwood Community High School planned an alternative academy. A wing of the high school used for health classes was set to be remodeled into the academy, meant for students struggling in core classes or who want to take online classes.


Johnson Memorial Health approved providing a kit of an overdose drug to every police vehicle in the county — more than 200 total. The overdose drug, called naloxone, is incredibly effective at stopping the symptoms of a narcotic overdose.


Parents were asking schools if they could opt their students out of taking a longer and more detailed ISTEP exam. But ISTEP is required by law, and no waiver is offered if parents don’t want their children to take it. But schools could run into problems if not enough students took the exam.


Nearly a dozen Franklin Community High School students were caught with synthetic marijuana at school in 2014, and one of the key reasons they chose the drug was because the school didn’t test for it. School officials knew their drug screening policy wasn’t working well enough. So the school district applied for a $4,500 grant to test up to 20 students per month, and make synthetic drugs part of those screenings.


A proposal seeking to remove a restriction that would keep Interstate 69 out of Perry Township made it to the state Senate. Despite opposition from a handful of lawmakers representing the township and other areas affected by I-69, the House approved the bill 83-11.


Graduation rates across the county held steady with previous years, but local school officials wanted to do better. Franklin Community High School reached a graduation rate of 90 percent, but officials wanted to hit 95 percent.


B2S Life Sciences looked to put a lab in downtown Franklin. The new company would add about 40 jobs, including scientists, finance and business positions and would also bring a new field to Franklin.


Two cows wandered through downtown parking lots, dodged traffic and stopped to rest near a Greenwood church. The cows were part of a herd taken to be slaughtered at Archer’s Meat Packing, near Main and Meridian streets, just before 10 a.m.

The county’s top employer was Center Grove schools, which employs more than 900 people. Right behind Center Grove with 800 jobs was KYB Americas, an automotive manufacturer, and Johnson Memorial Hospital, which employs about 760 people.

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Magen Kritsch is an editorial assistant at the Daily Journal. She can be reached at mkritsch@dailyjournal.net or 317-736-2770.