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Mark Stoops Addresses Legislative Roundtable

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Indiana District 40 Senator Mark Stoops addressed the League of Women Voters’ recent legislative roundtable, and gave an update from the Indiana legislature so far this session. His remarks here, for today’s WFHB feature report.

EcoReport – March 13, 2014

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In today’s EcoReport feature, Diane Jung of the Bloomington Environmental Commission discusses natural lawns and landscaping and the alternatives to commercial fertilizers and pesticides.

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.

Anchors: Kelly Miller and Stephanie Stewart
This week’s news stories were written by Linda Greene, Norm Holy, and Stephanie Stewart. This week’s feature was engineered by Dan Withered. This week’s calendar was compiled by Kristina Wiltsee. Our broadcast engineer is Dan Withered. Producers for EcoReport are Kelly Miller, me, Stephanie Stewart, and Dan Young. Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – March 12, 2014

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A measure requiring scrutiny of new chain restaurants downtown cleared another bureaucratic hurdle on Monday. The Bloomington Plan Commission recommended approving the new rule; The Hoosier National Forest has acquired two hundred and forty-five acres of new land, marking the end of a process that took about twelve years; The Bloomington Utilities Department is replacing a long-time contractor who facilitated negotiations between management and an employee union.

FEATURE
League of Women Voters Hosts Legislative Roundtable
In a recent local legislators roundtable hosted by the League of Women Voters, the issue of personal property tax was raised, and local representatives Matt Pirece, Matt Ubelhor, Erik Cook, and State Senator Mark Stoops weighed in on a bill making its way through the legislature this Spring. Their discussion here, for today’s WFHB feature report.

BLOOMINGTON BEWARE!
Nineteenth-century technology can trump Twenty-first-century tech if you let a telephone caller convince you he’s working for Microsoft. It could cost you thousands!

CREDITS
Anchors: Cathi Norton, Kelly Wherley
Today’s headlines were written by Lindsey Wright,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Bloomington Beware was produced by Richard Fish, with correspondent Reina Wong. Alycin Bektesh produced our feature.
Our engineer today is Jim Lang, our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Bloomington Beware! – Microsoft Scams

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Nineteenth-century technology can trump Twenty-first-century tech if you let a telephone caller convince you he’s working for Microsoft. It could cost you thousands!

League of Women Voters Hosts Legislative Roundtable

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In a recent local legislators roundtable hosted by the League of Women Voters, the issue of personal property tax was raised, and local representatives Matt Pierce, Matt Ubelhor, Erik Cook, and State Senator Mark Stoops weighed in on a bill making its way through the legislature this Spring. Their discussion here, for today’s WFHB feature report.

The Strike Mic: Ubuntu Revivement Efforts Underway

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At the end of this month the Interfaith Winter Shelter closes it’s doors to Bloomington’s homeless, about 60 of whom patronize the shelter each evening. Efforts are now underway to resurrect the Ubuntu group with a goal of creating permanent low barrier shelter in Bloomington. We hear updates from this effort today on The Strike Mic.

Daily Local News – March 11, 2014

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Fairview school has a new plan to address perceived deficiencies in the language abilities of its students; Yesterday Indiana Senators Joe Donnelly and Dan Coats joined the rest of the United States Senate in the unanimous passage of the Victims Protection Act of 2014; Duke Energy’s controversial goal-gasification plant in Edwardsport, Indiana is again being challenged before state regulators; Indiana State Police continue to crack down on drunk driving.

FEATURE
The Strike Mic: Ubuntu Revivement Efforts Underway
At the end of this month the Interfaith Winter Shelter closes it’s doors to Bloomington’s homeless, about 60 of whom patronize the shelter each evening. Efforts are now underway to resurrect the Ubuntu group with a goal of creating permanent low barrier shelter in Bloomington. We hear updates from this effort today on The Strike Mic.

INS AND OUTS OF MONEY
It’s that time of year again! Tax Season! Find out where you can file for free and claim valuable credits like the Earned Income Tax Credit.

CREDITS
Anchors: Casey Kuhn, Nick Tumino
You’ve been listening to the Daily Local News on WFHB,
supported by Smithville, your Indiana Communications Company at smithville DOT net,
and by Bloomingfoods Market and Deli, your locally-grown co-op grocery.
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Alycin Bektesh and Lindsey Wright
Our feature was produced by Alycin Bektesh along with correspondent Mia Beach
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer is Rob Powell
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Interchange – W. Kamau Bell: Jokester Without Borders

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Guest W. Kamau Bell with WFHB General Manager Cleveland Dietz, Interchange host Trish Kerle, and Interchange producer Doug Storm.

