Revisiting Ramsey’s Big Reality Disconnect

You may have to watch your step more closely when crossing at least one downtown street. A pedway allowing easy access to the convention center will be going away. [WDRB]

How many scandalous hires does this make for Greg Fischer? The man has no concept of vetting new hires. Where are the liberal hand-wringers now? Every time a shitty hire is revealed, they freak out and attack. Every. Time. But suddenly they’re quiet. [C-J/AKN]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! School time horror stories. “I had a chair thrown across the room and the kid looked at me–this is second grade–and said “what the f*** did I do b****,” Lucretia Gue, a former first grade teacher at Frayser Elementary School said. [WHAS11]

In 2006, senators of the University of Kentucky’s student government passed a resolution to remove a mural in Memorial Hall that showed scenes of state history, including black workers in a tobacco field, black musicians playing for white dancers, and a Native American with a tomahawk. They told then-President Lee Todd that it was degrading to ethnic and racial groups. [H-L]

Local teevee folks are still freaking out about a white lady married to a preacher. When was the last time they freaked out like this over a person of color? Or over someone not tied to some random church? [WLKY]

Here’s one more indication that American teachers work really, really hard — and don’t make nearly enough. An analysis released Tuesday by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development looks at the state of education around the world, examining everything from intergenerational mobility in education to graduation rates to teacher pay. [HuffPo]

The YMCA of Louisville and the YMCA of Southern Indiana are merging, organization leaders announced during the 25th annual YMCA Mayor’s Thanksgiving Breakfast. [WAVE3]

Rand Paul, R-Cookie Tree, said after a town hall at the Highlands Museum and Discovery Center he is in conversations with the CEO of AK Steel about how to keep hundreds of jobs at Ashland Works afloat. [Ashland Independent]

James Ramsey has been thinking a lot lately about stepping down from his role as president of the University of Louisville. That’s all it took for him to think about resigning? Not the myriad scandals, people going to prison, tens of millions of dollars swindled?! [WFPL]

About half of Americans, 49 percent, say that racism is “a big problem,” according to a new national poll conducted by CNN and the Kaiser Family Foundation. [The Hill]

Electrolux announced plans to buy General Electric Co.’s Louisville-based appliance division for $3.3 billion last year. But the government sued to block the deal in July, citing concerns that it would suppress competition. [Business First]

A bill to include LGBT people in existing anti-discrimination laws is on the slate for the State Senate’s upcoming legislative session. [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) [Ting]

Hackbarth & Hargens Caught In Another Potentially Illegal Anti-Transparency Mess

Remember Bonnie Hackbarth? She’s the PR hack being paid a couple hundred bucks per second or whatever to serve as a spokesperson for Jefferson County Public Schools. By all accounts, as you’ve read in nearly every publication in town, she’s served as an apologist and whitewasher for superintendent Donna Hargens.

And based on what just showed up in our inbox, she’s been violating open records law like woah.

I’m not gonna do extensive reporting on it because you already know I believe Bonnie Hackbarth to be remarkably bad at her job.

So check out this long PDF about the open records fiasco:


Here’s the email he was responding to:

Mr. Setters,
I am responding to your email to Tamera Crawford below.

First, I would like to apologize to you for our mistaken understanding that requesters are required to make an appointment to view records that have been prepared in response to Open Records Requests. Given your opposing interpretation of the law, I sought legal advice and was told that you are correct. Please accept our sincere apologies. It was never our intent to make it more difficult for you to view documents; in fact, we wanted to make sure that someone was here to assist you. Here is our current interpretation of the law: Once we have responded in writing to a written Open Records Request to let the requester know the date and place at which documents will be available for inspection, the requester may come to that location at any time on or after that date during normal business hours to view those documents. Again, I am very sorry for our error.

As for the status of your outstanding Open Records Requests, please see the letter mailed to you on November 16, 2015 (attached; please disregard the statements “by appointment,” pursuant to our corrected understanding of the law, as noted above). All other documents you requested in your October 5, 2015, that are listed as available in this response are available for your review.


Bonnie J. Hackbarth
JCPS Communications and Community Relations
502-485-3551 (office)

How you gonna make something like $10,000 per month and not be at least loosely familiar with Kentucky’s open records law?


Just think — your tax dollars are paying for Bonnie Hackbarth to drag JCPS further into a boiling pot of awful.

Transparency? Not a thing with JCPS. Not now, not ever. The current administration is just like the two previous administrations.

Former JCPS Supe’s Messes Now In MA

Remember former Jefferson County Public Schools superintendent Sheldon Berman?

Hold on to your wigs and check this out — from The Andover Townsman in Andover, MA:

Interim school Superintendent Sheldon Berman issued a letter to the School Committee this week outlining his numerous affiliations with various organizations as a way to head off accusations of conflict of interest.


