Fort Wayne Observed founder Nathan Gotsch is the creator of Josh Jennings for Congress. The original ads parodying congressional campaigns went viral in 2006 and were mentioned on numerous national news programs.
Earlier this year, Mr. Gotsch completed a pilot for a Josh Jennings television comedy.
News reports from the United Kingdom today are that the owner of the company that makes Segway was killed when the Segway he was riding plunged off a cliff into a river.
Allen County Commissioner Bill Brown was a Segway 'early adopter' and can often be seen around town scooting along on his Segway. The Fort Wayne Observed photo at right was taken a few years ago at the corner of Calhoun and Berry in the heart of the city.
Some might see the death of the Segway company owner as a cautionary tale about the safety of Segways. No one need worry for Commissoner Brown, however. The Segway that Commissioner Brown pilots is made for pavement. In northern Indiana, the generally flat terrain makes for a safer ride.
Which brings us back to the death of Mr. Jimi Heselden, the owner of Segway. The London Telegraph reported that he was riding a "rugged country version" of the two-wheeled vehicle.
More: FWOb post placing Mr. Brown in a historical context.
Felicia Sonmez is blogging from the Values Voter Summit in Washington DC for Chris Cillizza's widely read Washington Post weblog 'The Fix."
She reported on the remarks of US Representative Mike Pence to the group and wrote:
Rep. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) took the stage at 11:15 a.m., to raucous applause after a fiery speech from Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-Minn). He delivered his remarks from the podium, largely reading from notes, and received BY FAR the most enthusiastic reception of the morning thus far, with the crowd leaping to their feet several times.
Halfway through Pence's speech, a man called out, "Pence for president!" Several others responded with cheers.
Mr. Pence's 6th Congressional District includes parts of southern Allen County including the communities of Monroeville and Hoagland.
The SAVE OUR SCHOOL - ELMHURST organization released the following this afternoon:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 15, 2010
Save Our School - Elmhurst case moves forward with Special Judge
The Honorable Jenny Pitts Manier -- Special Judge appointed by the Indiana SupremeCourt to hear the Save Our School-Elmhurst (SOSEHS) lawsuit against Fort Wayne Community Schools (FWCS) and their Board of School Trustees -- has granted SOSEHS attorney Robert Vegeler's request for a Status Conference. The Status Conference is scheduled for September 29, 2010, at 1:00 p.m. in Judge Manier's Courtroom in Mishawaka, Indiana. SOSEHS is hopeful that FWCS will finally answer their complaint without further delay. The case was initially filed by SOSEHS on April 20, 2010, but has been stalled for months by FWCS legal delay tactics. For further details, please contact Mr. Vegeler at 407-6161.
SOSEHS finds recent activity by the board of FWCS regarding the EHS real estate puzzling. On Monday, September 13, 2010, the board voted to approve an expenditure of approximately $82,000 to repair the roof of the outdoor locker rooms at EHS for the benefit of South Side High School athletes who are currently utilizing the outdoor fields on the EHS campus. FWCS has asserted for months that the EHS real estate is in such a state of disrepair -- needing $25 million in renovations to remain viable --that closing the school was the only option. However, those concerns no longer seem to be an issue.
Several months ago, SOSEHS received a FWCS building survey which gave an estimate of approximately $9 million to renovate the EHS real estate. There is a difference of $16 million dollars between the unverified FWCS estimate of $25 million and the building survey quote of $9 million. $16 million dollars is more than the deficit FWCS advised the public it was facing when budget cuts were first introduced. Ironically, this huge discrepancy in financial projections for alleged needed repairs to the EHS real estate is apparently no cause for concern to FWCS as they have never given an explanation for the large disparity.
FWCS recently announced savings of $20 million as a result of their budget cutting initiative. More than $5 million in excess of their $15 million estimate has been saved. Per the original projections made by FWCS, only $1.5 million would be saved by the closure of EHS. It appears that if FWCS had taken more than a few weeks to analyze the decision to close a high school which achieved a zero drop out rate, led local high schools in graduation rate gains and posted higher ISTEP scores than three of the schools EHS students were re-assigned to, cuts could have been made away from the classroom per the wishes of the Indiana Department of Education as detailed in their Citizen’s Checklist.
