Politics
7:30 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Yarmuth Addresses ORBP Approval

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., addressed final approval of the $2.6 billion Ohio River Bridges Project by the federal government.

The Federal Highway Administration announced Wednesday it will allow Kentucky and Indiana to charge motorists a fee to use Interstate-65 (Kennedy Bridge) and the two new spans that are schedule to be built.

Details on tolling are still being worked out, but Yarmuth sidestepped that portion of the press release and rather focused on looking forward to the first phase.

From Yarmuth's office:

"This is the final signature needed from the federal government to begin construction of the Bridges Project," Yarmuth said. "I received personal assurances from Transportation Secretary LaHood and President Obama that the federal approval process would be expedited, and they have followed through on those commitments. Nothing else stands in the way of construction, and I look forward to breaking ground on the East End Bridge later this month."

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Politics
6:08 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Johnson Accused of Trying to Buy Colonial Gardens as City Funds Economic Study

Councilman Dan Johnson

Louisville Metro Councilman David Yates, D-25, is raising ethics concerns about allegations that fellow Councilman Dan Johnson, D-21, made an offer to buy the historic Colonial Gardens property in the midst of a city funded feasibility study.

The council spent $14,000 to study the economic viability of the Iroquois Park corridor—the southwest Louisville neighborhood that contains the property. Five council members, including Johnson and Yates, contributed to the grant from their Neighborhood Development Funds for the non-profit Southwest Dream Team to commission the feasibility study.

In a July 23 letter to Johnson and the county attorney, Yates says constituents have told him that Johnson, who is a real estate agent, is seeking to buy the property and profit from any redevelopment projects.

"My concern lies with the possible ethical implications of what may appear to be an attempt by you as an elected official to profit from the purchase of said property. Let me be clear, I do not have firsthand knowledge, other than your statement, of any wrong doing; nor am I making any allegations that you acted with malice."

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Environment
5:49 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Analysts Say Data Sharing Could Help Louisville Residents With Asthma

A team of data analysts is recommending Louisville pursue public-private partnerships to help collect and organize data to help residents with asthma.

The team was paid for with a grant from technology company IBM’s Smarter Cities program. Members were in Louisville last month interviewing people and collecting data, and revealed preliminary recommendations today.

Team member Anne Fitzpatrick explained how the aggregation of multiple sources of data could help those who suffer from asthma.

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Environment
5:30 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Judge's Ruling Against the EPA May Not Provide Certainty for Coal Industry

The coal industry and officials from numerous states, including Kentucky, claimed victory yesterday after a federal judge ruled the Environmental Protection Agency’s new guidance on water pollution near surface mines overstepped the agency’s authority. But the judge’s decision still doesn’t add certainty to the industry’s permitting process.

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Environment
5:26 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

New Metro Government Tree App Technically Available, But Not Yet Functional

A new smart phone app currently in development would allow Louisville residents to participate in cataloging the city’s trees—as well as create a wish lists of sorts for more trees in their neighborhoods.

The “Louisville Tree” app will eventually allow users to peruse interactive maps of the city, along with pinpoints marking the locations of different varieties of trees. There’s also a way to report dying or unsafe trees to the city.

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Local News
5:00 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

TARC Gets Federal Grant for New Buses

WFPL File Photo

The Transit Authority of River City has received another federal grant to purchase new buses.

Most of the news about TARC involves cuts, since the authority's funding is tied to the city occupational tax.

But recently, TARC has won grants to replace aging vehicles. The latest award is for $4 million, which is enough to buy a dozen buses that more cleanly burn diesel fuel.

Previously, a grant was used to order 27 new buses, eleven of them hybrids.

In all, there are 210 buses in TARC's fleet. The new vehicles will be on the street next year.

Local News
4:53 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Federal Government Approves Tolls for Bridges Project

Bridges Authority

The federal government has approved the tolling plan for the Ohio River Bridges Project.

This means the project has cleared its final federal hurdle, and tolls may be placed on the new East End Bridge, the new downtown bridge and the existing Interstate 65 span.

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Politics
2:00 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Abysmal Fundraising Continues for Wicker

In Kentucky's Third Congressional District race, Republican challenger Brooks Wicker continues to trail Democratic incumbent John Yarmuth by a huge fundraising margin.

According to federal election financing records Wicker filed another abysmal fundraising total while Yarmuth increased his contributions. The GOP challenger raised a mere $2,600 during the second quarter compared to $184,000 raised by the Yarmuth campaign.

In the first quarter Wicker raised $3,000 while Yarmuth garnered $80,000.

Wicker campaign spokesman Josh Weill says the campaign got a late start, but points to fundraising events with Papa John's founder John Schnatter as a sign that things are starting to turn around.

"We’re never going to out spend John Yarmuth. That’s not going to happen. We don’t need to have more money than he does. We just need to have enough and I feel confident that we will have enough when the time comes,” he says.

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Environment
1:11 pm
Wed August 1, 2012

Air Quality Alert Called For Today, Tomorrow

Louisville's Air Pollution Control District says the potential exists for unsafe ozone levels today and tomorrow in the metro area.

The Air Quality Index is forecast to be 109 today, and 129 tomorrow. These levels are unhealthy for sensitive groups, including the elderly, the young and people with heart or lung conditions.

For hourly air quality updates, call 574-3319.

Politics
11:53 am
Wed August 1, 2012

Most Kentucky Democrats Will Not Speak at Fancy Farm

Most of Kentucky's elected Democrats will skip this weekend's annual Fancy Farm picnic.  As of Wednesday, House Speaker Greg Stumbo is the only high profile Democrat scheduled to speak. Stumbo is filling in for the governor, who’s on an economic development trip in Europe. Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and the four remaining statewide elected Democratic officials are opting not to speak. 

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