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IN Nature – Morel Mushrooms

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New Location for Bloomington Hospital: IU Golf Course

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IU Health officials announced this morning they are changing the course of plans to relocate the Bloomington Hospital. The Hospital still plans to move out of its downtown location, a decision that has been unpopular with many Bloomington residents. But the new facility is now scheduled for construction on property that currently hosts the IU Golf Course, located on the northeast side of town along the bypass.

Before today, the plan had been to move west of city limits on North Park, where the hospital already owns land. Several officials, including Bloomington Mayor Mark Kruzan, IU President Michael McRobbie and IU Health Bloomington President Mark Moore, praised the new plan this morning.

The officials gave no indication of the time frame for the move, how much it will cost or exactly what infrastructure improvements might be needed to make it happen.

Audio of the full press conference is above.

EcoReport – April 9, 2015

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It’s time for our pledge drive here at W-F-H-B, your opportunity to show support for independent news coverage of environmental and ecological issues affecting the local community.

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.

Today’s Anchors Julianna Dailey and David Lyman
This week’s news stories were written by Josh Byron, Joe Crawford, Linda Greene, Norm Holy and Halle Shine. Our feature and broadcast engineer is Dan Withered. This week’s calendar was compiled by Catherine Anders.
EcoReport is produced by Dan Young, Filiz Cicek, Nancy Jones, and Gillian Wilson. Executive producer is Joe Crawford.

EcoReport – April 2, 2015

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In today’s EcoReport feature, Bob Kissel interviews Operation Migration co-founder Joe Duff about an experimental Whooping Crane reintroduction program.

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.

Today’s Anchors: Dan Young and Alyce Miller.
This week’s news stories were written by Josh Byron, Joe Crawford, Linda Greene, Norm Holy and Halle Shine. Our feature and broadcast engineer is Dan Withered. This week’s calendar was compiled by Catherine Anders.
EcoReport is produced by Dan Young, Filiz Cicek, Nancy Jones, and Gillian Wilson. Executive producer is Joe Crawford.

EcoReport – March 26, 2015

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In today’s EcoReport feature, Jim Mountjoy talks about the rare sighting of an Ivory Gull in Illinois and Don Whitehead discusses local rare birds.

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.

Today’s Anchors: Glenn Lightner and Linda Lightner
This week’s news stories were written by Linda Greene and Norm Holy. Our feature and broadcast engineer is Dan Withered. This week’s calendar was compiled by Catherine Anders.
EcoReport is produced by Dan Young, Filiz Cicek, Nancy Jones, and Gillian Wilson. Executive producer is Joe Crawford.

“Civil Immunity” Law Could Help Provide Free Health Care, But at a Cost

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The goal of House Bill 1145, according to its authors, is pretty straightforward: to get free health care to residents who need it, to make it easier for doctors to show up at places like food banks and volunteer their time.

On its face, the strategy legislators want to use seems pretty simple: they want to eliminate the possibility a doctor could be sued after giving someone free care. They want to make it unnecessary for those doctors to carry medical malpractice insurance. Doing that, theoretically, would encourage more doctors to volunteer their time.

But in fact, it’s simple. Legislators and attorneys have been debating the bill, known to some as the Civil Immunity Bill, for some time. Eric Koch, state representative from Bedford who is a co-author of the legislation, said the state legislature considered the bill last year.

“We just couldn’t get the bill in a form that we really felt avoided all the unintended consequences,” Koch said.

Koch is also an attorney who routinely represents clients in medical malpractice cases. If anyone should be wary of a law that makes it harder to sue doctors, you might expect it to be him. The bill, as its currently written, would allow patients to effectively sign away their rights to sue for malpractice. In exchange the patients could get free care.

“When you give an immunity, it’s a very powerful thing,” Koch said. “There have to be very compelling reasons and in this case it was the opportunity to essentially triage people and get them into a continuum of care that they need.”

To be clear, the question of medical malpractice insurance is a big one for doctors who volunteer their services. In Bloomington, the Volunteers in Medicine clinic operates 5 days a week with volunteer doctors. Nancy Richman, the executive director there, says the insurance issue was dealt with many years ago. The providers at Volunteers in Medicine are covered through the Federal Tort Claims Act, which was enacted in the mid-1990s.

“(Free) clinics are not able to afford the cost of malpractice liability for each individual provider, nor are the providers willing to pay for their own malpractice insurance when they’re going to volunteer their time,” Richman said.

Clinics like Volunteers in Medicine would not be affected by House Bill 1145. They’re specifically exempted and they continue to be covered under the federal law.  The bill only applies to doctors giving free care outside of clinics or hospitals.

