Pay Attention To What’s Happened In MI

Emmanuel “Manny” Caulk, described by Fayette County Public Schools officials as “a transformational educational leader with a calling to advance equity for all children,” was named the district’s next superintendent Saturday. [H-L]

Federal and state investigators are looking into a fire that destroyed a predominantly black church in South Carolina. Recent fires have already caused damage to predominantly black churches in Charlotte, North Carolina and Macon, Georgia. In those instances, investigators say the fires were deliberately set. [HuffPo]

Conway worked in the governor’s office for six years, ran for Congress from Louisville and is in his eighth year as attorney general, so it’s hard to believe that he didn’t know how African Americans felt about the Jeff Davis statue. If he didn’t, he gets demerits for failing to pay attention. [C-J/AKN]

Last summer, facing a spike in the number of Central American migrants fleeing violence and poverty at the southern U.S. border, the Obama administration sped up deportation proceedings of asylum-seeking mothers and children and increased family detention capacity at the four main detention centers located in Pennsylvania, Texas, and New Mexico. [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky Homeplace Director Mace Baker announced earlier this month the addition of a new office, staffed with a full-time community health worker (CHW), to serve Perry County. Carole Frazier, a CHW from Hazard, Ky., will accept clients Monday through Friday at the new location in room 478 at the UK Center of Excellence in Rural Health on Morton Blvd. [Hazard Herald]

Scientists finally have a complete picture of what one of nature’s most bizarre animals looked like. [BBC]

Unsolved murder cases are just as frustrating for investigators as they are for family members and the public, Richmond Police Chief Larry Brock said Tuesday. [Richmond Register]

Americans born between 1982 and 2000, known as millennials, now comprise one quarter of the country’s population. At 83.1 million, millennials outnumber the 75.4 million baby boomers. [NPR]

Members of the Harlan County Board of Education will spend part of their summer examining the school district’s jobs and related salaries. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Something is rotten in the state of Michigan. [Bill Moyers]

Two national issues resonated loudly in Kentucky last week: the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on subsidies for health insurance on the federal health exchange and calls to re-examine symbols of the Confederate South displayed on public property. [Ashland Independent]

Police have opened an investigation into the killing of an unarmed black man by law enforcement officers outside Baltimore, authorities said on Saturday, two months after the city was rocked by protests over the death of another African-American who was taken into custody. [Reuters]

Fayette County will remain in its current 17-county federal workforce development area that controls millions of federal workforce training dollars. [H-L]

Now, from impoverished reservations in the West, to Congress and the White House in the East, there is a growing bipartisan movement to document and address the lack of resources and opportunities in Native communities. [HuffPo]

Next Up: Big Gay Divorce Settlements

CHERRY ON TOP OF THE DAY: W. Keith Hall was convicted of bribing that mine inspector. He’ll be sentenced September 17. Faces a decade in prison. [Damn]

Former state Rep. W. Keith Hall, D-Phelps, took the witness stand Thursday in his bribery trial to acknowledge that he paid tens of thousands of dollars to the state inspector assigned to his Pike County coal mines. [H-L]

Love wins. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled 5-4 on Friday that it is legal for all Americans, no matter their gender or sexual orientation, to marry the people they love. [HuffPo]

In a historic ruling reshaping the definition of the American family, the Supreme Court of the United States invalidated bans on same-sex marriage in Kentucky and other states, holding that gays and lesbians have the constitutional right to marry. [C-J/AKN]

When you flip on a light switch, odds are, you’re burning coal. But as the fracking boom continues to unleash huge quantities of natural gas, the nation’s electric grid is changing. [NPR]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court voted last week to file the audit for the previous fiscal year, which suggested problems with the body’s efforts to be transparent and organized. [Ashland Independent]

Republican presidential contenders face a dilemma when talking about racial issues after last week’s racially motivated murders at a South Carolina church, as a new poll shows many Republican primary voters are less likely to see the topic as important. [Reuters]

The Industrial Development Economic Authority board approved in a special-called meeting to create a new budget category and more money for park work in the city and the county. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Racehorses are continuing to get quicker, a study of winning times spanning 165 years of racing indicates. [BBC]

The Morehead-Rowan County Chamber of Commerce recognized Dr. Ewell Scott with this year’s Ora L. Cline Award, its highest honor. [The Morehead News]

The Federal Election Commission should just do its job already. [Mother Jones]

