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Volunteers will help anyone with questions about the Affordable Care Act tomorrow

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Local volunteers will again help people understand and navigate the enrollment process for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act.

The Affordable Care Act Volunteers of Monroe County will be providing information and guidance this Wednesday at the Monroe County library, for anyone interested in the Indiana Health Insurance Marketplace. Wednesday’s fair will be the third the group has presented in the last month.

David Meyer, president of the volunteers, says the upcoming session will have a bigger space, additional process guides that help answer specific questions about the ACA and help people get more detailed resources and information covered.

Volunteers have seen a gradual increase in the numbers of people seeking information at their fairs.

This increase is expected to further escalate, as the December 15 deadline approaches to sign up for insurance coverage as the January 1 of next year.

The Indiana Insurance Marketplace is part of the national marketplace website, so it has suffered many of the same problems as the 25 other states that decided not to establish their own version of the program. However, Meyer says he hears the national website is becoming more navigable.

“What we do at these fairs is work to educate and answer questions for anyone that comes out,” Meyer says, “We also want them to know how health insurance works in general. Our focus is on educating people so they can make decisions for themselves and self-enroll.”

There are 19 insurance companies offering health insurance to Monroe County residents on the Indiana ACA exchange. Meyer and these volunteers will also provide advice to fair visitors who may not be eligible for insurance enrollment under the ACA.

The fair will run tomorrow, November 6, from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m, in rooms 1B and 1C on the lower floor of the Monroe County Public Library. Attendance is free of charge, and no documentation is required.

New YMCA in northwest Bloomington opens its doors Sunday for a community tour

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After 18 months of construction, the northwest Bloomington YMCA will have an open tour Sunday afternoon. This is the second YMCA facility in the city. In addition to the usual sports facilities for individuals and families, the new building will also include a licensed child care center.

It will also provide medical services, in collaboration with IU Health Orthopedics & Sports Medicine. Sara Herold, marketing director for Monroe County YMCA, says the new facilities will not be ready for use during the tour.

“We’re banding together to provide facilities and programs that allow people to become healthier,” Herold says, “I just think this is an extraordinary opportunity for the community to come together and see what the new YMCA has to offer.

YMCA has been in Bloomington since the late 1800’s, when it was a student organization. In the 1970’s it began offering swim lessons and fitness classes throughout the town. It wasn’t until 1981 that the first facility was built, on the southeast side of town. Herold says they appreciate the support the community offers them, especially as a nonprofit organization.

“We’re committed to providing safe places and a positive alternatives for children and families to become healthy,” Herold says, “We want to teach sound nutrition and our goal is to make a stronger community by making a healthier community.”

It is estimated that more than 6,700 individuals will benefit from the northwest YMCA. Approximately 80 part-time and full-time jobs will be created because of the new facility.

Visitors to Lake Monroe will have the chance to observe winter eagles as ‘Citizen Scientists’

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Anyone interested in helping track winter eagle activity at Lake Monroe will have the opportunity to attend Citizen Scientist training next week, on November 17. Jill Vance, Interpretive Naturalist at Monroe Lake, gives details about the training.

“This is our second year and we’re inviting people to come out and learn the different phases of life for the bald eagle and the Golden Eagle,” Vance says, “Then they can come out to the lake this winter and track any eagles they see. This will help us track our eagle population on the lake and let our visitors know where the best place to see these eagles are.”

The training also covers the difference between adult and juvenile eagles, common eagle behavior, and how best to observe the bird.

“The more people we have out there looking for eagles the better our data is on how many eagles we have out there on the lake,” Vance says.

The observation period for this project lasts from December 1 to March 31. Anyone who decides to participate is expected to volunteer at least two hours per month, to help personnel record the information.

The training session for Monroe Lake eagle observers will take place next Sunday, November 17 at 6 p.m, at the Paynetown State Recreation Area.

 

The Strike Mic – November 5, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, Ph.D candidate Christopher Miles speaks about the student input that went into the proposal of a merged Media School at Indiana University, and how it compares to the plan adopted by IU trustees last month.

Tune in every Tuesday for a new edition of The Strike Mic, a weekly update from your friends and neighbors working to strengthen the voice of IU students and staff.

