From left holding the sign: Andre Beresford and Carlos Castaneda.
India Scott (Dakota Faith Candles and More).
Ambrosio Jirillo (Ambrosio Paints).
Tynnetta Muhammad (Tynnetta Sells – Healthy Eats)
Fresh fruit from Tynnetta Sells – Healthy Eats.
Diana Elliott (Taste of Amoré).
The magic behind B-town Buns & Dumplings.
India Scott held up each kind of her handmade scented candles for aromatic review by the B Square: “This is Black Love…Blackberry Cheesecake…Orange Mint…Lavender and Vanilla.”
The last one earned a request for a second whiff.
Scott’s Dakota Faith Candles and More was one of about a dozen food and craft vendors at last Sunday’s edition of the monthly farmers and artisans market called El Mercado. The market is held on the third Sunday of the month.
Launched in August 2019, El Mercado has popped up in a handful of different Bloomington spots.
But since April of this year, the market has landed on the block of Elm Street between 7th and 8th Streets, next to the Banneker Community Center on Bloomington’s near west side. It’s the block where the first of Bloomington’s “Black Lives Matter” street murals was painted.
And through the end of the year, that will be El Mercado’s home, according to a partnership agreement with Banneker, approved earlier this year by Bloomington’s board of park commissioners.
On Sunday, the market was also the place where organizers for Movimiento Cosecha set up a table as a followup to their Thursday march from Switchyard Park to Indiana University’s Sample Gates.
A temporary location at 4th Street and College Avenue could be serving as Bloomington’s downtown fire station for another year and a half.
That’s based on a “right of access” agreement for the property, which was approved by the Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC), at its regular meeting on Monday. The fire department’s right of access to the RDC’s property runs through the end of 2022.
The heavy rains that night filled the fire station’s basement with eight feet of water, drowning the building’s telecommunications center. Station 1 also served as the department’s administrative headquarters.
The temporary site—in the former Bunger & Robertson building at College Square—is four blocks east of Station 1.
It has been housing the department’s administrative functions since the flood hit. On Monday, Bloomington fire chief Jason Moore told The B Square that the department also has operational crews stationed there from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
When the firetrucks are not at the temporary site, they are distributed to other stations in a way to optimize fire protection coverage from those four sites.
Providing fire protection around the clock from the temporary downtown location will be made possible by the RDC’s approval at its Monday meeting. The right of access includes permission to establish a temporary fire truck bay in the parking lot, which will allow the trucks to be secured overnight.
At its regular Monday meeting, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission gave its approval of federal Community Development Block Grant awards totaling $660,602 to nine local nonprofits.
It was a special funding round to address impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The requirement of a COVID-19 connection led to the recommendation of a three-member committee against funding some of the projects of five other applicants, according to John Zody, director of Bloomington’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department.
The total amount awarded worked out to about half of the $1.3 million that was requested.
When Bloomington mayor John Hamilton announced at a news conference in early June that some of the city’s American Rescue Plan Act (ARPA) funding would be used for housing supports, no dollar amounts were attached.
The ARPA is a $1.9 trillion stimulus bill signed into law by President Joe Biden on March 11, to help counter the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Housing supports, at $1.65 million, are about half of the total in the initial ordinance.
The breakdown for housing is: a $1.2 million grant to the United Way of Monroe County to address homelessness and housing insecurity; a $250,000 grant to the Bloomington Housing Authority to create affordable housing options; and $200,000 to encourage participation by landlords in the federal Section 8 voucher program.
On Thursday evening, Eva Allen’s original mural, together with the “Black Lives Matter” lettering, gave an extra pop of background color to park visitors who were weaving together floral crowns from bunches of flowers.
The crowns of flowers were a “make and take” hosted by Downtown Bloomington, Inc.—something the DBI normally includes at its “Taste of Bloomington” event. The annual gathering, for thousands to gather and sample local food offerings, was transformed this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It became a take-out only affair called “Taste of Bloomington to Go.”
Thursday’s park gathering covered a lot of civic territory—networking for the hospitality industry, a celebration of new light strands strung over Kirkwood, remarks from Bloomington mayor John Hamilton, and the regular People’s Park concert series.
At a news conference last week, Indiana’s state health commissioner Kris Box sounded the alarm about the increased number of COVID-19 cases in the state due to the Delta variant.
“The Delta variant is now the one that we are seeing most frequently,” Box said.
The Delta variant, one of several mutations that have been discovered, is more easily transmitted than the basic COVID-19 virus.
When Box delivered her remarks, the state’s COVID-19 dashboard still showed the cumulative numbers for variants, ever since the genetic sequencing of positive samples started. That meant the relative proportion of the Delta variant was portrayed by the dashboard as still small—just 3 percent of positive samples.
But in recent weeks, since mid-June, the percentage of positive samples with the Delta variant has vacillated between 50 and 80 percent.
The state’s dashboard data presentation has now been revised to show the percentage of variants in the current month, with an indication of the change over the previous month. As of Friday, the Delta variant was found in 67 percent of positive COVID-19 samples for the current month.
Jack Davis, wearing his Election Day shirt and a lei, addresses the group assembled to honor his retirement on Thursday.
From left: Jack Davis and Hal Turner. Davis is receiving the 3-D printed toilet paper remembrance that Turner fabricated for him.
3-D printed remembrance on the occasion of Jack Davis’s retirement.
Monroe County’s clerk, Nicole Browne, told The B Square on Thursday afternoon: “There is no replacing a Jack. He is one-of-a-kind. He is amazing. And I will miss him every single day. Every single day.”
Browne was talking about Jack Davis, a county employee whose retirement was marked Thursday at a reception held by his colleagues at Election Central, where he has worked for the election division.
Thursday was the six-year anniversary of Davis’s most recent span of service in local government—he started that half-dozen year stretch on the same day as county election supervisor Karen Wheeler.
Healthy blue jay (Cyanocitta cristata) Photo by Nancy Lightfoot.
Healthy American robin (Turdus migratorius) on Washington Street in downtown Bloomington on July 10, 2021.
In the two weeks since Indiana’s state ornithologist Allisyn Gillet held a conference on the topic, the Department of Natural Resources has not yet determined what is causing the deaths of several species of birds in this and other states.
Reports of sick and dying birds with eye swelling and crusty discharge, as well as neurological signs, have come from Washington D.C., Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Delaware, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Ohio, according to the US Geological survey.
The updates included additional species of birds that have been documented as sick or dying in Indiana. Added to American robin, blue jay, brown-headed cowbird, common grackle, northern cardinal, are European starling, sparrow, house finch, red-headed woodpecker, and wren.