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Daily Local News – September 6, 2013


The USDA released their latest report: Household Food Security in the United States in 2012; On September 4th the Monroe County Board of Zoning Appeals gave permission to build a house on a lot that is smaller than allowed by County ordinances; The documentary “Black Gold” will be showing at the IU cinema this weekend, hosted by Fair Trade Bloomington.

HIP Changes
Indiana Governor Mike Pence has turned down incoming Affordable Care Act funds in exchange for extending the current Healthy Indiana Plan through December 2014. WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh has the story, for today’s Daily Local News feature exclusive.

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

Anchors: Helen Harrell, Roscoe Medlock
Today’s headlines were written by Lauren Glapa,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television Services
Volunteer Connection was produced by Ilze Ackerbergs,  in partnership with the city of Bloomington Volunteer Network.
Harrison Wagner is our broadcast engineer
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

Blood Drive To Be Held At Farmer’s Market This Saturday


For the first time, the City of Bloomington partners with the American Red Cross for the blood drive at Famers’ Market this Saturday.

Nancy Woolery, Health Project Manager for the City of Bloomington said blood type positive O is still in highest demand but she encouraged citizens to donate any type of  blood.

“In the summer blood donations drop because a lot of people are on vacation so there’s been a shortage. Now that fall is coming up, it’s a good time to start motivating people to donate. We get such a large crowd at the Farmer’s Market and so thought we could get a good response.

Woolery reminded donors to eat before donating, and that there are certain requirements they should read through. Donators will also be screened by a nurse to see if they are eligible to donate.

“There’s a book you have to read beforehand which says which country, if you’ve visited, that  would make you ineligible to donate. You have to be at least 17 years old and weigh at least 110 pounds,” Woolery says.

The blood drive will take place in Council Chambers of City Hall from 9:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. this Saturday.

No appointment is needed to donate during the September 7 blood drive.


Probation Department Works On Reducing Repeat Offendors


When a criminal offender leaves the Monroe County correctional system and completes her or his probation, the hope is that person won’t be brought before a judge again.

The county Probation Department is especially concerned with the offender’s future behavior: the lower the overall recidivism rate, the better the department is doing its job.

The only problem is the Probation Department right now has few ways of knowing how well it’s doing.

This afternoon, Chief Probation Officer Linda Brady told staff workers, county officials, and circuit court judges how the Probation Department is moving to become what is termed an “Evidence-based Organization.”

It’s a start in the long process of updating information systems so the department can tailor its programs to become more effective in preventing repeat offenses.

“Right now the probation department has three different databases, which we inherited. The main one we use is just ancient. We just got permission from the county council to have one database for the entire department. The system is called QUEST and we can actually measure recidivism. Right now we actually do most of our stats by hand and it’s way too labor-intensive to be able to study recidivism,” Brady says.

Brady says studying various programs to gauge their effectiveness costs more money than the department normally can afford.

The Probation Department did recently receive a federal grant for its drug court program that required it to study the program’s success.

According to Brady, that study revealed that graduates of Monroe County’s drug court program had a recidivism rate 67 percent lower than those who hadn’t participated in it.

The integrated database system should become operational in about two years, Brady says.

The only authoritative assessment of the department’s effectiveness is mandated by the Indiana Department of Corrections.

INDOC partially funds Monroe County’s combined correctional system and Probation Department and requires it to be audited to show how well it adheres to a set of national benchmarks.

Monroe County was audited in March of this year and earned an “A” grade, scoring 93 of 100. Passing this test marks a corrections department as an Evidence-based Organization. To Brady, this is just a start.

“We really feel like we’re getting started in becoming an evidence-based organization. What we’re doing now is really a journey of trying to become a better department and really have an effect on our citizens. It’s a chance to measure what we’re doing and it’s a really exciting time for us,” Brady says.

Some 5680 people were booked at the Monroe County Correctional Center in 2012 with a total of 248 inmates serving sentences there, according to the Sheriff’s annual report.


Romanian IU Students Protest Mining Project in Rosia Montana


The Romanian Student Organization at Indiana University is protesting Friday against an invasive mining project that was supported by the Romanian government in 2007.

