INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — La Tosha Walker is on a mission to make sure her son with autism is getting the education he deserves in Indianapolis Public Schools.
She shared a report from an Indiana Department of Education’s investigation with I-Team 8. The report showed her son missed out on 5,242 instructional minutes in 2022.
Her son Tyrese Walker is enjoying the first days of summer break, but his fifth-grade year was not enjoyable in part because of what happened.
The Department of Education investigation found that Tyrese’s teachers at Edison School of the Arts removed him from class 114 times over 71 days of school.
La Tosha said, “Most of the list says, ‘talking,’ ‘class disruption.’ Those are daily activities that go on in school.”
When Tyrese was taken out of class he was taken to a room in the guidance learning center. “In GLC, you do nothing but sit there and whatever they have you do, but he’s not getting his work, so those are minutes of his education that he’s not receiving,” La Tosha said.
La Tosha told I-Team 8 her son being taken out of class violated his individualized education plan because he has autism. “My son’s autism is sensory, so, with that sensory, sometimes the room could be too loud. It could be too much going on and then it just overstimulates him, so what comes out as being a disruption to some people may be just something he’s trying to work through.”
Walker has a binder full of documents related to her fight to make sure her son is getting the education he deserves. It included the eight-page report from the investigation by the Department of Education.
The report said that her son’s “IEP did make some provision for removal to the GLC, the numbers of such removals and time the student was removed from instruction services was excessive, leading to a denial of free appropriate public education (FAPE).”
The Department of Education told I-Team 8 the report is not finalized. Both sides involved have a chance to ask for reconsideration.
La Tosha acknowledged to I-Team 8 that her son is not perfect, but said that should not prevent him from getting his education. “If my son is doing something and he needs some discipline, send him, but send him with his work. They’re not sending him with work.”
La Tosha suggested any parent with a special needs child should brush up on Article 7, the IPS special education rules, so they can stick up for their kids’ education. “Article 7 is there to back the parents up. You just have to take the time to read it, or find somebody that can help you. We’ve got to start holding these schools accountable for the services our children are supposed to have.”
Walker told I-Team 8 she’s working with IPS on the plan to get her son the 5,242 minutes of education he missed last year.
I-Team 8 reached out to IPS via email and phone for a comment about this situation, but it did not respond by Tuesday afternoon
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Shipping containers powered by artificial intelligence are trying to revolutionize the shrimp farming industry.
Atarraya Inc. is a company from Mexico that has invested in Indianapolis to show their system for growing shrimp can work on a large scale.
Each Shrimpbox can grow 3,000 pounds of shrimp in one year. The warehouse, which is just off South Belmont Avenue, has six boxes inside and one box outside to show the system can work in any weather condition.
“Shrimpbox is basically two tanks stacked on top of each other,” said Chief Executive Officer of Atarraya Inc., Daniel Russek. “On the bottom are the baby shrimp with the grown-up jumbo shrimp on top.”
They’re growing a type of shrimp called Pacific White Leg Shrimp, which, according to Russek, is the only domesticated shrimp species in the world. “80% of the shrimp that you buy is exactly this species,” said Russek.
The Shrimpbox system is monitored by a computer running artificial intelligence algorithms. “We call it the Brain,” said Russek.
Atarraya Inc. turned to A.I. because it used to take 4 to 6 months to train someone to maintain the shrimp box, but that isn’t the case with the help of A.I.
“We can turn anybody into a shrimp box operator in something like 2 weeks,” said Russek.
One of the main reasons they’re growing shrimp in this way is because they noticed the negative impact regular shrimp farming has on the environment.
“An average shrimp farm pollutes the ocean on a scale that is comparable to a half a million people city,” said Russek.
Atarraya Inc. told I-Team 8 their process doesn’t have that same impact because they recycle and reuse the water used in the tanks. They also put the waste from the tanks into a bag that captures gas from that waste. They then use that gas to keep the water in the tank warm so the shrimp can grow.
“Our goal is to substitute anywhere from 1/6 to a 1/3 of the energy we use to heat the water,” said Russek.
Right now, Atarraya Inc. says they’re sticking with shrimp, but the company said that this technology can be used to grow other forms of seafood.
Anyone in Indianapolis can buy the business’ shrimp for $11-$16 a pound from Agua Blanca Seafood on the city’s southwest side.
PENDLETON, Ind. (WISH) — The counselor fired from South Madison Community School Corp. earlier this year knew she could potentially lose her job when she confirmed information to a member of the media.
