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April 25, 2017 2:58 PM

Goodbye and good riddance to HEA 1523

Gov. Eric Holcomb deserves applause for his swift veto of HEA 1523, the legislation that would have allowed public agencies to charge a search fee for public records requests. He joined his predecessor, former Gov. Mike Pence, in refusing to give public agencies another tool to obstruct public oversight. In his letter to House Speaker Brian Bosma, Holcomb wrote: “Providing access to public records is a key part of the work public servants perform and is…

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April 18, 2017 3:08 PM

Balancing Privacy & The Right To Public Records

As a retired federal civil servant, I understand the importance of privacy in my employment records.  But as someone that returned to journalism after a 28 year interregnum, I also understand the public’s right to know what public employees are up to. Those two concepts have come together in the case of the Fishers High School varsity football coach’s recent five-day suspension.  Striking the right balance is a challenge, and is part of a tug-of-war…

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April 9, 2017 12:49 PM

Kurt Vonnegut and ‘original virtue’

So it goes. April 11 marks the 10th anniversary of Kurt Vonnegut’s death. He and I were friends – actually, “pals” was the term he used – during the last years of his life. Whenever I traveled to New York, generally four or five times a year, we would get together to swap stories and talk about life over Italian food (for lunch) or French cuisine (for dinner) at two of his favorite haunts in…

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March 19, 2017 3:22 PM

Fishers & Noblesville – Rail vs. Trail

The Nickel Plate Rail Line, made most famous as the route used by the Indiana State Fair train for a very long time, is now the subject of a major debate.  The outcome will determine how that line will be utilized years into the future. On one side of the debate are those in favor of preserving the rail line, which runs from Indianapolis all the way north to Tipton.  There are proposals to repair…

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March 13, 2017 9:42 AM

Our long national Knightmare

Once upon a time, Bob Knight was a hero of mine. When I was in high school in the mid-1970s, my friends and I planned large swathes of our lives around Indiana University basketball. When star Scott May, who apparently dated a girl from our high school for a time, was injured in 1975 and the Hoosiers failed to win the national title, we grieved. The next year, when IU went undefeated and claimed the…

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February 19, 2017 5:21 PM

In dark days, 2 candles

The last time I saw Michael Gradison, I was helping him struggle up the steps of the City-County Building to join a demonstration on behalf of unionization for hotel workers making poverty wages. The last time I saw Joe Zelenka, I was trying and failing to lift him into bed in a nursing home room bedecked with memorabilia of his humanitarian work and his large, close family. Michael died Feb. 12 after fighting through pain…

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February 17, 2017 8:06 PM

Bad bills never die

One of Mike Pence’s finer moments as governor was his 2015 veto of a bill that would have allowed public agencies to charge a search fee for public records requests. Now that Pence has gone on to bigger things, the bill is back. (Thanks, Trump!) House Bill 1523 passed the Indiana House this week by a vote of 62-25, and the Senate almost certainly will pass it as well. So the question is what new…

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February 16, 2017 4:04 PM

Sad Day for Democracy

You may not have heard about it in the news, but democracy lost a round at the Statehouse yesterday afternoon. Hundreds of Hoosiers packed the fourth floor of our capitol to attend the Indiana House Elections and Apportionment committee hearing, where a bill to end partisan gerrymandering was under consideration. I was one of them, and I found myself surrounded by optimistic citizen activists. For many of them, this was the first hearing they had…

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January 23, 2017 12:11 PM

Women March, Men Meme

This past weekend was a busy one in the world of American democracy. We saw a peaceful transition of power, a new President take office and millions of women across the country march in response to it. Everyone seemed to have reactions and opinions to all of it. Crowd size comparisons. Alternative facts. Facebook pontifications about why women marched and why they didn’t need to march. I happen to be a Republican woman who understands…

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January 1, 2017 2:35 PM

Can Life Be Found In The News Desert?

America is enduring more “deserts” than ever before, and it has nothing to do with the climate.  This is about shortages. Several Indianapolis neighborhoods have been described as “food deserts” because grocery stores providing fresh food are nowhere to be found in the area.  City officials have reacted, working to provide incentives for private investment of grocery operations in those neighborhoods. America is undergoing new desert areas.  These are called “news deserts.”  The relatively-recent phenomena…

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