Another Kentucky Newspaper Is Dying

Lexington deserves what it gets if it elects Teresa Isaac again. What a total buffoon. [H-L]

Albert Kelly, a top aide to Environmental Protection Agency chief Scott Pruitt in charge of overhauling the organization’s cleanup of America’s most contaminated sites, has resigned. [HuffPo]

Matt Bevin’s mansion and the 10 acres it sits on are now valued at $2.9 million under a new round of local property valuation updates — $1.3 million higher than what a company owned by Bevin paid for it slightly more than a year ago. The 81 percent difference follows questions from last year over the home’s true value and whether Bevin got a sweetheart deal when he bought the seven-bedroom, 9,100-square-foot estate from friend and donor Neil Ramsey in March 2017. [C-J/AKN]

Fearing they could lose access to federal student loans and grants, colleges and universities hire consultants to keep student loan defaults in check. But these advisers too often encourage borrowers to temporarily postpone payments, rather than enroll in plans that would manage their debt long-term — a strategy that skews the default data and threatens the financial health of borrowers, according to a study released Thursday by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. [WaPo]

Jim Gray found a modest sized crowd but a warm reception here Monday as he opened a local campaign office, telling about 35 people he’ll “get things done” in Washington if he’s elected U.S. Congressman from Kentucky’s 6th District. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Russian lawyer who met with Trump campaign officials in Trump Tower in June 2016 on the premise that she would deliver damaging information about Hillary Clinton has long insisted she is a private attorney, not a Kremlin operative trying to meddle in the presidential election. But newly released emails show that in at least one instance two years earlier, the lawyer, Natalia V. Veselnitskaya, worked hand in glove with Russia’s chief legal office to thwart a Justice Department civil fraud case against a well-connected Russian firm. Ms. Veselnitskaya also appears to have recanted her earlier denials of Russian government ties. [NY Times]

A hepatitis A outbreak growing in the Louisville area since last summer reached a new peak recently with a travel advisory from Indiana health officials. They told Hoosiers heading to Kentucky to get a hepatitis A vaccine. [WFPL]

The Trump administration is likely to propose freezing fuel economy standards from 2020 through 2026, according to three people briefed on the matter, a move likely to spark a fight with California and other states backing tougher vehicle emissions rules. [Reuters]

A single Boyd Democrat sheriff candidate will be selected this month to face the lone Republican candidate November. [Ashland Independent]

In February 2017, a top White House aide who was Trump’s longtime personal bodyguard, along with the top lawyer at the Trump Organization and a third man, showed up at the office of Trump’s New York doctor without notice and took all the president’s medical records. The incident, which Dr. Harold Bornstein described as a “raid,” took place two days after Bornstein told a newspaper that he had prescribed a hair growth medicine for the president for years. [NBC News]

Newspapers are continuing to die in Kentucky. The Morehead News will change its publication dates from Tuesday and Friday to once a week on Wednesdays, effective June 6, the newspaper has announced. [The Morehead News]

Peabody Energy, America’s biggest coalmining company, has funded at least two dozen groups that cast doubt on manmade climate change and oppose environment regulations, analysis by the Guardian reveals. [The Guardian]

More than 1,000 employees at the University of Kentucky will be able to continue working on degrees they’ve begun at other universities under a new program announced Tuesday. Those employees had been part of a statewide tuition waiver program that allowed them to take classes toward degrees at other public colleges and universities for free. [H-L]

At a roundtable with the nation’s top educators on Monday afternoon, at least one teacher told Education Secretary Betsy DeVos that her favored policies are having a negative effect on public schools, HuffPost has learned. [HuffPo]

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Republicans Keep Losing To Beshear

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Comedian Michelle Wolf took the bold route during the White House Correspondents’ Dinner on Saturday night. [YouTube]

The General Assembly has adjourned, and thousands of protesting teachers have left the Capitol and gone back to their classrooms. But the battle for public schools and universities in Kentucky has just begun. [Tom Eblen]

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is proposing to increase rent for millions of low-income tenants in government-subsidized housing and impose stricter work requirements. [HuffPo]

A robbery suspect fleeing from police Tuesday was shot at more than 20 times and killed by three officers and one detective from Louisville Metro Police’s First Division, according to police body camera videos. [C-J/AKN]

A federal judge has blocked Donald Trump’s administration from terminating grants issued through a teen pregnancy prevention program, marking the third time in a week that a court has held that the administration’s 2017 decision was unlawful. [Reuters]

