Kentucky: Still Rewarding Homophobia

Remember when the group of homophobes running the Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex in my hometown got caught banning gay news publications like Out and The Advocate?

It was some mind-boggling stuff for outsiders but nothing new for people in the Commonwealth. When the ACLU stepped in, it got national attention and Kentucky once again had egg on its face.

So what happened? The Kentucky Department of Corrections decided to give one of EKCC’s deputy wardens its top award:

The Kentucky Department of Corrections honored employees across the state recently at its annual Corrections Awards Luncheon in Lexington.

-SNIP-

The agency’s top awards, called “Commissioner’s Awards,” were presented to: Stephen Boles, a sergeant at Northpoint Training Center (NTC); Keith Helton, deputy warden at Eastern Kentucky Correctional Complex (EKCC) and Aaron Smith, warden of Kentucky State Reformatory (KSR).

Yep. One of the people who orchestrated the gay-panicked and discriminatory freakout received an award.

KRS Needs Something Much Tougher

On Tuesday, the Senate Banking Committee will hold a hearing in Washington on the growing scandal at Wells Fargo, one of the nation’s top lenders, which illegally charged customers $1.5 million in fees after it secretly opened two million sham accounts in their names. Among those socking Wells Fargo with a total of $185 million in fines is the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, a federal regulatory watchdog. [John Cheves]

Hundreds of the world’s leading scientists, including famed physicist Stephen Hawking, warn in an open letter Tuesday that a Donald Trump win in November would prove disastrous to global efforts against climate change. [HuffPo]

Domonique Greene wasn’t keen on public speaking but ambled down a church aisle on a recent Mother’s Day weekend to stand before more than 400 congregants. He paused to catch his breath amid sobs before announcing: “I need y’all’s prayers. I’m addicted to heroin. I fear I’m going to die if I don’t get help.” [C-J/AKN]

Police in Florida and other states are building up private DNA databases, in part by collecting voluntary samples from people not charged with — or even suspected of — any particular crime. [ProPublica]

What the KRS needs is not a piddly audit but a full-scale forensic accounting investigation. A Philadelphia-based consulting company has won a contract to review Kentucky’s struggling public pension systems. [Richmond Register]

If you’re a voter who cares about stopping climate change, you really need to read Donald Trump’s newest economic policy plan. [ThinkProgress]

The U.S. Department of Transportation on Tuesday awarded a $3,389,437 grant to the Ashland-Boyd County Airport Board in Worthington. The Airport Improvement Program, or AIP, funds will be used to construct a new taxiway at the Ashland Regional Airport. [Ashland Independent]

Former President George H.W. Bush is bucking his party’s presidential nominee and plans to vote for Hillary Clinton in November, according to a member of another famous political family, the Kennedys. [Politico]

A 4-2 passage of a municipal order sparked controversy during last Monday’s City Council meeting. The disagreement was about an order recommended by Mayor Jim Tom Trent to appoint Edna Schack to the Morehead-Rowan County-Lakeview Heights Joint Planning Commission. [The Morehead News]

Donald Trump’s campaign is grappling with new allegations that the GOP nominee used his charitable foundation to pay personal expenses. [The Hil]

The two candidates vying to represent Barren County and one precinct in Warren County in the Kentucky House of Representatives were being measured Saturday by local farm families, as each answered the same set of five questions that had been provided to them a few weeks in advance. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Mylan NV faced new scrutiny over price hikes for its anti-allergy EpiPen on Tuesday, with U.S. lawmakers calling for a probe of oversight of the company’s rebates to government healthcare plans, while West Virginia said it was investigating whether Mylan defrauded its Medicaid department. [Reuters]

The League of Women Voters of Lexington has canceled more than half of the candidate forums it planned for early October because one person in each race — usually the incumbent — would not participate. [John Cheves]

Want to keep the government open? Want to fund the Zika response? The trucking industry and Republican allies in Congress say the price for that could be weakening rest rules for truck drivers, sources said. [HuffPo]

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It’s Late September Montgomery County Update Time And This One’s A Doozy

First, a couple Montgomery County Schools housekeeping tidbits:

  • Jennifer Hall settled her case for chump change, according to school board members. The district refuses to provide details despite them being a government agency.
  • Amanda Reffitt is allegedly close to doing the same. She flew to Kentucky from Alabama, where she now teaches, a few weeks ago to get the process started.
  • Michelle Henry is apparently still in negotiation. Insurance attorneys recently tried to have portions of her case thrown out and the judge refused to do so.
  • Kelly Wallace refuses to settle, wants to go to trial
  • Gene Heffington, who did not file suit, sent the board a demand letter and they’ve paid him off in a settlement. The district refuses to provide details despite them being a government agency.
  • Jim Dusso refuses to settle, wants to go to trial
  • The board’s insurance-appointed attorneys are in way over their heads

The board gives the excuse that they have no control over what their attorneys do, what actions they take, how they attempt to rip apart the people who have suffered and ultimately sued. So it’s a lot of fun watching them play games.

