Morgan Co-Conley Meltdown Continues

First the Fredericks threatened the Herald-Leader with a lawsuit and then submitted this bizarre letter. What Daniel Frederick fails to do is realize that most assessments (something like 95.17%) by the PVA in Morgan County are spot-on. Specifically, from 2008-2012, all properties sold in Morgan County averaged out to be about 95% of the ultimate sales price. The state requires 90%. That’s pretty darn solid and the opposite of being grossly under-assessed. John Cheves didn’t mislead anyone. Pro-Tip: Daniel is the son of Joleen, former county attorney. And fun rumor: We hear the Fredericks pulled all of their money out of Commercial Bank when Standafer won the banking bid. So that’s fun. [H-L]

Militants attacked a remote guesthouse and killed nine Afghans working for a Czech charity on Tuesday, as a new report by a U.S. university warned that almost 100,000 people have been killed in Afghanistan since the 2001 U.S. invasion. [HuffPo]

University of Louisville trustees will decide Thursday whether parents and students will again have to shoulder a bit more of the school’s ever-inflating costs. [C-J/AKN]

Florida Senator Marco Rubio has one; Texas Senator Ted Cruz has one; even former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, considered a longshot for the Republican presidential nomination in 2016, has a billionaire in his corner. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has two. [Reuters]

Attorney Ned Pillersdorf does not mince words about Eric C. Conn. He has called Conn’s actions “scheming,” “conniving,” and more, after hundreds of Eastern Kentuckians are seeing their Social Security benefits suspended due to suspicion of fraud. [Hazard Herald]

Turns out that Martin O’Malley, like every other politician, is a… politician. Politicians love to reinvent themselves. Clinton, Bush, O’Malley, Conway, Beshear, McConnell. They all do it. [Hullabaloo]

Routine business made up a large part of the Harlan City Council’s recent meeting for the month of May. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Rand Paul, the man of the hour when it comes to pushing back against government secrecy, is throwing his weight behind a fresh push to declassify 28 pages from a 2002 Senate inquiry into the causes of 9/11. [TDB]

Meanwhile, both Jamie Comer and Hal Heiner continued to raise campaign funds. [WKMS]

While Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Granny) and allies in his party ostracize the junior Bluegrass State senator, Rand Paul (R-Cookie Maker), for opposing the Patriot Act, the American people lean far more towards Paul’s position than McConnell’s. [Politico]

With just a slight breeze, the smell of bourbon and whiskey wafts into the noses of visitors to the Bulleit Frontier Whiskey Experience. [Business First]

The Antarctic ozone hole would have been 40% bigger and a hole over the Arctic would have opened up if ozone-depleting chemicals had not been phased out, according to research. [BBC]

Kentucky House Speaker Greg Stumbo is calling for a 140-mile extension of the Mountain Parkway from Prestonsburg to Beckley, W.Va., at a cost of $8 billion to $10 billion. [H-L]

College graduates, brace yourselves for some disappointing news. Wages for university grads are 2.5 percent lower than what they were 15 years ago, according to the latest edition of the Economic Policy Institute’s annual report on the labor market prospects of new workers. [HuffPo]

What’s Going On With The Glasgow PD?

A $62 million construction contract with D.W. Wilburn Inc. for a new Lexington high school has been approved by the Fayette County school board. [H-L]

The U.N.’s Paris climate conference, designed to reach a plan for curbing global warming, may instead become the graveyard for its defining goal: to stop temperatures rising more than 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels. [HuffPo]

Imagine waking up after a serious accident to discover you’ve become an unwitting subject in a medical study without ever agreeing to participate. [C-J/AKN]

Among African American adults with low education and income levels, the increase in risk of heart disease or stroke associated with living in poverty is largest for women and people under age 50, according to a large new study. [Reuters]

Ashland Alliance President Tim Gibbs told the city commission its town is “just maintaining,” instead of either growing or shrinking economically. Gibbs said his joint-chamber of commerce for Greenup and Boyd counties, however, is trying to grow Ashland again — the most recent step in this direction being to achieve Work Ready certification. [Ashland Independent]

Several U.S. Senators and military lawyers say they are concerned by Col. Norm Allen’s attempts to thwart an investigation into why the U.S. Military built an unneeded luxury headquarters in Afghanistan. [ProPublica]

