The once-decent No-Kill Louisville has fallen apart over the past couple years. It now appears to be just a shell for collecting tax-free money. What on earth is it in this city that causes people to go crazy with perceived power and greed?
With the departure of Jessica Reid and now Karen Dickson, as animal activists around town know quite well, the organization is essentially dead. It hasn’t pulled a rescue from Metro Animal Services in months and the organization’s current head is causing drama left and right, lobbing threats, operating on personal grievances with no transparency or oversight:
Rebecca Ficklin, President of No Kill Louisville, has informed me she is coming to get my foster dog and cat tomorrow. She won’t tell me where she’s taking him and them, so I sent her the following letter. What has happened to this once great organization I help start in 2010 makes me sick. I have kept quiet long enough. Here’s my letter:
President, No Kill Louisville
I think it’s a travesty that you represent an organization that I helped build, and you are using my foster animals as pawns in your pathetic little power struggle with me Do you seriously believe that Patch, a dog I have loved and taken care of for over a year, is better off who knows where (you still haven’t told me where you are taking him) than in a real home or with me? All I have asked of you is to show me the application you say you have on him and you reply by saying you’re coming to get him and my foster cat, Tiger Lily. For months, I have asked you to please post Patch to No Kill Louisville’s (NKL) 27,000 + followers on Facebook. You posted him once. The last time I asked you, you went off on a barrage of bullshit.
For over six months you have posted incessant appeals for donations and appeals for fosters for other rescue agencies; you have helped very few animals and certainly not Patch. To be truthful, the only reason I have not outed you on Facebook is because I was hoping you would do the right thing and help get him adopted. As the founder of NKL’s Foster/Adoption program, I know that marketing the animals is part of the Foster/Adoption program so that pets have permanent homes and fosters do not have them for years. You have been lured into a false sense of security by my silence. Since telling me that you were coming to get Patch and Tiger Lily just because I asked to see the adoption application on Patch (a courtesy extended to all fosters), I will no longer be silent.
If you want to read the rest of Dickson’s damning letter, you may do so after the jump.
But here’s what tans our hide… the group’s head, Rebecca Ficklin, is at the very least giving the appearance that she is personally gaining from the generosity of others and at worst about to get caught up in a 501(c)3 nightmare. No Kill Louisville’s current Amazon & Walmart wish lists – mostly dog stuff – and is being delivered to her home. And she’s asking for items like coffee, creamer and sugar.
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Before anyone starts complaining: no, these items aren’t used for volunteers. In fairness, there is a coffee pot at the empty warehouse that no one ever goes to. But no, they’re not used in a shelter or office because the group has neither. They have an empty warehouse with a forklift to move around non-existent food.
The wish lists are a treasure trove of awful. Requests for 40 unnecessary Thundershirts for the five dogs the group has, 40 containers of laundry detergent despite having no laundry equipment, hundreds of dollars worth of dog beds, you get the picture.
It’s enough to make one’s head spin.
No wonder there is no justice when it comes to the disaster that is Louisville Metro Animal Services. Ignorant people bully their way into organizations like No Kill Louisville and then run things into the ground. So far into the ground that there’s no way for it to serve any real purpose.
Just wait until we delve into the organization’s financial report, IRS 990s and bank records. Hot mess? To say the least.
In case you haven’t figured it out yet? I’m back in action and focusing on LMAS-related nonsense more than ever.
