Citizens Group to Offer Tipline

A group of activists based on the South End is launching a tip line that will be more effective and expose wrongdoing in city government that the one currently being set up by the Administration.

“We hoping for tip leading something akin to the Kim Bunton scandal,” said Paul Holliger, who heads Stop I.T. organization along with Ray Pierce. “Based on national studies, I’m betting that we’re going to get one or two really good tips within the first four or five months.”

Holliger said it will process information, conduct a preliminary investigation and if warranted, will bring it to the attention of an appropriate agency. One of those is LMPD’s Public Integrity unit.

The group was formed in the southern part of Jefferson County, where distrust of Metro Government runs highest. Holliger said residents believes the region doesn’t get its fair share of services. The group is holding a press conference downtown on Wednesday, in which it will announce the launch of the tip line.

The Metro Council, after months of discussion, recently passed authorization to set up an official tip line at a cost of about $25,000. But that wont’ be operational for as long as six months. Holliger said his costs are substantially less than that, and that his operation will be self-funded.

For the Last 79,130 Local Households

Finally. We’re in the home stretch of the digital TV transition, and according to the FCC, only 79,130 households in the market are still watching over-the-air TV signals.

The FCC says we’re down to 2.41 percent of households not ready for the DTV transition in the market. The magic date is June 12, so expect to enjoy one final week of public service announcements from local stations attempting to get the attention of the holdouts. Every station has plenty of info available on its website, and a dramatic countdown clock.  Here’s WLKY’s.

The big news from a business standpoint, and the reason local GMs were upset when the date was pushed back from February, is that the transition allows local stations to turn off their analog transmitters, which cost up to $10K a month to operate.

WLKY’s Glenn Haygood, however, says his is a “Nightlight” station, meaning that it will keep its signal operating for an additional month past June 12. Those who tune in via analog will get an informational message about how to get up to speed digitally.

Another April 15 Deadline — TV

Tonight, for all you TV watchers tuning in with rabbit ears, is your last night to enjoy the fine fare on KET.

The statewide network is shutting down its analog transmitter, which means that you’ll have to have cable, satellite, or a digital converter box to see Comment on Kentucky on Friday.

Of course, this was all supposed to happen in February, but the federal government delayed the date because it didn’t feel enough citizens were ready.  Now, for the rest of the stations in the market and many in America, it will likely be June 12. The issue gets a lot of press, and plenty of notices on TV.  Lawmakers in Washington this week discussed whether or not there would be enough digital converter boxes to meet the demand.

People are getting the message. The latest stats from Neilsen indicate the number of households considered “not ready” for the switch is down to 3.2 percent. In Louisville, it’s 2.9 percent. And really, it’s for those people that local stations are spending thousands of dollars to keep their analog transmitters going.

We’ve written a lot, right here, about how local GMs like Fox41’s Bill Lamb think we should have already made the switch, reasoning that anyone who’s not ready will never be ready until the day they turn on the TV and get snow.

It would be interesting to hear, from anyone reading The Ville Voice, if you’re still not ready, and if so, why.

U of L Fires Shot in Brain Surgeon Controversy

A law firm representing the University of Louisville in its ongoing dispute with the eight neurosurgeons who joined the Norton Neurological Institute sent a letter to Norton lawyers yesterday alleging that Dr. Christopher Shields and his team may have broken the law by negotiating their deal with Norton.

They’re demanding that the surgeons negotiate a new deal to extend the surgeons’ service to U of L while the school works to recruit replacements.

Apparently it’s much more time-consuming to recruit high-paid surgeons than basketball coaches.

The letter, from Boehl, Stopher and Graves attorneys Edward Stopher and Kent Wicker, claims that the May 12 date the surgeons agreed to continue their work at U of L was insufficient time to recruit replacements, because it “may take months, not weeks, to recruit and hire these new physicians.”

The five-page letter addresses Shields’ involvement with Norton, claiming that Shields broke state laws by negotiating with Norton. From the letter:

By secretly assisting in the organization and development of the Norton Neuroscience Institute for Norton Health Care and soliciting other members of his practice group to join the effort, he may very well have breached his fiduciary duty.

The letter charges that Norton interfered with the contractual relationship between the doctors and U of L, saying the surgeons collectively agreed to work more closely with U of L in 2008 in exchange for $1 million per year through 2010. But it claims that six months after signing the deal, the surgeons signed their deal for full-time employment with Norton.

If the surgeons don’t agree to continue their work at U of L beyond May 12, U of L officials fear it could put the school is “serious jeopardy” and result in trauma patients being diverted to hospitals in other states.

The Best Way to Follow Us

Here at The ‘Ville Voice/Page One HQ, we’re grateful that so many of you spend at least a part of your day reading what we have to say about whatever. Thanks to you, we’ve been able to build an amazing audience, one that continues to grow.

