Archive for the Environment Category

Don’t Forget! CycLOUvia Happens This Sunday, Oct. 14th

Posted in Development, Environment, Happenings, Louisville News, Transportation with tags , , , , , on October 9, 2012 by othersideoflife

Despite the seemingly goofy name*, CycLOUvia is happening on Bardstown Road this Sunday, October 14th, and we’re glad for it! Here’s the deal: Bardstown Road and Baxter Avenue will be CLOSED to all automobile traffic between Douglass Boulevard and Broadway, open only to pedestrians and bicyclists (and other non-motorized folks) from 1:30 to 6:30 PM. Here’s a map of the closed area, with automobile access points: http://cyclouvia.org/map.

Even TARC buses are being detoured, so you know it’s serious. Serious fun! As someone who works part-time in two businesses on Bardstown Road (including a business that was recently damaged by a drunk driver — thankfully no one was hurt), I can’t think of anything better than to have a nice, chill day without aggressively-speeding or cluelessly-phone-talking car drivers on what is generally a pretty badly congested, lacklusterly policed road.

*the term comes from cyclovia, a successful 30-year long program to reduce automobile traffic in Bogota, Colombia.

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The Third CROPPED OUT FESTIVAL begins TOMORROW

Posted in Art, Drink, Environment, Food, Happenings, Louisville Music History, Music, Music This Weekend, Ohio River with tags , , on September 27, 2012 by othersideoflife

Our friends begin their annual CROPPED OUT festival tomorrow, September 28th (which, coincidentally, is my birthday!) at the American Turners Club on River Road, so let’s take a look at this year’s lineup, schedule, and tomfoolery. Firstly, if you haven’t seen this preview video yet, what planet are you from? Well, you better get in your saucer and get here soon! Check it out:

The entire schedule, broken down by venue, is available here: http://croppedoutmusic.com/cropped-out-2012-schedule/. Let’s take a look at each day’s offerings, shall we? Our “picks to click” are in bold:

FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 28th at the TURNERS CLUB (3125 River Road)
Turner Tavern:
SHE MIGHT BITE, MICROWAVES, THE SEDIMENT CLUB, TWIN SISTER RADIO, TV GHOST, CHAIN & THE GANG
Scully Alley: DISCO DOOM, GANGLY YOUTH, BUCK GOOTER, LANTERN, EUGENE CHADBOURNE
Phreedom Hall: THE RITCHIE WHITE ORCHESTRA, JANDEK, STREET GNAR, SLUG GUTS

SATURDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th at the TURNERS CLUB (3125 River Road)
Turner Tavern:
BINARY MARKETING SHOW, CAVE BEARS, GRAY/ZERANG DUO, COOL MEMORIES, SHAVED WOMEN, DAVID LIEBE HART, R. STEVIE MOORE
Scully Alley: WET, KARK, GLOBSTERS, WHITE WALLS, NEW MOTHER NATURE, GUERILLA TOSS, NEIL HAMBURGER
Phreedom Hall: BLACK KASPAR, RAW THUG, CRYS, PC WORSHIP, MERCHANDISE, LIL B
Spooky Beach: ASHCAN ORCHESTRA

SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 29th at the WORKHORSE BALLROOM (1312 Lexington Road)
PAPA M, WOODEN WAND, JOZEF van WISSEM

Wait, you want more? Well, we’ve got more for ya! How about a DOWNLOADABLE MIX of lots of this year’s CROPPED OUT performers, put together by CROPPED OUT homie James Ardery? Sound good? Well here it is! And here’s the tracklist:

1. Jozef van Wissem, “Lux Divinitatis”
2. PC Worship, “Tides”
3. Wooden Wand, “Servant to Blues”
4. CRYS, “Pass on the Third”
5. Shaved Women, “Circles”
6. Eugene Chadbourne, “Wine Me Up”
7. Globsters, “Roll You Up and Smoke You”
8. White Walls, “The Milk of a Lonely Man”
9. Microwaves, “Hammerspace”
10. Lil B, “Still Cookin'”
11. Guerilla Toss, “Breeding Snakes 4 Variety”
12. Buck Gooter, “Consider the Grackles”
13. Merchandise, “Time”
14. Wet, “Wetter than Wet Pt. 2: Pink Pearl”
15. Gangly Youth, “Jangly Youth”
16. The Ritchie White Orchestra, “Matt Says 2”
17. Chain & The Gang, “If Only I Had Your Brain”
18. R. Stevie Moore, “Schoolgirl”
19. Lantern, “Dreammine”
20. The Phantom Family Halo, “Black and White Magic”

It’ll only be up for a limited time, so grab it like it’s hot. Yeah. And enjoy.