And while Koch can be counted as one attorney who is satisfied with the Civil Immunity Bill, he may not represent the majority of lawyers.  The Indiana Trial Lawyers Association is not supporting the proposal.

Mickey Wilson, the executive director of the Association, says she does like this bill better than previous versions of the legislation. The new bill, for example, excludes major medical procedures. The rationale there is that patients getting non-invasive care are less likely to wind up in situations where they need to file a malpractice lawsuit. But Wilson says she’s worried many patients may not realize the implications of signing away their rights to sue.

“I think there is very little understanding of what immunity actually means,” Wilson said. “What it means is, as a matter of public policy, we know you’re going to do something that…a reasonable person would not do. And we’re going to say…you’re not going to have to pay for the harm you’re going to cause.”

Wilson agrees with the bill’s authors on one thing: the chances of any one of these affected patients needing to sue their doctor is not good. Dave Frizzell, the main author behind the legislation, says the states of Washington, South Dakota and South Carolina, already have similar laws.

“They have had no claim at all, zero, zip,” Frizzell said. “To say it’s miniscule is overstating the case.”

Again, Wilson agrees in a way. She doesn’t dispute Frizzell that there aren’t many malpractice suits associated with free care.

“The problem is if it’s your case, if it’s your child, it’s the biggest thing in your life,” Wilson said. “The tort law really is for the exception.”

Wilson says, in her mind, the problem is not with the patients or the doctors, but with the insurance companies. If these particular malpractice suits are so rare, she asks, why is the insurance so expensive?

“I think the question needs to be asked, ‘What is the basis for increasing the premium,’” she said. “And I don’t think this legislation asks that question.

After several rounds of negotiations, it appears the legislation could pass this year. The State House approved it last month by a vote of 91 to 0. The bill got a first reading in the State Senate last week. And according to Frizzell, Governor Mike Pence has made it one of his “main bills.”

And the law would fit with much of the rest of the health care agenda advanced by Indiana Republicans, who have largely suggested that the Affordable Care Act is so flawed that it’s up to state legislators to find solutions for the poor and uninsured.

The Civil Immunity Bill currently awaits a vote in the Senate’s Civil Law Committee.

IN NATURE – Right Whales

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New teen services and digital creativity center

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The new teen services and digital creativity center at the Monroe County Public Library is set to open in a matter of days. Kevin MacDowell, the manager of the center, gave an update on the status of the center at a Library Board meeting yesterday. MacDowell said the space would be virtually ready for a Friends of the Library event on Saturday. He says the space will be all in place by this Saturday, and completely functional within the next week.

The center has been in the works for years and it has been a big part of the renovations happening at the Library in recent months. MacDowell actually started at the Library in May. He said much of his work so far has been establishing partnerships in the community. He said he also started a program called Drop In and Hang Out. He says this will give teens an opportunity to give their feedback on what they would like to see in this space.

The teen services and digital creativity center will be open to youth ages 12 to 19. MacDowell said much of his staff’s focus will be on establishing connections with the teens who use the center. He says mentors that visit with the teens will be able to give better feedback on what to include in the center.
There will be books in the teen center as well. MacDowell said other library patrons will be able to access those books.

Lawmakers Propose Changes to State’s Current Rape Laws

Some Indiana lawmakers want to do away with the state’s current five-year time limit for filing rape charges. The change was proposed in two separate bills introduced by Indiana Senator Michael Crider, a Republican, and Representative Christina Hale, a Democrat. According to an article in the Indianapolis Star, the lawmakers were inspired by a case in which a man confessed to committing a rape eight years after the crime but couldn’t be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations. Jenny’s Law is named for the victim in that case, Jenny Wendt Ewing, who was assaulted when she was a nursing student at IU Purdue University in Indianapolis. Jenny went public about her assault back in February and has since made herself an advocate for rape victims. Crider told the Star that some Indiana lawmakers are reluctant to change the criminal code because a revised version of the code was passed just last year. But so far the legislation has moved forward fairly quickly. Crider’s bill was approved yesterday by the Senate’s Corrections and Criminal Law Committee and now awaits a vote by the full Senate.

EcoReport – January 15, 2015

This week on Ecoreport, we hear an interview from 2012 with journalist Will Potter, which took place prior to Potter

speaking at the I-U campus. Potter has written extensively on the “Green Scare” and the U.S.

government’s efforts to criminalize environmental and animal rights activists — and even label them as terrorists.

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: Alyce Miller, Dan Young

This week’s news stories were written by Linda Greene, Norm Holy, Susan Northleaf, and and Cathi Norton. Our

feature and broadcast engineer is Dan Withered. This week’s calendar was compiled by Catherine Anders.

EcoReport is produced by Dan Young and Gillian Wilson. Executive producer is Alycin Bektesh.

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