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Author Archives: WFHB News

Bloomington Telecomm Council Working to Fund Visit from Net Neutrality Scholar Susan Crawford

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The Bloomington Telecommunications Council continued its discussions Dec. 3 about bringing telecommunications scholar Susan Crawford to Bloomington.

The council has encountered issues getting funding for the visit, and last month it requested $5,500 dollars from the city Board of Public Works.

New Council member Jo Throckmorton asked another member, Duane Busick, why the Council would push for the visit from Crawford, who is known mostly for her advocacy of internet access and net neutrality.

“It has nothing to do with what this council deals with,” he said.

Busick said the Council deals with some issues that include internet communication, even though the Council’s statutory responsibility is primarily related to cable television. He said the Council has tried unsuccessfully to redefine its role in city government in recent years and that cable TV is now outdated.

Throckmorton and Busick were the only members who attended the meeting. The council was not able to conduct any official business because there was not a quorum.

 

As Recycling Prices Go Up, City Votes To Fund Materials Recovery Facility

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The Board president of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District announced plans Nov. 21 to renew discussion about a controversial recycling facility.

At a meeting of the District’s Citizens Advisory Committee, Board President Steve Volan said he would reintroduce a measure that was voted down earlier this year. The measure would allocate $60,000 to study the feasibility of building a materials recovery facility, also known as a MRF, which would process recyclables.

“The study for a clean MRF has been done,” Volan said, “We’re talking about being able to do a dirty MRF which takes the waste stream itself and recycle items out of it. As a public asset it would reduce such a dramatic amount of waste that much less would need to be trucked to another landfill.”

The District’s Executive Director, Larry Barker, said much of the waste the district currently pays to have hauled to a landfill could be used for other purposes.

The district collects trash in the county, and it pays the company Republic Services to haul it to a landfill in Terre Haute.

“The ultimate goal is to get as possible to zero waste,” Barker said, “And that means nothing going to a landfill. Food and yard waste are currently going to the landfills and those can be pulled out to be put into a machine to actually create energy.”

Many of the arguments for building a MRF concern the increasing costs of waste management in the city and the county. Volan said Republic Services is increasing the prices it charges to the city next year.

“Part of the reason I’m supportive of this investment is that the city’s cost of disposal of trash and recyclables will be going up to 46 dollars a ton and the recycling that they’ve been taking for free for the past three years will go up to 46 dollars a ton too,” Volan said, “This results in a six-figure cost to the city that we didn’t anticipate.”

The feasibility study was initially part of the District’s budget for 2014, but the funding was removed in August because of dissent from two District Board members. Those members, Iris Kiesling and Patrick Stoffers, are also County commissioners, and they represent the County on the District Board.

Although those two were the only votes against the MRF on the seven-member board, they were still able to strip the funding, partly because of poor attendance by other members. The board is expected to vote again on the funding at its meeting Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Monroe County Courthouse.

The Strike Mic – December 10, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, Indiana University Assembly member Luke O’Donovan speaks about his fundraising efforts to help pay for an ongoing criminal trial, involving an alleged homophobic hate crime.

Daily Local News – December 10, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, Indiana University Assembly member Luke O’Donovan speaks about his fundraising efforts to help pay for an ongoing criminal trial, involving an alleged homophobic hate crime; The Board president of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District announced plans November 21st to renew discussion about a controversial recycling facility; The Bloomington Telecommunications Council continued its discussions December 3rd about bringing telecommunications scholar Susan Crawford to Bloomington.

FEATURE
ISTA Responds to Settlement
Brenda Pike, Executive Director of the Indiana State Teachers Association, talks about the out-of-court settlement between the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Teachers association. Correspondent David Murphy brings us the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
Coming up next, the holidays are here! This can be a budget-busting time of year if you aren’t careful. Ashley and Sarah help you keep your holiday spending down with some useful and creative tips, for WFHB’s weekly financial segment The Ins and Outs of Money, providing economic education and community resources that keep your budget balanced and your finances flourishing.

CREDITS
Today’s headlines were written by Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by David Murphy.
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer is Alycin Bektesh
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Final Payment on Dam Repair Project Approved

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The Bloomington Utilities Service Board approved the final payment December 2nd on a project to repair the Griffy Dam. Utilities Engineer Phil Peden said the company doing the work, Dave O’Mara Contractors, is mostly finished with the project, which has been in progress since the city drained Griffy Lake last year.

