Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Clere: An objection and a question.

I happily dissent ... and question whether equal time is merited.

CLERE: You make the call, by Ed Clere (News and Tribune).

STATEHOUSE — In last week’s column, I noted that there were 22 days left for a vote on constitutional property tax caps. Now, a week later, we’re down to 15.


I didn’t hear from anyone opposed to the caps, which are contained in Senate Joint Resolution 1. The resolution was adopted by the House and Senate last year, and the Senate already has adopted it again this year.

Count me among those opposed, at least until someone (anyone?) provides a coherent explanation as to why rental property ownership is not a business activity to be taxed at the same 3% rate as my own.

After reading the column, it also strikes me that the Tribune is providing column space each week for what might become a partisan forum. Some might say that it already is. Once the Democrats have a candidate in place for the next election, does he or she get equal time? Is equal time merited now?

Kindly note that I consider Ed a friend, but I believe the preceding to be valid considerations worthy of answers.

BS Neighborhood Derby, Round 2: NA vs. Clifton.

At the conclusion of the first round of Broken Sidewalk's Neighborhood Derby, NAC regular B.W. Smith proposed "...a new post to fire people up - why vote New Albany over Clifton/Crescent Hill?"

His suggested answers are below:

- We brew better beer. Nuff said.

- You can go and do anything in your tshirt and jeans, including spend three figures on a fine-dining meal at the Windsor, and no one cares.

-It's a realistic possibility that an average joe could own a huge historic home...and for peanuts compared to the other guys.

-YYYY MMMM CCCC A!

-Loop Island Wetlands

-We're in a blue state


Add your own in the comments section, and go vote.

BS Neighborhood Derby: Countdown To The Final Four

Monday, March 30, 2009

Set Them & They Will Be Filled!!

Here as promised early this morning is the proof that voulnterism and cooperation between the city and neighborhoods can accomplish something good.

The sad part is without strict code enforcement, combined with the vigorous prosecution of offenders, and a renewed sense of pride in ownership at the street level, we can be sure that we will fill these dumpsters and double this number in the fall cleanup should they be available.

Take special notice of the one full of tires. Last evening just before dark this dumpster was less than half full.

This morning when I stopped by to take these pictures I was informed that the majority of those that filled it to over flowing (note those on the groud as well) came from a local repair shop that chose to abuse the city's good will rather than absorb the costs of disposing of them properly as most honest businessmen would have done.

One has to wonder if this individual is a rental property owner as well. For as I noted in my original post, many of the tires picked up in our alleys appeared to have come from a repair shop!

Cameras everyone!








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Correction---the Trucks Do Have Brakes!!

On Tuesday last I posted on this blog a handful of pictures of yard waste collections that had lain dormant for some time. The issue was these had all been reported to the Street Department personnel on a repeated basis to no avail.

This morning I’m happy to report that as of dark thirty last evening, a full 75% of those posted are now gone. Additionally in checking back with folks in the neighborhoods I learned that many others were disposed of by the city’s Grapple Truck crew over the weekend as well.

So to Mayor England, Street Superintendant Mickey Thompson, and especially the guys on the trucks we send out a heartfelt THANK YOU!!! We the people really do appreciate your efforts.

We also want to thank all of the aforementioned as well as Board of Works President Matt Denison for coordinating the dumpster drop this weekend for the cleanup efforts of the SEJ Neighborhood Association.

Kudos as well to Padgett Inc. for manufacturing such fine looking dumpsters for these events. The red lettering on the bright white paint looks sharp!

Albeit I’m quite sure not all of the contents came from the SEJ area, we none the less managed to fill all five of them to overflowing. So as of this writing our fair city is minus two extremely large loads of yard waste, two of household trash, and one of old tires. Our sincere thanks once again to all who participated in this affair.

Speaking of tires, one gentleman who concentrated solely on them noted that a large number of them had been cut in the fashion that a repair shop might in order to discourage one from trying to salvage them for reuse. So it begs the question--- do we have some unscrupulous souls in our midst who are dumping their rejects in our neighborhoods to avoid the business costs of disposing of them properly??

If so would it not be a coup if we could catch them in the act on camera?? Sounds much like a Block Watch project to me.

And just to show that we at NAC believe in equal opportunity press, did anyone note the participation of anyone from the new “Landlord’s Association” in this weekends cleanup attempts?

If so another round of THANKS for helping!! If not, WHY?? It was advertised well in advance after all.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Bank Street today: Cards or Cavs or something.

Remember: Bank Street Brewhouse is open on Sunday. The game will be telecast on the flat screen. Although I'd rather watch the NBA, I suppose we can tolerate the NCAA thing if customers really insist on it.

A rainy Saturday.

After a lengthy hiatus, I returned to the front porch yesterday afternoon and enjoyed a fine cigar (from Kaiser’s) accompanied by a cup of steaming black tea and the most recent issue of “The Economist.” It was a pleasant break from the previous weeks of stress and strain at work, and the cigar tasted even better for it having been more than a month since the one before it.

Before that, my pal Jerry and I enjoyed one of our periodic forays to Ear-X in Louisville, had a bite to eat, and then stopped at Rocky’s Sub Pub in Jeffersonville to examine the new 30+ draft system. The selection is good, and I’ll be writing about it for my column in this Wednesday’s LEO. We ended up and Bank Street Brewhouse, where several friends were ensconced, including three regional wine merchants who drink beer in their spare time. We all talked shop, and it was invigorating.

Jared had uncovered a four-month old firkin of Beak’s Best that had been dry-hopped with Amarillo hops, and it was pouring from the hand pull. Good stuff indeed, even if the temperature wasn’t right for lifting the garage doors. I felt a bit sad for the group coming in for pizza, but accidents are unavoidable. The point is for Connor’s Place and/or the River City Winery to make pizza. We’ll happily direct people in those directions. Then, no one leaves downtown without satisfaction.

Speaking of which … excuse me for dipping into the mailbag.

To Edna: Sorry, but the food is priced and sized in portion wit the ingredients and preparation. There will be no burgers or pizza. The burgers at Studio’s are pretty good, though.

To K: We had the sound turned off on purpose. We think that being able to see the game is enough, and that the announcers typically are superfluous.

To the unknown homebrewer: We’ve never done chicken wings at the original location, and they weren’t contemplated at the new one. I understand that Connor’s Place will be offering them soon, if not already.

To N, T, J, L and a couple dozen others: Thanks for the patronage, and moreover, for understanding what we’re trying to achieve. It will continue to evolve. Please share your feelings with the like-minded. Revitalization can’t occur without standing a few paradigms on their heads.

That’s why we’re here. It’s what we do.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Yawn.

Thursday’s posting at Freedom to Screech seemed too well written to be emanating from the trognonymous dungeon, and sure enough, it’s another bit of unattributed petty thievery.

MARK - TO – MARKET

In fact, the words were swiped from the forums section at the Wall Street Journal and were written by Benjamin M. Cole, PhD, who works in the Management Systems Department of Fordham University's Graduate School of Business Administration.

In other words, an educated writer who uses his own name, being plagiarized by an uneducated one who hides behind a contrived pseudonym and shrieks about the "rules."

How very, very old-school New Albanian. I hope muy use of the word "school" doesn't offend the pretend-prof.

Develop New Albany's "First Things First" on Wednesday, April 1 at the YMCA.


Friday, March 27, 2009

Gastronomy in New Albany? You might as well get used to it.

Yesterday at my PC blog, I chewed over a few ruminations gleaned from the ongoing kitchen rollout at the Bank Street Brewhouse.

Bank Street Brewhouse: It's exactly because "different" isn't the "same."

Last evening I sampled the Flat Iron Steak with an Asparagus Salad, accompanied by an Oaktimus (Hoptimus aged with oak chips) dating from early 2008. Speaking with approximate objectivity, it may have been the best all-around meal I've had in an American brewpub, bar none -- and I've been to quite a few.

Yes, the intention was to have a continental, Belgian-cafe-style kitchen. Two weeks into the Brewhouse's existence, we've transcended that simple ideal by an Old Country mile. This has occurred because we had the chance to work with Chef Josh Lehman, whose vision and dedication should be obvious. Admittedly, it's the polar opposite of the menu at the Public House and Pizzeria, and for some, that fact has been an impediment. Happily, the scene at Grant Line is the same as it ever was.

