89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Sat, 18 Apr 2015 12:10:21 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Strange Fruit: Family Guy’s Kirker Butler says ‘Nothing is Off Limits’ http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-family-guys-kirker-butler-says-nothing-off-limits/ http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-family-guys-kirker-butler-says-nothing-off-limits/#comments Sat, 18 Apr 2015 12:02:22 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35529 Comedy writer Kirker Butler has written for “Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show,” but his most recent work is a satirical novel called “Pretty Ugly,” about a Southern family whose child is involved in beauty pageants. Butler grew up in … Read Story

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pretty uglyComedy writer Kirker Butler has written for “Family Guy” and “The Cleveland Show,” but his most recent work is a satirical novel called “Pretty Ugly,” about a Southern family whose child is involved in beauty pageants.

Butler grew up in Ohio County, Kentucky, where his mother was in charge of planning the annual pageant. And though the novel is set in Kentucky, and the family is dysfunctional, Butler says he isn’t worried about offending folks from his home state.

kirker“It comes from a place of love,” he says. “I think Kentuckians have a pretty good sense of humor about themselves.”

We talk to Butler about his TV work, and that always-elusive line between edgy and offensive. He said the “Family Guy” writers benefit from the show’s reputation for anything-goes humor. “We always kind of took the attitude that nothing is off-limits, and we would go after everyone equally.”

In this week’s Juicy Fruit, we talk about a recent police shooting in Louisville, and why Chief Steve Conrad was so quick to point out that both the officer and the man he shot were white.

We also talk about Janelle Monáe’s new video for her song, “Yoga,” and her simple but epic takedown of a dude on Twitter who demanded she “stop being so soulful and be sexy.”

We also cover Madonna kissing Drake at Coachella, and how it reminds us all of the importance of consent—even if you’re Madonna.

]]> http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-family-guys-kirker-butler-says-nothing-off-limits/feed/ 0 Directing Thunder Over Louisville Is a Family Tradition http://wfpl.org/directing-thunder-over-louisville-tradition/ http://wfpl.org/directing-thunder-over-louisville-tradition/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 18:26:56 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35494 On the 24th floor of the Galt House, the Thunder Over Louisville command center is a refashioned hotel room stuffed with computers, control decks and soundboards—all the switches and buttons needed to bring the booms that kick-off the Kentucky Derby Festival. … Read Story

]]> On the 24th floor of the Galt House, the Thunder Over Louisville command center is a refashioned hotel room stuffed with computers, control decks and soundboards—all the switches and buttons needed to bring the booms that kick-off the Kentucky Derby Festival.

Standing Thursday in the middle of it all is Thunder Over Louisville director Mandie Clark, who laughed when asked how much power is pumping out of the command center.

“They bring in extra power for us because we can’t use the outlets on the wall for grounding issues,” she said.

Clark’s job is to make sure the show is running smoothly. She coordinates the air show, the music, the lights and fireworks.

The 31-year-old electrical engineer got the job last year, but her years with Thunder stretch back to when she was a small child.

Her father, Tim Creed, along with producer Wayne Hettinger, helped start Thunder 26 years ago, Clark said. He then directed the show for more than 20 years.

“It’s a neat transition to see see her take the reigns,” said Creed, 57.

For Clark, it’s a move that’s been a long time coming.

“Growing up, I always said I was going to be director of Thunder,” she said.

She remembers Thunder Over Louisville’s early days, including when it was held at old Cardinal Stadium—long before it became the largest annual fireworks show in North America.

Then and through the years, she always managed to work her way into the command center to be by her father’s side—to enjoy the show from the inside out.

Clark said she attended duPont Manual High School because she wanted to learn about science and technology. She went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering from the University of Kentucky, as well as an MBA.

“I was lucky enough to talk her into coming to work for me when she got out of school,” Creed said.

“She’s very calm under pressure.”

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That, he said, is the “main thing” to running a show the size of Thunder Over Louisville, which will span the Ohio River waterfront with six tons of fireworks that will all launch in a half-hour span. That’s not even mentioning the air show and other activities held on Thunder day, the official launch party for the Kentucky Derby Festival.

Another important aspect to directing Thunder is to never divulge what changes are being made each year to improve the show, Clark said.

“That’s a secret,” she said.

The Thunder Over Louisville countdown clock in the command center. Jacob Ryan | wfpl.org

The Thunder Over Louisville countdown clock in the command center.

Their family members participate, too. While thousands of families gather along the along the waterfront in Louisville and Southern Indiana, a family working behind the scenes will make the show happen.

Clark said her uncles and cousins all help out during Thunder, and her father pulls cables and sets up monitors well before the show starts.

Her 5-year-old son, Dylan, even does his part. Hanging on her director’s chair on Thursday was Dylan’s official Thunder Over Louisville crew jacket. Embroidered over the heart is his name.

Right below that reads: “Future Director.”

“It really is a family thing for us,” she said.

Thunder Over Louisville is the only live show Clark runs. Even the family’s Fourth of July celebration is “pretty dead,” Clark said.

The rest of the year the father and daughter are two-fifths of the Louisville-based company Communications Electronic Design, or CED. They travel the country setting up interactive exhibits for places like the California Science Center, the National Constitution Center in Philadelphia and the Harley-Davidson Museum in Milwaukee.

