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Indiana Governor Makes Appointments to Boards and Commissions

INDIANAPOLIS, IN (STL.News) Governor Eric J. Holcomb announced several appointments to various state boards and commissions.

Department of Financial Institutions Board of Directors

The governor two reappointments to the board, who will serve until August 31, 2025:

  • Benjamin Bochnowski (Munster), president and CEO of Peoples Bank
  • Richard Rice (Indianapolis), former president and CEO of TCU

Electric Vehicle Product Commission

The governor six appointments to the new commission, who will serve until August 31, 2025:

  • David Dukes (Kokomo), director of operations with Stellantis
  • Danny Ernstes (Fairland), CAP coordinator for Indiana and retiree representative for Indiana for UAW Region 2B
  • Craig Kelle (Newburgh), group manager for project planning, chief manufacturing project engineer with Toyota
  • Michael Maten (Novi), senior strategist, EV and energy policy with General Motors
  • Paul Mitchell (Indianapolis), president and CEO of Energy Systems Network
  • Ben Wrightsman (Pendleton), president and CEO of the Battery Innovation Center

Fire Prevention & Building Safety Commission

The governor made five reappointments to the commission, who will serve until August 31, 2025:

  • Joseph Heinsman (Mooresville), senior structural engineer with Lynch, Harrison & Brumleve, Inc.
  • David Henson (Petersburg), owner of Architectural Design Concepts, LLC
  • James Murua (Fort Wayne), assistant chief and fire marshal with the Fort Wayne Fire Department
  • Scott Pannicke (Indianapolis), architect with RATIO Architects, Inc.
  • Michael Popich (Indianapolis), manager of the Bureau of Construction Services for the City of Indianapolis

The governor also made one new appointment to the commission, who will serve until August 31, 2025:

  • John Watson (Indianapolis), VP of operations with Mid-America Elevator Co., Inc.

Indiana Real Estate Commission

The governor made five reappointments to the commission, who will serve until August 31, 2025:

  • John Briscoe (Evansville), realtor/broker with F.C. Tucker Emge
  • John De Souza (South Bend), president of Cressy & Everett Real Estate
  • Pamela Lumley (Sellersburg), owner RE/MAX Ability Plus
  • Charlie Shook (West Lafayette), president of Coldwell Banker Shook
  • Sahara Williams (Indianapolis), associate with Barnes & Thornburg LLP

The governor also made four new appointments to the commission:

  • Troy Helman (Terre Haute), co-owner and president of Coldwell Banker Helman, who will serve until August 31, 2025
  • Tracy Hutton (Carmel), president and CEO of Century 21 Scheetz, who will serve until December 31, 2023
  • Cheryl Stuckwish (Vallonia), owner and president of South Central Realty-Columbus and -Seymour, who will serve until December 31, 2023
  • Brian Thompson (Bloomington), sales manager for FC Tucker/Bloomington, who will serve until December 31, 2023

Indiana Wetlands Task Force

The governor made thirteen appointments to the new task force, who will serve until December 31, 2022:

  • The Honorable Zach Beasley (West Lafayette), Tippecanoe County Surveyor
  • Will Ditzler (Westfield), president of RiverBirch Executive Advisors, who will also serve as chair of the task force
  • Jill Hoffmann (Indianapolis), executive director of the White River Alliance
  • Jared Kakasuleff (Cicero), farmer at Kakasuleff Farms
  • Jeremy Kieffner (Evansville), environmental permit manager at Lochmueller Group
  • Dr. Sara McMillan (West Lafayette), associate professor of Agricultural & Biological Engineering at Purdue University
  • Matt Meersman (South Bend), director of the St. Joseph River Basin Commission
  • Michael Novotney (Valparaiso), Porter County Engineer and director of engineering
  • Commissioner Bruno Pigott, representing the Indiana Department of Environmental Management
  • Kyle Rorah (Dexter, MI), regional director of public policy for Ducks Unlimited
  • Joe Schmees (Fishers), executive director of the Indiana Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts
  • The Honorable Richard Strick, Mayor of Huntington
  • Jeff Thomas (Fort Wayne), co-owner and vice president of Oakmont Development, LLC

Midwestern Higher Education Commission

The governor made one new appointment to the commission:

  • Ronald Rochon (Newburgh), president of the University of Southern Indiana

State Board of Education

The governor made two reappointments to the board, who will serve until June 30, 2025:

  • William Durham (Indianapolis), executive director of 100 Black Men of Indianapolis, Inc.
  • Gregory Gastineau (Fishers), teacher and coach at Hamilton Southeastern High School

The governor also made one new appointment to the board, who will serve until June 30, 2023:

