MUSK PLANS TO REINSTATE TRUMP TO TWITTER: Elon Musk said he would reverse Twitter Inc.’s ban on former President Donald Trump (Wall Street Journal). “I do think that it was not correct to ban Donald Trump. I think that was a mistake because it alienated a large part of the country, and did not ultimately result in Donald Trump not having a voice,” said Mr. Musk, who was speaking virtually at a the Financial Times Future of the Car summit. Mr. Musk called the ban a “morally bad decision,” saying permanent bans undermine trust in Twitter. “If there are tweets that are wrong and bad, those should be either deleted or made invisible, and a suspension—a temporary suspension—is appropriate, but not a permanent ban,” Mr. Musk said.

 

SUSPECTS PREPARED FOR 'SHOOTOUT' IN EVANSVILLE: An escaped inmate from Alabama planned to have a "shootout" with officers if he and an alleged accomplice hadn't been caught Monday afternoon, Vanderburgh County Sheriff Dave Wedding said Tuesday (Evansville Courier & Press). Officials from the sheriff's office, U.S. marshals, Evansville police and a slew of other agencies held a news conference here Tuesday with local and national media, one day after Casey and Vicky White were captured after a short car chase up U.S. 41. Wedding said Casey White shared his plans during interviews with law enforcement Monday night. Vicky White shot herself after U.S. marshals rammed the gray Cadillac in which the couple was trying to flee near U.S. 41 and Baumgart Road, Wedding said. She died hours later at Deaconess Hospital.  Casey White was booked into the Vanderburgh County jail early Tuesday morning. Wedding said he signed an extradition wavier to Alabama, and that officials there will arrange to take him back south. To avoid any "spectacle," Wedding said, the extradition won't be made public. The two Alabama fugitives captured in Indiana on Monday are believed to have been in the state for at least a week before being found (WRTV).

 

FLEMING CALLS ON HOLCOMB TO SUSPEND GAS TAX; GOV RESISTS: State Rep. Rita Fleming called on Gov. Eric Holcomb to suspend the state’s gasoline tax until July, but the two disagree on the path for making such a move (Suddeath, News & Tribune). In a news release, Fleming, D-Jeffersonville, said Indiana’s gas tax has hit the highest mark in state history at 74.5 cents per gallon. It comes as gas prices have skyrocketed across the nation. On Tuesday, the state average for a gallon of regular gasoline was $4.32, according to AAA. It was $2.98 in May 2021. “Thanks to excess funds, we’re in the unique financial position to provide economic relief at the pump for each Hoosier resident while maintaining funding for roads and construction projects,” Fleming said. “The gas tax is the highest it has been in state history. Senior citizens on fixed incomes, hard-working families, truck drivers and folks looking to supplement or earn their income delivery-driving stand to benefit the most from swift action on this worsening issue.” But for an Indiana governor to suspend the gas tax through a declaration of an energy emergency, the state must have an existing or projected energy shortfall that would jeopardize life, health and property, Holcomb said in a statement to the News and Tribune. “We have not met that threshold. INDOT and the Office of Energy Development have both confirmed that we do not have a shortage or a projected shortage. The states that have suspended the gas tax thus far have done so through the legislature,” Holcomb said.

 

GAS PRICES HIT RECORD HIGHS: Gas prices have hit record highs in recent months as reactions to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine diminish the availability of crude oil and create a stark imbalance between supply and demand (Washington Post). The average cost per gallon of gasoline in the United States hit $4.37 on Tuesday, the highest price AAA has recorded since it started keeping track in 2000. The previous record was broken in March, when gas hovered around $4.30 and eclipsed the mark set just before the financial crisis in 2008, according to the price-tracking service GasBuddy. In the first week of March, prices rose by about $0.49 — roughly 14 percent. Customers filling up their tanks are expressing frustration with the increased cost of commuting to work, dropping off their children at school or driving to visit family members. Amid the fallout from the invasion by Russia, the world’s top oil exporter, the economic pain is unlikely to end soon.

