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The Louisville Fraternal Order of Police chapter is set to vote Tuesday on a settlement with Metro Government over take home cars.

Last week, the FOP website reported that the city had tentatively agreed to drop fees on officers who use their cars off duty and to repay the officers for the fees that have been collected since they were first imposed in 2008. It’s estimated the settlement would tentatively cost the city about $1 million, though most of the money collected through the fees has reportedly been kept in escrow.

The FOP’s roughly 1,200 members will vote on the settlement Tuesday evening. The Courier-Journal reports that FOP president Dave Mutchler–who has not returned calls for comment–sent officers an e-mail asking them to support the settlement, and stressed four of its provisions:

* The city will reimburse each current and former sworn member for all gasoline fees paid prior to the agreement, or for nearly three years.

* No gasoline fees will be charged to members who do not use a Louisville Metro Police Department vehicle in conjunction with secondary employment.

* Members will pay a gasoline fee for each month in which they use a police vehicle in association with secondary employment. Such fees may fluctuate and will be determined based on the average monthly retail price for a gallon of regular gasoline.

* The agreement will be in force for two years.

After years of sharing a website, the Jeffersonville Evening News and the New Albany Tribune are merging.

“With the consolidation of the two award-winning newspapers, residents of Clark and Floyd counties will continue to receive the same quality local news and information that they have received in the past, but the News and Tribune will also give readers more regional coverage of Southern Indiana,” said Evening News publisher Bill Hanson in a story posted on the papers’ site.

WFPL is pursuing more on this story.

by Graham Shelby

Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear hasn’t decided if he’ll sign a bill that would make medicine containing the meth ingredient and decongestant pseudoephedrine available by prescription-only.

The Governor says he wants to reduce the number of meth labs in the state, but is concerned about the effect of the measure on law-abiding citizens. In addition, he says it’s hard to know if any new law enforcement system is going to be effective before it’s implemented.

“When we first put our system that we have now in, for about the first two years, the lab numbers really dropped, and then of course they came back up as people figured out somehow how to get around the system. And I’m concerned that I don’t know how effective it will be,” he says.

Beshear says he intends to listen to the debate in Frankfort before making up his mind. That debate will continue next week. Proponents of the bill say the measure would drastically limit meth-makers access to a key component of the illegal drug methamphetamine.

I will be out of town on Thursday and Friday. If there’s breaking news, I will post it here. Otherwise, I’ll be back Monday.

While I’m out, does anyone need anything from St. Louis?

This is Laura Ellis with your weekly look at the SoA agenda.

Today we’re talking with Executive Director Bud Schardien to see what’s new at MSD, the Metropolitan Sewer District.  Tomorrow we’ll be investigating the causes, treatment and prevention of headaches and migraines.  On Wednesday – just in time for a break in the heat – we’re going to see what’s new with Metro Parks.

To get us in the right frame of mind for Independence Day, we’re spending Thursday with Ray Raphael, author of Founding Myths: The Stories That Hide Our Patriotic Past.

And of course, we’ll head into the weekend well informed after Friday’s State of the News – an hour of news analysis with the reporters who covered the stories.

This post comes to us from Laura Ellis

Summer doesn’t just mean hot weather, festivals on the Belvedere, and pork butt on a stick at the State Fair.  Unfortunately the summer months are also when the Red Cross experiences shortages of  all blood types.  But regardless of season, it’s about every two seconds that someone in the U.S. needs blood.

So next Thursday we’re rolling up our sleeves for our annual blood drive!  Join us – it’s the best way to save up to three lives in 45 minutes (that doesn’t involve running into and out of a burning building).

Appointments accepted but not necessary.  We’re at 619 S. 4th Street, next to the Louisville Palace.  Call our front desk at 502-814-6500 with questions or to make an appointment.

Good morning, folks!  This is Laura Ellis with your weekly look at what’s coming up this week on State of Affairs.

The face of business in Derby City is changing, and today we’ll find out how, by taking a look at immigrant professionals, living and working in Louisville.  We’ll also learn about a new initiative designed to attract the best & brightest international entrepreneurs and businesspeople from varying industries to our city.

Tomorrow, Primary Day is finally upon us!  We’re going to listen back to some coverage from the WFPL newsroom, including features about merger, and pieces focusing on different areas of Louisville and what they most need from our next mayor and city leaders.  We’ll wrap up the show by talking state politics, with veteran political writer and C-J columnist Al Cross.

On Wednesday, it’ll all be over with until November.  Join us for an in-depth post-mortem on the primary and a look at what the results will likely mean for the coming months.

