EPSTEIN COMMITS SUICIDE IN JAIL CELL: Jeffrey Epstein, the financier indicted on sex trafficking charges last month, committed suicide at a Manhattan jail, officials said on Saturday (New York Times). Mr. Epstein hanged himself and his body was found this morning at Metropolitan Correctional Center in Manhattan at roughly 7:30. Manhattan federal prosecutors last month charged Mr. Epstein, 66, with sex trafficking of girls as young as 14, and details of his behavior have been emerging for years. Mr. Epstein, a financier with opulent homes, a private jet and access to elite circles, had been dogged for decades by accusations that he had paid dozens of girls for sexual acts in Florida. Last month, a week after being denied bail, Mr. Epstein was found unconscious in his cell at the jail in Manhattan with marks on his neck, and prison officials were investigating the incident as a possible suicide attempt. It was not immediately clear on Saturday whether the authorities had put in additional safeguards to watch him after the incident last month.

SUICIDE COMES AFTER REVEALING DOCUMENT DUMP: A cache of previously sealed legal documents, released on Friday by a federal appeals court, provided new, disturbing details about what was going on inside Mr. Epstein’s homes and how his associates recruited young women and girls, including from a Florida high school (New York Times). The documents — among the most expansive sets of materials publicly disclosed in the 13 years since Mr. Epstein was first charged with sex crimes — include depositions, police incident reports, photographs, receipts, flight logs and even a memoir written by a woman who says she was a sex-trafficking victim of Mr. Epstein and his acquaintances. The documents were filed as part of a defamation lawsuit in federal court that Virginia Giuffre brought in 2015 against Ghislaine Maxwell, Mr. Epstein’s longtime companion and confidant. Ms. Giuffre and Ms. Maxwell settled the lawsuit shortly before the trial was to begin in 2017.

STATEMENT ON TODD MEYER RESIGNATION: The Indiana Department of State Personnel released a statement on the resignation of Department of Child Services Associate Director Todd Meyer on Friday (Howey Politics Indiana). HPI had been referred to State Peronnel after declining to comment on Meyer’s resignation. Spokesman Mikka Jackson said that Meyer "was not suspended, demoted, or discharged; he resigned." Here is the entire statement requested by HPI: "Public access to public employee’s personnel file information is governed by I.C. 5-14-3-4(b)(8). Todd Meyer’s July 16, 2019 resignation letter is part of the  personnel file and excepted from disclosure by that law. The 'factual basis' provision of the statute applies to final disciplinary suspension, demotion, or dismissal. Todd Meyer was not suspended, demoted, or discharged; he resigned, and there are no formal charges pending. The statute does not require a public employer to create and publish a statement about the reason for another person’s decision. The individual may or may not choose to speak for himself." Meyer resigned on July 16 with no comment from either Gov. Eric Holcomb, DCS Director Terry Stigdon or Meyer.

COATS URGED GORDON TO RESIGN: Outgoing Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats disrupted a meeting his deputy, Sue Gordon, was holding on election security to urge her to resign from her post (Washington Examiner). The abrupt interruption on Thursday, reported by CNN, happened shortly before Gordon submitted her letter of resignation later that day. She was next in line to be acting spy chief when Coats first announced his intent to retire late last month, but reports indicated the president was going to pick someone else to oversee the U.S. intelligence community until a permanent replacement was approved by the Senate. Democrats criticized the president for overlooking Gordon, arguing his refusal to pick the veteran intelligence official to be acting spy chief underscored his disdain for someone who might advise him on national security matters that clash with his views. Coats and Gordon are both slated to resign on Thursday.

