Tuesday, March 28, 2017

City Hall describes the four major projects to be funded (in part?) through the Horseshoe Foundation's$5 million gift.

Earlier, we had video from today's ceremony.

Cosmetic surgery: Horseshoe Foundation gives Jeff Gahan $5 million to spend on whatever he damn well pleases.

There'll be time for further comment.

Until then, following is the city's press release -- Team Gahan's own words and illustrations, offered without comment.

One clarification: The segment of Market Street pictured below is between W. 1st and Pearl. 


Horseshoe Foundation Gives $5 Million Gift to City

This morning, at a media event at the scenic Riverfront Amphitheater, the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County awarded a $5 million gift to the City of New Albany.

"On behalf of the City of New Albany, I'd like to express my sincere thanks for this extraordinary gift from the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County," stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. "Their generous gift will benefit the City of New Albany for years to come."

The gift is to help fund projects in downtown New Albany and along the Ohio River Greenway. Four major projects will be funded through this generous gift from the Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County.

Additions Along the Ohio River Greenway

As the original Ohio River Greenway Project nears completion, a few areas surrounding it are in need of some revitalization.

One project aims at developing the Loop Island Wetlands into a nature preservation area, and encouraging residents to take part in and enjoy the natural beauty of the area. The Ohio River Greenway Project aims to bring increased tourism to the area, encourage healthy lifestyles, and improve the overall quality of life of residents, and this project will assist the Greenway in those goals. The nature preserve, in addition with other beautification efforts on site, will create a beautiful space to relax and reconnect to our roots as a river community.

Along the western edge of the Ohio River Greenway, river recreation reigns supreme. Plans for this section include campgrounds, canoe and kayak launch off points, docks/slips, fuel pumps, a boat house and boat ramp, and more.

"For years, access to our natural waterways here in New Albany has been limited," stated Mayor Jeff Gahan. "These projects, and others like the Silver Creek Access project, will help us reconnect to our river heritage."

Market Street Promenade

This project aims at both beautifying and improving the safety and walkability of the Market Street corridor, while retaining the unique historic feel. It will include enhanced crosswalks and intersections with decorative pavers, improved pedestrian safety and walkability, all with a focus on the historic character of the area. Work will also be done to enhance the overall tree canopy with native and proper species, and improve the landscaping and foilage for both beautification and improved safety and sight-lines.

Downtown Facade Improvements

New Albany has a plethora of beautiful, historic buildings in its downtown. Unfortunately, over the years, some of these buildings have had windows shuttered and closed off, original brick walls painted over, and historic character lost. Some buildings have even been painted together to appear as one structure. This project will seek to revitalize, refurbish, and redevelop buildings and facades in the downtown area, reinvigorating these historic strcutures to their original historic look, including improved windows and uncovered original brickwork.

Riverfront Overlook

The current overlook for the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater has served its purpose for many years overlooking the beautiful Ohio River. However, after many years, it is time to look at updating this structure. This project will both study and redevelop the structure into a more usable and friendly location for residents and visitors to gather and view the majestic Ohio River, along with events and festivals along the riverfront property.

Cosmetic surgery: Horseshoe Foundation gives Jeff Gahan $5 million to spend on whatever he damn well pleases.

4:15 p.m. update: City Hall describes the four major projects to be funded (in part?) through the Horseshoe Foundation's$5 million gift.


The down and dirty: Horseshoe is tithing $5 million for New Albany.

$2.5 million is to be devoted to a westward expansion of the Greenway from its current amphitheater terminus toward the vicinity of QRS (recycling; presumably to be reclaimed), and another $2.5 toward facade grants (details undisclosed) and "beautification" in downtown, including amphitheater touch-ups.

There are no further details at this time. I shot some sloppy video. If you have the stomach for self-congratulatory rhetoric (not a word of which recognizes the investments made by independent local businesses), then have at them.

The public has had no input into the planning, and we can only hope the Foundation has some measure of control over the disbursements.

Jerry Finn introduces Mark Seabrook, who contemplates whether he's ever going to run for mayor.

Horseshoe's Brad Seigel.

Pat McLaughlin recognizes the power of his board appointments.

The dignitaries sign, and Jeff Gahan launches into agoraphobic outer space.

Just remember: We're all here because we're not all there.

Matt Nash to purchase Karem's Meats, which will relocate to Plaza Drive (off Grant Line Road) on or about May 1.

The Green Mouse has learned that 5th district councilman Matt Nash will join the ranks of independent local business owners.

Nash has reached a deal to purchase the iconic Karem's Meats, New Albany's oldest meat market and deli.

Karem's will continue to operate at its current location off State Street until on or around May 1, when Nash will assume ownership, and the business will move to new digs at 3306 Plaza Drive, a space many readers will recall as the former home of NA Exchange (and before that, MyBar and Main Menu). It's a stone's throw from New Albanian Brewing Company, of Grant Line Road.

Once again, the target date for the move and ownership change is May 1. You can follow the art of this particular deal on social media:

Instagram: karemsmeats
Twitter: Karem's Meats
Facebook: Karem's Meats (the new page)

Karem's in the News and Tribune on the occasion of the shop's 50th anniversary in 2015.

Clark County newspaper's New Albany editor capably eulogizes the late Tommy Lancaster Restaurant.

Let's give credit where credit is due, because Chris Morris excels at eulogies, whether for people or buildings (below).

At the same time, it still strikes me as telling that throughout the process of the city purchasing properties in the vicinity of the former Tommy's, the fated verdict has been accepted without question.

The city will work non-transparently to purchase buildings; there will be no opinion proffered by the usual historic preservation watchdogs; the demolitions will follow in short order; and everyone at the newspaper from Morris on down will rinse and repeat: "Tommy’s, the building, needed to be torn down."

Probably. But of course, given this was the pre-determined outcome. How do we know for sure, when nothing about the process was above board, and everything about the process was intended to produce a pre-conceived result?

Enjoy your meals.

MORRIS: Tommy's was the perfect place, by Chris Morris (That Clark County Paper)

... If there was ever a New Albany institution, it was Tommy Lancaster Restaurant. The food was great, the beer was cheap, and it was a place where everyone in New Albany — from the rich and famous to the guy down the street who came in after work — gathered.

