Recut Recut is a twice-weekly podcast taking a closer look at one of the stories we're covering, with the reporter who covered it. We pull back the curtain on the news process and break down the story, often sharing sound that didn't make it into the final version. New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. Contact #Recut at recut@wfpl.org
Recut

Recut

From 89.3 WFPL News Louisville

Recut is a twice-weekly podcast taking a closer look at one of the stories we're covering, with the reporter who covered it. We pull back the curtain on the news process and break down the story, often sharing sound that didn't make it into the final version. New episodes every Tuesday and Thursday. Contact #Recut at recut@wfpl.org

Most Recent Episodes

Recut: What Goes Into Rezoning In Louisville?

Last night, Louisville Metro Council approved a zoning change that will pave the way for Unity Place--an affordable housing complex in the Okolona neighborhood that would also include some housing for refugees. Since the project was introduced, nearby property owners have been very vocal about their concerns. The zoning change process is itself complicated for council members, who have to balance following the rules with what their constituents are asking for. WFPL's Amina Elahi joins us today on Recut to explain how the process works.

Why Is The Groundwater Polluted Around This Power Plant?

When you flip the switch, the light comes on. It's something we all take for granted, and it's possible because of coal energy. But burning coal for electricity leaves something behind: coal ash, containing things like barium. And arsenic. We burn a lot of coal in this country, producing huge amounts of coal ash that we have to figure out what to do with. At the D.B. Wilson power plant in Western Kentucky, that coal ash goes into unlined landfills. It's been seen in ditches and ponds that flow into the Green River, and it's also been seeping into the groundwater--possibly for as long as 18 years. Coal ash is supposed to be regulated, and the regulations are supposed to keep people safe from it. So what went wrong at D.B. Wilson? WFPL's environment reporter Ryan Van Velzer joins us on this episode of Recut, to explain.

'Tis The Season For Cultural Insensitivity?

If you've ever seen "The Nutcracker," you know a good part of the second act takes place in the beautiful Land of Sweets. Clara and the Prince travel there and meet dancing delicacies from around the world--candy canes from Russia, chocolate from Spain, and the famous Sugar Plum Fairy. But one of the sequences, as historically performed, hits a more sour note: The Chinese tea dance. The segment often features stereotyped caricatures of Chinese people. Dancers wear rice paddy hats and deep black eyeliner overextended out to their temples. They perform movements that reflect white people's stereotypes of Asian dance, rather than any connection to real Chinese culture. These dancers (and most of their audiences) are usually white. But a man named Phil Chan is leading a movement to change this part of 'The Nutcracker." His campaign is called Final Bow for Yellowface. And lots of the country's biggest ballet companies are now rethinking the way they stage the Chinese Tea Dance--including Louisville's. WFPL's Ashlie Stevens wrote about the scene and the campaign to change it. She joins us today on Recut.

Breaking Bourbon

When you open a bottle of bourbon, do you ever stop to think about where it came from? We like to picture an old man, maybe two, filling my bottle by hand after having tasted the recipe over and over to make sure it was just right. Just for us. It may come as no surprise to you that that's pretty far off the mark. (It's also possible that we're confusing the bourbon-making process with how illegal moonshine is made.) Bourbon is an $8.5 billion industry in Kentucky. And if you're watching bourbon being made, you're likely to see more people in white coats than old dudes in overalls. Reporter Ashlie Stevens has been looking into the chemistry and technology behind the bourbon industry. She joins us on today's show.

Kentucky State Government's Sexual Harassment Problem

The Kentucky Legislature has no official policy against sexual harassment. Yep, you read that right. Despite some pretty big scandals over the years, including news last year that four Republican lawmakers — including former House Speaker Jeff Hoover — secretly paid a former staffer after she alleged the men sexually harassed her, state lawmakers still haven't passed any anti-harassment bills. For state employees, however, there are specific rules against sexual harassment. But, as we learned in a previous episode, even with rules in place, Kentucky employees have filed about 250 formal sexual harassment complaints over the last five years, and experts say that number probably represents only a portion of total incidents. And then last week, our newsroom broke two stories: Capitol Bureau Chief Ryland Barton reported that former House Speaker Hoover is fighting to seal a deposition of a former staffer who reportedly accused him of sexual harassment — and assault. And Eleanor Klibanoff with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting wrote about a court ruling that forced the state Labor Cabinet to release the names of its employees accused of harassment — even if the claims aren't substantiated. After the ruling, Eleanor found out that the man whose name they'd been withholding has a long list of criminal charges, including domestic violence. Ryland and Eleanor join us today on Recut.

