$12.8M pay increase for City of Louisville employees under consideration – WAVE 3

By |2021-12-03T20:44:37-05:00December 3rd, 2021|COVID-19|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer wants to spend $12.8M to boost pay for city employees to help with recruitment and retention in light of the “Great Resignation.” The money would come from federal funds and left over dollars the city didn’t have the chance to spend due to COVID-19.“A better-than-expected revenue picture and federal funds have put us in position to address some of the salary issues which are hindering our ability to recruit and retain employees needed to serve the public,” Metro Councilman Bill Hollander, the ordinance’s sponsor said in a news release.Just five months into the fiscal year, 7.04% of city employees have quit their jobs; many have left for the private sector or higher paying jobs, according to the release. It went on to say the city’s compensation rate is lower than market.Due to Metro Louisville’s limited funding over the past few years, union employees have received between 0-2% percent raises, and the non-union grid has not changed since 2016.The employee shortage is especially apparent in the city’s police department and jail. Metro Corrections currently has 142 vacancies with more corrections officers set to leave in the new year. Louisville Corrections FOP President, Daniel Johnson told WAVE 3 News officers are quitting because they’re under paid and overworked.“The two main factors is the money and the hours,” Johnson said. “Because we’re so short staffed, you’re going to work 60 to 70 hours a week and be asked to do more.”The starting pay for a Metro Corrections officer is $17 per hour. Johnson said that kind of money cannot compete with the private sector and other departments around the country.“Since the retirement system has changed now, we’re basically competing with everyone because you would take a lower wage knowing you can retire in 20 years,” Johnson said. “You can’t do that anymore, but the pay hasn’t increased.”Johnson believes a pay raise could help fix the staff problem at the jail, depending on how the city would divide up the $12.8M. He said the ideal amount would be an additional $7 an hour across all positions.“If we were to do a $5 increase, that would put us at $22 an hour, and that would put us competitive, and we would still be scrapping and trying to lure people to us, but I think $7 is the magic number that would solve our recruiting and retention issues overnight,” Johnson said. “Unfortunately, (if nothing changes) we’re going to see a spike of more people getting hurt, more loss of life, just because we don’t have the numbers to supervise and keep people safe the way we could be doing if we were fully staffed.”The city has not addressed how the money would be divided among departments.The Budget Committee will consider the proposal during its Dec. 9 meeting before Metro Council makes final action on Dec. 16.Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.

Scott Satterfield to remain the Louisville football coach – 247 Sports

By |2021-12-04T00:44:52-05:00December 3rd, 2021|COVID-19|

After nearly a week of speculation and rumors, University of Louisville athletic director Vince Tyra addressed the football coaching situation at Louisville on Friday. Tyra and U of L coach Scott Satterfield met on Friday morning and two sources confirmed to Cardinal Authority that Satterfield would remain the coach. On Friday night, Tyra spoke with WDRB.com's Eric Crawford and confirmed that Satterfield will be retained for his fourth season. "We had a great meeting today," Tyra told Crawford. "Scott had a very detailed game plan, a very compelling game plan, ready for the meeting. It continues the development that he's tried to do in the first three years. I think everyone feels we're getting further away from where we were three years ago and continue to put ourselves in a good spot. I think we can see where the recruiting class is. And I think we're supportive of other moves that he'll talk soon to further enhance those efforts, and we're ready to invest in those efforts." Satterfield, who attended his father's funeral on Monday in North Carolina and was recruiting much of the rest of the week, is expected to meet with the media later this week or early next week after the Cardinals find out their bowl destination. The bowl bids will be announced on Sunday night. In his first year at U of L, Louisville finished 8-5 and beat Mississippi State in the Music City Bowl. Satterfield was named ACC Coach of the Year that season. But last year, the Cardinals dealt with COVID-19 issues and finished 4-7 and didn't make a bowl game. This season, Louisville went 6-6 in the regular season and was 4-4 in ACC play. The Cardinals lost close games to Wake Forest, Virginia and Clemson in games that did come down to the final possession and in all three instances the final few seconds. U of L also lost several key players to injuries with wide receiver Braden Smith getting injured in the second game of the season, while linebacker Monty Montgomery was injured on one of the final plays in the third game of the season, and Kei'Trel Clark was injured in the N.C. State game. All three missed the rest of the season and will return next season. Louisville, which had 70 freshmen among the 115-man roster to start the season, also gets quarterback Malik Cunningham back. He made that announcement earlier in the day. "The players believe in him," Tyra told Crawford. "They like him. They like what they're doing to develop the culture. It doesn't happen overnight. They're in a rhythm, and I think getting another year away from COVID is helpful for this type of culture where it's a lot of team bonding and, you know, position group dinners in coaches' houses and all those things are valuable when you run a program like Scott's."

