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Monroe County School Diversity Offical Declares Most Minority Employees ‘Satisfied’

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On Tuesday a newly assigned diversity official at the Monroe County Community School Corporation said minority employees there are mostly pleased with their work environment.

Diane Hanks, the corporation’s diversity and talent specialist, said her office held forums last month for employees from underrepresented groups.

“Generally the employees were satisfied and feel comfortable in their respected environment,” Hanks said, “Their work environment is inclusive regardless of their race, ethnicity, gender, sexual orientation, physical or mental disability and age.”

The forums were a response to the same controversy that led to the creation of Hanks’ new position.

Many community members were angry when the corporation promoted a white administrator to be principal at Tri-North Middle School. Hanks had also applied for the job, and some alleged that racial bias affected the decision, especially because Hanks had more experience as an administrator.

During that controversy, some MCCSC employees of color said a lack of diversity at the Corporation was a problem. And in her report this week, Hanks said there are indeed still issues that need addressed.

Hanks went on to say that the corporation should address concerns from employees who want more information about how to advance within the corporation.

City Council Lowers Parking Meter Fines

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The Bloomington City Council voted yesterday to do away with the stiffest penalties for violating the city’s parking meter rules.

Council President Darryl Neher introduced an amendment to city code that set a fine of twenty dollars for all parking meter violations.

The amendment removed the escalating fine structure the Council passed earlier this year, which would have resulted in fines as high as one hundred dollars for failure to pay meters.

Neher read the new language that will be part of the traffic code that said the fine will increase to $40 if it is not paid within seven days.

The Council did not discuss the amendment or ask any questions of Mayor Mark Kruzan’s administration, which first put forward the change.

The council did vote to approve the measure, but Council member Andy Ruff voted against it and member Steve Volan abstained. Neither member explained their votes.

Later in the meeting, the council voted to install a neighborhood parking zone in a roughly six-block area south of downtown.

The zone is aimed at alleviating a problem with the area’s street parking, which is commonly used by drivers going downtown or to the Indiana University campus. The zone was initially proposed to stretch from Lincoln Street east to Henderson Street, and from Second Street south to First Street. But Neher proposed the council exempt First Street from the new rules.

The zone would keep most drivers who don’t live in the six-block area from parking on the streets there. Council member Tim Mayer said the city should study the parking situation on First Street before setting parking restrictions there.

The Council voted to approve the new parking zone without including First Street.

Health and Education With Glenda Ritz

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 On Saturday November 23rd The Brown County Democratic Party invited the public to join a brown bag lunch session with Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz and the Director and Founder of Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan Rob Stone, M.D. The event was free to the public, and included a question and answer period. Part 1 focuses on Education and Part 2 on Health here in the Hoosier State. This event was recorded on location at The Seasons Lodge Conference Center in Brown County by Community Access Television services for Standing Room Only, on WFHB.

ISTA Settlement: The State Responds

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Continuing our story from yesterday’s Daily Local News—Valerie Kroeger, from the Office of the Indiana Secretary of State Connie Lawson, talks about the out-of-court settlement between the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Teachers association, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

CATSweek: Same-Sex Marriage Resolution, Rules For Secondhand Shops, Proposed Recycling Facility

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In this episode of CATSweek, produced through a partnership between WFHB and Community Access Television Services:

The Bloomington City Council passed a resolution in support of same-sex marriage December 4th; The Board president of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District announced plans November 21st to renew discussion about a controversial recycling facility; On November 25th, the Ellettsville Town Council held another debate about new regulations on secondhand shops…And more.

Watch the full show on the CATS website.

Interchange – Fred Cate: Government Surveillance, Then and Now

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This week on Interchange, host Joe Crawford speaks with Indiana University Law Professor Fred Cate, an expert on privacy and “cybersecurity”. Cate talks about government surveillance on the local, state and national levels – from the spying apparatus at the National Security Agency, to cell phone intercepts by the Indiana State Police, to new surveillance cameras in downtown Bloomington. Cate talks about how our understanding of privacy has changed since the adoption of the Fourth Amendment, which was intended to protect Americans from unlawful search and seizure, in 1792.

ISTA Responds to Settlement

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Brenda Pike, Executive Director of the Indiana State Teachers Association, talks about the out-of-court settlement between the Indiana Secretary of State and the Indiana Teachers association. Correspondent David Murphy brings us the story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Bloomington Telecomm Council Working to Fund Visit from Net Neutrality Scholar Susan Crawford

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The Bloomington Telecommunications Council continued its discussions Dec. 3 about bringing telecommunications scholar Susan Crawford to Bloomington.

The council has encountered issues getting funding for the visit, and last month it requested $5,500 dollars from the city Board of Public Works.

New Council member Jo Throckmorton asked another member, Duane Busick, why the Council would push for the visit from Crawford, who is known mostly for her advocacy of internet access and net neutrality.

“It has nothing to do with what this council deals with,” he said.

Busick said the Council deals with some issues that include internet communication, even though the Council’s statutory responsibility is primarily related to cable television. He said the Council has tried unsuccessfully to redefine its role in city government in recent years and that cable TV is now outdated.

Throckmorton and Busick were the only members who attended the meeting. The council was not able to conduct any official business because there was not a quorum.

 

As Recycling Prices Go Up, City Votes To Fund Materials Recovery Facility

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The Board president of the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District announced plans Nov. 21 to renew discussion about a controversial recycling facility.

At a meeting of the District’s Citizens Advisory Committee, Board President Steve Volan said he would reintroduce a measure that was voted down earlier this year. The measure would allocate $60,000 to study the feasibility of building a materials recovery facility, also known as a MRF, which would process recyclables.

“The study for a clean MRF has been done,” Volan said, “We’re talking about being able to do a dirty MRF which takes the waste stream itself and recycle items out of it. As a public asset it would reduce such a dramatic amount of waste that much less would need to be trucked to another landfill.”

The District’s Executive Director, Larry Barker, said much of the waste the district currently pays to have hauled to a landfill could be used for other purposes.

The district collects trash in the county, and it pays the company Republic Services to haul it to a landfill in Terre Haute.

“The ultimate goal is to get as possible to zero waste,” Barker said, “And that means nothing going to a landfill. Food and yard waste are currently going to the landfills and those can be pulled out to be put into a machine to actually create energy.”

Many of the arguments for building a MRF concern the increasing costs of waste management in the city and the county. Volan said Republic Services is increasing the prices it charges to the city next year.

“Part of the reason I’m supportive of this investment is that the city’s cost of disposal of trash and recyclables will be going up to 46 dollars a ton and the recycling that they’ve been taking for free for the past three years will go up to 46 dollars a ton too,” Volan said, “This results in a six-figure cost to the city that we didn’t anticipate.”

The feasibility study was initially part of the District’s budget for 2014, but the funding was removed in August because of dissent from two District Board members. Those members, Iris Kiesling and Patrick Stoffers, are also County commissioners, and they represent the County on the District Board.

Although those two were the only votes against the MRF on the seven-member board, they were still able to strip the funding, partly because of poor attendance by other members. The board is expected to vote again on the funding at its meeting Dec. 12 at 4 p.m. at the Monroe County Courthouse.

The Strike Mic – December 10, 2013

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This week on The Strike Mic, Indiana University Assembly member Luke O’Donovan speaks about his fundraising efforts to help pay for an ongoing criminal trial, involving an alleged homophobic hate crime.

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