Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Fetch your calendars for NABC's forthcoming week in beer.

Here comes another weekend packed with craft beer events. I'll try to use this space each week to preview the busiest summer schedule in NABC's history. Are you ready?


In Huntingburg:
Dubois County Bombers vs. Nashville Outlaws
It's summer collegiate-level baseball, and NABC is on tap at League Stadium in Huntingburg as the Bombers begin the Prospect League season. Look for Beak's Best, Community Dark and Tafel Bier at the Craft Beer Bullpen down the third base line. From New Albany, it's about an hour's drive down scenic I-64 to Dubois County.


In New Albany:
Schad Bash: Rock for Rauch 2011
The law office of Schad & Schad is right across the parking lot from Bank Street Brewhouse, and we're happy to join the fun at the first annual Schad Bash, which begins at 8:00 p.m. Music will be provided by the Louisville Crashers, and Rosa L. Stumblebus will be on hand for the pouring of NABC drafts. The beneficiary is Rauch, Inc., for 63 years providing opportunities for the physically and mentally handicapped in Southern Indiana.

In Lawrenceburg, Indiana:
First Friday "Party in the Street"
Our brewing friends from Great Crescent (Aurora) and Powerhouse (Columbus) will be vending Indiana-brewed craft beer, including some of NABC's -- Dan from GCB brokered the deal, and we're thanking him for thinking about us.


In Clarksville, Indiana:
6th Annual Keg Liquors Fest of Ale
Keg Liquors owner Todd Antz didn't waste time complaining when he learned that the BIG fest in Bloomington was to be held on the same day as his own gathering. He just went out and assembled the best Fest of Ale lineup ever, including this year's newest innovation: The House of Hops. Rock on, Todd, and read this news item from Daniel Suddeath in the News and Tribune: Hey you, beer me! Fest of Ales set for Saturday.

In Bloomington, Indiana:
First Annual Bloomington Craft Beer Fest
Formerly Rad Fest at Upland Brewing, this event has morphed into an officially sanctioned Brewers of Indiana Guild fest, and more than 30 of Indiana's 40-ish breweries are expected to attend, including the newest of the bunch. Purely exhaustive information can be found here, and tickets are on sale now.

In New Albany, Indiana (also on Sunday):
Fifth Annual Art on the Parish Green
St. Paul's Episcopal Church, located just around the corner from my house, is the oldest Episcopalian congregation in Indiana, dating back approximately 175 years. For Art on the Parish Green, the church's lovely historic grounds are given over to a multitude of arts and crafts, with live music, food and NABC beer. It takes place on Saturday and Sunday, and you can let them know you're coming at the Art on the Parish Green Facebook site.


In (outside of) Greenville, Indiana:
Capriole Spring Open House
It's the semi-annual open house at Capriole Farms, makers of the sublime goat cheese, without which my household would cease to function in a culinary sense. I'll be there, packing NABC beers for pairing with goat cheeses, and using the cheat sheet that Chef Matt and I devised last week. My advice is to get there early, because folks come from miles around for this one.

In Huntingburg:
Dubois County Bombers vs. Danville Dans

In New Albany:
Fifth Annual Art on the Parish Green

Am I forgetting anything? Let me know.

Memorial Day, continued: "This amendment doesn't represent what I went to fight for."

To be sure, it's a legislative vignette from Minnesota, where rationality has been known to break out periodically in spite of Michele Bachmann's residency. I doubt it's necessary to remind you who might profit from this example when it comes to elucidating principle, rather than counting next election's votes.

Jon Tevlin: Kriesel's honesty is a breath of fresh air at Capitol

... (John) Kriesel, R-Cottage Grove, was the guy who broke with his fellow Republicans on the attempt to put a gay marriage ban into the state Constitution. His eloquent and passionate speech on the floor of the House brought cheers from gay marriage supporters outside the chamber.

That day, Kriesel distributed a photo of Andrew Wilfahrt, a gay Minnesota soldier killed in Afghanistan.

"I cannot look at this picture ... and say, 'You know what, Corporal? You were good enough to fight for this country and give your life, but you were not good enough to marry the person you love,'" Kriesel said. "This amendment doesn't represent what I went to fight for."
Watch: Conservative lawmaker, Iraq veteran crushes GOP gay bashing

Sunday, May 29, 2011

Unless the trolley driver was drunk, it would not matter at all.

I spent much of the past two evenings at Bank Street Brewhouse, monitoring the weekend trade. We did well both nights, and it was a mellow vibe. Last night there was a good crowd on the patio to listen to the Troubadours of Divine Bliss, and plenty of diners, both inside and on the front patio by the street.

Naturally, beer was being consumed. We are a brewery, after all. I saw many customers first having a meal and a couple of beers with it, and then producing an empty growler to fill and take beer home with them. This struck me as reasonable in the context of a pleasant evening downtown. I’m sure the same pattern holds true at River City Winery.

My point in all this is that we try as best we can to conduct our business responsibly, even as we acknowledge that human perfection is elusive. Any time alcoholic beverages are being served, there are inherent potentialities reflected by the amount of money we pay yearly for liability insurance. Consequently, it would be shortsighted, to say the least, for us to offer liter steins of 10% beer at any time. It would be far less conscionable to do so at a discount on a weekend.

I’ll probably have more to say about these themes in my new “On the Avenues” column this Thursday. Until then, I invite readers to consider the following headlines, read the stories, and see if you have the same reaction as me.

Dale Moss in the Courier-Journal: New Albany beating Jeffersonville in downtown makeovers

Daniel Suddeath in the News and Tribune: New Albany bar owner says Indiana State Police targeting led him to start shuttles

News and Tribune editorial opinion: OUR OPINION: Free rides to bar patrons a good safety, PR move

Jenna Esarey in the Courier-Journal: Tour highlights changes in New Albany's Midtown neighborhood

Why's that last one there? It's because Midtown is within easy walking and biking distance of all the downtown New Albany establishments.

That's what urban living is all about, and to connect the urban center with outlying areas, there's this strange concept called "public transportation," one that most Americans forgot existed when sprawl got subsidized and automobiles became the mandatory national method of asserting deity-ordained "freedom," itself entirely illusory considering the price to keep, maintain and fuel a car.

Matt's van solution is a good one. Too bad a wider network of "mobility solutions" isn't already there.

The reality behind the scenes at the Asian massage parlor.

In response to a question from a reader.

Asian Massage Parlors

Women found in brothels disguised as massage parlors typically live on-site where they are confined and coerced into providing commercial sex to 6 to 10 men a day, 7 days a week. These locations, often known as Asian Massage Parlors, or Korean Massage Parlors (AMPs or KMPs), operate as commercial-front brothels that claim to offer legitimate services such as massage, but they actually primarily provide commercial sex. The victims are most often Asian women, both documented and undocumented. Massage parlors frequently operate in strip malls, office buildings, and sometimes, residential homes, in urban, suburban and rural areas in almost all 50 U.S. states.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

"Blonde parade lifts spirits in Latvia."

It is a parade designed to "lift sprits," and the footage above is from the 2010 fest. Here's a description from the 2011 edition: 2011

And a few more photos: Gallery

NABC brewery news update.

For those who do not visit my beer blog, here are three NABC news items on a slow Memorial Day weekend.

Starting with Monday's exhibition game, there's craft beer at the ballpark in Huntingburg, with the Dubois County Bombers and the New Albanian Brewing Company pairing to achieve something that continues to elude the Louisville Bats.

Down the road at Horseshoe Casino, NABC is on tap at Legends. Thanks to JB for the photo and the advocacy.

If you haven't already heard, we've already upgraded NABC's bottling capability with this spanking new Meheen Merlin 6-head filler, which remains in the crate until next week. Louisville, you expect bombers coming your way very soon.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Nash cuts through the populist idiocy of News and Tribune web site advertising to refute Parson Clere on PP defunding.

Of course, it bears noting that in spite of the coincidental appearance of the ad adjacent to Matt's column today, the newspaper's editorial opinion runs concurrent with the columnist's viewpoint: OUR OPINION: Daniels’ Planned Parenthood call does us wrong.

