Thursday, September 26, 2013

Car show, community meetings start fall off with a bang in SW Louisville

The weather is just right for outdoor activities, and the regular schedule of exciting events is once again in place. Grab some friends and get out for some local entertainment this weekend and all through the month of October.

- 35th Annual Louisville Street Rods car show at Iroquois Park. Saturday, September 28 and Sunday, September 29, 2013 from 8am until 5pm Saturday. 8am to 4pm Sunday.

- District 12 residents know that one Saturday a month they have a chance to talk one on one with Councilman Rick Blackwell. The next “Coffee with your Councilman” is set for Saturday, October 5th. This event will take place at Sister Beans Coffeehouse, 5225 New Cut Road beginning at 10:00am. There is no formal program and no need to sign up, just stop by and talk with the Councilman about any issue or concern you may have for the district. For more information about the October “Coffee with your Councilman”, contact Councilman Blackwell’s office at 574-1112. 
- A free canoeing event will be held October 5th at Riverview Park (Greenwood Boat Dock). Registration is required, but there is no fee or charge to participate. Come enjoy this awesome new event in Southwest Louisville. Click HERE for the event flyer and more information!  

Have an event you'd like to see here? Contact us and we will post it for free. Thanks for reading the Valley report.

Wednesday, August 07, 2013

District 13's "Coffee with your Councilwoman" returns Saturday, August 17th

Councilwoman Vicki Aubrey Welch will bring MetroSafe to District 13 at her next “Coffee with your Councilwoman” as the series returns on Saturday, August 17th.

“Many people are unaware of the role MetroSafe plays in connecting people with Police, Fire and EMS,” says Welch. “This one agency of government is vital to public safety and I want everyone to have a chance to learn more about it.”

Debbie Fox, Director of Metro Safe will be Councilwoman Welch’s special guest for the event. A District 13 resident herself, Fox will talk about MetroSafe’s services and how the public can play a vital role in safeguarding the community.

“Coffee with your Councilwoman” is an informal gathering open to the public and offers an opportunity to discuss community issues with Councilwoman Welch in a relaxed setting at First String Family Grill, located at 5921 New Cut Road beginning at 9:00am.

Do you have a question about Louisville Metro Government? How about a concern for your neighborhood? Is there an important issue facing our community you’d like to share? This is your chance to ask those questions over a free cup of coffee. No appointment is needed.

“The start of a new school year is just around the corner and so are many other events in District 13,” says Welch. “Come out and find out about all that is going on in the district.”

For more information about the August “Coffee with your Councilwoman”, contact Councilwoman Welch’s office at 574-1113.

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Metro Council's Democratic Caucus members encourage public to attend meeting concerning tolls for the Ohio River Bridges project

Members of the Democratic Caucus of the Louisville Metro Council are encouraging anyone who is concerned about tolls on the new Ohio River Bridges to voice their concerns or opinions at two open house meetings early next week.

“The project’s coordinators want to hear from any low income or minority groups that will feel the impact of tolls,” said Councilman David James (D-6), chairman of the Caucus. “It is important that all voices and all areas of Louisville and Southern Indiana be heard.”

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the Indiana Department of Transpiration currently have a draft assessment of the impact of tolls for the project. The Open House meetings are being held to gauge more public input.

On Sunday, several members of the Democratic Caucus held a news conference encouraging public participation. “Right now all attention is focused on the beginning of construction but it is important to remember when these bridges are completed, tolls will become a reality,” said Councilman Rick Blackwell (D-12).

“Many people are still struggling in this economy and for some these proposed tolls are going to be a burden. That’s why now is the time to voice how you will be impacted if tolls are placed on these new bridges,” says Councilwoman Attica Scott (D-1).

Here is the information for both meetings from the Ohio River Bridges Project::
· Monday, July 22, from 4 to 7 p.m. EDT at the Holiday Inn Clarksville, 505 Marriott Dr., Clarksville, Ind.
· Tuesday, July 23, from 4 to 7 p.m. EDT at the Kentucky Center for African American Heritage, 1701 W. Muhammad Ali Blvd., Louisville, Ky.

 For those using public transportation, the route information for Transit Authority of River City (TARC) is:
· July 22 meeting – Take TARC to the Spring Street stops at 14th or 15th streets in Jeffersonville, Ind. Shuttle to Holiday Inn Clarksville will be provided at that point.
· July 23 meeting – Take TARC to the Muhammad Ali & 17th Street stop.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Riverview Park Independence Festival returns on Saturday, June 29th

The Riverview Park Independence Festival returns on Saturday, June 29th for an evening of music, family
fun, and a barge load of fireworks on the Ohio River.

“This is the Independence Festival’s second year and we have expanded the fun and entertainment for everyone’s enjoyment,” said Councilman Rick Blackwell (D-12). “This is the only Independence Day Celebration of its kind in Southwest Louisville.”

“This festival is a great chance to build community and bring families out to one of the Southwest’s crown jewels,” says Councilwoman Cindi Fowler (D-14) “Riverview Park is the perfect setting for a festival and fireworks show.”

The Riverview Park Independence Festival will run from 5:00pm to 11:00pm on Saturday, June 29th. It is a free event. Joining Blackwell and Fowler as Metro Council sponsors are Vicki Aubrey Welch (D-13) and David Yates (D-25).

Among the highlights of this year’s Festival:
  • Events emcee’d by Southwest Louisville’s own Dawne Gee 
  • Musical performances by 31W (6:00pm – 8:00pm) and Ode 2 the Gnu (8:30pm – 10:30pm) 
  • Kids’ activities include appearances by Louisville League of Mascots, “Make your Own Slime” and “Make your Own Cotton Candy” provided by Mad Science of Kentucky; and the wonderful Riverview Splash Park! 
  • Louisville Water Company providing the “Bubbler” – refillable water station – so be sure to bring your own Louisville Pure Tap refillable bottles 
  • Food Vendors include Traveling Kitchen and Genius in a Box from Louisville Food Truck Association and Ron’s Hot Dogs and Ehrler’s Ice Cream 
  • Fantastic Fireworks Show on the Ohio River at 10:30 pm!
Limited parking is available at the park. Additional parking will be available at PRP High School (5901 Greenwood Road) and TARC will be providing a trolley shuttle service for attendees.

To see a listing of all the events for the Riverview Park Independence Festival go to

Thursday, June 13, 2013

2013 Ohio River Sweep set for Saturday, June 15

The 24th annual Ohio River Sweep is set for Saturday, June 15, from 9:00 A.M. to 12:00 Noon at Riverview Park, 8202 Greenwood Road.

Since 1989, this award-winning cleanup for the Ohio River and its tributaries brings thousands of volunteers to the riverbanks to collect tons of trash and debris. River Sweep encompasses the entire length of the river, from its origin in Pittsburgh, PA to its end in Cairo, IL, including nearly 3,000 miles of shoreline and many tributaries.

More than 15,000 volunteers will pick up trash and debris along 1,800 miles of riverbank. Six states and 72 counties are represented.

Volunteers may contact Rhonda Boyle-Crotzer at 540-6552

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Reminder: Weekend events in the Southwest, June 1st, 2013

- Stop by The Little Loomhouse for the Spin-A-Yarn Storytelling Festival Saturday, June 1st 10:30am-2:30pm. There will be historic tours, bluegrass music, weaving, spinning, basket weaving and blacksmithing demonstrations. Admission is only $2, with $1 admission for Seniors 65 and over and free admission for children 6 and under. The first 200 to arrive will receive free festival t-shirts. There will be free TARC Trolley transportation from DeSales High School’s parking lot (425 West Kenwood Drive). More information about the festival can be found HERE.

