What A Week In Our Lovely, Backward, Corrupt Commonwealth

Let’s all just laugh about this one last time. House Speaker Greg Stumbo announced Wednesday he is appointing a committee to investigate what he says have been threats by Gov. Matt Bevin against state lawmakers. [C-J/AKN]

The United States broke off talks with Russia on Monday on implementing a ceasefire agreement on Syria and accused Moscow of not living up to its commitments under the Sept. 9 deal to [HuffPo]

Saying small cash bonds pose an unfair burden on the poor, a Jefferson County public defender Monday asked a circuit judge to release three defendants from jail on the grounds that district judges had violated their rights by failing to inquire about their financial ability to post bond. [C-J/AKN]

A video of a US student in “blackface” apparently mocking the Black Lives Matter campaign has sparked outrage. [BBC]

Real estate property owners in Glasgow will have the same tax rate as last year. [Glasgow Daily Times]

What does it mean to declare that #blacklivesmatter in education? Last month the Movement for Black Lives, representing elements of the Black Lives Matter movement and related groups, issued a detailed policy platform denouncing what it called “corporate-backed,” “market driven” “privatization” in school reform, and helped set off a furor over this question. [NPR]

“Backing the Lines,” an event showing support for first responders, was held on Friday evening at the Carl Perkins Center. [The Morehead News]

President Barack Obama made his case for a deliberate, measured path toward economic progress in an op-ed published Thursday in The Economist that reads like a plea to disenchanted voters tempted by the economic populism of Republican nominee Donald Trump. [Politico]

On Nov. 8, Kentuckians will decide who represents the Commonwealth as United States Senator. One of Kentucky’s two senate seats is occupied by Mitch McConnell. The other seat belongs to Rand Paul. However, Rand Paul, a republican, has a democratic challenger in the November election, and that challenger is Lexington Mayor Jim Gray. [Hazard Herald]

Voters in four states appear likely to approve ballot measures that would legalize marijuana for recreational purposes, according to recent surveys, while voters are split on the question in a fifth state. [The Hill]

The Republican Party of Kentucky has tons of other racists in their midst. Tons of them appointed by Matt Bevin to various and sundry positions. You’ve read all about them on Page One. This is their attempt to appear non-racist by throwing some nobody with no shot of winning to the wolves as a sacrifice. [WDRB]

Forty-four Afghan troops visiting the United States for military training have gone missing in less than two years, presumably in an effort to live and work illegally in America, Pentagon officials said. [Reuters]

Horse Country hopes to boost Thoroughbred racing, Central Kentucky tourism by offering behind-the-scenes tours of farms, equine clinics and feed mills. The goal is to do for horse breeding what the Kentucky Bourbon Trail is doing for whiskey-making. [H-L]

Civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) on Monday implored young leaders invited to the White House to continue his generation’s legacy of civil rights activism by reminding them of sacrifices that won the right to vote. [HuffPo]

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Two Big Montgomery Co. Settlements

The TL;DR: massive payouts in two Joshua Powell scandals.

  • Jennifer Hall settled her case against Joshua Powell, Kristi Carter and Montgomery County Schools for the sum of $140,000.
  • Gene Heffington, who merely threatened to sue, got a sweet payout of $150,000. That’s right – Heffington, someone who played a major role in at least some of Powell’s scandals (this is not speculation, you can read all about it here in the archives), got a ton of cash.

Fun stuff, isn’t it? Jennifer Hall made something like $12 per hour, so she didn’t lose much in terms of income. Gene Heffington retired and has income. For there to be such huge payouts to both, it would appear that even an insurance company knows there’s disaster afoot.

Meanwhile, Jim Dusso is choosing to go to trial. Kelly Wallace is going to trial. And as of this week, Michelle Henry is choosing to go to trial. Even though Alice Anderson and the Montgomery County Board of Education is/are attempting to have the cases dismissed on myriad technicalities because they’re terrified to have any sort of integrity, apparently.

Can you imagine the trials?

Here’s the Hall settlement agreement:


Here’s Heffington’s:


You can see for yourself just how bad it’s going to get for Montgomery County.

There’s way more to come. Click here to help keep things going.

