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Monroe County Plan Commission Approved Zoning Change for Local Resident

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The Monroe County Plan Commission approved a zoning change for tomorrow, at the request of a landowner who wanted to expand his yard.

John Livingston asked the commission to rezone just more  than an acre of property he intends to buy on Ida Lane, southwest of Bloomington. County planner Tammy Behrman explained why Livingston wants the change.

“The reason for this rezone is that Livingston wants to join his lot in the subdivision to extend his backyard into the creek,” Behrman said, “This is for the purpose of gardening and giving his children somewhere to play.

County Planning staff recommended that Livingston not be allowed to build any structures on part of the property, for fear of flooding problems. Commission members agreed, even though Livingston said he doesn’t think the area is prone to flooding. Commission member John Irvine responded to Livingston’s concerns.

The commission later voted unanimously to rezone the parcel, allowing Livingston to expand his property.

EcoReport – February 20, 2013

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In today’s EcoReport feature, Bruce Moore talks about Marsh Madness, a regional birdwatching event, which takes place when Goose Pond is filled with thousands of sandhill cranes.

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

Bloomington Beware! – Bad Numbers

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Phony charges, in relatively small amounts, can show up on your credit card or telephone bills. Here’s the info on two current schemes, and a warning to check out everything, every time.

10,000+ Hoosiers Petition Governor Pence for Medicaid Expansion

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More than ten thousand signatures in support of Medicaid expansion in Indiana were delivered to the office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence today, timed to reach him before he heads to DC to negotiate Indiana’s treatment of Affordable Care Act funds from the federal government. WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh spoke with Rob Stone, the director of the local group Hoosiers for a Common Sense Health Plan who was at the statehouse as part of today’s demonstration, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Daily Local News – February 19, 2014

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The Bloomington Peace Action Coalition will host a film screening and public discussion over the new film Dirty Wars tonight; Last Thursday an organization that promotes education around soil and water issues asked Monroe County for twenty-five thousand dollars a year; The Richland Bean Blossom School Board voted February 17th to extend a student field trip in hopes of saving money on airfare.

FEATURE
10,000+ Hoosiers Petition Governor Pence for Medicaid Expansion
More than ten thousand signatures in support of Medicaid expansion in Indiana were delivered to the office of Indiana Governor Mike Pence today, timed to reach him before he heads to DC to negotiate Indiana’s treatment of Affordable Care Act funds from the federal government. WFHB News Director Alycin Bektesh spoke with Rob Stone, the director of the local group Hoosiers for a Common Sense Health Plan who was at the statehouse as part of today’s demonstration, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

BLOOMINGTON BEWARE!
Phony charges, in relatively small amounts, can show up on your credit card or telephone bills. Here’s the info on two current schemes, and a warning to check out everything, every time.

CREDITS
Anchors: Susan Northleaf, Kelly Wherley
Today’s headlines were written by Daion Morton,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Bloomington Beware was produced by Richard Fish, with correspondent Anson Shupe. Ilze Akerbergs produced our feature, with correspondent Alycin Bektesh.
Our engineer today is Jim Lang,
Our News Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day Part 2

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On Monday January 20th, the City of Bloomington’s Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration was held to honor and uphold the legacy of the famed activist. The keynote speaker for the Celebration was Freedom Rider Hank Thomas, who spoke on “A Freedom Rider’s Journey.” A Nineteen-year-old Hank Thomas joined the 1961 Congress of Racial Equality (CORE) Freedom Ride. Thomas overcame an impoverished childhood in southern Georgia to attend Howard University in Washington, D.C., where he was active in the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC.) This event was recorded on location at the Buskirk Chumley Theater by  Community Access Television Services for Standing Room Only, on WFHB.

Fairview Elementary Labeled ‘Priority School’ By State, Students Not Reading at Grade Level

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The principal at Fairview Elementary says most of its students are not reading at grade level. That literacy issue was the centerpiece of a presentation about Fairview issues that Principal Tammy Miller gave to the Monroe County Community School Corporation’s Board of Trustees on February 11.

The presentation came about a month after parents protested sudden changes at the school, including classroom reassignments based on standardized test scores. Miller said those changes were triggered partly by test scores received in December that showed only about a third of the students in grades 2 through 6 were reading at grade level.

About that same time, she said the state also made an announcement about the school saying that in December, Fairview had been designated as a “priority school.”

