89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Sat, 25 Apr 2015 14:12:23 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.5 Louisville Orchestra Strikes the Right Balance With Beethoven http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-strikes-right-balance-close-2014-2015-season/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-strikes-right-balance-close-2014-2015-season/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 14:02:31 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35789 The Louisville Orchestra concludes its 2014-2015 season this week featuring Time for Three, John Williams’ The Cowboys overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Op. 67. The Cowboys overture is everything you want from a western film score and John Williams: … Read Story

]]> The Louisville Orchestra concludes its 2014-2015 season this week featuring Time for Three, John Williams’ The Cowboys overture and Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Op. 67.

The Cowboys overture is everything you want from a western film score and John Williams: driving string melodies, brass fanfares, evocative percussion and folksy woodwind tunes. The Louisville Orchestra played it as cleanly and effortlessly as any Hollywood studio orchestra.

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Violinists Zachary DePue and Nicholas Kendall, and bassist Ranaan Meyer, collectively known as Time for Three, gave an electric performance of their signature arrangements that are filled with improvisation and jams. With no shortage of charisma and stage presence, the virtuosic trio was a crowd pleaser and didn’t shy away from engaging, even verbally, with the Thursday morning audience.

The set arranged and re-imagined several popular songs, from Leonard Cohen’s oft-covered “Hallelujah” and the bluegrass tune “Orange Blossom Special,” to Mumford & Sons’ “Little Lion Man” and an amalgam of Samuel Barber’s Adagio for Strings and Justin Timberlake’s “Cry Me a River.” (Yes, you read that correctly.) The most successful arrangements involved the orchestra more than just as a backup band, as in Vittorio Monti’s Czardas, a Hungarian folk-inspired showpiece. The orchestra arrangement was colorful and supportive, but also fun for the ensemble. Concertmaster Michael Davis was even allowed to cut loose for a solo. The creative Barber/Timberlake mashup made eloquent use of the strings’ lyrical and percussive qualities. Other arrangements were less fulfilling, pushing the orchestra to an almost inaudible level in the background. This is something you can expect on a pops concert, but not during a mainstay subscription performance.

Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5 isn’t a quiet one. It can be easily generalized as loud and vigorous, but hidden in the details are delicate, quiet moments. Playing loud is easy; playing soft is difficult, because the latter requires more refinement if the music is to come across cleanly, similar to edging the window sill instead of painting the wall with a roller. Playing loud takes care, too, and the orchestra or Abrams never lost control.

The orchestra created a seamless connection between the brash and subtle music, assured that even the details would stand out. Abrams’ tempo decisions were appropriately on the edge of too fast—the right place for Beethoven’s fifth. The final movement was triumphant and exhilarating, and speaking of details: the slight lingering on the third chord in the final movement’s opening fanfare (and its subsequent returns) was hair-raising.

The Louisville Orchestra, Time for Three and Teddy Abrams perform this program again on the final concert of the 2014-2015 season at 8 p.m. Saturday  in Whitney Hall.

Daniel Gilliam is the program director for WFPL’s sister station, Classical 90.5 WUOL.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-strikes-right-balance-close-2014-2015-season/feed/ 0 Strange Fruit: Juicy Fruit News Round-Up http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-juicy-fruit-news-round/ http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-juicy-fruit-news-round/#comments Sat, 25 Apr 2015 11:00:18 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35784 There’s a lot going on out there, Fruitcakes, so this week, we give you a whole episode of Juicy Fruit, with special guest co-host, actress, Alexandria Sweatt. The death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore, and the shooting … Read Story

]]> 2015-04-22 15.44.10

There’s a lot going on out there, Fruitcakes, so this week, we give you a whole episode of Juicy Fruit, with special guest co-host, actress, Alexandria Sweatt.

The death of Freddie Gray in police custody in Baltimore, and the shooting of Eric Harris by a volunteer sheriff’s deputy in Tulsa, are the latest in a string of black men killed by police. We look at the specifics of those cases, and how they’re being handled by investigators and city leaders.

We also take on lighter topics this week, such as a new restaurant, Tallywackers, trying to bring the Hooters experience to a Dallas gayborhood. We couldn’t let the week go by without addressing Gwyneth Paltrow’s food stamp challenge, in which she purchased foods that would be neither accessible nor practical for actual people on government assistance.

And the so-called Kylie Jenner challenge, which had Instagram users artificially plumping their lips in pictures, leads to a discussion about how black fashions, when adopted by white celebrities, are treated as new and groundbreaking. Remember when Marie Claire magazine breathlessly praised Kylie’s “new epic” hairstyle—and it was cornrows?

]]> http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-juicy-fruit-news-round/feed/ 0 Eastbound I-64 Closed Near Story Avenue For Friday Rush Hour http://wfpl.org/eastbound-64-closed-near-story-avenue-friday-rush-hour/ http://wfpl.org/eastbound-64-closed-near-story-avenue-friday-rush-hour/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 20:24:05 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35771 Eastbound Interstate 64 just before Story Avenue will be closed during the Friday afternoon rush hour, according to a spokeswoman for the downtown crossing of the Ohio River Bridges Project. The stretch of interstate closed so construction crews could work … Read Story

]]> Eastbound Interstate 64 just before Story Avenue will be closed during the Friday afternoon rush hour, according to a spokeswoman for the downtown crossing of the Ohio River Bridges Project.

