PENCE SAYS TRUMP 'NEVER DOWNPLAYED' COVID: Vice President Mike Pence was at the January meeting at which President Donald Trump was warned about the severity of the novel coronavirus, he told Fox News Thursday (Groppe, USA Today). "I was in the Oval Office the day that the team came in and briefed the president about what we perceived was happening in China," Pence said, when asked if he had received the same briefing Trump had from National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien. "The team came in and laid the facts as we knew them on the table to the president." The Jan. 28 briefing included a "jarring" warning that the virus would be the "biggest national security threat" of Trump's presidency, according to a new book written by veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward. Trump imposed restrictions on travel from China three days after the briefing. But he continued to assure the public that the virus was "under control" in the U.S. and would "go away." He compared the coronavirus to the flu, arguing that cases and deaths from the coronavirus were far less than the flu. And he resisted wearing a mask in public after the CDC issued that recommendation in April. “President Trump never downplayed the coronavirus to any of us,” Pence told an ABC affiliate during a campaign stop in Harrisburg Wednesday. “He never downplayed the coronavirus to any of us he tasked with marshaling a national response.” Pence told Fox News' Sandra Smith on Thursday that "we were learning all along the way." "Our own health experts were not yet convinced about the level of contagion or how serious it was," Pence said. "So, look, you know, hindsight is 20/20."

 

TRUMP STEPS UP ATTACKS ON HARRIS: Donald Trump barely mentioned Tim Kaine when he was the Democratic vice presidential nominee in 2016. But four years later, the president has plenty to say about Kamala Harris (AP). Trump said this week that “nobody likes” Harris, feeding into a standard of likability that is applied to women in leadership far more often than men. He told voters in North Carolina it would be “an insult to our country” if Harris became the first female president. And Trump and his allies repeatedly mispronounce Harris’ first name, a pattern her supporters say amounts to a deliberate effort to portray the daughter of immigrants as someone who does not belong at the top ranks of politics. Trump is focusing on Harris as he has sometimes struggled to land on a consistent, coherent attack against Biden, who has built a reputation as a bipartisan deal maker rather than a progressive ideologue.

 

DEMOCRATS AMASSING ENORMOUS EARLY VOTE ADVANTAGE: Democrats are amassing an enormous lead in early voting, alarming Republicans who worry they’ll need to orchestrate a huge Election Day turnout during a deadly coronavirus outbreak to answer the surge (Politico). The Democratic dominance spreads across an array of battleground states, according to absentee ballot request data compiled by state election authorities and analyzed by Democratic and Republican data experts. In North Carolina and Pennsylvania, Democrats have a roughly three-to-one advantage over Republicans in absentee ballot requests. In Florida — a must-win for President Donald Trump — the Democratic lead stands at more than 700,000 ballot requests, while the party also leads in New Hampshire, Ohio and Iowa. “A ballot in is a ballot in, and no late-campaign message or event takes it out of the count,” said Chris Wilson, a GOP pollster who specializes in data and analytics. “Bottom line is that means that Biden is banking a lead in the mail and more of the risk of something going wrong late is born by Republicans because our voters haven't voted yet.”

 

UNITED STEELWORKERS CRITICAL OF REGION BILLBOARDS: Billboards have started to spring up around Northwest Indiana from a group called "Steelworkers of NW Indiana" promoting the reelection of President Donald Trump and the election of 1st District Republican Congressional candidate Mark Leyva (Pete, NWI Times). A group of local steelworkers posted on social media that they had bought four different digital billboards in the Region, including at the highly trafficked intersection of U.S. 30 and Interstate 65. The billboards read "Steelworkers of NW Indiana for Trump 2020 and Mark Leyva for U.S. Congress District 01 Indiana ... Paid for by Proud Union Steelworkers of NWI." But the local United Steelworkers union is decrying the billboards, which were independently paid for by some of its members, as misleading. USW District 7 Director Mike Millsap said the billboards make it seem like the steelworkers union, which has historically supported Democratic candidates in local and national elections, has endorsed Trump and Leyva, when it has in fact endorsed former Vice President Joe Biden for president and North Township Trustee Frank Mrvan for Congress. "Whoever is behind this absolutely did this to deceive the community, our membership and our retirees," Millsap said. "We don't endorse Trump or Leyva. We're disappointed because it's deceptive in using the steelworkers' name. We're a Democratic union and it's up to them if they want to support Trump or any other candidate. But they shouldn't use the steelworkers name."

