The First 150 Years Of Thunder Over Louisville

While everyone is freaking out over Thunder, let’s take a trip with Jim Welp:

During the Great Depression, Thunder fell on hard times. The city could not afford fireworks, and the military couldn’t spare enough fuel to send its hardware to Louisville. Nevertheless, Louisvillians showed their endearing trademark party grit when 110,000 revelers gathered on the waterfront to watch two ruffians beat up a hobo. Sadly, 19,234 spectators died in 1934 after consuming bathtub gin sold illegally from a fried dough stand.

The modern Thunder era arguably began in 1940 with the invention of the portable outhouse. An instant hit with Thundergoers, the “Sanitation House in Transit,” or “S.H.I.T.-house,” was especially popular with women, and served to convert Thunder from an event primarily attended by men and prostitutes into an attraction for the whole family. Even today, thousands of women eagerly line up at the popular S.H.I.T.-houses and spend much of their Thunder waiting their turn to go inside.

Further enhancements to Thunder came in the ’60s and ’70s with the surging popularity of rock ’n’ roll music and the fashion of wearing jean shorts. Thunder organizers placed loudspeakers around the waterfront, and swarms of music fans gathered to dance in their denim cutoffs as fireworks exploded overhead. Sadly, at Thunder 1978, a batch of bad Quaaludes sold at a Bunyan Onion stand killed 2,345 visitors. That same year, 7,483 Thundergoers were sickened by Mexican marijuana that had been clandestinely sprayed by the American government with the herbicide Paraquat.

Laughing yet?

Click here to read the rest in this week’s LEO Weekly and forget about work for a moment.

Sad Messes At Metro Animal Services Continue

There are no words for the shizstorm of a mess at Louisville Metro Animal Services.

So I’m excerpting a giant bit from Jonathan Meador this week:

As such, Neumayer becomes the animal control agency’s third interim director since Jan. 1, 2010. Sources within LMAS and in the city’s “no-kill” animal welfare movement suggest this revolving door of management has paved the way for a power grab by the Kentucky Humane Society, which the city has tapped to essentially take over LMAS’ sheltering operations until an eight-person panel appointed by Mayor Greg Fischer selects a permanent director.

According to the mayor’s office, consultant Karen Koenig of the Kentucky Humane Society is being paid $9,000 a month from LMAS’ operating budget for a period of up to three months.

“Bringing in KHS to supposedly increase adoptions when their philosophy is very close to LMAS’ doesn’t seem like a good fit,” says Donna Herzig, president of the Louisville Kennel Club. “In addition, we need transparency and accountability. I know the mayor has been very forthright with respect to those two things, but it’s hard to have transparency when you’ve got a private organization that isn’t required to release information … What if something’s going wrong with this contract? What do you do? How is that transparent?”

Herzig also contends the Kentucky Humane Society “buys into the myth of pet overpopulation,” which she claims results in adoptable pets at times being euthanized. However, the Kentucky Humane Society’s website states that “all cats and dogs remain available for adoption as long as health and behavior permits.”


“Things haven’t gotten any better,” says Jessica Durbin, public education coordinator for LMAS. “When you have people like myself and others there who are halfway intelligent people, and instead of listening to their ideas you decide to spend $27,000 on a consultant who can tell you to do the things we’ve already been saying, it’s very frustrating. I like KHS, but the way this is being done has got a lot of us up in arms.”

Durbin points out that the city could hire two part-time animal adoption coordinators — positions at LMAS that are currently not filled — for that amount of money, adding that she doesn’t have much hope for the agency until a new permanent director is selected.

Click here to read the entire story in LEO Weekly. This is something you can’t afford not to read.

And then ask yourself why Chris Poynter is so quick to attack critics who question the Kentucky Humane Society. Is it because they’re now regretting that $9,000-per-month fee they’re paying the KHS for services LMAS already handles?

According to folks within LMAS, the KHS staffer has to shadow LMAS workers in order to learn what they’re supposed to do and has little working knowledge about rescues and adoptions – the services they’re contracted to provide the city.

If KHS was really there just to help out – why would the organization need to take all of the databases and contacts LMAS has for its own use? Shouldn’t they be asking how things are done and in what order so they can come back to say, “Here’s what you’re doing incorrectly, here’s where you can improve, this will work better”? Because all I’m seeing is KHS getting a sweet payday because Debbie Fox is a friend.