Here's the link to Matt's piece: NASH: Cutting off funding is not the answer

"Neo-Con Rep. Todd Young pandering to the titty bar demographic. Shameless. Priceless."

Thanks to T for the photos and the title. Shameless. Priceless. In The Leader? Gads. Did Guido pay for the exposure?

Be there: New Albany First information session next Thursday, June 2.

There will be a New Albany First Information Session on Thursday, June 2 at 6:00 p.m. The session will be held at Earth Friends Cafe, which is located behind El Nopal at 3211 Grant Line Road.

Misson Statement: New Albany First! is a non-profit organization dedicated to the task of supporting locally owned independent businesses in New Albany. Education of and engaging the public, working with like-minded organizations, and partnering with locally owned independent businesses will help us reach a goal of creating a stronger, better New Albany both in terms of economic stability and sustainability.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Tears in my eyes as municipality finally catches up to blog on street spam and illegal signage.

For the past few years, I quit writing about street spam and ugly, annoying, illegal signage.

But I never ceased the rewarding hobby of street spam sign sharking. I’ve pulled down hundreds of these eyesores since 2006. It once crossed my mind to keep the haul, and to photograph it. Sad to say, the resource-wasting placards ended up in the landfill, and I feel bad about that part of it. Can they be recycled?

Today comes overdue vindication: Five or so years after I lobbied the Garner administration to do something about street spam (there was the predictable talk, accompanied by no walk whatsoever), the headline appears at OSIN:

Get rid of the junk: New Albany may call on residents to help remove signs

Before the text, which includes the usual irrelevant Coffeyite grandstanding about yard sale signs, consider these past links from NA Confidential:

One excellent morning's "street spam" sign sharkin'.

One fine Sunday spent "street spam" sharkin'.

Netpointe's street spam: We do not like it here or there ... we do not like it anywhere.

Street spam, sign sharks and the sheer joy of litter removal.

The mobile sign shark kicks off the 2006 anti-street spam beautification campaign.

Here's the rest of the story from OSIN’s Daniel Suddeath.

New Albany residents could soon be appointed to clear the city’s right-of-ways of illegal signage.

The New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety approved an amendment this week to the city’s ordinance governing signs on public property such as utility poles.

The proposal will now move to the New Albany City Council for consideration. If passed, the New Albany Board of Public Works and Safety would have the ability to appoint members of the community to take down signs placed in the city’s right-of-ways.

Such signs could include yard sale notices, commercial advertisements or political signs.

ON THE AVENUES: “Leeches” (A Book Review).

ON THE AVENUES: “Leeches” (A Book Review).

Local Columnist

My only visit to Yugoslavia came in 1987, and it was an intensely evocative cultural experience for a young pup.

In fact, all those obscure parts of the Balkans (which include Albania, Bulgaria, Greece and the contemporary states succeeding Yugoslavia) I visited that summer seemed just as mysterious, foreboding and vaguely unsettling as previously reputed. I had a blast.

Speaking in 1980’s geopolitical terms, the position of these nations as Socialist buffers between East and West was only part of it. As a sometimes student of European history, I always recall the words of Metternich: “Asia begins at the Landstrasse," the road leading from Vienna eastward, toward Hungary, Romania and eventually Turkey, which during its expansive Ottoman phase controlled much of the Balkans.

Metternich may have been referring exclusively to a physical sense of delineations and differences, but his viewpoint surely also was instinctive – and straight from the gut.

Irish novelist Bram Stoker felt it, too. Although Transylvania lies slightly outside the Balkans in modern day Romania, it is where Dracula reigned. In more recent fiction, it was in the Black Mountains of Montenegro that Sherlock Holmes fathered a son and gumshoe successor, Nero Wolfe, the latter returning to his birthplace in middle age to avenge a restaurateur friend’s death, and assuage author Rex Stout’s conflicted feelings about Communism.

Memories are bizarrely long in the Balkans. In 1989, Slobodan Milosevic rose to address a crowd gathered to commemorate Serbia’s defeat against Turkey in a battle fought 500 years before, and used the occasion to make a strident case for Serb pre-eminence in the province of Kosovo.

Did Milosevic release the malignant genie that Marshall Tito kept securely bottled? To western sensibilities, his nationalistic belligerence hastened the demise of multi-ethnic Yugoslavia, itself an artful geopolitical creation dating from the post-WWI peace settlement, spawning the horrendous civil war of the 1990’s.

The truth is not so facile, but Americans, insofar as we know or care about modern Serbia, persist in seeing it as somewhat more sinister than other darkly cantankerous locales in Europe, if not exactly as inexplicably dangerous as Rwanda or Somethingstan.


In his novel, “Leeches,” Serbian writer David Albahari offers a meandering, maddening but ultimately fascinating examination of the prevailing mood in Belgrade, Serbia’s capital city, in 1998.

There was a lull, then. The almost medieval violence of the 90’s had gradually tapered owing to the combatants’ exhaustion and belated international intervention. Yugoslavia was irrevocably shattered, and Serbia, charged with instigation and aggression, was beset with sanctions and isolated from the world.

But because the future of Kosovo remained unresolved, a final act in the tragedy lurked just over the horizon, and worst of all, in 1998, everyone knew it. The scene in Belgrade was one of tension, expectation and feigned normality. Accordingly, to reinforce the claustrophobic anxiety, Albahari’s story unfolds in the form of a continuous, uninterrupted, 309-page-long paragraph. It is a very effective device.

Loitering along the Danube River quay in Belgrade on an entirely unremarkable day in 1998, the nameless narrator, who has no visible means of support save for a topical weekly column he writes for one of several rambunctious local newspapers, suddenly witnesses a man slapping a woman.

Within days, this seemingly trivial episode obsesses the narrator, drawing him into an ever-expanding network of otherwise unconnected events and people, to which he expends much time and energy ascribing order and purpose to what others would see as random chaos.

He meets an eccentric mathematician from school days, and later falls in with the city’s few remaining older Jewish residents, including the daughter of one, for whom his sexual attraction is frustratingly unrequited.

He discovers a mysterious old water well, documented in a strange book with magical pages that seem to change with every reading, a volume filled with Jewish history, Kabalistic theorems and the recipe for an actual Golem, the latter to be called upon to assure deliverance from anti-Semitic persecution.

He suffers a requisite beating at the hands of skinhead-like nationalists as internal ruminations pass from his fevered brain to publication in the newspaper, where they inspire an angry civic reaction.

As the story progresses, and the labyrinth of conspiracy grows ever more complex, the narrator smokes steadily increasing quantities of genuine Balkan countryside marijuana with his only true friend, Marko. They meet often to get high and to lament the passing of the wonderful Serbian stoner era, now lost as the preference of young urbanites to lubricate their souls turned to valium, not ganja.

Every session with his new Jewish friends ends in a staggering brandy drunk, and as the pages turn and the never-ending paragraph trudges ahead, the conspiracies overlap and multiply amid the escalating paranoia and haziness.

The narrator’s newspaper columns grow ever more provocative as he speculates in print as to exactly why the country’s going to shit – and, non-metaphorically, literal defecations constantly turns up on his doorstep, courtesy of the vengeful thugs now stalking him.


All the while, the dim outlines of impending dénouement become ever more vivid, because as hindsight informs us, within a year of the novel’s conclusion, Serbia will be bombed by NATO on the pretext of saving the Kosovars from the fate of the Bosnian Muslims in Srebrenica. Numerous Serbs will be charged with war crimes, to be pursued until the present day, and Milosevic himself will fall just short of emulating Hermann Goering by dying (of heart disease) before the court’s verdict is delivered.

There finally comes a juncture where Marko disappears. It will be another hundred pages before it becomes clear why, because in the end, the conspiracy actually is real, and more extensive than the reader could have imagined. A brutal murder occurs, the fix is in, and the narrator – used and abused by all and sundry – finally realizes he’ll be blamed for it.

