89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:13:16 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Listen: Cokie Roberts Discusses Political Partisanship http://wfpl.org/listen-cokie-roberts-discusses-political-partisanship/ http://wfpl.org/listen-cokie-roberts-discusses-political-partisanship/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 22:10:15 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32938 NPR contributor and ABC political commentator Cokie Roberts is in Louisville on Tuesday evening for a discussion of political partisanship in the U.S. Her appearance at 6 p.m. at Bellarmine University is sponsored by WFPL News and the university. Earlier … Read Story

]]> Cokie_roberts_2944NPR contributor and ABC political commentator Cokie Roberts is in Louisville on Tuesday evening for a discussion of political partisanship in the U.S.

Her appearance at 6 p.m. at Bellarmine University is sponsored by WFPL News and the university.

Earlier Tuesday, Roberts stopped by our studios for a conversation with WFPL’s Rick Howlett.

Listen:

The event is free and open to the public.

]]> http://wfpl.org/listen-cokie-roberts-discusses-political-partisanship/feed/ 0 Major Snowstorm May Drop 12 Inches of Snow on Louisville on Wednesday http://wfpl.org/major-snowstorm-may-drop-12-inches-snow-louisville-wednesday/ http://wfpl.org/major-snowstorm-may-drop-12-inches-snow-louisville-wednesday/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 21:51:50 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32936 The National Weather Service is warning of “major travel disruptions” in the Louisville area Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning because of a major snowstorm heading into the region. Louisville may get as much as a foot of snow from the … Read Story

]]> The National Weather Service is warning of “major travel disruptions” in the Louisville area Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning because of a major snowstorm heading into the region.

Louisville may get as much as a foot of snow from the storm, the National Weather Service said in a Tuesday afternoon update.

Before the snow, authorities are warning of possible flooding from heavy rains through Wednesday morning.

The rain is expected to transition to snow in Louisville by mid-afternoon Wednesday (and earlier in Southern Indiana, which may get as much as nine inches of snow), according to the National Weather Service. So the Wednesday afternoon commute may be tricky for people in the Louisville area.

There’s more—the National Weather Service forecasts that low temperatures Friday morning may reach close to zero in Louisville.

]]> http://wfpl.org/major-snowstorm-may-drop-12-inches-snow-louisville-wednesday/feed/ 0 Lawsuit Takes Issue With Composition of Louisville Planning Commission http://wfpl.org/lawsuit-takes-issue-composition-louisville-planning-commission/ http://wfpl.org/lawsuit-takes-issue-composition-louisville-planning-commission/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:59:26 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32889 A group opposing plans to develop a Wal-Mart in west Louisville filed suit Monday against the developers and city entities working to move the project forward. The plaintiffs include residents, business owners and neighborhood associations based in west Louisville. The … Read Story

]]> A group opposing plans to develop a Wal-Mart in west Louisville filed suit Monday against the developers and city entities working to move the project forward.

The plaintiffs include residents, business owners and neighborhood associations based in west Louisville. The defendants are Wal-Mart developers, the Planning Commission, Mayor Greg Fischer and the site landowners.

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5266209065_d5114256c3_oWal-Mart Gets OK to Build Store Further Away From Roadways in West Louisville

The lawsuit filed in Jefferson Circuit Court alleges that the Jan. 29 decision by the Louisville Metro Planning Commission granting waivers to the Land Development Code is “erroneous, arbitrary and capricious” because of how the commission is composed.

“The planning commission itself has been improperly appointed and it’s improperly constituted because it’s in violation of at least three state laws,” said Steve Porter, the attorney representing the plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Those alleged violations include a lack of women and minorities on the commission, and “it has too many persons on the commission who have a direct financial interest in the land development and construction industry,” Porter said.

“If you have a commission that is illegally constituted they cannot make a reasonable and rational decision,” he added. “My clients are not against he Wal-Mart—we just want them to comply with the code.”

He said the “overall goal is to bring the planning commission in line with state law.”

A spokesman for the mayor’s office declined to comment.

The eight member Planning Commission includes just one woman and just one African American member, which Porter argues is not reflective of the community.

