Monday, November 30, 2009

Thoughts on making preservation and sustainability matter.

Tomorrow evening, a group of community leaders will officially meet for the first time to discuss the possibility of forming a new nonprofit aimed specifically at achieving historic preservation goals in Floyd County. For those interested, the meeting is at 7:30 pm at the Cardinal Ritter House, 1218 E. Oak Street, in New Albany.

As discussion around the topic has increased, a document has been circulated outlining some thoughts presented at the National Trust's annual Forum Luncheon by Donovan Rypkema, an economist well respected for his interest and research in preservation. Those thoughts, available at his blog here, challenge his audience to change attitudes about preservation by changing its focus from one of history to one of heritage, that is, less about bricks and mortar and more about the culture surrounding their creation and use.

Though I may quibble with a few details and word choices, it's a viewpoint I largely share.

Those who know me well know that, after much mind changing, nail biting, and a few beers to settle down, I'm in the process of applying to graduate school as an MA student in Cultural Sustainability. As a part of that process, I was asked to provide a brief biographical sketch highlighting how I came to be interested in such matters. Since it was involvement in New Albany that mostly drove me to it, New Albany, and its personal but universal challenges, quickly became the topic.

An excerpt from that biographical essay is below. I certainly can't claim the depth of knowledge or talent that Rypkema demonstrates but I was struck by our somewhat similar themes. Readers will notice that both neighborhood revitalization and historic preservation receive mention. They are topics that I do not separate. It's my hope that these initial thoughts, both from Rypkema and me, will help to encourage the blending of the two in the ongoing conversation.

Readers are of course encouraged to share their thoughts as well.

I am a neighborhood activist in New Albany, Indiana, a city of approximately 37,000 along the banks of the Ohio River that was once the largest, most prosperous in the state.

About the city, a downriver 1850’s newspaper in Evansville said: "the glory of New Albany is in her construction of magnificent steamers. In this noble art her mechanics stand unrivaled. She is second only to Pittsburgh in the number of tons launched from her shores; but in the size of her boats, their models and strength, beauty and finish, she has no rival. The mechanics that have framed the Shotwell and Eclipse, and given them their grace, beauty, and speed, may challenge the world."

Today, much of the infrastructure and building stock created to support steamer construction and related industries still exist, representing a standard of public investment and private entrepreneurship not often replicated in contemporary small cities. The mechanics and craftspeople that created and utilized them, however, have largely vanished along with the vibrant culture their activities generated. A friend jokingly refers to it as an open-air museum. If so, it’s a museum whose programming has been woefully insufficient for decades.

That was the problem with which several others and I started a few years ago. After a year of individual study and research, I was lucky enough to begin making connections with regional community development leaders, sharing knowledge and beginning to identify the cohorts of my more private community within the larger, more public whole. They in turn provided access to an even broader contingent of consultants, a national network of professionals affiliated with NeighborWorks America, a Washington, DC, based nonprofit organization “created by Congress to provide financial support, technical assistance, and training for community-based revitalization efforts.” That access culminated in my participation in a national pilot program for place-based training that brought the NeighborWorks Community and Neighborhood Revitalization Professional Certificate curriculum to the Louisville, KY, metro area. It was as part of that training that I became familiar with the Healthy Neighborhoods approach to community revitalization.

The Healthy Neighborhoods approach seeks to establish neighborhoods (or communities) of choice, places where it makes economic sense to invest time, money, and energy; where neighbors have the capacity to successfully manage day-to-day issues; and where they have confidence in their investments and their futures.

The methodology involves focusing on four primary factors as defined by David Boehlke, a major proponent of the approach:

Image: In an asset-oriented strategy that builds both household and neighborhood equity, it is important to promote a positive identity. That for older neighborhoods to compete successfully, they need to draw on their assets and tell their unique stories (for example, historic homes, urban parks, and so on). Residents and outsiders will see the neighborhood as attractive.

Markets: Each neighborhood has a unique market niche. All investments must reinforce the housing market and increase home values. Investment in one property improves the value of all properties within the neighborhood.

Physical conditions: We need to target outcomes, not outputs, because numbers don’t tell the story. Outcomes measure whether the neighborhood is improving as a place for residents to invest and to build equity and neighborly connections.

Social connections (neighborhood management): Prospective homeowners and residents – not community development corporations, government agencies, or other funders – are the most important neighborhood decision makers. Traditional approaches often subsidize households with the greatest needs and provide housing as an end itself. Instead, we need to work to create and improve social connections by engaging residents in their neighborhood and community.

In essence, each of these factors deals with a notion of value— a sense of worth that can be experienced individually, shared with others, and promoted for the greater good. While Healthy Neighborhood outcomes are often discussed and measured using the type of market-based language most often associated with real estate, the ideas of believing and belonging are central to their resident-driven success. It’s that understanding that helped my initial exposure to cultural sustainability make sense.

As mentioned previously, the physical bones of my geographic community are largely intact. We, along with many other similar cities and towns, enjoy the type of built environment that those with New Urbanist leanings are currently investing millions to recreate under the guises of Smart Growth and environmental sustainability. Historic preservationists have also taken an interest in the structures that have long provided us a sense of place, more recently tying their efforts, too, to wider ranging environmental concerns via concepts of adaptive reuse.

Those interests are certainly important if we’re to make the most of the limited natural and financial resources available to us. Simply put, they will help allow us to continue living. What’s missing from those respective equations, however, is the less tangible but more important proposition of what constitutes “living” in the experiential sense. Though the relationship between people and their built environment is one of mutual impact and can serve to inform legacy, a community’s culture is not limited to products. As such, it’s not the products themselves but rather the endeavor to create the products out of a shared understanding of and desire for potential benefit that’s key to cooperatively striving for betterment.

It’s that type of camaraderie, that shared belief in the possibility of the better - whether it takes the form of preserving the old or initiating the new - that forms the basis of community and culture and allows us to sustain ourselves in new and not-so-new meaningful ways.

Artist, author, and copywriter Hugh McLeod said, “The market for something to believe in is infinite.” From firsthand experience, I know that to be a tough market. But it’s not so much the mechanics and craftspeople themselves that have been missing from my neighborhood but the passion, creativity, and general spirit they brought to the place. Fostering belief in those assets, both within the community and as a marketing function directed toward external audiences, is the problem I have now as revitalization efforts move forward.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

"Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it."

(See photos in this separate post)

As I've noted in the past, one obvious flaw with the blogger.com scheme is the absence of search capability for comments. Think of the many rewarding comment threads over the years, and ask yourself: How do I locate them again?

In reality, you don't easily do so, unless you can remember the original topic and search for the marquee posting.

This is why I'm elevating Lincoln Crum's Saturday afternoon comment to the marquee. At 565 words, and almost none of them "big", it's longer than many marquee blog posts here, and offers an alternative viewpoint of downtown.

Let the discussion continue. Thanks to Lincoln Crum for engaging in the spirit of the dialectic at NAC.

--

Lincoln has left a new comment on your post ""And it was all yellow."":

I usually refrain from commenting on any posts here at NA Confidential, actually I don't even like reading them because I usually don't agree with bluegill or Roger Baylor, but, I do need to provide a couple of points of clarification.

1. I am bluegill's brother-in-law and we've been good friends for a very long time. While I disagree with his point of view and approach on this matter I do respect him as an intellectual.

2. As far as Roger Baylor goes, I haven't spoken to him since he stole my seat at last years Barack Obama visit without any acknowledgment of my presence whatsoever. I refrain from drinking NABC beer, although I did do a recent Local Shoutout at the Public House this past week as a show of support for locally owned businesses. I think Roger is probably a little too big for his britches and works way too hard at using big words in his blog and writings that no one really gives a shit about.

3. I'm personal lifelong friends with Todd Coleman and an avid supporter of his business and entrepreneurship efforts.

4. I've had successful businesses in my 20 year career as an entrepreneur and I've had just as many failures.

5. If I've learned anything it's that criticism is cheap and overused in our local communities. Especially those with negative undertones.

