Courier Journal building sold; newsroom to remain in downtown Louisville

By |2022-10-03T20:21:05-04:00October 3rd, 2022|COVID-19|

The Courier Journal property in downtown Louisville sold last week, but the building will remain the news organization’s headquarters.Properties along Broadway controlled by The Courier Journal collectively were sold to a company called 525 W Broadway Louisville KYLLC for $11,350,000, records show. The Courier Journal’s Virginia-based parent company, Gannett Co. Inc., confirmed the eight-story building has been sold.“The Courier Journal staff remains the largest in the state, and we will remain downtown as we continue our important work covering this great city and its surrounding communities,” Courier Journal Executive Editor Mary Irby-Jones said. “The people of Louisville can count on us to tell their stories and be their watchdog, holding government and elected leaders accountable.”  For subscribers:Hours late: JCPS bus delays are getting kids to school too late for classesThe news organization will stay on as a tenant in the building at 525 W. Broadway, which has been the 11-time Pulitzer winner’s home for 75 years.The buyer shares the same Connecticut address as Twenty Lake Holdings LLC. The Washington Post reported in 2019 that Twenty Lake Holdings is a subsidiary of Alden Global Capital, a hedge fund that has bought up newspapers around the country.A phone message left with Twenty Lake Holdings last week was not immediately returned.The 660,000-sqaure-foot building was built in 1947 and stretches from Fifth Street to Sixth Street, with the Gene Snyder U.S. Courthouse and Custom House just a stone’s throw away.It was put up for sale in April 2021, a month after Courier Journal printing presses stopped rolling for good in Louisville after 153 years.  "Like many businesses, our office space needs have shifted significantly, especially as the COVID-19 pandemic prompted an evolution in how we work,” a Gannett spokesperson said. “The Courier Journal remains firmly committed to serving our readers and advertisers, as the community's preeminent source of news and information."  More:Some suburbs near Louisville named among the best places to live in the US. See the listContact reporter Morgan Watkins at mwatkins@courierjournal.com.

Is a coaching change financially viable for Louisville football?

By |2022-10-03T20:21:10-04:00October 3rd, 2022|COVID-19|

As University of Louisville athletics tries to right the ship during turbulent times in football and basketball, a lack of funding may jeopardize its ability to replace its football coach. Nearing the halfway point of the 2022 season, Louisville faces the decision of whether or not to retain head coach Scott SatterfieldLouisville Athletics faces an uphill financial battle after multiple buyouts totaling nearly $40 millionHiring a coach like Jeff Brohm may not be a luxury that Louisville can afford Louisville football is preparing to enter the back half of a season where its fans and supporters will be more concerned with its next coach than the current product on the field. And, while Athletic Director Josh Heird is in the unenviable position of dealing with the constant PR headache of another losing football season, the coaching market looks promising. The University of Louisville, its facilities, fans, ACC TV contract, future schedule, and more sell themselves. If Louisville makes the decision to cut ties with current head coach Scott Satterfield, there are likely to be plenty of viable suitors for the position. However, the elephant in the room that most supporters of the program are uncomfortable talking about is the financial aspect of firing a coach under contract and bringing in a completely new coaching staff. For a power five program like Louisville to make a major coaching change, it is not as simple as going back to an imaginary unlimited reservoir of money. My educated guess is that the athletic program may have much more seriously considered a different future for its current football coaching staff had it held the money to do so after the 2021 season. Throw in the fact that the university was saddled with yet another buyout of former Men’s Basketball head coach Chris Mack and entered a new contract with current Head Coach Kenny Payne, and you have a recipe for another headache along the financial ledger for years to come. I totally understand, as a lifelong fan, the desperation among the fanbase to win and win now. The 2013 season where Louisville football won a BCS Bowl Game, Louisville basketball won a national title, Louisville women’s basketball played in the national title game, and Louisville baseball made it to the College World Series feels like much more than a decade ago. The scandals, heartbreak, and downfall of a once proud athletic program that ensued were an incredibly difficult burden to carry for fans who live and die by the results of their favorite teams. However, it’s also important to understand the financial implications of this downfall to gain a better understanding of where Louisville stands, what its options are, and what to realistically expect during the Satterfield era and beyond. Through Open Records Requests and candid conversations with Louisville boosters, I sought to gain a better understanding of the decisions that go on behind the scenes. Assessing Louisville athletics net worth In regards to how much value the university carries, the University of Louisville has not, and will