WRITER: Kevin Leininger

KEVIN LEININGER: Indiana makes list of 25 must-see destinations worldwide -- but then, so do Iran, Rwanda and Zimbabwe

If you could travel anywhere in the world looking for an exotic, out-of-the-way vacation spot, Indiana might not make your list. But, believe it or not, a reputable travel company has just included the Hoosier state — with a special nod to Fort Wayne — among "The 25 places you need to travel to in 2019." But is the recent story by the Matador Network a sincere acknowledgement of the often-hidden gems the ...

KEVIN LEININGER: St. Andrew's Catholic Church needed a miracle to survive -- and appears to have been blessed with one

The Lord, it seems, really does work in mysterious ways. And as a result, an historic Fort Wayne church can look forward to being restored instead of razed. Back in October I wrote about the Diocese of Fort Wayne-South Bend's plan to tear down the 108-year-old St. Andrew's Catholic Church at 2610 New Haven Ave., which since closing due to declining membership in 2003 had become home to about 10 Franciscan ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Quest for Hoosier hate-crime bills aims to send a message -- but would it be a good one?

When award-winning author Stephen Jimenez visited Laramie, Wyo., following the 1998 murder of Matthew Shepard, he was seeking information for a screenplay about a gruesome crime everybody agreed had been committed against a gay man by a couple of redneck homophobes. Jimenez, who is gay himself, never imagined the evidence would lead to a far different conclusion — one that incurred the wrath of advocates who ...

GOP mayoral candidate Tim Smith: Fort Wayne should 'expect more' from government

Insisting Fort Wayne residents should "expect more" from city government, businessman Tim Smith Tuesday was expected to kick off his campaign for mayor Tuesday after filing as a candidate in the May Republican primary against City Councilman John Crawford. And if he does become mayor next year, Smith said he'll make certain the firm responsible for garbage and recycling collection is doing the job. Smith, an ...

KEVIN LEININGER: What John Lennon imagined, America is enduring -- and the result doesn't look like utopia

I love the Beatles, but one of the most insipid songs of all time has to be the 1971 John Lennon anthem that gave his fawning disciples such wisdom as: "Imagine there's no countries, it isn't hard to do. Nothing to kill or die for . . ." Now, nearly 50 years later, that Star Trek vision of a one-world utopia has taken root among those who insist it is somehow un-American for the United States to fulfill what ...

UPDATED: John Crawford makes mayoral run official; utility reform a goal if Steve McMichael elected New Haven mayor; City Clerk Keesling seeks 2nd term

Wednesday was the first day candidates could file for the May Allen County primaries, and three Republicans wasted no time in making their interest official. In successive morning news conferences, Fort Wayne mayoral candidate John Crawford, incumbent City Clerk Lana Keesling and New Haven mayoral hopeful Steve McMichael were all expected to outline their platforms and qualifications. Crawford, who announced ...

KEVIN LEININGER: When everybody's a victim, nobody is really a friend -- as 'Women's March' drama proves

It's been barely a week since I wrote about how the left's embrace of identity politics would be "rendered unsustainable by the inevitability of conflict between aggrieved groups," and already I've been proven right. In the San Francisco suburb of Eureka, Calif., organizers of a planned Jan. 19 "Women's March" have postponed the event over concerns participants "have been overwhelmingly white." Instead, ...

John Crawford expected to serve as City Council president, mayoral candidate in 2019

City Councilman John Crawford, who this week plans to become a formal Republican candidate in the May Republican mayoral primary, is also expected to be elected council president for 2019 at Tuesday's annual organizational meeting. "I was vice president (in 2018), and the vice president usually serves as president the coming year. I haven't heard of any other possibility," said Crawford, R-at large. The ...

Tax break sought on $7.6 million, 150,000-square-foot 'shell' building

Developers of a $7.6 million shell or "spec" building are seeking tax breaks from City Council. Under an application for a tax abatement to be introduced at Tuesday's meeting, GH Land Co. is seeking to save $1.34 million in real estate taxes over 10 years on the proposed 150,000-square-foot building on 20.3 acres at 8611 Avionics Drive. The building is "speculative," meaning no tenant has been identified and ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Mitt Romney still doesn't get why Donald Trump is president -- and he's not

To Chicago Cubs fans, Leo Durocher will always be remembered as the manager who blew the 1969 National League pennant to New York Mets. His larger cultural significance, however, was assured decades earlier when as manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers "Leo the lip" observed that "nice guys finish last." Speaking of Mitt Romney, the man who had incumbent Barack Obama on the defensive after an impressively ...