Porter also alleges that at least six and”maybe more” of the commission members have direct financial interest in the business of land development.

He said the lawsuit “doesn’t necessarily” delay the development process of Wal-Mart at Broadway and 18th Street.

“They could go ahead and start work even without a decision on this case,” he said.

Kevin Thompson, a spokesman for Wal-Mart, told Insider Louisville on Monday that developers are looking to break ground “this summer.”

“But that will have to just depend on what happens with the lawsuit once we get a look at that,” he told Insider Louisville.

Porter said if the lawsuit is upheld the mayor would need to reappoint some members of the commission, which would then again hear Wal-Mart’s requests.

“It would be a new day as far as the hearing is concerned, the planning commission could end up making the same decision or a different decision,” he said.

Porter is representing his clients in this case at no cost.

He is also representing a group of residents in the Tucker Station neighborhood in a similar lawsuit against the Planning Commission. That case is still pending.

]]> http://wfpl.org/lawsuit-takes-issue-composition-louisville-planning-commission/feed/ 0 House To Vote On DHS Funding — Without Immigration Curbs http://wfpl.org/house-vote-dhs-funding-without-immigration-curbs/ http://wfpl.org/house-vote-dhs-funding-without-immigration-curbs/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:45:41 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=32927&preview_id=32927 The vote would be a victory for President Obama as Republicans had wanted to strip funding for the president's executive actions on immigration from the bill. Read Story

]]> Updated at 2:13 p.m. ET

The House of Representatives could vote as early as today on a bill to fund the Department of Homeland Security through the end of the budget year — without any restrictions on immigration. The vote would be a victory for President Obama as Republicans had wanted to strip funding for the president’s executive actions on immigration from the bill.

In a closed-door meeting with rank-and-file Republicans, House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, reportedly said the House is making the right decision, but he remained critical of Obama’s action to temporarily block the deportation of millions of immigrants in the U.S. illegally.

“I am as outraged and frustrated as you at the lawless and unconstitutional actions of this president,” Boehner told his caucus, according to a source who was in the room.

He also alluded to the split with Republicans in the Senate, which voted last week to pass the measure, providing the agency with full funding through Sept. 30.

“As you’ve heard me say a number of times, the House has done its job by passing legislation to fund DHS and block the president’s executive actions on immigration,” he said, according to the source. “Unfortunately, the fight was never won in the other chamber. Democrats stayed united and blocked our bill, and our Republican colleagues in the Senate never found a way to win this fight.”

Today’s House bill is in line with the Senate measure that passed last week.

In a dramatic vote late last week, the House voted to approve the department’s funding by one week. As Eyder and Bill reported:

“The passage capped a day of scrambling that saw a longer three-week stopgap shot down in the House, 203-224, NPR’s Juana Summers reports. More than 50 Republican upset with the deletion of a provision stripping funds from President Obama’s immigration moves joined the chamber’s Democrats, who at that time were still pushing for full funding through Sept. 30.

“This battle has been brewing in Congress for months, since President Obama issued a series of executive actions giving legal status to millions of undocumented immigrants.”

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

]]> http://wfpl.org/house-vote-dhs-funding-without-immigration-curbs/feed/ 0 With Growing Support, Kentucky Beer Bill Heads To Full Senate http://wfpl.org/growing-support-kentucky-beer-bill-heads-full-senate/ http://wfpl.org/growing-support-kentucky-beer-bill-heads-full-senate/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 19:39:52 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32918 In-state brewers have a clear advantage as the legislative battle over whether out-of-state brewers can continue to own beer distributors in Kentucky nears a close. A state Senate committee on Tuesday voted in favor of the bill, which has already passed … Read Story

]]> In-state brewers have a clear advantage as the legislative battle over whether out-of-state brewers can continue to own beer distributors in Kentucky nears a close.

Related Story

beerKentucky Craft Beer Bill Passes House 67-31

A state Senate committee on Tuesday voted in favor of the bill, which has already passed the state House. The bill now heads to the full Senate, where Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican, has indicated it has support.

Senate Majority Leader Damon Thayer, a Republican from Georgetown, voted in favor of the bill.

