Louie Needs Some Friends

Wondering what’s up with Louie FM?

Me, too. But no one at the station’s talking about the big format change. The station let two on-air personalities go yesterday — J.J. Jackson (from the morning show) and J.J. Duling, the last of a dying species of what used to be known as disc jockeys.

Here’s what you hear right now between music breaks:

“Something new coming to this frequency. Set all radios to this station. Tomorrow at 5.”

Admittedly, I’m not a Louie FM listener, but it’s too bad that a couple more local radio jobs are disappearing. If you didn’t know, 100.5 is one of Clear Channel’s stations, and has been running “Real Music Variety” for a while now as Louie FM.

As for the station, Clear Channel’s Kelly Carls isn’t talking about the new format, saying only that there will be an announcement soon.

For one thing, you can bet that if it’s a new music format, it will be pumped in from somewhere else.

Soon let’s speculate, shall we? One message board suggested that Clear Channel would simulcast the signal from WHAS Radio. What else could it be? Country? Talk? Sports?

What do you think?

Jockeying for Judgeships

Gov. Steve Beshear has received some nominations for three vacant judgeships in Jefferson County. One of the privileges of being the big guy is choosing who gets to be a judge. He’s got 60 days to pick one of the three nominees selected by the state’s judicial nominating commission.

There’s one Circuit Court seat, and two District Court seats. Circuit courts, in general, handle larger cases.

And the nominees are:

30th District Court, Division 11 (created by retirement of Geoffrey Morris, who resigned to join the Senior Judges program in January):

Current District Court Judge Angela McCormick Bisig
Brian Clifford Edwards, an attorney and asst. professor in U of L’s Pan-African Studies dept.
Robert S. Silverthorn, Jr., an attorney who has run for judge before.

District Court, Division 7 (created by William P. Ryan Jr.’s retirement in January) 

William Henry Mooney, an attorney with Lynch, Cox, Gilman & Mahan in Louisville
Angela Christine Ward from the Jefferson County attorney’s office
Jennifer Bryant Wilcox of the Commonwealth’s attorney’s office.

District Court, Division 9 (created by Janice R. Martin’s retirement in January)

Wanda Mitchell Baker of the Circuit Court Clerk’s office
Sheila Berman, a local attorney who ran for a judgeship last year
David Holton, of the Jefferson County attorney’s office, who ran unsuccessfully in a controversial campaign against Katie King last year.

Bigger Than Memphis AND New Orleans

The Neilsen ratings service has released its new rankings of local TV markets and it’s good news for those in the local TV industry.

That’s because Louisville moved up a spot t0 #49, compared with last year. What’s more, we passed up our favorite metro nemesis, Memphis, which dropped two spots to #51. This news is important because some advertising buys focus on the top 50 markets, and TV execs in several markets bunched around #50 get pretty anxious over this kind of thing.

Here’s the new rankings of interest here, with TV households number and movement on the list to the right:

#48  Austin, Texas     678,730  (+1)
#49  Louisville, Ky.    668,310  (+1)
#50  Memphis, Tenn. 667, 660 (-2)
#51  New Orleans, La. 633,930 (+2)
#52 Buffalo, N.Y.        633,220 (-1)

What’s a little bit interesting about this list is that in Memphis and New Orleans, we’re now ahead of the two cities to whom we lost out on NBA franchises in the early 2000s.

Stink, Stank, Stunk

How do you spend 11 hours talking about pigs? Yesterday BOZA listened, and listened, and listened as the JBS Company brought in witnesses to testify about its hog processing operation in Butchertown. In the end, JBS was spared having to tear down a structure it built without zoning permission, but it also lost something in the process.

BOZA told JBS it could not expand its operation beyond the 10,500 hogs it already processes daily, which logically would mean that expansion wasn’t that necessary. And JBS has to install a bunch of bushes ($137,500 worth) to appease the neighbors.

We asked regular ‘Ville Voice Eats correspondent Tim Girton for his take on yesterday’s actions.

by Tim Girton
The ‘Ville Voice Correspondent

Back in the 1990s, when I lived in the Highlands, I used to be able to tell if it was going to rain, not based on Tom Wills’ forecast, but on the scent in the air. If I could smell something like chitterlings in the air coming from the general direction of Butchertown, it was going to rain. Makes me wonder if Tom used that sign as well. WAVE-3 isn’t that far removed from the former hog heaven.

