Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth’s Mother Rescued From Flood Waters

The mother of U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., was rescued from a vehicle in a rising creek in east Louisville, according to his office.

The National Weather Service had issued a flash flood warning Tuesday morning and several roads in downtown and nearby the University of Louisville were closed. Edna Yarmuth, 85, was found in her car off Brownsboro Road after a three car accident. She was rescued by firefighters who pulled her from the vehicle, which had gone into the creek.

From Yarmuth’s office:

“Our mother is doing fine after today’s accident. Thankfully she was wearing her seat belt and has only minor injuries. She is in good spirits and will be home soon.

We want to thank the Harrods Creek, Worthington, and St. Matthews fire departments, as well as Metro Police and EMS, for their exceptional rescue efforts. We also want to thank all those at University Hospital, who are providing my mother with expert care.”

Noise & Notes Politics

Yarmuth Rips Romney Before Louisville Visit

Democratic Congressman John Yarmuth has harsh words for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, who is scheduled to visit Louisville on Thursday for a fundraiser.

On a conference call organized by the Democratic National Committee, Yarmuth highlighted a Romney campaign event at a shut down factory in Ohio. The presumptive GOP nominee tried to tie the plant’s closure under former President George W. Bush to President Barack Obama’s failure to re-open it.

Yarmuth says Romney should visit two Louisville plants to see that the Obama administration’s policies have resurrected manufacturing in the region.

“That was a factory that closed in 2008 during the housing crisis, and the policies and economic philosophy Mitt Romney would bring us back to,” he says. “I know he was trying to make the case that if the policies under the president were different, then that factory would be open. So I hope while he’s in Louisville he’ll go out and visit Appliance Park and Ford and see exactly what the policies of the Obama administration have done to revitalize manufacturing and add thousands of jobs in our community.”

Noise & Notes Nothing But Net Politics

Political Guru Larry Sabato Speaking in Louisville

Political science professor and author Larry Sabato will be in Louisville on Tuesday as part of a lecture sponsored by the Filson Historical Society.

Sabato is director of the University of Virginia Center for Politics and is considered a leading analyst and guru of American politics. In July 2008, he correctly predicted that Barack Obama would win the presidency within one vote of the Electoral College.

Judy Miller is deputy director of the Filson Historical Society. She says Sabato has a following in Louisville, but the group wants to get more people involved in the process.

“We offer this as an opportunity for the public schools and private schools trying to get young people interested and to reach out to a broad base. And hearing a man such as Dr. Sabato would be certainly an opportunity that’s pretty unique,” she says.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

LMPD Chief Challenges Residents to ‘Do Their Part’ Combating Crime

Louisville Police Chief Steve Conrad told the Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee on Thursday his goal is to make the city the safest in America, but budget constraints mean residents must do their part to make neighborhoods safer.

The chief has met with several community groups and local leaders since being sworn-in earlier this month and has challenged audiences to help officers make “Louisville the safest city in America”, but this was his first testimony before city lawmakers.

Council members asked the chief about adding more foot patrols, improving youth outreach and focusing on crimes surrounding the city’s growing number of vacant properties.

Conrad says blight associated with abandoned property can lead to violent crime, but that citizens have to take more responsibility to improve their neighborhoods

“We need to work as a community to address those signs of disorder that would send to anyone the message that we don’t care about our neighborhoods,” he says. “And I don’t know in these tough economic times that it’s necessarily realistic for members of our community to look to Metro Government to find ways to solve all of those problems. I think those neighbors have a vested interest in making sure that neighborhood looks good. And I think if they do their part we can work on doing our part.”

Local News

Activists Organize UofL Rally Over Trayvon Martin Shooting

Community activists and students at the University of Louisville are organizing a walkout and rally for Monday to raise awareness about the controversial shooting of a black teenager in Florida.

Last month, 17-year-old Trayvon Martin was shot and killed in Sanford, Fla., by George Zimmerman, a neighborhood watch captain who said the teen looked suspicious. According to the Sanford police report, Zimmerman was found standing over the high school student after telling officers he killed Martin in self defense.

Several protests have been held across the country calling for Zimmerman’s arrest and a federal probe is underway. Last Friday, President Obama addressed the shooting and said investigators will get to the bottom of what happened.
Mikal Forbush is one of the rally’s organizers and a program coordinator for the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace & Justice. He says the Martin shooting highlights the fact that African-American men are being targeted and he says all communities should address the issue.