The stretch of interstate closed so construction crews could work in the area. The closure also affects the ramp from north- and southbound I-65 to eastbound I-64.

Crews are hopeful they’ll finish the work Friday night and reopen the interstate.

The bridges project suggests motorists use the Watterson Expressway and northbound I-71 as alternate routes, or I-65 south to the Watterson.

 

At 4:18 p.m., I-71 was already getting congested, according to Trimarc:

CCTV005Trimarc

In a news release, the bridges project said:

The closures were put into place late this morning to complete necessary construction work. Demolition work in the area had been halted during the overnight hours and engineers were on site this morning to take a closer look at a beam on the overpass.

Safety is always the top priority for the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and Walsh Construction and it was determined the work should receive immediate attention.

On-site analysis has been completed, the beam is secure and additional demolition work is underway.

When the demolition is complete and inspectors have completed their examination of the work, the interstate and ramp will reopen to traffic.

]]> http://wfpl.org/eastbound-64-closed-near-story-avenue-friday-rush-hour/feed/ 0 A Day in the Southern Indiana Town Battling an HIV Outbreak http://wfpl.org/day-southern-indiana-town-battling-hiv-outbreak/ http://wfpl.org/day-southern-indiana-town-battling-hiv-outbreak/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 17:09:40 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35656 Milton Engebretson starts his church’s van. He’s in his third week of what has become a daily ritual: driving around Austin, Indiana, transporting people to the town’s Community Outreach Center. The outreach center is the hub of the community’s fight … Read Story

]]> Milton Engebretson starts his church’s van.

He’s in his third week of what has become a daily ritual: driving around Austin, Indiana, transporting people to the town’s Community Outreach Center.

The outreach center is the hub of the community’s fight against a growing HIV epidemic, the severity of which has drawn national attention to the tiny town about 30 miles north of Louisville.

In the plain single-story center, residents in need find a fledgling needle exchange program, free HIV testing and counseling.

Engebretson has taken about 55 people to the center so far, including battered women, a homeless man and even a teenage boy.

He dispatches himself to pick up people with a phone call.

Some people call and hang up several times before asking for a ride, he says.

“The number will repeat a couple of times and finally they will say, ‘Is this the ride for the one stop?’ And I’ll say, ‘Of course it is,’” he says.

In Scott County’s battle against the HIV outbreak, some residents such as Engebretson take steps to help. Others watch in fear, or remind all who ask that the HIV outbreak is but one of the community’s struggles.

One of those struggles in intravenous drug use—especially Opana.

‘Typical Town’

In the most drug-ravaged neighborhood of Austin (population of about 4,300), people walk the streets aimlessly. But, at about 11 a.m. Tuesday, it’s still early for those walkers, he says.

Still, he shows me around the nucleus of where Austin’s drug and prostitution problem resides.

“This is Mann Avenue. This is Rural and Mann. They’ll take this route all the way down to Factory, is where they would walk,” he says.

20150402_151258Ja’Nel Johnson | wfpl.org

The few blocks look like any other quiet neighborhood.

A church. A small grocery store. Dogs on lawns, people sitting on front porches.

“This is the typical town of Austin. Hard-working people,” Engebretson says.

The smell of sauerkraut is in the air from Morgan Foods, a nearby canning company, as we continue our drive around town. Across the way people are lined up at the Dairy Queen on Highway 31. The Austin Police Department is a short drive down the highway.

And all of this is in walking distance to where drug dealers, addicts and prostitutes freely roam the streets looking for their next client or fix.

Jennifer Marquez, 26, moved to town six months ago from Southern California.

She’d never heard of Opana before arriving in Austin—and she had no idea the community was struggling with crime.

Now, the pregnant mother of two says she worries about the safety of her children.

“Having to check your yard just for needles or anything like that. It’s horrible,” she says.

Marquez says she lives in the midst of the illegal activity. She describes the neighborhood as a nice community overrun with “the drug population.”

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But, as Engebretson drives back to his church, he says that many have forgotten that those issues are nothing new in the small city.

“It’s been like this for a while,” he says.

Austin Police Chief Donald Spicer agrees. He says many ingredients led to the city’s current state and the recent HIV outbreak.

“The Hep C, the drug use already, the types of drugs available—all that kind of made a recipe for what happened,” Spicer says.

Long-Standing Problems

Scott County, which includes Austin, and surrounding areas now have 136 confirmed HIV cases. Six other cases are preliminary.

Indiana Gov. Mike Pence recently extended his executive order temporarily legalizing a needle exchange program in Scott County.

So far, more than 4,300 needles have been provided to 95 people.

The extended executive order expires May 24.

But Austin native Leona says it’s taken the government too long to address the area’s long-standing problems.

Leona, who asked that her last name be withheld for privacy, uses a painkiller called Opana intravenously. She is HIV-negative.

“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,” Leona says.

