7:51 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Senator Joe Donnelly Pushes U.S. Military Leaders to Better Address Sexual Assaults

U.S. Senator Joe Donnelly, D-In., joined a chorus of lawmakers on the Armed Services Committee who berated top military leaders over the rise of sexual assault in the armed forces.

In recent months, a series of reports have uncovered a spike in rape and other sexual assault cases against men and women that have been called "terrifying" and a "cancer" despite efforts to curb the problem.

Last month, a study conducted by The Pentagon showed a 35 percent increase in estimated sexual abuse incidents in 2012 compared to 2010.

Speaking at the committee hearing on Tuesday, Donnelly told military commanders they have an obligation to address stop sexual assault and to provide for the psychological needs of survivors.

"I was at the Indy 500 a week before the race, and we inducted a couple hundred men and women into the service. And I want to be able to know when I look them in the eyes, that I can keep my obligation to tell them that you can serve our country, serve with dignity, have your dignity respected, and that’s what we’re trying to do," Donnelly said.


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4:49 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Mayor Greg Fischer's Proposed Cuts to Arts, Homeless Grants Criticized

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

Leaders from non-profit homeless and arts agencies are criticizing Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s decision to reduce the funding levels for their external agencies.

When the Fischer administration first unveiled its $528 million spending proposal last month, the mayor's office highlighted a 21 percent increase to funding for community ministries.

It also outlined how external agencies would receive more than $1 million in grants at continued levels from last year.

Fischer's decision to fund external agencies comes from three panels made up of Metro Council members and mayoral appointees who recommend expenditures for community ministries and social service agencies.

Those recommendations are in Fischer’s budget proposal without any changes, and citizens who sit on the panels sign agreements to keep the deliberations confidential.

Natalie Harris, executive director of the Coalition of the Homeless, says the decision-making process is troubling because groups like hers cannot conference with Fischer's panels to make answer important questions.

"I definitely don’t think the process is transparent. There isn’t any way for that committee to ask questions of the groups or for them to answer any issues that might come up during the committee meetings. And there’s also not a process to go back to that committee before the announcements are made," she says.

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Local News
3:54 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Investigators of Bardstown Officer Slaying Seek Information on Tree Work

Officer Jason Ellis
Bardstown Police Department

Investigators looking for the killer of a Bardstown police officer are asking Nelson County-area residents to contact them if they had tree work done around the time of the ambush.

Officer Jason Ellis was shot to death during the early morning hours of May 25 after he got out of his cruiser to pick up debris on a highway exit ramp in Nelson County.

Police won't describe the debris on the ramp off the Bluegrass Parkway.

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2:55 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Review Team Recommends Most Kentucky School 'Districts of Innovation' Proposals Be Denied

School of the future, according to the popular children's show The Jetsons.
Credit Hanna-Barbera

Only four of 16 Kentucky school districts that applied to become Districts of Innovation will be recommended for approval at Wednesday's Kentucky Board of Education meeting, but officials will not yet say which districts will be denied.

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Local News
1:56 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Sales of Maker's Mark Pitino Bottle to Benefit Academic Center

University of Louisville

One of Kentucky’s best-known bourbon producers is selling thousands more commemorative bottles of its product to raise money for the University of Louisville.

Maker’s Mark is selling 12,600 bottles featuring a photo and tribute to men’s basketball coach Rick Pitino.

Proceeds will to the U of L Center of Excellence, an $8 million facility for student-athletes in all sports that will be built on campus.

Maker’s Mark began producing  U of L commemorative  bottles last year in support of the center, which will be located at Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium.

Local News
1:14 pm
Tue June 4, 2013

Report: Ky. African-Americans Six Times Likelier to be Arrested for Marijuana Possession


In a disparity topped by only four other states and the District of Columbia, Kentucky African-Americans are six-times likelier to be arrested for marijuana possession than Caucasians, said a new study from the American Civil Liberties Union.

But African-Americans are only slightly more likely than Caucasians to use marijuana—14 percent to 11.6 percent, the study said.

In Jefferson County, African-Americans were 3.5 times more likely to be arrested for marijuana possession—close to the national average of 3.7 times more likely.

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10:41 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Poll: Mitch McConnell Holds Edge in 2014

Mitch McConnell
Credit U.S. Senate

A new poll of Kentucky voters shows Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell with a slight edge over two potential Democratic challengers in a 2014 match-up.

The Ohio-based firm Wenzel Strategies conducted the survey and released the results on Tuesday. It gives McConnell a 7-point lead over Kentucky Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes, who is considered the top contender.

Those are very different results when compared to a Public Policy Polling survey that had McConnell and Grimes tied last week. McConnell's re-election campaign raked the PPP survey for what it called "laughable poll questions," saying it should be dismissed.

In a head-to-head contest with Grimes, Wenzel found McConnell receives 46 percent of the vote compared to 39 percent for the secretary of state, who has still not indicated whether she is running for U.S. Senate in 2014.

The same survey finds McConnell leading former Miss America Heather French Henry by just a 5-point margin, however. In that mock race, Henry, who is also mulling a possible candidacy, fairs slightly better than Grimes at 40 percent of the vote compared to 45 percent for McConnell.

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7:56 am
Tue June 4, 2013

UNIQUE: WFPL Gives a Recorder to a Louisville High School Senior Enrolled in Online Classes

Darianne uses her dining room table as a classroom.

Graduation day is almost here for thousands of area students and we're taking a look at unique ways students are earning their diplomas.

Seventeen-year-old Darianne Hudson withdrew from Louisville’s Ballard High School a year ago and she enrolled in Jefferson County High School’s online program.

WFPL gave Hudson a recorder, which she’s carried around for the past several weeks.

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Local News
6:57 am
Tue June 4, 2013

Kentucky Privacy Advocates Concerned About Supreme Court's DNA Ruling

Credit Creative Commons

The ACLU of Kentucky says the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling allowing for the collection of DNA without a warrant poses privacy concerns.

On Monday, the Court upheld a Maryland law allowing law enforcement to take and keep DNA samples from people who’ve been arrested—with or without a warrant.

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8:21 pm
Mon June 3, 2013

Louisville Metro Council Prods Mayor’s Office Over Urban Services

Several Louisville Metro Council members aren't happy with Mayor Greg Fischer for failing to restore previously cut urban services in his new budget proposal.

City chief financial officer Steve Rowland testified at a budget hearing Monday that the city is investing in key areas such as infrastructure and strategic planning.

Fischer had been praised for putting additional funds towards fixing the city's roads, for instance.

But city lawmakers grilled Rowland over why the administration is not using  a projected $3.3 million surplus to bring back two rounds of street cleaning and junk pick-up in the Urban Services District that were cut during the recession.

"It's really hard for me to understand how we continue to implement new programs and spend the taxpayer's dollars when we can't restore services that were in place before merger," says Councilwoman Mary Woolridge, D-3. "It mind boggling to think we can spend $6.4 million to upgrade side walks, roadways and especially bike lanes when we have reduced services in this city. Are we ever going to get money in this budget to restore at least one of these?"

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