Last modified: Friday, December 16, 2005
Dec. 15-16, 2005
IU has plans to improve park-and-ride program; First phase is lot upgrade at Memorial Stadium; ultimate goal to create second lot
by Sarah Morin
December 16, 2005
Bus shelters, restrooms, bumper blocks and asphalt paving are part of a plan to improve Indiana University's popular park-and-ride at Memorial Stadium.
Transit statistics show that 70 percent of IU's 19,000 daily bus riders leave from the stadium lot, either as park-and-riders or as A Route riders.
But the plan to improve the park-and-ride won't hit the accelerator for a while.
Kent McDaniel, IU assistant director of transportation services, said he'd be surprised to see any real construction at the lot in the next year or so.
The first phase of the park-and-ride improvement plan is still being planned with the help of the architect's office at IU.
IU Bus Service secured $600,000 for the improvements earlier this year from the federal transportation budget. "The $600,000 will get us started," McDaniel said.
In order to receive the federal grant, IU must provide a 20 percent matching grant.
Work at the busy lot will include laying concrete, asphalt and bumper blocks to separate parking spots for the hundreds of students who leave their cars at the stadium.
"Most of our service is out there," McDaniel said.
Of the 23 IU buses, 21 operate from the stadium during the busiest time of day.
With the possibility of even bigger improvements such as traffic lights at the park-and-ride entrances and exits down the road, McDaniel said IU will look again for additional funding in the future.
The ultimate goal is to create another park-and-ride lot for those students that park their cars and take the bus into campus.
"We've been looking for a long time. We don't have one on the south side of campus, but at this point we just don't have any good location," McDaniel said.
A park-and-ride program south of campus ended in September 2004. Bloomington Transit ended the program at Bryan Park after neighbors in the area complained of noise, traffic and pollution.
An attempt to shift the park-and-ride program to the Winslow Sports Complex was stalled — again because of complaints from nearby residents.
Want to know your neighbors' political giving?; IU student's Web project reveals names, addresses - and amounts
by Steve Hinnefeld
December 16, 2005
Want to know which of your neighbors gave money to Democratic political campaigns and who contributed to Republicans?
Indiana University doctoral student Matthew Kane has just the tool for you. He has built a Web site that maps the location of political donors right down to their red-and-blue neighborhoods - and makes it almost sinfully easy.
"The general response has been, 'This is really cool. It's like spying on your neighbor,'" Kane said.
The project began as an assignment for a computer security course taught by Markus Jacobsson, an IU informatics professor and associate director of the Center for Applied Cybersecurity. It called for students to demonstrate how to get access to information that's thought to be private but is actually public.
"I've always been interested in politics," said Kane, who's studying computer and cognitive science. "I knew campaign finance data was in the public domain, but many people don't realize that or don't know how to get to it."
For the data, he turned to the Fundrace Project, an online service that lets users search for campaign donors by name and address. Fundrace gets its data from Federal Election Commission databases.
Generally, contributions of $200 or more to federal campaigns and organizations are included. But the site doesn't work well for zip codes with smaller populations, such as Ellettsville, because the data are incomplete, Kane said.
Kane used publicly available computing tools, primarily Google Maps, to map and display the information. But he had to create his own "geocoder," a program that translates street addresses into latitude and longitude readings. For that task, he used Census Bureau mapping files.
"I wanted this to be a service to the public," he said. "I had to figure out how to generate maps quicker and make it more interactive. The easiest way was to build a Web site."
On the site, called Following the Dollars, you type in a zip code and press the "search." Up pops:
• The number of donors in the area who gave to Democrats and Republicans, and how much they gave.
• Pie charts colored blue for Democratic donors and red for Republicans.
• A street map with red or blue balloon markers at donors' addresses.
Click on a marker and you'll see text with the donor's name, the amount given and the recipient.
In Bloomington, blue markers far outnumber red. The Elm Heights area, home to many IU faculty, is a forest of blue. But the number of donors doesn't always reflect the amount of money given. In the city's 47403 zip code, most donors are Democrats but just four people gave the Republican National Committee a total of $84,355.
Kane said the beauty of the site is that it's highly visual, which makes it easy to use and understand.
"I'm really interested in building tools people can use," he said. "Visualization is a perfect way for a non-technical person to really get an idea of what is going on."
Kane admitted there are trade-offs, however, to the easy access to information that computers can provide.
Twenty years ago, he said, information on political contributions was available, but you had to travel to the Statehouse or write to the federal government, then sort through voluminous paper files. Now it just takes a few taps on a keyboard.
"In a way, it's kind of scary," he said. "In today's world, I can write a program to get information on thousands of people, very quickly."
