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Monday, July 4, 2022
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  • PORTAGE: CITY DELAYS FINAL PAYCHECK — Local government employees in an Indiana city will have to wait until next year to get their last paycheck for 2021. Portage officials said they can’t cover payroll on Dec. 31. The money won’t be available until Jan. 3, the (Northwest Indiana) Times reported. Portage typically has 26 paydays a year but has 27 in 2021. “The clerk’s shameful decision to delay payroll without adequate notice would be a total disappointment at any time of the year. But to do this right before the holidays shows a complete lack of respect and consideration for the city’s workers,” said Ed Maher, spokesman for International Union of Operating Engineers Local 150. Clerk-Treasurer Nina Rivas said letting employees know sooner would have disrupted work in her office, especially for the payroll clerk.

     

    MISHAWAKA: THREAT EXTENDS E-LEARNING IN SCHOOLS - Mishawaka High School has moved to an e-learning day for the third day in a row due to a threat against the school (WVPE). The school was also on e-learning days Monday and Tuesday in response to the same threat. In a post on the district’s Facebook page, the district says the threat is still under investigation by the Mishawaka Police Department. All staff and teachers are working from home. The e-learning day only applies to Mishawaka High School — all other city schools are open for in-person learning today.

     

    FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL DOESN'T REMOVE STRIP CLUB RESTRICTIONS – Two weeks after a push to remove some restrictions on sexually oriented businesses, Fort Wayne City Council once again failed to remove the partial repeal (WANE-TV). After City Council decided to uphold the restrictions on Dec. 7, a motion by Councilman Jason Arp (R-4th District) was approved to table the final vote until Dec. 21. Tuesday night’s vote was the same as it was two weeks ago. Jason Arp, Michelle Chambers, Sharon Tucker and Glynn Hines voted “yes” to remove those restrictions. Tom Didier, Tom Freistroffer, Paul Ensley, Russ Jehl, and Geoff Paddock voted “no.”

     

    CLINTON COUNTY: COVID OUTBREAK AT JAIL - COVID-19 outbreaks are running their course through the Clinton County Sheriff's Office and jail (WLFI-TV). The outbreak in the jail started about two weeks ago, while another outbreak closed the sheriff's administrative offices this week. It's unclear if the two are related. Sheriff Rich Kelly in a Facebook post confirmed at least 18 inmates were infected. Three of those are active cases, one of which is a work release participant. None of the cases are serious. Kelly notes in the post that the jail houses about 180 inmates, all of whom are offered the COVID-19 vaccine and masks. This outbreak is the first to hit the jail since the start of the pandemic.

     

    LaPORTE COUNTY: OFFICIALS URGE MASKING DUE TO COVID SURGE — The number of COVID-19 cases is climbing rapidly in La Porte County, and county health officials are urging everyone to wear masks as the holidays approach (LaPorte Herald-Dispatch). “We are currently seeing a rapid increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in La Porte County,” said Dr. Sandra Deausy, county health officer. “We are up to 18,740 public cases and 283 deaths [as of Tuesday morning]. La Porte County has logged 500 new cases of COVID-19 per week this month.”

     

    LaPORTE COUNTY: COUNCIL PASSES PAY INCREASES — LaPorte County government workers are receiving a bonus in addition to a pay increase in an attempt to stop employees from leaving for higher pay elsewhere (Maddux, NWI Times). The LaPorte County Council voted unanimously recently to give a $2,000 bonus to employees next year and in 2023. The bonuses, costing $2.6 million, will be reflected in paychecks over the next two years.

     

    MONROE COUNTY: COUNCIL DENIES $18K COMMISSIONER RAISES - The Monroe County Council denied the board of commissioners an $18,000 raise Tuesday night (Indiana Public Media). The three commissioners were hoping to amend the salary ordinance portion of the adopted 2022 county budget, which sets their compensation at $48,886 next year. This is a $2,886 increase from their 2021 salaries of $46,000. However, commissioners requested $67,158 for 2022. The request was in line with other elected positions like county clerk and auditor, both of which make $70,000 per year. “This isn’t about people,” commissioners president Julie Thomas said. “It’s about the office and a demonstration of your [county council] respect for this very important role in county government and ensuring that whoever is elected to this job doesn’t have to take other jobs on.”

     

    ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: NEW MAPS ASSAILED - The County Council is challenging the way the County Commissioners drew their maps. That is because these new maps will impact county council districts (WNDU-TV). Many say the biggest concern with the commissioners maps is how the minority population is lumped into one of the three commissioner districts. “I don’t think it’s equitable. It’s totally changed and there doesn’t seem to be any reason for it,” said Resident Deborah Riley. St. Joseph County Commissioner Derek Dieter is the only commissioner who voted against the maps. He said the whole process has been “dysfunctional.” “We should have never gotten to this position. There should have been public input with both parties working together collectively to make something good for all the voters of St. Joe County,” Dieter said.

     

    VANDERBURGH COUNTY: SHERIFF GIVES $35K TO CHARITIES - Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding presented area charities with over $35,000 on Wednesday (WFIE-TV). According to a press release, that money was raised during a holiday party he jointly hosted at Oak Meadow Country Club at the beginning of the month.

  • LAFAYETTE: HS CLOSED DUE TO GUN THREAT — McCutcheon High School was placed on lockout after a photo was shared with the MHS administration depicting a student holding what appeared to be a gun (WLFI-TV). According to a released statement, the school immediately notified the Tippecanoe County Sheriff's Office and took measures to ensure everyone’s safety, including placing the school on lockout. A lockout happens when there is a threat outside the school building. No one may leave or enter the building and classes and operations inside the building continue as usual. According to Tippecanoe County Sheriff Bob Goldsmith, the photo appeared to be taken at school.

     

    MISHAWAKA: THREAT CLOSES HS FOR SECOND DAY - Mishawaka High School is on eLearning again Tuesday due to a threat. This marks the second day in a row that students learned remotely (WNDU-TV). School officials are asking that no students report to the building and that teachers work from home. This comes as police continue working to determine if the threat is credible or not.

     

    NEW ALBANY: COP PLEADS GUILTY; WILL RESIGN — A southern Indiana police officer has pleaded guilty to official misconduct and agreed to resign from the department after allegedly having a sexual relationship with a police informant (AP). Adam N. Schneider pleaded guilty Monday in Floyd County to one felony count of official misconduct and one misdemeanor count of interference reporting a crime. He was previously charged with three felony counts of obstruction of justice and one felony count of official misconduct. Schneider’s plea agreement calls for him to face two years of probation and resign from the New Albany Police Department.

     

    MARTINSVILLE: SUPER FUND SITE FUNDED, STAFFED - A Superfund site in Martinsville will receive money for cleanup from the federal infrastructure law. It’s one of 49 such sites in the country that hasn't had federal funding before (Indiana Public Media). The groundwater in the city has been polluted with the industrial chemical PCE and toxic vapors from the soil are seeping into buildings. Residents suspect the chemical could be causing rare stomach cancers and other illnesses in the area. The money will go to address the source of the pollution as well as install treatment systems in the homes and businesses affected by the toxic vapors. Erik Hardin is the Environmental Protection Agency's remedial project manager for the Superfund site in Martinsville. "Funding is what drives this. So now that we know we have funding secured, we can move into this next step," Hardin said.

     

    LaPORTE: MAYOR DERMODY BESTS MAYOR PARRY IN RED KETTLE BATTLE - LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody has defended his bell-ringing title by raising more money in The Salvation Army Mayors' Red Kettle Challenge than Michigan City Mayor Duane Parry (NWI Times). Dermody and members of his administration had $6,044 in their kettle during a 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. stint outside the Kroger store Monday. Some $3,128 was dropped into the kettle Parry and his team from City Hall manned from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. at Al’s Supermarket on Franklin Street. “We came into this expecting victory, and so, we’re excited to see that we won,” Dermody said.

     

    LAKE COUNTY: JUDGE UPHOLDS BUNCICH CONVICTION - A federal appeals court is leaving former Lake County Sheriff John Buncich in prison (Dolan, NWI Times). A 2-1 decision late Monday by a panel of Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals judges denied an appeal for freedom by 75-year-old Buncich, who now has few options left in his legal battle. His defense attorney, Kerry C. Connor, argued last month that Buncich’s punishment — a 151-month sentence imposed last year by Senior U.S. District Court Judge James T. Moody — was unfairly harsh. She said it was too long in comparison to sentences handed out to other corrupt area officials and disregarded Buncich’s long record of community service and miscalculated the monetary harm Buncich’s bribery amounted to.

     

    BOONE COUNTY: HENDRICKS HELPS WITH DARK BOX FIGHT - Hendricks County will give $25,000 toward Boone County’s legal fees in fighting against companies that would use the dark box tax loophole to avoid paying their fair share of taxes (Lebanon Reporter). Boone County Council President Elise Nieshalla announced Dec. 14 that the Hendricks County Council unanimously passed a motion to offset Boone County’s legal costs in a fight that has benefited every county in the state. Big-box stores use the dark-box loophole to argue their stores should be assessed at their value if they were empty, instead of at the assessed value the county places on them as fully functioning. The stores typically ask for a 30% or more discount.

     

    BOONE COUNTY: CENTER TWP. PROVIDES VIRTUALLY NO FIRE PROTECTION - The Center Township Fire Department provides “virtually no protection” from fire, according to the International Risk Management Institute. CTFD’s ISO rating is 9-10 on a scale of 1-10, with 1 being the best rating, and 10 being the worst (Lebanon Reporter). A private company, The Insurance Services Office (ISO), rates fire departments and provides scores to the departments and insurance companies. ISO scores reflect how well prepared a department is to fight fires, and insurance companies may use the scores to evaluate risk and determine rates they charge home and business owners. Insurance companies vary in how they approach ISO ratings. Homes in areas with a lower ISO rate may save up to 5% on insurance. “It depends on the company,” Dan Lamar, insurance agent with Walker Hughes Insurance in Lebanon, said. “ They all have their own tiers of discounts, and differentiate between paid and volunteer departments too.”

     

    MARION COUNTY: SHERIFF TO STOP PRISONER TRANSPORT - A big change for several local police departments is coming (Steele, WRTV). The Marion County Sheriff’s Office will soon stop transporting people arrested by police outside Indianapolis to the Marion County Jail. It means police officers in Beech Grove, Cumberland, Lawrence, Southport and Speedway will have to transport those detainees themselves.

     

    ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: SPECIAL VICTIMS UNIT TO CONTINUE - St. Joseph County’s joint Special Victims Unit is no longer shutting down at the end of this year (WVPE). The city of South Bend announced a new agreement Tuesday between the South Bend, Mishawaka and county police departments to continue the unit with some modifications to alleviate staffing shortages. The joint SVU dates back to 2003. According to a news release from the city of South Bend, it will continue to investigate and prosecute child physical and sexual abuse, child neglect and exploitation and adult sex crimes. But the three individual police departments will handle their own investigations into matters involving domestic violence.

     

    NOBLE COUNTY: COUNCIL EYES INCREASED VEHICLE TAX - Over the last five years, Noble County has made serious strides in improving overall road quality and replacing expensive bridges at the end of their lifespan, and the Noble County Highway Department doesn't want to lose that momentum (KPC News). However, in order to keep up with rising material costs, keep up maintenance on the county's more than 800 miles of county roads and have enough money to pursue grants for major works projects, Noble County needs more funds coming in per year. That's leading the Noble County Council to hold a public hearing in January to consider raising the county's vehicle taxes once again, where Noble County Highway Department Engineer Zack Smith will make his case for a higher fee.

  • EVANSVILLE: UNIVERSITY PAUSES BASKETBALL DUE TO COVID - University of Evansville says their program will remain in pause with what they call ongoing COVID developments (WFIE-TV). Officials say the team will not travel to Dallas for Tuesday’s scheduled game at SMU. The program says they’ll temporarily halt all team activities. The Aces are not expected to return to the hardwood until after the new year when they play Northern Iowa.

     

    EVANSVILLE: NUT CLUB BRINGING HEAVY EQUIPMENT TO KY DISASTER AREA - Clean-up is expected to start back up Monday in Western Kentucky (WFIE-TV). It’s now been a week since the deadly storms ripped through multiple communities. The West Side Nut Club took off to Dawson Springs to help early Monday morning with dozens of volunteers heading down. They’re bringing heavy machinery to help in the clean-up process.

     

    MUNCIE: CITY OFFERS INCENTIVES TO LURE EMPLOYEES — Offering incentive packages to lure employers is a very old and common practice. In a recent twist, Muncie is skipping the employer altogether and aiming straight at employees (Penticuff, Muncie Star Press). Mayor Dan Ridenour has dedicated $250,000 in local Economic Development Income Tax money and the Indiana Economic Development Corporation is matching that amount in an effort to market Muncie to people working remotely. The city is offering people who work from their residences, and earn $70,000 or more, $5,000 in cash as well as co-working space courtesy of The Innovation Connector and access to the Ball State University Library. The incentive package is appraised at $6,000 on a website called MakeMyMove.com. In return, the at-home worker moves to Muncie. Ridenour said the city has partnered with a company called TMap, which operates the website and actively markets the city to people who have expressed a desire to move to communities of the size and nature of Muncie.  "They do a lot more than post an ad to a website," Ridenour said. "… They know a person's patterns, their likes and dislikes."

