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Round-Up: Saturday March 2

Local state senator blasts lack of action on pension reform; More cities now being served by Kenton Co.'s consolidated dispatch center; Doog poop causing problems on a Kentucky bridge;

Take a look at what's making news around Covington and around Kentucky:

SEN. MCDANIEL ON LACK OF ACTION ON PENSION REFORM: "IN A WORD, PITIFUL"

The Kentucky General Assembly has failed to act on pension reform:

With only eight days left in this year's state lawmaking session, the Democrat-led House and the Republican-led Senate are at a stalemate over how to reform the state's ailing pension system.

So deep is the divide between the two chambers that they have taken the unusual step of rejecting the other's legislation on the most important issue of this year's General Assembly.

Kentucky's public pension system faces more than $18 billion in unfunded liabilities. It covers almost 325,000 people.

Full story: Herald-Leader

State Senator Chris McDaniel, who represents Covington and northern Kenton County posted to his Facebook page:

This is, in a word, pitiful. The senate passed the EXACT, bi-partisan recommendations of the pension reform task force over three weeks ago. The house has sat on it for that long and then sent back two bills. 

HB 416 has three main problems:1. It is unconstitutional and did not achieve the required votes in its chamber, 2. It predicates funding on unproven and inadequate sources (more lottery gaming), 3. It takes 6-8 years to "mature". Friends, our KERS non-hazardous and State Trooper pensions will default in 4-6 years MAX!

SB2 was gutted by the house and returned with basically NO CHANGES to the pension plan. If you are a citizen who cares about your schools, public safety, infrastructure, mental health services, etc., you need to burn up the phone lines to your house rep and demand that they pass the real SB2 which passed with a task force vote of 11-1 and a full senate vote of 33-5. 

The phone number to the capitol is 1-800-372-7181 and you can find your legislator's names here: http://www.lrc.ky.gov/legislators.htm

MEANWHILE, Governor Steve Beshear says he is prepared to have the pension issue dealt with in a special session: Lane Report

MORE FRANKFORT HEADLINES:

BILL WOULD ALLOW 18-YEAR OLDS TO RUN FOR STATE LEGISLATURE Cincinnati Enquirer

REPUBLICANS WORKING ON NEW BILL FOR SPECIAL TAXING DISTRICTS Herald-Leader

DEMOCRATS DELAY VOTE ON HEMP Herald-Leader

SENATE PANEL DEFERS ON ADULT ABUSE REGISTRY Courier-Journal

NEW KENTUCKY LAW REQUIRES DRUG SCREENING WKRC

JUDD MUM ON POSSIBLE SENATE RUN DURING SPEECH IN DC

Lots of journalists paid close attention to a speech in DC on Friday by actress Ashley Judd who many political observers believe is laying the groundwork for a challenge to US Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) in 2014:

In addition to frequent references to her home state, Judd seemed acutely aware of the press in the back of the room.

“I’m a lot more nervous than y’all are. There are people here who don’t give a rat’s you-know-what about public health," she said in response to one anxious questioner, noting, at another point “the elephant in the room.”

She did not, however, address the question of her run with reporters after the talk. Judd ignored questions shouted by a handful of assembled press, offering only, “Thank you for being here, thank you for your interest in public health" as she walked out.

Judd gave the talk, billed as “Progress and Perspectives: Women’s Reproductive Health, a conversation with Ashley Judd,” under the shadow of her possible challenge to McConnell in what could be the nation's most talked-about Senate race in the 2014 cycle.

Full story: The Hill

SEE ALSO: Judd makes phone calls to top Democrats in Kentucky Herald-Leader

SEE ALSO: House Speaker Greg Stumbo calls Judd a formidable candidate WFPL

SEE ALSO: Most Democrats in State Senate are lukewarm to a Judd candidacy WFPL

SEE ALSO: Judd & McConnell's unofficial battle heats up CBS News

MORE POLITICS: Q & A with US Rep. Thomas Massie The Daily Independent

SMOOTH TRANSITION PREDICTED FOR KENTON CO 911 CHANGE

Four more Kenton County cities are now officially part of the consolidated emergency dispatch center in Independence:

At 10 a.m., calls made to 911 for police, fire and life squads in Fort Wright, Park Hills, Ludlow and Bromley will switch from Erlanger’s 911 emergency dispatch center to the county’s.

“When you dial 911, it’ll ring at the Kenton County Emergency Communications Center instead of ringing at Erlanger,” said Ed Butler, director of Kenton County’s consolidated dispatch center.