Biden vaccine mandate: What to know about the lawsuits, rulings in KY – Courier-Journal

By |2021-12-03T21:24:40-05:00December 3rd, 2021|COVID-19|

New federal COVID-19 vaccine and testing requirements from President Joe Biden's administration were set to go into effect Jan. 4, but several have been at least temporarily blocked by a series of lawsuits across the nation.Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron was a party to several of the lawsuits challenging the new mandates as unconstitutional, including two in which courts issued injunctions this week to prevent them from being enforced.Here is a rundown of the current status of these vaccine and testing mandates and the lawsuits attempting to stop them:What are Biden's vaccine rules?The Biden administration issued separate federal rules mandating different types of workers to be either fully vaccinated or regularly tested.First, all federal contractors would be required to have their employees fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services issued an emergency regulation that would require all staff at medical providers serving patients in the federal programs to receive at least one dose of the vaccine by Dec. 6 and be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4.If implemented, the mandate would cover more than 17 million health care workers.More:20 questions, answers on the new COVID-19 vaccine rules for workersThe Occupational Safety and Health Administration also issued a new rule requiring workers at companies and organizations with more than 100 employees to either be fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 or face regular testing going forward.This OSHA rule would apply to an estimated 80 million workers, with companies facing a potential $14,000 penalty per violation.Biden also issued a mandate for nearly 4 million direct federal employees to be fully vaccinated by last Monday that has not been blocked by the courts, with 95% complying by that date.What lawsuits are challenging them?Several lawsuits have been filed around the country to block the vaccine mandate for federal contractors, but the first case to result in an injunction occurred Tuesday in Kentucky.U.S. District Judge Gregory Van Tatenhove of Kentucky's Eastern District issued a preliminary injunction to temporarily block the mandate on federal contractors in Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio, the three states whose attorneys general filed the lawsuit last month.As for the vaccine mandate of health care workers, a nationwide preliminary injunction was also issued Tuesday by a federal judge in Louisiana, following a ruling a day earlier from another federal judge that blocked it in only 10 states.The lawsuit challenging the mandate on health care workers that led to the nationwide injunction was led by Louisiana's attorney general and joined by attorneys general of 13 other states, including Cameron in Kentucky.Earlier in November, the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals also issued a nationwide injunction on the OSHA vaccine and testing rule affecting businesses with more than 100 workers. Why are the rules being challenged?While the Biden administration has argued these rules will save thousands of lives and hundreds of thousands from hospitalization — in addition to encouraging millions to reenter the workforce with safer conditions — the lawsuits argue this mandate attempts to achieve those goals through unconstitutional means.Several courts — including the two judges issuing injunctions Tuesday — have stated the Biden administration does not have the authority to bypass Congress by issuing such mandates.In his motion to block the mandate on federal contractors, Cameron argued it would create workforce and budget issues for local jails in Boone, Laurel and Grayson counties that have federal contracts to handle federal prisoners, as many staff there remain unvaccinated.What is next for the rules and lawsuits?Each of the court rulings blocking Biden administration vaccine and testing rules are likely to be appealed all the way to the Supreme Court.As the issues in these cases are litigated, the injunctions are expected to remain in place and the mandates will not be enforceable.Even in the absence of these federal rules being in effect, Louisville's largest hospitals and several hospital systems throughout Kentucky have already implemented their own vaccine orders to employees, including U of L Health, Baptist Health and Norton Healthcare.In anticipation of the OSHA rule going into effect and the expectation that it would apply to state and local governments in Kentucky, Gov. Andy Beshear said in November he was "putting together the apparatus" for state workers who are not fully vaccinated by Jan. 4 to be tested weekly — just as Department of Corrections and state health facility workers have been required to do for much of this year.Reach reporter Joe Sonka at jsonka@courierjournal.com and follow him on Twitter at @joesonka. Support strong local journalism by subscribing today at the top of this page.

JCPS COVID-19 testing partner nets nearly $3 million from federal grants | In-depth | wdrb.com

By |2021-12-03T20:44:39-05:00December 3rd, 2021|COVID-19|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WDRB) -- The company providing COVID-19 testing for Jefferson County Public Schools had been paid nearly $3 million by mid-November from federal grants for school-based screening during the coronavirus pandemic.The lion’s share of that money, available through grants from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services totaling $134 million, was paid to SphereDX after Kentucky’s largest school district implemented “test-to-stay” and “test-to-play” programs.Records obtained Friday from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Family Services through an open records request show SphereDX was paid $2.9 million from the federal grants between Aug. 2 and Nov. 19. That’s more than 2% of the total funding available through the school-based COVID-19 testing grants.The company, which also provides testing for some local private schools, earned nearly $2.7 million from the federal school-based testing grants between Oct. 25 and Nov. 19, which covers the period when JCPS began its major COVID-19 screening programs for students, state records show.JCPS, which has partnered with SphereDX for COVID-19 testing since the district offered free screenings at schools and more than 50 drive-thru sites, began it’s voluntary “test-to-stay” program meant to curb the numbers of students sent home to quarantine after exposures to positive coronavirus cases on Oct. 18.Students who opt to participate in “test-to-stay” must test negative for COVID-19 each day before they arrive at school for classroom instruction.The district’s “test-to-play” program is mandatory for students who participate in extracurricular activities such as sports, and they must undergo weekly COVID-19 screening.Thousands of JCPS students participate in the programs each week on average, according to Eva Stone, the district’s health services manager.Copyright 2021 WDRB Media. All Rights Reserved.