Daily Local News – November 5, 2013

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The Strike Mic; Local volunteers will again help people understand and navigate the enrollment process for health insurance through the Affordable Care Act; After eighteen months of construction, the northwest Bloomington YMCA will have an open tour this Sunday afternoon; Anyone interested in helping track winter eagle activity at Monroe Lake will have the opportunity to attend Citizen Scientist training next week, on November 17th.

FEATURE
Howard Zinn-In
During his US History class today, Indiana University associate Professor Alex Lichtenstein held what he deemed a “Howard Zinn-in.” The date coincides with the birthday of famous Hoosier Eugene V. Debbs, a prominent Socialist and proponent of union rights during the turn of the twentieth century who Zinn admired. The event was held in conjunction with similar Zinn-ins held throughout the state, all in protest of former governor Mitch Daniels attempts to ban the author’s works from Indiana classrooms. We bring you that speech for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
Colder temperatures are here! Learn how to prepare your home to be warm, energy efficient, and cost effective, for WFHB’s weekly financial segment the Ins and Outs of Money, our weekly segment providing economic education and community resources that keep your budget balanced and your finances flourishing.

CREDITS
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Yvonne Cheng, and Yin Yuan.
Our feature was produced by Harrison Wagner, with correspondent Alycin Bektesh.
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 was Harrison Wagner,
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – November 4, 2013

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Union and management at the local General Electric plant have reached an agreement around the personnel layoffs that the company announced in September; The City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development Department will host a workshop next Thursday, November 14th; The Richland Bean Blossom School Board didn’t get enough votes October 21st to approve a teacher handbook that was supported by the teacher union and the administration; Indiana University is part of a five-year research program that focuses on detecting and defending against cyber-attacks.

FEATURE
Additional I69 Pollution Complaints Filed
This morning a landowner in Southern Monroe County filed his 11th formal complaint since March, about pollution in the waterways near his home. Much like his previous complaints, as well as those of his neighbors, Thomas Tokarski provided photos that show the creeks and streams filled with brown, sediment-filled water. The cause is erosion from the Interstate 69 right-of-way, where crews have been clearing vegetation for months. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has cited contractors working on the project with failure to control the erosion, and some contractors have been forced to stop construction altogether while they deal with the issue. But Tokarski says they haven’t fixed the problem, and the rain storms late last week led to even more contamination. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with Tokarski, and we bring you that conversation for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

ACTIVATE
Molly O’Donnell, Bloomington’s “Be More” Volunteer award winner, and Ben Brabson, Indiana University Climate Scientist, talk about Earth Care Bloomington and its mission to promote sustainability, on Activate, our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

CREDITS
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Yin Yuan, and Allison Schroeder,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
Activate was produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineers were Lauren Glapa and Chris Martin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – November 1, 2013

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Representative Todd Young will meet with constituents in Martinsville next Thursday; On Monday the Ellettsville Town Council debated changes to town code that would ban certain livestock and prohibit parking in yards; Monroe County is in the midst of a project to fix a drainage problem on Fairway Drive, on the south side of Bloomington.

FEATURES
Representatives on the Debt Limit
Indiana District 9 Representative Todd Young and Senator Dan Coats both gave statements this week on the ongoing national debt talks. We hear what our state representatives are adding to the conversation for today’s WFHB feature report.

VOLUNTEER CONNECTION
Local organizations scout the listening area for service help on Volunteer Connection, linking YOU to current volunteer opportunities in our community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Helen Harrell, Roscoe
Today’s headlines were written by Lauren Glapa,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Sarah Hettrick.
Volunteer Connection is produced by Wanda Krieger, in partnership with the city of Bloomington Volunteer Network.
Our engineer was Harrison Wagner,
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Representative Todd Young to have meetings with small groups of constituents on Thursday

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Representative Todd Young will be in Martinsville next Thursday, November 7th to have ten-minute meetings with small groups of constituents. Trevor Foughty is the deputy chief of staff for the office of Representative Todd Young. He says Representative Young is open to talk about any topic his constituents are concerned about.

