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Daily Local News – August 5, 2015


The City of Bloomington issued a boil order this afternoon following several water main breaks today; A single-day study has found an increased number of people experiencing homelessness in Monroe County; In a recent study local biologist Farrah Bashey-Visser has been researching an apparent microscopic war between microorganisms; The company that grades standardized tests for Indiana schools is running behind.

This Saturday a coalition of environmental groups are hosting what they’re calling a Clean Power Party in Indianapolis to thank the Obama administration for its newly unveiled Clean Power Plan. The plan will require power plants around the country to reduce carbon emissions. Saturday’s celebration comes as many political figures in Indiana are decrying the new regulations, saying they will increase electricity costs and hurt the economy. For more about the reaction from Hoosier environmental activists, WFHB News Director Joe Crawford spoke with an organizer from the Sierra Club in Indiana. We bring you that conversation for today’s WFHB community report.

Up next, our weekly consumer watchdog segment Better Beware!

Anchors: Kelly Wherley and Araceli Gomez
Today’s headlines were written by Jack Hanek and Joe Crawford
Better Beware was produced by Richard Fish
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford
Our engineers today are Adam Reichle and Matt Gwaltney
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford

Monroe County’s Homelessness Numbers Appear to Rise


A single-day study has found an increased number of people experiencing homeless in Monroe County.

The 2015 Point-In-Time Homeless count found a total of 329 Monroe County residents living without permanent housing. That’s up from 302 people last year and 304 the year before.

The increase comes as numbers continue to fall slightly across Indiana. The Point-in-Time count is performed by local social service agencies in cooperation with the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority.

The Director of Community Services at the Development Authority, Lori Dimick, says the count is performed each year on a single day in January.

“They take paper forms and try to do the best count they can with what resources they have available,” Dimick said. “People sometimes don’t want to be found.”

In Monroe, Morgan and Greene counties, the largest increase was in the number of people categorized as “unsheltered,” meaning they were living outside of any established homeless shelter. The count found 26 unsheltered individuals this year compared with eight people last year.

Dimick said that change may have more to do with the strategy for finding unsheltered people than with increased numbers, stating that there was an increase in the effort to locate people in need.

“I think it’s due to the fact that there was more effort in getting that count compared to last year,” Dimick said. “It is difficult because there are a lot of people who are sleeping in campgrounds, abandoned buildings, abandoned barns in the rural areas. And they don’t want to be found because they have fear of being arrested, fear of being found out and their place being taken from them.”

WFHB asked for comment today from local agencies that were in charge of the count but we didn’t get calls back before our deadline.

At the Shalom Community Center, Director Forrest Gilmore says the number of clients has actually been down this year. The Shalom Center provides a daytime shelter, meals and other services for people in poverty.

Gilmore says the point-in-time count is useful but it doesn’t tell the whole story.

“It’s probably the best single number that we have to monitor things but it’s also a really imperfect number,” he said. “It’s so hard to count and it’s so transient, there’s so much change. We haven’t seen that kind of increase (at Shalom Center).

“I’m thinking that may just be an uptick in that particular count this year. It may have been more cold and people were coming indoors and so we were able to count them more easily. Or it may be that we did have a slight increase in homelessness in our community and that’s being reflected by the numbers.”

Gilmore says local numbers of people experiencing homelessness peaked in 2011 and have been falling since then. This would be the first year the trend has reversed.

Daily Local News – May 13, 2015


Bloomington police announced this afternoon they had arrested an Indiana University administrator for possession of child pornography; Bloomingfoods is hosting the Bloomington’s Fifth Annual Bike to Work Day Block Party this Friday from 5:00pm to 8:30 pm; Bloomington residents debated the merits of the proposed parking garage downtown at a city Plan Commission meeting on Monday; The City of Bloomington Arts Commission has awarded grants to 18 organizations in the Bloomington community as part of the city’s 2015 Arts Project program; Last week Governor Pence signed a law pausing the construction of nursing homes in Indiana for the next 3 years; In the past it was rare to find lone star or blacklegged ticks in southern Indiana. However over the last 15 years those insects have become mainstays in the region.

Over the past month, WFHB reporters Sarah Panfil and Emily Beck have spoken with local people experiencing homelessness as well as employees at agencies that serve impoverished residents. They are exploring the myriad circumstances that cause local people to lose housing for a series called Voices of Homelessness. We bring you the first installment of that series now, for today’s WFHB community report.