]]> http://wfpl.org/day-southern-indiana-town-battling-hiv-outbreak/feed/ 0 Comcast Cuts The Cord On Deal With Time Warner Cable http://wfpl.org/comcast-cuts-the-cord-on-deal-with-time-warner-cable/ http://wfpl.org/comcast-cuts-the-cord-on-deal-with-time-warner-cable/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 15:43:04 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=35753&preview_id=35753 The Justice Department had raised concerns over the proposed $45.2 billion merger, which would have brought nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof. Read Story

]]> Updated at 9:40 a.m. ET

Comcast Corp. announced today that it’s ending its merger agreement with Time Warner Cable – after the Justice Department raised concerns over a deal.

“Today, we move on,” Comcast Chairman and CEO Brian L. Roberts said in a statement. “Of course, we would have liked to bring our great products to new cities, but we structured this deal so that if the government didn’t agree, we could walk away.”

The Justice Department in a statement said it had raised “significant concerns” with the two companies over the approximately $45.2 billion deal, noting that a “merger would make Comcast an unavoidable gatekeeper for Internet-based services that rely on a broadband connection to reach consumers.”

Attorney General Eric Holder called today’s news “the best outcome for American consumers.” He said it was a victory for “providers of content and streaming services.”

As recently as this week, company officials hoped a merger would go through despite opposition from Justice Department staff members. But as NPR’s Yuki Noguchi reported on Morning Edition, “The Federal Communications Commission told the companies this week that it had problems with the deal.”

“What it was planning to do, was refer the case to a hearing, which would’ve resulted in a protracted legal process,” she said. “In the industry, such referrals of cases to a judge are treated as a death knell…and it’s not unusual for the parties to withdraw their merger.”

As The Associated Press reports, “Combining the No. 1 and No. 2 U.S. cable companies would have put nearly 30 percent of TV and about 55 percent of broadband subscribers under one roof, along with NBCUniversal. That appeared to be too much concentration for regulators.”

The New York Times adds that “the air of inevitability that once hung over the deal had been dissipating for months, as the debate over net neutrality — in short, the question of whether Internet providers should be allowed to charge content providers for speedier service — played out in Washington.”

“The government’s verdict on the merger and its stance on net neutrality were separate issues, but they were very much intertwined,” the newspaper wrote. “At the end of the day, the government’s commitment to maintaining a free and open Internet did not square with the prospect of a single company controlling as much as 40 percent of the public’s access to it.”

NPR’s Noguchi, in her Morning Edition story, noted that today’s decision comes amid a backdrop of changes in the cable industry, including the announcement by Verizon that it will offer consumers slimmed-down packages of channels. And she reported that more networks — including companies such as HBO and Showtime — are offering streaming of online video that does not require you to buy a cable package.

“Consumers and consumer advocates have long been asking for this kind of a la carte service,” she said. “A lot of people don’t want to pay for hundreds of channels they never watch. And now that that’s starting to happen in the industry, and that’s why you saw Verizon make that move.

“Consumer advocates lobbying against this deal said they were concerned creating a big cable behemoth would slow that trend.”

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

]]> http://wfpl.org/comcast-cuts-the-cord-on-deal-with-time-warner-cable/feed/ 0 Louisville Orchestra Ends Season with Block Party (That’s Been Moved Indoors) http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-ends-season-block-party/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-ends-season-block-party/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 11:00:07 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35670 Update 11:12 a.m.: Moved Indoors The Louisville Orchestra announced Friday that the block party will be moved indoors to the Kentucky Center’s lobby. In a news release, orchestra executive director Andrew Kipe said: “Almost all of the elements will still … Read Story

]]> Update 11:12 a.m.: Moved Indoors

The Louisville Orchestra announced Friday that the block party will be moved indoors to the Kentucky Center’s lobby.

In a news release, orchestra executive director Andrew Kipe said: “Almost all of the elements will still take place. We can’t do the sidewalk chalk obviously and we won’t have a place to do corn hole, but we will still have all the bands and the LO Beethoven Concert will be simulcast in the lobby of the Kentucky Center.”

As of late Friday morning, the National Weather Service forecast showers and thunderstorms—some potentially severe—for Saturday afternoon.

Earlier: The Louisville Orchestra is taking it to the streets for the final performance of their 2014-15 season, with a block party on Saturday evening.

Main Street between Fifth and Sixth streets, in front of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts, will closed to traffic for this “bring your own chair” event. The festivities are free and open to the public, and will also include food trucks and games.

At 8 p.m., the orchestra’s concert in Whitney Hall will be broadcast live on a giant screen to the crowd outside.

The party kicks off at 5 p.m. with local entertainment including the River City Drum Corps and the Louisville Leopard Percussionists. There will also be a performance from a group of students from Hartstern Elementary who have made their own musical instruments out of recycled materials like plastic bottles and paper towel rolls.

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They’ve worked with music director Teddy Abrams to build their own “landfill orchestra.”

Louisville Orchestra Executive Director Andrew Kipe said the students gained experience from the project in several ways.

“Once they’ve created the instruments, they get a physics component as they learn about the difference of how different instruments make different sounds,” Kipe said.

The program for the orchestra’s Whitney Hall concert includes John Williams’ Cowboy Overture and Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony, plus a selection of classical and pop tunes by string trio Time for Three.

Following the orchestra concert, the music will continue outside with local rockers the Tunesmiths and hip-hop artist 1200.

