89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Sat, 28 Feb 2015 20:22:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Discussion About the Future of Louisville Fire Protection Off To Bumpy Start http://wfpl.org/discussion-future-louisville-fire-protection-bumpy-start/ http://wfpl.org/discussion-future-louisville-fire-protection-bumpy-start/#comments Sat, 28 Feb 2015 13:46:33 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32705 A proposed plan to merge Jefferson County’s 17 suburban fire districts with Louisville Fire & Rescue has ignited a heated fight between one council member and the suburban fire chiefs. But, despite the heated back and forth, , the future … Read Story

]]> A proposed plan to merge Jefferson County’s 17 suburban fire districts with Louisville Fire & Rescue has ignited a heated fight between one council member and the suburban fire chiefs.

But, despite the heated back and forth, , the future of the financially strapped suburban fire districts remains an issue for Louisville.

Councilman Dan Johnson, a Democrat, recently proposed a plan to merge the districts. In a recent interview with WDRB, Johnson recently said the merger was necessary “because the city doesn’t go and watch houses burn to the ground.”

The claims were disputed during the Metro Council meeting on Thursday night by Kevin Tyler, president of the Jefferson County Fire Association and the Harrods Creek Fire chief.

“Anyone who understands the strategies and tactics of the modern fire service would never comment about what they might have witnessed or heard about fire ground operations, yet alone accuse fire fighters of standing around watching someone’s home burn to the ground,” Tyler told council members.

Dozens of fire chiefs and firefighters attended the meeting in solidarity. James Peden, a council member and longtime Highview firefighter, scolded Johnson.

“I would like to have a meeting that will involve councilman Johnson and the fire service in the same room where he can publicly apologize for his snide comments he made on the news a couple nights ago,” said Peden, a Republican.

On Thursday night, Johnson’s stance remained the same—he stood by his claim that there is a problem with the service the suburban fire chiefs provide.

Johnson said uniformity in the quality of fire departments is the crux of his proposal. He said wants “citizens to be treated the same everywhere.”

“I think we are going away from being a combined city to a very split city with lines everywhere, and I think we need to get rid of those lines when it comes to safety and things like fire,” he said before the council meeting on Thursday.

Johnson said he believes the suburban fire districts’ service leads to higher home insurance rates. But Tyler said the best way to address that issue is not by merging the districts.

He said raising an antiquated tax cap would be a better plan.

Tyler said an ongoing shift from volunteer fire departments to professional departments in the suburbs has created revenue issues.

“Personnel in any organization whether its public or private, the most cost that you incur is people,” he said. “It’s the people that do the job. It’s the benefit for the job. So, as we had to transition and put more career people on, we needed more revenue, but we are capped out.”

Suburban fire districts are special tax districts. Unlike the city fire department–which is funded by the city’s general revenue fund– suburban districts get a cut from local property taxes. Right now, it’s 10 cents per 100 dollars. That tax rate, though, hasn’t changed in decades.

Tyler said he will need the support of the council to tackle that issue. That’s why he said he’s disappointed Johnson hasn’t reached out to him or the other fire chiefs for information or opinions on possible effects of his plan.

In the meantime, Tyler said he’s not too worried about the merger idea. He said the proposal likely won’t go far.

“I don’t think there is a lot of support among our representatives in Jefferson County to take this on,” he said. “I am more interested in getting them to lift this tax cap.”

Tyler said he expects resistance among homeowners, but he’s confident something can be worked out.

The Metro Council is expected to start discussion on this issue during Wednesday’s meeting.

]]> http://wfpl.org/discussion-future-louisville-fire-protection-bumpy-start/feed/ 0 Kentucky Couples File Brief in Same-Sex Marriage Case Before Supreme Court http://wfpl.org/kentucky-couples-file-brief-sex-marriage-case-supreme-court/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-couples-file-brief-sex-marriage-case-supreme-court/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 22:31:22 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32740 In a legal brief filed Friday to the U.S. Supreme Court, Kentucky couples challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage argued that the 2004 law violates constitutional due process and equality protections. The brief is one of the first legal steps before … Read Story

]]> In a legal brief filed Friday to the U.S. Supreme Court, Kentucky couples challenging the state’s ban on same-sex marriage argued that the 2004 law violates constitutional due process and equality protections.

The brief is one of the first legal steps before the nation’s highest court rules on the case—along with same-sex marriage cases from three other states. Same-sex marriage lawsuits from Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan are going to be heard and ruled on by the court at the same time.

The cases were argued before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, which eventually ruled in favor of the states’ bans. It’s the only federal appeals court to rule in favor of bans.

Dan Canon, a Louisville and part of the Kentucky couples’ legal team, said this case will decide this issue once and for all.

“The court has granted certiorari on this case for a reason, and that reason is to determine whether or not there is a constitutional right for persons of the same sex to have their marriages recognized as being real marriages,” he said.

Related Story

1024px-Rainbow_flag_and_blue_skies1U.S. Supreme Court to Consider Same-Sex Marriage Cases From Kentucky, 3 Other States

The Kentucky legal team representing the couples also includes the American Civil Liberties Union, Stanford Law School Supreme Court Litigation Clinic and the Fauver Law Office in Louisville.

Canon said the team is optimistic they will have better luck before the U.S. Supreme Court than they did before the appeals court.

“We are excited,” he said. “We are optimistic. We think this is the right time. These are the right clients.  This is right set of briefs. This is the right set of circumstances. This is the right court and we think they are going to make the right decision.”

Gov. Steve Beshear is the defendant in the case. All four states will issue a response to the brief filed on Friday. Canon said SCOTUS will likely begin hearing oral arguments at the end of April.

The court will issue a ruling this summer.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-couples-file-brief-sex-marriage-case-supreme-court/feed/ 0 Louisville Emergency Services Now a Single Agency http://wfpl.org/louisville-emergency-services-now-single-agency/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-emergency-services-now-single-agency/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:50:09 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32711 Metro Louisville’s three emergency services departments have been consolidated into a single agency, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Friday. Fischer said the merger of the Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Medical Service, and MetroSafe will create a more efficient, seamless and coordinated response. “All … Read Story

]]> Metro Louisville’s three emergency services departments have been consolidated into a single agency, Mayor Greg Fischer announced Friday.

Fischer said the merger of the Emergency Management Agency, Emergency Medical Service, and MetroSafe will create a more efficient, seamless and coordinated response.

“All three of these agencies already work closely together, but unified under the proven and strong leadership of Debbie Fox, our citizens are going to experience an even better collaborative response when it comes to emergencies,” he said.

