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Local News Uncategorized

Yale Students’ Designs Balance History, Modernism, Environment and Industry

In Louisville, Whiskey Row now refers to a single strip of buildings. But 100 years ago, Whiskey Row took up most of Main Street.

Most companies distilled bourbon in rural areas, but they took up block after block in downtown Louisville with business offices and storage. Prohibition wiped many of them out. Later in the century, suburbanization finished the job with many other urban industries.

“If you bring manufacturing back into the urban fabric, there might be more workers to repopulate and reinvigorate the downtown,” says Yale School of Architecture student Rafael Ng. Ng and a group of his classmates visited Louisville this week to study the bourbon industry and design an urban distillery that could stand on the block across from the current Whiskey Row buildings at 1st and Main streets.

But creating jobs is just one thing an urban distillery can do.

“For each student, their prerogative might be different. There’s an opportunity to celebrate the act and spectacle of producing whiskey,” says Ng.

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Local News

Preserving Louisville’s Shotgun Houses

It’s a style of house that symbolizes many of Louisville’s older neighborhoods…the shotgun.

There are many variations, but shotgun houses typically have a long, rectangular floor plan: one room wide, three to five rooms in a row with doorways often on the same side of the house.

One common belief is that the name shotgun house refers to the ability to fire a shotgun cleanly from the front through the back door.

The shotgun style likely made its way into the U.S. from the West Indies and became popular in the South during the late 19th and early 20th centuries, offering affordable housing in working class areas.

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Local News

Historical Marker Commemorating Fight Against Racial Segregation Dedicated

The two-year effort to end racial segregation in Louisville businesses has been commemorated with a historical plaque downtown.

The marker stands at 4th and Chestnut streets. The thoroughfare was a crowded business district in 1961, when local students began nonviolent protests against Jim Crow laws. The NAACP and the Congress of Racial Equality joined the efforts.

A campaign of boycotts, demonstrations, arrests and voter-registration drives led to the passage of an ordinance in 1963 banning discrimination based on race, color, religion and nationality in public places.

The historical marker outlines the struggle. It was sponsored by the local chapter of the NAACP and dedicated this weekend.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Hearing on Attempt to Delay Whiskey Row Destruction is This Week

A federal judge will hear arguments this week over whether to further delay the demolition of the Whiskey Row buildings in downtown Louisville.

Through an agreement between Mayor Greg Fischer and developer Todd Blue, the strip of buildings could’ve been destroyed as early as today. Preservationists fought the deal and last week they filed for a 60-day extension. A judge postponed the demolition until this Wednesday, when there will be a hearing on the extension.

But preservation attorney Steve Porter says the extension isn’t that important anymore. When the judge scheduled this week’s hearing, he also said Porter will be given advance notice of any demolition orders and he’ll have the chance to appeal the orders locally, not through federal court.

“He wasn’t going to hear an appeal of the demolition orders. He absolutely says that’s not in his jurisdiction,” says Porter.

Further, the judge granted preservationists access to a report on how dilapidated the buildings are.

“The 60 days became not very important once we got our advance notice and once we got a copy of that report and everything else,” says Porter.

A spokesperson for the mayor says the city has no problem with the advance notice order. Further, the city is working with interested buyers who may attempt to buy the buildings from Blue and keep them standing.

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Local News Politics

Rand Paul’s Brother Considering Senate Bid in Texas

Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s brother Robert Paul is reportedly mulling a bid for the Senate in Texas.

Robert and Rand Paul are Texas Congressman and former Presidential candidate Ron Paul’s sons. Robert Paul has not yet started raising money, and while his chances may appear slim, his brother’s campaign was similarly inauspicious.

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State of Affairs

Impact of The Feminine Mystique

STATE OF AFFAIRS 02/24/11:  In the early 1960’s one book revolutionized a generation of American women. The Feminine Mystique by Betty Friedan pulled no punches in talking about the state of women’s lives and inspiring those women to fight for equality. In her recent book, author Stephanie Coontz looks at the effects of Betty Friedan’s writing & activism, how the message of Mystique has stood the test of time, and how the feminist movement has grown and changed over the last forty years. We’ll talk about it this Thursday; join us with your thoughts.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

Preservation Louisville Encourages Followers To Attend City Budget Hearings

Whiskey Row/Iron Quarter (photo by Sheila Ash)Preservation Louisville is asking members and followers to take their concerns over the possible destruction of a strip of downtown buildings to the mayor’s public budget hearings.

