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Furthermore …


Justices side with Huntington County

The first Indiana Supreme Court decision written by the newest justice affects the practice of Hoosiers with suspended licenses relying on two-wheeled motorized cycles known variously as mopeds, scooters, motorized bicycles or – in the old days – minibikes.

Justice Mark Massa’s decision should offer police and courts firm support for prohibiting anyone without a valid driver’s license from riding a scooter that can go faster than 25 mph. The decision is also a victory of sorts for Huntington Superior Court Judge Jeffrey Heffel- finger.

At issue was the driving while suspended conviction of a man whom state police pulled over on U.S. 24 in Huntington County while riding a Yamaha Zuma (like those seen here). State law does allow riding a “motorized bicycle” without a license; but if it has a “maximum design speed” of more than 25 mph, it’s a motor vehicle and requires a driver’s license to operate. The rider was going 43 mph when police stopped him.

The legal issue was the definition of “maximum design speed.” In a 10-page decision, Massa laid out the various arguments and found that considering the bike was traveling 43 mph, “it is impossible to claim that no reasonable fact-finder could find beyond reasonable doubt that the Zuma had a maximum design speed in excess of twenty-five miles per hour,” upholding the rider’s conviction for driving while suspended.

After Heffelfinger found the rider guilty, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed, saying the meaning of “maximum design speed” wasn’t so clear. Though one of the justices agreed with the Court of Appeals, the other four agreed with Heffelfinger.

Now, how about a crackdown on illegal use of such vehicles?

Manchester’s new jewel

A new $20 million College of Pharmacy caps Manchester College’s transition to Manchester University, but it’s also a first-rate addition to the growing medical complex on Fort Wayne’s north side.

The College of Pharmacy welcomed visitors at an open house this past week, where the 80,000-square-foot building at the northwest corner of Dupont and Diebold roads will serve its first class of about 70 students this year. Twenty-four faculty members have been hired for the program, which will eventually serve 280 students.

The only pharmacy program in northern Indiana, the program’s first class includes 48 students from Indiana.

The building’s design also adheres to Manchester’s deep commitment to environmental stewardship. It received LEED Silver certification and includes a highly efficient geothermal heating and cooling system. The parking lot features abundant bike racks close to the door and priority parking for visitors driving fuel-efficient vehicles.

Time to break up banks?

Sanford Weill, a Wall Street legend who helped build Citigroup into a financial powerhouse, was a leading force in convincing Congress to repeal the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Passed during the Great Depression, for 66 years the law had required consumer banks and investment banks to be separate. After the mortgage meltdown led the government to bail out some of the biggest banks, Weill was adamant that the demise of Glass-Steagall was not to blame.

So the 79-year-old Weill sent ripples through the business world this week when he said the big investment banks should be broken up, with the high-risk investment banks separating from consumer banks.

“I think the world changes,” he said, “and the world that we live in is different than the one that we lived in 10 years ago.”

Weill said breaking up the big banks would make them stronger and would rebuild the financial industry’s reputation.

“I want to see us be a leader, and what we’re doing now is not going to make us a leader,” he said.

Frustration of DCSmisplaced

The Department of Child Services had an interesting reason contributing to the high turnover among its staff: It’s the media’s fault.

“The intense media coverage had a marked impact on employee morale,” the agency said in its report to the State Budget Committee. What the report didn’t say was that scrutiny largely focused on how the agency handled cases involving children who were later killed or injured.

Much attention also focused on the state’s decision to handle reports of child neglect and abuse with a centralized call center, which has been criticized by judges, lawyers and social service workers as well as questioned by the media. Yet the agency shows no sign of changing this system.

The position is much like the way state officials repeatedly defended their decision to replace individual contact for welfare applicants with call centers – until state officials finally acknowledged the call centers weren’t working.

Perhaps the agency should accept this wisdom as old as Shakespeare. Roughly translated: “Don’t shoot the messenger.”