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    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.
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    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.
The week ahead
Southwest Allen County Schools board: 7 p.m. Tuesday,
administration building
Bus Fort Wayne open house: 5:30 to 7 p.m. Wednesday,
in the Omni Room at Citizens Square
Tall grass in your yard could bring a visit from Neighborhood Code Enforcement.

April showers bring May mowers

The overabundance of rain in April means lawns are flourishing – possibly too much.

Today, Fort Wayne Neighborhood Code Enforcement began enforcing weed and tall grass violations.

Residents may call 311 or visit the city’s website to report problems. Property owners with 9-inch or taller grass will face having their property posted with a violation notice. They then have five days to correct the problem, or the city will take care of cutting the grass and send the bill to the property owner.

At the same time, neighborhood code officials are reminding residents of the need to keep up with their lawn maintenance; Fort Wayne’s Solid Waste Department is urging residents not to put the grass clippings into their garbage carts.

According to Bob Kennedy, the city’s director of public works, residents are sending 7,774 tons of grass clippings to the landfill each year.

“That is enough to fill 81,000 garbage carts or 516,000 bags of grass,” he wrote in an email. “Every summer the city spends around $200,000 for grass clippings that are landfilled.”

When considering other yard waste, including hedge trimmings, small tree branches and weeds, the amount of yard waste sent to the landfill grows to 12,000 tons per year.

Sending yard waste to the landfill increases the city’s total solid waste expense by more than $300,000, about 31 cents of each household’s $9.95 monthly garbage and recycling fee.

City officials recently began an educational effort, including handy refrigerator magnets, to remind residents to “just mow and go.” They want to encourage “grass- cycling,” leaving grass clippings on the lawn where they will quickly decompose and act as a fertilizer.

Bus plan

Residents have an opportunity on Wednesday to review and comment on the draft version of the Bus Fort Wayne plan. During the open house, the public can also tour Citilink and Countilink buses and talk with Citilink officials.

The bus plan is the next step in a city effort to develop a comprehensive plan for local public and alternative transportation. City planners have already completed Bike Fort Wayne and Walk Fort Wayne plans.

“It seems reasonable to have a bus plan too to go along with the idea of having a complete plan for alternative transportation,” said Betsy Kachmar, assistant general manager at Citilink. “It’s part of the whole Complete Streets effort.”

Kachmar said Citilink has used the planning process, and the information gathered for the plan to create a brochure they shared with legislators (the brochure is available at under resources).

“Transit advocates statewide have used that as a guide, and we’re pretty proud of that,” Kachmar said.

She said one thing the plan addresses is making bus service easier to use for people who are not regular customers.

“That’s what the plan is all about,” she said. “How do we get to a quality system that more people will use and will like to use?”

SACS contract

The Southwest Allen County Schools board is expected to renew Superintendent Steve Yager’s contract on Tuesday.

His proposed base salary through June 2014 is $150,000 a year, with additional benefits totaling $71,041. In addition, Yager could receive a performance-based bonus of up to $10,000 annually.

A new state law requires school districts to post superintendent contracts. Southwest Allen’s is posted along with its administrative contracts, at