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Bloomington Telecomm Council Working to Fund Visit from Net Neutrality Scholar Susan Crawford

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The Bloomington Telecommunications Council continued its discussions Dec. 3 about bringing telecommunications scholar Susan Crawford to Bloomington.

The council has encountered issues getting funding for the visit, and last month it requested $5,500 dollars from the city Board of Public Works.

New Council member Jo Throckmorton asked another member, Duane Busick, why the Council would push for the visit from Crawford, who is known mostly for her advocacy of internet access and net neutrality.

“It has nothing to do with what this council deals with,” he said.

Busick said the Council deals with some issues that include internet communication, even though the Council’s statutory responsibility is primarily related to cable television. He said the Council has tried unsuccessfully to redefine its role in city government in recent years and that cable TV is now outdated.

Throckmorton and Busick were the only members who attended the meeting. The council was not able to conduct any official business because there was not a quorum.

 

As Recycling Prices Go Up, City Votes To Fund Materials Recovery Facility

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The Board president of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District announced plans Nov. 21 to renew discussion about a controversial recycling facility.

At a meeting of the District’s Citizens Advisory Committee, Board President Steve Volan said he would reintroduce a measure that was voted down earlier this year. The measure would allocate $60,000 to study the feasibility of building a materials recovery facility, also known as a MRF, which would process recyclables.

“The study for a clean MRF has been done,” Volan said, “We’re talking about being able to do a dirty MRF which takes the waste stream itself and recycle items out of it. As a public asset it would reduce such a dramatic amount of waste that much less would need to be trucked to another landfill.”

The District’s Executive Director, Larry Barker, said much of the waste the district currently pays to have hauled to a landfill could be used for other purposes.

The district collects trash in the county, and it pays the company Republic Services to haul it to a landfill in Terre Haute.

“The ultimate goal is to get as possible to zero waste,” Barker said, “And that means nothing going to a landfill. Food and yard waste are currently going to the landfills and those can be pulled out to be put into a machine to actually create energy.”

Many of the arguments for building a MRF concern the increasing costs of waste management in the city and the county. Volan said Republic Services is increasing the prices it charges to the city next year.

“Part of the reason I’m supportive of this investment is that the city’s cost of disposal of trash and recyclables will be going up to 46 dollars a ton and the recycling that they’ve been taking for free for the past three years will go up to 46 dollars a ton too,” Volan said, “This results in a six-figure cost to the city that we didn’t anticipate.”

The feasibility study was initially part of the District’s budget for 2014, but the funding was removed in August because of dissent from two District Board members. Those members, Iris Kiesling and Patrick Stoffers, are also County commissioners, and they represent the County on the District Board.

Although those two were the only votes against the MRF on the seven-member board, they were still able to strip the funding, partly because of poor attendance by other members. The board is expected to vote again on the funding at its meeting Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Monroe County Courthouse.

The Strike Mic – December 10, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, Indiana University Assembly member Luke O’Donovan speaks about his fundraising efforts to help pay for an ongoing criminal trial, involving an alleged homophobic hate crime.

Local photographers donate portrait sessions

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Blueline Media Productions again partnered with the South Central Community Action Program, to provide a free day of holiday portraits for low-income families in Bloomington on Sunday.

Indiana State Police Investigating Shooting That Resulted In Death of Nashville Man

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The Indiana State Police are investigating a Thanksgiving night police shooting that resulted in the death of a Nashville man.

That night, Brown County Sheriff’s deputies and a Nashville Town Marshall’s officer arrived at a home on Annendale Drive in Nashville, after receiving a tip that Troy Harden was there. Harden was wanted on two Bloomington warrants for probation violations.

According to the State Police, the officers located Harden after being let in to the residence. Harden initially resisted arrest and told officers to kill him. One officer deployed his taser after noticing Harden was holding a gun.

Harden managed to escape through a window and the officers proceeded to chase him through a wooded area. Harden eventually emerged on Annendale Drive, where officers managed to successfully tase him. Harden collapsed but pointed his gun at the officers, who responded by shooting him. Two bullets hit Harden and he was declared dead at Columbus Regional Hospital.

State Police investigators found Harden’s gun at the scene of the shooting, as well as meth lab equipment in his truck parked at the Annendale Drive residence. Witnesses told investigators Harden was afraid of going to prison.

After State Police complete their investigation, Brown County Prosecutor Jim Oliver will review the results and determine whether charges should be filed.

 

IU Microscope Chromosome Images In Running for GE Contest

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Two exceptional research images, taken at Indiana University’s Light Microscopy Imaging Center, are finalists in the International GE Cell Imaging Competition. Last year the center won the contest with an image of a dividing cell.

Imaging Center manager and research scientist Jim Powers gives background on the competition, and explains why IU has a good chance to take home the prize again.

“Every year GE runs a world-wide contest on their microscopes, which we have,” Powers says, “There aren’t too many in the world and every year people submit their images. Last year one of our images one and two got accepted this year.”

The IU Imaging Center captures their microscopic subjects with a $1.2 million super-resolution microscope. The microscope, in use since 2009, was funded entirely by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act. Scientists everywhere can use this tool to look at things impossible to see with a regular microscope, and Powers says that can be significant help to biologists.

“This imaging center is for all of IU and beyond,” Powers says, “A lot of us are very visual and to be able to see something otherwise impossible to see is really huge for biologists and

The microscope itself is understandably complicated. A computer takes thousands of pictures a minute from the microscope, and then math algorithms patch them together to create a single picture.

One image submitted this year is of newt chromosomes making RNA from D-N-A. These are the building blocks of an organism, and those in the image were stained red and, coincidentally, heart-shaped. Powers says this image is especially incredible.

“We hear about all these genes and what they do for us,” Powers says, “To be able to actually see this happen is so cool and something we haven’t been able to do very well with other microscopes.”

