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Planned Neighborhood Development

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The city council will meet tonight to discuss a proposal to re-zone a football-shaped area of land along the B-line trail on the north side of the downtown area between 9th and 11th streets. The proposal, brought the council by local non-profit Habitat for Humanity, is to re-zone the area from residential to “planned neighborhood development”, so that Habitat for Humanity can build a subdivision with 35 single family homes. Currently, the land, which is owned by habitat for humanity, is zoned so that 50% of the trees on the property can be removed, but if the proposal is approved, Habitat for Humanity would be allowed to remove up to 64% of the trees on the land. The proposal states that the 36% of the property that would be required to remain wooded would be near the B-line trail and the railroad that borders the other side of the property. The area was clear as recently as the 1960s and the oldest trees on the property are the ones near the edges, which the proposal plans to retain. At the last city council meeting, residents of the area spoke out against Habitat’s proposal for a variety of rationales, ranging from the ecology of the area, to the view from the b-line trail. WFHB Correspondent Lauren Glapa spoke with Patrick Shay, development review manager for the city of Bloomington, and Martha Crouch, a resident of the neighborhood for 35 years, for today’s WFHB feature.

St. Monkey: A New Book by IU Prof. Jacinda Townsend

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Jacinda Townsend grew up in South-Central Kentucky and has published short fiction in literary magazines such as African Voices, Carve Magazine, The Maryland Review, and Xavier Review. Her work has been anthologized in publications like Surreal South and Telling Stories: Fiction by Kentucky
Feminists. She is currently a professor at Indiana University and resides in Bloomington with her two kids. On a recent episode of the WFHB show Bring it On Townsend talked about her new book, St. Monkey, which is set in Eastern Kentucky during the 1950’s. Now we bring you a portion of that appearance, for today’s WFHB feature report.

IU: No Written Contracts on University Courts Deal

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As Bloomington officials debate this week whether to designate the University Courts neighborhood as a historic district, plans are moving forward to demolish six of its houses. Indiana University plans to tear down the homes along East 8th Street, and then trade the land to a fraternity that would build a house there. The plan has angered neighbors and others who want to protect the houses. And in November, WFHB submitted a public record request to IU seeking contracts and other documents that would provide details about the deal. After months of negotiations, IU responded last week, but the response raises even more questions about how the deal would work. We bring you that story now, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Narrowing the Skills Gap: An Interview with Joe Donnelly

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Some are saying there is a skills gap in Indiana – that there are manufacturing jobs available but not enough skilled workers to fill them. Correspondent Lauren Glapa spoke with Indiana Senator Joe Donnelly about his support for the Midwestern Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute, which he hopes will train Indiana workers with the skills needed to get those jobs, and his involvement with the Skills2Compete Coalition, a bipartisan group that aims to close the skills gap in Indiana. She then spoke with Indiana University Labor Studies Professor Joe Varga about the economics behind the skills gap, all for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

IU’s Douglas Edmonds Receives Fellowship Award for Environmental Research

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Indiana University geologist and assistant professor Douglas Edmonds has been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, and with it comes fifty thousand dollars to help him continue his research on river deltas. Correspondent Casey Kuhn spoke with Edmonds about his work and its impact for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Education and Indiana’s Juvenile Detention System

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The Commission on Improving the Status of Children, which was established last summer, held its most recent meeting February 19th. For today’s Daily Local News feature report, we hear the presentation to the commission from Michael Williams, of the Indiana Department of Education, about the education needs of children in the juvenile detention system.

Summer Shelter for Homeless Citizens in the Works

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Five weeks from tomorrow, Bloomington’s only low-barrier homeless shelter is scheduled to close for the season. The closure leaves a seven-month gap when individuals who don’t qualify for other shelters in town have no designated place to stay at night. But a group has been meeting in recent weeks to form a summer shelter that would fill that gap. WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford brings us the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

The Engine That Pulls Boxcar Books

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Local bookshop Boxcar Books, like WFHB, is volunteer-powered and community-based. Because of this they hold benefits and fundraisers throughout the year to keep their shelves stocked. Sometimes they partner up with other projects, like the Midwest Pages to Prisoners Project. Last Tuesday correspondent Casey Kuhn went to Boxcar Books’ latest fundraiser at The Backdoor, to find out what keeps the local shop going for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Anti HJR-3 Senators Take to the Floor

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Before the final vote on House Joint Resolution 3 by the 118th general assembly, State senators took to the chamber floor to express their views on the proposed constitutional amendment declaring marriage to be between one man and one woman. Today, we hear from Senators who believe the resolution is discriminatory, as well as those who say that though their heart breaks for the people it excludes, supporting the amendment is the correct decision under God. Here are the closing arguments on HJR-3 for today’s WFHB feature report.

10,000+ Hoosiers Petition Governor Pence for Medicaid Expansion

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More than ten thousand signatures in support of Medicaid expansion in Indiana were delivered to the office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence today, timed to reach him before he heads to DC to negotiate Indiana’s treatment of Affordable Care Act funds from the federal government. WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh spoke with Rob Stone, the director of the local group Hoosiers for a Common Sense Health Plan who was at the statehouse as part of today’s demonstration, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

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