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Daily Local News – March 26, 2015

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Civil rights organizations and business groups throughout the state condemned Gov. Pence today after he officially approved the Religious Freedom Restoration Act; After much debate last night, Bloomington city council members passed an ordinance allowing food trucks to park 50 feet from existing restaurants; The Monroe County Community School Board has reversed its decision to send a letter of dissent to the Statehouse about public education in Indiana; Some environmental activists are worried a bill aimed at protecting Indiana’s drinking water from hazardous chemicals may be in trouble.

FEATURE
The creators of an exhibit at Indiana University are hoping to give viewers a more complex understanding of Rwanda. Correspondent Amanda Marino has that story for today’s WFHB community report.

VOICES IN THE STREET
Indiana Governor Mike Pence has vowed to sign into law SB 101 or the Religious Freedom & Restoration Act. Governor Pence has said the law “…is about respecting and reassuring Hoosiers that their religious freedoms are intact” but others see the law setting a bad precedent for businesses and others like police and doctors to legally discriminate against the LGBTQI community, in particular. With the calls by thousands of Hoosiers and high-powered business interests (including Gen Con, the annual gaming convention) for Pence to veto the legislation, Voices in the Street asked your friends and neighbors how they feel about SB 101 being signed into law.

CREDITS
Anchors: Carolyn VandeWiele, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Sarah Panfil and Joe Crawford
Along with Alycin Bektesh for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Amanda Marino
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley,
Our engineer today is Jose Rodriguez
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Alycin Bektesh.
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford.

Daily Local News – March 25, 2015

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Thousands of Hoosiers and some high-powered business interests are calling for Indiana Governor Mike Pence to veto the so-called Religious Freedom & Restoration Act; A hazardous stretch of Old State Road 37 will soon be reconstructed with improved safety measures; The Richland Bean Blossom Community School Corporation has had to work to keep up with changes in statewide assessment testing this year; The Town of Ellettsville has joined the City of Bloomington and Monroe County as a partner in the Georgetown Energy Challenge; The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center is calling for submissions for shows that would begin as early as October.

FEATURE
The companies Comcast and Time Warner have proposed to merge, which would have effects on the cable market throughout the WFHB listening area. Correspondent David Murphy spoke with Herb Terry, Associate Professor at IU’s department of telecommunications, about the potential effects of the merger.
Comcast released a statement today saying they expect the federal government will take until at least the middle of 2015 to make a decision about the merger. Comcast originally expected the decision would be made by the end of 2014.

BETTER BEWARE!
Ransomware – one of the nastiest cyber-attacks ever – is now hitting videogames. Want to have to cough up $500 to continue playing World of Warcraft? Watch out!

CREDits
Anchors: Sophia Saliby, Kelly Wherley
Today’s headlines were written by Jack Hanek and Carmen Gozalo
Along with Alycin Bektesh for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services
Better Beware was produced by Richard Fish
Our feature was produced by Dan Withered
Our engineers today are Jim Lang and Matt Gwaltney
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford
Managing Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Ins and Outs of Money – Patch Those Holes—In Your Pants & Your Budget

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Clothing—it’s a necessary expense, and it can be a big one. Jeanne Leimkuhler, co-founder of Discardia, reminds us that repairing and re-purposing our clothes saves money, encourages creativity, and promotes environmental sustainability.

Daily Local News – March 24, 2015

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A new report out of Ball State University finds that bills aimed at curbing meth use might be more expensive for Indiana in the long run; The opinions of local residents seem to reflect the views of their representative in the state senate;The First Lady of Indiana, Karen Pence, has awarded a grant of between $500 and $1,000 to The Community Kitchen of Monroe County through her Charitable Foundation; The Monroe County government has taken issue with a resident who was illegally renting out her property for weddings.

FEATURE
Today, Dan Coats, senior Senator from Indiana, announced that he will not be running for re-election next year. According to Brian Howey of Howey Politics Indiana, he has maintained that position as the congressional GOP as a whole has moved to the right. Correspondent David Murphy spoke to Mister Howey today about Coats’ politics and the implications of his decision not to run again for the Democrats and Republicans who will seek to take this key seat. Following Senator Coats announcement, several Indiana politicians from both major parties released statements on Coats legacy.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
Clothing—it’s a necessary expense, and it can be a big one. Jeanne Leimkuhler, co-founder of Discardia, reminds us that repairing and re-purposing our clothes saves money, encourages creativity, and promotes environmental sustainability.

