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Daily Local News – January 10, 2014

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The Bloomington Police Department is seeking tips regarding four bank robberies that have occurred in Bloomington since December 4th; The Bloomington Blood Donation Center will have extended hours next week, to offset the shortfall in donations caused by the recent snow and cold temperatures; Last week the Monroe County Board of Zoning Appeals gave a homeowner permission to build an addition on his house despite concerns from a neighbor; The main branch of the Monroe County Public Library in Bloomington was closed virtually all day Wednesday due to a water leak;Monroe County residents can now sign up for notifications from the new Monroe County Alert system.

FEATURE
The Future of Hoosier Energy
A state law enacted in 1985 requires bi-annual electricity demand studies to be conducted and turned in to the state’s Utility Regulatory Commission. The State Utility Forecasting group has just released the latest study, and concluded that electricity demands are set to plateau and electricity rates are on the rise. WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh spoke with Douglas Gotham, director of the State Utility Forecasting Group, about the results and their implications for the future of Hoosier energy, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

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 Medlock
Today’s headlines were written by Lauren Glapa and Michael Glab,
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 today is Alycin Bektesh,
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – January 9, 2014

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The Indiana Legislature made steps today to progress a marriage amendment that would change the Indiana Constitution to state that only heterosexual couples have marriage rights in Indiana; A statewide rule requiring the drug testing of certain medical patients is at the center of a class action lawsuit filed yesterday; Motorists on State Road 37 will soon begin to see workers cutting down trees, on the twenty-one mile stretch of highway from Bloomington to Martinsville.

FEATURE
WFHB and The Ryder Magazine Present an Interview with Cartoonist Nate Powell
Cartoonist Nate Powell has become one of the most recognized names in the graphic novel industry. Born in Arkansas and eventually making his way to Bloomington, Powell makes stops in New York and other cities operating an indie record label, fronts for a combination punk band and puppet show, and
works with the developmentally disabled. His latest graphic novel, called March: Book One, is the story of civil rights pioneer and Georgia Congressman John Lewis. Powell spoke with correspondent Michael Glab for this feature report, the first of a series jointly produced by WFHB and The Ryder Magazine.

VOICES IN THE STREET
A new year is here, a time for reflection and resolution. How are people in Bloomington resolving to improve themselves and our world? In this special edition of Voices in the Street, WFHB went on-location to local taverns, neighborhood parties, and of course the streets of Bloomington to find all about hopes and dreams for 2014.

CREDITS
Anchors: Carolyn VandeWiele, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Alycin Bektesh and Joe Crawford.
Our feature was produced by Michael Glab.
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley,
Our engineer is Sarah Hettrick.
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – January 8, 2014

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A local peace activist has put out an urgent call for people to voice their opposition to a U.S. Senate bill that, he claims, would derail President Obama’s current efforts to peacefully stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons; Speaker of the Indiana House of Representatives Brian C. Bosma announced the House Republican Legislative Agenda this morning, at the Indiana House of Representatives Chamber; The Monroe County Commission approved a six-hundred-and-thirty thousand dollar contract on December 27th for healthcare at the county jail.

FEATURE
Correspondent Doug Storm speaks with Micol Seigel, Indiana University Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies and the Department of History, about the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli Universities and IU President Michael McRobbie’s condemnation of the boycott, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

BLOOMINGTON BEWARE!
Consumer watchdog Richard Fish exposes scams in south central Indiana.

CREDITS
Anchors: Cathi Norton, Kelly Wherley
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Drew Daudelin,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Bloomington Beware was produced by Richard Fish, with correspondent Andrew Huddleston.
Ilze Akerbergs produced our feature, with correspondent Doug Storm.
Our engineer is Jim Lang,
Editor is Drew Daudelin
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – January 7, 2014

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More than twenty-six-hundred local Duke Energy customers were without power yesterday, but as of air time only one area household was left without power; The reported cause of the extreme low temperatures is a polar vortex dipping low across the interior of the continent; Last year’s Senate Bill 373, which received attention for its anti-whistleblowing measures and which was eventually rejected, might be back in another form as Senate Bill 101.

