This and that: The flying into Tuesday edition
County preps ouster rationale for Fairfield Township trustee. A new mural across from Columbian Park. An update on TSC bus vandalism. Purdue-Duke nuclear lecture series starts. And more things to do
Thanks this morning to sponsor Stuart & Branigin for its ongoing support to help make this edition of the Based in Lafayette reporting project possible.
Some of this, some of that on a Tuesday morning …
COMMISSIONERS PREP TOWNSHIP TRUSTEE OUSTER RATIONALE: After an Aug. 15 hearing where Fairfield Township Trustee Taletha Coles, a Democrat in the final months of her four-year term, was blistered by township board members and former employees for what they called belligerence and reckless spending, Tippecanoe County commissioners clearly were taking notes.
The commissioners are the second stop in a four-step process that could lead to Coles’ ouster before her terms is up at the end of December. The commissioners are expected to vote on that during a special meeting Wednesday.
Ahead of that, a resolution filed late last week outlines a laundry list of “credible testimony” about allegations that Coles spent township money for personal uses – including lawn and garden supplies, spa treatments, personal meals and a fox stole from a consignment store in Lafayette – and a series of credit card purchases with companies “the relationship of which to township business is not readily apparent.” The resolution also raises issues about Coles’ refusal to submit budget documents to state officials that included cuts approved by the township board for two consecutive years. And it recounts allegations that Coles bought a utility trailer in 2019 with a township credit card and tried to have the money put on another credit card when she tried to return it. (Township board members said they discovered the situation when they were called to the Rural King store in Lafayette to help sort it out.)
The proposed resolution, up for vote this week, includes this: “This list is likely incomplete due to Ms. Coles’ refusal or inability to provide detailed financial records to the township board and others.”
If county commissioners approve the ouster proposal – initiated in July by the Fairfield Township Board – it would go to the Tippecanoe County Council in September. If approved there, the matter would go to Tippecanoe Circuit Court for final approval, according to the process laid out in a law approved earlier in 2022 by the General Assembly.
Coles, over the past two years, has denied doing anything that wrong, instead saying that the township board and others were out to sabotage her. Her attorney argued earlier this month that the new state law only covers malfeasance since July 1, when the law went into effect, and that an ouster effort wouldn’t hold up in court.
IF YOU GO: The county commissioners will hold a special meeting at 1 p.m. Wednesday at the County Office Building, 20 N. Third St.
TO READ THE COUNTY’S RESOLUTION …:
TSC BUSES, AN UPDATE: As of Monday, there wasn’t much new police were reporting about the buses taken sometime before Sunday morning from a locked parking lot behind Wea Ridge Middle School, used to ram through fences, go off-roading in woods behind the school and to tear through a playground near Wea Ridge Elementary. Sheriff Bob Goldsmith said Monday that police were going through video surveillance footage and going door-to-door near the Tippecanoe School Corp. campus to see whether neighbors had doorbell cameras that might have caught any of the scene at and near Wea Ridge school bus lot. Sunday morning, police said, school officials found six buses – all decommissioned and being prepared for trade-in – had been driven, some through fences and others as far as a muddy patch where they got stuck. Eight buses were damaged. For more, here’s an account from Monday morning’s edition.
SECOND OF THREE NEW MURALS, READY TO VIEW: Last week, I had a blurb about a new mural finished in recent weeks on a Heartland Concept property, on the northeast corner of Ninth and Kossuth streets. The piece, called “Hot Pursuit,” features four birds in various stages of flight, spread out the parking lot side of a commercial building that soon will house Krug Corner Pub, a second taproom/restaurant for Lafayette-based People’s Brewing Co.
I was kindly reminded by a fan of Second Flight Books, 2122 Scott St., that a second mural in a series of three going up this summer was done, too.
The bird theme continues, this time with an owl in flight, catching two sides of the bookstore that face Scott Street and Columbian Park. (Helps that Second Flight’s logo is an owl in flight.)
Justin Suarez, who works as Aerosol Kingdom, did both murals in July as part of a project funded by The Arts Federation and the Lafayette Redevelopment Commission. A third mural is planned near the intersection of Teal Road and old U.S. 231.
Laura Kendall, owner of Second Flight Books, said Suarez started and finished the mural is a day and a half in mid-July.
“We were amazed how quickly he worked,” Kendall said. “I love it.”
Coming up …
HUNGER HIKE COUNTDOWN: This year marks the 30th anniversary for the Hunger Hike, a Greater Lafayette fundraising event that benefits Lafayette Urban Ministry, Food Finders Food Bank and St. Thomas Aquinas’s Haiti Ministry. The walk starts at 1 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 18, at Riehle Plaza, Second and Main streets in downtown Lafayette. For more information and to register yourself or a group, go to hungerhike.org.
PURDUE AND DUKE OPEN NUCLEAR LECTURE SERIES: Purdue and Duke Energy will open a monthly lecture series called “Understanding Tomorrow’s Nuclear Energy” with a talk at 4 p.m. today (Tuesday, Aug. 30) in Stewart Center’s Fowler Hall. Registration is open for “Clean Nuclear Energy: Past, Present, and Future,” a lecture from Arden Bement Jr., the former director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology, former director of the National Science Foundation, and the David A. Ross Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Nuclear Engineering at Purdue. The lecture is part of series on campus as Purdue and Duke Energy explore the feasibility of using advanced nuclear energy to power the West Lafayette campus’ long-term energy needs.
VOLUNTEERS NEEDED FOR WABASH RIVER SAMPLING BLITZ: The Wabash River Enhancement Corp. is looking for volunteers for the next Wabash Sampling Blitz, a twice-a-year event happening Sept. 9-10. Volunteers in what’s billed as a citizen science event will be trained and assigned sites to collect and test samples from streams and tributaries to check water quality and the health of the river. Volunteers will spend roughly three hours, between 9 a.m.-5 p.m. either that Friday or Saturday, hitting three to five sites. The registration deadline is Sept. 4. To volunteer, go to http://www.wabashriver.net/wabash-sampling-blitz or send an email to the Wabash River Enhancement Corp. at email@example.com.
LABOR’S FAMILY DAY IN THE PARK: The 41st annual Labor’s Family Day Picnic will be 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 3, at Columbian Park in Lafayette. Sponsored by the Lafayette chapter of the Northern Indiana Area Labor Federation AFL-CIO, the day in the park will include food, a car show, games and free park attractions.
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