More On Montgomery Co Board Lawyer Mess

This letter was handed out to Montgomery County School Board members during Tuesday evening’s regularly meeting:

Members of the Board,

Contrary to the vote of the Board during the August 19th board meeting, removing the contract between Mr. Owsley and Montgomery County AND contrary to the reply of Mr. Powell to the Board stating there would be no more invoices received by the Board from Mr. Owsley’s office, it appears that Mr. Owsley is still representing Montgomery County Board of Education. It appears the authority of the Board is being circumvented. As clear evidence, I have attached an official notice concerning termination of my Wife, Jennifer Hall. On that notice is very clear to read and understand:

A. page 1, the date the notice was drawn, September 25, 2014
B. page 1, the author of the notice, Mr. Priest (associate of Mr. Owsley)
C. page 2, clearly stated “Attorney for Montgomery County School District”, Mr. Michael A. Owsley

I personally have no preference who will represent the Districtat this hearing, but it seems the Board may care that it appears to have dimished authority and no respect with some of the district employees.


William Hall

That was provided to us by a board member. Handwritten notes were made on the sheet itself, so it’s been transcribed to avoid identification of our source.

Despite the board voting to discontinue payment for superintendent Joshua Powell’s personal attorney, the district is still paying him.

He’s still representing Powell at taxpayer expense while the board attorney gets to sit on her hands.

Richie Farmer's Mess Just Won't Quit It

The Secretary of State’s office says there are more than 3.1 million people registered to vote in the general election next week. [H-L]

He’s not on the ballot this fall, but Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul is launching new ads to help Republicans in key elections across the country. [HuffPo]

A state hearing officer has found that former Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer’s girlfriend did little work in her state job and recommended that she be found guilty of violating state government’s ethics code. [C-J/AKN]

The fight for control of the U.S. Senate could last far past the Nov. 4 election, with possible run-offs in Louisiana and Georgia and surprising surges by independent candidates in Kansas and South Dakota creating new uncertainty for both parties. [Reuters]

All kinds of interesting things are happening in the Phelps community in Pike County these days. [WLEX18]

The mid-term elections in the US are one week away. Unlike the presidential vote, with one clear winner, these polls are a bit more complicated. [BBC]

Kentuckians enrolling in Kynect, the state’s health care exchange, can expect changes in the way they shop for health insurance beginning Nov. 15. [WFPL]

Polls typically ask people which candidate they want to win. But some researchers have come to believe that another question — which candidate voters expect to win — produces more meaningful results. [NY Times]

The autumn months are attracting thousands of visitors to the White Oak Pumpkin Patch in Morgan County. [WYMT]

Officers use “Stingrays” to mimic a cell phone tower and intercept information from phones in a whole neighborhood. The federal government and police have kept such devices under wraps for years. [NPR]

Time to scare the bejeebers out of meemaw and poppop in Eastern Kentucky. Although the chances of an Ebola outbreak in East Kentucky are rare, officials at St. Claire Regional Medical Center (SCR) have been planning to deal with the hemorrhagic fever just in case. [The Morehead News]

A refinance of Niagara County’s tobacco bonds was good news — but for investors, not taxpayers. [ProPublica]

Parent Jacques Wigginton told the Fayette County school board members Monday night that people in Lexington had trusted them to close the achievement gap and they should approve recommendations to get the job done after years of inaction. [H-L]

Despite the best efforts of Lil’ Jon, the most recent Gallup poll suggests that turnout in the upcoming midterm election will be one of the lowest in the last five cycles. [HuffPo]

No One Thought They'd Endorse Mitch, Right?

