Oldham Co. Should Embrace The Booze

There are only a few places in all of Oldham County where people can buy packaged alcohol like wine or a case of beer. But with more petitions going out this week, there’s a possibility that may soon change. [WDRB]

Downtown leaders tried to calm some jittery nerves Friday by predicting their hard work should minimize any loss of business from the impending two-year closure of the Kentucky International Convention Center. [C-J/AKN]

Watching Donna Hargens mangle this bus incident was almost as terrifying as hearing about a child being dragged. [WHAS11]

A Lawrence County school bus full of students on their way to school started on fire Friday, authorities said. [H-L]

Kentucky recently became one of the first states to let pharmacists dispense without prescription a drug that can reverse a heroin overdose. [WLKY]

Lorca Henley of Bowling Green, Ohio, said her family’s dinners on different nights this week included taco salads, tuna casserole with mashed potatoes, spaghetti with meat sauce and hamburgers they fried on the stove because they were out of propane. [HuffPo]

The mother of the girl dragged by a Jefferson County Public Schools bus said Sunday night that her daughter had been discharged from Kosair Children’s Hospital. [WAVE3]

This is not bourbon and the story will likely cause you to pop a vein. [NPR]

Apryll Buege spent much of her youth in the foster care system. She said she got in some trouble, made some mistakes, but soon realized she needed to pull her life together. [WFPL]

Duke Energy Corp. pleaded guilty Thursday to criminal pollution charges and agreed to $102 million in federal penalties stemming from a February 2014 spill of coal ash waste. [The Hill]

A record crowd turned out to see American Pharoah capture the second jewel of the Triple Crown at Saturday’s Preakness Stakes. [Business First]

Former Democratic congressman Baron Hill plans to join Indiana’s U.S. Senate race to replace retiring Republican Dan Coats. [News & Tribune]

How’ll That Waterfront Property End Up?

Have you seen this puppies and rainbows b.s. with Donna Hargens? Giving this woman a free pass is the last thing Louisville needs right now. [WDRB]

The Louisville Metro Police Department has ordered 988 body cameras from Arizona-based TASER International ahead of its upcoming body camera pilot program, the department confirmed Tuesday. [C-J/AKN]

It’s a building and a company that dominates the downtown Louisville skyline and the city’s business community. For more than five decades, the healthcare giant Humana and its employees have remained an important piece of this area’s economic fabric. [WHAS11]

The Herald-Leader endorsed Hal Heiner over Jamie Comer, which is likely to push Comer over the edge behind closed doors. [H-L]

Researchers say children in Louisville are being sold for sex. The KristyLove Foundation is a first-of-its-kind shelter in Louisville created by a woman who escaped the sex trade and turned her heartbreak into healing. [WLKY]

Faith in humanity, restored. A worker in a Qdoba fast food restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky was caught on video feeding a customer who was unable to feed herself. [HuffPo]

A Louisville police chief says there’s a lot of work to be done to ease tensions between law enforcement and the community. He believes body cameras could be part of the answer. [WAVE3]

U.S. retail sales were flat in April as households cut back on purchases of automobiles and other big-ticket items, the latest sign the economy was struggling to rebound strongly after barely growing in the first quarter. [Reuters]

The Waterfront Development Corp. wants two of its downtown properties just south of Waterfront Park to be developed. The agency asked on Thursday for development proposals for the properties. [WFPL]

Ha! Daniel Grossberg has an ad highlighting Jacob Conway’s blackmail/extortion/threat attempt. [Click the Clicky]

American Pharaoh strolled out of his trailer and into the stables with ease when he arrived at Pimlico Race Course Wednesday afternoon. [Business First]

The Floyd County Council voted 5-2 last week to cut $150,000 from the New Albany-Floyd County Animal Shelter budget to help balance the county’s 2015 general fund. That won’t end well. [News & Tribune]

Convention Center Construction Will Hurt

An additional 26,000 students at 31 public schools in Jefferson County will begin receiving free breakfast and lunch this fall – regardless of their income – under a plan approved by the school board Monday night. [WDRB]

The Kentucky International Convention Center will close in August 2016 and stay shuttered for two years, while undergoing a $180 million makeover officials say is desperately needed if Louisville is to stay competitive in attracting lucrative convention and trade show business. [C-J/AKN]

There’s a beehive on the roof of the Bristol Bar and Grille in the Highlands. [WHAS11]

