Photos: Protesters mourn effective date of Indiana’s law prohibiting most abortions

On the evening before the effective date of SB1, Indiana’s new law that prohibits most abortions, around a hundred people gathered on the southeast lawn of the Monroe County courthouse in an event that was billed as a vigil to mark the occasion.

Attending Wednesday evening’s event (Sept. 14) and addressing the crowd were county and city officials as well as leaders of nonprofit groups. Continue reading “Photos: Protesters mourn effective date of Indiana’s law prohibiting most abortions”

Bloomington board of public works notebook: Boxed-in bamboo wins appeal

A stand of bamboo can continue to screen the hawks and herons that eat the excess fish in a backyard Bloomington water feature.

That was ruling from Bloomington’s three-member board of public works at its Tuesday meeting.

In the first week of September, Bloomington resident Carolyn Geduld had been cited by the city’s housing and neighborhood development (HAND) department for allowing the bamboo to grow on her property in the southeast part of town. It was a warning that the HAND department issued, not a fine

Under Bloomington’s city code, bamboo is defined as an invasive species and cannot be planted or maintained on a property.

Geduld appealed her notice of violation. And the city’s legal department was persuaded by her argument.

Assistant city attorney Chris Wheeler addressed the board in support of the appeal. Geduld attended Tuesday’s board of public works meeting, but did not address the board.

The key to winning over the legal department was not the hawks and herons that Geduld described in her appeal, but the fact that the bamboo was confined to a structure where it could not spread. Continue reading “Bloomington board of public works notebook: Boxed-in bamboo wins appeal”

Likely no deliberations this week on new map for Bloomington city council districts

Bloomington’s city council almost certainly won’t be deliberating on a potential new district map ordinance at a committee meeting this Wednesday.

The new boundaries that are spelled out in the map ordinance were recommended by the city’s redistricting advisory commission two weeks ago. Consideration of new boundaries for the council’s six districts is required every 10 years in the second year after the decennial census.

But still on the agenda for the council’s 6:30 p.m. Wednesday special meeting  is the first reading of the ordinance that would adopt new boundaries for the council’s districts. The first reading will likely still take place, but nothing else. Continue reading “Likely no deliberations this week on new map for Bloomington city council districts”

Column: Bloomington botches accessibility of document about accessibility

In a news release issued on Monday evening,  the city of Bloomington announced that it is inviting feedback on its ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) Transition Plan.

ACCESSIBILITY GUIDELINES FOR DOCUMENTS ON THE CITY WEBSITE All files uploaded to the City website, or otherwise electronically distributed to the public, need to be fully accessible. Accessible includes, but is not limited to,readable by assistive technology, images have captions and/or alternative text descriptions, and the use of high color contrast when placing text over an image. ACCESSIBILITY CHECKLIST Before uploading your file, or distributing it electronically, complete this checklist to ensure the document is accessible. ADD DESCRIPTIVE CAPTIONS OR ALTERNATIVE TEXT FOR ANY IMAGE(S) IN THE DOCUMENT. In Word 2013: Add alt text Right click on image and select "Format Picture." Select the "Layout & Properties" icon and choose "Alt Text." Enter appropriate alt text only in the Description field (not the Title field). Add caption: Right click on image and select "Insert caption." Enter caption. In Google Docs: » Add alt text: Right click on image and select "Alt Text." Enter a title and description for the image. Click "Ok" USE AN ACCESSIBILITY CHECKER TOOL In Word 2013: Open file Click on "File" in the upper left-hand corner. On the Info page, click on the down arrow next to "Check for Issues" Select "Check Accessibility" Correct any issues found in "Inspection Results" In Adobe Acrobat Pro (paid version): Open file Click on "Tools" On the Tools page, locate and click on the Accessibility tool under"Protect & Standardize" Click on "Accessibility Check" on the right side of the screen. Click "Start Checking" on next screen. Correct any issues listed in the report.
This image, with no digital text included, is part of the city of Bloomington’s draft ADA Transition Plan.

But the city does not seem to be interested in feedback on the document from anyone except those who can see perfectly well.

The ADA is all about making the world accessible to everyone. Many accessibility efforts are familiar, like installation of sidewalk curb ramps at intersections or designation of parking spaces near building entrances.

But making the world accessible is supposed to include making electronic documents readable for those whose vision is not good enough to see the words.

That’s done by ensuring that any of the word images in a document have a digital counterpart that can be read by text-to-voice screen reading software.

One approach to making documents accessible is to use some kind of OCR (optical character recognition) software to add digital text to word images. Continue reading “Column: Bloomington botches accessibility of document about accessibility”

Bloomington OKs 135-bedroom apartment building across from IU football stadium

A six-story building with 75 apartments and 135 total bedrooms across Dunn Street from IU football stadium was approved on a unanimous vote of the Bloomington plan commission at its regular monthly meeting on Monday.