He hops the next Budapest Airport shuttle out of the country and into exile. Following the example of Serbia’s history, the shelling soon to follow in 1999 will purge the guilt and prime the next round of anger, but the narrator will be long gone, exiled to an unnamed place, fearing his heart has died.

Maybe it has.

The newspaper's dead and buried, so welcome to electronica.

Beginning last week, my Thursday column was reinstituted in this space. The column ran in the News and Tribune from January 2009 until February 2011, when it went on "hiatus" during my run for council.

Today's OSIN column: "Municipal dysfunction sweeping prohibited."

Earlier this week, I learned that the hiatus had been transformed into permanent absence owing to changes in the newspaper's structure.

This just in: Merger kills a newspaper column.

As a writer, deadlines have a wonderful way of concentrating thought, and so it is my desire to get back into the weekly column habit. This blog's the place for it until something else comes along.

Furthermore, conceding that the newspaper's current staff will disagree with me, the consolidation of two editions into one of the same size inevitably will have the effect of reducing coverage of New Albany (and to an extent, Floyd County) affairs. Stated simply, New Albany has lost its newspaper. We can cry about it, or move on. I prefer the latter strategy.

"Our newspaper is dead -- long live the Internet", or something like that.

For the time being, and perhaps for a long time to come, this blog is more important than ever before. While I don't have the time to transform NAC into a comprehensive news and commentary entity, repositioning my weekly column and moving it from Thursday newsprint to Thursday bandwidth is attainable, so that's how we'll start the ball rolling. In conjunction with social media, it's enough for now. I am aware of like-minded ideas for on-line publishing in the community, and will continue monitoring these in the hope that something comes to fruition.

Later this morning, my Thursday column will reappear here. The old "Beer Money" tag, which referred to the limited usefulness of the bare farthings grudgingly paid by the Retirement Systems of Alabama to guest columnists in publications like One Southern Indiana Newspaper, no longer makes sense, seeing as remuneration has completely disappeared.

Instead, my new Thursday column will openly harken back to the long-departed days of independent, truly local journalism in New Albany: "On the Avenues." Some of you will know what I mean by this. Look for the Green Mouse to make appearances, too.

Today, the avenues are in Belgrade. Stay tuned, and your suggestions are welcomed.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

At sparsely attended public hearing, Mainland finally offers justification for River View: "We'll get a Baja Fresh!!!"

OSIN's Daniel Suddeath provides coverage of last evening's River View public hearing, of which I must confess to abject ignorance, having somehow entirely missed whatever tepid notification was given.

To summarize: The River View project's cost now has risen to $53 million, and yet there remain no financial disclosures on the part of investors; other potential real estate investors in the neighborhood question why the same package wasn't offered to them by the city; all the things presumed that you cannot explain still are expected to move growth in mysterious ways because Mike Kopp and DNA say so; and if we all stay quiet and play along with the lame duck administration, we may be able to watch movies at a two-screen national chain theater atop former public property.

But I digress.

River View team says New Albany not responsible for $12M bond; Proposed development discussed during Tuesday public hearing

... River View is now being projected by Mainland Properties to cost up to $53 million, up from early estimates of $44 million. The development would be located adjacent to the Floyd County branch of the YMCA of Southern Indiana along Main Street ...

... “All of this will spur additional growth,” said Mike Kopp, the Realtor for River View and the owner of Blue Sun Real Estate in New Albany ...

... There were about 30 people at the public forum, but the majority were city officials or members of the development team ...

... As for potential tenants, Mainland Properties said several restaurants are interested in River View including Bristol Bar and Grille, Baja Fresh and Heine Brothers Coffee.
Secure in the knowledge that knowledge is good, and follow-up questions even better, I'm checking today with the folks at Heine Brothers and Bristol to gauge their level of involvement, and to let them know of some of the issues with River View that I'm guessing were not shared with them.

Meanwhile, according to Wikipedia, "Baja Fresh is a chain of fast-casual Tex Mex restaurants founded in Newbury Park, California, in 1990 and headquartered in Cypress, California." Since I don't feel like making a phone call to corporate HQ in CA to leave an unreturned voicemail about local issues, I'll merely reiterate: Death to chains and the projects that foster them. New Albany is a La Rosita's town, and I aim to keep it that way.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Maybe next time.

Thanks to DD for the link.

"The Real Reason Why Bicycles are the Key to Better Cities."

In Europe, senior citizens are out on bicycles in force.

In New Albany, it is argued by some that the Ohio River Greenway could not possibly be non-vehicular because senior citizens would not use it.

Curiously, the bicycle itself stipulates almost no age restrictions. Once you're big enough to hop on and learn to ride, you're able to continue riding for a very long time. You just must want to do it, that's all.

This article aptly captures the epiphany I experienced a decade ago, when I began to see New Albany (and outlying areas) from the saddle, not the driver's side. The view is tremendous, indeed.

This Big City: The Real Reason Why Bicycles are the Key to Better Cities, by Kasey Klimes (This Big City blog).

... The most vital element for the future of our cities is that the bicycle is an instrument of experiential understanding.

On a bicycle, citizens experience their city with deep intimacy, often for the first time. For a regular motorist to take that two or three mile trip by bicycle instead is to decimate an enormous wall between them and their communities.

Monday, May 23, 2011

This just in: Merger kills a newspaper column.

Damn, I knew I should have actually won that election ... then I could still have a newspaper column, just like Parson Clere, although I'm told that the beer column idea is still on the table for the Spectrum section.

The now departed Coach K used the word "hiatus" prior to my council bid. I had to fetch a thesaurus to know what he meant. Now, somewhere, he and Lucy Van Pelt are holding the football aloft and laughing.

Just my luck. Who'd have known that Linus's older sister worked for the Retirement Systems of Alabama?

Is it time to go underground, yet?

Matt Nash: It's all yours now. Torture the troglodytes often, will you ... and try to give us some New Albany news, okay? The Clark County stuff's already getting old.

Right now, the regular columnist spots are full. I can't pick up anyone else and still get in letters, cheers and jeers and any editorials in a timely manner.

I still had to drop another columnist (McDonald) on top of when you and Kelley Curran decided to run for office because space became less available after the merger. I'm also trying to keep a balance between Clark County folks like Dodd and Harbeson and Floyd County writers like Amy and Nash. And, of course, I have a freelancer/stringer budget to worry about.

It's possible a spot would open up in the future and I'll let you know if that happens.

Shea Van Hoy

Chalk it up to 40+ years of empty (headed), downtown.

The top photo is from 1893. It is New Albany's old Post Office at the corner of Spring and Pearl.

The next photo, undated but from the late 1950's or very early 60's, shows the same building (near the center), with the former courthouse in front. The newer structure now housing La Rosita's can be seen clearly, as well as St. Mark's further east on Spring. Today, the lot where the Courthouse stood is occupied by Main Source Bank.

The last photo, taken by Gary Humphrey (River City Winery), is of recent damage done by feral skateboarders to the neglected stage on the neglected lot at the neglected corner where the Post Office once stood, until it was torn down by a previous generation of New Albany "leadership," for whom show trials remain a preferred option if any of them persist in living.

I don't excuse the destructive behavior of unsupervised adolescents, but I can't help thinking that a physical space like this is the equivalent of a broken window, in the sense that perpetual dilapidation merely encourages further vandalism.

One final thought: Check out the traffic in the middle photo. Cars are moving both ways, aren't they?

Remember when the current administration promised two-way traffic restoration downtown?

You don't see it, do you? In my book, that's a promise not kept.

(The first two photos are from the NA-FC Public Library's Indiana Room, and its marvelous Historical Image Archive)

Betting it all on apocalyptic humbuggery, with predictable results.

It is fitting and proper for skeptics like me to squeeze every last bit of derision and mockery from such a grandiose manifestation of self-delusion, but this instance is on the cynic’s radar screen only because Harold Camping had $100 million to misspend toward the advocacy of sheer hokum.