Meanwhile, at Bank Street, we're all working as hard as we can to disseminate information about when we're open, what food is available and when, and a hundred other things that every start-up has to resolve. The brewery's coming within a month, and then another chapter begins. Exterior finishing work is set to resume.

The point to me is this: It hasn't progressed in the way I imagined, but it's far, far better than what I ever envisioned, which makes a very strong case for the collaborative theory of management as illustrated by our team. Our traditional location is utterly unique, and so is the new one. Our collective mandate has been to challenge, not pander, and my personal goal is to make the world aware of the possibilities of pairing first-rate cuisine with equally top-notch brewing. We're already heading toward fruition in these areas, and it's only just begun.

In fact, the only dissonance heard so far is the familiar variation on the crippling, self-loathing lament native to the vicinity: You can't do that in New Albany, and you shouldn't even try.

Bullshit. Why not?

My question, then, is what word do we coin to describe what we're doing? The one that seems closest in the "gastropub" in Brit-speak, as defined by Wikipedia.

A gastropub (or gastro pub) is a British term for a public house which specializes in high-quality food a step above the more basic "pub grub." The name is a combination of pub and gastronomy and was coined in 1991 when David Eyre and Mike Belben opened a pub called The Eagle in Clerkenwell, London.[1][2] The concept "helped create a truly British culinary scene" and "arose from a conscious effort to promote great food in well-loved places."[2] Gastropubs have been described as the Anglo-equivalent of the French brasserie or the Japanese izakaya [3]

The problem with "gastropub" is that Americans only hear the prefix when it is associated with stomach viruses, "gastronomy" being a little used word in Big Buford Land.

Any thoughts? Thanks to all readers so far who get it. Your patronage is appreciated very, very much.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Dinner menu at Bank Street Brewhouse tonight ... and a special Elector on the handpull.

On Thursday evening (March 26) the NABC Bank Street Brewhouse dinner menu will debut. Please note the dinner hours of 5:30 - 9:00 p.m. Thursday through Saturday. Lunch remains 11:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m., with a "down time" snack menu coming soon. Sunday hours are Noon - 8:00 p.m., and kitchen offerings will be unique to the day once we have time to organize them.

To honor the occasion tonight, NABC’s brew crew will be releasing a cask-conditioned pin (5 gallons) of Elector, which has been aged for nine months in a wooden cask formerly used to dispense Lagavulin-aged JW Lees Vintage Harvest Ale. This special batch of Elector will be tapped at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday.

Stay tuned. There are rumors of a Thunderfoot appearance during the week of March 30.

Executive Chef - Joshua Lehman
Sous Chef - Andy Gunn
Brewers – Jesse Williams & Jared Williamson

DINNER MENU

Soup du Jour
Chef's Whim
$4.50

Asparagus Salad
Fennel, Radishes, Citrus Vinaigrette
$6.00

Scallops
Diver Scallops, Carrot Mousse, English Peas, Bacon, Lemon Brown Butter
$16.95

Pork Confit
Slow Roasted Pork, Fingerling Potatoes, Pickled Carrots
$13.95

Flat Iron Steak
Caramelized Onions, Sunchokes, Asparagus, Veal reduction
$15.95

English Pea & Mushroom Risotto
Arborio Rice, Shiitake Mushrooms, Roasted Fennel, Parmigiano-Reggiano
$11.95

Today's Tribune column: "Usable and reusable expertise."

The devil didn't make me do it. The facts are another matter ...

BAYLOR: Usable and reusable expertise

... Scrolling back through my blog, I found the references, and so we return now to January 2006, when former Tribune Staff Writer Amany Ali found a glowering counterpoint to percolating downtown optimism by obtaining the testimony of Gary McCartin, auteur of the Wendy’s that isn’t.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Tribune suggests a written code of ethics for the city council. Pins subsequently drop, and crickets chirp.

One of this week’s Tribune “Jeers” is worth reprinting in its entirety.

TRIBUNE CHEERS & JEERS: March 25, 2009

JEERS

... again to New Albany Councilwoman Diane McCartin-Benedetti for not recusing herself at Thursday’s council meeting from voting on a development brought before the council by her brother. The councilwoman told audience members that she is not making a capital gain. (Note to self, check up on campaign contribution files in future elections.) That’s not the issue. As I’ve stated before in this space, a breach of ethics can be perceived and damage credibility even through association.

Ignore Dan Coffey’s claims that our claims of ethical conflicts are personal. He’s out of touch as usual.

Why is this important? Because New Albany government — specifically the council — has a reputation for being a mockery, anti-good ideas and generally lacking when coming to the idea of good government. Whether or not the reputation is deserved is another matter, but it does exist.

The council must do everything it can to show it’s a logical, rational and morally responsible group in order to have any chance at overcoming this reputation. I would say that a perceived ethical dilemma is a good place to start by taking the high road.

It still surprises me that very few people in elected positions seem to be publicly questioning this.

Again, I will state that I believe the council — or the county party leaders — should use this opportunity to put an ethics code in writing. It may not be binding, but we can ask all new candidates to sign it before running for office. City government ethics codes are not uncommon across the United States. But no one ever claimed that the New Albany City Council was common.

— Tribune Publisher Steve Kozarovich

The key sentence is this one: “I would say that a perceived ethical dilemma is a good place to start by taking the high road.”

I spoke near the end of last week’s meeting, observing that to Google “conflict of interest” is to find as many examples of support for CM Benedetti’s position as there are instances of refutation, in the sense that not every ethical code applicable to her position cites the capital gain of a sibling as a possible source of conflict.

But it cannot be doubted that her stance represents the very lowest of common denominators, as Kozarovich recognizes. Apart from congenital dullards like the council’s Boner and Jethro, almost everyone in New Albany with a pulse recognizes the need for elevated standards, and yet Benedetti upholds the utility of the most minimal.

Congratulations to the Tribune for staying engaged with this story, and shame on those council members who remain rooted to the bottom rung on the ladder of achievement. Councilpersons surely can be taught new tricks ... if they're willing to learn.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

♪ ♪ How Many Times Must the Trucks Drive By??

I arose earlier than I normally do this morning so that I might shave, shower, etc, before heading downtown to the Board of Works meeting.

As I pulled out of my garage I noted again that my ever growing collection of yard waste was still present.

So just for giggles I took a quick tour of the neighborhoods to see how many others were still present and unacccounted for.

The images that follow are but a few that I took in the process. I did so in order that I might show them to our Street Department Superintendent at the aforementioned meeting.

I was also going to inquire of him the route schedule for the pickup of such in the four quadrants of the city as proposed/promised some months ago.

But alas he was not present as he was shepherding his crew through the process of repainting school crossings around the city. From what was said I came away with the impression that all hands were on such duty as per Mayor England.

I can't however, verify that to be the case as I'm running low on gas so I passed on the temptation to do so.

What I can say with certainty though is that many of the examples cited below have been brought to the street departments attention weeks hence and the remainder are in very plain sight! Assuming anyone has their eyes open that is!



The above is from our very own Spring cleaning /storm damage cleanup efforts. I alerted the proper entities of its existence at least two weeks ago.



This one in the 1900 Block of spring Street (Division Street) has survived at least three garbage day/recycling truck/various other city vehicle drive by's!




The two directly above are from the 700 Block of Market Street and are the remains of trees located on city rights of way which if I'm not mistaken makes them the cities responsiblity.

Oh, and note that obstructing the sidewalk appears not to be a safety concern after all.



Posted by PicasaThen this one on the 600 Block of Main Street was according to the owner phoned in and put on the to do list on March 6 of this year and the pile keeps growing!

Now to give the devil his due we all understand that the city is shorthanded, there have been a series of storms of late, we have budget woes, and on and on and on.

However, unless my ears deceived me Thursday last, the Mayor did say at the Common Council meeting that ours streets were clean.

Somehow I fear he has been misinformed as the items referenced above for the most part are not new though they may be growing.

So tell us Mr. Mayor, what else do we as citizens need to do?