Of course, a wealth of information, including tickets, is available at www.croppedoutmusic.com. Don’t miss what promises to be an awesome weekend! And we’ll see you there, by some bonfire, tellin’ jokes or something…

UPDATE, 9/27/2012: CROPPED OUT IS A DAY AWAY!

Some lineup changes to note: DAHM is unfortunately sick, so he will be missing this year’s CROPPED OUT. Get well, Dahm!

In his place are not one but two doozies: 90’s power-violence pioneers SUPPRESSION (from Roanoke, VA) and FAT HISTORY MONTH (from Boston, MA; on Sophomore Lounge).

Lots of food trucks and vendors and whatnot will be there too, so don’t forget the tomfoolery!

WHAS 11: Metro Parks Spent $600k Last Year on New Mowers

Posted in Development, Economics, Environment, Kentucky News, Louisville News, Media, Metro Parks, Otter Creek Park, Politics on February 25, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

WHAS 11 aired a whopper of a story last night, that Louisville Metro Parks spent over $600,000 on new mowers last year, just before spending cuts were announced by Mayor Abramson in December. Here’s the full story (you can watch video of the story by following the link above to WHAS 11):

Louisville, Ky. (WHAS11) – WHAS11 News has learned that as Louisville Mayor Abramson was closing Otter Creek Park to save a half million dollars, the Metro Parks Department was spending more than that on new lawn mowers.

It’s your tax dollars, and critics are saying its misplaced priorities.

But the parks department says the mowers are a great deal for taxpayers for the future.

The parks department says the fancy new lawn mowers are more efficient and were purchased just before the price went way up.

But spending hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawn mowers in tough budget times has got some folks flabbergasted:

You’ll be seeing these all-in-one Toro lawn mowers on Louisville’s public golf courses this summer. The metro parks department bought eight of these new mowers last fall to replace the old tractor and pull behind blades currently being used.

Those eight faster, easier mowers were purchased last October. The total cost was $507,000. The next month, in November, metro parks purchased nine of these tractor pulled blade mowers which are designed to bushhog and cut high grass. Total cost on those was $96,000. More than $600,000 spent on new mowers just as Mayor Abramson was announcing a huge budget shortfall and millions in spending cuts.

Nowhere in the parks department’s capital budget is there any mention of cash for new mowers. Storch says that’s because the money is coming out of metro government’s depreciation account. Councilman Downard still wonders how the mower purchases will sit with city workers who face four mandatory furlough days without pay.

And yes, it is true, that $600,000 price tag on the new mowers is about $100,000 more than metro government expects to save by closing Otter Creek Park. Downard says that’s one less park to mow with more lawnmowers.

One minor note about this story: Louisville Metro only predicted to save on the order of $180,000 for this fiscal year by closing Otter Creek Park, so the $500,000 figure cited in the story is a bit misleading. Louisville may save $500,000 in the next fiscal year if OCP remains closed, but closing OCP also ended a revenue stream, as well the potential for more. Either way, spending $600,000 during a recession on lawnmowers that, no matter how nice they are, will depreciate is not what we’d call fiscal responsibility.

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 nytimes.com.)

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!

LEO‘s Interview with the Mayor and Otter Creek Park

Posted in Development, Economics, Environment, Kentucky News, Louisville News, Media, Metro Parks, Ohio River, Otter Creek Park, Politics on January 15, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

(Photo of Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson by Frankie Steele for LEO Weekly.)

