KROGER ANNOUNCES INDIANA VAX GIVEAWAYS: Kroger, in an effort to encourage more people to get the coronavirus vaccine, is giving customers and associates the chance to win $1 million. Through its #CommunityImmunity Giveaway, Kroger is offering prizes like one of five $1 million checks or one of 50 “groceries for a year” (WIBC). The giveaway begins today and runs through July 10, with winners selected weekly. How the #CommunityImmunity Giveaway Works: You must be 18 years of age or older and reside and be physically located in the United States or Washington, D.C. You must receive or have received at least one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine at a Kroger Family Company location or by a Kroger Family Company healthcare professional at an off-site event. Vaccines can be scheduled at ourshot.in.gov.

 

TRUMP CALLS ON GOP TO SUPPORT CANDIDATES LOYAL TO HIM: Donald Trump on Saturday pushed Republicans to support candidates who are loyal to him in next year's midterm elections as the former president launched a new more active phase of his post presidency (AP). Trump, 74, teased the prospect of another presidential bid of his own in 2024, but vowed first to be an active presence on the campaign trail for those who share his values in next year's fight for control of Congress. “The survival of America depends on our ability to elect Republicans at every level starting with the midterms next year,” Trump charged early in a rambling speech that spanned nearly an hour and a half. Trump's speech to hundreds of Republican officials and activists gathered for the North Carolina GOP convention was the opening appearance in what is expected to be a new phase of rallies and public events. Out of office for more than four months and banned from his preferred social media accounts, the former president hopes to use such events to elevate his diminished voice ahead of another potential presidential run. His advisers are already eyeing subsequent appearances in Ohio, Florida, Alabama and Georgia to help bolster midterm candidates and energize voters.

 

TRUMP WON'T COMMIT TO RUNNING WITH PENCE IN 2024: Donald Trump tells Fox News he is not ready to re-up with former Vice President Mike Pence on a potential campaign in 2024. Trump, who was speaking Saturday night at Republican donor dinner in North Carolina, was asked by FOX News if he has any interest in running with Pence again: "Mike and I have a good relationship, we continue to have a good but it's too early to be discussing running mates certainly," said the former president in an exclusive televised pre-speech interview. Pence recently traveled to New Hampshire, a move considered by many as a way to test the waters for his own potential presidential run. Trump has been openly critical of Pence following the Capitol riot on January 6th, when he hoped the vice president would use his position as president of the Senate to help with Trump's challenge to the Electoral College vote. Trump, 74, has yet to say when he’ll announce his decision on his political future. "I'll make a decision in the not too distant future, maybe sooner than people think. And I think they're going to be very happy," said Trump on Saturday evening.

 

FACEBOOK BANS TRUMP FOR 2 YEARS: Facebook announced Friday that former President Donald Trump's account will remain suspended for at least two years, setting a timetable for his potential return after its oversight board criticized the company's indefinite ban over his posts during the deadly Capitol riot (Politico). "Given the gravity of the circumstances that led to Mr. Trump’s suspension, we believe his actions constituted a severe violation of our rules which merit the highest penalty available under the new enforcement protocols," Facebook's vice president of global affairs Nick Clegg said in a blog post. Even after 2023, the company said, further sanctions are possible if it still believes Trump poses a danger, or if he breaks its rules again. Both Trump and his critics slammed Facebook's new timetable, which could allow the former president to return to the platform ahead of a potential 2024 White House run. "Facebook's ruling is an insult to the record-setting 75M people, plus many others, who voted for us in the 2020 Rigged Presidential Election," Trump said in a statement.

 

PUTIN CRITICIZES U.S. PROSECUTION OF JAN. 6 INSURRECTIONISTS: Less than two weeks from a first face-to-face with President Biden in Geneva, Russian President Vladimir Putin on Friday criticized the U.S. prosecution of rioters who took part in the January attack on the Capitol, calling it an example of American "double standards" (Washington Post). The comments are likely to add to the pessimism in both Moscow and Washington that the June 16 summit will lead to a breakthrough between the two countries. Relations remain deeply strained over issues such as cyberattacks that Western intelligence says originate in Russia. “These are not looters or thieves, these people came with political requests,” Putin said of the pro-Trump mobs that stormed the Capitol on Jan. 6.