The Romanian government has signed their approval for the project to commence. The area that has been affected by this project is Rosia  Montana, Romania.

Alexandra Cotofana, a first-year graduate student in the Anthropology Department and a citizen of Romania, is one of the leaders of the protest. Cotofana told us some history of the project and how it is creating problems for the people in Rosia Montana.

“It got the attention of the media in 2007 because that’s when the people started to rebel. The government kept putting pressure on people to leave their houses. They tried to pay them, but some people didn’t want to leave,”Cotofana said.

This year the Romanian government passed a law that will allow the company to force people out of their homes and this is one of the main reasons why the Romanian Student Organization is protesting against this project.

“This year, the company has raised the percentage of what they are going to pay the state for the whole project, from 4% to 6%. Now, a law has passed that will allow the company to expel residents. This is the part we are most worried about,” Cotofana said.

The Romanian Student Organization is hoping that this protest will give more attention to this issue and bring in more supporters to keep something like this from happening again.

“The media in the country doesn’t say anything about this. They support the project by keeping quiet, but the rest of the world knows. Romanian citizens care about what happens and we know that the next project when the government allows a private company to expel people might set a precedent for these sort of non-democratic acts. This could happen in my hometown next. We want them to know we are aware and we are fighting it even though we are away from home. Home is still home,” Cotofana said, explaining why this protest matters even though it is far from Romania.

The protest will take place Friday at 6 pm at the Sample Gates.

ImagineBloomington Holds Workshop To Hear Back From The Community


The City of Bloomington Planning Department is holding a workshop on September 12th.

This workshop will help with gathering public input on community goals for ImagineBloomington to help update the Growth Policies Plan.

Senior Long Range Planner, Nate Nickel gave us some background on the Growth Policies Plan.

“Growth Policies Plan is the city’s comprehensive plan and was adopted in 2002. Since it’s been over 10 years, we are undertaking the process to update our GPP. This is an opportunity for the public to tell us what they want to see in the future and help guide us in the future,” Nickel said.

The three topics that will be discussed at the workshop include Economic and Sustainable Development, Government Services and Transportation. During the workshop participants will be able to offer their input and vote on one of their goals for ImagineBloomington.

“What we’ll do after is work closely with our ImagineBloomington committee and start editing our draft goals and moving ahead with the planning process. We think this will go up until 2015 and there will definitely be more opportunities to provide input,” Nickel said.
The workshop will take place on September 12th from 6 to 7 p.m. It will be held at the Monroe County Public Library in room 1C.

Senator Coats Travels To Gather Hoosier Opinions On Syria


Indiana Senator Dan Coats wants to know what Hoosiers think about any U.S. military intervention in Syria in the near future.

This week he is traveling across the state, talking to citizens about their reactions to the Syrian crisis and soliciting opinions about possible American involvement in that civil war.

Senator Coats has been outspokenly critical that President Barack Obama unequivocally “drew a red line in the sand” with Syria’s possible use of Sarin gas on Syrian citizens, but he does appreciate the president seeking support and approval from‘ congress before deciding on any impending military action.

So far he is finding that Hoosier reactions to U.S. military involvement in Syria for humanitarian or other reasons are mixed. According to Senator Coats’ spokesperson Tara DiJulio:

“We’ve been getting a lot of concern about it. There is a disconnect on what is the objective there. Can we afford it, does it impact our national security and what are the ramifications if we do or do not intervene in Syria?” Dijulio says.
This week’s tour of Indiana by Senator Coats is not meant to be the end of his continual monitoring of Hoosier opinion on either Syria or the ongoing Middle East crisis.

Bloomington May Soon See Drought Conditions


An area of near-drought conditions is creeping closer to Bloomington, according to the federal drought monitor, a joint effort of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the University of Nebraska.

A band of parched counties stretches across the center of the state with the “abnormally dry” zone just touching the northern reaches of Monroe County and extending a third of the way into Brown County.

After several years of “exceptional” or “extreme” drought conditions affecting much of Indiana, the spring and summer of 2013 brought a return to more normal groundwater conditions here.