Our NA: Parks and Recreation Department does its job. Are the plaques ready yet?

City Hall sounded the trumpets. That's always an ominous sign.

Last year, with the help of community input, the New Albany Parks and Recreation Department finalized their 5 year master plan for 2017-2021. In a letter to the New Albany Parks and Recreation Board, the Indiana Department of Natural Resources stated that they have reviewed the plan, and have certified that it meets all of the department's requirements. Additionally, Indiana DNR has validated that New Albany is now eligible to apply for Land and Water Conservation Fund grants. The letter stated that Indiana DNR supports New Albany Parks and Recreation planning efforts and encouraged participation in the grants programs administrated by the Division of Outdoor Recreation.

The Indiana Department of Natural Resources has a web site. In the section titled Land & Water Conservation Fund, rules for eligibility are stated.

Who is eligible?

Only park and recreation boards established under Indiana law are eligible. The park and recreation board must also have a current 5-year master plan for parks and recreation on file, approved at the Division of Outdoor Recreation.

Note the city's self-laudatory press release, contrasted with eligibility requirements. Had the county and city park boards remained as one, and had it pursued the default strategy of writing a master plan (something public and private entities do much of the time), then the outcome could have been the same.

In short, propaganda is propaganda. Team Gahan did its job, shuffled the paper and met minimum eligibility requirements for matching grants. Doing its job is what Team Gahan (or an other governmental unit) is supposed to do. The question to ask is this: Given that these DNR grants are 50/50 matches, what projects does City Hall have in mind ... and from which account will the match be drawn?

Do we all get "just do your job" trophies yet?

Monday, March 27, 2017

Erich Fromm: "As long as we can think of other alternatives, we are not lost; as long as we can consult together and plan together, we can hope."

The source links sprinkled throughout the text are wonderful, and the final paragraph's links are like a course outline. There's a lot to chew on here.

The Sane Society: The Great Humanistic Philosopher and Psychologist Erich Fromm on How to Save Us From Ourselves, by Maria Popova (Brain Pickings)

“The whole life of the individual is nothing but the process of giving birth to himself; indeed, we should be fully born, when we die.”

“Every advance of intellect beyond the ordinary measure,” Schopenhauer wrote in examining the relationship between genius and insanity, “disposes to madness.” But could what is true of the individual also be true of society — could it be that the more so-called progress polishes our collective pride and the more intellectually advanced human civilization becomes, the more it risks madness? And, if so, what is the proper corrective to restore our collective sanity?

That’s what the great German humanistic philosopher and psychologist Erich Fromm (March 23, 1900–March 18, 1980) explores in his timely 1956 treatise The Sane Society (public library).

Fifteen years after his inquiry into why totalitarian regimes rise in Escape from Freedom, Fromm examines the promise and foibles of modern democracy, focusing on its central pitfall of alienation and the means to attaining its full potential — the idea that “progress can only occur when changes are made simultaneously in the economic, socio-political and cultural spheres; that any progress restricted to one sphere is destructive to progress in all spheres” ...

On Tuesday morning, the Horseshoe Foundation's going to fork over roughly $5 million smackers to the Great Campaign Finance Monetizer -- but for what?

On Monday afternoon came a breathless e-mail teaser from Develop New Albany:

"Please join us tomorrow for a Major Announcement from The City of New Albany and The Horseshoe Foundation at 10:30 am at the Riverfront Amphitheater."

At first it seemed that Mayor Gahan intended to announce the dissolution of municipal government and the institution of a hereditary monarchy, but then the Green Mouse phoned in.

It's a $5,000,000 donation to the city from Horseshoe. No one will tell me what for, but it's a nice chunk of change, and I'm sure Team Gahan will waste it.


What might the city do with $4,750,000?

a. Remodel the amphitheater into a usable riverside performance venue?

Nah -- that makes too much sense.

a. Get a leg up on the pro soccer stadium.
b. Finish chopping down the remainder of our street trees.
c. Purchase and remodel the Reisz Furniture Building for use as Gahan's new City Hall.
d. Pay off Duggins' bar tabs.
e. Buy out the QRS recycling grounds for a new luxury floodplain development.
f. Now Develop New Albany can hire a full-time staff person.
g. (your choice here)

C'mon -- someone out there knows what's happening. Drop me a line so I can prepare the satire.

The proper word for the alt-right is puke, not punk.

“I think people ought to know that we’re anti-fascist, we’re anti-violence, we’re anti-racist and we’re pro-creative. We’re against ignorance.”
-- Joe Strummer

Of course the alt-right steals ideas. That's what you do when you have none of your own.

5 Punk Rockers Explain Why the Alt-Right’s ‘Punk Movement’ is Garbage, by Michael Tedder (Playboy)

First, the alt-right stole Pepe the frog from cartoonist Matt Furie. Then, they stole enjoying milk from the calcium-deficient. Now, they’re trying to steal punk. Members of the alt-right have of late made the argument that “conservatism is the new punk” and that gadflies like Alex Jones and Milo Yiannopoulos are the modern day truth-telling equivalents of the Sex Pistols and the Clash, pushing back against social justice warriors and political correctness culture. In their eyes, their old, retrograde ideas—which inevitably manifest as fear and outrage at attempts to curb white male privilege—have suddenly become avant-garde because of…safe spaces or something.

As if.

Since it’s impossible to physically punch this loathsome idea in the face, Playboy reached out to some of our favorite young punks and some members of the old guard to talk about what punk really means. Many of our contributors pointed out that even though as a cultural movement it has always had its flaws and problems with representations, punk is still a place where people threatened by the right’s crusade can find strength, safety and community.

