Indiana

Governor Daniels Open to Land Based Casino

December 9th, 2011 at 1:47 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

The debate over a land based casino will begin in the Indiana General Assembly again in 2012.  The city of Gary wants approval for a new land based casino.  It’s a debate that could lead to renewed discussion of an Indianapolis casino.

The mayor-elect of Gary, former Indiana Attorney General Karen Freeman-Wilson, still hasn’t taken the oath of office but she already has a legislative agenda.  At the top of the list is a land based casino.  “Currently we have about $400,000 a month in gate receipts,” says Freeman-Wilson.  “It’s estimated that those would double so it would be a tremendous shot in the arm economically.”

Donald Trump first brought gambling to Gary in the mid-’90′s with a riverboat casino.  (Gary now has two.)  It was the first step that led to 13 casinos statewide.  And so when the idea of a land-based casino in Gary first came to a vote in 2010 opponents warned that it would speed the growth of gambling in Indiana.  “We will have slot machines in the nursing homes,” said GOP Rep. Mike Murphy at the time, “and we’ll wheel ‘em up to your bed and you’ll be able to use your medicaid match to make your money.”

But Karen Freeman-Wilson has already met with the govenror and Mitch Daniels is open to her new suggestion  “Everybody here wants to help Gary anyway we can,” said Daniels Tuesday.  “I’ve always said I’m open to some adjustment of the casino arrangement up there.”  Daniels says he’s not stuck on the idea of boats.

“To have one land-based casino would be far better than having two riverboats,” says Freeman-Wilson.  And it would be one more step away from the original idea to restrict Indiana gambling to riverboats.

Part of the motivation for a new approach to gambling in Gary is increased competition from Illinois and Michigan.  The idea is to build a new casino just off the Borman Expressway.


Good Indiana Economic News

June 9th, 2011 at 1:25 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

The governor’s office is touting a pair of reports related to the economy.   First, Standard and Poor’s has affirmed its AAA credit rating for state government.

Second, a new report says that Indiana’s economic growth is third only to North Dakota and New York.  The Bureau of Economic Analysis says the Indiana GDP grew at 4.6% in 2010.


Unemployment in Indiana Changes Little

October 22nd, 2010 at 10:26 am by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

The September unemployment numbers are out and Indiana’s unemployment rate dropped by just a tenth of a percent.

The rate is 10.1% now compared to the national rate of 9.6%.  The rate in September of 2009 was also 10.1%.


Saturday Disclosure

June 5th, 2010 at 2:25 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

The most remarkable thing about the Dan Coats disclosure of his lobbying background is the timing of it.

Coats and his campaign used a leak to the Indianapolis Star (timed to make a story appear in the lightly-read Saturday edition) along with a Saturday morning conference call (no news conference, no cameras) and an Internet posting that clearly was meant to discourage media coverage and attention.  I was on the conference call and was one of just 3 reporters who asked questions.  The strategy worked, at least so far. 

Now, to the content of the disclosure.  It was as much political spin as it was meaningful information.  Coats listed 41 companies that he says he did not lobby for even though they appear on filings produced by the U.S. Senate that list Coats as a lobbyist for the 41 companies.  Coats called the Senate filings “erroneous” and a “technical” mistake.  Among the 41 companies are Goldman Sachs, Merrill Lynch, and Bank of America, all connections that Democrats and primary opponents criticized him for. 

As for clients that have been questioned  at a second law firm, clients listed in filings made by the law firm with Coats’ name attached, he attributed that to an ”over-abundance of caution” when others at the law firm were doing the lobbying in question. 

Coats accused his opponents of “knowing misrepresentation” for their attacks, particularly with regard to charges that he lobbied for Yemen or Hugo Chavez.  He called the charges “offensive.”  He went on to say that he was not a partner at either of the two DC law firms he worked for and was on salary much like his secretary.  (His more than half of million dollar salary, he said interestingly, was for part-time work, a statement that quickly amended by saying it was “mostly full-time” work.)

Democrats have and will continue to argue that because Coats was listed as a co-Chair of the Government Relations practice at King and Spalding, his most recent employer, that he was responsible for all of the clients and that his salary was paid with money brought in from them.  On the conference call Coats called that a “pretty thin thread” and “desperate” saying that his position was “titular” and that a partner in the firm brought in all the clients. 

Coats said he “not embarrassed of any client” he lobbied for directly and disclosed that he actually lobbied for firms including Roche Diagnostics, Junior Achievement, and Cerberus.  He said the only foreign government he lobbied for was India.

