From Left Field

    A battle could be be brewing between the City of Decatur and Mediacom, the city's cable provider.
    Mediacom, it was learned at Tuesday night's city council meeting, is seeking to extricate itself from the $26,000 franchise fee it annually pays the city.
    The issue cropped up at the end of the meeting when Councilman Matt Dyer said some of his constituents are unhappy with Mediacom due to the fact that it no longer carries programming from WANE-TV, channel 15, in Fort Wayne. Mediacom and WANE's owner are locked in a dispute over fees.
    (Just as local DISH Network subscribers aren't getting Fox programming.)
    Dyer asked the status of the city's contract with Mediacom. "We have no control over programming," Mayor John Schultz said.
    It was then that the mayor revealed that city officials recently received a letter from Mediacom which said it should no longer have to pay its annual franchise fee because it does not have exclusivity with two satellite systems operating here.
    "But they still use our poles, (while satellite companies do not)," Schultz remarked.
    Schultz said later that if Mediacom wants to opt out of the contract, then the city will likely invite other cable firms to come in.
    One puzzling aspect at this point is why Mediacom is suddenly complaining about exclusivity when the satellite companies have been around for years now.
    The mayor said City Attorney Tim Baker is currently reviewing the city's contract with Mediacom and that's where the matter stands at this time.

Ah, c'mon, guys, have a heart.
    The Associated Press reported this week that Indianapolis police raided several massage parlors as part of an ongoing investigation into human trafficking.
    Apparently, human trafficking means prostitution since the raids came three days after state and local agencies vowed to crack down on human trafficking in advance of an expected increase in prostitution in Indianapolis due to the Super Bowl being played there on February 5.
    Geez, everyone's dipping deeply into the Super Bowl till, which could be dubbed Operation Cleanup, as in cleaning up financially off what has become a cash cow. Super Bowl, super rewards, super moneymaker.
    Just the other day, for example, it was learned that Indy officials were backing off a proposal to rename a downtown street that will be the site of an open-air Super Bowl village. Why? Due to a backlash from residents and business owners.
    Mayor Greg Ballard and others had proposed renaming Georgia Street between the Indiana Convention Center and Conseco Fieldhouse. But business owners have said customers would have trouble finding them under new addresses if the street name was changed. And they want to cash in like everyone else.
    So, c'mon, folks; lay off[; give the gals a break. Hey, hookers are people, too, and they have to make a buck like everyone else.

Braves close, Starfires over top
    If Bellmont's football Braves could pick two or three plays out of every game this season and punt 'em away, they could be 6-1 rather than 2-5.
    These guys have lost four games by a touchdown or less; margins of 3, 4, 6 and 7 points.
    Yeh, a team has to learn how to win. And with small numbers, it hasn't helped that eight or nine players are going two ways each week. But the Braves have been hanging tough and they've earned some props for that. They've been in every game but one — the blowout at the hands of the small-college team from Homestead which should be playing in the SAC (Fort Wayne's city league) rather than beating up on the smaller schools in the NHC — and they've made the games entertaining.
    At the other end of the county, meanwhile, South Adams' Starfires proved they're for real by handling previously unbeaten Garrett and their lightning-bolt running back Todd Frickey, who was shut down.
    Quarterback Dustin Wanner is the real deal — he was as impressive on defense as on offense at Bellmont — and so are the Starfires. That Star could be shining brightly in the tournament which is just around the corner.