Firefighters quell blaze, help neighbor give birth

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana firefighters and medics dealt with the usual duties on an early weekend morning by battling a house fire and delivering several residents to the hospital. Then came something more unexpected: the delivery of a neighboring baby.

Indianapolis Fire Department spokeswoman Rita Reith says firefighters brought the two-story house fire under control early Saturday and medics took four people to the hospital, including a 1-year-old boy and 2-year-old girl. All are in good condition.

As they fought the fire, they heard yelling next door: It was the mother of a 21-year-old woman, saying her daughter was about to give birth. Three first-responders went to the other home and another medic was called to take the pregnant woman to the hospital.

She nearly made it, but gave birth in the ambulance just outside of the hospital.

Reith says "everybody is doing great" and the department is grateful that nobody was seriously hurt.

Company got Indianapolis tax break despite pending appeals

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Drug maker Eli Lilly and Co. won approval last year for a $9.3 million tax break despite the Indianapolis controller's concerns that the company was appealing more than $20 million in property taxes at the same time, according to a published report.

Lilly sought the 10-year abatement in exchange for the company investing $159 million to boost its insulin manufacturing operations at its Indianapolis technical center.

Emails obtained by the Indianapolis Business Journal show Controller Fady Qaddoura told city officials he opposed giving Lilly abatements while the property tax appeals were pending.

If Indianapolis loses the appeals, the cash-strapped city may have to refund Lilly millions.

City officials responded that Mayor Joe Hogsett approved of the tax break. But the controller, who manages the city's $1.1 billion budget, said he might not be able to control Indianapolis' finances and budgets if his office isn't consulted before the city approves such matters.

Lilly employs about 12,000 people in the city and had been appealing its annual tax bill every year since 2012. Marion County Assessor Joseph O'Connor said the appeals are slowly making their way through his department's review process, but none have been resolved.

The City-County Council unanimously approved the tax break in November.

Taylor Schaffer, a spokeswoman for Hogsett, said the decision was "in the best interest of taxpayers." She said the city will bring in $7.7 million annually in net new taxes as a result of the agreement.

Some tax experts have called Lilly's simultaneous tax appeals and tax break requests unusual.

Kurt Zorn, professor of public and environmental affairs at Indiana University in Bloomington, said cities have a right to know whether their tax base is at risk before approving new abatements.

State inks nearly $80M contract for tax-filing upgrade

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Indiana's tax-filing technology is set for a years-long modernization under a nearly $80 million contract with a Colorado-based company.

The Indiana Department of Revenue will pay Fast Enterprises LLC $77.7 million over the next 10 years to overhaul the state agency's tax administration system and modernize how residents file and pay their taxes.

Indiana's existing system has been in use for more than 25 years.

The Indianapolis Business Journal reports that the company's state contract calls for it to provide Indiana with a new technological infrastructure for tax administration and create a new, state-of-the-art system for filing tax returns, making payments and managing business and individual tax accounts.

The contract calls for the state agency to pay the company through 10 annual payments starting in 2019 and ending in 2028.

Winning lottery ticket to expire if prize goes unclaimed

GRIFFITH (AP) — A winning Powerball lottery ticket sold in northwestern Indiana will expire Monday if the $50,000 prize goes unclaimed.

The (Northwest Indiana) Times reports that the ticket must be redeemed by 5 p.m. Monday at the Hoosier Lottery headquarters in Indianapolis.

The ticket for the March 14 Powerball drawing was purchased at a Speedway gas station in Griffith.

While it wasn't a winner of the big cash prize, it secured a smaller payout by matching four of the five non-Powerball numbers drawn.

The winning numbers for that drawing were: 6-12-24-41-68 and Powerball 9.

Lottery rules require all draw game prizes be claimed within 180 days of the drawing.

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