89.3 WFPL http://wfpl.org Louisville's NPR® News Station Tue, 26 May 2015 21:29:35 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.6 Louisville’s July Fourth Festival Returning After Year-Long Hiatus http://wfpl.org/free-fourth-of-july-celebration-coming-back-to-waterfront-park/ http://wfpl.org/free-fourth-of-july-celebration-coming-back-to-waterfront-park/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 21:27:12 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37206 Following a one-year hiatus, a free Fourth of July festival is heading back to Waterfront Park this year. The Louisville Orchestra will headline this year’s event, along with cellist Ben Sollee and the hip-hop group 1200, according to a news … Read Story

]]> Following a one-year hiatus, a free Fourth of July festival is heading back to Waterfront Park this year.

The Louisville Orchestra will headline this year’s event, along with cellist Ben Sollee and the hip-hop group 1200, according to a news release from the Waterfront Development Corp.

Last year’s Fourth of July celebration at Waterfront Park was canceled after state lawmakers cut about $420,000 from the state budget that had previously gone to Waterfront Park, said David Karem, president of the Waterfront Development Corp.

Karem said a surge of local sponsors, coupled with support from the city, will allow this year’s event to take place.

The one-day event will cost about $180,000, he said.

“With the exception of the money from the city, the rest of it has all been from various sponsors,” he said.

Louisville Metro will contribute $50,000 for the event, according to a report from The Courier-Journal.

Karem said he expects the Fourth of July celebration to have an economic impact in the “millions of dollars.”

And he said that economic impact, in addition to the mounting revenue from other large events at the park, such as Forecastle Festival, makes a case that the park should get more funding from the state.

“Because you want to keep the park maintained in the proper style, you want it to get the reputation that it’s one of the cleanest parks in the country, that’s the goal we have,” he said.

The announcement of the return of a free Fourth of July celebration comes just a day after Abbey Road on the River’s organizer said the festival would leave Louisville after 2016. The festival organizer cited a dispute with the Galt House as the reason.

Abbey Road on the River is an annual Memorial Day music festival held at the Belvedere adjacent to Waterfront Park.

Karem said despite the Waterfront Development Corp.’s role as “broker” of the Belvedere for events such as Abbey Road on the River, solving the dispute seems to be out of his hands.

“When Abbey Road puts their event together they do it under the rules and restriction that we’ve developed, but as far as whatever is going on in any kind of conflict, it’s not between us and Abbey Road,” he said.

Karem said he hopes the conflict can be resolved “because it is a good event.”

But he said “there is always going to be new opportunities.”

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said he hopes all parties involved in the Abbey Road on the River dispute can resolve their differences.

“We want to do everything we can to make sure its successful.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/free-fourth-of-july-celebration-coming-back-to-waterfront-park/feed/ 0 Louisville Cardinals Get Home Advantage For Baseball Tournament Opener http://wfpl.org/louisville-cardinals-get-home-advantage-for-baseball-tournament-opener/ http://wfpl.org/louisville-cardinals-get-home-advantage-for-baseball-tournament-opener/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 20:08:39 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37222 The Louisville Cardinals baseball team open play at home Friday against Morehead State in the NCAA Tournament. U of L is seeded third nationally and is hosting an NCAA regional for the third straight year. Being a host school not … Read Story

]]> The Louisville Cardinals baseball team open play at home Friday against Morehead State in the NCAA Tournament.

U of L is seeded third nationally and is hosting an NCAA regional for the third straight year.

Being a host school not only gives U of L the luxury of playing in friendly confines, but it allows them some extra preparation time for the double-elimination regional.

“We’re doing everything that we’ve done all year,” Sophomore outfielder Nick Solak said. “Really, when it comes down to it, we’re squeezing everything that we worked on offensively, defensively, pitching-wise.”

Morehead State has won 27 of its last 34 games.

“I know they’re a good club—I think all 64 teams in the run to Omaha are very good,” Cardinals hitting coach Eric Snider said. “I think they’ll probably have very good starting pitching, a good bullpen as well as their closer.”

The game begins at 6 p.m. at Jim Patterson Stadium.

Michigan and Bradley square off in the other opener in Louisville.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisville-cardinals-get-home-advantage-for-baseball-tournament-opener/feed/ 0 Charter Communications, Time Warner Cable Reach Merger Deal http://wfpl.org/charter-communications-time-warner-cable-reach-merger-deal/ http://wfpl.org/charter-communications-time-warner-cable-reach-merger-deal/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 17:40:50 +0000 http://wfpl.org?p=37210&preview_id=37210 The deal would make Charter Communications a significant rival to Comcast, which had also sought to buy Time Warner but it met regulatory objections. Read Story

]]> Time Warner Cable and Charter Communications announced Tuesday that they had reached a merger deal.

If the deal is completed, the new company would become a major rival to Comcast Corp. As we reported, Comcast and Charter had already made earlier bids to buy Time Warner, but Charter was outbid by Comcast and the Comcast deal fell apart after the Justice Department and the Federal Communications Commission raised concerns that it would lead to an anti-competitive environment.

According to The Wall Street Journal’s math, this deal is valued at $55 billion and it gives cable mogul John Malone “the prize he has been chasing for two years.”

The Journal reports:

“The acquisition by Charter, which is backed by Mr. Malone’s Liberty Broadband Corp., would vault the cable operator into the ranks of the biggest U.S. broadband and pay-television companies.