Everyone’s Still Gagging Over Trump

Donald J. Trump declared a $916 million loss on his 1995 income tax returns, a tax deduction so substantial it could have allowed him to legally avoid paying any federal income taxes for up to 18 years, records obtained by The New York Times show. [NY Times]

Standard good old boy behavior in Kentucky. Former University of Kentucky board chairman Billy Joe Miles of Owensboro pleaded not guilty Monday to rape, sodomy and bribing a witness at a hearing in which the prosecutor said the alleged victim has received death threats and other harassment since the charges were filed. [H-L]

Donald Trump ramped up his feud with former Miss Universe Alicia Machado on Friday, calling her “disgusting” and accusing her of having a sex tape. [HuffPo]

Kathleen Smith, former University of Louisville President James Ramsey’s chief of staff, is out at the university’s fundraising arm, the U of L Foundation. [C-J/AKN]

We live in an era of increasing automation. But as machines make more decisions for us, it is increasingly important to understand the algorithms that produce their judgments. [ProPublica]

Glasgow Mayor Dick Doty readily accepted responsibility for erroneously signing an agreement with the Tennessee Valley Authority and Glasgow Electric Plant Board. [Glasgow Daily Times]

At Monday night’s debate, Donald Trump was called out for stiffing the people who work for him. Trump has been accused of failing to pay hundreds of contractors. And so far, he hasn’t seemed very sorry. When asked about failing to pay someone by Hillary Clinton this week, Trump replied, “Maybe he didn’t do a good job and I was unsatisfied with his work.” [WaPo]

James W. Ebert, a lieutenant and assistant night shift commander for the Frankfort Police Department, will be sworn in as Richmond police chief Oct. 17. [Richmond Register]

Donald J. Trump has a cruel streak. He willfully causes pain and distress to others. And he repeats this public behavior so frequently that it’s fair to call it a character trait. Any single example would be off-putting but forgivable. Being shown many examples across many years should make any decent person recoil in disgust. [The Atlantic]

Interim Lewis County Schools Superintendent Donald W. Pace died unexpectedly on Monday. [Ashland Independent]

Suspicion is mounting about Donald Trump’s ties to Russian officials and business interests, as well as possible links between his campaign and the Russian hacking of U.S. political organizations. [TDB]

Kentucky, Ohio, and West Virginia are among the states challenging the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan, or CPP, in oral arguments Tuesday before the U.S. Court of Appeals in Washington, D.C. [WFPL]

The U.S. Supreme Court opens its new term on Monday in uncharted territory, with an vacancy on the bench on a presidential Election Day now certain for the first time since Abraham Lincoln won re-election in 1864 at the height of the Civil War. [Reuters]

Spoiler alert! Montgomery County Schools are not and never were top ten. But you already knew that. [H-L]

On Wednesday, Congress was so determined to pass a law to sue Saudi Arabia that it overrode President Barack Obama’s veto. But possible backlash against America had top Republican leaders looking for someone else to blame Thursday. [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.

Matt Bevin Had Another Terrible Week

A year after it began, Lexington’s needle-exchange program has collected 20,199 used needles and has given out more than 21,693 clean ones.[H-L]

Former Secretary of State Colin Powell, a retired four-star general who served under three Republican presidents, slammed GOP nominee Donald Trump as a “a national disgrace” and an “international pariah,” according to his personal emails. [BuzzFeed]

The pros and cons of the Kentucky State Fair are getting a comprehensive review by a committee of the state agency that oversees the annual 11-day event in August. [C-J/AKN]

The truth behind the Kochs’ new fossil fuel PR campaign. Behind the latest Koch-funded effort to hide the impacts of fossil fuels. [ThinkProgress]

It’s fun watching the UofL Foundation cough up cash for McConnell-Bush-Trump advocates to spin the media. Facing growing scrutiny from donors and its own university, the University of Louisville Foundation is paying $11,500 a month in retainers alone for external public relations firms. [WFPL]

Donald Trump was in a tuxedo, standing next to his award: a statue of a palm tree, as tall as a toddler. It was 2010, and Trump was being honored by a charity — the Palm Beach Police Foundation — for his “selfless support” of its cause. His support did not include any of his own money. [WaPo]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! A group of Campbellsville residents protested outside City Hall on Monday, in response to a proposed ordinance that would regulate how citizens are allowed to address the City Council. [WAVE3]

Matt Bevin may be calling for a violent uprising if Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton is elected in November. You can’t fix this kind of bigoted stupidity. [RawStory]

The Democratic candidate for Kentucky’s 6th Congressional District Tuesday called for the impeachment of Republican Gov. Matt Bevin for saying last week that bloodshed may be necessary to preserve American ideals and system of government. [Ronnie Ellis]

Speaking at the Values Voter Summit on Saturday, Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin alluded to Thomas Jefferson’s famous aphorism about the need to periodically water the tree of liberty with the blood of patriots and tyrants. [Vox]

A yearlong and extensive investigation by the Boyd County Sheriff’s Department has culminated in the indictment of six for organized crime and multiple drug charges. [Ashland Independent]

