2022 a cold Christmas for Bloomington, but not the coldest

In Bloomington, Indiana, 2022 will be remembered as a White Christmas and a cold Christmas.

The extreme cold temperatures made for snow with poor packing quality, but this installation in front of Sample Gates on Indiana University’s campus, shows that artistic effort can overcome an inferior medium.

But it won’t be the coldest on record for Bloomington, even if it will rank among the coldest.

The coldest Christmas in Bloomington since 1895—when the period of record starts for the NOAA Regional Climate Centers—was in 1983, when the low temperature hit –12 F.

The high temperature that year for Christmas Day was –10 F, which makes 1983 the coldest Christmas for Bloomington, either way it’s measured—lowest low or lowest high.

This year’s likely low of around 6 F will still put 2022 in the top 15 out of the last 137 years for coldest Christmas.

The National Weather Service station at the Monroe County airport recorded an overnight low of 6 F degrees from Christmas Eve to Christmas Day.

By around 10 a.m. on Sunday, Christmas Day, the temperature had climbed to 9 F, with a forecasted high of 17 F. That comes with a west wind of 11 to 13 mph, with gusts up to 20 mph, for a wind chill as low as -7 F.

The NWS forecast for Bloomington calls for steady temperatures overnight at around 14 F with new snow likely, between 1 and 2 inches, between 4 a.m. and 10 a.m. on Monday.

The snow that’s already on the ground this year will make for at least the 27th White Christmas since 1895. There might have been more, but in the data tables below, the “M”  for “snow depth” means “missing.” Continue reading “2022 a cold Christmas for Bloomington, but not the coldest”

Canopy of Lights 2022: Thank you, Mae!

The traditional day-after-Thanksgiving lighting of the Monroe County courthouse square canopy in downtown Bloomington took place on Friday evening, just as it has since 1984.

But for this year’s countdown from 10, the throng was led in an extra step of rehearsal by emcee Jim Inman, Jr.

The crowd was given one added line to recite, just after “… 3–2–1” and before the lights were flipped on: “Thank you, Mae!”

Mae Cassady was the founder and owner of Cassady Electrical Contractors, which does the work every year to prep the lighting stands, which connect the roof of the courthouse to adjoining buildings around the square, to form the canopy.

She died a week ago at the age of 82. From her obituary: “The Canopy of Lights surrounding the Monroe County courthouse was a special delight for Mae each year. In 1984, the electricians of Cassady Electric, under her guidance, hung the first lights that would immediately become an annual tradition for the entire community.”

Here’s how the crowd’s thank you to Mae Cassady sounded:

Continue reading “Canopy of Lights 2022: Thank you, Mae!”

Early voting wraps up in Monroe County, polls open on Election Day at 6 a.m.

Early voting in Monroe County for the Nov. 8 election is now over.

Closing at noon on Monday were the polls at the election operations building at 3rd and Walnut streets in downtown Bloomington.

Voting hours for Election Day, at assigned polling locations throughout the county, extend from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The pace of early in-person voting in Monroe County has increased by a lot in the final week before the Tuesday Nov. 8 election.

The increased early-voting numbers were evident on Monday. For much of the morning, a line of voters wrapped around the north end of the election operations building.

At around 11:45, which was 15 minutes before the polls closed, The B Square counted around 40 people standing in line outside. Sunny skies and a temperature in the low 60s meant the wait was not as unpleasant as it might have been.

The line moved pretty fast. In the four hours of early voting on Tuesday, from 8 a.m. to noon, 977 people were able to cast a ballot. That works out to 244 voters an hour, the highest voter throughput for any day during this year’s early voting period, or for the presidential election in 2020. Continue reading “Early voting wraps up in Monroe County, polls open on Election Day at 6 a.m.”

Early voting in Monroe County continues to trail 2018 turnout, election day workers still needed

At Thursday afternoon’s meeting of the Monroe County election board, county clerk Nicole Browne reported to her colleagues that she was “a little disheartened” about the early voting turnout so far for the Nov. 8 election.

Election supervisor Karen Wheeler confirmed that the early voting numbers this year are still lagging well behind the numbers for the last midterm year in 2018.