“The firms have agreed to terms for a cash-and-stock deal that would value Time Warner Cable at $195 a share, according to people familiar with the matter.”

Bloomberg reports:

“‘The idea that Time Warner Cable and Charter are merging isn’t a surprise, but the price raises some eyebrows,’ Craig Moffett, an analyst at MoffettNathanson in New York, said May 24 after Bloomberg News reported a deal was near. …

“The Time Warner Cable deal enables Charter, whose largest shareholder is billionaire John Malone, to almost quadruple its number of cable subscribers, gaining 12 million customers in cities including New York, Los Angeles and Dallas.”

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

]]> http://wfpl.org/charter-communications-time-warner-cable-reach-merger-deal/feed/ 0 Kentucky Should Do More to Put Foster Kids With Family, Report Says http://wfpl.org/kentucky-put-foster-kids-family-report-says/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-put-foster-kids-family-report-says/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 16:00:45 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=36869 Years ago, Laura Cooper and her husband were working and preparing for retirement. But then the Hardin County couple were forced into something they never expected–caring for their granddaughter. Kentucky has thousands of children in similar circumstances–kin caring for a child … Read Story

]]> Years ago, Laura Cooper and her husband were working and preparing for retirement. But then the Hardin County couple were forced into something they never expected–caring for their granddaughter.

Kentucky has thousands of children in similar circumstances–kin caring for a child whose parents can’t or won’t. But nearly 1,300 of the more than 7,000 kids in the foster care system are without the care and comfort of a family, according to the Kids Count report released earlier this month.

Experts say kinship care is better for the child–but hardship is usual for the families who take in foster children.

“It works,” said Terry Brooks, executive director of Kentucky Youth Advocates, which released the report with the Annie E. Casey Foundation.

“It’s good for the kids, it’s good for families and the real punch line, when it comes to state politics, is it’s good for the state budget.”

The report said group placement cost up to 10 times more than in-family placement.

But the state must take steps to put more foster children into the care of family members, instead of group settings, the report said.

The Kids Count report’s recommendations include expanding services to ensure children stay with families, creating more relative and foster families and supporting decision making that ensures the least restrictive placement.

Unexpected Parents

“It’s something we never thought we would be doing,” Cooper said of caring for her granddaughter.

They’d already been parents.

In the late 1970s, she and her husband adopted a 5-year-old girl.

“She had gone through so many separations in her life,” she said of their adopted daughter. “From losing her mother, relative care givers, from being put in one foster home to another.”

The girl started running away from home at 12 years old. At 19, she had a baby.

Three days after the birth, Cooper said she had a conversation with her daughter that ended with the grandmother taking over the care of the child.

“Basically, she was just turning her over to me right there,” she said.

Cooper and her husband didn’t shy away.

“We’ll automatically do what we can to help the child,” she said. “It’s the love.”

The adoption process was difficult, for starters, but it was their only option, Cooper said. They weren’t prepared to send their only grandchild into the foster system at just 3 days old.

Group Setting Concerns

The 18 percent of the state’s foster children who aren’t in the care of kin are instead live in a group setting, like a foster home, according to the report.

Nationally, more than 40 percent of children living in a group setting have no mental health diagnosis, medical disability or behavioral issue that “might warrant such a restrictive setting,” the report stated.

Group placement is a vital option for a small percentage of youth who cannot live safely with any family, but it should work to get children back to families as quickly as possible, the report states.

“Family is the best medicine,” Brooks said.

And research backs this up. Brain development, independence, self-esteem and self-reliance are bolstered when a child grows up in or around a family environment, according to a 2012 report from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.

“We need to start at one end of the spectrum and do everything we can to keep families safely together first, before looking at other options,” Brooks said.

Another factor is to remove barriers that keep kin from being licensed and financially supported as foster parents.

This, Cooper said, has been a challenge for her.

Raising a child isn’t cheap, she said, and she and her husband hadn’t really considered they would be bringing an infant into their home when they were lining up their retirement budget.

Cooper said she worked nights, cleaning offices, to make some extra money when her granddaughter was a small child. Her husband would work during the day.

She said that if state officials want to see more family members–grandparents, uncles, aunts–fill the void parents sometimes leave in a child’s life, either through abandonment, death or other (usually unforeseen) circumstances, then lawmakers need to ensure support.

“We need financial help, just give us a clothing allowance, a food allowance, anything,” she said. “Stop looking at us like were just grandparents and were going to do it, help us with it, it’s not cheap.”

She also said the state should take steps to remove the red tape many family members looking to adopt a relative child must navigate.

“It’s very expensive for a grandchild to even try to get custody,” she said.

To help others, Cooper and her husband have run a support group since 1998 for grandparents tasked with being the primary caregivers to grandchildren, and in some cases great-grandchildren.

There’s about 20 grandparents in the “core” support group. But others often seek advice, she said.

“I usually get one to two phone calls a week from a grandparent that needs help, like how do I seek the right attorney, how do I get temporary custody, what’s the difference guardianship and custody, why should I go for adoption, different things like that,” she said.

The money she spent raising Amber, her granddaughter, was money well spent, she said.

Growing up, Amber had a knack for swimming, Cooper said. So, nearly every week, they’d drive from Elizabethtown to Louisville for swim meets. That wasn’t cheap.

