The White River Cleanup happens each September, and is a statewide public service event stretching along much of the White River. Many counties including Delaware, Hamilton, Monroe, Madison and Morgan Counties participate in cleaning up the White River on or near the same date. Thousands of pounds of trash are removed every year including large amounts of tires.
Volunteers walk the bank, river and land where possible removing debris from and around the river. When that is not possible, volunteers use canoes to navigate through the water filling them up along the way with the debris they find.
The White River Cleanup is sponsored by the Stormwater Management Department and organized by Muncie-Delaware Clean & Beautiful.
2019 White River Cleanup:
from 8AM to 12PM at Westside Park
Registration will be available July 2019
Show your support for Mounds Greenway by joining Ride for the Mounds on September 14, 2019, 12 noon, at Canoe Country in Daleville.Tour the Mounds Greenway Corridor to see all the greenway seeks to conserve and connect.Bicycle distances are 15, 25, 45 miles.
Canoe Country in Daleville
September 14, 2019, 12 noon, at Canoe Country in Daleville.
Our Indiana legislators may continue to gerrymander districts for their own seats and those of our U.S. Congressional Representative
Bills proposing a non-partisan commission—favored by the League and our Indiana Coalition for independent Redistricting/ALL IN FOR DEMOCRACY—failed even to be heard in committee this session.
The one bill that would have made a small step toward redistricting reform, SB 105, was killed in the House when Rep. Tim Wesco, Chairman of the House Elections Committee, refused to schedule it for a hearing.
Thank you all for your many messages and calls over the course of the legislative session, and for the additional pressure you put on Speaker Brian Bosma to convince Chairman Wesco to hear the bill. It is frustrating when strong displays of public support are ignored (we weren’t alone in our efforts!). Seeking legislative reform from legislators who enjoy a supermajority is a challenge.
We do have one more year to propose legislation designed to make the 2021 redistricting process more transparent and easier for public participation. But we also need to start thinking about other ways to impact Congressional and state legislative map-drawing in 2021 if we don’t get reform from the General Assembly.
Keep reading for next steps, outlined by Julia Vaughn
for our Coalition!
While we’ll be back for the legislative fight in 2020
It’s important we start thinking about other ways to impact Congressional and state legislative map-drawing in 2021 if we don’t get reform from the General Assembly.
Back in 2011, with almost no money and very little lead time, Common Cause Indiana, the League of Women Voters of Indiana and AARP Indiana created the Indiana Citizens Redistricting Commission, a diverse and representative group of eleven activists who traveled the state to educate Hoosiers about the importance of the redistricting process and to help them get involved in it.
We will replicate this project in 2021 but will have more lead time and experience (and hopefully funding) – and will add a website with mapping software to the mix. The plan is to sponsor a mapping competition with the winner chosen by the members of the Citizens Redistricting Commission. We’ll then ask the General Assembly to pass the maps drawn by a citizen, since they are the only ones free from a conflict of interest.
Mapping competitions have proven to be effective tools in many states to provide a check on extreme gerrymanders, but it will take a tremendous amount of grassroots work to get the kind of citizen participation we’ll need to pull this off. The best way you can help at this point is to keep doing what you can to educate people in your community about what is coming up in 2021 with redistricting and why they should care.
There are so many things you can do: house parties, letters to the editor, public forums, film screenings, yard sign distribution, passage of local resolutions, Gerrymander Meanders, etc. We plan to have a large meeting in Indianapolis early this summer to bring everyone up to speed on planning for the Citizens Commission and mapping competition, as well as developing new strategies and approaches to reform via the legislative process.
Next Steps: Census 2020 and Doing Our Own Thing in 2021
Many of the organizations involved in the Indiana Coalition for Independent Redistricting will also begin to step up our advocacy for a complete count for the 2020 Census. As you are probably aware, there has been a lot of controversy about the 2020 Census already, but almost no preparation by the federal or state government to ensure a complete count. It’s extremely important to count everyone in our state for many reasons, including redistricting, so it’s important we begin educating the public about the importance of participating in the Census.
We’re not done yet!
It took more than 70 years for women to get the vote.
The new MCS School Board will soon complete its first school year. As of the April 23 meeting, they had met one time at each of the district’s school buildings. A school presentation started each meeting, giving the board and attendees the opportunity to learn about the culture and situation of each school. They heard musical groups and reflections from students and teachers. Most principals presented statistics demonstrating the strengths and needs of their building. Common to all presentations: a strong pride in their school and an opportunity for parents and students to share their stories with the Board.
One of the first actions of the Board last fall was the establishment of a Student Advisory Council (SAC) at Central High School; that group of amazing students reported several times in the past months. Three of their suggestions:
*Later start times for middle and high school (research supports this suggestion)
*Increased use of e-learning (pointing out that surrounding school systems use it)
*Implementation of block scheduling.
