(Louisville, KY) Medical Marijuana Town Hall Comment Form


The following comment form is being circulated to give the Citizens of the Louisville Metro area of Kentucky a chance to voice their opinions concerning the ongoing medical marijuana discussions in the Legislature.

Please take a moment if you live in this area to fill out the form and let them hear your feelings on this subject.

Thank You!

Medical Marijuana Town Hall Comment Form

Louisville Metro Council’s Health and Education Committee Medical Marijuana Town Hall Comment Form. The Louisville Metro Council values your input on a resolution under consideration regarding the legalization of Medical Marijuana.



(LOUISVILLE, KY) Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks on Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime and Fight the Opioid Crisis

Attorney General Sessions Delivers Remarks on Efforts to Reduce Violent Crime and Fight the Opioid Crisis

Louisville, KY – Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Thank you, Russel for that introduction, for your leadership in this office, and for your service as an FBI Special Agent.  As a former senator, I am certain that your experience as a hostage negotiator must have been useful for Senator McConnell.  But seriously, you’ve made big sacrifices for this country and I want you to know that we are grateful.  And I am confident that the people of Western Kentucky are in good hands.
Before I say anything else I want to offer my condolences to the people of Kentucky, who are still in mourning over the senseless shooting that took place in Marshall County last week.  This morning Amy Hess, the FBI Special Agent in Charge for Louisville, briefed me on the shooting, and I want you to know that this Department will do whatever we can to be of assistance. Our FBI experts are some of the best but there are no easy answers.
I want to thank you for your hospitality.  This is my 34th visit to a U.S. Attorney’s Office.  I’m always inspired to meet the attorneys, investigators, and officers who are in the trenches every day making us safer.
On behalf of President Trump, I want to thank all of the law enforcement officers who are here with us today.  He strongly supports you and honors what you do.
In particular I want to recognize Commissioner Rick Sanders of the Kentucky State Police.  Rick has taken the lead on the response to last week’s shooting.  I’m honored that you’re here and I want to thank you for your 24 years in the DEA and 40 years of service in law enforcement.  You have made a real difference in this community.
It was largely because of officers like all of you that crime declined in America for 20 years.
From 2014 to 2016, however, the trends reversed.  The violent crime rate went up by nearly seven percent.  Robberies went up.  Assaults went up nearly 10 percent.  Rape went up by nearly 11 percent.  Murder shot up by more than 20 percent.
Meanwhile, our country has suffered the deadliest drug crisis in our history.  More Americans are dying because of drugs than ever before. In 2016, an estimated 64,000 Americans died of drug overdose—one every nine minutes.  That’s roughly the population of Bowling Green dead in one year.  And in 2017 it appears that the death toll was even higher.
For Americans under the age of 50, drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death.  And millions of Americans are living with the daily struggle of an addiction.
Sadly, Louisville knows this all too well.

