STAGE SET FOR HILL MISCONDUCT CASE ON MONDAY: One of the most high-profile attorney discipline cases in Indiana history gets underway Monday morning. At issue is whether Attorney General Curtis Hill violated lawyer conduct rules when he allegedly touched multiple women at a legislative party in 2018 (Kelly, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Hill has admitted only to having drinks. At stake is whether he is disciplined – including possibly losing his elected post. The attorney general must have a law license and Hill's could be suspended if found guilty. The disciplinary hearing is scheduled for the entire week – with lawyers for the Indiana Supreme Court Disciplinary Commission expected to call 15 or more witnesses, and Hill's attorneys calling between five and 10. Former Indiana Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby will hear the evidence and recommend any possible sanction. But the current five-member Indiana Supreme Court will ultimately decide Hill's fate. Hill has assembled quite a legal team in Jim Voyles and Donald Lundberg. Chief Deputy Aaron Negangard and Chief of Staff Mary Beth Bonaventura could play a pivotal role in the proceeding. Lawyers for the disciplinary commission – Seth Pruden and Angie Ordway – are not as widely known as the defense team. Their work prosecuting lawyers who have misstepped rarely makes headlines. They also plan to call two former employees of Hill's in Elkhart County. One is expected to testify about unwanted sexual advances by Hill in the workplace, and has a voicemail he left her one day after the party.

GM/UAW DEAL FALTERS AS STRIKE INFLICTS PAIN: With the strike at General Motors Co. stretching into a second month, the impact is intensifying across the Midwest economy, hitting more businesses and auto-parts suppliers reliant on GM’s U.S. factories for work (Wall Street Journal). The United Auto Workers struck a tentative labor agreement with GM last week, but union leaders decided Thursday to continue picketing until workers approve the deal. The move likely extends the nationwide walkout, already the company’s longest in decades, through Friday as UAW leaders turn their attention to educating workers on the proposed contract terms and as voting gets under way on whether to ratify the agreement.

ADM. McRAVEN SAYS TRUMP POSES THREAT TO REPUBLIC: In an unprecedented op-ed titled "Our Republic Is Under Attack From the President: If President Trump doesn’t demonstrate the leadership that America needs, then it is time for a new person in the Oval Office," Adm. William McRaven said that President Trump poses a threat to the republic (New York Times). “The America that they believed in was under attack, not from without, but from within. These men and women, of all political persuasions, have seen the assaults on our institutions: on the intelligence and law enforcement community, the State Department and the press,” said McRaven, the former commander of Special Forces for the U.S. “They have seen our leaders stand beside despots and strongmen, preferring their government narrative to our own. They have seen us abandon our allies and have heard the shouts of betrayal from the battlefield. As I stood on the parade field at Fort Bragg, one retired four-star general, grabbed my arm, shook me and shouted, ‘I don’t like the Democrats, but Trump is destroying the Republic!’ If we don’t care about our values, if we don’t care about duty and honor, if we don’t help the weak and stand up against oppression and injustice — what will happen to the Kurds, the Iraqis, the Afghans, the Syrians, the Rohingyas, the South Sudanese and the millions of people under the boot of tyranny or left abandoned by their failing states? If our promises are meaningless, how will our allies ever trust us? If we can’t have faith in our nation’s principles, why would the men and women of this nation join the military? And if they don’t join, who will protect us? If we are not the champions of the good and the right, then who will follow us? And if no one follows us — where will the world end up? President Trump seems to believe that these qualities are unimportant or show weakness. He is wrong." 

CASCADING CRITICISM FOR TRUMP FROM MILITARY: A cascade of criticism by current and former military officials of President Trump’s abrupt withdrawal from Syria has thrust into plain sight internal debates over the military’s role in foreign policy and whether uniformed officials have a responsibility to publicly appraise decisions affecting American security (Washington Post). Retired Gen. Joseph Votel, who stepped down this year as head of U.S. Central Command, and other former top officers have issued sharp warnings in the days since Trump ordered a sudden exit of nearly all U.S. forces in Syria, leaving Syrian Kurdish forces that have been an important U.S. partner against the Islamic State exposed to an offensive by Turkey’s better-armed military. The “abandonment threatens to undo five years’ worth of fighting against ISIS and will severely damage American credibility and reliability,” Votel and co-author Elizabeth Dent wrote in the Atlantic. Those serving in Syria, according to one senior official with knowledge of the mission there, view a cease-fire deal trumpeted by the White House on Thursday as “a total capitulation” to Turkey. “They are livid,” said the official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to speak candidly.

