May 282013
 

Statement regarding corporate entity Kentucky American Water’s proposed rate increases on Fayette Urban County citizens.

(Editor’s Note: Great job Jim!)

“Thanks for holding this hearing tonight.

 

  • You are right to scrutinize this request from Kentucky American Water for another rate increase.

 

  • You are right to make it convenient for people to comment by coming here.

 

  • And you are right to make this process more transparent.

 

I was a businessman for almost 40 years. So naturally, business is part of my DNA.

 

  • As a businessman, I’ve made good business decisions, and I’ve made bad business decisions.

 

I can tell you Kentucky American is making bad business decisions. Decisions that are bad for the citizens of Lexington .

 

  • The decision to build the plant in Owen County was a bad business decision. Industrial demand is what drives water consumption. Industrial demand and consumption are declining all over the country. Conservation is the key strategy.

 

When I was in business and made bad decisions, I had to pay for them.

 

  • Kentucky American is not paying for its bad decisions. It is asking the Public Service Commission to make Lexington citizens pay for them.

 

  • It is asking you to sanction their bad decisions.

 

  • Lexington citizens are getting pretty tired of this.  I sent out a notice to encourage people to come to this meeting and got back an earful.

 

Where have these bad business decisions led?

 

  • As customers we are all paying 71 percent more for water than six years ago after three rate increases … and now Kentucky American is asking you for another increase.

 

  • The reason for all these increases is the $164 million treatment plant that opened in 2010 … Kentucky American insisted on building the plant even though its customers are using less water … that’s a bad business decision.

 

  • This project was sold to the PSC as a regional solution. But no other cities bought in. So now, Kentucky American is buying small water plants and selling those customers its excess capacity from the Owenton plant and asking Lexington to help pay for that expansion, too. It’s happening right now in Owenton. Nicholasville and Paris may be next.

 

  • Lexington gets a triple whammy

 

o                   We are asked to pay higher and higher rates.

 

o                   We are asked to help pay for Kentucky American’s efforts to sell its excess capacity.

 

o                   And we are asked to pay for a Kentucky American decision that is already costing the city $3.2 million this year alone.

 

Ø                  Let’s delve a little deeper into this bad business decision.

 

Ø                  Kentucky American chose to stop billing for the city’s water, landfill and sanitary sewer fees. Irresponsible corporate decision making. And, more importantly, it is irresponsible and outrageous civic behavior.

 

Ø                  We were paying Kentucky American $1.5 million a year to do the billing for us.

 

Ø                  We project that decision will cost Lexington $3.2 million this year, including $2.1 million in lower collection of fees, $700,000 in annual increased billing expenses and $400,000 in implementation fees this first year.

 

Ø                  As we move forward, this irresponsible corporate decision could easily cost our taxpayers millions every year.

 

Ø                  Now Kentucky American wants their Lexington customers to make up for the money the company lost when it decided not to continue our billing … in other words, to pay for another bad business decision.

 

Ø                  Although I try to separate issues related to Kentucky American I can say this was the single-most anti-Lexington action I have seen in a corporate citizen of our City … and this corporate citizen promotes itself as operating in the public interest.

 

  • I am asking the Public Service Commission:

 

    • To say NO to this latest rate increase in its entirety.

 

    • To say NO to Kentucky American’s request to automatically pass along the cost of capital spending, chemicals and electricity without PSC approval.

 

    • And, most importantly, I am asking the PSC to step back, take a look at this company’s recent actions, and consider at what point we stop paying for all of Kentucky American’s bad decisions?

 

Thank you.”

 

May 082013
 

Saturday, April 20. Skaters, bikers, and bladers line up at Woodland Park for Friends for Skateparks’ First Annual Greenskate one-mile fun ride.  Greenskate supports action sports as a healthy and environmentally friendly alternative mode of transportation, while also supporting the development of action sports facilities within the Lexington Parks & Recreation system.  To learn more, find us on Facebook by searching “Friends for Skateparks.”

GreenskateWEB

Photo by Jeanna Justice: You, Me Studio

 

May 082013
 

By Colleen Glenn

 Ellis (Tye Sheridan), Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) strike an unlikely friendship with a wanted man, Mud (Matthew McConaughey).


Ellis (Tye Sheridan) and Neckbone (Jacob Lofland) strike an unlikely friendship with a wanted man, Mud (Matthew McConaughey).

Every now and then, a film comes along that feels authentic and startlingly fresh. This rarity happened twice this spring, as two such films graced the screen at the Kentucky Theatre during April/May: Mud (dir: Jeff Nichols) and The Place Beyond the Pines (dir: Derek Cianfrance).

Although the Kentucky Theatre had to cancel its special premiere of Mud when Oscar-nominated, Lexington native actor Michael Shannon’s shooting schedule on HBO’s “Boardwalk Empire” changed, you should  still get down to the Kentucky to see the film. The theatre, currently in the expensive process of converting to digital projection, still needs funds to support this transition, and Mud will not disappoint.  Continue reading »

May 082013
 

By Joseph G. Anthony

Ohio-Street-1WEB

“Ohio Street opened up—300 block, then the 400 block. The powers-that-be would select certain streets or certain areas where we could live.” Amanda Cooper Elliot. Photo by Danny Mayer.

“The past is a foreign country; they did things differently there,” says the narrator in the 1970 movie, The Go-Between.

I certainly hope so.