One specific pull:

I think that this is exactly why it is nonsense when the alt-right strings together vapid words to try and incite a playground fight with those of us who put blood, sweat and tears into creating an expression that is the antithesis of everything that these alt-right meatheads represent. They are simply a distraction to the women, femmes, queers and people of color filling the columns of Spin, Rolling Stone, Pitchfork, the New York Times and numerous other publications that report on culture. I don’t see actual alt-right bands headlining Coachella, I see Beyoncé and Kendrick Lamar—two of the most punk in terms of crystallizing dissent about the status quo —artists taking the stage. Real punk is and will always be a total threat to the alt-right and their culture, which is based on white supremacy. Otherwise it isn’t real punk. The alt-right’s tactics are FAKE PUNK. The alt-white (I mean right) want us to sip tea, but we are drinking fresh water from a firehose.

"Bernie Sanders to sponsor single-payer healthcare bill."

As Bluegill accurately notes:

"The last time the Democratic Party seriously advocated for universal, single-payer healthcare in the United States, Harry Truman was president. There's a reason Waiting for Godot, first published in English ten years after that, is considered both a farce and a tragedy."

A more direct hint: The case for Medicare for all.

Meanwhile, leave it to the odd-socialist-out to do what the Dilapidated Party cannot.


Bernie Sanders is returning to a key campaign promise and will introduce a single-payer healthcare bill in the wake of the Republicans' Obamacare replacement defeat.

The Vermont senator said Sunday that he was willing to work with both Democrats and Republicans to provide "insurance for all," two days after the GOP leadership's American Health Care Act was pulled from the House floor to avoid a legislative defeat. Sanders' support for a single-payer system was a centerpiece of his unsuccessful run for the Democratic presidential nomination.

"Where we should be going is to join the rest of the industrialized world and guarantee healthcare to all people as a right," he said on CNN's "State of the Union."

Since 2013 (and before), the Mt. Tabor Road beak-wetting boondoggle is a large millstone hung around Jeff Gahan's neck. Mayor overboard?

It's important to remember that Jeff Gahan did not become mayor until January 1, 2012. Before this, he served two terms as councilman for the 6th district, which includes the Mt. Tabor Road neighborhood referenced here.

In short, given the time generally required to mint and plan such big ticket roadwork boondoggles as the absurdly tagged "Mt. Tabor Road Restoration and Pedestrian Safety Project" (and I'm the one who uses too many words?), it obviously dates back into Gahan's council tenure.

By extension, given the ill-tempered stubbornness for which the mayor is renowned as far away as Bob Hall, it's equally evident that having spent a half-dozen or more years conjuring this asphalt-laden, traffic-speed-enhancing "gift" to the peasants, he's absolutely determined to ram the daintily wrapped arterial down their ungrateful throats, come what may.

In this context, Gahan's perennial joy in campaign finance enrichment -- no unwetted beaks left behind in New Gahania -- actually runs a poor second to the unfettered expanse of his ego. At NA Confidential, the story began in 2013. The following links are chronological, from oldest to newest.


October 19, 2013

The city is thinking about doing road shit. Really. It says so, over there behind that wall.

Duggins said that anything you've heard about the Slate Run Road, Mount Tabor Road and Captain Frank Road projects is true, unless it isn't. All are being contemplated, unless they aren't. The mayor will consider modifications, unless he won't. The usual suspects from Pool "A" will design these projects and build them, unless other usual suspects from Pool "B" are chosen instead. To reveal more would mean having to kill us all, and the street department can't manage such a clean-up.


November 5, 2013

Council meeting: Mt. Tabor residents advocate for two-way streets ... sort of.

The city's proposed changes would make the road in front of them more likely to be driven by a greater number of cars, and at a rate faster than before, a situation of induced demand likely to be taken advantage of by outsiders with no better reason than passing through because they can, thus rendering the corridor less safe for neighborhood residents ... and yes, that's right, creating a scene designed to negatively impact their quality of life.


December 26, 2013

ON THE AVENUES: Roundabouts make the politicians really ring.

Roundabouts are not intrinsically evil, but the Mt. Tabor Road residents looked past the surface dollar sheen and got to the heart of the matter: Roadway engineers would be altering conditions to suit the maxim of moving traffic through their neighborhood as “efficiently” as possible, and by doing so, would be reducing their quality of life in an almost mathematical, commensurate ratio.


December 27, 2013

The Great Roundabout Turnabout of 2013 and pedestrian friendliness.

In the newspaperman Suddeath's piece, city hall floats the notion that the Mt. Tabor roundabout was pulled because it abruptly became evident that it would not be "pedestrian friendly." Speaking personally, I believe this to be a red herring the approximate stature of the Elsby Building ... BUT if the Gahan administration wishes to stick to the walkability argument, I'm fully in favor of accepting it.


January 9, 2014

On the Rosenbarger planning conundrum, and FAN Fair, here I come.

Much like the sacrifice of Mount Tabor residential areas for poorly developed commercial strips on its fringes, the sacrifice of Spring and other nearby streets for Main has long been a part of the plan.

Rosenbarger's dismal performance at FAN Fair deserves another look, here.


July 23, 2016

Council frivolity, slice of the second part: "Gahan Cares More About Concrete Than People."

John Rosenbarger sat at his desk. Outside his door, the clamor of the peasantry could be heard amid the clatter of pitchforks. He spat, then threw back his last shot of fiery sarsaparilla.

“The grandeur of my physique, the complexity of my worldview, the decency and taste implicit in my carriage, the grace with which I function in the mire of today’s world – all of these at once confuse and astound the buffoons at Mt. Tabor and Klerner Lane."

Rosenbarger gazed at his reflection in the framed portrait of Robert Moses.

"But Jeffie's got my back, bro."


August 2, 2016

The city's spin doctors have outdone themselves on this one: Meet the "Mt. Tabor Road Restoration and Pedestrian Safety Project."

It's simply amazing what vocal citizen opposition to a New and Improved Round O' Rosenbarger Cream Tort will do to bring David Duggins bounding full Sellersburg up the stairs from the Down Low Bunker to inform city council that with construction work about to start, now's the time for operatives to fan out through the neighborhood to alter misconceptions -- but not only that, there'll be a post-decision public meeting on August 22 to further encourage conformity.


August 4, 2016

Chronicles of New Gahania: Mt. Tabor Road residents form civil defense squad to guard against John Rosenbarger.

