MAYOR PETE SURGES IN IOWA POLL: It's a new three-way race in Iowa. Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who was initially seen as a long-shot presidential contender, has surged within striking distance of former vice president Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, a Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll finds. Biden, long viewed as the Democratic frontrunner, is faltering in the wake of a debate performance last week that those surveyed saw as disappointing. The poll, taken Wednesday through Friday, put Biden at 18%, Warren at 17% and Buttigieg at 13% among 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers. Those standings reflect significant changes since the Suffolk/USA TODAY poll taken in Iowa at the end of June, when Biden led Warren by double digits and Buttigieg trailed at a distant 6%. California Sen. Kamala Harris, who was then in second place after a strong showing in the first Democratic debate, has plummeted 13 percentage points and is now in a three-way tie for sixth. Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders earned 9% support, the same number as in the June poll. "Iowa is unquestionably up for grabs," said David Paleologos, director of the Suffolk Political Research Center. Buttigieg "has found a lane and is accelerating toward the front of the pack, surpassing Bernie Sanders. All of this is happening while the number of undecided voters continues to grow as Democratic caucusgoers pause to reevaluate the changing field." The number of caucusgoers who say they are undecided has spiked 8 points since June to 29%. Among those who have a preferred candidate, nearly two-thirds (63%) say they might change their minds before the caucuses.

BUTTIGIEG, KLOBACHAR GAINING MOMENTUM: Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar shot out of the last Democratic debate with the most precious commodity a presidential candidate can get before the Iowa caucuses: momentum. Now, they’re racing to actually crack open what for months has been a three-person race (Politico). The Minnesota senator and the South Bend, Ind., mayor each raised more than $1 million in the 24 hours following the debate, a sign that their critiques of progressive leaders Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders during the debate struck a chord. Energetic crowds greeted them in the first caucus state soon after — including voters who said they were looking for alternatives to Joe Biden, the longtime polling leader who has slipped in Iowa over the past month. The events mark the first moment since Biden entered the 2020 primary that other moderates sense a real opportunity to cut into the former vice president’s support, which has largely blocked them out of the top of the race. And they’re doing it by contrasting themselves with Warren and Sanders, overshadowing Biden’s own attempts to sell an alternative to Medicare for All and other popular plans on the left. “If you want the left-most possible candidate, you’ve got a clear choice. If you want the candidate with the most years in Washington, you’ve got a clear choice. For everybody else, I just might be your person,” Buttigieg said after an event at the University of Chicago, where he spoke with David Axelrod, former President Barack Obama’s chief strategist. “I think we saw that space opening up."

TRUMP SETTING CAMPAIGN MONEY RECORDS: Donald Trump and the Republican National Committee have raised more than $300 million this year for his re-election — more than any other sitting president in history at this point in the campaign (Politico). Trump has nearly twice as much cash on hand — $158 million, between his campaign account and the RNC — as Barack Obama and the Democratic National Committee had at this time in his successful re-election run. Already this year, Trump’s campaign operation has spent close to $23 million on TV and digital advertising, more than 10 times the amount that the lone major Democratic super PAC spending against him, Priorities USA, has laid out so far in its online-only spending campaign. Democrats are growing increasingly alarmed by the spending chasm between the two sides — and its implications for the general election. “The resources he has will be put to work anywhere and everywhere that he feels like he can scare up electoral votes, and Democrats will never catch up. It’s just too much money,” said Chris Lippincott, a Texas-based Democratic strategist who ran a super PAC opposing Sen. Ted Cruz last year. “That’s real trouble … I’m not here to curse the dark, but it’s dark.”

