Category Archives: News

The News page is your source for everything you need to know about university administration, the Student Government Association, health, housing and much more!

speed

Siemens donates $427 million worth of software to Speed School

By Noor Yussuf–

On Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2012, the University of Louisville announced that the J.B Speed School of Engineering had received a software donation worth $424 million from Siemens PLM Software.
The PLM software will help students learn with modern technology.  “The PLM software provides our students a platform by which we can teach our students in an integrated way, the basics of product development,” said Neville Pinto, dean of J.P. Speed School of Engineering in a released statement.The generous donation is “product lifecycle management (PLM) software that aids in design, lifecycle management and manufacturing and will allow students to see how design, simulation, tooling, manufacturing and disposal are connected and interdependent,” according to UofL Today.

The gift will allow students to gain experience with first hand technology, according to a video released by the university. Scott Heneisen, a representative from Siemens PLM Software Inc. said, “The students will be better prepared for today’s highly competitive manufacturing jobs requiring full knowledge of technologies and tools.”

Other institutions that have partnered with Siemens and will receive the software including “Massachusetts Institute of Technology, University of California at Berkeley, University of Virginia and Auburn University,” UofL Today reported.

news@louisvillecardinal.com

worldculturepictorial.com

What students should know about each party’s platforms

A quick review of each party’s stance on issues that matter to student voters

Democrats: President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden

 

Healthcare

-Allow small businesses to receive tax credits for their workers
-Continue to provide preventative services such as cancer screenings, annual well-woman visits and contraceptives, with no out-of-pocket cost
-Ensure insurance coverage for people with pre-existing conditions
-Ensure that Medicaid will cover more working families
-Ensure that families will continue to have access to mental health and substance abuse services
-Oppose efforts to privatize or voucherize Medicare
-Allow young adults to remain on their parents’ insurance policy even after they’ve entered the workforce

Higher education

-Increase money for Pell Grants
-Reduce the percentage of monthly income that a person has to pay back to students loans to 10 percent
-Invest in community colleges
-Call for additional partnerships between businesses and community colleges to train 2 million workers for needed jobs
-Refrain from deporting young people who are seeking higher education
-Make it possible for foreign students earning advanced degrees in science, technology, engineering and math to say here and help create jobs

Economics

-Cut tax breaks for companies that are shipping jobs overseas
-Offer tax breaks to companies that are investing in the U.S.
-Increase American exports to other countries
-Create more jobs by harnessing energy resources such as wind, solar, biofeuls, geothermal, hydropower, nuclear, oil, clean coal and natural gas. This will encourage innovation and save money for consumers.
-Continue to reform the unemployment system to get people back to work
-Continue to encourage the unemployed to seek futures in entreprenuership
-Continue to invest in American infrastructure, creating jobs and projects to improve roads and bridges

 

Republicans: Presidential candidate Mitt Romney and Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan

Healthcare

-Repeal the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (Obamacare)
-Ensure that consumers have a choice in their healthcare
-End tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance
-Make it possible to purchase insurance across state lines
-Expand stem cell research
-Invest in healthcare delivery systems that will provide greater, more cost-effective access to high quality healthcare.
-Invest in basic and applied biomedical research that may hold potential for dealing with diseases and disorders such as Autism, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, diabetes and various types of cancer
-Preserve the right of a company to provide insurance that are consistent with its religious beliefs
-Preserve the right of the individual to have healthcare services that are consistent with their religious beliefs
-Opposition to physician-assisted suicide
-Opposition to abortion

Higher education

-Promote new systems of learning to compete with traditional four-year colleges: expanded community colleges and technical institutions, private training schools, online universities, life-long learning and work-based learning in the private sector
-Encourage greater transparency on student loans so that families are aware of completion rates, repayment rates, future earnings and other factors that may affect their decisions
-The government should not give student loans but should be the insurance gaurantor for the private sector
-Re-evaluate legislation that drives up tuition costs

Economics

-Rejects the use of taxes to redistribte income or to fund unnecessary or ineffective programs
-Extend the Bush tax cuts
-Eliminate taxes on interest, dividends and capital gains for lower and middle-income taxpayers
-End the Death Tax
-Repeal the Alternative Minimum Tax
-Reform the tax code by reducing marginal tax rates by 20 percent in a revenue-neutral manner
-Reduce corporate tax rates in order to keep U.S. corporations competitive internationally
-Restructure entitlements such as Medicare
-Enact the Secret Ballot Protecton Act, enforcting the Hobbes Act and passing the Race Act in order to protect and promote union workers

The topics covered in this article do not represent the platforms as a whole.
To see the platforms in their entirety, please visit each party’s official website: www.democrats.org and www.gop.com.