Guest W. Kamau Bell with WFHB General Manager Cleveland Dietz, Interchange host Trish Kerle, and Interchange producer Doug Storm.

Host Trish Kerle’ welcomes comedian W. Kamau Bell, whose work openly challenges racism, sexism, homophobia, and more. The New Y0rk Times called Kamau “the most promising new talent in political comedy in many years.”  Face Full of Flour, his standup comedy album, was named one of the Top 10 Best Comedy Albums of 2010 by iTunes and Punchline Magazine.  His comedy series, Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell, premiered in August 2012 and became a critically acclaimed, though short-lived, television show executive produced by Chris Rock.  W. Kamau Bell has just launched his first major comedy tour and he will be performing at the Comedy Attic here in Bloomington, Indiana on March 12, 2014.

Fairview School adopts new plan to raise state-imposed ‘F’ grade

Fairview school has a new plan to address perceived deficiencies in the language abilities of its students, and parents seem to support it this time.

Listeners may recall when in January, parents raised complaints after their children were visibly upset over changes in their classes and teachers. Parents complained, and demonstrated outside schoolboard offices.

They learned that the unilateral changes had been adopted by the principal in response to Fairview school receiving a F grade from the state, its students’ low scores on the state mandated ISTEP tests, and studies showing the its graduates went on to do poorly at high school.

The parents demanded meetings and greater consultation with school and board administrators on how the school should respond to the performance problems. Several meetings were held with parents, including one last night where the new plan was presented.

Deborah Myerson, who has two children at Fairview, attended this meeting.

“The first meeting was an attempt to respond to the states’ mandates being imposed right after January with very little advanced notice to parents and teachers,” Myerson says, “That was roundly rejected by the parents. This meeting was an attempt to re-do that with input by teachers and parents, for a new plan that will be in place after spring break.”

Under the new plan, every student at Fairview will spend two hours a day on language arts, an increase from the previous 90 minute load. The lower grades will do this in the morning and the higher grades in the afternoon.

Students will be grouped in smaller classes and specialists will be assigned to help specific teachers and groups. Myerson is hopeful that this plan will work.

“There are definitely literacy needs at the school, no question,” Myerson says, “I think the teachers are working really hard. I think there are issues with how the state is imposing itself on local education processes. Some of it will be difficult to deal with because of the high poverty level at the school, which is routinely correlated with low test scores.”

She points out that the next grade assigned to the school by the state will come out before the new plan has even begun to be implemented.

“I think people need to contact their legislators and that people locally should be in control of how their children are being educated and not be at the constant whim of the state,” Myerson says.

Another meeting for parents, teachers and administrators has been scheduled for this Thursday at Fairview School.

Four environmental groups call for an investigation into Edwardsport coal-gasification plant

Duke Energy’s controversial coal-gasification plant in Edwardsport, Indiana is again being challenged before state regulators.

Four environmental groups, the Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana, Save the Valley, the Sierra Club and Valley Watch, have filed a motion before the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission calling for an investigation into the plant’s operating problems, schedule delays and cost overruns.

Kerwin Olson is the executive director of the Citizens Action Coalition.

“Our complaints relate back to 2007,” Olson says, “Our complaints were that this is a first-of-a-kind technology. This is a science project. We predicted that there would be significant cost escalations, construction delays, and problems during testing and startup, and all of these have happened. So much so that it’s only running at 4 percent of its rated capacity.”

In 2007, when it approved the plant, the Regulatory Commission put a $1.985 billion cap on building costs that Duke could be pass on to its customers. the Commission subsequently raised that cap to $2.6 billion. Today, the cost of the still-not-quite-operational plant is around $3.5 billion and rising.

Duke is now seeking Commission approval to add another $180 million to the expense line for a plant that is years behind its projected completion date.

“This plant was supposed to be purring like a kitten at 85 percent capacity on day one, according to Duke Energy,” Olson says, “In the six month period for the petition we filed it averaged 37 percent capacity, and the latest information we have from January was at 4 percent. We believe that this is a power plant that first of all never should have been approved in the first place and secondly, we have ratepayers paying a tremendous amount of money that is not useful and not serving the public interest.”

Since the time of its initial conception, various opponents have filed 12 motions to the Commission on the proposal. Seven of these are still before the courts.

In the past, the Commission has been reprimanded by the courts for have a too cozy relationship with the interests it is charged with regulating.

Yet the commission continues to add Duke’s costs to ratepayers bills, including the most recent request by Duke to recover repair and maintenance costs for a plant that is not producing much gas.

The Commission has not yet responded to the complainants petition, nor it is required to actually hold a hearing on it. The complainants are preparing for the eventuality of appealing the Commission’s response to Duke’s most recent cost recovery request.

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