The Holidays are a big time for both stores and scammers. Here’s a headsup on three of the con games that are going around right now.
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Secretary of State Connie Lawson released the official voter turnout report yesterday for the 2014 general election; Beginning in January, the City of Bloomington and Bloomington Meadows Hospital will establish a new suicide support group for teens and children in the community involving free ongoing monthly meetings for community youth affected by suicide; Researchers from Indiana University’s Center on Education and Lifelong Learning recently issued a policy brief from a comprehensive survey of current Indiana educators regarding their beliefs about teacher evaluations and their confidence in the evaluation process; Bloomington will host several national softball tournaments during the 2015 and 2016 seasons; Three IU professors have been awarded an National Institute of Health grant to study acetaminophen liver toxicity; Indiana University plans to shut down 10th Street on campus for almost four weeks over winter break.
Hoosiers may finally get to benefit from the expanded Medicaid coverage included as part of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, commonly known as the ACA or Obamacare, that was passed into law back in March of 2010. Besides the well-known health insurance mandate, under which all residents were required to enroll in some kind of insurance program, with federal subsidies of insurance premium payments, there was another provision that got little attention: the expansion of Medicaid eligibility from people with incomes up to 100 percent of the federal poverty level to 138 percent. The federal plan offered to cover, initially, 100 percent of the cost of the expanded coverage for the first three years, and then gradually reduce its subsidy to 90 percent by 2020. State responses to the offer became subject to partisanship: states led by Democrats accepted the offer, and red states initially rejected it. Several Republican governed states have since come on board. However, Indiana is a hold-out, losing out on hundreds of million of dollars of federal transfers and up to half a million more residents covered by expanded Medicaid. In the meantime, the federal government has allowed Indiana to continue with the pre-ACA state delivered medicaid program under the Healthy Indiana Plan, which was established in 2008, and currently provides coverage to around 50,000 residents. Last year, Governor Pence’s office proposed a revised plan, dubbed HIP Two Point Oh, to deliver expanded Medicaid. However, negotiations with federal authorities bogged down over some of the state program provisions, which included premiums, co-pays, and yearly maximums for recipients, which have never been a part of Medicaid. In the meantime, the state has asked for and been given waivers from the federal government to allow it to continue with the old HIP program. The most recent extension agreement, announced in mid-November, would carry the program into 2015. The joint announcements from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the CMS, and Governor Pence’s office, on the extension, also mentioned that negotiations on Medicaid expansion are continuing. On Tuesday Daily Local News correspondent David Murphy spoke to Alex Slobosky, Chairperson of Cover Indiana, which has been campaigning for state acceptance of expanded Medicaid. He informed us that he had just come from a conference in Indianapolis, where representatives of the federal and state governments talked about the current state of healthcare insurance, including the impact of the ACA on Indiana, the recent agreement to extend the state HIP for another year, and ongoing negotiations on the expansion of Medicaid in Indiana. Mister Slobosky first talked about the extension of the old HIP program.
The Holidays are a big time for both stores and scammers. Here’s a headsup on three of the con games that are going around right now.
Anchors: Kelly Wherley, Cathi Norton
Today’s headlines were written by Susan Northleaf, Anson Shupe, Cathi Norton, Sarah Panfil and Emily Beck along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Bloomington Beware was produced by Richard Fish, with correspondent Anson Shupe
Our feature was produced by David Murphy
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Indiana University plans to shut down 10th Street on campus for almost four weeks over winter break. The university asked the Bloomington Board of Public Works to approve the closure at a meeting December 2nd. Drivers will have to detour around 10th Street, which will be closed from Jordan Avenue to Fee Lane. IU’s real estate director, Jason Banach (BA-nek) said the closure is the result of a project to improve the sprinkler system at the Wells Library.
IU asked to close the street starting December 18th until January 12th. Board of Public Works President Charlotte Zietlow said there would be complaints despite many students being out of town.
Bill Riggert, one of the engineers working on the project, said the construction work will be difficult. The university is extending a water main to provide additional water for the sprinklers in the Wells Library.
Despite those concerns, those working on the project said they were confident it would be finished in time to reopen 10th Street on January 12th, when students will return from break.
Three IU professors have been awarded an National Institute of Health grant to study acetaminophen liver toxicity. Acetaminophen is a common pain reliever found in hundreds of over the counter and prescription drugs. But too much can cause liver damage. According to a press release from IU, acetaminophen-induced liver failure is the leading cause of liver failure in the United States. IU professors James Glazier, James Klaunig and Kenneth Dunn are working on a multi-disciplinary computational model to study the mechanism of this toxicity. The collaboration among these professors and their research groups brings together expertise in computational biology, advanced microscopic imaging techniques, and extensive chemical and biological expertise in pharmacology and toxicology. The researches hope these models will allow the study of interactions of various processes and systems in the body, and reduce the use of animals in toxicity studies. This research will be conducted in IU laboratories in Bloomington and Indianapolis.
Bloomington will host several national softball tournaments during the 2015 and 2016 seasons. During its annual Council meeting in Reno, Nevada the Amateur Softball Association, or ASA, acknowledged its search of many sites for the 2016 National Championship season. Bloomington successfully bid during last year’s ASA meeting when it was chosen to host the ASA Girls’ 16-under Class B Northern National tournament. In a very competitive process, each year the Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department. partnering with the Visit Bloomington program attends the ASA council meeting where it lobbies for Bloomington as a tournament venue. Hundreds of city hopefuls from across the U.S. attend the ASA meeting to promote their communities’ assets, accessibility, and tournament amenities. In a press release from the City of Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan states QUOTE “It is an honor being chosen by the ASA as the destination for their national tournament. Events like these are what make our continued investment in the community so worthwhile.” Bloomington was awarded the James Farrell Award of Excellence at the ASA’s Council meeting for hosting one of the highest rated tournaments in 2014, the USA/ASA Girls’ Class A 12-under Fast Pitch National Championship, held last July. According to the ASA, a host city must receive an overall rating of 95 percent or more from the ASA representative, the Umpire-in-Chief, and the national office to receive a James Farrell Award of Excellence.