Since board member Donna Wilson (surprise! wonder why?) chose not to run for re-election, a former district superintendent is running in her place. Remember Dr. Freeman? He has no opponent. Both Alice Anderson and Sharon Smith-Breiner are also up for re-election without opponents.

I hear there’s been another major complained filed with the Office of Education Accountability regarding a board member. More on that to come later.

Recently, a member of the Montgomery County Board of Education attempted to not only blackmail me but bribe me. Choosing not to identify them for the time being because legal action may be necessary.

They threatened harm (IN WRITING! Creating a massive paper trail) if I complied with demands to share details in court about what I’ve learned regarding the school district. When that didn’t work, they literally sent me money that I promptly returned.

That school board member has created yet another stupid Montgomery County-related mess.

And if you want to help me finish reporting everything on that district, I ask that you chip in. If you want the book to eventually be closed and for everything to be uncovered, your help is needed.

Click here to chip in. Keep this jalopy afloat. Help me finish up the investigation and pay for gazillions of outstanding open records requests. And, now, to help with the mess one ignorant board member has created.

We’ve come too far to give up now.

The UofL Messes Just Won’t Quit!!!

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission wants more time to complete its environmental review of a proposed conversion of the Tennessee Gas Pipeline that runs through Kentucky. [H-L]

Donald Trump, the real estate mogul and reality television star who is now the Republican presidential nominee, has long bragged that he can identify terrorism before anyone else. [HuffPo]

Promising a “new era of harmony” between the University of Louisville and its foundation, the foundation’s new chairwoman has announced she’s formed a committee to review its governance and create “a structure of which the entire community can be proud.” [C-J/AKN]

Carla Hayden, a career librarian who grew up in Chicago and kept Baltimore’s libraries open during last year’s civic unrest, was sworn in Wednesday as the 14th Librarian of Congress, becoming the first woman and the first African-American to lead the national library. [WaPo]

An announcement about the forming for a three-person personnel committee during a meeting of the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission led to a discussion about the Kentucky Open Meetings Law, specifically regarding the reasons why a board of directors can meet in closed session. Patrick McKenzie, chairman of the tourism commission, made the announcement about the committee, which will consist of himself, Wandel Strange and Russ Yonker. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A national campaign led by Walmart, Lowe’s and other big companies to let employers opt out of workers’ comp insurance was dealt a blow after the Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled such plans unconstitutional. [ProPublica]

The city of Berea will allow Baptist Health of Kentucky to use up to $1 million of its bonding authority to help finance a 20,000-square-foot ambulatory care facility off Exit 77 of Interstate 75. [Richmond Register]

In a radio interview with Chris Stigall in Philadelphia on Thursday, Donald Trump Jr. casually dropped a Holocaust metaphor, comparing “the media” to Nazis. [ThinkProgress]

School officials in Ashland should know within a week whether the district will need a $750,000 line of credit to meet payroll, Superintendent Sean Howard said Tuesday. [Ashland Independent]

Arctic ice cover in 2016 reached the second lowest minimum on record, tied with 2007. [BBC]

Despite the insistence of state officials that problems have been largely eliminated, the state’s one-stop online portal for social benefits — “benefind” — continues to frustrate clients. [Ronnie Ellis]

Of course Mitch McConnell is playing politics with issues of major importance. Mr. Cornyn concedes the tumult of this election year was a major factor given sharp disagreement among Senate Republicans reflected in the decision by Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky and the majority leader, to not allow a vote on a proposal most believe would pass easily. [NY Times]

When Muslim extremists attack, we often hear they were “radicalized” by watching videos, listening to speeches and engaging in social media that fueled their fears and resentments. Can immersing yourself in toxic media really cause crazy behavior? Of course it can: It has been happening to some American conservatives for years. [H-L]

The undocumented immigrant population isn’t growing, despite Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s insinuation that unauthorized immigration is out of control and getting worse. [HuffPo]

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Karpf Finally Gets Pushed Out While There’s Next To No Media Focus On Him

One of the most scandalous people to ever work at UK is finally biting the dust. Michael Karpf, who led UK HealthCare as it mushroomed in size over the past 13 years, has announced he will retire next year. [H-L]

Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence said Sunday he wants to be like Dick Cheney. [HuffPo]