Is Louisville Prepared For The Next Great Flood?

You've probably heard of the Great Flood of 1937 — maybe you even have relatives who lived through it. It was late January, and parts of Louisville, including The Point and the West End, were under water. Residents and business owners in the Highlands and parts of the Central Business District were far luckier. So, what if it were to happen again? We've certainly learned valuable lessons from the 1937 flood, and we even have something now that we didn't have then: a flood protection system. And that would save us today from catastrophic flood, right? The honest answer: maybe. Louisville's flood protection system is one of the largest in the country, in terms of the number of people it protects. But parts of it are very, very old and in dire need of repairs. WFPL Energy and Environment reporter Ryan Van Velzer joins us today to tell us the good and bad news about the city's flood protection plan, and we talk about how worried we should really be.

Life's Getting Better At Dosker, But Is It Good Enough?

A few months ago, we told you about a bedbug infestation in a public housing complex called Dosker Manor — a 700-unit high rise for older people and people with disabilities. Jake Ryan from the Kentucky Center of Investigative Reporting found city records showing that residents in nearly half of the units at Dosker have complained to the city about bedbugs since 2016. Despite those repeated complaints, the complex remained infested. Since then, the property has had another inspection by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. It failed, for the third year in a row. Inspectors found exposed wires, leaky pipes, clogged drains, broken locks, missing sprinklers and more in the city's largest public housing facility. They did score higher this year than last year, though. They've also made some personnel changes in the maintenance department, pledged to spend the money to fix the building, and hired an expert consultant on pest control. Residents say they see crews working more often and things seem to be getting better. But they still have bedbugs. Jake Ryan joins us today with an update.

Recut: Our Neighbors Have Great Stories

One of the things we love most about working in radio is meeting new people and hearing their stories. There aren't too many other jobs where you can meet a stranger in one moment and in the next they're telling you some of the most intimate parts of their life. It's pretty weird when you think about it but the fact that people trust us with things so personal is pretty special. WFPL has partnered with IDEAS xLab to bring you Tough and Universal: Stories of Grit, first-person accounts from people in the community who've overcome significant challenges and thrived despite the odds. WFPL News Director Erica Peterson and Theo Edmonds from IDEAS xLab join us today to talk about the partnership, and we'll hear excerpts from each of the stories.

You're (Probably) Recycling Wrong

A couple years ago, WFPL launched Curious Louisville, a regular series where listeners ask us questions about the city and we investigate to find the answers. And let me tell you, you have not disappointed. We've gotten some really interesting questions, including what happens to zoo animals when they die, why we pronounce Louisville the way we do, whether the high-five was invented here, and many others. But in the past couple years, we've received nearly a dozen questions about one particular topic: Recycling. Y'all are really, really curious about recycling. And, after two years of asking, you're gonna get your answers. WFPL Energy and Environment reporter Ryan Van Velzer joins us today to tell us what you wanted to know and what he found out.

Recut: Is Louisville's Land Bank Working?

Louisville's Land Bank Authority acquires abandoned properties and then sells them to new owners very cheap, sometimes for as little as a dollar. The new owners have six months to rehab the outside of the house, and 18 months to fix the inside. Last December, a record year for landbank sales, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer called the program a "win for neighbors and for public safety." But reporter Jake Ryan with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting found that of the 316 properties the landbank has sold, almost a third are vacant and in violation of the city's property maintenance codes. The landbank has the authority to take houses back if the buyer doesn't hold up their end of the bargain, but they've only actually done that one time since 2010. Jake joins us today on Recut to tell us what he found out about why those properties remain vacant, and what people living nearby have to say about it.

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