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Developing
1:30 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Council Democrats Propose Tax Increase to Pay for Housing Trust Fund

A handful of Louisville Metro Council Democrats are proposing to raise the insurance premium tax by 1 percentage point to pay for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund.

The ordinance would increase the premiums on policies such as life, casualty, home and automobile insurance from 5 percent to 6 percent.

It is estimated raising the tax will generate an additional $9.7 million in revenue towards the city's general fund. Supporters of the ordinance admit other council members may want to use new funds to fill the project $13 million budget shortfall or shore up the city's depleted road fund.

Besides housing issues, the legislation specifically speaks to the "acute need of road and sidewalk repair" and to improve transportation.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, is one of the seven sponsors of the bill. She says if the increase passes it will last only five years, and that she and others will work to make sure it is used for housing.

"The seven of us are going to do our best to convince a total of 14 of us on the Metro Council when we come to budget negotiations that this new $10 million revenue over the course of the next year should be dedicated specifically to affordable housing issues," she says.

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Local News
12:59 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Indiana Jobs Panel Would Target Veterans' Unemployment

Indiana legislative leaders say they want a proposed statewide career council to include efforts to reduce the state's high jobless rate among military veterans.

House Speaker Brian Bosma says he was startled to learn that 20 percent of Indiana's post 9/11 veterans are unemployed. Bosma says the bill establishing the Indiana Career Council was amended to include a requirement that it involve military and veterans organizations as its proposals are developed.

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Local News
12:15 pm
Tue February 12, 2013

Kentucky Kingdom Group 'Encouraged' By First Impressions From Shuttered Park

Ed Hart speaks to media outside of the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park.

Leaders of a  group that’s expected to reopen the Kentucky Kingdom amusement park say their team is on the ground and money has been spent.

The state fair board approved a lease agreement last month with the Kentucky Kingdom Redevelopment Company led by local businessman Ed Hart, who once operated the park before Six Flags took over.

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Politics
11:44 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Kentucky Metro Leaders to Draft Legislation for Local Option Sales Tax

Mayor Greg Fischer
Credit Louisville Metro Government

FRANKFORT — Though the effort for a local option sales tax lacks support from principals in the General Assembly, Mayor Greg Fischer and other leaders from Kentucky's largest communities still went to Frankfort on Tuesday to push for a constitutional amendment.

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Arts and Humanities
10:51 am
Tue February 12, 2013

Million Dollar Quartet, Plus One

Jerry Lee Lewis, Carl Perkins, Johnny Cash, Elvis Presley and Marilyn Evans at Sun Studios, 1956.
Memphis Press-Scimitar

The photo ran in the Memphis Press-Scimitar the day after Sam Phillips brought then-unknown Jerry Lee Lewis and his mad piano chops into his Sun Studios to fatten up Carl Perkins'  follow-up to his hit "Blue Suede Shoes." Johnny Cash, already a star with "Folsom Prison Blues" and "I Walk the Line," was a buddy of Perkins', hanging around the studio during the session. When former Sun artist Elvis Presley dropped in, an iconic moment was born. 

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Education
11:00 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

JCPS Officials: State’s 'Priority' School Report Doesn’t Tell Full Story

Superintendent Donna Hargens addresses the media after Monday's board meeting.

Jefferson County Public Schools officials say there’s more to the report released last week showing a majority of the district’s lowest performing schools have not made adequate progress.

JCPS officials acknowledged at Monday’s board meeting more needs to be done to turn around the status of its lowest performing schools, but they say there have been some gains in student test scores.

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Environment
7:17 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Lawmakers Delay Decision on Proposed Changes to Selenium Standards

Lawmakers will wait a month before considering controversial changes to Kentucky’s water quality standard for a substance called selenium.

Selenium occurs naturally in small amounts, but is released in heavier doses by some coal mines and can cause deformities in fish. There are currently two standards for selenium in water: one based on short-term exposure and another for long-term exposure. The proposal from the Kentucky Division of Water would essentially get rid of the first standard, and change the way the second is measured.

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Environment
6:27 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

De-Treed For Speed: Museum Expansion Fells Oak Tree

Tommy Parker, Steven Bowling and Greg Gardiner examine the Valley oak's stump.
Erica Peterson WFPL

UPDATE: Experts say the original estimate of the tree as more than 300 years old (made by a University of Louisville biology professor) is very inaccurate. This story's headline has been changed to reflect the new information. Click here for an update to the story.

Original post:

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Politics
5:54 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

H&R Block: Louisville 7th Most Taxed City in America

Credit hrblock.com

H&R Block has released a graph showing what many have said for years, Louisville is one of most tax burdened cities in the country.

The findings are based on a study conducted by the chief financial officer of Washington, D.C.

That reported was touted by Councilman Ken Fleming, R-7, as a reason for Mayor Greg Fischer's administration to think twice about pushing a local option sales tax.

H&R shows that a hypothetical family of three with an annual income of $50,000 pays an estimated $6,346 in taxes annually.

That means Louisville residents carry a 12.7 percent tax burden, ahead of Boston, Massachusetts at 12.3 percent and just behind Chicago, Illinois at 12.8 percent.

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Local News
4:46 pm
Mon February 11, 2013

Bellarmine Theology Prof: Benedict XVI's Resignation May Set New Precedent

Pope Benedict XVI
Credit Republic of Poland

The bells toll. The noon mass at the Cathedral of the Assumption in downtown Louisville happens every Monday, and the stream of people walking into the doors showed no signs that something significant had happened within the Roman Catholic Church just hours before.

Pope Benedict XVI had announced that he was retiring on Feb. 28, citing his health and age. He's the first to resign in more than 600 years; the first to willfully do it since the 1200s.

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