89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Wed, 04 Mar 2015 21:31:31 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.3 Who Is Supposed to Shovel Louisville’s TARC Stops? (It Might Be You.) http://wfpl.org/supposed-shovel-louisvilles-tarc-stops-might/ http://wfpl.org/supposed-shovel-louisvilles-tarc-stops-might/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 19:09:23 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32977 Update 3:35 p.m.: ‘TARC Dig Out Team’ In a news release Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Greg Fischer urged Louisville residents to clear the sidewalk, particularly those near TARC stops. The city is also forming the “TARC Dig Out Team” to help. … Read Story

]]> Update 3:35 p.m.: ‘TARC Dig Out Team’

In a news release Wednesday afternoon, Mayor Greg Fischer urged Louisville residents to clear the sidewalk, particularly those near TARC stops. The city is also forming the “TARC Dig Out Team” to help. From the news release:

Fischer said employees from several city government agencies and inmates from Metro Corrections are being pulled together, along with employees of TARC, to create a TARC Dig Out Team. These employees will focus on the most highly-used TARC bus stops. But even with this new combined approach, there’s no physical way the city can address all of the bus stops. Since most TARC bus stops are on sidewalks, property owners are technically responsible for clearing sidewalks in and around TARC stops.

Earlier: Louisville sidewalks spent a good deal of the past couple weeks covered in snow or ice—that includes many of the Transit Authority of River City’s 4,800 bus stops throughout the metro area.

Related Story

snowHere's How Much It's Snowed In Louisville Back to 1950 (So Far)

Whose responsibility is it to clear those TARC stops?

Not TARC’s, nor Louisville Metro’s.

The responsibility falls to the owners of properties with TARC stops, said TARC director Barry Barker.

Louisville property owners are supposed to shovel sidewalks on their land—and the property owners can be fined for not doing so.

But the city rarely issues fines.

“The sidewalks, including the TARC stops, remain the responsibility of the property owners,” said Harold Adams, spokesman for Louisville Metro Public Works.

This can lead to TARC stops covered in snow and ice. To compound matters, slush and snow plowed from roads can create impassable ridges between stops and buses, especially for passengers with disabilities.

Who is responsible for that area?

“The boarding area, between the stop and the bus, is TARC’s responsibility,” Adams said.

He added it isn’t “practical” for city plow operators to avoid leaving snow piles at TARC stops.

“I just don’t know what they would do differently, because the snow has got to be plowed out of the driving lanes,” he said.

With heavy snows forecast for Louisville this week, TARC is working on a plan to ensure stops are accessible during and after snow, TARC spokesman Jon Reiter said.

TARC plans to “pay close attention to stops and shelters in downtown Louisville and our busier corridors,” Reiter said, declining Wednesday morning to discuss the plan in greater detail.

More details will be announced later Wednesday.

TARC’s “busier corridors” include Broadway, Dixie Highway, Preston Avenue, Bardstown Road, Frankfort Avenue and Fourth Street near the University of Louisville.

More than 200 TARC-operated vehicles make regular stops at nearly 4,800 stops across the Louisville area every day, Barker said. The thought of clearing snow from each of those stops is “amazing,” he added.

But he said sometimes exceptions are made.

Recently, when snow blanketed many driveways and sidewalks around Louisville, a TARC3 Paratransit operator transporting a wheelchair-bound passenger home from a medical appointment arrived at the destination to find the route from the street to the front door impassable.

Barker said the driver borrowed a shovel from a neighbor and dug a path.

“Got him up to the house,” Barker said.

]]> http://wfpl.org/supposed-shovel-louisvilles-tarc-stops-might/feed/ 0 Here’s How Much It’s Snowed In Louisville Back to 1950 (So Far) http://wfpl.org/heres-much-snowed-louisville-back-1950-far/ http://wfpl.org/heres-much-snowed-louisville-back-1950-far/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 18:12:05 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32999 The chart below could be quite different by Thursday morning. After a mild (as far as snow goes) December and January, Louisville may could come close to, or even top, the overall snowfall totals from the seemingly epic winter of … Read Story

]]> The chart below could be quite different by Thursday morning.

After a mild (as far as snow goes) December and January, Louisville may could come close to, or even top, the overall snowfall totals from the seemingly epic winter of 2013-14.

As matters stood early Wednesday afternoon, here’s how much snow Louisville has gotten all the way back to the winter of 1950-51.

Seasonal-Snowfall-in-Louisville-Total_chartbuilder

Related Story

iceLouisville Metro Doesn't Usually Fine Property Owners For Snow-Covered, Slippery Sidewalks

If a March snowstorm seems out of place for Louisville, consider this: It’s snowed at least an inch in March the last three years.

In March 2008, Louisville got a total of 10.6 inches of snow—the most of any month in the 2007-08 winter weather season, according to the Kentucky Climate Center. And in March 1960, Louisville got 22.9 inches.

