Archive for July, 2008

Summer Vacation Is Here

Posted in State of StateoftheCommonwealth on July 18, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

…and subsequently, we won’t be updating State of the Commonwealth for some time. Although we might have some posts during the week of July 28th, we don’t expect to be fully active again until the week of August 11th. Thanks for your continued readership, and we hope to see you again soon.


Biking In Louisville: Still Unsafe, Part Two

Posted in Louisville News, Obituary, Transportation on July 17, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

The Courier-Journal is reporting that a bicyclist was killed this morning on the Outer Loop:

A bicyclist was killed in an early-morning collision on Outer Loop at the Interstate 65 overpass, a police spokesman said.

The bicyclist, a man who appeared to be in his early 40s, was traveling westbound on Outer Loop at the time of the accident, said Officer Phil Russell, the Louisville Metro Police spokesman.

A preliminary investigation indicates that a mid-1990s Honda Accord driven by a man in his mid 30s was following a tractor-trailer in the left lane, Russell said. The motorist apparently switched into the right lane to go around the semi and struck the bicyclist, who was traveling in the right lane, he said.

Police are investigating, and “one westbound lane (of Outer Loop) is shut down” at the interstate overpass, Russell said just after 7:30. 

If and when we get more updates, we will post them. If you either drive a car or ride a bike, please BE AWARE and SHARE THE ROAD.

UPDATE, 9:25 PM: The Courier-Journal has identified the cyclist:

The victim is Vance Kokojan, 42, of Louisville, who lived in the 1800 block of Deer Park Avenue, said Gayle Norris, Jefferson County deputy coroner.

Norris said Kokojan was on his way to work at UPS when the accident occurred.

Kokojan, who was pronounced dead at the scene, died of multiple blunt force injuries, Norris said.

The identity of the operator of the car has not been released because no charges have been filed against the driver, said Officer Phil Russell, spokesman for LMPD.

Snake-bitten By the Law: Ten Arrested in “Undercover Snake-Trading Sting”

Posted in Environment, Kentucky News, Kentucky Small Towns on July 12, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

(above cover of The Serpent Handlers from

Saturday brings news of one of those only-in-Kentucky stories, as ten people were arrested on charges of snake-trading by the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife (story from the Associated Press via the Courier-Journal):

The pastor of a Kentucky church that handles snakes in religious rites was among 10 people arrested by wildlife officers in a crackdown on the venomous snake trade.

More than 100 snakes, many of them deadly, were confiscated in the undercover sting after Thursday’s arrests, said Col. Bob Milligan, director of law enforcement for Kentucky Fish and Wildlife.

Most were taken from the Middlesboro home of Gregory James Coots, including 42 copperheads, 11 timber rattlesnakes, three cottonmouth water moccasins, a western diamondback rattlesnake, two cobras and a puff adder.

Handling snakes is practiced in a handful of fundamentalist churches across Appalachia, based on the interpretation of Bible verses saying true believers can take up serpents without being harmed. The practice is illegal in most states, including Kentucky.

Coots, 36, is pastor of the Full Gospel Tabernacle in Jesus Name in Middlesboro, where a Tennessee woman died after being bitten by a rattlesnake during a service in 1995. Her husband also died when he was bitten by a snake in northeastern Alabama.

Coots was charged Thursday with buying, selling and possessing illegal reptiles. He had no listed telephone number. There was no phone listing for the church.

“It is disturbing to me that individuals would keep such dangerous wildlife in their homes and in neighborhoods where they put their families, visitors and neighbors at such high risk,” Milligan said.

The snakes, plus one alligator, were turned over to the Kentucky Reptile Zoo in Slade. Most appeared to have been captured in the wild, with some imported from Asia and Africa.

Jim Harrison, director of the nonprofit zoo, said the reptiles most likely would have become exotic pets if they had not been seized..

“There’s been a large trade in exotics for years,” he said. “Some people are just fascinated with them.”

Undercover officers purchased more than 200 illegal reptiles during the investigation, some of which were advertised for sale on Web sites.

