PENCE JET SKIDS OFF RUNWAY; NO ONE HURT: For months, reporters traveling aboard Mike Pence's campaign plane have joked about the hard, bone-shaking landings from small Iowa airports to major metropolitan hubs as the Republican vice presidential candidate has crisscrossed the country. The "Make America Great Again"-emblazoned 737 has been bumping its way across the swing states, prompting one reporter to joke morbidly a few weeks ago that a "Pence plane veers off the runway" story had been pre-written (Politico). Over the course of a few seconds Thursday night, those jokes became a jarring reality as the Pence plane slid off a rain-slicked runway upon landing at LaGuardia airport, injecting near-disaster in the 2016 presidential campaign. One Secret Service agent joked, "93 percent chance we crash." Another passenger jokingly said, "Brace for impact." As the plane approached the runway, slicing through the rain, something seemed off. "I was like we're like halfway over the runway and we haven't landed," one passenger said. It was a "rough landing, the same way it usually is," said one. But then things changed: "Then we felt we were kind of skidding, and the ground was getting shakier and more rough." For the press in the back, the confusion lasted a few minutes before Pence, accompanied by his press secretary Marc Lotter, made his way back. Pence asked the reporters if they were OK, and told them the plane had slid off the runway. He told them about the mud splattered on the window. As Pence and Lotter walked back to the front of the plane, one reporter remarked: "Hey, Governor: 2016." Pence laughed. "Pence was actually chatting up the first responders, he was really calm, freaking unflappable the entire time," one passenger said. "So thankful everyone on our plane is safe. Grateful for our first responders & the concern & prayers of so many. Back on the trail tomorrow!" Pence tweeted. Trump later Thursday told a rally in Geneva, Ohio, "I just spoke to our future vice-president and he's OK. Do you know he was in a big accident with a plane? The plane skidded off the runway and was pretty close to grave danger but I just spoke to Mike Pence and he's fine. He got out. Everybody's fine." Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton tweeted: "Glad to hear@mike_pence, his staff, Secret Service, and the crew are all safe."

 

HOWEY'S WEEKLY PODCAST: Watch HPI Publisher Brian A. Howey talk about the stories and columns in Thursday's weekly edition in his podcast. You can view it by clicking here

 

TRUMP CONSPIRATORS WIDEN: Donald Trump's claim that the 2016 presidential election is "rigged" against him has become a central part of his closing argument to voters in the final days of the campaign, as the GOP nominee insists that a growing range of "corrupt" public institutions are to blame for his sharply narrowing path the White House (Washington Post). As he heads into a potential loss on Nov. 8, Trump has expanded the scale and scope of his accusations to include Democratic rival Hillary Clinton, the media, establishment leaders from both parties and unidentified "global financial powers." "When the people who control the political power in our society can rig investigations like [Clinton's] investigation was rigged, can rig polls, you see the phony polls, and rig the media, they can wield absolute power over your life, your economy and your country and benefit big-time by it," Trump told a crowd this week in St. Augustine, Fla. "They control what you hear and what you don't hear, what is covered, how it's covered, even if it's covered at all." The "power structure" he describes, according to a review of his speeches this week, includes banking institutions, the judiciary, media conglomerates, voting security experts, Democratic tricksters, scientific polling and also perhaps military leaders. He has also accused Clinton of meeting "with international banks to plot the destruction of U.S. sovereignty to enrich these global financial powers, her special-interest friends and her donors."

 

PENCE HEADING BACK HOME AGAIN: Gov. Mike Pence will appear at a Sunday rally in Jeffersonville with Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb (Howey Politics Indiana). It comes after several polls have shown the Trump/Pence ticket hovering on the margin of error and Holcomb trailing Democrat John Gregg. It will be Pence's first Indiana campaign appearance since he appeared with Holcomb and Senate nominee Todd Young in Fort Wayne on Sept. 30. The rally will take place from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at the Nacachend Fieldhouse in Jeffersonville. Pence and Holcomb are expected to take the stage around 6 p.m., according to the Holcomb campaign.

 

RGA GIVES HOLCOMB ANOTHER $1.5M: More big money is headed to Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb, according to the Secretary of State's large donation web section (Howey Politics Indiana). The Republican Governor's Association Right Direction PAC just dumped another $1.5 million into Holcomb's campaign. And Marlene Ricketts threw in $25,000. Auditor Suzanne Crouch's committee gave him $250,000 and the DeVos family of Michigan bundled $50,000.

 

TEXAS OFFICIALS REFUTE TRUMP RIGGED ELECTION CLAIM: A social media post about ballot confusion in Texas has Donald Trump stoking claims of electoral corruption, but local officials say there's not foundation for concern (CNN). Some voters in Texas, which began its early voting period this week, have experienced problems casting their ballots. A Randall County voter recalled her own mishap in a Facebook post on Monday, saying that she tried to cast a straight Republican ballot - including a vote for Trump and his running mate, Mike Pence - but wound up inadvertently selecting the Democratic ticket of Clinton and Tim Kaine. The Republican presidential nominee took to Twitter to suggest Thursday there have been widespread cases of "vote flipping," the act of casting a vote for one candidate only to see it awarded to the opponent instead. "A lot of call-ins about vote flipping at the voting booths in Texas," Trump tweeted. "People are not happy. BIG lines. What is going on?" A Trump campaign spokeswoman did not respond to a request for comment. Trump's tweet was a continuation of his oft-invoked claims of a "rigged" election, which has emerged as his central campaign message amid eroding poll numbers. But Shannon Lackey, the elections administrator at Randall County, said there's no reason for concern. "Absolutely not... It is not happening in any way, shape or form," Lackey told CNN on Thursday. "I stand 100% behind what I do. I stand behind my machines, my staff."

 

REPUBLICANS TALK OF CLINTON PROBES: So much for the honeymoon period. The election is 12 days away but Republicans are already promising years of investigations and blocked nominees if Hillary Clinton wins (CNN). Rep. Jason Chaffetz, the Utah Republican who chairs the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee, says he has lined up enough material from Clinton's four years as secretary of state for two years of probes. "It's a target-rich environment," Chaffetz told The Washington Post. "Even before we get to Day One, we've got two years' worth of material already lined up. She has four years of history at the State Department, and it ain't good." Then there's the Supreme Court vacancy. Republicans have said for months they won't act on President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to fill the opening left by Justice Antonin Scalia's death because they want the winner of the presidential race to fill that vacancy. Now, one senator says the GOP should consider blocking any Clinton nominee, leaving the nation's high court with just eight members.

 

TRUMP CRITICIZES MOSUL OFFENSIVE: Donald Trump criticized the coalition's Iraqi-led assault on Mosul, the last ISIS stronghold in Iraq (CBS News). "Boy, oh boy. What a bunch of amateurs," Trump said. Retired U.S. Army War College Dean and CBS News military consultant Jeff McCausland said Trump's ideas about fighting show he "doesn't know a damn thing about military strategy." "Some clown from some institute came out today 'why is Donald Trump saying that about Mosul?' Hey folks, I will put my thought process against these people any time," Trump said. In an ABC interview, Trump's know-it-all streak came through. "Why can't they win first, and talk later? Why do they have to say three months before the attack we are going in? So, you can tell your military expert that I'll sit down and I'll teach him a couple of things," Trump said.

 

PUTIN ASKS 'IS AMERICA A BANANA REPUBLIC?' President Vladimir Putin on Thursday dismissed claims that Russia is interfering in the U.S. presidential election, saying the allegations are designed to distract the public from real issues (CBS News). The United States has accused Russia of coordinating the hacks of Hillary Clinton's campaign emails to influence the outcome of the election. Speaking to international foreign policy experts in Sochi, Putin dismissed "the hysteria about Russia's influence on the U.S. presidential election." He argued that U.S. elites have used the "mythical and fictitious" issue to distract attention from real problems such as government debt and police violence. "Does anyone seriously think Russia can somehow influence the American people's choice?" Putin said. "Is America some kind of banana republic? America is a great power!"

