The director of a research team that first detected the COVID-19 delta variant in Louisville wastewater says they haven’t yet seen signs of the new omicron variant, but that their testing is likely the first place it would show up. Ted Smith, director at U of L’s Center for Healthy Air, Water and Soil at the school’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute, said Wednesday that the variant was not detected in samples taken last week in Louisville. Researchers are currently testing samples taken Monday. Results are expected Friday. “I feel very confident, the week before Thanksgiving, we didn’t have anybody in our community with the variant,” Smith said. “So this week, if we see anything, I will be very confident that it happened in the last week.” The team began testing in July 2020 as part of the Co-Immunity Project, a collaboration to track the spread of the disease. Earlier this year, they began sending the samples for sequencing, which is how they were able to find the delta variant before it showed up in clinical testing in the area. The U of L team takes wastewater samples every 15 minutes over a 24-hour period at 17 sites in Jefferson County. If they detect a new variant in the samples, state health officials can then focus on sequencing more COVID tests in that area. Smith said it’s a good way to keep track of whether omicron, which was first identified in South Africa last week, has made it to the metro area. “Because everybody has their eyes on the situation, say, in South Africa where case rates are skyrocketing, we would want to have as much, we’ll call it early warning, as possible if there’s a serious health threat here,” Smith said. The World Health Organization (WHO) was first notified of the new variant Nov. 24, from a sample taken two weeks before. As of Thursday morning, it had been identified in more than two dozen countries. California reported the first case in the United States Wednesday. Health officials at the WHO have said preliminary testing shows omicron could lead to increased risk for reinfection, based on the large number of mutations in the variant. So far, cases have shown mild symptoms. Officials have not yet concluded whether the variant is more transmissible, causes more severe symptoms or has any vaccine resistance. The organization expects it will be weeks before more robust findings are available.
Editor’s Note: This piece discusses mental health. If you’re considering self-harm or suicide, contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Additionally, Chloe’s experiences are being shared under a pseudonym for her safety.There were two small pools of water on the table where 16-year-old Chloe Duncan and I were sitting outside and discussing what life is like for JCPS students. The first was from the condensation on her iced Strawberry Açaí Lemonade. The second—from her piercing blue eyes—was a puddle of tears. Her stories made me weep too. Students like Chloe are suffering from a growing national epidemic that’s far deadlier to our children than COVID-19. JCPS has chosen to take that public health emergency seriously, and the health department reports that no school-age child in Louisville has died from COVID-19. So far in 2021, 29 Louisville youth have died by suicide. In the face of this loss, JCPS has shown callousness instead of compassion.Consider the Kentucky Incentives for Prevention (KIP) survey. Because of this survey, school districts across our commonwealth have been given data on psychological distress, self-harm and suicide. Disregarding open records law, JCPS refuses to make school-specific KIP statistics public. But the district hasn’t just left parents and students blind to the depth of calamity. JCPS’s own administrators and counselors haven’t been shown these figures. More:A look inside one Jefferson County middle school as it adjusts to COVID-19 educationRecently I requested district-wide statistics, and JCPS provided them. However, the district claimed it had never before compiled statistics based on this life-or-death data. In total, the numbers represent 19,945 students in sixth, eighth, 10th and 12th grade during the 2018-19 academic year. Here are their responses that have seemingly gone unseen:7.3% of JCPS middle and high school students reported actually attempting suicide in the past year at least once. From only the four grades surveyed, more than 1,700 students said they had planned how they would commit suicide. Among seniors the year I graduated, 16.2%—four kids out of every normal classroom of 25—reported having cut or harmed themselves. While likely underreported, and representing only the most dramatic forms of suffering, these numbers still show the pervasive pain present even before the lockdown and NTI.To mitigate this more lethal epidemic, our district should be mobilizing with at least the same urgency as it has to address the corona crisis. However, according to JCPS’s open records attorney, the district has “not taken any actions based upon the KIP survey results.” As things stand, JCPS’s inhumane policies are making the crisis worse. Through debilitating start-times, homework that’s working kids to death and lunch