Wednesday, February 29, 2012

In which "Bats, Baseball, Beers & Bucks" are examined.

My second of two February columns has been posted at, which is the repository of most of my beer writing these days.

Bats, Baseball, Beers and Bucks

Photo by Flickr User: Andrew Malone
Professional baseball’s spring training is underway, and it isn’t too early to begin considering the prospects for locally brewed craft beer at Louisville Slugger Field in 2012. The Louisville Bats begin play in April, and only then will we know if the fragile, halting forward progress of craft beer availability during the past three years will be repeated this season.
I shan’t be holding my breath, but as usual, I hope I’m mistaken.

UK 360: Grassroots "up and down the country".

A new television series in the UK:

Community Channel's UK 360 is a brand new fortnightly television magazine show bringing you inspiring news and stories from local communities up and down the country. UK 360 gives a voice to these communities and to the local individuals and organisations that are positively improving their neighbourhoods at a grass-roots level.

In the first episode we head over to Cornwall to find out how Wadebridge is on it's way to becoming Britain's first solar powered town. They have set themselves a target to generate at least a third of its electricity from solar and wind power by 2015.


Headliners: a charity that works with young carers
Eastside Roots: an interactive garden in a disused railway station
World Film Collective: working with young people to explore the issues of the England Riots
Your Square Mile: empowering local communities
somewhereto: Turning 10 Downing Street into a Parkour playground

To check out other episodes or get more information on UK 360 visit

One Southern Indiana: Reaching out to make lemonade from Wassmer's, er, lemons.

Coming soon to River Ridge ...

"To End All Wars" redux.

I happened upon a blog entry by Eric Schansberg, and it's always interesting to note when someone else reads the same book you did.

Hochschild's "To End All Wars" on World War I (Schansblog)

A really important and under-emphasized war...

I knew too little about it, something remedied to some extent by Adam Hochschild's excellent book, To End All Wars.

My own thoughts on Hochschild's work came last summer:

ON THE AVENUES: For no reason at all (August 4, 2011)

 ... A century later, it all seems preordained, but we forget that amid an unholy flurry of secret treaties coming to deadly fruition in the aftermath of Archduke Franz Ferdinand’s messy demise in Sarajevo, Europe’s prevailing warmongers retained a nagging fear: The continent’s socialists might actually make good on their “brotherhood of mankind” rhetoric, oppose mobilization, reject conflict, and require heightened internal warfare against the indigenous working class so as to conduct external warfare against neighboring countries.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Councilman Greg Phipps's blog makes Erika blow a superannuated gasket.

Boy, Erika's sure steamed. He/she/it hasn't been this agitated since Greg Phipps toppled Steve Price in 2011 like a house of Legion video poker machine cards, providing hope of literacy to the long suffering residents of the 3rd council district.


... Well Mr. Phipps, The Constitution of the United States gives you the right to say how you feel.

As Christians we find this highly offensive. We've never met missionaries who forced Christianity on other cultures and believe us we know several.

It can mean only one thing: An elected official is displaying independence, intelligence, or probably both; and yes, upon further perusal, we find the little peoples' target right here:

Greg's Social, Political and Religious Commentary

Views expressed on this blog are presented from a liberal, progressive perspective with the intent to encourage a critical view of the problems facing our society. Views expressed are not presented in a mean-spirited way, nor are intended to offend; however, those with different political and religious views may be challenged by what is presented here.

Disruptive Wonder. Better Block.

"The world is full of order that doesn’t necessarily deserve our respect. Sometimes there is meaning, justice, and logic present in the way things are — but sometimes there just isn’t. And I think the moment that we realize this is the moment we become creative people. Because it prompts us to mess things up and do something better with the basic pieces of experience.” - Kelli Anderson

Kelli Anderson is an artist, designer, and tinkerer who enjoys the challenge of seeking out hidden possibility in the physical and digital world. From interactive paper to layered, experimental websites, everything begins and ends in Kelli's Brooklyn studio which houses a 1919 letterpress and an assortment of other benevolent contraptions.

Opposite to the 'top down' concept of urban design is BETTER BLOCK, founded in Dallas' Oak Cliff by Jason Roberts and Andrew Howard. The Better Block project is a demonstration tool that temporarily re-visions an area to show the potential to create a walkable, vibrant, neighborhood center.

Kerry Stemler did NOT approve this massage.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Another repressed conservative bites the dust as News and Tribune breaks Choady WassmerGate.

So, One Southern Indiana's CEO turned out to be an e-flasher. There's nothing quite as entertaining than a hubris before a fall.

But frankly, Kerry Stemler's oligarchic economic development plans are more far obscene than Wassmer's digitalized willie ever could be. If every 1Si operative who ever sent a copy of the Ohio River Bridges Project via work e-mail were to be canned tomorrow, the organization would be as depopulated as the area around that crippled nuclear reactor in Japan.

Source: Explicit email sent from Wassmer’s work account; Former 1si leader resigned Friday; email date stamp shows email with naked man was sent Nov. 30, by Daniel Suddeath.

