Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Grandstanding aficionados note: Show trial begins tonight.

6:00 p.m. in the torture chamber, and it's BYOW -- Bring Yer Own Waterboards.

Will Professor Erika propose firing the deputy mayor ten times to total the amount of the needed cut? Will the Wizard of Westside apologize? Will Li'l Stevie say "people are hurtin'"? Will I drink a few Progressive Pints before the meeting starts?

(YES to the latter ... and don't forget, there's a block party down the street tonight)
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Tuesday, September 29, 2009

State sez: Oops. Make that $4 million less.

Wonders never cease, and life's anything but boring in the bowels of the Open Air Museum.

Seeing as Dan Coffey went over-the-top punitive at the drop of the state's misplaced fedora, and immediately appointed himself judge, jury and executioner, must the show trials (and special hearings) go on?

Or will he ape the Fonz and say, "I was wr ... rr ... on ... on ... nn ... g"?

New Albany budget cut lowered to $813,376, by Daniel Suddeath.

New Albany will only have to cut $813,376 from its 2009 budget as opposed to the $4.8 million figure thrown out last week, state officials confirmed Tuesday.

State Rep. Ed Clere and a spokeswoman from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance stated in a conference call with The Tribune that due to an “accounting error”, the actual amount of the budget shortfall turned in to New Albany last week was wrong.

Finn: "Keep moving our community forward."

Apologies for overlooking this fine letter to the editor in Sunday's edition of the Tribune. Jerry Finn makes a cogent, fact-based case for continued progress. I've underlined my favorite paragraph.

Finn: Keep moving our community forward

The recent article on “Center of the City: Nearing a year in New Albany, YMCA is boosting fitness and business” was perfect timing for The Tribune. Daniel Suddeath’s creative and engaging article reminds us of how important it is to keep the energy focused to move our community forward making it a great place to live, learn, work and be family.

Seven years ago when the Horseshoe Foundation made the $20 million commitment to the YMCA and Aquatic Center, the board wanted not only a great facility for health and wellness, but also a means to revitalize the city center. Indeed the YMCA has been a huge success and the Foundation is proud to have been the catalyst to help make that happen. The board knew from the beginning economic growth would not be guaranteed success and that community leaders would have to continually pay attention to keep revitalization and redevelopment on the radar screen. It was for this reason the general manager of Horseshoe Southern Indiana and our board treasurer recommended the Foundation establish a Small Business Revolving Loan Fund to assist emerging private business enterprises in expanding operations and increasing or retaining employees. The fund is capitalized by a $250,000 grant made by Foundation and administered in partnership with One Southern Indiana. Several loans have benefited downtown business expansions as well as the county.

It is also for more than improving quality of life and cultural enrichment for New Albany residents that the Foundation has been involved in the Riverfront Amphitheater events. It is good for the city and county to have patrons enjoying the heart of the city and reconnecting with our river heritage. We believe this helps economic revitalization.

As developers and city and county leaders talk about the second phase of Scribner Place, now is the time for the entire community to encourage the political forces which can make or break such initiatives to be visionary and bold in their leadership. No one likes to spend money in this economy, but to continue to grow we must make sure the infrastructure is there to promote development. This community needs to brand itself as forward thinking, innovative with assets which will attract quality businesses.

The river and outstanding geography of the community remind us of the need to be “green” and environmentally conscious. We need to continue to develop bicycle lanes, and expand fitness opportunities. Our parks and the Greenway need to be pristine resources which will attract families and businesses to the community. There is much work to be done, but this community is up for the task. A wise decision was made with the YMCA. Let’s keep making wise decisions for the good of the community.

— Jerry Finn, Executive Director, Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County, New Albany

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Toast on Market tomorrow morning.

Because I just read Jessica touting the magic moment of 7:00 a.m. on Tuesday morning as the long-awaited Toast on Market opening, I'm repeating it here.

That's Market Street in New Albany. The place we call the Fair Store Building. Tuesday morning.

Toast on Market sez: Open September 29.

Lunch hours at the Public House, beginning now.

Beginning this week, opening hours at NABC’s Public House (Rich O’s) are being expanded backwards to include lunchtime.

I say "backwards" because we opened the Public House at 11:00 a.m. until 1999, when it was concluded that one dining room was enough for lunch. The variable that has changed since then, and the one now being recognized, is smoking vs. non-smoking. In practical terms, this change has the effect of opening the non-smoking area at the Public House to lunchtime business.

Feedback is kindly requested. Among other things, Gravity Head now becomes more interesting, earlier.

From now on, both the Public House and Pizzeria (Sportstime) will be open at 11:00 a.m., Monday through Saturday. Closing hours remain 12 a.m. (midnight) at both. NABC’s original Public House and Pizzeria are closed on Sunday. NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse downtown is open on Sunday, but closed on Monday.

Got it?

4.8 million more reasons to never vote Republican, ever.

Yes, admittedly the patio budget went a bit over the estimate, and since we'd been given a blank check and all, maybe writing it for $4.8 million was extreme. After all, that million clams from the Garner administration never came to roost and ... well, discussion, anyone?

New Albany told to slash 2009 budget, by Chris Morris (News and Tribune).

An order sent from the Indiana Department of Local Government Finance has left city officials scratching their heads.

State auditors have ordered $4.8 million be cut from the 2009 budget this year, according to Deputy Mayor Carl Malysz.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

It might be one option, and we'd sell more food, too.

Might this be a good way to address the city's budget?

Legalized cannabis bars in Copenhagen?

Apparently, a majority of the politicians making up Copenhagen's governing council are in favour of legalizing the sale of hashish. A proposal has been made to decriminalize the substance and have is sold only in state-run shops and/or cafés.

Friday, September 25, 2009

NABC's Fringe Fest set for Oct. 3rd, 4th, and the 6th through the 10th -- all at the Bank Street Brewhouse.

(Updated Friday, Oct. 2)

(Co-writing credits go to Michael Burp. Bookmark this page, because we'll be updating the information as Fringe Fest draw nearer)

NABC remains hard at work preparing for the second iteration of its own - admittedly somewhat skewed - take on New Albany's Harvest Homecoming civic festival: Fringe Fest 2009!

The goal of last year's inaugural Fringe Fest was "to create a cultural counterpoint to Harvest Homecoming and provide unique music, interesting exhibits, captivating films, and – most importantly – good beer. Fringe Fest embraces everything creative and original, and welcomes anything outside of the social ‘norm’”.

So it remains this year, with the added incentive of trying to maintain the creative atmosphere for a full week instead of just doing “booth days” downtown. Here's the schedule. Expect there to be changes, and remember that all events will take place at the NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse, 415 Bank Street in downtown New Albany.

Saturday, October 3:

12:00 Noon - The annual Harvest Homecoming Parade begins at noon on Vincennes Street and ends around 4:00 p.m. on Bank Street in front of the New Albanian Bank Street Brewhouse. You can watch the parade from our bar or patio and warm your seat for the Fringe Fest kick-off with "Jazz on the Patio" immediately following the Harvest Homecoming parade, with The Outfit and friends.

Sunday, October 4:

All day long - $3.00 NABC pours (except Hoptimus and Elsa)

12:00 noon to 3:00 p.m. - Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar. Enjoy an extra large, 20 ounce Bloody Mary made your way with a variety of ingredients and a full olive bar with stuffed olives, pickled vegetables, peppered salami, and more.

4:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. - Metro Louisville Restaurant Employee/Owner Appreciation Night, with music by Ben Traughber, Rebecca Williams. There'll be frequent brewery tours starting at 4:00 p.m., and the general public is welcome!

Monday, October 5:

Fringe Fest takes a day off because the Bank Street Brewhouse is closed on Monday, but NABC's Public House and Pizzeria at 3312 Plaza Drive is open at 11:00 a.m. As a bonus, the Public House, formerly known as Rich O's, is now permanently open for lunchtime hours (including non-smoking seating), Monday through Saturday.

Tuesday, October 6:

KLEZMERFEST

6:00 p.m. - Misha Feigin

8:00 p.m. - Louisville Klezmer Orchestra

Wednesday, October 7:

It's booth set-up time for Harvest Homecomers. From 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m., we're having an Open Mic Night -- calling all poets, musicians, and madmen. Time slots are limited. Mic and amp provided. RSVP John Campbell at 502-939-0294.

Thursday through Saturday, October 8-10:

For the main event, we'll be erecting the 'Big Top' in the Bank Street Brewhouse's parking lot - well, as big a top as the parking lot will hold.

Chef Joshua Lehman's and Sous Chef Andrew Gunn's Fringe Fest food menu will commence circa lunchtime during the afternoon on the 8th, 9th and 10th, and during these three days, we'll not be doing the usual Bank Street Brewhouse menu.

