INdiana Systemic Thinking

February 13, 2008

Rep. Hoy will not seek Re-election: Riecken Files

From WTHR:

Rep. Phil Hoy, a Democrat from Evansville, said he wants to spend more time with his wife and grandchildren. Hoy plans to serve out his current term but will not seek re-election in House District 77, which covers downtown Evansville and other areas in Vanderburgh and Warrick counties.

Then, shortly after the announcement, The Evansville Courier Press reported:

Gail Riecken, former city councilwoman, announced she would seek the position.

Riecken, first took office when she was appointed to fill the remaining city council term of Frank McDonald II when he became Mayor, will enter the race by filing at 4:30 on Wednesday.

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January 29, 2008

Pfizer Lays Off 660

According to the Indianapolis Star, Pfizer Inc. is eliminating 660 jobs at it’s plant near Terre Haute, Indiana.  This is due to poor sales of Pfizer’s inhaled insulin drug, Exubera.  Apparently this should come as no surprise to workers who have been on paid leave since production was halted in October.

Pfizer also makes the following psychotropics, or closely related drugs:  Dilantin, Navane,  and Xanax, which are not effected by the shut down.

January 15, 2008

School Discipline

Think kicking kids out of school so they can bone up on Flintstone’s reruns is a good idea?  Take a look at this article from WTHR:

Indiana’s schools should come up with new ways to solve discipline issues instead of relying on strict rules that punish all students the same way, an Indiana University report says.

The university’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy said recently that many schools use rules like zero tolerance policies or one-day suspensions that may not change student behavior.

“We’re all reinforced by different things, and we’re all punished by different things,” said Sandy Washburn, one of the authors of the CEEP report.

Disciplinary issues are statistically worse in Indiana than elsewhere, the report found. During the 2005-06 school year, there were 6,324 expulsions and 313,322 suspensions in Indiana, according to the Department of Education. More than 600 schools that year reported a rate of 10 or more suspensions per 100 students.

IU researchers suggested a three-tiered system called Schoolwide Positive Behavior Supports. The system includes schoolwide initiatives, group interventions for those with common disciplinary problems and individual interventions.

Some Indiana schools are already using the model and have had good results so far, the researchers said.

Sam Elder, a member of the Vanderburgh County Taxpayers Association, said the rates of suspension and expulsion in the Evansville-Vanderburgh School Corp. are too high.

“The last couple of years it has inched up, and the worst problems we have are at our high schools,” Elder said.

January 9, 2008

Inside HB 1039: Sales Tax Holiday

From a press release by the Indiana House Democratic Caucus:

INDIANAPOLIS — As part of an ongoing initiative to protect Hoosiers from escalating tax rates, State Rep. Kreg Battles (D-Vincennes) has filed a bill that will provide for an annual two day sales tax holiday beginning on the second Saturday of August.

The provision for the sales tax holiday is contained in House Bill (HB) 1039, of which Battles is a co-author. According to the legislation, any item purchased at a retail price of less than $2,500 would be exempt from the state’s sales tax during the holiday.

Interesting idea!  Although if this came to fruition, it would be fun to see how many $2499.00 sales pop up.  Realistically though, this only amounts to a net savings of $150.00 per $2500.00 purchase.

Sen. Amos Thomas Suffers Relapse

The Blogmeister first posted on the recovery of Sen. Amos Thomas last month.  According to the Brazil Times, it appears he has suffered a relapse.  From the Times story:

According to his son Ben, Thomas recently began experiencing severeheadaches again, a problem he had suffered through after having a laminectomy in December.

After having the laminectomy, Thomas’ doctors informed him the headaches he experienced were spinal headaches caused by a leaking of spinal fluid.

A procedure was performed on Thomas in surgery by creating a “patch” in the area where the laminectomy was performed.

However, the “patch” did not work as efficient as hoped.

“The patch didn’t get ahold,” Ben told The Brazil Times. “They tried to get him on his back with the idea that it would heal up.

“It was just kind of a fluke.”

Ben said Amos was readmitted a few days ago and had another surgery procedure for the problem Monday.

“I think he’s OK,” Ben said as he was traveling up to Indianapolis to see his father. “He’s a little down, obviously, because he wants to get back to legislation.”

Ben said there was a possibility his father may get out of the hospital Tuesday, but indicated Wednesday may be more reasonable.

