JCPS & MSD Want More Of Your Money

The Jefferson County Board of Education may need to seek a 4 percent property tax revenue increase later this summer in order to balance its $1.4 billion budget for the 2015-16 year, according to a tentative budget approved by the board on Monday night. [WDRB]

For the second year in a row, the Metropolitan Sewer District board is looking at a 5.5 percent increase in customers’ rates. [C-J/AKN]

The American Red Cross is hoping you have what it takes to be a hero. Unless you’re gay, then you’re dead to them. [WHAS11]

Jefferson County Public Schools has a budget that’s four times that of the Lexington-Fayette County government. [H-L]

Louisville police are working to identify a woman whose body was pulled from the Ohio River on Tuesday. [WLKY]

North American energy ministers said on Monday they had set up a working group on climate change and energy, a partnership designed to help Canada, the United States and Mexico harmonize policies. [HuffPo]

Terror can he heard in the voices of two women who called 911 and told the operator they were being shot at after leaving a gas station. [WAVE3]

The Distillery Innovation and Excise Tax Reform Act unveiled Tuesday would drop the current tax rate for distilled spirits from $13.50 per proof gallon to $2.70 per proof gallon on the first 10,000 gallons of productions for all distillers and then $9 per proof gallon after that. [The Hill]

A new health ranking of senior citizen health in the U.S. puts Kentucky near the bottom of the list. [WFPL]

One of the most basic facts about the Trans-Pacific Partnership is also the most important: It’s huge. [NPR]

Last week, I wrote about a study that indicated that women-owned businesses in Kentucky were growing more slowly than those in other states. [Business First]

The rows and rows of homemade chocolates nestled behind glass cases at Schimpff’s Confectionery soon will double. [News & Tribune]

The TV Folks Love Scaring Meemaws

Instead of scaring the absolute living shit out of the elderly people watching television, maybe start educating the community about needle exchanges? Maybe do something about educating folks on the proper way to discard used needles? [WDRB]

After working into the early hours of last Wednesday morning, paramedic Jon Tyson wheeled into his garage, plugged a large black power cord into his electric-powered Nissan Leaf and hit the sack. [C-J/AKN]

Maybe if we keep killing people we won’t have to worry about the poor or the sick. [WHAS11]

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul led a successful effort to block renewal of the Patriot Act early Saturday morning, followed by a deeply divided Senate leaving Washington without taking action on the National Security Agency’s soon-to-expire power to collect Americans’ phone records. [H-L]

The Indiana attorney general’s office says the state had to pay more than $1.4 million in fees to plaintiffs’ attorneys in its unsuccessful attempt to maintain its ban on same-sex marriages. [WLKY]

With more and more U.S. states facing public transit funding cuts despite record-breaking commuter demand, many transit systems are being forced to consider service cuts or fare hikes, both of which disproportionally impact low-income riders and neighborhoods. [HuffPo]

A family who lost their son has spent years turning their personal tragedy into a community event to spread positivity. [WAVE3]

The sleepy United States senators thought they were done voting. But then, around 1 a.m. on the Saturday before Memorial Day, Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky and presidential candidate, marched spryly to the Senate floor to let it be known that, no, he would not agree to extend the federal government’s bulk collection of phone records program. Not even for one day. [NY Times]

Louisville residents use public transportation at one of the lowest rates among the nation’s largest cities, according to new research from the University of Michigan. [WFPL]

Genetic information from a 35,000-year-old wolf bone found below a frozen cliff in Siberia is shedding new light on humankind’s long relationship with dogs, showing canine domestication may have occurred earlier than previously thought. [Reuters]

It’s time for a reminder about Adam Edelen and educational audits. An audit is NOT a forensic accounting investigation. It’s typically a random sampling that gets reviewed unless specific concerns are brought to light. Or, in the case of Montgomery County, not. Because specific concerns were deliberately ignored by Edelen’s team. When he says there was no fraud discovered? Remember: not a forensic accounting, not an in-depth investigation of every nook and cranny. [Business First]

Michael Crone asked who in the room knew a bully or a victim or a witness to bullying. Only a few hands raised. Crone knew better. [News & Tribune]

Glad A Local Will Be Your Governator?

Portland neighbors say they’re drowning in water bills that are twice the normal cost. The problems on one block uncovered a bigger issue for Louisville Water Company customers. [WDRB]

Which David Jones crony will get the job this time? Weeks after Superintendent Donna Hargens informed Helene Kramer that her contract was not being renewed, Jefferson County Public Schools has posted the position for its chief communications and community relations officer. [C-J/AKN]

Firefighters, police and Animal Control entered a home in the 2200 block of Beargrass Avenue just off Bardstown Road after hearing from multiple neighbors Tuesday. Neighbors were concerned after finding pet abandonment notices on the door, overgrown weeds in the yard and hearing constant barking inside the home. [WHAS11]

Republicans on Tuesday picked state Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield, 34, as their nominee for Kentucky attorney general. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Five greater Clark County schools may close as part of a plan the superintendent believes will help the district. [WLKY]

A faction of Republicans in the House of Representatives wants to stop poor people from buying junk food with food stamps. [HuffPo]

