Thursday, September 29, 2011

703. Someone in Bingen, Washington viewed our #100,000th page.

It has been a while since I mentioned some of the cities and towns which are home to persons making a visit here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. We have viewers from all over the world, in addition to the seven faithful readers who seem to be from either Louisville, Lexington, Murray, or Frankfort in Kentucky, along with Bloomington IN, Mountain View CA (home of Google), and Washington DC. We've recently had viewers from some relatively unknown places like Grass Valley in northcentral California (pop. 13000) and home to the Holbrooke Hotel [in the aboveleft picture], Gerrardstown in West Virginia's far eastern pandle county of Berkeley (pop. 3600, and a few others. We're very thankful for all our readers, even on those days where only four people visit, which happened recently. According to the people-ticker, our current avergage daily number of visits is 27. It has been as high as 84 back in October and November of 2008. So, whoever you are and from wherever you reside, welcome.

Now and then, however, we pass a benchmark and such was the case four days ago when a reader from the very small community of Bingen, Washington became the blog's 100,000th page viewer. Woohoo. I have to admit I had never heard of Bingen, Washington, which is on the Columbia River in the southcentral part of the state on the Oregon border opposite the much larger city of Hood River.

One of the main streets in Bingen is the Lewis and Clark Highway, names all of us here in Louisville, Clarksville, and Jeffersonville recognize. The men who left from the banks of the Ohio River, the Corps of Discovery, in 1803 at some point passed the site of present day Bingen.

According to the 2010 census, Bingen has 712 residents, which is about the same size as the City of Seneca Gardens, precinct G-161, on the northside of Taylorsville Road. Unlike Seneca Gardens, Bingen has several large marinas on the river, the Gorge Heritage Museum [see picture at right], an AmTrak station - YES, AN AMTRAK STATION, and Daubenspeck Park, where a few weekends ago they celebrated the 50th Annual Huckleberry Festival. That's about all I can tell you about Bingen. I doubt I'll ever visit, but it seems like a nice place.

So, to whoever it was that turned the Page View clicker over to 100,000, thank you. And, please, come back again.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Hidden Location #21 - A Study in Phonetics

Below are two intersections. I chose these intersections for their phonetic peculiarities, peculiarities I believe to be unique in Jefferson County's street grid. I won't say what those peculiarities are because that would be too much of a clue in identifying them. I will say that they are about one mile from each other, although they aren't in the same neighborhood or zip code. That's the extent of your clues.

Identify the locations and you will understand the peculiarities. Identifying the peculiarities would help you cite, or site [in this instance either verb works] the locations. It is important that you name both streets in the intersection and in doing so you will understand why.

Please answer in the comments section below this entry. I will name the winner based on posts here on the blog as opposed to overthere in 1984-land on Facebook.

Also, Michael Garton is not eligible to answer as he and I made an extensive walking tour of one of these sites.

Good luck.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

702. John David Dyche, another Republican seeking to limit democracy

Last Tuesday, September 13, 2011, in a copyrighted story in the Courier-Journal, their McConnell apologist-cum-columnist John David Dyche warns of a "dreaded day" when people armed so heavily with voting rights will turn to violence in the streets, becoming clamorous, and look upon property as its "prey and plunder," once again demonstrating that when Republicans want your attention, it is mostly through the use of scare tactics and hyperbole that they will get it.

For a moment let's look beyond Mr. Dyche's idea that the property-less should also be the vote-less, meaning that those in nursing homes can't vote, those in college dorms can't vote, those older adults living with their children in "mother-in-law" apartments can't vote, those divorced or separated children who've returned home to Mom and Dad can't vote, those who live (and work) in long-haul semis and waterborne barges, moving America's products from sea to shining sea can't vote, and so many more he (and many Republicans) wish to eliminate from the voters rolls, let us look for a moment at the people he cited in his article as supporting such an idea.

As most Republicans do when wanting to harken back to the good ol' days, he first cites "The Founders." They use to call them the "Founding Fathers" but Dyche here engages in political correctness, something his ilk usually ridicules when used by others, leaving off the gender identifying noun "fathers."