Anson Shupe’s unexpected death was a shock to us all. Here’s his final column, just as he wrote it, giving some good advice on how to deal with scammers who threaten you if you don’t pay them money you don’t really owe.

Anchors: Araceli Gomez, Kelly Wherley
Today’s headlines were written by Kara Tullman, Jordan Guskey, Jack Hanek and Joe Crawford
Along with David Murphy for CATSweek, in partnership with Community Access Television services
Better Beware was produced by Richard Fish
Our feature was produced by Doug Storm
Our engineers today are Adam Reichle and Matt Gwaltney
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes
Executive Producer is Joe Crawford

Interchange – Making the Case Against Cages; Being Vulnerable to Arrest


Segment One: Making the Case Against Cages. Prison abolitionist Micol Seigel, an associate professor in the departments of American Studies and History at Indiana University, discusses issues surrounding homelessness and incarceration in Bloomington and Monroe County.

The conversation focuses on the changes in the Indiana criminal sentencing codes that shift categories of crime, eliminates some offenses, changes the severity of penalties, and requires people convicted of crimes to serve a greater percentage of their sentence than previous rules. The impact of the rules is not yet clear, but some people in Monroe County worry that it will increase the burden on the County Jail.

While the sentencing guidelines are reported to have the effect of slowing the growth of the state’s prison population a December 2013 Associated Press Report states that the changes will actually have the opposite effect. According to Applied Research Services, Inc., the changes will increase the state’s prison population over the next 10 years due to the new law’s requirement that inmates serve at least 75 percent of their sentences. This will offset changes lawmakers made in reclassifying offenses and setting new sentencing ranges.

Segment Two: Being Vulnerable to Arrest. An interview with Bloomington Police Chief Mike Diekhoff conducted by WFHB Assistant News Director Joe Crawford from November 18, 2013 to discuss the announcement by the city of Bloomington of extra police patrols to be assigned to the downtown area, as well as along the B-Line Trail, and the fact that surveillance cameras will be used more extensively. The Herald Times reported that the new measures were targeted at panhandling, public intoxication, and vandalism. Diekhoff asserts that the police do not target classes of people but rather people’s public behaviors.


Producer & Host, Doug Storm
Board Engineer, Jonathan Richardson
Social Media, Carissa Barrett
Executive Producer, Alycin Bektesh

Shalom Center project aims to end homelessness

The Shalom Community Center will host a presentation on their newest project, “Off the Streets by 2020” tomorrow from 5 to 6:30p.m. The presentation will outline the center’s efforts and plans to end homelessness in Bloomington and surrounding areas. Executive Director Forrest Gilmore will speak to attendees about the future of fighting homelessness in the community. The Shalom Center is a daytime resource center in Monroe County which offers shelter and assistance to guests in need.

Daily Local News – February 7th, 2014


The Deputy Director of Indiana Civil Rights Commission, Akia Haynes, announced yesterday that there is probable cause that Indiana University Health racially discriminated a former employee; The night manager at a Bloomington laundromat told the City Council that people experiencing homelessness are increasingly trying to spend the night at the business; Yesterday 13 Indiana businesses added their names to the “Employers for Freedom” coalition; A nationwide propane shortage is hitting Indiana hard during this year’s severe winter.

Free Tax Help From IU Law Students
Doing your taxes isn’t always straightforward, and it can be even more confusing for foreign students or someone whose first language isn’t English. Indiana University’s Maurer Law School and Kelley School of Business offer a free program for tax assistance, called VITA (VYE-tuh), specialized for those who are not from this country and are unfamiliar with the tax code. WFHB correspondent Casey Kuhn talked to Charles Gray, one of the program directors, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Local organizations scout the listening area for service help on Volunteer Connection, linking YOU to current volunteer opportunities in our community.