We volunteer for weekend cleanups several times a year to rid our city of that which has accumulated only to watch it accumulate again. Thanks by the way Mickey for furnishing the dumpsters for such events!

We encourage our neighborhoods to police their own as much as possible.

We have offered on many occassions to haul our own to the dumpsters at the 4th Street location only to be turned away as we're informed that one can't put bagged yard waste in said dumpsters. And this after we've been told by the selfsame officials to bag it, leave it at curbside & it will be picked up!

We have followed the street department's grapple truck down many a road to watch it drive by pile after pile some of which it had to swing out & go around to keep from hitting them enroute to who knows where!

We have raked loose leaves to the curside as instructed only to see them either blow back into our yards or get washed down the storm water drains all the while being told WE the Public are responsible for said drains in close proximity to our property.

So PLEASE help us help you!!

Raise wages, raise taxes, raise rates, or fire 'em all and start over!

Park a dumpster on every street corner!

Petition the Council for more stringent legilation!

Request the Governor send in the National Guard complete with dump trucks to assist the Street Department!

Or like us buy a pair of gloves & blue jeans & jump in.

But quit with the same ole, same ole!

Storms past, economic disasters pending, and lack of property tax revenue aside I'm unaware of a city employee that has gone without a paycheck as of yet. Albeit some may not have been as big as they would have liked!

We just need to see some effort at getting our money's worth! And more often than once or twice a year via an insert in the councilmen's packet that never sees the light of day I might add!

So again how do we accomplish this feat? Outside the box ideas anyone?

By the way, isn't our thirty days about up??





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Bracket Busting: March Neighborhood Derby Madness.




Mirroring the NCAA tournament our Senior Editor is doing his best to ignore, Broken Sidewalk is holding a neighborhood competition, pitting up-and-comers against some of the more established areas in the metro.

The first round is nearly complete with the New Albany rubber against Beechmont/South Louisville currently in the queue.

The Highlands has posted the most points so far, tallying 163 votes in its defeat of the Anchorage/J-town/Norton Commons area. We've been averaging a little over three hundred readers a day here at NAC the past week. You do the math-- right after you go vote at the link provided.

BS Neighborhood Derby: Final Round 1 Match-Ups Begin

I'll keep you updated. Two clicks per round is all that I ask.

*graphic from Broken Sidewalk

Monday, March 23, 2009

Benefit to the entire community, not the developer? Is that legal in New Albany?

In one of at-large councilman John Gonder's best blogs yet, he makes so much sense that one wonders how he managed to get elected in the first place. Just imagine the potential utility of Gonder's thoughts if the remainder of the local Democratic weren't terminally platform-resistant. Coincidentally, my Thursday column in this week's Tribune is devoted to a similar topic.

Back to the Drawingboard. Please.

In an attempt to extract something meaningful from the proceedings, I would like to offer an idea that could have possibly yielded a different outcome. At least it could have changed my vote. Unfortunately I'm not holding my breath waiting for the missing ingredient, because that missing ingredient is found in such short supply among developers hereabouts. The ingredient? It goes by several names: innovative thought, creative approaches, getting ahead of the curve, anticipatory development in recognition of the changes suggested by new environmental realities.

"Obama's No Socialist. I Should Know."

From the Washington Post. Thanks, G:

Obama's No Socialist. I Should Know, by Billy Wharton.

Traffic to our Web site multiplied, e-mail inquiries increased and meetings with potential recruits to the Socialist Party yielded more new members than ever before. Socialism -- an idea with a long history -- suddenly seemed to have a bright future in 21st-century America.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

"What's upstairs in New Albany?"

Good stuff by Leslea M. Harmon in the Sunday edition of the Tribune.

What's upstairs in New Albany?

The Bergmans aren’t the only ones loving life above the shopfronts. Renewed interest in downtown is catching, and the area is already home to local eateries and specialty shops with more on the way.
I'll be referencing this story near the end of my Thursday column, and as a result, I'll keep it short today. Damned capitalism thing is exhausting ... or maybe it's the scientific sampling.

Too early for the beer biz.

John Campbell and I were up bright and early today to promote local beer and LIBA's Louisville Brewfest at the Clifton Center on Friday, March 27. My appearance was on WHAS-11's morning news, and lasted approximately a minute.

If you're in the New Albany neighborhood, don't forget that the Bank Street Brewhouse is open today until 8:00 p.m. Food service is limited today because we gave the kitchen crew time off; yesterday's mention in the C-J was good for business yesterday, and they need time to prepare the first stages of the evening menu that should hit tables on Thursday night, March 26.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse in today's C-J.

Good press for the business in the morning C-J: Long-awaited Bank Street Brewhouse opens in New Albany (by Steve Coomes).

When Steve, a veteran free-lancer, visited the Brewhouse last Sunday, we were chatting about beer and he revealed a forthcoming trip to Italy to write about a pizza competition. I told him that Italian microbreweries are red hot, and then in the days since he did more research and found one near his destination. Now I'm envious that he'll get there before I have the chance. Italian beercycling, anyone?

Here's the link to a Bank Street discussion at the restaurant forum: First Visit: NABC Bank Street Brewhouse.

From all of us at NABC Bank Street Brewhouse: Thanks for coming in the past week. Next week you should be seeing the evening food menu phased into place, as well as a special involving cask-conditioned Thunderfoot on the hand pull and elegantly styles duck on the plate in front of it. Cheers!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Sidestep and rain check.

Over at the Tribune's on-line forum, there's been a week-long discussion about one of my recent columns: BAYLOR: Of European brood?

There are items of interest to recommend in terms of tone and content, although the weird, cyber-stalker mood overall has proven disturbing to me.

Ever wonder why we can't sit at tables and talk?

Have you ever been out walking, bicycling or driving, and changed course because something about the path ahead raised the hairs on the back of your neck?

When I read the original terse, concise question from "eodoc", that's the way it felt to me. Just plain strange. I had the sense of a set-up gaining steam, that someone was loading for bear and preparing to regurgitate accumulated annoyance in my general direction.

I have precious little time and energy to spar with pseudonyms. It's odd how when asked, those using on-line pseudonyms always respond that it really isn't a big deal; they just haven't bothered registering yet, and what does one's identity have to do with it anyway -- heck, I come in and see you all the time, even love your place -- but it strikes me as attempted gamesmanship and nothing more. They really want those who aren't on the intellectual down-low to become preoccupied with identity to the exclusion of the discussion. Somehow, this constitutes victory in games ultimately derived from personality issues. Sorry, but it isn't my idea of an honest exchange of ideas, and games like that bore me.
Hopefully, and sincerely, when things settle down a bit in my world, there'll be time to sit with the original poster face to face and chat.

In a crowded room ... and with my back safely to the wall. Until then, it will have to wait.

Open thread: City council meeting of Thursday, March 19.

"Live" blogging (see previous posts from Thursday night) may not be the best idea given my deficiencies at typing and a vague proclivity to editorialize along the way, but it's been fun attempting it during the two March council meetings.

There was substance for discussion last evening, including:

CM Benedetti's ongoing inability to fathom the broader context of conflict of interest.

CM Gahan's mastery of procedure in dispensing with The Gary for the (fourth?) time in a year.

CM Zurschmiede's unexpected, scenery-chewing "clean up NA" and subsequent pro-development posturing before an audience than included fellow Republican and Commissioner Mark Seabrook.

The council's persistent absence of intellectual curiosity when it comes to the implications of ROCK's crusade against pornography (freedom of expression, anyone?).

CM Price's quasi-Freudian basement water fetish.

What we might learn from the organizational flair displayed by the Lafayette Drive neighbors (who live in New Albany) and ROCK (most of whom don't).

If you were there and care to comment, please do. If not, and you're out enjoying the day or watching the NCAA basketball games, that's fine, too.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Live blogging 4: Council votes on The Gary's Wendy's fetish.

Z-09-05 Ordinance Amending the Code of Ordinances of New Albany, Indiana, Title XV, Chapter 156, (Docket P-02-09; Fairway Developers d/b/a The Charleston’s LLC, by Gary McCartin). Gahan 2&3

Gahan proposes it for the 2nd reading only, although he reserves the right to change his mind.

