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Metro Messenger Publisher Leaves Trail of Debt in Louisville

A warrant has been issued for the arrest of the publisher of the Metro Messenger, a local paper that has only two issues.

In June, David Rose explained to WFPL News that he created the Messenger to fill the void of ‘good news’ in Louisville media.

“We wanted to come up with print that focuses on stories that are positive, but also that impact the community,” Rose said.

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The first issue had an article on swim fashion and a retrospective story written by Rose himself that discussed the Louisville/Jefferson County merger with the Judge-Executive, despite the fact that his office yields little power on the issue.

Businesses bought advertisements for the paper, ads that probably won’t be published now that Rose is wanted by police and the Metro Messenger’s phone line has been disconnected.

Rose has been in trouble with the law before for writing bad checks and theft by deception.

But clients aren’t the only ones who lost money because of Rose. His business partner and ex-girlfriend claims she was scammed. She gave over $20,000 to Rose so he could keep his business, the D&R Group, which owns the Messenger. She wishes to remain anonymous and her lawyer, Kathryn Wallace, wouldn’t clarify exactly how much her client lost, only saying that it was “a lot.”

Wallace also claims Rose forged documents to make her client a “registered agent” with the D&R Group, which could make her legally responsible for the company.

“No, David put that on there and that was withdrawn,” Wallace says. “He did that! He went on to the Secretary of State’s website and inserted her name there.”

Wallace’s client met Rose at a New Year’s Eve party last year. Rose convinced her to invest in the company.

“Eventually their relationship changed to a personal relationship and he just kept sucking her dry.”

Wallace’s client realized something was amiss when she would put money into the Messenger’s bank account to pay bills, but the bills would remain unpaid. She looked into Rose’s past and discovered his criminal history.

The last time the investor saw Rose was July 15th, when she kicked him out of her apartment. She then hired Wallace and took Rose to court, but he failed to show up for his scheduled court date and can not be found.

Wallace says she has heard Rose was taken to the airport by his friend and employee, Michael Carver, and flew to California. But Wallace says she wouldn’t be surprised if Rose was still here.

Rose, Carver and the Metro Messenger have all disconnected their phones and could not be reached for comment.

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Louisville Experiences 12th Air Quality Alert

The Air Pollution Control District has issued an Air Quality Alert for Wednesday and Thursday in Louisville.

This is already Louisville’s 12th Air Quality Alert, compared to 19 all of last year.  There were only four the year before that.

“Especially with ozone, heat and sunlight are needed to form ozone at the ground level,” Matt Stull of the Air Pollution Control District said.   “So, when we see days with hot and humid conditions and combine that with stagnant air, you combine that with emissions from tailpipes, you have a buildup of ozone.”

With a weather forecast predicting more hot weather, it’s likely to cause more alerts.

“We’re looking at high temperature in the mid 90s and continuing on Thursday, maybe low 90s on Friday,” Ryan Sharp of the National Weather Service said.  “And Sunday Monday and Tuesday all look to be in the mid 90s.”

The air in Louisville is currently categorized as “unhealthy for sensitive groups.”  People with asthma, children and the elderly could be affected, and are encouraged to limit their time outdoors.

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Jury Rules in Favor of City in SWAT Case

Four years ago, Sharon Ramage was ironing clothes when she heard an explosion outside of her house. Shortly after, the then 57-year-old grandmother was tackled by men who had stormed into her home.

The Louisville Metro Police department’s SWAT team detonated a flashbang and broke in through the front and back door. The paramilitary unit was serving a search warrant for her son, who they thought lived on the premises. He actually lived at a different location.

Ramage is now in federal court seeking compensation from the department for property damage and pain and suffering.

“I haven’t worked since,” she testified while under oath.  “I haven’t been able to sleep. It’s not much of a life to live, not much of a way to spend time with the grandkids.”

Using a walker, Ramage told the jury SWAT team members slammed her near the fireplace, injuring her back and knee and breaking her toes. During the trial, her attorneys pointed out that 35 officers armed with rifles, bulletproof shields and an armored vehicle infiltrated the house, which were 11 more than it took to kill terrorist leader Osama bin Laden.