 

DR. FAUCI BECOMES CONSERVATIVE LIGHTNING ROD: Dr. Anthony Fauci has been a political lightning rod since the early days of the pandemic, lionized by the left and villainized by the right (AP). But with the release of a trove of Fauci’s emails this past week, Republicans’ political attacks on the nation’s top government infectious-diseases expert have gone into overdrive. On conservative news channels, President Joe Biden’s pandemic adviser has been baselessly pilloried as a liar who misled the American people about the origins of COVID-19 to protect the Chinese government. There’s no evidence of wrongdoing, but Republican calls for his resignation have grown louder, as have demands for new investigations into the origins of the virus. “Given what we know now, I don’t know how anyone can have confidence that he should remain in a position of public trust and authority,” said Republican Sen. Josh Hawley of Missouri, a potential presidential hopeful who is calling for Fauci’s resignation and a full congressional inquiry.

 

NEW OPIOID LAW KICKS ON JULY 1: A new state law that goes into effect this summer seeks to help more patients recovering from opioid addiction access maintenance medication. But legislators want to make sure the change doesn’t make the drug crisis worse (Eskow, WANE-TV). “It’s really hitting the Midwest states the hardest I think,” Chase Cotten, executive director of The Willow Center, said of the opioid epidemic. For some recovering addicts, therapy at centers like Cotten’s is an important part of their treatment. Some also see a doctor to obtain opioid maintenance medication, which is used to get them off the drug entirely. “The best doctors will prescribe it in a weaning way, so they put a model in place where they’re on it for a temporary period of time in conjunction with therapy and group services,” Cotten said. Current state law grants providers permission to treat eligible patients with this medication seven days at a time. But starting in July, a new law will allow doctors to get permission from the state for 14 days’ worth of medication to lessen disruption to treatment. “Whether you’re on it for a week or on it for three months, as long as you’re using it as prescribed, it can be used to help you eventually reach abstinence,” Cotten said.

 

BOONE JUDGE SAYS ZIONSVILLE MAYOR CAN'T DEMOTE FD CHIEF: A Boone County judge ruled Friday that Zionsville Mayor Emily Styron does not have the power to demote the town’s police chief or fire chief without town council approval (Christian, IBJ). Boone County Superior Court 1 Judge Matthew Kincaid issued an opinion Friday stating that the town’s 2014 reorganization documents do not allow its mayor unilateral authority to demote a department head. Styron initially brought the lawsuit forward in March after the town council unanimously denied her request to demote Zionsville Fire Department Chief James VanGorder due to multiple department members’ concerns about his leadership. Styron did not immediately respond to a request for comment. “This has always been about public safety,” Zionsville Town Council President Josh Garrett said in a written statement. “Part of the Council’s role is to ensure the right personnel are leading our town departments. We have been fortunate to have had Chief VanGorder lead the department for 25 years and look forward to him continuing in that role.”

 

ANGOLA TO UNVEIL SOJOURNER TRUTH STATUTE TODAY: Sojourner Truth escaped slavery in the 1820s and became an abolitionist and a suffragette (WPTA-TV). Truth spent a month in Angola in 1861, advocating for civil and women's rights. 160 years later, the town is remembering her legacy by erecting a bronze statue in her honor outside the Steuben County Courthouse. Colleen Everage, the president of Indiana Main Street said, "This statue is significant because it gives us a visual of a woman that suffered so much. She went above and beyond to try to help others. I think it's great for our daughters and sons to see that women have made a difference and women will make a difference." Civil war history runs deep in the town of Angola. Everage says that more Civil War soldiers came from Steuben County than from any other county in the Hoosier state.

