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Interchange – Tim Lovelace and Eileen Braman: Constitution Day

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This week on Interchange, host Lisa-Marie Napoli, a member of the PACE [Political and Civic Engagement] faculty, interviews Tim Lovelace from the Maurer School of Law and Eileen Braman from Political Science Department about this foundational and essential, yet little-known document.

Did YOU know there was a U.S. holiday called “Constitution Day”?

A law establishing “Constitution Day” was created in 2004 with the passage of an amendment by Senator Robert Byrd to the Omnibus spending bill of 2004. Before this law was enacted, the holiday was known as “Citizenship Day”. In addition to renaming the holiday “Constitution Day and Citizenship Day,” the act mandates that all publicly funded educational institutions provide educational programming on the history of the American Constitution on that day.  [Source: Wikipedia]

This week on Interchange, host Lisa-Marie Napoli, a member of the PACE [Political and Civic Engagement] faculty, interviews Tim Lovelace from the Maurer School of Law and Eileen Braman from Political Science Department about this foundational and essential, yet little-known document.

New Library Renovations Will Cost More Than First Anticipated

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A third phase of renovations at the Monroe County Public Library may cost as much as half a million dollars more than first projected.

That’s according to information put forward during a work session for the Library’s Board of Trustees on September 11.

A representative for the project’s architect, Christine Matheu, presented the cost estimates to the Board.

But before the financial discussion, Matheu went over a schematic design of the renovated Library.

“We have met with staff and special interests groups from the project,” Matheu says.

The renovations include the addition of a new teen center, which Matheu said would have a cafe area as well as a space for socializing.

“Current logic on these spaces is that you downplay the books and you up-play technology, social interaction and collaborative and creative work,” Matheu says.  “All these things  teenagers respond to in the way they learn and it’s a way to get this demographic back into the library.”

The renovated library is also planned to include a digital creativity center, including spaces for recording music and editing film.

“Right now we’ve planned for a recording studio and a performing space,” Matheu says, “This is primarily for musicians and filmmakers, and the media lab is for people collaborating together. “

When the Board approved the architect’s contract earlier this year, the estimated cost of the renovations was $780,000.

But the project designed by Matheu’s firm is estimated to cost somewhere between $1.1 and $1.3 million dollars.

Library Director Sara Laughlin said she likes the plan, and she has ideas about how to trim some of the costs.

But even if the cost is considerably more than was budgeted, Laughlin said there is still money to complete the entire project.

“Even if it’s the high number, we’re still $244,000 off for what we have set aside,” Laughlin says, “We have enough money to do the whole thing and have some left over. I think we should bite the bullet and do it.”

All the costs are rough estimates because the Library has not yet put the project out to bid.

The Board is scheduled to vote on the budget for the project at its regular meeting September 18.

City Council Members Sponsor Resolution To Provide A Local Response On Statewide Marriage Equality

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Tuesday, local residents will be given an opportunity to participate in a debate on marriage equality.

Bloomington City Council Member Susan Sandberg is sponsoring a resolution, along with Council Members Darryl Neher and Tim Mayer as co-sponsors, supporting marriage equality.

This motion is designed to provide a local response to state legislators’ efforts to include a clause in the state constitution to limit marriage to be between one man and one woman.

Supporters of this effort, which will be presented to state voters during the next voting cycle, say the intent is to outlaw same-sex marriage.

The sponsors of the local resolution have invited the public, along with LBGT leaders and community and business organizations, to discuss how the codification of discrimination in our State Constitution will impact the state economically.

The council meeting will begin at 6 pm in the City Council Chambers in the Showers Building on Morton Street in downtown Bloomington.

The final vote on the local resolution is expected to be presented to the full Bloomington Council by the end of the year.

Local Government Information Seminar ‘Citizens Academy’ Taking Applications

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The Monroe County Citizens Academy is taking applications for this year’s fall seminars.

The seminars, which are open to everyone, inform attendees about the local county government.