Some people are just the absolute worst. [WAVE3]

If you’re wondering what really happened to Jamie Comer in the gubernatorial primary? It’s much more simple than he would have you believe. [Page One]

Once again, Louisville has ranked poorly on the annual ranking of city park systems from a national group. [WFPL]

Suicide rates have fallen among young white children in the U.S. but they’ve gone up among black youngsters, according to a new study of suicides in kids under age 12. [Reuters]

Too many tables and too little kitchen space — that’s been a pain point for Big Four Burgers & Beer in Jeffersonville since it opened in December 2013. [Business First]

Samuel pointed to tattoos on his forearms and chest to count how many times he’s been incarcerated in Clark County jail. [News & Tribune]

Oldham Co. Should Embrace The Booze

There are only a few places in all of Oldham County where people can buy packaged alcohol like wine or a case of beer. But with more petitions going out this week, there’s a possibility that may soon change. [WDRB]

Downtown leaders tried to calm some jittery nerves Friday by predicting their hard work should minimize any loss of business from the impending two-year closure of the Kentucky International Convention Center. [C-J/AKN]

Watching Donna Hargens mangle this bus incident was almost as terrifying as hearing about a child being dragged. [WHAS11]

A Lawrence County school bus full of students on their way to school started on fire Friday, authorities said. [H-L]

Kentucky recently became one of the first states to let pharmacists dispense without prescription a drug that can reverse a heroin overdose. [WLKY]

Lorca Henley of Bowling Green, Ohio, said her family’s dinners on different nights this week included taco salads, tuna casserole with mashed potatoes, spaghetti with meat sauce and hamburgers they fried on the stove because they were out of propane. [HuffPo]

The mother of the girl dragged by a Jefferson County Public Schools bus said Sunday night that her daughter had been discharged from Kosair Children’s Hospital. [WAVE3]

This is not bourbon and the story will likely cause you to pop a vein. [NPR]

Apryll Buege spent much of her youth in the foster care system. She said she got in some trouble, made some mistakes, but soon realized she needed to pull her life together. [WFPL]

Duke Energy Corp. pleaded guilty Thursday to criminal pollution charges and agreed to $102 million in federal penalties stemming from a February 2014 spill of coal ash waste. [The Hill]

A record crowd turned out to see American Pharoah capture the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. [Business First]

Former Democratic congressman Baron Hill plans to join Indiana’s U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Republican Dan Coats. [News & Tribune]

Former JCPS Superintendent Ousted From Yet Another School District

Remember Sheldon Berman? He’s the former superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools the city sent packing. His time in Louisville was so bad that he barely mentions it:


BERMAN’S CURRENT BIO

He’s also the guy who was closely tied to Robert Felner and was apparently involved in some sort of love triangle with Felner’s underling.

Well…. the Eugene School District in Eugene, Oregon is crazy. They hired him up as if he was magical. And they’ve regretted it ever since, constantly emailing us for help, begging on some occasions, grasping for any way to oust him without taking responsibility for their own decisions.

So get a load of this:

Eugene School Board members allowed Superintendent Sheldon Berman to come up with his own exit plan to avoid the release of a negative performance review, which one board member said could result in his firing, newly obtained records show.

Board members also said in emails last year that if they couldn’t successfully negotiate a departure agreement with Berman, they planned to make his evaluation public and hire an investigator to look into unspecified actions by Berman.

Further, emails between board members show that some members went to great lengths to avoid meeting publicly or even in a closed-door session, in potential violation of state public meetings law. Other emails show that one board member — Beth Gerot — said she would destroy some public records related to Berman’s evaluation. It is a violation of state law for a public official to destroy public records.

-SNIP-

In the course of legal proceedings, the law firm last week sent the newspaper hundreds of unredacted emails regarding Berman’s job performance that The Register-Guard requested last year. The law firm also sent an unredacted copy of Berman’s self-evaluation, in which he gave himself a glowing review.

-SNIP-

Berman announced last June that he was leaving the district after the current school year, citing “family circumstances.” Berman began his job as Eugene superintendent in July 2011.

-SNIP-

The negotiations followed results from an employee survey — conducted by independent consultant Alison Lewis — that found serious concerns with Berman’s job performance. The emails do not shed much light on the nature of those concerns, but do indicate that concerns about Berman led to the resignation of at least two high-level district administrators. The consultant — who interviewed about 20 district employees — found that Berman struggled to manage employees, and some emails suggest employees feared repercussions if they spoke out.

Just like in Louisville! Only this time a school board didn’t have the guts to get rid of him. But the fear of retaliation was definitely there. Same for the Berman efforts to keep his reviews secret.

And this:

Eugene School Board Chairman Jim Torrey said in a statement Wednesday that “now it is time to move forward” and use the revelation of board members’ secret efforts to negotiate an exit plan with Superintendent Sheldon Berman as an “opportunity to reinforce our respect for consistently open and candid board discussions of school district business.”

Torrey’s statement does not specifically defend or repudiate board members’ efforts to shield their concerns about Berman’s job performance, or address newly released emails’ suggestion that some board members may have violated Oregon’s public record and public meetings laws.

