89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:03:49 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.6 Forecastle Festival’s Electricity Usage Will Be Offset With Green Energy http://wfpl.org/forecastle-festivals-electricity-usage-will-offset-green-energy/ http://wfpl.org/forecastle-festivals-electricity-usage-will-offset-green-energy/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:43:30 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=39111 Louisville’s Forecastle Festival energy usage will be offset entirely with green power for the first time this year. Forecastle is partnering with Arcadia Power, a company that buys Renewable Energy Certificates—or RECs—from wind farms around the company to offset power … Read Story

]]> Louisville’s Forecastle Festival energy usage will be offset entirely with green power for the first time this year.

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Forecastle is partnering with Arcadia Power, a company that buys Renewable Energy Certificates—or RECs—from wind farms around the company to offset power created from fossil fuels.

Forecastle founder JK McKnight said offsetting the festival’s carbon emissions is something he’s always wanted to do.

“It’s something that I think, being a festival that promotes sustainability and being environmentally conscious, it’s kind of the next level for us to get to that, to where our carbon emissions are being completely offset, actually more than offset, by the partnership with Arcadia,” he said.

Arcadia did a full audit of the festival’s previous on-site energy usage, which includes all the electricity used by the vendors, the stages, lighting and sound. Forecastle purchased enough kilowatt hours of renewable energy to cover all that, plus an additional 15-20 percent, McKnight said.

As far as he knows, Forecastle will be the first festival in the country to entirely offset its carbon emissions, McKnight said.

“I saw the vision of their company and I believe in it 110 percent and really thought what they’re doing is very much needed in the entertainment industry, and we wanted to be that first festival,” he said.

McKnight said the cost of buying the RECs will be absorbed by Forecastle and not passed along to festival-goers. The Forecastle Festival is July 17-19 in Louisville.

]]> http://wfpl.org/forecastle-festivals-electricity-usage-will-offset-green-energy/feed/ 0 Nearly a Week Later, Some Kentucky Clerks Still Refuse to Issue Marriage Licenses http://wfpl.org/nearly-week-later-kentucky-clerks-still-refuse-issue-marriage-licenses/ http://wfpl.org/nearly-week-later-kentucky-clerks-still-refuse-issue-marriage-licenses/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 20:25:38 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=39107 Nearly a week after the Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage ruling, a handful of defiant Kentucky county clerks are still refusing to issue marriage licenses. Green County Clerk Billy Joe Lowe said he will resume issuing marriage licenses next week, but … Read Story

]]> Nearly a week after the Supreme Court’s landmark same-sex marriage ruling, a handful of defiant Kentucky county clerks are still refusing to issue marriage licenses.

Green County Clerk Billy Joe Lowe said he will resume issuing marriage licenses next week, but only to heterosexual couples.

He told Kentucky Public Radio that he’s not worried about possible sanctions.

“I worry more about doing the right Christian thing than worry about what some idiots up in Washington, D.C., think,” Lowe said in a phone interview on Thursday.

Likewise, Casey and Rowan counties are also not issue marriage licenses to any couples. Lawrence, Montgomery and Owsley counties stopped issuing marriage licenses earlier this week but resumed by Wednesday.

Lowe and a few other clerks have asked Gov. Steve Beshear to give them the option of conscientiously objecting to issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, just as Attorney Jack Conway refused to defend the state’s same-sex marriage ban last year.

“If the governor’s concerned about public officials doing their duty he ought to write a letter to Jack Conway,” Lowe said.

Green County has not had any same-sex couples apply for marriage licenses.

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Lowe said his decision came after “doing some heavy thinking” after last week’s Supreme Court ruling. He said he’s resolved to only issue licenses to heterosexual couples “like Kentucky law said to do.”

Kentucky’s constitutional same-sex marriage ban was overturned by the Supreme Court’s ruling, which required states to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples and recognize those issued by other states.

Casey County Clerk Casey Davis sent a letter to Beshear on Monday saying same-sex marriage violated his convictions of “what God has said about marriage and sexuality.”

Beshear issued a statement in response to protesting clerks earlier this week, urging them to comply with the ruling.

“While there are certainly strongly held views on both sides of this issue, the fact remains that each clerk vowed to uphold the law regardless of his or her personal beliefs,” Beshear said in the statement.

Clerks who refuse to issue marriage licenses could be charged with first-degree official misconduct, a Class A misdemeanor.

For the time being, clerks can defend themselves by saying they were waiting for clear instructions, said Sam Marcosson, a University of Louisville law professor.

But eventually, judges will start ordering the clerks to comply with the ruling.

“At that point a judge would I think simply say ‘I’m going to issue an order now and you better comply.’ And at that point if they still don’t comply you start getting into the issue of sanctions,” Marcosson said.

Judges would be able to issue fines, and in extreme cases hold a clerk in contempt and put them in jail for not complying with a direct order, Marcosson said.

