Friday, July 31, 2009

They're here.

Yesterday morning, the little (6" x 6", tops) paper signs went up informing residents on our section of East Spring Street that it would be illegal to park along the street from Monday to Monday, as I recollect my only glance at one of them, and while there may have been exact dates, I don't remember them. The first hard rain of the morning yesterday effectively removed most (probably all) of the signs from view.

I'm not sure whether the sanitation contractor or the street department will be charged with cleaning the remnants, which litter both sides.

It's Friday, the pavement stripper's at work outside my window, and the hardhats are going door to door trying to find the owners of the cars still parked along the street. I can see the bare wooden stakes where the sodden strips were attached, at least briefly.

The most wasteful aspect of all this is that we're paving Spring Street without it being part of a comprehensive two-way steet conversion. It will be nice to have a freshly paved street in front of my house.

It would be better for all of us if the street ran both ways and was part of a street network that made sense for a revitalizing urban area. For reasons as yet unknown, apart from a simple absence of political backbone, City Hall climbed down from its principled campaign promise of two-way streets.

The disappointing climbdown, one precipitated but not necessitated by the city council's semi-literate Luddite dithering, becomes part of any future political equation, doesn't it?

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Wick's debut in New Albany to be slightly delayed.

An extended excerpt, and for one reason only. See below.

Wick’s Pizza opening in New Albany pushed back to fall, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

The owner of Wick’s Pizza Inc. said it will likely be the end of September when the Louisville-based restaurant chain opens its New Albany location.

Getting a state liquor license has been the holdup, according to owner Michael Wickliffe, as he originally eyed a late summer opening date for a New Albany Wick’s.

The restaurant will fill the former Speakeasy bar and jazz club building at 225 State St. Located within a historic district, Wick’s is eligible for alcohol permits designated for the riverfront area, of which there are only a certain number allotted for New Albany.

The Speakeasy’s permit was voided after it closed. The permits cost $1,000 plus an annual renewal fee.

Mayor Doug England said administration helps restaurants seeking permits by petitioning the state on behalf of the establishment.

“What we’re trying to do is spur the economy,” England said, adding that when New Albany’s permits run out, he plans on asking the state for more than what was originally portioned, similar to Clarksville.

Here's the confusing part for me: I spent a good twenty minutes this morning reading the Indiana code (something I wouldn't recommend to anyone interested in preserving his or her sanity), and I still cannot see the relationship between the number of permits (10) permitted in a historic district defined by fairly esoteric criteria (the presence of an opera house?), and the subsequent passage detailing the riverfront development area guidelines.

The riverfront development passage does not refer back to the historic district description, and by my reading, I can't see that there is a limit on the number of three-ways. But I don't doubt that City Hall is on top of it, either. Perhaps this is the reason why the Brewers of Indiana Guild retains an attorney to interpret, although I don't want to squander the retainer asking him the answer because it doesn't matter that much.

It's my guess that by autumn, downtown is going to somewhere near a practical limit for establishments vending alcoholic beverages. Maybe not, and there's still room for a martini bar and port lodge.

I know we have lawyerly readers, and if you're one, are you reading the Indiana codes the same way as I am?

These seem to be the relevant passages:

IC 7.1-3-20-16
Airport restaurants; restaurants in certain economic development areas; redevelopment projects or districts, historic river vessels, cultural centers, historic districts

IC 7.1-3-20-16.1
Municipal riverfront development project; alcoholic beverage permit requirements

Today's Tribune column: "Sign o' the rabid times."

BAYLOR: Sign o’ the rabid times

This is the year my family reunion came to town. Annual hosting privileges rotate between the cousins, who are the sons and daughters of my mother and her seven brothers and sisters, five of whom now have passed on. With my oldest cousin nearing 70 and only a handful younger than me, it appears that a passing of the torch is imminent. Until then, we soldier on.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Hopback ... and brewing back downtown.

This is the view into the hopback. After the boil, the hot wort pours through these "finishing" hops in route to the chiller and the fermenters, where yeast performs its magic.

Yesterday, Dave and Jesse put the brewing equipment through the paces to make a yeast feeder batch, which means that there is yeast multiplying in each of the four fermenters. Today, they brewed a 15-barrel batch of Beak's Best. Tomorrow comes Elector, and on Friday and Saturday there'll be Hoptimus. Bob's Old 15-B Porter follows on Sunday, at which point the fermenters will be full, nature's way will be in full swing, and the crew will decamp to Wisconsin next week for the annual Great Taste of the Midwest. With several intermediate steps yet to come, during the week of the 10th there'll be beer for shipping to the wholesalers.

It's relief to the max. Thanks to every one for waiting so patiently.

Photo credit: Jesse Williams.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Dueling Grounds coffee shop (at Destinations Booksellers) and a downtown status report from Mike Kopp.

Randy Smith at Destinations Booksellers provides this look at progress toward completing the store's coffee shop project (both at 604 E. Spring St.) Contact Randy with questions.

Coffee Shop Update

There's a certain amount of madness, or as one local political aspirant would say, a "curtain" level of craziness going on right now. If you haven't visited recently, you will have missed the new construction work, but that's nothing compared to what's in store over the next two months.

I'm trying to run the store (luckily, we've hired some great new employees to work with Mark and Sophie) while planning a full kitchen build-out and we've just about finalized all of our equipment selections for the new coffee shop. It will be called The Dueling Grounds Café at Destinations Booksellers, and despite previous conjectures, we're going to incorporate the shop into the bookstore building. Next year, we'll probably build a deck out back for al fresco dining where you can enjoy your hot or cold beverages, soups, sandwiches, and desserts.

We're trying to get our final plan drawings completed in the next few days so we can submit them to the state building inspector's office and then we can begin the construction of the kitchen and coffee bar. You smarties who've discovered the rear parking lot may want to avoid the back entrance for awhile, though. We'll be sealing off everything south of my office while the build-out takes place.

While I'm committed to roasting our beans on-site, the capital expenditure right now is enormous, and we are giving strong consideration to sourcing our roasted beans from one of the fine local roasters until next year.
Mike Kopp, local realtor and president of Develop New Albany, recently circulated the following to DNA’s mailing list.

It's official: HobKnobb Coffee will be landing downtown at the former Joy's Coffee Nook on State Street (near State and Spring). Owner Barb Fischer will offer basically what she has at her other location in Floyds Knobs, and I think it will be a welcomed establishment with a good product.

Also official: The vacant building at 501 Pearl Street (formerly the John Vernia & Son Monument Co at the corner of Pearl and Elm) has sold and chances are if you drove by today you will see improvements already being made. This space is being prepared for office occupancy and may be completed by the end of October with a new tenant.

Though we have not closed on the building, there is a new owner coming to spruce up the service station at the corner of Oak and State Streets (former known as EZ Auto). This will be a new look, and it is planned for an official NAPA Auto Center. They, too, will be a U-Haul center but the new owners plan to provide fresh landscaping, renovation and a new look for the entire building, including resurfacing the parking lot and all new lighting for property as well. This will be noticed by September 1st.

A major retailer has downtown New Albany in its sights, so we're still in the running. These folks are out of Chicago and will need 5-10k square feet. They are an “apparel and more” retailer. This will not happen until after the first of the year, should I be successful in convincing them this is where they belong.

Liquidz Bar and Grill will be opening soon at the former Russ's Tavern on E. Main Street (between Pearl and Bank), and 211 E. Main (formerly Ermin’s and B & B, next to
Studio’s) is the new location for the Redmens Club as Steinert’s moves in to their new location at 401 E. Main, which had been constructed by the Redmen in 2005.

The Parthenon at 203 E. Main continues to get a facelift as the columns are being repaired, and is it being made ready for a new tenant to be announced. There are new tenants at the southeast corner of Pearl and E Main (Merchants National Bank building). It is a spa of some kind, and that’s all I know, as I did not do the deal. The people from Louisville’s
Green Building hope to meet with the city this week, as we have requested an appointment. They have their eyes on the Baptist Tabernacle Church (318 E. 4th) and the Reisz Building on Main Street.

Be sure to participate in one or all of the happenings in downtown. Great things continue to be said about our Farmers Market and the new activity on Fridays at the Amphitheater. Help clear up a few things: Both
Wick’s Pizza in the former Speakeasy building on State, and Toast on Market on E. Market will be open soon, and both will have liquor licenses.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Eastern Parkway's "Road Diet" explained.

Stretch Of Eastern Parkway Going On ‘Road Diet’, by Branden Klayko (Broken Sidewalk blog).