 

LIGHTFOOT SAYS CHICAGO TO BE ABORTION 'OASIS': Shortly after Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot (D) announced that the city would provide an additional $500,000 to increase access to abortion care, the mayor vowed Monday that Chicago would become an “oasis” for women seeking an abortion if Roe v. Wade is struck down by the Supreme Court (Washington Post). The funding, which comes from the Chicago Department of Public Health, is expected to provide lodging, transportation, food and other means of support for women and other individuals in neighboring states seeking abortion — many of whom are poor or people of color. Lightfoot said the move was necessary one week after a leaked draft Supreme Court opinion that would eliminate the constitutional right to abortion sent shock waves across the country. “We are ready to fight,” Lightfoot told reporters about the “Justice for All Pledge.” “We are ready to organize. We are ready to do whatever it takes. We will not stand idly by and watch our rights disappear like smoke.”“We’re expecting, frankly, an explosion of new cases from women in Wisconsin, Missouri, potentially Michigan, Indiana,” the mayor said to MSNBC’s Hallie Jackson, referring to states that either have trigger laws or could implement them. “I think the list is long, and Chicago is going to be an oasis in the Midwest, and we have got to be ready.”

 

NEW POLL SHOWS MAJORITY DON'T WANT ROE OVERTURNED:  Over the last week, the percentage of Americans who say they’ve heard “a lot” or “some” about the draft Supreme Court opinion overturning Roe shot to 66% — up 7 points since the news broke. And judging from the results of a new POLITICO/Morning Consult poll, they’re not wild about what they’re hearing. On overturning Roe: Fifty-three percent of voters say Roe should not be overturned, up three percentage points since last week. Twenty-eight percent say Roe should be overturned. Among Republican voters, just 48% support overturning Roe. That’s down three points from last week. On the midterms: Fifty-eight percent of voters said it is important for them to vote for a candidate in the midterms who supports abortion access. That includes 82% of Democratic voters, 57% of independents and more than 1 in 3 Republicans (35%).

 

GUN DEATHS SURGED TO HISTORIC LEVELS DURING PANDEMIC: Gun deaths reached the highest level ever recorded in the United States in 2020, the first year of the pandemic, as gun-related homicides surged by 35 percent, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Tuesday (New York Times). “This is a historic increase, with the rate having reached the highest level in over 25 years,” Dr. Debra E. Houry, acting principal deputy director of the C.D.C. and the director of the National Center for Injury Prevention and Control, said at a news briefing. More than 45,000 Americans died in gun-related incidents as the pandemic spread in the United States, the highest number on record, federal data show. The violence exacted an unprecedented toll in Black communities, and early data suggest the trend continued through last year. But more than half of gun deaths were suicides, and that number did not substantially increase from 2019 to 2020. The overall rise in gun deaths was 15 percent in 2020, lower than the percentage increase in gun homicides, the C.D.C. said. The rise in gun killings was the largest one-year increase seen in modern history, according to Ari Davis, a policy adviser at the Johns Hopkins Center for Gun Violence Solutions, which recently released its own analysis of C.D.C. data.

 

5 SHOT NEAR DOWNTOWN INDY CANAL: Five people were shot early Wednesday morning near the Canal Walk in downtown Indianapolis (WRTV). Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department officers were called around 12:30 a.m. to the 300 block of West North Street for a report of a person shot. Arriving officers located five victims near the area of Senate Avenue and the canal. When police arrived they found four adults and one 17-year-old suffering from gunshot wound(s). All five are stable and were transported to area hospitals. IMPD Major Kerry Buckner said a few people are being questioned. “The canal use to be a real nice place to come with your family and walk, yeah not anymore,” Buckner said. Buckner said a lot of people who live here are fed up with the violence and have already offered their security cam video and eyewitness accounts.

