Local News

No Highway Lane Closures Over Holiday Weekend

Because of the holiday weekend, highway construction in the state will be put on hold so that all interstates and expressways can remain open. That includes work zones on I-65 and the Watterson Expressway.

Spokesperson Andrea Clifford says the Kentucky Department of Transportation does not allow lane or ramp closures on holiday weekends due to the high volume of traffic.

Beginning at five am this morning and ending on Tuesday at five am, work zones must leave all lanes open. Clifford says there are some barriers in place at work sites and those will remain in place, but motorists will be able to navigate all Kentucky highways.

Local News

Four Indicted in Lottery Fraud Investigation

A grand jury today indicted four individuals in Louisville and Lexington on charges of lottery fraud.

The indictments are part of an undercover investigation by the Kentucky Lottery Corporation. KLC personnel visited various lottery retailers and presented tickets that, when scanned at a lottery terminal, would instruct the store clerk to award a prize.

KLC president Arch Gleason says there was reason to suspect certain retailers.

“The 33 locations that were visited for the integrity testing” Gleason says “were locations which were identified because previously there had been either or a complaint by a player concerning dealings at those locations or there had been through our computer system identified claims by those individuals.”

The indicted individuals told the undercover KLC employees the winning tickets were not, in fact, winners but later submitted them for payment from the Lottery Corporation.

The four individuals were owners or clerks at three retail locations, including a mother and son. None of them have been arrested and their arraignments will be Tuesday, July 5.

Commonwealth’s Attorney David Stengel says “KRS Statutes governing the Lottery, specify felony offenses and give specific penalties if those laws are broken, the indictments returned today reflect those statutes and guarantee the integrity of the lottery.”

Stengel also says these class B felony offenses carry a 10 to 20 year prison sentence and players should contact the KLC Security department with any concerns regarding prizes.

Local News Uncategorized

Food Literacy Project Opens Outdoor Kitchen at Oxmoor Farm

The Food Literacy Project at Oxmoor Farm will open a new outdoor kitchen today to further the program’s experiential education for underserved children. The kitchen is on location at Oxmoor Farm so that kids can follow the food from ‘field to fork’.

Project executive director Carol Gundersen says the field to fork idea is important to its mission because it furthers the children’s knowledge of the food they eat.

“It’s really about inspiring a new generation of people to build relationships with food and farming and the land” she says. “Giving young people a hands-on sort of sensory experience of the farm getting their hands dirty planting, harvesting and tasting the food.”

The Food Literacy Project takes kids through the process of growing and harvesting food to learn more about fresh, healthy foods and how it gets to their table.

The outdoor kitchen is the program’s first capital project since its inception, and Gundersen says the food preparation experience will greatly enhance the program’s position.

“You know in some ways I think we see the kitchen as more than just a building, although it is a lovely building,” says Gundersen. “In some ways it’s really a promise for our future and it says we’re here and we’re committed and we’re ready to deliver on our mission.”

Kids in the kitchen will be able to take the fresh foods they have harvested and learn to create their own recipes, which they will evaluate and refine by the end of their program.

The ribbon cutting ceremony will be held today at Oxmoor Farm, where the programs are held for schools, adults and community centers.

Local News

YMCA Accepts Donation of Philip Morris Property in West Louisville

The Greater Louisville YMCA has accepted a combined $1 million cash and property donation from Philip Morris USA. The company donated property at Broadway and 18th Streets where the YMCA will build a new facility in partnership with the University of Louisville.

YMCA President Steve Tarver says the organization was interested in the location, but it would’ve cost too much to buy the property.

“So, as a good non-profit executive I said have you ever thought about donating it, which was kind of a joke at first,” he says “so they came back when we declined on it and said well we’ve talked about it, we might be interested in doing a donation.”

YMCA will be partnering with the University of Louisville for this project so that the new facility can incorporate health services to specifically meet the needs of West Louisville.

“Number one we see huge impact,” Tarver says “first of all the area of health and health equity so we think of health not just as fitness, but we also think of health as economic stability, good educations and physical health.”

Tarver wants to incorporate as many aspects of community health as possible including a community garden, but the company must wait on the realignment of 18th Street before finalizing designs and beginning construction.

Local News

Qannik Tweets Arrival…Twice

The polar bear cub Qannik arrived in a UPS Boeing 747 last night in Louisville, and the news was reported by dueling Twitter accounts.  There are two accounts currently claiming to be none other than Qannik herself.  One is @QannikthecubLZ (Official Louisville Zoo account), the other is the rogue @QannikBear account.

Qannik was born in Alaska in January, in April she was separated from her family and was then rescued by the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage.  Last night was the first night she spent at Glacier Run here in Louisville, and according to Twitter, her keeper Jane Anne spent the night with her to ensure that she got acquainted with her surroundings okay.

Meanwhile, @Qannikbear is not Louisville’s first encounter with ‘novelty accounts’.  Another is the popular @fairdalebigfoot, listed as a feral Sasquatch advice columnist.

Qannik will be given some time to adjust to the new habitat and will be off display until she is ready. Meanwhile, she will be available via twitter for updates.

Local News

Bridges Public Hearing Draws Impatience, Complaints About Tolls

The first of two public comment hearings on the Ohio River Bridges Project was last night  in Clarksville.

Curtis Morrison with Say No 2 Bridge Tolls was in attendance to criticize the process.

“I have an issues with this being called a public input meeting,” Morrison said “when the governors and mayor got together and come up with a plan and they’re wanting us to give input on their plan, in my perspective that’s a little backwards.”

