May 29, 2011

I waited until now to publicly thank Mayor Mark Kruzan for his May 13 vote against Interstate 69 because a private note I sent him came back saying he would be out of e-mail range until month's end. I know the mayor read my piece calling him out on the issue last November. We communicated about it. So, in the interest of journalistic proportionality, equal play for his courage is required.

Besides, the fallout from the mayor's stand against the corruption, abuse of power and anti-democratic forces behind the sociopathic, $4 billion taxpayer mugging is falling hardest around him and the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) now. For example, with a lack of self-awareness worthy of The Office's Michael Scott, newspaper editors in Evansville called local MPO members "clowns" in a May 22 editorial. (More on that below.)

May 28, 2011

Twelve Bloomington citizens protested the May 26 sale of timber in the Monroe-Morgan State Forest Backcountry Area, which Indiana Forest Alliance (IFA) member David Haberman called a “complete betrayal of what was set up by the state to protect this wilderness area.”

The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) established the Backcountry Area in 1981 to provide a backcountry wilderness experience for Indiana citizens. The intent, according to IFA's Website, "was to show that the state could protect areas just as well as land that was put into federal Wilderness Area protection. … The particular area they intend to put on sale on Thursday contains stands of the largest and oldest trees in the Backcountry Area.”

May 20, 2011

INDIANAPOLIS - Chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Anthem WellPoint’s got to go” on an uncharacteristically cold and rainy May 17, about 50 people gathered from across Indiana in front of the Indianapolis City Market.

The occasion was the annual rally for single-payer health care, sponsored by Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan (HCHP), Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC), Jobs with Justice, Indiana chapter of the AFL-CIO, the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care and Physicians for a National Health Plan.

May 19, 2011

News Release
Planned Parenthood

INDIANAPOLIS - Due to an ongoing and meaningful outpouring of financial support from women and men across the country, Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) is able to continue to cover the costs of care to its established Medicaid patients through at least Monday, May 30.

Incredibly, PPIN has received more than $50,000 in donations since the Indiana legislature and Gov. Mitch Daniels made the decision through HEA 1210 to unplug 9,300 Medicaid patients from health care at their preferred provider.

May 19, 2011

The idea that possible presidential candidate Mitch Daniels represents fiscal restraint sounds like hogwash to opponents of three pricey projects moving forward on his watch as governor of Indiana.

At Edwardsport, construction cost overruns have skyrocketed at a Duke Energy plant that would convert coal into synthetic gas to generate electricity. Consumer groups and industrial customers have balked at the $2.72 billion bill that Duke wants ratepayers to pick up.

Will Daniels impose state control over local transportation planning?

May 14, 2011

Opponents of Interstate 69 erupted in cheers and applause when Mayor Mark Kruzan and the Bloomington/Monroe County Metropolitan Planning Organization Policy Committee (MPO) on May 13 voted to exclude I-69 in its Transportation Improvement Program for fiscal years 2012–15.

The 8-to-3 vote followed several hours of intense testimony from the public in opposition to I-69. The move includes section 4, which would bisect Monroe County.

“There comes a time when you stand up to a bully,” City Council member Andy Ruff said. “It is time to stand up for ourselves. It is time to stop the bully from adding I-69 to his political trophy case.”

May 13, 2011

News Release
Planned Parenthood of Indiana

INDIANAPOLIS – Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) will cover the costs of care to its Medicaid patients around the state through at least Saturday, May 21. There will be some limitations, including no new Medicaid-eligible patients will be taken, and some services will be scheduled later to give the court time to issue a ruling on the injunction being sought by PPIN.

The extension is possible due to the extraordinary outpouring of support from donors across the country. PPIN will monitor as gifts continue to come in the door and hopes to be able to extend services beyond May 21.

May 13, 2011

For a variety of reasons -- among them a 60th birthday and news that three more significant figures from my life didn’t reach that milestone -- I’ve been contemplating that most foreboding of subjects: life expectancy.

My curiosity is driven by events and informed by an observation made several years ago in a story by a student journalist. An IU Health Center source said her generation -- the student’s -- due to lifestyle and environmental factors, would be the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents.

MacNeil's 'Autism Now' honest, enlightened, public-interest journalism

April 30, 2011

After an involuntary hiatus, it's always invigorating to re-engage with the "real work" (Beat poet Gary Snyder's words), especially when the initial reconnect is celebratory in nature. Especially when the celebration involves an institution at the heart of the mission, in this case journalism.

And so, with a bow to journalist Robert MacNeil, I begin this summer's phase of my investigation into the twin epidemics of autism and developmental disabilities. His investigative report Autism Now, which aired on the PBS NewsHour in April, reacquainted me with the issues I'm exploring in the Ohio River Valley, where the rain is toxic and data show the kids just aren't quite right, developmentally speaking. Three years' into this project, I've not found a more honest or enlightened media report.

April 30, 2011

You've heard it before: "I-69 is not a done deal." A panel of five activists presented ample evidence bolstering that statement at Green Drinks at the Upland Brewery banquet hall on April 27.

Chris Doran, from the I-69 Accountability Project, moderated. The panel was made up of Jody Madeira, whom Doran introduced as a "pissed-off" homeowner and IU law professor; Christine Glaser, an environmental economist; Tim Maloney, from the Hoosier Environmental Council (HEC); Tom Tokarski, from Citizens for Appropriate Rural Roads (CARR); and Sam Allison, Monroe County council member.

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