Gregory James Coots is also the subject of Fred Brown’s The Serpent Handlers, which looks like a fascinating read. Coots isn’t quoted in the article, and Jim Harrison of the Kentucky Reptile Zoo gets the last word:

“You can purchase anything off the Internet except common sense,” Harrison said. “A venomous snake isn’t a pet. You don’t play with it. If you do, you’re an idiot.”

Louisville Coffee News: Quills Closing, Mickey D’s Adding Cafes

Posted in Drink, Economics, Labor, Louisville News on July 10, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

(Quills photo from

In drink news that doesn’t particularly bode well for other independent coffeehouses, Quills Coffee & Books is closing (from Consuming Louisville):

July 19, 2008 is the last day of business for Quills Coffee and Books at their Kentucky Street location. They told me they’re closing but that they’ll be opening again sometime soon-ish, somewhere. Yeah, it was all a little vague. The guy on the phone said they’re hoping to say in the same neighborhood but don’t have a location yet. So maybe the rent was too high at the current location or the lack of parking became an issue. Don’t know. 

Rumor has it there was some sort of “landlord issue,” but we don’t know that for sure, so don’t quote us! Heh. But yes, hopefully Quills will reopen in a new location soon.

Additionally, local area McDonalds will open new coffee cafes (from Business First):

Several McDonald’s USA LLC owner-operators in the Louisville market are planning renovations to add coffee bars on the way to serving specialty drinks such as cappuccinos, lattes and mochas.

McDonald’s Restaurants of Kentuckiana are among the first restaurants in the country to launch the McCafé coffee line, according to a news release. A newly rebuilt McDonald’s at 1245 Bardstown Road in the Highlands is the first in the area to serve McCafé coffees. Consumers can see if McCafé is available at their local McDonald’s by visiting and entering their ZIP code.

McDonald’s increased coffee and beverage options with the launch of its premium roast coffee in 2006.

About 80 percent of McDonald’s 13,700 U.S. restaurants are independently owned and operated by local franchisees, according to the release.

It’s not entirely clear whether the McCafé concept will be successful (especially in a hot, humid, Southern city such as Louisville), but Big Junk’s encroachment on the gourmet coffee business can’t be that encouraging to small independents. That said, Louisville has a very strong independent coffee scene (and many of Louisville’s neighborhoods have proven fairly resistant to Starbucks), so hopefully discerning consumers will understand the difference in quality.

Music This Weekend, July 10-13

Posted in Drink, Happenings, Music, Music This Weekend on July 10, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Tonight, Thursday, July 10th at Derby City Espresso we’re proud to present an evening of experimental music with SheddingTusk LordCaboladiesHunted Creatures and Chris Niels. Shedding and Caboladies are from right here in the Bluegrass State, while Tusk Lord, Hunted Creatures and Chris Niels are visiting from Pennsylvania on a short, summer tour. Come on out, it’s sure to be a blast. Derby City Espresso is located at 331 E. Market Street (between Preston and Floyd), 8 pm, $5.

Also tonight at the Monkeywrench (at the corner of Barrett and Winter), DJ Kim Sorise will be spinning soul, funk, a little rock n’ roll, and all kinds of good-time party music, with no cover, starting at 10 pm.

Friday at Lisa’s Oak Street Lounge (on Oak Street, natch), Ladybirds, the Impossible Shapes and Anton Mink play at 10 pm, $5.

Friday night at the Pour Haus, Your Black Star, the Fervor and Birds and Batteries play at 9 pm, $7.

Saturday at the Brickhouse, hardcore bands Reign Supreme, Rattletooth, Blackbirds, Python and Everyman play, starting at 6 pm, $8. (Let X Down had to cancel.)

Saturday at Skull Alley (1017 E. Broadway), hardcore bands Nixon, Prideswallower, Human and Moutheater play at 6 pm, for $5

Sunday at Skull Alley, Foxy Shazam, Vampire Squid, Mountain Asleep and Frontier(s) play at 6 pm, and it’s FREE!

And all weekend long there’s that whole 7th annual Lebowski Fest thingy which we’re sure you know all about!

Why Did the Liquor Store Cross the Road?

