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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

New Art Exhibit Opening At Art Museum Features IU Faculty

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A new art exhibit, featuring work from faculty artists from the Hope School of Fine Arts, opens Jan. 25 at the Indiana University Art Museum. Featuring nearly 40 current and former faculty members, the exhibit will showcase works of a wide variety, including ceramics, digital art, graphic design, paintings, sculpture, photography, and textile.

Katherine Paschal, manager of communication and public relations for the IU Art Museum, says their aim is to highlight the work of Hope School faculty.

“Visitors will gain insight into the creativity, the technical skills and the conceptual and cross-disciplinary issues that concern many of todays artists,” Paschal says.

The exhibit is open to the public, and will be held in the special exhibitions gallery until March 9, 2014.

 

Griffy Lake To Be Refilled and Stocked With Fish

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In 2012 the City of Bloomington drained Griffy Lake to work on drain control.

Work finished on Nov. 16, when contractors closed the lake gate and began allowing it to refill.

Dave Kittaka, from the local Division of Fish & Wildlife, says that the sluice gate has been leaky for years, and because it’s at the bottom of the lake, they had to drain it.

“Basically they replaced the gate valve and do some preventative maintenance,” Kittaka says, “Also they were able to drudge the lake for better access from the boat ramp.”

This presented problems for the lake, Kittaka says, especially during droughts

“it got to the point that the upper end was so shallow, you couldn’t get a boat off the ramp and into the lake,” Kittaka says.

DNR’s Division of Fish & Wildlife, which manages the fishery at Griffy Lake, plans to restock it with bluegill, red-ear sunfish, black crappie, largemouth bass, and channel catfish.

The division stocks fish based on decades of fish management experience to ensure a proper balance of predator and prey, with the goal of creating a self-sustained, balanced game fish population.

The Strike Mic – December 3, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, a student talks about the unfair hiring and firing practices of Indiana University maintenance faculty.

Weekend storm swept through the Midwest, see how it affected Bloomington

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The wind and rain storm that swept through Indiana, as well as its neighbors to the west and northeast, set records according to the National Weather Service. John Kwiatkowski, Science and Operations Officer in the Indianapolis provided information on the amount of rain that fell during the period, the sustained wind gusts, and tornado activity in south central Indiana.

“People might be surprised that Sunday, the storms were tearing along,” Kwiatkowski said, “A lot depends on where you are, but a lot of rain didn’t fall down in Bloomington area.”

Mr. Kwiatkowski said that the National Weather Service doesn’t record wind speeds as systematically as it does precipitation. However, he did say that 30-40 mph winds occurred in Monroe County, and that the highest recorded in Bloomington was about 40 mph. He also said there may have been winds up to 70 mph in Bloomington, but none were recorded.

There were no confirmed reports to tornado touchdowns in Monroe County. However, the strongest ones reported in Indiana on Sunday were fairly close by, to the southwest and southeast of us, in Daviess and Washington counties, both of which measured at two on the wind force scale. And, Bedford, to our immediate south, registered a EF-one strength tornado.

“We had 26 tornadoes Sunday, and that’s counting the entire state,” Kwiatkowski said, “That’s the second highest daily totaled that’s ever been recorded.
Ian Connor, of the Indiana Department of Homeland Security, told us today that the department is still doing damage assessments for southern Indiana. The department is requesting that individuals go online to the department website at in.gov/dhs and click on the link in the middle of the page titled ‘report damage from severe weather.’

Bloomington Hospital to fire 50 people by end of year

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Bloomington Hospital has announced that it will eliminate 50 positions by the end of the year.

A statement, signed by Mark Moore, President & CEO of IU Health Bloomington – the name given to Bloomington Hospital after IU’s takeover – justifies the job cuts in order reduce expenses in order to, quote, prepare for sweeping changes in healthcare.

This announcement comes in the wake of the parent company’s statement in September that it would be cutting 800 jobs across all of its affiliated hospitals. Indiana’s other large hospital group, Saint Vincent’s, announced last June that it had laid off 865 employees.

Accompanying IU health’s September statement on the planned job cuts was a claim that its income for the first six months of 2013 was up 20 percent.

However, IU Health claimed the massive jobs cuts were a necessary response to declining reimbursements and admissions.

