89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:37:48 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.3 Louisville Ballet Dancers Participate In Exchange With Australian Company http://wfpl.org/louisville-ballet-dancers-participate-exchange-australian-company/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-ballet-dancers-participate-exchange-australian-company/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 20:37:10 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40228 Two dancers with the Louisville Ballet have returned from a six-week exchange program with the Australian Ballet. Ryan Stokes performed in three ballets with the company, sometimes with only a couple of days of rehearsal, and Leigh Anne Albrechta trained … Read Story

]]> Two dancers with the Louisville Ballet have returned from a six-week exchange program with the Australian Ballet.

Ryan Stokes performed in three ballets with the company, sometimes with only a couple of days of rehearsal, and Leigh Anne Albrechta trained with the company’s dance medicine staff.

Albrechta is also a yoga instructor and is interested in physical therapy as a possible future career path. They both took class with the Australian dance company each day.

Louisville Ballet’s artistic director Robert Curran was a longtime dancer with the Australian Ballet and helped facilitate the exchange. Louisville Ballet dancers have the summer off, and Stokes had told Curran in a performance review that he wanted to avoid a “summer slump.”

Stokes said he knew he would be training with the company, but he didn’t know if he would actually be performing before he went.

“I was told that they were going to try to fit me into their rehearsal schedule and allow me to perform, but that it was not a concrete thing. So I tried not to get my hopes up too much, but I worked hard, and it worked out,” Stokes said.

Before a performance of “Giselle,” Stokes was given a bag of boots to try on, and he found a pair with Curran’s name still on them.

“Just for giggles, I’m going to try these boots on. And they didn’t fit perfectly but they were the best-fitting pair of boots they had for me at the time. And I was like, I’ll wear my boss’ boots for this,” Stokes said.

The pair spent four weeks in Melbourne and two weeks in Adelaide. They hope this is the first of many exchanges with other dance companies around the world.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-ballet-dancers-participate-exchange-australian-company/feed/ 0 Louisville Omni Development Plan Tweaked Ahead of Review Panel Meeting http://wfpl.org/louisville-omni-development-plan-tweaked-ahead-of-review-panel-meeting/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-omni-development-plan-tweaked-ahead-of-review-panel-meeting/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 18:38:00 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40191 Developers of the Omni Hotel project on Thursday will take their updated plans back to the Louisville committee responsible for overseeing standards for real estate developments downtown. Earlier this month, public comments and questions from committee members flooded a discussion … Read Story

]]> Developers of the Omni Hotel project on Thursday will take their updated plans back to the Louisville committee responsible for overseeing standards for real estate developments downtown.

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Earlier this month, public comments and questions from committee members flooded a discussion about the near $300-million development, leading to the need for Thursday’s meeting.

 

The project is set to be built on a block bound by Third Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard in downtown Louisville.

At the previous meeting, residents expressed concern over the design along Third Street, as well as some worry regarding the potential loss of historic structures and the project’s lack of public space.

Earlier this week, city officials presented redesigned renderings, which specifically featured reworked features along the Third Street corridor.

new omni

The redesign brings more glass to the Third Street side—space that Mayor Greg Fischer says presents the possibility of future retail sites. The entrance of the parking garage is also more open in the redesigned renderings.

new omni 2

Nearly 48 percent of the  project is being funded by public financing initiatives.

The Downtown Development Review Overlay committee must approve the project’s plan before it can move forward. If approved, it will move to the Board of Zoning Adjustment for approval, then developers will be required to apply for construction permits before breaking ground.

Omni representatives said they hope to begin construction by early 2016.

 

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-omni-development-plan-tweaked-ahead-of-review-panel-meeting/feed/ 0 New Criminal Charge Filed Against Man at Center of Kentucky Banishment Case http://wfpl.org/new-criminal-charge-filed-against-man-at-center-of-kentucky-banishment-case/ http://wfpl.org/new-criminal-charge-filed-against-man-at-center-of-kentucky-banishment-case/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 11:30:16 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40164 CARROLLTON, Ky.—The case of Adam Horine, the mentally ill Kentucky man removed from jail and put on a bus to Florida by Carrollton police earlier this year, continues to grow in complexity. He now faces a criminal charge of groping … Read Story

]]> CARROLLTON, Ky.—The case of Adam Horine, the mentally ill Kentucky man removed from jail and put on a bus to Florida by Carrollton police earlier this year, continues to grow in complexity. He now faces a criminal charge of groping a woman in a northern Kentucky hospital.

Since his banishment from Carroll County, Horine has been on a circuitous voyage through the criminal justice and mental health systems. His case prompted a Kentucky Attorney General’s investigation into alleged police misconduct and sparked sharp criticism of the state’s mental health services.

Carrollton police jailed Horine last April on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and making threats. Following his court appearance, officers defied a judge’s order that Horine, who has an array of physical and mental illnesses, be hospitalized for psychiatric care. Instead, an officer drove him to Louisville and shipped him to Florida.

Carroll County

Carroll County

Horine was brought back to Kentucky in May on a felony warrant charging him with escape, and hospitalized for psychiatric care at Eastern State Hospital in Lexington — where District Judge Elizabeth Chandler had ordered him sent in the first place.