Would that those in the halls of power today were as formidable a group as "The Founders," to use Mr. Dyche's PC-touched phrase. Thirty-three had served in the Revolutionary War. How many of today's politicians served in any war, or for that matter, in any branch of active service? Forty-two had attended the Continental Congress, and two had signed the Declaration of Independence; two would go on to serve as U.S. presidents, sixteen as governors, and two as chief justices of the United States. They were an unusual group of leaders who, on average, were in their early 40s. The notable exception was Ben Franklin. And, they were all male and all white. Their beliefs were governed by a world which was governed by white males. Naturally, some of their decisions were improper and we've corrected those over the years. Mr. Dyche, hoping to avoid being called racist or sexist (and he may not be), rightfully points out that limitations based on race and sex were wrong and have rightly been reformed. And at that point he begins his elimination of the franchise by saying that others - plural - other restrictions "made sense and merit reconsideration."

Since the only two restrictions he defines as being illegitimate are sex and race, one is left to believe that Mr. Dyche is approving of any and all other restrictions Americans have which would restrict their access to the ballot box.

He then goes on to outline one in particular, property ownership, which deserves reconsideration.

His first "witness" for his argument is British Commissary General Henry Ireton. Ireton married into the Cromwell family in England in the mid-17th century. One would think as Oliver Cromwell's son-in-law and heir to his political gains, that out of duty he would be supportive of Cromwell's policies. But, at discussions at the time, he supported retention of kings, nobles, and commoners - antithetical to Cromwell's plans. He called for a constitutional monarchy. (This may be why Dyche, a McConnell-ite, is drawn to him). But he was also antagonistic to the king, Charles, and eventually worked to overthrow him. Ireton was ruthless in battle, known to have executed those who stood in his way or supported the wishes of the king. He is known to have driven the Irish cities of Waterford and Limerick to famine and to have killed or killed himself several dignitaries of Limerick, including an alderman; Terence O'Brien, the Catholic Bishop of Limerick; and many others. Upon the restoration of the English monarchy, nine years after Ireton had died, his body was exhumed and summarily executed for his crimes against England. Such is the type of person Dyche would have us follow.

Mr. Dyche's next witness is a far cry from the rebellious Ireton. James Kent was and is a well respected jurist from New York who flourished in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, leaving his mark on a great deal of New York and American jurisprudence. He was the first law professor at what would become Columbia University and was a Chief Justice of the New York Supreme Court. Mr. Dyche quotes Kent as saying "The tendency of universal suffrage is to jeopardize the rights of property, and the principles of liberty." Mr. Dyche and his ilk love to use the word "liberty" when and wherever they can. Justice Kent made this statement in the 1777 New York State Constitutional Convention. It seemingly advises against widespread suffrage. Another statement made by Kent is one Mr. Dyche obviously chose not to use because it served the exact opposite purpose. Just as "The Founders" had some restrictions which were "rightly reformed" by later decisions, Justice Kent had by 1821 changed his mind on suffrage. In the 1821 New York State Constitutional Convention, Kent was again a member. And this time his statement, specifically speaking against a movement to take the vote away from African-American property owners, was as follows, "we did not come to this convention to disenfranchise any portion of the community, or to take away their rights." Other than the idea that it clearly did not serve his purpose, one must wonder why Mr. Dyche chose to ignore this statement of Justice Kent.

Mr. Dyche's next witness for disenfranchisement is Daniel Webster. Little research is needed to point out the flaw with the particular statement Dyche chose as representation for Webster's views. "Those who have not property . . . cannot be favorable to laws made for the protection of property." There is no argument with such a statement and if property were the sole purpose of our separation from England, then its inclusion in Mr. Dyche's essay would be understandable. But our Constitution's protections in the Fourteenth Amendment didn't stop with the word property. That sentence, which neither Mr. Dyche nor Sen. Webster seems concerned with states " [N]or shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law . . ." Is Mr. Dyche concerned about life and liberty, in addition to property?

