Rural Counties Driving COVID; Drama In Louisville Tax Fight

14 mins read
Forward 5 Kentucky

-Publisher’s Note-

Good morning! I have a question for you:

Are you stressed?

Before you say “well, duh!” let me elaborate.

I’m not talking about the everyday stress that comes with just living and “adulting.” And I’m not even talking about the random problems that drop into our lives, some quite major, that cause their own stress.

Instead, I’m talking about an ongoing, subconscious stress, almost like a chronic infection, that saps our well-being and makes us feel anxious. A stress that seems to be getting worse over time.

I think it’s the stress of living in Trump’s America. I think it’s the stress of living in a society that is sliding into autocracy, and the stress of not knowing what will happen in the upcoming election.

Will we begin the long process of moving out of Trumpism? Will we begin the long rebuilding of our institutions, and our norms, and our society?

Or will we re-elect a budding authoritarian, and continue the collapse of our democracy?

In case you can’t tell, I am stressed in just this way. I seem to live with a weight on my back and in my heart. And as much as I will be thrilled if Biden wins, and if Dems take back the Senate, I think I will still be stressed. Because I know how far we have fallen, and how far we have to go to get back. Or get better.

Sorry for something of a downer on a Thursday. But frankly, those of you who read the Forward Five are some of our most engaged readers, so I feel like I can be honest with you.

Are you stressed in the same way? Send me a note via the feedback link.

Wear your mask, wash your hands, stay socially distanced. Go vote. Get others to vote. We’re going to get through this, together.

Bruce Maples, publisher
(Send feedback  ●  Send tips  ●  Submit your events)

Today’s Five Things To Know

10/21 update — Virus cases set a record, deaths a near-record

Kentucky had the highest day of new coronavirus cases and second highest number of deaths Wednesday, reporting 1,487 new cases and 21 deaths. Governor Beshear said he might have to ask people to have no gatherings at all for two weeks to help slow the spread of the virus. (Forward Kentucky)

Across the U.S., rural counties are driving the virus

Here’s the weekly update from The Daily Yonder, showing just how bad the coronavirus is in rural counties across the United States. (Forward Kentucky)

KY Voting: More GOP in person, Dems by absentee

Kentucky Democrats have sent in absentee ballots at more than twice the rate as Republicans, but more GOP voters are turning out for early in-person voting. The numbers were provided Wednesday by the secretary of state’s office. Through Tuesday, more than 282,400 Democrats statewide had returned absentee ballots, compared with nearly 116,000 Republicans. Meanwhile, more than 197,300 Republicans had voted in-person, compared with more than 156,000 Democrats. Early in-person voting began Oct. 13. Secretary of State Michael Adams says he’s pleased with the numbers of Kentuckians voting early. He says it will reduce lines at polls on Nov. 3. (West Kentucky Star)

JCPS tax petition leader says lawmaker gave her access to Republican voter database

The political arm of Louisville’s teachers union is reconsidering its support of a Republican lawmaker after court testimony revealed he aided a group opposing the Jefferson County Public Schools property tax increase.

State Rep. Jason Nemes, R-Louisville, provided the leader of the “No JCPS Tax Hike” petition with the login information to a Republican Party voter database, according to testimony shared Tuesday as part of a legal challenge to the petition.

Theresa Camoriano then used the GOP database to add or change “thousands” of signatures on the petition calling for voters to decide the fate of the 7-cent JCPS property tax increase during the Nov. 3 election, attorneys for JCPS and the Jefferson County Teachers Association argued. (Courier-Journal)
NOTE: We’ll be talking about this on tomorrow’s The State of Kentucky show. Link below!

Parents of 545 children separated at the border cannot be found

Radio spots are airing throughout Mexico and Central America. Court-appointed researchers are motorbiking through rural hillside communities in Guatemala and showing up at courthouses in Honduras to conduct public record searches.

The efforts are part of a wide-ranging campaign to track down parents separated from their children at the U.S. border beginning in 2017 under the Trump administration’s most controversial immigration policy. It is now clear that the parents of 545 of the migrant children still have not been found, according to court documents filed this week in a case challenging the practice. About 60 of the children were under the age of 5 when they were separated, the documents show.

The new findings highlight the lasting impact of a policy that first came to light with wrenching images of crying children being carried away from their parents at the border and detained hundreds or thousands of miles away. Hundreds of these families, the new filing makes clear, have now endured years of separation. (New York Times)

The State of Kentucky

If you live in Louisville, you have an extra item on your ballot this year: approving or turning down a tax increase for Jefferson County Public Schools. A group led by someone who doesn’t live in the JCPS district put together a petition to challenge the increase on the ballot. The school system then sued, saying the petition was faulty. If they win their suit, the results of the vote will be thrown out. Now it turns out that a Republican state legislator gave the anti-tax group access to a voter database with names and addresses. And, in addition, a local group of activists has formed to push JCPS toward more racial equity, and they have weighed in on the tax increase as well. Join us this Friday as we go over ALL these threads in the JCPS tax story!

