Sunday, September 30, 2018

David White's video reassures city employees on the shop floor and condemns politically-motivated retribution from above.

The Green Mouse was momentarily confused yesterday when David White for Mayor's newspaper insert began making the rounds.

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: David White addresses citizens and city employees in a News & Tribune insert today, denouncing deception, bullying, non-transparency and debt.

Thanks to this Sunday afternoon post at the White campaign's Facebook portal, and the YouTube video embedded above, it's now apparent that the shorter of his two messages is intended primarily to assuage fears of a purge of city employees.

White is careful to delineate between management higher-ups and the shop floor, and his message seems to be aimed squarely at the latter.

Democrat David White to announce his candidacy for mayor of New Albany at noon on Monday, October 1.

ON THE AVENUES SPECIAL EDITION: As David White's mayoral campaign begins, let's briefly survey the electoral landscape.

ON THE AVENUES SPECIAL EDITION: As David White's mayoral campaign begins, let's briefly survey the electoral landscape.

ON THE AVENUES SPECIAL EDITION: As David White's mayoral campaign begins, let's briefly survey the electoral landscape.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

Here's what we know: David White, a Democrat, is running for mayor in 2019.

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: David White addresses citizens and city employees in News & Tribune insert today, denouncing deception, bullying, non-transparency and debt.

White's probable opponent is two-term incumbent Jeff Gahan, who has yet to formally declare.

All indications are that outgoing county commissioner and former city councilman Mark Seabrook will seek the Republican nomination for the general election.

Rumors persist, but currently no other candidates for mayor have been revealed, although veterans of the political primary process know that wild card candidates are the devil in the ballot details.

Before hazarding a brief analysis of yesterday's David White for Mayor newspaper insert, allow me to disclose to readers that we talk to each other. I've known him since I was in college and he was running his first business, a sporting goods store at Highlander Point. We stay in touch.

Moreover, I chat on a regular basis with numerous other locals involved with politics. Seeing as I'm a disenfranchised, left-leaning, European-style Social Democrat, you'd think most of them would be Democrats in the American parlance.

Actually they tend to be Republicans, although in fairness those Democrats somewhat outside the mayor's (and party chairman Adam Dickey's) compact ruling clique have remained civil to me, and I thank them for being open-minded. The inner circle tends not to communicate openly with me, or for that matter, anyone else who has an opposing point of view.

But it's indisputable that they're all reading the blog. Quite frankly, I find this delicious. In the months to come, NA Confidential's overall ideological standpoint will remain quite clear: Eight years is enough, and it's time to flush Gahan's clique -- time for a new cast of characters, and time for inclusive, transparent and fresh thinking.

However, I think this mandate for change applies to me, too. I've reached the pinnacle of polemics and the apex of pure satire, and consequently the blog's tone is going to undergo a revision.

Make absolutely no mistake: politicians and their acolytes at any level of governance who amass power and make decisions impacting human lives always seek to use their power (read: money) to thwart dissenting points of view. Gahan's circle is no exception.

To be blunt, they've richly deserved every last bit of my abuse, and I'm unrepentant. But I'm also capable of looking in the mirror, and with White's formal announcement tomorrow, we're entering the next phase in local political terms. For the moment, this political phase isn't about me.

This liberates me to focus on my own next phase, because I'm quite happy to be back in the better beer business, and thankful for the opportunity. With this opportunity comes responsibilities, and I intend to honor them.

Since exiting NABC three years ago, I've been a free agent of sorts, bound to no one (except the missus) and in large measure unassailable. My inner Mencken has been given free rein to roam, much to the clique's annoyance, but now I'm working again, and a measure of circumspection is required.

Besides, given that the coming race stands to be highly partisan and emotional, it's time for raw facts and cool analysis to help build the case against Gahan's continued presence in the Reisz Mahal he's erecting for himself with the use of taxpayer Viagra.

(Oops -- sorry about that. Old habits die hard, and I'm not a cold turkey sort.)

Recalling the Trump supporters in t-shirts proclaiming they'd rather be Russians than Democrats, it remains that I'd rather a souvenir pet rock from the 1970s, dusty and attic-bound for forty years deep within a rat-gnawed Special Export beer crate, to serve as mayor of New Albany rather than Jeff Gahan.

If you didn't know it already, now you do. I desperately desire change, and as one small way of achieving it, I'm prepared to change my own approach in the hope of being part of the solution.

Two decades into his career with Rush, Neil Peart sought a drum tutor and "reinvented" his approach to drumming. Peart already was one of rock music's greatest drummers, and yet he sought to become better. I'm inspired by his example and will do my best to emulate it, starting tomorrow morning.


Let's return to yesterday's newspaper insert, which the Green Mouse has learned is the de facto text (subject to revision) of tomorrow's announcement by White.

White couldn't be any more clear as to the gist of his coming campaign: Gahan has the city on the wrong course, and he must be "fired."

According to White, the city has used its "credit card" (no doubt referring to the TIF mechanism) to pay for "shiny objects," while neglecting those residents most in need.

He suggests that budgetary scrutiny is needed, and raises what is likely to be a recurring topic: Gahan's campaign finance effort, wherein the mayor's team solicits vendors and contractors to donate large amounts to the mayor himself.

By saying he will not accept campaign donations from those individuals, businesses and outside entities seeking to grease their own wheels, White clearly seeks to distance himself ethically from the incumbent.

White has much to say about Gahan's secretiveness, bullying, and imperialist instincts as mayor, and by openly mocking Gahan for "hiding" in his office, the challenger references the mayoral inner circle's raging paranoia.

This opening broadside focuses on changing the tone of governance from the "Dear Leader" model to a people-oriented, grassroots, community-based approach -- approachable and front-porch as opposed to Gahan's favored ultimatum-by-press-release.

Among Democrats, few have been as vocal as White when it comes to questioning Gahan's commitment to helping the community's most vulnerable, especially as this pertains to the mayor's public housing takeover. This is a promising start, but left-leaners and self-styled progressives are likely to seek more depth from White as to his positions on social issues.

It's only one statement of intent, and we cannot infer too much from it. However, few candidates in recent memory have come out of the gate for the primary election with such a barrage. Agree or disagree, but obviously White is going straight for the jugular.

Much of what happens next will be prefigured by the 2018 mid-term election coming on November 6. The playing field for our 2019 municipal elections probably will take shape depending on whether a "Blue Wave" materializes here.