Karen Dickson’s letter continues after the jump…
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An audit of Metro government grants to Louisville arts groups, community ministries and social-services agencies found that, in most cases, the recipients failed to submit proof that the money was spent properly. [WDRB]
You’ll cackle when you see the sketches featuring a giant LOUISVILLE sign. With a goal of making downtown Louisville easier to navigate and better connected with nearby neighborhoods, consultants have rolled out a master plan recommending more two-way streets, eliminating the Main Street ramp to Interstate 64 — and extending Waterfront Park west, past Ninth Street. [C-J/AKN]
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer got his hands dirty Saturday helping crews plant trees in Downtown. [WHAS11]
Four gay couples from southern Indiana sued the state Friday, seeking to force Indiana to recognize same-sex marriages from out of state and issue licenses to same-sex couples. [ABC News]
Another day, another senseless shooting. Gunfire erupted in west Louisville overnight, and now police are treating it as a homicide case. [WLKY]
Four same-sex couples from Southern Indiana are suing Indiana Gov. Mike Pence in federal court to allow them to legally marry or to have their marriages recognized. [News & Tribune]
Pedestrians are apparently never, ever safe in Possibility City. There’s so much compassion here that gun and pedestrian deaths get canceled out. Just like the animal euthanasia rate. [WAVE3]
Sen. Rand Paul has noticed that some of his would-be rivals for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination are using this week’s Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) meeting to portray him as a foreign policy isolationist. [Sam Youngman]
The Louisville Metro Ethics Commission on Thursday dismissed three complaints against Council President Jim King, saying two were untimely and the third lacked probable cause. [WFPL]
Uncertainty over a short-lived proposal to open employment to gays at Kentucky’s largest private child care agency prompted many of its supportive churches to withhold giving last year, causing a multi-million dollar shortfall. [HuffPo]
Louisville-Jefferson County Metro Government has selected 12 finalists for the city’s Lots Of Possibility competition, which seeks innovative citizen ideas for redeveloping and reusing vacant lots. More than 100 applications were submitted by citizens and community groups. [Business First]
When lawmakers wrestled last year with new standards for releasing selenium into streams by coal mines and industry, they were assured by state officials the proposals were based on sound science and had been agreed to by U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service officials. But a Dec. 27, 2013 letter from Virgil Lee Andrews Jr., the Frankfort field office supervisor for USFAW, to the Region Four office of the Environmental Protection Agency indicates the information given the legislature’s Administrative Regulation Review Subcommittee wasn’t accurate. [Ronnie Ellis]
The last time we ripped apart one of Eric Flack’s (WAVE3) stories, we stopped short of calling his work absolutely terrible. Yes, good reporters can do terrible work.
So let’s do that now: Eric Flack is doing terrible work and ought to be replaced when his contract is up. Because he’s doing terrible work and edges on being a generally awful, unethical reporter. Goodness knows WAVE has replaced better reporters for lesser reasons on countless occasions.
From filing open records requests on family members (that’s why we redacted the person’s name – it was a relative!) under the guise of researching Jefferson County Public Schools to pulling things out of his rear end? Well, it’s time to completely write the dude off as serious.
He’s trying to play the role of JCPS expert while having no business covering the school system. He’s trying to discuss an audit (along with re-hyping the bogus story we hit him on the last time) from Adam Edelen that hasn’t even begun to be wrapped up. He’s going out of his way on social media to create hype where there is none. To Edelen’s credit, he’s tried to calm him down.
But the latest move by Flack to appear on 84WHAS to trash talk is ridiculous. Flack appeared on-air with Mandy Connell’s replacement, Leland Conway – someone who has been pretty loud in the state about trashing public education. More to the point: he’s one of those religious charter tea school folks. Flack provided his opinion on several issues and went so far as to make claims about the Jefferson County Teachers Association meddling in snow days. Claims so absurd that JCTA called in to the show to correct him.
We’ll overlook the nonsensical rant Flack went on about families losing money because they have to reschedule vacations due to snow. Let’s focus on a bit of what he said about JCPS and JCTA:
Conway: There’s not even a willingness to look at trying to be flexible for the sake of appearances.
Flack: There are union issues here at work. I don’t know the ins and outs of em and I don’t … we have a very, very strong teachers’ union here … that doesn’t just necessarily agree to everything that the school district wants to do. Just because it might be in the best interest of scheduling.
Teachers work a long time and they’re not necessarily open to being kept longer just because that exactly what would be best for the schedule.
Conway: That’s interesting because in yours and my world, if you get called in to do storm coverage, LAUGHTER, we gotta show up. MORE LAUGHTER
Flack: That’s true, that’s true. But, the, the, the union, the teachers’ union world is a little bit different. And they, they have a strong negotiating power and they have a big say when it comes to work.
