Monday, August 31, 2009

Gonder: "Dry Out Time Out" moratorium on building permits?

It is gratifying to see that CM John Gonder has returned to local issues. My recommendation is to join the discussion at his blog, via the link below.

Dry Out Time Out

The City Council will meet this Thursday, out of sync because of the Labor Day weekend.

One of the ordinances on the agenda is a moratorium on building permits. This is not intended as a punitive measure against builders or developers. It is, rather, an attempt to let the City catch up with the issues it faces as a result of damages caused by storm water and sewer problems.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Tribune: "Keep waterfront New Albany crowds coming."

NAC fully endorses editorial points of view that echo our own.

TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: Keep waterfront New Albany crowds coming

The remnants of Hurricane Ike devastated Floyd and surrounding counties in September 2008, including a shredding of the decades-old yellow amphitheater covering. The same winds have blown new life into the New Albany Riverfront. It will take leadership and effort to keep it from dying out.

NA 1 Night Stand asks the question, and the answer is: YES.

Yesterday was the occasion of NA 1 Night Stand, downtown New Albany's first ever "beer walk" not to be associated with the annual autumn festival that always hates to have its name attached to such concepts. Rather, this one was the brainchild of Main Street resident Jala Miller, who put her formidable powers of marketing and social networking onto the task of filling downtown with people on an otherwise "normal" August evening.

To say it was a success is an understatement of epic dimension.

The fun started at 3:00 p.m., and the following photo shows the lamentable aftermath of Bank Street Brewhouse's first two red-clad, beer "walking," Bud Light-ordering customers, who couldn't bring themselves to finish their Kaisers, abruptly departing to drive off to continue their beer walk.

It got better after that, though, and in reality I always cherish opportunities to leverage NABC's Lite Free Zones into educational presentations, even on nights where crowds are large. Exposure is exposure. Resolving to glimpse the action along the circuit, I walked to the new Steinert's on the corner of Main and 4th, and caught the scene there for the first time.

There are two large rooms, one with the bar (above) and the other with a bandstand. In response to those asking previously, the new Steinert's is entirely smoking, without a non-smoking area in evidence. Alpha King was on tap, and that's a positive, too.

Next, I accompanied noted local mouthpiece Richard Rush and his posse to the Market Street establishments listed for the beer walk: Pastime Grill & Pub (above) and Hitching Post Tavern (below). Samuel Adams Summer Ale was on tap at the former, and at the latter, with nothing remotely resembling real beer, I opted to play my once yearly "When in Middle America" card and think back to previous lives.

Unfortunately, Richard caught the moment on film.

Whatever. I took one for the team.

Next came Studio's Grille and Pub, where the joint was jumping and bottled Sierra Nevada Pale Ale helped restore my palate for the evening ahead.

Back at BSB, there was a huge crowd. Clint Ackerman was playing, and soon after the incredible jazz trio The Outfit began their set. Fortunately, we were able to borrow front patio furniture last week, which helped to seat a crowd of probably two hundred. As at the other participating pubs, our staff was swamped but plugging along as best they could; thanks to all the servers, bartenders and kitchen employees all across the walk route.

Happily, even those establishments not officially participating also seemed to be having good evenings. The Windsor was catering for a 250-strong wedding party at the Grand, and Connor's Place reportedly ran out of beer. Not to excuse them for failing to climb on board this time ...

The point in all this is simple: For the second weekend in a row, and with numerous other events taking place, downtown was on the regional map, and hundreds of people who probably would have been somewhere else were in downtown New Albany, instead, whether at last night's beer walk or last week's Celtic Fest.

These throngs translate into key visits from Louisvillians and other folks who don't live here, an important and youthful area demographic, and more than a few residents, some newcomers, other longstanding, who seem quite happy to finally have a local option.

Good stuff in just about every sense. Momentum is a good thing. Now, we must keep it moving -- forward, not backward.

Develop New Albany's "First Tuesday" at Dzine Communications, September 1, starting at 5:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Soviet-era exhibitions at the on-line Gamborg Gallery.

From time to time I reintroduce blog readers to my friend Allan Gamborg, who has enjoyed much success in his "second" (third? fifth?) career as a purveyor and advocate of Soviet-era art and artists.

Not only has he been able to make a living as a dealer, but his work has exposed to the world numerous underappreciated artists who may have been forgotten had not Allan taken an interest in them.

As in the past, permit me to thank Allan for his boundless hospitality and to share his latest posting. You need not be a Commie to enjoy the links to Allan's on-line galleries.

---

Dear Friends,
We have a series of new exhibitions on the Gamborg Gallery on the web:

THEMES

Fire Safety
A collection of Soviet fire safety posters from the 1960s and 1970s

New Russian Women
From the late 1980s famous Moscow artist Marina Uspenskaya watched, and was inspired by, the changes in everyday life happening in the transition from the Soviet Union to the new Russia. This was reflected in her colourful, often red or orange, images of the New Russian Women – as she called them – which she boldly and virtuously depicted in scenes from every-day life.

ARTISTS

Vladimir Ratkin (born 1936)
Well know Moscow artist. The exhibition focuses mainly on his Siberian series, from the Gazprom fields in the 1960s and 1970s.

Irina Kulakova (1920-2001)
Irina Kazimirovna Kulakova studied at the Moscow Textile Institute from 1939-1948, with a break during WW2. After graduating, she worked at the famous Moscow textile manufacture Krasnaya Roza as a textile designer. The flowers and still-lives in this exhibition illustrate how she found the inspiration for her textile designs.

BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS

Illustrations to Dostoyevsky Tales
Illustration by artist Mikhail Rojter to a number of Dostoevsky tales, including Netochka Nezvanova, and A Gentle Creature.

Donbass Coal Mines- (Донбасс)
Illustrations to book written by Boris Gorbatov, depicting the famous coal mines in the Donbass area of Ukraine. Illustrations by Dmitrii Minkov (1908-1998)

Grievance (Обида)
Illustrations by Marina Uspenskaya to the book from 1966 "Grievance (Обида) by Agnia Barto. The book is about a boy being jealous of the new baby in the family.

Enjoy the shows !

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Beak is Back -- with live music, as Bank Street Brewhouse celebrates NA 1 Night Stand this Saturday, August 29.

The Beak is Back ... and I wrote a press release to mark the occasion!

On Saturday, August 29, NABC’s Bank Street Brewhouse is participating in the inaugural NA 1 Night Stand, a beer walk through New Albany’s revitalizing downtown -- and we're celebrating with Beak's Best and live music.

The Beak is Beak’s Best, NABC’s session-strength American Bitter, which is named in honor of globetrotting historian and educator Don "Beak" Barry. Beak’s Best will be available all day Saturday at the special price of $3.25 for a 20-oz pint.

Like its namesake, Beak’s Best is fond of traveling (albeit in kegs) and will be available in September for distribution in Louisville through River City Distributing, and in Southern Indiana through Cavalier Distributing and NABC. In fact, the Beak debuted in Louisville today at three pubs (and Bob's Old 15-B at a fourth): New Albanian Brewing Co. in Louisville.

We call Beak’s Best an “American Bitter” because of the Cascade hops. Otherwise, there is a thoroughly English underpinning, both in terms of malt and yeast. It's one of the original NABC recipes, dating back to 2002. Our other NABC staples will be on draft, too: Elector, Bob's Old 15-B and Tunnel Vision, among others.

On Saturday during NA 1 Night Stand, there’ll be music on the North Patio, soon to be known as the WCTU Memorial Patio*:

5:00 p.m. – 7:00 p.m.: Clint Ackerman, solo acoustic covers. Clint's appearance takes on a whole new urgency since news broke today that Oasis, the British rock band that both Clint and I adore, is breaking up.

8:00 p.m. – 11:00 p.m.: The Outfit, free jazz from Louisville, and a group (guitar, bass and percussion, I believe) that I'm very much looking forward to hearing for the first time.

