Getting to Know Your Local Cop Over a Cup of Coffee (or Juice)

Bloomington Police Department Deputy Chief Joe Qualters gets to know 2-year-old Thisbe Ellenwood at Coffee with a Cop. Photo by Jenn Hamm   BY PAUL BICKLEY It wasn’t a typical day at the library, and 2-year-old Thisbe Ellenwood stood shyly behind her mother until one police officer handed her a bottle of juice. Then she sat next to Bloomington Police Department (BPD) Deputy Chief Joe Qualters, attentive to his conversation with Mom. Thisbe and her mother were among several community members who attended the BPD’s latest Coffee with a Cop event, held October 7 at the Monroe County Public Library (MCPL). Chief Mike Diekhoff says holding Coffee with a Cop events in places like the library lets kids, and adults, [...]

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Sisters In Peace: Women of Different Religions Unite

BY CARMEN SIERING In October 2015, a Muslim woman wearing a headscarf was attacked outside Sofra Café on South Walnut. The incident sparked an outpouring of concern from members of the Bloomington community, says Anna Maidi, who handles much of the correspondence for the Islamic Center of Bloomington. “After the attack, a lot of people were reaching out and they didn’t really know what to do,” Maidi says. “We got letters from people who just wanted to express that they appreciated our presence in Bloomington.” Maidi says that while the incident at the café is an extreme, it’s not the only time a member of Bloomington’s Muslim community has felt threatened. “So to have the community respond in that way […]

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CNN Comedy Star W. Kamau Bell Credits His B-town Mom for Confrontational Style

BY PETER DORFMAN W. Kamau Bell is hard to miss. Not only is he 6 feet 4 inches tall, but he’s a flourishing African American sociopolitical comedian with an Emmy-nominated CNN television series, United Shades of America, now in its second season. But even if you’re a fan you might not have witnessed his nightclub routine (which he somehow continues alongside his CNN series, public radio show, and two popular podcasts). It includes a sendup about Bloomington and its self-image as a bastion of progressive thinking and cultural sophistication in deep-red Indiana. “I’ve been doing this bit about a woman picking my family up at the airport and telling us about the ‘ethnic restaurant’ in Bloomington,” Kamau says. “And then I […]

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Frances Trix, Experienced Worker in Transit Camps, Says ‘Bloomington Is Good Place for Refugees’

BY CARMEN SIERING In November 2015, after the terrorist attacks in Paris, Governor Mike Pence announced he was suspending the resettlement of Syrian refugees in Indiana. That didn’t sit well with Frances Trix. “It gave me negative inspiration,” says Trix. “I went to Macedonia and worked in two transit camps. All it takes is common sense, good knees, and warm clothing. And it helps that I know Arabic.” Trix is a former Indiana University professor who says she has been surrounded by refugee populations most of her life. She grew up in Detroit, a city full of immigrants. In her 20s, she taught in a village school in south Lebanon. Fluent in French, Turkish, and Albanian as well as Arabic, […]

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Millions of Native American Artifacts At Glenn A. Black Archaeology Lab — Found a relic? Bring it in!

BY PETER DORFMAN Got a mysterious Native American artifact you’d love to identify? Bring it to the Glenn A. Black Laboratory of Archaeology. Indiana University archaeologists hold Artifact Office Hours the first and third Thursday of every month at the lab at 423 N. Fess Ave. They’ll examine your find and do their best to determine what it is and where it came from. “Recently, somebody brought in a stone, probably from Central America, with an interesting face carved on it,” says April Sievert, the lab’s director. “People have brought in some amazing Native American ceremonial pipes. We won’t offer an appraisal — that’s not our mission. But we can offer historical insights.” That’s just one reason to visit the […]

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