Most comments were directed at the tolls, but some people just wanted the bridges built.

Assistant Chief of Administration for Louisville Metro EMS Roger Parvin was on hand to argue that the bridges are a matter of safety. He says the traffic volume reduction on current bridges and alternate routes would make EMS more effective, so his purpose last night was clear.

“Let’s get the bridges Built, it’s time for it, we’ve been talking over this for years now,” Parvin says “let’s get them built and get this city rolling.”

Construction is slated to begin in August 2012, but the Bridges Authority is still waiting on the results of the supplemental environmental impact study to develop a financing plan.

The next public hearing will be tonight  from four to eight pm at the Holiday Inn on Hurstbourne Parkway.  Anyone who signs up ahead of time will be allowed to speak.  Speakers are limited to 3 minutes and will be drawn in random order.

Local News

Bridges Project Public Comment Hearings Today and Tomorrow

There will be public comment hearings today and tomorrow for the Ohio River Bridges Project.

Earlier this month, opponents of tolls welcomed cost reducing changes to the bridges project that were proposed by the Mayor of Louisville and the governors of Kentucky and Indiana. The changes would make the project slightly smaller and cut its cost by $1.2 billion, bringing the total price tag to about $2.9 billion. Previously, it was suggested that tolls would be used to pay for half of the project, and until a final financing plan is in place, it’s not clear how essential tolls will be for the revised plan.

The anti-toll groups say the reduction is just a step toward the ultimate goal of eliminating tolls altogether or making them as low and as infrequent as possible.

Today’s meeting will be at the Holiday Inn in Clarksville, Indiana from four to eight pm. Tomorrow’s meeting will be at the Holiday Inn Hurstbourne in Louisville on Hurstbourne Parkway, also from four to eight pm. Anti-toll groups are calling the comment sessions the “last chance to stop tolls” on the project and are organizing supporters to speak out. Groups on all sides of the issue are expected to be in attendance as well. Those groups’ missions range from stopping the construction of an east end bridge (River Fields) to cutting the downtown bridge and Spaghetti Junction (8664). There are a number of organizations that favor the project (most recently Kentuckians for Progress), and hope to have construction started on or before the projected August 2012 groundbreaking.

Pro-bridges advocate, One Southern Indiana member and businessman Vaughan Scott will be in attendance at today’s meeting. Scott bankrolled a short movie called “Building Bridges with Benny Breeze.” The controversial video was meant to use jokes to promote the immediate construction of the bridges project, but it drew criticism for its alleged use of racial stereotypes for humor. Most of the jokes were cut from the movie, and Scott later delayed the movie’s release, opting to show it publicly today after the meeting, rather than post it online as previously planned.

Local News

Polar Bear Cub Qannik Bound for Louisville Today

The polar bear cub Qannik (KEN-ick) is heading for Louisville today.  She was rescued in April by the Alaska Zoo in Anchorage after being separated from her family, and is now being adopted by the Louisville Zoo.

Louisville Zoo director John Walczak has been in Alaska with the Assistant Mammal Curator and Supervisor of Animal Training Jane Anne Franklin and veterinarian Dr. Zoli Gyimesi for a few days.  They have been working with the crews in Alaska getting to know Qannik and preparing her for her journey and her new home.

“Getting Qannik back and adjusted and healthy and just having a well socialized transfer is step number one, and out philosophy on all of this,” Walczak says “of course all along is whatever is best for Qannik is most important.”

Many zoos stopped harboring polar bears because of the high cost, but Walczak says polar bears may need more assistance as global climate change progresses. She will join a 26-year-old polar bear named Arki as well as a family of three grizzly bears in the new Glacier Run exhibit.

“Part of the plan was always to be able to help support the population in zoos but certainly the remnant wild population as well,” says Walczak “and  now here we are the exhibit has been open two months and I never would have dreamed that we could have helped the remnant wild population so early in the history of Glacier Run.”

Qannik will be brought back to Louisville in a UPS Boeing 747 scheduled to leave today on a direct flight back to Louisville. Mayor Greg Fischer first asked UPS to aid in the transport of Qannik, and Walczak says they have not only been masterminds of logistics in planning this trip but they are also providing the service as a donation.

Local News

Indiana Attorney General Responds To PPIN Lawsuit

Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller’s office filed a brief today in response to the lawsuit filed by Planned Parenthood of Indiana and the ACLU.  The lawsuit is aimed at overturning a new Indiana law that strips Medicaid funding from abortion providers.

There is already a law preventing public funding from paying for abortions, but the brief states that the new law is targeted at preventing the indirect subsidy of abortions.

The U.S. Justice Department has sided with the group, saying the state cannot limit Medicaid patients’ options for care and threatening that Indiana could lose all of its Medicaid funding if the law stands.

Planned Parenthood has been using private donations to continue offering services, but that funding ran out this week; and the organization has furloughed workers and begun a process of scaling back services until this lawsuit is resolved.

Local News Uncategorized

Kentucky Equality Federation Satisfied With Hazard’s Actions

The Kentucky Equality Federation has announced that they are satisfied with the actions of the City of Hazard and they will not be pursuing legal action.

“Today, after having additional conversations with the City of Hazard, our legal representation, and Hazard officials, we are satisfied with the actions of the City,” said Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer. “Kentucky Equality Federation was asked to intervene by Mending Hearts, Inc. to protect the interests of their clients.

The KEF also requested that gender identity be added to the list of non-discrimination rules at The Pavilion.  The organization also believes Hazard sets a positive example for all cities in both Southern Kentucky and the entire Commonwealth.