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Historic conservation districts adjust to new ordinance

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The Bloomington City Council debated last week on a new ordinance that will affect the city’s historic conservation districts.

These districts are established to regulate construction and demolition, in order to prevent radical change in the affected neighborhoods. They are often supported by homeowners who oppose large new student housing complexes, or other developments that locals believe would negatively affect the neighborhood.

But the new city ordinance would force conservation districts to become even more restrictive after three years, by elevating them to full-fledged historic districts.

City Attorney Patty Mulvehill said the new rule would bring the city into compliance with the state law.

The potential change means that the city’s two conservation districts, in the McDoel Gardens and Prospect Hill neighborhoods, will automatically become full historic districts.

In those districts, all changes to the exterior of structures would have to be approved by the city’s Historic Preservation Commission.

Council member Chris Sturbaum, who represents the district that includes Prospect Hill, said the change is unfortunate but necessary.

“This isn’t something that people who selected the conservation district wanted. They wanted the district in a way of protecting their neighborhood with the lightest kind of restriction on what they can do to their property,” Sturbaum said, “This is changing, and this is not something anyone wanted to happen, it just happened when we understood that we were outside the strict regulation.”

The Matlock Heights neighborhood on the north side of the city is currently working to become a conservation district.

Council member Susan Sandberg, who lives in the neighborhood, said her neighbors are prepared to deal with the new law.

“Matlock Heights knows what they have to do to maintain their conservation statues, and they’re fairly confident that they will have the votes and the community interest to maintain the level they were comfortable with.”

A majority of property owners would have to vote in favor of keeping the conservation district to prevent its elevation to a full historic district. Sturbaum said he supports the idea of conservation districts, and worries that new restrictions could make neighborhoods hesitant to seek the designation.

“Our regret was the harm that would be done to the tool that would preserve these neighborhoods that would allow change,” Sturbaum said, “We’re going to talk to the state and see if we can’t, over time, do some work on the legislation for the future.”

The council voted unanimously to approve the new city ordinance. Sturbaum asked the city to be patient with the neighborhoods that have been elevated to historic districts against their wishes.

Grant Rejection Has Hints of Politics

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The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office is playing politics with grants that are intended to improve accessibility in the state’s polling places. That’s according to Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins, who says the office denied the county grant funding for a project that would improve its early voting center. Robbins says the office is not funding any early voting projects this year, apparently because expanding early voting tends to benefit Democrats. Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who is a Republican, denies the decision had anything to do with politics. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Bloomington first in Indiana to win walk-friendly award

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The City of Bloomington is now a Bronze Walk Friendly Community, an award given by The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center for its walkability initiatives and programs.

A walk-friendly community, according to the program, represents a town or city improving pedestrian safety and walkability through programming, planning, and policies.

Vince Caristo, Bicycle and Pedestrian Coordinator, says Bloomington was awarded for its great urban trail system and walk-friendly zoning ordinance.

“While not all of our intersections are accessible, our percentage is quite high compared to around the country,”Cariso says.

Bloomington is one of eight communities recognized in the latest round of the program, and the first community to receive the designation in Indiana.

“I think we’ve found that communities in Indiana and across the country have a healthy competition with each other when it comes to these types of awards,” Cariso says, “Bloomington was also the first to have a Complete Streets policy, and that paved the way for other communities to do the same. We can be a resource for other communities who want to do this and also raise awareness that things like this exist.”

The Walk Friendly Community program aims to encourage towns and cities around the country to prioritize a safer walking environment.

 

The Strike Mic – November 12, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, a discussion about Indiana University’s luxury dorms, and how they influence higher tuition rates and city-wide gentrification.

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.

Daily Local News – November 12, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, a discussion about Indiana University’s luxury dorms, and how they influence higher tuition rates and city-wide gentrification; The Bloomington Police Department reports that a dead female’s body has been found on Hillside Drive, at High Street; the Bloomington City Council debated last week on a new ordinance that will affect the city’s historic conservation districts; the City of Bloomington is now a Bronze Walk Friendly Community, an award given by The Pedestrian and Bicycle Information Center for its walkability initiatives and programs.

FEATURE
Grants Denied for Early Voting Center
The Indiana Secretary of State’s Office is playing politics with grants that are intended to improve accessibility in the state’s polling places. That’s according to Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins, who says the office denied the county grant funding for a project that would improve its early voting center. Robbins says the office is not funding any early voting projects this year, apparently because expanding early voting tends to benefit Democrats. Secretary of State Connie Lawson, who is a Republican, denies the decision had anything to do with politics. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
Ashley and Sarah discuss a recent article about the top 10 reasons why people aren’t rich. Part I of this show reviews the first five reasons and explores strategies to adjust your own behavior.

CREDITS
Anchors: Shayne Laughter, Nick Tumino
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Yin Yuan,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer was Harrison Wagner,
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Ins and Outs of Money – Top Ten Reasons You Aren’t Rich: Part I

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Ashley and Sarah discuss a recent article about the top 10 reasons why people aren’t rich. Part I of this show reviews the first five reasons and explores strategies to adjust your own behavior.

Veteran’s Day Special

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Welcome to WFHB’s veterans day feature broadcast. Throughout the program we share words from area ceremonies, as well as highlight some of the issues and opportunities, specific to Hoosier veterans.

Bring It On! – November 11, 2013

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Clarence Boone and Cornelius Wright welcome Morgan Newman, her mother Sharlene and Bethel AME Church Pastor Dennis Laffoon

PART ONE
When Morgan Newman saw a preview of the CNN Freedom Project, a series of documentaries on modern-day slavery, one part of the story stood out. The documentary featured Free the Girls, a non-profit organization that provides job opportunities for survivors of sex trafficking, collecting gently used bras and donating them to the women as starting inventory for their own business. The documentary and the charity stuck with Newman.

What also struck Newman was the simplicity of the project, and though a busy extracurricular schedule forced her to put it off for a while, this summer she decided to finally move forward, bringing the project to Bloomington. She and a few friends came together and set a goal: they would try to collect 300 bras to give to Free the Girls for resale. The girls collected five times their goal, totaling about 1,500 bras by the time they were ready to ship to Free the Girls.

Joining Clarence and Cornelius in the studio to talk about her community-wide effort to empower women is Morgan Newman, her mother Sharlene and Bethel AME Church Pastor, Dennis Laffoon, who successfully nominated her for a Bloomington Everyday Hero Award.

PART TWO
Headline news and local calendar events of interest to the African-American community.

CREDITS
Hosts: Clarence Boone and Cornelius Wright
Bring It On! is produced by Clarence Boone
Executive Producer Alycin Bektesh
Our News Editor is Michael Nowlin
Our Board Engineer is Chris Martin

Activate! – Wildcare: Amanda Wrigley

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Amanda Wrigley talks about Wild Care’s mission and the upcoming Holiday Bazaar.

Hola Bloomington – November 8, 2013

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Hostess Ramon Tristani and Carlos Bakota talk about the importance of the Spanish language in our days, with a pre-recorded interview with PhD  Del Valle and PhD  Zentella and explain how new generations deal with this issue. Also Luis Vs Luis, and the events of the week.

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