“I asked myself the question what will be the best for consumers in Kentucky? And the best thing for consumers in Kentucky is competition,” Thayer said.

The bill would close what supporters call a loophole in Kentucky’s law that allows out-of-state brewers to own distributors in the state. Since prohibition, Kentucky has had a “three-tier” system in the alcohol industry, mandating separate owners of brewers, distributors and retailers. But the current law allows national brewer Anheuser-Busch to own two distributorships in the state.

Bill sponsor House Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Prestonsburg Democrat, said the bill protects the jobs of independent brewers and distributors.

“It would essentially do what the three-tiered system is designed to do, and that is to keep large entities that are producers or brewers from monopolizing the market,” Stumbo said.

Anheuser-Busch owns distributors in Louisville and Owensboro and has been a vocal opponent of the bill, saying that the legislation infringes on the company’s property rights.

“There is significant concern about properties and the role of government in forcing good companies and good corporate citizens to divest property,” Williams said during a committee hearing on Tuesday.

Williams said that the company would have to fire 200 workers at its distributors if the bill passed. Stumbo has argued that the jobs would be preserved because demand for a distributor would still exist—even if it weren’t owned by Anheuser-Busch.

“I don’t think these people can be treated like cattle that are moved from one field to the other,” Williams responded after the committee hearing. “I don’t think they should be moved at the speaker’s whim, that’s not the role of government.”

In the House, lawmakers considered adding an amendment that would allow Anheuser-Busch to continue owning its distributors, but it failed.

]]> http://wfpl.org/growing-support-kentucky-beer-bill-heads-full-senate/feed/ 0 Kentucky Gets $5 Million To House Disabled Residents http://wfpl.org/kentucky-gets-5-million-house-disabled-residents/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-gets-5-million-house-disabled-residents/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:49:35 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32867 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is sending more than $5 million to Kentucky to help the state house residents with disabilities who live in poverty, the department announced Tuesday. The allocation is part of a $150 million effort … Read Story

]]> The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development is sending more than $5 million to Kentucky to help the state house residents with disabilities who live in poverty, the department announced Tuesday.

The allocation is part of a $150 million effort to prevent people with disabilities in 25 states from becoming institutionalized or homeless, according to a news release from HUD.

Nearly 225 households in Kentucky will receive rental assistance for permanent housing and other supportive services through the funding, which will be administered by the Kentucky Housing Corporation, said Charla Jackson Peter, spokeswoman for the corporation.

The assistance will be available to Kentuckians earning less than 30 percent of the median household income level—which would be about $30,000.

Housing agencies in the 25 states were required to apply in order to be considered for funding, said Joe Phillips, spokesman for HUD’s Southeast regional office.

The federal support HUD is offering comes via the Section 811 Project Rental Assistance program that aims to allow residents with disabilities to live independently. Kentucky residents qualifying for rental assistance through the grant process will receive housing support for five years, Peter said.

“The goal would be that these individuals and families would be able to sustain themselves within the community once they’ve integrated in through this five year period,” she said.

For families or individuals that cannot sustain themselves after the five year period “there would be opportunities to transition into situations that would sustain them long-term,” Peter added.

An additional goal of the grant is to reduce the healthcare costs related to housing individuals in institutional facilities, she said.

No decision has been made on where the assistance program will be focused in the state, Peter said.

About 20 percent of Kentucky residents have some type of disability, according to 2007 American Community Survey data.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-gets-5-million-house-disabled-residents/feed/ 0 House-Approved Kentucky Dating Violence Bill Heads To Full Senate http://wfpl.org/house-approved-kentucky-dating-violence-bill-heads-full-senate/ http://wfpl.org/house-approved-kentucky-dating-violence-bill-heads-full-senate/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 18:24:30 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32893 Kentucky is one step closer to providing victims of dating violence with the same protections that married victims have. A Senate committee on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow people to file an interpersonal protective order against an abusive dating partner. … Read Story

]]> Kentucky is one step closer to providing victims of dating violence with the same protections that married victims have.

A Senate committee on Tuesday passed a bill that would allow people to file an interpersonal protective order against an abusive dating partner. The bill has passed the House and now heads to the full Senate.