That is according to Tony Kinnett. Kinnett is an investigating columnist who writes for the Daily Signal, a conservative American political media news website.
The fired Pendleton Heights High School counselor, Kathy McCord, sued the school district this week. A 72-page lawsuit was filed in federal court in Indianapolis. She alleges violations of her First Amendment and 14th Amendment rights, and wants her job back.
With the help of McCord, Kinnett broke the story of the district’s policy preventing teachers and counselors from telling parents their students wanted to be called by a different pronoun.
The school board later fired McCord to confirming the existence of the policy to Kinnett.
Now, Kinnett is sharing details about the conversation that ultimately led to McCord getting fired. “I did drive out to her house at about 8:30 at night,” Kinnett told I-Team 8.
McCord has told News 8 she was just being honest with Kinnett by confirming the information.
Kinnett says McCord was aware of the potential consequences when he published his column. “Kathy didn’t want to be fired, doesn’t want to have been fired, but yet she did have an idea that she might be fired,” Kinnett said.
Kinnett believes everyone, no matter their political stances, should be allowed to be a whistleblower without the fear of being fired. “Whether they’re on the left, right, or center should be protected and being able to say, ‘This is what’s going on,'” Kinnett said. “I do think you could see more whistleblowers in the future. I certainly hope so. and I hope that they’re protected.”
I-Team 8 called South Madison school superintendent to get an interview. He did not call back.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The contempt of court accusation stems from an incident last week involving an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officer and Marion County’s Center Township Constable Denise Hatch.
A lawyer representing the property management company Streelane Homes filed a motion claiming Hatch was in contempt for attempting to prevent the eviction of a family from one of their properties.
Hatch on Thursday was in Marion County Small Claims Court to face that accusation.
Judge Brenda Roper did not decide whether or not Hatch is in contempt of court because of what happened, but the judge did decide to appoint a special constable to handle all evictions for Streelane Homes.
In court, Hatch and her attorney asked Judge Roper to recuse herself from the case. They claimed Roper was acting in a biased fashion.
Hatch stood by her decision to prevent the eviction last week. She claimed the person who lived there showed her a court order delaying the eviction.
“Tenants have a right to be treated with compassion. Chantel had an application for a stay. She had a stay. You all don’t understand what was at stake here. Chantel was about to be arrested,” Hatch said.
The Marion County Small Claims Court had denied the application for a delayed eviction. The judge says she will decide whether or not Hatch is in contempt of court by the end of the day Monday.
Roper had Hatch swear under oath to make sure she executes all future orders handed down by the court.
FISHERS, Ind. (WISH) — The beach at the Geist Waterfront Park is groomed and ready for kids and families to spend their days playing in the sand and swimming in the cove.
That same beach is also at the center of controversy over the Fishers City Council implementing a $50 fee to park for anyone who doesn’t live in Fishers.
Online, people have commented on WISH-TV’s Facebook post about the fee. With some calling it a form of discrimination. WISHTV.com created a poll asking viewers if they agree or disagree with the Fishers City Council’s decision to create the fee. A vast majority of people said they do not.
Leslie Etienne, director of The Center for Africana Studies at IUPUI, said, “$50 is exuberant, and it’s certainly a deterrent.”
Was she surprised that people think it’s a form of discrimination?
“No, not at all,” said Etienne.
Etienne did not weigh in on whether or not a fee is a form of discrimination, but he explained why people would view it as such, saying it all comes down to history. “There have been covenants and ordinances used to exclude people,” Etienne said.
The president of the Fishers City Council declined I-Team 8’s request for an interview Tuesday, but he told us over the phone the fee is in no way supposed to be a form of discrimination.
On Monday, a city spokesperson explained the measure is something Fishers does in general. “It’s a continuation of our policy that we’ve had at our other parks,” said Ashley Elrod, Fishers director of community and public relations.
Elrod further explained why the City Council passed the measure.
“This is really for safety. We want to make sure there is a limited number of people on the beach so our lifeguards have the appropriate numbers to keep track of. But, it’s also to preserve that benefit for Fishers residents, who, as taxpayers, are really footing the bill for this park,” Elrod said.
Etienne told I-Team 8 that one reason people might be viewing the “swim season” parking parking as discrimination is because of the high sticker shock of $50 to park for one day. Etienne also told I-Team 8 that the conversation would be entirely different if the fee was $10-$15 a day.
For comparison, it costs $45 to $50 a day for the highest tier of parking at Disney World in Florida.
