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IU Art Museum Director Retires

Adelheid ‘Heidi’ Gealt has announced her retirement as the IU Art Museum Director. Gealt has been director since 1987.

Bruce Cole, Professor Emeritus of Art History and Comparative Literature has been assigned chair of a search committee to recruit a new director.

The new successor will be responsible for upholding the mission of the IU Art Museum to advance the academic goals of IU and enrich the cultural lives of society by preserving and researching original works of art.

A committee of 10 faculty members are interviewing candidates and intend to hire a new director by July 1.

Election Board Struggle With Complex Voter Laws

The Monroe County Election Board struggled with the complexities of election law May 16 as they decided whether to invalidate some ballots cast during the May 6 primary election.

The Board met to consider provisional ballots, which voters cast when poll workers have questions about their eligibility to vote. In one case, County Clerk Linda Robbins said a homeless man voted at the wrong polling place.

William Ellis, a substitute Board member representing the Republican party, said he would like to count the vote. But Ellis said that wasn’t possible because the voter used the wrong ballot, meaning he would have voted in some of the wrong races.

“Being homeless is a hard enough hardship and the vote, if all being equal, I’d be inclined to make this valid,” Ellis says. “It’s hard to prove where you live if you aren’t living anywhere.”

Ellis participated as a Board member even though he plans to run for office in November. Ellis has said he plans to seek the Republican nomination for County Assessor during a caucus this summer.

The Board members were not allowed to look at the provisional ballots they considered. That restriction became an issue when one voter’s paperwork was sealed in an envelope along with the ballot.

The Board voted to rule that ballot invalid. The Board considered some provisional ballots that were cast by voters who did not bring IDs to the polls. Robbins, who opposes the state’s voter ID law, recommended counting one of those ballots.

She said poll workers might not have instructed the voter on how to ensure their vote would be counted after Election Day.

“I do believe the photo ID is a burden for certain individuals,” Robbins says.

Later in the meeting, Robbins said the complex rules for casting provisional ballots are often a source of confusion during elections.

“Filling out a provisional ballot at the polls has been a huge challenge for us,” Robbins says. “It’s very confusing for everybody. Frankly, I’ll commend anybody that has the patience to stay there and must really want to vote to go through that process.”

The Board voted to invalidate two provisional ballots cast at retirement homes. The voters had been registered to vote at previous residences.

Community Concerned With I-69 Sediment Erosion

A contractor helping supervise I-69 construction insisted May 9 contractors are doing all they can to prevent pollution from the project. In a presentation to the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Committee, Jeremy Kieffner outlined the various strategies contractors use to prevent erosion. Over the past year waterways near Section 4 of the new interstate have been contaminated with sediments washing away from construction areas.

Kieffner works for the Evansville-based firm, Bernardin, Lochmueller & Associates. He told the group road projects always present erosion issues.

Kieffner did not directly address the erosion issues caused by Interstate 69 and he didn’t take questions from the Committee. After the presentation several committee members said they had doubts the state is following proper procedures with the construction. Committee member Andy Ruff has been a long-time opponent of I-69.

“I worked in battling sediment erosion with construction sites and it’s not an easy law to enforce or follow,” Ruff says.

Ruff said the sediment is probably damaging ecosystems in the waterways near Indian Creek, where some of the most contamination has occurred. Committee member Cheryl Munson, who lives in the Indian Creek area, said problems continue there. Munson said she’s hopeful erosion won’t cause as many problems in Section 5 of the interstate, which runs through Bloomington.

Crews have already begun clearing properties in Section 5 in preparation for construction of the interstate.

Bloomington’s 2014 Art Project Grants Awarded

The recipients of the City of Bloomington’s 2014 Art Project Grants have been announced. Grants are made available to nonprofit organizations that participate in activities that revolve around the arts. The purpose of these grants are to support and enhance a high level of artistry around the community. Miya Michaelson, Assistant Economic Development Director for the Arts, talks about this year’s change in how often these grants are given to the community.

“They used to give out grants twice a year and this year was the first time to give out just one a year,” Michaelson says.

Michaelson says the organizations that apply for these grants have increased over the years, and funds have also increased. Additional advertising through news releases, emailing previous applicants with the necessary guidelines, and online allows everyone an equal opportunity to apply.