Zurschmiede: Voted against previous ones. Each time he applied his own personal "sitting in my deck chair" standard to the project. Each time it didn't fly. KZ built a home for his own dad right there on Lafayette, but his dad lives in Florida next to low income housing. KZ lives downtown. He's never had an issue with White Castle in his backyard. As real estate broker, he vigorously defends abandoned restaurant properties as part of the game we all play. What's going to happen to the remainder of the property. Plan Commission has the final word.

NOTE: Messer absent. 5-4 against last time. If benedetti recuses as she should ... otherwise, this is destined to be tied tonight. If it is, it doesn;t pass, right? So ... Gahan could call for the third reading tonight.

Price: "Some times to get knowledge, you have to ask questions." No dog in this hunt, but he produces a drainage map. Mutters about EPA problems. The development area is the second most important drainage target area. Folksy babbling. Upholds the drainage problems in the area. Says it is a major fix, requiring much money. Stevie has big problems with basement water.

Disjointed? You need to be here to understand how disjointed Price can be when required to string thoughts together.

After considering the drainage issues ... "facts" ... he has a big problem with the proposal. Major runoff problem already, and will get much worse.

Gahan: People here, he can vouch for their reasonableness. They keep being required to come here. 12 votes in 19 months on the plot. Many supported the original funeral home idea. No calls about the hospital, either.

How did Coffey vote on that one?

Big difference between a restaurant and a hospital or funeral home. "Isn't necessarily a development at all ... a rezoning fast track ... to accommodate speculators." We should not continue to put them through this.

Coffey: Plan Commission sets the timetable, we don't.

Roll call, 2nd reading:

Yes
Caesar
Benedetti
Zurschmiede
Coffey

No
Price
McLaughlin
Gahan
Gonder

Gahan: Messer gone, but we know how he would vote, so we'll throw it out for a 4-4 vote that will KILL IT.

All I can say: Power move on the part of Gahan. Absolutely. He makes this entirely about the people who "bought those homes."

Gonder: Echoes Gahan. The fight is fought on uneven ground when the citizens have to defend so often. Developers "trying to make a buck." Not a "valuable addition" to the commerce of the city. Should raise an issue about incentives for developers to redevelop and not develop green space?

THAT's MY MAN!

Price: A "lesson for New Albany." We haven't protected our infrastructure. Money goes to salaries and not stuff! We need to be good stewards.

Coffey: I hope that you remember this when they come i my area and TAKE homes.

Roll call, 3rd reading.

Yes
Caesar
Benedetti
Zurschmiede
Coffey

No
Price
McLaughlin
Gahan
Gonder

Tie again ... defeated.

Live blogging Part Three: Stevie says we can have a bicentennial commission so long as it works for free.

INTRODUCTION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS: READING

R-09-06 Resolution Concerning Statement of Benefits for L & D Mailmasters, INC by the Common Council Of the City of New Albany. McLaughlin 1

Council amends for 5 years benefit, not 10, because doing so is an especially effective way of grandstanding.

R-09-07 Resolution For the Adoption of Previous Legislative Record for the Adult Cabaret Zoning Amendment. Benedetti 1

Scott Wood provides verification of secondary effects of adult businesses. Resolution approved unanimously.

R-09-08 Resolution to Fund a Feasibility Study for the New Albany City Council with Riverboat Funds. Price 1

Stevie proposes tabling. So moved.

Z-09-06 Ordinance Amending the Code of Ordinances of New Albany, Indiana, Providing for the Zoning of Sexually Oriented Businesses, Including Adult Cabarets, Specifying Districts Where Adult Cabaret Uses are Permitted, and Further Specifying Development Standards for Adult Cabarets (Title XV Chapter 156). Benedetti 1.

Entire ordinance must be read for the first reading. It has been done before. Can Stan spare us the experience? No. Marcey Wisman begins reading at 9:08 p.m. One important point is that we're trusting the council not to enact something that suppresses free speech. Ouch. Reading continues. Vote proceeds, and is unanimous.

G-09-03 An Ordinance Creating the New Albany Bi-Centennial Commission. Gonder 2&3

Price wants to amend: In effect, make sure no one gets paid; must be all-volunteer. Stormwater board as precedent - first they volunteered, then people started getting paid!! Gads. One wonders why Stevie accepts his pay packet, but no matter. Heaven forbid that we experience hypocrisy in Dewey Heights. So amended, and we proceed to vote: 2nd and 3rd unannimous.

Z-09-03 An Ordinance for the Vacation of an Existing Right-of-Way Easement pursuant to a Petition Filed by Robert M and Tracy R. Stanley. Price 2&3

Vote on 2 and 3 - unanimous.

Z-09-04 Ordinance Amending the Code of Ordinances of New Albany, Indiana, Title XV, Chapter 156, Docket P-1-09; SC Development). Zurschmiede 2&3

Vote on both 2 & 3 - unanimous.

Now ... time for the show.

City council blogathon, 2 - time for city officials.

COMMUNICATIONS – CITY OFFICIALS

John Gonder reads something into the record ... I think it is the financials of Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana.

Zurschmiede now questions money spent on annexation study that he thinks was spent in part on an inner city grid study which NA was invoiced for.

Steve Price: When we can't find the money, it means we should have a representative present any time a check is cut.

KZ - 2/5 of annexation money already spent (in 2007). Wants to know why the money was spent on the inner city grid study.

Benedetti: Scott Wood!!

Dan Coffey: The people who did this are in office to this day ... root them out!!

KZ - being a good, good Republican tonight.

Stan says he can research it so that someone might leak to the Tribune.

Gonder: Are C-J supplements tossed from cars constitute litter? Mickey Thompson says yes, they clog the sweepers and the drains.

KZ - Newport, KY has 3 full-time attorneys to take care of code enforcement violations like littering. NA's never enforced anything.

Pat McLaughlin - "for rent" signs chained to street signs. Should we cut them off?

KZ - big grandstanding on things that he's been reluctant to address previously. Why? "Until the city government stands up" and demands compliance, it will go on.

Steve Price - halfheartedly defends Ron Hartman as doing some little bit of his job, but does not elaborate.

KZ - back on the stump ... but what has he previously done to push this line of thought?

(The microphones are not working)

COMMUNICATIONS – MAYOR

Doug England is on site. We're hauling (someone - didn't get the name) into court. Defends progress, and says the second enforcement officer is coming on line. Praises Marcey's work in the absence of a city court. "Great to be the mayor of a city with so much love and understanding toward each other." Annexation plan already in place. This will be done and the Charlestown corridor will be annexed by January 1, 2010. Is he talking just about Purdue, or the entire corridor?

Is the mayor saying that Rev. Wickens does not live within the city limits of New Albany?

Speaks of trying to return commerce to the Colonial Manor area of Charlestown Road.

Suggests that the railroad bridge on Grant Line won't happen because of the state's unwillingness to help us maintain it. It is on hold at this time.

Talks a bit about the ice storm cleanup.

Bob Caesar - streets need to be paved.

Mayor England speaks of a plan to pave every street in NA ... but we'll not get details tonight. Firefighters getting involved by being here tonight.

Scott Wood addresses us on the subject of the $33,000 mentioned earlier by KZ. Says that the money was reimbursable and would be back in the pot.

Coffey: "Not the way you do business." Coffey atacks Scott, retracts, fumbles, and looks bully-like.

England: "I put the proper amount of emphasis in downtown." It is the heart of the community.

Benedetti: "Suburban areas ... " Me thinks she's not a friend of us. She is silenced by England's rebuttal.

APPROVAL OF CF-1 FORMS:
Carlisle Family, LLC, Compliance with Statement of Benefits, Referencing R-99-17 (RE)

Fire King International, INC, Compliance with Statement of Benefits, Referencing R-99-16 (RE & PP)

No one here from either one. Will be advanced forward. Cofey suggests moving them up in the meeting.

Live blogging: City council meeting of March 19.

Recusal, or not to recusal.


High drama as the meeting starts: Dan Coffey brings Cheetoh's to share with fellow obstructionist, Steve Price. Welcome to the show. I will endeavor to shake off the effects of pre-meeting dinner and report the evening's events.