Louisville Urban League celebrates and reflects on 100 years – WFPL

By |2021-12-03T20:44:46-05:00December 3rd, 2021|COVID-19, Election 2020|

The Louisville Urban League celebrated its 100th year in service Friday with a luncheon detailing progress from July 2020 to June of this year — and the changes that still need to come.  In that time, the League and its community partners helped thousands of families and community members with groceries, job placements, scholarships, voting access and education and more, despite hurdles exacerbated by COVID-19.  League President and CEO Sadiqa Reynolds said while she’s proud that the teams were able to help so many, she also wants people to understand the work was done under very difficult conditions.  “We’re in a pandemic. We’ve lived through a lot of civil unrest but there is still so much racism and it is so blatant and in our faces and when you are a part of the group that you are hoping to uplift, it’s difficult,” she said.  “And so I hope today that I can somehow convey that story but also celebrate the work that we’ve been able to do and the lives that we’ve been able to touch and to change and realize that we did that with Black people and white people and poor people and wealthy people. It took all of us.” Over the past year, the Urban League helped with more than 200 job placements that had an average hourly wage of nearly $16. They helped test more than 1,600 people for COVID-19, did 400 home visits and transported 274 people to medical appointments, job interviews, home searches and shelter stays.  And as the 2020 presidential election was nearing while COVID case counts were rising, Reynolds said, “We still were able to register hundreds of people to vote, we talked people through how to do the mail-in ballots.” “We literally made a video to show senior citizens how to put their ballots together and where to sign,” she said. The luncheon, which is the second-largest fundraiser of the year for the League, brought in around 900 guests to its athletics facility, the Norton Healthcare Sports & Learning Center on West Muhammad Ali Boulevard.  The event’s keynote speaker was Xernona Clayton, a civil rights leader who was assistant to Martin Luther King, Jr.  Prior to the event, Clayton spoke about her start in the civil rights movement in Chicago, and how she’d helped desegregate some “major institutions” there.  “One thing I learned [is that] to go out and make a concerted effort to make change, change will come,” she said.  Comparing today’s cultural and political climate to then, Clayton said while some things have changed, some are the same.  “What’s really disconcerting to those of us who [are] in the fight every day is the victories we thought we won, we’re looking at it now like maybe it wasn’t a real victory because it didn’t last long,” she said. “Why is it that Black people are still having trouble trying to get white people to understand what our life is, what our hazards are, what our disadvantages are?” Reynolds reiterated that there is still much to be done, and that it’s important to remind “our city and ourselves that we are, and can be, united.”  Reynolds said she hoped people left the event feeling like they had power, and that the only wrong thing is to do nothing at all.  “And we’ve just got to be honest. Racism is real; it’s not a pretend thing. It’s real and our systems are broken. And so how do we make those changes?”

'Pandemic isn't going away ': Louisville Catholic schools making masks optional – Yahoo News