The murder rate doubled in Louisville in just two years.  And in December, the Major City Police Chiefs Association of America ranked Louisville as the 11th most dangerous city in the United States.
Meanwhile more people are dying from drug overdoses than ever before.  More than 1,400 Kentuckians died of overdoses in 2016.  Nearly half of these deaths were the result of fentanyl, and a third involved heroin. 
But as we all know, these are not numbers—these are moms, dads, daughters, spouses, friends, and neighbors.
But let me tell you this: we will not stand back and let crime and addiction rise.  Plain and simple, we will not allow the progress made by our women and men in blue over the past two decades to slip through our fingers.  We will not cede one block or one street corner to violent thugs or poison peddlers.
President Trump knows how to give clear orders.  The day I was sworn in as Attorney General, he sent me a simple, straightforward executive order: reduce crime in America.
At the Department of Justice, we embrace that goal.  And you and I know from experience that it can be done.  Crime rates aren’t like the tides—we can take action to help bring them down.
And over the past year, we have taken action.  In 2017, the Department of Justice brought cases against the greatest number of violent criminals in a quarter of a century.  We charged the most federal firearm prosecutions in a decade.  We also arrested and charged hundreds of people suspected of contributing to the ongoing opioid crisis. 
We secured the convictions of nearly 500 human traffickers and 1,200 gang members, and worked with our international allies to arrest or charge more than 4,000 MS-13 members.
MS-13 didn’t like that, by the way.  I saw a news report last week from Voice of America that the MS-13 gang leaders back in El Salvador have taken notice of these efforts.  They know that hundreds of their members are now behind bars.  So now they’re trying to send younger and more violent gang members to the United States to replenish their depleted ranks.
Nationally we are beginning to see positive signs.  In the first six months of last year, the increase in the murder rate slowed significantly and violent crime actually went down.  Publicly available data for the rest of the year suggest further progress.
These are major accomplishments that benefit the American people. And these are your accomplishments.
At the Department of Justice, we are well aware that 85 percent of law enforcement is state, local, and tribal.  These are the authorities that have the critical street level intelligence regarding the criminal element.
We are most effective when these experienced state and local investigators are paired with the resources and expertise of the 15 percent that are our federal law enforcement.
That is the idea behind our crime reduction strategy: Project Safe Neighborhoods, or PSN. PSN encourages U.S. Attorneys’ offices to work with the communities they serve to customize their crime reduction strategies.
And this is a proven model.  One study showed that, in its first seven years, PSN reduced violent crime overall by 4.1 percent, with case studies showing reductions in certain areas of up to 42 percent.  There are Americans who are alive and well today because this program made a difference.
We understand that every district and even every city is different.  I have directed Russell and our other U.S. Attorneys to target the most violent criminals in the most violent areas and to work with local police chiefs, mayors, community groups and victims’ advocates to develop a custom crime reduction plan.  Listening to the people you serve was a winning strategy for me when I was a U.S. Attorney, and I know it will be a winning strategy for you.
In fact, it already is.  Russell and the men and women in this office have done an exemplary job of using this PSN model.  I’m particularly impressed with the Louisville Metro Intelligence—or LMINTEL—which is an intelligence-gathering collaboration between Chris Evans of the DEA, Amy Hess of the FBI, Stuart Lowrey of ATF, the Marshals Service, Commonwealth Attorney Tom Wine, and Chief Conrad of Louisville police.
In the past year, LMINTEL has led to 140 arrests.  Just last week, thanks in part to LMINTEL, a felon who threatened to kill a Louisville Police Officer got a substantial sentence in federal court.
Our goal is not to fill up the prisons.  Our goal is to reduce crime, just as President Trump directed us to do.
I’m also impressed with Project Recoil, which is a PSN partnership between ATF, this office, and state, county, and local law enforcement.  The goal is to charge violent offenders with the most serious provable offense—and maximize their sentence.  I’ve seen how you’ve put away felons possessing firearms for 10 and even 15 years.  These successes prevent violence and make would-be criminals think twice.
You’re doing great work for the people of Western Kentucky.
We are right to celebrate these victories.  But we still have a lot more work to do reduce violent crime and turn the tide of the opioid epidemic.
That’s why we are also taking steps to decrease the number of overdose deaths.
For example, in August I announced a new data analytics program – the Opioid Fraud and Abuse Detection Unit
. I created this unit to focus specifically on opioid-related health care fraud.  It uses data to identify and prosecute individuals that are contributing to this opioid epidemic.  It can tell us important information about prescription opioids—like who is prescribing the most drugs, who is dispensing the most drugs, and whose patients are dying of overdoses.
The numbers don’t lie—even if the fraudsters do.  And now the fraudsters can’t hide.
I have also assigned experienced prosecutors in opioid hot spot districts to focus solely on investigating and prosecuting opioid-related health care fraud. I have sent these prosecutors to where they are especially needed—including Kentucky.
And in November the DEA reorganized its field divisions for the first time in nearly 20 years. 