From our sister blog, Save Otter Creek Park – The Friends of Otter Creek Park Blog:

If you haven’t seen it by now, we wanted to make you aware that LEO Weekly‘s issue this week includes their extensive annual interview with Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson, who has quite a bit to say about both the controversy surrounding the closing of Otter Creek Park, and our group, the Friends of Otter Creek Park. Here’s the relevant parts of the interview (you can read the entire interview here):

LEO: Another group that is getting louder by the day—

JA [Jerry Abramson]: Otter Creek.

LEO:Yes, the Friends of Otter Creek.

JA: It is very simple to explain to you why we moved in that direction. For many years, I’ve had this discussion with six governors — I’ve been mayor a long time — we have thought that this magnificent park, this very, very unique jewel of a wilderness setting and just gorgeous landscape, needed to be a state park. Because we don’t do a very good job running it, because we know how to run municipal parks — we can handle Cherokee Park, we know how to do Iroquois Park, we can handle Shawnee Park, we know how to handle Hays Kennedy Park or Long Run Park, etc. — but we don’t do very well in terms of a park that has cabins and hookups for RVs, for electricity and water.

So we have said we lose money every year; we used to lose $500,000 a year. We’ve tried to get governors to take it over. There was always a reason not to. I tried to work with the federal government, to have Fort Knox take it over; there was always a reason not to. We talked with the Meade County judge — it’s in Meade County — several judges ago, and asked him if we could serve wine. Maybe if we could serve wine and champagne, there might be an opportunity to host more events, which would help cover some of the expenses to defray the cost — because if you’re spending $500,000 out there, you could’ve spent the $500,000 at … parks within Louisville-Jefferson County. We tried to get the liquor license; the county judge made a commitment they would vote it wet, and then at the fiscal court meeting, he voted no.

… At this point in time, when you’re looking for a half a million dollars, and you’re also looking for money that you can save for these six months that will roll forward because this next budget’s going to be even tougher, we said we’re going to close it, and see if that would generate interest. [emphasis ours]

And you know what? The state parks are going out there, the state Fish & Wildlife [department is] going out there, I met with the garrison commander of Fort Knox — they’ve been out there twice. So all of a sudden, there’s a lot of energy around in terms of what can we do to ensure that the park is open as soon as possible? The county judge in Meade County is interested, he’s said, in making it an industrial park, or a residential area. Well, we’re not going to allow it to be developed into an industrial facility. We want it to be what it is: a beautiful wildlife preserve, an opportunity for folks to commune with nature. We’ve also got nonprofits that have contacted us: the Y[MCA] has a facility out there, [Boy] Scouts, saying what role can we play?

Suffice to say, we’re working on crafting a response to Mayor Abramson’s comments, to be published in LEO as soon as possible. We’re also very interested in meeting with him to discuss Otter Creek Park, anytime. However, there’s some elements of this interview that, based on just our initial impressions from reading it, we have to respond to.

According to Mayor Abramson above, closing Otter Creek Park was actually a ploy to save it! Somehow, we’re not buying this argument. Louisville has a number of private/public partnerships and quasi-governmental groups dedicated to serving citizens. Off the top of my head, I can think of the Olmstead Parks Conservancy, the Downtown Development Corporation, Greater Louisville Inc., Waterfront Development Corp., etc. If Otter Creek Park has been such a drag on the city’s budget year after year, why wasn’t any initiative taken to fix the problem before closing the Park? The savings of closing OCP reportedly only comes to $180,000 per year — why was there no effort to try to find that money from sources other than Louisville Metro’s budget?

Which goes on to the second problem of finding a group — whether governmental or otherwise — to run the Park now: how does closing the Park complicate the problems it already has? What hidden costs might be added as a result of the closing? Certainly while closing Otter Creek Park to visitors has kick-started our group’s activism on behalf of the Park, it has also hurt interest in OCP by both local residents and visitors from elsewhere. Sure, it’s winter, and that’s the slowest season for outdoor recreation, but closing the Park entirely has to have had a “chilling effect” (pardon the pun). Additionally, since the Park isn’t being maintained, what start-up costs will a potential buyer/operator have to contend with? Wouldn’t the Park be more attractive if it was still open and being maintained?