Every single day, all across the planet, primitive superstition erodes human reason precisely in this way, without billboards and radio programs to assist in perpetuating the idiocy. As a Twitter wag suggested on Saturday, Camping’s first comment should have been something like this: “Oops, looks like a misread that word; this is the day of the rupture, not the rapture.”

So, how many people did this loony tunes cleric manage to truss?

World doesn't end: California prophet had no Plan B (Observer/Guardian)

Harold Camping spent millions of dollars telling the nations it was the end of days; now his followers may need counselling ...

Sunday, May 22, 2011

We know all too well that snarky ideologues have reputations, too.

According to whom, Ed?

Your fellow ideologues?

The same dude who predicted the rapture yesterday?

What does any of this have to do with jobs, anyway?

By the way, did you catch that great editorial the other day: News and Tribune editorial opinion: "Daniels’ Planned Parenthood call does us wrong."

Defunding Planned Parenthood: What it could mean for abortions and Medicaid patients, by Jerod Clapp (OSIN)

“I wouldn’t say that just because the New Albany location doesn’t provide abortions doesn’t mean it’s still not in the abortion business,” Clere said. “Even though there’s no question Planned Parenthood provides women’s health services, it’s primarily known as a provider of abortion.”

How I spent my Saturday in beautiful Madison IN.

It's just that industrial swill and the extractive mentality it perpetuates is a personal insult, and Budweiser simply does not belong at this festival.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Rapturedundancy: Come get me off the merry-go-round.

Oddly, legislative flatulence was omitted from the discussion.

Right on: Columnist Nash calls a truce on calling truces.

Matt nails it, but he'd better be careful. As soon as the half-dozen Clere Channel fluffers read this, those anonymous Kitchen Linoleum attacks will resume. You'd think retired, discredited former council members and aspiring female mayoral candidates would have better things to do, but after all, this is Nawbany -- land of the Liteweight, home of the hooded.

NASH: Are we headed in the right direction?

... It is not yet clear what our governor’s decision will be about his future political aspirations. It is clear that he is pandering to the extreme right wing of his party in order to make an impression in Iowa and New Hampshire. Hoosier voters, who helped to send Barack Obama to the White House in 2008, have been blind sided by this sharp turn to the right. Yes it is true that elections have consequences, I just hope that the situation can be rectified before further damage is done.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

News and Tribune editorial opinion: "Daniels’ Planned Parenthood call does us wrong."

The opinion is not signed, so I'm assuming it is the product of the News and Tribune editorial board. All I can say is this:


OUR OPINION: Daniels’ Planned Parenthood call does us wrong

So much for calling a truce. Instead, Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels decided last week instead to approve an assault on social issues by drawing his sword and thrusting it into the gut of every Hoosier who values any shred of personal freedom they have.
Have Rep. Ed Clere and Sen. Ron Grooms, whose propaganda machines typically cloak all legislative business under the all-purpose mantra of "jobs," even tried to offer a public rationale for their votes on this and other reactionary, theocratic measures?

Shouldn't the newspaper ask them to do so?

Today's OSIN column: "Municipal dysfunction sweeping prohibited."

BEER MONEY: Municipal dysfunction sweeping prohibited.

Local Columnist

Yesterday was Wednesday, and Wednesday is street sweeping day on our side of the block.

A policeman customarily follows the street sweeper, because cars are not supposed to be parked on the street, where they obstruct the sweeper’s solemn duty to transfer rubbish from the curb into the center of the bicycle lane.

Recently, with the stated intent of promoting businesses (like my own) and sparing shoppers, diners and shop employees the hassle of parking tickets, City Hall publicly announced a moratorium on the enforcement of parking regulations “downtown.”

To my knowledge, downtown as a geographical construct was never specifically defined in this enforcement suspension context. My household belongs to the Midtown Neighborhood Association, and the former Shooter’s tavern on Vincennes Street, only a few blocks away, now calls itself the Uptown.

However, Develop New Albany recently indicated that in the organization’s eyes, a stated organizational mandate to deal exclusively with downtown issues did not preclude it from expanding operations outward, into areas previously not regarded as such, implying that suddenly, we’re all downtowners.


Meanwhile, our residence in Midtown shares a driveway with a dental office. There used to be a day care business next door, and a doctor’s office further down. Big Value is on one corner of the block, opposite an ad agency office. On another corner, there is a funeral home, facing a fire and water damage repair shop. That’s a fair number of businesses for a residential block -- and I’m not even counting meth labs.


Yesterday, although I knew the street sweeper was coming, I left my car parked on the street. I wanted to see what would happen.

Leaving the usual pathway of dirt in its wake, the sweeper swerved to avoid my car, and the policeman promptly ticketed me. Moments later, I climbed into the car and drove to my meeting, westbound on Spring Street, where I caught up to the sweeper and the tailing police officer.

Other parked cars were obstructing the sweeper’s progress, but they were not ticketed, presumably because an invisible line of demarcation had been passed, and now the weekly shifting of muck and butts from curb to street was occurring within the “downtown” area, where the moratorium of non-enforcement was in effect to promote businesses.

Or, businesses just like the ones on my block, where the rules against sweeper obstruction are being enforced, or at the very least, where tickets are being written, whether not there is any intent to collect the fines.

I got the ticket, and I’ll pay the fine.

The question: Why should I?

When there is a stated policy of non-enforcement within areas that are only vaguely defined, what is the rationale for enforcement elsewhere?

If the rationale for non-enforcement downtown (whatever that means) is the proximity of businesses, shouldn’t that rationale apply throughout the city?

If downtowners who have serially refused to pay their parking fines for decades announce their evasive intentions on local television, and are not prosecuted immediately, why should I feel any obligation whatsoever to drop my twenty-spot in the slot?

Yet, I do. It’s something in my upbringing. Granted, that’s twenty fewer clams to be deposited with local businesses downtown, but heck, I just consider it a token of my esteem for a New Albanian process so random, convoluted and inexplicable that it nostalgically reminds me of the feudal nonsense prevalent in Old Albania.


Neighborhoods lying in, outside or near downtown, depending on today’s variable definition of downtown, historically have served as laboratories for non-enforcement of a different variety.

Slumlord empowerment blocs and the occasional derelict private dwelling have freely ignored basic codes pertaining to building appearance, sanitation and safety, and pretend-leaders like the soon-to-be-mercifully-retired Steve Price have abetted the shtick.

Nowadays, the city seem to be doing a slightly better job of it, although there always seems to be greater interest in the last resort of demolishing properties allowed to deteriorate through previous non-enforcement regimes. Little time is devoted to filling the holes left behind, but then again, this is New Albany: One thing at a time, please, and you’d best give us five or six years to accomplish it.

Like basic exterior repairs. I’m continually amazed by prominent examples of neglect that go completely unaddressed.

Almost every day, I walk or bike past Williams Plumbing on the northeast corner of E. Spring and 9th. If I’m not mistaken, long ago it was Cora Shrader’s Shoppe, a nicely maintained corner property.

Now it is a scantily maintained, increasingly dilapidated eyesore used exclusively for what amounts to industrial storage. Extreme weather over a period of years has torn hunks of siding away from both sides of the house, exposing the wood. Worse, the company’s big trucks tend to be parked right on Spring Street, consistently impeding the view of motorists approaching southbound on 9th.

Do these trucks get ticketed when they block the street sweeper, or does the invisible, undefined, non-enforcement Green Line come into play?

Is it downtown or midtown?

Lowdown, or down low?

If there is ticketing, does Williams Plumbing pay the tickets?

Can a building crying out for code enforcement scrutiny be any more prominently located than this one, or do the code enforcers just shut their eyes two dozen times a day while driving past it?

If readers can answer any of these questions, they’ll enter a drawing for a $175,000, studio-sized condo overlooking the river … in downtown Tirana, Old Albania. Play your cards right, and the neighborhood Mullah might save you a parking space.

Roger is resisting the temptation to make Potty Police jokes, but he’s weakening. Read more at the NA Confidential blog: www.cityofnewalbany.blogspot.com

Blogging my newspaper column.