The Louisville field office is now upgraded to become the Louisville Field Division, with jurisdiction over Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.

Now I am announcing today that, over the next 45 days, DEA will surge Special Agents, Diversion Investigators, and Intelligence Research Specialists to focus on pharmacies and prescribers who are dispensing unusual or disproportionate amounts of drugs.
DEA collects some 80 million transaction reports every year from manufacturers and distributors of prescription drugs.  These reports contain information like distribution figures and inventory.  DEA will aggregate these numbers to find patterns, trends, statistical outliers—and put them into targeting packages.
That will help us make more arrests, secure more convictions—and ultimately help us reduce the number of prescription drugs available for Americans to get addicted to or overdose from these dangerous drugs.
I want to personally express my deep appreciation and profound thanks to all the women and men of law enforcement and their families, for sacrificing so much and putting your lives on the line every day so that the rest of us may enjoy the safety and security you provide.  We love you and honor your work.
You can be certain about this: we have your back and you have our thanks.


Attorney General Jeff Sessions


Drug Trafficking

Violent Crime


Office of the Attorney General


Hemp is ‘the next big thing’ in pain management as growth and research expand in Ky.

By Beth Warren Louisville Courier Journal

To some it seems taboo. But a nationally renowned pain doctor says a four-letter word can ease aches and anxiety without the risk of addiction: H-E-M-P.

“It’s gonna be the next big thing,” said Dr. James Patrick Murphy, a former president of the Greater Louisville Medical Society who treats patients in Kentucky and Indiana.

Hemp won’t alleviate acute pain, Murphy said, but it can lessen more moderate pain — allowing some patients to reduce or stop taking addictive pain pills that fuel the heroin and opioid epidemic.

With Louisville losing an average of one person a day to drug overdoses, doctors and patients are scrambling to find safer ways to treat pain.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration hasn’t approved hemp products for use as medicine, and clinical trials on cannabinoids or CBD oil — extracted from the hemp flower —are pending. But Murphy and other doctors seethe oil as a promising option, and many people who are trying it for themselves say it works.

“People are coming in using this stuff,” Murphy said. “We have to learn about it.”

CBD oil has been credited with significantly reducing the severity of violent and potentially deadly epileptic seizures — especially in children.And hemp seeds are considered a “superfood,” rich in omegas and protein.

Yet the hemp plant is often confused and dismissed as a forbidden relative of marijuana.

“Cheers” actor Woody Harrelson grabbed national attention in June 1996 by planting four hemp seeds in Eastern Kentucky on a Lee County farm. His arrest was a stunt to highlight the difference between pot and hemp.

Both are the same plant species, Cannabis sativa. And they have the same pointy leafs and pungent scent. But hemp has a breadth of uses and a negligible amount of the mind-altering ingredient THC.

“Cars can run on hemp oil,” the actor wrote in a letter published in Courier Journal after his arrest. “Environmentally friendly detergents, plastics, paints, varnishes, cosmetics and textiles are already being made from it” in Europe.

Still, U.S. lawmakers would take nearly two decades longer to embrace it.

A federal law many dub the “2014 Farm Bill” cleared a path for its comeback.

Now Kentucky is among the nation’s top producers, trailing Colorado.

Brian Furnish, an eighth-generation tobacco farmer, was among the first in decades to legally plant hemp seeds in Kentucky soil. He grows and promotes hemp as an executive with Ananda Hemp, one of the commonwealth’s largest growers.

Furnish is not only a grower, he’s a consumer. He says a few drops of CBD oil ease his neck and back pain due to old football injuries and heavy lifting of feed sacks and other strenuous chores.

Now, he doesn’t work the farm without it.

‘I feel great’

Murphy is among the doctors who first learned about the potential benefits of hemp from their patients.

Curious, he did some research, reading about CBD oil and even testing it on himself for four days. Although he didn’t need it for pain, he verified it didn’t give him a buzz or any negative side effects.

