At that location, a comprehensive traffic count of all God’s creatures would factor in at least a couple dozen extra—to account for the monarch butterflies that have been darting around the intersection in recent days.
On Thursday night, Monroe Fire Protection District chief Dustin Dillard addressed a handful of Bloomington Township residents at a meeting held at the fire station on Old State Road 37.
Bloomington Township is not yet a part of the the fire district Dillard leads, which is made up of three townships in the southwest part of Monroe County—Perry, Clear Creek and Indian Creek. It was just at the start of this year that Indian Creek was added as a member.
A current proposal is to add two more townships to the mix. One is in the southwest corner of the county—Van Buren Township. The other is the unincorporated part of Bloomington Township, which would make it the first area north of the county’s midline to become a member of the Monroe Fire Protection District.
Among the benefits described at the meeting for adding two townships to the district are: protection of the tax levy from annexations by the City of Bloomington; an initial lowering the tax rate for residents of Bloomington Township (but it would increase in the second and third years); administration of county fire departments under one umbrella; and the distribution of expenses over a larger tax base.
Monroe County’s sheriff, Brad Swain, appeared in front of the county board of commissioners on Wednesday morning to ask them to approve $6,850 to install four microphones on the first floor of the jail.
With the purchase came the news that body cameras will be worn by a limited number of jail staff.
Commissioners approved the purchase on a 3–0 vote. Board president Julie Thomas asked Swain to pass along thanks from the commissioners to the jail staff. Swain returned the compliment, saying that he knew as sheriff that when he had a legitimate request, he would get support from the commissioners.
Swain told them the cost was a “fantastic bargain,” because it would help limit the number of claims potentially made against jail staff by arriving inmates who are in the first, temporary phases of incarceration. Microphone locations include: the booking door; booking; holding cell; and drunk tank.
Speaking into a PA microphone Friday afternoon, standing just south of the 7th and College intersection in downtown Bloomington, Penny Caudill said, “We walk into work and we smile!”
Caudill, who’s Monroe County’s health administrator, was talking to artist Gypsy Schindler, who just recently completed a mural on the wall that leads along the ramp to the lower-level entrance of the county’s health building. The art depicts kids playing—riding bicycles, kicking a soccer ball and jumping rope.
After two separate votes on Thursday afternoon, the chair of Monroe County’s election board, Carolyn VandeWiele announced, “You have your ballot, Karen!” The remark was directed to election supervisor Karen Wheeler, who can now continue the process of printing Bloomington’s ballots for the city’s Nov. 5 general election.
No ballots will be printed for Bloomington elections in District 1, District 4, District 5 or District 6—because there are no contested races in those districts. Just the names of the candidates in contested races will be printed on the ballots in the other two districts.
In the District 2 city council race, Democrat Sue Sgambelluri, who won the three-way primary, will appear on the ballot with Republican Andrew Guenther, who was unopposed in the Republican primary.
After a couple of quiet months, late July has brought some activity in the legal proceedings about the state legislature’s enactment of a 2017 law, as a part of the biennial budget bill. The law blocked specifically Bloomington’s attempt in 2017 to annex some land into the city.
Indiana’s attorney general has filed the first brief on behalf of Gov. Eric Holcomb, in an appeal to the state’s Supreme Court, which seeks to overturn a lower court ruling made earlier this year in April. The lower court ruling, in favor of Bloomington, found that the law violates two parts of the state’s constitution: the prohibition against special legislation; and the single subject rule.
Community service grants to 36 organizations totaling $120,000 were announced and approved by Monroe County Council at its work session Tuesday evening.
The grant program was renamed six years ago in honor of Sophia Travis, who served on the County Council from 2004 to 2008. She worked as a councilor to “assure the applications for the limited funds available for support would be considered in a fair, even-handed and transparent process,” according to the renaming resolution.
Serving on the committee that made the grant awards this year were councilors Cheryl Munson, Eric Spoonmore and Kate Wiltz with citizen members Frankie Preslaff and Rachel Guglielmo. The awards were read aloud at the meeting by Guglielmo. Committee chair Munson put the number of clients served by the organizations who applied for grants at 91,000 people.
This year the highest 10 awards were granted to Community Kitchen of Monroe County, Inc. ($6,700), Big Brothers Big Sisters ($6,500), South Central Community Action Program ($5,750), Society of St. Vincent de Paul ($5,400), Grace Center, Inc ($5,400), Safe Families for Children ($5,300), Planned Parenthood ($5,300), New Leaf New Life ($5,000), Indiana Recovery Alliance ($5,000) and Boys & Girls Clubs of Bloomington ($5,000).
Monroe County should form a capital improvement board to handle the ownership, control and management of an expanded convention center in downtown Bloomington—that was a key point of a memo distributed Wednesday morning by the Monroe County Board of Commissioners to the County Council, Bloomington City Council and the mayor.
The memo was read aloud in parts by each of the three commissioners at the conclusion of their Wednesday morning meeting. The memo concludes with a reference to the “Convention & Civic Center project.” Board of commissioners president Julie Thomas stressed the word ‘civic’ when she read it aloud, and added “underline ‘civic’.”
By late last week, the Bloomington City Council was getting ready to return to its normal meeting routine after a summer hiatus. Councilmembers last met in regular session on June 12; their next regular meeting falls on the last day of July.
Based on some conversation at a work session last Friday, they’re thinking about how to set up the calendar for at least three topics they’ll be handling soon: a proposed 820-bedroom student housing development on North Walnut at the current Motel 6 site; possible tweaks to a still-pending ordinance that would regulate shared-use electric scooters; and some amendments to the new parking ordinance.
And based on conversation at a work session held by the Monroe County Council on Tuesday evening, Bloomington’s city council could in the next couple months be called on to participate in a four-way meeting about the proposed convention center expansion.