New 84WHAS Mid-Day Host Coming

The name of the person taking over as host of the mid-day show (Francene’s 9AM – Noon spot) on 84WHAS will be announced today at 3:00 P.M.

And that strongly opinionated and interesting character (with quite the background) will be the focus of an interview with Terry Meiners at 4:10 P.M. today.

So be sure to tune in to 840AM and at 3:00 & 4:10 this afternoon.

While no one will ever be able to fill Francene’s shoes (I’m obviously biased), I am pretty excited to hear the news.

We’re Not The Only City With Education Corruption

Remember Robert Felner’s partner in crime, Thomas Schroeder? He gets to keep his position as president of a school board. Despite a federal indictment. Despite a clear cut role in, you know, defrauding schools. Good job, Riverdale, Illinois. [Quad-City Times]

The stalled Legacy Lofts project is about to see new life in downtown. Check out the photos and read all about it. The hideous color scheme is out (taupe, though? ugh), thankfully. All gays and people of taste rejoice! It’s just too bad no normal folks will be able to afford any of the units. [Broken Sidewalk]

Really? This is news in the U.S. Senate race? [WHAS11]

Hey, lawyer-types, read up on this crazy story of a law firm and medical clinic allegedly trading clientele. [Andy Wolfson]

St. Louis-based Paul Harris will be on the air this week filling the spot once held by Francene at 84WHAS. Every morning I wake up hoping to hear that Joe Elliott has been given that midday slot. But Harris is a great host. [Paul Harris]

$1.75 million. That’s what the city plans to spend on the planning and design of a southwest library. [C-J]

Some people think Jim Bunning should be locked away in a home. Some people think he’s a genius for starving Kentuckians to death. What do you think? [FatLip]

Greg Stumbo was for higher education budget cuts before he was against them, or something? The amount of flip-flopping and all-around mess this legislative session is tough to keep track of. [H-L]

Louisville takes the top two spots in AmericanStyle’s best art fairs list. Kentucky Crafted, The Market and St. James Court Art Show. [WFPL]

It’s Wednesday & Some People Have No Decency

In case you missed it: Democrat Larry Clark snubbed Francene Cucinello after her passing. [Page One]

According to a release from Congressman John Yarmuth’s office, President Barack Obama is expected to announce an increase in dependent care tax credits for the middle class in his State of the Union address this evening. Yarmuth proposed the legislation last year to up the credit amount from $5,000 to $7,500. [Press Release]

Yesterday U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood announced $474,486 in Recovery Act funds for the Transit Authority of River City in Louisville. [Press Release]

Personal geekery moment: University of Louisville faculty and staff will gather to watch the premier of LOST on February 2 – along with their guests – on a ten-foot screen. Free, 7:30 P.M., Miller Information Technology Center. Guests are asked to arrive dressed as a character from the show. [UofL]

Some East End Republicans are apparently partaking in revisionist history? Trying to say Greg Fischer isn’t a candidate of big business. Hahaha. [Heffalumps]

Jim Green to run against Katie King? I’m hearing stories about him that are worse than the ones we all heard from Ed Springston in 2008. Think it’s gonna turn into a mess? [SoS]

A million thousand people are running for mayor. [WFPL]

State Rep. David Osborne thinks it should be illegal to ride bicycles with children. And he’s filed legislation to prevent it. What the heck kind of waste is that? [Broken Sidewalk]

Maybe the Archdiocese of Louisville should stick to cleaning its own house before going after those who need help the most. Nobody wants to rehash the perverted priest nightmare. [Peter Smith]

House Resolution 83 Honors Francene Cucinello

Shortly after Francene’s passing two Fridays ago, I suggested to several Jefferson County legislators that they should file a resolution to adjourn the State House in honor of Francene. Because there’s no question she’s one of the few people in the entirety of Kentucky who worked hard to keep our legislature honest. There’s no question she worked even harder to stand up for Kentuckians who needed her support most.

