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Author Archives: WFHB News

City Council Gives Tax Break to Proposed Building Owners

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The Bloomington City Council is on track to give a nearly three-quarter million dollar tax break to the owners of a proposed building along the B-Line Trail. The structure between Kirkwood Avenue and Sixth Street would have 35 high-end apartments as well as the new headquarters for Cornerstone Information Systems. The city’s Economic and Sustainable Development Department has praised the development and it asked the Council to incentivize the project by cutting its property taxes. Danise Alano-Martin is the director of that department. The building’s owners, D.G. Elmore and Mat Orego, would live in two of the condos. Council member Andy Ruff questioned giving a tax cut for the businessmen to build what he called QUOTE “fairly luxurious personal residential units” UNQUOTE. He said the Council should consider the country’s increasing economic inequality as it sets local policy. Ruff said he generally supports the $14.6 million project. But he put forward an amendment that would have forced the owners to pay property taxes on their own homes. The owners would still have kept the tax break for the businesses and most of the residential space. Few Council members supported Ruff’s motion. Council President Darryl Neher said he doesn’t want to discourage Orego and Elmore from living in their own building.Council member Susan Sandberg said she also wanted to encourage owner-occupancy. She said many Bloomington residents are understandably wary of new developments downtown. Ruff later rescinded his amendment and the Council voted to pass the tax abatement. The Council still has to affirm its decision at a meeting September 17th and it’s possible Ruff could reintroduce his measure then.

Daily Local News – September 10, 2014

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Hoosiers, along with officials from 31 other states, have rushed to file appeals asking the Supreme Court to consider the issue of same sex marriage;IU Bloomington has ranked number 30 for public universities, and 76th of the top 100 universities overall, according to the latest survey by U.S. News and World report;The Main Library has extended its Sunday hours in response to public requests

FEATURE
The Bloomington City Council is on track to give a nearly three-quarter million dollar tax break to the owners of a proposed building along the B-Line Trail. The structure between Kirkwood Avenue and Sixth Street would have 35 high-end apartments as well as the new headquarters for Cornerstone Information Systems. The city’s Economic and Sustainable Development Department has praised the development and it asked the Council to incentivize the project by cutting its property taxes. Danise Alano-Martin is the director of that department. The building’s owners, D.G. Elmore and Mat Orego, would live in two of the condos. Council member Andy Ruff questioned giving a tax cut for the businessmen to build what he called QUOTE “fairly luxurious personal residential units” UNQUOTE. He said the Council should consider the country’s increasing economic inequality as it sets local policy. Ruff said he generally supports the $14.6 million project. But he put forward an amendment that would have forced the owners to pay property taxes on their own homes. The owners would still have kept the tax break for the businesses and most of the residential space. Few Council members supported Ruff’s motion. Council President Darryl Neher said he doesn’t want to discourage Orego and Elmore from living in their own building.Council member Susan Sandberg said she also wanted to encourage owner-occupancy. She said many Bloomington residents are understandably wary of new developments downtown. Ruff later rescinded his amendment and the Council voted to pass the tax abatement. The Council still has to affirm its decision at a meeting September 17th and it’s possible Ruff could reintroduce his measure then.

Council member Dave Rollo addressed a broader issue related to downtown development during council announcements last week. Rollo said the city should consider a temporary moratorium on large-scale buildings there. He said the city’s comprehensive plan is 12 years old and an update would help planners decide what developments to approve.Like Sandberg, Rollo also cited concerns from his constituents about new structures downtown. Rollo said he has not planned any legislation to follow up on his proposal. But he said he wants the Council to have a discussion on the issue.

After years of deliberation, Monroe County will be sorting and selling it’s own recyclables, perhaps as soon as December of this year. WFHB Correspondent David Murphy visited with Larry Barker, executive director of the Monroe county solid waste district and Steve Volan, president of the district board of directors for today’s community report.

BLOOMINGTON BEWARE
Up next, our weekly consumer watchdog segment Bloomington Beware!