- The Americana World Festival is a multicultural celebration held each summer. This year’s Festival will take place Saturday, June 1st 11:00am-9:00pm at Iroquois Amphitheatre. There will be live music, a Kids Zone, food, crafts, a beer garden and much more. For more information, please call 502-368-5865 or visit

- Councilman Rick Blackwell holds the next “Coffee with your Councilman” on Saturday, June 1st. The event will take place at Sister Beans Coffeehouse, 5225 New Cut Road beginning at 10:00am. There is no formal program and no need to sign up, just stop by and talk with the Councilman about any issue or concern you may have for the district. For more information about the June “Coffee with your Councilman”, contact Councilman Blackwell’s office at 574-1112.

- The Archery Team at Farnsley Middle School has made it to their first World Tournament. Volunteers are raising money for the team's travel expenses to this year's tournament to be held in St. Louis, MO at the end of June. This Saturday, June 1st, a car wash fundraiser is being held at the Sears Auto Center in front of K-Mart, 4915 Dixie Hwy. This event begins at 10am. Come on out and help these talented kids on their first big World Tournament appearance. For more information or to RSVP, click the event's facebook page.

There are several events planned for next weekend as well. Stay up to date with happenings and check back here regularly. If you would like to promote your event, drop us a line by clicking the link in the Contact box, located on the top right corner of the site.

As always, have a great weekend and thanks for reading the Valley Report.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Koch & Company adds art classes to celebrate two great years on Dixie

The ladies of Koch & Company
It has been two years since we introduced you to Koch and Company, a fine art consignment and framing shop in the Valley Station Shopping Center, and owner Deborah Koch says she's ready for more as she launches the next stage of her business.

Since opening in 2010, Koch & Company has been on an even keel. Koch reports although the economy remains stubborn, new offerings in the shop are bringing in customers from all over town.

Koch says, "[Our products] are treated as a luxury item and we realize people have to buy necessities like fuel and food pay bills before you buy art,". Because of the difficult economic conditions, Deborah and staff had to literally "get creative".

While the framing part of the business remains steady, Koch, with her staff Alecia Thurman and Kellie Burton, considered entering the growing "paint your own art" segment - an increasingly popular activity that is drawing in diverse crowds of people. "We decided to come up with a plan to open an art school and four days later we had it done. It has caught on like wildfire," says Koch.

For more information on Koch and Company's art classes or to book a class, visit or stop by and see the ladies.

Koch & Company is located at 10970 Dixie Highway and is a member of the Louisville Independent Business Alliance (LIBA).

The future looks bright for Koch & Company with new offerings and a possible expansion in the works.

Deborah says,"We would like to invite everyone in Southwest Louisville, West Point and Radcliff to spend on Dixie instead of traveling beyond our community." 

In photo, from Left: Student Amy French, Instructor Alecia Thurman, Deborah Koch and Instructor Kellie Burton enjoying Oaks Day

Thursday, May 09, 2013

Annual Festival of Flowers this Saturday in Beechmont

The Beechmont Neighborhood Association will hold its annual Festival of Flowers Saturday, May 11th at the world-famous Gazebo on the corner of Southern Parkway and Woodlawn Avenue from 9:00 AM. till 3:00 PM.

Admission is free for all.

Again this year, the festival is offering select herbs, perennials and many bedding plants along with a variety of gardening and craft items for sale

Food will be available for purchase and music will be provided all day through this day-long event.

Bring the children for face and flower pot painting!

All proceeds benefit the Beechmont Neighborhood Association.

Save the date: 5th annual 'Spin-A-Yarn Storytelling Festival' at The Little Loomhouse

A South Louisville treasure, The Little Loomhouse, is presenting the 5th annual Spin-A-Yarn Storytelling
Festival on Saturday, June 1, 2013 from 11:00 AM -3:00 PM. 

Presenting storytelling from several talented Kentuckiana residents including Dawne Gee of WAVE 3 News, this family-friendly festival also includes bluegrass music from The Shuttle Winders, weaving and spinning demonstrations, a blacksmith, and historic cabin tours.
The first 200 visitors to the Spin-A-Yarn Storytelling Festival will receive a free Little Loomhouse t-shirt.  General Admission is $2.00 per person.  Seniors 65 and older will be admitted for $1.00, and children six and under are free.  Food and drinks will be available for purchase.  All proceeds benefit The Little Loomhouse.  
There will be free parking behind DeSales High School at 425 West Kenwood Drive and free TARC Trolley transportation between DeSales and The Little Loomhouse.  
Please be advised that the Little Loomhouse is in a rustic setting on a steep hill.  Access to the storytelling area is via a sloped gravel pathway.
About The Little Loomhouse: Home of the Happy Birthday Song and founded in 1939 by Master Weaver Lou Tate Bousman, The Little Loomhouse is one of the few organizations devoted to keeping the ancient art of handweaving and its history alive.
Since 1979, it has been operated by the nonprofit Lou Tate Foundation, Inc.  The Little Loomhouse consists of three restored, century-old, board and batten cabins listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and is designated as a Kentucky State Historic Site, and a Louisville Landmark. 
Volunteers provide tours, demonstrations, classes and special programs on spinning and weaving to persons of all ages. 
You can learn more about The Little Loomhouse by visiting our website at

Saturday, May 04, 2013

The Kentucky Derby WAS Decadent and Depraved

(Editor's Note: This is the annual repost of the way Derby used to be before corporate entities and profit schemes took over our beloved pastime. Written in 1970 by Louisvillian Hunter S. Thompson, it is a snapshot in time. The Kentucky Derby is no longer decadent or depraved. It is simply a Saturday afternoon party for east-side trust fund twentysomethings.)

The Kentucky Derby Is Decadent and Depraved

by Hunter S. Thompson

I got off the plane around midnight and no one spoke as I crossed the dark runway to the terminal. The air was thick and hot, like wandering into a steam bath. Inside, people hugged each other and shook hands...big grins and a whoop here and there: "By God! You old bastard! Good to see you, boy! Damn good...and I mean it!"

In the air-conditioned lounge I met a man from Houston who said his name was something or other — "but just call me Jimbo" — and he was here to get it on. "I'm ready for anything, by God! Anything at all. Yeah, what are you drinkin?" I ordered a Margarita with ice, but he wouldn't hear of it: "Naw, naw...what the hell kind of drink is that for Kentucky Derby time? What's wrong with you, boy?" He grinned and winked at the bartender. "Goddam, we gotta educate this boy. Get him some good whiskey..."

I shrugged. "Okay, a double Old Fitz on ice." Jimbo nodded his approval.

"Look." He tapped me on the arm to make sure I was listening. "I know this Derby crowd, I come here every year, and let me tell you one thing I've learned — this is no town to be giving people the impression you're some kind of faggot. Not in public, anyway. Shit, they'll roll you in a minute, knock you in the head and take every goddam cent you have."

I thanked him and fitted a Marlboro into my cigarette holder. "Say," he said, "you look like you might be in the horse I right?"

"No," I said. "I'm a photographer."

"Oh yeah?" He eyed my ragged leather bag with new interest. "Is that what you got there--cameras? Who you work for?"

"Playboy," I said.

He laughed. "Well, goddam! What are you gonna take pictures of — nekkid horses? Haw! I guess you'll be workin' pretty hard when they run the Kentucky Oaks. That's a race just for fillies." He was laughing wildly. "Hell yes! And they'll all be nekkid too!"

I shook my head and said nothing; just stared at him for a moment, trying to look grim. "There's going to be trouble," I said. "My assignment is to take pictures of the riot."

"What riot?"