Interim County Extension Director Amy Thompson tells us that the Academy is an opportunity for residents to learn more about how county government operates, where their local tax dollars go and the services the county offices provide.

The free classes will be held on Wednesday evenings, from October 2 until November 20.

Subjects include local government financing, the county court system, correctional policy, policing and the county jail, health and youth services, and county governance.

Thirty minutes of informal discussion are planned before each presentation. County officials, administrators, judges, and senior police officers will be present.

“We’ve done this several times and we get a lot of positive feedback,” Thompson says, “I think the average citizen doesn’t know about the scope of activities that county government is involved in. It’s interesting, you get a behind the scenes tour of the jail and you get a one-on-one interaction with government officials.”

The courses are provided through Purdue University’s Extension program, in partnership with Monroe County Commissioners and Council.

Call 349-2575 to register for the program by September 27.

This Year’s Deer Season Looks To Be Productive After Last Year’s Record-Setting Harvest

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Hunters in Indiana can expect another productive deer season in 2013, but probably not as productive as last year’s record setter.

The deer harvest record has been broken in four of the last five seasons.

But Chad Stewart, deer biologist with the Indiana Department of Natural Resources (the DNR), doesn’t expect the trend to continue.

“Last year was a record deer harvest for Indiana,” Stewart says, “We took 136,248 deer and that exceeded all previous years. I think the number will probably go down a little bit this year, but the trends in last year’s harvest told us the herd was on a downward swing, which is exactly what we’re trying to accomplish.

Stewart says the antler deer harvest being down, as well as an increase this year in antler-less deer killing, tends to mean the overall deer population is down.

He says that reducing the deer population to a more balanced level has been the DNR’s goal for years.

New hunting regulations in 2012 worked toward that goal.

“We’re making an effort to balance the deer herd,” Stewart says, “And when you reduce the deer herd in total to achieve that, over time the deer harvest falls off as well.”

Deer hunting season in some urban areas began on Sunday. Archery season starts on October 1st, and this year firearm season starts in mid-November.

 

 

Daily Local News – September 17, 2013

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A third phase of renovations at the Monroe County Public Library may cost as much as half a million dollars more than first projected; Tonight, local residents will be given an opportunity to participate in a debate on marriage equality; The Monroe County Citizens Academy is taking applications for this year’s fall seminars; Hunters in Indiana can expect another productive deer season in 2013, but probably not as productive as last year’s record setter.

FEATURE
“TASC” to Replace GED Testing in Indiana
Monroe County residents attending Adult Education Classes at Broadview Adult Learning Center, Crestmont, and Shalom Community Center have until January 1st to complete their General Educational Development test, or G-E-D, or else lose credit for what they have completed and be forced to start all over. The Indiana Department of Workforce Development, which administers Indiana’s high school equivalency program through its Division of Adult Education, has announced the selection of CTB/McGraw-Hill to provide a new high school equivalency assessment that will replace the G-E-D, the test currently in use. In today’s feature, Lauren Glapa interviews Joe Frank of the Indiana Department of Workforce Development, Division of Adult Education, about Indiana’s new T-A-S-C high school equivalency test.

CREDITS
Anchors: Shayne Laughter and Bill Daugherty
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Yvonne Cheng
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services
Today’s feature was produced by Dan Withered, with correspondent Lauren Glapa
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Jason Evans Groth
Our engineer is Harrison Wagner
Editor is Drew Daudelin
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh

Bring It On! – September 16, 2013

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William Hosea and Leila Randle welcome director Tom Evans, and actresses Nora Leahy and Gladys DeVane from the play “Grace and Glorie”.

PART ONE
“Grace and Glorie” is an upbeat and life-affirming COMEDY! Grace Stiles is a 90 year old, terminally ill cancer patient who lives alone in a small, somewhat primitive cottage in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia.   She is a strong willed, cantankerous, and very proud woman.
Glorie is a hospice volunteer.  She is a Harvard MBA, a successful New York attorney, and a recent transplant to this rural community.  Cantankerous Grace and sophisticated Glorie create the sure recipe for a clash of cultures.

