Snow bands swept through Lexington, Kentucky, in the early hours of Christmas morning, December 25, the National Weather Service (NWS) said. The NWS cautioned people to plan for extra time if they planned to travel, while the Lexington Division of Emergency Management urged people to avoid travel if possible due to ice-covered roads and side streets. Credit: @andrew91271 via Storyful
One sister called it the “deepest tragedy” of her life.
December 24, 2020, 2:39 AM
• 5 min read
A Kentucky family is mourning the loss of three members due to COVID-19 in nearly four weeks.
Husband-and-wife Mark Cheatham, 61, and Lisa Cheatham, 58, died within days of each other this month. The couple, who had been married for 40 years, were buried together this past weekend following a joint funeral service.
Lisa Cheatham’s father, Charles Tucker, died on Nov. 22, two days after turning 76.
All three died from COVID-19, their relatives said.
“If you would’ve told me that COVID would wipe out half of the family that we have left, I would have been like no, you’re joking,” Jama Allen, one of Lisa and Mark’s two daughters, told ABC Louisville affiliate WHAS-TV, calling the loss of her parents the “deepest tragedy” of her life.
Her sister, Jessica Cheatham, recounted sleeping in the parking garage of the Louisville hospital where both her parents were hospitalized in the intensive care unit earlier this month with COVID-19.
“I was really scared to leave them,” she told WHAS. “I wanted to be nearby.”
Mark Cheatham, who was a heavy equipment operator for the Kentucky Transportation Department, died on Dec. 11. Lisa Cheatham, a recently retired family services worker and educator, died four days later, on Dec. 15. The couple, who lived in Campbellsville, were active members of their church and, pre-pandemic, enjoyed traveling, the family said.
“It’s unreal to walk in the door and they’re not here,” Allen told WHAS. “You keep waiting for them to pop around the corner and they’re not.”
Her grandfather, also from Campbellsville, was memorialized as a farmer who enjoyed ax throwing and chainsaw contests and spending time with this dog.
As the sisters prepare to spend the holidays for the first time without their parents, they urged others to stay home and follow COVID-19 guidelines.
“I could’ve went one Christmas without seeing my parents, but now we spend the rest of the lives without ours,” Jessica Cheatham told the station. “So I would maybe take that into consideration. It’s one Christmas. One Christmas and then you can spend all the Christmases together. Because some people have an option and we don’t.”
COVID-19 cases in Kentucky have been on a downward trend, following a peak in late November. Hospitalizations have also been on the decline in the past week.
Gov. Andy Beshear urged Kentuckians to keep their holiday celebrations small amid the state’s progress, warning that cases are still “too high.”
“With the rest of the country on fire, with hospitalizations escalating in most every other state, in Kentucky, we are seeing a stabilization that is protecting the lives of our people,” he said Tuesday during a COVID-19 briefing. “And we want to make sure that we continue to plateau or even decrease cases as we move towards this vaccine.”
A Kentucky mayor has come under fire for a proposal that would see funds being taken from an emergency rental assistance program and instead be used to provide city employees with diversity training.
The Mayor of Lexington, Linda Gorton, is proposing to use the funds that had been earmarked for people suffering financial hardship during the pandemic and instead redirect them towards Critical Race Theory training.
‘Lexington’s woke mayor is taking funds for poor people and using them to pay a rich white woman so she can teach city employees how to become woke… this is progressivism in the 21st century,’ author Ryan James Girdusky said on Twitter.
Mayor of Lexington, Linda Gorton, is proposing to use funds from an emergency rental assistance program and instead give council members diversity training
Mayor Gorton, is proposing to use the funds that had been earmarked for people suffering financial hardship during the pandemic and instead redirect them towards Critical Race Theory training
Author Ryan James Girdusky did not appear to be impressed by the proposals
The funds would see $120,000 which was specifically for housing assistance, taken out of its $1.9m budget and used for diversity training.
The Lexington Housing Justice Collective said that the money ended up being ‘unallocated’ because of bureaucratic slowness and not because the funds are unneeded.
Instead, the money would be put towards diversity training sessions at a cost of $2,000 a day for 35 council employees at a time
Critical Race Theory teaches that American laws and institutions are inherently racist.
The theoretical framework has risen in popularity in recent years.