Detectives requested SWAT assistance in serving the warrant because her son, Michael, had a violent criminal history and an arrest warrant. Police also cite the house was fortified due partially to a 4 foot iron fence that encompassed the property.

But Ramage’s son didn’t have an arrest warrant, and the fence is made of wood and only goes around part of her property.

The jury listened to three days of testimony from the Ramage family, the detective who ordered the raid and a SWAT expert.

After deliberating for only an hour, the jury ruled in favor of the city, despite the fact that the city had not called anyone to testify.

Attorney Garry Adams, who represents Ramage, argued mistakes were made by officers due to policies put forth by Metro Government.

However, the judge threw out parts of the case concerning why SWAT was at the Ramage home, narrowing the case to how they entered, and whether or not it violated her Fourth Amendment rights.

Adams says he wasn’t surprised by the verdict.

“Nobody was really shocked because we all understood that it was a high hurdle to get over on this very limited issue,” he says.

Ramage, who has never been arrested in her life, was shaken by the trial.  She is hurt by the way the county attorney mocked and acted out her injuries, insinuating Ramage was faking.

After the verdict, she kept repeating that she was shocked by how much power the government has.

Her legal team will have to decide within 30 days if they will appeal.

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After Months, Berea Still Taking “First Step” on Human Rights Commission

Despite months of meetings on a proposed fairness ordinance and human rights commission, members of the Berea city council still say they’re taking the “first step” on the issue.

In May, the council first considered passing an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation and creating a commission to educate the public. A subcommittee was formed to research and inform the rest of the council on the two ideas.

Some expected the council would vote on the ordinance last month, but that didn’t happen. Instead, the subcommittee held two public forums and about eight meetings.  Tuesday night, the subcommittee will present their findings on a human rights commission to the council.  But committee member Truman Fields says there will not be a vote on whether to actually form the commission.

“We’re getting a lot of material, talked to a lot of people,” Fields said. “We’re going to do something pretty soon.  No, I don’t think we’re going too slow.”

The council will only discuss the human rights commission Tuesday. Two such discussions are required before a vote on an ordinance.

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After 30 Years, Miller’s Latest NBA Attempt Could Be His Last

As the NBA lockout nears the two week mark, players, managers and owners are no longer in talks about their franchises. For over thirty years, Louisville attorney J. Bruce Miller has been in talks to bring an NBA franchise to the city. But his latest attempt will most likely be his last.

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Bruce Miller’s law office is a hybrid of two of his fascinations: Greek culture and professional basketball.  Behind his desk sits a model of the Parthenon. Strewn around his office he has basketball jerseys and other basketball paraphernalia.  Miller has white hair and speaks with a slight southern twang. When I spoke to him, he was wearing an NBA lapel pin on his suit.

Bruce Miller’s obsession with professional basketball started when there were two pro basketball leagues—the ABA and the NBA—and Kentucky still had a professional basketball team: the Kentucky Colonels.

A year after the Colonels overcame the Indiana Pacers in the 1975 ABA Championship, the NBA absorbed the league. Miller was in talks to preserve the Colonels with the NBA’s outside counsel, David Stern, who is now NBA commissioner.

At the end of the talks, the NBA took 4 ABA teams. The Colonels were left behind.

Since then, Miller has put an enormous amount of effort and capital into bringing a team back.

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Coalition Hopes New Districts Increase Minority Representation

The Louisville Metro Council listened to public comment Monday night on redistricting based on the 2010 Census.

The Census revealed minority groups have become less centralized since 2000.  A coalition of local organizations is worried this could dilute minority representation. The group consists of a dozen organizations, and was formed before the Census was conducted. Members went door-to-door to emphasize the importance of filling out census forms.

But the coalition also sees this as an opportunity for minority groups to expand their influence.  Community activist Attica Scott, who represents the coalition, says she hopes to add a majority Latino district.

“At this point, we’re optimistic that the energy is out there, the interest is out there, numbers reflect the opportunity,” she said. “And now we’re working to build up relationships with our local Hispanic community to say, ‘this is what the numbers reflect, so now it’s time to build up that political power.’”

Hispanics make up roughly four and a half percent of the Jefferson County population. There are five districts with majority African American populations, and six black members of the Metro Council.