The play is the season opener at the Brown County Playhouse. The show run begins October 2nd through the 19th.  Joining William and Leila tonight to share their insights “behind the curtain” of this stage project is director Tom Evans, and actresses Nora Leahy (Grace) and Gladys DeVane (Glorie).

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

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

Bloomington opens its streets

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Bloomington will stage its first Open Streets event this weekend, joining a recent trend in larger cities around the globe. Between 10am and 3pm this Sunday, West Kirkwood Street between Rogers Street and College Avenue will become a temporary festival.

“It’s an opportunity for people to just do whatever they wish, in the street” says Anna Dragovich, Senior Transportation Planner and an organizer of the event. The free event will feature interactive physical activities, as well as live music and other performances. Visitors will be able to try free exercise demo classes and activities located along the route. Open street festivals traditionally have a broad array of commercial and non-commercial vendors, providing information and samples of their offerings. Though Dragovich commented that Bloomington’s festival focuses more on physical activity.

“This is a free opportunity in which we can engage each other through basically playing in the street, and playing just happens to be physical activity,” said Dragovich.

The inaugural Open Streets event is sponsored by the Planning Departments of Bloomington and of Monroe County and the Center for Sustainable Living. Dragovich says she hopes it can be made into an annual event, and possibly tried in other parts of the county.

Out with the Old: Demolition Plans Upset Local Residents

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As you approach Indiana University from the west, after passing through downtown and continuing along 7th or 10th streets, you come upon a neighborhood with brick roads, hundred-year-old houses and a mixture of university and residential property. The area, known as the University Courts Historic District, is on the National Register of Historic Places.

It’s home to WIUX radio, the Mathers Museum of World Cultures and the Collins Living-Learning Center. And it’s now at the center of a controversy about what may soon be the newest neighbor there, the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, commonly known as the FIJI house.

“The university and the (IU) Foundation and the FIJIs have been talking about finding a new home for the FIJIs for some time now,” University spokesman Mark Land said.

Land says the university wants the land where the current FIJI house is located, in the 600 block of East 3rd Street.

“The IU Foundation has reached an agreement with the FIJIs to essentially exchange properties. So the Foundation would get the FIJI house…and the FIJIs would get the properties down on Woodlawn, that they would then use to build a new house,” Land said.

But those properties along Woodlawn are not vacant. There are six houses there, including one originally designed for a former IU football coach who was hired in 1916. The city’s official brochure for walking tours of the neighborhood describes the house as Bloomington’s best example of Prairie Style architecture, a style commonly associated with the architect Frank Lloyd Wright.

“This is really the finest example of one of the old neighborhoods,” said Jon Lawrence, the president of Bloomington’s Council of Neighborhood Associations. “It was originally occupied by faculty, famous coaches…as that original group of faculty started aging and moved out of their houses, the houses started switching off occasionally into rentals and the university was buying up the property.”

The announcement that these six houses would be demolished to make way for a fraternity house did not sit well with Lawrence, or with many others interested in historic preservation in the city. Neighbors also complained, and much of the city Council meeting last week was spent discussing the issue.

But technically the Council and even the city’s Historic Preservation Commission has no power to stop the deal. Which, according to Land, is why city government and community members weren’t consulted before the university reached an agreement with the FIJIs.

“The city doesn’t really have any jurisdiction over this piece of property, over this area,” Land said. “It’s university-owned property…we’ve decided that this is how we always handle these kind of deals.”

The university has historically been allowed to do what it wants with the land it owns, even if that land is within the city of Bloomington. Other property owners are routinely required to obtain permits and occassionally approval from elected or appointed boards and commissions when they want to build or demolish or even change the uses for their properties. Most would certainly run in to problems if they attempted to demolish houses on a national register of historic places. But the university has no such restrictions.

Critics of the demolition have pointed out discrepancies between the university’s master plan, passed in 2010, and the recently announced deal with the FIJI house.

