The Sadiqa Reinvention Tour Is Underway

Turnaround efforts at Jefferson County’s eight chronically low-performing middle schools have presented ‘unique challenges’ when it comes to improving academic achievement and increasing student growth. [WDRB]

Pbbbbbbt. Louisville Urban League President and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds is pitching Mayor Greg Fischer’s office and Metro Council members on dedicating part of the city’s $10 million surplus to the civil rights group’s housing redevelopment program. [C-J/AKN]

One of Katina Powell’s attorneys, Bart McMahon, confirms she is scheduled to meet with NCAA investigators Monday afternoon, March 7. [WHAS11]

For many years, this editorial board’s position on the death penalty has been keep it but fix it, because some crimes are so heinous that no other punishment will do. We now must concede that the death penalty is not going to be fixed and, in fact, probably cannot be fixed at any defensible cost to taxpayers. [H-L]

Convenience stores and gas stations in Oldham County can now apply for a packaged liquor license after voters expanded alcohol sales in December. [WLKY]

After learning that Donald Trump apparently kept a volume of Adolf Hitler’s speeches at his bedside, Bill Maher made a scary comparison between the GOP front-runner at the German dictator on “Real Time with Bill Maher” on Friday. [HuffPo]

A firefighter’s widow claims Kentucky Retirement Systems is playing hardball with her in her time of need. [WAVE3]

Tim Cook got almost $400 million of restricted stock when he was named Apple chief executive in 2011, succeeding Steve Jobs. Regardless of whether Apple shareholders fared well or badly over the grant’s 10-year term, all Cook needed to do to collect that stock (worth about $700 million at today’s price) was keep his job. It was the kind of deal that pay mavens derisivelycall “pay for pulse.” [ProPublica]

Holy crap! After all the havoc Sadiqa Reynolds wreaked in Metro Government, she’s now trying to spin some tale of hopefulness. And media outlets are taking her seriously. We’ll take that hack seriously the day she takes responsibility for her role in the Metro Animal Services shenanigans. Spoiler alert: Sadiqa will never do that. [WFPL]

Regulations that limit heavy metal pollution from oil- and coal-fired power plants will continue to be enforced by the EPA — at least for now — thanks to Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts. [ThinkProgress]

The nation’s largest pharmacy retailer is about to open a smaller location in downtown Louisville. [Business First]

Residents in need of a watchful eye now have three designated safe place locations under surveillance at the Clark County Government Center in Jeffersonville. [News & Tribune]

Need cheap mobile phone service? Maybe even for a backup cell phone? I’m talking $6/mo cheap? Use our Ting referral code and we’ll all get a sweet credit. You get $25 — enough for a couple months of service to determine whether you like it. Both CDMA and GSM options. For worriers: no, you don’t get identified to us if you use our link… so please consider letting us know if you do! [Ting]

Surprise! Local Repubs Love The Racist

Before she retired, Fay Allen regularly drove from her home in Jeffersonville to her job in downtown Louisville. She estimates she now makes about 10 trips a month across the Ohio River, mostly for volunteer work. [WDRB]

A day before his twins’ sixth birthday celebration, Donald Mattingly Jr., 36, was riddled with bullets. Nine months later, his killer remains free, as do those responsible for nearly half of the homicides in Louisville last year. [C-J/AKN]

Landscape awards don’t matter when your administration is a walking disaster. [WHAS11]

Donald Trump won a tight battle with U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz in Kentucky’s Republican presidential caucus late Saturday night. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Residents in one Fern Creek neighborhood are stepping up security after Metro police found a handful of belongings that were stolen. [WLKY]

Talk about breaking barriers in the world of fried chicken. [HuffPo]

Customers inside the Walgreens on the Outer Loop left in shock Thursday after a woman, upset over her transaction, started punching and biting the clerk. [WAVE3]

Heads-up, Louisville Metro Government. When homeless people cluster and set up stable tent camps, most American cities eventually send garbage men, cops, and social workers to tear the camps down, kick out the occupants, and even destroy their belongings. But in Indianapolis, such encampments are now protected from the sudden, destructive approach that so many other cities use to break up unsightly homeless communities. [ThinkProgress]

A Louisville Metro Council committee is shuttling a proposed surplus spending plan on to the full council for final approval. [WFPL]

A Louisville House Democrat filed two bills Monday in an attempt to block Gov. Matt Bevin’s plan to dismantle the state health exchange, kynect, and revamp how Kentucky delivers Medicaid. [The Morehead News]

A new rail yard on in Jeffersonville will serve as a transfer and loading terminal for Louisville & Indiana Railroad Co. [Business First]

The New Albany City Council will introduce two ordinances and one resolution at Monday’s meeting. [News & Tribune]

Really, Indiana? The Lewis & Clark Bridge?