The Herald-Leader editorial board had to work hard to come up with a creative way to endorse Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes. It’s a shame it couldn’t have been an easier decision. [H-L]

The last U.S. Marines unit and final British combat troops in Afghanistan officially ended their operations on Sunday as they packed up to leave the country and transferred a massive military base to the Afghan military. [HuffPo]

The big city newspaper also struggled to figure out a way to endorse Alison Daddy’s Name Grimes without having to trash her. [C-J/AKN]

During the Obama era, the Republican Party has made the modern revival of the poll tax a point of party dogma. [NY Mag]

Getting the old Sunday editions to every subscriber in town was always among the greatest challenges for local people who can look back and say, “I used to pass the paper” in Ashland. [Ashland Independent]

The short-attention span generation has birthed the shiny-object election. [The Hill]

While her opponent, U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, R-Sixth District, cites occasional examples of people who say they lost their low-cost insurance because of the Affordable Care Act, Elisabeth Jensen said she hears more often from many of the 520,000 Kentuckians who have gained coverage because of it. [Richmond Register]

Quarantines imposed on travelers coming from Ebola-affected countries in West Africa who have had contact with the disease could discourage American health workers from going there to help fight the epidemic, a senior U.S. medical official warned on Sunday. [Reuters]

Rowan County residents will have an extra option when they go to the polls on Nov. 4 to pick a new county sheriff. [The Morehead News]

In Niagara County, N.Y., leaders took on 40-year debt to pay for short-term stuff, a case study in the perverse incentives tobacco bonds create. [ProPublica]

Fifty leaders from across southern and eastern Kentucky boarded a tour bus, dubbed by U.S. Rep. Harold “Hal” Rogers (KY-05) as the “Silicon Holler Express,” on Wednesday. [Harlan Daily Enterprise]

Former President Bill Clinton on Saturday offered emotionally charged encouragement to a gala gathering of a prominent gay rights group while noting his wife Hillary Clinton’s support for gay rights when she served as secretary of State. [Politico]

Pat Ritz speaks softly, urging the woman she has loved for nearly 40 years to eat more of the sandwich she has prepared for her lunch. [H-L]

A white off-duty St. Louis police officer shot a black teenager six times in the back of the legs and once in the side of the head in what was likely a fatal wound, a doctor who performed a private autopsy for the teen’s family said on Friday. [HuffPo]

Keeping People Ignorant: MoCo Newspaper Edition

Last week the Mt. Sterling Advocate (the newspaper in Montgomery County), ran a gigantic op-ed from Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell.

To call it was crazy is an understatement. After more than a year of government investigations, audits revealing corruption, lawsuits, audio and video, Powell continues to foam at the mouth about how it’s all some big, fabricated conspiracy to demonize him.

This is how it appeared in the paper:


Some excerpts:

The unnamed superintendent cited his fear of the governmental agencies and reported that fabricated information was reported to them. His fear, disturbingly, was not founded in the fear of consequence for violating a statute or regulation. His fear, shared by school leaders throughout the Commonwealth, was that of having one of the offices (OEA, EPSB, Auditor’s Office) accuse or insinuate that a law was violated without having any legitimate process remotely resembling the U.S. justice system, which often results in absolute condemnation by the community.

Governmental agencies are often thought of as being the experts of law and their reports are viewed as being absolute. Most public school administrators are keenly aware that nothing could be further from the truth. Often, there is significant error in agency reports proliferated by the fact that most reports rarely make it to an actual legal proceeding. This is an indictment all by itself and, quite frankly, an atrocity consistent with practices in Communist countries.

The multiple agencies represent very different philosophies and interpretations of law, and the ability for an affected party to refute or appeal writings — which can be more accurately described as ramblings — rarely exists. Still, the noxious combination of multiple state agencies, the new age use of social media (often used to maliciously attack individuals and entities) and the overriding disdain for public officials (especially school administrators) has led to great concern and trepidation result from manufactured claims that clearly intend to harm the public figure — criticism that goes far beyond what is allowed by the First Amendment and does nothing short of terrorizing victims. This type of unregulated behavior wreaks havoc on school districts and serves to prevent school leaders from taking appropriate actions to lead a student-centered, top-notch educational program, which equates to holding a minority of adults to a higher standard. Instead, the aforementioned system promotes a managerial and political type leader — sometimes inaccurately referred to as a servant-type leader — that lulls school systems into a nearly inescapable condition of mediocrity, which has wreaked havoc on the Commonwealth’s schools for decades.

