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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

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.

 

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