If it does, and the Democrats show local gains, the party's current leadership will be strengthened. If it does not, then Gahan, his party chairman and a scant four remaining city council Democrats will be placed in a last-ditch, us-against-them scenario -- and we can expect them to do whatever it takes to defend the lucrative system of political patronage that Gahan has adeptly exploited these past eight years.

On the other hand, the party chairman's conflicts of interest aside, Gahan's steadily escalating negatives make a strong case for White, given the centrist (at best) and right-leaning (bingo) tendencies of those older local Democrats who actually bother voting. After all, White is a fiscal conservative.

Concurrently, while no flaming radical, and stopping short of Bernie Sanders, White's concern for the vulnerable and his libertarian attitudes toward social issues might be a welcome change for those of a more youthful and progressive bent, given they'd no longer have to clench their teeth and tolerate Gahan's reactionary worldview in an ongoing Faustian bargain to preserve the party's declining prospects.

Personally, I believe White is correct to come out swinging, because in point of fact, Gahan has been given a free ride -- and it must stop.

Insulated by a crushingly passive local media, his own groveling sycophants, those fat-cat supplicants bearing wheelbarrows of cash, and a generally apathetic malaise, Gahan successfully has deflected scrutiny. Will the famously ill-tempered Gahan be able to resist White's calls to come out and grapple over the issues?

And, will Adam Dickey's blatantly compromised Democratic hierarchy even pretend to referee a fair fight?

This should be very interesting, indeed, so stay tuned to a kinder, gentler NA Confidential.


Recent columns:

September 28: ON THE AVENUES: If this is adulting, I’d rather be leaving on a jet plane.

September 20: ON THE AVENUES: Fighting the power with ballots, not bullets.

September 11: ON THE AVENUES: After 49 years, two more reasons to be an Oakland A's fan.

September 9: ON THE AVENUES: May, Kennedy, wigs and prayers, but where's the delightful infidel gardening column?

Saturday, September 29, 2018

GREEN MOUSE SAYS: David White addresses citizens and city employees in a News & Tribune insert today, denouncing deception, bullying, non-transparency and debt.

This post has been corrected. 

The Green Mouse manages to get what he needs from the local chain newspaper without betraying the slightest tinge of bitterness over never once being considered for a complimentary subscription based on the sheer volume of leads he's generated, or all the traffic the blog has sent in the newspaper's direction these past 14 years.

Anyway, a source close to the Mouse says the following text was somehow inserted as an advertisement into today's issue of the local chain newspaper. Since neither of us see newsprint these days, we've no idea what a "tip" is, but no matter. David White's mayoral announcement is Monday, and the Mouse's source has been informed that in response, Mayor Gahan immediately will appoint Warren Nash to serve as ambassador to the Elsby Building.


In 1963, John F. Kennedy said “There are times when my party and fellow Democrats are wrong, and therefore, I must speak out.” That is why today, I am announcing my candidacy for Mayor of New Albany.

For over two decades, I have been an active, respectful and supportive member of my party’s leadership and platforms. However, it appears that here in New Albany, a few of our Democratic leaders have lost their guide star, lost the stewardship of public trust and abandoned the principles once held so closely.

There was a time I clearly remember, the core Democratic values were truth, integrity, inclusion, and helping the most vulnerable. In this city, under this mayor and his clique of cronies, these values have been replaced by deception, dishonesty and bullying, class warfare, and greed.

Driving around this city you will find that Mayor Gahan has swiped the city “credit card” to create shiny objects and reasons to put his name (metaphorically) in lights over the last seven years.

Yet, as a city, we are far worse off than we were before Mayor Gahan took office because every one of these shiny objects has come at a price and specifically at a price to you!

  • $13MM for a water slide and a lazy river?
  • A million dollars for a dog park and desecrated a Native American burial ground?
  • 70% increase in the City Budget ($18mm-$30mm)
  • The State Board of Accounts continues to find inaccurate and improper accounting practices and this administration refuses to give a full disclosure of Debt.
  • And the list goes on and on

Each one of these shiny objects has coincided with over $200,000 in donations to Mayor Gahan’s campaign fund from contractors hired for these very projects. I am all for progress, but not if the people of New Albany stop being priority one. It shouldn’t be projects over people, but instead People First!

People may wonder why I would oppose a sitting mayor from my own party. It is because of our profound differences. I am running for Mayor, not to seek money or prestige, but to put People First. 

I won’t hand out city jobs to my family and friends. I am running again because I still believe in a better and more prosperous New Albany. Because I believe that together we can reach our full potential by serving all people, instead of a small clique or corporate interests.

Since the last election, I’ve had the privilege of connecting with people all across this city and hearing their stories. I’ve heard first-hand from city employees what it is like to be bullied on the job or threatened for not publicly supporting this administration. 

I’ve met with residents of affordable housing (NAHA) who are afraid of losing their homes. 

I’ve spoken with homeowners impacted by the land-grab on Mount Tabor Road and the residents next to Summit Springs. The list goes on and on. The issues change, but the refrain remains the same from Mayor Gahan: get on-board or get out of the way!

A lot of these same people have urged me to take up the fight again, to not only champion their cause, but that of the people who make up this entire city.

And that is why as mayor, I will be transparent about funding used for major projects and development unlike Mayor Gahan, who took payments from contractors and appointees totaling over $200,000. What’s all this money for?

My administration will engage in smart and strategic growth that actually makes sense for New Albany. And, I pledge to not accept any donations from contractors hired by or in consideration for business with the City.

Further, I won’t waste your hard-earned money. Mayor Gahan’s favorite saying is: “Public money is meant to be spent.” 

As Mayor, I will change this perception of New Albany. It is time our city had a bold, experienced and passionate voice to aggressively market and promote New Albany as a regional partner and viable center of global commerce to entice higher-paying jobs for our community. Historically as a city, we have a great entrepreneurial and business story to tell and this story needs to be told often.

As Mayor, I pledge to encourage cooperation between city and county. Today, I stand before you at your city-county building. Built in 1963, it is a testament to the unity that once existed between the two – something our hometown was lauded for. Try to imagine that in light of today’s petty bickering between Mayor Gahan and the Floyd County government! 

Why would the City spend an additional $15MM more like $20MM on a new city hall? 

Common Sense says: Because Mayor Gahan refuses to coexist. 

