A kind of counterpoint to Marté’s presentation came at the Wednesday morning meeting of the county commissioners.
Their regular meeting was followed by a work session, which also addressed the topic of jail maintenance.
At the work session, the county’s fleet and building manager, Richard Crider, briefed commissioners on various maintenance efforts that are underway, involving: the roof and water leaks; ventilation; plumbing; lighting; and showers.
That came after the regular meeting, when commissioners approved a $129,777 item to cover an agreement with Insulated Roofing Contractors (IRC) to scan, clean, and recoat the justice building roof.
Connected with that item was a $63,750 item to shut down, remove, and stage the roof’s solar panels on another section of the roof, until the new roof coating is applied.
About maintenance efforts, Crider said, “This process is active—it’s ongoing.”
The slides showed prisoners using overturned cups as pillows as they slept on the floor, clogged toilets, overflow from showers and toilets dripping through the ceiling of the floor below, and racist graffiti, among other scenes.
As deplorable as the conditions displayed in the slides were, the images were still missing two crucial elements, Marté said: The smell and the sounds of the jail.
In public statements made by city and county officials in the week since the presentation, the jail conditions have been uniformly denounced.
The now open space in downtown that’s roughly bounded by 10th and 11th streets, and Rogers and Madison streets, will get some renewed focus and attention for development.
The area is known as the Trades District, which is a 12-acre portion of a larger area comprising Bloomington’s certified technology park.
The real estate was purchased by Bloomington’s redevelopment commission more than a decade ago.
At its meeting last Monday, Bloomington’s redevelopment commission (RDC) approved an agreement that pays The Dimension Mill, Inc. $200,000 each year for two years to “advance the City’s objectives for the Tech Center, Trades District and Bloomington’s innovation ecosystem…”
The Dimension Mill, Inc. is a non-profit corporation that operates the coworking space known as The Mill, in the former dimension mill of the Showers Brother furniture factory.
The resolution was not controversial for councilmembers—it passed unanimously.
The vote came almost an hour after the resolution was introduced by Dave Rollo, who co-sponsored it with Susan Sandberg.
Rubel was interrupted twice during his allotted five minutes by council president Sue Sgambelluri, who admonished him—for speaking off the topic of the resolution, not for any particular choice of words.
But questions about the kind of tone and demeanor that councilmembers consider acceptable were swimming just under the surface of Wednesday’s meeting—in connection with an earlier agenda item.
Neither Rollo nor Sandberg supported a raft of resident re-appointments to boards and commissions that were approved early on the agenda.
After Wednesday’s meeting, Rollo confirmed to The B Square that he voted no, because the list included Greg Alexander’s reappointment to the city’s traffic commission.
Based on Alexander’s social media interactions, which Rollo described as “aggressive,” Rollo said he think’s Alexander’s temperament is “ill-suited” to serving on a city board or commission.
Temperatures on Friday night for the Freezefest 2023 Ice Battle were a smidgen warmer than freezing—right around 33 F degrees.
The competition unfolded on Upland Brewing’s outdoor stage north of the parking lot off 11th Street. Starting with blank blocks of ice, two teams of ice carvers from Ice of America completed three rounds of carving lasting 15 minutes apiece.
At the end of 45 minutes, one team had produced a dragon. The other team created a carving that depicted Sponge Bob Square Pants blowing bubbles.
They were competing for the crowd’s approval as measured by the loudness of the cheers. It took three rounds of voting for a winner to be determined—Sponge Bob.
More photos from Friday night’s event are included below.
On Monday evening, Georgia state representative Park Cannon addressed a packed house at the Buskirk-Chumley Theater in downtown Bloomington, Indiana.
“Today marks 662 days since I spent five hours in the Fulton County Jail for knocking on the governor’s door,” she told the crowd, which had assembled for the city’s annual Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. birthday celebration.
Her talk drew on the episode at the governor’s door for its title: “Keep Knocking.”
Cannon also posed two questions for the crowd:
Do you have a deep understanding of what it means to move towards shared liberation?
Have you ever provided space for reflection and processing of grief, and injustice?
Between 12:43 p.m. and 12:48 p.m., an edit was made to the statement’s final paragraph. Instead of describing Bloomington as “a safe place,” the revised statement says Bloomington is “a relatively safe place.”
A 56-year-old Bloomington woman has been arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection with a stabbing of a public bus passenger, according to a Thursday afternoon news release from city police.
The stabbing took place the day before, on Jan. 11, according to the Bloomington police department (BPD) news release.
The assault took place Wednesday around 4:45 p.m. on a Bloomington Transit bus, when it stopped at the intersection of 4th Street and the B-Line Trail, according to the news release.
The suspect, Billie R. Davis, was initially booked into Monroe County Jail on a charge of battery, which is a level 5 felony.
But after the victim’s wounds had been cleaned at the hospital, it was determined that she had several stab wounds to her head, and the charge was amended to attempted murder. The news release describes the victim as an 18-year-old Carmel woman.
From left: Councilmembers Steve Volan, Susan Sandberg, and Jim SIms (Jan. 11, 2023).
From left: Councilmembers Dave Rollo, Matt Flaherty, Kate Rosenbarger, and Isabel Piedmont-Smith (Jan. 11, 2023).
From left: Councilmembers Jim Sims, Susan Sandberg, and Sue Sgambelluri (Jan. 11, 2023).
After serving the past two years as vice president of the Bloomington city council, Sue Sgambelluri has been chosen by her colleagues as council president for 2023.
At Wednesday’s meeting, the vote on Sgambelluri’s selection was 8–1, with dissent from Steve Volan. Even though the vote was not unanimous, the split was not as severe as last year’s 5–4 tally that gave Susan Sandberg the gavel for 2022.
One big source of contention for the last three years on Bloomington’s city council has been disagreement about how the legislative process should be handled, and the role of committees in that process.
The legislative process was the topic of Sgambelluri’s first act as council president, after assigning seats on the dais. She established a four-member special committee on council processes, to be chaired by Matt Flaherty, who served as parliamentarian in 2021.
Newly elected Bloomington city council president Sue Sgambelluri (Jan. 11, 2023).
From left: Bloomington city councilmembers Matt Flaherty, Kate Rosenbarger, and Susan Sandberg (Jan. 11, 2023).
From left: Bloomington city councilmembers Isabel Piedmont-Smith, Sue Sgambelluri, and Dave Rollo (Jan. 11, 2023).
From left: Bloomington city councilmembers Jim Sims, Ron Smith, and Steve Volan (Jan. 11, 2023).
Monroe County commissioner Julie Thomas (Jan. 11, 2023).
Bloomington deputy mayor Mary Catherine Carmichael (Jan. 11, 2023).
A mayoral veto of a Bloomington city council resolution supporting a capital improvement board (CIB) as the governance method for a convention center expansion, has been overridden by the city council.
It was at 3:15 p.m. Friday, the day before Christmas Eve, when Bloomington mayor John Hamilton issued his veto of the council’s Dec. 14 resolution.
In December the council had approved the resolution by an 8–1 vote, with Kate Rosenbarger as the sole voice of dissent.
At this Wednesday’s city council meeting, the outcome of the vote was the same, satisfying the two-thirds majority required under city code to override the mayor’s veto.
On Wednesday as in December, Rosenbarger’s dissent was not based on any support for Bloomington mayor John Hamilton’s preferred convention center expansion governance structure, which is a 501(c)(3). Instead, Rosenbarger is skeptical that a convention center expansion should be built at all.