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Politics
11:55 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Long Dormant Kentucky Hemp Commission Will Be Revived

Agriculture Commissioner James Comer says he is restarting the long-dormant Kentucky Industrial Hemp Commission.

The General Assembly created the commission ten years ago to look into hemp's potential in the commonwealth, but it has never met. This morning, Comer announced that he is reforming the commission and, per state law, he will be the chairman.

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Politics
10:06 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Mayor's Office Says Seven Groups Haven't Documented Grant Spending

Mayor Greg Fischer's office has released the findings of a review of grant funds given to local nonprofits.

About 200 organizations received grants through Metro Council members' Neighborhood Development Funds in fiscal years 2010 and 2011. After controversies about how that money was being spent, Fischer announced the review, noting that it's in line with a city policy that was not previously enforced.

The mayor's office released a statement this morning saying seven groups did not turn in the proper paperwork to show how their city grants were spent.

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Politics
8:35 am
Thu August 23, 2012

Louisville Write-In Presidential Candidate Files Birther Lawsuit

A Louisville doctor running for president as a write-in candidate is aligning with the so-called "birther" movement in a lawsuit questioning President Obama's citizenship.

Anesthesiologist Todd House is running on a ticket with his wife, and according to The Courier-Journal's Joe Gerth, he filed a suit on August 10 alleging Mr. Obama is not a "natural born" citizen and is therefore unqualified to run for president.

From The C-J:

About 20 similar cases have been filed across the country. All of the cases that have come to a conclusion have been rejected by judges — both in federal and state courts — and most have failed on technical reasons. Courts have rejected several of the cases, ruling that those who filed the suits didn’t have “standing” to bring them.

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Politics
8:01 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Ethics Commission Votes to Hold Hearing in Shanklin Case

Embattled Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin, D-2, will face an ethics hearing.

The city Ethics Commission voted unanimously on Wednesday to hold a trial-like proceeding on October 25 in response to a complaint filed by a state watchdog group.

It took the panel over an hour in private session to rule that it will hold a hearing to determine if the city lawmaker violated six separate provisions of the city’s code of ethics. Common Cause of Kentucky filed charges last month claiming that Shanklin used her office to benefit herself and her relatives.

Attorney Aubrey Williams is representing Shanklin in the case and objected to the commission deliberating in secret. He says the ethics panel has failed to properly explain its procedures, and is denying his client due process.

"In a court of justice—unless this is something other than that—when one party makes allegations, the court of justice allows the parties to debate and argue those questions," he says. "Why it is that the commission cannot allow argument and make rulings openly on those motions without going into executive session makes no sense."

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Environment
4:37 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Mammoth Cave National Park Names New Superintendent

Sarah Craighead
National Park Service

Mammoth Cave National Park has named a new superintendent, and she is the first woman to serve in that capacity in the park’s history.

Sarah Craighead will replace Patrick Reed, who retired at the end of June. She’s currently the superintendent at Death Valley National Park, which straddles parts of California and Nevada. She’s also worked at national parks in Arizona, Oklahoma and Maine, among others.

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Education
4:36 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

ACT Scores Show Half of KY Graduates Meet Benchmarks

The chart shows trends in Kentucky public high school juniors' ACT test scores the past five years.

The Kentucky Department of Education has released the latest ACT scores for graduating public high school students, which show slight improvements over the previous year.

But only half of students meet the state’s standards for college readiness. 

Kentucky's graduating seniors went from 19.2 to 19.5, which is still short of the national average. However, the national average includes private school results as well.

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Local News
4:35 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Louisville Slugger, Little League Baseball Will Pay $14.5 Million in Metal Bat Injury Suit

Louisville Slugger and Little League Baseball will pay a brain-damaged New Jersey boy $14.5 million to settle a lawsuit over the use of metal bats in youth games.

Steven Domalewski was struck in the chest by a line drive that stopped his heart while he was playing in a youth baseball game in 2006.

He was pitching in a Police Athletic League game when the batter rocketed a line drive off a metal bat. The ball slammed into his chest, just above his heart, sending him into cardiac arrest. Domalewski's brain went without oxygen for 15 to 20 minutes.

Arts and Humanities
4:23 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Jeffersonville Forms Public Art Study Committee

Floodwall mural in downtown Jeffersonville.
Jason Meredith Design Unleashed

The city of Jeffersonville, Ind., has formed a study committee on public art. The committee will lay the groundwork for a new public art initiative. City council member-at-large Nathan Samuel hopes a public art initiative will help rally Jeffersonville citizens and leaders around a positive cause.

“I think Jeffersonville suffers from a self-esteem problem," says Samuel. "We don’t give ourselves enough credit for what we have here.”

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Education
4:21 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens on WFPL News Special

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens appeared live in our studios for a WFPL News Special today.

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Environment
3:20 pm
Wed August 22, 2012

Does the Huge Kentucky-India Coal Deal Make Sense?

Coal on a barge in the Kanawha River in 1973.
Harry Schaefer U.S. National Archives and Records Administration

Last week, there was huge news for the coal industry. Kentucky coal producers signed a deal to export up to nine million tons of coal a year for the next 25 years, to the reported tune of $7 billion.

I’ve already covered why the deal is good news for struggling Appalachian coal producers (but not good enough news to turn the industry around), the extent of Rep. Keith Hall’s involvement, and what the increased coal exports could mean for the environment. But now I’m hearing conflicting opinions about why this deal actually happened in the first place, and whether or not it makes sense.

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