Madison County Board of Education approved in a special-called meeting Wednesday to enter into a contract with the Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA) for services in finding a new superintendent, as current Superintendent Elmer Thomas has announced his final day will be June 30. [Richmond Register]

The U.S. Department of Education was investigating why black students in Bryan, Texas, are almost four times as likely as white students to be suspended. Then Betsy DeVos took over. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Attorney General Andy Beshear can continue to pursue his challenge to a pension reform bill passed by the 2018 General Assembly. [Ronnie Ellis]

Donald Trump made two significant legal errors during a Fox & Friends phone interview on Thursday morning, during which he became audibly agitated about Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation — at one point yelling about FBI raids on his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and his personal attorney, Michael Cohen. [ThinkProgress]

The Barren County Economic Authority appears to have a buyer for its 80,100-square-foot speculative building in Highland Glen Industrial Park, and it’s a company that already has a presence here. [Glasgow Daily Times]

When you have the best known name in your congressional district and your younger brother is a heartbeat away from the presidency, it is difficult to run a stealth campaign. But Greg Pence is doing a pretty good job of it. [NY Times]

The Kentucky Labor Cabinet has filed suit against the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting to prevent releasing details about employees accused of sexual harassment — the second state agency to sue KyCIR in the last month. [WFPL]

As views shift on the decriminalization of marijuana, and current and former lawmakers question existing drug laws, the fact that people of color, particularly from low-income communities, are still suffering consequences from decades-old marijuana laws is deeply concerning, critics say. [WaPo]

The former pension fund manager who once lived in a multimillion-dollar house in Bourbon County was sentenced Wednesday to more than three years in prison for money laundering and the theft of $600,000 from two employee pension plans. [H-L]

Scott Pruitt, the embattled Environmental Protection Agency administrator, admitted Thursday that he signed off on controversial five-figure raises for political appointees, contradicting statements he made in a tense Fox News interview earlier this month. [HuffPo]

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It’s Nancy Rodriguez Flashback Time

The University of Louisville and its foundation have sued the school’s former president and other officials in a lawsuit claiming they conspired to divert millions of dollars from the foundation’s endowment. The suit was filed Wednesday in state court. It says former President James Ramsey and his chief of staff, Kathleen McDaniel Smith, colluded to pay excessive compensation to themselves and others. [H-L]

Here’s more on the whole thing. The Board of Trustees decided Wednesday to sue Ramsey, Kathleen McDaniel Smith and others related to past oversight of the U of L Foundation. [WDRB]

Strange how no one bothers to mention that Jerry Stephenson, a charlatan, is one of the country’s most notorious homophobes. [H-L]

Donald Trump repeatedly vowed during the 2016 presidential campaign that he’d only hire “the best people in the world” for his administration. Now, with many of his “best people’ ousted from the Cabinet and other high-level positions, CNN’s Anderson Cooper is wondering what happened to that pledge. [HuffPo]

Just a reminder that Nancy Rodriguez misreported a bunch of the Robert Felner scandal and intentionally ignored what was occurring at the University of Louisville. Now she’s spokesperson for the Kentucky Department of Education. A perfect fit for covering up corruption. [C-J/AKN]

Last month, we reported that over the past five years, IBM has targeted its older U.S. employees for layoffs. The numbers are staggering: Since 2013, we estimated IBM eliminated more than 20,000 American employees ages 40 and over. [ProPublica]

Former Prestonsburg Mayor Jerry Fannin entered an Alford plea after years of litigation. [WLEX18]

Over the past year, U.S. cities and states have been tripping head-over-heels in an effort to be the host of the next Amazon headquarters. Last year, New Jersey approved an incentive package that would give Amazon tax breaks worth $7 billion if it moved to Newark. Philadelphia has offered $2 billion in tax exemptions over 10 years, Georgia $1 billion, and Maryland a whopping $8.5 billion. But while state lawmakers continue to one-up each other in the race to host Amazon’s new HQ, a very different picture has emerged at the lower rungs of the company, where warehouse employees are so underpaid that they already incredibly reliant on state subsidies to survive. [ThinkProgress]

With the Madison County Detention Center over the last two years often housing more than double the number of inmates it is designed to hold, the county attorney is looking at bringing back a home incarceration program to get some non-violent offenders out of the jail. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump and the New Republicans are now challenging Native Americans’ historical standing. [Politico]

