A Pig Got Loose On The Highway & It Was Great

Raking leaves, crocheting, and yoga classes are just a few services that won’t ever cost you a penny. Through the Louisville TimeBank, time and community become currency. [WDRB]

Representatives for a union of Metropolitan Sewer District employees said a strike is “absolutely” still an option after the MSD board rejected their “last best” offer on Monday in an ongoing labor dispute. [C-J/AKN]

This was awesome and the Trimarc cameras captured it all. [WHAS11]

Leaders of the largest pension system for state workers learned Wednesday morning that it has only 21 percent of the money it’s expected to need for future payouts, down from 23 percent in 2013 and continuing a steady decline during the past decade. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Strangers collect money for the family of a taxi driver who was killed while on the job. [WLKY]

Rand Paul said Wednesday that Congress should take legal action against President Barack Obama in response to his planned executive action on immigration. [HuffPo]

They’re the items in small print, sometimes buried on the council meeting agenda, but capital improvement projects add up to millions of dollars — $17,000,000 just for Public Works projects around Louisville right now. [WAVE3]

Rand Paul says he wants surveillance reform. Instead, he helped sink it. [Politico]

American landfills are full of trash that could be recycled or reused—things like bottles, paper, clothes and electronics. For some things, the benefits of recycling are obvious. [WFPL]

I believe President Obama deserves deference in picking his team, and I’ve generally tried to give him that. But enough is enough. [Elizabeth Warren]

Amanda Storment, chief of staff and vice president of communications with the Kentucky State Fair Board, said the holidays could delay the naming of a consultant for design and architectural services toward the expansion of the state-owned Kentucky International Convention Center in downtown Louisville. [Business First]

The Jeffersonville City Council set in motion plans to abolish city court at its meeting Monday, citing declining revenues and increasing costs to run it. [News & Tribune]

People Aren’t Happy About Those Traffic Cams

The Louisville Water Company approved a smaller rate increase after some arm-twisting, apparently. [WDRB]

A lawyer who on Friday won a big ruling that revives a battle in Louisville over whiskey fungus from aging bourbon said city officials could solve the problem, if they wanted to. [C-J/AKN]

A task force met Tuesday night to discuss a proposal that would reinstate a University of Louisville program that monitored air quality in Rubbertown. [WHAS11]

Republican state Rep. Ryan Quarles of Georgetown said Tuesday he is “strongly considering” running next year for state agriculture commissioner. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! A southern Indiana couple are facing burglary charges after police say they broke into people’s homes while they were inside sleeping. [WLKY]

Rand Paul, a leader of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, helped kill a bill meant to rein in the National Security Agency. [HuffPo]

Louisville Metro crews have installed about 35 cameras that are designed to help traffic flow at busy city intersections. Traffic engineers insist that the cameras won’t catch red-light runners and say the video doesn’t go back to City Hall nor is the picture quality high enough to see details. [WAVE3]

Kentucky’s “gas tax” on sales of gasoline, diesel and ethanol motor fuels will drop by 4.3 cents per gallon on New Year’s Day, resulting in a loss to the Kentucky Road Fund of about $129 million on an annualized basis. [Press Release]

The Kentucky Department for Public Health is proposing new regulations for reporting infections patients contract from healthcare facilities while receiving treatment. [WFPL]

When it comes to racially lopsided arrests, the most remarkable thing about Ferguson, Mo., might be just how ordinary it is. Police in Ferguson — which erupted into days of racially charged unrest after a white officer killed an unarmed black teen — arrest black people at a rate nearly three times higher than people of other races. [USA Today]

For the first time since June, Louisville-area single-family home and condominium sales outpaced last year’s rate for the same month. [Business First]

Some may see it as one community, but Clark County has set the pace for employment gains so far in 2014 among Southern Indiana counties included in the Louisville Metro Statistical Area. [News & Tribune]

Homeless Kids? What Homeless Kids? Surely Not

Here’s your annual Greg Fischer Pee Alert: Citing his progress in making Louisville a globally-regarded city for caring and compassion, a coalition of international organizations has honored Mayor Greg Fischer with a City Leadership award for compassion. [Lane Report PR Regurgitation]

Nakiya Crawford hasn’t seen her father in more than a year. Crawford Confessed, “I don’t talk about it much.” [WDRB]

On a bus trip with 18 western Louisville residents to see how sustainable power plants turn waste into energy, Keith S. Hackett, assistant director of the Metro Department of Public Works, wondered aloud how much tax money could be saved. [C-J/AKN]

For one east Louisville family, early mornings are about getting in the yard and enjoying quiet time. Recently, the family experienced a big scare during their morning routine. [WHAS11]

A Superintendent Screening Committee will be formed to help the Fayette County school board select a new leader for the district. Under state law, the committee must include one parent, who will be elected by the presidents of the PTA or parent organization at all of the district schools. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! Once again all eyes are on Ferguson as the nation waits for the grand jury’s decision on whether to indict Ferguson police Officer Darren Wilson for firing the shots that killed 18-year-old Michael Brown. [WLKY]