Decades of poor planning and development decisions on New Albany's outskirts have created automobile traffic and drainage problems where there were none. Now, the City says that by redesigning the road for more cars going even faster, they're improving pedestrian safety and by substantially increasing the amount of impermeable surface area they're improving drainage. If any of our city planners or engineers had an ounce of intellectual and professional integrity, they'd speak up in opposition. That's pretty much a guarantee they won't. A decent mayor, should we ever get one, will fire all of them.


August 4, 2016

ON THE AVENUES: Federal funding mechanisms total eighty percent. The other half is unalloyed political malice.

Clark County resident David Duggins duly was dispatched to spray gasoline on the brush fire, which he accomplished with his usual aplomb by threatening to send the Rasputin of Redevelopment and other city officials into the afflicted neighborhoods to knock on doors and remedy "misperceptions", which immediately sent panicked refugees streaming toward Silver Creek, into the newspaper’s Clark County coverage area.


August 6, 2016

Look at Gahan hide, hide. Not to worry, because John "Human Shield" Rosenbarger is standing by, eager to obfuscate.

In other news, it took a long while, but the intentionally understaffed Jeffersonville-based "community" newspaper has clanked ineffectually into gear, producing drab content, but inadvertently shining a tepid light on the Gahan regime's boilerplate, namely that the mayor himself won't personally be touching this one.


August 20, 2016

Stop me if you've heard this one before, Mt. Taborites: "They’re looking at it as more of an arterial road to move traffic though than a quality of living project."

I can't agree with all the objections voiced by the Mt. Tabor Road residents, but from the very beginning, they've grasped an essential point, because the "project" has been one designed to make the road usable by an increased number of cars, and an increased number of cars means a decreased quality of life.


August 22, 2016

Tonight at OLPH: Mt. Tabor Campaign Finance Restoration and Propaganda Safety Project spoonfeeding.

This evening, what's already been decided will be explained to you. You're feeling better already, right? Someone asked whether Mayor Gahan will be in attendance.


August 29, 2016

An Orwellian wetting of beaks -- or, some thoughts about the Mt. Tabor arterial enfluffment and timbering project.

But you see, there's no way a euphemism like the Mt. Tabor Road Restoration and Pedestrian Safety Project cannot happen, once the federal funds have been committed. If someone else pays, the money must be used, whether to grease an arterial or construct a subway to Xanadu. Beaks must be kept wet. This is the cycle of political life, and it need not be connected to master plans or larger truths. It simply is.


December 21, 2016

Phipps, McLaughlin pleasure mayor, oppose Blair's 6th district stormwater impact efforts, but the investigative measure passes council anyway.

Representatives of the usual engineering suspects and a handful of civic appointees were on hand at the council meeting to reiterate the municipal party line: As it pertains to stormwater, those Mt. Tabor area residents who insist on trusting their own two eyes instead of the mayor's should be ignored, and The Plan allowed to proceed.


March 22, 2017

Shane Gibson is unaccountable yet again as "City of New Albany Withholding Public Records in Mount Tabor Road Land Grab."

Following is a press release, courtesy of local businessman Colin Receveur. Municipal corporate counsel Shane Gibson's cavalier disregard for public information requests is legendary. I'm delighted to his snared in arrogance of his own making.


March 24, 2017

'Bune snoozes and IL gets the scoop: "City of New Albany, residents head to court over road improvement project."

“From all the discussion on this subject over the past 4 years, it has become apparent that the only person supporting dual sidewalks at this location is the Mayor of New Albany,”


March 26, 2017

Mt. Tabor Road euphemism project: If City Hall looks bad, that's only because it's doing the damage to itself.

It isn't just that those federal 80/20 construction grants are like crack. It's that to Team Gahan, openness is like Ebola.

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Stalin and the Nazi invasion: "1941 and the Man of Steel."

It's overly simplistic in places; nevertheless, this documentary is a good introduction to the topic.

World War Two: 1941 and the Man of Steel

Marking the 70th anniversary of the Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, historian Professor David Reynolds reassesses Stalin's role in the life and death struggle between Germany and Russia in World War Two, which, he argues, was ultimately more critical for British survival than 'Our Finest Hour' in the Battle of Britain itself.

The name Stalin means 'man of steel', but Reynolds's penetrating account reveals how the reality of Stalin's war in 1941 did not live up to that name. Travelling to Russian battlefield locations, he charts how Russia was almost annihilated within a few months as Stalin lurched from crisis to crisis, coming close to a nervous breakdown.

Reynolds shows how Stalin learnt to compromise in order to win, listening to his generals and downplaying communist ideology to appeal instead to the Russian people's nationalist fighting spirit. He also squares up to the terrible moral dilemma at the heart of World War Two. Using original telegrams and official documents, he looks afresh at Winston Churchill's controversial visit to Moscow in 1942 and re-examines how Britain and America were drawn into alliance with Stalin, a dictator almost as murderous as the Nazi enemy.

THE BEER BEAT: I've decided to skip this year's Session Beer Day observance. See you in 2018.

As Allen Saunders said, and John Lennon later reiterated, life is what happens to us while we're busy making other plans.

Six weeks ago, I started thinking about ways of celebrating one of my favorite annual holidays by taking it to the soon-to-be-two-way-streets in my own city.

THE BEER BEAT: Why not a Session Beer Day pub crawl in downtown New Albany?

In 2017, Session Beer Day will be celebrated on Friday, April 7.

Shortly thereafter, my mother's health took a turn for the worse. There was much to give me pause, and I did the sensible thing ... and paused.

In 2001, when my father died, I was operating at career peak alcohol consumption. The results weren't always pretty, although it was another life and a different set of circumstances. I was functional at this rate of intake, but this fact shouldn't be taken to imply optimal.

Because of all this, I decided that drinking to any substantive degree during what looked to be my mother's final weeks was something I simply had no interest in doing, so I didn't, confining myself to four scattered beers and a double Scotch since just after the Super Bowl.

As most readers know by now, she died two weeks ago, and I'm happy to have kept my vow of sobriety (if not outright abstinence). We're never to old to learn, or to feel.

Session Beer Day was to be the resumption of normality, and yet to be honest, I'm not feeling it. I can see myself having a couple of beers somewhere, just not in the previously suggested format.