 

FISHER TO DRIVE 500 PACE CAR: Sarah Fisher is getting a promotion for this month’s Indianapolis 500. Race organizers announced Tuesday they selected the IndyCar veteran and local fan favorite to be the celebrity pace car driver for the May 29 race. Fisher has been the regular pace-car driver for series events at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for years (AP). This time, though, she won’t be taking a handoff when a non-racing celebrity pulls off the historic 2.5-mile oval. She’ll be driving the entire time. “Normally, I’m by myself watching the start of the race and the celebrity driver can see me down in turn one, dressed in my gear, so it will be different in that sense,” Fisher said. “I’ve been here in so many different roles, so it’s gratifying and it’s special. It’s unique.” She will be driving a white 670-horsepower Chevrolet Corvette ZO6, special 70th- anniversary edition, the automobile manufacturer also announced Tuesday.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: In Thursday's weekly Howey Politics Indiana edition, we'll look at the forming post-Roe world in Indiana. Craig Dunn writes that the Ukraine war will change weapons systems, and Michael Hicks writes about women in his family evolved over the past century. Look for it around 9 a.m. Thursday. - Brian A. Howey

 

Campaigns

 

INDEMS CITE ARP FUNDS FOR DELAWARE COUNTY: The Indiana Democratic Party celebrated how President Joe Biden’s American Rescue Plan is helping fight the addiction crisis in Indiana (Howey Politics Indiana). Last week, Delaware County announced it would use Rescue Plan dollars for an addiction and mental health services rehab program at the local county jail. The investment comes as pandemic overdose deaths in Indiana rose by 35-percent, and these dollars have already provided resources for similar programs in Vanderburgh and St. Joe Counties. Indiana Democrats delivered this opportunity for a better future for Hoosiers. In contrast, the Indiana Republican Party said “NO” on the American Rescue Plan and these recovery programs. Politicians like U.S. Senator Todd Young and U.S. Congresswoman Victoria Spartz voted “NO” on these investments. In fact, Indiana GOP Chairman Kyle Hupfer called this project “socialism” – claiming the Republicans’ opposition was a “great campaign to run on”. Democrats will highlight how the Indiana GOP has no plan for Indiana’s future – just national partisanship. Delaware County will use a state grant to bring an addiction recovery and reentry program to its county jail. The program will soon come to Delaware County, thanks to a $472,000 grant from Mental Health America Indiana and the Indiana Forensic Support Services.  Its official name is the Integrated Reentry and Correctional Support Program.

 

TRUMP BACKED CANDIDATE LOSES IN NEBRASKA: Republican voters in Nebraska on Tuesday rejected a candidate for governor accused of sexually assaulting multiple women, nominating University of Nebraska regent Jim Pillen over Charles Herbster, an agribusiness executive supported by former president Donald Trump (Washington Post). In West Virginia, Rep. Alex Mooney prevailed in a Republican primary contest against fellow congressman David B. McKinley — a win for Trump, who endorsed Mooney and campaigned for him. The mixed results for the former president came in contests pitting him against local Republican leaders. They served as the latest test of his influence on the selection of GOP nominees in the midterms. Herbster’s defeat in Nebraska, after a nasty and expensive intraparty battle, dealt Trump a rare blow in a conservative state he won handily twice. Herbster, who was endorsed by Trump, has been accused by eight women of touching them inappropriately; two have spoken on the record to the Nebraska Examiner about Herbster doing so at a Republican fundraiser in 2019. Herbster has denied the allegations.

 

State

 

BMV: VIRGINIA RESCINDS OFFER TO LACY - Former BMV Commissioner Peter Lacy was in line to lead Virginia's Department of Motor Vehicles, but that plan quickly unraveled Tuesday morning after IndyStar published a report detailing a history of allegedly inappropriate behavior during Lacy's time in Indiana (IndyStar). A spokesman for Virginia Gov. Glenn Youngkin said in an emailed statement to IndyStar that Lacy and Virginia Transportation Secretary W. Sheppard Miller III spoke Tuesday morning.  "Mr. Lacy rescinded his acceptance and the Secretary concurred with that decision," Youngkin spokesperson Macaulay Porter said. "He informed Mr. Lacy the Commonwealth rescinded the offer of employment.” Porter declined to comment further.