A “road diet” is a relatively new technique that enhances the overall functionality of a road. Transportation officials admit is seems a little counter-intuitive to make a better road by removing lanes, but that the idea generates support over time. Officials point out that without a turning lane, traffic is hindered at turning movements and intersections, effectively transforming a four lane road into a two lane road as one lane is blocked.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Still saying it: It's about community.

I met Rory Turner in Bloomington when I was nineteen. He was working on a PhD and I was working on becoming a human being. He was and continues to be a teaching assistant in that endeavor, even though the titles may have changed. His is a way of being heavy without being hard to carry.

When I wrote what was for me the first collegiate piece that I felt went beyond rote academic exercise, it came back from Rory with a letter grade and a three-word addendum: "Say it, man."

Eighteen years later, he and some friends have started blogging and it's nice to return the favor, in response to a short introductory treatise that we'd all do well to consider.

Communitas and social value

May 18th, 2009 by Rory Turner

Community is one of the great mysteries of human experience. In what ways are we or are we not connected with other people, and other being, animate and inanimate? The notion of communitas proposes that a sense of fellowship is primary to human beings, that through the gifts of presence, resonance, and sharing, we can and do find deeper relationship with one another. A key element of cultural sustainability is to foster that urge to come together in culturally meaningful ways to share through play and other forms of cultural performance, a place to discover and feel communitas. What are some of the ways that you have been able to witness or participate in communitas? What moved you about the experience? What impact did these experiences have for your life?

I believe that such experiences are defining of human life, culture and community. I believe that by helping encourage the human capacities and condition that make communitas possible, we significantly improve the quality and value of life.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

With the family.

This is the year the family reunion came to town. Hosting privileges rotate between the cousins, who are the sons and daughters of my mother and her seven brothers and sisters, five of whom now have passed.

Roughly 40 people turned out for today's finale at the house. They came from as far away as Boston MA, El Paso TX and South Florida. We had pizza from NABC Grant Line, then held the annual family meeting. Because a few attendees were interested in checking out the Bank Street Brewhouse, I agreed to escort them. To my mild surprise, they wanted to walk, and so walk we did. The few grew to around 20, and presently we were examining the brewing equipment and indulging in a scientific sample or three.

Ninety minutes later, and back at the homestead, things began winding down just before the rainfall around 8:00 p.m. The missus joined me on the porch as I smoked a cigar to celebrate a successful conclusion to a familial obligation that I'll not be revisiting until some time around 2017, when I'll be ... a bit older than I am now. Who'll be there then, and who will not?

There's no way to know, and that's why we play the game.

It went very well, overall, and I have no real purpose in writing this beyond marking the event for the historical record. After all, it's my personal blog, too, even if it serves numerous other purposes. I'm exhausted at present, and there's much to put back into place on Sunday. But surprisingly, I feel invigorated by the experience, something that I've not always felt after past gatherings. The belatedness of the sensation can't be explained, although it's appreciated.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Marginalized, congenital obstructionists and an embittered wannabeen have their C-J day.

Group distributes signs opposing New Albany tax hikes, by Grace Schneider.

A group of New Albany residents has formed a committee to challenge what its leaders contend is a freewheeling tax-and-spend mentality in the city government ... Larry Kochert, a former council member, praised Denhart and the Martins, saying he also has become increasingly concerned about how little “backbone” is being shown by city leaders to rein in spending.

Denhart and others “are doing a good job,” Kochert said. “I wish I'd thought of it myself.”
Typically, Kochert didn't think of it, and that's the primary reason for a council career bereft of achievement.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Today's Tribune column: "After Andy, the deluge."

BAYLOR: After Andy, the deluge.

I also watched “The Andy Griffith Show” as a child, but then something happened to me. I grew up. Four decades have passed since the series went off the air, and in light of experience, I see Mayberry a bit differently than my councilman does.

Here are the three finalists for our caption contest: "What Otis said."

Matt Nash
"Mr. Price says I can trade in this cow for some nickels and dimes and a handful of magic beans."

"So there are potty police. Well, this is my pet, Sewer. He's a cash cow."

"But Steve told me to get a big ol' dog. There's criminals around here."

Thanks to readers who suggested a caption. The senior editor has chosen his top three, and now you can vote for the winner. Indicate your preference in the comments section.

Original post: Caption contest: What Otis said.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

By popular demand, another sign (fill in the blanks).

There were several good suggestions during yesterday's thread. Repeat if desired, or offer your three choices, but remember that brevity is important for a yard sign.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heck, I went and made my own sign.

Your words might be different from mine ...

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

Recently when I referred to the proposed merger of the East Spring Street and S. Ellen Jones neighborhood associations, my use of the word "Luddite" was misinterpreted in some places.

My household supports the idea, primarily because it stands to terrify the city's Luddites.

Had I written, "terrify the city's Erikas," perhaps the meaning would have been clearer. There is nothing more disconcerting to the lone wolf obstructionist than strength in principled unity. I'm genuinely sorry if this shading wasn't clear at the time.

At any rate, ESNA approved the merger, and tonight S. Ellen Jones will vote. Here's the meeting preview.


S. Ellen Jones Neighborhood Association Meeting Notice

Tuesday - July 21 - 6:30pm - Cardinal Ritter Birthplace, 1218 East Oak Street (please note location change to the Cardinal Ritter Birthplace).

Agenda topics to include (but not limited to):

1. Repair Affair Team: Review of Project (Scheduled to be complete on 7/18). View photographs at this link.

2. Merger Vote* - Vote to determine if we should move forward with merger proposal with East Spring Street Neighborhood Association. ESNA voted to proceed on 7/8. If vote is "Yes" by SEJ, Transition Team will be formed.

3. Festival Planning - Update on planning and confirmed participants. Festival is Saturday August 15 - 11am to 3pm.

4. Status of current projects: Select this link to view known 2009 Projects

If you have additional agenda topics to include, please forward to me.


*Merger Vote: SEJ by-laws (Article Two) describes membership as follows -

Article Two

II. Membership

2:1 Individual membership shall be open to all interested persons. Individual members shall have full voting rights, participation in all Association activities and business and the receipt of all mailings.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mayor will run for state office.

Mayor Abramson, that is:

Done Deal — Abramson Joins Beshear (The 'Ville Voice blog).

For once, the rumors are true. Sunday night Jerry Abramson and Steve Beshear announced they’ll be running for Governor and Lt. Gov. in 2011, and that Jerry won’t be seeking an additional term in 2011.

Citizens for Erikability gots 'em a new, illegal sign.

And it couldn't be located in a more appropriately metaphorical place, eh?

Weekend reader.

I'm engaged in another of those great struggles to find a heathy weight and maintain an exercise regimen without veering too far in the direction of moderation, something that fits neither my disposition nor the current job description.

Consequently, the amazing outcome of a crazy weekend is that in spite of four beer-centered events in three days and precious little restraint, I gained no more than a pound. It helped that on Saturday, I resolved to walk to the fest grounds (located off 66th Street in Broad Ripple) from the Monon Trail hub on 96th. This proved to be an hour-long, brisk walk on a marvelously cool July day.

It is true: With regular exercise and a reasonable diet, I can lose and maintain a weight, and drink plenty of beer along the way. What I need to avoid are those year and a half long binges.

What was that I said about fundamental dispositions? Meanwhile, here is a collection of recent readings, with links.

*New local fundraising ideas?

Rush for tickets to posh sex parties: The organisers of last week's masked ball in a stately home are on the lookout for new venues, by Jamie Doward and Matthew McCullogh (The Observer).

Voorvaart said there were strict rules forbidding guests from having sex in front of others (they are told to retire to more discreet locations), but admits: "It was not possible to stop them."
*Think before you buy?

'Cheap', by Laura Shapiro (New York Times Books)

Ellen Ruppel Shell concludes that lower prices do not necessarily translate into bargains in the chain store, or along the food chain.
*The blessed Frank Rich in the Sunday NYT:

They Got Some ’Splainin’ to Do (July 19)

The Sotomayor show reduced the antics of Washington’s clueless ancien-régime to a spectacle as ridiculous as it was obsolescent.
She Broke the G.O.P. and Now She Owns It (July 12)

As the Republicans’ lone charismatic performer, Sarah Palin has come to represent a dwindling white nonurban America that is aflame with grievances.

Speaking of marginalized white, nonurban, antebellum folk aflame with grievances, we last witnessed Professor Erika at last week's city council soiree. Her latest blog rant is worth perusing, as it creatively combines the words of a blogger (attributed, for once) with her own customized New Albany-centric fills and venom spewing.

Enough is Enough, at Freedom to Screech.

For every person you brainwash into the "Progressive" ideology, we will teach ten others about the Miracle of America and the Freedom & Greatness of Individual Freedom!
I’m guessing that Jason Bradley is the same nutjob here at this dully repetitious blog.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Tribune editorial board revisits prominent local issues and surveys progress (or lack of same).