More than 15,000 votes were cast last year. To vote for the pictures and to see the other submissions this year, you can go to GE’s website.

The winner of the contest gets a free trip to New York City to see their image on a screen in Times Square.

Bloomington City Council Passes Resolution Supporting Same-Sex Marriage in Response to HJR6

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The Bloomington City Council passed a resolution in support of same-sex marriage yesterday. The four-page resolution was a response to House Joint Resolution 6, which seeks to add a same-sex marriage ban to the Indiana Constitution. One of the resolution’s sponsors, Council Member Susan Sandberg, defended the council’s choice to take a position on the issue.

“This is the right thing to do at the right time in our history,” Sandberg said, “I stand up proudly for it and I will take any criticism from the media. We have plenty of time to take care of the ‘traditional’ city business but when it comes to resolutions, this council has always taken stands that people say are not in our jurisdiction, we take these opportunities to allow these to serve as public forums.”

11 members of the public spoke in favor of the resolution.

Faith Hawkins, a citizen, said she married her partner in 1996, but the marriage is not legally recognized. Hawkins declared that her reason for support is that she doesn’t want to be at the hospital not being able to find out her partner’s medical status because her next of kin relationship with her is not recognized.

Another member of the public, Glorianne Leck, said she and her partner traveled to New York to get married earlier this year. She said there were financial reasons for the marriage. She wants for her partner to be able to collect her social security but that the cost of the trip should have gone to regular wedding costs.

“I have long said that being queer is what I’m most proud of because I’m not conforming for anybody,” Leck said, “But now I’ve been hogtied into marriage because of the financial need we have as elders.”

Charlotte Zietlow also addressed the council. Zietlow is a member of the city’s Board of Public Works, and she served on the City Council in 1975, when the council voted to include sexual orientation in the city’s Human Rights Ordinance. She said the provision came up for discussion again during the 1990’s.

“I’m touched because those meetings were very conentious and hate-filled,” Zietlow said, “Tonight we have a group speaking from the heart without fear of being yelled at by other members of the community. That is such an incredible sign of progress we should be proud of.”

No one spoke against the resolution, and the council approved it unanimously.

Winter is Coming in the Form of Snow

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Get ready for winter – it’s coming two weeks early this year.

The National Weather Service has issued a winter storm warning for Bloomington and the rest of the WFHB listening area, starting  at ten o’clock tonight and running through midnight tomorrow night.

A strong low pressure front is pushing through the area, bringing with it the potential for heavy snow.

Forecasters are predicting six to ten inches, with higher totals in isolated areas.

Drivers south of Bloomington may have to cope with ice-covered pavement when they drive in to work tomorrow morning.

The National Weather Service adds that strong winds may accompany the snow, making driving hazardous and maybe impossible.

Right now schools are expected to open on time tomorrow morning. If the traffic light on the Monroe County Community Schools Corporation website turns yellow, it means that school openings will be delayed. A red light means classes have been cancelled.

Keep listening to WFHB throughout the night and into the weekend for updates on the weather situation.

 

Girls Inc. of Monroe County Hosts Holiday Hoopla on the Square this Saturday

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Girls Incorporated of Monroe County is hosting their annual Holiday Hoopla this Saturday, from 9 am to 11:30 am. Holiday Hoopla, held since 2001, gives Girls Inc. an opportunity to provide a fun, family event to the local community.

Director Kristi McCann says there will be a breakfast donated by Buffalouies and for $5, everyone gets to participate in activities on the square. The activities include gingerbread house decorating, crafts and a boutique for children to buy Christmas presents for their parents.

McCann says Holiday Hoopla is also a way for the organization to provide information about Girls Inc., raise money for the program, and give local families an opportunity to come together during the holidays and participate in activities they can all enjoy.

Girls Incorporated is a nonprofit organization that, according to its website, inspires all girls to be strong, smart, and bold through a network of local organizations in the United States and Canada.

Girls Inc. in Bloomington has been serving girls in Monroe County since 1975. They provide after-school and summer enrichment, educational programs, and sports leagues to young girls and women.

Holiday Hoopla takes place this Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Fountain Square Mall.

 

 

Bloomington Animal Shelter Needs Pet Toys, Treats and Food Donations For Annual Pet Drive

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The City of Bloomington Animal Shelter announced the beginning of its annual pet supply drive, which will run through the holiday season.

The shelter is seeking donations of canned dog and cat food, toys, bedding, and other supplies to make the animal’s stay at the shelter more comfortable while they wait to be adopted.

Laurie Ringquist is the director of animal care and control for the city of Bloomington. She says some donations are more useful to the shelter than others, like canned dog and cat food, which is used to help kittens and puppies grow and sick animals taking medicine.

“Any types of toys and treats we don’t really have a budget for, so those would be great,” Ringquist says, “Even simple things around the house that people might be replacing like sheets and pillowcases, those are always really helpful. It helps keep the animals comfortable.”

Donations will also supplement the animal shelter’s pet food pantry program.

To participate in the program, pet owners are required to spay and neuter their pets.

Ringquist explained how the pantry helps to keep animals out of the shelter.

“There are people in our community that are wonderful pet owners but maybe fallen on hard times and can’t afford to buy pet food,” Ringquist said, “We have a pet food bank program supported completely by donations. It helps us out because those who sign up agree to have their pets vaccinated and neutered and we don’t need to take in their pets from them.”

Donation boxes decorated by students from local schools are set up in fourteen area locations.

Donations can also be brought directly to the shelter, located on South Walnut Street.

The City of Bloomington Animal Shelter has held the annual holiday pet supply drive for over ten years.

For more information on how to contribute, visit http://bloomington.in.gov/animalshelter

 

 

Photo: Casey Kuhn

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