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City acts promptly, properly on complaint

For a police officer to misuse his power to take advantage of someone who’s helpless and in fear is a grievous abuse of the public trust.

Such was the allegation that led to a Fort Wayne police officer’s arrest and suspension without pay this week.

A woman said she was sexually assaulted by officer Mark A. Rogers after he stopped her for driving while intoxicated Sept. 1.

According to a probable cause affidavit, Rogers said he was transporting the woman to the Allen County Jail when she became ill; he decided to take her to the hospital.

After she was treated, the woman said, Rogers placed her in handcuffs, drove her to a park and had sex with her on a park bench.

She said she complied with the officer because of fear for her safety.

It appears that the nightmarish allegation is being dealt with swiftly and thoroughly.

The Fort Wayne Police Department filed charges after an internal investigation, and the Board of Public Safety granted Chief Rusty York’s request to suspend Rogers while the Allen County Sheriff’s Department investigates further.

An option for young teens

A free, year-long membership at your local YMCA: That’s what’s being offered this month to seventh graders in Allen, Whitley and Wells counties. It’s almost enough to make adults wish they could go back to junior high school. But maybe not.

“For some kids, this is a very vulnerable time,” said Nicole Liddell, the director of mission advancement at YMCA of Greater Fort Wayne. Substance abuse, delinquency, teen pregnancy and violence become issues that some of them must confront.

Young people face challenges throughout their teens, but the Y believes it can have the greatest effect on seventh graders, who may not have as many positive options as older kids.

It’s not just about being able to play sports and exercise. The Y provides teens with a safe place to go, something important in today’s world. Moreover, “they will be surrounded by positive role models that help them stay on the right track,” Liddell says.

And there are leadership and training programs where kids can learn about child-abuse prevention, hear about the YMCA’s mission and discover ways to serve their community.

There are 5,000 seventh graders in the Greater Fort Wayne YMCA’s three-county area. If you are the parent or legal guardian of one of them, contact your local YMCA branch before Sept. 30 to get him or her involved.

Asian carp plan gaining urgency

The 82-pound Asian carp caught near Lake Michigan should quiet any voices of opposition to the proposed plan to prevent the invasive species from taking over the Great Lakes.

The $50 million federal Asian-carp-control plan comes from the White House Council on Environmental Quality, which is led by John Goss, a former director of the Indiana Department of Natural Resources. The objective of the extensive Asian carp control plan – including building a tighter barrier in Eagle Marsh in southwest Fort Wayne – is to keep the carp from further migration from the Mississippi River Watershed to the Great Lakes Watershed.

If the Asian carp are allowed to proliferate in the Great Lakes, the invasive species could decimate the $7 billion Great Lakes fishing industry.

The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers ranked the Chicago canal system as the highest-risk location for Asian carp to access the Great Lakes and Eagle Marsh as second. The carp are ubiquitous in the Wabash River.

Under the right flooding conditions the fish could come up the Little River, enter Eagle Marsh and gain access to the Maumee River, which feeds into Lake Erie.

In 2010, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources installed a mesh fence to prevent further migration toward Lake Erie. The plan calls for a larger permanent barrier.

But some of the proposed projects, and the funding to pay for those projects, have been a source of debate.

Goss recently reported to members of Congress that a 53-inch, 82-pound Asian carp was caught in August in Flatfoot Lake near the Illinois-Indiana line.

The discovery of an Asian carp weighing about as much as the average 10-year-old boy should persuade lawmakers to take the problem seriously.