* Elkhart County getting nearly 400 new jobs
GOSHEN, Ind. (AP) -- A northern Indiana county that experienced the state's highest unemployment rate three years ago continues its rebound with nearly 400 new jobs expected to be created in the coming months.
The Elkhart Truth and The Goshen News report the Elkhart County Council gave final or preliminary approval to tax phase-ins to four companies seeking to expand in the county where the jobless rate topped out at nearly 19 percent in March 2009.
Recreational vehicle frame manufacturer Fortress Technologies LLC has agreed to hire 266 people over the next seven years in exchange for a property tax phase-in for new equipment at a plant site in Middlebury.
The council also has given preliminary approval to tax phase-ins for three other companies that promise to hire a total of 125 people.
* Gary man struck, killed by freight train
GARY, Ind. (AP) -- Lake County authorities say a 29-year-old Gary man has died after being struck by a freight train in the northwestern Indiana city.
The county coroner's office identifies the victim as 29-year-old Marques Maurice Rummage.
Gary police tell the Post-Tribune and The Times that Rummage was walking on the train trucks when he was struck by the train on Saturday afternoon.
Police say the train's engineer sounded the train's horn and applied the brakes but could not keep from striking the man.
Investigators are trying to determine why Rummage was walking along the tracks.
* Police probing Sullivan County slaying seek tips
MEROM, Ind. (AP) -- Authorities are asking for the public's help in solving the apparent slaying of an 85-year-old retired farmer in rural western Indiana.
Lowell Badger of Merom was found dead in his home Saturday about 30 miles south of Terre Haute. Indiana State Police say there were obvious signs of trauma, and electronics and other items appeared to have been taken from the home. The victim's fully clothed body was discovered by his son.
Investigators ask anyone who may have seen or heard anything suspicious in the area between 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday morning to contact the Putnamville state police post at 765-653-4114.
An autopsy is scheduled for Monday.
*Drought, heat take toll on Christmas firs
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. (AP) -- Indiana Christmas tree growers are rethinking their planting strategies after the summer's heat and drought took a steep toll on one of the holiday's most popular trees.
Greg Fowler lost 10 percent of his Fraser fir crop at his 45-acre Bloomington tree farm. He tells The Herald-Times he won't plant more because the trees don't tolerate Indiana's climate.
Fraser firs are native to high elevations and cooler climates found in the southern Appalachian mountains. Fowler says temperatures above 85 degrees are hard on the trees.
Purdue Extension Service forester Lindsey Purcell says climate change is altering many growing zones and pushing some species out of Indiana.
Fans of the Fraser fir will likely still be able to find them as tree sellers ship them in from cooler areas.
* Non-profits worry about impact of 'fiscal cliff'
MUNCIE, Ind. (AP) -- Indiana nonprofit agencies are closely watching negotiations in Washington in hopes the nation's leaders can avert the "fiscal cliff."
Agencies say the looming combination of tax increases and spending cuts could cut donations at a time when the organizations and their clients are still struggling to recover from the recession.
Teresa Clemmons of A Better Way in Delaware County tells The Star Press that any additional drops in funding could significantly impact the agency's programs to help victims of domestic violence.
Agencies say uncertainty about what funding would be cut and how quickly make it difficult to prepare for the worst-case scenario.