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:


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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.

The Kernel’s Lesson Was A Good One

A federal judge on Thursday dismissed three lawsuits pending against Rowan County Clerk Kim Davis over her refusal to issue marriage licenses in 2015, following the legalization of same-sex marriage by the U.S. Supreme Court. [John Cheves]

If July felt horrendously hot, that’s because it was. NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration ― two leading global authorities on climate ― both say July 2016 was not only the hottest July on record, but the most sizzling month in the history of record-keeping. [HuffPo]

Student-run newspapers can be great experiences, giving students a taste of what they’ll face if they continue with a journalism career. They learn to chase important stories and dig for the facts. They learn to take on powerful institutions and hold officials accountable. [C-J/AKN]

The Department of Justice and the FBI are looking at Paul Manafort as part of a broad investigation into alleged corruption in Ukraine. [The Hill]

Eastern Kentucky University has 161 academic programs, but 47 of them have graduated an average of fewer than 10 in the past three years. [Richmond Register]

The FBI and U.S. Justice Department are investigating possible U.S. ties to alleged corruption involving the former president of Ukraine, including the work of firms headed by political operatives Paul Manafort and Tony Podesta, CNN reported on Friday, citing multiple U.S. law enforcement officials. [Reuters]

Greenup County school officials are looking at new security camera systems for the district, and may choose the one they want next month. [Ashland Independent]

Earlier this month, Paul Manafort met with Donald Trump and suggested that they put in place a succession plan for the upper ranks of the Republican nominee’s flailing presidential campaign, according to three campaign sources with direct knowledge of the events that led to Manafort’s resignation on Friday morning as campaign chairman. [Politico]

When Corey Brewer passed a drug test required for his new job at Walmart in Richmond, his mother, Julie Robinson, felt relieved. [Ronnie Ellis]

Days of heavy rain have caused historic flooding in the US state of Louisiana, bringing as much as 31in (79cm) across a third of the state. [BCC]

The three finalists for the Glasgow Independent Schools’ superintendent position each spent a day this week getting familiar with the school district. [Glasgow Daily Times]

An article in The Atlantic on post-9/11 America makes a powerful case that the “never again” approach to homeland security is good politics but lousy policy. The turbulent months after the 9/11 attacks were notable for something that did not happen. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Supreme Court justices had plenty of questions for attorneys during oral arguments Thursday over the legality of midyear budget cuts that Gov. Matt Bevin made to universities last spring. [H-L]

While the coal lobby is often blamed for a lot of Washington’s foot-dragging on addressing climate change, two major coal industry groups may be losing some of their clout. A new report from the environmental group Climate Investigations Center looks at recent losses in the membership of two major coal lobbies: the American Coalition for Clean Coal Electricity (ACCCE) and the National Mining Association. [HuffPo]

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King Coal Is Still In Severe Denial

You already know Friends of Coal and the Kentucky Coal Association exist only to make a handful of people wealthy. They use far-right Republican extremists as spokespeople (like the Coal Association used RPK’s Tres Watson for years). They decimate Appalachia, take from the poor and ignore Kentucky. It’s all bullshit hype and panicked, worried people fall for it without fail. [H-L]

Donald Trump restructured his campaign leadership Tuesday in a desperate attempt to turn around his flagging presidential bid. [HuffPo]

Of the 87 who died in an accident involving motorcycles, 57 were not wearing a helmet, and neither were any of 19 who died while on an ATV. [Floyd County Times]

Donald Trump’s presidential campaign appears to be soliciting foreign donations despite multiple warnings and a criminal complaint filed with the Department of Justice. [The Hill]

Two of the victims at the heart of a sexual assault and harassment case against an associate professor are angry and say UK is protecting the professor at the expense of his victims, other students and the public. [Kentucky Kernel]

When it comes to the substance of Donald Trump’s speech proposing “extreme vetting” of immigrants to the United States, retired Navy Adm. James Stavridis on Tuesday indicated that the Republican nominee lacked specifics. [Politico]

