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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, March 16, 2016 6:40 am

Store group confused about Stutzman

Niki Kelly and Brian Francisco The Journal Gazette

Rep. Marlin Stutzman, R-3rd, is a House member and a farmer, and he wants to be a U.S. senator. But on Friday, he will be trained as a clerk at a Fort Wayne convenience store.

Stutzman is taking part in Clerk for a Day, a program organized by the National Association of Convenience Stores to educate federal lawmakers who shape and vote on legislation affecting the industry.

It seems the association needed to learn a thing or two about Stutzman. In a news release about his selection for Clerk for a Day, the association’s communications firm said that "she will work behind the counter" with employees at the Ricker’s Convenience Store at 5823 Coldwater Road.

Stutzman is a he, not a she.

A news release sent about Stutzman a day after this Notebook item appeared online got his gender right in the text, but its headline was: "Congresswoman Susan Brooks Serves as ‘Clerk for a Day’ at Ricker’s."

In one form or another, Stutzman is scheduled to be a clerk at the Coldwater Ricker’s from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Friday.

Chamber honors Long and Morris

The Regional Chamber of Northeast Indiana has named Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R-Fort Wayne, and Rep. Bob Morris, R-Fort Wayne, as its 2015 Legislators of the Year.

"Both were instrumental in providing critical leadership in helping IPFW achieve multi-system metropolitan university status," the chamber said in a statement.

The regional chamber called the redesignation of IPFW from a regional to a metropolitan campus "the legislation with the most impact for Northeast Indiana to emerge from the 2015 Indiana General Assembly."

The new designation will allow IPFW to offer advanced degrees and more campus housing and permit access to Purdue University doctoral programs.

The regional chamber says it represents the interests of businesses and communities in 10 counties.

Ritz to try to aid Science Central

When state Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz was a classroom teacher, she considered science fun.

Shark dissection was an activity in her classroom, Ritz told Science Central officials during her tour of Fort Wayne’s hands-on science museum last week. That became a running joke of her visit, although no mention was made of the political sharks swimming around her cage at the Statehouse, where Republicans in the executive branch have engaged in battles with Democrat Ritz for authority over education matters.

At Science Central, Ritz was fascinated by a sphere in the AEP Foundation Theater where ocean maps are projected.

"It’s science on a sphere," Martin Fisher, executive director of Science Central, told Ritz, adding that he would like to get funding help for future exhibits.

Ritz told Fisher that she’s a "big science person" and that the Department of Education would try to connect him with Indiana’s STEM schools initiative.

Donnelly’s work in defense bill

Provisions of U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly’s Servicemember and Veteran Mental Health Care Package were included in the national defense bill approved Thursday by the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which Donnelly, D-Ind., is a member.

Among other things, the provisions would require Defense Department medical providers to receive training in suicide risk recognition and management; encourage the Pentagon to train physician assistants to specialize in psychiatric care; and create a designation for private health care providers who meet eligibility criteria for demonstrating knowledge of the mental health needs of troops and military veterans.

In a statement, Donnelly called the provisions "another critical step forward to combat the plague of military suicide."

The $612 billion defense bill, which goes next to the full Senate for consideration, would prevent the Pentagon from retiring its fleet of A-10 Thunderbolt II attack jets for a year, restoring $355 million in funding for fiscal 2016 for the planes. Fort Wayne’s Air National Guard base flies 21 of the A-10s but is supposed to convert to F-16 jet fighters in fiscal 2019.

Jamie Duffy of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at