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New Library Renovations Will Cost More Than First Anticipated

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A third phase of renovations at the Monroe County Public Library may cost as much as half a million dollars more than first projected.

That’s according to information put forward during a work session for the Library’s Board of Trustees on September 11.

A representative for the project’s architect, Christine Matheu, presented the cost estimates to the Board.

But before the financial discussion, Matheu went over a schematic design of the renovated Library.

“We have met with staff and special interests groups from the project,” Matheu says.

The renovations include the addition of a new teen center, which Matheu said would have a cafe area as well as a space for socializing.

“Current logic on these spaces is that you downplay the books and you up-play technology, social interaction and collaborative and creative work,” Matheu says.  “All these things  teenagers respond to in the way they learn and it’s a way to get this demographic back into the library.”

The renovated library is also planned to include a digital creativity center, including spaces for recording music and editing film.

“Right now we’ve planned for a recording studio and a performing space,” Matheu says, “This is primarily for musicians and filmmakers, and the media lab is for people collaborating together. “

When the Board approved the architect’s contract earlier this year, the estimated cost of the renovations was $780,000.

But the project designed by Matheu’s firm is estimated to cost somewhere between $1.1 and $1.3 million dollars.

Library Director Sara Laughlin said she likes the plan, and she has ideas about how to trim some of the costs.

But even if the cost is considerably more than was budgeted, Laughlin said there is still money to complete the entire project.

“Even if it’s the high number, we’re still $244,000 off for what we have set aside,” Laughlin says, “We have enough money to do the whole thing and have some left over. I think we should bite the bullet and do it.”

All the costs are rough estimates because the Library has not yet put the project out to bid.

The Board is scheduled to vote on the budget for the project at its regular meeting September 18.

City Council Members Sponsor Resolution To Provide A Local Response On Statewide Marriage Equality

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Tuesday, local residents will be given an opportunity to participate in a debate on marriage equality.

Bloomington City Council Member Susan Sandberg is sponsoring a resolution, along with Council Members Darryl Neher and Tim Mayer as co-sponsors, supporting marriage equality.

This motion is designed to provide a local response to state legislators’ efforts to include a clause in the state constitution to limit marriage to be between one man and one woman.

Supporters of this effort, which will be presented to state voters during the next voting cycle, say the intent is to outlaw same-sex marriage.

The sponsors of the local resolution have invited the public, along with LBGT leaders and community and business organizations, to discuss how the codification of discrimination in our State Constitution will impact the state economically.

The council meeting will begin at 6 pm in the City Council Chambers in the Showers Building on Morton Street in downtown Bloomington.

The final vote on the local resolution is expected to be presented to the full Bloomington Council by the end of the year.

Local Government Information Seminar ‘Citizens Academy’ Taking Applications

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The Monroe County Citizens Academy is taking applications for this year’s fall seminars.

The seminars, which are open to everyone, inform attendees about the local county government.

Interim County Extension Director Amy Thompson tells us that the Academy is an opportunity for residents to learn more about how county government operates, where their local tax dollars go and the services the county offices provide.

The free classes will be held on Wednesday evenings, from October 2 until November 20.

Subjects include local government financing, the county court system, correctional policy, policing and the county jail, health and youth services, and county governance.

Thirty minutes of informal discussion are planned before each presentation. County officials, administrators, judges, and senior police officers will be present.

“We’ve done this several times and we get a lot of positive feedback,” Thompson says, “I think the average citizen doesn’t know about the scope of activities that county government is involved in. It’s interesting, you get a behind the scenes tour of the jail and you get a one-on-one interaction with government officials.”

The courses are provided through Purdue University’s Extension program, in partnership with Monroe County Commissioners and Council.

Call 349-2575 to register for the program by September 27.

This Year’s Deer Season Looks To Be Productive After Last Year’s Record-Setting Harvest

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Hunters in Indiana can expect another productive deer season in 2013, but probably not as productive as last year’s record setter.

The deer harvest record has been broken in four of the last five seasons.

