HOLCOMB CONCERNED ABOUT TEENAGE JIHADISTS: Gov. Eric Holcomb is concerned about teenage homegrown violent extremists in Indiana schools, according to a Nov. 17 Indiana Department of Homeland Security report (WRTV). Call 6 Investigates obtained the document through two separate sources. The nine-page document describes three threats to Indiana schools – active shooters, cyber threats, and teenage homegrown violent extremists. Homegrown violent extremists are defined by the FBI as "global-jihad-inspired individuals who are based in the U.S., have been radicalized primarily in the U.S., and are not directly collaborating with a foreign terrorist organization." The first two threats are real concerns for police departments and schools across the state, according to multiple high-ranking law enforcement sources who are regularly briefed on local and national intelligence. The actual threat of a teenage homegrown violent extremist attacking a school is low, the sources tell Call 6. They say listing it as one of the top three threats is not accurate. The sources spoke to Call 6 on the condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media. "The Governor of Indiana, IDHS, the FBI and the NCTC remain concerned about the potential for teenage HVE’s to conduct attacks inside the state or violence targeting a school with little to no warning," the report states. "IDHS continues to urge vigilance and to report suspicious activities to law enforcement." As the report states, Indiana did see an 18-year-old Brownsburg, Indiana man get arrested while allegedly trying to join ISIS, there was never a threat to the high school he attended or any other schools in the country. The FBI declined to comment for this story.

REP. TAYLOR RESIGNS TO TAKE UAW POST: State Rep. Joe Taylor of South Bend announced Monday that he has resigned his position as state representative of the 7th Indiana House District, effective immediately (Howey Politics Indiana). Taylor, who was first elected to the House in 2016 and was barely reelected in November, said he was giving up his post to accept a job with the United Auto Workers International Union. “This new position provides a life-changing opportunity for me to provide for my family, and I simply could not pass it up,” Taylor said. “Unfortunately, it will require my full attention, and there is the potential we will have to move out of state in the very near future, so I will have to resign as state representative. I cannot tell you how much of a privilege it has been to serve in the Indiana House.” he continued. “My commitment in my life has been to do everything in my power to improve the lives of all I am fortunate enough to represent, both in my work with the local UAW and as a state representative.

BUSH41 LIES IN STATE: The nation's capital embraced George H.W. Bush in death Monday with solemn ceremony and high tributes to his service and decency, as the remains of the 41st president took their place in the Capitol rotunda for three days of mourning and praise by the political elite and everyday citizens alike (Associated Press). With Bush's casket atop the Lincoln Catafalque, first used for President Abraham Lincoln's 1865 funeral, dignitaries came forward to honor the Texan whose efforts for his country extended three quarters of a century from World War II through his final years as an advocate for volunteerism and relief for people displaced by natural disaster. President from 1989 to 1993, Bush died Friday at age 94. In an invocation opening Monday evening's ceremony, the U.S. House chaplain, the Rev. Patrick J. Conroy, praised Bush's commitment to public service, from Navy pilot to congressman, U.N. ambassador, envoy to China and then CIA director before being elected vice president and then president. “Here lies a great man,” said Rep. Paul Ryan, the House speaker, and “a gentle soul. ... His legacy is grace perfected.” Vice President Mike Pence and Republican Senate leader Mitch McConnell also spoke. Pence thanked Bush's family for sharing "this special man" with the country and the world. The vice president says Bush left America and the world "more peaceful, prosperous and secure."President Donald Trump did not attend, but he and first lady Melania Trump came to the Capitol later Monday to pay tribute. They stood in front of the casket with their eyes closed for a few moments, before Trump saluted the casket.

HOLCOMB SAYS FEDS NEED TO ACT ON MARIJUANA FIRST: Michigan legalized recreational marijuana last month, but Gov. Holcomb says his opposition to loosening Indiana laws hasn't changed (Berman, WIBC). Senate Democrats have made medical marijuana one of their priorities for next year, and some Republican legislators support them. But the idea still faces long odds of becoming law over opposition from House Speaker Brian Bosma and from Holcomb. The governor says marijuana remains against federal law, and says the various states defying that prohibition are setting up a confusing hodgepodge of laws. And he says there's still no solid research to confirm supporters' claims of medical benefits. Holcomb says he's glad Surgeon General Jerome Adams, Indiana's former state health commissioner, has called for such research. For now, though, he says supporters are glossing over more compelling evidence from parents who say pot was a gateway drug for their kids, or from insurance companies who raised premiums after a rise in driving under the influence in states where marijuana has been legalized.

