WLKY: JCPS school board to change Code of Conduct Tuesday, Nov 24 2015 

JCPSBy Morgan Lentes | WLKY Story reported by WLKY. Jefferson County Public Schools plans to address the issue of teacher safety head-on. Monday night at a regularly scheduled school board meeting, members heard from educators who claim they’ve been verbally … Continue reading

U of L’s Grawemeyer Award winners to be announced next week Monday, Nov 23 2015 

grawemeyer‘Tis the season… to start announcing Grawemeyer Award winners. The awards, given by the University of Louisville, honor recipients who embody the passions of H. Charles Grawemeyer, a Louisville entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist. The son of German immigrants, Grawemeyer established … Continue reading

University of Louisville establishes Youth Violence Prevention Research Center Friday, Nov 20 2015 


CDC awards $5.7 million to the School of Public Health and Information Sciences to develop community partnership

LOUISVILLE, Ky. November 19, 2015 – Many West Louisville youth experience and are affected by violence. In hopes of addressing this tragic community issue, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has awarded the University of Louisville School of Public Health and Information Sciences (SPHIS) $5.7 million to establish a Youth Violence Prevention Research Center. Mayor Greg Fischer and University of Louisville President James Ramsey were among key community members and partners present to establish the new University of Louisville Youth Violence Prevention Research Center.

“Too many young people see violence as the only way to resolve issues, and we’ve got to find a way to turn that around. We’ve got to show our young people another way. I’m excited about this effort to get out in front of the issues challenging so many in our community, and I’m thrilled to have our Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods take part in this partnership,”said Louisville Metro Mayor Greg Fischer.

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Intentional injury is the leading cause of death among 10-to-24-year-olds in Kentucky, and the second leading cause of death for this age group nationally. Violent crime rates for West Louisville are significantly higher than surrounding areas. In 2014, there were 338 juvenile arrests for violent crimes in West Louisville, compared to 876 for the rest of the city of Louisville.

“The CDC acknowledges youth violence as a preventable public health problem for individuals and communities,” said UofL President James Ramsey, Ph.D. “We are working to be part of the solution, as the Youth Violence Prevention Research Center builds on our Signature Partnership Initiative that reaches West Louisvillians and seeks to enhance their quality of life and economic opportunities, creating a healthier Kentucky.”

“West Louisville residents face disproportionately higher rates of violent crime and poor health outcomes, and we are pleased to join with other individuals and organizations mobilizing toalleviate these preventable disparities,” said SPHIS Dean, Craig Blakely, Ph.D., M.P.H.

The Center is led by Monica Wendel, Dr.P.H., M.A., SPHIS associate professor and associate dean of public health practice, and Maury Nation, Ph.D., associate professor, Vanderbilt University Peabody College of Education and Human Development. Researchers and their partners will develop, implement and evaluate a community-level mass and social media campaign to change social norms – unwritten, shared mores, rules and customs that affect behavior. The initiative is aimed at reducing violence among youth living in West Louisville. East Nashville, Tennessee is serving as the control site for the project.

For youth in disadvantaged communities norms of violence are an acceptable means to gain respect, Wendel notes.

“Historical patterns of racial discrimination, inequality and lack of economic opportunity have helped foster these beliefs that promote and condone violence. When a distinct portion of the population systematically does not receive justice from the institutions of society, they begin to believe that the only justice they receive is justice they exact themselves,” Wendel said.  

Wendel plans to recruit six young people ages 16-24 to work part-time for the Center assisting with campaign development and testing. They will be known as the Louisville Youth Voices against Violence (LYVV) Scholars.

She says although many who work with youth recognize the importance of utilizing social media to reach young people, there is little published research about effective ways to use these applications for community-level interventions. Eventually, the Center plans to replicate the social norming campaign in other communities.

