The office of Governor Mike Pence announced in a press release today, December 9th, that a little more than $4.6 million in total federal grants has been paid so far to help local communities and the state of Indiana recover from the 2014 January fifth (5)-through-ninth (9) winter storm. These include thirty (30) Indiana counties, though as yet Monroe County has received no reimbursements. These grants are in the forms of public assistance and/or specifically snow assistance. Public assistance will pay 75 percent of eligible expenses for damage to roads, bridges, utilities, debris removal, damages to buildings’ contents and equipment, and water-control facilities, among other things. Snow assistance covers all eligible costs for either the 48-hour or 72-hour period of the storm associated with the higher costs. Applications from communities are still being processed by the Indiana Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (or FEMA). Said Governor Pence: QUOTE “While that  storm is for many a distant memory, we at the state continue to work through the demanding process to make the most of the disaster funding opportunities available to communities in those 30 counties.”
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In its first-ever distribution of teacher performance grants, or bonuses, the State of Indiana has awarded $30 million in grants to high-performance teachers in more than 1,300 schools . Governor Mike Pence recommended the concept of school/teacher performance awards in his 2013 budget. Criteria for the teacher grants were included in a complex formula of average student ISTEP-plus test performances, graduation rates compared to the previous year, and end-of-the courses assessments with students’ passing rates of 72.5 percent or better. To be eligible, teachers had to be rated effective or highly effective under the Indiana Teacher Evaluation System for the 2013-14 calendar year.
A new residence hall at IUPUI has been approved by the IU Board of Trustees. The 172,000 square foot building will have two residential wings, which will house 700 students. Made mostly of brick and glass, the building’s design includes a dining hall, a multipurpose media room, a semi-enclosed courtyard, two classrooms, space for activities and fitness, a computer lab and game and laundry rooms.
The building will accommodate IUPUI’s growing student population. According to a press release, campus housing is at capacity. At the beginning of this school year, more than 800 students were on a waitlist to live on campus.
Construction is expected to cost $45.2 million and will be paid for with funds from IUPUI. The project will be complete in summer 2016.
Last week Ball State University economist Michael Hicks released an economic forecast for 2015. The report shows separate predictions for the United States, Indiana and East Central Indiana.
The forecast suggests that conditions will improve in the coming year, with gross domestic product and job growth higher than it was in 2014. He predicts that job growth will increase overall next year, and wrote that the unemployment rate will decline to 5.7 percent by the end of 2015.
The forecast anticipates that Indiana’s GDP will outstrip the nation by more than half a percent in 2015. Personal income growth is also expected to increase in Indiana, while the income gap between Indiana and the entire U.S. is expected to shrink.
Job creation should accelerate by the end of 2015, according to the report. Projections say that between 90,000 and 120,000 jobs will be created per month. At the same time, though, the number of unemployed is expected to rise. Nearly a third of these new jobs are seasonal or low-paying, and do not provide many benefits to workers.
Hicks writes that wage growth is “uneven,” which can “brake growth of household consumption and investment over the coming year.”
Hicks’ data comes from his own calculations, which are based on sources such as the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Hicks writes that while 2015 will be “the best year of economic performance since 2007,” growth will be gradual. The United States may be in the slowest period of growth it has seen in generations
Last week, The Monroe County Election Board discussed problems with political yard signs in the lead up to the midterm election; Last week Ball State University economist Michael Hicks released an economic forecast for 2015; A new residence hall at IUPUI has been approved by the IU Board of Trustees; In its first-ever distribution of teacher performance grants, or bonuses, the State of Indiana has awarded $30 million in grants to high-performance teachers in more than 1,300 schools; The office of Governor Mike Pence announced in a press release today, December 9th, that a little more than $4.6 million in total federal grants has been paid so far to help local communities and the state of Indiana recover from the 2014 January fifth (5)-through-ninth (9) winter storm; Hoosiers who need help paying their energy bills this winter may be able to take advantage of a program sponsored by Duke Energy; The Monroe County Public Library has plans for opening a third branch
A case that had been scheduled for a hearing in front of the Indiana Supreme court this week could have large implications for offenders on probation state wide – WFHB news director Alycin Bektesh has the report.
There are more rotten rumors and crafty con-games going around this time of year than are dream’t of in your imagination, Horatio, and here’s the lowdown on more of them…even if your name isn’t Horatio.
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Last week, The Monroe County Election Board discussed problems with political yard signs in the lead up to the midterm election. The members said an unusually large number of the signs were placed on public property, which is against the law. Board member Lorraine Farrell explained the current rules.
The Board discussed implementing a policy to fine people who violate the rule. But they said it would be difficult to enforce. Robbins also questioned whether the Election Board has the authority to set that kind of rule.
The Board push forward on a policy to penalize violators. Instead they agreed to send out reminders about the yard sign rules before candidates officially file for the municipal elections next year.
One tends to get easily bogged down and confused by the jargon used to describe particular powerful factions in our mislabeled Democracy and it’s hard not to think this is intentional on the part of pundits and policy wonks at billionaire-funded think-tanks. In this episode we try to make clear what the term Neoliberal means and see how it can be applied to the world of the American University, and in the process hope to identify the way the University system has come to view the student as only an industrial widget–a consumer of edutainment–and a commodity in the “free market” calculus.
Jon Simons, an Associate Professor of Communication and Culture at Indiana University Bloomington. His research is about cultural theory, the connection between popular culture and politics, and images of peace in the Israeli peace movement. He is a member of the newly formed Faculty Governance Caucus that successfully ran a slate for the last Bloomington Faculty Council elections.
David Fisher, a professor of mathematics at IUB. He works on geometry and dynamics and is particularly interested in objects with lots of symmetry. He is a member of the newly formed Faculty Governance Caucus that successfully ran a slate for the last Bloomington Faculty Council elections. In 2011, he organized a petition which played a role in reversing IU’s attempt to turn health insurance into a mode of monitoring employee health.
Cassidy Sugimoto, an Assistant Professor in the School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University Bloomington. She studies and teaches in the areas of scholarly communication and scientometrics. Her most recent book compilations have looked at the historical criticism of scholarly metrics and have explored the proliferation of novel forms of tools for scholarly assessment. She has been active in shared governance at IUB since her arrival in 2010 and is currently serving as President-Elect of the Bloomington Faculty Council.
Of related interest:
The Bicentennial Strategic Plan for Indiana University, approved by the Board of Trustees at its December 2014 meeting, includes eight strategic priorities that will be addressed between now and IU’s bicentennial in 2020. The plan provides a roadmap for IU’s efforts to remain among the best public research universities.
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