6. I owned the building in question and sold it to Todd Coleman in the late 90's. I painted the bottom half of the building a light cream color. I never once had anyone complain about the paint, color, or process, especially as it stood next to a historic building that had been resurfaced with a stucco product.

7. I have a bumper sticker on my truck that says "Those who say it cannot be done shouldn't interrupt the people doing it." I think this applies here with Todd Coleman and the buildings that he's purchased and operated out of for the past 10 years.

If you have been following the progression of downtown New Albany for any time you already know that it was a ghost town only 10-15 years ago. This is when Todd Coleman decided to get involved and operate his businesses in the heart of New Albany. He believed in it when very few others did, he did more than open a business and pay rent to a landlord, he invested, borrowed and built his business all the while investing in real estate and contributing to the economic vitality of downtown.

Now, after he's done this and we have new businesses establishing you guys want to bash the hell out of him. Come on fellas. Put your money where your mouth is and post on this blog the commercial real estate properties that you own, the improvements that you've made to your commercial real estate investments and how you've built your business based on building and property ownership...once you do that than maybe your argument will have a little more validity.

8. Last and certainly not least, I'll remain a good brother in law to Jeff Gillenwater (bluegill), a good customer of Todd Coleman's Classic Furniture and Sleepworld and will continue my boycott of anything Roger Baylor.

Lincoln Crum

Posted by Lincoln to
NA Confidential at 4:45 PM

Photo essay: An historic downtown property, and its stewardship.

All photos except the second (yellow) are from the summer of 2008. I couldn't find the photo showing the fallen bricks in the alley behind the building, although they're probably still there.










Saturday, November 28, 2009

Today: Reading aloud before proceeding to the Jingle Walk.

The day-long marathon of Christmas story readings at Destinations Booksellers is under way as I type. The correct time for my oratory is 10:00 a.m., so if you're out and about, stop in.

Of course, today is New Albany's Holiday Fest, and all week long the congenitally disaffected have valiantly sought to locate conspiracies in the use of fire trucks to string lights. Bah, Erika, even though we managed to agree on the idiocy of Black Friday. Stopped clocks, and all that.

NABC's gig on this beautiful 60-degree day is the wine and beer "Jingle Walk," in which downtown retailers will be hosting wine samplings. We're the sole brewery, and can be found in Kaiser Tobacco's shop from 2:00 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. There may be a cigar in it for me.

Here's more information, as sent by Jala Miller yesterday.

---

Subject: Jingle Walk Ticket Pick-up Locations

Thanks again for supporting this holiday event in downtown New Albany! Please take the time to observe all of the new businesses (including stores and restaurants) that have moved to the area sometime during your visit. We are excited about the new developments and we are confident you will be impressed as well.

Below are the ticket pick-up locations. If you pre-ordered your tickets online, just bring your confirmation number or printed confirmation email with you to one of the locations. If you purchased a ticket at Strandz and Threadz, please bring that ticket with you as proof of purchase.

Extra tickets will be available for purchase at each location, but scarves are in limited supply so make sure to arrive early if you have not pre-ordered.

The Gallery on Pearl
222 Pearl Street
New Albany, IN 47150

The YMCA
33 State Street
New Albany, IN 47150

Destinations Booksellers
604 E Spring Street
New Albany, IN 47150

We look forward you seeing you all there -- and thanks again for supporting downtown New Albany!

Friday, November 27, 2009

"And it was all yellow."

There oughta be a law.
Posted by Picasa

He's back.

The doctor reports technical difficulties with the host, hence last week's site crash. He has relaunched his blog.

NAHealth - The Conservative view of Health and Politics with the occasional Friday humor.

Don't expect new directions ...

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Unofficially Thanksgiving at the Public House.

Neither NABC location is OFFICIALLY open on Thanksgiving, but at the Public House (formerly Rich O's), our beer manager Mike will be UNOFFICIALLY open at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

The pizza oven WILL BE OFF, so no food as usual, but Mike (assisted by Joy) is making a batch of Bison & Elk Chili, and he encourages you to bring leftovers and have a pint or two. The Curmudgeons might even drop by after we've finished our usual Vietnam Kitchen feast and a movie.

On Friday, the Pizzeria & Public House begins operations at 11:00 a.m., and Bank Street Brewhouse will be open at 2:00 p.m.

Today's Tribune column: "Giving thanks for iconoclasts."

Ham-fistedness isn't exactly an attribute, but on the other hand, this is the Open Air Museum. At precisely the time that I'd started warming to the assiduous efforts of our ranking local Republican elected official to seem reasonable and re-electable, the Floyd County GOP chairman decided to vomit Beckisms and Limbaughballs all over me.

That's just crazy ironic, isn't it? Not that Dave does irony, mind you. Now the elected official has to start all over again.

Happy feasting, readers.
BAYLOR: Giving thanks for iconoclasts

Thanksgiving is here, and what a great day for an iconoclast’s column to be published in the local newspaper!

Now, I realize that very few people can read more than one paragraph of (my) writings without scratching their heads and saying, “huh?”

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Is it 3 p.m. already?

I just came up for air and noticed that there'd been no time for posting today. There's about five minutes remaining before I bicycle to Jeffersonville to deliver a keg. Note that only the tap handle will be in my handlebar bag. My adjutant, Josh Hill, is bearing the actual keg in his car.

Today's brief point is that in spite of it all, we're making a great deal of progress here in New Albany. In keeping with the notion of saying "yes" rather than "no," I'd appreciate readers posting a Top Five list of positives for a year almost concluded. Perhaps it might contribute to a year-end retrospective.

But this isn't homework, and there'll be no test. Those of you reading who actually know me, as opposed to those in the community who think they know me, are aware that the absence of personal religious belief in my makeup does not preclude a genuine eagerness that every one have the chance to enjoy his or her holidays in whatever fashion works best. You may thank God, Zeus or blue-speckled hungadungas, or thank nothing at all. It doesn't matter, because all of it is calibrated to the individual's inner life and sense of conscience.

So, enjoy the holiday in your own way, or not at all. I'll be splitting time at Bank Street and Grant Line on Friday, and hope to see some of you for a pint o' observance.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

NABC wants you to know who is where, downtown.

I've said it before, and I'll repeat: If for any reason you venture into downtown New Albany and find NABC's Bank Street Brewhouse either closed or not to your liking, it is our wish that you remain downtown and visit other establishments nearby. They are not competitors. They are shareholders in the food and dining experience downtown, and our collective success (or failure) will be measured by how we unite to bring people into the historic core and provide them with reason to return.

Verily, we thank you for supporting local businesses. The sign above is the updated version of the one that's been posted to the left of our entrance since March. It seeks to provide an overview of options within the limits of the riverfront development area.

Did we miss you? If so, let me know and I'll have Tony design an addendum.

Steal this graphic...



and then take a moment to visit CoolTown Studios' brief summary of the study from which it was taken. The Urban Conservancy and Civic Economics joined forces to look at two models of New Orleans redevelopment-- one concentrating on local merchants in an urban setting and the other a suburban plan largely devoted to chain stores.

Regular NAC readers can presumably predict the results but more relevant information is always a good thing.

Check out this zinger:
Another conclusion of the study: If New Orleans consumers were to shift 10% of all retail activity from chains to locals, the result would be the equivalent of injecting an additional $60 million annually into the local economy in the form of recirculated dollars that would otherwise have left the area, and $235 million regionally.


It's reminiscent of the number crunching we published previously when looking at local food and grocery distribution.

The Calumet Club adds an elevator ... so when's the beer festival upstairs?

It's been exciting to watch as the final piece in the Calumet Club's upstairs ballroom drops into place. It's a bouncing baby elevator, funded in part by the Horseshoe Foundation's revolving loan program.

The middle picture shows the scene in early October, and the first and third views are from yesterday.

Congratulations to the Bliss family for approaching the final act of this long restoration process. Now all we need is to schedule a party to kick things off.

I mean, c-mon ... Community Dark is on tap, and home's within crawling distance ...