Pommes Frites deep-fried in duck fat, choice of aoeli or curry sauces

Confit Leg of Duck with Flageolet Beans

Green Chili using fresh Pumpkin from the Farmers' Market


Rosa L. Stumblebus will be serving beer; there'll be live music - and perhaps other unusual entertainments - on the patio each evening; and an exhibit of local artists inside (TBA).

Thursday, October 8

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. - A Straw Bale Sculpture Workshop takes place across Bank Street on the lawn of the Carnegie Center. You can stop by any time on Thursday to watch (and help) artist Brad McCombs build the sculpture, and his workshop on the process begins at 6:00 p.m. This p(art) of Fringe Fest is hosted by the Carnegie Center.

7:00 p.m. - "Mystery band" (friends of Old Man)

Circa 7:30 p.m. - Old Man

8:30 p.m. - Fire Show with The Phoenix Collective: Fire Spinners, Fire Breathers, and all-around Pyro-Enthusiasts. They stole the show at last year's Fringe Fest.

After dark, circa 9:00 p.m. - The Louisville Film Society presents a potpourri of shorts and snippets on the silver (white?) screen

Friday, October 9

3:00 p.m. - Clint Ackerman

6:00 p.m. - Avalanche

7:00 p.m. - Midnite Sons

8:00 p.m. - National Hotel

9:00 p.m. - Involuntary’s (from Indianapolis ... voted Indy's best new punk band by NUVO readers)

10:00 p.m. - Blood Turns Brown

and... DJs Adam Higdon and Caleb Wilson spinning intelligent, house music throughout the night.

Saturday, October 10

12 Noon - Gates open ... afternoon musical acts TBA

2:00 p.m. - Capriole Farmstead/NABC goat cheese and craft beer tasting (indoor dining area) with Sam Schad and Roger A. Baylor

5:00 p.m. - Kime Sisters

6:00 p.m. - Blind Shade

7:00 p.m. - The Outfit

8:00 p.m. - NABC’s own Jared Williamson

9:00 p.m. - J. Glenn

10:00 p.m. - Lotus Blake

Please note that while the NABC Fringe Fest is running concurrently with New Albany’s annual Harvest Homecoming event, our festival is neither a “sponsored” nor a “hosted” Harvest Homecoming function, which are detailed at the Harvest Homecoming web site.

Has it been five years already? Destinations Booksellers soon to expand with on-site Dueling Grounds Cafe.

Destinations Booksellers is staying open later in the evening, and the book store's new Dueling Grounds Cafe is just about ready to open.

Dueling Grounds is described as "a fresh, new place to eat good food at great prices. Plus, fine specialty coffees, teas, cold beverages and espresso-based drinks." As you'll see below, there'll be genuine evening hours (in New Albany? Isn't that illegal?) Mrs. Confidential joined me in a look-see last evening, and the rear portion of Destinations currently enshrouded by plastic is about to be revealed for scrutiny and patronage. It looks good, and you'll be pleased.

I'll have more on the new venture, but for now, peruse the following note from Randy and Ann.

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Destinations Booksellers ... September 24, 2009

As part of our commitment to serving you better, we are expanding our hours of operation, effective this week.

Back to the Future

When we opened in October of 2004, we were committed to being open at your convenience. Those early years were tough on us, but we maintained our 9 to 9 schedule for as long as we could.

As we edge closer to our fifth anniversary in New Albany, we're going back to those original hours. Back then, we were pretty much the only independent retailer who remained open in the evening. That's beginning to change.

Tom Kaiser and I were talking recently. We agreed that it was in everybody's interest to stay open later. So Tom expanded the hours at Kaiser Tobacco, and we're going to be open again from 9 to 9, Monday through Saturday.

Some of this, obviously, has to do with the imminent opening of the cafe. But mostly, Ann and I have found more and more of you coming in just at closing time. So we're extending our hours.

You can be assured that you can find expert bookselling service every day of the week beginning at 9 a.m. Of course, our e-mail and voicemail service, not to mention our online purchasing tools, are available around the clock. Monday through Saturday, booksellers will be on hand until 9 p.m., which should take care of most of your needs. On Sundays, the booksellers will go home at 5 p.m.

More importantly, you can still browse and buy during our even more abundant cafe hours, which we implemented this week during the staff training period. Here are the cafe hours. Just remember, our cafe staff will do everything they can to help you with book questions, but don't be surprised if they take a note to pass on to the booksellers, who come in at 9.

Cafe hours


Monday through Thursday - 6 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Friday - 6 a.m. to midnight
Saturday - 7 a.m. to midnight
Sunday - 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Thanks for your patronage and your friendship during the past five years. We hope you'll stay with us as we move into the next five. Send this e-mail to a friend, please, so they can learn about what's going on at Destinations Booksellers.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Today's Tribune column: "Downtown upsurge causes conjoined heartburn."

Evening News columnist Debbie Harbeson offers a neat bookend today: Maintaining misguided laws not the answer for alcohol licenses. I have a few "right on" thoughts about her piece, which can be read here.

BAYLOR: Downtown upsurge causes conjoined heartburn

Accordingly, the riverfront redevelopment district is an incentive for entrepreneurial food, drink and entertainment purveyors to come downtown and do their bit to reuse the city center in precisely the way it was intended. We’re now seeing the result take shape. It’s an organic, local, homegrown restaurant and bar quarter, one made possible largely without the far more expensive expedient of paying the Cordish Company to import cookie-cutter chains ...

... New Albany’s most prominent of nattering and negativistic nabobs ... whisper that there are too many restaurants, bars and entertainment venues downtown, and that the new businesses are bound to fail, but what Dan Coffey, Steve Price and their squalid platoon of acolytes really are saying is that since they, themselves, cannot fathom success, then no one else should be permitted to rise above their self-imposed limitations, either. To justify their doomsday pessimism, we all must fail just as profoundly as them.

HARBESON: "Maintaining misguided laws not the answer for alcohol licenses."

The opening paragraph in Debbie's column is a true classic.

HARBESON: Maintaining misguided laws not the answer for alcohol licenses

When I first heard Clarksville’s Redevelopment Director Rick Dickman say that most restaurants would love to have a three-way, I thought the Southern Indiana area might finally be getting a Cincinnati-style chili franchise. But then I realized it had to do with Indiana’s asinine alcohol laws.
Skyline is the only food and drink chain that I ever patronize.

Note that we did not confer before penning our respective columns. While my take on riverfront development districts is based on the reality we’ve been handed by the state’s regulatory regime, there’s absolutely no doubting that the state’s regulatory regime makes little sense and is skewed toward serial over-regulation. Debbie’s column makes this point with aplomb.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

C-J has good things to say about Jackson's Seafood.

Apologies for missing Marty Rosen's September 11 Courier-Journal review of Jackson's Seafood, which is located at 400 West Main Street in New Albany. It's in the building that recently housed the defunct Orchid, and long before that was known by generations of New Albanians as Kerstein's Tavern. Trust me -- they wouldn't recognize it now after roughly a third remodeling since the decade dawned.

Marty has good things to say, and begins by comparing the Jackson's experience to Clarksville Seafood Restaurant, where the owner learned his trade.
Jackson's Seafood is fit to be tried

Jackson's Seafood seems destined to be just as popular. Even in these early days, it's not unusual to find the parking lot overflowing, all the tables full, a line of people waiting to order at the counter and a row of people sitting against the wall waiting for to-go orders. It's all to the good then, that staff are quick, knowledgeable and, from their easy smiles, happy to be dealing with lots of customers.

Erika's teapartying: Obama's a muslin! Obama's a muslin!

Erika's taken to writing Top Ten lists in her sleep, which is to say, during every waking hour. I came up with one, too.

---
FREEDOM TO SCREECH TOP TEN LIST

10. I’ve lied to readers for five years by pretending to be a guy with a history degree when I’m not, and don’t.

9. I have changed my family dog's name to "Roger’s Patio," and am kicking him harder than I did before.

8. Black is black, white is white, muslin is a type of cloth, and I know less about world religions than Steve Price.

7. I would appoint David Brambleberry (“under God”) to replace my sister who fired me, except he doesn’t live here and hers is a county, not city, job.

6. If Maria Granger thinks she’s getting the Woman of the Year this time around, she has another thought coming.

5. If Hillary would have won, and not the black guy, I’d enthusiastically support her policies, which would have been precisely the same as his – but I’m not a hypocrite or anything.

4. I hate those pointy headed people who’ve come downtown and actually gotten things done. How dare they prove us wrong!

3. I recommend all Americans invest in big damned dogs, because we can’t afford to pay the police to protect us.

2. Before I leave this blog, I will belch even more lies about people and ideas that I hate.

1. Don't worry, little people. I’ll continue to fight the modern world even as you get poorer and increasingly marginalized. Just don’t say my real name out loud, or anything like that.

Ein, zwei, drei ...

Another international news story slips beneath the Louisville area media's radar.

Gay times at Munich's Oktoberfest, by Kate Connolly (Guardian)

Munich's annual beer festival got underway to the collective clinking of tankards on Saturday. But did you know that gay Bierfest started on Sunday?