Unlike Mayor Gahan, I won’t pretend that homelessness or housing insecurity isn’t a problem in our city. As Mayor, I will develop a sensible plan for housing our most vulnerable neighbors, and I will do so with a NEW Executive Director of the housing authority. I won’t demolish public housing without a 1 for 1 replacement plan.

Further, I would never turn down a $12MM federal grant, as Mayor Gahan did – a grant that could have helped us modernize our public housing for years to come. 

The main difference between Mayor Gahan and me is that I view people as our greatest asset and will put People First. But I guess that’s been hard for Mayor Gahan to do while hiding in his office on the third floor.

You are my friends, my neighbors, my classmates, people I see at local events, ballgames and at church. And that’s not going to change when I am mayor. In fact, that makes it even more important for me to work as hard as I can for you.

Over the next 7 months, this is an opportunity for the citizens of New Albany to gain your city back. That’s why I am asking each and every one of you to do your part. 

The last mayoral primary was decided by 3400 people out of a residency of 40,000. The time has come for change and that change can start with you!

It is Time to fire Mayor Gahan and put People First.



Democrat David White to announce his candidacy for mayor of New Albany at noon on Monday, October 1.


Apparently the following is the script from a video, not the insert. Apologies for the cross-up.


Sunday, September 30, 2018

Dear citizens and employees of the City of New Albany,

Tomorrow, on the steps of the City County Building at noon, I will announce my candidacy for Mayor of New Albany, but before I do that, I wanted to communicate to you directly.

I am running for Mayor to stop:

1) Deception & bullying
2) Non-transparency
3) Feuding between city and county
4) Growing debt

You will hear many things about me over the next several months, and I am confident Mayor Gahan and his chosen few will tell many lies about me. For example, you will hear, “David White is going to fire everyone,” but that is not true. However, there will be some leadership changes like in all administrations.

You are New Albany’s greatest asset because you are the ones doing the heavy lifting day in and day out. Our electoral process allows you the right to vote for whomever you want without retribution. In order to dispel the rumors, I want you to have my cell phone number because I want to meet you, and I will listen to you. Let’s work together to restore honesty and trust in city government. My cell phone number is xxx-xxx-xxxx.

In closing, I am hopeful that you will support my campaign and my desire to be your next Mayor. I will be respectful, transparent, inclusive, and a great steward of your tax dollars. Please join us tomorrow for the announcement, so we can put People First!

You are appreciated, and I hope this finds you well.

David White

If you're a car-centric progressive, are you really progressive at all? Or, "How American mass transit measures up against the rest of the world’s."

In Porto. It used to be cars only.

I can write a lick or two, but often words fail me -- and others already have done the job.

In this instance, it's longtime blog collaborator Jeff Gillenwater.

"Based on proximity and current population density, there should be a train, tram, or bus from our neighborhood with a fairly direct route to Louisville’s central business district at least every 10 minutes or so. Instead, as the article mentions, we spend limited resources providing too infrequent to be effective service to too many far flung areas. 

"Most people here never see what real transit is and how it works. Because of our screwed up political system, a lot of our transportation dollars come from state and federal sources. Think those candidates are focused on such direct, practical, localized solutions? Nope, usually not a genuine, non-partisan progressive among them. The few that ever display any such pragmatism are shunned as radicals within their own parties. 

"Rare that real transportation even gets a mention, outside of very temporary 'job creation' usually aimed at very expensive road building schemes that don’t actually increase daily mobility and access at all and leave us with ineffectual infrastructure we can’t afford to maintain. 

"Want me to care more about voting? Stop being so damned stupid."

Nail, meet hammer.

Why US public transportation is so bad — and why Americans don’t care, by Aditi Shrikant (Vox)

How American mass transit measures up against the rest of the world’s.

The US has bad public transit, but you probably already know that. While some cities do have impressive webs of efficient rail, for the most part, we are a car-dependent society because Americans largely don’t understand how transit should work and see no need to prioritize it.

So what it would take to bring US transit up to par? To answer that question, you have understand the differences between US transit systems and those in the rest of the world.

Friday, September 28, 2018

PINTS & UNION PORTFOLIO: A new food menu is here, and Founders Harvest Ale just around the corner.

A brief Pints&union update seems appropriate.

The new set menu is pictured above; it shouldn't be changing much in the short term, if at all. I don't have the text for inclusion here, but you should be able to view it.

Rumored weekend food specials include Guinness Beef Stew, Bangers and Mash, and Fish and Chips. One of them might have run today, as I was elsewhere. 

Obviously the kitchen is where Joe wants it to be. Staff also has been beefed up, and there'll be longer weekend hours in the future, though not just yet.

Finally, the next beer on the "serendipity" tap is very seasonal in nature. It's a "harvest ale," with explanation to follow. As soon as the Sierra Nevada Narwhal depletes (as it may have tonight), then Harvest Ale will begin pouring.

HARVEST ALE ... wet-hopped ale
ABV: 7.6%
IBUs: 70

Each fall, our brewhouse looks more like a greenhouse as thousands of pounds of wet hop cones arrive within hours of being picked by some of our favorite local hop growers. Acting quickly, we then load up these wet hops into what will become Harvest Ale – an impossibly aromatic and bright IPA bursting with fresh pine, melon and citrus notes. Our ode to the beauty that is the wet, American hop.

ON THE AVENUES: If this is adulting, I’d rather be leaving on a jet plane.

ON THE AVENUES: If this is adulting, I’d rather be leaving on a jet plane.

A weekly column by Roger A. Baylor.

"Humankind cannot bear very much reality."
— T.S. Eliot

In the context of human history, as hundreds of millions of our species lived and died with very few elective choices apart from doing whatever was necessary to survive long enough to procreate, “adulting” as a concept could only have been recently formulated by youthful residents of the richest impoverished country this planet has yet seen.

Adulting is the assumption of tasks, responsibilities and behaviors traditionally associated with normal grown-up life, along with the implication that the individual in question does not particularly identify as an adult and that acting as one does not come naturally.

This said, “adulting” is a popular inside joke at the Confidential household. As the missus puts it, “Every time we look around at the house and see something in need of repair, we get right to adulting by booking a trip to Europe.”

Not like it’s a bad thing, mind you, but the majority of yurt dwellers in Mongolia have known for decades about my utter hopelessness as a household handyman, having spent my formative childhood years reading books and listening to music, and only grudgingly participating in my father’s manly pursuits like tools, grilling, guns and barbed wire fence maintenance.

