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10:20 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Indiana Lawmakers Could Wrap Up Session This Week

The 2013 Indiana General Assembly is winding down, with legislative leaders saying they may be able to wrap up business early.

The Indiana General Assembly faces an April 29 deadline to wrap up its business, including adoption of a new, two-year state budget.

Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said last week that he thought the legislature might be able to finish its work by the end of this week.     If that happens, lawmakers would not have to return to the Statehouse for a final day on Monday, April 29.

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Politics
10:00 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Beshear May Still Call Special Session for Redistricting, Tax Reform

Steve Beshear
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Despite passing some pension and tax reforms in this year's Kentucky General Assembly session, state lawmakers aren't out of the clear when it comes to another special session.

A few big issues still remain for lawmakers—mainly redistricting and more tax reform.

Gov. Steve Beshear has the sole authority to call a special sessions and to set their agenda. And with Beshear continuing to express a need for more tax reform to pay for education, he's not ruling out calling a special session sometime this year.

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Environment
7:33 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Source of Contamination in Park Hill Homes May Not Be From Black Leaf Plant

Erica Peterson WFPL

The Environmental Protection Agency’s analysis of soil near Louisville’s former Black Leaf Chemical Plant continues, but the agency still isn’t sure how much of the contamination of nearby land—including some private lawns—can be blamed on the plant. And now, an agency spokesman says some of the preliminary results suggest one of the most prevalent chemicals found might not have come from the facility at all. 

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Arts and Humanities
7:00 am
Mon April 22, 2013

New Voices Festival Celebrates Young Playwrights

Playwright Chanze Castro discusses a script change with director Steven Rahe.
Erin Keane WFPL News

Actors Theatre of Louisvilles' apprentices open their final production of the season tonight. The New Voices Young Playwrights Festival is a bill of ten-minute plays written by eight area high school students. 

The plays were selected from more than 500 ten-minute plays submitted by middle and high school students from Kentucky and Southern Indiana this year. Each play in the festival receives a full production, with a director, designers, a dramaturg, a cast of apprentice actors and a seat in the rehearsal hall for the playwright. 

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Education
6:28 am
Mon April 22, 2013

Board Members Consider Asking for State Audit of Jefferson County Public Schools

The Jefferson County Board of Education

Jefferson County school board members are considering asking Kentucky State Auditor Adam Edelen to perform a special audit of Jefferson County Public Schools.

"I think it’s something that’s going to be happening here fairly soon,” school board member Chris Brady told WFPL.

Brady couldn’t give specifics on what the state audit would look at. But Brady and board member David Jones Jr. have said it would be healthy for any organization to have an outsider look at the system for improvement.

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Politics
3:28 pm
Sun April 21, 2013

Senator Dan Coats Discusses Boston Terror Suspect's Injuries, Miranda Rights

U.S. Senator Dan Coats, R-In.,

Appearing on ABC's 'This Week', Republican U.S. Senator Dan Coats of Indiana says the 19-year-old terror suspect apprehended in the Boston Marathon bombing cannot share any information at this moment due to a bullet wound to the neck.

"The information we have is that there was a shot to the throat. And it’s questionable whether — when and whether he’ll be able to talk again," Coats told 'This Week' host George Stephanopoulos. "Doesn’t mean he can’t communicate, but right now I think he’s in a condition where we can’t get any information from him at all."

Coats is a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee and was on the Sunday morning politics program to discuss the Boston attacks.

He was also asked whether the alleged bomber, Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen, should have been read his Miranda rights after being arrested.

"I think we should stay with enemy combatant until we find out for sure whether or not there was a link to foreign terrorist organizations," Coats said.

Watch:

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Local News
7:01 am
Sun April 21, 2013

What We're Reading | 4.21.13

Credit Wikipedia Commons

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

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Local News
7:00 am
Sun April 21, 2013

Workers Injured by Fire at Louisville Train Derailment Site File Suit

Credit Louisville Metro

Two Illinois workers injured in a fire during the October clean-up of a derailed Paducah & Louisville Railway train in southwestern Louisville have filed suit against the railroad and its contractors.

Leonardo Anthony Carrillo and Gregory Powers claim that P&L, CSX and a contractor failed to properly monitor dangerous contaminants while the men—employed by clean-up contractor RJ Corman—worked at the site near West Point, Ky. 

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Politics
10:30 pm
Sat April 20, 2013

Noise and Notes: Anthony Smith's Vision for Safer Louisville Neighborhoods

Safe Neighborhoods Director Anthony Smith
Credit File photo

What makes a Louisville neighborhood safe?

Community activist Anthony Smith hopes to answer that in his new Metro government role aimed at crime prevention.

The city's director of Safe Neighborhoods was created as a result of the violence prevention task force, which submitted a report containing over six dozen recommendations in response to a brazen triple homicide last year.

Since that shooting spree onlookers have awaited to see if the work group's plan will be more than just another study.

Smith is a Louisville native who acknowledges residents are impatient when it comes to previous promises to help improve dangerous areas.

"There's always going to be this idea around are we doing enough as a city and are we moving fast enough," he says. "And I think we've got to understand this is a long-term situation—we didn't get here overnight so it's not something you can just put some programs in place and it's all gone."

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Strange Fruit
10:00 am
Sat April 20, 2013

Strange Fruit: Kentucky Schools Unsafe for LGBTQ Students

Credit GLSEN.org

Did you feel safe in middle and high school? Were you ever physically harassed, or even assaulted, because of your LGBTQ identity? A report released last month by the Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network (GLSEN) confirms what many of us already knew: Kentucky schools are often hostile and unsafe for LGBTQ students.

The study is called School Climate in Kentucky (PDF), and the results show lots of work still needs to be done. For example, 9 out of 10 students in the Commonwealth say they regularly hear anti-gay slurs in school. 36% report regularly hearing that language from school staff members.

Nearly 6 in 1o students were physically harassed (like being pushed or shoved), and 3 in 10 were physically assaulted (like being punched, kicked, or injured with a weapon) because of their LGBTQ status or gender presentation. 

So instead of just rattling off numbers and feeling disheartened, we decided to speak to the folks who compiled the research. Mark Bartkiewicz is a GLSEN researcher who worked on the state reports, and he joined us by phone this week to talk about the results, how Kentucky's numbers compare to other states, and what can be done to help (spoiler alert: it's gay/straight student alliances and enlightened faculty members).

We also spoke more this week about the closet door in professional sports (for people who know next to nothing about them, we sure do talk about them a lot). This week, NCAA breakout star & top WNBA draft pick Brittney Griner came out of the closet. "I wouldn't say I was hiding or anything like that," she told Sports Illustrated in an interview. "I've always been open about who I am and my sexuality. So it wasn't hard at all. If I can show that I'm out and I'm fine and everything's ok, then hopefully the younger generation will definitely feel the same way."

Who doesn't feel the same way? Male professional athletes, it would seem. In fact, this same week, NFL player and University of Louisville alumnus Kerry Rhodes has been the target of gay rumors after MediaTakeOut.com released pictures of him looking affectionate with another man while on vacation (they helpfully illustrated the story with an NFL logo in which the football has been covered in pink sequins).

Rhodes told The Advocate that he's not gay, but he's an ally. "I know a lot of people are recently talking about athletes struggling to come out to their fans right now," he said, "and I support them, as well as wish those individuals comfort." It seems like the world is waiting for an actively-playing male athlete to come out, so in our Juicy Fruit and closing thoughts segments this week, we did some unpacking of the situation. How do sexual politics play out in the hyper-masculine culture of pro sports (especially football), and why is it so very different for women athletes than men? 

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