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Closings for Tuesday, January 7

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The following organizations will be closed Tuesday, January 7 unless otherwise noted:

-Monroe County Community School Corporation
-Richland Bean Blossom School Corporation
-Brown County Schools
-Clear Creek Christian School
-Pinnacle School
-Harmony School
-Lighthouse Christian Academy
-Bloomfield School District
-Spencer-Owen Community School Corporation
-North Lawrence Community Schools

-City of Bloomington non-emergency services
-Bloomington parking regulations suspended until 8:00 am Wednesday
-Area 10 services closed; Area 10 nutrition program – no meal delivery, all meal sites closed
-Rural Transit of Monroe and Owen Counties – no routes
-Hoosier Hills Food Bank
-Girls Inc of Monroe County after-school programs
-Children’s Village
-Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard

-City of Bloomington sanitation services suspended, will resume Wednesday if weather conditions permit – residents who normally have pickup on Mondays will have pickup on Wednesday, residents who have pickup on Tuesdays will have pickup on Thursday, residents who have pickup on Wednesdays will have pickup on Friday, residents who have pickup on Thursdays will have pickup on Saturday

Some Downtown Bloomington Businesses Open Despite Cold Weather

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Non-emergency county and city offices were closed today, as well as Indiana University, many IU Health Bloomington Hospital programs and all area schools. However, several local businesses had their “open” signs turned on despite the slick conditions and dangerously low temperatures.

Downtown outfitter JL Waters’ “open” sign shined through the frosty windows. Employees Emily Hodapp and Kimberly Webber and their canine pal Ranger were in the store and explained why they were open for business today.

“Out of all the stores, the adventure store should be open… No such thing as bad weather, just bad gear,” they said.

Hodapp, the assistant manager at JL Waters, says to choose fleece and down and synthetic insulation in winter gear, and for days like today, to take into account the temperature difference that occurs due to high winds

“We’ve got a lot of things that are wind-stopping, not just wind-blocking, but wind-stopping,” said Hodapp.

Webber also recommend base layers with synthetic or wool materials. Though inside the store things were lively as the employees took advantage of the slow customer flow to rearrange parts of the store, the downtown square was almost entirely vacant.

“Completely dead, pretty much. No one’s braving it. The roads aren’t that bad if you’ve got 4-wheel drive. I’m not saying ‘get out there and risk your life’ or anything, but go play! It’s so sunny! It’s not that bad.”

For those who were in need of a hot meal, the Scholars Inn Bakehouse and Darn Good Soup were both open and serving customers, though like JL Waters, the slow business meant they would close early today before normal quitting hours. Nels Brunner, the owner of Darn Good Soup, said:

“It’s been pretty slow, really. I thought it would be busier. It’s been busy enough to be worth being open, but nothing to write home about.”

Parking meters in downtown Bloomington will not be enforced until 8am on Wednesday.

Winter Warming Shelter Available

The American Red Cross has set up shelter at Bloomington High School North, 3901 N Kinser Pike. It will be open as long as the need exists. Residents should bring their own towels, blankets and pillows.

Bloomington Transit Line 1N goes to BHSN and is running as scheduled today.

Residents who need assistance traveling to the shelter can call local city or county law enforcement: 812 349 2780.

The Shalom Center, 620 S Walnut St, is available to all residents and is open for extend hours today, until 9pm. Donations of gloves hats socks and coats are needed.

This evenings Daily Local News will have full coverage of the severe winter weather. Also look to @wfhbnews on twitter and Spot Newshound on Facebook for updates.

Dangerous temperatures expected in South Central Indiana

A winter weather Bulletin from South Central Indiana REMC advises our listening area of dangerous conditions due to low temperatures possible over the weekend:

A significant winter storm could result in more than a foot of snow in parts of Indiana on Sunday, before frigid temperatures settle in. A winter storm watch has been issued for much of Indiana. The low temperature Tuesday morning is forecast at -15 degrees with dangerous wind chills in the -30 to -40 range.

South Central Indiana REMC employees have prepared for worst-case scenarios, should members experience power outages during this time. Please be aware that because of the dangerously cold temperatures, any power outages that occur during this time will most likely be prolonged.

In the event that you experience a power outage, please keep your windows and doors shut, and make sure any generators are properly installed.

The Department of Homeland Security Offers the following checklist for an emergency preparedness checklist:

- Look up electric utility’s outage reporting phone number and add it to their cell phone contact list
- Food and water for three days (includes three gallons of water per person, per day)
- Battery operated or hand crank all hazards radio
- Flashlight
- Extra batteries for radio and flashlight
- Extra clothing, warm blankets, sleeping bags for staying warm in your home if you lose power
- Special items (baby formula, insulin, medications)
- Families should also take the time to check with neighbors and see if there’s anything they can do for each other before, during or after the storm
- pet owners need to be especially sensitive to their animals’ limits when outside, most pets cannot tolerate more than 20 minutes outside when the temperature drops below zero.

Council Member Chases Down Alleged Burglars

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Early this week Bloomington City Council member Andy Ruff accidentally found himself involved in an issue that confronts the city every holiday season: burglary. Police say the incident, and the foot chase that ensued, resulted in two arrests that appear to have solved a string of east side break-ins. WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has the story for a WFHB feature exclusive.