The election is over, I lost, and it's time to get back into fighting trim.

Readers will recall that when I announced my candidacy for city council, my Tribune column went on hiatus after 111 straight weekly appearances. Among local politicians, only Ed Clere gets a pass by being allowed to campaign in print, all the year round, except just before the "official" campaign season begins.

But I digress.

Since February, some conditions have changed. The merger of the Tribune and Evening News was announced, and now all the news from Floyd and Clark counties is rolled into one edition of the newspaper, to be viewed from Otisco and Galena alike. Now, literally, the News and Tribune is One Southern Indiana Newspaper.

Personally, this very fact of regionalism means that it is more important than ever before for there to be a voice at the newspaper, in column format, for my own city and county. I suspect that certain demographic (and advertising revenue) realities will conspire to steadily reduce New Albany and Floyd County's daily profile in the unified newspaper. I fear that in fact, if not in name, we have lost our newspaper. It saddens me.

Fortunately, Matt Nash is still on board. I'd like to return, but that's management's decision. Until this decision is rendered, I am going to try to return to a weekly writing regimen and post my newspaper column here at the blog on Thursdays, with the same word count as before.

Stay tuned.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Grooms on the job: I hesitate to insult the clueless dupes, but ...

OSIN's David A. Mann covered this week's Jeffersonville city council meeting and came away with this gem:

Indiana Sen. Ron Grooms, a former councilman, updated the council on the recent session of the Indiana General Assembly. He noted recent redistricting of assembly and congressional districts, education reform, looser gun laws and the passage of a $28 billion state budget as some of the assembly’s accomplishments in 2011.
Nice work if you can get it, eh?

Grooms drove regularly to Indy, yawned through debates in the knowledge that he'd be ticking the box next to "What Mitch Daniels and the state GOP apparatus wants" roughly 97% of the time, exceeding even Ed Clere's propensity to fall into ideological line, cashed a few checks, and then returned home to report to his former colleagues that even though it was a dirty damned job, he was able to help everyone carry guns everywhere, deny health care to underprivileged women, and make sure the oligarchs survived the recession with purses intact.

Breathtaking, isn't it?

Nice flowers. Did the slumlord pay his share?

Irv Stumler and Jerry Finn explain their clean and green vision to Dale Moss (Courier-Journal): Failed mayoral candidate still pushes New Albany cleanup effort.

The idyllic intent is to plant more flowers and trees, pick up more trash and better maintain both public and private spaces. Neighbors are to inspire neighbors, neighborhoods are to inspire neighborhoods. People would work routinely and proudly. “It takes continuous effort,” Stumler said. “It doesn’t just happen.”
Indeed, it does not.

Consider that in barely two weeks, there have been two significant busts of meth labs near schools. Meanwhile, the old tavern building at the corner of 8th and Culbertson, which has been neglected for decades by infamously parasitical Jeffersonville slumlords, began collapsing a month ago, and what remains might or might not be salvageable.

Yes, we have newly vibrant strategies for demolishing decrepit buildings. We also have no citywide plan to replace them, and instead, we talk about tens of millions to expend on one waterfront property, rather than the hundred of vacant living spaces awaiting revitalization in a manner that would reinforce the notion of a neighborhood, rather than serve as a walled downtown enclave.

You see, it's easy to be cynical about beautification in a lingering context of the city's congenital refusal to enforce its own codes, and amid signs that top-down political pressure rather than grassroots up-push remains the default setting for what approximates "action" hereabouts.

I try hard not to be cynical, but as a former board member of the Urban Enterprise Association, I remember all too well how the current administration used a sizeable chunk of UEA money a few years back to plant annual flowers that later were trampled by Harvest Homecoming before dying. It made no sense at all, it was a waste of money, but it looked good. For a while.

I'm no botanist, but it is my hope that the current Clean and Green effort might at least deal in native plant varieties that will return yearly, not serve merely as one-off political window dressing.

Overall, I wish Irv and Jerry the best of luck as they seek to corral the vandals and keep the extractors in line with little or no assistance from government. Absolutely: We all want this to be a better place, not just a more attractive one. Whether this can be achieved by treating symptoms without addressing root contagions is the real question.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

"The Human Resources Manager" trailer.

We watched this film over the weekend, and while contrived, it strikes an appropriate balance between seriousness and humor. It's not often that the Jewish bearer of a coffin finds redemption in the Romanian backwoods, but as we learn, it helps to have a Humvee along for the ride.

Denhart's opposition to diversity and advocacy of intolerance.

Today, twice failed council candidate Vicki Denhart turns to overt racism at her veiled "Freedom to Screech" blogsite, again prompting the question: Is there any aspect of this woman's intolerant political beliefs that come anywhere close to those embraced by genuine Democrats?


The invasion of America from south of the border is not immigration. It is a massive, intra-continental population shift of nation destroying magnitude. If it is not stopped cold and reversed, thew America that we know today will cease to exist and we will be left with a divided, semi-third world mish-mash of a country.

Monday, May 16, 2011

The Wizard of Oz, or maybe Pearl Street.

The proposed River View riverfront development project was back in the news yesterday, as the Tribune editorial board daintily skimmed over numerous cautionary considerations expressed here and elsewhere, donned its finest cheerleading apparel (now in Clark County school colors), and said there are just times when a city must roll the dice and see what happens.

River View: Newspaper editorial expresses "hopes" for economic development.

Something about it reminded me of numerous occasions during the recently concluded election campaign, when I heard objections to the project phrased something like this: Why give more assistance, more breaks and more money to those who already have plenty of them?

I tend to agree, but if only this River View matter were so simple. Previously, I've grappled with the implications of public/private financing in this context:

It goes something like this: The city wields its TIF as a magic wand to borrow against future tax revenues in order to build a parking garage beneath the buildings that the investors cannot finance without the city’s parking garage as collateral, and in time, the city gets paid back while the developers profit from their project.
What has yet to be refuted, much less adequately explained, is actually the converse of conventional populist wisdom: The developers actually are not awash with cash, and are lacking in plenty, and so what the city proposes to do with a TIF-cremented foundational parking garage is not so much providing a handout to monied interests as it is providing the means for those interests to become monied.

That's the part bothering me, and pending the money being shown to us before the Big Dig comences, this is why I continue to have doubts about the project. It isn't personal. It is a question that we must ask, now more than ever, and as we ponder these imponderables, here's how councilman John Gonder sees it:

Private profit should not be the determining factor in a decision of this magnitude. When the fate of our downtown is on the line, it is time for a wider airing of the decisions we face as a community.
And here's a great book review in yesterday's New York Times:

How Bernard Madoff Did It

"World Beard and Moustache Championships - in pictures."

From The Guardian. Why am I suddenly nostalgic for the Oakland A's baseball club, circa 1972? And who does the US champ Burke Kenny think he is, anyway? An owner/employee of Three Floyds Brewing Company?

World Beard and Moustache Championships - in pictures

The contest, which took place this year in Trondheim in Norway, began in 1990 and has been running regularly since 1995. Entrants compete in an array of moustache, partial beard and full beard categories.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

River View: Newspaper editorial expresses "hopes" for economic development.

That the News and Tribune's editorial board persists in perpetuating a fallacy, wherein the YNCA and River View both are cut from the same bolt of economic development cloth, is depressing. There are other reasons to be depressed, but at least it goes to show that someone's reading DNA's press releases.

OUR OPINION: River View risk could bring rewards

... There is no question $12 million is a lot of money, and an economic risk. What happens if the city builds the garage, the economy tanks again and the proposed condominiums and other retail slated for the development fail to materialize? The city and its citizens would be stuck holding a $12 million parking garage, a garage that would sit empty and be the punch line of future jokes.

But in order to grow and attract businesses, governments sometimes have to take a leap of faith, and provide incentives. That is what New Albany is doing. The city would build the garage, with hopes it will spur development.

Between Gucci fondlings, Erika steals again.

Between bouts of retching, but as a grudging public service, NAC periodically provides proper attribution for the cribbed articles published at Freedom to Screech.

