In case you missed it – December 12

Members of law enforcement take needy children shopping

GREENFIELD — About 65 Hancock County children in need went shopping for Christmas presents with members of law enforcement, who picked up the tab. The Hancock County Sheriff’s Department took 25 kids shopping during its annual Shop with a Deputy event Dec. 5, and the Greenfield Police Department took 40 kids out for the annual Cops-4-Kids event a day later.

In total, the agencies spent about $20,000 — money that was donated to the programs throughout the year. The children were given $300 each to spend on clothing, toys and whatever else their hearts desired, organizers said.

The programs are December traditions for the departments, including Fortville Police Department, which will take children from the county’s northwest side to breakfast and shopping today. It’s an opportunity for officers to interact with the youngest members of the community they work to protect, a way to give back to the community in a different way.

Fire ruled arson, suspect formerly lived at house

GREENFIELD — Nearly two weeks after the Thanksgiving Day fire destroyed a home in the 300 block of North Swope Street in Greenfield, police and fire officials concluded the fire was arson.

Dalton Rowe, 24, was arrested Wednesday and faces a Level 4 felony charge of arson, which carries a penalty of two to 12 years. He was booked into the Hancock County Jail on Wednesday morning. Records show he was being held there without bond pending a hearing in Hancock County Superior Court 1. The hearing had not been scheduled at press time.

Rowe was in the midst of a breakup with the mother of his 4-month-old son, court records state. The couple had been living in the Swope Street home together for at least two years but were in the process of separating, police said.

Rowe admitted to a friend what he had done after setting the blaze, according to court records.

More than $2 million of road work planned for 2016

HANCOCK COUNTY — For drivers tired of potholes and cracks plaguing county roads, relief is coming. About 95 miles of county roads will be repaired in 2016 through paving, pothole repair and chip and crack sealing.

For the second year, Hancock County is dedicating nearly $2 million to road work to fix and maintain county roads, making them safer for residents to drive on — that’s on par with what the county spent this year and about $500,000 more than the county invested in road repair in 2014.

The planned work will touch small stretches of road in nearly every corner of Hancock County as crews pave roads, seal cracks and chips and repair potholes. A map detailing which roads will be repaired will be posted to the county’s website, hancock

School officials protest ISTEP scores as ‘inaccurate’

HANCOCK COUNTY — Weeks ahead of the official release of ISTEP scores, Eastern Hancock School Corp. officials sent a letter to parents calling the test “an inaccurate reflection of our students’ academic accomplishments and the quality of teaching in our classrooms.”

Officials from other local school districts have followed suit, describing the burden the test poses on districts and warning of the results to come.

Statewide results aren’t expected to be released to the public until January, months later than initially planned; and on average, scores are expected to drop 24 percentage points in mathematics and 16 percentage points in language arts, according to projections from the Indiana Department of Education.

While educators remain mum on the preliminary results they’ve received, they say scores from the test, which is given to students in Grades 3 through 8 and is based on more rigorous standards than previous years, are substantially lower than in the past. The results affect teacher pay as well as how schools are rated by the state.