On the Web
• Following the Dollars: www.cs.indiana.edu/~markane/i590/contributors.html.
• IU Center for Applied Cybersecurity Research: cacr.iu.edu.
• Fundrace Project: www.fundrace.org.
IU students to spend break helping out; 194 volunteers to clean up streets of Biloxi, Miss.
by Steve Hinnefeld
December 16, 2005
Hurricane Katrina hit close to home for Indiana University student Sarah Cohen.
Many of her high school friends lived in New Orleans. And the storm caused power outages and forced evacuations in her home town of Lexington, Miss., three hours north.
"My best friend from New Orleans, the only word she could use to describe it was just 'surreal,'" she said.
Cohen and several IU friends got the idea of organizing a winter-break trip to the coast to help out. Following months of planning — and immediately after final exams — 194 students will board vans and buses early Saturday for six days of hurricane relief work in Biloxi, Miss.
Working with Hope Crisis Response Network, an Indiana-based disaster relief group, they will spend days cleaning streets and neighborhoods and nights sleeping on cots at a military barracks.
"Looking at the news, you're like, 'Where do you begin?' We try to tell everyone we're a little step in the whole process," said Kathryn Schluntz, one the trip's six student planners.
Cohen and her IU friend Rachel Vilensky began talking about the trip in September. Claire King, faculty adviser for IU's Community Outreach and Partnerships in Service-Learning office, put them in touch with Schluntz, a volunteer coordinator with the IU Student Association.
They were soon joined by Bobby Jones, who was organizing a relief effort by fraternities and sororities. The other planners are Alix Moll and Mark Siemers.
"We thought it was going to be a small trip," Cohen said. "Before we knew it, our little e-mail listserv was up to 375 people."
The planners chose 30 student leaders who will be responsible for coordinating work activities, keeping up morale and setting a good example. They've attended to countless details such as lining up transportation, finding hotel rooms for bus drivers and staying abreast of the ever-shifting need for volunteer help.
"It's all been pretty much on the fly between myself and the other planners," said Jones, a past president of Chi Phi fraternity.
The students expect long days of physical labor in unpleasant conditions. Meals will be plain: lots of bagels and peanut butter and jelly. No alcohol is permitted. They paid $110 each for transportation and costs.
"We were just blown away by how many people would like to go on a trip like this," Schluntz said.
Cohen said her friends and relatives indicate there's still plenty of work to do. Wealthy communities on the coast have hired people to clean up the damage, she said, but poor areas lag behind.
"My aunt has been to Biloxi several times," she said, "and she says you can't really picture it till you see it."
Church group heading south
By Sarah Morin
December 16, 2005
A small group from Bloomington's University Lutheran Church will start the new year in a new place: Metairie, La.
On Jan. 1, Pastor Richard Woelmer and five Indiana University students leave for the New Orleans suburb to help in the ongoing clean-up after Hurricane Katrina.
They'll be lending a hand in churches and homes, taking out drywall and carpet that were rotted by water damage.
As college students, they don't have a lot of money to donate to the relief effort, but they do have time, Woelmer said Thursday.
The students return two days before the IU spring semester starts Jan. 9.
While in Louisiana, the local group and other volunteers through the Lutheran Church will stay at a soccer field. Sleeping quarters will be tents on platforms and portable showers will keep them clean, Woelmer said.
In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, affected Lutheran congregations along the Gulf Coast — 80 of the 130 were severely damaged — were adopted by other churches such as University Faith Lutheran.
With 95 percent students, the local church is the campus ministry of the Indiana District of the Lutheran Church-Missouri Synod.
IU tech center touts its sharp new client; Sundeo Technologies is developing scissors for surgical procedures
December 16, 2005
Officials with Sundeo Technologies, the newest tenant at Indiana University's Emerging Technologies Center, like to say they're involved with cutting-edge technology.
In more ways than one.
Sundeo President Dennis See invented Wearsharp, a chemical treatment that causes blades to become sharper when they are used. And the company is developing endoscopic scissors for difficult surgical procedures.
"Sundeo Technologies represents exactly the type of start-up business we're looking for," Mark Long, president and CEO of the IU center, said in a news release. "It has a great technology and an expert management team."
See and Sundeo CEO Sam Florance Jr. say they have $550,000 in commitments from investors. The name Sundeo means "to bind together," a reference to the company's plans to meld old and new technologies.
Florance directed Purdue's Gateways program from 1998 to 2005. See has been an engineer and manager for Delphi Automotive Products Inc.
Other tenants at the Indianapolis-based Emerging Technologies Center include Inproteo, the Indiana Health Industry Forum and the Bloomington Life Sciences Partnership.