The Tribune's on-line version of the Sunday editorial linked below is a bit confusing, as it omits the explanatory preface. To paraphrase, the items were first published in January, 2009, and now are being reprinted, with a paragraph's worth of updates after each.

Topics include redistricting, two-way street conversions, the downtown master plan, police and fire department funding and sewer subsidies.

OUR OPINION: Examining our progress on issues.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Thursday's Tribune column: "On pedestrians and human nature."

Now I remember why this reminder wasn't previously issued: My Tribune column of Thursday, July 16 has yet to be archived on-line. This should constitute an acceptable rationale to reprint it here in its entirety.


On pedestrians and human nature.

One of these days, there’ll be time for recounting H.L. Mencken’s bathtub hoax. Until then, there are two items of unfinished business for consideration.

Just last week, I suggested that it is safer to jog down a ten-foot-wide medieval hilltop street in Pamplona, Spain, alongside massive horned fighting bulls and three or four thousand of your closest friends, than it is to drive an automobile through New Albany’s rutted, unkempt streets.

Within hours, a native Spaniard was gored during the daily run with the bulls and subsequently died, the fifteenth such fatality since San Fermin’s inception in 1911.

Less than 24 hours later, I brought my bicycle to an abrupt, sliding halt to avoid hitting an oblivious, shirtless pedestrian who never took his eyes off the ground before meandering into my path. My elderly two-wheeled conveyance comes equipped with a bell, and I dinged it early and often before applying the brakes.

The non-mechanized dullard flipped me off as he shuffled to the curb, leaving me cognizant of my error in blaming the city’s routine roadway chaos solely only on those drivers who steer their SUVs with their knees while devouring tacos and watching Transformer 18 on the DVD. It is increasingly obvious that in New Albany, the term “street person” takes on shadings that extend beyond homelessness, which is regrettable enough.

A New Albanian street person is one who ostensibly lives indoors, but spends much of life, night and day, ambulatory or unconscious, in the middle of the closest available street – piloting an errant skateboard, engaging in car repairs, talking on a cell phone, smoking a pack of cigarettes, throwing a football, or gazing at the sky. The list is uniformly depressing, and seldom permits through traffic.

Daily, we are offered the novel and plainly hazardous spectacle of drivers too busy multi-tasking to bother driving, barreling down corroded streets that our shambolic city council refuses to pave, toward dazed pedestrians too busy ambling along non-existent center lines to bother noticing.

In my opinion, a fine morning’s run with the bulls would cure the lot of them, although it just as easily might have the opposite effect and scare the fight out of the bulls.

Speaking of stage fright, two weeks ago I learned the hard way not to trust Wikipedia. To paraphrase the immortal words spoken by WKRP’s Arthur Carlson: As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly -- and that the Scribner brothers came from Albany, New York.

Not so. Their journey took them from the vicinity of the Big Apple to subsequent immortality as founding paragons of New Albanian civic virtue. There aren’t enough pigeons on Pearl Street to sully that sort of achievement, even if we’ve yet to erect the requisite statuary to serve as target for the pigeons’ own freedom to screech.

Suitably contrite, I duly concede my error. However, the heretic in me cowers only briefly even at the risk of another lashing. My respect for history’s lessons is genuine and sincere, but as a contrarian, I’m nonetheless obliged to ask why the Scribner brothers didn’t call this place New Brooklyn, New Manhattan or New Harlem?

Were they intent on embarrassing future generations of sassy commentators like me?

Was Joel Scribner slyly acknowledging his mistress’ home address in Albany?

Or did he lose the naming rights to the future city in a card game somewhere on a grimy flat boat drifting down the Monongahela?


Ouch … okay -- put away the whip, will you?

Evidently I’m prone to that most controversial of realms, satire, the bane of literal-minded Americans everywhere. Did you know that in New Albany, satire is so widely feared that there exists an ordinance prohibiting it?

Satire within earshot of a church building or governmental toilet is strictly forbidden. It is the only ordinance on record known to have been consistently enforced within the city limits, penalized by irrevocable exile to Birdseye or placing the satirist in nickel and dime store stocks at the whim of the magistrate’s, and ...


Hey – those stung.

Here’s the point. Historical accuracy is marvelous but forever elusive. We should laugh along with history more often. Rote names and dates mean less than the gist of the story, and history itself ideally is a well- and entertainingly-told story, not a canonical scroll to be venerated. We’ve too many of them already.

Diligent contemporary scholarship into the life, times and private proclivities of historical figures like Thomas Jefferson should be a counterweight, gently suggesting reassessment and a recognition borne of tolerance that our forbearers were living, breathing people no different than us. Some were brilliant, and some unspeakably dull. So it goes.

Racier old-timers may have been unafraid to take a healthy leer up an accidentally raised skirt, to wager carelessly on the ponies, or to drink long and hard from the bottle of corn whisky they’d hidden from the prying eyes of the prevailing protectors of propriety – then wander into the bumpy brick street to panic a delivery wagon.

I’m confident that one or more of New Albany’s founders periodically let loose with giggly bursts of unrepentant flatulence, even during the Sunday worship service. Eons may pass, but men are always like that, aren’t they?

It doesn’t mean these people weren’t capable of great and memorable achievements, just that they were real people. To me, that’s enough.

And you?

Friday, July 17, 2009

Windsor's "Farmers Market" beer and wine dinner coming on Monday, July 27.

Here’s the lowdown on the Windsor Restaurant and Garden's forthcoming event, called "The Windsor Beer and Wine Dinner: Farmers Market."

The idea is to use as much food as possible from the Farmers Market just across Bank Street from the restaurant. I’ve reprinted the dinner menu below. Wine and beer pairings have yet to be made, but each course comes with a pairing of wine and beer, according to the information I've received.

This dinner will be served on Monday, July 27, and begins at 6:30 p.m. The price per person is $60, not including tax or gratuity. The Windsor’s phone number is (812) 944-9688, and the dinner is available by reservation only. The Windsor Restaurant and Garden is located at 148 East Market St. in downtown New Albany.

Wine will be provided by Louis Meyer of Crossroad Vintners, beer by Tisha Dean of World Class Beverages, and a closing beer will come from the New Albanian Brewing Company.

Chefs are Justin McMillen and Cory A. Cuff. Cory says: "The Windsor staff would like to thank Susan Kaempfer of Develop New Albany, as well as the local farmers who’re making this possible. A full list of farmers is to come, and a full list of pairings, too.


Duo of chilled melon soup shooters with champagne "caviar" and lime granite

Pork Roulade Terrine with mixed Asian baby greens and a B&B pickle vinaigrette with assorted pickled vegetables

Seared Sea Bass escabache with smoked zucchini, squash, and carrot "spaghetti" garnished with a micro green salad and a parsley and meyer lemon vinaigrette

Red Meat
Seared Ostrich medallions with a honey lavender marinated grilled asparagus, and deconstructed twice baked fingerling potatoes with a Pennywise Petit Sirah Marchand Du Vin

Peach two ways, a peach and blackberry cobbler and a Lindemann's Peche float with a goat cheese and lemon verbena ice cream

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Mondo council Thursday: Documenting a clueless nadir.

Finally, it had ended. I was wrapping up "live" blogging and chatting with Daniel S. as Grace Schneider of the C-J interviewed Paul Haub. The rest of the council stole away fairly quickly after the final flip from the 2nd district.

In fact, the entire council with the sole possible exception of Steve Price (introspection's just not a skill set with him) displayed concluding body language not so much of exhaustion following the three-hour, self-imposed ordeal. It was more like they felt palpably, demonstrably dirty, as though they were walking out of a peep show and checking the parking lot to make sure no one was looking.

I felt bad for the people who came to air their drainage grievances. Led by Dan Coffey, the council spent the evening shrieking about accountability and suggesting that pretty soon, every last line item will have to come before them for approval. To those newbies in attendance, please try to understand that this concern has nothing to do with the council's ability to actually help the drainage situation.

It took decades of zoning and planning and building decisions to bring us to this juncture, and there's not a single person serving at any level of local government who has the ability to wave a magic wand and stop the rain. Not one. However, there are nine council memers who need a vote, and a council president who needs his pudgy finger in every pie that comes across the assembly line, and that's what tonight's inexcusable grandstanding was about.

It was shameful, and almost certainly a new low, but we don't have enough money to invest in measuring device that might determine exactly how low they can go. I hear they use them in the South African diamond mines.

And yet this is NA, a monument of sorts to the art of graceless redneck limbo dancing, and there's always a way to lower oneself even more, as I learned upon exiting the building. Standing outside was the quartet (charitably speaking; they might have two lungs between them) comprising Citizens for Anonybility, including the transgendered, nutty professor herself.