Kentucky is the only state that doesn’t offer civil protection to victims of dating violence. Currently only couples who are married, share a child or cohabitate can file protective orders against their partners.

Rep. John Tilley, a Hopkinsville Democrat, said the bill can solve problems quickly without entering the criminal justice system.

“More than half of those who enter this system, the violence stops with a civil protected order,” Tilley said. “In other words, criminal sanctions aren’t necessary. Sometimes the victim doesn’t want to go through the criminal justice process.”

The protective order is a civil, rather than criminal provision. According to the Associated Press, police would be notified when an IPO is issued and violators could be arrested immediately without a warrant.

Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican, has argued against similar bills in past sessions, saying that victims would already be protected under criminal law. Stivers voted in favor of the bill on Tuesday, but still warned that the protective order might provide only a false sense of security.

“I don’t want there to be unjustified belief that a piece of paper will keep someone away if they’re willing to scale up three stories through a private window into a bedroom,” Stivers said

The bill passed with no nay votes, but Sen. Robin Webb, a Democrat from Grayson, didn’t vote for the bill. She said that more needs to be done to address people who commit dating and domestic violence.

“That perpetrator is really the one that needs some help and really needs to stop the cycle,” Webb said. “Because if he or she can’t find another victim, they’re going to go create one.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/house-approved-kentucky-dating-violence-bill-heads-full-senate/feed/ 0 Where High-Profile Bills Stand as the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2015 Session Nears Its End http://wfpl.org/high-profile-bills-stand-end-general-assembly/ http://wfpl.org/high-profile-bills-stand-end-general-assembly/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 15:39:06 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32841 This is the last full week of the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2015 session—and just one major piece of legislation has passed both the House and Senate. Some in Frankfort have high hopes that a few bills will become law in the … Read Story

]]> This is the last full week of the Kentucky General Assembly’s 2015 session—and just one major piece of legislation has passed both the House and Senate.

Some in Frankfort have high hopes that a few bills will become law in the session’s waning days, including a bill meant to address Kentucky’s growing heroin problem and a constitutional amendment that would allow local governments to fund local projects with a temporary sales tax.

At the end of day 21 of a likely 28 day session, here’s where some of the big bills stood:

Heroin

The House and Senate have each passed their own bills that seek to combat Kentucky’s growing heroin problem. Both proposals set aside money for addiction treatment, increase penalties for traffickers and make an overdose-reversing drug called naloxone more available.

Lawmakers will have to reconcile the difference in sentencing requirements for drug traffickers in the bills.

The Senate bill would charge all traffickers with a Class C felony and require criminals to serve at least half of their sentence.

The House bill would divide traffickers into three different categories and punish them with increasing severity. The House bill also has a needle exchange provision that Senate Republicans oppose.

Local Option Sales Tax

The local option sales tax bill passed out of the House, but it’s still waiting to be taken up in the Senate. The proposal would allow local communities to temporarily tack on an additional 1 percent onto the state’s 6 percent sales tax in order to fund local projects.

This bill has a lot of big players advocating for it, including the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and  Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer.

Senate President Robert Stivers, a Republican from Manchester, has voiced his support for the bill, calling it “Democracy in its purest form.” But the bill seeks to amend the Kentucky constitution,which means it will need yes votes from at least two-thirds of the state Senate– 23 out of 37. It would then need to be voted on by Kentuckians in the November general election.

Public-Private Partnerships

A bill that would allow the state to engage in public-private partnerships passed out of the state House and is still waiting to be heard in Senate. The partnerships allow the state to contract with private organizations to build major projects like roads or bridges. Typically a private company would front much of the money for the construction phase of a project and then would be able to recoup expenses through users fees or tolls.

A public-private partnership bill passed both houses last year, but Gov. Steve Beshear vetoed it because it included an amendment forbidding public-private partnerships from using tolls on a bridge project connecting Kentucky and Ohio.

The Senate is currently considering the House bill, but it’s still unclear if a bill with tolls would pass the Republican-led chamber.

Beer Bill

A bill that would close a loophole allowing out-of-state brewers to own distributors in Kentucky has passed the House but is still waiting to be heard in the Senate. Craft brewers, which are prohibited from owning their own distributors, say that the law would put major brewers on a level playing field.