FEATURE
Last week Bloomington City Council member Andy Ruff found himself suddenly involved with an issue that confronts the city every holiday season—burglary. Police say the incident, and the foot chase that ensued, resulted in two arrests that appear to have solved a string of east side break-ins. WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
If financial goals were part of your New Year’s resolutions, Ashley and Sarah are here to help keep those promises strong all year long, 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
Anchors: Shayne Laughter, William Morris
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Alycin Bektesh, and Drew Daudelin,
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
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,
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Closings for Tuesday, January 7

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The following organizations will be closed Tuesday, January 7 unless otherwise noted:

-Monroe County Community School Corporation
-Richland Bean Blossom School Corporation
-Brown County Schools
-Clear Creek Christian School
-Pinnacle School
-Harmony School
-Lighthouse Christian Academy
-Bloomfield School District
-Spencer-Owen Community School Corporation
-North Lawrence Community Schools

-City of Bloomington non-emergency services
-Bloomington parking regulations suspended until 8:00 am Wednesday
-Area 10 services closed; Area 10 nutrition program – no meal delivery, all meal sites closed
-Rural Transit of Monroe and Owen Counties – no routes
-Hoosier Hills Food Bank
-Girls Inc of Monroe County after-school programs
-Children’s Village
-Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

-City of Bloomington sanitation services suspended, will resume Wednesday if weather conditions permit – residents who normally have pickup on Mondays will have pickup on Wednesday, residents who have pickup on Tuesdays will have pickup on Thursday, residents who have pickup on Wednesdays will have pickup on Friday, residents who have pickup on Thursdays will have pickup on Saturday

Some Downtown Bloomington Businesses Open Despite Cold Weather

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Non-emergency county and city offices were closed today, as well as Indiana University, many IU Health Bloomington Hospital programs and all area schools. However, several local businesses had their “open” signs turned on despite the slick conditions and dangerously low temperatures.

Downtown outfitter JL Waters’ “open” sign shined through the frosty windows. Employees Emily Hodapp and Kimberly Webber and their canine pal Ranger were in the store and explained why they were open for business today.

“Out of all the stores, the adventure store should be open… No such thing as bad weather, just bad gear,” they said.

Hodapp, the assistant manager at JL Waters, says to choose fleece and down and synthetic insulation in winter gear, and for days like today, to take into account the temperature difference that occurs due to high winds

“We’ve got a lot of things that are wind-stopping, not just wind-blocking, but wind-stopping,” said Hodapp.

Webber also recommend base layers with synthetic or wool materials. Though inside the store things were lively as the employees took advantage of the slow customer flow to rearrange parts of the store, the downtown square was almost entirely vacant.

“Completely dead, pretty much. No one’s braving it. The roads aren’t that bad if you’ve got 4-wheel drive. I’m not saying ‘get out there and risk your life’ or anything, but go play! It’s so sunny! It’s not that bad.”

For those who were in need of a hot meal, the Scholars Inn Bakehouse and Darn Good Soup were both open and serving customers, though like JL Waters, the slow business meant they would close early today before normal quitting hours. Nels Brunner, the owner of Darn Good Soup, said:

“It’s been pretty slow, really. I thought it would be busier. It’s been busy enough to be worth being open, but nothing to write home about.”

Parking meters in downtown Bloomington will not be enforced until 8am on Wednesday.

Daily Local News – January 6, 2014

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Chief Deputy Mike Pershing gives the latest update of road closings and power outages from the Monroe county sheriff’s office; A winter warming shelter has been set up by the local American Red Cross in Bloomington High School North’s gymnasium; The Shalom Center located at 620 S Walnut Street in Bloomington  has extended open hours until 9pm today and will be serving dinner this evening; Bloomington Transit Bus Service is in service; Twenty Two Residents on Redhill Road in Elletsville will be without power until at least tomorrow at noon due to power outages that Duke Energy says are not worth repairing at this time; several local businesses had on their open signs despite the slick conditions and dangerously low temperatures; Monroe County Emergency Management director Jim Comerford explains what the unit has been doing today to combat the hazardous temperatures in the region.

ACTIVATE!
Jan Williamson talks about the exciting new west side YMCA of Monroe County. Open since November, the new branch is still looking for community feedback to help shape programming and could always use new volunteers.

CREDITS
Anchors: Doug Storm, Maria McKinley
Today’s headlines were written by Alycin Bektesh
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineer and executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – December 17, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, a weekend march in response to the passing of Ian Stark, and the underlying issues of social services and homelessness in Bloomington; The Bloomington Utilities Department is formally giving up on collecting almost twenty-three thousand dollars in overdue bills; Real Christmas trees are making a comeback this year, according to a specialist at Purdue University.