I hesitated, twirling the ice in my drink. "At the track. On Derby Day. The Black Panthers." I stared at him again. "Don't you read the newspapers?"

The grin on his face had collapsed. "What the hell are you talkin' about?"

"Well...maybe I shouldn't be telling you..." I shrugged. "But hell, everybody else seems to know. The cops and the National Guard have been getting ready for six weeks. They have 20,000 troops on alert at Fort Knox. They've warned us — all the press and photographers — to wear helmets and special vests like flak jackets. We were told to expect shooting..."

"No!" he shouted; his hands flew up and hovered momentarily between us, as if to ward off the words he was hearing. Then he whacked his fist on the bar. "Those sons of bitches! God Almighty! The Kentucky Derby!" He kept shaking his head. "No! Jesus! That's almost too bad to believe!" Now he seemed to be sagging on the stool, and when he looked up his eyes were misty. "Why? Why here? Don't they respect anything?"

I shrugged again. "It's not just the Panthers. The FBI says busloads of white crazies are coming in from all over the country — to mix with the crowd and attack all at once, from every direction. They'll be dressed like everybody else. You know — coats and ties and all that. But when the trouble starts...well, that's why the cops are so worried."

He sat for a moment, looking hurt and confused and not quite able to digest all this terrible news. Then he cried out: "Oh...Jesus! What in the name of God is happening in this country? Where can you get away from it?"

"Not here," I said, picking up my bag. "Thanks for the drink...and good luck."

He grabbed my arm, urging me to have another, but I said I was overdue at the Press Club and hustled off to get my act together for the awful spectacle. At the airport newsstand I picked up a Courier-Journal and scanned the front page headlines: "Nixon Sends GI's into Cambodia to Hit Reds"... "B-52's Raid, then 20,000 GI's Advance 20 Miles"..."4,000 U.S. Troops Deployed Near Yale as Tension Grows Over Panther Protest." At the bottom of the page was a photo of Diane Crump, soon to become the first woman jockey ever to ride in the Kentucky Derby. The photographer had snapped her "stopping in the barn area to fondle her mount, Fathom." The rest of the paper was spotted with ugly war news and stories of "student unrest." There was no mention of any trouble brewing at university in Ohio called Kent State.

I went to the Hertz desk to pick up my car, but the moon-faced young swinger in charge said they didn't have any. "You can't rent one anywhere," he assured me. "Our Derby reservations have been booked for six weeks." I explained that my agent had confirmed a white Chrysler convertible for me that very afternoon but he shook his head. "Maybe we'll have a cancellation. Where are you staying?"

I shrugged. "Where's the Texas crowd staying? I want to be with my people."

He sighed. "My friend, you're in trouble. This town is flat full. Always is, for the Derby."

I leaned closer to him, half-whispering: "Look, I'm from Playboy. How would you like a job?"

He backed off quickly. "What? Come on, now. What kind of a job?"

"Never mind," I said. "You just blew it." I swept my bag off the counter and went to find a cab. The bag is a valuable prop in this kind of work; mine has a lot of baggage tags on it — SF, LA, NY, Lima, Rome, Bangkok, that sort of thing — and the most prominent tag of all is a very official, plastic-coated thing that says "Photog. Playboy Mag." I bought it from a pimp in Vail, Colorado, and he told me how to use it. "Never mention Playboy until you're sure they've seen this thing first," he said. "Then, when you see them notice it, that's the time to strike. They'll go belly up ever time. This thing is magic, I tell you. Pure magic."

Well...maybe so. I'd used it on the poor geek in the bar, and now humming along in a Yellow Cab toward town, I felt a little guilty about jangling the poor bugger's brains with that evil fantasy. But what the hell? Anybody who wanders around the world saying, "Hell yes, I'm from Texas," deserves whatever happens to him. And he had, after all, come here once again to make a nineteenth-century ass of himself in the midst of some jaded, atavistic freakout with nothing to recommend it except a very saleable "tradition." Early in our chat, Jimbo had told me that he hadn't missed a Derby since 1954. "The little lady won't come anymore," he said. "She grits her teeth and turns me loose for this one. And when I say 'loose' I do mean loose! I toss ten-dollar bills around like they were goin' out of style! Horses, whiskey, women...shit, there's women in this town that'll do anything for money."

Why not? Money is a good thing to have in these twisted times. Even Richard Nixon is hungry for it. Only a few days before the Derby he said, "If I had any money I'd invest it in the stock market." And the market, meanwhile, continued its grim slide.

The next day was heavy. With only thirty hours until post time I had no press credentials and--according to the sports editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal--no hope at all of getting any. Worse, I needed two sets: one for myself and another for Ralph Steadman, the English illustrator who was coming from London to do some Derby drawings. All I knew about him was that this was his first visit to the United States. And the more I pondered the fact, the more it gave me fear. How would he bear up under the heinous culture shock of being lifted out of London and plunged into the drunken mob scene at the Kentucky Derby? There was no way of knowing. Hopefully, he would arrive at least a day or so ahead, and give himself time to get acclimated. Maybe a few hours of peaceful sightseeing in the Bluegrass country around Lexington. My plan was to pick him up at the airport in the huge Pontiac Ballbuster I'd rented from a used-car salesman name Colonel Quick, then whisk him off to some peaceful setting that might remind him of England.

Colonel Quick had solved the car problem, and money (four times the normal rate) had bought two rooms in a scumbox on the outskirts of town. The only other kink was the task of convincing the moguls at Churchill Downs that Scanlan's was such a prestigious sporting journal that common sense compelled them to give us two sets of the best press tickets. This was not easily done. My first call to the publicity office resulted in total failure. The press handler was shocked at the idea that anyone would be stupid enough to apply for press credentials two days before the Derby. "Hell, you can't be serious," he said. "The deadline was two months ago. The press box is full; there's no more room...and what the hell is Scanlan's Monthly anyway?"

I uttered a painful groan. "Didn't the London office call you? They're flying an artist over to do the paintings. Steadman. He's Irish. I think. Very famous over there. Yes. I just got in from the Coast. The San Francisco office told me we were all set."

He seemed interested, and even sympathetic, but there was nothing he could do. I flattered him with more gibberish, and finally he offered a compromise: he could get us two passes to the clubhouse grounds but the clubhouse itself and especially the press box were out of the question.

"That sounds a little weird," I said. "It's unacceptable. We must have access tp everything. All of it. The spectacle, the people, the pageantry and certainly the race. You don't think we came all this way to watch the damn thing on television, do you? One way or another we'll get inside. Maybe we'll have to bribe a guard--or even Mace somebody." (I had picked up a spray can of Mace in a downtown drugstore for $5.98 and suddenly, in the midst of that phone talk, I was struck by the hideous possibilities of using it out at the track. Macing ushers at the narrow gates to the clubhouse inner sanctum, then slipping quickly inside, firing a huge load of Mace into the governor's box, just as the race starts. Or Macing helpless drunks in the clubhouse restroom, for their own good...)

By noon on Friday I was still without press credentials and still unable to locate Steadman. For all I knew he'd changed his mind and gone back to London. Finally, after giving up on Steadman and trying unsuccessfully to reach my man in the press office, I decided my only hope for credentials was to go out to the track and confront the man in person, with no warning--demanding only one pass now, instead of two, and talking very fast with a strange lilt in my voice, like a man trying hard to control some inner frenzy. On the way out, I stopped at the motel desk to cash a check. Then, as a useless afterthought, I asked if by any wild chance a Mr. Steadman had checked in.