Democrats are already attacking the release and signalling that it will do nothing to change their accusations. 

It’s now his credibility versus theirs.


New County Travel Status Information

January 29th, 2009 at 1:30 pm by under Breaking News

The Indiana Department of Homeland Security has released an updated map of travel adviorsies/snow emergencies.  Several counties are still under a “level 3″ which is defined as: Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation; citizens should use caution or avoid these areas. Schools and businesses may begin to implement their emergency action plans.

http://www.in.gov/dhs/files/sigwx.pdf

Several counties along the Ohio River are under a Level 1 State of Emergency.


INDHS Update

January 29th, 2009 at 10:04 am by under Breaking News

State EOC Activation Level
Level III – Active Emergency Conditions – A situation has occurred requiring limited activation of the emergency operations center.

Description of Incident
A severe winter storm system moved through the state dumping heavy snow and freezing rain across most of Indiana. Up to 13 inches of snow and 1 inch of ice reported across central and southern Indiana causing power outages and transportation issues. School systems and county government offices across most of the southern 2/3 of the state were closed. Numerous traffic accidents and hundreds of road closures were reported. Roads in many areas were impassable.

Health, Safety and Security
Confirmed Fatalities:
Two fatalities have been confirmed. A Marengo woman (Crawford County) was killed in a weather-related traffic accident and a resident of Jackson County died while shoveling snow.

Current Situation
Greater Clark County Schools will be closed the rest of the week. The school system has several buildings without power and experienced a large water leak at Jeffersonville High School.

A Wind Chill Advisory has been issued for east-central Indiana; with wind chill temperatures between -10 and -15 F in some areas.

County Emergency Declarations

Level 1 – A state of emergency has been declared by the county commissioners. Travel restricted to emergency personnel only.

Crawford, Dubois, Posey, Spencer, Sullivan, Brown, Washington, Clark, Franklin, Jennings, Scott, Switzerland

Level 2 – Conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel is recommended (to and from work, emergency situations, etc.).

Knox, Vanderburgh, Huntington, Shelby, Delaware, Randolph, Union, Clay, Owen, Jackson, Lawrence, Dearborn, Floyd, Jefferson, Ohio

Level 3 - Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, citizens should use caution or avoid these areas.

Adams, Steuben, Fountain, Morgan, Blackford, Grant, Henry, Rush, Tipton,

Please visit www.in.gov/dhs for current county emergency situations.

Shelter Operations

  • Crawford County, Hillview Christian Church – 74
  • Dubois County, Huntingburg Event Center – 2
  • Spencer County, Trinity United Methodist Church – 40
  • Vanderburgh County, Red Cross Shelter, Evansville – 125
  • Vanderburgh County, 4H Center – 78
  • Vanderburgh County, Washington United Church of Christ – 75
  • Vanderburgh County, Camp Reveal – 6
  • Warrick County, St. John’s Catholic School – 23
  • Warrick County, Boonville High School – 22

Total Reported Shelter Population: 445
Total Capacity Available: 2,751

Critical Infrastructure and Facilities

Power Outages

  • Duke Energy – 39,383 – Expected Restoration: 01/31/2009
  • Vectren – 69,344 – Expected Restoration: 02/02/2009
  • Clark County REMC – 4,000 – Expected Restoration: 01/30/2009
  • Harrison County REMC – 9,500 – Expected Restoration: 1/28/2009
  • Dubois REMC – 2,500 – Expected Restoration: 01/30/2009
  • Orange County REMC – 500 – Expected Restoration: 01/30/2009
  • Jackson County REMC – 3,500 – Expected Restoration: 01/29/2009
  • Southeastern Indiana REMC – 2,000 – Expected Restoration: 01/31/2009
  • Southern Indiana REMC – 4,500 – Expected Restoration: 01/31/2009

Current Total: 135,227
Peak Total: 187,460


Indiana DHS – Severe Weather Update 1

January 28th, 2009 at 3:45 pm by under Breaking News

State EOC Activation Level
Level III – Active Emergency Conditions – A situation has occurred requiring limited activation of the emergency operations center.

Description of Incident
A severe winter storm system moved through the state dumping heavy snow and freezing rain across most of Indiana. Up to 13 inches of snow and 1 inch of ice reported across central and southern Indiana causing power outages and transportation issues. School systems and county government offices across most of the southern 2/3 of the state were closed. Numerous traffic accidents and hundreds of road closures were reported. Roads in many areas were impassable.

Health, Safety and Security
Confirmed Fatalities:

Two fatalities have been confirmed. A Marengo woman (Crawford County) was killed in a weather-related traffic accident and a resident of Jackson County died while shoveling snow.

