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Gov. Pence names five women to serve on Indiana Commission for Women

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Five women were named by Governor Mike Pence yesterday, to serve on the Indiana Commission for Women.

Marta Pincheira of Franklin, Stephanie Moore of Newburgh, Kelly Perri of South Bend, Kayevonne Dailey of Fort Wayne, and the reappointed Patzetta Trice of Indianapolis will serve on the commission, effective immediately, until the summer of 2017.

Established in 1996, The Indiana Commission for Women works with governments and communities around the state on issues that affect women and their families.

 

 

Rep. Todd Young says he is not in the Tea Party, but some say his actions belie his words

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The finger of blame for the recent crisis in Congress, which caused a federal shutdown and a near debt default, has increasingly been pointed at Republican members of Congress, especially those associated with the Tea Party caucus.

Todd Young, our local representative in Washington since 2010, has often been associated with the Tea Party due to his supportive votes for their resolutions. He also has endorsements from many Tea Party associated organizations and financial backers.

During an interview with WFHB correspondent David Murphy during the Congressional deadlock, this association was raised with Representative Young.

“That characterization I know was not put forward with any ill intention, but I would depart from that,” Young said.

Paradoxically, he went on to say that he was an “independent-thinking and mainstream public servant” that listens to his constituents and feels that he represents their point of view well.

Representative Young went on to espouse bi-partisanism in Congress, and mentioned his membership in such a group in the House.

“I’m not a populist or rabble-rouser,” Young said, “I don’t question people’s motives. I’m looking for a bi-partisan solution. If along the way we could actually control healthcare costs while ensuring millions more people get access to healthcare, that would be great. However, my concerns are fiscal in nature and the threat that exists to our most marginal citizens by not solving these long-neglected issues require Presidential leadership.”

During a subsequent interview with Trent Deckard, Chairman of the Monroe County Democratic Party, Representative Young’s association with the Tea Party was also raised.

While Young denies any association with the Tea Party, local Democrat Party Chair Trent Deckard sees things differently.

He draws attention to Young’s voting record in the House for evidence.

“He sure votes a lot with the Tea Party, even if he says he’s not in it,” Deckard said, “It can’t be lost that we got to this point because they have held out and that nothing short of completely eliminating the Affordable Care Act is acceptable. His record reflects that. He claims that he’s in a group called the ‘No Labels’ but his record and his votes don’t match that.”

Deckard also brought up the favorable impact Representative Young’s more recent votes had on some Tea Party initiated bills, which precipitated the shutdown of federal government services and the near debt default.

“We expect better of him, he’s a smart guy,” Deckard said, “I hope that he uses this opportunity to get in there and make a change. Voters are increasingly wary of it and we hear every day from folks who are fed up with it. This is Todd Young’s chance to get it right.”

While this crisis in government has passed, it may come up again. The continuing resolution, which allowed for the reopening of federal offices, runs out in early 2014.

Similarly, the Obama administration will soon have to go back to Congress to seek a raising of the debt limit in order to avoid a default.

The Strike Mic – October 29, 2013

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This week on the Strike Mic, a music and information session during the Indiana University Board of Trustee’s meeting is met with a high volume of Indiana University Police. Members of the group felt the police presence was unwarranted, and signals a growing trend of intimidation towards those who express dissent towards IU administration.

Tune in every Tuesday for a new edition of The Strike Mic, a weekly update from your neighbors working to strengthen the voice of IU students and staff.

Local NAACP branch to sponsor open forum about the War on Drugs

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Bloomington’s NAACP branch continues to take on the War on Drugs, and its effects on the local black community.

The branch will sponsor a second public forum on the war a week from Tuesday. The NAACP of Monroe County sponsored a first forum in April, during which some three dozen suggestions were generated to solve some of the negative effects of the War on Drugs.

The upcoming forum will consider three of the strongest of those suggestions at its second forum. William Vance, Jr. is president of the Monroe County branch of the NAACP.

“We want to send a message to the community, to law enforcement and anyone that has anything to do with the law that there is a definite disparity in the sentencing of individuals that commit drug crimes,” Vance says, “Why is that? We will get a feel from the community on whether or not the solutions we suggest seem workable.”