(snip)

The only hiccup in the changeover may be on the part of the many alarm companies serving property owners in the four cities, Butler said.

Full story: Cincinnati Enquirer/Cindy Schroeder

DOCUMENTS REVEAL COZY RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN DELTA AND CVG AIRPORT

An investigation by WXIX:

"The officials at CVG and Delta have got to come to an agreement that if that airport is going to survive it's got to have some competition," she said.

However, in the latest lease Delta signed with CVG, which was obtained by FOX19, evidence of the entanglements between the two remain. On page 16, under the heading "International Gates in Concourse B," the lease says that CVG may only use gates B-6 and B-9 for international flights, may only allow other airlines to use planes at B-6 that are comparable in size to a 767 or less, while at gate B-9 aircraft must be no bigger than a 747. Plus, the air carrier using those gates must provide CVG with proof (in the form of a letter of credit or bond) that it has access to enough money for "three (3) months worth of anticipated rates and charges."

For any upstart airline facing six-figure investments at each airport where it tries to gain entry, having three months' worth of cash or credit can be a challenge. It's barriers like these that Delta has erected to make it hard for low-cost airlines to find a home at CVG, according to multiple airline experts contacted by FOX19.

Delta did not respond to FOX19's questions about its business practices at CVG.

Full story: WXIX

MORE LOCAL NEWS:

$30 MILLION WORTH OF HEROIN RECOVERED Cincinnati Enquirer

ST. ELIZABETH KICKS OFF CANCER PREVENTION STUDY Cincinnati Enquirer

FT. MITCHELL MAN SOUGHT IN OWEN CO. BANK ROBBERY WLWT

COVINGTON WOMAN ARRESTED AFTER TRYING TO OBTAIN FAKE ID Cincinnati Enquirer

ESCAPEE SHOWS UP IN COURT IN HANDCUFFS WXIX

BUSINESS COMMUNITY SUPPORTS DIOCESE OF COVINGTON'S URBAN SCHOOLS INITIATIVE WXIX

CENTER FOR ACCESSIBLE LIVING OPENS NKY OFFICE

The Center for Accessible Living, a leading disability rights and resource center, will now be actively serving the northern Kentucky area with the opening of a permanent northern Kentucky office in Crestview Hills.

The Center will provide information, advocacy and resource referral in order to empower people with disabilities to live as independently as possible. The new office is the center’s third site in the state, the others being in Louisville and Murray.

“We’re excited about the new office and feel it communicates clearly our mission in serving people in the community living with disabilities," said Keith Hosey, Associate Director at the Center for Accessible Living. "This is a good opportunity to refresh the conversation about person-first language and independent living. Part of our mission is to change the perception of what living with a disability is like. We hope to provide creative and impactful messages about the culture of disabilities.”

The opening of the northern Kentucky office is an important step towards spanning services to the entire Commonwealth, a news release said. Those wishing to contact the northern Kentucky office should call (859) 940-3843, contact the Center on Facebook at Center For Accessible Living Northern Kentucky office or Twitter @CALKY – Northern KY.

The Center for Accessible Living was created in 1981 as a housing resource program which quickly expanded to a comprehensive independent living center. The CAL operates on a cross disability basis which means that individuals will be served regardless of type of disability.

OTHER HEADLINES:

PRINCIPALS AT LOW-PERFORMING SCHOOLS IN LOUISVILLE CAN STAY ON THE JOB WFPL

LEADERS OF PYRAMID SCHEME MADE $40 MILLION Herald-Leader

WOODFORD RESERVE UNVEILS ITS BOTTLE FOR THIS YEAR'S KENTUCKY DERBY 84 WHAS

EMIRILL LAGASSE GETS BOOTED FROM MACY'S STORES Business Courier

DOG POOP CAUSES STINK ON BRIDGE IN LOUISVILLE

Dog droppings are a problem on the Big Four Bridge between Louisville and southern Indiana:

The Waterfront Development Corp. continues to get a steady stream of emails from Big Four pedestrians complaining about having to dodge the piles, said David Karem, president of the waterfront agency.

So, if dog messes continue to proliferate, “we probably will — reluctantly — have to ban dogs from the bridge,” Karem said.

Waterfront crews counted at least 20 piles of dog waste on the bridge and ramp as recently as Sunday, said Mike Kimmel, waterfront agency deputy director. He acknowledged that the bridge probably had more pedestrian traffic on that warm, sunny day than on any other day since it opened Feb. 7.

Full story: Courier-Journal

Compiled by Michael Monks, editor & publisher of The River City News

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