All Kinds Of Louisville Zoo Shenanigans Going On

Woah, people are freaking out over what’s going down at the Louisville Zoo these days.

By now, everyone is aware of Greg Fischer’s push to privatize the zoo, right?

So it will come as no surprise to you that Mark Zoeller, the Assistant Director at the Zoo is leaving in two weeks to take a job in Public Works. Why? Could it be to protect his public pension when the Zoo is no longer controlled by Metro Government? You can put your money on yes. And Zoo staff say he and the Director (Walczak) know what’s going on behind the scenes without sharing it with longtime employees.

This comes after the resignation of the Development Coordinator last August. The Development Director left in November/December.

And several others are expected to jump ship soon. Gotta keep those taxpayer-funded retirement plans, ya know.

It’s being okayed by board members because they know where their bread is buttered. Doesn’t smell right.

We Know What You Do In That Other Hand, LEO

What do the Lincoln Bedroom, your tax dollars and your potential retirement savings have to do with each other? If you’re part of the Kentucky Retirement Systems, you may want to find out. [Page One]

On Saturday, December 4, Jefferson Memorial Forest will host a holiday open house at the welcome center. 10:00 A.M. to 3:00 P.M. Complete with free hot chocolate, cider and cookies. Need a cheap (free) escape for your kids? Here’s your chance. [Jefferson Memorial Forest]

Going-through-the-motions regulation is not enough for strip mining in Kentucky. Ignoring environmental impact is as ignorant as anything we can imagine. [H-L]

Dining Out For Life takes place today. So. Go dine out. For life. [Dine Out For Life]

Haha, so, funny story… a bridge across the Ohio River is getting built on time and under budget. But not in Louisville. [FOX 41]

What the heck is going on in Portland? What’s with this kid getting killed just weeks after his grandfather was arrested for murder? [WAVE3]

We still can’t get over this story of an Elizabethtown high school student dying after being hit by a classmate’s car. [WHAS11 Video]

Steve Beshear wants 81 of his political appointees to keep their high-paying jobs. These folks make $70,000 or $80,000 a year. And many of them just cold sit on their hands “advising” the governor. Clearly, not all of them can lose their jobs. But in these times of economic turmoil, shouldn’t a good deal of them have to look for work elsewhere? [John Cheves]

The East End super-elite who want claim to love parks but want to destroy the Waterfront? Remember those guys? They have some fancy new “study.” Thankfully, at least one publication in town realizes what it’s good for. Do you know what LEO does in that other hand? [LEO Weekly]

Codes Change

We told you earlier this month that Bill Schreck was leaving the Administration, that the only thing keeping him in his position as Codes and Regulations Director was a promise to the Mayor that he’d stay until a replacement was found.

Well, the city found its man in Jim Mims, by all indications a well-qualified individual with a doctorate in urban and public affairs and a long history of local activity as director of development for Hagan Properties.

In the last year, Schreck has been involved in some controversy, especially as it relates to the planning department’s handling of the Javanon case and other zoning issues. Some have criticized the Inspections, Permits and Licenses department for overzealous enforcement and favoritism. But Schreck has worked for local government since 1974, and he’s always been professional and cordial with the media, except for not calling back earlier this month when I wanted to ask him about his retirement.

Mims must be smart, though he’ll face scrutiny and be tested early on by the Administration’s detractors, and whether he’ll still have a job after a new Mayor is elected is not guaranteed. It would be naturally expected that he’ll favor developers when disputes arise, based on his history, but let’s give him a chance before we start bashing him.

And even though the Administration was able to fill this important slot, don’t expect it to be easy as other Abramson appointees decide to leave.

Getting What’s Coming in a Good Way

We’ve been high-fiving the Lexington Herald-Leader for much of the past year on its investigative journalism, uncovering corruption and misuse of funds at the airport, library, the Kentucky League of Cities and the Kentucky Association of Counties.

It’s been hilarious to see how far public officials thought they could go with taxpayer money — like meals at strip clubs and the like.

A national organization of newspaper editors agreed, awarding the Lexington paper its prestigious Public Service Award in competition with newspapers throughout the country. The Associated Press Managing Editors Association picked winners in New York last week.

Among the judges — the Courier-Journal’s retiring editorial director David Hawpe, a past president of the group.

We’re not expecting anything like that out of our own paper, but you never know. In fact, on his Culture Maven site, C.D. Kaplan is spending some time lamenting the demise of the Courier-Journal, evidenced in part by the loss of Hawpe. As the initial chorus of critics have died down, most folks are starting to acknowledge that Hawpe’s departure is just another sign of the paper’s dwindling resources.

I agree with Kaplan that it’s just another sign that there’s a lot less to the local newspaper these days. As he says, it’s not that the people doing the work are doing a poor job, it’s just that there aren’t as many of them.

And no one really knows what’s coming next.

Hilarious Notalgia Day at WAVE

Some of these video tributes to Tom Wills at WAVE have been downright funny.

Who knew that former Fox41 anchor Don Schroeder, who previously worked with Wills at WAVE,  was capable of such hilarity? Schroeder, who’s grown a full beard, taped his segment in front the White House, though he’s retired to Alabama. First time I’d ever seen him not wearing a tie. On the back of his t-shirt, the sign read “Will Read News for Food.”

Ex-meteorologist Craig Edwards, now in Nashville, chimed in along with country music personality Charlie Chase.