I'm going to take a break from Session Beer Day advocacy in 2017, and see where the fickle finger of fate is pointing next year, in April of 2018.

If you'd been planning on joining me for the walk, please accept my apologies.

Mt. Tabor Road euphemism project: If City Hall looks bad, that's only because it's doing the damage to itself.

Colin Receveur is to be commended for pursuing every legal mechanism in an effort to compel Team Gahan to practice transparency.

It isn't just that those federal 80/20 construction grants are like crack. It's that to Team Gahan, openness is like Ebola.

'Bune snoozes and IL gets the scoop: "City of New Albany, residents head to court over road improvement project."

The Indiana Public Access Counselor has affirmed that the city of New Albany has unlawfully denied public records to a landowner who is pushing back against the city’s use of eminent domain in a Mount Tabor Road expansion project.

"We've also reached out to the city of New Albany and have yet to hear a response."

Really? Is Mike Hall on spring break?

Land owners complain about upcoming changes to Mt. Tabor Road in New Albany, by Amber Powell (WAVE-3)

People who own property on Mt. Tabor Road in New Albany are concerned about planned construction that will change the size of the road.

This Main Street sharrows symbol feels all patched and forlorn -- and a billboard comes tumbling down.

But just LOOK at that professional landscaping.

Never a dull moment on Main Street, is there? The beautification project is the political gift that keeps giving costing, and the billboard is less of an eyesore as a twisted heap than it was while standing.

But the aristocrats? Very happy.

Snowbelt-to-Sunbelt migration? Not to worry -- we got Break Wind and Amazon.

As of 2015, Louisville metro was growing. According to WFPL, "Most of the growth is happening on the periphery. If you were in, what we call, the city, you’re not seeing any change at all."

The Midwest Is in Trouble, by Laura Bliss (CityLab)

New Census estimates show the Snowbelt-to-Sunbelt migration pattern is deepening.

For all the talk of downtown revitalization in places like Detroit, Pittsburgh, and Baltimore, the numbers don’t lie.

The U.S. Census bureau released population estimates covering counties and metro areas today, and the picture is grim for the post-industrial Midwest and Northeast. For example, the city of St. Louis lost nearly 3,500 residents between July 2015 and 2016, representing a 1.1 percent population drop—the sharpest out of any city in the country, and a much sharper local decline than in recent years. Chicago, too, saw its long-term losses compound, with the largest numeric decline out of any metro area: more than 21,000 people, or 0.4 percent of its population. A similar story unfolded in Baltimore, which saw a rapid acceleration in population loss from 2015 to 2016. Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Syracuse, Hartford, Buffalo, Scranton, and Rochester also lost thousands.

All told, according to Governing magazine, the “146 most densely populated counties lost a total of 539,000 residents to other parts of the country over the 12-month period ending in July, representing the largest decline in recent years.”

Park demographics: "Many public spaces like parks are currently lacking age-friendly infrastructure."

"No seniors on the artificial turf, please."

Warren, as City Hall's token senior ... would you like to weigh on on this one?


If you stroll through a park you’re likely to find a dog fetching a frisbee, children playing on the equipment, teenagers jogging with headphones, and families having picnics. What you're less likely to find is senior citizens.

For the first time in human history the amount of individuals aged 65 and older will surpass the population under the age of 5. To put this into further perspective, by the year 2050, a third of the U.S. population will be 65+. Despite urban planners' best efforts to accommodate this demographic phenomenon, many public spaces like parks are currently lacking age-friendly infrastructure. This means that seniors miss out on the physical and social benefits that parks can provide.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

The house next door is for sale. Now's the chance to start your own neighborhood association.

It's next door to ours, and the description here is absolutely correct: Lots of work is needed, and that's why the price is so good.

About that Friday evening in March with Teddy Abrams and the Louisville Orchestra at the Ogle Center.

Last night we went to IU Southeast and attended the Louisville Orchestra's performance at the Ogle Center. It was wonderful, but first, a few bars of history.

There was a time during the 1990s, extending into the early twos, when I knew about the LO primarily from being pals (and having beers) with Sid King, who played double bass with the orchestra at the time.

Sid had various dealings with the music department at IU Southeast, where I attended university. The fact of my existence as owner/bartender testified to the power of the philosophy degree pinned to the wall nearest the Guinness tap.

Sid came into the Public House often (though judiciously, of course, and sometimes he even ate food). He brought his musician friends, and this led to the unprecedented cultural phenomenon of the Butt-head Bass Quartet's annual Christmas shows, which is a topic for another time.

They're good memories. Sid and I used to have long chats about the importance of bringing "formal" music to the masses where they drink, riffing on the notion of Paganini standing atop a table in a dive somewhere in Europe two centuries ago and orchestrating happy hour with his bow.

We never got around to implementing any of these ideas, but that's the nature of pub chat, and the point of this digression is to celebrate the LO's creative outreach into the community by playing venues such as the Ogle Center.

The craziness of my existence has abated to an extent that we're able to get back into a routine when it comes to the LO's performances, and while it's certainly not far to drive to downtown Louisville for music, the hop to IU Southeast is even quicker. It reinforces my undergraduate experience there, long before the Ogle Center was built, and it reminds me of the 1990s with Sid and the pub.

Last evening's program was entertaining and educational. The full orchestra opened with Mozart's overture from The Magic Flute (premiered in 1791), and closed with Prokofiev's Symphony No. 1, known as the Classical Symphony (1918).

The dates are important, because while the milieu of Mozart justifies the "classical" shorthand, Prokofiev's symphony is said to have been written in a classical style, but during the "modern" era -- or, as a "neo-classical" work.

One needn't know the difference to enjoy the music. As a pedant, I like learning the differences because it helps me enjoy the music even more. Of course, you're free to close your eyes and be transported to any happy place you like.

Between Mozart and Prokofiev, the LO broke down into sections and performed music intended to showcase brass, woodwinds and strings. This was a delightful opportunity to hear the nuances brought by individual instruments to the sum total of the collective.

Conductor Teddy Abrams noted that only percussion didn't get a star turn, but I rectified this upon returning home by going to YouTube and watching one of the "Neil Peart in isolation" videos.

