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Republican Caucus Releases GOP Focus Of Upcoming Legislative Session

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The Republican Party caucus in the state assembly has released its legislative agenda for the upcoming 2015 session. The statement lists what the GOP describes as four major issue categories that it wants to address: budget, education, ethics, and public safety. With regard to the budget, the party aims for a balanced budget with no increase in taxes or borrowing. However, recently, revenues have fallen below earlier expectations.

Rep. Mayfield explains how her colleagues plan to deal with this potential shortfall.

“We want to maintain the surplus and reserve because those revenues could come in shy of expectations,” Mayfield says. “And that has happened before, especially during the recession.”

For education, the caucus promises to increase funding and fix the funding formula.

Rep. Mayfield said that specific expenditure requests would have to await final state income receipt figures. Under Indiana’s public school funding formula, lower income districts receive more than higher income districts in order to pay for special services such as subsidized meals and supplemental teaching.

“There’s a huge disparity in the formula,” Mayfield says. “Carmel receives the lowest funding while East Chicago receives the highest. Prior to last year the disparity was even greater and they’re closing the gap. I think what we need to look at is the foundation of that forumula.”

The most recent ethics scandal was around Republican Representative Eric Turner’s behind-the-scenes-effort to kill a bill which may have negatively affected his family’s private business interests. He was exonerated of any wrongdoing by his colleagues.

Since then, numerous other examples of Republican legislators with obvious conflicts of interest not recusing themselves from debates have come light.

“This week we will be meeting with national ethics experts on best practices,” Mayfield says. “I think this will be good in continuing the public confidence in our elected leaders. It also helps elected officials understand a more clearer definition of the line you cannot cross.”

The focus of the Republican’s public safety agenda is domestic violence. No mention is made of changes in the law around this issue, rather the GOP promises to invest funds in and work with the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence.

“I think by focusing efforts on current programs and not trying to put new, state-level programs in place we can help more people,” Mayfield says.

The republican caucus agenda did not directly address Indiana’s economic issues such growing income polarization, wage stagnation among workers, and rising youth poverty levels.

The environmental protection agency has tasked states with reducing their reliance on coal burning, citing it’s direct impact on global warming. Indiana’s primary electricity source is coal, and jobs related to coal use are the main industry in certain parts of the state.

“80 percent of our electricity comes from coal and that’s not an insignificant figure,” Mayfield says.

A major issue during the 2014 legislative session was marriage equality in Indiana. This fall the Supreme Court declined to reexamine the issue, letting stand lower court rulings in several states, including Indiana, thereby legalizing same-sex marriage.

Shortly after taking office in 2013, Representative Mayfield stated that she would remain open on the issue of same-sex marriage until either voters or the court made a final decision. Representative Mayfield won her seat two years ago, switching the long time district seat from democrat to republican after redistricting in 2011. Her democratic challenger for the November 4th election is Daymon Brodhacker.

Hola Bloomington – October 24, 2014

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Hola Bloomington’s hosts Israel Herrera, Maria Auxiliadora Viloria and Luz Lopez host a special segment  “Un Cafecito con” Teatro VIDA. The hosts interview the actors and directors of a suite of four short Spanish and Portuguese language plays titled “Encerrados.” Also, they talk about the upcoming visit from Natalia Almada to Bloomington.

Los locutores de Hola Bloomington Israel Herrera , Maria Auxiliadora Viloria y Luz Lopez albergan un segmento especial “Un Cafecito con” Teatro VIDA. Los locutores entrevistan a los actores y directores de una serie de cuatro obras de teatro cortas en español y portugués tituladas “Encerrados”. Ademas, hablan de la visita de Natalia Almada a Bloomington.

I-69 Section 5 Open House Oct. 29

The public is invited to attend an informational open house regardin I-69 Section from from Bloomington to Martinsville. The event is next week, Wednesday October 29th from from 5:30 pm – 7:30pm at the Holiday Inn, located at 1710 Kinser Pike.

The I-69 Section 5 project involves rehabilitating and upgrading 21 miles of the existing, four-lane State Road 37 to interstate standards. The first phase of the I-69 reconstruction is tied to completion of traffic improvements in Bloomington such as a new interchange at Tapp Road, a third lane in each direction, a new overpass at Rockport Road and changes to That Rd.

There will be no formal presentation regarding the development, but a press release says that the public can comment on the proposed aesthetic treatment concepts .

School pays respect to car crash victim

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On October 20th, The Richland Bean Blossom School Board sent their respects to the family of recent graduate Josiah Winks who died in a single-car collision on October 18th.  Superintendent Mike  Wilcox opened with comments about Winks who received his diploma earlier this month.

Larry DeMoss, speaking on behalf of the RBB Educators Association also expressed his condolences to Winks’ family, but said that “at the other end of the emotional spectrum” reports of a class trip to Michigan was an “upper” for the school district. Isabel, a student of Edgewood High School teacher Jeff Carmichael, has participated in three of Carmichael’s class trips, and thanked the school board for the educational opportunity.