The master plan describes University Courts as a “enhanced residential neighborhood, complete with front porches, stoops, brick-lined streets, and gas lamps.” It goes on to say “this neighborhood can be developed as a residential district for faculty and visiting professors.” Several critics have questioned how moving in a fraternity would encourage professors to live there.

Jeannine Butler, a member of the city’s Historic Preservation Commission who also lives in the University Courts area, said “We have a lot of students in our neighborhood and for the most part they are very good about being quiet late at night…The difference is you’re talking about students who live in a house where there may be 10 or 12, or (in the case of a fraternity) you’re talking about 100. There’s a big difference.”

IU did offer the fraternity other locations before settling on the plan to demolish the houses. Recently all new Greek housing at IU has been located in the area along North Jordan Avenue. This is the first time in more than half a century a fraternity or sorority has been allowed to build anywhere else. And according to Land, that’s because the circumstances are different this time.

“The FIJIs already have a location that they like,” Land said. “In most of the cases where (Greek organizations) have built out there…the North Jordan extension was a move up for them…In this case, the FIJIs have a location that they like and that they’ve been established at for years.”

Representatives from the Fiji house said the fraternity would not comment for this story. So WFHB News couldn’t ask them how they liked their current house. But a newsletter released this summer said the house is QUOTE “very rapidly approaching the point of being impossible to keep properly repaired and is becoming a competitive disadvantage for recruiting the best young men.”

According to the newsletter, the fraternity determined that the only viable solutions other than to move would be to tear down the house or do a massive renovation. Both of those options would require the fraternity to come up with all the money themselves, and the newsletter says it would also require the brothers to move out and find temporary housing for at least a year. The fraternity’s house corporation reportedly evaluated the possibility of asking IU to approve either of those options, but determined IU would probably turn them down, ultimately forcing them onto North Jordan with all the other new Greek housing.

Many critics of the move say there are probably hidden motives for the university’s decision to allow the frat to take the historic properties.

“The FIJI alums and the people who are in the (FIJI House Corporation) are well off and very influential and probably huge donors to IU,” Butler said. “And IU isn’t gonna tick them off.”

There are undoubtedly some powerful FIJIs connected with IU, although no one interviewed by WFHB pointed to anyone in particular as having special influence.

Gov. Mike Pence is an alumnus of the fraternity, although he attended Hanover College, not IU. So is the CEO of the Whirlpool Corporation, Jeff Fettig, who is also on the Board of Directors for the IU Foundation, which arranged the land swap deal. But Land insisted power and money had nothing to do with the agreement.

Regardless of the reasons behind the deal, the recent issue has brought up new concerns about the sometimes awkward dynamic between the university and the city that surrounds it. Without any local control even much transparency about the university’s actions, Lawrence said there is reason for local property owners to be wary.

“This is a huge concern to all neighborhoods in Bloomington because no matter where you are, the university can purchase the house next door and tear it down,” Lawrence said. “Nobody else can do that.”

Land said it may be months or years before the deal with the university is complete. He said the fraternity first must prove it has the financial ability to build a new house on the property.

Daily Local News- September 16th, 2013

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Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane laid out a plan to enroll students around the state in early childhood education programs; Bloomington will stage its first Open Streets event this weekend- joining a recent trend in larger cities around the world; Citizens from Morristown, Indiana are banding together to stop a gas-fired power plant proposed by tyhe Omaha-based company Tenaska.

FEATURE
Earlier this summer the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity announced it had reached a deal to relocate its frat house. The fraternity is currently located on east 3rd street. But the deal it made with Indiana University would put the new house in the University Courts neighborhood on the western edge of campus. The plan has upset some in Bloomington, partly because it requires the demolition of six historic homes. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature.

ACTIVATE
Jodi Chatelain and Kenny Bundy talk about working at the Recovery Engagement Center.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley and Doug Storm,
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Yvonne Cheng,
Our Engineers are Lauren Glapa and Chris Martin,
Our Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Activate is produced by Jennifer Whitaker
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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