Monday, November 23, 2009

NA Health blog disappears, and it's probably Obama's fault.

Acting on a reader tip (thanks, P), I just pointed my browser that way, and ...

Blog has been removed
Sorry, the blog at nahealth.blogspot.com has been removed. This address is not available for new blogs.

Everyone knows it's windy.

It's obvious that renewable energy sources will play a substantial role in the future of our planet. We simply have no choice.

What's not so obvious, but expertly highlighted in Carbon Nation, an upcoming film from local director/producer Peter Byck recently previewed in its entirety at the Carnegie Center, is that many other countries are actively preparing for the inevitable, ramping up the production of devices - often most fully developed by U.S. scientists and engineers - that will mercifully and necessarily bring our reliance on fossil fuels to an end.

Economic opportunities abound but we thus far seem collectively content to leave the money making to others while we senselessly lollygag, allowing ourselves to become beholden to foreign producers again.

Luckily, not everyone has put their reasoning ability to bed. A press release, alternately credited by various media sources to the Indiana Economic Development Corp. and One Southern Indiana, recently let us know that Windstream Technologies, Inc., a company focused on the development of small, energy capturing wind turbines for urban markets, will be moving its research and production headquarters from California to the Purdue Technology Center and Research Park in New Albany. 260 jobs are forecast by 2012.

The creative economy is coming ever faster, led by the small, independently owned businesses that account for over half the jobs in this country and the cities and towns that actively create the physical and intellectual environments in which they want to live and work. The global question is how to better mark the path and to whom to hand the orange spray paint can. Be sure to ask it each time you read a report of local government.

The week to come: Clay pot catfish, GOP knee jerks, Chinese trade balance, Holiday Fest, Jingle Walk and a reading relay.

Thanksgiving Day is Thursday, and the Vietnam Kitchen awaits the Confidentials. There may be a George Clooney movie, too. I also have a column slot on Thanksgiving Day, and it's been filed, sealed and delivered to Coach K. Dave Matthews will appeciate my compassion in defining the words he can't understand. He isn't going to like it much, anyway.

Friday is Black, and best ignored by sane people.

New Albany's Holiday Fest is on Saturday, and this year it is accompanied by a nifty wine and beer "Jingle Walk," in which retailers host wine samplings (just one brewery).

Also on Saturday, there's a marathon X-mas story reading at Destinations Booksellers. As enticement for those readers who enjoy counter-intuitive playing against type, well, I believe my slot starts at 11:00 a.m. Here's the pitch:


Destinations Booksellers, 604 East Spring Street, will host a marathon reading relay of Christmas stories as part of the downtown New Albany "Holiday Fest" on Saturday, Nov. 28, beginning at 7 a.m. and running throughout the day until midnight.

Volunteer readers from throughout the community are being recruited to sign up and read from selected novels for 30 minutes and to solicit pledge donations to benefit the Community Alliance to Promote Education (CAPE).

A Christmas Story, by Indiana's Jean Shepherd, will kick off the reading relay. Everyone knows this story from repeated airings of the 1983 film starring Peter Billingsley, Darren McGavin, and Melinda Dillon.

When readers conclude that one, the reading team will begin reading from Truman Capote's A Christmas Memory, followed by Wally Lamb's new Wishin' and Hopin': A Christmas Story. Finally, after dark, readers will pick up with Charles Dickens' immortal A Christmas Carol, reading on until midnight.

CAPE is an Indiana program whose administrative operations are funded by The Lilly Foundation and operated by the New Albany-Floyd County Consolidated Schools Corporation, but additional funds help the initiative to purchase books for pre-schoolers. All pledged donations will be used to further the distribution of books into the homes of targeted families in order to foster literacy.

Eager volunteers are encouraged to contact Randy Smith at Destinations Booksellers, in person, by e-mail, or by phone, as listed below.

Destinations Booksellers
604 E. Spring St.
New Albany, IN 47150
(812) 944-5116

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Dale Moss in the C-J: "From parents to local colleges, giving some thanks."

The headline department must have taken the day off, but get past that, and read as the C-J's Indiana columnist offers a thoughtful survey of positive developments locally. His choicest words are at the beginning.

Dale Moss - From parents to local colleges, giving some thanks (Courier-Journal)

Then again, my parents never made sure I know how to hate, either. They couldn’t. They were clueless about meanness. However open-minded I am is due mostly to them being closed to any other option. My Thanksgiving blessings begin with appreciation for seeing all sides, for believing in the best of people. My parents passed too long ago. But I try for their most-valuable lessons to live on, after all.

I wonder increasingly how others were raised. Hate brews shamelessly on the Internet, at political rallies, on television and radio. Because we are free to believe anything, is it OK – not just legal -- to say and write anything? Here’s hoping the high road is rediscovered.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Mike Kopp and downtown New Albany dining in the C-J.

A link I missed earlier in the week:

Restaurants revitalize New Albany; Downtown booster Mike Kopp credited along with streamlined liquor licenses, by Jenna Esarey (Special to the Courier-Journal)

... Fueling the restaurant boom to an extent was the creation of the Riverfront District. The state allows New Albany to sell the normally difficult-to-acquire liquor licenses within the district for $1,000.

“We are not creating an area full of bars,” said Kopp.

“Toast has a liquor license so they can sell mimosas with breakfast. La Rosita is relocating downtown so they can sell margaritas.”
There's a deep discussion waiting, although I'm not entirely sure there's time for it today.

John McCormick and Keltricity at the craft beer friendly Rudyard Kipling, tonight.

It's amazing that Mr. and Mrs Confidential have reached the point that it's noteworthy when we report that we'll be going to Louisville tonight for entertainment, although there are definite New Albany connections therein.

Here's the word from Keltricity's web site:

Keltricity at the Rudyard Kipling w/John McCormick
November 21, 2009 starting at 7:00 p.m.
422 W.Oak Street, Louisville, Kentucky 40203
$10 adults/$5 children
Keltricity joins with fingerstyle guitarist John McCormick for an evening of Celtic music. John regularly tours this country and England a master of the guitar and well known to fans in this area. Native to Indy, now living in San Francisco (and New Albany).

Note that at the Rudyard Kipling, Ken and Sheila currently have a draft lineup of six local craft brews (BBC, Cumberland and NABC) and Guinness. They've "gotten" it for a long time, and this progressive draft lineup is just the latest example that the magic's alive and well.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Help New Directions continue helping New Albany.

Receiving word of our $6.7 million Neighborhood Stabilization Program award was indeed exciting. There are a lot of thank yous owed a lot of people. New Directions Housing Corporation is certainly among them.

New Directions not only provided assistance in preparing the NSP application but they've also consistently worked to create an environment in which such an award can flourish. For years, they've helped the less fortunate among us with their Repair Affair program and aided the City with emergency housing repair for the elderly and disabled.

In addition, the work of New Directions staff has made much needed revitalization training available to New Albany residents in recent years and helped build the professional relationships that ultimately led to a housing market study of our older neighborhoods. That study, along with other products of revitalization training, in turn helped make our NSP application successful.

In the spirit of thanks, I hope you'll take a moment to read the letter from New Directions Executive Director Joe Gliessner below and consider using the Facebook application linked to cast a vote for our friends in a selection process sponsored by Chase Community Giving. Top vote recipients will receive a grant and be made eligible to compete for further funding, up to $1 million.


In this season of thanksgiving, we are especially thankful for our past and current donors, volunteers and supporters. We would like to wish you all a happy and meaningful Thanksgiving holiday.

We would also like to ask you to vote for New Directions in the Chase Community Giving program. JPMorgan Chase Foundation is donating $5 million to local charities and they are asking Facebook users to select which organizations they will support. In Round 1 of the selection process, running now through December 14th, votes will be cast to support the 500,000 charities listed on the Chase Community Giving site. On December 15th, the top 100 organizations will each receive a $25,000 grant and move to the next round for a chance at one of five $100,000 grants or the top grant award of $1,000,000.

