Archive for the Crime Category

Old Hickory Destroyed By Fire

Posted in Crime, Drink, Louisville News on February 23, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

Just when we’re lamenting the lack of much of anything newsworthy in our lives, lo and behold the bar down the street from our house catches fire. That’s right, around 4:10 PM today, the Old Hickory, a Schnitzelburg institution, was heavily damaged by a fire. Here’s the Courier-Journal‘s story:

Old Hickory Inn, a bar that has been a landmark of the Germantown area for decades, was destroyed by fire this afternoon.

Firefighters received multiple calls about the fire around 4:10 p.m. and found heavy smoke and flames coming from the building at 1038 Lydia St.

The cause of the fire is unclear but it was complicated by a broken gas meter that fed the flames and by alcohol in the bar area.

Sgt. Sal Melendez, spokesman for Louisville Fire & Rescue, said the fire “proved to be very challenging. Alcohol and flames don’t mix.”

It took 40 firefighters about an hour to get the fire under control in the two-story building, which was unoccupied when the blaze started. The second floor of the building was vacant.

No one was injured in the fire, Melendez said.

An older neighbor was evacuated from her home next door as a precaution, but the fire did not spread to the residence.

David Hoffmann, who has run the bar for about 10 ½ years got word of the fire while he was at his home. “I’m destroyed. I don’t have no insurance,” said Hoffmann, who did not own the building.

A neighbor, Dave Sidebottom, 40, said he had lived in the neighborhood his entire life as he took photos of the damaged building. He said he recalled his grandfather going to the bar at the corner of Hickory and Lydia streets.

“It’s always been a tavern, like a landmark. I hate to see it go,” Sidebottom said.

At least eight firefighting trucks were on the scene. Arson investigators were also present, seeking a cause of the fire, which is normal procedure.

But seriously, this is a bummer for the neighborhood, but we’re glad nobody was hurt. We missed the bulk of the action, arriving on the scene after work, sometime around 5:20 – 5: 30 PM. Lots of residents, policemen and firemen milling about, the requisite TV news truck here and there, etc.

See the rest of our photos after the break…

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Your 2009 Portsmouth Rock Dispute Update

Posted in Art, Crime, Environment, Kentucky History, Kentucky News, Kentucky Small Towns, Ohio River, Politics on February 4, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

(Photo of the Portsmouth Rock from

Now it’s gettin’ good. Remember the Portsmouth Rock? And how officials from Ohio and Kentucky have been squabbling over it for the past year? Well, the Associated Press (via the Courier-Journal) is reporting this morning that Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway is takin’ it up a notch:

Kentucky’s squabble with an Ohio city over a historic rock that lay for years at the bottom of the Ohio River is rolling into federal court.

Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has filed a federal civil lawsuit in Ashland, Ky., against the city of Portsmouth, Ohio, and three men over the 8-ton boulder known as Indian Head Rock.

The lawsuit claims a violation of Kentucky law and is seeking, in part, the return of the rock to Kentucky.

The rock bears numerous carvings of initials, names and a crude face and once was an attraction for locals. It had been submerged in the river since about the 1920s until September 2007, when a historian in Ohio led a team to extract it.

The boulder now rests in a city garage in Portsmouth, Ohio, about 110 miles southeast of Cincinnati.

Thank goodness, we were tired of reading nothing but serious news!

Worst. Coach. Ever.

Posted in Crime, Sports on December 5, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Seriously. Fire this guy, now.

Racist Jerks Arrested In Lexington

Posted in Crime, Elections, Kentucky News, Lexington News, Politics on October 31, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

(mugshots from the Lexington Herald-Leader and

Remember the other day, how some clowns in Lexington hung an Obama effigy on the University of Kentucky campus? Well, they’ve been arrested (story from the Lexington Herald-Leader):

University of Kentucky police announced the arrest of a UK student and his friend Thursday in connection with the hanging of an effigy of Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama from a tree on campus Wednesday.

Interim UK police chief Joe Monroe said police received a series of tips throughout the day Wednesday that eventually led them to the two men. The men told police that the act was a stunt in response to news reports that an effigy of Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin was hung at a West Hollywood, Calif., home.

Joe Fischer, 22, a UK senior and a former football team walk-on, and a friend, Hunter Bush, 21, of Lexington were charged Thursday with burglary in the second degree, a felony; and theft by unlawful taking and disorderly conduct, both misdemeanors. The disorderly conduct charge was made for the hanging of the effigy.

According to the 2007-2008 UK football roster, Fischer is from Latonia, outside of Cincinnati. Court documents list a Lexington address for him.

The two were being held at the Fayette County Detention Center Thursday.

Fischer and Bush turned themselves in to university police Thursday afternoon.

Material used to make the effigy, including clothes, was stolen from a fraternity house, and it was through the fraternity that they were able to track down Fischer and Bush, Monroe said.

Both Fischer and Bush gave statements to University of Kentucky Police detectives admitting responsibility, according to Fayette District Court records. Between 1:30 and 2:30 a.m. on Wednesday, Bush and Fischer entered the Farmhouse Fraternity at 420 Hilltop Avenue. Inside, they took a black sports jacket and khaki pants. From a shed on the property, Fischer also took an 8-foot ladder, according to court records. Statements provided by residents of the fraternity house also placed Fischer at the scene, according to a criminal complaint.