After struggling for years with a billing system that was created in the 1980s, the City of Hazard is finally moving toward a 21st Century way of billing its utility customers. [Hazard Herald]

In the 14 years since Al Qaeda carried out attacks on New York and the Pentagon, extremists have regularly executed smaller lethal assaults in the United States, explaining their motives in online manifestoes or social media rants. But the breakdown of extremist ideologies behind those attacks may come as a surprise. [NY Times]

Federal authorities are investigating controversial Floyd County attorney Eric C. Conn, according to an attorney familiar with the situation. [H-L]

Searches for “gun shop” are usually more popular than “gun control,” according to data Google Trends averaged from the past year. But in the 72 hours following the Charleston shooting, “gun control” was the more popular search term in 45 states. Only South Dakota, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and North Carolina saw more queries for “gun shop.” [HuffPo]

Fun thing: Attorneys can finally focus on making this thing happen again. Give us all your money so I can stop working 18 hours per day sometime in the future. [Just Do It]

May Jobless Rate Down In 119 Counties

The Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet this morning announced that jobless rates are down in all but one county in Kentucky. Russell County’s the only one with an increase.

Lowest:

  • Woodford — 3.8%
  • Fayette & Oldham — 4%
  • Owen & Shelby — 4.1%
  • Boone & Scott — 4.2%
  • Anderson, Campbell, Jessamine & Spencer — 4.3%

Highest:

  • Magoffin — 12.7%
  • Harlan — 11.1%
  • Leslie & Letcher — 10.3%
  • Russell — 9.7%
  • Clay — 9.5%
  • Knott — 9.3%
  • Breathitt — 9.2%
  • Elliott & Wolfe — 9.1%

Click here (Warning: PDF Link) to review the labor force estimates for yourself.

Remember, these are estimates and almost always end up changing. People who have stopped looking for work or are no longer on unemployment rolls aren’t really taken into consideration.

TELL Scores Tank In Montgomery Co

In early January 2014, former Montgomery County Board of Education chair Kenney Gulley praised fired superintendent Joshua Powell for TELL Survey scores:

Gulley notes the district has made great strides in recent years and that the school system’s focus remains on improving education for students.

“We have improved our academic ranking from 132nd to 29th in two years, achieved one of the highest gains in TELL survey results, received multiple KEA accolades, experienced significant job growth, maintained one of the lowest faculty to student ratios in the commonwealth and created new programs to serve our students, all despite a reduction in funding. We currently have the largest reserve fund in the district’s history, and we pride ourselves on being good stewards of the public’s money,” the letter to Edelen reads.

In January 2015, fired superintendent Joshua Powell sang his own praises in a bizarre eight-page letter to Commissioner of Education Terry Holliday:

As I approach my fourth year, the District ranks in the top 91st percentile, has received several accolades, and has a graduation rate in the top 95th percentile. Our district has a tax rate of approximately 10 cents less than the state average, we have added more than 61 jobs, have experienced extraordinarily high gains on the TELL survey, and have a 9.2 million reserve. We are implementing a 1:1 Chromebook initiative this month. We have six Chinese teachers employed in our district, regularly assess culture and morale at each school, and have been named as the only public school district in Kentucky’s 2014 Best Places to Work.

So would you be surprised to learn that Montgomery County TELL Survey results have spiraled down a rocky ravine into the river of awful this year?

From the Mt. Sterling Advocate:

Overall, teaching and learning conditions have improved statewide, according to results released recently from the Teaching, Empowering, Leading and Learning (TELL) Kentucky Survey.

Locally, however, the results fall below state averages for worker satisfaction.

-SNIP-

District wide, 85 percent of local educators said their school is a good place to work and learn. That was slightly below the state average of 87.9 percent.

Also, slightly below the state average of 84.7 percent, 82.9 percent of local educators agreed that their school utilizes the results from the TELL Kentucky Survey “as a tool for school improvement.”

-SNIP-

The only question in which Montgomery fell below state average was in the area of non-instructional time provided for teachers in their school being sufficient.

-SNIP-

FACILITIES AND RESOURCES

Montgomery County teachers had a response of less than the state average in eight of 10 categories.

-SNIP-

[T]he district’s teachers scored the district well below average in maintaining a clean and well maintained school environment.

-SNIP-

Teachers rated the district below state average on questions about community members support for teachers and contributing to their success with students and overall community members support their school.

-SNIP-

TEACHER LEADERSHIP

The district’s educators rated teacher leadership below the state average in all seven categories.