“We actually have regular jobs,” Creed said, laughing.

Thunder, though, is something special for the two. Clark said the best part of all is hearing the response from thousands of onlookers.

“It’s a really cool feeling,” Clark said.

]]> http://wfpl.org/directing-thunder-over-louisville-tradition/feed/ 0 Judge Dismisses Lawsuit Asking EPA to Respond to Concerns Over Kentucky’s Water Pollution Regulation http://wfpl.org/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-asking-epa-respond-concerns-kentuckys-water-pollution-regulation/ http://wfpl.org/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-asking-epa-respond-concerns-kentuckys-water-pollution-regulation/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 17:19:11 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35496 A lawsuit that sought to have the federal government respond to requests for them to take over Kentucky’s water pollution program has been dismissed, but the plaintiffs plan to re-file the suit in the Court of Appeals. Five years ago, … Read Story

]]> A lawsuit that sought to have the federal government respond to requests for them to take over Kentucky’s water pollution program has been dismissed, but the plaintiffs plan to re-file the suit in the Court of Appeals.

Five years ago, environmental groups Kentuckians for the Commonwealth and the Sierra Club petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency, asking federal regulators to take over Kentucky’s water pollution program because of alleged routine mismanagement and lack of enforcement in the commonwealth. The EPA delegates Kentucky regulators the authority to run the National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System program in the state, but the environmental groups claimed state regulators weren’t enforcing the Clean Water Act. The EPA never responded to the petition, so in January, the groups sued the agency.

From the original petition:

“We recognize we are asking EPA to take drastic action. Given the nearly complete breakdown of Kentucky’s implementation and enforcement of its NPDES program, however, withdrawal of the State’s NPDES program is the only remedy that will bring Kentucky into compliance with the Clean Water Act (CWA). In particular, the State’s capitulation to the coal industry and its complete failure to prevent widespread contamination of state waters by pollution from coal mining operations leaves EPA no choice but to withdraw its approval of that program.”

The EPA sought for the suit to be dismissed, saying that there was no requirement for the agency to reply to the petition. The environmental groups agreed in court to the dismissal, and plan to re-file the lawsuit as an Administrative Procedure Act claim in the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Claims by the environmental groups that the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is unable to administer the Clean Water Act gained some steam late last year, when Franklin County Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd rejected a settlement between the cabinet and a coal company. The company—Frasure Creek Mining—had been caught forging years of water quality records, and Shepherd wrote in his opinion that the cabinet was unable to effectively enforce its permits.

]]> http://wfpl.org/judge-dismisses-lawsuit-asking-epa-respond-concerns-kentuckys-water-pollution-regulation/feed/ 0 Flooding Should Cause Few Issues For Thunder Over Louisville, Festival Official Says http://wfpl.org/flooding-cause-issues-thunder-louisville-festival-official-says/ http://wfpl.org/flooding-cause-issues-thunder-louisville-festival-official-says/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 16:33:00 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35491 A surging Ohio River is expected to cause few issues for Saturday’s Thunder Over Louisville festivities, despite flooding on some of portions of the waterfront viewing area. Organizers expect Saturday’s air and fireworks show along the waterfront to draw nearly … Read Story

]]> A surging Ohio River is expected to cause few issues for Saturday’s Thunder Over Louisville festivities, despite flooding on some of portions of the waterfront viewing area.

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Organizers expect Saturday’s air and fireworks show along the waterfront to draw nearly 700,000 people.

In past years, flooding has led organizers to plan accordingly for high water during Thunder weekend, said Aimee Boyd, spokeswoman for the Kentucky Derby Festival.

“We will lose some real estate, about half of the Great Lawn, the Wharf and then some areas of the river walk going east. Some of those areas will be lost for seating,” she said.

Despite that, Boyd said there will still be “plenty of seating along the waterfront for the show.”

“It’s pretty much business as usual,” she said.

In fact, the swift currents that come along with flooding will force the barges that hold the fireworks to spread out more than usual, which, in turn, will cause the show to be larger.

“Everyone along the waterfront will be getting a front seat show,” Boyd said.

Boyd urged people to use caution near the river’s banks because the flooded river will have swifter currents than usual, she said.

The Thunder Over Louisville air show begins at 3 p.m. The fireworks are set to begin around 9:30 p.m.

]]> http://wfpl.org/flooding-cause-issues-thunder-louisville-festival-official-says/feed/ 0 Listen to WFPL’s Community Conversation on Kentucky’s Heroin Crisis http://wfpl.org/listen-wfpls-community-conversation-kentuckys-heroin-crisis/ http://wfpl.org/listen-wfpls-community-conversation-kentuckys-heroin-crisis/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 15:20:33 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35483 WFPL’s community conversation Thursday on the surge of heroin addiction in the region drew a wide range of participants, including public health officials, treatment professionals and people in recovery. The discussion covered the legislation recently passed by the Kentucky General … Read Story

]]> heroin panelJacob Ryan

WFPL’s community conversation Thursday on the surge of heroin addiction in the region drew a wide range of participants, including public health officials, treatment professionals and people in recovery.

The discussion covered the legislation recently passed by the Kentucky General Assembly to address the problem, the growing HIV epidemic among needle sharing drug users in southern Indiana, and differences of opinion on treatment approaches.