McCONNELL PENS BLISTERING OP-ED ON KURDS: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell on Friday strongly condemned the Trump administration's decision to withdraw US troops from northern Syria, calling it a "grave strategic mistake" in a blistering op-edn (Washington Post). The rare criticism of the Trump administration from McConnell followed a phone conversation the Republican leader had with Vice President Mike Pence. Pence phoned McConnell on Thursday night as the vice president was on his way back from Ankara after brokering a five-day ceasefire between Syria and Turkey, an official told CNN. The conversation, however, clearly did not keep the GOP leader from penning an op-ed in The Washington Post on Friday, ripping the President's decision to withdraw from Syria -- without naming him. McConnell warned that the withdrawal of US troops from Syria "will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances." 'Ceasefire' or 'pause'? Four things to know about the US-Turkey deal in Syria. He said the US pullback "risks repeating the Obama administration's reckless withdrawal from Iraq, which facilitated the rise of the Islamic State in the first place." "We saw humanitarian disaster and a terrorist free-for-all after we abandoned Afghanistan in the 1990s, laying the groundwork for 9/11. We saw the Islamic State flourish in Iraq after President Barack Obama’s retreat. We will see these things anew in Syria and Afghanistan if we abandon our partners and retreat from these conflicts before they are won. America’s wars will be 'endless' only if America refuses to win them.

ERDOGAN VOWS TO 'CRUSH HEADS OF TERRORISTS': President Tayyip Erdogan said on Saturday Turkey would press on with its offensive into northeastern Syria and “crush the heads of terrorists” if a deal with Washington on the withdrawal of Kurdish fighters from the area was not fully implemented (Reuters). Erdogan agreed on Thursday in talks with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence a five-day pause in the offensive to allow time for the Kurdish fighters to withdraw from a “safe zone” Turkey aims to establish in northeast Syria near the Turkish border. On Saturday the fragile truce was holding along the border, with just a few Turkish military vehicles crossing the border, Reuters journalists at the scene said. In the last 36 hours, there have been 14 “provocative attacks” from Syria, Turkey’s defense ministry said, adding it was continuing to coordinate closely with Washington on implementation of the accord.

BUTTIGIEG SAYS TRUMP DECISIONS WILL HAUNT U.S.: South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) said Sunday that President Trump’s approach to foreign policy will “cost us for years and years” on the world stage. Buttigieg, appearing on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” assailed what he called the inconsistency of Trump’s foreign policy, particularly in the wake of his withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria. “What President Trump does is wake up in the morning and have a phone call or maybe a tweet and completely change years or even decades of U.S. policy, surprising his own generals and country in the process," Buttigieg, a military veteran, told NBC’s Chuck Todd. "If we think that there is a commitment, treaty or a deal we can improve on, we go to the table and we make it happen. But the credibility of the United States is something that our lives depend on and when the president undermines it with things like this action in Syria, that is going to cost us for years and years,” he added. “We've got to be a country known to keep its word."

TRUMP ANNOUNCES G7 WON'T BE AT DORAL: President Trump on Saturday said the United States would no longer host next year's Group of Seven (G-7) summit at his Doral resort after intense backlash from Democrats, ethics watchdogs and some Republican lawmakers (The Hill). "Based on both Media & Democrat Crazed and Irrational Hostility, we will no longer consider Trump National Doral, Miami, as the Host Site for the G-7 in 2020," Trump tweeted. "We will begin the search for another site, including the possibility of Camp David, immediately. Thank you!"