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Wick's Pizza remodeling is described.

Last week, I stopped by the former Speakeasy to see how the remodeling is coming along as Wick's Pizza prepares to open on October 7. Because the camera was left at home, you'll have to rely on these written descriptions.

The bar side is largely unchanged, with the exception of a banquette built into the rear right-hand side, by the kitchen entrance.

In the south sector where the stage used to be, there is now an attractive rectangular bar area constructed from original brick and copper sheets. The bar top is being made from the same rock-solid, ancient poplar boards used on the elbow bars at Bank Street Brewhouse.

A walk-in has been built in the rear left corner and enclosed by brick and drywall. Draft beer will be stored within, and a long-draw glycol draft system installed to carry the beer to the bars. Wick's evaded interference from the Hour (Tower?) of Power on Main by means of the ATC's historic district (HD) permit exemption, which apparently offers better terms than the prevailing quota but isn't quite as good as the riverfront development exemption.

(Will the ACLU please contest the ridiculous "too near a church" provision in Indiana's alcohol rulebook? I can't think of a more egregious example of spitting in the face of church-state separation than allowing a church to impede our right to drink alcoholic beverages.)

Wick's is completely re-equipping the kitchen, and all the remaining kitchen equipment from Speakeasy times has been purchased and removed for use at another developing downtown location with a Mexican theme, i.e., the new La Rosita's location at the southeastern corner of Spring and Pearl. I'm told the Rosita's relocation is a done deal, although there are no "done by" projections.

You'll see this paragraph in my Thursday Tribune column:

We’re now seeing the result take shape. It’s an organic, local, homegrown restaurant and bar quarter, one made possible largely without the far more expensive expedient of paying the Cordish Company to import cookie-cutter chains.
With the advent of Toast on Market (September 29) and Wick's Pizza, and with the impending La Rosita's move, it seems to me that most of the elements are in place. It's time now for a collective marketing effort.

Any volunteers to herd the cats?

Monday, September 21, 2009

NA Event Watch: Downtown Merchants' Mixer at Preston Arts Center on Friday, September 25.

If you are a downtown merchant, consider stopping by the merchants' mixer described here by Curt and Pam Peters.

And, if you do, follow the mixer with a stroll to the riverfront for the Bubbles and Bluegrass installment (with NABC Elector accompaniment) in the ongoing Friday evening concert series.

MERCHANTS’ MIXER FOR DOWNTOWN NEW ALBANY MERCHANTS

THERE WILL BE A MERCHANT MIXER on Friday evening, Sept. 25, from 5:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. at Preston Arts Center, located at 315 Pearl Street. Bring a food or beverage item to share. A representative of Harvest Homecoming will be there to talk about improvements they are making and to hear comments from us. We will also have a brainstorming session to bring up ideas for the further improvement of downtown New Albany.

PLEASE PASS THE WORD ON THIS SO THAT ALL MERCHANTS KNOW AND PLEASE COME.

NA Event Watch: Ales for Tails at Bridge Liquors on Saturday, September 26.

"Ales for Tails" is a benefit organized by Bridge Liquors on behalf of the New Albany-Floyd County Animal Shelter, which will be on site with its "Wag & Whiskers Wagon," a mobile adoption vehicle. Admission to the fest is a $5 donation to the shelter.

NABC will be on hand. It would be the perfect opportunity to pour one of the Brewers' Best Friend Series (Elsa, Jasmine and Malcolm), so if any of them are ready for action ...

Also, there'll be wholesaler reps pouring other craft and imported beers, along with wine tastings and live music from Jay and Rachel.

The gig will take place under a tent in the Bridge Liquors parking lot from 4:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on Saturday, September 26.

For more information, visit the Bridge Liquors web site.

Open thread: Wide open.

This seems like the final lull before the days begin speeding full tilt toward Christmas, beginning with numerous event during the coming weekend, then Harvest Homecoming, and -- zoom: 2010.

Consequently, today it's open thread, open topic ... or none at all. I'll be back tomorrow.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Coffey: "I was never against the YMCA."

In his New York Times column today, Frank Rich tosses off this classic:

"No matter how many teachable moments we have, some people won’t be taught."

Meanwhile, the Tribune surveys the YMCA's first year.
Center of the city: Nearing a year in New Albany, YMCA is boosting fitness and business

The downtown New Albany Y touts a membership of approximately 10,000 people, equating to more than 25 percent of the city’s population. November will mark its one year anniversary, and (executive director Joe) LaRocca said the YMCA has availed despite a recession and double digit unemployment numbers locally.
There is acclaim from all quarters, and yet as is his political habit, city council president Dan Coffey won't be taught.
City Council President Dan Coffey said he doesn’t regret the qualms he raised when New Albany was weighing its involvement with the YMCA ... Coffey said he was against using tax money then, and he’ll be opposed spending $12 million for a parking garage.

I was never against the YMCA ... Coffey said.
He did everything in his power to stop it, pandering to the Luddite fringe every step of the way and fanning a culture war in the process, and now would have us believe that this somehow does not constitute being against it. That Coffey won't be taught is obvious, but isn't this statement plainly false?

And isn't that more of the same?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

NA Event Watch: Block Party on Market, Wednesday, September 30.

This one is evolving, but here’s the outline at present.

Dave Himmel of Connor’s Place on East Market Street, New Albany, is getting the requisite approvals to hold an outdoor block party on Wednesday, September 30, starting at around 5:00 p.m.

Market Street will be blocked off between Pearl and Bank, and the block party will take place there. There’ll be a band performing and an NABC beer garden, with food from Connor’s, NABC Bank Street Brewhouse, Windsor Restaurant & Garden, and perhaps others yet to surface.

I’ll update this posting as more information comes to me.

NA Event Watch: Bubbles and Bluegrass on Friday, September 25

"Bubbles and Bluegrass" is a free concert event at the New Albany Riverfront Amphitheater on Friday, September 25. Gates open at 6:00 p.m., with bluegrass jam sessions for everyone (bring your instruments) and a free bluegrass guitar workshop conducted by Chris Brandstatt at 6:30 p.m.

The headline act is Cast Iron Airplane, which includes some of Louisville’s premier bluegrass players. Uppa Creek is rumored to be playing prior to Cast Iron Airplane.

Sonny Fenwick's legendary Bubble Truck will be on site, promising bubbles, root beer, hula hoops, balloons and more bubbles. There will be other bubbly things like beer in the Studios riverfront beer garden, boasting a special appearance by NABC Elector for this occasion. The River City Winery also will be there, and there’ll be food.

The organizers urge visitors and attendees to “eat at the event or stop by one of New Albany's many independent restaurants on the way and make a New Albany night of it.”

“Bubbles and Bluegrass” is sponsored by:

Duke Energy
The Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County
The City of New Albany
Sarah Ring of Real Living Realty Services.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Silver Grove Neighborhood Association street fest is Sat., Sept. 19, and Downtown Diner cooks overnight.

Our friend Brandon Smith reminds me to remind you:

The annual Silver Grove Neighborhood Association street festival is tomorrow (Saturday, September 19) from Noon to 4:00 p.m. Food, music, and lots for the kiddos.

In the category of "two touts for the price of one," Brandon's uncle runs the Downtown Diner and Coffee House at 506 W. Main in New Albany. Give 'em some love, and know that they're experimenting with Friday and Saturday evenings beginning at 9:00 p.m. and into the wee hours.

Downtown Diner page on Facebook (consistently and reliably updated)

Council Obfuscapalooza, Part Three: Making Georgetown do the sewer backstroke, and a garbage rate flip-flop.

This is the third part of my city council notes from September 17. For our Georgetown readers, and as a prelude to what follows, consider Bluegill's recent, brilliant encapsulation of sewer fixations as offered by councilman Jeff Gahan.

"CM Jeff Gahan says that the City Council maintains the authority to set sewer employee salaries and should continue to subsidize the sewer utility with EDIT funds as a function of the Council setting sewer rates and that neither he nor the Council is responsible for sewer related issues because the sewer board is autonomous."

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R-09-22 A Resolution Seeking to Establish a Full-Time Position Or Office to Pursue Grant Funds … Gonder

Self-explanatory, but City Clerk Wisman reads the resolution, which charts the importance of grant writing in the context of federal aid and stimulus packages.

Coffey: We should be using free-lance grant writers who work on a percentage basis.

Gonder: Agreed, but citing a recently pursued grant that would not have been approved had “we” known a match was required, prefers a more coordinated effort.

Coffey is condescending with him, and Gonder endures it. That’s what bullies and the bullied do, isn’t it?

Coffey: We’re in agreement it is needed, but let’s not preclude using free lancers.
Gonder: The resolution doesn’t specify all this. It’s just a step in the right direction.

That surely dooms it. Are steps in the right direction permitted in New Albany?

