Bob Murray, Who Fought Black Lung Regulations As A Coal Operator, Has Filed For Black Lung Benefits Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 

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Robert E. Murray, the former CEO and president of the now-bankrupt Murray Energy, has filed an application with the U.S. Department of Labor for black lung benefits. For years, Murray and his company fought against federal mine safety regulations aimed at reducing the debilitating disease.

“I founded the company and created 8,000 jobs there until the move to end coal use. I am still chairman of the board,” he wrote on a Labor Department form that initiated his claim obtained by the Ohio Valley ReSource. “We’re in bankruptcy, and due to my health could not handle the president and CEO job any longer.”

According to sources, Murray’s claim is still in the initial stages and is being evaluated to determine the party potentially responsible for paying out the associated benefits. The Labor Department is required to determine a liable party before an initial ruling can be made on entitlement to benefits. If Murray’s claim were to go before an administrative law judge, some aspects of the claim would become a matter of public record


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Positive COVID-19 cases at U of L surpass 500 as Fall Break nears Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 

By Joseph Garcia — 

The University of Louisville is now reporting more than 500 positive cases of COVID-19.

Out of 27,398 total tests administered, 511 have come back positive. The cumulative positivity rate, as of Sept. 30, is 1.87%.

U of L has yet to release any more information regarding positive cases on campus.

Despite this, U of L has told the state that the university currently has 68 students with still active cases, while 43 students have recovered from the virus.

Cases have been on a steady rise since the week following Labor Day weekend. That week, from Sept. 7 to Sept. 13, the positivity rate was at 1.45%. Since then, the rate has increased drastically.

The seven-day rolling average has also seen a big increase. Out of an average of 467 tests a day, 18 are coming back positive. The average positivity rate is at its highest at 4.49%.

University officials worry that Fall Break could be another point in which the COVID-19 cases spike again.

“Fall Break is a time when some students may want to take a break from your studies by visiting family or taking a short vacation. We are encouraging students to stay on campus or in the area and participate in the Planned Fall Break activities,” university admin told students in a Sept. 25 email. “However, if you do travel, it presents a greater opportunity to be exposed or to expose others to COVID-19.”

They have extended free  COVID-19 testing until Oct. 23, and are requiring students to get tested once they return from break.

File Graphic // The Louisville Cardinal

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COVID-19 pandemic fuels spike in public health majors Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 

The University of Louisville said it has seen a 34% increase in public health students compared to last fall.

        

COVID-19 Cases Top 1,000 For Second Day In Kentucky Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 

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Kentucky saw a record number of COVID-19 cases last week and the state is more than on track to exceed that figure this week, said Gov. Andy Beshear on Wednesday.

For the first time since March, cases topped 1,000 for each of the past two days, reaching 1,004 daily cases on Wednesday — a further sign cases are escalating in the state, Beshear said.

“1,004 cases is a problem and it means we need to be more vigilant,” he said. “We have to continue to be committed to doing the things that are going to stop that escalation.”


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Tool that tests for E. Coli in water developed by U of L students Wednesday, Sep 30 2020 

By Madelin Shelton —

A group of U of L undergraduate students have created a new water pollution testing tool that tests for E.coli bacteria in water sources.

The testing tool was inspired by the students’ service project with the Metropolitan Sewer District, Bernheim Forest and The Nature Conservancy. Their work entailed monitoring, cleaning and restoring streams in Louisville.

Part of these tasks included testing the streams for E.coli bacteria, a type of bacteria found in biological waste that can cause disease. However, with the type of testing required by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Kentucky Department for Environmental Protection, the students were having to travel to each of the 10 sites at least five times a month.

Sam Kessler was the leading student behind the project and is a current Grawemeyer Scholar.

“With our class schedules, going to each of those sites multiple times per month wasn’t going to work for very long,” Kessler said in a U of L News article.

In response, Kessler and his team invented a new type of water pollution test that works by being mounted to concrete in a stream. After a certain amount of time has passed, the test is taken out and sampled for E.coli bacteria.

“The number of colonies you count from that give a really good estimate of the total amount of E.coli pollution over time,” Kessler said.

The test is more time and cost efficient than other common methods.

The other standards of water testing measure E.coli levels present at the time the test is taken and does not account for potential fluctuating levels of E.coli on the days in between tests.

“You can leave it in the stream or river all month and test once instead of making at least five different trips,” Kessler told U of L News. “And, because it’s in the stream all month instead of the isolated tests we currently do, you get more insightful results from a cumulative sample.”

When asked what his future plans were in terms of promoting the invention and increasing access to it, Kessler said the device is patent-pending and the patent is co-owned by the United States Government, which will serve to increase access to the technology.

In addition, Kessler is working on a peer-reviewed publication for the invention and hopes that someone is able to take the technology to developing screening for COVID-19 in wastewater.

Photo Courtesy // U of L News

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Beshear Reports Second-Highest Daily Total Of New Coronavirus Cases Tuesday, Sep 29 2020 

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Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear said Tuesday’s high new case number could put the state “on pace to have even more cases than last week, where we set a record.

He reported 1,018 new cases of COVID-19 during his Tuesday news briefing. That’s the second-highest single-day total since the first case of coronavirus was reported in Kentucky on March 6, he said. Of those additional cases, 157 were in kids 18 and under. The state has now had a total of 67,856 cases. 