FEMALE CANDIDATES NEED TO TAKE UP GOLF: Patti Russo says women running for public office should consider taking up golf if they want to raise campaign money (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). Men “oftentimes are members of clubs – country clubs, golf clubs, tennis clubs. That's where a lot of business happens, which is why there are so many more women out there taking golf lessons right now,” Russo said. “They see the importance of that skill. Because a lot of deals are closed on the golf course.”  Russo is executive director of the Women's Campaign School at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut, where students have included U.S. Sen. Kristen Gillibrand, D-N.Y.; U.S. Rep. Lauren Underwood, D-Ill.; and former Democratic congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona. Russo also has been an instructor the past two years at the Women's Campaign Institute in Fort Wayne sponsored by Advancing Voices of Women. Campaign fundraising, she said, “continues to be one of the greatest hurdles” for female candidates, which is why her school spends one of its five session days on the subject. “I think the No. 1 challenge in the area of fundraising is that women traditionally have not had the extensive networks that men do when they decide to run for office,” she said in a telephone interview.

PURDUE FROSH DON'T SURPRISE DANIELS ON CIVICS TEST: Purdue freshmen are better than the average student when it comes to knowing facts about the United States. The results are from a pilot test of Purdue President Mitch Daniels' civics literacy exam (WLFI-TV). A 28-question test was given to a group of Purdue freshmen during orientation this year. It's in response to what Daniels called a "disheartening national phenomenon" about college students not knowing basic citizenship facts. The results showed about 77-percent of the students earned a passing grade. That's compared to 36-percent of the general population, and 53-percent of college-educated Indiana residents. Purdue said the results showed good, but not great civic literacy. "I wasn't surprised, I wasn't particularly pleased," said Daniels. "I wasn't surprised that incoming Purdue students did a little better than people at large, or college students at large. I'm glad that the senate committee undertook the project. I think it proves we need to do something."

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The status of Attorney General Curtis Hill will be tested this week in a Supreme Court disciplinary procedure that could impact his law license and, subsequently, his ability to serve in an office dependent on that license. Gov. Eric Holcomb and bipartisan legislative leaders have called for Hill to resign after allegations of sexual misconduct in 2017. He has resisted. So his fate looks like it will be determined in the judiciary and not by politics. - Brian A. Howey


SMITH OUTRAISES MOORE IN KOKOMO: Campaign finance documents show Democratic mayoral candidate Abbie Smith has outraised Republican Tyler Moore by more than $70,000 so far this year, a discrepancy made up largely from an enormous contribution given by Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight’s campaign committee (Myers, Kokomo Tribune). The documents, turned in Friday to the Howard County clerk’s office, show that Smith raised $203,645 through Oct. 11, compared to Moore’s $132,966. That fundraising difference has allowed Smith to spend more than Moore during this reporting period as well. “I am incredibly grateful and proud to report that 363 donors have contributed $203,645.99 to my campaign for mayor,” said Smith in a media release. “I am humbled by the amount of support you, the people of Kokomo, have given to the campaign – both financially and by volunteering your time.” Moore was similarly positive following Friday’s release of the campaign finance documents. “My team and I are very pleased with the way our campaign has been managed and executed, and I couldn’t be more humbled by the amount of support physically, financially and spiritually that so many in the Kokomo and surrounding areas have given me,” said Moore in a statement to the Tribune. Creating that difference was a $55,000 contribution given to Smith on May 31 by Goodnight’s own political committee, Citizens to Elect Greg Goodnight.

LYNCH DISAVOWS PORTAGE MAILER: Sue Lynch, the Democratic candidate for Mayor of Portage, issued the following statement after Portage residents received a mail piece paid for by “Hoosiers for Accountability” which distorts the candidate’s record and provides false information to Portage residents (Howey Politics Indiana). The mailer claims that Lynch “wants to charge citizens a 9-1-1 fee that would cost hundreds of dollars for calling police and ambulance”, which is a complete distortion of a previous ordinance the candidate voted for. “I have voted for an ordinance that would charge a fee on businesses that continually use our police force as private security at the expense of the taxpayers,” Lynch said. “I have never supported an ordinance that would charge residents, or businesses, a fee anytime they call 911. As Mayor, this will never be a policy that I support.”

REP. ROONEY WON'T SEEK REELECTION: Rep. Francis Rooney (R-Fla.), who was the first House Republican express openness to voting to impeach President Donald Trump, announced his retirement on Saturday (Politico). “I thought the idea was you came and did your public service and left, you accomplish what you want to accomplish and you left," Rooney said on Fox News. "And that’s what I want to be an example to do. And I’m also tired of the intense partisanship that stops us from solving the big questions that America needs solved.” The two-term congressman confirmed his plans shortly afterward in an interview with POLITICO. The news came one day after Rooney, a former construction company owner and major GOP donor, told CNN he couldn't dismiss the possibility that the president committed an impeachable offense in his dealings with Ukrainian officials. "I don't think you can rule anything out unless you know all the facts," he said.

