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The State Is Offering Energy Consumption Grants To Religious Institutions

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Five new religious congregations have received state grants to reduce their energy consumption. A press release from the Center for Sustainable Living says these five new congregations will seek to reduce their energy use by 25 to 40 percent. The 100,000 dollar grant was awarded by the Indiana Office of Energy Development and will be split between five congregations. The congregations receiving the grant will also urge their members to cut down on their household energy use. Romel says there are benefits to religious organizations receiving these kinds of grants including reaching a larger audience.

The Hoosier Interfaith Power and Light has been leading the Seventh Day Initiative that seeks to urge religious communities of various backgrounds to cut down on their energy use. One of the measures they take is aimed at teaching younger people about the importance of conserving energy.

One local congregation that has benefited from the grant is the Bloomington Friends Meeting, a collection of Quakers who joined the Seventh Day Initiative out of concern for climate change.

The City Is Seeking To Amend The Rising Cost Of Sludge

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Bloomington is facing rapidly escalating costs for disposal of sludge from its wastewater treatment facility. Sludge is the solid that remains after waste-water treatment and liquid removal. The Utilities Service Board of the city heard a presentation from Efrat Feferman, Assistant Director of Finance for city’s Utilities Department on the rising costs and possible short-term responses. Feferman says that the costs have risen substantially each successive year.

These are external costs to the department for removal and disposal by private contractors. Feferman predicted that this year’s costs will probably reach three-hundred thousand dollars unless changes are made. Only one-hundred and twenty-five thousand dollars has been budgeted for the entire year for this item. The department has done an analysis of what it would cost the department if the city took control of the removal and disposal process. They have also solicited two bids from private companies for managing sludge removal to city landfills. However, it is anticipated that the city’s landfills will reach capacity in two or three years. John Langley, Deputy Director of the Department, explained to the Board that the rising cost of sludge disposal is due to rising volumes. He then told the Board about some of the changes that the Department has adopted to reduce this volume which includes no longer taking any out of county waste disposal and discouraging the use of garbage disposals.

The board also heard from Tamara Roberts, Pretreatment Co-ordinator for the Utilities Department, about two treatment compliance orders the department issued against two local businesses, Upland Brewery and Organized Living. These Significant Non-Compliance orders, or SNO’s, were issued due to the discovery of excessive phosphorous in the waste-water of both, and excessive zinc and copper in the latter’s. The orders require a lowering of these discharges and subjection to monthly inspection by the utilities department.

Indiana Department of Environmental Management Assures Improvement in Air Quality Despite Conflicting Reports

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As Indiana residents celebrate Earth Day this year, the state government says air quality throughout the state is improving. But that official line is complicated by reports from some other organizations. News Director Joe Crawford has the story for today’s WFHB community report.

Daily Local News – April 22, 2015

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Bloomington is facing rapidly escalating costs for disposal of sludge from its wastewater treatment facility; School voucher demand in Indiana is leveling off, according to a report from Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy published last month; Five new religious congregations have received state grants to reduce their energy consumption; The Monroe County Commissioners considered an application last week for a two hundred thousand dollar federal grant to help with local trail work; In recognition of April as Autism Awareness Month, the City of Bloomington’s Community and Family Resources Department is hosting an event to promote awareness about persons with autism in the workforce.

FEATURE
As Indiana residents celebrate Earth Day this year, the state government says air quality throughout the state is improving. But that official line is complicated by reports from some other organizations. News Director Joe Crawford has the story for today’s WFHB community report.

BETTER BEWARE!
A lovely little scam going the rounds offers to pay suckers for putting advertising on their cars. But it ends up working the other way around!

CREDITS
Anchors: Kelly Wherley, Sophia Saliby
Today’s headlines were written by Jack Hanek and Sophia Saliby
Along with David Murphy for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services
Better Beware was produced by Richard Fish
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford
Our engineers today are Adam Reichle and Matt Gwaltney
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford

Report: Indiana School Voucher Program Participation Reaching Peak

School voucher demand in Indiana is leveling off, according to a report from Indiana University’s Center for Evaluation and Education Policy published last month. The report titled “Mapping the Growth of Statewide Voucher Programs in the United States” tracked publicly- funded school voucher programs in Ohio, Louisiana, Wisconsin, and Indiana. Voucher programs cover private school tuition for students from low-income families given that they meet eligibility requirements. Indiana’s voucher program, The Indiana Choice Scholarship Program has been in place since 2011 and offers students a variety of ways to meet eligibility to attend private schools, such as having a sibling enrolled in the program or attending public school for one year. The program offers both ninety-percent coverage and fifty-percent coverage scholarships depending on a family’s income level. In the first two years of its implementation, only about half of the available scholarships were used. Most recently, legislators have removed the enrollment cap, and participation in the program increased approximately one hundred and seventeen percent from the previous year. However, the question remains on whether these numbers will continue to increase. Publicly-funded voucher programs face critics who say that money is being funneled away from public education to private, often religious, institutions.