]]> http://wfpl.org/heres-much-snowed-louisville-back-1950-far/feed/ 0 Here Are Some Average Costs For Common Medical Procedures in Kentucky http://wfpl.org/average-costs-common-procedures-kentucky/ http://wfpl.org/average-costs-common-procedures-kentucky/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 12:00:46 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32868 A national health care non-profit recently launched an online price transparency tool that may help people determine the cost of their next medical procedure. Guroo.com was launched by the Health Care Cost Institute to provide national, state and local cost information for common … Read Story

]]> A national health care non-profit recently launched an online price transparency tool that may help people determine the cost of their next medical procedure.

Guroo.com was launched by the Health Care Cost Institute to provide national, state and local cost information for common health conditions and services.

Currently, people can search 70 different conditions and procedures on the website. Cost information includes the national average as well as a person’s state and city averages.

Kentucky was below the national average for several services; costs in the Louisville metro area were even lower.

With many Kentucky adults enrolling in health insurance for the first time, they are in search of a primary care physician. Here’s what Kentuckians can expect as a new patient:

Average-Cost-of-Primary-Care-New-Patient-With-Moderate-Problems-In-Dollars_chartbuilder

Colon cancer is the second most common cause of cancer death in men and women in Kentucky, according to the Kentucky Cancer Consortium. With early detection, the five-year survival rate for the disease is more than 90 percent and at least 60 percent of colon cancer deaths could be prevented with regular screenings. So, how much is a colonoscopy?

Average-Cost-of-a-Colonoscopy-In-Dollars_chartbuilder

David Newman, executive director of HCCI, said the biggest difference between Guroo and other price transparency tools is the amount of information the estimates are based on.

The estimates are based on commercial claims data for more than 40 million Americans insured through Aetna, United, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and Assurant Health. HCCI was legally organized by four of those insurers (except Assurant Health) so that a single non-profit would hold all of the data to support public reporting and research.

Newman said the estimates are reference prices for people who don’t have insurance or people who are in a high-deductible health plan. He said the institute plans to launch another version of Guroo that will allow consumers to see their actual out-of-pocket costs for different providers based on their health insurance plan if their insurer partners with HCCI.

“Our hope is that these two websites collectively will provide a lot of  price transparency information to consumers in most places in the country,” Newman said.

Newman said price and quality information is needed to allow consumers to make good decisions when it comes to health care. He said it will take time for providers and consumers to openly talk about price transparency.

“Consumers need to feel comfortable engaging providers around these issues of price and quality. Providers need to be encouraging consumers to have those discussions with them,” he said.

Here are a few more estimates from the website:

Average-Cost-of-Childbirth-In-Dollars_chartbuilder
Average-Cost-of-a-Digital-Mammogram-In-Dollars_chartbuilder
Average-Cost-of-a-2-View-Chest-X-Ray-In-Dollars_chartbuilder

]]> http://wfpl.org/average-costs-common-procedures-kentucky/feed/ 0 Louisville Prepares For Another Round of Winter Weather http://wfpl.org/winter-weather-forecast-closes-jefferson-county-public-schools/ http://wfpl.org/winter-weather-forecast-closes-jefferson-county-public-schools/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 11:34:21 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32963 Update 4:15 p.m.: Latest Weather Forecast Louisville may get between four to nine inches of snow starting Wednesday evening and ending Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service’s latest update. That’s less snow than in previous forecasts, but still … Read Story

]]> Update 4:15 p.m.: Latest Weather Forecast

Louisville may get between four to nine inches of snow starting Wednesday evening and ending Thursday morning, according to the National Weather Service’s latest update. That’s less snow than in previous forecasts, but still enough to cause issues in the area.

Less snow is forecast for north of Louisville and more for south of the city, the National Weather Service said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer urged residents to move vehicles from snow routes. He also asked residents to shovel sidewalks on their properties. The city also announced plans for removing snow from TARC stops. Meanwhile, Jefferson County Public Schools and Jefferson County Catholic Schools are monitoring the weather but have not made a decision about classes on Thursday.

City road crews will start salting once the snow starts, officials said.

Update 11:51 a.m.: UofL Closing Early

The University of Louisville announced it will close at 2 p.m. Wednesday.

Update 11:43 a.m.: Latest Forecast

The rain falling on Louisville is forecast to transition to snow in the mid- or late afternoon Wednesday, according to the National Weather Service’s morning update.

The Louisville area may get eight to 11 inches of snow before the system moves out of the region late Thursday morning, the National Weather Service said.

Before the snow, the Louisville area is expected to get two or three inches of rainfall, and the National Weather Service is warning of flooding issues.

Update 11 a.m.: More on Why JCPS Decided to Close

Louisville area school systems made a wide range of decisions Wednesday about whether to hold classes—and for how long.

The decision to cancel classes Wednesday for Jefferson County Public Schools came amid forecasts of heavy snow and dipping temperatures, said Mandy Simpson, spokeswoman for the school district.

