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Adding a non-Democrat to the Plan Commission

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A Monroe County official says the County is dragging its feet on adding a non-Democrat to the Plan Commission. County Surveyor Kevin Enright, who is also a member of the Commission, said September 16th the delay is QUOTE “inexcusable” UNQUOTE. There has been an open spot on the Board for ten months. Enright asked County attorney David Schilling about the vacancy at a Plan Commission meeting.

The County Commission is responsible for appointing a new member to the Commission. State law won’t allow them to appoint a Democrat because the majority of their current appointees on the Commission are Democrats.

Enright was elected to his fourth term as surveyor in 2012. He ran as a Democrat. County Commissioner Julie Thomas defended the failure to appoint someone to the 9-member Plan Commission.

Thomas said the Commission is still accepting applications.

Storm water management debate

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On September 11th, the storm water management board debated a line item in their 2015 budget at the urging of the county council. In their previous meeting the board struck funds that go toward a quarter-time treasurer deputy position. Board member Iris Keisling said that though she voted in the past to allow for storm water management funds to go to the treasurer’s office, it was not intended to be a recurring expense.

Salary plus benefits for the quarter-time position total ten thousand dollars that would come from the Storm Water Management budget. Board Member Kevin Enright recommended the board vote to reinstate the funds for one additional year.

Keisling disagreed, pointing out that other departments do not assist in funding the treasurer’s office and that the Storm Water Management budget should be treated the same as all other county offices.

A motion to reinstate the full ten thousand dollars to help the treasurer’s office pay for a quarter time deputy to oversee the collection of Storm Water Management fees was tied 2-2 and did not pass. Board member Julie Thomas offered a compromise.

County Council attorney Michael Flory was present at the meeting and commended the board on their collegiality and said the funds would help alleviate demands on the auditor and treasurers offices.

Richland Bean Blossom School Board approved 2015 budget

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The Richland Bean Blossom School Board approved a budget for 2015 in their meeting on Monday, September 15th. While last year The Richland Bean Blossom School corporation was operating over budget, an increase in student enrollment allowed additional funds to come into the district this year. RBBCSC Superintendent Mike Wilcox introduced the new budget during the public hearing at the board meeting.

RBBCSC receives five thousand one hundred and sixty dollars per student from the state of Indiana. Wilcox says the increased enrollment reflects on the quality of the school system, and the replacement of teaching positions that were cut due to budgets in the past.

Board President Dana Kerr said that the balanced budget will allow the school corporation to now focus on long range planning.

The total budget for the school corporation for 2015 is twenty six million, four hundred seventy seven thousand, one hundred thirteen – more than one million dollars larger than the 2014 budget.

Director of Monroe County Public Library leaving early next year

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The director of the Monroe County Public Library is leaving her post early next year. Sara Laughlin announced her retirement September 17th at a meeting of the Library’s Board of Trustees.

Laughlin says she has confidence in the Library’s current staff to manage the Library in the years to come. She told the Board there is still plenty to do before she leaves.

The Board also held a hearing on the Library’s budget for next year. The $8.2 million budget requires deficit spending, but financial officer Gary Lettelleir said that shouldn’t be a problem.

Lettelleir said the Library also has roughly $3 million in cash reserves.

Workers seeking to unionize outside of Bloomingfoods

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A group of people gathered outside of Bloomingfoods’ near west side location in support of workers seeking to unionize. The crowd gathered in front of the main entrance and street parking spaces. WFHB Correspondent were on hand, providing updates online and on the Daily Local News on Monday September 22nd.

Daily Local News – September 18, 2014

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A group of people are currently gathered outside of Bloomingfoods’ near west side location in support of workers seeking to unionize;The director of the Monroe County Public Library is leaving her post early next year;The Commissioner of the Indiana Bureau of Motor Vehicles said today that some Hoosiers deserve a refund;Students at Indiana University are working to remove shame and stigma associated with mental illness through a new program called The College Toolbox;A local gathering of citizens concerned with climate change will gather this sunday, coinciding with a bigger climate march organized in News York city over the weekend;The Richland Bean Blossom School Board approved a budget for 2015 in their meeting on Monday, September 15th;On September 11th, the storm water management board debated a line item in their 2015 budget at the urging of the county council;A Monroe County official says the County is dragging its feet on adding a non-Democrat to the Plan Commission;Also at the meeting, the Plan Commission approved a measure that allows local attorney Ken Nunn to build new structures his yard.

FEATURE
(No Feature)WFHB Correspondent Bloomingfoods’ workers gathering to unionize.

WEEKLY FEATURE
Up next is Voices in the Street, our weekly public opinion segment.

CREDITS
Anchors Carolyn VandeWiele, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Alycin Bektesh
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley,
Our engineers today are Jonathan Goethals, Jose Rodriguez
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Joe Crawford
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.
For WFHB, this is Scott Weddle.