He decided to recommend it to 200 patients.

About 90 percent of the 175 who tried CBD oil spray or pills reported benefits, such as fewer migraines and tension headaches and more tolerable leg and back pain and arthritis, he said. Others had more restful sleep and less anxiety.

But it’s not for everyone.

Murphy doesn’t recommend it to patients who are taking blood thinners or who have heart conditions.

And a small number of his patients opted to stop taking hemp after becoming dizzy. Others didn’t notice any relief from migraines or enough relief from severe pain.

Those who opted not to try hemp included an elderly patient whose husband wouldn’t let her try anything related to marijuana.

Dr. Bruce Nicholson, a Pennsylvania pain expert, also recommends hemp to many of his patients.

Dozens have reduced or stopped taking opioids, he said. Patients reported less trembling from neuropathy and relief from achy muscles. The doctor personally uses hemp several times a week, rubbing a cream on his achy joints.

“In the medical profession, we knew nothing about it,” said Nicholson, who began reading up on it about three years ago.

Nicholson estimates that as many as 80 percent of his patients suffering from chronic pain also face anxiety or depression. He said hemp can help that too.

“Now I recommend it every day to my patients,” he said.

Ready to try hemp? From beer to bedding, hemp products are easily found at some stores that may surprise you

Lisa Whitaker, 50, one of Murphy’s patients on disability for migraines and herniated discs, said CBD oil didn’t ease her severe headaches but did help her back pain.

It took four to six weeks before she noticed significant relief.

“This has been a lifesaver,” Whitaker said.

Southern Indiana resident Valerie Reed, 36, said she began a daily regimen of the oil about a year ago after being diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. She didn’t want to take the narcotic her doctor prescribed because of a host of potentially “scary” side effects.

Within months, she said: “The tremors, shaking, that’s gone.”

Severe headaches on her right side also eased and she could bear hip pain from walking.

Reed said she told her neurologist and her general practitioner she was using the hemp product daily. “Both were OK with it.”

“As long as I take it, I feel great,” she said.

Riley Cote, a Canadian native known as a bruiser on the ice during his tenure with the National Hockey League, said hemp eases his arthritis and inflammation and helps him relax and fall into a deeper sleep. He has become a hemp activist, starting the Hemp Heals Foundation and encouraging former Philadelphia Flyer teammates and other athletes to use the oil instead of opioids, sleeping pills and muscle relaxers.

Cote came to Kentucky recently to tour Ananda Hemp’s farm in Harrison County, northeast of Lexington. The company imported hemp seeds from Australia and has expanded its crops to cover 500 acres in Kentucky with plans to keep growing.

“It’s just gonna get bigger and better,” the retired hockey star said of the hemp industry. “We’ve barely scratched the surface.”

Where’s the proof?

It’s easy to find someone who claims using hemp oil with CBD helped them feel better or sleep better.

But doctors, scientists and others — including the FDA — are eager for clinical proof.

Some promising research came out in May.

An article published in the May 25 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, reported the results of an extensive clinical trial led by Dr. Orrin Devinsky and colleagues. It found that CBD hemp oil lessened the frequency of violent and dangerous seizures in children and young adults with Dravet syndrome, a complex childhood epilepsy disorder with a high rate of death.

Barry Lambert, an investor in Ananda Hemp’s parent company, Ecofibre, who grew up on a dairy farm in the Australia Bush, wrote a testimonial on how CBD oil saved his granddaughter’s life from debilitating seizures that “tore away at her brain and body every 15 seconds.”

Can you get high off hemp? We’ll help clear the fog about marijuana’s ‘kissing cousin’

Research on other potential health benefits is underway across the nation.

Kentucky is leading the way with 17 studies at seven universities: the University of Louisville, University of Kentucky, Sullivan University, Western Kentucky, Murray State, Morehead and Kentucky State, said Brent Burchett, head of the state Department of Agriculture’s division of value-added plant production.

University of Louisville’s research includes evaluating hemp as a fuel source.