These kind of job losses in Indiana hospitals has been predicted in consequence of national events, especially the cuts in Medicare payments to health care providers included in the across-the-board federal spending reductions under Congressional sequestration as well as the planned cuts in Medicare reimbursements under the Affordable Care Act, as it comes into operation.

However, even greater declines in public use of healthcare providers in Indiana was predicted after Indiana Governor Mike Pence chose to not participate in the largely federally financed expansion of  Medicaid under the ACA, which would have provided health care coverage for several hundred thousand more  Hoosiers.

 

Business Outlook Panel Finishes Indiana Tour in Richmond, Expect Economy Growth in Next Year

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The 42 annual tour of the business outlook panel wound up its final presentation yesterday in Richmond, Indiana.

The panel is an annual activity of Kelly School of Business. A group of economists and financial experts who get together each year on October to understand the latest trends in the economy and predict where the economy is heading in the year ahead. Experts will also go around the state over the span of the couple of weeks to most of Indiana’s major cities and talk with audiences in those places about how they see economy shaping up.

There are different members of the panel that deal with the global, national and local economy, Director of Indiana Business Research Center Jerry Conover said.

“We always look forward to hearing what the business people and community leaders across the state are thinking,” Conover said.

Conover says they expect 2014 will begin with unimpressive growth and continue job growth. As the year progress in 2014 though, we will expect to see a stronger growth toward the year end. To put that in figure, it is estimated that the overall economy measured in GDP will expand at about 2.5 percent rate.The employment will grow nationally by a little more than 2 million jobs. Unemployment by the end of the year should be down to 6.5 percent nationally.

Conover says the main factors to growth are the continued low interest rates making borrowing affordable for business and propping up higher stock market prices as a result.

“Employers have been increasingly optimistic, though there is still a lot of hesitation,” Conover said, “They’re a little bit more willing to invest in new facilities and to hire staff. They’re not nearly yet to the level they were prior to the recession, but we do see progress coming along.”

According to Conover, Indiana mirrors national economy in many respects though the unemployment has continued to be higher than national average. The most recent figure was 8.1 percent for the state, whereas nationally it’s about 1 percentage point lower.

“We expect for the coming year that unemployment will drop in Indiana, probably somewhere in the upper 6 percent range,” Conover said, “Pay roll jobs will grow by about 55,000 more jobs, and that would be stronger growth than we’ve seen this year.”

Meanwhile, manufacturing continues to be a key factor in creating new jobs in Indiana since the recession. Yet, manufacturing employment and wages are not growing nearly as fast as they had been several years ago.

Conover explains that is because firms during the downturns were able to find ways to make their production more efficient, by improving technology, improving processes that didn’t requires many people to do the job. Once those improvements were made, factories are turning out more products and more dollar value of their output even though they don’t have many employees as they used to.

Conover also adds that employment growing substantially more in nonmanufacturing sector. Healthcare services has been one of the big areas. There has been a lot of job growth in various parts of healthcare sector.

Deer reductions to close 21 Indiana state parks

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21 Indiana state parks will be closed temporarily for deer reductions by local hunters . They do this annually, Mike Mycroft, chief of natural resources for the Department of Natural Resources State Parks and Reservoirs, said.

“It’s mainly to manage the impact of high density deer herds on the native habitat throughout the parks,” Mycroft said.

The parks affected are Brown County, Chain O’Lakes, Charlestown, Clifty Falls, Fort Harrison, Harmonie, Indiana Dunes, Lincoln, McCormick’s Creek, Ouabache, Pokagon, Potato Creek, Prophetstown, Shades, Shakamak, Spring Mill, Summit Lake, Tippecanoe, Turkey Run, Versailles, and Whitewater Memorial. For Fort Harrison, Indiana Dunes, Spring Mill, and Turkey Run, a public standby drawing to fill spots left vacant will take place on these properties, each morning of the reduction.

Mycroft says the standby drawings are used to counter low attendance at these four parks, compared to the other parks being affected.

The dates for the temporary closings will be today, Nov. 19, and Dec. 2 and 3. The state parks will be closed to the general public the evening before each of these two efforts, and reopen the morning after each two-day reduction.

The Strike Mic – November 19, 2013

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On today’s Strike Mic, Morgan tells us about the Trad Youth student organization and what it is doing to the community.

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