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Creationist Ark Encounter museum accused of stiffing local schools by underpaying property taxes

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On Saturday, Friendly Atheist reported that the Grant County Board of Education is filing a lawsuit alleging the creationist “Ark Encounter” theme park in Williamstown, Kentucky, received a property valuation way lower than it should have for the purposes of tax assessment.

The museum, which is shaped like a giant replica of Noah’s Ark and is full of exhibits explaining supposed historical details of the Flood — including models of cavemen fighting dinosaurs — was assessed at $46 million in 2017. But the Board of Education, combining Ark Encounter’s capital investment disclosures, land value, and ticket sales, that the property is actually worth $130 million.

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Thus, they contend, the parent company Answers in Genesis evaded $470,288 in property taxes that should have gone to support county schools, in addition to the $275,912 they did pay. And this is on top of the county already exempting them from 75 percent of the property taxes they would have owed.

Ark Encounter has been controversial from the start, not just because it promotes Biblical pseudoscience as fact, or because it discriminates in hiring against non-Christians or LGBTQ people, but because it was built with $18 million in public subsidies. State and local entities provided the funding based on the projection that Ark Encounter would benefit the local community tourism revenue.

Not only has there been a negligible economic benefit to Williamstown from Ark Encounter, but the theme park itself is struggling, with attendance numbers sagging. Last November, Answers in Genesis founder Ken Ham, a well-known creationist activist, attacked the Lexington Herald-Leader for reporting on these dismal numbers, despite the fact that the numbers came from the park itself.


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2020 Election

Trump’s longshot bid to win New Mexico has political leaders baffled: ‘He’s a batsh*t racist’

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Despite losing New Mexico by eight points in the 2016 presidential election, Donald Trump and his campaign manager Brad Pascale are making big plans to win the state in 2020 -- and that has political observers baffled.

With Trump appearing in New Mexico on Monday night, Politico reports the president has his work cut out for him in a state that saw the GOP lose the governorship and one House seat in 2018.

"The Land of Enchantment has voted for a Republican presidential candidate only once since 1992. With a considerable nonwhite voter population and all-Democratic congressional delegation, it’s not exactly fertile ground for a surprise GOP victory," the report notes before adding that Parscale feels they can make inroads this go-around.

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Oil prices soar more than 10% after Saudi plant attacks

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Oil prices surged more than 10 percent Monday after attacks on two Saudi Arabian plants that slashed output in the world's top producer by half, with Donald Trump blaming Iran and raising the possibility of a military strike on the country.

West Texas Intermediate jumped 10.68 percent to $60.71 and Brent climbed 11.77 percent to $67.31 in early Asia trading following the blasts at facilities run by state-owned giant Aramco.

The attack by Tehran-backed Huthi rebels in neighbouring Yemen, where a Saudi-led coalition is bogged down in a five-year war, effectively shut down six percent of the global oil supply.

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2020 Election

Most top Democratic presidential candidates demand Kavanaugh’s impeachment – but not all

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Most of the top Democratic presidential candidates are issuing calls demanding U.S. Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh be impeached, after new allegations of sexual misconduct in a bombshell New York Times report late Saturday night. Most of the candidates, but not all.

Julián Castro, Saturday night at 11:25 PM:

It’s more clear than ever that Brett Kavanaugh lied under oath. He should be impeached.

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