But Amber earned a scholarship to the University of Indianapolis, where she swam for four years.

“She was a success story,” Cooper said. “But it doesn’t always turn out that way.”

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-put-foster-kids-family-report-says/feed/ 0 Kentucky Earns ‘D’ Grade For Political Participation Among Women, Study Says http://wfpl.org/kentucky-earns-d-grade-for-political-participation-among-women-study-says/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-earns-d-grade-for-political-participation-among-women-study-says/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 15:56:25 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37127 Kentucky earns a “D” grade for political participation among women in a recently released report, but the state’s overall results show a complex landscape. Kentucky ranks 46th out of 50 states for its number of women holding elected office in … Read Story

]]> Kentucky earns a “D” grade for political participation among women in a recently released report, but the state’s overall results show a complex landscape.

Kentucky ranks 46th out of 50 states for its number of women holding elected office in the state, according to the Status of Women report released by The Institute for Women’s Policy Research.

But women in the state take advantage of voting rights more than men, the study said.

Cynthia Hess, one of the study’s authors, said the state did well in some metrics of political participation.

“In Kentucky women are actually 13th in the nation for the percentage women of who register to vote and 26th for the percent who voted,” she said. “So, [it’s] one of the higher ranking states in terms of registration and in the middle in the percent who actually go to the polls.”

Hess said the state also does really well in providing institutional resources for women in politics—campaign training for women, having a state chapter of the national women’s political caucus, a women’s commission and other offerings.

Overall, though, women in Kentucky are struggling compared to men.

“Kentucky came out as—what we named—one of the worst states for women,” Hess said.

Kentucky tied with Tennessee for the No. 49 spot in the study’s rankings, Hess said.

The state also got low scores for factors such as poverty, employment, safety and health of women compared to men.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-earns-d-grade-for-political-participation-among-women-study-says/feed/ 0 Check Out Your Waterway’s Health With Kentucky’s New Water Health Portal http://wfpl.org/check-waterways-health-kentuckys-new-water-health-portal/ http://wfpl.org/check-waterways-health-kentuckys-new-water-health-portal/#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 11:00:38 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37115 The Kentucky Division of Water has unveiled a massive Water Health Portal to share information about the health of the commonwealth’s waterways with the public. The recently launched portal was created after legislation passed the General Assembly in 2013, tasking … Read Story

]]> The Kentucky Division of Water has unveiled a massive Water Health Portal to share information about the health of the commonwealth’s waterways with the public.

The recently launched portal was created after legislation passed the General Assembly in 2013, tasking the DOW with presenting the information included in the department’s biennial report to Congress in a more user-friendly format.

Now, you can zoom in on any waterway in the commonwealth and see whether it supports aquatic life, is safe to swim in, or is on a “pollution diet.”

Jefferson County is a sea of red, indicating that the area’s streams are not healthy. The Middle Fork of the Beargrass Creek, where many swim and wade in Cherokee Park, is not healthy for swimming. But on the flipside, that section of Beargrass Creek is still able to support aquatic life. And according to the map, the stretch of the Ohio River upriver from the I-65 bridge is both safe for swimming and aquatic life.

Check out the map here on a computer; the site won’t work on mobile phones.

]]> http://wfpl.org/check-waterways-health-kentuckys-new-water-health-portal/feed/ 0 Abbey Road on the River Leaving Louisville in 2016 http://wfpl.org/abbey-road-river-leaving-louisville-2016/ http://wfpl.org/abbey-road-river-leaving-louisville-2016/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 20:57:06 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37196 The founder and organizer of the Abbey Road on the River Beatles festival says next year’s event will be the last one in Louisville. Gary Jacob said in a statement on Monday that ongoing differences with the Galt House Hotel … Read Story

]]> timthumbAbbey Road on the River

The founder and organizer of the Abbey Road on the River Beatles festival says next year’s event will be the last one in Louisville.

Gary Jacob said in a statement on Monday that ongoing differences with the Galt House Hotel led to the decision, adding that: “the Galt House thinks that somehow Abbey Road on the River is theirs.” He offered little other detail.

The festival is held over the Memorial Day weekend on the Belvedere-adjacent to the Galt House-and nearby venues. Jacob says the Galt House undermined efforts to make the Marriott the host hotel next year.

He said he’ll spend the next year trying to find someone in Louisville to buy the festival or find a new city and hotel along the I-71 corridor for the event.

Galt House officials said  in a statement on Facebook that they’re deeply disappointed in the decision and hope it will be reconsidered. Abbey Road on the River moved to Louisville from Cleveland in 2005.

]]> http://wfpl.org/abbey-road-river-leaving-louisville-2016/feed/ 0 Seniors in Kentucky Among Unhealthiest in the U.S., Report Says http://wfpl.org/seniors-kentucky-among-unhealthiest-u-s-report-says/ http://wfpl.org/seniors-kentucky-among-unhealthiest-u-s-report-says/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 19:00:35 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=36912 A new health ranking of senior citizen health in the U.S. puts Kentucky near the bottom of the list. America’s Health Rankings looked at the health and well-being of people age 65 and older. Kentucky seniors were ranked 48th in the … Read Story

]]> A new health ranking of senior citizen health in the U.S. puts Kentucky near the bottom of the list.