 

FORMER F1 DRIVERS HEADING TO INDYCAR: Marcus Ericsson considered racing in America even before his Formula One contract expired (AP). The Indianapolis 500 debut of Fernando Alonso four years ago intrigued the young Swedish driver, and when he started watching, he saw a tight, entertaining open-wheel series where anyone could win. So when Ericsson became a free agent he moved to IndyCar for the 2019 season with Sam Schmidt’s team. He wasn’t retained after McLaren became a partner but landed at powerhouse Chip Ganassi Racing. Today, Ericsson couldn’t be happier and he sees growing interest from other Europeans. Romain Grosjean moved to IndyCar this year and in his third start won the pole and finished second. “I think Europe is more interested in this series with me, Alonso and Grosjean coming here,” Ericsson said. “More people are talking about it, watching it. There are still some questions in the paddock about the ovals, but the interest is definitely growing over there.”

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: A county judge ruled that Zionsville Mayor Styron cannot demote her fire chief. I've covered as a reporter city halls in Peru, Elkhart, Fort Wayne and Indianapolis and in all of these cities, the mayor had the power to hire and fire department heads. Is there an Indiana code distinction between the powers of a mayor of a city, as opposed to a town? - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

SEAT TO RUN FOR INDIANA TREASURER: Appearing at the Kosciusko County Republican Party Lincoln Day Dinner in North Webster, Indiana, Pete Seat announced today his campaign for the Republican nomination for Indiana State treasurer (Howey Politics Indiana). “Being the Chief Investment Officer of the State of Indiana, there is a perception that the Treasurer spends all day on the phone with a broker buying and selling stocks,” Seat said in launching his campaign before an audience of more than 200 fellow Hoosier Republicans including federal and statewide elected officials. “But at its core this is a role that promotes freedom, prosperity, safety and capitalism through a broad and diversified portfolio of responsibilities that touch millions of Hoosier lives every day.” He added, “This role is not for a dispassionate money manager. The job of State Treasurer is for someone with a passion for the office and a heart for service. It’s a role for someone with a vision for how we best invest in Indiana’s future and empower Hoosiers to plan for the best and prepare for the worst.” A born and bred Hoosier and only child of immigrant parents,Seat is currently a vice president at Bose Public Affairs Group.

 

SEN. GROOMS TO RETIRE; ENDORSES BOEHNLEIN: State Sen. Ron Grooms announced he will not run for reelection in 2022 and has endorsed Kevin Boehnlein for the Republican nomination (Howey Politics Indiana). “During my tenure in the state Senate I have worked on a variety of legislation of which I am proud," Grooms said. "In particular legislation creating the Clark Regional Airport Authority, cracking down on so-called ‘pill mills’ that were distributing large quantities of opioids, and was a key supporter of the construction of the Lewis and Clark and Lincoln Bridges and the rebuilding of the Kennedy Bridge.” He is endorsing Greenville Republican Kevin Boehnlein to succeed him. Boehnlein, a financial advisor for Edward Jones and long-time Republican party activist, recently announced his candidacy for the District 46 seat. “I endorse him without reservation. He has my full support,” Grooms said, who has held the seat since 2010. He is a former Jeffersonville City councilman.

 

YOUNG IGNITES WAVE AT KOSCIUSKO LINCOLN DINNER: By the time U.S. Senator Todd Young took to the podium to give his keynote speech at the GOP Lincoln Day Dinner Thursday night, the large turnout of Republicans had already been excited by the four previous speakers – Indiana Secretary of State Holli Sullivan, 2nd District U.S. Representative Jackie Walorski, former White House Aide Pete Seat and U.S. Ambassador Kip Tom (Slone, Warsaw Times-Union). So to keep the energy going, Young did something he’s never done before at a GOP dinner: He had the 200-plus people in attendance do the wave. Table after table, everyone stood up and threw their hands in the air with a little yelling, several times. “I’m in front of, what I perceive to be, the most motivated, the most energized, the most fired-up group of Republicans I’ve visited with since this COVID pandemic descended upon our country. Folks, we are fired up!” Young said to a burst of applause before beginning the wave.

