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12:58 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Council Budget Committee Rejects Property Tax Increase in Contrast to JCPS Hike

In contrast to Jefferson County Public Schools, the Louisville Metro Council Budget Committee rejected any increase to local property taxes in a unanimous vote this week.

Mayor Greg Fischer announced last week that he planned to introduce an ordinance keeping real estate tax rates at the same level.

Under the ordinance, the property tax rate for home owners in the old city limits or Urban Services District will remain at 36.66 cents per $100 of assessed value. Those living in the unincorporated areas of Metro Louisville will remain at 12.55 cents per $100.

Council Democrats and Republicans praised the decision, and Council President Jim King, D-10, took the vote as an opportunity to contrast with the school board's decision to raise taxes.

"Our taxpayers deserve a break in light of the annual JCPS tax increases. We believe in letting economic activity and new jobs drive tax receipts—not higher rates," he says.

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Local News
12:22 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

LEO Editor Sarah Kelley Resigns Amid Editorial Staff Cuts, Art Department Partially Relocating

Update: See below for details on further cuts at LEO.

Louisville Eccentric Observer Editor Sarah Kelley has chosen to leave the paper rather than cut one of her reporters.

"Several weeks ago I was presented with the need to cut an editorial staff position," Kelley says. "After thinking about it for several days I realized that's not something I want to do. So I volunteered to be the person who left."

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Arts and Humanities
12:18 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Forest Giant's Group Art Show Goes Into the Woods

"A Long Talk in the Woods," Matt Dobson

The first time Forest Giant threw open the doors to its Butchertown studio doors for a group art show in 2011, the boutique interactive design company was celebrating its first birthday and a rebranding project that led the staff to ask some of their favorite local visual artists to interpret their name. Two years later, they had the itch to showcase the design side of their identity again with "Wild Echoes," a group exhibition featuring 40 artists working with a woodsy theme. 

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Education
8:32 am
Fri August 16, 2013

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens Answers Your Questions Today During WFPL News Special

JCPS Supertintendent will answer your questions today at 1pm on WFPL.
Credit Jefferson County Public Schools

More than 100,000 Jefferson County Public Schools students are back in class next Tuesday and there are several changes that officials hope will improve student achievement.

We'll be joined by Superintendent Donna Hargens today at 1 p.m. to discuss all this plus more and we'll be taking your calls.

What questions do you have about the state of public education in Louisville?

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Education
8:00 am
Fri August 16, 2013

Bullitt County's 1912 Test for Eighth-Graders is Difficult

This image is making the rounds on the Internet this week. It's a test apparently given to eighth-graders in Bullitt County in 1912.

The gist of all the commentary can be summarized this way: "Some of these questions are really difficult to figure out."

The test was  posted on the Bullitt County History website, which is a project of the Bullitt County Genealogical Society. Here's a section:

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Local News
10:52 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Barzun Sworn Takes Oath to Become U.S. Ambassador to Britain

U.S. State Department

Louisville businessman Matthew Barzun has assumed his role as Ambassador to the United Kingdom. Barzun was sworn in by Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on Thursday.

Barzun was nominated for the post by President Obama last month, and the Senate was unanimous in his confirmation.

University of Louisville political science professor Charles Ziegler says this is an important diplomatic post.

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Local News
9:44 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

UPS Releases Information on Crew Killed in Birmingham Plane Crash

Credit National Transportation Safety Board

UPS has released the following information on the pilot and co-pilot who were killed in this week's plane crash in Birmingham, Alabama:

The Jefferson County, Alabama, Medical Examiner has confirmed that two of our crewmembers, Captain Cerea Beal, Jr. and First Officer Shanda Fanning, lost their lives in the accident involving UPS Flight 1354.

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Politics
8:59 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Republicans Propose 'Sweeping Changes' to Discretionary Funds

Louisville Metro Council Republicans unveil discretionary spending changes.
Credit Phillip M. Bailey

Calling past efforts to reform discretionary spending practices watered down, Louisville Metro Council Republicans unveiled a series of "sweeping changes" to neighborhood development funds.

The proposals come in the wake of Democratic Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's expulsion trial. Shanklin avoided removal over charges of alleged misconduct and unethical use of taxpayer money by just one vote.

Among the changes being touted by GOP members are for the majority of discretionary funds to be used on capital projects rather than towards non-profit groups.

Each council members receives $75,000 in Neighborhood Development Funds, $100,000 in Capital Infrastructure Funds and $30,000 for office expenses.

Republicans hold a nine-member minority on the council, but are seeking to cap the neighborhood accounts at $15,000 while allocating the rest for infrastructure needs.

Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, says past efforts to amend spending rules have been ineffective and too slow, adding that GOP lawmakers believe it’s important to act now in order to restore the public's trust.

"We decided after what happened over these past two weeks to go ahead and make this more permanent, more accountable and more transparent," he says. "We want to have the strongest confidence that the public has in us as well as making sure that we elevate and solidify the trust has in using taxpayer’s money."

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Local News
5:02 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Kentucky Senate Republican Leaders Unveil Redistricting Map

 

Kentucky Senate President Robert Stivers today revealed a new redistricting map that would split only three counties and create no new open seats.

In a press conference, Stivers said the map, which was crafted by Republican leadership in the Senate, represents “a process of mathematics and criteria, not politics,” according to spokeswoman Lourdes Baez, who added that Senate Democrats were also consulted on the plan.

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Arts and Humanities
4:30 pm
Thu August 15, 2013

Page-turner on Stage: Theatre [502] Opens Thriller 'Edgewise'

Ian Weber and Michael Mayes in Theatre [502]'s "Edgewise."
Credit Theatre [502]

Louisville’s Theatre [502] continues its third season this week with a speculative war thriller set in a fast food restaurant. Written by Eliza Clark, “Edgewise” is set in a near-future dystopian America in the grips of a global war. Against this chaotic backdrop, three teenagers report to work at a fast-food burger chain. 

"Somebody's got to turn the fryers on," says director Mike Brooks. "Folks are going to work and they're going to hit the drive-thru whether there's an air strike going on or not." 

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