Saturday, April 11, 2009

China: The High Cost of Cheap Junk

Authorities have found yet another inferior slave-labor product from Communist China that was imported to the United States and has turned out to not only be below-par in quality, but also may be hazardous to you and your family's health and safety. An AP Impact report out today states that Chinese-made drywall brought into the U.S. by builders "gives off fumes that can corrode copper pipes, blacken jewelry and silverware, and possibly sicken people."

Import records show that over a four year span, 500 million pounds of the tainted drywall was installed into over 100,000 homes, including some houses rebuilt after Hurricane Katrina. The drywall emits a very foul "rotten egg" odor that gets worse as temperatures and humidity rises. The product has left some homes uninhabitable. Five states and the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission are investigating. Property owners have nowhere to turn.

A U.S. Congressman from Florida has introduced a bill that would ban Chinese-made drywall until more is known about the chemicals used in its production.

This is the latest in a long line of hazardous, Chinese-made junk that has made its way into the U.S. due to the insatiable American demand for cheap consumer goods. You get what you pay for. Read the labels and do some research before you buy. Buying American now may not only save a job, but save a life, too.

Bike Station Delayed

Dan Klepal from the Courier Journal has written an excellent article in today's edition detailing what could be the beginning of the end for the proposed downtown bike station. It seems the terms of when the project has to be completed as well as the deadline for bidding construction has been pushed back. The mayor has written a letter to cyclists, council members and business leaders asking for a business plan on how to make the station sustain itself without long term government subsidies. One would think that the mayor would already have a plan in place before cutting the ribbon for construction.

The mayor obviously jumped the gun on announcing the project, and is now back-pedaling after significant public outcry from citizens and dedicated cyclists, and intense questioning of the city's priorities by council members. Hopefully, this delay will give the mayor the cover he needs to let this idea die.

Friday, April 10, 2009

The "Nose" Always Knows.....

When economic times get tough, crimes like robberies and burglaries are almost certain to rise. LMPD 3rd Division Major Jim Sohan says there has been a “substantial rise in residential burglaries in the last month.” This is enough to send most residents in a hot sprint to the gun shop. But in this time of record unemployment, even thieves may be running out of work soon.

You see, arrests have been made in a vast majority of the burglary cases. You can credit your "nosy neighbors" for being more active in reporting suspicious activity to police. Why so many reports to police by nosy neighbors you may ask? Because more people than ever before are laid off from their jobs. Nearly everyone is home due to lack of work, and they are bored to death. What does one do between watching Maury, clipping toenails and surfing the internet for job opportunities? You turn into the ubiquitous "nosy neighbor". Hear a car door slam? Take a look out the window. Hear glass breaking? Pick up the phone and call police. Bingo...we've got action!

I am certainly thankful for my nosy neighbors, unemployed or not. Looking out for one another is part of being a great community. If you have no nosy neighbors or are surrounded by them, you should consider organizing them by forming a block watch in your area. Let's put the people to work and put thieves out of business.

Click HERE for a list of frequently asked questions about neighborhood watch programs and information on starting your own.

[Hat-tip to the office of Doug Hawkins for providing crime info]

Arrangements Made For Dave Ernspiker

UPDATE - Sunday, April 12, 2009:
ERNSPIKER, CHRISTOPHER DAVID, 39, of Louisville, passed away Thursday, April 9, 2009 at his home. He was the founder of Big Rock Show Inc., a musician, music teacher and a worship leader for the Heart of Fire Church. He was also a member of Hopewell Baptist Church. He was preceded in death by his loving mother, Janet Dell Ernspiker. He is survived by his father, Edward Gene Ernspiker; his maternal grandmother, Edie Wilkins; paternal grandmother, Della Ernspiker; an uncle, Dan Ernspiker; and an aunt, Linda Hatter. The family would like to offer a special thank you to Mark Ernspiker Jr.

His funeral service will be held 2 p.m. Tuesday, April 14, 2009 at the Hopewell Baptist Church, 4305 Hopewell Road, with burial to follow in the Hopewell Cemetery. Visitation is 2-8 p.m. Monday at the Heart of Fire Church, 5101 Bardstown Road and after noon Tuesday at Hopewell Baptist Church. The family has entrusted Dave's arrangements to the Arch L. Heady at Resthaven Funeral Home. Memorial contributions may be made to the family in care of the funeral home.

Dave's bandmates released a statement through their facebook page:

We'd like to thank everyone for all their support through what is a tough time. Dave, Shawn, Mark and myself really appreciate it. Dave Ernspiker inspired so many people and had such love in his heart for what we do that it is really hard to put into words. Thanks everyone who came out last night to celebrate his life. We are blessed to have so many great friends. I'm not sure what is going to happen next but I can tell you this. We have discussed it an The Big Rock Show will go on. We think that's what Dave would we are searching for a guitar player and we will be having different people fill in until we find someone who can do what we need. We can never replace Dave. But we will still be around. I'll see you guys tonight at Mac's Hideaway where Wyndell Williams will be playing guitar for us tonight. I Love You Dave!! I Miss You Bro!! You will always be on stage in my heart with The Big Rock Show!!!