In 2018, about 24,500 people voted early—the combined total for absentee mailed-in ballots and in-person votes. That’s based on the early vote totals in the race for US Senate.

Wheeler also said at Thursday’s election board meeting that she still needs election day poll workers from both parties. Continue reading “Early voting in Monroe County continues to trail 2018 turnout, election day workers still needed”

Election 2022 notebook: Early voting pace in Monroe County looks slower than for 2018

Turnout for this year’s midterm elections would be expected to be lower than in 2020, a presidential election year.

But this year’s early voting numbers for Monroe County look like they could be also lagging behind the midterm numbers from last time around in 2018.

In 2018, about 24,500 people voted early—the combined total for absentee mailed-in ballots and in-person votes. That was nearly half of the 52,000 people who participated in the 2018 elections.

A back-of-the napkin estimate for this year’s early voting numbers—based on in-person totals so far, and the absentee mail-in ballots returned so far—would be around 16,000. Continue reading “Election 2022 notebook: Early voting pace in Monroe County looks slower than for 2018”

Photos | 2022 Little 500 Fall Racing Series: Cyclocross

The Little 500 bicycle race takes place in the spring on the track at Bill Armstrong stadium.

But on the second-to-last Sunday in October, riders pedaled standard issue Little 5 machines up, down and around a cyclocross course laid out on the tailgate grounds south of the Indiana Memorial football stadium.

Cyclocross is part of the Little 500 Fall Racing series.

It was a spectacular, sunny fall day with temperatures in the mid-70s.

Photos are included below. Click or tap on any image to get access to full resolution versions of all photos, then swipe or arrow through the gallery.
Continue reading “Photos | 2022 Little 500 Fall Racing Series: Cyclocross”

2022 Little 500 Street Sprints: A perfect fall day in Bloomington

On Saturday afternoon for about five hours, small groups bicyclists pedaled like mad for 200 meters from a standing start, in a series of 62 total heats, to determine the champions for this year’s edition of the Little 500 Street Sprints. [More photos and video below] Continue reading “2022 Little 500 Street Sprints: A perfect fall day in Bloomington”

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. “”

Fourth of July parade with protest in the mix “quintessentially Bloomington”

The morning’s scheduled events in downtown Bloomington on July 4 included a performance by the community band, the rededication of the Alexander Memorial on the southeast corner of the courthouse, and a parade—which headed south on College Avenue, then back up Walnut Street.

Not a part of the program was a protest against a recent decision by the Supreme Court of the United States that overturned Roe v. Wade. The earlier 1973 decision had found that access to an abortion was a constitutional right.

When the rededication ceremony started, demonstrators filed past the southeast corner and headed one block west, to the southwest corner of the square. The B Square counted about 150 protesters, who gathered at the intersection of Kirkwood and College avenues, on the south side of Kirkwood.

Chants and speeches through a megaphone from the protesters could be heard at the Alexander Memorial dedication. But the sound system amplified remarks from speakers enough to make them heard on that corner of the square. At the protester’s corner, the dedication ceremony was audible, but was drowned out by the megaphone.

At mid-block, the message from both corners was a bit muddled.

The idea that a protest and rededication ceremony would take place on opposite ends of the same block, was described by one bystander as “quintessentially Bloomington.”

The protest was organized by Students for a New Green World, and the Party for Socialism and Liberation. Continue reading “Fourth of July parade with protest in the mix “quintessentially Bloomington””

Photos: NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner celebrated by “oldest and boldest” civil rights group in the US

On Saturday, the Monroe County branch of the NAACP held its 42nd Freedom Fund Banquet in Shreve Hall at Ivy Tech on the west side of Bloomington.

The banquet is an annual fundraiser that supports the branch’s activities including its scholarship program.

The NAACP was founded in 1909, and is often described as the oldest civil rights organization in the country. In the Bloomington area, the phrase “oldest and boldest” is a common way to describe the group. At Saturday’s dinner, the tagline was credited to city councilmember Jim Sims.

Delivering the keynote address this year was Gloria Howell, who is director of the Neal-Marshall Black Culture Center. She spoke on the theme “Always Moving Forward.” Continue reading “Photos: NAACP Freedom Fund Dinner celebrated by “oldest and boldest” civil rights group in the US”