The Urban County Council probably will be asked by August to approve a needle-exchange program aimed at stemming growing rates of hepatitis and HIV in Fayette County. [H-L]

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and Louisville Metro police are searching for dynamite stolen from a local construction site. [WLKY]

Even though some politicians claim America is a “Christian nation,” the share of the population that identifies as Christian has declined significantly in recent years. [HuffPo]

A Lyndon man dedicated his career to being a Louisville police officer. Now, he’s dedicating his retirement to making sure more than 200 years of department artifacts have a home. [WAVE3]

Viewers didn’t have to wait long for the allegations of domestic abuse to come up in the statewide, televised debate Monday night between four Republican candidates for governor. [Ronnie Ellis]

The University of Louisville on Monday released a financial auditor’s review that had been kept out of the public’s eye for more than a year, the result of a court settlement with the Kentucky Center for Investigative Reporting. [WFPL]

The United States has released $35.5 million to help communities hit hard by the decline in coal mining to diversify their economies and retrain displaced miners, U.S. Labor Secretary Thomas Perez said on Monday. [Reuters]

StemWood Corp., a New Albany veneer and lumber mill that has operated since 1905, plans to close in the next six to eight months. [Business First]

The Horseshoe Foundation of Floyd County has until next week to respond to New Albany City Councilman Scott Blair’s request for a state ruling on whether he should be recognized as a member of the organization’s board. [News & Tribune]

Just Bulldoze The Hooker Hotel

The longtime president of the Jefferson County Teachers Association was recently re-elected to his post and will serve another three years. [WDRB]

U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan is expected to make a trip to Louisville next week, a spokeswoman with the Department of Education has confirmed. [C-J/AKN]

The Kentucky Derby Festival presents the Fifth Third Bank Silver Horseshoe Award to an individual or organization for their outstanding service to the community every year and this year’s award will be given to honor the late Jim King. [WHAS11]

As I watched the roll-out of Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul’s bid for the Republican presidential nomination last week, I thought I was about to see him announce that he was changing his party affiliation. [H-L]

WARNING! RIDICULOUS AUTOPLAY VIDEO! The Coast Guard plans to have two, 25-foot response boats on the water for the event so they will be ready to go in case of an emergency. [WLKY]

Opponents of legalizing marijuana can’t be happy about several new polls released Tuesday. Majority support for making cannabis legal is holding steady, while young adults are legalization’s biggest fans. And that’s true both nationally and in several swing states. [HuffPo]

We can give away tens of millions of dollars to Cordish and can bulldoze entire city blocks but can’t fix this mess? [WAVE3]

A major Appalachian coal mining company is laying off hundreds of workers in West Virginia and blaming the lost jobs on President Obama’s environmental policies. [The Hill]

For nearly a century, what’s now a heap of bricks, twisted metal and glass made up the façades of the Morrissey Parking Garage and the Falls City Theater Company building in downtown Louisville. [WFPL]

The Franklin County Sheriff is looking for anybody who may have purchased a barrel of high-priced, stolen bourbon. [WLEX18]

Marianne Barnes, who most recently worked as the master taster for Brown-Forman’s Woodford Reserve brand, will soon have a new role. [Business First]

Fear is the enemy in Scott County. Intravenous drug addicts worry about the spread of disease, they fear a positive HIV test and they’re scared of the police. [News & Tribune]

It’s Downtown Demolition Update Time!

This weekend Greg Fischer took a wrecking ball to some historic buildings downtown that resulted in a major backlash.

His crew have claimed an asbestos danger had to be taken care of prior to demolition.

But guess who can’t/won’t provide documentation when asked about it.

If the documentation exists? They should pony up. If not? It’s time for fines.

Related: How on earth does the city pull together an emergency demolition crew overnight and on a weekend like that? There’s lots of speculation that the demolition was planned long before the wrecking ball rolled in. When previous instances of Fischer secrecy are considered, it’s tough not to wonder.