Anheuser-Busch says it would have to shut down its distributors in Louisville and Owensboro if the bill passed—cutting around 200 jobs.

Smoking Ban

The statewide smoking ban bill still hasn’t been heard in the Senate Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection, where it was assigned to instead of a friendlier committee chaired by the bill’s sponsor.

]]> http://wfpl.org/high-profile-bills-stand-end-general-assembly/feed/ 0 Photo Exhibition in Louisville Questions the American Dream http://wfpl.org/photo-exhibition-louisville-questions-american-dream/ http://wfpl.org/photo-exhibition-louisville-questions-american-dream/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 12:00:35 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32819 Charles Mintz’ latest collection, “Lustron Stories: Americans at Home,” explores the themes of place, purpose and the tenuous definition of the “American dream”—all in the context of Lustron prefabricated homes in modern Midwest neighborhoods. The collection will be on display … Read Story

]]> Charles Mintz’ latest collection, “Lustron Stories: Americans at Home,” explores the themes of place, purpose and the tenuous definition of the “American dream”—all in the context of Lustron prefabricated homes in modern Midwest neighborhoods.

The collection will be on display at PUBLIC Gallery on Main Street through March 28.

Lustron manufactured all-steel, porcelain, baked-enamel houses in Columbus, Ohio, between 1940 and 1950. They were designed for GI’s returning from the war and young families just starting out.

About four years ago, Mintz had an exhibition on homes that he was going to present at the Ohio History Connection. The staff there were in the midst of putting together a project on the ’50s and there was a write-up on Lustrons in a journal which the organization produced. The staff suggested he look at it, and Mintz said he became interested in the idea of the people who now live on those houses.

“Not so much running around photographing the structures, but what has happened to the people living in these pretty modest houses over the course of 65 years,” Mintz said.

“This ties back into my interest in my work in ‘The Great American Dream,’ and having your own home is clearly a big part of that, or it was anyway.”

For three years, Mintz scoured Internet databases and wrote letters to owners of Lustron homes, asking for permission to come photograph their homes.

“When you work with volunteers, and in this case they are volunteering to let a stranger into their homes, it’s kind of an act of generosity on the part of the person. So people who do it really connect once they do it,” Mintz said.

Some of the people with whom Mintz worked gave him gifts, while others connected with him on Facebook.

“A sort of community is formed, which is actually very sweet,” he said.

The subjects of the collection range in age, race and situation—the homes were the only real similarity. But Mintz concentrates on communicating their stories as fully as he can in a single portrait.

“When I do my work, the narrative comes first. There’s a story to tell, and it’s more important than always the quality of the photograph—which sometimes gets me in trouble—but I think the quality of these are perfectly fine,” Mintz said. “But presentation matters too, so if you can reinforce the subject with the presentation it adds a depth to it.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/photo-exhibition-louisville-questions-american-dream/feed/ 0 Kentucky Teachers Asked to Take Survey About Their Schools http://wfpl.org/kentucky-teachers-asked-take-survey-schools/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-teachers-asked-take-survey-schools/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 01:00:44 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32830 A voluntary biennial survey for Kentucky teachers that’s meant to measure their opinions of schools, resources, education leadership and community support is now available to take online. Nearly 90 percent of teachers across the state took the Kentucky TELL Survey in 2013—and many … Read Story

]]> A voluntary biennial survey for Kentucky teachers that’s meant to measure their opinions of schools, resources, education leadership and community support is now available to take online.

Nearly 90 percent of teachers across the state took the Kentucky TELL Survey in 2013—and many school systems learned that teachers thought poorly of their school’s access to technology.

Also, half of respondents wanted more professional development on the new Common Core standards.

2013, teachers gave the lowest score to the role they’re given in “providing input on how the school budget will be spent.”

To use the data for a school’s going improvement planning process, that school needs to have at least half of its teachers take the survey (and at least five teachers for smaller schools).

The anonymous and confidential survey will be open until March 31.

If you’re a teacher, you can take the survey here .