The school board also talked about the upcoming bidding proposal for the school bus routes of the 2015-2019 school year.  Superintendent Wilcox outlined the key dates for the bidding process.

The school district is also in the beginning phases of developing a long-range plan, beginning with the formation of a long range planning committee.

Business and Government Mingle at I-69 Summit

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This week the convention center downtown played host to hundreds of politicians, businesspeople and government workers interested in the new I-69, both in Indiana and beyond. WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford was on hand for the I-69 Summit and he brings us this report. 

Work continues on sections 4 and 5 of I-69 in Indiana. Those portions will take the Interstate into Monroe County, through Bloomington and almost to Martinsville.

Gripp awarded three year contract for wastewater monitoring

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The city of Bloomington utilities department has awarded a three year contract to Gripp Incorporated to monitor city wastewater.  City of Bloomington Utilities engineer Phil Peden addressed the Utility services board on October 20th and lined out the contract parameters.

Board member Jeff Ehman inquired about the previous company contracted to monitor Bloomington’s wastewater.

Peden said that several bids came in for the wastewater flow monitoring,  and that Gripp had the lowest bid.  The contract has been review by the city of Bloomington legal department and was unanimously approved by the utility services board.

Questions raised on necessity of new recycling facility

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A group studying proposals for a new recycling facility in Monroe County raised questions at a meeting October 16th. Stephen Hale is a member of the citizens advisory committee to the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District. Hale and other committee members formed a working group last year to look into the feasibility of building a new materials recovery facility, or MRF. That facility would process local recyclables and get them ready for sale. But Hale said he doesn’t have enough information yet to convince him the project is viable.

The District got final approval earlier this month to move forward with building a clean-stream MRF, meaning it will only process pre-sorted recyclables. But District employees are also pushing to build a waste-stream MRF that would pull recyclables from unsorted garbage. Hale said the issue needs to be studied further.

The MRF proposal has been a subject of dispute on the District’s Board of Directors. Bloomington  Mayor Mark Kruzan has opposed the project, as have County Commissioners Iris Kiesling and Patrick Stoffers. Those three have been outvoted by four other members of the Board, led by Board President and City Council member Steve Volan.

Daily Local News – October 23, 2014

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Yesterday morning the Bloomington Police Department responded to a call of possible human remains being found on a vacant lot at Arlington Valley Mobile Home Park located at 1600 North Willis Drive; A group studying proposals for a new recycling facility in Monroe County raised questions at a meeting October 16th; The city of Bloomington utilities department has awarded a three year contract to Gripp Incorporated to monitor city wastewater; On October 20th, The Richland Bean Blossom School Board sent their respects to the family of recent graduate Josiah Winks who died in a single-car collision on October 18th.

FEATURE
This week the convention center downtown played host to hundreds of people interested in the new I-69, both in Indiana and beyond. WFHB Assistant News Director was on hand for the I-69 Summit and he brings us this report.

VOICES IN THE STREET
Yesterday, the Indiana State Health Departament annouced the establishment of a call center for the public to ask questions regarding the Ebola Viurs Disease. Health Representatives can be reached at 877-826-0011Monday through Friday to answer questions about symptoms, screenings and diagnoses. Voices in the Street asked your friends and neighbors about the Ebola virus and the threat it poses to the US and the world at large.

CREDITS
Anchors: Scott Weddle & Carolyn VandeWiele
Today’s headlines were written by Joe Crawford and Alycin Bektesh
in partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley, along with Correspondent Taylor Telford
Our engineers today are Jonathan Goethals and Jose Rodriguez
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Joe Crawford
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Voices in the Street – Ebola in the US: What is the threat and where is the information?

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Yesterday, the Indiana State Health Departament annouced the establishment of a call center for the public to ask questions regarding the Ebola Viurs Disease.  Health Representatives can be reached at 877-826-0011Monday through Friday to answer questions about symptoms, screenings and diagnoses.  Voices in the Street asked your friends and neighbors about the Ebola virus and the threat it poses to the US and the world at large.

EcoReport – October 23, 2014

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In today’s EcoReport feature, we hear about an event in Turkey where governments, private corporations and college students collaborated to solve environmental challenges.

EcoReport is a weekly program providing independent media coverage of environmental and ecological issues with a focus on local, state and regional people, issues, and events in order to foster open discussion of human relationships with nature and the Earth and to encourage you to take personal responsibility for the world in which we live. Each program features timely eco-related headline news, a feature interview or event recording, and a calendar of events of interest to the environmentally conscious.

Today’s Anchors: Alicyn Bektesh and Dan Young.
This week’s news stories were written by Linda Greene and Norm Holy. This week’s feature was engineered by Dan Young.  Our broadcast engineer is Dan Withered. Producers for EcoReport are Kelly Miller and Dan Young. Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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