The reduced number of polling sites that Monroe County used for the June 2 primary is not a part of current planning for November voting. That’s the latest word from the county election board’s meeting last Thursday.
For the general election, the county election board is looking to use all its regular sites and maybe more, not just the seven it selected for the primary from the 34 that it typically uses.
That’s because it was only for the primary election that no-excuse absentee voting was approved by the state’s election commission this spring—during the initial stages of the COVID-19 pandemic.
A larger number of absentee voters means fewer people at the polls on election day.
No-excuse absentee voting is unlikely to be enacted for this year’s general election, based on Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s remarks at his press conference last Wednesday.
At least through Sept. 30, patrons of some restaurants in downtown Bloomington will be able to feed themselves at tables set up the street, in spaces where drivers normally feed a meter to park their cars.
Called “parklets,” they’re one of a few different approaches the city is taking to help restaurants recover from the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Indiana governor Eric Holcomb’s current 4.5 order leaves in place a restriction on restaurants preventing them from operating at any greater than 75-percent capacity.
That portion of the parking lot has different owners. Based on a count using aerial images from the Monroe County GIS database, the two parcels include around 45 parking spaces.
The RDC is still looking to buy the parking lot parcels, so they can be used for the Monroe County convention center expansion project. That’s why the RDC bought the Bunger & Roberston real estate.
The convention center expansion is currently paused due to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For now, the RDC is leasing the two parking lot parcels from the owners. The deal approved by the RDC in May includes a contractual agreement that the RDC pay $3,500 a month, for an annual total of $42,000.
Bloomington is applying to the federal government for an 80-20 matching grant that would pay for a $10 million “tech accelerator” to be constructed in the Trades District area of downtown Bloomington.
According to Jennifer Pearl, president of the Bloomington Economic Development Corporation, the tech accelerator would “make programming and services available to tech companies in our region, to help them grow and commercialize.”
The physical location in the Trades District would make it a “technology hub,” Pearl said.
Startups and mature tech companies alike would be candidates for using the tech accelerator’s services, Pearl said.
Bloomington’s 20 percent share of the project would be $2 million, drawn from revenue to the city’s consolidated TIF (tax increment finance) district. That’s why the proposal appeared on the Bloomington redevelopment commission’s Monday night agenda. The RDC administers the city’s TIF funds.
That’s the second BT employee who has tested positive for the pandemic disease. The first was a maintenance worker. Nine other city employees have also tested positive.
According to Monday’s release, the driver started having symptoms on Wednesday, July 29 and received the positive result on Saturday, Aug. 1. For Saturday, Monroe County’s total COVID-19 confirmed positive case count was 10.
The seven-day average daily case count in Monroe County has started to drop—it’s now around around 13, compared to 20 for the last week of July. The number of cases reported for Sunday was just 2, the lowest number since July 6, almost a month ago.
At last Wednesday’s regular meeting, Bloomington’s city council accepted a report about tax abatement activity over the last year, from the city’s five-member economic development commission (EDC).
The oldest tax abatement reviewed by the council dates back to 2013. The most recent one was last year.
By accepting the report, without taking further action, councilmembers were acknowledging that the companies are in “substantial compliance” with the commitments they made—related to jobs and affordable housing—that led the city council to grant them a tax abatement.
Councilmembers have requested that city staff provide some followup information, about the dollar amounts of tax abatements.
Debbie Fish, former teacher and education professional, at Monday morning’s demonstration.
Faculty member at Indiana University’s school of public heath, in the department of kinesiology, Julius Hanks, attended Monday’s demonstration at Monroe County’s health department.
On Monday morning, a half dozen people showed up at the Monroe County health department’s temporary location in the Showers building on Morton Street.
They held signs with slogans like, “Shut it down, now! Start over! Do it right!” They were advocating for a stronger statement from health officials on the question of re-opening schools.
They’re concerned about a start to the school year amid a resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the area, and across the state.
News reporters narrowly outnumbered demonstrators. Organizer Debbie Fish, a former teacher and educational professional, said she expects a stronger continent at a rally planned for Tuesday at the district’s education resource center on Miller Drive.
That’s where the board will be meeting at 6 p.m. on Tuesday, partly in-person and partly by videoconference.
Fish said she is concerned that if schools start up now, and teachers have to go back into the classroom, some will take the semester off. There may be some who will just quit the profession of teaching, Fish fears.
Early in the meeting, the agenda for Tuesday includes a re-entry plan overview by superintendent Judith DeMuth and a board discussion with possible modifications. A resolution on adopting a plan for re-opening schools is the final point of business, after a dozen other business items.
Indiana University campus: Square Beacon file photo from April of statue of Herman B Wells, former chancellor of Indiana University.
Indiana University still wants all students to be tested for COVID-19 before they start classes in the fall.
The expectation of universal testing was part an update sent to Indiana University faculty and staff on Friday (July 24). It matched the message from the university’s assistant vice president for strategic partnerships, Kirk White, at Friday’s weekly press conference of community leaders.
The novel part of Friday’s announcement was the hybrid test-on-arrival approach that the university will take to getting all students tested.