I walked toward Spring Street and home, and heard the palsied poseur's words behind me:

"Boy, I'd like to have my sidewalk paved."

Paved? Asphalt?

I'm not sure about that, Erika -- I mean, Vickie -- but if you invest roughly $750,000 in downtown, you might be able to score some new concrete. Worked for me. You DO have three quarters of a mil, right?

A final note to stay-at-home progressives: This was an offensive, ridiculous evening of bile and parody. Except for Mark Cassidy, who was there, you all owe me a beer, and you ARE GOING TO PAY me.

7th visitation: EDIT for police. Nay to 2nd reading ... but "yes" to the amended (reduced) 3rd reading.


A-09-09 Additional Appropriation Ordinance from the E.D.I.T. Fund for the Police Department (2 & 3 Zurschmiede)

Well, here it is.

No discussion

No: Caesar, Price, McLaughlin, Gahan, Gonder
Yes: Benedetti, Messer, Zurschmiede, Coffey

Defeated in the 2nd reading.

Messer: Would like to amend the ordinance to $500,000, which would allow for some restaffing.

Benedetti seconds, and a vigorous discussion ensues. Messer mentioned money previously approved but not spent. Coffey says he's been urging to put "police in the pipeline." Coffey compares levels of interest in police, hazardous sites, etc.

Price: Everyone told me 5 wouldn't do it. "I don't play poker ... I don't like politics," when you wait until the last minute to do this ... that's wrong ... "I don't play poker." Upset that he previously asked if 5 would do, but everyone said no. Now he's hurt.

Coffey: "Y'all mind if the chief says something?"

Chief Crabtree: States his case. 13 officers can retire at any moment.

Price: "Hurts the reputation of the department when it says in the paper" that an "officer is eating breakfast" and "I don't even know if it's true ... "


Crabtree: Entitled to lunch. Every department allows breaks. "There's no such thing as Robo-Cop."

Haub: "Not an issue of playing politics," but if you remember 2008 and the original presentation, and the DEA's criticism. The city has to grow up and show it's serious about fighting crime. The department has stepped up and followed the DEA's recommendations, but the council has to help meet the other condition: Increased manpower.

Erika and her gnarled friend now stand up and glare toward the chair.

Haub continues. The sheriff pocketed the drug seizure money recently, not the city police.

Price: "If I was a policeman, I'd vote for you."

Haub: Louisville gets money for drug interdiction, NA gets nothing. "I'm not trying to call your bluff."

Price: eyeyeyeyeyeyeyeyeyeyeyfiveeyeydoiteyeyey

Pat McLaughlin: "I don't buy it either."


Council votes for the amendment: Caesar flips, and the amendment passes 5-4 against.

Final vote on the original wording. Now and only now Caesar asks: Where does the money go if approved.

Now he asks. Before the third reading. Seriously.

Now the council starts talking about when and how the money would be spent.

Price: What is we have to make cuts later?

More acrimony.

KZ: How much notice do the retirement guys have to give?

Crabtree: None.

Coffey: Call for the vote.

Vote, 3rd reading

Caesar flips again from 1st and 2nd readings, and on the 3rd, the council approves the EDIT funding reduced by half. 5-4, Caesar making a majority.

Finished at 10:35 pm. Erika is very unhappy.

Sixth installment of "live" and increasingly "dead" blogging: Resolutions, ordinances and scenery chewing.


R-09-16 Resolution To Appropriate E.D.I.T Funds To Assist Residents With Damages Caused By Recent Storms And Flooding (Gahan)

Bob Caesar adds his addendum to the Gahan resolution. Because it is a resolution, it can be introduced in modified form.

Coffey: Who enforces this? Answer is: Stormwater Board. Coffey rolls his eyes.

Jack Messer notes that stormwater has a machine for trenching that it is not using and hasn't for seven months.

Kevin Zurschmiede (first comment, 2:15 into the meeting): Accountability! They're not here because we have tough questions for them! Every deppartment needs to be accountable! Namechecks Erika. "There's no accountability." KZ grandstands about accountability, the new mantra.

Caesar: "We have to do something for these people," and "start now, not in nine months."

Benedetti: But we give them money and it doesn't change! How do we change that?

Coffey: Cut 'em, cut 'em.

Price: We had to sue to do something.

Messer: This administration hires people who won't work. Need different contractors, new people. They're not working.

Benedetti: Something about Ron Carroll hiring or paying too much to someone. Now they're getting tired and mumbling all at once.

Coffey: Bob wants to hire college kids for creek cleaning, and Kay Garry found out that the stormwater slackers already allotted money for this! We'll approve the $25,000 requested by Caesar for cleaning up cricks. Where to take it from?

Marcey: Kay and I figured it out. Explains the part-time scheme. It would take about $23,400.

Discussion about how to pay them.

Messer: Corrections people?

Paul Haub: "Use community service people." They could do it for free.

Coffey: The other $75,000? Where? To the people?

Gahan: The stormwater board makes that decision.

Benedetti: "What do I say to the people who come up to me" and can't afford the repairs?

Gahan: Stormwater and sewers make these decisions every day?


Coffey: Attorneys will swarm if some people get money and others don't.

They're arguing about the terms of a city-wide bailout.

Shane Gibson speaks: We try to determine on a case by case basis. Sewer claims have a $25,000 deductible. Most of the current crop would go past deductible. No specifics, but never this many problems. Many of these claims will be handled by the insurance company.

Gahan: Still a council issue, because "we have to come up with the big fix" and tackle the problems presented tonight.

Really? THEM?

Coffey: "Why do we need this $75,000?"

Gibson: The extent of this problem is for the insurance company. The deductibles owed by the city will come from the sewer utility, as it has done in the past. Now getting claims. No idea of the total cost when all is said and done.

***Gibson: "We still have to determine if the city is liable." Not comfortable just throwing money out because it can't be policed ... because it would not lend itself to accountability. Recommends it be specifically earmarked for the emrgency stormwater.

But that would run counter to Coffey's aim of kneecapping stormwater.

Vote: Price hems, haws, squawks and votessssss yes. Messer abstains. Zurschmiede now speaks up about water in his building, abstains. Coffey abstains. 6 yes, three abstain, I think.


R-09-17 Resolution Concerning Statement of Benefits For VTI of Indiana Door, Inc, DBA Ideal Door Division by the Common Council (Gonder)

Marcey Wisman reads amendment to transform the abatement to five years for equipment. Unanimously approved.

R-09-18 Resolution to Fund the City Portion of a Fire Department Grant to Purchase a Multi-Task Emergency Vehicle (Gonder)

This is what the fire department is here to discuss. Poor guys. They got a grant for most of it, need $47,000 as the department's share. Coffey hates to turn it down because some other grants don't require matches. The chief explains. Vote by hand: Unanimos in favor.

Coming back for the grand finale.

Part Five: Yes, we are at the end of public speaking time. Bailouts, anyone?


Jeff Gahan begins by reading a letter about drainage written by a Savannah Drive resident, condemns "a recurring theme" unchecked development. Reads another letter: "Just do something." $75,000 isn't enough. Open to how it's handled, whether it comes from EDIT or where. Doesn't matter, as long as "we address it." must take some action tonight."

Benedetti: "My heart goes out" to all the victims. Are we opening something that could be open-ended? We had asked for people to fill out tort claims for the lawyers to examine. "We know 75's not enough," but the lawyers should come back after examining the tort claims to tell us what is and isn't coming.

Gahan: Asks whether anyone from storm, sewer or EMC is present. Nope. He doesn't want it to be direct reimbursement to people, because Benedetti is afraid that it will turn into direct reimbursement.

Price: Every time we throw out money ... stormwater wasn't supposed to be paid in the beginning ... raises, promotions ... "we're in a depression" ... "code enforcement, whatever it is, tired of money going in someone's pocket."

Not his, though.

Gahan wants the crowd to return and monitor the votes. Tonight a resolution.

Price: Isn't it going to open up ... mumble ... "everyone in New Albany has had some kind of problem." ould be a "major tort claim." Coffey refuses to gavel the discussion so that he can determine how best to interject himself into it.

Gonder: Shouldn't we put a moratorium on building and development in the affected areas?

Coffey: Maybe everywhere?

This is fractured and the give and take is fast. Hard for me to keep up. Who gets included? How many are here? Aren't? Procedures? Who to thrash?

Coffey: "I'm going to call a spade a spade -- the people who let this happen" are still there. Wants to have an executive session. Coffey urges Stan Robison to take part in the many meetings to come. Coffey in essence says that the council has to take over all planning and zoning decisions.