Construction on the project, which was put forward by University Properties VI, LLC, is expected to start in November and finish by August 2024.

The site spans the block between Dunn and Grant streets along 19th Street. Now on the east end of the site are two vintage 1966 apartment buildings with a total of 30 units. On the west end of the site are two single-family houses that were built in 1950.

The site is north of the Evolve student housing complex. Continue reading “Bloomington OKs 135-bedroom apartment building across from IU football stadium”

Photos | Black y Brown Arts Festival 2022: “There are so many shades under the sun. We see black y brown when we gaze in the mirror, bruh. “

On Saturday, Switchyard Park served as the venue for the city of Bloomington’s annual Black y Brown Arts Festival. It’s described on the city of Bloomington’s website as “a celebration and showcase of African, African-American, Hispanic, Latinx, and Native American creative arts and artists…”

The quote in the headline is from a spoken-word performance delivered by PDVNCH, which he crafted for the occasion of this year’s festival. The two stages—one outside and the other inside the pavilion—also featured music and dance.

More photos below.
Continue reading “Photos | Black y Brown Arts Festival 2022: “There are so many shades under the sun. We see black y brown when we gaze in the mirror, bruh. “”

Delayed: Bloomington plan commission hearing on rezone for possible future site of Monroe County jail

An expected hearing next week on Monroe County government’s request for a rezoning of 87 acres in southwest Bloomington has been put off until October.

The reason for the delay was a failure by Monroe County government to post the required signs at the property, 21 days before the hearing.

The site is the hoped-for location of the new jail that Monroe County is looking to build, in order to meeting constitutional standards.

The rezoning, from mixed-use employment (ME) to mixed-use institutional (MI), was expected to be heard by the Bloomington plan commission next Monday (Sept. 12).

But that hearing has been put off until October 10. In the vocabulary used by the plan commission the hearing has been “continued” until the regular monthly meeting in October.

Bloomington and Monroe County officials have confirmed to The B Square that the hearing was put off a month, because the required signs were not posted at the property at least 21 days before the hearing. Continue reading “Delayed: Bloomington plan commission hearing on rezone for possible future site of Monroe County jail”

Dropped cell phone snagged from storm drain by Bloomington utilities workers

When The B Square approached Bloomington city hall late Friday afternoon, Bloomington resident Daniel Fritz was lying prone in the gutter of Morton Street.

Standing on either side of him were two yellow-vested city of Bloomington utilities (CBU) workers—Robert Jackson and Matthew Dunn. Fritz’s face was pressed right up against the grate of a storm drain.

After a couple of quick questions, the scene was sussed out.

Fritz was looking down into the void to see where his iPhone had been a minute before. Jackson and Dunn had just extracted it from the bottom of the drain. Continue reading “Dropped cell phone snagged from storm drain by Bloomington utilities workers”

Public buses outside Bloomington: City council goes on record in support, if county govt pays extra cost

Winning unanimous approval from Bloomington’s city council on Wednesday night was a resolution  that expresses support for the extension of Bloomington Transit (BT) bus service outside the city limits, to Daniels Way.

The route shown in purple was proposed as part of the recommendations from Foursquare Integrated Transportation Planning in June 2019 to optimize Bloomington Transit’s routes.

The turn off 3rd Street to Daniels Way is about three quarters of a mile west of the city limits. New bus service north on Daniels Way, to make a loop around Ivy Tech, Cook Medical, and other employers, would mean extending the route something like a mile and a half.

Wednesday’s resolution expresses intent for the council eventually to make the necessary approvals for service outside the city, but itself has no legal impact.

The resolution’s sole sponsor on the city council, Steve Volan, sees the resolution as “removing a source of doubt for the mayor and for all of our county colleagues” about the city council’s willingness to do “its part” to make public bus service outside the city limits possible.

Under state law, to do “its part,” the city council would have to approve any extension of public bus service outside of city limits. Continue reading “Public buses outside Bloomington: City council goes on record in support, if county govt pays extra cost”

Bloomington city council sets schedule to consider new district boundaries, could lead to Sept. 21 vote

The first reading of the ordinance establishing new boundaries for Bloomington’s city council districts will come at a special meeting next week, on Sept. 14.

Discussion at a committee-of-the-whole meeting is set to follow, right after the special meeting.

That sets up a possible vote the following week, on Sept. 21—to adopt or reject the new map that has been recommended by the five-member redistricting advisory commission.

The city council also has a work session set for noon on Friday (Sept. 9) that will include the proposed new council districts.

That anticipated schedule was established by the city council at its Wednesday meeting (Sept. 7).

The schedule came after 40 minutes of debate on Wednesday about the benefits and deficiencies of committee-of-the-whole meetings—which is an issue that has plagued this edition of Bloomington’s city council since its term started on Jan. 1, 2020. Continue reading “Bloomington city council sets schedule to consider new district boundaries, could lead to Sept. 21 vote”