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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yates Praises Funding for Southwest Regional Library

Louisville Metro Councilman David Yates, D-25, is praising Mayor Greg Fischer for making the Southwest Regional Library a top priority in the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year spending plan.

City funding for the 40,000 square foot project is $9.5 million with another $3.5 million coming from the non-profit Louisville Library Foundation. Fischer is issuing a 20-year bond to pay for the new facility, which will be located in the Valley Station neighborhood.

From Yates’s office:

“This is a great day for the district and everyone in Southwest Jefferson County. We will long remember the day when the new branch opens its doors on Dixie Highway and changes the lives of children and adults in our area. I applaud the Mayor and the Board of the Library Foundation for raising the funds needed. The mayor has been a strong partner in helping get this done.

(SNIP)

I know since 2007, the Metro Council has made building new libraries a priority for our entire city. We have seen new branches at Newburg and Fairdale. There is a newly renovated Shawnee Library. As we move forward with the Southwest Regional Branch, I stand committed to ensure future library projects are built. It is an investment we cannot afford to miss out on.”

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Local News

UK President Capilouto Begins Blogging for Huffington Post

by Josh James, Kentucky Public Radio

University of Kentucky students may notice a familiar face among the blogger profile photos on the Huffington Post. UK president Eli Capilouto has agreed to blog for the highly-trafficked news site about issues involving higher education. University spokesperson Jay Blanton says the site was interested in featuring new perspectives on how universities can adapt to tight budgets.

“Certainly one of the issues that is being asked of higher education across is the country is what are you doing to be more affordable, what are you doing to be more efficient, what are you doing to be more innovative in a time of real economic uncertainty?” Blanton said.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Fischer Unveils Budget Plan With No Layoffs or Drastic Cuts

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has presented the Metro Council with his budget plan for the upcoming 2012-13 fiscal year.

The spending plan does not raise taxes and balances the budget without Metro employee layoffs or furloughs, and gives non-union city workers a 2 percent raise. Fischer was able to leverage private sectors dollars to help fund a $1 million summer jobs program for at-risk youth and $800,000 to purchase land connecting the Louisville Loop to Jefferson Memorial Forest.

Two-thirds of taxpayer dollars go to public safety departments and Fischer touts three police recruit classes in the budget. But one of those closes was held over from the current fiscal year.

The mayor also makes investments in key areas, such as a bond for the Southwest Regional Library, which the city will pay $9.5 million and the Library Foundation will raise $3.5 million.

“Some people don’t have access to online job listings that the rest of us simply take for granted. Some students don’t have the tools they need at home to complete their schoolwork,” Fischer told city lawmakers. “So the library is the great equalizer that makes sure everybody has a chance.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

McConnell Met With Romney

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., met with presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney in Washington on Wednesday, but sources are keeping the discussion quiet.

From National Journal:

A Senate Republican leadership aide confirmed the meeting, the first announced meeting this year between the two leading Republicans, but declined to comment further. Romney’s camp also declined to comment beyond confirming the meeting.

Romney met in March with Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., who is often at odds with McConnell, and House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis. Publicly, Romney has mostly steered clear of top Hill Republicans including McConnell and House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, but GOP aides say GOP congressional leaders have coordinated with Romney’s campaign behind the scenes for months, and the public cooperation between the former Massachusetts governor and Hill Republicans has increased since Romney’s rivals for the GOP nomination exited the contest.

McConnell endorsed Romney in mid-April.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Council Members Defend, React to Parker’s Surprise Victory

Louisville Metro Council members are having mixed reactions to Tea Party candidate Marilyn Parker defeating Republican incumbent Jon Ackerson in the District 18 primary race.

Earlier this year, a majority of GOP council members backed Parker over Ackerson after claiming the one-term city lawmaker too often sided with Democrats in key debates. On the council, Ackerson was considered a bipartisan member willing to work with both parties and was favored to win the contests.

But Parker worked the neighborhoods diligently and was able to oust Ackerson from office by a razor-thin margin of 37 votes in the east Louisville district.