 

INDEMS COMMENT ON MAY JOBS REPORT: The Indiana Democratic Party released the following statement after the U.S. Department of Labor announced that nonfarm payrolls increased by more than 550,000 jobs in May: “Today’s good news is the latest evidence that Joe Biden and Democrats are getting our economy back on track, no thanks to Republicans who have repeatedly tried to stand in the way. During the first four months of the Biden administration, more than 2 million jobs have been created -- more than any other administration in history. Meanwhile, long-term unemployment saw the biggest one-month decline in a decade," said Executive Director Lauren Ganapini. “This historic progress is thanks to Democrats like Congressmen André Carson and Frank Mrvan, Jr., who delivered relief so that millions of Americans can put food on the table, pay the bills, and keep their businesses open."

 

TRUMP CALLS FOR 2020 ELECTION 'AUDIT' IN PA: Statement by Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States of America (Howey Politics Indiana). "Great patriots led by State Senator Doug Mastriano, Senator Cris Dush, and State Representative Rob Kauffman went to Maricopa County, Arizona, to learn the best practices for conducting a full Forensic Audit of the 2020 General Election.  Now the Pennsylvania Senate needs to act.  Senate President Jake Corman needs to fulfill his promise to his constituents to conduct a full Forensic Audit.  Senator Dave Argall, Chairman of the State Government Committee, has to authorize the subpoenas, if necessary. The people of Pennsylvania and America deserve to know the truth.  If the Pennsylvania Senate leadership doesn’t act, there is no way they will ever get re-elected!"

 

PSAKI COMMENTS ON TRUMP FACEBOOK BAN: White House press secretary Jen Psaki expressed doubt at the notion that former President Trump could change his posting habits enough to avoid further penalties (Politico). "We learned a lot from President Trump, the former president, over the last couple of years about his behavior and how he uses these platforms," she told reporters at a press briefing. "Feels pretty unlikely that the zebra's going to change its stripes over the next two years."

 

Congress

 

SEN. BRAUN MEETS A RELATIVE:  Sen. Mike Braun sat with a group of local leaders to share his ideas and listen to their concerns Wednesday. As a bonus, he also met a relative (Emery, Richmond Palladium-Item). Braun learned he and Commissioner Jeff Plasterer are second cousins. Plasterer knew about the connection and enjoyed his visit with a relative, but also the opportunity to speak with a senator. “I think it’s valuable for us to hear his perspective on things," Plasterer said. "Obviously I have a special interest there as a cousin, but it’s an opportunity to make sure that he understands the kinds of issues that are important to us as his constituents and for him to be able to share his perspective and his frustration, at times, about how things work in Washington." Several times during the hour-plus that Braun spent with city, county and local Republican leaders in Firehouse BBQ & Blues he did share frustration with D.C. politics. As a longtime business owner, the Jasper native approaches government more like a business than some career politicians, he said, and Senate stalemates, with a 50-50 party split, hamper legislative efforts.

 

MANCHIN TO VOTE AGAINST ELECTION OVERHAUL: Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) said he will vote against a sweeping election reform overhaul bill, dubbed the For The People Act, putting the fate of the legislation in jeopardy in the evenly split Senate (The Hill). In an op-ed published early Sunday morning in the Charleston Gazette-Mail, Manchin, one of the Democratic caucus’s most conservative members, zeroed in on the partisan nature of the legislation, which has not attracted any Republican support. “I believe that partisan voting legislation will destroy the already weakening blinds of our democracy, and for that reason, I will vote against the For The People Act," Manchin wrote.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB LIFTS MORE COVID RESTRICTIONS - Indiana’s formal mask mandate ended in early April, just days before lawmakers left Indianapolis, but continues to wane this month as Gov. Eric Holcomb lifted the mandate on state facilities and outdoor school activities (Downard, CNHI). His latest executive order outlining continued pandemic precautions, signed May 28, will expire at the end of the month, on June 30. On that date, public schools no longer need to require masks and school boards can make their own safety determinations. Some congregate state facilities, including prisons, state hospitals, the Indiana Veterans Home and the Indiana Law Enforcement Academy, will still have mask mandates. COVID testing and vaccination clinics will also continue requiring masks. Some Indiana municipalities, including Indianapolis, continued their mask mandates even after Holcomb lifted the statewide mandate, with Indianapolis’ up for renewal on Monday.