     

    TERRE HAUTE: BIRD MUSEUM TO OPEN IN 2023 — Organizers of a planned museum about basketball great Larry Bird in Terre Haute have pushed back its expected opening until 2023 (AP). The museum will be part of the new Terre Haute Convention Center that is scheduled for a March 2022 opening. The museum section, however, is awaiting decisions on about what memorabilia will be available, the Tribune-Star reported. The museum opening is “going to be about a year behind” the convention center’s opening, Gerard Hilferty of museum planning group Hilferty and Associates told Vigo County Capital Improvement Board last week. Hilferty said designing the museum space will take about six months to complete, followed by six to nine months for audio visual production and exhibit constriction.

     

    FORT WAYNE: BRANTLEY TO HEAD NE PUBLIC RADIO - Terra Brantley has been chosen to serve as Northeast Indiana Public Radio’s president and general manager beginning Jan. 31, 2022. Brantley will be making the move from the Fort Wayne Urban League where she holds the position of CEO. Prior to that she worked at WANE 15. “After conducting a national search with a competitive candidate pool, the NIPR Board of Trustees is thrilled to announce Terra as the organization’s next leader. Terra has the media expertise, leadership skills and vision to take WBOI successfully into the future,” said Lynne Gilmore, chair of NIPR’s Board of Trustees. “Terra is highly-respected in the community and well-positioned to cultivate and build strong relationships to grow support for public radio.” Brantley succeeds Peter Dominowski, who will retire at the end of the year after nine years of service to the organization.

     

    MISHAWAKA: SCHOOLS IN E-LEARNING DUE TO THREATS - Mishawaka High School was on eLearning on Monday due to a threat and will do so again today (WNDU-TV). School officials are asking that no students report to the building and that teachers work from home. This comes as police work to determine if the threat is credible or not. All other School City of Mishawaka schools will be open Monday for in-person learning.

     

    PERU: HS STUDENT ARRESTED FOR BOMB THREAT — A 15-year-old Peru student has been charged with intimidation and false informing after police say the juvenile left a bomb threat note in a common area of the high school on Friday afternoon (Logansport Pharos-Tribune). Peru High School students were immediately evacuated to the junior high building after the note was found around 12:30 p.m., according to a news release. All junior high and high school students were then dismissed early at 1:15 p.m. from the junior high building.

     

    ELKHART COUNTY: NEW MAPS APPROVED - Elkhart County’s local election districts are now set for the next 10 years (WVPE). State and local lawmakers are required to redraw districts after every decennial census – but Elkhart County’s council and commissioner districts didn’t actually need redrawing. At the Board of Commissioners meeting Monday, County Clerk Chris Anderson said the county’s population distribution still falls within the state limits for each district. “The deviation between the biggest and the smallest of the council districts is 6.93 percent – well below the recommended statutory 10 percent that is set out in Indiana code,” Anderson said.

     

    ALLEN COUNTY: HEALTH OFFICER GIRDS FOR OMICRON - Just a day after it was reported that the first case of the Omicron variant was detected in Indiana, the Allen County health commissioner said he expects the variant to spread “fairly quickly” throughout the state (WANE-TV). And he’s concerned. “I suspect that this is not the only case,” said Dr. Matthew Sutter. “It takes a while before we can find it and sequence it. It could change things for us.”

     

    ELKHART COUNTY: ONCOLOGIST APPOINTED TO HEALTH BOARD - The Elkhart County Board of Health announced Monday that it is appointing Dr. Houman Vaghefi to the board effective immediately (WVPE). Vaghefi is an oncologist and the medical director of radiation oncology at the Goshen Center for Cancer Care. In a news release, the board of health said Vaghefi started seeing patients at Goshen Health in 2011 and is honored to serve on the board. “The County Health Department has a huge responsibility in protecting and assuring the health of the public, and I’m honored to serve my community in this way,” Vaghefi said in the release.

     

    TIPPECANOE COUNTY: NO VERDICT IN WABASH TWP. TRUSTEE CASE - Testimony wrapped up Wednesday in Wabash Township Trustee Jennifer Teising’s felony theft trial. As of the end of Monday, Tippecanoe Superior 5 Judge Kristen McVey had not posted in court records a hearing to announce a verdict (Bangert, Based in Lafayette).

  • FORT WAYNE: SCHOOLS REACT TO TIK-TOK VIOLENCE RUMORS – Area school leaders are working to stay ahead of rumored Friday violence spreading nationally on social media (WANE-TV). Since November’s shooting at Oxford High School in Michigan, more and more school districts have fallen victim to threats of violence in schools. Fort Wayne and surrounding area schools are included. Just last week, Southwest Allen Schools (SACS) investigated three threats that appeared to be localized. On December 6, Jay County Jr-Sr High School also investigated a potential threat that came from social media.

     

    MICHIGAN CITY: OFFICIALS MUST PAY BACK ARP FUNDS — Elected officials granted premium pay by the city using funds from the American Rescue Plan Act must pay that money back, or Michigan City could be in danger of having to return grant money (LaPorte Herald-Dispatch). The Michigan City Common Council voted in September to use ARPA funds to award one-time premium pay or retention bonuses to its essential workers in amounts totaling $500, $2,500 or $5,000, depending on the position.

     

    BLOOMINGTON: PETITIONERS SAY THEY CAN BLOCK ANNEXATION - The four-month remonstration window to petition against Bloomington’s annexation ordinances ends January 6 (Indiana Public Media). Some residents say they already have the signatures needed to void annexation, but will remonstration hold up if the city ends up challenging recent waiver legislation in court. Residents fighting annexation in area 2 formally submitted petitions at the Monroe County Courthouse this week. Patrick Ellis is a customer service representative at the auditor’s office. “Those aren't confirmed yet, but last I saw was nearly 2,000 signatures overall,” Ellis said. Organizers in areas 1C, 3, 4, and 5 say they’ve submitted enough petitions to block annexation. Volunteer Margaret Clements says they’re close to getting enough petitions in area 1A, 2, and are doubling down on area 1B.

     

    SOUTH BEND: CITY TO BUY DREWRY'S BREWERY SITE - The City of South Bend is in the process of acquiring the derelict Drewry’s Brewery site on the city’s northwest side. County and city officials announced the move Thursday (WVPE). According to county records, the current owner of the Drewry’s site owes over $128,000 in back taxes, penalties and code enforcement violations. City spokesperson Caleb Bauer said in an email the property has been under continuous code enforcement since February 2019 for demolition debris that hasn’t been cleared. He said there is also an active demolition order for any buildings still standing on the site.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: GOP COUNCILORS BACK SENATE CRIME BILLS - Indianapolis Republican City-County Councilors issued the following statement in response to the legislative proposal from Republican State Senators representing parts of Marion County. The legislators released a series of proposals aimed at improving public safety and reducing violent crime in Indianapolis (Howey Politics Indiana). “The State of Indiana is better when our capital city is thriving. Unfortunately, right now Indianapolis is suffering from a public safety crisis. The policies of Mayor Hogsett, Prosecutor Mears and the Democrat city council are not working. We applaud Senate Republicans for making improving public safety policy a priority. We appreciate the effort they have put in with stakeholders, and their proactive approach to be a partner in saving our capital city. We look forward to working with these senators, their colleagues in the Indiana General Assembly, and the Governor to make Indianapolis a safe place to live, work and play once again.”

     

    ALLEN COUNTY: $2B IN BUILDING PERMITS A RECORD - Allen County has shattered its previous building permit records in 2021, reaching a historic $2 billion worth of construction value (Howey Politics Indiana). The Allen County Building Department reported residential and commercial permit valuation totaled $2,007,595,638 as of December 9. That compares with the previous record of $1.63

    billion set in 2019 and $1.42 billion achieved last year. “Reaching $2 billion in building construction value in one year is not only a historic achievement, but also a clear indication of Allen County’s ongoing success and economic recovery,” said the Allen County Board of Commissioners.

     

    DELAWARE COUNTY: COUNCIL PASSES ON PAY RAISES - This time Delaware County Council thought better of accepting the $1,000 raises they provided to county employees who are paid out of the general fund (Penticuff, Muncie Star Press). Council voted Tuesday to not accept their own $1,000 raises provided to most county employees, including elected officials, following a difficult year of budgeting. The 2022 county budget was developed amid demands for higher pay for sheriff's department workers. An announcement concerning additional compensation for county workers is expected Friday afternoon at a special meeting of commissioners. The county reached a tentative settlement with UAW Local 321, which represents sheriff's employees, concerning overtime pay while the county building was closed due to the pandemic in 2020. Ryan Webb, a county council member, said Tuesday the commissioners plan to use the county's  American Rescue Plan money to settle the grievance.

     

    JAY COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS TABLE $700K IN ARP FUNDS FOR CHILD CARE - County officials agree child care is a problem in Jay County. The question is how they’re going to go about solving the issue (Portland Commercial-Review). Jay County Commissioners tabled a decision Monday about whether to contribute up to $700,000 in American Rescue Plan Act funds toward a project to convert the former Judge Haynes Elementary School into a facility for child care. Commissioners plan to tour the proposed building before potentially committing funds toward renovations. Doug Inman, executive director of The Portland Foundation, shared plans in November with Jay County Council and commissioners for purchasing the building, renovating it and developing it into a child care facility. Renovations are estimated at about $1.15 million, which includes tearing down the west wing, where the roof is failing. (Muhlenkamp Building Corporation estimated putting in a new sprinkler system would move the cost to $1.3 million.)

     

    LAKE COUNTY: INMATES TO LOSE HEALTH CARE OPTIONS - Inmates at the Lake County Jail may no longer have access to health care services beginning Jan. 1 (Carden, NWI Times). The Lake County Commissioners declined to approve Wednesday the sheriff's proposed contract with Correctional Health Indiana Inc. (CHI) for 2022 inmate medical services at a cost of $6.1 million, a 5% increase compared to 2021, and 20% more than 2020. The current CHI contract for the Lake County Jail expires Dec. 31. The commissioners are not scheduled to meet again until Jan. 19.

  • ELKHART COUNTY: COUNCILWOMAN WENGER DIES - County Councilwoman Tina Wenger has died, her colleagues in government were saddened to learn Monday (Fouts, Elkhart Truth). The 66-year-old at-large representative died at around 1 a.m. while in a hospital in Indianapolis, according to Elkhart County Commissioner Brad Rogers, who attends the same church as Wenger. He said she had been hospitalized for some time.

     

    VANDERBURG COUNTY: SEEKS STATE HELP ON STD OUTBREAK - Health officials in a southwestern Indiana county have turned to the state for help as they battle a worsening syphilis outbreak that began last summer. Indiana Department of Health staffers have been working with the Vanderburgh County Health Department for four weeks, helping with syphilis testing, including at places such as the county jail in Evansville, where several cases have been found. County health administrator Joe Gries said more than two dozen employees of the state agency have been working in the county on syphilis testing and contact tracing. “We’re gonna be focusing on it until we do start to see things slow down,” he said. Since the county’s outbreak began in June, it has seen 63 reported syphilis cases. That compares with about 40 cases the county recorded each year during 2020, 2019 and 2018, the Evansville Courier & Press reported.

     

    CASS COUNTY: EMS SERVICE BEGINS - At 7 a.m. Monday, the Cass County Emergency Medical Service (EMS) started as planned (Logansport Pharos-Tribune). The service is operating out of two places: 516 High St. by the Cass County Health Department, and 2200 Spear St. east of downtown Logansport. “It’s been busy,” said EMS Director Mikel Fort about the past few days. He and Alexis Bailey had painted the Spear Street station as part of the weekend preparations. There were some wrinkles to iron out after Monday’s opening, “just little things,” Fort said. “We were pretty much set for the inspections. The inspections went fine.” “It’s just going to be smooth sailing, hopefully,” Fort said. The Cass County EMS took over the service and the spots from Phoenix Paramedic Solutions, which Cass contracted with to provide ambulance services.

     

    LAKE COUNTY: COUNCIL MAKES JUNETEENTH A HOLIDAY - The Lake County Council is following the federal government's lead by making Juneteenth a paid day off for county government employees (Carden, NWI Times). Juneteenth typically is celebrated June 19 to commemorate the end of slavery in the United States. Next year, county workers will get June 20 off for the holiday, since June 19 is a Sunday. The county council vote to make Juneteenth the 15th annual paid holiday for county government employees was unanimous Tuesday. Though several council members initially urged alternatives to simply adding another paid day off to the county's holiday calendar.

     

    HAMMOND: COUNCIL PASSES VAX ORDERS — The Hammond Common Council has expressed support for Mayor Thomas McDermott's executive orders requiring all newly hired city employees, and all current employees who apply for a departmental transfer or promotion, be vaccinated (DeVore, NWI Times). During a Monday meeting the council unanimously adopted two resolutions supporting each of McDermott's executive orders, which were signed in mid-November. Before the vote, Hammond Chief of Staff Philip Taillon said the orders are designed to protect both city employees and residents. "Despite lots of information that is given out there, the fact is this: Fully vaccinated people are less likely to get COVID, they are less likely to spread the virus and they are also less likely to have severe effects from COVID," Taillon said. "Our employees interact with the residents of the city of Hammond in lots of different ways, so if they are better protected, the community is better protected as well.”