Glasgow’s city attorney responded Wednesday to a lawsuit filed by former Glasgow police chief Guy Turcotte against the city and interim chief James Duff by saying the lawsuit will provide an opportunity for the public to look closer at Turcotte’s record with the Glasgow Police Department. [Glasgow Daily Times]

From the Department of Things Ken Ham Wouldn’t Understand… A new species of ancient human has been unearthed in the Afar region of Ethiopia, scientists report. [BBC]

FEMA has released the most recent numbers for persons receiving federal assistance since the severe storms in April. A total of 1,800 persons registered for aid in Kentucky and 116 were Rowan Countians. [The Morehead News]

After seven years on the outs, choice is back. For the first time since 2008, significantly more Americans identify as pro-choice (50 percent) than pro-life (44 percent), according to a Gallup poll released Friday. [Mother Jones]

Join BGT deTours on June 3 at 6:00* pm in Frankfort, KY for tours of the Old Governor’s Mansion and the Old State Capitol. [Click the Clicky]

In a signed letter submitted to the Department of Homeland Security on Wednesday, 136 House Democrats called on the Obama administration to end the practice of detaining Central American mothers and children in family detention facilities. [ThinkProgress]

This is what happens when good old boy rednecks ignore court orders, trample on mental health, act above the law. [H-L]

The FBI is operating a small air force with scores of low-flying planes across the U.S. carrying video and, at times, cellphone surveillance technology — all hidden behind fictitious companies that are fronts for the government, The Associated Press has learned. [HuffPo]

Eyebrow-Raising MoCo Title IX Data

Let’s start with common sense: high school football and basketball are big deals in Kentucky. They’re probably the only sports, save a bit of baseball, anyone pays attention to. It probably comes as no surprise to anyone that those two main sports have booster clubs/organizations raising $20,000+ per year in many school districts.

In light of various spending scandals that we’ve uncovered involving Montgomery County Schools — specifically Title IX investigations and discrimination lawsuits — we’ve kept an eye on the flow of cash in the school district.

On May 11, 2015 we uncovered a massive Title IX reporting/spending scandal involving Phil Rison and others within Montgomery County Schools. Rison and his then-boss, fired superintendent Joshua Powell, spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on an athletics facility without approval. They also deliberately withheld information from required Title IX reporting and also appear to have misled or intentionally lied to colleagues about spending reporting requirements.

Yesterday, on June 1, 2015, we revealed that Rison and the district still have not properly reported expenditures and activity on Title IX reports with the Kentucky High School Athletics Association.

But that’s not where the fun ends.

Here’s the latest data from the district:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Montgomery County’s most recent KHSAA/Title IX reporting for the 2014-2015 school year, documented in the PDF above, include a surprising development. In the previous years during Powell’s tenure, boosters in the county have reportedly never spent more than $1,950 on athletics facilities. During the 2014-2015 year, however, boosters have all the sudden raised and spent more than $300,000 on facilities. The increase is so drastic that both former and current coaches, school board members, teachers and students have expressed concern to us.

Let’s take a look at the numbers as reported:

BOOSTER SPENDING TOTALS BY YEAR

  • 2010-2011 — $49,255
  • 2011-2012 — $93,348
  • 2012-2013 — $103,270
  • 2013-2014 — $84,410
  • 2014-2015 — $342,757

BOOSTER SPENDING BY CATEGORY

EQUIPMENT

  • 2010-2011 — $46,755
  • 2011-2012 — $52,868
  • 2012-2013 — $50,097
  • 2013-2014 — $77,910
  • 2014-2015 — $29,107

TRAVEL

  • 2010-2011 — $0
  • 2011-2012 — $29,882
  • 2012-2013 — $37,281
  • 2013-2014 — $6,500
  • 2014-2015 — $1,600

AWARDS

  • 2010-2011 — $0
  • 2011-2012 — $9,672
  • 2012-2013 — $10,200
  • 2013-2014 — $0
  • 2014-2015 — $0

FACILITIES

  • 2010-2011 — $0
  • 2011-2012 — $1,950
  • 2012-2013 — $0
  • 2013-2014 — $0
  • 2014-2015 — $312,050

PUBLICITY

  • 2010-2011 — $2,500
  • 2011-2012 — $3,976
  • 2012-2013 — $5,692
  • 2013-2014 — $0
  • 2014-2015 — $0