 

MICROSOFT SAYS RUSS, CHINA, IRAN TARGETING U.S. ELECTION: Microsoft on Thursday reported that it is seeing “increasing” cyberattacks originating in Russia, China and Iran targeting its customers, including attacks against political groups and the presidential campaigns of President Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden (The Hill). Tom Burt, corporate vice president of customer security and trust at Microsoft, detailed in a blog post the efforts by three major foreign hacking groups to target the campaigns, along with other political organizations and individuals. “The activity we are announcing today makes clear that foreign activity groups have stepped up their efforts targeting the 2020 election as had been anticipated, and is consistent with what the U.S. government and others have reported,” Burt wrote.

 

SKEPTICISM GREETS ALL-ELECTRONIC LICENSE PLATES: A proposal for Indiana to eliminate license plate renewal stickers and physical vehicle registration cards in favor of all-electronic vehicle registration records was met with skepticism Thursday by a panel of state lawmakers. After weighing the pros and cons, most members of the General Assembly's Interim Study Committee on Roads and Transportation appeared unconvinced Hoosier motorists and police officers would adapt to the change, notwithstanding the projected multimillion dollar annual cost savings (Carden, NWI Times). Under the plan, originally proposed this year in House Bill 1347, the Bureau of Motor Vehicles no longer would issue a license plate renewal sticker and separate registration card after vehicle owners pay their annual registration fee and taxes. Instead, the renewed registration simply would be noted in the BMV records that police officers already routinely check to verify a valid registration when making a traffic stop. According to the nonpartisan Legislative Services Agency, scrapping the license plate sticker and registration card would reduce the BMV's paper, printing, mailing and workload expenses by $6.1 million a year when fully implemented.

 

SUPT. McCORMICK ENDORSES WEINZAPFEL: The Republican state schools chief is crossing party lines to endorse the Democratic candidate for Indiana attorney general (Carden, NWI Times). Jennifer McCormick, the state superintendent of public instruction, announced Thursday she's backing former Evansville Mayor Jonathan Weinzapfel over Republican former U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita, a Munster native, in the Nov. 3 election for attorney general. "This isn't about politics," McCormick said. "This is about who has the experience, the integrity and the vision to best represent all Hoosiers, especially our children." "Jonathan has a well-earned reputation for bipartisan problem solving, for listening and for making a real difference in every job he's had. That's why I am supporting him and that's why I am calling all Republicans to join me in supporting him."

 

COLTS HONOR VINATIERI: It's something Colts fans have been expecting, but now fans can see it displayed on Lucas Oil Stadium. Sport Graphics put up a banner over kicker Adam Vinatieri's picture on the side of the stadium reading: "Thank you for the memories" (WTHR-TV). Vinatieri, 47, is a free agent and the Colts did not sign him. Instead, the team signed undrafted rookie Rodrigo Blankenship. Vinatieri has played in the NFL for 23 seasons — 14 of those being with the Colts. He has won four Super Bowls and holds several NFL records including for most points scored.

 

HPI DAILY ANALYSIS: For a public official who keeps saying she's tired of politics encroaching on education, "Republican" Supt. McCormick has exhibited a curious propensity to do the opposite, as was the case with her endorsement of Jonathan Weinzapfel in the attorney general's race. - Brian A. Howey



Campaigns

 

INGOP NOT SURPRISED BY McCORMICK: Jake Oakman, director of strategic communications for the Indiana Republican Party, said he's not surprised by McCormick's Weinzapfel endorsement after she last year toured the state with the unsuccessful gubernatorial campaign of state Sen. Eddie Melton, D-Gary (NWI Times). "Jennifer endorsed a Democrat candidate for governor and is now endorsing a Democrat candidate for attorney general. As for party affiliation, her actions speak for themselves," Oakman said. "Todd Rokita is far and away the best candidate in this race to defend our constitutional rights and deliver on the issues Hoosiers are most concerned about."