The latter will probably not happen in the near future, as block scheduling costs more than traditional scheduling. While MCS finances are more stable, increasing teacher salaries has to be at the top of the list.
At the last meeting, Interim Superintendent Steve Edwards indicated that later secondary start times are under consideration for the 2020-21 school year. The Board may want to investigate the tardiness at Southside Middle School that refers most students to Saturday School. Would a later start time decrease first period tardiness?
The Board moved immediately on e-learning as the best way to make up snow days, and by the end of May the system will complete three days of make up with e-learning. Assistant Superintendent Chuck Reynolds reported on April 23 that the first e-learning day went well, with 90% participation/work completion by elementary students and 70-83% for secondary students. There appears to be a commitment to grow and develop the e-learning process, and in the future the corporation will schedule a Saturday e-learning day after each lost snow day. Everyone agrees that e-learning days are preferable to tacking on additional days at the end of the school year.
The SAC continues to challenge the Board with ideas. On April 23 President George Schafer suggested the Board investigate a 4-day school week, with the fifth day supplemented by e-learning, community volunteer work/internships, or other learning activities tailored to individual student needs.
As it comes to the end of its first year, the SAC is working on ways to generate continuing student representation, including recognition that members this first year came largely from successful and more privileged students. One goal is to include representation from students for whom the educational system has been more challenging, as ideas from those students should be valued and heard.
One goal is to include representation from students for whom the educational system has been more challenging, as ideas from those students should be valued and heard.
We’re coming down to the end of the session when the real budget decisions are made.
Bring posters! & wear red for public ed
Coordinated by the
Indiana Coalition for Public Education
AFT Indiana, Concerned Clergy, Indiana State Teachers Association (ISTA), Indiana Parent Teacher Association (PTA)
Where’s the Statehouse?
The Indiana Statehouse’s official address is 200 W. Washington Street,Indianapolis, IN. It is at the northwest corner of Capitol and Washington Streets.
How do I get in?
The main entrance is on the Capitol Street side across from Market Street.
Handicap entrance —
An ADA accessible entrance is on the west side of the building via the Robert D. Orr Plaza.
Where do I park?
Parking is always challenging during the legislative session. The Circle Centre Mall a few blocks away has parking garages at reasonable rates. Street parking is available at metered spots that accept credit cards.
All visitors are screened by metal detectors. Bags and packages will be screened using X-ray equipment. Allow enough time to be screened before the events.
We will have some signs available, but feel free to bring your own hand-held messages. You may not attach a banner or sign to the building or grounds. Hand-held signs cannot be attached to sticks or similar objects. (We recommend a half-sheet of poster board for signs because they fit through the X-ray machine.)
Prohibited items —
helium balloons, smoking, firearms, pocket knives, animals (other than service animals)
It is ok to be enthusiastic, but rally participants must not be rude or disorderly.
Oppose HB 1266, as it risks increasing sediment pollution of our lakes and rivers. (See Friday’s alert for more specifics. The vote on this will be Mon. afternoon, so call early or skip this one if you call thereafter.)
Support HB 1331, which reduces regulatory burdens on prospective solar panel owners.
Support, in the Budget Bill, HB 1001: a) $780,000/year boost to IDEM drinking water staff; and b) $10 million/year for the Benjamin Harrison Trust to save endangered natural areas.
2) Call or Email Your State Representative…
Oppose SB 472, which would likely stall pro-sustainable energy projects (over 250 Megawatts) and keep aging, uneconomical fossil fuel plants going for the next 18 months.
Our thanks to the Hoosier Environmental Council for their bill write-ups, which we have edited to reflect LWVIN priorities.
Liz Solberg and Dave Simcox, on behalf also of Lisa Harris and Jeanette Neagu LWVIN Natural Resources Advocacy Coordination
The fourth annual Neighborhood I.D.E.A. conference was held at Ball State University in early March. Each year over 100 Muncie neighborhood leaders come together to listen and learn about the best practices to improve our community. It is always enlightening and fun, the food is great, and it is free to the attendees!
This year the program emphasized education, neighborhood planning, neighborhood partnerships, and community resources. One could choose only four of the 12 hour-long presentations in the time allowed.
The education track included:
Whitely neighborhood’s pursuit as an “education first community;”
Next Muncie, a group dedicated to improving Muncie’s amenities, economy, and education;
Muncie Community Schools’ Community Engagement Council whose mission is focused on supporting volunteerism, advocacy, and fundraising for MCS.
