Thumbs up: Taking it to the streets
It's a good week for civil disobedience. Several groups have either announced
plans for or have already made a lovable nuisance of themselves at the
Statehouse, speaking out against aggressive Republican legislation on education
and labor. Teachers gathered on Saturday, organized by the National Education
Association and the State Teachers Association; Planned Parenthood of Indiana
drew crowds on Tuesday morning to protest the threatened withdrawal of state
funding for clinics; on Monday, March 14, Indiana Equality is sponsoring a
rally against the gay marriage ban. Union groups like the Indiana AFL-CIO plan
to continue rallying on Thursday against anti-union legislation, following
Tuesday's mock funeral procession mourning the "death of the middle class."
March on, brave, squeaky wheels.
Thumbs up: City no longer going to pot
Unless you've been living on Mars (though it's felt a bit like driving on the
moon), it's no secret the city's potholes have seemed more treacherous than
ever this year. Which is why we were glad when Mayor Ballard announced that,
for the first time, private contractors would join city employees to get the
job done faster. Forty additional workers from four companies are expected to
aid municipal crews, and Rieth-Riley Construction Co. opened its two
Indianapolis plants Monday to start early production of hot asphalt. It's nice
to see such proactive initiative from the city in addressing these road dangers
— and it only took three months of our bitching.
Thumbs up: Snuggle up!
Ahh, the joys of a wood-burning furnace. The homey, woodsy
scent, the pleasant act of chopping wood. The formaldehyde and benzene in the
air, the asthma from prolonged exposure.That's right. According to the Indiana Department of Environmental
Management (IDEM), smoke from outdoor wood boilers causes a lot of problems for
health and environment; as such, the state has banned the boilers' use in some
conditions from May 1 to Sept. 30, when smog is the worst. It's not often we
get to give a thumbs up to IDEM, which typically seems more concerned with
protecting its industry buddies. But we suppose there's a first time for
Thumbs up: Murder rate lowest in a decade
With downtown shootings and drive-bys a-plenty last year,
public perception was that Indianapolis was getting more dangerous, not less.
So it's encouraging to learn that, according to a new IMPD report, murders
actually dropped last year from 100, in 2009, to 96. The 2010 figure matches a
low not seen since 2000, and hasn't been lower since 1995, when the city
recorded only 82 homicides.