Fox is the director of the Louisville Metro Emergency Management Agency/MetroSafe. She’ll  now oversee all three departments as the director of emergency medical services.

“We are excited to partner these successful agencies together so that we can work and continue to provide world-class service to the citizens of our community,” she said.

Dr. Raymond Orthober was also announced as the new medical director for EMS, replacing Dr. Neal Richmond. Richmond has a new medical position in Houston.

Orthober is an assistant professor of emergency medicine at the University of Louisville.

Mayor Fischer said the merger is being done within existing budgets.

Fox was paid $96,488 per year for leading EMA/MetroSafe. We’ve asked whether her pay rate will change with the new responsibilities and will update when we get word.

Update: Fox will be paid $110,000; Orthober will be paid $80,000, said Chris Poynter, a spokesman for the mayor.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-emergency-services-now-single-agency/feed/ 0 Despite GOP Objections, Kentucky House Moves On Legislative Research Commission Reforms http://wfpl.org/despite-gop-objections-kentucky-house-moves-legislative-research-commission-reforms/ http://wfpl.org/despite-gop-objections-kentucky-house-moves-legislative-research-commission-reforms/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 21:09:10 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32715 The state House on Friday passed a bill that would create a personnel policy for the troubled Legislative Research Commission, the state agency that provides staffers and research for legislators. The bill would require the LRC to develop job descriptions … Read Story

]]> The state House on Friday passed a bill that would create a personnel policy for the troubled Legislative Research Commission, the state agency that provides staffers and research for legislators.

The bill would require the LRC to develop job descriptions for LRC staff, establish a pay scale, and come up with guidelines for promotions and grievances. The bill would also require job openings to be posted online for 30 days.

The draft of an audit of the LRC, performed by the National Conference of State Legislatures and made public last month, recommended similar changes. The report, which stemmed from surveys of LRC employees and state lawmakers, said staffers thought hiring, pay and career advancement were largely arbitrary.

Rep. James Kay, a Democrat from Versailles and a former LRC staffer, sponsored the bill.

“We see what’s going on. Now is the time to act,” Kay said. “And we’re not acting on a draft audit, we’re acting on the concerns of the staff.”

Several Democratic lawmakers said Statehouse staffers worked hard but were frustrated, leading them to leave for new jobs.

Rep. Marzian, a Democrat from Louisville, said the LRC’s personnel policies are messy and opaque.

“The pay scales: who knows what they are. Who knows how you get transferred or promoted or demoted? It’s who you know,” Marzian said.

On Friday, House Republicans noted that the proposed LRC personnel policy overhaul didn’t include a cost estimate.

“That should be concerning for every one of us that he does not know the exact amount this will cost,” said House Minority Leader Rep. Jim Hoover, a Republican from Jamestown.

The bill might be a non-starter on the other side of the Capitol. Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, has repeatedly said that the legislature needs to receive a finalized audit from the NCSL before moving forward with any reforms to the state agency.

Legislative leaders commissioned the NCSL to conduct the audit of the LRC in the fall 2013 when three staffers accused then-Rep. John Arnold of sexual harassment. LRC Director Robert Sherman retired soon after amid allegations that he didn’t do enough to address sexual harassment in the Statehouse.

Marcia Seiler, the head of the LRC’s Education and Accountability Office, has served as acting director since Sherman stepped down in September 2013.

]]> http://wfpl.org/despite-gop-objections-kentucky-house-moves-legislative-research-commission-reforms/feed/ 0 Nominees Selected For Open Kentucky Supreme Court Seat http://wfpl.org/nominees-selected-open-kentucky-supreme-court-seat/ http://wfpl.org/nominees-selected-open-kentucky-supreme-court-seat/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:54:01 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32685 A committee has nominated three candidates to replace former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott, who resigned in January to enter the Republican race for governor. Scott was elected to his seat on the state’s highest court in 2004, representing … Read Story

]]> A committee has nominated three candidates to replace former Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Will T. Scott, who resigned in January to enter the Republican race for governor.

Scott was elected to his seat on the state’s highest court in 2004, representing the 7th Supreme Court District covering much Eastern Kentucky.

The nominees announced Thursday are all Eastern Kentucky attorneys—David Allen Barber from Prestonsburg, Roger Donald Riggs from Mount Sterling and Janet Stumbo from Van Lear.

Barber is an adviser for House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat from Prestonsburg, and served as a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge from 2000 to 2007.

Riggs was a judge in the Kentucky Department of Workers’ Claims, which deals with worker’s compensation claims in the state.

Janet Stumbo has been a Kentucky Court of Appeals judge for the last seven years. She held the 7th District seat from 1993 to 2004 but was defeated by Will T. Scott. Janet Stumbo is distantly related to Greg Stumbo.

The Judicial Nominating Commission is led by Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John D. Minton. Gov. Steve Beshear has 60 days to appoint one of the nominees to the seat.

]]> http://wfpl.org/nominees-selected-open-kentucky-supreme-court-seat/feed/ 0 Louisville Metro Police Establishes New Task Force To Combat Spike In Homicides http://wfpl.org/louisville-metro-police-establishes-new-task-force-combat-spike-homicides/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-metro-police-establishes-new-task-force-combat-spike-homicides/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 16:02:22 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32599 Louisville Metro Police is teaming with federal law enforcement agencies to establish a new task force to address a recent surge in homicides, officials announced on Thursday. Since the start of 2015, LMPD has responded to 20 homicides, Louisville Metro … Read Story

]]> Louisville Metro Police is teaming with federal law enforcement agencies to establish a new task force to address a recent surge in homicides, officials announced on Thursday.

Since the start of 2015, LMPD has responded to 20 homicides, Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad said. It’s a rate more than six times higher than at the same time last year. The number of reported gunshots during the same period is nearly the same this year as last year, though, said Lt. Todd Kessinger, commander of the LMPD homicide unit.

He added that many of the murders likely have ties to narcotics.

The special unit is dubbed “Operation Trust,” Chief Conrad said. It will be an extension of the police department’s VIPER unit—established in 2012 to tackle drug and gang activity and to get repeat offenders off the streets.

The task force will allow for more officers to be put into “hot spots” of crime activity, said police spokesman Phil Russell.

Russell said it’s important to “saturate” high crime areas with police in order to effectively battle activity associated with drugs and to get illegal weapons off the street.

“We think that is a layer here,” he said.

Police wouldn’t release many details regarding the task force, such as its size and what units the officers will be pulled from across the city, Russell said.

“What you have when you have a task force is to take resources from various units within LMPD, but you’re also combining efforts from task forces at federal agencies like the DEA, the ATF, the FBI and the (U.S.) Marshals,” said LMPD spokesman Phil Russell.