The incumbent and two challengers are vying for the state Senate seat in the 18th district. Sen. Robin Webb, D-Grayson, is facing Democrat Chester “Chuck” Highley of Rush in the primary. The winner will run against Republican Scott Sharp of Ashland in the general election. [Ashland Independent]

Scott Pruitt, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, met personally last year with J. Steven Hart, the lobbyist whose wife had rented him a $50-a-night Capitol Hill condo, a disclosure that contradicts earlier statements that E.P.A. lobbying by Mr. Hart had not occurred. [NY Times]

A former Horse Cave police officer who has been charged with one count of wire fraud is scheduled to change his plea in May in U.S. District Court. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Reptilian menaces called Silurians evolved on Earth before humankind — at least in the “Doctor Who” rendition of the universe. But, science fiction aside, how would we know if some advanced civilization existed on our home planet millions of years before brainy humans showed up? This is a serious question, and serious scientists are speculating about what traces these potential predecessors might have left behind. And they’re calling this possibility the Silurian hypothesis. [WaPo]

A representative from Alliance Coal came to the Pike County Fiscal Court with a difficult proposition last week: provide a tax break worth millions over the next 12 years, or say goodbye to the 250 jobs the company provides in the county. [H-L]

Mick Mulvaney, Donald Trump’s budget director and the acting head of a top consumer watchdog group, raised eyebrows on Tuesday with an anecdote about his time in the House of Representatives. [HuffPo]

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The RPK Is Screwing Poor Kentuckians

The Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents voted to slash a long list of academic programs, eliminate jobs, close a regional campus and end two sports — men’s and women’s tennis — as part of a brutal budgetary process to solve a $25 million shortfall. The regents also voted to eliminate 153 positions, about 96 of them currently filled. [H-L]

Louisville could learn a lot about this effort to curtail the negatives of gentrification. But it won’t. It’s going to continue to get worse and the city will become unaffordable for longtime residents. [HuffPo]

Republican legislative leaders chided Matt Bevin for not consulting with them before announcing Monday that he would veto tax reform and budget bills. [C-J/AKN]

Trump’s attacks on China over trade are putting Republican candidates in a difficult spot, caught between support for the president and concern for their constituents’ fortunes. [WaPo]

A top Kentucky official says northern Kentucky will likely be the first area where Medicaid enrollees will have to meet the state’s new ‘community engagement’ requirement, starting July 1. [WFPL]

The special counsel is investigating a payment made to Donald Trump’s foundation by a Ukrainian steel magnate for a talk during the campaign, according to three people briefed on the matter, as part of a broader examination of streams of foreign money to Mr. Trump and his associates in the years leading up to the election. [NY Times]

The Barren County Economic Authority continues to work with industrial companies – some new, some already in place – to develop additional jobs in the area, with some cautious optimism expressed that one or more agreements may be nearing fruition. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Ex-FBI Director James Comey compared Donald Trump to a “mob boss” in a taped interview with ABC News. [The Hill]

Attorney General Andy Beshear went to court Wednesday seeking to invalidate a controversial pension reform bill passed by lawmakers without public debate or a financial analysis. [Ronnie Ellis]

The American Civil Liberties Union has filed a lawsuit challenging what it calls a pattern by Donald Trump’s administration of detaining illegal immigrants seeking to legalize their status based on marriages to U.S. citizens. [Reuters]

Teachers from Northeast Kentucky returned to Frankfort today to lobby once again for education funding. [Ashland Independent]

The FBI was seeking information about the “Access Hollywood” tape in which Donald Trump was heard making vulgar boasts about women when agents raided the office and hotel of his personal attorney Michael Cohen Monday, according to a person with knowledge of the raid. [NBC News]

In newly released recordings, a longtime Kentucky state senator reveals new details about her affair with Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and what happened in the hours before his assassination. [Tom Eblen]

If Donald Trump is to be believed when he claims his White House has “no Chaos, only great Energy,” this week may well be the most energetic of his presidency. [HuffPo]

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Jeff Hoover’s Finally Had His Bigoted Butt Handed To Him And We All Get To Watch Him Melt Down

