Ethics Aren’t A Thing Here In Possibility City

Another day, another pedestrian death in Possibility City. [WDRB]

Because of course they dropped the ethics charges. The Metropolitan Sewer District ethics charges that were shedding light on the inner workings of the agency were dropped Friday by the agency’s Audit Committee, clearing former chairman James Craig and current board member Lonnie Calvert. [C-J/AKN]

Joseph Cambron’s denial lasted more than five hours during an interrogation with police, claiming he had nothing to do with a 12-year-old boy’s murder the day before. It wasn’t until the end of that police interview on Oct. 1, 2014, that Cambron confessed, for the first time, to the crime. [WHAS11]

A highly invasive fish commonly called Asian carp is proliferating in the Ohio River at Louisville. Wildlife officials say they have a spawning area below the McAlpine Locks and Dam. [H-L]

Another day, another senseless murder in Possibility City. A man was shot and killed early Sunday morning in front of a Louisville home. [WLKY]

Voters in three key battlegrounds support tax hikes on the rich. [HuffPo]

Investments in downtown Louisville continue. Friday night, word that the historic Starks Building may be renovated to include a 200 room hotel and 100 rental apartments was posted on a company’s website. [WAVE3]

Wanna see an entitled school board member act like a WATB because WFPL didn’t bow at his feet? Here’s David Jones doing just that. Sure, Ryan could have put in more than five minutes of effort on the story but this sanctimonious bullshit from Jones takes the cake. It’s worse than that silly front page spread featuring he and his wife wherein they pretend to be champions of education with a reach-around from Greg Fischer. [Guilty Dog Barks First]

Steve Haag, a spokesman for the Louisville Metro Council Republican Caucus, said Republican council members question the language within the investigation’s findings. “They used the term ‘willingly’ and ’intentionally’ — but what they don’t use is the work knowingly,” he said. “Yes, maybe nobody wanted to hurt this dog, but did they know the dog was hurt?” [WFPL]

The homeless face many challenges, but one is basic: it’s difficult to get clean. Even if they go to a shelter, those shelters don’t usually have laundry services and may not even have a shower. [Think Progress]

The Ports of Indiana handled more than 10.4 million tons of cargo in 2014, and have set a record in annual shipments. [Business First]

Floyd County Clerk Christy Eurton was asked by the New Albany City Council when additional voting machines needed to be purchased for the city’s primary election in May. [News & Tribune]

Frankfort Harassment Scandal Still Front & Center

A mobile application concept developed by a team of eighth graders at Meyzeek Middle School has won the school $20,000, the students brand new tablets and now they’ll work with an expert to make their concept a reality. [WDRB]

At the Metropolitan Sewer District, board members and the executive director routinely use private accounts or personal smartphones to do agency business, sending emails or text messages to each other, the former chairman asserts. This is how Greg Fischer conducts business these days. He’s crapping his pants. [C-J/AKN]

We now know the theme of this year’s Thunder Over Louisville. The big reveal took place Tuesday morning with the help of six sponsors for the big day: A Boom with a View. [WHAS11]

Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas Wingate said Monday he will rule this week whether the Legislative Research Commission must turn over all sexual harassment complaints involving lawmakers and staffers. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Local first responders are facing a major life-and-death situation, and they’re not sure how to stop it from getting worse. [WLKY]

President Barack Obama wants to create a new government agency dedicated to keeping the nation’s food safe. [HuffPo]

A woman being booked into Louisville Metro Corrections was found to be carrying a possible explosive device. [WAVE3]

What can be proven beyond a doubt is that, even if underlying economic trends have increased inequality, Obama’s economic policies have reduced it sharply. [NY Magazine]

The plan to develop a Wal-Mart on Broadway and Dixie Highway is now heading to the Board of Zoning Adjustments—bringing the project just a couple steps away from construction. [WFPL]

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is bringing in an all-star team led by Hill-veteran Antonia Ferrier. [Politico]

Following an uptick in office activity in 2014, the industrial vacancy rate in the Louisville area continued to fall in 2014 as absorption soared above 5.6 million square feet of warehouse inventory, according to a report by Louisville commercial real estate firm Commercial Kentucky Inc. [Business First]