Near the end of 2008, WFPL’s Stephanie Crosby produced a feature about Louisville’s disappearing blue mailboxes.  With people doing more of their bill paying and corresponding online, the use of snail mail has dwindled.  That combined with the economy’s downturn resulted in the Postal Service cutting back the number of public mailboxes, thereby reducing the amount their letter carriers needed to drive each day to pick up mail.  On Thursday we’re checking in with representatives from the USPS to see how online communication has affected their business, and how they are adapting to stay useful in the digital age.

Then on Friday, we round out the week with State of the News, a look at what made headlines this week with the reporters who covered them.

Hey folks, it’s Laura Ellis with your weekly preview of what’s on the SoA agenda this week.

Today we’re talking about a tumultuous 13 years in our nation’s history – Prohibition.  What lead to the outlawing of alcohol, what were the repercussions of the law, and how did it come to be repealed?  We’ll find out from Daniel Okrent, author of Last Call: The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.

The Louisville Orchestra has come a long way since its 1948 beginnings, and while it hasn’t always been smooth sailing, the organization has built an international reputation for innovation.  A new documentary, Music Makes a City, reflects on the orchestra’s history.  The film premiers on May 20, and we’re talking about it on Tuesday.

The Louisville Connectors project is a brain child of Leadership Louisville.  The 128 connectors, selected from nominations by the public, are individuals whose influence reaches across disciplines and sectors to bring people together in interesting and useful ways.  While the list is not without criticism (the C-J pointed out that all four connectors in the faith-based category are Christian, and that no one is really sure what the connectors will actually do) it’s hoped that these community members will be the next generation of Louisville leaders.  We’ll meet some of them and learn more about the project on Wednesday.

On Thursday we’ll talk with doctors and researchers about one of the hardest-working parts of your body.  Your heart beats about 100,000 times a day, and tends to keep on going in spite of our sometimes bad health habits.  We’ll find out the basics of how the heart works, what can go wrong, and how to keep it healthy.

Rounding out the week on Friday, it’s State of the News – a look at what made headlines this week in Metro Louisville and beyond.

Happy Monday folks!  This is Laura Ellis with a look at what’s coming up this week on State of Affairs.

Today we’re talking about racial bias in social services.  How does systemic and individual prejudice affect who has access to which services and what kind of assistance?

Earthquakes have been in the headlines lately and has some of us scratching our heads at the vague memory that the New Madrid Fault runs right through Kentucky.  Tomorrow we’re talking about earthquake preparedness – how to teach your family what to do in the event of an earthquake, and how our officials have prepared to deal with a possible seismic event and its aftermath.

On Wednesday we turn to white lightning, hooch, mountain dew, corn liquor… you know, moonshine.    Amateur distillers and the sometimes dangerous beverages they produced have a fabled place in American history.  We’ll hear some of that story when author Max Watman joins us to talk about his book, Chasing the White Dog: An Amateur Outlaw’s Adventures in Moonshine.

Following the downturn in the economy, things have been a bit bleak for TARC.  Route cuts and staff reductions have riders concerned for the future of a service some already found less than perfect.  This Thursday we’ll sit down with Executive Director Barry Barker and talk about the current condition of our bus system and what he sees as the future of TARC.

On Friday we’re rounding out the week with State of the News – a chance to talk in-depth about the stories that made headlines this week, with the reporters who covered them.

Happy Monday, folks!  It’s Laura Ellis with a look at what’s on the SoA agenda for Derby Week!

Today we’re learning more about the life and career of James Winkfield, the last African-American jockey to ride to victory in the Kentucky Derby, in 1902.  Why has it been so long?  The dearth of African-Americans in modern racing is even more puzzling when you consider that in the first Kentucky Derby in 1875, 13 out of 15 jockeys were black.  And that among the first 28 derby winners, 15 were ridden by African-American jockeys.  What happened to make horse racing so segregated?

Tomorrow we’ll talk with sports writer and author Ed McNamara about Cajun racing, and why so many  of today’s great jockeys hail from Louisiana.

On Wednesday we’re still talking horses, but with a different event in mind.  The Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games 2010 in Kentucky will represent the largest equine sporting event ever held in the United States.  The games are taking place this fall at Kentucky Horse Park – their first time ever to be held outside Europe.  Tune in to learn more about the games, their significance, and what preparations are being made at the horse park.

Thursday is our annual Handicapping the Derby show!  Join us to get our experts’ picks on who to put your money on this Saturday.  If you’re not guarding them to closely, call and tell us your own secret methods for picking a horse (and ‘fess up if you go by silks color, or let your toddler pick!).

Friday we’ll be rounding out the week with State of the News – apparently news goes on, even during Derby Week.

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