His base wants few details and fewer facts; they just want to burn it down and blame their failures on the collective other. And Donald John Trump is their demonic messiah in Oompa Loompa’s clothing. [GQ]

Democratic candidates for federal office in Kentucky criticized Gov. Matt Bevin on Tuesday for suggesting last weekend that blood might someday need to be shed if Hillary Clinton wins the presidential election, going so far as to suggest impeachment. [H-L]

If Donald Trump is elected president, will he and his family permanently sever all connections to the Trump Organization, a sprawling business empire that has spread a secretive financial web across the world? Or will Trump instead choose to be the most conflicted president in American history, one whose business interests will constantly jeopardize the security of the United States? [Newsweek]

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You’re Probably A Trump Deplorable…

The University of Kentucky wants to stop using state procurement rules in hiring investment managers for its $1.2 billion endowment, a move that officials say will allow it to be more nimble and make more money. [H-L]

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Tuesday that his office has launched an ongoing “inquiry” into whether the nonprofit Donald J. Trump Foundation is “complying with the laws governing charities in New York.” [HuffPo]

Since she was installed as president of Spalding University in 2010, Tori Murden McClure has not accepted a raise or a bonus. She turned down a car allowance and she turned down a housing allowance. Her only perk as president is a campus parking space. [C-J/AKN]

Disability rights groups said on Thursday they have asked child protective services to intervene in the case of a severely disabled Wisconsin teenager who suffers chronic pain from her disease and wants to die. [Reuters]

With unemployment rates for Barren County still hovering around the 5 percent mark, local industries are having a harder time filling their need for skilled workers. [Glasgow Daily Times]

A Dubai real estate mogul had a prison sentence disappear. Manufacturing executives in El Salvador dodged having to clean up a case of dangerous lead contamination. Two global financiers embezzled $300 million from an Indonesian bank but got off light. [ProPublica]

The regional heroin epidemic seemingly has hit Rowan County with six suspected heroin overdoses reported Thursday in a 12-hour period. [The Morehead News]

Coal and electricity companies paid to meet with Republican state attorneys general just weeks before those top law enforcement officials joined in suing the federal government over the EPA’s Clean Power Plan, new documents show. [ThinkProgress]

Dogs will soon scamper in Ashland’s Central Park inside a fence that once wrapped around a seldom-used ice skating rink. [Ashland Independent]

Donald Trump has maintained he was always against the US invasion of Iraq, but he is on record as saying otherwise. [BBC]

As Eastern Kentucky University students shuffle from class to class this semester, they are surrounded by a cacophony of bulldozers, hammers and intermittent beeps as the campus undergoes an ambitious revitalization not seen since the Robert R. Martin era. [Richmond Register]

If you’ve ever wanted a look at just how badly Kentucky’s educational system is failing us, read this story about Kentuckians supporting Donald Trump. You’ll walk away understanding just how easily duped people are – especially in rural Appalachia. You’ll also get another look at just what a dishonest twat Bill Bissett, of the Kentucky Coal Association, is. You know, the man who opposes helping miners get their pensions back because he couldn’t give two shits about anyone but the wealthy (and sometimes imprisoned) coal barons who pay his salary. Oh! You’ll also get yet another glimpse at just how racist and afraid people are as you read yet another exploitative story about Eastern (with a capital E) Kentucky. [NY Times]

A second man has been convicted in connection with a scheme to steal $1.32 million from a contractor who believed he was leveling land for a recycling factory in Manchester. [H-L]

The Affordable Care Act has helped millions of Americans get health insurance. But it’s helping Americans in some parts of the country more than others. [HuffPo]

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Allegations Of Testing Fraud Still Plague Montgomery County Schools’ Previous Administration

Montgomery County Schools. Three words that make longtime readers of Page One cringe.

So get ready to cringe a bit because it’s time to yank another thread.

Sources within Montgomery County Schools and the Kentucky Department of Education allege that the district, while under Joshua Powell’s leadership, bused students to the Clay Community Center during regular instruction time in order to prepare for the ACT. In case you’re wondering, that’s in contradiction to Kentucky Department of Education guidelines.

Check out this note that was captured, along with a schedule for the test prep:


KDE doesn’t permit ACT prep to take place outside of the classroom. Districts can’t just take kids out of the classroom solely to prepare for the ACT.

Check out this Powerpoint presentation from the KDE site:

Isn’t that fascinating?

Terry Holliday, while still Commissioner of Education, allegedly turned a blind eye.

The above is just a taste of what’s to come.

If anyone in Montgomery County has additional information, get in touch with me. You don’t have to use that form to send your message – but you’ll find the email address there.