KEVIN LEININGER: If Mayor Tom Henry deserves a 'B-plus,' will economy provide challengers room for improvement?

When I asked Mayor Tom Henry recently to grade his performance on the eve of the final year of his third term, his answer was thoughtful, candid and — in my opinion, at least — accurate. "B-plus," he said after taking a moment to deliberate. "Mayors judge themselves on six areas: public safety, utility operations, parks, neighborhoods and infrastructure, downtown and economic development. I think my ...

Allen County officials sworn in for 2019

Allen County and township officials whose terms begin Jan. 1 were sworn in Monday during ceremonies at the Courthouse. Oaths of office were administered by Allen Superior Judge John Surbeck, who is retiring after 30 years on the bench, and retiring State Senate President Pro Tem David Long of Fort Wayne served as the master of ceremonies, singling out Surbeck, retiring Judge Stan Levine and outgoing County ...

KEVIN LEININGER: When people think for themselves they win -- and practitioners of 'identity politics' lose

America often seems as though it is about to descend into the abyss of "identity politics" once and for all, as more and more people succumb to the notion that membership in certain demographic groups — not the individual discernment of facts — should determine how one lives, thinks and votes. It's a dangerous and ultimately collectivist philosophy, but one rendered unsustainable by the inevitability of ...

Wells Fargo's $575 million settlement with states will net Indiana $5.2M

Indiana will receive $5.2 million under a settlement in which Wells Fargo Bank N.A. will pay $575 million all 50 states and the District of Columbia to resolve claims that it violated state consumer protection laws, according to Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill. The settlement resolves claims that Wells Fargo opened millions of unauthorized accounts and enrolled customers into online banking services ...

KEVIN LEININGER: It took rock icon Bob Seger 40 years to come back, and rocky road to Fort Wayne was paved with an apology

If you're not among the 10,000 or so fans who don't already have tickets for Bob Seger's sold-out Jan. 15 concert at the Memorial Coliseum, you're probably out of luck. But if you were among the fans who tried to smuggle drugs, booze or cigarettes into the arena the last time he was in Fort Wayne, there's a good chance you were arrested — which begins to explain why it took Seger 40 years to come back. The ...

Huntertown electronics firm to add 24 jobs in $2.8 million expansion

A $2.8 million expansion is expected to create 24 jobs at Huntertown manufacturer of wiring harnesses and other electronic devices primarily used in military and commercial vehicles. Riverside Manufacturing, 14510 Lima Road, plans to add $2.75 million in manufacturing equipment and $50,000 in logistical distribution equipment in an unused portion of its plant, which currently employs about 140 people. Earlier ...

Former assistant fire chief sues city for discrimination due to race, disability

Four years ago, Elbert Starks made news as a decorated veteran of the Fort Wayne Fire Department who had just been promoted to assistant chief of human relations. Today, Starks is a former firefighter who has just filed a lawsuit charging the city with discrimination based on race and disability. In a lawsuit filed earlier this month in Allen Superior Court, Starks claims that beginning in 2017 he was ...

KEVIN LEININGER: For Mayor Tom Henry, new year will determine extent of his legacy, which includes a detour for 'North River' property

As Mayor Tom Henry prepares to enter the last year of his third term, his mind is drawn both to past accomplishments and future aspirations. Those lines will most definitely converge in 2019 as the city braces for what promises to be one of the most bruising and expensive mayoral campaigns in history — the outcome of which will determine whether Henry has the opportunity to complete the work that has already ...

Security concerns will bring 4,000 feet of fence to the Memorial Coliseum

Allen County's Memorial Coliseum is in business to attract people, and has hosted more than 1 million visitors for 27 consecutive years. Pretty soon, however, much of it will be surrounded by 4,000 feet of six-foot wrought-iron fencing — all in the name of security. "It's been encouraged by the government, and also the National Basketball Association (which operates the NBA G League in which the Mad Ants ...

Commissioners repeal bill requiring attendance reports just as Linda Bloom leaves office

When the three Allen County Commissioners passed an ordinance last year requiring them to document their hours worked, Nelson Peters insisted the scrutiny wasn't directed solely at fellow Commissioner Linda Bloom, whose worked habits had long been questioned by other county officials and who at that time had attended 14 of the board's 21 meetings for 2017. But Friday, during Bloom's last meeting as ...