Local News

Biden Visits Louisville's GE Plant

By Rick Howlett

Vice-President Joe Biden was in Louisville Monday to tout the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

Biden delivered a 25 minute speech at General Electric’s Appliance Park. The company is getting nearly $25 million in tax credits under the program to help retool the facility for lines of energy efficient appliances.

“The only way we can make our economy grow is to create jobs and that requries a vibrant private sector to put paychecks in people’s pockets, help develop these new industries if we’re going to survive and lead, particularly in the area of clean energy,” Biden told dozens of workers and local officials gathered in Appliance Park Building 3.

Biden said that federal investment in private industry is not a new concept; it was government seed money, he said, that got the country’s railroad system off the ground in the 19th century.

The Vice-President also attended a southern Indiana fundraiser for Congressman Baron Hill, who faces Republican Todd Young in the November general election.

There were some tense moments toward the end of Biden’s speech when General Electric Appliances and Lighting CEO Jim Campbell apparently fainted in the sweltering building and fell from the stage.     Campbell was quickly helped to his feet and taken to a hospital for observation.

Local News

States Seek Federal Funds For Two Bridge Projects

Kentucky and Indiana officials are teaming up to apply for federal stimulus funds to complete two bridge projects on the Ohio River.

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transportation are asking for $95 million to replace the 80 year old Milton-Madison Bridge, and another $25 million for the project to tranform the old Big Four Railroad Bridge into a pedestrian walkway linking Louisville’s Waterfront Park and Jeffersonville, Indiana.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesperson Chuck Wolfe says the funds being sought come from a $1.5 billion grant pool set aside for projects that can be completed by 2012.

“Kentucky and Indiana, by teaming up, we feel it adds some strength to the application and shows broad support for these two projects,” Wolfe said.

Wolfe says it will likely be several months before there’s an answer from the federal government.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Indiana Groups Get Federal Stimulus Funds

The Indiana Arts Commission has announced that organizations working in the arts are receiving grants to help preserve jobs. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer has more.

Twenty-four groups throughout Indiana are getting grants totaling more than $500,000 to fund staff positions that are essential to their arts-related missions. The National Endowment for the Arts is providing the money under the economic stimulus plan enacted in March.

Sally Gaskill — of the advocacy group Indiana Coalition for the Arts — says the money is needed, given the recession and a recent 20 percent cut to the Indiana Arts Commission’s budget.

“Anything that the government can do, like the stimulus fund grants, certainly help to maintain these important jobs, because arts organizations are like any other employer,” she says. “They are responsible for paying taxes through their payroll and certainly those jobs are as important as jobs in the for-profit sector.”

Gaskill says arts groups need this support and more at a time when the recession is causing declines in revenues and contributions to arts groups.

She says constituents need to tell officials how these funds and others help communities.

“We need to continue to be vigilant about communicating with our legislators and other elected officials the importance that arts organizations and individual artists have to our economy, to quality of life, and to educating our children,” she says.

Nearly 65 percent of the grant money awarded through the Indiana Arts Commission and an organization called Arts Midwest was awarded to Indianapolis arts groups.

(Click here for a list of groups that received NEA stimulus money in Kentucky.)

Organizations Receiving NEA Stimulus Money through the Indiana Arts Commission
Fort Wayne Ballet, $21,300, Fort Wayne
Friend of the Frankfort Library, $25,000, Frankfort
Booth Tarkington Civic Theatre, $25,000, Indianapolis
Indiana Opera Society, $25,000, Indianapolis
Indiana State Museum Foundation, $16,000, Indianapolis
Young Audiences of Indiana, $25,000, Indianapolis
Muncie Civic & College Symphony Assn., $15,914, Muncie
Ridgewood Arts Foundation, Inc., $25,000, Munster
Northwest Indiana Symphony Society, Inc., $19,240, Munster
Richmond Art Museum, $15,544, Richmond
Richmond Symphony Orchestra, $15,544, Richmond
Sheldon Swope Art Museum, Inc., $25,000, Terre Haute

Organizations Receiving NEA Stimulus Money through Arts Midwest
Asante Children’s Theatre, $25,000, Indianapolis
Eiteljorg Museum, $25,000, Indianapolis

Receiving NEA Stimulus Money through the Indiana Arts Commission and Arts Midwest
Children’s Center for Dance Education, $25,000, Evansville