Bob Caesar: “Would not have to be a forever position” (?) He counsels making it temporary to see if it works, lest we pay someone not to do something.

Like occupy a council seat? I wonder why Bob Caesar hates downtown so much. His business is there, and yet he consistently opposes the place where he works. Is this an improvement over Bill Schmidt?

All vote in favor except Benedetti and Zurschmiede, who vote against, without explanation.

A-09-11 Ordinance Appropriating Funds for One Time Cost Of Living Recognition Payment and Setting Amount Of Payments … Caesar 2

The usual tired arguments from Price. We have nothing, we can never have anything, we pay people too much, I’m impoverished and everyone should be dragged down to my underachieving level … which, when you come to think of it, is the essence of Communism in its real-life application. Fancy that. My councilman is more of a Commie than me.

All are in favor except the congenital no, Price.

G-09-19 An Ordinance to Reflect Technical Changes Necessary As a Result of An Agreement With the Town of Georgetown … McLaughlin 2

Here goes the sewer merry-go-round for another trip, with the 6th district's circus ringmaster at the helm. City attorney Shane Gibson steps up to explain.

Gibson: “It’s not here to ask you to bless anything … it’s the requirement of the state statute.” Says that language has been cleaned up. Wants the council to know that it need not bless the Georgetown agreement, just approve the sewer board’s completion of the negotiation and agreement. STATE STATUTE – if not, Shane would not bring it to the council.

Gahan has many questions and a few disagreements. Did Gtown pay the penalties?

Gibson: All except what was renegotiated. Roughly $800,000 worth paid. His ordinance doesn’t have the ability to affect NA citizens at all; the only wholesale customer the sewer utility has is Georgetown.

Gahan: It says it will not impact NA – I wanna know where the original 1.9 million went (?)

Gibson: $1.9 million was the price for Gtown to be on the city sewers forever. A year after that was negotiated, there was a new agreement because Gtown said it would build its own plant … so, the $1.9 million is all about the original state of affairs, with the reduction made because Gtown would no longer be using the capacity charted for the $1.9 million.

KZ: In my mind, Gtown is no closer to a new plant today than before, and now we want to give them more time. Why?

Gibson: Gtown has paid $900,000 already … the reality is, we can’t shut them off. The city doesn’t have the option to do that.

KZ: (glowering) Hold Gtown accountable for the agreement, irrespective of the people now in office there!

Gibson: They have made progress. The county is helping them. Two sites have been located, and they’re moving on them.

Benedetti: (yet again trying to be reasonable amid the bedlam of grudges past) They can’t do anything until we approve this -- approve the authority for the sewer board to do this – and give the sewer board the authority to do this.

For the umpteenth time, Gibson patiently repeats that the council is being asked to do this because the state requires it, not because the council is being asked to bless the sewer boards negotiation with Georgetown. Gibson doesn’t want to speak about the specifics of the negotiation because the sewer board is not present, but he hazards the view that the current negotiated settlement is incentive for Gtown to get off the system.

Gahan: (Chihuahua-like) Adamant about the $400,000 that he states Gtown is being forgiven, and says that this sum might well impact NA ratepayers because it “all comes from the same pot.”

ALL OF IT, EXCEPT THE EDIT RATE SUBSIDIES IN NA, THAT GAHAN FAVORS, AND THAT RESULT IN ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT MONIES BEING EXPENDED AS POLITICAL SUBSIDY FOR THE CONCIL’S RE-ELECTION CAMPAIGNS.

McLaughlin: $400,000 is a balance, not a fine.

Gibson: They paid $800,000. The bodies involved agreed to the compromise on the negotiation.

McLaughlin: “It’s hard for us to do this too.”

Yep, it doesn’t seem to get any easier.

Benedetti: Says that this ordinance should go through because it makes no sense to bankrupt Gtown in order to collect from them.

Clerk Wisman: (I didn’t catch all of this) If Gtown gets off the system, they don’t owe us the $450,000, because the pipe doesn’t have to be made larger to handle their flow.

KZ: Objects once again to the agreement reached by the sewer board.

This being the board that is NOT HERE to discuss the SPECIFICS of it.

Gahan: Would the city attorney “guarantee no rate increases in 2010” right here and now?

In effect, Gibson laughs at him.

Last meeting’s vote on this ordinance was sizably against. Same thing tonight.

For: Caesar, Benedetti
Against: Price, McLaughlin (intones something about it being only the 2nd reading), Gahan, Gonder, Messer, KZ, Coffey

Coffey says he has more questions for Gibson but will ask them later, out of earshot of the public. A guy from the audience asks if he may comment. Coffey says no, only the council president can violate council protocol with impunity.

G-09-17 An Ordinance Authorizing Modification Of Certain Provisions Of The Economic Development Revenue Bonds, Series 2004A (Christian Academy Of Indiana, INC Project) of the City Of New Albany … Price 3

8:45 pm. Things seemed to be going so well there for a while.

No comments. Unanimous in favor.

Z-09-10 An Ordinance For The Vacation Of An Existing Easement Pursuant To A Petition Filed By Carl Holiday And Stephen Goodman … Zurschmiede 3

Unanimous, in favor. Carl and Steve don’t have to sit through this any longer.

G-09-16 An Amendment to Ordinance §50.08 Regarding User/Service Fees for Collection of Refuse, Garbage And Yard Waste … Messer 3

As amended with much theatrics last time, with the amendment being a $2 raise with cost of living increases written into it in the future.

Coffey: No committee for this one ‘cuz the nasty administration first proposed it.

Price: Believes in other options. This bad contract “isn’t our fault” because of the former administration did it. “I’m real uncomfortable with that yearly, I know how that goes, people are hurting.”

Messer: Could cost us twice if we don’t deal with the current contract.

Benedetti: has nothing to do with EcoTech – this is to bring us back even with cost of living increases and avoid the subsidy under way currently. Former mayor Garner negotiated the best deal he could, absorbing the employees and trash haulers and bad trucks. She defends this ordinance.

Caesar: $2 is for the consumer price index increase. Get the CPI straightened out with each contract. The increases have been less than a dollar per year – three increases of less than dollar, and so if it is written in to reflect this, there’ll be only cents increases, but now, “wow we have to throw two bucks at everybody.”

Two bucks. Geez, Caesar’s such a political coward.

McLaughlin: Reads verbatim from the contract to the effect that the trucks are not supposed to LEAK bad liquids in places that smell, but they do, and what are we going to do about that?

Everyone: BOARD OF PUBLIC WORKS. Thank you.

Gibson: Can’t fix it if you don’t give me details, Pat.

McLaughlin: Complains about garbage cans as stated in the EcoTech contract … mentions recycling, but it appears it is recycling the cans?

Gibson: Differentiates between city obligations and contract stipulations.

Benedetti: Just about the two dollars.

Gahan: But there’ll be a surplus?

Gibson: The 50,000 surplus is for the neighborhood cleanups that everyone wants – yes, it adds up to more, but not very much more.

Price: “One more point and I’ll shut up. “It’s a mute point.” We should be able to make money on garbage as a city, just like the private businesses make money from it. Put it back in-house.

Price now joins Erika in advocating taking EDIT money away from economic development and giving it outright to “people who are hurting – that’s what I say.”

Vote taken:

For: Caesar, Benedetti, Gonder, Messer, KZ
Against: Price, McLaughlin, Gahan, Coffey

It is approved. Who flipped? Gotta look that one up, but I wasn’t here when the 2nd reading took place. I had been removed from that one.

MISCELLANOUS ITEMS:
Nothing of consequence, so we stop. Knitting needles through the eyes.

Council Obfuscapalooza, Part Two: McLaughlin votes "no" and "yes" on identical TIF resolutions, and Price abuses a sausage patty.

This is the second installment of my notes from last night's council conclave, or as we like to think of it, the coverage you don't get from newspapers.

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INTRODUCTION OF ORDINANCES AND RESOLUTIONS: READING

R-09-20 Resolution of the City of New Albany Approving an Amendatory Declaratory Resolution and Economic Development Plan of the Redevelopment Commission Of the City of New Albany, Indiana, and Approving An Order of the New Albany City Plan Commission (State Street Parking Garage TIF)


Carl Malysz: This is about folding the Coyle automotive property into the existing State Street TIF so action can be taken (and some bills paid) toward potential future uses. Many discussions already are under way with county and city officials and various boards, etc., about making this area the future governmental complex. Yes, he identifies the property as something “we want to acquire.”

Coffey: Does the resolution include a “million bucks” for acquisition?

Malysz: No, it would still have to be negotiated, and any such move vetted in the future.

Coffey and Diane Benedetti now exchange accusations about who didn’t call the other back. Benedetti seems to be trying to call Coffey out for being “for” this while on redevelopment, and now “against” it after Coffey realized it might actually be good for the city.

Coffey: Says he got “out of it” after it quit being about a flat, clean property.

Coffey: Heck, the Coyles themselves will do the environmental remediation study cheaper than Redevelopment can do it.