I especially appreciated Abrams' effort to explain the universal appeal of Samuel Barber's Adagio for Strings, which I've always regarded as the finest eulogy ever, to be played during the pause just before the world ends and the cosmic video screen dissolves to test pattern.

Somber, yes; but also uplifting.

The Adagio is something you feel, and it doesn't matter whether the feelings it engenders can be described with mere words. My mother died two weeks ago, and at some point I looked at the LO's program for the show we'd scheduled before she left, and saw the Adagio listed.

It wouldn't have been her kind of music, not exactly, but Barber's work certainly qualifies as precisely the sort of lamentation and celebration that I needed after her Thursday visitation service, on a Friday evening at the Ogle Center, thinking about life's joys and sorrows and long it's been since Sid and I had a beer together.

When all the threads start weaving themselves and there's music to make sense of the loom -- these are the best times of a all.

Friday, March 24, 2017

'Bune snoozes and IL gets the scoop: "City of New Albany, residents head to court over road improvement project."

We have all been here before, haven't we?

Shane Gibson is unaccountable yet again as "City of New Albany Withholding Public Records in Mount Tabor Road Land Grab."

The Indiana Public Access Counselor has affirmed that the city of New Albany has unlawfully denied public records to a landowner who is pushing back against the city’s use of eminent domain in a Mount Tabor Road expansion project.

I'm happy to see Insider Louisville step up; meanwhile, over yonder lies Hanson's 'Bama Folly, scooped once again. Apparently the N & T is delighted to receive tips about New Albany stories, just as long as they can't be traced to NA Confidential.

Remind me again: Why have I been sending website traffic to their advertising clickers in good faith these past 12 years?

Verily, you can trust those corporate types ... they'll ALWAYS let you down.

City of New Albany, residents head to court over road improvement project, by Caitlin Bowling (IL)

The city of New Albany is trying to use eminent domain to secure land from more than a dozen property owners for the Mt. Tabor Road Restoration and Pedestrian Safety project, but some property owners have raised concerns about the plan.

Earlier this month, the city filed complaints in Floyd County Circuit Court against 17 property owners asking the court to rule that the city can take ownership of a portion of their properties that run along Mt. Tabor Road. The property will allow the city to reconstruct nearly 1.1 miles of road, install full curbs and gutters, and build sidewalks on both sides of the road.


 ... In a letter to the Indiana Department of Natural Resources, Dennis Feiock, who owns property at the corner of Mt. Tabor Road and Klerner Lane, said residents don’t oppose improvements to the road, but adding two sidewalks is superfluous and would create more impervious surfaces in an area with flooding problems.

“From all the discussion on this subject over the past 4 years, it has become apparent that the only person supporting dual sidewalks at this location is the Mayor of New Albany,” Feiock wrote in the email ...

ON THE AVENUES: Cataloguing my consciousness on a warm spring day.

ON THE AVENUES: Cataloguing my consciousness on a warm spring day. 

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

"It can be costly to speak truth to power in your own home community" -- from Harry Caudill: Man of Courage, a film by Jerry Deaton

Seldom do I “wing it” when writing a column, but it’s been an improvisational kind of week, month, year and career. Maybe I’m learning to live with it, so here goes.


My mother died almost two weeks ago, and since then, Diana and I have been touched on a daily basis by the many kind words, heartfelt consolations and loving memories.

They’ve come in abundance from our kinfolk, her former students and teaching colleagues, my older friends and newer acquaintances, and especially (at least from my perspective) from my parents’ neighbors on Baylor-Wisman Road in Georgetown. They're such wonderful people.

Any effort to convey our appreciation almost inevitably will be feeble and inadequate, so please accept from us a final, simple “thank you.”


At the visitation, I found myself fielding numerous questions about what I’ve been doing these past two years and whether there are concrete plans on my horizon.

These are fair questions, and when folks care enough to ask me, I’m happy to attempt an answer.

For those just tuning in, my career as part of the business entity variously known as Sportstime Pizza, Rich O’s Public House, the New Albanian Brewing Company (and later, Bank Street Brewhouse) lasted from 1990 through 2015.

By early 2015, themes and threads gestating for several years had combined into something approximating a personal resolve to do something different with my life, and I decided to sell my share of both NABC corporations to my two longtime business partners.

Why, exactly?

In retrospect, numerous minor differences of opinion among the partners seemed poised to become major, and while it may yet prove to be mistaken, I thought perhaps some of the rancor might be avoided by being pro-active.

Concurrently, the craft beer revolution of which I was a regional originator looked to be well traveling down the familiar path of self-consumption and bastardization via capitalism as usual, soon to emerge as respected, business-publication-salivary-market segment, one consequently ripe for counter-revolution.

Seeing as I don’t tithe at the altar of the American religious cult known as Business for the Sake of Business, and I’ve never been able to abide business pursuits that involve propriety, respectability or One Southern Indiana (some would suggest “profitability” be added to this list), when “craft” beer stopped being fun, it ceased being me.

I don’t regret the decision to melt away and start over. However, it admittedly disappoints me that the NABC “divorce” settlement has not been resolved in all this time.

Perhaps this always was to be expected from an internal dynamic mirroring that of Fleetwood Mac, circa 1977 -- though without the cocaine (trust me, there was a time when my beer consumption made up for it).

What now?

Interestingly, having steadily conceded ground in desultory settlement negotiations until sparse pennies on the dollar appeared a preferable alternative to the risk of brain damage from the inanity’s expanding extent, my mother’s unfortunate passing has altered the stalemate – at least in my head.

It is as though I’ve been freed of restraint, with the sweet radicalism of old tapping gingerly on the door of a hitherto bolted closet, asking for an opportunity to stretch its legs for the sake of old times.

So, until an agreement is reached and a check is cashed, I remain a one-third owner of all things NABC – some parcels of which are worth more than others, for which there is a simple, business-like solution, although it remains unavailable when two-thirds of ownership has blockaded (and sought to starve) the minority partner, this being me, and categorically refuse to implement the one expedient most helpful to all.