Back then, Butchertown was home to the Bourbon Stock Yards, where farmers would bring their oinkers to market, sell them and leave them to their fate: to become an assortment of pork products gracing our tables and hardening our arteries. Most of that is gone now. The old Bourbon Stock Yards is part of the campus for the Home of the Innocents. Stock Yards Bank is still around and so is an expanding JBS, the Brazilian firm that bought Swift’s plant two years ago.

Yes, expanding. Yesterday’s 11-hour meeting of the Louisville Metro Board of Zoning Adjustment resulted in JBS getting the go-ahead to use newly installed equipment, even though the company did some illegal construction last fall on hog unloading areas.

The Butchertown Neighborhood Association wasn’t all that pleased, but it got some rewards for its fight.

The BNA argues that expansion will lead to increased production. Why else would a company want to expand its facilities? JBS wants to finish the half-million dollar expansion of the hog area, the same area it built on illegally last year.

BOZA approved the JBS expansion plan, apparently following JBS’s logic that the new area will keep the odor down. To mangle a political phrase, that’s like putting deodorant on a pig.

But BOZA said JBS cannot increase production beyond current levels, a victory for the neighborhood association. Does anyone really think JBS would spend all this money on expansion and not attempt to increase production?  Will Swift bother to ask this time? Will someone be watching production levels to make sure?

Yarmuth Says Reforms Good for Business

by John LaFollette
The ‘Ville Voice Correspondent

It’s been six years, two congressional campaigns, and a term and a half as Kentucky’s 3rd district representative since John Yarmuth gave up the reins at LEO, and he still remembers one of the stickiest problems he faced as the newsweekly’s founder and owner.

The LEO had a staff that was young and healthy, he explains, except for one person with a serious illness.  Yarmuth remembers the constant adjustments that he had to make to his employees’ health care coverage, and the sense of group hardship in the office.

“We all were penalized, and everybody felt horrible,” he said.

Looking back, Yarmuth thinks his company would have substantially benefitted from the health care reform proposal that is currently in the House.  “This would have been a phenomenal thing for LEO,” he said.  “[Under the House bill] she couldn’t be denied, we couldn’t be denied, and employees would still have options.”

When health care reform is talked about seriously—meaning, in the absence in of rumors, hyperbole, and popular myth—the conversation always seems to come around to the effect reform will have on the nation’s small business owners and their employees—which make up both the majority of the country’s workforce and the majority of the country’s uninsured.

Yarmuth is clear on this.  “I think this is the best thing that could happen for small business,” he says, though acknowledging that there is a small group of businesses that would benefit from dropping coverage of their employees and paying a fee.

But convincing other small business owners why reform will help them has required some extra effort, he said.  Recently, Yarmuth hosted a meeting of about 30 local small business owners, and reported that he thinks he made some progress.

“Right now there’s a lot of confusion and uncertainty,” he said.  “When those small business owners learned more [about the House bill], most of them warmed to the concept.”

Conway’s Column: On Fighting Prescription Drugs

There is an epidemic in Kentucky that is claiming lives and shattering families. Prescription drug abuse is the second leading cause of accidental death in Kentucky, and during the past five years, fatal drug overdoses have doubled. Sadly, Kentucky led the nation in the use of prescription drugs for non-medical purposes in 2008. This addiction is killing people, young and old, in every corner of the Commonwealth. Far too many families, mine included, have been touched by this problem.

On August 20, I was pleased to announce the creation of Kentucky’s first statewide prescription drug abuse task force. A $50,000 grant from the National Association of Drug Diversion Investigators (NADDI) will serve as seed money to intensify our investigations statewide into doctor shopping, drug trafficking, overprescribing physicians and illegal out-of-state pharmacies. The task force currently has five investigators from my office and two from law enforcement departments in Eastern Kentucky, once considered to be the prescription pain-pill capital of the U.S. We are in the process of soliciting participation in the task force from law enforcement agencies in communities across Kentucky. The task force should be up and running this fall.