Even minor details of domicile upkeep interest me little, and I seek to evade them. Fortunately my life partner is considerably more adept, perhaps because she's from Maine. Diana is willing to study YouTube videos and follow instructions. Meanwhile, forever the critic, I’m busy complaining about the absence of an appropriate soundtrack or the video's poor picture quality.

Last week our dryer’s drum stopped turning, and I was the one to shrug; after all, clotheslines are good, too. She already was taking it apart, finding the snapped belt, ordering a replacement on-line, and viewing video instructions for what proved to be a relatively quick fix.

In short, she triumphantly adulted that nasty dryer, and consequently we didn’t go to Belgium or buy a new one. I congratulated her profusely and trundled off to return the clothesline to where it had been used previously, artfully securing the gutters to the garage.

Or was it the muffler to my car?

This brings us to the squirrel in the upholstery on the third floor, which is a finished space, albeit not air conditioned. We don’t go up there very much during the hot weather months, and apparently neither did the squirrels, who’d been frolicking in the narrow space above the drywall this past spring.

Their summertime absence led me to surmise that my inspired purchase of a Popeil Ultrasonic Pest Repeller last April actually had worked as billed, although the truth is they probably gnawed through the power cord within days of installation. Either that or tuned their guitars by the frequency.

Now with the return of cooler weather last week, the pitter-patter of Tree Rat feet could once again be heard above the ceiling and beneath the roof, and with it the suggestion that it was my turn to merrily go adulting by doing something about whatever portals these varmints were using to gain access.

This involved the painful task of finding a roofer, which I somehow managed to do, but in the interim on Wednesday night before he could come, Diana heard a series of crashes emanating from the 3rd floor. Upon closer examination, a squirrel had found his way into the room and wreaked havoc.

The door had been shut, and either the squirrel had exited as he entered, or was still there somewhere. Returning home, I went to investigate and could not locate the perpetrator. Drawers were opened, nooks illuminated and crannies scoured, and still no squirrel. I reinforced two potential rodent egress points, and went to bed.

It did not occur to me the squirrel might be hiding inside the couch, as opposed to underneath it, and as I was vacuuming yesterday, out he leaped. Scampering away, he must have stepped on the remote, because the television set suddenly came on -- to a Cialis ad.

From what I’ve heard, squirrels hereabouts have been doing nicely without artificial stimulation.

Brow furrowed, it occurred to me that squirrels eat to live, and I live to eat. Armed with this helpful knowledge, I went to the kitchen for peanuts; having eaten my fill, a handful traveled back up the stairs, where I made a munchable path from couch to window. The screen was removed, and I retired to the other side of the room to wait.

Ten minutes later the squirrel was perched on the window ledge, twenty feet away, taking his sweet time to finish one final delicious welfare peanut before disappearing outside.

Probably his feet were what we heard again this morning above the bedroom, but the roofer’s coming today to look for pathways and patch them. I hope it works out, because this adulting thing is absolutely exhausting, if for no other reason than Microsoft Word’s determination to change every single mention of “adulting” herein to “adulating.”

Stop it. Just stop it. There is no adulation in adulting, at least until the plane leaves the gate.


I’ve been following the Tribune and the Blogs; nothing really changes does it? New Albany always did suffer from intellectual constipation and it is fun to watch and listen. It’s amazing how a well placed comment/question/barb can upset the thought process and/or equilibrium of the powerettes that rule. It’s a hoot!

Eleven years ago, I received a lovely e-mail from a retired New Albany native living in New Mexico. Having resolved to move back home in 2008, he had started reading NA Confidential and wanted to tell me how much he enjoyed the blog -- and craved beer like he used to drink when stationed in Scotland.

This is how I made the acquaintance of Don Eckert, who left the city of his birth around 1958 to spend 26 years in the Navy, afterwards working for various military contractors. He and his wife eventually decided to remain in Alamogordo. This was fine, because we’d struck up a regular correspondence by this time.

So, it looks as if, at the earliest, I’ll be returning next spring and will drop by for a pint. Served room temp, not frozen please. I like to taste my beer.

Don proved to be a left-of-center kind of guy, and he was a folksy, capable writer with stories galore. It was a nostalgic to me. How long had it been since I had a pen pal, someone I wouldn’t recognize if we met on the street, but who enjoyed exchanging notes and observations? Don was just this sort, and we generated dozens, surely hundreds of e-mails over the years since.

As I sit here listening and watching on YouTube an assortment of "Flash Mob" pieces filmed in various locales, I again am reminded that if in an introspective moment you discover you're possessed of just a bit of an "Old Soul", then you need to hie off to Europe. And, regardless of current politics and national insanity it is mandatory that one must imbibe and listen. I'm too old and hobbled, but you're prime to give it a go.

I'm in a mood, thanks for listening.

Earlier this summer, Don’s e-mails suddenly became more frequent. At 78, he’d been diagnosed with cancer, and started writing to family members, explaining his chemotherapy, passing the time in treatment and griping good-naturedly about all and sundry. I was flattered and gratified to be copied on these electronic letters.

I was also extremely worried.

His most recent e-mail arrived during the first week of August, still optimistic overall, except with a darker edge. My pen pal’s angst seemingly had less to do with his uncertain medical condition than the foul mood of the country he served.

Didn’t these squabbling factions (all of them, on all sides) realize they were suffocating democracy?

Probably said too much already. Gotta go.

Indeed, it was the last time Don Eckert wrote, because he died on September 1. Two weeks ago I realized how long it had been since I heard from him, and just couldn’t bring myself to search for confirmation. This morning I took a deep breath, adulted, and found the obituary.

It wasn't a surprise. Still, I'm crestfallen.

Loved your “Turkey-Day” missive; well, maybe missile is a bit more appropriate. If you were to think of the Pilgrims, their trans-Atlantic skedaddle, the jumping atop the rock, and the rape-loot-pillage of the indigenous people, from the perspective of someone looking west from Plymouth, you’d have to come to the conclusion that they, the Pilgrims, weren’t looking for the freedom to worship as they please. Rather, they were looking for the freedom to dictate to others how to worship as they, the Pilgrims, believed. The English were fortunate to get rid of those bigots; the Dutch grew tired of them and the Native Americans certainly didn’t need them.

Enjoy your brew; as for me, I’ll be looking for a good Porter when I finally get back to NA. I’m not a beer sophisticate; I just know what I like.