Community partners include: Louisville Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness (LMPHW), Louisville Metro Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods (OSHN), Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD), Jefferson County Public Schools (JCPS), IDEAS xlab, Renaissance Creative Group, and KentuckyOne Health. In addition, once the campaign is developed, multiple organizations have committed to serve as implementation partners, including the Interdenominational Ministerial Coalition, KentuckianaWorks Youth Career Center, Kentucky YMCA Youth Services, Louisville Central Community Centers, Louisville Urban League, Louisville Metro Juvenile Detention Services, the Muhammad Ali Center, the Muhammad Ali Institute for Peace and Justice, PEACE Education Program, Restorative Justice, the Center for Women & Families, and the YMCA of Greater Louisville.

“Youth violence has serious and permanent consequences for the individuals and families directly involved. It also results in significant costs to our judicial, education, and health care systems, while squandering the ability of so many young people to succeed in life and contribute to society. That is why I am proud to support this federal investment which has the potential to save lives, benefit our entire community, and create a model that can help other cities tackle this problem,” said Congressman John Yarmuth.

The CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control has recognized UofL as one of only seven national Centers of Excellence in Youth Violence Prevention. UofL joins the ranks of Johns Hopkins, University of Chicago, University of Colorado, University of Michigan, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and Virginia Commonwealth University in establishing centers aimed at curbing youth violence.

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Ramsey Tries To Move Forward From ‘Mexican’ Incident Friday, Nov 20 2015 

James Ramsey has been thinking a lot lately about stepping down from his role as president of the University of Louisville.

He told reporters gathered in Strickler Hall on the university’s main campus Friday morning that during the past few weeks, it’s something he’s thought about “every day.”

But, he clarified, he has no plans to — not yet, at least.

Nearly 200 people gathered to hear the U of L president, faculty and a student address the issues that have arisen in the past several weeks, since Ramsey and his staff posed for a photo wearing stereotypical Mexican garb.

In the photo, Ramsey is seen smiling and wearing a poncho and sombrero. He’s with a group of staff members — including Kathleen Smith, his chief of staff — who don fake bushy, black mustaches and hold maracas. Some of the men in the photo wear mantillas over their heads.

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20151030_131205U of L President's 'Mexican' Outfit Sparks Outrage, Apology

The photo brought about criticism across social and traditional media. Faculty members reacted by sending a scathing letter to Ramsey, suggesting he was undermining their work to promote diversity. Students occupied Grawemeyer Hall just outside his office, protesting for hours. They chanted, called Ramsey a racist and called for him to resign.

On Friday, Ramsey apologized for the incident for the third time. And he acknowledged some on campus don’t trust him.

“I’m human, I make mistakes, but I try to learn from those mistakes and move forward,” Ramsey said.

Jesus Ibanez is a student at the university’s Brandeis School of Law. He was the lone student to speak at the organized address Friday evening. He said he was outraged by the photo at first.

“My first thought was resignation,” he said.

But as days passed into weeks, his mood shifted. “We’ve all made mistakes, a lot of us have made culturally insensitive remarks because of a lack of knowledge,” he said.

The Courier-Journal photo sparked outrage on campus. Scott Utterback/Courier-Journal

The photo that sparked outrage on campus and across the community.

Now, Ibanez and other students, faculty and staff are giving Ramsey a second chance. “His second chance to make things right,” Ibanez said.

All of this comes as universities across the country are grappling with issues surrounding race.

Protests have sparked at Vanderbilt University, Yale University, Princeton University and Georgetown University, among others. Earlier this month, amid calls from student protesters, the president of the University of Missouri resigned.

Ibanez stressed that there is a stark difference between what happened at the University of Missouri and what is happening at the University of Louisville.

“The difference between Louisville and Missouri is that President Ramsey is working, he’s working to make this wrong a right, he’s working closer with faculty, with staff and with students,” he said.

Ramsey has pledged to continue the conversation with students and staff about what can be done to ensure the university is a champion of diversity and inclusion. He’s said he’ll work to recruit more Hispanic and Latino faculty, make more scholarship opportunities available to Hispanic and Latino students, and participate in diversity training along with other administrators.

Ibanez said these promises are nice, but students must remain a part of the conversation.

“And we’re absolutely going to hold him accountable for everything,” he said.

But as Ricky Jones pointed out, the student body is fluid, they come and go.

Jones, who chairs the university’s Pan-African Studies Department, said it’s crucial that faculty, staff and administrators are also on board with Ramsey’s pledge to recommit to diversity and inclusion on campus.