CIB PREPARING TO ASK FOR CONVENTION EXPANSION FUNDS: City convention officials are gearing up for a big financial ask of the Indiana General Assembly next year as they set out on a $120 million expansion of the Indiana Convention Center at Pan Am Plaza—and think about future sports and tourism needs (Erdody & Colombo, IBJ). The Capital Improvement Board of Managers, with Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett’s blessing, plans to ask key state budget writers for at least $8 million in annual funding—and perhaps much more. The money would help fund CIB operations and allow the quasi-governmental agency to finance major renovations at Bankers Life Fieldhouse and other venues. CIB’s request comes as the entity stands to lose $8 million a year in operating revenue that will be redirected to pay off bonds issued to fund a convention ballroom and meeting space at Pan Am Plaza. That project also includes two Hilton-branded, convention-style hotels to be developed by Kite Realty Group Trust. But the CIB ask is much broader than just the Pan Am deal. Hogsett’s chief of staff, Thomas Cook, told IBJ that convention officials want to “capture the moment on Pan Am” and ask the Legislature to fund CIB’s 25-year vision, which includes substantial renovations to Bankers Life Fieldhouse and other CIB properties. CIB Board President Melina Kennedy said the board believes “it’s important to be thinking today about the future and not sitting still and enjoying the success we have now and assuming it will just continue.” “We own and operate several really critical facilities, such as Lucas Oil Stadium, such as Bankers Life arena, and we know over the course of the next several decades there will be needs for refreshing and modernizing and making sure we’re providing facilities that are really attractive to visitors and leave a world-class impression.”

USDA PREDICTS 12% DROP IN FARM INCOME: Net farm income, a broad measure of profits, is forecast to decrease $9.1 billion, or 12.1 percent from 2017 to $66.3 billion in 2018, after increasing $13.8 billion in 2017 (Hoosier Ag Today). The Department of Agriculture’s Economic Research Service recently announced the forecast. USDA says, meanwhile, net cash farm income is forecast to decrease $8.5 billion, 8.4 percent, to $93.4 billion. Net farm income is a comprehensive indicator of U.S. farm profitability, while net farm cash income less comprehensive and does not include non-cash items, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation. AFBF Chief Economist John Newton writes that the challenging financial situation highlights the need for improved access in key foreign markets, along with continued commitments to renewable energy, reduced regulatory burdens and a completed farm bill. Combined, Newton says “these efforts will go a long way toward improving the farm economic outlook.”

UNCERTAINTY PERVADES ON TARIFFS: Investors supposedly hate uncertainty, but the uncertainty of a 90-day delay to extra tariffs on China turned out to be better than the certainty of extra tariffs. Stocks soared Monday and the dollar weakened as markets welcomed the cease-fire over the weekend in the U.S.-China trade war (Wall Street Journal). Yet, the uncertainty is likely to keep hurting the world economy. Companies that were delaying investment decisions are hardly likely to put plans into action on the basis of a temporary truce. The different public announcements by the two sides give little confidence that there was a meeting of minds between President Trump and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.

SCANDALS NOT ENDING POLITICAL CAREERS: Representatives Duncan Hunter and Chris Collins campaigned this fall while out on bail for felony charges. Representative Greg Gianforte had been convicted of misdemeanor assault. Senator Bob Menendez’s trial on bribery and fraud charges had resulted in a hung jury. How did voters respond? All four were re-elected last month, Mr. Menendez by 10 percentage points (New York Times). Now, as dozens of Democrats consider running for president, the recent success of candidates with varying degrees of baggage has revived interest in a question that has absorbed politicians and strategists since President Trump’s surprise victory two years ago: What, if anything, matters? Strategists from both parties agree that once-controversial issues like divorce, sexuality, moderate drug use and the evergreen mistake of cursing on a hot mic are no longer fatal for political careers. “It used to be you couldn’t run if you had an affair. Well, that’s certainly not true anymore,” said former Representative Tom Davis, who took over their chairmanship of the National Republican Congressional Committee at the end of the Clinton administration.

U.S. TARGETS KASSIG KILLER: U.S.-led forces on Sunday fired missiles at the leader of an Islamic State group linked to the 2014 behading of Indianapolis native Abdul-Rahman Kassig, the Associated Press reported (IndyStar). Col. Sean Ryan, a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition fighting IS, told the AP that coalition forces conducted precision strikes against Abu al-Umarayn and several other IS members. Ryan said Abu al-Umarayn was involved in the 2014 torture and killing of Kassig, 26, a humanitarian aid worker formerly known as Peter Kassig. Sunday's military strikes took place in a desert area in southeastern Syria, AP reported. It was unclear if Abu al-Umarayn was killed. Syria’s state news agency said the U.S.-led coalition fired several missiles at Syrian army positions in the country’s east, causing material damage. The SANA report said positions targeted on Sunday night are in the Ghorab Mountains, south of the eastern town of Sukhna.

IUPUI STUDY SHOWS FIREFIGHTERS FACE CANCER RISK: Indiana firefighters are at much higher risk higher risk of dying from malignant cancers than the rest of the population (Jackson, Indiana Public Media). That’s according to a new Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis study that shows malignant cancers were the leading cause of death for firefighters in the state between 1985 and 2013. The study says firefighters experienced an estimated 20 percent increase in the odds of dying from cancer compared to non-firefighters. Study author Carolyn Muegge is a doctoral student at the Richard M. Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. She says what causes the higher risk is still unknown. "What needs to happen next is we need to look at what kinds of cancers that we’re seeing among firefighters and really examine the modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors, like family history," she says.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: President George H.W. Bush lies in state at this moment as we move toward his final rites on Wednesday. But we learn via a New York Times story that character  that Bush41 continually personafied no longer matters when it comes to who can serve the public. Scandal is no longer ending political careers, as the November election reveals. As the Bushes and Reagans retreat into history, we now find a coarsening of American politics. - Brian A. Howey