Farewell to Don, who evidently never made it back to NA. We didn't once meet, and I already miss him a hell of a lot.

When the time comes and I finally get where I'm going, perhaps Don and I can still hoist a pint of (celestial) Plain.



Recent columns:

September 20: ON THE AVENUES: Fighting the power with ballots, not bullets.

September 11: ON THE AVENUES: After 49 years, two more reasons to be an Oakland A's fan.

September 9: ON THE AVENUES: May, Kennedy, wigs and prayers, but where's the delightful infidel gardening column?

August 30: ON THE AVENUES: From Baltic to Mediterranean, the diary of an unrepentant New Albanian Europhile.

If local "progressives" aren't holding City Hall's feet to the fire about Housing Choice vouchers, are they really progressive?

According to the Green Mouse, the last time a News & Tribune reporter was allowed into the inner sanctum for an interview with Mayor Jeff Gahan, there was a precondition that all questions first be submitted for approval by City Hall.

The answers were printed and ready when the reporter entered the mayor's office, and after a few moments of small talk, so ended the "interview."

Welcome to non-transparent governance, Nawbany-style.

Way back on March 16, 2017, the newspaper's then-reporter Elizabeth Beilman provided an overview of Gahan's recently facilitated hostile public housing takeover. While only Beilman herself knows whether her questions required City Hall pre-approval, here's a paragraph of interest.

(Gahan's NAHA seizure) will also signal a paradigm shift that more closely mirrors the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development’s changing model for public housing — fewer “brick-and-mortar” options and more affordable housing flexibility through a voucher system. Gahan believes this will position New Albany for better success when applying for tax credits and other applications.

Beilman also spoke with David Duggins, appointed by the mayor to serve as Gauleiter of the annexed NAHA territories.

New Albany is instituting measures meant to open up more opportunities for affordable housing that will accept Housing Choice Vouchers, Duggins said.

The city’s recently updated comprehensive plan states any new private housing development that receives incentives from the city, such as tax breaks, would be required to set aside 8 percent of its units for voucher holders, Duggins said. The plan was passed unanimously by the city council.

The council also approved an ordinance requiring landlords to register their rental units with the city. An inspection component of the ordinance was removed by the council, but city officials hope registration of units will increase communication with property owners to prevent deterioration of homes.

“If we start now encouraging affordable development, if we work now and enforce 8 percent [reserved units for vouchers], then there are units that will be available as this goes through,” Duggins said. “It will simultaneously work together, but it is a process.”

And if voucher holders can’t find eligible housing in New Albany when the time comes?

“I think we’re happy that they would go and find any place — if it’s in the city, great, if it’s outside the city that makes them happy and gives them a quality of life that they’re looking for, I think that’s the whole concern,” Duggins said.

It's almost as if both Gahan and Duggins knew their words about the utility of Housing Choice vouchers were meaningless drivel even as they uttered them -- as Chen discusses below.

Someone should ask them.

The newspaper, perhaps?

Better yet, shouldn't the so-called local Democratic Party progressives -- who insist against all prevailing evidence that Gahan and Duggins are somehow "one of them" -- be the ones to ask the occasional hard question?

Or must those queries, too, be approved in advance?

Our Housing-Voucher Program Is Broken, Michelle Chen (The Nation)

Landlords regularly refuse to rent to voucher holders, defeating the point of the program.

For many families in impoverished communities, their best hope for escaping poverty is to just move out of it. But often, the poverty follows them: They struggle to find a better neighborhood they can actually afford in crowded, expensive local housing markets. Today, with poverty and underfunded schools so intensely concentrated in isolated enclaves, the nationwide housing crisis is as much a crisis of segregation as a crisis of affordability.

The federal department of Housing and Urban Development has sought for years to help poor families relocate to lower-poverty areas through the Housing Choice program, which provides rental vouchers as a one-way ticket out to a healthier and stabler environment, resettling families in peaceful, integrated neighborhoods with more job and educational opportunities. Housing Choice vouchers are a major resource for cash-strapped public-housing authorities, currently supporting about 2.2 million households nationwide. Calculated according to income, the subsidies allow tenants generally to pay no more than 30 percent of income for rent. That could mean the difference between a roach-infested studio and a sunny single-family duplex with a $400 higher monthly rent. Those savings have a way of trickling down to the next generation, too: Research has linked a better home environment to healthier child development, less social distress, and greater economic stability. But as Congress weighs a modest expansion of the program, researchers have found that the Housing Choice recipients tend to face stiff barriers of stigma and implicit bias.

According to an extensive field study by the Urban Institute, many voucher holders are thwarted by landlords who simply won’t rent to them, regardless of the subsidy. Although some cities have laws that explicitly ban landlords from denying someone solely on the basis of being a voucher holder, researchers say subsurface biases still color first impressions and shape housing opportunity. It seems that people with vouchers are, ironically, perceived the same way landlords would view a bad credit check or a criminal record—a sign of a potentially troublesome tenant ...

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Bliss Artisan Ice Cream & Handcrafted Pizza is to occupy the long vacant Breakwater retail space.

From the Bliss Artisan Fb page.

The retail space in the Breakwater has been blissfully moribund since the luxury housing complex was built, but now there's to be a tenant called Bliss Artisan.

The business bills itself as ice cream shop that also sells pizza, and began in New Harmony, although the original location went away once the owners began opening sites along the Ohio (Evansville, Tell City, Henderson) in an easterly direction.

This brings them to New Albany, and so perhaps the item of most importance hereabouts is the name "Bliss." It's just a name (a synonym for "utopia"), and not intended as a reference to the well-known Bliss family.

The Evansville Courier-Press provides a glowing overview: Bliss offers artisan ice cream with a side of pizza.

Wheel of Sodden at the Saturation Army -- or another heavy rain, another plan to alleviate self-inflicted stormwater tsunamis.

Extra, extra -- read all about it.

The best cure of all would have been pre-emptive; no clearcutting, no Summit Springs. But in American capitalism, and in the way American governance attaches itself like a leech to American capitalism, as opposed to American people ... a few inches of water every time it rains is a small price to pay for someone else's profits.

Project to help alleviate stormwater flooding issues in New Albany, by Chris Morris (Tom May Anthology)

NEW ALBANY — Southern Indiana has been inundated with rain this year, and New Albany has not escaped Mother Nature's wrath.

On Monday, the city picked up three additional inches, but according to Chris Gardner, stormwater director, there were no major problems and no roads had to be closed due to high water or flash flooding.