NEW ALBANY — An email allegedly sent to multiple women from the business account of former One Southern Indiana President and CEO Jody Wassmer shows a man exposing his genitals.

The man’s face is not shown, though the person who received the email claims it is Wassmer who is pictured.

Wassmer resigned Friday from 1si after giving notice Feb. 20 that he would be leaving the Chamber of Commerce organization of Clark and Floyd counties after just four months on the job. Wassmer said he was returning to Owensboro, Ky. — where he had served as president of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce — to be closer to his family.

Reminder: Louis Le Français, NABC and Starlight beer dinner on Thursday, March 1.

A reminder: We have a special beer dinner coming up this Thursday, March 1, at Louis le Français. You can read all about it by following the links below.

The city of New Albany's new website prompts a handful of observations.

The city’s revamped website has gone live.

The web site was mentioned just the other day in the newspaper.

Formally tabbed as a legal assistant for the administration, Gahan also announced that Michael Hall will serve as the head of city operations. Hall is a University of Louisville graduate and was a founding member of Gahan’s 2011 mayoral campaign committee … Gahan credited Hall with preparing the new city website for launch in an effort to improve communications with the public.

Meanwhile, at Twitter, we see this posting from Lesa Seibert, a Louisville web designer:

Looks like we didn’t localize at all on that one, did we?

Are we to surmise this was Hall’s choice of contractors?

Whom do we thank?

The site itself looks fairly good. Here are three random observations

  • Develop New Albany is listed at least three times, under sections for Residents, Business and Visitors. One Southern Indiana appears under Business, the Urban Enterprise Association is briefly noted under Boards and Commissions, and New Albany First – the sole entity in the city dedicated to independent local business – is not listed at all.
  • The late Kevin Hammersmith’s name still tops the Parks Board.
  • The two Bicentennial Commission slots created by the council for Mayor Gahan to make appointments appear to have been filled with John Coffman and Pat Harrison, boosting the average age of commission members even higher.

Readers, how does the city’s new website look to you?

Sunday, February 26, 2012

At least Amy wasn't dozing during art appreciation class.

For Chris's complaint to make sense ("I don’t know what it has to do with our historic city"), he must be prepared to explain what art of any sort actually DOES have to do with our historic city -- and he can't cheat by asking his fellow literalist Bob "CeeSaw" Caesar, who believes that art is so important that it must be outsourced to Tennessee to truly matter.

At least Amy was around to offer the counter-point. Either of them, or preferably both, might ask the best available question: Why is there a fork painted on the road in front of the Cardinal Ritter House?

CHEERS AND JEERS — For Feb. 25-26


... to the art display of a fork stuck in a piece of cheese along Market Street in downtown New Albany.

Who approved it and what is it supposed to signify — that we have a few restaurants in the downtown area? I don’t know what it has to do with our historic city. Maybe it would work better at the Carnegie Center. Unless I am mistaken, I don’t think we are the fork or cheese capital of the world.

— Chris Morris, Assistant Editor


... to the giant fork stuck in a piece of cheese sculpture along Market Street in downtown New Albany.

While I didn’t really plan to cheer the cheese, reading Mr. Morris’ preceding jeer reminded me of the chuckle I got when I saw the cheese for the first time last week. It’s fun and whimsical. So what if it doesn’t have anything to do with New Albany’s history?

Just let it be what it is. It’s art. Don’t you just love it?

— Amy Huffman-Branham, assistant editor

Saturday, February 25, 2012

The sign says it all.

Posted by Picasa

Shambolic NA: Big ticket jewelry and lower-income tax credits.

As the excerpts here illustrate, rental housing owner Kevin Zurschmiede voted both ways while wearing different hats, putting him into position to tie King Larry's all-time flip-flop record by abstaining the next time it comes up ... and the developer did not fail to notice it. The administration took no public position until after the state declined credits. Councilman Caesar, who has contributed no known plan for assisting downtown revitalization beyond opposing two-way streets, outsourcing Bicentennial projects to out of state mercenaries and enabling condos-for-the-wealthy-some-time-way-down-the-road, was able to blithely rationalize his contempt for the less well off by waving a mimeograph of the tax code.

Fiction is dead and buried in New Albany, because everyday life is so consistently entertaining ... and so enduringly futile in a political sense. Do any of these people have a better idea for how the Reisz Building might realistically be used any time soon? Is it that we just couldn't run the risk of poorer old people living that close to Mr. Bobo's champagne-sipping penthouse dwellers? Doesn't Sterling actually have the money to do what they propose, and some semblance of a track record that might hint at an ability to succeed in doing it? If the answer to the last two questions is yes, shouldn't we give them the parking garage, because that way, at least something might get built?

Legacy at Riverside not dead yet in New Albany; Mayor Gahan disappointed that low-income tax credits weren’t awarded for developments, by Braden Lammers (Hanson Compendium of Pop Ups and Roll Overs)

Councilman Kevin Zurschmiede voted in favor of that resolution while on the redevelopment commission, but sponsored the measure opposing the developments for the council.

