Local News Headlines: March 27, 2024


Bloomington’s Hawthorne/Weatherstone Neighborhood Greenway project moves forward
With input from neighbors and residents, today the City announced plans to move forward with the Hawthorne/Weatherstone Neighborhood Greenway.

The mile-long greenway will connect residents in Barclay Gardens, The Boulders, and Elm Heights neighborhoods directly to Indiana University. The modified design incorporates feedback the City received throughout the planning process as well as from city leaders and public sessions, including one held by Mayor Kerry Thomson in February.

Neighborhood Greenways are low-speed, low-volume, shared-space streets that support high comfort walking and bicycling connections. Residents may still park and drive on the Neighborhood Greenway. 

In feedback sessions, residents asked why the City is investing in safety improvements on a street that already feels safe for pedestrians and bicyclists. City planners noted that this is an intentional best practice. Past Neighborhood Greenway projects have shown an increase in the number of people walking and rolling in the project areas, as well as significantly slower motor vehicle traffic. 

Traffic calming devices such as speed cushions and bumpouts reduce the likelihood that drivers will speed on these streets. Safety will be improved at intersections with measures such as new crosswalk markings, digital speed warning signs, and rapid flashing beacons. Bump out curbs will improve pedestrian visibility and shorten road crossing lengths at intersections. All aspects of the project subject to ADA regulations, including existing features, were examined both by City Engineering staff and an external national engineering firm with ADA compliance expertise. New features will be in compliance, and existing features modified as necessary to bring them into compliance where feasible and appropriate. Bloomington Fire Department has also approved the plans for safety.

A number of design changes were made in response to resident feedback:

  • Traffic calming was added at the intersections with Maxwell Lane and 1st Street.
  • Bumpouts were changed to speed cushions where there is no adjacent tree plot and sidewalk. 
  • Three locations of traffic-calming infrastructure were removed on Hawthorne.
  • Two locations of traffic calming were removed on Weatherstone.
  • Wayfinding signage was added.
  • Lighting plans were adjusted.
  • The proposed trail connecting Hawthorne and Weatherstone was modified to encourage slower speeds and improved visibility.

At approximately 20% of the cost of sidewalk construction, Neighborhood Greenways provide relatively low-cost transportation improvements. This Neighborhood Greenway project was combined with multiple other initiatives in the area in order to gain project efficiencies offered by larger project bids. The awarded $873,378 bid amount includes approximately $128,000 of accessibility improvements including sidewalk repairs and new curb ramps; $27,000 for traffic calming on nearby Miller Drive as prioritized by the City’s resident-initiated traffic calming program; $197,000 for improvements at the intersection of Hillside Drive, Olive Street, and Weatherstone Lane which had a separate resident input process; $26,000 for removal and replacement of invasive Callery Pear trees; $73,000 for a new trail connecting the dead end of Hawthorne Drive to Weatherstone Lane; and more than one mile of Neighborhood Greenway improvements on both Hawthorne Drive and Weatherstone Lane.

Bill protecting minors from explicit websites now law
Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb recently signed into law legislation sponsored by State Rep. Joanna King (R-Middlebury), which will protect Hoosier children from accessing adult-oriented websites.

According to a National Institutes of Health study, more than 90 percent of boys and more than 60 percent of girls were exposed to internet pornography during their teenage years. The same group reports that exposure to pornography can lead adolescents to risky sexual behavior, sexually transmitted diseases and early pregnancy. King said to help protect children, Senate Enrolled Act 17 will require adult-oriented websites to verify consumers are at least 18 years old before allowing them to access content.

“By adding an age verification check to these websites, we can help protect minors and shield them from the psychological and emotional consequences associated with accessing explicit material,” King said. “Young children can develop unhealthy perceptions of relationships and body image, decreased self-esteem, addiction and other issues. This new law is an easy way to help ensure adult content is only accessed by adults.”

King said adult-oriented websites would have to verify a user’s identity by using methods such as scanning a driver’s license, state identification card number, or use of a third-party age verification process. Under the law, the companies would be required to delete users’ personal data immediately after verifying their age. The new law also clears the way for parents and the Indiana Attorney General’s Office to bring civil action for violations.

Age-verification for adult websites is already required in other states like Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Utah, Virginia, North Carolina and Texas.

To learn more about SEA 17 and other legislation signed into law by the governor, visit in.gov/gov/newsroom/2024-bill-watch.

Braden Ballard, Ivy Tech Bloomington student, named New Century Workforce Scholar
Ivy Tech Community College Bloomington radiation therapy student, Braden Ballard, has been named a 2024 New Century Workforce Scholar and will receive a $1,500 scholarship. Over 2,200 students from more than 1,300 college campuses nationwide were nominated and only one New Century Workforce Scholar was selected from each state.

The scholarship is the first of its kind to support students at associate degree-granting institutions on a national scale as they plan to enter the workforce upon completing a degree or certificate. The program is sponsored by The Coca-Cola Foundation and Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society. New Century Workforce Scholars are selected based on their academic accomplishments, leadership, activities, and how they extend their intellectual talents beyond the classroom.

Ballard serves as vice president for Ivy Tech Bloomington Student Government Association and is a member of Phi Theta Kappa Honor Society Alpha Rho Sigma chapter. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business marketing from Indiana University Kelley School of Business.

New Century Workforce Scholars will be recognized at a ceremony in Seattle, Wash. this fall.

This Week in Hoosier History

Larry and Magic

1979 – Michigan State defeated Indiana State in the NCAA basketball championship. Earvin “Magic” Johnson led the Spartans against Larry Bird of the Sycamores in one of the most-watched TV games in history. 

Follow us on Facebook

Image result for Facebook button

For more local news . . . Check out our archived episodes of What’s Happenin’ and Talkin’ Sports with Nick Jenkinson