But Chad Stewart, deer biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (the DNR), doesn’t expect the trend to continue.

“Last year was a record deer harvest for Indiana,” Stewart says, “We took 136,248 deer and that exceeded all previous years. I think the number will probably go down a little bit this year, but the trends in last year’s harvest told us the herd was on a downward swing, which is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish.

Stewart says the antler deer harvest being down, as well as an increase this year in antler-less deer killing, tends to mean the overall deer population is down.

He says that reducing the deer population to a more balanced level has been the DNR’s goal for years.

New hunting regulations in 2012 worked toward that goal.

“We’re making an effort to balance the deer herd,” Stewart says, “And when you reduce the deer herd in total to achieve that, over time the deer harvest falls off as well.”

Deer hunting season in some urban areas began on Sunday. Archery season starts on October 1st, and this year firearm season starts in mid-November.

 

 

Daily Local News – September 17, 2013

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A third phase of renovations at the Monroe County Public Library may cost as much as half a million dollars more than first projected; Tonight, local residents will be given an opportunity to participate in a debate on marriage equality; The Monroe County Citizens Academy is taking applications for this year’s fall seminars; Hunters in Indiana can expect another productive deer season in 2013, but probably not as productive as last year’s record setter.

FEATURE
“TASC” to Replace GED Testing in Indiana
Monroe County residents attending Adult Education Classes at Broadview Adult Learning Center, Crestmont, and Shalom Community Center have until January 1st to complete their General Educational Development test, or G-E-D, or else lose credit for what they have completed and be forced to start all over. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development, which administers Indiana’s high school equivalency program through its Division of Adult Education, has announced the selection of CTB/McGraw-Hill to provide a new high school equivalency assessment that will replace the G-E-D, the test currently in use. In today’s feature, Lauren Glapa interviews Joe Frank of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Division of Adult Education, about Indiana’s new T-A-S-C high school equivalency test.

CREDITS
Anchors: Shayne Laughter and Bill Daugherty
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Yvonne Cheng
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services
Today’s feature was produced by Dan Withered, with correspondent Lauren Glapa
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Jason Evans Groth
Our engineer is Harrison Wagner
Editor is Drew Daudelin
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News- September 16th, 2013

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Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane laid out a plan to enroll students around the state in early childhood education programs; Bloomington will stage its first Open Streets event this weekend- joining a recent trend in larger cities around the world; Citizens from Morristown, Indiana are banding together to stop a gas-fired power plant proposed by tyhe Omaha-based company Tenaska.

FEATURE
Earlier this summer the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity announced it had reached a deal to relocate its frat house. The fraternity is currently located on east 3rd street. But the deal it made with Indiana University would put the new house in the University Courts neighborhood on the western edge of campus. The plan has upset some in Bloomington, partly because it requires the demolition of six historic homes. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature.

ACTIVATE
Jodi Chatelain and Kenny Bundy talk about working at the Recovery Engagement Center.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley and Doug Storm,
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Yvonne Cheng,
Our Engineers are Lauren Glapa and Chris Martin,
Our Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Activate is produced by Jennifer Whitaker
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – September 13, 2013

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Senator Dan Coats, who sits on the Senate Intelligence Committee, released a statement this week announcing his disagreement with the authorization of a U.S. military strike against Syria; The Bloomington Plan Commission rejected a plan Monday to relocate the Taste of India restaurant; This week the Bloomington City Council heard from residents who are unhappy with plans to demolish six historic houses on West 8th Street to make way for a fraternity house; The playground at Bloomington’s Winslow Woods Park, on South Highland Avenue, will be closed until September 19th and is slated to reopen the next day.

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: Alycin Bektesh, Roscoe
Today’s headlines were written by Lauren Glapa,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Volunteer Connection is produced in partnership with the city of Bloomington Volunteer Network.
Our Engineer is Harrison Wagner,
Our Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

IU GLBT Alumni Association Launches Groundbreaking Scholarship Campaign Helping The LGBT Student Community

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The Indiana University Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender Alumni Association has launched the nation’s first-ever scholarship campaign devoted to assisting GLBT students and promoting leadership on GLBT concerns.