 

GOVERNOR: MAY REVENUE REPORT - General Fund revenues for May totaled $1,878.3 million, which is $518.8 million (38.2%) above estimate based on the April 15, 2021 revenue forecast and $926.0 million (97.2%) above revenue in May 2020 (Howey Politics Indiana). Notably, monthly collections from sales tax, individual income tax, corporate adjusted gross income tax, and gaming taxes came in above monthly estimates and are trending at multi-year highs. Overall, monthly fluctuations and differences relative to estimates from July 2020 to May 2021 are most likely influenced by unusual factors including the changing restrictions related to the pandemic, vaccine development and distribution, and recent federal policy actions on assistance programs, economic impact payments, interest rates, and more. Sales tax collections totaled $812.3 million for May, which is $119.0 million (17.2%) above the monthly estimate and $228.8 million (39.2%) above revenue in May 2020. Individual income tax collections totaled $934.1 million for May, which is $251.9 million (36.9%) above the monthly estimate and $598.0 million (177.9%) above revenue in May 2020. Corporate tax collections totaled $46.2 million for May, which is $137.9 million (150.4%) above the monthly estimate and $38.3 million (481.7%) above revenue in May 2020.

 

MEDIA: IBJ NAMES COVINGTON LATEST EDITOR OF THE LAWYER - IBJ Media Co. announced Friday that Olivia Covington has been promoted to editor of The Indiana Lawyer and will lead the effort to diversify its coverage and boost readership (IBJ). Covington, 27, who joined The Lawyer in 2016 as a reporter, moves up from managing editor, a job she held for more than three years. She replaces Greg Andrews, who resigned for personal reasons on Wednesday after a few weeks in the post. Andrews had previously been the editor of IBJ and, until Wednesday, an IBJ contributing writer. Nate Feltman, co-owner and CEO of IBJ Media, will move back into the role of publisher of The Indiana Lawyer. Feltman called Covington “a proven journalist” who has been a positive and creative leader at The Lawyer.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN AGENDA FACES STEEP GOP RESISTANCE - Many of President Biden’s top priorities are on a collision course with Republicans as the Senate returns on Monday, ratcheting up the pressure on a handful of centrist Democrats on voting rules, infrastructure spending and other issues (Wall Street Journal). A series of votes on bills that have little to no Republican support in the evenly divided Senate will test Democrats’ unity and their appetite for getting rid of the longstanding filibuster rule, which requires 60 votes to advance most bills. Some Democratic senators have raised concerns about individual proposals, potentially leaving the measures shy of a majority even if the filibuster weren’t a factor. The Senate’s June work period “will be extremely challenging” and “will test our resolve as a Congress and a conference,” warned Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D., N.Y.) in a letter to colleagues late last month.

 

CDC: WALENSKY URGES TEEN VACCINE - Citing increased hospitalization rates of teenagers with covid-19 in March and April, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Rochelle Walensky urged parents to vaccinate their teens to protect them from an illness that can be severe even among young people (Washington Post). “I am deeply concerned by the numbers of hospitalized adolescents and saddened to see the numbers of adolescents who required treatment in intensive care units or mechanical ventilation,” Walensky said in a statement that was released Friday alongside a new study looking at trends in hospitalization among adolescents with the disease. “Much of this suffering can be prevented,” Walensky added.

 

JUSTICE: MEADOWS PUSHED BASELESS ELECTION ALLEGATIONS - Former White House chief of staff Mark Meadows sent a series of emails to the acting attorney general in the waning weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency, as part of a campaign to strong-arm the Justice Department into investigating Trump’s spurious claims of widespread election fraud (Washington Post). Meadows’s emails, first disclosed Saturday by the New York Times, demonstrate how the former president’s determination to overturn his election defeat was not just a personal obsession or localized to his campaign, but an official project of the Trump White House. Attempts to reach Meadows directly were unsuccessful. The brief but tumultuous tenure of acting attorney general Jeffrey Rosen, who led the Justice Department for only a month after his predecessor William P. Barr departed the administration in late December, was punctuated by the relentless campaign to legitimize Trump’s claims of a “stolen” election. Rosen was pressured to open an official investigation of voter fraud despite a lack of evidence — and even as Trump contemplated firing Rosen and replacing him with another Justice Department official seen as amenable to helping undermine the election results.

