New Year’s Eve stabbing suspect arrested, Bloomington police report

Bloomington police have reported the arrest of a 36-year-old Bloomington man as a suspect in a stabbing that took place downtown in the early hours of Jan. 1.

According to a Bloomington police department (BPD) news release on Jan. 8, 2023, Ryan Johnson was arrested the previous day and charged with three felonies: Attempted Murder; Aggravated Battery; and Battery with a Deadly Weapon.

The victim was a 32-year-old man, who provided police with details of the events before the stabbing, according to the news release. Continue reading “New Year’s Eve stabbing suspect arrested, Bloomington police report”

Photos: Hawk checks in at Hyatt Place

On Earth Day this year, The B Square spotted a red-tailed hawk perched on top of the Monroe County courthouse.

In the last three months, several more  downtown hawk sightings have been made.

These shots are from the Monday morning (Aug. 8, 2022). It was perched on the courthouse weathervane, but flew off to the east, then looped back around to the southwest side of the square and landed on top of the Hyatt Place hotel building. It sat there for a couple minutes, surveying downtown Bloomington, before heading off north towards the Johnson’s Creamery smokestack. It did not land on top of the smokestack. Continue reading “Photos: Hawk checks in at Hyatt Place”

New Bloomington business: Era Vintage Photos invites downtown visitors to dress up for fun

At 6th and Walnut streets in downtown Bloomington, the storefront next to the old Subway sandwich shop is no longer shuttered.

Tuesday was opening day for Cayla Cloke’s new photography-based business called Era Vintage Photos.

On Tuesday afternoon, employees Madison Morgan and Rynn Zimmerman sauntered about on the sidewalk, modeling some fancy renaissance attire and Old West garb, talking to passers-by about the new business.

Cloke told The B Square it’s not just the photographic prints she’s selling—it’s the experience of dressing up in clothes from a different era, and maybe in a whole different guise. “We encourage gender swapping,” Cloke said. She continued, “We also include all sizes, all orientations—you can mix and match how you want.”

For visitors who might feel more comfortable as fairies, Era Vintage Photos has pointy ears on hand: “We don’t just do humans, we also do fae folk as well,” Cloke said. Continue reading “New Bloomington business: Era Vintage Photos invites downtown visitors to dress up for fun”

Metal Works Brewing gets OK from Bloomington historic district commission for new signage

New individual aluminum block letters, lit with LEDs will soon replace the temporary vinyl banner sign on the facade of Metal Works Brewing Company in downtown Bloomington.

The new signage got approval from Bloomington’s historic preservation commission (HPC) on Thursday.

Metal Works needed a nod from the HPC, because the building, which was constructed in 1905, sits a half block east of the courthouse square, on 6th Street. That puts it just inside the eastern boundary of the courthouse historic district.

The new signage comes after a recent name change to the business, which was formerly known as Function Brewing. The new name was foreshadowed by an ownership change at the start of this year.

Some Function fans were caught off guard by the name change, which came on June 10, when the Function letters were unceremoniously unbolted from the building facade. In a Facebook post, Metal Works responded to some of the pushback by writing, “First and foremost, we want to say sorry for the scare.” Continue reading “Metal Works Brewing gets OK from Bloomington historic district commission for new signage”

Suspect now arrested in second, separate April 23 shooting in downtown Bloomington

Arrested and charged with attempted murder in connection with an early-morning shooting on April 23 near the parking lot of 6th and Lincoln streets is a 33-year-old Bloomington man, Michael V. Carson, Jr.

That’s according to a Bloomington police department (BPD) news release issued around noon on Friday (May 27).

More than three weeks earlier, BPD announced it had arrested and charged a suspect in connection with a shooting the same night, inside the Kalao Nightclub, which is two blocks northwest of the 6th-and-Lincoln location.

In connection to the Kalao shooting, BPD announced it had arrested 27-year-old Keiantrea Washington of Bloomington, and charged him with attempted murder.

According to Friday’s news release, “there was no connection between [the 6th-and-Lincoln shooting] and the shooting that occurred on the same night at the Kalao Nightclub.” Continue reading “Suspect now arrested in second, separate April 23 shooting in downtown Bloomington”

[Updated] Two shootings overnight, potential connection still unknown: Bloomington police seeking information

Bloomington police are investigating two early-Saturday shootings within two blocks of each other in downtown Bloomington.

[Updated at 5:44 p.m. on May 2, 2022: Bloomington police announced on May 2 that an arrest was made that day in connection with the Kalao shooting.]

[Updated at 5:23 p.m. on April 23, 2022: Bloomington police have issued an updated news release on the shootings. It is still not known if the two shootings are related. No arrests have been made in either investigation, according to the late Saturday afternoon news release.