America’s Health Rankings looked at the health and well-being of people age 65 and older. Kentucky seniors were ranked 48th in the country. The low ranking was attributed to a high prevalence of smoking, high premature death rates and a low percentage of dental visits.

Louisiana was at the bottom of the list, with Mississippi just below Kentucky.

In Kentucky, 11.8 percent of seniors smoke tobacco, 53 percent report visiting a dentist in the last year, and there are 2,357.2 deaths per 100,000 adults age 65 to 74.

No single service or approach will help the state’s seniors become healthier, said Dr. Julie Daftari, medical director for United Health Foundation in Kentucky.

“It really is the responsibility of the entire community as well as the individual to really help change some of these lifestyle behaviors that might not be so healthy,” she said.

The elderly population is expected to more than double by 2050. That’s even more reason to ensure the health and well-being of seniors in Kentucky, Daftari said.

“It’s imperative that we address these health concerns now so that we can sustain services provided for all of our senior Americans over the long run,” she said.

But overall, seniors in Kentucky do have some healthy behaviors. The survey found a low prevalence of chronic drinking and many receive flu vaccinations every year, among other things.

]]> http://wfpl.org/seniors-kentucky-among-unhealthiest-u-s-report-says/feed/ 0 Wendy Whelan Gives Impeccable Hometown Dance Performance in Louisville http://wfpl.org/wendy-whelan-gives-impeccable-hometown-dance-performance-louisville/ http://wfpl.org/wendy-whelan-gives-impeccable-hometown-dance-performance-louisville/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 16:26:46 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37176 The Brown Theatre was packed on Saturday night as Louisvillians came out to support and enjoy native daughter Wendy Whelan in her groundbreaking four-duet program. The performance Saturday night was impeccable. Much has been made of Whelan’s “retirement” from the … Read Story

]]> The Brown Theatre was packed on Saturday night as Louisvillians came out to support and enjoy native daughter Wendy Whelan in her groundbreaking four-duet program. The performance Saturday night was impeccable.

Much has been made of Whelan’s “retirement” from the New York City Ballet; but with her Wendy Whelan New Works Initiative it is clear that one ending is creating opportunities to embrace new ways of working. The Restless Creature program features choreography by Alejandro Cerrudo, Joshua Beamish, Kyle Abraham and Brian Brooks, who also dance each duet they created with Whelan.

The evening begins with “Ego et Tu” by Cerrudo. Whelan has said that Cerrudo’s choreography is closest to “home” for her in its balletic references. Beginning with a solo for Cerrudo, he then retreated up stage and from seemingly nowhere lifted Whelan into the space. Together the interweaving of their arms and bodies created a symbiosis that allowed them to explore I and You as both discrete and interdependent. There is one particular tableau, in which Whelan supports Cerrudo, that brought the evening’s first audible response.

Beamish’s “Conditional Sentences” was created this year, and thus is new to the Restless Creature program, which premiered in 2013. (Whelan postponed a Louisville performance last spring as she recovered from surgery.) Set to Bach’s “Partita No. 2 in C Minor BMV 826” and played by the inimitable Glenn Gould, this piece feels like an homage to mid-2oth Century storyless modern classical ballet while at the same pushing the envelope of the style. His crisp and sharp figures are also delightfully playful as Beamish and Whelan interchange delicate hand and head movements, as each sets the conditions for a subsequent interchange.

“The Serpent and The Smoke” shifts the mood of the program exponentially, as choreographer Kyle Abraham silently and vividly erupted into the audience’s consciousness after the briefest pause following the previous piece. Abraham and Whelan are compelling in this piece; whether they are directly connected or echoing sequences in different areas of the stage their form is perfectly synchronized in shape, attitude, and phrasing.

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The finale, Brian Brooks’ “First Fall”, generated audible breaths as he and Whelan explored falling and rising, dropping and lifting, in a complex interweaving of bodies giving and taking weight and balance. Set to a variety of musical accompaniment, including Philip Glass, and also judiciously using silence, “First Fall” pushes the boundaries of what might be considered dance in provcative ways. Brooks and Whelan demonstrate the inherent tension of making these sequences seem effortless and, at the same time, performing the effort such intricate articulation requires.

These four brief pieces collectively cover a huge expanse of contemporary choreography. Each of the choreographers is an excellent dancer, attested to by their enthusiastic reception from the audience, but the evening is Whelan’s as, in under an hour, she unconditionally slips into the world of each choreographer. Joe Levasseur’s lighting design serves each piece distinctively, helping to sculpt the bodies’ forms and shapes evocatively. The closing moments of “The Serpent and The Smoke” were particularly strong.

Restless Creature - W&P - Christopher Duggan, Photographer - hr_20130415_057Christopher Duggan

“Vantage Point”, Whelan’s intimate photo exhibit is on show at the LVAA’s Public gallery through March 31. From her unique position in the wings and in the dressing room, Whelan has created a charmingly idiosyncratic visual journal of her career. At a reception earlier this week Whelan reflected on her childhood years when her family introduced her to the arts here in Louisville–the ballet of course, but also theatre, painting and more. A cogent reminder that when we take a child to an arts event we could be laying the seeds for another great artist.

Whelan’s photography and her embracing of the physical demands of contemporary dance, at a time when many dancers truly retire, are a powerful testament to the dynamism of this enchantingly restless creature. Wendy Whelan’s newest dance project is scheduled to premiere in London later this year. Here’s hoping that Louisville will be on her calendar when U.S. performances are scheduled.

