Indiana Agency Gathering Information For Raw Milk Study

From the Associated Press:

An Indiana agency conducting a study on the sale of raw milk is asking state residents to weigh in.

The Indiana State Board of Animal Health is planning a virtual public hearing from June 1st through Sept. 1st, when people can express their thoughts.

Contributors also can offer suggestions for any potential change to Indiana law, which doesn’t allow the sale of raw milk. Those who submit comments must provide a name and contact information.

Supporters of raw milk contend that pasteurization, which kills harmful bacteria and extends shelf life, depletes milk of beneficial nutrients. The dairy industry and other opponents contend the threat of E. coli or salmonella should take precedence.

The final report by the Board of Animal Health will provide guidance to lawmakers in the 2013 Indiana General Assembly.

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Kentucky’s Gatton Academy Named Nation’s Top Public High School, But Can It Be Replicated?

Newsweek Magazine has again compiled a list of the best high schools in the country, and a Kentucky school is on top.

To call the Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science a high school, you’d have to suspend an element of reality. You’ll find no football games, pep rallies, or dismissal bells on the Kentucky campus. Instead you’d find couches designed for study halls and white boards scribbled with advanced math. Last week, one student even walked around campus in a t-shirt proclaiming, “Extreme science: What a rush.”

TARC Approves Fare Increases, Service Reductions Under Review

The board of directors for the Transit Authority of River City approved across-the-board fare increases that will take effect July 1 to help offset a projected $4.6 million budget shortfall.

Base fare for a one-way trip will increase from $1.50 to $1.75 and a monthly pass will cost $50 compared to the current $42 rate. The cost for individuals with disabilities who use TARC3 services will also go up from $2.50 to $3.00.

TARC Executive Director Barry Barker says riders are rightfully concerned, but those upset with the increase need to pressure elected leaders in Metro and state government as well as lawmakers in Washington.

“Essentially what I’ve told people is make noise. If this is hurting tell us about it, and tell your elected officials about it. Let us know what you need,” he says.

Continue reading “TARC Approves Fare Increases, Service Reductions Under Review”

Politico: Kentucky Fourth District Race Test for Paul

The Republican primary battle for Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District seat isn’t a national news story by any means, but observers are using the race barometer of U.S. Sen. Rand Paul’s power in the state.

From Politico:

In this comfortably Republican seat the primary to watch is on the GOP side, where tea party forces are confronting the establishment. Amid the crowded field of candidates, Sens. Rand Paul and Mike Lee are backing Thomas Massie while Davis and former Sen. Jim Bunning, who once held this House seat, are supporting Alecia Webb-Edgington.

Massie and Webb-Edgington aren’t the only candidates of note in this northern Kentucky seat – it’s a 7-candidate field — but they’ve won the most attention because of their high-profile supporters. Continue reading “Politico: Kentucky Fourth District Race Test for Paul”

Chosen Families and the Ballroom Scene: Jaison Gardner, Defining Fairness

Jaison Gardner describes ballroom shows as “akin to fashion shows, akin to a talent shows,” and says they started with LGBTQ people of color, mostly gay men and transgendered women, in 1970s and 80s Harlem.

Gardner was one the founders of our local ballroom community—but if you haven’t heard of it, he’s not surprised. “The ballroom scene has historically been an underground scene,” he explains, “much like hip-hop was back in its early days.” Continue reading “Chosen Families and the Ballroom Scene: Jaison Gardner, Defining Fairness”

Primary Election Information

The Tuesday primary won’t be the most watched in Kentucky history. The presidential nominations have been decided and turnout will likely be low (around 12 percent). There are many races for state and federal positions that are expected to end in landslides, or they’re between candidates who aren’t expected to unseat the other party’s nominee.

But there are several races of interest. Notably in the crowded Republican primary for Kentucky’s Fourth Congressional District, where Super PAC involvement and high-profile endorsements have made three candidates clear frontrunners to replace retiring incumbent Geoff Davis.

There aren’t any surprises expected in the commonwealth’s five other congressional districts.

On the state level, the highest profile contests are in the Louisville area and in northern and southern Kentucky.

There’s an unusual matchup in the 42nd Senate District Democrat Primary. That race pits incumbent Reginald Meeks against Tea Party leader Wendy Caswell, a long-time registered Democrat.

There are several interesting contests for Louisville Metro Council. Perhaps the most watched is the First District Democratic Primary, where four candidates are challenging incumbent Attica Woodson Scott.

