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Parking meter plan

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The Bloomington City Council pressed Mayor Mark Kruzan for information about parking meters September 23rd. Council members asked about the financial status of the meter project. The questions came up as the Council considered next year’s city budget. Council member Marty Spechler wanted to know if the meters are making money for city government.

Kruzan did not directly answer the question. He said the financial picture is complex. And he said the administration provided written responses to similar questions prior to the meeting.

City documents state parking money is divided into at least five separate funds. At least three city departments do work related to parking. And the city has said from the start it expects to spend the first few years paying off the initial costs of meters.

Board member Steve Volan asked for the administration to present a clearer parking budget in the future .

Kruzan said he expects the parking meter program to change soon. He gave no specifics on those changes except to say the city government would probably be making less money.

Kruzan said his administration is consulting with downtown businesses and the Chamber of Commerce about changes to meter policy.

IU, After Local Pressure, Alters Plan To Demolish 6 Historic Houses

Indiana University will be deciding this week on the fate of six historic Bloomington houses.

Last year, IU announced plans to build a new law school facility on land currently occupied by Phi Gamma Delta fraternity house, commonly known as FeeGee. IU agreed to build a new facility for the fraternity on the 800 block of E 8th St which is part of the University Courts historic district. The area has been placed on the state historic register since 1992 and on the national historic register since 2007.

Alarm over IU’s demolition plan of the homes prompted the City of Bloomington to place the district on its list of local historic districts this spring. This designation requires city approval for any development plan in the area, but there is dispute as to whether state owned property would be exempt from the city purview. A legal opinion solicited by Historic Landmarks Foundation of Indiana found credible argument for the designation to apply to the demolition of the eight street homes even though they are owned by IU.

Beyond the legal rights, IU has come under considerable pressure from the local residents, the Historic Preservation Commission of the City, members of City Council and the Mayor, to preserve the houses slated for demolition, and according to an agenda released today, IU seems to have listened.

The IU Trustees Facilities Committee will be looking at a new proposal that would move four of the houses a block to the west, while still demolishing two properties. Philip Eskew, an IU trustee and chair of Facilities Committee, explains what prompted the alteration of the plan.

“We’ve worked with the mayor, the council and the historical group in Bloomington to listen to their concerns,” Eskew says. “We are recommending to the trustees that we change what we had initially said tearing down the houses and instead move the four worthy of being saved.”

Eskew affirmed that the university believes that it has the legal right to dispose of the houses any way it sees fit.

A bill introduced into the Indiana legislature earlier this year by local state representative Matt Pierce would have required public institutions seeking to demolish, move or change the exterior of a university building within a historic preservation district to obtain a certificate of appropriateness before commencing work.

In Bloomington, it would be the City’s Historic Preservation Commission that would control the certification process. However, the bill failed to make it to the floor of the House in time for passage during this year’s session.

Nevertheless, the local pressure seems to have had some impact on IU.

“There were several groups, even neighbors, that spoke about the tearing down of the houses,” Eskew says. “I think this is a reaction to that and we’re trying to be good neighbors with the community, as we always have been.”

The meeting of the trustees that will be addressing this item will be on the South Bend Campus of IU.

Eskew says the committee will make a recommendation and act on the action items.

The Facilities Committee of the Trustees meeting on Thursday will be from 3:15 to 5 p.m. The full Trustees meeting on Friday will be from 12:45 to 2 p.m. Both will be in combined rooms 221, 223 and 225 of the Student Activity Center of IU South Bend. Both meetings are open to the public.

Interchange – Saving Place: Passion, Politics and Sustainability in Historic Preservation

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This week on Interchange, Saving Place: Passion, Politics and Sustainability in Historic Preservation. Host Trish Kerle’ speaks with Bloomington city council member and small business owner, Chris Sturbaum, and Duncan Campbell, historic preservation consultant, retired associate professor of Architecture and director of the Graduate Program in Historic Preservation at Ball State University about current preservation challenges in Bloomington. Also discussed are issues of conservation and sustainability such as “greening” the built environmental (“the greenest home is the one that’s already been built”).

Council Member Chases Down Alleged Burglars

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Early this week Bloomington City Council member Andy Ruff accidentally found himself involved in an issue that confronts the city every holiday season: burglary. Police say the incident, and the foot chase that ensued, resulted in two arrests that appear to have solved a string of east side break-ins. WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has the story for a WFHB feature exclusive.

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.

Bloomington City Council Passes Resolution Supporting Same-Sex Marriage in Response to HJR6

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The Bloomington City Council passed a resolution in support of same-sex marriage yesterday. The four-page resolution was a response to House Joint Resolution 6, which seeks to add a same-sex marriage ban to the Indiana Constitution. One of the resolution’s sponsors, Council Member Susan Sandberg, defended the council’s choice to take a position on the issue.

“This is the right thing to do at the right time in our history,” Sandberg said, “I stand up proudly for it and I will take any criticism from the media. We have plenty of time to take care of the ‘traditional’ city business but when it comes to resolutions, this council has always taken stands that people say are not in our jurisdiction, we take these opportunities to allow these to serve as public forums.”

11 members of the public spoke in favor of the resolution.

Faith Hawkins, a citizen, said she married her partner in 1996, but the marriage is not legally recognized. Hawkins declared that her reason for support is that she doesn’t want to be at the hospital not being able to find out her partner’s medical status because her next of kin relationship with her is not recognized.