Remember also there is no finer kitchen on the Sunny Side than Chef Josh Lehman’s and his crew's, and it will be open until 10:00 p.m. as always, serving the innovative cuisine that has garnered so much acclaim since Bank Street's opening in March, 2009: Chef Josh and his staff are the MVPs of Bank Street's first six months.

Bank Street Brewhouse is helping to redefine downtown New Albany. Come down on August 29 and see how ... and support NA 1 Night Stand.

---

* To me, it’s hallowed ground, and begs for the erection of an historical marker, because for at least a half-century prior to being razed in 1955, the house that stood at 417 Bank Street was the headquarters of the New Albany chapter of the Women’s Christian Temperance Union. Now it is the Bank Street Brewhouse’s patio and parking lot. The WCTU helped give us a ban on the production and sale of alcoholic beverages, and we’re enjoying pints of ale where members once advocated for the legislation of morality.

NASH: "Father is proud of son."

More good work from Matt, and on a serious, personal topic.

I'd accuse him of stealing story ideas from me, except that I'm childless. But seriously, we're giving serious consideration to starting a Unfashionably Attired Fat Guys on Bicycles (acronyms aren't a strong point with me) movement designed to scare unresponsive drivers into putting down their drippy Big Bufords and squawking cell phones, and paying attention to disruptive two-wheeled commuters like us.

In any event, my guess is the son's proud of dad, too.

NASH: Father is proud of son

It was about this time of the year 20 years ago that someone I know got news that would alter the course of his life forever.

The 'Ville Voice: "Bill the Bike Bully."

I'm glad I don't waste valuable drinking time watching local news broadcasts.

With the topic being "my car as shriveled phallus extension," The 'Ville Voice's Rick Redding comes in right on cue following yesterday's venomous NAC exchange on bicycling, automotive traffic, and which one makes us more American in the eyes of our patriotic countrymen.

Pleasingly, I rode 50 km through the Knobs yesterday. The only problem I had with automotive traffic was on Scottsvile Road, where two Got Junk trucks traveling about 55 m.p.h. in tandem were in a hurry to make their next pickup. They were going too fast for me to catch their "how's my driving" numbers, so I'll say it here: Reckless, but probably just as good as Viagra for what ails ya.

Bill the Bike Bully, by Rick Redding (The Ville Voice blog)

Bill Lamb is always asking for feedback on his on-air editorials. So here’s some.


The other day Lamb was advocating that police start ticketing bicyclists, all because he happens to see some going the wrong way on one-way streets or blowing through stop signs or darting into traffic off sidewalks.

Now, this thinking goes against the general idea of making Louisville a bike-friendly city, but Lamb must have had a near-miss or something that kind of ticked him off about bikers. He claims only to want to do something about the bad bikers, that all of us law-abiding riders would have nothing to worry about. (Just kidding, I’m a dart-into-traffic champ).

Still, Lamb’s anti-biking rant doesn’t sit well with us. But what it really did was give viewers a reason to pop off with some vitriolic anti-bike hatred that shows they’re misinformed, unaware of the law and generally intolerant.


With this kind of mentality, it’s no wonder more people haven’t been killed by cars. The station aired six responses, all exhibiting a deep-seated hatred for bikes in traffic.

Here’s my favorite — “Roads were not designed for bicyclists, they should stay off.”

Then there’s — “Bikes should stay on the sidewalk where they belong (and where it’s illegal to ride)”

Another called wants to require special bike insurance for riders, and one was advocating a required license plate.

Lamb’s little rant elicited the kind of reaction that shows that city leaders — with all their talk about education about bike safety for motorists — have their work cut out for them with the big new safety campaign.

By the way, the Mayor’s Hike & Bike event, which is growing every year, is set for Labor Day morning. This time, we’re off from downtown to Iroquois Park.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

YES yard signs are finished, and here's how you can get one.

Thanks to our generous donors and the diligent efforts of Pete Lyons at Digital Resource Center, we have YES yard signs ready to award to those blog readers who have something positive to advocate.


You decide what to write. YES signage is non-partisan and non-denominational, so get a Sharpie or fat Magic Marker and tell us what you’re “for” here in New Albany. Be sure to write your choices in large letters so the words can be read from the street.

Are there NO signs in your neighborhood? Consider a YES sign in your yard as counterweight to the negativity.

But before we go any further, please be aware of proper sign placement!

Yard signs are just that: Signs for a yard, not a public right-of-way (including the grass strip between the sidewalk and street), utility poles, street signage and the like. Erect yard signs on your property, not someone else’s – not the state’s the city’s or the utility’s properties.

Business owners are very much encouraged to take part in the YES effort, especially (but not exclusively) downtowners. Consider placing your YES sign in a window, and explain to your customers that we’re advocating a message of what we’re for, not against.

YES yard signs will be available for pickup from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m., Monday through Friday, at DRC:

Digital Resource Center
302-B Pearl Street
New Albany, IN 47150

* One sign per household, please

* No charge, BUT if you haven’t already done so, please consider donating a few dollars to go toward paying for the next round. Pete will have a coffee can or something like it, so drop a fiver in it.

There also will be a limited number of YES yard signs at Bank Street Brewhouse on Saturday and Sunday for the convenience of after-hours YES men and women. There’ll be a coffee can there, too.

My first choice is for distribution to proceed on the basis of an honor system, so please: Don’t abuse it.

Thanks for your creativity! It’s time to go green.

Today's Tribune column: "Pub walks and beer crawls?"

One or the other or both will be occurring this Saturday; see below the link for details. To read about NABC's special plans, visit my beer blog: The Beak is Back -- with live music, as Bank Street Brewhouse celebrates NA 1 Night Stand this Saturday, August 29.

BAYLOR: Pub walks and beer crawls?

Is a “beer walk” the same thing as a “pub crawl”? There’s a good reason for asking this question, although I readily concede that far weightier issues currently transfix the community.
EVENT DETAILS (from the organizers)

Thank you for registering for the “NA 1 Night Stand” – the event with the goal to “check ‘em all before you fall”!

To pick up your FREE T-SHIRT:

8:00 AM – 12:00 PM

3:00 PM – 7:00 PM

@ The Farmer’s Market Area (on Market St. between Bank and Third)

(Free pre-registered shirts will be sold after 6PM if not picked up by this time)

There will be extra shirts available for $10 purchase during the times listed above.

We want to extend a huge thanks to the participating establishments:

Hitching Post Tavern
NABC Bank Street Brewhouse
Pastimes Grill & Pub
Steinert's Grill & Pub
Studio's Grill & Pub

While all area establishments were asked to participate, only the above establishments have committed to help make this event a success – so please be sure to return the support by being a patron of THEIR establishments throughout the event day. Participating establishments will be clearly marked. We are fortunate to have many other thriving bars and taverns in the downtown area and are hopeful more of them will participate at our next event. They likely will when they see you walking by. Please wave as you pass ...

ROCK sez: "Louisville, KY tagged as most 'obscene' city by Google trends."

Isn't that why Al Gore invented the Internet in the first place?

Look: Have you ever noticed the fellow on Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana's (ROCK's) billboards?

Don't you think he looks a lot like porn king Larry Flynt? No, no ... not "King Larry" Kochert, but Larry Flynt, founder of Hustler? Man, that's just as uncanny likeness, if you ask me.

Speaking of ROCK, here's the text from a recent mailing, complete with the irregular spellings. Who knew that Louisville was so wicked? Excepting Lively Shively, of course.

Last week, 14 local men were arrested for child solicitation in an undercover operation. Detective Dan Jackman discussed how Louisville was the "most obscene" as far as searches that are made online. He also said that when it comes to downloads of child pornography, the Louisville area is one of the worst.

ROCK President Bryan Wickens said: "For 40 years, Theatair X and businesses like it have been in our community. What happens in s*x businesses doesn't stay in s*x businesses. It permeates the culture around us. It is especially alarming to see the connection between s*x searches and child p*rnography downloads. We have to be about reversing this trend, along with standing strong with communities that want to protect themselves from the harmful impact of s*x businesses."

