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Stores Sue to Sell Cold Beer

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Convenience stores in Indiana are pursuing legal action to be able to sell cold beer. Executives and members of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association, a statewide trade association, announced today that they have filed a complaint in U.S. District Court challenging the law governing the sale of cold beer. Under current law, convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores are only allowed to sell beer warm, and only liquor stores are allowed to sell beer cold. Indiana is the only state in the country that regulates beer sales based on temperature. The law doesn’t apply to wine products, including wine coolers.
Here is the full news release:
INDIANAPOLIS (May 14, 2013) – Executives and members of the Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA), a statewide trade association, announced today that they have filed a complaint in U.S. District Court against the State of Indiana challenging the law governing the sale of cold beer.
Under current law, convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores are only allowed to sell beer warm, while their competitors in the carryout market are allowed to sell beer cold.
IPCA and three of its members - Ricker’s, Thorntons and Freedom Express – claim this Indiana law violates the equal protection clause of the U.S. Constitution by restricting convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores to selling beer only at room temperature. In the complaint, the plaintiffs charge that Indiana statutes and regulations have evolved into an irrational and discriminatory regulatory regime that favors one class of retailer over another.
“This lawsuit is about fairness, convenience, and promoting competition for the sale of cold beer in a rational and responsible way so that my members can serve their customers,” said IPCA Executive Director Scot Imus. “We are confident that the court will agree with us that it is not the job of government to pick winners and losers in the marketplace.”
Indiana is the only state in the country that regulates beer sales based on temperature. The current law doesn’t apply to wine products, thus allowing convenience stores to sell these products cold. On average wine products, including wine coolers, contain higher levels of alcohol compared to beer.   
Managing Member of Freedom Express Gregory Cobb, who owns three convenience stores in Kosciusko and Marshall Counties, explained that the current law is confusing to his customers who may purchase cold wine but not beer, even though wine products contain approximately double the amount of alcohol.  
“Some common sense needs to be applied to Indiana’s alcohol laws, so that Hoosier business owners like myself may provide products, including beer, without ridiculous temperature restrictions to their customers,” said Cobb.
Indiana Excise Police compliance figures show that package liquor stores were 138 percent more likely to violate Indiana liquor laws between 2007 and 2012 than convenience, grocery and pharmacy stores. Similarly, restaurants and bars, who may also sell refrigerated beer – were 1,376 percent more likely to violate Indiana liquor law over the same period of time.
“There is no logic with the current law that gives one class of retailer an exclusive right to sell cold beer,” said Imus. “Indiana’s alcohol laws have not always favored one retailer over another and in fact, it was just in the last 50 years that liquor stores were granted the privilege of selling cold beer.”
A look at the history of beer sales in Indiana shows a constantly changing regulatory environment. Coming out of Prohibition, only confectionary stores were allowed to sell cold beer. That practice ended when the General Assembly passed a law prohibiting such sales in 1941. Liquor stores could not sell beer - warm or cold - until 1953, and then, like other retailers, they were forced to sell it warm. A 1963 decision by the unelected three-member Indiana Alcoholic Beverage Commission granted liquor stores in metropolitan areas the right to sell cold beer. These changes were eventually codified into statute in 1979.
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Indiana Petroleum Marketers and Convenience Store Association (IPCA) is a nonprofit trade association that was formed in 1922 by Indiana wholesalers and retailers. Today, the IPCA has more than 250 members comprised primarily of small; to medium-sized, family owned businesses that own and operate convenience stores and supply petroleum (wholesale and retail), and related products and services throughout Indiana....