FRIGHTENED KURDS PREDICTING ATROCITIES: As United States troops continued their withdrawal from Syria on Sunday, a line of cars carried their routed former allies, terrified civilians and dead bodies out of a pulverized border town that had been besieged by Turkish forces for more than a week (New York Times). Away from the front lines where the Turks might assassinate him, the Kurdish leader of the Syrian force that once helped America battle the Islamic State, and that has now been abandoned by the Trump administration, looked drained from 10 days of battle and geopolitical struggle over his people’s fate. The commander, Mazlum Kobani, had visibly lost weight, and his eyes drooped from exhaustion. His fighters had shed considerable blood to wrest territory from the Islamic State and establish self-rule on its former lands. Now, he worried that a complete American withdrawal would not only jeopardize those gains but also subject his people to displacement and slaughter. “There will be ethnic cleansing of the Kurdish people from Syria, and the American administration will be responsible for it,” said Mr. Kobani, commander of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

TRUMP DRAWING NEW GOP SCRUTINY: President Trump faces increasing public and private scrutiny from his own party over a series of recent White House moves, as the House impeachment inquiry reduces his margin for error with fellow Republicans and makes him more vulnerable to attacks (Wall Street Journal). In the past several days, Mr. Trump has been forced to drop plans to host next year’s Group of Seven summit at his Doral golf resort, and a top aide has tried to walk back comments linking Ukraine military aid to an investigation of the president’s political opponents. The fallout of Mr. Trump’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria has continued to draw widespread criticism, including from Republicans. Mr. Trump’s support within his party will face fresh tests this week, as key witnesses from the State Department and Pentagon are expected to testify in closed hearings before a trio of House committees on the president’s dealings with Ukraine. Few in the GOP have gone so far as to suggest the impeachment effort against Mr. Trump is warranted, and Republicans have often remained supportive of the president on that issue despite any disagreements on specific policies. But Republicans are making clear to the White House that it is becoming harder to justify blanket support for the president in the wake of recent events. “What you have in recent days are landfills of toxic talking points,” said Rick Tyler, the communications director for Texas Sen. Ted Cruz’s 2016 Republican presidential bid. “It’s systematic mismanagement.”

GRAHAM OPEN TO IMPEACHMENT: In an interview with "Axios on HBO," Sen. Lindsey Graham, one of President Trump's most vital allies on Capitol Hill, opened the door to changing his mind on impeachment if there turns out to be what he considers a quid pro quo. "Sure. I mean ... show me something that ... is a crime," Graham told Jonathan Swan. Why it matters: Graham was a fiery House prosecutor during the 1998 impeachment trial of President Clinton. Now that Graham is in the Senate, he'll vote to acquit — or remove — Trump if he's impeached by the House. "If you could show me that, you know, Trump actually was engaging in a quid pro quo, outside the phone call, that would be very disturbing," Graham said. "As to asking China to look into Biden, that was stupid. ... Bad idea. That didn't last very long. I think that's a frustrated Trump." But Trump's Ukraine call isn't impeachable on its own, Graham said: "I've read the transcript of the Ukrainian phone call. That's not a quid pro quo to me."

SO IS ROMNEY: As President Trump's standing with Republican lawmakers grows more precarious, the two senators to watch — for totally different reasons — are Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah and Sen. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina. And we talked to both of them last night on "Axios on HBO." With Trump's impeachment by the House growing ever more likely, he has to keep his red wall of Republican Senate support so that, like President Clinton, he'll be acquitted rather than removed after a Senate trial. Romney has never liked Trump, and friends who have talked privately with the senator tell me he could be one of the first votes to convict.  The senator offered a broad indictment of the president during our interview at Romney's home outside Salt Lake City. If Romney breaks officially, swing-state Republicans might follow — though that alone would not be enough to sink Trump. Romney criticized Trump's rhetoric when asked about the "single dumbest thing" the president has done. "I think the places where I would be most critical of the president would be in matters that were divisive, that appeared to be appealing to racism or misogyny. Those are the kinds of things that have been the most harmful long-term to the foundation of America's virtuous character."

