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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, August 20, 2017 1:00 am

Tiny house movement gains interest

NIKI KELLY and BRIAN FRANCISCO | The Journal Gazette

The tallest member of the Allen County Council is heading a discussion about tiny houses.

Councilman Justin Busch, R-at large, said Thursday he has received inquiries from residents interested in the tiny house movement regarding allowable home sizes in Allen County.

The tiny house movement advocates simple living in small homes.

Although there are no size requirements, a standalone home of less than 500 to 750 square feet is typically considered tiny.

Busch said he's setting a meeting with the Allen County Building Department and the Department of Planning Services to let people interested in tiny homes know what current law allows.

The meeting date has not yet been determined.

Anyone interested in the tiny house movement in Allen County can reach Busch via email at

Who is elite?

U.S. Rep. Todd Rokita's campaign slogan for his Senate primary race is attracting a bit of attention since it was unveiled – and not the good kind.

Columnists have called him out for the “poetic irony” of a four-term Congressman promising to “Defeat the Elite.”

And Twitter has been full of ridicule.

“Todd Rokita, Secretary of State for 8 years, in the House for 8 more, wants you to believe he's neither 'elite' nor a career politician,” one person said.

“Todd Rokita is a senior Congressman bragging about all of the money he's received from special interests. It's safe to say, he is the elite,” said another.

And “While we're at it. Do the elite own planes? Because Rokita does.”

Rokita also started driving around in a campaign Humvee – 8 miles to the gallon – wrapped in an American flag.

In response, Rokita sent out a fundraising letter Wednesday that defined who the elite is – liberal news columnists and reporters, pundits, political insiders in D.C. and Indianapolis, and U.S. Sen. Joe Donnelly and his campaign.

“Defeating the elite isn't about whether or not someone has served in political office,” the email said. “It's about taking on the failed status quo perpetuated by many in the professional political class who get wealthy and powerful because of the system.”

Doctor's excuse nets investigation

Nothing gets by the state inspector general. Not even a single forged doctors' note.

The office recently posted a report on a case in which a state employee at Madison State Hospital called in sick Jan. 6. A supervisor requested a doctor's note and she provided one on return.

But a supervisor noticed it wasn't in a normal format and after making some calls found the woman had not gone to the doctor. She was fired.

An investigator with the Inspector General's Office – created to ferret out waste, fraud, abuse and wrongdoing – visited the medical facility to confirm the doctor's note was fake.

But he didn't stop there. The agent obtained information on the employee's housemates and checked their criminal backgrounds as well as any prescription usage. Nothing was found.

The case was forwarded to the Jefferson County prosecutor, who calculated the cost of the missed day of work, overtime of other employees to cover the employee's shift and the hour the employee worked on the day of termination.

The employee agreed to pay $318.33 in restitution in exchange for the prosecutor not filing criminal charges.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Brian Francisco at or Niki Kelly at An expanded Political Notebook can also be found as a daily blog at