In the case of rain, all activities will be moved inside the Kentucky Center lobby.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-orchestra-ends-season-block-party/feed/ 0 Louisville Metro Council Approves Needle Exchange Program http://wfpl.org/louisville-metro-council-approves-needle-exchange/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-metro-council-approves-needle-exchange/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:50:05 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35744 Without debate, the Louisville Metro Council unanimously approved a measure Thursday evening giving local health officials approval to start a needle exchange program. The ordinance was fast-tracked through the council in light of two public health crises in the area. … Read Story

]]> Without debate, the Louisville Metro Council unanimously approved a measure Thursday evening giving local health officials approval to start a needle exchange program.

The ordinance was fast-tracked through the council in light of two public health crises in the area. Louisville—as well as much of the state—is experiencing a spike in heroin and intravenous drug use. Simultaneously, Scott County in Southern Indiana is battling an HIV outbreak.

Earlier this year, the Kentucky General Assembly gave local governments the ability to start a needle exchange program as part of legislative effort aimed at dealing with rampant heroin use in the state.

Councilman Rick Blackwell, D-12, introduced Louisville’s measure about two weeks ago.

Council members added an amendment Thursday to Blackwell’s original ordinance, though. Louisville Metro Health and Wellness is now required to present its plan to the council’s public safety committee before implementing the exchange.

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20150421_092555How the Scott County, Indiana, Needle Exchange Program Works

But there was no debate about whether Louisville should have a needle exchange program.

“I am very proud that here we are in a 100 percent agreement in this,” said Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch, D-13. “I think it shows that we do care about our community and every corner of our community.”

A needle exchange could help curb the spread of disease and keep others safe from accidental exposure to dirty needles, Welch said.

Earlier this week, Police Chief Steve Conrad told public safety committee members his officers were getting pricked by dirty needles often because people were hiding them.

Councilwoman Marianne Butler, D-15, said the program could also help local health officials reach out to people in the community struggling with drug addiction.

“About 30 percent of the people who participate in a program like this actually enter treatment within the first year,” she said.

Health officials are expected to have a plan ready to present sometime around June.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-metro-council-approves-needle-exchange/feed/ 0 Frazier Museum’s Bourbon-Centric Expansion Could Be ‘Game-Changer’ http://wfpl.org/frazier-museums-bourbon-centric-expansion-game-changer/ http://wfpl.org/frazier-museums-bourbon-centric-expansion-game-changer/#comments Fri, 24 Apr 2015 00:17:55 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35733 An expansion of the Frazier History Museum to include a bourbon-centric visitors’ center would be a “game-changer” for the bourbon industry and the region, said the president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association. But it may be some time before that … Read Story

]]> An expansion of the Frazier History Museum to include a bourbon-centric visitors’ center would be a “game-changer” for the bourbon industry and the region, said the president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association.

But it may be some time before that happens.

Plans for the expansion were announced Thursday. The visitors’ center would include bourbon exhibitions and programs. (More details can be found here.)

The visitors’ center would be the official starting point for the Kentucky Bourbon Trail.

Eric Gregory, president of the distillers’ association, said distillers have taken notice in recent years of Louisville’s potential to boost the industry, noting the opening of bourbon attractions such as the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience on Main Street.

Mac Brown is involved in the plans on two fronts—he’s treasurer of the Frazier History Museum’s board and also a vice president of Brown-Forman.

Bourbon experiences and distillery attraction, he noted, focus on distillers’ brands. The Frazier’s expanded bourbon exhibition will take a broader approach.

“We realized there’s a real need to tell the bourbon story and how the history of bourbon really fits into the culture and heritage of all of us here in the commonwealth,” he said.

Discussions about the expansion began about a year ago when the museum and the distillers’ association worked together on a bourbon history exhibition, according to a news release announcing the expansion.

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Brown and Gregory both touted the expansion’s potential to boost tourism in Louisville.

Gregory said he expects the industry will throw financial support to the project.

The cost of the project has not yet been determined, a spokeswoman said.

Frazier interim director Paula Hale said said the attraction will spotlight a big part of local history.

“From our perspective, the history of bourbon is also the history of corn, it’s also the history of agriculture,” Hale said. “It uses the river, it also uses some of the early founders.”

Hale said the plans are still in the planning stages. She said it’d be years before the expansion would be complete.

This story has been updated to reflect the cost of the project.

]]> http://wfpl.org/frazier-museums-bourbon-centric-expansion-game-changer/feed/ 0 New Churchill Downs Track Announcer Prepares For ‘Horse Race of Horse Races’ http://wfpl.org/new-churchill-downs-track-announcer-prepares-horse-race-horse-races/ http://wfpl.org/new-churchill-downs-track-announcer-prepares-horse-race-horse-races/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 19:33:53 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35725 This Saturday night, Travis Stone will make his debut as the new track announcer at Churchill Downs. A week later, he’ll call the biggest race in sport—the Kentucky Derby—before a crowd of more than 150,000 people. Stone is just the … Read Story

]]>

Travis StoneRick Howlett

Travis Stone

This Saturday night, Travis Stone will make his debut as the new track announcer at Churchill Downs.

A week later, he’ll call the biggest race in sport—the Kentucky Derby—before a crowd of more than 150,000 people.

Stone is just the eighth person in the track’s long history to hold the job, and at age 30, is also the youngest.