Since then, Horine reportedly has bounced around several different facilities.

One of those was St. Elizabeth Hospital in northern Kentucky, where on June 27, Horine allegedly groped a patient. The patient, according to the complaint, was “incapable of consent” and “completely incapacitated.”

Authorities have since returned Horine to Eastern State, according to two sources close to the case.

It’s unclear why Horine left Eastern State in the first place, how or when he arrived at St. Elizabeth Hospital, and what’s next regarding his new misdemeanor sexual abuse charge.

(Watch video of Horine’s court hearing)

Florence police said they could not discuss the case because the criminal summons had not been served. And a spokeswoman for Eastern State said federal law prohibited her from discussing anything related to Horine, including whether he is or has been a patient there.

Horine’s attorney, Edward Bourne of Owenton, also declined to discuss issues related to Horine except to say that he is “receiving treatment.” And Horine’s stepmother, Charlotte Horine, said she knew nothing about him leaving Eastern State, or about his criminal case in Florence.

This much is known: Carrollton Police Chief Mike Willhoite, who allegedly directed that Horine be banished to Florida, and Officer Ron Dickow, who released Horine from jail, are the focus of the pending criminal investigation by the attorney general’s office, as well as contempt of court charges for violating Chandler’s order.

A Carroll County grand jury is tentatively scheduled to consider evidence against Willhoite and Dickow next month, the sources said. And a hearing is set for later in August in connection with Horine’s earlier criminal charges, as well as the contempt case against the two police officers.

In the meantime, prosecutors, judges and the Carroll County circuit court clerk all have stepped aside, citing actual or potential conflicts of interest.

In court earlier this month, Campbell District Judge Karen Thomas lambasted Carrollton police and the state’s mental-health system.

“The mental health system is broken,” she said in a July 2 hearing. “We all know that. We all know it is broken. I think everybody knows it’s broken.”

Thomas took over after Chandler removed herself from the case involving Horine’s original charges, as well as the contempt proceedings, which are on hold until a decision is made about criminal charges against Willhoite and Dickow. Thomas promised during the hearing that the two officers would spend 179 days in jail if she found them in contempt.

“I am just appalled that this guy was put on a bus anywhere. Appalled,” Thomas said. “This is appalling; it is seriously appalling that that happened.”

Reporter R.G. Dunlop can be reached at rdunlop@kycir.org or (502) 814.6533.

This story was reported by Louisville Public Media’s Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

]]> http://wfpl.org/new-criminal-charge-filed-against-man-at-center-of-kentucky-banishment-case/feed/ 0 Report Breaks Down Climate Change’s Impending Effect on Kentucky’s Economy http://wfpl.org/report-breaks-climate-changes-impending-effect-kentuckys-economy/ http://wfpl.org/report-breaks-climate-changes-impending-effect-kentuckys-economy/#comments Tue, 28 Jul 2015 04:01:44 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40162 Climate change will begin to have a demonstrative effect on Kentucky’s economy within five years. This is the conclusion from a report released today by the nonprofit Risky Business. The organization is dedicated to exploring the economic effects of climate … Read Story

]]> Climate change will begin to have a demonstrative effect on Kentucky’s economy within five years.

This is the conclusion from a report released today by the nonprofit Risky Business. The organization is dedicated to exploring the economic effects of climate change, and is chaired by liberal billionaires Michael Bloomberg and Tom Steyer, as well as former banker and George W. Bush-era Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson.

Recently, groups have begun focusing on the economic costs of climate change, considering any discussion or debate over the science or existence of climate change to be unnecessary. Yesterday, 13 major companies including Walmart, UPS, General Motors and Google launched the “American Business Act on Climate Pledge,” and pledged to reduce emissions with an eye toward their bottom lines.

Today, Risky Business’ report analyzes the factors around the Southeast that will become amplified as the climate changes. Researchers identified “likely” outcomes, which it defined as events with a 67 percent chance of happening if the country continues its current greenhouse gas emissions pattern.

Alfred Sommer, dean emeritus of the Johns Hopkins University School of Public Health, worked on the report with Risky Business. He said it’s easy for politicians to bury their heads in the sand, but that’s a short-sighted perspective.

“And since most politicians look to get support from the business community in order to run their campaigns, the business community is getting alarmed,” he said. “And if the business community is getting alarmed, the politicians have to be responsive to that.”

In Kentucky:

•    Over the past 30 years,  the typical Kentuckian will have experienced an average of 4 days a year with temperatures higher than 95 degrees, the report says. By 2020 to 2039, the report estimates, that number will reach up to 23 days a year. By mid-century, Kentuckians are likely to experience 44 days a year of temperatures over 95 degrees.

•    Between 2020 and 2039, extreme heat is likely to kill 300 more people each year in Kentucky than currently die of extreme heat, the report estimates. Between 2040 and 2059, that number is likely to reach 460 additional deaths each year.