not soon, approach anything close to a solvency issue. More simply put, UofL has the ability to leverage its debts against its assets. In terms of how much the university is worth, despite a difficult year in 2020, UofL held serve across the entire university- Not just in the athletic department. UofL’s net worth is calculated by adding all of the university’s assets and subtracting the liabilities. According to the University of Louisville annual auditor’s report, “Current Assets consist primarily of cash; loans, accounts and contributions receivable, inventories, due from affiliates and investments held with the Foundation.” Louisville athletics fans often think of sports as a major component. In actuality, Louisville athletics is a much smaller piece of a very large, very lucrative pie. According to Louisville’s annual report, the operating expenses of the athletic department accounted for less than 10% of the overall money spent last fiscal year. In terms of net worth (again, Net worth = Assets – liabilities), Louisville athletics are performing as expected. In the last normal (non-COVID) fiscal year, Louisville increased its assets while decreasing its liabilities. Louisville’s net worth will typically peak at the beginning of each fiscal year. As of the final fiscal quarter in 2021, Louisville athletics’ net worth or net position was approximately $145 million. Surviving the COVID-19 pandemic Former Louisville Athletic Director Vince Tyra earned a mixed, often ambivalent, reputation for a number of things. However, if there is one thing that we should look back on in a decade and applaud Tyra for, it will be his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic. Tyra made the difficult decision to cut budgets, furlough employees, and tighten up some loose ends in 2020. The result was a pretty clean balance sheet at the conclusion of the 2020 fiscal year. This is a simple business principle that Tyra assuredly has become accustomed to throughout his career, and a reason why he made sense as a permanent hire when former AD Tom Jurich was ousted in 2018. When the money stops coming in, you have to find a way to not spend money you do not have. Louisville only lost an estimated $3 million in cash flow during a sports season massively impacted by a worldwide pandemic. If the University of Louisville remembers nothing else from Tyra’s tenure going forward, the program’s ability to tighten its belt and make difficult decisions during this time may ultimately be what steadied a ship headed far off course. Where the issues lie: Understanding cash flow vs. restricted cash In regards to assets, we have established that Louisville athletics and the University of Louisville are doing a tremendous job year-over-year. However, where the issues lie for UofL athletics going forward deals with the overall cash flow that keeps the athletic department afloat- And in the past, kept it flourishing. Cash flow can be defined as unrestricted cash. Cash flow includes donations, ticket profits, concessions, and various other avenues through which the university brings in money. Unrestricted cash is how UofL operates on a day-to-day basis. From paying coaching salaries to small nuanced operational things that fans don’t even think about, unrestricted cash flow is how UofL pays for the majority of its expenditures. As a non-profit organization, donations are the lifeblood of the University of Louisville athletics department, and any athletic department across the country. Restricted cash, on the other hand, is money that is donated, gifted, or otherwise given for a specified purpose. For example, the $3 million that Rick and David Keuber donated to help the university remodel its practice facility in exchange for naming rights of the Keuber Center- Is restricted cash. Money pledged by Angels Envy to renovate what was formerly the Brown and Williamson level of Cardinal Stadium is restricted cash. Anything that is held and not available for immediate use would fall under this umbrella. This is an important distinction to keep in mind when discussing the financial viability of the Louisville athletics programs going forward. The loan The next thing that is important to consider when examining the current financial state of the athletic department is how Louisville is spending money that it did not bring in. In April of 2021, the athletic department took out a $20 million line of credit from Louisville-based Republic Bank. “Covid-19 has negatively impacted Athletic Department revenues by more than $45M in the past 12 months,” the ULAA stated in the written proposal. “Approximately $25M of this revenue shortfall has been mitigated through department-wide expense reductions. Despite these aggressive measures, operating expenditures will exceed revenues in fiscal year 2021.” Shortly after receiving the loan, UofL spent $9 million of the Republic Bank credit line in April. Keep in mind, this is a capital loan. The university is responsible for paying back the money or risks losing ownership over its leveraged assets. Where Louisville stands financially When Louisville spent $9 million in borrowed money in April, the athletic department dropped approximately $13 million in internally generated cash. So, although the balance will show that Louisville has its head just above water, it’s important to consider the line of credit and that Louisville will still be in the hole for any money that goes against this credit line. Figure A and