We know that Daniel Webster was, in fact, concerned with far more than property. One type of "property" at the time was slaves. Webster is known to have bought the freedom of (at least) three slaves, a woman named Monica McCarty, a man known only as Bean, and a man who worked in the White House and was once owned by Dolly Madison named Paul Jennings. However his good work is marred somewhat by his support of the Fugitive Slave Act, a part of the Compromise of 1850, generally attributed to Kentucky's Henry Clay. While it is unknown whether Monoca McCarty or Bean ever enjoyed the freedom to vote, Paul Jennings, as a resident of Washington DC until 1874 did, thanks in part to Daniel Webster.

The inimitable John Randolph is then quoted by Mr. Dyche for a few lines aimed mostly at those receiving government benefits of some kind. Randolph, a Virginian, does come close to the current mood and movement of those for whom the government is too big. He was a classic libertarian before such a thing existed. Mr. Dyche has expanded from a few sentences Randolph spoke against falling under the control of "King Numbers" into an ecstatic manifesto against anyone and anything on the public dole. But there is, to my knowledge, no clear connection between Randolph's sincere abhorrence of "King Numbers" and any desire on Randolph's part to limit participation in voting to the propertied class. Mr. Dyche here veers off of his original premise into the larger (and popular) argument of some present day anarchists - my friend Preston Bates comes to mind - who believe that government - any government - is a problem. King Numbers is the government itself, not the poor huddling masses called to be served by it. I believe Mr. Dyche has misappopriated the words of a man who probably is close to him in political philosophy. But the misappropriation is actually a broadside against the New Deal, the Great Society, and other programs created and passed to make better the lives of as many Americans as possible. These are commitments America owes to its citizens.

Big government is the object against which Mr. Dyche is truly writing. It is no secret that he and his Party favor a smaller government, with fewer laws, fewer restrictions, and fewer taxes. But, over the years our government has expanded, by the will of the people through the votes of the Congress. Part of that will, that of providing what Republicans and Libertarians like to call "entitlements" but what others like to call "commitments made and expected to be kept," has gotten our Republic into a sea of Red Ink over the years. The ink never dries as the Congress, which has the sole power to tax the citizens to pay for the programs it has approved, has failed in its mission of keeping up with its own priorities. We allegedly "misguided liberals" aren't blind to the current fiscal crises. We, in fact, believe that it was largely created by Republicans who insisted on paying for two wars over the last eight years, who enacted a series of tax cuts to the wealthy, and who in general are themselves blind to the current fiscal problems - read commitments - and ideologically opposed to correcting it.

And while Tea Partiers and others lament America's "high taxes" they ignore the reality that taxes are lower today than they have been for many years. And the Congress, whether led by Democrats or Republicans, is unwilling to cough up - in the form of higher taxes - the obligations to which it has bound itself over the years. The piper has come to collect his pay and few are willing to admit that we actually owe the bill.

Rather than face the reality of a bankrupt system, irrespective of who or what bankrupted it, Mr. Dyche suggests for the future a limited democracy of property owners only as the panacea for America's problems, including what he sees as its moral decline. He doesn't fully explain the connection but the implication is that those who own no property are guilty of the moral decline of America. I would argue, as did the Bible, that the love of money - filthy lucre - is the root of all evil. And as America is a country based on capitalism as opposed to some other form of government, we are pre-disposed to a corrupt culture, something Ben Franklin and John Randolph warned against - the root of all evil which is the love of money.

The dread day draws nigh when only the propertied, only those with money, control who we are, where we go, what we eat, how we work, what we read, who we date, and what we believe. This is a far cry from the concepts of communal harmony set forth in our Constitution, written and approved by those "Founders" Mr. Dyche cited at the beginning of his esssay.

"We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our posteritym do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America." One must be struck by all those collective, non-restictive words in this single-sentence preamble to America's bible.