]]> http://wfpl.org/wendy-whelan-gives-impeccable-hometown-dance-performance-louisville/feed/ 0 Louisville’s Bike Share Program Probably Won’t Launch Until 2016 http://wfpl.org/louisvilles-bike-share-program-probably-wont-launch-2016/ http://wfpl.org/louisvilles-bike-share-program-probably-wont-launch-2016/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 15:16:11 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37125 A Louisville bike share program won’t likely roll out this summer as originally expected. Rolf Eisinger, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator recently said it’s more likely that residents will be able to begin renting bikes in 2016. Late last … Read Story

]]> A Louisville bike share program won’t likely roll out this summer as originally expected.

Rolf Eisinger, the city’s bicycle and pedestrian coordinator recently said it’s more likely that residents will be able to begin renting bikes in 2016.

Late last year, city officials said the program would begin late this summer. Eisinger said his office is still working to finalize where bike share stations will be located, among other things.

“Either it be coordinating with our utility companies with regards to the station locations, traffic management plans, right-of-way certifications, making sure we don’t need any encroachment permits from the state,” he said.

Eisinger said city officals “are still working on” getting sponsors for stations and bikes on board.

He said the company CycleHop will be operating the bike share program in Louisville. The company will help city officials develop a business plan and be responsible for maintaining the rental stations.

“The operator will have to remove the graffiti, pump up the tire, they’ve got to service the stations, make sure the bikes are distributed appropriately,” he said.

CycleHop also operates bike share programs in Phoenix, Atlanta, Orlando and Santa Monica, among other cities, according to its website.

Once introduced into the city, any resident or visitor will be able to rent a bike.

The price for a bike share is projected to be at $3 for a single use of 30 minutes or less or $7 for unlimited trips totally no more than 60 minutes in a 24-hour period, according city officials.

Residents who wish to use the system will do so with a credit or debit card or by stopping by an operator office for a one-time use voucher or annual pass—meaning people without a credit card can still access the system.

“It really helps provide that last mile of transportation,” Eisinger said.  “Maybe you take that TARC and it gets you so close to your destination, but you need to get a little further, so now you hop on a bike and access that destination.”

Bike sharing can allow people to explore the city in a “healthier way and get some exercise.”

For suggested station locations and more information about the program, go here.

]]> http://wfpl.org/louisvilles-bike-share-program-probably-wont-launch-2016/feed/ 0 Kentucky Republicans’ ‘Unity Rally’ Packed With Intrigue http://wfpl.org/kentucky-republicans-unity-rally-packed-intrigue/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-republicans-unity-rally-packed-intrigue/#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 11:00:38 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37097 Republican candidates for governor are scheduled to attend a “unity rally” Saturday in Lexington intended to show solidarity with the party, and to mend wounds caused by the contentious—and not yet settled—gubernatorial primary race. But the rally has several potential … Read Story

]]> Republican candidates for governor are scheduled to attend a “unity rally” Saturday in Lexington intended to show solidarity with the party, and to mend wounds caused by the contentious—and not yet settled—gubernatorial primary race.

But the rally has several potential points of tension, Kentucky political observers say.

Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, plus most of Kentucky’s Republican congressional delegation, requested the candidates attend the rally in order to “unite around our nominees and work towards victory next fall.”

But depending on how gubernatorial candidate Jamie Comer decides to handle the results of a recanvass of votes that he requested, the unity rally may not be as friendly as Republicans leaders hoped.

Agriculture Commissioner Comer lost the race to Louisville businessman Matt Bevin by just 83 votes last week.

In the recanvass, election officials from around the state will review the totals from voting machines to check whether there are any discrepancies from last week’s vote.  Recanvasses typically don’t yield many votes—the last, which occurred in 2011, yielded only six additional votes.

(A recanvass will also take-place in the race for agriculture commissioner—Rep. Richard Heath lost that race to Rep. Ryan Quarles by 1,427 votes.)

The question on Republicans’ minds is whether Comer will then request a full-fledged recount of votes.  That process involves a review of individual ballots across the state, completed by a judge in the Franklin Circuit Court.

Unlike the recanvass, a recount is costly and could take weeks to complete.  Comer, who’d pick up the tab for the recount, must request it by Friday—the day before the rally.

University of Kentucky political science Professor Steve Voss said that a recount of votes could make the scheduled rally more tense.

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“If there’s a recount called right before the unity rally, the smiles may be a little more forced, the handshakes a little tighter,” Voss said.

Voss said he doesn’t believe state Republicans won’t let a recount divide them, because it’s too important to focus their attention on defeating Democratic candidate Jack Conway in the fall.

“Ultimately, it’s not good for somebody’s political career to defect from their party and it would take something pretty extreme to see them do that,” Voss said.

Voss thinks it is likely that Comer will seek a recount, and that Bevin could even seek one as well if things go in Comer’s direction after the recanvass.

“This is just so close. It’s within a reasonable margin of error on the election returns.”

But Al Cross, Director of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues at the University of Kentucky, said he doubts that Comer will pursue a recount.

In an effort to move on from the primary, Republicans may discourage Comer from seeking a recount, he said. Also, after an already costly campaign, Comer might have trouble raising money to pay for it.

“There might be so much pressure in the party to go ahead and get this general election campaign going,” Cross said

Further complicating the rally is a touchy history between likely candidate Bevin and McConnell.