And federal agents are key because “they have opportunities to cross state and other jurisdictional boundaries,” he added.

The task force will be a temporary assignment for officers, he said.

The need to bolster VIPER Unit doesn’t necessarily mean the specialty unit isn’t successful, Russell stressed.

“They’ve been hugely successful,” he said. Adding that the unit secured nearly 600 illegal weapons from the street just last year.

“The point is we are expanding upon what the VIPER Unit is doing,” he said.

Conrad said combating this surge of violent crime early in the year requires more than just a response from law enforcement.

Nearly every crime has a witness, he said, and he encouraged those witnesses to come forward and help make their community safer.

“We cannot arrest our way out of this problem,” he said.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-metro-police-establishes-new-task-force-combat-spike-homicides/feed/ 0 Mid-Kentucky Presbytery Voting On Same-Sex Marriage on Saturday http://wfpl.org/mid-kentucky-presbytery-voting-sex-marriage-saturday/ http://wfpl.org/mid-kentucky-presbytery-voting-sex-marriage-saturday/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 15:58:59 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32600 Representatives from more than 50 congregations that make up the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery will convene in Louisville on Saturday to vote on whether to approve same-sex marriage as part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s constitution. The votes taking place this weekend will … Read Story

]]> Representatives from more than 50 congregations that make up the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery will convene in Louisville on Saturday to vote on whether to approve same-sex marriage as part of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s constitution.

The votes taking place this weekend will count as just 1 of 172 presbytery votes that make up Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), whose headquarters is located in Louisville. As it stands now, the national vote is 55 in favor of new language that would recognize marriage as love between two people.

Twenty-two presbyteries have voted against it.

“We have a lot of congregations who, this will upset them if this passes. We have other congregations wondering why it’s taken this long,” said Rev. Dr. Peggy Hinds, associate general presbyter for the Mid-Kentucky Presbytery.

Presbytery Church (U.S.A) voted to change the church’s constitution–also known as the Book of Order–at last year’s General Assembly. The issue now requires a majority of the 172 presbyteries to approve that change.

In Kentucky there are three regional presbyteries: Transylvania (eastern Kentucky); Mid-Kentucky; and Western Kentucky.

Each presbytery consists of several congregations from the regions. The Mid-Kentucky Presbytery includes churches from Louisville to Frankfort and down to Glascow, Harris said.

Presbyteries have two years to vote on the amendment. The Presbytery of Transylvania representing eastern Kentucky has already voted in support of the amendment. (Here’s a map)

Here’s an excerpt of the current language in the Book of Order:

Marriage is a civil contract between a woman and a man. For Christians marriage is a covenant through which a man and a woman are called to live out together before God their lives of discipleship.

Here’s an excerpt from the proposed change:

Marriage involves a unique commitment between two people, traditionally a man and a woman, to love and support each other for the rest of their lives.

Harris said she does not want to guess how her presbytery and its congregations will vote, but she said there will be good discussion on the subject.

“I will tell you, our tendency in the past on similar topics is we tend to vote progressive. And if that’s the case then we will probably vote for it,” she said.

Harris recognizes that it’s a tough subject for some, but that there’s always good conversation amongst members.

“We can debate the topic and then go have lunch together and laugh together and enjoy one another,” she said.

But there will be some who are unhappy with how the vote goes, she said.

Some individual congregations have already voted to approve and support same-sex marriage within their practices, which Harris said they’re allowed to do. But she said “if they are in line with our current Book of Order they would not.”

Regardless, some have decided to go against the Book of Order, which is called a “scruple.” In fact, Harris said, the Book of Order allows individuals to claim a scruple against something they don’t agree with, “with good reason.”

“People have to follow their conscious–what they believe God is telling them to be the truth,” she said.

This happened at the Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church several years ago, when the church decided to elect a gay elder to the ruling committee, said Pastor Jane Larsen-Wigger of Crescent Hill Presbyterian Church.

As for the same-sex marriage amendment, Larson-Wigger said she’s voting for it.

“I would guess that most of my church is in favor of this,” she said. “Marriage is about two people wanting to make a covenant to one another in love and that’s what we should be encouraging in the church.”

Over at the Highlands Presbyterian Church, Pastor Cynthia Campbell said its likely that her church representatives will approve the amendment. But she also said it’s up to the individual commissioners to decide on how they will vote.

“I will personally be very pleased if and when this change makes it possible for us to be open to that,” she said.

Campbell said it’s up to individual ministers and congregations to allow and perform same-sex marriages. And she said part of that is affirmed in the new language, which says that no one or no congregation is required to perform any ceremony or marriage that they’re uncomfortable with.

The vote will take place Saturday at the Harvey Browne Presbyterian Church in St. Matthews.

]]> http://wfpl.org/mid-kentucky-presbytery-voting-sex-marriage-saturday/feed/ 0 What To See at the Humana Festival of New American Plays http://wfpl.org/see-humana-festival-new-american-plays/ http://wfpl.org/see-humana-festival-new-american-plays/#comments Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:00:41 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32661 Never-before-seen theatre productions, by both emerging and world-renowned playwrights, are debuting next week at Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays—just as they have been since 1976. With six full-length productions and a … Read Story

]]> Never-before-seen theatre productions, by both emerging and world-renowned playwrights, are debuting next week at Actors Theatre of Louisville as part of the Humana Festival of New American Plays—just as they have been since 1976. With six full-length productions and a night of three 10-minute plays, deciding what to see can be a bit of a challenge. But we’ve got you covered, matching your tastes with the theatrical offerings.

Here is the essential guide to navigating Humana Festival 2015.

An “odd couple” story with a feminist twist.

“The Roommate”by Jen Silverman takes the tired tale of seemingly grossly mismatched roommates and updates it in a smart, culturally relevant way. It centers around the relationship between Sharon, a recent divorcee in her 50s, and her new roommate, Robyn. The differences are evident: Sharon is a Midwestern lady whose comfort zone includes her local book-club, whereas Robyn is a smart-talking vegan from the Bronx. Silverman uses this familiar dynamic to explore questions of self, culture, aging and femininity.

Family drama (the heartfelt, emotionally inciting kind) is your kind of drama.

Colman Domingo’s “Dot” opens on the Shealy family in their West Philadelphia neighborhood. It’s holiday time, which is stressful enough, but this year is different. Dotty, the mother of three adult children, has begun struggling with dementia. This wild and dark comedy—which crackles with the kind of humor that only families can provide—grapples with aging, midlife-crisis and the heart of an inner-city neighborhood.

Modern ghost stories would make your night.