•    People who work outside will be less productive. “By mid-century, heat-related labor productivity declines across all sectors in Kentucky will likely cost the state economy up to $770 million each year, with a 1-in-20 chance of costing more than $1.1 billion a year,” the report said.

•    Due to higher temperatures and more rain, Kentucky’s agriculture sector will probably be affected. The report found that Kentucky’s corn crop yields are likely to decrease by up to 22 percent by 2020 to 2039, and by up to 47 percent in the following two decades. Kentucky’s soybean crop yields are likely to decline by up to 13 percent in the short-term (2020-2039) and by up to 29 percent in the long-term (2040-2059).

•    Extreme heat leads to more air conditioning use, which places more demand on the state’s electrical infrastructure. By 2020-2039, the report estimates that rising demand due solely to climate change will increase utilities’ residential and commercial expenditures by up to 5 percent. By 2040-2059, those expenses are likely to grow up to 9 percent. And those costs may be passed along to consumers.

A lot of the climate change-related events the report looked into will begin happening relatively soon: within five years. Sommer said that’s why the business community is beginning to worry about their bottom lines, and about adaptation measures.

“This is going to happen no matter what we do about climate change,” he said. “So we have to start thinking about what are we going to do about keeping people healthy and safe.”

But he said that doesn’t mean it’s not too late to reduce carbon emissions with an eye toward reducing climate change’s economic toll by mid-century.

Read the report here.

]]> http://wfpl.org/report-breaks-climate-changes-impending-effect-kentuckys-economy/feed/ 0 ‘Big’ Affordable Housing Ordinances Stall, For Now, in Metro Council Committee http://wfpl.org/big-affordable-housing-ordinances-stall-now-metro-council-committee/ http://wfpl.org/big-affordable-housing-ordinances-stall-now-metro-council-committee/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 23:36:34 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40183 An ordinance that affordable housing advocates consider a big step forward in Louisville’s quest to boost living options for low-income residents is being held up in a Metro Council ad hoc committee. The five member, bipartisan committee addressed the ordinance … Read Story

]]> An ordinance that affordable housing advocates consider a big step forward in Louisville’s quest to boost living options for low-income residents is being held up in a Metro Council ad hoc committee.

The five member, bipartisan committee addressed the ordinance Monday, but tabled it until an Aug. 10 meeting after nearly an hour of discussion.

The ordinance would provide incentives to developers who build mixed-income housing in Louisville. Developers would be granted points depending on the development’s ratio of housing that was affordable to low-income residents. More points mean the developers could exceed density limits, which means more units and, ultimately, more return on their investment, said Cathy Hinko, director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition.

“This is a big thing,” Hinko said.

She said the mixed residential development incentives would help developers create more opportunities for low-income residents to live in areas of the county that may provide more access to jobs and healthy living.

The developments would include both single and multi-family units in areas zoned R-4 and R-5, Hinko said. At least 10 perent of the units must be multi-family and at least 5 percent of those must be affordable, meaning rent levels do not exceed Low Income Housing Tax Credit maximum rent—or they’re affordable to people earning less than 60 percent of the median income of the metro area, Hinko said.

Metro Council member Bill Hollander, a Democrat who sits on the ad hoc committee, said the issue of affordable housing is “an economic development issue, a transportation issue.”

The ordinance, he said, “is a way to get people out of concentrated pockets of poverty.”

Councilman James Peden, a Republican and the committee chair, said while he’s been an “anti guy” regarding the ordinance, he believes there are ways to make improvements to the ordinance.

He questioned city officials on details of the ordinance, like how points are earned and if affordability requirements will remain if the property is sold.

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Peden also pointed to a recent U.S. Supreme Court ruling that people affected by discriminatory housing practices can sue even if the bias wasn’t intended as reason to proceed with the ordinance.

“I just think we need to do whatever we can to head in that direction to have (affordable housing) available to all folks,” he said.

The ad hoc committee did pass two other ordinances aimed at making it easier to establish affordable housing in Louisville.

One ordinance eliminates the need for a conditional use permit to construct multi-family housing in areas zoned for office buildings. The other ordinance allows attachments to be built on dwellings in certain areas zoned R-5 with the aim of boosting density and providing more options for low-income residents.

]]> http://wfpl.org/big-affordable-housing-ordinances-stall-now-metro-council-committee/feed/ 0 Prescription Drug Abuse in Kentucky Declined After 2012 Law, Report Says http://wfpl.org/prescription-drug-abuse-kentucky-declined-2012-law-report-says/ http://wfpl.org/prescription-drug-abuse-kentucky-declined-2012-law-report-says/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 20:39:02 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40171 The number of Kentuckians “doctor shopping” to obtain similar drug prescriptions from multiple doctors dropped significantly after new drug laws went into effect in 2012, according to a new University of Kentucky report. The so-called “pill-mill bill” required pain management … Read Story

]]> The number of Kentuckians “doctor shopping” to obtain similar drug prescriptions from multiple doctors dropped significantly after new drug laws went into effect in 2012, according to a new University of Kentucky report.

The so-called “pill-mill bill” required pain management facilities to be owned by a licensed physician, and pharmacists to register with a prescription monitoring system called KASPER.

