HOUSE TO VOTE ON BIDEN BBB THIS MORNING: After an all-night "filibuster" by House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, the U.S. House will resume its normal functions at 8 a.m. this morning, and vote on BBB shortly after (Politico Playbook). On Thursday night, at 8:38 p.m., McCarthy took to the House floor with a speech designed to delay Democrats’ passage of the Build Back Better package. This morning, at 5:10 a.m., some 8 hours and 32 minutes later, he finally stopped talking.

 

GOVERNOR'S PUBLIC HEALTH COMMISSION MEETS: The Governor’s Public Health Commission met Thursday at the Indiana State Library to discuss public health funding issues, which impact how public health departments are structured and carry out their duties (Howey Politics Indiana). Shane Hatchett, chief of staff for the Indiana Department of Health, described how public health is funded in Indiana and explained other states’ funding models. “One of the big things that will be critical for us to solve for correctly is that there is somehow a sense of fairness and equity in how the money gets apportioned out and how it is used,” said former state Sen. Luke Kenley, co-chair of the commission. To watch the video of today’s meeting, go to www.in.gov/gphc.  A comment form is posted online for the public to provide feedback on any of the commission’s topics of discussion. The commission will also conduct in January statewide listening tours in to hear directly from communities.

 

DR. CARROLL RECOMMENDS BOOSTERS FOR ALL: Dr. Aaron Carroll, chief health officer for Indiana University and head of IU’s COVID-19 medical response team, said cases in Bloomington have increased over the past week (Indiana Public Media).  In his monthly webinar Wednesday, Carroll said cases nationwide are increasing, presumably due to the cold weather.  “It’s not unthinkable that cold weather will drive people inside,” Carroll said. “Especially in places of Indiana where they don’t have the same vaccination rates as we do.” Carroll said vaccinated individuals should not feel apprehensive about gathering with family for the holidays indoors, especially if all members of the family are vaccinated. “If you’re all boostered, so much the better,” Carroll said.

 

COVID CASES SURGE IN ALLEN COUNTY: For only the second time this year, Allen County health officials Thursday reported more than 400 new confirmed COVID-19 cases (Sloboda, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). The 430 diagnoses brought the county's total to 63,035 known infections, the local health department said. This marked the second highest one-day increase this year; the highest was reported Jan. 10 with 479 cases. The Allen County Department of Health reported no new fatalities. The death toll has increased this month by 41, to 848.

 

THIRD OF HEALTH CARE WORKERS UNVAXXED: Nearly one third of healthcare workers in U.S. hospitals are still not vaccinated against Covid-19, according to research from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), as tensions escalate over a looming—and contested—nationwide mandate that officials worry will leave the sector with a shortage of critical workers (Forbes). As of September 15, 70% of healthcare workers were fully vaccinated against Covid-19, according to the CDC study of more than 3 million personnel across more than 2,000 U.S. hospitals published in the American Journal of Infection Control. Rates varied based on the type of hospital, the researchers found, with the highest vaccination rates found in children’s hospitals where 77% of workers have both doses. Critical access hospitals had the lowest vaccination rate, with 64% of workers fully vaccinated, the researchers found.

 

YOUNG WARNS TO CHINESE MILITARY PROWESS: You should be paying attention to what China is doing, says Sen. Todd Young. He says they’ve developed technology that has put them ahead of the U.S. in several areas and are also attempting to keep America from catching up (WIBC). Young is concerned about China’s testing a hypersonic missile this summer, which is super fast and puts them at an advantage. “It’s capable of carrying nuclear weapons and their development of this technology enables them to avoid our early warning radar and our missile defense system,” he said. “This creates an incredible threat to our homeland.”

 

AFTER CENSURE, GOSAR RESHARED VIDEO: After receiving a rare formal rebuke from the House because of an anime video depicting violence against Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and President Biden, Congressman Paul Gosar re-shared to his social media account the offending cartoon that sparked his punishment (CBS News). The Arizona Republican retweeted a post from a conservative podcast and television host that included the video after the House voted 223 to 207 to censure Gosar and remove him from two congressional committees. The congressman then appeared to remove the post from his Twitter feed. With the House's vote Wednesday afternoon, Gosar became the 24th member of Congress in U.S. history to be censured, the most severe punishment a lawmaker can face short of expulsion. In addition to the formal rebuke of the congressman, he was also stripped of his assignments to the House Oversight and Reform Committee, on which Ocasio-Cortez also serves, and Natural Resources Committee.