 

PENTAGON: U.S. INTEL REPORT DASHES ALIEN SPECULATION - Whatever or whoever they are, they’re still out there. U.S. intelligence is after them, but its upcoming report won’t deliver any full or final truth about UFOs (AP). The tantalizing prospect of top government intel finally weighing in — after decades of conspiracy theories, TV shows, movies and winking jokes by presidents — will instead yield a more mundane reality that’s not likely to change many minds on any side of the issue. Investigators have found no evidence the sightings are linked to aliens — but can’t deny a link either. Two officials briefed on the report due to Congress later this month say the U.S. government cannot give a definitive explanation of aerial phenomena spotted by military pilots. The report also doesn’t rule out that what pilots have seen may be new technologies developed by other countries. One of the officials said there is no indication the unexplained phenomena are from secret U.S. programs.

 

EPA: INDIANA CEMENT PLANT FINED $700K - The settlement with the DOJ, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the state of Indiana also calls for the plant to upgrade and optimize its pollution control equipment and procedures (AP). A central Indiana cement plant is facing more than $700,000 in fines under a settlement stemming from alleged Clean Air Act violations for air pollution releases dating back nearly a decade. The settlement filed Thursday in federal court calls for Lone Star Industries, Inc. to pay $729,000 in civil penalties and undertake additional measures not required by law to mitigate past violations of Clean Air Act limits, the U.S. Department of Justice said.

 

MLB: GIANTS EDGE CUBS  4-3 - Unbeaten Kevin Gausman struck out 10 in seven smooth innings, Alex Dickerson homered for the second consecutive day and the San Francisco Giants kept rolling, beating the Cubs 4-3 on Saturday (AP). San Francisco won its third straight over the Cubs. The Giants have won nine of 11 overall and are a majors-best 37-21. Patrick Wisdom hit his fifth home run in 12 games for Chicago. The Cubs have dropped three straight.

 

MLB: TIGERS PREVENT LaRUSSA HISTORIC WIN - Tarik Skubal struck out a career-high 11 to win consecutive starts for the first time in his major league career, Eric Haase homered twice and the Detroit Tigers beat the White Sox 4-3 on Saturday (ESPN). Chicago manager Tony La Russa remained tied with John McGraw on the career manager wins list at 2,763, behind only Connie Mack at 3,731. Miguel Cabrera also homered for the Tigers, who had lost 13 of their previous 14 games against the White Sox.

 

MLB: REDS DOWN CARDINALS 5-2 - Yadier Molina left the game in the fourth inning with a bruised knee, and the St. Louis Cardinals extended a losing streak to four for the first time this year with a 5-2 defeat to the Cincinnati Reds on Saturday (ESPN). "It's just not going our way at the moment," Cardinals manager Mike Shildt said. "It'll turn. I appreciate the how guys are competing because sometimes you don't get the end result, but it's how you go about it. These guys are laying it all out there."

 

Sunday Talk

 

BLUNT URGES TRUMP TO FOCUS ON 2022: Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.) said in an interview on Sunday that former President Trump should focus on the 2022 midterm elections instead of relitigating 2020. “I’m sure he believes that in a fair election, he couldn’t have possibly lost and of course he had the ability to go to court and prove whether that election was fair or not,” Blunt said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” “The courts did not accept those ideas and so we move forward,” Blunt added. The Republican senator noted that Trump “is an incredibly popular figure in our party,” adding it would be “incredibly helpful” if Trump would focus on 2022 and the differences between the parties.