Please Make The Karen Sypher Scandal End Soon

A new chairman and a new direction for the Kentucky Equine Education Project? Interesting times. Particularly the bits about working with David Williams and Damon Thayer and changing the tone in the racing industry. [Paulick Report]

Three people died in three separate crashes on Kentucky’s roadways from Monday, March 28 through Sunday, April 3. [KSP Press Release]

The annoying Karen Sypher sexytime scandal story is never going away. Now people want to know what her life will be like in prison. At least WAVE isn’t counting down til she reports to jail, like WHAS. GAG. [WAVE3]

Churchill Downs has announced its night racing theme. [84WHAS]

If you missed it, here’s Crit Luallen’s latest audit. It’s a damning look at Dismas Charities wasted mountains of cash. [Page One]

Steve Beshear was in Northern Kentucky touting progress in education. Meanwhile, his KDE folks and education commissioner are flushing money down on the drain on their cohorts. [Amanda Van Benschoten]

The city can’t afford to float a $20 million bond for Kentucky Kingdom when there’s a $22 million shortfall. [FOX41]

You should consider learning about invisible children this Sunday. [Consuming Louisville]

Crane House is holding a fundraiser to help the Red Cross efforts in Japan in the wake of disaster. [WHAS11]

We can’t stop thinking about that hilarious statement Judy Green released about LEO Weekly’s annual fake issue. [FatLip Flashback]

Preservation and reuse is good for Lexington’s health and future. It’s good for Louisville, too. [H-L]

The American Lung Association kicks off its Fight For Air Walk by presenting the Fight For The Air Award to the University of Louisville on Tuesday, April 12 at 10:30 A.M. in the CTR Building, rooms 101-102, 505 S. Hancock Street. The award will be given in recognition of UofL’s commitment to lung health research. [Press Release]

Greg Fischer Loves Us A Whole Big Bunch

Forgot to include this funny bit from the fake Greg Fischer interview in LEO Weekly the other day:

LEO: Speaking of Derby, do you plan on being a passenger on the Belle of Louisville during the upcoming steamboat race, and if so, did Abramson warn you that you’re likely to be accosted by LEO Weekly’s Bar Belle?

GF: Shortly after I was inaugurated, the Bar Belle was on a list of people I was warned to avoid. Let’s see, I’ve got that list right here — it includes Tyler Allen, damn authentic liberal; that perpetual pain-in-the-ass blogger Jake Payne; Hal Heiner — his bubbly personality makes me look like an asshole. Wait a minute … you’re on this list. How the hell did this happen? Somebody’s getting terminated over this. Where the hell is Brandon? …

Click here to read the rest.

Judy Green Responds To Fake LEO Letter


Judy Green issued the following statement (seriously) in regard to LEO Weekly’s annual fake issue:

“I have been made aware of a letter written in the LEO this week that has my name attached to it. While I understand that this is a yearly issue made up of false stories as part of an April Fool’s joke, too many people have contacted me believing this letter is authentic and was written by me.

I have not written nor have I instructed anyone to write a letter that is critical of the paper or any of its current or former reporters.

While I can understand the spirit of the “Fake” issue, I hope that in the future the publication will give serious thought to its choice of words with regard to current events because sometimes the public does not get the joke.”

Lest you think this is an April Fools’ Joke, here’s the press release received from the Majority Caucus spokesman:


The joke’s on Ole Dirty Judy. Wow.

Some Things Aren’t Funny If They’re Just True

LEO Weekly’s annual fake issue is on newsstands and here are a couple of the funnies:

On Greg Fischer begging LEO to interview him:

Ever since taking office in January, Mayor Greg Fischer has been badgering LEO Weekly to interview him. Pointing out that his predecessor made it on the cover on more than one occasion, the political newcomer lobbied the publication for the same opportunity.


LEO: Isn’t it a riot that former independent mayoral candidate Jackie Green was gullible enough to believe you intended to create an Office of Sustainability — with his guidance — if he dropped out of the race and endorsed you? Shrewd move, Greg, shrewd move.

GF: Thanks, but I’m not that savvy. It was actually the idea of spokesman Chris Poynter and then-policy director Brandon Coan … crafty little boogers.

All of that would be way more funny if it weren’t likely based nearly entirely on reality.

And on Ole Dirty Judy:

Embattled Councilwoman Judy Green, D-1, has located hundreds of thousands of dollars in misappropriated loans and city grant money in her couch cushions.

During a press conference held on the front steps of her west Louisville home, Green clutched a giant burlap sack emblazoned with a dollar sign and fielded questions from reporters who had gathered to witness the unearthing of $457,321.34 worth of wrinkled dollars and lint-covered change from Green’s cavernous gold-encrusted love seat, located in her Italian marble-floored living room.

HAHA. Here we were thinking she had all that cash buried in her backyard.

Jim Gooch Is Working Hard To Ruin Louisville

What? A story about air quality just a couple days after the Rubbertown explosion?


Less than a week after the Environmental Protection Agency issued new national mercury and toxic air regulations for power plants, roughly 30 residents of southwest Jefferson County — home to LG&E’s Cane Run Road coal-fired power plant and EPA-designated “high-hazard” coal ash pond — gathered to rally for cleaner air and protest the utility’s ongoing intention to build a new 5.7 million-square-foot ash landfill near low-income residential neighborhoods located there.