Presidential 2020

BUTTIGIEG POSES NEW THREAT TO BIDEN: Joe Biden faces a new threat from South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who is fresh off an eye-opening debate performance and positioning himself to be a top contender for the support of centrist Democrats if the former vice president falters (The Hill). Buttigieg has emerged as a fundraising powerhouse and will enter the final stretch before the Iowa caucuses in February flush with cash. Buttigieg has more than $23 million in the bank, compared to only $9 million for Biden, a shockingly low number for a front-runner. The Buttigieg campaign says it raised $1 million from tens of thousands of donors in the hours after Tuesday’s debate concluded. Recent polls of Iowa show Buttigieg on the rise. The mayor has picked up 4.5 points in the past month in the RealClearPolitics average, and a Firehouse-Optimus survey released this week found him in third place at 17 percent in the Hawkeye State, within striking distance of both Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), at 25 percent, and Biden, at 22 percent. And Buttigieg has stepped out as a fighter for moderate Democrats who feel marginalized by "He really did stand out in this debate," said Robert Zimmerman, a top Democratic donor. "He presents a challenge to Biden." 

TRUMP CAMPAIGN UNLEASHES DIGITAL ONSLAUGHT: On any given day, the Trump campaign is plastering ads all over Facebook, YouTube and the millions of sites served by Google, hitting the kind of incendiary themes — immigrant invaders, the corrupt media — that play best on platforms where algorithms favor outrage and political campaigns are free to disregard facts (New York Times). Even seemingly ominous developments for Mr. Trump become fodder for his campaign. When news broke last month that congressional Democrats were opening an impeachment inquiry, the campaign responded with an advertising blitz aimed at firing up the president’s base. The campaign slapped together an “Impeachment Poll” (sample question: “Do you agree that President Trump has done nothing wrong?”). It invited supporters to join the Official Impeachment Defense Task Force (“All you need to do is DONATE NOW!”). It produced a slick video laying out the debunked conspiracy theory about former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Ukraine that is now at the center of the impeachment battle (“Learn the truth. Watch Now!”). The onslaught overwhelmed the limited Democratic response. Mr. Biden’s campaign put up the stiffest resistance: It demanded Facebook take down the ad, only to be rebuffed. It then proceeded with plans to slash its online advertising budget in favor of more television ads.

HILLARY SAYS GABBARD IS A KREMLIN TOOL: Hillary Clinton's suggestion that Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is being "groomed" by Russians to act as a 2020 spoiler has inspired more interest in Gabbard's longshot candidacy, AP's Alexandra Jaffe reports from Iowa (Axios). Clinton appeared on David Plouffe's "Campaign HQ" podcast, where she did not mention the congresswoman by name, but said Russians have "got their eye on somebody who's currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third party candidate." Gabbard refused to disavow the support she's seen from Russian actors and alt-right sites.

CASTRO BLASTS BUTTIGIEG OVER DONATION: Julián Castro rebuked Pete Buttigieg in a fundraising email to supporters Friday, criticizing the Indiana mayor over his decision to accept funds from a former Chicago city attorney involved in the botched handling of the police shooting of teen Laquan McDonald (Politico). Castro was the first Democratic presidential candidate to call out Buttigieg for his connection to Steve Patton, who made a $5,600 donation to the Buttigieg campaign in June and was scheduled to co-host a fundraising event Friday. As city attorney, Patton was a key player in the effort to withhold footage of McDonald’s death. The Associated Press reported on Friday that Patton’s donation would be returned to him and that his name was removed as a sponsor of the fundraiser. “I applaud Mayor Buttigieg for returning the contribution, but at a time where police violence remains such a critical issue, it shouldn’t take four months to return such a problematic contribution,” Castro wrote.

SANDERS RESUMES CAMPAIGNING: Bernie Sanders is back on the campaign trail and looking to project confidence (Wall Street Journal). Standing in front of what his campaign said was nearly 26,000 people here, Sen. Sanders (I., Vt.) said he was “more than ready to assume the office of president of United States” following a heart attack Oct. 1. Mr. Sanders and his campaign are hoping for a revival to tick up his sluggish poll numbers—which show a notable lack of support among older voters—following two weeks off the campaign trail that raised questions about the future of his bid. Aides and allies of Mr. Sanders said Saturday’s event here, with the Queensboro Bridge in the background, is a sign of positive things to come.

