WRITER: Kevin Leininger

Tim Smith: If elected mayor, I'll get Red River Waste to do its job -- or else

If Fort Wayne has a new mayor next year, it will also have a new way of dealing with poor trash and recycling service. Republican Tim Smith, who will challenge three-term Democrat Tom Henry in November, was scheduled to host a news conference Friday to outline his strategy for dealing with Red River Waste Solutions should its service not improve. The company has faced numerous complaints and fines since its ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Getting old in Indiana is bad enough without having to face it alone

I've been hearing that old Beatles song in my head ever since I turned 64 last month and realized that thanks to Medicare I can become a ward of the state like (seemingly) everybody else in less than a year. Nothing particularly tragic or unique about that: As my five-years-younger wife always remind me, old age is still better than the alternative and, besides, Indiana's over-65 population is expected to grow ...

Allen County Council OKs $1.4 million in road improvements near Parkview campus

A different month brought a much different result for a proposal to pay for $1.4 million in road improvements near the Parkview Regional Medical Center campus north of town. Members of Allen County Council, who in May deadlocked 3-3 over a plan to pay for the improvements with taxes generated by growth in the area near Dupont and Diebold roads, Thursday approved the same proposal by a 6-1 vote following weeks ...

KEVIN LEININGER: End of 'pay to play' law makes transparency in government, politics even more important

"When I'm elected mayor, any appearance of any favoritism in awarding contracts for city business will cease . . . the pay-to-play ordinance will result in lower-cost contracts, more competition, more respect for city government and will save millions of dollars for Fort Wayne citizens." City Council President John Crawford spoke those words on May 1 about the bill he had co-authored in 2017 that limits ...

KEVIN LEININGER: When opportunity knocks, you'd better be ready -- and new owner of iconic radio station is

Seventeen years ago, Brian Walsh converted a bedroom in his Warsaw home into a hand-made studio and pretty soon WIOE-FM — at the time just the fourth low-power radio station in Indiana — was filling the airwaves with rock 'n' roll oldies. If all goes as planned, his voice and the music of the past will soon be heard on an iconic Fort Wayne station once known as the hippest in town. "I never dreamed I'd ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Did Allen County skirt the law on bridge-tax hike? If so, maybe the law should be changed

According to a new Rueters report, many news organizations are in decline, financially and otherwise, because the business models that served them so well for so long have been rendered obsolete by the abundance of "free" information on the internet. And even among consumers under 45 willing to buy an on-line subscription, just 7 percent said they would pay for news. Thirty-seven percent would opt for online ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Use of special tax districts deserves more scrutiny than it usually gets

Since deadlocking 3-3 last month on a proposal to pay for $1.4 million in street improvements near the Parkview Regional Medical Center with property taxes generated by improvements in the fast-growing area, members of Allen County Council have been lobbied hard to back a plan supporters insist will protect public safety and promote even more economic development on the city's north side. The persuasiveness ...

Anxious City Council members to hear from Electric Works developers Tuesday

Having pledged $13.5 million in Legacy and local income tax funds to the project, members of Fort Wayne City Council are anxious about the future of Electric Works in the wake of a public letter from developers suggesting it "will not move forward" unless current conditions change. So council has invited representatives of RTM Ventures to provide an update at Tuesday night's meeting. "Way back when they ...

New group could recommend how best to use -- and preserve -- Fort Wayne's Legacy fund

A week after failing to vote on a $500,000 request from Science Central, Fort Wayne City Council on Tuesday is expected to consider creation of a committee to study how best to use — and preserve — the city's Legacy fund. Sponsored by Michael Barranda, R-at large, and Paul Ensley, R-1st., the resolution notes that the corpus of the fund created through the sale of the former municipal electric utility is ...

Brotherhood Mutual seeks $3.5 million tax break on its planned expansion

A Fort Wayne insurance company that announced a $25 million, 100-employee expansion last week is asking City Council for more than $3.53 million in related tax breaks this week. The application for a tax abatement, to be considered Tuesday, also provides addition information about Brotherhood Mutual's plans and the jobs to be created within three years. The company, which insures Christian ministries, filed ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Which mayor would be best for future of Electric Works: Tom Henry or Tim Smith?