Posted in Development, Drink, Economics, Louisville News, Ohio River on July 8, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

(future site of Stop Lite Liquors, from the Courier-Journal)

To get the other side, of course! Long-time River Road icon Stop Lite Liquors is moving to the south side of the street, to make room for Waterfront Park (story from the C-J):

The business, at the eastern end of Waterfront Park, probably will relocate around October, the owners said. The bulldozers will move in on the current site shortly thereafter.

The existing store has a yellow brick and concrete block exterior decorated with beer signs. One sign welcomes boaters, and another beckons customers with “Hot lunch, cold beer, fast friendly service.”

Almost any morning, Carl Bollinger, one of the operators, can be found in back of the store grilling the hot dogs and hamburgers to be offered as lunch fare.

Mike Kimmel, deputy director of the Waterfront Development Corp., which oversees the park, said the waterfront agency paid $170,000 for the half-acre site adjacent to the park.

Kimmel said the waterfront agency has long considered the liquor store incompatible with the large urban park. He said the agency has no specific plans for the current store’s site and probably will put temporary landscaping in, pending a decision on its long-range use.

The agency also paid $150,000 for the 1.5-acre site on the south side of River Road where the new store is being built. That land has been deeded to the owners of Stop Lite.

Joe Bollinger opened the original Stop Lite in 1958 on the south side of River Road — across from Towhead Island and not far from the current business….

The 1964 flood ravaged the first Stop Lite. The store moved to its current location on the north side of River Road in 1965.

Carl Bollinger said the new store should “work out great” and noted that it will be convenient for downtown workers heading east on River Road in the late afternoon. “We will be on the right side; it will be easier to turn in,” he said.

We think we might’ve bought our first legal six-pack there, but we’re not entirely sure. Either way, it’s heartening to see a creative solution to keep a long-running local business open in this instance.

Music This Weekend, JULY 4th EDITION

Posted in Art, Drink, Happenings, Music, Music This Weekend, State of StateoftheCommonwealth on July 3, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

It’s another busy weekend (of the nice three-day with holiday variety), with plenty of things to do out and about town. So let’s get started.

Hip Check Flier

Tonight at the Monkeywrench (at the corner of Barrett and Winter), DJ Kim Sorise will be spinning soul, funk, a little rock n’ roll, and all kinds of good-time party music, with no cover, starting at 10 pm. Much like last week, we’ll be joining her for an hour or so to play some jams. Drop on by, then head over to the Nach Bar for:

Bejeezus Flier

Whoa, that’s a big eagle! That’s right, Bejeezus magazine — one of the best mags around, in our opinion — is hosting a party at the Nach Bar with Speed to Roam, Relic, Andrew Iafrate with Buck Holiday, and Shakey. Things get under way at 9 pm, and it’s free!

Tomorrow, of course, the big shows are at the Waterfront with Los Lobos, Candy Coburn, JJ Grey and Mofro, Patrick Hughes, Gary Allen, and George Clinton & Parliament-Funkadelic (more information here); and “Weird Al” Yankovic at the Iroquois Ampitheater — but you probably know about those already (and they’re getting enough publicity anyway).

Rude Weirdo Flier

So let’s move on to Saturday night, when Rude Weirdo and Trophy Wives play at 6th and Oak. As the show is being presented by Louisville Lip Records, 3 new CDs (by Rude Weirdo, Trophy Wives and Boxmaker, respectively) will be given away at the door! That’s pretty amazing, we gotta say. 10 pm, $5.

Last but not least, even though it’s a week away on July 10th, we’re gonna give you the heads up about a show that we’re promoting/curating. That’s right, we’re dipping our toes back into the difficult waters of underground music show promotion (we have no idea why), and we’d like to tell you about it. So here goes: Thursday, July 10th at Derby City Espresso we’re proud to present an evening of experimental music with Shedding, Tusk Lord, Caboladies, Hunted Creatures and Chris Niels. Shedding and Caboladies are from right here in the Bluegrass State, while Tusk Lord, Hunted Creatures and Chris Niels are visiting from Pennsylvania on a short, summer tour. Come on out, it’s sure to be a blast. Derby City Espresso is located at 331 E. Market Street (between Preston and Floyd), 8 pm, $5.