The outlook for the May primary, and in some regards, the November general election, became clearer this week as several candidates filed in major New Albany races. [News & Tribune]

Wealthy Local Folks Should Help Hungry Kids

Wealth and perceived power got Greg Fischer’s son out of a serious drug charge. But you expected nothing less. [WDRB]

The Metropolitan Sewer District will go ahead with an investigation against one of its board members and its former chairman, even though the ethics complaint filed against them was withdrawn by the board member who filed it. [C-J/AKN]

Kentucky’s gasoline tax, which fell by 4.3 cents a gallon Jan. 1, is now expected to drop by another 5.1 cents on April 1 unless legislators change state law. [WHAS11]

Lexington and other cities will not have to enact their own ordinances for ride-sharing companies such as Lyft and Uber now that the state has enacted its own regulations, city attorneys told the Urban County Council on Tuesday. [H-L]

A program that provides snacks and nutritious meals to children during months schools aren’t in session is looking for sponsors. [WLKY]

The American health care system may finally be catching up to the rest of the 21st-century economy, in which convenience is not only expected, but demanded — and massive retailers are driving the change. [HuffPo]

Police surround another Louisville school. Tuesday they came with armored trucks and weapons to a locked down Stuart Middle School, after someone called in a report of a shooting at the school. After sweeping the school twice, police determined it was a hoax. [WAVE3]

A bid to reduce racial and economic segregation in Portland public schools was postponed on Tuesday when a group of protesters stormed a school board meeting and demanded more time to learn about the planned policy changes. The proposed change would limit transfers between schools, which white and affluent families have disproportionately used to remove their children from low-performing schools. [Reuters]

This year’s tax season will be full of questions for people who signed up for Kynect, Kentucky’s health insurance exchange, and those who are uninsured. For the first time, people will have to indicate on their tax form if they had health insurance on their tax return. [WFPL]

Mickie “Red” Roquemore was a charming, “great guy” who was well liked and didn’t cause problems at a homeless shelter where he often stayed in the past. Last year, he even secured housing with the help of an agency. But the Pontiac, Detroit resident was found dead on New Year’s Day on a porch where he had recently been sleeping apparently due to temperatures dipping down to 15 degrees overnight. [Think Progress]

In November, Greater Louisville Inc., the metro chamber of commerce, released its legislative wish list for the 2015 short session of the Kentucky General Assembly. [Business First]

Traffic, noise and safety concerns raised by Johnson County communities and other cities along a 106-mile rail line were dismissed in a federal review, but those local leaders are making a second attempt to be heard. [News & Tribune]

Prediction: JCPS Shenanigans Will Get Way Worse

Maybe they wouldn’t be coming up short if they didn’t hate the gays so blatantly. [WDRB]

Spoiler alert: The only people asserting privacy interests are Helene Kramer and Donna Hargens. The folks who filed the complaint protested the redactions and even told the paper’s new education reporter as much. Surprising that didn’t make it into the story. [C-J/AKN]

The Metropolitan Sewer District board has agreed to have its audit committee investigate an ethics complaint of an undisclosed nature filed by its board vice chairman against the district’s recently retired board chairman and a fellow current director. Current Vice Chairman Tom Austin filed the complaint earlier this month against James Craig, who resigned last month as MSD board chairman, and fellow board member Lonnie Calvert. When he resigned, Craig said he was going to devote time to his law practice. [More C-J/AKN]

The coroner released the names of three people killed in separate accidents over the weekend. Possibility City. [WHAS11]

Lexington Mayor Jim Gray named Mark Barnard the city’s new police chief on Monday morning. [H-L]

A New Albany woman charged with animal abuse was arraigned Monday morning. [WLKY]

Republicans’ fortunes may depend in part on how the newly GOP-controlled Senate functions and whether incoming Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky can advance legislation or gets hamstrung by the tea party faction in his caucus led by Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, another potential White House candidate. [HuffPo]

Another day, another daycare van crash. [WAVE3]

Obama’s turnaround in recent weeks – he’s seized the offensive with a series of controversial executive actions and challenges to leaders in his own party on the budget — can be attributed to a fundamental change in his political mindset, according to current and former aides. [Politico]

The Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting has filed a lawsuit against the University of Louisville over the release of records related to a financial review of the university. [WFPL]

The Kentucky Public Service Commission (PSC) has approved the construction of the state’s first major solar-powered electric generating facility. In an order issued Friday, Dec. 19, the PSC authorized Kentucky Utilities Co. (KU) and Louisville Gas & Electric Co. (LG&E) to build a 10-megawatt (MW) photovoltaic solar array at the E.W. Brown Generating Station in Mercer County. A megawatt of generating capacity produces enough power to supply about 800 average homes. [Press Release]

Let the hand-wringing over minimum wage increases begin. [Business First]

Floyd County Sheriff-elect Frank Loop found the man he wants to be his second in command. [News & Tribune]

Some Journo Ethics Would Be Great For Louisville

Folks wonder why everyday people are distrustful of media?

Check this out from a WDRB reporter:


FROM A WDRB REPORTER

Her job is to objectively cover things like LMPD.

We all make mistakes, sure. Every day. But she snapped when asked if she’d be reimbursing the police to avoid any perception of ethics issues. Rather than seize the moment to say, “Ooh, good call, right on top of that.” Straight to defense and snapping. In addition to previous scuffles over police coverage in the past (like the time she raised red flags while covering a murder near Phoenix Hill Tavern), this is… Not that great.

WDRB should at the very least offer to reimburse LMPD to fix this. If they can’t afford to or don’t want to, surely the local journo community will chip in to help avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Everyone from Joe Gerth to the folks at my hometown newspaper in Eastern Kentucky refuse even the appearance of an ethical dilemma. I’ve seen Gerth turn down water from people he’s covering — despite water being pretty much acceptable on all journalistic fronts. Chuck Olmstead often paid for bottles of water. Francene wouldn’t even let another journalist (which she barely was) buy her coffee.

Good grief. No wonder people have given up on trust. Something that’s sorely needed today.

WDRB trolls will start attacking in 3, 2, 1 instead of doing the right thing…

But kudos to the cops for being great in this situation. Even though they wouldn’t do this for just any random person on the street unless they’re elderly or in dire straits.

Why jump on WDRB? Because WDRB sure loves attacking people like Phillip Bailey for daring to say and do what no one else in this town will. And this isn’t the first time something like this has occurred with the station’s reporters.

They spent the better part of two days attacking Bailey for daring stand up to the asshats he worked for at WFPL — going so far as to insinuate he was unethical, biased, blah blah blah.

Every week it seems like there’s someone else in Louisville media these folks want to jump. When it comes to them? We’re not allowed to ask questions or raise concerns because we get personally attacked. Even Eric Flack is better than that (he, too, turns things like this down).

4th St. Opens Up, Tries To Swallow Everyone

People who live near Liberty Tire Recycling are firing back after massive flames broke out at the facility earlier this week. The lawsuit claims Liberty Tire was negligent and should compensate those affected by the fire. [WDRB]

After Metro Council President Jim King asked for assistance in clarifying to what extent a council member must go to determine possible conflicts of interest, the council voted on Thursday to update the ethics ordinance. [C-J/AKN]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! It’s not every day we are taking $7 million in aid and support to schools, but this is the chance of a lifetime for students and teachers looking to soar. [WHAS11]

Cello, a female German Shepherd, is in a Louisville veterinary hospital, fighting to recover from a gunshot wound to her head and other serious injuries while authorities in Eastern Kentucky search for the person who attacked her. [H-L]

LMPD hosted a community event to educate the public on being proactive in the face of rising crime. [WLKY]

There was no sign of brown liquor President Barack Obama’s Friday lunch meeting with bipartisan political leaders, but the bourbon industry is using renewed attention to press its own lobbying interests. At the top of that list is the issue of the tax treatment of the whiskey that’s aging in barrels in warehouses. [Roll Call]

A spokesman for the Metropolitan Sewer District says they have no record of the abandoned 90-inch pipe that collapsed Friday, opening a hole that swallowed one of the rear tires of a trolley. [WAVE3]