The panelists for the discussion included:

  • Louisville Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton
  • Karyn Hascal, president of The Healing Place
  • Volunteers of America Kentucky President Jennifer Hancock
  • WFPL Statehouse Bureau Chief Ryland Barton
  • WFPL Community Health Reporter Ja’Nel Johnson

Listen below:

The event was part of The Next Louisville: Community Health initiative, a partnership between WFPL News, the Community Foundation of Louisville and the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky.

]]> http://wfpl.org/listen-wfpls-community-conversation-kentuckys-heroin-crisis/feed/ 0 University of Kentucky Student Fatally Shot Near Campus http://wfpl.org/university-kentucky-student-fatally-shot-near-campus/ http://wfpl.org/university-kentucky-student-fatally-shot-near-campus/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 14:16:23 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35479 This story has been updated. Police in Lexington have arrested a second person in the fatal shooting of a University of Kentucky student. A news release from the city says 20-year-old Efrain Diaz of Lexington was charged Friday with murder … Read Story

]]> This story has been updated.

Police in Lexington have arrested a second person in the fatal shooting of a University of Kentucky student.

A news release from the city says 20-year-old Efrain Diaz of Lexington was charged Friday with murder and robbery.

Diaz and 18-year-old Justin D. Smith are charged in the death early Friday of 22-year-old Jonathan W. Krueger of Perrysburg, Ohio. Smith is charged with murder, robbery, tampering with evidence and evading police.

Krueger was a junior communications major and photo editor at the school newspaper. He was shot in the chest about 2 a.m. a block from the Lexington campus while walking home from a party.

The man Krueger was with told police a minivan pulled up and confronted them. He said he managed to flee, found two men nearby and contacted authorities.

Earlier: Police say they have made an arrest in the fatal shooting of a University of Kentucky student.

A statement from the city says police charged 18-year-old Justin D. Smith on Friday with murder, robbery, tampering with evidence and evading police. The statement says police also are looking for more suspects in the killing of 22-year-old Jonathan W. Krueger of Ohio.

Krueger was gunned down as he walked with a friend along a street near the UK campus in Lexington. The coroner says he died of a gunshot wound to the chest.

Lexington police say they responded to a report of shots fired around 2 a.m. Friday and found Krueger in the street.

Krueger was photo editor at the school’s newspaper, the Kentucky Kernel.

]]> http://wfpl.org/university-kentucky-student-fatally-shot-near-campus/feed/ 0 Kentucky’s Jobless Rate Drops to 5.1 Percent in March http://wfpl.org/kentuckys-jobless-rate-drops-5-1-percent-march/ http://wfpl.org/kentuckys-jobless-rate-drops-5-1-percent-march/#comments Fri, 17 Apr 2015 10:53:03 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35475 FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky officials say the state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in March, the lowest rate since June 2001. The state office of Employment and Training said Thursday that Kentucky’s jobless rate has been below the national … Read Story

]]> FRANKFORT, Ky. — Kentucky officials say the state’s unemployment rate fell to 5.1 percent in March, the lowest rate since June 2001.

The state office of Employment and Training said Thursday that Kentucky’s jobless rate has been below the national rate for eight straight months.

The state agency says Kentucky’s preliminary jobless rate for March fell from the revised 5.3 percent rate in February.

It says last month’s rate was well below the statewide 7.2 percent jobless rate in March 2014.

The agency says Kentucky’s professional and business services sector added 3,100 positions in March compared to the prior month. Employment in the other services sector — which includes repairs and maintenance and personal care services, rose by 700 in March from a month earlier.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentuckys-jobless-rate-drops-5-1-percent-march/feed/ 0 National Wheelchair Basketball Championships Begin Today in Louisville http://wfpl.org/national-wheelchair-basketball-championships-begin-today-louisville/ http://wfpl.org/national-wheelchair-basketball-championships-begin-today-louisville/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:41:25 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35472 Louisville is once again the site of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Championships, which began Thursday and continue through Sunday at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center. More than 1,000 athletes, 90 teams and 200 coaches are competing in this year’s … Read Story

]]> Louisville is once again the site of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association Championships, which began Thursday and continue through Sunday at the Kentucky Fair & Exposition Center.

More than 1,000 athletes, 90 teams and 200 coaches are competing in this year’s tournaments, which cover several divisions and will be played on more than dozen courts.

Gregory Lewis-Seals, assistant coach with the Tampa Bay Strong Dogs men’s team, said wheelchair basketball is not much different from the traditional game.

“The mechanics and the game of basketball—is still basketball,” Lewis-Seals said. “They just adjust some rules to accommodate the chairs and their disability.”

There will also be an instructional clinic presented by 40 military veterans.
Organizers say the basketball championship is the world’s largest wheelchair sporting event.

Tickets are $5 per day or $15 for the entire championship.

]]> http://wfpl.org/national-wheelchair-basketball-championships-begin-today-louisville/feed/ 0 String Quartet Brooklyn Rider Performs at Clifton Center http://wfpl.org/string-quartet-brooklyn-rider-performs-clifton-center/ http://wfpl.org/string-quartet-brooklyn-rider-performs-clifton-center/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 20:27:36 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35450 A string quartet at the forefront of contemporary classical music performs tonight at the Clifton Center. Brooklyn Rider hails from New York City, as their name would suggest, and though they have the traditional string quartet configuration of two violins, … Read Story

]]> A string quartet at the forefront of contemporary classical music performs tonight at the Clifton Center.