On Monday, several state elected officials announced the results of the report, saying it showed ongoing success in the state’s efforts to curb drug abuse.

“The decision to prescribe a pain killer has become more of a conscious, measured decision between a prescriber and a patient,” Gov. Steve Beshear said.

After the law was implemented, 24 pain management facilities that weren’t owned by physicians were shut down, according to the report.

The report also indicates a 52 percent decline in the number of patients “doctor shopping.”

But the state has had an uptick in heroin usage since the passage of the pill mill bill, which many have attributed to the increased difficulty in obtaining diverted prescription drugs and the low cost of heroin.

Beshear said that lawmakers will continue to address problems with new drugs as they continue to pop up on the horizon.

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“We’re now looking at synthetic drugs that are surfacing,” Beshear said.

“So this is a never ending process but that doesn’t mean you don’t attack the problems as they arise and try to save and rehabilitate as many of our citizens that get involved in this as is humanely possible.”

This spring lawmakers passed a bill that seeks to stymie the state’s growing heroin problem. Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican, said the Statehouse has had a good tradition of bipartisan legislation that addresses the state’s drug problems.

“When somebody’s out there dealing in a drug, they don’t ask you if you’re a Republican or a Democrat before they sell it to you,” Stivers said. They just want to try to profiteer off the system, they don’t care about the heartache or pain they create for families.”

The report used data collected between 2009 and 2013—in that year, deaths from overdoses in the state declined for the first time in six years.

Kentucky overdose deaths increased from 1,010 in 2013 to 1,087 in 2014.

]]> http://wfpl.org/prescription-drug-abuse-kentucky-declined-2012-law-report-says/feed/ 0 So. Indiana Clerk Employee Alleges That Firing Over Gay Marriage License Refusal Violated Rights http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-clerk-employee-alleges-firing-over-gay-marriage-license-refusal-violated-rights/ http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-clerk-employee-alleges-firing-over-gay-marriage-license-refusal-violated-rights/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 16:55:36 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40148 Harrison County, Indiana, officials are being sued in federal court by a former employee of the county clerk’s office who claims she was fired after refusing to process a same-sex marriage license. The plaintiff, Linda Summers, alleges that her First … Read Story

]]> Harrison County, Indiana, officials are being sued in federal court by a former employee of the county clerk’s office who claims she was fired after refusing to process a same-sex marriage license.

The plaintiff, Linda Summers, alleges that her First Amendment rights were rights were violated when she was fired in December. The lawsuit was filed with the United States District Court for the Southern District of Indiana at New Albany on July 17.

This case comes amidst various stories of country clerks—including at least two in Kentucky—refusing to issue marriage licenses to gay couples following this summer’s landmark Supreme Court ruling lifting states’ bans.

But Summers’ case is different. She was never an elected county clerk—just an employee of one.

Her attorney claimed that that’s a substantial distinction.

“I think an election official is in a different position where they are answerable to the voters for enforcing the law that they have sworn to uphold as an elected official,” said attorney Richard Masters of Masters, Mullins and Arrington in Louisville.

Masters said Summers had the right to exercise her religious beliefs. He calls the case a “garden variety employment discrimination case.” Masters said the defendant in the case, Harrison County Clerk Sally Whitis, could have accommodated Summers’ religious beliefs and had someone else in the office process licenses.

Whitis fired Summers instead, the lawsuit alleges.

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“We are alleging that Ms. Summers’ rights to the free exercise of her religious beliefs, which she sincerely holds that led to her termination, is a violation of title seven of the civil rights act,” Masters said.

Summers is suing for past and future earnings, wages, bonuses and other benefits that she would have gotten if she kept her job. She is also seeking punitive damages.

The defendants, which include Harrison County, have about a month to respond.

Whitis said she’s been advised to not comment on the case.

Same-sex marriage started in Kentucky this summer following the Supreme Court’s ruling, but appeals court judges lifted the ban in Indiana and several other states last year.

]]> http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-clerk-employee-alleges-firing-over-gay-marriage-license-refusal-violated-rights/feed/ 0 Public Comments on Jefferson Davis Statue In Kentucky Capitol Close This Week http://wfpl.org/public-comments-jefferson-davis-statue-kentucky-capitol-close-week/ http://wfpl.org/public-comments-jefferson-davis-statue-kentucky-capitol-close-week/#comments Mon, 27 Jul 2015 10:59:47 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40142 The chance for the public to comment on whether the state should keep a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the state Capitol rotunda closes on Wednesday. Members of the Historic Properties Advisory Commission will then discuss findings at … Read Story

]]> The chance for the public to comment on whether the state should keep a statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in the state Capitol rotunda closes on Wednesday.

Members of the Historic Properties Advisory Commission will then discuss findings at a special meeting held on Aug. 5.

The statue’s presence in the Capitol building has come under criticism in the wake of a mass shooting last month in a historically African American church in Charleston. Dylann Roof, the man accused in the shooting, was depicted holding a Confederate flag in photos posted online.

Prominent Kentucky officials including Gov. Steve Beshear, U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, Attorney General Jack Conway and leaders of both chambers of the state legislature have called for the removal of the statue.

