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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, December 16, 2018 1:00 am

Council's Legacy appointee had been Henry's

BRIAN FRANCISCO and NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

The former head of Fort Wayne's Legacy Joint Funding Committee will return to the table next year as a City Council appointee after his nomination was approved during Tuesday's council meeting.

Ron Turpin, chief financial officer of Gibson Insurance, was removed from the committee in May by Mayor Tom Henry and replaced by Steve Corona, who also serves on the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission and the Fort Wayne Community Schools Board.

Two others – City Attorney Carol Helton and City Controller Garry Morr – replaced former Community Development Director Greg Leatherman and former Parks Director Al Moll after they retired.

Turpin will replace outgoing committee member Kyle Kerley, who was appointed to the board by the City Council. Kerley requested he not be reassigned to the committee after winning a seat on the Allen County Council in a county GOP caucus last month.

At the time Turpin was removed, city spokesman John Perlich said a reorganization of all of Henry's committee appointees made sense with Moll and Leatherman's retirements.

On Tuesday, Turpin was nominated by Councilman Russ Jehl, R-2nd, who said Turpin should never have been removed from the committee. Jehl said Turpin's financial sense and business acumen are reasons the Legacy Fund has remained viable.

“The committee has been an incredibly important force in helping select only good, transformational projects, and they've done an excellent job,” Jehl said. “The fund would have been spent even faster had it not been for Ron's leadership.”

First lady's cameo

If you are looking for a wholesome family Christmas movie, Gov. Eric Holcomb has the perfect one in mind.

He told those attending a legislative conference last week that first lady Janet Holcomb has a cameo in a new movie on Amazon.com called “Christmas Manger” that would make a great stocking stuffer.

The movie is about an elderly man grappling with the death of his wife until his young daughter and his estranged foster child enter his life again, giving him a new purpose in life. The trailer shows him building a manger scene with his granddaughter.

Janet Holcomb has four lines as a nurse in the movie, which stars Tara Reid of “American Pie” fame. The movie was filmed in Kentucky in February. The first lady's cameo was possible because she is friends with Danny Chan, CEO of Almost Never Films.

Women in Public Life program set

The Paul Helmke School for Women in Public Life will be 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Jan. 12 at the Allen County Public Library in downtown Fort Wayne.

Presenters will include Helmke, a former Fort Wayne mayor and director of the Civic Leaders Living-Learning Center at Indiana University, and Andrew Downs, director of the Mike Downs Center for Indiana Politics at Purdue University Fort Wayne. Marilyn Moran-Townsend, chair of AVOW's Campaign Institute, will facilitate a panel discussion on campaigning and public life.

There also will be a preview of the AVOW Women's Campaign Institute in August.

Registration is available at www.eventbrite.com.

Enlightening story

Sen. Joe Donnelly, D-Ind., talked about constituent services – and constituent expectations – during his farewell speech Tuesday on the Senate floor.

Donnelly, unseated in the Nov. 6 election by Republican Mike Braun, remembered a request made to him three years ago by the 90-year-old owner of a pizza parlor in an unspecified Indiana city.

“He said, 'My street light is out. You're my senator. It needs to be fixed before the big game this weekend,'” Donnelly said in the speech broadcast by C-SPAN.

It went without saying that the constituent's problem was a municipal issue, not a federal one. Donnelly said he called the city's mayor, and the street light was repaired.

Donnelly recalled that the pizza parlor owner later said: “Of course I got it fixed. I called my senator, is what I did.” The story drew knowing laughter from his Senate colleagues.

“So we're multitasking in this job,” Donnelly said. “But it's to make lives better.”

5 on council urge hate crimes law

Members of the Fort Wayne City Council have sent a letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb showing support for hate crimes legislation in Indiana. The state is one of five nationwide without a state hate crimes statute.

“Promoting a safe and welcoming environment to every resident and visitor to our state will allow Indiana to signal its commitment to diversity and freedom,” states the letter, signed by five City Council members. “Not having this legislation is damaging the state's ability to attract and retain the best individuals, businesses and workforces to reside in and enhance our state.”

Holcomb has previously expressed his support, should the Indiana General Assembly pass hate crimes legislation.

The letter, dated Dec. 11, was signed by Councilmen Geoff Paddock, D-5th, Tom Didier, R-3rd, Glynn Hines, D-6th, Tom Freistroffer, R-at large, and John Crawford, R-at large.

Dave Gong 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 be found as a daily blog at www.journalgazette.net/politicalnotebook.