CALL TO ORDER: Dan calls us to order.

PRAYER AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE: Members of ROCK chant louder.

ROLL CALL: Jack Messer is absent.

APPROVAL OR CORRECTION OF THE FOLLOWING MINUTES:
Common Council public hearing minutes for March 2, 2009 - approved
Common Council regular meeting minutes for March 2, 2009 - approved

COMMUNICATIONS – PUBLIC:

1. Lloyd Wimp will wait until non-agenda item speaking.

2. John Naville - Z-09-05, John Kraft, attorney for the funeral home and The Gary (McCartin), said he could not be here tonight. Council agreed to proceed, and it is requested that the docket be put on the April meeting to be allowed fair representation.

Jeff Gahan: It was not removed and put back on. Gahan Benedetti says that her brother should be allowed fair representation. Recusal questions? Gahan forcefully defends keeping it on the agenda. Coffey looks desperately to keep it off, but ... he cannot pull it. Only the one introducing it can pull it. Benedetti now desperate to get it off. Attorney Robison now consulted: Research indicates there is no rule compelling a wait, although continuances always previously granted. Gahan has no apparent intention of backing off.

3. Paula, a resident of Lexington Drive. Compliments the council. Addresses The Gary's project. He has applied again for the Wendy's move, and no mention has been made of a meeting with neighbors, which previously was mentioned as necessary. Supports maintaining the character of the neighborhood (64 households) - current value of properties almost $10 million ... and they vote! Uneasy shiftin all around as the magic words are uttered.

4. Kelton Reiter (sic) - another Lexington Drive resident.

5. Carol Armstrong - Lexington Drive ... what's interesting here is that she speculates aloud what the qualifications of city council members are when it comes to development and redevelopment issues. Steve Price playing with his pen. I believe this is a suitable answer.

6. Bob Dusch - "End run" to develop commercially. Explains that zoning laws exist to protect property owners. Waste of neighborhood and council time. "We will have been sold out for a hamburger joint ... Wendy's isn't even owned locally." Mrs. Benedetti is now singled out. She ran as Diane MCCARTIN Benedetti. How can she vote on bro's project? Tribune pointed out the seeming conflict of interest ... "appearance is important."

Benedetti responds: (1) Yes I ran on that basis. I have no capital gain. Voted him down before. I did my research (she gets very hysterical) ... wants to make "solutions not problems." Doesn't have an e-mail address because "I don't want people e-mailing me ... I want them calling me." Now says that brother and the others have actually spoken with Bob. She now gestures to the crowd like Steve Price always does. Now she denigrates downtown New Albany as comparison. She cherishes the exurb. BIG BIG time grandstanding. BIG BIG time grandstanding. No capital gain, no conflict of interest.

COFFEY intervenes: "No more personal attacks." He says that the council can't be emotional, but must be dispassionate.

Amazing stuff here. The most flagrant Coffey hypocrisy in months - the flamethrower posing as peacemaker.

7. David Campbell - Lexington Drive. "Proposal continues to fall short." He is consistently the best and most articulate opponent of The Gary's plans, outlining zoning precedents and citing legalities. He is the only speaker who asks that a consideration of PUD standards be a part of this discussion.

8. Jeff Roudenbush - Kroger open 24 hours ... well, maybe it isn't ... JR has lived in the area, and also likes Frosties. Says that 3 issues come up. One, "plenty of vacant space already." Disagrees: Says that vacancies are a part of vibrant economies, and don't preclude new construction. (principles of adaptive reuse?) Two: Currently wasting huge infrastructure expenditure in NA ... area in question built to handle bigger volumes of traffic than current used. JR supports further building of the area according to ability to add traffic (doesn't question the utility of vehicular traffic?) and says that zoning should have been changed then to accommodate The Gary's every whim. Three: Does anyone know how much good a new Wendy's might do for NA? JR likes Wendy's!! Maybe they'll shop some more!! Maybe people will flock to Wedny's in the new location. Wendy's might leave altogether IF WE DON'T ACT SOON!! We need to "fight NIMBY." "Principles of development."

9. Earl Cummings of Savannah Drive - lived there for ten years. Accurately describes the exurban march of business and the vacancies it leaves behind. Responds to the "move if you don't like it mantra": "Well, I don't want to move." He thinks it's just about money ... no one came to him and talked to him. No one consulted. He articulates the case against green field sprawl from a decidedly blue-collar, non-snob perspective. Against developing every last piece of property for a few more dollars.

10. Bryan Wickens of ... "a New Albany resident." Important to continue thwarting sex issues. Thanks everyone on behalf of children, families, grandparents and house pets.

11. Laurie lives nearby The Gary's epic, and opposes it. Period.

12. Evan Campbell - Lexington Drive. PUD & Wendy's. We've all "felt personally attacked these 19 months." "Dehumanizing" words from Kraft (previously), and cites "outrageous claims" about the usefulness of Wendy's. Keeps coming before the council without a break. Hilarious digression ... who is here "crying out" for a Wendy's? (But it isn't fast food, it's Wendy's). What about the requirements? Very impassioned and funny material.

13. Paul Hearst - Lafayette Drive again. Asks questions. Forceful, older man.

Benedetti says he should go to the stormwater board for relief.

Hypocrisy In Action Right Before Our Very Eyes!!!

In yesterday’s Tribune, Clarksville’s ongoing passion play entitled Theatair X verus R.O.C.K received yet another airing.

Theatair X attorney says ordinance unconstitutional in Clarksville

One quote in particular got my personal goat.

ROCK’s President Brian Wickens reportedly said in a November press conference that a former FBI agent had been present inside the facility and witnessed illegal activities in progress.

The attorney for Theatair X pointed out there have never been any arrests made at the establishment and if ROCK’s phantom former FBI agent exists, he has never been identified by that organization nor has he ever reported such to the Clarksville Police.

What follows is the statement that riles me. Ms. Gramig, who is ROCK’s Research & Policy Coordinator offered that she is unaware of any ROCK officials making any contact with law enforcement.

“It’s not ROCK’s job to make sure the police does its job.” Says Gramig.

So if it isn’t the watchdog’s job to sound the alarm when the wolves approach the sheep pen, whose is it??

This is precisely the sort of hypocritical hogwash that has led many of us to wash our hands of the religions of our parents!

They speak of a civic moral responsibility for us to practice yet refuse to get their hands dirty to back it up.

This same logic follows if one were to witness a robbery/rape/murder in broad daylight it would be acceptable to express outrage that it happened while refraining to report the identity of the perpetrator.

And these are the folks that have the concern for my eternal destiny in their hearts??

Give me a break! No wait-----give me a double Scotch neat!!!

Budget travel classroom, circa 1985.

Today’s Tribune column is all about nostalgia.

BAYLOR: Where it all began

I’m thinking that maybe a vacation is overdue, and maybe that will be possible soon, but not until we have a brewing system on site!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Frank Rich: "A 40-year exodus for these ayatollahs."

Delicious. Can someone forward to Healthblogger?

The Culture Warriors Get Laid Off, by Frank Rich (New York Times).

... Here, at last, is one piece of good news in our global economic meltdown: Americans have less and less patience for the intrusive and divisive moral scolds who thrived in the bubbles of the Clinton and Bush years. Culture wars are a luxury the country — the G.O.P. included — can no longer afford.

Is it the feasibility of appeasing ROCK?

I'm the first to admit that it has been difficult staying in the loop these last three weeks.

On the day preceding Gravity Head's kickoff, I was given a hooded sweatshirt by the visiting Sierra Nevada representative. After wearing, I threw it atop the clothesrack and somehow missed seeing it yesterday, when I managed to do four loads of laundry that have been strewn around the area. For a while, I was dressing out of the dryer.

There's a city council meeting tomorrow night, and glancing at the agenda -- which includes more time wasted on adult cabaret regulation (zoning) and th requisite groveling at the feet of ROCK, a floor show in itself -- I see something about a feasibility study.

R-09-08 Resolution to Fund a Feasibility Study for the New Albany City Council with Riverboat Funds (Price 1)

Does anyone know what this is about?

