Friday May 10, 2013
Politics filled my week — conservative matters, U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski and Syria. Oh, and VIM Recycling.
In case you missed it, here’s a rundown of what I covered, wrote about:
John Birch Society: A story about the Elkhart branch of the John Birch Society appeared in Sunday’s print version of the Elkhart Truth (look here). I attended one of their meetings (six people were there, aside from me) and spoke with two of the most active members, LeRoy Chaffee and Ralph Searer. The conservative group — worried about growth in the influence of the United Nations and federal government overreach — has been around Elkhart since the 1960s and it’s persisted.
I did two followup blogs, one looking at the contrasting reader response to the article (look here), the other looking at criticism the John Birch Society and the Southern Poverty Law Center, a JBS foe, have lobbed at each other (look here).
Military sexual assaults: U.S. Rep. Jackie Walorski, R-Elkhart, introduced legislation meant to protect service members who report being victims of military sexual violence (look here) and then took part in a meeting Thursday with White House staffers on the matter (look here). The issue generated a lot of national attention this week with a Pentagon report showing a jump in reported cases of sexual assaults in the military and President Obama’s comments that the matter needs to be addressed.
Syria, Afghanistan: U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly, back from a trip to Afghanistan, Pakistan and Syrian refugee camps in Turkey, said the United States is on track to have most U.S. service members out of Afghanistan next year. Whether to get involved in the civil conflict in Syria, meanwhile, remains a point of debate. He spoke with reporters on a conference call. Read more here…
VIM Reycling: Papers in a court filing in one of the VIM Recycling lawsuits show that the deal transferring VIM to Soil Solutions in 2011 is worth $7.47 million. The wood recycling operation, formerly operated by VIM and now by Soil Solutions, has been at the center of controversy and litigation for several years. Read more here…
Sheriff Rogers: Elkhart County Sheriff Brad Rogers, focus of two critical newspaper editorials for his comments at a recent gun rights rally, says he’s on solid ground in refusing to enforce new laws that infringe on gun rights. Here’s the article I did.
I interviewed the sheriff further on that and more on Friday and will be working on a followup article. Stay tuned.
College for undocumented immigrants: Gov. Mike Pence inked the bill into law letting certain undocumented immigrants pay in-state tuition rates at public colleges here instead of the higher non-resident rates. Here’s a blog I wrote.
The Onion, manure odor: I did a blog about an item in The Onion about a Goshen man buying off-brand cereal for his kids (look here) and another about some misapplied manure that caused a stink near Foraker (look here).
Tim Vandenack is a reporter at the Elkhart Truth newspaper in Elkhart, Ind., www.etruth.com. He can be reached at email@example.com or 574-296-5884. Visit him/subscribe to him on Facebook or follow him on Twitter at @timvandenack.