Former President Richard Nixon declared the War on Drugs in 1971. The so-called war institutionalized and coordinated drug prohibition efforts on a federal level that began as far back as 1914.

Vance mentions Michelle Alexander’s bestselling book “The New Jim Crow.” In it, Alexander characterizes the War on Drugs as a war on young black men. Vance adds that an in-depth study conducted by the local NAACP branch indicated a pattern of discrimination against young black men moving through the Monroe County court system over the years.

He did say that in his nine years at the helm of the local NAACP, the number of overall discrimination complaints has fallen dramatically, inspiring him to declare Bloomington a relatively good place for blacks to live in.

Still, he says the nationwide War on Drugs has caused collateral damage locally.

“Once you’ve been arrested for a drug offense, whether you’re in there for a year or ten years, it’s almost impossible to assimilate back into society because it’s even more difficult to get a job,” Vance says.

The forum with be held in the Bloomington City Council chambers on Tuesday, November 5, at 7 p.m. Free parking is available in the City Hall lot on North Morton Street.

Eight Medical Corp. relocates offices to Bloomington

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Eight Medical Corporation has relocated its offices from St. Paul, Minnesota to Bloomington. The company is a medical device distributor. Its main device called the Recirculator Eight Point Zero, used to treat cavities.

Dana Palazzo, project manager for Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, says quality of life was a huge factor for the corporation choosing Bloomington.

“If the word gets out that better businesses are coming here to Bloomington, because of the business climate and the tax environment,” Palazzo says, “More businesses will look at Bloomington when they’re choosing relocation.”

Despite the fact that Eight Medical Corporation only has a small office with two full-time employees locally, Palazzo says it still diversifies the community.

“Any new business to Bloomington is a great success,” Palazzo says, “We have pretty robust and diverse industry in the life sciences, from medical devices to pharmaceuticals. New business adds to the knowledge base we have here.”

This move comes as part of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation’s effort to improve the local life science community.

Third Annual Bike Summit brings local bike community together to promote safety

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The Third Annual Bike Summit, a yearly event the City of Bloomington holds to bring the local bicycle community together, takes place this Saturday. This year’s Summit will focus on education. Vince Caristo, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator for Bloomington says they’re trying to raise awareness about the Civil Streets Initiative.

“We need help and participation to get the message out about safety and common courtesy in our streets, our largest public space,” Caristo says.

The city says its goal for the Bike Summit is to improve safety, and to reduce the frustrations and unsafe behaviors that lead to crashes.

“First of all, as more and more people walk and bike in the community, there are a lot of questions about the rights and responsibilities of people in the street and we want to address that,” Caristo says, “Secondly, we want to improve safety in the community. Every year there are about 12,000 crashes in the city and Monroe County and maintaining safe transportation system is always a goal for the city.”

The event begins at 2 p.m. this Saturday at Bloomington City Hall, in the Council Chambers.

 

Bloomington Plan Commission Delays Decision For Lots Under Construction on Kirkwood

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The Bloomington Plan Commission held off on making a decision October 7th about the first phase of a major development project downtown along Kirkwood Avenue. The Bloomington-based firm, GMS-Pavilion Properties, has proposed development on five different lots downtown. The project would include new apartments and a new building for Old National Bank. Planning Department Director Tom Micuda described the project as an opportunity for the city and that the sites are a rare opportunity for key development.

Although Micuda said the project presented an opportunity, he went on to recommend denial of the proposal before the commission. That proposal included details for just one of the five lots that are part of the overall project.

“We’ve been looking for a comprehensive proposal for these properties,” Micuda says, “We wanted to give you the opportunity to look at a plan for all four lots and be able to look at diverse opportunities for new development. Ultimately, we weren’t able to get that.”

The building before the commission would be located on the southeast corner of Kirkwood and Lincoln. It is proposed to be three stories tall and include the new Old National Bank as well as eighteen apartments.

Steve Hoffman, with GMS-Pavilion Properties, said the firm tried to negotiate with city planners for almost a year.

“We have come an extremely long way in our discussions with the planning staff,” Hoffman says, “And we feel that we’ve worked pretty well with them.”