One of the new bridges will be right next to the existing Kentucky Bridge that carries I-65 traffic over the Ohio River.

Louisville-Southern Indiana Ohio River Bridges project begins

New bridges across the Ohio River will change Kentuckiana traffic patterns

One of the new bridges will be right next to the existing Kentucky Bridge that carries I-65 traffic over the Ohio River.

By Genevieve Mills–

The new bridges project that people have been talking about for years has finally officially begun. A ceremony for the groundbreaking of the first construction phase took place on August 30th. The first part of this project is building a bridge in the East End of Louisville. The first construction process is extending Old Salem Road in Indiana all the way to the river, where the bridge will be built and connect to I-265 in Louisville. Officials say this bridge should be finished by 2017.

A second bridge will be built much closer to the downtown Louisville area. Next to the Kennedy Bridge, with ramps connecting it to I-65, I-64 and I-71, the bridge will be built and is scheduled to be finished in 2018. This bridge will greatly reduce traffic in the downtown area and for those who commute across the Ohio River. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear stated that the project will “keep the traffic flowing and our region growing with new jobs, new businesses and new opportunities.” Construction on both bridges should begin in 2013.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy KYBRIDGES.COM

Trains, such as this one, polluted the ground that Papa John's Cardinal Stadium now sits on.

U of L files lawsuit against CSX Transportation Inc.

Trains, such as this one, polluted the ground that Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium now sits on.

By Tyler Mercer–

The University of Louisville recently filed a lawsuit against CSX Transportation Inc., the company whose railroad tracks once ran across the land that Papa John’s Stadium now sits on.

In 1996, the university of Louisville and the University of Louisville Athletic Association entered into an agreement with CSX in which the parties would be making a real estate trade. In return for land for stadium facilities to be built on, the Commonwealth of Kentucky traded 118 acres of land to CSX. The land that the university and ULAA would be using to build new facilities on was extremely contaminated, however. The suit says, “When the university and the ULAA acquired the CSX Property, it contained more than 1.1 million gallons of diesel fuel in the ground with a thickness exceeding eight feet, asbestos in 20 acres of existing structures, lead contamination greater than 18,000 ppm in one area and PCB contamination exceeding 100 ppm.”

In a statement to the Courier-Journal, U of L spokesperson Mark Hebert said that U of L and CSX have been in negotiations for some time, but the case needed to be moved to mediation. “We just felt we needed to file a lawsuit to get the process rolling,” said Hebert.

In the original agreement, CSX agreed to “bear all expenses” that the university wouldn’t have otherwise had to deal with, were it not for the contamination caused by and related to CSX’s use of the land. If the stadium facilities were not used to cap the site and prevent future users of the facilities from exposure to the contaminates, CSX would have needed over $40,000,000 to clean up the area for sale or use. “The soil at the CSX Property was so contaminated that the university and the ULAA imported soil for the groundbreaking ceremony to avoid digging into contaminated earth,” the suit against CSX also states.

Following the terms of the agreement, CSX’s environmental consultants reviewed bid documents for the site’s construction before and during the construction of Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium. The university and ULAA sustained costs measuring $1,600,000. These costs were simply for aspects that would have been avoided had the soil not been contaminated. Some of this money was used for very important new implementations such as: hiring an onsite health and safety officer, purchasing of environmental impairment liability insurance and even a methane venting design to alleviate concerns from CSX about the amount of diesel fuel underground that would eventually break down into methane.

Before starting the Papa John’s Cardinal Stadium expansion project, the university and ULAA requested reimbursement, as was required by the agreement, from CSX. CSX denied the request and failed to comply with the agreement. In 2008 the expansion project was started and the university and ULAA have sustained $2,400,000 in costs that would have been avoided had it not been for the amount of contamination to the soil prior to the real estate exchange. CSX has failed to reimburse the university and ULAA, however, and this is the main reason for the current lawsuit between the two parties. In an interview with the Courier-Journal, a spokesperson for CSX said that the company was reviewing the suit.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo: Tricia Stern/The Louisville Cardinal

220px-Isaac_Aug_28_2012_1630Z

In the news: what you missed while you were in class

West Nile Virus outbreak

As of last Wednesday, 66 people have died this year from the West Nile Virus infection, and the number of human cases of the infection is 1,590. About half of the cases have occurred in Texas. There have been two infections so far this year in Kentucky, but no deaths.