Then there was a live shot, on Skype, with former morning co-host Chris Parente, who appeared in pancake makeup with a towel on his head. Which was bizarro TV. Parente, now in Denver, recently won a vote to guest host the Regis and Kelly show next Wednesday. He asked Wills if he wanted to go on with him.

Wills is taking it all in stride, even the excessive alarm clock jokes.

Let’s hope WAVE has the sense to collect all the tributes and post them — might do some good for their Web traffic.

Hawpe Bashing to End at C-J

The regular criticisms of David Hawpe on the Courier-Journal editorial page are about to come to an end.

The paper announced today that Hawpe is retiring, effective August 14. That this was going to happen is, like Jim Bunning’s announcement yesterday, no surprise. It was just a matter of when.

Weeks ago, as Gannett was preparing to announce another round of layoffs, rumors that Hawpe, along with managing editor Ben Post, was going to retire were being reported everywhere. Hawpe answered our e-mail, saying that if and when he retired, it would be annonced in a newspaper column that he would write.

I guess that didn’t work out, but we can look forward to Hawpe’s final column in the second week of August. He’s been at the paper for 40 years, the last 13 as editorial director.

The paper says it will name a replacement at a later date, like, our guess is, never.

New Faces, Unfamiliar Places

Wills Watch: It’s the last week of full-time forecasting for WAVE’s Tom Wills. The station is running tributes throughout the week. Could that be why the weather’s so nice?

KDP Turns to Fossett: We’re glad to see our former co-worker, Liz Fossett, on the 2007 Bruce Lunsford campaign join the Kentucky Democratic Party as a communications staffer. They need her help. [Page One]

Another Blonde: The new reporter at WLKY-TV is Karen Robey, even though the graphic lists her as Karen Brown in this report on that J&J Smoke Shop murder.  She’s returning to WLKY for her second stint on the air. [WLKY-TV]

Fancy Farm Attendance: With Jim Bunning out of the picture, we’re not sure if Fancy Farm becomes more or less important. We’ll say more. Especially when it comes to speeches by Trey Grayson and Rand Paul, the likely GOP candidates to run for his seat. Still, local TV stations are mulling decisions on whether or not to send crews to the big political party.

Better Than a Homeless Shelter: Renovations are nearly complete in the first section of buildings on East Market Street, and tenants should be moving in by October. [Broken Sidewalk]

Golden Poo is Already Flying: These are going to be better than those Emmys, so nominate somebody. Or just join in the hilarity. [Golden Poo]

Bunning Says He’s Out

The only surprise here is the timing. Sen. Jim Bunning said today he won’t seek re-election. The move opens  the door for Secretary of State Trey Grayson to capture the Republican nomination. The final straw — the news over the weekend that 100 former donors had decided to support Grayson.

The big story will dominate the media for the next 24 hours. We suggest you start with Page One.

How The Thorobred Club Ended up in the News

Max Investigation Revealed: Finally, JCPS Supe Sheldon Berman will release findings from the system’s investigation of PRP football player Max Gilpin’s death. It happened, oh, more than 10 MONTHS ago.  There’s a presser this morning at 10.

This Didn’t Suprise Anyone, Did it? Takes some gonads to build a football stadium addition in the middle of an economic downturn while your football team is sliding toward mediocrity. At a place you weren’t selling out anyway. U of L Athletic officials sure have ’em. And season ticket sales are off at their lowest level in 10 years. [Courier]

C-J Rumor Department: One of the C-J’s top three execs, managing editor Ben Post, will retire Aug. 1, several inside sources tell us.  It’s good news — word is that his departure could save a job or two. Gannett’s next round of rumored company-wide cuts are to be announced next week.

Next Time, Use Cash: There’s just nothing good that comes from using somebody else’s money for a good time with strippers. Spencer County judge-executive David Jenkins was dodging media yesterday after it was discovered that he charged lap dances at the Thorobred Club on 7th Street (come on, David, that’s just disgusting) with his Ky. Assoc. of Counties card. Also . . . a Lexington escort service and the Godfather on Preston. Of course, Jenkins says it wasn’t him.  [Fox41]

Close to Nauseated: The idea of honoring Michael Jackson on the floor of the U.S. House of Representatives was a nauseating idea, according to John Yarmuth. He’s right.  Never been done before for a celebrity, and it’s no time to start now. Check out the interview with John Ziegler. [Page One]

Boney Exclusive: We said we weren’t reporting on the David Camm trial, but still found it interesting that Charles Boney singled out WLKY’s Ben Jackey to call from prison to make sure he made his point. Which, I think, was that he won’t be testifying in any new trial. [WLKY]

Worthy Campaign: Not many of David Hawpe’s columns in the C-J elicit postive reactions, but it’s a good thing to spotlight the St. John’s Day Center’s fundraising campaign.  Homeless men in our community have to go somewhere, and St. John’s provides them with a place. And when the Center finds them housing, they often succeed. [Hawpe, Fox41]

Shircliff Resigns at Jewish

Bob Shircliff, president and CEO of Jewish Hospital and St. Mary’s Healthcare, announced today that he plans to retire from his post. Shircliff has been in the top spot since 2005, and the 53-year-old leader told the Jewish board he plans to pursue consulting opportunities in the industry.

“I’m tremendously proud of all we’ve accomplished in four years, and am excited about what’s ahead for the organization and myself,” he said in a statement.

The board, chaired by Lou Ann Atlas, has formed a search committee to find a successor.

Shircliff has been working with Jewish since 1985, and was appointed to president and CEO in 2005 after a search process that included 18 interviewees. Shircliff plans to stay on for at least 60 days.