The Legislative Research Commission is still corrupt as hell. The former chief clerk of the Kentucky House has filed a lawsuit saying he was fired for reporting ethical misdeeds in the sexual harassment scandal involving former House Speaker Jeff Hoover and other lawmakers. Brad Metcalf, who was fired in January, alleges in his whistleblower suit filed Thursday that the woman who made the complaint showed him text messages she’d exchanged with Hoover, “many of an explicit nature,” as well as a timeline of their “inappropriate encounters,” before the secret settlement was reached. [C-J/AKN]

In the midst of a federal investigation into corruption in the world of college basketball, a Louisville lawmaker is trying to tighten up the rules that govern athletic agents. [Linda Blackford]

Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson is changing the mission statement of his agency, removing promises of inclusive and discrimination-free communities. [HuffPo]

Republican John Schickel is a basket of clown dicks. That old racist is fighting to keep forced child marriages legal. [More C-J/AKN]

The world’s biggest investment management firm is stepping up pressure on companies that make and sell guns after the Florida school shooting. [BBC]

Kim Davis is a hypocrite and a monster. But Matt Bevin is worse. Can’t wait til people start to talk about what goes on in his private office. 2019 will be fun. [WDRB]

A prominent Kremlin-linked Russian politician has methodically cultivated ties with leaders of the National Rifle Association and documented efforts in real time over six years to leverage those connections and gain deeper access into American politics. [NPR]

It’s a far cry from what the original pension reform proposal released last fall and it’s far from acceptable to most teachers and state employees, but Wednesdaym a state Senate committee sent a compromise pension reform bill to the full Senate. [Ronnie Ellis]

The Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that people held in immigration detention, sometimes for years, are not entitled to periodic hearings to decide whether they may be released on bail. [NY Times]

On wintry or rainy days, most Kentucky state lawmakers travel from their offices in the annex through an underground tunnel connected to the Capitol building. [More Ronnie Ellis]

Inside the White House, aides over the past week have described an air of anxiety and volatility — with an uncontrollable commander in chief at its center. These are the darkest days in at least half a year, they say, and they worry just how much farther Donald Trump and his administration may plunge into unrest and malaise before they start to recover. As one official put it: “We haven’t bottomed out.” [WaPo]

he state House Judiciary Committee heard a second day of testimony on a bill legalizing the use of medical marijuana – this time from opponents – but took no vote. [Even More Ronnie Ellis]

George Nader, a Lebanese-American businessman, has hovered on the fringes of international diplomacy for three decades. He was a back-channel negotiator with Syria during the Clinton administration, reinvented himself as an adviser to the de facto ruler of the United Arab Emirates, and last year was a frequent visitor to Donald Trump’s White House. Mr. Nader is now a focus of the investigation by Robert S. Mueller III, the special counsel. [More NY Times]

A newly-elected board of elders for Southern Acres Christian Church has taken possession of the church and ousted senior pastor Cameron McDonald from his position. [H-L]

Sen Turd Cruz (R-Racist) has a warning for his fellow Republicans: The party is in danger of losing both houses of Congress in November. [HuffPo]

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Coal Isn’t Just Killing Your Environment

Coal companies linked to the billionaire governor of West Virginia owe $2.9 million in delinquent property taxes in Kentucky, shorting schools and local government programs of money at a time many are struggling with tight finances. [H-L]

The reaction to the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, followed a familiar arc: GOP leaders offered thoughts and prayers. The media profiled fallen victims. Democrats urged action on the same gun safety bills they’ve been pushing for years, as Republicans said none of their ideas would work. [HuffPo]

Of course Greg Fischer is working against the homeless because he wants to build another unsightly stadium in Louisville. [C-J/AKN]

The troubled teen authorities say killed 17 people at a Florida high school excelled in an air-rifle marksmanship program supported by a grant from the National Rifle Association Foundation, part of a multimillion-dollar effort by the gun group to support youth shooting clubs and other programs. [NY Times]

The Berea City Council voted Monday to appoint David Rowlette to fill the unexpired term of Billy Wooten, whose resignation was announced at the council’s last meeting. [Richmond Register]

Trump’s public track record in the face of proximate danger, his words instead ended up underscoring a separate truth: His actions have, at times, read differently than his tough talk. [WaPo]

Law enforcement officers in the [Ashland] area won’t be outfitted with body-worn cameras any time soon. [Ashland Independent]

The U.S. intelligence community developed substantial evidence that state websites or voter registration systems in seven states were compromised by Russian-backed covert operatives prior to the 2016 election — but never told the states involved, according to multiple U.S. officials. [NBC News]