]]> http://wfpl.org/nearly-week-later-kentucky-clerks-still-refuse-issue-marriage-licenses/feed/ 0 After Decade-Long Protest, Louisville Church Plans Weekend of Free Same-Sex Weddings http://wfpl.org/after-decade-long-protest-louisville-church-plans-weekend-of-free-same-sex-weddings/ http://wfpl.org/after-decade-long-protest-louisville-church-plans-weekend-of-free-same-sex-weddings/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 18:24:07 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=39083 For the first time in a decade, a wedding will happen at Louisville’s Clifton Universalist Unitarian. And the church is planning to play catch up on those years of missed ceremonies. The Payne Street church will host free wedding ceremonies for same-sex … Read Story

]]> For the first time in a decade, a wedding will happen at Louisville’s Clifton Universalist Unitarian. And the church is planning to play catch up on those years of missed ceremonies.

The Payne Street church will host free wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples through this weekend, starting Friday.

The church leaders have declined to perform wedding ceremonies for nearly 10 years in protest of the state’s ban on same-sex marriage, said Gavin Osborne, the congregation’s lay minister and chairman of the church’s board of trustees.

“That was a strong stance to take,” Osborne said, noting the church likely missed out on thousands of dollars in revenue from potential weddings during that time.

“But we all knew it was the right thing to do.”

The church’s stance was made moot last week the Supreme Court lifted bans on same sex across the U.S.

The court’s ruling doesn’t not require churches to recognize same-sex marriages or to perform ceremonies for those couples. Universalist Unitarian is among the religious groups that sanction same-sex marriages, according to the Pew Research Center.

Where Major Religions Stand on Same-Sex Marriage

 

A June report from Pew shows a majority (57 percent) of Americans support same sex marriage and 39 percent oppose it. i

same sex from pewPew Research Center

Still, a Bluegrass Poll in May said most Kentucky voters disapprove of same-sex marriage.

Hours after the high court lifted the ban, couples headed into the Jefferson County Clerk’s Office in downtown Louisville for marriage licenses. One couple, dressed in tuxedos, got married right in the office.

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Larry Ysunza and Tim Love were the first gay couple to receive a marriage license in Louisville. They’ll be getting married at Clifton Universalist Unitarian, but they’re not doing it this weekend. Love said the couple will have their ceremony in October, on Ysunza’s birthday.

Osborne said he was happy about other mass ceremonies for same-sex couples across the city, but the Clifton church will be offering something a bit different.

The church will offer smaller ceremonies, receptions and the classic wedding traditions to anyone, for free.

“All those things that anyone else would have,” he said.

So far, just a handful of couples are scheduled to be wed at the church this weekend.

“Frankly,” Osborne said. “If we’d done one this weekend we’d thought of it as a success.”

After the weekend, church officials will slowly begin asking those wishing to wed for money, like nearly every other church, Osborne said. Even then, he added, it’ll be a “‘pay what you can’ model.”

But for now, Osborne said, the act of legally marrying same-sex couples is bigger than money for the church.

Osborne said he’ll be happy to officiate the first weddings at the church in years.

]]> http://wfpl.org/after-decade-long-protest-louisville-church-plans-weekend-of-free-same-sex-weddings/feed/ 0 2 Dead in Old Louisville Fire http://wfpl.org/2-dead-old-louisville-fire/ http://wfpl.org/2-dead-old-louisville-fire/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 16:14:58 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=39085 Two people were dead and four were in the hospital Thursday after a fire at an apartment building in Old Louisville. Louisville firefighters were dispatched just before 8 a.m. Thursday to what would become a three-alarm fire on the 1100 … Read Story

]]> Two people were dead and four were in the hospital Thursday after a fire at an apartment building in Old Louisville.

Louisville firefighters were dispatched just before 8 a.m. Thursday to what would become a three-alarm fire on the 1100 block of South Second Street, said Capt. Sal Melendez, a spokesman for the department.

The building had six apartment units, Melendez said. Part of the building would collapse while firefighters tried to get it under control.

One person died at the scene and another died at University Hospital, Melendez said. Five others were transported to University suffering from burns and/or smoke inhalation, including one firefighter. The firefighter has been released from the hospital, Melendez said.

About 75 firefighters responded to the fire.

Melendez said firefighters faced difficulty addressing the fire because the building included six units. Fire officials have checked records and believe the building was up to code, however, Melendez said.

The fire was under control by late morning, though firefighters were still on the scene.

The cause of the fire is still unknown, Melendez said. As is standard is fatal fires, the Louisville Metro Arson Unit is investigating.

]]> http://wfpl.org/2-dead-old-louisville-fire/feed/ 0 Kentucky Shakespeare Opens a Very Scottish Macbeth http://wfpl.org/kentucky-shakespeare-opens-a-very-scottish-macbeth/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-shakespeare-opens-a-very-scottish-macbeth/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 14:06:25 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38941 Kentucky Shakespeare opens its final full-scale production of the summer season tonight Friday, a Scottish-infused version of “Macbeth.” It’s sometimes known as “the Scottish play.” Kentucky Shakespeare Artistic Director Matt Wallace said this production emphasizes that connection, including bagpipers and … Read Story

]]>

William ShakespeareNational Portrait Gallery

William Shakespeare

Kentucky Shakespeare opens its final full-scale production of the summer season tonight Friday, a Scottish-infused version of “Macbeth.”

