Temperatures on Friday night for Freezefest 2022, Bloomington’s winter festival, were holding steady around 14 F degrees. That’s plenty cold enough to keep the ice sculptures intact for Saturday’s final day of activities.
On the docket for Saturday in the Trades District north of city hall are ice carving demonstrations and games for kids, among other activities. If you ever wanted to play bean bag toss (aka cornhole) on ramps made of ice, play ping pong on an ice table, or sit on an ice throne, Saturday (Jan. 22) is the day to cross those items off your list.
The summary judgment means the case got a ruling without a trial. It also means the court agreed with Bloomington that there were no relevant disputes about the facts of the case, and that it could be decided just based on application of the law.
The court found that Bloomington did not violate the constitutional rights of SCF’s owners, as they had claimed. According to the city of Bloomington’s news release, which came late Friday, SCF’s owners have 30 days to file an appeal with the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
Schooner Creek Farm (SCF) was a Bloomington farmers market vendor during the 2019 season. SCF drew protests that year from local activists over its ties to white supremacist groups and views. On two occasions, protesters were arrested by Bloomington police, but charges were not filed.
On Wednesday night, Bloomington’s city council passed a resolution that abolished most of the council’s standing committees.
Councilmember Steve Volan began his final commentary with his assessment of those who had proposed the resolution: “The sponsors don’t like doing math.”
In the end, the only math that mattered was the sum of votes in favor of the resolution, which was 5. Volan was one of the four who opposed the resolution, which was sponsored by Susan Sandberg, Sue Sgambelluri, and Jim Sims. Also voting for the resolution were Ron Smith and Dave Rollo.
Volan was joined in dissent by Isabel Piedmont-Smith, Kate Rosenbarger, and Matt Flaherty.
Wednesday’s council action effectively undid an early 2020 decision by the council to establish a several new four-member standing committees. As newly-elected council president that year, Volan had managed to assemble a 5–4 majority in support of the new committees.
Two years later, the only difference in the 5–4 split was the vote of Sue Sgambelluri. She supported the creation of new committees in 2020. But Sgambelluri co-sponsored Wednesday’s resolution abolishing them.
The 5–4 split on the resolution is one that some councilmembers are increasingly starting to see as a fundamental divide, even if it’s not along party lines. All members of the Bloomington city council are Democrats.
After an amendment, the resolution preserved the climate action and resilience committee, but eliminated the rest of the 2020 committees. Wednesday’s resolution also eliminated the land use committee, which the council had established in 2018.
Some other standing committees that existed before 2020 were either preserved or restored by Wednesday’s resolution: the sidewalk committee; the Jack Hopkins social services funding committee; and three three-member “interview committees” that are responsible for reviewing appointments to various boards and commissions.
Screenshot of Station #5 on S. Henderson Street from Google Streetview.
At its Tuesday meeting, Bloomington’s board of public works approved a $48,975 contract with Strauser Construction Company for some remodeling work in one of Bloomington’s five fire stations.
The work will be done at Fire Station #5, which is located on Henderson Street in the south part of town.
According to the staff memo in the board’s meeting information packet, the project includes several interior modifications: expansion of the kitchen area with new cabinets and countertops; construction of a partition wall in the equipment bay; construction of a small office for use by the station captain; filling in the overhead door on the north side of the building with solid masonry; and the installation of a new door leading from the equipment bay to the locker room.
Gloria Howell and Treon McClendon, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday Celebration commissioners.
Bloomington deputy mayor Don Griffin and Beverly Calender-Anderson, director of Bloomington’s community and family resources department.
Yusuf Nur delivered the closing remarks.
Jeanetta Nelms, Martin Luther King, Jr. Legacy Award winner.
Performers from the Indiana University Jacobs School of Music Ballet Department.
Keynote speaker Eddie Cole, associate professor of higher education and history at UCLA.
Bloomington’s deputy mayor, Don Griffin.