Robison: Some developers favored. "Smart-ass" engineer came in and said it was an act of God; problems with enforcement and accountability. The administration shouldn't be dismissive. "Moral more than legal" problem. Council doesn't decide liability, but it controls purse strings. Stormwater raised all those salaries in spite of the council's preference; remember that during budget time. "People have no relief" in spite of raised pay.


Not here.


Police Merit Commission – Bob Dusch -- approved very fast.

Coming back with more.

Council Thursday "live blogging, 4th installment, with the theme now being a new dawning of Coffey-inspired accountability ... and Erika!


12. Sherry Dallman - "I know who owns" the retention lot to buy; there should be no building at 912 Mellwood until drainage is addressed in the area. She's been through this before, and it gets worse. "Keep this lot open." Benedetti chimes in, but I can't hear her.

Price: When you see someone building something, "call us." It "hurt to tell us," because someone told hikm once that "unchecked development would be the ruination of New Albany." He says: "I won't vote for it" (development).

Coffey: "Let your council members know," and call anyone, not just the district representative ...

... because after all, we can't butt in unless we get all the information. The grandstanding tonight is as sickening as I've ever seen it. These people are well-meaning, and Coffey is doing the imperial shuck and jive. He's having "Papa Dan" dialogues with these people.

Coffey: "We depend on what people tell us, but what we've seen tnight and been told it totally different."

Times Coffey has promised a new era of accountability: 4 so far that I remember.

She asks: Who is responsible for these things here:

Coffey: "Well, it's the planning commission."

Stan Robison: "Meaning nobody."

Malysz dispassionately outlines the varying responsibilities of the commissions.

Coffey blames developer payola for something, and he and Carl argue. Coffey checks himself and we lurch forward.

13. Vicky Denhart - She's "president of Citizens for Accountability" and lives on Country Club Drive. "Sewers, sewers and stormwater" the problem. $60 million spent on sewers ... "we still got problems." In December, $5 million in EDIT. $3 million left ... "give it to them people" to fix their homes (she gestures to the crowd). "You have the power, you have control over the money." She mentions the elderly. "It's time to use it" (money in EDIT and TIF). "There's no reason why New Albany is having the problems" with sewers that it's having. She calls out Gahan and flashes a stack of papers: "Every department is in the red." Says: "I'm not against the police." Addresses the council again: "You guys hold the money -- they're just the mayor and deputy mayor." She almost cries at this point. "This is a moral issue."

Gloom, doom ... populism ... performance art -- gimme a hankie.

14. Cliff Staten - back for more from last meeting (Woodfield Drive), about drainage. "You" (council) need to make the "tough decisions", and "act." Neighbors will be watching.

15. (missed name) - she lives near falling Run Creek, perhaps near apartments. Has photos: "Not just cleaning out the creek." Denounces new development. Mentions Ohio, Mississippi and the ocean as being unable to hold the rainfall. Now there is current to overflow, and children could be washed away. They could be in the river. "No way to fix this with a new drain pipe."

Coffey, Robison and the speaker argue over whether it used to flood. Coffey notes that he was always against development in the vicinity. Robison calls out Carl. This is getting borderline testy.

Why am I here again? Is there cold beer at my house? It would have helped to enforce the time limit tonight, but it would not have suited Coffey's grandstanding notions. Note that after almost two hours, we haven't had a serious discussion yet about the police funding.

16. Greg Burden - Woodfield Drive. Will install a check/shutoff valve and has the money to do it, but not everyone does. 90-year-old woman next door wouldn't be able to handle it. Paid $8,000 for the last clean-up of sewage damage.

17. Officer Miller - captain and commander of second shift. Been there forever. Most demanding shift. Has only 7 of the 10 people he needs right now. "We run and chase our tails 90% of the time," and not much time to cruise the neighborhoods. "If you haven't been the victim of crime in the past few years, you will be soon," because there's too much to do to go out in the neighborhoods and cruise. Goes on a bit, describing his days.

Coming back for city official communications.

Part three of "live" blogging: Drainage complaints ongoing, escalating, with matching grandstanding.


I'm trying to get names right. Difficult from the cheap seats.

6. Mrs. Pfeiffer - lives on Brentwood (near Castlewood) and has seen boats on her street. She's gone to industrial tile instead of carpet. Needs help on Brentwood, too; much worse since 2006. Haven't been to the stormwater board, but came straight here tonight.

The year 2006 keeps coming up.

Her husband speaks: It is going to get worse. Thinks the foundation of the house will be shot soon.

7. Mark Cassidy - "Six months since I was last up here," and a respite from the water problem. To address EDIT funds for police: Wants to wait and see even if he gets associated with us progressives (he he he). Annexation is never a given. Counsels caution. Wait until the budgets come back.

8. Tanya Boley - lives on Larkwood Drive. Same problems as Castlewood. "Not something we enjoy," including sewage from time to time. They'd love garage water instad of what they get now. Nothing's been done, and no one has come to haul away their junk, where possums now inhabit. Expresses disdain for garbage and wreckage pickup. She is a realtor, with calls from people wanting to sell their houses, but she can't even sell hers. Her tax money is benefiting someone else but not them. Her house value has stayed the same. Kessans not a help to anyone. Rather "nasty." Lost $50,000 in the last five weeks. Her side of the street is universal in terms of damage.

Kessans is taking some hits tonight. Coffey: "When I was a child, I used to trap muskrats" in the area. Why'd "they" let 'em build there, anyway?

She blames "poor decisions."

9. Kent McDaniel - wants to talk about the police. Diane Benedetti helped him when other would not. Asks the crowd if would agree with a 5% LOIT tax increase to pay for police, but Coffey warns him he should speak to the council. He agrees, then ignores him and turns to face the crowd again. Decries bad driving and traffic. Hoped for a public hearing -- "I may be off base" -- to see what's needed.

10. Jameson Bledsoe - main concern is the EDIT money for police. Feels good and safe that we have good police officers. Two bikes stolen, cars illegally entered, diapers stolen. Bullet dents in the hood. Stopped people stealing gutters in his yard. Despite all this, the money going to the police is a "reactionary" policy. Quotes a policeman as saying that putting one away will simply bring another criminal to fill the void. Jail overcrowding, or buy the troubled properties and tear it down or rehabilitate a house for a single family dwelling, and do that, then we won't need officers or code enforcement officers. Must change the physical characteristics" of these properties. The $1 million could clean up the decrepit properties and also solve the drainage issues being addressed tonight.

Coffey: What do you do with the gangs? You can't tell a person he can't buy a house? Gangs?

Coffey, visibly annoyed, goes in for the kill.

Coffey: We've had work sessions all year. NA a focal point of meth. How do you intend to adddress that? Usually I don't like to question speakers, but "I haven't seen you at these meetings."

Bledsoe: Didn't come because he was "unaware" that meetings were open to the public. Wished he could have seen the police presentation. Gangs? In NA, 30% make under $15,000 ... not to generalize, but this is a socio-economic problem, and these people probably contributing to it. Talks about a house in his neighborhood somewhere (?) that was a 6-plex given away by lottery to reputable developers who cold fix it. If it's a $200,000 house, the crack addicts and gangs can't afford to live there. It's a "comprehensive" solution. "I do see where the police are trying to help."

11. (missed the name) - house on a hill, no flooding in the house. Lives on the corner of Mt. Tabor and Klerner, and has been there for 62 years. Gets 11 feet deep behind his house nowadays, this coming since development in the 1970's. Provides a lengthy history of his area. Condemns unrestricted development as the culprit. Advocates retention ponds. Calls out Tony Schueler, who showed a house during Home-a-rama with the basement door locked because there was six feet of water. Has photos. He was annexed 50 years ago, but still doesn't have storm sewers or sidewalks: "Annexation didn't bring us anything except more sprawl." Denounces the amphitheater before sewers and infrastructure!

Note: Time limits not being enforced tonight. Imagine that. It's almost 9:00 p.m., and this is threatening post-meeting happy hour. I'll be back with another chapter shortly (please).

We're somewhat "live" with the council ... part two, and members of the public are queuing to tell drainage horror stories.


Council kingpin Dan Coffey takes care to prep the public: Limit the time, don't repeat what others say.

I'll try to get the names right; apologies if I don't.

1. Dawn Money - Lives off Green Valley Road on Glen Mill. She's been dealing with water for nine years, and she has pictures. Says they lost pretty much everything last time out, have borrowed $50,000, since flooded four times. They have no more money. They'e stuck. Help is needed. Bad, bad tidings - probably worse overall than last meeting's stories. She provides contact information so council members can do someone else's job and check into it.

Crowd buzzes as they remark on their own experiences. This has become a forum for everyone who has had a drainage, sewage or flooding issue. Coffey mentions that people can be fined for clogging drains and not clearing debris. The crowd giggles. Code enforcement? What a concept.

