Injured LMEMS Paramedic On Road To Recovery

Last week we mentioned Joe Riffe, a paramedic with LMEMS who fell 100+ feet while on a hike last May. He’s been on a mission to get a prosthesis while keeping his job:

We mention Riffe because Richmond, Miller, Fischer and crew have been less than supportive. The man had to fight to go back to work temporarily and on light duty so he could maintain health insurance and feed his family. Now that he faces months of rehabilitation, things are up in the air with Metro about whether or not he’ll have a job and health care. This guy’s a dedicated paramedic who wants to do his job – something that’s obviously rare. And he’s struggling to keep from getting the shaft.

We heard from Riffe the day after his surgery and he was in terrific spirits. Now, reading his own words, you see that he’s the kind of fighter Louisville needs and relies on:

Finally the first steps of my journey to getting my life back to normal has begun. It started on January 26th with the first incision of a scalpel and now has finally moved to my home. The plan now is physical therapy at home 3 times a week and learning to get around without my leg. It’ll be at least a month before I can get the prosthetic. I am currently wearing the lovely device known as a “stump shrinker” it’s actually much more comfortable than it sounds. It’s only painful when it is put on, after that it actually feels quite nice, the gentle compression helps with the phantom pains.


I finally got out of that purgatory, I can not express well enough with the words I have available to me to describe the feeling of being stuck. The feeling of not moving forward or backward, just stuck in the place where you are. So, I know I have said it a few times before, I am finally able to make a step toward my future. I am finally stepping out into the world again, I am going to deal with people staring and making fun of me, because face it, some people can be evil…but I’m ready for this. I have already shocked the doctors and nurses taking care of me by progressing so quickly from amputation to home, I think I’m going to shock a lot more people by becoming the 54th paramedic in the United States to return to work on an ambulance as Louisville’s own Prosthetic Medic. Look out….I’m Back!!!!

Meanwhile, neither Neal Richmond nor anyone else in Greg Fischer’s administration have bothered to reach out in support.

They can’t be bothered with supporting the front line but you most certainly can.

Louisville Orchestra Mess About To Get Hotter?

Sometimes you can’t muck around with a press release to make a story juicier.

So we’re not gonna do that with this release from the Louisville Orchestra:

An official from the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) in Cincinnati confirmed that the American Federation of Musicians, Local 11-637 (Louisville) has withdrawn its unfair labor practice claim against the Louisville Orchestra board and management.

It is customary for NLRB claims to prompt an investigation by regional field examiners and attorneys. Orchestra musicians and administrators provided affidavits in the case earlier this month.

“Allegations by the American Federation of Musicians (AFM), Local 11-637, that they were subjected to “regressive bargaining” were clearly found to be unsubstantiated and without merit,” said Orchestra CEO Robert Birman. “We have taken great care in our deliberations, and the record shows that we have bargained in good faith, having made extraordinary efforts to accommodate our musicians.”

“It is not uncommon for claims to be withdrawn once NLRB examiners have determined an anticipated outcome that will not support the charge,” continued Birman. “The NLRB website states that more than half of all unfair labor charges are ultimately withdrawn or dismissed.” Birman says that the filing of such claims is standard protocol when musicians are on strike.

Today’s ruling comes on the heels of a ruling by Kentucky’s Division of Unemployment in which the musicians were determined to be on strike since June 2011. Individual players are, by law, not entitled to receive unemployment benefits while on strike. Musicians who have accepted such benefits are required to repay unearned benefits to the state. In total, more than $350,000 in unemployment benefits was accepted by 55 of the Orchestra’s musicians during the period of the strike.

The musicians’ strike resulted in the cancellation of planned celebrations for the Orchestra’s 75th concert season for 2011-2012. Orchestra patrons have been refunded their ticket purchases for cancelled events. The Orchestra’s 75th birthday will occur on November 2, 2012. Orchestra officials said that they would focus 75th anniversary celebrations throughout next seasons’ events.

The Orchestra administration continues to operate a variety of education and community outreach programs in spite of the musicians’ strike, serving community members from pre-school level to senior citizens with public programs and services throughout the region.

“The Board of Directors is committed to provide live symphonic music to our community sooner than later,” said Orchestra board President Chuck Maisch. “We appreciate the community’s patience with this unfortunate labor impasse. The Board recognizes its responsibilities and has every intention to fulfill its duty to deliver on the mission of the organization to provide symphonic music in Louisville. It is our plan to present a 2012-13 season. Our first preference remains, as we have repeatedly stated, that our current musicians to return to work.”

Drama’s ahead, right?

That Tasty Town Contest? Most Import Thing Ever

Why groups like the ASPCA and Humane Society take what they can and give nothing in return. [Nathan Winograd]

Jim Mims, after a serious public shaming (Greg Fischer, too), had a change of heart on Occupy Louisville. But they forgot to notify the Occupy folks. [WFPL]

Hurry and put up that pay wall, Gannett, so your first quarter earnings can fall another 33%. Hurry up! [C-J/AKN]

Steve Bittenbender filed to run for the 37th District State Senate seat. That’s the seat Democratic embarrassment Perry Clark currently holds. Will it float? [SoS]

Sorry, John David Dyche, regardless of what Jim King puts out in his front, he does not have a great working relationship with Greg Fischer. In fact, he doesn’t even have a good working relationship with his former staffers, campaign staffers or most of the people who advised him until recently. [C-J/AKN]

This New Albany cop who spewed racist rhetoric now says his comments weren’t racist and is appealing his suspension. [FOX41]