Malasz: That’s nice, but maybe we’d prefer professionals to do it for a few dollars more.

Note here that every time Coffey speaks, he is doing so out of turn because as the council’s president, he is supposed to pass the gavel to the vice president before taking part in a discussion. Again tonight, the other council members will tolerate it this, presumably under the only defense they have for their own behavior: We got elected, and you didn’t. Also, know that Benedetti is the council’s vice-president.

Malysz: New facts are relevant. The Coyles indicated a renegotiation of sales terms after it became evident there are brownfield concerns. They might do the clean-up to facilitate the sale; this conversation is still going on. There is a meeting with the Coyles and the governmental committee next week.

Steve Price: “It’s yeralls desire to sit the city services building at the Coyle site?”

Malysz: Well, recall that the idea for the project came to the mayor from members of the city council. It did not originate at City Hall, although most involved feel it’s a good idea for every conceivable government official to be part of the thinking process. In fact, when Coffey was still on Redevelopment – back when he was for acquisition – he suggested that redevelopment had the money to pursue it.

Price: John “Rosenburger” … said … my question is … “have you looked at the cost effectiveness” of the project … Gonder is still for it if it gets torn down first?
It is Rosenbarger. Steve seems to feel that he has no obligation to extend courtesy to people by prouncing names correctly. That's simply buffoonish. I’m not exaggerating when trying to convey Price’s streams of consciousness. They’re genuinely hard to transcribe. Insensibility often is that way.

Malysz: To reiterate, Coffey was the one responsible for Redevelopment’s decision to use TIF money.

Malysz and Benedetti now agree aloud that Coffey was for it, and Coffey violates council protocol by arguing with them, wagging his finger, and trying to bully all those within earshot.

Messer: (Exasperated) We’re actually not considering any of these things. We’re considering an inclusion within an expanded TIF zone no matter what ends up happening there I the future, right?

Gonder: Whomsoever acquires the property will put money back into TIF, right?

Malysz: If cleaned up, or “cleared,” or the buildings are reused, the site increases in value and money goes into the TIF zone.

Gonder: So it isn’t a domino falling for inevitable city ownership?

Price: Our TIFS are too large, and we have too many of them.

Messer: We have them because “TIF areas … keep money in house” for schools and such.

Price: But Indy says we have too many TIFS! Other cities laughed at New Albany, according to saintly former councilman Schmidt, who jsed to attend all them meetings up north.

They may have been laughing at the Max Patkin signaling, Steve.

Malysz: That argument is false. We have numbers to prove it.

Price does not ask to see numbers he doesn’t understand.

Benedetti: At the instructional workshop we attended, the state man said we need to increase our TIF areas and finalize them before they are soon ended.

Coffey: He said, if we’re going to expand it, now’s the time. Doesn’t mean we have to do it.

Jeff Gahan: “What’s so attractive about this partial?”

Partial what? Parcel?

Messer: It isn’t what we’re voting on … but okay, it’s over three acres of prime development ground in the middle of the city, and a valuable piece of property, and we want to capture the taxes from whomever goes in there to help other needs down the line.

Coffey: But if it will be a government building, there’s no tax revenue.

Messer: That’s putting the cart before the horse.

The funny thing about this is that if Coffey wants to make sure there’s no city county building there, he should be supporting the resolution, which makes more sense if the property is NOT used for a government building. But it isn’t about the facts with Coffey. It’s about being against those pergessives who are for it.

Benedetti: (Doggedly pursuing the president) Dan, you said at redevelopment to get the Coyle property in a TIF, didn’t you?

Coffey: Never said that. “I find it tiring” that the city and redevelopment “uses taxpayers for studies on private property.”

Benedetti: But you were in agreement!

Coffey: If Coyle brings the property in “free and clear” with no buildings on it … I’m in. If we leave the building to redo it somehow, no, because that’s just “way more expensive.”

McLaughlin: If this is just about expanding the TIF area, why do we keep talking about the building?

Price: Here’s why – I heard Scott Wood tell someone something that indicated that. He was on the phone.

Malysz: The immediate need is to clean up the accounts so that there are TIF funds to finance the acquisition if and when that time comes. We’re not asking for EDIT funds to buy it.

Gonder: State Street TIF boundaries?

Malysz: Sketches it out. Classic downtown area.

Coffey continually violates protocol again to make his point that the building should not be rehabbed, and if there’s any hint that rehabbing is what his enemies desire, then he’s against doing anything at all in the hope that the next hurricane will knock it down and he can pick through the rubble for rags.

Vote taken.

For: Benedetti, Gonder, Messer, Zurschmiede
Against: Price, Coffey, Caesar, McLaughlin, Gahan

Coffey is the deciding vote against, making the tally 5-4.

R-09-21 Resolution of the City of New Albany Approving an Amendatory Declaratory Resolution and Economic Development Plan of the Redevelopment Commission Of the City of New Albany, Indiana, and Approving An Order of the New Albany City Plan Commission (Old Monon Corridor TIF) … Benedetti

Coffey: Wanna describe it, Carl?

Malysz: Well, it’s the same as the one you just voted against, so it will be interesting to see what you do on this one. It is about the city’s desire to rehab the degraded Hoosier Panel property.

Price: Goes off on a tangent about council members sitting or not sitting on various boards. These boards are appointed, they aren’t elected, and they cannot be trusted. If a council person sits on one of them, that council person can not be trusted to bring the information back to council.

It's a conspiracy, even when directed by himself against himself. TWANG. Price directs a snotty remark to Malysz about the first resolution being defeated, along the lines of nah nah nah nah, and even Coffey is compelled to rebuke his own ventriloquist’s dummy. Price is on edge tonight, spoiling to spoil things.

Benedetti: This one also originated with Coffey when he was on redevelopment.

Copperhead Coffey commences to caterwaul.

Coffey: Why do we want to purchase a property that is corruptefjgkhfkhkdfh …

Sorry, I was taking photos of Coffey while he violated protocol by speaking from the president’s chair. In essence, Coffey says he did what he did then because he had to do it, and now “they’ve” changed everything and he can’t do it.

Malysz: Disputes Coffey’s assertions (made during another violation of protocol) that the EPA has money to spend on remediation.

Vote taken:

For: Benedetti, Gonder, Messer, Zurschmiede, McLaughlin
Against: Price, Coffey, Caesar, Gahan

That’s right – Blevins … oops, I mean McLaughlin … unceremoniously flips, utterly without coherent explanation. That’s a surprise. But wait: The old Hoosier Panel building is in McLaughlin’s own district, and the Coyle building isn’t. Sad. Sad indeed. As with Donnie Blevins before him, McLaughlin apprarently has no core beliefs upon which to derive consistency in his decision making process. Two proposals, same basic argument – one time for it, one time against. Can we really say that he’s been an improvement over King Larry?

Council Obfuscapalooza, Part One: Rote recitations through CF1 Forms.

In the ongoing absence of live blogging capability, which I'm assured is being examined by the city's IT man, notes from the September 17 meeting now begin. This is part one.

---

Them people, them same words every other week.

THE COMMON COUNCIL OF THE CIVIL CITY OF NEW ALBANY, INDIANA, WILL HOLD A REGULAR COUNCIL MEETING IN THE THIRD FLOOR ASSEMBLY ROOM OF THE CITY/COUNTY BUILDING ON THURSDAY, SEPTEMBER 17, 2009 AT 7:30 P.M.

As we await the beginning of the meeting, we see CM Coffey urgently petitioning fellow councilman Kevin Zurschmiede in the corridor. Talk about a nasty appetizer.

CALL TO ORDER:
Are they ever in order?

PRAYER AND PLEDGE OF ALLEGIANCE:
Pledge led by high school kids, who surely don’t realize what’s about to happen. Not democracy in action, but cowardocracy?

ROLL CALL:
All present – even the dead ones, which begs the question: How does one distinguish?

APPROVAL OR CORRECTION OF THE FOLLOWING MINUTES:
Next time, says the city clerk. Not ready this time.

COMMUNICATIONS – PUBLIC:
1. Billy Stewart … political chieftain from Georgetown tribe. Speaks about what is fair for the city and the town and urges passage of the sewer ordinance

COMMUNICATIONS – CITY OFFICIALS:
John Gonder leads off. He has been talking with the Animal Shelter about a bad strain of rabies coming from the East. He wants to know how to commence a request for $3,000 (county to match it) for rabies vaccines for the shelter’s staff. Gonder doesn’t know how to proceed but believes the expenditure is worthwhile. Gives breakdown of the vaccine schedule and costs in response to Pat McLaughlin’s question. Coffey says: Ask Kay Garry. He seems to think that the shots are post-infection, not vaccination.

Coffey also will check to see if any shelter staff might be linked to progressive factions, and if so, change his vote to “hell no.”