On Thursday, Kentucky’s parks department and state fair board voted to prohibit the sale of confederate flags.

On Friday afternoon, supporters of the statue and rallied on the Capitol steps in Frankfort.

“There are those who wish the annals of history to say Jefferson Davis did not work to honor their future or this great nation, and this statement is just not true,” said Hardin County deputy clerk Susan McCrobie said at the rally.

Before Davis became the president of the Confederacy, he served as the secretary of war during the Pearce administration and oversaw construction of the U.S. Capitol.

Berea Ernst, a student from Frankfort, showed up to the rally with a “Black Lives Matter” sign. Ernst said that the statue has no place in a public institution because of how many people find it offensive.

“Statues of the president of that government don’t belong in our public institutions, because they should represent all people,” Ernst said.

The statue was commissioned in 1932 using funds raised by the United Daughters of the Confederacy and a $5,000 appropriation from the Kentucky legislature.

The Historic Properties Advisory Commission is in charge of the statues in the rotunda, which also includes figures of U.S. Senator Henry Clay, Vice President Alben Barkley and pioneer surgeon Ephraim McDowell.

Officials with the commission say they aren’t sure when a final decision on the statue will be made, but indicated they would try to have one by the time Beshear leaves office at the end of this year.

Public comments can be made at the Historic Properties Advisory Commission’s website.

]]> http://wfpl.org/public-comments-jefferson-davis-statue-kentucky-capitol-close-week/feed/ 0 What Would 2-Way Downtown Louisville Streets Mean For Walkers, Cyclists and Bus Riders? http://wfpl.org/2-way-downtown-louisville-streets-mean-walkers-cyclists-bus-riders/ http://wfpl.org/2-way-downtown-louisville-streets-mean-walkers-cyclists-bus-riders/#comments Sun, 26 Jul 2015 11:00:54 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40039 The idea of converting downtown Louisville’s one-way streets to two-ways has support from business proponents, but motor vehicles aren’t the only way to get around the city. Would two-way streets downtown be good for people who rely on bikes, public … Read Story

]]> The idea of converting downtown Louisville’s one-way streets to two-ways has support from business proponents, but motor vehicles aren’t the only way to get around the city.

Would two-way streets downtown be good for people who rely on bikes, public transit or good old-fashioned walking to get from place to place? Proponents for those modes of transportation say, potentially, yes.

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Portions of Jefferson, Liberty, Chestnut, Shelby, Campbell, Main, Eighth, Seventh and Third streets are all being considered for conversion, said Rebecca Matheny, executive director of the Louisville Downtown Partnership.

And with the help of federal funding work to convert the streets could begin as soon as next year, a city engineer said last week. Plenty of planning and a slew of studies need to be carried out first, however.

Developers with the near $300-million Omni hotel and apartment project have also requested that Third Street be changed from one way to two for the sake of valet and delivery drivers.

Two-way streets have been shown to slow the flow of traffic, while not causing a decrease in overall traffic volume. Slower traffic is good for both pedestrians and cyclists, said Rolf Eisinger, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator.

And two-way streets specifically work well for cyclists, he added, as they often lead to fewer miles traveled in pursuit of a destination.

“Generally speaking, I believe they’re a good idea,” he said.

Barry Barker, director of the city’s transit authority, said two-way streets can lead to a “much more comfortable” experience for bus riders.

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Single-direction travel often forces bus passengers to walk a block or more to catch a connecting bus, Barker said. That, plus with two way streets, a passenger may be able to walk across the street to catch a connecting coach.

As for space, two-way streets may limit the amount of room other vehicles have to maneuver around stopped TARC buses, but Barker said that all depends on the street design.

“Overall, two way streets don’t bother us,” Barker said. He hesitated to express full on support, saying he’d first need to know more details regarding specific design plans, which have yet to be revealed.

Eisinger, though generally supportive of two-way streets, is quick to add that “one size does not fit all.”

What works well on one street may not be the proper treatment for another, he said. And what works on one block of a particular street may not work on the next. From a walker’s perspective, Fourth Street is something of a model, he said.

“It works well for pedestrians because it’s a narrower street, it’s easier to cross,” he said.

And because of the street’s narrow design, traffic tends to travel at a slower rate, making it more accommodating to cyclists, he said.

He also points to a pair of streets in the Old Louisville neighborhood that were converted from one-way in 2011 as another success story in two way travel.

Because they’re a block apart, First Street and Brook Street allow for ample bicycle infrastructure in both directions, as well as on-street parking and two lanes of vehicle traffic.

A 2014 study concluded that First and Brook streets’ two-way conversions resulted in fewer accidents and brought other benefits, such as reduced crime and increased property values.  But traffic volume did increase, according to the study by University of Louisville professor John Gilderbloom and California Polytechnic State University professor William Riggs.

Eisinger said multi-directional traffic can also present negative aspects for getting around on foot or on bike.

Streets with traffic flowing in both directions have more “conflict points,” which arise in more complex street designs, he said.