Shortly after Dr. Mark A. Murphy, a top opioid prescriber in the U.S., started practicing here three days a week last year, the clinic owners asked a police detective to meet for dinner. [The Morehead News]

Investigators for special counsel Robert Mueller have recently been asking witnesses about Donald Trump’s business activities in Russia prior to the 2016 presidential campaign as he considered a run for president, according to three people familiar with the matter. [CNN]

Coal companies controlled by West Virginia Gov. Jim Justice’s family owe nearly $3 million in delinquent Kentucky property taxes, money that local governments desperately need to avoid laying off teachers. [WFPL]

Hope Hicks, one of Donald Trump’s longest-serving and most trusted aides, is resigning from her job as White House communications director, a blow to the president, whose inner circle has been depleted by firings and clouded by scandal. [Reuters]

Barely literate hypocrite and bigot, Kim Davis, is pretending to have written a book. [H-L]

Norway’s doomsday agricultural seed vault will get a $13 million upgrade to better protect world food supplies amid growing threats from climate change. [HuffPo]

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KY Republicans Want More Prisons

A former Kentucky lawmaker who is serving a seven-year prison sentence plans to plead guilty in a separate fraud case. Former state Rep. W. Keith Hall plans to plead guilty in a case in which he is accused of using fake documents in order to convince a customer he had insurance. [H-L]

Donald Trump claimed to be calling for Americans to come together on the issue of immigration in his State of the Union address on Tuesday. But he couldn’t resist painting immigration as an “us vs. them” struggle. Because modern Republicanism is built upon racism. [HuffPo]

It was a journalist’s worst nightmare. The editor of the Marshall County Daily Online raced to the county’s high school Tuesday morning after reports that shots had been fired. [C-J/AKN]

The emailed response from the Guggenheim’s chief curator to the White House was polite but firm: the museum could not accommodate a request to “borrow” a painting by Vincent Van Gogh for President and Melania Trump’s private living quarters. Instead, wrote the curator, Nancy Spector, another piece was available, one that was nothing like “Landscape With Snow,” the lovely 1888 Van Gogh rendering of a man in a black hat walking along a path in Arles with his dog. The curator’s alternative: an 18-karat, fully functioning, solid gold toilet – an interactive work entitled “America” that critics have described as pointed satire aimed at the excess of wealth in this country. [WaPo]

The Bevin crew says one thing and does another on the prison front. This is more hype to build more private prisons. Kentucky’s top public safety official says the state’s prisons will run out of space by May 2019, possibly forcing the early release of thousands of nonviolent inmates as the state continues to grapple with the effects of a nationwide opioid epidemic. [Richmond Register]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Brenda Fitzgerald resigned Wednesday, one day after reports that she traded tobacco stocks while heading the agency. [The Hill]

The filing deadline for Kentucky candidates closed Tuesday, and some northeastern Kentucky lawmakers will face challengers in this year’s election cycle. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump urged lawmakers on Tuesday to work toward bipartisan compromises, but pushed a hard line on immigration, insisting on a border wall and other concessions from Democrats as part of any deal to protect the children of illegal immigrants. [Reuters]

The Rowan County Board of Education has hired a consultant to lead in the search for the next superintendent. [The Morehead News]

Starting in Canada, Facebook is rolling out a global program to prevent foreign meddling in elections. Ads targeted to a narrow audience may be seen by other Facebook users — if they look hard enough. [ProPublica]

Barren County Schools’ iLearn@home program, as well as other non-traditional instruction programs, would eventually be eliminated if a bill that recently passed the Kentucky Senate becomes state law. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin urged Congress on Tuesday to raise the federal government’s statutory borrowing limit and said Washington must soon grapple with the mounting federal debt, just as lawmakers are embarking on a significant spending spree. [NY Times]

A leading Republican lawmaker has filed a bill to stop the Bevin Administration’s attempt to eliminate liquor license quotas, a move critics say would bring a glut of bars and liquor stores in rural Kentucky. [H-L]

A new era of internet regulation is about to begin. Years after Facebook and Google went public, regulators in the United States and abroad are finally taking a closer look at the internet behemoths. And they’re not only looking at the way these companies have come to dominate markets, but also examining the heart of the two firms’ business models. What they decide will have powerful implications for the way we do business on the internet. [HuffPo]

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