“We did have support unanimously [from the redevelopment commission], and then to find out after the fact in the new year that we might not have support I guess we were a little confused and not sure what was going on,” (John VanMeeter director of development for The Sterling Group) said.

(Mayor Jeff Gahan) said the Legacy at Riverside “would have given a dilapidated city block $12 million worth of development. The seniors that would reside there could have visited our downtown restaurants and shops, and contributed to the local economy in a big way.”

The administration estimated the property tax base would have risen from about $10,000 to $40,000 annually on the lot due to the Legacy at Riverside project. However, Councilman Bob Caesar estimated the city would lose millions of dollars in property taxes over the life of the developments if they received credits when he voted in favor of the opposition resolution.

Taibbi: "This is where the Republican Party is now."

I'd dearly love to hear Ed Clere and Ron Grooms explain how this analysis is (a) incorrect, and/or (b) does not apply to them, or to their idol, St. Daniels. Perhaps the Urban Enterprise Association might be compelled to fund a forum so that we can listen intently to the inevitable obfuscations.

Arizona Debate: Conservative Chickens Come Home to Roost, by Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone)

... Most importantly, though, the conservative passion for divisive, partisan, bomb-tossing politics is threatening to permanently cripple the Republican party. They long ago became more about pointing fingers than about ideology, and it's finally ruining them.

Oh, sure, your average conservative will insist his belief system is based upon a passion for the free market and limited government, but that's mostly a cover story. Instead, the vast team-building exercise that has driven the broadcasts of people like Rush and Hannity and the talking heads on Fox for decades now has really been a kind of ongoing Quest for Orthodoxy, in which the team members congregate in front of the TV and the radio and share in the warm feeling of pointing the finger at people who aren't as American as they are, who lack their family values, who don’t share their All-American work ethic.

The finger-pointing game is a fun one to play, but it’s a little like drugs – you have to keep taking bigger and bigger doses in order to get the same high.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

With Wassmer out, meet our first selection as 1Si's "Kingpin for a Week."

It's now official, but on Wednesday, as we paused to consider that Jody (Wassmer), we hardly knew ye, loyal reader TLB posted this perceptive note at Facebook.

I would like to announce that I have accepted the post of CEO of One Southern Indiana. I regret that I have to step down on Monday. I treasure our time that we have worked together.

He’s stumbled upon a fantastic idea, and it is our pleasure to introduce a new NAC reality series, “Kingpin for a Week.”

We now are accepting applications, suggestions, nominations and inquisitions for this prestigious honor, because we’ll be selecting a new 1Si head cheese each Friday -- that is, until a real one is temporarily positioned by the rudderless organization itself , after which we’ll play it by ear.

Today’s choice is the easiest of all, so let's have a drum roll, please:

Meet the new 1Si CEO for the week of February 24 – March 1 of 2012

It's Benny Breeze!

ON THE AVENUES: Bridge localism lesson boogie.

ON THE AVENUES: Bridge localism lesson boogie.

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor. 

Last September, my first reaction upon hearing the Sherman Minton Bridge had been closed to traffic was intemperate panic, and my second was to be profoundly embarrassed for having ever panicked in the first place.

So it goes, and fortunately, it took only a few minutes to progress from the first response to the second, thus sparing my conscience a considerable amount of accrued annoyance, of which there was plenty falling outside my immediate zone of control without having to grapple with any more dissonance internally.

It didn’t take long to grasp that amid the wailing and flagellation, public morale actually does matter, and the Sherman Minton situation taught us that there are times when it is best to ignore the recently escalating American talent for tearful talk-show disclosures, and instead emulate the stiff upper lip renowned of our British cousins. It isn’t necessary to agree with Winston Churchill’s often repugnant conservative politics to recognize his talents as a unifying symbol amid the genuine chaos of wartime.

Taken as a whole, New Albany had sufficient resolve to acquit itself well, and even if the extent of the Sherman Minton situation was exaggerated in the beginning, most of us got it right in the end.

I persist in thinking it was shortsighted of local businesses, leaders and movers of any stripe to conflate the bridge closing with any notion of disaster, particularly using the enduringly aggravating “Shermageddon” tag in reference to what was an entirely imaginary apocalypse.

I might have grudgingly accepted “Shermageddon’s” usage had the bridge fallen into the river, but happily, it did not, and when all was said and driven, it was an inconvenience, not a catastrophe. Surely the real heroes of the closure were our Southern Indiana commuters, practically all of whom had no other transit options available except automobiles for use in reaching their jobs in Louisville.

Pathetically, they still won’t have options for the foreseeable future, and this neglected future transport tense is why it was sadly predictable (and as a bonus, often outrageously hilarious) to watch One Southern Indiana and other regional oligarch enrichment cadres rushing forward like so many smirking Keystone Kops, cynically leveraging the area’s mounting commuter ire by intensifying the propaganda broadsides in favor of their pathologically (un)necessary Ohio River Bridges Project -- itself perhaps the ultimate in bloated, auto-centric “immobility solutions,” as meant to dictate regional development choices for the rest of our lives, and far beyond.