The Mayor goes on to discuss Friends of Otter Creek Park within the context of “citizen enragement”:

LEO: I was at a community meeting [last] week in the southwestern part of the city. It’s been my experience at some of these meetings, including some where you’ve been there, that they start off on issues — and this one was about Otter Creek Park — and they get derailed into criticism of you, conspiracy theories about you and your administration. It seems to me this is the only part of the city where this happens with such regularity and drama.

JA: Citizen engagement is great. The fact that there are individuals pulling together to set up a Friends of Otter Creek, to look at options, to work with me ultimately on how we can keep it open. I think citizen engagement is great.

What troubles me are those that are involved in citizen enragement, and I’m afraid that in the area you’re referencing, there are two or three individuals who take much more pride in involving themselves in citizen enragement rather than citizen engagement.

… Citizen enragement, with sometimes not sharing the facts, framing the issues in a way that enrage rather than involve — unfortunately there have been a couple of folks out there in that area that have done that more than once, on more than one issue. And so it is what it is: We work with the folks who want to work with us.

I can’t speak for anyone else involved in Friends of Otter Creek Park in terms of their feelings towards Mayor Abramson. Given that our group consists of a large, diverse group of individuals from all over the surrounding region — including people who don’t live in Louisville Metro — it’s fair to say that there is probably not one, monolithic point of view given Louisville’s Mayor.

Speaking for the group, however, I will say that Friends of Otter Creek Park is ready to work with Mayor Abramson or any other government official, organization, charity, or group willing and interested in reopening Otter Creek Park. Period.

That said, our meetings are open to the public, and we value what everyone in the community has to say — otherwise we wouldn’t bother with public comment periods at our meetings. As far as I’m concerned, Friends of Otter Creek Park is about finding a solution to the problem through democratic and transparent means. The citizens of Louisville Metro and Jefferson County don’t deserve any less than that.

Short Friends of Otter Creek Park Interview on 84 WHAS

Posted in Development, Economics, Environment, Happenings, Kentucky News, Kentucky Small Towns, Labor, Louisville News, Media, Metro Parks, Ohio River, Otter Creek Park, Politics on January 5, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

(Otter Creek Park sign from whas.com.)

From our sister blog, Save Otter Creek Park:

84 WHAS aired a short story on Friends of Otter Creek Park this morning. You can read the story here, and listen to it here. There’s a short clip of audio in the piece from when I was interviewed by Suzanne Duvall of 84 WHAS last Friday. Obviously they couldn’t use everything, but the short bit where I point out that Otter Creek Park is one of the things that makes Louisville “unique” was nice.

Both WHAS-11 and WDRB-41 (clicking on the WDRB link will open Windows Media Player) mention the meeting tonight in news stories as well. Links courtesy the Valley Report.

And as the story points out, please don’t forget tonight’s meeting at the Southwest Government Center, 219 Dixie Hwy #106 in Southwest Louisville at 7 PM!

UPDATE: The agenda for tonight’s meeting has been posted here: http://saveottercreekpark.wordpress.com/2009/01/05/agenda-for-tonights-meeting.

C-J: Otter Creek Park Likely To Be Padlocked Through June

Posted in Development, Economics, Environment, Kentucky News, Kentucky Small Towns, Louisville News, Media, Metro Parks, Ohio River, Otter Creek Park, Politics on January 2, 2009 by stateofthecommonwealth

(2001 photo of the Otter Creek Park Conference Center by Michael Clevenger for the Courier-Journal.)

Amidst the flurry of news reports about Otter Creek Park‘s closing this past week, the Courier-Journal reported on Wednesday that Metro Parks anticipates that OCP will be closed through the month of June:

Otter Creek Park appears certain to close for an indefinite period on Friday, despite efforts to keep it open.

A group called Friends of Otter Creek Park is discussing strategies for keeping the Meade County park operating, and the city of Louisville remains open to turning it over to either the state or a private vendor.

But for the immediate future, “there are not a lot of reasons to be optimistic,” said Chris Poynter, Mayor Jerry Abramson’s spokesman, adding that hopes for reopening the park soon may be overly optimistic.

“Money is the whole thing,” said Metro Parks Director Mike Heitz.

The city acquired the 2,600-acre park about 25 miles southwest of downtown Louisville in 1947 as a gift from the federal government for its support of Fort Knox during World War II.

Covenants require the property be used for public recreation.

