Three months into the 2014-2015 school year, the Monroe County Community School Corporation reports six students have missed at least 10 days of school without an excuse. The school system automatically refers such truant students to juvenile probation. So far these early figures are being compared to the entire previous 2013-2014 school year when a total of 63 truant students was reported and 21 of these students had their drivers’ licenses suspended as punishment for the unexcused absences. According to an October 14 article in the Herald-Times, there is often a confluence of contributing factors involved in such student truancy, including family poverty, mental and physical illness, and domestic issues. School truancy is such an important issue, say experts, because past truancy can be an indicator of future behavior, such as not finishing high school, and then possible adult problems such as substance abuse, poverty and even criminal behavior that results in incarceration. In fact, according to Monroe County Prosecutor Chris Gaal, when examining criminal records in retrospect, one common factor in the lives of many persons already in prison is a history of school truancy.
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Area 10 Agency on Aging will host a panel, “Elder Justice, A Community Conversation,” on Tuesday, October 21, 2014 in Lamkin Hall at IVY Tech in Bloomington. From 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. panelists from law enforcement, social services, and governmental agencies will discuss how to prevent or protect elder citizens from abuse, what community resources are available and what gaps in services exist.
Each year one in ten older Americans are victims of elder abuse, neglect, exploitation or scamming and experts believe for every report of abuse 23.5 cases go unreported. The program is free to the public, but registration is appreciated.
The Heartland Film Festival begins tomorrow and two of the featured films were made by IU students and alumni, according to a press release by IU.
The film “We’ll be alright” is an 11-minute documentary by seniors Barton Girdwood and Carissa Barrett . The students produced the film last Spring as part of a class at IU in the Department of Communication and Culture. It is the story of Frankie Presslaff, his unique family, and his extraordinary mother, Mimsie. Frankie and his longtime partner Kelly Compton are dads to eight adopted children. And Frankie’s mother Mimsie assisted her son and touched the lives of many other Bloomington residents.
The film “Three Months” was produced by alumni filmmakers Matt Spear and Selena Hubbard from the IU School of Informatics and Computing at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis. The 20- minute film tells the story of a man who puts off his dream. Now, after a cancer diagnosis, it may be too late. This film follows the themes of pursuing dreams and not pushing them off for another day.
The Heartland Film Festival runs October 16th to 25th at venues throughout Indianapolis. The films “Three Months” and “We’ll Be All Right” will screen as part of the “Indiana Spotlight” program on October 20th and 24th.
The City of Bloomington Commission on the Status of Women is holding a reception tonight to celebrate 40 years since its inception. The idea for the commission was introduced in 1973 by Charlotte Zietlow, who was President of City Council at the time. Today the Commission has taken on many roles including the identification of needs and gaps in resources for women, monitoring state and local policies and offering scholarships to women in programs designed to enhance leadership skills.
The reception will be held in the atrium of City Hall starting at 6:30 p.m. tonight. A presentation summarizing the accomplishments of the Commission will begin at 7:30 p.m. in Council Chambers.
A Bollywood film crew is set to begin production on a new movie based in Bloomington. The producers of the film, tentatively titled “7 Hindustani,” got permission October 7 to reserve some parking spaces downtown. Alana Rossein, the line producer of the film, explained to the Bloomington Board of Public Works the crew needs the spaces for equipment and location.
Rossein went on to say scenes will be filmed at Kilroy’s on Kirkwood and on South Washington Street among other locations.
“We want to show Bloomington to people who have never seen this place before,” Rossein says.
The chief producer, Anil Kapoor, also took questions from the Board.
Kapoor is one of the most well-known Bollywood actors, having appeared in dozens of films over the past 35 years. Kapoor has also appeared in movies such as Slumdog Millionaire and the TV series, “24.” Kapoor commented on Bloomington’s city government.
“I’ve never seen something like this in local government,” Kapoor says. “It’s something I want to take back to where I live. You are all so civil and professional, even about the most minute details like noise and trash.”
The Board later approved the request to reserve parking spaces. Shooting is expected to begin later this month and continue through mid-November.
On Friday, October 17 Indiana University will inaugurate its newest school on the Bloomington campus, the Media School, with the dedication of a new sculpture of IU alumnus and Pulitzer-prize winning journalist Ernie Pyle.
The sculptor is Harold Langland, professor emeritus, who taught at IU South Bend from 1971-2001.
According to IU officials, Langland will present the sculpture to IU President Michael McRobbie at a public ceremony beginning at 2 p.m. in Franklin Hall, the future home of the Media School.
Previously Langland created a sculpture of IU’s legendary President and Chancellor Herman B. Wells. That sculpture, seated on a bench near the student union, has become a popular spot for photographers as well as students and visitors.
The Media School is now envisioned as IU’s pre-eminent site for teaching, research and service about the understanding and production of media by combining over 70 faculty members specializing in journalism, cinema, communications and culture, and electronic telecommunication programs.
“The fluid technology environment of the 21st century offers our students and faculty and opportunity to boldly imagine the shape of media in the coming decades,” Larry D. Songell, executive Dean of Arts and Sciences says.
Meanwhile, this new academic unit within the College of Arts and Sciences is now in search of its first dean at the same time that renovation of Franklin Hall itself will soon begin.
The Indiana State Police received a $567,000 federal grant from the Department of Justice office of Community Oriented Policing Services (or COPS) Anti-Methamphetamine Program. The COPS Anti-Meth Program provides funds to state law enforcement agencies to investigate illicit activities related to the manufacturing and distribution of methamphetamine. The fight against methamphetamine use is one of U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly’s priorities for fiscal year 2015 federal appropriations. Indiana is one of only ten states receiving a 2014 COPS Anti-Methamphetamine Program award and this grant will boost the state’s current efforts to fight Meth Use and the destruction that follows in its wake.
Hoosier Hills Food Bank (HHFB) is one of 50 food banks nationwide to win a grant through Walmart’s “Fight Hunger. Spark Change.” Campaign. Walmart’s “Fight Hunger. Spark Change,” campaign was a collaborative effort with Feeding America and committed $3 million to provide 50 grants of $60,000 each to the winning food banks.
Hoosier Hills Food Bank’s “PBJ Campaign,” aimed at providing the equivalent of 250,000 peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to those in need, received votes online and at one point was only 15 votes ahead. Yet it received enough votes in the final minutes to tie for 44th place. Julio Alonso, Executive Director of HHFB, feels grateful to the community for making it happen. “It went right down to the wire, and with just a few less votes we would have been out of contention. But instead, we edged out communities as big as Atlanta, San Francisco, and Louisville.” The majority of the funds will provide the sandwiches to HHFB’s partner agencies and mobile food pantry program, and the balance will allow the Food Bank to expand it’s retail food collection route by making a part-time driver full-time.
The City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development Department, or The City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development Department, or HAND Department, is seeking input from residents on what are the most pressing housing needs. Every five years the City reapplies for funds from the federal government under the Community Development Block Grant Program, which is administered by HUD. The funds are to be used for affordable housing, anti-poverty programs, and job creation programs. The grants are awarded to qualified cities and towns and allow for local decision-making for the specific programs that are supported.
In order to be eligible, the grantees are required to get input from a representative population of the community including persons of low and moderate income and non-English speakers. Last week the City of Bloomington mailed surveys to area residents and posted the survey online. The City is also hosting focus group meetings during the month of October. The next community meeting is scheduled for Thursday, October 16, at 6 PM at the library. The topic of this focus group is homelessness.
The surveys must be returned by November 16th. More information and a link to the online survey is available at bloomington.in.gov/hand.