Did an off-line Sherman Minton Bridge under repair somehow “prove” the need for the ORBP?

No, but it amply illustrated the common-sense case for the East End Bridge component of the ORBP, while just as obviously explicating the sheer, breathtaking folly of another downtown bridge to be thrown merrily into the already bottleneck-laden scrum in that vicinity.

What’s more, five months of commuter pain resulted in something so obvious that we’ve already been saying it for years:

Having a modicum of discretionary choice, numerous Louisvillians chose to remain firmly ensconced on the Kentucky side, and to my knowledge, not once did we hear a Louisville eatery in the Highlands complaining aloud about the drop in business owing to the bridge closure. Meanwhile, far larger numbers of Hoosiers grappled with their daily, entirely non-discretionary delays to travel into Kentucky and accomplish nothing more than to arrive at work on time.

If this isn’t the best-ever, real-world argument against tolling, which if implemented will inequitably tax working Hoosiers in a regressive, unforgivable manner, I’m not sure what is.

But facts are the peskiest of irritants, and we can expect none of these considerations to lodge in the granite-set craniums of ORBP advocates, whose faith in the ORBP more closely pertains to mystical religious zeal than anything remotely objective in nature.


From a local markets standpoint, what I’m hoping will be the result of our five-month bout of bridge deprivation is an increased awareness of localism’s economic potential. We speak often of shifting, in the sense of changing ways of spending, thinking and doing, and surely a degree of shift demonstrably occurred during the time the bridge was out of service.

Although my optimism may be misplaced given New Albany’s fatal proclivity for territorial pissing, I continue to believe that lessons learned from the Sherman Minton’s convalescence will result in greater recognition of the possibilities inherent in ideas like those represented by New Albany First.

In part, this is because I believe in the utility of rising expectations, and crazily persist in thinking that the business owners doing the most to create jobs and revitalize the local economy are doing it at the small, independent, grassroots level, and should have a greater voice in economic decision-making commensurate with their greater achievements.

It’s as simple as that, and it isn’t necessarily a “political” pronouncement. Think of it as a pronouncement of personal intent during the coming months, because there’s been some measure of confusion, and I’m determined to allay it.

From its inception, New Albany First has been intended as an association of independent, local, small businesses, as defined by specific criteria – not as an arbiter of foreign-owned industrial park occupants, not as a dispenser of funding via Indiana’s enterprise zone legislation, not as a pillar of historic preservation, and not as the city’s designated event-planner.

Know this: Nothing that New Albany First might choose to do now or in the future threatens in any conceivable way these other worthy pursuits, as pursued by other variably useful community organizations. In fact, there is no reason whatever why all these aims cannot be complementary and coordinated, but this must be done in an atmosphere of shared equality; from the bottom up, and from side to side, but not from the top down.

2011 was compelling proof of top-down’s dismal Englandish failure, just as the portion of the year spent without the Sherman Minton Bridge in service was evidence that we must row in one direction when it comes to local economic development. It’s not about picking one winner and endowing it. It’s about improving the odds for as many potential winners as possible, using all the resources available.

Which tunes will we be dancing to in 2012?

Me? I like all kinds of music.

Spay Now or Stay Stupid: World Spay Day is February 28, and here's why it matters.

Contact: Theresa Stilger, David Hall
Animal Care Co-Ordinator, Director
Phone: (812) 948-5355 shelter (502) 376-8430 cell


NAFC Animal Shelter Partners with 
Humane Society of the United States
to Promote World Spay Day
February 28, 2012
New Albany, In., February 15, 2012— The New Albany Floyd County Animal Shelter will participate in World Spay Day, an international campaign of The Humane Society of the United States and Humane Society International, to promote the life-saving benefits of spay/neuter, when it hosts  a SPAY NOW OR STAY STUPID!  event on Tuesday, February 28, 2012. During this event, the NAFC Animal Shelter will be altering forty felines for FREE! Preregistration is required, is limited to Floyd County residents with proof of income under 30k per year. Limits on the numbers of available spaces for males and females will be in place. All cats will receive a rabies vaccination and license if needed for a fee of  $5 each. 
“Spay/neuter saves pets' lives while lessening the burden on animal shelters and taxpayers,” said David Hall, Director of The New Albany Floyd County Animal Shelter. “In today’s economy, many people cannot afford to have their pet or the local neighborhood cat altered. This only contributes to pet overpopulation.  We are inviting our citizens to take advantage of this free spay or neuter day, or help by sponsoring the spay or neuter of at least one animal—their own, a friend or family member's,—in honor of World Spay Day 2012.” Go to the shelters website to donate or for more information.
Since Spay Day's inception in 1995, it is conservatively estimated that participants have spayed or neutered more than one million animals. It has been a proud achievement of Spay Day participants like the NAFC Animal Shelter and other spay/neuter programs that the number of homeless cats and dogs euthanized in the U.S. has fallen from approximately 13.5 million in 1973 to fewer than four million currently.
Over two thousand animals a year come through the doors to the New Albany Floyd County Animal Shelter seeking homes. Hundreds of pet owners have been assisted in spaying and neutering of their animal by the shelter, the Floyd County Humane Society and the Floyd County Animal Rescue League.  Together, we can make a difference.
Shelter Adoption Hours: 
Mon through Fri: 12-4 p.m. Sat:  11-2 p.m.
Cats also at both New Albany Feeders Supply Pet Stores
Adoption fees Cats: $20
Kittens under 4lbs: $60
Dogs: $80