AOC ENDORSES SANDERS: Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez said she felt compelled to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders in the Democratic presidential primary because it was the "most authentic decision to let people know how I feel." The rising progressive star spoke to CBS News' Nikole Killion in an interview before the rally in Queens, New York, on Saturday where Ocasio-Cortez formally endorsed Sanders.

Sunday Talk

MULVANEY SAYS TRUMP WAS SURPRISED BY DORAL REACTION: White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said President Trump was "honestly surprised at the level of pushback" against his decision to host the Group of Seven (G-7) summit at one of his resort properties, adding that Trump still "considers himself to be in the hospitality business." The justification from Mulvaney came just a day after Trump reversed his decision to hold the the G-7 summit at Trump National Doral in Florida in light of outrage from Democrats, Republicans and ethics watchdog groups. "He was honestly surprised at the level of pushback. At the end of the day, he still considers himself to be in the hospitality business and he saw an opportunity to take the biggest leaders from around the world, and he wanted to put on the absolute best show, best visit that he possibly could, and he was very comfortable doing that at Doral," Mulvaney said on on "Fox News Sunday," apparently referencing Trump's work as a real estate mogul.

MULVANEY DENIES THREATENING TO RESIGN: Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney said Sunday he did not offer his resignation following a controversial press conference in which he indicated a quid pro quo transaction took place between President Trump and the Ukrainian president. Fox News's Chris Wallace asked Mulvaney on "Fox News Sunday" if he offered his resignation after the press conference. The acting chief of staff answered that he "absolutely, positively" did not. "I’m very happy working there," Mulvaney said. "Did I have the perfect press conference? No," Mulvaney continued.

POMPEO DEFENDS CEASE FIRE: Secretary Mike Pompeo defends deal brokered with Turkey to temporarily halt military operations in Syria. The secretary of state defended the ceasefire that he and Vice President Mike Pence brokered with Turkey and responded to criticism from both Kurdish fighters and Republicans on the Hill, on ABC's "This Week." "We put out a joint statement which we think will really save lives. It's worked so far," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Sunday, adding that he had just received a report from his senior advisers that indicated that there is relatively little fighting still in Syria. The U.S. and Turkey reached an agreement on Thursday to "pause" Turkey's military operations in northern Syria for five days to allow Kurdish forces to withdraw from a buffer zone.

MENENDEZ SAYS POMPEO IN 'ALTERNATIVE UNIVERSE': Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), the top Democrat on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, blasted Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s optimistic assessment of the ceasefire between Turkey and Kurdish forces Sunday, saying Pompeo was in a “parallel, alternate universe.” “I think the secretary lives in a parallel alternate universe,” Menendez said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding President Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. forces from northeastern Syria, which led to a Turkish incursion into the region shortly thereafter, “was a betrayal of the Kurds who fought and died alongside of us in pursuit of ending the threat of ISIS.”

WALLACE SEES '20% OF IMPEACHMENT': Fox's Chris Wallace said a "well-connected" Washington Republican told him that there's a 20 percent chance enough Republicans will vote to remove the president from office in an impeachment trial in the Senate. Wallace mentioned his source's comments during an interview on "Fox News Sunday" with White House acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney. Wallace cited an overwhelming House vote criticizing the president's policies in Syria and an op-ed from Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) slamming Trump's decision to withdraw troops from that country. He then said he had "talked to a very well-connected Republican in Washington, someone whose name you would know well, who says that if the House votes to impeach and it gets to a trial in the Senate, there's now a 20 percent chance enough Republicans would vote with Democrats to impeach the president."

AMASH RIPS TRUMP OVER SYRIA: Rep. Justin Amash (I-Mich.) on Sunday called out President Trump over the administration's decision to move U.S. troops from northern Syria to Iraq, saying that the move conflicts with Trump's repeated calls to bring forces home. "Trump’s words: Bring them home. Trump’s action: Send them to Iraq," Amash, who left the Republican Party earlier this year to become an Independent, said on Twitter. While addressing the issue on NBC's "Meet The Press," Amash added that it was "pretty clear" Trump wasn't bringing home the troops. "He’s moving troops back into Iraq. He’s moving other troops into Saudi Arabia," Amash continued, referring to the Pentagon's recent move to deploy additional personnel, aircraft and missile defense equipment to Saudi Arabia.  "He’s using our forces as paid mercenaries. What happened to the American people having their voices heard through their representatives in Congress."