I wonder if it’s a particularly American trait that the past so quickly becomes first a rumor and then something so dead we view it with the same amazement present-day Romans must feel when they try to extend their subway only to discover yet another lost civilization. But I am not speaking of ancient cities. I’m talking of the lifetime memories of many of our fellow Kentuckians.

I say this because I’ve been researching and writing a novel—Wanted: Good Family—timed mostly in 1948 with long visits to the 1920s. It’s set in Fayette, Scott, and Estill Counties. Three of my narrators are African-American, or—as was the still-respectable and self-applied appellation—colored. My other three narrators are white. My white narrators don’t have an easy time of it: being poor and white in the first half of the century in Kentucky wasn’t, as Bette Davis said of old age, for sissies.  But being poor and colored in Kentucky…well, if they had been Hindu instead of Baptists, they might have wondered just what the hell they had done in those past lives to be faced with so many challenges: spiritual, emotional, physical. Continue reading »

May 082013
 

By Wesley Houp

Editor’s note: What follows is an account of Wesley Houp and Danny Mayer, intrepid paddlers of the Kentucky River watershed, as they branch into Tennessee waters.

Floating on the upper Duck. Photo by Wesley Houp.

Floating on the upper Duck. Photo by Wesley Houp.

By the time we’ve trimmed the gear and bungied loose odds and ends, the sky has turned to pitch, not quite the “bible-black” of Tweedy’s predawn, but close enough.  The waning crescent, locked out, fails to backlight the low cloud-cover.  It’s only 5:30pm but it might as well be midnight.  The magnetic sibilance of shoalwater dilates my pupils as I turn in the current to face the dark downstream.  This is Danny’s first Duck River paddle, a stretch we’ve planned for months, and we’ve already had to trim eight miles off the front, concession to wives and children waiting patiently at journey’s end.  We’ll miss the Little Hurricane and Fall Creeks, but we’ll still camp tonight at the mouth of Sinking Creek above the nameless island and mussel-bound braids of Shearin Bend.  We find our line, hit the chute and shoot down the middle in quick succession, boats for tongues in a manner of articulation, the river, the ultimate grammar, its nominals of stone and deadfall submerging and emerging, modifications lisping and lapping, auxiliary perfect and progressive with modal: “Even when you’re gone, I will have been traveling over the stones for an eternity.”

Danny lets out a joyous little “whoop”, but I’m momentarily distracted; some water finds its way over my gunnels and into my shoes, reminding me of what I’ve forgotten: waterproof boots.  My worn out Sperrys sponge up the slosh.  At least the night is mild, and with only a thirty percent chance of rain perhaps my feet alone will suffer the indignities of damp.   As if to lighten the mood, the bottle of Jim Beam #7 clears its throat: “Shoes come and go, but a river lasts forever.  Bottoms up.  Downstream and seaward!”  Danny drifts up beside me, and we heed the call. Continue reading »

May 082013
 

The Leek: a satirical take

By Horace Heller Hedley, IV

Image by Christopher Epling.

Image by Christopher Epling.

A confidential source has provided The Leek with a surreptitious tape of a strategy session held by senior officials of the National Rifle Association (NRA). The recording was made on April 18, 2013, the day after measures banning assault weapons and extending gun buyer background checks were defeated in the Senate.

The confidential source told The Leek that he entered the meeting with a recording device concealed in an oversized ammunition clip attached to an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. The weapon did not arouse suspicion and was not searched.

The Leek took no direct part in making the recording. Therefore, whatever the legality of the recording, The Leek is exercising its First Amendment right to publish the manuscript, and is held harmless from legal liability under Supreme Court precedent set in the case of Bartnicki v. Vopper.

The participants in the NRA meeting appear to have been senior policymakers and legal specialists within the organization, but could not be identified.  Continue reading »

May 082013
 

By Marcus Flores

I spent my honeymoon in Curacao, an island in the southern Caribbean quite near Venezuela. Flying by commercial airline in the post-9/11 era entails security procedures that, while mildly inconvenient to some (my wife, for example), constitute civil rights infringements to others. As a libertarian, I think I needn’t bother saying to which camp I belong.

Perhaps it comes with the ideology, but I am also not scared shitless of the .00000004% chance of dying in a terrorist attack. No, what unnerves me is the chance that some drunken airline mechanic fails to notice a leaky hose, or that a recently divorced pilot brings his distractful personal baggage with him into the cockpit. (I am not at all reassured by the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) report on the Comair Flight 5191 disaster, which listed small talk among the factors that led the pilot down the wrong runway at Bluegrass Airport in 2006.) In short, I hope that more attention is directed at preventable dangers rather than the guy with the beard. Continue reading »

May 082013
 

By Ellen Deatrick

Crowds gather to hear local politicians at the tenth-annual Nehamiah Action Assembly. Photo by Dustin Pugel.

Crowds gather to hear local politicians at the tenth-annual Nehamiah Action Assembly. Photo by Dustin Pugel.

Many people can’t stand to leave things unchecked on a to-do list. Lexington’s BUILD (Building a United Interfaith Lexington through Direct-Action) is not like that. Tuesday, April 16 at their tenth-annual Nehemiah Action Assembly, 1659 people showed up to address three items on the to-do list. The same three that were on there the year before. And the year before: payday lending, affordable housing, and barriers to ex-offender reentry.

BUILD keeps issues on the list until they can rightly be checked off. Such an approach has kept pressure on community officials and has made significant progress on solutions proposed for some of the community’s most pervasive social justice concerns. As Reverend John List put it: “We [BUILD] will drive you crazy with our persistence.” Continue reading »