Councilwoman Tina Ward-Pugh, D-9, says she doesn’t want to dismiss Parker and wants to welcome more women to the council, but that Parker’s controversial remarks over the years and Tea Party affiliation raise questions.

“Her cohorts around this town and around the country haven’t in my opinion shown their willingness to work across the aisle and not work in absolutism, in my way or no way,” she says. “So unfortunately she probably has that baggage coming in with her.”

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Wine Wins Commonwealth’s Attorney Race

Former Judge Thomas Wine has won the four-way Democratic primary to be Jefferson County’s newest Commonwealth’s Attorney.

Wine beat out Carol Cobb, Steve Ryan and Tom Van De Rostyne by more than 2,000 votes. Because no Republican is vying for the seat, Wine is expected to be the first new attorney in the top prosecutor’s office in 15 years.

Wine says his experience as a circuit court judge and appeals court judge played a role in his victory. Current Commonwealth’s Attorney Dave Stengel is retiring.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Meeks Beats Tea Party Candidate in State House Primary

State Representative Reginald Meeks thumped Tea Party challenger Wendy Caswell in Tuesday’s Democratic primary.

Meeks carried 80 percent of the vote in the race for the state House’s 42nd District seat, which covers parts of Old Louisville, downtown and the West End. Caswell is the founder and former president of the Louisville Tea Party, who said she has always been a registered Democrat.

Meeks said Caswell was a fraud and he pressured party leaders to file suit against her candidacy, though they never did.

No Republican is vying for the seat.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Shanklin Overcomes Scandal to Win Primary

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Barbara Shanklin has won a chance for re-election despite a scandal involving her legislative aide being arrested and jailed dozens of times.

A week before the election it was reported that Shanklin’s grandson, 28-year-old Gary Bohler, remained employed as her assistant despite multiple arrests for drug trafficking, robbery and domestic violence. It was also revealed that Bohler was paid while in jail at one point, and was still being compensated as a fugitive with active warrants.

Shanklin initially suspended Bohler without pay, but later fired her grandson.

In Tuesday’s Democratic primary, challengers Rose Robinson and Yvonne Woods split opposition to Shanklin, who won with only 48 percent of the vote.

No Republican is vying for the seat.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Scott Easily Wins District 1 Primary

Louisville Metro Councilwoman Attica Woodson Scott will likely retain her District 1 seat after winning a five-way Democratic primary battle.

The council appointed Scott to the position last year to replace former Councilwoman Judy Green, who was booted from office for ethics violations. Scott beat out her four challengers with 49 percent of the vote.

Scott says focusing on environmental justice and vacant properties resonated with voters, but that public safety is a key priority in the area. A rash of shootings in west Louisville last week brought new scrutiny to crime issues in the district.

The closest challenger to Scott was former police officer Ray Barker, who garnered 24 percent of the vote and won two precincts. Barker had run for the seat twice before and had also applied for the position in 2006 and 2010. He brought the initial ethics complaint against Green that resulted in her removal.

The election is for the remainder of Green’s term until 2014. No Republican is vying for the seat.

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Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Tea Party Candidate Defeats Incumbent Jon Ackerson In Metro Council Upset

Tea Party challenger Marilyn Parker defeated incumbent Metro Councilman Jon Ackerson in a tight Republican primary in the 18th Council District.

The contest caught observers’ attention after most GOP council members endorsed Parker over Ackerson, claiming the incumbent sided with Democrats in key debates. Ackerson led most of the night Tuesday, but final counts showed Parker beating the incumbent by 37 votes.

Parker will face Democrat Teague Ridge in the fall campaign, but the district is heavily Republican, making Parker the early favorite in the general election.

Parker says she wants to see major cuts to council discretionary spending and tighter ethics rules.

“One of the first things that I would like to address is the slush funds since we have a $20 million budget shortfall right now. I would like to address the slush funds, the discretionary spending that each council member has at their disposal,” she says.