Archive for the Lexington News Category

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Posted in Elections, Happenings, Kentucky News, Lexington News, Louisville News, Politics on November 4, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

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Racist Jerks Arrested In Lexington

Posted in Crime, Elections, Kentucky News, Lexington News, Politics on October 31, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

(mugshots from the Lexington Herald-Leader and

Remember the other day, how some clowns in Lexington hung an Obama effigy on the University of Kentucky campus? Well, they’ve been arrested (story from the Lexington Herald-Leader):

University of Kentucky police announced the arrest of a UK student and his friend Thursday in connection with the hanging of an effigy of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama from a tree on campus Wednesday.

Interim UK police chief Joe Monroe said police received a series of tips throughout the day Wednesday that eventually led them to the two men. The men told police that the act was a stunt in response to news reports that an effigy of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was hung at a West Hollywood, Calif., home.

Joe Fischer, 22, a UK senior and a former football team walk-on, and a friend, Hunter Bush, 21, of Lexington were charged Thursday with burglary in the second degree, a felony; and theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. The disorderly conduct charge was made for the hanging of the effigy.

According to the 2007-2008 UK football roster, Fischer is from Latonia, outside of Cincinnati. Court documents list a Lexington address for him.

The two were being held at the Fayette County Detention Center Thursday.

Fischer and Bush turned themselves in to university police Thursday afternoon.

Material used to make the effigy, including clothes, was stolen from a fraternity house, and it was through the fraternity that they were able to track down Fischer and Bush, Monroe said.

Both Fischer and Bush gave statements to University of Kentucky Police detectives admitting responsibility, according to Fayette District Court records. Between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Bush and Fischer entered the Farmhouse Fraternity at 420 Hilltop Avenue. Inside, they took a black sports jacket and khaki pants. From a shed on the property, Fischer also took an 8-foot ladder, according to court records. Statements provided by residents of the fraternity house also placed Fischer at the scene, according to a criminal complaint.

Then, the two hung the doll resembling Obama 25 feet in the air with a noose. It was hung from a tree over a walkway, creating a hazardous condition, resulting in the disorderly conduct charge.

Neither Fischer nor Bush was a member of the fraternity, Monroe said.

“They expressed extreme remorse for a prank that they say got out of hand,” Monroe said of the two men. “They meant no harm or disrespect.”

That’s the failure of our educational system in a nutshell. Anyone with any inkling of the history of lynching in the United States would know that the imagery involving a hanged effigy is both harmful and disrespectful. Shameful.

Kentucky Kernel Photographers Freed in Minnesota

Posted in Elections, Kentucky News, Lexington News, Media, Politics on September 3, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

The Courier-Journal is reporting that three University of Kentucky-affiliated photographers have been released from jail in St. Paul, Minnesota “pending further investigation.” The three were in Minnesota to cover the Republican National Convention this week:

Kentucky Kernel photography advisor James Winn, UK sophomore Britney McIntosh and senior Edward Matthews were released at about 6:15 a.m. CDT from the Ramsey County Adult Detention Center, a volunteer at the center said today.

That was roughly 36 hours after they were arrested during an uprising among protesters outside the Republican National Convention. The three had come to St. Paul to photograph the event, although they were not working for the Kernel.

Matthews and McIntosh faced preliminary charges of felony rioting, while Winn was booked on a charge of rioting.

However, formal charges have not been filed against any of the three, the detention center spokesman said today.

According to the C-J, the editor-in-chief of the Kentucky Kernel, Brad Luttrell, identified UK journalism student Edward Matthews in the photo above of a crowd of protesters being pepper-sprayed by police outside the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn. on Monday.

The Kentucky Kernel‘s web site appears to be down at the moment, but readers can link to it here:

Not Only Are Kentuckians Racist, We’re Polluters Too

Posted in Economics, Environment, Kentucky News, Lexington News, Louisville News, Politics, Transportation on May 29, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

C-J Traffic Photo

(above photo of yesterday’s traffic from the Courier-Journal)

Just when you thought that the post-primary spotlight on Kentucky in the national media might go away, guess what? Our state is back in the news due to the heavy “carbon footprint” that Louisville and Lexington add to the atmosphere (from the C-J):

Residents of Louisville and Lexington are among the worst contributors to climate change, according to a study of the nation’s 100 largest metropolitan areas.

Researchers with Washington’s Brookings Institution blame factors such as sprawling development that encourages driving rather than walking, biking or mass transit, and the cities’ reliance on cheap, coal-fueled electricity.

Its list — which measured carbon emissions per resident based on per capita emissions from residential and highway energy use in 2005 — puts Lexington at the top of a list of offenders, and Louisville fifth.

Thankfully, Louisville Metro government is on hand to give a good spin to our filthy habits:

While the ranking could be a public relations issue for leaders trying to attract industry and new residents, Louisville has made strides in recent years to improve air quality, add cycling lanes and begin a detailed study of the city’s carbon output, said Bruce Traughber, the city’s economic development director.

“We’ll know by the end of the year, early next year what our strategies are going to be,” he said. “We’re going to push forward and we’re going to have an impact.”

The other cities with the largest population-adjusted “carbon footprints” — Indianapolis, Toledo and Cincinnati — have the same energy patterns that contribute to high emissions.