Based on video surveillance from inside the Kalao Nightclub, the suspect and the 41-year-old victim were in an altercation just before the shooting. The suspect can then be seen producing a handgun and firing multiple times in the crowded bar area. Two of the victims in the nightclub shooting are still hospitalized. The third has been treated and released, according to the updated BPD news release.

According to the updated news release on Saturday afternoon, on not much has been learned about the shooting near the intersection of 6th and Lincoln streets. Investigators continue to search for witnesses and are attempting to review surveillance footage from nearby cameras, according to the release. The 26-year-old victim from that shooting is currently hospitalized and is in critical condition, according to the late afternoon news release.]

Continue reading “[Updated] Two shootings overnight, potential connection still unknown: Bloomington police seeking information”

2022 election plans: Polling sites OK’d as Monroe County preps 302 S. Walnut building for early voting

Preparations continue for the May 3 primary elections in Monroe County.

Twenty-nine polling sites were approved by Monroe County’s board of commissioners at their regular Wednesday morning meeting.

The approved sites are mostly the same locations that have been used in the past. Among the sites that are not on the list this year is Genesis Church. A new polling site this year is Bloomington High School North.

Information about which precincts vote at which polling sites will be forthcoming, deputy county clerk Tressia Martin told commissioners.

Also approved by commissioners on Wednesday were several items related to the creation of an early in-person voting site in downtown Bloomington.

The currently vacant former NAPA building at the corner of Walnut and 3rd streets (302 S. Walnut) is being converted for use as an early in-person voting location.

The work on 302 S. Walnut  ranges from wiring and alarm systems to reflective film for the windows to eliminate the glare from the sun.

The work needs to be done ahead of the start of early in-person voting, which is April 5. Continue reading “2022 election plans: Polling sites OK’d as Monroe County preps 302 S. Walnut building for early voting”

Election board: Former NAPA building to be used for early, in-person voting in Monroe County

In 2022, Monroe County’s in-person early voting will take place at the former NAPA building on the southwest corner of 3rd and Walnut streets in downtown Bloomington. That’s for the the primary and general elections alike.

There’s still a chance that some early in-person ballots could also be cast at Election Central, in the old Johnson Hardware building at 7th and Madison streets. But that will depend on recruitment of enough election workers to staff both locations.

The use of the NAPA building as an in-person early voting location was approved by a unanimous vote of the county’s three-person election board at its Thursday session.

For the final two weeks of the four-week early voting period, Election Central could be added as an in-person location, but only if an adequate number of election workers can be recruited.

Monroe County election supervisor Karen Wheeler called on potential poll workers to step up. Some past workers are now in their upper 80s or over 90 years old, she said. In the time of the COVID-19 pandemic, Wheeler does not feel comfortable asking them to work this year.

For basic background on pay and election worker requirements, the county election division has set up a webpage: web page for poll workers. The contact phone number for potential election workers is 812-349-2690. Email messages can be sent to election [at] Continue reading “Election board: Former NAPA building to be used for early, in-person voting in Monroe County”

Column | Because sometimes it takes a village: Local diner says, “We need your help!”

Next Friday it looks like I will again be able to enjoy a breakfast of biscuits and gravy from Village Deli on Kirkwood Avenue.

A temporary shutdown was supposed to go through Sept. 1. There was no word as that date came and went, so speculation had tended towards permanent closure.

But in a Facebook post this past Friday morning, the diner announced an attempted re-opening on a limited basis starting Sept. 17.

According to the Facebook post, online orders only will be taken on Fridays, with full table service for “very limited seating” to be offered on Saturdays and Sundays.

The missing ingredient for a more ambitious re-opening is staff. The Facebook post invites people to apply for positions online.  As of Sunday morning, the Facebook post has been shared 120 times. That’s a measure of the affection Bloomington has for the place.

Lots of folks don’t hang out on Facebook. If you have a network that includes folks looking for work, please help spread the word.

And to be clear, it’s not just Village Deli that needs more staff.

I think the next several months could help decide what Bloomington’s retail and restaurant landscape looks like in the downtown area through the mid-2020s.

On Sunday morning, a quick lap around the courthouse square and down Kirkwood Avenue confirmed that Village Deli is not the only place looking for help. Here’s a list of the 14 places I saw with help-wanted signs or notices about staff shortages: B-Town Diner; Baked!; Cafe Pizzaria; The Indiana Store; Nick’s; Five Guys; Noodles and Company; Soma; CVS; Pili’s Party Taco & Deli; Bub’s; Bloomington Bagel Company; B-Town Smoke Time; and Taco Bell.

And I know there’s plenty more places looking for help that don’t happen to have a sign posted on their front window. One of those is my favorite place of all: Function Brewing. From their Facebook post a week ago,  “The position requires multitasking, efficiency, precision, and the ability to follow directions independently. Prior kitchen experience is a plus but not required as this can be a good first kitchen job.” Continue reading “Column | Because sometimes it takes a village: Local diner says, “We need your help!””