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”

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”

IU Poplars: Bloomington board closes streets so public stands clear when walls come crumblin’ down

“You have a beautiful neighborhood that we want to assist in improving ever further by the removal of the IU Poplars Building.”

That’s a line from a July 12 heads-up letter that was hand-delivered by Renascent, Inc. to neighbors of the Indiana University Poplars Building on 7th Street, west of campus.

Renascent is the company that has been contracted to do the demolition work, which has already started.

The hand-delivered letter warned residents of upcoming closures of Grant Street, west of the building, and Dunn Street, east of the building.

The sentiment in Renascent’s letter reflects the lack of affection for the building, which was constructed in 1964 as a hotel, purchased by Indiana University in 1972, and eventually converted to office space. Continue reading “IU Poplars: Bloomington board closes streets so public stands clear when walls come crumblin’ down”

Striking IU grad student instructors pedal a lap through Bloomington’s downtown

Around 12:45 p.m. on Friday, about 60 bicyclists pedaled north on Walnut Street past the Monroe County courthouse with printed signs affixed to their machines that said, “ON STRIKE For Union Recognition.”

The chanted slogans like “What do we want? Union! When do we want it? Now!”

They were members of the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition – United Electrical Workers (IGWC). The members of the IGWC teach classes to undergraduates at Indiana University.

The group voted on Tuesday to continue their strike which started last week. The vote tally to continue the strike was 967 to 27, or 97.3 percent in favor, according to organizers.

Members of the IGWC voted last week to begin the strike, also with better than 97 percent in favor.

The action by the IGWC is considered by the university’s administration to be just a “work stoppage” and not a “strike” by a union.

The university administration’s refusal to recognize the IGWC as a union is the central grievance of the graduate student instructors. Continue reading “Striking IU grad student instructors pedal a lap through Bloomington’s downtown”

IU graduate student instructors now on strike for union recognition, next vote on Tuesday

On Friday morning, at Sample Gates, on the east end of Kirkwood Avenue, around 100 Indiana University graduate student instructors set up a picket with printed signs that said, “ON STRIKE For Union Recognition.”

The action by the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition – United Electrical Workers (IGWC) is considered by the university’s administration to be just a “work stoppage” and not a “strike” by a union.

The university administration’s refusal to recognize the IGWC as a union is the central grievance of the graduate student instructors.

The strike, which started Wednesday, was authorized by a vote of the Indiana Graduate Workers Coalition – United Electrical Workers by a tally of 1,008 to 23 (97.8 in favor), according to union organizers.

The job title of graduate student instructors within the university’s employment system is student academic appointee (SAA). The IGWC wants the university’s administration to recognize the group as the union representing all SSAs as provided under Indiana Code.

The kind of issues the IGWC wants to be able to negotiate with the administration as a collective bargaining unit include: elimination of various fees; compensation; benefits; a formal grievance procedure; and equity for international students who are SAAs. Continue reading “IU graduate student instructors now on strike for union recognition, next vote on Tuesday”

Bloomington Transit wants public input: Route changes, late-hours swap of regular bus for Uber/Lyft

A series of changes to optimize bus routes that were planned for 2020 implementation, but were delayed by the COVID-19 pandemic, are now back under consideration by Bloomington Transit.

Highlights include: the consolidation of Routes 1 South and 7 Express into a single route to be called Route 7; and the merging of Route 3 East, Route 8 Local, Route 9 Campus, and Route 10 Hospital into a single route to be called Route 90.

The Route 90 would operate on a bidirectional loop, with 20-minute frequency each way. The loop would encompass downtown, the Indiana University campus, and some of the east side down to the College Mall area.

Subject to final board approval, those route changes would be implemented in August of this year.

A pilot project that could be rolled out earlier is the replacement of the late-night service on some routes with “microtransit.” That means passengers could take an Uber/Lyft style ride for the standard $1 fare, with the remaining cost, up to $15, to be covered by Bloomington Transit.