 

FOR JOE BUCK, TONIGHT IS A LIFETIME OPPORTUNITY: Fox Sports broadcaster Joe Buck, an Indiana University graduate, will call tonight's World Series game at Wrigley Field. He wrote this for Sports Illustrated: This weekend, I get to do something nobody has ever done before: a TV broadcast of a World Series game at Wrigley Field. It will be the No. 1 highlight of my career. I probably shouldn't say that. Indians fans will think I hate their team. (I don't.) Cardinals fans will think I hate my hometown of St. Louis. (I love St. Louis and still live there.) Some Cubs fans may think I'm on their bandwagon. I don't ride on bandwagons. But if you put your allegiances aside for a moment, hopefully you can understand. This is history. Last week, when I announced on Fox that the Cubs had won a pennant (another thing nobody had ever done on live TV before), I got chills. I've never done a baseball game quite like it. The crowd at Wrigley Field seemed to hold its breath the whole night, even when the Cubs took a 5–0 lead. There was this release when they won. It was the loudest I have had to scream to get over the crowd since I lost my voice in 2011. Then I was silent for a couple minutes. The Cubs and the city of Chicago deserved that moment, and our producer John Moore did a great job of telling the story with live video and natural sound. Anything I said only would have detracted from it. Thanks to some good fortune and the fact that my employer, Fox, has held Major League Baseball rights for most of my adult life, I have broadcast 19 World Series. I have never seen the kind of fervor for a team and a venue like I have for the Cubs and Wrigley in 2016. It's national front-page news, and it should be. For many of us, it is the sports story of a lifetime.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: The comments of Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, a Democrat, are troubling in the wake of public comments by Secretary of State Connie Lawson and Indiana State Police Supt. Doug Carter related to two voter fraud investigation. "Accusations of fraud or other intentional acts prior to the conclusion of a thorough review by law enforcement and a prosecutor are premature and contrary to the foundational principle of presumed innocence until and unless proven guilty," Curry said. Supt. Carter talked of how it "makes smoke come out of my ears" at the notion that Gov. Mike Pence instigated the October raid of Patriot Majorities to fit he and Donald Trump's consistent narrative that there is widespread voter fraud and that the coming election is "rigged." For the sake of this state, I will state plainly that if the levers of our election system were used in a partisan manner to fit this campaign narrative, that would be disqualifying acts of governance. And it was reassuring to have Lt. Gov. Eric Holcomb say that he is "absolutely confident" that there will be a fair and accurate election here on Nov. 8. - Brian A. Howey



Campaigns

 

PATRIOT MAJORITY ASKS JUDGE TO UNSEAL DOCUMENTS: A voter mobilization facing an investigation into possible voter registration fraud asked a court Thursday to unseal documents from an Indiana State Police search of its offices, saying it "has been publicly demonized by the highest state officials in Indiana" (Associated Press). Patriot Majority USA's attorneys asked a judge to either unseal a search warrant affidavit in the Oct. 4 search of its Indianapolis offices or hold an immediate hearing on its request. State Police announced Sept. 15 that it had begun investigating in August whether some voter registration applications submitted by Patriot Majority contained elements of fraud, including possible forged signatures. Patriot Majority has said some applications it submitted to county clerk's offices were missing information, but none were fraudulent, and the group had flagged applications it knew were incomplete. In its motion filed in Marion County Superior Court, Patriot Majority cites comments by Gov. Mike Pence, who's Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump's running mate; Republican Secretary of State Connie Lawson; Pence-appointed State Police Superintendent Doug Carter, among others.

 

CARDWELL CALLS ON GREGG TO DENOUNCE ATTACKS ON ISP: In a news release dispatched to media, Indiana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell called on Democrat Gubernatorial candidate John Gregg to reject attacks by Patriot Majority on the Indiana State Police (Howey Politics Indiana): "Now that Marion County Prosecutor Terry Curry, a Democrat, has called Patriot Majority's attacks on the Indiana State Police 'reckless' and 'without merit,' I call on John Gregg to denounce these vicious attacks against our state troopers and he should demand Patriot Majority stop their false advertisements immediately. Otherwise he is 100 percent complicit in these attacks on the integrity of the Indiana State Police."

 

INGOP CONTINUES CRITICISM OF GREGG HEALTHCARE COSTS: A news release from the Indiana Republican Party pointed to an article at IndyPolitics that stated taxpayers have paid $239,000 in health insurance premiums for Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg (Howey Politics Indiana)."John Gregg is the epitome of what voters dislike about typical politicians - he says one thing, yet does another," said Indiana Republican Party Chairman Jeff Cardwell. "He didn't think Hoosiers would find out the truth about how much we've paid for his healthcare over the past decade, but we did, and it's worse than we thought. John Gregg needs to come clean and tell Hoosiers the truth about the sweetheart deal he cut for himself on his way out the door."

 

FORMER GOP LEGISLATORS BACK GREGG IN NEW AD: Former Republican State Reps. David Yount and Katherine Willing make the case for Democrat John Gregg for governor in the campaigns latest 30-second ad (Howey Politics Indiana). "When John became speaker, the House was divided down the middle - 50 Democrats and 50 Republicans," Yount stated at the beginning of the ad. "He took a difficult task but brought us together to get things done." Willing is featured at about the 10-second point in the video. "You could have differences with John but he would always listen," she stated. "John was always very conscientious about the money we were spending. He is a fiscal conservative." Yount then noted "In the face of a recession, John joined with my fellow Republicans to balance the budget and fund education."

 

GREGG/HALE BUS TOUR KICKS OFF IN SANDBORN TOMORROW: Labeled the "Moving Indiana Forward" bus tour, Democratic governor candidate John Gregg and his running mate Christina Hale intend to visit more than 50 Indiana communities over the next eight days (Howey Politics Indiana). A media advisory from the campaign indicated the kickoff is planned to begin at 10 a.m. at the Sandborn Community Center. The group will travel to several communities over the weekend. The advisory stated that other prominent Democrats joining the tour at some point include Glenda Ritz, candidate for School Superintendent; Lorenzo Arredondo, candidate for state Attorney General; Evan Bayh, candidate for U.S. Senate; Senator Joe Donnelly; and, former Congressman Baron Hill.

 

INDY RECORDER UNHAPPY AFTER HOLCOMB REFUSES INTERVIEW: There is one local candidate who is not so enthused about receiving media coverage - at least not from the Indianapolis Recorder Newspaper (Williams, Indianapolis Recorder). The Republican candidate for governor has declined to be interviewed for our newspaper's special political issue that hits newsstands Nov. 3. That's right; Eric Holcomb refused to sit down one-on-one or even converse with the Recorder over the telephone. Initially, Holcomb's campaign staff didn't offer an explanation at all. Instead, in an email message to our Editor-in-Chief Ebony Chappel, they simply said, "Unfortunately, Eric will not be able to do the interview." Such a vague statement after weeks of waiting for a response was not acceptable to our newsroom staff, so Ebony pressed Holcomb's staff further. After expressing her shock and confusion, Ebony asked Holcomb's deputy political director/campaign scheduler if there was "any particular reason why the Lt. Gov. has decided not to speak with the Recorder - the state's premier Black news outlet - prior to the election." Ebony's question was especially valid, because Holcomb's staff has known for months that the Recorder wanted a one-on-one interview with him...

 

INDEMS CONNECT HOLCOMB TO CHARLIE WHITE, MOURDOCK: The Indiana Democratic Party distributed a news release headlined "Eric Holcomb Put Party Over State during Felony Voter Fraud Scandal" (Howey Politics Indiana). The release, noting White was convicted of voter fraud while Secretary of State, stated Holcomb, then chairman of the state GOP, said "... since White was "fairly elected" Republicans had the right to keep this seat..." The release further noted Holcomb defended Richard Mourdock's infamous rape remarks in the 2012 campaign for U.S. Senate. "Eric Holcomb's ability to put the interests of his party over the interests of Hoosiers proves that he is nothing but a party hack who will carry on the political agenda that has Hoosiers falling behind the rest of the nation," said Drew Anderson, communications director for state Democrats.