The theory suggests that racism is the dominant component of American society resulting in minorities being denied many constitutional rights.
The Lexington Housing Justice Collective said that the money ended up being ‘unallocated’ because of bureaucratic slowness
The charity which is fighting to end homelessness explained in detail what happened
$120,000 part of a $1.9million budget for housing assistance could be used
The money would be put towards diversity training sessions at a cost of $2,000 a day for 35 council employees including both in-person and online
The mayor’s plan was published by a charity, the Lexington Housing Justice Collective, on social media which stated how the city was going through the ‘worst eviction crisis in at least a decade.’
‘The city’s rental assistance program is already deeply underfunded. Now Mayor Gorton wants to cut funding even more,’ the group said in a tweet. ‘This will lead to even more Lexingtonians losing their homes in the coming months, after hundreds have already been evicted since August 24.’
Although the group argued it did not disagree with the training, it did not wish to see funds pulled away from rental assistance programs.
‘The proposal is part of Mayor Gorton’s response to the Commission for Racial & Equality. But Black and Brown people are disproportionately evicted,’ the group said. ‘Taking $ from rental assistance does not advance racial justice. It means more Black and Brown people will lose their homes.
Mayor Gorton’s plans come despite worries that the city’s rental assistance program is already deeply underfunded
Critical Race Theory made headlines a few months ago after the U.S. State Department suspended all training programs for employees related to diversity and inclusion after President Donald Trump directed federal agencies last month to end programs deemed as ‘divisive’ by the White House.
‘Beginning Friday, October 23, 2020, the Department is temporarily pausing all training programs related to diversity and inclusion in accordance with Executive Order … on Combating Race and Sex Stereotyping,’ the cable said.
‘The pause will allow time for the Department and Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to review program content,’ it said.
Trump’s executive order forbid the teaching by federal agencies of ‘divisive concepts’ including that the United States is ‘fundamentally racist or sexist.’
Mayor Gorton is currently dealing with Lexington’s coronavirus pandemic crisis and fully intends to implement State Gov Andy Beshear’s restrictions on businesses and gatherings
It also banned the use of taxpayer dollars to fund so-called ‘un-American propaganda sessions’ including the idea of white privilege or ‘taught that the United States is an inherently racist or evil’ country.
News of the money being diverted away from Lexington’s housing assistance program comes as the state of Kentucky deals with a surge of COVID-19 cases.
It has led to Governor Andy Beshear restricting businesses and gatherings.
Gorton appears to be fully behind the emergency rules.
‘We can overcome this surge of COVID-19 cases in our community,’ she said.
‘Let’s all do our part to be safe and healthy by following the rules, wearing a mask, washing our hands, and maintaining social distance.’
Florida governor Ron DeSantis, a keen Trump ally, ordered national guard troops to spread across the state in anticipation of any election day violence. But as polling entered its final hours on Tuesday afternoon, officials reported a “smooth” day of voting with no incidents.
The soldiers were deployed to several strategic locations, according to national guard spokesperson Lt Col Caitlin Brown, directly on DeSantis’s orders and out of “an abundance of caution”.
By lunchtime, turnout in Florida from mail-in ballots and early and election day in-person voting had surpassed the 9.4m votes cast in 2016, with the populous south-eastern counties of Miami-Dade and Broward recording higher-than-expected numbers.
Amid the record figures, it will be the millions of independent voters who will determine if Donald Trump keeps hold of the key swing state, or it falls back into Democratic hands with Joe Biden.
Nate Silver, editor in chief of poll aggregator FiveThirtyEight, said in a tweet: “There’s just not really that much you can tell without knowing who people voted for. Whether the electorate ends up at say R+3 or R+1 by party registration isn’t as important as whether Biden wins indies by 20 points or loses them by two.
“You can find high-quality polls showing Biden with a big lead among independents, a narrower lead among independents, and others with a tie or very small Trump lead among independents. They’re all over the place.”
Biden is pinning hopes on capturing support from Florida’s seniors, hardest hit by the coronavirus pandemic.
“I have a feeling Biden’s going to do better with seniors,” said Charles Zelden, professor of history and political science at Nova Southeastern University.
“If he loses that vote he’s going to lose it by only a couple of points whereas Trump won [seniors] by more than 15 points four years ago. This is Florida, it’s a game of inches.”