-SNIP-

SCHOOL LEADERSHIP

The survey asked 20 questions about school leadership. Montgomery County’s scores fell below state averages in 18 of 20 questions.

-SNIP-

PROFESSIONAL DEVELOPMENT

The district’s teachers rated the district below state average in 10 of 14 categories.

-SNIP-

SUPPORT

Local teachers rated the district above state average in five of nine categories, below in three and the same in one.

-SNIP-

The district fell below state averages on questions of whether state assessment data is available in time to impact instructional practices, teachers are encouraged to try new things to improve instruction and teachers have autonomy to make decisions about instructional delivery…

Not once did the paper mention that these TELL scores from the past year are a result of the “leadership” from Joshua Powell and his cohorts within his now-defunct administration.

This tumbling in the TELL Survey ranks could mean a lot of things: teachers were afraid to tell the truth about Joshua Powell and his merry band of educational marauders, previous scores were manipulated, previous responses were forced, only those with positive opinions were permitted to respond, incentives were provided for positive scores, et al.

But one thing is certain: life in Montgomery County Schools was not magical, despite the lovely picture people like Joshua Powell, Kenney Gulley and Phil Rison attempted to paint.

Why Rand Will Never Be President…

Despite criticism from some city commissioners, Frankfort Mayor Bill May intends to pursue an independent investigation into the capital city’s police department in the wake of an ongoing investigation into a bourbon theft/steroid trafficking ring. [H-L]

The stupid is on high with presidential candidates. Mike Huckabee joined the growing pack of 2016 presidential candidates skeptical about climate science on Sunday. [HuffPo]

The Kentucky Democratic Party benefited from a jolt of new out-of-state contributors in May – 14 executives of AT&T who combined gave $12,550 to the party in this crucial gubernatorial election year. [C-J/AKN]

GCHQ’s covert surveillance of two international human rights groups was illegal, the judicial tribunal responsible for handling complaints against the intelligence services has ruled. [The Guardian]

Members of the Richmond City Commission argued about funding for employee benefits and economic development in a Tuesday morning work session. But, they were all smiles in a called session Friday afternoon when the 2015-16 budget was adopted on final reading. [Richmond Register]

Many of the quotes attributed to the Founding Fathers in two of Rand Paul’s books are either fake, misquoted, or taken entirely out of context. [BuzzFeed]

Barren County Fiscal Court unanimously decided in a special-called meeting Friday to go back to the county’s former health insurance agent of record, Pedigo-Lessenberry Insurance Agency. [Glasgow Daily Times]

With the release of his encyclical “Laudato Si” on Thursday, Pope Francis made headlines for recognizing the threat of human-caused climate change. But the encyclical also called attention to the world’s oceans, affirming just how vital they are to “our common home.” [ThinkProgress]

Kentucky gubernatorial candidates Matt Bevin and Jack Conway lobbed barbs in their first joint public appearance on Friday. [WFPL]

The US State Department says the number of terror attacks around the world rose by a third in 2014 compared with the previous year. [BBC]

The Lexington Humane Society is asking for the public’s help in replacing their air conditioning unit. [WAVE3]

South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley said Monday that the Confederate flag near the state Capitol should be moved, reversing an earlier position she had held and adding a powerful voice to the growing chorus of calls for the flag’s removal. [WaPo]

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray said Monday that police are working hard to determine what was behind multiple shootings Sunday night during a basketball tournament at Douglass Park. [H-L]

We’re looking at you, Rand Paul, because you’ve known about this guy for ages. The leader of a white supremacist group cited by Charleston church murder suspect Dylann Roof made $65,000 in donations to Republicans, including several to Republican presidential candidates, The Guardian newspaper reported Sunday night.[HuffPo & TPM]

KY Obviously Needs More Campaign $

You won’t believe the wild horse shit flowing from a Louisville FOP president. It might blow your mind. [The ‘Ville Voice]

Rand Paul of Kentucky, running for president on a platform of keeping the government out of people’s business, took a deep breath when asked at a recent stop in Philadelphia whether he’d make addressing abortion a part of his campaign. Pander to bigots = you’re a bigot. [H-L]

American gun owners are far more likely to injure themselves or someone else with their firearm than to stop a criminal, according to a new study from a group calling for tighter gun control. [HuffPo]

The search officially is on for the leader of Kentucky’s Department of Education. Which, sadly, means next to nothing. [C-J/AKN]

