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Daily Local News – June 30, 2014

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Indiana industry dumps more chemicals into our waterways than any other state, however the state official in charge of water management isn’t aware of this pollution; The Monroe County Commission took on noisy I-69 contractors June 27th by passing a stricter noise ordinance; The city of Bloomington is finishing plans to build a short pedestrian trail on the south side of the city.

FEATURE
Governor Pence is hosting a conference to look at Indiana’s tax policies. What is billed as the Indiana Tax Competitiveness and Simplification Conference is billed as a means to get ideas that will make Indiana more competitive. The list of attendees includes tax professionals – tax lawyers, accountants and academics, business and economics academics, representatives from business and business associations, and several former Republican economic and tax policy advisers. Correspondent David Murphy spoke to Bob Ditmer, Director of Public Relations for the Indiana Department of Revenue, which is organizing the event. He first raised the issue of the apparent lack of representation from labor, working people, the poor or other marginalized groups at the conference.

ACTIVATE
We hear about the hoosier hills food bank on Activate, our weekly segment spotlighting people working for positive change in our community.

CREDITS
Anchors: Susan Northleaf, Chris Martin
Today’s headlines were written by David Murphy
Along with Joe Crawford for CATSweek, a partnership with Community Access Television Services.
Our feature was produced by Ilze Ackerbergs, along with correspondent David Murphy
Activate! is produced by Jennifer Whitaker,
Our board engineer and Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

Community Concerned With I-69 Sediment Erosion

A contractor helping supervise I-69 construction insisted May 9 contractors are doing all they can to prevent pollution from the project. In a presentation to the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization’s Policy Committee, Jeremy Kieffner outlined the various strategies contractors use to prevent erosion. Over the past year waterways near Section 4 of the new interstate have been contaminated with sediments washing away from construction areas.

Kieffner works for the Evansville-based firm, Bernardin, Lochmueller & Associates. He told the group road projects always present erosion issues.

Kieffner did not directly address the erosion issues caused by Interstate 69 and he didn’t take questions from the Committee. After the presentation several committee members said they had doubts the state is following proper procedures with the construction. Committee member Andy Ruff has been a long-time opponent of I-69.

“I worked in battling sediment erosion with construction sites and it’s not an easy law to enforce or follow,” Ruff says.

Ruff said the sediment is probably damaging ecosystems in the waterways near Indian Creek, where some of the most contamination has occurred. Committee member Cheryl Munson, who lives in the Indian Creek area, said problems continue there. Munson said she’s hopeful erosion won’t cause as many problems in Section 5 of the interstate, which runs through Bloomington.

Crews have already begun clearing properties in Section 5 in preparation for construction of the interstate.

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

EcoReport – I-69 Contruction Continues to Raise Evironmental Concerns

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In today’s EcoReport feature, we learn about water pollution from sediment, erosion problems, and other environmental violations by contractors building I-69.

EcoReport – Sierra Club Reports: Power Plants Polluting Water

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In today’s EcoReport feature, a new report from the Sierra Club shows that Indiana Power Plants discharge toxic coal Ash or Wastewater into the state’s streams. WFHB investigates the pollution practices, as well as an effort to stop a new Indiana coal mine from being built.

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