Representative Joni Jenkins came through with House Resolution 83, which adjourned House proceedings yesterday in honor of Francene:

Adjourn the House of Representatives in loving memory and honor of Francene Cucinello.

Every legislator from the Jefferson County delegation – both Democrats and Republicans – signed on with enthusiastic support. With the exception of one person: Larry Clark.

You’ll want to CLICK HERE to read the rest…

Francene: I’ll Miss You, Doll

Francene Cucinello was a friend and idol to many. And she’s surely missed today. So I want to take a moment to express my gratitude at having had Francene in my life on a personal level. Please forgive me for getting personal and making this a bit about myself. Contrary to popular belief, I’m not always a piranha ready to strike at a moment’s notice. Just want to get this off my chest and I figure at least a few people out there will read this and remember my friend and the impact she continues to make on this world.

For most, Francene was a glaring voice of reason and excitement on the radio. That was our beautiful Francene in all that she did. Her life charmed many and she left an amazing trail where ever she went.

Being in her presence was cathartic and comfortable. She brought an unexpected and most welcome bit of calm to this hectic life. She always allowed me to (or insisted, if we’re getting technical) leave work at the door. She always knew when something was wrong. She always knew how to get it out and how to handle it. She was that kind of person.

Who knew that meeting her for the first time a few years ago as a guest on her show would lead to such joy? I certainly didn’t it. I’m not embellishing in the least when I say that I smiled inside and gave thanks to some higher power each time I was around her. Her personality was just that intoxicating.

We planned to spend my upcoming birthday together watching the premier of LOST (she never forgave me for not inviting her to meet William Mapother the last time we sat down – she would have hogged the entire conversation, if you’re wondering why I didn’t allow that to happen – I’m sure she’ll get the last laugh some how). All the while cackling over how embarrassingly both political parties were running their special election on the same night. She wasn’t sure if she’d be in Charlotte or Louisville, so our back-up plan was to hang out via iChat or Skype. You can imagine how excited we both were to cause a little bit of a political stir.

She’ll be heavily on my mind that night. I’ll honor her by doing exactly what she wanted.

I started this morning by listening to Francene’s last voicemail and reading through our text message archive. Her catty remarks were a necessary reminder to never hold back. A reminder that being oneself is important. I hope I live to be half the courageous soul she was at her young age.

Sitting through the memorial service was no simple feat. Listening to people like Congressman John Yarmuth share their love of Francene didn’t make it any easier to accept this physical absence. But it certainly reminded me of what’s important in life. Of the important role Francene played in everyone’s life.

Today I said goodbye to a friend. I miss her.

Please send your memories of Francene to:

My Beloved Francene Cucinello

I just don’t know where to begin.

My dear friend Francene has passed away at the age of 43.

I can’t breathe. I just. Dunno. She’s the one person I’ve been able to count on for three years. I love her dearly.

May she rest in peace.

I’ll miss you, doll.

EDIT: If you loved Francene, please stop by any BB&T branch to make a donation to support aneurysm research. The Francene Fund.

From Congressman John Yarmuth:

“Francene brought so much passion and joy to every aspect of her life and was genuinely driven by compassion for those around her.  She woke up every morning excited to use her position to help make people’s lives better.  And that’s exactly what she did– entertaining and informing us, always giving back, personally helping people find jobs, and so much more.  The more time I spent with her, the more I respected her intellect and admired her generosity.  I am devastated for the loss to this community and heartbroken for the loss of my friend.  My thoughts and prayers are with her mother and all of her friends.”

From Attorney General Jack Conway:

“This is such a terrible tragedy. I thought the world of Francene and she was just far too young to leave us. She contributed greatly to the public discourse in Kentucky. Her listeners were her cause and I loved that passion. It was never a nine-to-twelve radio job to her. For example, just a few weeks ago, she and I both attended a play at Fern Creek High School on a Friday night to spotlight the issue of cybersafety. She carried her commitment with her at all times.