Oddly, no mention of the Clark-Floyd Counties Convention and Tourism Bureau's donation.

Unrelated question: Has anyone heard if there's still a plan to put the late Kevin Hammersmith's name on the Amphitheater as a memorial?

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Jody, we hardly knew ye.

It's a wicked scoop by Insider Louisville's Terry Boyd. Wassmer, who was profiled recently by the C-J's Dale Moss, made one appearance at Bank Street Brewhouse. I should have gotten an autograph while I had a chance, eh?

Breaking news: Sources say new One Southern Indiana CEO Jody Wassmer will depart this week

Just a few weeks after the exit of Joe Reagan from GLI, One Southern Indiana‘s CEO is exiting, according to multiple sources.
Those insiders have confirmed Jody Wassmer’s last day at 1SI will be Friday.

You saw it here first: The Emery/Culbertson Connection, Phase 453 ...

January 5, 2012: Swank penthouse to crown 8th & Emery’s development.

So, who'd like to be the ATM for this one? After all, the UEA's tapped out after the first round of non-collaborative 8th & Culbertson rescues. River View, can you spare a dime?

Newspaper poll results indicate "slight" trend against Hibbard pay raise.

Ouch ... if this minor "nudge" continues, school board members who voted in favor of the superintendent's elevation in remuneration may have to enroll in the witless protection program.

Meanwhile, Kate Caufield's letter (viewed here last week) also made the News and Tribune today.
 ... If my household has a tough month, or year, I don’t get a bonus for being a good mom — and a working mom, who relocated back here because of the schools. No matter how much my husband and kids appreciate me, if we don’t have it, we don’t have it. Same for you and the school corporation.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Rep. Bob Morris: The conspiratorial face of domestic douchebaggery.

I have it on the best authority that Rep. Bob Morris was born in rural Paraguay, the illegitimate and illiterate son of Maj. Frank Burns and an escaped Nazi spy named Greta, and served as a professional misogynist in Ft. Wayne before turning to selling used cars to John Birch Society members. Morris’s birth certificate, driver’s license and elementary school diploma were forged on Photoshop. How do I know all this? I saw it on the Internet, and until Rep. Clere tells me otherwise, you can’t convince me.

I use this word so seldom, but what an asshole!
INDIANAPOLIS — An Indiana lawmaker won’t support a resolution celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Girl Scouts because he believes it is a “radicalized organization” that supports abortion and promotes homosexuality. Rep. Bob Morris of Fort Wayne has sent a letter to fellow Indiana House Repu...

"Saul Alinsky: The activist who terrifies the right," at Salon.

Good stuff, indeed. Time to read “Rules for Radicals,” which I confess to not having done.

Saul Alinsky: The activist who terrifies the right; Newt and other conservatives are obsessed with tying Obama to Saul Alinsky. Here's where their hatred comes from, by Thomas J. Sugrue (Salon)

... Here is the root of the right’s suspicion of Alinsky. His goal was giving the dispossessed agency—empowering them to “fight privilege and power, whether it be inherited or acquired.” In Gingrich’s view, by contrast, the “have nots” are fundamentally incapable, responsible for their own fate because of their immorality, indolence and inertia. They will only be uplifted through the discipline of the market. Put poor elementary school children to work to instill in them a work ethic; cut welfare to promote “personal responsibility,” take away food stamps and reduce unemployment benefits so that the jobless are forced to work.

Monday, February 20, 2012

That wasn't a pipe bomb, actually.

I was told by two neighbors that the destruction shown above was caused by two drunk drivers in a week's time. That's unverified, but makes sense.

"Urge Republican Senators in Kentucky to Support SB 128: Keeping Kentucky's Freeways Act of 2012."

(Press release from Paul Fetter)

On January 31, 2012, Louisville State Senators Perry Clark and Denise Harper Angel, both Democrats, reintroduced a bill from last year in the Kentucky Senate called the Keeping Kentucky's Freeways Free Act of 2012 (SB128).

Here's the summary:

An ACT relating to the imposition of tolls or fees on federal interstate highways. Create a new section of KRS Chapter 177 to prohibit the imposition of tolls or user fees on any portion of the interstate highway system currently in existence; name the Act the "Keeping Kentucky's Freeways Free Act of 2012."