Current Situation
High 911 call volume in Vanderburgh, Warrick, Marion, Posey and Clark Counties. 43 counties have declared travel emergencies, sections of I-70, I-65, I-69 and I-74 are closed. Widespread power outages reported across areas of southwestern Indiana, Vanderburgh, Jefferson and Floyd, Warrick, Spencer.

154,349 customers are reported to be without power, most is southern and southwestern Indiana.

Sheltering population is 84, with a total of 13 shelters open and a capacity of 1485. Requests have been made for transportation resources to assist in the movement of residents to shelters.

County Emergency Declarations

Level 1 - A state of emergency has been declared by the county commissioners. Travel restricted to emergency personnel only.

Brown, Crawford, Dubois, Fountain, Morgan, Posey, Scott, Shelby and Washington

Level 2 – Conditions are threatening to the safety of the public. Only essential travel is recommended (to and from work, emergency situations, etc.).

Clay, Floyd, Grant, Huntington, Jackson, Knox, Lawrence, Madison, Rush, Union and Vanderburgh

Level 3 - Routine travel or activities may be restricted in areas because of a hazardous situation, citizens should use caution or avoid these areas.

Adams, Benton, Blackford, Delaware, Hamilton and Steuben.

Please visit www.in.gov/dhs for current county emergency situations.

Shelter Operations

  • Posey County – First Presbyterian Church, Mt. Vernon: 7
  • Clark County – Red Cross facility: 0
  • Gibson County – Red Cross, Princeton: 0Vanderburgh County – Red Cross Chapter, Evansville: 0
  • Warrick County – Booneville: 0
  • Spencer County – Ohio Valley Fire Department: 0
  • Floyd County – Salvation Army, New Albany: Unknown
  • Floyd County – Indiana Creek Baptist Church, Georgetown: Unknown
  • Scott County – Scottsburg High School: 0
  • Crawford County – Marengo, Hillview Christian Church: 9
  • Washington County – Hospital: Unknown
  • Marion County – Indianapolis Grey Hound Terminal – 75

Total Reported Shelter Population: 84
Total Capacity Available: 2,181

Critical Infrastructure and Facilities

Power Outages

  • Duke Energy – 60,449 – Expected Restoration: 01/30/2009
    • Clarksville – 38,750
    • Cordon/Salem – 17,039
    • Madison – 4,660
  • Vectren – 69,400 – Expected Restoration: 02/02/2009
    • Vanderburgh – 46,000
    • Warrick – 12,000
    • Gibson – 1,200
    • Spencer – 4,600
    • Posey – 5,600
  • Clark County REMC – 4,000 – Expected Restoration: 01/30/2009
  • Harrison County REMC – 12,000
  • Dubois REMC – 2,500 – Expected Restoration: 01/30/2009
  • Orange County REMC – 500 – Expected Restoration: 01/30/2009
  • Jackson County REMC – 3,500 – Expected Restoration: 01/30/2009
  • Southeastern Indiana REMC – 2,000 – Expected Restoration: 01/31/2009

RCA Dome….what great memories

December 22nd, 2008 at 10:06 am by under Sports

RCA Dome….what great memories that building gave me over the years. When I was an high school student from Evansville. I would come up for Circle City Classic games….and now working for WISH-TV…Boy I have witness some great moments at the dome.

The one thing that I loved most about the Dome was the size of it. It had such an “Indiana” feel to it. Not too big and not to small….just right.

I could go down a list of some of my favorite moments at the RCA Dome…but I think ONE will do. It happened in 2006!

When the Colts made the biggest comeback in AFC Playoff history and beat New England to advance to the Superbowl! Thanks dome for all the great moments!


TV Ad News

June 30th, 2008 at 4:24 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

Barack Obama has a new ad hitting the air in Indiana today.  This one is a 30 second ad and builds on the message in the 60 ad he ran for the last two weeks.  Its one more indication that Obama is serious about winning Indiana.

Meantime, the campaign of Mitch Daniels purchased ad time statewide from now until the end of August.  Its a buy comparable to the $5 million dollar purchase his campaign made in advance of the May primary.


Obama to Indiana?

March 11th, 2008 at 4:02 pm by under Jim Shella's Political Blog

An Indianapolis stop is not yet on Barack Obama’s official schedule but don’t be surprised if a Saturday town hall meeting surfaces soon.

The official word from the Obama staff is that the Illinois Senator’s schedule is fluid but the search is underway for a suitable location for a Saturday event.