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The week ahead

GOP welcomes Wisconsin’s Walker

Berry
Walker

Former state auditor Tim Berry won’t start his new job as chairman of the Indiana GOP until his appointment is ratified by party officials on July 22, but Republicans move on this week with a high-profile and highly partisan event – a fundraiser headlined by Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker.

The union-busting office-holder is as stridently political as Berry has been low-key in his four terms at the Indiana Statehouse.

Berry’s selection to lead the state party, however, gives Republicans a political edge in the race for auditor that would not have had an incumbent because of term limits. Whoever is tapped by Gov. Mike Pence to replace Berry as auditor will have the advantage of running for the office with the title already in place.

Some also have speculated Berry’s appointment was an effort to keep State Treasurer Richard Mourdock – blamed for losing the U.S. Senate seat to Democrat Joe Donnelly – from the auditor’s race.

Berry, a Fort Wayne native and former Allen County treasurer, will be expected to play a harder style of Republican politics in his new post. But his willingness to deduct Democratic House members’ pay and pension after the 2011 walkout surely impressed top Republicans. Tuesday’s $200-per-person event featuring Walker is surely designed to inspire the rank and file in a non-election year.

Downtown ideas?

Downtown hasn’t been hurting for activity this summer, but Fort Wayne Cultural District leaders are looking to make it even busier. They will host the Pop UP Cultural District event Wednesday to unveil a plan for spurring business and cultural activity.

The event is from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Arts United Center Plaza, 300 E. Main St.

The plan highlights eight initiatives: public market, public art, culinary incubator, creative business incubator, creative storefront development, activity, connectivity and telling the city’s story.

The event includes a brief presentation at 5:30 p.m., plus food, art and music.

Three Rivers time

The granddaddy of downtown festivals kicks off this week.

The Fort Wayne Newspapers Three Rivers Festival begins Friday, with the Lutheran Health Network parade set for 9:45 a.m. Saturday.

The festival and its affiliated events across the city continue through July 20.

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