 

EDUCATION: 69 SCHOOLS AWARD COVID FUNDS - The Indiana Department of Education (IDOE) announced a partnership with 69 schools across the state to launch programs this fall that will provide coaching to teachers in research-based instruction in reading or science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) subjects (Howey Politics Indiana). “We know the ability to read and engage in STEM content are leading indicators of student success in life after high school,” said Dr. Katie Jenner, Indiana Secretary of Education. “Knowing that our educators are on the front lines of this important work, we must lean-in and offer our educators additional support and training so they can provide the very best research-based instruction to our students. This opportunity will have a lasting impact on student outcomes for a diverse group of school partners throughout Indiana.”

 

IDEM: LEADERS PARTICIPATE IN OHIO RIVER CLEANUP - Leaders from the Indiana Department of Environmental Management (IDEM), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (U.S. EPA), and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) are celebrating Ohio River Day by participating in an Ohio River Sweep event at 1 p.m. (CDT) Thursday at 411 SE Riverside Drive, Evansville. IDEM Commissioner Brian Rockensuess, U.S. EPA Region 5 Administrator Debra Shore, and ORSANCO Executive Director Richard Harrison will participate.

 

NATURAL RESOURCES: NRC TO MEET AT TURKEY RUN - The Indiana Natural Resources Commission will conduct its next bimonthly meeting on Tuesday, May 17, at Turkey Run State Park. The meeting begins at 6:30 p.m. ET at the park’s Turkey Run Inn at 1802 E. Park Road in Marshall. The agenda and downloadable related materials are posted at nrc.IN.gov/meetings-and-minutes/current-meeting-agenda.

 

SPORTS CORPORATION: Ryan Vaughn tweeted Tuesday: "Friends, it’s my time for one of 'those' Tweets.  I’ve resigned effective July 1 in order to pursue a private sector role.  Leading @IndSportsCorp has been a tremendous honor.  Thanks for all your support for this important mission. It’s been incredible!"

 

IU: GRAD STUDENTS POSTPONE STRIKE TO SEPT. - After two resolutions were passed at a historic special meeting of the Bloomington Faculty last night, the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition (IGWC-UE) voted with a 78% majority to suspend the strike until Sept. 26 (Indiana Public Media). The first resolution passed at the faculty meeting affirms no retaliation against any individuals, including Student Academic appointees for summer and fall, participating in the strike. The second resolution says that the IU Board of Trustees must engage in dialogue with the Coalition and provide a pathway to union recognition. Katie Shy, English Ph.D. candidate, said the Coalition will spend the next four months on next steps in forming a cohesive union.

 

Congress

 

SPARTZ ATTENDS BIDEN SIGNING ON UKRAINE LEND-LEASE: U.S. Rep. Victoria Spartz (R-IN) attended the signing of the Ukraine Democracy Defense Lend-Lease Act of 2022 (S.3522) at the White House. The bill passed the Senate unanimously on April 06, 2022, and the U.S. House of Representatives on April 28, 2022 (Howey Politics Indiana). “This Lend-Lease Act is landmark legislation to help the people of Ukraine stop Putin’s barbaric invasion and bring peace back to Europe,” said Spartz. "It is also a great gesture to commemorate WWII Victory Day when so many people paid a very high price.” The bill, as enacted, temporarily waives certain requirements related to the President's authority to lend or lease defense articles (weaponry) if such are intended for Ukraine's government, or the governments of other Eastern European countries, affected by Putin’s invasion of Ukraine.

 

YOUNG EVENT WITH McMASTER: U.S. Sen. Todd Young (R-Ind.), a conferee on the United States Innovation and Competition Act (USICA), will join a live conversation with LTG (Ret.) H.R. McMaster, former national security advisor and Chairman of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies’ Center on Military and Political Power (Howey Politics Indiana). The event will cover the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party to America’s economy and national security and the ways in which Washington should address them, with special attention to USICA as it enters a conference committee. A Q&A with the in-person audience will follow the moderated discussion. As FDD will be limiting attendance for the in-person event to a small group of reporters and policy experts, please RSVP by Tuesday to both press@fdd.org and press@young.senate.gov. Additional logistical information will be provided upon confirmation of your attendance. The event will be livestreamed here.

