Study links environment with male reproductive problems, cancer

March 17, 2011

A new Finnish study linking environmental toxins to reproductive problems in young men reminded me of the ongoing, three-decade-old toxic assault on children's health and a speech I gave in 1995. The place was the annual meeting of the Indiana Environmental Institute (IEI) in downtown Indianapolis. The occasion was the release of my first book. The topic was sperm.

Before the talk, I figured I would never again have the undivided attention of the cream of the state's environmental stakeholders -- leaders from Indiana industry, government, academia and citizen groups, almost all white males. So I decided targeting their testicles might get their attention and be something they just might remember. I built the speech around an article the New Yorker had just published about worldwide declines in sperm counts.

March 16, 2011

The following is a statement about changes in the Farmers Market made by Megan Hutchison, District 5 City Council Candidate, at a news conference on March 12, 2011.


I called this press conference Thursday after learning about changes to the Saturday Market at City Hall. On Thursday morning, I attended a Citizen’s Breakfast hosted by City Council President Susan Sandberg, County Council President Julie Thomas and County Council, District Four Representative Sam Allison. The breakfast is held monthly and offers residents a welcoming environment to discuss issues of importance to them.

At the breakfast, we were all surprised to hear the new rules regarding tabling for community groups at the Farmers’ Market. A member of a nonprofit organization that frequently tables at the market learned that there would be fees to set up tables near the market. In the past, local organizations were able to participate in the Farmers’ Market to inform and engage community members for no cost. It’s a great way for farmers’ market customers to learn more about community events and how they can get involved in issues and organizations they are interested in.

March 14, 2011

Many people apply lawn chemicals on their properties to achieve the much-touted gorgeous, green, weed-free lawn. Lawn chemicals, however, can be deadly.

“The entire U.S. population is exposed on a daily basis to numerous agricultural chemicals, some of which are used in residential and commercial landscaping,” according to the latest edition of a report called Reducing Environmental Cancer Risk: What We Can Do Now, by the President’s Cancer Panel.

March 12, 2011

State Rep. Vernon G. Smith (D-Gary) has called out Gov. Mitch Daniels for hyposcrisy after the emerging presidential candidate embraced Republican legislation that would allow non-licensed, non-trained educators in the classrooms. In 2009, Daniels vetoed a bill relaxing requirements for teachers who took the Praxis I test, because it “lowered standards” for teachers, Smith said in a news release.

“This is a dramatic turnaround and, for some reason, Gov. Daniels does not think anyone will notice the hypocrisy of his veto claims two years ago in contrast to his active support of initiatives that will put unqualified people into schools, people who will be called teachers and superintendents. The governor vetoed the bill I authored two years ago that would have established a testing waiver for teachers who scored slightly under the PRAXIS examination cutoff score.

Nonprofits bring respect back to an ailing profession

March 5, 2011

News about the news media has been chilling for longer than any self-respecting journalist would care to admit. Last fall, public trust reached a historic low, when Gallup pollsters found 57 percent of respondents did not trust the news media to report stories “fully, accurately or fairly.”

In an era when Brian Williams, Katie Couric and Bill O’Reilly are considered “journalists,” the public’s cynicism is unarguably well-deserved. But commercialized news is only part of the story. The best traditions of American journalism are alive, if not necessarily well, at nonprofit outfits like the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism (WCIJ), whose chief reporter and Web producer visited Bloomington from March 1 to 4.

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."

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