By |2021-12-03T20:44:48-05:00December 3rd, 2021|COVID-19|

Several Louisville Catholic high schools are revising their COVID-19 policies to make wearing masks optional, as the Archdiocese of Louisville has left masking protocols for high schools up to school leadership.Sacred Heart Academy, Assumption High School and St. Xavier High School students and faculty will have the option to wear masks starting Dec. 6.In a statement to the Courier Journal, a Sacred Heart spokesperson said masking up will be an option "for all students, faculty, and staff. Masks will continue to be required for all students, faculty, and staff on buses per federal mandate. All other COVID-19 policies and procedures at Sacred Heart Academy remain unchanged."St. Xavier said, “At this time, wearing masks will be optional for all students and at parents’ discretion. Masks will continue to be required for all students, faculty, and staff on buses per federal mandate.”Assumption High School is making a similar move, as most of its student and faculty are vaccinated, the school president and principal announced last Monday in a letter to parents.Masks: Southern Indiana school district has begun requiring masks again as COVID-19 cases riseThe policy was made following "consultation with the Archdiocese of Louisville and in conjunction with other Catholic high schools," President Mary Lang and Principal Martha Tedesco said in a statement.They added that the all-girls Catholic school has not had any new cases in five weeks and that more than 70% of students and 100% of faculty have been vaccinated.The pair said despite the identification of the new COVID-19 omicron variant, "what we know for certain is that while COVID remains unpredictable, this pandemic isn’t going away any time soon, and we will likely be moving back and forth between masks being optional and required while we continue to navigate these uncertain times."News: St. Matthews Police investigating shooting outside Esporta FitnessAssumption is recommending that unvaccinated individuals still wear a mask.It is also changing its policies surrounding social distancing and quarantining:If both individuals are wearing masks, close contact is defined as within 3 feet of each other for 15 consecutive minutes.If one or neither of the individuals are wearing masks, close contact is defined as within 6 feet of each other for 15 consecutive minutes.Vaccinated individuals who come into close contact with others are not required to quarantine if they are not exhibiting symptoms.New testing policies are forthcoming as well. Students can continue coming to school "in limited circumstances" after being exposed to COVID-19 "while at school" if they receive a negative rapid test every day, which will be administered on campus, and are masked throughout the entirety of the "test-to-stay" period, school officials said.However, they will only be allowed to return to the classroom – no sports or extracurricular activities.Lang and Tedesco said "the archdiocese has empowered individual school leaders to determine if and when a return to required masking should be implemented in their respective schools.”Assumption's mask policy will be evaluated every Friday using in-school and countywide coronavirus data as well as the school's attendance numbers. Archdiocese COVID-19 protocols say that high schools should require masks when there is a weekly absence rate of over 20% due to a coronavirus case. A county incidence rate of 50 cases per 100,000 people may also prompt required masking, according to St. Xavier’s statement.Holiday: This Louisville company is hand-making the best 'Designer Santa Beards' in the worldIn a statement to The Courier Journal, archdiocesan spokeswoman Cecelia Price said "some Catholic high schools are announcing a mask-optional protocol in the coming weeks."However, a decision about masking policies in elementary schools has not been made yet by Superintendent of Schools Mary Beth Bowling, Price said.Contact Ayana Archie at aarchie@courier-journal.com or follow on Twitter @AyanaArchie. Support strong local journalism by subscribing to The Courier Journal.This article originally appeared on Louisville Courier Journal: Several Louisville Catholic high schools are making masks optional

Beshear: Kentucky sees 'significant' surge in COVID-19 positivity post-holiday – WLKY

By |2021-12-03T20:44:50-05:00December 3rd, 2021|COVID-19|

Gov. Andy Beshear sounded the alarm Thursday on the dramatic increase in COVID-19 numbers during his latest Team Kentucky update."What we're seeing from the past several weeks — acknowledging what Thanksgiving week is — is an increase in our cases, is a significant increase in our positivity and is an increase in hospitalizations, it appears in the ICU," Beshear said. Officials said on Wednesday the state recorded over 3,000 cases for the first time since Oct. 1, hospitalizations rose over 11% over the last week, and the state's positivity rate is at 8.5%."We don't know how long it will last, we don't know if it's behavior-driven. It could be driven by the holidays or the winter, but we are overall — we believe seeing overall — and this is the delta variant — more cases of it," Beshear said.Dr. Steven Stack joined in on the update. As the numbers go up, the warnings about the potential effect of the newly discovered omicron variant get louder as researchers say it has several mutations."We should be careful and concerned because our future is not outside our control and the way we choose to act and behave in response to this current problem will help to determine very clearly what our future looks like," Stack said.Thirteen percent of Kentucky's population has received their booster shot but Dr. Stack said he wished more people knew of the possibilities in a world where everyone is immune."If we could've waved a magic wand and 100-percent of the human population was fully vaccinated in March of this past year, omicron probably would've never developed, delta probably would've never developed because it wouldn't have spread to tens of hundreds of millions of people and having all those chances to multiply," Stack said.With 60% of Kentuckians fully vaccinated, Beshear remains hopeful in what is still an uphill battle against a new enemy."We've just got to keep pushing," Beshear said.The governor also announced an extra $18 million in federal dollars to help Kentuckians struggling with their water payments because of the pandemic including those who may have already had their service disconnected. LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Gov. Andy Beshear sounded the alarm Thursday on the dramatic increase in COVID-19 numbers during his latest Team Kentucky update."What we're seeing from the past several weeks — acknowledging what Thanksgiving week is — is an increase in our cases, is a significant increase in our positivity and is an increase in hospitalizations, it appears in the ICU," Beshear said.

Metro Council rejects credit history discrimination bill, approves Shelby Street TIF – Courier-Journal

By |2021-12-03T22:38:35-05:00December 3rd, 2021|COVID-19, Election 2020|

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Metro Council members voted down an ordinance Thursday that would have banned employers in most cases from using consumer credit history to make hiring decisions.And they gave the green light to a tax increment financing [...]

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