Tolls are a tax, not a "use tax" as Wall Street likes to call them. They disproportionatley tax the working families in our community. With tolls, those who have no choice but to use the infrastructure to get back and forth will bear the full burden of the costs of the infrastructure. The interests behind the push for tolling I-65 are those who will benefit from the new infrastructure with no concern of how it will affect the community it is supposed to serve.

What this bill needs is Republican co-sponsors, and this is why we need 10 minutes of your time. If you are opposed to tolls on the Kennedy Bridge, this is one of the few shots you have left to prevent them.

There are 22 Republicans in the Senate, and they are listed below with a link to their contact information and the counties they represent.

Contact as many as you can, but ideally the ones you have a regional connection with first, like if you have family or business in their district, for example. You don't have to live in a Senator's district, or even Kentucky, to contact them and give them your opinion. Copy and paste this and email it (or change it if you like):

Please support the Keeping Kentucky's Freeways Free Act of 2012 (SB 128). Tolls on existing roads and bridges will cause an unacceptable hardship to my family and my community.

Senators within a rock's throw of Louisville best understand how important a toll-free Kennedy bridge is to our region's vitality, they are listed below first. Tolling will pop up all over Kentucky if citizen's don't lobby their legislators to stop it!

Louisville area:

Louisville area:
Senator Julie Denton Jefferson
Senator Dan Seum Jefferson (part)
Senator Paul Hornback Boone (part), Carroll, Gallatin, Henry, Jefferson (part), Shelby, Spencer
Senator Ernie Harris Jefferson (part), Oldham, Trimble 

The rest of Kentucky:
Senator Joe Bowen Daviess, Ohio
Senator Tom Buford Boyle, Fayette (part), Garrard, Jessamine
Senator Jared Carpenter  Estill, Madison, Rockcastle
Senator Carroll Gibson Breckinridge Butler Grayson Hancock Hart Meade*
Senator David Givens Adair, Barren, Edmonson, Green, Larue, Metcalfe, Monroe
Senator Jimmy Higdon  Casey, Lincoln, Marion, Mercer, Taylor, Washington  

Senator Tom Jensen Laurel, McCreary, Whitley
Senator Alice Forgy Kerr Fayette (part)
Senator John SchickelBoone (part)**
Senator Brandon Smith Bell, Breathitt, Johnson, Leslie, Magoffin, Perry
Senator Katie Stine Bracken, Campbell, Pendleton
Senator Robert Stivers Clay, Jackson, Knox, Lee, Menifee, Owsley, Rowan, Wolfe
Senator Damon Thayer*** Grant, Kenton (part), Scott
Senator David Williams  Clinton, Cumberland, Pulaski, Russell, Wayne
Senator Mike Wilson Warren (part)
Senator Ken Winters Calloway, Fulton, Graves, Hickman, Livingston, Lyon, Trigg  

These links will take you to their respective contact page where you can select the method of contact including email.

Wilbur Smith Assoc Forecasting Record Knocked Hard in Report for Reston VA group

Think target tolls are a safe assumption? This study shows WSA's projected revenues are over twice too high. "Target toll rates" would have to be more than doubled to meet their average revenue projections. A new report based on the first five years of 12 toll projects forecasted by WSA indicates a large margin of error. The analysis titled Traffic and Revenue Forecasts: Plenty of Room for Error by Terry Maynard finds that forecasts of revenue by WSA as it then was (just recently merged to form CDMSmith) are on average 2.27 times - or 127% too high - as compared with subsequently realized toll revenues. Read the full story here.

We are a broad-based coalition of businesses, organizations and private individuals who are opposed to tolls on the I-65 Corridor/Kennedy Bridges System. Our targeted focus has been driven by recent announcements by the governors of both states to shift the financing burden for all of the downtown infrastructure needs to the Kennedy Bridge and its I-65 supporting new Downtown Bridge. We have formed under the entity of "Organization for a Better Southern Indiana, Inc." (OBSI.) Our purpose is to educate the public of the true impact of the current proposed bridge toll on both sides of the river. We are a 501-C6 non-profit organization that has been formed for the purpose of disseminating information. We are not against the bridges--just tolls or user fees on the I-65 Corridor/Kennedy Bridges System, which will divide our community, be a regressive tax that our citizens and businesses cannot afford, and will adversely affect the local economy, disproportionately affecting Southern Indiana.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

All about Gravity Head 2012, at NABC's Pizzeria & Public House.

Follow the links below to get the straight dope about Gravity Head's 14th edition, which kicks off at the Public House on Friday, February 24.

Gravity Head 2012: The starting lineup

Official program: The Daily Gravity Form, in .pdf format

18 Gravity Head starters named -- vote now for the 19th and final opening day selection

The Publican’s Gravity Head Diary: Thoughts on New Holland, Sun King and Founders

R.E.M. - "It's the End of the World (As We Know It)"

The New Holland delegation for Gravity Head 2012

The lost art of the self-epitaph.