How are the words "we," "Union," "common," "general," and "ourselves and our posterity" protected if only those select few property owners are allowed to govern us? To reverse the words of the jurist Kent, "would not the tendency of such an electorate jeopardize the rights of the non-propertied?" Using the logic Mr. Dyche has appplied, yes, they would. He would have all those without property governed solely by those with property. How does this promote the general Welfare of the citizens of our Republic?

Mr. Dyche didn't address that concern because for him and those of his ilk, it is not a concern at all.

And while I am not looking forward to it, I am waiting for Mr. Dyche's follow-up on the "other" restrictions he believes merit reconsideration. In the last sentence of his third paragraph is to be found the plural noun "others." Tell us, Mr. Dyche, how next you would restrict access to the ballot?

701. Variety Pack - HL#20 revealed; Fischer to Obama; A Man of No Importance; Redistricting

Hidden Location #20 was promptly located in Camp Taylor by Nancy Howard, and properly identified by Fr. John Schwartzlose, Johnny to those of us who watched him grow up, as the foot of Indiana Avenue, where Belmar Drive and Lee Avenue intersect. I lived one door off this corner for seventeen years. I used to tell people I lived at the very bottom of Camp Taylor, which was true. Johnny grew up a few blocks down Lee and up the hill on Orchard.

At one time Indiana Avenue didn't end here. It ran along what is now called the 1600 and 1700 blocks of Belmar Drive out to Poplar Level Road. As a side note, for many years Belmar Drive did not have a 1700 block at all, as it does now from Fincastle Road out to Poplar Level Road. A second side note is that the Fante's house in the beginning of the 1600 block used to have a 1/2 attached to its address - 1603 1/2. It was renumbered sometime in the 1970s.

The other part of Belmar Drive, that from Lee Avenue westward back to Preston Highway was originally called Kentucky Avenue, one of several scattered around what was then rural Jefferson County. Another Kentucky existed in Fern Creek, another in Middletown, and two others, all in addition to the Kentucky Street in Louisville. When the Camp Taylor post office was annexed into the Louisville post office, Camp Taylor's (and Prestonia's) Kentucky Avenue was renamed Belmar Drive. Loosely translated, Belmar means pretty lake. One may recall that the area where Standiford Field, Edgewood, and the north end of Okolona now exist was once basically a swamp called the Wet Woods. Perhaps calling the street Belmar was an attempt at a euphemism.

I've read some criticism and cynicism about the mayor's visit and chat with the president over the Sherman Minton Bridge, which has locally been dubbed Shermageddon, a name which at least four of my friends, and I am sure countless others, are taking credit for. I have to think about the president visiting Ohio and our neighbors in northern Kentucky, where very few people cast their ballots in the president's favor in November 2008. On the other hand, the two counties which are connected by the Sherman Minton, Jefferson in Kentucky and Floyd in Indiana, gave candidate Obama a 38713 vote margin over the very senior United States Senator from Arizona. [I have to admit the margin was all on the Kentucky side of the river. Floyd cast 3694 fewer votes for Obama than McCain]. As Greg is mayor of the largest city in this area of vote-largesse for Obama, I can't imagine anyone being in a better position to address the absence of traffic on the Sherman Minton than our mayor, who hasn't already offered up an opinion. And we know Obama likes Louisville. He was here several times as a candidate and once, on a beautiful September night in 2006, even before he was officially a candidate. And our side of the river is represented by one of his earliest supporters in the Congress, which can't be a bad thing. Our congressman alerted The White House to the situation twelve days ago and has been in constant contact with the Federal Highway Administation officials on a non-stop basis, and is bringing the top two from that department to Louisville in the very near future. The next logical person to get involved, since the two Republican United States Senators do not seem too interested, is the mayor. To the naysayers who have something nay to say on all-things-Fischer, give it a rest. Quite a few people in the community who didn't vote for him last November are having second thoughts, crossing over to his side. I will admit Greg and I do not entirely agree on the Bridges issue, although we do both support building the East End Bridge first. But our agreement ends there. He is supportive of a downtown bridge which I oppose. Where he stands on a Southwest bridge, an idea I've supported for a decade, I do not know. But, he is the mayor and I am happy to have him communicating with the president on our current lack of a second bridge across the Ohio.

