Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

June 30, 2013

Public Eye

Kokomo Tribune

---- — Back to China

Kokomo Mayor Greg Goodnight welcomed a delegation from Kokomo’s sister city, Dongyang, China, Wednesday, marking the second time in recent months a Dongyang delegation has been to Kokomo.

We asked Goodnight if this meant he’ll be visiting Dongyang soon.

“Obviously, we owe them a visit,” Goodnight said, adding no date has been set for the trip. It will be Goodnight’s second trip to China, following a 2010 trip with then-Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels.

“This is a real sister city relationship,” Goodnight said Wednesday. “It’s more substantial than ceremonial.”

Goodnight said he wanted the return trip to include an educational component, and that possibly a representative from the local educational community would be asked along. This week, the Dongyang delegation was planning to visit schools to learn more about our education system. Wednesday, the delegation enjoyed barbecue at Central Middle School.

Waiting for Pence to speak

In January, Gov. Mike Pence visited Kokomo and was asked whether he’d address the state constitution to ban same sex marriage during his 2013 State of the State address. At the time, the Legislature’s conservatives were split as to whether they’d try to pass the amendment during the 2013 session, and ultimately House Speaker Brian Bosma indicated he’d wait to address the issue after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled.

At the time, Pence said he planned to “take issues one at a time, as the Legislature sends them to me.”

“Where it’s appropriate, we’ll express ourselves,” he added, using the royal “we,” as is his style.

Now that the Supreme Court has ruled the federal Defense of Marriage Act violated same-sex couples’ Fifth Amendment right to equal protection under the law, we will be curious to see how Pence expresses himself on the issue.

The governor’s aspirations toward higher office are no secret, but every day which passes brings a highly controversial decision on the proposed amendment closer to Pence’s lap.

Mystery ‘buyer’ bails out

We have about 45 years of newspaper experience between us, but we have to go back a ways to recall a public debate with the contentiousness of the wind farm issue.

As a case in point, there’s the story of Dave Johnson, who lives near the Wildcat Wind Farm, who said he’s had no offers on his farm for the past year, and who said the appraised value on his property declined by $65,000 after the wind farm began operations. After his complaint became public, we received a call from some guy who said he was interested in buying Johnson’s place. We mentioned the supposed interest in Public Eye, but sadly for Johnson, the mystery buyer never made an offer, or even contacted Johnson. That makes us wonder if it wasn’t just a political stunt.

“Until I hear otherwise, I stand by my claim that a home in close proximity to wind turbines is nearly impossible to sell, at least at a reasonable price,” Johnson said.

Better late than never

Back on April 24, Tipton County Clerk Debbie Tragesser sent by certified mail a court transcript to the Indiana Court of Appeals. It was finally delivered June 5 in Indianapolis.

Tragesser was told by officials with the United States Postal Service that they couldn’t locate the transcript and offered to reimburse the county the $10 cost for mailing the certified letter. Tragesser was concerned the county would have to pay for the creation of another copy of the transcript at an unknown cost.