Now let’s examine the latest booster spending on facilities:

2014-2015 FACILITIES — BOOSTER SPENDING BREAKDOWN

  • Archery — $9,036
  • Baseball — $23,841
  • Boys Basketball — $32,280
  • Girls Basketball — $28,540
  • Boys Bowling — $9,892
  • Girls Bowling — $9,892
  • Boys Cross Country —$9,094
  • Girls Cross Country — $9,094
  • Fast Pitch Softball — $24,668
  • Football — $32,706
  • Boys Golf — $9,398
  • Girls Golf — $8,498
  • Boys Soccer — $15,774
  • Girls Soccer — $16,874
  • Boys Swimming — $6,643
  • Girls Swimming — $6,643
  • Boys Tennis — $7,698
  • Girls Tennis — $7,698
  • Boys Track — $11,345
  • Girls Track — $11,345
  • Volleyball — $15,649
  • Wrestling — $14,536

Surprising amounts of cash in any circumstance.

Boosters dropping nearly $20,000 on bowling when students practice and play at the local bowling alley? What on earth?

We’ve attempted to get answers from district officials but everyone from Phil Rison to the high school principal have chosen to avoid providing comment or explanation. Not answering the most basic questions regarding spending raises red flags galore.

Dozens of open records requests have been filed and those are pending.

What’s going on here? Are Rison and the district inflating girls expenditures paid by boosters to make their per-student costs similar to boys? Are they covering up the baseball field renovation by spreading those costs around? Are they making these claims because booster spending is easier to hide and manipulate when only a couple people control all of the cash and all of the reporting?

To go from raising and spending $0 booster dollars on facilities the year prior to $312,050… well…

Something stinks. And that’s why we’re running this story prior to obtaining records. Because someone out there knows something and the usual suspects in Montgomery County are going out of their way to avoid any level of transparency.

If you know something, SPILL IT!

Contact Jake at this address:

We keep sources confidential.

Some Folks Really Mad At Rand Paul

More than a million gallons of raw sewage has been pouring each day into the Levisa Fork of the Big Sandy River near Pike County for nearly three months. [H-L]

Edgar Nernberg is a creationist. And he won’t let a little thing like discovering a crucial link in the evolutionary chain change his mind. [HuffPo]

After years of planning and several public protests, police body cameras will start recording in Louisville within days. [C-J/AKN]

Here’s an interactive database of all the people killed by police this year. [The Guardian]

The Madison County Schools filled the vacant district positions of director of financial services, director of food services, and district assessment coordinator. [Richmond Register]

Former Gov. Jeb Bush (R-Fla.) said in an interview broadcast Sunday that a National Security Agency (NSA) program that collects information on Americans’ phone calls is “not a violation of civil liberties.” [The Hill]

City officials in South Shore formally opened a new city building Friday after being without one for the past few years. [Ashland Independent]

Rand Paul may have taken his stand against government surveillance a little too far in his presidential campaign. In a campaign video released on Friday that includes explicit links to a campaign donation page, Paul (R-Ky.) extensively uses footage from his lengthy speech on the Senate floor on May 20 against bulk data collection and surveillance in the PATRIOT Act. The Senate “strictly” prohibits any use of its proceedings for campaign activities. [Politico]

Glasgow High School seniors earned more than $3.4 million in scholarships this year and were celebrated Wednesday in the school’s auditorium. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Gruesome photographs on cigarette packages may deliver more effective anti-smoking messages than words, a new analysis finds. [Reuters]

Professional storytellers coming together to share personal stories, ghost stories, and tall tales; sprinkled with just the right amount of music, all heard in a beautiful natural setting— THAT is the Cave Run Storytelling Festival. [The Morehead News]

It’s an argument we hear frequently from gun rights activists and conservative lawmakers: Mass shooters select places to attack where citizens are banned from carrying firearms—so-called “gun-free zones.” All the available data shows that this claim is just plain wrong. [Mother Jones]

I (Jake) grew up reading Merlene Davis and can’t imagine the Herald-Leader without her. For a different kid hidden deep on rural Appalachia, Merlene’s tenacity was everything. [Paul Prather]

U.S. police have shot and killed 385 people during the first five months of this year, a rate of more than two a day, the Washington Post reported on Saturday. [HuffPo]