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I-69 Construction Erosion Problems In Bloomington Go Unanswered From INDOT

Bloomington and Monroe County officials pushed for answers June 13 about erosion problems that have persisted for more than a year along the planned route of Interstate 69.

The policy committee of the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization submitted questions months ago to the Indiana Department of Transportation. They asked about contaminated waterways along section 4 of the interstate, which has been under construction since last year. INDOT sent a written response earlier this month, but committee member Cheryl Munson said it was incomplete.

“I had a number of questions about that response and was disappointed we couldn’t have a discussion with a representative,” Munson says. “The points that bothered me most were the statements INDOT sent rather than answers to questions.”

An INDOT official, Janelle Lemon, was scheduled to respond to the committee’s questions during a presentation May 9. But that presentation never happened.

Committee member Scott Wells said he was disappointed with INDOT’s treatment of the issue. Wells has contended for months the state is not using the right erosion control methods to prevent contamination.

“It’s unfortunate and disconcerting that the people we want to be here aren’t here,” Wells says.

Residents along the path of the interstate have reported erosion problems throughout the state. As construction is set to begin in Bloomington later this summer, mayor Mark Kruzan said he wants to see more details from the state about how they are addressing the problem.

“Is there anything being brought up in writing, verbally, in presentations, emails or meetings, where INDOT looks at this and says, here are things that have been alleged and we think yes this is valid and we’re working on it or no this isn’t us,” Kruzan explains.

Kruzan went on to suggest how the MPO could force the state to listen to the local concerns.

“I don’t think that just because someone doesn’t attend a meeting that they’re guilty of anything,” Kruzan says. “But obviously with this much notice, there’s no reason for them not to be here at the other meeting. If that happens, I certainly will be moving to table all the requests INDOT makes from MPO until we get answers to all of those bullet points that we have.”

Construction on Section 5 of the interstate is expected to begin by September. That section will run from Bloomington to Martinsville.

IU, After Local Pressure, Alters Plan To Demolish 6 Historic Houses

Indiana University will be deciding this week on the fate of six historic Bloomington houses.

Last year, IU announced plans to build a new law school facility on land currently occupied by Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, commonly known as FeeGee. IU agreed to build a new facility for the fraternity on the 800 block of E 8th St which is part of the University Courts historic district. The area has been placed on the state historic register since 1992 and on the national historic register since 2007.

Alarm over IU’s demolition plan of the homes prompted the City of Bloomington to place the district on its list of local historic districts this spring. This designation requires city approval for any development plan in the area, but there is dispute as to whether state owned property would be exempt from the city purview. A legal opinion solicited by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana found credible argument for the designation to apply to the demolition of the eight street homes even though they are owned by IU.

Beyond the legal rights, IU has come under considerable pressure from the local residents, the Historic Preservation Commission of the City, members of City Council and the Mayor, to preserve the houses slated for demolition, and according to an agenda released today, IU seems to have listened.

The IU Trustees Facilities Committee will be looking at a new proposal that would move four of the houses a block to the west, while still demolishing two properties. Philip Eskew, an IU trustee and chair of Facilities Committee, explains what prompted the alteration of the plan.

“We’ve worked with the mayor, the council and the historical group in Bloomington to listen to their concerns,” Eskew says. “We are recommending to the trustees that we change what we had initially said tearing down the houses and instead move the four worthy of being saved.”

Eskew affirmed that the university believes that it has the legal right to dispose of the houses any way it sees fit.

A bill introduced into the Indiana legislature earlier this year by local state representative Matt Pierce would have required public institutions seeking to demolish, move or change the exterior of a university building within a historic preservation district to obtain a certificate of appropriateness before commencing work.

In Bloomington, it would be the City’s Historic Preservation Commission that would control the certification process. However, the bill failed to make it to the floor of the House in time for passage during this year’s session.

Nevertheless, the local pressure seems to have had some impact on IU.

“There were several groups, even neighbors, that spoke about the tearing down of the houses,” Eskew says. “I think this is a reaction to that and we’re trying to be good neighbors with the community, as we always have been.”

The meeting of the trustees that will be addressing this item will be on the South Bend Campus of IU.

Eskew says the committee will make a recommendation and act on the action items.

The Facilities Committee of the Trustees meeting on Thursday will be from 3:15 to 5 p.m. The full Trustees meeting on Friday will be from 12:45 to 2 p.m. Both will be in combined rooms 221, 223 and 225 of the Student Activity Center of IU South Bend. Both meetings are open to the public.

Bloomington’s Sister City, Santa Clara

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Since 2013, members of local organization Cubamistad  starting working on an application to travel to Bloomington’s sister city Santa Clara, Cuba. The application required that all activities in Cuba be spelled out on the itinerary and that it be a meaningful interaction for Cubans and US visitors alike. After repeated delays in getting a response from the Office of Foreign Assets Control -a part of the US treasury, the license was granted in the final days of December. Eleven locals made the two week trip, beginning May 18th. Cubamistad member Cynthia Roberts Hall made this audio travel journal, and shares the experience here,  for today’s Daily Local News feature exclusive.

Daily Local News – June 16, 2014

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Bloomington Transit is seeking  to adopt a code of conduct for passengers that prohibits “destructive behavior” on public transportation; The Chief Justice of the Indiana Supreme Court is leaving his position; The Bloomington City Council discussed a resolution June 11th to approve an Interlocal Cooperation Agreement Between the City of Bloomington and Monroe County, Indiana in regards to the 2014 Edward Byrne Memorial Justice Assistance Grant, or “JAG.”; The Monroe County Public Library Board of Trustees discussed their annual budget plan June 11th; The Bloomington Utilities Service Board is considering a draft of a plan to conserve water throughout Bloomington.