Brooklyn Rider hails from New York City, as their name would suggest, and though they have the traditional string quartet configuration of two violins, a viola and a cello, they have a wide range of influences, from classical to folk to world music. Their most recent album, “The Brooklyn Rider Almanac,” is a collection of 15 newly commissioned works from composers as varied as jazz guitarist Bill Frisell, singer-songwriter Aoife O’Donovan and drummer Glenn Kotche of the band Wilco.

Violist Nicholas Cords said they wanted to take a different approach to selecting composers.

“To channel people who are outside of the classical music sphere, officially speaking, but people who are more in the jazz and rock and folk worlds—people who are amazing musicians who we thought had a lot to offer the medium of the string quartet but might not have been given a chance before,” Cords said.

Brooklyn Rider performed Thursday afternoon for WUOL Classical 90.5, WFPL’s sister station. You can listen below:

Brooklyn Rider’s appearance at the Clifton Center is presented in partnership with the Louisville Chamber Music Society.

Tonight’s concert begins at 7:30 p.m.

]]> http://wfpl.org/string-quartet-brooklyn-rider-performs-clifton-center/feed/ 0 Louisville Makes Push To Decrease Pedestrian Deaths http://wfpl.org/louisville-makes-push-decrease-pedestrian-deaths/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-makes-push-decrease-pedestrian-deaths/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:59:48 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35434 Scott Furlong picks at a guitar on the corner of Fourth and Liberty nearly every weekday. From his post he sees plenty of pedestrians scurry through crosswalks, narrowly avoiding passing cars, trucks and buses. “People need to slow down,” he said. And … Read Story

]]> Scott Furlong picks at a guitar on the corner of Fourth and Liberty nearly every weekday.

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From his post he sees plenty of pedestrians scurry through crosswalks, narrowly avoiding passing cars, trucks and buses.

“People need to slow down,” he said. And by “people,” he means both pedestrians and motorists.

That, in part, is the goal of a new initiative announced Thursday by Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer. Look Alive Louisville aims to reduce the number of pedestrian and vehicle collisions and bring an end to pedestrian fatalities.

Louisville’s rate of pedestrian fatalities per 100,000 residents is 2.57, according to data provided by the city. That rate is higher than the national rate of 2.33 pedestrian deaths per 100,000 residents, Fischer said.

The rate has steadily increased the past three years, he said.

Reducing the number of pedestrian deaths to zero will not be easy, said Bill Bell, executive director of the state’s highway safety program. But, he believes it is possible.

“You have to have a goal of zero, you’re not going to get to that goal this or next year, but that has to be the ultimate goal,” he said.

The program comes with a near $300,000 grant from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to improve educational outreach for children and adults, as well as enhanced training for Louisville Metro Police officers that will enable them to crack down on drivers who violate the rules of the road and pedestrians who fail to follow proper protocol, Fischer said.

The funds are part of a national push from U.S. Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to “take significant action” to improve pedestrian and bicyclist safety, according to a news release.

In 2014, 18 pedestrians died on Louisville streets.

The increase has multiple reasons, Bell said.

“For one, there are more pedestrians on the roadways, there are more bicyclists,” he said.

Another reason, he added, is that the city is outgrowing its infrastructure.

Fischer said “there will be some” funds allocated for infrastructure improvements to make streets and sidewalks more pedestrian-friendly, but didn’t say how much.

“That’s always one of the things we’re looking at,” he said. “Unfortunately, there is never enough, it’s a big challenge.”

He said the city currently has about $1 billion invested in roadways and nearly $800,000 invested in sidewalks.

Bell said the state’s highway strategic plan puts emphasis on improving intersection safety and quelling distracted driving, both of which contribute to pedestrian safety.

“You have distracted driving and then you have distracted walking, that combination is deadly,” he said.

Sgt. Ruby Ellison, with the Louisville Metro Police traffic unit, said she believes people are more distracted by technology than ever before.

In fact, emergency room visits for injuries related to texting or talking on a cell phone increased nationally each year since 2010, according to a report from the Pew Charitable Trusts.

In 2010, about 800 mobile device related injuries led to U.S. emergency room visits, per the report. In 2013, that number surged to more than 1,100.

About a half-dozen pedestrian deaths each year are related to “portable electronic devices,” the report shows.

Some states have been experimenting with issuing fines to walkers distracted by mobile devices, according to the December 2014 report. Speed limits have been slashed in New York City, in part, to make streets safer for distracted walkers.

“If you’re looking at a phone when you’re walking around, that shouldn’t mean death. So, we have to design forgiving streets,” said. Noah Budnick, chief policy officer for Transportation Alternatives, an advocacy group based in New York City.

Ellison said police will ramp up patrols around areas of high pedestrian and vehicle interaction. Officers will be more adamant about enforcing no-texting and jaywalking laws, she said. And officers will also keep an eye out for improvements that could be made to crosswalks or traffic light patterns.

And sheboth pedestrians and motorists have a responsibility to pay attention to their surroundings and obey the rules.

