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Louisville is the subject of the latest “36 Hours In...” feature in the New York Times. After getting the requisite “Louisville has more than the Kentucky Derby” line out of the way, writer Michael Washburn goes on to praise various parks, museums and restaurants across the city. He even mentions the developed half of Whiskey Row. The harshest criticism is reserved for 4th Street Live, which he calls overwrought, underthought and “frat-tastic.” You can read the full story here.
In a speech on the Senate floor today, Minority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky will praise and welcome a group of Tea Party protesters rallying on Capitol Hill.
“In my view, the tea party has had an overwhelmingly positive impact on the most important issues of the day,” McConnell, of Kentucky, will say, according to prepared remarks. “It’s helped focus the debate. It’s provided a forum for Americans who felt left out of the process to have a voice and make a difference. And it’s already leading to good results.”
Massey Energy has received more than 80 citations for safety violations from federal investigators. The citations account for roughly half of those issued following special inspections in five states last month.
As the Wall Street Journal reports, Massey not only bore the brunt of the inspections, the company inspired them, too.
The agency [MSHA] started the so-called impact inspections after 29 miners were killed in an explosion at Massey’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia on April 5, 2010.
Four Massey mines in West Virginia, Virginia and Kentucky accounted for more than half the violations issued nationally during the impact inspections. The MSHA also cited mines in Alabama and Pennsylvania.
A spokesman for Massey, of Richmond, Va., said the company is working to improve safety. Massey is being bought by Alpha Natural Resources Inc.
It was previously reported that Jefferson County’s population increase over the last decade was due largely to growing Asian and Hispanic populations. The same news was reported in several other counties, and this map from the Census Bureau shows how various populations have grown and shrunk since 2000. (via)
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer says layoffs, increases in license fees and several other options are all “on the table” as he drafts the city budget for the next fiscal year.
On WFPL’s State of Affairs Thursday, Fischer discussed: the city budget; Metro Government’s response to recent industrial accidents in Rubbertown and Butchertown; the future of Whiskey Row; and his thoughts on Metro Council discretionary spending. You can listen to the full interview here.
Florida Governor Rick Scott’s name has been thrown around Kentucky for several weeks. Scott’s attempt to stop a prescription drug tracking system has prompted state, federal and city officials* to reach out to the Floridian leader and encourage him to reconsider the cut.
Scott has also made national headlines for refusing to accept federal money for high-speed rail projects in his state.
The Washington Post cites those issues and several others in a post predicting that Scott will soon take the spotlight from the GOP governors in Wisconsin, Mississippi and New Jersey, who have each notably clashed with President Barack Obama in recent months.
*Governor Beshear, Congressman Rogers, Attorney General Conway, Lieutenant Governor Mongiardo, U.S. Drug Czar Kerlikowske and several police officers and sheriffs
Fund for the Arts President and CEO Allan Cowen will retire early.
Cowen announced Monday that he will leave the organization on April 30. His retirement follows growing calls that he step down, which began weeks ago when an angry voicemail he left the director of the Visual Art Association was made public.
Cowen’s call followed a letter from the director and two others which pointed out that the fund does not give as much money to visual arts as it does to performing arts groups. Visual Art Association board chair Benton Keith was among the loudest voices calling for Cowen’s dismissal. He says the retirement is welcome, but inequities still exist.
“What we really need to concentrate [on] is visual, cultural, performing arts. There’s no question, if you look at the allocation on an annual basis from the Fund for the Arts, there is certainly an emphasis on the performing arts,” he says. “I don’t think it’s one particular item that needs to change. It’s a whole bevy of items. And, again, I would put transparency at the top of that list.”
Keith says he hopes the fund’s new leadership makes those institutional changes, though the shift may create some short-term fundraising challenges.
“There’s definitely going to be some hurdles to overcome for this current campaign, but I do think, overall, in the future, that it could certainly help the arts community as a whole. It’s not just about the visual arts, it’s about all arts.”
Executive Vice President Barbara Sexton Smith will act as interim president when Cowen retires at the end of April. A search for a permanent replacement will begin this week. Cowen and fund board chair Ron Murphy did not return a call for comment, though Murphy released a statement praising Cowen’s 35-years of service and fundraising success.
“On behalf of the entire Louisville community, I want to thank Allan for his 35 years of outstanding service to our city,” said Ron Murphy, board chairman of the Fund for the Arts. “During his tenure, the Fund’s annual campaign on behalf of member arts groups grew from $600,000 to $8 million, and from 6,000 donors to 26,000. Fund for the Arts assets increased from $43,000 to over $25,000,000 today. The Brown Theatre, ArtSpace, Fund for the Arts Main Street and an endowment were all added during Allan’s tenure. Louisville is admired throughout the country for the quality and variety of our arts organizations. That is due in no small part to Allan’s leadership and effectiveness.”
“Working together for more than three decades, we’ve created amazing things in our arts community,” Cowen said. “I have been privileged to have been a part of this great community and to have worked with the thousands of artists, arts donors and arts lovers who make it a special place.”
Update: This story has changed. The store will not close.
Another Borders bookstore in Louisville is closing as the chain reorganizes its finances under Chapter 11.
Earlier, Borders planned to close two of the four Louisville stores—one on 4th Street Live and another on South Hurstborne. Now, the Shelbyville Road Plaza store is closing (via), leaving one remaining Borders in Louisville, on Bardstown Road.