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You win some, you lose some ...

... and some times, you understand that the good and the bad come mixed together in the same week.

TRIBUNE CHEERS & JEERS: Aug. 26, 2009

But ... we're winning more than we're losing, this city is a better place than it was five years ago, and we're on the side that's going to win in the end. Knowing this is what keeps me playing the game, even when I'm not at my personal best.

While I'm on the topic of winning in the end: R.I.P., Ted Kennedy.

(image cribbed from the web)

Jackie Green in LEO: "Quit blaming cyclists."

While we're on the topic of foreshadowing, last week's LEO contained an excellent commentary by Louisville cycling advocate Jackie Green. It's valuable information for those who have undertaken the daily struggle to co-exist with America's "my car as extension of my phallus" mentality.

Just yesterday, I came close to an encounter that perfectly illustrates Jackie's point. I was riding through Coffeyville northbound on West 7th, and stopped at the Spring Street four-way. Two pickups were headed west. The first stopped as required ahead of me, and rolled on through. The second followed close behind with his blinker (how rare is that?) indicating a turn onto northbound 7th, and I could see from my vantage point that the driver was looking down and to his right (north), without once looking south to see if anyone else (me) was stopped at the intersection.

There were no other cars, so I eased slowly into the intersection. There was never a chance of contact because I was fully aware, but just the same, he never once looked up, and never once came to a full stop until he was within a few feet of me, at which point he finally glanced, slammed on the brakes and motioned at me to go ahead.

Duh.

I could see immediately that (a) he had been talking on the phone using some manner of headphones, and (b) his attention had been distracted by the gyrations of a miniscule dog. As I moved on, I said aloud, "I know," in the sense of yes, it certainly is my turn if you'd bother paying attention. Had I been another vehicle, he'd have known.

Of course, that couldn't be the end of it. He roared a few yards ahead of me, stopped, and began yelling: "You have a problem? I didn't see you! I told you to go on! What's your problem? People make mistakes!"

(yap yap yap, went the little dog/rat)

To Jackie's list of tips for survival on local roads, I'd add this: Learn to use a rearview mirror. I use one that clips onto my eyeglasses, and there are models for attaching to the helmet (wear one!) and the handlebars.
Bicycling safety and the law

Recent cyclist deaths and the newly launched “Street Sense” campaign — a city-backed program promoting road awareness — demand an alternative perspective.

Cyclists are threatened, injured and killed because:

1) Drivers drink; 2) car brakes fail; 3) roads are not always dry; 4) passengers, food, phones and on-board electronics distract drivers; 5) drivers are blinded by sunlight, car lights, and dirty, wet or icy windshields; 6) drivers lose control of their vehicles; 7) the medicated, the angry, the infirm and the stupid all drive cars.

None of the above is dependent upon “respect” commanded by the behavior of cyclists. Quit blaming cyclists.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Foreshadowing.

This is cracking me up.

No, it's not me. However, it appears that there is a new contestant in the wicked satire competition, and just in time to enliven the back-to-school doldrums.

Yo, Pete -- are the yard signs finished yet?

COFFEY EARNS HONOR FOR LEADERSHIP
New Albany city council president Dan Coffey is the 2009 recipient of the Caesars Foundation Award for Imperial Democracy. The prestigious award is given to leaders who best embody the one-man rule principles of Roman's first Emperor.

PRICE TO SPEAK ON MONEY SAVING HOUSE TIPS
Attention all landlords! Who isn't looking to save on house maintenance? That's why Citizens for Accountability is sponsoring nationally acclaimed lecturer Steve Price's educational seminar "House Tips for Savings: Whitewashed and Windowless."

The city didn't pay for this wall, either. Sorry.


Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 24, 2009

Which other neighborhood?

Understanding that eleven minutes wasn't enough for me to grasp very much at last week's city council meeting, I'm still puzzled by one comment.

As Mrs. Baird reported at her blog:

Jason Hublar of the Falling Run Group questioned where the money would be spent if the fees were raised. He said the $100,000 appropriated was spent in another neighborhood. A representative from the Stormwater board said the funds are used on a case by case basis.

Do we yet know which neighborhood was being referenced here as the recipient of money that Mr. Hublar thought was coming his neighborhood's way?

I'm just curious, given that the Coffey strategy throughout the current stormwater debate has been to divide the city's neighborhoods, pitting them against each other to bob for farthings, when their real collective ire should be directed against Coffey and his do-nothing, dilettante council compatriots.

Councilman John Gonder: "Open Letter to the New Albanian."

For me, last week was a blur. It was even more of a blur for NABC's hard working employees, as it was the first of several event-packed weeks to come during the late summer and autumn calendar as we try to hit full stride. Indeed, it has been an exhausting and yet exhilarating time.

Last Thursday, I dashed back and forth throughout the day, squeezed in a bicycle ride and an appointment in Louisville, and came steaming into the city council meeting, only to be directed right back out the door (correctly so) after losing my temper when a speaker told an egregious lie. What I said to her should have been reserved for a more private venue, but it was sincere, and because I truly believe it, I shan't join the cult of apology preferred in these buffoonish times.

Several beers later, there was a very brief opportunity to exchange pleasantries with the select group of councilpersons who customarily adjourn to Studio's after meetings. On Friday, at-large councilman John Gonder penned an Open Letter to the New Albanian, which I'll not quote here, but merely suggest you read. Join the discussion at John's blog, or wait until I have the opportunity to organize my thoughts in response and post here at NAC, which perhaps will be soon. I have two impending for-pay writing deadlines that must be tended to first.

I will say this: It is humbling that John took the time to compose his note, and whether or not I agree in full, it is appreciated.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

"All in all, probably the best night we've ever had in downtown NA."

I received the following earlier today, and after mulling over, it seems appropriate to reprint these upbeat words for all to see, with only a few minor changes since I didn't ask permission. My guess is that as a fellow New Albanian and co-conspirator, he's okay with me doing it.

After the undeniably successful Celtic Fest concluded, I peddled back to Bank Street Brewhouse for the after party. There were bands playing, open-air courtyards pumping, and people walking through the streets. If only for one night, downtown was one big YES yard sign, repudiating the foolishness, repelling the acrimony, rebutting the naysayers, and replacing their negative vibes with testimony that speaks to what's possible.

It felt quite good, for once. Here's the note from my pal.

---

I can not begin to describe how much fun we had last night. I think my friend said it best when he asked the question, "Other than Harvest Homecoming, when was the last time you were walking around downtown New Albany at 10 o'clock at night?" The answer was never.

Our travels were as follows:

Arrived and parked in the parking garage around 5:30. Walked down to the amphitheatre. Listened to fine Irish music. Located you and the beer garden. What a coincidence. Had a few finely crafted beers as we listened to the next group. Decided to walk to Steinert's to give the new location some moral and financial support. We had a couple of appetizers and a Stella. Saw the owner, congratulated him and wished him well at his new location. Walked over to Bank Street Brewhouse for craft beers, pomme frittes, and dinner. I had the braised pork shank. My compliments to Josh.


Walked back to the amphitheatre, which is when my friend asked the above noted question, and caught six or seven songs by Brendan. That was undoubtedly the best rendition of "Waltzing Matilda" I have ever heard. Unfortunately, Daddy duty called and we had to go home and I couldn't make it for the after party, although my friend and I discussed and schemed to try and make it by ourselves.

All in all, probably the best night we've ever had in downtown NA. Thanks.

Brendan Loughrey's tribute to Kenny Chesney.

The Celtic Fest headliner performed this wonderful song last night at Bank Street Brewhouse, and I can't get it out of my head. Note: Not G-rated at all, thankfully.

Ted's Celtic Fest photos.

Ted Fulmore has Celtic Fest photos: 2009 Celtic Fest New Albany.

