Super Tuesday and a Local Broadcasting First

Feeling a little left out with all the hoopla about Super Tuesday?

So was Joe Arnold of WHAS-TV. With the network planning wall-to-wall national coverage of the big Presidential primary Tuesday night, there just wasn’t a whole lot for folks in Kentucky to hang onto. Arnold jumped on the feeling that interest in the Obama/Hilary sweepstakes has gone beyond being the most interesting national political race in the lifetime of many citizens, so he convinced his bosses at WHAS to allow him to host what may be a local broadcasting first — a live stream of political commentary on the race from the perspective of local politicos.

Read moreSuper Tuesday and a Local Broadcasting First

LEO Follows up With Heather Ryan

LEO’s Stephen George (who consistently goes the distance in the name of journalism– not just politically) went a little further than most mainstream press outlets in Kentucky in telling the story of Heather Ryan, the young mother who claims she was fired after confronting Senator Mitch McConnell at a Paducah commercial taping.

More on Ryan here, here and here.

From LEO:

Ryan has alleged that pressure from McConnell about this money, and how close an avid war protestor stood to its destination, played a part in her demise.

It was during that meeting — which she taped… — that board chairman Siska implied that McConnell’s staff wanted her gone.

“What they were thinking was that an employee from the building was doing this, and that concerned them because they have a connection to the building,” Siska said at the meeting. “… That someone would feel so negatively towards the Senator coming from this building. That’s what surprised them.”

“I’m confused about their concern,” Ryan replied. “Are they concerned because they thought I was a threat, or are they concerned because —”

“The way it was told to me is, they were shocked at the hatred that they felt coming from your daughter,” he said.

What was that about McConnell’s people not meddling in this mess again?

Read the rest in this week’s LEO…

Update: Newspaper Guild Ratifies Contract

To update yesterday’s story

The Lexington Newspaper Guild, which has been feuding with the Herald-Leader’s management team (and McClatchy), has ratified unanimously a five-year collective bargaining agreement.

According to a press release the contract will be retroactive to January 1, 2007 and was reached after a two-day meeting with the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

From the release:

The major sticking points in negotiations were company proposals regarding paid time off and health insurance for part-time workers. Under the compromise agreed to by the Guild and Herald-Leader, part-time health insurance benefits will be protected until Jan. 1, 2010. After that date, the Herald-Leader may eliminate part-time health insurance so long as it provides the Guild with 90 days notice.

The Herald-Leader’s current paid time off (PTO) plan will be preserved until Jan. 1, 2010. After that time the Herald-Leader or Guild may renegotiate the PTO benefits. The company would have to reach agreement with the Guild or bargain to legal impasse to implement changes.

“While this is far from an ideal compromise, this is a compromise that we can live with,” Lexington Newspaper Guild president Brandon Ortiz said.

Under the compromise agreed to by the Guild and Herald-Leader, part-time health insurance benefits for part-timers employed on the date of the signing agreement will be protected until Jan. 1, 2010. After that date, the Herald-Leader may eliminate part-time health insurance for those employees so long as it provides the Guild with 90 days notice.

Lexington Newspaper Guild Update

Looks like the Lexington Newspaper Guild is nearing the end of their battle for basic benefits. According to a press release, the Guild will vote to ratify an agreement reached with the Herald-Leader’s management team, something they’ve been trying to do for months.

Could the end be nigh?

From the release:

Members of the Lexington Newspaper Guild, which represents about 100 newsroom workers at the Lexington Herald-Leader, will vote on a tentative five-year agreement reached by the bargaining teams for the Guild and Herald-Leader management. The tentative agreement was reached on Jan. 19 after the Guild and Herald-Leader met with federal mediators.

Kentucky’s Young People Struggle for Health Care

Joanna Richards, a real gem of a journalist at the C-J’s Velocity (yeah, we know), tells the story of several young people in Kentucky who live the daily nightmare of struggling to obtain much needed health care.

From previously healthy individuals who need emergency care to those fresh out of college with no way to obtain traditional care, it’s a sobering look at (part of) what’s wrong with the system. A saddening reality that it’s (surprise) not just the poor who struggle.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, 29 percent of people between 18 and 24 were uninsured in 2006, with the number declining only slightly — to 27 percent — among Americans between 25 and 34.

By comparison, the number was 15.8 percent for Americans as a whole.

What do those numbers really mean?

People interviewed for this article told of roving from one immediate care center to another and not paying bills, sneaking out of the ER before they could be billed, knowingly writing bad checks to obtain treatment, self-medicating with herbs (both legal and not), substituting alternative methods for regular medical treatment, drinking fruit juice to try to stay healthy and lying about their income and savings to obtain cheaper care. And many people simply “tough out” an illness or injury in fear of huge bills.

Roaring & Shameless

We’re stoked.

A couple weeks ago the infamous “Yellow Dog” threw an award our way. The
Roar for Powerful Words from the Shameless Lions Writing Circle. Check it out here.

And take a look at the awesome (and very, very homo-centric in a fiery magenta) award:

Among the other winners:

Envy our big, magenta lion! He bites!

LEO on the internets. Again.

LEO has re-launched its news blog. Check it out. We don’t expect it to be competition for The ‘Ville Voice (which you should be reading on a daily basis if you have anything to do with Louisville), but it looks like the paper’s staff will once again be able to give readers an inside look at their operation and a more-frequent-than-weekly dose of Louisvillian outrage.

It’s not hosted on their website because their site is only slightly more useful than those of local television news stations. In other words: has been dead in the water for like three years. Hopefully it’s a step in the right direction. Maybe one that the paper’s publisher will recognize isn’t, you know, the end of the world.

By the way: some generous and wealthy news lover out there should give me the skrilla to buy LEO. It’s in dire need of a makeover and the Gannett beast needs competition that LEO was once able to deliver when now-Rep. John Yarmuth was at the helm. A generous, anonymous backer or two could make a killing while at the same time changing the face of their community.