THE WEEK: At Least It Ends Well Friday, Jun 26 2015 

Welcome to THE WEEK – LouisvilleKY.com’s almost weekly wrap of the River City. This time the big news came on Friday, as the Supreme Court ruled on gay marriage, and your Facebook feed exploded with nice people rejoicing.

A Kentucky case was at the center of the argument. And, of course, let’s all not forget that Gov. Steve Beshear once argued in favor of the gay marriage ban because his lawyers claimed gay marriage would hurt the state’s birth rate. That was after Jack Conway realized it was a bad argument and refused to defend the Kentucky law.

Let’s hear the reaction from Mayor Greg Fischer:

“This is a monumental win for equal treatment under the law, and I’m pleased that Louisville couples were part of this historic decision. Louisville has a proud history of leadership on fairness and civil rights. Fifty-two years ago, Louisville became the first city in the South to pass an ordinance banning discrimination in public accommodations based on skin color. Four years later, our city was the first in the South to enact an open housing law. And, in the late 1990s, Louisville led our state by passing a Fairness ordinance that banned discrimination based on sexual orientation in housing, public accommodations and employment. Our nation took a giant leap forward today.”

WaterfrontWedOn the Waterfront: I hadn’t attended a Waterfront Wednesday show this year, and this week’s event was absolutely packed. Remember when you could bring a blanket or ride your bike and get really close to the stage? I do. It may have been cooler then, but it’s alright now.

Proper Distance from the Flag: Even rednecks and Republicans were actively distancing themselves from anything to do with the Confederate Flag this week, and Mitch McConnell called for the removal of the Jeff Davis statue in Frankfort. Web sites offering merchandise, like Cafe Press, cleared their caches of the image, calling its use “hateful speech.”

NBA Pipeline: Kentucky dominated the NBA Draft Thursday night, providing the top pick and five others to NBA teams. Cards Terry Rozier and Montrezl Harrell were picked up, too. But UK’s Aaron Harrison was left out.

Swell Beer Event: Come on out to Casks for a Cause Saturday on Main Street. Media members have created special brews – which could be dangerous.

rs103AmandaDuffy

Amanda Duffy

And Then Soccer: I went to my first professional soccer game last week, and I’m going back Saturday. Listen in as Louisville City FC GM Amanda Duffy explains the local phenomenon, and where it’s going, on the Rusty Show.

40 Youngsters: Check out Business First’s 40 Under 40 List, announced this week.

A Principled Stand: As Chris Thieneman points out in his latest video update, he could have made his assault charges go away by writing a check. But Chris know he’s right, and that the charges against him were brought by a vindictive woman looking for easy money.

1796956_10155762653310440_330874455857850520_oA Book, with a Derby Twist: Check out Sam Miller’s book Interstate Providence, the story of a man’s long journey after losing his fiancee and his job. And you’ll find 120 names of Derby winners in the text. He talks about it on Rusty.

Our Garden Grows: Our own Jackie Bentley found some surprises when she back to her garden after a week’s vacation.

 

Louisville Mayor leads nation’s mayors in support of My Brother’s Keeper Challenge Tuesday, Jun 23 2015 

LOUISVILLE, Ky., – Mayor Greg Fischer was the lead sponsor of a resolution approved this week by the nation’s mayors pledging continued support for a national initiative to help young men and boys of color stay on track with education and community engagement.

The resolution, approved by mayors attending the U.S. Conference of Mayors annual meeting in San Francisco, aims to bolster nationwide support for the “My Brother’s Keeper (MBK) Challenge,” launched by President Obama in 2014.

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“We know the critical importance of ensuring that every child, regardless of color, neighborhood or family situation has the opportunity to reach their full potential,” Fischer said. “Through this resolution we hope to encourage communities nationwide to fully embrace the MBK Challenge as we have in Louisville, so our nation and all its children can achieve maximum potential.”

