The 'downtown' power outage edition
Plus, Sen. Young’s gun bill vote. Heading into a special session at the Statehouse. And check out the view of Crawley Center, mid-renovation
Today’s edition is sponsored by the city of West Lafayette, which introduces WLMoves.com to track road construction projects this summer on Salisbury Street, Yeager Road and North River Road. For more, click the links below and scroll through today’s edition.
A POWER OUTAGE AFTERNOON, DOWNTOWN … AND BEYOND: Seemed as if Wednesday afternoon’s non-weather-related power outage, first advertised as urgent and then delayed several times for downtown Lafayette, threw plenty of people for a loop, when just after 5 p.m. “downtown” turned into the broad surroundings as well as parts near Purdue University and the Village area of West Lafayette. (Even a certain newsletter’s projected mainbar was left high and dry. There’s always tomorrow.)
For those wondering, Duke Energy reported that a cross arm on a transmission line near South River Road and Sharon Chapel Road, southwest of West Lafayette, needed emergency repairs. To finish the work, Duke crews had to de-energize the line – one that fed into a substation and a large portion of downtown Lafayette and beyond – for several hours. According to Duke, the resulting outage to finish repairs left 14,567 customers (see the map below) without power for several hours. By 10 p.m., fewer than 20 customers were still out. McKenzie Barbknecht, a Duke spokesperson, said Duke was still investigating how the transmission line was damaged. She said she didn’t have indication Wednesday that it was related to work Duke is doing on lines along Newman Road near Purdue’s Discovery Park District. “Our crews needed to work on it quickly so it didn’t cause more damage down the road,” she said. “We appreciate customers’ patience, because we know there’s no good time for an outage.”
PROGRESS AT LAFAYETTE JEFF’S CRAWLEY CENTER: In a video, just a little over a minute long, posted Wednesday morning to Facebook, Scott Leverenz, Lafayette Jeff assistant athletic director, gave a view he called a “magnificent” and “sad” sight, now that the gym’s wooden bleachers have been removed. The bleachers stood the test of more than a half-century, installed in 1969 and able to seat 7,200. A replacement project is expected to push into the start of the 2022-23 school year. In case you’d like to see Crawley Center, sans bleachers, Leverenz has you covered.
HOLCOMB CALLS A SPECIAL SESSION: Gov. Eric Holcomb on Wednesday called for a special session, starting July 6. That’s comes with some convenient timing for the Statehouse. The purpose the governor gave for calling the General Assembly back to Indianapolis was to handle his proposed tax rebate from more than $1 billion in the state’s reserves. If approved as Holcomb designed it, the rebate would be about $225 for each Indiana taxpayer. (That would be on top of the $125 already coming from the state’s automatic taxpayer refund.) “This is the fastest, fairest and most efficient way to return taxpayers' hard-earned money during a time of economic strain,” Holcomb said in a statement Wednesday.
Not mentioned was whether the special session would clear a path for state lawmakers to deal with abortion-related bills after the U.S. Supreme Court rules on a case that could overturn Roe v. Wade. The Supreme Court ruling is expected in the coming days. Republicans who control the Indiana House and Senate sent a letter to Holcomb in March, calling on him to bring lawmakers back for a special session if the Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade. On Wednesday, Holcomb essentially did what they asked.
Though there was confirmation about plans beyond the governor’s rebate plan, Democrats dug in, renewing barbs over a state GOP convention over the weekend that saw the more conservative wing of the party assert itself with its slate of statewide office candidates.
Drew Anderson, an Indiana Democratic Party spokesman, said: “The Indiana Republican Party will hold a special session to issue a one-time check that doesn't address the state's high gas taxes and ban a woman's right to legal and safe abortions. As seen from last weekend, the Indiana GOP has become the party of extremists who care more about their national agenda than delivering a better future for Hoosier families."
SEN. YOUNG’S VOTE ON THE GUN BILL: Sen. Todd Young, who is among the leaders in the Senate for contributions from the NRA, was among the Senate Republicans who joined Democrats Tuesday night to move a compromise gun bill along, in what is being touted as the first major, bipartisan gun legislation in decades. The bill, moved forward on a 64-34 vote, would encourage states to pass “red flag” laws to take guns from those considered to be threats, federal funding for school security and mental health programs and tougher background checks for gun buyers younger than 21. A final vote could come by the end of the month.
How Young would vote on the final bill, the Indiana Republican wasn’t saying. (Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, voted no Tuesday.) Here’s what Young, who faces a campaign against Democrat Tom McDermott in the November election, was saying:
“While I am still reviewing the bill text, I voted to proceed to debate on the Bipartisan Safer Communities Act. I am a strong supporter of the Second Amendment, and I believe there are prudent steps that Congress can take to address gun violence, particularly related to bolstering mental health resources, without compromising the Second Amendment rights of law-abiding citizens.”
Gun reform advocates in Indiana had been watching Young. Pressure came almost immediately from the National Association for Gun Rights, which has pushed back on any legislation it considers to gun control.
“It’s disgraceful that Sen. Young would stoop so low as to violate his oath to the U.S. Constitution by voting for this infringement on the Second Amendment,” Will Fite, director of legislation for Hoosier Gun Rights, an Indiana state affiliate of the National Association for Gun Rights, said in a statement Wednesday. “I urge Sen. Young to reverse course and vote against this bill when it hits the floor.”
Today’s edition is sponsored by the city of West Lafayette. The city’s message: Voted among the safest and healthiest cities in the nation, West Lafayette is home to beautiful parks, miles of scenic walking and bike trails, drivable destinations and neighbors committed to making our community the best it can be. Building and maintaining a city like this comes with growing pains, though. Construction to improve our roads and expand our trail system may temporarily lengthen commutes and create frustrating detours. The city appreciates your patience during this time and your commitment to making our community a better place for generations to come. Learn more about the projects on Salisbury Street, Yeager Road and North River Road at WLMoves.com.
THANKS FOR MAKING THE FIRST YEAR OF THE BASED IN LAFAYETTE REPORTING PROJECT WORK. READY TO SUBSCRIBE?