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-teachers-asked-take-survey-schools/feed/ 0 AT&T Bill Passes Kentucky Senate, Poised To Become Law http://wfpl.org/att-bill-passes-kentucky-senate-poised-become-law/ http://wfpl.org/att-bill-passes-kentucky-senate-poised-become-law/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:51:14 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32859 Major telephone companies won’t have to offer basic land line service to residents in the 15 largest markets in the state if Gov. Steve Beshear signs a bill that passed the state Senate on Monday. The so-called AT&T deregulation bill … Read Story

]]> Major telephone companies won’t have to offer basic land line service to residents in the 15 largest markets in the state if Gov. Steve Beshear signs a bill that passed the state Senate on Monday.

The so-called AT&T deregulation bill removes a requirement that “carriers of last resort” offer packages with 911 calling, operator service and unlimited local calls to those who ask for it in markets of more than 15,000 people.

AT&T said the legislation will free up money for investment in rural broadband and wireless service, though the company has not disclosed details for how much money would be invested or what locations would be targeted.

“Passing this legislation helps me to be in a position to better fight to get that investment here,” AT&T Kentucky President Hood Harris said. “It puts on a more equal playing field with other states as those decisions are made.”

The bill was amended in the House to extend from 30 to 60 days the grace period during which a customer who switches off of basic service could switch back. It also clarified a provision that requires telephone companies to continue offering landline service in rural areas.

The AT&T bill is the first legislation to pass both chambers in the 2015 Kentucky General Assembly. In order to become law, Beshear will have to sign it—which he has indicated he will do. This is the fourth year the legislation has been proposed.

The bill’s most vocal opponent has been Tom FitzGerald, director of the Kentucky Resources Council. Fitzgerald maintains that despite compromises in the bill, it doesn’t do enough to protect consumers.

“We do know that problems have arisen because of gaps in coverage and gaps in functionality through this transition from this switch-network that we’ve relied on for over 100 years to this new network,” Fitzgerald said during a committee hearing on Monday.

Fitzgerald argued that telephone companies are trying to prematurely push customers onto unreliable technologies and more lucrative bundled plans.

On the Senate floor, Sen. Robin Webb, a Democrat from Grayson, said that there isn’t any need to deregulate the telephone providers because they’re already making record profits.

“They’ve invested in Kentucky, they’re going to continue to and they’re going to do it at the expense of the consumer. I vote no,” Webb said.

The last wave of telephone deregulation came in 2006 when the Kentucky General Assembly allowed telephone companies to set their own prices for services like wireless Internet, Internet, cable and video. In exchange, the Public Service Commission, which regulates telephone companies, created the requirement that companies offer basic service that includes unlimited local calling, 911 and 411.

]]> http://wfpl.org/att-bill-passes-kentucky-senate-poised-become-law/feed/ 0 Wal-Mart Gets OK to Build Store Further Away From Roadways in West Louisville http://wfpl.org/wal-mart-gets-ok-build-store-away-roadways-west-louisville/ http://wfpl.org/wal-mart-gets-ok-build-store-away-roadways-west-louisville/#comments Tue, 03 Mar 2015 00:39:22 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32856 The development of a Wal-Mart at Broadway and 18th Street will move forward following the Louisville Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment’s unanimous decision Monday to approved two variances. The variances allow the nearly 155,000 square foot “superstore” to be constructed … Read Story

]]> The development of a Wal-Mart at Broadway and 18th Street will move forward following the Louisville Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment’s unanimous decision Monday to approved two variances.

The variances allow the nearly 155,000 square foot “superstore” to be constructed further away from the roadway than the Land Development Code allows.

The maximum setback allowed by the Land Development Code is 25 feet on both Broadway and 18th Street (which is formally Dixie Highway), where the building is set to be built. The variances will allow the store to be 394 feet away from Broadway and 179 feet away from 18th.

A Wal-Mart representative at the meeting said the variances  allow for parking and access for supply trucks. If the variances were not approved, the retailer would have ended the nearly $25 million deal, the representative said.

Opponents and supporters of the development have clashed since the project was announced last year.

Supporters, such as Karen King, 50, said the city should support the development and allow the variances. The store is expected to bring nearly 300 jobs to the area.