Voting is easy, and you can vote for up to 20 different organizations so you can support all of your favorites. To place your vote, go to the following web page:
http://apps.facebook.com/chasecommunitygiving/

If you already have a Facebook account you can login here, or you can create an account here if you do not have one. After you are logged-in to the Chase Community Giving page, search for New Directions Housing Corp. (this is the exact wording of the listing) or search by zip code to see a map of all local charities in a particular area. When you click on the info link for an organization, you will be directed to a page with details about the agency and a button to vote for this agency. After placing your vote, you will be given a chance to search for additional organizations. You can also choose to notify your Facebook friends about your choice and ask them to vote as well.

Please take a few minutes to vote for New Directions Housing Corporation to keep us in the running for this amazing opportunity from our friends at JPMorgan Chase, and please spread the word to all of your friends and family members so that they can also support New Directions and other local charities of their choosing.



Joe Gliessner
Executive Director
New Directions Housing Corporation


A more direct link to New Directions Housing Corporation within the voting application is also available here.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Open Thread: City council meeting of Thursday, November 19.

See what you miss when I'm busy and can't attend?

But if you were there, regroup from the inevitable IQ loss and let us know what happened.

Breaking: New Albany awarded 6.7 million in neighborhood stabilization funds.

Word from Indy is that New Albany's application for funds via the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development's federal Neighborhood Stabilization Program 2 (NSP2) has been approved for $6.7 million.

From the Indiana Housing and Community Development Authority's web site:

NSP2 will provide grants to states, certain local communities and nonprofits to purchase and redevelop foreclosed or abandoned homes or other vacant properties, for resale or rental to low, moderate, and middle income households, in order to stabilize neighborhoods and stem the declining values of neighboring homes. The funding is provided under the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act of 2009 (Recovery Act) for additional activities under Division B, Title III of the Housing and Economic Recovery Act of 2008 (HERA).

More as details become available...

Update: Per Daniel Suddeath of the Tribune, the award actually comes from a shuffling of NSP1 funds rather than NSP2.

Today's Tribune column: "On a wig and a prayer."

In case you're wondering, the passage on Rollen's sign refers to the decorum expected of meeting participants.

The column itself isn't about that.

Take it away, Senor Cappuccino.

BAYLOR: On a wig and a prayer

Now, if you’ll excuse me, no more about nothing. I have a block watch meeting to catch.

Price to council: Do as I don't, not as them people say.

New Albany, Indiana (NAC) -- Steve Price says enough is enough, and tonight he’ll introduce a resolution before the city council calling for their health insurance benefits to be withdrawn.

"Like all them uninsured Americans everywhere, it's our job as councilmen not to get sick," Price told reporters. "People are hurtin', and everyone else should hurt just as much, 'cuz that's the American Dream."

Price, who has claimed in the past to be such an ineffective manager of his rental property business that he “doesn’t make any money out of it,” stopped short of calling for the complete abolition of council wages.

“After all,” said Price, “I gotta buy some dog food for when the scraps run out, and some longnecks for me now and then, except for when I sing, and then the guys at the VFW buy me beers so I’ll stop. God love 'em.”

But the 3rd District councilman vows to bring another list of austerity measures before his colleagues.

“I reckon there’s a whole bunch of things we can do without, and then we’ll be examples to the taxpayer of how poor we council people can be and still do a teensy tiny bit of the job they elected us to do.”

Price specified five areas for immediate council member household cuts.

"Heck, I'm doing without these already, so why can't they honor the taxpayer by cutting unnecessary expenses?"

Flush toilets … “We ain’t got no sewers, anyhows, and there’s nuthin’ like running to the outhouse in the dead of winter to make you think of the rate payer.”

Pasteurized milk … “It just a French word that adds pennies to the gallon, and for what?”

Water heaters … “Them people waste too much water takin’ baths, anyway.”

Automatic transmissions … “Son of an Erika, they’re plumb dangerous on icy streets, and lemme tell ya, there’s gonna be more ice than ever after I get rid of the salt subsidy.”

Electricity … “I done me a study – didn’t have to pay some pointy head for it – and it shows that if you take away the juice, none of them expensive gadgets’ll run, anyways. Heck, according to Dave Ramsey, we don't even need none of 'em."

Benefits in doubt? Price proposing elimination of council health insurance, by Daniel Suddeath (News and Tribune).

Resolution challenges city health insurance for New Albany council members, by Grace Schneider (Courier-Journal)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Take it from Rollen.

It's that old time championship rasslin' type of day when the Tribune's publishersteve tweets:

Hmm? To run Denhart letter next to Roger Baylor column tomorrow or not? Of course! That's why I manage a local newspaper and not Fox News.

Two can play this game.

What does the photo above have to do with any of this?

What did the man wearing the Afro wig ever do to land in prison?

And what about the rapture?

Read my column tomorrow and find out.

Reefer Madness, Part Three: Bowls and bowls of code enforcement.

Last night, I fortified myself with Elector and began answering the questions someone double-bag posted at another location. By answering here rather than there, troglodyte nation has to implicitly admit to reading New Albany's most viewed blog in order to continue their anonymous character assassinations.

I haven't had this much fun since 1966, when code enforcement in New Albany was suspended indefinitely.

3. Why do you tolerate the excuses about the lack of code enforcement?

A better question would be this: Why do any of us tolerate it?

And: Why have so any of us tolerated it for so very, very long?

The absence of code enforcement is a New Albanian civic malady that stretches so far back into the mists of time that it predates virtually all of us. Can any administration in living memory claim to have been pro-active in enforcement? Can any council during the same time span claim to have provided City Hall with the means, both monetary and politically, to pursue meaningful code enforcement?

Larry Kochert accomplished next to nothing during his sad career of grandstanding and ward-heeling, but he leaves us with an axiom that succinctly explains everything we need to know: An ordinance enforced may well become a vote lost. The implications are obvious. All local politicians over a period of decades have been complicit in sabotaging code enforcement, because they must retain the ability to make politically-based exceptions based on their own needs of the moment, rather than entrust a politically-neutral enforcement regime to pursue what is lawful.

They’ve rationalized this by saying to themselves, hmm, codes aren’t really laws in the sense of prioritization, and the slum lord down the streets provides votes, and more than a few New Albanians have tolerated it, so, what the hell. That's politics, right?

Unfortunately, yes.

Do I think the current England administration is doing the best job it could to promote code enforcement? No.

Is the current city council providing any assistance at all in making code enforcement a front burner issue? No.

It’s institutional, perhaps even genetic, and while none of this absolves City Hall, the worst culprit in all of local political “culture” (as loose a term as one might use) is your beloved Steve Price, whose obscene petulance at the rental property registration meeting last year was just as noteworthy as my own better remembered example at the recent council meeting.

Code enforcement? It’s a two-way street, and now, let’s remember the words of Neil Young: “Why don’t we roll another number for the road?”

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Reefer Madness, Part Two: Financials and the need for aphrodisiacs in the gray bar hotel.

As noted previously, I have been asked by Lt. McGrowroom of the Potty Police to answer questions pertaining to toleration, numerology and certain other local bowel movements, and ever the gracious host, I’ll be posting these thoughts here on my blog, not at the location where they were first asked. That's because it's just the way I am.

2. Why do you not insist the Council be given their monthly printouts of the financials (as required by law) so they can do their job?

For those just tuning in, the “financials” are holy canonical scrolls provided to Adam and Eve before the tragic fall. What the occupants of the Garden of Eden didn’t grasp amid the bedlam (and crazed sex) produced by drinking the fermented apple juice proffered by the serpent (a copperhead snake, no doubt) is that those in possession of the financials are in a position to control the lifeblood of civil society, and since civil society is the domain of knowledge, art, culture, learning and a guaranteed monthly allotment of lottery tickets, to reduce the life of every citizen to that of a number tattooed on their arms.

The exact amount they paid in, and the exact amount they get back, and if there’s a way to send the financials to Wal-Mart instead, well, that’s even better, because then the scrolls can be transported in an ox cart down unpaved streets to the nearest helipad for transport to Beijing, and even cheaper plastic trinkets for Christmas.