Yes, I’ve made plenty of rotten decisions in my life. However, drinking as often as possible with lawyers has not been one of them. Cocktails may be set to resume.


In spite of the settlement imbroglio, I have no regrets at all about the last two years of my life. It isn’t the first time I’ve retired for a short bit while I’m young enough to enjoy it, rather than waiting for decrepitude.

Borrowing against the future always is something of a risk, but the rewards have been ample, even if it can’t last forever. We’ve gotten by, and enjoyed lots of love and laughs along the way.

You can’t ask for anything more, can you?

I’m still a beer guy and always will be, and my beer business legacy is secure. I know quite a bit, and the pendulum is swinging back toward my sweet spot. There’ll be opportunities, whether on my own (as previously discussed) or working for someone else.

Stepping away from the business has allowed for time to clear my head and recover from what hasn’t always been a harmonious journey. There have been hours to read, learn and absorb much of value apart from beer. It turns out that I’m still as interested as ever in education and teaching. The passion merely needs a fresh venue.

Running for mayor in 2015 was an epochal experience in itself. I’m proud of what we managed given lack of resources and daunting odds, and the dissident in me became newly empowered. It isn’t about winning or losing. It’s how you game the play.

I’ve been writing at length each and every day, and while most of it has come without remuneration, a unique body of work has been created. At some juncture, this blog will be seen for what it has become.

Two years ago, when I embarked upon the original “leave of absence,” my mother was beginning her transition into assisted living. From this point, her health began a gradual decline, but there still were plenty of high points and memorable times.

Remaining "at large" in terms of employment and obligations enabled me to be there for her. I did the best I could, and I’m happy to have had the opportunity to share in her final months.

In short, now the time has come. Coffee break’s over, and it’s time to stand on my head again.


Many of you know that I've been strategizing about a beer business comeback under narrowly defined parameters. Full-tilt gonzo entrepreneurialism may or may not be a younger man’s game; at any rate, it doesn't have quite the lure as before.

However, if the cats can be herded within those parameters, I’m more than game for the challenge. I’m also listening if any prospective beer entrepreneurs believe I may be of help in assisting in their efforts.

I’ve often joked about how 25 years of self-employment can render one unemployable. It may even be true, but this same quarter-century of experience has certain value of its own. I have a strong work ethic, plenty of zeal and passion, and an absolute commitment to disseminating knowledge through education and explanation.

I may be able to give someone a hand.

Whatever comes next for me is likely to be the result of serendipity as much as planning. I’ve broken a few rules and bent a good many more, but I believe that’s how it’s done.

Everything is relative. My stakes haven’t ever been as high as Harry Caudill’s, and yet insisting on speaking truth to power in my own home community probably haven’t made things easier for me in the past, and won’t in the future.

So be it. If we don’t stand for something, we fall for anything.

After all these years, perhaps finally it’s becoming clear to me. My father was blue collar; passionate, outspoken and honest. My mother was a professional educator; intelligent and determined in pursuit of a mission to educate, one no less zealous for being conducted more methodically.

They raised me right, and I inherited the good from each. Maybe I wasn't always comfortable with it. These days, it all makes sense.

There it is – an hour’s worth of column scribbling with minimal edits and no conclusions. As always, thanks for reading.


Recent columns:

March 16: ON THE AVENUES: It's all so simple, says Jeff Gahan.Remove the impoverished, and voila! No more poverty!

March 9: ON THE AVENUES: Never preach free speech to a yes man; it wastes your time and annoys Team Gahan.

March 2: ON THE AVENUES: Breaking up is hard to do. Just ask the Reichstag.

February 23: ON THE AVENUES: A stern-side view of Gravity Head, nineteen times over.

"The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death."

I'm not sure how many chapters have been compiled; perhaps this is the 356th in a series called "My Love/Hate Relationship with America."

That damned drunken stork ...

The Gig Economy Celebrates Working Yourself to Death, by Jia Tolentino (The New Yorker)

 ... At the root of this is the American obsession with self-reliance, which makes it more acceptable to applaud an individual for working himself to death than to argue that an individual working himself to death is evidence of a flawed economic system. The contrast between the gig economy’s rhetoric (everyone is always connecting, having fun, and killing it!) and the conditions that allow it to exist (a lack of dependable employment that pays a living wage) makes this kink in our thinking especially clear. Human-interest stories about the beauty of some person standing up to the punishments of late capitalism are regular features in the news, too. I’ve come to detest the local-news set piece about the man who walks ten or eleven or twelve miles to work—a story that’s been filed from Oxford, Alabama; from Detroit, Michigan; from Plano, Texas. The story is always written as a tearjerker, with praise for the person’s uncomplaining attitude; a car is usually donated to the subject in the end. Never mentioned or even implied is the shamefulness of a job that doesn’t permit a worker to afford his own commute.

TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana: First season of six productions to launch on June 1.

It's almost April, which provides an opportunity for an update. First, where we've already been.

Check out the new logo for TheatreWorks of Southern Indiana, and please consider donating.

The Parthenon is coming back to life: "TheatreWorks to Open a Community Arts Center in Downtown New Albany."

Now, where it's going. Auditions have been announced for Neil Simon's Rumors (here), and the C-J just released a detailed spread about a theater-in-progress.

Preparations underway for New Albany arts center, by Elizabeth Kramer (Courier-Journal)

TheatreWorks Artistic Director Chris Bundy knew the first time he took a tour of the historic building in downtown New Albany that it could be "the place."

“I knew this could be so elegant,” Bundy said as he toured the building at 203 E. Main St. that is undergoing a transformation into an arts center.

Since February, the TheatreWorks team and construction workers have been furiously working to get the building — erected as a bank in 1837 — and performance spaces ready so the company can launch its first season of six productions in its new home on June 1.

Bundy - who taught theater for 39 years, including 15 at Floyd Central where he led the theater program - has been designing the first-floor mainstage theater space and a second-floor space that will have a portable stage that can be used for different kinds of performances by guest groups.

Former council candidate Noah McCourt has been invited to participate in a United Nations panel.