Growing Rift Between Fischer & Reality

Par for the course with Greg Fischer: neglect until it’s time to tear them down. Three buildings on the site of an Omni hotel planned in downtown Louisville will be razed after engineers determined they pose “imminent safety concerns,” Louisville Metro government said Thursday. [WDRB]

Six months after retiring as Clark County sheriff and agreeing to plead guilty to two counts of making false statements to FBI, Danny Rodden signed a new plea agreement this week that calls for dropping a charge that he counseled the destruction of evidence to cover up an encounter with a prostitute. [C-J/AKN]

Louisville Metro Police are crediting a man with saving a baby from a potentially dangerous situation over Easter weekend. That baby was found abandoned in the middle of the street in downtown Louisville. [WHAS11]

Venturing into the epicenter of Kentucky’s fight against heroin addiction, national drug czar Michael Botticelli on Thursday touted needle-exchange programs as effective grassroots initiatives to combat the spread of infectious disease and to steer heroin users into treatment. [H-L]

As Louisville’s murder rate continues to climb, local groups continue efforts to stem the violence in the community. [WLKY]

Hillary Rodham Clinton’s presidential campaign will center on boosting economic security for the middle class and expanding opportunities for working families, while casting the former senator and secretary of state as a “tenacious fighter” able to get results, two senior advisers said Saturday. President Barack Obama all but endorsed her, saying “I think she would be an excellent president.” [HuffPo]

Louisville residents who live east of Interstate 65 inside the Watterson Expressway might see a jump in property taxes due to new assessments. One person who won’t is Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer, whose home assessment dropped from $1.7 million $1.5 million, about a 12 percent dip. [WAVE3]

General Electric Co will shed most of its finance unit and return as much as $90 billion to shareholders as it becomes a “simpler” industrial business instead of an unwieldy hybrid of banking and manufacturing. [Reuters]

An expansive, multi-modal transportation plan is still in the works for Louisville, despite recent delays. [WFPL]

Seattle restaurant data demolishes wingnut arguments against a $15 minimum wage. [Think Progress]

Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear has to be piling up the frequent flier miles these days. After an economic development trip to Japan late last year and a trip to Europe in early February, where he courted automakers in Germany and Sweden, Beshear announced Friday that he will return to Asia. [Business First]

New Albany Police Officer Laura Schook’s pay and benefits will remain suspended until her May hearing appealing a decision to fire her from the department. [News & Tribune]

If you missed it last week, the now former embattled Montgomery County Schools superintendent was fired with a list of sixteen pages of charges read against him. [Page One & More Page One]

Not Surprising: Greg Fischer’s Professed Transparency Is A Myth & He’s Learned Exactly Zero Preservation Lessons

FLASHBACK: Remember Whiskey Row?


WHISKEY ROW — DON VISH — CLICK FOR ORIGINAL

That should have been a positive preservation lesson for Fischer. But… it’s happened again. And this time he acted with reckless abandon and secrecy.

By now you’re likely aware that the entire preservation community is in an angry froth over the demolition of a set of historic buildings on Third Street.

Morrisey Parking Garage/Bosler’s Fireproof Garage at 423 South Third Street was one of those buildings. It was constructed in 1919 and received landmark designation by the National Register of Historic Places in 1983.

Here’s what the 2004 book Louisville Guide had to say about it:

Bosler’s Fireproof Garage was one of the first parking structures in Louisville. Located in the heart of the Central Business District, it was heated and provided related services, such as cleaning and polishing. This Romanesque revival structure accentuates its utilitarian function. The massing of the façade provides architectural continuity with the buildings along Third Street and is symmetrical and divided into three bays. The central bay provides entry to the parking structure and is flanked at the first floor by two rectangular business storefronts, with three arched openings at the second floor. Several businesses, such as Goodrich Tires, Garage Equipment and Supply, a fruit market, bookstores, and a surgical supply store, have occupied the storefront. The structure has a basement, three levels of parking, and a spiral ramp that forms a cylindrical mass at the rear of the building.

Coincidentally (of course!) the very spot Omni wants to build a massive 30-story hotel.

It’s another interesting coincidence that right as Omni was ready for construction, it just happened to produce a study claiming the buildings needed to be torn down… the very next day.

It gets more scandalous. Or par for the course, since we’re talking about Greg Fischer.

Check out this email sent to Fischer and his communications team, which includes Margaret Brosko of Sadie’s Law infamy:

From: John Hildreth
Date: Friday, April 10, 2015 at 4:14 PM
To: greg.fischer@louisvilleky.gov
Cc: Virginia VLee@XXXXXXX-XX.com, Gretchen Milliken Gretchen.milliken@louisvilleky.gov, “Wiederwohl, Mary Ellen” MaryEllen.Wiederwohl@louisvilleky.gov, Ellen Hesen ellen.hesen@louisvilleky.gov, “Margaret.Brosko@louisvilleky.gov” , James Lindberg JLindberg@XXXXXXXXXXXXX.org
Subject: 3rd Street Buildings

Dear Mayor Fischer:

I am the Eastern Regional Vice President for the National Trust for Historic Preservation and during my 30 years in preservation have had the privilege of working with Metro Government and the preservationists of Louisville quite often.

