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WRITER: Kevin Leininger

Before county sells Byron property, it wants to know where the graves are

Anyone who's seen the movie "Poltergeist" knows what can happen when somebody develops over an old graveyard. So before the Allen County Commissioners put the 120-acre Irene Byron campus on Lima Road up for sale, they'll spend $800 to find out where the bodies are buried. "We know where the old cemetery was, but we want to make sure there aren't any more graves," said Barry Sturges, the local developer who is ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Rising jail-related settlements beg the question: Does crime pay?

The year was 1798, and three American diplomats had just stormed out of Paris after French officials demanded a $12 million loan, a $250,000 bribe and a personal apology from President John Adams before even discussing business and political differences between the two countries. "Millions for defense, but not one cent for tribute," South Carolina Congressman Robert Goodloe Harper defiantly replied. It's a ...

UPDATED: Anthem says it will drop Parkview Health if new deal not reached by April 29; Parkview responds

Anthem Inc., Parkview Health's largest commercial contract, has notified the local medical network it will terminate the deal if it cannot be successfully renegotiated by April 29. According to Purdue University, the negotiations "were spurred by Anthem’s attempt to advocate for and reduce costs for those using care via Parkview." In a statement this week, the university noted that a RAND Corp. study of ...

KEVIN LEININGER: If 'love your enemies' can bridge even the abortion divide, what else might it do?

Don Page was worshiping at St. Vincent's Catholic Church five years ago when Father Dan Scheidt challenged parishioners to think of the person they disliked most — and befriend them. Page, who by that time had already been a pro-life sidewalk counselor for five years, had no trouble coming up with a name. He knew the rest would not be so easy. "I thought, 'How do I do this? I detest this person.' He would ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Do it Best's move will be good for Electric Works and city -- and could become great

Gov. Eric Holcomb was there. So was Mayor Tom Henry, county commissioners, city council members, a gaggle of reporters and a host of other dignitaries public and private. Thursday's official confirmation of Do it Best as Electric Works' anchor tenant, in front of a large and enthusiastic crowd in the cold and cavernous former General Electric building the company will soon call home, sure seemed like a happy ...

County Commissioners give final OK to Electric Works extension

In a vote that was as anticlimactic as it was important, the Allen County Commissioners Friday became the last of three governmental entities to approve a crucial deadline extension for the developers of Electric Works. In a unanimous 3-0 vote, the commissioners joined the city's Redevelopment and Capital Improvement Board in amending the development agreement between RTM Ventures and the city. The deal had ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Latest TinCaps safety feature is a net plus; Indiana Tech plans for future, too

After a foul ball fractured Jennifer Myers' face and took out eight teeth during a 2015 game at Parkview Field, the TinCaps responded admirably by adding 90 feet of protective netting down each foul line at a cost of $22,500. Two years later, Kathy Faulkner's bloody scalp had to be stapled shut when she was beaned while sitting with her 32-year-old special-needs son just outside the newly expanded "safe" ...

UPDATED: CEO says Do it Best to add jobs at Electric Works; state pledges up to $1.8M in incentives

Calling it "one of the worst kept secrets" in city history, the president and CEO of Do it Best Corp. confirmed his company's 440-emoployee headquarters will move to Electric Works and create up to 90 additional jobs. "This will be a different way to work. We want to get the right people working near each other and establish us as the employer of choice," Dan Starr told Gov. Eric Holcomb, Mayor Tom Henry, ...

Capital Improvement Board OKs Electric Works extension

It's two down, one to go for Electric Works. Echoing a decision made Monday by the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission, the Capital Improvement Board on Wednesday unanimously approved an extension of the development agreement between RTM Ventures and the city. The deal had required certain financial and leasing commitments to be met by Feb. 1. Now, in the third extension of the deal, the deadline for leasing, ...