In September 2014, Louisville was one of the first cities to accept the MBK Challenge and Fischer noted that the milestones of the challenge overlap with work already occurring in Louisville led by the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods and the Cradle to Career lifelong learning initiative.

The challenge is a call to action for communities to enact sustainable change regarding education and career readiness, ensuring all young people can reach their full potential.

Louisville’s initiatives and partnerships to meet the MBK Challenge include:

  • 1000 Books Before Kindergarten
  • Cultural Passes for children and families
  • Out of School Time Coordinating Council
  • Street Academy
  • Kentucky Youth Career Center.
  • Coding at the Beech
  • Financial Aid workshop for boys of color
  • Mayor’s SummerWorks program
  • Right Turn
  • Metro Mentors/Be the One Mentor Challenge
  • PAL Coalition – Youth Mental Health First Aid.

Yarmuth Is In for Re-Election to Congress in 2016 Monday, Jun 22 2015 

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LOUISVILLE, KY – Today, at his campaign headquarters, Congressman John Yarmuth (KY-3) announced that he will seek a 6th term as Louisville’s U.S. Representative in 2016.

rs50JohnYarmuth“As the lone progressive voice in Kentucky’s federal delegation, I take very seriously my responsibility to fight for our community’s values in Washington. The Republican Leadership has become more extreme, and they have increasingly pursued an agenda that threatens the livelihoods and opportunities of families in and throughout the nation,” Congressman Yarmuth said. “I believe the work of changing the priorities of the next Congress is critically important, and that’s why I’m running for reelection in 2016.”

Kentucky candidates for federal office are not able to file for 2016 campaigns until November, but Yarmuth didn’t want speculation about his race to distract from the issues in campaigns for statewide offices.

The second ranking Democrat on the Budget Committee, Congressman Yarmuth has advocated for a budget that prioritizes investments in communities, families, and businesses. While most now agree that income inequality is a major problem, the Congressman said the Republican budget would cut funding for job training, education and infrastructure, while trying to take health insurance away from millions of Americans.  He has become a vocal and persistent opponent of the gimmicks in the current budget proposal that hide the massive costs of greater tax breaks to the well-off and well connected.

As a member of the Ways and Means Committee in the 111th Congress, Yarmuth was active in the development of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare,  which has helped more than 500,000 Kentuckians gain health insurance and cut ’s uninsured rate by 81%. He remains a strong national advocate for the law and plans to continue working on improvements to ensure all Americans in need of medical attention get the care they need when they need it.

In the last Congress, Yarmuth served as part of the bipartisan group of 8, helping to craft a compromise comprehensive immigration reform bill that received wide support but was not brought up for a vote. He pledged to continue working for a law that promotes humane enforcement, provides a path to citizenship, and keeps families together.

Long before he was elected to Congress, Yarmuth was a strong advocate for equality for women and minorities, and he reaffirmed that commitment today . “America should be a place where, partners have the freedom to marry, prayer is personal, and no one ever loses their job, home, or life based on how they look, whom they love, or where they were born,” he said.

His platform was decidedly progressive but hardly partisan. Among numerous issues that receive broad, bipartisan support nearly everywhere but within the halls of Congress, Yarmuth singled out gun safety. Initiatives such as background checks and limits on magazine capacity have garnered favor from voters in both parties in poll after poll. But, amidst a plague of shooting deaths and calls for action by Yarmuth and numerous colleagues, Congressional Leadership has failed to act.

He addressed another topic that is taboo on Capitol Hill despite near universal support: campaign finance reform. The lead sponsor of a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United, Yarmuth stated, “Until we get the big money out of politics, our elections will never be honest, and our government will never be responsive to the priorities of the American people.

“As long as our laws say money equals speech, speech will not be free,” Yarmuth added. “That’s just common sense.”

Hear Yarmuth on the Rusty Satellite Show Here

What? A Wet Blanket of a Weekend Friday, Jun 19 2015 

ToddSnider

Yuck. Rain. All. Weekend. Long.