Last week I attended Pandora Productions' 16th season opener, A Man of No Importance, with music by Stephen Flaherty, lyrics by Lynn Ahrens, and book by Terrence McNally. Set in 1964 Dublin, it is a story of a man's sexual identity, church identity, hidden loves, and ultimately long-lived friendships. That's quite a few hot buttons to hit in one play, but it was all well done, moving, and enjoyable. Pandora's Michael Drury played the lead (and title role) as Alfie Byrne and it was an excellent perfomance of a tragic character. Although I've never had a sister, the role of Alfie's sister Lily, played by Tiffany Taylor, is an excellent role model and played as such. Alfie's love interest, Robbie, was acted by Jason Brent Button, the adorable blue collar worker who isn't quite the lover Alfie wants but proves to be a very good friend. Alfie's other more prurient interest, Breton Beret, was played quite well by an alluring Michael Mayes, a student at U of L. I know a lot of people recognized the character, the ploy, and the ultimate but sad reward of giving in to one's temptation, as Oscar Wilde counsels Alfie to do. The entire play has as a backdrop Oscar Wilde, my favorite playwright, and the name is, of course, taken from one of the great writer's plays. In the production, the presence (or ghost) of Wilde is played understatedly and dramatically by Patrick Brophy.

The entire cast is an ensemble of fifteen players, playing both their roles and those of their assigned roles of the play-within-the-play, Wilde's Salome, which causes problems for the players' venue, Saint Imelda's Church. I've been a fan of the play-within-the-play genre since my own performance in high school of a production called Here and Now. But, I digress.

I have to say I very much enjoyed A Man of No Importance. The other actors, besides those mentioned above, are Laura Ellis, Rusty Henle, Obadiah Ewing-Roush, Josh Richard, Bob Zielinski, Kristy Calman, Betty Zielinski, Chris Cook, Meg Caudill, Daniel Cooper, Anthony Ransom, Amos Dreisbach, and Blair Boyd.

Back on March 17, 2011, we learned that the official 2010 population of Jefferson County was 741096 people, and it is on that number that under state law the Council is required to reapportion its people into 26 districts of legally-equal size. The ideal population for a district is 28503.69 persons and legally-equal is a measure created by previous court cases allowing a difference of 10% of that number between the most populated and least populated districts. Redistricting is a fascinating once-a-decade project which purists love, I being one of them. Unofficially, I created a map of 26 districts, with some help from Ray Manley and others, back in May, a map which met certain requirements and parameters.

Once you agree on those certain requirements and parameters - that incumbents (of both parties) will remain in their respective districts, that districts with minority representation will remain (or achieve) minority-majority status, and that you will comply with all legal requirements, and that you will split as few precincts as possible - there really aren't very many ways to divvy a county up into twenty-six districts of legally-equal size. Most districts retain 70%-80% of their original territory, one way or another. There are exceptions in far southwestern Jefferson and susburban southeast Jefferson.

Metro Council President Jim King (D-10) has, since August, done an excellent job of bringing the maps from computer-images to paper and an ordinance will soon be introduced redistricting the Council constituencies. That map will look remarkably similar to one a few of my seven faithful readers have seen. I've very happy with President King's guidance on this very delicate matter.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Hidden Location #20 - Please answer in Comments below

Here is a new Hidden Location, the 20th in our series. I'm hoping to stump you on this one, although it should not be too difficult. Good luck.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

We Remember

A Song
Oh, say, can you see, by the dawn's early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming?
Whose broad stripes and bright stars, thru the perilous fight,
O'er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets' red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there.
O say, does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep,
Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,
In full glory reflected, now shines on the stream:
Tis the star-spangled banner: O, long may it wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion
A home and a country should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps' pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O, thus be it ever when freemen shall stand,
Between their loved home and the war's desolation!
Blest with victory and peace, may the heav'n-rescued land
Praise the Power that hath made and preserved us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto: "In God is our trust"
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

Words by Francis Scott Key

And a prayer
Lord, in the midst of our grief and the memory of our loss, we gather in your presence and remember: We have feared the terror of the night; We have seen the sacrifices of the brave; We have cried the tears of the lost, and we have clenched our fists and raged against the pain and damage. We have wept and mourned, lashed out and retaliated, we have healed and hoped. Now we gather in your presence to be whole and to walk humbly with our God as the years unfold.