Hal Rogers joined members of the Chamber of Commerce in touring the Somerset coworking center — billed as being a space for small businesses or those striking out on their own to “connect, create and collaborate.” [Commonwealth Journal]

With hopes of landing the U.S. Senate candidates and high-profile surrogates to represent the presidential candidates, plans are in place for the sixth annual Brushy Fork Forum in Vine Grove. [News-Enterprise]

Facing allegations from former city firefighter Jeffrey Queen that he was subjected to a hostile work environment during his five years in the Bowling Green Fire Department, the city of Bowling Green on Friday acknowledged the existence of a video showing a firefighter burning the Quran, one of many accusations of misconduct in a lawsuit filed by Queen earlier this week. [BGDN]

Over the past decade, the news about Kentucky’s coal industry has been reliably bad. The latest numbers show the state is mining the smallest amount of coal since about 1934, and there are fewer coal miners employed here than anytime in the 20th century. [WFPL]

Those following the Powell Scandal(s) will likely want to keep an eye on this. A school district is hoping voters will help replace what might be the most out-of-shape high and middle schools in Kentucky. [WAVE3]

This is what happens when an illegally-hired former superintendent’s wife heads south. We hear it’s motivating the OAG to seek restitution on behalf of the Montgomery County Board of Education. [Page One]

On Thursday, a Northern Kentucky woman was sentenced to almost 19 years in prison for providing illegal drugs to her daughter in prison; her daughter subsequently died of an overdose. [H-L]

Donald Trump is doing a great job of making the case against his own presidential candidacy, President Barack Obama said at a fundraiser for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton on Monday. [HuffPo]

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Trump Chickens Come Home To Roost

The Lexington Humane Society is inundated with cats every summer, and this August it’s using its “Purrgressive Pricing” program to help them alleviate some of the overcrowding. [H-L]

Aetna Inc, the No. 3 U.S. health insurer, on Monday said that due to persistent financial losses on Obamacare plans, it will sell individual insurance on the government-run online marketplaces in only four states next year, down from the current 15 states. [HuffPo]

GLI is part of what’s wrong with Louisville and it’s beyond time for everyone to recognize it. An organization like that is not necessary in the modern era. Louisville’s first heat-management plan is flawed and should not be used as the basis for any new regulatory programs aimed at reducing temperatures, the city’s chamber of commerce said. [C-J/AKN]

Boeing Co’s KC-46A refueling plane has been approved for production, with work underway for the first two low-rate initial production lots to be awarded in the next 30 days, the U.S. Air Force said on Friday. [Reuters]

On Friday, Gov. Matt Bevin made several appointments to Kentucky’s Universities and College Boards including two to the Eastern Kentucky University Board of Regents. [Richmond Register]

Federal health regulators have announced plans to crack down on nursing home employees who take demeaning photographs and videos of residents and post them on social media. [ProPublica]

Mayor Chuck Charles said the city of Ashland faces a “no-win” situation prior to the Aug. 23, county-wide election on alcohol sales. On Election Day, all registered voters in Boyd County, Ashland and Catlettsburg can vote to turn the county “wet.” The status would expand alcohol sales in convenience stores, gas stations, grocery stores and other businesses. [Ashland Independent]

More than 70 Republicans have signed a letter to the party’s National Committee head urging him to stop helping Donald Trump’s campaign. [BBC]

Watching AT&T buy favors from Rocky Adkins… AT&T Kentucky Tuesday donated $20,000 to the Rowan County Board of Education to be used for college and career readiness programs. [The Morehead News]

Republican strategists say time is running out on Donald Trump. Though there are more than 80 days to go before the election, GOP skeptics believe the party’s nominee has little time left to straighten out his campaign in order to defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidency. [The Hill]

The State Medical Examiner’s Office in Madisonville has determined that the cause of death for a Butler County couple found Tuesday in their home is homicide, according to a Kentucky State Police release. [Glasgow Daily Times]