But the last half of the summer has proven to be uncomfortably similar to the arid summers of 2011 and 2012.

The city of Indianapolis has reported a mere one point one-five (1.15)  inches of rain in August, only a third of what’s expected.

The NOAA five-day forecast indicates only a slight chance of precipitation in Bloomington Saturday night and Sunday morning.


Daily Local News – September 5, 2013


This afternoon, Chief Probation Officer Linda Brady announced that the Probation Department is moving to become an “Evidence-based Organization”; The City of Bloomington Planning Department is holding a workshop to gether public input on community goals for ImagineBloomington;An area of near-drought conditions is creeping closer to Bloomington, according to the federal drought monitor; The City of  Bloomington is partnering with the  American Red Cross; Indiana Senator Dan Coats wants to know what Hoosiers think about any U.S. military intervention in Syria in the near future; The Romanian Student Organization at Indiana University is protesting tomorrow against a mining project that was supported by the Romanian government in 2007.

New parking meters mean new costs for downtown street festivals – WFHB news director Alycin Bektesh has the report in today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Our weekly public opinion feature Voices in the Street hit the 4th Street Arts Festival.

Anchors: Jalisa Ransom, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Mike Glab, Jalisa Ransom, Yvonne Cheng and Anson Shupe
Our feature was produced by Alycin Bektesh
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley
Our engineer is Sarah Hettrick
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – September 4, 2013


Indiana Democrats have responded to a Ball State University study that indicates Hoosiers bring home significantly less per capita personal income compared to residents of other states; The Monroe County Community School Corporation announced last week that its Afterschool Ed-Ventures program will be the recipient of a twenty five thousand dollar grant award from Duke Energy; At a meeting September 3rd, the Bloomington Telecommunications Council heard about continuing  problems getting public, educational and governmental access channels to be carried on AT&T U-verse; A small town in Indiana is making big news about gender equality; Last week the Monroe County Council announced the proposed food and beverage tax will not be added to the agenda of the council’s September 10 meeting.

Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls Reach Playoffs
After 8 challenging seasons, Bloomington’s Bleeding Heartland Rollergirls have reached the playoffs of the Roller Derby World Championships. WFHB Correspondent Jennifer Whitaker has the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Anchors: Cathi Norton, Kelly Wherley
Today’s headlines were written by Casey Kuhn, and Nash Hott
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television Services
Jennifer Whitaker produced our feature
Bloomington Beware is produced by Richard Fish, and correspondent Reina Wong
Our engineer is Jim Lang
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – September 3, 2013


Indiana Governor Mike Pence maintained his resistance to adopting the Affordable Care Act by announcing today that Indiana will remain using the current economic model titled the Healthy Indiana Plan to provide Medicaid health insurance to Hoosiers; A private coalition of environmental groups has forced Duke Energy Indiana to agree to close its old coal fired power plants in Terre Haute; With the inaugural issue of Network Science, a new journal published by Cambridge University Press, coordinating editor Stanley Wasserman brings together scholars from fields across the academic spectrum whose interests converge upon the quickly evolving field of network science;The fall migration will likely bring huge flocks of waterfowl and shore birds to Goose Pond,  the 8,000 acre preserve managed by the Indiana Department of Natural Resources.

Protesters Urge No Bombing of Syria
Leaders of the Democratic and Republican parties in Congress said today they support the Obama administration’s call for a military strike on Syria. The administration, especially Secretary of State John Kerry, has said the U.S. should attack in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Syrian government on August 21st. But as some in Washington continue to make the case for intervention, protesters in Bloomington are calling for diplomacy instead. A crowd gathered outside the Monroe County Courthouse last night to protest military action in Syria. Correspondent Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Unfortunately two of the biggest barriers to an exercise routine are time and money. While we can’t put more hours in your day, Ashley and Sarah can help you keep fitness affordable.

Anchors: Shayne Laughter, Bill Daugherty
Today’s headlines were written by Alycin Bektesh, David Murphy, Yvonne Cheng, and Anson Shupe
Today’s 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 Harrison Wagner
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

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