The lady on the desk was about fifty years old and very peculiar-looking; when I mentioned Steadman's name she nodded, without looking up from whatever she was writing, and said in a low voice, "You bet he did." Then she favored me with a big smile. "Yes, indeed. Mr. Steadman just left for the racetrack. Is he a friend of yours?"

I shook my head. "I'm supposed to be working with him, but I don't even know what he looks like. Now, goddammit, I'll have to find him in the mob at the track."

She chuckled. "You won't have any trouble finding him. You could pick that man out of any crowd."

"Why?" I asked. "What's wrong with him? What does he look like?"

"Well..." she said, still grinning, "he's the funniest looking thing I've seen in a long time. He has this...ah...this growth all over his face. As a matter of fact it's all over his head." She nodded. "You'll know him when you see him; don't worry about that."

Creeping Jesus, I thought. That screws the press credentials. I had a vision of some nerve-rattling geek all covered with matted hair and string-warts showing up in the press office and demanding Scanlan's press packet. Well...what the hell? We could always load up on acid and spend the day roaming around the clubhouse grounds with bit sketch pads, laughing hysterically at the natives and swilling mint juleps so the cops wouldn't think we're abnormal. Perhaps even make the act pay; set up an easel with a big sign saying, "Let a Foreign Artist Paint Your Portrait, $10 Each. Do It NOW!"

I took the expressway out to the track, driving very fast and jumping the monster car back and forth between lanes, driving with a beer in one hand and my mind so muddled that I almost crushed a Volkswagen full of nuns when I swerved to catch the right exit. There was a slim chance, I thought, that I might be able to catch the ugly Britisher before he checked in.

But Steadman was already in the press box when I got there, a bearded young Englishman wearing a tweed coat and RAF sunglasses. There was nothing particularly odd about him. No facial veins or clumps of bristly warts. I told him about the motel woman's description and he seemed puzzled. "Don't let it bother you," I said. "Just keep in mind for the next few days that we're in Louisville, Kentucky. Not London. Not even New York. This is a weird place. You're lucky that mental defective at the motel didn't jerk a pistol out of the cash register and blow a big hole in you." I laughed, but he looked worried.

"Just pretend you're visiting a huge outdoor loony bin," I said. "If the inmates get out of control we'll soak them down with Mace." I showed him the can of "Chemical Billy," resisting the urge to fire it across the room at a rat-faced man typing diligently in the Associated Press section. We were standing at the bar, sipping the management's Scotch and congratulating each other on our sudden, unexplained luck in picking up two sets of fine press credentials. The lady at the desk had been very friendly to him, he said. "I just told her my name and she gave me the whole works."

By midafternoon we had everything under control. We had seats looking down on the finish line, color TV and a free bar in the press room, and a selection of passes that would take us anywhere from the clubhouse roof to the jockey room. The only thing we lacked was unlimited access to the clubhouse inner sanctum in sections "F&G"...and I felt we needed that, to see the whiskey gentry in action. The governor, a swinish neo-Nazi hack named Louis Nunn, would be in "G," along with Barry Goldwater and Colonel Sanders. I felt we'd be legal in a box in "G" where we could rest and sip juleps, soak up a bit of atmosphere and the Derby's special vibrations.

The bars and dining rooms are also in "F&G," and the clubhouse bars on Derby Day are a very special kind of scene. Along with the politicians, society belles and local captains of commerce, every half-mad dingbat who ever had any pretensions to anything at all within five hundred miles of Louisville will show up there to get strutting drunk and slap a lot of backs and generally make himself obvious. The Paddock bar is probably the best place in the track to sit and watch faces. Nobody minds being stared at; that's what they're in there for. Some people spend most of their time in the Paddock; they can hunker down at one of the many wooden tables, lean back in a comfortable chair and watch the ever-changing odds flash up and down on the big tote board outside the window. Black waiters in white serving jackets move through the crowd with trays of drinks, while the experts ponder their racing forms and the hunch bettors pick lucky numbers or scan the lineup for right-sounding names. There is a constant flow of traffic to and from the pari-mutuel windows outside in the wooden corridors. Then, as post time nears, the crowd thins out as people go back to their boxes.

Clearly, we were going to have to figure out some way to spend more time in the clubhouse tomorrow. But the "walkaround" press passes to F&G were only good for thirty minutes at a time, presumably to allow the newspaper types to rush in and out for photos or quick interviews, but to prevent drifters like Steadman and me from spending all day in the clubhouse, harassing the gentry and rifling the odd handbag or two while cruising around the boxes. Or Macing the governor. The time limit was no problem on Friday, but on Derby Day the walkaround passes would be in heavy demand. And since it took about ten minutes to get from the press box to the Paddock, and ten more minutes to get back, that didn't leave much time for serious people-watching. And unlike most of the others in the press box, we didn't give a hoot in hell what was happening on the track. We had come there to watch the real beasts perform.

Later Friday afternoon, we went out on the balcony of the press box and I tried to describe the difference between what we were seeing today and what would be happening tomorrow. This was the first time I'd been to a Derby in ten years, but before that, when I lived in Louisville, I used to go every year. Now, looking down from the press box, I pointed to the huge grassy meadow enclosed by the track. "That whole thing," I said, "will be jammed with people; fifty thousand or so, and most of them staggering drunk. It's a fantastic scene — thousands of people fainting, crying, copulating, trampling each other and fighting with broken whiskey bottles. We'll have to spend some time out there, but it's hard to move around, too many bodies."

"Is it safe out there?" Will we ever come back?"

"Sure," I said. "We'll just have to be careful not to step on anybody's stomach and start a fight." I shrugged. "Hell, this clubhouse scene right below us will be almost as bad as the infield. Thousands of raving, stumbling drunks, getting angrier and angrier as they lose more and more money. By midafternoon they'll be guzzling mint juleps with both hands and vomitting on each other between races. The whole place will be jammed with bodies, shoulder to shoulder. It's hard to move around. The aisles will be slick with vomit; people falling down and grabbing at your legs to keep from being stomped. Drunks pissing on themselves in the betting lines. Dropping handfuls of money and fighting to stoop over and pick it up."

He looked so nervous that I laughed. "I'm just kidding," I said. "Don't worry. At the first hint of trouble I'll start pumping this 'Chemical Billy' into the crowd."

He had done a few good sketches, but so far we hadn't seen that special kind of face that I felt we would need for a lead drawing. It was a face I'd seen a thousand times at every Derby I'd ever been to. I saw it, in my head, as the mask of the whiskey gentry — a pretentious mix of booze, failed dreams and a terminal identity crisis; the inevitable result of too much inbreeding in a closed and ignorant culture. One of the key genetic rules in breeding dogs, horses or any other kind of thoroughbred is that close inbreeding tends to magnify the weak points in a bloodline as well as the strong points. In horse breeding, for instance, there is a definite risk in breeding two fast horses who are both a little crazy. The offspring will likely be very fast and also very crazy. So the trick in breeding thoroughbreds is to retain the good traits and filter out the bad. But the breeding of humans is not so wisely supervised, particularly in a narrow Southern society where the closest kind of inbreeding is not only stylish and acceptable, but far more convenient--to the parents--than setting their offspring free to find their own mates, for their own reasons and in their own ways. ("Goddam, did you hear about Smitty's daughter? She went crazy in Boston last week and married a nigger!")

So the face I was trying to find in Churchill Downs that weekend was a symbol, in my own mind, of the whole doomed atavistic culture that makes the Kentucky Derby what it is.

On our way back to the motel after Friday's races I warned Steadman about some of the other problems we'd have to cope with. Neither of us had brought any strange illegal drugs, so we would have to get by on booze. "You should keep in mind," I said, "that almost everybody you talk to from now on will be drunk. People who seem very pleasant at first might suddenly swing at you for no reason at all." He nodded, staring straight ahead. He seemed to be getting a little numb and I tried to cheer him up by inviting to dinner that night, with my brother.

