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The Journal Gazette

  • Mitchell

  • Swanigan

  • Avery

  • Ball

  • Ruffolo

Wednesday, December 30, 2015 10:00 pm

Yearly scorecard: 2015

Winners


Downtown Fort Wayne: Ash Brokerage Plaza takes an imposing stand on the city’s skyline as construction begins on Cityscape Flats and proposals are considered for development of The Landing.

Marty Bender, Mitch Harper, John Shoaff and Tom Smith: Veteran City Council members close out their respective terms, each leaving a strong record of service to the city and their constituents.

Marcus Mitchell: More than 40 years after he served as a manager for Northrop’s 1974 state championship basketball team, the Fort Wayne man receives a tournament ring from Walter Jordan, who went on to play for Purdue and the Cleveland Cavaliers. Jordan decided to give his own ring to Mitchell when he learned his friend was fighting cancer. 

Homestead Spartans: In its first state finals appearance, the boys basketball team defeats Evansville Reitz in overtime for the Class 4A title, and Caleb Swanigan is named Indiana’s Mr. Basketball.

Snider, Bishop Dwenger: The Panthers and Saints bring home football championship titles in classes 5A and 4A, respectively. 

Beresford L. Clarke: Homestead High School senior is named the 2015 U.S. Presidential Scholar for the state of Indiana, the second consecutive year an Allen County student won the honor. 

Fort Wayne: City claims No. 3 spot in a national ranking of minor league sports franchise cities. Street & Smith’s Sports Business Journal ranked the Quad Cities and Toledo ahead of Fort Wayne. 

Legends: North Side High School students select a new nickname to replace the outdated and inappropriate Redskins mascot.


Tossups


Regional economy: Northeast Indiana sees job gains in its 10 largest industries over the previous five years, but only two of the 10 offer average wages above state and national averages. 

Mike Pence: First-term governor scores some major economic development wins in 2015, but his hopes for a presidential bid are dashed by the religious freedom fracas. He enters 2016 facing a tough re-election bid. 


Losers


Toll Road operator: In January, ITR Concession Company, operator of the bankrupt toll road, asks federal bankruptcy judge permission to pay 38 of its employees $748,000 in bonuses.

Taxpayers: U.S. Sen. Dan Coats revealsin March that the National Institutes of Health had spent $387,000 on a study that involved giving 18 white rabbits machine-simulated Swedish massages four times a day to study how quickly muscles recover from fatigue. 

Jud McMillin: Brookville Republican texts contacts that "My phone was stolen in Canada and out of my control for about 24 hours," and urges them to disregard any messages they had received. The next day, the Indiana House majority floor leader abruptly resigns. Indianapolis media report that the problem was a sexually explicit video sent from the phone earlier.


Milestones


Congress: Median net worth of a member of Congress passes the $1 million mark at the beginning of the year. Center for Responsive Politics reports it would take the combined wealth of more than 18 American households to equal the value of a single federal lawmaker’s household.

Arnie Ball: With a 551-406 record leading the IPFW men’s volleyball program and a 232-102-1 record with the women’s team, Ball ended a 33-year coaching career.   

Those we lost: Community leaders who died in 2015 included Linda Ruffolo, long-time development director for IPFW and a tireless volunteer for myriad community groups, in March at 73; Rev. Mike Nickleson, pastor of Mount Calvary Missionary Baptist Church, in December at 63. Nickelson was committed to the end to ensuring educational opportunities for students in southeast Fort Wayne; Jane Avery, beloved executive director of Community Harvest Food Bank, in July at 62; and David Rudolph, a Huntertown town councilman for 25 years who also served four years as clerk-treasurer, Rudolph died in March at 69. 


Quotables


 "Girls and boys and teachers are being damaged by the ineffective practices of your company." – Steve Yager, Indiana State Board of Education member and former Southwest Allen County Schools superintendent, responding to testing vendor CTB/McGraw Hill’s announcement in August that ISTEP+ scores would again be delayed

 

"People who did argue with him, didn’t argue for too long." – C.J. Graf in January on the retirement of colleague Roger Miller, after 52 years as a local baseball and softball umpire. Miller died in March at 79.

"There is a fairly delusional bubble from Washington, D.C., powered by the wishful thinking among the party establishment that this will all magically dissipate. This is a movement. The leader is a master showman and master communicator who is in complete and absolute command of every facet of the political battlefield." – Steve Schmidt, GOP strategist, commenting in early September on the contest for the Republican presidential nomination