Researchers from Indiana University’s Center on Education and Lifelong Learning recently issued a policy brief from a comprehensive survey of current Indiana educators regarding their beliefs about teacher evaluations and their confidence in the evaluation process. The survey addressed the measurement of student growth and achievement, the new teacher-evaluation legislation, and how changes in the teacher evaluation process have affected teaching and learning. Findings indicate that superintendents view the evaluation system more favorably and have more confidence in it than do the teachers they are evaluating. However, data gathered also suggest there is an opportunity to secure teacher support for meaningful change in policy and guidance. IU Center on Education researchers provided a variety of recommendations for meaningful changes. Suggestions include creating differentiated rating systems for district teacher evaluation plans that recognize plan quality, reviewing the methodology, using weights for student growth in the evaluation system; anchoring the weight and measure of student growth and teacher evaluation in research; and reviewing how evaluations are linked to compensation. Hardy Murphy, co-author of the research brief, described the primary goal of the research as QUOTE “a fairly comprehensive view of educator feelings about significant changes in teacher appraisal in the state of Indiana and the perceived impact upon teaching and learning in districts across the state.” Murphy says he hopes the Center’s findings will provide insights into the development of policy and legislation requiring changes in the evaluation of teachers.
Beginning in January, the City of Bloomington and Bloomington Meadows Hospital will establish a new suicide support group for teens and children in the community involving free ongoing monthly meetings for community youth affected by suicide. City of Bloomington Health Projects Manager Nancy Woolery and Clinical Social Worker Peter Link of the Bloomington Meadows Hospital will collaborate to facilitate the group meetings. To address the needs of grieving local youth after recent suicides in Monroe County high schools and IU Bloomington, Woolery and Link attended a training in Indianapolis conducted by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, or AFSP. This training focused on teaching adults the skills to facilitate a peer grief support group for teens and children. Bloomington hosts a similar support group for adults in the community. Woolery, who also co-chairs the Monroe County Suicide Prevention Coalition, said that the youth support group will have a different approach than its adult counterpart.
The youth suicide bereavement support group is the first of its kind in Bloomington, and Woolery plans to meet with the AFSP again soon for further guidance. According the AFSP website, their organization works to address suicide stigmas through public education. Woolery said Bloomington group will also make an effort to create a space where suicide is not viewed with stigma.
Meetings for the free adult group “Survivors of Suicide” take place in the Monroe County Public Library every fourth Sunday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m. The exact dates and location for the youth support group have yet to be determined.
Secretary of State Connie Lawson released the official voter turnout report yesterday for the 2014 general election. Indiana’s turnout was 30 percent overall, but some counties such as Martin, Ohio, Perry, Pike and Spencer had at least a 48 percent turnout rate. Jay County was the only district with a turnout higher than 50 percent. Monroe County was one of the lowest in Indiana, with only 26 percent of registered voters casting a ballot. Although the low turnout was not unexpected, nationwide it was the lowest percentage turnout since World War II. Monroe County Clerk Linda Robbins said that the turnout was low because people are growing more and more weary of politics.
Robbins also said that age groups played a big role in the turnout, and that 83 percent of the voters were over 45. She said that younger people don’t think their votes have the power to make a difference–but Robbins says that they do.
Robbins said that young people need to be more involved. And she thinks that it needs to start in schools.
Robbins thinks that political awareness needs to start before high school, and that schools should emphasize how students can be a part of community and government in history classes.
Even into her adult years, Robbins said that she felt passive toward the government. But after working in healthcare and learning about the unfairness of health insurance, she became interested in politics. Robbins made inquiries to all of the then-presidential hopefuls about their stances on healthcare. She received one response. It was from Barack Obama’s campaign. A few months later she received an invitation to help with the primary election in Iowa.
That was the first time she had been asked to participate, she said. And so she did. Robbins returned home and worked on elections, eventually running for her current position as County Clerk. Robbins said that she has higher hopes for voter turnout next year, when more high-profile races will take place. She said that she hopes political parties and candidates will work to involve young people in the election.
School Boards seem to have arisen alongside public schooling in general. In 1826 Massachusetts formally established the system of school committees by requiring each town to elect a separate school committee to have “the general charge and superintendence” of all the public schools of the town. Over time, this model spread to the rest of the nation, insuring that local citizens would have a direct voice in the development and governance of their public schools.
But groups like ALEC (American Legislative Exchange Council) want to do away with the School Board; state legislatures across the country continue to take away the power of communities to educate their citizens requiring measures of success that do little to foster learning. How can a School Board fight back?
Ray Golarz is a former Indiana teacher and superintendent and co-author of the 2012 book The Problem Isn’t Teachers; he has been recognized especially for his pioneering work in implementing site-based shared decision-making. During his career he has served as a middle and high school teacher, administrator at various levels including superintendent, and has taught at St. Joseph’s College, Purdue University Calumet, Indiana University Northwest, and City University in Seattle.
Jenny Robinson is a parent with two children attending MCCSC schools, and a board member of the Monroe County branch of the Indiana Coalition for Public Education (or ICPE Monroe County).
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