FORT WAYNE, Ind. (AP) -- Those living in and around Indiana's easternmost large city seem mostly happy with staying in the Eastern time zone.
A public hearing by the Allen County commissioners Monday night saw a majority of the speakers say that they opposed a change to the Central time zone being advocated by some living in the state's western counties.
Fort Wayne-area business leaders said staying on Eastern time would make it easier to work with companies elsewhere, particularly those on the East Coast.
John Popp, CEO of Perfection Bakeries, said observing different time zones affects productivity at the company's bakeries in Indiana, Michigan and Ohio. He said two hours of productivity are lost each day because the bakeries start and end their days at different times, and have lunch at different times.
"It is a real zoo when we've got that differential," Popp said.
When Indiana begins observing daylight-saving time next year, most of the state will be in the Eastern time zone. The time-change law approved last spring required Gov. Mitch Daniels to ask the federal government to hold hearings on changing the state's time zone boundaries, but the U.S. Department of Transportation has decided individual counties must ask for any changes.
Sen. David Long, R-Fort Wayne, said sunlight later in the day which would happen under Eastern time would add recreational time, help reduce crime and lower traffic fatalities.
Two state legislators from Ohio said they hoped to see Indiana adopt Eastern time because of the strong ties between the two states.
A handful of residents said they preferred the early sunrises that adopting Central time would bring.
Blane Ryan, a teacher at South Side High School, said Central time would provide more sunlight for children walking to school or to bus stops on winter mornings. Central time sunrise and sunset times on Dec. 21, the year's shortest day, would be 7:02 a.m. and 4:15 p.m. in Fort Wayne.
"It just simply makes more sense for us to be on Central time," Ryan said.