Environment
5:19 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Residential Cleanup Near Black Leaf Site is Underway

Cleanup has begun at 44 houses near the former Black Leaf Chemical Plant in Louisville. 

On Wilson Avenue, heavy machinery digs up dirt in the backyard of a home. Crews hired by the state and federal governments are removing the soil in 44 backyards that have showed high levels of heavy metals and pesticides. These houses abut the former Black Leaf Chemical plant, and regulators believe that’s where most of this contamination came from.

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Local News
5:10 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Advocates Rally in Frankfort to Restore Funding for Child Care

With Kentucky lawmakers convening this week for a special session on redistricting, lobbyists are also gathering at the Capitol. 

Education is not on the special session agenda, but advocates today asked legislators to restore funding that was cut from child and kinship care programs.    The funding was slashed to offset a $86 million budget shortfall. 

Children’s Alliance President Michelle Sanborn says given Kentucky’s $70 million surplus at the end of the last fiscal year,  some funding should now be restored.

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Local News
4:31 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Dwayne Sawyer Takes Oath to Become Indiana Auditor

Dwayne Saywer, left, was introduced as Indiana's new auditor by Gov. Mike Pence last week
Indiana Public Broadcasting

Dwayne Sawyer has been sworn in as the new state auditor, making him the first black Republican to hold a statewide office in Indiana.

The state's chief justice administered the oath to Sawyer during a ceremony today at the Statehouse.

Republican Gov. Mike Pence appointed the Brownsburg Town Council president to complete the 16 months left in the term of former auditor Tim Berry, who was elected to his second term in 2010. Berry stepped down last week to take over as Indiana Republican Party chairman.

Arts and Humanities
3:35 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Kentucky Center President Stephen Klein Resigns, Cites Health Issues

Stephen Klein
Credit Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts

The president of the Kentucky Center for the Performing Arts has resigned. Stephen Klein, 66,  says  ongoing health concerns, which he describes as "slightly debilitating but not fatal," have slowed him down. 

“With the continuing responsibility of the institution, I think maybe somebody, God, I hate to say this, but maybe someone a little bit younger, with a little more energy – and again, I’ve been doing this for 35 years, not here, but all around the country – might be a breath of air,” he says.  

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Local News
3:34 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Some Kentucky Lawmakers Want to Consider Creation of Independent Restricting Panel

Kentucky lawmakers are back in Frankfort for what they hope will be a quick special legislative session devoted to creating new redistricting maps.

Both Republicans and Democrats have unveiled proposed maps, and leaders from parties say they believe an agreement can be reached by Friday.

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Politics
2:09 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Louisville Councilwoman Attica Scott Talks Vacant Properties With Senator Rand Paul

Democratic Louisville Councilwoman Attica Scott
Credit Louisville Metro Council

Saying neighborhood concerns come before partisan politics, Democratic Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Scott says she had a chance to discuss the problem of vacant and abandoned properties with Republican U.S. Senator Rand Paul recently.

Paul and Scott met at the Louisville Forum last week, where the senator was the featured speaker and addressed a number of issues.

Among the topics Paul talked about were voting rights for minorities where he said there is no evidence that African-Americans are being barred from U.S. elections more than whites.

But Scott—who is vice chair of the council's vacant properties committee—says despite their  political differences Paul is committed to keeping the lines of communication open dilapidated housing.

"I am more concerned about finding solutions to some of our most pressing infrastructure and neighborhood needs than about partisan politics," she says. "Senator Paul and I have ideological differences on some issues, but we agree that we must be more aggressive in addressing abandoned and vacant properties which is a mutual area of concern."

A report shows swaths of empty homes are concentrated in parts of Scott's district, where up to 30 percent of properties are vacant. In a statement, Paul said he is interested in Scott's perspective on how to remove those abandoned properties in west Louisville.

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Politics
1:05 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

Congressman Hal Rogers Among Handful of Lawmakers Without Campaign Website

Congressman Hal Rogers, R-Ky.,

Kentucky Fifth District Congressman Hal Rogers is among a handful of lawmakers without a re-election website ahead of next year's election.

The overwhelming majority of those in Congress have a campaign up and running online, but a report by Smart Politics shows nine House members—mostly Democrats—haven't bothered to do so.

Part of the reason is lawmakers such as House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi represent safe districts and have won by comfortable margins for years.

Last year, Rogers, who is a Republican, won re-election by 56 points. He's been in Congress since 1981.

From Smart Politics:

If these representatives have been a bit lackadaisical in creating the digital building blocks for their 2014 reelection campaigns so far this year, it may be for the simple reason that they face virtually no threat of losing.

These nine incumbents have logged in an average 11.4 terms in the House and enjoyed an average victory margin of 65.3 points in the 2012 cycle.

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The Two-Way
12:27 pm
Mon August 19, 2013

NPR CEO Gary Knell Announces He's Leaving

NPR CEO and President Gary Knell.
Sesame Workshop

Originally published on Mon August 19, 2013 6:58 pm

After fewer than 21 months on the job, NPR CEO Gary Knell announced at mid-day Monday that he's leaving the organization to become president and CEO at the National Geographic Society.

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Education
11:48 am
Mon August 19, 2013

What's New in Jefferson County Public Schools This Year

School begins Tuesday for Jefferson County Public Schools students.
Credit File photo

More than 102,000 Jefferson County Public Schools students are preparing for their first day of class Tuesday.

For the school district, Superintendent Donna Hargens says the focus this year is on executing the district’s strategic plan with the resources available.

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Education
10:44 am
Mon August 19, 2013

How Parents Can Get Information on JCPS Buses

Credit Joseph Lord/WFPL News

Jefferson County Public Schools students return to class on Tuesday and, as always, logistics are getting some attention.

The school district has set up a hotline—485-7433 (RIDE)—for parents and guardians to get information about bus stops and times.  The hotline is open until 4:30 Monday afternoon.

Here's a JCPS website with more transportation information.

JCPS has also released this video with rules and tips for new bus riders:

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