Beshear also said eight more Kentuckians have died from the virus.


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64 Kentucky School Districts Returned In-Person Monday Monday, Sep 28 2020 

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On Monday, for the first time since March, students returned to the classroom in 64 of Kentuckys 171 school districts, according to a list complied by the Kentucky School Boards Association. The districts join another 53 that chose to go back to in-person classes before the Sept. 28 start-date recommended by Gov. Andy Beshear.

During his briefing Monday, Beshear said hes confident about schools moving to in-person classes, if they follow the state guidance.

But he pointed out that several of the school districts that went back to in-person learning Monday are listed as red, or critical, on the states coronavirus dashboard. Those districts include Henderson, Mercer and Whitley county schools.


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Beshear Warns Coronavirus ‘Escalating’ In Kentucky Monday, Sep 28 2020 

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After Kentucky logged its highest-ever number of coronavirus cases last week, Gov. Andy Beshear says he believes the pandemic is escalating in the state.

There were 4,949 new cases of coronavirus cases in Kentucky last week—more than any other week during the pandemic.

During his Monday afternoon coronavirus briefing, Beshear blamed the rise on people who haven’t been following masking and social distancing requirements during the pandemic.


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Former Chi Omega member alleges COVID-19 guidelines ignored Monday, Sep 28 2020 

By Eli Hughes–

A former Chi Omega member has left the sorority because she said the group is not operating safely during COVID-19.

Meera Sahney, a sophomore at the University of Louisville, posted a letter to Twitter on Sept. 14 detailing why she decided to leave her sorority, Chi Omega, after two weeks. She left due to claims of large gatherings and feeling as though her concerns were being dismissed by the rest of the sorority.

Sahney said she felt obligated to share her experience on Twitter because she didn’t feel her concerns were being taken seriously by the sorority.

“I believed that I wasn’t being seen and heard and I believe twitter is a catalyst for systemic change,” she said.

Sahney claims that she showed up for a social gathering that was supposed to have less than ten people present. When she got there and realized that there were more people than expected, she left after 30 minutes. She grew more concerned when pictures surfaced of large amounts of members of her sorority attending a tailgate party, many not wearing masks.

“I was confused and shocked at girls who felt no guilt or shame about partying when people were dying- drinking while essential hospital workers sacrificed themselves- partying while people were getting evicted due to late rent payments,” she said.

Sahney raised her concerns to the rest of her sorority in a group chat but was dismissed and told that it wasn’t any of her business. She said that the reaction from the other members of her new members’ group chat was overwhelmingly negative.

“The attacks continued when I pointed out the disproportional rate of POC’s being affected by the coronavirus. I was told to stop preaching and making ‘blanket statements.’ I was told I was ‘aggressive.’ That I was ‘hostile,'” Sahney said. “In a group chat of 30 women, most of them white, most of them not willing to support any of the statements I made, most of them only ready to tell me that they are capable of making their own choices.”

She concluded the letter by asking for Chi Omega to commit to the following actions:

  1. Include questions about anti-racism in next year’s recruitment.
  2. Require micro-aggression training for all new members.
  3. Write out consequences for future partying and social gatherings that endanger U of L and the greater Louisville community, that align with the university guidelines.
  4. Commit to inclusionary practices for next year’s pledge class

Maggie May, vice president of U of L’s Chi Omega chapter, told the Cardinal her sorority does not tolerate any form of discrimination.

“To be clear, Chi Omega does not tolerate discrimination, nor do we tolerate risking our members’ health or that of our campus community in any way,” May said. “Should members violate Chi Omega or university policies, they will be held accountable through the corresponding disciplinary processes. We understand that we can always do better and we will continue to educate ourselves, grow, and improve for the good of our Sisterhood as a whole and those around us.”

“Chi Omega realizes it is our responsibility to do our part to ensure the physical health of one another and to be steadfast in fostering the well-being of Black, Indigenous, and Women of Color in our Sisterhood,” she said.

U of L also responded to the incident, encouraging all students to follow COVID-19 guidelines and stating that they expect sororities to be inclusive towards students of color.

“The University of Louisville expects our sororities to be open, inclusive and accepting of students, faculty and staff from a wide variety of backgrounds and points of view. U of L is a community of care,” said John Karman, director of media relations for U of L.

“As we continue to battle the pandemic, it is imperative that all students—Greek and non-Greek—follow the university directives regarding COVID-19. These include wearing masks, physical distancing and avoiding large gatherings,” he said.

U of L’s Panhellenic Council President Gabby Vincent did not wish to make a statement about the incident. “We aren’t able to comment on this specific case as it is a member organization-specific issue,” Vincent said.

File Photo // The Louisville Cardinal 

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Beshear: Kentucky On Pace For Highest Week Of COVID Cases Saturday, Sep 26 2020 

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Gov. Andy Beshear on Saturday issued a stark warning to Kentuckians about coronavirus.

Folks, right now we are on pace to have the single highest week in terms of positive cases that we’ve ever had, Beshear said in a video message. We simply have to do better.

Beshear reported 973 new cases of COVID-19 Saturday, bringing the states total number of cases since March 6 to at least 66,036. The new cases include 132 children age 18 and younger; the youngest is a 2-month-old, according to a news release from Beshears office.


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