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Environment
9:27 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Legislators Pre-File Bill to Give Coal Counties More From Coal Severance Tax

Data from the Office of Kentucky State Budget Director

Two Eastern Kentucky lawmakers have pre-filed a bill for next year’s legislative session that would redirect 100 percent of coal severance taxes back to coal producing counties. This is the second year the representatives have introduced the bill.

In Kentucky, every ton of coal that’s produced is taxed. That severance tax goes into the state’s general fund. Half of it stays there. The other half goes back toward projects in individual coal-producing counties, or toward multi-county projects that theoretically benefit coal counties.

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Politics
7:55 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin's Attorney Outlines Defense Strategy

Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2,.
Credit Louisville Metro Council

A year after an ethics complaint was filed, the Louisville Metro Council Court will hear the case to remove Democrat Barbara Shanklin from office this week.

Shanklin faces charges that she deliberately violated the the city's code of ethics, which were brought by a 5-member Charging Committee in March.

The councilwoman's ethics troubles began when news reports pertaining to a $30,000 taxpayer-funded upholstery program for ex-offenders began to surface last year.

City records revealed few former inmates attended the program, which was run through the Metro Corrections department. But sign-up sheets did show Shanklin and many of her relatives did participate.

Attorney Aubrey Williams is representing Shanklin. He says Shanklin and her family had a right to participate in the program because they were residents, but points out no one received any undue advantage or public dollars as a result.

"Barbara Shanklin has not received one dime personally nor has any member of her family received any money that they should not have received, if any, in those programs," he says.

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Local News
6:04 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Louisville Cardinals Heading to White House

The national champion University of Louisville men’s basketball team will visit the White House this week.

The Cards will be honored by President Barack Obama Tuesday afternoon in the Rose Garden for winning the 2013 NCAA championship.

Afterward, the team will tour the Capitol building and visit with U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, a U of L alumnus.

The Cards won this year’s championship in April, defeating Michigan in the title game.

It was U of L’s third men’s NCAA title, and the first in 27 years.

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Environment
6:01 am
Mon July 22, 2013

Attorney Says There's No Precedent for Eminent Domain for Bluegrass Pipeline

The proposed route of the Bluegrass Pipeline
Williams

Officials from a company that wants to build a natural gas liquids pipeline across Kentucky have been holding public meetings in several counties along the proposed route. One lawyer says he doesn’t see examples of eminent domain being used in similar cases.

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Local News
5:42 pm
Sun July 21, 2013

Some Louisville Council Democrats Show Concern Over Bridge Tolls, Ask Public To Voice Concerns

Credit Ohio River Bridges Project

Members of the Louisville Metro Democratic Caucus are asking the public to voice their opinions on how tolls for the Ohio River Bridges Project will affect minority and low-income residents. 

The public comment period is a federal requirement and project leaders say they’re considering ways to ease the tolling burden.

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Local News
7:01 am
Sun July 21, 2013

What We're Reading | 7.21.13

Credit Creative Commons

Each week, members of the WFPL News team spotlight interesting stories we've read and enjoyed, for your weekend reading pleasure:

Gabe Bullard: Some facts about Chuck E. Cheese:

1. It was started by an Atari employee.

2. Chuck was supposed to be a coyote.

3. It was almost named Rick Rat's Pizza

4. The animatronics were to entertain parents, not kids.

5. The concept is a market inevitability. That is, had Chuck E. Cheese not been created, a similar business would have likely sprung up.

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Local News
7:00 am
Sun July 21, 2013

Study: A Louisville Family of Four Needs $61,171 Per Year to 'Get By'

Credit Shutterstock.com

The federal government has a figure for how much it takes to not live in poverty—for a family of four, it's $23,550. That's the federal poverty level.

It's useful information for determining who is eligible for certain benefits.

But anyone who has read finance news in the past five years know that  even people who aren't at risk of being in poverty (as defined by the government) are struggling. After all, some family out there are earning $23,551—and making twice that is still less than $50,000.

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Strange Fruit
12:42 pm
Sat July 20, 2013

Strange Fruit: The Zimmerman Verdict

It's been a week since George Zimmerman was acquitted of killing Trayvon Martin. Most of us have spent this week reflecting, arguing, thinking, protesting, writing, organizing, praying, and unfriending people on social media.

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Local News
7:00 am
Sat July 20, 2013

When a Lebowski Fest Founder Met 'Big Lebowski' co-writer Joel Coen and Frances McDormand

Credit The Big Lebowski

For 12 years now, Will Russell and others have put Lebowski Fest—an annual celebration of the 1998 cult favorite film "The Big Lebowski."

But, until recently, Russell has had virtually no contact with Joel and Ethan Coen, the brother duo who wrote and directed the film, along with others ranging from "Raising Arizona" to Academy Award winners "Fargo" and "No Country for Old Men."

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Local News
5:17 pm
Fri July 19, 2013

Kentucky Officials Report $70 Million General Fund Surplus

Credit File photo

Kentucky officials say the state finished last fiscal year with a $70 million surplus.

Budget director Jane Driskell says the General Fund surplus is the result of slowed spending by government agencies that have been forced to deal with smaller budgets.

Last year, the state cut most agencies by over 8 percent.

Driskell says there was also a small increase in revenue in the amount of $40 million.

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