Campaigns

INDY BECOMES A VOTE CENTER COUNTY: Marion County voters will be able to cast their vote at any polling place in the county starting next year as Indianapolis becomes what is known as a “vote center” county (Colombo, IBJ). The Indianapolis City-County County on Monday night unanimously approved designating Marion County as a vote center county, which will result in transforming the 300 traditional neighborhood-based polling locations across the county into places where any registered Marion County voter can cast a ballot. Marion County will join 37 other Indiana counties that already vote center counties. “This is really exciting,” said Council Vice President Zach Adamson. “This is going to be transformative to the electoral process in Marion County.” Marion County Clerk Myla Eldridge said in late November that the proposal will “revolutionize how we vote in Marion County for the foreseeable future.” “No longer will a voter have to vote using a provisional ballot because they showed up to the wrong polling place on Election Day,” Eldridge said. “Citizens can vote near home, work, schools, daycare or any other location that is convenient.”

DOCTORAL STUDENT TO RUN FOR MAYOR OF CHARLESTON: Doctoral student Treva Hodges, who is finishing her degree, says she will run for mayor of Charlestown. She joins David Abbott in the race (News&Tribune).

ZODY BLASTS HOLCOMB OVER VETERANS: Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody criticized Gov. Eric Holcomb over a Veterans Affairs state relief grant program (Howey Politics Indiana). “This is what happens when you get a little too cozy in the governor’s residence and in the majority,” said Zody. “Governor Holcomb isn’t policing his administration and bureaucrats are playing by their own rules. He’s conducting an audit, and I believe those results should be made public. When will it be completed and how will the lessons learned be applied across the Holcomb Administration? It’s clear the administration can’t be trusted to police itself and more oversight is need.”

POLL SHOWS SMALL TOWNS MOVING AWAY FROM TRUMP: Donald Trump is nearly as unpopular in small towns as he is in suburban areas and cities, signaling potential trouble for his re-election prospects, according to a survey that highlights the Republican president’s vulnerabilities (Bloomberg/Quint). The latest Grinnell College National Poll also shows just less than a third of Americans say they definitely plan to vote for him in 2020, while 41 percent say they’re certain to cast a ballot for someone else. The incumbent’s weakness is swelling the field of Democrats contemplating challenging him, with some already making pilgrimages to Iowa and other states that will host the first nominating contests just more than a year from now. The survey of 1,000 adults, conducted by Selzer & Co. for the Iowa school, reveal stark divisions in how Trump is regarded between rural America and everywhere else. In rural areas -- not including those living in small towns -- 46 percent say they’ll definitely vote for him for a second term. But in all other geographic areas, there’s much higher skepticism about a second Trump term. Just 33 percent of those in small towns definitely plan to vote for him, while 27 percent in suburbs and 24 percent in cities say they will.



Congress

WALORSKI ANNOUNCES APP CHALLENGE WINNER - U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) congratulated Plymouth High School senior Kobe Johnson, the winner of the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for Indiana’s 2nd District. Kobe’s winning smartphone app, “Homework Helper,” will be showcased in the U.S. Capitol among other winners from across the country (Howey Politics Indiana). “Congratulations to Plymouth High School’s very own Kobe Johnson on winning the 2018 Congressional App Challenge for Indiana’s 2nd District!” Congresswoman Walorski said. “Kobe’s hard work exemplifies the Hoosier ingenuity and innovative spirit that bring prosperity and opportunity to our communities. By encouraging young Hoosiers to develop vital STEM and computer-based skills, we can ensure our workforce is better prepared to take on a leading role in the economy of the future.” “Creating apps help prepare them for life after high school with future studies and or a possible career in computer science. App design challenges have been one of the most accessible ways for my students to document and broadcast their programming proficiency,” said Plymouth High School computer science teacher Lindsay Moore.

McCONNELL PREDICTS SHUTDOWN WON'T HAPPEN: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell predicted lawmakers would avert a government shutdown when a proposed stopgap measure expires later this month, saying neither party wants the political blame for a lapse in funding (Wall Street Journal). “I don’t think we’ll get to that point,” Mr. McConnell said Monday,addressing the annual meeting of The Wall Street Journal CEO Council. The Kentucky Republican suggested that President Trump negotiate with Democrats, whom he said were “not irrelevant” in Washington after last month’s midterm elections gave the party control of the House.

CONGRESS RUNNING OUT OF TIME ON SEX HARASSMENT BILL:  It should have been the easiest bill Congress passed all year (Huffington Post). But eight months after a congressman resigned after allegedly saying he had “wet dreams” about a female aide who was welcome to “show her nipples,” which was weeks before a congressman resigned after pursuing a female aide he called his “soul mate,” which was months after a congressman resigned after asking female aides to bear his child, lawmakers have failed to pass legislation targeting their own sexual harassment. It looked like Congress might actually deal with its Me Too problem earlier this year. The House unanimously passed a bill in February making badly needed updates to Congress’ policies on sexual harassment and discrimination. The Senate came around in May and passed its version of the bill. All they had left to do was hash out their differences and agree on a final version.



