New Law Will Allow Adoptees Access to Their Birth Records

BY JANET MANDELSTAM Not having access to the record of your birth is like “reading a book with the first chapter missing,” according to Hoosiers for Equal Access to Records (HEAR), a nonprofit organization that has lobbied successfully to open Indiana adoption records. Indiana sealed adoption records in 1941, and while it permitted adult adoptees access to their birth records beginning in 1994, it didn’t make the law retroactive. That meant the records of anyone adopted between 1941 and 1993 remained closed. Last year, after a long and concerted effort by open-records advocates like HEAR, the governor signed a bill that will allow all Indiana adoptees access to their original birth certificates and adoption records. However, the change doesn’t become […]

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Dr. Seuss’ Characters Come Alive at Monroe County Public Library Event

BY BARB BERGGOETZ If attendance in previous years is any indication, on Saturday, March 4, about 500 preschool- and elementary-age children and their families will converge on the Monroe County Public Library (MCPL) to see beloved Dr. Seuss characters come alive. The occasion is Seusspicious Behavior, which celebrates the birthday of the famed author of more than 40 children’s books. This year, Bloomington High School North advanced acting class students will offer four 20-minute performances based on the stories “Yertle the Turtle” and “Gertrude McFuzz” during the free annual event, scheduled from 1 to 4 p.m. Other activities include games and crafts designed to highlight the importance of reading. Francesca Sobrer, Bloomington North theater program director and drama teacher, says […]

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A Long Hike That Raised Thousands For African Children Is Now a Book

BY PETER DORFMAN In 2013, Morgan Scherer, then a senior at Bloomington High School North, had an idea to raise money to help refugee children in the turbulent Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC). His “bold dream,” as he calls it, was to get sponsors for a hike on the northernmost 500 miles of the Appalachian Trail — alone, with his dog, Niko. Morgan and Niko walked the walk and in the process raised $10,000 for the Bloomington-based nonprofit organization Giving Back to Africa, which fosters education for Congolese children. Now, three years later, Scherer’s story is being told in a book titled I Just Kept Walking, published by the Bloomington Rotary Club. The book was conceived of by Giving Back […]

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Backpack Buddies Supply Food to Needy Families on Weekends

BY SARA SHEIKH In 2015, approximately 38 percent of Monroe County Community School Corporation (MCCSC) students qualified for free or reduced-cost school meals. While discounting school meals helps alleviate hunger during the week, many families still struggle to put food on the table over the weekend. Since 2005, Community Kitchen of Monroe County has been meeting that need by sending food home with students through the Backpack Buddies program. Vicki Pierce, Community Kitchen executive director, says the program got its start when a former board member suggested the nonprofit organization start Backpack Buddies after reading about a similar outreach program in Arizona. The Monroe County program was the first of its kind in the region. Community Kitchen has addressed food […]

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Fun, Healthy, Educational Ways to Celebrate at Children’s Birthday Parties

Birthday boy Carson Andrews with Silly Safari's opossum. Photo by Jim Krause   BY SARA SHEIKH Once upon a time, celebrating a child’s birthday meant opening your home to a dozen or so children who belted out “Happy Birthday” before eating cake and pinning tails on donkeys. These days, many families celebrate birthdays in more elaborate ways, and a variety of entertainment options exist for parents hosting a child’s party. For Carson Andrews, age 7, a perfect birthday party involves inviting his classmates to join him in a backyard setting to get up close and personal on a Silly Safari. This adventure with animals is intended to be part education and part all-out fun. Carson first fell in love with [...]

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