If the council is not getting their financials, perhaps the members should appeal to the ordinance enforcement officials they refuse to empower and ask with all due Confucian polite detachment that the numbers be handed over. If they haven’t done so yet, then I’m uncertain as to whether a mere Publican can make the difference, but I’m willing to insist: Please, give them the numerical Viagra to make a difference in our lives, amen, thank you, and LOL.

Reefer Madness, Part One: He's out to get you.

I have been asked by a hooded, passive/aggressive denizen of the netherworld to answer questions pertaining to tolerating certain local conditions, and I fully intend to comply. In the coming days, I’ll post my thoughts here on my blog, not at the location where they were first asked, because doing so is the best way to explicate the fundamental senselessness of the process, and this futility is crucial for comprehending the mindset therein.

I’ll do this clause by clause, at least until I grow bored, or a plea agreement is copped – whichever comes first.

1. We know it is neither healthy, wealthy nor wise to criticize Mayor England. We understand that.

You understand what you choose to understand, just like me, and just like anyone else. Perception is situational. We see the world from self-chosen vantage points, and depending on the foliage and the fog, sometimes we see very little of the actual landscape.

Furthermore, there are times when the haze comes not from without, but from within, and no manner of rote repetitions corresponding to the matrix of an abacus that never really existed can change the plain fact that paranoia truly is the great destroyer.

You’re free to feel that way, and I don’t doubt how reality might sometimes seem to be configured out there amid the dark shadows of guilt, failure and substance abuse, but kindly (thank you, god bless) refrain from assuming that your own paranoid fantasies apply to me, to my cohort, or to the world as it is, as opposed to as it seems to be. In the absence of evidence – in the absence of facts – that’s pure narcissism.

Why is it that the space aliens always come for the insignificant, meaningless people whose squandered lives attest to nothing of value to these supposedly superior life forms? Shouldn’t the little green galaxians aim higher, for the human life forms that actually might be of benefit to them? Is it because they possess a cosmic sense of humor, deigning to wreak havoc in the addled brains of the damaged? Or, did the intergalactic Zagat guide somehow send them astray?

In other words, what I say or do not say has no bearing on a fear that this mayor or any other is going to step into a phone booth and emerge as Don Vito Corleone.

Next? Maybe tomorrow.

NA Event Watch: Upcoming events in downtown New Albany.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Local GOP's version of Arthur Carlson goes nutzoid ... alas, not for the first time.

And there's no Dr. Johnny Fever around for temporary comic relief.

Too bad that it seems to have become personal with Dave Matthews, but at least now I know that reading comprehension skills are not required of Republican county chairmen. Other than that, Dave is entitled to his own diatribes, but readers who correctly noted the elegiac (damn, those big words again) of my original piece universally enjoyed it, and I've seldom received more positive comments than I have since it was published.

One reader liked it so much that he dropped off a copy of his father's self-published WWI memoirs for me to read. Apparently he didn't read the part about my grandfather the mass murderer -- and rightly so, because nowhere was this written.

But in the absence of a coherent party platform, poor old Dave has bankrupt ideology to peddle, axes to grind and straw men to bludgeon. Like I said, too bad. For all his previous bluster and hokum, I actually thought he was capable of reason.

One thing's for sure: He sure isn't going to like this week's column.

Thanks for reading, big guy.
LETTERS: Reader unhappy with Tribune columnist

Now, I realize that very few people can read more than one paragraph of this author’s writings without scratching their heads and saying, “huh?”

Gonder: "It's really always about the future."

County officials can't see the long-term for their own absence of creativity ...

North Annex: Either a strip mine or pawn shop mentality on the part of Floyd County's officialdom.

... While at-large city council member John Gonder eloquently reminds me of why I voted for him:

Just Wondering

The long view need not cause a burden for us in the here and now. A short term gain from a sale of property will not have a sizable impact on the City's finances for more than a couple quarters, while ongoing ownership will produce continual, though lower in the short run, dependable funds which will support City services year in and year out. More importantly, we can make decisions today which will benefit not just ourselves but those who follow us, so those who attend the Quadra (?) centennial celebration will have something valuable to pass on to their heirs.

Fox in the Morning on site at Bank Street Brewhouse.


It's early in the morning for a professional drinker to be taking photos ...

Sunday, November 15, 2009

North Annex: Either a strip mine or pawn shop mentality on the part of Floyd County's officialdom.

Interconnectivity in today's Tribune:

Sekula pushing for local historic preservation group (Daniel Suddeath)

Appraisals for North Annex lowered (Chris Morris)

While Greg Sekula rallies the preservationists, elected officials like Larry McAllister and Ted Heavrin (both county councilmen, and evidently registered as "Democrat" in that peculiar local "well, not really" sort of way) rarely make it through a news cycle without providing more evidence for the need to rally the preservationists.

So, how much is the North Annex (as a historic structure) and the open land around it really worth?

Heavrin and his ilk say that greenbacks are the only determining factor, but of course they lack the simple courage to fairly consider, much less implement, a LOIT tax, one that might relieve the immediate need to sell off what few assets remain available to them before it can be determined whether the building and property might be worth even more as an adaptive reuse that incorporates the surrounding green space in some fashion that approximates 2009, not their preferred milieu of 1947.

Sekula's troops obviously disagree, and I tend to side with them. Some people see a tree as something to be felled and sold, while others view the woods as a place worth something in and of itself. Same goes for a building. The biggest considerations in the future of the North Annex site are how proposed development pertains to environmental matters (i.e., run-off from the asphalt twinkling in Heavrin's eyes) and the relationship of the site to Community Park.

Sell off the North Annex property and the money's gone. We'll be back to where we started, and still without a revenue stream for future needs. Use it to enhance the quality of life, and it may provide what amounts to an annuity. Accordingly, Morris quotes Heavrin: “But like everything it comes down to money.”

Wrong.

There are times when it comes down to creativity and thinking outside the box, and Heavrin stands as a prime example of how our county council fails that test.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Bank Street Brewhouse wants you to join us on television: Monday, November 16, 5 - 9 ... in the morning.

As previously noted, yesterday was a heavy day in Indianapolis. John and I went north to hawk NABC drafts, pausing momentarily in the early afternoon to accept Indiana Main Street's award to Bank Street Brewhouse as "Business of the Year" in a statehouse rotunda photo op. I ended up wearing a tasteful British brewery fleece instead of the suit, with my "These Machines Kill Fascists" t-shirt underneath. There was some flashing along the way.

NABC brewers Dave Pierce and Jesse Williams spent the day in the brewhouse planning the festivities for a television gig that materialized without warning on Thursday afternoon.

Seems that this coming Monday, November 16, Bank Street Brewhouse will be the scene for "Fox in the Morning's" remote spots of Manufacturing Mondays, a new segment by Keith Kaiser. He'll be helping brew a batch of Community Dark, and we'll be on the tube at intervals between 5:00 a.m. and 9:00 a.m. -- that's right, IN THE MORNING.

Some readers no doubt will remember a similar feat for Gravity Head 2008 at the Public House, when Terry Meiners joined us: Gravity Head tailgate breakfast party on the WHAS-11 morning show.

Coincidentally, having contributed a piece about breakfast and beer to LEO, the brew team concluded that there would be an exclusive beer-paired breakfast in honor of the Monday morning telecast. Chef Josh was unable to commit, but it has been determined that Jesse Williams will don the whites and invade Chef's Bank Street kitchen to cook. I'll turn it over to Dave:


Here is Chef For The Day Jesse's menu:

Roasted Red Pepper, asparagus and Capriole Farmstead Chevre' Quiche, paired with NABC Farmhouse Saison

Biscuits, Gravy & Sweet Potato home fries:
Whole wheat Porter biscuits made with NABC Bob's Old 15-B, country sausage gravy made with lean pork raised on NABC's spent grain, paired with NABC Bob's Old 15B Robust Brown Porter

Pear Galette paired with NABC Tafelbier.