Two-way streets present more opportunities for pedestrians or cyclists to come into contact with vehicles—left-hand turns across incoming traffic, or vehicles turning through bike lanes.

But proper design can help mitigate these conflict points, he said.

Two-way streets also present challenges in syncing up traffic lights, Eisinger said. But for pedestrians and cyclists this can mean larger gaps between packs of vehicles, which is a good thing for people getting around the city without a car.

]]> http://wfpl.org/2-way-downtown-louisville-streets-mean-walkers-cyclists-bus-riders/feed/ 0 Strange Fruit: News Round-Up with Marriage Equality Attorney Joe Dunman http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-news-round-marriage-equality-attorney-joe-dunman/ http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-news-round-marriage-equality-attorney-joe-dunman/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 12:00:04 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40134 Remember that whole Supreme Court marriage equality thing a couple weeks ago? It was kind of a big deal? Well one of the attorneys, Joe Dunman, joins us this week for a news round-up, and to give us the latest … Read Story

]]> Remember that whole Supreme Court marriage equality thing a couple weeks ago? It was kind of a big deal? Well one of the attorneys, Joe Dunman, joins us this week for a news round-up, and to give us the latest information on two Kentucky county clerks who have refused to issue marriage licenses.

Dunman, who is a civil rights attorney and co-host of the Parade of Horribles legal podcast, also weighs in on the death of Sandra Bland in police custody, and how police interactions are different for white people.

We also talk about the case of local prosecutor Karl Price, who lost his job after making racist remarks in legal documents and in court. Price was given a chance to apologize, and issued a classic faux-pology—which was not good enough for his employer, Jefferson County Attorney Mike O’Connell.

]]> http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-news-round-marriage-equality-attorney-joe-dunman/feed/ 0 Louisville Beard and Mustache Fans to Face Off (Pun Intended) http://wfpl.org/louisville-beard-mustache-fans-face-off-pun-intended/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-beard-mustache-fans-face-off-pun-intended/#comments Sat, 25 Jul 2015 11:01:41 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40031 The Tim Faulkner Gallery on Saturday evening will host Whiskermania, a charity beard and mustache competition. Competitors will face off in a number of different categories, including full beard and mustache, mustache-only, goatee, and whaler or Amish-style. The competition will … Read Story

]]> The Tim Faulkner Gallery on Saturday evening will host Whiskermania, a charity beard and mustache competition.

Competitors will face off in a number of different categories, including full beard and mustache, mustache-only, goatee, and whaler or Amish-style.

The competition will be presented by the Derby City Whisker Club. Whisker Club President Ryan Gore said his own preferred category is a combination.

“Normally I compete in a category which is full beard, styled mustache, so my beard stays natural, no styling gels or hairspray in it. But my mustache may have wax or hairspray, just to make it look real pretty,” Gore said.

The Derby City Whisker Club has 35 official members who attend meetings to learn about techniques for growing, maintaining, and styling facial hair.

“It’s just a bunch of people who really didn’t know each other, brought together by facial hair,” Gore said.

While the focus is on the facial hair, some competitors add costumes as well.

“Last year at a competition in Cincinnati, Ohio, I dressed up like the mascot from the Grippos barbecue chip bag, just cause Grippos are made in Cincinnati,” Gore said. “I thought people would probably get a kick out of that, and people did.”

Winners will receive custom championship belts (like wrestlers) as trophies. All proceeds from the competition will support Active Heroes, a charity that works to prevent veteran suicide.

Doors open at 6 p.m. Saturday and the competition starts at 8.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-beard-mustache-fans-face-off-pun-intended/feed/ 0 Residents Ask For Moratorium on Fracking in Kentucky http://wfpl.org/residents-ask-moratorium-fracking-kentucky/ http://wfpl.org/residents-ask-moratorium-fracking-kentucky/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 20:29:02 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40123 Residents expressed concerns this week that the potential expansion of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Kentucky would pollute the water and air and bring earthquakes to the region. About 50 people attended the “listening session” held Thursday evening by the state Energy and … Read Story

]]> Residents expressed concerns this week that the potential expansion of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in Kentucky would pollute the water and air and bring earthquakes to the region.

About 50 people attended the “listening session” held Thursday evening by the state Energy and Environment Cabinet in Somerset. Xyara Asplen was one of several people calling for a moratorium on fracking.

“Implement a moratorium on high-volume hydraulic fracturing until such a time as it can be demonstrated that the risk to our health, our homes and the quality of life for our families is worth the benefits to those few who will profit,” she said at the meeting.

Asplen says her family was approached by representatives of Lexington Energy, a Utah-based company that has been securing leases on land in Eastern Kentucky.

Interest in Eastern Kentucky’s Rogersville Shale has increased as test wells recently showed the potential for “vast reserves” of gas trapped in shale deep below the surface.

So far, the major fracking plays have been in Texas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, New York, West Virginia and Ohio, but the process has mostly been absent from Kentucky.

The process involves drilling down into the earth and injecting water, sand and chemicals to release gas from shale formations up sometimes over two miles underground.

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And though the EPA earlier this year released a study that found no widespread drinking water pollution from the process, many citizens at the meeting were concerned that Kentucky’s porous limestone rock and cave formations would lend themselves to far-reaching contamination from fracking.

