The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce just announced their opposition to HJR 6, the legislation in the Indiana State House altering the definition of marriage. The Chamber’s Board of Directors approved the official documentation of their opposition, saying instead legislators should work on legislation that will bring business to the state, not give them reason to leave. The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce represents over 1,100 local businesses including IU Health-Bloomington and Indiana University, which have both also released public statements opposing the amendment. The Bloomington City Council also made a motion against HJR 6 last week and Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan has joined mayors statewide in opposition to the bill.
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Two Monroe County officials gave a presentation Tuesday in hopes of quelling fears about a looming financial dilemma.
The officials spoke before the County Council about the fact that the County Treasurer’s Office has fallen several months behind on required financial reports.
Without filing the monthly documents, the county would be unable to distribute tax money to other units within the County, potentially leaving local governments like the city of Bloomington and the town of Ellettsville unable to meet their obligations.
Although the office hasn’t filed a report since May, County Treasurer Cathy Smith said her staff made up for lost time in recent weeks.
“We’ve been working hand-in-hand with the Auditor’s and Commissionors Office in keeping up to speed with where we are each day,” Smith said, “I think it’s fair to say that we are in the final preparations to approve a settlement.”
The County Auditor’s Office needs to approve the reports by Dec. 20 in order to send money on to other governmental units.
Auditor Steve Saulter said he’s confident the money will be distributed, even if the entire process is not complete in time.
Saulter said that’s partly because the law allows him to distribute 95% of the money before all the approvals are finished.
“I can’t promise we’ll get the whole settlement process done with the timing and holidays,” Saulter said, “We’ll complete the process the first week of January.”
During the presentation, Smith made another request to the County for a fifth employee in her office. She said that would help address future issues like this one, which she said was caused by the loss of a staff member.
“We don’t want to lose someone with all the knowledge again,” Smith said, “It just doesn’t make sense.”
Several members of the County Council thanked the Treasurer’s office for working to complete the reports before the deadline. Council President Geoff McKim said the county avoided what could have been a “pretty serious problem,”
Last Thursday, during a board meeting at Indiana University East in Richmond, IU trustees talked about the contracts awarded by the school to businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans.
Governor Mike Pence set diversity targets for all state purchasing from the Indiana government.
According to trustee Patrick Shoulders, IU considers those aspirational goals. The aim is to encourage the development of women-owned businesses and minority-owned businesses, known as WBE and MBE, in the state of Indiana.
Shoulders says IU is one of the leading institutions in the state making the effort to achieve these goals.
“We have not attained the self-imposed aspirational goals and I think there are a lot of explanations for that,” Shoulders said, “It certainly isn’t through lack of effort but perhaps through lack of available, qualified WBE and MBE providers.”
Shoulders explains that the awards are given out based on the lowest bid, which can make it hard for small businesses to win contracts at IU.
“I think that this effort is difficult and we’re fighting against years and years of discrimination,” Shoulders said, “The Board of Trustees was quite clear that We expect IU to be on the cutting edge of pushing for the success of WBEs and MBEs.”
Though IU fell short of the state’s diversity directives, Shoulders says the trustees want IU to be a leader in the state for awarding these kinds of contracts.
The Bloomington Chamber of Commerce opposes HJR-6; The Bloomington City Council voted yesterday to do away with the stiffest penalties for violating the city’s parking meter rules; 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; Last Thursday, during a board meeting at Indiana University East in Richmond, IU trustees talked about the contracts awarded by the school to businesses owned by minorities, women, and veterans; Two Monroe County officials gave a presentation Tuesday in hopes of quelling fears about a looming financial dilemma.
Pence on Education
On Tuesday December 10th Indiana Governor Mike Pence outlined his agenda for handling Hoosier education in 2014. He praised Indiana standardized test scores and announced an initiative to provide grants directly to teachers, and stressed innovation in education. Highlights from his speech, here for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.
VOICES IN THE STREET
Our weekly public opinion feature Voices in the Street asks you to reflect on 2013 and speculate what is to come in 2014.
Anchors: Carolyn VandeWiele, Scott Weddle
Today’s headlines were written by Yvonne Cheng
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Sarah Hettrick.
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley, and Maddie Glenn
Our engineer is Sarah Hettrick.
Our Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.
In today’s EcoReport feature, Bloomington Citizen’s Climate lobby co-leader Marcia Veldman talks with corresponding Norm Holy about the organization’s goal of promoting energy produced from non-fossil fuel sources.
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: David McFarland, Dan Young
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 and Dan Young. Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.
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.
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.
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.
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.