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The Journal Gazette

September 18, 2016 1:01 AM

Didier 'disappointed' by anthem protest

Niki Kelly and Brian Francisco | The Journal Gazette

Speaking during the comment portion of Tuesday’s Fort Wayne City Council meeting, Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, expressed his disappointment at the decisions of some professional athletes to not stand for the national anthem.

“I’m extremely disappointed with the football players, and I’m not mentioning any names, but the national anthem is sacred,” Didier said. “If you have an issue with the United States of America, or anything else that’s going on in our country, sitting down during the national anthem to me is a sacrilege.

“My father fought in World War II. He fought in Iwo Jima, he fought in Guam and he gave his life, in essence, even though he’s still living, for us to have the opportunity to do what we want to do,” Didier said. “Not standing for our national anthem, to me personally, is not the way to go about trying to get what you want to get accomplished. I understand you believe it’s a freedom of expression, but to me I think it’s wrong and it needs to be said that it’s wrong. You need to stand for our country. I am totally disappointed with the players that are doing this. If you have an issue, deal with it in a different way, don’t sacrilege our national anthem and not stand.”

Arp thankful for support for ill girl

During Tuesday’s City Council meeting, Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, thanked his fellow councilmen and members of the community for their support during his daughter’s illness last month.

Arp’s 7-year-old daughter became ill late last month with stomach pain shortly before the family left on a vacation to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina. She got much worse during the trip, he said, and had to be taken by helicopter to a children’s hospital in Charleston, South Carolina.

She went into kidney failure and had to be placed on dialysis. She was ultimately diagnosed with hemolytic uremic syndrome traced to an E. coli bacterial infection.

“I know people were praying for my daughter’s recovery,” Arp said. “God is merciful, and to go from a month ago yesterday watching her being loaded onto a helicopter to be medevaced to a hospital three hours from where we were to today – yesterday she was swimming in Lake Michigan – it’s quite a miracle, and my family is very thankful and we’re very thankful for all the love and support of the people of Fort Wayne who reached out to us,” Arp said.

Coats gives 50th ‘Waste’ speech

Retiring Sen. Dan Coats, R-Ind., delivered his 50th “Waste of the Week” speech Wednesday in the Senate.

Coats regularly decries federal spending he contends is wasteful, duplicative or fraudulent. His latest target: an increase in improper payments made by the Department of Health and Human Services to providers of Medicaid, the federal health insurance program for low-income people. 

Coats said that $85.5 billion has been misspent in three years, much of it paid to unlicensed and “bogus” providers and “fake addresses.” The sum brought his waste total to more than $326 billion.

But Coats’ gauge – a red strip running up a large poster – stopped at $300 billion, forcing him to stick on another red strip that extended higher than the poster.

“We had to Velcro this thing. Can’t get the chart big enough,” Coats said. 

Former resident a Senate candidate

A former Fort Wayne resident has become the Libertarian Party candidate for a U.S. Senate seat in Florida.

Paul Stanton, 31, is running against Republican Sen. Marco Rubio and Democratic nominee Patrick Murphy after winning the Libertarian nomination on Aug. 30.

Stanton sued the Fort Wayne-Allen County Airport Authority in 2011 after he was forbidden from handing out copies of the U.S. Constitution and other materials to people passing through Fort Wayne International Airport.

The airport authority later revised its rules to expand areas where people can engage in “expressive activity.” A federal judge ruled in the authority’s favor, saying the airport is a commercial enterprise and a “nonpublic forum” that can restrict the distribution of literature.

Stanton is a computer programmer for Frontier Communications and an Army veteran of the Iraq war who lives in Deland, Florida, according to a Sunday story in the Daytona Beach News-Journal. He is a graduate of Fort Wayne’s Northrop High School, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Stanton won 73.5 percent of the vote in Florida’s Libertarian Party primary election to defeat Augustus Sol Invictis for the party’s Senate nomination. Invictis is an attorney who in 2015 admitted he had killed a goat and drunk its blood, telling the Orlando Sentinel he “sacrificed an animal to the god of the wilderness” after walking from Florida to California’s Mojave Desert.

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