“The Wal-Mart, to me, it has a job for every level,” she said. “Every child from 16 on up can work in this store and still go to school and they have a real, solid, continuous job.”

But others, such as Steve Porter, an attorney representing a group of residents opposed to the plan, said the Land Development Code should be upheld regardless of potential economic development.

“I think the final conclusion was that economics outweighed the Land Development Code, and I’m concerned that will set a precedent for future decisions on future cases,” he said.

“It’s very important to uphold the Land Development Code. In this case the big guy doesn’t have to, in most cases the little guy has to, that’s a major difference here.”

Some stipulations to the approved waivers include Wal-Mart developers working with TARC officials to determine where bus stops will be located and working to establish a clear barrier along the Broadway perimeter that will direct pedestrian traffic to a specified walkway.

Also, developers are required to move forward with a landscape plan that includes no fewer than 165 trees.

Wal-Mart developers will now present a construction plan to the city’s office of construction review, said Jessica Wethington, spokeswoman for Develop Louisville.

If approved, a construction permit will be issued and the developers will begin constructing the store.

In a statement, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he is “thankful the last major hurdle is completed.”

“I look forward to joining Wal-Mart leaders on breaking ground and getting construction underway,” he said.

A date to begin construction has not yet been set.

]]> http://wfpl.org/wal-mart-gets-ok-build-store-away-roadways-west-louisville/feed/ 0 Kentucky Environment Cabinet Secretary’s Compliments for EPA Draw Praise and Criticism http://wfpl.org/kentucky-environment-cabinet-secretarys-compliments-epa-draw-praise-criticism/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-environment-cabinet-secretarys-compliments-epa-draw-praise-criticism/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 21:58:27 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32836 Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet secretary has drawn both praise and criticism for comments he made during last week’s Climate Leadership Conference in Washington D.C. As quoted in Politico, Len Peters told conference attendees that he was impressed with the way the … Read Story

]]> Kentucky’s Energy and Environment Cabinet secretary has drawn both praise and criticism for comments he made during last week’s Climate Leadership Conference in Washington D.C.

As quoted in Politico, Len Peters told conference attendees that he was impressed with the way the Environmental Protection Agency had provided outreach and guidance to states crafting plans to comply with upcoming federal greenhouse gas regulations.

“‘I want to start off by saying I’m from Kentucky and I’m not a climate science denier,’ Peters said at today’s Climate Leadership Conference, drawing an enthusiastic applause from the crowd. Peters works for Democratic Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear.

Peters said he wanted to publicly compliment EPA ‘on what they have done with outreach in leading up to the proposed regulation…The outreach they’ve done, I think, is incredible,’ Peters said. EPA had an ‘open door policy. You could call them, talk to them, meet with them…and we did take advantage.’”

The EPA’s proposed regulations require different emissions reduction goals from different states, and states are encouraged to craft their own plans for meeting the targets.

Kentucky regulators have been vocal about their concerns about the effect these rules could have on the state’s coal industry and economy; Peters’ cabinet published a white paper laying out those concerns in 2013.

Peters’ comments last week have made coal industry supporters—like Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett—question whether the Energy and Environment Cabinet is out of step with Kentucky policymakers and the general public.

“[Peters] has kind of gone out on a limb here, I think, with his own personal opinions as it relates not only to climate change but also to the president’s proposals that are going to have a real negative impact on the economy of Kentucky,” Bissett said.

He pointed to the General Assembly’s passage of a bill last year that is meant to preempt the EPA’s regulations by requiring the commonwealth to adopt its own emissions standards for coal-fired and natural gas power plants. Bissett said he’s not suggesting that Peters not discuss the rules with EPA.

“I appreciate the working relationship he has with the EPA; it’s just a little concerning when you’re seeing this ongoing list of praises from the secretary to the EPA and from the EPA in return,” he said.

Peters’ remarks were well-received by Kentucky’s lone congressional Democrat. In a congressional hearing last week on the EPA’s proposed budget, Peters’ comments were praised by both Rep. John Yarmuth and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy.

