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Documents: I-69 Contractors Have Histories of Violations

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Crews with vacuum trucks and other equipment are still working this week to clean up eroded soil along the planned path of Interstate 69 in southern Monroe County. Storms earlier this summer caused sediment to flow away from I-69 construction sites and into local waterways after contractors failed to control the erosion. The sediment can make it difficult for aquatic life to survive in the local creeks and streams, and some nearby residents worry their water supplies could be contaminated. Now, documents shared with WFHB have revealed this summer’s erosion problems were only the most recent in a long line of violations committed by contractors building I-69. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Group Rallies against Traditionalist Youth Network Protest

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This afternoon the Indiana University chapter of the Traditionalist Youth Network – a group identifying as a white heritage organization – held a protest at Boxcar Books. Community members rallied in defense of the bookstore, which was targeted for their vocal stance against white supremacy.

A Visit from Senator Donnelly

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Indiana Democratic Senator Joe Donnelly was in Bloomington this morning to address the Chamber of Commerce and talk about job creation. Afterwards, he met with journalists including WFHB correspondent David Murphy  for a brief media opportunity. His comments here, in today’s WFHB feature report.

Art with Heart For Local Veterans

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Elder Heart is the creation of former special forces Green Beret Magnus Johnson, who found himself apathetic and disconnected when he came to Indiana after eight years of military service. It was through working with Nashville Artist Jim Connor that Johnson began to feel connected  to civilian life once again, and he is now offering a similar outlet to other veterans and community members through the creation of public art through Elder Heart. Johnson speaks with WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh about the purpose of his organization, and the difficult transition between soldier and civilian, that results in more than eight thousand veteran suicides a year, for today’s daily local news feature, courtesy of Interchange.

Groups Cite Ties between Supreme Court Justice and Future Coal Plant

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The Sierra Club and other groups claim one of Indiana’s Supreme Court justices is unfit to rule on a case involving the future of a proposed coal gasification plant in Spencer county. However, the groups claims of friendship and political alliance with the plant’s project manager Mark Lubbers has been denied by the justice in question, Justice Mark Massa. The full story in today’s WFHB feature report.

The Ins and Outs of Money – Pets: Part 1

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Emily Herr from the Bloomngton Animal Shelter join Ashley and Sarah to discuss the financial ins and outs of pet ownership.

Scientia Receives Crane Contract

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A software company based in Bloomington announced earlier this month it had reached a major new agreement with the Crane Naval Surface Warfare Center. The company, Scientia LLC was formed in 2010 by three former employees of the Center. For today’s WFHB feature exclusive, Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with one of the owners about what the company produces and its relationship with the military.

Monroe County’s Protective Order Process

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Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins cited her own firsthand knowledge of domestic violence as her reason for organizing a panel discussion last week regarding the process in place for victims to obtain a protective order from the county.  Panelists Toby Strout, the Executive Director of Middle Way House; Robert Miller the Chief Deputy of the Monroe County Prosecutor’s office, Kevin Getz of Indiana State Police, and Judge Fancies Hill joined Robbins to share what they are working on to address domestic violence locally. We hear their introductory statements here, for today’s Daily Local News feature report.

States report abuse among the elderly increasing

State agencies around the country say they are seeing an increase in reports of abuse of elderly people. That’s according to the National Center on Elder Abuse. And the reports don’t tell the whole story. The Center estimates that as few as 1 in 25 cases of elder abuse are reported to the authorities. This morning Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with the director of the state agency responsible for investigating elder abuse in Indiana for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

MRF Voted Down

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By Joe Crawford

Proponents of a major recycling operation vowed to keep fighting for the project after it was voted down a second time on a technicality. The Monroe County Solid Waste Management District’s Board of Directors called an emergency meeting August 15th to effectively redo a vote on a materials recovery facility, also known as a MRF. The previous vote at a meeting August 8th produced confusion and frustration when several Board members either didn’t show up for the meeting or needed to leave early. In the end, only three of the Board’s seven members voted for a budget that specifically excluded $60,000 to investigate the viability of a MRF.

But, as Board President Steve Volan explained, attorneys for the District later decided those three members successfully passed their version of the budget. One of those three members, Cheryl Munson, made a motion August 15th to effectively reverse her previous vote. The motion was to approve a version of the budget that includes money for a MRF, which would allow the District to process and sell its own recyclables. The two main opponents of the MRF were Board members Patrick Stoffers and Iris Kiesling, who are also both County commissioners. Kiesling said she opposed spending money on the project partly because the District is on track to run a deficit next year. Members of the public and the District’s Citizens Advisory Committee spoke in favor of the MRF. Committee member Stephen Hale said the facility could give the District an opportunity to make more money on its recyclables.

When the Board voted on the motion to include the MRF in next year’s budget, three of the five members present approved. Volan, Munson and Julie Thomas voted for the MRF. But another technicality worked to help the opposition. Because this was a vote to amend a budget that had already been approved, attorneys said this time a majority of the full Board – or four members – was needed. Without enough votes to support the MRF, Volan said he planned to force another vote on the subject as soon as all seven members could attend a meeting. Volan said the two absent members, Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan and Ellettsville Town Council member Dan Swafford, were absent for health reasons.

 

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