He met with the Louisville media on Thursday.

A native of Schroon Lake, New York, Stone said he developed a love of racing as a small child, spending summers with his family at another famous track, Saratoga Race Course.

It didn’t take long for him to set his sights on becoming racing announcer.

“I would race matchbox cars around my parents floor,” he said. “I used to race marbles. I had a very sophisticated marble racing association when I was like 9 years old. I used computer games and videos from the internet to just constantly call races.”

On the first Saturday in May will realize his dream of calling the Kentucky Derby.

Stone says he’ll be ready for his big debut.

“Somebody asked me this morning if I was nervous,” he said. “I’ll let you know in a couple of days, because I’m sure with each passing day the anxiety will grow a little bit more.

“At the end of the day I just love horse racing and it’s great to be here, and obviously the Kentucky Derby is the horse race of horse races.”

Stone succeeds Larry Collmus as the Churchill Downs track announcer. Collmus left the post after just one year for a job with the New York Racing Association. He’ll continue to call the Derby for NBC.

]]> http://wfpl.org/new-churchill-downs-track-announcer-prepares-horse-race-horse-races/feed/ 0 U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan’s Suggestions For Boosting Minority Teacher Numbers in JCPS http://wfpl.org/u-s-education-arne-duncans-suggestions-boosting-minority-teacher-numbers-jcps/ http://wfpl.org/u-s-education-arne-duncans-suggestions-boosting-minority-teacher-numbers-jcps/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:40:19 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35693 U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is visiting Louisville today to meet with local education leaders and to discuss methods for improving student achievement. Duncan will highlight issues related to college- and career-readiness and early learning. He also took some time to share … Read Story

]]> U.S. Education Secretary Arne Duncan is visiting Louisville today to meet with local education leaders and to discuss methods for improving student achievement.

Duncan will highlight issues related to college- and career-readiness and early learning.

He also took some time to share his thoughts with WFPL on minority teacher hiring in public schools and on how immigration will play a role in Jefferson County Public Schools and across the nation.

Listen below:

Here are some takeaways from the conversation:

The Need For Minority Teachers

As WFPL has previously reported, Jefferson County Public Schools is struggling to develop a teaching staff that mirrors the diversity of its student body.

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Minorities make up just about 16 percent of the school system’s current teaching staff—a rate that has remained the same since 2008, according to information provided by the district.

But 52 percent of JCPS students are minorities.

Duncan said the question of how to get more minority teachers in public schools is “a really important” one to ask.

“The most important thing we can do is have a great teacher in every classroom and a great principal in every school, but we just want those teachers to reflect the great diversity of nation’s students,” he said.

Arne Duncan speaks with Fern Creek High School teacher Brent Peters.Jacob Ryan | wfpl.org

Arne Duncan speaks with Fern Creek High School teacher Brent Peters.

Duncan said there are three strategies that have been successful in boosting the number of minority teachers in public schools.

For starters, Duncan said colleges need to be challenged to “diversify the students coming in” to teacher training programs.

“Challenging them to actively recruit,” he said.

Another method that he calls “grow your own” have been effective around the nation for getting more minority teachers in schools.

This method calls for education leaders to seek prospective teachers within a community who may be close to obtaining the needed credentials, and then assisting them in finalizing the process.

“These are people from the community,” he said.

Also, alternative certification programs, like Teach For America or Troops to Teachers, are effective in producing diverse teaching staffs in schools across the country, he said.

“Those are all ways to really take this issue on and make some real progress, not just admire the problem,” Duncan said. “It takes real effort, it’s not going to happen just thinking about it, you have to put some work into it.”

He said diverse school faculties are “in everyone’s best interest.”

“Not just racial and ethnic diversity,” he said. “We need more men.”

The Challenging Opportunity of Immigrant Students

As WFPL previously reported, JCPS is seeking a waiver from the state education department that would allow immigrant students’ test scores to be left out of individual schools’ results (but not the school system as a whole).

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When it comes to helping immigrant students, Duncan stressed the importance of understanding that not all immigrant students are coming from the same background. Some, he said, need more resources than others.

“Some are coming here with fantastic backgrounds in education, some have candidly have little to no formal education and are coming from war-torn countries,” he said.

Duncan said schools and communities need to work together to ensure that all immigrant students and their families have the resources they need.

“And feel wanted, and feel valued and feel supported and see education as a pathway to a better life,” he said. “I can’t overstate how important that is.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/u-s-education-arne-duncans-suggestions-boosting-minority-teacher-numbers-jcps/feed/ 0 JCPS Superintendent Announces Plans to Reorganize School District http://wfpl.org/jcps-superintendent-announces-plans-reorganize-school-district/ http://wfpl.org/jcps-superintendent-announces-plans-reorganize-school-district/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 18:38:54 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35723 The superintendent of Kentucky’s largest school district has announced a reorganization plan that would outsource legal services, create a new chief business officer and replace the human resources director. Superintendent Donna Hargens surprised staff Wednesday afternoon when she announced the … Read Story

]]> The superintendent of Kentucky’s largest school district has announced a reorganization plan that would outsource legal services, create a new chief business officer and replace the human resources director.

Superintendent Donna Hargens surprised staff Wednesday afternoon when she announced the plan, according to The Courier-Journal.

