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Environment
6:23 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Pollution, Wildlife and Apathy: What I Saw While Paddling Down Beargrass Creek

Erica Peterson WFPL

The three forks of Beargrass Creek wind through much of Louisville. The waterway used to be used for waste disposal…and it still takes on wastewater from time to time, when the city's sewer system overflows.

But progress has been made to clean up Beargrass Creek, and today several groups went out on the water to take a look.

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Education
4:42 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Bill That Would Change Indiana School Supt. Requirements Wins Final Approval

Indiana's local school superintendents would no longer have to hold a state superintendent's or teacher's license under a proposal that has won final legislative approval.

The Indiana House voted 55-40 today  to approve the bill that cleared the Senate this month, but only after Lt. Gov. Sue Ellspermann cast a tie-breaking vote in favor of it.

The bill would require that the district superintendent have a master's degree, a change from current requirements that superintendents have a teaching license and complete graduate school work in education administration.

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Politics
3:59 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Legal Debate Over Boston Terror Suspect's Miranda Rights Continues

Credit Shutterstock.com

The White House announced on Monday that Dzhokhar Tsarnaev will not be treated as an enemy combatant, which adds more nuance to the legal debate regarding the 19-year-old terror suspect's legal rights.

After being taken into custody, federal authorities said Tsarnaev, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, was not read his Miranda rights. Law enforcement cited the public safety exception, which was first carved out in a 1984 U.S. Supreme Court decision in the New York v. Quarles case.

In that situation, police questioned an assailant about the location of a weapon  before reading his Miranda rights.

University of Louisville Law Professor Russ Weaver told WFPL the exception defined in the Quarles case is rarely used and remains legally controversial

"There have been very few decisions applying that ruling since then so nobody really knows what it means. The question is when is it going to be applied and what does it mean? I don’t think anybody really knows," he said.

"You can make an argument for a case like this, saying ‘Look there may be a bombing ring or could be other things being plotted so there is a public safety reason for not applying Miranda in this situation.'"

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Arts and Humanities
2:40 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Spring Baroque Concert Promises New, Old Twist on Call to the Post

A bugler plays the call to the post to signal the beginning of the race, but Louisville's Bourbon Baroque ensemble will end their season with an 18th-century interpretation of the iconic spring-time blast. Indiana University Early Music professor Kris Kwapis will play the baroque trumpet for Bourbon Baroque’s final season concert, which includes Marc-Antoine Charpentier’s choral piece “Te Deum.”

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Politics
1:17 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Ag Commissioner James Comer: Indictment of Richie Farmer Won't Affect Department

Richie Farmer
Credit File photo

The federal indictment of former Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer won't become a problem for the Department of Agriculture, Farmer's successor said on Monday.

James Comer, who took over the office in 2011, and his office say they have helped with the multiple investigations of Farmer's tenure as agriculture commissioner—including those conducted by the state auditor, attorney general or others.

Since 2011, Comer says,  he's worked to restore public confidence in the department post-Farmer.

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Politics
1:09 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

LG&E, Charah Partner to Create New Agriculture Pellet from Coal Byproduct

Credit Erica Peterson/WFPL

A partnership between LG&E and KU and a Kentucky company could help both the energy and agriculture sectors, Kentucky leaders announced Monday.

Kentucky company Charah  is opening up a facility in Louisville that will take leftover gypsum from the Mill Creek Power Station and turn it into a sulfur product—such as fertilizers—for Kentucky farmers.

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Environment
12:29 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Court Rules Army Corps' Streamlined Coal Mining Permit Doesn't Protect Environment

Gabe Bullard WFPL

An appeals court has ruled in favor of environmental groups that argued the streamlined permit the government used to permit mountaintop removal mines wasn’t protective of the environment.

The decision was issued today by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. It finds that the U.S. Army Corps’ issuance of the streamlined “Nationwide 21” permit is in violation of the Clean Water Act and the National Environmental Policy Act.

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Politics
12:00 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

Rep. Massie Turns Down Federal Pension Benefit

Kentucky Congressman Thomas Massie is declining the federal pension benefit given to Capitol Hill lawmakers.

The freshman Republican legislator represents northern Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District.

Massie says he has declined to accept payments to his retirement fund since taking office.

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Politics
11:55 am
Mon April 22, 2013

In Wake of Boston Bombings, Senator Rand Paul Wants to Delay Immigration Reform

Senator Rand Paul, R-Ky.,
Credit U.S. Senate

In a letter to the Senate majority leader, Republican Rand Paul says national security questions surrounding the Boston bombings need to be addressed before Congress deals with comprehensive immigration reform. 

The terror attacks at the Boston Marathon last week were allegedly perpetrated by the Tsarnaev brothers, who are ethnic Chechens and immigrated to the U.S. a decade ago.

For some that is reason to be cautious on who the country is allowing in as lawmakers deliberate overhauling the immigration system. Others argue conservatives are only seizing on their ethnicity of the accused bombers to stoke nativist fears and derail reforms.

Paul is urging Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid to incorporate various national security concerns first and is openly asking if systemic failures allowed the two men to enter the U.S. without further background checks.

From Paul's office:

The facts emerging in the Boston Marathon bombing have exposed a weakness in our current system. If we don't use this debate as an opportunity to fix flaws in our current system, flaws made even more evident last week, then we will not be doing our jobs.

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Politics
11:08 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Senator Mitch McConnell Addresses Progress Kentucky, Defends Record on Mental Health Issues

Senator Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.,

In a new op-ed piece, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell finally addresses a liberal super PAC accused of recording of his campaign office.

McConnell has personally avoided talking about Progress Kentucky directly, but his re-election campaign and surrogates have focused on the groups in TV ads and news releases. 

Some observers have said the issue at hand isn't how the secret recording of the McConnell campaign was obtained, but aides talking about Ashley Judd's struggles with depression as a part of opposition research.

The GOP leader takes time to respond to newspaper columnist Merlene Davis, who wrote McConnell owed Judd an apology for strategizing on how to attack the Hollywood actresses's past mental health problems but not before taking a swipe at the "partisan zealots" at Progress.

From The Lexington Herald-Leader:

Shortly after the FBI began investigating a criminal recording at my campaign headquarters, Davis penned an opinion column here echoing the framework of the left-wing journalist who obtained the illegally recorded audio in the first place.

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