“I write this letter to formally notify you of my membership on the Board of Directors of the following non-profit, educational organizations,” Berman wrote in the Nov. 5 notice to the School Committee. “I am seeking to comply with the provisions … that my membership on the Board of Directors of these organizations ‘is not so substantial as to be deemed likely to affect the integrity of services’ that the Andover School Committee expects from me.”

The first section of the law Berman refers to says that if a state employee violates the conduct law, he would be punished with a fine, imprisonment or both. The second section Berman quotes, however, states that if the employee submits a letter listing his affiliations and it is approved by the appointing authority, which in this case is the school committee, then any financial gain on his or his affiliates’ part would be allowed.


Berman served on the editorial advisory board of Louisville, Kentucky’s Fox affiliate station, was chair of the Middlesex County District Attorney’s Project Alliance advisory board, was a member of the Louisville Zoo Foundation’s board of directors and served as president of the Massachusetts Association of School Superintendents.

The letter comes in the midst of ongoing negotiations between Berman and the School Committee over whether to extend Berman from a one-year, interim contract to a multi-year, permanent superintendent’s post.


In his letter to the school committee, Berman said he was elected as Chairman of the Board at the Center for Applied Special Technology Center (CAST) at the end of October. He explained in the letter that “only the board of CAST has financial responsibility for the organization.”


Berman, as chairman of the CAST board, does not get paid, he said in the letter. Even if he doesn’t, however, if Andover were to pay for CAST services, the organization would benefit financially.

Although state law says that because of this relationship, any contract agreement between the district and the organization would be prohibited, Berman’s disclosure of his affiliation would make any such agreements acceptable.


Berman also listed himself as chairman of the Virtual High School, Inc., board of directors from 2001 to 2004, and a member of the board from 2004 to 2009.

Part of the VHS mission, according to its website, “is to develop and deliver standards-based, student-centered online courses that increase educational opportunities and 21st century skills.”


In 1996, Berman and a colleague secured a five-year federal grant of $7.4 million to fund Virtual High School Collaborative. Berman got the Department of Education grant with help from then-Congressman Martin Meehan, D-Lowell, and U.S. Sen. John Kerry, D-Mass., according to media accounts published at the time.


Berman served as superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools in Louisville, Kentucky from 2007 to 2011. In 2009, the district signed a contract with VHS to offer online courses at two of its high schools.

In 2011, Berman left Kentucky for Eugene, Ore., where he was head of Eugene Public Schools 4j from 2011 to 2015. In 2012, the Oregon district also signed a contract with VHS and continues to provide online learning courses throughout the district.

Remember VHS? That’s some real we-told-you-so stuff, there.

Everything we uncovered about the former JCPS superintendent has become an issue in every district he’s worked in (and been ousted from) since.

Thank goodness everything is great with the new JCPS supe and the board now. Oh, wait… sorry.

New Albany Schools Have Come A Long Way

The New Albany Floyd County School board has added “sexual orientation” to its non-discrimination policy. [WDRB]

A University of Louisville study of asthma, older adults and indoor air quality is revealing a mix of potentially dangerous chemicals inside participants’ homes. [C-J/AKN]

The footage is hard to watch. “No mother ever wants to see anything like that and my daughter was clearly trying to get away from her and it hurt. It hurt a lot,” parent Valerie Gholston said. [WHAS11]

Top level administrators are being hired at the University of Kentucky at more than twice the rate of full-time faculty, according to UK employee statistics. [H-L]

Just hours after two people are arrested and brought in for questioning about a Tuesday night killing, the victim’s girlfriend hopes justice will be served. [WLKY]

Attorney General Loretta Lynch said Tuesday there was “no data” to support the notion that the national debate over the use of force by police has made the country less safe, an idea that has sometimes been referred to as the “Ferguson effect.” [HuffPo]

Oh, right, that’s totally going to solve all of their problems. Just a few weeks after hosting a Halloween Party, a troubled motel on Bardstown Road is inviting the neighborhood over for another holiday event. [WAVE3]

Tell us more, Matt Bevin, about how great refugees have it and about how easy it is for them to find safety. LGBT refugees from across the Middle East flock to Turkey, escaping Islamist militias, sexual assault, and death threats. But what they find there leaves many in despair. [BuzzFeed]

With uncertainty about the future of his signature health initiative, Gov. Steve Beshear is touting the outcomes of Kentucky’s efforts to improve the well-being of residents. [WFPL]

