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Budget Hurts Some Schools, Spares MCCSC

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Changes to Indiana’s school funding formula are expected to hurt large urban districts throughout the state. But they may benefit some local schools in Monroe County. Indiana lawmakers finished the 2015 legislative session last night. The legislature passed a two-year budget that includes a $464 million increase in education spending. State Representative Matt Pierce, a Democrat who represents most of Bloomington, is critical of the education budget. But he says the Monroe County Community School Corporation should do comparatively well under the new funding formula.

“MCCSC does fairly well  in the funding formula” Pierce says. However State Representative Matt Pierce when on to say, ” People who attend more rural schools are going have difficulty…then you have urban schools like, Gary or Indianapolis public school systems, they’re getting really hammered”.

Republican leaders in Indiana, including Governor Mike Pence, praised the new state budget today. They issued statements pointing out the budget is balanced and includes no new tax increases. In a press conference this morning, Pence indicated he would sign the budget bill into law.

State Senate Pro Tem David Long issued a press release today stating QUOTE “The budget maintains Indiana’s hard-fought reserve funds and prioritizes education funding” UNQUOTE. But statements like those from Pence and Long don’t tell the whole story.

“They’re not going to talk about about the things that aren’t getting done so they had to take several million dollars out of local road funding” Pierce exclaimed. He continued  ”So we’re going to have more pot holes, more crumbling infrastructure and the transportation system is going to decline.”

Despite his criticisms, Peirce was supportive of a part of the new budget targeted at criminal justice. The legislature allocated $60 million partly to help pay for local probation and community corrections programs. Those programs have been strained after the legislature changed the criminal code last year. Many offenders are now being sent to local programs rather than state prisons. Pierce said the local programs need the money but he was frustrated the legislature insisted on funneling the new funding through the state Department of Corrections.

“I think that’s a big mistake because the department of corrections has been missing in action in trying to improve our system” Pierce says. “Their hearts not going to be in what we need to get done on the local level.”

The legislature also passed a measure allowing limited needle exchange programs to open around the state. Indiana law generally outlaws those programs, but Governor Pence has suspended the rules recently in Scott County, where an HIV outbreak is linked to sharing needles. Under the new law, a county would have to prove there is a public health emergency in order to set up a needle exchange program.  Critics say counties will probably be reluctant to declare such an emergency for fear of attracting negative publicity.

Daily Local News – April 30, 2015

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Democrat John Gregg announced today he plans to run for governor again; County Clerk Linda Robbins said today that absentee voting has gone smoothly so far in the lead up to the municipal primary election on Tuesday, May 5th; Changes to Indiana’s school funding formula are expected to hurt large urban districts throughout the state; The Monroe County Council began its work session on April 28th with a discussion of the westside Tax Increment Facility or TIF District, an issue that has come up at several other local governmental meetings.

FEATURE
There are two remaining candidates in the Democratic primary race for mayor of Bloomington. Democrat John Linnemeier dropped out of the race last week, leaving Darryl Neher and John Hamilton to compete for the nomination. In recent months both candidates have spoken publicly about the need for more affordable housing in Bloomington. WFHB correspondent
Taylor Telford looked into the candidates’ positions on the issue and we bring you that report for today’s WFHB community report.

VOICES IN THE STREET
Voices in the Street, our weekly public opinion segment!

CREDITS
Anchors: Scott Weddle, Carolyn VandeWiele
You’ve been listening to the Daily Local News on WFHB,
upported by Smithville Fiber, a local provider of high speed Internet, TV, voice, and
security services.
Today’s headlines were written by Joe Crawford
Along with David Murphy for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television
Services.
Our feature was produced by Taylor Telford
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley,
Our engineer today is Jose Rodriguez
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford.

Eco Report – April 30, 2015

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In today’s EcoReport feature, Filiz Cicek and Dan Withered speak with Public Interest and Environmental Lawyer Mick Harrison, and Retired Senior Greenpeace Scientist Pat Costner about PCBs, their health effects, and the current state of the clean-up in Monroe County.  The full 30 minute interview can be found here:
http://wfhb.org/news/health-effects-and-clean-up-options-for-pcbs/

EcoReport is a weekly program providing independent media coverage of environmental and ecological issues with a focus on local, state and regional people, issues, and events in order to foster open discussion of human relationships with nature and the Earth and to encourage you to take personal responsibility for the world in which we live. Each program features timely eco-related headline news, a feature interview or event recording, and a calendar of events of interest to the environmentally conscious.

today’s Anchors: Julianna Dailey and David Lyman
This week’s news stories were written by Joe Crawford, Linda Greene, Norm Holy and Jack Hanek. Our feature and broadcast engineer is Dan Withered. This week’s calendar was compiled by Catherine Anders.
EcoReport is produced by Dan Young, Filiz Cicek, Nancy Jones, and Gillian Wilson. Executive producer is Joe Crawford.

Health effects and clean-up options for PCBs- full 30 minute interview

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In this 30 minute interview,  Filiz Cicek and Dan Withered speak with Public Interest and Environmental Lawyer Mick Harrison, and Retired Senior Greenpeace Scientist Pat Costner about PCBs, their health effects, and the current state of the clean-up in Monroe County.

IN Nature – Moles

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EcoReport – PCBs

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In today’s EcoReport feature, Filiz Cicek and Dan Withered speak with Public Interest and Environmental Lawyer Mick Harrison, and Retired Senior Greenpeace Scientist Pat Costner about PCBs, their health effects, and the current state of the clean-up in Monroe County.

Single Lanes Begin Tonight On State Road 37

Starting tonight shoulder lanes on State Road 37 will be closed for construction.  The I-69 Development Partners Team announced single lane closures of both the northbound and southbound driving lanes on State Road 37 from That road to State Road 46. Weather permitting the construction will be finished by May 31st.

Better Beware! – Title Impostors

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Sophisticated scammers have been targeting realtors, and tricking home-buyers into sending major payments to them — instead of to the title company.

City Council Considers Barbecue Smoke

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The Bloomington City Council dealt with smoking last week. Not cigarette smoking but rather meat smoking, specifically smoke exhaust from barbecue grilling at the Short Stop Food Mart on Smith Road. The issue came up after the business owner asked the Council to approve an expansion of the building’s seating capacity. The smoke issue came up because the increase in seating could also mean more customers and thus more barbequeing. City Council member Marty Spechler, who represents the District where the Short Stop is located, raised the issue with the business owner, Chris Smith.  Smith responded by saying that he would not be putting in more grills than he has now unless the smoker’s were indoors.

The barbecue smoke exhaust issue was not technically part of the petition before the Council, since it apparently is allowed by the current zoning for the space. This left a long-time neighbor of the Short Stop frustrated.  Hank West says that he believes that the smoke is an issue and that zoning and planning conditions should be put into place.

West went on to contrast the city’s strict enforcement of the non-smoking in restaurants ordinance with its attitude toward restaurant barbecue smoke exhaust. He said barbecue smoke is considered by the EPA to be more toxic than second-hand cigarette smoke. Several council members noted the city currently has no ordinances restricting restaurant barbecue exhaust. They said it would be unfair to block the Short Stop expansion until such an ordinance is created. The Council later voted to grant the expansion of indoor seating capacity at the Short Stop Food Mart.

 

Senator Joe Donnelly Takes Action Against Drug Abuse

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U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana has introduced legislation he says will help address abuse of prescription pain medication and heroin. The effort comes amid an HIV outbreak in Scott County, Indiana, which was linked to injection of the pain killer Opana. Donnelly spoke to reporters in a conference call this afternoon and we bring you part of that discussion for today’s WFHB community report.

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