The pilot for the micro-transit would be rolled out in May, after the IU semester ends.
Continue reading “Bloomington Transit wants public input: Route changes, late-hours swap of regular bus for Uber/Lyft”

Bloomington pandemic update: A “sense of calm” as COVID-19 case numbers subside

Just two COVID-19 patients are currently being treated in IU Health hospitals across the health provider’s south central region, which includes Bloomington, Bedford and Paoli.

Both of those patients are at Bloomington’s new hospital, according to Brian Shockney, who is president of IU Health’s south central region. Shockney was speaking at Friday’s biweekly news conference of local leaders on pandemic response.

Shockney described a change in atmosphere at IU Health’s Bloomington hospital: “For the first time, our team was truly faced with a sense of calm this past week after these two years of pandemic.” Continue reading “Bloomington pandemic update: A “sense of calm” as COVID-19 case numbers subside”

Celebrated: Renaming of Bloomington street as Eagleson Avenue

The first day of February was the official date for the name change of a north-south street that cuts through the Indiana University campus.

To mark the occasion, early on Tuesday afternoon, a gathering about two and a half dozen strong gathered at the southern end of the Bloomington street now known as Eagleson Avenue.

On hand was a mix of city officials and members of the extended Eagleson family, in whose honor the street has been renamed.

The family includes mathematicians, physicists, ministers, and one of the original Tuskegee Airmen.

Speaking for the Eaglesons was Betty Bridgwaters, who led off by noting the afternoon’s sunshine and warmth. The temperature hit 60 F degrees, even as the forecast called for a winter storm to move through the area the following day.

Bridgwaters is the great-granddaughter of Halson Vashon Eagleson, Sr., who was born into slavery, and arrived in Bloomington in the 1880s. Continue reading “Celebrated: Renaming of Bloomington street as Eagleson Avenue”

Bloomington street signs change to Eagleson Avenue, honoring prominent Black family

Tuesday, Feb. 1 is the date approved by Bloomington’s city plan commission last September for the official name change of a north-south street that cuts through the Indiana University campus.

That meant on Monday crews from the street division of the city’s public works department were out installing signs that say Eagleson Avenue, which honors four generations of a local Black family. The lineage started with Halson Vashon Eagleson, Sr. who was born a slave and arrived in Bloomington in the 1880s.

The street crews were swapping out signs with the old name, Jordan Avenue. The street had been named after David Starr Jordan, who was Indiana University’s president from 1885 to 1891.

Jordan was a proponent of eugenics, which advocates for the improvement of the human species through selective mating. It was that part of Jordan’s biography that led the IU Board of Trustees in October of 2020 to a decision to remove the name from Jordan Hall, Jordan Avenue Parking Garage, and Jordan River.

A joint IU and city task force worked on the Jordan Avenue renaming from April through July of 2021. A report recommending the renaming of the street to honor the Eaglesons was delivered by the task force in July 2021. Continue reading “Bloomington street signs change to Eagleson Avenue, honoring prominent Black family”

Bloomington Transit board talks strategic plan, new standard for judging ridership

At its monthly meeting on Tuesday, the five-member Bloomington Transit board reached a consensus that a consultant should be hired to help the public bus agency develop a five-to-seven-year strategic plan.

The new strategic plan will incorporate the new reality of diminished ridership, which continues to be impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. In December 2021, 115,504 rides were given on BT’s fixed-route buses. That’s about twice the number of rides in December 2020. But it’s less than half the number of rides in December 2019.

When he reported out the monthly ridership numbers from December, BT’s planning and special projects manager Zac Hunec told the board: “We’re kind of shifting away from this mode of comparing our statistics to quote unquote, normal times.” Hunec added, “I think we’ve all kind of recognized this is the new normal. When we start looking at statistics, we’ll just be comparing it to the previous year.”

The next step on the strategic plan is to put together a request for proposals for potential consulting firms. Continue reading “Bloomington Transit board talks strategic plan, new standard for judging ridership”