There’s a lot going on in Louisville, and WFPL's In Conversation with Rick Howlett gives people a platform to talk -- both to each other, and with the larger community -- about the biggest issues facing our city, state and region. Live at 11 a.m. every Friday on 89.3 WFPL. Miss the show? Listen here as a weekly podcast. +
Staying Home For The Holidays
Coronavirus cases continue to surge around the country and here in the commonwealth, and we're all starting to come to terms with how different our holiday celebrations will have to look this year.
On Wednesday, Governor Andy Beshear said Thanksgiving gatherings in Kentucky shouldn't include more than eight people, coming from only two different households. But what if you have family members who still think it's a good idea to gather? How will you communicate with them about why you won't be there?
This week, we're talking about adapting our celebrations to the times we're living in. Childhood development expert Deborah Farmer Kris shares some ideas about making the holidays feel festive for the children in your life, and how to explain to them why things have to be different this year.
Even in the best of years, holidays can turn up the pressure on relationships. So marriage and family therapist Eric Sharp joins us to talk about navigating tricky interpersonal dynamics.
We talk about how to defend against this year's unique flavor of holiday stress, and which harmful coping strategies we should be trying to avoid. More people than usual may be experiencing grief this year, and the holidays can make even old losses feel fresh again. So we look at healthy ways to process those challenging feelings — both for adults and children.
And even though the holidays are weird, we still gotta eat. Lexington Chef Samantha Fore of Tuk Tuk Sri Lankan Bites has some advice for what to put on the table this season. She talks about how to scale down some traditional holiday meals for smaller groups, and shares non-traditional dish ideas for these non-traditional times.
Louisville's New Police Contract
Last week, the Louisville Metro Council approved a new police union contract. The vote was divided 16 to 10 and many consider the contract controversial.
For example, opponents question whether it provides sufficient accountability and transparency when officers are under investigation. The contract also raises the starting salaries of police officers from about $35,000 to $45,000.
It’s a three-year contract that is retroactive to the date the last contract ended — July 1, 2018. This new contract is in effect through June 30, 2021, at a cost of $390 million over the next three fiscal years.
Breonna Taylor’s killing and the continuous racial justice protests that have taken place since May have placed local policing in the spotlight, here and nationally.
On today's show, we talk about the contract and its provisions and implications. Our guests include a representative from the local Fraternal Order of Police and Louisville Metro Council President David James.
Election Week Waiting & Analysis
With COVID-19 as a backdrop, the 2020 general election had Americans voting in record numbers. Because of the pandemic, voters across the country and here in Kentucky and Indiana cast their ballots through early voting, drop-off voting, mail-in voting, and traditionally, in person on Election Day.
Some answers we had right away, such as Republican incumbent Mitch McConnell beating Democratic challenger Amy McGrath soundly for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
Some answers have taken a more circuitous route, with ballots for President Donald Trump and Former Vice President Joe Biden being counted throughout the week by several states to determine which candidate won the Electoral College.
On this week’s show, Rick Howlett talks with a social scientist about polling and how unusual this week is, with Secretary of State Michael Adams to see how the Kentucky election process went, with political reporter Ryland Barton, and with Jefferson County Public Schools Superintendent Marty Pollio about the tax initiative on the ballot.
Election Speculation, Projections and Education
Thousands of Kentuckians are voting every day, and about three-fourths of absentee ballots in Kentucky have been returned.
With this Friday’s “In Conversation” we're just four days from Election Day 2020. COVID-19 has turned voting on its head, with more than 60 million Americans having already voted.
What do all these numbers mean? What do professionals who follow and cover politics think? What do they predict? Is the current climate too unprecedented to calculate? Are there still undecided voters still, and if so, what will sway them?
Bracing For A Fall COVID Surge
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear announced this week that the state had the highest number of new COVID-19 cases on a Monday and Tuesday since the pandemic started. The positivity rate is the highest in two months.
Like most states, Kentucky is experiencing a dramatic spike in cases, with experts worrying about how much worse the spread will be as we head into holidays and flu season.
On this week’s “In Conversation” experts talk about why cases are spiking, the strain on hospitals, how the growing numbers can be flattened, and what might happen next.
2020 In Louisville's Black Community
Breonna Taylor’s name has become a national and international battle cry on the issue of police brutality against Black women.
But Taylor isn’t just representative of a cause. In Louisville, she’s one of us.
And many people in the city’s Black community see her death as the continuation of a struggle for racial equity that goes back generations.
Over the course of 2020, Louisville’s Black citizens have tried to process the trauma of the raid on Taylor’s home, the shooting of David McAtee by a member of the National Guard, and the resulting protests and investigations, all while trying to stay safe from a worldwide health pandemic that disproportionately impacts the Black community.
For Louisville in general, and the Black community in particular, there have been few chances to pause and reflect. This Friday, we’re making that time.
WFPL’s Jonese Franklin and Michelle Tyrene Johnson host this special episode of “In Conversation,” where we check in with Louisville’s Black community about coping with dual pandemics and a pivotal upcoming election.