CREDITS
Anchors: Kelly Wherley and Cathi Norton
Today’s headlines were written by Susan Northleaf
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Bloomington Beware was produced by Richard Fish,
Our feature was produced by Alycin Bektesh with correspondent David Murphy
Our engineers are Jim Lang and Adam Rye-klee
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Joe Crafword
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

David Cobb Speaks at Invitation of Local Move to Amend Affiliate

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David Cobb, former Green Party presidential candidate and spokesperson for Move to Amend spoke at the Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall Sunday Sept 7 at the invitation of local Move to Amend affiliate. Since the supreme court Citizens United ruling that money is speech and corporations can be considered “personhood” over 600 local governments nationwide
have passed resolutions requesting that the constitution be amended to repeal the decision. Additionally repeal of citizens united have been put on the ballot in over 200 communities and passed every time. Here are Cobb’s remarks recorded on location at the Unitarian universalist church by correspondent Cynthia Roberts hall. Yesterday Cobb participated in a debate with James Bopp, a legal adviser to Citizens United, at IU Maurer School of Law.

Senator Dan Coats Has Issues With Affordable Care Act Changes

Indiana Senator Dan Coats issued a statement August 26th about modifications made to the Affordable Care Act. Coats says the modifications infringe on religious freedoms. He says, “Religious freedom remains under attack across our country, and a gimmick designed to skirt the heart of the issue will not resolve the issue.”

The changes were made by the Obama Administration and require religious organizations to provide access to contraceptives to its employees.

In June of this year, the US supreme Court ruled in favor of company Hobby Lobby, saying they do not have to provide access to contraceptives to their employees, based on religious objections. Since then, the Obama Administration has proposed to make it mandatory for companies to notify insurers that they object to providing contraceptives. This change has resulted in complaints similar to Senator Coats’, with organizations across the country claiming that religious freedoms are being infringed upon.

County Council Hearings on Budget for Resources for Disadvantaged Youth

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County Council Hearings began this month, including a deep look at resources for Monroe County disadvantaged youth. Correspondent Carissa Barrett has the report.

Unite Bloomingfoods Facebook Page Opened

On Sunday a Facebook page was opened with the title, “Unite Bloomingfoods,” and a bold headline stating, “UNION YES.” An anonymous posting stated that some employees, “have gone too long waiting for our Admin offices to take care of not only the company, but to take care of its workers. There is a current push to Unionize the co-op.”

According to former Bloomingfoods employee Cindy Beaule, line workers are paid at or near minimum wage with modest increases for seniority,  and no formal benefits such as health care, paid leave, vacation time, etc. beyond what is required by state or national labor regulations.  Furthermore, Beaule found that her fellow employees and even line managers had little input into administrative decision making regarding day-to-day operations.  Recently, the administration established what it called an “Open Books” policy to encourage employee feedback. However, Beaule said employees were pessimistic as to the sincerity and credibility of this program in light of previous administrative indifference.

The Daily Local News spoke to a Bloomingfoods employee involved with the “Unite Bloomingfoods” union drive who stated that though they had begun their Facebook campaign, she was unwilling to do an interview due to the unionization drive being in early stages. This summer two large natural and organic grocery chains announced plans to open branches in Bloomington. The national chains can offer more attractive employee pay and benefits. Employees of the Kroger corporation, which operates stores in Bloomington, are members of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union.

The Daily Local News has contacted Bloomingfoods representatives for an interview. Cindy Beaule is a WFHB volunteer.

Interchange – Logging in Indiana State Forests: State Forester John Seifert

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Host Doug Storm is joined by John Seifert, Indiana’s State Forester. We discuss logging in Yellowwood State Forest and the management of public forest lands. Other topics include the marked increase in commercial logging since 2002; invasive plant species in clear-cut land; the science of carbon sequestration; and the politics of resource management.

Credits:
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson with assistance from Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer: Alycin Bektesh

Arrests Made in String of B Line Trail Robberies

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A theft yesterday has led to arrests in a string of robberies on the B Line trail, news director Alycin Bektesh brings us this community report.

Daily Local News – September 9, 2014

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Hola Bloomington – September 5, 2014

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This week Hola Bloomington will begin a series on immigration. Hola Bloomington’s hosts Carlos Bakota, Luis Hernandez and Maria Auxiliadora talk about the history of Latinos in The United States.

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