McLaughlin: Still a pressing issue of unsightly drainage from garbage trucks, which was brought up two times ago by Mr. Berryman, who Coffey stage-managed ahead of the queue in violation of council protocol as the others sat on their hands and permitted it.

McLaughlin now reports on similar incidents in his district, and everyone merrily ignores the Board of Public Works. Jack Messer says that he was told that “leaky hydraulics” are the culprit. Overwhelmed by larger issues, McLaughlin seems increasingly content to micro-focus on inanity.

COMMUNICATIONS – MAYOR:
Mayor England not present. He is preparing for neck surgery.

APPOINTMENTS:
None to botch.

APPROVAL OF CF-1 FORMS:
None.

At 7:40, ordinances begin. Ye Gods … that’s fast.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Still being blockaded.

No live blogging tonight. Some day, the city's IT guy will answer my e-mail. Until then ... Friday morning coverage.

Today's Tribune column: "The Ballad of Mortimer Snerd" -- but wait! Read now and receive a free council meeting preview!

Well the E.P.A.'s got a chopper in the air
I wake up screaming like I'm back down there
I learned a thing or two from King Larry don't you know
You better stay away from Copperhead Road
-- with profound apologies to Steve Earle

It's back to the council chambers tonight for the second of two September exercises in underachievement. Indeed, it looks like the beatings will continue until morale improves, and if you're an inveterate masochist like me, you'll be there at 7:30 p.m. as the Coffey Youth leads the crowd in various paeans to flags, deities and barbecued bologna.

For the official program, go here. For the newspaper preview and my column today, keep reading -- and remember, progressive pints before council makes a man healthy, stealthy and suitably benumbed.

G’town hoping New Albany council says yes to sewer deal tonight; Still no vote set for possible Coyle property purchase, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

“I want to see everything in black and white where what’s on paper cannot be construed to be something else,” Coffey said. “Something [Georgetown] agrees to and everyone else. That’s not been happening.”
It's tremendously ironic that Coffey chooses the underlined word in these comments. I used it in today's column, too, and we didn't even discuss it first.

BAYLOR: The Ballad of Mortimer Snerd

But it was only the newspaper. Seems that a rumor was going around that City Hall might again try to put ordinance enforcement on the front burner — and what did Cappuccino think about that?

“Like I’ve said before, when it comes to the law, we have to be extra careful to avoid things that might be conscrewed as discriminatory. There’s a higher principle involved for these fine, tee-totaling, church-going, taxpaying folks who’ve made Westendia — I mean, New Albany — their homes. They have a right to expect a certain level of respect for their lifestyles.”

How's that for irony?

Wick's has an ATC hearing and will open on October 7 ... and an excellent LEO review for the Windsor.

According to the legal notices in Tuesday's Tribune, the owners of Wick's have a spot on the agenda during the next local alcoholic beverage board meeting on Tuesday, October 6.

HD2226179 RETAILER - BEER, WINE AND LIQUOR NEW STATE STREET WICKS LLC, 225 STATE ST, NEW ALBANY D/B/A WICKS PIZZA & PUB

I'd have predicted an October 7 opening date, but the newspaper's Daniel Suddeath beat me to it on Twitter earlier this evening.

In other downtown news, the Windsor Restaurant and Garden scored a great review by veteran food writer Robin Garr in Wednesday's LEO Weekly.

Young co-chefs Justin McMillen and Cory Cuff were barely old enough to legally sample their own wine list when the classy dining room and bar, with its lovable New Orleans-style patio, reopened in the old New Albany Inn last year.

Their style belies their age, with a sophisticated and consistently well-prepared evening menu and a fine, simpler set of soup, salad and sandwiches at the noonday hour.

It’s well worth the trip, even for Hoosier-wary Kentuckians.
Finally, it appears that Liquidz, a bar projected for Main Street, is not to be. I learned Wednesday night that the prospective operators have been unable to secure financing, and the sign pictured here back in June is gone. According to the rumorama, the plan had been to ask for permission to paint the building flagrant purple and open a gay bar. Maybe some day.

Previously at NAC: Toast on Market sez: Open September 29.

Playing it coy this time. Read between the lines. Nudge, nudge -- wink, wink.

336 Pearl Street is the former home of Treasure Mine Mall, and for many years before that, the Fashion Shop.

We were walking past it one night last week and stopped to chat with the nice folks who were busily working on preliminary cleaning, with plans to use it the space, hopefully soon.

I'm hesitant to make this a matter of public record for fear of jinxing the project. All I'll ask is this: Are any readers interested in the best Mexican food in the area being available in the heart of downtown?

(photo courtesy of the Hoagland real estate firm)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Kozarovich tackles anonymity in today's "Jeer," while somewhere, a dog barks and Erika sharpens a crayon.

The Tribune's publisher comes down hard on anonymity, and doubtless will receive an anonymous letter or two in return.

TRIBUNE CHEERS & JEERS: Sept. 16, 2009

... My initial reaction was to toss it in the trash with the direct mail ads. But I stopped because in addition to it being futile and infantile I also view it as a needless affront to the principles of America, the land of Free Speech. Don't’ be afraid to say what you have to say. Take responsibility for your actions — and your words.

Uncouncilman Price abstains as Plan Commission overwhelmingly recommends riverfront redevelopment plan.

Considering the fact that the riverfront redevelopment plan described below has been considered by both the redevelopment and plan commissions, and that council persons are assigned to sit on both, isn't it the case that council president Dan Coffey's twaddling about not being informed of it is disingenuous even by his colossal standards of dishonesty?

At any rate, attendee Dan Chandler left the following comment on yesterday's post, "Plan Commission considers the riverfront redvelopment masterplan tonight," and it seems the ideal response to my request for readers to provide coverage of a meeting I couldn't attend. The Wet Knob, was good, though.

Tonight was just a vote by planning commission to recommend to council. This is a land use plan. It's only a tweaking of the existing comprehensive plan with regard to an area along the levee. It is not, nor would be an affirmative vote by the council, be authorization to fund a parking garage/plaza that is envisioned as a part of the plan. The financing needed to implement the plan, except as noted below, was not discussed tonight.

There were maybe 70 people in the audience. Architect Larry Timperman, who developed the land use plan, gave a brief description. Next, Jack Bobo’s architect Mose Putney described the $30M Bobo project. Mose noted that they had a potential tenant interested in taking 80,000 square feet.

In all, there were maybe 5 speakers, each of whom only took a few minutes. Mike Kopp spoke, noting that if he had 10,000 square feet of leasable space, a woman’s apparel retailer from Chicago would move in tomorrow, but that space currently is not available. If these developments took place, that space would be available. Carl Malysz told the commission that the plan has the Mayor’s full support.

There were only a couple questions from the commission. One member asked for clarification on the “high rise” portion of the plan. Steve Price asked Carl if this was the time to discuss costs. Carl estimated the public costs of the parking garage roughly at $12M (800 parking spaced at $15,000/ea.). He noted that if Bobo’s project and the New Horizons project both went in, there would be $70M in direct private investment from those two projects alone. How the $12M would be financed was not discussed (TIF, etc.). Price did not ask a follow-up question.

At one point, a speaker asked for a show of hands of those in favor of the project and virtually everyone in the audience raised his or her hand. No one spoke in opposition to the plan.

The commission voted in favor of recommending the plan to the common council. All votes were in favor, except for Steve Price who abstained. No one voted against.

The commission moved to the next topic and virtually the entire audience exited the meeting.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

8664's Tyler Allen announces his candidacy for Mayor of Louisville Metro.

This not unexpected announcement comes to us from the 8664.org mailing list. Tyler becomes the only Louisville mayoral candidate whose number is saved in my cell phone's memory.

One sentence strikes me: "(We have) painted a bold vision for a better solution. Unfortunately, we have also been thwarted in our attempts to get a true conversation started." There's something very close to home about that.

Dear 8664 Supporter,

I wanted you to be among the first to know that I will be stepping aside at
8664.org and announcing tomorrow that I will be a candidate for Mayor of Louisville Metro. I leave 8664.org in the able hands of co-founder JC Stites and a committed advisory board who I would like to thank sincerely for their unwavering support of this critical issue.

These last four years have been an interesting time for our movement. We have raised awareness of the ill-conceived downtown portion of the Ohio River Bridges Project and painted a bold vision for a better solution. Unfortunately, we have also been thwarted in our attempts to get a true conversation started. Even as recently as this summer when it appeared that our Metro Council would be positioned to hold such a conversation, powerful interests seemed to influence them to rubber stamp a new unelected Tolling Authority that will keep this process away from the public.

My experience with 8664 is one of the primary reasons I have decided to seek elected office. It has taught me that many of the most important issues facing this community are deeply connected and the solutions require creativity and commitment. I intend to bring to government the same vision and passion that are fundamental to 8664.

As I move on to a new campaign, be assured that my commitment to 8664 and the vision it represents for the future of this great city will be as strong as ever. As the campaign takes shape, you can learn more about me and take part in the conversation about other issues critical to this city and region at http://www.tyler4mayor.com/.

