Local News

U of L Extends Services to Help Low-Income Middle and High School Students Succeed

The University of Louisville has received a federal grant to help disadvantaged students prepare for college.

U of L’s Talent Search program targets middle and high school students and provides them with academic and personal counseling.

Roy Sutton is a counselor who plans on working with students from Western Middle School. He’s also a graduate of U of L’s Upward Bound program, which is similar to the new initiative. But with the Talent Search program, counselors will work in the schools to help students recognize that college is an option.

Local News

Kentucky Awarded Grant to Create Veteran Transportation Call Center

Gov. Steve Beshear says a federal grant has been approved that will help veterans find local, affordable transportation services, but it may be a year before the program is in place.

“So many veterans that are struggling to get their bills paid and just making ends meet, transportation often goes first,” said Pat McKiernan, Kentucky’s Department of Veterans Affairs homeless outreach coordinator.

“They can’t afford to pay their car. They can’t afford to get their insurance. So therefore they’re focusing on just keeping the lights on, keeping the rent paid, and this kind of transportation is essential,” he said.

Local News

Low Achieving Schools Receive Federal Funding

A second round of federal funds for persistently low-achieving (PLA) schools is being distributed to Jefferson County Public Schools.

Seven district schools are approved by the Kentucky Department of Education to receive one-year School Improvement Grant (SIG) funding this year. Education Commissioner Terry Holliday and Superintendent Donna Hargens toured Western Magnet high school today on Tuesday. Western is a first-round grant recipient. Students at Western touted its Early College Program and the support they receive from staff.

“That’s a big part of helping students master objectives, is to make sure they have some place for them to go—an expert teacher or a facilitator—to help them learn it. They talked a lot about the support of counselors and teachers and keeping them on track and motivating them,” said Hargens.

Principals of those struggling schools didn’t wait for federal funding to begin figuring out how they would improve their schools this year, said Holliday. Now over $4.5 million dollars is guaranteed to the latest list of Jefferson County PLA schools, he said. On that list is Doss, Fairdale, Iroquois, Seneca, Southern, Waggener high schools and Knight middle school.

Schools will now have the financial support to help create the student support they’ll need to pull test scores up. But Holliday was unable to confirm what might happen with the soon-to-be announced next list, or cohort, of PLA schools.

“We do anticipate and have reserve funds for year two. We’re more concerned with cohort three–if there will be any funds at all,” he said. The six JCPS schools that made last year’s list received $9 million over three years.

Students at Western Magnet High (pictured above) mentioned the effort and attention by school staff is one of the most important tools they have. And that’s what the money is for, said Hargens. The grant will pay for leadership training and develop structures so students can have the resources they’ll need to succeed.

Local News

Kentucky Supports JCPS in Common Core Standards

Kentucky is one of three states receiving a grant to help support implementation of the Common Core State Standards. Jefferson County Public Schools will participate in the project, which looks to create resources and set models for the state.

Kentucky was the first state to adopt the standards, which are meant to unify what students are expected to learn in math and English. The standards have since been adopted by 46 states and U.S. territories. JCPS is now one of the 12 districts that Kentucky has asked to be part of the three-year, $8.8 million project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.The  grant will support districts in measuring and developing the standards this year.

A recent survey from the Center for Educational Policy shows that many school districts have struggled with finding state-support in implementing the standards, said Nancy Kober, the report’s co-author. Many states have a plan, but lack resources, she said.

“When it gets down to things like providing guidance, the districts in our study cited that what they felt as inadequate or unclear state guidance is a major challenge in implementing the Common Core State Standards,” Kober said.

The grant should help. Over three years JCPS will work with the other districts to create ways to assess the standards and develop models that can be used in other areas of the state.

Kober said the survey was conducted earlier this year and many districts have since made attempts to better support the standards.

JCPS Superintendent Donna Hargens has included management of the standards’ implementation in her 90-Day Plan. And the board is scheduled to hear its role at a meeting next Monday.

Local News

JCPS Schools Get $1.57 Million Grant to Help Disadvantaged Students

Five Jefferson County high schools will split a five-year $1.57 million grant to help hundreds of disadvantaged students.

The U.S. Department of Education’s Educational Talent Search Program grant will help 750 Jefferson County students each year, said Mayor Greg Fischer. The program targets the following:

“Students who need guidance on and assistance in secondary school reentry, secondary school dropouts, students who are limited English proficient, students from groups that are traditionally underrepresented in postsecondary education, students with disabilities, students who are homeless children and youths, students who are in foster care or are aging out of the foster care system or other disconnected students.”

It will also help the city achieve its 55,000 Degrees goal by 2020, he said.

“You’ve got the reality of the world crushing down on you and we need help. So that’s where we need the mentors to come in and play and that’s where the Educational Talent Search Program comes in. It helps students remove these obstacles clearing the path to higher education,” he said.

Fischer was joined by Congressman John Yarmuth, D-3, and Superintendent Donna Hargens in announcing the grant to Kentuckiana Works College Access Center through the Kentuckiana Works Foundation. KCAC will receive $321,777 this year and $321,124 each year for Fairdale, Iroquois, Liberty, Valley and Western high schools.

Shermaine Johns, 16, has participated in the program for several years. She said her perception changed after visiting college campuses in Kentucky.

“I wouldn’t have toured a college in Kentucky. I didn’t want to stay here for college. But it was definitely a memorable experience with many different students from different schools and many different places that I wouldn’t have got to go to on my own,” said Johns.

Environment Local News

Federal Grant Goes to Carbon Capture Research at the University of Kentucky

The U.S. Department of Energy announced today that it’s giving the University of Kentucky a $14 million grant earmarked for coal technology research.