breaks shorter than those in Federal prison, our district leaders are super-spreading the epidemic of poor mental health.Allowing our kids time for necessities of living like sleeping, eating and socializing is the bare minimum. I’ve outlined how to more fully address the crisis in a 33,000-word open letter to Superintendent Marty Pollio titled Our Unseen Epidemic. In it, I make the case for reforms such as:Making schools phone-freeImplementing youth mental health first aid training for teachers and teensEnsuring prompt access to mental health counselors instead of weeks of waiting for an appointmentRecalibrating our socialization of self-worth around relationships and values instead of grades, test-scores, and résumé-buildersUsing screenings of every student to get help to the kids who need it most and to score well-being at each schoolPart of why we need better measures of well-being is because our current metrics of success—based mainly on achievement—are a faulty foundation that’s failing everyone. Consistent with national research, the KIP data also shows that low-achieving and high-achieving students are highly at-risk in our mental health epidemic.More:A 'Bad' School: New Courier Journal podcast explores an integration plan gone awryManual high school student Alexander Keyzer was one of those students. On March 13, 2021, the day after his 17th birthday, he died by suicide. I knew Alex because he and my younger brother had sleepovers together. A few months back, I sat down with someone who knew him better: Chloe Duncan, that 16-year-old Manual senior. She shared stories of how Alex was her best friend. She was also the last person he talked to.“He called me that night. He was just apologizing and saying, ‘Thank you so much for everything you’ve done for me,’ ‘Thank you for being my best friend,’ and he just kept apologizing that he hadn’t been talking to me recently and that he hadn’t been reaching out and everything. I was asking him where he was. He was like, ‘I just don’t know what to do.’ And I was like, ‘Okay, we’re coming to pick you up.’”Alex hung up about 10 minutes before Chloe would’ve reached him. Later, at his funeral—where some of his friends dressed in clothes they might also wear to prom—Alex’s dad eulogized about how overwhelming his homework had been.Losing Alex like that brought back hard memories for Chloe. Years before while attending Crosby middle school, she had attempted suicide too. She described to me looking back on how that was handled.More:Magnetic Pull: An investigation into magnet schoolsAfter her attempt, one of Chloe’s friends flagged her for help. Then, Crosby did have Chloe screened. However, she lamented, “Nothing ever came of it.” Without intervention, she was left alone with suicidal thoughts and continued to self-harm. “I kind of just felt like they didn’t care. That’s where my struggle with JCPS as a whole started: seventh grade whenever they tried and didn’t follow-up.”With her experience in middle school, Chloe wasn’t surprised by the response from her high school after Alex died. She recounted one teacher who “was always so caring, and just made sure that I was okay.” Overall, however, Chloe resents how the school acted “like nothing had happened.” In one class, she wasn’t even allowed to make up her late work.When responding to this piece, Dr. Polio highlighted how the district is trying to support mental health. “Two years ago, we added a mental health counselor to every school in JCPS at a cost of about $5 million a year.” And going into the future, he wrote that “we are working very intently to change the start time of schools so that our teenage students can get more hours of sleep.”Chloe appreciates the district’s new efforts, and she agreed when Dr. Pollio wrote that “we need to do more.” But, she told me, it’s “too little too late.” We must do more for the sake of students like Alex and Chloe. To understand what that should look like, please take the time to read "Our Unseen Epidemic: The student mental health crisis and how we must address it." Liz Klein, a JCPS senior who has written about her experiences with depression, anxiety and anorexia—and helped talk one of her friends down from attempting suicide—explained why Our Unseen Epidemic is so vital.“You cannot resolve a problem until you are truly honest about the severity of it. I think it’s important that higher-ups know what really goes on in students’ minds and what we experience. Because I don’t believe they know what it’s like.” The honest truth is that thousands of JCPS students—each year—plan how they would kill themselves. Yet the district’s leaders have failed to enact a meaningful plan of their own to help these kids. In my open letter, I offer a plan to foster happiness and well-being that starts by treating kids with human dignity. They deserve no less.With the humbling permission of his family, Our Unseen Epidemic is written in Alex’s honor. You can find it online at OurUnseenEpidemic.com.Forest Clevenger is a 20-year-old visiting student at the University of Oxford originally hailing from the University of Louisville. He graduated from Manual’s Youth Performing Arts School (YPAS) in 2019.