It’s sometimes known as “the Scottish play.” Kentucky Shakespeare Artistic Director Matt Wallace said this production emphasizes that connection, including bagpipers and live drumming.

“We’re setting this production at the time that the real Macbeth died. A little context, that’s about 200 years before “Braveheart,” so a medieval feeling to it,” Wallace told WUOL, one of WFPL’s sister stations.

“Macbeth” is the final mainstage show for Kentucky Shakespeare this season, following “The Tempest” and “Taming of the Shrew.” The cast includes 23 actors, a larger group than performs the other two plays.

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Wallace said he researched the time in which “Macbeth”was written, including the interests of England’s monarch during Shakespeare’s life.

“King James was a writer of the occult and witches and he even wrote a book on demonology, so I started thinking about how were witches perceived in Shakespeare’s time, how was Scotland perceived in Shakespeare’s time?” said Wallace.

“Macbeth” opens Friday at the C. Douglas Ramey Amphitheatre in Louisville’s Central Park and runs through the end of July, in rotation with the other two mainstage plays. The complete schedule is here.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-shakespeare-opens-a-very-scottish-macbeth/feed/ 0 The ‘Move Louisville’ Transportation Plan May Come Out This Month http://wfpl.org/move-louisville-transportation-plan-may-come-month/ http://wfpl.org/move-louisville-transportation-plan-may-come-month/#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 10:53:35 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38998 Louisville’s far-reaching transportation strategic plan may be released this month. The development of the Move Louisville strategic plan began in November 2013. The plan’s goal is to develop a strategic action plan that makes it easier for residents to get around by … Read Story

]]> Louisville’s far-reaching transportation strategic plan may be released this month.

The development of the Move Louisville strategic plan began in November 2013. The plan’s goal is to develop a strategic action plan that makes it easier for residents to get around by foot, bike, public transit and vehicle, said Patti Clare, deputy director of the city’s office of advanced planning.

“It’s not a bike plan or a pedestrian plan, it’s a multi-modal plan,” she said. “It’s infrastructure planning, but also mobility planning.”

Officials had expected to release a finalized plan within 10 months of the start date, according to the city’s website. But that didn’t happen. Since then, the release has been delayed a couple of times.

Part of the reason is an overwhelming amount of community response, coupled with the plan’s sheer magnitude.

“It’s a tremendous policy document,” said Jessica Wethington, spokeswoman for Develop Louisville. “Right now, we are trying to get everything we want right, we want to make sure everything is included.”

Wethington said officials are “confident we’re almost there,” and expects to release the plan as early as mid-July.

Officials are including “every idea we thought was feasible” in the the plan, she added.

The project got thousands of responses during the public comment period, Clare said. Those comments included support for light rail, bike lanes and better sidewalks and roads.

move lou 1

The top goal of the mayor’s six-year strategic plan is to improve multi-modal transportation. That goal is considered to be “slightly off track,” according to the city’s website. The city has successfully boosted bike facilities and the number of shared use path around the metro area, but still falls short in its effort to improve sidewalks, bridges and roads and bolster residents’ usage of mass transit.

The Metro Council recently approved a budget with nearly $13 million in funds directly allocated for road and street enhancements.

The city’s sole mass transit provider, TARC, is reducing service to its busiest routes due to budget concerns.

Clare, in April, said once the Move Louisville plan is released it will act as a “guiding document” for city officials when addressing transportation.

Additional public comment will be accepted once it’s released.

She said the Louisville Metro Planning Commission will examine the plan and then the full Metro Council will need to approve it, she said.

Once adopted, officials will look to secure necessary funding and get started on capital projects “immediately.”

Move Louisville comes at a cost of about $750,000. A federal transportation grant accounts for about $600,000 of the total. A mix of city funds and about $25,000 from the fiscally strapped Transit Authority of River City make up the rest.

]]> http://wfpl.org/move-louisville-transportation-plan-may-come-month/feed/ 0 Noah’s Ark Developer Seeking Lost Kentucky Tax Incentive http://wfpl.org/noahs-ark-developer-seeking-lost-kentucky-tax-incentive/ http://wfpl.org/noahs-ark-developer-seeking-lost-kentucky-tax-incentive/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:19:31 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=39066 Lawyers for a Christian ministry that’s building a Noah’s ark theme park in Kentucky say state officials violated First Amendment religious protections when they denied the project a state tax incentive worth millions. Answers in Genesis, developer of the 510-foot … Read Story

]]> Lawyers for a Christian ministry that’s building a Noah’s ark theme park in Kentucky say state officials violated First Amendment religious protections when they denied the project a state tax incentive worth millions.

Answers in Genesis, developer of the 510-foot wooden ark, is suing to get back into the tourism incentive program, which could be worth around $18 million.

The group’s lawyers argued Wednesday in federal court in Frankfort that the Christian group should not face different treatment for the incentive just because its theme park will have religious themes.

Kentucky tourism officials say the giant wooden ark would be an evangelism tool and shouldn’t receive tax dollars. They are asking that the group’s lawsuit be dismissed.