STATES MAKING CONTINGENCIES AS COURT IMPERILS ACA: A federal appeals court decision that could strike down the Affordable Care Act as soon as this month has rattled officials in several states who are pursuing legislation to preserve some coverage in the absence of any Trump administration contingency plan (Wall Street Journal). Lawmakers in states including Louisiana, Nevada, New Mexico and California have passed bills or are reviewing action aimed at dealing with the fallout if the ACA is overturned. Many of these lawmakers are also facing re-election campaigns this fall in some of the very states that brought the lawsuit. Plans include giving subsidies to insurers that cover high-cost consumers, possible emergency legislative sessions to address sudden coverage gaps, and regulations that prevent people from being denied coverage even if the law is no longer in effect. The state initiatives reflect growing angst over the possible ramifications of a decision that could ultimately end health coverage for more than 20 million people. A three-judge panel of the Fifth U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals heard oral arguments in July in a lawsuit driven by 18 GOP-led states seeking to invalidate the law. The Trump administration has largely sided with the states. The judges’ questions during the arguments suggested they could rule against upholding the ACA, legal experts said.

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: First, Speaker Pelosi should call for a vote on the establishment of an impeachment inquiry of President Trump. Having said that, questions for the Indiana congressional delegation: If I were to get a subpoena to appear before a congressional committee, can I just blow it off? Just like the Trump administration is doing these days? If I blow off a congressional subpoena, will U.S. Marshals show up and take me to jail? If precedents are now being set to ignore congressional subpoenas, doesn't that throw the constitutional checks and balance system out of whack? In the next weekly Howey Politics Indiana coming around 9 a.m., Tuesday, we'll explore this and more! - Brian A. Howey


TIMES ENDORSES MAYOR CANNON IN PORTAGE: The NWI Times endorsed Portage Mayor John Cannon for election. "Portage has suffered both documented and untold damage from the previous mayor's criminal betrayal of public trust. The effect of former Mayor James Snyder's conviction on federal bribery and tax charges has left a haze of uncertainty in the city that can be hard to see through. Now, Portage voters have the important task of looking through that haze and considering the directions in which two candidates might take the city if elected mayor on Nov. 5.Uncertainties still exist, but we endorse Cannon, who has inherited a difficult task and seems willing to roll up his sleeves and move forward."

Presidential 2020

WARREN TO RELEASE PLAN ON MEDICARE SPENDING: Days after 2020 rivals accused her of not being candid on how she would pay for Medicare-for-All, Sen. Elizabeth Warren told a crowd at a town hall that she would be rolling out a plan “over the next few weeks” detailing how she would pay for the plan (Politico). “Right now the cost estimates for Medicare for All vary by trillions and trillions of dollars and the different revenue stream for how to fund it, there are a lot of,” the Massachusetts Democrat told a crowd in Indianola, Iowa, on Sunday at a town hall. “This is something I’ve been working on for months and months, and it’s got just a little more work until it’s finished.”

CROWDS URGE TRUMP JR. TO RUN IN 2024: The shout of '2024!' from the crowd was unmistakable. It stopped Donald Trump Jr. cold. President Donald Trump's eldest son had been in the midst of a humor-laced screed in which he decried Joe Biden as too old and Elizabeth Warren as too liberal and insisted his father's 2016 campaign was too disorganized to possibly collude with the Russians (AP). As many in the crowd of several hundred laughed, Trump Jr. held a dramatic pause before exclaiming his response: 'Let's worry about 2020 first!' he yelled. The son has become the prime warmup act for the father at political rallies, often appearing more than an hour before the president speaks, another bombastic provocateur who revels in the tribal loyalty of the supporters who pack Trump rallies. It is a call to arms to a fawning crowd and Donald Jr. has become a master preacher.

Sunday Talk

BUTTIGIEG VOWS BETTER SYRIA PLAN: Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg on Sunday dismissed President Donald Trump’s move to withdraw U.S. troops from Syria, saying he’d make “better” foreign policy deals if he won the White House. “If we think that there is a commitment, a treaty or a deal that we can improve on, we go to the table and we make it happen,” the mayor of South Bend, Ind., said on NBC’s “Meet the Press.” Trump has ordered the vast majority of U.S. troops in Syria to withdraw, a move that critics argue abandons Kurdish allies who have fought the Islamic State alongside U.S. forces. “Right now, what is happening is the future [in Syria] is being decided by everybody but the United States ... and we are nowhere because American leadership has been withdrawn,” said Buttigieg, who was a U.S. Navy intelligence officer deployed to Afghanistan in 2014.