General Assembly

HATE CRIMES DOWN IN THE REGION: The number of hate crimes reported to the FBI by Northwest Indiana police agencies decreased to four in 2017 from five in 2016, but remained slightly higher than levels seen in the four years before 2016 (NWI Times). In some cases, racial and other biases were noted, but the motivation for the crimes appeared to also include other factors, police said. Local police agencies reported few of the cases to the FBI, which can work with the U.S. attorney's office to secure charges under federal hate crimes laws. Munster police referred one case involving a bomb threat at a Jewish organization in 2016 to the FBI, but no suspects have been identified, and the case now is considered open but inactive. State Sen. Mike Bohacek, R-Michiana Shores, is working with the chairman of the Senate Public Policy Committee, state Sen. Ron Alting, R-Lafayette, to prepare a bias crime proposal for consideration by the 2019 General Assembly.

State

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SAYS 'WE'VE LOST A GIANT' - Gov. Eric Holcomb declared Monday that the death of Republican former President George H.W. Bush means, "We've lost a giant among us" (Carden, NWI Times). "They broke the mold after him," Holcomb told reporters at the Statehouse. "I'm a bit saddened for the whole family and for the country, quite frankly." The first-term Republican governor recalled how Bush sent him a letter in 2016 congratulating Holcomb following his election as Indiana's chief executive. With the letter, Bush also sent an autographed baseball for Holcomb's collection of president-signed baseballs, as well as adding to Holcomb's collection of documents with presidential signatures that now includes every president except the first, George Washington. Holcomb said the message from Bush meant more to him than the former president ever would know, since Holcomb's affinity for Bush, who was president from 1989 to 1993, dates back more than three decades. "I was the kid in college that had Bush bumper stickers in my dorm room, and I was even teased a little bit about going out and buying eyeglasses that looked like his," he said.

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB TO ATTEND TAYLOR U. GAME - The 22nd-Annual Ivanhoes Silent Night Game on Friday, December 7, will have a special guest, as Gov. Eric Holcomb has made plans to be in attendance for the festivities inside Odle Arena. Taylor will host Grace Christian for a 6:00 pm start on Friday, as the Trojans look to remain unbeaten in what has regularly been called one of the best traditions in college sports (Howey Politics Indiana). Gov. Holcomb will headline the list of special guests for the 2018 game, with other media crews planning to attend, including a basketball media group from Italy. All available tickets for the game are reserved for current TU students, with limited additional tickets distributed to TU faculty and staff. No entry will be allowed to anyone without an advanced ticket.

GOVERNOR: O'BANNON PARK TO EXPAND IN INDY - The Indianapolis Frank and Judy O'Bannon Old Northside Soccer Park will soon be expanded to include a new playspace, splash pad and picnic shelter thanks to a recently launched crowdfunding campaign (Howey Politics Indiana). The campaign is sponsored by the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority (IHCDA) and offered through the crowdfunding platform developed by Patronicity. The campaign is led by the Indianapolis Parks Foundation in collaboration with a dedicated group of Old Northside, Herron Morton, Martindale, Brightwood and Windsor Park neighbors. “We are honored at the opportunity to celebrate Frank and Judy O'Bannon by helping to complete the park that bares their names,” said Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch. “By partnering with the Indianapolis Parks Foundation, a leader in developing parks throughout Indianapolis for more than 30 years, we have no doubt that these new additions will help to meet the growing recreational needs in Central Indiana." If the campaign reaches its $27,500 goal by February 1, 2019 the O’Bannon Park project will receive a matching grant of $27,500 from IHCDA's CreatINg Places program.

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB SCHEDULE - Indiana Gov. Eric J. Holcomb will join leaders from The Last Mile and Google.org for a second announcement this year about learning in prison. Gov. Holcomb and Indiana Department of Correction Commissioner Rob Carter will join Chris Redlitz, Co-founder of The Last Mile; Beverly Parenti, Executive Director of The Last Mile, MC Hammer, Board Member of The Last Mile; Sway Calloway, Board Member of The Last Mile; Justin Steele, Head of Americas for Google.org; Maab Ibrahim, Criminal Justice Lead for Google.orgm 11 a.m., Tuesday, Pendleton Juvenile Correctional Facility, 9310 S. S.R. 67, Pendleton.

GOVERNOR: CROUCH SCHEDULE - Lt. Governor Suzanne Crouch's public schedule for Dec. 3 - 5, 2018. Tuesday, Dec. 4; What: Crouch speaks at 2018 IEC Annual Meeting, 9:00 a.m. - 9:30 a.m., ET, Indianapolis Marriott Downtown, Second Floor, Ballrooms 5 & 6, 350 W. Maryland St., Indianapolis. Crouch speaks at Indiana Broadband and Technology Association conference, 1:45 p.m., ET; Where: Indianapolis Marriott North, First Floor Ballroom, 3645 River Crossing Pkwy, Indianapolis. Wednesday, Dec. 5, Crouch speaks at Lt. Governor's Leadership Luncheon, Girl Scouts of Central America, 11:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m., ET, with Crouch remarks throughout the luncheon; Wednesday, Dec. 5: What: Crouch decorates tree with girl scouts, 3:00 p.m. - 3:30 p.m., Indiana Statehouse, Lt. Governor's Office room 333. Wednesday, Crouch speaks at Indiana Sheriffs' Association New Sheriff's School 5:00 p.m. - 6:00 p.m., ET, with Crouch remarks at 5:15 p.m., 401 S. High St., Muncie.