Called Off. I’ve heard at least two events are already called off due to the stormy weekend forecast, including Casks for a Cause, which I had planned to attend. Let’s all go to the soccer game at Slugger Field Saturday night.

A Room with a Tune: On Thursday, folk singer Todd Snider filled the Bomhard Theatre with his long-winded stories and catchy tunes. The crowd was content to laugh, giggle and sing along, except for that one lady who badgered Todd, during the show, until security escorted her out. ToddSnider

All In For Dads Day. Of course I love Father’s Day, and would like nothing more than to get out on the golf course with my boys. Instead, it looks like watching the U.S. Open on TV may have to do. LEO’s Aaron Yarmuth wrote this really cool column on his dad, the Congressman.  LEO Weekly

Taylor Trusty

Taylor Trusty

Blackstone Moves to Main. Congrats to Taylor Trusty and the gang at Blackstone Media. Their new offices are on Main Street.

The worst part is the night before. If you’re 50, you should have done it already. Your life may depend on it. I got mine this year. Talk to  your doctor. Get a colonoscopy. (Insider)

The Real Story of 2X: You’ve seen him on TV, but the former felon is working for peace in the region, focused on helping stop the number of gunshot wounds with a U of L trauma team. And helping spread the word about the Colon Cancer Project. Listen to Rusty.

rs102RogerBaylorLet’s Get Roger Baylor to Move Across the River: There’s a lot more than beer to Roger Baylor. He’s got some sensible ideas that are making public officials in New Albany squirm. And he’s running for Mayor. He’s on the Rusty Show.

Fischer Reacts: Last weekend, a police officer shot a man who was swinging a huge pole at him. FOP Chief on Thursday wrote a public letter taking aim at unnamed “liars, sensationalists and race-baiters.”  Here’s the Mayor’s reaction:

I appreciate that emotions are high after the tragic event of last week. This letter does not reflect the sentiments of me or the vast majority of Louisville’s citizens, who know that we are all on the same page, working to build safe and strong communities for all of our families. We are in this together — police who put their lives on the line to keep us safe while building strong relationships of trust, and community members, who must be engaged citizens involved in our efforts to create a compassionate, thriving . Rather than incite anger and distrust between the police and the community, my administration will continue to work to build those critical relationships and the trust they create.

Beginning of the End of a Good Thing: Local airbnb hosts will likely face new regulations and enforcement once the Metro Council has its say. Ky.com

But you Can’t Shut Them Down: Insider talked with an ex-desk clerk at the Economy Inn, and we got a much better idea of the depravity going on there. Still, officials can’t come up with a plan to shut the place down. KY.com

Uh, Be Carful Who You Offer the $10K to: That Tom Mabe. He must not have thought his prank would demonstrate how easy it is to hire a hit man on the street.

 

Metro Council Begins to Address Airbnb-Type Rentals Thursday, Jun 18 2015 

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Louisville – The Metro Council’s Public Safety Committee will hold a special meeting on Friday, June 19th at 11:00am to begin review and discussion of proposed regulations for short term rentals in Metro .

“I want to make sure we have a thorough discussion and that all parties involved have a chance to participate as we move forward,” says Councilman David Yates (D-25) who chairs the committee. “We want to ensure that Metro keeps up with technology and the changing economy but we must also consider our established businesses as well.”

lky-airnbIn March, the Metro Council approved a resolution asking for the Metro Department of Planning & Design to draft regulations since none currently exist for this kind of operation.

The ordinance is sponsored by Council Members James Peden (R-23), Tom Owen (D-8), Bill Hollander (D-9) and David James (D-6)

“This began as an effort to legitimize the short term rental industry in , and it has become increasingly clear that this isn’t a small cottage industry. We need to ensure that as we continue to learn about this evolving business and craft a mechanism for oversight, that we do not overregulate this new and developing industry and instead work to embrace short term rentals in ,” says Peden.