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer wants to use more than half of a $20 million windfall on potential pay increases for Metro Government staff. The midyear spending move, which the full Metro Council could vote to approve at its mid-December meeting, comes partly in response to a wave of city employees leaving for better-paying private sector jobs.In particular, Louisville has struggled with staffing shortages and resignations among public safety staff in the city's police department and jail.Fischer's office said in a Monday news release that $12.8 million from the midyear adjustment could go to the Office of Management and Budget for “potential salary and wage adjustments — both union and non-union — necessary to meet marketplace demands.”'Defund the police' and Breonna Taylor:Exclusive poll shows where Louisville standsThe $20 million adjustment reflects savings among government agency operations that were limited earlier in the pandemic as well as unanticipated revenue growth in fiscal year 2021, according to Monica Harmon, the city’s chief financial officer.Minimal pay increases leading to 'resignation tsunami'The city’s human resources director, Ernestine Booth, said the Metro Government is seeing a 7% turnover rate just five months into the fiscal year.Many of the employees leaving, both those in unions and not in unions, say they are drawn to the private sector because of better pay, Booth said. “With limited funding over the past few years, many of our union contracts included wage increases of zero to 2%, and our non-union grid has not been adjusted since 2016,” Booth said in a news release.Booth also noted COVID-19 has created what industry officials describe as the “Great Resignation” or a “resignation tsunami,” with employees expecting greater flexibility — such as remote work — along with higher wages and more paid time off.It's quitting time:Kentuckians are leaving their jobs at highest rate in USThe city’s attrition rate has gained attention particularly for its impact on the Louisville Metro Police Department and Metro Corrections. LMPD leaders have said since last year their department was short several hundred officers.As of November, according to LMPD data, the department had 1,039 sworn members of all ranks, but Chief Erika Shields has said the department should have about 1,300 to be fully staffed. Employees in the city’s jail, meanwhile, have said they are at a “breaking point” because of low staffing, long hours and stressful conditions, with members of the union for Metro Corrections voting “no confidence” in the jail’s director in September.Jail death:Person dies in Louisville Metro Corrections custodyFischer has also proposed an additional $5.7 million for upgrading the city’s fleet, primarily to replace outdated sanitation equipment and dump trucks. The remaining $1.5 million would be matching funds for a $50 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant that the city is seeking with eight partners. (Fischer's office said in the news release the matching funds would total $5 million, but Metro Council Budget Committee Chair Bill Hollander told The Courier Journal the figure is actually $1.5 million.)The federal grant program is giving away $1 billion to help communities nationwide in “accelerating their economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building economies resilient to future economic shocks,” Fischer’s office said.Hollander, who represents the Ninth District, said in the release he and his council colleagues "have been discussing these issues for months."Police pay, ARP funds and redistricting:Louisville Metro Council vote on 3 key items earned it chants of 'shame on you!'"It could help us with situations really that we have all over Metro Government where our salaries are not competitive and we're finding it difficult to retain and recruit workers," Hollander also told The Courier Journal.Hollander mentioned the existing contract for Metro Corrections staff that lasts until 2023."At the time of signing, the union and workers who approved the contract and Metro thought the wages would be sufficient to recruit and retain people there, but that's proving to not be the case," Hollander said.The next budget committee hearing is Dec. 9 at 5 p.m., while the final Metro Council meeting of the year is Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Those who cannot attend meetings in person can also view proceedings live via Metro TV, the council clerk's archived media page or the Metro Council's Facebook page.This story has been updated.Reach Billy Kobin at email@example.com.