MULVANEY DENIES QUID PRO QUO: Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday again denied any “quid pro quo” in the handling of U.S. military funds to Ukraine, though acknowledging his White House news conference last week hadn’t been “perfect” (Politico). "That’s not what I said. That’s what people said that I said," he told host Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday” of his Thursday news conference, claiming that “quid pro quo” was “reporters’” language, not his. "I have news for everybody: Get over it,” Mulvaney had told reporters Thursday at the White House. “There's going to be political influence in foreign policy.” Since then he’s taken heat for his comments, which appeared to admit to a quid pro quo, despite strong denials from the Trump administration. Mulvaney, though, did acknowledge he could “absolutely” see how people took his words “the wrong way,” but continued to emphasize he “never said it was a ‘quid pro quo.’”

MULVANEY SAYS G7 DECISION LOOKED 'LOUSY': Acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney on Sunday said he thinks President Trump knows the decision to host the Group of Seven (G-7) summit at his Doral golf resort looked "lousy." Mulvaney offered the view on "Fox New Sunday" after being asked about Trump's reversal of his decision on Saturday night. Mulvaney announced on Thursday that Trump had reversed his initial decision to host the event at his Doral resort, a move that was criticized by lawmakers in both parties who said it would make it appear, in the least, that the president was profiting from the event. Fox's Chris Wallace asked Mulvaney if Trump comprehended that the plan to host the G-7 at his resort "looked lousy." "I think he knows. He thinks people think it looks lousy," Mulvaney told Wallace.

POMPEO COMMENTS ON MULVANEY QUID PRO QUO: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday responded to acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney’s admission — which he has since walked back — that the White House made aid to Ukraine conditional on political investigations by saying he "never saw that." “I never saw that in the decisionmaking process that I was a part of,” Pompeo said on ABC’s “This Week,” adding, “The conversation was always around, what were the strategic implications? Would that money get to the right place?”

HURD SAYS TRUMP PLAYING 'CHECKERS': Rep. Will Hurd (R-Texas) on Sunday criticized President Trump’s handling of the ongoing situation in Syria, saying the administration is “playing checkers” while others in the region are “playing chess.” Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Sunday, Hurd said Trump’s decision to pull troops from northern Syria and the ensuing cease-fire arrangement with Turkey look "more like terms of surrender than a peace deal." "Unfortunately, our enemies and our adversaries — like Iran, Russia, Turkey — they're playing chess. And unfortunately, this administration is playing checkers," said the outgoing Republican lawmaker.

LAGARDE SAYS U.S. LOSING GLOBAL LEADERSHIP ROLE: Christine Lagarde, the departing head of the International Monetary Fund who is set to take over as president of the European Central Bank, said in an interview that the U.S. risks diminishing its role as a global leader and warned of dire consequences of its trade war with China (Wall Street Journal). “I was brought up as a citizen of this world. The risk I see is that the United States is at risk of losing leadership. And that would be just a terrible development,” Ms. Lagarde said in a “60 Minutes” program that aired Sunday. Ms. Lagarde also warned President Trump against pushing the Federal Reserve for lower interest rates because it could spur inflation. “When the unemployment rate is at 3.7%, you don’t want to accelerate that too much by lowering interest rates,” she said. “Because the risk you take is that then prices begin to go up. You have to be very careful. You know, it’s like navigating a plane.”


IMPEACHMENT TIMELINE IN DOUBT: Mitch McConnell is prepping Senate Republicans for an impeachment trial to begin as early as Thanksgiving, but he has yet to even talk about impeachment with Nancy Pelosi or Chuck Schumer, McConnell's spokesperson David Popp tells me. "Right now it’s way too early," he said (Axios). But with House Democrats keeping their findings behind closed doors, "we have to assume that they’re going to move faster than we expect them to," a senior GOP aide said. "Thanksgiving and Christmas just happen to be a good mile marker."