Lately, when we’ve been out talking about the site and introducing ourselves to new audience members, we’ve discovered that we really should point out to you an easy way to keep up with our frequent posts. Down on the left side of the site, you’ll find a small sign-up form where you can request a daily e-mail reminder of what’s going on here.

Every day, you’ll get an e-mail from us. It’s a quick way to scan our headlines and quickly jump over to the site for your daily fix.

So take a minute and sign up today.

Quote of the Day: The War is Over

No, Not THAT War: Steve Neal of the Jefferson County Teachers Association proclaimed the war between the union and JCPS was over last night after the school board agreed to 1 percent raises and the union agreed to drop its participation in a silly lawsuit brought by teachers whose contracts were not renewed. But a part of the agreement forces non-union teachers to pay a portion of their salary to JCTA. So the conflict may not be over within the teachers group. [Courier]

The Crap Underground: Below the surface at the arena construction site, it turns out there are all kinds of building materials, much of it more than a century old. To get rid of it, the arena authority is spending nearly half its contingency fund. No worries, says Jim Host. He’s paying for overtime for the 250 workers on site to make sure the project stays on schedule. [Biz First]

Tourism’s Top Ten: Quick, how many of the state’s Top Ten spring festivals and events are in Louisville?  Three — Abbey Road on the River, the Humana Festival of New American Plays and the Kentucky Derby Festival. Check out the list. [Kentucky Tourism Council]

Firefighters win in Court, Again: Metro Government is running out of options, and will soon have to clean out its reserve fund to pay firefighters the back pay they’re owed. We told you the latest sovereign immunity argument from Jerry Abramson’s suits was a stalling tactic, and now a judge has confirmed it.  [Courier]

OutSexting the Competition: WHAS-TV’s Rachel Platt takes on the sexting craze. The station surveyed 250 students in middle and high schools to find out what they’re thinking, and found a few dozen who admitted to sexting. She’s doing a live chat tonight from 5-7.  WAVE-TV did a sweeps piece on it a few weeks back, but WHAS is pulling out all the stops. [WHAS-TV]

Not Long, Not Guilty: A jury took just 3 1/2 hours to find the Bellarmine student accused of killing her baby not guilty of murder, manslaughter or reckless homicide. Katie McCoy may get a couple years for tampering with evidence. [WAVE-TV]

Power to Boel: WLKY’s John Boel may be the one local TV newsman who gets really excited about doing sweeps packages. This time, he tried to find out something wrong with the way LG&E prioritized its storm damage cleanup. [WLKY-TV]

Where’s Jerry?: Today the Mayor will be doing a news conference in Newburg at the construction site of the new library there.  [Mayor’s Office]

It’s Tuesday, so we must be doing our weekly appearance on the CW Louisville Live show. Tune in at 10, or catch it here on the site later today.

Hoops Heavenly for WLKY, Despite the Glitch

Even without the Louisville Cardinals playing in the NCAA Tournament, WLKY-TV annually pulls the biggest ratings among CBS affiliates nationally for the event. But with the Cards playing, and with Western Kentucky playing in prime time on Thursday and Saturday nights, the ratings numbers were eye-opening.

Maybe the numbers were a big part of the reason the top brass at CBS admitted publicly that they shouldn’t have taken local viewers away from the Louisville game in the final minutes Sunday. WLKY GM Glenn Haygood extracted a promise from CBS in New York that it will never happen again. He says he was promised before the game, too, that it wouldn’t happen. Ultimately, the local station is at the mercy of the network.

Here are the numbers for the biggest games over the weekend. The Cards’ game on Friday, an uninteresting romp over Morehead State, pulled a 27.8 rating and 46 share. On Saturday, for Western’s exciting, down-to-the-wire loss to Gonzaga, WLKY had a 22.1 rating and 36 share.

Western’s win over Illinois, played late Thursday, peaked at 21.5/36.

The Cards’ game with Siena on Sunday got a 33.4/54.

You can bet that more than half the TVs in the market will be tuned in when the Cards continue their run against Arizona Friday. The game starts at 7.

Friday the 13th Bad Luck Edition

We’re predicting it will be bad luck for UK today when it faces LSU in the SEC Tournament at 1. Still, it’s a good excuse for you to goof off during the workday. The Cards play Villanova at 7 tonight. After both Connecticut and Pitt lost last night, they seem to be a near-lock for a #1 NCAA seed.

