City Investigates Overtime Pay, Autism Linked to Traffic Fumes, Kentucky Law Experts Recommend Death Penalty Moratorium: Today on Here and Now

by Laura Ellis on December 8, 2011

1:06pm: Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is investigating the city’s overtime pay to Metro employees. The administration has found that about ten percent of the city’s workforce earned $15,000 or more in overtime last year, with some employees effectively doubling their salaries. The amount of money paid for overtime is in the millions of dollars. Some of it is scheduled, but city officials say they’re certain that overtime pay is also being abused. WFPL’s Gabe Bullard and Phillip M. Bailey have been covering the story and they’ll tell us what they’ve learned.

1:12pm: Tiny carbon particles commonly found in car and truck exhaust have long been studied for their role in heart disease, cancer, and respiratory illnesses. Now an increasing number of studies are linking vehicle exhaust to other problems, including autism. Children in high traffic areas around the world do worse on intelligence tests and have more emotional problems than their peers who breathe cleaner air. In a California study, children born to mothers living within 1,000 feet of a major road in were twice as likely to have autism. We’ll find out what these numbers mean and what the implications are for children’s health in the future.

1:35pm: The American Bar Association and a team of Kentucky law professionals have released a two-year study on death penalty procedures in the commonwealth. In light of the results, they have now recommended that the state halt all executions until their recommendations are addressed. Linda Ewald, a retired faculty member from the Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville who was on the team, told WFPL’s Devin Katayama there are several deficiencies in the state’s capital punishment system.

1:49pm: We’ll meet the musicians in the band Zili Misik. They spend much of their time in the Boston area, but their minds are in Haiti. After learning about the music and culture of the country in college, band founder Kera Washington brought the group together about a decade ago to showcase Haitian traditions. “We very much want to bring Haiti back in the conversation about how important and how rich it’s culture is, not just what it needs, but what it gives,” she told Here & Now’s Robin Young. And after the 2010 earthquake, the group started raising money through their performances for earthquake recovery. They also started Project Misik, which donates instruments to school children in Haiti.

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