 

MORE CANDIDATES LINING UP FOR MERRITT SENATE SEAT: The field for State Sen. Jim Merritt's SD31 seat grows. Sources tell Howey Politics Indiana  and Fishers Council President Cecilia Coble and former Marion County GOP chairman Kyle Walker are pondering runs. Another is former Indianapolis councilman Mike McQuillen.

 

Presidential 2020

 

TRUMP CAMPAIGN GOES DARK ON TV ADS: Fearing a coming cash crunch, President Trump’s campaign has pulled back from television advertising over the last month, ceding to Democratic nominee Joe Biden a huge advantage in key states and sparking disagreements over strategy within the president’s senior team (Washington Post). Republican officials have been inundated with calls from worried activists and donors who complain about constant Biden ads in their local media markets, with very few paid Trump responses, according to people familiar with the conversations. Some Republicans close to Trump have been baffled at the decision to sharply curb advertising and have told the president he should change course. Among those worried is Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel, who recently told the president she was concerned his ads were not on television in states such as Michigan and Florida where Biden was blanketing the airwaves, according to people familiar with the conversation.

 

BIDEN UP 8% IN MICHIGAN RASMUSSEN POLL: A new Rasmussen Reports telephone and online survey of Likely Voters in Michigan finds Democratic nominee Joe Biden with an eight-point lead – 51% to 43% - over Trump. Three percent (3%) prefer some other candidate, and another three percent (3%) are undecided.

 

BIDEN UP 9% IN MONMOUTH POLL: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden has maintained a nearly double-digit national lead over President Donald Trump among registered voters since last month, according to a new survey — with the major-party nominating conventions and damaging reports of Trump’s remarks about the military apparently leaving little imprint on the White House race (Politico). A Monmouth University poll released Thursday reports that more than half of registered voters nationwide — 51 percent — prefer Biden, while 42 percent favor Trump. Biden’s 9-point edge comes after he notched a similar 10-point advantage over Trump, 51-41 percent, in the previous pre-convention version of the poll, conducted in early August.

 

GOP REGISTRATION SURGE IN PA: In the four years since Donald Trump's surprise victory in the 2016 presidential election, the GOP has registered nearly seven times more voters than Democrats in the battleground state of Pennsylvania (Fox News). Keystone State Republicans have added almost 198,000 registered voters to the books since 2016, while Democrats have gained an additional 29,000, Politico reported Thursday. Democrats still outnumber Republicans by about 750,000 voters in the state, but the percentage of those registered is down two points from September 2016. The percentage of Republicans has risen from 38% to 39%.

 

BIDEN CAMPAIGNS IN MICHIGAN: Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden campaigned in the battleground state of Michigan Wednesday, while his opponent’s running mate Vice President Mike Pence visited Pennsylvania (WSPA-TV). Biden traveled to the Detroit suburb of Warren to outline a plan to boost U.S. manufacturing, and potentially tax companies that move U.S. jobs overseas. Biden pledged to rewrite tax codes to reward U.S. companies that invest in domestic manufacturing while imposing penalties on those that send jobs to other countries. He spoke outside a United Auto Workers regional office in Warren, flanked by an array of U.S.-made cars including Fords, Jeeps and Chevrolets. “I’m not looking to punish American businesses but there’s a better way,” Biden said. “Make it in Michigan. Make it in America. Invest in our communities and the workers in places like Warren.”

