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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, January 07, 2018 1:00 am

Corydon latest award given by governor

NIKI KELLY | The Journal Gazette

It seems with every new governor – well it's been a year – comes a new award.

Gov. Eric Holcomb has added the Circle of Corydon to the list of awards given by Hoosier governors. Others are the Sachem, the Sagamore of the Wabash, the Distinguished Hoosier and the Honorary Hoosier.

Rep. Dave Wolkins, R-Warsaw, recently nominated Dennis Jones for the Circle of Corydon Award based upon Jones' longtime service to the town of LaFontaine. Jones received it several weeks ago.

“Dennis embodies what the Circle of Corydon Award is all about,” Wolkins said. “Throughout his lifelong career, he's made numerous contributions to LaFontaine and to those throughout Wabash County. His work in our community is unparalleled.”

Jones recently celebrated his 50th year with the LaFontaine/Liberty Township Volunteer Fire Department, where he was chief for many years. He was the driving force behind the merger of the LaFontaine and Liberty fire departments in 1985. He also was town marshal and street department superintendent.

The Circle of Corydon Award is for Hoosiers who have made remarkable contributions to the betterment of Indiana and its people, demonstrating through life and service qualities exemplified by the state's greatest citizens, according to the governor's office.

Every state senator and representative can give two Corydon awards though the four leaders get up to five. Around 20 have been given so far.

The Sachem is the most prestigious award – with only one given a year by the governor.

The Sagamore goes to people who have distinguished themselves by humanity in living, loyalty in friendship, wisdom and inspiration in leadership. Individuals must also have contributed to their community in an extraordinary manner.

No more than 120 Sagamores will be given a year – at the governor's discretion.

The Distinguished Hoosier is for those who have contributed to their communities in a meaningful way that is appropriate for recognition by the governor. Each state rep and senator may recognize two individuals per year.

Lastly, there is the Honorary Hoosier – for non-residents of the state who have made a remarkable contribution to Indiana.


Brown joins leadership team

A last-minute resignation shifted some key posts in the Indiana Senate.

As a result, Sen. Liz Brown, R-Fort Wayne, joins the leadership team as the Assistant Majority Floor Leader for Parliamentary Affairs.

Wells County Sen. Travis Holdman also takes over the Tax and Fiscal Policy Committee.

Democrat drops out of Senate race

A little-known candidate has suspended his campaign for the Democratic nomination for a U.S. Senate seat representing Indiana.

Martin Del Rio wrote Tuesday on his Facebook page that “due to unforeseen circumstances, it is no longer possible for me to continue my campaign and be placed on the primary ballot.”

The Highland resident had said he intended to run against Sen. Joe Donnelly in the May 8 Democratic primary election. He filed a statement of organization in October with the Federal Election Commission.

Del Rio would have had to collect the signatures of 500 certified registered voters in each of Indiana's nine congressional districts by Feb. 9 to qualify as a candidate in the primary election.

He had identified himself on his campaign website as an Iraq war veteran and an advocate in the Army Wounded Warrior Program.

Jim Wieser, chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party, said in November that he had never known Del Rio “to be involved in any political activity whatsoever.”

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