Peter Greathouse, a Republican from Utah, says he’s not “comfortable” with Donald Trump as his party’s nominee. Jane Lynch, a GOP veteran from Arizona, says she’ll likely cast her personal vote for libertarian Gary Johnson or a write-in candidate. Loren Byers, a Texas Republican, calls Trump “a loose cannon.” [Politico]

If you’re the state’s most important newspaper, you could do a better job and have some common sense when covering suicide. At a bare minimum, provide links and numbers for resources. At a bare minimum. [H-L]

When Donald Trump unveiled his council of economic advisors earlier this month, observers were quick to note some of the team’s unorthodox attributes: all of its 13 members are men, six are named Steve and only one has an advanced degree in economics. [HuffPo]

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Anna Powell Was Terminated In Florida

Anna Powell, the illegally-hired wife of former Montgomery County Schools superintendent Joshua Powell (himself fired), was terminated from her job in Florida in June. From the Santa Rosa County School District’s board meeting minutes:

And not for budgetary reasons.

The job was posted a month prior:

That will likely make you wonder how she was able to perform at the director level in Montgomery County but wasn’t good enough to get renewed at an easier job in the Florida panhandle.

The fascinating thing about Powell’s time in Florida is how she got her job. Any guesses? Her personnel file from the Santa Rosa County School District contained a wealth of information.

Phil Rison – long after being advised he was let go from the district – signed her employment verification:


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You’ll note that Cindy Kincaid, Joshua Powell’s former secretary and confidant, notarized the document. At the time a man named Donald Pace was acting superintendent in the district. It’s safe to assume, based on claims made by those working in central office at the time, Rison and Kincaid hid the Florida documentation from Pace or for whatever reason did not share it with him. In part because Pace made clear to Anna Powell in a scandalous letter that her leadership was ineffective, she was illegally hired, wasn’t a chance in hell she’d be allowed to remain in the district.

Doesn’t help matters that at the time the only person in the district who could provide professional references like this was the superintendent. That was a policy instituted by Joshua Powell.

Anna claimed she left Montgomery County Schools so she could relocate to Florida:

But you already know she was ousted, as illustrated in links above.

Here’s her entire application:


CLICK TO ENLARGE — PDF

Interesting to note that her references included Phil Rison, Lisa Stone and Shannon White. Three of the people deeply involved in so much of the Powell world.

On top of it all, she attempted to file for unemployment benefits in Kentucky:

She was apparently unsuccessful.

Seems unfathomable that less than a year ago the entire circle was claiming she was the top pick to run a huge portion of a public school district.

Matt Bevin Is Still Ruining Everything

The Affrilachian Poets, a diverse Lexington-based collective of writers directly or indirectly connected to Appalachia, has rejected its 2016 Governor’s Award in the Arts, citing Gov. Matt Bevin’s positions on education, the humanities and other issues. [H-L]

This past Monday was supposed to be a turning point for Donald Trump. That was the day many Republicans hoped their presidential nominee, who was giving a speech at the Detroit Economic Club, would make his long-awaited pivot to the general election. More teleprompter, less Trump. [HuffPo]

The NCAA has not finished interviewing people in its investigation of the University of Louisville’s men’s basketball program. [C-J/AKN]

Donald Trump is in danger of losing his grip on the Republican Party as fears grow that he’s headed for a landslide defeat in November that will wipe out GOP majorities in Congress. [The Hill]

Findings of a city probe into revelations about a Frankfort police major appear to conflict with some witness testimony in a Franklin County Sheriff’s Office investigation and a resulting court case. The State Journal’s attempts for more than a month to review information used by the city to reach its conclusions also leave some remaining questions about how the internal investigation was launched and how it was conducted. [State Journal]

Here’s Matt Bevin wasting your taxpayer dollars in favor of discrimination. Texas and a dozen other states asked a U.S. judge on Friday to block Obama administration guidance to public schools that transgender students must be allowed to use bathrooms of their choice, saying it usurps the authority of school districts nationwide. [Reuters]