I'll have more to say about Celtic Fest later today. It's been a hard week for all of us, but I'm feeling extremely good about the event. Right now, I'm contemplating a freshening bike ride, a recuperative Bloody Mary and the 1,200 words due Food & Dining tomorrow afternoon.

Thanks to everyone who organized, worked, attended and enjoyed. Slainte!

"Bloody Mary Bloody Sunday" at Bank Street Brewhouse, noon to 3:00 p.m. today (August 23).

Memo to recuperative-minded, post-Celtic New Albanians: Bloody Mary Sunday at Bank Street Brewhouse -- from Noon to 3 p.m., design your own BM from Hangar One and a veritable salad bar of healthy embellishments.

Not only that, but I have lyrics from my favorite post-WWII, imperial American Broadway musical, South Pacific.

"Bloody Mary"

Men:
Bloody Mary is the girl I love.
Bloody Mary is the girl I love.
Bloody Mary is the girl I love.
Now ain't that too damn bad!

Her skin is tender as Dimaggio's glove.
Her skin is tender as Dimaggio's glove.
Her skin is tender as Dimaggio's glove.
Now ain't that too damn bad!

Bloody Mary's chewin' betel nuts.
She is always chewin' betel nuts.
Bloody Mary's chewin' betel nuts.
And she don't use Pepsodent!
Now ain't that too damn bad!

[Instrumental]

Bloody Mary is the girl I love.
Bloody Mary is the girl I love.
Bloody Mary is the girl I love.
Now ain't that too damn bad!
Now ain't that too damn bad!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

You know where I'll be all day: Celts, music and beer by the river.

NABC will be adding Elector to the list of beers available for purchase. The after party brings circa 11 p.m. at the Bank Street Brewhouse, and though theoretically "private", anyone may come. Tell 'em NA Confidential sent you, and leave your NO signs at home.

Somalia and cottages: CFA's new blog site.

Citizens Faux Accountability (CFA) has a great new blogger site:

Citizens Faux Accountability

This blog is dedicated to all The Landlords with property in New Albany. Always remember The Freedom to Have Rental Property Free from Government Interference no matter what. No one shall take this Right from Us. The moment we begin to see the personal agendas in City Government, We should speak out with Yard Signs. We can make a difference on the way their City Government operates. My philosophy is doing things as they should be done for all Landlords who live in Georgetown and Floyds Knobs.
(As Odin is my witness, I have no idea who is responsible for this parody, but it is very, very funny)

Friday, August 21, 2009

Random rumination.

If I had it to do over, I suppose I'd have picked a different noun.

Tribune: "The Celts come to New Albany Saturday."

All I can add is this: Be there. NABC's refurbished draft truck will be in attendance, and we'll have as many as six beers on tap (two more than previously indicated).

The Celts come to New Albany Saturday, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

New Albany’s riverfront will resemble an Irish or Scottish celebration Saturday, as the city’s amphitheater will host Kentuckiana Celtic Fest’s inaugural “Celts on the River” event from 3 to 11 p.m.

The free concert will feature Ireland’s own Brendan Loughrey, as well as Kentucky artists Men of Thunda, The Derby Boys, Cloigheann, Keltricity, Guilderoy Byrne and Liam’s Fancy.

“I’ve been to Ireland 20 times, and I can tell you our bands in Louisville and Lexington that will be playing plus our headliner are as good as anything you’d hear in Ireland,” said Peggy Baas, one of 30 Kentuckiana Celtic Fest organizers.

Open thread: Is this the worst city council imaginable?

There was a city council meeting last night, and there might as well have been a circle jerk for all the good it did for the city. Afterwards, everyone retreated to Studio’s and looked into their own personal mirrors, the ones that show the distorted reflections of wannabeens as serial in their abdication of responsibility as Larry Kochert ever was.

It’s a shame. Anyone got a novelty lighter to play with while the city rots?

I was present for eleven minutes of it before being ejected, and just as a courtesy, permit me now to inform readers that they shouldn’t hold their breaths waiting for me to apologize for telling the truth about a congenital liar, however infirm, aged and embittered she may be.

Won’t happen, folks.

But in the time afforded by my departure, and a few subsequent pints, the thought that kept returning was this council’s abject failure to achieve anything substantive.

Anything.

The excuse that is offered time and again is that times are hard, and wow, who had any idea how tough it was going to be, and damn, we have it rough! The state won’t help, and it’s someone else’s fault, and we can’t be bothered to read or to learn or to offer something – anything – that might represent a glimmer of creativity in a time of duress.

In short, we don’t know anything, we won’t learn anything, and we’d like for those of you less worldly than we are to return us to office next time, because we promise not to have a clue then, either, and we can go our merry ways.

Really? That’s inspiring, isn’t it?

Am I reading them incorrectly? Let me know, and I promise not to call you a liar. Unless, of course, you are.

NASH: "Our city needs bike lanes."

Matt, the missus and I rode our bikes to last night's council meeting. Good work again from the new columnist on the block.

NASH: Our city needs bike lanes

There are some in our local government that do not see the importance of bike lanes on our city streets. During the debate on the paving plan, it is rumored that at least one councilman stated he would vote against any plan that included bike lanes.

It is that type of short-sighted and backward logic that has gotten our city in the trouble that it is currently in. Our elected leaders refuse to support any progressive ideals. They refuse to see the big picture and always worry about what it is going to cost.

They hide behind the guise of fiscal conservatism, but they do not understand the savings and benefits that would ultimately be realized.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

I'm outta there.

Well, there'll be no notes, either, because I was ejected.

No live blogging tonight.

No signal tonight ...

I will publish notes on Friday morning.

World's largest condom machine to eliminate the need for membership dues at the 1117 East Spring Neighborhood Association.

Encouraged by the continuing presence of the Coke machine out in front of the slumlord property on the 600 block of E. Elm, which apparently (but certainly not unexpectedly) has survived the city's stated intent to remove it from its sidewalk, the newly chartered 1117 East Spring Street Neighborhood Association (1117 NA) is delighted to announce that the first step toward its goal of financial independence will be the world's largest condom dispensing machine, to be located on the city's property where a dead tree currently stands.

Whenever the city gets around to cutting down the tree ...

(Psst ... what if they move as slowly on the dead tree as they have on the Coke machine ... then where do we put the condom machine?)

... the 1117 NA will begin constructing its fundraiser.

In other news, the president of 1117 NA, Hugo Baylor (the aria-loving tabby, and one of four cats who are members of 1117 NA) will visit his North Korean leadership counterpart Kim Jong Il next week to seek a grant for $1345.87 that will enable 1117 NA to remove a dead tree from the city's property before the city's target date of 2017.

Today's Tribune column: "Doing without ‘them’ people."

If you have a bicycle and would like to ride with the senior editor and Matt Nash from Bank Street Brewhouse to the City-County Building for tonight's council conclave, be at BSB circa 6:30 p.m. Given the strong possibility that flooding and drainage complaints will be in abundance tonight, it would be a good idea to find seats early.

I might be a few minutes late owing to a commitment in Louisville. If Matt has anything to add, I'm sure he'll do so in the comments section.

Meanwhile, in today's column I'm introducing a character from my parallel universe of purely fictional blog fare. You may be familiar with him.
BAYLOR: Doing without ‘them’ people

Soon the mayor’s chair would soon be up for grabs, and if Cappuccino could land it, they’d never dare make fun of him again. Until that golden moment, when he’d finally earn a living wage as chieftain of the city, there were self-aggrandizing, politically motivated council games to play, and the current occupant of city hall to blame.

Broken Sidewalk: "Bridges Project Threatens Other Local Transportation Projects."

From today's Broken Sidewalk blog, reprinted in its entirety: Bridges Project Threatens Other Local Transportation Projects.

The Ohio River Bridges Project could threaten smaller transportation projects around the Louisville region. The C-J reported today that because there’s no financing plan for the $4.1 Billion fiasco, the Federal government could freeze important short-term transportation projects. A December deadline has been imposed to settle on a financing plan.