 

DUKE INDIANA TO GO COAL FREE BY 2035: According to Duke Energy Indiana's latest 20-year plan, the utility plans to be coal free by 2035 and have about 60 percent of its generating capacity be renewables in the next two decades — that includes energy efficiency and what's called demand response (Thiele, Indiana Public Media). Duke’s plan speeds up the retirements of its coal units by an average of four years. It also hopes to add more than seven thousand megawatts of wind, solar, and energy storage. The solar capacity would be four times as much as what's currently installed in the state. “Obviously, we'll be reducing carbon emissions significantly by 2030 and 2035. So it's a significant plan for us," said Stan Pinegar, state president for Duke Energy Indiana. Pinegar said it also diversifies Duke's energy sources. Duke plans to keep its coal gasification plant in Edwardsport running — either converting it to natural gas or storing its carbon emissions underground. The company would also add a new natural gas plant.

 

FORD, GM ENTER CHIP MARKET: Detroit’s two biggest auto makers Ford Motor Co. and General Motors Co. are looking to get into the semiconductor business, after a year of computer-chip shortages that snarled their global factory output (Wall Street Journal). Ford on Thursday morning said it had entered into a strategic agreement with U.S.-based chip maker GlobalFoundries Inc. GFS 2.50% to develop chips, a pact that could eventually lead to joint production in the U.S. The two companies didn’t disclose terms or say how much they might invest in future production capacity. Shortly after, GM President Mark Reuss said GM was also trying to forge deeper ties with chip makers, striking strategic partnerships that could lead it to co-develop semiconductors and potentially produce them jointly. The move is part of a strategy to reduce variation in the microprocessors it uses in vehicles, he said.

 

CVS TO CLOSE 900 STORES: CVS Health Corp. CVS 2.81% said Thursday it will close 900 stores over the next three years, nearly 10% of its U.S. locations, while adding more health services at remaining locations (Wall Street Journal). The largest U.S. pharmacy chain said it would close 300 stores a year while adding primary-care offices at certain sites as well as converting more stores into so-called health hubs with offerings such as diagnostic testing, mental-health services and hearing exams. “The company has been evaluating changes in population, consumer buying patterns and future health needs to ensure it has the right kinds of stores in the right locations for consumers and for the business,” CVS said in a statement. In connection with the planned store closures, the company said it expects to record an impairment charge in the fourth quarter of 2021 of between $1 billion and $1.2 billion, or 56 cents to 67 cents a share of earnings. A CVS spokesman said the company doesn’t yet have a list of which stores are closing, a process that will begin early next year.

 

GAETZ SUGGEST INTERNSHIP FOR KYLE RITTENHOUSE: Kyle Rittenhouse, who could face a lifelong prison sentence if he’s found guilty of homicide after fatally shooting two people during last summer’s protests, might have a job offer from a Republican in Congress if he’s acquitted (Washington Post). Rep. Matt Gaetz of Florida said his office may ask Rittenhouse, 18, to consider working on Capitol Hill. “Kyle Rittenhouse would probably make a pretty good congressional intern,” Gaetz said during a Wednesday night appearance on Newsmax. “We may reach out to him and see if he’d be interested in helping the country in additional ways.”

 

BIDEN TO PARDON HOOSIER TURKEYS 'PEANUT BUTTER' & "JELLY': A pair of Indiana turkeys will take center stage this Thanksgiving, but they'll stay far away from a dinner table. Two turkeys from a farm in Jasper, Indiana, named "Peanut Butter" and "Jelly," have been selected to be pardoned by President Joe Biden in the traditional White House ceremony next week (WTHR-TV). White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki said one of the turkeys and its alternate will be pardoned by the president in the Rose Garden at the White House on Friday, Nov. 19. The tradition of a presidential pardon for a turkey dates back nearly 150 years. According to the White House archives, President Abraham Lincoln gave into his son Tad's wishes and spared a turkey meant for the family's Christmas dinner in 1863.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The Willard Hotel just down the block from the White House has been the scene of intrigue and refuge from the days of Lincoln through Trump. Last night, Hoosier turkeys "Peanut Butter" and "Jelly" made their own plans at the Willard Hotel on the eve of the traditional pre-Thanksgiving pardoning by the president. - Brian A. Howey

Campaigns

 

MURDOCH RIPS TRUMP FOR FOCUS ON PAST: Fox News boss Rupert Murdoch has said Donald Trump should stop focusing “on the past” in a rare public rebuke of the former US president (The Guardian). On Wednesday addressing the annual meeting of stockholders for News Corp Murdoch said: “The current American political debate is profound, whether about education or welfare or economic opportunity. “It is crucial that conservatives play an active, forceful role in that debate, but that will not happen if President Trump stays focused on the past. The past is the past, and the country is now in a contest to define the future.”

