Mayor John Hamilton today announced Deputy Mayor Mick Renneisen’s plans to retire from his position on April 23, after four decades of service to the City of Bloomington and the community. Mayor Hamilton appointed Renneisen as Deputy Mayor in January 2016, when Renneisen was serving as Administrator of the Parks and Recreation Department. Renneisen supervises 16 City departments and has been instrumental in implementing the Hamilton administration's policies and goals, including job creation, affordable housing, quality of life improvements, and transparent and efficient basic governmental services. As deputy mayor, Renneisen has also served as lead project manager for several major City initiatives including the redevelopment of the Bloomington Hospital site and the potential expansion of the convention center.
“Mick has been at the center of so much that our community treasures--from our parks, trails and recreational facilities and events to the basic functioning of all of our departments. He is a quintessential public servant and has been indispensable in helping envision and realize the Bloomington we want to create for future generations,” said Mayor Hamilton. “His deep institutional knowledge and strong relationships in the community, complemented by his personal integrity and generous spirit, have been a tremendous asset to the City of Bloomington, and to me as Mayor. As hard as it is to see him go, I share in his happiness at the prospect of more time with family and out enjoying the community and wider world, including some of the very park assets he helped bring to fruition!”
As part of Mayor John Hamilton’s initiative to Recover Forward from the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bloomington Urban Enterprise Association (BUEA) has awarded a second round of grant funding to cultural organizations and artists that foster the arts and nurture communities. During this round, $42,600 has been awarded to the following 25 grant recipients--representing a range from visual arts and letters to music and theater--that have availed themselves of online, digital, and other platforms to provide arts and cultural opportunities to residents over the next six to eight months:
CompTIA Security+ Boot Camp
This intensive, class will prepare students with the competencies required to sit for the CompTIA Security+ certiﬁcation exam. CompTIA Security+ is a recognized certiﬁcation that validates the baseline skills needed to perform core security functions and pursue an IT security career. Students need to have a basic understanding of computer systems and network infrastructure either through previous classwork or job experience. Students who successfully pass the CompTIA Security+ certiﬁcation may receive course credit for CSIA 105 and 106 (4 credits total).
Spring 2021 Course:
A revised version of the draft Bloomington Zoning Map and Unified Development Ordinance (UDO) text amendments was announced today, to be formally introduced at a March 8 Plan Commission hearing. The revisions reflect feedback received through broad public engagement over the three months since release of the Public Outreach Draft last October. Additional public input on the revised version will be welcomed through Plan Commission and City Council hearings to be held in the coming months. Updates are posted on the project website at UDO Zoning Map: Public Hearings Draft.
Updating the zoning map and amending the UDO text are the final stages of an extensive public process that began three years ago after adoption of the City’s 2018 Comprehensive Plan. That process included the April 2020 approval of the UDO to bring the City’s land use and development laws into closer alignment with goals such as housing equity, economic viability, sustainability, and quality of life.
We are here to announce that our taproom has reopened for in-person service and events. The health and safety of our guests and employees is of utmost importance, so we have made many taproom enhancements to comply with CDC guidelines. To prevent the spread of COVID, we have added:
And if that’s not enough to convince you to come host an event with us, we have also added Switchyard Pizza Kitchen to the taproom! That’s right: pizza, salads, breadsticks, and wings are now available to enjoy with a beer. We even have vegan pizza options as well. With this addition, we are able to offer more options for both on-site and off-site catering. We are happy to craft a catering menu built for your event’s needs- lunch and dinner!
Both on and off-site events can host a bar and catering.
Please visit our website (linked below) or contact me directly if you are looking into booking an event!
Visual Analytics Certificate (VAC) course
Advance your skills in one of the most in-demand fields, Visual Analytics, by joining the next Visual Analytics Certificate (VAC) course, May 17-June 27, 2021. This 6-week, 3 CEU course leads to a Visual Analytics Certificate by Cyberinfrastructure for Network Science Center in the Luddy School of Informatics, Computing, and Engineering at Indiana University-Bloomington. Delivered entirely online, all coursework can be completed asynchronously to fit busy schedules. For registration and FAQ go to https://visanalytics.cns.iu.edu/
Mayor John Hamilton today announced the appointment of John Zody to the position of Director of the City’s Housing and Neighborhood Development Department (HAND). Zody will begin April 5 and earn an annual salary of $100,555. Zody recently announced his plans not to run for another term as Chair of the Indiana Democratic Party, which he has led since 2013. Zody succeeds Doris Sims, who retired from the position January 29 after 38 years of service to the City, including directing HAND and the human resources department.
In his capacity as party chair, and over his career in public service, Zody has worked to promote affordable housing and quality of life initiatives. Zody previously served as Chief of Staff in the Office of U.S. Representative Baron Hill (Indiana Ninth District), Director of Civic Engagement and Executive Director of Resource Development at Ivy Tech Community College and foundation, and managed state community development grant programs at the Indiana Department of Commerce. Zody has an extensive record of volunteer service in the Bloomington community--including a term on the Board of Zoning Appeals and membership in the Bloomington Rotary Club--and is a graduate of Leadership Bloomington-Monroe County. Zody holds Master of Public Affairs and Bachelor of Science in Public Affairs degrees from Indiana University, where he has taught as an adjunct instructor at the O’Neill School of Public and Environmental Affairs since 2012.