“They have to be committed to that, even more so than the students, and I think it’s unfair to put undue pressure on our students to lead these types of initiatives,” he said.

Ibanez, who received a standing ovation from students, faculty and staff gathered for the address, said it’s time to move forward. He also issued a challenge.

“Get to know a culture that you did not know before,” he said. “If you are Christian, talk to a Muslim person; if you identify as straight, talk to an LGBTQ person, get to know that person; if you are a citizen, talk to an immigrant or talk to a refugee. Find out about their life. You will find out that you have a lot of similarities, and you will find out all the stuff you’ve been missing.”


‘Tim Tebow Bill’ could be a slam dunk for private and parochial schools Friday, Nov 20 2015 

Tim Tebow | Creative CommonsThe “Tim Tebow Bill” — named after the Heisman Trophy-winning former NFL quarterback who was home-schooled but played high school sports — would allow nonpublic school students to participate in Jefferson County Public Schools sports programs. The “Tebow Bill” originally … Continue reading

Louisville Ky group to offer youth a second chance Tuesday, Nov 17 2015 

Louisville, Ky ., – Mayor Greg Fischer today launched REImage, an initiative set to help young adults in aspects from continuing their education to getting a job to coping with drug and alcohol issues. One hundred local young adults will get a second chance at success through this new city initiative.

The REimage program will target young people, ages 18-24, who are facing adult misdemeanor charges. Program mentors and case managers will help the youth navigate the court system, connect with jobs and further their education by obtaining a GED or enrolling in college or training. They will also receive guidance and support in dealing with personal issues such as addressing their charges with employers, parenthood and alcohol and drug use.


“Giving these young people a second chance is not only the right thing to do, it’s good for our economy and a key part of our strategy for creating safer neighborhoods,” Fischer said. “Connecting them to education and jobs increases their chance for success, while simultaneously reducing the odds that they will be further involved in crime and violence.”

REimage is an initiative of the city’s Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods. The purpose of the Office is to facilitate Louisville being a community which supports every citizen from Prenatal – through – Education – to – Career.

This new effort of REImage extends the work that KentuckianaWorks and the Office for Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods are already doing through the federally-funded Right Turn program. Right Turn works with young people ages 16 to 21 who have had brushes with the juvenile justice system, or are at high risk of continuing a crime filled path. Fischer saw a need to expand the efforts of the Right Turn Program toward young adults who are more involved with the court system, and also earmarked $200,000 in the current city budget.

Recruitment for the new program, which will be run by KentuckianaWorks, will focus primarily on the Russell and Shawnee neighborhoods of West Louisville, although young adults from other areas can also participate. Young adults interested can visit the Baxter or Shawnee Community Centers on Mondays and Wednesdays from 4 p.m.-7 p.m. or stop by the Kentucky Youth Career Center, 510 W. Broadway, Suite 701, Mon-Thurs., 9 a.m.-12 p.m. They can call the KYCC at 574-4115.

“Beyond the focused mentoring and individual support that can make a world of difference, our agency can connect these young adults to realistic and rewarding job and career pathways in manufacturing, technology, healthcare and other in-demand fields,” said Michael Gritton, executive director of KentuckianaWorks.

Fischer said adult volunteers are still needed to mentor youth enrolled in the REimage program. All volunteers will be screened and trained. Individuals and organizations interested in mentoring should contact the Kentucky Youth Career Center at 574-4115.

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Burmese refugees in Louisville hopeful after pro-democracy party win Monday, Nov 16 2015 

Flag of BurmaHundreds of Louisville residents have been paying special attention in the last few days to events about 8,600 miles away, in Burma. The country, also known as Myanmar, held democratic elections last week for the first time in a generation, … Continue reading

Ramsey gives second, fuller apology for Mexican attire at Halloween party, commits to changes Friday, Nov 13 2015 

Photo by Scott Utterback / Courtesy of The Courier-JournalTwo weeks after his understated apology for he and his staff wearing stereotypical Mexican attire at a Halloween party, University of Louisville President James Ramsey emailed another apology to faculty and students on Thursday, taking full responsibility for the mistake … Continue reading

LouisvilleKY’s THE WEEK: A Big Movie, Bibles, Bridges and Brains and Bull – and a Moose Friday, Nov 13 2015 

There was a lot to do this week as I prepared for some sitting-around time post-surgery, and it seemed there was some urgency around town too.

