Monroe County sheriff sends update on efforts to clean, sanitize jail

Late Wednesday afternoon, Monroe County sheriff Ruben Marté released an update on efforts to clean up the jail facility.

The emailed update was sent to county councilors, county commissioners, members of the community justice response committee, and several other community members.

The update included a link to several before-after photos of: J Block, which is the jail’s new mental health dormitory; the intake room; and the sally port, which is where prisoners are taken into the jail.

The focus of current cleaning efforts is on D Block, according to Marté’s update. Continue reading “Monroe County sheriff sends update on efforts to clean, sanitize jail”

Pandemic notebook: Decline in positive cases continues with slight hitch

Monroe County’s confirmed positive COVID-19 numbers continue their rapid decrease, after a spike that saw them go up just about as fast.

That matches the trend across the state of Indiana.

Also showing a similar pattern for the county and the whole state is a hitch in the decrease for the rolling 7-day average of daily cases.

For Monroe County, the rolling average for the last five days has been stuck between 65 and 70 cases a day.

That’s a wrinkle that could be a side effect of the snowstorm that shut down many testing facilities on Feb. 3 and Feb. 4, just before the weekend. That could have led to a delay in testing or reports of tests until the following Monday and Tuesday, bumping the numbers for those two days, which are still a part of the current rolling daily average. Continue reading “Pandemic notebook: Decline in positive cases continues with slight hitch”

Zero conditional use requests for duplexes after 6 months under Bloomington’s new zoning, plan commissioner named

Since Bloomington’s most recently updated unified development ordinance (UDO) was signed into law by mayor John Hamilton on July 12 last year, no conditional use applications have been filed to build duplexes in older residential neighborhoods.

That was the report to the Bloomington city council’s Wednesday meeting by development services manager Jackie Scanlan.  The only way new duplexes can be constructed in older neighborhoods is through a conditional use application.

Also on Wednesday, planning and transportation director Scott Robinson alerted the council to some upcoming proposed changes in the UDO—revisions to the incentives that are available to developers. Developers of student housing are using the sustainability incentive, but not the affordability incentive, Robinson reported. The goal of the proposed changes will be to encourage the use of both incentive types, Robinson said. 

Those proposed changes to the UDO’s incentives will eventually be reviewed by Bloomington’s plan commission, before the city council makes a decision. The city plan commission’s next meeting is set for Feb. 7. That will be the commission’s first meeting of the year. The group will have two new faces compared to last year. 

The city council representative to the plan commission will be Ron Smith, not Susan Sandberg, who has served the last few years in that role. The other new face isTim Ballard, who has been appointed to the Bloomington plan commission as the replacement for Beth Cate, who resigned when she took the role of the city’s corporation counsel in early January. 

Ballard is a broker/realtor with Griffin Realty, the firm headed up by Bloomington’s deputy mayor, Don Griffin.   Continue reading “Zero conditional use requests for duplexes after 6 months under Bloomington’s new zoning, plan commissioner named”

COVID-19 update: Numbers hit plateau, vaccine clinics this week

After a steep climb starting in late 2021 going through mid-January, the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Monroe County and the state of Indiana appear to have plateaued and are starting to show signs of declining.

In Monroe County, the rolling 7-day average has stayed mostly under 290 cases per day for the last two weeks, after hitting 293 on Jan. 13.

The statewide hospital census of COVID-19 patients shows the same general trend, although the rise in cases has been smaller, compared to the total number of cases. Statewide, the rolling daily average census of patients who are hospitalized with the pandemic virus has declined for the last five days, after peaking at around 3,450 patients.

Based on numbers from Indiana’s pandemic dashboard, 75 percent of positive COVID-19 cases in the last four weeks were caused by the Omicron variant.

Vaccine clinics at two locations this week are being promoted by Monroe County’s public health department. Continue reading “COVID-19 update: Numbers hit plateau, vaccine clinics this week”