Miller said there are only 24 schools with that designation in the state of Indiana. She said priority schools get increased monitoring by the State Department of Education.

“If in the monitoring process the plan does not meet the criteria of improving the student achievement, the next steps might include shifting resources, changing personnel, or have an outside team develop a new plan for the school.” Miller says.

Miller went on to say that only about 40 percent of students who attend Fairview for sixth grade go on to graduate high school in four years. She said the school is working on what she called a Turn Around plan, which is required by the state.

But Board member Sue Wanzer said the problem extends beyond Fairview. She said there are things outside their control, and that they need help from other people outside the school.

Miller said parents would be involved as changes are made to Fairview.

One of the main complaints from parents who protested the changes last month was that they were not consulted.

Critics Say Agricultural Amendment to Indiana Code Priviliges Rights of Agriculture Industry

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The Indiana General Assembly is moving to enact a bill that critics say will privilege the rights and interests of the agricultural industry.

Senate Bill 186 has recently been approved by the agriculture and natural resources committees of both houses of the legislature. The short bill will add an amendment to a part of the Indiana Code dealing with agriculture.

The first sentence of the first section of SB 186 states that it is the state’s policy to promote the agricultural sector. The second says that the Indiana Code shall be construed to protect the rights of farmers to choose among all generally accepted farming and livestock production practices, including the use of ever changing technology.

The second section states that the state department of agriculture pursue this policy by assisting agricultural businesses with the permit process required to conduct business in Indiana, serve as a liaison between agricultural businesses, state agencies, and local units of government.

Kim Ferraro, of the Hoosier Environmental Council is an opponent the bill. She claims that, if passed into law, SB 186 would compel judges, legislators, and regulators to interpret state law to favor agriculture businesses in any legal conflict with other individuals, business, or local government. She also claims that the bill is meant to serve big agricultural operations, in particular those that have recently come under attack for polluting the land, water and air around them, and for contaminating neighboring farms with their genetically modified seeds.

Yesterday, Ferraro said several owners of family farms also expressed opposition to the bill during the legislative hearings.

“There were eight or nine traditional famers who were there to say that the farm bureau and Big Ag lobbyists don’t represent their interests,” Ferraro says, “There are family farmers who are testifying said they don’t need a right like this and that this only hurts the rights of other people. I thought there were some really moving testimonials but it fell on largely deaf ears.”

Andy Dietrick of the Indiana Farm Bureau argues that SB 186 will not privilege the rights of agriculture businesses over other rights. He says it simply reiterates the mandate of the state’s agricultural department to promote farming.

“I think this is just a reaffirmation in the context of the state Department of Agriculture’s role to promote the farmers’ rights to use technologies and practices that are considered generally acceptable practices,” Dietrick says, “Things change over time and practices change over time and I think the state does affirm the right to use those practices.”

Dietrick claims that the bill will not impair local governments’ rights to pass zoning ordinances and regulations that might impact farm operations.

He also thinks that SB 186 was not intended to benefit large agricultural businesses such as CAFO’s – Concentrated Animal Feeding Operation – which in Indiana is defined as a feed-lot with over 4,000 pigs, for example. These businesses have been proliferating in southern.

“Where in the language does it say anything about CAFO or large operations, specifically?” Dietrick says, “It could be GMO or non-GMO. It could be organic. It’s about farmers’ rights to use ever-changing technologies.”

Senate Bill 186 has now passed out of the agricultural committees of both Houses. However, no date has been scheduled for it to come up for general debate.

Interchange – Citizen Training

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Host Lisa-Marie Napoli interviews Mike Potts, Teacher, and Taylor Roberts, Student, both at Brown County Jr. High School, to discuss their recent statewide championship in the “We the People” competition.  The guests discuss the details of the “We the People” national educational program and how it enhances young peoples’ knowledge of the constitution and develops their civic skills.  The guests give a first-hand account of what the competitive program is about and also what they may expect when they travel to Washington, D.C. in April for the National Finals.

Immigrant Rights Demonstrators Address Todd Young

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Today in Bloomington, activists rallied outside of Representative Todd Young’s Congressional office while Bill Regan read a letter to Young about workers and immigrants’ rights. Many activist groups were on location to show their support and sign the letter that was read by Regan. Activists Joe Varga, Monica Morales, Arturo Viruete, and Rudy Lopez were also at the rally. WFHB correspondent Lauren Glapa was on location and brings us today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

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