Catching up and cutting to the chase, straight to the end of a nice N and T recapitulation by Jared Clapp of the recent contract, er, "negotiations" with schools superintendent Bruce Hibbard. Italics helpfully provided.

Let the contract debate continue; Board members, others evaluate Superintendent Hibbard’s contract

... (Mark) Boone said though the vote appeared to be unpopular, he’s not worried about how it might affect his status as a school board member after the next election.

“I really don’t worry about that,” Boone said. “If people don’t want to re-elect me because of how I voted on something, that doesn’t matter to me. It’s not about re-election, it’s about trying to do the right thing.”

(Roger) Whaley said he thought voting in favor of a new contract with a raise was what he had to do.

“I’m satisfied that we did the right thing for the school corporation even though some members of the community don’t think we did,” Whaley said. “We will be criticized for the decision. That’s my answer to the critics.”

Excellent movie alert: The Descendants.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

REWIND: No el, no joyeaux.

As we celebrate the Sherman Minton Bridge not falling down and the shifting of noise and traffic jams back westward, it behooves us to recall what we tore down. Originally posted December 23, 2009, the absence of the following helps explain how we found ourselves in such a preposterous position with regional "leadership" calling for more.

As gratifying as it's been over the past year to finally hear the word "rail" included in transportation planning at the federal level and as frustrating as it is that local political leaders still tend to respond to that inclusion with clinched fists seemingly aimed at modernity, it's helpful to remember that, regardless of how those responses are framed, commuter rail is hardly a newfangled idea born of fantastical daydreams. One only has to look at a 100-year-old map to see how it could and did work.

R. David Schooling has been preparing a book, tentatively titled "Louisville's Elevated Rail and Electric Trains". I've been following him around the net a bit as he contributes information to various blogs and forums. Republished here are tidbits originally shared with the Urbanophile, City Data, and Go Kentucky Homes.

* Multi-car elevated electric trains with 15 minute headways, operating nearly 24/7, were running in Louisville Ky 114 years ago. The heavy rail elevated steam locomotive commuter trains started running in 1886 and were replaced with all electric trains in 1893. They were an instant hit and wildly popular with heavy ridership.

* This commuter rail service was owned and operated by the K&I Bridge and Railroad Company. The K&I bridge across the river held commuter tracks as well as a swivel section that allowed it to open for passing ships. This only happened four times, one of which was for an Australian convict ship. You can read more about the bridge on Wikipedia.

* Louisville also had one of the highest (in elevation) el stations (from ground level) in the country, an elevated station with a subterranean entry, and electric freight subway.

* The 3rd rail train that exhibited in Chicago for a few weeks in 1883 came directly to Louisville and ran for 4 years.

* In the early 1900's Louisville had nearly 100 steam and electric commuter rail stations. Its electric commuter trains ran on till as late as the eve of 1946.

* There were pictures of sixteen car commuter trains from Louisville in Life Magazine as late as the World War II era.

* In the early 1930's Louisville had electric commuter trains that ran at 70 mph on the Indianapolis run and were capable of nearly 100 mph. They were specifically designed and built with extensive use of aluminum and with special undercarriage trucks also designed for high speed. They were clones of the Ohio "Red Devils", but rebuilt on steroids.

* Stretching from the western edge of New Albany, to downtown Louisville to the current baseball park locale, to Mellwood Ave area, to the recently demolished Baxter elevated station, to Kentucky Ave., back to over the Ohio river north over 1 mi. to 11th st in Jeffersonville.......all amounted to about 10 miles of elevated rail lines, upon which all manner (freight & passenger) of trains operated.

* This 10 mile web of elevated lines were used by about a dozen different mainlines and four separate electric train operators, ( the electrics were on the riverfront el, and on the Jeffersonville ramp up to the Big Four then out to about 1 mile southward, where an incline descended to run another mile to downtown (surface) on standard gauge. All electric trains from Indiana with one quirky exception were all standard gauge.

At long last, we can go back to bitching about the Bridges Authority.

Friday, February 17, 2012

What is the percentage mark-up on defiance?

Courier-Journal link

Please, Lord, help us to occupy these vacant houses.

The News and Tribune's Jerod Clapp had the misfortune to draw the short straw for last night's council gathering, and somewhere amid the Rev. Burks' broken-record insistence that compelling me to listen to him pray at every single yearly meeting somehow does NOT violate my own 1st Amendment rights, a discussion about vacant houses broke out.

No, I didn't attend the function. My guild meeting in Indy ran late, and after thirty years of listening to these arguments in favor of Christian theocracy, sometimes the piety is a bit too much to bear. As for the vacant houses, many of which merely are in need of tender loving rehab and not outright demolition, it remains pleasant to consider how we might leverage the investment required to enable River View into a few hundred River Views throughout the city.