It’ll Probably Take 40 Days and 40 Nights: Now that we’ve got a religious conservative heading to the Governor’s Mansion, most folks think it won’t take long for Matt Bevin to restore state tax incentives for the Ark Park in northern Kentucky. Last year, the state tourism cabinet revoked $18 million in tax credits because the Park wouldn’t say it would hire anybody who wasn’t a Christian, and the state doesn’t support religious ideas. Maybe. This week Ken Ham announced the Park will open in 2016.

A Bridge Too Much: Also in 2016, you’ll have another reason not to go to Indiana. That’s when tolls will be collected on the new I-65 bridge. Officials announced a complex system called RiverLink that requires you to get a transponder on your car and establish an account with a minimum of $20. Then you’ll pay from $1-$12 to use the Bridge. You can also use the Sherman Minton or the Clark Memorial for free. Or Swim. The new bridge is expected to  open for traffic by Christmas, and there’s a walk-across opportunity for citizens Dec. 5.

Denton Gets Airbnb Delay: The Metro Council has struggled for much of 2015 to come up with a way to regulate Airbnb rentals. Thanks to Council member Julie Denton, there’s another delay in introducing the ordinance. Denton believes homeowners using Airbnb-type services to rent their homes shouldn’t be subject to the same discrimination laws as other landlords. Expect a public outcry if the Council ever advances this legislation.

Find out what Kevin is laughing about on the Rusty Satellite Show

Find out what Kevin is laughing about on the Rusty Satellite Show

Next Week – New J-Law Movie Premiere and the Brain Ball: Listen to this week’s Rusty Satellite Show for info on the new Hunger Games – Mockingjay Part 2 with our darling movie star Jennifer Lawrence. It’s Tuesday, and her Mom is promoting a local event. And Kevin Harned will be the emcee at the Brain Ball on Nov. 20, and you can hear about what Kevin does other than weather on the show.


The Last Kickoff: Louisville’s last home football game is another Saturday at 12:30 affair, this time with Virginia, and a win would make U of L bowl-eligible. The Cards are big favorites, unlike UK, which must find a way to beat Vanderbilt to salvage its season and hopes of a bowl games. Vandy is favored in Nashville. WKU, which is 8-2, has the week off.

Screen Shot 2015-11-12 at 1.15.10 PMThis Week on Scandal: After several women from Katina Powell’s book lawyered up to refute charges that they were involved in the sex-for-money allegations, Powell attorney Larry Wilder says his client is moving ahead to talk with NCAA enforcement personnel.  Wilder says there’s  a lot more evidence coming, and that some of it is funny, like Terrence Williams’ claims that he never paid for sex.

But What about the Moose: Joe’s Older Than Dirt is selling bar stools, beer signs and other memorabilia from the now-closed bar through an online auction site. But your wife isn’t going to let you put up those neon beer signs in the house.

What’s Up with Tom Owen? Tune in to next week’s Rusty Satellite Show and hear Tom Owen talk about why he wants to close bars at 2 a.m. And, I asked when he’s going to decide whether to run again for his coveted Highlands Metro Council seat.

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Jobs for Kentucky’s Graduates and Integrity Staffing Team Up to Help Louisville KY Students Succeed Thursday, Nov 12 2015 

LOUISVILLE, Ky., Nov. 12,  2015 /PRNewswire/ — Some Jefferson County high school students attending The Academy @ Shawnee in West Louisville are earning their pilot’s licenses, working on experiments that will be flown into space, or preparing to attend the U.S. Naval Academy. Others are at risk of dropping out. But with a 2014-15 graduation rate of 72.5 percent and nearly 80 percent of the students from lower-income families, additional resources to help students take advantage of opportunities available at the aviation and engineering magnet school can make a significant difference.