The University of Kentucky is examining the best growing conditions of hemp and plans to study the oil in mice for two years. If they find negative side effects, it could lead the FDA to pull projects from shelves, said Joe Chappell, a professor of drug design and discovery.

If they don’t find problems, he said it could help clear the way for its mainstream use.

“There’s a lot of anecdotal information, of course. There can be some relief from pain and inflammation,” he said.

Chappell hopes to lead testing to answer these questions: “Who is it safe for? For what duration? At what doses?”

Researchers are in the early stages of verifying hemp’s full potential.

It’s too soon to know the full scope of how much money the leafy crop can bring farmers, processors and businesses — or how many ways it can benefit pain sufferers.

‘Questions and curiosity’

Consider it the new era of hemp.

Furnish describes his farming family as “very old style, conservative people” initially leery of hemp.

But after deciphering fact from fiction surrounding the controversial crop, he has taken a leadership role in the hemp movement.

“Hemp will keep another eight generations of farmers working the land,” he said.

Individual states can now pass laws allowing industrial hemp to be grown under a pilot program. The state was among the first to give the go-ahead in 2014, but farmers and processors must gain approval from the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.

Seventy-four of the state’s 120 counties are growing and/or processing the diverse plant, according to the agriculture department’s most current figures. That includes Jefferson County, which has 10 growers or processors.

Hemp has been used in more than 25,000 products, from foods, supplements, textiles, paper to building materials and cosmetics, according to a March report by the Congressional Research Service. It’s even a fiberglass alternative for cars and planes.

Hemp sales in the United States are at nearly $600 million annually, according to the report.

“I don’t know of another crop that has that many uses — well more than corn, soy or cotton,” said Duane Sinning, manager of Colorado’s industrial hemp program.

“The interest is higher” today in growing hemp and using its products, he said. “I think it’ll continue to grow.”

Many predict the variety of hemp products and use across the state and nation will continue to increase if studies back up the many anecdotal claims of health benefits.

That could push Congress to ease or remove federal restrictions.

Kentucky Agriculture Commissioner Ryan Quarles said he’s working with lawmakers to remove hemp from the list of controlled substances.

“We owe it to farmers to explore all aspects of industrial hemp,” he said, “just like soybeans in the 1960s when they were an experimental crop.”

Wellness experts at Rainbow Blossom Kentuckiana markets are doing their part to promote hemp products. They co-hosted “hemp week” in June, fielding questions from customers.

Summer Auerbach, the natural food stores’ second-generation owner, said “people are coming in with a lot of questions and curiosity” about hemp.

She’s a customer herself, rubbing a hemp salve on her shoulders, neck and jaw before bed. She said the CBD oil in the balm lessens tightness and aches from temporomandibular joint disorder, or TMJ, and she awakens with fewer headaches.

“It’s exciting to see so much of the innovation of hemp in Kentucky,”

she said. “We’re not even close to seeing what it can do.”


Burying our heads in the weeds

LEO Weekly

By Aaron Yarmuth

We have a weed crisis in this country.

Weed needs to be legalized as soon as possible. Nationally, sure. But in Kentucky, a poor state with a pension crisis, there should be no hesitation in mining this (green) gold rush.

For the first time, real data proves that the weed industry is an emerging economic boon, and its social impacts are not what detractors would like you to believe.

A recent Washington Post article — real news — revealed the overwhelmingly positive economic impact the marijuana industry has had in Colorado, where weed was legalized and began selling commercially Jan. 1, 2014. According to the state-commissioned study by the Marijuana Policy Group, the industry generated $2.4 billion in economic activity in 2015, including the creation of 18,000 new, full-time jobs.

To be clear, this does not mean that Coloradans and weed-seeking tourists spent $2.4 billion of their money on weed.

That figure is the amalgamation of sales, increased demand for local goods and services, warehouse and commercial space and farming/growing equipment, as well as professional services, such as lawyers and accountants. In fact, the retail sale of pot in 2015 was reportedly close to $1 billion.