The coalition proposes holding several public sessions with the community state legislators, council members and school board members to discuss the issue.

The Metro Council will hold another redistricting meeting on July 25.

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Stolen Altarpiece Handed Over to US Government

After spending 40 years at Louisville’s Speed Art Museum, a stolen 14th century work is going home.

The Speed Art Museum bought the piece from a New York Gallery in 1973 for 38 thousand dollars, not realizing the Italian art was stolen from a home in Italy two years earlier.

The work is a three panel altarpiece.  The center panel depicts the Madonna and Child, with the other panels portraying various saints and the crucifixion.

The United States government will hand it over to the Italian government, which will decide whether or not to return it to the family that was burglarized.

Museum Director Charles Venable said at a handover ceremony that it’s often difficult to verify the authenticity of stolen art.

“How many of you have ever been to an antique’s mall?  You can raise your hand, you’re not going to be arrested,” Venable said to the crowd of about 50 people.  “And if you’ve ever bought something at an antique’s mall, how do you really know where that object came from?  There are a lot of objects in the world, and it’s very hard to know where they are every single day.”

An Italian art researcher discovered the work was stolen using an online database in 2009.

The Speed museum has been reimbursed for the full 38 thousand dollars by the New York gallery.  The piece will remain available for viewing until Sunday afternoon.

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Mayor Will Sign Fireworks Ordinance, Budget

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says he will sign the fireworks ordinance passed by the Metro Council Thursday night.  The ordinance will allow the sale of fireworks permitted by state law, but says they cannot be set off by minors or within 200 feet of another person or building.  Mayor Fischer says the new state law that loosens restrictions on fireworks has put them in a tough spot.

“This ordinance that was passed last night is tighter than state law,” he said.  “So if that ordinance doesn’t pass, it defaults to the looser state law.”

Mayor Fischer says he will sign it for that reason, but is heartened that the council will study the ordinance further to see how to improve public safety.

The mayor also announced he will sign the budget approved by the council.  The 500 million dollar budget adds about 2.5 million in spending for various agencies to the original plan submitted by Mayor Fischer.  He says he can go along with the changes.

“The metro council looked at our revenue, and they thought they found a few spots where the additional 2.5 million dollars could come in,” the mayor explained. “It’s one-half of one percent of our revenue forecast, so I’m fine with that.”

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Berea Delays Making Decision on Fairness Ordinance

On Tuesday night, the Berea City Council announced it will take longer than expected to come to a decision about the possibility of a city fairness ordinance.  The council has held public forums on the ordinance, which would prohibit discrimination in the workplace and housing market due to sexual orientation and gender identity.

“It’s a very serious issue,” says Diane Kerby, who serves on the council.  “One that deserves as much time as it needs to make sure that we’re making the right decision and that we consider all the various comments and support.”

Chris Hartman’s Fairness Campaign has lobbied for the ordinance.  Although the decision will be delayed, he says he isn’t dismayed by the announcement.

“I’m not concerned that it’s not going to happen,” he says.  “Certainly I want the city to be certain that they’re moving in the right direction.  It’s just the legislative process sometimes takes longer than I’d like.”

Kerby characterizes the public’s opinion as split, with passionate voices on both sides.  She says the council will put off making a decision for as long as necessary and will use this time to consult legal experts.

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Local News Politics Uncategorized

Pride Festival Celebrates Victories, but Challenges Remain

Chris Hartman is standing on a rainbow float being pulled by a white Chevy Tahoe. Pulling the megaphone up to his mouth, he yells to the thousands gathered for the Kentuckiana Pride Parade.

“Friends, give it up for elected officials who voted for Fairness!” yelled Hartman, standing next to those who voted for anti-discrimination legislation in 1999. “And the Fairness Campaign co-founders! And give it up for yourselves for coming out to celebrate pride!”

The Pride Foundation chose Hartman to be the grand marshall of the parade, which serves as an annual celebration for the LGBT community.

“So many of us have grown up together that this is really like a family reunion. We look forward to this day every year,” said Darren Morgen, who is part of the Pride Foundation. “Chris Hartman, he’s doing a good job representing those people not necessarily receiving equality.”