Former Kentucky guard Immanuel Quickley has met twice with three NBA teams and could surprise some people in next month’s virtual NBA Draft.
The 6-foot-4, 190-pound Quickley has met twice virtually with the Knicks, Pistons and Thunder, according to his longtime trainer Jide Sodipo. The Knicks pick at 8, 27 and 38, the Pistons at 7 and the Thunder at 25 and 53.
Quickley has also met with a slew of teams once — the Nets, Celtics, Heat, Lakers, Clippers, Hawks, Jazz, Bucks, Magic, Sun and Pelicans. Multiple mock drafts have the Maryland native projected as a late second-round pick.
The Ringer, for example, has him at 46 with the explanation, “Elite shooter with a high basketball IQ, but lacks ideal passing skills for a guard his size. “
But Sodipo says people forget Quickley was a five-star point guard in the high school Class of 2018 who played off the ball last season at Kentucky. And he still won Southeastern Conference Player of the Year when he averaged 16.1 points , 4.2 rebounds and 1.0 assists and ended the season on a 20-game double-figure scoring streak.
“Most of the [mock draft] guys only saw him last year,” Sodipo said. “They forget he was a pass-first point guard all his life. He just had to adjust to playing off the ball at Kentucky and he made the best of it. And now he’s a better all-around player than can play on it and off it.”
Sodipo added: “This young man is built for the modern-day NBA. Excellent defender, top-notch shooter, high basketball IQ, great teammate that can play on or off the ball and [he’s] a better person. He will out-perform many players who will be drafted ahead of him.”
“Jamal Murray did not play but about 15 percent point guard (at Kentucky),” Calipari said earlier this year. “I would say Immanuel played 5-8 percent point guard because the other two guys in front of him were better in pick-and-rolls and creating shots for their teammates. They weren’t a shot-creator like he was. So, the team used that strength and exploited that in him.”
Caliipari also compared him to Miami Heat guard Tyler Herro, another breakout Kentucky star in the playoffs, and Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
“Immanuel was an absolute pleasure to coach over the last two years,” Calipari said. “I had as much fun coaching him and watching him grow than just about any player I’ve ever coached. Like some of our other guys that have gone on and done special things, like Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Tyler Herro, he absolutely works his tail off. He takes his conditioning seriously, has unbelievable discipline, unwavering faith, confidence and spent just about all of his extra time in that gym.
“His reward: SEC Player of the Year, as voted on by the coaches. I’ve been in this league for 11 years and only had that happen three other times. Think about that with some of the kids we’ve had go through here.
“There’s no question in my mind that his growth in the NBA will be on the same path that it was here, which is steep. He is a wonderful, centered young man who has fought his way to the point of being a first-round draft pick. I’m looking forward to seeing what he does on that next level.”
Mayor Fischer’s emergency declaration on Tuesday noted that protests have been held for over 100 consecutive days in Louisville.
The city leader, a Democrat, is authorising police to close traffic on certain streets where protests have been prevalent.
The mayor said he did not know what the attorney general would say.
He added: “Our goal is ensuring space and opportunity for potential protesters to gather and express their First Amendment rights after the announcement.
“At the same time, we are preparing for any eventuality to keep everyone safe.”
Barricades are being erected around the city centre to reduce access to the area and the federal courthouse will be closed. The police department has cancelled leave requests.
Officers will be required to work 12-hour shifts, the Louisville Courier-Journal reported, citing an internal memo.
Interim police chief Robert Schroeder told reporters on Tuesday that an announcement in the case was expected this week.
“In the community, we have all heard the rumours,” Chief Schroeder said. “We all know something is coming. We don’t know what it is.”
Governor Andy Beshear has said he is ready to deploy National Guard units in the event of violent protests.
What happened to Ms Taylor?
Shortly after midnight on Friday 13 March, she was in bed with her boyfriend, Kenneth Walker, watching a film when they heard a banging on the door.
Plainclothes Louisville police officers were carrying out a narcotics raid, and they used a battering ram to enter the property.
A judge had granted a warrant to search Ms Taylor’s home because investigators suspected a convicted drug dealer – her ex-boyfriend, Jamarcus Glover – was using the address to receive packages. She had no criminal record.
