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Author Archives: WFHB News

Water Pumping Project Finishes $250,000 Under Budget

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The construction of a new water pumping station came in at about $260,000 under budget, according to officials at a Bloomington Utilities Service Board meeting on Feb. 24.

Michael Hicks, the Utilities Department’s capital projects manager, submitted a change order on the $6.5 million project.

“The project is complete and with the approval of this change order we can close out the project with our contractor,” Hicks said.

The construction was performed by the Orleans-based company Layne Incorporated, but the engineering was done by the Kansas-based company Black and Veatch.

Adam Westerman, from Black and Veatch, said the project did not cost as much as expected, in part because the contractor didn’t spend its full budget for items like office supplies, equipment, and furniture.

Board member Jason Banach asked Westerman about the city paying for a contractor’s supplies.

“Is this something we typically pay for, their pens and pencils?” Banach asked.

“We’ve handled it different ways historically, but for the past eight years we’ve taken on the cost of that,” Westerman said, “And anything left comes back to the city.”

The board later voted unanimously to approve the change order.

Daily Local News – February 27, 2014

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The Indiana University and Ivy Tech students of the Affordable Care Act Volunteers of Monroe County are starting a new campus organization; A new ten-digit area code system will be implemented for residents in Indiana’s 812 area code region on September 6, 2014; The construction of a new water pumping station came in at about $260,000 under budget, according to officials at a Bloomington Utilities Service Board meeting on February 24; The Monroe County Commission approved a $271,000 contract on February 21 with a company that plans to take aerial photographs of the entire County.

FEATURE
Indiana University geologist and assistant professor Douglas Edmonds has been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, and with it comes fifty thousand dollars to help him continue his research on river deltas. Correspondent Casey Kuhn spoke with Edmonds about his work and its impact for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

VOICES IN THE STREET
Also coming up in the next half-hour, our weekly public opinion feature Voices in the Street asks how YOU feel attending a basketball game in Assembly Hall after the falling beam incident last week.

CREDITS
Anchors: Carolyn VandeWiele, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Jalisa Ransom, along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Casey Kuhn.
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley,
Our engineer was Sarah Hetrick.
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.

EcoReport – February 27, 2014

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In today’s EcoReport feature Johannes Wachs from the Berlin International Film Festival talks about the challenges of trying to decrease the environmental impact of a cinema event attended by half a million people every year.

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.

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

Happy Birthday Jonas Longacre

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Jonas Longacre was found dead on January 2nd, in the home of his father and stepmother Mark Longacre and Nancy Hiller. The investigation into his death closed today – on what would have been his 16th birthday – with the Monroe County Sheriff’s department ruling the death accidental. Monroe County Coroner Nicole Meyer ruled the cause of Jonas’s death as ligature asphyxiation – an accidental death through a type of choking game. Jonas’s father, and mother Patti Torp, have been graciously open about the experience in hopes of bringing awareness to the choking game, which has been termed “the good kid’s high.” News Director Alycin Bektesh spent time with them a few weeks after Jonas’s passing and brings us this account of Jonas’s life and death, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

 

Further Resources: gaspinfo.com

 

Succeeding Without Their Permission: Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian

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On Thursday February 13 Reddit Founder Alexis Ohanian came to Indiana University as part of a speaking tour. Alexis is an entrepreneur, investor, and most well known for co-founding the social news site Reddit. The Union Board and the Informatics and Computing Student Association have eagerly collaborated to host Alexis for a talk on how to make the world suck less following the release of his book Without Their Permission. Mike Trotzke also spoke at this event, which was recorded on location by WFHB for Standing Room Only.

Interchange – Marx, Darwin, and Kinsey, Oh My: Creationism and Anti-Communism in Modern America

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Do you think Darwin’s Origin of Species undermines a belief in the veracity of the creation as told in Genesis? If you think so, what does that say about your worldview? Will your politics be revealed? Does your belief in Yahweh or any other god, or lack of belief in such constructs, really matter in the larger picture of how we live and breathe and survive together?

Host Doug Storm talks with Carl Weinberg, an adjunct assistant professor in the Department of history at Indiana University, who is working on a book with the working title Red Dynamite: Creationism and Anti-Communism in Modern America.

 

MCCSC Board of Trustees open meeting to discuss local ‘F’ grade schools

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Members of the public will get to hear and comment on proposals to address the “F” grades given by the state to Fairview and Highland Park schools.

The opportunity will come this evening, when the Board of Trustees of the Monroe County Community School Corporation opens its regular meeting.

The principals of the two elementary schools will present their proposals for improvement, and then the public will be able to respond and offer suggestions to the Board.