The University of Louisville Foundation has officially accepted the resignation of President James Ramsey. Foundation chairman Bob Hughes said Ramsey offered his resignation from the foundation on his own and will not receive additional compensation. Hughes also resigned as chairman of the board on Friday. [C-J/AKN]

President Obama highlighted the world’s oceans Thursday as both a unique victim of climate change and a key resource in the fight against it. [The Hill]

When looking at her son Grant McMaine as a child, longtime Richmond resident Martina Hackworth never could have thought he would become an addict. The bright, intelligent boy was always kind to others, was close to his mother and sister, and was somewhat of a dreamer. [Richmond Register]

Ford Motor Co’s 2017 financial performance will decline from this year as it increases spending on “emerging opportunities” like self-driving cars and other costs rise, the No. 2 U.S.-based automaker said on Wednesday. [Reuters]

Despite area job losses in recent months, Brad Hall, manager external affairs at AEP, delivered good news to those attending Monday’s Rotary Club meeting. [Ashland Independent]

In all but four states, private citizens can challenge someone’s right to cast a ballot on or before Election Day. In most places, the burden of proof then falls on the voter. [ProPublica]

City council members approved on first reading an ordinance Monday night to take the compensating tax rates for real and personal property for 2016. The new tax rate for both real and personal property is .086 cents per $100 of assessed value, making the tax on a $100,000 home $86, said Dawn Devore, deputy city clerk. [Glasgow Daily Times]

For months, the official talking point of the Trump campaign has been that Donald Trump would be happy to release his tax returns but cannot because they are under audit. [ThinkProgress]

The entire full-time University of Kentucky journalism faculty is calling for UK President Eli Capilouto to drop his suit against the school’s student newspaper and apologize for criticism leveled at the paper and its editor at a Board of Trustees meeting last Friday. [Ronnie Ellis]

Lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities have long lobbied for Hollywood to not only include, but portray, characters that identify as LGBT+ in a realistic way. [BBC]

Only 6 percent of Kentuckians lacked health insurance in 2015, a drop of 8.3 percentage points since 2013, according to fresh data from the U.S. Census Bureau. [H-L]

A powerful web video released by Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign on Friday ― National Prisoners of War Remembrance Day ― features an emotional World War II veteran urging Americans to reject real estate mogul Donald Trump. [HuffPo]

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Woah, There’s A Senate Race In KY?

Thus far, the U.S. Senate race in Kentucky has been more of a leisurely stroll. Less than eight weeks from Election Day, U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Bowling Green, ran his first television ad of the campaign Wednesday in Louisville, a positive spot that focuses on Paul’s career as an eye surgeon. [H-L]

New national polls show the presidential race close, but Clinton remains consistently ahead. [HuffPo]

Members of the county’s teachers union have voted to approve a tentative two-year salary agreement with Jefferson County Public Schools that would give teachers additional raises in addition to their experience-based step raises. [C-J/AKN]

Of course Brown-Forman is fighting the legalization of marijuana – if not with dollars, then with ignorance like this. [The Intercept]

During a Madison County Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday morning, Judge/Executive Reagan Taylor and Deputy Judge/Executive Colleen Chaney announced the state has requested to take back control of the maintenance on certain state roads, previously maintained by the county. [Richmond Register]

Donald Trump intends to rolls back food safety regulations if he wins the White House in November. [The Hill]

Mayor Chuck Charles and former Mayor Steve Gilmore on Tuesday pitched their campaign platforms to local Republicans. [Ashland Independent]

House Speaker Paul Ryan said Thursday he believes Donald Trump should release his tax returns, gently suggesting that the GOP nominee ought to divulge his personal finances as Ryan did when he ran for vice president. [Politico]

Morehead City Council unanimously passed the first reading of an ordinance Monday to allow packaged alcohol sales within city limits on Sundays. [The Morehead News]

A congressional panel will hold a hearing on Sept. 22 to look at the fate of fuel efficiency rules through 2025 amid growing concerns from automakers. [Reuters]

Glasgow City Council delayed a vote Monday on what the 2016 tax rate for real property should be after one councilman proposed amending the ordinance to nullify an agreement the mayor had signed with the Glasgow Electric Plant Board regarding use of the funds it pays the city in lieu of taxes. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Trump recently proposed billions in spending to allow the nation’s poorest students to leave public schools and enroll elsewhere, including by using homeschooling. Except the plan won’t work for the poorest students. [ProPublica]

Montgomery County residents who live near an area of arsenic contamination have retained a Louisville law firm to represent their interests. [H-L]

Hip-hop artist and business mogul Jay Z narrates a new video that traces the history of the war on drugs and highlights the way that it has disproportionately targeted black Americans. [HuffPo]

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