CREDITS
Anchors: Chris Martin, Casey Kuhn
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Carmen Gozalo and Sophia Saliby
Along with Alycin Bektesh 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 Ryan Stacy and edited by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer is Harrison Wagner
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Alycin Bektesh
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford

Daily Local News – March 23, 2015

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Local organizations have begun collecting camping gear for homeless residents who will soon be without access to a low-barrier shelter; A former employee at the city of Bloomington is waiting on a federal court to decide his fate after pleading guilty to 11 counts of wire fraud; In a separate case of alleged embezzlement at the city of Bloomington, a former Parks Department employee has been indicted on a wire fraud charge for allegedly stealing more than $400,000 in funds intended for the Parks Department projects and programs; The city of Bloomington is celebrating Disability Awareness Month throughout March with a variety of events, exhibits and programs; With less than two months before municipal elections, the Monroe County Election Board has been at odds over rules related to poll workers; The Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners has recognized the achievements of Banneker Program Specialist Terrance Thomas, who was named the 2015 Outstanding Black Male Leader of Tomorrow by the City’s Commission on the Status of Black Males.

FEATURE
Shortly before we went to air today, the Indiana House of Representatives approved a bill that could protect businesses that discriminate against LGBT residents. The bill is known as the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. It would prohibit governments from “substantially burdening a person’s exercise of religion.” Some proponents of the bill have said they hope it will protect businesses, churches or individuals that choose not to serve LGBT residents. The bill has been widely seen as a response to the legalization of same-sex marriage in Indiana. Just before the bill passed, News Director Joe Crawford spoke with one of the leaders of the movement to oppose the measure.

ACTIVATE!
Our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Doug Storm, Maria McKinley
Today’s headlines were written by Anson Shupe, Joe Crawford and Amanda Marino.
Along with Alycin Bektesh for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Michael Hilton
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker, along with the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network
Our engineer today is Chris Martin.
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Alycin Bektesh.
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford

Daily Local News – March 12, 2015

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The Bloomington City Council is still trying to figure out a fair set of ordinances to
regulate the increasing number food carts and mobile vendors operating in downtown; Professor and vocal jazz director Steve Zegree passed away last Saturday, March the 7th, in Bloomington at age 61;Local author and Martinsville resident Mark C. Adkisson will be holding a book signing this Saturday in Martinsville;The Monroe County Council voted this week to delay discussions on an agreement that could save the county seven hundred thousand dollars over the next ten years;Earlier this week an Ellettsville Town Council member questioned the bidding procedure for an eleven thousand dollar land survey contract the Town recently entered into.

FEATURE
A committee in the Indiana Senate is considering a bill that could have legal implications for low-income Hoosiers seeking free health care. WFHB News Director Joe Crawford has that story. The civil immunity bill passed the House by a vote of 91 to 0. Nine members of the House did not vote on the measure.

VOICES IN THE STREET
Spring Break is here for the students of IU!

CREDITS
Anchors: Carolyn VandeWiele, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Carmen Gozalo and Jack Hanek
Along with Alycin Bektesh for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley,
Our engineer today is Jose Rodriguez
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Alycin Bektesh.
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford

Daily Local News – March 11, 2015

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An antiracist speech tonight at Indiana University is expected to draw protests; The Monroe County government is still waiting for a verdict on their plans to build a parking garage after more than two hours of debate Monday night; The members of a so-called blue ribbon panel to make recommendations on the future of the IU School of Education have been chosen; Today, WFHB helped reach the goal of $100,000 in donations for ten local nonprofits, along with $150,000 in match dollars from the Community Foundation, as part of the Match Madness event.

BETTER BEWARE!
BB got hit by two ripoffs last week: a scary email about sexual criminals “”in your neighborhood”" and a preposterous pitch for insurance on your water pipe. Thanks to the gonifs themselves for the research help!

CREDITS
Anchors: Kelly Wherley, Sophia Saliby
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Joe Crawford
Along with Alycin Bektesh for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services
Better Beware was produced by Richard Fish
Our engineers today are Jim Lang, Adam Reichle and Matt Gwaltney
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford
Managing Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Panel Chosen to Make IU School of Education Recommendations

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The members of a so-called blue ribbon panel to make recommendations on the future of the IU School of Education have been chosen. IU President Michael McRobbie announced his intention to establish the panel last year in the wake of declining enrollment in the school.  The members of the panel are Carole Ames, former dean and professor emerita at the College of Education at Michigan State University; David Harris, who oversaw the establishment of the Indianapolis charter school system; Diana Hess, senior vice president of an academic research funding organization and professor of curriculum and instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison; Alex Molnar, research professor and publications director of  the National Education Policy Center at the University of Colorado Boulder; and Wendy Robinson, superintendent of Fort Wayne Community Schools. Two members of the five member panel, including the chair, were chosen in consultation with the IU school of education. Gerardo Gonzalez, Dean of the School, says he is pleased with the composition of the panel.