  • Scott Bess (Danville), head of school for Purdue Polytechnic High School

State Fair Board

The governor made two reappointments to the board, who will serve until September 30, 2025:

  • Jeanette Merritt (Peru), director of checkoff programs at Indiana Pork
  • Terry Strueh (Lafayette), former vice president for governmental relations at Purdue University

The governor also made one new appointment to the board, who will serve until September 30, 2024:

  • Ryan Hilton (DeMotte), swine logistics and livestock relocation professional at Belstra Milling

State Fair Commission

The governor made two new appointments to the commission:

  • Mitch Frazier (Westfield), president and CEO of AgriNovus Indiana, who will serve as chair of the commission through September 30, 2022
  • Greg Schenkel (Indianapolis), retired former vice president of corporate, community and public relations with
  • Pacers Sports & Entertainment, who will serve through September 30, 2024

Unemployment Insurance Review Board

The governor reappointed Lawrence Dailey (Zionsville) to the full-time board; he will continue his service until August 31, 2024.

The governor also appointed Gabe Paul (Carmel) as chair of the board; he will serve until August 31, 2024.

Worker’s Compensation Board of Indiana

The governor reappointed Daniel Foote (Indianapolis) and Douglas Meagher (Indianapolis) to the board; both will serve until August 31, 2025.

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Politics

Florida Governor Holds Roundtable with Teachers, Parents

Governor Ron DeSantis Holds Roundtable with Florida Teachers and Parents to Discuss Progress Monitoring

NICEVILLE,  FL (STL.News) Governor Ron DeSantis was joined by First Lady Casey DeSantis, Florida Education Commissioner Richard Corcoran, Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Marcus Chambers, and teachers and parents of children in Okaloosa County Schools to discuss Florida’s transition from the FSA to progress monitoring.

“In Florida we have had the FSA for many years, a lot of effort goes into this test each year, both on the actual test and the preparation for it,” said Governor Ron DeSantis.  “Over the past few years, we have been able to expand our ability to use modern tools to measure progress and achievement, while also course correcting where individual students may need additional support.  With the FSA, if a student is struggling, the school year is already over, and you cannot modify instruction to meet that student’s needs.  With progress monitoring, you have streamlined periodic assessments, which will be more student, parent, and teacher friendly while reducing test time by 75 percent.”

“I was proud to join the Governor again today as we move to new heights for education in our state,” said Commissioner Richard Corcoran.  “We’re in 2021, we have algorithms for everything under the sun; as the Governor says, certainly we can be smarter, faster and more efficient.  We have everything we need for accountability, but we can do it in 75 percent less time.  Our accountability system is number 1 in the country, but we asked ourselves how do you protect that level of accountability while getting smarter and more efficient, and do something to benefit parents, teachers and school children?  The answer is you get rid of the FSA and move to a much more streamlined system.”

“This is something that is welcome, and something that is needed,” said Okaloosa County Superintendent of Schools Marcus Chambers.  “Here in Okaloosa, we’ve been proponents of progress monitoring and will continue to do so.  For us, progress monitoring helps us drive instruction, it helps us with professional development, and it helps us make sure the initiatives we put in place are things that will really make a difference in the lives of kids.  To be able to have progress monitoring along the way is a game changer.  We are not waiting until the end of the year, we are not waiting until the end of the semester, we will be able to make adjustments in real time.”

“With progress monitoring, it’s going to give us the opportunity to meet our students where they are and not expect them to just come in with certain standards,” said Jessica Landry, 5th Grade Teacher at Plew Elementary School and Okaloosa County Teacher of the Year.  “In my classroom I’ve been able to use progress monitoring in the past to individualize my instruction.  I’ve been able to intervene for students who need more support.  This is a step in the right direction.”

“As a parent, first and foremost my kids are the absolute priority,” said Catherine Card, mother of two children in Okaloosa County schools.  “When my daughter was doing extremely well in math, her teacher recognized this, and put her in a higher math class.  She really appreciates having this opportunity to feel challenged and have real tools to succeed. Progress monitoring, it makes sense.  It’s a win-win, whether your child is doing really well or needs some help getting back on track.”

“One of my sons was doing very well in math, and progress monitoring was able to capture that so he wouldn’t be in classes he doesn’t need to be in and can be challenged,” said Kayra Donahoo, mother of five children.  “With my high school kids, progress monitoring has been able to say, ‘This child is not where they need to be,’ so [it helps us identify] how can we work together and get that child where he needs to be and point out where the struggle is coming from.  As a parent, progress monitoring gives us a starting point to build upon and work together with teachers.”