I am writing to you with a simple request. Please allow us and others in Louisville time to perform a second engineering study of the Morrissey Garage and the Falls City Theater Company buildings prior to initiating demolition. We need approximately two weeks to identify and bring in an engineer with experience in the rehabilitation of historic buildings. We have the funding in place to perform the study, we simply need the time.

Our objective in performing this study is to ascertain, with more certainty, the possibility of rehabilitation for those structures and, just as importantly, to understand if the facades of the structures could be retained for incorporation into new design for the site.

We certainly are not asking you to risk the health and well being of your citizens and would call for the temporary fencing and, if needed, temporary closing of a traffic lane if merited. We are moving with utmost speed to arrange for this secondary review and ask for your cooperation.

As you are aware, the National Trust, through our National Treasure program, is investing a great deal of time and expertise in Louisville to help the community realize its revitalization potential. We stand behind the research which states that mixed-vintage blocks are vital to any thriving urban environment. A compromise that would retain the facades is not simply a preservation appeal but is based on the fact that incorporating old and new on a human scale is at its heart an urban design best practice. I know from firsthand experience here in Charleston, where I am based, that the design of the Omni Charleston Place was enhanced, and its contribution to downtown revitalization was realized, in part because they retained a block of historic building fronts in the plan.

I am glad to speak with you further about this through 4:30 EDT at my office phone or over the weekend on my cell. My contact information is contained below.

Thank you for your attention to this request.

John Hildreth

Eastern Regional Vice President for Field Services
National Trust for Historic Preservation

To say that there’s a disconnect between the preservation community and the Fischer Administration is an understatement. But Brosko and the rest on the communications team are making relations worse. By refusing to communicate, refusing to listen, being more cagey than normal.

Here’s a rough timeline of events:

  • Preservationists met with Omni architects and the city in January but no specific plans were discussed.
  • They toured the old Water Company block with the city on February 10
  • On March 11 they again met with Omni architects and the city. On that date the first schematic plan was presented and no buildings on Third Street were to be conserved or repurposed. The city said the first two buildings had to be demolished.
  • On March 13 preservationists wrote to Omni and its architects providing suggestions. Things like reusing the Morrisey building façade, salvaging details from the old theater building, repurposing the original central section of the water company complex. Copies were forwarded to the city but Omni and its architects chose to defer to the city.
  • On April 9 the city responded to suggests provided by preservationists… with an emergency demolition press release. No warning, no notice, gave no one any time to raise funds to save what could be saved. Then radio silence.

From just after 12:00 today:




POSSIBILITY CITY

Yep. Demolition started with the façade to guarantee there’d be no way to intervene. Because of course it did.

Sources close to Fischer tells us they believe Mary Ellen Wiederwohl (Fischer’s former deputy chief of staff and current head of Louisville Forward, Fischer’s community development program) promised the Omni Group there’d be no issue demolishing the buildings long before any of this came to light. The current PR disaster is how Fischer’s team handled it. We reached out to Wiederwohl for comment but she wouldn’t respond. Because that’s what you do when you’re a highly paid government employee with nothing to hide.

If Steve Poe can save the façade at the Aloft site, those buildings’ historic façades could have been saved.

So I asked one of the individuals responsible for saving and paying for Whiskey Row (I’m making the decision to withhold publication of their name because you know how Greg Fischer treats whistleblowers) a couple questions.

They told me that the façades could have 100% been saved, quickly and easily. They also believe key parts of the buildings themselves could have been saved.

When asked what kind of message they think it sends the city’s residents when Metro Government takes abrupt action like this without communicating and without allowing anyone to respond? Here’s their response: “DISTURBING.”

48% ($139 million, including tax rebates and $17 million for a parking garage) of the Omni project will be taxpayer funded, so preservationists and all people with half a brain are adamant that there should have been more public input and way more listening on the part of Fischer and his staff.

Forget the historic buildings and their façades. Ignore the reality that Fischer’s employees routinely fine people for unkept lawns and graffiti but can’t be bothered to protect properties on the National Register of Historic Places.

Louisville ought to be outraged because Mr. Transparency is once again trying to pull the wool over its eyes.

Let the spin begin in 3, 2…