No. 22 Michigan State Spartans (5-2) vs. Louisville (5-1)When: 7:15 p.m.Where: Breslin Center, East LansingTV: ESPN.Radio: WJR-AM (760) (Spartans' radio affiliates).Line: Michigan State by 5.Want he best in-depth MSU news: Check out this fantastic offer from the Free Press • Box score UP TO SPEED: What we've learned about Michigan State basketball so farGETTING STRONGER EVERYDAY: Michigan State basketball's Tom Izzo sees pieces coming together, knows more work aheadGame notes: A yearly college hoops tradition continues with the ACC/Big Ten Challenge. All-time, the Spartans are 8-12 overall and enter this year's challenge on a two game losing streak with losses to Louisville (2018) and Duke (2019). Last season, Michigan State's ACC/Big Ten challenge matchup vs. Virginia was canceled due to COVID-19 issues in Virginia's program.Louisville and Michigan State are meeting for the 12th time in storied history of both schools. The Cardinals are going to attempt to get a victory in the Breslin Center for the first time, Louisville is 0-3 the arena.Live updatesA Twitter List by freepsportsCan't see the feed? Refresh the page or try this.Contact Andrew Hammond at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @ahammFreePress. Check out some of the tremendous offers from the Detroit Free Press and subscribe today!This article originally appeared on Detroit Free Press: Michigan State basketball beats Louisville, 73-64: Game thread
LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer wants to use more than half of a $20 million windfall on potential pay increases for Metro Government staff. The midyear spending move, which the full Metro Council could vote to approve at its mid-December meeting, comes partly in response to a wave of city employees leaving for better-paying private sector jobs.In particular, Louisville has struggled with staffing shortages and resignations among public safety staff in the city's police department and jail.Fischer's office said in a Monday news release that $12.8 million from the midyear adjustment could go to the Office of Management and Budget for “potential salary and wage adjustments — both union and non-union — necessary to meet marketplace demands.”'Defund the police' and Breonna Taylor:Exclusive poll shows where Louisville standsThe $20 million adjustment reflects savings among government agency operations that were limited earlier in the pandemic as well as unanticipated revenue growth in fiscal year 2021, according to Monica Harmon, the city’s chief financial officer.Minimal pay increases leading to 'resignation tsunami'The city’s human resources director, Ernestine Booth, said the Metro Government is seeing a 7% turnover rate just five months into the fiscal year.Many of the employees leaving, both those in unions and not in unions, say they are drawn to the private sector because of better pay, Booth said. “With limited funding over the past few years, many of our union contracts included wage increases of zero to 2%, and our non-union grid has not been adjusted since 2016,” Booth said in a news release.Booth also noted COVID-19 has created what industry officials describe as the “Great Resignation” or a “resignation tsunami,” with employees expecting greater flexibility — such as remote work — along with higher wages and more paid time off.It's quitting time:Kentuckians are leaving their jobs at highest rate in USThe city’s attrition rate has gained attention particularly for its impact on the Louisville Metro Police Department and Metro Corrections. LMPD leaders have said since last year their department was short several hundred officers.As of November, according to LMPD data, the department had 1,039 sworn members of all ranks, but Chief Erika Shields has said the department should have about 1,300 to be fully staffed. Employees in the city’s jail, meanwhile, have said they are at a “breaking point” because of low staffing, long hours and stressful conditions, with members of the union for Metro Corrections voting “no confidence” in the jail’s director in September.Jail death:Person dies in Louisville Metro Corrections custodyFischer has also proposed an additional $5.7 million for upgrading the city’s fleet, primarily to replace outdated sanitation equipment and dump trucks. The remaining $5 million would be matching funds for a $50 million Build Back Better Regional Challenge grant that the city is seeking with eight partners. The federal grant program is giving away $1 billion to help communities nationwide in “accelerating their economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic and building economies resilient to future economic shocks,” Fischer’s office said.Metro Council Budget Chair Bill Hollander, who represents the Ninth District, said in the release he and his council colleagues "have been discussing these issues for months."Police pay, ARP funds and redistricting:Louisville Metro Council vote on 3 key items earned it chants of 'shame on you!'"A better-than-expected revenue picture and federal funds have put us in a position to address some of the salary issues which are hindering our ability to recruit and retain employees needed to serve the public," Hollander said.The next budget committee hearing is Dec. 9 at 5 p.m., while the final Metro Council meeting of the year is Dec. 16 at 6 p.m. Those who cannot attend meetings in person can also view proceedings live via Metro TV, the council clerk's archived media page or the Metro Council's Facebook page.Reach Billy Kobin at email@example.com.