Also, some of the residents who spoke said they worried that fracking would lead to a spike in seismic events. Such events in Oklahoma and Texas have been linked to the underground disposal of “flowback” water, a byproduct of the fracking process.

J.P. Brantley, a member of environmental group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth, pointed to news reports that linked fracking to increased traffic in rural areas leading to overtaxed infrastructure and crumbling roads.

“Their primary concern is making money. The land, people and communities affected by fracking are at best secondary for them,” Brantley said.

Reports of land agents working to secure mineral leases for energy companies have increased this year. At the forum on Thursday evening, Kentucky Environmental Foundation program director Craig Williams said landowners have been asked to sign contracts without even reading them.

“This can only be viewed as an indication of how landowners will be treated if fracking does occur in these areas,” Williams said.

Energy and Environment Cabinet spokesman Dick Brown said after the meeting that there’s been an increase in “land men who are out trying to purchase leases, betting on the future.”

“Unfortunately we have no ability to regulate that. That’s not our purview,” Brown said. “Our advice to people is if someone approaches them, don’t ever sign anything unless you know what’s in it and consult an attorney.”

The state legislature recently passed regulations on the fracking industry including water quality testing, disclosure of chemicals injected underground in the process and a requirement for companies to reclaim land around injection sites.

Another “listening” session will take place in Hazard on July 30.

]]> http://wfpl.org/residents-ask-moratorium-fracking-kentucky/feed/ 0 Anthem Deal For Cigna Would Hasten Health Insurance Consolidation http://wfpl.org/anthem-deal-for-cigna-would-hasten-health-insurance-consolidation/ http://wfpl.org/anthem-deal-for-cigna-would-hasten-health-insurance-consolidation/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 19:58:54 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=40120&preview_id=40120 One reason health insurers are looking to get bigger is that the hospitals and doctor groups across the negotiating table have also gotten bigger. Read Story

]]> Anthem finally bagged its prey.

The Indianapolis-based health insurer Anthem reached an agreement Thursday to pay $54 billion for rival Cigna, based in Bloomfield, Conn. Cigna rejected a lower Anthem bid in June, calling it inadequate.

“We believe that this transaction will allow us to enhance our competitive position and be better positioned to apply the insights and access of a broad network and dedicated local presence to the health care challenges of the increasingly diverse markets, membership, and communities we serve,” said a statement announcing the deal that was attributed to both companies’ CEOs.

It’s the second huge health insurance deal to be announced in a matter of weeks. In early July, Aetna agreed to buy Humana for $37 billion.

Both transactions are part of a wave of consolidation within the health insurance industry, and health care overall.

One reason these health insurers are seeking to get bigger is that the hospitals and doctor groups across the negotiating table have also gotten bigger.

There were 95 hospital mergers and acquisitions in 2014, according to management consulting firm Kaufman Hall. That’s pretty much been the pace for the past few years. Deals that create larger health systems give the providers of health care more leverage in negotiating rates with private insurers.

In recent years, hospitals and health systems have added to their negotiating clout by employing more doctors directly and buying doctor practices. Some health systems have even started their own insurance businesses.

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The hospitals, for what it’s worth, generally say they need to combine forces because insurers had already bulked up in previous rounds of dealmaking.

Another factor in the two insurance megadeals announced this month is a grab for a bigger share of the market for lucrative, privately run Medicare Advantage plans.

Neither the Aetna-Humana deal nor the Anthem-Cigna deal is expected to close until the second half of 2016, the companies said.

The potential transformation of the commercial health insurance market is profound. And antitrust regulators will have to weigh in on the proposed deals, which would reduce the ranks of the top for-profit health insurers to three companies from five today. UnitedHealth Group, now the largest private health insurer, rounds out the lists.

Regulators have “never been faced with mergers of this significance,” David Balto, an antitrust attorney and former Federal Trade Commission official, told Forbes’ Dan Diamond. “When there are two deals of this size, you really end up in a hornet’s nest. I think there’s a pretty strong likelihood that these deals will be blocked.”

The American Medical Association came out swinging Friday. “We have long cautioned about the negative consequences of large health insurers pursuing merger strategies to assume dominant positions in local markets,” said a statement from AMA President Dr. Steven J. Stack. “Recently proposed mergers threaten to increase health insurer concentration, reduce competition and decrease choice.”

The AMA said its own analysis of insurance markets had found “a serious decline in competition” among insurers, with almost 3 of 4 metropolitan areas already rated as highly concentrated under federal guidelines. Stack’s statement also said that the AMA’s analysis of the proposed Anthem-Cigna merger suggests it would be anticompetitive in many of the states where Anthem is licensed.

The AMA statement called on regulators to “take a hard look at proposed health insurer mergers” and to enforce antitrust laws to halt those that would be harmful to competition.

