Local News

Daniels: Changes Planned in Response to Stage Collapse

From the Associated Press

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels is outlining a handful of changes the state is taking following last year’s deadly state fair stage collapse.

Daniels says he has ordered the state Department of Homeland Security to begin reviewing temporary outdoor structures like the stage rigging that collapsed Aug. 13.

He also said firings at the state fair commission could be a part of an overhaul he’s now considering. He did not say whether that included State Fair director Cindy Hoye.

An independent investigation released last week found the state fair had no clear chain of command for deciding when to evacuate fans. A separate probe found that the rigging which killed seven people and injured close to 60 people was not built to withstand the 59-mph winds that knocked it down.

Local News

Sugarland To Testify Next Week In Stage Collapse Suits

From the Associated Press

Members of the country duo Sugarland will give video depositions from West Virginia next week in lawsuits over the Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed seven people and injured dozens of others.

Sugarland members Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush will testify April 12 and 13 from Charleston, West Virginia.

The testimony will focus on whether Sugarland resisted delaying the start of their Aug. 13 concert despite threatening weather. The stage and rigging collapsed onto fans amid high winds ahead of a thunderstorm.

A judge ordered the depositions last month in lawsuits against Mid-America Sound Corp., the company that owns the stage and rigging that collapsed.

Mid-America denies it did anything to warrant the stage collapse.

(Photo from

Local News

Hearing Set on Sugarland Deposition Request

A hearing is scheduled tomorrow in Indianapolis on a request that the country music duo Sugarland give depositions in lawsuits over last year’s deadly Indiana State Fair stage collapse.

Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush say they want to wait until May to testify because they’re preparing to tour. But attorneys for the company that built the stage rigging involved in the August 13 collapse want them to be deposed next week.

A Sugarland spokesman says Nettles and Bush aren’t refusing to give depositions but “are simply refusing to be bullied into doing so on short notice.”

Seven people died and dozens more were injured when the stage rigging collapsed in a gust of wind as Sugarland was preparing to take the stage.

(Information for this story came from the Associated Press)

Local News

Sugarland Lawyers: Fans’ Inaction Led To State Fair Injuries

From the Associated Press:

Attorneys for the country duo Sugarland say the injuries fans suffered in a deadly stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair were “their own fault.”

Sugarland’s attorneys say some or all of the injuries happened because fans failed to take steps to ensure their own safety before high winds toppled stage rigging onto the crowd awaiting the band’s Aug. 13 concert.

Seven people died and 58 were injured.

In a Feb. 16 response to a civil suit filed in November, they also say fair officials and stage rigging builder Mid-America Sound Corp. were responsible for the stage setup. They call the wind that toppled the structure an “act of God.”

Sugarland’s attorneys are seeking a jury trial. The stage collapse is the focus of several investigations.

The band later issued a statement, saying it’s devastated that people “want to point fingers and try to sensationalize” the tragedy, and that its fans are the “single most important thing” to the duo.

Local News Politics

OSHA Issues Citations, Fines For Indiana State Fair Stage Collapse

From the Associated Press:

The Indiana Labor Department says the company that built the stage ahead of last summer’s deadly state fair collapse showed “plain indifference” to safety standards.

Commissioner Lori Torres said today that Mid-America Sound Corporation has been cited with three major safety violations in connection with the collapse of outdoor stage rigging in high winds that killed seven people Aug. 13. A crowd had gathered at the stage to see the country duo Sugarland perform.

The department issued a $63,000 fine against the company.

It is also citing the Indiana State Fair Commission and a stagehands union for safety regulation violations.

Officials say the commission failed to conduct proper safety evaluations of its concert venues. Smaller fines were issued against the fair and the union.

Local News

Stage Collapse Report To Be Released Wednesday

From the Associated Press:

Indiana regulators will release a report Wednesday on their investigation into August’s deadly stage rigging collapse at the Indiana State Fair.

The state Department of Labor said today that the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration’s findings will be released during a Wednesday morning briefing at the Statehouse.

The briefing will include an outline of IOSHA’s findings and the announcement of any safety orders issued as a result of its probe.

Seven people died and 58 were injured after the stage rigging collapsed Aug. 13 during high winds at the state fairgrounds.

Two out-of-state companies hired by the state are also reviewing the collapse and the state’s emergency response to the disaster.

Local News

Nearly All Stage Collapse Claimants Accept Indiana Settlement Offers

The Indiana Attorney General’s office says all but two of the claimants from last summer’s state fair stage collapse will accept settlement offers from the state.

Spokesman Bryan Corbin says 63 claimants have confirmed they’ll accept the offers, including the estates of seven people killed in the August 13 incident just prior to a Sugarland concert.

The other 58 will be compensated for their injuries, based on severity.

Local News Politics

Payment Offers Made To Indiana Stage Collapse Victims, Families

From the Associated Press

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is offering payments of $300,000 to the families of the seven people who died after a stage collapsed at the Indiana State Fair, with more available for those who were hospitalized for days before their deaths.

Zoeller says the rest of the money from the state’s $5 million tort fund will go to those injured in the collapse.

The payments announced today were set in consultation with claims expert Kenneth Feinberg and with victims’ lawyers based on medical expenses submitted to the state.

The offers must be accepted or rejected by Monday.

The state’s liability for the Aug. 13 collapse before a Sugarland concert is capped by law at $5 million. Some victims are challenging that cap and an Indianapolis lawmaker says he wants it changed.

Local News

Hearing Set For Dispute In Stage Collapse Probe

A hearing is scheduled tomorrow in Indianapolis regarding the investigation into the collapse of stage rigging at the Indiana State Fair that killed seven people.

A stagehands union local is contesting a search warrant obtained by the Indiana Occupational Safety and Health Administration to search for records at the union hall.

Investigators say they want to review training and employment records because one union member was killed and at least nine others were injured in the collapse

Union leaders say Indiana OSHA has no jurisdiction over the hall because it’s not a work site and the stagehands were hired by the Indiana State Fair Commission.

A judge last week issued a stay of the search and scheduled Wednesday’s hearing.

The stage rigging collapsed August 13 in a gust of wind just before the country duo Sugarland was scheduled to perform.

Workers have begun removing the wreckage to a warehouse for inspection.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Kentucky State Fair Officials Plan No Changes Following Indiana Tragedy

Gates open tomorrow morning at 7:00 for the 2011 Kentucky State Fair.

Spokeswoman Amanda Storment says officials are mindful of last week’s tragedy at the Indiana State Fair, where five people were killed when a concert stage rigging was brought down by a gust of wind.

Storment says they’re confident that the rigging that’s used for the ten outdoor shows here is safe.

“It’s on hydraulics and the stage top can be raised and lowered as needed. We feel confident that those outdoor concerts in Cardinal Stadium, it’s a safe place to be. We have a much smaller stage than the Indiana State Fair had,” she said.

“Because we are an exposition center that operates 365 days a year, we are accustomed to having safety procedures in place, we’re vigilant about those kinds of emergency procedures. We’re in constant contact with the weather service.”

The Louisville stage is supplied and assembled by the concert promoter and currently not subject to state Agriculture Department inspections, as are rides and some other fair attractions.

Some 600,000 people are expected to visit the fair during its ten-day run. Attractions includes hundreds of exhibits, midway rides, concerts and food.

Storment says hundreds of temporary fair workers have been hired, but more will be needed during and after the event.

“Because there is somewhat of a turnover, we are going to need other people throughout the fair to apply. If you want to work three, four, five days, that’s great, we have all different shifts for people to work. So yes, we continue to hire,” she said.

The state fair employment trailer is at Gate 4 of the Kentucky Exposition Center.