Human life is inevitably haunted by death—a motif that playwright Erin Courtney chose to explore fully in “I Will Be Gone.” After her mother dies, 17-year-old Penelope goes to live with her aunt in the Sierra Nevada Mountains. Everyone in the small town, which is right next to a ghost town, is haunted by someone or something. “I Will Be Gone” is filled with apparitions, strange behaviors, and odd attempts at mourning, leaving the audience to grapple with their own beautiful, awkward knowledge that everything eventually comes to an end.

 History brought to life.

Charles Mee sixth Humana Festival play, “The Glory of the World” sparks into action after a series of toasts to Thomas Merton on the occasion of his 100th birthday erupts into a raucous party. Inspired by myriad points of view on the Kentucky-based Trappist monk, writer and social activist—or pacifist, Buddhist, Catholic, Communist, and more, depending on who you ask—Mee’s exuberant play considers how we can live fully in all our contradictions, and leap into the unknown. A theatrical meditation on happiness, love, the values of solitude and of engagement with the world, and seeking heaven on earth.

You’ve always wondered what would have happened if the creators of ‘Star Trek,’ ‘Cabaret’ and ‘RuPaul’s Drag Race’ collaborated.

In “I Promised Myself to Live Faster,” members of the collaborative troupe Pig Iron Theatre Company and Gregory S. Moss are letting loose with the tale of Tim, a guy just out looking for a good time, when suddenly he is approached by an order of intergalactic nuns. They charge him with a quest: retrieve the Holy Gay Flame from the clutches of the evil emperor to save the race of Homosexuals and restore the balance of power in the universe. But when he’s captured by the fabulously androgynous Ah-Ni, Tim’s chances look bleak.

Bluegrass holds a special place in your heart.

Playwrights Jeff Augustin, Diana Grisanti, Cory Hinkle, and Charise Castro Smith trace the winding history of bluegrass music in “That High Lonesome Sound.” From Scottish ballads to African-American work songs, from Bill Monroe and the Blue Grass Boys to the “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” soundtrack, the writers put forward scenes that explore the poignancy and playfulness of sounds and cultures that have affected American culture—particularly Kentucky’s—in a profound way.

Your attention span is questionable.

“The Ten-Minute Plays” is for you; a trio of selections culled from the National Ten-Minute Play Contest will have you in and out of the theatre in the same amount of time as a sitcom episode (though you’ll likely feel far more culturally enlightened).

You want it all.

Festival packages are still available—including special discounts for students, locals and industry professionals. They can be purchased here. Productions begin March 4 and run through April 21.

]]> http://wfpl.org/see-humana-festival-new-american-plays/feed/ 0 KentuckyOne Opens Downtown Louisville ‘Health Lifestyle Center’ http://wfpl.org/kentuckyone-opens-downtown-louisville-health-lifestyle-center/ http://wfpl.org/kentuckyone-opens-downtown-louisville-health-lifestyle-center/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:34:39 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32632 KentuckyOne Health on Thursday opened its third center providing medically supervised exercise, nutrition counseling, stress management and other services to help people live healthier. The downtown location,  at 250 E Liberty St., will serve Louisvillians who live in the West End—where rates … Read Story

]]> 20150226_101421_Richtone(HDR)Ja’Nel Johnson | wfpl.org

KentuckyOne Health on Thursday opened its third center providing medically supervised exercise, nutrition counseling, stress management and other services to help people live healthier.

The downtown location,  at 250 E Liberty St., will serve Louisvillians who live in the West End—where rates of heart attack, diabetes, obesity and hypertension are extremely high.

“It’s usually not a knowledge deficit, that people don’t know that they should eat right, exercise, stop smoking or stop drinking. People are using those as coping skills to react to life,” Stephens said.

The center offers a fitness membership program called Lifestyle Medicine, which offers personal health coaching by nurses and exercise physiologists.

People who have a qualifying lung or heart condition can receive cardiac and pulmonary rehabilitation at the center using their insurance. Also available are massage therapy, meditation, acupuncture and more.

Stephens said she feels that the programs offered at the center are on the cutting edge of bringing traditional and non-traditional medicine together to treat the whole person.

“We’re not dictating what you should do, we’re finding out what you want and what you want to achieve and helping to bring that plan together. It’s a very collaborative approach to your healthcare,” Stephens said.

Unlimited membership is $75 per month or people can pay $40 per month for four visits.

This location joins Healthy Lifestyle Centers at Medical Center Jewish Northeast and Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentuckyone-opens-downtown-louisville-health-lifestyle-center/feed/ 0 NRDC Targets McConnell’s Environmental Record in New Campaign http://wfpl.org/nrdc-targets-mcconnells-environmental-record-new-campaign/ http://wfpl.org/nrdc-targets-mcconnells-environmental-record-new-campaign/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 20:07:04 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32634 A national group has launched a campaign to highlight Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s environmental record. The video released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Action Fund highlights the money that “corporate polluters” spent in political contributions to McConnell … Read Story

]]> A national group has launched a campaign to highlight Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s environmental record.

The video released today by the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Action Fund highlights the money that “corporate polluters” spent in political contributions to McConnell and other members of Congress. In the first 50 days of McConnell’s leadership, the ad points to McConnell’s support of projects like the Keystone XL pipeline and opposition to federal restrictions of greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change.

“The point is really all about accountability,” said NRDC Action Fund Director Heather Taylor-Miesle. “Capitol Hill is not Las Vegas. What happens there should not stay there. Americans need to know what their representatives are doing to their air, their land, their water and kids’ health.”

Taylor-Miesle said the campaign hopes to inform Kentuckians about McConnell’s environmental record. She said the senator’s overwhelming victory in November over challenger Alison Lundergan Grimes doesn’t mean the state’s voters have signed off on his environmental views.

“This isn’t about election season, this is about votes and making sure people know what their politicians are doing,” she said. “Mitch McConnell got elected, but it wasn’t because he was a climate denier.”

Instead of focusing on rolling back environmental protections and passing legislation to permit large oil pipelines, McConnell should look toward moving the country and Kentucky toward the future, Taylor-Miesle said.

The campaign is largely via social media, though Taylor-Miesle said it does include some television airtime in the Washington, D.C., market. A spokesman for McConnell declined to comment.

]]> http://wfpl.org/nrdc-targets-mcconnells-environmental-record-new-campaign/feed/ 0 Former Louisville Cardinals Player Chris Jones Charged With Rape http://wfpl.org/former-louisville-cardinals-player-chris-jones-charged-rape-sodomy/ http://wfpl.org/former-louisville-cardinals-player-chris-jones-charged-rape-sodomy/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:54:22 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32574 Updated 2:54 p.m.: Not Guilty Plea Former University of Louisville basketball player Chris Jones was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy. He pleaded not guilty in court Thursday. University police … Read Story

]]> Updated 2:54 p.m.: Not Guilty Plea

Former University of Louisville basketball player Chris Jones was arrested Thursday and charged with two counts of first-degree rape and two counts of first-degree sodomy.

