Home > News > Headlines (page 6)

Category Archives: Headlines

Feed Subscription

Daily Local News Headlines

Lane Closures on 2nd Street for I-69 Development


Crews were scheduled today to begin closing single lanes on 2nd Street in Bloomington between Liberty Drive and Oakdale Drive. Contractors working on Interstate 69 announced the closures would continue through Saturday.

Crews are verifying the locations of utilities along the future path of the Interstate. Additional lane closures are scheduled to begin on Wednesday night along State Road 37. The closures there will extend from Vernal Pike to Chambers Pike, according to the I-69 Development Partners.

Work will only take place at night, from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m., and at least one lane will remain open in each direction.

Indiana Specialty Surgery Center Requests More Time to Respond to Overbilling Lawsuit


A Bloomington surgery center joined ten other Indiana-based medical facilities today to ask a judge for more time to respond to an overbilling lawsuit. Indiana Specialty Surgery Center is one of eleven centers accused of overbilling an insurance company by a total of $6 million.

The Bloomington center itself is charged with overbilling $590,000. Cigna Health and Life Insurance filed the lawsuit July 6th. Cigna claims the surgery centers promised patients low rates for out-of-network services, but then charged Cigna much higher rates anyway.

In the filing today, the surgery facilities say they plan to file a motion to dismiss the lawsuit. Today they asked for an extension on the filing deadline, saying they were each served the lawsuit at separate times but would like to respond as a group by a uniform deadline. Cigna joined the surgery centers in requesting the simpler timeline. If the judge grants the request, the centers would be required to file the motion to dismiss by September 14th.

Financial Consulting Is Proposed For Ellettsville Town Hall

The Town of Ellettsville continues to deal with the fallout from a 2013 flood that forced its offices to move out of the Town Hall and into rental units at Eagle’s Landing Mall. While the Town has worked toward rehabilitating the flood-damaged Town Hall, officials say they don’t intend to use it for government offices again. Instead, a new Town Hall will be built. The Ellettsville Town Council took another step toward this goal on Monday when it approved an agreement with financial consulting and management firm H.J. Umbaugh  and Associates. Town Attorney Darla Brown says the agreement is similar to a previous agreement the Town entered into when the fire station was built.  As part of the agreement H. J. Umbaugh and Associates will provide financial planning services for every aspect of the project, including attending all public meetings and sales.


The total cost of the contract is $34,000. An ordinance was also introduced that would allow the Town to charge rent to departments occupying the new Town Hall. Brown says the Town intends to charge the Utilities Department rent. It will then ask the Indiana Utilities Regulatory Commission to approve a rate increase that would pass the cost on to consumers.  Brown says the Town needs to pass an ordinance to move forward with the plan. Town Councilor David Drake asked if part of the reason for the ordinance was the cost of construction of the new Town Hall and Brown replied that this was so that utilities would not be included in the cost of rent.


The ordinance was on first reading, so no action was taken by the Council.

New and Improved Monroe County Website Is On the Way

The Monroe County website is getting an upgrade. That’s according to Eric Evans, the County’s Chief Technology Officer. Evans made the announcement at  a work session of the Monroe County Council yesterday. Evans says the current website is about two years past due for an update and should have been replaced a long time ago as it is now very behind in its capabilities


The age of the website causes various issues and certain browsers are not able to read it. Evans says the website upgrades will enable the County to add new features to the website, such ad online tax payments and a better display for mobile devices.  He says that the new website will be much more dynamic in that it will be capable  of eventually handling all e-commerce transactions that the current site cannot.


The County is finalizing the hire of eGov Strategies, an Indianapolis-based contractor that specializes in state and local government websites to take on the web development work. The website upgrade is scheduled to launch by the end of the year.

Bloomington to host National Softball Tournament


This weekend Bloomington is scheduled to host the National Softball Tournament. The event will be for the sixteen and under girls division for the Midwest region 10. It is scheduled to run from Thursday through Sunday. Bloomington Parks and Recreation Sports Division Director, John Turnbull, described the event last week to the Bloomington Board of Park Commissioners.

“We’re going to have about thirty-three or thirty-four teams, we’re still rather negotiating with a couple of the teams to get their paperwork in and their money in. And they’re generally a Midwest scheme of things because this is what’s called a “Northern Territory Tournament”. Minnesota is represented… Illinois, Ohio, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, we’ve got a couple from Michigan.”

The games will be played at Winslow Sports Complex, at 2800 South Highland Avenue, and Twin Lakes Sports Park, at 2350 West Bloomfield Road. Turnbull says the tournament will have a major impact on the local business community.

“If I had to guess economically, we’re in the $800,000 to a million with hotel nights, and food, and gas, and so-on and so-forth.”

Bloomington has hosted this tournament for several years in a row. Turnbull says that for next year’s tournament, Bloomington can expect to host over one hundred teams.