The neighborhood planning and partnership tracks discussed building a community website, grant writing, how to do membership drives, how participatory budgeting works, neighborhood murals, and Ball State’s commitment to Muncie.
The Community Resources track highlighted the homeless population, substance abuse, and how to support seniors and the disabled in Muncie.
The day concluded with a mayoral candidate forum. I have been to all four of the I.D.E.A. conferences and find them educational, inspiring, and great for meeting new people. I recommend the event to all, and you do not have to be involved in neighborhood leadership to attend.
HOUSE JUDICIARY COMMITTEE PASSES BIPARTISAN BACKGROUND CHECKS ACT & CHARLESTON LOOPHOLE BILL
Feb 13, 2019
Washington, D.C. – Today, the House Judiciary Committee passed H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019 by a vote of 23-15 and H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act of 2019 by a vote of 21-14.
Chairman Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) released the following statement after the markup:
“I am pleased that both H.R. 8 and H.R. 1112 passed out of the Committee today, making them one step closer to passing the U.S. House of Representatives. Although we know the issue of gun violence won’t be fixed overnight, there are steps Congress can and must take to address it. Closing loopholes in the current background check system are long-overdue legislative measures that will help address this national crisis.
“I commend Reps. Mike Thompson and Peter King for their efforts to advance H.R. 8, legislation to require background checks on all firearm sales. Equally, I commend Democratic Whip Jim Clyburn for introducing H.R. 1112, legislation to close the dangerous ‘Charleston loophole,’ a shortcoming in the current law that enables some firearms to be transferred by licensed gun dealers before the required background checks have been completed, which was the case in the tragic hate-crime shooting that took place in 2015 at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina.
“I am heartened by the mobilization of so many Americans who are making their voices heard and advocating for passage of legislation to prevent gun violence. Both of the bills passed out of the Committee today tackle real problems within our current system.
[Speaking out to our legislators does make a difference!]
BACKGROUND: Under current law, background checks are conducted by licensed gun dealers only. Unlicensed sellers do not have to conduct a background check, even if the seller sells a large number of guns.
H.R. 8, the Bipartisan Background Checks Act of 2019, would make it illegal for any person who is not a licensed firearm importer, manufacturer, or dealer to transfer a firearm to any other person who is not licensed, without a background check. The bill also provides a number of exemptions to this requirement, including gifts to family members and transfers for hunting, target shooting, and self-defense.
H.R. 1112, the Enhanced Background Checks Act, addresses a loophole that contributed to the tragic hate-crime murder of nine people at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, South Carolina, in 2015. The shooter was not legally allowed to possess a firearm as a result of drug charges, but he still was able to purchase his gun from a licensed dealer, who made the decision to transfer after three business days had elapsed, despite not having received a definitive response from the background check system.
In the 2019 legislative session, three bills have been filed in the Senate and three in the House.SB 91 and HB 1011 are closest to the independent commission goals of our Coalition. Neither, however, has even been heard in committee, so it’s unlikely that they will be going anywhere.Deadlines for completing action in their respective chambers (passing out of committee and passing 2nd and 3rd readings in the chamber) are February 25 and 26.
Monday, February 25, 2019
Last day for 3rd reading of House bills in House
Tuesday, February 26, 2019
Last day for 3rd reading of Senate bills in Senate
SB 105 would achieve part of our goals, but only by establishing redistricting standards. It does not address who will be responsible for drawing the lines, a crucial issue for reform.
Although SB 105, the redistricting standards bill, passed the Senate Elections Committee by a 5-2 vote on Monday, February 4th, it has been sitting on 2nd reading for more than a week. Senator Greg Walker is still contemplating language for an amendment to improve transparency and public access to redistricting data and mapping software. This amendment has to be added on 2nd reading and our coalition has been working with Senator Walker to craft language he is comfortable with.
The delay, however, is allowing opponents to come up with additional reasons to criticize the bill. The All IN for Democracy lobbying team has been busy talking to Senate members this week and has gotten more pushback this year than last. In some areas of the state Republican party officials are urging their legislators to vote NO on SB105. So, this means we really need to step up our grassroots pressure.
Legislators won’t act on this issue unless they hear from their constituents that redistricting reform is vital to the survival of our democracy!
As your constituent, I am urging you to support SB105, the redistricting standards bill.
We must end gerrymandering in Indiana, and this bill is an important first step toward that goal. I hope you will work with Common Cause IN and the League of Women Voters of IN redistricting coalition to make it stronger.
We need a fair, impartial, and transparent process in place when redistricting takes place in 2021. Please do what you can to make that happen.
Two presentations focus on the issue and where we go from here.
“Redistricting Reform: What’s Next?”
Presented by Linda Hanson, Spokesperson for LWVM-DC and LWVIN Board Director