“Four years ago, officials expected that the states’ federal gasoline tax revenue would be enough to cover the cost, which was estimated at $1.4 billion.

“But now that the project has climbed to $4.1 billion, Kentucky and Indiana are looking for more money — possibly including tolls — and the federal government wants details.


“The government requires all federally financed transportation projects to have clear sources of funding to keep unrealistic projects from tying up money.”
We’ve known that the demands of financing this mega-project are far greater than the expected return. For merely half the price, the 8664.org plan solves the same transportation problem without requiring tolls or the destruction of Downtown Louisville. It’s definitely not too late to fix our transportation issues in a responsible way. Perhaps the Feds will finally realize that the Spaghetti Junction-two-bridge solution is as “unrealistic” as many have know for so long.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

YES, but not at tomorrow's city council meeting.

At least not from Jethro.

I'm told that the new batch of YES yard signs will not be finished until Monday, which means we'll have to postpone the presentation until September.

Paging Matt Nash: What's the status of your side of the plan?

Meanwhile, is City Hall climbing down from its garbage rate fee hike? Which council member will claim to know the most about flood prevention? Will Pat read the paving list this time, or trust the word of the fifth caller?

Only the open air museum's spinning wheel of serendipity knows for sure, but if you're a masochist, read the council's agenda and ask:

Will we get out of there in enough time for a relaxed beer?

I'll be blogging live from the council's vapid chamber, assuming the president doesn't block my wireless signal. After my column in the Tribune tomorrow, he just might.

Calming effects in real life, on the ground.

Somewhere, RemCha is having a seizure.

The new set of hash marks on Spring Street between Vincennes and State put down after paving and before striping shows two lanes instead of three, and the calming effect has been a thing to behold. Traffic is slower and more orderly.

Ideally, Spring Street should be a two-way street, as should the remainder of the downtown street grid.

If not, it should be a one-way street with two lanes.

The very worst it can be is a three lane, one-way street.

See if you can guess the likely outcome, given our location in New Albany, the land that rationality forgot.

Apologies for being cursory ... Insight might flicker out again at any moment.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Placeholding.

The ever helpful folks at INSIGHTLESS have ordained that I shan’t be working much from home for the next day and a half, primarily because I can’t successfully negotiate their required three-hour blocks of “what if -- whenever” service and wait for one of their contractors to come and wave the requisite magic wand.

If refrigerators worked under the same variable principle as routers, how much spoiled food would we have?

But I digress. Why is it again that we negotiate a monopoly with these people?

Bluegill ... feel free to agitate if the mood strikes.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Yes: Signs being printed.

Last Friday I finally made time to drop in on Pete at DRC and make my modest monetary contribution to the Yes signage.

A bunch of them are being printed in the "fill in the blank" format, i.e., you can use your own markers or paint to finish the sign with four concepts or causes that you are "for," as opposed to "against" as with the red signs currently littering the municipality.

The point? Yes, not no. Be for something, not perpetually against. Show the outside world that we support ideas here, not rage at the moon and stars in impotent, populist despair. That we are constructive and capable, not frustrated and angry. We can do, accomplish, and succeed. The exact words written on these signs is far less important than the big word: Yes.

If the Yes signs are ready by Thursday, August 20, I'll take a stack with me to the city council meeting and give one to each of our elected representatives.
Anyone else in on this fun piece of performance art?
I suppose we also need to determine how to hand out the signs to interested parties. Discussion?

Better weird locally than the fiscal wagon train to Bentonville.

Longtime readers will recall NAC's "weird" disclaimer: New Albany could not be kept weird until it was first made weird. Many people have been working toward this noble goal, and we're getting there.

The part of this that continues to fascinate me is the "play by the rules" sub-sect of the Little People Church, which seldom sees fit to acknowledge the high cost of low price at Wally World when we take up these discussions. They're generally the ones who can afford to be senisible, but won't for reasons of ear-splitting ideology.

The rule? It is appropriately quoted below:

"Dollars spent with locally-owned businesses go further in the community."

Learn it, wee ones. Here's the article.
Keeping Southern Indiana weird, by Leslea M. Harmon (News and Tribune).

Weird is the new cool. You’ve seen the bumper sticker “Keep Louisville Weird,” but what does it mean, and how can Southern Indiana benefit from the idea? Should local consumers be keeping it weird on this side of the river? ...


... Times are indeed changing, and the current economic climate is perhaps the biggest change of all. Whether or not Southern Indiana adopts a hip slogan summarizing the importance of shopping locally, facts are facts: dollars spent with locally-owned businesses go further in the community.

According to a report from the American Independent Business Alliance, each dollar spent at a local independent merchant goes three or more times further back into the local economy, compared to a dollar spent at chain-owned businesses.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

New neighborhood association chartered in New Albany.

With a population of 6 – two humans and four cats – the 1117 East Spring Street Neighborhood Association (1117 NA, for short), seeks to capitalize on the city's enduring, unceasing factionalist disunity by actively competing against other, like-minded groups for scarce and diminishing resources at the precise time when co-operation is most needed.

“We believe that circling our wagon is the best approach to deal with the transitional status of the areas outside our own tiny patch of turf,” says 1117 NA founder R. A. Baylor.

“This way, it’s all for number one, and none for all.”

In like spirit, the formation of the 1117 NA is being lauded by those parasitical elements that readily thrive in New Albany’s historic downtown residential areas in the absence of principled unity, including the Slumlord Benevolent Society (SBS), the Meth Cooker’s Alliance (MCA), the Diversity Ends at the Tip of My Porch’s Nose (DETMPN), and the Committee to Re-elect Steve Price (JETHRO).

Its perimeter duly staked, 1117 NA intends an immediate petition to the Indiana Housing & Community Development Authority (IHCDA) Board of Directors for “purely an afterthought” funding from the NSP Community Neighborhood Revitalization Fund.

According to Baylor, 1117 NA’s bid for afterthought funding stands in stark contrast with applications submitted by other, larger neighborhood associations in the area.

“Seeking the betterment of whole city blocks is effete, outmoded, pie in the sky blather from the same liberal minds that brought us socialistic health care,” he says. “It only makes the slumlords mad, while getting the rest of us dirty. However, 1117 NA’s bold, innovative proposal keeps it small and sustainable. If approved, these neighborhood stabilization monies will be used as soon as possible to enhance the quality of life where it matters most: Right here at 1117 E. Spring.”

Items on 1117 NA’s neighborhood revitalization checklist include a big-ass brick wall to keep everyone else out, a new hot tub on the back patio, a humidor and cigar lounge in the unfinished basement, more refrigeration and beer tapping capability, and guaranteed lifetime supplies of both cat food and kitty litter.

Baylor said that when it comes to existing neighborhood associations, there are no hard feelings.

“There’s no ‘team’ in ‘I’, and there’s no ‘communal’ in ‘lone wolf’, but what the hell -- they’ll figure it out eventually. It just got to the point where too many hoity-toity bloggers were telling me how to live my life, and my wife's and cats’ lives, too, and if I believed in God, I’d say ‘by God’, that’s just un-American. Them people don't scare me.”

“If you'll pardon me now, I have an appointment for high tea with my 3rd district councilman. We’ll be discussing investments in offshore rental properties -- the ones in those other neighborhoods."


(submitted press release)

Saturday, August 15, 2009

German History Buzz in the aftermath of my last newspaper column.

Since the Tribune took down its on-line forums, I've been slow to adapt to the new feature that permits comments at the conclusion of articles. Consequently, thanks to the newspaper's publisher (my boss) for e-mailing me to note this pleasant comment after my column, "Working for Herr Honecker." I've visited Mr. Dawson's web site, and if you have any interest in that area of Europe, you should consider checking, too (Andy, I'm thinking of you in particular).

Bill Dawson wrote:

Thank you for a great story! I stumbled across it via Google News search results re: Berlin Wall. This is truly the power of the internet come alive: 20, nay 10, years ago I'd never have known that a local columnist in Jeffersonville, Indiana wrote an interesting column about his summer in East Germany!