Furlong, singing his own rendition of “On The Road Again” as cars zip through the downtown streets, said he knows that it’s not just motorists speeding through traffic lights and texting  that are the threat.

“We’re all jaywalking down here,” he said. “It happens.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-makes-push-decrease-pedestrian-deaths/feed/ 0 Comer Promises Tuition Reimbursements, More Technical Education If Elected Kentucky Governor http://wfpl.org/comer-promises-tuition-reimbursements-technical-education-elected-kentucky-governor/ http://wfpl.org/comer-promises-tuition-reimbursements-technical-education-elected-kentucky-governor/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 18:46:18 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35445 Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says if he’s elected governor he’d essentially offer Kentucky students a $20,000 degree to University of Kentucky and University of Louisville if they can graduate in four years and then stay in the state. Comer, who … Read Story

]]> Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says if he’s elected governor he’d essentially offer Kentucky students a $20,000 degree to University of Kentucky and University of Louisville if they can graduate in four years and then stay in the state.

Comer, who is seeking the Republican gubernatorial nomination, on Thursday unveiled the education plank of his campaign.

Under his plan, students would be able to have the full amount of their tuition reimbursed through credits on their Kentucky tax returns if they stay in-state to work.

Four-year tuition currently costs about $44,000 at UK and over $40,000 at U of L.

He said he’ll also push for an outcomes-based funding model that rewards Kentucky colleges for producing employable students.

He also wants to give employers who hire graduates of the Kentucky Community and Technical Colleges a $2,000 tax credit per student.

To fund that initiative, he’d cut KCTCS administrative staffing budget by 10 percent to save $13 million a year, he said.

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At a governor’s debate in Versailles on Wednesday, Comer said that putting more money in the K-12 education system isn’t going to ensure Kentuckians have a better education because of government inefficiency.

“The education dollars in Kentucky especially with respect to K-12 isn’t making it to the front lines, it’s getting eaten up by bureaucracy and administrative costs,” Comer said.

Last year the General Assembly passed a budget that increased K-12 funding by $189 million over two years.

Last year, critics argued that Kentucky students could not meet college and career readiness standards because of a lack of funding.

The Kentucky School Board Association predicted that the state faced a $15 million shortfall because of an unexpected growth in attendance. That shortfall was filled by a last-minute raiding of the health insurance fund for public employees.

 

]]> http://wfpl.org/comer-promises-tuition-reimbursements-technical-education-elected-kentucky-governor/feed/ 0 Southern Indiana Needle Exchange Program Serves Dozens in 10 Days http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-needle-exchange-program-serves-dozens-10-days/ http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-needle-exchange-program-serves-dozens-10-days/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 17:44:49 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35270 In its first 10 days, more than 40 people used a new needle exchange program in the Southern Indiana county struggling with an HIV crisis linked to intravenous drug use. The program, operated by the Scott County Health, was authorized … Read Story

]]> In its first 10 days, more than 40 people used a new needle exchange program in the Southern Indiana county struggling with an HIV crisis linked to intravenous drug use.

The program, operated by the Scott County Health, was authorized by Gov. Mike Pence in an executive order that declared a public health emergency in Scott County due to the rapid spread of HIV.

Officials link the outbreak to intravenous drug use of Opana.

The number of HIV cases in Scott County is now 106.

The needle exchange began April 4 at the Austin Community Outreach Center, which is also serving as a one stop shop for HIV testing, treatment resources and vital records.

So far, 43 people have exchanged 580 used needles for 1,516 new needles. Scott County, Indiana, is about 30 miles north of Louisville. Louisville officials are also preparing for a similar program, this one pegged to Kentucky’s issues with heroin use.

But there was skepticism leading up to the roll out. Leona, a Scott County resident who recently discussed with WFPL her years-old drug addiction, said she and others were concerned about legal consequences to exchanging needles with officials.

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“Everybody’s jumping all over it, but everybody was scared to go up and get them because they was afraid they was going to get incarcerated,” she said.

They were told that there would be no consequences for now.

Leona, who asked that her last name not  be used for health privacy concerns, said people jumping at the chance to get clean needles may sound stupid, but it’s better than sharing dirty ones.

Before, people who used intravenous drugs in Scott County were afraid that they’d be arrested for carrying needles, Leona said.

So they started sharing.

Leona said she wondered why there wasn’t a needle exchange program sooner.

“Now they’re wanting to give out free syringes … if they’d done that a long time ago we probably wouldn’t have had an outbreak because people are gonna use regardless,” she said.

In an email Tuesday, Milton Engebretson, the gentleman who’s using his church’s van to transport Scott County residents to the outreach center, said he’s picked up 22 people.

“There are the ones that touched my heart,” he wrote. “The abused wife looking for help, the homeless drug addict looking for help and a 19-year-old hooked on heroin.”

“Please keep us in your prayers.”

Gov. Pence’s executive order expires April 25.

]]> http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-needle-exchange-program-serves-dozens-10-days/feed/ 0 The Resurgence of Fourth and Muhammad Ali, Downtown Louisville’s ’100 Percent Corner’ http://wfpl.org/resurgence-fourth-muhammad-ali/ http://wfpl.org/resurgence-fourth-muhammad-ali/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 16:35:19 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35432 On several occasions over the months since I began these commentaries for WFPL, I have addressed the state of downtown Louisville, and the bright spots in reversing what has now been a nearly 50 year decline in the fortunes of … Read Story

]]> On several occasions over the months since I began these commentaries for WFPL, I have addressed the state of downtown Louisville, and the bright spots in reversing what has now been a nearly 50 year decline in the fortunes of the central business district.

