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News and Notes for Tuesday

Ten stories and six tweets from across the political landscape.

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Two places in Kentucky have high rates of PFAS. Here’s what officials are doing about it

In the latest round of testing for forever chemicals, the Kentucky Division of Water discovered high rates in two communities, Lewisport and North Marshall County. Now, municipal leaders are working with state officials to try and fix it. (Story includes a map of testing across the state.) (LPM News)

Kentucky could win ‘massive’ solar investment in federal competition. Here’s what’s possible.

An unlikely collaboration between a Kentucky coalfield county and Kentucky’s largest city began when a former high school English teacher, Megan Downey, walked into the Lawrence County courthouse in Louisa in August. Inspired by a personal desire to find ways to tackle the impacts of climate change, Downey had launched a nonprofit called The Solar Collaborative last year in Virginia dedicated to helping Appalachian communities transition to renewable energy. 

She had been pitching an idea to local governments across Eastern Kentucky: Seek some of the billions in federal funding up for grabs in the Solar for All competition. Through the competition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency plans to invest $7 billion through 60 grants to states, local governments, nonprofits and tribal governments to “increase access to affordable, resilient, and clean solar energy for millions of low-income households.” The money comes from the Inflation Reduction Act’s Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. 

When Downey talked with Deputy Judge-Executive Vince Doty about the opportunity, he agreed “within minutes” to sign up. Ultimately, they partnered with Louisville to present a unified entry. (Kentucky Lantern)

Democratic Rep. Josie Raymond is leaving the state legislature, but not politics

One of the few Democrats in the Kentucky legislature announced she will not run for reelection next year, and will instead run for Louisville Metro Council’s District 10 seat. Former Democratic state Rep. Mary Lou Marzian filed her candidacy for the 41st District in Louisville just before the announcement. (LPM News)

Study: Building a new public university in Southeastern Kentucky ‘problematic’

Building a new four-year public university in Southeastern Kentucky would be “prohibitively expensive and its long-term viability (especially in terms of enrollment) would be uncertain,” says a study by the Council on Postsecondary Education (CPE) that was ordered earlier this year by the Kentucky General Assembly. 

Senate President Robert Stivers (R-Manchester) sought the wide-ranging study. Among other questions, it was to address the feasibility of expanding access to higher education in Southeastern Kentucky through three means: establishing a new residential public university, acquiring a private university or establishing a residential campus as a satellite of an existing regional public university.

The CPE study found that each of the three options “is in some way problematic.” (Kentucky Lantern)

Rep. Danny Bentley announces legislative retirement

After three terms in the Kentucky General Assembly, Representative Danny Bentley (R-Russell) announced on Wednesday that he would retire at the end of his current term.

“Serving in the Kentucky House is an incredible privilege, even more so because I have the opportunity to represent my hometown and so many of the people who made me who I am today. I am proud of who we are and excited about our potential,” Bentley said. “However, life has many chapters. While each provides a chance to help our fellow Kentuckians, they must all come to an end. I am ready to close this chapter and begin another that includes spending more time with my family and tackling new challenges for our region.” (KLC City Limit)

Sunergos Coffee workers strike across Louisville: ‘We cannot stall any longer’

Workers with Louisville-based Sunergos Coffee walked the job at all five stores from last Friday to Sunday. Their union wants the company to meet key negotiating demands after months without a contract agreement. Employees at the chain voted in January to unionize, but a negotiated contract has yet to materialize. In contrast, workers at another local coffee shop, Heine Brothers’ Coffee, came to a deal with their employer six months after approving a union.

The Sunergos union argues the company is to blame for a lack of an agreement, and its Black Friday weekend strike aims to pressure leadership to meet its demands. (LPM News)

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear’s second inauguration to take place Dec. 12

As Gov. Andy Beshear enters his second term as Kentucky’s governor, he will take part in another tradition-filled inauguration on Dec. 12. The ceremony includes country ham, a 21-gun salute and the Inaugural Parade.

Beshear has released plans for his second inauguration alongside Lt. Gov. Jacqueline Coleman. The 62nd Kentucky gubernatorial inauguration will be Dec. 12, with a string of events over the course of the day. (LPM News)

Decades after Louisville's first Black attorney was murdered, the city dedicates a park in her honor

Nearly 60 years after she was murdered, Alberta Jones' legacy of civil rights lives on in the California neighborhood. Seven vacant blocks in west Louisville’s California neighborhood have been transformed into a new park, named after the local civil rights pioneer.

City and community leaders cut the ribbon for the Alberta O. Jones Park between Dr. W.J. Hodge and South 25th Streets. The Parks Alliance of Louisville led the project and gave residents the opportunity to share their input along with the amenities and naming the park after Jones. (WHAS - News)

Portugal just ran on 100 percent renewables for six days in a row

For nearly a week, the country of 10 million met customer needs with wind, hydro and solar — a test run for operating the grid without fossil fuels. (Grist)

Texas board rejects many science textbooks over climate change messaging

A Republican-controlled Texas State Board of Education last week rejected seven of 12 proposed science textbooks for eighth graders that, for the first time, were required to include information on climate change.

The 15-member board largely rejected the books either because they included policy solutions for climate change or because they were produced by a company that has an Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) policy. Some textbooks were also rejected because SBOE reviewers gave the books lower scores on how well they adhered to the state’s curriculum standards. (Grist)

And from the X-verse ...

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All results from Tuesday’s primary

All results from Tuesday’s primary

Here’s a list of all the results from Kentucky’s 2024 primary election that were reported on the Board of Elections site. These include federal, state legislative, and some judges and county attorneys.

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