I look forward to seeing many of you in the months to come. Take care and thank you for your commitment to 8664.

Peace, Tyler

Plan Commission considers the riverfront redvelopment masterplan tonight.

I'd love to attend this plan commission meeting, but it simply can't be done. NABC has a visiting dignitary coming today, and it's also the release of this year's Wet Knob Hop Harvest Ale, celebrating the founding hop farming mothers and fathers in Floyds Knobs.

In other words, beer drinking duty calls. Any available pinch-hitters? Professor Erika has already published her response: Don't you take my cigarettes away, Doug England..

New Albany hopes planning makes perfect; Public hearing on New Albany’s downtown masterplan is Tuesday night, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

It’s been kicked around development and city staff circles, but today will be the first time the public will have the opportunity to weigh-in on New Albany’s Scribner Place phase two plan.

It’s a blueprint designed to steer the city’s future development from East Sixth Street west to the Sherman Minton Bridge. Potential investors, city planners and organizations such as Develop New Albany have been involved in formulating the plan, and the measure was approved by the city’s Redevelopment Commission in July.

The Plan Commission gets its shot at the masterplan at 7 tonight in the third-floor Assembly Room of the City-County Building. A hearing will precede the vote, allowing residents to state their concerns or ideas.

Monday, September 14, 2009

It's one option, but ...

... I hope Cappuccino didn't use a novelty lighter. That's illegal.

Toast on Market sez: Open September 29.

The good news is that Toast on Market will be open soon. The bad news is that I (still) can't take good photos.

The sign says: "Open September 29, 7:00 a.m." That's a Tuesday.

There is a phone number to call for those interested in employment: "Apply within 9 am - 2 pm, or call 812-941-8582."

The hours are just barely visible to the left on the door: Closed Monday, open 7:00 a.m. otherwise from Tuesday through Sunday, closing at 2 or 3 in the afternoon.

I haven't heard any recently updated scoops on Wick's Pizza, to be located in the building that formerly housed the Speakeasy, although my assumption is a first Tuesday of October date with the state's alcohol regulatory authorities and an opening soon thereafter.

Better hurry, before Papa Cappuccino does the copperhead shake and takes away the riverfront development district. Perhaps he plans on swapping it for an autioneer's license.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Tribune editorials address downtown development and the new Spring Street bike lane.

Two Sunday Tribune editorials for the price of one:

TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: Keep downtown menu diverse; many businesses but one message

TRIBUNE EDITORIAL: The beginning of a beautiful bike ride

Not exactly groundbreaking stuff, but there are useful points in both pieces.

As for the first, a unified promotional effort definitely is needed downtown, as is some way to gently push some of the longtimers into grasping the utility of traveling to the next level in the sense of uncovered windows, upstairs living and (perhaps not so gently) the use of their buildings according to code.

With regard to bike lanes, the editorial team asks some very good questions. It still isn't clear how the southern-side Spring Street lane is meant to be used, and given that lately my primary issues as an everyday cyclist have had to do with other cyclists, it is the city's obligation to make a statement of principle addressing bike use overall.

Gotta go - time for a ride. Thursday's column already is finished, the Wizard isn't going to like it, and knowing this gives me a feeling of accomplishment.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Nation's capital invaded by transgendered academics.

Professor Erika intended to blog "live" from the Flat Earther teabagging in DC, but she couldn't find a rotary dial phone to attach string to.

Yes, I ended it with a preposition. File a restraining order against me if you don't like it.

A wonderful day: Historic Home Tour and snacks afterward.


My wife Diana's friend, Amy, has been looking for a house to buy here in New Albany. She met us at the house this morning around 10:30 a.m., and we promptly embarked on the historic homes crawl. It was time well spent, although I'll leave the photos to someone more talented than me. Ted?

The three of us began by walking to the Farmers Market to register and receive our maps, then adjourned to the new apartments above Studio's.

The firehouse on State was to be saved until last, so we continued on foot: East on Main, north on 13th to the church, Cardinal Ritter house and Cedar Bough, then east again to complete a loop that included properties on Ekin, Elm and Spring.

The Sears Roebuck catalog house on Ekin opposite the national cemetery will be remembered as the find of the day. $4,398 in 1928, and quite well planned and executed. Amazing stuff, indeed.

We strolled back to the 1117 East Spring Street Neighborhood Association and took the car to the firehouse before ending at River City Winery to redeem the tasting tickets included in the tour programs and to relax with appetizers and wine.

It was our first chance to try the hummus, crabcakes and chees plate at RCW, and all were good. The crabcakes may well become a signature dish, as are Chef Josh's scallops at Bank Street Brewhouse, which were Friday night's dinner prior to the Carnegie Center fundraiser:

(Gotta give props to my man, too)

The Carnegie fundraiser seemed quite successful, and we had a great night at BSB. The atmosphere was laid back but festive on Bank Street last night.

The evidence is beginning to accumulate that a corner has been turned. The only point of dissonance I heard in the past 48 hours was a rumor that an unnamed councilperson would be seeking to overturn the riverfront development ordinance approved by the previous council -- the one that makes possible the three-way alcohol permits prefacing several downtown start-ups.

Why would anyone so much as contemplate killing the goose that continues laying golden bureaucratic permission slips? Is it because there might be too many bars downtown?

Or is it because there's too much progress downtown?

And: When is the last time progress was even an issue?

If the rumor is true, I hope it's Steve Price. Any further effort of his to squelch economic growth within his own council district should be sufficient for us to purchase a few garlic-encrusted coffin nails come 2011.

Friday, September 11, 2009

"Music on the New Albany Riverfront tonight" and Historic Home Tour tomorrow.



Submitted.

NASH: "Maybe Coffey is the problem."

SPOILER WARNING: The mirror would crack.

Matt has been a wonderful addition to the Tribune's guest columnist roster, but don't take my word for it. Just consider the many anonymous threats (likely emanating from one or two poison pens) to "drop my subscription" because of writers like Matt, and you'll see just how effective his pieces have been in promoting discussion.

In many ways, Matt has it worse than me when it comes to rocking the world of New Albany's entrenched obstructionists. After all, I'm an "outsider," having been raised a whopping eight miles away in Georgetown before moving to New Albany 17 years ago. Matt is under closer scrutiny from the mad-as-hell wannabeens because his is a local political family, and to some, primarily Democrats of the "In Name Only Sans Any Discernable Coherence Whatsoever" variety, he quite simply is a traitor to his political class.

So, to repeat: If "King Larry" Kochert is against you, you have the luxury of knowing that your position is probably viable, sane and representative of thought, not biochemical processes approximating habitable brain plains.

And, consider my own two choices next Thursday: Go to the Public House, drink progressive pints, and attend the second gathering of the Louisville Area Skeptics, or go to the city council meeting, remain bone dry, and watch Dan Coffey make a mockery of law while his seatmates yawn.

I'm a masochist ... and a working journalist, to boot.

Does that give you a clue as to my probable choice?

Take it away, Matt. And thanks.

NASH: Maybe Coffey is the problem

When I decided that I would try to write this column for The Tribune a few months back, I had in mind a few things I wanted to accomplish. I wanted to have fun, I wanted to entertain and I hoped that we could all learn something from what I had to say. It was never my intention to become part of the story. That all changed drastically on Aug. 20 when I decided to attend a New Albany City Council meeting ...

... As I was leaving Mr. Coffey cited “the rules” for not allowing me to speak. What are these rules that he speaks of? Why are only people he disagrees with subject to these rules? Why are his supporters and district constituents given special exception of “the rules”? Why am I subject to his rules but he is not subject to the constitution of the State of Indiana and its rules on proper redistricting?

Say hello to the Steve Price Memorial Bike Lane: Version Two.


Say hello to the Steve Price Memorial Bike Lane.

And all it cost for this most revolutionary of acts in recently recorded New Albanian history was paint. Nickels and dime: That's what we're talking about, Steve.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Today's Tribune column: "Tempest in a tinhorn’s teapot."


Dan Coffey's encourages his council to blithely ignore Constitutional imperatives until backed against the wall, then advocates protecting seatholders first at the considerable expense of fair electoral districts. Dan Coffey deploys his council's rules of order selectively, generally for his own self-aggrandizement. Dan Coffey sees nothing wrong in using his gavel to squelch the speech of those who disagree, or in attempting to physically throttle a taxpayer at a public watering hole.

Dan Coffey hurts New Albany, not helps New Albany. But a larger question remains, and it won't go away in spite of the Wizard of Westside's eternal caterwauling, his bullying, and his political embarrassments.

Why does this council permit its name to be dragged through the mud by its "leader?"

One can only surmise that the others enjoy being dirty by association, or else they might do something about it. Can there be any other conclusion?