Jobs for Kentucky’s Graduates (JKG) and Integrity Staffing Solutions are working together to ensure more students graduate from Shawnee and are workforce ready. JKG has received $30,000 in funding from Integrity Staffing and $5,000 from GE to allow the non-profit to add new programming to serve 35-45 Shawnee students who have high barriers to learning.


JKG is one of 32 state affiliates of the Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG) national nonprofit. The program is designed to help underserved students overcome obstacles to graduation and career success through mentoring, tutoring, academic support, engagement with employers, and links to social services, among other interventions. Once they earn a high school diploma or General Educational Diploma, JKG mentors work with the students for 12 additional months to ensure they transition successfully into post-secondary education, entry-level careers or the military.

“Every student matters at Shawnee, and we have programs and opportunities to engage and challenge students to achieve high academic goals,” said Principal Venita Benboe.  “This program is another critical tool we now will have available to help our students see what’s possible, and obtain the guidance, experiences and support they need to reach their dreams.”

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“At Integrity Staffing, we are seeking individuals who come to the interview with the skills that are in high demand by our clients,” said Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder of Integrity Staffing, Todd Bavol. “We have found that the skills students learn in Jobs for America’s Graduates are precisely the skills our clients are seeking.  We are delighted to expand our partnership with JAG through this grant to Shawnee Academy in order to bring Jobs for Kentucky’s Graduates to Louisville.  Partnerships like these help us drive our mission of generating opportunities for people to exceed their own expectations and to advance careers and communities.”

JKG, launched in Kentucky in 1993, is already available in schools in Paducah, Inez, Paris, Bowling Green, Danville and Irvine.

In 2014, JAG’s network of affiliates reported a 93 percent high school graduation rate, compared to the national graduation rate of 81 percent.[1] Currently, the JAG model is offered in nearly 1,000 public high schools, community colleges, and alternative learning centers in 32 states.

“JKG programs have a 97 percent graduation rate while preparing students for entry-level and mid-entry-level positions everyday, which is why JAG employers across the country have a 97 percent satisfaction rate when it comes to JAG employees,” said JKG’s CEO and President, Larry Caruso. “Part of the JAG program includes the teacher staying engaged with the graduates for 12 months after graduation to ensure the kids transition successfully in postsecondary education, the job market or into the military. For the most recent year, 88 percent of JKG graduates were positively engaged with 46 percent having completed one year of post secondary ed. This is why the marriage between The Academy @ Shawnee, Integrity Staffing, GE and JKG makes so much sense. We thank Integrity Staffing and GE for investing inLouisville’s youth, and JCPS for its willingness to bring JKG to Louisville students.”

In more than three decades of operation, JAG has helped more than one million young people stay in school through graduation, pursue postsecondary education and secure quality entry-level jobs leading to career advancement opportunities.

Since 2014, Integrity Staffing and JAG have partnered in Wilmington, DE; Indianapolis, IN; Reno, NV;Phoenix, AZ; and Louisville, KY to provide programming for students who are interested in entering the workforce immediately after they graduate from high school. These positions offer higher-than-minimum wage earnings and provide pathways to management opportunities, enabling students to start their career pathways on the right foot.

About Jobs for America’s Graduates
Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), is a non-profit youth development program committed to helping America’s most at-risk kids excel in high schools, prepare for success in college, and embark on a rewarding career. Since its inception in 1980, JAG has served over 1 million at-risk kids, and is currently serving over 47,000 students in 32 states.  JAG students have a graduation rate of over 90 percent, and approximately 80 percent of those graduates go on to postsecondary education, military service and/or full-time employment.

About Integrity Staffing Solutions
Since its launch in 1997, Integrity Staffing Solutions has been committed to generating opportunities for its associates to exceed their own expectations by supplying the skills that advance future fulfillment. The company specializes in temporary and direct-hire employment and customized staffing models that facilitate the growth of careers, communities and companies. A true engine of opportunity, Integrity is based on the philosophy that its clients succeed only when its associates do.

[1] Alliance for Excellent Education, America’s Promise Alliance, Civic Enterprises, and the Everyone Graduates Center at Johns Hopkins University. Building a Grad Nation: Progress and Challenge in Ending the High School Dropout Epidemic, Annual Update February 2013.

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