I 'tweeted' your article (GermanHistory is my Twitter account.) I run a site www.germanhistorybuzz.com in case you are interested.

Thanks again,

Bill

Gonder: The national health care debate in a local context.

Councilman John Gonder has been blogging like crazy.

Recently I used comment space at his blog to mildly chide him for his profusion of passionate postings on health care, in the sense of wishing for more of that passion to be expended locally, right here, in New Albany, as a counterweight to the council's skewed Coffeyite "leadership" and the body's transparent "who's in for mayor next time?" positioning.

Here is John's answer.

Which Side Are You On?...Day 13

For those who question my, as a New Albany City Councilman, interest in this national issue, it is this: Even the rats aboard a sinking ship drown.

Friday, August 14, 2009

NASH: "Our county needs new pool."

I was out of town last week when Matt Nash's new column debuted. He's an excellent writer, and he apparently knows which closets house the appropriate skeletons, something that surely will result in colorful rebukes from the wannabeen brigade at some point in the future.

My advice to Matt is for him to retain his wonderful sense of the absurd, and have fun. I know I do.

NASH: Our county needs new pool

As the summer unofficially comes to an end this week and parents finally send their kids back to school, I begin to reminisce about a simpler time in my life.

Growing up, one of my fondest memories was visiting the local swimming pool. The Oasis, as it was called when I was little, was just a few blocks from my house. If I cut through some houses, it was an even shorter walk across the hot asphalt of the Holy Family Church parking lot.

Later, after a complete renovation, the name was changed to honor New Albany’s Olympic swimmer, Camille Wright ...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Today's Tribune column: "Working for Herr Honecker."

BAYLOR: Working for Herr Honecker

Twenty years ago this very week, I was at work polishing V.I. Lenin’s shoes.

The footwear belonged to a gargantuan statue of the Soviet Union’s founder standing at the entrance to the Volkspark Friedrichshain in East Berlin, capital of the German Democratic Republic — GDR, or “East” Germany.

A good thing: Steinert's is opening in downtown New Albany.

Every New Albanian has an opinion about Steinert's -- what it used to be, what it became, and whether it was good or bad. I won't kid you and say I went there often in more recent times, but there were periods in the "old days" when I was a regular.

My first experiences at the original location was in 1980 or thereabouts. It was what the Brits would call a "boozer," basic and catering to the shot and beer crowd.

The Steinert family then executed a power move of epic dimensions, closing for extensive remodeling circa 1983, and emerging a few months later with a barroom that looked more like Cheers than anything else ever seen hereabouts previously.

I remember seeing the dazed looks of the older regulars, who soon were supplanted by a new, young and freer spending crowd, which grew older with the reinvented business. Undoubtedly it was a sharp move to reinvent, and contributed to enhanced value when the business ultimately was sold by the family.

Remember this: You never stop reinventing your business, or yourself. If you do, you die. Steinert's is now reinvented for downtown New Albany, as the article below makes clear.

Some will scoff.

I don't.

This is an established local name moving from further outside the center into downtown. This is a very good thing for downtown, whatever the circumstances that brings Steinert's to within spitting distance of the Ohio. I just hope they'd like to sell locally brewed beer on draft ... but there's plenty of time for that.

Welcome to the 'hood, guys.

Steinert’s Bar and Grill reopens in downtown New Albany, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

The first six months after Steinert’s Bar and Grill burned beyond repair, co-owner Rick Geoghegan was overwhelmed by the same questions.

When will the bar — which originated in 1877 and eventually located along Charlestown Road in New Albany before the May 2008 fire — reopen and where?

Geoghegan and business partner Jerry Roby won’t have to respond to those inquiries after Tuesday, when Steinert’s will celebrate a new beginning at the former Redman’s Club building, located at the intersection of East Main and Fourth streets.

Wannabeen birthers aside, there remains hope for the future.

Barack Obama’s historic, precedent-shattering presidential victory in 2008 was attributed to many factors, but one consistent explanation is the voting margins in his favor among young people, minorities and the better educated. In short, he did well with those who represent what we're becoming, not where we've been.

It is telling to consider the primary sources of orchestrated disaffection as the nation attempts to “discuss” health care reform: Not young, not of color, and lesser educated, across the board, excepting of course the money/power lobbies standing to be adversely impacted by fairness.

As numerous commentators have observed, the anger is irrational, but easy to explain. The screamers fear the loss of their own positions of societal primacy. They are old and monotone in a young and multi-hued nation, and it scares them into lashing out.

The Obama constituency is still there, albeit with voices seemingly drowned by the rancor on the right. I don’t recommend that the reasonable scream back. Just make sure everyone knows that in spite of the dunderhead (dittohead?) spite-filled bluster, you’re still out there. As is the case with New Albany’s congenital obstructionists, it’s easier to incite anger against than to patiently explain the merits of “for.”

Back home in New Albany, there is an event coming on August 29: Night on the town in New Albany, by Tara Hettinger (News and Tribune).


When 23-year-old Jala Miller moved to New Albany a few months ago, she invited her friends to visit the city.

They asked why would they come to New Albany.

So, she decided to give them and everyone — 21 and older — a reason to visit downtown and be reintroduced to all the redevelopment that has been taking place: a beer walk/olympics on Aug. 29.
You can visit the newspaper’s web site and read the entire article, but the single most important point made therein is included in the preceding citation.

It is the organizer’s age.

Granted, I’ve no clue what Jala’s political views are, but what I know is that she had an idea, did research, diligently implemented her findings, and if all goes well, a crowd of her peers will be roaming through downtown New Albany on the 29th. Some of them will return, and some may even stay.

2010 is coming, and the generation that ultimately matters, both here and in the country as a whole, does not include Professor Erika, Healthblogger, Larry Kochert or even me. Let’s hope their voices continue to be heard amid the embittered, elder-generated bile.

Second thoughts?

Previously, NAC noted that both the East Spring Street Neighborhood Association (ESNA) and then the S. Ellen Jones Neighborhood Association (SEJ) voted to merge.

S. Ellen Jones votes tonight on neighborhood association merger proposal.

ESNA meeting tonight: Merger with SEJ to be discussed and a vote taken.

From last evening's ESNA meeting comes word via e-mail that, "Some members expressed reservations about proceeding with the merger."

For some reason, I'm reminded of those locals who oppose reopening the K & I bridge, reasoning that those evil Portlanders would soon come streaming across to New Albany.

Of course, the Portlanders harbor a polar opposite concern.

When times get tough, we forget the reasons why we won the Second World War. That's too bad, because speaking personally, and in both word and deed, I support maximum unity in the city's neighborhoods, because combining resources and concentrating efforts are the only ways to even begin checking the rot and reversing the negligence wrought by two terms of Brother Price’s Traveling Deprivation Show.

Just my opinion. I'm sure there are others.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Update: Kentuckiana Celtic Festival in NA, August 22.

I’m still piecing together information about the Kentuckiana Celtic Fest, which is slated for New Albany’s riverfront amphitheater on Saturday, August 22 from 3:00 p.m. to 11:00 p.m.

The music has looked promising from the start, and is summarized in this previous NAC posting: Saturday, August 22: Free concert at the Riverfront Amphitheater kicks off Kentuckiana Celtic Fest.

NABC will put its new three-way catering permit between the white lines and assume responsibility as the sole purveyor of alcohol at the festival. Thus, a Lite-Free Zone is blessedly assured. My guess is that we’ll start serving at 3:00 p.m. and give last call around 10:30 p.m.

Our purpose-brewed Celtic Red” Ale, informally dubbed Haggis Laddie for the occasion, will be on tap along with (perhaps) three other NABC beers – something golden (Abzug?), something hoppy (Elector?) and Strathpeffer, the honey and heather ale that just went back on a seasonal tap. If River City Winery is legal to wholesale to us, we’ll have some of their wines on hand. There may be a bottle or two of Irish whisky, but I haven’t decided whether to go that route.