Then, the two hung the doll resembling Obama 25 feet in the air with a noose. It was hung from a tree over a walkway, creating a hazardous condition, resulting in the disorderly conduct charge.

Neither Fischer nor Bush was a member of the fraternity, Monroe said.

“They expressed extreme remorse for a prank that they say got out of hand,” Monroe said of the two men. “They meant no harm or disrespect.”

That’s the failure of our educational system in a nutshell. Anyone with any inkling of the history of lynching in the United States would know that the imagery involving a hanged effigy is both harmful and disrespectful. Shameful.

Oak Street Pizza Benefit This Thursday

Posted in Crime, Drink, Economics, Food, Happenings, Louisville News on October 14, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

Unfortunately we didn’t get a chance to report on the terrible news that Adam Tatum, owner of Oak Street Pizza, was shot on Sunday, October 5th during a robbery (from the Courier-Journal). Tatum continues to recover, but his business is closed during the meantime. Thankfully, a number of folks in Louisville’s restaurant community have come together to help him out (from LouisvilleHotBytes):

You may have heard the bad news: Adam Tatum, the owner of Oak Street Pizza was shot during a robbery and is in the hospital recovering from lung and liver surgery. Matthew Crow at Derby City Espresso has kindly offered his shop down on East Market street for a benefit to start a fund to help pay Adam’s medical expenses and other costs; the restaurant will be closed until he recovers.

The benefit will be Thursday, Oct. 16 at Derby City Espresson, 331 E. Market St. DCE will donate $1 per drink sold all day. The party and auction will begin around 6 p.m. and live music will begin around 9 p.m. Tony Boombozz Pizza St.Matthews/Crescent Hill also will donate a portion of its sales on Monday, Oct. 13, to Adam’s benefit.

The event is being spontaneously organized by participants on the Restaurants Forum, and we can use both your participation in a fund-raising event and, if you can, donated items for a silent and/or online auction.

Though we won’t be able to attend, we’re definitely planning on stopping by DCE earlier during the day, as Matthew is donating $1 from all coffee drinks and beer towards Adam’s medical costs. If you can, you should do the same.

Yet Another Cyclist Hit in Louisville

Posted in Crime, Environment, Louisville News, Transportation on October 3, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

(above photo of the accident scene from the Courier-Journal)

The Courier-Journal reported this morning that yet another bicyclist in Louisville was hit by an auto driver, yesterday evening:

A 42-year-old Louisville man was charged with driving under the influence after police said he struck a bicyclist riding in the 1100 block of East Broadway early last evening, a Louisville Metro Police spokeswoman said.

Robert Kahafer was arrested about five miles from the scene of a hit-and-run accident that sent a woman to the hospital shortly after 6 p.m., police spokeswoman Alicia Smiley said.

Kahafer was charged with leaving the scene of an accident, possession of a controlled substance, possession of marijuana, having an open container in his vehicle, lacking insurance and failing to notify the transportation department of an address change, she said.

The woman was taken to University Hospital with what appeared to be non-life-threatening injuries, Smiley said. She was wearing a helmet at the time of the accident, which happened in the eastbound lanes of Broadway.

Police said Kahafer was trying to go around the cyclist in the left lane when his 1992 Buick Riviera struck her from behind. There was no one else in the car at the time and no one else was injured, Smiley said.

Kahafer was in custody at Louisville Metro Corrections last night and was scheduled for arraignment at 9 a.m. today

This incident comes on the heels of the tragic death of Jen Futrel, as we reported yesterday. All we can really say about this is the following: first, we hope Kahafer is prosecuted to the fullest extent that the law allows. Secondly, it’s about time Mayor Abramson showed a little more leadership in terms of driver education and traffic enforcement. The transportation grants from the state announced last week are nice, but — as we’ve said repeatedly — clearly more must be done to make biking safer in Louisville.

Update on Bardstown Road Bike Crash

Posted in Crime, Environment, Louisville News, Transportation, Uncategorized on October 2, 2008 by stateofthecommonwealth

As we reported Tuesday evening, a female bicyclist was struck by a van on Bardstown Road near Grinstead Drive that afternoon. Unfortunately, we have some sad news to report, as posted on the Louisville Hardcore forums:

As some of you may have heard, some of you may have not, my roommate Jen Futrel passed away last night due to damage she recieved from getting hit from behind on her bike Tuesday afternoon on Bardstown Road.

Please send love, good energy, pray, or whatever you do to her family and Stewart. She was an amazing person who was full of love and warmth. She provided meals for many and some of my best memories have been shared with her.

We will be meeting at Fort Future (924 Shelby Parkway for those of you not in the know) at around 5:30pm and then going to chain the ghost bike up on Bardstown Road (in between Grinstead and Highland) around 7:00pm. Please come to show your support for safer streets, Jen and her loved ones, and all cyclists who’ve been hurt or killed.

Generally we wouldn’t post something like this, from a message board, but the Courier-Journal hasn’t updated their initial story, and we felt it should be out there. Our condolences go out to the family and friends of another bicyclist killed on Louisville’s supposedly safer streets this year. Adding to the sadness, Ms. Futrel was a signatory to Safe Streets Louisville, a worthy organization dedicated to holding reckless drivers accountable.