IU’s New Engineering Department to open Fall 2016

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The fall of 2016 should see the new Engineering Department open at IU-Bloomington open for its first students. While the initiative still needs the approval of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, plans are well on their way for its start-up. The new program is to be housed in the School of Informatics and Computing. Assistant News Director David Murphy spoke yesterday to Professor Robert Schnabel of the IU school of informatics., Schnabel is the dean of the school and chaired the IU faculty task force that made the original recommendation to IU President McRobbie to establish the engineering department. We bring you that conversation now for today’s WFHB community report.

Daily Local News – April 21, 2015

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The Indiana State Department of Health reports today the number of recorded cases of HIV in southeastern Indiana this year has risen to 135; A federal lawsuit charges IU Health and HealthNet Inc. with putting low-income pregnant women and their newborn babies at risk by committing fraud and taking taxpayer money; A bill that looks destined for approval in the Indiana legislature has loopholes that could lead to disastrous consequences, according to the Hoosier Environmental Council; The Monroe County Redevelopment Commission has voted to continue the westside Tax Increment Financing District or TIF; The Monroe County Library Board of Trustees approved an appropriation of five hundred and eighty thousand dollars for the Library Improvement Reserve Fund last week.

FEATURE
The fall of 2016 should see the new Engineering Department open at IU-Bloomington open for its first students. While the initiative still needs the approval of the Indiana Commission for Higher Education, plans are well on their way for its start-up. The new program is to be housed in the School of Informatics and Computing. Assistant News Director David Murphy spoke yesterday to Professor Robert Schnabel of the IU school of informatics., Schnabel is the dean of the school and chaired the IU faculty task force that made the original recommendation to IU President McRobbie to establish the engineering department. We bring you that conversation now for today’s WFHB community report.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
Our weekly segment providing economic education and community resources that keep your budget balanced and your finances flourishing.

CREDITS
Anchors: Casey Kuhn, Chris Martin
Today’s headlines were written by Kyle Boen, Sophia Saliby, Joe Crawford and Joshua Byron
Along with David Murphy for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by David Murphy
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Ryan Stacy and edited by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer is Harrison Wagner
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Managing Producer is Alycin Bektesh,
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford.

Interchange – Bloomington City Council Primary Candidates: District 5 Democrats

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Host Doug Storm is joined by District 5 candidates for the Democratic nomination to run for the Bloomington City Council seat in November.

Guests
Isabel Piedmont-Smith
Kurt Babcock
Gabriel Colman

Previous Candidate Conversations
Interchange – Bloomington City Council Primary Candidates: District 1 Democrats
Interchange – Bloomington City Council Primary Candidates: District 4 Democrats
Interchange – Bloomington City Council Primary Candidates: District 3 Democrats
Interchange – Primary Candidates for Mayor: A Conversation

Related
Democracy for Monroe County Forum, 3/31

Music:
“Vote for Me” – Chicago
“Mayor of Simpleton” – XTC

Credits
Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Jonathan Richardson
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

The Ins and Outs of Money – It’s Money Smart Week

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Just when you thought the Financial Literacy Month celebrations were dying down—national Money Smart Week joins the party! Hear what MSW is all about and who’s offering FREE, unbiased money events this week near you.

The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Ryan Stacy and edited by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.

Major Challenges for Bloomingfoods

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Bloomington’s local co-op grocery is undergoing major challenges. That is how a press release from Bloomingfoods describes recent developments there.

Tim Clougher, the former board president, has resigned and been replaced by another board member, Caroline Beebe. At the same time, Bloomingfoods has invited a national organization to review its operations.

Last week, the Daily Local News ran a feature interview with a co-op member, Keith Taylor, who had been circulating a petition that demanded just such a review or an audit. Taylor also researches cooperatives at the Ostrom Workshop at IU. He also stated that he had access to most of the board and many of its employees. He had come to the conclusion that Bloomingfoods may not survive the imminent arrival of competition unless it made significant changes.

The Bloomingfoods press release acknowledges major challenges, mentioning the announcements from Lucky’s Market and from Wholefoods that they were opening stores in town. It didn’t mention that the recently renovated Kroger on College Mall Road has an expanded natural and whole foods section, an area in which Bloomingfoods has specialized.

Bloomingfoods announced that it has asked for the assistance of the National Co-operative Grocers Association, the leading professional organization of this sector, to which Bloomingfoods belongs. The external reviewers have been scheduled to pay a site visit at the end of April. In the interest of full disclosure, Bloomingfoods is an underwriter at WFHB.

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