Back at the motel we talked for awhile about America, the South, England--just relaxing a bit before dinner. There was no way either of us could have known, at the time, that it would be the last normal conversation we would have. From that point on, the weekend became a vicious, drunken nightmare. We both went completely to pieces. The main problem was my prior attachment to Louisville, which naturally led to meetings with old friends, relatives, etc., many of whom were in the process of falling apart, going mad, plotting divorces, cracking up under the strain of terrible debts or recovering from bad accidents. Right in the middle of the whole frenzied Derby action, a member of my own family had to be institutionalized. This added a certain amount of strain to the situation, and since poor Steadman had no choice but to take whatever came his way, he was subjected to shock after shock.

Another problem was his habit of sketching people he met in the various social situations I dragged him into--then giving them the sketches. The results were always unfortunate. I warned him several times about letting the subjects see his foul renderings, but for some perverse reason he kept doing it. Consequently, he was regarded with fear and loathing by nearly everyone who'd seen or even heard about his work. Ho couldn't understand it. "It's sort of a joke," he kept saying. "Why, in England it's quite normal. People don't take offense. They understand that I'm just putting them on a bit."

"Fuck England," I said. "This is Middle America. These people regard what you're doing to them as a brutal, bilious insult. Look what happened last night. I thought my brother was going to tear your head off."

Steadman shook his head sadly. "But I liked him. He struck me as a very decent, straightforward sort."

"Look, Ralph," I said. "Let's not kid ourselves. That was a very horrible drawing you gave him. It was the face of a monster. It got on his nerves very badly." I shrugged. "Why in hell do you think we left the restaurant so fast?"

"I thought it was because of the Mace," he said.

"What Mace?"

He grinned. "When you shot it at the headwaiter, don't you remember?"

"Hell, that was nothing," I said. "I missed him...and we were leaving, anyway."

"But it got all over us," he said. "The room was full of that damn gas. Your brother was sneezing was and his wife was crying. My eyes hurt for two hours. I couldn't see to draw when we got back to the motel."

"That's right," I said. "The stuff got on her leg, didn't it?"

"She was angry," he said.

"Yeah...well, okay...Let's just figure we fucked up about equally on that one," I said. "But from now on let's try to be careful when we're around people I know. You won't sketch them and I won't Mace them. We'll just try to relax and get drunk."

"Right," he said. "We'll go native."

It was Saturday morning, the day of the Big Race, and we were having breakfast in a plastic hamburger palace called the Fish-Meat Village. Our rooms were just across the road in the Brown Suburban Hotel. They had a dining room, but the food was so bad that we couldn't handle it anymore. The waitresses seemed to be suffering from shin splints; they moved around very slowly, moaning and cursing the "darkies" in the kitchen.

Steadman liked the Fish-Meat place because it had fish and chips. I preferred the "French toast," which was really pancake batter, fried to the proper thickness and then chopped out with a sort of cookie cutter to resemble pieces of toast.

Beyond drink and lack of sleep, our only real problem at that point was the question of access to the clubhouse. Finally, we decided to go ahead and steal two passes, if necessary, rather than miss that part of the action. This was the last coherent decision we were able to make for the next forty-eight hours. From that point on — almost from the very moment we started out to the track — we lost all control of events and spent the rest of the weekend churning around in a sea of drunken horrors. My notes and recollections from Derby Day are somewhat scrambled.

But now, looking at the big red notebook I carried all through that scene, I see more or less what happened. The book itself is somewhat mangled and bent; some of the pages are torn, others are shriveled and stained by what appears to be whiskey, but taken as a whole, with sporadic memory flashes, the notes seem to tell the story. To wit:

Rain all nite until dawn. No sleep. Christ, here we go, a nightmare of mud and madness...But no. By noon the sun burns through — perfect day, not even humid.

Steadman is now worried about fire. Somebody told him about the clubhouse catching on fire two years ago. Could it happen again? Horrible. Trapped in the press box. Holocaust. A hundred thousand people fighting to get out. Drunks screaming in the flames and the mud, crazed horses running wild. Blind in the smoke. Grandstand collapsing into the flames with us on the roof. Poor Ralph is about to crack. Drinking heavily, into the Haig & Haig.

Out to the track in a cab, avoid that terrible parking in people's front yards, $25 each, toothless old men on the street with big signs: PARK HERE, flagging cars in the yard. "That's fine, boy, never mind the tulips." Wild hair on his head, straight up like a clump of reeds.

Sidewalks full of people all moving in the same direction, towards Churchill Downs. Kids hauling coolers and blankets, teenyboppers in tight pink shorts, many dudes in white felt hats with leopard-skin bands, cops waving traffic along.

The mob was thick for many blocks around the track; very slow going in the crowd, very hot. On the way to the press box elevator, just inside the clubhouse, we came on a row of soldiers all carrying long white riot sticks. About two platoons, with helmets. A man walking next to us said they were waiting for the governor and his party. Steadman eyed them nervously. "Why do they have those clubs?"

"Black Panthers," I said. Then I remembered good old "Jimbo" at the airport and I wondered what he was thinking right now. Probably very nervous; the place was teeming with cops and soldiers. We pressed on through the crowd, through many gates, past the paddock where the jockeys bring the horses out and parade around for a while before each race so the bettors can get a good look. Five million dollars will be bet today. Many winners, more losers. What the hell. The press gate was jammed up with people trying to get in, shouting at the guards, waving strange press badges: Chicago Sporting Times, Pittsburgh Police Athletic League...they were all turned away. "Move on, fella, make way for the working press." We shoved through the crowd and into the elevator, then quickly up to the free bar. Why not? Get it on. Very hot today, not feeling well, must be this rotten climate. The press box was cool and airy, plenty of room to walk around and balcony seats for watching the race or looking down at the crowd. We got a betting sheet and went outside.

Pink faces with a stylish Southern sag, old Ivy styles, seersucker coats and buttondown collars. "Mayblossom Senility" (Steadman's phrase)...burnt out early or maybe just not much to burn in the first place. Not much energy in the faces, not much curiosity. Suffering in silence, nowhere to go after thirty in this life, just hang on and humor the children. Let the young enjoy themselves while they can. Why not?

The grim reaper comes early in this league...banshees on the lawn at night, screaming out there beside that little iron nigger in jockey clothes. Maybe he's the one who's screaming. Bad DT's and too many snarls at the bridge club. Going down with the stock market. Oh Jesus, the kid has wrecked the new car, wrapped it around the big stone pillar at the bottom of the driveway. Broken leg? Twisted eye? Send him off to Yale, they can cure anything up there.

Yale? Did you see today's paper? New Haven is under siege. Yale is swarming with Black Panthers...I tell you, Colonel, the world has gone mad, stone mad. Why, they tell me a goddam woman jockey might ride in the Derby today.

I left Steadman sketching in the Paddock bar and went off to place our bets on the fourth race. When I came back he was staring intently at a group of young men around a table not far away. "Jesus, look at the corruption in that face!" he whispered. "Look at the madness, the fear, the greed!" I looked, then quickly turned my back on the table he was sketching. The face he'd picked out to draw was the face of an old friend of mine, a prep school football star in the good old days with a sleek red Chevy convertible and a very quick hand, it was said, with the snaps of a 32 B brassiere. They called him "Cat Man."

But now, a dozen years later, I wouldn't have recognized him anywhere but here, where I should have expected to find him, in the Paddock bar on Derby Day...fat slanted eyes and a pimp's smile, blue silk suit and his friends looking like crooked bank tellers on a binge...