Micol Seigel: ASA Boycott and IU Purdue

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Correspondent Doug Storm speaks with Micol Seigel, Indiana University Associate Professor in the Department of American Studies and the Department of History about the American Studies Association boycott of Israeli Universities, and IU President Michael McRobbie’s condemnation of the boycott.

The Strike Mic – December 17, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, a weekend march in response to the passing of Ian Stark, and the underlying issues of social services and homelessness in Bloomington.

Bloomington Utilities Department Give Up Trying To Collect Nearly $23,000 Bills

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The Bloomington Utilities Department is formally giving up on collecting almost $23,000 in overdue bills. Each year the department declares certain bills to be, as it calls them, uncollectable.

Yesterday the department’s assistant financial director, Michael Horstman, told the Utilities Service Board that 673  wastewater bills and 691 water bills fit the criteria for the department to officially stop attempting to collect them.

Sam Frank, chair of the board’s finance sub-committee, said that doesn’t mean the city might not collect some of the money.

“The finance sub-committee met before this meeting and went over these and we have recommended that these be approved to be written off,” Horstman says, “These can be collected any time later on, and this is more of just an accounting transaction.”

All of the affected accounts were inactive and more than ninety days overdue. Horstman said no more than forty dollars was owed on a given account. The board voted unanimously to write off the uncollectible bills.

Real Christmas Trees Growing in Popularity in American Homes

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Real Christmas trees are making a comeback this year, according to a specialist at Purdue University. Daniel Cassens, professor at the Department of Forestry and Natural Resources, says more than one billion dollars will be spent in the United States this year bringing real Christmas trees into the house. He says the environmental impact of real trees versus that of fake trees has become something of a debate in recent years. A Christmas tree farmer himself, Cassens says there are benefits to avoiding the more convenient, artificial trees.

“It’s a difficult thing to measure because there are so many variables involved,” Cassens says, “If you look at a real tree, you see it takes in carbon dioxide and keeps it in the ground. Depending on how the tree is disposed of, the rest of the carbon is released in the atmosphere and can be

Cassens says artificial Christmas trees are petroleum-based products, which release carbon stored in the ground, becoming directly harmful to the environment. Shipping artificial trees to the United States creates another source of impact.

“About all the artificial trees are manufactured overseas,” Cassens says, “Real trees grown here create local jobs and contribute to the local economy. Fake trees, as they’re shipped, also takes energy and pollutes the environment.”

Proponents of the artificial Christmas tree industry point out that its product can be reused, saving real trees from being cut down, and that artificial trees of course do not need fertilizers or pesticides. If you’ve decided you want a real tree in your house this year, Cassens says there are a few things to keep in mind.

“If you’re a first time real-tree-buyer, you want to be careful not to get too big a tree, “Cassen says, “Stay within the five to six feet category, at the most nine feet. They are more manageable and the bigger the tree, the more difficult to handle. Also, make sure to have a high-quality

When the holidays are over, Cassens says, there are also options to consider when getting rid of a real tree.

“One option, that is the most simple, is to take the tree and put it in your backyard until spring,” Cassen says, “Most towns also have recycling centers that turn real Christmas trees into mulch.”

For more information on real Christmas trees, or how to find a choose-and-cut tree farm in your area, you can visit the National Christmas Tree Growers Association online at RealChristmastrees.org.

 

 

Firm Plans to Build Alongside Bloomington B-Line Trail

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Last week the Bloomington Plan Commission heard a request to build a four-story building alongside the downtown B-Line Trail, to include thirty-five high-end apartments and condos. The building would occupy about half of a city block, and it would also include some space for businesses on the first floor.

The owners currently run the private equity firm Elmore Companies, and they plan to include that business as well as others in the new building. City Planner Patrick Shay says the project needs eight different waivers from the city. One stems from the fact that the building would violate rules about building too close to the B-Line Trail.

“As you know, there’s a ten foot setback within our downtown commercial areas when it’s adjacent to the B-Line,” Shay said, “This is done to create outdoor spaces and to make sure we don’t get a canyon effect where the buildings don’t loom over the trail. We think that the petitioners project has done that some by their own design, such as a plaza that most buildings don’t have.”

The building would be located immediately west of the B-Line Trail, between Kirkwood Avenue and 6th Street. It would be as close as one foot away from the trail in some spots. But Shay says there won’t be what he called a canyon effect, because the other side of the trail is next to the street.

“You’re not going to have another building across from it, creating the canyon effect, because it’s parallel to the street, which is unique,” Shay said.

The building would also be taller than city code allows being about 50 feet tall, but Shay says certain parts would extend above 60 feet.

“Most of the building is below 50 feet, but they wanted some bigger

The top floor of the building includes three penthouses that will be occupied by the owners of the building. Greg McHenry, with the firm Milhaus Development, says the apartments in the building are being priced for the professional family or graduate student population.

“One bedroom would be about $1,000 to $1,500 with three bedrooms nearing $2,000 or above,” McHenry said.

Plan Commission member Chris Sturbaum praised the project, which he says required considerable work from the developers to meet the city’s expectations.

“This building has gone through considerable re-design, which the public doesn’t see,” Sturbaum said, “There was a lot of feedback from the planning department. I think that the building is starting to look really good, and the waivers are justified because so much effort has been made into a building that really fits the guidelines of the city. It’s a timeles building, something that won’t look outdated in a few years, and it will be something I think we can all look at for the rest of our lives, and that’s not a small accomplishment.”

The commission voted unanimously to approve the variances for the project.

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