 

BAYH OUTMANUEVERS YOUNG IN AD GAME: In the Indianapolis media market, home to nearly 50 percent of all voters, Evan Bayh reserved about $1.4 million worth of ads over the last four weeks, while the little-known Todd Young has about $400,000 reserved in that crucial market, according to a Republican breakdown of ad reservations provided to The Washington Post (Kane, Washington Post). It's a disparity similar to other media markets. Conservative groups have rushed in to help, and according to another Republican tracking media buys, statewide Republican spending on radio and TV will be about $7.4 million compared to $7 million on behalf of Bayh in the final two weeks of the campaign. But Bayh's more than 3-to-1 edge on ad spending goes much farther, because the outside groups pay much higher rates than individual candidates. If Bayh can win, Democrats will have stolen a seat that Republicans took for granted after Young won the primary and Democrats lacked a strong candidate. It would be a near fatal blow to GOP chances of holding their majority, as two races, Illinois and Wisconsin, have already broken against them.

 

MAYOR HAMILTON, IDP HIT YOUNG ON STUDENT LOANS: Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody and Bloomington Mayor John Hamilton joined students from Indiana University to call out Congressman Todd Young for his policies they say would make college less affordable (Howey Politics Indiana). A news release from the Democratic party stated that speakers criticized the Republican congressman for voting repeatedly to double student loan interest rates and cut Pell grant funding completely. If Congressman Young had his way, student loan interest rates would "Congressman Todd Young represents this congressional district and is running for U.S. Senate, yet he has ignored his responsibility to protect his constituents - many of them students - from harmful policies that make college more expensive," said Mayor John Hamilton of Bloomington.

 

DEMOCRATS POINT TO YOUNG'S FEC VIOLATIONS AGAIN: A news release from the Indiana Democratic Party again pointed to a Politico report that revealed in 2012 the FEC unanimously decided to fine and penalize Congressman Young's campaign for more than $30,000 due to his prohibited activities (Howey Politics Indiana). "As his FEC fines demonstrate, Congressman Young has a history of helping himself and skirting the rules to advance his own career," said Brooke Bainum, state Democratic Party press secretary.

 

COTTON TELLS VETERANS BAYH IS ARROGANT, ENTITLED: Republican Sen. Tom Cotton (Ark.) criticized Democrat Evan Bayh on Thursday for skipping hearings on the Senate Armed Services Committee while he was serving on the battlefields in Iraq and Afghanistan (Scher, Washington Free Beacon). Cotton, a U.S. Army veteran who is campaigning throughout Indiana with Bayh's Republican opponent Rep. Todd Young, referenced reports that Bayh skipped 76 percent of the committee's hearings during his previous stint in the U.S. Senate. Cotton said during a meeting with Indiana veterans that Bayh's decision to skip hearings as American troops were deployed abroad shows his "sense of entitlement."

 

HUFFPOST SAYS BAYH 'IS WHAT'S WRONG' WITH D.C.: [Evan] Bayh is what's wrong with Washington, and the predicament he has put Indiana voters in is emblematic of the problems with our system of government (Grim, Walsh & Carter, Huffington Post). Any voter who wants the next Supreme Court justice to swing the bench back in a progressive direction has no choice but to vote to send a senator-turned-private-equity-executive back to Washington again.

 

NRA TARGETS BAYH AS CHECK ON CLINTON: The latest Republican advertiser to imply Senate Republicans must win in order to check the power of a presumed President Hillary Clinton: the National Rifle Association (CNN Wire). The NRA, which has been one of the most vociferous defenders of Donald Trump on television, is unveiling an advertisement in Indiana that raises the specter of a Senate that allows Clinton to exercise unlimited control. It is a message that Republicans have been testing nationwide in recent weeks as they work to insulate down-ballot Republicans from the damage wrecked by Trump's fall in the polls. "Bayh used this chair to help Obama put anti-gun liberals on the Supreme Court," says the narrator, as the screen flashes to a row of seats in the US Senate. "Now Evan Bayh wants back in the Senate. And he wants to help Hillary fill another chair on the Supreme Court." The NRA is spending another $500,000 on the ad to boost Young in the state, where Clinton is broadly unpopular.

 

PROTEST DURING YOUNG STOP IN KOKOMO: U.S. Senate candidate Todd Young was greeted by protesters Thursday during a stop in Kokomo, where he was joined by two prominent U.S. Senators during a day-long campaign blitz around the state (Gerber, Kokomo Tribune). Young spoke at the Howard County Republican Party headquarters as part of a veteran's tour that started in Indianapolis Thursday morning and ended in Fort Wayne. While Young offered his stump speech to his supporters packed inside the county's GOP headquarters, a group of around 12 protesters stood outside holding signs that read "Todd Young wants to give our social security to Wall Street" and "Todd Young: Let Auto Industry Go Belly up. Shame on You!!" Rick Ward, a member and administrative officer with UAW Local 685, said all the protesters were from local unions. He said he showed up to protest Young's opposition to the auto bailout approved by Congress in 2008. Although Young wasn't in Congress at the time of the vote, he made comments during his first congressional run in 2010 calling the auto bailout "a waste."

 

INDEMS SAY TREY 'CARPETBAGGING, ENTITLED': According to a news release from the Indiana Democratic Party, the Republican candidate to represent the 9th Congressional District, Trey Hollingsworth, "is using dark money to hide from the carpetbagging, entitled candidate he truly is" (Howey Politics Indiana). "Tennessee Trey is relying on his dad's money to hide from the fact that he won't release his tax returns," Drew Anderson, state Democratic party communications director, stated in the release.

 

YODER AD 'FAMILY' REFLECTS ON HOOSIER VALUES: A new, 30-second ad features Democratic congressional candidate Shelli Yoder in a family and neighborhood setting, promoting wholesome Hoosier values while taking a swipe at her Republican opponent, Trey Hollingsworth (Howey Politics Indiana). "...my family may not have millions of dollars like my opponent, but what we do have is good sense, strong work ethic, and a ton of heart," the ad begins. The ad also features testimony from acquaintances, including a couple from her church who vouch for her community involvement as well as a voice over stating Yoder "has been good for our schools and community businesses."

 

SEN. KIRK QUESTIONS DUCKWORTH'S AMERICAN HERITAGE: Illinois Sen. Mark Kirk already had a very tough road to reelection this fall—and he made it harder for himself with an indelicate comment about his opponent's Thai heritage (CBS News). At one point in the debate, Democratic Rep. Tammy Duckworth, Kirk's opponent, said her family had "served this nation in uniform going back to the Revolution." Duckworth, a U.S. Army veteran, lost both her legs while serving in Iraq. "I've bled for this nation. But I still want to be there in the Senate when the drums of war sound, because people are quick to sound the drums of war and I want to be there to say this is what it costs and this is what you're asking us to do," she said. "And if that's the case, I'll go. It's families like mine that bleed first. But let's make sure that the American people understand what we are engaging in and let's hold our allies accountable because we can't do it all." Kirk responded by bringing up Duckworth's Thai heritage. Duckworth's mother is from Thailand, but her late father was an American and a Marine Corps veteran. "I forgot that your parents came all the way from Thailand to serve George Washington," he replied.

 

HISTORIC TURNOUT IN MIAMI COUNTY: A packed local ballot and contentious presidential race have lured an historic number of Miami County residents to vote early this year (Gerber, Kokomo Tribune). Miami County Voter Registration Clerk Mary Kaye Jones said Thursday morning 3,280 people have shown up at the courthouse to cast their ballot since early voting opened on Oct. 12. That's 14 percent of the county's eligible voters. On top of that, 551 absentee ballots have been mailed out. With nine days of early voting still left, those numbers are sure to climb well beyond the early-voter turnout during the last presidential election in 2012, in which 3,623 people in total voted early.

 

SOME HAMILTON COUNTY VOTERS WAIT TWO HOURS: With record turnout for early voting in Hamilton County, some voters have had to wait in lines for as long as two hours (Heinz & Cox, WRTV). Those lines are expected to grow as it gets close to Election Day. According to the elections administrator in Hamilton County they've already seen twice as many voters walk through their doors this election as they did in 2012. The Hamilton County Elections Administrator said their longest wait times have been at the Carmel and Fishers satellite locations. With the long lines and only six voting machines, voters said they aren't surprised to see the long lines, especially at lunch-time.