Bloomington’s annual celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s birthday took place as scheduled on Monday night at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater.
Delivering the keynote address was Eddie Cole, who is associate professor of higher education and history at UCLA. Cole earned his doctorate at Indiana University.
Cole was able to observe some changes in Bloomington’s physical landscape since the time when he was a student here: “From me coming back to Bloomington having graduated almost 10 years ago, it is shocking to see the high rise apartments and things that weren’t here just a decade ago. They look very nice. I can only imagine how much they cost!”
Cole put his observation into the context of his research: “But we can think about the cost of living for the average resident of Bloomington. What does [Indiana University’s] growth mean to the community?”
That question is connected to one of Cole’s challenges of action: “We have to have pro-active community engagement between institutions in our local communities.” Cole continued, “Universities and colleges must see the community as an equal partner in the education enterprise, not just a partner.” Cole added, “It is easy to have partnerships, it is easy to have meetings.”
Cole posed the question: “Do you see the community as an equal partner within the education enterprise? Does the community even have a say in your university’s strategic goals and objectives?”
James McLary at the July 2021 Bloomington Transit board meeting.
Nancy Obermeyer at the July 2021 Bloomington Transit board meeting.
Is it possible that someday everyone waiting at a public bus stop in Bloomington could climb aboard without having to pay a fare?
Could Bloomington’s public buses ever follow routes that go outside the city limits, if they serve the interests of Bloomington residents?
Will Indiana University and Bloomington Transit (BT) ever extend their cooperative arrangements to a point where there’s just one public bus system in town?
Those are some of the questions that BT’s new board president James McLary would like to address in a strategic plan that the public transit corporation is developing. McLary spoke about BT’s strategic plan in a late December interview with The B Square.
The strategic plan will have to incorporate the impact of the pandemic on ridership. In November 2021, BT ridership on fixed routes was about half what it was in pre-pandemic times.
That’s because several signatures were submitted on the final day.
Based on the now final but still raw tally, every area but one would have enough signatures to meet the 65-percent threshold that automatically blocks Bloomington’s annexation attempt.
That’s the same basic picture that was already known on the final day of remonstrance.
What’s different is the status of Area 1B, which by the auditor’s count at the time had not yet achieved even a lower threshold of 50-percent. That’s a benchmark that doesn’t stop the annexation but does ensure that a judge reviews a city’s annexation ordinance.
Adding in the final day’s count has bumped the total for Area 1B past the 50-percent threshold.
A 6–3 majority on the nation’s highest court agrees that OSHA’s mandate “exceeds its statutory authority and is otherwise unlawful,” which means that the majority thinks the plaintiffs in a lower federal court battle are likely to prevail.
Based on remarks from Bloomington mayor John Hamilton at Friday’s weekly news conference, it sounds like the city of Bloomington is going to stick with its implementation of the OSHA mandate, while a local lawsuit against the city plays out. Three city unions filed a lawsuit against the city of Bloomington in Monroe County circuit court over the city’s vax-or-test policy.
Sadie Clark, director of operations at Endeavor, confirmed the acquisition in an email to The B Square on Wednesday.
Function Brewing joins Southern Stone, Grazie Italiano, Garnish Catering, Underground Bakery, The Owlery, Feast, Market and Cellar, The Fresh Fork, The Court Room, Beaumont House, and Wagon Wheel Meats as part of the family of businesses that Endeavor has acquired.
Steve and Arlyn launched the brewery in 2014, right around this time of year. Their message posted on Friday reflected on those eight years: “The last eight years have been full of joy but also deeply exhausting. Owning a business is hard; and this past year, in particular, has been brutally hard. Honestly, we just couldn’t do it any longer.”
About the new owners, the message adds, “We are thrilled and relieved to hand off our business to a local company with more energy and resources than we have, that can take our little brewery and grow it in ways that we could only imagine.”
What is great about Function Brewing? For one thing Steve brews great beer.