"We had minimal issues," Gardner told the New Albany Board of Public Works & Safety on Tuesday. "We were fortunate we didn't have any major issues. I think a lot of that can be attributed to the improvements we have made in the last eight years."

Another improvement — the State Street/Green Valley Road Detention Project — coming in the next few months should help stormwater runoff in the State Street area and nearby on nearby Martin Drive.

Work to install a pipe under State Street, near the south end of Wesley Commons, will begin Monday. The pipe will eventually replace a 107-acre watershed in the area and will redirect water into a detention basin that will be constructed in the rear of the Salvation Army on Green Valley Road. Work is expected to be completed this year. An exact schedule and more details of the project are expected to be released soon, Gardner said.

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Democrat David White to announce his candidacy for mayor of New Albany at noon on Monday, October 1.

The Green Mouse caught this one late on Wednesday night. Just the facts, with analysis to come.

OCT 1 Mayoral Candidacy Announcement - David White for Mayor 2019

Monday, October 1, 2018 at 12 PM – 12:30 PM

City County Building, 311 Hauss Sq, New Albany, Indiana 47150

David White, local businessman, will announce his bid for Mayor of the City of New Albany! All citizens are welcome to take part in this public announcement. #DW4NA #PeopleFirst

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Of pedants, pedantry, and a compulsion to explain.

Way back on May 4, 2016, just a few months after the new "word column" debuted at NA Confidential, a chance arose to explain the column's inspiration.

Since it's been a year since I last pointed to this reference, let's go there again -- noting that Stan Robison has long since departed his position as second-ranking city attorney.

SHANE'S EXCELLENT NEW WORDS: Apparatchik, or nomenklatura?

Can you explain why these are Shane's excellent new words, not Bob's or Larry's?

The idea for this column dates to a brief social media exchange between the senior editor and Shane Gibson, the city of New Albany's "corporate" attorney, as opposed to "garden variety" or "proletarian" attorney (Stan Robison).

In a revealing moment of pique, Gibson offered that NA Confidential is prone to using big words solely from a desire to be "smarter than everyone else."

Of course, if it looks like a duck, swims like a duck, and quacks like a duck ... but we digress.

To be sure, New Albany cultural dissidents often joke that the only city ordinance enforced with any degree of consistency is the one prohibiting the public use of words containing more than four syllables, and at least now we know who wrote it.

The specific word provoking the attorney's unsocial media ire was nomenklatura, as borrowed from Soviet-era Russia ...

In short, an attorney was accusing me of pedantry, which is a pleasing giggle in itself. Pedantry is defined as the habit or instance of being a pedant.


  • a person who makes an excessive or inappropriate display of learning.
  • a person who overemphasizes rules or minor details.
  • a person who adheres rigidly to book knowledge without regard to common sense.

Earlier in the week I noticed the use of pedantic (of or like a pedant) in a comment on Facebook, and it got me thinking about whether I've been guilty of pedantry in the past.

On occasion, yes. In the larger sense, I don't think so.

In itself, an expanded vocabulary is no indicator of the pedantic allergen; it means only that one knows many words, and tries to use them when and where they're appropriate. The English language is rich in words, after all.

It remains that the things I know, I try to explain.

Admittedly it can be a compulsion, but as I prepare to dip a toe ever so gingerly into teaching "beer class" again for the first time in six years, I recall that rigorous attention to detail never has been a strong suit of mine.

Rather, I prefer telling the sort of stories and using the type of examples that stick with the listener, in the hope of them retaining what I consider to be useful knowledge -- whether about beer, baseball or bunker design.

Why do pedants pedant? I don't know, but my own style is very much in the vernacular tradition, and that's all right by me.

Why do pedants pedant?, by David Steele (The Guardian)

Some people just love pointing out mistakes and errors made by others. Why? What do they get from it?

So, why do pedants pedant? We don’t really know, but some tangential studies infer it’s to do with a mixture of personality, status-signalling and group identification. As with all things, more (good) research is needed.

Michael Moore's Fahrenheit 11/9: "The film is as much about how the left and the media have failed us as it is about the dangers of Trump."

I'll pay to watch it.

Michael Moore’s terrifying “Fahrenheit 11/9″: Trump is the symptom, not the disease, by Sophia A. McClennen

“Fahrenheit 11/9″ takes an unflinching look at how Donald Trump rose to power and what we can do about it


“Fahrenheit 11/9” draws on this rich legacy to offer viewers Moore’s most powerful movie yet. The film uses the story of the rise of Trump to document the failures, weaknesses and flaws in our democracy. For Moore, the story of Trump is not a story about a momentary breakdown in a system that allowed a dangerous, narcissist to come to power; it is a story about a system that has been careening towards this outcome for decades.

And this:

At the heart of the film is the message that abusive systems of power depend on a public that is complacent, compromising, passive and distracted. In order to draw out how we came to be a nation where so few people vote and even fewer feel like their voices matter, Moore takes aim across the political spectrum. One of the most powerful aspects of the film is the way that Moore pulls no punches as he outs the establishment left and faults them for their complicity with corporate capital. Nancy Pelosi, Bill Clinton and Barack Obama all come under fire as Moore reveals how they sold out the ideals of the Democratic Party to corporate backers.

Also at Salon, a follow-up. I've chosen one crucial excerpt.

Lessons from Michael Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9″: Establishment Democrats sold out the voters, by Sophia A. McClennen

Moore’s film is as much about how the left and the media have failed us as it is about the dangers of Trump

 ... 4. The Democrats share a lot of blame for the rise of Trump.

Moore doesn’t just show Obama’s disturbing behavior in Flint; he also reminds viewers of how cozy he was with Wall Street. In a series of scenes that will likely disturb many viewers, he dives deep into the ways that establishment Democrats have sold out the party’s ideals and their voters. From Bill Clinton's pro-corporate policies to his ramping up of prison populations, Moore shows how party leaders since the Bill Clinton era have alienated voters and moved the party to the right.

Moore brings up the issue of super delegates and their role in the 2016 presidential race, but he does so as only part of a larger exposé of the ways that party leaders have suppressed progressive candidates. Rather than focus only on Bernie Sanders, Moore makes it clear that what happened to Sanders has happened down ticket as well. To drive home the point, “Fahrenheit 11/9” includes a taped conversation where Steny Hoyer (D-MD), who’s been in office since 1981, telling progressive Colorado candidate Levi Tillemann to drop out of the race and cede the spot to the more centrist candidate. When Tilleman questions Hoyer’s interference, Hoyer responds smugly that he has repeatedly chosen who gets to run for the party.

