The Big and Little Stories of the Weekend

Good Morning! We’re off at the crack of dawn to Toast on Market.  John Asher of Churchill Downs is the guest speaker at our bi-monthly  ‘Ville Voice Breakfast of Champions. Here are some leftovers not quite as good as my Mom’s lasagna:

Switched Wristband: It would not be that hard to switch wristbands with another inmate down at the jail. It’s just hard to figure out why someone would do it. That’s how the jail released the wrong guy on Friday, who ended up being tracked down by U.S. Marshals and ended up dead, probably of a self-inflicted gunshot. Jeremy Burton was being held on a $10K bond for receiving stolen property.  [WAVE, C-J]

Lexington’s Big Race: Clueless ESPN baseball analyst Pedro Gomez, interviewing Moises Alou on Sunday, asked the retiring Alou if was looking forward to the Kentucky Derby. Alou said he’s planning to go with his friend Jeff Bagwell. Then Gomez said he could imagine the two baseball players having fun in Lexington. Oops.

Chronicling The Decline and Fall of C-J Sports: An alert reader points out that Sunday’s C-J sports section including no game story whatsoever on the all-important Connecticut-Pittsburgh game, which set up U of L’s opportunity to win the Big East outright. It had a bigger headline for the meaningless Syracuse-Marquette matchup. Meanwhile, others were miffed that UK got more coverage than U of L. The Cards made the mistake of playing too close to the paper’s deadline. [Crawford]

Big Opinion: Last week Chris Thieneman took his case against Jerry Abramson’s secrecy on the budget to WAVE’s studios for a guest editorial. No, he says, the people didn’t vote for merger in order to give the Mayor more power.  [WAVE]

Battle of Experts: Looks like the PRP football case may come down to who has the better experts. The defense released information over the weekend from a former medical examiner for the state, George Nichols, who said Max Gilpin’s death was not caused by dehydration and may have had more to do with his taking Adderall. More to come. [Courier]

Bo and Oh So Much More

Big Deal for Bo: C-J sportswriter Rick Bozich has been selected to the U.S. Basketball Writers Hall of Fame, and will be honored at the Final Four in Detroit. That is, if the paper comes up with the travel budget to send him. [Crawford]

Eight Men On, Including T-Will: Check out the cover of the new Sports Illustrated, featuring eight college basketball stars. That’s our own T-Will on the right. The Cards, with one game to play in the Big East, can clinch a share of the title by beating West Virginia. Meanwhile, boos filled Rupp Arena as the Cats lost to lowly Georgia. [SI]

Bout Time for Berman: JCPS superintendent Sheldon Berman finally did something about the PRP football situation, announcing that Jason Stinson would be replaced as football coach. He said the criminal case would not be resolved before time to start practice for next season. Principal David Johnson will hire his replacement. JCPS says Stinson is still collecting a paycheck doing IT work. Oh, yeah, Berman says the announcement has absolutely nothing to do with this week’s release of evidence in Max Gilpin’s death. Right.  [WAVE]

Party Pooper: You’ll have to pay a buck an egg if you want to enjoy the traditional Capitol breakfast in Frankfort. Gov. Beshear says cutting back on the event will save $200K. No more entertaining of economic development prospects, either. Expect a lot of scrutiny of entertainment budgets for this year’s Derby, especially all those parties held under the guise of economic development  [Herald-Leader]

It’s a “Day of Reckoning” at Planning Commission: It’s time for Michael Gordon, the J-town car dealer, to get his just due in front of the planning commission. Fox41’s Dick Irby didn’t go back and get an interview with Gordon, but he does have an update of the story. Preservationists don’t want Gordon to get a deal to walk away after paying a $25K fine.  Check the link to see Gordon going after Irby and cameraman Dave White again. [Fox41]

One Black Senator: Gerald Neal is the only African-American in the Kentucky Senate, a situation not likely to change in the near future. LEO’s Phillip Bailey spent some time with him in Frankfort. [LEO]

Irony, Oh Irony: Steve Nunn, son of a Kentucky governor whose job was to oversee the state’s domestic violence programs, resigned yesterday in the wake of criminal mischief and assault charges.  The H-L has a juicy blow-by-blow of his altercation with a former fiancee. [H-L]