 

Polls

 

BIDEN APPROVAL 36% IN QUINNIPIAC POLL: Americans give President Biden a negative 36 - 53 percent job approval rating, while 10 percent did not offer an opinion. It's the lowest job approval rating he's received in a Quinnipiac University national poll. In mid-October, he received a negative 37 - 52 percent job approval rating. In today's results, Republicans disapprove 94 - 4 percent, Democrats approve 87 - 7 percent, and independents disapprove 56 - 29 percent with 16 percent not offering an opinion. Among registered voters, Biden gets a negative 38 - 53 percent job approval rating with 9 percent not offering an opinion.

 

REPUBLICANS LEAD IN QUINNIPIAC GENERIC: With Election Day in the rearview mirror and both political parties setting their sights on the 2022 midterm elections, a plurality of Americans say that if the election were held today, they would want to see the Republican Party win control of both the House of Representatives and the U.S. Senate, according to a Quinnipiac University national poll of adults released today. Americans say 46 - 38 percent they would want to see the Republican Party win control of the House of Representatives, while 16 percent did not offer an opinion. Republicans and Democrats overwhelmingly back their own parties. Independents say 41 - 31 percent they would want to see Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives, while 28 percent did not offer an opinion. Americans say 46 - 40 percent they would want to see the Republican Party win control of the U.S. Senate, while 15 percent did not offer an opinion. Independents say 44 - 34 percent that they would want to see the Republican Party win control of the U.S. Senate, and 22 percent did not offer an opinion.

 

Congress

 

CARSON BACKS BBB: U.S. Rep. Andre Carson, one of Indiana’s two Democratic representatives in Washington, says he supports the Build Back Better Act because he believes it will inject money into the economy and will solve some problems for working families. Many Republicans believe the bill’s writers are trying to solve too much, with taxpayer money (WIBC). “I think it’s a travesty that we don’t have paid family and medical leave and we force workers to choose between their families and careers. That is a moral failing,” said Carson, who said the bill builds its leave provisions based on ideas from countries that are historically more generous, but provide the leave with taxpayer dollars.

 

BRAUN OPPOSES ALL FED SPENDING WITHOUT BORDER WALL: U.S. Sen. Mike Braun, R-Ind., is promising to vote against every upcoming federal spending measure — including funding for the U.S. military — if it does not include money to continue building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border (Carden, NWI Times). The first-term Hoosier lawmaker claims Democratic President Joe Biden is making the United States less secure by refusing to maintain the border wall policies favored by his predecessor, Republican former President Donald Trump. Specifically, Braun says in a letter to his Senate colleagues that the increased apprehensions of migrants attempting to unlawfully enter the United States from Mexico on Biden's watch is proof Biden has an "open borders" policy that's creating humanitarian and security risks at the southern border.

 

BANKS BILL WOULD BAN CHILD COVID VAX MANDATES: RSC Chairman Jim Banks (IN-03) introduced the Parental Rights Protection Act to prohibit federal funding of any state, local, or tribal entity that requires a COVID-19 vaccines for minors. This is the House companion for Senator Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) bill, S.3184 (Howey Politics Indiana). Said Rep. Banks: “As a father of three school-aged girls, I will not sit by and allow liberal activists and non-elected bureaucrats to control the health of our children. Democrats at every level of government have proved time and again that when it comes to children’s health, they put radical teachers’ union leaders before the science. Parents knows what is best for their child’s health. It’s dangerous for the federal government to involve itself in private medical decisions. I introduced this legislation to stop the government from using public schools as leverage to interfere with parents right to decide what is best for their family.”

 

SENATE PASSES YOUNG BILL HONORING 13 KILLED IN AFGHANISTAN: The Senate unanimously approved Senator Todd Young’s (R-Ind.) bill to award Congressional Gold Medals to the 13 American service members who lost their lives during the terrorist attacks in Kabul, Afghanistan, on August 26, 2021. The bill passed the House in October and now awaits President Biden’s signature (Howey Politics Indiana). “America honors the bravery and selfless service of the 13 service members who made the ultimate sacrifice in Afghanistan, including Indiana’s own Corporal Humberto ‘Bert’ Sanchez,” said Senator Young. “Bert gave his life protecting strangers thousands of miles from home. He was the best, not just of the Marine Corps, but of this country. It is fitting that we award these heroes the Congressional Gold Medal.” Recipients of the commendation include Cpl. Humberto A. Sanchez, of Logansport, Ind., along with Sgt. Johanny Rosario Pichardo, Sgt. Nicole L. Gee, Staff Sgt. Darin T. Hoover, Cpl. Hunter Lopez, Cpl. Daegan W. Page, Lance Cpl. David L. Espinoza, Lance Cpl. Jared M. Schmitz, Lance Cpl. Rylee J. McCollum, Lance Cpl. Dylan R. Merola, Lance Cpl. Kareem M. Nikoui, Navy Corpsman Maxton W. Soviak, and Staff Sgt. Ryan C. Knauss.