BLEAK FUTURE FACES HOOSIER NEWSPAPERS: Two months after GateHouse Media bought the Florida Times-Union in Jacksonville in 2017, CEO Kirk Davis paid the newspaper a visit and—according to a staffer at the gathering—said he liked what the daily was doing (Schoettle, IBJ). But three weeks later, “we lost 20% of our newsroom to layoffs,” said Andrew Pantazi, a Times-Union reporter and co-chairman of the newspaper’s union. And that was just the start. “In less than two years since the acquisition,” he said, “our newsroom staff has been halved, from 60 to 30.” Pantazi—and newspaper experts—now fear the same fate will befall Gannett Co.-owned newspapers, including The Indianapolis Star, where the newsroom is already 75% smaller than it was 20 years ago. On Aug. 5, GateHouse—a New York-based chain backed by an investment firm—announced a deal to buy Gannett for $1.4 billion. The deal is expected to close by year’s end. After that deal and one other close, GateHouse will own nine Indiana newspapers. From Gannett, it will acquire the Evansville Courier & Press, Lafayette Journal & Courier, Muncie Star Press, Richmond Palladium-Item and The Star. And in a deal announced in January, it will acquire from Mishawaka-based Schurz Communications the South Bend Tribune, Bloomington Herald-Times, Martinsville Reporter and Mooresville Decatur-Times. GateHouse’s acquisition spree comes at a troubling time for the newspaper industry. “GateHouse is about to become a newspaper company the size of which this nation has never seen,” said Pantazi, who has been with the paper almost seven years. “And it’s really bad news for journalism in this country.” “What we’re going to see is GateHouse trying to find efficiencies. They’re going to take aim at back-office functions, including human resources, IT, business operations, accounting and possibly advertising,” said Tim Franklin, senior associate dean and professor at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism and former editor of The Indianapolis Star. “Making these cuts buys them some runway as the new business of journalism works itself out.” In 2000, The Star newsroom had about 285 employees, said Franklin, who was then the paper’s editor. Including editors and managers, The Star now has about 70 news employees.

SKEPTICISM ON TRUMP'S CALL FOR GUN REFORMS: President Trump says he will act on gun control in the wake of mass shootings in El Paso and Dayton — but Democrats and liberal activists are skeptical, and even Republicans aren’t convinced (The Hill). Trump said on Friday he would favor “intelligent background checks.” He suggested there was bipartisan support for such an idea and evinced confidence that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was also “on board” with the idea. But skeptics point to broadly similar comments the president made on gun control after another mass shooting  — when 17 students were killed last year at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla. On that occasion, Trump backed away from substantive action after a meeting with representatives from the National Rifle Association (NRA). Gun control groups doubt that this time will be any different. “I don’t think Donald Trump has a lot of credibility on gun safety,” said Peter Ambler of Giffords, the gun control group co-founded by former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords (D-Ariz.). “In the aftermath of Parkland, he signaled openness to gun laws, only to see an NRA crack squad head over to the White House and huddle with him. Hours after that, he was desperately backtracking.”

INDIANA MAYORS CALL FOR GUN REFORMS: Five Indiana mayors are among the 237 mayors across the nation who signed a letter urging the Senate to pass gun control legislation (Pinsker, Indiana Public Media). Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, Carmel Mayor Jim Brainard, Ft. Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson urged the Senate to pass two House bills improving back ground checks on potential gun owners. "I think now with Parkland a year ago, we had these rapid fire tragedies, the garlic festival, the El Paso shooting, then the Dayton shooting, on top of the Pittsburgh shooting, I think it's finally reaching a critical mass," says former Ft. Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke. Helmke, who is also Director of IU’s Civic Leaders Center, says with the 2020 elections looming, lawmakers may be encouraged to act. “We haven’t done anything to address the fact that with semi-automatic weapons we’ve created a whole new class of weapons that are extremely powerful, extremely lethal,” Helmke says.

UNIVERSAL CANCELS 'THE HUNT': Universal Pictures has canceled its plan to release “The Hunt,” a satirical thriller about “elites” hunting self-described “normal people,” amid a series of mass shootings and criticism that the film could increase tensions (Washington Post). “We stand by our filmmakers and will continue to distribute films in partnership with bold and visionary creators, like those associated with this satirical social thriller, but we understand that now is not the right time to release this film,” Universal said in a statement.