BAYLOR: Tempest in a tinhorn’s teapot

Malaprop theatrics like these matter because they violate the council’s own rules of order, which prohibit the president from joining in a discussion before first passing the gavel to a colleague, but because reticence would not suit Coffey’s view of the council president as ringmaster of a flea circus, he seldom observes protocol and frequently flaunts it. Apart from a solitary recent instance, his fellow councilpersons seem content to acquiesce in their workplace being governed by the ward heeler’s whim.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Wheee! Bike lanes, redistricting and commentary from the city council's A#1 barbecued bologna vendor.

Tribune reporter Daniel Suddeath returns from his holiday to the first of two big stories.

CHANGING LANES: Section of Spring Street now featuring bike paths, two lanes

Spring Street is a little bit safer for cyclists, as Mayor Doug England confirmed Wednesday bike lanes will be finished along the New Albany route this week ...

... The way it looks right now, the lane changes are confusing, City Council President Dan Coffey said. He feels the bike lanes were added to appease a certain segment of New Albany. “The mayor is going to do anything he can to help the progressives out because he figures they’re going to help get him re-elected,” Coffey said.
Suddeath then turns to story number two, an old saw back in the news:

2007 redistricting plan used for new city boundaries

A few precincts have been shuffled, but there’s still plenty of controversy surrounding a redistricting ordinance that’s being used to file New Albany’s voting boundaries.


Floyd County Clerk Linda Moeller announced the changes Wednesday, as six New Albany precincts have been moved as ordered in a December 2007 City Council ordinance. In a news release, Moeller stated the Floyd County Election Board had to request the changes through the Statewide Voter Registration System, or SVRS, in Indianapolis.

Unfortunately for Suddeath, he seems to have spent quite a lot of time on the phone with Coffey, who is capable of being just as, er, "creative" with facts when it comes to counting voters as he is when chasing bicyclists on his big blue tricycle.
“The council gave this group an opportunity, they actually drew their own map, but they had no support from the public and no support from the council,” Coffey said.
Seems to me that our Cappuccino is becoming unsettled. Wonder why?

NABC Wet Knob Hop Harvest Ale: Early release date is Tuesday, September 15.



NABC’s Wet Knob Hop Harvest Ale will return to the taps at both Grant Line (Public House & Pizzeria) and the downtown Bank Street Brewhouse on Tuesday, September 15.

This triumphant unveiling comes at least three weeks earlier than we anticipated, and therein lies a story.

Wet Knob has evolved. In 2006, NABC’s brew team of Jesse Williams and Jared Williamson formulated a recipe to be fermented with the California Common yeast normally used for Mt. Lee and Kaiser. The occasion was New Albany’s Harvest Homecoming, and specifically, the late and lamented Bistro New Albany’s parking lot gala planned for the annual local festival’s “booth days” in early October.

The beer was called Homecoming Common, and was greeted with enthusiasm.

In 2007, the NABC downtown Harvest Homecoming gig moved to Connor’s Place, and the Homecoming Common beer was brewed a second time and dispensed at the initial Connor’s location on Main Street. Again, the response was favorable.

Harvest Homecoming in 2008 offered NABC a very different set of variables. For one, we were in control of the building that was being remodeled for the Bank Street Brewhouse, and with a parking lot of our own for erecting a tent and booking music, we came up with the idea of Fringe Fest, a celebration of our own to run concurrently with the three primary “booth days” of New Albany’s civic fest.

Just as joyously, several of our employees and friends started raising hops at their farms in what we call “the Knobs,” those hills on the horizon that mark the end of the Ohio River floodplain and the beginning of the rolling terrain of the Southern Indiana uplands.

Our longtime office manager Colleen Abston and her husband Matt started Abstonia Farms, and worked at learning the hop game along with Tabbatha Elble (for many years an NABC server at Grant Line) and her husband Travis, whose property is close by the Abstons’ land.

Consequently, there was an opportunity for NABC to brew genuine “wet hop” ale using freshly harvested and unprocessed hops in the fashion of similar seasonal ales brewed for many years in hop-growing areas on the West Coast. The recipe was recalibrated for use with the house strain of London yeast, as many hops as possible from the first year’s harvest were used for aroma, the name was changed to Wet Knob Hop Harvest Ale, and it was designated as the official ale of Fringe Fest.

Now it’s 2009, and as noted, we’re ready to begin serving this year’s batch of Wet Knob a full three weeks before Fringe Fest. Why?

We’re being faithful to the fundamental concept of wet hop ale. The idea is to brew while the hop harvest is underway, and this year, the harvest was completed by the Abstons and Elbles much earlier than in 2008 because of the mild and wet summer growing season.

NABC's Wet Knob Hop Harvest Ale was brewed concurrent with the harvest, and it’s now it is finished, fresh and ready to drink. We propose to drink it now, at its peak, rather than wait for Fringe Fest.

Beer’s a natural thing, and this is the natural way to drink it.

So, the taps open on Tuesday, September 15, and the batch is split between Grant Line and Bank Street. Jared brewed this year’s Wet Knob at Grant Line, so that comes to eight kegs in all, so expect it to go very quickly. Senior management has done taste tests, and trust us: This one is superb.

Remember: While enjoying this marvelous ale, please salute the hop growing pioneers in the Knobs. They’re creating sustainable local business out of nothing, and deserve big kudos for doing so.

Here is Jared’s ingredient list and notes.

Malts:
Simpsons Golden Promise, Simpsons Caramalt

Hops:
Pellet Cascade (bittering/flavor), wet Cascade and Chinook in the hopback (for aroma, used in under 24 hours from the time of harvest)

Yeast:
House dry English (1st GL batch of ale brewed using Bank Street yeast)

ABV: 5%

IBU: 51

Photos from top to bottom: Abstonia hops; harvest duty with Matt Abston; Jared Williamson on brew day. All photo credits are John Campbell's.

Journalists are not to be excluded.

There are too many work meetings and too many overall obligations this week. It makes me crazy, and I'm beginning to suspect that I'm overextended. However, with a bit of time to kill, I found this interesting material from the Knight Citizen News Network. In local terms, being a citizen journalist at public meetings would be far easier if consistent access to the Internet was provided. I'd be too busy ... never mind.

The Citizen Journalist's Guide to Open Government

Generally, when meetings are open to the public, the press may not be excluded. The same goes for bloggers and citizen journalists.

The ability to attend public meetings is protected under state and federal open-meeting or “sunshine” laws.

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Today's golden Gomez moment: "Get Myself Arrested."

This one goes out to all my dear friends at CFA. I changed a few words in the lyrics.

Because I can.



I wear the same shoes as anyone
I get the same blues as everyone
So try and call me, I'm immobile man, yes I am

Got a haircut, got a new wall, gonna get myself arrested
Got some friends in my Ford F-150, tryin' to get themselves arrested

I suck the same lines as anyone
I do the same time as anyone
Dont try and call me, I'm immobile man, yes I am

Got a haircut, got a patio, gonna get myself arrested
Got some friends in my Ford F-150, tryin' to get themselves arrested

He only grows for guys he knows and me
He only grows for guys he knows and me

Well alright

Dont try and call me I'm immobile man
Dont try and call me I'm immobile man, yes I am

Got a haircut, got a nice big laugh, gonna get myself arrested
Got some friends in my Ford F-150, tryin' to get themselves arrested

Got no time for the selfish me and yous, tryin' to get myself arrested

Louisville Area Skeptics return to the Public House on Thursday, September 17.

NABC is very pleased to host monthly gatherings of the Louisville Area Skeptics. Here are the details for the group's next gathering on September 17 in the Prost wing (Public House entrance).


When:
Thursday, September 17, 2009 7:00 PM

Where:
The New Albanian Brewing Company (formerly Rich O's Public House and Sportstime Pizza) 3312 Plaza Dr New Albany, IN 47150 -- (812)949-2804

Please join us for our second Skeptics in the Pub! We have another fascinating presentation scheduled. This month, sports conditioning coach Jamie Hale will cut through the media hype to give us the scientific facts behind nutrition. Once again we'll meet at the fabulous New Albanian Brewing Company.

About September's Presentation:
With so much conflicting nutrition information and advice, how do we know what's right and what's wrong? Jamie Hale's "Nutrition: Fact or Fiction" lecture has the answers. Jamie Hale is a sports conditioning coach, author, lecturer, outdoor enthusiast, and fitness and nutrition consultant. He is the owner of MaxCondition Training and MaxCondition Nutrition. He has contributed to numerous exercise and sports publications (nationally and internationally) and has authored six books. Jamie is a member of the World Marital Arts Hall of Fame in recognition of his conditioning work with martial artists. He is the founder of HNE Research Group and a member of KASES. Jamie is currently working on a new book How We Know: A Guide To Reason with Brian Jones (Author, University of Louisville Professor). Check out Jamie's websites:
Maxcondition and Knowledge Summit.

To
RSVP, see the full listing. Thanks! See you there,

Laurie
Contact Organizer -- Louisville Area Skeptics