Believed armed suspect extracted from Bloomington stormwater system after day-long saga

By around 5:30 p.m. a man believed to have been armed with a rifle was removed from the stormwater culvert near 6th Street and Indiana Avenue on the edge of Indiana University’s Bloomington campus.

It’s the place where the Campus River starts its journey under downtown Bloomington, flowing southwest.

A statement from Bloomington police said, “The suspect has been safely removed from the storm drain and will be transported to an area hospital to be evaluated. ”

That ended a day-long saga that started around 9:30 a.m., about a half mile southwest of 6th and Indiana—south of Seminary Park, along 1st Street between College Avenue and Walnut Street.

[This article has been updated below with additional information from a BPD news release issued shortly after midnight.]

Continue reading “Believed armed suspect extracted from Bloomington stormwater system after day-long saga”

Lots more electric scooters in Bloomington, but not as many more rides

Compared to late summer last year, there are 50 percent more shared electric scooters staged around Bloomington, waiting for prospective riders.

But the 50-percent bigger fleet has generated just 13 percent more rides.

Those numbers are based on the city of Bloomington’s public dataset of scooter activity. Included in the dataset are daily records of the number of rides and the number of available scooters for each of the three scooter companies that are allowed to do business using the public right-of-way.

By the numbers, between Aug. 14 and Sept. 14 of 2021 the total average number of available scooters (counting all three companies) each day was 454, compared to 690 for the same period in 2022. That’s a 50-percent increase.

Between Aug. 14 and Sept. 14 of 2021, the total average number of rides given (counting all three companies) each day was 2,051, compared to 2,309 in 2022. That’s a 13-percent increase.

That means the three companies overall are generating fewer rides per available scooter.

The rides-per-available scooter stat is important, because it’s part of the contractual agreement between each scooter company and the city of Bloomington.

If a company doesn’t hit a minimum number of rides-per-scooter each calendar month, the city is supposed to be able to reduce the allowable number of scooters the company can make available in the public right-of-way. Continue reading “Lots more electric scooters in Bloomington, but not as many more rides”

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”

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”

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”

New Bloomington council district lines proposed, advisory commission report set for Sept. 7 adoption

On a 4–0 vote taken on Wednesday night, Bloomington’s redistricting advisory commission settled on new boundary lines for the six city council districts, which will be recommended by the group to the city council.

The commission is set to meet next Wednesday (Sept. 7) to finalize its report on the recommended map.

The city council has until Nov. 1 to either adopt or reject the recommended map. If it’s rejected, the redistricting advisory commission has until Dec. 1 to respond to the council. Under state law, the city council has to adopt a new population-balanced map by the end of the year.

The work for city council redistricting takes place in the second year following the decennial census. The point of redistricting work is to restore population balance to the districts that might have shifted in the last 10 years.

Highlights of the new map include the prominence of 3rd Street as an east-west running boundary that is generally respected by every district—with one exception.

The 3rd Street boundary corresponds to the line between Bloomington Township and Perry Township. Political subdivisions like townships are among the “communities of interest” described in local code, which proposed new districts are supposed to avoid splitting. Continue reading “New Bloomington council district lines proposed, advisory commission report set for Sept. 7 adoption”

CBU director on Bloomington’s bad-tasting water: “One time is a fluke. Two times is a pattern.”

The April 2020 image of Bloomington’s water treatment plant is from the Pictometry module of the Monroe County online property lookup system.

“Water tastes fishy and like it’s straight out of a creek.” That’s from an Aug. 29, 2022 complaint logged in Bloomington’s uReport system.

The complaint is one of at least 14 such reports filed since Aug. 27.

It’s the second late summer in a row that Bloomington’s water has started tasting and smelling bad. The cause is elevated levels of blue-green algae in Lake Monroe, which is Bloomington’s drinking water source.

The current bad taste and odor is not a public health risk, according to city of Bloomington utilities.

The fact of increased blue-green algae levels is confirmed by Indiana’s department of environmental management (IDEM), which routinely samples levels in Lake Monroe. Currently the Paynetown and Fairfax state recreation area beaches are on an “advisory alert” level. That’s the second of four alert levels—low risk, advisory, caution, and closed.

The foul-tasting water was in years past a problem that recurred every year in late summer—fueled by dry, warm weather, which makes Lake Monroe ripe for increased blue-green algae concentrations. Continue reading “CBU director on Bloomington’s bad-tasting water: “One time is a fluke. Two times is a pattern.””

Column: Choices about Bloomington’s new common council districts should be a tale of at least two cities

Bloomington’s five-person redistricting commission is scheduled to meet for a fourth time this coming week on Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m.

At the Aug. 31 meeting, it looks like the commission might be considering just one proposed map of new common council (aka city council) districts. And given the relevant deadlines, it looks like the commission could settle on that map as its recommendation to the city council.

It would be a shame if that’s the only map that the commissioners investigate in any detail, before recommending it.

The point of this column is to provide at least one additional map that commissioners might throw into the mix, before they settle on a recommendation to the city council. Continue reading “Column: Choices about Bloomington’s new common council districts should be a tale of at least two cities”

Duplex east of IU gets conditional use OK from Bloomington BZA, first one after year of new zoning

In more than a year since Bloomington mayor John Hamilton signed revisions to the city’s unified development ordinance (UDO) into law, just one application to construct a duplex as a conditional use has been heard by the city’s board of zoning appeals (BZA).

The BZA’s approval of that application came at Thursday’s meeting on a unanimous vote by the five-member board.

Grant Properties owner Doug McCoy will now be able to demolish a 432-square-foot house on the lot a couple blocks east of the Indiana University campus, and build a one-and-a-half-story duplex there. The address of the property is 110 S. Roosevelt St. Continue reading “Duplex east of IU gets conditional use OK from Bloomington BZA, first one after year of new zoning”

2 possible city council maps mulled by Bloomington redistricting commission, but one might not be legal

At Monday night’s meeting of Bloomington’s redistricting commission, just one of the proposed maps drew the initial attention of the five members. By the end of the night, based on a public comment, they’d added a second one to the mix for further consideration.

But the second map might not be legal, because it looks like it leaves one of the districts unconnected to some of its parts. The B Square has inquired with the Indiana state election division’s legal counsel about the legality of the second map.

On Monday, commissioners scheduled two additional meetings to complete their work, which has a deadline of Sept. 7. Under the city’s 2020 ordinance that established the commission, it’s by that date when they have to recommend a new district map to the city council.

The next meeting is set for Wednesday, Aug. 31 at 7:30 p.m. The fifth, and possibly final, meeting of the commission is set for Wednesday, Sept. 7 at 8:15 a.m. It’s possible that the vote on a recommended map could come at the Aug. 31 meeting. Continue reading “2 possible city council maps mulled by Bloomington redistricting commission, but one might not be legal”