 

SHELBY COUNTY PARTIES READY TO RALLY: Democrats and Republicans in Shelby County are bringing in the strong closers as this year's election enters its final inning (Walker, Shelbyville News). On Sunday, the Shelby County GOP will hold its Fall Republican Rally, where U.S. Rep. Luke Messer (R -IN) is scheduled to be the special guest and speaker. On Tuesday, the Shelby County Democratic Party will host former Indiana House Speaker and 2016 candidate for governor John Gregg, who will speak at a meet-and-greet event downtown. The Republican rally is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. Sunday at Coffee Creek Ridge Barn, 3617 N. Little Blue Road. The Democratic meet-and-greet is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m. Tuesday at Three Sisters Books & Gifts, 7 Public Square.

 

GOP CANDIDATES URGE TURNOUT IN ALLEN COUNTY: Todd Young asked Republicans in Allen County - which he described as "the most conservative area in the state of Indiana" - to knock on doors, make phone calls and give "spare change" for his campaign effort (Francisco, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). U.S. Sen. Tom Cotton said Thursday the nation can recapture the "new beginning" it felt after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks by electing Republicans on Nov. 8. Cotton was the keynote speaker at the Allen County Republican Party's Reagan Bean Dinner. Eric Holcomb called on local Republicans to "overdeliver" in the last days of the campaign. "We can't go back to the days of debt and dysfunction" when Gregg and Democrats ran state government in the early 2000s, Holcomb said. Many state legislative, county and school board candidates spoke briefly at the program, as did 3rd District congressional candidate Jim Banks and attorney general candidate Curtis Hill.

 

ENTHUSIASM AT WAYNE COUNTY NEW DEAL DINNER: Cheering, shouting and standing ovations punctuated the appearances by John Gregg, Glenda Ritz, Joe Donnelly and Susan Bayh at the Wayne County Democratic Party's New Deal dinner Thursday night at the Holiday Inn in Richmond (Sheeley, Richmond Palladium-Item). Democratic Governor candidate Gregg rallied the more than 120 attending, promising that if elected, the war on education in Indiana will end, and "ISTEP will be as gone as my hair." He also promised an end in the state to the wars on the middle class and labor unions. Gregg, and each of the other speakers, repeatedly encouraged Democrats to keep working, to keep raising money and to make sure people vote. "There is an enthusiasm that is bubbling up like water... and we cannot rest," Gregg said.

 

CANDIDATES OFFER VIEWS AT 5TH CD FORUM: The candidates seeking to represent the 5th Congressional District all agreed that Washington is broken and offered different ways to eliminate the gridlock (de la Bastide, Anderson Herald Bulletin). Incumbent Republican Susan Brooks, Democrat challenger Angela Demaree and Libertarian Matt Wittlief took part in a forum Thursday sponsored by the Hamilton County League of Women Voters. Brooks, seeking a third term, started by telling those in attendance that she wants to work to keep communities safe, fight drug abuse and to provide good jobs in the district. Demaree said as a veteran she saw a diverse group of Americans come together during a 2012 deployment to work together to accomplish a mission in the Middle East. Wittlief said Washington is broken when it comes to health care, education the budget and the national debt.

 

SD44 CANDIDATE LAY OUT PRIORITIES: Education funding, a long-term infrastructure plan and a broader discussion about drugs are some of the top priorities of Indiana Senate District 44 candidates (Couch, Seymour Tribune). Republican Eric Koch, Democrat Linda Henderson and Libertarian Darin Kinser, all of Bedford, are seeking the senate seat. Koch's priorities include getting adequate funding for K-12 education and public safety, establishing a long-term infrastructure plan that includes local needs, and addressing the impact of public and tax-exempt land on the local tax base. Henderson said she supports Democrat candidate for governor John Gregg's plan to establish a long-term, dedicated funding source to improve state and local roads and bridges. Kinser, a small business owner, believes legalizing medical marijuana will lead to an increase in revenue for the state. That would provide funding for items like education and infrastructure, and pain relief to those in need, he said.

 

MADISON COUNTY JUDGE RACE 'A DOOZY': For the first time in recent memory, a sitting judge in Madison County has an opponent in the 2016 general election (Hirsch, Anderson Herald Bulletin). And its a doozy. Republican Mark Dudley, 50, the hand-picked successor of retired Circuit Court Division 6 Judge Dennis Carroll, has strong backing from both the Republican Party and many local attorneys. Democrat Rosemary Khoury, 47, was recruited by the Democratic Party, to challenge Dudley. She, too, has the support of prominent local attorneys, party faithful such as Sheriff Scott Mellinger, state Sen. Tim Lanane, and state Rep. Terri Austin. Khoury also has strong support in the city's predominantly African-American 4th Ward, where Anderson Township Trustee John Bostic and City Councilman Ollie H. Dixon are pledged to deliver votes for Khoury on Nov. 8.

 

HAMILTON COUNTY CANDIDATE CHARGED IN SIGN THEFT: A candidate for the Hamilton County Council is facing a misdemeanor charge for allegedly stealing another candidate's campaign signs (WTHR). A special prosecutor just charged Fall Creek Township Trustee Jeff Hern with criminal mischief. The investigation began in April before the Republican primary. That's when Councilman Rick McKinney, who's also running for one of the three at-large seats, discovered several of his large campaign banners were missing. McKinney also noticed a cell phone lying nearby belonging to Hern, his opponent in the race. Court documents say Hern denied playing any role in the theft, telling police his phone and checkbook had disappeared from his car and that "someone "must be setting" him up.



Presidential 2016

 

CLINTON UP 7% IN PA: Hillary Clinton leads Donald Trump in Pennsylvania, according to a poll out Thursday that shows Trump's path to an Electoral College majority remains a tight-rope walk (Politico). The Siena College poll, conducted for The New York Times' "Upshot" data-journalism microsite, shows Clinton leading Trump, 46 percent to 39 percent. Libertarian Gary Johnson is at 6 percent, and Green Party nominee Jill Stein is at 3 percent. A combined 7 percent of likely voters prefer another candidate, won't vote for the top of the ticket or are undecided. Clinton's lead in Pennsylvania has been fairly consistent over the past month, and her 7-point lead in the new survey matches her overall advantage in POLITICO's Battleground States polling average in the commonwealth.

 

CLINTON TIED IN GEORGIA, IOWA: Less than two weeks before the election, Hillary Clinton is pulling even with Donald Trump in a traditionally red state and cutting into his lead in one of the few swing states he was likely to carry. According to a Quinnipiac University poll of swing-states, Clinton is tied with Trump at 44 percentage points in Iowa and behind by just 1 percentage point in Georgia at 43 percentage points, in a four-person race with Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson and Green Party candidate Jill Stein. In late September, Trump had a 7-point lead over Clinton in Iowa, a traditional battleground that President Barack Obama carried in both of his campaigns. She also erased a 7-point lead the Republican-nominee held in Georgia, a state Mitt Romney carried with ease in 2012.

 

MICHELLE OBAMA SAYS IT'S 'ON US' IF CLINTON LOSES: Laying out her case for Hillary Clinton, Michelle Obama warned on Thursday that it "will be on us" if the Democratic nominee loses the election on November 8 (CBS News). "Hillary has done her job," Obama said, speaking at a joint campaign rally with Clinton at Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C. "Now we need to do our job and get her elected President of the United States. Because, here's where I want to get real. If Hillary doesn't win this election, that will be on us. It will be because we did not stand for her. It will be because we did not vote for her." It may have sounded like she was stating the obvious but, in front of one of Clinton's largest crowds to date, Obama was fighting back against Donald Trump's claims that the election is "rigged" in Clinton's favor. "That's the strategy," she said. "They are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn't matter, that the outcome has already been determined and you shouldn't even bother making your voice heard."

 

CLINTON, FLOTUS TALK OF 'BULLIES': Hillary Clinton and Michelle Obama spoke out against bullies - both in the classroom and the 2016 presidential race - in their first joint campaign appearance on Thursday (NBC News). "You may have noticed that I have been doing some campaigning for Hillary," Michelle Obama said. "And I know that there are some folks out there who have commented that it's been unprecedented for a sitting first lady to be so actively engaged in a presidential campaign. And that may be true, but what's also true is that this is truly an unprecedented election." The first lady has been one of Clinton's most effective surrogates this campaign ever since her well-reviewed address at the Democratic National Convention in July. She has become one of the most popular public figures in America and has been deployed to college campuses in swing states to encourage young voters to cast ballots early. "Seriously is there anyone more inspiring that Michelle Obama?" Clinton said during her introduction of the first lady.

