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Open Streets Event Under Consideration As An ‘Inappropriate Use Of Streets’

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An event meant to examine the use of streets to encourage healthy living and community may be denied a permit based on inappropriate use of streets. The Open Streets Bloomington event, scheduled to be held on Sunday, October 5, will be heard at the Board of Public Works meeting September 23, and is expected to face opposition.

Board member Charlotte Zietlow says that the first annual open streets event, held last fall, had a slight bit of opposition, and tonight the three member board will also voice their concerns.

This is the first time the event is coming in front of the board this year, and the final opportunity for approval since the board does not meet again before October 5.

Miah Michaelson, assistant director for the arts for the city of Bloomington economic and sustainable development department, is the supporting staff member for the project.

Michaelson says typically organizations would present their proposals well in advance of their scheduled event.

The proposal for the event includes closing 7th street from the B Line into the near west side neighborhood at Elm Street to traffic for the majority of the day.  Open street organizers expressed concern today through Facebook postings and a message that went out to the near west side neighborhood association that there event would not get approved, and that the board might not understand exactly what it is the event is trying to do.

“They’re proposing to close those streets off and as I understand it the idea is to get cars off the streets and use the streets as a type of playground,” Zietlow says, “I gather that the intent is to see what we could do if there were no cars on the streets. So the question arises is ‘Why do we have streets?’”

The open streets website differentiates the international open streets movement, from other events that typically block streets like art fairs, charity runs, and parades, stating the benefits of an open streets event to be about encouraging physical activity, broadening transportation choices, and encouraging economic development.

Michaelson said she could not think of a direct economic impact the event would have as it is not a ticketed event and there are not good being sold.

Zietlow also mentioned that the event does not support a charity the way other street closure events tend to do. The afternoon media campaign by the organizers of open streets seemed to already be having an effect, Zietlow said she was starting to hear from the public in support of the event.

“I’ve gotten three or four emails supporting it, and this is unusual for the things we act on,” Zietlow says. “There are other questions asking if this is a legitimate use of streets because there’s not charitable group this event is raising money for.”

The open streets event is set to coincide with a day long celebration of cycling at the Buskirk Chumley Theater, and was the recipient of the proceeds that came from the $12,000 raised at the clips of faith film festival in Bryan Park this summer.

The hearing regarding the open streets events will take place at the board of public works meeting September 23.

A New Statewide Voter App Launches With National Voter Registration Day

Today is National Voter Registration Day and in celebration, Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson urges Hoosiers to use a new mobile registration app to confirm or register their vote.

As part of a 50-state effort to encourage civic participation, Secretary Lawson urges all Hoosiers to take advantage of the full-service application that will also look up their polling place, get driving directions to the site, see who is on their ballot, track their application and contact election officials.

Apple users can access the application via iTunes from a mobile device or tablet by searching “Indiana voters,” and Android users can access it via their mobile app store by searching “Indiana Voters.” A full list of events to be held in celebration of National Voter Registration Day, can by found here.

Bloomingfoods employees and co-op members rally in support of Unionization

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Supporters of the unionization of employees of Bloomingfoods rallied in front of the West 6th outlet last Thursday. Around fifty people gathered late Thursday afternoon to talk about the unionization drive and to listen to speakers on the issue. Daily Local News correspondent David Murphy was at the rally to interview an assortment of attendees, including a union organizer from the United Food and Commercial Workers Union, Bloomingfoods employees, members of Bloomingfoods co-operative association, and an IU faculty member who specializes in labor studies.

Bring It On! – September 22, 2014

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Clarence Boone and Beverly Calender-Anderson welcome Isabella Bravo and Cornelius Wright.

PART ONE
On tonight’s show, William and Beverly welcome Isabella Bravo of the Monroe County Public Defender’s Office and long-time Bring It On contributor Cornelius Wright on for part two of our discussion of the fallout from the Ray Rice domestic assault case and the emotional and psychological factors that may have contributed to this violent attack.

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

CREDITS
Hosts: Clarence Boone and Beverly Calender-Anderson
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! – Bloomington Community Orchard: Stephen Hale

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Stephen Hale talks about his work with the Bloomington Community Orchard and the connections it creates to people, community and the earth. Also, more local growing volunteer opportunities from the Bloomington Volunteer Network.

