It’s Official: JCPS Just Has No Real Priorities

The mother of a suspect in a home break-in is pleading for her daughter to turn herself in. [WHAS11]

Jefferson County Public Schools is bracing for a record number of students this fall — renewing debate about whether the district should build new schools in suburban areas and close others. Maybe JCPS could start with cutting those $100,000+ salaries before spending more money on construction projects and laying off teachers. [C-J/AKN]

Rescue crews pulled a man out of the Ohio River nearly an hour after he fell off the Spirit of Jefferson on Friday evening. [WDRB]

While Lexington may not be quite ready to legalize food trucks on public streets — as other cities have — the mobile vendors appear likely to win a trial run later this month. [H-L]

Thank goodness we’re not Cincinnasti? Cincinnati police were holding a community meeting Saturday in the wake of 15 homicides in two months. [WLKY]

After being tabled last month, a resolution approving an audit of the New Albany Bicentennial Commission’s financial records is back on the city council agenda for Monday night’s meeting. [News & Tribune]

Sometimes it’s necessary to tell the Kentucky Retirement Systems story as simply as possible. [Page One]

Here’s another story about the break-in and security cameras mentioned above. Why discuss it here? It’s a measure almost everyone can eventually afford. [WAVE3]

University of Louisville president James Ramsey spoke Thursday night to a group of about 200 people who gathered at the KFC Yum! Center to celebrate successes made in Jefferson County Public Schools. [Business First]

Jefferson County Public Schools officials enter negotiations with the teachers union Monday to reconsider contract language that hasn’t been changed since 2005. With the backdrop being criticism from state education officials and school reform advocates, many eyes will be watching closely. [WFPL]

Rand Paul said Friday that Republicans could appeal to a broader electorate in blue states like California by connecting with voters who have shunned the party in the past and by being big enough to agree to disagree on some issues. [HuffPo]

It’s Your Christmas Eve Round-Up Funtimes

We’re closer and closer to hitting our goal and launching our new project. Consider helping make that happen because it’s so close we can taste it. [Support Our New Project!]

You have to believe to receive from Saint Nick. Sterling Riggs swapped gigs with an elf to see what kids want from Santa this year. [WDRB]

This was the biggest duh moment of the entire holiday season. It was supposed to be a reliable way to help cover the cost of a new downtown arena: The building’s events would bring throngs of people downtown who would eat, drink and shop nearby. Their sales taxes would be captured to help pay for the KFC Yum! Center. But the arena hasn’t added as much to tax revenues as expected during its first three years — producing less than one-third of the amount originally projected. [C-J/AKN]

Is the answer to gun crimes, more guns? The comments are causing quite a stir and even UofL Coach Rick Pitino is sharing his opinion. [WHAS11]

How dark money helped Republicans hold the House and hurt voters. In the November election, a million more Americans voted for Democrats seeking election to the U.S. House of Representatives than Republicans. [ProPublica]

A 19-year-old man is dead after a shooting in a parking lot near a busy intersection in Shively. It happened around 4:00 pm Sunday near in the 4000 block of Dixie Highway near Garr Lane in a parking lot between Beverage World Superstore near Shear Wizardry Hairstyling. [WAVE3]

For more than 20 years, Louisville artist Ed White has led River City Drum Corps to teach children and young adults about the arts. [WFPL]

Another day, another Greater Clark County Schools employee is arrested. [WLKY]

A joint venture of Churchill Downs Inc. and Delaware North Companies Gaming & Entertainment has completed a purchase of the harness racing licenses and certain assets held by Ohio-based Lebanon Trotting Club Inc. and Miami Valley Trotting Inc. [Business First]

The New Albany City Council may take a more aggressive role in union contract negotiations. With the payment of $300,000 in retroactive salary benefits to city police officers still in question, council members discussed last week ways they can play a greater part in the bargaining process. [News & Tribune]

In his last few years, Adam Lanza shut himself off from the outside world almost completely, his troubles slowly escalating as his family splintered. [WSJ]

Here’s a five-page story about how glorious and amazing Jim Ramsey is from Joe Gerth. Not a single mention of the Robert Felner scandal or any other behemoth of a mess Ramsey has been involved in. [C-J/AKN]

Uncle Jimmy Wants To Know What You Think

Ruh ro, the University of Louisville is holding two “town hall” meetings to hear what faculty and staff have to say.

You know what this means. All kinds of aggrieved folks will show up to ask difficult questions. That is, if they’re not pre-screened and hand-selected.

Here’s the message all about it from Uncle Jimmy:

Dear colleagues, As I discussed in the State of the University Address this week, we have made tremendous progress in recent years because of the efforts of you — our outstanding faculty and staff. We try to share those successes and our excitement with you in a number of ways, including UofL Today, emails from the president, video messages and others.

Unfortunately, those messages are strictly one-way communications. While we meet with the Faculty and Staff senates and constituency groups, we seldom get to talk directly to many of you.

Provost Shirley Willihnganz, Executive Vice Presidents David Dunn and Bill Pierce, and I would like to change that.

We have scheduled two “town hall’ meetings to hear directly from faculty and staff about the issues that affect your daily work at the university. The first meeting will be Thursday, Sept. 20, at 1 p.m. at the Floyd Theater on Belknap Campus. The second will be Friday, Oct. 12, at 9 a.m. in the Kornhauser Auditorium on the Health Sciences campus.

We’re not planning any presentations, and we have no specific agenda. We would like to hear from you.
I hope to see you at one of the sessions.

James Ramsey

If you work at UofL, will you be showing up tomorrow (or in October) to say some things?