Another member of the public, Glorianne Leck, said she and her partner traveled to New York to get married earlier this year. She said there were financial reasons for the marriage. She wants for her partner to be able to collect her social security but that the cost of the trip should have gone to regular wedding costs.

“I have long said that being queer is what I’m most proud of because I’m not conforming for anybody,” Leck said, “But now I’ve been hogtied into marriage because of the financial need we have as elders.”

Charlotte Zietlow also addressed the council. Zietlow is a member of the city’s Board of Public Works, and she served on the City Council in 1975, when the council voted to include sexual orientation in the city’s Human Rights Ordinance. She said the provision came up for discussion again during the 1990’s.

“I’m touched because those meetings were very conentious and hate-filled,” Zietlow said, “Tonight we have a group speaking from the heart without fear of being yelled at by other members of the community. That is such an incredible sign of progress we should be proud of.”

No one spoke against the resolution, and the council approved it unanimously.

Parks and Rec Requests Million Dollar Budget Increase

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The Parks and Recreation Department of the City of Bloomington has announced that it is going to request an appropriation from City Council for nearly one million dollars, above and beyond its allocated budget, to undertake needed repairs to the grounds and facilities under the department’s care. Correspondent David Murphy spoke with Department Director Mick Renneisen about the request, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Daily Local News – October 24, 2013

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Bloomington City Council discusses changing the city’s rules regarding historic districts because of a state law; Bloomington’s NAACP branch continues to take on the War on Drugs, and its effects on the local black community with a forum; Eight Medical Corporation has relocated its offices from St. Paul, Minnesota to Bloomington; the Third Annual Bike Summit, a yearly event the City of Bloomington holds to bring the local bicycle community together, takes place this Saturday; this weekend in sports.
FEATURE
Indiana University and the Bloomington Homeless
Due to growing concern among students at Indiana University, a number of students have come together to stop the injustices they feel have been committed by their university. These students hold meetings, and some of their testaments have been featured on WFHB’s weekly program The Strike Mic, which usually airs on Tuesdays. Earlier this week a member of the group sat down with us while reading their manifesto to the university and its students, as well as to the IU police force and the Bloomington police force, about the local homeless population, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

VOICES IN THE STREETS
Our weekly public opinion feature Voices in the Street asks you about health care.

CREDITS
Today’s headlines were written by Mike Glab, Yin Yuan, and Yvonne Cheng,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services.
Voices in the Street was produced by Kelly Wherley with correspondent Maddie Glenn.
Our feature today was produced by Harrison Wagner,
Our engineer is Sarah Hettrick,
Our Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

City Residents Lobby for Recycling Facility

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A City Council discussion yesterday about next year’s budget for the city of Bloomington turned into a forum of support for a major recycling project.

When the council asked for comment on the budget, five members of the public spoke in favor of building a materials recovery facility, or a MRF. A MRF would process recyclables locally, theoretically allowing local government entities to make money

Carrie Winkel told the council that operating a MRF would be better than the city’s current arrangement, which involves paying the company Republic Services to haul off recyclables

The council would not be directly responsible for the construction of a MRF. That responsibility would fall to the Monroe County Solid Waste Management District, which has considered different versions of the project in recent years.

None of those proposals have been approved. Speaker Sarah Ryterband said the city needs to use its leverage to lobby for the facility.

The discussion occurred as the council considered next year’s budget, which includes the spending of $1.4 million of city money on trash collection.

While some have said the city’s sanitation department is running a deficit because it spends more than it brings in from trash sticker sales, Council Member Marty Spechler said that’s the wrong way to think about the issue.

The cost of trash collection is going up, in part because Republic Services just announced it is increasing its rates. Council Member Steve Volan, who is also the president of the Solid Waste District’s Board of Directors, said building a MRF could help with those costs

The council did not hold a vote on any matter directly related to a MRF, though Volan said he may soon put forward a resolution supporting the project. The council voted unanimously to approve the 2014 budget.

Daily Local News – September 23, 2013

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A report released today entitled “No Progress” from the Indiana Institute for Working Families shows there has been no significant change in the poverty rate for the state; A law that requires increased reporting from Bloomington’s pawn shops passed the City Council September 18th; The Ivy Tech John Waldron Arts Center is making a call for submissions for the 2014 season; IU Health Bloomington will offer a free child car seat safety check this Thursday, September 26th.

FEATURE
Indiana Sierra Club on Carbon Limits for Coal Plants
Under rules announced last week by the Environmental Protection Agency, new power plants will be limited in how much carbon they can emit into the atmosphere. The new rule is expected to most dramatically affect coal-fired plants, which will be forced to capture at least some of the carbon they release. Both supporters and detractors of the rules say they will make it more difficult to build new, financially viable coal plants. The Hoosier Chapter of the Sierra Club has often brought attention to the environmental hazards of coal power. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with Jody Perras, from the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, about the potential effects of the rules for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

ACTIVATE
Caleb Young, music director for the Indiana Youth Musicians, talks about the organization, how it benefits both the youth involved and the wider Bloomington and Monroe County community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy and Chris Martin
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television Services
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford
Activate! was produced by Jennifer Whitaker and Dan Withered
Our engineers are Chris Martin and Lauren Glapa
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

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