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What Happens When an Opioid Epidemic Collides with the COVID Pandemic?

For more than two decades, the opioid epidemic has raged on in small rural towns and in the suburbs. But what happens when the opioid epidemic collides with the COVID pandemic? Rebecca Hill writes about these “waves” of crises in Bloomington and other southern Indiana communities, and how people are weathering it. Click here to read the story.

Remains of Native Americans at Rest Again at Angel Mounds

Angel Mounds, outside of Evansville, was a bustling trading hub for Native American people prior to European colonization. Historian Laura Martinez writes about the recent repatriation of the remains of 700 individuals that were excavated from the site in the 1900s — and how, even at sacred places like Angel Mounds, the spiritual practices of Native Americans are still violated. Click here to read about Angel Mounds.

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Keeping Track of Migrating Birds, the ‘Sentinels’ of Our Ecosystem

In 1803, James Audubon tracked birds by tying thread around their legs. Researchers around the world now use technology such as satellite telemetry to understand how migration affects these “sentinels” of our ecosystem. With a reported 30 percent of bird species lost since the 1970s, writes Rebecca Hill, the information gathered is more important than ever. Click here to read the article.

Healthcare and the Impact of COVID-19 in So. Indiana Counties

The most significant health threats faced by Hoosiers living in southern Indiana's rural counties are chronic disease, substance abuse, and mental health issues. Another threat is access to healthcare, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic. Writer Rebecca Hill looks at the problem of rural healthcare access and what various individuals and organizations are doing to help. Click here to read the article.

Invisible Neighbors: How To Include People Left Out of B-town’s Neighborhoods

In the past 25 years, housing supply in Bloomington has not kept pace with population growth, and prices have gone up while wages have remained flat. Housing expert Deborah Myerson says exclusionary housing policy creates issues related to housing affordability, accessibility, racial inequity, and climate change — as well as invisible neighbors in our community. Click here to read Deborah’s article.

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The Murals of Bloomington — Photos and Trail Map

Murals provide “a splash of color” in downtown Bloomington during the winter when most natural color has gone dormant, writes M.J. Bower. She photographed more than 30 local murals for this photo essay on an art form that has existed since prehistoric cave paintings. She also created a Bloomington Mural Trail for some outdoor winter fun. Click here to see the Murals of Bloomington and Trail Map.

High Cost of Living Among Factors in Local Gender Pay Gap

Indiana has the 49th largest gender wage gap in the nation. And the cost of living in Monroe County compounds the problem. While strides have been made, at the current rate it will take decades to achieve equal pay. Writer Hayley Miller looks at the data and gets the perspectives of three local experts. Click here to read the story.

Lick Creek Settlement Holds Piece of Black History in Indiana

In the early 1800s, free Black pioneers settled in Orange County. The community thrived, despite a racist state constitution, hateful whites, and fugitive-slave catchers. As racial tensions increased, many of the families sold their land and left. Writer Diane Walker tracked down sources and documents to reveal what happened during this remarkable time in Indiana history. Click here to read the full story.

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Big Mike’s B-town: Zaineb Istrabadi, Baghdadi Hoosier

Zaineb Istrabadi calls herself “a Baghdadi Hoosier.” Writer Michael G. Glab calls her the apotheosis of a Midwesterner in his profile of the longtime senior lecturer in IU’s Department of Near Eastern Languages & Cultures. He also calls her “a woman of the world” and a member of one of Bloomington’s most storied families. Click here to read the full story.

Peregrine Falcons, a Conservation Success Story

Peregrine falcons in America have soared back from the brink of extinction since the 1960s, even in Indiana. Just as humans caused their decline, “it was also dedicated humans who brought these birds back,” writes Jared Posey. This “standout conservation success story” is unusual because peregrines “may be benefiting from an increasingly urban landscape.” Click here to read the full story.

A Hike on the Tecumseh Trail Now Ends in Destruction

Matt Flaherty has traveled the Tecumseh Trail by hiking and camping on it with friends in late summer, running the marathon course in October, and running all 42 miles on one winter’s day. The last trip, though, ended when they reached the southern trailhead and found it had been destroyed by logging trucks. Click here to read the full story.

Paths of Homelessness, Part 1: Your First Day

It's your first day of experiencing homelessness. What do you do? What are your options? Where will you sleep tonight? In the first of this two-part series, writer TJ Jaeger looks at the difficult circumstances people face — and choices they have to make — when they find themselves living on the streets of Bloomington. Click here to read the full story.