Human Rights Commission

Stan Jastrzebski / WBAA News

Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton has made visits this month to businesses granted tax abatements by the city.

It’s normal – required, in many cases – for some sort of check-in to happen, but on this week’s Ask The Mayor, we find out whether Mayor Barton thinks changes that could be afoot in the coming years thanks to Stellar Cities money may change the way the city looks at abatements.

Also on this week’s show, we check back in on the progress of the reconstituted Crawfordsville Human Rights Commission.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jstephenconn/3051019997
J. Stephen Conn

The newly-reformed Crawfordsville Commission on Human Rights is looking to tackle what the city says is a growing number of issues concerning diversity in the Montgomery County community.

The 12-person commission is intended to serve as an advising body to the mayor and city council on affairs concerning diversity and human rights in the community. The commission was officially created in 1979 but involvement had lapsed in recent years.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/jstephenconn/3051019997
J. Stephen Conn

Though he’s had a couple dozen people express interest in serving on the city’s reconstituted human rights commission, Crawfordsville Mayor Todd Barton says there’s a problem: almost all of them are white.

“I am struggling with it a little bit because when I look at the group, we’ve had some really good people express interest and I’m excited about that," Barton says. "My primary concern: there’s not much diversity in that group and that does trouble me somewhat.”

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

A new 20-acre solar park has opened in Crawfordsville – providing enough energy for a few hundred homes.

But even as the city is set for a transformation through the Stellar Communities program, it lacks a real identity. Could embracing alternative energy be a gateway to getting people to think of Crawfordsville as a “green” destination?

Also on this week’s program:

Columbus Passes LGBT Protection Ordinance

Sep 16, 2015
Jeff Hart / https://www.flickr.com/photos/ipeguy/8582087306/

Gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people are now included in the city of Columbus' updated discrimination and housing ordinance.

Action was taken Tuesday night by the Columbus City Council. The changes also add veterans and people over the age of 40 to the list of "protected classes."

Aida Ramirez of the Columbus Human Rights Commission says the ordinance changes are simply meant to extend the civil liberties to more people. She believes there are too many people who do not feel welcome in Columbus and the ordinance change will do much to remedy the situation.

Columbus To Consider LGBT Protection Ordinance

Aug 19, 2015
WFIU Public Radio / https://www.flickr.com/photos/wfiupublicradio/5558630731/

The Columbus City Council is considering a request from that city's Human Rights Commission for a new ordinance aimed at making a pair of groups "protected classes.”

Human Rights Commission Director Aida Ramirez says these groups include members of the LGBT community and those ages 40 and older.

Ramirez says many members of the LGBT community have written and called the commission to discuss the way they have been made to feel by some segments of the Columbus community.

Courtesy Crawfordsville Mayor's Office

Next week, Crawfordsville is set to celebrate the rebirth of the Hoosier State Amtrak line – assuming that comes to pass.

On this week’s Ask The Mayor, we talk with Todd Barton about how the city is preparing to embrace the trains – and whether their new operators still have work to do before residents can truly embrace mass transit.

Shortly after the new Amtrak service begins, site selectors from the lieutenant governor’s office will visit Crawfordsville to judge whether it’s worthy of a Stellar Communities grant.