U.S. District Judge Greg Van Tatenhove will issue a ruling later.

]]> http://wfpl.org/noahs-ark-developer-seeking-lost-kentucky-tax-incentive/feed/ 0 A Deeper Look at Hate Groups In the U.S. and Kentucky http://wfpl.org/deeper-look-hate-groups-u-s-kentucky/ http://wfpl.org/deeper-look-hate-groups-u-s-kentucky/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 22:15:46 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38937 Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old man accused of killing nine African American parishioners of a Charleston, South Carolina, church, has been tied to white supremacist beliefs. The mass shooting serves as a reminder that hate groups continue to be active throughout … Read Story

]]> Dylann Roof, the 21-year-old man accused of killing nine African American parishioners of a Charleston, South Carolina, church, has been tied to white supremacist beliefs. The mass shooting serves as a reminder that hate groups continue to be active throughout the U.S.—and that includes Kentucky.

The Birmingham-based Southern Poverty Law Center recognizes 784 active hate groups in the U.S. Of those, 16 are active in Kentucky. The Kentucky groups include black separatist, the Klu Klux Klan and racist skinhead, among others.

The activity and strength of these groups throughout the state, however, is unclear.

To make the center’s list of active hate groups, an organization must “have made defamatory statements about an entire class or group of people that are just flat out false,” said Keegan Hankes, a research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Usually, these are targeting minority communities,” Hankes said.

But hate groups have undergone changes in recent years. Their online presences have increased, but their real-life presences—meetings, protests, membership—have declined, he said.

“That doesn’t necessarily show the phenomena of hate going down or even the phenomena of deep racism,” said Kathleen Blee, distinguished professor of sociology at the University of Pittsburgh.

Blee, who studies race and hate groups, said the number of people who identify with hate ideology has had a “very pronounced” increase in recent years.

People who identify with a hate ideology but aren’t members are considered “lone wolves,” Blee said.

About 70 percent of the 60 most recent terrorism attacks in the U.S. were conducted by people acting alone, according to a study released in February by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In 2013, there were nearly 230 reported hate bias crimes in Kentucky, according to a report from the Kentucky State Police. In 2010, 69 hate bias crimes were reported.

hate crime mapKentucky State Police

More than half of the offenses in 2013 (52 percent) were assault reports. And about 70 percent of all offenses were motivated by racial bias—40 percent stemmed from “anti-black” motivations, according to the report.

Hate crime offenders in Kentucky are most commonly white (63 percent) and most offenses occur most frequently at a residence (46 percent), according to the state police report.

Blee said it’s difficult to generalize hate groups. Some groups focus on policy changes and align with non-violent practices, while others, she said, “would love to be associated with what Roof did.”

In Kentucky

Hankes, of Southern Poverty Law Center, said many groups try to give the appearance of legitimacy but simultaneously push a message based on blatant bias. Hankes said an example in Kentucky is the state League of the South chapter, which advocates for Southern coal mining and coal workers.

“That may be true, that may be actually their position, but what they’re not doing is advertising the fact that they are an explicitly racist, neo-secessionist group,” Hankes said.

Spencer Borum, chairman of the northcentral region of the League of the South’s Kentucky chapter, said the group  advocates for the “survival, well-being and independence of the Southern people.”

“We’re a pro-white group, we’re a pro-southern group,” Borum said.

Borum, 28, said he disagrees with the Southern Poverty Law Center’s claim that the League of the South is a hate group.

“It’s not that we’re pro-white because we dislike other people —we’re pro-white because that is who we are. We’re realists,” he said. “We’re nationalists in the traditional sense of the word.”

Borum said the group has 11 dues-paying members in the north central region. Increasing their ranks has proven difficult, but he said he believes the state has a “huge base of sympathizers.”

A spokesman for the FBI’s Louisville office declined to discuss hate groups in detail, citing policies against revealing investigative procedures.

The FBI does investigate hate crimes, according to their website, which they say is the top priority of their Civil Rights Program.

Louisville Metro Police also did not respond with details regarding how much attention they dedicate to hate groups.

Blee said that being knowledgeable of hate groups is important. Though groups’ membership numbers are waning, they have had success in recruiting young people.

“If young people don’t know about hate groups they may not know what they stand for,” she said. “Sometimes they get pulled into these groups without really knowing what they’re about.”

Hankes stressed these groups are protected by the First Amendment and “are allowed to have these beliefs.”

Blee said hate groups and racism are not inevitable. She said hate is not inherent, it’s learned. “People aren’t born with those ideas, they learn those ideas, it’s absolutely something that society can overcome,” she said.

]]> http://wfpl.org/deeper-look-hate-groups-u-s-kentucky/feed/ 0 Louisville’s Minimum Wage Hike Could Be An Example Through the South http://wfpl.org/louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike-could-be-an-example-through-the-south/ http://wfpl.org/louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike-could-be-an-example-through-the-south/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:59:22 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=39037 The first phase of Louisville’s minimum wage increase went into effect Wednesday. This change will affect thousands of workers in the city, according to some estimates. But economic groups say the wage hike could also have a sweeping impact throughout … Read Story

]]> The first phase of Louisville’s minimum wage increase went into effect Wednesday.