“We look forward to this first committee meeting on the proposed Short Term Rental ordinance. Many questions have been raised and we welcome comments from the public as we move forward in studying this issue. We are still at a very early stage in the process,” says Hollander.

“Short term residential rentals will bring more visitors to . Our challenge in adopting regulations for that new technology is to create fairness across the hospitality industry and to protect existing neighborhood life without throwing cold water on Airbnb,” says Owen.

“We will be diligent in our efforts to make sure this new venture has a chance to operate while being mindful of the other areas of the hospitality industry that contribute to the local economy,” says James.

Councilman Yates and the sponsors have been in discussion with several groups as this process begins including: Develop (Planning & Design), the Revenue Commission, Convention & Visitors Bureau, as well as the constituents (operators) hosting these short term rentals.

The Public Safety Committee will meet in Council Chambers, 601 West Jefferson Street.

All Council meetings and committee meetings are carried live on Metro TV, Time Warner Cable Channel 25. You can also watch the meetings online by going to the Metro Council home page athttp://louisvilleky.gov/government/metro-council/metro-council-clerk  and click the “Watch Meetings Online” button.

New Bike/Walk Trail Planned for Beargrass Creek Thursday, Jun 18 2015 

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Funding in place to plan Beargrass Creek Biking/Walking Trail

Trail will connect Cherokee Park to Waterfront Park

LOUISVILLE, KY (June 18, 2015) – Design work will begin soon on a project to connect Cherokee Park and Waterfront Park via a continuous off-street pathway along Beargrass Creek thanks to donations from the community. Designing a conceptual plan for a walking and biking path connecting two of Louisville’s most significant recreational assets is fully funded. The plan will also evaluate strategies to improve water quality and wildlife habitat along the creek.

“This community-funded project is the next step towards building an activity corridor that will help increase the health and wellness of our citizens and the ecological integrity of our city,” said Mayor Greg Fischer. “This path will also serve as a key connector of the Loop giving people an option to move around more easily and potentially car-free.”

The plan is a joint effort between the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) and the community. USACE identified $75,000 through their Planning Assistance to States Program to start the planning process, contingent on receiving $75,000 in matching funds. Members of the community responded by raising just over $75,000 to solidify the cost-shared planning study.

“This is a project that was identified in the Sustain plan, and we are delighted to have a true community effort that highlights waterway protection,” said Mary Ellen Wiederwohl, Chief of Forward.  “Beargrass Creek is an important asset that will soon be showcased along with Cherokee Park and Waterfront Park.”

The Beargrass Creek link is included in the Loop Master Plan, a 100-mile recreation and transportation pathway network in that improves connectivity between many of ’s most historic and cherished parks and neighborhoods.  The project will provide improved safety, convenience and comfort for bicyclists and pedestrians of all ages, backgrounds and abilities.

USACE anticipates the conceptual plan project to begin this fall with design and construction to follow once funding is secured. Public engagement opportunities will be available throughout the process.

Donors to the program include, but are not limited to:

  • $37,500 – David Jones Sr.
  • $10,000 – Metro Government
  • $5,000 – John and Patti Moore and Steve Poe
  • $2,500 — Butchertown Grocery, Metro Council President David Tandy, Councilman Bill Hollander, Councilman Tom Owen, Bicycling for and Mac and Jessica Thompson

To learn more about the Office of Sustainability, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/sustainability

For a full map of the Loop, visit https://louisvilleky.gov/government/louisville-loop

In Light of IL Report, Magre Tries Again to Shut Down Economy Inn Thursday, Jun 18 2015 

EconomyInn

Councilman Magre calls for renewed effort to close down troubled Economy Inn on Bardstown Road

Published report alleges human trafficking taking place at facility through underage prostitution 

Louisville – Councilman Steve Magre (D-10) is once again calling for a renewed effort to close down the Economy Inn on Bardstown Road following a report on Thursday by Insider where a former employee alleges human trafficking and other continued problems taking place at the facility.