General Assembly

LEISING SEEKS TEACHER TEST SHIFT: When State Sen. Jean Leising, R-Oldenburg, began hearing that Indiana college graduates with teaching degrees, and good grades, were unable to pass state licensure tests, she began to delve deeper into the issue (Loughlin, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The more she learned, the more she understood there was a problem that had to be addressed. Talented teachers-to-be, who wanted to pursue the profession, were starting to get jobs in non-teaching fields because they had to begin paying off student loans — and this at a time of a serious teacher shortage. “I think it’s a shame when we have young people who have their heart set on teaching, that really want to do it … yet somehow we’re stopping them after they’ve successfully obtained their bachelor’s in education,” she said. She introduced legislation this year, eventually incorporated into a workforce development law (HB 1002), that seeks to address the issue. For several years, Indiana educators — and teachers to be — have criticized licensing tests provided by Pearson, the state’s testing vendor since 2014. But that will change as of September 2021. Under the new law, the Indiana Legislature required the state Board of Education to adopt a licensing testing program “that is already in existence and administered nationally to replace the current licensure test program.”


WORKFORCE: JOBLESS RATE 3.2% - Indiana's unemployment rate dropped to 3.2 percent in September. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development says this marks a milestone as the last time Indiana's unemployment rate was lower than 3.2 percent was December 2000 (McLaughlin, Inside Indiana Business). Unemployment for September remains below the national rate, which is 3.5 percent. According to figures from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, Indiana's labor force participation rate stands at 64.5 percent, compared to the national rate of 63.2 percent. Indiana added lost 3,400 jobs over the previous month. The majority of the decrease in private sector employment came from the Leisure and Hospitality and Manufacturing sectors.

ISP: RUSSIAVILLE PAYS TRIBUTE TO FALLEN TROOPER - With flags flown at half-staff and the streets lined with blue ribbon the small town of Russiaville showed their support for trooper Peter Stephan (WLFI-TV). "We responded this way to show that Russiaville honors their heroes," said Patrick Brookmiller a Russiaville Native. While many may not have known trooper Stephan personally they hope their support gives his family comfort. "It's the only thing that gives everyone comfort,” Jessica Yates Law Enforcement supporter. “The men and women sacrifice so much for everyone."

INDOT: HEARINGS ON FINAL I-69 PATH - State officials have set three public meetings in central Indiana for updates on plans for the final leg of the Interstate 69 extension project that’s been under construction since 2008 (AP). The Indiana Department of Transportation expects significant construction to start next year upgrading the current Indiana 37 corridor between Martinsville on I-465 on the southwest side of Indianapolis. The 26-mile section is expected to cost $1.5 billion and be open by late 2024. The public meetings are Monday at Martinsville High School, Tuesday at Center Grove High School near Greenwood and Thursday at Perry Meridian High School in Indianapolis. Each session starts at 5:30 p.m.

HEALTH: INDIANA RANKS 13TH IN YOUTH OBESITY - The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies childhood obesity as a serious health problem in the United States that can put youth at risk for poor health (CNHI). In a recent study from the State of Childhood Obesity, a project from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Indiana ranked 13th in youth obesity in the country or third in the Midwest, trailing behind Michigan and Ohio. With an estimated 16.6% youth obesity, approximately one in six Hoosier youth risk worse health outcomes because of their weight. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Minnesota ranked 50th in the nation and last in the Midwest, with 9.4 percent youth obesity.

DNR: HUNTING LICENSES ON DECLINE - Chillier weather coincides with deer hunting season. But each year hundreds of fewer people in the area are donning orange and camouflage to participate in the tradition (Bloomington Herald-Times). Across the nation, hunting licenses have declined for various weapons and animals. If trends continue in 2019, fewer people than ever will be hunting deer in south-central Indiana during the upcoming firearm deer hunting season.

