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North Manchester hosts one of the area’s ethanol plants.

Commissioner’s re-election a rare exception

In Huntington County’s only contested race Tuesday, Republican County Commissioner Tom Wall was easily re-elected – despite the fact he faces trial on seven misdemeanor battery charges. He is accused of inappropriately touching two women who worked at his business.

Voters were not as kind to a number of other candidates who ran while under a cloud of suspicion.

In Nevada, voters favored President Obama but did not elect the Democratic Senate candidate, Shelley Berkley. Currently a U.S. representative, the House Ethics Commission has investigated whether she attempted to persuade federal officials not to close a facility affiliated with her husband’s medical practice.

Another Democratic U.S. House member, Joe Baca of California, was defeated after also facing ethics accusations involving a charity his family runs that took donations from groups that asked the congressman for help with federal issues.

Also losing was his Democratic congressional colleague from California, Laura Richardson, whom the House Ethics Commission reprimanded for forcing staff members to work on her campaign and then trying to cover up evidence.

In Illinois, voters sent Republican Rep. Joe Walsh home. Walsh has been the subject of several financial-related accusations, including failure to pay child support.

Another Republican, Rep. David Rivera of Florida, lost after that state’s ethics panel accused him of accepting and failing to report a $1 million business contract with a gambling concern.

Obama foes tweet away

The USA survived the Civil War, the Great Depression and the woefully incompetent presidency of Warren G. Harding.

No matter what you think of President Obama, the sun will come up and the nation will still exist on the January morning in 2017 when a new president is inaugurated.

But you wouldn’t believe it if you listen to some of the president’s critics, who took the phrase “sore loser” to new depths this week.

Some examples from Twitter posts:

Donald Trump: “This election is a total sham and a travesty! We are not a democracy. … Lets fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice! The world is laughing at us.”

Mary Matalin (GOP strategist): Obama “has no mandate for anything.”

Ted Nugent (musician): “Pimps whores & welfare brats and their soulless supporters hav a president to destroy America. … Goodluk America u just voted for economic & spiritual suicide. Soulless fools.”

Victoria Jackson (comedian and actress): “America Died. … The Democrat Party voted God out and replaced Him with Romans 1. … Evil won.”

More perils of privatization

The decision to privatize the Hoosier Lottery is looking more like a risky bet. A Chicago Tribune story on Friday detailed the ongoing woes of Northstar Lottery Group, the company that runs the Illinois Lottery.

The company’s contract with that state promised to bring in between $825 million and $851 million. But the company fell far short of its promise. An arbiter in the case between the company and disappointed Illinois leaders denied more than $230 million in concessions requested by the company, and as a result the lottery operator will likely owe between $28 million to $36 million in penalties.

In October, GTECH Indiana LLC won the bid to run the Hoosier Lottery. GTECH is one of Northstar’s parent companies. Indiana lottery officials knew about the concerns about the company’s performance in Illinois, but went ahead with their decision to contract with the company.

A shaky outlook for ethanol

A big push to use more alternative fuels began just a few years ago, but Indiana’s first ethanol plant goes back much further – to 1984, when it opened in South Bend.

Now, the state has a dozen more. But economic uncertainty has surrounded the industry, raising questions about whether Indiana has overbuilt for ethanol.

One indication came recently when the first plant, owned by New Energy Corp. and employing 40 workers, closed indefinitely. Indeed, the president of the company cited large ethanol inventories – as well as higher corn prices and reduced demand – as one of the reasons.

Among the locations of Hoosier ethanol plants are Bluffton, North Manchester, Marion and Portland.

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