There's no information about it at the city clerk's website. I'd ask Steve Price personally, but I'm not really expecting to see him in the Bank Street Brewhouse any time soon.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Spitwads aplenty in the world capital of begrudgery.

Anonymous character assassins really wear me out.

Granted, I enjoy a few drinks, but I really can't remember asking the city council for money to launch a business. I'm still waiting for Mayor Garner to forward that million bucks that an earlier generation of troglodytes insisted was coming my way.

Over at the Tribune's forum, there's a respectful discussion about my European proclivities in which there is debate over whether I'm a capitalist (concerned only about $$$$$$, as is alleged elsewhere) or a socialist in sheep's clothes.

Why is it phrased as "either capitalism or socialism"?

Elements of both would be suitable, right?

Wait ... that'd be European social democracy, wouldn't it?

A night in the life.

With the Brewhouse closed on Monday, I was able to break away for a staff meeting and strategy session for Food & Dining magazine. I've been writing beer columns for F & D since 2004, which surprisingly makes me one of the veterans, and yet I've never attended a session like last evening's.

Mr. G, who has been contributing features, kindly offered to drive so that we could carpool to Lake Forest. Publisher John White anchored the proceedings, which included introductions and Sarah Fritschner's debut as the magazine's editor. Many of you will remember Sarah from the Courier-Journal, where she was the food editor for many years, touting concepts like slow food and farmers' markets long before these notions became fashionable.

Food & Dining, a querterly, will remain much the same in the sense of its mission to report on the local dining scene, but it is anticipated that there'll be more material about cooking at home. The web site will undergo an overhaul. Free lancers like me are being asked to contribute ideas and content outside our core areas.

All in all, it was an exciting evening, and our hosts prepared marvelous ribs and salad for social hour after the evening. The Merlot didn't hurt, either. You should begin seeing the new ideas in the forthcoming issue, which will hit the streets just before Derby.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Organize, Organize, Organize!!!!

As requested by FOSSE http://savesilverstreet.blogspot.com/ and others concerned about the possibility of elementary school closings within New Albany’s core neighborhoods I’m passing along the latest available information (available to me that is) concerning the process underway.

As per the Tribune, http://www.news-tribune.net/local/local_story_065141245.html
Resources for Results Committee is to hear public opinions in New Albany in April.

It appears that the committee’s recommendations that have been three years in the making will finally get a public airing beginning on April 2nd with two others to follow.

This will be preceded by a preparatory meeting of the Save Silver Street folks this upcoming Monday evening. Click on their link above for more details.

Albeit school closings have not been my primary focus of these past three years, I have attended several meeting where this topic was cussed & discussed.

It seems that the out of town hired guns have been viewed by the NA/FC administration as a god-send as they apparently didn’t have a clue as to where to begin.

Or more likely, they wanted no part of the hard decisions so they employed a fall guy.

The public’s perception seems to view them as Guido & Carlo, along with their violin cases being called down from the South Side to do the dirty work and the innocents be damned!

There are probably some elements of truth in all of the above.

My personal view is this. I don’t want to see any of the core schools closed. Our venue has always been to find & promote ways to reclaim our neighborhoods and downtown.

Regardless of the statistics that are so highly praised I think we are seeing that happen before our very eyes. That is unless we choose to turn a blind eye to it.

Although the numbers are not large we are indeed seeing families of child rearing age choosing New Albany proper as the place to purchase an older home, invest time money & energy into its restoration and send their children to the local neighborhood school.

As a matter of fact, if one asks they will more often than not tell you such proximity to a facility within walking distance played a determining role in their final decision.

So why would we even think of closing one or more of them? Once again, statistics have shown over the years the proposed advantages in terms of education and societal improvement have been nominal at best.

As have the monetary savings involved in the complex process created as a result.

Transportation costs have gone through the roof in the past few years and there is no end in sight.

The safety issues that come with bussing children are all but uncontrollable as well.

As a parent, the turmoil caused by bonds between teachers, friends, & community being broken during the elementary years is more drama than a child really needs.

So again, why do it? Well as with all things it comes down to politics and money. The two are inseparable.

Understand that what I’m about to say is not an outright condemnation of the well to do.

However I do find it interesting that as I currently understand it, few if any of the sitting school board members either live in New Albany’s core nor do they send their children to school here. The same is true of the administration as I’ve been told.

Nay they live either in the outer suburbs or “up on the hill” as we are so fond of calling it.

So does this imply that they are somehow less concerned for their children’s welfare than are we down here in the valley?

No it just means that like us in that they see only what is in their immediate line of sight. They are blessed with the where with all to provide the best in terms of amenities for their offspring and like us, they’ll try with all their might to do so.

So for those folks, spending $50 million on a facility at Floyd Knobs is doing just that. The fact that to continue on that path means less available funds for neighborhood schools in New Albany is of little consequence as they have no reference point of such.

All that being said, what is the solution?? Well there are probably many but I’m going to again point to one by way of a recent New Albany issue.

The NA Common Council at the last meeting passed an Adult Cabaret Ordinance to address the adult entertainment industry within our fair city.

Throughout the multi month process there were two powerful paid lobby groups present to deliberate the pros & cons.

One represented the owners & operators of such establishments albeit not as professionally as they would have hoped.

The other (ROCK) had their act together and came to the table expounding the horrors eminent to us should we allow such to proliferate in our midst.

As it turned out neither side really won or lost completely but the ROCK group showed us how an organized focus can accomplish a task.

We need to learn that lesson on a variety of fronts in this city.

It was suggested early on to the various groups involved in the school issue that it would behoove them to join forces and lobby to save all of the present facilities not just the one they could see from their kitchen window.

To my knowledge that never occurred. However with the upcoming public input meetings they have one last chance to influence the outcome. I hope they don’t sacrifice it for the sake of protecting their individual turfs!

Here are a few more links of interest about this issue. Read up and be prepared!

http://www.news-tribune.net/local/local_story_057132345.html
New Albany-Floyd County's Resources for Results to host public hearings soon

http://www.news-tribune.net/letters/local_story_063183957.html
Reader expects school board members at Resources meetings

http://www.news-tribune.net/letters/local_story_050181058.html
Silver Street closure far from resolved

http://www.nafcs.k12.in.us/ NAFC Consolidated School Corporation

http://www.reclaimourculture.org/ ROCK

We want to do Sundays, and today is a fine place to begin.

Following the first few days of business at the Bank Street Brewhouse, the team is busily sorting through dozens of hastily scribbled post-it notes. Your constructive criticism is very much appreciated, and in fact, it is encouraged. I haven’t had time to catch up with all of last week’s e-mail correspondence, so please give me today to do a load of laundry and crawl back.

BSB will be closed on Mondays. Part of the reason for this is that I remain rather stubbornly determined to make “Open on Sunday” a reality in downtown New Albany. It is perhaps my primary goal as carnival barker and promotional flagellant, and in fact borders on the obsessive.

Today will be the inaugural expression of this desire, even if we don’t have the operation down to a science quite yet. There will be food, and there will be drink, and someone will be there to serve them from 12:00 noon until around 8:00 p.m.

With time and warmer weather, I’m envisioning a lively Sunday experience. Chef Josh and I have discussed several “Sunday special” menu possibilities, among them a lighter soup and salad option that might be good for the Sunday YMCA crowd, post-church lunches and cyclists. Of course, those wishing to augment with beer would be welcomed to do so.

We’re not quite there … yet. But we’ll be there today, with what we have now.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Exhaustion and pride.

Thanks to everyone who came out to sample the Bank Street Brewhouse yesterday afternoon and evening. It was a fine start for us, and we'll be working to iron out the kinks as the next stage (brewery installation and exterior work) begins.

I apologize about the food/kitchen confusion yesterday. I was confused, too. I did a fairly poor job of articulating the lunch time vs. dinner time information, and we hadn't quite gotten an "interim" snack menu in place ... then, to top it off, we ran through a big volume of edibles at lunch with no time to prep the evening.

Chef Josh let most of the kitchen crew go home and sleep, and put together an impromptu evening menu of soup and a cheese plate that went over quite well. The beer was flowing freely, and the atmosphere was festive.