U of L vs. Free Speech: Jake’s got a blockbuster of a story on the University of Louisville suspending a nursing student for expressing her opinion on her MySpace page. Really. The student’s words didn’t cause a riot, hurt anyone or otherwise endanger the school. So she’s filed a lawsuit, alleging her free speech rights were violated. We agree. [Page One]

Grown-ups vs. Sexting: Speaking of ways to get in trouble, WAVE’s Maira Ansari explores the world of sexting for a sweeps piece, interviewing some identity-concealed high schoolers, attorneys and school officials about all kinds of dangerous results from kids sending nude photos to each other on their phones.  Advice to parents  — check your kids’ phone. [WAVE-3]

Joni Loves Coaching Change: Rep. Joni Jenkins says she’s got the votes to get a watered-down version of her bill calling for changes in high school athletics passed. Her original bill, created as a result of the PRP Max Gilpin tragedy, called for having defibrillators and ice pools on hand at football practices. UK football coach Rich Brooks’ testimony in Frankfort, calling for more training for coaches, swayed the legislators to pass the bill. [Courier]

Bad Things Happen to Good People: We’re saddened to see that bright young attorney Kungu Njuguna has resigned from his job with the County Attorney’s office. It stems from a January incident in which Njuguna was charged with wanton endangerment and fleeing from police. He was a Democratic candidate last spring for Metro Council in District 18. His boss, Mike O’Connell, released a statement: “I am saddened by the sequence of events that has led to Mr. Njuguna’s resignation. The responsibilities of the County Attorney’s Office to the public and his current legal issues make his continued employment with the office untenable. I wish Kungu a just resolution of those issues.”

Porter’s Incident Update: Metro Council president David Tandy has assured bar owners that he will look into the LMPD policy barring off-duty officers being paid by the bars from standing inside those bars during events. He’s asked Chief Robert White about it. Yesterday, police arrested suspect Delion Burke in the investigation of the shooting Sunday night at Jim Porter’s. [Courier]

Do Something…Yes, You…About the Environment: Getting some solar panels to heat your home or business isn’t as hard as you might think, and it’s the right thing to do. Here’s how. [Page One]

Numbing Numbers and How to Report It: We’re guessing that somebody at the Herald-Leader botched this one, and maybe it’ll be fixed by the time you look at the link. But under the headline “Kentucky Jobless Rate Highest Since ’87” there’s a listing of what appear to be notes for an incomplete but actual news story. Are the unemployment numbers or the incompetence at the newspaper more distressing?  [H-L]

I’m So Excited: The Pointer Sisters are in town Saturday for a show with the Louisville Orchestra at the Palace. You can still get tickets to hear the gals do hits like “Fire” and “Slow Hand.” [Orchestra]

Focusing on the News, Not Weather, Edition

We just want to go outside and play, but staying right here for you.

Kegger! The smart folks down at Actors sure know how to throw a party. Last night’s Humana Festival opening party featured free beer from BBC, samples from local restaurants, free parking and entertainment. Everybody who’s anybody was there, and we’re thanking managing director Jennifer Bielstein, the subject of this profile at I Live In Louisville. Check out the Humana Festival schedule here.  [ILIL]

Schreck Rejected: Metro’s Codes and Regulations director Bill Schreck wanted the controversy over a J-town car dealer’s decision to ignore preservation regulations to go away, so he proposed charging Michael Gordon with a $25K fine. But the Planning Commission rejected the deal, so they’re going to have another hearing May 21. Preservation types are happy. The C-J finally decided to join Fox41’s Dick Irby in covering the case, famous for Gordon’s attack of Irby and a cameraman last fall. [Courier]

Tapp Target: Shelbyville Sen. Gary Tapp managed to get his homophobic SB 68 through the Judiciary Committee yesterday, enraging the gays and forcing other state politicians to squirm – and take a stand on whether gay couples should be allowed to adopt. Expect to hear a lot about it in the weekly Greg Stumbo-David Williams press conference.

Car Company Crash: Did anyone really believe that Integrity Manufacturing of Shepherdsville would ever actually get an electric car in production. Not me. The company closed yesterday. [WLKY]

Porn Burglar: All local media outlets jumped on the story of the burglar who broke in and ordered porn at a St. Matthews home. We wondered if the homeowner would have to pay the porn bill. WLKY’s Mike Petchenik tells us that Insight credited the homeowner for the $60 charge.

Eating Out: Fox41’s Valerie Chinn looks into how the economy is affecting local restaurants. Hard to make money when people are choosing tea over wine. She talks to Jarfi’s and LeRelais operators about changes. [Fox41]

Must Be Sweeps: Because of the digital TV transition, sweeps is in March. So WHAS-TV saved Adam Walser’s 3-month investigation of New Life Church until now. It’s a good one. Those folks collecting your money on street corners were probably recruited from the homeless population, and the money goes out of state. It’s a big scam. [WHAS]

Rabbit Ears Update: So all the local stations are still pissed about running those analog signals for anther few months. With 98 days to go, only 3.1 percent of local households are “completely unready” for the digital switch.

Cheap Shotting Hal: As the Museum Plaza’s Craig Greenberg was defending his project at a Metro Council meeting last night, he had choice words for Hal Heiner. “While you’re secretly stealing jobs and moving them to Indiana, we’re investing in this community,” Greenberg said, referring to Heiner’s development business. Heiner tersely called it a “cheap shot.” [Fox41]