Mr Walker, a licensed gun owner, later told police he thought the late-night intruder was Glover, according to the New York Times.
Mr Walker fired one round with his pistol, hitting one of the officers in the thigh. The officers returned fire, discharging more than 20 rounds.
Ms Taylor, who had also got out of bed amid the commotion, died on the hallway floor. Her death certificate records five bullet wounds.
The Louisville police officers were executing a “no-knock” warrant that required them to announce themselves just before entering the property.
Mr Walker and nearly a dozen local residents told local media that the officers had not identified themselves. But one neighbour said he heard one or more officers shout: “Police.”
No drugs were found at the property, though Jefferson County prosecutor Thomas Wine has said the search was cancelled after the shooting.
One of the three involved in Ms Taylor’s death – Brett Hankinson – was fired from the force in June after investigators found he had “wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds” into the apartment, according to his termination letter.
The other two officers who discharged their weapons that night, Sgt Mattingly and Myles Cosgrove, have been reassigned to administrative duties.
The Courier-Journal has reported that six officers are under internal police review for their role in the shooting.
Sgt Mattingly wrote an email on Saturday to more than 1,000 colleagues encouraging them and criticising their city leaders and protesters.
“Regardless of the outcome today or Wednesday, I know we did the legal, moral and ethical thing that night,” he wrote in the message, which was published by media outlets on Tuesday.
“It’s sad how the good guys are demonised, and the criminals are canonised.”
“Your civil rights mean nothing,” he added, “but the criminal has total autonomy.”
What has happened since Ms Taylor’s death?
Glover, who was arrested on the same night of her death for drug possession, has said prosecutors pressed him to name her as a “co-defendant” in the case against him.
In May, Ms Taylor’s family filed a wrongful death lawsuit. It concluded in September with a $12m (£9.3m) pay out from the city.
The use of no-knock warrants has since been banned by Louisville’s city council.
In the wake of her death, demonstrators have chanted “say her name” to raise awareness of her death, in addition to police killings of other African Americans, like George Floyd.
Celebrities and athletes have joined calls for the policemen to be charged. A magazine founded by US talk show host Oprah Winfrey has funded billboards around Louisville calling for the officers to be arrested.
Ms Taylor’s case has been invoked in the presidential race ahead of the 3 November election. Democratic White House candidate Joe Biden has also called for the officers to be charged.
President Donald Trump, a Republican, has not referred directly to the case, but he has made a call for law and order a central plank of his re-election platform.
Jockey John Velazquez riding Authentic, wins the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Jeff Roberson)
OAN Newsroom UPDATED 9:43 AM PT – Sunday, September 6, 2020
Demonstrations broke out in Louisville ahead of this year’s Kentucky Derby. Various groups affiliated with “Black Lives Matter” came together to protest the killing of Breonna Taylor, which occurred earlier this year.
Taylor was killed in her home when police conducted a no-knock search warrant related to drug charges against her ex-boyfriend.
The case remains ongoing, but protesters are upset as a verdict has not yet been reached.
In the meantime, Black Lives Matter has been protesting outside of the Louisville Courthouse for the last few months.
Protesters march past the gates of Churchill Downs racetrack before the 146th running of the Kentucky Derby, Saturday, Sept. 5, 2020, in Louisville, Ky. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)
On Friday, the “Until Freedom” group issued a press release announcing a protest against the running of the Kentucky Derby.
However, Until Freedom was not the only group to announce their presence outside of the derby. The NFAC pledged they would return to Louisville on the day of the derby after last being there in late July.
The NFAC is an armed militia affiliated with Black Lives Matter. The group’s grand master, John Jay Johnson, warned leadership in Louisville to reach a verdict on the case before September 5th, the day of the Kentucky Derby.
“Do I believe they can do it in four weeks, when it usually takes eight weeks?” he asked. “Well, let’s just say I wouldn’t want to be in their shoes if they didn’t.”
NFAC, an armed black supremacist group, converged upon the Kentucky Derby today to protest against white people. pic.twitter.com/5qJKIXJG9U
Earlier in the day, unarmed protesters confronted right-wing militias outside of the Louisville Courthouse. The confrontation reportedly resulted in no violence and produced conversations between the two opposing sides.