YouTube link   ●   Facebook link

Upcoming Events from the ForwardKY Calendar

We post about upcoming events by campaigns and organizations if we know about them in time. Post your events here. View the full calendar here.

Today (10/22) – Indivisible KY Phonebank (info)
Today (10/22) – Planned Parenthood Phonebank (info)
Saturday (10/24) – McGrath Early Vote Rally in Lexington (info)
Saturday (10/24) – Save SCOTUS Saturday at Mitch’s Office (info)
Sunday (10/25) – Maria Sorolis Socially Distanced Lit Drop(info)
Sunday (10/25) – Vote the Change 2020: Arnold Farr, Christian Motley, Liz Sheehan (info)
Monday (10/26) – The Moscow Mitch Monday Show (info)
Tuesday (10/27) – McGrath Early Vote Rally in Louisville(info)

Recent Content on Forward Kentucky
[new] indicates item not in a Forward Five before

[new] Mitch’s scary ads – What do Mitch McConnell’s ads remind you of? Cartoonist Aaron Smith thinks that Amy McGrath has the right idea. (Cartoon)

McConnell leads McGrath by 9 points in new poll – According to the survey by Mason-Dixon Polling & Strategy, McConnell is backed by 51% of likely voters in Kentucky, McGrath has 42% while libertarian candidate Brad Barron has 4% and 3% are undecided. (Brief)

White House report: 70% of counties at moderate or high level of virus spread; trade with stores following rules – The latest report from the White House Coronavirus Task Force again has Kentucky in the task force’s worst danger zone for number of cases, with 12 more counties being put in that zone than the previous week. (News)


Two complaints filed against Rep. Robert Goforth – In a press release from her office, Frankfort attorney Anna Whites announced that two formal complaints were filed today against state Representative Robert Goforth. (News)

10/20 update — State prepares for a medical surge; in-home gatherings discouraged in 43 counties – Gov. Beshear announced the state’s fourth highest day of coronavirus cases on Tuesday, along with increases in almost every other measure indicating the state is headed for trouble. (News)

McConnell and the Russians: Setting the record straight – In the current news whirlwind, many have forgotten the connection between Mitch McConnell and Russian money and influence. So, let’s review the record of “Moscow Mitch” and his involvement with the Russians. (Commentary)

Attorney General says secret meetings of public officials are okay – So much for the dying notion that “statutes enacted for the public benefit must be construed most favorably to the public.” And so much for the public’s right to know what its elected officials are up to. (Commentary)


After Louisville police shooting deaths, cases quietly closed – Usually, when LMPD kills someone, families are left entirely in the dark about how the police are handling the case, an investigation by Newsy and the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting found. (Briefs)

Can you vote if your absentee ballot doesn’t come?
 – It’s one of the most common questions this election season: If I requested an absentee ballot, and it doesn’t come, can I still vote? The answer is Yes – but with some caveats. (News)


Fact sheet: Unlawful militias in Kentucky – The Institute for Constitutional Advocacy and Protection (ICAP) put together this fact sheet explaining the laws barring unauthorized private militia groups, and what to do if such groups are near a polling place. (Backgrounder)

A lawyer looks at the constitutional amendments on the ballot – Have you been wondering how to vote on the two constitutional amendments on the ballot? Jazmin Smith, a lawyer and co-host of “My Old Kentucky Podcast,” digs into both and offers her take on them. (Analysis)


Cloth masks do protect the wearer – breathing in less coronavirus means you get less sick – No mask is perfect, and wearing one might not prevent you from getting infected. But it might be the difference between a case of COVID-19 that sends you to the hospital and a case so mild you don’t even realize you’re infected. (News Backgrounder)


Rural KY counties are becoming COVID hot spots – When you lookk at Daily Yonder’s map of rural coronavirus infection rates, it’s obvious that the rural counties of Kentucky are becoming the hot spots in our state. (News Analysis)


Mitch’s voicemail – COVID relief – If you call Senator Mitch McConnell’s office and ask him to do something about COVID relief, what message do you get? Aaron Smith has the answer. (Cartoon)

DemCast is an advocacy-based 501(c)4 nonprofit. We have made the decision to build a media site free of outside influence. There are no ads. We do not get paid for clicks. If you appreciate our content, please consider a small monthly donation.

Forward Kentucky is an independent media organization focused on progressive news and issues in Kentucky. Our objectives are to provide journalism that is objective, policies that are effective, and commentary that is progressive. Our goal is to help Kentucky become all that it can be through government that works, for all. We are "the progressive voice for Kentucky politics."

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