New Jersey supermarket shooting

Pathmark supermarket employee Terence Tyler entered his places of employment in Old Bridge, NJ, at around 3:30 a.m. August 31st, firing at his fellow employees and killing two before killing then himself.

Hurricane Isaac makes landfall

The hurricane hit shore as a Category 1 hurricane, and while it landed on the anniversary of Hurricane Katrina, August 28th, it was nowhere near as damaging. It was still powerful, with areas of Louisiana experiences much flooding and at least four people dead.

The RNC was due to start in Tampa, Florida on Monday, August 27th, but because of severe weather reports from Hurricane Isaac, was postponed a day.

Maryland School shooting

On the first day of school, August 27th, Robert Wayne Gladden Jr., a sophomore at a suburban Maryland high school, took a shotgun to school. Two shots were fired, one hitting a classmate who was severely wounded but is now improving. Gladden is now in being held at a state psychiatric hospital.

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Where do I register? A how-to on voting this November

To be eligible to vote:

You must be a citizen of the United States
You must be 18 years of age by the time of the general election.
You must not have been convicted of a felony. If convicted, you must have had your civil rights restored.
You must not have been deemed “mentally incompetent” in a court of law.

If you are a resident of Jefferson County:

Residents of Jefferson Co. can visit elections.jeffersoncountyclerk.org and print out a voter registration card. This should then be mailed into the County Clerk’s office or hand-delivered to any of its branches.

If you are not a resident of Jefferson County:

Please contact your County Clerk to find out they’re directions on registering.
If you are already registered in your county, you should contact the county clerk to find out if you are eligible to cast an absentee ballot.

jcps_logo

Three new members to be elected to the JCPS school board

By Noor Yussuf–

The residents of Jefferson County will go to the polls this November to replace three retiring school board members.  According to the Courier-Journal, this election will be the first time in at least three decades that new board members will be elected.

The three retiring board members are, Steve Imhoff in District 2, Larry Hujo in District 7 and Joe Hardesty in District 4. While the other four board members are up for re-election.

So far, 15 candidates have filed for the open positions making it a historic election for the residents of Jefferson County. “The school board election is very critical to the Jefferson County Public School System. The election has the potential to change the direction of the school board and its policies,” said Dr. Dewey Clayton, a Political Science Professor at the University of Louisville.

Explaining the issues that could be at stake this election, Dr. Clayton said, “The school assignment plan and busing system will be an issue.  The tax rate and the recent property tax increase may be an issue.  Graduation rates will be an issue.  Diversity and parental involvement will be an issue that is at stake as well.”

While majority of the candidates will be new to the voters, Mydrin Thompson, a parent and Regional Director (Central States) for the National Family Engagement Alliance, believes that it’s important for voters to do some homework before this November.
“Voters will really have to listen to and educate themselves about people with whom they›ve had no previous relationship or context,” said Thompson.

Next year, when the board starts with 3 new faces, it will be up to them to decide on important issues, such as the busing system, “I certainly hope new and current school board members will respectfully weigh all concerns, but as a community we must be willing to understand that not everyone›s concerns will be met, and some will be dissatisfied by the outcomes,” Thompson said.

On the other hand the JCPS board faces challenges from the community about the controversial student assignment plan, in which the communities are equally divided. The Kentucky Supreme Court decides on the issues on September, “depending on how the courts rule on the current plan, if they rule at all, will have an impact on how the school board approaches the issue,” said Dr. Clayton.

JCPS is the 27th largest school district in the United States, while they are around 100,000 students, 13,000 employees and 155 schools in the district.

news@louisvillecardinal.com

voters

State voter identification laws stir controversy

By James El-Mallakh–

This voting season, one of the most prominent and controversial issues is that of voter identification laws.

Since around 2003, many states started to pass laws that increase the requirements of voting. Legislation like this has increased nation-wide as the general election draws near.

According to the website of the Nation Council of State Legislators, a bipartisan group committed to serving state policy makers, “Twenty-one states have passed major [voter ID] legislation during the period 2003-2011.” This includes swing states like Ohio and Florida, which are considered crucial for winning the general election.”

The debate is about what the goals of the new laws are.

Most republican legislators favor the new laws because they claim that the laws are a reasonable way to prevent voter fraud. Voter fraud is typically an instance in which someone votes under the name of someone else. Assumed identities are usually someone who is deceased or too elderly to go to the polls. Voter fraud is a way that people can cast multiple votes for their favored candidate.

