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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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Local News
1:27 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

U of L, Norton Healthcare Officials Call Meeting on Kosair Children's Hospital 'Constructive'

Credit Google Maps

Norton Healthcare officials say a meeting with University of Louisville leaders this week was "constructive" and the two sides plan to meet again soon.

U of L criticized Norton for entering into a partnership with UK Healthcare for the use of Louisville’s Kosair Children’s Hospital, which Norton owns. The hospital sits on state-owned land and under state rules must benefit U of L and Kentucky citizens.

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Local News
1:10 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

Overall Crime Drops in Louisville, but Homicides and Aggrevated Assaults Rise, FBI Says

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The number of violent crime in Metro Louisville decreased 2.4 percent from 2011 to 2012, and property crime decreased 10.5 percent during the same time period, according to new FBI statistics released this week.

Homicides—as defined by the FBI—increased from 48 to 62 from '11 to '12 and aggravated assault increased 8.4 percent, the FBI said. But robberies decreased 15 percent and "forcible rape," as the FBI calls it, decreased 19.4 percent.

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Environment
12:15 pm
Tue September 17, 2013

James River Shuts Down Coal Operations in Kentucky; 525 Employees Laid Off

Credit Decumanus / Wikimedia Commons

RICHMOND, Va. — James River Coal Co. is laying off 525 full-time employees and shutting down production at several mines in eastern Kentucky due to continued weak coal markets.

The Richmond-based company said Monday night the layoffs occurred at operations at the McCoy Elkhorn complex in Pike and Floyd counties, the Bledsoe complex in Leslie and Harlan counties, and the Long Branch Surface mine in London, Ky.

James River says the restart of the operations is subject to market conditions.

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Environment
8:30 am
Tue September 17, 2013

What Does the Future Look Like for Coal Exports From Kentucky?

Credit Harry Schaefer / U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

As U.S. consumption of coal declines, it’s led to economic problems in some of the country’s coalfields—most notably, Appalachia. For the past few years, the buzzword from the coal industry has been “exports:" relying on a rising demand for coal in countries like China and India to help cushion the blow to the region’s economy.

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Environment
5:40 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Louisville Could Benefit From a Tree Ordinance, Expert Says

Census Data Wikimedia Commons

Louisville’s tree canopy has been reduced in recent years by invasive pests and storms. Several steps have been taken to begin looking at the issue, but the city still lacks a comprehensive tree ordinance.

Enter Ed Macie. He’s a regional urban forester with the U.S. Forest Service who’s been helping cities craft tree ordinances for decades. And he’ll be in Louisville today and tomorrow to discuss the benefits of such an ordinance.

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Politics
4:24 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Citing Racial Disparities, Senator Rand Paul Favors Restoration of Felon Voting Rights

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky.

Acknowledging racial disparities in U.S. drug and sentencing laws, Republican Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky is calling for the restoration of felon voting rights in state and federal laws.

The Tea Party favorite also says the consequence of those punitive measures is the chief culprit behind voter disenfranchisement in African-American communities.

"The biggest impediment to voting rights, right now, are convicted felons. One in three young black males has been convicted of a felony and they’ve lost their voting rights. I think it dwarfs all other (election-related) issues," says Paul.

Paul made the comments at a forum hosted by the Plymouth Community Renewal Center in west Louisville on Monday. It is part of the libertarian-leaning senator's continued effort to close the gap between Republicans and black voters, which began with a speech at Howard University this spring.

Among the measures Paul's office touted to those in attendance was co-sponsoring a bill with Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy of Vermont to give judges more discretion in sentencing federal drug cases.

Speaking to a handful of community activists and residents, Paul outlined how he also hopes to put forward a measure that would restore a felon's voting rights at the federal level five years after their release.

"We haven't decided which crimes yet, but I think particularly for non-violent drug crimes where people made a youthful mistake I think they ought to get their rights back," he says.

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Local News
4:21 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Cards Rise in One College Football Poll, Hold Spot in Another

WFPL file photo
Rick Howlett

The Louisville Cardinals gained a spot in one national college football poll this week and held their position in another.

U of L rose to sixth in the latest USA Today/coaches poll and remains at number seven in the Associated Press poll of sportswriters.

Coach Charlie Strong’s team is 3-0 following Saturday’s victory at Kentucky.    The Cards finish their non- conference schedule next weekend against Florida International. 

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Local News
4:06 pm
Mon September 16, 2013

Final Section of Old Milton-Madison Bridge to be Brought Down Thursday

The old Milton-Madison Bridge (right), is being demolished

The demolition of the final section of the old Milton-Madison Bridge has been delayed until later this week.  

The 600-foot section was scheduled to be brought down Tuesday morning, but the blast is now postponed until Thursday at 9:00am.

Officials are asking residents in the Milton, Kentucky area to stay indoors around the time of the blast as a precaution.

The 84 year old Ohio River Bridge truss is being replaced and its piers are being renovated.

The new span alongside the bridge will be closed during the blast, as will river traffic.

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