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: COUNCIL OKs $10M FOR MARS HILL - An Indianapolis City-County Council committee unanimously approved a $10.1 million list of flood control projects for the Mars Hill neighborhood on Monday, sending the full proposal a step closer to adoption (IBJ). If implemented, the projects could remove more than 650 parcels from the federal 100-year floodplain, releasing properties in the southwest-side neighborhood from federal flood insurance requirements and lessening flooding for those that remain in the floodplain. “This has been a long time coming for us,” said Mars Hill resident Allen Bridwell at the Metropolitan and Economic Development Committee meeting. “When we have a community meeting, one of the first things to come up is, ‘How’s the floodplain going?’ Once a month, ‘How’s it going?'”

     

    FORT WAYNE: RED RIVER RESPONDS TO SUBPOENAS – Red River Waste Solutions has officially responded to a subpoena issued by Fort Wayne City Council (WANE-TV). Councilman Russ Jehl told WANE 15 that Red River responded to a document saying Red River could provide a briefing. Instead, they cancelled after the City’s attorney stepped in and said Red River would not be able to pay a performance bond that is due on Jan. 1, 2022. The bond is about $800,000. “That’s disappointing, but telling, when you have a contractor that is bankrupt, doing a poor job, and is also not going to meet its basic responsibilities with the performance bond,” Jehl told WANE 15.

     

    SOUTH BEND: BAND WINS NBC'S THE VOICE - South Bend-based band Girl Named Tom is taking home the grand prize on The Voice, NBC’s singing competition reality show, after coming in first place Tuesday night (WVPE). The trio made history as the first non-solo act to win in the show’s 21 seasons and the first act to have four songs on the iTunes top 10 list at the same time. They are walking away with a recording contract and $100,000. Girl Named Tom is made up of three siblings — Caleb, Joshua and Bekah Liechty. They grew up in the small northwest Ohio town of Pettisville. But Caleb and Joshua both graduated from Goshen College, and all three have been based in South Bend since last March.

     

    VALPARAISO: WOMAN GETS PROBATION IN CHARTER SCHOOL THEFT — The former president of the parent advisory council at the Discovery Charter School in Porter was sentenced Tuesday to five years of probation after pleading guilty last month to stealing up to $50,000 from the group (NWI Times). Lisa Apato, 49, is required as part of the deal to pay back $50,000 to the parent group at a minimum payment of $500 a month, according to her attorney Bob Harper. She is to receive misdemeanor treatment immediately following the successful completion of probation, including repayment of the stolen funds, according to the plea agreement accepted by Porter Superior Court Judge Mike Fish. Apato pleaded guilty to two amended and reduced counts of felony theft in return for prosecutors dropping a more serious theft count and allowing her to serve her sentence on probation rather than behind bars, according to the proposed plea agreement. Apato served one day behind bars in the case.

     

    HAMMOND: FSSA OPENS OFFICE — North Lake County residents seeking in-person help to apply for or manage their state financial, food or health benefits soon will have a new place to get assistance (Carden, NWI Times). The Indiana Family and Social Services Administration is opening a new Division of Family Resources (DFR) office at 8 a.m. Monday at 6525 Columbia Ave. in Hammond. Services available at the office include help with the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, also known as SNAP; Temporary Assistance for Needy Families, or TANF; and health coverage programs through Indiana Medicaid. The office's regular hours are from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays. It shares space with the Indiana Manpower Placement and Comprehensive Training (IMPACT) job training program.

     

    BLOOMINGTON: POLICE INVESTIGATE 4 SWASTIKAS - Bloomington police are investigating four different reports of swastikas made in the last two weeks. The most recent report to BPD was made Monday of swastika on the side of a resident’s garage on East First Street (Indiana Public Media). The person who made the report said she found the graffiti Saturday. Rabbi Sue Silberberg is the executive director at the Helene G. Simon Hillel Center at IU. She says while IU has historically been a welcoming community, acts of anti-Semitism have been on the rise. “For most Jews when they see a swastika, it makes us feel unsafe. It reminds us of the Holocaust. For me, I feel sick in the pit of my stomach when I see it.”

  • INDIANAPOLIS: FINALIST IN REGIONAL COMPETITION - A central Indiana coalition has made the initial cut out of 529 applicants for the U.S. Economic Development Administration’s $1 billion “Build Back Better Regional Challenge,” the federal agency announced Monday. The EDA said the winning programs will receive up to $100 million each to use toward economic pandemic recovery (IBJ). The 60 finalists—each a coalition of partnering entities—have proposed projects that will develop or scale industry sectors, develop and train workers, and build resilient economies. The Central Indiana Initiative intends to “improve the competitiveness of, and access to, the region’s food processing and manufacturing cluster,” according to its project description. If it receives a grant, the coalition plans to launch food processing and production facilities, a Learning Lab and Science Center and a coalition to improve and coordinate regional transit. As a finalist, the Central Indiana Initiative, which is led by the city of Indianapolis, will receive a $500,000 grant to further develop its proposed projects. Finalists will use the funds to refine their proposals as they seek the larger grants, but will also put coalitions in a better position to apply for other funding sources if they don’t make the final cut.

     

    FORT WAYNE: CITY PRESSES RED RIVER — The City of Fort Wayne has asked Red River Waste Solutions for proof it can pay its performance bond by Jan. 1, but so far hasn’t received an answer, city spokesman John Perlich said Monday (WANE-TV). In the meantime, the City is making contingency plans for trash pickup should the Red River contract fail, Perlich said. “The City is quickly developing the capacity to secure emergency collection services through agreements with several national providers in the event that becomes needed,” Perlich wrote in answer to an email from WANE 15.

     

    SOUTH BEND: COUNCIL APPROVES ZOO BONDS - The South Bend Common Council unanimously approved a bond issue for improvements to the Potawatomi Zoo Monday night (WVPE). The ordinance authorizes the issue of up to $6.5 million in bonds to pay for capital projects as part of the zoo’s 30-year master plan. “I’d be remiss if I didn’t say it’s going to lions and tigers and bears, because it actually is,” City Controller Dan Parker said. “It’s going to the lion exhibit, the tiger exhibit and to help fund a bear exhibit.” The bonds will be backed by the portion of revenue from the county hotel-motel tax earmarked for the zoo under state law. The proceeds will go to the Potawatomi Zoological Society.

     

    BLOOMINGTON: CONTROLLED BURN LEAD LEVELS UNDER IDEM LIMITS - A third-party report by VET Environmental Engineering, the company contracted by the City of Bloomington,  said lead contamination in the area of the controlled burn on High Street doesn’t exceed state or federal limits (Indiana Public Media). The report, released Friday, said VET isn’t recommending further investigation, based upon its findings. The report said 13 air samples collected by the company showed no lead detection, and blood samples collected from firefighters who worked the burn and area residents did not indicate elevated levels of lead.

     

    TERRE HAUTE: PD, FD CONTRACTS APPROVED - Terre Haute police will receive a 12 percent wage increase over the next four years, while city firefighters will receive 8 percent wage increases over the next three years under collective bargaining agreements approved Monday by the city's Board of Public Works and Safety (Greninger, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). In the fire department agreement, firefighters will get a 1 percent wage increase in 2022, then a 4 percent wage increase in 2023 and a 3 percent increase in 2024, said City Attorney Eddie Felling. In the police agreement, which also includes a civilian workers contract, the city will pay a 1 percent wage increase in 2022, a 4 percent wage increase in 2023, a 3 percent wage increase in 2024 and a 4 percent wage increase in 2025. "These multi-year contracts, in general, are good for the city and the unions. It allows some future planning, from a budgetary standpoint and for someone who may be close to retiring," Felling said, adding contract negotiations have been ongoing throughout the year.

     

    MUNCIE: TYLER TARGET OF FORFEITURE ORDER. — Former Muncie Mayor Dennis Tyler is now the target of a $5,000 forfeiture order issued by a federal court judge (Walker, Muncie Star Press). U.S. District Court Judge Judge James Sweeney II — who on Nov. 10 sentenced Tyler to a year in federal prison after the ex-mayor pleaded guilty to theft of government funds — in recent days signed the forfeiture order at the request of federal prosecutors. During the sentencing hearing, Tyler agreed to return the $5,000 he accepted, in December 2015, from a contractor who, with the mayor's assistance, had won city contracts. Tracy Barton, at the time a Muncie Sanitary District official, delivered the cash to Tyler. In a later phone conversation with Barton, recorded by FBI agents, Tyler suggested he likely paid some of his own bills with the money, and also paid utility bills, and purchased turkeys, for some Muncie residents.

     

    COLUMBUS: LIENHOOP ANNOUNCES HIGH SPEED INTERNET - A plan to bring high-speed internet to about 80-percent of Columbus and Bartholomew County residents is in the works (Indiana Public Media). The city recently approved a letter of intent with infrastructure developer Meridiam to build and operate a broadband network. Meridiam is also working with the city of Bloomington, Martinsville, Shelbyville, and others. Columbus Mayor Jim Lienhoop says the offer came from Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton. “The Meridiam people had approached Bloomington and indicated that they were interested in building a network there," Lienhoop said. "But Bloomington wasn't big enough for that, they wanted to make a substantial investment $100 million.”

     

    CLARK COUNTY: COYLE ELECTED DEM CHAIRMAN - Chris Coyle was elected the new chairman of the Clark County Democratic Party during a caucus Dec. 9. Former Chairman Joe Weber stepped down from the position in November (News & Tribune). "It is an honor to be selected by my fellow Democrats to lead our local party," Coyle said. "We're going to do some great work in 2022. The Clark County Democratic Party is open to all who have an interest in improving our community. Currently in American politics, there's too much extremism and too little common sense. We're going to do our part to change that." Coyle says his priorities as chair will be modernizing the party's campaign capabilities and expanding the party by emphasizing transparency, inclusiveness and empowering voters.

     

    TIPPECANOE COUNTY: TEISING SHOWS UP TO TRIAL WEARING FLA JACKET - Day One in what is expected to be a three-day felony theft trial for Wabash Township Trustee Jennifer Teising found prosecutors and witnesses painting a picture of Teising making plans to bail out on the elected office, find a replacement and head off for a new life in Florida (Bangert, Based in Lafayette). In question: If prosecutors are right and a judge finds that a pile of receipts, text message conversations and months of extensive phone records presented in court Monday are enough to show Teising moved out of Wabash Township – and kept collecting her $35,729 trustee salary – after selling her West Lafayette house in June 2020, she’ll not only face criminal penalties on 21 felony charges, but she’ll also be out as township trustee. If Teising was nervous, she wasn’t showing it as she arrived for court. Or, at least, she wasn’t subtle about it – walking into Tippecanoe Superior Court 5 wearing a jacket touting Panama City Beach, a Florida locale where she’d been staying in her RV when media found her hundreds of miles from Wabash Township in December 2020.

     

    CASS COUNTY: SOLAR FARM GETS TAX ABATEMENT - The proposed Appleseed Solar solar field has received an economic development agreement with Cass County (Logansport Pharos-Tribune). On Friday, the Cass County Council approved a tax abatement plan for the field after a public hearing on the matter. The abatement plan calls for 10 years of a 100% abatement for real and personal property. Resident Lora Redweik asked if that included any depreciation of equipment. Jason Semsler of accounting and consulting firm Baker Tilly of Indianapolis said that was taken into account and is figured in to start after five years. In November, Greg Balsano of Baker Tilly told council members that Appleseed would save $17 million with the abatement. However, Appleseed will pay more than $27 million in taxes over the same time period, he said.

     

    BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY: HAZARD PAY BONUSES FOR EMPLOYEES -  Final approval was given to a proposal giving a one-time bonus to nearly 55% of all Bartholomew County employees at the end of this week (Columbus Republic). Initial approval was unanimously given Dec. 6 by the Bartholomew County commissioners to allocate $357,750 for what the county describes as “employee premium pay.” Final approval of the bonuses was given Monday. There will be 227 full-time employees receiving a one-time payment of $1,500, while 23-part time workers will get a single-payment of $750.

  • INDIANAPOLIS: 2 TEENS ARRESTED FOR GUNS AT WARREN CENTRAL HS — Two teens were arrested Thursday after three loaded weapons were found in a parked car at Warren Central High School, according to police reports and the district (WRTV). According to a statement from MSD of Warren Township, administrators at the school began an investigation and found the weapons. They were secured by law enforcement officers.

     

    CROWN POINT: TORNADO CONFIRMED - It has been determined a short-lived tornado traveled from unincorporated Cedar Lake into the north side of Crown Point on Friday night, meteorologists said after doing a survey of the damage Saturday (NWI Times).  The National Weather Service in Chicago confirmed this is the first December tornado in the Chicago metro area since reliable tornado records began in 1950. The last December tornado in the NWS Chicago forecast area was recorded Dec. 4, 1973, and happened south of the Chicago metro area in Iroquois County, Illinois.

     

    LAKE COUNTY: NEW MAPS CLOSE TO FINALIZATION -  There doesn't seem to be much need for the Indiana Election Commission to continue controlling the once-a-decade process of redrawing district boundaries for the three Lake County commissioners and seven county council seats (Carden, NWI Times). The election commission's two Republican and two Democratic members mostly sat mum during a public hearing Friday as the chairmen of the Lake County Democratic and Republican parties explained how they worked together over the past few weeks to come up with an agreed commissioners' map and a nearly finalized council map. "We are trying to work together and I think we've done quite well," said Dan Dernulc, a County Council member and Lake Republican chairman. "I think these are good maps."