Carbon capture and sequestration is a process by which carbon dioxide is removed from power plant emissions, then injected deep underground. It’s controversial because it’s very costly and many of the available technologies decrease power plants’ efficiency.

But the UK Center for Applied Energy is working on developing a technology that could capture carbon more efficiently, and the Department of Energy’s grant will aid that research. Rodney Andrews, the center’s director, says their research focuses around channeling waste heat towards the carbon capture process.

“And so what we’re looking at is using some of the lower energy waste heat around the plant to do that, instead of having to have so much parasitic load on the plant itself.”

Much of the nation’s carbon capture research has stalled or been scuttled because it’s hard to justify the expense when there’s no government-mandated price on carbon. Andrews says it’s critical that universities and other public institutions fill the gap that the private sector has left.

“Developing these sorts of technologies takes a long time. Particularly if we want to do it where they’ve been proven and they’re efficient and all those sorts of thing. So, if down the road, we’re going to want to control carbon dioxide emissions, we need to be making these sorts of investments now.”

The research will use waste heat from the power plant to power the carbon capture process. It aims to remove 90 percent of the carbon dioxide while only increasing electricity costs by 35 percent.

The total cost of the project is estimated to be $67 million, which includes $15 million in non-federal cost sharing. There’s a four year timeline, and the nearly full-scale system will be deployed at a power plant in Kentucky.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Louisville to Receive $4.8 Million Bloomberg Grant

Louisville is among five cities chosen to receive money and assistance from the philanthropic arm of the Bloomberg company.

Bloomberg Philanthropies is giving a total of $24 million to Louisville, Atlanta, Chicago, Memphis and New Orleans. The money will essentially pay for brain power, through what the charity is calling innovation teams. They’ll work with local governments to address pressing issues identified by city leaders.

In Louisville, the team will take on two tasks: government efficiency and jobs. That means creating LouieStat, Mayor Greg Fischer’s proposed public database of most city information, from department spending to pothole locations and repair schedules.

The team will also look at Fischer’s plan for a so-called super region with Lexington. The two mayors proposed the idea earlier this month, and the Bloomberg grant will be used to research how an updated manufacturing industry can link the cities.

Louisville will receive $4.8 million from Bloomberg over the next three years. That must be matched by $2.4 million in local money. The mayor’s office says that will likely come from the general fund as well as local foundations and businesses.

Local News Next Louisville Politics

Grant Will Pay For 32 Additional Police Officers In Louisville

The Louisville Metro Police Department will soon hire 32 new officers with help from a federal grant.

The six million dollar federal grant comes from the Community Oriented Policing Services program and will fund the positions for three years. After that, it’s up to the next mayor to find the money to keep the officers on board.

Mayor Jerry Abramson says the city received a similar grant in the 1990s, and was able to find additional funds.

“We kept them on,” he says. “That’s the commitment and that’s the commitment on this one, to be able to, over the three years, gin up sufficient revenue so that we’re in a position to augment the police department by thirty two additional officers.”

Congressman John Yarmuth helped secure the grant. Police Chief Robert White says the new officers will be hired in the coming months.

“We pretty much have a pool of applicants we’re looking at, that we continue to look at, year round,” says White. “But I will tell you, certainly between November and June of this year, it is our hope to have a third class which will include most of the 32 positions we’ve been authorized to fill.”

Afterward, the department will have about 12 hundred fifty officers, which is more than have ever been on staff.

Local News

U Of L Receives Grant For Palliative Care

The National Institutes of Health has awarded a 1.5 million dollar grant to the University of Louisville for a new oncology program.

The program focuses on palliative care, which combines medicine, nursing, social work and religious education to provide broad care for cancer patients. Students in each discipline will be required to take new courses in palliative medicine so they can better work together to treat patients.

“Palliative medicine includes, but is not limited to, the traditional view of end-of-life care and hospice work. Palliative care starts the day of cancer diagnosis for all patients, focusing on the alleviation of symptoms in the bio, psychosocial, and spiritual realms,” says U of L Chief Medical Officer Mark Pfeifer. “It meets [patients] at their symptoms, their goals, their worries, their environment, their family. It combines everything, then, from advanced, invasive pharmaceutical procedures, to prayer and music.”

The grant will be paid out over five years as the program is developed.

“For the first year, we’ll be working on specific design details and complex curricular changes for the students. In years two, three, and four, we will implement the new model. And in year five, we will evaluate, refine and disseminate the program,” says Pfeifer.

Pfeifer says some palliative treatments are performed at U of L, but doctors, social workers, nurses and chaplains are not currently required to train together.

Local News

Family And Children's Place Receives Grant For New Facility

Kosair Charities Tuesday presented a two million dollar grant to the Family and Children’s Place in Louisville. The donation will go toward a comprehensive center for abused children.

Family and Children’s Place is seeking to renovate a building in Old Louisville to use as a new headquarters, and the grant from Kosair puts the charity near the halfway point of its 11 million capital campaign.

President Dan Fox says, once complete, the facility will combine a shelter for abused children with offices that provide legal and medical services.

“The crimes against children unit from Metro Police that deals with sexual abuse, all the criminal activities toward children; a special unit of Child Protective Services that deals with child abuse, child sexual abuse; we’ll have medical services here. We’ll have space for the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s staff who want to be here,” he says.

Fox adds that putting the offices in the shelter facility can prevent additional trauma.

“The child’s sexual abuse is the first trauma, then when it’s reported and the secret is finally out there can be another secondary trauma when the child has to go place to place and person to person and tell their story again and again and again,” he says.

Fox hopes to open the new shelter next summer.