 

TRUMP RAILS AGAINST GOV. WHITMER:  Reeling from another crisis of his own making, President Donald Trump tried to refocus attention on his Democratic rival at a rally in battleground Michigan Thursday as he pushed to move past revelations that he purposefully played down the danger of the coronavirus last winter (AP). But the virus controversy followed him as he faced new pushback from local officials worried about the growing size of his rallies and his campaign’s repeated flouting of public health guidelines intended to halt the COVID-19 spread. That includes Michigan’s Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, who raised alarms about Thursday’s event, warning it would make recovery harder. Trump, however, reveled in the crowd of several thousand, packed shoulder-to-shoulder in a cavernous airport hangar, mostly without masks — with Air Force One on display as his backdrop. “This is not the crowd of a person who comes in second place,” Trump declared to cheers as he railed against Whitmer for current state restrictions. “Tell your governor to open up your state!” he demanded, saying Michigan would be better if it “had a governor who knew what the hell she was doing.”

 

TRUMP MAKES INACCURATE CLAIMS ON AUTOS: President Donald Trump made wildly inaccurate claims at a rally outside Saginaw on Thursday night, suggesting he has revitalized auto manufacturing in the state when it actually lost jobs even before coronavirus hit in March (Detroit Free Press). "We brought you a lot of car plants, we brought you a lot ... and we’re going to bring you a lot more," Trump began his speech at MBS International Airport in Freeland. But only one new major assembly facility, a Jeep plant on Detroit's east side, has been announced during Trump's term, while General Motors underwent a divisive 40-day strike last year and announced the idling of four U.S. plants, including two in Michigan. One of those, Detroit-Hamtramck, has since been revived and is being retooled to build electric cars and SUVs. Warren transmission was revived most recently to make face masks, though its future is uncertain.

 

PENCE IN PA: Vice President Pence spoke at a roundtable with anti-abortion advocates before touring PennEnergy Resources Natural Gas Producing Well in Freedom. There, he spoke at a “Workers For Trump” event focused on jobs (WSPA-TV). “I don’t have to tell most of you gathered here when it comes to energy, President Donald Trump has been a champion for American energy independence,” Pence told the crowd. “We ended the war on coal. We unleashed American energy and now the United States is a net exporter of energy for the first time in 70 years.”

 

BIDEN/HARRIS SCHEDULE: Joe Biden is going to New York and Shanksville, Pa. Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and husband Doug Emhoff will travel to Fairfax, Va., where she will deliver remarks at a Sept. 11 remembrance ceremony.

 

Congress

 

DELEGATION ANNOUNCES $27M IN HIGHWAY GRANTS: Indiana’s Congressional Delegation today announced that Indiana will receive a total of $27.5 million in Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grants from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for highway improvement projects (Howey Politics Indiana). In Hancock County, a $22.5 million BUILD Grant is being awarded to widen Interstate 70 from two to three lanes in each direction, replace failing pavement along approximately five miles of westbound lanes, and rehabilitate deficient pavement along another approximately five miles of eastbound and westbound lanes within an approximate ten-mile stretch of I-70. Additionally, the eastbound lane drop and westbound lane at Mt. Comfort Road will be reconfigured. In Avon, a $5 million BUILD Grant is being awarded to improve approximately 1.2 miles of US 36/Rockville Road, adding an additional travel lane in each direction, replacing the two-way left turning-lane with a raised/curbed median, implementing access control to reduce multiple conflicts, installing infrastructure to accommodate non-motorized travel, and modernizing existing signalized intersections. In May, Indiana’s entire Congressional delegation sent a letter to DOT Secretary Elaine Chao supporting the Indiana Department of Transportation’s applications for these projects. 

 

BAIRD COMMENTS ON AVON PROJECT: U.S. Rep. Jim Baird (IN-04) today announced that Indiana will receive a total of $5 million in Better Utilizing Investment to Leverage Development (BUILD) Grant from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for highway improvement projects (Howey Politics Indiana). “These funds will revitalize important infrastructure along this heavy traffic corridor and provide the town of Avon with more economic opportunities,” Congressman Baird said.