B show the decrease in cash flow year over year since 2017 and illustrate the spending issue Louisville has had in recent years. ULAA Cash Decrease Post-Jurich Figure A Figure B UofL has an excess cash surge at the start of each fiscal year in June — This number goes down as it is depleted each year. At the start of each fiscal year since Jurich left, Louisville’s cash flow has continued to decrease. Which is likely a major reason for the $20 million loan. Simply put, Louisville athletics has been spending way more money than it is bringing in, and there has been no indication yet that the new administration has bucked this trend. As of the end of the 3rd fiscal quarter on April 1st, 2022, Louisville’s liquid assets had decreased at least $78 million since Jurich’s departure. Figures A and B show the result of an uncontrolled spending issue with a lack of unallocated funds coming in. The bottom line number, when factoring in $9 million against Louisville’s line of credit is now, more than likely, negative. That is, unless something drastic has been done under Heird’s watch to stop the bleeding. When you take into account that the loan is money Louisville owes, rather than money that it has to spend, there is a huge red flag in regards to digging itself out of this major financial hole. As numbers become available, we can begin to paint a better picture of how Louisville is working to rectify the situation. However, an educated assumption would be that the Louisville athletic department is working hard to bring in more unallocated funds from donors. As of the end of the first quarter on March 31st, 2022, ULAA Foundation investments had dipped from $25 million in 2017 to $3.5 million. This is a number that Louisville athletics must see increase in order to right the ship financially. What Louisville is spending money on So, how exactly does Louisville find itself in this situation? A decrease in donations and profits since Jurich’s departure and an increase in money owed by way of coaching buyouts certainly has not helped. While the Jurich administration did well to maintain cash flow coming in, Jurich undoubtedly left the program in a poor position when he left. Much of what Louisville has been responsible for over the last five years has been paying the contracts of fired coaches. Here are the coaching buyouts Louisville has been on the hook for prior to parting ways with Chris Mack. Figure C Collectively, Louisville paid out — or will pay out– north of $35 million for letting go of previous coaches without cause. Now, Louisville will have to pay Mack $1.6 million per year through 2024 for a total of $4.8 million. All told, the Louisville athletic department will be responsible for settling debts of at least $39,963,250 since January of 2018. How Louisville has counteracted budgetary issues Cutting head coaching costs One simple, and seemingly logical, solution that Louisville found during Tyra’s tenure was to simply save money by not overextending on coaching contracts. How do you save money right away? By filling positions with people who are paid less money. While Louisville athletics is still, quite literally, paying the price for signing Petrino to a contract with mind-boggling buyout numbers, Louisville signed Satterfield to a much more reasonable deal. Through 2026, Louisville will only pay Satterfield $3.25 million annually- Considerably less than a contract that would have paid Petrino $4.025 million in 2022. Similarly, Louisville only shelled out $4 million a year to Mack, where it was paying Pitino $5.5 million, plus performance incentives. Kenny Payne is making $3.35 million per year- Another substantial drop in spending. In 2021 alone, Louisville athletics paid its main revenue-generating head coaches and athletic director $4,235,000 less than it was contracted to with Jurich, Petrino, and Pitino at the helm. This number increased to nearly $5 million in 2022. Basketball-specific budget cuts If you’ve noticed some minor changes throughout the men’s basketball program in the post-Jurich era, it may be partially due to budget cuts made in 2018. Per the University of Louisville Athletic Association, Inc Monthly Financial Analysis as of September of 2021, the proposed yearly budget for the men’s basketball program sharply decreased from fiscal year 2018 to 2019. While the majority of sports at UofL have leveled out or seen slightly increased budgets since 2018, Louisville basketball slashed its budget from $9,529,327 in 2018 to $7,228,948 in 2019- more than a 24% decrease. Again in 2020, Louisville cut basketball spending to $6,775,661- a 6% decrease. Since Tyra’s arrival, Louisville basketball slashed $10,646,015 from its operating budget. Most of the budget cuts- approximately $5.5 million- have come in the form of operating expenses. Figure D Cash Flow in the Jurich era vs. Cash Flow in the Tyra Tenure One of the primary concerns for Louisville athletics for the foreseeable future is the amount of cash flow available. Unrestricted cash declined 22% from $72 to $56 million in the final six years of the Jurich era- a decline of 4% annually.  Contrast that to the most recent four-plus years when it has declined by 94%– an annual rate of 22%.  Excess cash on the balance sheet can also be a problem as far as a productive asset.  