“Jobs, jobs, jobs” – that’s the recurring refrain by I-69 proponents claiming that the interstate highway will bring economic development to Central and Southwest Indiana. But after nearly 21 years of opposing I-69, Thomas Tokarski says about that claim: “It’s bogus.”
“The myth of highways as economic saviors and bringers of jobs is very engrained in people’s minds. People don’t even question it anymore; they just assume that’s the case,” he says.
The reality is very different from the myth.
I-69 Accountability Project, CARR
Editor's note: The MPO postponed action on this matter until its next meeting on Nov. 4, 2011.
Earlier this year, members of the Bloomington Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) took an action long-awaited by many residents of Monroe County and southwestern Indiana. The MPO members said “no” to a NAFTA Superhighway project that has produced numerous environmental violations that are currently in federal court. They also said “no” to a multi-billion dollar I-69 project that has already taken away funds from much-needed projects to address our crumbling infrastructure throughout the state. And if new terrain I-69 moves ahead as planned, it will only accelerate the unacceptable deterioration of Indiana’s transportation infrastructure.
On Friday, Sept. 9, residents of Monroe County and all of the neighboring counties will encourage the Bloomington MPO to continue to hold firm in the decision made earlier this year.
Cindy Sheehan doesn’t sit down and relax very often. The internationally known peace and human rights activist just returned home to California from a two-week trip to Japan and soon afterwards embarked on a bus tour of the Northwest.
“Today,” she wrote in her blog for Aug. 21, “the Re-Creating Revolutionary Communities or Bust Tour kicked off our nine-city tour in Oregon and California with some exciting visits in Eugene, Ore.”
It was the early ‘90s; a friend had encouraged me to come by Bear’s Back Room to hear Gillian Welch and Dave Rawlings from Nashville, Tenn. They were on the road, playing their first gig in Bloomington and had yet to make a record. I came late, halfway into the evening. Before I had time to find a seat, I was stopped in my tracks and spent the rest of the night standing in the doorway at the precipice of another time and place in what felt like the early days of country music.
They had it all, the writing and musicianship, and on stage they looked like a Dorothea Lange photograph sprung to life. Gillian, with hair tied back, was wafer thin, in vintage attire. Dave’s shock of dark hair was anchored by sideburns, and he was wearing a dress coat and wrestling a calliope of sounds out of his guitar.
The day following the fall of Tripoli to CIA/NATO backed rebels, Cynthia McKinney spoke at Cleveland State University in downtown Cleveland about her fact-finding mission to Libya. The Aug. 22 event, which had been arranged weeks in advance of the dramatic events transpiring in Libya, was part of a 21-city tour by the six-term congresswoman and Green Party presidential candidate.
Flanked by an honor guard of the New Black Panther Party dressed in black uniforms and black berets, McKinney opened her remarks by drawing parallels between the way the mainstream media has repeatedly lied to the public about Libya and quotes from Nazi Minister of Propaganda Joseph Goebels – “If you repeat a lie a thousand times, people will come to believe it." – and Muammar Qaddafi – “If you tell one truth, you will smash a thousand lies.”
Tim Maloney wasn't alone when he objected to the U.S. Army's October 2010 finding that a reuse plan for the Newport Chemical Depot would have no significant environmental impact on the Vermillion County environs. That the plan offered no protection for a rare and endangered black-soil prairie on the base wasn't even the most confounding aspect. Proposed by a local reuse authority empowered to determine the 7,100-acre base's future, the plan called for a coal-liquefaction plant on land that had been maintained largely in agricultural and natural states.
The Army's determination that a coal plant would produce no adverse environmental impacts was one of several issues the Hoosier Environmental Council's (HEC) senior policy director said rendered it "inadequate" under federal law. "This would be a major industrial facility, with potential impacts to air quality, water quality, disturbance or destruction of forest, wetlands, and prairie, and dramatic change in the nature of the property," Maloney wrote in Dec. 18, 2010, comments. He called on the Army to complete a full environmental impact statement for Newport.
The Midwest Rising Convergence 2011, on Aug. 12–15 at the University of Missouri–St. Louis conference center, wasn’t an ordinary conference. It featured no experts or celebrities. The 200 or so participants co-operatively ran it, cooking and serving meals, working at the registration desk and holding workshops.
Billed as an anticorporate gathering of activists with a focus on environmental and economic justice and on the interconnectedness of social justice issues, the convergence was highlighted by several instances of direct action.
Feeding Indiana's Hungry
Feeding Indiana’s Hungry and Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger relief organization, today released a new study which reveals that 24.5 percent of children under the age of 18 in Indiana are struggling with hunger. This is about 388,640 or one in four Hoosier children, spanning all 92 Indiana counties.
The study, Map the Meal Gap: Child Food Insecurity 2011, reveals that there are children struggling with hunger in every county in America. Nationally, while one in six Americans overall is food insecure, the rate for children is much higher: nearly one in four children is food insecure. The study shows that rates of child food insecurity in Indiana range from a low of 17 percent in Hamilton County to highs of 32 percent or more in Fayette, Elkhart, Adams, Miami, Crawford and LaGrange Counties, touching all areas of the state.
Citizens Action Coalition
Today, in a letter to Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Chairman James Atterholt, the Citizens Action Coalition raised concerns with respect to the commission’s apparent lack of engagement to date, at least publicly, in the proposed merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy. CAC also submitted a public information request seeking any communications regarding the proposed merger between and among officials of both Duke Energy and Progress Energy with the IURC and other State agencies.
“We find it difficult to understand why the commission has not already begun a public investigation into the consequences of this proposed merger on the customers of Duke Energy Indiana,” stated Kerwin Olson, interim executive director of CAC. “Especially considering the recent behavior of Duke Energy not only with inappropriate communications with the commission, but also with the gross mismanagement of the problem-plagued Edwardsport IGCC.”
NEWPORT, IND. – Environmental activists in west-central Indiana have lost the first round of their ongoing struggle to protect a patch of endangered black-soil prairie on the U.S. Army's Newport Chemical Depot (NECD). On Sept. 15, the Army is scheduled to transfer the 7,100-acre base to a quasi-governmental group, with no protections whatsoever for the prairie and several endangered species that frequent it.
The restored, 336-acre prairie's fate rests with the Newport Chemical Depot Local Reuse Authority, whose five members are appointed by the Vermillion County Commissioners. So far they have refused to commit either way and at times have been downright hostile toward the preservationists.