“Can I just say, Len Peters is a very honorable man,” McCarthy said, in response to a question from Yarmuth. “His advantage in Kentucky is that he looks at both energy and environmental issues together. And I think it provides an advantage to the state to see that these plans can be done and actually will provide benefits to the state, in terms of the utilization of energy supplies that are both effective for a reliable and cost-effective supply but also can be designed to be effective in reducing pollution that impacts their health.”

Yarmuth said: “You obviously think that states like Kentucky which are coal-dominated can benefit from the funds that would be appropriated under this budget.”

McCarthy answered: “They absolutely can, as well as the incentive fund that the president has proposed in this budget, which is $4 billion. And I think we’ve designed this in a way to recognize that Kentucky doesn’t and shouldn’t have the same standard that states that aren’t so heavily reliant on coal have. So we’ve designed it in a way that’s achievable from the get-go but also is flexible enough to allow folks like Len Peters to get his arms around it and make it work.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-environment-cabinet-secretarys-compliments-epa-draw-praise-criticism/feed/ 0 Kentucky and Southern Indiana Tornadoes Remembered http://wfpl.org/kentucky-southern-indiana-tornadoes-remembered/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-southern-indiana-tornadoes-remembered/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 18:33:31 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32796 Three years ago today, a tornado with 170 mile per hour winds tore into buildings, homes and land in Henryville, Ind. The tornado was part of a system that produced devastating weather in the Midwest and South, killing more than 30 … Read Story

]]> Three years ago today, a tornado with 170 mile per hour winds tore into buildings, homes and land in Henryville, Ind.

The tornado was part of a system that produced devastating weather in the Midwest and South, killing more than 30 people. West Liberty, Kentucky, was destroyed by a tornado.

Among the programs and projects that were created in the wake of the storms, was the website March 2 Recovery Stories, which is dedicated to “victims, survivors, heroes, communities, businesses, animals, and all affected by the March 2, 2012 unprecedented severe weather outbreak across 49 miles that included an F4 tornado.”

WFPL’s Erica Peterson from coverage of the devastation can be found here.

A Kentucky statewide tornado drill had been scheduled for Tuesday, but the National Weather Service postponed it because of the threat this week of winter weather and flooding. The statewide tornado drill was rescheduled for March 10.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-southern-indiana-tornadoes-remembered/feed/ 0 Update: Louisville Officials Have Maybe Figured Out the Source of That Smell http://wfpl.org/louisville-officials-still-searching-smell/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-officials-still-searching-smell/#comments Mon, 02 Mar 2015 16:52:30 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32814 Update 3:35 p.m.: It Might Be Geosmin The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District’s staff thinks its figured out what’s behind that reported odor—geosmin. In a news release sent Monday afternoon, APCD said: As part of our investigation, we consulted … Read Story

]]> Update 3:35 p.m.: It Might Be Geosmin

The Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District’s staff thinks its figured out what’s behind that reported odor—geosmin.

In a news release sent Monday afternoon, APCD said:

As part of our investigation, we consulted with other government agencies, including MSD and the Louisville Water Company. The Louisville Water Company says the odor is likely to be caused by a naturally occurring chemical in the soil called “geosmin” that has been exacerbated by the wet, muddy conditions in the wake of the recent snowfall and rain. While this is not a water quality issue, LWC has had experience with geosmin in the past and is familiar with its characteristics.

Our noses are extremely sensitive to geosmin and there doesn’t need to be much of it in the air at all for us to detect it. It’s been estimated humans can detect geosmin at concentrations as low as 5 parts per trillion, which means it takes only a very, very small amount to become noticeable.

In the news release, the APCD said it’s not certain that the odor is caused by geosmin, but it is “reasonably confident.” That said, the city agency will continue looking into reports.

The Associated Press reported earlier:

There’s a bad smell in parts of the Louisville area but nobody knows where it’s coming from—and it’s not thought to be toxic, according to Louisville Metro Air Pollution Control District spokesman Tom Nord.

City crews have been trying for nearly a week to pin down the odor that some residents say smells like mildew, but so far they’ve had no luck.

Nord said his agency is doing its best to track the odor, which has been reported by dozens of people who have called from different areas of the city that aren’t normally associated with bad smells.

Crews are driving around the city and searching the old-fashioned way—with their noses, said engineering manager Matt King.

 

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