Coffee? Any of you coffee people out there want to trade beer for beans?
In short, NABC will provide coffee, food, and pairing beer once the clock strikes 7 a.m. There'll be a tip jar for the early risers. We need a head count, so please RSVP. It already has been blurbed on Facebook, so don't respond again here.

Okay -- it's a work day. So what?

Stay tuned! This should be a fun (albeit unexpected) beginning to Bank Street Brewhouse's Grand Opening week.

Bank Street Brewhouse Grand Opening Week begins Tuesday, November 17.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Can intellectual honesty and integrity win a New Albany election...

or are there just too many idiotic straight ticket voters?

We know that both the local Democratic and Republican parties have perennially lacked the gumption to take positions on local issues. We know that as a result, running under their respective banners has no real meaning outside of pandering to the least among us. At the local level, there's simply no way for anyone to self-identify as a Democrat or Republican. There are no stated platforms or even fairly consistent rhetoric or performance records to compare.

Some will suggest that their allegiances are born of support for the national or state parties, but to do so is turn our republic on its decidedly non-pointy head with excrement spiraling down rather than cream being upwardly mobile.

So, the question: Are there enough reasonably intelligent people sufficiently engaged to overcome the pandering and insert some honesty into the process or should potential candidates just resign themselves to tucking their integrity down between the seams of their underpants in order to "win", thus proving that they may not be worth voting for in the first place?

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Sipes makes it official.

Connie Sipes will not seek re-election to her District 46 State Senate seat. At tonight's Jefferson-Jackson dinner, she introduced the party's annointed choice to run in her place next year: Charles Freiberger, current County Commissioner.

Howard Dean was excellent, and when he told the assembled local Democrats that they should stand for something, not nothing, the silence was audible. But we'd expect that, wouldn't we? Council members in attendance were John Gonder and Bob Caesar. The Confidentials had a good time, and the NABC flashed on the screen, though not as Dean spoke.

Care to comment? I'm outta town all day Friday, so unless Bluegill swoops in ...

Not that any of the Republocrats will even be there, mind you.

The reaction of tonight's Jefferson-Jackson crowd to Howard Dean stands to be Priceless.

In more ways than one.

Carnegie Center to sneak a peek at the documentary Carbon Nation: Wed., November 18.

(Submitted. Know that there'll be a grand opening party across the street all the while on the 18th)

Carnegie Center Presents Free Sneak Peek of Documentary Carbon Nation

Discussion to Follow with Director/Producer Peter Byck

Wednesday November 18, 2009, 7-8:30 pm

The Carnegie Center for Art and History in New Albany, Indiana will present a free special sneak peek of scenes from Carbon Nation, an upcoming documentary about climate change, on Wednesday November 18 from 7 to 8:30 pm. Carbon Nation is an optimistic (and witty) discovery of what people are already doing, what we as a nation could be doing and what the world needs to

do to prevent (or at least slow down) the impending climate crisis. Here's the great news director and producer Peter Byck shares with audiences: we already have the technology to combat most of the worst-case scenarios of climate change, and it's also very good business as well. Filmmaker Byck wants inspire the great portion of Americans that know there's a problem, but don't know what they can do - and don't realize they need to act now. Visit www.carbonnation.tv for more information. Carbon Nation is presented in conjunction with the Carnegie Center’s current exhibit Earthworks: Art Quilts by Pat DaRif, Joanne Weis, & Valerie White, on display through December 30.

Carbon Nation features interviews with over 200 people, including Richard Branson (CEO, Virgin Group), Thomas L. Friedman (New York Times), Former CIA Director James Woolsey, Van Jones (Founder, Green For All), Col. Dan Nolan, U.S. Army (Ret), Amory Lovins (Chairman, RMI), Janine Beynus (Founder, Biomimicry Institute), Art Rosenfeld (Commissioner, California Energy Commission), Denis Hayes (Founder of Earth Day), Ralph Cavanagh (NRDC), Lester Brown (Earth Policy Institute), John Rowe (CEO, Exelon), Jim Rogers (CEO, Duke Energy), and many more climate change pioneers.

Louisville filmmaker Peter Byck, Director and Producer of the documentary, will talk about the project and show about 20 minutes of clips from the film, followed by a dialogue with the audience about the film and the topic of climate change. Peter Byck has over 20 years experience as a director and editor. His first documentary Garbage won the South by Southwest Film Festival. (It screened in scores of festivals in the U.S. and Europe and played at the Museum of Modern Art and Lincoln Center.) The Christian Science Monitor wrote about Garbage: “One part ‘Roger and Me,’ one part ‘60 Minutes,’ and one part ‘This Is Spinal Tap,’ stitched together with a sense of witty serendipity.”

The Carnegie Center for Art and History, a department of the New Albany-Floyd County Public Library, offers a full schedule of changing exhibitions and other educational programs. Visit www.carnegiecenter.org or call 812-944-7336 for more information on current exhibits, events, and classes.

Today's Tribune column: "Downtown for a reason."

Often I'll be speaking with someone about my bicycling commute to work (either NABC location), and the response will be some variant of this: "You're lucky to be able to do that."

Nope. Luck's nice, but it isn't the same as planning. Both now and previously, my choice of home was made with factors like this in mind. That's why ...

BAYLOR: (We're) downtown for a reason

It was no accident that in 2003, we bought a house on East Spring Street. Granted, there were fortuitous convergences, like being acquainted with the people who were selling the property, but the decision-making process did not occur on a whim, a prayer or a dare.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Somewhere Ayn Rand is fondling a bracelet made of Reardon Metal.

Teabagger poison?

Indiana's property tax caps get counties moving toward income taxes, by Lesley Stedman Weidenbener (Courier-Journal).

When the Clark County Council passed an income tax increase last month, it joined two dozen other Indiana counties working to shift their budgets away from property taxes, a move the General Assembly has encouraged for two years.
Expect immediate comment from my fellow local columnist, Debbie Harbeson, who yesterday took a scathing Libertarian cudgel to State Representative Ed Clere's Nov. 3 piece in the Tribune, Grant will boost entire community, in which Clere wrote:

Federal stimulus money is flowing into Georgetown. As a result, the town’s sewage will stop flowing down the hill to New Albany. It’s a big win for both communities - and a benefit to the rest of Floyd County and Southern Indiana.
Yesterday, Harbeson issued a challenge: Let’s clear the rhetoric.

Wow, it must really feel good to be federally stimulated. At least Indiana Rep. Ed Clere makes me think so. I’m sure he’s right because the deal he recently brokered as paid political middleman would certainly make some people feel good. I do have friends and family who will benefit from this forced transfer of funds from one group to another so it’s nice to know someone locally is being stimulated.
I feel like I should be reading these at a sports bar ...

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Local food (and groceries) in the news.

The summer growing season has passed, but interest in local food seems to be heating up.

Much of this interest can be traced to the experience of New Albanians attending the recent Milwaukee leadership training, like Ted, who posts a video you need to watch: Growing Power Inc. Community Leadership Institute, the Power of Urban Farming.

Another attendee sent this link: Urban farms plant seeds of hope; Indy woman fights blight with garden on lot she bought for $500, by Dan McFeely (Indy Star). New Albany has plenty of patches like this one. If John M. is reading, how did the St. Marks garden work out the past summer?

Many of us were there for the grocery coop meeting: New Albany working toward grocery co-op (News and Tribune), and there's a Facebook page for the possibly emerging New Albany Grocery Coop movement.

Do we have any updates from the New Albany Farmers Market? I seem to recall hearing of a proposal to have a winter program of some variety.

America’s Most Wanted – with a slice o' Coffey Cake on the side.

Do we deserve any of this?

You know, as punishment for some variety of karma wastage?
New Albany councilwoman says ‘I’m innocent’; Diane McCartin-Benedetti arrested for DUI, by Matt Thacker (News and Tribune).

New Albany City Councilwoman Diane McCartin-Benedetti didn’t have much to say Monday following her weekend arrest for operating while intoxicated by refusal. However, she said her story will be told at a later date.