He pleaded not guilty in court Thursday.

University police allege that the incident took place early Sunday morning in a private student apartment complex adjacent to the Belknap campus. Both victims came forward and filed charges this week.

Two other men were also charged. Both defendants—Jalen Tilford, 21, and Tyvon Julah Walker, 19—were charged with first-degree rape. Neither were U of L students.

Jones, 23, turned himself in to police Thursday morning and soon after appeared before Jefferson District Court judge. He was later released to home incarceration. Tilford and Walker also pleaded not guilty—Tilford’s bond was set at $100,000 and Walker’s bond was set at $75,000. granted home incarceration.

Lt. Col. Kenny Brown of university police told reporters during a press conference Thursday that Jones was not getting any special treatment.

“We take each case and treat each case for what it is,” he said. “If it’s an investigation, we try to be as fair and [im]partial to all parties in the case.”

Kenny Klein, a spokesman for University of Louisville athletics, said in a written statement that Jones was “immediately dismissed from the team” when news of the charges was brought to the university’s attention Sunday afternoon.

Brown said that the school was assisting in the on-going investigation.

“The university takes these types of allegations very seriously and we are committed to conducting a very thorough investigation concerning these allegations,” Brown said.

Just a week ago, Jones had been suspended from the basketball team but was quickly readmitted.

In his statement, Klein said:

On Feb. 17 while at a team dinner, Coach Rick Pitino was informed of a text message sent by Chris Jones to another individual.  Chris was removed from the dinner table, immediately suspended from the team.  After the matter was addressed within the university and Chris surrendered his cell phone, he was permitted to return to the team on Feb. 19 with strict internal disciplinary measures attached, among which included a curfew.

UofL Dean of Students Michael Mardis said Jones was not removed from campus when this first incident took place. But he said the university could have if they thought Jones was a threat.

“The university has protocols in place that if we believe somebody is an immediate threat of harm to others we can take interim administrative action,” he said.

Mardis said university officials did not exercise its right to remove Jones from campus after the incident on Feb. 17.

University police said Jones has been cooperating with officials throughout the investigation.

Earlier: Former University of Louisville basketball player Chris Jones has been charged with rape and sodomy, The Courier-Journal reports.

The newspaper reports that a warrant was issued Wednesday for Jones, who was kicked off the team Sunday. The crimes, involving two women, allegedly occurred Saturday night, after Jones led U of L to victory over Miami.

Jones had just been reinstated after being suspended earlier in the week for a violation of team rules.

He’s expected to appear in court Thursday morning.

—Staff

]]> http://wfpl.org/former-louisville-cardinals-player-chris-jones-charged-rape-sodomy/feed/ 0 Amid Federal Pressure, Kentucky Drug Courts Look Into Expanding Addiction Treatment http://wfpl.org/amid-federal-pressure-kentucky-drug-courts-look-expanding-addiction-treatment/ http://wfpl.org/amid-federal-pressure-kentucky-drug-courts-look-expanding-addiction-treatment/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 19:08:16 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32615 The state’s drug courts might allow addicts to receive medically assisted drug therapy as part of court mandated treatment. The move comes after White House drug czar Michael Botticelli said in February that drug courts that prohibit medical treatment would stop … Read Story

]]> The state’s drug courts might allow addicts to receive medically assisted drug therapy as part of court mandated treatment.

The move comes after White House drug czar Michael Botticelli said in February that drug courts that prohibit medical treatment would stop receiving federal funding.

Kentucky’s drug courts currently receive almost $12 million in federal grants.

Kentucky Court of Justice spokeswoman Leigh Ann Hiatt confirmed that the state was looking into allowing medically assisted drug treatment but said it was too early for the court system to have an official position.

“Kentucky Drug Court is evaluating the very recent news regarding federal funding and does not have any definitive policy changes to announce at this time,” Hiatt said in an email.

Kentucky’s drug court program is abstinence-based. Participants are required to wean themselves of all drugs, including physician-prescribed drugs intended to ease addicts off of opiates like heroin.

Judges are allowed to assign convicts to “medically supervised detoxification” for six months. However most drug courts require participants to quit treatment drugs like suboxone and methadone while they’re in a diversion or probation program.

One Kentucky circuit judge, David Tapp, who serves Lincoln, Pulaski and Rockcastle counties, has been running a pilot project that uses the drug vivitrol as part of medically assisted treatment. According to the Administrative Office of the Courts, vivitrol is an opioid-inhibiting drug that can be administered once per month and doesn’t interfere with drug tests.

Tapp is trying to enlist support among drug court judges in Northern Kentucky, The Courier-Journal reported.

The state government provides most of the funds for the state’s drug court programs.  The Administrative Office of the Courts gets federal dollars to partially fund drug court programs in 12 counties. The court system currently receives $7,327,781 in funding from the Substance Abuse Health Services Administration and $4,593,055 from the Bureau of Justice Assistance.

According to the Kentucky Court of Justice, drug courts in the following counties receive federal funding: Clark/ Madison, Fayette, Floyd, Hardin, Hopkins, Jefferson, Knott/ Magoffin, McCracken, Muhlenberg, Perry, Pike and Warren.

]]> http://wfpl.org/amid-federal-pressure-kentucky-drug-courts-look-expanding-addiction-treatment/feed/ 0 Remembering Louisville’s Glorious Movie Row http://wfpl.org/remembering-louisvilles-glorious-movie-row/ http://wfpl.org/remembering-louisvilles-glorious-movie-row/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:19:57 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32603 A few weeks ago, on a Saturday afternoon, I found myself on the stage of the Brown Theatre interviewing a distinguished filmmaker about his new movie. All of the sudden, as I sat there looking out at the audience of … Read Story

]]> A few weeks ago, on a Saturday afternoon, I found myself on the stage of the Brown Theatre interviewing a distinguished filmmaker about his new movie. All of the sudden, as I sat there looking out at the audience of nearly 1,000 people, I was swept back 50 or 60 years ago to the days when the Brown was just one of a whole cluster of theatres in downtown Louisville that screened movies.

