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Indiana Counties To Get Federal Disaster Support

President Obama today declared a major disaster in the State of Indiana resulting from severe storms and tornados in April and May.

The declaration will grant Federal aid to supplement State and local recovery efforts in many affected Indiana counties.

Federal funding is also available on a cost-sharing basis for hazard mitigation measures statewide and FEMA said additional designations may be made at a later date at the request of the state, if they are warranted by the results of further damage assessments.

The following Counties have qualified:  Benton, Clark, Crawford, Daviess, Dearborn, Dubois, Floyd, Franklin, Gibson, Harrison, Jackson, Jefferson, Jennings, Knox, Martin, Monroe, Ohio, Orange, Parke, Perry, Pike, Posey, Putnam, Ripley, Scott, Spencer, Starke, Sullivan, Switzerland, Vanderburgh, Warrick, and Washington.

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Pecha Kucha Gathering Ideas, Followers

Louisville’s fourth Pecha Kucha Night was Tuesday, and Mayor Greg Fischer says he is eager for the next one.

The Mayor, who has attended all but one of the events, also had most of his staff present Tuesday at 21c Hotel to try and help them generate ideas.

“So I’m really trying to get the broader community involved, because it’s about big breakthrough ideas, I want the community thinking breakthrough,” the Mayor says “I want my team thinking breakthrough and that adds a little spice to the city.”

A Pecha Kucha event is a series of PowerPoint presentations, given in rapid succession. It was created by a group of architects in Japan who wanted to share ideas on innovation.  The events have become a common occurrence worldwide, and Mayor Fischer says he is excited about Louisville’s efforts with it.

“I want to see Pecha Kucha grow, it’s a lot like the Idea Festival, in terms of the culture of innovation, entrepreneurship, breakthrough  for the community,” says Fischer “so Pehca Kucha does that on a quarterly basis and a little bit of a different format. So we need more of this type of thing for Louisville.”

Each presenter at the event is given 20 slides that change after 20 seconds to keep the presentation moving quickly.  The presentations can be on anything, and Tuesday night’s topics ranged from architectural sketching to an improved transit system for the city.

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Four Tornados Confirmed Wednesday Night

The National Weather Service storm survey crews have confirmed at least four tornados struck parts of Louisville last night.

The first tornado struck around 8 pm last night, and Meteorologist Ted Funk says it was the most significant.

“Based on our storm survey,” says Funk “the heaviest damage was near the intersection of Floyd Street and Central Avenue, again there was a large industrial building that had heavy damage and estimates of wind in that area were 120 MPH.”

That tornado was rated an EF-2 and touched down near Churchill Downs before dissipating near the UofL football stadium.  An EF-1 tornado was also recorded east of Jeffersontown, just before an EF-2 struck near St Edward Catholic Church. LG&E estimates only about 209 people are still without power.

Crews will continue to survey damage this evening moving towards eastern Shelby County.

To see updates on the survey crews’ reports click here.

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Isolated Strong Storms Cause Some Damage Wednesday Evening

Isolated strong storms swept through Louisville this evening with at least one suspected tornado touching down near Churchill Downs and the UofL football stadium.

There has been damage reported to some of the barns at Churchill downs but no injuries have been reported. Churchill Downs has announced that there will be no races on Thursday due to damage from the storm.  There are several downed power lines on Central and Floyd Streets.

LG&E is reported around 7,000 outages across the city at 9:30 pm.

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Aroldis Chapman Left in Louisville

The Cincinnati Reds optioned Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman to the Louisville Bats today.  Chapman’s 30 Day rehab clock ran out today, after being placed on the disabled list in May.

Chapman was called up to the Reds as a relief pitcher last season, where he set the record for fastest pitch ever recorded in the MLB.  But early this season he struggled to maintain his performance and was sent back to the minor leagues following an injury.

Chapman suffered some shoulder inflammation in May and he has since bounced between the triple A Louisville Bats and the double A Carolina Mudcats.

Chapman pitched a perfect inning Tuesday night  for the Louisville Bats, but Reds Manager Dusty Baker says he still needs to work through some issues.

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Community Action Partnership Announces New Small Business Loans

Mayor Greg Fischer today announced the first fifteen loans granted by a new Metro Government program, the Community Action Partnership Enterprise.  The program provides small business loans for micro enterprises, which are business with five or fewer employees.