The unredacted emails, inadvertently released to The Register-Guard, show that board members negotiated a settlement plan that would allow Berman to avoid a negative job performance review, which one board member said could have led to his firing.

-SNIP-

Berman, meanwhile, said in a statement of his own, also released Wednesday, that he is concerned that the newspaper article may damage the community’s perspective on “the district and the board, as well as me personally.”

“The emails were sent during a time that was particularly challenging for the district, the board and me,” Berman said in his emailed statement. “The year since has been a much more positive and productive time. I think it’s fair to say that the quoted emails and the article don’t begin to describe or reflect the many accomplishments we have achieved.”

Berman added that he has “worked diligently to address concerns raised in my discussions with board members last year.”

“My reasons for leaving Eugene remain largely personal and family ones,” Berman said.

-SNIP-

Eugene Education Association teachers union President Tad Shannon said teachers feel that the board’s responsiveness to teacher concerns has improved in the past year, but teachers did not notice a change in Berman’s performance.

“Shelley (Berman) actually thinks he’s a collaborator and a listener,” Shannon said. “Unfortunately, most staff don’t see it that way.”

JCPS dodged a bullet when we started digging up Shelley’s secret world.

Thank goodness.

Flood Gates Opened Against Norton

They may only stand a couple feet off the ground, have four legs and wet noses, but their lives might save the life of a veteran. [WDRB]

A man says in a lawsuit that Norton Healthcare lost a piece of his brain. [C-J/AKN]

Wondering just how terrible Donna Hargens’ communication skills are? Just check out this latest mess. A Louisville neighborhood remains shaken following a horrific accident Friday evening involving a young elementary student and her school bus. [WHAS11]

One wants to abolish the state office he is trying to win. Another started her own business at age 9. Four have state legislative experience, and two are Louisville businessmen. [H-L]

Police are investigating a fatal crash at Dr. W.J. Hodge and Magazine streets early Sunday morning. [WLKY]

If Flint, Michigan can run a pig for mayor, surely Louisville can run something similar. [HuffPo]

FEMA will soon open a second office in Jefferson County to help those recovering from spring flooding. [WAVE3]

American Pharoah is the king of the nation’s horse races this month: in a driving rain, the Kentucky Derby winner took home top prize at the Preakness Stakes Saturday. [NPR]

Public meetings begin this week to share information about Louisville’s draft assessment of the city’s urban tree canopy. [WFPL]

For thousands of years, religious people have gathered together in houses of worship to sing songs, celebrate sacred rituals, and lift up prayers to God(s) on high. And on July 1, a new religious group in Indiana intends to do just that — but with a lot more emphasis on the “high” part. [ThinkProgress]

Expect to see Norton Healthcare Inc. and the University of Louisville back in court on June 10. That’s as a long-running legal dispute between the two organizations continues to play out. [Business First]

Former Indiana state schools Superintendent Tony Bennett won’t face any criminal charges after an investigation into whether he misused state resources for his 2012 re-election campaign. [News & Tribune]

Here’s another Louisville/Kentucky movie to get excited about. [Variety]



How’ll That Waterfront Property End Up?

Have you seen this puppies and rainbows b.s. with Donna Hargens? Giving this woman a free pass is the last thing Louisville needs right now. [WDRB]

The Louisville Metro Police Department has ordered 988 body cameras from Arizona-based TASER International ahead of its upcoming body camera pilot program, the department confirmed Tuesday. [C-J/AKN]

It’s a building and a company that dominates the downtown Louisville skyline and the city’s business community. For more than five decades, the healthcare giant Humana and its employees have remained an important piece of this area’s economic fabric. [WHAS11]

The Herald-Leader endorsed Hal Heiner over Jamie Comer, which is likely to push Comer over the edge behind closed doors. [H-L]

Researchers say children in Louisville are being sold for sex. The KristyLove Foundation is a first-of-its-kind shelter in Louisville created by a woman who escaped the sex trade and turned her heartbreak into healing. [WLKY]

Faith in humanity, restored. A worker in a Qdoba fast food restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky was caught on video feeding a customer who was unable to feed herself. [HuffPo]

A Louisville police chief says there’s a lot of work to be done to ease tensions between law enforcement and the community. He believes body cameras could be part of the answer. [WAVE3]

U.S. retail sales were flat in April as households cut back on purchases of automobiles and other big-ticket items, the latest sign the economy was struggling to rebound strongly after barely growing in the first quarter. [Reuters]

The Waterfront Development Corp. wants two of its downtown properties just south of Waterfront Park to be developed. The agency asked on Thursday for development proposals for the properties. [WFPL]

Ha! Daniel Grossberg has an ad highlighting Jacob Conway’s blackmail/extortion/threat attempt. [Click the Clicky]

American Pharaoh strolled out of his trailer and into the stables with ease when he arrived at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday afternoon. [Business First]

The Floyd County Council voted 5-2 last week to cut $150,000 from the New Albany-Floyd County Animal Shelter budget to help balance the county’s 2015 general fund. That won’t end well. [News & Tribune]