Spokeswoman Helene Kramer said Hargens doesn’t plan to speak about the proposal until she discusses it with the school board next week. Board members are expected to vote on whether to approve the plan.

School board members say other districts have business officers and they look forward hearing more details about the changes.

]]> http://wfpl.org/jcps-superintendent-announces-plans-reorganize-school-district/feed/ 0 James Comer Leads Republicans in Fundraising For Governor’s Race http://wfpl.org/james-comer-leads-republicans-fundraising-governors-race/ http://wfpl.org/james-comer-leads-republicans-fundraising-governors-race/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 16:40:12 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35702 Three Republicans and one Democrat have raised more than $1 million in this year’s race for governor in advance of the May 19 primary election. So far this year presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway padded his war chest with $872,000 and … Read Story

]]> Three Republicans and one Democrat have raised more than $1 million in this year’s race for governor in advance of the May 19 primary election.

So far this year presumptive Democratic nominee Jack Conway padded his war chest with $872,000 and spent more than $400,000 on his campaign, according to the Kentucky Election Finance Registry.

Conway has just under $1.5 million to take on whoever gets nominated to run on the Republican ticket.

“The unwavering support Sannie and I are receiving will allow us to start the general election in the strongest position possible, ensure that every Kentuckian knows our plan to move this state forward, and secure a victory in November,” Conway said in an email statement.

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer won the fundraising race among the candidates for the Republican nomination.

Comer has raised more than $1 million and spent almost $850,000 on the race far this year, according to the registry. He has over $1 million left in his campaign account.

“We have many first-time political donors, and each donation from five dollars to a thousand dollars is an investment in this campaign and in Kentucky’s future,” Comer’s campaign said in an email statement.

Louisville businessman Hal Heiner spent the most on his campaign, dropping almost $2.75 million on advertising, consulting, staffer pay and other expenses so far this year.

Last year, Heiner loaned his campaign $4.2 million of his own money. So far this year he’s raised about $278,000, according to the registry. Heiner also has just more than $1 million left in his campaign account.

Another Louisville businessman, Matt Bevin, loaned his campaign $1.25 million this year and raised about $73,000. He also spent more than $1 million this year, leaving him with a balance of $286,000.

Bevin also loaned himself more than $1 million  last year for his failed campaign for the U.S. Senate seat won by incumbent Mitch McConnell.

In the race for attorney general, Andy Beshear, who is running unopposed on the Democratic ticket has more than $1.5 million in the bank—an impressive amount for a down ballot race.

His likely opponent, Republican Rep. Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville, has just over $60,000 in his campaign account.

]]> http://wfpl.org/james-comer-leads-republicans-fundraising-governors-race/feed/ 0 Comcast, Time Warner Push For Merger Approval Amid Opposition http://wfpl.org/comcast-time-warner-push-for-merger-approval-amid-opposition/ http://wfpl.org/comcast-time-warner-push-for-merger-approval-amid-opposition/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 15:02:37 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=35698&preview_id=35698 Company officials met with regulators who are considering whether to back the proposed $45 billion merger. A group of senators say the deal should be rejected, calling it anti-competitive. Read Story

]]> Officials of Comcast and Time Warner Cable met Wednesday with federal regulators to discuss the companies’ proposed $45 billion merger. The deal would create a single company that would control large parts of the cable TV and broadband Internet markets.

A published report said recently that Justice Department staff members have decided to oppose the deal on antitrust grounds. But company officials are using a lot of firepower to get the deal approved.

For months, federal regulators have been poring through data in an effort to assess the impact of the proposed merger. Critics, including Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota, say the merger would concentrate far too much power in the hands of a single company.

“That is just anti-competitive and in my mind we need more competition in these spheres not less, and this would lead to higher prices, and fewer choices and if possible, if it is possible at all, even worse service from these companies,” Franken says.

Last week, Bloomberg reported that Justice Department staffers have decided to recommend that the deal be blocked. The report hasn’t yet been corroborated by other news organizations and the companies won’t comment. But if it’s true, it would spell real trouble for the merger.

Allen Grunes, an antitrust lawyer, says regulatory agencies rarely support mergers that staff members have opposed. “It certainly can happen at the antitrust agencies, but my overall view is that staff recommendations at both agencies carry weight,” he says.

Whatever the case, the merger talks are reaching a new stage in which the companies have to persuade regulators the deal is a good idea. That could mean agreeing to sell some of the cable and Internet properties they control. The companies have hired a roster of high-priced legal talent to get them through the process.

Grunes says the negotiations are carried out in secret. “It’s not transparent to the rest of the world, but in this case Comcast has got extremely good and accomplished lawyers who have a good reputation with DOJ working on it,” he says.

For its part Comcast says no decisions have been made and it hasn’t yet been asked to make any changes in the terms of the merger. It’s also rejecting claims that the deal is in trouble.

But Franken says opposition to the merger has been steadily building. He says when he first started criticizing the deal his was something of a lone voice in Congress.

“Most people thought it was a fait accompli, but now I think it’s changed and I believe the Department of Justice and the FCC will reject this,” Franken says.

