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What’s in a Name?

The town of Fort Wayne, Ind., is rife with controversy over the naming of a new government center. The vast majority of votes are that it should be named for the longest-tenured mayor of Fort Wayne, who served four terms in the 1930s to the 1950s. There is, however, some opposition. “We realize that while Harry Baals was a respected mayor, not everyone outside of Fort Wayne will know that,” said Deputy Mayor Beth Mallow. His name was pronounced like you would read it, although his descendants have since changed the pronunciation to “bales”. Harry’s great nephew, Jim Baals, 51, says the controversy is unfortunate. “Harry served four terms and was a wonderful mayor. I dont know what the problem is," he said. “I’ve lived with that name for 51 years now and I’ve gotten through it. I think everybody else can, too.” (MS/AP) ...If it doesn’t work out, maybe the family planning center could be named after him.
Story Update: Despite getting ten times the vote of other naming options, the city didn’t go with Harry Baals. The building is now called “Citizens Square” instead.
Original Publication Date: 27 February 2011
This story is in True’s book collections, in Volume 17.
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