The Republican leader of the U.S. Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell, said this past week that maintaining his party’s control over the chamber is looking “dicey.” That’s primarily the product of an unfriendly 2016 map: 24 Republican senators are on this year’s ballot while Democrats must defend only 10 seats. Donald Trump isn’t making it any easier for McConnell either. [Ronnie Ellis]

New polls released Friday show Hillary Clinton with significant leads over Donald Trump in three key battleground states. [Politico]

Environmental attorney Tom Fitzgerald, founder and director of the Kentucky Resources Council, will address the Madison County branch of the Women’s Network at 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 16, at Gillum’s in the Richmond Mall. [Richmond Register]

Hillary Clinton has released her tax returns, adding to the pressure on her Republican rival for the White House, Donald Trump, to do the same. [BBC]

His English is a little slow for now, but his bashful-seeming smiles come quickly and easily. Kohichi Haneda, 14, arrived in the United States from Japan on July 21 as part of the Labo International Exchange program with which 4-H youth organizations across the country team. The Labo students who are visiting around Kentucky stayed together for the first day or so, with a trip to the grocery to introduce them to American foods and a Louisville Sluggers baseball game. [Glasgow Daily Times]

The first nationwide study to ask high school students about their sexuality found that gay, lesbian and bisexual teenagers were at far greater risk for depression, bullying and many types of violence than their straight peers. [NY Times]

Former Bardstown police officer Nick Houck was served a search warrant Thursday afternoon in connection with the case of a missing local woman, Crystal Rogers. [H-L]

A spokesperson for Donald Trump’s presidential campaign has blamed President Barack Obama for invading Afghanistan ― a foreign policy decision he never made. [HuffPo]

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People Need To Calm The Heck Down

Yes, Matt Bevin is a mouth-breathing bigot. A backwater yokel from New England. A full-on delusional teabagger.

But his latest stunt needs to happen:

Gov. Matt Bevin has awarded a two-year, $500,000 contract to an Indianapolis law firm to look for corruption in the administration of his predecessor, Steve Beshear.

This doesn’t, however, mean Bevin isn’t one of the dumbest, most unimpressive people I’ve ever met.

Let’s get real about the festering pustule of awful that is Frankfort. Put aside the progressive freakout. Because Tim Longmeyer is just scratching the surface.

No, $250K/year is not expensive for an investigation like this. In fact, it’s probably something that should cost $250K per month.

Yes, Bevin will use anything and everything he can dig up in a partisan manner. But if you don’t want to push out the likes of Longmeyer, Kentucky is never going to improve once Bevin fades into obscurity. Let him do this. Let him take the heat for this. Let him be the hated person. It’s a win-win for Democrats to let a knuckle-dragger like Bevin do the dirty work.

That’s what I’d write in an ideal situation.

But here’s some reality: This just proves Bevin’s crew is so unprepared and inexperienced that they can’t figure out anything. I’ve been saying it for months but liberals don’t want to hear it. They’re too focused on Medicaid, which is a big deal, obviously. But the man is doing other stupid shit and getting away with it.

If the Bevin Administration’s staffers and the folks at the Republican Party of Kentucky can’t figure anything out? Some random-ass law firm in Indianapolis isn’t going to figure things out. They can’t figure out Medicaid, university boards or the pension system. Do you really think they’re going to get to the bottom of good old boy corruption? No. They can’t even do it when you throw things into their lap.

This bunch doesn’t actually WANT to find anything. They just want to fire up the barely-literate mouth-breathers fawning over Donald Trump. If they really wanted to figure things out, they would have done it ages ago. They would have hired people who know Frankfort.

No, it doesn’t make Matt Bevin corrupt. It makes him dumb. It’s just spinelessness. The kind of Republican teabaggerism that’s built on an inferiority complex, jealousy and anger from daddy issues. Kentucky will suffer from it, just as it’s suffered for the last several decades.