Driver pleads guilty to felony in fatal crash; Meliton Espinoza Praxedis asks for forgiveness in death of IU student Ashley Crouse
by Bethany Nolan
December 15, 2005
At 21, Ashley Crouse had a plan.
She was studying Spanish at IU, her goal to become an attorney to help the state's Hispanic population.
But on April 11, Crouse was killed in a crash when the Jeep she was riding in was struck by another car.
By a twist of fate, the driver of the other vehicle was a Mexican-born illegal immigrant.
On Wednesday, he pleaded guilty to a felony charge of leaving the scene of an accident.
"I would ask that the family forgive me for what happened," 21-year-old Meliton Espinoza Praxedis said through an interpreter. "I feel terrible for what happened."
Praxedis, who said he'd been out to pick up his cousin from a restaurant where he worked, was driving about 60 miles per hour along Third Street just prior to the crash. He'd also admitted to police that he'd been drinking.
Praxedis said he didn't see the other vehicle, and left the scene because he wasn't aware what had happened and didn't know where he was.
He went back to Manor Park, Del., after the accident -- on Wednesday, he said through the interpreter that he'd gone "back where I'd come from" -- but was found there by police and extradited back to Indiana.
Praxedis could face up to eight years in prison and a $10,000 fine on the charge.
After listening to Praxedis and to Crouse's family members speak, Monroe Circuit Judge Marc Kellams did not pronounce a sentence immediately.
Calling Crouse's death a "terrible tragedy," he said he wanted time to make an informed decision. No new sentencing date has yet been set.
Both Crouse's mother and father spoke lovingly of their daughter Wednesday.
"She was an exemplary student, a pillar in the community and certainly was involved in charitable organizations," her father, Kim Crouse, said. "She was a wonderful person."
Her mother showed photographs of a young Crouse dressed up for an event in a long dress and on vacation -- plus a photograph discovered later on Ashley's digital camera, apparently taken just hours before her death.
"They say it's supposed to get easier, but I miss her more every day," Mary Beth Crouse said.
WIUS switching to FM dial
by Zach Pollakoff
Special to The Herald-Times
December 15, 2005
EDITOR'S NOTE: Zach Pollakoff, a junior at Indiana University and a WIUS volunteer, wrote about the student radio station for a journalism class at IU.
Laura Valeri takes her role as a student DJ seriously. The Indiana University junior sees it as her job to spread good music around the world.
Her world of WIUS listeners is about to swell.
When the student-run station switches to the FM dial next month -- and picks up a new name, WIUX -- the broadcast range will expand from a half-mile radius to 15 miles.
Valeri said that WIUX "will reach a wider audience, which is exciting." She hosted an indie rock show this semester from 9 to 10 p.m. on Wednesdays.
After nearly six years of waiting, WIUS AM 1570 is getting a high-frequency makeover. The switch comes after the FCC granted WIUS a low-power FM license this year.
With a projected on-air date of Jan. 30, IU's student-run radio will take its new home at 100.3 on the FM dial.
The license marks a milestone for both WIUS and the Bloomington community. Once on the FM dial, broadcasts will reach all of Bloomington and parts of neighboring communities.
Now, residents - not just students - can enjoy a program schedule brimming with independent music, news and sports broadcasts.
The FCC delayed granting WIUS a low-power FM license because of another applicant in the Bloomington area. After settling the debate in court, the FCC granted WIUS the permit in March.
But to get on the FM dial, the station also had to change its call letters. Turns out there's already an FM WIUS out of Western Illinois University.
After the switch, on-air DJs will be heard over the FM waves, online at www.wiux.org, and on Campus Channel 44.
From the new FM slot, the station "will be taken so much more seriously than it is now," said IU junior Mike Saltsman.
The 20-year-old has been working at the radio station since his freshman year. As a DJ, Saltsman is excited to go FM.
Just like its AM predecessor, WIUX will assign time slots to DJs on a seniority basis, but any student can get a start by joining one of 11 committees that keep the station running.
About 200 students volunteer their time at the station -- from engineering to promoting. Any students interested may attend a call-out meeting scheduled for Jan. 17.
It "is as close as you can get to working in a real-life radio station," said station manager Myke Luurtsema. "You have the chance to run a station essentially; you can have a show and people will really listen."
The WIUS station house is at 815 E. Eighth St.
The radio transmitter and antenna are atop IU's Herman B Wells Library on 10th Street.
Underground cables connect the two locations. The station will assign time slots to DJs on a seniority basis, but any student can get a start by joining one of 11 committees that keep the station running.
Interested students may attend a call-out meeting Jan. 17.
For more information, check out www.wius.org.