 

YOUNG COMPARES U.S. ABORTION POLICY TO CHINA: Ahead of today’s vote, Sen. Todd Young (R-IN) spoke on behalf of Republicans who plan to vote no on the measure (WIBC). “As Americans, we believe in the dignity and value of every human person,” Young said. “I believe that our nation has a moral responsibility to protect unborn children, to protect life.” Young likened abortion policy in the United States to that of China and North Korea, saying that the US is one of only seven countries in the whole world that allows abortion beyond 15 weeks of pregnancy, the threshold he says many studies show is when an unborn baby can feel pain. “This bill does nothing to protect the health and safety of women and it would certainly not protect the unborn,” Young added. “Recent polling found that 61-percent of Americans say abortion should either be illegal or the policy decisions surrounding abortion should be left up to the states.”

 

CONGRESS POISED TO OK $40B FOR UKRAINE: Congress is poised to approve nearly $40 billion in additional military and humanitarian aid for Ukraine, outstripping President Biden’s $33 billion request and extending a fresh lifeline to Kyiv as Moscow plows ahead with plans to annex vast swaths of the country’s south and east (Washington Post). The House approved the proposal late Tuesday on a 368-to-57 vote, with the Senate likely to follow suit as early as this week. Passage of the measure would bring the total amount of Ukrainian aid provided by Congress since the Feb. 24 invasion to more than $53 billion. The bill includes almost $15 billion earmarked for military equipment, training, intelligence support and Ukrainian defense force salaries. A further $14 billion would be allocated for nonmilitary support, including humanitarian aid, and another $5 billion would address global food security issues.

 

SENATE TO VOTE TO CODIFY ROE: Acting swiftly after a leaked Supreme Court opinion that would overturn Roe v. Wade, Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the majority leader, has set a vote for Wednesday to take up a bill that would codify abortion rights in federal law (Washington Post). The bill, if passed, would protect abortion access nationwide at a moment when it is under imminent threat, with multiple states enacting or proposing strict limits or outright prohibitions. But the legislation is all but certain to be blocked in the Senate on Wednesday, when Democrats fall short of the 60 votes they would need to break a Republican filibuster. Still, Democrats see a political opportunity before the midterm elections in forcing Republicans to go on the record against the measure when polls show that most voters favor at least some legal abortion. They plan to use the defeat as a chance to make the case to voters that Republicans are extremists, and the only way to safeguard reproductive rights and other vital protections is to elect more Democrats.

 

The SENATE is in. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo will testify before an Appropriations subcommittee at 2 p.m. USAID Administrator Samantha Power will testify before the Foreign Relations Committee at 2:30 p.m.

 

The HOUSE will meet at 10 a.m. Testifying before Appropriations subcommittees today: Anthony Fauci at 10 a.m., USAID Administrator Samantha Power at 10 a.m., HUD Secretary Marcia Fudge at 10 a.m., Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chair Gen. Mark Milley at 10:30 a.m., and CBP Commissioner Chris Mangus at 2 p.m.

 

General Assembly

 

CHAMBER RELEASES 2022 SESSION ANALYSIS: The Indiana Chamber of Commerce has released its annual report scoring state legislators on how they voted on important business legislation in the recent General Assembly. The overall marks are significantly lower than last year – ranging from 41% to 88% (Howey Politics Indiana). “The Legislative Vote Analysis evaluates legislators’ voting records on important economic and business issues to help citizens and employers understand the actions taken by the state Legislature and how their own local lawmakers vote,” says Indiana Chamber President and CEO Kevin Brinegar. “For instance, the report indicates that the average scores for House Republicans were down this year. A key reason for this was the House pushing for onerous mandates on employers regarding COVID-19 vaccine requirements and paying for testing of unvaccinated employees. This was an important and concerning development.”