“He’s going to be fine,” Ben said. “I guarantee he’ll be back on his bicycle when it gets warmer.”

A laminectomy is a surgical procedure for treating spinal stenosis by relieving pressure on the spinal cord.

The Blogmeister continues to wish the Senator a speedy recovery.

January 6, 2008

(Not) Back Home Again in Indiana

This is by far the least scientific method of determining if people are fleeing the state, but a measure none the less.

From the Evansville Courrier Press:

Last year, Atlas moved 1,980 residents out of Indiana and only 1,329 to it from other states, according to a report the Evansville company released today. That gave Indiana the third highest percentage of emigration in the country.

Barbara Cox, director of marketing communications with Atlas, said that about 75 percent of the moving company’s business comes from other companies. They have often hired Atlas to move employees who are taking a new job or have been transferred. The remainder are moves made for personal reasons. Residents may want to live in a temperate climate or closer to their family, she said.

Cox said Atlas, when conducting its survey, refrains from asking customers why they decided to move. She speculated that many are going elsewhere because they have found better jobs.

“It could be that the manufacturing market is not as strong as it used to be,” Cox said.

States in the Midwest saw the greatest emigration to other states. Ohio had the highest percentage of people leaving, and Michigan had the fifth highest. The report cites a lack of jobs int he Midwest as a reason behind the moves out.

Washington D.C. saw the highest percentage of people moving there. States in the West, such as Washington, Nevada, Oregon and Alaska, were also popular places to immigrate to.

So were states in the Southwest. Texas saw the greatest total number of immigrants. Colorado and New Mexico were also popular destinations, according to the report.

January 2, 2008

Random Stuff: Judge Arrested, Souder Dissed, Etc…

After all the reveling from the New Year, it appears everyone is taking a break from making any news.  So, here are some random thoughts on some even more random stories that caught my attention this morning.  In no particular order….

 The Carroll County Comet is reporting on the arrest of Carroll County Circuit Court Judge Donald E. Currie.  He was arrested on 12/23/07 allegedly for public intoxication.  He had an initial hearing on 12/26.  A “not-guilty” plea was entered and he has a bench trial scheduled for 3/28.  The Blogmeister is hard pressed to give the Judge too much of a hard time, as we all screw up occasionally.

The Fort Wayne Journal Gazette opines on abuses in the selling tactics of insurance companies concerning the Medicare part D program.  What?…  Insurance companies promising coverage and not following through…  Pushy insurance salesman….  What a shocker.  Welcome to my world. 

David Van Gilder is really p*ssed at 5th District U.S. Rep. Mark Souder about Souder’s reported views of non-Christian religions.  The Blog Blue Indiana agrees.

 The Fort Wayne City Council and Mayor were sworn in yesterday, as were other city council officials around the state.  What makes FW’s different is two of the new members are very active in the state blogosphere.  Here is what the Journal Gazette says about Mitch Harper and Karen Goldner:

Karen Goldner, Democrat

2nd District, northeast and northern part of the city

Age : 44

Occupation : Vice president for special projects at FourthWave LLC

Elected service : Elected in November to first term

Goals : Goldner plans to introduce a bill that would give a small advantage to city companies looking to sell goods and services to city government. She also said she wants to re-examine the council’s policy for issuing tax abatements.

On a district level, Goldner wants to work with Mayor Tom Henry to develop a long-term capital improvement plan for her district. She said this would work better than just assigning projects annually. She also plans to conduct a public meeting for her constituents in February and continue that quarterly throughout her first year.

Mitch Harper, Republican

4th District, southwest Fort Wayne

Age : 51

Occupation : Attorney

Elected service : Elected in November to first term, served 12 years in state legislature

Goals : Harper said he hopes to bring more transparency to local government. By releasing as much information as possible, Harper said the council can use the collective knowledge of the community to gauge public policy decisions.

“It’s important to give people as much information as we can,” he said.

For example, Harper said it should be easier for people to determine how different members of the council voted on individual bills.

As the Blogmeister understands it, Goldner comments on many blogs, while Harper is the editor of Fort Wayne Observed.

The Evansville Courier Press positively opines about the Healthy Indiana Program (HIP).

and…..

The state’s newest political blog, Political Equinox, has a great first person post about the Iowa caucus.

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