EDUCATION: IU LANDS $60M GIFT - An Indiana University alumnus who founded the information technology firm, ServiceNow, has given his alma mater $60 million to establish an artificial intelligence center (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). The university says the gift from cloud-computing pioneer Fred Luddy is the second largest in the history of the IU. Fifteen years ago, he founded ServiceNow and served as chief executive officer until 2011. His technology delivers cloud-based, automated IT help desk services. "It is the imagination and determination of people that drive technology that makes an impact in real lives,” says Luddy. The university says the donation will be used to construct a new building to house a center focused on AI. The center will be called the Luddy Center for Artificial Intelligence which will a part of the just-renamed Luddy School of Informatics, Computing and Engineering in Bloomington. The gift will also fund the creation of six endowed chairs, six endowed professorships and six endowed faculty fellowships, as well as countless scholarships.

CRIME: PURDUE PROF GUILTY OF WIRE FRAUD - A Purdue professor has pled guilty to felony wire fraud (WLFI-TV). His wife also pled guilty, on behalf of her company Hans Tech, LLC, to participating in the same wire fraud scheme. That's according to the U.S. Department of Justice. As we first reported in July 2018, Qingyou Han and his wife Lu Shao were accused of defrauding the National Science Foundation. Han was indicted after he allegedly spent thousands in grant money on himself and his family. According court documents, Han and his wife's company received more than a million dollars in various grants from the NSF. The U.S. attorney's office says the couple bought a house and paid for rent through grant funds. A sentencing has been scheduled for Jan. 21.

INDIANA SOCIETY: SIMONS, TRENT TO BE HONORED IN CHICAGO - The Indiana Society of Chicago is set to honor what it calls some of the most consequential Hoosiers in Indiana history. The organization in December will hold its annual dinner, which is designed "to recognize and celebrate exceptional Hoosier individuals and institutions that are making outstanding contributions to the state and nation" (Brown, Inside Indiana Business). As part of the celebration, the society will honor Indiana University as the 2019 Hoosier Institution of the Year. The university is preparing to celebrate its bicentennial in January and the organization says IU earned the honor "for its vast contributions to Hoosier students and the Indiana economy." The Simon Family, which owns and operates Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. (NYSE: SPG), will be recognized as the 2019 Hoosier of the Year. The society also touts the efforts of the Simon Youth Foundation, which is also operated by the family. Additionally, the Indiana Society of Chicago will present the Hoosier Hero Award to the parents of Tyler Trent, the Purdue University superfan who died of cancer earlier this year. It will be only the second time the award has been given.


WHITE HOUSE: KUSHNER WAS SEEKING MULVANEY OUSTER - Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney faced internal efforts to oust him before House Democrats moved ahead with their impeachment inquiry against President Donald Trump, multiple sources tell CNN. Top aides including Trump's son-in-law and adviser Jared Kushner were in the process of reaching out to at least two potential replacements for the top West Wing job shortly before House Speaker Nancy Pelosi announced in late September that she would move ahead with an impeachment inquiry.

STATE: POMPEO REASSURES ISRAEL - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo underscored U.S.-Israeli efforts to counter Iran in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, in an apparent attempt to ease Israeli concerns that Tehran could exploit a U.S. military pullback in Syria (Reuters). Pompeo and Netanyahu met in Jerusalem hours after Turkey agreed with the United States to pause its offensive on Kurdish forces in Syria. Thursday’s pause, brokered in Ankara by a U.S. team including Pompeo and U.S. Vice President Mike Pence, gives Kurdish forces five days to withdraw from a “safe zone” Turkey had sought to capture.

STATE: POMPEO SAYS U.S. COMMITED TO AFGHANISTAN - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Saturday Washington remained committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan as police searched for bodies in the rubble of a mosque in eastern Nangarhar province where bomb blasts killed at least 69 people (Reuters). The explosives that went off during Friday prayers were placed inside the mosque in the Jawdara area of the Haska Mena district. On Friday, local officials had reported the number of dead at 62 and around 50 wounded. “The United States remains committed to peace and stability in Afghanistan, and will continue to fight against terrorism,” Pompeo said in a statement. “We stand by the people of Afghanistan who only want peace and a future free from these abhorrent acts of violence.”