PEW FINDS MOST AMERICANS DON'T WANT MORE PRESIDENTIAL POWER: Most Americans continue to say that it would be “too risky” to give the nation’s presidents more power, but the share expressing this opinion has declined since last year, with most of the change coming among Republicans (Pew Research). Currently, 66% of the public says “it would be too risky to give U.S. presidents more power to deal directly with many of the country’s problems.” About three-in-ten adults (29%) offer the contrasting opinion that “problems could be dealt with more effectively if U.S. presidents didn’t have to worry so much about Congress or the courts.” In March 2018, 76% of the public said it would be too risky to give presidents more power. The survey by Pew Research Center, conducted July 10-15 among 1,502 adults, finds that Republicans’ views on this question have changed markedly since last year. About half of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents (51%) now say it would be too risky to give presidents more power, down from 70% last year.

The share of Republicans who say presidents could operate more effectively if they did not have to worry so much about Congress and the courts has increased 16 percentage points since then, from 27% to 43%.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: I put Jeff Epstein's "suicide" in a Lee Harvey Oswald category. The feds had every reason and incentive to keep this man alive until his various crimes could be sorted out and justice delivered. That he wasn't on suicide watch just two weeks after attempting to do just that is truly outrageous incompetence that will only fuel a news spate of conspiracy theories. - Brian A. Howey


ANDERSON CANDIDATES TALK ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: The No. 1 issue since the 1980s when it comes to electing a mayor of Anderson has been job creation. Every mayor since the administration of Republican Tom McMahan has had as a primary focus encouraging investment by companies and the creation of new employment opportunities (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald-Bulletin). Incumbent Democrat Thomas Broderick Jr. is seeking a second term in November and is being challenged by Republican Rick Gardner, the current Madison County auditor, and Libertarian Rob Jozwiak, a local business owner. “We will continue to be aggressive in seeking economic development growth in the future,” Broderick said. “We will continue to hold the incentives down more than was done in the past.” He said the 50% of the investments over the past six years have come since he took office in 2016. “We want to open new areas to future development,” Broderick said. “We’re looking for new sites for investment.” Gardner said he is continuing to work on the details of an economic development strategy. “There will be some changes when it comes to economic development,” Gardner said. “I’m still working to put a plan together.”

BANKS POSTS $130K: Rep. Jim Banks, R-3rd, raised more than $130,000 in the second quarter, bringing his total to more than $294,000 for the 2019-20 election cycle. He ended the quarter with nearly $111,000 in cash on hand, according to the campaign finance report he filed with the Federal Election Commission (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Dr. Chris Magiera announced last month that he will challenge Banks in the Republican primary election next May. Magiera has not filed a campaign finance report with the FEC. Magiera is the husband of Pam Galloway, who ran against Banks and four other candidates in the 2016 primary, lending her campaign $250,000 along the way.

WALORSKI POSTS $299K: Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-2nd, raised more than $299,000 in the second quarter and nearly $638,000 for the election cycle. Her finance report showed she had almost $581,000 in cash on hand (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). South Bend attorney Pat Hackett seeks the Democratic nomination in the 2nd District, filing her candidacy in February. Hackett, who finished second to Mel Hall in the 2018 Democratic primary, lent her campaign $750 in the second quarter and $2,250 for the cycle to date. 

YOUNG POSTS $345K; BRAUN $60K: Sen. Todd Young, R-Ind., raised $345,000 in the second quarter and $1.7 million for the cycle, and he had $680,000 in cash. Young next faces re-election in 2022 (Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., raised more than $60,000 in the quarter and more than $6.8 million for the cycle, including $6.4 million of his own money, and he had nearly $100,000 in cash on hand. Braun faces re-election in 2024.