Legalization opponents like to demonize users as degenerate addicts wasting their rent money on marijuana. But the other significant finding was that “the legal marijuana industry is not coming from new, previously untapped demand for cannabis, but rather from a reduction of the unregulated black market.”

This is a tremendously important point because it disproves opponents who argue that America will become one big stoner state if they could get high legally.

Anecdotally, I’ve always known this to be true. I have friends who smoke, or have smoked in the past — or baked a weed treat. They vary in every way possible: age, race, sex, religion and political party affiliation.

My friends who don’t smoke aren’t potheads in waiting, either… It’s not that pot is illegal that deters them from getting high. In fact, they could smoke now if they wanted to — so could I, and so could you.

But I have no interest in smoking weed because I don’t like it. Tried it, didn’t care for it, and decided it’s not for me. But there’s no question I could get it anytime — a phone call away. And that’s the lie about marijuana — people who want it, get it, and people who don’t… don’t.

A Gallup Poll from a few weeks ago showed that 64 percent of Americans support legalizing marijuana — a record high (no pun intended). It’s bipartisan, too: 72 percent of Democrats and 51 percent of Republicans now favor legalization.

The minority of Americans who remain opposed to this need to understand that this is going on, whether it’s legal or not. The moral objection, as with alcohol and other perceived vices, is perfectly understandable. However, to argue against the medical, economic and social benefits is just plain wrong.

Further, it would be an entirely different debate if the underground weed economy didn’t already exist. As this study showed, in Colorado close to $1 billion has made its way out of the shadows, off the street corners and into the economy. The idea that it can be stopped is plain wrong, and to think otherwise at this point is willful ignorance.

Kentucky needs to unearth an economic gold mine now more than ever. At risk are the promised retirements of hundreds of thousands of teachers and other public employees. Their pensions are in peril. The future of our schools is in jeopardy, because if we can’t fulfill the promise to the last generation of teachers, how will we attract the next generation?

Opponents of weed have a choice: Bring the black-market for marijuana into the system, tax it, regulate it and save teachers’ pensions — resetting the economic trajectory of Kentucky…

Or, bury your head in the weeds.






ky mj lawsuit



Mark Vanderhoff Reporter


Three people are suing Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear over Kentucky’s marijuana laws, claiming their rights are being violated by not being able to use or possess medicinal marijuana.

The lawsuit, filed Wednesday morning in Jefferson Circuit Court, was filed on behalf of Danny Belcher of Bath County, Amy Stalker of Louisville and Dan Seum Jr., son of state Sen. Dan Seum, R-Fairdale.

Seum turned to marijuana after being prescribed opioid painkillers to manage back pain.

“I don’t want to go through what I went through coming off that Oxycontin and I can’t function on it,” he said. “If I consume cannabis, I can at least function and have a little quality of life.”

The plaintiffs spoke at a press conference Wednesday afternoon.

Seum does not believe the state can legally justify outlawing medical marijuana while at the same time allowing doctors to prescribe powerful and highly addictive opioids, which have created a statewide and national epidemic of abuse.

That legal justification lies at the heart of the plaintiffs’ legal challenge, which claims Kentucky is violating its own constitution.

The lawsuit claims the prohibition violates section two of the Kentucky Constitution, which denies “arbitrary power,” and claims the courts have interpreted that to mean a law can’t be unreasonable.

“It’s difficult to make a comparison between medical cannabis and opioids that are routine prescribed to people all over the commonwealth, all over the country, and say that there’s some sort of rational basis for the prohibition on cannabis as medicine when we know how well it works,” said Dan Canon, who along with attorney Candace Curtis is representing the plaintiffs.

The lawsuit also claims Kentucky’s law violates the plaintiffs’ right to privacy, also guaranteed under the state constitution.

Spokespeople for Gov. Bevin and Beshear say their offices are in the process of reviewing the lawsuit.