One suggestion the public made to FWCS, prior to the board's yes vote on the proposal to close EHS, was to wait for a period of at least one year prior to moving forward with the closure or any school to identify cuts away from the classroom and to give the economy additional time to recover. Without having EHS in operation during the 2010-2011 scholastic year, negative effects on the classroom have been reported by students and teachers including overcrowding, long lines for lunch and insufficient quantities of desks, chairs and textbooks. It is apparent the decision by FWCS to close EHS was premature, ill advised and unwarranted.
When a corporation as large -- and influential -- as FWCS lands millions of dollars off the mark with financial projections, and those deficiencies are coupled with hasty decision making sans the backing of accurate data, a correction in procedures should be called for. Internal financial reporting, the area where discrepancies appear to lie, is not the focus of the State Board of Accounts (SBOA) bi-annual audits of FWCS finances. As such, we again call for an independent audit of FWCS internal financial reporting to bring transparency, validity and authenticity to the process.
In addition, the public has reported to SOSEHS that they lack trust in FWCS and their board. Swift, decisive action -- such as that exhibited when the board re-wrote and voted to amend their bylaws to exclude public comment from being televised -- should be taken by the board to restore same. Full disclosure of outside involvements that may present conflicts of interest with board activities should be a mandatory requirement of all board members as a show of good faith, integrity and dedication towards public education rather than outside interests. Immediate implementation of such a policy by the FWCS board would be a crucial step forward in the right direction towards repairing the tenuous relationship the district currently holds with the community it professes to serve.
Former WKJG-TV News Director and anchor Dick Florea will be on a panel next Wednesday in Indianapolis with other veteran television newspersons to talk about their experiences with broadcast news in Indiana.
Mr. Florea will share a stage with Mike Ahern, Howard Caldwell, Mike Piggott and Anne Ryder to discuss the changing nature of television news.
The program will take place in the Community Room of Indianapolis public station WFYI from 11:15 AM to 1:30 PM. WXIN anchor Bob Donaldson of Indianapolis will moderate the luncheon.
The program is an Indiana Broadcast Pioneer's event.
Mr. Florea has had a long and intense interest in local and Indiana history reflected in his involvement with The History Center in Fort Wayne.
It's September 2010. After nearly a year of work in a much more open process than had been undertaken prior to September 2009, the City has a new, lower fee contract for waste collection.
A year ago, the City was going to award the contract to Earth First. Now, the contract is being awarded to Republic Service's National Serv-All. It is clear that the willingness of Earth First to engage in the process resulted in a lower bid from Serv-All than Serv-All's current contract.
You might remember that the City of Fort Wayne trash contract was the subject of much controversy one year ago. The Henry administration had prepared an ordinance in 2009 to award the trash contract to Earth First LLC. Earth First was going to use a transfer station owned by Summit City Recycling and Transfer LLC on Pontiac Street east of Anthony Boulevard.
The ordinance approving the award of the contract by the administration's Board of Works was to have been introduced September 22, 2009. It became the subject of a controversy regarding the ownership interests of the transfer station on Pontiac Street east of Anthony Boulevard.
The City Administration began its presentation last night by remarking the Mayor had been committed to making the process of selecting a contractor for the city's waste hauling as open and inclusive as possible.
However, that open process only began after the storm of controversy over the adminstration's first attempt to award the contract in 2009
In the midst of this, I questioned the presenters last night if they were aware of discussion in the community that Summit City Recycling and Transfer was being sold? They indicated they were and some discussion ensued.
The rumored buyer? Republic - the parent of the new awardee of the city trash hauling contract.
That part of the discussion at last night's Council meeting was not mentioned in print coverage of the waste contract vote.
If you need a litte refreshing of the 2009 controversy here is an excerpt from the JG story by Ben Lanka from September 23, 2009:
A contract with a startup company linked to Mayor Tom Henry’s brother was pulled from the City Council’s agenda Tuesday to give the administration more time to vet the firm.
[ ... ]
Vince Robinson, public information director for the mayor, said the bill was withheld so the administration could further investigate the financial standing of the company, which was founded in July. He said some concerns were raised internally and by council members about the contract, but he said this does not mean the city is reconsidering other companies.