2. Debbie Easton - lives off Audubon Drive for 30+ years, flooding has been a constant, and she has pictures. Veritable rivers of water for more than three decades. She has tried to talk to Brad Kessans. He "likes to put me off." Tired of it. Too old to clean drains.

Diane Benedetti is taking a major role in this discussion, as she did last meeting. Carl Malysz enters the room.

3. A woman crosses herself off the list. Will be represented by the Castlewood group.

4. David Ayres - lives near the 4H Fairgrounds for 45 years. Things started getting bad in the 1970's. Mentions blockage in the creek, including willow trees with debris hanging on them. Cleaned last time 15 years ago by big machinery, which resolved it for about ten years. Then it grew back. Has a photo of a sizeable log that is hung up. Go in and cut down the trees, and the problem will go away for a while. He takes a matter-of-fact approach, also points to new construction leading to run-off problems nearby. That's the big thing.

Do we have a stormwater board?

5. Castlewood group (5 of them) - bad problems since 2006. Nowhere near a creek, but the street becomes a lake.

Coffey asks if he can keep the photos ... crowd gets a laugh when Mr. Ayres says he has more, including one of a person foating down the flooded creek, presumably in a kayak or something.

Speaker has taken on water 5 times since May, 2009. Has half her drywall on the wall in the basement; has quit trying to repair it. So, she can't use her basement at all. She thinks Jeff Gahan has a proposal to save the day. They've been going to stormwater board and public works meetings.

And become mayor in the process?

She believes that a recently constructed new house took the space of what had been acting as a catch basin. Why was a permit issued for it? Another vacant lot off Mellwood (we heard about this one last time) is the last catch area in the neighborhood. Don't keep adding houses!! They've been told that work is supposed to be done in the fall. Realtors now taking hits for selling houses to people without telling them they get flooded.

Say it ain't so ... say it ain't so.

Stevie of Mayberry says: Did you come complain when that last house got built?

She says no, and Coffey explains that fill-ins like that don't have to come back to him (er, the council) for approval. Coffey now threatens to close the purse strings for boards that don't help him grandstand in situations like these:

"We don't get this information ... we didn't know about these problems." Coffey blames those who come and ask for money, but don't go and clean the ditches and streams.

One of the best grandstands ever: Coffey now demands that the council see to it that these things get done? SINCE WHEN, Dan? Redistricting? Ordinance enforcement? When have you ever said this before now?

Coffey: "This council is going to start holding people accountable."

Direct quote, folks. Coffey begins appeasing the Castlewood group by suggesting that perhaps the city should buy homes.

The speaker agrees: Buy two, demolish them, and reconstruct the environment for catch basins. Her foundation and concrete are now deteriorating. There is psychological damage, and she would like to move if possible. But who would ever buy the house in this case?

Now the citizens want to know: We came to a meeting, and they want to spend money on 15th Street. Why, when no one lives down there?

Umm, well, actually people do live downtown ... this has turned into a whale of a scrum.

Coffey: People should know that we're sensitive to this ... "we ARE going to hold people accountable in this city."

Continued in a few minutes ...

Why "live" blogging from the city council chamber? Because I'm a certified masochist.


Yes, they are, and it's both hot and crowded.


All accomplished sans feeling.


All present.


New Albany Common Council Public Hearing Minutes July 6, 2009
New Albany Common Council Regular Meeting Minutes July 6, 2009

Approved with a minor correction to the latter.


Moved and seconded to move up the CF1 form approvals and get these folks out of here. Off they go. Questions about Carl F. Booth and Co., as perhaps they've fled town. Should they get the final year? Are they even paying tax here any longer? Postponed 'til next time.

Now the council chooses the hottest night of the year to begin delving into abatement dates for several applicants, probably to impress the newbies in the crowd.

Attorney Shane Gibson is here. Other ranking city hall officials are not.


We'll do that one on the next post, because it's gonna be a doozy tonight. We have police money to consider as well as the 2nd and 3rd readings of the "EDIT for police protection" ordinance. It's standing room only, and I'm back in the media ghetto for the first time in ages. Thanks to Chief Juliot for squeezing me into the fire department seating are. Cheers!

Bastille Day recap 2: A diner writes.

Following is a submission from reader Amy Clere, who attended the Brewhouse's Bastille Day function. Thanks for the review, Amy -- it brings joy to the heart of this inveterate Europhile.


Your Bastille Day extravaganza was a delightful surprise! Indeed, Roger, you’ve got the best-kept secret in New Albany. Thank you for hosting a Bastille Day dinner, and thanks for embracing so enthusiastically the glorious culture of France!

On those occasions when I’ve been in France on Bastille Day, I’ve gone to dinner with friends where we could watch les feux d’artifice (fireworks). Bastille Day in France is typically called le Quatorze Juillet (the Fourteenth of July), just as we refer to Independence Day as the Fourth of July.

Because I am less enthusiastic about beer than about all things French, I hadn’t yet visited your new Brewhouse and I see now that I’d been missing out! When Ed and I arrived there last night, we were most graciously greeted by both your waitress and the atmosphere you’ve managed to create out of what was once a local bread-box of a building. The décor is wonderful, the colors are warm and inviting, your set-up (the bar, your mini-bars around the room, and the congenial set up of tables) made it easy to socialize with friends…On top of that, we admired your brewing vats (visible behind the glass wall in back), and the terrific set-up with the garage doors. Ed and I could easily imagine how it would look arranged like a European café, with seats indoors and out on the nicely widened sidewalk in front. We also appreciated that it is an adaptive reuse of the building in a way that makes it a contributing part of our historic downtown.

And, oh, la, la….la gastronomie! (And Wow! The food!)

One look at the menu, and we knew that your Executive Chef Joshua Lehman had planned a treat we’d not soon forget. It was a difficult choice, actually, but after les Gougeres, I chose Pâté. It was very good, and I tasted some of the Vichyssoise (Ed’s choice), which was wonderful! After that, Ed had your favorite, the Cassoulet. I tasted this too, but liked even better the Quiche Lorraine (which was PERFECT!). Oh, how suddenly I felt I was back on la Rue de la Liberté in Dijon at my favorite café. When I lived and worked there (as a photojournalist), I would take my lunch hours—because, in France, you get two or three hours for lunch—and dine happily on Quiche Lorraine while watching passersby.

The cheeses were just right, and went very well with the beer I chose (La Choulette “Les Sans Culottes”), and the Mousse au Chocolat was tasty and pretty at the same time.

Chef Josh had done an exceptional job in his presentation of these tasty courses, and I tell you quite truthfully that I have not experienced such a delicious meal since the last time I visited France, in 2007! All was absolutely wonderful!

Add to all this the collection of Francophones you’d gathered together for this event, the willingness of our waitress to learn a French phrase or two (and she did well, too!), and the European travel stories shared by you, our host, and it was quite an evening on Bank Street!

Ed expressed what I’m trying to say in fewer, and better words: This was the most sophisticated meal we’ve EVER had in New Albany. Indeed, the meal was sophisticated without being pretentious, and it was French while appealing to the American palate.

Chef Josh came to our table and shared his daily lunch and dinner menus. Oh, la, la encore une fois (Wow once again)! For lunch, he offers Croque Monsieur and Croque Madame (traditional must-try lunch fare at French cafés), among other tasty treats (soups, salads, les Pommes Frites).

Dinners promise to be as delicious as our Bastille Day experience where he and Sous Chef Andrew Gunn offer small and large plate meals to tempt just about any palate. You can order Duck Confit , Mussels, Beef Short Ribs, Scallops, Pesto Lasagna, and Croque Madame. Chef Josh told us he occasionally makes the delicious, and now famous, dish, Ratatouille.

Needless to say, we’ll be going back soon! Roger, bonne continuation! That is to say that we hope you keep it up and we wish you the best!

Thanks again for celebrating le Quatorze Juillet!


Cosmic liability, Mayberry politics, designer flip-flops -- hmm, must be city council tonight.

I was teaching "beer class" (seriously) and couldn't make it to last evening's work session, so this question may have been answered.

R-09-16 Resolution To Appropriate E.D.I.T Funds To Assist Residents With Damages Caused By Recent Storms And Flooding

Can readers recall a bigger can of worms being opened by the city council than CM Jeff Gahan's proposal (evidently coming tonight) to extract EDIT funds to reimburse flooding victims?

Note that in asking this question, I'm not ignoring the drainage problems in the neighborhood behind my business interests off Grant Line. Once I owned a house there, and the blessedly unfinished basement was prone to the very same issues discussed by residents at the last council get together. Yes, I have seen sewage geysers. Three years ago, we killed a car dead by driving it into suddenly revealed, knee-deep water near Our Lady.