Wednesday marks 40 years in the global fight against HIV and AIDS, and the fight here in Louisville only continues."For the last three years, we've seen an average of 144 new diagnoses for HIV, this year, we're already at 172," said Valerie Farsetti, program manager for VOA Health.While the increasing rates of new HIV cases in Jefferson County are concerning, it also pushes local advocates, like Farsetti, to get more people to know their status."It's definitely increased the need to get tested in terms of taking charge of your health as a whole," she said.She said much of the reservation around testing has to do with fear of the results."There's still that fear of this is now something I'll have to handle for the rest of my life," she said.Continuing coverage: Kentuckiana AIDS Alliance aims to help residents living with the virusIt's a feeling HIV outreach specialist Tommie Robinson, who was diagnosed with AIDS in 2008, knows firsthand."When I found out, I was just like, 'Wow,'" he said.But with advanced medicine and technology, Robinson and infectious disease specialists like Dr. Paul Shulz are optimistic that the disease is not a death sentence."Fast forward to 2021, HIV, if diagnosed early, is mostly a chronic medical condition that can be managed very well," said Dr. Shulz.In fact, Robinson's virus is undetectable."It's livable. I still exercise, I do what I need to do and I enjoy my life," he said. "I love living."The realities of positive patients like Robinson are why local organizations like VOA Health and health systems like Norton are creating means for easy access to HIV testing.'Know your status': HIV remains prevalent as global attention dominated by COVID-19 pandemicVOA Health offers weekly testing on-site at their facilities, as well as partnering with other community agencies; and to further identify positive patients and link them to care, Norton emergency rooms now offer HIV testing to visitors as part of lab work. This effort has providers testing more than 70% of people who come through the ER."We wanted to target a population that may not access health care otherwise and get the offer of HIV screening to that population," said Dr. Shulz. "We feel like it's not only a service to the patient, but the community in terms of trying to reduce HIV transmissions."Though no cure for the virus currently exists, strides will continue for prevention, treatment, and testing to eradicate the disease, while also empowering people to live healthy, happy lives."Let's not lose hope here. Without a cure, we are doing amazing things," said David Hornsby, HIV services coordinator for VOA Health. "Know your status, know who you are, and know what you need. We all need to live a life that is beautiful." LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Wednesday marks 40 years in the global fight against HIV and AIDS, and the fight here in Louisville only continues."For the last three years, we've seen an average of 144 new diagnoses for HIV, this year, we're already at 172," said Valerie Farsetti, program manager for VOA Health.
