John Gregg finally got to be governor.
The 2016 Democratic gubernatorial nominee recently lent his voice and abundant beard to an online miniseries exploring a famous 1903 Wells County murder case.
“Of Sound Mind” is being presented by the Historic Pulse Opera House in Warren that still can't reopen due to its small size and social distancing recommendations.
Cynthia Smyth-Wartzok, artistic director at the Pulse, said during the pandemic she began researching the case of John Terrell, who shot his son-in-law and claimed insanity.
She said newspapers at the time ran transcripts from the trial – “it was a spectacular murder case.”
Smyth-Wartzok said about 45 people are taking on characters in the video series consisting of 12 episodes. One a week is released through October at showtix4u.com.
Politico Mitch Harper is playing the judge in the case and he suggested Gregg for a small role as Gov. Winfield Taylor Durbin. Gregg met Smyth-Wartzok recently at the Statehouse to play his role – a departure because Durbin was a Republican.
The governor was pulled into the case because Indiana law was unclear at the time whether Terrell should go to prison or an asylum.
“It's been fun because the actors have gotten into research,” Smyth-Wartzok said. “They have found some of the gravesites of the characters. It's been good because people are getting into their local history.”
Follow the money
All IN for Democracy, Indiana's coalition for Independent Redistricting, announced a community mapping contest that allows Hoosiers to win cash prizes for drawing fair district maps in this year's redistricting cycle.
Hoosier voters are invited to use Districtr, publicly available software with data about Indiana's communities, and submit a map for the chance to earn $6,000 total in prizes. Winners for the best fair maps will earn $3,000 for state House, $2,000 for state Senate, and $1,000 for Congress.
“Community created maps put democracy back in the hands of the people,” said Julia Vaughn, executive director of Common Cause Indiana. “The mapping competition ensures we have maps produced from a community-focused perspective to offer as an alternative to the partisan-focused maps our legislature will produce. We hope this process shows our elected leaders what redistricting can look like when the people are invited to participate, and the goal is fair maps, not incumbent protection.”
Indiana House and Senate Republicans will draw maps behind closed doors and then vote in public on them in mid-to-late September. There are nine congressional districts, 100 House seats and 50 Senate seats.
Participants must be a registered voter to win.
To learn more, go to portal.indiana-mapping.org.
What about my district?
The Fort Wayne City Council has discussed the lack of investments on the southeast side for years, but that didn't stop a couple of council members from speaking up for their districts Tuesday.
The council approved $750,000 in local income tax funds for McKinnie Commons and Powell Park in the southeast quadrant last week. It's a project Councilwoman Sharon Tucker, D-6th, has worked on since it is part of the Southeast Strategy.
Councilman Geoff Paddock, D-5th, said he supports the request, but asked Tucker to explain why Southeast Strategy has shifted the council's focus.
“Obviously, I've got parks needs too,” Paddock said.
Tucker said Paddock's district includes the $20 million Promenade Park downtown.
Councilman Jason Arp, R-4th, brought up his concerns about a stretch of trail along Liberty Mills Apartments along U.S. 24 that he has worked on getting finished.
Holly Petzak of the Community Development Division said it is currently working on property acquisition for that project.
Devan Filchak of The Journal Gazette contributed to this column.
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