“I commend the bravery of Angel Bennett who has come forward to shed light on what has been going on in the area of human trafficking and underage prostitution that continues at the Economy Inn,” said Magre. “As a result, this article further motivates me in my efforts to close the Economy Inn down,”

The article, by reporter Joe Sonka, focuses on Angel Bennett who recently left the Economy Inn as an employee working third shift for the last two years. She shared information and documentation in the article indicating that many of problems the business faced had not decreased but instead have accelerated, including underage prostitution.

Magre says the Insider article brings forward three areas of concern.

The first is human trafficking.

The Councilman believes law enforcement, including the US Attorney and the FBI, should be reviewing the documentation Bennett has provided to see if there are any violation of federal laws with regard to human trafficking and prostitution.

Next, he believes the article clearly points out that government needs to review, update or change its ordinances and procedures that have allowed the Economy Inn to keep operating even though there continues to be a pattern of violations.

“I have been working with the County Attorney’s Office and in the next few weeks will be bringing forth changes to the public nuisance ordinance in an effort to deal with what we continue to find at the Economy Inn,” said Magre.

And finally, the Councilman says the article raises the question of where a promised $800,000 worth of improvements to facility stands now some three month after passing the health inspection by the Metro Board of Health.

“This article clearly shows the need for being vigilant in shutting down the Economy Inn. There are many people I am working with to see that the people who have to stay there are cared of but more importantly it is time to stop what has been going on at the Economy Inn,” said Magre. “I also want to thank the Salvation Army and Johanna Wint who have stepped forward to offer help to people who need social services and are working to get people moved out of at the Economy Inn. ”

Louisville’s El Toro Helps Opposition Win in Guyana Election Tuesday, Jun 16 2015 

El Toro's Stacy Griggs

Louisville, KY — El Toro IP targeting technology was a critical part of the campaign’s digital strategy.

Strategic digital targeting to an estimated 300,000 voters across the country in the 30 days leading up to the election identified as key to the campaign’s success. El Toro’s proprietary IP mapping and ad delivery to high value neighborhoods and specific locations impacted voter turnout in those areas.

El Toro's Stacy Griggs

El Toro’s Stacy Griggs

With the May 26th swearing in ceremony, David Granger became Guyana’s eighth executive president, ending the 23 year hold on power by the incumbent People’s Progressive Party Civic ( PPP/C ). Granger’s five-party opposition coalition – Afro-Guyanese A Partnership for National Unity and the multiracial Alliance for Change ( APNU/AFC ) won the May 11th election 207,200 to the PPP/C’s 202,694 following one of the highest voter turnouts in the country’s history

According to Brad Goodman, a US based campaign consultant for the Granger campaign, two key campaign goals were identifying ways to circumvent the state run media to reach voters, especially the youth of Guyana, and overcoming the significant fundraising advantage of the incumbent party.

“I had previously used El Toro in a number of US elections and knew it was the type of tool that would make a difference in Guyana. By using El Toro, we were able to target voters on a granular level with the right messages at the right time. El Toro was a key part to the historic change of power in Guyana, something that had not happened since 1992.”

With 60% of the country using mobile devices, Stacy Griggs, the El Toro CEO and the El Toro team added digital buys on Facebook and mobile targeting to the overall campaign strategy. “We implemented a multi-layered campaign and delivered several million impressions to reach voters across the entire country. President Granger and his team were very digitally savvy and knew that online outreach, especially to the youth of Guyana, would be critical to winning the election.”

Ad Campaign Details
– Used http://www.UnitedGuyana.org and Facebook as landing pages.
– Drove >60,000 clicks from >32,000 unique visitors to their new website / Facebook page in 30 days.
– > ½ of the traffic was from mobile devices.
– 61% of web visitors were between 18-34.
– >8,000 likes on Facebook.
– Targeted approximately 300,000 voters with several million ad impressions in 30 days leading up to the election.
– 1.98% CTR across all platforms or roughly 22X the industry average for political campaigns.
– Targeted ads at IP ranges from high-value areas of the country along with specific locations.