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN CALLS INFLATION 'TOP PRIORITY': President Biden, on the defense for months over rising inflation, sought to convince Americans on Tuesday that he understood the pain they were feeling from rising prices and that his administration was taking steps to address higher costs for fuel, food and other goods (New York Times). Mr. Biden delivered his remarks a day before another economic report was expected to show uncomfortably high prices. While the Consumer Price Index, which will be released on Wednesday morning, could show inflation cooled somewhat from March, most economists still expect the report to show inflation running above 8 percent. “I know families across America are hurting because of inflation. I understand what it feels like,” Mr. Biden said, adding that his administration was trying to bring down prices by easing supply chain congestion, cracking down on price gouging and releasing oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule — 10 a.m.: The president will depart the White House en route to Chicago, where he is scheduled to arrive at 12:15 p.m. — 1:45 p.m.: Biden will visit a family farm in Kankakee, Illinois, to discuss food supply and prices and will deliver remarks at 2:15 p.m. — 5 p.m.: Biden will address the 40th International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW) International Convention back in Chicago. — 5:50 p.m.: Biden will attend a DNC fundraiser. — 7:40 p.m.: The president will depart Chicago to return to the White House, where he is scheduled to arrive at 9:55 p.m. Deputy principal press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre  will gaggle aboard Air Force One en route to Chicago.

 

MLB: CHISOX TOP CLEVELAND 4-1 -  The Chicago White Sox came into Tuesday reeling from blowing a big lead the previous night for a stinging loss. A performance like this sure helped ease the pain (ESPN). Lucas Giolito threw seven innings in winning his second consecutive start, Gavin Sheets homered in his second straight game, and Chicago shook off a major collapse by beating the Cleveland Guardians 4-1 on Tuesday night. Tim Anderson added three hits and two RBI as the White Sox won for the seventh time in eight games. The lone blemish was when they blew a six-run lead in the ninth on Monday and lost in 11 innings. "Last night was a heartbreaker, it was tough," Giolito said. "But we're in a spot where we can self-evaluate very well. We didn't have to say anything, we didn't have to have a meeting. We didn't have to have anything after that game. We knew coming in today what we needed to improve, what we needed to do."

 

MLB: BREWERS NIP REDS 5-4 - Josh Hader reached 500 career strikeouts, Luis Urías hit the tying home run and made a clutch catch and the Milwaukee Brewers held off Cincinnati 5-4 Tuesday night to stop the Reds' season-high, two-game winning streak (ESPN). Hader worked around a leadoff walk in a hitless ninth and became only the third pitcher with saves in his first 12 appearances of a season after Lee Smith in 1994 and José Mesa in 2005. "It's certainly made my job easier," Milwaukee manager Craig Counsell said. "We never take him for granted."

 

MLB: CUBS FALL TO PADRES 5-4 - The San Diego Padres' day began with news that manager Bob Melvin will have prostate surgery and ended with a thrilling win against the Chicago Cubs (ESPN). Manny Machado hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and left fielder Jurickson Profar caught Frank Schwindel's bases-loaded drive at the wall to seal a 5-4 victory Tuesday night. Closer Taylor Rogers allowed Ian Happ's RBI single with two outs in the ninth and loaded the bases before retiring Schwindel for his 12 save in 13 chances.

 

Local

 

FORT WAYNE: CITY CHOOSES TRASH HAULER - GFL Environmental USA has received the necessary approvals to become the City of Fort Wayne’s garbage and recycling hauler effective July 1 (Howey Politics Indiana). Tonight, City Council unanimously approved a contract between the City of Fort Wayne and GFL. Earlier today, the City of Fort Wayne’s Board of Public Works approved the same contract. GFL is the fourth largest diversified environmental services company in North America with facilities throughout Canada and more than half of the U.S. states. GFL has experience in Fort Wayne by operating a transfer station here since 2020, and they have a landfill in Claypool, Ind. The bid specifications and new contract have items that are designed to help ensure enhanced services moving forward and a contractor with the necessary experience and past successes to meet the needs of the City. “We’re looking forward to GFL being our new partner as we work each day to provide the best solid waste collection services possible for the 83,400 households that we service,” said Mayor Tom Henry. “I’m encouraged that my administration, City Council, the Solid Waste Advisory Board, and GFL have partnered in a collaborative manner. I’m confident that we’ll have a positive and successful future to meet the needs of the community.”