Democrats are generally against the recent voter ID laws and say the laws are merely a way of suppressing voters. The demographic groups that are less likely to have a photo ID are also groups that have traditionally been more likely to vote democrat. These groups include college students, the elderly, minorities and the poor. According to those who oppose emerging voter ID bills, these new laws would make it harder for these demographics to vote. They also argue that voter fraud is a rare occurrence and the new laws would do more to turn away registered voters than it would prevent fraud.

In many states, voters are allowed to give their names, but don’t have to verify their identity with any form of ID.

“It’s hard to know what the motives are,” said Jason Gainous, an associate professor in the political science department. Gainous says that the debate is really centered around both parties seeking re-election. “[Politicians] are single-minded seekers of re-election… so if they’re trying to make some choice that is directly related to how votes are getting counted, then my guess is it has something to do with how they think that new law is going to affect the outcome of the election.”

According to the Brennan Center for Justice, there may be as many as 11 million eligible voters in the U.S. who do not have a photo ID. The voting rate among eligible voters for the 2008 election was 61 percent, which means less than 11 million would be affected by voter ID laws in the 2012 election. Additionally, voters who are in states that have not passed voter ID laws would be unaffected.

A New York Times analysis found that 86 convictions against voter fraud were carried out by the department of Justice between 2002 and 2007. However, these are only on a Federal level, and the numbers of voter fraud convictions from each state can be higher or lower depending on the state.

“[The voter ID laws] are obviously just ways to disenfranchise certain parts of the population, keep certain people from voting, suppress voters. It’s usually people who have the hardest difficulty in getting an ID,” said Brian Burns, a freshman in the masters program for political science.

“I spent time registering voters [while] volunteering and some of the people I registered couldn’t see the form to write, they were elderly, they were blind, they didn’t have a car, they were legally blind and you’d have to fill out the forms for them.”

A bill in Texas that would require identification for voter registration was just struck down by federal courts. Both Governor Perry and Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott have promised that they will appeal this ruling. A panel of three judges ruled that the bill would impose, “strict, unforgiving burdens” on the poor minority voters. This is the first time that a voter identification bill has been struck down.

Senate Minority leader Mitch McConnell, in a letter to the Courier-Journal, says that claims of voter suppression are wrong, “Most Kentuckians understand that a basic, fair requirement that voters show ID at the polls is crucial to protecting the integrity of our elections.”

Kentucky has not been one of the states at the center of this debate, and Kentucky’s laws pertaining to voter identification were passed in 2002.

To vote in Kentucky, some form of identification is required. This can be a driver’s license, social security card, credit card or an ID card with a picture and a signature. Aside from this, an election officer, who can confirm your identity, will also suffice for proper identification at the polls.

The Kentucky voter ID laws are considered to be middle of the road in terms of strictness for voter ID requirements, according to the NCSL, a bipartisan group committed to serving the interests of state legislatures.

Students may also be affected by the voter ID laws because they are unfamiliar with the voting process. Ashley Wimsett, a freshman in the masters of business program, was working for the U of L women’s center in the SAC and watched the county clerk’s office as they were signing up students to vote. She says many students didn’t know they had to vote in the county they were registered in.

“[The county clerk’s had to continuously tell students they had to change their address from their parent’s county,” said Wimsett.
Aside from changing their registered address, students can also use absentee ballots. U of L students who are from different counties will have to use absentee ballots if they do not return home to vote. In Kentucky, one must request an absentee ballot seven days before the election date and have the ballot mailed back before the end of the election.

U of L’s Student Government Association holds multiple registration drives before an election year. This is done to help students register to vote and help them understand their rights and responsibilities as a voter. This year SGA will hold two registration drives and one more with the Student Activities Board. The drives have not been scheduled yet.

Meghan Waters, junior political science and justice administration major and a political coordinator for SGA, says that they can answer questions from students who are registering to vote. “If this is their first time voting, we can certainly give them some tips and advice on what they should expect at the voting booth.”

The deadline to register to vote for the General election is October 9.

Gainous says that, in the end, the voter ID issue is mostly an issue created by politicians and fought for political gain.

“This is not a Republican/Democrat thing,” Gainous said. “Trust me, if the tides were turned and the rules were going to hurt Democrats, they’d be opposed too. ….both sides, they are going to make the choices that serve their utility.”

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy BET.com

social-media-1

New jury rules ban Twitter and Facebook

By Ryan Considine–

The use of social media devices, such as Facebook and Twitter, has proven to be problematic to the justice system. On August 21, a new set of jury instructions was issued in a Federal Judicial Conference.  Jurors will be told by the judge:

“I know that many of you use cell phones, BlackBerrys, the Internet and other tools of technology. You also must not talk to anyone at any time about this case or use these tools to communicate electronically with anyone about the case. This includes your family and friends. You may not communicate with anyone about the case on your cell phone, through e-mail, BlackBerry, iPhone, text messaging or on Twitter, through any blog or website, including Facebook, Google+, My Space, LinkedIn or YouTube. You may not use any similar technology of social media, even if I have not specifically mentioned it here.”

