This and that: Mitch Daniels goes to Washington … to test the waters
Plus, judge picks a county for jurors in the Delphi murder case. LSO names a trio of finalists for its next conductor. And get ready for Teal Road/Fourth Street closure this summer.
Thanks to Food Finders Food Bank for sponsoring today’s edition of Based in Lafayette.
This and that on a Thursday afternoon …
THE MITCH DANIELS WATCH: A couple of interesting pieces out over the past 24 hours, catching up with Mitch Daniels as he made his way around Washington, D.C., talking to politicians and others about a possible run for U.S. Senate. (You remember: “Mitch Daniels pondering Senate bid.” You also remember: “Waiting on Mitch Daniels, after U.S. Rep Jim Banks jumps in what looks like a brutal primary brewing.”)
Here’s a way into both reports:
Politico reporters Burgess Everett and Adam Wren called Daniels’ venture this week “a Goldilocks mission,” looking to find out whether life in the Senate would be just right. In it, the former Indiana governor and recently retired Purdue president told Politico that he was less worried about winning a Republican primary against Banks – and a set of conservatives ready to pony up cash for a slugfest over the nomination in 2024 – than he was about what would happen if he got to Washington: “I’m not the least bit worried, honestly, about losing an election. I’m worried about winning it and regretting it for six years.” For the full interview and reaction from D.C., here it is: “Senate Republicans get front seat to brewing Indiana Senate clash.”
Al Weaver, a reporter with The Hill, spoke with Daniels during the Capitol Hill visit and heard a similar story about Daniels mulling the moment and sizing up whether he was up for jumping from jobs spent running things to a legislative role. “It’s not something I’ve done or, frankly, seen myself doing,” Daniels told Weaver. Weaver also posed that question to Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, and others in on the visits with Daniels. For the full piece in The Hill, here you go: “Is Mitch Daniels a good fit for the Senate? He’s trying to figure that out.”
SPEAKING OF PURDUE PRESIDENTS: In case you missed it, here’s a Q&A with Mung Chiang, posted Wednesday at Based in Lafayette, in which Purdue’s 13th president talks about following Mitch Daniels, what he’s learned in a six-month transition, dealing with a campus housing crunch, what’s next for record enrollments and being the first family in Westwood with school-age kids.
DELPHI MURDER TRIAL JURORS: Presented with a choice between a jury pool from St. Joseph County and Allen County for Richard Allen’s trial in Delphi, Judge Fran Gull will go with jurors from her home Allen County. Gull ruled on the matter this week, after Carroll County Prosecutor Nick McLeland and Allen’s attorneys, Brad Rozzi and Andrew Baldwin, agreed late last week to selecting jury pools from either of those counties. Gull rejected a full change of venue in the case against Allen, a 50-year-old Delphi man charged with two counts of murder in the 2017 deaths of Delphi teens Abby Williams and Libby German. The Allen Superior Court judge, appointed to handle the case, said she thought the trial belonged in Carroll County but that it would be too difficult to seat a jury from a small community so invested in a case approaching its six-year mark. Allen County, home of Fort Wayne, is 95 miles from Delphi, with a population of 388,000. Jurors will be brought to Delphi for the trial. Meanwhile, Allen’s next appearance in court will be Feb. 17, when the judge is expected to set a trial date and his attorneys plan to argue for a bond that would let Allen out of custody until the trial.
LSO NAMES FINALISTS FOR NEXT CONDUCTOR: The Lafayette Symphony Orchestra this week announced a trio of finalists to be the next musical director and conductor, as Nick Palmer prepares to step down at the end of the 2022-23 season. The selection came after a six-month search that LSO reported brought more than 100 applicants.
The finalists are: Kalena Bovell, assistant conductor to the Memphis Symphony Orchestra and conductor of the Memphis Youth Symphony; Kelly Corcoran, artistic director and conductor of Intersection, a contemporary music ensemble in Nashville; and Kellen Gray, assistant conductor of the Royal Scottish National Orchestra in the UK and associate conductor of the Charleston Symphony in South Carolina.
The three each will curate and conduct a concert during the Lafayette Symphony Orchestra’s 2023-24 season. Those dates will be announced with the rest of the 2023-24 season in the spring.
COMING THIS SUMMER: FOURTH AND TEAL CLOSURE: The Teal Road reconstruction project will move down the hill this summer, closing the intersection of South Fourth and Teal Road from June 1 through mid-August, the Indiana Department of Transportation announced this week. Megan DeLucenay, INDOT public relations director, said access to businesses near the intersection will be maintained during the closure. An official state detour will follow U.S. 52 to Indiana 28 to U.S. 231. The local detour will include Beck Lane and South Ninth Street, city engineer Jeromy Grenard said. The $15.6 million state project includes new sewer lines and reconstructing large sections of Teal Road, Old U.S. 231 and Indiana 25, from Old Romney Road to near South 30th Street. The full project is scheduled to be done by September 30, 2024.
AND, FINALLY …: Remember when the school superintendent came sledding? Yeah, that happened over on the hill behind Happy Hollow School …
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