Hoffman said the firm reduced the number of apartments in the overall plan, at the request of planning staff. He said they also included owner-occupied condos, and what he called a fifty-foot boutique hotel, again to accommodate concerns from staff.

But he said the negotiations hit roadblocks when it came to the details. For example, Hoffman said the firm was willing to commit to building the hotel, but not to designing the building until they found a company to run it.

Micuda said the developers did suggest compromises. But he said their original proposal, which was almost all residential buildings, was so far from the Planning Department’s vision for the area that those compromises didn’t go far enough.

“There are times where we did get close, but I would not describe the city as completely unreasonable,” Micuda says, “In fact fairly early in the process, the city was straightforward in our vision for the properties. We put that information out early enough so we could reach to an agreement.”

The commission sided mostly with the Planning Department, saying they wanted a comprehensive plan for the five lots. Commission member Chris Sturbaum said the approval process might seem difficult to the developers, but he said it was that way for good reason.

“People complain about the process, but it’s like sausage: the more you work at it, the better the end product will be,” Sturbaum says, “Kirkwood is worth it and we can have the same kind of discussions if we can satisfy this legitimate concern and desire for diversity on Kirkwood.

Commission member Joe Hoffman suggested the overall project be brought forward at a future meeting as a planned unit development, or PUD. A PUD is a way of grouping multiple buildings with different uses into a single plan.

No decision was made about whether to use the PUD framework, but the Commission voted unanimously to delay a vote on the project until a future meeting.

Bloomington Police Collect Unwanted Prescription Drugs

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The Bloomington Police Department will be participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day this Saturday, October 26th. Department personnel will collect old, unwanted, and unused prescription drugs to be safely disposed.

Joe Qualters, captain of the Department’s Detective Division, says this is a bi-annual event sponsored by the Drug Enforcement Administration.

“The goal is to get all those unneeded and unwanted prescriptions out of the home to avoid the possibility of abuse or theft,” Qualters says, “Many times it’s difficult to find a place to dispose of these types of drugs and this provides an initiative to provide a collection point for those drugs.”

“I think it’s important to know that since the DEA has intitiated this, they have collected over 2.8 billion pounds of drugs,” Qualters says, “We in Bloomington have participated three times before and we’ve collected over 500 pounds of prescription drugs for disposal.”

The event will be held this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The collection site will be set up on South Lincoln Street, on the east side of the Bloomington Police Department.

Latest Study Finds Indiana Manufacturing Industry Strong and Growing

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Earlier this month, the certified public accounting firm Katz, Sapper & Miller LLP released the results of their seventh annual Indiana manufacturing survey.

The statewide study of employers in Indiana’s largest industry shows growth in Hoosier manufacturing.

According to the survey, nearly 80 percent of respondents over the last two annual surveys describe their businesses as “healthy” or “stable,” while nearly half used the term “challenged” to characterize their operations in 2009 and 2010.

The survey finds more than 70 percent of Hoosier manufacturers are actively investing in capital and labor, while less than 5 percent are continuing to cut costs across the board.

Human capital also continues to be a major obstacle confronting Indiana manufacturers. Survey respondents identified skilled production workers as the most significant labor shortage facing their companies.

The survey was commissioned by Katz, Sapper & Miller and developed in partnership with the IU Kelley School of Business – Indianapolis, Conexus Indiana and the Indiana Manufacturers Association.

 

IU student brings message of acceptance to Bloomington

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Indiana University Junior Kaleb Crain will see the culmination of a years-long effort to spread acceptance and support for Indiana University students when Judy Sheppard  brings her lecture “The Meaning of Matthew” to Whittenberger Auditorium tomorrow evening.

As an IU freshmen, Crain, a Bloomington native,  experienced hate slurs from an anti-gay demonstrator on campus,  who singled out Crain in front of a crowd and stated that he was wheelchair-bound because of homosexual sins. While this angered Crain, it was a second personal tragedy that showed Crain that there was a need for supportive voices like those of Judy Shepard on campus.

WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh speaks with Crain about the effort behind tomorrow’s lecture.

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