Steadman wanted to see some Kentucky Colonels, but he wasn't sure what they looked like. I told him to go back to the clubhouse men's rooms and look for men in white linen suits vomitting in the urinals. "They'll usually have large brown whiskey stains on the front of their suits," I said. "But watch the shoes, that's the tip-off. Most of them manage to avoid vomitting on their own clothes, but they never miss their shoes."

In a box not far from ours was Colonel Anna Friedman Goldman, Chairman and Keeper of the Great Seal of the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels. Not all the 76 million or so Kentucky Colonels could make it to the Derby this year, but many had kept the faith, and several days prior to the Derby they gathered for their annual dinner at the Seelbach Hotel.

The Derby, the actual race, was scheduled for late afternoon, and as the magic hour approached I suggested to Steadman that we should probably spend some time in the infield, that boiling sea of people across the track from the clubhouse. He seemed a little nervous about it, but since none of the awful things I'd warned him about had happened so far — no race riots, firestorms or savage drunken attacks--he shrugged and said, "Right, let's do it."

To get there we had to pass through many gates, each one a step down in status, then through a tunnel under the track. Emerging from the tunnel was such a culture shock that it took us a while to adjust. "God almighty!" Steadman muttered. "This is a...Jesus!" He plunged ahead with his tiny camera, stepping over bodies, and I followed, trying to take notes.

Total chaos, no way to see the race, not even the track...nobody cares. Big lines at the outdoor betting windows, then stand back to watch winning numbers flash on the big board, like a giant bingo game.

Old blacks arguing about bets; "Hold on there, I'll handle this" (waving pint of whiskey, fistful of dollar bills); girl riding piggyback, T-shirt says, "Stolen from Fort Lauderdale Jail." Thousands of teen-agers, group singing "Let the Sun Shine In," ten soldires guarding the American flag and a huge fat drunk wearing a blue football jersey (No. 80) reeling around with quart of beer in hand.

No booze sold out here, too bathrooms either. Muscle Beach...Woodstock...many cops with riot sticks, but no sign of a riot. Far across the track the clubhouse looks like a postcard from the Kentucky Derby.

We went back to the clubhouse to watch the big race. When the crowd stood to face the flag and sing "My Old Kentucky Home," Steadman faced the crowd and sketched frantically. Somewhere up in the boxes a voice screeched, "Turn around, you hairy freak!" The race itself was only two minutes long, and even from our super-status seats and using 12-power glasses, there was no way to see what really happened to our horses. Holy Land, Ralph's choice, stumbled and lost his jockey in the final turn. Mine, Silent Screen, had the lead coming into the stretch but faded to fifth at the finish. The winner was a 16-1 shot named Dust Commander.

Moments after the race was over, the crowd surged wildly for the exits, rushing for cabs and busses. The next day's Courier told of violence in the parking lot; people were punched and trampled, pockets were picked, children lost, bottles hurled. But we missed all this, having retired to the press box for a bit of post-race drinking. By this time we were both half-crazy from too much whiskey, sun fatigue, culture shock, lack of sleep and general dissolution. We hung around the press box long enough to watch a mass interview with the winning owner, a dapper little man named Lehmann who said he had just flown into Louisville that morning from Nepal, where he'd "bagged a record tiger." The sportswriters murmured their admiration and a waiter filled Lehmann's glass with Chivas Regal. He had just won $127,000 with a horse that cost him $6,500 two years ago. His occupation, he said, was "retired contractor." And then he added, with a big grin, "I just retired."

The rest of the day blurs into madness. The rest of that night too. And all the next day and night. Such horrible things occurred that I can't bring myself even to think about them now, much less put them down in print. I was lucky to get out at all. One of my clearest memories of that vicious time is Ralph being attacked by one of my old friends in the billiard room of the Pendennis Club in downtown Louisville on Saturday night. The man had ripped his own shirt open to the waist before deciding that Ralph was after his wife. No blows were struck, but the emotional effects were massive. Then, as a sort of final horror, Steadman put his fiendish pen to work and tried to patch things up by doing a little sketch of the girl he'd been accused of hustling. That finished us in the Pedennis.

Sometime around ten-thirty Monday morning I was awakened by a scratching sound at my door. I leaned out of bed and pulled the curtain back just far enough to see Steadman outside. "What the fuck do you want?" I shouted.

"What about having breakfast?" he said.

I lunged out of bed and tried to open the door, but it caught on the night-chain and banged shut again. I couldn't cope with the chain! The thing wouldn't come out of the track — so I ripped it out of the wall with a vicious jerk on the door. Ralph didn't blink. "Bad luck," he muttered.

I could barely see him. My eyes were swollen almost shut and the sudden burst of sunlight through the door left me stunned and helpless like a sick mole. Steadman was mumbling about sickness and terrible heat; I fell back on the bed and tried to focus on him as he moved around the room in a very distracted way for a few moments, then suddenly darted over to the beer bucket and seized a Colt .45. "Christ," I said. "You're getting out of control."

He nodded and ripped the cap off, taking a long drink. "You know, this is really awful," he said finally. "I must get out of this place..." he shook his head nervously. "The plane leaves at three-thirty, but I don't know if I'll make it."

I barely heard him. My eyes had finally opened enough for me to foucs on the mirror across the room and I was stunned at the shock of recognition. For a confused instant I thought that Ralph had brought somebody with him--a model for that one special face we'd been looking for. There he was, by God — a puffy, drink-ravaged, disease-ridden an awful cartoon version of an old snapshot in some once-proud mother's family photo album. It was the face we'd been looking for — and it was, of course, my own. Horrible, horrible...

"Maybe I should sleep a while longer," I said. "Why don't you go on over to the Fish-Meat place and eat some of those rotten fish and chips? Then come back and get me around noon. I feel too near death to hit the streets at this hour."

He shook his head. " think I'll go back upstairs and work on those drawings for a while." He leaned down to fetch two more cans out of the beer bucket. "I tried to work earlier," he said, "but my hands kept trembling...It's teddible, teddible."

"You've got to stop this drinking," I said.

He nodded. "I know. This is no good, no good at all. But for some reason it makes me feel better..."

"Not for long," I said. "You'll probably collapse into some kind of hysterical DT's tonight--probably just about the time you get off the plane at Kennedy. They'll zip you up in a straightjacket and drag you down to the Tombs, then beat you on the kidneys with big sticks until you straighten out."

He shrugged and wandered out, pulling the door shut behind him. I went back to bed for another hour or so, and later — after the daily grapefruit juice run to the Nite Owl Food Mart — we had our last meal at Fish-Meat Village: a fine lunch of dough and butcher's offal, fried in heavy grease.

By this time Ralph wouldn't order coffee; he kept asking for more water. "It's the only thing they have that's fit for human consumption," he explained. Then, with an hour or so to kill before he had to catch the plane, we spread his drawings out on the table and pondered them for a while, wondering if he'd caught the proper spirit of the thing...but we couldn't make up our minds. His hands were shaking so badly that he had trouble holding the paper, and my vision was so blurred that I could barely see what he'd drawn. "Shit," I said. "We both look worse than anything you've drawn here."

He smiled. "You know--I've been thinking about that," he said. "We came down here to see this teddible scene: people all pissed out of their minds and vomitting on themselves and all that...and now, you know what? It's us..."

Huge Pontiac Ballbuster blowing through traffic on the expressway.