In 2014, Bevin launched a Tea Party-backed challenge for McConnell’s Senate seat, losing by 35 percentage points. During that campaign, Bevin and McConnell traded barbs: Bevin accused McConnell of being too moderate and tried to turn the Kentucky Republican base against the longtime senator.

McConnell in turn accused Bevin of taking a bailout to rebuild his bell company in Connecticut and of erroneously claiming he attended MIT.

After the Senate race, Bevin declined to endorse McConnell, who went on to become the Senate majority leader.

“One of the real questions here is how much advice Bevin is going to be willing to take from McConnell given the bad blood they had between each other,” Cross said.  “Bevin’s kind of thin-skinned. McConnell is not. McConnell is just business, it’s the way you play ball. Bevin is much less experienced at that.”

McConnell has indicated that he will endorse Bevin if he receives the nomination.

Cross said McConnell’s desire for a Republican governor in Kentucky will motivate him to support Bevin’s candidacy despite their history. He also suggested that McConnell may have known that Bevin was the most viable of the candidates even before the primary.

“McConnell and his people may have not activated the super PAC to go after Bevin even though they knew he was coming through the middle, because they looked at the bad blood between Heiner and Comer and they thought that, like him or not, Bevin might be the best guy to unify the party around,” Cross said.

Last week, Kentucky Republican Party Treasurer Cathy Bell said the rally will still take place because the party has made a financial commitment to the Lexington Marriott.

]]> http://wfpl.org/kentucky-republicans-unity-rally-packed-intrigue/feed/ 0 Federal Judge Says Colorado Coal Mine Permit Must Consider Greenhouse Gas Emissions. Could This Affect Kentucky? http://wfpl.org/federal-judge-says-colorado-coal-mine-permit-must-consider-greenhouse-gas-emissions-affect-kentucky/ http://wfpl.org/federal-judge-says-colorado-coal-mine-permit-must-consider-greenhouse-gas-emissions-affect-kentucky/#comments Sun, 24 May 2015 12:57:49 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37095 A federal judge in Colorado has ruled the federal government should have taken the indirect environmental effects of expanding the Colowyo and Trapper coal mines into account before issuing a permit. These “indirect effects” include the environmental toll of burning … Read Story

]]> A federal judge in Colorado has ruled the federal government should have taken the indirect environmental effects of expanding the Colowyo and Trapper coal mines into account before issuing a permit. These “indirect effects” include the environmental toll of burning the coal in power plants. But because of differences in the way western and eastern coal mines are regulated, it’s hard to say what effect, if any, this ruling could have on Appalachian mines.

In the west, most of the coal is on federal lands. So as part of the permitting process, coal companies have to get approval from the Office of Surface Mining and the Secretary of the Interior. Under the National Environmental Policy Act, the federal government is required to analyze the environmental impacts of mining.

But NEPA only applies to the federal government, not to states, and Kentucky has been delegated the authority to manage the commonwealth’s coal mining by the federal government.

“To say it’s apples to oranges, it’s not even that,” said Jeremy Nichols of Wild Earth Guardians, the environmental group that sued OSM over its decision to grant the permits to the Colowyo and Trapper mines. “It’s like apples to carrots. The state permitting processes are very different. And even though there’s some environmental accountability in place, it’s not as explicit as it is under the federal law.”

Up until now, examination of the environmental impact of a coal mine has focused on the mine’s immediate physical footprint. But in the court decision earlier this month, Judge R. Brooke Jackson ruled that OSM was required to expand its view and take into account the environmental impact of burning the coal, too.

“Both the Colowyo and Trapper EAs estimate the increase in coal production resulting from the proposed lease expansions on each mine. If OSM can predict how much coal will be produced, it can likewise attempt to predict the environmental effects of its combustion. Just because it does not possess perfect foresight as to the timing or rate of combustion or as to the state of future emissions technology does not mean that it can ignore the effects completely,” he wrote.

Nichols said his group was happy with the ruling. OSM hasn’t decided if it will appeal the decision yet; either way,  Nichols said it’s hard to say whether it could have any implications in coal mining areas (like Kentucky) where states issue the permits.

“Even though that came to a head in our case in relation to this federal approval, it does seem it might put the onus on the Office of Surface Mining to take into account those impacts as it oversees the way states throughout the country regulate coal mines,” Nichols said.

]]> http://wfpl.org/federal-judge-says-colorado-coal-mine-permit-must-consider-greenhouse-gas-emissions-affect-kentucky/feed/ 0 Here Are Recommendations From the Louisville Metro Police Staffing Study http://wfpl.org/recommendations-louisville-metro-police-staffing-study/ http://wfpl.org/recommendations-louisville-metro-police-staffing-study/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 13:03:27 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37134 Louisville Metro Police on Friday afternoon released the findings of a year-long study to determine if the department had enough officers. The 50 page study, by Alexander Weiss Consulting, found the department is “adequately staffed.” See the entire report here. … Read Story

]]> Louisville Metro Police on Friday afternoon released the findings of a year-long study to determine if the department had enough officers.

The 50 page study, by Alexander Weiss Consulting, found the department is “adequately staffed.”

See the entire report here.

However, the near $68,000 study deemed “there are areas in which their performance can be enhanced.”

Researchers outlined six recommendations they believe will lead to improvements within Louisville’s police department.