More than half a dozen state governors have come out against President Obama’s plans to relocate several thousand Syrian refugees within the United States. Some have pledged to actively resist settlement of these refugees. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott (R), for example, signed a letter to Obama that begins “as governor of Texas, I write to inform you that the State of Texas will not accept any refugees from Syria in the wake of the deadly terrorist attack in Paris.” Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) issued an executive order instructing all “departments, budget units, agencies, offices, entities, and officers of the executive branch of the State of Louisiana” to “utilize all lawful means to prevent the resettlement of Syrian refugees in the State of Louisiana while this Order is in effect.” The problem for Jindal, Abbott and the other governors opposed to admitting refugees, however, is that there is no lawful means that permits a state government to dictate immigration policy to the president in this way. [ThinkProgress]

Surprise! UofL put Deborah Dietzler on leave. [Business First]

Residents within West Clark Community Schools’ boundaries won’t just vote for a president this time next year, but also a referendum project for the district. [News & Tribune]

Hype Isn’t Gonna Help JCPS Improve

We love to hate on Donna Hargens and Jefferson County Public Schools but come on. This is the dumbest thing yet from WDRB about JCPS and it’s being used by the racist anti-busing crowd. The insinuation (watch them try to claim otherwise in 3, 2…) that all teachers who resign do so because they feel unsafe is dangerous and based in teabagger delusion land. Remember that there are something like 6,000 teachers when they try to claim that a dozen resignations = harbinger of doom. [WDRB]

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer refused to sign an ordinance Thursday shielding area community centers for needy residents from his administrative changes after an overwhelming margin of Metro Council members passed the measure. Instead of vetoing the legislation, which was approved by a 20-3 vote last month, Fischer has asked the state attorney general to weigh in, launching the city’s two branches of government into a legal joust over who has final say about a potential overhaul at Neighborhood Place sites. [C-J/AKN]

Three people have been arrested and a man continues to recover in the hospital after a shooting in the Chickasaw neighborhood Friday night. [WHAS11]

Kip Cornett said he and his wife were at an airport in June when he read on his cellphone a column by Barry Weisbord, president and co-publisher of Thoroughbred Daily News. [H-L]

A 27-year-old Louisville man became the city’s latest homicide victim on Friday afternoon. [WLKY]

The medical humanitarian organization Doctors Without Borders released its internal report on Thursday about the October attack on its hospital in Kunduz, Afghanistan. The report also revealed that pilots shot at staff members fleeing the hospital. [HuffPo]

The Americana Community Center, Inc. held its annual fundraiser Saturday night. The center strives to provide a spectrum of services to the diverse individuals and families of the Louisville Metro area, including refugees, immigrants and those born in the United States. [WAVE]

By most accounts, Kentucky’s implementation of President Barack Obama’s 2010 healthcare reform was a success. Tuesday’s elections in the state could mean big changes are coming, however – with ominous portents for the future of the president’s signature legislative achievement. [BBC]

The fallout continues from Halloween, when University of Louisville President James Ramsey and his staff posed for a photograph at a U of L party wearing stereotypical “Mexican” costumes. The photo went viral, and a few written apologies were issued, but they’ve been lacking. [WFPL]

The fossil fuel industry had already managed to shape a bill moving rapidly through Congress last summer, gaining provisions to ease its ability to export natural gas. But one key objective remained elusive: a measure limiting the authority of local communities to slow the construction of pipelines because of environmental concerns. [IBT]

Wait, people are surprised this is happening? Its been quite a ride, but the Velocity Indiana entrepreneurial accelerator and co-working space is effectively closing shop. [Business First]

In another plea for the state’s help on Clark County’s diminishing revenue stream, County Attorney Lisa Glickfield is drafting a letter of support from board members to legislators to raise the tax levy. [News & Tribune]

Another Day, Another Bad Moment For JCPS

SurveyUSA has finally been kicked to the curb! [H-L & C-J/AKN]

Police say they arrested two men Tuesday night after an investigation into credit card skimming. [WDRB]

Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Donna Hargens named Tom Hudson, president and CEO of Louisville manufacturing company Nth/works, as the school district’s new chief business officer. [C-J/AKN]

Police in La Grange are asking for the public’s help in locating a woman missing for a month. [WHAS11]

Republican state Rep. Mike Harmon defeated state Auditor Adam Edelen, denying a second term to a politician many have seen as a rising star among Kentucky Democrats. [H-L]

Of COURSE Jefferson County Public Schools had another bad news day! [WLKY]

If France can do it, the United States can do it. France will end its ban on blood donations by gay men, its health minister said Wednesday, calling the move the end “of a taboo and discrimination.” [HuffPo]

Is Portland on the edge of changing or are things getting worse? Maybe all these incidents seem to be increasing because there’s increased media attention? [WAVE3]