A radio news bulletin says the National Guard is massacring students at Kent State and Nixon is still bombing Cambodia. The journalist is driving, ignoring his passenger who is now nearly naked after taking off most of his clothing, which he holds out the window, trying to wind-wash the Mace out of it. His eyes are bright red and his face and chest are soaked with beer he's been using to rinse the awful chemical off his flesh. The front of his woolen trousers is soaked with vomit; his body is racked with fits of coughing and wild chocking sobs. The journalist rams the big car through traffic and into a spot in front of the terminal, then he reaches over to open the door on the passenger's side and shoves the Englishman out, snarling: "Bug off, you worthless faggot! You twisted pigfucker! [Crazed laughter.] If I weren't sick I'd kick your ass all the way to Bowling Green--you scumsucking foreign geek. Mace is too good for you...We can do without your kind in Kentucky."

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Southwest Pride Community Cleanup 2013, April 27th

Volunteers in Southwest Louisville are ready to make a difference on Saturday, April 27th when they participate in an effort to help their community be a better place to live.

“The Southwest Pride Community Cleanup continues to be a great way for the people of our area to come together for a good cause,” says Councilman Rick Blackwell (D-12). “It is a joy to work side by side with people who come out and volunteer. They understand the pride we all have in the place we call home.”

The Valley Station Area Business Association along with Pleasure Ridge Park Area Business Association will join forces on Saturday with Metro Council members and Brightside for the cleanup beginning at 9:00am. From there crews will fan out to clean up streets, alleys and roadways.

Volunteers will meet at 9905 Dixie Highway in the Meijer parking lot next to Fort Knox Federal Credit Union. On-site registration for volunteers begins at 8:30am. The Cleanup begins at 9:00am and will last until 12:00pm.

“These folks do a great job of knowing what areas need to be cleaned up in PRP, Valley Station and Shively,” says Councilwoman Cindi Fowler (D-14). “This is my first official cleanup as a Councilwoman and I look forward to meeting all these great volunteers and groups.”

Again this year, The VSABA will provide a cash reward will be provided to the group that has the largest amount of volunteers. A prize of $250 will go to the group with the largest amount of volunteers, then $150 for second and then $100 for third place. Your group must be physically present at the sign in location to participate in the cash award.

“This is a great way to meet new people and at the same time raise money for your group or organization,” says Councilman David Yates (D-25). “So come out and join us. Find some friends and neighbors and bring them along as volunteers.”

For more information about the Southwest Pride Community Cleanup, contact Jim Caskey at 502-937-6400 or by email at

Friday, March 15, 2013

2013's "Movies Under the Stars" series set for Iroquois Amphitheater's 75th anniversary

The Louisville Metro Council has once again passed legislation approving local dollars for activities at Iroquois Amphitheater, a Metro Parks facility. The funds appropriated through the Neighborhood Development Funds allow Metro Parks to put on an outstanding season to celebrate the 75th anniversary of the amphitheater.

The facility was constructed in 1938 with WPA labor and was renovated in 2001. It is considered one of the jewels of the Louisville Metro Parks system.

The funding makes it possible for the return of the popular "Movies Under the Stars" series at the amphitheater. The series gets underway May 11th.

“The amphitheater is part of the history of this area and within walking distance of many neighborhoods,” says Councilman Dan Johnson (D-21). “It is important that we continue supporting it.”

Council members Marianne Butler (D-15), Vicki Welch (D-13), Dan Johnson (D-21) and David Yates (D-25) are joined again this year as sponsors in a bi-partisan effort by Council members Attica Scott (D-1), Rick Blackwell (D-12), Mary C. Woolridge (D-3), David James (D-6), Tina Ward-Pugh (D-9), Cindi Fowler (D- 14), Kelly Downard (R- 16), Robin Engel (R-22), Stuart Benson (R-20), Brent Ackerson (D-26), Tom Owen (D-8) and Cheri Bryant Hamilton (D-5).

The schedule for “Movies Under the Stars” is as follows:

*All movies begin at 8:30pm*

May 11Wreck It Ralph 
June 8 Lincoln 
July 13 Skyfall 
Aug. 24Rise of the Guardians
Sept. 14A Christmas Story 2 

Additional free movies are shown every Monday evening in June and July.

Visit for a full list of activities.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Promises kept: First "Fowler Forum" set for District 14

Councilwoman Cindi Fowler (D-14), third from left.
Councilwoman Cindi Fowler is inviting residents of District 14 to take part in her first Community Forum on Wednesday, March 20th as a way of bringing an issue or concern to the attention of Metro Government.

“It is my goal to make sure there is open and regular communication between my office and the people of Valley Station, PRP, and Kosmosdale,” says Fowler. “It is a promise I made during the campaign and it is a promise I intend to keep.”

The first “Fowler Forum Community Meeting” will be held at Valley High School’s new auditorium, 10200 Dixie Highway beginning at 7:00pm. Representatives of LMPD, IPL, MSD, and Congressman John Yarmuth’s office will be in attendance.

“I encourage everyone to come out and meet my staff and let us know if there is something we can help you with or just say Hi,” says Fowler.

For more information about the Fowler Forum, contact Councilwoman Fowler’s office at 574-1114.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

Get your yoga on: Supreme Peace Yoga sponsors free community class

Yoga is the world's oldest spiritual discipline and has recently exploded in popularity all over the United States. It is an activity that has been practiced for thousands of years, and it is something that has evolved and changed over time. Different factions of yoga have developed since its conception, and today's Yoga aims to manage stress, stretch, and strengthen the body through various poses.

In Louisville, yoga studios were mostly confined to east side neighborhoods until 2011.

On February 23, Supreme Peace Yoga celebrated its second anniversary in the Beechmont neighborhood. Southwest Louisville's only yoga studio, Supreme Peace welcomes both newcomers and veterans by offering classes at all levels.

This Saturday, March 2nd, Supreme Peace Yoga will hold a FREE Community Yoga Class in the basement of the Iroquois branch of the Louisville Free Public Library from 11am to 12pm. You can click HERE for the event's Facebook listing to RSVP.

For more information on Supreme Peace Yoga, visit their website HERE or call 502-644-5796. You can also drop by the studio, located at 808 W. Ashland Avenue.

Thanks for supporting this unique and locally-owned business in our end of town.

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

“Coffee with your Councilman” this Saturday

Councilman Rick Blackwell will host the next “Coffee with your Councilman” for residents of District 12 on Saturday, March 2nd

The event is a chance for residents to meet with their Councilman. 
 It will take place at Sister Beans Coffeehouse, 5225 New Cut Road from 10:00am to 12:00pm. There is no formal program and no need to sign up, just stop by and talk with the Councilman about any issue or concern you may have for the district.

For more information about the March “Coffee with your Councilman”, contact Councilman Blackwell’s office at 574-1112.

Friday, February 08, 2013

Councilman Yates talks about new SW library

Metro Councilman David Yates (D-25) has issued a statement on the new SW Regional Library scheduled for construction this year. His remarks are included below. To see what the library will look like, click HERE.
On Monday, February 4th, Mayor Greg Fischer, Library Director Craig Buthod, and the design team celebrated the unveiling of the design for the new Southwest Regional Library. This 40,000 square foot state-of-the-art Southwest Regional Library will be located in the 9900 block of Dixie Highway next to Meijer.
Groundbreaking will occur in May and the grand opening will be Summer 2014.

