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12:09 pm
Tue April 23, 2013

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer Announces Re-Election Bid

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit File photo

In a message to supporters, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer announced he is running for re-election in 2014.

The mayor had avoided the question when asked about seeking a second term in recent weeks, and the timing of the announcement had changed from January to mid-summer.

At the time, there were rumors Fischer was considering a bid for Kentucky's U.S. Senate seat held by Republican Mitch McConnell, but the mayor later said he was leaning towards running for re-election.

Fischer acknowledged at a press conference Tuesday afternoon that the decision to run for a second term was based in part on continued rumors he was thinking about the U.S. Senate race in 2014 or the 2015 gubernatorial contest.

"I felt it was best to go ahead and make my intentions clear that I want to be mayor for a second term. There’s an awful lot of work that still needs to be done. We’ve got good momentum as a city. My family’s excited and has been fully behind me so I felt like now was a good time to make the statement," he says.

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Politics
11:17 am
Tue April 23, 2013

Ag Commissioner James Comer Heading to Washington to Talk Hemp

James Comer
Credit File photo

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner James Comer is finalizing details for an upcoming trip to Washington, D.C., to try and get a federal waiver for industrial hemp. 

Earlier this year, Kentucky lawmakers passed a bill setting up a regulatory framework for hemp growing in Kentucky. Comer promises to work at the federal level for legalization or a waiver.

And now, Comer says he'll be head to Washington the week after Derby  meeting to meet executive branch officials and others.

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Education
11:17 pm
Mon April 22, 2013

School Board Requests State Audit for Jefferson County Public Schools

The Jefferson County Board of Education is asking State Auditor Adam Edelen to review the district’s finances and policies.

The board approved the request Monday night 5-2 following a recommendation from Superintendent Donna Hargens.

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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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