FMCCS and MCCSC will host Girls in Engineering, Math, & Science (GEMS) on April 10th. GEMS 2021 will be a virtual experience for girls in grades 5th and 6th to work with female scientists, engineers, and mathematicians to explore the wonders of STEM.
We need STEM businesses or organizations to participate in the Virtual Career Expo. Our team will assist you in designing a virtual room. Please reserve your virtual booth at https://mccsfoundation.org/2020/01/12/girls-in-engineering-math-science-gems/
“I just want to help people to have a healthy relationship with social media,” says CEO and Cofounder Dr. Britain Taylor about ShuffleMe, a predictive software app that helps people track the impact of social media on their mental health.
Taylor has been working toward this mission since long before Twitter wars, the pandemic, and doomscrolling. She’s invested eleven years in preparing herself: she holds an undergraduate degree in psychology and neuroscience, an MBA in behavior and marketing, a masters in industrial and systems engineering, and now, at Indiana University, is completing a PhD in intelligent systems engineering. Taylor is a member of The Mill, a nonprofit startup accelerator in Bloomington, and won The Mill’s 2020 Spark Business Plan Competition.
An early adopter of the first social media platforms—in 2004 she was the 16th user on MySpace, where she had over a million followers—Taylor grew up hacking and coding. In those days, social media was very different, Taylor says, without much cyberbullying.
By 2011, Facebook had exploded. “Facebook gave you more options to actually talk to each other,” Taylor says. “So a lot of my friends started using Facebook to express their emotions. And now that I’m older, I realize some of them were reaching out for help.” By the time Taylor was 18, she had lost three friends by suicide. In fact, the CDC has reported that between 2007 and 2016 (years of tremendous growth in social media usage) rates of suicide among young people jumped 56 percent.
“I told myself, there has to be a way around this. I told myself that I was going to college, and I was going to stay in college as long as possible to build some sort of solution,” says Taylor.
Her solution, an app called ShuffleMe, is still in beta testing. Users download the app and give it access to their webcams. From there the app runs in the background, tracking social media activity against facial expressions, and recording patterns in emotional responses. A dashboard then shows users which social media channels and specific content have impacted their mood, thus empowering them to make specific, effective changes to their social feeds, their behavior, and ultimately, Taylor hopes, their happiness.
ShuffleMe addresses privacy concerns head-on. User data is only used to create the dashboard report, then deleted from the server immediately. “The beautiful thing is that our younger generation is so obsessed with data,” Taylor says. “They’re like, ‘What are you doing with my data, with my phone?’ That’s a plus. You want to know what that data means. And you want to see if some data can actually help you.”
The app uses algorithms and a face classifier, based on research on universal facial expressions and trained on over a million people, to connect your facial reactions to social media to specific emotions. It achieves 98.9% accuracy in classifying emotional responses, an impressive accuracy for software.
ShuffleMe is currently pre-revenue and running a closed beta program for practitioners. They recently completed an NSF I-Corps program and noticed a different niche market, where the data from the end users can be shared in one-on-one sessions with their practitioners. In February ShuffleMe will launch a second closed beta for end users. About 2,000 students from Indiana University, Purdue University, and Ball State have signed up, and Taylor and her team are thinking about expanding to other students in the Midwest. Possible next steps include entering an accelerator program and opening up a pre-seed funding round for angel investors. Eventually, Taylor expects to release a viable product in a public launch.
For all the promise ShuffleMe shows for its research and market potential, neither of those is what excites Britain Taylor the most.
“What I want to see is whether something that I spent 11 years building is going to benefit people in the long run. Not just, ‘Your software helps me to understand that when I spend this amount of time on social media or use it this way, it impacts my mood,’ but ‘Hey, here are the changes I can make because of it.’ That's something that motivates me every single day.”
At a Special Meeting February 3, 2021 at 6:00 p.m., the Monroe County Community School Corporation Board of School Trustees approved a 3-year contract for Dr. Jeff Hauswald as Superintendent. Dr. Hauswald begins his duties at Monroe County Community School Corporation July 1, 2021.
Board President Cathy Fuentes-Rohwer considers Dr. Hauswald the best fit for
MCCSC. “We are so honored to have Dr. Hauswald as the next leader of the Monroe County Community School Corporation. His career experiences as a classroom teacher, high school administrator, and elementary school principal, combined with over 10 years as an urban school superintendent gives him invaluable insight and the experience to lead our school district. Being a sound fiscal manager with taxpayers’ dollars and experienced in understanding school finance, he will serve the community well as we approach the next referendum. He is student-centered with an equity focus. Dr. Hauswald builds relationships through communication and engages stakeholders to create community trust. He is a visionary that will work towards solutions and does not hesitate to try new ideas if they will contribute for a better and more equitable learning
environment for our students. His energy is infectious and he will definitely be a “visible leader” in our schools, community, and with state legislators. His work as president of the Indiana Urban Schools Association is commendable. We look forward to Dr. Hauswald’s leadership as we continue to “Engage, Empower, and Educate” all students in the Monroe County Community School Corporation.”
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