The mayor’s office has agreed to let developer Todd Blue destroy the buildings at First and Main streets to make room for a parking lot and later a new development. The mayor has also agreed to set aside $450,000 in the new budget to help Blue preserve or recreate the facades.

Preservation groups have criticized the deal. They want it to go through the local landmarks commission, and hope the facades will be saved or that the buildings will be kept intact. Preservation Louisville director Marianne Zickuhr says she hopes like-minded Louisvillians will ask the mayor about the issue at the budget hearings.

“I’m hoping that in these open, community meetings, I feel like that would be the reason for having these types of meeting and I’m hoping we’ll get some productive resolution out of them,” she says. “I know there are others who are not, but I am extremely optimistic that we have a mayor who is open to hearing our views and definitely is going to allow us to express how we feel and what the facts are.”

The Metro Council could pull the $450,000 allocation out of the budget. The chair of the budget committee says the council has not been fully briefed on the issue, but adds that on the surface, it looks like a hard sell.

Blue and the city contend that the buildings are unsafe and cannot be preserved. For more on this story, see our previous coverage.

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Local News

Ali Center To Host Tuskegee Airmen Exhibit Through February

An exhibit honoring the Tuskegee Airmen opens in Louisville Friday.

The traveling display was put together by Nicholasville resident Ron Spriggs. The Air Force veteran thought the Air Force Museum’s Tuskegee Airmen display did not do the troops justice. He began building a collection of artifacts for his own display, and Margaret Plattner with the Department of Veterans Affairs says most of them have been brought to Louisville.

“It’s a vast collection,” she says. “In fact, the whole exhibit—all the items he has, the memorabilia that he has—he couldn’t display it. So he had to pick and choose what to display that would fit in the space we were given.”

Plattner says there are other Kentucky ties in the display.

“There were, I believe, twelve Kentnuckians who served with the Tuskegee Airmen. So the exhibit does have a focus that deals with the Kentuckians who served,” she says.

The exhibit will be at the Muhammad Ali Center through the end of the month.

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Local News Next Louisville Politics

League Of Women Voters To Look Back At 90 Years Of Advocacy

The Louisville League of Women Voters will celebrate its 90th anniversary Monday, and members will look back at how the league grew into a force for advocacy in the area.

The Louisville chapter was among the first assembled in 1920, when the national League of Women Voters was formed. Women had just been given the right to vote that year.

The league’s goals soon expanded, and over the years the Louisville chapter took stances on issues ranging from sanitation to desegregation to government merger. This year, the chapter sponsored debates involving candidates for local office. President Beverly Moore says such forums signal the next direction for the chapter.

“I see the league actually filling a greatly-needed niche in this society of being the place where people can go to practice civil discourse,” she says.

Moore says the league will also continue to advocate for diversity in Jefferson County Public Schools as well as the restoration of released felons’ voting rights.

The anniversary celebration will be held at 6pm at Lang House on Ewing Avenue.

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Local News

New Workers May Be Hired When Historical Sites Re-Open

In about three weeks, the Kentucky Historical Society will close three historic sites in Frankfort.

Budget and staff cuts have caused the society’s curators to fall behind on their work. The society hasn’t had enough money to either keep employees on staff or hire new workers. That’s left curators answering phones and doing other tasks that aren’t in their job descriptions.

The Center for Kentucky History, the Old State Capitol and the Kentucky Military History Museum will be closed to the public from December 12th through March 11th so the curators can catch up on their work.

Spokesperson Lisa Cleveland says when the sites re-open, the curators will likely be able to remain focused on their primary jobs.

“We’re hoping to hire part-time or interim positions starting in March, so we can then use those people to cover our public desks, plus volunteers,” she says.

The sites will open temporarily on January 8th and February 12th. Large groups may also tour the sites if they give the society advance notice.