For the families of the many victims we pray that by your mercy life may rise even from ashes. We pray especially for those whose lives are still broken by the tragedies of that day, and ask that by your grace and mercy tattered hearts may know your touch, healing their shattered spirits, reknitting for them a world of hope, and granting them rest from the fury and frustration unjustly imposed upon them.

In the many heroes who sacrificed themselves for others we see the face of Christ. Strengthen those who hold their memory sacred in their needs as you have strengthened all who lay down their lives for their friends.

We pray also for our enemies, Lord. And what we pray for our enemies you have also taught us to pray for ourselves: that they, we, and all of your creation may be free from the powers that turn blessing into burning; free us and them from all that warps our minds and turns to hate the love you intend for all.

Holy one, you are our God in trial and rejoicing. As we remember past tragedy, we seek your wisdom that we may proffer future blessings in your name. Now and in the years to come, help us to place our trust solely in your word and way, and not in imperfect paths of our own design. Our hope is not in the towers we build, or in the roar of war, or in the fervor with which we proclaim our outrage or our piety. Our salvation is in the way of your Christ, in your mercy, and in our kinship with you. Though we mourn and are poor in spirit, may we yet find your kingdom and be blessed.

Thus bless those who gather and remember this day. Bless those who seek the healing after the hurt, and grant us the wisdom we need in this year and all that follow: that we may reap what is of life even in the midst of death. In every circumstance, Lord, bless your people and your world that we may rest and rise, live and die and be reborn in the compassion of Christ. In so doing, may we live always as sisters and brothers at peace, healing a broken world. Amen.

Written by the Rev. Kent H. Gilbert, Pastor, Union Church, Berea, KY

Saturday, September 10, 2011

699. A local theater review - Theatre [502] - from (Louisville's) Broadway

Last night I went to the Saint Francis Building's Land of Tomorrow Gallery where in the southwest corner of the historic building at Third and Broadway is a space large enough to house a small theater setting and seventy or so patrons. I had expected a friend to join me with his friend, but neither did, so my viewing was solo, which was fine. As usual, I seated myself in the rear-left of the room away from the acting area, and not far from where a decent glass (or plastic cup) of red wine could be had for a few shillings.

The night's production was the second perfomance of the first show by a new Louisville theater group known as Theatre [502], making use of some local numbers of distinction, Louisville's area code, just as I make use of our location, at Milepost 606 on the Ohio River. Mat Smart's work The Debate Over Courtney O'Connell of Columbus, Nebraska (hereinafter Courtney) is one of Smart's many works in both full-length plays, a musical, and several one-act performances. This play has had recent performances in Minneapolis ealier this year by The New Theatre Group, and previously at the Cafe Metropol in Los Angeles, and originating with the Slant Theater Project in New York where the play's author is a co-founder.

I was drawn to the performance by its director, Gil Reyes, whose works, or at least a few of them here and there, I have been following for about eight years. A few of my friends have performed in his works and I've enjoyed seeing them on stage - both my friends and the plays. Gil is a graduate of Kenyon College and has also studied at Middlesex College in London. Locally, he serves on the board at Walden Theater as well as the coordinating committee for the Fairness Campaign. I've come to know Gil best through our mutual friend Stuart Perelmuter.

Courtney is played in two acts, the first in the present, the second about 117 years ago, and set in the town of Columbus, Nebraska. The first scene involves a debate citing an old morality law concerning consensual relations between a man and a woman where two men square off to receive the full attention of a woman, Courtney, one to whom she has enjoyed a short engagement, the other who has been her beau of many years. One is a rather handsome California rich-kid recently out of grad school with promises of money and foreign travel. (I meant to slip him my card as that would work for me). The other is a plain looking and spoken local boy, an hourly wage earner, and a long history with Courtney. The debate takes a turn when the theater patrons are asked to vote on which man gets Courtney's affection. The audience is asked to vote. Ballots and pens are distributed and votes are counted.