FEATURE
Natural Gas Consumers Forced to Fund New Private Coal Plant
Today, the Indiana Supreme Court issued a ruling that could force consumers of natural gas in Indiana to pay the long-term construction and operational costs of a private sector coal gasification plant in Southern Indiana. Back in 2010, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, or the IURC, signed a contract with Leucadia National Corporation to allow the company to pass on the full costs, plus a profit margin, of construction, production, and distribution of output from its proposed coal gasification plant in Spencer County. This unprecedented deal would force the Indiana Financial Authority, or the IFA, which is the state agency that purchases natural gas from producers for distribution across the state to consumers, to purchase Leucadia’s product even if cheaper alternatives are available. This would last from the start of the operation of the proposed Spencer plant through the following thirty years. The deal, dubbed the Leucadia Tax, was met with opposition by industrial and residential consumers, as well as many public interest organizations. A coalition of citizens groups, consumer advocates, environmental groups, faith leaders, and low-income and senior advocacy organizations banded together to challenge the contract in court. In October of 2012, the Indiana Court of Appeals threw out the contract between the IFA and the Indiana subsidiary of Leucadia. The opposition coalition also lobbied the state legislators to take action to kill the Leucadia Tax. In the Spring of 2013, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 494, which would allow the IURC to review the Leucadia contract, with a view to renegotiating a contract that would better protect Indiana consumers if the Appeals Court decision was eventually upheld by the Indiana Supreme Court. One member of the coalition formed to stop the Leucadia Tax was the Indiana branch of the Sierra Club. Correspondent David Murphy spoke to Jodi Perras, Indiana Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
Planning on making a New Year’s Resolution this year? If spending less or saving more are part of your 2014 goals, stay tuned!

Anchors: Shayne Laughter, Nick Tumino
Today’s headlines were written by Drew Daudelin,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was written and 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 Harrison Wagner,
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

District 78 Representative Crouch Appointed Indiana Auditor of State

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Governor Mike Pence announced today that he has appointed Indiana District 78 Representative Suzanne Crouch as Auditor of State for Indiana. Crouch fills the position vacated by Dwayne Sawyer, whom Pence appointed as Auditor in August of this year. Sawyer announced at the end of November that he would resign from the position due to family and personal concerns. Crouch served as Auditor of Vanderburgh County before being elected to the general assembly in 2005. In her time as a state representative, Crouch has served as Vice Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, and co-authored Indiana’s Major Moves Laws to fund the I-69 extension from Evansville to Indianapolis.

Witmer Approved as Monroe County School Resources Officer

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At the December meeting of the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Board of School Trustees, Jim Witmer was approved as the inaugural School Resources Officer for the district. John Carter, director of planning for MCCSC, told us more on what he will do as school resources officer.

“He’ll be providing resources to staff on mediation training and foster relationships with parents and students and teachers,” Carter says.”The benefits of this are if you have someone in your building that the kids are comfortable telling things to, that’s what you want. For example, threats of violence to other students, sometimes the students know those. We want the students to have every avenue possible to tell us. They could tell a teacher, a counselor, a principal, or even a bus driver. Now we have a school resources officer who is versed in law enforcement and can help.”

A portion of Witmer’s salary will come from a grant from the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, a program added to the Indiana code by the 2013 General Assembly. The code states that a school resource officer may make arrests, conduct search or seizure of property, and carry a firearm on school property. Carter talks about other requirements of the position.

“The state statute has said that the qualifications are important for a school resources officer,” Carter says, “The law enforcement training is the most important. You have to keep up your certifications and go to school resource officer training school. They need to know the difference from being law enforcement and law enforcement in a school setting.”

The matching homeland security grant is on a two-year cycle. Carter says he expects that the school corporation will try to renew it, but that there are no policies in place to measure the effectiveness of the position.

“We hope to keep the school resources officer,” Carter says, “We want to be able to say we feel safer with this extra resource of information to provide to students, parents and staff. That’s probably the biggest benefit.”

Jim Witmer is a 23 year veteran of the Bloomington Police Department and began a campaign for Monroe county sheriff this year.

His campaign website has the following announcement, in relation to his new position: “I am sad to say that in choosing to accept this position, I will need to withdraw from the Monroe County Sheriff’s race. Although I wasn’t able to complete that mission, I feel that nothing is more valuable than our children, and I promise that I will do everything in my power to provide a safe environment for our children to learn and grow.”

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