According to Doug Bauder, coordinator at the IU GLBT Student Support Services Office, the GLBT Alumni Association organized this dual scholarship.

One of the scholarships aims to help GLBT students who are cut off financially after coming out about their sexual orientation.

“If they choose to share that with their parents, and on occasion, these folks have lost support, financially,” Bauder says, “I became aware of that when students would share that with me and as I met with people in the alumni association, we came up with ways to provide them some scholarship money.”

Bauder says the campaign has been under development for over a decade, and that IU leading the way is no surprise.

“There’s been an appreciation of issues of sexual diversity since the days of Alfred Kinsey,” Bauder says, “There’s a tradition and a history of this community and this campus of understanding that not everyone is heterosexual. There are unique problems gay students face and this office opened 20 years ago to offer information and support to gay students. From the very first year our office was open, we’ve had alumni say they wish it had been open when they were in school in the 50’s or 60’s or 70’s.”

Full or part-time students enrolled at any IU campus may apply for the scholarships, which are awarded based on involvement in activities promoting diversity and raising awareness of GLBT issues.

Online Video Contest Remembering MLK Now Accepting Submissions

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The City of Bloomington’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration Commission is accepting submissions for a video contest.

Special Projects Coordinator Craig Brenner says that all participants have to do is post their submission on Youtube and then submit the URL online by the deadline which is December 13, 2013. There will be voting by the public.

Brenner hopes the contest will be educational for participants.

“We think anytime we can expose students to some of Martin Luther King’s speeches and actions, it furthers the goal of the commission which is
The prize for best individual video is an Apple iPad, and the group prize is a pizza party.

Participants can enter the contest at the City of Bloomington’s MLK webpage.

 

Former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennet Under Scrutiny For Questionable Tactics While In Office

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State Democrats are keeping the pressure on Indiana’s Inspector General as an investigation continues into former Superintendent of Public Instruction Tony Bennett’s actions while in office.

Yesterday, Tom LoBianco of the Associated Press reported that Bennett’s office had kept Republican party campaign contributor databases on Education Department computer servers.

The AP report also alleged that Bennett directed Education Department staffers to parse a campaign speech by Glenda Ritz, his opponent in last November’s election. If true, the actions would violate state election and ethics laws.

Indiana Democratic Party Chair John Zody wants answers.

“I think it’s important that Hoosiers have trust in their government and their elected officials,” Zody says, “There are all kinds of things going on in state government that raises questions. There have been a number of articles about Mr Bennet and how he operated in office. There was a definite lack of transparency when he was in office and now we’re seeing these details come out.”

Zody calls for a quicker and more thorough investigation into the charges against Bennett. He also asks that Indiana Inspector General David Thomas reveal more details about the investigation.

Bennett told the Associated Press that the databases were for his personal use, and that he hadn’t directed his staff to do political work while on the job.

Cindy Carrasco of the Inspector General’s office confirmed that Thomas is looking into Bennett’s actions, but added that the investigation is confidential.

These latest charges follow questions about Bennett’s actions in grading a charter school run by a prominent Republican campaign contributor.

In July, the Associated Press reported that Bennett allegedly alerted his staff that the performance grade of the Christel House Academy in Indianapolis was unacceptable. Christel House, owned by Republican donor Christel DeHaan, had earned a “C” grade for its performance during the 2011 – 2012 school year. After a series of e-mails had been sent by Bennett to various staffers referring to the problem of Christel House’s rating, its grade was raised to an “A”.

DeHaan had contributed $2.8 million to Republican campaigns from 1998 through last year’s elections, including $130,000 for Bennett’s campaigns.

Bennett left Indiana after he lost to Glenda Ritz in November.

He served as the Florida education commissioner after leaving office in January, but resigned last month after the emails were published.

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