FEATURE
Since 2013, members of local organization Cubamistad  starting working on an application to travel to Bloomington’s sister city Santa Clara, Cuba. The application required that all activities in Cuba be spelled out on the itinerary and that it be a meaningful interaction for Cubans and US visitors alike. After repeated delays in getting a response from the Office of Foreign Assets Control -a part of the US treasury, the license was granted in the final days of December. Eleven locals made the two week trip, beginning May 18th. Cubamistad member Cynthia Roberts Hall made this audio travel journal, and shares the experience here,  for today’s Daily Local News feature exclusive.

ACTIVATE!
Pat Medland, a 13 year volunteer with Community Kitchen of Monroe County, talks about the his experience with the Kitchen and the big need for volunteers over the summer.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy
Along with Drew Daudelin for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Ilze Ackerbergs, along with correspondent Cynthia Roberts Hall.
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineer today is Chris Martin,
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Bring It On! – June 16th, 2014

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Bev Smith and William Hosea welcome Dr. Billy Taylor; Founder, President and CEO of Get Back Up, Inc.

PART ONE
PERSEVERANCE ~ The Story of Dr. Billy Taylor is a powerful new documentary exploring the life of one of Michigan’s greatest running backs. The film highlights Taylor’s notable football accomplishments, but goes deeper, exploring the setbacks that destroyed Taylor’s reputation, setting him on a 25-year roller-coaster ride to recover it. The film will premiere on the Big Ten Network June 23rd.

Today, Dr. Taylor has experience to share and a passion to assist young adults, students and student athletes understand and how to manage their transitions, and choices in the world of academics. Currently Dr. Taylor is the founder, President and CEO of Get Back Up, Inc. (GBU). Dr. Billy Taylor joins William and Bev by phone to discuss elements of his life and his passion.

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

CREDITS
Hosts: Bev Smith and William Hosea
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! – Community Kitchen of Monroe County Inc.: Pat Medland

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Pat Medland, a 13 year volunteer with Community Kitchen of Monroe County, talks about the his experience with the Kitchen and the big need for volunteers over the summer. To volunteer, go to http://www.monroecommunitykitchen.com/volunteer.html.

Books Unbound – Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Part 3

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James Joyce was a pioneering writer of modernist fiction and poetry, known for his innovative prose style and complex wordplay. Born in 1882 in Dublin, Joyce left Ireland at the age of twenty to study in Paris. Within months, he started his first novel, A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Published in 1914, A Portrait established Joyce as both an experimental stylist and a pusher of boundaries who questioned religious and nationalist orthodoxy.

A Portrait was received as a bold achievement by most of Joyce’s literary peers, but some critics dismissed its realism as a dirty obsession with sex and sewage. These controversies were soon eclipsed by Joyce’s monumental Ulysses. Today regarded as the definitive modernist novel in English, Ulysses was officially banned as obscene in both Britain and the United States, earning Joyce a perennial place among literary masters whose works were suppressed.

Volunteer Connection – June 13, 2014

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A weekly snapshot of how people of all ages can match their time and talents to local needs. Each week Volunteer Connection brings you the “featured five” – five ways to get involved NOW! Volunteer Connection is a co-production of WFHB and the City of Bloomington Volunteer Network, working together to build an empowered, vibrant, and engaged community!

WIUX to be Relocated after 40 Years of Broadcasting

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Indiana university plans to demolish six homes in the University Courts historic district and then transfer the land to the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, in exchange for their current home next to the law school. One resident of the historic homes – IU’s student radio station WIUX, was notified this month that they are being relocated a year earlier than expected, and need to be out of their home of the last 40 years by the middle of this month. WFHB News Director went to the station and spoke with outgoing station manger Joe Heath and incoming general manager Carolyn Suna, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Daily Local News – June 12, 2014

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The Bloomington City Council further discussed an ordinance June 10th to amend Title 20 of the Bloomington Municipal Code, concerning the possibility of encouraged diversity in restaurants located downtown; Yesterday a coalition of Indiana groups launched a bipartisan public education campaign to secure the freedom to marry for same-sex couples in Indiana; Officials throughout Monroe County have made plans to enter an energy efficiency contest for a five million dollar prize; The Monroe County Council discussed a resolution June 10th approving tax abatement compliance findings in 2014; The Bloomington Utilities Service Board is considering a draft of a plan to conserve water throughout Bloomington; This week the IU School of Education and the IU School Administrators Association are hosting discussions on topics including bullying, evaluation and special education law at their 47th summer education seminar.

FEATURE
Indiana University plans to demolish six homes in the University Courts historic district and then transfer the land to the Phi Gamma Delta fraternity, in exchange for their current home next to the law school. One resident of the historic homes – IU’s student radio station WIUX, was notified this month that they are being relocated a year earlier than expected, and need to be out of their home of the last 40 years by the middle of this month. WFHB News Director went to the station and spoke with outgoing station manger Joe Heath and incoming general manager Carolyn Suna, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

CREDITS
Anchors: Carolyn VandeWiele, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Dan Withered
Along with Drew Daudelin and Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Alycin Bektesh
Our engineer today is Sarah Hetrick.
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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