Three strikingly good events have occurred in recent days, and it gives me great pleasure to celebrate them.

The first, and by far the most dazzling, is the transformation of the old Stewart Dry Goods store at Fourth and Muhammad Ali Boulevard into a stylish and shiny new hotel – the Embassy Suites. The Stewart’s building, once the most beautiful and top-notch emporium in ths city, has sat empty for years, ever since Hilliard & Lyons moved out to take over what had been known as Citizens Plaza, at Fifth and Liberty streets.

Stewart’s, which was one of a number of grand department stores that failed and disappeared in the 1970s and 1980s, was sort of like Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, the Hollywood studio whose motto was “Do it Right, Do it Big, Give it Class.” There were counterparts all over America. They’re all gone now, either bankrupt or swallowed up into the Macy’s super-chain.

In other cities, these buildings, which aren’t appropriate for much other than big department stores, have been converted in condominiums. In New York, my own favorite department store, B. Altman and Sons, was converted into a university building and to a branch of the New York Public Library. Block’s in Indianapolis and Shillito’s in Cincinnati are condos. Stewart’s branch in Lexington became a municipal building.

Now, thanks to the vision of some impressive investors (including the Galt House’s Mary Moseley) and architect Henry Potter, the Embassy Suites is a worthy occupant of the “100 Percent Corner,” as Mayor Charles Farnsley always called the intersection of Fourth and Walnut (now Muhammad Ali). Soon there will be a big-name chain restaurant inside, as well as a very chic lobby bar. And the elevators are still in the spot where the bank of Stewart’s elevators were. All they lack are the operators, who used to announce “Going Up, Pleeeeeeuzzzzzz” at each floor.

Across the street is another venerable downtown Louisville landmark, the Starks Building, which was built in phases beginning in 1913, more than a century ago. It was in the news last week when news outlets reported that it had been sold to a Florida developer who plans to re-do it as a hotel, condos, offices and shops.

There was a time when there were just a few places downtown where most of the city’s professionals works. The Starks Building was primary, for doctors, dentists (mine still is there), lawyers, accountants, not to mention tailors, barbers, shoe shine shops, brokerages and haberdasheries. And a greeting card shop, the city’s best cafeteria, an old fashioned coffeeshop with counter, jewelers, hair dressers and a post office branch. At the other end of Fourth Street at Broadway is the Heyburn Building, which had a similar panoply of providers as well as a terrific Walgreen’s Drug Store on the first floor and a shoe store, which sold orthopedic shoes to practical people like my grandmother. Other office buildings were smaller, but not less popular including the Fincastle, the Marion E. Taylor, the Francis and the Commonwealth.

Walgreen’s at the Heyburn Building was a particular favorite of mine in my youth. My mother generally took us there for lunch when we went downtown to the dentist and the library. Even in the 1960s, it was getting just a little grimy compared to the newer drug stores in St. Matthews where we lived. The final straw for Mother was the day when we ordered Jello and the counter girl, who had extremely long fingernails, scooped it up with her hands.

Fourth Street in 1910.Library of Congress

Fourth Street in 1910.

The Starks Building had no drug store, but it did have Stein Brothers and Boyce, which was my family’s stock broker. I was taken there as a child to talk to the broker who, it was thought, could teach me about finance. I was far less impressed with what he had to say about reading the stock tables than I was watching the men in white shirts with rolled up sleeves, constantly updating stock prices on a big blackboard, which took up most of a wall. The sound of stock tickers gave the room a very efficient ambience, and a few rows of chairs were always filled with people who were interested in watching the ups and downs of Wall Street. I guess it was one of the better free shows in town.

If you had your fill of watching the chalk numbers written on the big slate, you could walk through the marble paved arcade to the staircase leading to the Colonnade Cafeteria, a branch of a chain that also boasted branches in Cleveland, Detroit, Cincinnati, Philadelphia and Houston. Unlike its competitor The Blue Boar, the Colonnade was only open for a light breakfast and lunch. I think that during the Christmas holidays they may have offered a light supper, but very clearly this was a lunch place. Everything they made was the best. Carrot and raisin salad, potato salad, chili, cheese soufflé, meatloaf, hamloaf (you don’t hear of this anymore), pot roast, stewed tomatoes, braunschweiger sandwiches. And the desserts—coffee gelatin with custard sauce; bread pudding, rhubarb tart with custard, Nesselrode and Boston Cream Pie.

In other words, this was no place for dieters, but it was great food. I have recently been able to revisit the Colonnade, closed since 2006, and it was remarkably intact. A few of the mirrors are broken or removed, but all the tables, the kitchen and the cafeteria lines remained in place. Maybe the new owners will be smart and bring it back to its peak.

It was more than a bit ironic that within days of the sale of the Starks Building, it’s longtime owner and proprietor, Franklin Starks, passed away at the venerable age of 91. Mr. Starks had the vision in the 1980s to upgrade the arcade and atrium of his building to bring beautiful sunlight into once dim offices. He also enjoyed holding court at a round (or oblong) table in the Colonnade, where his companions included well-known lawyers, judges and so forth.