Just the same, as council attorney Stan Robison's pained expression last Monday indicated, does the city council really want to establish a precedent that it acts as the community's insurance fund, ready for tapping each and every time something goes wrong? How far (and for how much) does this responsibility extend? Does it ever end? And what does any of it have to do with economic development?

Answer to the last question: About as much as using EDIT monies to subsidize sewer rates, which is tantamount to a yearly political action committee donation to the re-election campaign of each city council member.

Not that storm and floor repair monies would resemble that remark in the 6th district sense, mind you.

It should be wonderful tonight, and I'll be blogging live if there's an available connection.

Go here for the agenda, spin your council wheels of flipping flopping chance and whim, and come out to the historic City-County Building tonight for these and other enduringly entertaining diversions, including the unknown landing point of the Blevins Memorial Swing Voter (i.e., CM Bob Caesar) on supplemental police funding. There's also the question of whether Gomer removes the bucket before Aunt B's cookie jar is emptied, but we'll let Goober resolve that one.

Higher taxation for blight?

There's an idea. But ya gotta be committed to collecting ...

Blighted buildings face higher taxes; Some dispute list's accuracy, by Dan Klepal (Courier-Journal)

Banks, hundreds of individuals and a high-ranking official in Louisville's housing department own some of the nearly 1,500 blighted properties facing stiff penalties from the city, according to a metro government list.

They are being targeted under a law intended to make it more expensive for people to neglect their run-down property, a situation that can affect home values and public safety.

The law allows cities to require owners to pay triple the amount of their normal property tax bill if buildings have been unoccupied for at least one year and are unsanitary, not properly boarded, vermin-infested or unfit for human habitation. They can also face the penalty if the buildings' taxes have been delinquent for three years.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Malysz refutes reader’s assertions.

Carl Malysz, director of community development, has written a letter to the editor of ghe Tribune.

LETTERS: July 15, 2009 ... Malysz refutes reader’s assertions

I would like to clear the air regarding the England administration’s efforts to acquire the Hoosier Panel property, which was the subject of a letter to the editor written by Tim Deatrick.

The New Albany Redevelopment Commission, which at the time included membership by Mr. Dan Coffey, decided to purchase the property from the current owner for redevelopment purposes, so as to rid the Fairmont neighborhood of what has become a serious blighting influence to the area ...

Bastille Day recap.

Thanks to those attending last evening's Bastille Day event at the Brewhouse, and to the cast and crew for mkaing it possible. We served more than 30 of the fixed-price, five-course meals, and exhausted the supply of French Bieres de Garde. Only a few Schlaflys were left over, and they'll be gone soon enough.

I was surprised, delighted and gneuinely touched that several French speakers in attendance congregated during and after the meal to chat in their acquired (in one instance, native) language. It's easy to spot the lazy Francophobia in American society, but we tend to forget that French culture has its fans, too, both here and elsewhere.

Chef Josh's cassoulet (above) was my personal favorite. There's nothing wrong at all with sausage, ham, beans and cheese together in one dish.

Obviously, we'll do this again next year. Schedule permitting, we won't wait as long to be part of a French-themed happening. I might finally learn a few words of French.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Are squat scenes moveable?

It is Bastille Day, but my attention is drawn to this slice of German life:

Welcome to Berlin's squat scene, by Molly Gunn (Guardian/Observer).

Derelict buildings are reopening as 'living projects', offering everything from cheap food and parties to classical concerts.
Everytime I look at Bill Allen's building on Main Street ...

Monday, July 13, 2009

From the horse's mouth, so to speak.

It bears mentioning that just a wee bit belatedly, Cary Stemle added a comment to last week's wild downtown-themed scrum:

Well, it's not as bad as the last time we heard from a downtown antique dealer.

It's number 101 in the comment hit parade, and worth reading.

Down with Cordish chain welfare - up with locally owned business!

As a prelude to the following, know that I heartily dislike the Cordish corporate-only vibe.

A decade or more ago, when I first visited Baltimore, the Cordish strategy seemed like something positive. Give them huge sums of cash, and they ensure tenants for ready-made entertainment districts.

Trouble is, the tenants are cookie-cutter chains, and there's nothing unique or local about any of it.

At some point I realized that locally owned businesses could achieve precisely the same desired end if they were awarded a like sum of money, with none of the money flowing through a pipeline to corporate headquarters elsewhere. Given the conceptual sterility of the typical Cordish project (Fourth Street Live springs to mind in this context), keeping the money local makes sense from aesthetic as well as fiscal rationales.

Thus, I'm delighted to read Rick at The 'Ville Voice blog tear into Mayor Jer with respect to Cordish's latest outrage. And congrats to the C-J for sticking to the story.

Jerry Needs to Get Away

... But the bigger blow came Saturday, when the C-J led with news that Cordish has kind of told city officials that, well, no, they’re not going to explain what they did with all that taxpayer money they took to re-design a bowling alley on Fourth Street.

Pressured by the newspaper to explain how it spent the extra $950,000 that Abramson championed giving them to remodel the failed Lucky Strike, Cordish said it had given all the detail it was required to do, and then the Mayor said the explanation was good enough for him.

Now we can confirm what we’ve known all along. Cordish might have, maybe, possibly, spent half that money on remodeling the space, but most of it went in the Cordish profit center. They sure aren’t producing any drywall receipts, and no one’s willing to admit what the facility paid to get Paris Hilton to show up for a few minutes Derby Eve.

Everyone’s outraged, and Abramson’s growing list of detractors has a bunch of new ammunition. The Mayor’s race is looking a lot more do-able for potential candidates like Jim King, David Tandy and Greg Fischer. And there’s bound to be a Republican out there ready to step up.

Abramson has promised a decision on his future soon. But right now he’s just hit one in the lake and is scrambling to make par.

Additional Reading: C.D. Kaplan recounts some of the Mayor’s history of love for Cordish. And Eric Crawford explains why Cordish’s track record in places like St. Louis spells more trouble for us.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Saturday, August 22: Free concert at the Riverfront Amphitheater kicks off Kentuckiana Celtic Fest.

Certain aspects of the Kentuckiana Celtic Fest have yet to be determined, so much so that I feel like I'm the only one publicizing it at present, but it looks like the event itself is a go for Saturday, August 22, at the recently reconstructed riverfront Amphitheater in New Albany.

Permits willing and the Ohio don't rise, NABC will have the exclusive beer concession for this event. City hall and the organizers both have advocated for the virtues of local beer, and we thank them all. I'm trying to determine the exact legal nature of the riverfront alcohol concession, both for this and future occasions.

Two weeks ago NABC's Jared Williamson brewed an Irish-style Red at the Grant Line garage brewhouse. There may yet be time to squeeze in a batch of Stout, but if not, Old 15-B Porter should do the trick of covering something black for the Irish. NABC's Kaiser (pre-Prohibition Pilsner, and golden colored for those scared of the dark) also will be served, probably with Tunnel Vision, our rye wheat ale.

It is my understanding that the organizers are asking Louisville-area Irish pubs to purvey food for the day. I remain a tad annoyed that it's almost mid-July, and there isn't a web site for the event. Summer weekends are packed with activities, and people book well in advance. But hey -- I'm just the beer guy.

Here's the official press release:


The Kentuckiana Celtic Fest’s inaugural event is a free concert to be held at the newly renovated New Albany Amphitheater on August 22nd from 3 to 11pm.

The “Celts on the River Concert” will feature five local and regional Celtic bands plus headliner Brendan Loughery from Donegal, Ireland.

“Bold and passionate, Brendan is currently based out of Chicago and is a truly professional entertainer who appeals to every crowd young and old alike. He has played at major festivals throughout the country and has opened for many celebrities including Chuck Berry, Bruce Springsteen, John Mellencamp, Lorrie Morgan and more. Brendan has released 5 more CD's including "No Irish Need Apply" and "Last Set Of The Night" voted No.13 and No.12 Albums of the Year 2006 & 2007 respectively by Paddy Rock Radio listeners”.

The Kentuckiana Celtic Fest is a new organization founded to celebrate ‘All things Celtic’. The free concert is a way to introduce ourselves to public,” says President Peggy Baas. “What could be more Celtic than a concert on the banks of the Ohio?” she said.

The group plans to hold a festival every year and celebrate them on both sides of the river, alternating year-by-year between Indiana and Kentucky. Along with the music, Celtic food and libations will be on-hand as well as Celtic informational booths. There will also be the chance to do a “wee bit” of shopping.