“I would enjoy having some Kentucky bourbon,” President Obama said on Wednesday. [TDB]

The Kentucky couples challenging the state’s same-sex marriage ban will ask the U.S. Supreme Court to consider their case, an attorney for the plaintiffs said on Friday. [WFPL]

A teacher at St. Margaret Mary Catholic School in Louisville, Kentucky, who recently returned from a medical mission trip to Africa has resigned rather than submitting to a paid 21-day leave and producing a doctor’s note that says she is in good health. The school’s request was a reaction to “strong parent concerns” about Susan Sherman exposing students to Ebola — though she was in Kenya, which is separated from the Ebola outbreak by at least five countries. [NY Mag]

It was a grim picture painted by Bellarmine University economics and finance professors at a discussion they hosted last night about the state and future of the national economy. [Business First]

Now is the time to have community conversations about addressing homelessness in Southern Indiana, says Melissa Fry, director of the Applied Research and Education Center at Indiana University Southeast. [News & Tribune]

Greg Fischer: Are You Really This Inept? What???

Seriously, folks, is Greg Fischer this inept? Is the man purposefully trying to sink his mayoral ship?

Here’s some more of our “grade school journalism” for you to think about this morning.

Courier-Journal:

City staff brushes off animal services meeting

An animal advocate was emotional Wednesday as she discussed a young pit bull that was euthanized after needing medical care for months in the custody of Louisville Metro Animal Services and an inquiry into the situation by a Metro Council committee.

-SNIP-

Callahan and Eaves would not say whether they believe there was neglect…

-SNIP-

Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Fischer, confirmed the administration would not be at the meeting or send the documents until the police department’s Public Integrity Unit completes its investigation.

-SNIP-

Fischer general counsel Kellie Watson, who did attend the meeting, gave council members discs containing information that had already been provided to the public or media through requests.

-SNIP-

Councilman Kelly Downard, co-chair of the committee, who said members do not want to compromise any investigation, indicated the Public Integrity Unit was already looking into the situation before Fischer’s request.

-SNIP-

Fischer asked the Public Integrity Unit to investigate the situation even though he said he had a team examine the situation when it first came to officials’ attention earlier in the summer and that there was no evidence that employees acted improperly.

“They determined there was nothing inappropriate,” he said. But, Poynter said, once the council continued to raise the issue, they thought it was appropriate for PIU to conduct an independent review.

Several council members questioned why the administration has not provided its examination, which they said could answer their questions.

First — for anyone to try taking the spotlight from the council is a little bit bizarre. Those folks definitely knew there was neglect and have said as much via email. Do we really have to go down this road by pointing out that they’re stretching a bit with the media? All this fake-crying and hand wringing is silly and unnecessary.

But back to the story…

Hilarious that Fischer is trying to claim he’s the reason there’s a police investigation… only to have Metro Council point out it was taking place before the mayor asked for it.

And about that internal investigation Fischer said has already taken place? Wait til we get to the WAVE story. You’ll wet yourself.

WDRB:

Louisville’s Metro Council investigating Animal Services dept. following dog’s death

Questions about Metro Animal Services’ handling of a dog named Sadie are just part of what Metro Council members want to know about the agency.

-SNIP-

“Is there still some reason for us to think that there are parts of this that the mayor doesn’t feel like it is appropriate for us to be asking for,” said metro council member Kevin Kramer, (R)-Dist. 11.

-SNIP-

“Many of the council members had seen that press release. We had it on our desks where the mayor’s office had said they had already done an examination of the situation. We just really want to get the facts and understand what’s going on,” said council member David James, (D)-Dist. 6.

“A number of the concerns we were having early on, were pretty much expanding daily. We wanted a clear picture of the total situation prior to moving forward,” said council member and ad hoc committee co-chairman Kelly Downard, (R)-Dist. 16.

Not exactly the kind of press the mayor needs — bipartisan skepticism. Investigations, hearings, county attorney, police, public integrity, animal cruelty, coverup.

WLKY

Metro Animal Services comes under fire amid corruption allegations

Louisville Metro Animal Services is coming under fire amid allegations of corruption.