Henry: Past success, new ideas make Fort Wayne 'as strong as it's ever been'

After 12 years in office, Mayor Tom Henry's talking points, priorities and accomplishments are well known. But in his first State of the City address of what he has said will be his final term, Henry wove a few new initiatives into his well-known litany. Speaking Wednesday at the Grand Wayne Convention Center, Henry's speech — themed "Moving Forward Together" — touted the 650 new jobs created in Fort Wayne ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Will politicians ever stop cheapening faith? Not a prayer

If there's anything worse than a sore loser, it's a sore winner — as President Trump proved last week by invoking God in a vindictive tirade that was simultaneously out of place and out of touch with the faith he professes. But as they so often do, Trump's critics made his bizarre behavior seem almost normal through a stunning display of hypocrisy that exposed how both religion and politics can be cheapened ...

Do it Best confirms move into Electric Works

It's official: Do it Best will be the anchor tenant at Electric Works. Confirming a News-Sentinel report Saturday, CEO Dan Starr told company employees Tuesday the international hardware wholesaler has signed a letter of intent to move at least part of its operations from Nelson Road in New Haven into the former General Electric campus. Starr provided few other details, but the company would apparently ...

Electric Works receives key support for deal extension; Capital Improvement Board and county next

Despite an attempt to delay the vote pending Thursday's planned identification its anchor tenant, Electric Works' developers Monday won approval of the extension they say is needed to move the $230 million project forward. By a 3-2 vote, the Fort Wayne Redevelopment Commission approved amending the development agreement between the city and RTM development that had required certain financial and leasing ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Is Do it Best moving to Electric Works? And where should MLK memorial go?

Electric Works developers plan to reveal the project's anchor tenant Feb. 13, but the rumors are already flying and one name dominates them: Do it Best, the international hardware wholesaler currently headquartered on Nelson Road in New Haven. As I first reported last month, RTM Ventures says a firm has signed a letter of intent to locate its headquarters in 200,000 square feet of the former General Electric ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Rush Limbaugh's illness should put the focus on humanity, not bombast

In Hans Christian Andersen's short story about "The Emperor's New Clothes," two weavers give their leader a new suit they insist is invisible to those who are stupid or incompetent. Utterly convinced of his own brilliance, the emperor proudly parades before his servile subjects, who feign admiration for his wardrobe until a child finally cries out, "But he isn't wearing anything at all!" Since 1988, Rush ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Trump, Democrats should learn from impeachment fiasco, but probably won't

If you're as tired as I am of having your morality and intelligence impugned by people who embrace open borders, socialism and the legal killing of children until the moment of birth, take heart: This week's expected dismissal of impeachment charges against President Trump by the U.S. Senate will prove yet again they are not nearly as smart as they think they are. But if congressional Democrats had not ...

State confirms Electric Works 'close' to signing major tenant; pledges project ongoing support

Electric works is indeed "close to finalizing terms with an anchor tenant," Indiana's secretary of commerce has confirmed in a letter to local officials that also reiterates the state's ongoing commitment to the $230 million project. "While attracting companies from outside of Indiana is critical to the state’s economic development efforts, it is equally important to support the expansion of Indiana’s ...

KEVIN LEININGER: Local purchase of Lincoln properties could continue downtown renaissance

Friday's announcement that Mayor Tom Henry will give Electric Works developers more time to land a crucial anchor tenant isn't the only potentially Big News being made by downtown real estate, including the campus that was formerly the headquarters of the Lincoln Financial Group. Abridge Pointe, an affiliate of Fort Wayne-based Ambassador Enterprises, which was founded by Daryle Doden in 2006 and bills itself ...

Allen County's investment income zooms up 70 percent to $4.2M in 2019

The rich just keep getting richer — at least as far as Allen County government is concerned. Thanks in large part to a growing cash reserve that has reached about $120 million, Allen County's investments generated about $4.2 million in interest in 2019. That's an increase of about 70 percent over the $2.47 million earned in 2018. County Treasurer William Royce outlined the numbers in his annual report to the ...

UPDATED: Mayor Tom Henry backs crucial extension of deal needed to land 'anchor tenant'; developers respond

Electric Works developers will apparently receive an extension of their deal with the city they say is needed to land a crucial "anchor tenant" for the $230 million project. Mayor Tom Henry Friday announced his support for an extension of deadlines to the city's economic development agreement with RTM Ventures. It would be the third such extension. As The News-Sentinel first reported earlier this month, RTM ...