Here they are.

LMPD should adopt a workload-based method for deploying patrol personnel

A workload-based approach to assigning patrol personnel requires police officials to “systematically analyze and determine staffing needs based upon actual workload demand,” the report states.

With this approach, future staffing needs can be determined based on current activity, according to the report.

However, the report states there are negative ramifications of a workload-based approach.

For example, officers “may not have an incentive to be efficient in their response to calls or even to engage in activities that reduce call” if they know staff decisions are based upon calls for service and the time required to respond to them, according to the report.

Also, unplanned events, severe emergencies or concurrent calls can lead to a shortage of officers in a workload-based staffing approach, the study said.

During the study period, from Nov. 1, 2013 to Oct. 31, 2014, Louisville Metro Police responded to nearly 577,500 calls for service. That breaks down to roughly 66 calls for service every hour.

Here is a chart showing the number of calls for service in each division.

lmpd staffing 1Alexander Weiss Consulting

 

lmpd staffing 2Alexander Weiss Consulting

 

And, “unfortunately,” there is no accepted standard method for conducting a workload-based method, the study said

LMPD should abandon its use of both the 10-hour work schedule and the hybrid work schedule.

The study found that the department’s 10-hour schedule and hybrid work schedule “do not meet organizational needs.”

Researchers said the department’s scheduling method is unnecessarily complex and isn’t aligned with the workload.

The study said an eight-hour shift, compared to a 10-hour shift, would allow about 20 percent more officers to be considered on duty without actually adding officers to a shift. This, the report said, is due to shift overlap.

Louisville’s “hybrid” shift schedule is meant to create more officers on duty at specified times—like Friday and Saturday evenings, the report said.

But researchers concluded that the extra staff can seem reasonable, it also too random on other days of the week.

“In our view, the hybrid schedule, while it may be popular, does not seem to work well for deployment,” the report states.

And researchers admit adopting a new work schedule “will be a complex undertaking.”

They suggest requiring officers to work six eight-hour days with two off-days or move to 12-hour shifts.

The report found staffing seven officers on 12-hour shifts “is equivalent to staffing 10 eight-hour officers.”

Twelve-hour shifts have been adopted by hundreds of police departments across the country, but they are not without disadvantages, the report states. On a 12-hour shift program, it’s difficult to find time for training, officers work longer weeks and are, generally, more fatigued.

LMPD should minimize the use of on-duty personnel for special details such as runs, walks and other similar events.

The study reports LMPD officers exhibited “near unanimous concern” regarding the amount of on-duty police utilized during special events like Thunder Over Louisville and the Kentucky Derby.

The main concern with assigning on-duty police to cover special events in the city boils down to one thing: cost.

Here’s a chart showing how many hours police worked during special events in Louisville.

lmpd staffing 4

The 72,704 total police hours dedicated to patrolling these special events came with more than 32,000 hours of overtime, the study said.

The report presents two arguments. One, the cost is modest, totaling just four percent of the entire department’s on-duty time. The other, it represents four percent of police resources being taken away from serving their primary mission.

“Irrespective of one’s point of view, the department still needs to consider alternative approaches to how these events are handled,” the reports said. “There is almost universal belief that the practice is disruptive.”

LMPD should adopt the verified response model for burglar alarms.

During the year-long study period, police responded to nearly 28,000 burglar alarms—spending more than 13,000 hours doing so.

More than half of those alarms were false, the study said.

lmpd staffing 5

LMPD in early 2013 implemented a False Alarm Reducation Unit, which is responsbile for the oversight of the false alarm ordinance.

The staffing study found “more could be done to reduce police response to false alarms.”

LMPD should, whenever possible, assign non-sworn staff in positions that do not require police authority.

There are currently 1,237 sworn Louisville Metro Police officers and 294 non-sworn officers, the study said.

Using sworn officers to conduct duties non-sworn officers are capable of is a waste of money and training, the study said.

For example, two sworn detective are currently assigned to the LMPD property room.

The study states it is not unusual for property rooms to be staffed by civilian employees.

“We recommend that non-sworn personnel staff the property room function,” the researchers concluded.

The study outlines that a sworn officer should be assigned to a position only “if it requires the powers, skills and abilities of a police officer,” like the authority to make arrests.

LMPD should adopt a more strategic approach to criminal investigation.

The LMPD robbery unit in 2013 investigated just 14 percent of robberies. Division detectives investigated the remainder, the study found.

“It is difficult to understand the justification for this significant allocation of resources to a rather small fraction of cases,” the researchers concluded.

They recommend some investigative units be decentralized, but the decision to do so “should be based on what makes sense from an operational and organizational perspective.”

For example, the researchers question the “scope” of assignments assigned to homicide and robbery detectives, both of which operate in a decentralized unit.

The homicide unit had two vacancies during the study period, according to the report. And researchers recommend cross-training detectives from related squads, such as the missing persons unit, to help alleviate the workload in the homicide unit.

Determining best practices for organizing investigative units, however, has perplexed police departments for decades, researchers stressed.

A recent study done by researchers at Michigan State University concluded that the criminal investigation process has remained relatively unchanged in the face of the many paradigm shifts in the profession of policing over the past 30 years.”

Other Notes

Researches concluded that Louisville Metro Police is “a very professional organization and staff, one that is highly respected by the community.”