The No. 22 Michigan State Spartans return to action at the Breslin Center for the first time in 10 days and just the third time so far this season, as the Louisville Cardinals come to town for the annual ACC/Big Ten Challenge. The Cardinals are coming off of a 63-55 victory over Maryland Saturday, a third-straight win in the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship in Nassau last week, and a fourth-straight victory overall. Meanwhile the Spartans are coming off a 75-58 loss last Friday to Baylor in the championship game of the Battle 4 Atlantis on Paradise Island in the Bahamas after two-straight victories in the early season tournament. As for the ACC/Big Ten Challenge, Michigan State is 8-12 overall. MSU has split the last four challenges that have occurred for the Spartans, beating Notre Dame in 2017 and Louisville in 2015. MSU fell at Louisville in 2018 and to Duke in East Lansing in 2019, while last year’s game at Virginia was canceled due to a COVID-19 outbreak among the Cavaliers’ roster. That was the second time a game in the challenge at Virginia resulted in a cancelation as the 2001 matchup at a neutral court site in Richmond had to be called off due to unsafe wet floor conditions. Overall, the Big Ten is sitting at 7-12-3 in the series all-time, but in this year’s challenge, currently sit at 6-2 with the chance to clinch a third-straight victory with just two more wins out of the remaining six games tonight. Ohio State, Minnesota, Purdue, Rutgers, Iowa and Illinois have won games thus far, while Northwestern and Indiana lost. Nebraska, Michigan, Maryland, Penn State and Wisconsin all have games left to play tonight in addition to the Spartans. Series History This will mark the 12th meeting all-time between the programs. The Cardinals lead the series 6-5 and enter on a one-game win streak. The Spartans are 3-0 in games played at the Breslin Center, however. Michigan State has won two of the last three games in the series, and four of the last six. When: 7:16 p.m. EST/6:16 p.m. CST Where: Breslin Center - East Lansing, MI TV: ESPN Announcers: Jason Benetti (play-by-play), Jay Bilas (analyst), Myron Metcalf (sideline) Online Broadcast: espn.com/watch or the ESPN App Radio: TCF Bank Spartan Media NetworkLansing: WMMQ (94.9 FM)/WJIM (1240 AM)Detroit: WJR (760 AM)Affiliates: 27 affiliates listed at msuspartans.comPlay-by-play: Will TiemanAnalyst: Matt Steigenga Online Radio: MSUSpartans.com, TuneIn.com and TuneIn App. Sirius/XM/Internet: Channel 372 (XM) and Channel 372 (SiriusXM App)
LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - The number of COVID-19 cases in Louisville is similar to where they were earlier this summer.Last week, there were just over 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Louisville, nearly identical to the figures from July, before the number of cases in the city skyrocketed. Thanksgiving will almost certainly result in an increase in those figures, Louisville’s Chief Health Strategist Dr. Sarah Moyer said.According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the omicron variant of the virus was just declared a global health concern as it makes its way around the world. The first case of the variant was identified in the United States in California on Wednesday.“It’s more severe than a variant of interest but less than a variant of high concern,” Moyer said.Moyer, who leads the Department of Metro Health and Wellness, said it’s concerning because experts don’t know how omicron will spread or how it could possibly evade vaccines.Despite the fact that no cases of the omicron variant have been reported in Louisville, Moyer said they are keeping an eye on it. Because of what is known about COVID-19, she recommends booster shots.“At the Epicenter of where Omicron was first identified, a majority were not vaccinated,” she said, “and the rest were only half vaccinated.”The global pandemic has been going on for over a year and a half, but there is some good news: Metro Health employees and other essential city employees who worked during the pandemic received their first premium pay from the American Rescue Plan this week, Moyer said.“I know that was something questionable for a while, so I’m glad they were able to get that especially in time for the holidays,” Moyer said.The City of Louisville is spending a total of $25 million on premium pay for city employees as part of their efforts to use federal American Rescue Plan funds.Copyright 2021 WAVE 3 News. All rights reserved.