 

KLAIN QUESTIONED CLINTON ON SERVER: At least one of Hillary Clinton's top advisers did not know who was responsible for signing off on her use of a private email server while she was secretary of state, according to an email leaked by WikiLeaks Thursday (CBS News). In another, Ron Klain, who headed up debate preparation for Clinton, proposed some tough questions for the candidate. Neera Tanden wondered who cleared Hillary Clinton to use a private email server while she was secretary of state. "Do we actually know who told Hillary she could use a private email?" Tanden wrote in July 2015. "And has that person been drawn and quartered?" With the subject line "'Political' questions," Ron Klain wrote to Podesta and others who were helping with debate prep to say that they would need to "set aside some time" to do some work "on the political questions, which now seem to be really owning the coverage."

 

GARNER DAUGHTER QUESTIONS CLINTON CAMPAIGN: The Hillary Clinton campaign came under fire from Erica Garner on Thursday, the daughter of Eric Garner who was killed by a police officer in New York City, after the latest batch of emails released by WikiLeaks revealed how the Democratic presidential nominee talked about her father's death (Fox News). In a series of tweets, Garner expressed anger at the information that poured out from the email release. "I'm troubled by the revelation that you and this campaign actually discussed 'using' Eric Garner … Why would you want to 'use my dad?" she said. "These people will co opt anything to push their agenda. Police violence is not the same as gun violence.

 

CLINTON DOUBLES TRUMP FUNDS IN OCTOBER: Donald Trump raised about half as much as Hillary Clinton for his presidential campaign committee in the first 19 days of October, putting him at a severe financial disadvantage in the crucial final days of the White House contest, campaign finance reports filed late Thursday show (Washington Post). Trump raised just $28.9 million for his campaign committee over that period, a fall-off from September, while Clinton's ­already-robust fundraising ratcheted up, helping her bring in $57.2 million. The Democratic nominee's campaign and two joint fundraising committees with the party together pulled in $101 million in the 19-day stretch, according to filings with the Federal Election Commission.

 

TRUMP SAYS 'CANCEL' ELECTION: Donald Trump on Thursday lightheartedly suggested to his crowd that America cancel the election and just give him the prize (NBC News). "Just thinking to myself right now," he offered, "We should just cancel the election and just give it to Trump, right? What are we even having it - what are we having it? Her policies are so bad. Boy, do we have a big difference." The crowd cheered, both at the prospect of their man in the White House and at the jeer about Hillary Clinton's policies. It's not the first time Trump has wondered if the election could just be called for him early as opposed to on Election Day. During the primaries, Trump used to wonder if voters couldn't just vote already because he was sitting so high in the polls.

 

TRUMP BLAMES MICS: Donald Trump amplified his contentious history with microphones Thursday, blaming the technology for recording what he thought he was saying in private (Politico). In an interview set to air Thursday, Trump faulted a hot mic for capturing him speaking cavalierly about forcibly kissing and groping women with impunity because he's "a star." The leaked 2005 "Access Hollywood" video has badly damaged Trump's campaign and set off a series of sexual assault allegations from a dozen or so women since he denied during the second presidential debate ever actually assaulting women, despite his aggressive rhetoric. "The microphones, I mean to be honest should, you know, should never have been on," he said, according to an excerpt of an interview scheduled to broadcast Thursday evening with the global Catholic network EWTN and published by The Washington Post.

 

TRUMP IMPLIES CLINTON NEARLY PASSED OUT AFTER DEBATE: Donald Trump on Thursday implied that Hillary Clinton almost collapsed after the second debate, revving up the conspiracy theories around the former secretary of state's health and stamina (Politico). "I watched after the last debate, and after the second debate. She was tired, wow," Trump said Thursday afternoon at a rally in Springfield, Ohio. "She walked off that stage," he added, then paused and said suggestively, "Well, she had a lot of people around. They had a lot of people around her, which was smart." Trump did not elaborate, but in the context of the campaign, he seemed to be suggesting that Clinton may have lacked the strength to stand, or was at risk of falling over.

 

OTIS HEIR ARRESTED FOR SMASHING TRUMP STAR: A man described as an heir to the Otis Elevator Company fortune was arrested Thursday for allegedly demolishing Donald Trump's Hollywood Walk of Fame star (NBC News). James Otis faces felony vandalism of the GOP nominee's pink terrazzo and brass star during the early dawn hours Wednesday, Los Angeles police told NBC News. The case against him will be presented to the district attorney, who must decide whether to press charges. A video obtained by Deadline.com showed a man in a construction worker's vest pulverizing the sidewalk symbol with a pick-ax as passersby looked on.

 

TRUMP/PENCE RALLY IN CICERO (WITHOUT PENCE, TRUMP): The Trump-Pence Indiana campaign and Indiana State GOP is joining with March for America Support - Donald Trump, "America, It's time to take back our country" (Howey Politics Indiana). The joint event will be held on Saturday, Oct 29 from 12 noon to 4 p.m. in Cicero, Indiana. All media is welcome. Donald Trump and Governor Pence will NOT be in attendance.

 

POLL: THINGS WOULD BE DIFFERENT IF PENCE HEADED TICKET - The Republican Party might be in a far stronger position in the race for the White House if Donald Trump were not the nominee (Peoples & Swanson, Associated Press). That's according to a new AP-GfK poll that looked at a few "hypotheticals" involving the 2016 major party candidates for president and vice president. The results: Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, the Republican vice presidential nominee, trails Hillary Clinton in a hypothetical matchup by just 4 points among likely voters. Trump trails Clinton by 13 points in a head-to-head contest, and 14 points when third-party candidates are included.

 

STUDENTS AGAINST TRUMP FORMS AT IU-B: The nation's largest grassroots anti-Donald Trump super political action committee announced Monday the creation of Students Against Trump at IU, according to a release (Indiana Daily Student). The Democratic Coalition Against Trump, an arm of the Keep America Great PAC, said the group will educate students on the importance of grassroots outreach, like going door-to-door, in an attempt to turn Indiana blue in the general election. "Indiana gets a reputation as a red state, but it voted for Obama in 2008," said Nate Lerner, executive director of the DCAT in the release. "Obama was able to pull off a victory here because of high turnout by young voters. Our goal is to use Trump's extreme unpopularity with young voters to motivate them to turn out in record numbers on Election Day."



Congress

 

NUCOR NAMES DONNELLY 'MAN OF STEEL': Nucor Corp., the largest steelmaker in the United States, awarded Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., the "Man of Steel" award during a tour at its downstate plant in Crawfordsville (Pete, NWI Times). Donnelly has lobbied on behalf of Indiana's steel industry, testifying before the International Trade Commission, urging the Obama administration to bring World Trade Organization cases against China, and supporting legislation to protect domestic steelmakers from illegally dumped foreign steel. The steel industry employs more than 20,000 workers statewide.

 

BROOKS, MESSER HOST SCHOOL SAFETY ROUNDTABLE: Keeping your kids safe at school is a vital need, but it comes at a cost that can be difficult for districts to afford (Glavan, Fox59). Leaders from law enforcement agencies, school districts and private companies met for a roundtable discussion on school safety at Hamilton Southeastern Schools on Tuesday. U.S. Representatives Susan Brooks and Luke Messer, both Republicans up for re-election, hosted the roundtable. Leaders expressed a need to keep funding for school safety from dropping off, and said they hoped the Representatives would make good on their promises to cut red tape at the federal level. Messer said most Indiana districts do not apply for federal money for security because it is so difficult to understand.