The researchers said a series of community conversations hosted in effort to gauge community expectations had an attendance rate of about 12 people per police division. The eight focus groups were held on March 12 and March 13.

In the study researchers stated that “overall, it was apparent that citizens actually really like and trust the police department” and “there was no evidence of strong tensions between citizens and police.”

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20140909_091859Community Complaints Against Louisville Metro Police Decline Sharply

The issues the citizens did bring up during the focus groups include communication and engagement. Researchers suggest LMPD work to improve communication between the department and the residents.

Several citizens expressed concern about a lack of feedback following a citizen call. Some said the problem they called police about still persists and they consider the call they made was ignored.

Researchers recommended that police follow up with citizens who provide information to police.

They also suggested the public information office within the department work more closely with news media to get word out about programs and inner workings of the police department.

“There may be many programs and initiatives that LMPD are doing to engage citizens,” the study said. “But no one may know about them because of insufficient publicity.”

LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said the department’s “goal” is to make a decision on each of the recommendations “in the near future.”

 

]]> http://wfpl.org/recommendations-louisville-metro-police-staffing-study/feed/ 0 Strange Fruit: Portland Poetry Series to Feature LGBTQ Poets in June http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-portland-poetry-series-feature-lgbtq-poets-june/ http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-portland-poetry-series-feature-lgbtq-poets-june/#comments Sat, 23 May 2015 11:00:12 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37129 The Portland Poetry Series will focus on LGBTQ poets at their June event, in honor of Pride Month. Co-producer Eli Keel joins us this week, along with poet and writer Adriena Dame, who will read at the event. The series … Read Story

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The Portland Poetry Series will focus on LGBTQ poets at their June event, in honor of Pride Month. Co-producer Eli Keel joins us this week, along with poet and writer Adriena Dame, who will read at the event. The series happens in the Tim Faulkner Gallery, once a month, and has been going strong since last December.

While there’s always a strong LGBTQ presence at the event, this time will be more intentional than incidental, Keel said. “We decided for Pride Month we wanted to really focus in on that, and not have it just be a thing that happened as we reached out to the poets that we know and love.”

We asked Adriena Dame whether her intersecting identities influence her work. She said that coming out changed her writing in ways she didn’t expect.

“I thought, OK well that just means that people will know that I’m queer,” she remembers. But suddenly her poems and stories were populated with lesbians, bisexual, and transgender characters. “They became all of those other dynamics of an entire population that I sort of neglected in my writing, prior to coming out.”

Keel said the series wants to shake up old ideas of how poetry readings are structured, and even who poets are. (“They’re not just old white guys,” he says).

This installment of the Portland Poetry Series is at 7:30 p.m. on June 8, and will have three or four open mic slots in addition to the featured readers—so get there when the doors open at 7 if you want to put your name in the hat. The event is free.

In our Juicy Fruit segment this week, we talk about the biker gang shootout in Waco, Texas, and try to imagine how the media coverage would have been different had black urban gangs opened fire on each other in a public place.

The bikers involved were largely white and middle aged, with the oldest being in his mid-60s. “Where are the headlines for that?” Jai wonders. “Where are the people asking what’s wrong with middle-aged and elderly white America, that y’all need to ride around on motorcycles and shoot each other with AK-47s?”

We also talk about what Emmett Till (and his mother Mamie) meant to America and the Civil Rights movement. Till’s murder will be the subject of a movie that’s currently in development. Chaz Ebert will produce the film, which is based on the book “Death of Innocence: The Story of the Hate Crime That Changed America.”

And R.I.P. “dancery.” This week, Mary J. Blige revealed that the lyrics to her beloved dance floor masterpiece “Family Affair” might not be what we thought!

<iframe width=”560″ height=”315″ src=”https://www.youtube.com/embed/znlFu_lemsU” frameborder=”0″ allowfullscreen></iframe>

(Photos: Rachel Firkins, Sarah Watkins)

]]> http://wfpl.org/strange-fruit-portland-poetry-series-feature-lgbtq-poets-june/feed/ 0 Kentucky State Sen. Brandon Smith Acquitted of DUI, Guilty of Speeding http://wfpl.org/kentucky-state-sen-brandon-smith-acquitted-dui-guilty-speeding/ http://wfpl.org/kentucky-state-sen-brandon-smith-acquitted-dui-guilty-speeding/#comments Fri, 22 May 2015 20:08:35 +0000 http://wfpl.org/?p=37107 Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith has been acquitted of driving under the influence of alcohol. A Franklin County jury took 10 minutes to acquit the Hazard Republican on Friday following a day-long trial. They did convict him of speeding and … Read Story

]]> Republican state Sen. Brandon Smith has been acquitted of driving under the influence of alcohol.

A Franklin County jury took 10 minutes to acquit the Hazard Republican on Friday following a day-long trial. They did convict him of speeding and fined him $40.

Smith was arrested Jan. 6, the first day of the 2015 legislative session. A state trooper testified Smith smelled of alcohol and that he failed two field sobriety tests. Smith refused to take a breath test.

Smith’s defense attorneys played security camera footage from the jail, showing the jury Smith walked without assistance. A convenience store clerk testified that Smith did not appear intoxicated earlier that night.

Smith’s attorneys argued earlier this year the charges should be dropped because the state constitution says lawmakers cannot be arrested while the legislature is in session. They later withdrew that request.

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