PELOSI IN AFGHANISTAN, JORDAN: House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) led an unannounced congressional visit to Afghanistan and Jordan over the weekend, highlighting her sharp disagreement with President Trump over his abrupt removal of U.S. troops from northern Syria and Turkey’s subsequent attacks on Kurdish enclaves (Washington Post). In Afghanistan, the delegation met with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani, chief executive Abdullah Abdullah, Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper, top U.S. military commanders and diplomats, senior Afghan government officials and civil society leaders. The delegation also traveled to Camp Morehead to meet with Resolute Support Mission troops. “Our delegation received briefings from Ambassador John Bass and other top diplomats on reconciliation efforts with the Taliban, which has been responsible for violent attacks in Afghanistan. We also heard more about the still-pending status of results from the Afghanistan presidential election in September, which we all hope will be available soon,” Pelosi said in a statement Sunday night.

HOUSE PREVIEW: These officials are scheduled to appear for depositions before the House Intelligence, Foreign Affairs and Oversight committees this week in relation to the House impeachment inquiry, though it's unclear whether each official will show up (Axios): Tuesday, 9:30 am: Acting Ukraine Ambassador Bill Taylor. Wednesday, 9:30 am: Michael Duffey, associate director for national security programs at the Office of Management and Budget. Thursday, 9:30 am: Acting Assistant Secretary for International Security Affairs Kathryn Wheelbarger. Also on Thursday, time TBD: Deputy Assistant Secretary for Russia, Ukraine and Eurasia Laura Cooper. Friday, 9:30 am: Acting Office of Management and Budget Director Russell Vought.

The House Financial Services Committee will hear from Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg on Wednesday. The House Foreign Affairs and Oversight Committees will hold hearings on Wednesday on Turkey's invasion of Syria.

SENATE PREVIEW: The Senate will vote on the following this week, per a Republican leadership aide: A treaty that would allow North Macedonia to become a NATO member (Axios). The nomination of Andrew Bremberg as Ambassador to the United Nations in Geneva. 9 of the 12 regular FY 2020 appropriations bills. The Senate Foreign Relations Committee will also hold a hearing on Turkey and Syria on Tuesday.


SUPREME COURT: HILL DISCIPLINARY HEARING BEGINS TODAY - Disciplinary hearings for Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill Jr., who is accused of groping women at a party to mark the close of the 2018 spring legislative session, are set to begin today (Barger, Statehouse File). Hill, who faces Indiana Supreme Court disciplinary commission charges, seeks to block the testimony of two women who worked for him when he was Elkhart County prosecutor. Retired Supreme Court Justice Myra Selby, who will preside over Hill’s hearing, has yet to rule on whether those witnesses will be allowed to testify. Last week, Selby met with the attorneys for both Hill and the disciplinary commission to iron out details in advance of the hearing. Hill, a Republican in his first term as attorney general, will be fighting for his political and professional life in the hearing looking into misconduct charges stemming from an end-of-session legislative party in early 2018.

EDUCATION: PURDUE EYES POLICY CHANGE IN WAKE OF INDICTMENT - Purdue said they will carefully consider revisiting their policies on whether extra precautions will be taken for professors applying for grants. This response comes after Purdue professor Dr. Qingyou Han was indicted. He allegedly spent thousands in grant money on himself and his family (WLFI-TV). Purdue Spokesperson, Tim Doty, said once all information is available to the university they will carefully consider making decisions in a manner consistent with those policies. Han and his wife's company received more than a million dollars in grants from the National Science Foundation. They both pleaded guilty Friday. A sentencing has been scheduled for January 21.