In the context of our previous experience, the Bank Street project throws a few curveballs. We've always done a day-long pizza and sandwich menu; now, at Bank Street, we have a kitchen and a creative menu that make different demands in terms of time, and with the way that I must conceptualize the marketing plan. It'll take a couple of weeks, but we'll get there. Tuesday through Saturday will be lunch and dinner menus, with snacks (cheese plate, etc) in between. Sunday will be a different (and currently evolving) plan for the food, perhaps a lighter bill of fare (salads, soups) for YMCA patrons and weekend bicyclists.

NABC beer, Southern Indiana wines, a small list of selected spirits and craft sodas will be available at all hours.

Ironically, with my out-of-town guest Kim in tow, and seeking to expose him to as many good things as possible over the weekend, we actually left Bank Street Brewhouse early Friday evening and went to La Rosita's to dine. We could do this because the staff was completely on task, which feels good.

Rosita's was packed, too, and in all three seating areas. The food was wonderful as always.

Thanks again for the support. We have plenty of work to do, and are exceedingly optimistic about the prospects.

If you're Open, They Will Come!!

The Missus had oral surgery recently and I was compelled to do an ice cream run last evening as the cold seems to bring her some relief.

It was right in the heart of prime time so I decided on a fluke to peruse several of our night time establishments. I was delighted and encouraged by what I saw.

Richo’s & Sportstime’s parking lots were full as they normally are on a Friday evening which is to be expected during Gravity Head.

The Kroger’s on Grantline was out of the preferred flavor so I ended up at their
State Street location ‘cause every good mate understands that when it comes to ice cream, substitutions will not do!

At any rate upon leaving I glanced over at CiCi’s Pizza and was surprised to see them packed to the gills! To be fair the surprise was, to me, that there is that much of a appetite for pizza in our fair city.

But hey, I’m glad to see such a brisk business in these uncertain economic times.

I continued on through the downtown corridor and found that Conner’s, the Windsor, Studio’s, Hugh E Bir’s and the new Bank Street Brewery were nearly full full and had foot traffic exiting & entering as well.

So much for the naysayers laments of “too many to sustain” huh?

Rather it looks as though the opposite is true!

Now if we can just get a breakfast nook or two to complete the cycle and convince more of them to be open for lunch on weekends, perhaps we can break the cycle of rampant recycling of establishments downtown!!

Friday, March 13, 2009

Backlash and Bank Street.

First, a nod to Mrs. Baird: YES IT CAN HAPPEN HERE.

He says that we New Albanians hate ourselves. I respectfully disagree. I'm not wanting to start a battle but I don't believe the majority of us are self loathing naysayers ...

... But besides that, let's prove Mr. Baylor wrong. Let's start an "I love New Albany Campaign" and work to improve our town, starting with keeping the garbage off of the streets and sidewalks.
My point is being missed, but that's okay for now. I'm so busy proving myself "wrong" that I barely have time to compose these words.

The irony of her observation is that my column and her response might be an ideal place to start a dialogue, which in turn is quite impossible, largely because her readers won't take their obstructionist and naysaying masks off for long enough to join the discussion like adults.

Wait ... that was my point, wasn't it?

Bank Street's going to be open the next three days according to the schedule listed at right on the main blog page. However, it's important to know that we really only planned for lunch the next two days, so the evening menu will be short. Soup and frites, anyone? I understand they go well with beer. We all deeply appreciate the kind words of those who've dropped by to eat and drink this week, and I apologize for the absence of personal responses.

We're still putting the pieces together. Thanks for understanding.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Dinner tonight at Bank Street Brewhouse? Doors unlocked tonight.

We invited neighbors and townies to the Bank Street Brewhouse for lunch today. At the moment we're cleaning up and preparing to do it again this evening. If you'd like to stop by after 5:00 p.m. and check it out, feel free. Scroll past the photo for the menu.


New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse

Lunch Menu (currently offered much of the day)

Soup du Jour
Chef's whim
$4.00

Caesar Salad
Hearts of Romaine, Parmigiano Reggiano, Garlic Croutons, House Caesar Dressing
$4.50

Roasted Beet & Goat Cheese Salad
Frissee Lettuce, Roasted Gold & Red Beets, Bacon, Walnuts,
Capriole Goat Cheese, Crème Fraiche Vinaigrette
$5.00

Pommes Frites
House cut Fries, Sea Salt, assorted Dipping Sauces
$4.95

Mussels
Ginger, Lemon Grass, White Wine and Coconut Milk
$9.95

Croque Monsieur
Black Forest Ham, Prosciutto, Emmantaler Cheese,
Wheat Bread (Blue Dog), Mornay Sauce
$7.95

Croque Madame
Add Egg to Croque Monsieur
$8.50

Mushrooms en Croute
Wild Mushrooms, Lentils, Puff Pastry
$6.95

Proving them wrong.

In light of positive developments at the Bank Street Brewhouse, it may seem only slightly counter-intuitive for me to have readied my weekly contribution to the Tribune in a vein of annoyance.

BAYLOR: It shan’t happen here

To live in New Albany is to be compelled forever and always to look at positive developments with a shrug — knowing that local Limbaughs are praying for failure — and to listen to their self-flagellating admonitions of futility, powerlessness and begrudgery:

It just can’t be done here — and you’re a fool to even try.

I did it on purpose, fully intending to contrast the perpetual defeatism of local obstructionists with the can-do spirit which is persevering downtown in spite of the economic troubles. Not for a minute do I entertain any delusions about rough, recessionary times, but these are no excuse for passivity or inactivity. You roll up your sleeves and go to work, which is what my company’s doing.

Call it what you will: Arrogance, defiance, foolhardiness or cheek. I call it a calculated risk, putting it on the line, and being in the right place at the right time. Guarantees are lacking. Aren’t they always?

Win, lose or draw, this is going to be fun.

Tribune on city council conflicts of interest: "An ethics code would be nice"

Earlier in the week, we pointed out the painfully obvious, something that must be done far too often in the city that education forgot:

She may be the only one who doesn't get it, although the council might assist her in finding it.

Several of the other council members have expressed that they believe Benedetti's voting on her brother's business is a conflict of interest. Unfortunately, none of them have the fortitude to actually bring it up when it's relevant- during council meetings prior to votes.
Happily, the Tribune is chiming in, too.

JEERS ...

to New Albany council member Diane McCartin-Benedetti for again voting on official city business that involves a project developed by her brother, Gary McCartin. The council woman has told constituents that she still votes because she has no direct benefit from the projects. What’s surprising is that very few people in elected positions seem to be questioning this. It’s obviously a weak — if not totally invalid — argument.

As a journalist, I abide by an ethics code that I will “avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived” and “remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.” These are just a local journalist’s ethics. Shouldn’t we expect even more from elected officials?

An ethics code would be nice to see in our local council chambers, but I doubt the current council president has the desire to see more logic impact his gavel-wielding duties. Maybe this is something the county party leaders — Dave Matthews and John Wilcox — can make happen?

— Tribune Publisher Steve Kozarovich

I was going to write the council woman and ask for a statement, but neither she nor her somnalent colleague Steve Price have published their e-mail addresses. Maybe the Highwayman can do the necessary research.

That’s right: It is 2009. It's just hard to tell sometimes, that's all.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

I'll Bring the Coffee, You Bring the Doughnuts, and the Beer?--Well You Know......

This began as a comment in response to a March 2nd post at the New Albany Eyesores blog: "You are all fundamentalists with a top dressing ...

His post coupled with a re-emergence of conversations about a unified co-operative voice within the various group thinks in New Albany led me to throwing it up on the marquee.

“If we were to set property value issues aside, and tax base issues aside, should we, as a community, at least not "stand together" against the practice of renting out homes that are known to be infested with rodents and/or insects?”

In reference to your last question, the answer is an unequivocal yes!

Unfortunately it leads directly into another question--how do we go about doing that?

And that splits off into at least three questions.

How do we convince the city to act?

How do we convince the "landlords" who are doing it right that we are not "out to get them" personally?

How do we get the various groups to come together, hang together, and present a unified front to be dealt with?

Everyone knows the problems mentioned are not specific to one block, one street, or one neighborhood.

