Louisville

In what could prove the largest-ever merger in the insurance industry, Aetna has announced a $37 billion deal to acquire rival Humana.

The agreement, announced by the Hartford, Conn.-based Aetna, "would bolster Aetna's presence in the state- and federally funded Medicaid program and Tricare coverage for military personnel and their families," according to The Associated Press.

Creative Commons

Louisville’s Morris Forman treatment plant is still not fully functional after an electrical fire and power outage Wednesday night.

More than 100-million gallons of diluted sewage went into the Ohio River yesterday, and more continues to flow today. Some of that sewage was partially-treated, after Morris Forman began resuming some operations.

Some of it wasn’t treated at all, as the outage at the plant and rain caused the city’s combined sewer system to overflow into the river.

As of Friday morning, the sewage was still being discharged into the river, including at the Morris Forman site in Louisville’s Rubbertown neighborhood and at overflow sites around the city.

Metropolitan Sewer District officials are investigating the cause of the fire, but they say preliminary evidence suggests a lightning strike could be responsible.

It will be several days before the treatment plant is fully operational, but MSD spokesman Steve Tedder said the sewer overflows should stop sometime today, if there’s no more rain.

People are advised to avoid contact with the Ohio River and its tributaries.

This post has been updated.

More than 100 million gallons of sewage have been diverted straight into the Ohio River, following an electrical fire and power outage Wednesday night at the Morris Forman treatment plant, in what an official said is one of the largest overflows the city has had in the past decade.

The mishap occurred Wednesday night when a fire at Morris Forman in Louisville’s Rubbertown neighborhood caused an eight-hour power outage. Power was restored by Thursday morning, but sewage continues to seep into the waterway.

A reduced crew of firefighters remains on site at the fire that broke out Friday at General Electric’s Appliance Park in Louisville.

Okolona Battalion Chief William Schmidt said the fire isn’t still burning, but there are spots smoldering and smoking. About 200 firefighters battled the blaze Friday at Appliance Park; now, Schmidt said that force has been reduced to about 30.

“We still have people out there. I couldn’t tell you when we’re not going to have people out there,” he said.

Now, crews are working to pick through the building’s wreckage to reach what Schmidt called “hot spots.”

“We’re having to utilize wrecking crews and contract crews to be able to dismantle the steel, to be able to safely reach those areas,” he said. “And that’s just time consuming.”

The shelter-in-place that was in effect for those living near Appliance Park was lifted Sunday night. Though technically General Electric could resume operations in its other buildings at the plant, the company has told employees the facility will be closed this week. The cause of the fire is still unknown.

Angel's Envy

International spirits company Bacardi Limited has made its entry into the booming bourbon market with the purchase, announced today, of a Louisville-based bourbon maker.

Bacardi is the new owner of Angel’s Share Brands. The company includes the popular Angel’s Envy bourbon, developed by the late Lincoln Henderson and his family. Henderson was a longtime master distiller for Brown-Forman Corporation.

Angel’s Envy is currently distilled off-site and aged in port wine barrels.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Update :

Wilson Sporting Goods will pay $70 million for the Louisville Slugger brand, the companies’ representatives said Monday in a news conference.

With the deal, 52 Hillerich and Bradsby Co. employees will be laid off, mostly from positions such as accounting and information technology, the companies’ representatives said. Currently, H&B has about 270 employees; some other positions will move to operate under Wilson.

The companies do not plan to overlap the brands—in other words, Wilson and Louisville Slugger branding won’t appear on the same merchandise. But companies may someday begin to use the Slugger brand on other merchandise besides bats and gloves.

Original post:

Hillerich and Bradsby Co. is turning over “global brand, sales and innovation rights” for the Louisville Slugger brand to Wilson Sporting Goods, marking a major change for one of the city’s signature brands.

The sporting goods companies announced the deal Monday morning.

The deal is pending Hillerich and Bradsby stockholder approval.

KFC Yum! Center

Because melting snow and heavy rain have caused flooding around the Louisville waterfront, city officials are urging fans heading to the KFC Yum Center for NCAA Tournament games this week to arrive early.

“There are still a number of parking spaces that are flooded. A number of roadways that are blocked or closed and construction as well,” said Sandra Moran, Yum Center marketing director.

The parking garages underneath the arena and at the Galt House are open for business, she said. And if fans aren’t parking in either of those lots they should try to avoid west Interstate 64’s Third Street ramp, which reopened Tuesday after flooding, because traffic congestion is expected in that area, said Moran.

“Have a plan and look at a couple of different garages that you might try to park at because there will be limited space during the day with the business traffic that’s going to be downtown as well,” she said.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Louisville is one of 21 communities across the U.S. committing to increasing access to high tech jobs, city officials said Monday.

The city’s effort is part of a larger federal initiative announced Monday aimed at getting Americans to fill the increasing number of vacant information technology jobs in the U.S.

Employers around the country are having a hard time finding qualified and skilled workers for these positions. The national initiative, announced by President Obama, aims to get communities to train people for those jobs.

During a conference call with the White House, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer was identified as one of the community leaders working with employers and the federal government to extend training opportunities to residents.

Louisville Metro police officer will appear in court Friday to face charges that he assaulted two students at a Jefferson County middle school while working as a school resource officer.

