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Swikar Patel | The Journal Gazette
Jean-Philipp Chabot skates during Komets’ training camp at Memorial Coliseum.

Furthermore …

Republicans’ voter signup in Florida stumbles

The GOP-led effort to enact tough new voter laws has drawn criticism as a solution in search of problem. Turns out there is a problem – with GOP-led voter registration efforts.

An elections official in Palm Beach County, Fla., last month flagged 106 fraudulent registration forms and traced them to a company, Strategic Allied Consulting. The company’s founder, Nathan Sproul, was hired by the Republican National Committee to register GOP voters in several election battleground states. In 2004, employees who worked for previous companies operated by Sproul were accused of destroying Democratic registration forms, tricking college students into registering as Republicans and refusing to register Democrats or independents. Investigations took place in Nevada, Oregon and Arizona, but no charges were filed.

Sproul, former executive director of the Arizona Christian Coalition, was paid $7.9 million by the Republican National Committee in 2004. He told the Los Angeles Times the RNC asked him to start a company with a new name to avoid the controversy involving his previous firms.

The RNC has severed ties with Sproul since the Florida registration problems arose.

Hockey fans missing NHL look to Komets

NHL owners’ decision to lock out players and cancel the first block of regular season games is bad news for big league hockey fans. But the freeze on National Hockey League games could offer a temporary silver lining for Komets fans.

The lockout of players over a collective bargaining agreement means NHL regular season games are canceled at least until Oct. 24. The lack of NHL action will likely drive more fans to Komets games to get their hockey fix.

It could also mean Komets fans get an opportunity to see some big league talent during the NHL downtime. Top players will be looking for ice time in lower leagues – at least until the lockout is over. In May, the Komets left the CHL and joined the ECHL, which has a stronger reputation as a developmental league for the NHL.

The down side is those players will be bumped back up as soon as the dispute is over. And as Journal Gazette sports columnist Ben Smith said, it could mean a “training camp” atmosphere midseason.

The number behind state’s surplus number

Indiana’s budget surplus is a popular topic as incumbent officeholders boast of their fiscal stewardship and candidates pledge to share the wealth with taxpayers. Not often mentioned, however, is the staggering debt in Indiana’s unemployment insurance fund – more than $1.7 billion. Only California, New York, North Carolina and Ohio are carrying a larger debt.

The debt is owed to the federal government, which bailed out states with stimulus-backed, interest-free loans during the Great Recession. Indiana was among the first states to borrow from the federal government when the downturn began.

The stimulus package waived interest on the loans made through the end of 2010, but Indiana and 17 other states paid about $2 billion on Sept. 30 to cover interest on $26 billion in unemployment fund debt.