The number of homeless children in the U.S. has surged in recent years to an all-time high, amounting to one child in every 30, according to a comprehensive state-by-state report that blames the nation’s high poverty rate, the lack of affordable housing and the impacts of pervasive domestic violence. [HuffPo]

The possibility of a labor strike looms after tempers rose during a Metropolitan Sewer District Board meeting. [WAVE3]

In Mitch McConnell’s world, it doesn’t matter who works in his Hill office, who left for K Street or who runs his campaign, almost everyone calls the Kentucky Republican “Boss.” [Politico]

Kentucky’s community college system offers little accountability in its presidential search. [WFPL]

After saying “no” last April, the Kentucky Court of Appeals said Friday that it now will hear oral arguments on two lawsuits that threaten the financial stability of most of the state’s public libraries, including Rowan. [The Morehead News]

The KFC Yum! Center will be at the heart of March Madness in 2016. [Business First]

A national watchdog organization for issues pertaining to church and state separation sent a letter to New Albany regarding Saturday’s 46th Annual Mayor’s Community Prayer Breakfast. [News & Tribune]

When Will The Crazy Shooting Deaths End?

The hits just keep coming for JCPS. Jefferson County Public Schools paid its former public information officer Lauren Roberts $200,000 last fall to settle a dispute over how she left the district. [WDRB]

The Metropolitan Sewer District board has scheduled a special meeting on Monday to consider an employee union’s “last, best and final offer” in a bitter labor dispute that’s drawn out for more than two years, leading to a threatened strike. [C-J/AKN]

Bourbon is coming back to Hardin County for the first time in more than one hundred years. [WHAS11]

A new energy efficiency plan for Kentucky Utilities and Louisville Gas & Electric will mean an increase in customers’ bills, an end to free compact fluorescent bulbs mailed to residential customers and a pilot test for “smart” meters. [H-L]

Seriously, when is local television media going to stop giving this guy the attention he wants? [WLKY]

A federal advisory committee on Thursday recommended for the first time that the U.S. soften its ban on blood donations from gay men. [HuffPo]

Another day, another shooting in Possibility City. A cab driver found shot to death inside his car was identified Monday morning shortly after police announced that three juveniles had been charged with murder in the cabbie’s death. [WAVE3]

A day after he won reelection and Republicans retook the Senate, Sen. Mitch McConnell left no doubt that the edge-of-disaster showdowns with President Obama that have marked the past four years would be a relic of the past. [WaPo]

The 2014 election season has come and gone, but the thousands of campaign signs may stick around for months. [WFPL]

Two days after AT&T claimed it has to “pause” a 100-city fiber build because of uncertainty over network neutrality rules, the Federal Communications Commission today asked the company to finally detail its vague plans for fiber construction. [Ars Technica]

GearBrake, an early-stage company that has developed a motorcycle brake light to improve safety, has won $5,000 in a state entrepreneur pitch competition. [Business First]

First impressions matter, according to key players involved in developing standards for the entrance into River Ridge Commerce Center from the future east-end Ohio River bridge. [News & Tribune]

Here’s the petition asking the Supreme Court to hear the Kentucky marriage equality case. [Dan Canon]

JCPS Has Another Boiling Disaster On Its Hands

Remember when we expressed concern about Helene Kramer, the JCPS new hire who immediately started causing drama?

Well… check this out:

The executive director of communications for Jefferson County Public Schools is under investigation for a personnel matter, the district confirmed to WDRB News on Friday.

JCPS would not release any additional information regarding Helene Kramer, who was named the district’s chief spokeswoman in August. “[The] records are preliminary and are not a part of any final agency action,” said Rosemary Miller, legal counsel for JCPS, in an email. She added they will not be available until “such time when the requested report (and related requested records) becomes a part of final action.”

However, multiple sources have told WDRB News that the investigation centers around Kramer questioning whether or not another district employee is gay.

Kramer, who is one of six members on JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens’ executive cabinet, told WDRB News Friday by email, “The process is not complete, and we need to respect the process.”

So that’s fun.

UPDATE!

Oh, wait! There’s more from Toni Konz:

Helene Kramer, who is under investigation for allegedly making inappropriate comments in her new job as communications director for Jefferson County Public Schools, was previously on thin ice in her role as a spokeswoman for Louisville Metro Police more than a decade ago.

-SNIP-

The personnel file shows Kramer survived the probationary period but was laid off in December 2004 by LMPD Police Chief Robert White. The department said it was eliminating her position. However, LMPD later hired someone else to perform similar duties.

-SNIP-

“Finally, errors in judgment have been noted,” Smith wrote. “To reduce discretion in critical areas, (Kramer) has been requested to develop a manual for her office that will provide guidelines on the release of information to the public and news media. Her immediate supervisor and myself will approve these guidelines.”

Multiple sources tell WDRB News that the JCPS investigation centers around inappropriate comments Kramer allegedly made in regards to whether another employee is gay.

Which just reinforces a belief that Kramer got the job not on her own merit but by having well-connected friends pull strings for her.

And there’s this:

Hargens has not been available for comment about Kramer’s status.

But she’s allegedly being all Chatty Cathy with a school board member and his PR pal about the ordeal. Which means they’ll push out a distraction in 3, 2…

Way to go, JCPS.