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Report: Sentencing Date Moved

The Times today is reporting that the sentencing date for former longtime Gary Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas has been rescheduled for August 21. Krusas pleaded guilty in Hammond Federal Court last month to tax evasion, after being accused of failing to file tax returns since 1991 and failing to pay taxes on a 232-thousand dollar inheritance. She resigned in April from the Gary City Council, where she had served since 2000.  This past Saturday, Mildred Shannon was chosen at a democratic caucus to replace Krusas on the council.
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Farming Accident in N. Ind

In northern Indiana, the Marshall County Coroner's office reports a 61-year-old Plymouth man died in a farming accident in which his clothing got caught on a shaft connecting an engine and a pump on an irrigation device. Officials say he had gone out to the field Sunday night, and family members discovered his body Monday morning near the equipment. Coroners officials say the man suffered severe internal injuries
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Big Back-to-Back Jackpots

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Two nights of back-to-back jackpot drawings that feature combined more than half-a-billion dollars in jackpot money. Hoosier Lottery officials say tonight's (tue may 14 13) Mega Millions drawing offers an estimated jackpot of $170 million while tomorrow's night's Powerball jackpot currently sits at an estimated $350 million, marking the first time Mega Millions and Powerball have cracked the $150 million and $300 million marks, respectively, at the same time since Indiana began offering Mega Millions more than three years ago.
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AT&T Expands 4G LTE to Valpo


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Valpo State Rep. Ed Soliday, AT&T Indiana Pres. George Fleetwood
State and local lawmakers gathered at the Porter County Government Center today for an announcement regarding cell phone service in Valparaiso. AT&T has upgraded seven mobile internet cell sites in the area to expand 4G LTE coverage for residents and businesses. George Fleetwood is president of AT&T Indiana says the goal is for "our customers to have an extraordinary experience, and our investment in the local wireless network is another way we're accomplishing that."  Valparaiso State Representative Ed Soliday says technology continues to play a larger role in the way we communicate, and for "the many businesses and consumers who rely on wireless devices everyday to stay connected, this investment is a big step forward".  AT&T launched its 4G LTE network in Gary last October.
[photo by Karl Berner/Radio One Communications]
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Demolition of La Porte Church

laporte church
A more-than century-old church is in the process of being demolished in downtown La Porte. St. Paul's United Church of Christ was built in the late 1880's. Membership had declined and after the congregation dissolved late last summer, the property was transferred to the Indiana-Kentucky Conference of the United Church of Christ in Indianapolis. The parent organization has said necessary repairs and upgrades would have been very costly. The Indiana Department of Transportation this morning said there were some lane closures on State Road 2, also known as Lincolnway through there, as crews tearing down the church ran into some water problems.
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Forty 4-Stars in the Region

Indiana Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz announced Indiana's 4 Star schools for 2013 . Nearly forty are in the Region. To achieve this designation, a school must be in the top 25th percentile of schools in ISTEP+ testing results. A total of 313 schools received the award throughout the state.
Here's the full list:
http://www.doe.in.gov/sites/default/files/news/fourstarschools-20112012.pdf
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Man Shot in Vehicle

Police in Gary are investigating a shooting that injured a 28-year-old man as he was reportedly sitting inside a vehicle in the four-thousand block of Connecticut Street. Officials say it was just before 8:30 Saturday night when the victim said an unknown male came from between two homes and started firing. He was transported to the hospital for his injuries.
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Sentencing Hearing Moved

The Times today is reporting that the sentencing date for former longtime Gary Councilwoman Marilyn Krusas has been rescheduled for August 21. Krusas pleaded guilty in Hammond Federal Court last month to tax evasion, after being accused of failing to file tax returns since 1991 and failing to pay taxes on a 232-thousand dollar inheritance. She resigned in April from the Gary City Council, where she had served since 2000.  This past Saturday, Mildred Shannon was chosen at a democratic caucus to replace Krusas on the council.
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LOFS Clubhouse Closed for Now

There were no injuries reported Sunday when a van went into the Lakes of the Four Seasons clubhouse, but officials say the building will be closed for an undetermined amount of time. The chief of the fire force for Lakes of the Four Seasons says there was structural damage in the kitchen area. Authorities say a resident accidentally put his car into reverse, and the vehicle went through the wall. Crown Point's Fire Department was at the scene to help get the vehicle out of the structure.
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