 

WALORSKI EXPOSES 'ATTACK' ON FAITH-BASED CHILD CARE:  U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-Ind.) today exposed the child care provisions included in President Biden and the Democrats’ budget reconciliation bill that would effectively eliminate faith-based child care options by ending a longstanding policy that allows parents to choose providers through the Child Care and Development Fund program (Howey Politics Indiana). “President Biden and Democrats are unashamedly pushing a radical tax and spend agenda and power grab that will exert more control than ever over Americans’ lives – from cradle to grave. Their budget reconciliation bill attacks parents’ rights from their child’s earliest days by eliminating faith-based child care options,” said Walorski.

 

JAN. 6 COMMITTEE SUBPOENAS NAVARRO: A congressional committee investigating the Trump administration’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic issued a subpoena for former White House trade adviser Peter Navarro on Thursday for failing to respond to document and interview requests (Politico). The subpoena is the second issued by the House Select Subcommittee on the Coronavirus Crisis since its formation last year. The committee is probing whether former Trump administration officials mishandled the federal response to the pandemic, specifically whether it interfered with its own health agencies’ work and how it attempted to change its messaging to downplay the threats posed by the virus.

 

THE HOUSE will meet at 8 a.m. to continue debate and vote on the BBB.

 

THE SENATE is in.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: CROUCH MEETS WITH VALPO STUDENTS - Lt. Gov. Suzanne Crouch said she was “blown away” by how Valparaiso High School works with students at all levels to prepare them for the future (Ross, NWI Times). “It’s phenomenal,” she said. “You’re meeting every child’s needs, and that’s very impressive.” As part of a tour Thursday, she donned a virtual reality headset to explore a virtual learning center and tried to land a plane during a flight simulator. “At the core is giving opportunities for kids,” Superintendent Jim McCall said. That includes teaching students to learn from failures — like when Crouch struggled to land the virtual plane safely.

 

AGRICULTURE: McKINNEY WEIGHS BIDEN AG PERSONNEL - Former Under Secretary for Trade and Foreign Agricultural Affairs Ted McKinney commented on ag trade in the Biden administration (Pfeiffer, Hoosier Ag Today). “If there’s anyone frustrated with some lack of attention on international ag trade, I think we must remember that Candidate Biden campaigned on a domestic policy first and I think he’s focusing on that. So, whether you like that or not, elections have those consequences and so we’re seeing that.” McKinney didn’t want to be too critical though. He said he admires some of the appointments by Biden. “I think Ambassador Tai is an excellent choice. Secretary Vilsack, well known to all of us, who spent many years leading the Dairy Export Council, got deeply immersed in trade issues, sometimes to the positive but many times to frustration. So, he comes back with a great deal more experience than he might have had under the Obama administration, and I think that’s good.” McKinney is also pleased with the nomination of Elaine Trevino, President of the Almond Alliance of California, as Chief Ag Negotiator.

 

CORRECTIONS: MIAMI INMATE DEATH PROBED AS HOMICIDE -  An inmate died after suffering severe injuries at a northern Indiana prison and his death is being investigated as a homicide, state police said Thursday (AP). Leo Cullen, 43, was found severely injured Wednesday morning in the dayroom of a housing unit at the Miami Correctional Facility. Despite medical intervention by prison staff members, he succumbed to his injuries at the prison, located in the Miami County town of Bunker Hill, about 70 miles (113 kilometers) north of Indianapolis. Indiana State Police investigators suspect foul play in Cullen’s death and are treating it as a homicide, the state agency said.

 

TRAILS: $18M FED GRANT FOR REGION - An effort to build a 60-mile paved trail from New Buffalo to Chicago has won a nearly $18 million federal grant to help finish the 26 miles that haven’t already been paved or fully financed. The U.S. Department of Transportation awarded the grant for the Marquette Greenway on Tuesday (Dits, South Bend Tribune). The money will be used in 14 separate construction projects in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan, including Gary, Ogden Dunes, Portage, Burns Harbor and Michigan City in Indiana, according to a press release from U.S. Rep. Frank J. Mrvan’s office.   At about $17.8 million, it’s shy of the $23.1 million originally sought. “We’ll make it work,” said Mitch Barloga, transportation manager for the agency that applied for the funding, the Northwest Indiana Regional Planning Commission.

