Local News Politics

Medicaid, Education, Infrastructure Share Most Stimulus Funds

Since February 2009, when Congress passed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, Kentucky has received $3.4 billion in stimulus funds.

So far, 68 percent of the stimulus money has been spent.  That’s the word from the Finance Cabinet’s Greg Haskamp, who briefed lawmakers on the status of stimulus money flowing into the commonwealth.  Haskamp says state and federal entities are keeping close tabs on how the money’s spent. 

“For instance at the state, we have agency reviews, cabinet reviews, Controller’s Office, the APA, General Assembly.  At the federal level, there’s Inspector Generals, the Office of Management and Budget, the Recovery Board, the White House, Government Accountability Office and also Congress.  So, there’s many people interested in the money and where it’s going,” he said.

One-third of Kentucky’s share has gone to Medicaid.  Another third went to education.  The rest has been directed to roads and bridges, health and welfare, the General Fund, water and sewer lines, job training, public safety, energy projects, transit and community development.

Local News

Appliance Rebate Program Underway

By Rick Howlett

Kentucky state government has begun processing applications for an appliance rebate program funded with federal stimulus money.

The state received about $4 million to offer in rebates to residents who purchase various Energy Star cerfitied appliances.

Program manager Virginia Phifer says the Kentucky initiatve began today.

“It is open to anybody who is a Kentucky resident who purchases from a Kentucky retailer and is replacing an older, less energy efficent model of the same product,” Phifer said.

Phifer says the rebates range from fifty to 400 dollars, and at least 22-percent of the funds have already been exhausted.

Information about the Kentucky rebate program can be found here.

Indiana officials say 41 percent of the state’s $6 million rebate allotment has been spent. Details about that program are here.

Local News

Pilot Project Hopes to Carry Out Protection Orders Electronically

by Stephanie Crosby

A new pilot project in Louisville will develop a program to request, approve and carry out domestic violence protective orders electronically. It’s being funded with a $170,000 federal grant.

It’s among 22 similar projects announced today that received a total of $1.6-million dollars in stimulus money.

Jefferson Circuit Clerk David Nicholson says speeding up the process to protect victims of domestic violence is crucial, because most victims wait until the situation is dire to report a problem.

“Once they do find the courage to come forward, every minute spent waiting for protection is full of fear and uncertainty,” says Nicholson. “It’s our job to do everything possible to make sure the intake process itself is not a barrier to victims seeking protection.”

The program is expected to be implemented throughout the rest of the commonwealth after a test period in Louisville.

Local News

U of L Center Gets Stimulus Funds

A University of Louisville-based environmental and energy efficiency program is getting more than $2 million in federal stimulus funds to expand its services.

State Energy Secretary Len Peters says the Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center will use some of the money to create nine new jobs there.

“These engineers and technicians will work with businesses to identify and implement measures that boost energy efficiency and help reduce the facility’s carbon emissions and at the same time save money because of the reduced energy costs.” he said.

Peters says 16 spinoff jobs could also be created as a result of the expansion.

Over the past 16 years the center has helped hundreds of manufacturing plants, schools and other facilities assess and improve their environmental impact.

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