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Education
10:30 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Follow Up: Check Out Public Montessori School Enrollment Numbers for Jefferson County Public Schools

Earlier this month, WFPL reported on the increased student enrollment at the Montessori School of Louisville, which more than doubled the number of students it serves.

Montessori education is an approach that combines grade levels in the same classroom and uses hands-on learning techniques to teach students.  

We have since received the enrollment numbers in Jefferson County Public Schools' three Montessori programs and thought we'd share them.

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Politics
9:44 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Kentucky Coal Leader Doubts Alison Lundergan Grimes Could Be Stronger Advocate Than Mitch McConnell

Alison Lundergan Grimes (l) and Mitch McConnell (r)
Credit Kentucky Secretary of State/U.S. Senate

A top coal industry leader in Kentucky is questioning if Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes can break with President Obama on restraining environmental regulations.

Kentucky Coal Association President Bill Bissett also credits Republican Senate Leader Mitch McConnell for being the industry's chief proponent in Washington, D.C. despite the Grimes campaign blaming the GOP leader for job losses.

The Environmental Protection Agency is expected to unveil stricter pollution limits this week to reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the country.

Despite reports that regulations would not be as stringent on coal plants as originally expected, Grimes pounced on the Obama administration to hold off.

"Coal keeps the lights on in Kentucky—plain and simple—and I will not stand idle as overreaching regulation adversely impacts jobs and middle-class families. Any new regulations must take into account the impact on Kentucky jobs and be based on current technology that will not drive Kentucky coal out of business," Grimes said.

The message is part of an effort to blunt Republican attacks that Grimes would be beholden to the president's environmental agenda. But attempts to pick up support from Kentucky coal industry leaders has yet to materialize when many already view McConnell as their top advocate.

"One person's position on coal is defined and the other has yet to be," says Bissett. "I would say our industry has looked at Sen. McConnell as the chief adversary of President Obama since he took office. I think you've seen Sen. McConnell be very engaged in coal and standing in the way of a lot the president's policies as it relates to coal in Kentucky."

Bissett adds that Grimes hasn't said much about the subject until now and rarely was involved with the industry's concerns or needs in her capacity as secretary of state.

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Local News
7:30 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Kentucky Child Care Cut Critics to Push General Assembly to Expand Eligibility in 2014

Credit Shutterstock.com

Critics of the state’s cuts to two programs benefiting thousands of Kentucky children are turning their focus to next year’s General Assembly session.

Earlier this year, the state Department for Community Based Services implemented drastic cuts to the Kinship Care and Child Care Assistance programs because of a budget shortfall. The programs give financial assistance to low-income working families to help cover child care costs.

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Local News
6:19 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Louisville Metro Police Chief Steve Conrad: 'We Have More Work To Do' Despite Crime Decrease

Steve Conrad
Credit File photo

Complex factors play into crime rates, but Louisville Metro Police's efforts in community engagement, "intelligence-led" policing and targeting repeat offenders are helping drive numbers downward, Chief Steve Conrad told WFPL on Tuesday.

"We believe that the work of the men and women that are out there doing the job is important and their efforts do have an impact on crime, but there are so many other external factors that often are beyond our control," Conrad said.

Conrad was speaking as the FBI released its annual set of national and local crime statistics. 

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Politics
6:47 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

NRSC Defends Ad Criticizing Democratic Incumbent for Votes That Mirror Mitch McConnell's

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,
Credit Kenny Colston / Kentucky Public Radio

When a political attack ad crosses state lines should the same strategic logic be applied?

That's what many Democrats are suggesting in reaction to a blog post by LEO Weekly, which found a Republican group's TV spot that could run in the Kentucky or Arkansas U.S. Senate race.

The National Republican Senatorial Committee released a spot slamming Democratic Sen. Mark Pryor of Arkansas for being a "liberal" clothed as a moderate.

Among the issues the NRSC calls Pryor out on are six "debt ceiling" votes that the GOP group highlights, including the Wall Street bailout.

Watch:

At least three of those measures (S.365, HR.3221 and HR.1424 for example) were also supported by Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, however.

Asked if those criticisms of Sen. Pryor being "liberal" could also apply to the GOP leader, the NRSC defended McConnell's fiscal voting record.

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Politics
4:20 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Kentucky Investigative House Committee Meets on John Arnold Case Despite Limited Options

Greg Stumbo
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

The special state House committee  investigating sexual harassment allegations against John Arnold may be limited in the sanctions it can levy, but the panel met for the first time Tuesday and considered its options.  

"We still have a responsibility as a committee to make sure we take in all the information and make sure we move forward and do the correct thing" despite Arnold's resignation, said Rep. Jeff Donohue, D-Louisville, selected as committee chairman by a 3-2 vote split along party lines.

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Environment
4:12 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Kentucky Has 'Obligation' to Address Climate Change, Beshear Says

Kentucky Governor's Office

On a day when Kentucky’s U.S. Senate candidates are taking turns urging restraint on climate change and touting coal, Gov. Steve Beshear took a more middle-of-the-road approach. The governor said Tuesday that he believes the commonwealth has an obligation to address climate change and greenhouse gas emissions, but he believes it can be done in a way that doesn’t omit coal entirely.

In his address to the 37th Governor’s Conference on Energy and the Environment, Beshear echoed a majority of scientists, saying climate change is both happening and influenced by human activity. And in light of that, Kentucky will have to adjust, and work with federal regulators.

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Local News
3:53 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Louisville's History of School Desegregation

Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

Many Louisvillians  are acquainted with the controversial busing policy in the public schools. But what are the exact roots of this legislation?

Before there was "busing," there were early attempts to desegregate in Louisville. And, as Tracy K'Meyer writes, Louisville was considered a symbol of success in integrating the schools. There was relatively low violence. The opposition was less fervent.

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Politics
2:28 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Kentucky Senate Republican Leader Open to Giving Felon Voting Rights a Second Look

State Sen. Damon Thayer, R-Georgetown,
Credit File photo

A day after U.S. Sen. Rand Paul called on Republican lawmakers in the Kentucky General Assembly to give restoration of felon voting rights a second look, a prominent GOP state senator says the caucus might be open to the idea.

Speaking at the Plymouth Community Renewal Center earlier this week, Paul said U.S. drug laws disproportionately effect racial minorities.

One of the consequences, Paul said, is voter disenfranchisement for African-Americans.

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Education
2:19 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Kentucky Students Improve In Graduation, College-and-Career Readiness Rates

Credit Shutterstock.com

Kentucky’s high school graduation rate is one of the highest in state history and education officials say more students are finishing college and career ready than ever before.

Gov. Steve Beshear joined Education Commissioner Terry Holliday Tuesday in announcing the preliminary results of new assessment data that will officially be released later this month. The state posted an 86 percent graduation rate this year, improving from the 78 percent rate in 2012. 

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