Considerations for a Needle Exchange Program in Monroe County


Monroe County health officials are exploring whether to begin operating a needle exchange program. The news follows the implementation of needle exchange programs in Scott and Madison counties earlier this year. Indiana State Department of Health data shows the number of reported Hepatitis C cases in Monroe County increased by 55% from 2009 to 2014. Health officials are also concerned by an increase in heroin overdoses. Indiana began allowing needle exchanges for the first time this year in response to the HIV outbreak in Scott County. Monroe County Health Department Administrator Penny Caudill explains what  Monroe County must do before they can implement a needle exchange program.

“What happened with, of course, Southern Indiana, there was Governor’s Quarter, and then there was state legislation that was changed that allows local health departments to request a syringe access or needle exchange program. And the law outlines what has to happen. So you’ve got to show that you have- they refer to it as an epidemic- but you have to have an increase, a significant rise in cases that are related to injection drug use. And then, that declaration has to be made by your health officer, the county commissioners have to have a public hearing and vote to approve that and move it forward. Then, if that happens, it goes to the state health commissioner with additional information. So you’ve got to say, this is essentially how we think we could address this issue. And then the state health commissioner can approve it, they can deny it, or they can ask for additional information. And then, if they approve it, then it comes back to the county and they can move forward with initiating those plans and building that out more.”

Studies have shown needle exchange programs help reduce the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C. If Monroe County’s program is approved, there will still be obstacles. Current laws bar the use of  state or federal money to fund needle exchange programs.

“You know, in terms of thinking about what other counties are doing and what kind of best practices are out there, certainly there may be foundation money, so private monies that might be available to help. There may be in-kind services that could be provided, but that is certainly a big piece of the puzzle that each county will have to figure out. Can we put some local dollars to this? And where might those come from? What about partnerships? So we all have to work together to come up with solutions and look at the possibilities.”

Caudill says health officials are still compiling data to determine whether the pursue a needle exchange program.



RBB Schools Explore Testing Alternatives


The Richland-Bean Blossom School Corporation will use funds provided by the state to explore alternatives to the Acuity formative test it currently gives to students in grades three through ten. The test attempts to identify students who need remediation in math and English. This is the first time the Indiana Department of Education will allow school corporations across the state to choose the assessment tests they give students.

The Department appropriated a total of twelve million dollars for each of the next two academic years for school systems to use on formative tests. The Richland-Bean Blossom School Corporation received $17.45 per student in funding for the tests.

Assistant Superintendent Jason Bletzinger says the School Corporation hopes to find tests aligned with the curriculum and standards they use, as well as State standards.

“The bottom line is we want to have assessments that really just gel with our instruction,” Bletzinger said. “It’s going to be part of our instruction. We can assess students, find out where they’re at and then identify where a student’s at, which students need remediation, which students need the enrichments.”

The school corporation plans to release more information on its plans in August.

Monroe County Energy Mobile Promotes Conservation


The Monroe County Energy Mobile spent this past weekend in the Sycamore Knolls neighborhood. Bloomington Commission on Sustainability member Molly O’Donnell made the announcement last week just prior to the visit.

“We’ve designed signs that can go from one area to another…just saying ‘Energy Mobile Coming to You Soon,’” O’Donnell said at a Commission meeting. “If we go to houses…and nobody’s home, we have another flyer and on the back there are tips on how to save energy.”

The Energy Mobile is a Toyota Prius that the local consortium of governments and private organizations uses to promote energy conservation in the community. The effort is part of the Georgetown University Energy Prize contest.

Communities participating in the contest are evaluated on efforts to decrease community energy usage. The Prius is used by the City’s Utilities Department as a visual component of the effort. The visits are used to demonstrate ways for residents to conserve energy through various strategies. The prize is five-million dollars, which is to be used to invest in local energy conservation projects. Finalists and winners of the contest are to be announced during the first half of 2017.

Indiana’s Child Well-Being Rank Drops

Indiana’s ranking for child well-being has dropped over the past year, according to this year’s Kids Count databook released by the Annie E. Casey Foundation. But Indiana’s new rank is not necessarily the result of worsening conditions in Indiana. According to the report, other states like Missouri and New York have improved over the past year, leaving Indiana behind. Hoosier students have actually improved in math and reading, two elements the organization uses to make the ranking. Also, the performance gap between Caucasian and Hispanic students has shrunk noticeably.

But while Indiana’s child education has improved, the report notes further improvement is still needed. More than half of Hoosier eighth graders scored below proficient in math and more than half of Hoosier fourth graders scored below proficient in reading. Although the report seems largely bleak there are signs that should give hope for future improvement. The percentage of babies born with low birth weight is now below the national average. Fewer children lack health insurance and fewer minors are abusing drugs and alcohol, according to the report.

IU Receives Grant to Study Possible Autism Link


IU has received a $900,000 grant from the National Institutes of Health to study a possible link between autism and body temperature. The study will be conducted by Jeffrey Alberts and Chris Harshaw of the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences.

The researchers will examine the effect of body temperature on mice with genetic disorders that mimic the symptoms of autism. Anecdotally, parents of children with autism have reported that fevers tend to lessen their behavioral symptoms. A 2007 study published in the Journal of Pediatrics confirmed some of those observations, but the nature of that association is still unclear.  Alberts and Harshaw are hoping to take a detailed look at that connection under laboratory conditions.

Scroll To Top