  • INDIANAPOLIS: NCAA TOURNEY BROUGHT IN $47M - The NCAA men’s basketball tournament bolstered the local economy by about $46.5 million when it was held in central Indiana earlier this year, according to a new research report (Shuey, IBJ). Information from the report, conducted by West Chester, Pennsylvania-based research firm Rockport Analytics, was released Thursday by the Indiana Sports Corp., which commissioned the study.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: CHIP SHORTAGE DELAYS JUSTICE CENTER MOVE - Supply chain issues are forcing Marion County courts to delay their move to the new Community Justice Campus until mid-February, according to an updated timeline of the relocation process (Odendahl, Indiana Lawyer). The courts were planning to move at the end of 2021 or early 2022. By the end of the summer of 2021, court personnel were being encouraged to start cleaning out their offices in the City-County Building, and training sessions were being planned to start in October to teach the judges and court staff how to use the technology that will be available in the new courtrooms.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: FIRMS TO REDEVELOP BROAD RIPPLE KROGER SITE - A pair of Indianapolis-based firms plan to redevelop the former Kroger grocery store in Broad Ripple with hopes of adding new retail and residential options to the neighborhood (Shuey, IBJ). Gershman Partners and Citimark plan to raze the 12,250-square-foot grocery building to make way for a new mixed-use project, although complete plans for the development are still in the works. The businesses bought the grocery store at 6220 Guilford Ave. for $3.1 million earlier this year through holdings company GP-CM Broad Ripple Developers LLC.

     

    FORT WAYNE: 3 EV CHARGING STATIONS COMING TO DOWNTOWN - Three charging stations for electric vehicles are being installed in downtown Fort Wayne. Three EV charging stations will open soon for business in the 200 block of East Wayne Street. Cost should be between $2 and $3 per hour (WANE-TV). The city of Fort Wayne told WANE 15 that the charging stations, located in the 200 block of East Wayne Street between Clinton and Barr streets, will be available for costumers soon. The EV charging stations are part of a city-wide project, funded by a $90,000 grant through the Indiana Department of Environmental Management. Twenty-seven chargers will be installed around the city as part of the project, according to city spokesman John Perlich. “The City is working with Charge Point and EV United on activating the chargers that are completed or nearly completed for the first major roll out,” Perlich wrote in an email. “There are currently two in the Skyline Garage, one at the Renaissance Pointe YMCA, three on Wayne Street and currently three under construction on Berry Street.”

     

    LAFAYETTE: NATIONAL GUARD DEPLOYED TO LOCAL HOSPITAL - A six-member team from the Indiana National Guard will deploy to Lafayette's IU Health Arnett for two weeks, starting Monday, after the IU Health system called for reinforcements for staff at full hospitals across the state (Bangert, Based in Lafayette). IU Health announced that it had asked for National Guard help at all of its hospitals, other than Riley Children’s Hospital, and was working with the Indiana State Department of Health. “As COVID cases continue to increase and hospitalization of COVID and non-COVID patients reach all-time highs, the demand and strain on Indiana University Health’s team members, nurses and providers has never been greater,” Lisa Tellus, IU Health’s public relations manager, said in a statement Thursday.

     

    LaPORTE: DERMODY TEST DRIVES ELECTRIC CAR — It looks, drives and is just as roomy as other mid-sized cars that burn gasoline (Maddux, NWI Times). That’s what LaPorte Mayor Tom Dermody and other city officials are learning about an electric car being tried out for the past week. The car has even been on police patrols for the past week. Dermody began using the four-door car on Wednesday on his work-related runs for the next couple of days.  He said the only difference was the electric car runs much quieter than traditional vehicles. “It moves quickly. Fast,” Dermody said during a test run.

     

    FISHERS: 2 TEENS ARRESTED FOR SCHOOL THREAT — Two teenagers have been arrested for threatening Riverside Jr. High School in Fishers (WIBC). The Fishers Police Department says on Wednesday afternoon, a 13-year-old girl was arrested and charged with intimidation, after she made a verbal threat to the school. Investigators say there was no credible threat, but the girl was still charged with the felony. Police are not saying what exactly the girl said when she made the threat, but Police Chief Tom Weger says the prosecutor’s office “felt that a felony criminal charge was appropriate.”

     

    ADAMS COUNTY: SCHOOLS CLOSE DUE TO 'POTENTIAL THREAT' – North Adams Community Schools will have a virtual learning day on Friday after the district received a report of a “potential threat to campus safety” (WANE-TV). In a message to North Adams families, Superintendent Kim Hiatt says the move was made “out of an abundance of caution.”

     

    HANCOCK COUNTY: PRIVATE AIRSTRIP APPROVED — Officials narrowly approved a contentious proposal for a private grass airstrip after a tie vote on the first attempt last month (Greenfield Reporter). Kurt Schleter is planning the airstrip on a property of about 70 acres he owns at 1323 N. County Road 300W. The site is north of the Sugar Creek Valley Estates neighborhood and west of Stone Ridge, where Schleter lives. His airstrip is planned to be about 2,200 feet long and about 150 feet wide. He intends to use it to take off and land his single-engine aircraft, which he’ll also to keep in a hangar he’ll build on the property.

     

    MONROE COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS ADOPT LARGE PROJECT STRATEGY - Monroe County commissioners approved phasing for site plan proposals at least five acres in size (Indiana Public Media). Previously, only projects zoned Planned Unit Development and subdivisions allowed phasing under the county zoning ordinance. This means all other developers had limited ability to occupy structures as they were completed in phases. To ensure enforcement of the amendment by the county, preliminary site plans must include illustrative maps and a narrative description for each phase.

     

  • INDIANAPOLIS: BIG TEN GRID TITLE RETURNS FOR 2022 - The Big Ten Football Championship Game is set to return to Indianapolis in 2022, but its future beyond that is cloudy (Shuey, IBJ). The conference earlier this year quietly signed a one-year extension of its deal with the Indiana Sports Corp. to host the title game at Lucas Oil Stadium at the end of next season, marking the 12th straight year the event will be held in Indianapolis. The game has never been played anywhere besides Lucas Oil Stadium. Indiana Sports Corp. President Ryan Vaughn confirmed Indianapolis would host the event in 2022 after the Big Ten Conference announced those plans at the championship game on Saturday.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: COUNCIL APPROVES FUNDS FOR NEW CORONERS OFFICE - The Indianapolis City-County Council on Monday approved $385,000 in additional funding for the Marion County Coroner's Office (WRTV). According to the proposal, the money will be used "to address contractual costs associated with an increased number of death investigations." Marion County has seen a record number of homicides in 2021. The county has also experienced more than 2,200 deaths since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: COUNCILWOAMN BROWN TO HAVE MEDICARE WEBINAR - Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, Indianapolis City-County Councillor Ali Brown (District 5) will join U.S. Congresswoman Katie Porter (CA-45) and other elected officials from across the nation for an online webinar about what can be done to help the U.S. Congress pass the Healthcare Emergency Guarantee Act and Medicare for All Act, guaranteeing universal health care access for any American citizen. Media wishing to attend the event can register by clicking here: https://www.medicare4allresolutions.org/thank-you-for-signing-up-2/ Last month, the Indianapolis City-County Council affirmed their support for universal access to health care for all Hoosiers and their families by passing a special resolution - authored by Councillor Brown - during an Indianapolis Council meeting on November 8, 2021. The resolution received bipartisan support, passing the Council through a 24-1 vote.

     

    FORT WAYNE: STRIP CLUB RESTRICTIONS TO REMAIN - Restrictions on Fort Wayne's sexually oriented businesses approved in 2017 will remain intact despite four City Council members voting Tuesday to repeal them (Filchak, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Strip club employees have reported a decrease in safety at their workplaces since the ordinance went into effect. Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, proposed a partial repeal of the ordinance that requires clubs to close from midnight to 7 a.m. daily and sets other restrictions. The 2017 ordinance states that employees cannot appear semi-nude unless separated from patrons by 6 feet, on a stage at least 18 inches off the floor and in a room no less than 600 square feet. The repeal failed by a 5-4 vote with Councilmen Tom Didier, R-3rd; Paul Ensley, R-1st; Russ Jehl, R-2nd; Geoff Paddock, D-5th; and Tom Freistroffer, R-at large, voting against it. Sharon Tucker, D-6th, Glynn Hines, D-at large, Michelle Chambers, D-at large, and Arp voted for the repeal.

     

    FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL PASSES ON BUYING SEWER UTILITY - After several weeks of delay, Fort Wayne City Council voted not to acquire customers with the Allen County Regional Sewer District (WANE-TV). Fort Wayne City Council voted by a 4:5 margin on Tuesday night. Council decides to hold vote on acquiring some Allen County water, sewer residents until December. Fort Wayne City Utilities is the largest regional sewer district in Allen County. For years the water and sewer utility provider has provided treatment services for the Allen County Regional Sewer District.

     

    NOBLESVILLE: JENSEN HONORED WITH GLOBAL STATESMAN AWARD – Noblesville Mayor Chris Jensen was awarded the Global Statesman Award by the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition at its annual Tribute Celebration tonight (Howey Politics Indiana). “I am greatly honored to be included in this list of mayors and thank the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition for this recognition,” said Jensen. “Noblesville is home to many international companies and residents, and we will continue our work to make the city a safe, healthy and economically thriving community.” Noblesville is a universally-connected city maintaining a wide variety of global investments, which are important for our economic development efforts. Those efforts include foreign markets for businesses and farmers to sell or export goods to. The diverse citizenship in our community is enhanced by the international businesses and manufacturers that have chosen to locate and grow in Noblesville. This year’s USGLC Tribute Celebration was held virtually to bring together a nationwide audience of thousands of influential stakeholders from the business, non-profit, military, faith, and humanitarian communities, alongside leaders from Capitol Hill and Washington, D.C.

     

    CROWN POINT: PLANS FOR BIZ PARK MOVE FORWARD — Plans for a modern business park in the southeast corner of Interstate 65 and U.S. 231 are moving forward (Freda, NWI Times). The park would sit on 250 acres of land south of 129th Avenue and North of 137th Avenue between I-65 and Iowa Street. That land had been zoned R-1 Residential. After an ordinance rezoning the land to BP-1 Business Park received a unanimous favorable recommendation from the Plan Commission, the City Council voted to approve the rezoning during its Monday night meeting.

     

    FRANKLIN COUNTY: 911 POLICY VIOLATED IN BRIDGE DEATHS — New information revealed 911 operators may have violated Franklin County’s own policy by not sending help to a flooded bridge (Kenney, WRTV). On March 20, 2020, six people died after their vehicles got swept away from the Sanes Creek bridge in Laurel despite 911 calls warning the bridge was covered in water. This will be the second Christmas without his daughters 4-year-old KyLee, 7-year-old Elysium and their 13-year-old half-brother, Ethan. “KyLee was very emotional and clingy,” Mosier said. “She liked dressing up and playing in her tutus and most of the time on my lap. Elysium was tough for such a little girl and loved being outside, loved playing with her sister."

     

    ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: COUNCIL APPROVES MENTAL HEALTH CRISIS CENTER - Funding is officially in place for a mental health crisis center in St. Joseph County (WVPE). Mental health advocates have been pushing for a 24-hour, walk-in crisis response center for the last two years. And Tuesday night, the County Council approved $2.7 million to establish that center and fund it for one year. The center will serve as an alternative to the emergency room or the county jail, where people experiencing a mental health episode are typically dropped off. “It’s a de-facto treatment center because we don’t have a set-aside space – a mental health facility or a drug treatment facility – to take these individuals,” Jeff Walker, executive director of the Beacon Resource Center, said in a Monday interview with WVPE.

  • WEST LAFAYETTE: COUNCIL TABLES CONVERSION THERAPY ORDINANCE - The West Lafayette City Council voted to table an ordinance that would ban the practice of conversion therapy in the city (WLFI-TV). It was standing room only as pastors and members of Faith West Church came out in numbers to voice their opposition to the legislation. The congregation's lead pastor wrote this about why the church opposes the legislation. They feel it violates parental rights, religious liberty, and individual rights. Councilors James Blanco and David Sanders Sponsored the legislation, which they feel will protect LGBTQ youth. Conversion therapy is defined as any attempt to change a person's sexual orientation, gender identity, or gender expression.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: LUCAS STADIUM GETTING $22M IN UPGRADES - Lucas Oil Stadium is expected to see at least $22 million in upgrades in 2022, as part of an improvement plan written into contracts when the venue was first built (IBJ). The improvements will bring new, higher-definition video boards to the northwest and southeast corners of the bowl, along with new video-ribbon displays, an upgraded sound system, new carpet and furniture, and an area in the team’s locker room for female football personnel. “That replacement [plan] is baked into the lease,” said Andy Mallon, executive director of the Capital Improvement Board of Marion County, which owns and operates the venue. Mallon added most of the things being replaced are original to when the stadium opened in 2008. The new video boards and digital ribbons are projected to cost about $16 million, while new carpeting, furniture and wall coverings for the stadium’s 139 suites will cost about $4 million. The sound system changeover is anticipated to cost about $2 million.

