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Associated Press
Paul Morton cuts away limbs from a large tree Thursday in Hope after a storm tore through the Bartholomew County town the night before.

Storms damage homes, start fires in Hope

Storms damage homes, start fires

Strong thunderstorm winds knocked down numerous trees in a central Indiana town, with lightning being blamed for apartment building and house fires elsewhere in the state.

The storms that crossed much of Indiana late Wednesday and early Thursday also dumped several inches of rain in some places. No injuries were immediately reported.

The Republic of Columbus and WTHR-TV reported the storms caused damage in the Bartholomew County town of Hope, where many homes were without power because of downed utility poles and lines.

The Star Press reported that lightning likely started a fire in Muncie that badly damaged an apartment building and spread to another in the complex.

Officials reported home fires in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis apparently caused by lightning.

Pot buy too big for sympathetic judge

A northern Indiana judge says he favors decriminalizing marijuana but that he couldn’t avoid punishing a man for getting 52 pounds of the drug through the mail.

A St. Joseph County jury convicted 56-year-old Guy McDaniel last month on drug possession charges stemming from his February arrest after police say he signed at his South Bend home for two packages holding the marijuana using a fake name.

The South Bend Tribune reported McDaniel apologized in court Wednesday for what he called a mistake. Judge John Marnocha told McDaniel he doesn’t like putting someone behind bars for a little marijuana, but that his wasn’t a case of a little marijuana.

The judge agreed with prosecutors and ordered a two-year prison sentence for McDaniel.

Ad campaign fights teen dating violence

The Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence is launching an ad campaign aimed at stopping teen dating violence.

Recent studies by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show about 10 percent of high school students nationwide reported a boyfriend or girlfriend had physically hurt them in the past year.

The coalition says about one in six Indiana high school girls surveyed reported forced sexual intercourse.

The ads feature teenagers talking about dating violence involving more than just physical abuse, saying it also includes emotional and mental abuse. It warns that victims can become depressed or sick.

Indiana’s swine flu tally reaches 120

Indiana now has 120 confirmed swine flu cases. The Indiana State Department of Health said Thursday it has confirmed seven more cases, including the first two in Tippecanoe County.

Health officials still haven’t confirmed any transmission of the flu from person to person. All of the cases have been transmitted from hogs and pigs to humans.

The symptoms are similar to those seen with seasonal flu and last three to eight days. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny nose, bodyaches, nausea and diarrhea, and may last from three to eight days.

Indy zoo gets gift for orangutans

The Indianapolis Zoo has received a $2 million gift toward its planned orangutan center.

The zoo said Thursday it received gift from the family foundation of Dean and Barbara White of Crown Point. Dean White is co-founder of Merrillville-based White Lodging, whose developments include the towering JW Marriott Hotel that overlooks the zoo in downtown Indianapolis.

The zoo says the fundraising campaign for its International Orangutan Center has secured $25 million of its $30 million goal.

Groundbreaking for the project is set for next month. It’s scheduled to open in May 2014.

– Associated Press