WRITER: Kevin Leininger

KEVIN LEININGER: Tariffs aren't new and not always hurtful, but smart businesses won't rely on them

When Fort Wayne-based Vera Bradley closed its 250-employee manufacturing plant in New Haven three years ago, the company explained that "it costs approximately 90 percent more to manufacture goods domestically than in overseas factories." But thanks to the Trump administration's new tariffs on textile imports — and retaliatory action by China — that imbalance has begun to shift. And that's both good news ...

It's historic, unique and ornate -- and this former downtown funeral home could be yours

Designed by the prominent firm of Wing and Mahurin and built in 1893 as the home of attorney Robert Clark Bell and his wife Clara, the limestone Romanesque building at 420 W. Wayne St. has been a funeral home for the past 92 years. Now one of downtown's most beautiful and historic structures could be yours. If you have $699,000 to spend, that is. Klaehn, Fahl, Melton's downtown funeral home at 420 W. Wayne ...

UPDATED: Allen County Commissioners approve $3.5M for Electric Works; Capital Improvement Board and $45M bond is next step

The Electric Works project is $3.5 million closer to realization, thanks to a unanimous vote Friday by the Allen County Commissioners. The three commissioners $3.5 million in local income taxes to the $250 million redevelopment of the former General Electric campus, noting the money would not actually be made available until developer RTM Ventures meets conditions established by its development agreement with ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Cancer patient's story raises questions about insurance networks -- and the need for improved diagnosis in Fort Wayne

The way Scott Mentzer sees it, he's arbitrarily being forced to choose between risking either his health or his wealth. But to officials at Fort Wayne-based Physicians Health Plan — and, probably, the entire insurance industry — Mentzer's response to an initially misdiagnosed and potentially life-threatening illness is a symptom of his personal choices and corporate cost-control measures designed to ...

Challenge filed in Perry Township trustee residency dispute; GOP candidate has until Monday to respond

The Allen County Election Board has given the Republican candidate for Perry Township trustee until Monday to respond to a challenge of his residency filed this week by his Democratic opponent. As The News-Sentinel first reported last week, Republican Eric Tippmann said he and his family recently moved out of their Perry Township home on Willow Wind Trail after buying a house on Lake Avenue so one of his ...

Card showing your new trash collection schedule will be in the mail this week

Fort Wayne residents should be on the look out this week for a card in the mail this week — and this one isn't about the Nov. 6 election. The "It's a New Day" postcards will contain specific information about new trash and recycling schedules intended to improve performance and reduce missed pick-ups by Red River Waste Solutions. The blue, green and white cards are color-coded for each address and contain the ...

KEVIN LEININGER: File of 'organizer' sheds light on origin of massive BAE education-fraud case

In April Robin C. Opper became the 31st — and reportedly the last — former BAE employee to be charged in a scheme officials say bilked the aerospace firm of more than $761,000 in bogus education reimbursements. Perhaps that's appropriate since, according to federal court documents in the often-secretive case, it was he who organized the scam with the help of documents from classes he had previously taken ...

City Council proposes $5.3 million in cuts to Fort Wayne's proposed 2019 budget

City Council members want to trim nearly $5.3 million from Mayor Tom Henry's proposed $173 million 2019 budget, and the man who proposed most of the cuts wants to spend some of that money on neighborhood improvements instead. "(The administration) had a five-year capital plan, and there were promises that were made but not kept," said Russ Jehl, R-2nd. "About 30 neighborhoods are still in limbo, and with record ...

Donnelly, Braun neck and neck in race for U.S. Senate, new poll suggests

Indiana's Democratic U.S. Senator has a razor-thin lead over his Republican challenger two weeks before the Nov. 6 election, according to a new poll In the online poll of 1,400 adults conducted between Oct. 12 and Oct. 16, incumbent Joe Donnelly was favored by 41 percent compared to 40 percent for Mike Braun and 8 percent for Libertarian Lucy Brenton, with 11 percent undecided. The margin for error was 4.6 ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Can bad people promote good policies? Maybe, but why can't we have both?

The axiom about never entrusting power to people willing to say or do anything to achieve it seems to have been lost on Hillary Clinton, who recently justified her party's militant incivility toward its political opponents and insisted peace can't be restored unless Democrats regain power in Washington, D.C. "You can't be civil with a political party that wants to destroy what you stand for, what you care ...