“What we are hoping is this spawns a conversation in Louisville to look at how we see are young men, specifically are young black men and that a young black man because he’s wearing a hoodie does not instantly make him a suspect. He’s not something that should be feared because of his race or what he’s wearing,” he says.

Local News

Louisville Unemployment Rate Rises

The unemployment rate for the 13-county Louisville Metro area increased to 9.6 percent in January, according to the Kentucky Education and Workforce Development Cabinet.

The report issued Thursday compiles the figures for the region that includes southern Indiana and shows over 60,000 unemployed workers. In December, the Louisville jobless rate was 8.9 percent.

But officials say the unemployment statistics are more volatile because they are not adjusted for seasonal fluctuations in the job market. And economists point out the rate in January 2012 rate is far below the previous year’s number, which was 10.8 percent.

Unemployment in the Kentucky rose from 8.6 percent in December to 9.5 percent in January.

The U.S. jobless rate is 8.8 percent.

Local News

TARC to Unveil New Website This Week

The Transit Authority of River City will unveil a redesigned website later this week with a look that officials say will enhance visibility and improve scheduling pages.

The new website will also include a scrolling news section, links to social media sites and better overall visibility for users who want to access it at home work or on their mobile devices.

“It’s been several years since we’ve redesigned our website, and it’s time to give it a newer and better look,” TARC Executive Director Barry Barker said in a news release. “The new website doesn’t just look better, it functions better with some new features the public will really enjoy.”

TARC officials say all of the features the public has come to depend on that were hosted on the old site will remain, including online trip planning software by Google Maps, forms to make a complaint about service or general comments, the ability to purchase tickets and passes online and information about TARC3 Paratransit Service.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

First Lady to Host Obama Fundraiser in Louisville

First Lady Michelle Obama will be in Louisville next month to support her husband’s re-election campaign.

The Obama campaign has scheduled a fundraiser for February 23 at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage in west Louisville. It is expected to draw hundreds of President Obama’s supporters, who won Jefferson County in 2008 despite his overall unpopularity in the state.

The campaign is asking that supporters of the president buy either $100 tickets for general admission or $2,500 VIP tickets.

Last year, Mr. Obama tapped Louisville’s Matthew Barzun to oversee re-election fundraising. Barzun left his position as ambassador to Sweden to take the post.

Local News Noise & Notes Politics

Former LEO Weekly Editor to be Yarmuth Communications Director

U.S. Rep. John Yarmuth, D-Ky., has hired former LEO Weekly editor Stephen George as his new communications director.

A Louisville-native, George served as editor of the alt-weekly newspaper for two years and briefly worked for Yarmuth, who founded LEO in 1990, as a staff writer. The congressman sold the newspaper in 2003, but remained with the publication as a columnist until he announced his bid for Congress in 2006.

George will replace Trey Pollard, who has accepted the position of deputy press secretary for the national Sierra Club. After leaving LEO Weekly, George served as editor of the Nashville City Paper and wrote about political and government for the Nashville Scene.

He left that position to become press secretary for U.S. Rep. Jim Cooper, D-Tn., where he has served for the past three months.

George’s first day will be December 12.

Arts and Humanities Local News

Orchestra Says Musicians Have Accepted Contract Offer

The Louisville Orchestra labor dispute is over, according to orchestra management.

The management had extended what it called a “final offer” to the musicians. The orchestra board agreed to sign any musicians who remain in Louisville to a contract for upcoming seasons. However, by June 2013, enough players would have to retire or leave the orchestra to bring the ensemble’s size to 55 players. The management gave the players until 4:00 to accept the offer, and if they approved, the current season would continue next year.

The musicians said the deal was scarce on details and high on threats. They wanted clarification on which players would have to leave and other details of the proposal. After a day of meetings, the orchestra management released the following statement:

The Louisville Orchestra confirmed, late today, that counsel for the Louisville Orchestra Musicians Committee (LOMC), Chris Sanders, called the Orchestra’s labor counsel, James Smith, affirming that the LOMC has accepted the terms of the Louisville Orchestra board’s proposal to return to work.  The Louisville Orchestra board is awaiting written confirmation to this effect.  No further details are available at this time.

The musicians and management did not immediately return requests for comment.