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Indiana's Top 10 News Stories Of 2014

As 2014 comes to a close, there are several news events that had a significant impact on Hoosiers this year, as well as stories we will likely remember for years to come. We asked you to rank the top 10 news stories of 2014, and you responded. Here are the results, along with some context and updates on Indiana's Top 10 Stories of 2014.

10. IU Basketball Players Suspended For 'Poor Choices'

After three IU Basketball players were suspended, coach Tom Crean said he's going to do everything he can to improve decision-making among players. Freshman player Emmitt Holt was suspended after he struck sophomore teammate Devin Davis with a vehicle in early November. Holt was cited for illegal consumption of alcohol and for operating a vehicle with a blood alcohol level above 0.02. Two other sophomore players were also suspended for an incident that occurred this summer. IU Athletics would not say what the "incident" was, but ESPN reported the players failed drug tests. The suspensions sparked major controversy in the sports world, and some IU fans even called for Coach Crean to be replaced. All three suspended players returned in late November.

9. Bloomington And Indianapolis Approve Deer Kills

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The Board of Park Commissioners voted 4-0 in favor of a contract to allow a sharpshooting firm to kill up to 100 deer in Griffy Lake Nature Preserve at a meeting in late May. The Indianapolis Parks and Recreation Board approved a similar deer reduction plan in Eagle Creek in September. Wildlife management experts from the Humane Society of the United States visited Bloomington to explore alternatives, and the decision was met with protests by deer advocacy groups such as BANIDS. Signs posted at Griffy Lake Nature Preserve in November indicated the park was closed in preparations for the kill. Director of Parks and Recreation Mick Renneisen said the signs would be the only advance public notice of the deer kill, which is contracted to take place by Feb. 28.

8. Purdue University Shooter Kills Fellow Student On Campus

One person died in a Jan. 21 shooting on Purdue University's campus. Twenty-three-year-old shooter Cody Cousins killed 21-year-old Purdue senior Andrew Boldt. Cousins was sentenced to 65 years in prison in September. Cousins committed suicide at the Indiana State Prison in Michigan City in late October. He had self-inflicted lacerations to his neck and arms, which appeared to come from a standard-issue razor given to prisoners for personal grooming.

7. Governor Unveils Plan To Expand Healthy Indiana Plan

Gov. Mike Pence unveiled the expansion, called HIP 2.0, in May. Pence's administration submitted the proposal to the federal government as alternative to expanding traditional Medicaid. The governor said expansion would close a coverage gap for approximately 350,000 Hoosiers. But the plan has stalled at the federal level. The governor discussed the plan with President Obama when the president visited Evansville in October and later met with Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell. Pence wants the federal government to fund the expansion at the same rate it would Medicaid expansion, but HIP 2.0 does not meet all the same requirements as Medicaid.

6. Indiana Supreme Court Upholds Right To Work Law

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The Indiana Supreme Court announced in May it would hear a challenge to the state's right-to-work law. A county judge had previously ruled the law, which bans union contracts that require non-union employees to pay fees for representation, unconstitutional. The Supreme Court heard arguments in September and upheld the law as constitutional in November, unanimously rejecting a union claim that the measure violates a provision of the Indiana Constitution that prohibits the state from demanding services without compensation. The court reaffirmed that view in December when it told a lower court judge to dismiss another lawsuit challenging the measure.

5. Lawmakers Approve Pre-k Pilot Program

The 2014 General Assembly passed legislation approving a small-scale preschool pilot program, after rejecting a similar initiative in 2013. State officials with the Family and Social Services Administration immediately began preparations for “On My Way Pre-K,” including choosing five counties to participate – Allen, Jackson, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh – and opening up applications for eligible providers and families. The legislature will fund the program with $10 million a year, and each county must provide a 10 percent match. Funding has become one of the biggest issues, particularly after Governor Pence’s decision to pull Indiana’s application for federal grant money. The program targets low-income families, of which more than 1,800 applied for the limited January launch of the program in four of the counties. Full implementation, including Jackson County’s efforts, will begin in August.

4. ISIS Beheads Indy Native Abdul-Rahman, also known as Peter, Kassig

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Indianapolis native and veteran Abdul-Rahman Kassig, also known as Peter Kassig, was identified as the next beheading target of the so-called Islamic State in a video released on Oct. 3. Kassig was running a humanitarian aid organization in Syria at the time of his kidnapping. A video ISIS released in mid-November showed the beheading of Kassig. White House officials later confirmed the video was authentic. Hundreds gathered the following week for a memorial service at Butler University and the local Islamic community also held a service. Kassig's birth family broke their silence after his death.

3. EPA Requires Indiana To Cut Its Carbon Emissions By 20 Percent

The Environmental Protection Agency announced in June a new set of proposed regulations for coal-fired power plants with the goal of reducing emissions 30 percent by 2030. Gov. Mike Pence said the proposed rules would have "a devastating effect on Indiana ratepayers, on Indiana businesses and Indiana jobs." The governor urged Congress to block the proposed regulations, saying it would threaten the reliability of the electricity supply. Those supporting the measures say the nation relies too much on coal and Indiana should enter the race for clean energy. Indiana joined 11 other states in a lawsuit in August to stop the regulations.

2. Indiana Becomes First State To Exit Common Core Standards

Indiana became the first state to withdraw from the nationally crafter academic standards called the Common Core in March. Gov. Mike Pence said the state would instead write its own educational standards. The repeal left some teachers wondering what would replace the Common Core. Some have said the state's new standards resemble the Common Core too much. Perhaps the biggest consequence is the creation of a new standardized test. Requirements in the federal No Child Left Behind law say a state’s assessment must test students on that state’s standards.

1. Gay Marriage Legalized In Indiana

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Same-sex marriage became legal in Indiana Oct. 6 after the U.S. Supreme Court declined to hear a case from Indiana seeking to ban same-sex marriage. County clerks across the state received a mandate Oct. 7 from the 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals telling them they must issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Same-sex marriage had been briefly legal in the state in June after a circuit court judge struck down the law, saying marrying the person you love, regardless of gender, is a fundamental right. Those couples were able to get married in a short window before that ruling was put on hold.

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