After playing five of its first seven games away from home, Michigan State will return home to play an ACC/Big Ten Challenge game against Louisville on Wednesday.GAME INFORMATIONWho: No. 22 Michigan State (5-2) vs. Louisville (5-1)When: 7:16 p.m.Where: Breslin Center, East LansingLatest line: Michigan State -5 ½HOW TO WATCHTV Network: ESPN (Dan Shulman, Jay Bilas)Streaming-only optionsWatch & DVR College Basketball Live | fuboTV: Stream live TV with ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, ESPN & top channels without cable. DVR included. Start watching free. No contract, cancel anytime.WatchESPN | Hulu + Live TV | Sling | YouTube TVMajor Cable ProvidersComcast: Channel 32/202(HD) | StreamingSpectrum: Channel 34/773(HD) | StreamingDish: Channel 140 | StreamingDIRECTV: Channel 209 | Streaming* Channel numbers listed are for Michigan subscribers and may change by geographic area. Check local listings.HOW TO LISTENRadio Network: Spartan Media NetworkAffiliates: WJR-AM 760 Detroit; WJIM-AM 1240/WMMQ-FM 94.9 Lansing; 22 other Michigan-based affiliates listed on MSUSpartans.comLive streaming: MSUSpartans.com | iPhone app | Android appSatellite: SiriusXM Ch. 372GAME NOTES• Michigan State has an 8-12 record in 20 ACC/Big Ten Challenge games in program history. It has lost its last two games in the event: in 2019 to Duke and in 2018 to Louisville. Its scheduled 2020 game against Virginia was canceled due to COVID-19.• Louisville leads its series against Michigan State, 6-5, but both teams are 3-0 in the series when at home. The last game was an 82-78 overtime win for the Cardinals in 2018.• Michigan State is among the best teams in the country in several defensive categories, including 30th in opponent field goal percentage (37.6) and 30th in opponent 3-point percentage (26.3). The Spartans are No. 2 in the country in defensive efficiency on Kenpom.com• Louisville coach Chris Mack will coach his first game of the season on Wednesday after serving a 20-day suspension for not following university guidelines related to an extortion attempt by former assistant Dino Gaudio. He returned to Louisville’s practice on Monday.• Cardinals center Malik Williams was named MVP of the Baha Mar Hoops Bahamas Championship, after recording 13 points, 12 rebounds and four steals in the tournament championship game against Maryland.PRE-GAME LINKSMichigan State’s Jaden Akins draws Charlie Bell comparisons for strong early playMichigan State enters AP poll at No. 22, Michigan falls to No. 24Michigan State leaves the Bahamas encouraged by tournament runner-up finish
Predicting the future can be a dangerous game to play, because, as we’ve all found out so brutally over the past few years, the present can come at you fast, and crush expectations, norms and even logic. But, predicating — or looking toward the future — is essential and important, not only to hold onto slivers of hope, but also to be thoughtful about who we are, and what we envision ourselves becoming as a society. So, below, we asked nine writers and community members to write about how they see the future playing out on one specific topic. The Future Of Activism By Sadiqa Reynolds One hundred million dollars will be spent on affordable housing in Louisville because an activist was elected to the Metro Council. He didn’t do it alone, but it couldn’t have been done without him. The future of Louisville activism is running for mayor, is sitting on the board, chairs a department at the university, argues case law, writes policy papers and poetry, feeds the hungry, leads the arts, negotiates with Republicans and Democrats, leads strategy sessions, closes million dollar deals, knocks on neighborhood doors, leads a congregation and builds in places where no one believed. Activists will not be identified by race. You will know them by their vote, by their voice, by their swag, as they march into spaces where their issues are on the agenda, whether or not their names are on the invite. Activism has changed Louisville. It isn’t pretty and doesn’t always feel good but it is a tool. Perhaps not as effective or precise as we’d like, because we haven’t seen all the policy shifts that were demanded across the board, but we have seen some change. Change that might have come much slower or not at all without activists agitating. Activism is persistent. If I am honest, in my imagination, the future of activism is female, but like so many in this space it is non-binary. It is fluid. It is what it must be. It does not create comfort — it creates space — space for opposing views. Not just for opposition’s sake, but for the sake of justice, freedom and inclusion. It is not white. It is Black and Brown and bruised from the struggle. Protesters raised their fists in solidarity during Louisville’s 2020 protests. | Photo by Kathryn Harrington The future of activism is smart. It is in the boardroom. It can be loud but it knows how to quietly sit and suggest improvements to antiquated plans. It takes notes and strategizes about the survival of souls that have been silenced. In some cases it negotiates freedom, in others it disrupts — your line of thinking, maybe your line of business. The future of activism is strategic. It will declare enemies but recognizes that all who disagree are not in opposition. It sacrifices some battles to win wars. Strategic activists follow and lead — depending on the room, the issue and the weapon. No one holds all power, it is passed like a baton. There is no monolith. The future of activism in Louisville is keenly focused on affordable housing and development without displacement. It is demanding living wages and access to capital to fund black and brown dreams in the poorest zip codes. It craves health, wealth, and educational investments that increase proficiency and close achievement gaps, not just between black and white, but Louisville and the world. The future of activism is