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Thumbs up: I-69 (deadline) extension

Chalk one up for common sense: The Federal Highway Administration (FHWA) announced a 30-day extension to the public comment period for Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for a large section of the proposed I-69 extension, which would link Evansville to Indianapolis. The extension has long been criticized by environmentalists and local landowners who maintain that a widening of the existing highway would be less destructive and costly. Check out the DEIS document at www.i69indyevn.org, where readers can leave comments and feedback. Or mail them to Gary Fisk at DLZ Indiana, LLC, P.O. Box 8464, Evansville, IN 47716. The comment period now ends on October 28, 2010. Comment early and often.

Thumbs up: Going green for less green

Why should anyone have to have loads of green just to go green? The King Park Area Development Corporation (KPADC), a 2010 winner of NUVO's Cultural Vision Awards, has upped the ante for sustainable, green development in Indianapolis, while also including needy families. With the help of federal stimulus funds, KPADC will break ground this Thursday (Sept. 23) on an abandoned lot at 2053 Bellefontaine Street, on the city's near northeast side, with plans to build an energy-efficient, three-bedroom double in its place. The home will go to two families living at 50 percent or below the area median income. Working with Carley Custom Builders, KPADC will oversee the creation of numerous homes in the area, built in accordance with the city's Green Home Guidelines Pilot Program, including a $2 million, 13-unit development, slated to get going this fall.

Thumbs down: Recession over, still broke

Amid reports of economic growth that economists say signals the end of the recession, one can be forgiven for wondering, "yeah, but for whom?" The U.S. Census Bureau released a report last week that shows many in Indiana are struggling more than ever: To wit, the number of Hoosiers living below the poverty line leapt to an estimated 16.1 percent last year, up from 12.9 percent in 2008. The report ranked Indiana twelfth out of 50 states and Washington, D.C., for the country's highest poverty rates. Kind of makes you wonder... With escalating talk in recent weeks of a Gov. Mitch Daniels run for the presidency, just whom does his much-touted brand of "fiscal conservatism" benefit? Does the rest of America really need what we've already got?

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