Taken together these scenes help paint a clear picture for why #DemExit grew in steam over the 2016 election, potentially paving the way for the Trump win.

Again at Salon, box office context.

How Donald Trump could help Michael Moore return as the king of documentary box office, by Tom Brueggemann

“Fahrenheit 11/9″ comes 14 years after “Fahrenheit 9/11″ smashed documentary records

... As always, Moore is his film’s marketing campaign; he’s gambling that he can recreate the appeal of “Bowling For Columbine” and “9/11″ after a decade of seeing his films face declining results. His biggest hits came in the early George W. Bush years, when he was positioned as part of the resistance. (His last two documentaries came while Obama was president.) His last film, “Where To Invade Next,” grossed just $3.8 million in February 2016 — but that was months before anyone took Donald Trump seriously.

This cycle works both ways. Moore’s right-wing doppelganger Dinesh D’Sousa made three anti-Obama and Clinton documentaries between 2012-2016: “Obama’s America,” “Hillary’s America,” and “America.” All grossed as well or better than Moore’s documentaries during the same period. But his most recent release, “Death of a Nation,” didn’t top $6 million despite a 1,000-theater opening.

According to FiveThirtyEight, Trey Hollingsworth (R) is likely to defeat Liz Watson (D) in November.

FiveThirtyEight offers three House forecasts, none of which bode well for Liz Watson (D), who is challenging incumbent Trey Hollingsworth (R) in the 9th district congressional race.

How do you like your House forecast?

Lite: Keep it simple, please — give me the best forecast you can based on what local and national polls say

Classic: I’ll take the polls, plus all the “fundamentals”: fundraising, past voting in the district, historical trends and more

Deluxe: Gimme the works — the Classic forecasts plus experts’ ratings

It's a grim prognosis.

Lite forecast: 98.2% chance the Republican (Hollingsworth) wins 61.8% - 38.2%

Classic forecast: 78.3 chance the Republican (Hollingsworth) wins 53% - 47%

Deluxe forecast: 90% chance the Republican (Hollingsworth) wins 55% - 45%

From a national perspective, FiveThirtyEight provides a bit of relief for Democrats.

Considering the source? I read something at FiveThirtyEight almost every day.

FiveThirtyEight. | Nate Silver's FiveThirtyEight uses statistical analysis — hard numbers — to tell compelling stories about politics, sports, science, economics and culture.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

In Tampa with bicycles, in New Albany with all of us: "The yellow-blinking-light crosswalk there now gives pedestrians and cyclists a false sense of security."

On Twitter, Jeff Speck retweeted an important link: The Most Dangerous Place to Bicycle in America, by Scott Calvert and Max Rust (Wall Street Journal)

At 10:00 a.m., the weekly meeting of New Albany's Board of Public Works and Safety will convene. Will any of the city employees, elected officials, engineers, vendors and contractors in attendance have read this WSJ report?

Probably not, and that's unfortunate.

Here's the first section.

Trung Huynh used a marked crosswalk with flashing yellow lights when he rode his bike across busy, six-lane Park Boulevard in Pinellas Park, Fla., one morning in June.

The 18-year-old didn’t make it to the median.

A white Chevy Malibu going an estimated 45 mph slammed into him and his bike, police said. Mr. Huynh died at the scene.

The collision added to the already-high cyclist death toll in Pinellas County. Its per-capita cyclist death rate for the past decade ranks No. 1 among the four counties in the Tampa Bay metro area, which has the highest fatality rate of any major metro area in the U.S., according to federal data.

Here's the conclusion.

The state transportation department recently conducted a study of Park Boulevard, one of the county’s most perilous thoroughfares. Officials found a majority of the cyclists ride on sidewalks rather than on the road, which doesn’t have bike lanes.

Many bike crashes occur when cyclists don’t use a crosswalk, a department spokeswoman said. The department plans by next summer to install three mid-block crosswalks on Park Boulevard featuring a red light that pedestrians or cyclists can activate.

Pinellas County officials said they plan to install this type of signal at the intersection where Mr. Huynh was killed. Construction is scheduled to begin by early 2019.

Rob Angell, deputy chief of operations of the Pinellas Park Fire Department, said the upgrade can’t come soon enough. The yellow-blinking-light crosswalk there now gives pedestrians and cyclists a false sense of security, he said. There is no guarantee drivers will stop, he said, and cars go “flying through there.”

As a closing note to self-identified progressives who may be reading today, be aware that the city's street grid is a social justice issue. For the sake of consistency, you can't pick and choose when you wish to be progressive and when you don't.

Especially if you're a candidate for office.

PINTS & UNION PORTFOLIO: Beer Ed 101 is coming in October to an outstanding pub near you.

Once upon a time not so long ago IU Southeast had a department called Noncredit Programs, charged with developing regular non-credit courses across a broad spectrum of interests for community members wishing to pursue continuing education.

This department was abolished in 2012, victim of financial constraints. Accordingly, the spring semester of 2012 was the final time I convened my two IUS noncredit courses: "Here's to Beer" and "Even More to Beer."

They were held at the NABC Public House, and when the final bell sounded, somewhere around 100 students had taken part in the class over the preceding years.

Much has changed since then.

I'm no longer an NABC co-owner, and presently work for Joe Phillips as director of beer at Pints&union, his new pub at 114 E. Market in downtown New Albany.

Moreover, during the past six years the world of beer has grown insanely prolific, embracing thousands of new breweries, dozens of revised style definitions and the immediate enhanced electronic dissemination of photos, selfies, ratings, selfies, and on vastly scattered occasions, maybe the by-now-revolutionary act of drinking a good beer with friends just for the hell of it, sans real time documentation.

Please understand that the New Wave is fine by me.

After all, I did my small bit to help create the conditions for this cornucopia even if curating it has become a tremendous challenge for everyone involved with it. In addition, the only constant in life is change. Oldsters like me must resolve to change with the planet, or be left marooned at a chain sports bar.

Change is good ... at least up to a point.

Old School ways of thinking and drinking are valuable, too, and in my view they're being neglected in the current kaleidoscopic age.

Being the stubborn sort, I continue to insist that a basic education in fundamentals is vital to the expansion of the better beer perimeter -- because without knowing where we've been, we can't possible know where we're going.