Conway: Which I think is at the expense of the parents. Listen, I found the story interesting and that’s why I called you. Because I just thought, you know, there’s a lot of, it sounds, on the surface you go, “Aw, wah wah, somebody’s vacation.” But when you think about it, when you start talking about booking to Florida or some families might book a cruise or some families might want to go somewhere, you’ve gotta do that way out in advance, especially in today’s economy to save a few bucks here and there.
It actually is a pretty big deal and if these families are getting hit with 5, 600 bucks they weren’t expecting because, you know, we’re inflexible and uncreative, I find a problem with that on behalf of the taxpayers.
Flack: Absolutely and, you know, it’s, it’s unfortunate, it’s putting a real wrench into peoples’, uh, plans. And, you know, travel insurance won’t even, basic travel insurance doesn’t even help in situations like this because it’s basically not covered.
The call ended and Conway went on a rant:
Conway: If you’ve got a union that’s standing in the way of common sense solutions, is it pretty hard for you to wrap your head around the fact that in some cases they’re not really keeping you, the taxpayer, the funder of their salaries, the, the, the customer on the customer end, they’re not keeping you in mind? Because they don’t want to work a little later?
Because, like I said, in Raleigh, North Carolina, … they’re doing school on Saturdays. That, that, that is, in, in, the thing about that is, is that that displaces parents and teachers. It’s kind of a hey, we’re a community, come together, we didn’t expect this this winter, so let’s figure it out. Everybody’s got skin in the game. Parents don’t necessarily want to give up their Saturdays to take Little Johnny to school and neither do the kids. But you gotta do it or else everybody gets inconvenienced at the end of the year.
Bottom line is: The reason why they cancel school at the drop of the hat – there’s some safety concerns included but they’re gonna tell you it’s all safety – it’s not all safety. If 90% of the roads are clear but 10% are not, they don’t get the funding for the 10% of kid they don’t pick up in the bus. That’s part of what goes into the snow days decision. They’re not gonna like me saying that but it’s the truth.
The show went on break and when it returned, Conway made the typical global warming-denying teabagger commentary and promptly got back on the anti-union wagon.
He also took a few calls. One of them was from DeeAnn Flaherty, Executive Director of JCTA:
Conway: Thanks for callin in, whattya got?
Flaherty: I’d actually heard that Eric Flack had basically kinda laid the blame at our feet in terms of saying that we were inflexible, um, and, that’s really not the truth.
In, In terms of the calendar, the school board controls the calendar. They determine makeup days and they determine, um, if you realize a couple weeks ago, they voted in, in, to take the days in February and things like that. Um, we have never been approached officially about going longer hours. We were approached um, what I would say, “Well, hey, you know, what about something like this?” And we said, well, you know, we might be able to make something like that work. Like that other teacher said.
We have a lot of teachers that might prefer to go longer in the day than to go longer into the summer. Because it’s not just the parents that you’re talking about with vacation plans. We have teachers with vacation plans.
Conway: So you guys are more flexible than maybe the, uh, the, the school board is making it seem.
Flaherty: I don’t even know if it’s really the school board that’s making it out that we’re unflexible (sic). Um, you know, I apologize, I was actually phoned and told that this conversation was happening and that we were being, uh, called out as being, um, uh, unflexible(sic). And so, um, all I heard was that, uh, that the school board had said that, you know, that the law doesn’t allow it.
I can’t speak to that, I’m, I’m driving in my vehicle right now so I couldn’t really look up the law for you. But, if it’s a possibility, we don’t, we don’t ever turn our noses to anything to try to make things easier.
Conway: What do you think of the way, like, and I gave the example of I’ve got family in Raleigh, North Carolina and they had obviously less snow days than us but the most, they had like a record number of snow days – seven – which is like, we’d be like, oh, that’s fine. … It’s a really big deal for them and so what they did is they’re going to Saturday school, um, for like the next seven weeks to try to make it up.
Is that something you guys would consider either, you know, as an either or partly we’ll do an extra hour a day or we’ll do an extra day a week or whatever. Is that something you guys would be willing to have laid on the table to avoid screwing up everybody’s vacation?
