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This and that: A Tuesday edition
This issue: A tank rises on Lafayette’s Wea Ridge water tower. Some hard news from the coroner. Supreme Court passes on Charles Bookwalter’s challenge of Indiana’s two-primary rule for candidates
Thanks to the ongoing support from Long Center for the Performing Arts, sponsor of today’s edition. The Laughayette Comedy Festival starts Oct. 1 with multiple shows in Long Center, Lafayette Theater and other venues. For show details and tickets, go to longpac.org or click on the flier below.
A this and that Tuesday …
WEA RIDGE WATER TOWER PROGRESS: Those watching the progress of Lafayette’s new, 2 million gallon water tower going up near Wea Ridge Elementary and Middle School properties got a nice, slow-motion show Saturday morning.
Crews from Caldwell Tanks, a Louisville, Kentucky, company building the tower, took roughly four hours to lift the tank that had been at ground level to the top of the pedestal.
For a look, check these shots from videographer Gary Higgins, with more coming later:
Steve Moore, Lafayette’s waterworks director, said there’s still plenty of work to come before the city commissions the water tower. He said crews this week were building a ring on the pedestal to brace the tank. He said they also needed to assemble a top of the tank and install piping to hook the 153-foot tower into Lafayette’s water system.
Work on the $5.6 million project is expected to be done by mid-December, Moore said.
The tower had been in the city’s plans for nearly 20 years, with land set aside on the Wea Ridge property when the schools were built. (Tippecanoe School Corp. made arrangements in 2022 to transfer land for the water tower project to the city.) The Wea Ridge water tower is intended to improve water pressure in the area, particularly if needed to fight a fire, and provide service as the city grows to the south.
Along with a 3 million gallon underwater pumping station going on line earlier this year in Murdock Park, the new tower will help bring the city’s storage capacity from 10 million gallons to 15 million gallons, Smith said. The average daily water use in Lafayette has grown from 8.5 million gallons a day five years ago to 11 million gallons a day now, Smith said.
“It just shows the city’s growth and what we’re doing to be ready for it,” Smith said.
PURDUE GRAD STUDENT IDENTIFIED IN WEST LAFAYETTE CRASH: Sara Brown, 24, a Purdue graduate student, was identified as the driver killed in a Friday afternoon crash on Robinson Street, Tippecanoe County Coroner Carrie Costello reported Monday.
According to West Lafayette police, Brown was driving south on Robinson Street when her car swerved for an unknown reason, hit a parked vehicle near the intersection with Dehart Street and then went back into the street and into the path of a northbound semi. Police reported that Brown was pronounced dead at the scene. The driver of the semi was not injured, police said.
Brown was studying in Purdue’s Department of Human Development and Family Science, with degrees from Arkansas State.
INDIANA SUPREME COURT DENIES CANDIDATE CHARLES BOOKWALTER’S CHALLENGE OF ‘TWO PRIMARY’ RULE
The Indiana Supreme Court denied a request Monday to take up the case of Charles Bookwalter, a Thorntown businessman and Army veteran who was booted from the 2022 primary ballot when the Indiana Election Commission ruled he didn’t meet the state’s two-primary rule to qualify.
Bookwalter filed to run as a Republican in 2022, challenging U.S. Rep. Jim Baird in Indiana’s 4th District – which is Greater Lafayette’s district in Congress.
But the Indiana Election Commission kept his name off the ballot after his candidacy was challenged by Republican Party officials in the congressional district. Bookwalter didn’t meet a 2021 Indiana law that said a major party candidate must have voted in their two most recent primaries or get a waiver from the county party chair to get access to the ballot. Bookwalter had voted in one Republican primary years earlier but hadn’t found candidates who compelled him to vote in primaries. And the Republican chair in his home Boone County declined to sign off on his primary bid.
Bookwalter argued, to no avail, that the two-primary rule – upped from a one-primary rule in 2021 – was unfair and unconstitutional as a substantial burden on ballot access. Bookwalter sued, asking for emergency access to the ballot. A Marion County judge ruled in March 2022 that his request came too late. The judge also ruled that Bookwalter was unlikely to win on constitutional grounds, writing that the Supreme Court had ruled that “a political party has a right to identify the people who constitute the association … and select a standard bearer who best represents the party’s ideologies and preferences” and that the high court “did not recognize an unfettered right of a person to run for election.”
In an April 2023 opinion, the Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the lower court’s ruling. And on Monday, among its weekly list of transfer decisions, Bookwalter’s case was among 27 cases the Indiana Supreme Court denied transfer for consideration. According to Supreme Court files, the five justices voted unanimously to deny Bookwalter’s case.
Since then, Bookwalter has announced a campaign to challenge Baird in the May 2024 primary. Bookwalter said ahead of a spring campaign announcement that he’d voted in the 2022 GOP primary, fulfilling the state candidacy law. Bookwalter is basing his campaign that he’ll offer an alternative to what he called “big government Republicans,” running on the idea that Baird isn’t conservative enough for a 13-county congressional district that includes Tippecanoe County and is immediate neighboring counties.
OTHER READS/OTHER LISTENS …
In a case that wound up making local, statewide and even a few national headlines after doctors told the family of a Monticello woman that she died from drinking too much water on a hot July Fourth weekend on Lake Freeman, Tippecanoe County Coroner Carrie Costello on Monday released autopsy results that pulled back on the water toxicity diagnosis. J&C reporter Ron Wilkins had the details about the medical investigation into the death Ashley Summers, 35, and why the coroner was discouraging reports initially given to her family after she drank four 16-ounce bottles of water shortly before she collapsed: “Autopsy: Monticello woman did not died from water toxicity.”
As the 50th anniversary of hip hop rolls out, NPR’s Fresh Air pulled this one from the archives Monday night with a 2002 interview with Grandmaster Flash. Ears perked in the car, just weeks away from the beats and breaks innovator’s stop at Purdue for an audiovisual lecture about techniques and turntable styles that became the earliest moments of rap and hip hop. Here’s the interview, really a great listen: “‘Fresh Aire celebrates 50 years of hip hop: Grandmaster Flash.” As for details on the Sept. 23 visit to Purdue’s Loeb Playhouse, here’s how to get free tickets via Purdue Convocations and the Student Concert Committee.
Thanks, again, to the ongoing support from Long Center for the Performing Arts, sponsor of today’s edition. Check details about the upcoming Laughayette Comedy Festival shows here.
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