The new parking fee is set to take effect the same day the beach opens on Memorial Day weekend.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Crossing the yard of bricks and winning the Indy 500 is a lifelong dream for so many. Right now, students in the motorsports engineering program at Purdue University in Indianapolis are learning what it takes to build a car capable of fulfilling that dream.
Just five miles from the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, junior Reed England, from Columbus Indiana, tinkered on a race car during class Wednesday.
“I kind of grew up into this atmosphere that the month of May is the 500. It is the holy grail of Indiana,” said England. In high school, he decided he wanted to chase his dream of a career in motorsports.
To get there he’s using the Purdue Indy motorsports engineering program.
“As soon as I learned about this degree it’s like, ‘I have to do this. There is nothing else for me,'” said England.
He’s learning from Professor Chris Finch, who has over twenty years of motorsports engineering experience, including Indy Car.
“I’ve literally had students crying on my shoulder thanking me for helping them achieve their lifelong dream since they were a little kid,” said Finch.
Finch uses his experience at the Indy 500 as an engineer to teach his students.
“I tell the students in class everyone thinks Indianapolis is on those two 5/8’s mile straightaways. That’s not where the lap times coming from. The lap times coming in all four of those corners. In qualifying, it’s ‘how little can I turn the wheel and still get the car to arch the corner?’ and it’s all setup driven,” said Finch.
Stories like that help his students learn.
“Take that and then tie it to the engineering side of it, because then all of a sudden, it starts to click,” said Finch.
The program has close ties to multiple racing teams who help guide what is taught.
“They say ‘okay, where your curriculum is now, we need students in three or four years from now to have this skillset,’ and that is invaluable,” said Finch.
“Can be a direct pipeline for a career in the industry?” asked News 8’s Kody Fisher.
“Oh, absolutely,” said Finch.
The program had graduates working on 32 of the 33 cars in the 2022 Indy 500
“Last year when Marcus Ericsson won with Chip Ganassi Racing I got a photo and there are 8 of our students, alumni, or interns,” said Finch. Using connections made in the program, England is hopeful to follow in their footsteps.
“A dream would be to start there. Right there on the Indy 500, qualify, maybe get a podium, maybe you get that famed win, put yourself in the name of the history books,” said England.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department on Tuesday called on business owners in Broad Ripple to prevent violence in the neighborhood.
This comes after a shooting just before 1 a.m. Sunday near Guilford and Broad Ripple avenues left people shaken. One person was stable upon being taken to a hospital, IMPD says.
Just minutes before the shooting, Tim Barsten was walking his dog. After getting inside, he said heard, “Gunshots. Lots of gunshots.”
“It was frightening. I was shaking.”
Once 11 p.m. hits on the weekends, Barsten said, that is when the area starts to get a little dicey.
“On the weekend, a lot of people will just be sitting there hanging out in the parking lot and those are typically where the shootings happen,” Barsten said.
Barsten said violence is giving the neighborhood a bad reputation.
“Broad Ripple’s a really great spot, and this nighttime terror is making it seem like it’s a really bad spot. We just kind of get a bad wrap from those few hours on the weekends,” Barsten said.
He would like to see business owners who have problem parking lots do something to prevent violence in the neighborhood.
A boarded-up window on the side of an apartment building marked the area where that exact scenario played out Sunday morning.
IMPD tells I-Team 8 it’s aware of the problem of people gathering in parking lots to hang out, but says the department can’t do anything unless business owners call them to get people to leave. So, IMPD is calling on businesses to step up and do their part to prevent violence.
Officer William Young, an IMPD spokesman, said of the businesses, “They could do better. They could reach out to us. If you see folks while your business is going on, they’re not patronizing your business, they’re on your property, maybe causing a problem, we want you to call our officers out and say, ‘Hey, we don’t want this particular person on our property.'”
IMPD is not calling out any specific businesses, but the department has suggestions for the ones where the ingredients for violence are boiling over into weekend gunfire.
“We want you to hire, maybe, off-duty officers, maybe security. We want you to work with us a little bit more,” Young said.
INDIANAPOLIS — On Wednesday, the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department released video of the March 29 incident where police opened fire on carjacking suspect Michael Barnes, 33, after a high-speed chase.
In the video, officers can be seen shooting at Barnes while cars drove in the line of fire on I-65. IMPD tells I-Team 8 they are not commenting on the video, but we asked them about their Use of Force Policy, in general.