The understanding and respect for these landmarks gives me great pleasure, as a native Louisvillian. The “100 Percent Corner contains three century-old treasures (the Seelbach Hotel is the third), but the fourth spot, occupied by the Meidinger Tower, represents the failure of vision in our city in the era before Historic Preservation had gained a kind of respectability. Once upon a time that site was occupied by the Atherton Building, home of the Selman’s store, the finest of its kind in the region. (I remember as a child being immensely impressed by the brass sign on its façade: “H.P. Selman Co. – Louisville and Paris.” That was Paris, France, not Kentucky.) It was stupidly razed in 1979 for the non-descript first of Louisville’s Twin Towers.

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There is a great deal of concern this week for the demolition of two old buildings on Third Street, between Liberty and Ali. One was a parking garage, unused for most of my life, and an office building that rented motion picture cameras back in the days before home video and computers. They were charming, in their way, but they were neither distinguished nor as promising for our city’s future as the plan for the Omni Hotel, with adjacent grocery store and shops. I’ve been a devoted preservationist all of my life, and I still have on my terrace the floret from the façade of the old Courier-Journal Building, which my wife mysteriously delivered to me for a Father’s Day present in 1989.

Louisville is lucky to have so much of its past being fully in use today. We were a great city in 1862, and in 1912, and we are still in 2015. Happily, I see interest in both new construction and adaptive reuse. Most of all, it gives me pleasure to once again go through the revolving door at Fourth and Muhammad Ali into the place where Stewart’s once existed.

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

]]> http://wfpl.org/resurgence-fourth-muhammad-ali/feed/ 0 What Would Need to Happen For Louisville to Get a Major League Soccer Team? http://wfpl.org/study-says-louisville-can-support-mls-team-so-what/ http://wfpl.org/study-says-louisville-can-support-mls-team-so-what/#comments Thu, 16 Apr 2015 11:00:49 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35368 Advocates of Louisville having a pro sports franchise focused for years on bringing the National Basketball Association to the city. But Louisville is best suited for hosting a Major League Soccer team, according to a recent study by the American City Business Journal. If that’s … Read Story

]]> Advocates of Louisville having a pro sports franchise focused for years on bringing the National Basketball Association to the city.

But Louisville is best suited for hosting a Major League Soccer team, according to a recent study by the American City Business Journal.

If that’s the situation, what would it take to make a Louisville MLS franchise a reality?

For starters, it would take patience.

Wayne Estopinal, chairman of Louisville City FC, the minor league soccer team set to play its second home game on Thursday, said MLS isn’t looking to expand its roster of teams until 2020.

“The league made that decision a couple of years ago just to keep it from being a free-for-all,” he said.

And he stressed that, just weeks into Louisville City FC’s inaugural season, it’s too early to even begin thinking about MLS in Louisville.

“We’ve not had meetings with the MLS here in Louisville,” he said. “That would be ridiculously premature to think that they’re wanting to talk to us right now.”

But if one were to think about bringing MLS to Louisville, Estopinal said there are three parameters that must be considered. He was part of the group that assisted bringing the USL Pro team from Orlando to Louisville, and he also helped establish the new MLS team in Orlando.

He said the parameters then are the same now.

A city must have a proven market place, which includes attendance, support and corporate participation, he said.

He said a city must also prove the team, including the players, coaches and supporting organization, will be competitive. And lastly, an organization seeking to bring an MLS team to an area must “have a soccer-specific stadium deal,” he said. Louisville City FC plays its home games at Louisville Slugger Field–very much a baseball stadium.

“Those three things are paramount,” Estopinal said.

The biggest challenge for Louisville’s hopes to enter MLS is market support, he said.

If Louisville was thrust into the MLS realm, the city would fall into the “bottom third smaller markets in the league,” Estopinal added.

“We would have to have some really good support,” he said, noting the support would need to come from within the city and well beyond the metro area.

In these early days, support for the Louisville City FC has been strong, Estopinal said. The first game of the season at Slugger Field had nearly 6,000 people in attendance.

Maintaining that level of support, Estopinal said, will be key for getting nods from potential MLS expansions.

Another key challenge would be a stadium.

Estopinal said minor moves have been made in regards to constructing a stadium, but “nothing of great substance” quite yet.

And some sports fans’ hopes for the NBA in Louisville endure. J.  Bruce Miller, who has advocated for bringing a professional basketball team to Louisville for years, said he doesn’t have any issue with a Major League Soccer team coming to town. But he does question how the city will justify assisting in the development of a professional soccer stadium when the KFC Yum Center has suffered financial struggles in recent years.

“In my opinion, the city, the county, the state and everyone else involved ought to be more worried about (the KFC Yum Center) than anything,” he said.

The KFC Yum Center cost about $240 million to develop. The newly opened University of Louisville Cardinal soccer stadium, which seats about 5,300, cost about $19 million to construct. Estopinal said an MLS stadium would need to seat about 20,000 fans.

In an email, a spokesman for Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said there has yet to be an official cost estimate for developing a professional soccer stadium in the city.

“Our goal for the moment is ensuring the minor league team is successful and the stadium full,” he stated.