You'll recall that in 2015, Noah and I got to know each other when he ran unsuccessfully for 6th district council (GOP). He later moved back to Minnesota and has stayed very much involved. Following is big news about Noah from his local newspaper in Waconia, which is a city of 11,500 located just west of Minneapolis (as a side note, Waconians reading this post may be interested to learn that their Wikipedia page has been mischievously altered).

Former council candidate invited to UN panel, by Adam Quandt (Waconia Sun Patriot)

Despite a loss in the 2016 election for a city council seat, Waconia resident Noah McCourt isn’t slowing down in terms of involvement.

Most recently, McCourt was invited to participate in a United Nations panel during World Autism Awareness Day on March 31. The panel will take place in the ECOSOC Chamber of the United Nations in New York.

At a young age, McCourt was diagnosed with Asperger’s Syndrome and later also diagnosed with Reactive Attachment Disorder, as well as a mood disorder, anxiety disorder and Attention Deficit Disorder. Despite the diagnoses, McCourt has maintained a can-do attitude in all aspects of his life.

McCourt is scheduled to sit on a panel event titled “Toward Autonomy and Self-Determination,” which will look at guardianships, legal capacity, independent living, developing relationships and much more.

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

There will be no posts at NA Confidential on Thursday, March 23.

The visitation/observance for my mother is Thursday evening in Georgetown, and the blog will be left silent until Friday, when ON THE AVENUES will appear. Once again, thanks to everyone who has conveyed their kind thoughts, in whatever form, by whatever means.

The 2017 Be Local Expo is Thursday evening at the Elks Lodge on Pearl Street.

The information's on the poster. I can't attend, but if you're in the neighborhood, give it a look ... but no flasks for this one, as the Elks Lodge is an ATC-licensed facility. Let's hope the bar is open.

Breakwater fire revisited: Exactly what are the potential dangers of "Toothpick Construction" techniques?

And we criticized Soviet designs?

As most readers know, The Breakwater is New Albany's ballyhooed "luxury" apartment complex, a titled possession of the Flaherty & Collins behemoth in Indianapolis, but also municipally subsidized -- to be frank, to an obscene extent.

One of the two buildings at The Breakwater caught fire on February 24, and New Albany firefighters spent most of the next day fighting the blaze. Fortunately the building was unoccupied (there were minor firefighter injuries), but because it hadn't yet been finished, the sprinkler system was not activated.

According to a subsequent investigation, contractor error was responsible. The rubble since has been cleared, the insurance companies are haggling, and reconstruction will resume.

You can read the official conclusion of the Breakwater fire investigation in a previous post. Included are complete story links.

Fast forwarding a month, articles published just this week at Fire Engineering and The News & Observer (Raleigh, North Carolina) are hard-hitting, indeed.

In the first, we learn that in the aftermath of a catastrophic fire of similar circumstances in Raleigh, questions about building methods and materials are being raised.

In Raleigh building fire, a warning about construction standards, by the editorial board (The News & Observer)

As growth in Raleigh booms, buildings rise quickly. Perhaps, too quickly.

The spectacular fire that consumed a 241-unit apartment building under construction near downtown Raleigh last Thursday night has raised questions about the type and quality of building methods and materials being used in new buildings.

The fire that reduced The Metropolitan, an unfinished, five-story building at the corner of West Jones and Harrington Street, was apparently fueled by the extensive use of wood in the upper floors. Wood allows for faster and less expensive construction than using concrete and steel, but it’s vulnerable to fire, especially when the building is unfinished and sprinklers have not yet been installed ...

I highly recommend reading in its entirety this piece by Jack J. Murphy about large lightweight toothpick construction buildings. He's a fire service veteran, and appends his essay with voluminous references. Why aren't we listening?

Note: In the first paragraph of Murphy's article, it is my view that he intended to use the word "reservations" rather than "justifications." As we have observed so many times before, spell check doesn't help when the wrong word is spelled correctly.

Toothpick Construction: Enough Is Enough, by Jack J. Murphy (Fire Engineering)

The fire service has ample justifications about large lightweight toothpick construction buildings (LLW/TPC) long before the recent Raleigh (NC) five-alarm ‘Toothpick Construction’ fire.

So why is the construction industry and insurance companies not paying heed when it comes to better fire protection features? This can be effected either via the code development process or the industry stepping up and creating ‘best practices’ for an enhanced balance of fire protection systems, namely a full building suppression system and more robust passive fire protection for draft-stopping and fire walls (masonry) that extend through the roof within these residential complexes.

Over the years, the fire service has advocated a balance of fire protection that has fallen on deaf ears. A new fire service tactic to consider before a municipal council hearing and/or state legislation is how LLW/TPC building complex fires (whether these structures are under construction or occupied) are overwhelming local fire department response. For many communities, a fire response must go way beyond the municipality border lines to get a sustainable fighting force to help prevent such an enormous fire from becoming a much larger community conflagration.

In the February 2017, a LLW/TPC building under construction fire occurred in Maplewood, New Jersey. This fire quickly spread to the exposure building of similar construction; this building was approximately a few weeks away from being occupied. This building did, however, have masonry fire walls, although they are not yet required by code; they played a key role in saving the structure ...

As an aside, in Kansas yet another fire broke out prior to the activation of sprinklers and destroyed an apartment building.

Official says welder sparked massive Kansas apartment fire (AP, via Fire Engineering)

OVERLAND PARK, Kan. (AP) — A fire that leveled a multi-million dollar apartment building under construction and spread to about two dozen homes in suburban Kansas City started when a welder accidentally ignited wooden building materials, fire officials said.

More than 100 firefighters battled the blaze at the CityPlace development in Overland Park on Monday and three were treated for minor injuries. The fire destroyed the four-story apartment building, heavily burned a second and rained burning debris onto a nearby neighborhood, damaging at least 22 other homes.

Overland Park Fire Chief Bryan Dehner said the building where the fire started was "most vulnerable" when the fire happened because it was so early in the construction process that it lacked fire deterrents such as a sprinkler system.

This makes three fires in three different places in a month's span of time, all quite similar. Are any local news outlets planning on following up on these themes and how they pertain to our area?

I'm looking at you, Susan Duncan.