The grants are given to an organization after considering three categories. Artistic quality, community impact and organization capacity are three factors in deciding who is eligible to receive the grants.

The Arts grant helped established perennial recipients like the Krampus Night activities, and the Bloomington Creative Glass skills pumpkin patch project. There were fifteen recipients for the 2014 grant, the full list can be found online on the city’s art page.

Indiana’s membership nonprofits hard hit through recessions

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In the latest report in a series of nonprofit examinations authored by Indiana University professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs Kirsten Grønbjerg, findings show that membership-based nonprofits are especially hard hit by economic recessions.

Indiana Nonprofit Membership and Related Employment, 1995-2011

BPAC Protests Drone Use

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A demonstration this evening on the courthouse square is part of a larger day of action called Days of Remembrance, a nationwide effort to bring attention to United States drone use.

“The U.S. drone program operates outside of the rule of law, essentially acting as judge jury and executioner,” says Timothy Baer, an organizer with Bloomington Peace Action Coalition

Names being read during the event are compiled by the Bureau of Investigative Journalism from news sources in the regions that have been hit by done attacks, a part of a larger project by BIJ called “Naming the Dead.” The names will include 62 school children killed in an attack to a religious school in Pakistan.  Baer says reading the names out loud brings a human element to a military tactic that has removed the hardships of war from those who carry out the attacks.

“Those who are killing people, they are removed from the kill-zone,” says Baer. “They are typically thousands of miles away.”

Today’s rally is being held on the courthouse square between 5 and 6 pm, coinciding with events nationwide as well as a quilt exhibition also protesting the use of drones on display in the Monroe County Public Library through May 18th.  The Bloomington Peace Action Coalition has proposed a local resolution for passage by the Bloomington City council.  Baer says it is important for local legislatures to take a stand against actions made by the federal government, and sees continued drone warfare as increasing safety risks in America.

“The actions we are taking are in no way decreasing terrorism, they are without a shadow of a doubt increasing it, we are essentially creating more enemies than can be destroyed.”

Little 500 Photo Gallery

photos by Hazel Levine for WFHB

Earth Day 2014

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First established in 1970, today marks the 44th annual Earth Day, and this weekend an organization called Earth Day Indiana will hold its 25th annual celebration of the planet. Summer Keown, the executive director of Earth Day Indiana, gives a history of the organization.

Sponsors of this weekend’s event include some of Indiana’s top manufactures and biggest employers such as Eli Lilly, Cummins Inc, and Allison Transmission, along with statewide conservation groups like the Sierra Club of Indiana and the Hoosier Environmental Council.

To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the event, this year representatives from NASA will be bringing a rare experience to Indianapolis.

The festival is this Saturday from 11am to 4pm featuring entertainment, more exhibitors, and educational opportunities for children.

Parking has been reserved for those attending the earth day festivities at the IUPUI river walk garage and there is also bicycle parking areas at the event. More information about the event, including volunteer opportunities are available online at earth day indiana DOT org. The event runs from 11am to 4pm at White River State Park located at 801 W Washington Street in Indianapolis.

The Strike Mic – Slut Walk 2014

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This week on The Strike Mic: About two hundred people showed up yesterday to support this year’s Slut Walk, an annual event aimed to fight against those who shame, and sometimes blame, victims of rape and sexual assault.

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

Registration Closing in for Two Local Filmmaking Events

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Two filmmaking events are coming to The Buskirk-Chumley Theater in Bloomington this October, and the registration deadline for both is next week. The first, called Bloomington Cycles, will feature a screening of the 1979 film Breaking Away. Executive Director Danielle McClelland explains the rest.

Five days later The Buskirk will host The 2nd Annual Mix-Off: Bloomington’s Ultimate Bartender Showdown. McClelland details the unique competition.

The director says both events aim to raise awareness for their BCT Movie Partner Project, which allows rent-free use of the theater space on Saturday afternoons and evenings for film screenings. She says the project is important in keeping film programming a major part of the theater’s role in town.

Bloomington Cycles is scheduled to screen on October 5th, and The Mix-Off on October 10th. The registration deadline for both is next Wednesday, April 30th.

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