 

RAIMONDO SAYS RANSOMWARE ATTACKS WILL CONTINUE: Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said Sunday that ransomware attacks "are here to stay," and that businesses should plan accordingly. "The first thing we have to recognize," she said, "is this is the reality, and we should assume and businesses should assume, that these attacks are here to stay and, if anything, will intensify. And so just last week the White House sent out a letter broadly to the business community urging the business community to do more." Speaking on ABC's "This Week With George Stephanopoulos," the former governor of Rhode Island declined to blame Vladimir Putin's Russia outright in answering a question on whether the Biden administration should look to punish Russia, which is believed to be the source of some or all of these attacks. "We are evaluating all the options and we won't stand for a nation supporting or turning a blind eye to a criminal enterprise," she said. "And as the president has said, we're considering all of our options."

 

WARNER CALLS FOR RANSOMWARE TRANSPARENCY: Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.), the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said on Sunday that it is worth debating whether to make paying ransoms illegal after cyberattacks disrupted operations at energy and meat production firms in the U.S. “I’m not sure what the answer is at this point,” Warner said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Warner also stressed “transparency” in any payments companies make to cyber criminals. “We need more transparency because right now what’s happening around ransomware, not only are the companies often not reporting that they are attacked, but they’re not reporting the ransomware payments,” he said.

 

Local

 

INDIANAPOLIS: FOP CALLS INDY A 'CITY IN CRISIS' - The Indianapolis Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) membership met Thursday to review Mayor Joe Hogsett’s announcement of a $3.3 million investment on programs that focus on mental health, domestic violence reduction, juvenile intervention and law enforcement technology (Kaufman, WRTV). FOP president Rick Snyder called Indianapolis a city in crisis. “A crisis of crime, a crisis of violence and a crisis of confidence. Those who are sworn to protect this city want the residents of Indianapolis and Central Indiana to know that this latest mayor’s announcement does nothing, nothing to address the urgency of the matter at hand,” Snyder said. “Indianapolis Police are declaring a public safety crisis and calling for immediate actions.”

 

EVANSVILLE: BALLY'S TAKES CONTROL ONF TROPICANA - Tropicana Evansville is officially under new ownership. Bally’s Corporation officials say they have completed the acquisition of Tropicana’s casino operations from Caesars Entertainment (Eberly, WFIE-TV). The announcement comes just a day after many casino-goers were left standing outside the casino Thursday morning. A source close to the situation says the casino closed at 2 a.m. Thursday, with the intention of reopening at 11 a.m. The source says the opening was delayed due to a few documents that had not been signed. Bally’s Corporation gained control of Tropicana for $140 million. As part of the deal, Gaming and Leisure Properties acquired the casino’s real estate, which it’s leasing to Bally’s Corporation for $28 million per year.

 

HAMMOND: CITY NEARS WATER DEAL WITH 5 REGION COMMUNITIES — The city of Hammond is getting closer to finalizing a settlement deal with five Northwest Indiana communities that sued the city in November, objecting to newly approved water rate hikes (Freda, NWI Times).  Mayor Thomas McDermott Jr. spoke about the ordinance, which if approved, would amend wholesale rates for Indiana communities, during a Hammond City Council meeting last week. The ordinance, McDermott said, is based upon a settlement agreement the city has reached with the towns of Highland, Munster, Griffith, Dyer and city of Whiting, and should put the pending lawsuit to rest.

 

SOUTH BEND: CITY, COUNTY TO SET UP HOMELESS INTAKE CENTER - South Bend and St. Joseph County officials are each moving forward on plans to hire homeless services coordinators and jointly establish a homeless intake center, and a group also is seeking state money to build another permanent housing apartment development (Parrott, South Bend Tribune). The city in the last week of May interviewed three candidates for a “facilitator of homelessness efforts,” a new one-year contract position that would have a $75,000 budget, said Jordan Gathers, Mayor James Mueller’s deputy chief of staff and point person on homeless issues. Mueller said the city also is willing to contribute $25,000 toward the county’s plans to hire someone in a similar role to serve the entire county. The county council May 27 gave Commissioners President Andy Kostielney the green light to seek applicants for a new “executive director of sustainable housing” position, said county Auditor Mike Hamann.