I’m told that food will be catered by the O’Shea’s/Brendan’s pubs from Louisville, along with Bluegrass Kitchen, a hot dog cart and “probably an ice cream vendor.” That’s probably enough to cover the first year. Let’s hope that New Albany-based establishments get a shot next year.

That’s what I know today. Stay tuned for further details.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Whatever happened to the voting abacus in his garage?

I saw a creative variation on the "NO" yard sign today and snapped this photo ... damn, where'd that fly come from?

I'll go in for a close-up:

Tale of two signs.

Thanks for the reminders about signage. There are so many choices. Another thought:

Monday, August 10, 2009

Some photos from the weekend.



Posted by Picasa

1. Downtown Madison on State Street, looking toward the capital dome.

2. Jesse and Jared in the real ale tent, suckling NABC's Malcolm's Old Setters Ale.

3. Gregg and Leilah in NABC's t-shirt tent, helping to clothe Madison.

The trouble with taking photos is that I always have a beer in my hand getting in the way.

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Something about frying pans and fires.

As always, thanks to Bluegill for pinch-hitting while I was visiting glorious Madison WI and doing my little bit for hop bombs and Imperial Stout at the Great Taste of the Midwest.

We manded a tent corner slot this year and really pushed the t-shirt sales, which resulted in 280, more than double last year. "These Machines Kill Fascists" remains a favorite of the local crowd, and we saw them all over town during the course of three days.

There, in Madison, they get it.

Here, in Southern Indiana, we get "blue dogs," and I join the Bookseller (and others) in wondering how this designation is any different from that of "Republican."

At least part of the street was paved in my absence. I'd been hoping to return to two way streets and bike lanes ... but this ain't Wisconsin, is it?

Saturday, August 08, 2009

The greatest destination may be closer than you think.

A hat tip to Rory Turner at Goucher College's Cultural Sustainability blog for pointing out Juan Gonzalez's Global Culture: Sustainable, Memorable, Livable travel experiences for global citizens.

Juan's recent piece on the greatest destination responds to various city ranking methodologies with an intriguing list of attributes to be considered in conjunction with destinations, neighborhoods, and the tools of place analysis.

Without trying to discredit the effort (I really think they are onto something), the article falls to easily into common clichés such as wind turbines, urban farming, community greenhouses, rooftop entertainment and falls short of getting into a serious exploration of the most powerful element to transform our cities: a lively, dense, diverse neighbourhood with progressive minds ready to adapt as new technologies and ideas becoming affordable. In my opinion, more than building we need to explore our cities to find those neighbourhoods that are almost at the brink of a creative explosion, just waiting for the right people to converge and turn them into the ideal urban quarters.

What are the attributes that would make a neighbourhood such a candidate? I expect this will turn into a debate, but here a summary of arguments I’ve put forward over the last three years (in no particular order):

* Hyper-connected: both in the virtual and living realms, it must provide the infrastructure to keep its dwellers engaged with other people across the city and around the globe.

* Sustainable: as with any self-organizing entity, it must optimize resources for its survival, learning to reduce dependency on external sources. This could very well apply to energy efficiency, local food supplies or even its ability to foster the innovation necessary to sustain a thriving culture.

* Evolving: opposing any attempts to characterize the area with a limited number of attributes or features, a great neighbourhood is a living entity with an ongoing narrative that can only be understood by its actors and can only be fully appreciated by being part of such narrative.

* Diverse: not only in the variety of its people, but in its ability to bring these people together into a single meeting point. You should feel like every day is an opportunity to meet a different person from whom you will learn something new.

* Acoustic: as in acoustic medium, where the space becomes a medium that excels at enabling cultural transfer by virtue of the evolved traditions of its participants, advanced mechanisms enabled by technology to propagate information and a rich mix of sources that can be used and reused for many different purposes.

* Unique: even though we may one day discover the perfect recipe for a great neighbourhood, I bet we will continue to be amazed by their variety. A signature lifestyle should be a good hint that you’ve got a good thing going in this place.

* Livable: a great destination should make you feel like you’ve arrived somewhere and not like you’re in transit as an spectator. Its ability for calling on people to settle should be of utmost importance.

Friday, August 07, 2009

NASH: Council needs to do its duty.

NASH: Council needs to do its duty

The New Albany City Council has accomplished many things in the last few years.

It was able to create a cabaret ordinance keeping the residents of New Albany safe from the Rustic Frog. It was able to pass a novelty lighter ordinance keeping the city safe from impulse purchases at convenience stores. The council also ruled against a zoning board recommendation in order to protect the residents of Lafayette Drive from Frostys and junior bacon cheeseburgers.


Having introduced himself last week, new Tribune columnist Matt Nash wastes no time in taking our City Council to task for their ongoing efforts to protect themselves at the expense of a properly performing republic. His exgesis on the effects of unfair voting districts is incisive, showing how real world harm is done by the Council's chicanery, with some peoples' votes counting much more than others.

A federal case, to be sure. Thanks, Matt.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Today's Tribune column: "A belt of the Celts".

BAYLOR: A belt of the Celts

My cousin, Don Barry, a university professor who taught me the European travel ropes, surfaced in Southern Indiana one typically balmy summer in 1988 bearing a box filled with vinyl. The albums were original pressings of the Dubliners, Wolfe Tones, Tommy Makem, Clancy Brothers and other Irish folk bands.

I’d toured Ireland twice at this point, but the trips were short, and although sufficient to drain numerous pints of the national black elixir and deplete adjacent seas of fish to accompany chips, there wasn’t time for a proper cultural education.

Copenhagen: City of Cyclists.

The first in a five part series on Copenhagen cycling, the very first episode of A Billion Bikes:



We should open or build cycling bridges and lanes first before any other transportation construction occurs. Anyone living in or near downtown New Albany or Jeffersonville could get to downtown Louisville and its surrounding neighborhoods (and vice versa) easily and safely, making all the above more valuable in terms of quality of life and hard dollars.

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

"NA 1 Night Stand," a pub crawl, coming to downtown New Albany on August 29.

When first we heard from Jala Miller, she was moving into her new apartment in the building that houses Studio's Grille & Pub in downtown New Albany. Shortly thereafter, we were introduced, and I heard her idea for a downtown pub crawl, something that would being attention to the many new establishments coming to downtown New Albany.

Most important to me is her view of the demographics involved (her words):

To make this event a success – it is important that everyone “looks at the big picture”. The goal of this beer walk is to get the younger generation to want to visit New Albany “as a whole” – to make it a destination similar to that of Bardstown Road. In order for this to happen, the bars participating will need to be excited about it!
Jala has the plan together, and here are preliminary details. I concede that the date coinciding with Brew at the (Louisville) Zoo is inconvenient, but to be truthful, summer weekends tend to be booked from May through October in recent years. NABC will be participating in "NA 1 Night Stand" in a yet-to-be-determined fashion, hopefully with an outdoor party to serve as the trial run for similar events coming in September and October.

Event: The NA 1 Night Stand -- "Check 'em all before you fall"
What: Festival
Start Time: Saturday, August 29 at 3:00 p.m.
End Time: Sunday, August 30 at 12:00 a.m.
Where: Downtown New Albany

Facebook link

Description:

"The 'NA 1 Night Stand' is a one day welcome or reintroduction to downtown NA and all of the redevelopment that has been taking place. Join us on August 29th for a 'Beer Walk' different than anything NA has ever seen. Beer Olympics sign in begins at 3:00pm at Steinert's.

"Participating establishments will be featuring drink specials, food specials, and other attractions such as live music throughout the entire event day. Raffle prizes will be awarded throughout the day thanks to many local sponsors!"

Senior editor graces inner pages of Today's Woman magazine, world gasps.


Visit the web site, scroll down to a familiar face, and read his thoughts on women and beer.
Men, Women and Beer

I really believe it’s true: Most women are more receptive to trying different beers than most men, because many men define themselves by brand loyalty and do it more often than most women.