“I’m innocent and the facts will be forthcoming,” McCartin-Benedetti told The Tribune.
Score at least one point for the council woman. Lest we've forgotten, Americans are presumed innocent until proven guilty, or at least that's the assumption. She’s not a black male, and that bodes well for her in purely statistical terms (kindly note that I abhor profiling in any form).

Not unexpectedly, the main local news sources are choosing to entertain us even further by enlisting Dan Coffey in the cause of subjective analysis, enabling him to fulfill the only political mandate that he really knows: Interjecting his own agenda into places where it seldom belongs.

So it is that the same etiquette-challenged council president who earlier this year mistook Studio’s for a costume party and impersonated a copperhead snake, later threatening bodily harm to an educated citizen, now helpfully notes that there is a reason why his fellow council time servers didn’t admonish him at the time.
… Coffey said he does not condone McCartin-Benedetti’s action, but he does not expect the council will take any action against her because it has no policing authority.
Indeed it doesn’t, although ethical authority might be a different and reachable goal, but as with his own transgression and the manner by which it was swept under a rug of indifference, Coffey sees to it that there’ll be no concepts like that on his watch.

Remarkably, it gets even worse. Apparently it’s Halloween every day on West 7th, as Coffey makes the reporter wait on the porch while he ducks into a nearby water closet, dons the plush vestments, approaches the stand with a plastic cup of Welch’s and a plate of stale Ritz crackers, and straddles a standard of piety that congenitally escapes his own political realm.
“I hate to see anybody in a difficult situation, but the bottom line is we all make mistakes,” Coffey said. “Sometimes it actually ends up making us a better person.”
Verily, that’s a straight line for the ages. Where’s Milton Berle when you need him most? However, there’s even more mirth to come:
Coffey said McCartin-Benedetti’s arrest underscores a growing problem in New Albany.

“If you look at all the development downtown, it’s all been alcohol establishments,” Coffey said. “Downtown is just saturated with them.”
That’s one breathtaking grandstand.

We know from the start that Coffey's as perpetual a political non-entity as we’re likely to witness in our lifetimes, but just for the fun of it, we'll take him at his caterwauling word and concede that yes, it’s true: There are a few places downtown that sell alcoholic beverages.

Of course, this plain fact has nothing whatsoever to do with Benedetti’s consumption (if any) and arrest. There are places to drink in the suburbs, too, and also package stores. One might run a basement distilling operation and pour the yield into a flask.

Then again, we already knew that rarely does a nonsensical Coffey utterance correspond with reality outside of his pre-determined spin-cycle needs, and in his present zeal to co-opt Benedetti’s misfortune for his own personal and political self-aggrandizement, Coffey is able to play a double game, holding out an olive branch of sorts to lure the council woman into his obstructionist hovel, and blaming downtown revitalization (“them people”) for the first of what we can expect will become a long list of evils and travails.

Amid the exaggerated nothingness of Coffey’s stunted game playing, it’s worth recalling that the downtown food and beverage establishments slated for ritualistic attack by the Coffey cabal were made possible by the state's special riverfront development area rules for three-way licenses, and in turn, these rules could not be implemented without an affirmative vote by the city council.

That's right: New Albany’s city council duly approved the riverfront development area and the regulatory regime leading to the “saturation” against which Coffey froths – not yesterday, but in 2006 – and by a unanimous vote. Even Steve Price was for it, at least after being assured that the video poker machines at the VFW remained safe and sound.

Yes, and this means that three years ago, Coffey voted in favor of what he now finds expedient to decry, surely dismissing the inherent hypocrisy as a standard that doesn’t apply to him. Exactly how does Coffey explain his previous vote?

We’re left to guess that as is customary with him, he didn't have the right information at the time – and has been busy fabricating freshly spurious “facts” ever since by means of the sausage grinder he keeps for just such cases.

As always, it’s a purely depressing spectacle.

Has Skittles the Cat registered for a primary run against the Wizard next time?

Monday, November 09, 2009

Some afternoon porno irreverence.

No doubt with Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana's recent propaganda barrage ringing in his ears, one of my friends posted this comment on Facebook:

According to google, Louisville is number one, two years running, when it comes to internet users searching for porn! As a former Louisvillian, I have never been more proud!!!
I replied:

Finally, some recognition. The flip side of it is that many of us hereabouts are so backward, we didn't actually FIND any of it.
I say: Keep it local. Makes you wonder why people bother with the Internet when Cleopatra's is right down the street ... and on the way to the boat.

Previously: C-J: "New Albany again rebuffed in battle against adult bookstore."

But it was a peachy photo-op, wasn't it?

In the Guardian, Timothy Garton Ash recalls the fall of the Berlin Wall in the context of the year 1989, "the biggest year in world history since 1945."

With Mikhail Gorbachev's breathtaking renunciation of the use of force (a luminous example of the importance of the individual in history), a nuclear-armed empire that had seemed to many Europeans as enduring and impregnable as the Alps, not least because it possessed those weapons of total annihilation, just softly and suddenly vanished.
Nowhere in this article does Ash so much as mention Ronald Reagan's name ... nor should he.

Time flies, and walls come tumbling down.

Twenty years ago, the Berlin Wall began falling. Mr. Gorbachev had a hand in it, although he did not obey Ronald Reagan's exhortation to the letter, grab a jackhammer, and assist in the actual demolition.

Why the Berlin Wall came tumbling down, by Charles S. Maier (Telegraph.co.uk)

... By the summer of 1989, socialist fraternity was fraying badly, and Hungary was no longer willing to act as a gatekeeper. Once Budapest party leaders allowed East Germans to exit to Austria in September 1989, the final act of the GDR began.
Last year I posted this four-part essay that tells the story of why I was in East Berlin in 1989 just prior to the GDR's collapse. I've been remixing these to send to my friend Suzanne, who'd I'd have never known if not for sharing a communal tent with her and six other volunteers that summer. Recently we began corresponding again after a gap of a few years, and it's been good to hear from her and know that life's okay in what used to be East Germany.

Pilsner, Putin and Me (Part One).

Pilsner, Putin and Me (Part Two).

Pilsner, Putin and Me (Part Three).

Pilsner, Putin and Me (Part Four).

Sunday, November 08, 2009

"Liberty Green Knows How To Pave A Street," and a potpourri of other links.

All week long, I kept pasting to this list of links. Why stop now?

Someone interjected this progressive paving link into another blog's fevered discussion of judging the length and breadth of human progress on planet Earth by the results of a New Albany city audit. You're forgiven for missing it -- the story and the discussion: Liberty Green Knows How To Pave A Street (Broken Sidewalk blog).

Baseball's finished and the damned Yankees won. Now it's the off-season, and time for board gaming, as in Strat-O-Matic Puts Negro Leagues in Play - NYTimes.com.

I wrote about World War I in the Tribune on Thursday, and an expatriated New Albanian correspondent sent me this link to YouTube: Green Fields of France, by the Corries. Many thanks, D. It's a touching song. Meanwhile, the Guardian's assessment of a noted literary figure of the era is also appreciated: Siegfried Sassoon: The reluctant hero Books The Guardian.

As the conclusion of volume two of Richard Evans's majestic three-volume history of the Third Reich nears for me, an obituary almost passed unnoticed. Richard Sonnenfeldt, chief interpreter at Nuremberg, died on October 9th, aged 86, (from The Economist).

Closer to home, councilman John Gonder comments on last night's health care vote: 220 and 51 is OK By Me.

On the topic of intrusive government, or not, there's Booze Politics News and Thoughts, from Lew Bryson's blog. Noteworthy is the notion of "too broke to fix" in the context of (any) state's alcohol regulations.

Speaking of which, the Courier-Journal tells us that a New Albany city councilwoman (was) charged with driving while intoxicated. My gut instinct is that there is little relevance in this, although if I don't make a passing nod at something being reported in the C-J and already the subject of Twitter banter, there'll be accusations of playing favorites. Folks, if you're going to play the drinking game, you need to organize your commute accordingly. 'Nuff said.