 

BLOOMINGTON: COUNTY HIRES ANNEXATION ADVISORS - The Monroe County Commissioners are hiring a tax advisory firm to review Bloomington’s annexation plan. Mayor John Hamilton presented a 700-page ‘Fiscal Plan for Municipal Annexation’ to the City Council last month (Indiana Public Media). The city plans to annex eight fringe areas to catch up on growth over the last 17 years. Commissioner Julie Thomas says the report lacks clarity about the effect annexation will have on the county and its residents. “There's a lot of questions about some of the statistical information and how the numbers were derived in the Reedy report that's on the city's website,” Thomas said.

 

PORTAGE: COUNCIL EYES BROADER SMOKING BAN — The City Council has introduced a proposed ban on smoking in public places that seems certain to be revised (Ross, NWI Times). The Ordinance Committee voted 2-1 against recommending the ordinance for adoption in its current form. “It’s been an established thing that smoking is dangerous, smoking is harmful,” said Councilman Brian Gulley, D-4th, after introducing the ordinance at a recent council meeting. The proposed ordinance was posted on the city’s website by council President Collin Czilli, D-5th, during the meeting.

 

MUNCIE: FEDS OPPOSE PD OFFICER TRIAL DELAY — Federal prosecutors are objecting to an effort by four Muncie police officers to delay their trial on allegations they used excessive force during arrests or tried to cover up that misconduct (AP). The officers are set to stand trial in U.S. District Court in Indianapolis on Sept. 21 — a date attorneys in the case agreed to last November, according to Acting U.S. Attorney John Childress. But Childress said in a recent motion that lawyers for officers Chase Winkle, Jeremy Gibson, Joseph Krejsa and Corey Posey now want to have the trial, which has already been postponed three times, reset for January 2022. He said they are seeking the delay in large part because prosecutors in April added a fourth defendant, Posey, who faces “a single false report charge,” The Star Press reported.

 

MICHIGAN CITY: COUNCILMEMBERS OPPOSE SOUTH SHORE CROSSING CLOSINGS — As part of its Double Track NWI project, the South Shore is planning to close 21 railroad crossings in Michigan City. But at least two Michigan City Common Council members are opposed to that idea (LaPorte Herald-Dispatch). The Council will conduct a special meeting next week to discuss a resolution opposing closure or relocation of certain crossings, including those at Tennessee, Elston, Manhattan, Buffalo, York and Pine streets.

 

PERU: 2ND SYRINGE DROP-OFF ESTABLISHED — Peru officials on Thursday placed a second syringe drop-off kiosk in the city as part of a grassroots program that has gained statewide attention. “Preventing Pricks” launched in October when the first kiosk was placed at the corner of Canal and East streets on the city’s far east side near the Wabash River (Kokomo Tribune). Debbie Wallick, executive director of United Way of Miami County who helped launch the program, said that since then, residents have dropped off around 230 pounds of syringes. That equals about 7,000 needles. Now, a second kiosk has been placed at Stowaway Storage, located behind Walgreens on North Broadway, after the owner donated a piece of property on which to place the unit. “We’re really excited about it,” Wallick said. “It’s encouraging to know that the program is working.”

 

TIPPECANOE COUNTY: TEISING MAKES BRIEF STOP IN JAIL — Wabash Township Trustee Jennifer Teising visited the Tippecanoe County Jail Thursday for fingerprinting and processing. Teising was ordered to appear at the jail as part of a pending case on theft charges (WFLI-TV). As News 18 previously reported, a grand jury indicted her in May on 20 counts of theft. Prosecutors say Teising wasn't living in the township from June 2020 to February 2021 but collected a township paycheck every two weeks. Teising appeared in court for an initial hearing last week, when she was ordered to visit the jail. Sheriff Bob Goldsmith says jail staff took impressions of her fingerprints. She also changed into a jail jumpsuit so they could take her mugshot. Goldsmith says she was released shortly after processing with no need to post bond.