 

INDIANAPOLIS: HOGSETT TO EULOGIZE ANDERSON TODAY - Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett will deliver remarks at today's 11 a.m. funeral service for Sheriff Frank Anderson at the Scottish Rite Cathedral, 650 N Meridian Street.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: WAYNE TWP. FIREFIGHTER DIES - Wayne Township Fire Department announced Tuesday night that a longtime firefighter who served as an engineer and apparatus driver has died in the line of duty (WISH-TV). Richard “Hank” Potter died at 7 a.m. Tuesday. Potter was 52. “Hank” is a presumptive cancer line-of-duty death, said an email from from Capt. Eric Banister, public information officer with Wayne Township Fire Department. Potter in December 1999 started with the department as a volunteer firefighter. He was transferred to Station 82 at 5377 W. Washington St. and remained an engineer with that unit until his death, the announcement says. “He always worked an off-duty job, whether at Rolls Royce as a Firefighter or leading the Knox Key control system for the department. Around the station, he was known as the guy who could drive anything. Hank also took great pride in his military service, especially his combat tour in Afghanistan. Hank served honorably for 25 years in the Indiana National Guard, retiring as a Staff Sergeant,” the announcement said.

 

TIPTON: BUSINESSMAN CALLS FOR COUNCILWOMAN TO RESIGN — Tipton City Councilwoman Sophie Hufford was asked to voluntarily resign by a local businessman during the council’s meeting Monday due to her accusations that there was favoritism when considering the awarding of grants to local businesses (Juranovich, Kokomo Tribune). The request to resign was made by Brad Whitman, owner of Whitman Roofing and Restoration, toward the end of the City Council’s meeting during public comment. The request derailed the meeting and eventually led Councilman Rick Chandler to make a motion to adjourn the meeting. That motion was quickly seconded, and the Council approved adjourning the meeting. But before Chandler’s motion for an adjournment, Hufford, in response to Whitman’s request, emphatically refused to voluntarily resign. “Absolutely not,” Hufford said to Whitman. In an interview Tuesday with the Tribune, Whitman said his request comes in response to Hufford’s accusations at the April 11 City Council meeting that two separate grants made by the city administration and The Tipton County Foundation were the result of favoritism and connected to one another.

 

ANDERSON: MASCOT ISSUE DRAWS IN DELAWARE TRIBAL CHIEF - Members of the Anderson Community Schools board on Tuesday received an update from Superintendent Joe Cronk about the internal review of the district’s Indian mascot, maiden and other elements of the high school’s basketball pregame routine (Anderson Herald Bulletin). Cronk told the board that he had no recommendations to present, but said he’s had “productive” conversations with Chief Brad KillsCrow of the Delaware Tribe of Indians, one of the groups that has expressed concern with the schools’ use of Native American imagery. “I’ve had numerous e-mails and conversations with Chief KillsCrow and assistant chief Jeremy Johnson to talk about how do we approach this respectfully? How can we work to provide education for our students, for our community? How can we work through this?” Cronk said after the board’s monthly meeting. “The last Zoom meeting I had with Chief KillsCrow went well, and we hope to continue that now that we’re moving toward what I hope to be a partnership with them.”

 

FRANKTON: ORDINANCE WOULD TAKE BASKETBALL GOALS OFF STREETS - Some families may find they need to move their basketball goals after the Frankton Town Council on Monday voted to pass on first reading an ordinance that would require them to be kept off the streets and sidewalks (Bibbs, Anderson Herald Bulletin). The council is scheduled for a final vote on the matter at its next meeting 6 p.m. June 13. Council members, including President Larry Shively and Councilwoman Vicki Hart, said the measure was necessary for the safety of children and because city vehicles are prevented from accessing parts of the roads. “Recreational activities, such as the use of basketball goals, should not obstruct the safe passage of cars, trucks, school buses, and the general public within public rights of way,” the proposed ordinance said.

 

ST. JOSEPH COUNTY: TOBEY NEW 911 DIRECTOR - St. Joseph County’s consolidated 911 call center has a new executive director (WNDU-TV). Julie Tobey has been at the place since the start. She is now stepping in to run it. Tuesday was her big moment as her appointment was unanimously approved by St. Joseph County commissioners. However, she missed it. “She would have been here, but she was tested for COVID,” says St. Joseph County Commissioner Derek Dieter. “She feels fine, but she didn’t want to come and do that until she gets the OK.”