Poynter said the city will save about $180,000 by closing the park for the rest of the fiscal year, through June.

That’s just a fraction of the $20 million needed to make up for revenue lost to flagging job- and business-profit taxes taken by the recession. But, Poynter said, “We had to make tough (budget) decisions, and we think it is best to focus our limited resources on parks within the city.”

Most of the park’s staff of eight has been assigned to other city parks; one full-time and one part-time worker will remain at Otter Creek for maintenance and security, including trying to prevent poaching, said Metro Parks spokesman Andrew Crocker.

The story also reported on Friends of Otter Creek Park’s efforts:

The Friends of Otter Creek group has met twice and will meet again at 7 p.m. Monday at the Southwest Government Center on Dixie Highway.

Several Web sites devoted to the effort have popped up, including a Facebook page, where more than 5,000 people have signed on.

Patsy Bowman, one of the Friends organizers, said ideas for keeping the park open include charging admission, raising user fees and, perhaps, shutting it down from November to April.

The supporters plan soon to present their ideas to Abramson, she said, adding, “I do believe we have a shot.”

Metro Parks officials have said they couldn’t charge admission without losing immunity in lawsuits filed by anyone injured at the park.

Not to open a can of worms with this post, but it seems dubious that the City would be exposing itself to major liability by charging an entrance fee. This is the one sticking point that is always brought up, but so far has yet to be explained in any detail to be credible. Certainly, many parks and wildlife areas all over the country charge entrance fees.

Additionally, measures by the State and other entities were discussed as well:

State Rep. Jeff Greer, D-Brandenburg, said he has talked to numerous state officials about ways to keep the park open, but “it’s just too early” to pinpoint a direction.

“We have some things hopefully turning,” he said. “I’d love to see the park up and running by May.”

Jay Blanton, spokesman for Gov. Steve Beshear, said yesterday that the state administration is willing to talk about ways to preserve Otter Creek, though he said he knows of “no active proposal out there right now that would prevent the closure of the park in the immediate future.”

He said the state, facing its own $456 million revenue shortfall, “certainly has no options involving any kind of assistance for Otter Creek from the general fund.”

Even so, Heitz said his assistants intend to meet with Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife Resources officials next month. They have expressed interest in designating Otter Creek as a wildlife-management area. Fish & Wildlife Commissioner Jon Gassett has said one condition for the state taking over Otter Creek would be that Metro Parks’ ban on hunting and fishing in the park be lifted.

Heitz said Metro Parks has had inquiries from several private vendors and developers interested in running the park. He said the city is considering advertising for competitive proposals for running the park from a developer, who might want to add such amenities as a golf course, restaurant or hotel to generate revenue.

Abramson met Dec. 18 with Col. Rick Schwartz, garrison commander at Fort Knox. The Army officers “indicated they would love to keep it open … but that they had no funding,” Poynter said.

Fort Knox spokesman Ryan Brus said the post already operates the 65-acre Camp Carlson, which includes a 25-acre lake, lodge and campsites open to soldiers, their families and guests. Taking on Otter Creek would duplicate some of those facilities, he said.

Poynter said Meade County officials also “have indicated they don’t have the wherewithal to run such a large park.”

But County Judge-Executive Harry Craycroft, who described the park’s closing as “a crying shame,” said Meade officials are supporting Greer’s efforts to involve the state.

Unfortunately, State and Federal options seem unlikely. Private enterprises interested in running the Park aren’t discussed in any detail, either. Clearly if a major portion of the park would be developed as a result of a private entity taking control, that might be damaging to the wildlife in and around the park, and could definitely be terrible.

In Wednesday’s issue of the C-J, there also appeared this story about David Jones’s 21st Century Parks project: Metro Council Panel Backs Park Management Deal. And in today’s paper there’s this glowing report about Waterfront Park: Waterfront Park Nears Completion of Its Green Revival After 10 Years.

Why can’t there be the same sort of cooperation between public and private enterprise to keep Otter Creek Park open, if that’s what needs to be done? If the budget problems that threatened OCP loomed on the horizon, why didn’t Louisville Metro make as much effort as possible to keep OCP from closing? These questions, and many more, need to be answered.