 

DEMOCRATS SCUTTLE GOP'S SKINNY STIMULUS:  Senate Democrats scuttled a scaled-back GOP coronavirus rescue package on Thursday, saying the measure shortchanged too many pressing needs as the pandemic continues its assault on the country (AP). The mostly party-line vote capped weeks of wrangling over a fifth relief bill that all sides say they want but are unable to deliver. The bipartisan spirit that powered earlier aid measures has given way to election-season political combat and name-calling. The 52-47 vote fell well short of what was needed to overcome a filibuster and seems likely to end hopes for coronavirus relief before the November election.

 

BANKS OP-ED DEFENDS TRUMP: U.S. Rep. Jim Banks wrote this op-ed for the Washington Examiner: "Actions speak louder than anonymous sources. Pictures and quotes can be fabricated or taken out of context. What’s much harder to spin are actual policies. And if you look at President Trump’s record on the military, there’s only one conclusion: He holds the military in the highest regard. As a veteran of the Navy who has served on the House Armed Services Committee since 2017, I have been proud to help Trump rebuild our military. Under President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden’s watch, the military was left depleted. We had planes falling out of the sky, ships breaking down at sea, and more service members dying during training than in combat operations. Trump’s first priority when he came to Washington was to undo their damage, and to that end, he has invested more money in our military, given the troops pay raises, and taken care of military families."

 

YOUNG JOINS BENNET, SCHULTZ FOR CONFERENCE: U.S. Senators Todd Young (R-Ind.) and Michael Bennet (D-Colo.) joined Former Chairman and CEO of Starbucks, Howard Schultz, for a virtual event hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI). The event titled Saving small businesses from permanent closure was moderated by AEI Director of Economic Policy Studies, Dr. Michael Strain, and focused on the need to pass the Senators’ RESTART Act (Howey Politics Indiana). “This is personal for me because I hail from a small business family. I can remember the lean Christmases – we had some good ones, we had some challenging ones – but more than that I remember those many employees that over the years came and went. There are real faces and real names associated with this crisis,” said Young.

 

State

 

GOVERNOR: HOLCOMB LOWERS FLAGS FOR 9/11 - Gov. Eric Holcomb is urging Hoosier businesses and homeowners to lower their flags to half-staff Friday to remember the victims of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks (Carden, NWI Times). The Republican chief executive said flags should be flown at half-staff from sunrise to sunset on Patriot Day, which is the official name for the annual 9/11 day of mourning in the United States. Holcomb said flags at state and local government buildings across Indiana, including state-funded schools, must fly at half-staff for the day.

 

ISDH: THURSDAY COVID STATS - The Indiana Department of Health Thursday announced that 764 additional Hoosiers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 through testing at the state laboratory, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and private laboratories. That brings to 102,243 the total number of Indiana residents known to have the novel coronavirus following corrections to the previous days dashboard (Kokomo Tribune). Howard County now has 1,175 COVID cases. No more deaths were reported. They stand at 62. Tipton County has 207 cases and 22 deaths, and Miami County has 403 cases and two deaths. Wednesday the Tribune reported 60 inmates at the Miami Correctional Facility in Bunker Hill are infected with COVID-19. A total of 3,186 Hoosiers are confirmed to have died from COVID-19, an increase of 13 from the previous day. Another 224 probable deaths have been reported based on clinical diagnoses in patients for whom no positive test is on record. Deaths are reported based on when data are received by the state and occurred over multiple days.

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL: HILL ASKS COURT TO UPHOLD INJUNCTION DENIAL - Attorney General Curtis Hill this week asked a federal appellate court to uphold a lower court’s denial of a preliminary injunction that would have allowed “unlimited absentee voting” in Indiana for the Nov. 3 general election (Howey Politics Indiana). In April, the plaintiffs in Tully v. Okeson filed a motion for a preliminary injunction that would have allowed all registered voters in Indiana to vote by mail with an absentee ballot in the November election. They argued that Indiana’s absentee voting law unconstitutionally burdens their right to vote. Judge James Patrick Hanlon of the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana denied the motion, writing that the plaintiffs did not show a reasonable likelihood of success in making a case that Indiana’s rule is unconstitutional. The plaintiffs have appealed that ruling. In a brief filed with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, Attorney General Hill says the appeals court should affirm the lower court’s decision. “Not only is universal mail-in voting not required by the Twenty-Sixth and Fourteenth Amendments, but such a drastic change to Indiana’s voting laws is especially inappropriate now, just weeks before a major election,” Attorney General Hill writes in the brief.