Flaherty: You know, something like that, that’s a big deal. It would be something that, and I know it’s, it’s a lot of people think that we operate in a void and that we don’t actually check with our members on issues, that would be something that we would, we would take to our membership and say, “Hey, what do you all think about this?” So, I mean, again, we’re not shutting the door to anything.
Conway: Let me ask you a question because I remember a couple weeks ago – we’re talking to DeeAnn, she is, uh, the executive director of the teachers association – it, something perked my interest a couple weeks ago, there was a news story floatin around about how the JCPS board had met and they were havin to decide, um, you know, what to do about snow days and all that kinda stuff. And I thought, it’s kind of interesting, it fascinated me that we had this big meeting to make a decision about whether or not we were gonna use snow days that were already available to us.
Is, are you guys a part of that process or did they just —
Conway: Okay, that seems odd. That seems like you ought to be a part, the teachers ought to be a part of it and then we would be able to work these things out. Everybody would be in the same room together.
Flaherty: … Let me clarify that. In terms of, obviously, we don’t have a vote at the table. Um, we, uh, they do, they will ask our opinion, “what do you think about this?” and what we try to do is, we try to give them the good, the bad and the ugly. But ultimately, in terms of the final decisions that are made, the calendar belongs to the school board.
Conway: Yeah, that’s interesting.
Uh, you know, just basic reporting that Flack could have and should have done before getting on the radio to run his mouth with Mandy Connell Junior. Which is exactly what he did in an attempt to show some sort of bizarre prowess.
Snark and innuendo is fine when you’re communicating as a columnist. But Flack appeared on the radio under the guise of journalism and WAVE3 News. If this were Toni Konz of the Courier-Journal editorializing and making inaccurate claims? Gannett would have fired her a couple days ago.
No wonder we hear through the grapevine that JCTA (an organization we love to hate here, mostly because of Brent McKim) was considering a lawsuit on behalf of one of its teachers for the way Flack treated them during his ridiculous travel story.
The bad reporting just won’t quit.
P.S. For those unfamiliar with Leland Conway, he’s a used car salesman who worked in Lexington for a bit. He’s excused racism in the past, intentionally misinformed people about the tea party, repeatedly furthered liberal boogeyman myths and allows his own racial ignorance to pervade everything he does.
Two national developers announced plans Thursday to build a 600-room hotel, upscale grocery store and 200-unit apartment complex downtown – a project Mayor Greg Fischer called a “huge leap forward” for the Louisville area. Here’s hoping Cordish doesn’t ruin it. [WDRB]
Convention and tourism officials have cobbled together a financial plan to pay the $175 million cost of the proposed expansion and renovation of the Kentucky International Convention Center. [C-J/AKN]
Is Kentucky warming up to Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer’s local option sales tax idea? No, it is not. [WHAS11]
A House bill filed Tuesday would enact several reforms on the state’s pension systems and possibly reshape them. [John Cheves]
The mother of a woman found dead in a Portland alley announced on Thursday, a reward for any information leading to an arrest in her daughter’s case. [WLKY]
The House voted to spare homeowners from steep increases in flood insurance premiums by rolling back reforms to the federal program that were adopted by Congress only two years ago. [Business First]
A southern Indiana woman who pleaded guilty to murder charges in a Kentucky man’s shooting death has been sentenced to 45 years in prison. [WAVE3]
Admittedly the initial part of the project will be startling, as trees will be removed and the right-of-way cleared along East Main Street, but New Albany officials believe the $2.4 million in improvements planned for the corridor will have a substantial impact on pedestrian and vehicular safety in the corridor. [News & Tribune]
Charter schools have long been loved by the private sector, and the rich. And for good reason. [David Sirota]
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton will speak in Louisville next month. [WFPL]
The US Department of Justice has launched an antitrust probe of Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. [BBC]
Not only have Greg Fischer, Jim Gray and Damon Thayer been put on notice for getting into bed with the Arnold Foundation (in light of the PBS and Brookings scandals), but now there’s this. [Page One]