The awards totaled $100,000.  If a business remains in operation for a year after the award, the loan is forgivable.

Adria Johnson is acting Director of Housing and Community Development with the Community Action Partnership. “We have really charged ourselves and one our main goals is to really bring people to a level of economic success, this is what it’s all about,” she says  “if we can aid in the economic recovery in our community then hopefully we can lessen the number of people who are coming through our doors for crisis funding.”

The first fifteen recipients are low to moderate income entrepreneurs who were also given a 10 week business development course before applying for the loan.

“Businesses range from lawn care, to therapeutic massage, to catering, to technology,” Johnson says “this is just really an exciting time in our department and in our community.”

Existing businesses may apply for the next round of loans before July 29 and applications for new businesses will be accepted in the fall.

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Metro Human Rights Commission Announces Support of Hargens

The Metro Human Rights Commission, today, announced their support of Dr. Donna Hargens, the new JCPS Superintendent.

The Commission had echoed the calls of the local NAACP for the JCPS School Board to re-open the search. But a week ago, the School Board went into closed session for almost four hours and came back only to announce that Dr. Hargens would be the new Superintendent.

The local NAACP chapter quickly announced their support of Dr. Hargens, and now the Metro Human Rights Commission has joined the efforts to welcome Dr. Hargens.

“It is our hope that with our new school superintendent in place,” says Comissioner Dawn Wilson “we as a community will be able to move forward together for a brighter future for our students.”
The two finalists‘ public appearances were marked by general unrest, but the community has begun to rally around Hargens.
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LWV Hosts Courts Reorganization Explanation

The League of Women Voters will host an event tonight to discuss the details of and reasons for the district courts reorganization.   Chief District Judge Sean Delahanty will present an outline of the plans, the League says he will give an overview that will be more easily understood by laypersons.

The changes are the result of an effort to cut down wait times and overcrowding, and Deborah Kent says the event is geared toward providing an explanation for people who are not familiar with how the system works. She says the League of Women Voters will examine the reorganization and invites the public to join.

The last major changes to the court system were in 1978.  The announcement of these changes was made on June 1.  The changes will be implemented on August 11 of this year.

The meeting will be held at the Lang House, 115 S. Ewing Ave, at 6 pm.

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American Printing House Partners With Imagination Library

The American Printing House for the Blind on Frankfort Avenue has partnered with the Dollywood Foundation to print books that will be distributed to children under five across the country.

The foundation’s Imagination Library program sends a free book each month to promote reading before entering school.  The program will now be able to offer their books with a Braille overlay for children or parents who are blind.

Six-year-old Cameron Burkett is blind, and her father, Bradley, says she has struggled to learn to read with limited exposure to Braille books.

“There was a little book, it was only like 8 to 10 pages and she memorized the whole book,” Burkett says “and I caught her because she was feeling her fingers across it and she was saying the end of the sentence before her fingers would go across the Braille.”

Bradley Burkett says these books would really have made a difference for his daughter.

“If she would have had them when she was younger,” he says “just starting to feel it getting use to the words when they’re being read to her, she would have probably started learning sooner, but for other kids, for free Braille books, cause you can’t just go to Wal Mart and get them; like for other kids it’ll be awesome for them.”

American Printing House embossed over 18 million pages of Braille last year, but also does extensive research and development on other educational materials for blind children.

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JCPS Names Hargens As New Superintendent

The Jefferson County School Board has named Dr. Donna Hargens as the new superintendent.

Hargens is Cheif Academic Officer of Wake County Public Schools in North Carolina.

The announcement comes after a four and half hour  school board meeting today, most of it was in closed session. Organizations, last week, called for the school board to re open the search following the two finalists’ public appearances last week.

The local NAACP chapter first called for a new search saying neither candidate was qualified to handle the student assignment plan issues facing Jefferson County.  The call was later echoed by the Metro Human Rights Commission.

“Our city’s goal should be to create the best urban school system in the country and I look forward to working with Superintendent Hargens on achieving that,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “It is time for entire community to rally around our school’s new leader and move forward together to create a world-class education system.”

Hargens served as interim superintendent for Wake County last year during a tumultuous controversy over that county’s student assignment plan.