Friday December 15, 2017

News Topics

Photo: Louisville Metro Hall

Louisville Metro Government announced that it plans to hire a consultant through a competitive Request For Proposal process to review the city’s current and future facility needs, including the future use of LMPD headquarters, the Fiscal Court Building, and potential new construction through a public-private partnership on the parking lot south of Market Street between Sixth and Seventh streets.

The scope of the study will include the possibility of new construction, renovation, sale or facility purchase, as well as financing options.

The Metro Council approved $100,000 for the study in the 2017-18 fiscal year budget.  Louisville Metro Government leaders will appear before the Council Budget Committee to update the committee and solicit feedback on development of the RFP.

The study will include:

  • An evaluation of Metro Government’s current and future facility needs, including office space for countywide elected officials and including, but not limited to, the needs of the criminal justice system.
  • Consideration of a potential public-private partnership to construct a new office or mixed-use building on the lot behind City Hall on Market Street between Sixth and Seventh Streets, including the current LMPD headquarters at Seventh and Jefferson streets.
  • An assessment of the potential for new, modern LMPD headquarters;
  • An assessment of the Fiscal Court building, located on Sixth Street behind Metro Hall.
  • An evaluation of private market demands for new office or mixed-use construction and recommendations for potential financial structures for a public-private partnership

The RFP will be released no later than January 2018, with plans to select a consultant and receive preliminary findings by mid-year.

The administration is aware of the potential negative impact of pension reform on the city budget, but the need to plan for space needs is ongoing, as is seeking revenue enhancing measures such as public-private partnerships.

Credit: Louisville Metro Police

Chief Steve Conrad appeared before the Louisville Metro Council Public Safety Committee last week to update the work his officers are doing to combat crime in Louisville.

Though there are still a few more weeks in 2017, the Chief said his team is encouraged by decreases in most crime reporting categories for the year, which indicate that department strategies are having an impact.

Chief Conrad highlighted data that all police departments provide the FBI for the Uniform Crime Report, which shows decreases in most crime categories in Louisville through October, the most recent month available.

“The numbers I am reporting today speak to a strategy that is working,” the Chief said. “I share these numbers as an indicator of progress, as well as recognition that there is still a lot of work to be done.”

Through October, overall violent crime was down 2.25 percent; compared to being up 9.8 percent at this time last year. Property crime was down 5.37 percent, compared with it being up more than 6.4 percent last year. And total crime was down nearly 5 percent, when it was up 6.9 percent through October 2016.

Despite that progress, the Chief acknowledged “we continue to have a disturbing number of homicides,” which “is a serious issue and continues to be a concern for me and all the men and women of LMPD, as it is for the larger community.”

To date, there have been 101 homicides in Louisville Metro. While that is down 8 percent from the 110 at this time last year, the Chief said, even one life lost is too many, and there is still much work to do – and much work being done.

He outlined several crime-fighting strategies that are having an impact:

  • A reorganization of the Narcotics Unit has resulted in felony arrests up more than 46 percent; search warrants up 216 percent; the amount of heroin seized up 99 percent; and the number of firearms seized up 192 percent.
  • The LMIntel task force, which is a joint effort of LMPD and several federal partners, has made dozens of felony arrests, seized several firearms and recently announced a 40-count federal indictment aimed at members of a violent gang.
  • The 9th Mobile Division continues to target high crime areas and specific people involved in violent crime. To date, the division is responsible for 849 felony charges and has seized 604 guns in 2017. Of the guns seized by 9th Mobile officers, 51 percent were taken from convicted felons.
  • The Real Time Crime Center’s impact is growing as it provides valuable intelligence to investigations throughout the metro area.
  • ShotSpotter, technology used to detect gunfire in certain areas, is helping to get officers to scenes quicker, often before a 911 call can be made.

In his comments about those efforts and others, Chief Conrad praised the hardworking men and women of LMPD, saying they “are working very, very hard to make Louisville a safer city.”

“I am extremely proud of this department and the efforts we’ve seen this year,” he said, adding that his team is committed to continuing to work with other Metro agencies, Metro Council and community partners to further reduce crime.

A group of students at Olmsted Academy South will turn poems they’ve written into music with the help of My Morning Jacket’s Jim James and the Louisville Orchestra’s Teddy Abrams. The students will showcase their work on Friday, December 8, at 1 p.m. at the school, 5650 Southern Parkway.

Last March, Young Authors Greenhouse, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating young authors and publishing their works, began working with sixth-grade students at Olmsted Academy South to help them publish worthy pieces. In November, the students were invited to read their written works on stage during a concert featuring nationally acclaimed author Dave Eggers and musician Jim James. The students were so impressive that James and Abrams have been working with the girls this week to turn their writing into music.