Presidential 2020

BIDEN GAFFES PICK UP: The gaffes are back. From mangling a favorite one-liner to almost suggesting that poor kids aren’t white to flubbing his campaign’s text message address on the debate stage last week, Joe Biden’s propensity for verbal missteps burst into view after he mostly kept it in check for the first three months of his candidacy (Politico). It reflects an ongoing difficulty for Biden: His gaffes inevitably draw outsize attention, overshadowing his message and, at times, the depth and versatility of his remarks. Biden’s headline-grabbing comment about “poor kids” was at a marathon, two-hour event addressing the Asian-Latino coalition, where he took questions and then delivered lengthy answers, at times delving deep into policy. “We should challenge students in these schools and have advanced placement programs in these schools,” Biden said. “We have this notion that somehow if you’re poor, you cannot do it. Poor kids are just as bright, just as talented, as white kids.”

BUTTIGIEG DISCUSSES GUN SAFETY: South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg discussed gun safety in Iowa over the weekend (Howey Politics Indiana). "We in power, we in office, we in charge, just adults in general, are supposed to worry about this so that you don't have to -- getting through middle school is hard enough without worrying about your physical safety," Buttigieg said. "And the other thing that...I would like to believe happens in the heart of even the most hard-bitten, cynical politician, is that when they are face to face with a young person saying "you've got to do a better job keeping me safe," there is a voice inside that says "do not let this person down, do not let this child down."

BUTTIGIEG GETS 'RAPTUROUS APPLAUSE' AT WING DING: The brief lull in the primary campaign came as nearly the entire field descended on Northern Iowa on Friday night for the Wing Ding dinner, an annual event that has long served as an early testing ground for Democratic presidential aspirants (New York Times). Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Ind., who received rapturous applause from the crowd, focused his remarks on turning the page from the Trump presidency, describing white nationalism as a “national security threat.” “We’ve got to win not just the era but the future of this country,” Mr. Buttigieg said. “We are going to fix things in this country, we are going to do it together.”

HARRIS PICKS UP KEY IOWA ENDORSEMENT: Sen. Kamala Harris on Saturday secured a key endorsement in the early caucus state of Iowa (Politico). State political heavyweights Sue and Bob Dvorsky announced they would support the California Democratic senator for president in 2020 and would join her on stage at the Iowa State Fair later Saturday. “We've listened. We've read. We've attended. We believe with many of our friends and neighbors that we must get this right. And we are supporting Kamala Harris for President of the United States," the Dvorskys said in a news release.

YANG BREAKS DOWN OVER GUNS: Democratic presidential candidate Andrew Yang shed tears at an Iowa town hall about gun safety, when a mother recalled how her 2-year-old daughter was fatally shot by a stray bullet while the girl's twin brother watched (Fox News). The woman referred to statistics of unintentional shootings by children and asked how Yang would address the problem if elected president. Before answering, Yang asked if he could give the woman a hug, then appeared to fight back tears when he returned to the stage. “I have a 6- and 3-year-old boy, and I was imagining,” Yang began before choking up. “I was imagining it was one of them that got shot and other saw it,” he continued. “I’m so sorry.”

Sunday Talk

BRAUN, YOUNG TALK GUN REFORMS: With members of Congress home on August recess, the nation's focus has turned to last weekend's deadly mass shootings which have reignited the debate over gun control (CBS4). Indiana lawmakers spoke with the media at various events in recent days, sharing their thoughts on the tragedies in Dayton and El Paso and their differing views on the gun control debate. Both of Indiana's senators expressed a willingness to support a national 'red flag' law, and suggested they may be willing to look at the issue of expanded background checks, though both Republican senators stopped short of calling for universal background checks. "I think Indiana's done a good job with respect to our red flag law, that's something that needs to be part of the conversation moving forward," said Sen. Todd Young (R-IN). "Background checks and red flag laws need to be looked at generally," said Sen. Mike Braun (R-IN). "If it's universal, I'm probably going to have trouble doing that, but I think you need to strengthen background checks so that they're better at keeping guns out of the hands of people who are going to use them for the wrong reason."

McALEENAN CALLS ICE RAID TIMING 'UNFORTUNATE': Acting DHS Secretary Kevin McAleenan admits on "Meet the Press," when asked by Chuck Todd about the timing of the Mississippi ICE raids, given the country's emotions after El Paso: "The timing was unfortunate."