A judge in Frankfort will today decide on the filing deadline in the redistricting mess. [H-L]

Will Louisville win that tastiest town thing in Southern Living? Probably not and all kinds of people will freak out about it because it’s obviously the end of the world. Greg Fischer will even issue a release about it and talk about it on Twitter and Facebook. [WAVE3]

Nashville is working to attract international tourists. Louisville doesn’t even work to attract tourists in its own state. [Business First]

Robert White’s son was arrested again and everyone is losing their mind over it. Apparently, it’s even more important than that tasty town contest. [WHAS11]

This is the wet dream of Steve Beshear and Greg Fischer. The absolute tops for them. You know they’re aching to pull this stunt. [Mother Jones]

Wait, would you rather people be so drug/high that they fall asleep at a restaurant or while driving away from the restaurant, like Greg Fischer’s official parks guy could have done? [WLKY]

Councilman Bob Henderson Retiring This Year

Bob Henderson – Democratic Metro Councilcritter in the 14th District – says he’s not running for re-election this year.

From a release:

“I have accomplished what I set out to do to help improve the district and the time has come to spend more time with my family,” says Henderson. “I am proud to have helped the Metro Council begin operation under merged government.”

Henderson was one of the founding members of the Metro Council when merged government began in January of 2003. He is a lifelong resident of Valley Station. Bob and his wife Patsy attend church at St. Peters Catholic Church in Valley Station. He is a past member of Riverport Community and St. Timothy Churches.

He is a retired assistant general foreman for CSX Railroad and is retired from Henderson Consulting and Henderson Contracting. He graduated from Valley High School and served in the U.S. Army and the U. S. Marine Reserves.

“I want to thank the people of Southwest Jefferson County who have supported me over all these years. We have focused some attention on areas where government has made a difference and have cleaned up some neglected areas,” says Henderson. “It’s time for someone new to come forward and serve the people of the district.

Who will take his place?

Former LMAS Staffer Speaks Out On C-J Letter

Former Louisville Metro Animal Services employee Karen Dickson is speaking out about a January 22 letter to the editor that appeared in A Kentucky Newspaper.

We discussed it at the time but there’s nothing like hearing directly from those people in the belly of the beast:

I was surprised to read the letter of Jan 22, 2012 regarding recent changes to Metro Animal Services. As the Metro Animal Services Volunteer Coordinator from August 2009 until November 2011, I took pride in soliciting, training and working with all LMAS volunteers at both facilities. The writer is the owner/founder of a local pet food company that comes to the shelters once a year to give the dogs a holiday treat. I’m not sure this self described “longtime volunteer” has spent much time witnessing the daily shelter conditions or interacting with staff.

Her observations of a cleaner kennel with healthier animals might have been due to the fact that the management was aware of her upcoming visit and sent out a press release on Dec. 21 announcing the fact. The media was even invited to attend for a photo op. Current management is obsessed with projecting a public image of cleanliness and order, at the expense of more pressing issues, such as animal health and getting the dogs and cats out alive. While appearances are subjective, numbers are not, and the numbers coming out of LMAS are a depressing read that prove nothing much has changed for the animals.

In 2010, under Wayne Zelinsky, LMAS euthanized 56% of all animals it took in. For the first 7 months of 2011, under two additional Interim Directors, the euthanasia rate was 40%. In the first three months after Justin Scally took over, the euthanasia rate soared to 59%, higher than the previous 7 months or anytime in the previous year. In fact, in just those first three months, Mr. Scally presided over the deaths of 1,233 cats and 438 dogs.

Adoptions are a similarly dismal story. In 2010, 16% of all animals that entered the shelter were adopted. For the first 10 months of 2011, 18% of all animals that entered the shelter were adopted, but this moderate 2% increase was at a new $2.5 million facility on Newburg Road. In light of this moderate increase I think it is fair to ask why the Manslick Road shelter is not staffed with personnel that will serve potential adopters there and not insist they drive across town to see a dog or cat they can adopt immediately.

I agree with the writer that the staff has worked hard at cleaning the shelter, but at what real cost? The shelter is understaffed and volunteers are discouraged from helping if staff cannot scrutinize their every move. If LMAS Management would concentrate on solving the real problems, they wouldn’t have to spend such an inordinate amount of time worrying about public perception. The image problems would solve themselves.

Karen Dickson

Dickson sent that as a response to the AKN but it obviously wasn’t published.

John Yarmuth Donates Congressional Salary Again

Once again, John Yarmuth has donated his Congressional salary to the following 25 organizations:

  • Anne Braden Institute – UofL
  • Bridgehaven
  • CASA
  • Center for Women and Families
  • Crane House
  • Elderserve
  • Family and Children’s Place – Child Advocacy Center
  • Family Scholar House
  • Harbor House
  • Home of the Innocents
  • Jewish Community of Louisville
  • Kentucky Center Governor’s School for the Arts
  • Kentucky School of Art
  • KET Commonwealth Fund
  • The Library Foundation
  • Louisville Fund for the Arts
  • Louisville Urban League
  • Louisville Zoo
  • Maryhurst
  • Muhammad Ali Center
  • Simmons University
  • United Way
  • Volunteers of America
  • Youth Build Louisville

“With our economy in recovery, a lot of really wonderful organizations are being forced to cut already lean budgets,” Yarmuth said. “I am very fortunate to be in a position to offer this small assist as these groups work so diligently and effectively to enrich the Louisville community.”

Yarmuth, for whatever reason, never releases the amounts given to each group.