Fairview School has been in the news over the last couple months, following initial changes proposed by interim principal Tammy Miller that resulted in an uproar from some pupils and their parents.

Parental pressure and the accompanying publicity prompted the board and the principal to hold several Focus Group meetings with parents, teachers, and administrators.

Amanda Nickey is a parent of a Fairview student, was involved in the initial protests, and attended one of these focus group meetings.

“The meetings are structured and led by a staff member,” Nickey says, “They led us through big picture questions with Fairview and the community and then getting more specific about programs important to us parents. We were able to share our perspectives and opinions.”

There were two other focus group sessions, and no more of these or other parent-staff meetings have been scheduled by the school or the board. Nickey says she is taking a wait-and-see position on Fairview’s response to the public’s concern.

“It’s not over yet, and I don’t know if I’m satisfied,” Nickey says.

She says she is waiting to see if parental input gathered at the focus groups sessions will be incorporated in any plans addressing Fairview’s academic performance problems. Nickey also says there was another private meeting, called by the school board, in which a State Department of Education official was in attendance.

However, she has not seen nor heard what was addressed or proposed. Some leaders of the Fairview Parent-Teacher Organization also organized a more open meeting at Crestmont. One of the main topics was the lack of official communication with parents. This shortcoming, and a perceived lack of consultation with parents, provided the initial impetus for the protests back in January.

Nevertheless, Nickey doesn’t think that school and board communication with parents has significantly improved.

“I just got an email and phone call today about the meeting today,” Nickey says, “For a lot of parents, that’s just not enough time to know about something like that.”

The open portion of tonight’s board meeting is scheduled to start at 7 p.m.

Aside from academic performance issues at Fairview and Highland Park elementary schools, the agenda also includes proposals for next year’s class pupil-to-teacher ratios, and a board resolution opposing the Indiana government’s proposal to eliminate Indiana Business Personal Property Tax. The class ratio proposal will offer a range of sizes from kindergarten through to grade 12 for the various schools.

The resolution on the business tax arises from the potential negative impact on the MCCSC budget of hundreds of thousands of dollars in income, if the tax is eliminated.

Critical discussion on ISTEP and standardized testing this Sunday at YMCA

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The Indiana Coalition for Public Education is holding a discussion about ISTEP and other standardized testing this Sunday at the YMCA.

Parents, teachers, and members of the community are invited to attend the discussion. The event is free for everyone. Phil and Joan Harris, authors of The Myths of Standardized Tests: Why They Don’t Tell You What You Think They Do, will lead the discussion.

Phil Harris was once a member of the faculty at Indiana University. The two do not agree with how standardized testing is used in Indiana, and believe it distorts education systems. Jennifer Livesay, a board member for the Indiana Coalition for Public Education, talks about the event.

“We want to look at the role ISTEP is playing on the eve of ISTEP testing at local schools,” Livesay says, “The writers of the book are very critical of the role of standardized testing, so they’ll share their perspective.”

This discussion will be held the day before ISTEP testing starts in Indiana, on March 2nd, from 1 to 2:30 p.m. at the new YMCA on the northwest side of town. Livesay says she hopes the event will serve as a platform for future discussions on the topic.

 

Senate Bill 340 passes, changing Indiana’s energy saving program

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The Indiana State Senate voted 37 to 1 to pass Senate Bill 340 earlier this month, a bill that would ultimately change Indiana’s statewide energy saving program. Jodi Perras, Indiana Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, further explains what effect the bill will have.

“As it’s written now, big business can withdraw from the energy efficiency programs,” Perras says, “That means the rest of us will pay for the programs and the large facilities opting out is like us taking our two best players off the basketball floor.”

These utility programs seek to create less demand for energy, and Perras says they ultimately save everyone money. She says that passing Senate Bill 340 would benefit big industries, but hurt citizens along the way.

“We see big utilities that don’t like energy efficiency, and they have a lot of voice in the statehouse,” Perras says, “We need voters across the state to voice their opinion.”

According to Perras, utilities were forced to participate in these programs beginning in 2009, leading to energy efficiency. She says that efficiency is now under attack at the statehouse.

“People need to wake up and know that big utilities are trying to fight energy efficiency,” Perras says, “These are programs that keep our electricity rates down for schools, universities and we need to make sure these programs keep going.”

Perras says The Sierra Club stresses the importance of the public’s voice in dealing with Indiana’s environmental issues.

The Strike Mic – February 25, 2014

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This week on The Strike Mic—A new conference, planned to be held this spring, will host groups from university campuses around the country to compare struggles and prepare for action in the fall of 2014.

 

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