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!
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Consummate story teller Jim Doud talks about “Joe” on an edition of “Our View.” IU alum, Attorney and Cherokee Indian Becca Riall responds to a listener query “Why don’t Indians just become Americans?” by discussing the politics and government regulations as they relate to reservations in the U.S. Helen addresses the nursing career on an edition of “Queer Herstory. Featured artist is Oregon folk artist Josh Garrels and musical selections are “Flood Waters” and “Fire by Night” from his latest “The Sea InBetween” cd.
Producer Carol Fischer
Executive Producer Alycin Bektesh
Associate Producer Sarah Hetrick
News Director Josh Vidrich
Original Theme Music Mikial Robertson
Announcer Sarah Hetrick
Indiana University geologist and assistant professor Douglas Edmonds has been awarded a Sloan Research Fellowship, and with it comes fifty thousand dollars to help him continue his research on river deltas. Correspondent Casey Kuhn spoke with Edmonds about his work and its impact for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
A new ten-digit area code system will be implemented for residents in Indiana’s 812 area code region on September 6, 2014.
On March 1, residents will still be able to use the 812 area code, but should start using 10 digits when they make a call.
Spokesman for the Indiana Office of Utility Consumer Counselor Anthony Swinger explains why a new area code change is being implemented.
“It’s important to keep in mind that 930 is just being added to the 812 area,” Swinger says, “Anyone with an 812 number right now will keep his or her number after the change. The 930 numbers are going to be added after October 6. The reason for the new area code is because the 812 area code, which has stayed unchanged since 1947, is close to running out of numbers. The industry projects that in the middle of 2015, 812 will no longer have any numbers for new phones and customers. So, it’s necessary to add the new area code so there’s a large enough pool of numbers.”
The dialing system will help usher in the new 930 area code, which will take effect in the fall.
The new area code is being added using what is called the overlay method. Swinger says this method has been used by 37 states in the U.S. for area code change-overs since 2008.
The discussion to use an overlay or a split method was a year-long case that the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission ordered in July 2013.
After the case closed, the IURC decided that the overlay method would be the least disruptive. Swinger explains how the new system will affect residents in the 812 region.
“The changes will affect everyone to one degree or another,” Swinger says, “The main way the changes will affect folks in Bloomington and south central Indiana will be the need for 10 digit dialing for local calls. Instead of just dialing 7 digits, it will be necessary to dial 812 than the seven digits. What begins Saturday is a six month period to adjust to 10 digit dialing. If the old habit comes up in this grace period, the number will still go through.”
On September 6, residents can continue to use the 812 area code but will have to use ten digits to make a call. When October 6 rolls around, residents will have to begin using the new 930 area code and continue to use ten digits to place a call.
The Indiana University and Ivy Tech students of the Affordable Care Act Volunteers of Monroe County are starting a new campus organization.
The group is launching a March healthcare campaign called “Madness” that will help students learn more about health insurance and the Affordable Care Act.
David Meyer, president of the ACA Volunteers of Monroe County, says this campaign will have campus-wide events, but want to focus on social media.
“We have a couple of students who are co-leads on the campaign,” Meyer says, “They divide up the responsibilities between social media and public events and direct outreach. Since so many students are deeply involved in social media, that’s a major way to provide them with information. It’s still in the early stages, but we’re focused on getting this going right now because the deadline for signing up for coverage is March 31.”
Meyer says the cost of health insurance may be less expensive than the penalty students will have to pay if they do not get health insurance by March 31.
Students who are claimed as a dependent on their parents taxes will not have to pay the penalty, but their parents will.
Meyer says he hopes the campaign will help answer questions about the ACA that differ from questions that older adults may have about healthcare.
“We have a couple of students who are co-leads on the campaign,” Meyers says, “They divide up the responsibilities between social media and public events and direct outreach. Since so many students are deeply involved in social media, that’s a major way to provide them with information. It’s still in the early stages, but we’re focused on getting this going right now because the deadline for signing up for coverage is March 31.”
The next event for the ACA Volunteers of Monroe County is the Health Insurance Community Fair. The fair is next Thursday, March 6 at the Monroe County Library from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.
Meyer says the event will give students and community members a chance to pair with trained volunteers that will help them answer questions they have concerning the ACA.
The Monroe County Commission approved a $271,000 contract on February 21 with a company that plans to take aerial photographs of the entire County.
The company, Pictometry International Corporation, would fly over the area to take high-resolution pictures for the County Assessor’s office.
Assessor Judy Sharp said one way her staff uses images like these is to detect changes in properties, which can affect their assessed value and in turn their property taxes.
“This is the third time we’ve done this,” Sharp said, “We fly over every three years because Monroe County is such a fast-growing community. In three years, you have a lot of new product out there. This company can actually tell us the changes, good or bad, to a piece of property”
Sharp said the contract, which covers three years, includes a stipulation that prevents the public from accessing the photographs.
“It is strictly in the assessor’s office,” Sharp said, “The city police could use this, but it isn’t a tool just anyone use because it’s licensed. You can go online at our 39 degrees GIS website which does something very similar, but it isn’t what we use.”
The commission voted unanimously to approve the agreement.
The construction of a new water pumping station came in at about $260,000 under budget, according to officials at a Bloomington Utilities Service Board meeting on Feb. 24.
Michael Hicks, the Utilities Department’s capital projects manager, submitted a change order on the $6.5 million project.
“The project is complete and with the approval of this change order we can close out the project with our contractor,” Hicks said.
The construction was performed by the Orleans-based company Layne Incorporated, but the engineering was done by the Kansas-based company Black and Veatch.
Adam Westerman, from Black and Veatch, said the project did not cost as much as expected, in part because the contractor didn’t spend its full budget for items like office supplies, equipment, and furniture.
Board member Jason Banach asked Westerman about the city paying for a contractor’s supplies.
“Is this something we typically pay for, their pens and pencils?” Banach asked.
“We’ve handled it different ways historically, but for the past eight years we’ve taken on the cost of that,” Westerman said, “And anything left comes back to the city.”
The board later voted unanimously to approve the change order.