STATEHOUSE: HILL SEEKS $5M BUDGET INCREASE - Embattled Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill wants lawmakers to increase his budget by about $5 million, despite previously drawing their ire for spending $300,000 on office renovations and a van with his name emblazoned on the side (Associated Press). Hill did not appear in person Monday to request the increase from the State Budget Committee, which is gathering input before lawmakers write a new two-year budget. Instead the Republican sent two of his deputies, though other top officeholders — including Indiana’s secretary of state, auditor and treasurer — made their requests in-person. GOP legislative leaders and Gov. Eric Holcomb called on Hill to resign last summer after he was accused of drunkenly groping a lawmaker and two staffers at a bar. He denies the allegations and says he will not resign.

STATEHOUSE: LAWSON ISSUES $450K FINE - Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson today announced she has agreed to a settlement with LPL Financial which includes a civil penalty of $450,000 (Howey Politics Indiana). The settlement stems from an investigation by the Securities Division of the Secretary of State’s office regarding various deficiencies related to LPL’s supervision of its Indiana operations. The settlement specifically focuses on email review and branch audit requirements.  Over the past several years, a software glitch caused LPL supervisors to not properly review a select number of emails.  When the Secretary of State’s office uncovered the glitch, LPL was contacted and the glitch was corrected.  The investigation also found that LPL did not conduct annual compliance exams of its Indiana branches as required by law. “Broker-dealers and financial firms are often the first line of defense against fraud.” said Secretary Lawson. “If a firm does not have, or does not follow its own supervisory procedures, Hoosiers could be at risk.” In addition to the $450,000 civil penalty, LPL agreed to a conduct a 3rd party compliance review of its policies and procedures in Indiana to ensure that they comply with Indiana law.  LPL will provide a report to the Securities Commissioner in 180 days for review.

STATEHOUSE: HILL FILES DATA BREACH LAWSUIT - Attorney General Curtis Hill announced today that he is leading a 12-state federal lawsuit against a Fort Wayne web-based electronic health records company that allegedly sustained a data breach compromising the data of more than 3.9 million people (Howey Politics Indiana). The lawsuit alleges that Medical Informatics Engineering Inc. and NoMoreClipboard LLC (collectively “MIE”) violated provisions of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (“HIPAA”) as well as state claims including Unfair and Deceptive Practice laws, Notice of Data Breach statutes, and state Personal Information Protection Acts. Today’s filing marks the first time state attorneys general have joined together to pursue a HIPAA-related data breach case in federal court. “We will always act to protect Hoosier consumers in cases such as this one,” Attorney General Hill said. “We make it our standard practice to pursue all penalties and remedies available under the law on behalf of our citizens, and we hope our proactive measures serve to motivate all companies doing business in Indiana to exercise the highest ethics and utmost diligence.”

EDUCATION: INDIANA SEEKS PRE-K FUNDING FROM FEDS - The state is asking the federal government for a multi-million dollar pre-K grant, to help evaluate and improve preschool and early learning systems across Indiana (Indiana Public Media). Indiana is seeking nearly $10 million from the U.S. Department of Education, and it’s something Early Learning Indiana CEO Maureen Weber says could do a lot to help the state achieve one overarching goal. “It’s really a broad ranging grant to look at how we could improve our systems and supports for children from birth to 5-years-old," Weber says. The grant would support a statewide needs assessment, to better illustrate Indiana’s pre-K and early learning landscape. National reports have said Indiana is behind most states for access and funding support.

ECONOMY: MORE JOBS LOST TO OFF-SHORING - A new study shows Indiana workers should worry less about being replaced by a robot and more about their job being sent to another country (Indiana Public Media). Last month an Indiana University study was published analyzing between robots and outsourcing as the main source for the decline in manufacturing. There are fewer manufacturing jobs in the U.S. than there were 15 years ago. Indiana Business Research Center director of economic analysis Timothy Slaper says he found that odd in a good economy. “Even when the overall national economy was expanding, we were still losing a good chunk of our manufacturing employment,” says Slaper. “And that was something of a headscratcher.”

IDEM: OGDEN DUNES BEACH CLOSED DUE TO DISCHARGE - Portage Lakefront and Riverwalk and the beach at Ogden Dunes remained closed Monday following reports of a foamy, scummy discharge into the Burns Waterway from the U.S. Steel Midwest plant (Reese, NWI Times). National Park Service staff investigating a tip Nov. 28 observed the white foamy discharge coming from the plant and heading out to Lake Michigan, Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore spokesman Bruce Rowe said. The National Park Service and Ogden Dunes said they planned to keep their lakefront properties closed while awaiting a report from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management regarding the substance discharged, he said. The U.S. Steel's Portage plant has been at the center of a controversy since April 2017, when it spilled nearly 300 pounds of hexavalent chromium — or 584 times the daily maximum limit allowed under state permitting laws — into the Burns Waterway.