Olmsted Academy South opened in 2008 and is the only all-girls public middle school in Kentucky.

James, a Louisville native, is a vocalist, guitarist, producer, and primary songwriter of the rock band My Morning Jacket. Abrams is a conductor, pianist, clarinetist, and composer and is currently the music director of the Louisville Orchestra.

Credit: Louisville Metro Police

It’s a Christmas tradition that brings smiles to the children of Portland and 1st Division service area every year. On Saturday, December 9th the 1st Division Police Auxiliary will host children and their families at their 42nd Annual Christmas Party.

“This is a special time of year for children in our area and every year the 1st Division Police Auxiliary works to make sure the children of this area have a special Christmas,” says Councilwoman Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5). “I am proud to be a sponsor of this event and I thank the Auxiliary for its dedication to the children of our area.”

The event is set for the Molly Leonard Community Center at 640 North 27th Street from 11:00am to 3:00pm.

Hamilton is joined by Council members Barbara Sexton Smith (D-4) and David James (D-6) as sponsors of the event.

“This is a wonderful community event where volunteers, auxiliary members, and LMPD Officers work to help families in our area,” says Sexton Smith.

“Every child should have a wonderful Christmas and every year the children of West Louisville are treated to a great spirit of giving in our community,” says James.

The 42nd Annual Christmas Party is for children aged ten and under. Last year the 1st Division Police Auxiliary was able to help over 300 children have a special holiday season. Every Child will have a chance to visit Santa Claus and Mrs. Claus and will receive a toy, fruit, candy, toboggan and gloves.

For more information about the event, call 502-574-7167.

The Jefferson County Board of Education (JCBE) has received nine applications from candidates interested in serving as the superintendent of the Jefferson County Public School (JCPS) District after an open application process concluded on December 1, 2017.

The Superintendent Screening Committee, whose role is to provide recommendations to the board, will meet December 8 to initiate a review of the candidate applications. The board will begin its own review of applications during its executive session scheduled for December 12.

The recommendations of the screening committee will be one source of information the board will use in selecting the new superintendent. In addition, the board will consider community perspectives following extensive public outreach over the next two months.

The board will seek input from multiple district stakeholders, including parents, students, teachers, principals, and other district administrators and employees, as well as community organizations and groups. This input will be provided through multiple methods of community outreach, including surveys, community meetings, focus groups, social media, and the district’s website. The board contracted Louisville public relations firm Bandy Carroll Hellige to manage the outreach, and more details about different opportunities for public feedback will be announced in the coming weeks.

The board expects that the process of reviewing applications will take place through December and January and that the finalists for the superintendent position will be interviewed in February with the goal of the selected candidate beginning work by April. These dates are not intended to set a fixed timeline.

Updates will be provided throughout the process.

The holidays is underway and once again, Councilman David James will host a special seasonal event for residents of District 6 when the California Unity Holiday Celebration gets underway beginning at 6:00pm on Friday, December 8th.

“It is always a joy to take the time to come together as a community and praise the true spirit of the season,” says James.  “A new year is on the horizon and I am confident that good things lie ahead for one of Metro Louisville’s greatest neighborhoods.”

The fun begins in the festive atmosphere of California Leisure Park at 6:00pm.  Santa Claus will be on hand to take the wishes and requests of children back to the North Pole.

The evening’s festivities will include live musical entertainment, free snacks, and refreshments will be available to all those who attend.  There will be a bicycle giveaway and gifts from Santa.

“I want to invite everyone to come out and join this community celebration as a way to embrace the holiday season in a neighborhood that enjoys the togetherness this time of year brings,” says James.
California Leisure Park is located at 963 Dixie Highway.

For more information about the 2017 California Unity Holiday Celebration, please contact Councilman James’ office at 574-1106.

The largest free-admission Christmas show in the country returns to the Kentucky Exposition Center Dec. 8-10 in South Wing C. Each year more than 50,000 shoppers attend and explore the 750 booths of holiday gifts and décor.

The Christmas Gift and Décor Show has been a Louisville tradition for over 25 years. With holiday decorations and a festive atmosphere, the show promises to be a fun experience for the entire family. Children who attend will have the opportunity to take a free photo with Santa.

Attendees can also meet former Cincinnati Bengals fullback and inventor of the “Ickey Shuffle,” Ickey Woods. Free meet and greets with Ickey will be held all three days.

Admission is free and hours are:

  • Friday, Dec. 8 11 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Saturday, Dec. 9 10 a.m. – 7 p.m.
  • Sunday, Dec. 10 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.

Parking is $8 per vehicle and $20 per bus.

Click here for a map and information about parking, shuttles, wheelchair and scooter rentals, and more.