“These areas tend to use a lot of relatively dirty fuels for their electricity,” said Andrea Sarzynski, a Brookings analyst and study co-author. “So we know the Appalachian region, for instance, relies fairly heavily on coal,” which produces more carbon than other energy sources.

So what are we, as a state, doing to address this mess? A tax credit! Sweet!

The General Assembly earlier this year passed legislation that includes incentives such as tax credits of up to $500 to help cover the cost of installing insulation, energy-efficient windows and other features.

Last month, the state’s largest homebuilders began a program to encourage environmentally friendly homes.

The Brookings Institution recommends a range of policy actions on the federal, state and local levels to help cities reduce their carbon emissions.

They include promoting more transportation choices such as mass transit and developing parcels closer to city centers rather than promoting urban sprawl.

No real word in the article from either city or state officials about improving Louisville’s or Lexington’s public transit systems, of course. Perhaps we’ll have to wait for gas to be $8, maybe $9 a gallon ’til then. But wait, we’ve actually signed something pledging a reduction of greenhouse gas emissions?…

Louisville and Lexington are among five Kentucky cities whose mayors have signed the U.S. Conference of Mayors’ climate protection agreement, striving to meet or exceed the Kyoto Protocol’s target of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 7 percent below 1990 levels by 2012.

Jackie Green, an activist who supports increasing access to public transportation, said that he believes the Brookings finding underscores his belief that Kentucky law should allow gasoline taxes to be spent on public transportation.

TARC still has no dedicated funding we can depend on for operations year in and year out,” he said.

Building new roads, such as the $4.1 billion Ohio River Bridges Project, won’t help cities reduce their carbon footprint, Mark Muro, public policy director for Brookings’ Metropolitan Policy Program, said.

Traughber defended the project, saying that economic development and reducing carbon emissions are part of a balancing act.

“If we can’t move freight across the Ohio River in an expeditious fashion … you may have a little lower carbon footprint, but you’ve got a lot lower standard of living, and I’m not sure that’s where the citizens of Louisville want to be,” he said.

Ah, the old “lower standard of living” canard. While the prospect (heh) of not getting to go to Rich-o’s or the Georgetown Drive-In would suck, guess what? We ALREADY HAVE BRIDGES ACROSS THE OHIO. It’s ridiculous that Traughber even flouts the idea that the Ohio River Bridges Project should be the only “public” transportation initiative for, what, the next thirty years? Maybe if the project wasn’t so BLOATED with cost overruns there’d be more money to spend on, say, light rail? Louisville’s public transportation (or more accurately, lack thereof) is a problem NOW, and the local government’s failure to lead on this issue for the pasty twenty, maybe even thirty years is appalling. Wake up, Jerry. We’re gonna need something more than just some East End bridge and a bus that crosses it once an hour.



BBC News Hour: Iraqi Refugees In Lexington

Posted in Happenings, Kentucky News, Lexington News, Media, Politics on May 13, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

FarahIraqi Wildcat

We’re going for a posting trifecta today, which is a little much, but we couldn’t ignore this story that we heard on the BBC News Hour this morning, about Ethar and Haithem, two Iraqi citizens who have emigrated to — of all places — Lexington, Kentucky (above photos from the BBC News web site):

A storm was brewing and there was a roll of thunder. Farah – a four-year-old Iraqi girl now living in Lexington, Kentucky – urgently asked her mother, “Was that a bomb?”

Farah and her brother Bashar – who is nearly two – used to live in Baghdad with their parents Haithem and Ethar.

Ethar worked in a bank, Haithem as an interpreter – for the Iraqi army, and for American forces at a base near the capital.

… Ethar has a British passport (she was born in London), and so have the children. But Haithem has an Iraqi passport. The British authorities refused to let them settle in the UK as a family.

They applied to live in the US. It took two years, but they now have their “green cards”, which means they are permanent residents with the right to work.

They are finding it hard to adjust. The US is land of cars and credit cards. They have no car, and no credit cards.

And they have found it deeply unsettling moving from a country where there is immense community support to a place where they are expected to fend entirely for themselves.

… They arrived to a completely empty flat in Lexington. No beds, no seating, no kitchen equipment. Nothing. A friend lent them blankets, and they slept on the carpeted floor.

Haithem imagined he would get support from the local mosque in Lexington. They never returned his calls.

The family have now moved to a two-bedroom apartment, which is fully furnished and decorated with gifts from the local ecumenical church.

They have even provided toys and crayons and colouring books for the two children.

And they’ve been accepted by a local programme for refugees – which is paying their first three months’ rent.

Haithem and Ethar are mystified that the US Embassy in Baghdad gave them their documents, and said, “You’re good to go”, but made no provision for the complexities of arriving in the US.

We don’t think we need to point out the general failure that is the Bush Administration’s invasion of Iraq, but articles like this are important to remind us that not only is the United States responsible for what might now be the world’s worst humanitarian crisis (an avoidable crisis at that), but that our government has refused so far to expand the number of visas available to Iraqis who have worked for the U.S. Armed Forces and other government agencies in Iraq — despite our own ambassador’s plea to Washington to do so.

If there are any readers of this blog in the Lexington area, we’d appreciate if you’d pass on information to us as to how to help Ethar and Haithem as the BBC’s news story doesn’t mention the church who donated so generously to them. We’d gladly publish the information and make a donation, and encourage our readers to do the same.