General Assembly

 

FUNDS RELEASED FOR NORTHWEST EXPANSION OF I-65: The State Budget Committee released funds for the I-65 Northwest Indiana Major Moves 2020 expansion project, according to news release from the offices of State Reps. Julie Olthoff (R-Crown Point) and Mike Aylesworth (R-Hebron) (Howey Politics Indiana). New travel lanes will be added to I-65 from State Road 2 at mile marker 240, north to U.S. Highway 231 at mile marker 247. The project will also include the construction of outside shoulders and restriping from four lanes to six lanes from U.S. Highway 231 at mile marker 247 to U.S. Highway 30 at mile marker 253. The Kankakee River bridges in southern Lake County will also be replaced as part of the $62 million plan. The expansion project will begin in the spring of 2017 and is expected to take two years to complete.



State

 

EDUCATION: GARY SCHOOLS MAY FOLD IF REFERENDUM FAILS - The financial consultant for the Gary Community School Corp. foresees a dire financial picture for the district if voters do not approve a general fund referendum in November - the district will need to be consolidated with another nearby school corporation, or dissolve (McCollum, NWI Times). The referendum on the ballot Nov. 8 asks voters to approve a levy of 47 cents per $100 of assessed valuation to raise approximately $8.7 million for each of seven years, or nearly $61 million. That's assuming a tax collection rate of at least 74 percent. Gary's financial consultant, Jack Martin, said if the referendum doesn't pass and there is no additional money from the state, the school district will be out of money. Martin said the school district's total debt is in the neighborhood of $100 million. However, he said the most critical is $25 million, which is paid from the operating budget. The district is current with debt-service payments, including utility payments to NIPSCO and to the IRS, he said.

 

EDUCATION: VOUCHER PROGRAM AMONG MOST EXPANSIVE - A group of researchers at Indiana University released a report comparing the mechanics of school voucher programs in a handful of states, which featured Indiana's Choice Scholarship Program (McInerny, Indiana Public Media). The Center for Evaluation and Education Policy at IU wanted to compare the school voucher programs in Indiana, the District of Columbia, Arizona, Louisiana, Ohio and Wisconsin - all places with a similar voucher program (the researchers' criteria was a program that is available to all types of students, because many programs are for children with special needs only). CEEP researcher Molly Stewart says the report found that Indiana had by far the largest number of students attending private schools using state money that had never attended a public school in the first place. "More than 50 percent of current voucher recipients in Indiana have not attended a public school in the past," Stewart says. "That is a huge number." Stewart says this number is also so large compared to the other states because Indiana doesn't have a cap on how many vouchers it gives out. The only limit that exists in the Indiana program comes from available spots in private schools.

 

STATEHOUSE: INDOT TOUTS IMPROVED RAIL NUMBERS - The Indiana Department of Transportation is reporting a nearly 50 percent jump in Hoosier State passenger train ridership for the month of September, compared to the same month a year earlier (McGowan, Inside Indiana Business). The department and communities along the Indianapolis-to-Chicago route are also marking a 64 percent monthly revenue increase. The line, which is operated through a public-private partnership, says 82 percent of trains arrived on-time last month. The funding collaboration involves INDOT, the communities of Crawfordsville, Dyer, Lafayette, Rensselaer and West Lafayette, operator Amtrak and Iowa Pacific Holdings Inc., which provides the trains, on-board services and marketing.

 

STATEHOUSE: INDOT TO REMOVE POLITICAL SIGNS - Election Day is just over a week away, and political signs have been placed across central Indiana (Hayes, Fox59). INDOT reminds campaigns and constituents that posting campaign signs on personal property and at businesses is OK, but posting in certain public areas is not. INDOT says putting campaign signs along land parallel and adjacent to state highways, interstates, U.S. routes and state roads is illegal. This includes on the side of these roads and in the median. The problem, INDOT says, is these signs make it difficult for drivers to see oncoming traffic. Signs removed by INDOT crews are taken to the nearest maintenance facility. They can be picked up after the election.

 

STATEHOUSE: HIGHWAY WIRE THEFTS COSTING THOUSANDS - Highway lighting thieves are at it again, according to INDOT and Indiana State Police (Jacobs, Post-Tribune). In 2013, thieves stole copper wire from highway lighting units in Northwest Indiana, resulting in half a million dollars in losses in material and manpower to fix the lights, said Matt Deitchley, LaPorte District media relations director. "Two crooks are behind bars right now that were responsible for those thefts three years ago," Deitchley said. "And once we caught those thieves and convicted them, those thefts stopped." But since August, "thousands of feet of stolen" copper wire have been removed from about a hundred lighting poles in Northwest Indiana, including along Interstate 80/94, said Doug Moats, INDOT Northwest District media relations director. "This crook or crooks work mainly in the dark of night," Moats said. Investigators believe they are stealing the wire by breaking into the base of the light poles with any tool they have on hand, such as a screwdriver, and use reels to get the wire out as quickly as possible, Moats said as he stood in front of pictures of poles that had been broken into.

 

STATEHOUSE: HOOSIERS TO RECEIVE $961K FROM SETTLEMENT - Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced a multistate settlement with Hyundai and Kia for $961,753.73 to Indiana that will resolve claims that the companies misrepresented the mileage and fuel economy ratings for some of their model year 2011, 2012 and 2013 vehicles (Howey Politics Indiana). A news release stated that the District of Columbia and 33 states will each receive a portion of the $41.2 million settlement with Hyundai Motor Company, Hyundai Motor America, KIA Motors Corporation, Inc., and KIA Motors America, Inc. The settlement is the result of a multi-state investigation into the companies' business practices. The participating states argued that the fuel economy estimate adjustments occurred at a time when gasoline prices in the United States were especially high.

 

ECONOMY: FEDS SEND $67M SO LOW-INCOME HOOSIERS CAN HEAT HOMES - More than $67 million in federal funds is heading to Indiana to help low-income families pay their energy bills and make cost-effective home energy repairs (Associated Press). The Department of Health and Human Services' Administration for Children and Families said in a release that the money is part of the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program. Office of Community Services Director Jeannie Chaffin says the funds will allow families and individuals with limited means to "use their income to pay for other critical necessities such as food and medicine."

 

ECONOMY: SIMON REPORTS HIGHER OCCUPANCY, RENTAL RATES - Indianapolis-based Simon Property Group Inc. boosted its annual earnings forecast Wednesday while reporting higher occupancy and rental rates at its shopping malls in the third quarter (Indianapolis Business Journal). The real estate investment trust also reported higher revenue and profit in the quarter ended Sept. 30. Funds from operations, or FFO, for the latest period were $976 million, or $2.70 a share, compared with $918.7 million, or $2.54 a share, a year ago. The results topped the average estimate of $2.68 per share by 11 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. FFO is a closely watched performance measure in the REIT industry that takes net income and adds back items such as depreciation and amortization. Simon Property said it now expects full-year FFO to be in the range of $10.85 to $10.87 per share, up from $10.77 to $10.85.

 

ECONOMY: LILLY SALES, PROFIT DISAPPOINT - John Lechleiter is going out as CEO of Eli Lilly and Co. on a disappointing note, with the company reporting earnings that fell well short of analysts' expectations (Indianapolis Business Journal). The Indianapolis-based drugmaker on Tuesday morning reported third quarter profit of $778 million, or 73 cents per share. Adjusted for non-recurring costs, per-share-profit was 88 cents per share, eight cents below the average estimate of 10 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research. Revenue was $5.19 billion, below the estimate of $5.35 billion from four analysts surveyed by Zacks. Compared with the same quarter a year earlier, revenue increased 5 percent and profit fell 3 percent.

 

LGBT: POLL FINDS GROWING SUPPORT FOR PROTECTIONS - A new poll shows growing support for adding protections for gay and transgender Hoosiers into state law (Schneider & Wang, IndyStar). The survey of likely Hoosier voters by WISH-TV and Ball State University found 58.5 percent support expanding Indiana's civil rights law to include sexual orientation and gender identity. That's an increase of 8 percentage points from a similar IndyStar poll released last December ahead of the 2016 legislative session where bills calling for those protections ultimately failed. The inaction came despite many of the provisions being authored by Republicans who control the General Assembly.