Organizations Receiving NEA Stimulus Money through the Arts Council of Indianapolis
Phoenix Theatre, Inc., $17,500, Indianapolis
American Pianists Association, $25,000, Indianapolis
Children’s Museum of Indianapolis, $25,000, Indianapolis
Harrison Center for the Arts, $7,500, Indianapolis
Heartland Truly Moving Pictures, $25,000, Indianapolis
Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra, $25,000, Indianapolis
Indianapolis Museum of Art, Inc., $25,000, Indianapolis
Music for All, Inc., $25,000, Indianapolis
Primary Colours, Inc., $25,000, Indianapolis

Arts and Humanities Local News

Kentucky Arts Council Awards Stimulus Funds

The Kentucky Arts Council has chosen 18 groups to receive grants with the money provided by the National Endowment for the Arts. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

The NEA provided the Kentucky Arts Council with more than $300,000 under the economic stimulus plan enacted in March. The plan defined the arts as an important sector of the economy. The council awarded the funds to groups to cover salaries for positions that were in jeopardy and are critical to an organization’s artistic mission.

Kentucky Arts Council executive director Lori Meadows says the money will do more than preserve jobs.

“In some cases we know that some organizations by receiving the funding from the NEA through the Kentucky Arts Council, they’re going to be able to continue programming,” Meadows says.

Meadows says that at several organizations the grants helped to save more than one job.

“In some cases, we know that, for instance, if an organization was applying for the executive director, that’s also going to retain other positions. And we did see that happen in some cases,” she says.

Groups applying for the grants faced stiff competition.

“We received $1.2 million in requests from 77 organizations,” she says.

The groups that received grants include four from Louisville and the Kentucky Repertory Theatre, which had been in danger of closing.

Three other Kentucky groups received nearly $60,000 of stimulus funds through the Southern Arts Federation.

(Click here for a list of groups that received NEA stimulus money in Indiana.)

Organizations Receiving NEA Stimulus Money through the Kentucky Arts Council
Paramount Arts Center, $20,000 , Boyd County
Owensboro Symphony Orchestra , $18,633, Daviess County
Living Arts and Science Center, $20,000, Fayette County
Kentucky Theatre Association, $7,200 , Fayette County
Musicorps/Music Institute of Lexington , $20,000, Fayette County
Mountain Arts Center, $20,000, Floyd County
Mayfield/Graves County Art Guild, $12,000, Graves County
Kentucky Repertory Theatre, $10,000, Hart County
Kentucky Opera Association, $20,000, Jefferson County
Walden Theatre Corporation, $10,000, Jefferson County
Louisville Theatrical Association, $20,000, Jefferson County
Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft, $20,000, Jefferson County
Center for Great Neighborhoods of Covington, $8,943, Kenton County
Behringer-Crawford Museum, $20,000 , Kenton County
Luther F. Carson Four Rivers Center, $20,000, McCracken County
Montgomery County Council for the Arts, $20,000, Montgomery County
Kentucky Music Hall of Fame and Museum, $20,000, Rockcastle County
Public Theatre of Kentucky, $20,000, Warren County
TOTAL: $306,776

Organizations Receiving NEA Stimulus Money through the Southern Arts Federation
Actors Theatre of Louisville, $20,000, Jefferson County
Paducah Symphony, $20,000, McCracken County
Pennyroyal Arts Council, $17,500, Christian County
TOTAL: $57,500

Arts and Humanities Local News

Arts Groups Get Economic Stimulus Funds

The National Endowment for the Arts has announced two Louisville organizations will receive direct grants as part of the federal economic stimulus package. WFPL’s Elizabeth Kramer reports.

The Louisville Ballet and the Louisville Orchestra will each receive a $50,000 grant from the NEA.

The two are among more than 600 groups nationwide and seven throughout Kentucky receiving such grants. The grants are part of the $50 million the NEA received from President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus package.

The Louisville Ballet’s executive director, Dwight Hutton, says the funding will definitely help the organization after recent declines in funding from the city.

“We’re going to spread it as far as we can, and we’re really good at doing that. It will help us achieve, hopefully, a balanced budget this year,” Hutton says.

The Louisville Ballet’s current budget is $3.2 million, with 45 percent of revenue coming from ticket sales.

Robert Birman is the orchestra’s chief executive officer. He says the money will go directly into supporting employment in the community.

“We’re applying all of the $50,000 to support musicians’ salaries for our summer classics season, which is both at Ballard High School and in Jeffersonville, Indiana,” Birman says.

This round of grants were made from nearly $30 million, for which the NEA received $120 million in grant requests from organizations nationwide. The other $20 million the NEA received through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act was distributed to state and regional arts agencies. The Kentucky Arts Council received more thatn $300,000 of that money and will announce grants to state arts groups this month.