The study conducted by American City Business Journals analyzed personal income data for 83 metro areas across the United States. Researchers then compared the income data to average ticket prices and revenue data for the five major sports—basketball, baseball, football, hockey and soccer—and major college programs.

The comparisons gave researchers an idea of how likely it would be for a city to support a professional sports team.

Louisville earned a perfect score of 100 for it’s potential to provide the financial backing necessary to support an MLS team. This means the total personal income of the metro area ($61 billion) is enough to cover the estimated $14 billion it costs to support an MLS team, even with the near $26 billion it costs to support the city’s major college team, University of Louisville, according to the study.

The price tag for putting an MLS team in a city is indeed steep, Estopinal said. Investors put out about $70 million two years ago in franchise fees to bring an MLS team to Orlando, he said. Orlando already had a stadium, he said, but needed some “ramping up” to accommodate an MLS team.

“That’s a lot of money,” he said. “You don’t do that in the two weeks before the season starts. We started a year and half before our first game in Orlando, we started building an organization.”

Also, other USL Pro cities also earned a perfect score for soccer in the American City Business Journal study.

Austin, Tulsa, Rochester and Richmond are also cities that could support an MLS team, according to the study. St. Louis, which also is hosting a USL Pro team for the first time this year, didn’t fare so well in the study with a score of zero. Indianapolis, which has a minor league soccer team, earned a score of 23, not plausible for an MLS team anytime soon. Charlotte earned a score of 71, right on the border of being able to support an MLS team.

Austin is one of the top economically performing cities in the nation and Richmond has an established USL Pro team that Estopinal calls a “perennial play-off” team, factors that could lead to Louisville being overlooked when MLS officials begin looking for potential expansion cities.

But Estopinal said Louisville likely wouldn’t be competing for just one expansion spot when it comes time for Major Soccer League to grow.

An expansion would likely take the league from 24 teams to 30 or 32 teams, he said. But for now, that’s all speculation.

He confirms, though, the high standard of athletics in Louisville makes it a first-rate contender.

“I think we can compete with any of these cities,” he said.

Right now, he said there are a number of goals he’d like see accomplished before the conversation turns to MLS. He wants to see the Louisville City FC have a successful inaugural season. He wants to see support for the sport in the area continue to grow.

The nearest MLS team is in Columbus. A soccer fan himself, he said the highest level of the sport would bring people from across the state and neighboring states to Louisville.

“We would find that it would be an incredible spark further into this regionalism idea,” he said. “I think it would help pull us together a little bit, there would be an incredible civic outcome of us having a team here.”

Correction: This story was updated to note that Indianapolis has a professional soccer team.

]]> http://wfpl.org/study-says-louisville-can-support-mls-team-so-what/feed/ 0 Judge Allows Media Outlets to Intervene in Harassment Lawsuit Involving Kentucky Lawmakers http://wfpl.org/judge-allows-media-outlets-intervene-harassment-lawsuit-involving-kentucky-lawmakers/ http://wfpl.org/judge-allows-media-outlets-intervene-harassment-lawsuit-involving-kentucky-lawmakers/#comments Wed, 15 Apr 2015 23:55:53 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35400 A Franklin Circuit Court judge on Wednesday granted a motion filed by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and The Courier-Journal to intervene in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Legislative Research Commission. The media organizations want access to depositions of former … Read Story

]]> A Franklin Circuit Court judge on Wednesday granted a motion filed by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting and The Courier-Journal to intervene in a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Legislative Research Commission.

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The media organizations want access to depositions of former Legislative Research Commission director Bobby Sherman and state Rep. Sannie Overly, a Paris Democrat. (KyCIR and WFPL are both part of Louisville Public Media.)

Judge Thomas Wingate is still considering Overly and Sherman’s requests to have their depositions sealed.

On Wednesday, Wingate signed an order denying requests by Overly and Sherman to have their depositions sealed, but the court soon after update that order and rescinded that decision. “It was brought to Court’s attention that there had been a mistake,” Wingate’s office said in an email.

Wingate will decide later whether to seal part or all of Sherman and Overly’s depositions.

Overly, who is running for lieutenant governor on a slate with Attorney General Jack Conway, is scheduled to be deposed by the plaintiffs’ attorney, Thomas Clay. Clay said that he deposed Sherman for five hours last Wednesday.

Clay represents two former legislative staffers who allege they were sexually harassed and assaulted by former state Rep. John Arnold, a Democrat from Sturgis.

Former staffers Yolanda Costner and Cassaundra Cooper are suing Arnold, House Majority Whip Johnny Bell, the Legislative Research Commission and its former director, Bobby Sherman.

Overly’s lawyer filed a motion to have the deposition sealed in order to prevent “the embarrassment and annoyance that comes from having ones’ words sampled without context or the opportunity for rebuttal,” as stated in her request for a protective order last week.

Both Overly and Sherman say they want their depositions sealed to prevent Clay from disseminating the transcripts or records to the media.

House Majority Whip Johnny Bell, a Democrat from Glasgow, has recently been added to the lawsuit for firing Costner, who worked in the whip’s office when he was elected to House leadership in January.

Costner alleges that Bell fired her in retaliation for her lawsuit against Arnold, Sherman and the LRC.

Bell’s motion to be dismissed from the case was denied by Wingate, who said in his order that it was “premature at this time to dismiss the claims against Bell.”

 

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