Kirk White, Indiana University's Assistant Vice President – Strategic Partnerships, has joined the board of the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. The board unanimously approved his appointment at their May 28 meeting.
At IU, Kirk is responsible for coordinating national defense and homeland security partnerships with state and federal government agencies, as well as IU’s relationships with local government and economic development organizations in southwest Indiana. He served eight years as a member of the Bloomington City Council (1988–95) and one term as Monroe County commissioner (1997–2000).
Kirk recently returned from active duty as a colonel in the U.S. Army. He was the officer in charge of Task Force Spartan – Jordan, a forward command post of Task Force Spartan in Southwest Asia, where he oversaw the military partnership between the U.S. Army and Jordan Armed Forces.
He joins the Chamber's 18-member board in June. The group meets monthly and provides oversight and guidance for the 501(c)6 organization.
A partnership between Ellettsville-based Smithville Communications and South Central Indiana REMC, a rural electric cooperative, is set to bring high-speed fiber broadband to thousands of rural customers in Monroe and Owen Counties.
Launched in May, the buildout of this fiber network will eventually serve about 3,400 residents by 2023. The first phase is focused on the rural area between Spencer and Gosport.
Read more about the project here.
Thanks to the generosity of Cook Medical, the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is distributing face masks and hand sanitizer to local businesses and organizations in Bloomington/Monroe County.
Access to this PPE (personal protective equipment) is on a first come, first serve basis. Masks can be requested in increments of 50, up to 100 masks per week. Businesses and organizations also have the option of a one-time request for a 1-gallon bottle of hand sanitizer, made by Cardinal Spirits.
The PPE is free with a $5 handling fee per request.
Click here to make a request for PPE. More resources are posted on the Chamber's Back to Business site.
NOTE: The following op-ed was co-authored by Ann Birch, President of the League of Women Voters of Bloomington-Monroe County, and Mary Morgan, Director of Advocacy and Public Policy for the Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce. A version was published in the May 20, 2020 Indiana Daily Student.
The COVID-19 crisis gives all of us a compelling reason to invest in our democracy—when could this be more important than in times of national emergency? Here’s what you can do to make sure your voice is heard:
1) Be aware. By now, all Monroe County registered voters should have received an absentee ballot application. If you want to vote by mail, no excuses needed, this is your chance. You can also apply for your ballot online at the Indiana Voter Portal. You have until May 21 to get your application in.
You can still vote in person both on Election Day and during early voting. Early voting starts on May 26 at Monroe County Election Central, 401 W. 7th St. – check their website for hours. With the continued need for protection against COVID-19, your polling place on Election Day (June 2) may have changed, and new rules will be in place to minimize the chance for contagion. Find your polling place at the Indiana Voter Portal.
2) Be informed. Several nonpartisan guides give candidate information and enable comparison between candidates on issues. The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce provides a voter guide for local candidates, state legislature candidates, and District 9 congressional candidates. The League of Women Voters voter Vote411 website includes questions and answers on issues for federal and state races and links to candidate information for local races. Just go to the site, enter your address, and under “Find What’s On Your Ballot,” click Explore Now.
In addition to these two resources, the Concerned Scientists at Indiana University Bloomington organization has queried District 9 congressional candidates on science topics. Check out the CSIU website to read the responses.
3) Be counted. This is a census year. When you respond to the census, you are helping to direct billions of dollars in federal funds to local communities for schools, roads, and other public services. In addition, census results are used to determine your political representation at all levels of government. If you’re an IU student, have you counted yourself? Getting students to count themselves and their roommates at their off-campus apartments, not at their parents’ homes, has been challenging. Go to the Census 2020 site to fill out the questionnaire. It’s important. And it’s easy.
On June 1, the City of Bloomington will launch a revamped website for public input on the redevelopment of the Bloomington hospital site.
Consultants hired to develop a master plan – Skidmore, Owings & Merrill – will be meeting with stakeholders later this month. They'll also host an online "town hall" on June 16 at 6 p.m.
Details about all public engagement efforts will be posted on the hospital redevelopment site starting June 1.
Wednesday, May 27 is the kickoff for the overhaul of Monroe County's zoning, known as the CDO (consolidated development ordinance). Party down, right?
Consultants hired by the county – McBride Dale Clarion – will give a presentation to the County Plan Commission starting at 5:30 p.m. On the 27th you can join the Zoom meeting here .
Check out the county's CDO site for more information.
Need to learn more about candidates in the June 2, 2020 primary election? The Greater Bloomington Chamber of Commerce is helping inform voters with a new resource site.
The Chamber's guide to the 2020 Primary Elections includes videos of one-on-one interviews with candidates in local, state and federal races, and candidates' written responses to questions from the Chamber. You'll also find links to campaign websites and social media for the candidates, if available.
This year, there are competitive primary races for Monroe County Council at-large seats, Monroe County Circuit Court, the Indiana legislature and the District 9 U.S. Congressional seat.
All registered voters can vote by mail in the primary. Click here to apply for your ballot online.