The Kentuckiana Celtic Fest is also partnering this year to collect backpacks for the nonprofit “Blessings in a Backpack”. This is a relationship the KCF board is very pleased to have secured. Check out their website at

So put on your dancing shoes, round up the family, pack up the blankets and folding chairs, and join the Kentuckiana Celtic Fest for a day of food, fun, and wonderful music. We hope to see you on August 22nd!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Nearer my church to thee? "The Gary" bolts the garish for renewed downtown digs.

More proof that irony has been bred out of the gene pool.

Or is it a (financial) deathbed conversion?

Newly-renovated White House Centre nearly at capacity, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

... the recession has in some ways benefited the Centre, with companies looking to downsize. Gary McCartin, owner of The McCartin Co. Inc., moved to the second floor of the Centre from Charlestown Road.

“With the economy the way it is, we had to lay off people and we had too much space where I was at,” he said. “With the common areas, I can conduct my business the same as with a space 10 times the size.”

C-J previews Bastille Day dinner at the Bank Street Brewhouse (Tuesday, July 14).

In each Saturday's Courier-Journal, Steve Coomes gathers local food and restaurant news, including a brief preview of Bastille Day at the Bank Street Brewhouse this coming Tuesday, July 14:

Brewhouse serving Bastille Day menu

Bank Street Brewhouse (415 Bank St, New Albany, Ind.) is serving up a special Bastille Day menu paired with several French beers Tuesday from 5:30 to 9 p.m. The pub will offer a five-course menu centered on simple French classics prepared by chef Josh Lehman.

The meal begins with gougeres (cheese-filled pastry), followed by a choice of poached egg salad, vichyssoise or country-style pâte. Entrees include a choice of cassoulet, bouillabaisse or quiche Lorraine, followed by an assortment of cheeses. For dessert, guests can choose chocolate mousse or crème brûlée.

Each guest will receive a 750-milliliter bottle of a French-style beer, and co-owner Roger Baylor hopes guests will share tastes with each other.

"I hope people will do their own flights. It'll make it more communal than having me speaking during the meal like I do at beer dinners."

Price is $55 in advance, $60 at the door (one 750 ml beer and service both included).

Call (812) 725-9585 or e-mail.

Bastille Day menu and matching Bieres de Garde at the Bank Street Brewhouse on Tuesday, July 14.

Vegetarian options will be available on Bastille Day at the Bank Street Brewhouse.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Open thread: What the hell was that all about?

In the wake of Wednesday’s somewhat broad ranging thread, a friend suggested to me yesterday that there is a fundamental difference between a small business owner and an entrepreneur.

Speaking personally, I’ve never seen any difference between the two. It seems to me that I'm both. Is there a difference, and if so, what is it?

As a corollary: I’ve accepted it as axiomatic that using the historic business district downtown as it was originally built to be used (not necessarily with the same mix of businesses, given changing times) is fitting and proper. Can this be reasonably construed as a threat to some doing business there, perhaps because they are small business owners but somehow not entrepreneurs?

After all, the recent LEO article included quotes from downtown furniture dealer Todd Coleman, who it would seem has a different view of the unfolding renaissance and his place in it. If not, then why would he say that he's considered running for mayor?

And: Why do people commonly say there’ll be too many bars and restaurants, but no one says there are too many salons? There are quite a few salons, aren’t there? Are these not subject to the same start-up vicissitudes as the bars? Is it lingering bitterness at the riverfront 3-way alcohol option? Is that bitterness justified? Won't some of the drinkers have their hair cut and visit the antique shop?

I remain surprised that the discussion here Wednesday took the turn it did. Some wounds came open. It is understandable that there’ll always be complaints for the sake of complaining – in all times, in all places.

When it comes to downtown attitudes, what's, and where’s, the beef?

Feel free to let me have it ... again.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Today's Tribune column: "Red scarf, white shirt and San Miguel beer."

BAYLOR: Red scarf, white shirt and San Miguel beer

I’ve been lucky to witness a May Day parade in Vienna, frenetic all-night Greek political rallies, Munich’s fabled Oktoberfest, U2 live in Ireland, selected soccer matches and small bits of the Tour de France. The fall of the Berlin Wall in ’89 was a one-time celebration, requiring three decades of preparation and packing a visceral punch, but I missed that one.

Friday, July 10: Music by the riverside in New Albany.

And another event earlier in the day: Strippers wanted for an unwrapping party this Friday at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Broken Sidewalk: "More Evidence Is A Smart Idea."

Too good to miss ... from the Broken Sidewalk blog:

More Evidence Is A Smart Idea

By now, you should know we are fans of the proposal. If you ask us, it just makes too much sense, saves too much money, and steers Louisville’s future growth in a direction that would provide for a real urban, vibrant, and livable city. But as we continue down the road of outdated 20th century planning, we’re more and more going to be associated with mega-mistakes of the past.

We’ve been compiling a set of links that demonstrate some of the reasons is the right way to go. The issues surrounding such a massive idea are diverse and complicated, so it takes a lot to get through. We highly recommend you check out an article by the Urbanophile about, as well, for background, commentary, and convincing arguments. You can see our previous coverage of this issue here. Each article linked below is worthwhile and expands on the point we’re trying to make.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

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

Here's the agenda for tonight's East Spring Street Neighborhood Association (ESNA) meeting. It includes a discussion and vote for a proposed merger with the S. Ellen Jones Neighborhood Association (SEJ), which was the topic at a recent joint meeting. SEJ's next meeting is July 21 at the Cardinal Ritter House (we'll issue a reminder for that one, too).

I regret being unable to attend tonight owing to the resumption of my IUS beer class at precisely the same time. I'll say this: Neighborhood involvement is good irrespective of the season, but the merger question is of potential impact, so if you're a member (or want to be), come out, pay your dues, discuss, and vote.

ESNA July Meeting

7:00 pm at Central Christian Church

Call to Order: President Greg Roberts

Secretary Report: Courtney Paris

Treasurer Report: Charlie Harshfield

Historical Preservation Representative Report: Jim Sprigler

Agenda Items:

Update from Courtney Paris on Stop Sign at Elm and 13th Street

Emery’s Ice Cream Building

Open Discussion on merger proposal

Vote on merger by ballot



Caption contest: What Otis said.

We've heard about CM Price's recent bout of Mayberry-envy, which included a reference to today's police being too harsh on those unfortunates nabbed for public intoxication, but in the composite photo above, what is Otis saying in response?

Submit your entries as a comment. The senior editor chooses the winner, and the grand prize is a Progressive Pint at the Bank Street Brewhouse.

Well, it's not as bad as the last time we heard from a downtown antique dealer.

The letter below appeared in LEO last week. I missed it then, but the comments came up again in a conversation with Cary Stemle earlier in the week, and I consulted the on-line archives for a copy.

Forgotten Antiques

I was just reading the June 17 LEO Weekly and was surprised to see the buildings of downtown New Albany featured. I was quite happy to see my building on the front of the magazine. However, I was quite disappointed after reading the article that the only business on the block that was not mentioned was the Antique Shop at 145 E. Market St.

Since Cary Stemle made it quite apparent that he did his homework about the businesses on the block that were no longer, let me add updated info that Mr. Stemle did not seem to obtain. First of all, the Little Chef Diner is currently closed. Second, the Antique Shop has survived through many other businesses in the downtown area that have failed. That shop is the second oldest business on the block still open.

A downtown revitalization needs more than bars and restaurants to survive. We bring in people from many different states for the quality of our merchandise. We have been a vital part of the rinse and repeat of downtown New Albany and would like to take this opportunity to express our distaste for your magazine and lack of good reporting.

Ketrina Jones & David P. Scott, Antiques Attic (145 E. Market St., New Albany)
I understand feeling disappointed, but sorry, my only thought is: "You're soooo missing the point here."

Our metro alternative weekly finally catches wind of us and does a COVER STORY on New Albany, and what is useful about it isn't a line item calculation of who was mentioned and who was not; rather, it is the article fostering the positive notion that people should come to downtown New Albany and investigate the scene.

Not only is it inaccurate to suggest that Cary's failure to list every business located downtown constitutes bad reporting, it's plainly irrelevant, and more detrimentally, it plays into the single worst problem we have among business owners downtown: An absence of cooperation in collectively marketing the area. I wrote about this recently, suggesting ...

It isn’t about a single restaurant or bar downtown marketing itself to attract customers, although this remains a factor. Rather, it’s about jointly marketing the extended historic downtown business district as a destination in and of itself. To paraphrase the imbibing Founder, those of us in the food and drink business will succeed together, or fail separately.

If any business owner downtown feels that it's all about his or her own business and not about the climate of the extended area, there'll be a limit to what downtown can do. LEO's article was a gift extended in our general direction.

For heaven's sake, why spit on the platter?