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Gary Varvel | Indianapolis Star

Furthermore …

Harris

Ivy Tech taps its legislative pipeline again

The Indiana General Assembly/Ivy Tech Community College connection grew closer last week with the appointment of former Republican lawmaker Tim Harris to Ivy Tech’s Corporate College.

The two-term state legislator from Marion was named associate vice president of sales and marketing for the Corporate College. He will earn $125,000 a year. Most recently, Harris was chief of staff for Rep. Marlin Stutzman, a former colleague in the General Assembly.

“Tim Harris was hired because of his business background and experience,” said Jeff Fanter, vice president of communications and marketing for Ivy Tech. “He brings a wealth of contacts and relationships to this position – which are the keys to success in Corporate College.”

The president of Ivy Tech’s Corporate College is former legislator Matt Bell, who earns $250,000 a year. Fanter said the Corporate College operation is self-sustaining.

Former state lawmaker Craig Fry is executive director of apprenticeship studies for the Corporate College.

Ivy Tech’s employee roster also includes current lawmakers Patrick Bauer, vice president of external partnerships; and Mike Karickhoff, executive director of facilities.

Christopher Ruhl, budget director for former Gov. Mitch Daniels, recently joined Ivy Tech as senior vice president and chief financial officer.

Privacy flimsy excuse to shield I-69 documents

Hoosiers and other Americans have repeatedly seen examples of public officials adamantly insisting that some government information simply had to be kept sealed from the public for the good of society.

The high point of such a claim was President Nixon’s demand that recordings made in his office had to remain secret for, ahem, the protection of future presidents. He lost, and it became clear that his main concern was covering up his administration’s complicity in the Watergate affair.

In almost every case, transparency of public records is better than secrecy.

Some state officials argue Hoosiers have an interest in sealing appraisals of property the state is buying to build a highway. The state is obligated to offer a fair price; and landowners tend to want to get absolutely as much as possible. Publicizing appraisals of such property could impede those negotiations.

But landowners tend to already know what their properties are worth. And people who know their way around the county assessor’s and auditor’s offices can eventually figure out how much a property was assessed for and sold for.

For example, reporters for the Indianapolis Star discovered that the state offered $7 million for 32 parcels of land in southern Indiana as part of the Interstate 69 extension. They also discovered the land’s appraised value: $3.34 million, meaning the state paid twice what it was worth.

For another example, reporters for the same newspaper found that the state paid Indiana Department of Transportation chief of staff Troy Woodruff and his family for I-69 land they owned, and that Woodruff did not disclose his conflict of interest.

A bill unsealing those records is stalled in the General Assembly. “I’m sure there are some people who sold their property on I-69 who didn’t want to sell it at any price,” state Sen. Luke Kenley argues. “And then they didn’t want to have everybody in the world knowing about it, so they kind of got a double hit there.”

Sorry, but when government buys land using taxpayers’ money, the public is entitled to know.

Royal remains resurface in unlikely location

For most of the last several centuries, Richard III has been not a person but one of William Shakespeare’s most popular plays.

The diabolically evil and deformed Richard has long been considered a dream role for actors, allowing them to interpret and re-interpret and re-re-interpret the character and famous lines such as “now is the winter of our discontent” and “my kingdom for a horse.”

Perhaps inspired by Al Pacino’s 1996 “Looking for Richard” and its tagline, “A 400-year-old work-in-progress,” British scientists this week have made the amazing announcement that we need look no more.

His body has apparently been found, under a parking lot in Leicester, England.

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