Bloomingfoods Employees continue Efforts to Organize Union

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Bloomingfoods employees are hoping and expecting their managers to remain neutral during the effort to organize into a union. Last week, the Daily Local News reported on indications that workers at the retail grocery co-operative were trying to unionize. During that report we conveyed some parts of our conversation with Cindy Beaux -lay, a former employee of Bloomingfoods, about working conditions and labor-management relations at the organization. She mentioned that there had been two prior unsuccessful attempts by employees to organize and that she was not surprised that another effort is now underway. Yesterday, we spoke to, Kaisa Goodman, a member of the worker organizing committee who confirmed that she and others had scheduled a meeting later in the day with Scott Bardette, an organizer with Local 700 of the United Food and Commercial Workers Union. Bardette confirmed by phone this morning that he had met with some of the workers and was meeting again today with others. He then went on to talk about the position that the owner-members and the management would take during the union drive…

Play audio for more.

 

Daily Local News – September 17, 2014

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Eli Lilly yesterday announced a partnership with U. K. drug maker AstraZeneca to develop and commercialize a potential new drug for Alzheimer’s; Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller joined collegues in thirty-seven states urging the FCC to allow more extensive use of call blocking technologies; The Alzheimer’s Association raised more than $55,000 this past Saturday in Monroe County with its Walk to End Alzheimer’s at Bryan Park; Though CO 2 emissions in the atmosphere continue to rise, Indiana’s senior politicians are work hard to resist any carbon restrictions by the environmental protection agency; Local schools and utilities are slowly becoming involved in the effort to win a nationwide energy conservation competition; Upper-story corporate offices won’t have to comply with one of Bloomington’s newest rules

FEATURE
Jackson Creek Middle School is not in Bloomington. Neither is the Bloomington Country Club, or the new Walmart location. These and other major players to Bloomington’s economy are all located in the county-controlled Urban Enterprise Zone. Tomorrow evening there will be a public open house regarding the county’s plans for this area. To find out more, WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh spoke with Larry Wilson, Director of Planning for Monroe County for today’s community report.

BLOOMINGTON BEWARE!
Our weekly consumer watchdog segment.

CREDITS
Anchors: Kelly Wherley, Cathi Norton
Today’s headlines were written by Susan Northleaf
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Bloomington Beware was produced by Richard Fish,
Our engineer today is Jim Lang,
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Joe Crafword
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – September 16, 2014

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The national debate about militarized police forces continues as awareness grows about local campus police acquiring surplus military gear; Same sex couples in Indiana are still not able to marry, at least until the Supreme Court addresses the case later this month; Last Thursday, the Board of Director’s of Jill’s House voted to shut the organization down; Free furnace inspections, cleanings and repair will be offered on “Bring the Heat Day,” October 11th through a volunteer partnership between Bloomington’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department and the Heating and Air Conditioning Alliance of Indiana; Early and absentee voting hours for Monroe County residents will begin on Tuesday, October 7th at the Election Center, 401 West Seventh Street in Bloomington; More than fifteen months after the issue first surfaced, Interstate 69 construction is still damaging waterways in Monroe County; Bloomingfoods employees are hoping and expecting their managers to remain neutral during the effort to organize into a union; Pawn shops in Ellettsville now have to send their sales data to the Town police at the same time they provide it to a nationwide law enforcement database.

CREDITS
Anchors: Casey Kuhn, Chris Martin
Today’s headlines were written by Cathi Norton, David Murphy,
And Danielle Flum
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our board engineer is Carissa Barrett
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Joe Crawford
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – September 15, 2014

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Ahead of a statewide launch of the “Moral Mondays” movement in Indianapolis this weekend, Bloomington’s Moral Monday contingent is holding a meeting this evening at 7pm in meeting room one-bee of the Monroe County Public Library; Indiana health officials are reporting an increase in the number of children with respiratory illnesses; Starting October 10, IU’s Grunwald Gallery will be showcasing previously unreleased photographs from artist Robert Mapplethorpe; The Monroe County Community Corrections Department could have dozens of extra clients in the coming year, but not necessarily much more money to serve them;  The Bloomington Board of Public Works is continuing to approve food truck permits while city staff works on new rules for the vendors.

FEATURE
Indiana Superintendent Glenda Ritz received more votes in the 2012 election than Governor Mike Pence yet has been stymied by his administration throughout her first term. In fact, speaking to the Bloomington Press Club this afternoon Ritz said during this upcoming legislative session, Pence could sign away the state’s  education budget to a new agency that he created. Her remarks and audience questions are here, in today’s community report.

ACTIVATE
Now it’s time for Activate, our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by Alycin Bektesh, David Murphy, Harrison Wagner, and Steven Williamson
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Dan Withered produced todays community report
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineer is Chris Martin,
Joe Crawford is our managing producer
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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