This change will affect thousands of workers in the city, according to some estimates. But economic groups say the wage hike could also have a sweeping impact throughout the American South.

“This is a big day,” said Kenny Colston, communications director for the Kentucky for Center Economic Policy.

Colston’s group estimates the hike will affect about 45,000 people in Louisville. Besides that, he said Louisville will likely open the door for wage increases statewide.

In the past his group has had a hard time selling minimum wage increases to other cities in Kentucky.

“Our examples are Seattle or Washington, D.C., or Chicago,” Colston said. “And I don’t think people in Kentucky really equate their lives to lives in those cities. They view that as bigger.”

Colston said the hope is Louisville will encourage other cities in the state.

“The fact that Louisville—a gateway to the South is now doing this,” he said. “I think it’s great. I think it should be a beacon of hope for other cities. I think other lawmakers should look at this and say, ‘If Louisville can do this then we can do this.’”

Louisville minimum wage workers got a 50 cent pay bump on Wednesday. It’s the first of three increases. Eventually, Louisville’s minimum wage will be $9 an hour in 2017—thanks to a local ordinance passed last year.

Louisville’s effort is a “breakthrough,” said Dean Baker of the left-leaning Center for Economic and Policy Research in Washington.

He said Louisville’s increase—if it goes well—could spur interest in minimum wage increases in cities and states all over the South.

“You know, you have cities that don’t look all that different,” Baker said. “So, if Louisville could do it, can Charleston do it, can Austin?”

Until now, the wave of wage increases have been pretty much exclusive to the Midwest, Northeast and wealthy cities in California.

But red states often have liberal cities. In those places, Louisville’s wage hike could be a game-changer.

But much of that depends on how things go in Louisville.

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It’s too early to tell whether there will be job losses and price spikes as a result. Opponents of Louisville’s ordinance have said that’s coming, though.

There’s a lawsuit in front of an appellate court. Industry groups are challenging whether Louisville Metro Government had the authority to raise the wage here. A circuit court recently upheld the city’s law.

And even though Louisville’s law just was into effect, Colston said the push for  an even higher minimum wage will continue.

“I mean, $9 an hour is nice, this is a great step,” he said. “It’s a lot better than $7.25, but it’s not enough.”

Colston said $10 or $11 dollars an hour would better match cost of living in Louisville.

He said the city should also consider raising wages for tipped workers in the city, too.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisvilles-minimum-wage-hike-could-be-an-example-through-the-south/feed/ 0 Kentucky Prosecutor Wants ‘Good Samaritan’ Policy Out of Anti-Heroin Law http://wfpl.org/kentucky-prosecutor-wants-good-samaritan-policy-out-of-anti-heroin-law/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-prosecutor-wants-good-samaritan-policy-out-of-anti-heroin-law/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 20:34:46 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=39038 A Kentucky prosecutor is taking issue with an element of the anti-heroin legislation that state lawmakers approved this spring giving a measure of legal immunity to people who report heroin overdoses. The provision extends criminal protections to people who report an … Read Story

]]> A Kentucky prosecutor is taking issue with an element of the anti-heroin legislation that state lawmakers approved this spring giving a measure of legal immunity to people who report heroin overdoses.

The provision extends criminal protections to people who report an overdose, and also to overdose victims, giving them immunity from drug possession and drug paraphernalia charges. The new law also says people who don’t have drugs on them who report an overdose will trigger the immunity provision.

Kenton Commonwealth’s Attorney Rob Sanders says that’s a problem.

“They don’t want immunity, they don’t need immunity but they get immunity,” said Sanders, whose Northern Kentucky county has been hard-hit by the state’s problems with heroin use.

“What’s more alarming is that the immunity then extends to the person using heroin even though the person that called never needed, wanted or asked for immunity.”

By extending immunity to overdose victims, they end up getting sent back into the community without receiving treatment, Sanders said.

“Once the hospital staff clears them—OK you’re not going to die now—there’s no way to force them into treatment and for that matter even if they want treatment, there’s no way to fund treatment because they’re not facing criminal charges,” Sanders said.

Earlier this month, Gov. Steve Beshear announced $2.6 million in grants that will go to community mental health centers for local substance abuse treatment. Once available, users would have to voluntarily sign up to be treated.

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The new heroin policies went into effect in March. Since then, Sanders’ office  hasn’t seen as many new heroin possession and paraphernalia charges coming in as a result of the Good Samaritan provision.

Kentucky Public Advocate Ed Monahan, the state’ chief public defender, said even if users aren’t forced into treatment, a reported overdose can be an important first point of contact with treatment.

“The common sense reality is once you get in with the medical system, you get that connection you’re going to be encouraged to get into treatment as a voluntary choice,” Monahan said.

As part of the heroin legislation, Kentucky’s Department of Public Advocacy received $1.2 million to boost its alternative sentencing program.

Monahan said there isn’t enough data to show a definitive decline in heroin cases in his office, but that it’s “common sense” that the policy will save lives.