“Preservation of life is our absolute top priority – use of force is a last-ditch effort,” said IMPD Deputy Chief Catherine Cummings.
Cummings tells I-Team 8 that there are a lot of different factors officers consider when they decide to pull the trigger on a suspect.
“For the safety of the public, for the safety of the people on the scene, for the safety of themselves, for the safety of their fellow officers, and for the safety of the person who’s involved in the run,” said Cummings.
I-Team 8 asked if the decisions were the most difficult part of the job, as the decisions have to be made in split seconds, and Cummings says they are.
“Proper judgment and decision-making are the most difficult aspects of this job. Just across the board and not even just when they apply to uses of force,” said Cummings.
Officers routinely go through training to talk about how to handle situations, like the one that happened on March 29.
“Our yearly training involves a component on the use of force. It involves driving, laws, and legal updates. It involves how best to interact with people,” said Cummings.
Right now, IMPD is still doing an internal investigation into what happened on March 29. The civilian-majority Use of Force Review Board is also looking into the incident after the court case is completed.
Barnes’ pretrial hearing for the carjacking was scheduled for June 6.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The $510 million Signia Hotel project was originally supposed to be privately funded by the Kite Realty Group.
The project itself is going to be the exact same.
The 404-foot-tall, 800-room hotel is still going to be built at the corner of Capitol and Georgia downtown. The only thing that is changing is who is funding it.
The City of Indianapolis will now take on that burden.
The City of Indianapolis was told by the Kite Realty Group that it wasn’t able to secure financing in the private sector.
The city can borrow money on the bond market at lower rates, so it decided to take over the financing of the project. All profits from owning the hotel project will go to paying off the borrowed money.
I-Team 8 reached to the Kite Realty Group by phone, email, and in-person Friday afternoon to find out why they’re backing out on funding the project.
We have not gotten a response.
According to Visit Indy, the Kite Realty Group will still be responsible for developing the project, they just won’t fund it.
“There’s precedents for this type of funding model. When we look at Atlanta and Fort Lauderdale in particular where the city has taken ownership of a project, like expanding a convention center and adding a new hotel,” said Visit Indy Executive Vice President Chris Gahl.
Visit Indy told I-Team 8 the city has been studying the need for this project for over a decade. When completed, it would allow Indianapolis to host two citywide conventions at the same time.
“We know 2,500 construction jobs will be generated by this project, and 400 full-time jobs to run the hotel and convention center expansion will be added in addition to 2.6 billion dollars in economic impact realized, in the next decade alone, because of this project,” said Gahl.
The Indianapolis City-County Council still has to approve the funding for the project.
A proposal for the city to borrow $625 million for the project will be introduced next week. It will then go to the committee. If it passes, there will be a final vote on the project next month.
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — The Indiana Gaming Commission has suspended all betting on University of Alabama baseball games. The commission told I-Team 8 that bets made in Indiana are under investigation.
Indiana is one of several states to suspend betting on Alabama baseball games since the scandal that cost head coach Brad Bohannon his job.
According to All Indiana Bets host Jason Hammer, the scandal started during a game between the Alabama Crimson Tide and the LSU tigers on April 28.
“Large amounts of bets are coming in on LSU, which is not uncommon, because they are number one in America, but this was a suspicious amount of money coming in, and it wasn’t just one bet. It was a parlay bet included with that,” said Hammer.
A parlay bet is when someone bets on multiple things to happen in one game. All have to happen for the person to win.
“After those bets were made, news broke that the starting pitcher for Alabama would not be pitching that day. He was ‘injured,’ and they went with a bullpen guy, so that raised a lot of questions, ‘Why is this level of money coming in on this SEC baseball game on a week day when normally that type of money doesn’t happen?,'” said Hammer.
That’s when industry watch dogs started digging deeper.
“Folks from Louisiana, folks from Ohio, folks from Las Vegas, all part of these watch dog groups came together and they came to the conclusion that the head coach of Alabama was part of what’s going on here. Now, there’s a lot we don’t know.” said Hammer.
What Hammer does know is the profits from these bets was not be very big LSU is better than Alabama.
“Which kind of makes this story surprising is even if you bet the mortgage on it, the payout isn’t going to be that much. It’s a really good team versus a really average team,” said Hammer.
Hammer told I-Team 8 to expect to see more scandals like this with the expansion of sports betting across the country.
“This isn’t anything new to sports betting. Even before, it was basically in every state. There have been point shaving scandals before. This won’t be the last one, I promise you,” said Hammer.