GAMING: HARD ROCK CASINO LAND DEAL SCRUTINIZED - Alleged land-dealing improprieties surrounding the city's prized casino project now are being scrutinized by Hard Rock Casino’s compliance board, a representative for the company confirmed (Cross, NWI Times). The review happens in the wake of a Times probe into alleged conflicts of interest and reports of bidding improprieties in Lake County's tax sale, at which tax-delinquent properties were sold. Court records show politically connected Gary attorney Rinzer Williams III represented two real estate speculators who bought land targeted by Spectacle Entertainment, the developer in the major Gary casino project. Williams also works as an attorney for the Gary City Council and the Lake County commissioners, and board president for the financially troubled Genesis Convention Center.


WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP NOW PONDERS LEAVING TROOPS IN SYRIA - President Trump is leaning in favor of a new Pentagon plan to keep a small contingent of American troops in eastern Syria, perhaps numbering about 200, to combat the Islamic State and block the advance of Syrian government and Russian forces into the region's coveted oil fields, a senior administration official said on Sunday (New York Times). "If Mr. Trump approves the proposal to leave a couple of hundred Special Operations forces in eastern Syria, it would mark the second time in 10 months that he has reversed his order to pull out nearly all American troops from the country. Last December, Mr. Trump directed 2,000 American troops to leave Syria immediately, only to relent later and approve a more gradual withdrawal.

WHITE HOUSE: WHY TRUMP REVERSED ON G7 - He knew he was inviting criticism by choosing his own luxury golf club in Miami for the site of a gathering of world leaders at the Group of 7 summit in June, President Trump told his aides opposed to the choice, and he was prepared for the inevitable attack from Democrats (New York Times). But what Mr. Trump was not prepared for was the reaction of fellow Republicans who said his choice of the club, the Trump National Doral, had crossed a line, and they couldn’t defend it. So Mr. Trump did something that might not have been a surprise for a president facing impeachment but that was unusual for him: He reversed himself Saturday night, abruptly ending the uproar touched off two days earlier by the announcement of his decision by Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff. “He had no choice,” Chris Christie, the former New Jersey governor and longtime friend of the president’s, said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” “It shouldn’t have been done in the first place. And it’s a good move to get out of it and get that out of the papers and off the news.”

WHITE HOUSE: RUSS MEDIA CELEBRATES PUTIN 'LOTTERY' WIN - President Trump has boasted he’s “getting a lot of praise” for his abrupt decision to withdraw U.S. troops out of northern Syria, abandoning the Kurds—America’s longstanding allies—to Turkey’s incursion (Daily Beast). On the home front, the controversial move has been met with criticism on both sides of the political aisle, but the reaction in Moscow was far from mixed. As Trump uncorked chaos in the Middle East, champagne tops were likely popping at the Kremlin. “Putin won the lottery! Russia’s unexpected triumph in the Middle East,” raved Mikhail Rostovsky in his article for the Russian newspaper Moskovsky Komsomolets. “Those who were convinced of Trump’s uselessness for Russia ought to think again...What Washington got out of this strange move is completely unclear. To the contrary, what Moscow gained from this is self-evident...Trump’s mistake in Syria is the unexpected ‘lottery win’ that further strengthened Moscow’s position in the Middle East and undermined America’s prestige as a rational political player and a reliable partner.” 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP/PENCE SCHEDULE - President Trump's schedule, per a White House official: Monday: Trump will hold a Cabinet meeting. He will also have lunch with Vice President Mike Pence. Wednesday: Trump will deliver remarks at the 9th annual Shale Insight Conference in Pittsburgh. Thursday: Trump will participate in the Diwali Ceremonial Lighting of the Diya. He will also present the Presidential Medal of Freedom to former race car driver Roger Penske. Friday: Trump will deliver remarks at the 2019 Second Step Presidential Justice Forum in Columbia, South Carolina.

PENTAGON: U.S. MOVES TROOPS FROM SYRIA TO IRAQ - A large convoy of U.S. military vehicles crossed into Iraq from northern Syria early Monday, marking a dramatic drawdown to an American presence there to combat Islamic State (Wall Street Journal). Dozens of military vehicles flying the U.S. flag drove through the streets of Duhok, Iraq, a town located around 37 miles from the Syrian border, according to a witness. Soldiers flashed victory signs, but some onlookers in the predominantly Kurdish city cursed them, the man said. Some U.S. troops had already left Syria before Monday, but the convoy appeared to be the largest movement since President Trump’s decision to pull U.S. troops from northeast Syria.