Jim Ramsey’s Foot-In-Mouth Disease Still Rages On

Dear Mark Hebert: please help Jim Ramsey with his foot-in-mouth disease. Maybe? They pay you enough and your job isn’t hard. So. Maybe just put some duct tape over his mouth and prevent him from texting and sending email, too?

Some things never change:

The budget timeline has the budget going to the Board of Trustees finance committee in May. That committee will forward it to the full board for approval in June. Ramsey drew a comparison between the university and the men’s basketball team.

“It was a challenging year for basketball,” he said. “Our team held in there and played with a lot of heart, character and determination.” In the face of continued state budget cuts that are coming despite the progress UofL is making in research, student education and community engagement, the university as a whole needs to try to be like the basketball team, Ramsey said.

Dear Jimbo: the team got its ass handed to it. We’re pretty sure the University of Louisville as a whole isn’t keen on losing.

Are Jim & Shirley Paying Attention This Morning?

Today, President Barack Obama kicks off the third day since his State of the Union address in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There, he’s focusing on keeping college affordable and within reach of all Americans.

His key issue of the effort?

Reforming student aid to promote affordability and value: To keep tuition from spiraling too high and drive greater value, the President will propose reforms to federal campus-based aid programs to shift aid away from colleges that fail to keep net tuition down, and toward those colleges and universities that do their fair share to keep tuition affordable, provide good value, and serve needy students well. These changes in federal aid to campuses will leverage $10 billion annually to help keep tuition down.

That’s direct from a White House release. They’re going balls-to-the-wall in this push.

Here’s more:

Rewarding Schools that Keep College Affordable

The President’s proposal to reform student aid to keep tuition from spiraling too high and drive greater value will improve distribution of federal financial aid and increase campus-based aid. This reform will reward colleges that are succeeding in meeting the following principles:

  1. Setting responsible tuition policy, offering relatively lower net tuition prices and/or restraining tuition growth.
  2. Providing good value to students and families, offering quality education and training that prepares graduates to obtain employment and repay their loans.
  3. Serving low-income students, enrolling and graduating relatively higher numbers of Pell-eligible students

The campus-based aid that the federal government provides to colleges through Supplemental Educational Opportunity Grants (SEOG), Perkins Loans, and Work Study is distributed under an antiquated formula that rewards colleges for longevity in the program and provides no incentive to keep tuition costs low. The President is proposing to change how those funds are distributed by implementing an improved formula that shifts aid from schools with rising tuition to those acting responsibly, focused on setting responsible tuition policy, providing good value in education, and ensuring that higher numbers of low-income students complete their education. He is also proposing to increase the amount of campus-based aid to $10 billion annually. The increase is primarily driven by an expansion of loans in the federal Perkins program – which comes at no additional taxpayer cost.

Colleges that can show that they are providing students with good long-term value will be rewarded with additional dollars to help students attend. Those that show poor value, or who don’t act responsibly in setting tuition, will receive less federal campus-based aid. Students will receive the greatest government grant and loan support at colleges where they are likely to be best served, and little or no campus aid will flow to colleges that fail to meet affordability and value standards.

Do you think Jimbo and Shirley Q. are paying attention as they both pocket millions of dollars each year and continually jack tuition up through the roof?

Only time will tell but our money’s on them not giving a flip and doing everything they can get away with until reforms are enacted.

So What Ever Happened To That Sign, Anyway?

Does everyone remember when they tried to put a silly LOUISVILLE sign on the waterfront and only got so far as the L before everybody freaked out at how dumb and wasteful it was? That’s what Greg Fischer reminds us of right now. That sign with its lonely, temporary L. [Woah, Flashback]

Speaking of Greg, have you gouged your eyes out over his overtime press release yesterday? [Press Release]

What was that, again, about Greg Fischer being some big pro-labor guy? Haha, funny how that works. You got effed, labor. Should’ve taken everyone seriously when we warned you. [WFPL]

President Barack Obama put Jim Ramsey on notice last night: “If you can’t stop tuition from going up, the funding you get from taxpayers will go down. Higher education can’t be a luxury – it’s an economic imperative that every family in America should be able to afford.” [SOTU]

If you missed it last night, check out the full text of President Barack Obama’s State of the Union address. And maybe take a peek at the Blueprint For An America Built To Last. [Page One]

Here’s what John Yarmuth had to say in response: “The President is absolutely right: Income inequality is the defining issue of our time,” Yarmuth said. “Our economy should reflect our values, not threaten them. People who work hard and play by the rules deserve a fair chance to build a successful future. … I am glad to hear the President confirm that his top priorities are to continue the renewal of American manufacturing and a strong commitment to education. Investment and hard work are paying off in Louisville, where Ford and GE have added thousands of new manufacturing jobs in the past few years, and thousands of Louisvillians have advanced their education and job skills through Metropolitan College’s public-private partnership. We need to do all we can to keep that momentum going.” [Press Release]

Stephen Daeschner says he has a plan to fix Greater Clark Schools before he hauls ass outta there. No one believes him. Wait, maybe he’s the one setting all those fires out of bitterness. [FOX41]

Sometimes Louisville gets too big for its britches. So now’s the obvious time for a reminder that Louisville doesn’t have an IKEA. [Business First]

Some birds flew in the sky around Oldham County. One of the most shocking things, ever. [WAVE3]

And just in case you were wondering why Greg takes his Metro Animal Services talking points from Patti Swope, here you go. [V-T]

How can you do a story about a Jefferson Development Group property that’s in such a sorry state without mentioning its leadership? [WHAS11]