As a result, residents could get the chance to voice their concerns with the Kentucky House of Representatives’ Natural Resources and Environment Committee and its longtime chairman, coal industry darling Jim Gooch, D-Providence, who is considering holding an interim session in southwest Jefferson County this summer.

Calls to Gooch’s Frankfort and home offices were not returned.

Click here to read the rest from LEO Weekly’s Jonathan Meador.

Somebody Finally Says What Needs To Be Said

Phillip Bailey is an outlaw!

But you already knew that, because, well, you just did.

I like outlaws. Not the commonly encountered criminals — drug dealers, thieves, murderers, most politicians and many preachers. I like outlaws who run afoul of the norm and actually stand for something. My former mentee Phillip Bailey has become such a man. I say “former” mentee because I now consider him an equal.


Recently, Phillip has come under fire in a small segment of Louisville’s black community because of a solid piece of investigative journalism on Councilwoman Judy Green. As a result, Bailey has been called “scum” and told that “black people here (in Louisville) don’t trust” him. Scum? Untrustworthy? Exactly what evil thing has Bailey done to merit such attacks? First of all, we have to be careful when we talk about which black people think young Bailey is a contemptible ne’er-do-well.


So who’s mad? I’ll tell you. A few nativistic, short-sighted members of Louisville’s black old guard and their younger human parrots are upset. These types like the status quo simply because it benefits them in one way or another. They are in positions of influence, not because of ability or inventiveness, but largely by virtue of who they know or the fact that they’ve simply been around Louisville forever. The younger people in their orbits are the typical sorts — uncreative, conformist, untalented lackeys who go along to get along without question just to get ahead. In this way, retrograde people and systems replicate themselves. This is not good, but it’s the norm in certain circles.

Phillip Bailey has simply rejected sucking up to this ideologically incestuous, parochial segment of our fair city.


IMMEDIATELY click here to read the rest from LEO’s Ricky Jones.

The Flood Is Janky & Gross, But Read This

Yeah, the flooding is disgusting and smells like a thing we can’t say in polite company.

But this fancy article about it breaks it down into easily digestible science nerd/history nerd bits:

Following the Great Flood, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers designed and installed a series of concrete and earthen levees that would, over the span of several decades, ensnare 29 miles of the county within a flood-proof sheath. Work was also begun on a series of aforementioned pumping stations that now number 15, and include the Beargrass Creek pumping station, whose 2.5 million-gallon capacity makes it the second largest of its kind in the world.

Since then, that system has been tested multiple times, most recently in 1997 when a 10.48-inch deluge soaked Kentuckiana over the course of several days and resulted in approximately $200 million in property damage.

Different was the Aug. 4, 2009, flash flood, which dumped 7.2 inches of rain into the city’s sewers in less than two hours. Whereas the ’09 and (to a lesser extent) ’97 floods taxed Louisville’s drainage infrastructure and called into question the flood-promoting urban policy of non-absorbent vacant lots riddling the city’s West End, the Ohio River’s current flooding addresses another potential infrastructure inadequacy — that of the 15 pumping stations, nine of which Schardein says are more than 50 years old and need to be replaced sooner rather than later.

Click here to read the rest from LEO Weekly.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled gag-face-making moment.

Iron Quarter/Whiskey Row Shenanigans Are Testy

Okay, look, we get it. Todd Blue is bitter over the millions he’s got in those buildings downtown. We get that he just wants to make a profit.

But really? This kind of bitterness is a little much:

Last week, Blue appeared on WFPL’s afternoon news program “State of Affairs” to weigh in on his proposed Iron Quarter development. During the panel discussion, Blue defended his plans and challenged critics to “actually do a project for once” instead of signing petitions and picketing his project.

“I want to reiterate again: These are our buildings, it’s our property, (and) this is our project,” he said. “I’m not sitting here like Donald Trump saying I’m not listening and wouldn’t accept any other thing other than what I want to do. I’m saying my project is my project, and I’m excited about it.”

Asked what it would take to save the buildings, Blue responded bluntly: money. He has said a buyer would have to offer a minimum of $1.5 million for each of the seven buildings.

“I already have millions of my own (money) into it and will have millions more into it and signed for any development we do,” Blue told WFPL. “I’m fully confident in the investment we’ve made in the city and continue to make and not in any way bashful about that.”

With less than 60 days left, there has been little movement by Fischer to involve the Metro Council.


According to the head of the budget committee, however, council members still haven’t seen the details of the city’s deal with Blue, and they are unable to form a solid position until they do.

Click here to read the rest from LEO Weekly’s Phillip Bailey.

Who, aside from John Schnatter, has eleventy billion dollars to just sink into those buildings Blue has allowed to fester and rot for years and years?

And really, Greg Fischer? Still playing pat-a-cake with Metro Council?

Possibility City!