This is silly, Indiana. We already have a Clark-named bridge. [WDRB]

Citing self-dealing, thefts, conflicts of interests and other embarrassments and scandals, dissident members of the University of Louisville’s Board of Trustees called for a vote of no-confidence Tuesday in embattled President James Ramsey. [C-J/AKN]

Another day, another murder. Another day, another murder. Another day, another murder. [WHAS11]

Here’s your chance to redirect tax dollars to backward-ass religious “schools” that discriminate and focus on profit over education. As expected, Republican state lawmakers have introduced legislation that would allow public charter schools in Kentucky, including a pilot program in Fayette County. [H-L]

New numbers show February was a big month for automakers. Ford Motor Company said its sales rose 20 percent from one year ago. [WLKY]

Voters in 13 states and one U.S. territory made their presidential picks on Super Tuesday 2016. Just a reminder in case you got drunk and blanked out for a day or so. [HuffPo]

After nearly four hours, the Bullitt County Fiscal Court tabled the decision on the budget for the Bullitt County Sheriff. [WAVE3]

Unlike many films about reporters, “Spotlight” accurately depicts the frustrations and joys of breaking a big story, from the drudgery of spreadsheets to the electric thrill of revelatory interviews. [ProPublica]

Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon will charge the University of Louisville as much as $125,000 for an audit examining its governance structure, he said in a recent letter to U of L President James Ramsey. [WFPL]

The United States has the most advanced health care in the world. There are gleaming medical centers across the country where doctors cure cancers, transplant organs and bring people back from near death. [NPR]

Why did Jeff Ruby “ban” Donald Trump from his Louisville restaurant? Publicity. [Business First]

After 30 years of serving summer treats at the corner of Country Club Drive and Graybrook Lane in New Albany, Mom & Pop’s Cone Corner looks like it is closing for good. [News & Tribune]

Dark Cloud Lifted, Donald Trump Left

Teenagers like weed, surprise. Two duPont Manual High School students were arrested and charged with trafficking marijuana after a routine narcotics sweep at the school on Friday. [WDRB]

Oh hell, the local paper’s new education reporter is relying on a study from the Bluegrass Institute. So much for her potential. [C-J/AKN]

In case you’re wondering what all the racists who showed up to the Trump event think? Have a look at them and their fun, half-literate signage. [WHAS11]

Republican Ben Carson brought his struggling campaign for president to Lexington Monday, and used the event to denounce the recent tone of the GOP nomination battle. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! That sense of doom you felt yesterday? It was because Donald Trump came to town. [WLKY]

When Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Grandmother) decided that he would keep Antonin Scalia’s Supreme Court seat vacant so the next president could decide, he might not have anticipated exactly how ugly the campaign was about to turn in his party. [HuffPo]

Just in case you needed another reason to keep your middle school-aged children off social media… [WAVE3]

Sen-Ching (Samson) Cheung is an associate professor in the University of Kentucky College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and a faculty member within the UK Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments. Like most professors, he is deeply involved in engineering research. For most of his academic career, his research has been in the area of multimedia information analysis. [Richmond Register]

As negotiations over the city’s budget surplus continue, another group is seeking a slice of the funds. [WFPL]

“Stronger Together” is not the name of the latest social-media fitness app. It’s a grant proposed in President Obama’s new budget, reviving an idea that hasn’t gotten much policy attention in decades: diversity in public schools. If the request is approved, $120 million will go to school districts for programs intended to make their schools more diverse. [NPR]

Louisville-based spirits distiller Brown-Forman Corp. has told about 79 production workers at its bottle, shipping and and warehouse operations not to come to work for the next three weeks. [Business First]

After a roughly eight-month testing phase, the Jeffersonville Police Department is changing the body camera technology its officers use. The switch comes after what JPD Sgt. Isaac Parker said was a series of mechanical issues with the cameras, including problems with battery life and camera lenses. [News & Tribune]

