Here and Now Local News

Here and Now Wednesday: Rain and Floods, the Obama Birth Certificate, West Louisville Neighborhoods

Here’s what we have planned for today at 1pm: The White House has released the long form version of President Obama’s birth certificate, showing that Barack Hussein Obama II was born at 7:24 pm on Aug. 4, 1961, at Kapiolani Maternity and Gynecological Hospital, within the city limits of Honolulu. Speaking today, the President said he hopes this will settle the issue for most Americans, adding that we do not have time for “this kind of silliness.” We speak with Rick Klein, senior Washington editor for ABC World News, and host of the ABC News political webcast “Top Line.”

MSD Executive Director Bud Schardein gives us an update on the city’s continuing battle with the rising Ohio River, and we’ll ask him how prepared the city is for a really big flood.

The Louisville Metropolitan Housing Coalition is hosting a summit tomorrow to talk about two problems plaguing the city: falling housing values, and the lack of affordable housing. It’s a problem citywide, but it’s most stark in West Louisville, where census data shows housing in parts of the California and Portland neighborhoods is 27% vacant. We’ll discuss the problem and look for solutions.

And here’s a sure sign of spring in the eastern US – spring leeks, also known as ramps.  They grow wild and foodies love them — love them so much they are in danger of being over harvested. Chef Kathy Gunst visits a place in northern New England that is bursting with ramps.

WFPL News Here and Now begins at 1pm.

Local News

Housing Coalition to Host Vacant Properties Summit

With lower property values and a lack of affordable housing plaguing the city, the Louisville Metropolitan Housing Coalition hopes an upcoming summit will address the growing crisis.

A January report prepared by the non-profit group revealed the majority of vacant homes are concentrated in west Louisville. The 2010 Census confirmed the report’s data and found swaths in the Shawnee and Portland neighborhood where 27 percent of homes were vacant.

Coalition program director Doug Magee says the summit is a chance for activists and business leaders to come together and develop creative solutions.

“We’re hoping that the summit is going to be an opportunity for both community activists and developers to take these issues seriously and talk to each other,” he says. “If there’s a problem with one method maybe people who have a different view if we’re talking to each other then perhaps we can create some solutions around these vacant problems.”

Local News

Report: Energy Costs Affecting Housing Affordability

A new report from the Louisville Metropolitan Housing Coalition says heating and other energy costs are playing more of a role in home affordability in the Louisville area.

Coalition Executive Director Cathy Hinko says the average natural gas bill has more than tripled over the past decade and continues to rise.

“All of us are going to feel the pinch this winter, and we wanted to make sure that had a high profile as well. people who did not consider themselves vulnerable as the prices increase will become vulnerable,” Hinko said.

She adds that many homes in Louisville were built before insulation was a building code requirement, and a lot of them are concentrated in low-income areas.

Hinko says the coalition is working with government and utility company officials to help low-income families make the dwellings more energy-efficient.