 

MEDIA: INDYSTAR CUTS 2 JOBS, PLANS TO CUT 7 MORE: The Indianapolis Star laid off two members of its reporting staff Tuesday as part of a larger effort by its owner, Gannett Co., to trim 2 percent of its workforce (Weidenbener, Indianapolis Business Journal). Negotiators for The Star told union officials Tuesday that the paper plans to eliminate its entire copy editing staff and move those duties to a central copy desk in Louisville. The move would eliminate seven jobs in Indianapolis, although two of the staff members would be moved to other positions. The two employees who lost their jobs Tuesday, Phil Friend and Leah Woodrum, were web producers - reporters who generate online stories and social media content.

 

Nation

 

MEDIA: NEW WAVE OF NEWSPAPER LAYOFFS - The gloom began earlier this month, when Gerard Baker, the editor in chief of The Wall Street Journal, sent a memo to employees that said, in part, "every story should be as short as it needs to be" (New York Times). The next week, William Lewis, the chief executive of Dow Jones, which owns The Journal, announced a newsroom review that he said would be "underpinned by a series of cost-management initiatives." Two days later, on Oct. 21, the anvil fell: Mr. Baker informed employees in another memo that The Journal was looking for a "substantial" number of them to take buyouts, and that layoffs were in the offing. With print advertising continuing to drop precipitously, you would be hard-pressed to find a newsroom devoid of uncertainty anywhere in the country. Companies like Gannett have recently announced layoffs, and its stock price has plunged during a months-long pursuit of the company that owns The Los Angeles Times and The Chicago Tribune. The New York Times recently went through buyouts and has acknowledged that its newsroom will get even smaller next year. And for journalists at The Wall Street Journal, anxiety in the last several weeks has been especially pronounced.

 

OREGON: 7 OCCUPIERS ACQUITTED - Seven people who were among the armed occupiers of a federal wildlife refuge in Oregon earlier this year were acquitted Thursday of charges related to the 41-day standoff (CNN). Ammon Bundy; his brother, Ryan Bundy; and three other people were found not guilty of firearms charges and conspiracy to impede federal workers. Two others who were acquitted were charged only with conspiracy. The federal jury couldn't reach a verdict on a theft charge against Ryan Bundy.

 

WHITE HOUSE: OBAMA COMMUTES 98 SENTENCES - Ninety-eight federal inmates will return home sooner than expected after President Barack Obama commuted their sentences on Thursday, part of a clemency push that has sped up dramatically in Obama's final months (ABC News). All told, Obama has cut short sentences for 872 inmates, including 688 this year. The figure is higher than the number commuted by the previous 11 presidents combined, and the White House said more commutations were coming before Obama leaves office in January. Of the latest batch, 42 had been serving life sentences, the White House said. Neil Eggleston, Obama's White House counsel, said it was important to remember that "there are personal stories behind these numbers." "These are individuals — many of whom made mistakes at a young age — who have diligently worked to rehabilitate themselves while incarcerated," Eggleston wrote in a blog post.

 

FCC: NEW INTERNET RULES PASS: Federal regulators have approved unprecedented new rules to ensure broadband providers do not abuse their customers' app usage and browsing history, mobile location data and other sensitive personal information generated while using the Internet (Washington Post). The rules, passed Thursday in a 3-to-2 vote by the Federal Communications Commission, require Internet providers, such as Comcast and Verizon, to obtain their customers' explicit consent before using or sharing that behavioral data with third parties, such as marketing firms. Also covered by that requirement are health data, financial information, Social Security numbers and the content of emails and other digital messages. The measure allows the FCC to impose the opt-in rule on other types of information in the future, but certain types of data, such as a customer's IP address and device identifier, are not subject to the opt-in requirement. The rules also force service providers to tell consumers clearly what data they collect and why, as well as to take steps to notify customers of data breaches.

 

Local

 

CITIES: DECREASE IN SOUTH BEND GANG SHOOTINGS - Officials say shootings involving gang members have decreased this year, as the city continues a gun-violence strategy aimed at connecting at-risk men with jobs and education while punishing those who carry out shootings (Sheckler, South Bend Tribune). Through September, South Bend had seen a total of 55 shootings, matching the same period in 2015. But of those 55 shootings, 17 involved victims or suspects affiliated with gangs this year, compared with 27 gang-related shootings in 2015. Police Chief Scott Ruszkowski provided the statistics Thursday during a news conference on the gun-violence strategy. The shootings that involve people affiliated with gangs or rival street groups represent the main focus of the strategy. The news conference came a day after police and community leaders held an eighth "call-in" meeting with influential members of street groups who are known for violence and, according to police, are believed to be 10 times more likely than the average person to commit, suffer or witness a shooting.

 

CITIES: WIND ENERGY HOT TOPIC IN RICHMOND, WAYNE COUNTY - It already has begun, but in the coming weeks and months, the future of commercial energy-generating wind turbines in Wayne County will be heavily debated (Sheeley, Richmond Palladium-Item). The Wayne County commissioners and county Director of Facilities and Development Steve Higinbotham introduced many city and county leaders to the issue during Tuesday night's joint meeting of the commissioners, county council and Richmond Common Council. Richmond Mayor Dave Snow and several county and city department heads also attended the meeting in the lower-level conference area of the Wayne County Annex. Wind energy; the former Reid Hospital property; the road improvement projects associated with the Blue Buffalo subsidiary, the Heartland Pet Food plant; and an update on the progress of the Eastern Indiana Regional Planning Commission were among the hefty topics on the agenda. Local leaders agreed each of those topics is important, but the most leading aspect of the meeting was that the majority of the city and county leaders were receiving the most up-to-date information at the same time on topics that will impact every resident of the county or city.

 

CITIES: TERRE HAUTE BUDGET TOTALS $59.1M - On Wednesday, some council members and Mayor Duke Bennett sparred over the proposed 2017 budget (Loughlin, Terre Haute Tribune-Star). On Thursday, the council unanimously approved the budget. With the 9-0 vote, the mayor thanked them and shook hands with several council members after the hour-long meeting. As of Wednesday morning, the council had a budget that showed a $1 million deficit across 19 funds, prompting four council members to conduct a news conference asking for up to $2 million in cuts. Between cuts and transfers proposed by the mayor, and additional cuts suggested by the council, the $1 million deficit in the 19 funds approaches $1 million in the black for next year (revenues greater than expenses). The mayor also said he expects that bottom line number to grow - perhaps by as much as $1 million - by not spending everything that is budgeted next year. When the council finally adopted the budget, the 19 funds totaled about $59.1 million, Elliott said.

 

CITIES: NO PAY RAISES IN ELKHART BUDGET - After nearly ten days of budget hearings, the city council approved the 2017 budget on Thursday night, but turned down pay raises for city employees (Rivest, WBND-TV). The council decided against the proposed two percent pay increase for workers including firefighters and police officers with a 7-2 vote. Mayor Tim Neese and department chiefs pleaded to the council to reconsider. "For me to go back and look these guys in the eyes and tell them you aren't getting a raise, we do what we do for you," said Police Chief Ed Windbigler. "I've never seen an Elkhart firefighter wear a cape, but they are heroes," said Mayor Neese. Council members Brent Curry and Dwight Fish said the council vote doesn't represent what the tax payers want. Several council members in opposition said that while many city employees deserve a raise, the union contracts need to be worked out first.

 

CITIES: W. LAFAYETTE TO VOTE ON UPDATING PROTECTED CLASSES - City Council will soon vote on formalizing West Lafayette's non-discrimination policies for sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression and veteran status (Ervin, Lafayette Journal & Courier). The matter is scheduled to go for a vote at the Nov. 7 West Lafayette City Council meeting. The city first approved a resolution for sexual orientation protections in 1993. A resolution protecting gender identity, gender expression and veteran status came in 2010. But resolutions have limited enforcement capability. Upgrading the resolution to an ordinance allows for binding enforcement for protected classes. "We're protecting the spirit of our resolution and our citizens by moving protections up to an ordinance," West Lafayette Mayor John Dennis said.

