Under Pence and Buttigieg, South Bend sees mixed economic results

A view of downtown South Bend above the St. Joseph’s River. Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

By Lucas Masin-Moyer and Juan Jose Rodriguez

At the end of 2016, Mary Grace Sikorski was forced to close her restaurant, Spaghetti Joe’s on the west side of South Bend due to lack of business. A few months before Sikorski closed shop, Stephanie Mirza and her husband bought the Innisfree Bed and Breakfast just south of Spaghetti Joe’s and have seen massive success since taking over this past August.

Sikorski and Mirza’s business ventures reflect the mixed bag of economic development in South Bend under then-Governor, now Vice President Mike Pence, and Mayor Pete Buttigieg since the two were elected in 2013 and 2012, respectively.

The South Bend area, specifically, has been influenced by two major players outside of Pence and Buttigieg, whose roles in the economy weigh heavily into the region’s economic development.

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Touring the Premier League’s stadiums

Liverpool FC winger Philipe Coutinho celebrates a goal in 2013. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

The English Premier League’s stadiums encompass a wide range of size and prestige. From AFC Bournemouth’s tiny 12,000 seat Vitality Stadium to iconic stadiums of the sport — Liverpool’s Anfield, Manchester United’s Old Trafford and more — here is a tour of all 20 Premier League Stadiums. Detailed information on the stadiums below video (League position as of April 9, 2017).

Russell Westbrook’s journey to a triple-double season

Photo via Wikimedia Commons

With only six games left to play in the NBA season, Oklahoma City Thunder point guard Russell Westbrook has all but assured he will finish the 2016-17 season averaging a triple double — with double-digit totals in points, assists and rebounds. As of April 7, Westbrook was averaging 31.9 points per game, 10.4 assists per game and 10.6 rebounds per game.

Barring any unforeseen drop in form, Westbrook will be the first to accomplish this remarkable stat line since Oscar Robertson did it for the Cincinnati Royals during the 1961-62 season.

What is equally remarkable is how quickly Westbrook was able to increase his output. Westbrook began his career averaging only 15.3 points per game, yet with the departure of teammates James Harden (2012) and Kevin Durant (2016) allowed Westbrook to shoulder more of the scoring burden, increasing his points per game to 31.9.

Click for interactive graph.

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Measuring the Obama legacy

President Obama speaks on the telephone in the Oval Office in 2009. Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

Much of President Trump’s campaign for the nation’s highest office was based upon undoing the policies and programs that had been enacted by President Barack Obama. The domestic legacy left by President Obama can be divided into four major policy areas — economic, debt and deficit reduction, immigration and healthcare.

In the wake of the financial crisis of 2007-08, Obama was faced with a market hemorrhaging jobs, with the unemployment rate reaching double digits in mid 2009. By the beginning of Obama’s second term, economic growth had picked up and unemployment continued to fall, reaching 4.8% in the last month of his presidency. While some of the spending Obama used to try and stimulate the economy increased the deficit early on, by the end of his presidency, the deficit had shrunk dramatically.

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Tracking Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s campaign for DNC Chair

Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg — Photo via Wikimedia Commons.

On February 25, South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg dropped out of the race for Chair of the Democratic Committe (DNC) and former Labor Secretary Tom Perez, was elected. Despite Perez’s election it was Buttigieg, heralded as the future of the Democratic Party, who perhaps made the most noise.

Buttigieg, the first openly gay executive in the state of Indiana, former Rhodes Scholar and veteran of the War in Afghanistan, campaigned across the country in his unsuccessfull bid to run the Democratic Party. Over the course of his campaign, Buttigieg received endorsements from Former DNC Chairs Howard Dean and Ed Rendell. Track Buttigieg’s campaign trips in the interactive map below.

Northeastern Pennsylvania crucial in turning state red

President Trump speaks on his "Thank You Tour" in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Trump squeezed out a narrow victory in the state, helping launch him to the presidency. Photo Courtesy Wikimedia commons.

President Trump speaks on his “Thank You Tour” in Hershey, Pennsylvania. Trump squeezed out a narrow victory in the state, helping launch him to the presidency.  Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

For the first time since 1988, Pennsylvania donned Republican (GOP) red in the 2016 election. The state had long been considered a Democratic stronghold based on its large cities and substantial working class population. In 2016, Pennsylvania was one of the crucial states, along with Michigan and Wisconsin, in electing Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States.

Link to interactive map: //datawrapper.dwcdn.net/DFFnu/1/

While most regions voted more heavily Republican, the region which saw the greatest swing away from the Democratic Party towards President Trump was the Northeastern region. In Lackawanna County, home to Scranton, Trump won 11% more of the vote than Mitt Romney did in 2012 and in Schuylkill County, just south of Lackawanna, Trump brought home 14% more of the vote.

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Search Trends: “Hamilton” and Alexander Hamilton, “Nineteen Eighty-Four” and Trump

“Hamilton’s” success drives interest in Alexander Hamilton

Lin-Manuel Miranda portrays Alexander Hamilton in his musical

Lin-Manuel Miranda portrays Alexander Hamilton during a April 2016 performance of his musical “Hamilton.” Photo courtesy Wikimedia Commons.

The longstanding question of how to make history more interesting may have been answered with the popularity of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton.” Since the musical’s debut on August 6, 2015, a surge in searches for “Hamilton” have been accompanied by a corresponding surge in searches for the historical figure at the musical’s center, United States founding father Alexander Hamilton. There is only one instance in the last year and a half, in late November 2016, in which the two trends did not mirror each other. This divergence most likely corresponds with the cast’s decision to urge then Vice-President Mike Pence to create a more inclusive America.

The search trends for Lin-Manuel Miranda's musical

The search trends for Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical “Hamilton” and United States founding father Alexander Hamilton. More Detailed trends linked in heading title

Outside of its ability to spark an interest in American history, “Hamilton” has had profound cultural impact, even influencing government decisions. It has been widely speculated the musical’s popularity led the United States Treasury, the department which Hamilton led, to reverse their decision to replace Hamilton with a woman on the $10 bill. The treasury department announced they would instead replace Andrew Jackson’s image with one of Harriet Tubman on the $20 bill. The interest in Alexander Hamilton’s life, and the history surrounding it, has led to tourists flocking to sites associated with his life. According to Playbill, visits to Hamilton’s grave have gone up 70% since the musical’s debut.

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