Making Himself at Home: In the goofy crime of the day, WLKY’s Mike Petchenik reports that a man broke into a St. Matthews home and ordered porn on pay-per-view.  The couple living there slept through it. No word on whether the homeowners will have to pay for the porn.  [WLKY]

It’s News Because It’s Weird Edition

A Trinity Mystery: Anybody want to take a shot at guessing what the big security issue is at Trinity? The high school is closed, and officials say they’ll have news for the public on this “obscure threat” by 4 p.m.  I’m betting that whatever it is won’t stay secret that long. [C-J]

Billy’s Slide: Maybe Billy Clyde Gillispie is just another one of those coaches who doesn’t handle losing well. When he was rude to ESPN’s Jeanine Edwards in a sideline interview (twice), we thought it might have been a sexist thing, and it was pretty embarrassing. Now he’s giving grief to play-by-play man Tom Leach for having the nerve to question the way he benched his best player. [Eric Crawford]

Now This Will Help Tourism: The state House has approved a measure to allow alcohol sales in state parks, opening up a whole new revenue stream and making the parks more attractive to all sorts of groups. For the parks in dry counties, it will require a local option election. Can you imagine a dry county where the only place to get alcohol is the state park? [WFPL]

That’s A Reach: That was Fox 41’s Bill Lamb’s reaction to a demand by local NAACP officials that he take a stand against a New York Post cartoon that’s being called racist.  Here’s the NAACP logic – Lamb is a Fox affiliate, and Fox is owned by Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp., which also own the NY Post. Lamb, who was out of town, said, “This has nothing to do with me or the station.  I don’t feel an automatic obligation to get involved in somebody else’s battle.” But he said he would consider the request.

Nunn’s Defense: A 29-year-old woman claims that Steve Nunn, an official in the state’s Health and Family Services division, verbally and physically abused her. So the state put him on leave without pay until the case is resolved.  Nunn says he’s innocent, and so does his ex-wife. He’s worked on domestic violence protection issues in the past.  The woman claims Nunn hit her in the face at her home. [WHAS-TV]

Bad News for Bikers: If you’re on a bike and somebody hits you with their car, and a police officer doesn’t see it, you’re still screwed. Police won’t be arresting the driver. That’s because HB 88 died in Frankfort yesterday  [Barry’s Bike Blog]

Get ‘Em All in One Place: There’s a new anti-Jerry Abramson group on Facebook, organized by frequent V.V. commenter Steve Magruder. Now Jerry can keep track of his enemies, of which nearly 400 have already signed up. [Facebook]

See This Film on Mountaintop Removal

Public awareness of the tragedy that is Mountaintop Removal and its effects on eastern Kentucky have been looming large this week.

First, there was Ashley Judd speaking to 500 or more activists at I Love Mountains Day in Frankfort. There was the Diane Sawyer documentary that aired on ABC Friday, one of the highest-rated episodes in 20/20 history. The network is doing a follow-up report tonight at 10.

And it so happens that we finally got to see the award-winning documentary “Mountaintop Removal” thanks to our friend Gill Holland, who along with his wife Augusta were executive producers of the film. We also spoke with Mike O’Connell (not the Jefferson County Attorney) who produced the heart-wrenching documentary that chronicles a community’s fight with government to get a new school built to replace one that’s just down the hill from a toxic coal silo. O’Connell is the man behind Haw River Films, which produced the film.

Louisville native William Mapother narrates the film, which has won several awards, including one presented by Al Gore. It’s been featured at dozens of film festivals around the country, including one in Louisville just last month.

It’s eye-opening, in much the same way that Sawyer’s ABC piece is, but clearly shows the damage caused by the practice of mountaintop removal both to the landscape and the people. The footage of protests held in the West Virginia governor’s office are riveting. But it’s not all about protesters holding signs, as O’Connell explained to us. He has a lengthy interview with a big coal executive, and chronicles a man’s walk from Kentucky to Washington to make a point.

So you really need to see it. You can get a copy on the website above. Or, plan to attend the screening by the University of Kentucky Writing Program Film Series on Thursday, April 2, at 7:00 PM in the Auditorium in Young Library. O’Connell will be present for the screening and available to take questions from students and other audience members.