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State's top rural development officials abruptly resign

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Dax Norton, director of Indiana's Office of Community and Rural Affairs, and his deputy quietly left their posts late last month, and state officials are offering no explanation for the departures.

Norton and Deputy Director Jon Craig departed on Aug. 29, the same day they submitted letters of resignation, said Ashley Hungate, director of communications for the state personnel office. She added that Norton and Craig have been deemed eligible for rehiring.

Neither Norton nor Craig could be reached for comment Monday afternoon. Norton’s letter said he’s decided to “pursue other interests,” while Craig didn’t give a reason for his resignation, Hungate said.

Norton led economic development efforts for Boone County before his appointment this year, and Craig was mayor of Petersburg in southern Indiana.

“Dax, from our standpoint, has been very good to work with. He’s been very engaged,” said Andy Frazier, executive director of the Indiana Association for Economic Development.

Frazier said he received a brief email on Sept. 3 from Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann’s office about the departures. Chief Operating Officer Kyleen Welling will serve as interim OCRA director until new leaders are appointed.

Hungate said she could not comment on the abrupt nature of the resignations. The state determines eligibility for rehiring on a case-by-case basis, though ethics violations are a common reason for ineligibilty, she said.

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  1. How much you wanna bet, that 70% of the jobs created there (after construction) are minimum wage? And Harvey is correct, the vast majority of residents in this project will drive to their jobs, and to think otherwise, is like Harvey says, a pipe dream. Someone working at a restaurant or retail store will not be able to afford living there. What ever happened to people who wanted to build buildings, paying for it themselves? Not a fan of these tax deals.

  2. Uh, no GeorgeP. The project is supposed to bring on 1,000 jobs and those people along with the people that will be living in the new residential will be driving to their jobs. The walkable stuff is a pipe dream. Besides, walkable is defined as having all daily necessities within 1/2 mile. That's not the case here. Never will be.

  3. Brad is on to something there. The merger of the Formula E and IndyCar Series would give IndyCar access to International markets and Formula E access the Indianapolis 500, not to mention some other events in the USA. Maybe after 2016 but before the new Dallara is rolled out for 2018. This give IndyCar two more seasons to run the DW12 and Formula E to get charged up, pun intended. Then shock the racing world, pun intended, but making the 101st Indianapolis 500 a stellar, groundbreaking event: The first all-electric Indy 500, and use that platform to promote the future of the sport.

  4. No, HarveyF, the exact opposite. Greater density and closeness to retail and everyday necessities reduces traffic. When one has to drive miles for necessities, all those cars are on the roads for many miles. When reasonable density is built, low rise in this case, in the middle of a thriving retail area, one has to drive far less, actually reducing the number of cars on the road.

  5. The Indy Star announced today the appointment of a new Beverage Reporter! So instead of insightful reports on Indy pro sports and Indiana college teams, you now get to read stories about the 432nd new brewery open or some obscure Hoosier winery winning a county fair blue ribbon. Yep, that's the coverage we Star readers crave. Not.

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