The growler was filled with NABC Beak’s Best, and I gave it to Ewa, the photographer, as a gift after she confided to enjoying craft beer. She’s since left the magazine, and will be attending law school at Indiana University in Bloomington.

See, guys: You don’t have to be a “Bud Man” at all.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

Both NABC locations open for business.

As of 12:30 p.m., we're up and running. All the employees were not able to make it to Grant Line, but Kate reports that things are okay. There was a bit of water leakage (an ongoing issue) at Bank Street, but nothing major.

Open thread: August 3 city council meeting.

The woman said she hoped the rain would hold off until her flood insurance became active on August 7.

No such luck. As I'm typing, I hear a drip in a place a drip shouldn't be. It's a sign o' the times.

I've posted the meeting notes, having been denied Internet access last evening, and now I'm opening the floor for comments.

Assuming you're not busy with water removal.

---

Late note: New Albany City Council goes for stormwater increase (Daniel Suddeath's Tribune coverage).

August 3 city council meeting notes, part three: Tree board and ordinances, including fee increases.

At roughly 9:20 p.m., a three minute break.

---

We return to an appointment to the tree board to satisfy John Gonder, and the approval of Huncilman's CF1 tax abatement form. Coffey apologizes for keeping him waiting, and the man says he has "enjoyed" it so far. It's about to get better, isn't it?

Ordinances and resolutions

A-09-10 (Gahan 1) EDIT money appropriation for storm water

$75,000 resolution amount becomes $100,000 tonight, because this is the ordinance, by golly, and we rounded up. Council members are still trying to decide where the money is going. Caesar says we have to start doing something now. Price says the rate increase is cart before the horse. Must know where the money is needed first. Price corrects the administration as to the origins of the storm water board, a peculiar obession of his. Coffey wants it stated that the board is three years old. Rate established at inception was to be for five years.

K Zurschmiede clarifies again: From EDIT, not Rainy Day? Rainy Day for future raiding? Gahan says yes, whatever, take it from anywhere. “We want to move as fast as we can.” Kay Garry says because it was advertised as EDIT, must be from EDIT. She could change the newspaper ad if they want to raid Rainy, too.

1st reading: Against … none
For … all of them

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G-09-14 (Messer 1) Home Rule ordinance to pay for the best interests of New Albany

Garry: State says a line item something or another must have an ordinance, somehow an edict of the state for a specific economic development expenditure. Used for 4H Fair night tickets, etc. Things like that. Only once was the $4,000 already spent. Housecleaning only.

1st reading: Unanimous.

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G-09-15 (Benedetti 1) user/service fees for storm water
Benedetti expresses favor. Gonder asks whether unpaved roads are subject to stormwater fees (??). Apparently yes.

Price: 5-year-plans back in ’06. Nought six, Anje. I know we had to buy back EMC, etc. Are we paying a secretary $40,000 a year? Who is it?

Kay: Error. She makes $23,000

Price: Shane, what about non-compensating board members? It was in the by-laws. How did that change?

**Kay: The council changed it. “You all passed it and signed it.”

Price votes “no” so often that he can’t remember voting against storm water compensation increases. Now he is silent again. Won't be for long, although if the voters think about it, perhaps Price silence can be permanent soon.

Gahan: Moving the rate without a master plan?

Engineer: Different rates provided to show improvements possible at different monetary expenditures.

KZ wants to see the original budget again. Thinks it is different from the way tonight’s report is set up.

Engineer: A lot went out with EMC.

Not a budget, but prepared by an auditor of sorts. The bottom line is correct, according to the engineer.

Benedetti: Kelly Welsh’s salary? Kay says no, her main salary comes from the sewer department. Kay didn’t get a chance to see it.

Shane: A draft, taking previous numbers and putting them into categories. We can find out exactitude, but this shows you where the money has gone (Messer: “perspective”). It shows what can be used for capital improvements, not a budget.

KZ: “We have to have an actual budget” (where have we heard this?) Kay says it has been given out to them. KZ apparently has forgotten.

Price now uses the word “fictitious,” probably because Barney Fife once said the same word on an episode. Price understands that money is needed, but his concern is accountability.

Price: “They hit us up with code enforcement, and we spent all that money on code enforcement” … stream of consciousness, now he’s talking about mulch and Earth First, “if you don’t think there’s waste, I’m out of here.”

GO GO Go Go Go Steve ... go Steve ... just please go

(someone behind me calls Price an "idgit", and I laugh out loud)

Coffey wants to know why he can’t design the project himself, hell, anyone can do it. Response is that city engineer Tim Marinaro is not licensed to do it and can’t be expected to, but at least we have a city engineer again after many years.

Coffey: “Here’s the biggest problem I have … new people … thing is … told people twict (twice-t)… every time you turn around, I’m not gong to take anybody on face value anymore.”

“Not going to sit here and appropriate more money.”

Messer now calls Coffey out, dramatically: According to the rules of order, which Coffey regularly flouts, Coffey must relinquish the chair if he wants to speak on an issue. Coffey looks annoyed.

Price: “He has a right to speak.”

Coffey: “They can come back and ask for more (money)”

Now some of the storm water victims stand up and begin agreeing to pay extra to make things happen. “I’ll pay that money.”

Storm water president prlomises to watch over increased funds.

Pat McLaughlin now (why?) wants to find out about paving. Plan and master plan for paving was drawn up, and then Spring Street was the first one to be paved, how come?

Kay Garry says: Spring was paved with LRS money, not the $2 million allocated by the council. What any of Pat's thoghts tonight have to do with reality is getting harder to determine. Bet his cell phone was buzzing with Erika mash notes prior to the meeting.

Pat should yet again be the swing vote, although the late arriving Bluegill thinks that Pat will vote yes.

My prediction:
For: BC, JoGo, PM, DB, JM,
Against: SP, JeGa, KZ, DC

Actual vote on 1st reading (passes 5-4):
For: BC, JoGo, JeGa, DB, JM,
Against: SP, KZ, DC, PM

There'll be much chicanery on this one by the time we get to the third reading.
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G-09-16 (Messer 1) refuse, garbage and yard waste user/service fees

Price: We put the horse before the cart (huh?), it’s called “enabling” … some people have money … people on fixed incomes ... despair and gloom ... trucks running round … guy here will do the whole thing for less …

Does Steve Price have a real job?

Gonder: Bring the price up to break even on the disparity, then the buck fifty’s (got junk oral bid) adds up to less than Ecotech.

Gonder: Why does Ecotech need to be the favored vendor?

Council attorney Stan Robison wants to look it over. Does it have to be bid out again for a whole new service if it's a different service?

Shane: We have a bid of sorts from Got Junk. Must see what is involved and what would be done.

Messer: Can we pass this with no dollar figure in place?

Coffey: Won’t die regardless. It’s only first reading.

Much futile discussion over terms and such. No one knows anything. 9:50 p.m.

Gahan: Let it rip. Messer offered to table. Shane says, now we have a potential solution. Keep the ball rolling, and go from there.

Coffey: “I got a question, irregardless, you’d have to sit there, at that point in time, you’d have to rebid this.”

Shane says they’ll be reviewing this in the morning.

Stan: New services have to be rebid.

Actual vote on 1st reading:
For: JoGo, DB, JM,
Against: BC, SP, KZ, DC, PM, JeGa

Does not pass first reading.

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Z-09-09 (McLaughlin 2 & 3) Sprigler Builders with Krafty John, Coes Lane

Pat McLaughlin says he tabled it and doesn’t know why it has been revived, but Benedetti explains the "becomes law if not considered a certain number of days from introduction" clause, and illustrates that Pat doesn’t know procedure. A bad night for him. He needs something that is a core plitical value. Even Price has it, although Price's is always wrong. Pat wavers because he doesn;t stand for anything.

We leave before it is decided, because it's my brithday, damn it, and I want a beer.

end of report