Vacant properties remain problematic for New Albany; Building commissioner says more resources needed for code enforcement

NEW ALBANY — With the only ordinance on the agenda tabled again, the New Albany City Council discussed the future of a vacant housing committee at their regular session Thursday, as well as the replacement of invocations with a moment of reflection at the start of meetings.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

ON THE AVENUES: From Cassel to New Albany.

ON THE AVENUES: From Cassel to New Albany. 

A weekly web column by Roger A. Baylor. This week,   revealing obvious ulterior motives, I'm repeating my twice-monthly beer column as posted at (where you should visit), and urging you to consider an evening at Louis Le Français on March 1. Read on.

Three of us were struggling up a fairly steep incline, our creaking rental bicycles squeaking and straining over ascending cobblestones. As a proponent of the manly cycling virtues, I found it impossible to admit that I lacked both gears and legs, and kept churning forward, but at some point I glanced backward and saw that my pal Tim Eads had given up the ghost and dismounted.

This was a delightful development, indeed. Bragging rights are oh-so-sweet.

At the end of the climb, where the old town materialized, I finally heeded the banshee wail of every muscle in my lower extremities and stopped to await Tim’s belated arrival. For me, it was a veritable stage victory on the Tour de France, which was fully appropriate, seeing as we were riding in French Flanders, perhaps 10 kilometers from the Belgian beer headquarters of Poperinge.

It was the summer of 2001, and in truth, probably the last time ever that Tim trailed me on a bicycle. He’s younger, and also more determined, so there, atop the Cassel hill, I talked mondo trash while I could get away with it, and prepared to gaze forever more upon his backside each time we went for a ride.

Fast forwarding to 2011, Tim’s fundamental drive asserted itself yet again, when he ignored a litany of potential obstacles, established a company called Starlight Distribution, and promptly bulldogged his way into becoming the sole Indiana wholesaler for Shelton Brothers International, renowned importer of legendary beers like Mikkeller, Cantillon and Mahrs.

Shelton also possesses an unparalleled portfolio of French ales, many classifiable as Bieres de Garde, and most of them brewed near Cassel, the hilltop town where we paused, panted, and resumed our progress through the town square in route to our ultimate destination, the Estaminet T’ Kasteel Hof.


Several of us had been in Poperinge the previous year, pioneering the concept later to be known as beercycling. We heeded sage local advice by planning a day trip to Cassel and seeking out Kasteel Hof – which is to say, I already knew about the killer incline, although perhaps I forgot to mention anything about it to Tim.

The sole point of the journey was Kasteel Hof, which harbors a beer list of up to 50 French-brewed ales. Then, as now, the concept of Bieres de Garde is mysterious even to those Americans who embrace a craft beer ethos. This lingering prejudice against French beer, while wholly justified as it pertains to mass-market lagers shipped duty-free to places like the UK for use as soccer hooligan fuel, baffles me.

Bieres de Garde are produced at farmhouse breweries located near the Franco-Belgian border. Climactically and historically, it is a transitional zone, where wine-making meets brewing, and Bieres de Garde originally came about as the thoughtful solution to problems posed by summertime heat, which rendered brewing almost impossible in the age before temperature-controlled fermentation.

The farmers brewed ale during cooler weather, bottled it in used wine and champagne bottles, and then cellared the bottles for drinking during summer until the heat subsided in autumn and brewing could resume. Bieres de Garde had to be sufficiently ample and alcoholic for cellaring, but not too heavy in body for warm-weather drinking. They also had to go well with food, because after all, it’s France. Hence, the wonderfully complex maltiness of the style’s better, enduring examples, like Jenlain and La Choulette (both in the Shelton book) and Castelain.


At the highest point of Cassel, there is a public park. We all pushed our bikes up the unavoidably steep path, and emerged at a windmill, the highest point in the area. It was a hazy day, yet it did not obstruct a spectacular view of the surrounding plains and two neighboring “mountains,” each actually only a couple hundred meters high, but comprising the Trois Monts brand of local brewing fame. These three hills, a prime strategic objective of the Germans in World War I, remained in allied hands owing to the stalemate at nearby Ypres.

The Kasteel Hof remained in place, clinging to the hillside, its bricks painted a distinctive hue of mustard yellow. There were seats outside on the patio, and we duly ordered and devoured numerous and diverse platters of pates and cheeses, along with fresh, crusty bread, all the while regretting the ride home, while knowing that at least the first leg of the trip would be downhill.

I’m relating this old story today as a prelude to a cooperative venture between two cycling buddies and a chef we’ve only recently met, Louis Retailleau. The chef’s restaurant in New Albany is Louis Le Français, and along with Tim’s Starlight Distribution and my New Albanian Brewing Company, we’re staging a French (and American) beer dinner on Thursday, March 1. We’re providing beers to suit Louis’s Alasatian-themed repast, and while Alsace is a bit further east than Cassel, my guess is that numerous memories will be served along with the food and drink.

Readers are cordially invited to attend, and to partake.

Menu for the Louis Le Français beer dinner on Thursday, March 1.