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Strange Fruit
1:23 pm
Sat August 17, 2013

Strange Fruit: Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney

Credit Playbill

  Playwright Tarell Alvin McCraney has been called the next August Wilson. Maybe that can be partially attributed to the fact that there are so few prominent African American playwrights, but there's still no doubt he is carrying an important mantle. 

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Politics
4:00 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Mitch McConnell Receives Endorsement from Key Louisville Tea Partier

Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky
Credit File photo

Tea Party activist and Louisville Councilwoman Marilyn Parker is endorsing Republican Senator Mitch McConnell days after complimenting his primary opponent.

The nod gives McConnell a key tea party figure, but it comes as the senator faces growing criticism from his political right on Obamacare as a prominent conservative PAC is pledging to run ads against him.

When asked Wednesday whom she was supporting in the GOP contest between McConnell and businessman Matt Bevin, Parker told WFPL she was undecided but praised the latter for bringing up good questions by entering the race.

In a surprising reversal Friday morning, however, Parker says she wanted to make sure voters knew she is backing McConnell for re-election.

"I have always supported Senator McConnell for U.S. Senate," Parker said in a statement. "Today I am issuing a formal endorsement to clear up any doubt about my support for Senator McConnell's conservative record, his leadership role in Washington representing Kentucky and our national interests, and his institutional knowledge for getting the right policies implemented."

Bevin is being supported by the United Kentucky Tea Party, which represents over a dozen groups across the state.

But the endorsement from Parker—along with the former vice president of the Louisville Tea Party—is a crafty chess move that gives Team Mitch a bit of breathing room as more rank-and-file activists openly criticize his campaign.

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Education
4:00 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens: 'This School Year Is All About Implementing Our Strategy'

JCPS Superintendent joined WFPL Friday for a news special.
Credit Jefferson County Public Schools

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens says the district has the strategy, structure and resources in place to implement a strong plan that will help improve student achievement this school year.

But money problems continue to plague JCPS, which has been forced to dip into its savings to support some of the district's new programs. 

Hargens joined WFPL on Friday to discuss these issues plus more. Below are excerpts of the conversation and a link to the full show.

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Politics
3:40 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Kentucky House Leaders Reveal Redistricting Proposal as Special Session Approaches

House Speaker Greg Stumbo (forefront) reveals the proposal.
Credit Submitted photo

House Speaker Greg Stumbo revealed on Friday a redistricting map for his chamber that would create four open seats and place four pairs of Democratic and Republican representatives in the same districts.

“I believe that the plan meets the constitutional mandates,” said Stumbo , a Democrat from Prestonsburg. “Gov. Beshear, I don’t want to speak for him, but he indicated as late as this morning to me that once we’ve passed those plans on Friday, that he intends to sign the bill into law as soon as it gets to his desk.”

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Local News
3:36 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

Kentucky Health Insurance Exchange Call Center Opens

A call center for the Kentucky Health Benefit Exchange Office has opened in Lexington.  

Sixty agents are on hand to answer questions about coverage under the federal Affordable Care Act.  

“We have over 640,000 people today in Kentucky that don’t have health insurance and we’ll be able to cover most of those folks through the Medicaid expansion as well as premium assistance that will be available through the exchange,” said exchange director Carrie Banahan

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Environment
2:13 pm
Fri August 16, 2013

New Study Pinpoints Unique Isotopes in Pollution From Mountaintop Removal Mines

Gabe Bullard WFPL

A new study has identified the specific isotopes of pollutants that leave mountaintop removal sites and enter Appalachian waterways. The new data could help researchers determine how much of a stream’s pollution is due to coal mining.

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Politics
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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