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Frankfort Local News

Edelen Says He’ll Audit Private Medicaid Operators This Year

After months of mounting problems, State Auditor Adam Edelen says he will launch a full investigation intoKentucky’s statewide Medicaid Managed Care system.

Edelen created a Medicaid task force in February after taking a first look at the managed care system. He also gave recommendations to managed care companies, health care providers and the state on how to make the system run better in the future.

But with clashes between private Medicaid companies and healthcare providers ongoiong, Edelen wants to take a stronger look into the system.

“We will launch a full blown audit of the managed care companies based on the information that’s being gathered right now, we’re going to launch that investigation by the end of the year,” he says.

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Byline

Byline: MSD and Louisville Water Consider Merging, Mayor Fischer Wants to Ban Encampments in Parks, Parking Authority Boots Legally-Parked Cars

Friday on Byline, Erica Peterson explained the possible benefits of a full or partial merger between MSD and the Louisville Water Company. Devin Katayama and Philip M. Bailey talked about the Mayor’s proposed ban on encampments in parks, and what it means for the Occupy Louisville Movement. And Devin also gave us an update on the Parking Authority’s intention to boot cars whose owners owe on parking tickets.

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Categories
Local News Politics

Fischer Cleans House at MSD

In response to this morning’s scathing audit of the Metropolitan Sewer District, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer has announced a number of changes in the department.

Fischer is announcing the department changes this hour. So far, he has announced that:

  • MSD Executive Director Bud Schardein will retire this spring
  • Greg Heitzman, head of the Louisville water company, will serve as interim MSD executive director
  • Three MSD board members will depart, including board chairman Arnold Celantano

Fischer says he asked Schardein to retire. The board members volunteered.

WFPL’s Erica Peterson is at the announcement and will have the latest as it happens. Follow WFPL News on Twitter for the latest.

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Local News

MSD Pays $8,000 to Mitigate Archaeological Dispute

The Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District (MSD) is paying $8,000 to the state’s office of archaeology. The money will be used to study artifacts found on property where pipe construction has been completed.

The Army Corps of Engineers—which provided MSD with one of the permits used to run pipes through property near Floyd’s Fork—found that construction had disturbed an area of the site for further archaeology assessments. State archaeologists asked the district to stop until further studies could be completed.

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Local News

Louisville Adds Water Pumping Stations in Preparation for Heavy Rain

The Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District says four water pumping stations will be placed around the county this week.

“The grounds really haven’t had a chance to dry out and they can’t soak up any rain fall. And once November comes the rain starts moving in its more regular it’s a heavier amount and it’s a chain effect,” said Bud Schardein, MSD executive director.

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Local News

Controversial Bonus for MSD Director, Hearing Set for Indiana Secretary of State, Faster Electronic Processing for EPOs, Voter Registration Deadline Tomorrow: Afternoon Review

 

    • Victims of domestic violence will now receive Emergency Protection Orders (EPOs) more quickly in Jefferson County by using a new electronic process.

 

    • A November 23rd hearing date has been set for arguments on whether Indiana’s Secretary of State should remain in office. Charlie White is accused of illegally using his ex-wife’s address on a voter registration form when he declared his candidacy. He contends that was his primary residence at the time.

 

  • The Kentucky secretary of state is predicting low turnout for the general election, but state officials are still encouraging residents to register to vote before the deadline expires Tuesday. During the May primary, voter turnout was an abysmal 10 percent and many expect a similar result due to the wide margin in the governor’s race.
Categories
Local News Politics

Fischer Waiting for Auditor’s Report Before Passing Judgement on MSD

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer is waiting until a state auditor’s review of the Metropolitan Sewer District is complete before making any judgements on a new controversy in the agency.

MSD Executive Director Bud Schardein is set to receive a $200,000 bonus from a hidden trust fund. MSD officials say the compensation is standard to retain directors, but critics say it’s unusual for public officials to receive such hefty payouts.

