Jean Smith holds one end of a 7-feet-long poster that first entered the protesting scene five years ago. It should be a third longer, she said.
“It’s the cost of I-69 expressed in millions,” the longtime opponent of the Interstate 69 extension from Evansville to Indianapolis via Bloomington said, looking down at the small numbers. “When I printed this, the state said it cost $1.8 billion, but we estimated that it cost $3 billion. The state now admits that it’s $3 billion."
Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads (CARR) has calculated the cost to be $4 billion, so the poster should be longer.
Federal funding keeps the Middle Way House (MWH) emergency shelter running. It keeps the heat on, it keeps the water running, and it provides money for a full-time staff.
“It’s absolutely required to have 24-hour-a-day staffing,” said Toby Strout, director of MWH. “We’re not allowed to have volunteers.”
That funding might be cut this year due to the passing of H.R. 1 -- the Full-Year Continuing Appropriations Act, 2011.
Food Works for Middle Way House sits opposite of the Boys and Girls Club across Third Street Park in the former Coca-Cola building. Blueberry and melon plants fill the patches of land around the recently opened kitchen. A rooftop garden with solar cells rests atop the childcare center next door.
The area exudes a sense of growth -- from the locally grown produce used in the kitchen’s recipes to the women working inside the store.
“My goal is to work with a woman and get her regular and stable hours,” said Donna Storm, the kitchen’s business and operations manager.
Kathyrn Shaw fiddled with her hands as she waited for her ride at the South Central Community Action Program (SCCAP) office. She had missed her appointment for the Energy Assistance Program earlier in the week and called Thursday morning to make another. They told her to come in later that day.
"When I lost all my income, I realized I needed to use the program," she said. "I was on disability for about 10 years."
Shaw took off her right-hand glove to reveal shaking fingers -- disabling rheumatoid arthritis.