“It’s just common sense to call when you can get somebody help without getting them entangled in the legal system,” Monahan said.

State Rep. Joni Jenkins, a Louisville Democrat, said the good Samaritan provision could have helped her nephew, who died of a heroin overdose.

“He was with someone who wasn’t doing drugs, who isn’t a drug user and she did not call when he overdosed because she did not want to get him in trouble,” Jenkins said last week during a legislative committee overseeing the implementation of the new heroin policies.

According to the Kentucky Office of Drug Control Policy, heroin accounted for 30 percent of overdose deaths in 2015.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-prosecutor-wants-good-samaritan-policy-out-of-anti-heroin-law/feed/ 0 Report: Antitrust Lawyers Opposed to Electrolux-GE Deal http://wfpl.org/report-antitrust-lawyers-opposed-elextrolux-ge-deal/ http://wfpl.org/report-antitrust-lawyers-opposed-elextrolux-ge-deal/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:39:15 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=39026 The future ownership of Louisville’s Appliance Park is in question after a report Wednesday that antitrust lawyers are opposed to the sale of GE’s appliance business to the Swedish-based Electrolux. Bloomberg reports: A final decision about whether to pursue a … Read Story

]]> The future ownership of Louisville’s Appliance Park is in question after a report Wednesday that antitrust lawyers are opposed to the sale of GE’s appliance business to the Swedish-based Electrolux.

Bloomberg reports:

A final decision about whether to pursue a lawsuit to block the agreement rests with senior officials at the division. Companies can try to reach a settlement even after a lawsuit, as American Airlines and US Airways did when the department sued to bar their merger in 2013.

Bloomberg reported that it’s unclear if a settlement can be negotiated.

The companies announced the planned sale in September. About 6,000 people work for GE Appliance in Louisville.

]]> http://wfpl.org/report-antitrust-lawyers-opposed-elextrolux-ge-deal/feed/ 0 Southern Indiana Town Moves HIV Testing Site http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-town-moves-hiv-testing-site/ http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-town-moves-hiv-testing-site/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:52:48 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38999 The Scott County Health Department has begun offering HIV testing at a new location in the Southern Indiana community battling an outbreak of the disease. The Scott County Health Department has leased a building from Scott Memorial Hospital to continue … Read Story

]]> The Scott County Health Department has begun offering HIV testing at a new location in the Southern Indiana community battling an outbreak of the disease.

The Scott County Health Department has leased a building from Scott Memorial Hospital to continue the city’s “One Stop Shop.”

The new building is located at 825 Highway 31 in Austin, Indiana, which has been the epicenter of the HIV outbreak that has drawn national attention.

The operation was previously housed at the city’s Community Outreach Center  and led by the Indiana State Department of Health.

Recently, the state health department began transferring  more responsibility to local officials in dealing with the response to the HIV outbreak in the southeastern part of the state.

The One Stop Shop will still offer the same services, including, HIV testing, enrollment in health insurance and coordinated substance abuse treatment.

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

These services will be available Wednesdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The needle exchange program will continue providing clean syringes on the following days:

  • Monday: 3 p.m. -6 p.m.
  • Tuesdays: 3 p.m. -8 p.m.
  • Wednesdays: 9 a.m. -4 p.m.
  • Thursdays: 3 p.m. -6 p.m.

The mobile unit will run Friday afternoons.

For more information call (317) 605-1480.

 

 

 

]]> http://wfpl.org/southern-indiana-town-moves-hiv-testing-site/feed/ 0 Buy A Meth House Unawares And Pay The Health Consequences http://wfpl.org/buy-a-meth-house-unawares-and-pay-the-health-consequences/ http://wfpl.org/buy-a-meth-house-unawares-and-pay-the-health-consequences/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:27:35 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=38993&preview_id=38993 The residue from meth labs can cause health problems, but people aren't always told that the house they're buying is contaminated. An Indiana law requires disclosure but not mandatory testing. Read Story

]]> Jennifer Nugent and her three kids are throwing a big, blue ball around in the small living room of their rental home.

The kids are happy, but Nugent isn’t. She planned to raise them in a place with much more room to play.

And she was. That is, until she learned that home was uninhabitable.

Two years ago, she and her husband bought a country home in the small central Indiana town of Mooresville.

“It was blue and it had a lot of potential for us to add on,” she says. “We really, really wanted that house.”

But shortly after the Nugent family moved in, their dream home became a nightmare.

The kids were constantly sick and struggling to sleep. The Nugents puzzled over their children’s health problems until a neighbor mentioned that the previous homeowner referred to the bathroom as his “smoke shop.”

That’s when Nugent paid $50 for a methamphetamine test. The first test revealed meth levels three times the legal limit. When meth is smoked, dangerous chemicals are released into the air that can cling to clothing, carpets and walls.

State police here have busted more than 11,000 meth labs since 2007. Indiana leads the nation in the number of meth lab seizures, causing hundreds of homes to be contaminated with dangerous chemicals each year.

Contaminated houses are listed on the state’s public online database and properties are removed from the list only after they’ve been cleaned by a qualified inspector. The Drug Enforcement Administration keeps a national registry that logs the locations of known contaminated homes as reported by law enforcement.