HARRIS SAYS RUSSIA OUR 'ACHILLES HEEL': Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a presidential candidate, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election made clear that race is the “Achilles heel” of the U.S. “[T]hey decide to attack what is the strongest pillar of a democracy, which is free and open elections … And they tried out a bunch of different things. And you know what caught heat? The issue of race. So Russia exposed America's Achilles heel,” Harris said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “And all of a sudden then, guess what? For those who want to marginalize the conversation about race and racial inequities and say, ‘Oh, well, that's identity politics or that's this or that's that.’ Guess what? Now it is also a national security issue. And we need to deal with it. And we need to deal with it,” she added.

HARRIS SAYS TRUMP BETRAYS SUPPORTERS ON TRADE WAR: Sen. Kamala Harris (Calif.), a Democratic White House hopeful, said in an interview broadcast Sunday that President Trump “betrayed a lot of people” with his trade policies, which she said are motivated by his “fragile ego.” “There are people who voted for him for a variety of reasons. And a lot of it had to do with the promises he made, which he has not delivered on because they were false promises. And he betrayed a lot of people,” Harris told “Meet the Press” host Chuck Todd on NBC during a campaign swing through Iowa. “He came in saying he was going to help working families, everyone from farmers to auto workers … There are farmers, a lot of farmers, who are looking at bankruptcy because of his so-called trade policy, that was trade policy by tweet, motivated by a fragile ego, that was unilateral action that has resulted in farmers in Iowa looking at bankruptcy because they've got soybeans rotting in bins,” she said.

BOOKER CALLS FOR GUN REFORMS: Sen. Cory Booker said Sunday that passing more gun control measures, including his proposed idea to institute a gun licensing program, requires "presidential leadership," and added that if President Donald Trump "took responsibility for this moment," it may just move Republicans in Washington to action. "I think it's a matter of leadership, presidential leadership," the New Jersey senator and Democratic presidential candidate said in an interview on ABC's "This Week" Sunday. "I hear a lot of the pundits say that if Donald Trump actually took responsibility for this moment, and stepped forward and said this is something we should do, that it would move Mitch McConnell and a lot of other folks. We need a president that's willing to drive forward on this issue and hold people accountable."

RYAN SAYS WHITE SUPREMACISTS SEE TRUMP AS A WHITE SUPREMACIST: Presidential candidate Rep. Tim Ryan (D-Ohio) on Sunday defended his characterization of President Trump as a white supremacist in the wake of a mass shooting in El Paso, Texas. “The white supremacists think that Donald Trump is a white supremacist,” Ryan told “Fox News Sunday's” Bill Hemmer. “I would just say when you look at this kid in El Paso, he was saying similar things to what President Trump has said.”

O'ROURKE CALLS TRUMP 'SICK': Democratic presidential candidate Beto O'Rourke said President Trump's behavior while visiting victims of the El Paso, Texas shooting last week shows "how sick" the president is. O'Rourke, a former Texas congressman, said Sunday on CNN's "State of the Union" that "not a single patient" in two El Paso hospitals after the shooting, which killed 22 people, "wanted to see the president." "That says it all, if you ask me. But for him then to focus on comparing political rallies — or on himself or on how much people love him — just saws him how sick this guy is and how [he's] unfit for this office. He should be consoling the people."

BLOOMBERG ASSAILS TRUMP'S RHETORIC: Former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in a new interview that he believes President Trump encourages the kind of attacks like the recent mass shootings in El Paso, Texas and Gilroy, Calif., with his rhetoric targeting immigrants and minority communities. In an interview with CBS's "Face the Nation" airing Sunday, Bloomberg said that Trump "encourages racists" by saying "nice things about racists." Though Bloomberg did not give any examples, Trump has faced criticism from Democrats for his response to the 2017 white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va., after which the president said that there was "blame on both sides” for the death of a counterprotester. "People look to their leadership for guidance and to say that it doesn't have an effect is wrong," the former mayor said. "So what the president says is very important, and if he supports or says nice things about racists, it encourages racism."