It's certainly true that one can enjoy better beer without knowing about the brewing process, beers styles, geography, history and culture. However, the more one knows about these matters, the greater the possibilities for enjoyment.

Favoring a certain flavor is merely a starting point. Knowing the whys and wherefores helps to place flavors in context. Beer education provides the back story, and helps expand the consumer's savvy. In my experience, it transforms casual adherents into evangelists and spreaders of the better beer gospel.

I believe in it, and so for the first time since 2012, you're invited to Beer Ed 101 at Pints&union. 

It's a new name and a new venue for a reformatted "intro to beer" course. Obviously you must be 21 years of age to attend, and here are the other details.

  • In relative terms, Beer Ed 101 is designed for beginners just coming to the sunny side of beer enthusiasm, but rest assured all are welcome
  • Class will be held upstairs at Pints&union on three Tuesday evenings at 6:30 p.m. for approximately an hour, and I'll stick around for extracurricular beer chat afterward
  • October 9, 16 and 23 are the dates for the initial class offering
  • The next series of dates: November 13, 20 and 27
  • There are no books, pencils and crayons, but there'll be 3-4 beer samples (as opposed to full beers) at each session; these are included in the price. Naturally, you may eat and drink on your own dime before, during and after the class
  • For $30 (pay in advance or on the first evening), you get three class sessions, beer samples, and a mode of instruction that steadfastly refuses to "power point." Rather, it's oral history, sometimes incisive, other times rambling. Live (and sip) with it
  • I'm accepting RSVPs from this point forward; be aware that there is a maximum class size, although I'll try to offer monthly classes in order to give everyone a chance
  • This course is a work very much in progress, so please stay tuned to future updates

In summary: Don't fear the dark, consider attending Beer Ed 101, and stay tuned for the event notification at Facebook.

You also can contact me by e-mail: mayorbaylor(at)gmail(dot)com.

Monday, September 24, 2018

River Run Family Waterpark can't slow down.

Technically, it's acceptable to swing on a 3 and 0 count if the pitcher grooves a fastball with no mustard.

People first? The reign of a strongman leader in the Maldives ends at the ballot box as he tries to rig an election but loses anyway.

We begin this report about an election upset in the Maldives with the gratuitous use of the "L" word.

Unrivalled luxury, stunning white-sand beaches and an amazing underwater world make Maldives an obvious choice for a true holiday of a lifetime.

One million annual tourists visit the islands, which have a population of a little more than 420,000.

The Maldives is a republic lies south-west of the Indian sub-continent. It is made up of a chain of nearly 1,200 islands, most of them uninhabited.

None of the coral islands stand more than 1.8 metres (six feet) above sea level, making the country vulnerable to any rise in sea levels associated with global warming.

The economy revolves around tourism, and scores of islands have been developed for the top end of the tourist market.

Its political history has been unsettled since the electoral defeat of long-serving President Maumoon Abdul Gayoom in 2008.

Back to that election.

President in paradise: An election upset in the Maldives (The Economist)

Abdulla Yameen, the strongman president, lost to a diminished opposition

THE last time Abdulla Yameen looked on the verge of losing power, in February, he declared a state of emergency and locked up two Supreme Court justices, members of parliament and even his own half-brother. His preparations for the presidential election on September 23rd appeared just as thorough. The most prominent leaders of the opposition remained in jail or in exile. The government had showered voters with pre-election goodies, such as waiving rent fines and trimming prison sentences. The police went as far as to raid the opposition alliance’s headquarters the day before the vote.

What could possibly go wrong for Yameen?

And yet, when the results came in, to general astonishment, Mr Yameen was declared to have lost, with only 42% of the vote. The winner was the unassuming but unjailed Ibrahim Mohamed Solih, the leader of the diminished opposition in parliament. Mr Yameen, who had appeared determined to cling to power just six months before, conceded without protest.

Solih eloquently placed his victory into context.

“For many of us this has been a difficult journey, a journey that has led to prison cells or exile. “It’s been a journey that has ended at the ballot box.”

It seems that luxury projects and accompanying corruption scandals were a hallmark of the defeated Yameen.

Many of Mr Yameen’s big schemes will doubtless receive the scrutiny parliament was unable to give them previously. Some of his strongman policies, such as the re-introduction of the death penalty and the re-criminalisation of defamation, may be rolled back. And the corruption scandals and unexplained murders of critics that marred his rule are likely to be investigated more thoroughly.

When power-hungry candidates lose, it lifts one's spirits.

Downtown New Albany brewpub update: A new FCBC Grain Haus pizza kitchen and a traditional NABC Strassenbräu bier.

The lead story on this morning's Monday Business Briefing at Insider Louisville is our own Floyd County Brewing Company, which will not be adding tacos to the Grain Haus. Take it away, Kevin Gibson.

Floyd County Brewing adding pizza kitchen to Grain Haus

Floyd County Brewing Co. in New Albany expanded in the spring, turning a storage garage into an extra bar with a beer garden. Dubbed the Grain Haus, it will expand again in the coming weeks with the addition of a 175-square-foot kitchen with a custom-made, wood-fired oven.

Also worthy of note from NABC Bank Street Brewhouse, the city's first downtown brewery (marking 10 years in business come March of 2019), is the annual arrival of Strassenbräu.

Of course, Taco Steve remains in the kitchen at Bank Street Brewhouse, doing tacos -- not pizza.

We close with a periodic reminder about the Multiplier Effect of Local Independent Business, from AMIBA.

The multiplier results from the fact that independent locally-owned businesses recirculate a far greater percentage of revenue locally compared to absentee-owned businesses (or locally-owned franchises*). In other words, going local creates more local wealth and jobs.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

A few views as Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden winds down.

We stopped at Hidden Hill on Saturday for a walk, and to browse the offerings as the nursery winds down. They're community treasures, the Hills. Their sculpture garden is just icing on the cake. 

Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden closing operation this fall (WDRB)

Hidden Hill Nursery & Sculpture Garden is closing for good.

Writer, gardener and nature lover Bob Hill and his wife Janet opened the unusual plant nursery 19 years ago on Charlestown-Utica Road in Jeffersonville, Indiana. The plants and sculpture garden have been backdrop for music festivals and kite flying for many families.

But Hill posted a letter on social media saying it's "just time" to close. He said they still plan to host tours, shows and small weddings. But when the season ends, the nursery will close.