In a February interview on NewsRadio 840 WHAS, Bevin said the following in response to a question about whether he supports medical marijuana:

“The devil’s in the details. I am not opposed to the idea medical marijuana, if prescribed like other drugs, if administered in the same way we would other pharmaceutical drugs. I think it would be appropriate in many respects. It has absolute medicinal value. Again, it’s a function of its making its way to me. I don’t do that executively. It would have to be a bill.”  CONTINUE READING…

Lawsuit challenges Kentucky’s medical marijuana ban

By Bruce Schreiner | AP June 14 at 6:38 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky’s criminal ban against medical marijuana was challenged Wednesday in a lawsuit touting cannabis as a viable alternative to ease addiction woes from opioid painkillers.

The plaintiffs have used medical marijuana to ease health problems, the suit said. The three plaintiffs include Dan Seum Jr., the son of a longtime Republican state senator.

Another plaintiff, Amy Stalker, was prescribed medical marijuana while living in Colorado and Washington state to help treat symptoms from irritable bowel syndrome and bipolar disorder. She has struggled to maintain her health since moving back to Kentucky to be with her ailing mother.

“She comes back to her home state and she’s treated as a criminal for this same conduct,” said plaintiffs’ attorney Daniel Canon. “That’s absurd, it’s irrational and it’s unconstitutional.”

Stalker, meeting with reporters, said: “I just want to be able to talk to my doctors the same way I’m able to talk to doctors in other states, and have my medical needs heard.” CONTINUE READING…

More than 100,000 young men from across the United States trained at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville before being shipped overseas to fight in the Great War

Image result for Camp Zachary Taylor Louisville Ky

Lawmakers hear plans for state’s WWI centennial observances

FRANKFORT – More than 100,000 young men from across the United States trained at Camp Zachary Taylor in Louisville before being shipped overseas to fight in the Great War.

To highlight Kentucky’s contribution World War I, a life-replica of one of the camp’s barracks will be on display at the upcoming Kentucky State Fair, said Department of Veterans Affairs Deputy Director Heather French Henry while testifying before yesterday’s meeting of the Interim Joint Committee on Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Projection. The replica will be part of an exhibit covering nearly a quarter acre that will also include a trench made of 480 sandbags, donated by Fort Knox, containing 20 tons of sand.

“There are over 600,000 folks that travel through the state fair,” said French Henry, a member of the Kentucky World War I Centennial Committee. “It is the most excellent way to get the word and message out to the most diverse population that enters into any realm in the state.”

The United States officially entered WWI on April 6, 1917. Seven months later, the sprawling Camp Zachary Taylor training facility opened. It was the largest of 16 camps that dotted the United States and contained more than 2,000 buildings that housed more than 40,000 troops.

“We had a profound effect on the servicemen that were going overseas and really contributed to the great Allied victory of World War I,” French Henry said.

The camp was auctioned off as 1,500 different parcels of land in 1921 and became the Camp Taylor neighborhood. Many of the parcels were bought by the soldiers returning to the area after completing their term of service.

“World War I is largely a forgotten war,” French Henry said. “It’s been over 100 years. We have no living World War I veterans.”

Kentucky’s last WWI veteran was Robley Henry Rex of Louisville.

“Even in his elderly years, he still had a great mind, could recognize faces,” French Henry said of Rex. “And he hugged about as tight as anyone else I have ever hugged in my life. He was a wonderful representative for us. But sadly, sometimes that history … goes by the wayside when they are not among us.”

Rex died four days before his 108th birthday, in April 2009, at the veterans hospital in Louisville, later renamed the Robley Rex V.A. Medical Center.

Kentucky had more than 2,000 casualties during WWI, and French Henry’s department has a casualty list by county.

“It happens that almost every county – all 120 – contributed their sons and daughters to the efforts of the United States in the Great War,” French Henry said. “Even if it is 100 years later, it is never too late to remember someone’s sacrifice and service.”

