Sarah Fentem

Reporter

Sarah comes to WBAA from Bloomington, where she worked as a reporter and producer for NPR affiliate WFIU and its sister PBS station, WTIU while completing her master's degree at Indiana University. Her responsibilities at WBAA include pitching stories and project ideas, writing and producing dayturns and longer features, serving as an on-air host and newscaster and basically doing whatever her editor Stan tells her to do. She reports indiscriminately, but she has a soft spot for stories about agribusiness, city infrastructure, the environment and scientific research. 

Sarah's dream is to one day win an award for having the world's cleanest refrigerator. However, she is 100 percent more likely to win the "Most Likely To Wreck The Mood At A Karaoke Bar By Singing A Bummer Song By Bob Seeger And The Silver Bullet Band" award.

John Meyers Pedestrian Bridge
Sarah Fentem / WBAA

The City of Lafayette has been struggling to reopen the John T. Myers pedestrian bridge for the last two months, but has been thwarted by uncooperative weather, structural issues and delivery problems.

Now, it can add sub-par workmanship to that list. Sloppily-made railings for the bridge arrived two weeks ago, and it was immediately apparent they couldn’t be installed until they were repaired, pushing the opening date to mid-October at the earliest.

Rob George / https://furmangreenscene.wordpress.com/

Leaders of an effort to repatriate an endangered salamander to Indiana's Blue River say they're ready for the next step -- attempting to make the state's waterways habitable to the animals once again. 

While area conservationists' educational materials frequently paint the hellbender as a cute, smiling cartoon amphibian, the real deal is less adorable but arguably more intriguing.

purdue
courtesy Purdue University

By many accounts, Purdue doesn’t compare well with its Big 10 peers when it comes to underrepresented minority student enrollment and success. During the Spring 2015 semester, African American, Pacific Islander, Native American, Hispanic and multi-racial students made up only 11.5-percent of the school’s student body.

According to census data, those same groups, minus those who identify as multi-racial, comprise more than 18-percent of the state’s total population.

EAB stump
Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA

Good news for tree huggers in Indiana—experts say while tree deaths caused by the invasive Emerald Ash Borer are at their peak, it’s likely the number of infestations will decline in the next few years.

For the past decade, the little beetle has been a big problem for the country’s trees. The ash borer burrows into a tree’s trunk, destroying the tissues and pathways that carry nutrients.

John Meyers Pedestrian Bridge
Sarah Fentem / WBAA

This year’s Beers Across the Wabash might better be referred to as “Beers Next ToThe Wabash.” Construction on the event’s usual home on the John T. Meyers Pedestrian Bridge is behind schedule and won’t be done for at least another two weeks – thus moving the festival into neighboring Riehle Plaza.

Lafayette Public Works Director Jennifer Leshney says the bridge was originally slated to open August 28, but is behind schedule thanks to what she refers to as a “railing delivery issue.” Leshney says the railings weren’t delivered in time but didn't offer any more information.

Third Street Suites
Sarah Fentem / WBAA

 West Lafayette residents objected after the Tippecanoe Area Plan Commission last week recommended approval of an apartment complex aimed at students to be built northwest of campus. However, the university’s plan to increase enrollment could mean more such battles are on the horizon.

Columbian park
Sarah Fentem / WBAA

The Lafayette Parks and Recreation Board has signed off on plans for an ambitious multi-million dollar project that would give Columbian Park’s Memorial Island a makeover that officials say is a long time coming.

"Columbian Park is certainly the most used of all our parks," says Parks Superintendent Claudine Laufman. "It's been mentioned that improvements to Memorial Island certainly are a little overdue."

Heiko Cuberider / https://www.flickr.com/photos/105731515@N05/14521380732

11:02 a.m. Update:

Duke Energy spokesman Lew Middleton says a squirrel entering an electrical substation around 7:30, caused this morning's two-hour power outage.  Power has been revived. The squirrel has not.

10:36 a.m. Update:

According to Duke energy's website, power has been restored to the West Lafayette area. Several WBAA listeners report their electricity has been turned back on. 

9:36 a.m. Update:

property exchange
Courtesy Brian Gossard / Lafayette Police Department

The Lafayette Police Department is hoping the creation of a “safe swap” area will make it less dangerous for area residents looking to unload their old couches or unwanted basketball tickets. The area, located at the city’s fire station at Union and Creasy Lane, will serve as a safe zone for people to complete transactions arranged through websites such as eBay or Craigslist or through more old-school means, like newspaper classifieds.

gas meters
Damian Gadal / https://www.flickr.com/photos/23024164@N06/4734008149/

The sight of a meter reader making the rounds in Tippecanoe County will soon be a thing of the past—at least for customers of natural gas company Vectren.

The firm is in the process of automating its meter-reading process, but Vectren spokeswoman Natalie Hedde says no current employees will lose their job as a result of the automation.

“The transition is not about the reduction of meter readers themselves,” she says. "It’s more about the efficiency and the accuracy of the information that we’re collecting.”

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