Mac's Hideaway is located at 1636 Slate Run Road in New Albany.

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Local Guitar Hero Passes Away

Louisville guitarist and all-around great guy Dave Ernspiker passed away today. He was 39. Dave was a part of Big Rock Show, a successful local rock band. I met Dave 17 years ago. He was a really good person. Many years ago at the old Cliffhanger's, Dave and I were on a double date and he got up and performed a song that blew us all away. Very classy guy. The world needs more Dave Ernspikers.

Details remain sketchy, but I will relay the arragements to you as they become available.

Council Passes eTransparency Ordinance

It is done. Just minutes ago, the Louisville Metro Council passed the eTransparency ordinance. I received word of the vote from my good friend Steve @ Louisville History & Issues. Here's his note to me:

With everyone signing on as a sponsor (!), E-Transparency passed with 25 yes, 1 not voting.

Mark it on your calendars folks...

On April 9, 2009, the Transparent Age begins in Louisville, Kentucky!

Thanks to everyone in Louisville who helped build the movement to get this done, especially in such a non-partisan manner.


Thanks to everyone who contributed to this cause. We deserve better government, and this ordinance proves that when we raise our voices as one, we can make a difference. Thanks again.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Shively Gets Tough On Residential Parking

The Shively City Council has voted to strengthen enforcement of a law that prohibits residents from parking any vehicle in one's yard or any other area that is not paved. Citations will be written by Shively Police, rather than relying on code enforcement officials. Citizens in violation will receive a warning, then have 10 days to move the vehicle. Fines will range from $25 to $100.

The CJ has an article on the story, but there is no word on permits for extraordinary events, such as Derby parties.

What do you think? Ham-handed silliness or reasonable policy?

Southwest Louisville Park News & Happenings

- Riverside, The Farnsley-Moremen Landing will be holding its plant and herb sale April 17th through April 19th at the home, 7410 Moorman Road. For sale hours or to "pre-order", visit the website's events section by clicking HERE.

-The first phase of improvements to Waverly Park have been completed. If you have not visited the park in a while, I would urge you to do so. And bring your fishing pole. The park's man-made lake has been overhauled and stocked. The Courier-Journal has a story on the park in today's Neighborhood section HERE.

Goodbye to the Heeb

There are two stories in today's news dealing with people leaving their positions in local organizations. The first, and most shocking, is Mark Hebert choosing to leave WHAS11 to take a communications job with the University of Louisville. The public will be poorer in Hebert's absence, as he is a fine investigative reporter with impeccable integrity. I have always admired him and I hate to see him go, but I wish him the best. The 'Ville Voice is covering the story HERE.

The second story is much less important, but still deserves to be discussed. Michael Porter, the guy who played point guard for the University of Kentucky men's basketball team this season, is leaving the team to concentrate on his studies and getting ready to be a father. The CJ has the story, along with a few distasteful yet hilarious comments. Click HERE.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Council to Address Metro Transparency & Ethics "Tip Line"

The 'Ville Voice is reporting the "transparency ordinance" that was introduced in February will be voted on during this week's council meeting. You can view the text of the proposal HERE.
Councilman Kevin Kramer will also be introducing an ordinance to establish a metro ethics "tip line". Both ordinances have broad bi-partisan support. Here's what Councilman Kramer had to say:

“This ordinance, along with the e-transparency and ethics ordinances is cornerstones for a more open and accessible local government. This ordinance follows the best practices of other communities and offers government employees and the public a 3rd party anonymous tip line, as prescribed by both the Metro and State Auditor’s Offices,” Kramer said.

It is not clear if the mayor would sign either of these ordinances into law.

Monday, April 06, 2009

It's Monday Night...Is There A Ballgame On Or Something?

- So much for the myth of "Japanese car plants or parts suppliers never lay anyone off". Toyota Boshoku America is laying off over 300 workers and closing it's plant in Leitchfield, KY. The company is moving the production to Mexico. WHAS11 has the story.

- The Kentucky Lottery turned 20 years old today, reminding us that gambling adds a lot of money to state coffers. Over $3 billion in proceeds have been paid to state education programs. As we reflect on that benefit to our Commonwealth, perhaps we should consider raising our voices in support of expanded gaming. Think about it.

- It is going to freeze tonight, so cover up those flowers or new plants you may have added to your garden. But don't use plastic. It doesn't work as well as cloth.

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Storm Debris Crews Working in SW Louisville

I am extremely happy to report to you that my storm debris was picked up yesterday. That is really all I have to say about it. I'm just glad it is over for me, personally. I hope yours is gone soon, too.