Public school districts are wrought with unusual laws and regulations, which are all too often counterintuitive to even the most advanced professionals. As a means of revenge, disgruntled people capitalize on the complicated, politically-infested and bureaucratically-driven system by knowing what to report and who to report to. Add this to the various attacks from disgruntled individuals via social media and communities are left with a feeling of uneasiness and aggravation from the perception that school leadership is filled with corruption…


… am going to write a series of correspondences titled, “Montgomery County Myth Busters” in an attempt to shed light on what has occurred during the last three years.


A few disenchanted people have spoken for the majority of the community and employees of the school district and to continue to allow this, without interruption and effort, would be a gross injustice to those that have worked hard to build a better future for children.

You catch that? Claimed it’s all fabricated. OEA, EPSB, OCR, the State Auditor of Public Accounts. They made it all up.

It’s Communism!

Powell went on to address some “myths” that… well… take a look:

Myth — the district attempted to provide substantial pay raises (up to 30,000) for administrators.

False. The salary schedule for administrators was changed in 2011 from a schedule based on years of experience and educational attainment to a salary range.


To further complicate this, the Commonwealth of Kentucky mandated a 1 percent raise for all employees.


Due to the Commonwealth’s mandate, the salary of existing administrators could not be decreased since administrators, by mandate, had to have a 1 percent increase. In order to do this, stipends had to be calculated for each position to be equal to the current salary of the administrator, with the addition of a 1 percent raise — nothing more.

Spoiler alert: everyone already knows he did, in fact, push to provide substantial pay raises for administrators.

Since when is a $20,000 “stipend” on an approximately $90,000 salary (for Powell’s illegally-hired wife) anywhere near 1%? Try 22+%.


Myth — The district has never used billboards and movie theater ads and the district has never used billboards and movie theater ads and the district should not use advertisement to attract an already captive audience.

False. Prior to 2011, the district used multiple forms of advertisement including newspaper and theater ads. In fact, the district spent $16,600 from 2007 to 2011.

We’ll let you do your own math, based on what’s already been reported, to discern that Powell’s spent far more than that.

Why is Powell freaking out?

He’s going on trial in January and a new school board will be elected in eight days.

Rep. Will Coursey Gets Dumber By The Minute

Hedge funds and other alternative investments are the only assets currently gaining value for the Kentucky Retirement Systems, however controversial they might be otherwise. [John Cheves]

America has been doing income taxes wrong for more than 50 years. [HuffPo]

Bullitt County Judge-Executive Melanie Roberts takes her time when speaking about her eight years in office, making sure each word is accurate. [C-J/AKN]

If free donuts, gym memberships, or flex pay programs aren’t your preferred employee benefit, cheap solar systems could soon be an option. On Wednesday, three major companies — Cisco Systems, 3M, and Kimberly-Clark — announced they will now give employees a deeply discounted way of buying or leasing solar panels for their homes. [Think Progress]

Is Will Coursey suffering from brain damage? That’s not in any way an attack on people suffering from brain damage. But this man claiming he would have influence on PAC or Super PAC spending is a quick way to find himself under state and federal investigation. He may be the dumbest person to walk the halls of Frankfort. Ever. [Dumb As Hell]

As fear of Ebola infections spreads to developed economies, U.S. and British insurance companies have begun writing Ebola exclusions into standard policies to cover hospitals, event organizers and other businesses vulnerable to local disruptions. [Reuters]

Election lawyer and Republican insider Michael Adams made his case for a run for Secretary of State in 2015, but he said it’s current Secretary of State Alison Lundergan Grimes who makes his case for running a top notch GOP candidate in 2015. [CN|Toot]

The backlash against big banks has finally begun. [ProPublica]

With the heated Nov. 4 Senate election only two weeks away, Alison Lundergan Grimes brought former President Bill Clinton to western Kentucky to a crowd of 1,750 on Tuesday. [Murray State News]