     

    BLOOMINGTON: NEW IU HEALTH HOSPITAL OPENS - The new IU Health Bloomington Hospital received its first transferred patient Sunday morning from its old downtown location (Bouthier, Indiana Public Media). The Monroe County Alert system sent out a notice that the hospital is now open. The move from the downtown location is scheduled to be completed Sunday evening, and ambulances could be seen traversing between the two hospitals, transporting patients.

     

    SOUTH BEND: SCHOOLS ADOPT NEW POLICE CONTRACT - The South Bend Community School Corporation Board voted 4 to 3 Monday night to approve a new contract governing the role of police in South Bend schools (WVPE). Previously, South Bend’s school resource officers operated under a four-page contract between the district and the South Bend Police Department dating back to 2012. That agreement came under criticism earlier this year because it continued indefinitely and did not contain details on the roles and responsibilities of SROs.

     

    VALPARAISO: CITY MOVES FORWARD WITH SOLAR — After having his "sights set on solar for years," City Services Director Steve Poulos said 870 panels are coming to Valparaiso (NWI Times). The panels will be mounted on five city buildings, Valparaiso's three treatment plants, the City Services building on Joliet Road and City Hall on Lincolnway. While the panels have an initial price tag of about $740,000, solar will save the city more than $130,000 annually in electrical costs. At that rate, the the panels will pay for themselves in about 8.2 years. The savings over the life of the solar panels is estimated to be $4.6 million, according to a city news release.

     

    MUNCIE: TRIAL FOR 3 COPS DELAYED AGAIN — A federal judge has again agreed to delay the trial of four former and current Muncie Police Department officers (WRTV). Officers Jeremy Gibson, Chase Winkle, Corey Posey and Sgt. Joseph Krejsa are accused of using excessive force or attempting to cover it up. Their federal trial was originally scheduled for September 2021, but was continued to January 2022.

     

    LAKE STATION: STUDENT BANNED OVER 'HARM' LIST — A student at Thomas A. Edison Junior Senior High School is banned from school grounds and faces the potential of criminal charges after he was found with a list of fellow students he may harm, Principal Christine Pepa said (NWI Times). "There was no plan in place or mention of any weapons," she said in a statement sought by The Times.

     

    JAY COUNTY: THREAT DIRECTED AT SCHOOL — A “threat” directed at Jay County Jr. Sr. High School has led to “enhanced security” at the school (WANE-TV). The Jay School Corporation wrote in a Facebook post early Monday that it had received a tip through its anonymous tip system about a threat at the school. The threat came from social media, the post said. No details about the specific threat were released.

     

    MARION COUNTY: COP DEATH PENALTY CASE DROPPED - Prosecutors are no longer seeking the death penalty for the man charged in the fatal shooting of a police officer who had come to his aid after the man’s car overturned in a crash in Indianapolis four years ago (AP). Marion Superior Judge Mark Stoner last week granted a jury trial waiver requested by Jason D. Brown, who is charged in the 2017 fatal shooting of Southport police Lt. Aaron Allan. The Marion County prosecutor’s office agreed to drop their death penalty request in exchange for the judge, instead of a jury, hearing the case in February.

     

    CARROLL COUNTY: NEW TIP IN DELPHI MURDERS - Police late Monday released the first new lead in two years in the 2017 murders of Delphi teens Abby Williams and Liberty German, asking for help from anyone who might have been in touch with someone at that time with the online profile “anthony_shots” (Bangert, Based in Lafayette).  According to an Indiana State Police release, ISP and Carroll County detectives uncovered the online profile that was used from 2016 to 2017 on Snapchat, Instagram and other social media apps. The profile used photos of a male model and portrayed itself as extremely wealthy and owning numerous sports cars, police said. Police report the person behind the profile used it to communicate with young girls, attempt to get them to send nude photos, obtain their addresses and try to meet with them. Abby and Libby, eighth-graders at Delphi Community School, were killed while hiking a community trail just outside Delphi, about 20 miles northeast of Lafayette. The case remains unsolved, even with photos, video and audio of a man approaching on the Monon High Bridge, as seen and heard on Libby’s cellphone. Sgt. Jeremy Piers, public information officer at ISP’s Lafayette post, said detectives identified the model in the pictures and say he is not a person of interest in the case.

     

    TIPPECANOE COUNTY: BOARD CALLS FOR TRUSTEE TO RESIGN - Township board members formally asked Trustee Taletha Coles to resign Monday (Bangert, Based in Lafayette). Not that she was there to hear it or witness the vote Monday morning at the Plumbers and Steamfitters Local 157 office in Lafayette, where township board members continued to meet after being locked out of the township offices on Wabash Avenue. And not that township board members believe it will make much of a difference in a feud that has been brewing since the early months of Coles’ term in 2019.

     

    BOONE COUNTY: HUGE GROWTH IN JOBS - During the first year of the COVID-19 pandemic, Boone County — just northwest of Indianapolis — saw the highest percent growth in jobs of anywhere in the state. That’s even as 84 of Indiana's 92 counties hemorrhaged jobs due to economic uncertainty (Hicks, Indiana Public Media). The Quarterly Census of Employment and Wages shows that between March 2020 and March 2021, the county filled 3,500 jobs — growing by more than 10 percent. Even the runner up, Elkhart County, only saw 3.5 percent growth in jobs thanks to an increased demand for recreational vehicles. However, Elkhart County did add a larger raw number of jobs.

     

    JOHNSON COUNTY: CORRECTIONAL OFFICER CHARGED - A former correctional officer at the Johnson County Jail accused of having an improper relationship with an inmate was charged Monday, according to the Johnson County Prosecutor’s Office (IndyStar).  Zachariah Johnson, of North Vernon, was charged with three counts of sexual misconduct, one count of official misconduct and one count of trafficking with an inmate, according to the prosecutor’s office. Johnson was a special deputy/correctional officer with the Johnson County Sheriff’s Office for two years.

  • ELKHART: HOSPITAL SWAMPED WITH UNVAXED PATIENTS — At a time when the coronavirus appears to be spreading, Dr. Michelle Bache sees two worlds, one inside the hospital, where a surge in COVID-19 patients is overwhelming resources, and another outside the hospital, where people behave as though the pandemic were over (Elkhart Truth). “I never would have thought a year ago, when things really seemed so bad, that if you would have told me a year later things would be even worse, I would not have believed it,” said Bache, vice president of medical affairs at Elkhart General Hospital.

     

    FORT WAYNE: PARENTS PROTEST NON-EXISTENT MANDATE - A group of Northwest Allen County School parents held a protest Saturday morning outside of the Parkview Regional Medical Center campus (WPTA-TV). Right now, there are no proposals to require vaccines at NACS, nor is there a requirement for Parkview Health employees. “We are out here supporting our friends who may or may not have a voice in the medical freedom fight regarding whether want to be vaccinated or don’t want to be vaccinated. We’re not trying to tell people what to do,” said organizer and NACS parent Kristi Cortezano-Smith.

     

    LaPORTE: DERMODY PROMISES GROWTH IN 2021 — LaPorte continued to move forward and grow in 2021, with projects that impacted infrastructure, economic development and quality of life (LaPorte County Herald-Dispatch). “These first two years have been obviously interesting to say the least,” Mayor Tom Dermody said during the annual State of the City Address on Thursday.

     

    CLAY COUNTY: DEPUTY WOUNDED IN SHOOTING - A western Indiana sheriff’s deputy was shot in the leg by a man who he and other deputies were trying to arrest on Friday, state police said (Indiana Public Media). The suspected gunman fled after the shooting about 10 a.m. into a tent in a wooded area near the Eel River in southern Clay County before surrendering to officers about four hours later, state police Sgt. Matt Ames said. “He did come up with his hands above his head and he was taken into custody without any incident,” Ames said. Clay County Deputy Brison Swearingen was able to take cover after being wounded while another deputy returned fire, Ames said.

  • GOSHEN: HOSPITAL JAMMED WITH UNVAXXED COVID PATIENTS - Goshen Hospital is currently experiencing its highest surge in COVID-19 patients since November of last year (WVPE).  According to a release from the hospital, 41 patients are currently hospitalized with COVID, 35 of whom are unvaccinated. That’s the highest number of COVID patients so far this year. The hospital says the recent surge has interfered with scheduling for surgeries, screenings and other procedures. In the release, Chief Medical Officer and infectious disease specialist Dr. Dan Nafziger urged residents to get vaccinated if they haven’t already.  “While people who are vaccinated are still getting COVID-19, the vast majority of those hospitalized have not been vaccinated,” Nafziger said. “If you have not yet chosen to be vaccinated, I urge you to talk to your primary care provider about the protection it could offer you.”

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: ALARMING RISE IN SYPHILIS CASES — For months, Damien Center President & CEO Alan Witchey said the organization has seen an alarming increase of syphilis cases in Marion County (WRTV). This causes concern because of what it more than likely means is next. "It tends to be a leading indicator that there will be other sexually transmitted diseases like hepatitis C and HIV," Witchey said.

     

    BLOOMINGTON: COUNCIL PROHIBITS STORE DOG/CAT SALES - It will be illegal for Bloomington pet shops to sell cats and dogs beginning January 2023 (Indiana Public Media). Bloomington City Council adopted Ordinance 21-45 Wednesday night, which directly impacts Anthony’s Pets in College Mall and Delilah’s Pet Shop on West Third Street. For each violation, the animal care and control department could fine shops $500. Councilmember Susan Sandberg co-sponsored the legislation and says it is an attempt to eliminate puppy mill customers, not an attempt to limit individual choices when choosing a dog or cat. “This ordinance will not prevent anyone from working with a breeder for a specific type of dog they wish to purchase,” she said. The ordinance was not adopted without pushback from the two effected shops’ owners during council’s Nov. 17 meeting.

     

    BLOOMINGTON: IU HEALTH TO MOVE PATIENTS TO NEW HOSPITAL - In the early morning hours Sunday, Indiana University Health will begin transporting about 145 patients from its old hospital on West Second Street to its new $557 million campus on the city’s northeast side (Bloomington Herald-Times). The health system has secured an additional 20 transport vehicles with which it will bring patients to the new IU Health Bloomington Hospital, said Alan Biggs, chief operating officer of the system’s South Central Region. The vehicles will not be using their sirens as they will be transporting stable patients to the facility just east of the Ind. 45/46 Bypass and north of East 10th Street, Biggs told The Herald-Times.

     

    ANDERSON: MAYOR BRODERICK OUTLINES ARP PROJECTS — The administration of Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. has announced a plan for the spending of $23.1 million in American Rescue Plan funds (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald Bulletin). Broderick sent his proposal for how the city will spend the funding over the next two years to the Anderson City Council on Tuesday. “This ARP (American Rescue Plan) will not be effective unless and until it is approved by the Common Council of the City of Anderson,” Broderick wrote. “It is requested that this proposed plan be presented to the public for their input and public comment.” The plan calls for spending in 12 specific areas. As proposed a number of city employees will receive premium pay for working through the COVID-19 pandemic in a total amount of $3.6 million.

     

    MONROE COUNTY: $1K FOR EMPLOYEES TO VAX - Fulltime Monroe County employees will receive a one-time $1,000 incentive if fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Part-time employees are eligible for $500 (Indiana Public Media). The Monroe County Council unanimously approved the incentive Nov. 30. It applies to employees who receive two doses of Moderna or Pfizer vaccine, or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. The county commissioners’ administrator Angela Purdie said the proposal is an effort to of incentivize vaccines ahead of the holidays. Additionally, it helps the county prepare for the federal Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) vaccination and testing deadline Jan. 4. “People who have already gotten their vaccinations, they just need to provide their certificate and they would be eligible for the $1,000 or $500,” Purdie said.

     

    ELKHART COUNTY: HEALTH BOARD CONSIDERS REPLACEMENTS - The Elkhart County Board of Health has experienced a lot of turnover in the last few months. At its final meeting of the year Thursday night, board members discussed how to fill several vacancies (WVPE). Former board chairman Dr. Randy Cammenga quit back in September, and members Todd Meier, Dr. Ebenezer Kio and Dr. Donald Findlay all announced they would step down at the end of the year, along with County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait. “It’s bittersweet,” Wait said at Thursday’s meeting. “It’s been a rough year, but for me, the board has been so supportive, which I think has really helped make it through this extremely challenging year.”

     

    ALLEN COUNTY: COURT CAMERA PILOT PROGRAM BEGINS - Over the next four months, television news cameras will at times provide an unprecedented inside look at trials and hearings conducted in the Allen County Courthouse (WPTA-TV). Local criminal court judge Fran Gull is one of five judges across Indiana chosen to be part of a pilot program that also has its detractors. The Indiana Supreme Court is looking to evaluate whether cameras in courtrooms have practical value and whether various drawbacks can be overcome. December 1 marked day one for cameras in Judge Gull’s court. Fort Wayne attorney Mark Thoma says he’s keeping an open mind, but he’s concerned about the influence cameras may have on proceedings. “I think people tend, perhaps, to embellish what they’re saying, what they’re doing, how they present what they’re saying. And I just think it’s a concern,” Thoma said.