When it opened in 1925, the Brown, which was the brainchild of hotel mogul J. Graham Brown, was something of a marvel. It was modeled on the Music Box Theatre in New York—the theatre owned by songwriter Irving Berlin, which playwright Moss Hart’s brother Bernie called “The Money Box”—and initially was the home of vaudeville and legitimate theatre. All that changed in 1929 with the coming of talking pictures and the collapse of the economy. Mr. Brown saw the importance of movies and converted the theatre to show them.

An aside: I remember Mr. Brown well. He was a compact little man, impeccably tailored, with Stetson hats and a little Pekingese dog on a leash. When I was young, he lived in the Brown Hotel, had his breakfast every morning in the coffee shop there, and then walked out to Fourth Street to await his limousine. On more than one occasion he greeted me, when I was a youngster. Today, there is a statue of him, and his dog, in front of the hotel that still bears his name.

The Brown was one of downtown Louisville’s movie palaces, but it was not the only one, and despite the A-1 pictures it screened over the years (“The Ten Commandments,” “Ben-Hur,” “Around the World in 80 Days,” “South Pacific,” “The Absent-Minded Professor” and others), it wasn’t the grandest.

That honor, I should think, would go to the Loew’s United Artists, known today as The Palace. That rococo showplace (and it is one) opened in 1928, just after Al Jolson’s “The Jazz Singer” upended the making of movies (in much the same way the Internet has thrown newspapers into disarray). “The Jazz Singer” played across the street at the Rialto Theatre, always my favorite, and more on that in a bit.

The Loew’s was one of a few dozen theatres across America managed by the chain of movie palaces that also owned the fabulous film studio Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Before a 1948 Supreme Court decision broke up the monopoly, theater chains and movie studios were joined at the hip. In Louisville, that meant that pictures from MGM went to the Loew’s, pictures from RKO went to the Rialto, and pictures from Columbia and Warner Brothers landed at the Brown, the Kentucky or the Ohio. Walt Disney pictures almost always were at the Rialto.

The Loew’s was big, and its lobby was busy. The concession stand was one of the best ever, with long freezers filled with frozen malted milks and “Drumsticks,” those ice cream bars dipped in chocolate and chopped nuts. For a time they also sold chocolate covered frozen bananas. Popcorn flowed from a popper the size of a cotton gin, and if you wanted it buttered, the concessionaire pushed the brown and yellow cup of popcorn under a dispenser. I don’t know if even then it was real butter, but the concessionaires called it “Reel-Butter Popcorn.” If the movie was a blockbuster, like “The King and I” or “Oklahoma!” concessionaires also hocked souvenir programs, most of which I collected and still have in my possession today.

In my memory, the glorious end of Movie Row came in a short period in the mid-1960s.

Louisville was a certified big city in my childhood; in the 1950s and 1960s it was among the nation’s top 25 or 30. But rarely did we have a Hollywood premiere with Klieg lights, tuxedos and the like. It did happen once in my childhood, on the eve of my seventh birthday, when Elizabeth Taylor, Montgomery Clift and the cast of “Raintree County” assembled for the premiere of that movie at the Brown. My little family climbed into our new Oldsmobile and drove downtown to observe it all. My younger brother and I were told that (a) “Raintree County” was set in Danville, which was just down the road from Louisville; and (b) Elizabeth Taylor was a major movie star. I have a vague memory of a raven-haired woman in a silk gown riding in a convertible. Of course, our family just took a few turns around the block and headed home to St. Matthews.

Of all the theatres on Movie Row, however, none surpassed The Rialto for beauty, elegance, comfort or (as our 1930s movie makers boasted) “class.” Built in 1920 by the Louisville architectural firm of Joseph and Joseph, its classical façade was a dazzling assemblage of white-glazed terra cotta tile from Cincinnati’s legendary Rookwood Pottery (which also lines the Rathskeller of the Seelbach Hotel). The Rialto cost a million dollars (in 1920-dollars) to build and seated 3,500 people. When it opened in 1921, it boasted a magnificent marble staircase and a huge pipe organ. I climbed those stairs many times.

Its name was steeped in history. “The Rialto” in Venice was the financial and commercial center of Venice. Remember Solanio’s line in Shakespeare’s “The Merchant of Venice”?: “So, what’s the news on the Rialto?” For decades The New York Times called its theatrical gossip column, “News on the Rialto.” Playwright-extraordinaire George S. Kaufman named the column.

Our Rialto was a special place. In the 1930s, it was the venue for all of Katharine Hepburn’s great films. While “Gone With the Wind” and “The Wizard of Oz” opened across the street at the Loew’s, “Gunga Din” packed in weeks of crowds at the Rialto. Move forward into the 1950s and the Rialto was the site for all the Disney revivals (“Bambi,” “Pinocchio,” “Song of the South” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.”)

But by 1960 or so, the competition was getting stronger. Disney’s “Swiss Family Robinson,” which ran for almost six months at the Ohio Theatre, a cheapie place next to the Brown Hotel, was setting records. The Ohio, which smelled of rancid butter and whose floor was sticky with semi-dried sodas, also was the venue for other Disney films.

The Mary Anderson, named for the sort of great actress, was right across the alley from the Rialto. It was the home for Warner Brothers pictures. The seats weren’t comfortable, but films were good. By the 1960s, it was changed to the Mary Anderson Towne Cinema, and the décor instide was changed to reflect the current picture being shown. Some of the best? “April Fools” with Jack Lemmon and Catherine Deneuvre, “The Sterile Cuckoo” with Liza Minnelli and Wendell Burton,” and “How to Succeed in Business (Without Really Trying)” with Robert Morse, Rudey Vallee and Michelle Lee.

By the early 1960s, Theatre Row was in its final stage, but those of us who trooped downtown for lunch at Stewart’s or the California Orange Bar, or the Blue Boar had no idea. At the Rialto, they installed projectors first for “Cinerama,” and then for “Todd-a-O”. My fifth grade class in 1961 all trooped downtown to see “This Is Cinerama” at the Rialto. What I remember best is the roller-coaster ride, as well as the choir singing at the Vatican. All black-and-white.

In my memory, the glorious end of Movie Row came in a short period in the mid-1960s. “My Fair Lady” opened at the Penthouse in early 1965, and the dazzling recreation of the Broadway success played for more than a year. (The Penthouse had been created in 1962 by dividing the balcony of the Loews—now Palace—into two theatres. The United Artists was downstairs; the Penthouse, reached by a seemingly endless escalator was upstairs.) Downstairs, at the United Artists, Julie Andrews opened in Walt Disney’s “Mary Poppins” in January 1965. Across the street, at the Rialto, Rodgers and Hammerstein’s “The Sound of Music” opened that same year. It played in Louisville—either at the Rialto or the Penthouse—for well over a year. Todd-a-O was an amazing film format. It was a combination of wide-screen and 3-D. When Julie Andrews walked through the brooks as they tripped and fell, it was truly like being in the hills above Salzburg.