The CIA did not know in advance that al-Qaeda’s leader in Yemen was among the suspected militants targeted in a lethal drone strike last week, according to U.S. officials who said that the operation went forward under counter­terrorism guidelines that were eased by the Obama administration after the collapse of the U.S.-backed government in Yemen this year. The officials said that Nasir ­al-Wuhayshi, who also served as ­al-Qaeda’s overall second-in-command, was killed in a “signature strike,” in which the CIA is permitted to fire based on patterns of suspected militant activity even if the agency does not know the identities of those who could be killed. [WaPo]

Independent candidate for governor Drew Curtis needs to get 5,000 signatures by Aug. 11 in order to appear on the ballot in November’s general election. [WFPL]

The Supreme Court on Thursday upheld the right of the state of Texas to reject a specialty license plate featuring a Confederate flag. The case featured an unusual alliance in which Justice Clarence Thomas, known for his rigid ideological conservatism, teamed up with the court’s four liberal justices in a 5-4 majority. [Mother Jones]

When Audrey Haynes sat down before the legislature’s Medicaid Oversight and Advisory Committee Wednesday, she expected the data she brought would persuade lawmakers that Kentucky’s expansion of Medicaid has been good for the state. [Ronnie Ellis]

Rand Paul made headlines recently with his one-man effort to roll back government surveillance. And that’s the just beginning of Paul’s plan to dismantle big chunks of the federal government. [NPR]

The answer has been filed to a lawsuit against the City of Glasgow and its interim police chief that was filed last month by Glasgow Police Department Lt. Col. Guy Turcotte. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A state legislature’s strong environmental voting record can translate into real results for states, according to a new study. [ThinkProgress]

A special election to allow alcohol sales in Berea will likely take place in late September, according to Berea Mayor Steve Connelly. [Richmond Register]

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton will call for tax credits for businesses that hire and train apprentices as a way to raise wages and boost youth employment during a campaign stop in South Carolina on Wednesday. [Reuters]

A Florida-based group is challenging in court a Kentucky law that bans corporations from making political contributions to candidates and parties. [H-L]

Deaths by drug overdose have been on the rise in the United States, with a majority of states recording increases from 2009 to 2013, according to a study released on Wednesday. [HuffPo]

Check Your White Privilege. Now.

Fishface, cokehead, dumbo, retarded, coward, and prick – Use of those words has led to the temporary suspension of a Pike County circuit judge. The Judicial Conduct Commission temporarily suspended Steven D. Combs Tuesday until the resolution of 10 charges brought against him, according to documents released by the commission. [H-L]

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) has gained support in New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary polls and is now within 10 percentage points of front-runner Hillary Clinton. [HuffPo]

Sometimes you just can’t fix stupid. Although he vows to repeal the Common Core education standards if elected governor, Republican gubernatorial nominee Matt Bevin owns part of an education technology company that embraces those standards. [C-J/AKN]

The U.S. Federal Reserve is meeting with the possibility of an interest rate hike squarely on the table, but with a different issue center stage: Is the worst of 2015 over? [Reuters]

Gas prices in the Lexington and Madison County areas rose 10.9 center per gallon in the past week. [Richmond Register]

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Indian Cabinet approved increasing the country’s solar target five times to a goal of reaching 100 gigawatts, up from 20 GW, by 2022. [ThinkProgress]

The Boyd County Fiscal Court took two major steps Tuesday toward limiting trash intake at Big Run Landfill. [Ashland Independent]

A global bioenergy assessment has said biofuels could meet up to a third of the world’s transportation fuel needs by the middle of the century. [BBC]

Barren County Fiscal Court passed a revised version of its budget on Tuesday, amended to reduce the amount of funding from prior years’ surplus. [Glasgow Daily Times]

This is not a time for peace and quiet. Only scared white people want peace and quiet. [NY Times]

The Kentucky Arts Council is accepting applications from artists interested in participating in a program that helps them market their creations. [WKYT]

The FCC voted 3-2 today to expand the Lifeline program for low-income consumers to include an optional credit for broadband access. [Consumerist]

Eleven individuals and one state championship team will comprise the Woodford County Public Schools Hall of Fame’s fourth class of inductees. They will be inducted into the hall at a ceremony Aug. 22 at Woodford County Middle School. They also will be introduced during a halftime ceremony at the Aug. 21 Woodford County High School football game. [H-L]

It appears the baby recession really is over: Preliminary figures show U.S. births were up last year for the first time in seven years. [HuffPo]