Simpson said all scenarios were considered, including a partial school day, “but when we got that forecast this morning we knew that in order to uphold safety as a No. 1 priority, which it always is, that we needed to close,” she said.

JCPS transports nearly 70,000 students on more than 900 buses every day, Simpson said. In “ideal conditions” it’s a process that takes nearly three and a half hours.

Earlier: Jefferson County Public Schools are closed Wednesday because of winter weather moving into the Louisville area.

Other school systems closed or changing schedules on Wednesday include:

  • New Albany-Floyd County Schools: 2-hour early dismissal
  • Bullitt County Public Schools: 2-hour early dismissal
  • Oldham County Public Schools: Closed
  • Jefferson County Catholic Schools: Dismiss at 1 p.m.

The National Weather Service forecasts nine to 12 inches of snow for Louisville and the surrounding area. Rain is forecast for Wednesday morning, but it’s expected to transition to snow in the afternoon (the latest forecast puts steady snow starting at about 3 p.m. in Louisville). The snow is forecast to continue until perhaps early Thursday afternoon.

]]> http://wfpl.org/winter-weather-forecast-closes-jefferson-county-public-schools/feed/ 0 Kentucky Senate Passes Bill To Monitor ‘No-Jail Jailers’ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-senate-passes-bill-monitor-jail-jailers/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-senate-passes-bill-monitor-jail-jailers/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 01:44:35 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32949 The Kentucky state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that attempts to build accountability in counties that have jailers but no jails. Since the 1970s, 41 counties have closed their jails for budgetary or compliance reasons. Though all of those counties … Read Story

]]> The Kentucky state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill that attempts to build accountability in counties that have jailers but no jails.

Related Story

Jails - CREDIT THINKSTOCK (4) - NOT FOR REPUBLICATIONOnly in Kentucky: Jailers Without Jails

Since the 1970s, 41 counties have closed their jails for budgetary or compliance reasons. Though all of those counties still have a jailer—a constitutional office in Kentucky—many of those jailers don’t do much work, according to a report in January by the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.

The Senate bill requires jailers to submit quarterly reports on their job duties to fiscal courts, would require the county legislative bodies to establish job requirements for county jailers and only make salary adjustments based on increases in the consumer price index.

“In the end, if the jailer’s not performing up to their duties assigned in these no-jail jailers then the fiscal court would have the option to reduce their salary during an election cycle,” said Sen. Sen. Danny Carroll, a Republican from Paducah and sponsor of the bill.

Earlier this year, KyCIR reported that no-jail jailers are paid annual salaries ranging from $20,000 to $70,398. Despite their salaries, jailers’ job responsibilities are often little-to-nonexistent. Several of the jailers work other jobs, a few of which are full-time.

The total cost of no-jail jailers’ salaries is $1.4 million per year.

In a newspaper opinion piece earlier this year, the Kentucky Jailers Association advocated for the reforms included in the bill, like quarterly reporting.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-senate-passes-bill-monitor-jail-jailers/feed/ 0 Senate OKs $132.5 Million Bond For University of Kentucky Cancer Research http://wfpl.org/senate-oks-132-5-billion-bond-university-kentucky-cancer-research/ http://wfpl.org/senate-oks-132-5-billion-bond-university-kentucky-cancer-research/#comments Wed, 04 Mar 2015 00:00:18 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=32945 The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill authorizing $132.5 million in bonding for a cancer research center at the University of Kentucky. UK will raise an additional $132.5 million to fund the $265 million project. This is the second … Read Story

]]> The state Senate on Tuesday passed a bill authorizing $132.5 million in bonding for a cancer research center at the University of Kentucky.

UK will raise an additional $132.5 million to fund the $265 million project.

This is the second piece of legislation passed by both chambers of the state legislature this session.

The bill also makes an appropriation of $5.4 million to service debt incurred by the bond over the next year. Budgetary appropriations are normally reserved for legislative sessions in even-numbered years.

Bill sponsor Rep. Alice Forgy Kerr, a Republican from Lexington, said the cancer research center will help create a healthier Kentucky.

“The life expectancy of our states is lower than that of citizens in other states and we know that that is unacceptable and we have to do something about that,” Kerr said.

Gov. Steve Beshear has indicated he will sign the bill into law.

Notably, the state Senate made moves on another, more controversial bond bill on Tuesday. The House’s $3.3 billion bond proposal to shore up the ailing Teacher’s Retirement System was given a first reading in the Senate—opening up the possibility that it would be heard in committee.

Senate President Robert Stivers, a Manchester Republican, said the Senate would seek for a more holistic solution to fixing the system an doing “something different than what is proposed by the speaker.” He did not provide details.

The headline on this story was updated to reflect the correct amount the legislation approves.

]]> http://wfpl.org/senate-oks-132-5-billion-bond-university-kentucky-cancer-research/feed/ 0 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.

Related Story

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