The last time I went to the Rialto was in the spring of 1968. My Aunt Lucille, who had been my guide to downtown theaters for many years, arranged for me to see the revival of “Gone With the Wind” with an elderly aunt, Minnie. We saw the four-hour film, and then went for refreshments at the Brown. It was a last gasp from the 1950s for me. There would be more moments at Theatre Row movies in the next few years, but their time was ending.

Our city looked eastward—to the Showcase Cinemas on Bardstown Road, then to the Oxmoor Cinemas. They are now long gone. Now we go to Stonybrook, Baxter and Tinseltown.

For me, however, the grand era of motion pictures in Louisville is in my memory. And how marvelous it is.

Keith Runyon is a longtime Louisville journalist and former editorial page editor for The Courier-Journal.

 

]]> http://wfpl.org/remembering-louisvilles-glorious-movie-row/feed/ 0 Louisville Man’s Life and Death Highlights Plight of Homeless http://wfpl.org/louisville-mans-life-death-highlights-plight-homeless/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-mans-life-death-highlights-plight-homeless/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 18:04:15 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32372 On many days, Kenny Winfield found comfort in alcohol—typically tall cans of Olde English. He’d drink just about anything, said his sister, Arleathiea Winfield. Last Thursday, on a bitterly frigid day amid the city’s extreme cold snap, Winfield started drinking early. By … Read Story

]]> On many days, Kenny Winfield found comfort in alcohol—typically tall cans of Olde English. He’d drink just about anything, said his sister, Arleathiea Winfield.

Last Thursday, on a bitterly frigid day amid the city’s extreme cold snap, Winfield started drinking early. By late that night, neighbors of the St. John Center for Homeless Men found him dead outside the building, where he spent many days warming up.

Like many other homeless men and women, Winfield fought his own personal demons, struggles that were exacerbated when the thermometer dropped to single digits.

“Being that he was drunk, he didn’t feel no cold,” his sister explained.


The preliminary cause of Winfield’s death was hypothermia, according to the Jefferson County Coroner’s Office. A toxicology report won’t be completed for about two months.

Winfield, 49, spent the last 12 years of his life on the streets, without a home, his sister said. He had a job many years ago, a home too. But personal tragedy, some brushes with the law, and alcohol abuse led him to a life on Louisville’s streets, according to friends, family and court records

“He didn’t choose to be homeless,” his sister said. “It fell upon him.”

And the fall came hard and fast.

Kenny Winfield moved in 1999 from Brooklyn to Louisville, where his mother and older brother, James Carter Jr., lived.

In those first few years, Winfield’s life was pretty good.

“He kept a job, kept a roof over his head and did his thing,” Carter said.

He worked in warehouses, Circuit City, Kroger and Brown-Forman, to name a few, his family noted. He lived in a home near Manslick Road.

In 2003, his mother and father died,  just a few weeks apart.

“It drove Kenny to that drinking consistently and he couldn’t stop,” Arleathiea Winfield said. “He couldn’t cope with that.”

Arleathie Winfield, Kenneth Winfield's sister, holding a photo of him outside of the St. John Center for Homeless Men, where her brother died less than a week earlier in frigid cold temperatures.

Arleathiea Winfield, Kenneth Winfield’s sister, holding a photo of him outside of the St. John Center for Homeless Men, where her brother died less than a week earlier in frigid cold temperatures.

The once close sibling who shared in practical jokes and childhood squabbles quickly drifted apart from his brother and sister.

She said Kenny developed “demons” inside him and he sought solace at the bottom of a beer can or bottle of gin. Sometimes both.

Winfield was soon out on the street. He stayed mostly in encampments near Campbell Street and River Road, according to his longtime friend Alvin Cooper, 51, himself homeless until recently.

Winfield weaved in and out of jail, racking up dozens of criminal charges for disorderly conduct, alcohol intoxication in a public place, and DUI, among others, court records show.

Traumatic events like the death of a loved one mixed with substance abuse is a “toxic soup” that can lead someone to neglect the factors that attribute to their stability and end up on the street, said John Gilderbloom, the director of University of Louisville’s Center for Sustainable Neighborhoods.

Gilderbloom said there is a relationship between the “forces that shape and cause homelessness”—such as addiction, mental illness, a lack of education—and circumstances that lead someone to living on the streets.

“But some prefer just to live their lives and have that kind of privacy,” he added.

Cooper, Winfield’s pal, said Kenny valued his privacy. Like many others without homes, Winfield didn’t like to stay in shelters.

“It’s a lot of pride, too,” he said. “Kenny, as a person, he wanted to do things on his own.”

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IMG_0035What It Sounds Like In a Louisville Homeless Shelter On a Frigid Night

This meant nights in a tent or on the street, instead of a shelter.

Shelters, Gilderbloom said, aren’t always the most welcoming place for people.

“It’s hard enough for two people living together to figure out how to live together, let alone 50 strangers who might have mental health problems, drug problems, a history of violence—they might even be wanted by police,” he said.

Louisville has about 650 emergency shelter beds available year-round for residents, said Natalie Harris, director of the Coalition for the Homeless. Each bed is occupied every night.

On especially hot or cold nights, shelter occupancy can increase by about 300 people. On these nights people sleep in chairs or on benches. Mats line the floor side-by-side.

Winfield turned down numerous invitations to stay with family. His friend, Cooper, recently landed permanent housing and moved into a one-bedroom apartment. He said he often extended an invitation to Winfield to stay, but he declined every time.

“It makes me mad that he did this when he didn’t have to,” said his brother, James Carter Jr. “Sometimes it’s OK to ask for help.”

Addiction Kept Him Out on the Streets

Cooper said he had never seen Kenny drink as much as he did during the last eight months.

The stress of homelessness, coupled with mental health issues weighed heavy on Winfield, Cooper said. Winfield was prescribed a handful of medications for his ills, but Kenny went for pints—not pills, Cooper recalled.

It’s “what kept him out here on the streets,” Cooper said. “It’s what kept him from calling his brother, kept him from calling his sister.”

Winfield wasn’t alone. Nearly a third of all homeless people in the U.S. suffer from alcohol addiction, Gilderbloom said. Many other battle with drug addiction, he said.

“Drugs and alcohol fuel mental illness to a great degree,” he added.

Arleathiea Winfield said her brother had a “good heart.”

He also had a girlfriend, Stacy Cunningham, who goes by the nickname “Dash.”

