The Journal Gazette
Sunday, January 31, 2021 1:00 am

Henry schedules State of City address

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry's annual State of the City address will have a much smaller audience than usual.

Henry's 2021 speech, “Fort Wayne – It's Our Time,” is scheduled for noon Feb. 10 at Grand Wayne Center downtown. However, it won't be open to the public.

The speech will be aired live on local news channels and livestreamed on the city's Facebook page.

The mayor is expected to discuss the ongoing effects of the coronavirus and the city's response, 2020 accomplishments, and a look ahead.

Didier recognized

The City Council recognizing its president at the end of a year might be tradition, but there was nothing traditional about 2020.

On Tuesday, Councilman Paul Ensley, R-1st, presented fellow Councilman Tom Didier, R-3rd, a plaque commemorating his service leading the City Council in 2020.

“You did a phenomenal job leading us, keeping our meetings on point and helping us so that we could conduct our business remotely,” said Ensley, who was selected as council president for 2021.

Tuesday's meeting was Ensley's first as president.

Didier led the City Council through a year of pandemic and social unrest. As Fort Wayne and Allen County underwent gathering size limits in an effort to slow the virus's spread, Didier was often the only council member physically in the meeting chamber at Citizens Square.

During those meetings, he was typically joined by City Clerk Lana Keesling, Deputy City Clerk Stacy Reed, and City Council Administrator Megan Flohr.

Film series looks at redistricting

As part of efforts to address redistricting in Indiana this year, the League of Women Voters of Indiana is providing public access to a documentary film series.

The first one on Thursday was called “The Fight to Vote,” which chronicled the 2018 and 2020 elections in Georgia.

The second is “UnCivil War: U.S. Elections Under Siege,” and will air at 7:30 p.m. Thursday.

This 45-minute documentary exposes the web of threats facing elections today.

The film includes a segment on Indiana's fight to reform redistricting, featuring interviews with Julia Vaughn of Common Cause and Debbie Asberry of the Indiana League of Women Voters, co-founders of All IN for Democracy, Indiana's Coalition for Redistricting Reform.

Panelists include former Fort Wayne Mayor Paul Helmke, director of the Civic Leaders Center at Indiana University, and Peggy Welch, who lost her House seat after redistricting in 2011.

Then on Feb. 11, “Line in the Street” will air at 7:30 p.m. This award-winning film on gerrymandering reform is about citizen activists and a landmark win for voting rights in the 2018 Pennsylvania Supreme Court case, League of Women Voters Pennsylvania v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.

This first-of-its-kind lawsuit held that partisan gerrymandering violated Pennsylvania's State Constitution, irrespective of federal law, or federal courts.

Panelists are Jesse Kharbanda of the Hoosier Environmental Council and Jennifer McCormick, former Indiana state superintendent of public instruction.

Registration can be found on the League's website at

Whitley County Libertarians unite

The Libertarian Party of Whitley County was officially inaugurated recently in downtown Columbia City.

Whitley County resident Ryan Day was elected county party chair. Other Whitley County residents attended the meeting as well as Libertarian Party members from across the state both in person and via Zoom.

Whitley is one of several counties across the state becoming new county affiliates for the Libertarian Party of Indiana.

Other new county parties in northeast Indiana that will be forming in the next couple weeks are in Noble, Kosciusko, and Wells.

The Libertarian Party of Allen County is already established.

Dave Gong of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.

To reach Political Notebook by email, contact Niki Kelly at Political Notebook can be found at

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