At more than twice the size of the current branch, this new resource library will enhance service for nearly 100,000 people in southwestern Jefferson County. Filled with new books and cutting edge technology, the library will also be a community anchor where librarians will help families, children and adults access tools to improve their lives.  It will be a destination where community members gather to share ideas.  It will be a place that encourages learning and inspires the imagination. Here are just a few of the exciting features you asked for the in new Southwest Library:
  • Community Meeting Rooms-A central meeting room accommodating groups as large as 100, a smaller meeting area for groups up to 45 people.
  • Glass-enclosed study rooms.
  • A large Children’s Library
  • More Books-100,000 more then current SW Branch location.
  • “Green “ Eco-friendly design, with State-of –the-art technology-More computers for all ages, 
  • Touch-screen and self-check out.
  • A dedicated teen library, and plenty of, cozy places to read.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

It's back: Free VITA tax service resumes at Sun Valley

It is a program that has returned millions of dollars to thousands of low income families in Metro Louisville and this Thursday, January 31th the Volunteer Income Tax Assistance program will return to the Sun Valley Community Center.
“For five years now, VITA has been a free and valuable service to many area families,” says Councilwoman Cindi Fowler (D-14). “As we begin this sixth year, the goal is to help as many people maximize their returns, including the Earned Income Tax Credit.”
The purpose of the V.I.T.A. program is to offer free tax preparation to persons making $50,000 or less. Over the years, volunteers have been able to find deductions to help families receive better tax returns when filing their federal income taxes, returning much needed money back into the area.
 The V.I.T.A. operation at the Sun Valley Community Center will begin on Thursday. The Community Center will offer the assistance Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturday until April 13th, 2013. 

The Hours of operations are as follows:
Tuesdays 9:30am to 4:00pm
Wednesdays 9:30am to 7:00pm
Thursdays 9:30am to 7:00pm
Saturdays 10:30am to 1:30pm

Participants need to make sure they bring all pertinent tax information as well as a Social Security card and photo ID.

The Louisville Asset Building Coalition has offered VITA at the Sun Valley Community Center since 2008. Every year the number of volunteers and those taking advantage of the service continues to grow.
“Many families are still struggling as the economy continues to slowly improve. Everyone can use some extra help from time to time and in this case it’s free,” says Fowler.
The Sun Valley Community Center is located at 6505 Bethany Lane.
For more information about the V.I.T.A. programs, contact Councilwoman Fowler’s office at 574-1114 or call 292-6230.

SW Louisville well represented on council committees

The Louisville Metro Council's committee assignments for 2013 are now complete, and Southwest Louisville is well represented. Of 18 regular and ad-hoc committees, eight are chaired or co-chaired by a representative from the southwest.

Newly elected Councilwoman Cindi Fowler (D-14) has been appointed co-chair of the Community Affairs committee and landed spots on the Public Works, Bridges and Transportation Committee and the Committee on Sustainability.

David Yates (D-25) is now chairperson of the Intergovernmental Affairs Committee and co-chair of Public Safety. Yates also will serve on the Planning/Zoning committee.

Vicki Welch (D-13) is chairperson of the Committee on Health, Education and Housing.

Of the 11 members of the Budget Committee, four are from the south or southwest area.

To see the complete listing of committees and members, click HERE.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Register now for Neighborhood Institute Spring 2013

The Center For Neighborhoods has launched the Neighborhood Institute for Spring 2013.
It will be held at New Directions Housing Corp. (1000 East Liberty Street) January 29th - April 16th. The Institute is held every Tuesday for 12 consecutive weeks from 6:00-8:30pm and dinner is provided each week. 
The Neighborhood Institute Spring 2013 is open to all neighborhoods, Metro Council Districts and the whole community. 
To register for the 12-week program, contact Lisa at 502.589.0343 or
Begun in 1987, the Neighborhood Institute is a comprehensive leadership program designed to provide neighborhood leaders with the skills and understandings necessary to lead effective neighborhood organizations.  The Institute is conducted as a twelve-week seminar twice each year.   
The Center For Neighborhoods (formerly the Louisville Community Design Center) envisions a community driven by an array of lively civic institutions working in partnership with local government and one another to create sound neighborhoods and community. The purpose is to empower citizens and citizen-based institutions to have an effective role in making their neighborhoods good, decent, and attractive places to live. Continuing 33 years of work, the Center For Neighborhoods pursues its mission and fundamental purpose through leadership education, through community planning, and by assisting neighborhood-based development and improvement.

Wednesday, January 09, 2013

Flea market fail: Vendors Village closing doors

Vendors Village, Dixie Highway
Multiple sources are confirming that the Vendors Village flea market at the old Kroger location in the Dixie Valley Shopping Center will be closing permanently on January 31, 2013.

Reports are circulating that Planet Fitness will take the place of the controversial flea market.

Opened last year, Vendors Village was the subject of heavy criticism from some forward-thinking Valley residents who had higher hopes for the then-vacant retail space. Prompted by anger and frustration, several residents wrote letters to Baceline Investments of Colorado, the owner of the shopping center.

Shortly after my series of columns appeared on the subject, I was contacted by Baceline executives and assured that the flea market would not remain in the Dixie Valley Center, as a flea market business was not what they considered to be a desirable tenant.

Baceline's David Puchi said last year, "We had no control over that flea market going in there, and we are committed to bringing in high-quality tenants, and that does not mean a flea market … that doesn’t fit with our plans for the center.”

Messages left for executives at Planet Fitness were not returned.

But a win is a win. Let's do more of that around here.

Thanks for reading the Valley Report.

Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Open door: Councilwoman Fowler takes reins in 14th District

Council members Rick Blackwell, Vicki Welch, Cindi Fowler and David Yates
Residents of Metro Louisville's14th District finally have an available and capable representative as Councilwoman Cindi Fowler has officially been sworn into office.

Since the merger of city and county government in 2002, the 14th District office has been occupied by Bob Henderson - a polarizing figure who never seemed to resonate with citizens, despite his long tenure as councilman. Says a neighborhood activist, "There were so many people who would run against him, it constantly split the vote too many ways and he'd get back in. If you ever argued or disagreed with him, he took it personally, and you could never get anything done. Calls weren't returned and there was little or no communication between the office and the people, particularly toward the end of Bob's last term. He was just absent. We are thankful to be able to turn that page of history and look forward to the future with a team that seems ready to improve the southwest area. It's an exciting time."

In the past, I had my share of run-ins with the councilman. He never seemed to forgive me for my criticisms of his performance and always treated my questions as a nuisance to be endured rather than a chance to move forward.

But it is a new day in the 14th and we don't have to talk about that nonsense any longer. With the election of Cindi Fowler, the team is now complete. With all of Southwest Louisville's elected representatives working together for the common good, progress and opportunity should be much easier to obtain.

Councilwoman Fowler has already promised to begin the practice of constituent meetings and says she will treat communication with residents as her highest priority. I personally look forward to hearing from her office as the agenda is set for a new direction in Southwest Louisville.

A press release regarding Councilwoman Fowler's swearing-in ceremony follows:
On Monday, January 7th, Cindi Fowler joined 25 others as one of two new members of the Louisville Metro Council following the 2013 Organizational Session. Fowler won the seat in the November 6th election and is ready to begin her four year term as Councilwoman.
“I am ready to begin the work of serving the people of District 14,” said Fowler. “I want the people of the district to know I am ready to listen to them as I join others on the Metro Council. Together, we can make this a better city for everyone.”

Fowler says she plans to stay in regular contact with constituents in Valley Station, Pleasure Ridge Park, Kosmosdale and other areas of the district through email newsletters and community meetings.

Michael Bowman has been selected to be Fowler’s Legislative Assistant. He has served the last year as coordinator for the Southwest Regional Office for Councilmembers Rick Blackwell (D-12) and David Yates (D-25).
“I plan to follow through on what I heard from people during the campaign. I will be out in the district keeping everyone informed on issues and how I will address them.” 
For more information, contact Councilwoman Fowler’s office at 574-1114.