     

    MIAMI COUNTY: ASKS INDOT TO SPEED UP US31 PROJECTS - Miami County officials are asking the state to accelerate construction on new interchanges on U.S. 31 following a infusion of federal money from the new infrastructure package approved by Congress (Logansport Pharos-Tribune). County commissioners last month signed a resolution urging the Indiana Department of Transportation to consider a section of the highway to be the next major area for upgrades. The resolution asks the state to build new full-on interchanges at Indiana 18, 800 South and Indiana 218 West. It also requests the construction of overpasses at 900 South in Miami County and 600 North in Howard County.

     

    LaPORTE COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS CONDEMN AUDITOR — The La Porte County Board of Commissioners has condemned the county auditor for a late bond payment and demanded he stop making claims of corruption (LaPorte Herald-Dispatch). The board on Wednesday, by a 2-1 vote, passed a resolution re-affirming its commitment to “financial and operational integrity” and urging the auditor to stop making claims of corruption “which serve to damage the county’s reputation with citizens, investors, the financial community and economic developers.”

     

    TIPPECANOE COUNTY: WABASH NATIONAL CHANGES NAME — Wabash National is changing its name. The company is now called Wabash (WLFI-TV). A Company spokesperson said specific details on the name change aren't being released right now. The spokesperson said it is a symbolic change and that the company has undergone some organizational changes. The company said it's a fulfillment of their purpose to provide a full range of products. The change was made on November ninth. The spokesperson said people will see the name change on buildings and its products by early next year.

  • LAFAYETTE: COUNCILMAN CAMPBELL TO RETIRE - A half-century ago, a young tavern owner and Lafayette City Council member named Jim Riehle announced he was going to run for mayor (Bangert, Based in Lafayette). Ron Campbell, a Lafayette school teacher, asked Riehle what he could do to help the Democratic candidate in that 1971 campaign. “And he said, ‘Well, you could run for city council,’” Campbell said. “So, I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’ One thing led to another, I got elected and the rest is history.” History, as in a record 50 years on the Lafayette City Council. Thirteen campaign victories in Lafayette’s District 2. Three mayors – two of which have served a combined 11 terms. Campbell, 90, confirmed Tuesday that he plans retire from the Lafayette City Council by the end of the year. He said he recently moved to a home with his daughter, Susan, outside his district.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: 2 IMPD OFFICERS STABBED — Two IMPD officers were stabbed, and police shot the suspect on the northeast side of Indianapolis early Wednesday (WTHR-TV). IMPD officers responded to the 1400 block of Fairfield Avenue, just south of the Indiana State Fairgrounds, on a disturbance call around 1:15 a.m. Two officers came into contact with a man, who reported another person was harassing him down the street, IMPD Assistant Chief of Police Christopher Bailey said. When the officers turned to locate where the other person might be, the man stabbed both officers, Bailey said.

     

    FISHERS: ENGINEERS HIRED FOR NEW CITY HALL - Fishers has hired two engineering firms, one to design a $20 million City Hall that will double as an art center, and the other to create plans for a recreation complex (IndyStar). The Fishers Board of Public Works and Safety on Tuesday approved a $1.5 million agreement with Fishers-based Meyer Najem to design City Hall, which will be built as a public-private partnership. The building’s foundation has been slowly sinking for years and engineers have said it would cost millions to keep making repairs to cracks and other issues associated with the problem. The city selected Hagerman, of Fishers, to design the recreational center at a cost $1.6 million. The location of the rec center has not been determined.

     

    ANDERSON: MAYOR BRODERICK RAISES $70K FOR TEACHER GRANTS - In 2016, Anderson Mayor Thomas Broderick Jr. began using the funds from the annual event to provide grants to local teachers for special projects (Anderson Herald Bulletin). Since its inception, the charity ball has raised $235,000 to be awarded to local teachers. Broderick said there will be $70,000 available for teacher grants in 2022.

     

    NEW HAVEN: 311 PLATFORM SET UP FOR CITY SERVICES – The City of New Haven has launched a new 311 platform that allows residents to report issues and request services around the community (WANE-TV). The app was created in partnership with “SeeClickFix,” a tool that allows citizens to publicly document quality of life concerns in their neighborhood. With this app, members of the New Haven community will be able to provide City staff with pictures, videos, specific descriptions, and more valuable information needed to get the job done efficiently.

     

    MUNCIE: PD HAS NO PLANS TO ACCREDIT — More than a dozen city police departments in Indiana are nationally accredited, which means they have oversight when it comes to use of force policies and procedures (WRTV). More than 20 law enforcement agencies are accredited through the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies (CALEA) including Bloomington, Carmel, Columbus, Fishers, Indianapolis, Kokomo, Shelbyville, Speedway, Noblesville and Westfield. The Muncie Police Department is not accredited through CALEA and has no plans to do so, despite the indictment of five former and current police officers for allegations involving excessive force or attempting to cover up the misconduct.

     

    MUNCIE: CONDOS SET FOR FORMER JUSTICE CENTER — The former Delaware County Courts and Justice Center building in downtown Muncie is undergoing renovations (WRTV). When constructions is complete, the facility will feature 15 luxury condos and 148 indoor parking spots. The County turned the building over to the City of Muncie after the courts were moved. Each condo will have indoor parking and will range in size from 1,500-4,000 square feet.

     

    ELKHART COUNTY: NAPPANEE MAN ARRESTED FOR BARN FIRES - The Elkhart County Sheriff’s Office has made an arrest in connection to several barn fires in Elkhart County (WNDU-TV). According to a media release sent out Tuesday night by Cpt. Mike Culp, 41-year-old Joseph Hershberger from Nappanee has been taken into custody on a preliminary arson charge. At this time, it’s unclear which exact barn fires Hershberger is being charged in connection with. The Elkhart County Prosecutor’s Office is now overseeing the charges. At least a dozen barn fires are under investigation for arson across Michiana right now.

     

    TIPPECANOE COUNTY: TRUSTEE SUED FOR UPDAID RENT -  A local property manager is suing Fairfield Township Trustee Taletha Coles for unpaid rent (WLFI-TV). B.W. Parks Property Management filed the small claims suit earlier this month. The company says Coles has an unpaid balance of more than $1,100 at a rental property on North 10th Street in Lafayette. B.W. Parks is also seeking reimbursement for court costs and attorney fees for a total cost of more than $1,300. As News 18 previously reported, Coles is facing backlash from township board members over what they call questionable spending. She's also been criticized by local officials for what they call irrational ideas.

  • INDIANAPOLIS: ANOTHER REMOTE LEARNING DAY FOR PIKE - Many Metropolitan School District of Pike Township students will be attending classes remotely on Tuesday (WTHR-TV). Superintendent Dr. Flora Reichanadter announced on Twitter just before 5:30 a.m. that students at Snacks Crossing Elementary, Lincoln Middle School and New Augusta Public Academy as well as all high school students will have remote instruction on Nov. 30 due to staff absences.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: IPS JOINS JUUL LAWSUIT - Indianapolis Public Schools has become the latest Indiana school district to join a lawsuit that accuses e-cigarette giant Juul Labs of marketing its vaping products to young people (AP). IPS is one of hundreds of U.S. school districts, including 10 others in Indiana, that have signed on to a lawsuit accusing Juul Labs Inc. of targeting teens in marketing its products and thereby harming the schools that educate those young people. IPS has about 31,000 students.

     

    EVANSVILLE: OFFICIALS PRESENT READI PROPOSAL - The Evansville Regional Economic Partnership presented its READI Grant Plan to the state Monday morning. They’re hoping to get a cut of the $500 million program. The Evansville region is competing against 16 other Hoosier regions for a cut of the grant money (WFIE-TV). With more than 50 projects in the Partnership’s presentation, they decided to focus on a few of the major ones. Greg Wathen with the partnership says the biggest thing they had to worry about Monday morning, was the time. They had exactly 30 minutes to present and 20 minutes for Q and As.

     

    SOUTH BEND: CITY TO EXPAND WIFI PROGRAM - The city of South Bend has plans to expand free WiFi and become more fiber-friendly in 2022 (WVPE). The city currently has over 30 access points for free WiFi, many of which are in public parks or city buildings. At an information and technology committee meeting Monday, Chief Innovation Officer Denise Riedl said the city has state and federal grant money to add even more access points in 2022. She said the city will start taking public input on where those access points should be early next year.

     

    FRANCISCO: TOWN'S FIRE EQUIPMENT DAMAGED - The Francisco Fire Department’s trailer and other equipment were found vandalized, according to town fire officials (WFIE-TV). This comes as the fire department is currently in a dispute with the town board. The volunteer fire chief and the assistant volunteer fire chief were broadcasted on Facebook Live from the Francisco ball field on Friday. In the video, both say a trailer and another piece of equipment used for fundraising events were found damaged. The Gibson County Sheriff’s Office came to make a report.

     

     

    LaPORTE COUNTY: RAISE FOR FIRST RESPONDERS SOUGHT — LaPorte County officials are hoping a 6% wage increase is enough to slow the trend of ambulance workers and jail officers from leaving for much higher pay elsewhere. The LaPorte County Council, with a sense of urgency at its meeting last Monday, also approved the same pay increase for police officers, 911 dispatchers and others viewed as frontline workers like members of the LaPorte County Highway Department (Maddux, NWI Times). A 5% increase in pay was given to all other county employees. Councilman Earl Cunningham said he would have supported a 10% across-the-board hike if the county were able to afford it.

     

    VANDERBURGH COUNTY: COURT CAMERA PILOT PROGRAM BEGINS THIS WEEK - The state of Indiana will allow cameras in five courtrooms statewide starting Wednesday as part of a new pilot program (WFIE-TV). One of those selected to be in the test group is the Vanderburgh Superior Court. During the program, media outlets can request to cover certain trials as they happen live. We spoke with Judge Les Shively who said he expressed interest in participating in such a program almost three years ago. “If the public has the right to view it as it happens, then they can see the real thing and draw their own conclusions based upon the facts that are actually presented. I just hope it is well received and that public takes advantage of this program. They’ll learn more about this system and how it really works,” said Judge Shively.

     

    VIGO COUNTY: INMATE DIES AFTER INTERACTION WITH STAFF - The Vigo County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the death of an inmate at the jail last week (Indiana Public Media). According to a press release, William Myles suffered an apparent seizure while interacting with jail medical staff last Wednesday. Emergency medical personnel were summoned and jail medical staff initiated CPR when Myles, 36, was found to have no pulse. He was transported to the Union Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

  • INDIANAPOLIS: 245TH MURDER SETS NEW HOMICIDE RECORD — A man was killed early Saturday in a shooting on the south side of Indianapolis (WIBC). That is the 246th homicide in Indianapolis in 2021, which breaks the all-time record for homicides in a single year for Indy. The city has already set a new record for murders.

     

    WINFIELD: HAMPTON ARRESTED ON DUI — Former Chicago Bears defensive lineman Dan Hampton, who was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2002, has been arrested in Indiana for allegedly driving a vehicle while drunk (AP). The Lake County Sheriff’s Office in Indiana said Hampton was arrested Nov. 20 on a charge of operating a vehicle while intoxicated in Winfield, where he lives. Hampton bonded out of jail the next morning after bail was set at $25,000.

     

    SOUTH BEND: AFGHAN REFUGEES TO SETTLE IN AREA - The greater South Bend area has been federally approved to take in as many as 60 Afghan refugees (WNDU-TV). Some 4,100 refugees are still being temporarily housed at Camp Atterbury, south of Indianapolis. Two groups, Catholic Charities, and the United Religious Community have each been approved to oversee 30-resettlements in St. Joseph County. Both groups have done resettlement work in the past, although this project appears to be different.

     

    LOGANSPORT: SANCHEZ AMVETS POST ESTABLISHED - Roger Spencer, commander of the newly established Cpl. Humberto Sanchez AMVETS Post 82621, was presented its charter by AMVETS state representatives Mike Davis and Lee Williams during a ceremony on Wednesday evening (Logansport Pharos-Tribune). The Sanchez family, including his mother, Coral Briseño, was present and were presented with a mini-charter bearing Sanchez’s name. This post was the fastest established post in AMVETS history, coming together in about 10 days. The AMVETS Ladies Auxiliary was also established, and its officers were sworn in on this date. "Thank you to all of those that make this possible," Briseño said on her Facebook page. "Our goal is to reach out to all our young generation of veterans. We are in this together."

  • FORT WAYNE: COUNCIL VOTES TO SUBPOENA RED RIVER – Fort Wayne City Council has approved issuing a subpoena to Red River Waste Management’s CEO James A. Smith (WANE-TV). In January 2018, Red River took over Fort Wayne’s trash and recycling contract which covers over 25,000 homes. Since then thousands of complaints have been filed against the Texas-based trash collection company. In October, Red River filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy. In the filing, the family-owned business, which services 310,000 households across five states, blamed the COVID-19 pandemic, a credit agreement, and “operational challenges” for its financial struggles.