DNR: COYOTE WARNING ISSUED - Because winter can be a busy time for coyotes, DNR biologists say people can expect to see more of them in the coming months, but not to be alarmed (Howey Politics Indiana). “Most young coyotes leave their parents to start looking for new homes during winter. In addition, coyote breeding season starts in January, and coyotes may be more mobile during that time as well,” said Megan Dillion, DNR south region urban biologist. Coyotes are common to Indiana, including areas where people gather. It is normal for them to show up not only in rural environments, but also in urban areas.

SUPREME COURT: DISMEMBERMENT CASE HEARD - A Hobart man found guilty of murder for shooting and dismembering a business associate received a fair trial, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Monday (Carden, NWI Times). Thomas R. Smith, 67, was sentenced in April to 60 years in prison following his conviction by a Lake County jury for causing the death of David Krawczenia, 48, of Portage, at a Gary auto shop where Smith repaired vehicles that Krawczenia purchased and later resold. According to court records, Smith shot Krawczenia on Nov. 1, 2014, and shoved Krawczenia's body in the trunk of a car to get out of paying about $16,000 he owed Krawczenia.

AGRICULTURE: KRON HOPEFUL ON 3 ISSUES - Three different political sticking points moved closer to what farmers hope is resolution late last week and over the weekend. An agreement in principle was reached on the 2018 farm bill on Thursday, the United States-Mexico-Canada Trade Agreement was signed by the three countries on Friday, and a 90-day ceasefire in the trade war was reached with China on Saturday (Hoosier Ag Today). Indiana Farm Bureau President Randy Kron said he thinks everyone in agriculture was going into the meeting with Chinese President Xi on Saturday hoping that the rhetoric around the trade war would get dialed down. “Nothing is going to be resolved by throwing darts back and forth. It’s going to be resolved by sitting down at the table and having communications and having some negotiations. So, to me, that’s a good first step. Let’s get it to the table, let’s start having some discussions, and get these issues resolved.” As for the farm bill, Kron says he was on the phone with members of the Indiana delegation just yesterday reiterating its importance. He says they’re hopeful to get it through in the lame duck session. “They’re hopeful, but the passing of President (George H.W.) Bush might push that back a couple days. They were still pretty optimistic that it was going to happen.”

BUSINESS: GIANT EAGLE COMPLETES RICKERS ACQUISITION - Giant Eagle Inc. on Monday announced it has successfully competed the acquisition of Ricker Oil Co. Inc. (Anderson Herald-Bulletin). "Today is a very special day because we welcome more than 800 new team members to our Giant Eagle family, and begin work to bring together Ricker's and GetGo into a leading food-first convenience retailer in Indiana," Giant Eagle President and CEO Laura Karet said in a statement. Jay Ricker announced plans to sell the company's 56 convenience stores and gas stations to Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle Inc. supermarket chain in late September. Financial terms of the sale were not disclosed.



Nation

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SALUTES BUSH AT ROTUNDA - President Donald Trump and first lady Melania Trump have paid their respects to former President George H.W. Bush at the U.S. Capitol (Associated Press). The nation’s 41st president is lying in state at the Capitol Rotunda. The Trumps stood in front of the casket Monday evening with their eyes closed for a few moments. After Trump saluted the casket, the pair walked out. Trump skipped an earlier service at the Capitol, where Bush was eulogized by Vice President Mike Pence, among others. Trump plans to attend Bush’s state funeral Wednesday at Washington National Cathedral.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP TWEETS CROSSING LINES - President Trump took to Twitter Monday morning, haranguing special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and witnesses to his ongoing Russia investigation. His tweets have become a common morning occurrence, particularly in recent weeks. But legal experts are calling Monday’s missives a newsworthy development that amounts to evidence of obstructing justice (Washington Post). Trump’s first statement went out after Michael Cohen, his former personal attorney who pleaded guilty last week for lying to Congress about the president’s real estate project in Russia. In his tweet, Trump alleged that Cohen lied to Mueller and called for a severe penalty, demanding that his former fixer “serve a full and complete sentence.” After the overt attack on Cohen came a tweet encouraging Roger Stone, a longtime adviser to Trump, not to become a witness against him: Roger Stone has a rule: 'Deny everything.' And he does. Norman Eisen, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, said that the most striking thing about Monday was that there were two statements in proximity. “It comes very close to the statutory definition of witness tampering,” he said. “It’s a mirror image of the first tweet, only he’s praising a witness for not cooperating with the implication of reward,” he said, adding that Trump has pardon power over Stone.