 

CORRECTION: In Thursday's weekly edition, a headline in Ticker Tape said a gun had been fired at the Statehouse office of Sec. of State Holli Sullivan. The gun was discharged at an office at Government Center South.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN EYES DIPLMATIC BOYCOTT OF CHINESE OLYMPICS - President Biden said Thursday that his administration is “considering” a diplomatic boycott of the Winter Olympics in China, a move that would keep U.S. government officials from attending the games in Beijing to protest China’s human rights abuses (Washington Post). Democratic and Republican lawmakers, including House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), have advocated for such a diplomatic boycott, which would stop short of a full boycott under which U.S. athletes would not attend. Biden said a diplomatic boycott is “something we are considering” as he responded to questions from reporters during a meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

 

WHITE HOUSE: BIDEN SCHEDULE - President Biden's schedule — Morning: The president will get his annual physical at Walter Reed. — 3:15 p.m.: Biden will pardon the national Thanksgiving turkeys, PEANUT BUTTER and JELLY, in the Rose Garden. — 6:20 p.m.: Biden will depart the White House en route to Wilmington, Del., where he is scheduled to arrive at 7:15 p.m. VP Harris: — 12:50 p.m.: The VP will depart D.C. en route to Columbus, Ohio. — 2:50 p.m.: Harris will tour Plumbers and Pipefitters Local 189 and meet apprentices with Labor Secretary Marty Walsh. — 3:20 p.m.: Harris and Walsh will deliver remarks on the administration’s agenda. — 5:30 p.m.: The VP will depart Ohio to return to D.C. Press secretary Jen Psaki will brief at 1 p.m.

 

JUSTICE: 2 IRANIANS CHARGED FOR THREATENING VOTERS -  Two suspected Iranian computer hackers have been charged with election interference, accused of trying to intimidate American voters ahead of last year's U.S. presidential election by sending threatening messages and spreading disinformation (AP). The effort attracted publicity in the run-up to the November 2020 election, when law enforcement and intelligence officials held an unusual evening news conference to accuse Iran of orchestrating an email campaign aimed at intimidating Democratic voters in battleground states so they would vote for then-President Donald Trump. That included a message that purported to be from a far-right group, the Proud Boys, that threatened Democratic voters with physical harm if they didn't change their party affiliation and vote for Trump.

 

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - CBS “Face the Nation”: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Scott Gottlieb. MSNBC “The Sunday Show”: Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.). Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.), Nii-Quartelai Quartey, Soledad O’Brien, Wilson Cruz, Perry Bacon Jr., Michael Harriot. “Fox News Sunday”: Chris Christie. Panel: Jason Riley, Susan Page and Harold Ford Jr. Power Player: Virginia Ali. ABC “This Week”: Anthony Fauci. Panel: Jonathan Karl, Averi Harper, Laura Barrón-López and Jonathan Swan. NBC “Meet the Press”: Panel: Kristen Soltis Anderson, Kelly O’Donnell, Al Sharpton and Betsy Woodruff Swan. CNN “Inside Politics”: Panel: Zolan Kanno-Youngs, Heather Caygle, Toluse Olorunnipa and Seung Min Kim.

 

NEW YORK: JUDGE CLEARS MEN CONVICTED OF MALCOM X MURDER - More than half a century after the assassination of Malcolm X, two of his convicted killers were exonerated Thursday after decades of doubt about who was responsible for the civil rights icon’s death (AP). A Manhattan judge dismissed the convictions of Muhammad Aziz and the late Khalil Islam, after prosecutors and the men’s lawyers said a renewed investigation found new evidence that the men were not involved with the killing and determined that authorities withheld some of what they knew. “The event that has brought us to court today should never have occurred,” Aziz, 83, told the court.

 

OHIO: GOP PUSHING ANTI-VAX BILL - House Republicans are pushing legislation that would prohibit private companies and public entities from requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination as a condition of entering facilities or conducting business (AP). The measure would also ban schools from restricting students’ activities based on their vaccination status, and require hospitals to accommodate intensive care workers who don’t get the vaccine. The GOP-controlled House Commerce and Labor Committee approved the proposals Thursday along partisan lines.

 

Local

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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