CDC: WARNING NOT TO VAPE CANNABIS - For years, a divisive debate has raged in the United States over the health consequences of nicotine e-cigarettes. During the same time, vaping of a more contentious substance has been swiftly growing, with scant notice from public health officials (New York Times). Millions of people now inhale marijuana not from joints or pipes filled with burning leaves but through sleek devices and cartridges filled with flavored cannabis oils. People in the legalized marijuana industry say vaping products now account for 30 percent or more of their business. Teenagers, millennials and baby boomers alike have been drawn to the technology — no ash, a faint smell, easy to hide — and the potentially dangerous consequences are only now becoming evident. Most of the patients in the outbreak of severe lung illnesses linked to vaping — which has left 1,479 people sick and 33 dead so far — vaped THC, the ingredient in marijuana that makes people high. Until more information is known, officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have warned people not to vape cannabis products. To some scientists, and even industry leaders, warning signs have been apparent for years as vaping cannabis grew in the shadows, propelled by a patchwork of regulations, a wave of state-by-state legalization and a soaring supply of low-cost marijuana.


INDIANAPOLIS: VASQUEZ PLEADS GUILTY IN JUDGE SHOOTINGS - The second of three men charged with a May 1 fight in Indianapolis which led to the shooting of two judges has filed a plea agreement (Rickert, News & Tribune). Alfredo Vazquez is charged with two level 6 felonies for battery causing bodily injury and five misdemeanors for what police say was his role in the fight and then shooting of Clark County judges Andrew Adams and Brad Jacobs. Online court records show he filed a motion Oct. 10 for a change of plea, and filed the agreement the same day. He has a plea hearing set for Oct. 23 at 9 a.m. in Marion Superior Court. The plea agreement received Friday stipulates that Vazquez plans to plead guilty to a class A misdemeanor for battery, with the remaining six charges to be dismissed. No recommendation for a sentence is outlined in the agreement, but the state recommends that Vazquez have probation revoked in a separate case and be sentenced to 180 days on home incarceration in that case.  Vazquez, along with suspect Brandon Kaiser, were arrested May 5 related to the shooting. They were later released, with Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry saying that more investigation was required before any charges would be filed.

JEFFERSONVILLE: SCHOOL BOARD HONORS PAPA JOHN - A southern Indiana high school baseball complex will be named in honor of the founder of Papa John’s who opened his first pizza restaurant in the city, even though his name was last year stripped from another renovation project because he made racist comments (AP). John Schnatter opened his first Papa John’s restaurant in Jeffersonville in 1984. In the decades that followed, the restaurant grew into a nationwide chain. But in 2017, Schnatter stepped down as CEO and last year resigned as chair after facing backlash for blaming disappointing sales on NFL player protests and for using racist language during a company conference call. The Greater Clark County Schools board voted Tuesday to rename Jeffersonville High School’s baseball facility the John H. Schnatter Stadium, the News and Tribune reported. Schnatter attended Jeffersonville High and played on the school’s state finalist baseball team in 1980. His foundation will provide $500,000 to renovate the complex.

FULTON COUNTY: WOMAN CONVICTED IN SCHOOL BUS DEATHS - An Indiana woman was convicted Friday of reckless homicide for plowing her pickup truck into four children, killing three of them, as they crossed a two-lane highway to board their school bus (AP). The Fulton County jury also found Alyssa Shepherd, 24, guilty of criminal recklessness in the Oct. 30, 2018, crash that killed 6-year-old twin brothers Xzavier and Mason Ingle, and their 9-year-old sister, Alivia Stahl. Maverik Lowe, 11, was critically injured. Shepherd and her attorneys left the courtroom after the verdict was read and made no statement. She could face up to 21 ½ years in prison at sentencing, scheduled for Dec. 18.