 

JUSTICE: COURT DENIES RFRA CHALLENGE - An Indiana court has rejected an appeal from conservative religious groups that have unsuccessfully challenged limits on the state’s religious objections law that were signed by then-Gov. Mike Pence (AP). A state appeals court ruling issued Thursday upheld a county judge’s decision last year that the three groups failed to prove they had faced any harm. Pence signed the bill in 2015 amid a national uproar that it could be used to discriminate against gays and lesbians.

 

IU: DR. CARROLL SAYS COVID NOT SPREAD IN CLASSROOMS - Current Indiana University mitigation testing shows a 7 percent positivity rate at Bloomington’s campus (Indiana Public Media). Dr. Aaron Carroll is the Director of Surveillance and Mitigation at IU. He said the rate is higher than IU leadership would like to see. Carroll added that there’s no set metric for when classes would move completely online. He said, so far, nothing shows the virus spreading through classrooms. “There are many factors that would go into a decision to go online only," Carroll said. "I’m not sure much of what we’re seeing would change if we were to switch to online only now and certainly, we will be watching all of those different factors.” According to Carroll, most new cases can be traced to social or off-campus activities.

 

PURDUE: 27 GREEK HOUSES HAVE COVID CASES: Health leaders at Purdue say there are 27 Greek/Co-operative living houses on campus that have positive COVID-19 cases. However at this time, the university is not giving any further details on which houses are impacted (WLFI-TV). Dr. Esteban Ramirez from Purdue confirmed the number of houses at Wednesday's bi-weekly press conference with the Tippecanoe County Health Department. He said there are six houses that are on a harsher quarantine. University spokesperson Tim Doty confirmed three of those six houses completed their quarantine this week. Twenty-one houses are on limited quarantine.

 

BALL STATE: COMMENCEMENTS POSTPONED UNTIL 2021 - Ball State University has postponed the commencement ceremonies scheduled for October and December until at least May 2021 (Smith, WRTV). "Due to the ongoing risk of COVID-19, and the state’s extended guidelines, which continue to prohibit social gatherings larger than 250 people, it is no longer feasible for us to hold Commencement ceremonies on that date," Ball State University President Geoffrey Mearns said in a statement Thursday.

 

Nation

 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SPARS WITH REPORTERS - President Trump on Thursday sparred with reporters as he defended his newly-reported comments in author Bob Woodward's forthcoming book that show him downplaying the threat of the novel coronavirus pandemic in its early stages (Fox News). Facing repeated questions by reporters during a press briefing at the White House, Trump pushed back on claims that he was  the American public during the early days of the pandemic in the country and said he was trying “to show strength as a leader.” “I want to show a level of confidence and I want to show strength as a leader,” Trump said. “There was no lie here, what we’re doing here is leading and we’re leading in the proper way.” “I don’t want to jump up and down and shout ‘death, death’” he added. “I have to lead a country.”

 

WHITE HOUSE: TRUMP SCHEDULE - President Trump and first lady Melania Trump will leave the White House at 7:30 a.m. en route to Johnstown, Pa. They’ll arrive at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville at 9:30 a.m. and participate in a Sept. 11 anniversary observance at 9:45 a.m. Afterward, they will depart and return to Washington, arriving back at the White House at 12:35 p.m. The President will present the Medal of Honor to Sgt. Maj. Thomas Payne in the East Room at 3 p.m.