Links:

Bloomington Community Orchard
Bloomington Community Orchard Work & Learn Days
Cider Fest
Farmers’ Market Outreach

Hola Bloomington – September 19, 2014

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Hola Bloomington’s hosts Israel Herrera, Carlos Bakota and Luis Hernandez host a special segment  “Un Cafecito con” Lotus Edition. The hosts interview Aurelio Martínez and Las Cafeteras both artists will be performing at Lotus International Music festival.

Los locutores de Hola Bloomington Israel Herrera , Carlos Bakota y Luis Hernández albergan un segmento especial “Un Cafecito con” Lotus Edition. Los locutores entrevistan a Aurelio Martínez y Las Cafeteras ambos artistas estarán presentandose en el festival Internacional de Música de Lotus.

Books Unbound – Frankenstein, Part 6

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Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley was 18 when she and her husband, Percy Bysshe Shelley, visited some literary friends and got involved in a challenge, to see who could write the most frightening story. Out of a group that included the poet Lord Byron, only Mary’s story of a scientist who goes too far has lasted as a landmark of fantastic literature. Mary Shelley was twenty when the book was published.

Frankenstein was published in 1818, as the Industrial Revolution readied for takeoff in Europe. Science held out the promise of mankind’s triumph over nature, even over death itself – and electricity was the key. In the novel, a doctor uses electricity to re-animate parts of human corpses into a whole, living being – who, although hideous, develops intelligence and self-awareness – and finally turns against its creator. Frankenstein was banned in South Africa in 1955, for containing material deemed “indecent” and “obscene.”

Adding a non-Democrat to the Plan Commission

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A Monroe County official says the County is dragging its feet on adding a non-Democrat to the Plan Commission. County Surveyor Kevin Enright, who is also a member of the Commission, said September 16th the delay is QUOTE “inexcusable” UNQUOTE. There has been an open spot on the Board for ten months. Enright asked County attorney David Schilling about the vacancy at a Plan Commission meeting.

The County Commission is responsible for appointing a new member to the Commission. State law won’t allow them to appoint a Democrat because the majority of their current appointees on the Commission are Democrats.

Enright was elected to his fourth term as surveyor in 2012. He ran as a Democrat. County Commissioner Julie Thomas defended the failure to appoint someone to the 9-member Plan Commission.

Thomas said the Commission is still accepting applications.

New Yard Structures for Local Attorney

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Also at the meeting, the Plan Commission approved a measure that allows local attorney Ken Nunn to build new structures his yard. Nunn asked the Commission to reduce a conservation easement on his property on Saddlebrook Lane, just southeast of Bloomington. Don Kacharik, from an engineering firm who inspected the site, said the measure would correct a surveying error made years ago.

The conservation easement prevents Nunn from building on a portion of his property. Commission member Scott Wells was the only opposition to the measure. Wells said Nunn’s subdivision was given lots of exemptions from the County’s rules when it was built in the 90s.

Nunn was once the attorney for the Plan Commission. Except for Wells’s opposition, he got a warm reception at the meeting. Nunn promised to consult his homeowners association before building new structures.

The Commission told Nunn his own personal injury law firm slogan, “It’s Just that Easy,” when giving him the O.K. to build his yard structures. The Commission voted 7 to 1 to reduce the conservation easement in his yard.

Storm water management debate

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On September 11th, the storm water management board debated a line item in their 2015 budget at the urging of the county council. In their previous meeting the board struck funds that go toward a quarter-time treasurer deputy position. Board member Iris Keisling said that though she voted in the past to allow for storm water management funds to go to the treasurer’s office, it was not intended to be a recurring expense.

Salary plus benefits for the quarter-time position total ten thousand dollars that would come from the Storm Water Management budget. Board Member Kevin Enright recommended the board vote to reinstate the funds for one additional year.

Keisling disagreed, pointing out that other departments do not assist in funding the treasurer’s office and that the Storm Water Management budget should be treated the same as all other county offices.

A motion to reinstate the full ten thousand dollars to help the treasurer’s office pay for a quarter time deputy to oversee the collection of Storm Water Management fees was tied 2-2 and did not pass. Board member Julie Thomas offered a compromise.

County Council attorney Michael Flory was present at the meeting and commended the board on their collegiality and said the funds would help alleviate demands on the auditor and treasurers offices.

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