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Plans For Needle Exchange Program Have Been Set in Motion

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Monroe County officials are moving forward with plans to establish a needle exchange program here. Correspondent Hannah Boone has more for today’s WFHB community report.

Executive Director of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District to Retire

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The Executive Director of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District, Larry Barker,
announced that he will be leaving his job on Friday. His retirement will happen prior to the completion of the Materials Recycling Facility, or Murf, at the District, perhaps Barker’s biggest goal in the past few years. Assistant News Director, David Murphy, spoke to Barker about the Murf as well as about his other accomplishments during his tenure at the District. We bring you that conversation now for today’s WFHB community report.

Think Tank Makes Shaky Case For “Tobacco Harm Reduction”

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Last week the student newspaper at IU published a lengthy letter advocating for an end to government funded tobacco research. The letter was written by Jesse Hathaway, who works with the Chicago-based Heartland Institute think tank. Correspondent Dan Young spoke about the issues raised in the letter with both Hathaway and IU public health professor and tobacco researcher Jon Macy. We bring you that report now for today’s WFHB community report.

Human Rights Ordinance Housing Status Amendment

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Last night the Bloomington City Council showed support for a law that would discourage discrimination against people based on housing status. The measure would amend the city’s Human Rights Ordinance, which already bans discrimination based on race, sex, religion, color, ancestry, disability or national origin. The ordinance also discourages discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. Several speakers last night said there has been evidence of employers and landlords treating homeless people differently than other applicants for jobs or housing. A change to the ordinance would allow those individuals to file formal complaints with the city’s Human Rights Commission. We bring you a portion of last night’s discussion now for today’s WFHB community report. In the interest of transparency, the sponsor of the legislation is City Council member Dorothy Granger, who is also a staff member at WFHB.

Local Residents Voice Opinions on Planned Parenthood Funding

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Twenty-three local residents voiced their opinions before the Monroe County Council last night, as the Council considered whether to approve a $3,000 grant to Planned Parenthood. The local clinic requested the money to help pay for contraceptives, STD testing and medical examinations. Planned Parenthood has been under fire in recent weeks after an anti-abortion group released a series of heavily edited videos intended to defame the organization.

The videos focus on a program in which patients donate fetal tissue to be used in medical research. Although several speakers referred to the videos last night, Bloomington’s clinic does not offer the tissue donation program, nor do any other Planned Parenthood clinics in Indiana.

A Conversation with the Gay-Straight Alliance at Bloomington High School North

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Earlier this summer, Bloomington High School North made national headlines when students there decided to form what they called a Straight Pride Group. The group was reportedly going to offer “specific supports for heterosexual students”. Many saw the group as being anti- LGBTQ. After a public outcry, the group’s faculty sponsor backed out and the group never officially formed. Last week, WFHB’s BloomingOUT hosted a discussion that issue and others with the gay-straight alliance at Bloomington High School North. Hannah Jesseph is a member of the alliance and
Greg Chaffin is the faculty sponsor. We bring you a portion of that conversation now for today’s WFHB
community report. Chaffin begins by discussing the origins of the gay-straight alliance at North.

Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford along with the crew of BloomingOUT.

County Prepares Zoning for Potential Solar Farms

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On August 18th, the Monroe County Plan Commission recommended changing the county’s zoning regulations to include solar farms in the list of possible operations, or what the Planning Department calls ‘Conditional Uses”, in four of the county’s zoning types. Today, we will hear a report from Assistant News Director, David Murphy, on this proposed change for today’s WFHB community report.

MCCSC Seeks Renewal of Property Tax

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The Monroe County Community School Corporation has been considering asking local voters to renew a special property tax introduced in 2011. The levy was approved by 63 percent of voters in 2010. That vote put the tax in place for six years. It’s set to expire at the end of 2016.  Property owners are charged an extra fourteen-cents on every one-hundred dollars of assessed property value, and that money goes to the school corporation. The stated reason for the supplement was to make up for cuts in state funding of K to 12 public education. MCCSC staff, including the superintendent, have recommended seeking renewal. Assistant News Director David Murphy spoke to the President of the Board of Trustees of the MCCSC, Keith Klein, and to Cathy Fuentes-Rohrer, a parent of four school age children and the Chairperson of the Monroe County-South-Central Indiana chapter of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education.

Interview: ACLU Lawsuit Challenges Law Barring Sex Offenders From Voting in Schools

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Earlier this year the Indiana legislature passed a law barring what are referred to as serious sex offenders from voting on election day if their precinct is located in a school. The law passed unanimously in both the House and Senate. It makes it a Level 6 felony for an offender to enter a school property. Earlier today the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a lawsuit alleging the new law is unconstitutional. News Director Joe Crawford spoke with the attorney working on the case and we bring you that conversation now for today’s WFHB community report.

Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.

Safe and Civil City Director Rafi Hassan Explains Program’s Resources

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As a new group of college students enter Bloomington this week, the city government is publicizing its resources aimed at making the community welcome to diverse populations. Last week, the hosts of WFHB’s Bring it On spoke with city’s Safe and Civil City Director, Rafi Hassan, about how that department responds to instances of bigotry and what resources it offers to residents. We bring you now a portion of Hassan’s conversation with hosts Cornelius Wright and Leila Randle, for today’s WFHB community report.

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