Parkview Health extends $300,000-a-year stadium naming rights deal

Fort Wayne's professional baseball stadium will be "Parkview Field" for at least another five years. The original 10-year, $3 million naming-rights deal expired after the TinCaps completed play this season, but that agreement gave Parkview Health the option to extend the agreement for another five years at the same $300,000-a-year rate. Half of Parkview's annual payments will continue to go to the city's ...

City Council to consider bond of up to $68 million for Electric Works

A week after giving preliminary approval to $13.5 million for Electric Works, City Council on Tuesday will consider an even larger financial commitment to the massive project. On Monday, the city's Redevelopment Commission is expected to approve a lease with the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Authority "for certain public improvements consisting of various roadway, storm water and sanitary sewer" that would be ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Snafu could threaten the votes of some Allen County residents -- and the Russians didn't do it

In the last congressional mid-term election four years ago, 5,138 Allen County residents voted by mailing in an absentee ballot. This time around, nearly 6,000 people have already done so — and Election Day is still three weeks away. But there's a big problem with some of those ballots that may or may not invalidate the votes they record. And it has nothing to do with the Russians or even Donald Trump. "It ...

East Allen projects get funding, but County Council cuts request by $750,000

Plans for a series of projects in rural eastern Allen County got a lot of financial backing Thursday — but not as much as supporters hoped. By a 5-1 vote, County Council Thursday approved $1.25 million for the New Allen Alliance's "“East Allen’s Rural Revival Regional Development Plan," a proposed $51 million in seven communities consisting of trails, parks, downtown improvements and other projects. The ...

Improvements in east Allen County in line for a $2 million boost

Plans for several improvements in eastern Allen County apparently will get a $2 million boost from County Council Thursday. That's when council is scheduled to consider a resolution that would pledge $400,000 each year from 2019 to 2023 in support of the New Allen Alliance's "East Allen's Rural Revival Regional Development Plan, a proposed $51 million in seven communities consisting of trails, parks, downtown ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Is Electric Works the best choice for public funds? Now's the time to decide, because it's not the only choice

It's been eight months since City Council voted 7-2 in favor of a non-binding resolution suggesting its willingness to provide millions of dollars to the massive Electric Works project. But talk is cheap; action is not only expensive but difficult — especially when Tuesday's consideration of a $10 million Legacy grant will be followed up next month by a $7 million request to enhance Fort Wayne's arts campus ...

Hours before crucial City Council vote, Parkview Health makes 10-year Electric Works Commitment

Just hours before a crucial City Council vote that could determine the project's future, Electric Works has received a major boost from Parkview Health. Developers RTM Ventures and the local health-care network Tuesday announced Parkview has agreed to a 10-year lease that would bring a medical clinic to the redeveloped former General Electric campus just south of downtown Fort Wayne. Parkview also "has ...

Councilman Russ Jehl: I'll vote 'no' on $10M for Electric Works if changes not made

One City Council member who has supported Electric Works in the past says he will oppose developers' request for $10 million in Legacy funds unless the request is approved as a loan, not a grant. In a statement Monday, Russ Jehl, R-2nd, said he has "advocated for an open and transparent discussion, a strong business case presented to the public, and a deal crafted that works for the taxpayer. I have identified ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Ohio's Neil Armstrong went to the moon, but it took a Fort Wayne man to tell the story

It probably would be a stretch to suggest a new high-profile movie about the first man to walk on the moon would not exist had the subject of the film and the book on which it is based not grown up within 60 miles of each other. But the proximity between Fort Wayne and Wapakoneta, Ohio, didn't hurt. "We were both Midwesterners and we had good chemistry, so I was able to build up his trust," said Elmhurst High ...

Is Allen County's emergency siren system still needed? Should it be improved? Answers will cost $28,000

More than a year after Allen County's homeland security director suggested the need to evaluate the effectiveness and necessity of the county's 54 warning sirens, officials are poised to make that happen at a cost of $28,000. The Allen County Commissioners Friday were expected to hire the Community Research Institute (CRI) at Purdue Fort Wayne to conduct interviews, review data and evaluate the existing ...