 

LABOR: 884K FILE JOBS CLAIMS IN PAST WEEK - America's jobs recovery might have hit a roadblock, as the number of workers filing for first-time unemployment benefits was unchanged between last week and the one prior (AP). Another 884,000 Americans filed for first-time jobless aid on a seasonally adjusted basis last week, the Labor Department reported on Thursday. The number of claims filed was unchanged from the prior week. Without the seasonal adjustment, weekly initial claims were slightly lower, but had still increased from the prior week.

 

MEDIA: SUNDAY TALK - NBC “Meet the Press”: Peter Strzok. Panel: Al Cardenas, Jeffrey Goldberg and Kasie Hunt. “Fox News Sunday”: Joe Buck … Jake Sullivan. Panel: Brit Hume, Kristin Soltis Anderson and Jane Harman. Power Player: Sen. Pat Roberts (R-Kan.). CBS “Face the Nation”: Scott Kirby … Albert Bourla … Sue Gordon … Scott Gottlieb … new poll. ABC “This Week”: Panel: Chris Christie, Rahm Emanuel, Yvette Simpson and Kimberley Strassel.

 

SPORTS: COLTS 20TH MOST VALUABLE NFL FRANCHISE - Forbes estimates the Dallas Cowboys are the NFL’s most valuable franchise, with a value of $5.7 billion, the 14th consecutive year they’ve held that distinction (IBJ). The Indianapolis Colts are ranked 20th on this year’s Forbes list out of 32 NFL teams, with a value of $2.85 billion, up 8% from a year ago. The magazine said the Colts have operating income of $67 million. After the Cowboys, the six-time Super Bowl champion New England Patriots are second in the league, at $4.4 billion, followed by the New York Giants at $4.3 billion, the Los Angeles Rams at $4 billion and the San Francisco 49ers at $3.8 billion. Rounding out the top 10 are the New York Jets ($3.55 billion), Chicago Bears ($3.52 billion), Washington ($3.5 billion), Philadelphia Eagles ($3.4 billion) and Houston Texans ($3.3 billion).

 

MICHIGAN: GOV. WHITMER AGREES WITH BIG TEN FOOTBALL DECISION - Pushing back at President Donald Trump's Twitter assertion that several governors were holding up the Big Ten's return to competition, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer on Wednesday morning said the decision was the Big Ten's alone (AP). "I love football," Whitmer said on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." "And we can play football again." But asked by Willie Geist whether she agreed with the Big Ten's decision to postpone fall sports, Whitmer said she did.

 

OREGON: OFFICIALS SQUASH FAR RIGHT WILDFIRE RUMORS -  Raging wildfires in the Pacific Northwest have fueled a barrage of false information this week as unsubstantiated social media posts blamed coordinated groups of arsonists from both the far left and far right for setting the blazes (AP). Officials turned to Facebook on Wednesday and Thursday to squash competing narratives — some posts blamed far-left antifa activists and others said the far-right group the Proud Boys were responsible for fires that have scorched wide swaths of Oregon and Washington state. “Remember when we said to follow official sources only,” the Douglas County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon posted. “Remember when we said rumors make this already difficult incident even harder? Rumors spread just like wildfire and now our 9-1-1 dispatchers and professional staff are being overrun with requests for information and inquiries on an UNTRUE rumor that 6 Antifa members have been arrested for setting fires in DOUGLAS COUNTY, OREGON.”

 

Local

 

INDIANAPOLIS: STATE OBJECTS TO USE OF FORCE POLICY CHANGES - Right now, half of Indianapolis Metropolitan police officers have been trained on the department’s new “use of force” policies (CBS4). The policies come amid national calls for police reform. “Proportionality is new. I’ll admit there are some people who are a little nervous about it, but like I said, I think the time is right for it. I think we operate within it. I think all we’ve done now is put into policy and we’ve defined it,” said IMPD Chief Randal Taylor. But there is a problem—the new policies aren’t approved by the state board that regulates police training. The Indiana Law Enforcement Training Board sent a letter to the chief Wednesday that the new rules weren’t board-approved, as required by state law. “Our job is to very objectively, not subjectively, but very objectively review all curriculum,” said Indiana State Police Superintendent Doug Carter.