At Least There’s The Derby Festival Fun

A University of Louisville employee claims university President Ramsey and other administrators worked to “derail and interfere with” his duties investigating and calling attention to conflicts of interest, according to a whistle-blower lawsuit filed against Ramsey and the university on Monday. This should come as no surprise, as Jim Ramsey loves to tell anyone who will listen that Robert Felner was no big deal. [WDRB]

Get ready for every mouth-breathing racist within 250 miles to be in town for Donald Trump today. [More WDRB]

If anyone considers Sadiqa Reynolds a leader after the way she bungled the corrupt Louisville Metro Animal Services mess for YEARS? Holy hell, we’re all screwed. [C-J/AKN]

Of course there’s been another murder or two here in Compassionate City. [WHAS11]

With Gov. Matt Bevin’s blessing, a state House panel Thursday approved a bill that would allow Lexington’s Urban County Council to pass an additional 2.5 percent transient room tax to help pay for an expanded Lexington Convention Center. [H-L]

Aaaaand it’s already time to think about the Kentucky Derby Festival! [WLKY]

Many scholars see the Civil Rights Movement as a second Reconstruction Era and a second try at rebuilding our nation into one truly committed to liberty and justice for all. But just as the progress of the first Reconstruction was followed by decades of retrenchment and reversal, many of the formidable threats millions of poor children and families of all races but especially children of color face today are very dangerous steps backwards. [HuffPo]

Candidates running for an office in Metro Louisville got the opportunity to interact with voters and hear their concerns Sunday at a meet-and-greet forum at Central High School. [WAVE3]

Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, has laid out a plan that would have lawmakers break with Mr. Trump explicitly in a general election. [NY Times]

The head of the Kentucky State Fair Board will leave in April to become the president and chief executive of the San Diego Convention Center, according to a news release issued late Friday afternoon. [WFPL]

The first thing you notice at Donald Trump’s rallies is the confidence. Amateur psychologists have wishfully diagnosed him from afar as insecure, but in person the notion seems absurd. [Rolling Stone]

Hospitals have been a mainstay for Kindred Healthcare Inc., but the company expects they could be less of a focus in the near future. [Business First]

Changes on how students from other districts are admitted to West Clark Community Schools may not occur until the board sees how some new numbers shake out. [News & Tribune]

Need cheap mobile phone service? Maybe even for a backup cell phone? I’m talking $6/mo cheap? Use our Ting referral code and we’ll all get a sweet credit. You get $25 — enough for a couple months of service to determine whether you like it. Both CDMA and GSM options. For worriers: no, you don’t get identified to us if you use our link… so please consider letting us know if you do! [Ting

This Is Why Louisville Media Can’t Have Nice Things: JCPS Scandal/Non-Scandal Edition

Ready for another disjointed rant about Louisville media?

Hold on to your wigs because what you think you know about the Jefferson County Public Schools’ Every 1 Reads mess is… messy.

Turns out, Linda Duncan and Hal Heiner stirred the pot before they knew what they were talking about. Or Duncan knew and is lying about it or forgot. Heiner’s just taking this opportunity to dismiss public education.

And it appears that WDRB’s coverage was either intentionally misleading or its reporters overlooked significant details contained in documents in their possession.

From WLKY (WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO WILL EAT YOUR DATA UP!):

Who knew what? That’s the question being asked in Jefferson County Public Schools, the Kentucky Department of Education and the Governor’s Office. WLKY followed the paper trail to get the answers.

-SNIP-

In the 2009-2010 school year, then Superintendent Sheldon Berman, proposed something called Every 1 Reads More. The idea was to pay for about a dozen school nurses at struggling elementary schools.

-SNIP-

Berman originally pitched the program with the hopes of gaining private funding, but that never happened. Eventually the district began using state funds, about $5.7 million in total, to pay for what it labeled the Every 1 Reads Nurse Initiative.

-SNIP-

Early this week, Board Member Linda Duncan told the Superintendent Donna Hargens that she didn’t realize that state money was being used to fund an nursing initiative. That raised the question whether JCPS was, indeed, misappropriating funds, or at least wasn’t transparent.

However, WLKY found JCBE meeting documents used to educate board members for a vote on the matter – approved by Duncan – to accept funding from the Kentucky Governor’s Office for the Every 1 Reads Nurses Initiative. That state money is funneled through the Kentucky Department of Education to JCPS.

Kentucky Education Commissioner Stephen Pruitt, responding to media requests earlier this week, said KDE couldn’t find any documentation that JCPS communicated to KDE about the nursing program.