[ ... ]
The firm will occupy the former Fort Wayne Foundry site on Pontiac Street next to the solid waste transfer station owned by Summit Recycling & Transfer LLC. To get space for offices, a shop and truck parking, Earth First gave a 5 percent ownership stake to Jerry Henry, a principal in the transfer station and the mayor’s brother.
[ ... ]
Robinson said Jerry Henry’s connection to the bid had no influence on the company’s being selected. Jerry Henry said Tuesday he understands the concerns. City officials should take their time making a decision, he said.
Councilwoman Liz Brown, R-at large, said she is concerned about how the award to Earth First would look to residents, although she doesn’t believe anything inappropriate transpired.
“Nobody’s going to believe that this was just serendipity,” she said.
Councilwoman Karen Goldner, D-2nd, said Jerry Henry’s involvement does not mean it’s a bad deal. She said it’s appropriate the city is making sure a new company can handle such an important service for residents.
Citizens for Healthy Development, the Lisle IL citizens group that fought Navistar plans to consolidate its headquarters, engineering, and truck testing to the former Lucent site in Lisle, are now supportive of the move.
The CHD group sent an email to its supporters regarding the press conference to be held in Lisle at 10 AM regarding Navistar. Illinois Governor Madigan and State Attorney General Madigan will be at that press conference.
Here is the text of the message sent earlier today by CHD:
To All of our Dedicated Supporters,
After a long year of sending a clear and unwaivering message of opposition to the potential environmental and economic impacts of past proposals to construct industrial uses (diesel engine and truck testing) on the Lucent property in Lisle and four months of negotiations facilitated by Governor Quinn and Attorney General Madigan, we finally have a result to share.
Today at 10am, Governor Quinn and Attorney Geneal Madigan will hold a press conference in Lisle to announce the results of our summer negotiations. While CHD has been asked by the Attorney General's office to hold the details of the announcement, we can say that all our hard work has indeed paid off.
Thanks again to all of you for your hard work. Hang a green ribbon on your tree to celebrate what a so-called "small group" of concerned citizens can do when empowered with knowledge, determination and conviction.
Historically, the two major Indiana political parties have held their conventions in Indianapolis. This was at one time required by state statute; more recently it has been required by party rule.
However, the Indiana Democratic Party voted to change their convention venue rule in June. The location of the 2012 State Democratic Convention will be determined by a vote of the Indiana Democratic State Committee. It may still be held in Indianapolis or it could be held, say, in Fort Wayne.
Local Democrats were asking attendees to sign a petition at the Three Rivers Central Labor Council picnic on Monday requesting that the 2010 convention be held in Fort Wayne.
The next state convention will be nominating candidates for Lt. Governor, Attorney General, and Superintendent of Public Instruction. The convention will also vote on delegates and alternates to be sent to the Democratic National Convention.
Indianapolis is seen as attractive for its central location. However, the location of the convention also means that the political power of the Marion County Central Committees of both parties have an advantage in influencing the convention. The capital city location means that the Marion County organizations have an easier time of assuring attendance - and continued presence - of their delegates when convention nominating battles take place.
On the other hand, both parties have had fewer and fewer of those battles since the mid-1970's when the nominations for Governor and US Senator were removed from the convention and placed in the hands of primary voters. Nominating contests for the 2010 Democratic Secretary of State nomination, the 2008 Republican Attorney General nomination and the 1996 Republican Lt. Governor nomination provided some spark but it has become harder for county chairs of both parties to recruit persons to run for state convention delegate. Delegates are elected every two years in the primary election.
So, prying the Democratic convention away from Indianapolis is not a done deal. Proponents of such a move will not only have to deal with the opposition from the Marion County folks but concerns about travel time and inconvenience from whichever corner of the state would be opposite the site being proposed.
But if the Girl's IHSAA tourney can be successfully hosted in Fort Wayne; so can the State Democratic Convention.
As for the Republicans, they still require the convention be held in the Circle City. But perhaps outstate Republicans can start agitating for a rule change in 2012 and Allen County Republicans can start honing a bid for 2014.