 

INDIANAPOLIS: DPW SEEKS INPUT ON STORMWATER MANUEL - The Indianapolis Department of Public Works (Indy DPW) is seeking public feedback on proposed updates to both the Indianapolis Stormwater Manual as well as various sections of the Code of the Consolidated City and County for Indianapolis - Marion County. These changes will be the first major revision to stormwater infrastructure regulation language and design standards in almost a decade (Howey Politics Indiana). Indy DPW staff are recommending changes in seven different sections of the City-County Code and in chapters 100-700 of the Indianapolis Stormwater Manual; documents demonstrating each proposed change in language can be found here.

 

FORT WAYNE: FIREWORKS RESCHEDULED FOR NOV. 10 - The City of Fort Wayne announced a new date for the postponed fireworks show (WPTA-TV). Because of fears of spreading COVID-19, city leaders decided to cancel the traditional Fourth of July show. Numerous other towns, municipalities and communities followed suit. But now, residents in Fort Wayne can enjoy the fireworks show on Tuesday, Nov. 10, which is the eve of Veterans Day. The show will begin at 6:30 p.m.

 

MISHAWAKA: SCHOOL BOARD VOTES TO RETURN TO IN-PERSON LEARNING - Mishawaka students are getting ready to return to in-person learning (WSBT-TV). The school board voted Wednesday night in favor of the reopening phase two. But there will be a change in who is teaching your children. Starting September 21st, K-6 will be back in class five days a week with their teachers. However, a virtual option will remain for the 23 percent of families who have kids in that grade range who want to remain online.

 

SOUTH BEND: SCHOOLS EYE RETURN TO IN-PERSON CLASSES - With fewer new virus cases daily, South Bend school leaders are preparing for a phased-in return to in-person learning for students (Kirkman, South Bend Tribune). Though an official date has not been set yet, Superintendent Todd Cummings previously said the earliest students could return to buildings is Oct. 5. Like many other schools in St. Joseph County, South Bend started the year virtually on Aug. 12 because of the coronavirus pandemic. Last month, the district’s school board voted for at least eight weeks of online learning for all K-12 students. During a virtual school board meeting Wednesday, Cummings and Brandon White, the district’s chief academic officer, proposed a new phased-in, hybrid model for getting students back in school buildings.

 

BARTHOLOMEW COUNTY: COUNCIL CANDIDACY CHALLENGED - Bartholomew County Democratic Party Chairman Steve Schoettmer and three Democratic candidates for county council-at large have filed a complaint in Bartholomew Superior Court 1 against the Bartholomew County Election Board seeking a declaratory judgment as to whether council member Matt Miller is eligible to serve on the council and as a candidate for re-election (Webber, Columbus Republic). Miller is also listed as a defendant in the lawsuit, according to court documents. In a statement, Schoettmer said he and Claudette Schroer, Olisa Humes and Tiffany Bosley, filed the complaint after serious questions arose whether Miller is, or has been, a resident of Bartholomew County during his tenure on the council, or for the required one year period prior to filing as a candidate for re-election. July 6, 11 Highland Ridge neighborhood residents wrote and signed a statement which they sent to Bartholomew County Clerk Jay Phelps, who is a member of the election board, stating that Miller’s stated residence at 1331 N. County Road 550E was “vacant” and unkept.”

 

VIGO COUNTY: DEMS HAVE SIGN DRIVE-THRU - With traditional campaign events like parades, forums and rallies on hold or canceled outright due to COVID-19, candidates and their respective parties have had to find unique ways to connect with voters (Terre Haute Tribune-Star). The Vigo County Democratic Party did just that Wednesday with a yard sign drive-thru at the corner of Sixth and Swan streets in Terre Haute. For two hours Democratic candidates and many school board candidates passed signs through car windows or loaded them into trunks while making their pitch for office.