I'm hitting the road for Sunday bicycling.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

A spirited affirmation.



A little further research reveals Gardner was 69 and La Mira 29. Their daughter Viola was born a few years later. The spirit(s) was strong even then.

Friday, November 06, 2009

Is there someone or something we can sue for false advertising?

I know that it's lazy of me to cross-post, but just the same ... let's have a brief educational moment.


Certainly this is the best recent example of corporate cluelessness in plain sight that I've seen. Note that just because a beer differs from the flavorless norm in the sense of light-this or that, it doesn't necessarily imply that it is "craft" or "specialty."

Thanks to Clay (via John) for this vision of conceptual futility, courtesy of the Buffalo Wild Wings branch by the Mall St. Matthews in Louisville, Kentucky. Remind me not to go there any time soo, will ya?

OCRA Main Street award to Bank Street Brewhouse.

The Indiana Office of Community & Rural Affairs (OCRA), which administers the statewide Indiana Main Street program, released its list of Indiana Main Street award winners yesterday.


Develop New Albany board members previously contributed nominations, and so of course I was aware that Bank Street Brewhouse was under consideration, but color me completely astonished: We've been selected as the Indiana Main Street Business of the Year.

Jeffersonville Main Street also was recognized for its wine and retail walk, and deservedly so, and two of its board members have been recognized for their service.


Wow. The awards ceremony is in Indianapolis at the Statehouse next Friday, and Rich, to answer your question -- I do own a suit, you know, and actually wore it once last year.


Thanks to everyone who had anything to do with this. It's an honor, and quite flattering.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Today's Tribune column: "Forgotten fields in Flanders."

There's another, oddly connected anniversary coming on November 9, which will mark 20 years since the Berlin Wall fell. The armistice in 1918 didn't end the Great War. The fall of the wall might have.

BAYLOR: Forgotten fields in Flanders

By all such standards, the Great War was especially horrible. The specific horror of this conflict, which eventually came to be known as World War I out of a contextual necessity to keep our historical accountings of human suffering clearly ordered, surely represents societal innocence shattered on an unfathomably massive scale.

Bank Street Brewhouse Grand Opening Week begins Tuesday, November 17.


Having "electored" to begin winter hours at the Bank Street Brewhouse, and feeling that after eight months of work, we're feeling great about what we've accomplished so far, it seemed a good time for a Grand Opening gala. Here's what I have so far. There'll probably be a few alterations, and I'll inform you of these.

Tuesday, November 17

It's Villiger 1888 Cigar Night on the patio. In conjunction with our friends at Kaiser’s Tobacco Store, where so much of Roger’s paycheck is deposited each week, we’ll host our first-ever cigar night with cigars, promos and giveaways. A representative of Villiger 1888 will be on hand. 1888 is a new hand-rolled premium cigar from the Dominican Republic by way of Switzerland’s 121-year-old Villiger tobacco firm. There will be a small fee (as yet undecided) for participation that will include ample cigar(s), beers and a chances to win door prizes. “Session Beer” pint specials at BSB all day long, and food specials to be announced.

Wednesday, November 18

Bank Street Brewhouse's Official Ribbon Cutting ceremony, and suitably propagandistic speeches, featuring representatives of city government, Develop New Albany, One Southern Indiana and the Pants Down Progressive local political insurgency. The show begins at 6:00 p.m. We’ve saved kegs from the batch of Elector that New Albany Mayor Doug England (with David Pierce, above) helped brew earlier this year, and the “mayor’s batch” will be pouring all day. Expect “Grant Line Garage Brewery” beer specials all day long, perhaps Jared's single hop series on the handpull, and food specials are to be announced.

Thursday, November 19

NABC encourages its friends and customers to attend the Conway Fire Equipment Museum Pledge Night, 6:00 p.m. to 10:00 p.m. at the Grand Convention Center, where NABC’s Community Dark will be on tap at the cash bar. Before, during and after the event, there’ll be food and beer (Beak’s Best, Bob’s Old 15-B) specials at Bank Street Brewhouse.

Friday, November 20

There is a possibility of musical entertainment in the evening. More on that later. Food and beer specials will last all day long (specifics to be announced).

Saturday, November 21

Singer, songwriter, poet and author Misha Feigin offers dinnertime musical entertainment inside the Bank Street Brewhouse from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m., with food and beer specials to be announced.

Sunday, November 22

Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar from Noon to 3:00 p.m.

I'm sometimes asked: Why the Bloody Mary?

Because it is a traditional match with beer and beer-based cuisine, and as such, the natural extension of Chef Josh’s kitchen … especially the way NABC does it. In the few short months since its inception, our Build-Your-Own Bloody Mary Bar has been acclaimed as a downtown New Albany institution. Select the spices and ingredients that you'd like, watch as it is served over ice in a 20-ounce NABC pint glass rimmed with your choice of Celery Salt or Smoked Sea Salt, and then finish it off with a skewer of unique garnishes.

Thanks for your support, and we're looking forward to a fine, progressive winter season in New Albany.

Best headline of the day, so far.

Britglish practiced by native speakers ...

France: 'Autistic Tories castrated Britain in Europe'

Minister says Cameron pledge to reclaim EU powers is 'pathetic' and will leave UK isolated

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Help?

Does anyone have access to electronic information about the forthcoming pledge gala (November 19) at the Grand, to be staged by the Friends of the New Albany Fire Museum?

I've searched the Web in every possible combination of terms and can find nothing except the Tribune news story from September 15. There's a Facebook page that denies entry unless I'm approved as a member (say what?), and there's a poster in the Bank Street Brewhouse. I'd really like to publicize this as part of the Brewhouse's grand opening week and drive traffic that way, but in the absence of easily accessible information, this is not altogether easy.

What's more, there doesn't seem to be a Grand web site any longer -- just a blog of some sort with no blanks filled in. Whassup there?

I appreciate any help you can provide for this quest, which shouldn't be this damned hard.

Female Art Collective event at the Public House on Thursday, November 12.

C-J: "New Albany again rebuffed in battle against adult bookstore."

Thanks to P for the link to the C-J, which I don't always see. He wrote:

"Did you see this? What a sad waste of our resources to have fought such a losing battle. Hope ROCK chipped in for our losing attorney fees."

Right on, brother, but I suspect Reclaim Our Culture Kentuckiana is too busy wielding Tony Dungy as a fundraiser for the ongoing anti-Theatair X theocrat's designer jihad to bother much with Cleopatra's, or whatever it's called now.

Note that the most interesting part of the article excerpted below is the comments section.

New Albany again rebuffed in battle against adult bookstore, by Harold J. Adams (Courier-Journal).

The City of New Albany must decide whether to keep fighting following another loss in its long-running battle to shut down an adult bookstore.

The 7th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals last week denied the city’s request that the full court reconsider a September ruling by a three-judge panel blocking the city from closing New Albany DVD.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Open thread: Is there support for a food co-op in New Albany?

Tuesday's presentation illustrating the history and founding principles of the Lost River Community Co-op in Paoli was well attended, with roughly 50 people listening as Andy Mahler, board president (above, right), and Brad Alstrom (left), general manager of Lost River Market and Deli, spoke about their experiences.

Food co-ops are member-owned, self-managed associations dedicated to serving the needs of local farmers and consumers by providing healthy food choices at a fair value. Food co-ops aim to promote community well-being, economic prosperity, and self-reliance. They provide a local option for affordable, nutritious, locally-grown food and goods year round and help guaranty that local food dollars stay within the community.
I didn't take notes, but I will note with approval that among Andy's opening comments was a description of the food co-op as a corrective to "predatory capitalism." Surprisingly, no one left the room. That's refreshing.

Do we have what it takes to pursue a Lost River-style co-op in New Albany? Is this the right market for it? What's the next step?

Thanks go to Andy Terrell, the sponsors, host and concessionaire:

Carnegie Center for Art and History
Develop New Albany
New Albany Urban Enterprise Association
Dueling Grounds Cafe at Destinations Booksellers