Bloomington Citizens Help Make One Million Stars to End Violence

BY BARB BERGGOETZ Six-year-old children created the brightly colored stars. So did women in nursing facilities, Girls and Boys Club members, Girl Scouts, teens in after-school programs, and people incarcerated.    For more than a year, stars took shape one by one, meticulously constructed of ribbons and recycled materials, part of a local community-wide effort joining the international One Million Stars to End Violence project. By January, Bloomington — one of only four U.S. communities to take part in the Australian-based initiative — had exceeded its goal of making 10,000 eight-pointed stars under the leadership of the Lotus Education and Arts Foundation. More than 11,500 stars were made locally. Lotus adopted the project for its 2016 visual arts initiative. “It’s […]

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Misguided Tours Explores 
What’s Funny, Fascinating & Weird About Bloomington

BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY Sharon Porter Phillips gushes like an excited teen with a new car as she describes her limo bus. “It has everything a limousine has, only bigger. Laser lights. Built-in ice chest. A killer sound system that vibrates the entire bus. It’s really fun,” she says. The bus is the vehicle that takes clients around town on Phillips’ Misguided Tours, which offers off-beat history, mystery, and comedy trips around Bloomington. A professional actor for more than 40 years, Phillips rubbed elbows with Julia Roberts, Denzel Washington, Woody Allen, and Barbra Streisand, among others, when she was acting in New York City, but followed her husband to Bloomington about 16 years ago when he came to work at […]

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What’s Funny, Fascinating & Weird About Bloomington"

Local Minister Hopes Signs Help ‘Tell a Better Story’ About B-town

BY JULIE GRAY It’s too early for crocuses, but you may notice green, blue, and orange signs springing up in yards around town that read, in Arabic, Spanish, and English: “No matter where you are from, we’re glad you’re our neighbor.” The signs are part of a national movement that started last year when a Mennonite church in Harrisonburg, Virginia, posted a hand-lettered, black-and-white sign bearing that message. The church eventually spiffed up the design and posted a PDF online for anyone to download. Today the signs can be found from North Carolina to Canada. They appear in Bloomington thanks to Presbyterian minister Mihee Kim-Kort, 38, director of Presbyterian Collegiate Ministries at Indiana University. Kim-Kort first saw the sign on […]

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Got a Musical Instrument Forgotten in the Attic? Let ChIRP Loan It to a Child

BY MOLLY BRUSH As a community orchestra, Bloomington Symphony Orchestra (BSO) is dedicated to ensuring that everyone has the opportunity to learn to play and appreciate music. But for some families, the cost of purchasing and maintaining an instrument can prevent their children from participating in music lessons and developing musical skills. To help, the BSO created the Children’s Instrument Recovery Program (ChIRP). “We want music to be accessible to those who, for various reasons, cannot get instruments on their own,” says bassist Audrey Williams, president of the BSO board of directors and director of ChIRP. Founded in 2001 by former BSO board member Frank Galiani, ChIRP loans instruments to children at no cost. The loan is for a period […]

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CIP: College Internship Program Helping Students on Autism Spectrum

BY SUSAN M. BRACKNEY From teaching time management skills to helping students discover their passions, College Internship Program (CIP) Bloomington offers services which could benefit nearly anyone. However, the young adults assisted by the local transitional program fall on the autism spectrum or have other learning differences that make it difficult for them to navigate college or jump straight into a career after high school. “We work with students to develop goals and reach their highest potential,” explains CIP Bloomington Assistant Program Director Ellen Davidson. The program helps students develop both hard skills (such as how to navigate campus or plan meals) and soft skills (like emotional regulation and detecting social cues). “So much of what we do is automatic, […]

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