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Associated Press photos

Furthermore …

A protester makes known his opposition to the Transcanada Keystone Pipeline in February. A judge brusquely sided with the pipeline.

Unanswered questions still dog Armstrong

What is the public to think about the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency’s decision to strip Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles?

One of two scenarios seems likely:

•Armstrong got away with using performance-enhancing drugs for years and deserves to be severely punished.

•The agency is, for whatever reason, on a witch hunt to get Armstrong, who has passed numerous drug tests year after year.

Teammates have implicated Armstrong. Perhaps they have motivation to damage Armstrong’s reputation – but all of them?

And Armstrong has stopped fighting the allegations. Would such a tough competitor give up unless he feared damning evidence would come out?

Still, real questions exist about whether the agency even has the power to strip the bicyclist of victories sanctioned not by the anti-doping panel but by the International Cycling Union and the Tour de France.

A federal judge’s ruling on a lawsuit Armstrong filed against the agency didn’t really help the public understand. The judge sided with the agency and dismissed Armstrong’s challenge – while writing “USADA’s conduct raises serious questions about whether its real interest in charging Armstrong is to combat doping, or if it is acting according to less noble motives.”

And it’s also notable that Armstrong was the subject of an extended criminal inquiry about doping and has not been charged.

Absent hard evidence, the public may always wonder whether Armstrong really broke the rules or was simply tired of being hounded.

Use surplus to bolster home care

Indiana’s gubernatorial candidates seem eager to refund money from the state’s $2.2 billion surplus, but they shouldn’t overlook a plea to spend a portion of it to address the ever-growing waiting list for home health care services.

The Indiana Home Care Task Force held a news conference this week to call on Gov. Mitch Daniels to stop diverting money appropriated by the General Assembly for CHOICE, which covers home health care services, for use as the federal Medicaid match.

Doing so would free up $18.1 million for home health care, according to John Cardwell, the task force’s chairman. Nearly 9,000 Hoosiers are on waiting lists for home care services and for Medicaid waivers for the aged and disabled and for those with brain injuries.

“It’s morally wrong not to use the surplus money to reduce the waiting list,” Cardwell said. “It makes sense to have people get home care.”

Carol Davis, executive director of United Senior Action, said it makes good fiscal sense to allow older Hoosiers to stay in their homes to receive care rather than costly nursing home care.

Rep. Win Moses, D-Fort Wayne, said some members of the General Assembly have been expressing concerns about the CHOICE spending since 2005, to no avail.

An appeal is in the pipeline

A Texas judge was bound to create controversy no matter how he ruled on an effort to stop the Keystone XL Pipeline in the Lone Star state. The way he issued his order greatly heightened the controversy.

Landowners wanted the judge to deny the eminent domain rights for the pipeline approved by the Texas Railroad Commission, which regulates the state’s oil industry. They argued that eminent domain was reserved for “common carrier” pipelines, while Keystone XL will be open to only one producer.

Judge Bill Harris of Lamar County sided with the pipeline – in a 15-word ruling he issued from his iPhone that included absolutely no reason for his decision.

Look for an appeal.

School board interest is up

Moving school board elections from May to November was supposed to generate more voter participation, but it already appears to have generated more candidate participation. For nine seats up for election within the East Allen County, Southwest Allen County and Northwest Allen County school districts, only two are uncontested.

East Allen had nine candidates for four seats in 2008, but Southwest Allen had only three candidates for three seats. Northwest Allen had one contested race.

Fort Wayne Community Schools, where the school board elections already have taken place in a general election, has contests for two of three seats: Incumbent Steve Corona has no challenger. He is currently in his 32nd year on the board.