Jonathan Hardin, 31, was arrested Tuesday on charges including assault, wanton endangerment and official misconduct, according to police reports.

He was released from Metro Corrections Tuesday evening after posting a $25,000 bond, according to a spokeswoman for the jail.

Hardin is a school resource officer at Olmsted North Middle School. This is his first year as the resource officer for Olmsted; last year he was a resource officer at Moore Traditional High School, according to a Jefferson County Public Schools spokesman.

Gary Pepper expects some things to get broken when the Forecastle Festival comes to Waterfront Park this summer.

“It’s a huge event,” said Pepper, director of facilities for the Waterfront Development Corporation. “Stuff gets tore up, you have to anticipate it.”

The Waterfront Park staff will continue anticipating the wear and tear for at least a few more years.

Louisville Museum's British Armor Collection Leaving Town

Jan 12, 2015

The Frazier History Museum in downtown Louisville is giving visitors a last chance to see the Royal Armouries exhibit before it returns to England.

The exhibit has been on loan from the National Museum's collection of arms. It has been on display since the museum opened a decade ago. It closes on Jan. 19.

Included in the collection is the armor of the 16th-century poet and soldier, Sir Philip Sidney, who was killed in battle in 1586.

The exhibit's items will be packed up and sent back to the National Museum of Arms and Armour in Leeds, England. Some of it will go on display at the Tower of London.

The Frazier Museum says the two museums are exploring opportunities to continue to work together after the exhibit closes.

City on a Hill

A new movie called The Song comes out in theaters Friday. The film is the first full-length feature directed by Bowling Green native Richie Ramsey.

The Song is said to be inspired by the Song of Solomon, so it's no surprise the film about a singer-songwriter is heavy with religious imagery. One of the first conversations between main characters Jed King and Rose Jordan involves a debate over a popular song from the 1960s that's based on biblical text.

Jed: I love that song too, it’s just not the Beatles.
Rose: Yeah it is.
Jed: No it’s the Byrds, you’re thinking of the Byrds.
Rose: No. Agree to disagree.
Jed: No, you’d still be wrong.
Rose: The lyrics are in the Bible. Can we agree that God wrote them?

Jonathan Meador

Louisville educators who support a lawsuit seeking to recoup lost money from Kentucky's underfunded teachers' pension system clashed this week with the head of the Jefferson County teachers' union.

The Kentucky Teachers' Retirement System serves about 145,000 teachers across the state and is underfunded by about $14 billion, largely because the state legislature hasn't in recent years provided the necessary contributions to keep it solvent. New state pension accounting standards to be enacted starting this year will compound that $14 billion liability, raising it to about $22 billion.

The issue was at the center of a panel discussion Monday in Louisville that included Jefferson County Teachers Association President Brent McKim and Chris Tobe, a state pension expert and former Kentucky Retirement Systems board member.

If the legislature fails to take action, the pensions could enter a "death spiral"  where it may not be able to make sufficient investments or meet its obligations to pensioners, Tobe and McKim said.

Some, including Tobe, estimate that could happen by 2036.

Kentucky Transportation Cabinet

A federal appeals court is upholding the dismissal of a lawsuit related to the Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project.

The 6th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati ruled unanimously that the organization that brought the lawsuit failed to prove that Kentucky and Indiana violated federal law. The group Coalition for Advancement of Regional Transportation—or CART—filed suit against the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, the Indiana Department of Transportation, and the Federal Highway Administration.

The group claimed the $2.6 billion dollar bridges project would cause environmental damage by clearing trees and harming wildlife and water quality along the two spans' proposed routes. The suit also said the project violated the 1964 Civil Rights Act by negatively impacting minority communities where construction would occur.  

CART’s lawsuit had been previously dismissed by U.S District Judge John G. Heyburn. The group appealed, setting up the showdown at the federal appeals court level.

The Ohio River bridges project includes the creation of a new bridge for I-65 north, the renovation of the Kennedy Memorial bridge that carries I-65 south, and a new bridge that will connect the Gene Snyder Freeway with the Lee Hamilton Highway in southern Indiana.

KennyPerry.com

This week’s PGA Championship at Valhalla Golf Club in Louisville will likely be the last appearance in any of golf’s major competitions by Kenny Perry. The longtime Franklin, Kentucky resident is expected to begin focusing on the Champions Tour for golfers 50 and over.

Valhalla was the site of one of the biggest heartbreaks of Kenny Perry’s playing career.    He finished second in a playoff to Mark Brooks in the 1996 PGA Championship. But 12 years later there was triumph,  as Perry’s Ryder Cup team defeated the Europeans at Valhalla.

Now 54, Perry says he’s grateful for the chance to play in the PGA Championship a final time….in Kentucky. 

Perry spent about an hour signing autographs after his Tuesday practice round.     He says the attention is not a distraction from his preparations.   Perry joked that he hasn’t had to sign all that many autographs over the years.

“To me, it’s my way to say thank you for 30 years of support, thank you for your love and your compassion for me,” said Perry. “I enjoyed it, for me personally.  There were a lot of people yelling out where they were from---Glasgow, Kentucky, Bowling Green, Kentucky—just all these little towns that are around Franklin where I live”

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