Anchors: Helen Harrell, Chris Martin
Today’s headlines were written by Lyndsey Wright, Neal Earley, and Mike Glab
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Adam Riechle, along with Correspondent Casey Kuhn
Volunteer Connection is produced by Emma Ohland, in partnership with the city of Bloomington Volunteer Network.
Our engineer is Nick Tumino,
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Best of 2013 #3 – “Where Do You Want Us To Go?”: The Search for Shelter in Bloomington


While political battles in Congress forced cuts to social services across the country in 2013, the year also saw a combination of local events affecting a population that has long depended on the social safety net. People experiencing homelessness were at the center of controversies over police harassment, city zoning laws, and a lack of adequate shelter. The issue that got the most attention began this Spring, when advocates for the homeless worked to establish replacements for the low-barrier shelter at the Genesis Church, which didn’t open this year. But there were problems finding a safe, affordable location. And many advocates complained that city government was antagonistic to their efforts. Meanwhile, throughout the year a community group has been working on strategies to deal with homelessness in the long-term. And in September, LifeDesigns and the Shalom Center announced the opening of a new facility, called the Crawford Apartments, that now provides long-term housing for 27 people classified as chronically homeless.

The best of 2013 is a production of the WFHB news department.
Correspondent Wes Martin and Assistant News Director Joe Crawford contributed to today’s reports.
Today’s episode was produced by Joe Crawford.
Our theme music is provided by Legs
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – December 17, 2013


This week on The Strike Mic, a weekend march in response to the passing of Ian Stark, and the underlying issues of social services and homelessness in Bloomington; The Bloomington Utilities Department is formally giving up on collecting almost twenty-three thousand dollars in overdue bills; Real Christmas trees are making a comeback this year, according to a specialist at Purdue University.

Natural Gas Consumers Forced to Fund New Private Coal Plant
Today, the Indiana Supreme Court issued a ruling that could force consumers of natural gas in Indiana to pay the long-term construction and operational costs of a private sector coal gasification plant in Southern Indiana. Back in 2010, the Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission, or the IURC, signed a contract with Leucadia National Corporation to allow the company to pass on the full costs, plus a profit margin, of construction, production, and distribution of output from its proposed coal gasification plant in Spencer County. This unprecedented deal would force the Indiana Financial Authority, or the IFA, which is the state agency that purchases natural gas from producers for distribution across the state to consumers, to purchase Leucadia’s product even if cheaper alternatives are available. This would last from the start of the operation of the proposed Spencer plant through the following thirty years. The deal, dubbed the Leucadia Tax, was met with opposition by industrial and residential consumers, as well as many public interest organizations. A coalition of citizens groups, consumer advocates, environmental groups, faith leaders, and low-income and senior advocacy organizations banded together to challenge the contract in court. In October of 2012, the Indiana Court of Appeals threw out the contract between the IFA and the Indiana subsidiary of Leucadia. The opposition coalition also lobbied the state legislators to take action to kill the Leucadia Tax. In the Spring of 2013, the General Assembly passed Senate Bill 494, which would allow the IURC to review the Leucadia contract, with a view to renegotiating a contract that would better protect Indiana consumers if the Appeals Court decision was eventually upheld by the Indiana Supreme Court. One member of the coalition formed to stop the Leucadia Tax was the Indiana branch of the Sierra Club. Correspondent David Murphy spoke to Jodi Perras, Indiana Campaign Representative for the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Planning on making a New Year’s Resolution this year? If spending less or saving more are part of your 2014 goals, stay tuned!

Anchors: Shayne Laughter, Nick Tumino
Today’s headlines were written by Drew Daudelin,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was written and produced by David Murphy.
The Ins and Outs of Money is produced by Dan Withered, in partnership with the Monroe County
Public Library and The United Way of Monroe County.
Our engineer is Harrison Wagner,
Our theme music is provided by the Impossible Shapes.
Editor is Drew Daudelin, Executive Producer is Alycin Bektesh.

“No Justice For Ian Stark”: Rally Decries Lack of Shelter


Last week, a man named Ian Stark was found dead at the Colonial Crest Apartment complex on the north side of Bloomington. Stark was reportedly homeless and police say he might have died from exposure to the cold weather. In response, a group gathered Friday night on the Courthouse Square to bring attention to Stark’s death and to the continuing issues with lack of shelter in Bloomington. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford has that story for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

Number of Homeless Students in Monroe County Increasing


The Monroe County Community School Corporation has seen an increase in students experiencing homelessness. At a meeting November 19th of the Corporation’s Board of Trustees, Student Services Director Becky Rose said there are more than four hundred homeless students this year. That’s up from three hundred and two last year, and three hundred and eighteen the year before.

Rose went on to say that the estimated number of homeless students is probably too low. She said many of the students’ parents are reluctant to admit they are experiencing homelessness.

Rose said the School Corporation tries to reach out to those families, to help them access the appropriate services.

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