Committee Co-chair Rep. Tim Moore, R-Elizabethtown, said he was impressed that French Henry could organize such an exhibition since no state money was budgeted for it.

“I can’t tell you how impressed I am,” Moore said of the fair exhibit and other events planned for the centennial. “We expected something to come together, but not the incredible plethora of activities and educational opportunities you have outlined for us today.

In other news, French Henry announced that the Radcliff Veterans Center, a 120-bed skilled nursing facility, has now started accepting its first residents. Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, said there is a pent-up demand for such a facility in the region.

“I’m starting now to get phone calls all the time,” he said in reference to inquiries from veterans wanting to move there.

French Henry said a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the center is set for July 21.

— END –




Union calls for no-confidence vote on Louisville jail chief

(backdating the news…this is a month old – but important!)

Image result for louisville kentucky jail

Phillip M. Bailey , @phillipmbailey Published 10:52 p.m. ET April 25, 2017

Mayor Greg Fischer and Metro Corrections Director Mark Bolton emphasized working with corrections staff to improve conditions at jail facilities on Wednesday afternoon, a day after rank-and-file officers moved to hold a no-confidence vote on Bolton’s leadership.

Chris Poynter, a spokesman for Fischer, said the “mayor appreciates the union’s input. Now, let’s move on to doing the difficult work at Metro Corrections and working to improve every day.”

But in a statement to the Courier-Journal late Tuesday after the correction workers’ union voted to pursue the no-confidence vote, union President Tracy Dotson said Bolton is “misrepresenting the dangerous overcrowding issue at the jail” to city officials and the media.

Dotson, whose union includes more than 500 sworn officers, said their issues with Bolton “are ridiculously many,” including workplace security, health and safety.

Bolton spokesman Steve Durham said the corrections department has seen unprecedented growth of the inmate population, due in large part to a logjam of prisoners awaiting transfer to state facilities. In February,  for instance, jail officials said the population across the department’s three facilities topped 2,300 despite a designed capacity of 1,793 beds.

“The Metro Corrections jail facilities do not control who is admitted or released,” Durham said. “We will continue to work with our criminal justice partners both locally and at state levels to develop solutions that promote and enhance public safety and ensure a quality work environment for our staff.”

Dotson reiterated officers’ previous complaints, including cameras and intercoms in key areas that do not work; a refusal to meet with FOP leadership on employee issues; failure to fill job vacancies; disintegration of sworn staff training; and alleged retaliation and harassment of FOP members and leadership for participating in union activity.

Dotson said the vote on Bolton will take place in a couple of weeks.

Bolton’s leadership has been under increasing scrutiny, including a pending audit of the jail’s overcrowding issues and taxpayer costs, and the vote will be the second regarding a top public safety official in the city in recent months. In December, less than 2 percent of police FOP members said in a vote that they had confidence in police Chief Steve Conrad’s leadership.

Bolton’s office said he is committed to being transparent in his response to public safety challenges under the jail’s direct control.  Durham said there are 22 recruits in the department’s current academy class, for instance.

Local jail officials also said state Corrections Commissioner Rodney Ballard has sent the city a letter on strategies to free up space in the jail and on plans to add capacity at facilities across the state, although they did not share those details.

“Commissioner Ballard expressed that these measures will significantly improve problems with capacity at Metro Corrections,” Durham said. “We certainly hold Commissioner Ballard to his word.”

Besides the union, Bolton also has been in a battle with District Court Judge Stephanie Pearce Burke, who filed a contempt order in January asking him and his top brass to explain incidents in which she alleged inmates were improperly held. Two former Louisville inmates have filed a federal lawsuit alleging that they and hundreds of others were detained in violation of their constitutional rights.

The Jefferson County Attorney’s Office has said most of Burke’s claims of noncompliance with court orders are incorrect.

Reporter Phillip M. Bailey can be reached at 502-582-4475 or pbailey@courier-journal.com.