     

    FORT WAYNE: EXOTIC DANCERS SEEK END TO COVID RESTRICTIONS – Tuesday evening, Fort Wayne City Council voted to introduce a proposal that could loosen the current restrictions of adult businesses (WANE-TV). The Sexually Oriented Business Ordinance, passed back in 2019 and added restrictions such as: no employee, or any other person shall be in the state of nudity while in an establishment, that no employee should appear semi nude in a sexually oriented business, and workers must remain six feet away from patrons. Jessica Tompkins has been an exotic dancer for the past 18-years and has worked at Brandy’s Gentleman’s Club for 13 of those years. She told WANE 15’s Briana Brownlee that the current ordinance has been a major issue and is making it harder and harder to make money and make ends meet.

     

    CARMEL: SCHOOL BOARD TO RETURN TO NORMAL FORMAT - The next meeting of the Carmel Clay School Board will be open to an in-person audience after two months of virtual-only attendance for the community (IndyStar). Board president Layla Spanenburg announced the change at the end of Monday's meeting and said the Dec. 13 meeting will be at Clay Middle School, 5150 E 126th Street in Carmel. The board typically meets at the district's educational services center, but the change in venue is to accommodate a larger crowd and attendees should expect metal detectors, said district spokesperson Emily Bauer. It is the board's only meeting next month.

     

    SOUTH BEND: MAYOR MUELLER HIGHLIGHTS LEAF PROGRAM - South Bend Mayor James Mueller highlighted the city’s Fall ReLeaf program on Tuesday. Mueller was out collecting leaves in the Cross Creek subdivision on the city’s northwest side (WNDU-TV). “The leaves were on the trees longer, so the crews were able to go through the neighborhoods faster than anticipated,” Mueller says. “That doesn’t mean we’re going to come back at the scheduled time, and we will do that for the second pass as well. So, if you see crews in your neighborhood ahead of schedule, don’t worry. If you haven’t been able to rake your leaves yet, we will be come back to the scheduled date as well to make sure we’re getting the leaves.”

     

    GOSHEN; FIRST FEMALE FIREFIGHTERS SERVING — Two recruits were sworn in Monday as the first women to serve on the Goshen Fire Department (Elkhart Truth). Megan Berry and Hannah Estes took their oaths as probationary firefighters after their hiring was approved by the Goshen Board of Works. Both come to Goshen with years of experience at other departments in the area.

  • HAMMOND: McDERMOTT WILL REQUIRE EMPLOYEE VAX — All newly hired city employees will have to show proof of vaccination before their first day of work and all current employees must show proof of vaccination before being considered for a transfer or promotion within city departments, according to two executive orders signed by Hammond Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. (Devore, NWI Times). “I don’t want to add to the problem of unvaccinated employees any more than I already have," McDermott said. "Over 770,000 Americans have died from this disease so far, and these vaccines are FDA approved." Executive Order 21-45 mandates that, effective immediately, anyone hired by the city of Hammond will have to report their vaccination status and provide proof of vaccination with a signed affidavit stating their statement is true. Similarly, Executive Order 21-47 requires all employees who apply for a transfer or promotion within a city department provide proof of vaccination with a signed affidavit.

     

    EVANSVILLE: DOWNTOWN TOWER IMPLODED — Hundreds of onlookers gathered in Evansville to watch as a series of blasts brought down an 18-story office tower that had been the southwest Indiana city’s tallest building for than a half-century (AP). Crowds watching from a safe distance cheered Sunday morning as a cloud of smoke enveloped part of downtown Evansville after a rapid series of blasts collapsed the 420 Main Building in less than a half-minute, the Evansville Courier & Press reported. The office tower had housed Old National Bank’s headquarters from 1970 to 2004. But after the bank moved out, the tower’s occupancy dropped, its condition deteriorated, and efforts to rehabilitate it failed.

     

    LAFAYETTE: PD CHIEF TO RETIRE -The Lafayette Police Department will soon have a new police chief. Chief Patrick Flannelly will be retiring in March of 2022. Chief Flannelly has been with the department for 26 years and was appointed Chief in November of 2012 (WFLI-TV). According to information sent out by Lafayette Mayor Tony Roswarski, Chief Flannelly announced his retirement in October 2021. Mayor Roswarski conducted in-depth interviews with five applicants who expressed interest in the position. He ultimately selected LPD Captain Scott Galloway. Captain Galloway has been with LPD since 1998.

  • FORT WAYNE: HENRY RESPONDS TO RED RIVER CRITICISM – Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry (D) fired back at the criticism aimed at Red River Waste Solutions and his administration. This comes after Red River did not show up to Fort Wayne’s City Council meeting Tuesday evening (WANE-TV). The council asked for Red River leaders to attend the meeting to discuss the future of the city’s contract with the company. However, Red River’s CEO, James A. Smith, declined the invitation by not showing up to the meeting. “First of all, the quality of service of Red River and whether or not it’s truly a problem in this community,” Mayor Henry said. “Red River picks up 15-16 thousand trash bins everyday. We normally get less than a hundred calls for missed trash and missed recycling. If they do the numbers, that’s less than one half of 1 percent of the trash bins that are being missed. Do we really have a problem? I submit to you we don’t.”

     

    MICHIGAN CITY: 8-STORY HOTEL POISED FOR DOWNTOWN - Downtown Michigan City is poised to land an eight-story boutique hotel with a rooftop pool and upscale restaurant (Pete, NWI Times). Economic Development Corporation Michigan City Executive Director Clarence Hulse said developers were planning a massive $150 million downtown project that would include the hotel and condos on West Michigan Boulevard by city hall. "It will be a high-end boutique hotel with about 140 condos," he said. "A high-end restaurant will be attached. We're excited."

     

    MUNCIE: FED FUNDS WILL HIRE 3 COPS — The Muncie Police Department will receive $375,000 and hire three new officers as part of a U.S. Department of Justice initiative to provide direct funding to law enforcement agencies and allow them to hire additional full-time officers (WRTV). The Office of Community Oriented Policing Services COPS Hiring Program will provide $139 million to 183 law enforcement agencies across the national to help them hire 1,066 officers. Other police departments in Indiana that will receive funds include those in Cedar Lake, Crown Point and La Paz.

     

    ELKHART: MAYOR ROBERSON COMMITS TO POLICE REFORMS - Elkhart’s Mayor Rod Roberson said he is committed to the well-being of all residents in the city (WNDU-TV). He delivered the 2021 State of the City address on Wednesday. “It’s one of the most fun projects that we get to work on throughout the year because we rarely get the opportunity as an administration to talk very proudly about what we have done,” said Director of Communications for the City of Elkhart Corinne Straight. The mayor talked about the city’s commitment to police reform. “We have brought accountability. We have brought transparency. We are using discipline within the department,” Straight said. Roberson also talked about equitable investment and economic growth. “Elkhart has received some very positive national attention for our economic potential...It’s important for everyone to know there’s some prosperity that’s going on in Elkhart and a momentum inside of our city,” said Roberson.

     

    HUNTINGTON: SPIKE IN OVERDOSE DEATHS - Experts say overdose deaths are at an all-time high right now and Huntington County is seeing their highest overdose deaths than ever before (WPTA-TV). Experts say overdose deaths topped 100-thousand annually for the first time. Synthetic opioids and primarily fentanyl caused nearly two-thirds of all drug overdose deaths in the 12-month period that ended april of this year, which is a record. In Huntington County, they have 16 overdose deaths this year, with two still pending. The Huntington County Sheriff’s Department held a meeting at Huntington North High School to address this issue.

     

    EVANSVILLE: DOWNTOWN TOWER TO BE IMPLODED SUNDAY - Today is the last Friday the 420 Main building will be standing in downtown Evansville (WFIE-TV). The building is set to be imploded this weekend. It’s scheduled to happen around 7 a.m. Sunday.

     

    BLOOMINGTON: NEW BIKE LANE OPENS - The City of Bloomington officially opened the 7-Line Wednesday with a bicycle procession led by Mayor John Hamilton (Indiana Public Media). The city began constructing the bike lane in June and made several traffic changes along the way, including the removal of stop signs and a bus stop. “Seventh Street isn’t new,” planning services manager Beth Rosenbarger said. “We didn’t say ‘let’s make a new street,’ but our experiences with it will be.” Drivers turning off Seventh Street must now yield to pedestrians and cyclists in the bike lane, whereas pedestrians and cyclists on the trail must yield to traffic when turning onto a cross street.

     

    GOSHEN: CITY TO POST 8 PLATE READERS — Goshen will be the latest city in Indiana to put up license plate surveillance cameras under a $20,000 agreement approved this week (Elkhart Truth). The Goshen Board of Works authorized an agreement between the city police department and Flock Group Inc. The city will use eight Flock Falcon cameras at a cost of $2,500 each, with the option to renew the $20,000 agreement one year at a time.

     

    LAKE COUNTY: SHERIFF ISSUES EVICTION MORATORIUM - As the holidays approach, there will be a pause on evictions to keep residents in their homes (Ortiz, NWI Times). Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez Jr. issued a holiday moratorium, which is effective Dec. 6 through Jan. 10, according to a release from Cmdr. Lessie Smith of the Lake County Sheriff’s Department Civil Division. During this time, residents cannot be evicted from their homes. Police said due to the moratorium, all payments for evictions must be in the Civil Division Office no later than 4 p.m. on Dec. 1 and the eviction must already be posted in order for the payment to be accepted. The last day Lake County Sheriff's officers will assist in evictions will be Dec. 3.

     

    ALLEN COUNTY: COUNCIL APPROVES $1.3M FOR SHERIFF - Allen County Council approved a $1.3 million request today for the sheriff's department after a heated discussion (Filchak, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). The $1,324,469 request will go toward costs for utilities, food and a contractual agreement with the Quality Correctional Care, which provides nursing services for the Allen County Jail. Sheriff David Gladieaux said costs regarding food services have risen during the pandemic, as have utility rates. He requested $190,000 for food costs and $150,000 for utilities to get the department to the end of the year. About $985,000 of the request is for a contractual mistake with the medical contractor. Because of an error, QCC has already billed the department for January and February, despite the department not having those funds until 2022.

     

    ADAMS COUNTY: JUDGE SANCTION FOR CAMPAIGN MISCONDUCT - Disciplinary charges have been filed against a former Adams County Superior Court Judge Patrick Miller, the Indiana Commission on Judicial Qualifications announced Wednesday (WPTA-TV). The Commission alleges that four counts of misconduct related to 2020 judicial campaign activities took place during work hours. A release says Miller didn’t take reasonable measures to ensure campaign work was not done while using court facilities or resources. “Miller also discussed after a court session, but while he was still on the bench, the distribution of a political campaign sign with an individual who had a pending case before him,” the release says. This is not the first complaint filed against Judge Miller. In 2016, he along with the Adams County Council were in a dispute over benefits for a drug court coordinator who reported directly to Miller.

     

    PORTER COUNTY: CANDIDATE FOR OPEN COMMISSIONER SEAT - Former financial adviser Barb Regnitz has announced her intention to run in next year's election for Porter County commissioner (NWI Times). "My goal in this race is to give back to the community that I love,” Regnitz said. "With my background in finance I am best suited to serve in this position. I will always guard our tax dollars and be a transparent voice for the people of Porter County. It is important that elected officials put constituents first and not special interests. I am running to put the citizens of Porter County first." Regnitz, a Republican, said in her candidacy announcement Thursday that she has spent 16 years in information technology at Woolworth and then United Airlines as a software engineer.

     

    VANDERBURGH COUNTY: COUNCIL OKs $5M FOR SEWER PROJECTS - Vanderburgh County Commissioners announced the first amendment to the American Rescue Plan Coronavirus Local Recovery Fund Utilization Plan (WFIE-TV). They say they will be allocating $5.95 million of that funding towards water and sewer infrastructure projects. The largest chunk of money will be going towards the Boonville New Harmony Road - Interstate 69 sanitary sewer, according to county officials. They confirm that the funding will provide a lift station in the southwest quadrant of the interchange along with about 1,600 feet of gravity sewer. They claim this will allow existing homes that are currently served by septic systems to connect to a sanitary sewer. “These new and current water and sewer infrastructure projects are vital to our community. They will help numerous neighborhoods and facilities, such as schools and churches,” said Commissioner Ben Shoulders in a press release. Meanwhile, $1.9 million of the funding will go towards Boonville-New Harmony Road, specifically between Petersburg Road and State Road 57.

     

    HANCOCK COUNTY: MT. COMFORT CORRIDOR PLAN ENDORSED — Officials have endorsed a plan for the Mt. Comfort Corridor that they’ll use until the county’s new comprehensive plan is completed next year (Greenfield Daily Reporter). The plan recommends land uses along the development-heavy corridor for officials to consider for future planning. Officials currently consult the county’s existing comprehensive plan, which was drafted in 2005 before an in-house update in 2012. The new Mt. Comfort Corridor plan is meant to bridge the gap until the county’s comprehensive plan finishes its update, expected next fall. The Hancock County Board of Commissioners unanimously endorsed the plan Monday following a recommendation from the Hancock County Area Plan Commission.