I ran into Mayor Tom Henry as we both shopped for clothes at Stein Mart last week, but it didn't take long for the conversation to shift to Electric Works — especially since some people (including the developers, apparently) believe he hasn't done enough to promote the project despite the commitment of $65 million in local public funds. The main reason the $250 million project appears to be at a ...

UPDATED: Food-container firm planning $18 million, 290,000-square-foot expansion on Engle Road

Confirming plans The News-Sentinel first reported in February, a New Jersey manufacturer of food containers is planning a massive expansion of its plant at 3511 Engle Road. Sabert Corp. has filed an application with the Allen County Department of Planning Services to add nearly 290,000 feet to the former Mullinix Packages Inc. plant. Sabert bought Mullinix in 2016 and is also building 175,000-square-foot ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Move over, mastodons -- fiberglass bulldogs are invading New Haven

As IPFW prepared to celebrate its 40th anniversary in 2004, university officials decided it would be fitting to populate the city with one colorfully decorated mastodon — the school's mascot — for each year of its existence. The idea proved so popular that at least 102 of the fiberglass statues were created, drawing nearly 10,000 to their debut in Headwaters Park the following year. Some of them are still ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Construction, zoning glitch exposes the cost of doing things the wrong way -- but is it enough?

Passing it every day on the way to and from work, I watched as workers slowly turned the small house at 6626 W. Jefferson Blvd. into something huge, windowless and unrecognizable. Then, just like that, work stopped and my curiosity veered from "What the heck is that thing?" to "What the heck happened?" Perhaps the answer lurks in that adage about it being better to seek forgiveness than permission. Then ...

Images of city's only Frank Lloyd Wright home to be auctioned June 5

The only house in Fort Wayne designed by famed architect Frank Lloyd Wright will soon be on the market. Not the house itself, which has an assessed value of about $113,000, but two drawings of it signed and dated by Wright himself. And they won't cost nearly as much. The web site Wright20.com will hold an online auction June 5 featuring "Important Design including Post War + Contemporary Art," and two of the ...

Ground broken on new 'boutique' hotel; to open in late 2020

Nearly three years after it was first proposed, ground was broken Friday on downtown Fort Wayne's newest — and perhaps most upscale — hotel. Vera Bradley co-founder Barbara Bradley Baekgaard, co-owner of the 124-room "boutique" facility with Oregon-based Provenance Hotels, told the crowd gathered at West Main and Harrison streets that she would have liked to begin construction sooner but that the delay ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Whispering campaign alone can't stop Electric Works, but city's lack of new tax credits won't help

The letter from developers of Electric Works insisted the $250 million project “will not happen . . . (without) leadership and guidance to bring this community together.” Recent news accounts might give the impression those words were posted to the project’s web site just a few days ago, but they were in fact included in a letter to Mayor Tom Henry more than a year ago — a letter that implored Henry ...

KEVIN LEININGER: What's a homeowner to do when modern regulations demand a 'lost' art?

Shawnee Drive is just a block long, stretching between Wildwood Avenue and Killea Street on Fort Wayne's near-southwest side. It may also have the highest concentration of stucco-sided houses in town, which is creating something of a Catch-22 for homeowners who need to make exterior repairs but can't find contractors capable of doing the work in a way that is satisfies city historic preservation ...

Neighborhood group challenging Allen County plan to increase bridge tax

Petitions containing about 300 signatures have been filed in opposition to a proposed increase in the tax used to maintain bridges in Allen County. The Neighborhoods United Group filed the petitions with the county Auditor's office last week, which will now review the names to certify they were signed by county property owners. If at least 10 names are certified, the Indiana Department of Local Government ...

KEVIN LEININGER: There's still time to do 'Anthony Wayne Day' right -- if people are willing to talk

Here we are in the middle of Memorial Day weekend, just a month and a half from Fort Wayne's first "Anthony Wayne Day," and commemoration of the city's namesake still evokes that famous 1967 movie line from Cool Hand Luke: "What we've got here is failure to communicate" As I wrote in April, history belongs not to the victors or the vanquished but to everyone. So it was good to see attorney Mike Loomis, who ...