As Attorney General, I have made fighting prescription drug abuse a priority. One of the first meetings I had after taking office was with 5th District Congressman Hal Rogers (R-Somerset) to forge a partnership that continues today with Operation UNITE, a task force Rogers founded in 2005 in Eastern Kentucky. Investigators from my Drug Investigations Branch are now assigned to Operation UNITE. They have also worked closely with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA), High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) task force and the Kentucky All Schedule Prescription Electronic Reporting (KASPER) system, which tracks controlled substance prescriptions dispensed in the state.

Read the rest after the jump…

Read moreConway’s Column: On Fighting Prescription Drugs

City Needs Some Really Good Friends

The Friend of Lou campaign is back at attempting to get attention with a new burst of publicity in an attempt to sign up 20,000 Friends of Lou this month. They’ve got Louisville’s B-List of celebs involved — Southern Belle Emily Gimmel, Darryl Isaac (???), Patti Swope and Terry Meiners are among those involved.

The campaign put together this video as a sign of things to come.

All this is paid for by the Greater Louisville Branding Project (remember those videos diss-ing Boston, Atlanta and Dallas), which consists of GLI, the Convention and Visitors Bureau, local businesses and, yes, Metro Government.

If you sign up, you might get some cool stuff in the mail. Tell ’em the ‘Ville Voice sent you.

FREE Tickets to the Bluegrass Music Festival

You may not be familiar with the Dixie Bee-Liners. Unless, of course, you’re a fan of Bluegrass music. Then you already know the Bee-Liners sound a bit like Alison Krauss and feature “dulcet-throated” Brandi Hart, a Kentucky native, as lead singer.

The Bee-Liners are headlining the Saturday night lineup at the Kentucky Bluegrass Music Festival, which runs Saturday and Sunday at the Water Tower.

Other acts Saturday are The Cumberlands (5 p.m.), followed by Hickory & Friends and Relic. There’s a full lineup on Sunday too.

Admission to the family-friend event is $6 per night before 6, $9 after 6. UNLESS you’re friends of us.

We’ve got your FREE tickets — just for the asking. Just respond here with your real e-mail address and let us know how many tickets you want.

Somehow We’ve Made it to September

More Bad Apples at the Jail: WHAS-TV’s Adam Walser keeps finding that the bad guys are on the other side of prison bars. Five separate individuals have been released from employment there, including Ron Morris, the guy who was facing a domestic violence charge and got two other employees fired for covering for him. Another was storing condoms in ceiling tiles (we assume for use with inmates). There must be a few good employees down there, but the rules down there seem to be more suggestion than requirement. [WHAS-TV]

Kudos for Wolfson: In Sports Illustrated, Richard Deitsch recognizes the stars of sports media in his Media Circus column. And there’s the C-J’s Andy Wolfson, cited for his work on the Karen Sypher/Rick Pitino mess.  [SI]

Art Counts: Gill and Augusta Holland’s Louisville Counts book, which we mentioned last week, is featured in the C-J today. There’s a launch party with all 22 pieces of local art on display  at the Green Building Friday from 5-9. You should go. A sequel may be out by Christmas. The book is $20. [Courier]

C’mon Tyler: A group interested in seeing activist Tyler Allen in the Mayor’s Race has started a Facebook group encouraging him to run. He will.

Positively 4th Street Controversy: On Thursday, Chris Thieneman will hold a press conference. The location: 4th Street Live.  Likely topic: legal action against the city for the $950,000 giveaway.

Slap Some Lipstick on those Pigs: The zoning board spent 10 hours — 10 hours — talking about the expansion of JBS/Swift in Butchertown last night before deciding that requiring $137,500 worth of landscaping improvements would make up for the plant expanding without permission. [Courier]

 Crowd Control is The Story: At Baron Hill’s Town Hall Meeting on Health Care in New Albany last night, a “boisterous crowd” tried to shout down the Congressman, making a civil discussion of the bill challenging. The Tribune has a great picture of two citizens squaring off with signs. Expect more of the same with John Yarmuth at Central High Wednesday. [Tribune]