District 17 eNewsletter

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markus winkler - louisville metro council - district 17

July 17, 2020

Our Apollo Mission

In 1961, President Kennedy challenged our country to put an American on the moon by the end of the decade. After mobilizing efforts across government and the private sector, we reached that goal on July 20th, 1969. This Monday will mark the 51st anniversary of one of the greatest accomplishments in human history.

It is also the eve of the JCPS board meeting where board members are widely expected to vote not to resume in-person learning to begin the upcoming school year. Let me say up front I am fully supportive of basing these kinds of decisions on science and guidance from health experts. I would not advocate otherwise. But, while I am reticent to dive into the work of another elected body and understand the reasons for its potential decision, I think we have fallen short of mobilizing the full resources of our community to collectively solve this problem. This is an issue that goes beyond JCPS and impacts every resident of Louisville. It is therefore a problem that should not be left to JCPS alone to solve.

Reopening schools for in-person learning is critical to the health, safety, and prosperity of Louisville. Pediatricians and psychologists tell us it’s critical for healthy development. Student outcomes are better, children who are occupied typically get into less trouble, and parents who work require the supervision that schools provide. I am concerned that without in-person instruction we will dramatically impact our economic reopening today and face an uncertain future as countless students are ‘lost’, disconnected, or otherwise at risk of failing to reach their full potential.

I am calling upon Mayor Fischer, JCPS leadership, non-profits, and our business community to come together to create a solution. We must look at this not as a one-size-fits-all model, attempting to adhere to guidelines in our existing framework. Rather, we should identify and utilize all available resources to resolve this problem. To begin, I would recommend:

  • An inventory of all available indoor space across Jefferson County to serve as ancillary sites for JCPS. Utilize libraries, community centers, the YUM! Center, the Convention Center, the fairgrounds, available office space, empty retail space, etc. to provide the footprint necessary to adequately distance students.
  • Identifying how TARC resources can be utilized to solve the transportation issues.
  • Outfitting remote classrooms with closed-circuit video, enabling us to appropriately distance students without the need to hire significantly more teachers (remote classrooms could require classroom monitors, not certified teachers).
  • Special accommodations for students, teachers, and staff with increased health concerns that limit their risk of infection (e.g. the teacher instructs remotely rather than the student learns remotely).

This is by no means an exhaustive list, but a starting point for the types of non-traditional solutions we might deploy. It will not be easy and will likely carry significant costs. However, I believe the costs of not having in-person learning are far greater. I am confident that when we partner the public and private sector and task them with a clear mission, we can solve this problem.

If JCPS is unable to find a solution, I believe it is incumbent upon Metro Government to explore options to create in-person remote learning centers that provide safe learning environments for students and enable parents to return to work. I will be asking the mayor to develop a plan to make all necessary Metro government facilities available. We must have secure spaces with internet connectivity that allow our students to learn, parents to work, and businesses to thrive.

This pandemic has altered how we interact with medical professionals, what we do with our free time, how we order food, and many other aspects of our lives. Yet, through it all we have adapted, stretched our thinking, and found creative ways to move forward. What I am proposing may not look like "normal" school. It would require flexibility and would undoubtedly be difficult in some ways. But, just as we have solved innumerable problems before, from the very small to the seemingly impossible, we can solve this, too - together.

Coffee With Your Councilman


The shelter at Hounz Lane Park

The next "Coffee With Your Councilman" will be Thursday, July 23 from 8:00 - 9:00 a.m. under the shelter at Hounz Lane Park located at 2300 Hounz Lane. I'll share the latest Metro Council news and address any concerns or suggestions you might have regarding the district or the city. There is no formal agenda, so you are welcome to stop by anytime between 8:00 and 9:00.

When: Thursday, July 23 from 8:00 to 9:00 a.m.

Where: Hounz Lane Park shelter, 2300 Hounz Lane

There are several large picnic tables under the shelter that should allow us to accommodate our typical crowd while also following the necessary social distancing guidelines. I do request that those interested in attending email or call my office before the meeting so we have an idea how many to expect. Unless you are unable, please wear a mask or other face covering if you plan on joining us!        

Contact the District 17 Office

Markus Winkler
17th District Councilman



Kip Eatherly
Legislative Aide


Important Numbers

Animal Services   473-7387
Codes & Regulations   574-2508
EACM   426-2824
Health & Wellness   574-6520
Jefferson Co. Clerk   574-5700
KY Science Center   561-6100
LG&E   589-1444
LMPD (8th Division)   574-2258
Louisville Water Co.   583-6610
Louisville Zoo   459-2181
Mayor's Office   574-2003
MSD   540-6000
NE Regional Library   394-0379
Parks   574-7275
Planning   574-6230
Public Works   574-5810
TARC   585-1234

Eastern Area Community Ministries

Many non-profits in our community have stepped in to assist those impacted financially by the coronavirus. One of those is Eastern Area Community Ministries. Through the first six months of 2020, EACM has distributed $124,000 in housing assistance, $25,000 in LG&E assistance, and $15,000 in Louisville Water Co. assistance. This is already more emergency assistance than has been administered in any single year in EACM history! In fact, they have been able to offer at least some help to every person who has reached out since the beginning of the crisis.

EACM does much more than provide emergency assistance. Other services include:

Food Pantry - EACM partners with local and national organizations to help local families put food on their tables.

Good Start for Kids - Parents are provided with basic needs for their young children. This includes diapers, personal hygiene products, and clothing through size 6.

Multicultural Community Services - EACM staff facilitates the integration of our multicultural neighbors in the community through English classes, case management, and preparation for citizenship exams.

Helping Hands Partnership - This program empowers struggling families and individuals through education, case management, and mentorship as they work towards long-term stability.

If you would like to learn more about EACM or how to support what they do, please visit the EACM website.    

Kentucky Science Center Reopening


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