PENTAGON: ESPER MOVING SYRIAN TROOPS TO IRAQ - U.S. troops leaving Syria will be relocated to western Iraq, where they will continue to conduct operations to prevent a resurgence of the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Sunday (The Hill). Esper told reporters traveling with him to the Middle East that details regarding the U.S. military's efforts in western Iraq would be worked out in the upcoming weeks, the Associated Press reported. The comments came after weeks of bipartisan scrutiny of President Trump's abrupt decision to pull roughly 1,000 troops from northern Syria ahead of a planned Turkish offensive in the area. Trump has repeatedly argued that it is time to get out of "endless wars" and promised to bring U.S. troops home. But Esper said Sunday that many of the U.S. troops leaving Syria will be relocated to Iraq.

SPORTS: ASTROS FACE NATS IN WORLD SERIES - The World Series starts Tuesday night at the Astros' Minute Maid Park in Houston, then comes to Washington's Nationals Park on Friday night. See the schedule. In this Year of the Home Run, the focus of the 2019 Fall Classic is on the mound, AP's Ben Walker writes in his lookahead: A throw-down for the ages, maybe. Astros pitcher Gerrit Cole is lined up for Game 1, with Justin Verlander and Zack Greinke to follow. For Nats Nation, it's Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg and Patrick Corbin. And even Aníbal Sánchez — all he's done lately is take a playoff no-hit bid into the eighth inning.


LaPORTE: ATTORNEY JOINS COUNCIL - A local attorney is promising to make "an immediate impact" upon assuming his new seat on the La Porte County Council (Michigan City News-Dispatch). After three rounds of voting, the county Democratic Party selected La Porte's Sean Quinn to fill a vacancy on the council during a special caucus Thursday at the Swanson Activity Center in La Porte. Quinn will serve the remaining term of former at-large councilman John Sullivan, who resigned last month after pleading guilty to residential entry. A lifelong Democrat, Quinn currently serves as a lawyer with South Bend's SouthBank Legal. A 10-year resident of the county, he lives in Center Township with his wife, Megan, an anesthesiologist at La Porte Hospital, and their three children.

SHELBYILLE: DOWNTOWN PROJECT UNVEILED - The city of Shelbyville has announced what it calls a major downtown redevelopment project to boost overall quality of life. The project plans feature green spaces, increased parking, market-rate housing, and infrastructure for public entertainment and community events (McLaughlin, Inside Indiana Business). Another big focus of the project is to improve walkability and decrease heavy truck traffic. The redevelopment aims to revitalize downtown shops and resturants as well.  City officials say there have already been a number of projects announced that will be located in the downtown area to support the redevelopment. “Because Mainstreet Shelbyville has been so successful in getting events for our town like BBQ & Brew and Wine Walk, we’re furthering development with this project to bring a more pleasurable experience and desperately needed amenity,” said Shelbyville Mayor Tom DeBaun.

MICHIGAN CITY: BLUE CHIP CASINO EXPANDING - Blue Chip Casino in Michigan City has expanded its footprint with the addition of a new 11,000-square-foot ballroom as it attempts to draw more than gaming players through their front doors (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). The $11 million expansion is part of the casino’s Stardust Event Center, according to our partners at The Times of Northwest Indiana. Boyd Gaming, which owns the casino, says it now has 45,000-square-feet of meeting space for conventions, banquets and wedding receptions at the Michigan City site. "Based on the tremendous demand that we've seen for meeting space at Blue Chip over the last several years, we knew we had a great opportunity to expand our meeting and event business — and now we can meet that opportunity," said Brenda Temple, Blue Chip vice president and general manager.

CLOVERDALE: POET ETHANOL PLANT CLOSES - South Dakota-based POET LLC, the nation’s largest biofuels producer, is moving forward with a plan to shut down its biorefining plant in Cloverdale, leaving 50 Hoosiers without jobs effective Friday (Mills, Inside Indiana Business). The company tells Inside INdiana Business that it is not making any changes to the plans announced two months ago. A company spokesperson says layoffs are still taking place and the company is not reconsidering the plan to idle the plant. In August, the ethanol-producing company sent a WARN notice to the Indiana Department of Workforce Development indicating workers would be laid off. In the letter dated August 20, the company said it "has decided to cease operations indefinitely and that a mass layoff at its facility...shall occur." The notice also indicated that October 18 would be the last day on the job.