“This is completely driven by constituents who have the meetings, this is a format we’ve used for the last several years, in addition to town hall meetings or meet-your-congressman type events at coffee shops, and it’s a chance for constituents to talk about things that might not get brought up in other formats, and really get uninterrupted time with the congressman. So people can come talk about whatever they like,” Foughty said.

Foughty said the Representative held similar events in almost every county in the district last year, and said they were very well received. The Representative will be meeting with groups of four or less, which Foughty says gets people more focused attention, and said that constituents get to talk more while the representative listens more.

“What people talk about ranges from some of the big issues that you might read in the paper, to issues that maybe don’t have as much visibility. And it’s a chance for them to bring that to the congressman’s attention. And some people just need case work help with the federal agencies. So we have staff there that’s able to take down notes, and then help those constituents deal with the federal government,” Foughty said.

Registration is first come, first served for 10 minute slots between 3 and 4:30 PM next Thursday in the Morgan County Administration Building in Martinsville. If slots run out for this event, staff can put constituents on a waitlist and they will be called next time Representative Young is able to meet with constituents. Registration is available by calling 9th District Constituent Service Center at 812-288-3999.

bloomingOUT – October 31, 2013

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Campaign Manager for Freedom Indiana Megan Robertson discusses their state-wide organizational efforts  to defeat proposed anti-same sex marriage constitutional amendment HJR6. Emily Nagoski addresses bisexuality on an edition of “It’s Only Sex” and on a new edition of “OUT on the Street” Nick Tumino chats with attendees at the Judy Shepard lecture recently held on IUB campus. Featured artist is singer/songwriter Eli Conley. Musical selection is “Draw the Line” from his “At the Seams” CD.

www.FreedomIndiana.org

www.eliconley.com

Produced Carol Fischer

Executive producer Alycin Bektesh

Associate Producers Sarah Hetrick and Nick Tumino

News Director Josh Vidrich,

Original theme music provided by Mikial Robertson

Announcer Sarah Hetrick

Controversy continues to surround lawsuit filed by Indiana State Superintendent Glenda Ritz

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Last week Indiana State Superintendent Glenda Ritz announced she is suing all ten members of the Indiana State Board of Education for allegedly violating Indiana’s ‘Open Door’ law.

“She specifically believes that it was done without a notice to the public or the superintentendent, who is obviously not just a member of the state board of education but the chair, and she felt she needed to take legal action,” Daniel Altman, Press Secretary for the Department of Education, says.

In the week since, Indiana Attorney General filed a motion to strike down Ritz’s lawsuit. Ritz, a Democrat, says she will continue to pursue the lawsuit.

Meanwhile, the Office of Governor Pence, who is a Republican, said that, “Pence strongly supports the actions taken by the bipartisan membership of the State Board of Education to ensure the timely completion of last year’s accountability grades.”

In response to the lawsuit, four members of the State Board sent an open letter to Ritz. In the letter, the members request that Ritz drop the lawsuit. They also mention in the letter that, while Ritz claims to work on open communication, the members have been continually frustrated by unanswered requests, missed deadlines, and a lack of progress on critical education issues.

The State Board of Education is housed under the recently established Governor’s Center for Education and Career Innovation. Lou Ann Baker, Director of External Relations for the Center, says that communication between the State Board and Superintendent Ritz, who is Chair of the board, has not been ideal.

“They found out about the lawsuit through the media,” Baker says, “There was concern among the members and all then of the members reached out to communicate to the superintendent.

In the letter, the members ask Ritz to drop the lawsuit and, “Put politics aside and come ready to put the interests of students, teachers and schools first.” Baker describes how the members felt when they learned about the lawsuit through the media, and why it’s important to move forward.

“The members were surprised and disappointed,” Baker says, “I think we’re wasting energy on this topic rather than the many educational topics that need to be completed, managed and need to move forward on behalf of students and educators in Indiana. Education is one of the most critical issues facing Indiana and everyone in the country today, and our board members strongly  believe it’s important to get on with business.”

While Ritz says the alleged meeting happened without her knowledge, members of the board claim the meeting never happened in the first place. Superintendent Ritz will continue to pursue the lawsuit in the weeks ahead.

 

By: Casey Kuhn

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