However, WLKY obtained an email from JCPS dated Aug. 27, 2012 – between JCPS Grants & Awards Accounting Coordinator Denise Dewitt and Kristin Burton from the Kentucky Department of Education – where Burton asks Dewitt, “Your invoice has Munis 11G9-Every1Reads/Nurse Initiative?” MUNIS is a state database that is updated by school districts quarterly. Recent reports submitted by JCPS read ” Every 1 Reads Nurse Initiative.”

Duncan knew what was going on.

Heiner bought into the hype.

And WDRB had the state reports that say, essentially, “Every 1 Reads Nursing“, along with the board of education agenda items that specifically outlined the program… but chose not to reveal such a significant piece of the puzzle.

Rather than address huge discrepancies, here’s how WDRB’s education reporter reacted to WLKY’s coverage:

Passive-aggressive attacks, which seem to be the norm for Louisville media. Rather than having a friendly and professional dialogue, people resort to shady dismissals and bitter subtweets. Instead of beating around the bush when something as important as education is at stake, it makes more sense to be direct. Makes way more sense not to treat lapses in reporting as insignificant.

To dismiss WLKY’s coverage in such a manner, without taking the opportunity to add more to her story, Toni Konz is allowing her personal opinion and perception (dare I say deliberate spin?) to get in the way of great reporting. Bitterness is something that should be left to assholes like me.

At least she didn’t personally attack anyone, which also seems to be the norm for Louisville media these days.

Let’s look at the original Konz story:

Officials at the Kentucky Department of Education, as well as several Louisville-area lawmakers have told WDRB News they were surprised to learn that the Every 1 Reads funds were diverted by JCPS to nurses in 2008.

Kentucky Secretary of Education and Workforce Development Hal Heiner also says he has “serious concerns” and has spoken with Kentucky Auditor Mike Harmon about it.

-SNIP-

Duncan said the MUNIS report might have said nurses and that while the JCPS board knew the money had been diverted, the state did not because the budget line simply states Every 1 Reads.

Duncan also mentioned she thought it was odd for the district to announce a re-launch of the Every 1 Reads program in 2013, under Hargens, but that there was no mention of nurses.

That just seems poorly reported after learning what WLKY has revealed. Facts that were in the possession of Konz. Facts that deeply impact the community’s understanding of what did and didn’t go wrong.

Then there’s this:

When asked for a comment after the meeting, Hargens walked by a WDRB reporter and Martin said no.

“We’ve already talked to you about this,” Martin said.

Another attempt by a reporter to ask Hargens if she thought there was a transparency problem in the district was unsuccessful.

I hear Konz was able to corner Hargens during an event recently where she also got to ask several questions. Bizarre for that not to be mentioned. Especially when WDRB advertises itself as the king of journalistic integrity.

It’s worth pointing out that WLKY didn’t steal this story from WDRB. No nefarious acts took place allowing documents to fall into the hands of WLKY’s folks. They’re certainly familiar with how the open records process works.

Unlike some lazy reporters in Louisville who are prone to swiping material and running it as their own? WLKY took the story a step further to reveal additional, significant information in documentation that is publicly available. Information that WDRB failed to report.

That’d be like me failing to report major information that I’ve uncovered about Louisville Metro Animal Services over the last decade.

This doesn’t change the reality that it’s probably insane for JCPS to use literacy funds for nurses and insane for Frankfort to allow it to occur. Doesn’t change the reality that David Jones apparently believes it’s unimportant to examine what went wrong with the previous superintendent. Doesn’t change the reality that Donna Hargens and her team are neck-deep in spin and secrecy.

You should be upset about literacy funds being redirected to fund a nursing program.

You should also be upset that such a staple of education reporting in this city appears to have deliberately ignored the facts. As WLKY’s reporting uncovered, the documentation Konz possessed proves JCPS didn’t hide anything from the Kentucky Department of Education. It also makes Linda Duncan look like a fool and proves the KDE was aware.

At a time when all eyes are on Donna Hargens and her myriad failures, Louisville deserves better.

The Latest JCPS Spin Blows Minds

When Donna Hargens and Allison Martin realized that WDRB’s Toni Konz was set to unleash a damning report on the JCPS misappropriate of Every 1 Reads funds, the two sent out this fear-mongering call for help:

Oh, you thought something would change with a new communicatiosn team? Haha, right.

The Konz piece will hit tomorrow morning.