Many trials are being reopened due to this recent ruling. Over 90 verdicts are subject to challenge from 1999 to 2010 because of Internet-related juror misconducts, according to a 2010 Reuters Legal Survey.

According to NBCNews.com, a 40-year-old juror in Britain admitted she used Facebook to contact the defendant in a case because she saw ‘considerable parallels’ between their lives.

“I don’t think they should be allowed, because Facebook and Twitter are huge sources to see current news,’ stated Kara Leeds, a senior Industrial Engineering major.  “On Twitter, if you follow accounts, such as CNN or local news station WHAS; you will see headlines and excerpts from any major cases that are happening in the courtroom.”

Efforts to prohibit jury members from communicating through electronic devices may not be an easy task, especially when it comes to using them outside of the courtroom.

Many jurors may be prone to research their cases before the trial to gain useful insight.  Instead of listening to the experts, they may become their own experts on the matter explained Gerry Oginski, a New York attorney.

In an era where social media is so easily accessible, the judicial system may not be able to completely eliminate all usage of electronic devices.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy social media

planned_parenthood

Planned Parenthood takes a hit in Texas

By Genevieve Mills–

The Planned Parenthood program recently took a major hit in Texas, with a new anti-abortion ruling that matches a recent trend in women›s healthcare. August 21st, the 5th Circuit of Appeals Court in New Orleans ruled that Texas Women›s Health Program may «deny WHP funds from organizations that promote elective abortions.» In layman›s terms, this means organizations, such as Planned Parenthood clinics, that, among other things, offer abortions to women, won›t receive any of the state or federal funding from Texas Women›s Health Program.

The state and federally funded Women›s Health Program provides health services to low-income women. It supports hospitals and programs like Planned Parenthood. In April, Planned Parenthood won a ban against the proposed funding cuts, but this ban has now been overturned by the appeals court. The court ruled that the state of Texas had the right to fund, or not fund, health care providers as it saw fit, as it should have control of the content of its own health program.

While Governor Rick Perry said this ruling is «a win for Texas women, our rule of law and our state›s priority to protect life,» protestors gathered outside Texas›s capitol building on the 25th. More than 200 people protested the ruling with the belief that women’s health should not be a matter for politics.

Melaney A. Linton, the president of Planned Parenthood Gulf Coast Inc., released an official statement that emphasized how Planned Parenthood doesn›t just offer abortions, but instead tries to focus on keeping women and families healthy. «The state›s ongoing efforts jeopardize the health of tens of thousands of Texas women,» the statement read, and went on «it›s about the women who rely on us for basic health care including lifesaving cancer screenings, birth control and annual exams.» However, Planned Parenthood is known as the U.S.›s leading provider of abortions and its most outspoken group for abortion rights.

This ruling might cause the Texas Women›s Health Program to lose much of its federal funding, which is currently 90 percent of its funding. Governor Perry said that the program will be able to survive with the loss of federal funding, and asserted that the federal decision to defund the program is a «disregard for our state law.»

Abortion has become a hot topic for this year›s election. Twenty-one states have laws that limit the right to have an abortion, and changes to the nation›s health care program are consistently debated.

In Kentucky, the statutory definition of a legal abortion is that the «M.D. determines abortion is necessary in his clinical judgment and with second opinion of M.D. and mother supplies informed consent. Permissible during first trimester; after viability of fetus, necessary to preserve life or health of mother.» It›s a narrow definition most Americans have strong opinions about. In general, abortion is not a topic people are ambivalent about.

There are four Planned Parenthood health centers and clinics in Kentucky, and they are funded by Title X Funds, private donations, patient payments and insurance reimbursements. Only two of these clinics offer abortion referrals. As of February, the Kentucky Senate approved a restriction that requires women seeking an abortion to receive an ultrasound before the abortion, as well as an informed consent counseling session. Further action hasn’t been taken, as the legislature has adjourned.

The appeal court›s ruling is one of the many changes that have happened in women›s health care lately. The Affordable Health Care Act offered many new benefits to women, but this act has been challenged by many states. Many states are attempting to follow in Texas›s footsteps and limit the amount of funding this act provides to programs that offer abortions or are changing the definition of a legal abortion.

news@louisvillecardinal.com
Photo courtesy Planned Parenthood