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I-69 Construction Erosion Problems In Bloomington Go Unanswered From INDOT

Bloomington and Monroe County officials pushed for answers June 13 about erosion problems that have persisted for more than a year along the planned route of Interstate 69.

The policy committee of the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization submitted questions months ago to the Indiana Department of Transportation. They asked about contaminated waterways along section 4 of the interstate, which has been under construction since last year. INDOT sent a written response earlier this month, but committee member Cheryl Munson said it was incomplete.

“I had a number of questions about that response and was disappointed we couldn’t have a discussion with a representative,” Munson says. “The points that bothered me most were the statements INDOT sent rather than answers to questions.”

An INDOT official, Janelle Lemon, was scheduled to respond to the committee’s questions during a presentation May 9. But that presentation never happened.

Committee member Scott Wells said he was disappointed with INDOT’s treatment of the issue. Wells has contended for months the state is not using the right erosion control methods to prevent contamination.

“It’s unfortunate and disconcerting that the people we want to be here aren’t here,” Wells says.

Residents along the path of the interstate have reported erosion problems throughout the state. As construction is set to begin in Bloomington later this summer, mayor Mark Kruzan said he wants to see more details from the state about how they are addressing the problem.

“Is there anything being brought up in writing, verbally, in presentations, emails or meetings, where INDOT looks at this and says, here are things that have been alleged and we think yes this is valid and we’re working on it or no this isn’t us,” Kruzan explains.

Kruzan went on to suggest how the MPO could force the state to listen to the local concerns.

“I don’t think that just because someone doesn’t attend a meeting that they’re guilty of anything,” Kruzan says. “But obviously with this much notice, there’s no reason for them not to be here at the other meeting. If that happens, I certainly will be moving to table all the requests INDOT makes from MPO until we get answers to all of those bullet points that we have.”

Construction on Section 5 of the interstate is expected to begin by September. That section will run from Bloomington to Martinsville.

Best of 2013 #9 – Muddying the Waters: New Interstate Brings New Contamination

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After decades of debate and protest, 2013 saw the first segments of Interstate 69 begin construction in Monroe and Greene counties. In 2012, a 67-mile stretch of the new road was finished in Southern Indiana, connecting Evansville to the area near the Crane Naval base. Then, by early this spring, landowners in the WFHB listening area began reporting trees were cleared on or near their properties to make way for section 4 of the interstate. It was just a few months after that, that problems began to surface. In July, residents who own property along the future path of I-69 began reporting their local waterways were being contaminated. Landowners produced photos of creeks filled with sediment as well as sinkholes filling with brown water.The erosion problems have continued since August, and in the past couple months some contractors have been forced to halt construction while they deal with the issue. Still, landowners say the contamination persists each time the area sees heavy rain.

CREDITS
The best of 2013 is a production of the WFHB News Department.
Today’s episode was produced by Joe Crawford.
Our theme music is provided by Legs
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

Daily Local News – November 4, 2013

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Union and management at the local General Electric plant have reached an agreement around the personnel layoffs that the company announced in September; The City of Bloomington Housing and Neighborhood Development Department will host a workshop next Thursday, November 14th; The Richland Bean Blossom School Board didn’t get enough votes October 21st to approve a teacher handbook that was supported by the teacher union and the administration; Indiana University is part of a five-year research program that focuses on detecting and defending against cyber-attacks.

FEATURE
Additional I69 Pollution Complaints Filed
This morning a landowner in Southern Monroe County filed his 11th formal complaint since March, about pollution in the waterways near his home. Much like his previous complaints, as well as those of his neighbors, Thomas Tokarski provided photos that show the creeks and streams filled with brown, sediment-filled water. The cause is erosion from the Interstate 69 right-of-way, where crews have been clearing vegetation for months. The Indiana Department of Environmental Management has cited contractors working on the project with failure to control the erosion, and some contractors have been forced to stop construction altogether while they deal with the issue. But Tokarski says they haven’t fixed the problem, and the rain storms late last week led to even more contamination. Assistant News Director Joe Crawford spoke with Tokarski, and we bring you that conversation for today’s WFHB feature exclusive.

ACTIVATE
Molly O’Donnell, Bloomington’s “Be More” Volunteer award winner, and Ben Brabson, Indiana University Climate Scientist, talk about Earth Care Bloomington and its mission to promote sustainability, on Activate, our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

CREDITS
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy, Yin Yuan, and Allison Schroeder,
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Joe Crawford.
Activate was produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our engineers were Lauren Glapa and Chris Martin,
Editor is Drew Daudelin,
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Daily Local News – October 28, 2013

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Four recipients have been announced for the  Bloomington Urban Enterprise Zone Arts Grant Program; The national organization Family Equality Council is hosting a talk for LGBT community who wish to learn about all the options available for starting or growing a family; The policy committee of the Bloomington Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization made plans October 11th to request a study on the effects of pollution along Interstate 69; The City of Bloomington Parks and Recreation Department will hold the annual Bloomington Pumpkin Launch on Saturday.

FEATURE
IU Joins Resistance to HJR-6
Today, Indiana University President Michael McRobbie announced that IU is joining Freedom Indiana in its battle against the stated intention of the Indiana government to amend the state constitution, effectively banning same sex marriage. This action requires the General Assembly to pass a resolution to this effect during two sessions of the assembly. It has been passed once already. The proposal is to be presented for the second time to the Indiana General Assembly, under House Joint Resolution 6, during the upcoming session that begins in January 2014. If passed, HJR 6 will have a statewide referendum placed on the November 2014 ballot, that will ask voters to approve amending the state constitution to read, quote, that only marriage between one man and one woman shall be valid or recognized as a marriage in Indiana, and provides that a legal status identical or substantially similar to that of marriage for unmarried individuals shall not be valid or recognized. WFHB correspondent David Murphy spoke to Mark Land, from IU Communications, about McRobbie’s announcement.

ACTIVATE
Tom Cox talks about the work and purpose of Monroe County CARES, our local connection to the Drug Free Indiana program on Activate! Our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Maria McKinley, Doug Storm
Today’s headlines were written by Yin Yuan, Yvonne Cheng, and Chris Martin
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services
Our feature was produced by David Murphy
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker
Our engineers were Chris Martin and Lauren Glapa
Editor is Drew Daudelin
Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh

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