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  • A questionable 'no'
    The legislature is used to paring or turning down requests for more money. But the Indiana Department of Child Services’ decision not to ask for increased staff next year merits further examination.
  • Ethics cloud hangs over new lawmaker
    If legislative leaders are serious about raising the ethical bar in the Indiana General Assembly, they suffered a setback with the election of Jon Ford on Nov. 4. He arrives at the Statehouse with some considerable baggage.
  • A questionable 'no'
    The legislature is used to paring or turning down requests for more money. But the Indiana Department of Child Services’ decision not to ask for increased staff next year merits further examination.
The week ahead

Council cuts come due

Fort Wayne police patrol officer Mark Bieker and his dog, Justice, patrol the Rivergreenway in 2010. A citizens vigil will take place Saturday morning near the Lower Huntington Road bridge.

Local residents have the opportunity to speak out on the proposed 2013 city budget at Tuesday’s City Council meeting. The council holds its public hearing on the budget and proposed tax increase.

Later in the meeting, the council is scheduled to review budget requests for running the mayor’s office as well as the council’s own budget. On Wednesday and, if needed, Thursday, council members will continue reviews of budgets it selects. Proposed budget cuts from council members are due Friday.

This could well be a difficult budget for council members, who best serve constituents by balancing the need to provide quality city services with the burden the costs pose on taxpayers. Three of the nine council members have opposed any tax increase, but others have indicated they may accept something less than the full 5.7 proposed hike.


The first debate among the three candidates for Indiana governor is scheduled for Wednesday in Zionsville. Republican Mike Pence, Democrat John Gregg and Libertarian Rupert Boneham square off at 8 p.m.

On Thursday, the only scheduled debate between vice presidential candidates Joe Biden, the Democrat, and Paul Ryan, the Republican, begins at 9 p.m. from Centre College in Danville, Ky. Martha Raddatz, senior foreign affairs correspondent for ABC News, is the moderator.

Child care review

A legislative committee reviewing Indiana’s child care regulations will meet Tuesday and Wednesday.

The committee, headed by Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, will hear testimony Tuesday from Melanie Brizzi, director of the Bureau of Child Care regarding provider oversight and complaints.

Wednesday, the panel will discuss committee visits to child care facilities. One of those visits was to a facility operated as a registered ministry. The operators were recently indicted on 27 felony counts, accused of swindling millions in child care voucher dollars.

Since the legislative committee began meeting this fall, another child has died. Skyler Bullocks, a South Bend toddler, died Sept. 15 after she was removed from life support. The child suffered severe brain damage after she was pulled from a swimming pool at her former foster grandmother’s home child care in Osceola on Aug. 2. The unlicensed business was later shut down.

Rivergreenway vigil

The recent assault on the Rivergreenway near the Lower Huntington Road bridge has prompted a demonstration scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday in Foster Park. Participants in the Strength Against Violence demonstration are asked to wear white and line the trail shoulder to shoulder.

Death penalty

In Washington, the Supreme Court will hear important cases Tuesday regarding mental health and the death penalty.

The court ruled 26 years ago that it is unconstitutional to execute a mentally insane defendant. Less clear is the fate of criminals who are found mentally incompetent after being sentenced.

Two federal courts, including one in Ohio, ruled the death penalty should be suspended indefinitely for such defendants. The government is arguing against indefinite stays of execution. But the position of the American Psychiatric Association should prevail: People who can’t help with their appeals shouldn’t be executed.


Tuesday is the deadline to register to vote – or to register a change of address – for the Nov. 6 election.

Though today is Columbus Day, the voter registration office will be open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Tuesday. The office is at 1 W. Superior St., Suite 111. Voters can register online until 11:59 p.m. Tuesday at

Ethics trial

David Lott Hardy, Indiana’s former top utilities regulator, is scheduled for trial in a Marion County court Wednesday on four felony counts related to the Duke Energy scandal. His attorney has asked an appellate court to take the case because of Hardy’s medical condition. His lawyer has asked the appeals court to consider the case so Hardy, a Fort Wayne attorney, could avoid standing trial if the court finds in his favor.

He is accused of failing to disclose secret meetings with Duke executives regarding cost overruns at a power plant in southern Indiana.