CONWAY DEFENDS TRUMP'S EPSTEIN/CLINTON TWEET: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday addressed President Trump’s retweet of conspiracy theories about the death of financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, saying on “Fox News Sunday” that he “wants everything to be investigated.” Conway was responding to a question from Fox's Bill Hemmer about Trump's retweet of a post blaming, without evidence, Epstein's death on former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and former President Clinton. “I think the president just wants everything to be investigated," she said.

CONWAY EXPECTS GUN REFORMS: White House counselor Kellyanne Conway on Sunday expressed optimism that Republican senators who have been skeptical about gun control measures would cooperate with President Trump, saying their concerns are “all reconcilable.” Amid Trump’s claims that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) will join him in pushing for stronger background checks, “Fox News Sunday” guest host Bill Hemmer asked Conway about comments by Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.), the number-three Republican in the Senate, casting doubt on so-called “red flag” laws.

BANNON SAYS TRUMP IS NOT A RACIST: Former White House chief strategist Steve Bannon said in an interview that aired Sunday that President Trump is not a racist and blamed the "radical left" for divisions in the U.S. He said in an interview with radio host John Catsimatidis on AM 970 in New York that people who do not support Trump's policies "realize that they can't defeat him on the policies so they're going to smear him as being a racist, a white supremacist, all of this stuff, and I don't think any of it holds water." "President Trump is not a racist, he's not a white supremacist, he's someone who has put a series of policies in that really have helped not just everybody, but have really helped the African American and Hispanic community," Bannon continued. "These divisions are being sown by the radical left."


ELECTION SECURITY BILLS IN LIMBO: Bills to hacker-proof next year's election are stalled in the Senate, but not dead yet (Berman, WIBC). The Republican Senate has refused to vote on a bill passed by the Democratic House. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Kentucky) says the nearly 600-page bill was loaded up with unrelated issues, from campaign finance changes to banning gerrymandering. A Senate version co-authored by Oklahoma Republican James Lankford and Democratic presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota died in committee, but Lankford has said he's working on a rewrite for a second try. Indiana Senator Mike Braun (R) says there's room to pass something if the parties work together. He says it's obvious Russia attempted to hack the 2016 election -- he says the U.S. "escaped." But he says last year's off-year election showed stronger cyberdefenses, and predicts next year's election will demonstrate the progress that's been made.

VISCLOSKY ANNOUNCES BURNS HARBER GRANTS: U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky, D-1st, is announcing that the Department of Homeland Security has awarded grants through the Port Security Grant Program to assist the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor (Chesterton Tribune). “In general, the Port Security Grant Program aims to support port security services and plans of port authorities, facility operators, and state and local government agencies, and at least 25 percent of the funding for grant recipients is required to be used for terrorism prevention activities,” according to a statement released by Visclosky’s office this morning. The $220,262 grant awards will be used by the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor, the Indiana State Police, and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Law Enforcement Division. Specifically, the Port of Indiana-Burns Harbor received $15,262 to be used for security gate improvements around the port; the Indiana State Police, a $180,000 award; and the Indiana DNR Law Enforcement Division, a $25,000 award. The latter two will also be used for unspecified security improvements.

General Assembly

GIAQUINTA CALLS FOR GREATER SCHOOL SAFETY: Days after a student with a gun was arrested outside a Muncie high school, Gov. Eric Holcomb held an event highlighting two school safety bills in Southern Indiana Friday, but Democrats in the General Assembly are calling for more action on school safety and firearms during the next legislative session (Lindsay, Indiana Public Media). The two bills lawmakers passed this year qualify more schools for the state’s secured school grants, and expand how schools can use the money, like for hiring school safety officers, and connecting families with behavioral treatment for at-risk students. The application window for those recently closed, and state officials say more schools showed interest in that funding than last year, well before applications were open. But House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) says every school – not just schools that can attain matching grants from the state – needs resource officers and services focused on mental health. “Where students that have a social or emotional problem can get the help that they need,” he says.


GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SIGNS SCHOOL SAFETY BILL -  Indiana Governor Holcomb traveled to Mt. Vernon on Friday to sign a pair of bills focusing on mental health and student safety. That first bill would develop plans by supporting parents of at-risk students through a grant. To be eligible for that grant there must be processes in place for teachers to notify school officials and parents of a student’s unusual behavior (WFIE-TV). ”These investments and policy decisions that were making again collectively regarding school safety and mental health and improved preparedness are going to make our schools safer,” said Holcomb. The second bill, authored by Representative Wendy McNamara, would focus on school resource officers who will no longer be funded through the Safe Schools Fund. Schools will now be able to use that fund to employ a law enforcement officer. ”It allows access for the first time to small schools, before it was somewhat out of reach for schools of this size to be able to apply for these grants,” said Rep. McNamara.

STATEHOUSE: STATE REVENUE UP SLIGHTLY - Indiana revenue exceeded the most recent projections in July, but not by much. The Indiana State Budget Agency reports General Fund revenues totaled more than $1.1 billion last month, 0.7 percent higher than the revised revenue forecast in April. But it’s $43 million, 3.7 percent, below revenue during the same month last year (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). Sales tax collections were below both the monthly estimate and July 2018 figures. ISBA says individual income tax collections and corporate tax collections were both higher than estimates. Riverboat waging collections were below projections while racino wagering, a combination of horse race and casino betting, were above projections.

DOC: FROM MICHIGAN CITY PRISON GUARD SUES - A former Indiana State Prison correctional officer is challenging the state for what he claims was a violation of his employment rights in a case that could have ramifications statewide (Michigan City News-Dispatch). On Wednesday, attorneys representing South Bend's Floyd Barrow clashed with counsel for ISP and the State Employees' Appeals Commission in a hearing before Judge Thomas Alevizos at the La Porte Courthouse. Barrow is suing the prison and SEAC on the grounds that officials denied the right to appeal his termination from the Michigan City correctional facility in 2017. Barrow is seeking damages for lost wages and benefits, as well as to have his job reinstated.

EDUCATION: VALPO U PRESIDENT STEPPING DOWN - Valparaiso University president Mark Heckler will be stepping down, but the timetable on his resignation could be a lengthy one (Michigan City News-Dispatch). Heckler, president of VU for more than a decade, announced Thursday he made a recommendation to the Board of Directors to begin the search for someone to take over the role he assumed in 2008, school spokeswoman Nicole Niemi said. Heckler, the 18th president in Valpo history, has agreed to remain on the job until a successor has been identified and is ready to assume office. “It may take time to search, hire and effectively transition to the next president. Therefore, the process must begin now to ensure continuity of presidential leadership,” Heckler said in a communication to the campus community and alumni.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP RECEIVES 'BEAUTIFUL LETTER' FROM KIM - President Donald Trump on Friday praised a "beautiful letter" from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un (Politico). Hours later, the regime launched further projectiles as a warning against joint military exercises between the United States and South Korea. On Saturday, Trump slammed the "ridiculous and expensive" joint exercises in a tweet, indicating he'll meet with Kim "in the not too distant future."

WHITE HOUSE: SCARAMUCCI SAYS TRUMP WILL 'TURN ON EVERYONE' - Former White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci denounced President Trump early Sunday, arguing that he would eventually turn on everyone in his circle (The Hill).  "For the last 3 years I have fully supported this President," Scaramucci said on Twitter. "Recently he has said things that divide the country in a way that is unacceptable. So I didn’t pass the 100% litmus test. Eventually he turns on everyone and soon it will be you and then the entire country."

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump is in Bedminster, N.J. He has a few events scheduled. Tuesday: President Trump will tour Shell Pennsylvania Petrochemicals Complex in Monaca, Pa. He will also speak there. Thursday: Trump will speak at a political rally in Manchester, N.H.