Lori Endris, who heads a drug testing lab for the state of Indiana, says that doesn’t mean people can still end up living in a contaminated house without realizing it.

“If you look at the numbers of properties versus the numbers that have been properly cleared by a qualified inspector, you’re talking an [8,000-] to 9,000-house difference and I don’t believe that all of those are sitting empty,” she says.

A recently passed state law aims to protect homebuyers from unknowingly buying homes contaminated by meth.

Just like checking a box to indicate if there’s lead or asbestos on a property, homeowners must disclose whether meth was manufactured there. Just over half of states have similar disclosure laws.

But, of course, they depend on the seller’s honesty.

“I field a lot of calls from Realtors wanting to know if a property has been cleaned or cleared because people aren’t wanting to tell the truth,” Endris adds.

Indiana-based Crisis Cleaning has a special team that works solely on decontaminating meth homes.

Meth tests are the company’s most in-demand service, according to Donetta Held, the firm’s owner.

“We’ll do a floor, a ceiling and two walls. And we’ll take a pre-wetted alcohol wipe and we’ll wipe within that square, put that in the jar. We label that ‘came from the kitchen’ and we do that in each room and we overnight that to the lab,” she says. “They analyze how much meth, if any, is in that.”

It can cost tens of thousands of dollars to decontaminate a property.

That means some people just don’t bother, leaving behind dozens of toxic chemicals that can contribute to lasting health problems.

Short term health risks include headache, nausea, and eye irritation. Long-term effects are unclear, but children are particularly vulnerable. That’s why Nugent wants Indiana to strengthen its laws.

In her case, she says the previous homeowner didn’t disclose that meth was in the home.

“You’re relying on a criminal to disclose his criminal acts to a buyer and lose the sale,” she says. “So I don’t think that’s enough.”

Nugent wants the state to require homeowners or real estate agents to have methamphetamine tests performed on all listed properties.

Even after having it decontaminated, the Nugent family decided to sell their dream house. As a result, they took a significant financial loss.

Copyright 2015 WFIU-FM. To see more, visit http://wfiu.org.

]]> http://wfpl.org/buy-a-meth-house-unawares-and-pay-the-health-consequences/feed/ 0 Comer Lost Republican Gubernatorial Primary Despite Late Surge In Big Donations http://wfpl.org/comer-lost-republican-primary-surge-big-donations/ http://wfpl.org/comer-lost-republican-primary-surge-big-donations/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 14:05:13 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38988 Campaign finance records filed last week reveal a late burst of six-figure donations to James Comer in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for Kentucky governor last month, with similar sums going to a political organization aiming to defeat … Read Story

]]> Campaign finance records filed last week reveal a late burst of six-figure donations to James Comer in his unsuccessful bid for the Republican nomination for Kentucky governor last month, with similar sums going to a political organization aiming to defeat the eventual primary winner, Matt Bevin.

These latest records shed light on so-called “unauthorized campaign committees,” which can raise and spend money to support or oppose candidates — without the authorization of candidates themselves. Unlike personal donations that are capped at $1,000 in Kentucky, the committees can donate as much as they’d like.

According to candidates’ reports filed with the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance, two of these committees spent $743,250 during the period May 6-June 18, about half for Comer, half against Bevin.

Last month Bevin defeated Comer by 83 votes to win the Republican nomination to oppose Democrat Jack Conway in the Nov. 3 election for governor. A millionaire businessman from Louisville, Bevin received no support from unauthorized committees in the May-June reporting period.

Comer’s 11th-hour boost came from Kentuckians for Growth, Opportunity & Prosperity, a committee headed by investment adviser and Republican fundraiser Richard Knock of Union, in Northern Kentucky. It gave Comer $315,000, mostly in the week before the primary. The money helped Comer pay for more than $300,000 in TV ads in May.

James Comer and his wife at the 2014 Fancy Farm event.

James Comer and his wife at the 2014 Fancy Farm event.

Records show most of that $315,000 came from out of state. A trust set up by Joseph Craft III, chief executive of Alliance Resource Partners, a Tulsa, Okla., coal company, gave the committee $150,000, raising his total contribution to the committee to $628,500. Barbara Banke, chairwoman of Jackson Family Wines in Santa Rosa, Calif., gave $100,000. Bennett Hatfield, CEO of Charleston, W.Va.-based Patriot Coal Corp. until stepping down in April, gave $10,000.

Money from Comer’s biggest donor base — individuals — shrank to $33,155 during the May-June period, down from $47,940 in the period from April 19 to May 5. The unauthorized booster committee, though, allowed other Kentuckians to come to his aid.

The committee received $25,000 from the Coalition for Prosperous Kentucky, whose president, Lexington attorney Darren Embry, runs it from his law firm’s office.  It received $2,500 from Mid-State Recycling Co. in Glasgow. The coalition and Mid-State each gave the pro-Comer committee more than $470,000 during the primary campaign.