Some Metro Council members have called for increased oversight and accountability of the MSD board, which is appointed by the mayor.

“I think it’s continuing to have the board recognize they’ve got a darn responsibility. They have a responsibility to the ratepayers and it’s not a club anymore,” says Councilman Kelly Downard, R-16.

But any changes will likely have to wait until the review Fischer asked State Auditor Crit Luallen to conduct is complete.

“The mayor doesn’t want to draw any conclusions before he sees that audit,” says Fischer spokesman Chris Poynter. “So we’re waiting on those results.”

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State of the News

JCPS Student Assignment Ruling, Alleged Misuse of Medicaid Funds at UofL Med School, and Changes in College Football Conferences: Today on State of the News

Segment A: We’ll speak with WFPL’s news staff about the stories they covered this week – including today’s ruling that JCPS parents have the right to enroll their children in the closest school.

Segment B: The Courier-Journal’s environmental reporter, James Bruggers, will join us to review his long-continuing coverage of the Metropolitan Sewer District. Then we’ll speak with Deborah Yetter from the C-J about allegations that Medicaid funds were misused at UofL’s medical school.

Segment C: The college football conferences are changing, and we’ll check in with Holly Anderson from Sports Illustrated and the C-J’s Eric Crawford to see why the realignment happened and what the long-term implications may be. We’ll also look ahead to this weekend’s games.

Categories
Environment Local News

City Says Ohio River Fish Kill Wasn’t Caused by Chemical Spill

City officials have determined that a mysterious sheen on the Ohio River two weeks ago was not caused by a chemical spill. But though they’ve ruled that out, the evidence is inconclusive.

The Metropolitan Sewer District sent several of the Asian Carp that were found dead in the river out for tissue analysis. And according to MSD Regulatory Services Director Brian Bingham, they found….nothing.

“We had a number of tests performed on some of the fish we found that were dead in the area and of all the tests we had run, none of them came back with any chemicals or any metals or any cause of their deaths,” he said.

Bingham says if the fish had been killed by a chemical spill, it would have shown up in the tissue sample. The lack of evidence suggests the fish were killed either by a sudden temperature change or a lack of oxygen, which could have been caused by an algae bloom. Algae blooms are fed by nutrients, like pollution.

“Algae blooms occur all the time in the Ohio,” Bingham said. “Algae blooms that actually kill fish are fairly rare. From our experience, they usually occur during the hotter, dryer periods of time. So it’s a combination of the temperature change and the algae bloom that depletes the oxygen.”

The MSD has closed its investigation into the incident, but Bingham says if any more dead fish are found, the agency may analyze water samples.

Categories
Environment Local News

Algae Bloom May Be Cause of Ohio River Fish Kill

The head of the Metropolitan Sewer District says the fish kill on the Ohio River last night may have resulted from an algae bloom, rather than a chemical spill as was previously reported.

The sheen on the Ohio River was noticed south of Rubbertown by cameras at Dow Chemical’s plant, and about 20 Asian Carp were found dead. It was initially thought to be a chemical release from somewhere upriver, but water sampling by three separate entities was negative.

Now, MSD Executive Director Bud Schardein says the culprit could actually be an algae bloom, which suffocated the fish.

“We get warm weather temperatures for several days and the algae starts growing from the nutrients in the water,” he said. “And then usually after you have a rain event—and we had about an inch and a half or two inches of rain yesterday—these blooms turn over and any fish that are around them usually suffocate for lack of oxygen in the water.”

But the weather isn’t the only cause– excess pollution and nutrients can also cause a bloom.

“We use a lot of fertilizers,” Schardein said. “I know we talk about the dead zone in the Gulf of Mexico, and that’s just basically the result of nutrients that have washed downstream. And along the way, once they’ve warmed up sufficiently with water temperature, they start creating algae.”

MSD won’t know for sure if algae is to blame until the fish tissue is tested, and results should be ready in a few days.