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Furthermore …

Treading cautiously in ethics case

The complaint about a county councilman and the sheriff filed with the Allen County Ethics Commission is, as commission member Thomas Hardin noted, “unchartered territory” for the commission. Indeed, the ethics policy it is charged with enforcing deals mostly with accepting gifts – not with one county official calling another in the middle of the night after being stopped by a sheriff’s deputy.

So Friday’s meeting of the commission was really more about how to process the complaint, not how to resolve it. To their credit, Hardin and businesswoman Wendy Stein voted to require County Councilman Paul Moss and Sheriff Ken Fries to provide written responses to the complaint about how the traffic stop was handled.

Both Moss and Fries have said they did nothing improper. Moss refused to take field sobriety tests and called Fries at home; Fries talked to the officer, and the deputy allowed Moss to get a ride home rather than take him downtown to take the official Breathalyzer test.

But Hardin and Stein – like many other county residents – want more information. Former Allen Circuit Court Judge Thomas Ryan inexplicably voted against seeking the response.

As Hardin noted, the process is “very preliminary.” Exactly how the commission can proceed remains unclear. But asking Moss and Fries to explain their conduct in writing is a good first step.

Our Vatican visitor

The Vatican’s official newspaper now has a northeast Indiana connection.

The Vatican selected Our Sunday Visitor in Huntington to distribute the English-language version of L’Osservatore Romano in North America. The selection comes during the year that Our Sunday Visitor is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its establishment by John Francis Noll, a priest who later became archbishop.

The Huntington publisher of Catholic periodicals and books already has another direct connection to the Vatican. Pope Benedict named the non-profit company’s president, Greg Erlandson, as one of two U.S. advisers for the Pontifical Council for Social Communications. Erlandson also was a journalist who reported on the Vatican earlier in his career.

L’Osservatore Romano is published in several languages.