Thanks to Stu Johnson, Kentucky Public Radio
Kentucky farmers are concerned about an early drought that’s affecting western and central sections of the state.
A level one drought has been declared for 24 counties, meaning conditions have developed that affect soil moisture and vegetative health.
University of Kentucky Agricultural Meteorologist Tom Priddy says the drought could quickly settle into other areas of the state.
“Now everything’s still pretty green, but it won’t take long, without getting a good shot of rain. And you know we’d like to have an inch of rain a week for agriculture. And we’re not getting that. Even in the Bluegrass area we’re not getting that,” Priddy said.
Priddy says the dry conditions starting to take a toll on some western Kentucky corn crops.
The outlook for the next ten days shows warm temperatures and only a slight chance of rain for much of the commonwealth.
(Drought monitor map courtesy of National Drought Mitigation Center)
Soil testing in the yards of fifty homes bordering the former Black Leaf Chemical site in Louisville’s Park Hill neighborhood recently revealed carcinogenic chemicals in all of them. The Environmental Protection Agency found toxic contamination at the 29-acre Black Leaf site itself in 2010, but scientists weren’t sure how far it had spread beyond site boundaries. Now, testing has revealed levels of heavy metals, pesticides and other toxic substances in some 50 private yards near the site.
Friday on Byline, WFPL’s environment reporter Erica Peterson sat down with Metro Councilman David James to discuss the findings and what approaches the EPA may take to address the problem.
Friday on Byline WFPL’s Political Editor Phillip Bailey provided review and analysis of Mayor Greg Fischer’s austere budget plan for 2012-13. 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. Metro Government had faced a $20 million shortfall in the coming fiscal year, but filled that hole with $13.5 million in projected revenue estimates and selling two downtown parking lots to the Parking Authority of River City for $10.7 million. Metro Council members will hold budget hearings over the next month.
The brazen shootings in west Louisville’s Parkland neighborhood is still being felt almost two weeks later, with a new task force being formed by the mayor’s office to deal with long-term violence.
Several city leaders and community activists have held press conferences to discuss the matter, but there are still many unanswered questions about the incident itself.
What led to a shooting that left three dead and three injured? What role did gang affiliations or past conflicts play, if any? And how does the city’s public safety policies in Metro Police and the Commonwealth’s Attorney office impact these sorts of events?
For this week’s show, I sat down The Courier-Journal‘s crime reporter Jessie Halladay, LIFE Institute CEO Eddie Woods and defense attorney Brandon Lawrence.
On Thursday, Mayor Greg Fischer unveiled his proposed city budget for the fiscal year beginning July 1st. The mayor had warned that it would be an austere spending plan; metro government has been faced with a multi-million dollar shortfall. Phillip M. Bailey covered the story for WFPL and joined us Friday on Byline to explain where the city’s money will go, and why.
Tuesday’s primary election set the stage for November’s general election here in Kentucky and nationally. WFPL’s Gabe Bullard and KPR’s Kenny Colston joined Phillip later in the segment to talk about election results—from undecided voters in the presidential election to who will serve on the Metro Council.
This weekend marks the beginning of Spalding University’s Master of Fine Arts in Writing program’s semi-annual residency. Alumni Albert DeGenova and Pamela Steele are in Louisville as part of the residency, and they joined WFPL’s Erin Keane and Rick Howlett on Friday’s Byline to talk about their work. DeGenova’s book, Postcards to Jack, is a series of poems about traveling and place, some of which are addressed to Jack Kerouac. Pamela Steele’s novel, Greasewood Creek, is a love story, but also a book about loss.
We began Byline today with an in-depth discussion of soil test data from the neighborhood surrounding the Black Leaf Chemical site in the Park Hill area of West Louisville. The tests were conducted by the EPA and revealed some carcinogenic and suspicious chemicals, but full results were not revealed to the public. District 6 Councilman David James joined WFPL’s environment reporter Erica Peterson to review the what is known and what’s ahead.
Mayor Greg Fischer released his proposed city budget yesterday. Phillip Bailey went over it in detail in the second segment of Byline. Following that, the rest of the WFPL News team dropped in to review other major Metro stories of the week, including a wrap of the recent Kentucky primary elections.
We then heard part of an interview with Courier-Journal publisher Wesley Jackson (the full interview will air on Monday, May 28 during Here and Now). He describes the financial challenges at the CJ and provides details on the website paywall that Gannett is implementing at their newspapers in hopes of providing needed revenue.
Finally, WFPL’s Arts and Humanities reporter Erin Keane sat down with two writers, Pamela Steele and Albert DeGenova, who are in Louisville for the Spalding University Festival of Writing. Each read from recent works and discussed inspirations, technique, and other aspects of their writing.
Louisville Gas and Electric has begun building a wall near its coal ash landfill at Cane Run.
The wall will be made substantially out of the same material the landfill is: a mixture of flue gas desulfurization sludge and coal ash that’s concrete-like. Right now the company’s landfill resembles gently-sloping mountains. But after the wall is built, it will allow the company to fill in the ash at a near-vertical slope, and fit more ash in the landfill.
The wall won’t expand the landfill either horizontally or vertically, and permits don’t specify a certain volume for the landfill. In an email, Solid Waste Branch Manager Ron Gruzesky said: “After an examination of the governing regulation, the DWM determined that this interior wall did not qualify as a permit modification. Therefore there is nothing to approve, and no public notice requirement.” Continue reading “LG&E Plans Wall to Maximize Capacity of Ash Landfill at Cane Run”
Mayor Greg Fischer has assembled a work group to address violence in west Louisville.
U of L Arts and Sciences Dean Blaine Hudson will chair the group, and the rest of the members will be chosen from civic organizations, government, churches and the business community. The group will first take count of all the youth services programs and charities in West Louisville. The next step is to create a crisis response team to help victims of violence.
The group is a response to two shootings last week that occurred minutes and blocks apart. In a statement, Police Chief Steve conrad said having a crisis response team on hand at the crime scene may have prevented the second shooting.
Bluegrass Boardwalk theme park is not on track to reopen next May and its unclear which of the large attractions that made the former Kentucky Kingdom park popular will be operating.
Members of Indiana’s Koch family, who also operate Holiday World, were hoping to open in spring of next year, but that relied on having a signed lease from the state last month, wrote spokeswoman Paula Werne in an email to WFPL. The group has been slow to secure the tax incentives it says it needs from the state to proceed with the project, despite having been approved for the lease by the Kentucky State Fair Board in February. Continue reading “Bluegrass Boardwalk Could Delay Opening Until 2014”