Yet the turf wars wage on! Not in a violent way but in a passive/aggressive manner that does nothing but nullify any effort mounted.

If it's not boundary lines, its historic preservation!

If it's not on the other end of town, it's too political!

If it's not political, it's too personal!

And on, and on, and on ad-infinitum!

News flash! It's all political! It's all personal! It affects us all in one fashion or another!

I agree it is time to join hands, share a common kettle of soup and sing "Kum By Ya"!

However, for it to amount to anything we are going to have to agree to disagree on some of the specifics of how we get there and hang tough on the goals we want to achieve.

For those of us who have been self motivated, self employeed, independent thinkers all of our adult lives, that is a tough nut to crack.

But crack it we must lest all of our homes implode in on themselves and our grandchildren be taxed with this self same conversation thirty years hence.

We are blessed with a limitless cadre of varying talents to bring to the table.

How we get to the table is the 64 thousand dollar question!

Answers anyone???

I know, I know ... it's like inflicting baby pictures on your buddies, but what can I say?

I'll apologize in advance for resembling a broken record this week. Having confessed, here are more photos from the Bank Street Brewhouse, specifically last evening's "soft" opening. Another follows tonight, and another on Thursday, with Friday designated as opening day.

In the afternoon, the kitchen crew prepared menu samples for the employees.

Chef Josh Lehman explained the ingredients and preparation of the dishes, and then brewer Jared Williamson provided a few beer/food pairing observations.

From six to eight in the evening, dining and drinking occurred.

Earlier in the day, utilizing the newly installed antique poplar countertop by the (future) brewery window, liquors were briefly nipped. We'll eventually have a few selected spirits behind the bar (a hint: don't order Jack and coke), along with wines from Indiana wineries. Turtle Run's up first, with Huber and others to follow. There'll also be a selection of non-alcoholic craft sodas, and maybe even straws.

Of course, NABC beer is the primary beverage. When everything is working right, there'll be ten standard taps and two hand-pulled ales every day.

Thanks again for your support.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse: Everybody's working for the weekend.

It will surprise absolutely no one to learn that U2’s new release, “No Line on the Horizon,” has become my personal soundtrack for the opening of NABC’s new Bank Street Brewhouse. For me and my Irish contemporaries, they’re acts of reinvention, as I hope these photos illustrate.

They were taken yesterday, as we prepped for entertaining Resch Construction’s workers with a meal and drinks. We’ll be doing a few “soft” nights this week for selected customers, and aiming to be open for lunch and the general public on Friday and Saturday. We're planning on Sunday hours, with Mondays closed.

When I’m absolutely sure all this will be lifting off on Friday, I’ll post opening hours and further details. Thanks for your support.




Monday, March 09, 2009

If it's in the water, we need all the Gills we can get.

I've occasionally joked that local film and music producer, Gill Holland, with whom I've only chatted casually a few times at art events, is my new best friend; it's just that he doesn't know it yet.

Eventually, metro area leaders will figure out that our economic future depends largely on how successful we are in attracting people who think like Gill.

Let's hope that occurs before we spend $4.1 billion making ourselves look like head-in-the-sand ignoramuses with a national spotlight on our upturned backsides.


Printed verbatim from Gill's letter to the C-J's editors:

I agree with Ed Glasscock and Cary Stemler that the future of Louisville relies on solving transportation issues, but I don't think completing the Ohio River Bridges Project as it was approved six years ago is the solution. A lot has happened in six years: Gas prices went to $4 with an ensuing decrease in driving and increase in interest in smaller and electric cars; and the economy collapsed and has drastically affected companies like UPS, Ford and Toyota that are specifically mentioned on the Build the Bridges Web site as "crucial to our economy."

Green-lighting and financing an old plan today does not make sense without reviewing it in light of these factors. We should update the plan and then go back to the same Kentucky and Indiana state transportation agencies and the Federal Highway Administration who approved the initial plan. Taking the time to do so is in our interest, and in the interest of our children and grandchildren, before we expand highways and bridges and overpasses in our booming and increasingly vibrant downtown area.

Downtowns should be for people, not overpasses and highways. I don't want to look out my window and see a four-story highway overpass in downtown obscuring and towering over the church steeples. We already breathe in too much exhaust from flow-through traffic that finds Louisville a convenient place to drive through on the way to somewhere else. Let's first build the East End Bridge and see how much of this through-traffic can be re-routed. This will be a sacrifice on the part of many land-owners in that area, including my family, but it will benefit us all long-term.

If we are trying to solve transportation issues and get off our addiction to oil, how is increasing the drive-ability of commuters by adding more bridges and lanes going to decrease traffic and pollution? Where is the incentive not to drive?

Without getting into details of the bridges project per se and without discussing financials for the time being (though TARC's 2003 budget for the FTA-recommended project of 25 light-rail stations and 17 miles of track came in at $748 million, much less than the four billion being discussed for the Ohio Rivers Project), here are some blue-sky, out-of-the-box ideas for discussion. Let's picture the perfect city that we all know Louisville can be and then see how and if we can get there. It may take years, but I don't plan on going anywhere.

It is possible that the future of Louisville is dependent not on being the "pinch point" for transportation (as it is described on www.buildthebridges.com) but on having the coolest downtown in the United States, with increased density, downtown living and walk-ability. More businesses, more retail, more restaurants, and more downtown life would attract more entrepreneurs to start more companies, creating more jobs and increasing the tax base. If more folks lived downtown and there were more companies downtown, there would be fewer commuters.

Before spending $4 billion dollars, maybe we should do a study on the effects of closing (yes, you read that correctly) the downtown bridge to vehicles and converting it to a light-rail shuttle. How about another maybe crazy idea: a ban on all passenger car traffic downtown between 1st and 8th streets and Main and Broadway and turning it into a "Green Zone" with a tax incentive program for entrepreneurs and new businesses? I am just trying to think outside the box and stimulate discussion; obviously, lots of work would need to be done to validate any of these far-fetched ideas.

We could then add a light-rail loop around this Green Zone, or use the existing trolley busses that always look empty. This loop could be connected to all the major suburbs by other light-rail lines with parking hubs at the end stations. Think of the benefits if we freed up all the present parking towers and parking lots in downtown to be converted into office buildings with store-front retail and residences. With a loop of public transportation, no one would be more than five blocks from the office. Right now, even with the $4 gallon gas fading from our memories, we are all "Toads"; we love our cars just as much as that great character in The Wind in the Willows. So a drastic change in behavior would be needed to pull this off, but maybe it is worth thinking about it.

Louisville already seems fragmented into neighborhoods divided by highways and overpasses. If we came together and redefined our common downtown, we could also discover a renewed sense of community.

GILL HOLLAND

Studio's makes the Scene.

A patio lunch at Studio's Grille & Pub on Saturday was indeed a study of contrasts. To one side of us was a table of long-time political regulars, including Mayor England and just-elected Floyd County Democratic Chair John Wilcox. On the other was a near constant procession of Louisvillians, most visiting for the first time. Owner Trish Meyer had to put up more green canvas along the fence to accommodate new autographs.

C-J restaurant critic Marty Rosen wasn't there but he's obviously been spending the time and catching the vibe, so much so that downtown New Albany and the Y got plugged almost as much as Studio's stuffed burger in his latest review.

Strolling through New Albany after dark is a wonderful study in contrast. One night, the downtown grid was a hushed reminder of the river city's prosperous past. We walked past an old bank building constructed in the style of a Greek temple, a movie theater that dates back to the epoch of Harold Lloyd and Charlie Chaplin, a glorious old hotel reminiscent of the gilded age.

And in the fullness of time, we came to the New Albany branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana. That building shone like a jewel in the darkness. It's a collection of sharp angles and bright glass windows, through which we could see throngs — really, throngs — of people swimming, jogging, lifting weights, shooting baskets, having fun and burning calories.

We probably should have joined up that very night — after all, we'd just consumed more than our fair share of calories a few blocks away at Studio's Grille & Pub, a down-to-earth home-style restaurant that prides itself on scratch-made classics straight from the canon of Midwestern cookery.


Studio's serves up the classics by Marty Rosen, Special to the C-J