I suppose there could be three different outcomes to such a vote, with either man winning the vote or there being a tie. The play is presented with two of those outcomes.

The second act reverts back to 1894 and the genesis for the law creating the debate. A man not happy with the outcomes of his advances toward a certain woman takes revenge on her friends, killing (offstage) over a dozen women in a local factory. After some on-stage antics between two sisters, a would-be hero, and a barkeep, there is more rather stylistic bloodshed - no blood - and in due time, the local sheriff arrives and cites the need for a law to prohibit such carnage in the future.

The play is performed by three key actors and two others in minor roles. I've seen two of them in other local productions - Zach Burrell and Leah Roberts. Burrell plays the debate moderator in Act I and both the barkeep and the sheriff in Act II. Leah Roberts is the star of the show as Courtney. She returns (in drag) in Act II as Amos Morgan, the outlaw whose actions prompt the morality law. Drew Cash, who I recognize but I'm not sure why, is the California kid in Act I, returning in Act II (in drag) as one of the sisters, and as the would-be hero by the name of Sherman Wilkes.

As an aside, the name Sherman Wilkes sounds to be as "southern" a name as could be and I'm sure a determined writer could build a play, book, or movie around such a name. Or, perhaps, that was already done with the name Rhett Butler. But, I digress.

The other key actor is Eli Keel. I have no familiarity with Mr. Keel but his performance as Scooner in Act I, the local boy, and as one of the sisters, Willamina (in drag) in Act II are solid decent work, much like the solid, decent local boy in Act I who won the votes of at least last night's patrons. The two minor actors were Sarah East and Jeremy Sapp.

Intermission provided time to mingle, get a second cup of wine, and listen to some interesting fiddle and banjo playing by Nick Peay and Scott Anthony. To be honest, they weren't playing a fiddle or a banjo, but I am not familiar enough with small stinged instruments to know what to properly call them. The interluding music was a combination of bluegrass, pop, and folk and made for very good listening.

The play, the music - and the wine - created a wonderful evening, albeit alone, in a space I had never visited in the past, the Land of Tomorrow Gallery.

Theatre [502] has three more productions planned for their "pulse-pounding" inaugural season.

Hunter Gatherers, by Peter Sinn Nachtrieb and directed by Mike Brooks, will be performed in the Victor Jory Theater at Actors, running October 14, 15, 17, 21, and 22.

It Can't Happen Here, by Sinclair Lewis and directed by Greg Maupin in a co-production with the LePetomane Theatre Ensemble, will be staged October 24 at the Parkside Studio Inside at Iroquois. To be honest, I don't know if that means at the park or the high school, or somewhere else.

The final production of Theater [502]'s inaugural season will be Broadsword: a heavy metal play, by Marco Ramirez and directed by Amy Attaway, also set for the Parkside Studio Inside at Iroquois, for November 4-19.

Local theater is important for our community and talent. If you have a chance, go see a production. The website for the theater group is

Friday, September 2, 2011

Hidden Location #19 revealed - Minor Lane Heights

In Hidden Location #19, we had two pictures of streets which intersect. The sign above still stands at the intersection, though little else remains.

As some of you know, I also post these blog entries over on Facebook. Unfortunately, more people respond over there than over here. I wish that weren't the case but it is. Over there, the first respondent was my friend Jason Hope. He misidentified the first street for the second one. He correctly identified the missing houses as being due to the airport's expansion process which began the year before Jason was born.

The two pictures are of Donna Boulevard above and Minor's Lane below. I grew up not far from this intersection which at one time boasted a gas station, a Convenient Food Mart and, across the street, a Wesleyan Cumberland church congregation. All gone.