WHITE HOUSE: HARDLINERS WILL NEGOTIATE WITH CHINA - President Trump cast his trade accord with President Xi Jinping of China as a huge victory for American farmers, automakers and other key political constituencies — statements that helped send volatile financial markets higher on Monday and seemed intended to calm worries about the economic toll of a protracted trade war (New York Times). Yet 48 hours after the deal was struck, several big areas of contention remained unresolved and Mr. Trump appointed a veteran trade negotiator with deep skepticism toward China to lead the talks for the United States. Mr. Trump’s choice of Robert Lighthizer, the United States trade representative, to lead the negotiations is significant, given that the official statements from Saturday’s meeting included only vague commitments and that deep divisions remain, particularly over China’s treatment of American companies and push to obtain trade secrets and intellectual property.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP ACCELERATES ON TRADE - President Trump’s aggressive trade strategy accelerated on two fronts Monday, with the White House pressing China to quickly follow through on commitments made over the weekend while simultaneously clashing with lawmakers over a fragile North America pact (Washington Post). On Monday, White House National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow said Trump was expecting immediate concessions from China as part of a broad package of changes both countries agreed to pursue during the Group of 20 summit in Argentina. At the same time, Trump’s updated North America trade proposal was encountering a rough reception on Capitol Hill, where both parties have deep divisions over trade that will be on full display as a newly Democratic-controlled House takes up the pact along with the Republican-led Senate.

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP FLED STAGE, SAYING 'GET ME OUT OF HERE' – President Donald Trump was caught saying “get me out of here” after he walked away from world leaders before a group picture was taken at the G20 summit (The Sun). The US President strolled off the stage in Buenos Aires, leaving the baffled Argentinian President Mauricio Macri standing centre stage on his own. He was supposed to pose for a picture with Macri and other leaders but walked off and an aide could be seen chasing after Trump. Footage shows Trump shaking hands with Macri before he hastily left the stage – and was later heard saying “get me out of here” off camera. Macri, 59, looked confused after the 72-year-old left the stage because he was ready for the picture to be taken on Friday. However, Trump eventually returned to the stage and stood in the middle of the world leaders when posing for the photo – with French President Emmanuel Macron and Theresa May on his right.

WHITE HOUSE: NEILSEN SEEMS TO BE SURVIVING - Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, who was recently on the brink of losing her job, is now expected to survive the Cabinet shake-up President Donald Trump has spent weeks teasing — and she may have the caravan to thank (Politico). On the verge of firing by a president who has said she isn’t a strong enough defender of the U.S.-Mexico border, Nielsen has adopted — and made sure to publicize — a tough stance in response to the caravan of Central American migrants headed toward the U.S. that Trump turned into a major midterm campaign issue. She has visited the southern border three times since October, and recently hailed Trump as a forceful “leader.”

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump will sign the "Frank LoBiondo Coast Guard Authorization Act of 2018" at 3:30 p.m. in the Oval Office.

PENTAGON: GREEN CARD HOLDERS TO TRAINING - The Pentagon will begin sending a backlog of thousands of green-card holders to recruit training, suspending a policy adopted by the Trump administration last year that required more-stringent background checks for some immigrants wanting to serve, according to two defense officials and an internal memo (Washington Post). The policy called for green-card holders to submit to and complete a full background check and respond to any concerns before they could go to boot camp. That was in addition to standard requirements for green-card applicants, such as biometrics screening. The change put thousands of people in limbo, as their screening languished and specific jobs within the military promised to them slipped away.

SCOTUS: CASE COULD HAVE IMPACT ON MANAFORT - The Supreme Court next week takes up the case of a small-time Alabama felon, Terance Gamble, who complains that his convictions by state and federal prosecutors for the same gun possession crime violate constitutional protections against double jeopardy (Washington Post). But likely to be watching the proceedings closely will be those concerned about a big-time felon, Republican consultant and former Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort, who was prosecuted by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III for tax fraud. With President Trump keeping alive prospects that he might pardon Manafort, Gamble v. United States might be redubbed Manafort v. Mueller, joked Thomas C. Goldstein, an attorney who regularly argues before the Supreme Court. The outcome in the case could affect nascent plans by states to prosecute Manafort under their own tax evasion laws — New York, in particular, has expressed interest — should Trump pardon Manafort on his federal convictions.

MUELLER: FLYNN FILING TODAY WILL BE REVEALING - A new filing Tuesday is expected to detail how former Trump adviser Mike Flynn has been helping federal investigators since pleading guilty a year ago, potentially providing a window into the special counsel probe into Russian election interference and any links to the president’s 2016 campaign (Wall Street Journal). In a memo, the office of the special counsel, Robert Mueller, is scheduled to report what sentence it is seeking for Mr. Flynn, who pleaded guilty last December to making false statements to federal officials about the content of his calls with Moscow’s ambassador a month before President Trump’s inauguration. Mr. Flynn was a Trump campaign aide and served briefly as national security adviser before he was ousted just weeks into Mr. Trump’s tenure.

Local

CITIES: INDY 911 WAIT TIMES INCREASE - When you have an emergency, seconds count. And when you call 911, those seconds can feel like a lifetime (WRTV). But in Marion County, the hold times on 911 calls have been drastically increasing month after month as the dispatch center continues to lose employees to higher-paying jobs. The staffing levels at the 911 center are down 33 percent as workers leave the center at an alarming rate.  Officials believe the center has been seeing the turnover because dispatchers in Marion County are paid significantly lower than surrounding counties -- and much less than other employees in the county. The center is down about 40 staff members, the Marion County Sheriff’s Department said.

