Education
8:25 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Oldham County School Board Approves Its Largest Tax Increase In Past Decade

Credit File photo

The Oldham County Board of Education approved the largest allowable tax increase Thursday night, which is also its largest tax increase in the past 10 years.

The board's 4-1 vote will allow the school district to balance its budget and follows $3 million in cuts made earlier this year. Superintendent Will Wells says raising taxes the maximum 4 percent allows Oldham County Schools to maintain the academic programs that are working.

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Politics
5:43 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

State Lawmakers Point Out Speaker Stumbo's 'Evolving' Position on John Arnold Scandal

Greg Stumbo
Credit Rae Hodge/Kentucky Public Radio

Kentucky lawmakers from both parties are questioning the timing of Democratic House Speaker Greg Stumbo's decision to begin a process that may lead to the possible censure or removal Rep. John Arnold over sexual harassment allegations.

And Republicans argue Stumbo's decision contradicts earlier statements from the speaker's office that lawmakers shouldn't interfere with an ongoing investigation.

Earlier this week, Stumbo said he disagreed with a call by Republican Senate President Robert Stivers for General Assembly leaders to discuss the Legislative Research Commission's ongoing probe in a closed-door session.

When Stivers called for a Sept. 4 meeting between Senate and House leaders, he said it was to learn more about the status of an LRC probe being led by attorney Cheryl Lewis, who was hired by Stumbo's office.

But the speaker balked at that request Wednesday evening.

And on Thursday afternoon, Stumbo announced the petition and an appointment of a special committee to look into the allegations, which could potentially remove Arnold from office.

"This position is inconsistent but that has been his course of conduct over the last 10 days," says Stivers. "While I applaud the speaker for seeking proportional punishment for the alleged acts, that does not resolve the problem of the legislature’s exposure to threatened litigation and money judgments. It also does not resolve the most significant problem which is how to address the culture that has been exposed by the actions of Rep. Arnold."

(Past coverage of the Arnold ethics case from WFPL and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting.)

Part of this week's dueling statements between Stivers and Stumbo is a bit of political gamesmanship and difference in opinion on how to handle the scandal, which surprised lawmakers in the midst of the special legislative session.

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Environment
3:55 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

High Ozone Levels Possible on Friday

So far, Louisville's air has been fairly healthy this summer: there haven't been any ozone exceedences.

But the first one could come on Friday. The Louisville Air Pollution Control District has issued the third air quality alert of 2013. The Air Quality Index is forecast to be 133, which is unhealthy for sensitive groups. 

These sensitive groups include the elderly, the young, and anyone with heart or lung ailments.

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Politics
3:35 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Stumbo Calls for Investigation of Rep. John Arnold, Could Lead to Censure or Expulsion

Greg Stumbo
Credit Legislative Research Commission

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo has filed a petition that would allow the House to investigate the allegations of sexual misconduct against Democratic Representative John Arnold, D-Sturgis.

State lawmakers could then vote to censure or expel the Western Kentucky lawmaker.

In addition to the petition, the House Committee on Committees is sending Arnold a letter saying that he will be suspended as chairman of the Budget Review Subcommittee on General Government, Finance and Public Protection.

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Local News
2:57 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

In Jefferson County, 16 Percent of Residents Don't Have Insurance

Credit Shutterstock.com

Sixteen percent of Jefferson County residents don't have health insurance, according to data recently released by the U.S. Census Bureau.

That's just about even with the state average.

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Arts and Humanities
2:13 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Poor Little Rich Girls: New Exhibit Explores American Debutante Tradition

Consuelo Vanderbilt in "Debutantes" by Jacob Heustis.
Credit Swanson Contemporary

Louisville artist Jacob Heustis was ten or twelve years old when he visited Harrodsburg’s Beaumont Inn, which had been a girls' finishing school during the 19th and early 20th century. In what used to be a dorm, he remembers something unusual about the room’s original window panes. 

“There were these little scrawled names scratched into the glass," Heustis recalls. "I don’t even remember what any of it said, I just remember names, numbers, dates, things like that. Later I found out they did it with their diamond rings.”

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The Two-Way
1:47 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Federal Prosecutors Told Not To Focus On Marijuana Users

A customer rolls a joint made of half marijuana and half tobacco to smoke inside of Frankie Sports Bar and Grill in Olympia, Wash., in December 2012.
Nick Adams Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu August 29, 2013 7:58 pm

Federal prosecutors are being told by Attorney General Eric Holder to focus on cartels, criminal enterprises and those who sell the drug to children, not on casual marijuana users, a Justice Department official tells NPR's Carrie Johnson.

Holder today informed the governors of Washington and Colorado — two states that recently legalized the sale of marijuana for personal use — about the new guidelines for prosecutors, the official adds.

Bu the new guidelines will apply to all states, not just Washington, Colorado and those where "medical marijuana" is legal.

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Education
12:20 pm
Thu August 29, 2013

Oldham School Board Votes On Maximum Tax Hike Tonight

Credit File photo

The Oldham County School Board will vote Wednesday night on whether to approve its largest tax increase of the past 10 years. 

Superintendent Will Wells says the district has already made $3 million in cuts and part of balancing the district's budget will also require raising taxes, which he says will allow Oldham Schools to maintain the academic programs that are working.

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Local News
11:37 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Frankfort Becomes Fifth Kentucky City To Pass 'Fairness Ordinance'

Frankfort became the fifth Kentucky city to pass a "fairness ordinance."
Credit townmapusa.com

Kentucky’s capital city has become the fifth in the state to pass a fairness ordinance, protecting individuals from discrimination in housing, public accommodations and employment based on sexual orientation.

Thursday morning's vote by Frankfort’s Board of Commissioners was split 3-2, but some say there was never a question of whether it would pass.

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Local News
11:36 am
Thu August 29, 2013

Kentucky State Fair Attendance Increases 2.6 Percent

The 2013 Kentucky State Fair
Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

The just-concluded Kentucky State Fair drew 615,648 paid patrons this year—a 2.6-percent increase from 2012.

It's the largest number of attendees since 621,795 turned out in 2009.

“Certainly the weather had a lot to do with it. After all this is not your typical August weather. We had cool mornings, we had very low humidity, very little rain," said Amanda Storment, a spokeswoman for the Kentucky State Fair Board.

Attendance increased on both weekends, fair officials said. 

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