It is rare to hear a candidate for the United States Senate so earnestly quote rock lyrics. Rarer still, lyrics from a Canadian progressive-rock band. But Rand Paul quoted “The Spirit of Radio” by Rush — a group whose members were similarly influenced by the writings of Ayn Rand — everywhere he went during the Republican primary in Kentucky in 2010. [NY Times]

Opinions issued by a federal appeals court Monday will allow two major air pollution-related lawsuits in Louisville to move forward. [WFPL]

Kentucky’s newest lieutenant governor-elect is unique in many ways. She and her running mate, Gov.-elect Matt Bevin, are some of this election cycle’s first victorious political outsiders. (Bevin had been likened to Donald Trump). Jenean Hampton is also the first African American to be elected to statewide office in Kentucky. And she’s just one of a handful of black women on the national level to identify with the tea party movement. [WaPo]

If you’ve been paying attention to the Louisville-area industrial real estate market during the last 12 to 18 months, you know the market is punching along at a rate rarely, if ever, seen for Louisville. [Business First]

Solutions for cars speeding through a neighborhood and taxis operating illegally in the city were both on the discussion list for the Board of Public Works and Safety in New Albany on Tuesday. [News & Tribune]

Surprise! Jim Ramsey Did A Stupid Thing

It has made headlines for crime and health violations, but Saturday brought a different view of a controversial Louisville hotel. The Economy Inn held a Halloween party. [WDRB]

The former principal of Buechel Metro High School says Jefferson County Public Schools leaders have created a false perception of his tenure as a way to demonstrate a need to merge two alternative schools and create the new Minor Daniels Academy. [C-J/AKN]

Metro Police are investigating a shooting that happened just south of downtown. [WHAS11]

Kentucky Chief Justice John Minton Jr. has stepped in, after months of back-and-forth between Jefferson District and Family courts over which would take on the additional workload of new Emergency Protective Orders meant to protect dating couples from an abusive partner. [H-L]

Louisville Metro Police are conducting a death investigation after a was body found Saturday morning near Frost Middle School. [WLKY]

Triple Crown champion American Pharoah took charge out of the gate, winning the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic by 6 1/2 lengths Saturday in his final race before retirement. [HuffPo]

On Tuesday New Albany voters will decide who should lead the city. There will be three names to chose from – the incumbent, a real estate developer or a businessman. [WAVE3]

I applaud the Democrats and Republicans who came together [Friday] morning to pass a responsible, long-term budget agreement that reflects our values, grows our economy and creates jobs. This agreement will strengthen the middle class by investing in education, job training, and basic research. It will keep us safe by investing in our national security. It protects our seniors by avoiding harmful cuts to Medicare and Social Security. It is paid for in a responsible, balanced way – in part with a measure to ensure that partnerships like hedge funds pay what they owe in taxes just like everybody else. It locks in two years of funding and should help break the cycle of shutdowns and manufactured crises that have harmed our economy. This agreement is a reminder that Washington can still choose to help, rather than hinder, America’s progress, and I look forward to signing it into law as soon as it reaches my desk. After that, Congress should build on this by getting to work on spending bills that invest in America’s priorities without getting sidetracked by ideological provisions that have no place in America’s budget process. If we can do that, we’ll help our workers and businesses keep growing the economy and building an America full of opportunity for all. [President Barack Obama]

Everyone keeps begging us to write about Jim Ramsey’s latest racist stunt. If this is what sets everyone on fire over Jimbo and his mess, something’s gone terribly wrong. The man has been in a literal pile of corrupt shit since 2008. Felner and the rest of the folks have thieved, done prison time, gotten away with everything while Ramsey turned a blind eye. Shirley Dubya? She’s currently being paid more than $300,000 to do nothing for a year. The myriad Rick Pitino sex scandals? Just blips on the radar. But the man shows his true colors by dressing in a demeaning and racist way? That’s what sets fire to him and causes rage to bubble to the surface? We’re tired. [WFPL]

Amid the recent pressure on police to wear body cameras, one thing is often overlooked: Not all cameras are created equal. In fact, cameras vary a lot — and the variations — some contentious — can have a profound effect on how the cameras are used and who benefits from them. [NPR]

The U.S. Justice Department has rejected a settlement offer from AB Electrolux that would have allowed the company to move ahead with its acquisition of Louisville-based GE Appliances. [Business First]

While candidates for Charlestown’s city council come from different parts of the area and different political parties, they all envision a growing Charlestown. That’s because with the River Ridge Commerce Center and the east-end bridge, the city can’t escape changes. But how the city can take advantage of those changes is where the candidates from the city’s four districts differ. The most talked about issues include the future of the Pleasant Ridge Subdivision and they city’s battle with brown water. [News & Tribune]