 

CITIES: STUDY RECOMMENDS MORE HOUSING FOR JEFFERSONVILLE - If Jeffersonville experiences a 55 percent job growth projected in the next five years, it's going to need more apartment complexes, a study determined (Beilman, News & Tribune). Almost 4,700 new housing units are needed to meet the demand brought by 17,000 new jobs that are expected by 2022. That's a 25 percent increase of its current 20,000 housing units. "This is conservative, too," Jeffersonville Planning and Zoning Director Nathan Pruitt said. Pruitt delivered the findings of the planning and zoning department's study to the city redevelopment commission Wednesday with an urgent message - something has to change, or else Jeffersonville will fall behind. " ... Do you willingly turn away future residents?" he said. "That's the question." The city has 955 acres available for residential development. Many new housing units will either need to be on smaller lots or stacked in multi-story apartment complexes to meet the growing demands in the space available.

 

CITIES: HAMMOND SUPPORTS PROPOSED $615M DEVELOPMENT - Residents attending a workshop on the South Shore Line's West Lake Corridor project Thursday expressed broad support for the type of transportation-related development that's transformed many communities across the country (Steele, NWI Times). Transit-oriented development, or TOD, planning is being led by the Northwest Indiana Redevelopment Authority, which has engaged the architectural and planning firm Farr Associates to do the initial design around West Lake's four proposed stations. "Imagine a place that has a mix of uses," Doug Farr said in describing TOD areas. It would include homes, shops, offices, and be oriented to walking and safety in a more traditional design than many post-World War II suburbs. The $615 million West Lake project would include two stations and a maintenance facility in Hammond.

 

CITIES: NEW TV STATION IN LAFAYETTE - WLFI is no longer the sole television broadcaster in Lafayette (Wilkins, Lafayette Journal & Courier). Waypoint Media President Mike Reed confirmed Wednesday that WPBI-LD - affiliated with Fox and NBC networks - started operations Tuesday in the Lafayette market. Fox is broadcasting the World Series, which started Tuesday night. "We actually began our broadcasts last night," Reed said Wednesday afternoon. "We worked really hard to get on the air by the World Series, and we just made it." For now, the Fox TV signal can be picked up by antenna on 16.1, and the NBC station can be picked up on 16.2, Reed said. They are working with the area cable and satellite TV providers to get Waypoint Media's signals broadcast over those systems. They hope to begin broadcasts on those systems by Nov. 7, Reed said.

 

CITIES: CROWN POINT LAUDS END OF SEWER PROJECT - Officials marked the completion of a $1 million sewer lining project in the Sauerman Woods area aimed at preventing inflow and infiltration into the Crown Point sanitary sewer system and reducing flooding in residents' yards and homes (Napoleon, Post-Tribune). The ribbon-cutting on Monday dedicated the project that was made possible through a partnership between the city, the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Rep. Pete Visclosky's (D-IN) office, which helped secure Section 219 federal funding for 75 percent of the project, or about $750,000. The city's portion of the project was $242,000. The project involved lining roughly 1,600 feet of existing sanitary sewer lines that were installed at least four decades ago, Imad Samara, project manager with the Army Corps of Engineers, said. Manholes also were inspected and repaired and relined as needed. "This will extend the life of the pipes another 15 to 20 years," he said.

 

CITIES: SEYMOUR EXPANDS TECH PARK TO RAISE REVENUE - Seymour has expanded the boundaries of its only certified tech park to generate funding for the Jackson County Learning Center (Rutherford, Seymour Tribune). Four years ago, the city was granted the tech park designation by the state as a result of the Cummins Engine Hedgehog project, said Jim Plump, executive director of Jackson County Industrial Development Corp. A tech park allows the city to receive money from both sales tax and income tax revenue generated within the park, similar to how a tax increment finance district uses property tax revenue. By state law, the money captured must be reinvested on fixed assets in the tech park, such as buildings, equipment and infrastructure. The city had to submit the boundaries of the park to determine where the money could be spent, Plump said. Money was used to help put in a new parking lot, landscaping, sidewalk, road repaving and other improvements around Cummins on East Fourth Street.

 

CITIES: IPFW STUDENTS PROTEST OVER PROGRAM CUTS - With hand-held signs and an open microphone, IPFW students and faculty began a two-day protest Wednesday of plans to sacrifice several programs as part of school restructuring (Shawgo, Fort Wayne Journal Gazette). IPFW is attempting to address a budget deficit caused by declining enrollment. The school's College of Arts and Sciences is most affected by the changes. Geology, philosophy and women's studies will be eliminated Jan. 1. Degree programs in French and German are among those to be suspended. Some departments will merge. wThe realignment follows a state-mandated study that recommends splitting the school and the "University Strategic Alignment Process," a campus initiative that proposes restructuring 13 academic departments.

 

CITIES: ZONING BOARD STRIKES DOWN MUNCIE CELL TOWER - The fight is over (Allbrittin, Fox59). For two weeks, neighbors in Muncie have protested a proposed cell phone tower across the street from their houses. Tonight, all five zoning board members in attendance voted no to a proposed cell tower off West Jackson Street, between Ivywood Drive and Stonegate Drive. The dozens of neighbors who showed up to oppose Crown Castle's zoning request, were delighted. The company was proposing to build a cell phone tower right across from the Jackson Crossing subdivision. Neighbors argued it would be an eyesore that would hurt their property values and the board sided with them.

 

CITIES: LEWISVILLE COUNCIL PRESIDENT ALLEGES FORGED SIGNATURE - The Town of Lewisville is set to receive nearly $5,000 from the Henry County Community Foundation to help with renovations to its park shelter house (New Castle Courier-Times). Town council president Richard Craig was surprised about the windfall because he said the council never submitted an application. Beyond the breach of protocol, Craig alleged the application misrepresented town leaders. "My signature had been put on there without my knowledge," Craig said. Craig said the town is investigating to find out who forged his signature on the grant application. Forgery can be a felony offense in Indiana, punishable by possible imprisonment and a hefty fine. Craig said he is very appreciative to the Henry County Community Foundation for the grant and doesn't think they did anything wrong in the process. Craig alleged that Lewisville Clerk-Treasurer Larry Smith pursued the community foundation for grant money without board authorization. "Proper protocol wasn't followed," Craig said.

 

CITIES: NEW ALBANY SEEKS INPUT ON FUTURE PLANS - New Albany is asking for input on what its next 20 years of development will look like (Winer, Louisville Courier-Journal). The city has started drafting a new comprehensive plan, which plots what improvements in transportation, housing, infrastructure and overall quality of life it would like to make over the next two decades. So far, the city has worked with an engineering and development firm to create a rough draft of the plan and has hosted stakeholder and focus group meetings, said city spokesman Mike Hall. Leading the plan's formation is a 13-person steering committee, consisting mainly of city officials, developers and redevelopment representatives. Engineering firms Bean Longest and Neff and HWC Engineers, both based out of Indianapolis, were hired to draft the plan

 

COUNTIES: LITTLE SUPPORT TO EXPAND VANDERBURGH JAIL - A day of reckoning will demand solutions to Vanderburgh County's perpetually overpopulated jail, Sheriff Dave Wedding believes - but local election candidates and policymakers are in no hurry for it (Langhorne, Evansville Courier & Press). Candidates for the Board of Commissioners - the executive body that would make the decision to add on to the $35 million lockup off Harlan Avenue with funding from the County Council - vow to exhaust all alternatives for reducing inmate population first. They and policymakers such as Commissioner Bruce Ungethiem and Wedding do not mention, unless asked, the specter of having to build a third jail pod that could cost as much as $15 million. The jail has two X-shaped pods with 256 beds each. A state law requires local governments to seek referendums for proposed non-school building projects costing more than $12 million in public funds. The next year such a referendum could be held in conjunction with a local election - that is, without costing taxpayers extra - is 2018.

 

COUNTIES: BROWN OKS INCOME TAX INCREASE - Brown Countians will pay more of their income to support local government next year (Clifford, Brown County Democrat). The county council voted unanimously Oct. 17 to raise the property tax replacement portion of income taxes to the maximum authorized by the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance. That portion had been 0.3955 percent; it is being raised to 0.5234 percent effective Jan. 1. The total income tax rate for 2017 will be 2.5234 percent. The last time the council increased the property tax replacement portion of income taxes was in 2013. By raising the property replacement portion of income tax to the max allowed in 2017, Brown County government is expected to receive about $336,000 more than it did in 2016, Brown County Auditor Beth Mulry estimated.