Last week, Governor DeSantis announced a legislative proposal that will eliminate the common-core based, end-of-year Florida Statewide Assessment (FSA) and create the new Florida Assessment of Student Thinking (F.A.S.T.) plan, which will monitor student progress and foster individual growth.  By creating the F.A.S.T. Plan, Florida will become the first state in the nation to fully implement progress monitoring instead of end-of-year standardized testing, and fully eliminate common core.  Read more about that announcement here.

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Colorado Flags Lowered to Honor Passing of Anthony Palato

DENVER  CO (STL.News) Governor Jared Polis today ordered flags to be lowered to half-staff on all public buildings from sunrise until sunset on Tuesday, September 21, 2021, in honor of South Metro Fire Rescue Firefighter Paramedic Anthony Palato, who passed away on September 15, 2021.

South Metro Fire Rescue will hold a full honors, line of duty death memorial service, and fire apparatus procession for Firefighter Paramedic Palato on Tuesday.  The service begins at 11:00 am at Denver First Church, 3800 E Hampden Avenue, Englewood, CO 80113.

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California Governor on Launch of House America

Governor Newsom Statement on Launch of U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development Initiative, House America

SACRAMENTO, CA (STL.News) Governor Gavin Newsom issued the following statement today after a virtual meeting with U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia L. Fudge for the launch of House America, a national partnership led by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development and the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness that brings state and local leaders together to leverage the American Rescue Plan Act to address the homelessness crisis.

“President Biden is deeply committed to tackling the housing and homelessness crisis that has plagued our nation for decades.  The Biden-Harris Administration and leaders like Secretary Fudge understand that it is unacceptable to have Americans living on the street, and that we need significant investments in housing and services, along with the political will to move quickly.

“California is dedicated to doing our part toward this national goal.  California has committed an unprecedented $22 billion investment for housing and homelessness as part of my California Comeback Plan, which includes additional funding from the American Rescue Plan.  California will build more than 84,000 new affordable homes for Californians, including 44,000 new housing units and treatment beds for people exiting homelessness.  California will account for one-third of the housing created as part of House America’s initiative to re-house at least 100,000 households experiencing homelessness.

“The American Rescue Plan also bolstered California’s ability to fund much-needed continuum of care and community services.  The California Comeback Plan invests $3 billion to create 22,000 treatment beds to improve our state’s behavioral health system, which has been underfunded and overlooked for decades.  In California, we’re not settling for the old way of addressing housing and homelessness – we are demanding greater accountability and more urgency to create housing and get people off the streets.  We are extremely grateful to have a partner in the federal government working toward these same goals.”

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US State Department on Belize Independence Day

Washington, DC (STL.News) Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken released the following statement:

On behalf of the Government and people of the United States of America, I extend my warmest congratulations to the people of Belize on the momentous occasion of the 40th anniversary of your independence.

The United States joins the people of Belize in celebrating the accomplishments your country has achieved over the past four decades of independence.  Our nations are bound by a strong friendship and partnership, safeguarded by our mutual commitment to democracy, security, and joint prosperity.  We continue to stand with Belize in facing shared challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic, transnational organized crime, and the climate crisis.

As you celebrate your 40th Independence Day, may the bond between our nations continue to be an example of what is possible through partnership between vibrant democracies with shared values and common goals.

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US State Department on Malta National Day

Washington, DC (STL.News) Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken released the following statement:

On behalf of the United States of America, it is my pleasure to congratulate the people of Malta as you celebrate your 57th Independence Day.c The United States is proud of our longstanding partnership and cooperation with Malta, which is based upon our shared democratic values.

We also cherish our friendship with Malta, which has lasted for more than two centuries.c The United States looks forward to continuing the meaningful cooperation that exists between our two nations, as well as the expansion of our economic, cultural, and people-to-people ties.

Best wishes to all Maltese on this special day.

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US State Department on Armenian Independence Day

Washington, DC (STL.News) Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken released the following statement:

On behalf of the United States of America, I send best wishes to the people of Armenia as you celebrate the 30th anniversary of your independence.

In the three decades since Armenia rejected oppressive communist rule and declared independence from the Soviet Union, the United States and Armenia have developed a strong partnership based on respect for human rights, the rule of law, and democratic institutions.  We appreciate Armenia’s dedication to both these shared values and to its international commitments that play such a vital role toward strengthening peace and stability in the region.

We value the important contributions that Armenian-Americans have made that enrich communities across the United States and add to our nation’s vibrancy.  These cultural connections and our people-to-people ties continue to strengthen the bond between our nations.

As a co-chair of the OSCE Minsk Group, the United States remains committed to helping the sides negotiate a long-term political settlement of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and address the humanitarian impact of the fighting, including the release of all detainees, accounting for those missing, and the full and expeditious exchange of remains.