On Tuesday, Franken and five other Democratic or independent senators released a letter to the Federal Communications Commission asking it to reject the deal. The next months will determine whether the companies can turn the tide and persuade the government this giant merger is a good idea.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript :

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

The $45 billion merger of Comcast and Time Warner Cable is in question. A recent published report said Justice Department staffers have decided to oppose it on antitrust grounds. They’re worried that a single company would control large parts of the cable TV and high-speed Internet markets. Top executives from the companies met with federal regulators today to discuss the deal but it’s unclear whether any progress was made. NPR’s Jim Zarroli reports.

JIM ZARROLI, BYLINE: For months, federal regulators have been pouring through data in an effort to assess the impact of the proposed merger. Critics such as Democratic Sen. Al Franken of Minnesota say the merger would concentrate far too much power in the hands of a single company.

SENATOR AL FRANKEN: That is just anti-competitive and in my mind we need more competition in these sphere, not less. And this would lead to higher prices and fewer choices and if possible – if it is possible at all – even worse service from these companies.

ZARROLI: Last week, Bloomberg reported that Justice Department staffers have decided to recommend that the deal be blocked. The report hasn’t yet been corroborated by other news organizations and the companies won’t comment. But if it’s true, it would spell real trouble for the merger. Allen Grunes, an antitrust lawyer, says regulatory agencies rarely support mergers that staff members have opposed.

ALLEN GRUNES: It certainly can happen at the antitrust agencies. But my overall view is that staff recommendations at both agencies carry weight.

ZARROLI: Whatever the case, the merger talks are reaching a new stage in which the companies have to persuade regulators the deal is a good idea. That could mean agreeing to sell some of the cable and Internet properties they control. The companies have hired a roster of high-priced legal talent to get them through the process. Grunes says the negotiations are carried out in secret.

GRUNES: It’s not transparent to the rest of the world, but in this case, Comcast has got extremely good and accomplished lawyers who have a good reputation with DOJ working on it.

ZARROLI: For its part, Comcast says no decisions have been made and it hasn’t yet been asked to make any changes in the terms of the merger. It’s also rejecting claims that the deal is in trouble.

But Sen. Franken says opposition to the merger has been steadily building. He says when he first started criticizing the deal his was something of a lone voice in Congress.

FRANKEN: Most people thought it was a fait accompli, but now I think it’s changed, and I believe the Department of Justice and the FCC will reject this.

ZARROLI: Yesterday, Franken and five other Democratic or independent senators released a letter to the FCC asking it to reject the deal. The next months will determine whether the companies can turn the tide and persuade the government this giant merger is a good idea. Jim Zarroli, NPR News, New York. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

]]> http://wfpl.org/comcast-time-warner-push-for-merger-approval-amid-opposition/feed/ 0 What Some TARC Riders Have to Say About the Proposed Schedule Changes http://wfpl.org/tarc-riders-say-proposed-schedule-changes/ http://wfpl.org/tarc-riders-say-proposed-schedule-changes/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:55:49 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35671 Louisvillians who rely on public transportation have concerns about a proposed schedule change to some of the Transit Authority of River City’s busiest routes. And it seems unlikely city, state or federal lawmakers will address the budget shortfalls that have … Read Story

]]> Louisvillians who rely on public transportation have concerns about a proposed schedule change to some of the Transit Authority of River City’s busiest routes.

And it seems unlikely city, state or federal lawmakers will address the budget shortfalls that have led to the proposed changes anytime soon.

The proposal, which looks to delay bus arrival times on routes serving Broadway, Fourth Street and Dixie and Preston Highways, is up for public comment through May 22 and is slated to be enacted in August. (Here’s our story from Tuesday with details on the proposed schedule changes.)

The schedule changes will help save nearly $1.2 million in costs during the next fiscal year—making up for the recent loss of federal funding that previously supported the routes served by the 4, 18 and 23 buses, among others, said Barry Barker, director of TARC.

“We’ve got to live inside of a budget like everyone else,” Barker said.

Waiting on Broadway for the 23 bus to take her to Newburg, Sonya Smith said the proposed changes will likely impact a lot of people who depend on the TARC for jobs, doctor appointments and scheduled court appearances.

“It’s going to be a big effect, just to be a couple of minutes late,” she said.

Smith, 37, said she doesn’t own a car. She relies on the bus, daily, to move her around the city.

Sonya Smith awaits her bus on Broadway in downtown Louisville.Jacob Ryan | wfpl.org

Sonya Smith awaits her bus on Broadway in downtown Louisville.

She said a better way to funnel more money into TARC’s budget would be to raise fares, not tinker with the schedule. Smith said she’d be willing to pay 25 cents more to ride the bus.

“Even the people struggling, if they have somewhere to be that’s important they’ll come up with that 25 cents,” she said.

At the same bus stop, Juan Mejai also waits for the 23 bus heading eastbound. Mejai said he could handle the altered bus schedule, as long as the buses come on time.

Even now, with the current schedule, Mejai said buses are often late and a bus that’s just a few minutes late might lead him to miss a connecting bus.  That’s a big issue “when my boss is expecting me to be on time,” he said.

Mejai, 39, opposes a fare increase. He said $2 or more to ride the bus is “way too much.

“But, what can we do? Got to have transportation, I don’t have a vehicle, myself.”