Donna Boulevard was the main street of a subdivision and later incorporated city known as Minor Lane Heights, located off Minor's Lane in southern Jefferson County, about halfway between Okolona and Fairdale. Minor Lane Heights was originally incorporated to avoid annexation into the Louisville Metropolitan Sewer District, choosing instead to receive its sewer services from the former Okolona Sewer Construction District, which at one time had its facilities just north of the small city. That sewer district was eventually taken over by MSD. The municipality's location led to its eventual demise - or sort of demise.

As mentioned earlier, the Regional Airport Authority (RAA) began expansion of Louisville's Standiford Field in the mid 1980s. Building a double north-south runway greatly increased the noise concentrations over large parts of Jefferson County. Minor Lane Heights sat a little over two miles due south of the airport and in the direct line of the new flight paths.

In 1995, the RAA received permission to purchase the entirety of the city, 552 households, as well as the adjoining city of South Park View. They have eventually acquired nearly all the property between I-65, the L&N, Southern Ditch, and South Park Road. (Mayor Fischer calls this area a renaissance zone). The approach for the purchase of the entire city took a weird turn in 1999 when plans were approved to move the city, en toto, to a new location about ten miles to the east of its then-site. Cities had been moved in the past due to dam construction and flooding, places like Eddyville, Kentucky and English, Indiana. The RAA proposed to rebuild the subdivision and reincorporate the city in a similar semi-suburban/rural setting along Cedar Creek Road southeast of McNeely Lake Park.

The process is ongoing but very near completion. The city was renamed from Minor Lane Heights to Heritage Creek. The entire city moved. The process is now cited as a model for the future relocation of similarly situated municipalities.

The lower photo in the picture is of Minor's Lane, looking northward toward Outer Loop. The driveways off to the left were for the former gas station and food mart. The few properties remaining in the area not owned by the RAA are two mobile home parks and about 25 scattered homesites.

Two other proposed subdivisions in the area were never built because of the airport plans, one on South Park Road just east of the former city of South Park View, and the other, proposed by David Dulworth, who built the nearby Silver Heights subdivision off Blue Lick Road, to be called Four Diamonds, in the acreage on the east side of Minor's Lane, just north of the old Pape's Hardware property, which has never been purchased by the RAA. In the South Park Road site, streets were constructed, sewer lines dug, and electric lines strung, and two homes were begun, but it was all closed down shortly after it began.

Minor's Lane, the street in the lower photo and named for the Okolona pioneer family of Spence Minor, was at one time a part of the road between Okolona and Fairdale, beginning in Okolona where the current Minors Lane (or Minor Lane as it is called by Metro government) intersects with Preston Highway. The road made a series of 90 degrees curves first south (past Evangel Tabernacle), then west (now a part of the I-65/Outer Loop interchange), then south again (along the Minor's Lane in our picture), the west again (toward Fairdale) joining what is now called South Park Road at Locust Grove, an old watering hole. Other former businesses on that corner were the aforementioned Pape's Hardware, French's Produce (still operating but now located in the southern Bullitt County community of Bardstown Junction), and a DX service station. (As a note, our young Mr. Hope who got as close as anyone in identifying this location has grandparents living a little west of this intersection which may explain his familiarity with the pictures). South Park Road, the called Deposit Station Road, was evenutally completed from this corner west over to Blue Lick Road and even later from Blue Lick over to Preston Highway, making the Okolona/Fairdale journey just a little straighter.

Having grown up in the area it is weird to drive through there which I do most every Sunday when visiting my mother. As a kid, I watched the area grow up, be built, add sidewalks, add churches, an elementary school, several business, and about 2000 residents. Two different precincts voted at Minors Lane Elementary which opened in 1968 (and somehow remains so). None do now - one votes at Coral Ridge Elementary, and the other over in Okolona at a union hall. It is a ghost town and drive, all gone. The streets and sidewalks remain as do some of the electric lines, but nothing more.

RIP Minor Lane Heights (and South Park View). Congratulations to Jason Hope for his answers.

The Archives at Milepost 606


Louisville, Kentucky, United States
Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.