Francene never minced words and frankly, she made me a better public servant. I didn’t just answer questions on her show, she always followed-up to make certain we were taking action. When I was on her show talking about the issues, I knew she and her listeners were holding me accountable. I always found her well researched and she will be missed.”

From Metro Councilman Jim King:

“I am shocked and saddened to learn of the untimely passing of Francence Cucinello.  Best known as simply “Francene”, she provided radio listeners in the region a provocative, interesting, dialogue on the issues of the day.  The thoughts and prayers of our family and staff go out to the family and friends of Francene.”

From Chris Thieneman:

“I am deeply saddened by the loss of my dear and good friend Francene Cucinello. My thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends during this time of surprising loss. Francene touched the hearts and minds of so many in this community, and I hope each of each will celebrate her life and dedication to Louisville. She spent her life bettering those around her, and her passion for life will be greatly missed. Many knew her as a radio personality, but I am grateful that I knew her as my friend.”

From Councilwoman Madonna Flood:

“While we may have had differing opinions on political issues, the fact remains that when it came to helping the community, especially taking care of our our soldiers and service women with “Doing our Part from the Heart,” there was no political party or opinion as far as Francene was concerned. She had a caring spirit when it came to helping those in need.”

From Governor Steve Beshear:

“I am deeply saddened to learn that one of Kentucky’s most beloved radio personalities, Francene Cucinello, passed away unexpectedly today.  I considered her a friend, despite her tough questions, and I enjoyed our frequent interviews on her show.  People felt like they knew Francene because she was so open and honest, and her death is a terrible blow to the community.  She was savvy, warm, whip-smart and compassionate.  She will be deeply missed by all.”

From U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell:

“I was saddened to hear about the passing of Francene Cucinello. Francene’s open debate on a wide-range of political and social issues kept Louisville talking, and that’s one of the reasons her show was so popular. Elaine and I send our condolences to her family and friends and to the entire WHAS family.”

From Mayor Jerry Abramson:

“While we didn’t always agree on the issues, Francene had a special way of spurring people to talk about subjects important to our community and our state.”

From Secretary of State Trey Grayson:

“Nancy and I are deeply saddened by the sudden death of Francene Cucinello, and our thoughts are prayers are with her family, friends and her co-workers at WHAS. Francene’s passing is a huge loss for the Louisville community and all of Kentucky. Her many talents and her skill at sparking important dialogue about politics and current events in Kentucky will be greatly missed.”

UPDATE @ 10:30 P.M. – Here’s a screenshot from Google Trends:

One of the top searches in the United States. Infectious. Just like she’d like it. A welcomed bright spot on this emotional evening.

Hey, Want Some Francene With Your Congress?

Francene was approached by prominent Louisville Democrats to run as a Republican against Congressman John Yarmuth. Let’s speculate on who that might be. [LEO Weekly]

LG&E wants to jack your electricity rates up 12% and natural gas rates nearly 9%. Just what this region needs – more bills. [C-J]

Mayor McCheese Jerry Abramson will deliver his final State of the City address today at noon. The speech will take place in front of the Downtown Rotary Club in Grand Ballroom A, second floor of the Galt House’s East Tower. [Press Release]

No surprise. Jerry Miller announced in a press release yesterday that he’s running for the 19th District Metro Council seat. [Facebook]

Jim King loves all kinds of things about Louisville, too. Apparently all candidates have difficulty picking one thing. [Consuming Louisville]

The American Printing House for the Blind was selected as the official charity of this year’s Marathon/Mini-Marathon of the Kentucky Derby Festival. [Press Release]

Does JCPS suck or not? No one could decide at the Louisville Forum yesterday. [WFPL]

A fancy “upscale” chain restaurant is coming to the former Starks Building on 4th Street. Even more reason for locals to avoid 4th Street. [C-J]

Any locals paying attention to the U.S. Senate race? It’s been interesting watching at least one local reporter swim around in the tank for Ayn Rand. [Joe Arnold]

One of your current U.S. Senators is fond of never offering solutions or alternatives, ever. [WAVE3]