Political Notebook

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Hey, 20 degrees sounded warm at the time

Sometimes, things just don’t work out the way you’d like – especially when your event involves the weather.

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry conducted a news conference Thursday morning to announce a record construction season, with more than $20 million in projects planned. Officials held the event in the entrance to McMillen Park, overlooking Oxford Street, which is scheduled for concrete repairs.

But the weather was not at all reminiscent of summer construction season: It was 20 degrees, and the wind blowing unimpeded across the open expanse of McMillen Park dropped the wind chill to 8.

“We didn’t account for the wind,” city spokesman John Perlich admitted.

Still, you can’t blame people for being optimistic. After all, 20 sounded warm after the winter we’ve had.

But you can be annoyed at the never-ending deep freeze, and even the mayor let his annoyance show as he began his remarks: “My God, this winter just won’t leave us, will it?”

A star is rising

State Sen. Jim Banks, R-Columbia City, was to address the 2014 Conservative Political Action Conference on Saturday in Maryland as one of the rising stars selected as part of this year’s Top 10 Conservatives Under 40.

“While it’s exciting to be recognized for individual accomplishment, I view this more as a stamp of approval for the great work being done by conservatives in Indiana,” Banks said. “We are proving to Washington, D.C., liberals that conservative ideas are not just an ideological choice, but a common-sense way to make life better for our fellow Americans.”

The Conservative Political Action Conference, a project of the American Conservative Union, has been held annually since 1973. Past speakers have included presidents, vice presidents and notable figures in conservative politics.

Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels keynoted the annual CPAC Reagan Dinner in 2011.

“We are pleased to announce that Sen. Jim Banks has been selected as one of our top 10 conservatives under 40,” ACU Chairman Al Cardenas said. “Our focus at CPAC has always been to showcase rising stars in the conservative movement. The depth and diversity of young leaders like Sen. Banks provides hope for America’s future as we face tough challenges ahead.”

Banks’ appearance at CPAC precedes a two-week Navy call-up to Rhode Island to complete his 15-month Navy Supply Corps School training. It is his fourth trip in the past 18 months.

Banks will miss the last week of the legislative session.

He has served in the Senate since 2010, representing Wabash County and portions of Whitley, Huntington and Grant counties.

State of the 6th

Fort Wayne City Councilman Glynn Hines will present his 15th annual State of the 6th District address at 9 a.m. Saturday at Link’s Wonderland, 1711 E. Creighton Ave.

Events include a soul food breakfast at 9, Hine’s address at 10 a.m., updates from city departments at 10:30 a.m. and a resident question-and-answer session from 11:30 a.m. to noon.

Hines has represented the 6th District since 1999.

Snowmen

Five Fort Wayne City Council members got together to form an ad hoc task force to examine issues that have arisen with the record-breaking winter we’ve had, mainly impassable sidewalks.

The biggest issue was that while the city has a law requiring property owners to clear their walks, it has never been enforced, and council members expressed no desire to enforce it. They want clear sidewalks but are loath to fine anyone for not clearing them.

And though the agenda stated it was for a meeting of the “Snow Removal Task Force,” members also couldn’t figure out what to call themselves. When one member suggested “snow angels,” Political Notebook suggested the five males call themselves “snowmen.”

Abominable.

Dan Stockman of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at bfrancisco@jg.net or Niki Kelly at nkelly@jg.net. An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.

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