  • INDIANAPOLIS: FEDEX SHOOTING VICTIM FAMILIES SEEK $2M - Several members of the Sikh community who were injured or lost family members during the FedEx shooting are seeking compensation from the city over the failure to file a red flag case against the shooter (IndyStar). An Oct. 12 letter from the victims' lawyers to city attorneys shows Harpreet Singh, Lakhwinder Kaur and Gurinder Bains are each requesting $700,000 in damages from the city. IndyStar obtained the letter through a public records request. Lawyers representing the victims said the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department and the Marion County Prosecutor's Office violated a requirement in Indiana's red flag law when they decided not to file a case with the courts to suspend the killer's gun rights in March 2020. The victims claim the law doesn't give authorities discretion, meaning they must file such cases with the courts.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: DIRECT FLIGHT TO LONDON COMING - British Airways is eyeing the launch of a new flight connecting London and Indianapolis in mid-2022 (AP). The United Kingdom’s largest airline operator hopes to start offering flights from London’s Heathrow Airport to Indianapolis International Airport next summer, according to information released by a company that helps coordinate capacity at airports. If the route becomes official, it would be the first trans-Atlantic flight from Indianapolis since Delta Air Lines discontinued its Paris flight in March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic. The proposed British Airways route is included in a larger report published by Airport Coordination Limited, a global coordination service used by Heathrow to parse expansion and service plans for its partner airlines. British Airways has several open slots at Heathrow, which serves as the airline’s main hub.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: PIKE ABSENCES PROMPT ANOTHER ELEARNING DAY — Some students at MSD of Pike Township will have a remote learning day Wednesday due to staff absences, according to a social media post from the district and the district’s superintendent (CBS4). A Facebook post from the district said “Pike High School, Freshman campus and Pike Preparatory Academy will have a remote learning day due to staff absences.” Elementary and middle schools classes will be in person. Buses may be running late for them today.

     

    FORT WAYNE: RED RIVER FAILS TO APPEAR BEFORE COUNCIL – Red River did not send CEO James A. Smith or a representative to Tuesday evening’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting at the request of council to discuss the future of the city’s contract with the company (WANE-TV). According to Council President Paul Ensley (District 1), an email was sent to Red River on Wednesday as well as an overnighted letter requesting that Smith come to Tuesday’s meeting. Council has not heard a response from the company. “It’s better to see that they are a no-show now than when the performance bond lapses at the end of the year,” said Councilman Russ Jehl (District 2).

     

    LAFAYETTE: SNYDER JOINS CITY COUNCIL - Steve Snyder will move from Fairfield Township Board, a position he was elected to in 2018, to the Lafayette City Council, replacing Lon Heide, who is stepping down midway through his fifth term (Bangert, Based in Lafayette). Democratic precinct committee members in Lafayette selected Snyder over three other Democrats who applied after Heide announced he’d leave that at-large seat on the nine-member city council, as of Nov. 15. “It’s an honor to be given the opportunity to serve my community,” Snyder said after the selection Monday night at an IBEW hall on South 30th Street. “Mr. Heide’s almost two decades of community service is the standard in which I hope to serve.” Democrats selected Snyder over Grant Fischer, a social studies teacher at Lafayette Jefferson High School; Margaret Hass, a lecturer at Purdue and president of Greater Lafayette Immigrant Allies; and Derek Reuter, creative consultant and downtown Lafayette volunteer.

     

    ELKHART: COUNCIL USING ARP FUNDS FOR WORKFORCE HOUSING — City officials are carving out $2.79 million from American Rescue Plan funds to fuel the development of “workforce housing” in the community (Elkhart Truth). Housing has long been identified as a critical issue in the community, as there are more jobs in Elkhart County than workers, leading to an influx of commuters and potentially hampering economic growth.

     

    FISHERS: NEW PEDESTRIAN PATH COMING — Fishers government leaders and the Hamilton County commissioners are working on a new pedestrian path (WISH-TV). The first public hearing for the project was Tuesday night. The Geist Greenway Project would be 5 miles long, and stretch from 96th Street to 131st Street. Jason Taylor, director of engineering for the city of Fishers, said, “So after today, we’ll hear the public comments. We won’t respond to them tonight. We will go back, our consultant will compile them, then they’ll respond formally, which will then be posted on our website or at City Hall. The project would allow two pedestrian lanes to travel between neighborhoods near Hamilton Southeastern High School and Florida Road.

     

    MUNCIE: CENTRAL HS GOES TO E-LEARNING DUE TO PROTEST — Muncie Central High School students will be attending classes virtually on Tuesday after a peaceful protest at school on Monday (WTHR-TV). In a statement, Muncie Community Schools said the situation stemmed from a class project in which students made posters about social issues that were displayed in a hallway. The display created a disagreement between a student and school resource officers, the district said, which that student and other observers found offensive. The teacher involved was asked to move the posters into their classroom, leading to some students organizing a peaceful protest, which was held in the school's student center at the beginning of classes on Monday.

     

    MUNCIE: COP SEEKS SEPARATE TRIAL — A Muncie Police Department officer charged with false reporting is asking a federal court for a trial separate from three other officers facing charges (WRTV). Attorneys for Officer Corey Posey argue the court disregarded federal rules for criminal cases by including Posey's case in the superseding indictment, according to a brief filed Monday. "Even if Mr. Posey had been properly joined in the Superseding Indictment, he would nonetheless be deserving of a separate trial due to the overwhelming amount of prejudice he would undoubtedly suffer if he were required to stand trial with each of his co-Defendants," his attorneys, K. Michael Gaerte and Joshua Burress, wrote.

     

    ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: COMMISSIONERS PASS NEW MAPS - The St. Joseph County Commissioners voted 2 to 1 Tuesday morning to enact a controversial redistricting plan that makes two of their districts more Republican and the third overwhelmingly Democratic (Lazzaro, WVPE). But the new maps may soon end up in court. The plan creates a heavily minority and Democratic South Bend-based District 2. The new District 1 includes all of Granger and the rural western portions of the county and the new District 3 includes all of Mishawaka, the southernmost portion of South Bend and the rural areas directly south.

     

    ELKHART COUNTY: NEW COURTS FACILITY PROJECT BEGINS - A year ago, the Elkhart County Council voted to move the county’s seven courts out of downtown Elkhart and Goshen and put them in a new building near the intersection of Reliance Road and U.S. 33 in Goshen (Dicarlo, WVPE). Tuesday afternoon, county officials were at that intersection to break ground on the new consolidated courts facility. County Board of Commissioners Vice President Frank Lucchese said it’s a project that’s been in the works since the 1990s. “The questions back then – they were the same as they are today,” he said. “How can we best serve the citizens of every city and town in Elkhart County? How can we make our judicial process more convenient, more efficient, and less expensive?” County officials have said the Reliance Road site is equidistant from downtown Elkhart and Goshen, and the new building will be more efficient and easier to secure than the downtown courthouses. However, both Elkhart Mayor Rod Roberson and Goshen Mayor Jeremy Stutsman opposed the move last year, citing concerns about the economic impact of removing the courts from downtown and public transportation to the new facility.

     

    TIPPECANOE COUNTY: UNCERTAINTY ENGULFS WABASH TWP FIRE — The Wabash Township advisory board meets Tuesday night as uncertainty engulfs the fire department (WLFI-TV). The meeting comes on the heels of a virtual town hall hosted by Trustee Jennifer Teising. She's been at odds for months with township board members about the long-term future of the fire department. But they seem one step closer to restoring the township's paid fire crew. "Our understanding is she's starting to come on board when it comes to that idea," Board President Angel Valentín says of an unconventional solution to save the department. "We've been talking about it since June. It hasn't happened." He's talking about efforts to negotiate a contract between the township and its firefighters, wresting some control from Teising.

     

    VANDERBURGH COUNTY: SPIKE IN SYPHILIS CASES — Vanderburgh County Health officials are seeing an increase in syphilis cases and community members are encouraged to get tested (Evansville Courier & Press).  As of Oct. 31, there had been been 51 reported syphilis cases in Vanderburgh County. There were 41 cases in 2020, 42 cases in 2019, 40 cases in 2018 and 12 cases in 2017. An increase has also been seen in chlamydia and gonorrhea cases.  Syphilis, a bacterial infection spread through sexual contact, can be treated with antibiotics. The stage of infection will determine how long antibiotics should be taken.

  • INDIANAPOLIS: RECORD TEACHER PAY HIKE IN WASHINGTON TWP. — The Washington Township School Board has approved record high raises and bonuses for teachers and other school employees during the current school year (WRTV). “The compensation increases and stipends, which are made possible by increased revenues in State Tuition Support, Operating Referendum funds, and grant dollars, will help to ensure that we continue to attract and retain the quality educators and staff for which Washington Township is known,” Board President Don Kite said. “Educators and school staff must continue to be valued.” According to a release sent by the school district, in addition to the record-high stipends, these increases reflect the largest base increases in the last 10 years for Washington Township Schools employees and the third consecutive year, record-high raises for teachers in Washington Township. For example, a first-year teacher who was hired in the 2018-2019 school year, has seen a 23 percent increase in their base salary over the last four years as a teacher in Washington Township.

     

    INDIANAPOLIS: PIKE SCHOOLS IN VIRTUAL SESSION DUE TO LACK OF DRIVERS — The Metropolitan School District of Pike Township does not have a way to get students to school Tuesday (WIBC). The school system posted on social media Tuesday morning that they are “unable to provide bus service for students today.” As a result, the school system says that Tuesday will be a remote learning day. No further information was provided on the situation.

     

    FORT WAYNE: MAYOR HENRY LISTS NEIGHBORHOOD PROJECTS - Mayor Tom Henry and the City of Fort Wayne’s Public Works Division today released a preliminary list of neighborhood infrastructure improvements for 2022. The projects total $38.5 million (Howey Politics Indiana). The list of planned projects was submitted to City Council earlier today as the City Administration and City Council collaborate on future infrastructure needs in the community. All four quadrants of the City will see enhancements. Next year will feature $29.1 million for streets/roads/bridges, $6 million for sidewalks and alleys, and $3.4 million for trails. Since 2014, the City has invested more than $200 million in neighborhood infrastructure enhancements.

     

    COLUMBUS: PIPE BOMB FOUND ON GOLF COURSE — A pipe bomb was located and later destroyed by specially trained Columbus Police Department personnel after the explosive was located at a Columbus golf course on Sunday evening (Columbus Republic). At approximately 6 p.m., CPD officers responded to Greenbelt Golf Course at 1000 N. Gladstone Ave. in regards to a suspected pipe bomb that was located in a ditch. Members of the CPD Hazardous Devices Unit responded to the scene and later rendered the device safe. There were no injuries and there is not believed to be any danger to the public.

     

    ELKHART COUNTY: FORMER CHIEF TO HEAD HEALTH BOARD - At its meeting Monday morning, the Elkhart County Board of Commissioners appointed Goshen Fire Chief Danny Sink to fill an open spot on the County Board of Health (WVPE).  Sink, a paramedic, will serve the remainder of Dr. Donald Findlay’s term. Findlay announced earlier this month that he would step down at the end of the year, along with board members Todd Meier and Dr. Ebenezer Kio. Elkhart County Health Officer Dr. Bethany Wait is also stepping down at the end of the year, and Board of Health Chairman Dr. Randy Cammenga quit the board back in September. The string of resignations came after the Elkhart County Council vetoed an application for a grant that would have allowed the health department to hire community health workers. The commissioners approved Sink’s appointment 2 to 1, with Commissioner Brad Rogers voting “nay.” Rogers said he reached out to Sink Friday but had not heard back from him before Monday’s meeting.

     

    PORTER COUNTY: ASSESSOR SNYDER WON'T SEEK REELECTION - Porter County Assessor Jon Snyder has announced he will not be seeking re-election next year (Kasarda, NWI Times). Snyder, who will wrap up three terms in office in 2022 for a total of 12 years as assessor, said he wants to focus more time on his family. "I have to thank the assessor staff for their amazing efforts in providing excellent customer service to the taxpayers of Porter County," the Republican said. "We accomplished more than I ever dreamed possible." Snyder said during his tenure, he focused on eliminating a colossal backlog of appeals, became the first and only assessor in the state to offer online appeals, and added millions of dollars to the tax rolls through real and personal property audits and the discovery of improper exemption applications and credits.

     

    ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: RESIDENTS CRITICIZE NEW MAPS - Last week, the all-Republican St. Joseph County Commissioners voted 2 to 1 to advance a redistricting plan that would make two of their districts more Republican and the third overwhelmingly Democratic (WVPE). County residents criticized the plan during a Monday night public meeting in South Bend’s Charles Martin Youth Center. But the commissioners are set to have a final vote on the maps Tuesday morning. The meeting was held to gather more public input on the maps after criticism during last week’s hearing that there’s been a lack of transparency in the process. Multiple County Council members attended, but only one County Commissioner did — Derek Dieter. He was the only commissioner to vote against advancing the maps last week. “My perspective since the beginning of all this is we need more community input, we need more time for people to digest it,” Dieter said. “And I think the commissioners need to work with the council so we can come to a fair agreement on something that would be good for St. Joe County.”

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  • Holcomb will sign 'any' abortion restriction; House GOP to caucus outside Statehouse
    “I don’t have any red lines right now. It’s of paramount importance to me … that we must recognize that this issue is one of the most divisive by definition — when you look at where people fall in the nation — and that will require a thoughtful and respectful airing of where we all come from.” - Gov. Eric Holcomb to the Capital Chronicle, saying he will sign any abortion restriction legislation when the General Assembly reconvenes in a special session on July 25. Informed and reliable sources tell Howey Politics Indiana that House Republicans will caucus outside the Statehouse at an undisclosed location on Tuesday July 5 to develop legislation.
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