CITIES: HIT & RUNS RISE IN INDY - A cowardly crime is on the rise in Indianapolis as FOX59 has learned more and more drivers are running away from accidents, leaving their victims for dead. Earlier this year, 50-year-old Annastaisha Sandlin was struck and killed by a car as she walked her bike along Shelby St. The driver tried to make a run for it, but was later arrested. "They just left my best friend there," recalled friend Windy Sparks. "We're angry. We're really angry." Sandlin was one of 12 people in Indianapolis killed in hit-and-run crashes in the first nine months of the year. But would you believe, that number is just the tip of the iceberg?

CITIES: SUPT. FEREBEE LEAVING IPS FOR DC - Lewis Ferebee is leaving Indianapolis Public Schools. Superintendent since 2013, Ferebee is taking the top job at D.C. Public Schools in the nation's capital (IndyStar). Over the weekend, it was reported that Ferebee was one of two finalists to lead the Washington, D.C., school system. He announced today that he'll leave IPS for DC next month.  The move comes just a month after Ferebee shepherded through a $272 million referendum tax package, the first for IPS in a decade, and while the district is poised to continue a massive overhaul of its programs and operations largely started and led by the superintendent.  Ferebee told IndyStar on Wednesday that he's confident IPS will "continue with the framework and the foundation we've set." "The show is not dependent on one person," he said.

CITIES: INDY COULD EXTEND PARKING FEES - It could soon become impossible to find free parking for a night out in Downtown Indianapolis (IndyStar). The City-County Council's Democratic leadership on Monday introduced a proposal that would standardize parking meter hours across the city and extend the enforcement hours on nights and weekends. The proposal would effectively eliminate free parking during popular event times in areas including Downtown and Broad Ripple. The additional money from the city's 3,800 metered spots would be split between two new programs recently introduced by Mayor Joe Hogsett: a $2 million street-sweeping initiative that will regularly clean 7,300 lane miles and a $500,000 plan to address panhandling.

CITIES: INDY CANCELS NEW YEARS EVENT - If you were planning on coming to downtown Indianapolis for New Year's Eve, then be advised that what would have been Indy's fifth annual New Year's Eve Celebration on Georgia Street has been canceled (WIBC). Downtown Indy Inc., the nonprofit that promotes downtown Indianapolis, said there were two big reasons for that decision--money and the weather. Last year, subzero temperatures and a surprise snowfall earlier in the day nearly led to a last-minute cancellation of the fun. Two years ago, the event drew around 40,000 people.

CITIES: ELKHART PD NEEDS INVESTIGATED SAYS COUNCIL - At least three members of the Common Council say they would support paying a private firm to investigate the city’s police force if the U.S. Department of Justice declines to conduct a review in the wake of a video showing officers beating a handcuffed man and reports by The Tribune and ProPublica about the department (South Bend Tribune). Mayor Tim Neese last month asked the Indiana State Police to conduct a “thorough and far-reaching” investigation to look for any patterns of excessive force in his city’s police force. The state police declined, saying such an investigation was beyond their purview, and referred Neese to the U.S. Department of Justice. But the Justice Department, which has retreated from oversight over local police departments, may not take on the job.

CITIES: TYLER WANTS TO END CITY-COUNTY 911 - Mayor Dennis Tyler has told the Delaware County commissioners he wants to end the joint city-county 911 dispatch operation (Muncie Star Press). Tyler sent a letter to the commissioners on Friday, giving notice he intended to end the longstanding agreement with the county that sees city, county and town emergency vehicles dispatched throughout the county. When contacted by The Star Press, Tyler's administration said the mayor gave the required 12-month termination notice because "the taxpayers of the city of Muncie are being treated unfairly."

COUNTIES: TIPPECANOE COMMISSIONERS RENEW NEEDLE EXCHANGE - Tippecanoe County’s syringe exchange, based in health department offices on North Sixth Street in Lafayette’s Centennial Neighborhood, will move a half-mile away in fall 2019, working from Lafayette Transitional Housing Center's new facilities being built at 12th and Union streets (Lafayette Journal & Courier). The move was part of the annual renewal Monday morning for Gateway to Hope, a needle exchange program the county started – controversially so – in August 2017. On Monday, Tippecanoe County commissioners voted 2-1 in favor of continuing the program, which offers clean needles and kits with other supplies addicts use when they take heroin or other drugs as a way to cut down on hepatitis C, HIV and other communicable diseases that can spike thanks to shared syringes. The 2-1 split was the same – and largely for the same reasons – as it was in 2016 when the needle exchange was first conceived and in 2017 when it was first renewed.

COUNTIES: BROWN SEEKS HOUSING STUDY - The Brown County Redevelopment Commission is asking residents for input on the community’s housing needs (Indiana Public Media). Jim Kemp is president of the commission, and says the availability of housing plays a key role in creating a sustainable local economy. That’s why they’re studying the issue.  But, there are challenges with the county’s landscape. Kemp says only about 47 percent of the land is taxable, because much of it is occupied by the Hoosier National Forest and Brown County State Park. "Our most limited resource is real estate," Kemp says.  Herman & Kittles Properties wants to build a multi-family apartment community in Brown County. "It’s our understanding that there is a lack of affordable housing options in the community and the demand is certainly there to facilitate that," says Development Director Mike Rodriguez.