Horrifying video shows a gunman firing a volley of shots at a Kentucky protest for hometown woman Breonna Taylor — leaving one man dead and another seriously injured, according to authorities.
The gunman in black shorts and carrying a black backpack is seen raising a weapon in the video and opening fire — with almost two dozen shots heard ringing out in less than a minute.
People were then seen cowering for cover, with the man filming the horror gasping “oh my God!” as he came across someone laying in a pool of blood in Jefferson Square Park following the 9pm shooting.
Louisville Metro Police later confirmed one man had died and another was seriously injured.
It was not clear what weapon was used, nor if some of the shots were return-fire from those within the Louisville camp protesting the March police shooting death of 26-year-old EMT Taylor.
Many protesters had arrived heavily armed Saturday after warnings from an “armed patriot militia” that it would confront the anti-police protests, according to the Louisville Courier-Journal.
About 30 members of the so-called “American Freedom Fighters” group turned up in the city for a few hours, but never came near the protesters camped out in the downtown park, the paper said.
Hours earlier, Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer had called for counter-protesters to stay away. “We don’t need you here. Our focus is on facilitating peaceful protests,” he had tweeted a few hours before the shooting.
Early Sunday, Louisville police also announced it was shutting down the camp that had become a centre-point for protests over Taylor’s death.
“While most protesters in the park have been largely peaceful, things changed last night when shots rang out in the park, leaving one dead and one other shot,” the force announced on Twitter.
“We are now clearing the park and it will stay cleared. Peaceful gatherings can continue during the day, but we will not allow people to stay overnight,” the force said.
“We continue to support the peaceful exercise of free speech. However, our primary focus must be on public safety,” the statement stressed.
The force said it was still “trying to gather as much information as possible in order to identify all who were involved in the incident.”
No information about arrests, possible suspects and the victims’ identities and ages was immediately released. Louisville Metro Corrections’ booking log did not appear to show anyone in custody with charges related to a shooting, the Courier-Journal said.
“I am deeply saddened by the violence that erupted in Jefferson Square Park tonight, where those who have been voicing their concerns have been gathered,” Mayor Fischer said. “It is a tragedy that this area of peaceful protest is now a crime scene.”
The Saturday night shooting was at least the second during nearly a month of protests in Louisville over Taylor’s death.
Seven people were wounded May 28 when gunfire erupted near City Hall, prompting a statement from Taylor’s mother asking people to demand justice “without hurting each other.”
This story originally appeared on the New York Post and has been reproduced here with permission
Voters in Kentucky headed to the polls on Tuesday, June 23, to decide which Democratic candidate will face off against Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell in the November elections. Representative Charles Booker of Louisville and retired Marine fighter Amy McGrath from Lexington were among eight Democrats who filed to run against McConnell. The Kentucky ballot included five House seats, 11 legislative contested primaries, and one Kentucky Supreme Court seat. Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear delayed the primary in response to the coronavirus pandemic, issuing an executive order to expand voting by mail, permit early voting, and limit contact between voters at in-person polling sites. The singular polling location for Jefferson County, the largest in the state with a population of 767,000, was at the Kentucky Exposition Center in Louisville, a vast space to accommodate both social distancing and the expected high volume of voters. This video from the center was shared by Kentucky Secretary of State Michael Adams on Tuesday morning. “So far today, Kentucky’s a national success story,” Adams said outside the center on Tuesday. Adams said turnout was “through the roof” and denied that states reducing the number of polling stations would lead to voter suppression. “It’s just false,” he said. “The voters aren’t being suppressed. They’re voting.” Credit: KY Secretary of State Michael Adams via Storyful
A speedway in Sparta, Kentucky, gave high school seniors a memorable graduation by bringing them together for laps around the track on May 23. Drone footage from Kentucky Speedway shows the Gallatin County High School Class of 2020 gathered on the track. Local media reported that graduates and their families took their own cars and drove two laps of the track with a pace car leading the way. Gallatin County Schools issued a statement to local media saying they wanted to make the “nontraditional graduation unforgettable” and the lap symbolized their final year of high school. Kentucky Speedway said it was “honored to bring the Gallatin County High School Class of 2020 together one final time, inviting them to take a victory lap and cross the finish line on their hometown track.” Credit: Ryan Bailey/Kentucky Speedway via Storyful