Lenders have come under fire in Washington in recent years. Yet one corner of the financial industry — lending to people with poor credit scores — has found sympathetic audiences in many state capitals. [NY Times]

What CAN’T Greg Fischer screw up? Hired a lady as an Animal Services official who was both fired and arrested at her last animal shelter job. [The ‘Ville Voice]

The influx of money into state judicial elections may be bad news for those accused of crimes. [WaPo]

Nearly all air samples collected from coal mines in August and September complied with stricter new limits on dust even though the industry had argued it would have trouble meeting the standards, federal regulators announced. [H-L]

Anderson Cooper tore straight into conservative Christian media personality Pat Robertson on Tuesday night for his ridiculous and offensive claims about AIDS. [HuffPo]

Dumb U.S. Senate Race: Great For Bourbon Sales

No one rises as Circuit Judge Steven Combs enters his courtroom. [H-L]

All of these maps about drug use make Kentucky look pretty terrible. [HuffPo]

In just over the two-year minimum it takes to age straight bourbon, the number of Kentucky distilleries has tripled, according to a economic impact survey released Tuesday. Bourbon is way more important than coal and will be around a lot longer. [C-J/AKN]

Ebola has moved to the front of campaign issues before U.S. November elections, as fear and criticism of the government’s response to cases of the virus in the United States opened a new line of Republican attacks against President Barack Obama and his fellow Democrats. [Reuters]

While law-abiding citizens want to support law enforcement in the dangerous role they play in protecting us, no one, including the police, are above criticism. More than five weeks have passed since a man, who lived in Lexington but grew up in Richmond, died after an officer-involved shooting just off the Eastern Bypass near a busy shopping district and the Eastern Kentucky University Campus. [Richmond Register]

Sure, Grimes’ refusal to say that she voted for the president, and her hollow explanation about upholding the Principles of Privacy at the Ballot Box, isn’t as important in the scheme of things as Mitch McConnell’s inability to articulate anything resembling a coherent Obamacare position. But it was pathetic. And also damaging to her reelection prospects in a way that few mentioned at the time: It’s a kick in the teeth to black voters, some of whom will be wondering, Why exactly should we support her candidacy, aside from the fact that she’s not Mitch McConnell? [Salon]

Maj. Dean Palmer had a fairly simple message to Rotary members on Monday: Don’t be a victim. Palmer, who has 30 years of experience in law enforcement and works for the Lawrence County (Ohio) Sheriff’s Department, said a lack of being prepared can create deadly situations. [Ashland Independent]

The Kentucky Senate race comes down this: whether voters are more willing to vote against a Barack Obama who is not on the ballot, or a Mitch McConnell who is. [WaPo]

“It’s a great day to be a Scottie,” Instructional Supervisor for Glasgow Independent Schools Michelle Tinsley told board of education members Monday at the regular school board meeting. [Glasgow Daily Times]

In the midst of Ebola panic in the Western world, some Americans are worried about schoolchildren coming into contact with people who have been in African countries thousands of miles away from the heart of the outbreak. [Think Progress]

More problems surface for Nathan Smith and the Democratic good old boy network. Sixteen current and former residents of mobile home parks owned by SSK Communities in Kentucky have filed a class-action lawsuit accusing SSK of a self-enrichment scheme of evicting residents, seizing their trailers and renting them to new tenants. [WFPL]

More than two years ago, a ProPublica series showed that white applicants were far more likely to receive clemency than comparable applicants who were black. Since then, the government has spent hundreds of thousands of dollars on a study, but the pardons system remains unchanged. [ProPublica]

Lexington officials have shut down a problem-plagued private wastewater treatment plant on Athens-Boonesboro Road, a decade after the city was forced to assume control of it. [H-L]

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times for companies to dodge taxes by moving to Ireland. [HuffPo]

Looking for some fun controversy? Check out the latest with Greg Fischer. His newest hire is some kinda porno queen. Complete with semi-naughty photos. [The ‘Ville Voice]