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

]]> http://wfpl.org/anthem-deal-for-cigna-would-hasten-health-insurance-consolidation/feed/ 0 Air Quality Alert Issued for Saturday in Louisville http://wfpl.org/air-quality-alert-issued-saturday-louisville/ http://wfpl.org/air-quality-alert-issued-saturday-louisville/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 16:14:48 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40111 Regulators have issued an Air Quality Alert for Saturday in Metro Louisville and Southern Indiana. The high temperatures (around 90 degrees) and light winds mean there could be high ozone levels in the area. The air is predicted to be … Read Story

]]> AQalertbutton

Regulators have issued an Air Quality Alert for Saturday in Metro Louisville and Southern Indiana.

The high temperatures (around 90 degrees) and light winds mean there could be high ozone levels in the area. The air is predicted to be unhealthy for sensitive groups, such as the elderly, young children, and people with lung disease.

Ozone is formed when the pollution from motor vehicles and factories cooks under the sun.

For updates on local air quality, click here.

]]> http://wfpl.org/air-quality-alert-issued-saturday-louisville/feed/ 0 Louisville Has No Public Statues of Women. That Changes This Weekend. http://wfpl.org/louisville-no-public-statues-women-changes-weekend/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-no-public-statues-women-changes-weekend/#comments Fri, 24 Jul 2015 15:45:34 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=40093 Louisville has numerous public statues honoring historical figures—presidents, civic leaders, explorers and athletes are all immortalized in various ways. By the measure of what they did to be commemorated, it’s a diverse group. But they have one thing in common—they’re … Read Story

]]> Louisville has numerous public statues honoring historical figures—presidents, civic leaders, explorers and athletes are all immortalized in various ways.

By the measure of what they did to be commemorated, it’s a diverse group. But they have one thing in common—they’re all men.

That changes this weekend.

On Sunday, a statue of Mother Catherine Spalding (1793-1858) will be unveiled at the Cathedral of the Assumption—simultaneously commemorating a person who made an  impact on Louisville, and also giving the city its first public statue of a woman.

A Humble Grave

On a recent July afternoon, a symphony of cicadas and lawnmowers could be heard in the cemetery of the Sisters of Charity of Nazareth campus just north of Bardstown.

It’s where a simple, fading headstone marks the final resting place of Mother Catherine Spalding, the co-founder of the Catholic order of nuns, and its first leader. The humble grave belies the impact Spalding and her still-thriving ministries have had on the world, more than 150 years after her death.

Mother Catherine SpaldingSubmitted

Mother Catherine Spalding

“When you think of education, health care and social service for children, none of which have flourished or been there really in any degree before her time and before she and the sisters initiated it,” said Sister Mary Ellen Doyle, a member of the Sisters of Charity and a biographer of Catherine Spalding.

Spalding’s contributions in Louisville were numerous, and it’s fitting that she’s the first woman to be honored with a public statue in the city, Doyle said.

“My impression was that she was deeply loved by the sisters and other people, too,” she said.

Under Spalding’s watch, the Sisters began tending to the practical and spiritual needs of settlers on the Kentucky frontier. They also established the Nazareth Academy for young women—now Spalding University.

That early work would lead them from Nelson County to the still-rugged river port of Louisville.

It was in Louisville that Spalding and the sisters established what would become Presentation Academy.

But Spalding also held a special bond with orphans. She herself was orphaned by age 9, following the death of her mother and her father’s abandonment of the family.

Spalding and her small band of nuns opened their Louisville living quarters to children who were either abandoned by parents who came to Louisville on riverboats, or were orphaned by a cholera outbreak in the 1830s.

“They took in the first orphans, and just put them in their own rooms along with them. And then they built an orphanage,” she said.

Much of the early work of Spalding and the sisters in Louisville took place in and around downtown’s St. Louis Cathedral, now called the Cathedral of the Assumption.

Spalding’s statue will stand out front, on a public sidewalk.

‘On These Grounds’

Louisville has many public statues, ranging from George Rogers Clark, the city’s founder, to  King Louis XVI of France, for whom the city is named.

Mary Margaret Mulvihill believed that Mother Catherine Spalding was deserving, too. She led to the effort to have a statue of Spalding publicly displayed in Louisville.

Details about the piece itself have been a closely guarded secret, but Mulvihill says local artist Raymond Graf captured Spalding as many would have seen her: whisking orphans to safety from the riverfront.

“She would bring them up here on Fifth Street, and she marched, and you can see that action in this sculpture,” Mulvihill said.

Cathedral of the Assumption Pastor Father Jeff Nicolas says Spalding long ago embodied the spirit of a compassionate city.

“The ground is hallowed ground for many, many reasons, but one of those reasons that we’re very proud of is that it’s hallowed because she walked these grounds,” Nicolas said.

“She tended to the care of the city on these grounds.”

Doyle said Catherine Spalding and the sisters would not have been able to carry out their Louisville ministries without help, and this event acknowledges that they had the support of many local business people, civic leaders and non-Catholics.

“In a very real way, this also honors the many Louisvillians who made it possible for her to work, and the sisters,” Doyle said.

The unveiling ceremony for the Catherine Spalding statue will be held Sunday at 1:30 p.m. at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville. It’s open to the public. A reception will follow.

(Top image by J. Tyler Franklin)

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