Service agencies anticipate resource drops in times of need

March 5, 2011

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.

March 1, 2011

As humans seek the middle of what Ralph Waldo Emerson described as the polar states of "insanity or fat dullness," citizens search for the most effective news. Just as no student could pass a test without access to the materials that will be covered on the test, citizens need to be exposed to adequate information to formulate ideas and opinions in their democracy.

On the al-Jazeera English show Empire, in an episode entitled "Information Wars," host and moderator Marwan Bishara stated, "Today, the free flow of information is overturning autocrats across the Arab World. Who knows where the next domino will fall?"

February 27, 2011

A new report released late last week shows that US power plants increased their emissions of climate change causing, carbon dioxide by 5.56 percent in 2010 over that released in 2009.

The Environmental Integrity Project (EIP) study, titled Getting Warmer, showed that Indiana, Illinois and Kentucky ranked fourth, fifth and seventh nationally in the release of the greenhouse gas and that all three significantly increased those releases in 2010.

Students exposed to pollution from boilers on college campuses
February 22, 2011

News Release
Sierra Student Coalition, Coal Free IU

On Feb. 23, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) issued a modest air quality standard to protect Americans from life-threatening air pollution from industrial boilers, which emit toxic pollutants such as mercury, acid gases and arsenic. College students around the country are affected by toxic air pollution from on-campus boilers. This particular EPA safeguard is often called the “Boiler MACT (Maximum Available Control Technology).”

In response, Coal Free IU representative Lauren Kastner and Sierra Student Coalition organizer Alexis Boxer issued the following statement: “This long overdue and relatively modest air quality update by Administrator Lisa Jackson and the EPA will save lives, prevent disease and help college students avoid costly hospitalizations and missed schooldays."

February 22, 2011

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition, AARP Indiana, Save the Valley, Valley Watch Hoosier Chapter Sierra Club

On Feb. 23, 2011, a coalition of consumer and environmental organizations blasted Senate Bill 251, contending that it is a utility wish list inimical to consumer interests and economic stability. S.B. 251 was approved on Tuesday, Feb. 22 by a vote of 32-17 and will now to be sent to the House of Representatives for consideration.

Grant Smith, Executive Director of Citizens Action Coalition (CAC), said, “SB 251 does three things: First, the legislation is designed to enable utilities to pursue financially high-risk investments, like nuclear power, that they would otherwise avoid. Secondly, it is designed to deregulate large portions of utility revenue over time. Finally, SB 251 all but eliminates the possibility of a robust, homegrown renewable energy sector for Indiana."

February 19, 2011

Coal is the No. 1 single cause of global warming, and a student environmental movement has arisen around it. IU students have their own vigorous IU Coal-Free Campaign, which targets the university’s coal-fired power plant. Lauren Kastner, an IU sophomore and Ernie Pyle Scholar in the IU School of Journalism, is the president of Coal-Free IU and talks about the campaign below.


LG: Tell me what the IU Coal-Free IU Campaign is about.

LK: Coal-free IU is a Sierra Club-sponsored campaign. The Sierra Club is the largest environmental organization in the country. In 2009 the Sierra Club and the Sierra Students Coalition launched a campaign called “Beyond Coal.” It’s a national campaign that’s taking place in communities and on college campuses, and Coal-Free IU is one of those campuses.

IU’s dependent on electricity that’s generated by coal that we purchase off the grid from Duke Energy. We want to see the university switch from this outdated and dirty technology to clean, renewable technology, like experiments with biomass or solar or wind or another renewable that will sustain our campus, and of course conservation is a huge part of our effort as well.

February 18, 2011

Call it tough love. This column frequently critiques the practice and performance of U.S. public broadcasting. And with good reason. Neither NPR nor PBS comes close to realizing its potential to broadcast in the public interest. All too often, U.S. public media act as “stenographers to power” rather than adhere to the principles of good journalism: independence, inquiry and verification.

Public broadcasting’s recent coverage of democratic uprisings in North Africa, the Middle East and elsewhere is a case in point. On the one hand, public media repeats and amplifies the pronouncements of administration and state department officials with little if any interrogation of their specious claims to support pro-democracy activists. What’s more, both NPR and PBS did their share of stoking anti-Islamic attitudes and ignoring the history of American imperialism in the Arab world.

February 18, 2011

Last week's Grammy Awards certainly generated plenty of chatter, what with all of the surprising winners (Esperanza Spalding, Lady Antebellum), veteran performances (Bob Dylan, Sir Mick Jagger) and more than a few upsets (Justin Bieber, Eminem).

Then there was Lady Gaga's egg-regious entrance.

Meanwhile, across the pond the British Academy Film Awards (a.k.a. the BAFTAS) made it clear that The King’s Speech was the favorite going into the upcoming Academy Awards.

February 18, 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.

February 17, 2011

News Release
Citizens Action Coalition

On Feb. 16, the Citizens Action Coalition called on the Daniels administration to release e-mails and documents that CAC requested months ago. The e-mails pertain to the recently signed contract between the Indiana Finance Authority and Leucadia Corporation to force construction of a substitute natural gas (SNG) plant in Rockport, Ind.

Kerwin Olson, program director for CAC, said, "The Daniels administration continues to deny or sit on information requests that intend to shed light on this questionable contract. Transparency of this transaction is essential as Hoosier homes and businesses are being coerced by the power of the state to become involuntary investors in a highly speculative venture. The reality is that this deal requires the public to invest for 30 years in unregistered, derivative securities to enable the production of overpriced SNG."

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