That's because it's always fun and entertaining to see how "playing by the rules" does not preclude overt plagiarism. Most recently, the embittered and twice failed female candidate for local office who plays a male university professor in spitwad blogland writes this tender letter ...


Dear New Albany & American Liberals, Leftists, Social Progressives, Socialists, and Marxists
... which seems to have been drawn almost entirely from something published three years ago (Dec 25, 2008) at a crypto-fascist site: A Modest Proposal - Dear American liberals, leftists.

On the other hand, at ten bucks a vote, what were you expecting -- Hillary Clinton?

“We’re still fighting the disease.”

From The Economist.

“The Normal Heart”: Thumping, boiling and loving; Larry Kramer’s seminal play about AIDS makes its Broadway debut

WHOEVER thought you could die just from having sex? Surely only the God of the Old Testament would imagine a plague that smites gay men just as they are starting to enjoy themselves. But in New York in the early 1980s a mysterious illness was suddenly ravaging these men. People would literally “cough, go home and then die in two weeks,” says a former employee of the downtown Public Theatre at the time. “It was horrifying.”

It was the Public that first staged “The Normal Heart”, Larry Kramer’s raging, rabble-rousing play about AIDS, in 1985. The HIV virus had just been discovered, but government officials were moving slowly, reluctant even to mention the epidemic by name. “Who cares if a faggot dies?” asks a doctor in the play. A meditation on gay men fighting for their lives, “The Normal Heart” went on to become the longest-running hit in the Public’s history. Now, over a quarter of a century later, the show has arrived on Broadway, with both bark and bite intact.

“This play has an enormous number of ghosts,” says Mr Kramer, who based the story on his own experiences, lovers and friends, many of whom are now dead. At nearly 76, he seems a little surprised to be alive himself, having been infected with HIV for decades. Much has changed since the play was first produced—HIV is no longer a death sentence. But Mr Kramer, a longtime activist, is hardly counting blessings. “Gay people are hated in a huge part of the world, and we refuse to fight back.”

The play centres on Ned Weeks, a nebbishy and combative gay man. Inhabited here by Joe Mantello (pictured with John Benjamin Hickey as Ned’s lover, Felix). Ned is full of fury. He attacks the mayor, Ed Koch, for his negligence, the media for their silence and his fellow gay men for their sexual irresponsibility. His provocative antics get attention, but they also alienate his friends. Men who had finally achieved some kind of sexual freedom don’t want to be bullied about their bodies. Meanwhile, Felix gets sick.

“The Normal Heart” is designed to grab viewers by the lapels and give them a good shake. Full of expository dialogue and dramatic monologues that carry on a few beats too long, the play is more agitprop than art. “I wanted to get the message out fast,” Mr Kramer concedes. But it is also powerful and unfailingly moving, not only as an historic document but also for its unsparing look at physical deterioration and premature death. “We’re still fighting the disease,” says one theatregoer. Another marvels at how fresh the play feels, given the shame and recklessness that still bedevil gay people. “We don’t have gay marriage, so we don’t have role models for lives that aren’t about loneliness, sex and drinking,” he says. He is 28, and three of his friends are HIV-positive.

Elton John and his partner, David Furnish, may take this production to London. A film could also be in the works. Yet Mr Kramer is still angry—about the people who will needlessly die from the disease, about the cure that hasn’t been found. “I don’t want to lose my anger,” he says. “There’s work to do.”

“The Normal Heart” is at the John Golden Theatre in New York until July 10th

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Espresso and French cuisine. In New Albany.

Yep, it's a Bodum Pavina Double Wall Thermo Espresso Shot Glass. The liquid's warm, but your hand is not. They're being used at Earth Friends Cafe & Coffee Bar, which makes a great double espresso.

In other food and dining news, another eatery is coming to downtown New Albany: French restaurant planned in New Albany (Courier-Journal). It will be doing business at 133 E. Market, a.k.a the Bergman Building, where Artesia was the most recent tenant. We wish them well.

Here's the press release: Walkability assessment training in Midtown on May 21.

The poster was up yesterday: Walkability assessment coming to Midtown on Saturday, May 21. Now, here's the rest of the story, courtesy of JP.


Kentuckiana area residents are invited to learn first-hand about walkable neighborhoods, why walkability matters, how to do a walkability study, and what to do with it.

“On the Street: Walkability in Your Neighborhood” will take place May 21st from 9-11:30 a.m. in the Midtown New Albany neighborhood. The group will start at Destinations Booksellers at 604 E. Spring St in New Albany, Indiana. After a presentation, the group will break into walking groups and later reconvene for a catered lunch at Central Christian Church, 1315 E. Spring St.

The event is the second of a four-part series known as the ReciproCITY Project, which addresses neighborhood stability and health topics: vacant and abandoned properties, neighborhood walkability, urban and community gardening, and public art in neighborhoods.

The goal of “On the Street: Walkability in Your Neighborhood” is to empower grassroots leaders to improve the health and safety of their neighborhood and their neighbors. By taking a critical on-the-ground look at one neighborhood, community members can replicate the methods in their own. Once a neighborhood has a completed walkability study, they can work to improve their neighborhood’s pedestrian friendliness through grassroots efforts or by partnering with their elected officials.

The event is free and a catered lunch will be provided. Spaces are limited and reservations are required. To attend, RSVP with Lydia Comer at lydiac(at)ndhc.org.


Both the Neighborhood Roundtable and the ReciproCITY Project are supported by New Directions Housing Corporation, a non-profit provider of affordable housing and development in the Louisville and Southern Indiana area. The ReciproCITY Project came from the Neighborhood Roundtable, a group comprised of representatives from many different neighborhoods and organizations in Louisville and Southern Indiana. Members of this group attended the 2010 NeighborWorks America Community Leadership Institute last October to learn about solving neighborhood problems.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Walkability assessment coming to Midtown on Saturday, May 21.

Press release coming soon.

Harrison County Summerfest in Corydon to feature a craft beer garden on Saturday, July 2, Noon - 9 p.m.

For readers unfamiliar with Southern Indiana geography, historic Corydon is right down the road from New Albany, perhaps 20 miles away and westbound on I-64.

Among other claims to fame, the town was Indiana’s first state capital. In fact, a little bird tells me that Corydon may soon experience another historic first: A group of townies apparently are exploring options for opening a brewpub on the square.

Wouldn’t that be delighfully epochal?

In the meantime, NABC is perfectly happy to be among the craft brewers represented at Harrison County Summerfest on the weekend before the 4th of July.

The craft beer action is on Saturday, July 2. The morning begins in nearby Lanesville, where there’ll be a charity 5k run/walk to benefit Shelby Richert.

After the race, the astute organizers have cleverly arranged for awards to be presented at the county fairgrounds in Corydon, where by sheer coincidence, a craft beer garden will begin operating at 12 Noon. Here’s the tentative draft list:

Barley Island Sheet Metal Blonde
BBC Amber
Bell’s Oberon,
Flat 12 Half Cycle IPA,
NABC Community Dark
Schlafly Kolsch
Upland Preservation Pils

The craft beer garden will run on Saturday from Noon until 9:00 p.m. More information can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/home.php?ref=home#!/event.php?eid=116169881797121

As someone who has spent a lifetime hereabouts, I cannot describe how excited I am at the prospect of showcasing craft beer in Corydon. It's a holiday weekend, so consider lining up a designated driver and heading that way.

Furthermore, there's a Dubois County Bombers baseball game (with NABC beer) later the same afternoon, approximately 45 minutes further west, in Huntingburg. Anyone up for a combined roadtrip -- Corydon, Bombers and craft beer?

Not ruining something good would be an improvement in and of itself.

It's extremely difficult to believe it would cost anywhere near $374,000 to build the proposed Farmers' Market improvements shown in the above rendering, a good portion of which already exists. For that price, one could purchase a large downtown commercial building or a 4,800 square feet, two-story brick home with five bedrooms, five bathrooms, a full basement, high quality finishes, and the land on which they sit.