A metro council committee met Wednesday to discuss the scandal.

-SNIP-

Members of the committee are currently trying to gather facts to see if someone should be held accountable.

Not bad for a station that’s focused on the bare minimum. Terrible for a mayor who just wishes he could make this all go away.

WHAS apparently credited this site (thanks, Joe Arnold! you’re always the best) during its evening newscast but this afternoon story is borderline plagiarized from several sources, not just TVV:

Special committee meeting held after complaints about LMAS

A special committee will start an eight week investigation into Louisville Metro Animal Services Wednesday night.

-SNIP-

Emails obtained through an open records request accuse the agency of neglecting to raise funds or allow Sadie’s foster to raise funds for her surgery. Her medical records show she had ingested some of her own leg in an attempt to alleviate the pain. She developed pneumonia and was eventually euthanized.

The ad hoc committee will look into those allegations, as well as review how the department is run overall. Donald Robinson has been serving as interim director of LMAS.

-SNIP-

Below are the emails and records we obtained through an Open Records Request…

Pro-tip to WHAS: When you get documents that the Fischer Administration is keeping secret from this website, don’t act like you did the reporting yourself.

Those records weren’t initially obtained via an open records request — they were provided to us by LMAS employees because LMAS and the Fischer Administration were illegally withholding the documents, as this website reported. Hello? That’s what launched the investigation(s)!

But nice to see you covering the story you’ve refused to cover for ages.

Here’s the kicker — WAVE:

Fischer response to dog case leaves Metro Council members ‘baffled’

Louisville Metro Council members said Mayor Greg Fischer’s explanations of an alleged animal abuse case involving a member of his administration left them confused.

-SNIP-

“Baffled is the right term. I was very surprised,” said Kelly Downard (R-District 16), one of the committee’s co-chairs. “All we want to do is cooperate and get this thing done and find out what happened. It’s confusing why we’re having such a hard time doing it.”

The allegations have united Republicans and Democrats on the Metro Council in seeking answers from Fischer’s administration. Four members of Fischer’s administration, including Brosko, didn’t come as requested to the committee meeting.

Fischer’s legal counsel Kellie Watson showed up instead, and she faced intense questioning from council members, especially after she was either unwilling or unable to provide details about an internal investigation that found nothing improper.

Councilman David James, a Democrat (District 6) who sits on the committee, asked Watson whether there had been an internal investigation.

“I can’t answer at this exact moment,” Watson replied.

After the meeting WAVE 3 News asked Watson to clear up the confusion, but she walked away from a question without providing details about the internal probe. Fischer later said his administration wouldn’t provide key information or people requested by council members until the Metro Police Public Integrity Unit investigation was complete.

“We just want to take it one step at a time,” Fischer said, who said he knew about no wrongdoing. “Our director spoke to all the people involved, got an understanding of what the facts were, and felt like the procedures we had were followed.”

-SNIP-

Downard said he had spoken to Adkins, and the accuser was prepared to sign an affidavit about her allegations against Metro Animal Services staff.

“It is a corrupt place, led by people who do not care for the animals, but for good press,” stated a letter from Adkins that committee co-chair Cindi Fowler read aloud in the meeting.

Brosko transferred to Fischer’s office as a spokeswoman after news of the case broke, but LMAS officials have said it was simply a promotion.

All right for Theo Keith proving that good journalism is possible in Louisville television! Other stations should take note, as that’s the kind of work they should be doing. The kind of work that doesn’t require one give credit where it’s due because it’s all their work, their original reporting, their hardworking efforts to get people on camera.

Fischer admitted it was his METRO ANIMAL SERVICES DIRECTOR (!!) who conducted the “investigation” and found nothing to see here, move along, puppies and rainbows.

How bout that?

Every media outlet in town is finally covering LMAS and Fischer is apparently orchestrating a for real, literal coverup. But a bi-partisan team of Metro Council members are having none of it and they’re doing this city proud by holding the executive branch accountable. There’s even a criminal investigation.

We’re all so surprised that it’s tough to digest. Media covering LMAS: wow. Government doing its job: wow. Criminal investigation: wow. Fischer coverup: wow.

CRAZINESS!