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Furthermore …

Important registration deadlines loom

Much attention has been focused on the March 31 deadline to sign up for health care coverage, but another important deadline is looming: April 7 is the last day to register to vote in the May 6 primary election.

Midterm elections don’t draw the interest they should. Indiana voters will choose a congressman, 25 state senators and all members of the Indiana House. In addition, they will elect dozens of county- and township-level officials.

Some voters prefer to sit out the primary out of reluctance to declare a party preference. For voters in Allen County and other northeast Indiana communities where the Republican Party dominates partisan contests, the primary election might as well be the general election. Democrats struggle to fill some of the ballot spots. In Allen County, the party’s only contested race in May is for the nomination for the 3rd District congressional seat.

Sitting out the primary could leave you few choices in November. Indiana House District 85, for example, has a three-way GOP race, but no Democratic candidate filed for the nomination.

The party could fill the vacancy before the general election or leave the Republican nominee without a challenger.

April 7 is also the deadline to transfer registration if you’ve moved since the last election. If you want a voice in government, your best opportunity is through the ballot box.

The borer’s back

Cold as it was, this winter wasn’t cold enough to kill the larvae of the emerald ash borer.

Other pests may have been affected by the polar vortex, experts say, but the emerald ash borer – an invader from Asia that has killed millions of ash trees nationwide, and thousands in Fort Wayne – probably will survive to kill and kill again.

The bug is not called a “borer” because it tells long and pointless stories but rather because its larvae bore into ash trees.

“Most experts predict that since the larvae of the EAB tunnels underneath the bark into the hardwood of the tree, there will be little effect on this pest as a result of the cold winter,” Ricky Kemery, Allen County’s Purdue Horticulture Extension educator, wrote in an email this week.

“Pests such as Gypsy Moth (and) bagworm will be affected and we should see lower populations of those this year.”

That’s some comfort. But the only hope now is that maybe it will be so hot this summer that all the emerald ash borers will melt.

Inequality draws Indiana’s interest

Ed Feigenbaum’s Indiana Legislative Insight points to an interesting finding in an investing newsletter, “Mauldin Economics”: A Google Trends search for the word “inequality” finds that not only have monthly searches for the subject more than doubled in the past year, Indiana is the state with the highest number of searches for it.

Hmmm. Are Hoosiers growing wary of the 1 percent?

Money best spent on music for more

In 1964, a viola made by Antonio Stradivari sold for $81,000, or $613,000 in today’s dollars. When it goes on sale later this spring, bidding will start at $45 million. Given the state of finances of many municipal music organizations, we are inclined to observe that the price of that Strad, which some people in the know call such instruments, is out of line. Way out of line.

As the New York Times suggests, the price shows the influence collectors, presumably those in the top 1 percent, have on the market for rare instruments.

Another, perhaps more populist way of looking at the phenomenon is that many orchestras, including the Fort Wayne Philharmonic, are struggling with finances. To help resolve a $2 million deficit, the musicians and Philharmonic management reached an agreement in February that reduces the weeks the musicians play from 40 to 33, or a 17 1/2 percent pay cut. Clearly, $45 million could underwrite the Philharmonic for some time.

Stradivari lived in the 17th and 18th centuries. Many people know of Stradivarius violins: roughly 600 are known to exist. But violas? A different story. Maybe 10.

Sotheby’s is handling the sale, along with Ingles & Hayday, a specialist in selling valuable instruments. Bidders will submit sealed bids without their knowing what others are offering.

We have a proposal: Perhaps the people who bid ought to be required to contribute money to struggling orchestras. If the bidders like viola music that much, let them put money forward so the rest of us might enjoy it, too.

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