LISTEN TO THE RUSTY SATELLITE INTERVIEW WITH EL TORO’S STACY GRIGGS

Emails for Officials Will Be Public Record Thursday, Jun 11 2015 

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Designated email addresses being issued to all citizens serving on Boards and Commissions

Move ensures greater transparency for all official government business

 LOUISVILLE – The city’s Metro Technology Services Department (MTS) is in the process of providing email addresses to all citizens serving on a board or commission for official government business, Mayor Greg Fischer announced today.

“This addresses concerns of board members using personal accounts for public business and will result in greater transparency for citizens,” Fischer said. “From the beginning, as stated in the Citizen Bill of Rights, creating an inclusive and transparent process is something we are committed to and will continue to improve.”

A recommendation to set up the new email system was made to Fischer after a review of internal communication policies and the boards and commissions email system was completed by the city’s technology and legal teams along with the Boards and Commissions director.

The city has approximately 100 boards and commissions with more than 800 mayoral appointees including business and economic development, land planning, parks and recreation, public health and public safety.

MTS will follow the same retention policy for board and commission members as it does with Metro employees.

Citizens serving on boards and commissions have been instructed to conduct official government business on the designated email, not personal emails, texts or cell phones.

Board and commission members from the following agencies will be issued email addresses that correspond to their agencies and those agencies will be responsible for retaining records according to Kentucky Open Records Law. For example, MSD will issue email addresses to their board members and retain those records.

Agencies include:  MSD, KentuckianaWorks, Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau, Regional Airport Authority, Water Company, TARC and suburban fire stations – Buechel, Eastwood, Fern Creek, Harrods Creek, Highview, Lake Dreamland, Lyndon, Middletown, Okolona, PRP, St. Matthews, Worthington, Jeffersontown and McMahan.

The process of issuing emails to all citizens serving will be completed this summer.

Prepare for the Weekend – Your Louisville Guide Friday, Jun 5 2015 

Garcia had American Pharoah under a firm hold near the finish of the Kentucky Derby winner's work (Reed Palmer, Churchill Downs)

It’s an action-packed weekend ahead, and local newsmakers have been busy giving citizens stuff to talk about. Let’s review. . .

Omni HotelThat Omni Looks Awesome: But will it really happen? (Louisvilleky.com)

Will Anyone Really Miss the Phoenix Hill and Jim Porter’s? If you’re a local you’ve likely got some great memories, but had you been to either one lately? The closing was abrupt. (KY.com)

rs100Improvisers rs100PaulaPresley

My Girlfriend, and 3 Funny Dudes, Together: In the 100th episode of the Rusty Satellite Show. Come to the big party tonight.

Let’s Hear it For Mimi Hwang: After a Jefferson County prosecutor made racist comments about Asian-Americans, former Rusty Satellite guest Mimi Hwang took action, organizing public protests of the original punishment given to Karl Price. After review, Mike O’Connell suspended the lawyer. (Insider)

Please, Pharaoh, End This Streak: Horseracing needs a Triple Crown winner. 37 years is too long. The Belmont is Saturday. (WDRB)

You Know What Summer Means: If you struggle with COPD or asthma, you know why gets an F for its ozone level. I wrote about it here. (Insider)

Mayor Drinks an Old-Fashioned: It’s Official. has an Official Cocktail. (Courier)

It’s the Weekend: Check out Vault in the Ville, Denim & Diamonds, Jtown’s Summer Craft Beer Fest, NCAA Tournament baseball at Patterson Field, the comedy of the Improvisers at the Flea Off Market. No sitting at home.

How to Make Authentic Detroit Pizza: Watch for this new video series from my friends at Loui Loui’s.

Yes, Everybody Does Seems to be Buying or Selling: Bob Sokoler says the home sales market is on fire. Sales are up 13 percent, but the number of homes on the market is down. For more, check out Bob’s video:

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