Comer’s other late boost from an unauthorized campaign committee came in the form of a negative blitz against Bevin. Kentucky Family Values, whose chairman is Hopkinsville trial attorney Douglas Myers, raised $328,250 from May 6 to June 18. The committee received $200,000 from the Better Schools Kentucky political action committee, $50,000 from the Kentucky Justice Association — the trade group for trial lawyers — and $10,000 from the Kentucky State AFL-CIO. Kentucky Family Values did not endorse a candidate.

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Third-place finisher Hal Heiner had the backing of one unauthorized campaign committee, the Bluegrass Action Fund. Its report filed last week lists Joe Burgan, Heiner’s campaign manager in his 2010 bid to become Louisville’s mayor, as chairman, while the Kentucky Registry of Election Finance lists Alan Philp of Arlington, Va., as chairman.

On his LinkedIn page, Philp identifies himself as a partner at Collins Anderson Philp Public Affairs in Denver. Before that, he was a regional political director for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign for two years and served as former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s policy director from 2003 to 2005.

But Philp also serves as president Citizens for a Sound Government, a Denver-based nonprofit with links to the Koch brothers, the billionaire businessmen who back conservative candidates and causes. Citizens for a Sound Government accounted for the only money raised by the Bluegrass Action Fund in the two weeks leading up to the May 19 primary — $64,500 — on May 12.

No unauthorized campaign committees raised or spent money toward negative campaigns against either Heiner or Comer.

Bevin received $856,184 during the May-June campaign finance reporting period. Most of that came in the form of $800,000 in loans from himself.

Reporter James McNair can be reached at jmcnair@kycir.org or (502) 814.6543.

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

]]> http://wfpl.org/comer-lost-republican-primary-surge-big-donations/feed/ 0 Groups Push to Raise $2 Million, Renovate 30 Buildings in Louisville’s Portland Neighborhood http://wfpl.org/groups-push-raise-2-million-renovate-30-buildings-louisvilles-portland-neighborhood/ http://wfpl.org/groups-push-raise-2-million-renovate-30-buildings-louisvilles-portland-neighborhood/#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 11:17:29 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=38959 Razor wire hangs from the fence on the south side of Jeanne Tessier’s home in the Portland neighborhood. She doesn’t own the fence. No one does, really. The property to the south of Tessier’s home, at 17th and Bank streets, is vacant. … Read Story

]]> Razor wire hangs from the fence on the south side of Jeanne Tessier’s home in the Portland neighborhood. She doesn’t own the fence.

No one does, really.

The property to the south of Tessier’s home, at 17th and Bank streets, is vacant. The barren lot sits in stark contrast to Tessier’s shotgun home. On her side of the fence is the house with crisp white trim around the windows and a  row of flowers along the front.

She moved in about six weeks ago.

Her house on 17th Street is an early product of the Portland Investment Initiative—a new effort to revitalize portions of Louisville’s Portland neighborhood.

The initiative is recently partnered with non-profit group New Directions Housing Corporation to assist in administrative duties related to the revitalization effort.

The groups want to raise $2 million to help purchase and renovate 30 houses and commercial spaces in the neighborhood.

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Nearly 42 percent of the neighborhood’s 11,000 residents live in poverty, according to U.S. Census data.  And a 2014 report from Network Center for Community Change said Portland has nearly 10 percent of all of Louisville’s vacant or abandoned properties.

Many of those vacant properties are shotgun homes, said Stephanie Kertis, spokeswoman for the initiative.

“And we think that is such a classic Louisville housing form and we don’t want to see that disappear,” she said.

The plan calls for the purchase and renovation of homes and commercial spaces along Bank Street, between 15th and 26th Street, Kertis said.

A handful of houses have been completed, so far, she said. The groups have raised about a third of the $2 million they need for the entire project. The funds have came from a small gaggle of private investors, Kertis said.

Louisville businessman Gill Holland Holland is leading the initiative. He also led efforts to revamp the once-blighted east Market Street area. (Holland is a member of the Louisville Public Media board of directors.)

Kertis said the recent efforts in Portland are different from those that took place just east of downtown.

“It’s a whole different type of neighborhood with different needs,” she said. “It’s a much larger area with some potentially some bigger problems.”

Tessier said the problems are evident in the neighborhood.

Her small, two bedroom home is nice. The floors are new, so are the windows.

But empty, abandoned structures pepper the street. Longtime residents remind her to be safe and stay away from certain areas. The mail carrier said she needs a gun.

Tessier, however, said she’s yet to have a bad experience in the neighborhood. She used to live in Old Louisville and said her new Portland home is quieter than life on Sixth Street.

She said she believes the claims of gentrification in Portland are “a real concern” and understands how people who have lived in the neighborhood for years may feel pushed out when a once decrepit building is renovated and an outsider moves in.

“If I was one of the natives, I would think, ‘What’s the deal here,’” she added.

“I don’t want to see the end result of this project is the poor get pushed out and have to go fend for themselves. I would like to see a community develop where poor and less poor and even comfortable can live side by side.”

Stepping outside her home recently, she motioned to the razor wire.

“There is way more of that than this,” she said, pointing back at the house.

“I’m hoping for more of this.”

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