JUSTICE: BARR 'APPALLED' BY EPSTEIN DEATH - The Justice Department's inspector general is opening an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the death of multimillionaire financier and accused sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein, Attorney General William Barr announced on Saturday (WRTV). Barr said he was "appalled" to learn of Epstein's death while in federal custody awaiting trial. "I was appalled to learn that Jeffrey Epstein was found dead early this morning from an apparent suicide while in federal custody. Mr. Epstein's death raises serious questions that must be answered," Barr said in a statement. "In addition to the FBI's investigation, I have consulted with the Inspector General who is opening an investigation into the circumstances of Mr. Epstein's death."

USDA: INDIANA UTILITIES GET FUNDING - Indiana is one of 10 states which will receive federal funding in the form of loans to upgrade rural electric systems. The U.S. Department of Agriculture announced it will distribute $181 million for infrastructure upgrades (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). USDA’s Rural Utilities Service says the funding will help build and improve more than 1,300 miles of power lines to improve electric reliability in rural areas in those states. In Indiana, USDA says Corydon-based Harrison REMC will receive $15.5 million in loans to connect 1,445 new customers, build 78 new miles and improve 122 miles of electric distribution lines. The electric cooperative serves 23,000 customers in five southwest Indiana counties. Meanwhile in a separate USDA funding program, the city of Princeton will receive $8.5 million to improve its wastewater treatment plan.  The money comes from the Water and Waste Disposal Loan and Grant program which helps rural towns to improve drinking water and wastewater removal.


CITIES: BLACK LIVES MATTER WANTS MARKET VENDOR REMOVED - Black Lives Matter Bloomington wants the city to remove Schooner Creek Farm from the farmers' market because of alleged white supremacist ties, and relinquish control of the market to a private group (Indiana Public Media). Those are among several recommendations the group's core council makes in a letter it sent to several city leaders this week. The letter says while the issue of racism goes far beyond the market, removing Schooner Creek is a small step toward making the community safe for everyone. "Both the mayor and the Farmers' Market Advisory Committee have spoken about diversity and inclusion as true Bloomington values," the letter says. "Now, BLM wants the city to put actions behind those words."

CITIES: DAYTON MAYOR GREW UP IN MOORESVILLE - She's the mayor of a city still reeling from a deadly mass shooting, and this week we learned Dayton mayor Nan Whaley has roots right here in Central Indiana, graduating from Mooresville High School in 1994 (CBS4). On the alumni association's Facebook page, someone posted: "Our thoughts and prayers go out to MHS '94 alum Nan Whaley, the mayor of Dayton, as she leads her city through these difficult days."

COUNTIES: LAKE, PORTER JAIL DEATHS REVEALED - Jail populations in Lake and Porter counties have fallen in recent years as corrections staff have made changes in response to various addiction epidemics, but mental illness among inmates remains a rising problem (Reese, NWI Times). Lake County Sheriff Oscar Martinez said his department continues to take the final steps toward being fully compliant with a 2010 settlement with the federal government that required improvements, including suicide prevention and mental health treatment. In Porter County, the issue presents a difficult challenge in a facility that was never intended to serve inmates with mental illness, Sheriff Dave Reynolds said. Nationally, suicide remains the leading cause of death among jail inmates. The statistic hit a high of 50 deaths for every 100,000 inmates in 2014, the latest year for which the federal government has released data, The Associated Press reported. Locally, the Lake and Porter County jails have recorded 11 in-custody deaths since 2013. All were from natural causes, not suicide.

COUNTIES: 2 JAILERS ARRESTED IN GREENE - Two Greene County jail officers face criminal charges after a police investigation revealed allegations one of the jail officers had sexual contact with a female inmate, and the other officer knew about it but did not report the sexual contact (Bloomington Herald-Times). David R. LaPray, 33, of Jasonville, has been charged with aiding in sexual misconduct, a Level 5 felony.