Following McRobbie’s announcement of his intent to appoint the panel, the school of education asked faculty to be consulted on the committee and its membership. McRobbie’s office then asked the school to submit a list of six nominees for two slots. The decline in enrollment in the IU school of education came in the wake of changes to the state’s Rules for Educator Preparation and Accountability, known as REPA (“REP-uh”). The changes now make it legal for people without education degrees to teach and administer in public schools.

Gonzales says that in Indiana, teachers’ salaries have been reduced by ten percent over the last decade, the second largest decline among the 50 states.  He also says the panel will begin meeting before the end of this semester and report to President McRobbie before the end of the summer. In the meantime, faculty and administrators in the Bloomington school are preparing submissions and recommendations for the panel.  Coincidentally, U.S. News and World Report recently ranked the IU School of Education 25th highest in the nation and 15th among public universities. Three of the School’s specialties – higher education administration, curriculum instruction, and elementary teacher education – ranked among the top 10. Gonzalez will be retiring from his fifteen year long term as Dean of the School of Education this year.

Plan Commission Mulls New Parking Garage

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The Monroe County government is still waiting for a verdict on their plans to build a parking garage after more than two hours of debate Monday night. The eight-story garage would be next to the County jail on Morton Street. It would have 268 spaces reserved for county employees. The County needs approval from the Bloomington Plan Commission, which heard the case for a second time last night. The plans for the garage would require the plan commission to allow for eight exceptions to downtown building codes, including a 30-foot height variance. Although the garage has been reduced from nine floors to eight due to criticism during the February hearing on the project, there are still portions of the facility that reach 90 feet. Additionally, the project does not meet code for providing retail space on the first floor because the ground floor would be used as an emergency evacuation facility for the county jail.

County Commissioner Patrick Stoffers told the Plan Commission that approximately 250 county employees currently park in the Monroe County Convention Center parking lot, and that the county pays fifty thousand dollars a year to then shuttle employees to work. In an effort to reduce the size of the parking garage, the city offered to lease spaces in existing garages to the county. The County turned down that offer. City Council Member Steve Volan, who spoke during public comment, said that using county funds to build an additional garage was irresponsible.

Much of the public comment concentrated on the benefits of having high numbers of pedestrians downtown. Local Architect Mark Cornett said that downtown is increasingly becoming a “drive in, drive out” community, giving the example of a coffee shop located in Smallwood that had to close because students were bypassing the retail level and taking the elevator directly to their cars.  Already this year downtown development has caused Bloomington’s City Council to reexamine relationships between the plan commission, an appointed body, and the elected officials who serve on the council. Throughout Monday’s meeting, commissioners, staff, and the public spoke about last month’s approval of the large Graduate Hotel on Kirkwood Avenue, the relocation of IU Health Bloomington Hospital, the potential expansion of the convention center, and repeatedly called Smallwood Apartments “a mistake.” The city plan commission’s jurisdiction over what the county can build on its downtown land displays another conflict of authority, and multiple times throughout the meeting talk came up of county operations leaving downtown Bloomington. Commission member Chris Smith reproached the elected officials in the room for being behind in the creation of a growth policies plan, or GPP.

Speaking in favor of the parking garage were county council member Cheryl Munson and Larry Jacobs of the Chamber of Commerce. Along with Volan, city council member Dave Rollo also spoke against the project. And members of Decarcerate Monroe County objected to the ground floor blueprint, which they say looks unchanged since a jail work release proposal was dropped from the development plan. Because comission comment indicated the project would not pass if it were voted on, Commission president Jack Baker made a motion to continue the hearing for an additional month. That motion was passed 7-1, with commission member Jane St. John speaking against the trend of passing developments that do not reflect the community’s values.

The garage is scheduled to be considered again at the next Plan Commission meeting on April 13th.

Antiracist Speech Expected to Draw Protest

An antiracist speech tonight at Indiana University is expected to draw protests. Tim Wise, an author who describes himself as an antiracist activist, is scheduled to speak at 7 p.m. at the Whittenberger Auditorium in the IU Memorial Union. Wise has written six books on racism and white privilege. A small white nationalist group at IU has announced it will picket his speech. The group is known as the Traditionalist Youth Network. One of its most outspoken members, Thomas Buhls, has been associated with so-called white heritage protests in Bloomington for years. Buhls made national news in 2011 after police arrested him for distributing a Ku Klux Klan publication in Martinsville. A judge later said Buhls had the legal right to distribute the racist material. A counter protest is planned tonight in response to the Traditionalist Youth Network’s rally. Counter protesters are meeting at 6:30 p.m. in the circle drive in front of the Union. Wise, the author, has supported the counter protest in social media. In a Facebook post yesterday, Wise said,  “For progressive and antiracist folks in the Bloomington area, feel free to come and say hi, nonviolently of course, to your friendly neighborhood Nazis. If they can recruit racists, I can recruit antiracists.”

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