fearless. Sadiqa Reynolds is the president and CEO of the Louisville Urban League, which assists African Americans and those at the margins in attaining social and economic equality and stability through direct services and advocacy. The Future Of Food By Robin GarrThe world is warming rapidly, and climate change brings frightening storms, floods, landslides and life-threatening heat. What does this spell for the future of food? We, or our children anyway, may go vegan whether we want to or not. Here’s the good news: New meatless meat products like the increasingly popular Beyond Meat and Impossible Burger are getting to be just as tasty as haunch of beef, and they tread considerably less heavily on the Earth. Cultured meat, the still slightly disturbing idea of growing real meat from cells in a laboratory, is coming right along behind them. Food-technology startup UPSIDE Foods opened its first large-scale production facility last month. Why does this matter? Because the beef and cattle industry bear a significant share of the global warming load. In a peer-reviewed study in 2018, the journal Science suggested that the single biggest way to reduce our environmental impact on the planet is to stop consuming meat and dairy products. The study concluded that without meat and dairy consumption, global farmland use could be reduced by more than 75% — an area equivalent to the U.S., China, European Union and Australia combined — and still feed the world. Have you tried an Impossible Burger? I have a hard time distinguishing it from a beef burger. Beyond Meat’s sausage patties come even closer to the mark: They look, smell, taste and crumble exactly like the real thing. If switching to goodies like these can help save the Earth, I’m ready to do my part. Robin Garr is LEO’s food critic. Volunteer medical professionals conducted rapid COVID-19 tests. The tests began with a finger prick. The Future Of Health Care By Dr. Valerie Briones-PryorThe COVID-19 pandemic has taught us lessons that will shape health care’s future. One lesson we learned was adaptability. As with many professions, health care has a comfort zone, and COVID forced us out of that zone. Prior to COVID, clinicians were confident that treatments prescribed were backed by years of research, however COVID challenged that paradigm. Not only did we have to learn a new disease, but we had to figure out how to treat it. We didn’t have years of research, nor did we have time to wait due to increasing mortality. Treatment plans changed frequently and drugs, new and old, were studied at lightning speed compared to pre-COVID days. We found that if we worked together and removed the red tape that had slowed down past progress, we could quickly find safe ways to mitigate COVID. The way people accessed care also changed. With lockdowns in place, health care had to shift its traditional ways of delivering care to more innovative ways, such as telemedicine. We also learned that our health care workers are essential, and that everyone’s mental health becomes more fragile as the pandemic continues. The future of health care is uncertain unless we continue with what we learned. Understanding the pandemic’s effect on the health care workforce is key to ensuring a bright future such that we retain our current workers and support future generations to seek careers in health care. Embracing innovation and reducing political barriers are also important to a bright future. Regardless of what the future holds, it cannot involve returning to our previous comfort zone. Dr. Valerie Briones-Pryor is the medical director at UofL Health. She has ran a COVID-19 floor at the UofL Jewish Hospital. Charles Booker | Provided photo The Future Of Politics By Charles Booker We find ourselves at a time in history where our pursuit of democracy hangs in the balance. The ills of structural racism and inequity are dominating our politics. Generational poverty cripples many communities across Kentucky, and fear is being weaponized to drive people apart. To divide us. To make us feel hopeless. The future of politics is a question of how we will light the path toward realizing true justice and healing for all. As Kentuckians, we are so painfully familiar with exploitation at the hands of the powerful. Whether you’re from the hood, the holler, or somewhere in between, stories of exploitation and struggle are known to so many of us. We need a new deal for Kentucky, a Kentucky New Deal, and we must take a stand to lead ourselves and fight for a deal on our own terms. The conviction of hardworking people demanding real change, standing shoulder-to-shoulder all across Kentucky can and will move mountains. Everyday people who know what it’s like to live these struggles must be empowered and supported to run for office. We can do this through the Kentucky New Deal: training leaders to create a future where we fully fund community safety, build booming sustainable economies in every corner of the Commonwealth, and invest in repairing our crumbling infrastructure. When the halls of government have our voices present, we can achieve great things and make poverty a thing of the past, fighting for a government by us and for us, no exceptions.