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Mejai said he would perhaps be open to paying more in bus fare if it meant he could ride the bus all day. The current $1.75 bus fare in Louisville provides passengers with a transfer ticket valid for two hours after purchase.

Amanda St. Clair, 29, said she, too, would be willing to pay more for the bus if it allowed for longer transfer periods and if the buses came on time more frequently.

“If the bus is late then I’m late for work,” she said, standing in the same bus stop shelter as Mejai and Smith.

Down the street, on the corner of Fourth Street and Broadway, Jessica Lopez, 19, waits for the number 4 bus to take her to University of Louisville campus.

She said she doesn’t believe many people will have problems because the schedule would change by only a few minutes than the current schedule.

“You can kind of accommodate your schedule,” she said. “But if it’s late, it could make people be late to their appointments.”

The schedule restructure will likely be an indefinite change for TARC, said Jon Reiter, spokesman for the transit authority.

But, he added that routes and scheduling are issues under constant examination.

“In the future if it makes sense for us to reinstate them back to how they previously were, I’m sure we’ll consider it closely,” Reiter said in an email.

An increase in bus fare is not something currently on the table for discussion, said Barker, TARC’s director.

“We took a look at it and decided we were not going to raise fare,” he said.

But Barker said that could change in a year or two.

Metro Councilman Tom Owen, a Democrat from District 8 and chair of the city’s transportation committee, said a fare increase would put the burden of TARC’s budget shortfall on users of public transportation, which in many cases are the poorest and most vulnerable residents in a city.

“I would certainly be very disappointed if we had to have yet another fare increase,” he said.

The last TARC fare increase came in 2012. That increase took bus fare from $1.50 to the current rate of $1.75 for a one way trip, according to TARC officials. Before that, fares were boosted from $1.25 to $1.50 in 2008.

An increase in bus fare would need to be approved by a majority vote from the transit authority’s board of directors, a TARC spokesman said. And a public comment period would be held  before the issue would come to a vote, similar to the current proposed route changes.

The budget shortfall TARC is trying to address comes as a federal grant from the Congestion Mitigation and Air Quality program has run out, Barker said.

Barker said other federal funding sources have not recently been increased. That, coupled with “virtually nonexistent” support from the state and little assistance from the city, makes it difficult to continue to provide the service residents in a growing metro area depend on.

Dewey Clayton, a University of Louisville political science professor, said it’s unlikely to see federal lawmakers funnel more money into public transportation.

“If anything, it’s just the opposite of that,” he said.

State Rep. Charles Miller, a Democrat from the states 28th district and vice chair of the House transportation committee, said public transportation is rarely discussed among state lawmakers.

He couldn’t say what the chances are for getting more funds for services such as TARC.

Reginald Williams, 62, waiting for the 23 bus on Broadway to take him to his house near 19th Street, said he has been riding the bus “off and on over the years.”

Williams said whatever happens, the schedule change or an eventual bump up in bus fare, TARC riders will have to adjust.

“You’ve just got to deal with it,” he said.

]]> http://wfpl.org/tarc-riders-say-proposed-schedule-changes/feed/ 0 Frazier Museum’s Expansion Means Kentucky Bourbon Trail Will Officially Start in Downtown Louisville http://wfpl.org/frazier-museums-expansion-means-kentucky-bourbon-trail-will-officially-start-downtown-louisville/ http://wfpl.org/frazier-museums-expansion-means-kentucky-bourbon-trail-will-officially-start-downtown-louisville/#comments Thu, 23 Apr 2015 14:52:23 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=35692 The Kentucky Bourbon Trail would officially begin in downtown Louisville under a planned expansion of the Frazier History Museum, the museum and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced Thursday. The Frazier History Museum plans to develop a bourbon-focused visitors’ center in … Read Story

]]> The Kentucky Bourbon Trail would officially begin in downtown Louisville under a planned expansion of the Frazier History Museum, the museum and the Kentucky Distillers’ Association announced Thursday.

The Frazier History Museum plans to develop a bourbon-focused visitors’ center in its building, which is expected to expand into the three adjacent buildings on West Main Street, according to a joint news release. The buildings were given to the museum by Laura Frazier and Catherine Frazier Joy, whose father was the late Owsley Frazier.

Under the plan, the museum would expand its bourbon exhibit to further explore the history and cultural impact of the spirit. Plans include “interactive learning programs and events,” the news release said.

The expansion is a partnership with the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which owns the Kentucky Bourbon Trail and the Kentucky Bourbon Trail Craft Tour. The trail includes the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Louisville, Four Roses Distillery in Lawrenceburg and several other distilleries.

The trail had 627,032 visitors last year.

In the news release, Mayor Greg Fischer noted that bourbon generates $3 billion in gross state product and provides 15,400 jobs in the state.

In the same news release, KDA President Eric Gregory said the Frazier will help tell the story of a spirit important to Kentucky’s culture.

“The Frazier is a natural launch point and we look forward to capitalizing on the museum’s experience and resources to make this dream a reality,” Gregory said.

The help with the expansion, the Frazier has hired the creative agency Imagination, which has previously worked with the Whitney Museum of American Art and the Natural History Museum in London, the news release said.

The cost of the project has not been determined.

We’ll have more on this announcement later today.

This story has been corrected to reflect that the cost of the project has not been determined.

 

 

 

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