Yet, in conjunction with Develop New Albany, the mayor's office has asked the City Council to approve spending up to $400,000 for the proposed project. Have other imagined uses for leftover funds rocketed the estimate into unrealistic space? What justifications have been provided for such a bloated number? In general, what gives? If being asked to pay for it, the Council and the public deserve more objectivity and respect than they've yet been shown.

Despite being subjected to the usual "slap our name on it" fight for credit, the Farmers' Market has indeed been successful and does serve important economic and social functions in the community. The importance of those functions, however, is precisely the reason the market should not be used as the centerpiece of some politicized, unexplained financial scheme.

The mayor's office should get real, itemized estimates from multiple local contractors via a public process before moving forward. Until then, the Council and the public should treat the proposal with the same level of care and seriousness as has been afforded them, which is to say very little.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

Patience, please: More to come on Little League and Binford Park.

Yesterday's post prompted a spirited discussion.

Look to the county, not Community Park, for Little League needs.

To make a long story short, and apologizing for my lack of time today to expand upon it, apparently there's a "Binford Plan" involving baseball fields at little used Binford Park. It appears to have been minted, studied and shelved, predictably placing it below the Mendoza Line that defines local "action." Perhaps the same people who serve on every committee can start a new one to find the plan, dust it off and examine.

Actually, we'll make every effort to provide more information on ideas pertaining to Binford Park and baseball, just not today. Thanks to everyone who wrote yesterday, publicly and privately.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Look to the county, not Community Park, for Little League needs.

I'm a fervent baseball fan, as diehard as they come, and I played Little League myself, but notions of draining the lake at Community Park to build ball fields smack of sheer desperation at this point.

Yes, I feel the pain of the Little League proponents, but the economic climate is not favorable, and the money -- if it existed at all -- surely would be better spent on outdoor recreational opportunities suitable for all residents, not just the ones playing and watching baseball. Community Park is a commons, and should remain one.

New Albany Little League eyes new home; Idea has been discussed, but move to Community Park is unlikely, by Chris Morris.

... “We don’t have a master plan yet. We are just trying to see what will work,” (Troy) Striegel said. “Maybe we can come up with a couple of options” ...

... Floyd County Council President Ted Heavrin said he understands the need, but said it would be difficult to build a Little League complex at Community Park.

“It would take a lot of the park to build that kind of complex. And you can’t build under those power lines out there,” he said. Heavrin also said there are better options in the county, “but nobody is going to give it [land] to them.”
I'll hand this one to Heavrin, because he's right. A county solution, while not free, makes the most sense to me. It's where the land is.

At the same time, today's article is another wake up call for the city of New Albany. All of us need to begin the mental re-education process of identifying Community Park as an iconic green asset that stands to grow in value as the years pass, not just as a remaining collection of land suitable for better use as something else when the mood strikes.

One last brief consideration, and I'm off to Indy for my guild meeting.

Seeing as my business lies just around the corner from the current Mt. Tabor Road baseball complex, I've had many years to observe the Little League phenomenon of parking cars on the street to be as near to the field as possible.

Road widening evidently would "squeeze" the diamonds and cost a few parking spaces used by parents and followers, and yet within a few hundred yards, there are parking lots aplenty -- at K-Mart and Kroger, among others.

If I'm reading this correctly, the fields already there are usable, if not state of the art (some of the places I played growing up resembled glacial moraines more than ballfields), and to require folks to walk a hundred yards does not seem out of the question. It's a sport, after all, so walk.

County solutions, anyone?

Another NA First update; next info session is Tuesday, June 2.

(From Andy Terrell, Director of New Albany First)


Hi everyone,

Just a few things to update you with on the progress of New Albany First.

As you know, we're in the middle of a membership push. The Board of Directors met last night and have set another public information session for Tuesday, June 2nd from 6 p.m. - 8 p.m. to be held at Earth Friends Cafe (3211 Grant Line Road -Summit Square). Board members will be there to talk with business owners and other interested parties and answer any questions you may have. If you can't make that meeting and would like to talk to someone before that, please let me know by replying to this email and we'll set up an appointment for you.

The Board has decided to affiliate with both the American Indpendent Business Alliance (AMIBA) and the Business Alliance for Local Living Economies (BALLE). Our application with AMIBA has been filed, we'll wait a while on the BALLE membership. We did receive some great news this week - the 2012 AMIBA National Conference will be held in Louisville next spring. NA First has been invited to participate in the planning of this conference! This will be a tremendous opportunity for NA First and our members to showcase our independent businesses to people from all over the country. The first planning meeting is today and I'll update members as more information becomes available.

NA First will have a table at Exclusively New Albany on Thursday, June 9th from 6 p.m. - 9 p.m. This is an event sponsored by our friends at Develop New Albany and we're thrilled to take part. Stop by and say hi.

Other events are on the horizon as we continue to work at developing the membership roster. A website is on the way and preliminary talks on our printed "Think Local New Albany" guide have begun.

It's an exciting time, we hope all of you will be a part of what we're trying to do.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Focus on jobs? Really?

I'm not quite sure what the fundamentalism-inspired attack on Planned Parenthood has to do with jobs. Seeking the decapitation of teachers' unions and "Public Education Gutting for Ideologues" drive? Confused by that, too.

In fact, precious little of St. Daniels' 2011 Falangist platform for aspiring higher office seekers has to to with jobs, but Ed Clere says it was all about jobs, and according to Ms. Armageddi, he's up in Indy working for us. In the absence of a local newspaper, perhaps NAC's the only news outlet in town willing to stand up and call his bluff. And so, we will.

CLERE: Focus on jobs was part of getting the job done (OSIN)

John Holl on "Craft Beer's Positive Community Impact."

I've been saying this for a long time, but don't just take my word for it; listen to the dude who wrote the book about our Hoosier brewing industry.

From Danville VA to Boston MA ... to Richmond IN (and New Albany) ... the verdict is clear.

Craft Beer's Positive Community Impact, by John Holl

... Craft breweries are good for local economies. They create jobs, contribute to city coffers, are often generous to local charities and causes, and are usually willing to move into areas that are in need of rehabbing.

Yee hah ... it's country music on the waterfront on July 3rd for the 4th.

Bluegill broke the story on Twitter almost two weeks ago, and now it's official.

Country stars line up for New Albany Independence Day concert; Joe Diffie, Sammy Kershaw and Aaron Tippin to play July 3 show, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune)

... “I would say this is the biggest show we’ve had in awhile,” said Shelle England, chairwoman of the city’s riverfront committee and wife of New Albany Mayor Doug England.
Indeed, this acoustic country music three-way performance is being called The Big Music Show as it tours this summer.

The equally huge, long-awaited Confederate "Trashy Women" Railroad family-friendly show at the Amphitheater is on August 19, and a cursory web search uncovers Younger Than Noah (contemporary Christian) and the Monarchs (June 17) as being among the groups slated to perform this summer.

Note that the annual Celts on the River concert takes place on Saturday, June 18, and remember that all city-sponsored events are free to the public. NABC will be there for the Celtic celebration, but otherwise, at this precise moment, I have no further information on catering or craft beer status at the Amphitheater this year. No worries; it's still early.

Looking for ethnic/cultural/musical diversity beyond boot, scoop, booger, Jesus and oldies? Worry not: The complete Amphitheater schedule should be released very soon, and I'm sure it will be a good one.

Let's hope for better weather this year ... now that the flood waters have receded.

Downtowning on the down low, upside down, let's all get down.

We’re all downtowners now, or so quoth the little bird who told me that at last week’s First Tuesday networking fete, assembled revelers were told that Develop New Albany belatedly is seeking to extend its reach to all parts of the city, not just its emerging downtown.

I’ll skip over the metaphorical implications of “reach” in this context and proceed directly to DNA’s mission statement, which will need some tweaking (emphasis mine):

Develop New Albany, Inc. is a non-profit organization composed of local businesses and community volunteers. Develop New Albany is committed to the economic revitalization and historic preservation of Downtown New Albany. Develop New Albany proactively markets New Albany to organizations and businesses to encourage the continued renaissance of Downtown New Albany.
Of all the childhood bromides drilled into my skull by those evil unionized thug teachers of old, my favorite remains, “Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery.”