The repair work was funded primarily by a federal grant. The total cost was about one-point-four million dollars.

Number of Homeless Students in Monroe County Increasing

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The Monroe County Community School Corporation has seen an increase in students experiencing homelessness. At a meeting November 19th of the Corporation’s Board of Trustees, Student Services Director Becky Rose said there are more than four hundred homeless students this year. That’s up from three hundred and two last year, and three hundred and eighteen the year before.

Rose went on to say that the estimated number of homeless students is probably too low. She said many of the students’ parents are reluctant to admit they are experiencing homelessness.

Rose said the School Corporation tries to reach out to those families, to help them access the appropriate services.

Monroe County Plan Commission Votes to Change Road Name

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The Monroe County Plan Commission voted November 19th to change the name of a road on the far east side of the county. County Planner Beth Rosenbarger told the commission the road’s name causes confusion, which can be dangerous in emergency situations. She showed the road’s location on a map.

Jeff Schemmer, communications manager for the County’s Central Emergency Dispatch, said emergency personnel often have trouble with addresses on the edge of the County.

The commission voted to change the name from Deckard Ridge Road to Elkins Road. The new name was suggested by a local resident, and will take effect March 1st.

Public Health Students Present Parks Program Survey Findings

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On November 19th the Bloomington Board of Parks Commissioners heard reports from IU students who studied four different parks programs. The students, from the university’s school of public health, conducted surveys with residents who use the city’s softball leagues, arts events, senior citizens activities, and the B-Line Trail. Paula McDevitt, recreation services director for the Parks Department, said the information could help the department as it does long-term planning.

The group that studied the B-Line Trail found that slightly more people used the trail for biking than for walking. They also found that ninety percent of trail users were white. Michaela Sisney, who presented for the group, said they also considered users’ perceptions of safety on the trail, although they didn’t actually survey anyone about that issue.

Another group surveyed participants and spectators in the city’s softball leagues. Hillel Sapir, who presented for that group, said more people use softball for socialization than for exercise.

The softball group surveyed one hundred and eighty-seven participants and spectators at softball games. Forty-eight percent of participants cited social benefits as the main reason for playing.

Indiana State AFL-CIO Announces New President

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The Indiana State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations announced that Brett Voorhies has been elected as their new president. He is now the new leader of a federation of eight hundred local unions, representing more than three hundred thousand working men and women. Voorhies has spent his career working with united steelworkers. Most recently, he was the president of the Central Indiana Labor Council. Jeff Harris, spokesman for the Indiana AFL-CIO, says Voorhies has been a lifetime worker in the labor movement.

Voorhies replaces Nancy Guyott, who was the first woman elected state AFL-CIO president. The former president of the union directed an unsuccessful campaign to block passage of the state’s right-to-work law. But Voorhies says that defeat did not lead to his election.

Joe Breedlove has been re-elected as AFL-CIO secretary-treasurer, the chief financial officer of the organization. Voorhies will serve a four-year term, leading day-to-day operations along with Breedlove.

Daily Local News – December 9, 2013

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The Indiana State American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations announced that Brett Voorhies has been elected as their new president; IU student reports aid Parks Department; The Monroe County Plan Commission voted November 19th to change the name of a road on the far east side of the county; The Monroe County Community School Corporation has seen an increase in students experiencing homelessness; The Bloomington Utilities Service Board approved the final payment December 2nd on a project to repair the Griffy Dam.

FEATURE
Businesses Benefit As Others Suffer From Local Tax Breaks
Two studies released by Ball State University in recent weeks call into question a long-standing, and expensive, strategy that communities throughout the state have used in hopes of creating jobs. Monroe County and the city of Bloomington spend hundreds of thousands of dollars a year on the strategy, which involves giving local tax breaks to companies that are new to town. Those companies, in turn, are expected to create new jobs, therefore decreasing the local unemployment rate and improving the local economy. But the study out of Ball State suggests the tax breaks for business are not creating many jobs, and they’re actually increasing the tax rates for regular taxpayers. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke to one of the authors of the study, professor Michael Hicks, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

ACTIVATE!
Joe Yonkman of Home Instead talks about the annual Be a Santa to a Senior program and the need for volunteers to gift wrap the over 2,000 presents donated for area seniors in need this year.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by Yvonne Cheng,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
Activate is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineer is Chris Martin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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