On this important day, we congratulate Armenia and look forward to building upon our strong bilateral relationship.

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Secretary Blinken’s Call with Mexican Foreign Secretary Ebrard

Washington, DC (STL.News) The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard about coordination to manage the flows of irregular migrants.  The United States and Mexico share a common goal of promoting safe, orderly, and humane migration, and discussed ways to address the challenges of irregular migration.  Secretary Blinken shared his concerns about the dangers of irregular migration, which puts individuals at great risk and often requires migrants and their families to incur crippling debt.  The two also discussed the need for a coordinated regional effort to stem the flow of irregular migration.

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Secretary Blinken’s Call with Haitian Prime Minister Henry

Washington, DC (STL.News) The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken spoke with Haitian Prime Minister Ariel Henry about cooperation to repatriate Haitian migrants on the Southern border of the United States.  They noted that the United States and Haiti share a mutual concern for the safety of Haitian citizens and discussed the dangers of irregular migration, which puts individuals at great risk and often requires migrants and their families to incur crippling debt.  Secretary Blinken shared his appreciation to the Government of Haiti for assisting to repatriate Haitian citizens safely and expeditiously.  The two also discussed a Haitian-led process to chart a path to free and fair elections.  The Secretary noted that it is crucial that Haiti’s government, political parties, civil society, diaspora, and private sector lead this process and work together in the interest of the Haitian people.  Secretary Blinken also noted that the Haitian people deserve a full investigation into the assassination of President Moïse and justice for this heinous crime.

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Secretary Blinken’s Meeting with UK Foreign Secretary Truss

Washington, DC (STL.News) The below is attributable to Spokesperson Ned Price:

Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken met with UK Foreign Secretary Elizabeth Truss in New York City on the margins of the UN General Assembly.  Secretary Blinken and Foreign Secretary Truss discussed a range of issues, including the situation in Afghanistan, tackling the climate crisis, Iran, a free and open Indo-Pacific, and deepening our economic ties.

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Transmission of the President’s Report to Congress

Transmission of the President’s Report to Congress on the Proposed Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2022

Washington, DC (STL.News) Ned Price, Department Spokesperson released the following statement:
The State Department is reaffirming our commitment to refugee resettlement in line with our long tradition of providing a safe haven and opportunity to individuals fleeing persecution.  With the world facing unprecedented global displacement and humanitarian needs, the United States is committed to leading efforts to provide protection and promote durable solutions to humanitarian crises, to include providing resettlement for the most vulnerable.

The Department of State, together with the Departments of Homeland Security (DHS) and Health and Human Services (HHS), transmitted the President’s Report to Congress on the proposed Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2022 to the Committees on the Judiciary of the House of Representatives and the Senate. Next, together with DHS and HHS, the Secretary will consult with Congress about the President’s proposed Presidential Determination on Refugee Admissions for Fiscal Year 2022.  The Secretary looks forward to a meaningful exchange with Members of Congress.

The Report to Congress recommends an increase in the refugee admissions target from 62,500 in Fiscal Year 2021 to 125,000 in Fiscal Year 2022 to address needs generated by humanitarian crises around the globe.

A robust refugee admissions program is critical to U.S. foreign policy interests and national security objectives, and is a reflection of core American values.  The United States has long been a global leader in refugee resettlement.  The U.S. Refugee Admissions Program (USRAP) reflects our tradition as a nation that has long welcomed immigrants and refugees.  It is an important, enduring, and ongoing expression of our commitment to international humanitarian principles and reflects the best of America’s values and compassion.

The Report to Congress will be posted to the State Department website at https://www.state.gov/documents-for-congress/.

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US Calls for Somalia President to Complete Elections

Call for Somalia’s President and Prime Minister to Resolve Dispute and Complete Elections

Washington, DC (STL.News) Ned Price, Department Spokesperson released the following statement:

Cooperation among Somalia’s leaders – particularly President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Roble – is essential to ensure that the country quickly completes its ongoing electoral process.  The dispute between President Farmaajo and Prime Minister Roble risks complicating this process and needs to be resolved immediately and peacefully.

The United States welcomes both sides’ stated commitment to the electoral process but remains concerned that these elections are already months behind schedule.  Any further delay increases the potential for violence and plays into the hands of al-Shabaab and other extremist groups seeking to destabilize the country.

Based on our shared interest to ensure the electoral process moves forward, we call on the President and the Prime Minister to avoid further provocative statements or actions and to resolve their disagreement over personnel appointments and their respective authorities peacefully.  Rapidly completing the electoral process will help advance the country’s counter-terrorism agenda and give the next government the opportunity to meet the needs of Somalia’s people. ?Somalia’s citizens deserve nothing less.