November 21, 2007

Forget about "upcycling" or "aging in place" or "tase." The cultural watchword of the year is "locavore."

So says the Oxford University Press (OUP), publisher of the New Oxford American English Dictionary, which chose "locavore" as its Word of the Year for 2007. The term refers to people who prefer to eat only locally grown food.

Nothing says cultural significance, however, like being on the cover of Parade Magazine. On Nov. 11, the day before OUP announced its selection, the ubiquitous national weekly featured a segment on local food as part of an issue titled "What Americans Eat."

"That means we've entered the mainstream of the mainstream," says Maggie Sullivan.

November 21, 2007

The Mother Hubbard’s Cupboard (MHC) Fourth Annual “Silent Auction” is taking place right now, now, now at the west- and east-side Bloomingfoods. (Sorry for the used car salesman rant.)

But honestly, local artwork, guitar and yoga classes, gift certificates, oriental rugs, books, T-shirts, ceramics and many other unique items are being silently auctioned, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to a good cause – feeding the working poor.

“A lot of folks don’t understand that many people in our community are one illness, one paycheck, or one accident away from hunger,” said Brooke Gentile executive director of MHC.

November 11, 2007

Blood, sweat and tears. That is what the orchard bees are after, and there's plenty of it to go around. For Andy, Amy, Grace and Willa it comes with the territory. They are the Hamilton family - the owners of Musgrave Orchard and the suppliers of fresh produce to the Bloomington community.

Day in and day out they work with one another. Pressing cider, selling goods, picking vegetables and taking care of animals mark
the minutes and hours on the clock.

Their goal is simple, and, as Andy likes to put it, they are "just trying to keep an old business alive."

Since the 1930s, the days have been long and the hours have been short for those who work at Musgrave Orchard. Lester Musgrave originally owned the farm during the Great Depression. Eventually, his son Robert gained control and sold the property to the Hamilton family four years ago.

November 7, 2007

Those who argue that the influx of wealthy college students living downtown is driving up the costs for small, local businesses will find support in county property records for the Courthouse Square.

As massive student housing projects like Smallwood and The Mercury at Regester Place have been planned and developed since the turn of the century, the selling prices of the commercial buildings on the Square over the past five years have jumped dramatically.

According to the Bloomington Plan Department, roughly 750 new apartments have been added in the downtown area since 2000. The complexes advertise everything from studio to four-bedroom units.

Public records in the Monroe County Assessor and Recorder's offices show that six buildings have sold on the Courthouse Square since 2001. The last property sold in 2005 fetched more than twice the square-footage rate of the last one sold in 2002.

November 7, 2007

Editor's note: The following information was gleaned from public records from the Monroe County Assessor, Recorder and Indiana Secretary of State offices.

Each listing includes:
Street level business
Property address
Property owners
Owners' listed hometown

Walnut Street - Kirkwood Avenue to Sixth Street

Book Corner
100 N. Walnut
Spannuth Enterprises Inc.

Chico Fashions
102 N. Walnut Street
Jupiter Investments Inc.

Malibu Grill
106 N. Walnut Street
IDS Inc.

Opie Taylors

October 24, 2007

Monroe County Public Library (MCPL) Board members heard their commitment to employee rights and open government challenged at a contentious meeting on Oct. 17. Questions came from inside and outside the board and the library.

Board member, VITAL volunteer and employee advocate Randy Paul assailed his fellow board members for drafting a unionization proposal that would have required 75 percent of union-eligible employees to cast votes before a library union could be formed.

“If we were to hold that same standard for the election we’re about to have for mayor and city council, there would be no city government,” he said. “We wouldn’t have a president. We wouldn’t have a Congress. We wouldn’t have a Supreme Court.”

With backing from union leaders and others, Paul said the 75-percent threshold was an example of the board’s prejudice against the union.

October 14, 2007

"So do they just jump in there? Is that the--do they just jump in?" A bookish man in a lavender shirt held a leash gingerly while his dog, a mutt of some sort, sniffed at the passing crowd, wrapping the leash around the man's pale legs.

He had asked me, the only person in sight not gripping a leash, or pulling at a collar, or chasing a dog, or watching one pursue a tennis ball in the swimming pool. For the final two days of the season, Bryan Park Pool was closed to taxpaying city residents but open to dogs. The annual "Drool in the Pool" attracted some of Bloomington's most cheerful dog owners, people who didn't seem to mind sweating on shade-less concrete, stumbling over leashes, or brushing against the wet fur of dozens of strange dogs.

I nodded to the man, who unfastened the leash and watched his mutt bolt through a landscaping hedge toward the shallow children's pool, where a few dogs swam willingly and others clawed at the ground as their owners dragged them into the water. Like most involuntary attendees here, the mutt had no apparent interest in the main Olympic-size pool, where a scattering of tennis balls bobbed forlornly. A German shepherd leapt after one and I stepped out of the way of its loudly cheering owner.

October 10, 2007

Far too often police and paramedics race to the scenes of drunk driving accidents, often because the drivers got behind the wheel without realizing just how intoxicated they actually were.

But after 30 years in the alcohol and drug addiction industry, Thomas W. Cox, executive director of Amethyst House, has a tool he thinks could give the emergency responders some relief.

Last month, in honor of National Alcohol and Drug Abuse Recovery month, he announced the organization's newest tool in the struggle -- alcohol and drug tests that work using saliva.

October 10, 2007

New window dressings on the corner of Kirkwood and Washington do not portend a new era in the 49-year home of Ladyman's Cafe.

The building permit taped on the window by the door was issued to PK Group LLC for "adding light fixtures, drywall repair and flooring," according to the permit, not for erecting 50-foot-high concrete block walls, which had been planned.

And the "lifestyle townhouses and apartments" promoted in the window stencil will not be swanky digs with Kirkwood views for wealthy college kids.

The advertised Village at Muller Park, in fact, is out on the Indiana 37 Bypass. PK is a development group that will use the former Roadworthy Guitar as a leasing office.

October 10, 2007

Editor’s note: The following information was gleaned from public records from the Monroe County Assessor, Recorder and Indiana Secretary of State offices.

Each listing includes:
Property address
Property owners
Owners' listed hometown

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