20150225_103831Jacob Ryan | wfpl.org

Stacy “Dash” Cunningham inside the Louisville Rescue Mission on weekday morning.

Cunningham, 34, said Winfield would often eschew the shelter so he could be with her. Only one emergency shelter in Louisville allows couples to remain together overnight.

Cunningham said she was with Winfield the night he died. They were drinking together with a friend near the BP gas station at East Broadway and Hancock Street. The friend had just bought a pair of boots for them.

Winfield and Cunningham got in an argument on their way back to a homeless encampment near Liberty Street, she recalled. He hung back and sat for spell on the steps outside of the St. John Center, she said.

“The last words I heard from him were, ‘I’m on my way, just give me a few minutes.’”

Cunningham went on to their camping spot on Liberty Street, herself so intoxicated she nodded off before Winfield arrived. She woke up the next morning alone and cold, a sheet of ice across the blankets.

She believes Winfield passed out on the steps during the night.

“It didn’t matter hot, cold, rain, dry, when that man got too much in him he would pass out on the sidewalk, in the middle of the street, everywhere,” she said. “He would just shut down that quickly.”

And on this night, the thermometer plunged to about zero.

Winfield was also a father. His sister said he had 12 children spread across four states.

Considered Vulnerable, But Not Vulnerable Enough

Winfield was among nearly 1,200 other homeless Louisville residents who last year took part in a common assessment program that aims to find permanent housing for the city’s most vulnerable residents.

Men and women in the assessment are asked a series of questions in effort to determine how likely it is for them to die on the street. Residents receive a score from 1-20 and a score of 10 or above makes an individual eligible for a housing voucher, said Mary Frances Schafer, director of community coordination for Coalition for the Homeless.

Maria Price, the executive director of the St John Center for Men, said Kenny “was considered vulnerable” following his assessment, but others, like Alvin Cooper, were considered for housing first.

Cooper said he scored a 16 on his common assessment and after nearly 14 years on the street he now has an apartment.

Despite his good fortune, Cooper wants more from the program.

“You can’t put a number on a person, a homeless person,” he said.

Schafer said there simply aren’t enough vouchers, not enough housing for everyone.

According to a quarterly report released in January, there were just 12 housing vouchers available to the homeless in Louisville for permanent housing, Schafer noted.

“The biggest reason for homelessness is a lack of resources,” she said.

Winfield’s sister learned of her brother’s death by watching television news.

“It just made me go crazy,” she said. Her last conversation with him was two weeks earlier. He told her he was going to stop by her house. He never showed.

Today, she wonders how long it would take for her brother to be considered for permanent housing. And if  given the option, would the stubborn 49-year-old, take it?

Arleathiea Winfield hopes his death will be a wake-up call to the public. More resources are needed for the homeless community, she said.

“It might be a blessing, he might be singing praise right now, that it took his life to help everybody else that’s homeless and suffering out here,” she said.

For the once-homeless Cooper, his friend’s death will forever sting.

“I love him,” Cooper said. “I’m going to miss him to death.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-mans-life-death-highlights-plight-homeless/feed/ 0 Commission’s Meeting to Consider Natural Gas Deep Well in Kentucky Lasts 15 Minutes http://wfpl.org/commissions-meeting-consider-natural-gas-deep-well-lasts-15-minutes/ http://wfpl.org/commissions-meeting-consider-natural-gas-deep-well-lasts-15-minutes/#comments Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:36:12 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32585 A state commission is considering allowing Kentucky’s first horizontal deep well for natural gas. The commission met yesterday for the first time since 2006, and heard a brief testimony from the company interested in drilling the well. But the commissioners … Read Story

]]> A state commission is considering allowing Kentucky’s first horizontal deep well for natural gas. The commission met yesterday for the first time since 2006, and heard a brief testimony from the company interested in drilling the well. But the commissioners asked no questions, and members of the public who attended were limited to questions about the company’s brief testimony.

The Kentucky Oil and Gas Conservation Commission is required to sign off on any oil and gas permits that deviate from the traditional deep vertical wells, like the proposal from Horizontal Technology Energy Company. If it’s approved, this would be the first horizontal deep natural gas well in Kentucky.

Earlier this week, we reported:

“When operators drill for natural gas horizontally, they drill down deep into the earth, then begin traveling laterally into the formation. In this case, Horizontal Technology Energy Company is proposing what’s known as a “wildcat horizontal well.” This means it’s a deep well that’s drilled at least 25,000 feet from another deep well. [Kentucky Oil and Gas Division Director Kim] Collings said wildcat wells are generally used as test wells, for operators to determine whether the area will be profitable and if so, the best method for producing the natural gas.

Collings said operators will be looking for answers to questions like ‘If this shale has potential, is it better to produce it vertically or horizontally? With a horizontal well, there’s going to be considerably more cost to drill it. Is there considerably more profit to make up for those costs?’”

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Horizontal Technology Energy Company is affiliated with energy giant EQT, and was represented by George Heflin of EQT at the meeting yesterday. Heflin’s lawyer asked him several simple questions, like the targeted depth of the well (11,200 feet). The commissioners declined to ask Heflin any questions, and two citizens were shut down when they tried to ask Heflin questions about EQT’s environmental record.

Jim Bruggers of The Courier-Journal was at the meeting, and wrote:

The commission members, who have final say on the permit, were not curious in the least bit about the proceedings. None of them asked any questions.

It didn’t help matters that the commission chose a small room only large enough for a single row of chairs around their board table, which forced some in an overflow crowd to listen from a hallway.

After the meeting, which took about 30 minutes, Kentucky Natural Resources Commissioner Steve Hohmann said the citizens should have focused their questions directly on the permit that was up for approval. Instead of a general question about water quality, the question should have asked something specific about any provisions in the permit that dealt with water quality.

When I asked Sloane about that after the meeting, he nodded in agreement.

However, that’s not how some in the audience heard Sloane during the meeting, who had said the cross examination needed to be based on the testimony that was presented by the company, which was very limited.

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1280px-Water_tanks_preparing_for_a_frac_jobCommission to Consider Permit for Kentucky's First Deep Horizontal Natural Gas Well

Residents are concerned about speculation in the Rogersville shale in Eastern Kentucky, where the proposed well would be drilled. If the shale proves profitable, it would be the first time large-scale hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is used in Kentucky. The practice is effective for releasing deep oil and natural gas reserves, but studies have raised questions about fracking’s links to water contamination, health problems and earthquakes. A bill to regulate fracking is moving though the Kentucky General Assembly.

Yesterday’s meeting was videotaped by fracking opponent Sellus Wilder. It’s only 15 minutes long; you can watch the whole video here.

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