Ever since late autumn of 2010, when the philosophical rudiments of what would soon become NA First (the city’s first-ever grassroots, independent, local-first business alliance) initially were being discussed, there has been a headlong rush to jump on the “buy local” bandwagon.

Even the mavens of One Southern Indiana, heretofore an exurban bauble in the Caesared hands of regional economic “development” interests, want a seat at the localization table.

(Apologies, but such a cynical feigning of interest in localism is yet another opportunity to reach for the Irony Sickness Bag of which I wrote yesterday, if for no better reason than the plain fact of 1Si’s persistent advocacy of tolling to build unnecessary bridges, which in turn has been a prime impetus in pushing for greater localization. Can one help cause the problem and yet be the solution, all at the same time? 1Si wants you to think so.)

Now DNA, which has been unable to locate its own elusive organizational genetic code for courage when it comes to taking a clear stand on bridge tolls, hints at a geographical re-orientation, no doubt inspired primarily by NA First’s steadfast insistence on wider New Albany business inclusivity.

Make no mistake: I heartily commend DNA for reaching this conclusion, with a caveat or two to follow.

But first, speaking personally, currently witnessing this unprecedented uptick in interest in economic localization is giving me a satisfying sense of vindication from having assisted in building the foundation for NA First, which is rooted in actionable principles that are aimed at giving independent small local businesses a true voice.

Unfortunately, it is yet uncertain how the emerging efforts of the three separate organizations listed here can helpfully coincide to pursue a pathway toward common cause.

Each surely must have a delineated role, and these roles are highly unlikely to emerge spontaneously without communication and discourse. Defining these roles might go far to defuse the skepticism of folks like me, who look upon phenomena like 1Si’s newfound enthusiasm for localization more as a race to scour a depleted funding trough than anything approximating genuine concern.

Working together … what a wild and crazy concept for New Albany and environs! Pardon me if I don’t hold my breath waiting for unity to emerge.

In all sincerity, it’s too bad that organizations with the sanction and wherewithal to act took so very long to conclude that action is merited. However, as for those enduring clichés of youth, another hoary favorite perhaps says it best:

Better late than never.

Monday, May 09, 2011

"Education. Schools. Children. Vouchers. Which word doesn't fit?"

My pen pal D(NM), a native New Albanian now residing elsewhere, sent this note the other day. Shortly after reading it, I saw St. Daniels's self-serving account of vouchers, and it occurred to me that whenever I hear Mitch Daniels say the words "social justice", I reach for my Irony Sickness Bag.

The governor who famously (facetiously?) referred to a "truce" in the culture wars now spends his days signing legislation dedicated to social engineering on a scale seldom glimpsed since the halcyon days of 20th-century "isms", then sells the souvenir pens on Ebay to finance his White House run.

Like my friend D's reaction, it makes me sick. Waiter: One of those irony bags, please. Extra large if you've got it.

Well Roger, whatareyougoingtodoaboutthismess?

Sorry ‘bout that; words spoken in anger tend to rush out without sufficient pause between. Oops, I’m beginning to sound like Yoda.

How can those idiots face their constituents, how can they face their G-d, when they pull off a stunt like “School Vouchers”? Of course, they are fully aware of the damage they’re going to do to the Indiana Public School system. What can they be thinking? If thinking is what they pretend to do?

The unthinking cruelty of these clowns; it goes to prove time after time that they are amoral to the ‘nth degree. I’m done with Indiana. I’ll never return; however this decision of mine won’t amount to a hill of beans in the long run. But, it will give my anger a focus.

I have to ask, where in Indiana is the one person who’ll stand up and speak out to remind their fellow Hoosiers that this is wrong? This is nothing but a sop to the ugliest of the radical right’s ambitions, and that is to reverse the civil rights movement in this country. To take us back to that imagined time in this country when white was right and those who weren’t were outta sight.

When I was in the sixth grade, attending the State Street Elementary School , the principal was Lillian Emery (of hated memory). She had declared, early on when the subject of integration of New Albany’s schools was discussed, that the only way a black child would walk into State Street School was over her dead body. We all, or at least a lot of us, held our collective breath and hoped that soon a new student would appear and grant our most fervent wishes.

So, one day, during recess I spotted that one black child, alone, away from the other students, crying, afraid, scared to death. I think he was a second grader, one little kid; and at that point the cruelty of the New Albany power merchants was out there for all to see. Unfortunately Miss Emery remained, fully ensconced on her throne. They even named the school after her, for a while; at least until her ugly story became public knowledge.

I tried to befriend and reassure that kid, but he was so miserable and afraid, he was literally inconsolable. I don’t remember if he was at school the next day, I don’t remember seeing him again. The school year ended and I was on to New Albany Junior High, on Spring Street, where integration was a reality. Not that everything was peaches and cream, but it worked, for the most part.

Now, the moral descendants of Lillian Emery are out to reverse the wheels of progress. Indiana’s most welcome to them. You’ll need to keep a weather eye out; I hear that Carrie Nation is reforming the W.C.T.U. for a second go around.

Be very watchful!

Midtown neighborhood clean-up this Saturday, May 14.

(From Ted Fulmore, Midtown Neighborhood Association)


Midtown Neighborhood Clean Up!
Saturday, May 14th
9.00am - 3.00pm

Dumpsters will be located at – ­­13th Street and Culbertson Ave.

Tires, yard waste and household trash* will be accepted.

*No hazardous materials (paint or other volatiles) will be accepted.

Please help make our neighborhood look great by getting out and cleaning up!

Need special assistance? Please come to 13th Street and Culbertson Ave. at 9:00 a.m. to request help and resident volunteers will do their best.

A collaborative day at NABC.

The notion of "collaboration beer" is an outgrowth of craft beer's intrinsic vitality as a genre, and illustrates the cooperative spirit therein. Brewers come together to share ideas and experiences, and the consuming public is the biggest winner, because craft fans have the chance to taste the result.

Imagine Miller and Budweiser working together on a beer recipe. You cannot. It could not possibly happen up there in multinational land ... but it's increasingly common within the craft segment.

Yesterday afternoon, Urbain Coutteau of De Struise Brouwers (Belgium) brewed a collaboration batch at Bank Street Brewhouse with NABC's Jared Williamson and David Pierce. Lori Beck and Tyler Trotter (Louisville Beer Store, Holy Grale) organized Urbain's tour of the States, which included stops at Three Floyds Brewing Company and the Kentucky Derby.

Brew photos here: Naughty (Girl) Brew Day, May 8, 2011

The fun continues today at NABC's Pizzeria & Public House, where a second collaboration beer will be brewed, followed by Office Hours with the Publican, which tonight will take the form of a reception of sorts with Urbain -- think of it as a going away party.

More information here: Urbain madness at Bank Street and the Public House, Sunday and Monday -- for collaborations and more.

Thanks to everyone who helped make yesterday such a great time -- Urbain, Lori & Tyler, NABC's brew team, Bank Street Brewhouse staff (they handled a huge Mother's Day crowd) and anyone else who grasps the meaning of Progressive Pints.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

"51 (Mostly) Simple Ways to Spark a Commons Revolution."

More radicalism for a quiet, foggy morning after. Thanks to NA First for the link.

51 (Mostly) Simple Ways to Spark a Commons Revolution: What you can do to make a better world, by Jay Walljasper

E.F. Schumacher (author of Small is Beautiful) gave us some good advice about how to restore the commons when he said, “Perhaps we cannot raise the wind. But each of us can put up the sail, so that when the wind comes we can catch it.” Even in these tough times, the breeze of change is beginning to blow.
Here’s a handy list of ways you can raise the sail in your own community and life, reprinted from On the Commons new book
All That We Share: A Field Guide to the Commons . And we’re sure these simple suggestions will encourage you to find more of your own ideas.