Scott is hoping to be elected to the seat the council appointed her to after it removed Judy Green for ethics violations. The recent rash of violence in that district may change the dynamic in the final days before the vote.

In the 18th District, Tea Party candidate Marilyn Parker is questioning incumbent Jon Ackerson’s GOP loyalty, and the Second District contest may be influenced by a recent controversy surrounding incumbent Barbara Shanklin’s grandson, who was recently fired as her legislative aid.

These races and several others were all discussed in the most recent Noise & Notes podcast.

Polls open at 6 am and close at 6 pm. WFPL will offer special on-air coverage at the top of the hour and a liveblog as events unfold Tuesday night.

EPA Finds Contamination in All Homes Tested Near Black Leaf Site

Soil testing in the yards of fifty homes bordering the former Black Leaf Chemical site in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood has revealed levels of carcinogens in all of them. And nine of those homes had even higher levels of contamination.

The Environmental Protection Agency found toxic contamination at the 29-acre Black Leaf site in 2010, but scientists weren’t sure how far it had spread. Now, testing has revealed levels of heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic substances in 50 individual yards near the site. EPA On-Scene Coordinator Art Smith says all of the yards tested exceeded screening thresholds for at least one chemical.

“On the screening levels, it doesn’t mean that cleanup is necessary or that health risks are imminent. It just highlights potential chemicals that may need further investigation,” he said.

But nine of the homes tested had even higher levels of contamination, and exceeded a higher threshold the agency calls the Removal Management Level. These homes showed high levels of either lead or benzo(a)pyrene. In high levels, lead can cause intellectual development problems in children, and benzo(a)pyrene is a polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbon (PAH) and a probable human carcinogen.

Smith says it’s too soon to say if the levels are dangerous for the homeowners or how–or whether–the EPA will remediate the areas. Continue reading “EPA Finds Contamination in All Homes Tested Near Black Leaf Site”

Fairness Campaign Director Says Rutgers Student’s Sentence Is Too Light

The head of the Fairness Campaign says the the sentence is too light for a former Rutgers University student convicted of bias intimidation against his gay roommate.

Dharun Ravi used a webcam to spy on Tyler Clementi’s romantic encounter with another man. Clementi committed suicide days later, fueling a national debate over the effects of bullying.

Ravi was facing up to ten years in prison. He will serve 30 days, followed by three years of probation. Fairness groups across the country have weighed in on the sentence, with many saying it wasn’t enough.

“He was going to humiliate Tyler Clementi to such a degree that to pick up the pieces of his life would have been incredibly difficult. And the reality for Tyler Clementi is it was so difficult there was no way out except taking himself out of the world. Thirty days for that is not equal. It’s not justice,” says Fairness Campaign Director Chris Hartman. Continue reading “Fairness Campaign Director Says Rutgers Student’s Sentence Is Too Light”

Yarmuth Applauds Conway for Joining Brief Against Citizens United Decision

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., is commending Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway for backing the state of Montana in a case that revisits the U.S. Supreme Court’s controversial Citizens United ruling.

Two years ago, justices in a 5-to-4 majority rejected spending limits for corporations and labor unions within federal election law. However, the Montana Supreme Court made the opposite ruling earlier this year and upheld a century-old state law banning corporate campaign spending.

Attorneys are asking the justices to decide whether Citizens United case also applies to state and local elections.

“I applaud Attorney General Conway and his office for their efforts to limit the reach of the disastrous Citizens United decision and keep unlimited anonymous money from continuing to corrupt our political system,” Yarmuth said in a news release. “Special-interest groups that aren’t accountable to voters have already spent millions of dollars on federal elections this year, jamming the airwaves with attack ads. Without a change to the law, we can only expect more spending, more negativity, and less accountability.”

Continue reading “Yarmuth Applauds Conway for Joining Brief Against Citizens United Decision”

‘Hush’ Author Woodson Headlines Spalding Festival of Writing

Acclaimed children’s book author Jacqueline Woodson will speak this week at Spalding University. Woodson is the award-winning author of more than 20 books for children and young adults, which have been honored by the Newbery, Caldecott and Coretta Scott King awards.

As the Diane M. Raab Distinguished Writer in Residence, Woodson headlines Spalding’s Festival of Contemporary Writing, which began Saturday and runs through this weekend. Woodson’s book “Hush” is the university’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing book in common for the spring semester. She will read from and discuss “Hush” and her other works during her talk Thursday in Spalding’s auditorium. Continue reading “‘Hush’ Author Woodson Headlines Spalding Festival of Writing”