It’s possible that Jurich recognized that and made a deliberate effort to reduce it, in contrast to the current situation. Whatever the case, the responsibility is now bestowed upon Heird and his staff to increase unrestricted cash flowing in while continuing to limit money spent. What is to come under Josh Heird? The good news for Louisville athletics is that this is not an unsalvageable situation. I felt comfortable with the hiring of Josh Heird because of his experience working under Jurich and Villanova’s Mark Jackson. Heird’s background in college athletics will hopefully usher in a new era of fundraising and trust from boosters. Major donors like Louisville staple Mark Lynn have grown estranged from the university in recent years and there has been a less than silent public distrust in the athletic department since Jurich’s parting of ways. Heird serves as a solid intermediary between those who developed long-standing relationships with Jurich and a new era of donors who came on board during Tyra’s tenure. While Jurich ruled with an iron fist and took calculated risks, Tyra made budget cuts and tried to right a ship in stormy seas. During that transition, however, there was a clear drop-off in donor funding and maintaining relationships from the previous regime. A happy medium between the two previous ADs, Heird has the opportunity to regain the trust of old donors while bringing a no-nonsense approach to the position from a public perspective. He has gotten off to a fantastic start by hiring Payne and constructing a NIL department at UofL in an interim capacity. Now, Heird faces his toughest challenge yet- Making the decision to retain or part ways with Satterfield. Addressing Satterfield’s contract When he was hired, Scott Satterfield signed a 6-year contract that runs through the end of 2024. If he’s fired without cause, Satterfield is to be paid 75% of the remaining value of his contract. So, if Satterfield is let go in 2022, Louisville will be on the hook for $4.875 million, or 75% of two years of his annual $3.25 million salary. So, that begs the first question: Is it worth it to Louisville to wait things out? Louisville paid Petrino north of $14 million to walk. They are paying Mack almost $5 million after he threw in the towel mid-season. While the precedence has been set to do so, these are also recent firings that the university is on the hook for. It’s easy to say “it’s been done before, just do it again”, but given its current financial situation, that is easier said than done. Obviously, there is also a precedence set where boosters and corporate donors can help alleviate the sting of forking over a buyout. However, on the heels of some pretty substantial payouts over the last 5-6 years, that is much easier said than done. The most recent prominent example of this happening was just last month when Nebraska got rid of head coach Scott Frost just three games into the season. Nebraska boosters forked over a significant amount of money to help fund Frost’s $15 million buyout four years before his contract was up. Do Louisville boosters have or want to pay that kind of money? And is the situation bad enough to warrant these actions? That remains to be seen, but the answer to those questions has almost always been a resounding “no”. Finally, there is a clause in Satterfield’s contract where Louisville will not have to pay him the full amount of his buyout if he obtains employment elsewhere. I.e. if Louisville gets rid of Satterfield and can string his payments out into installments of, say, $812,000 over 6 years or $609,375 over 8 years, UofL might get out of some payments if Satterfield finds another prominent coaching gig. The cost of hiring a new coach Once the decision is made to part ways with Satterfield, there are obviously costs associated with hiring the new coach. Louisville may pay upwards of $100,000 to a search firm to help secure their new guy. Glen Sugiyama is a familiar name that helped Louisville basketball come to the decision to hire Kenny Payne earlier in 2022. For those on the Jeff Brohm train, Sugiyama has a track record with Brohm, having assisted Western Kentucky and Purdue during their searches in 2014 and 2017. Then, there is the cost associated with signing the new coach to an enticing contract. Back in 2018, Louisville and Brohm could not come to an agreement, and there were not so quiet whispers that contract negotiations were a major issue. That discussion could rear its head again if Louisville decides Brohm is its guy. In 2019, Brohm signed a 7-year, $36.8 million contract. That averages out to $5,257,142 a year after bonuses and other incentives. When he received his extension, Brohm was the 8th-highest paid coach in college football. To put things into perspective, Petrino was paid $4.475 million in 2018 prior to his termination. If Brohm were to make the move to his hometown team, one would think a pay cut isn’t in the cards. Can Louisville afford to pay someone like that? Are boosters willing to shell over money to see a change? That has never been the case in the past. It’s difficult to imagine that happening this time around. Now, there have been fans clammoring for other coaches with Louisville ties that could be good fits as UofL’s next head coach. Dave Ragone, former Louisville QB, and current Atlanta Falcons offensive coordinator makes $400,000 a year. Former beloved Louisville defensive line coach Clint Hurtt, now the defensive coordinator of the Seattle Seahawks, does not have a contract available to the public. However, surmise it to say that he likely makes more than Ragone but less than $1 million annually. Louisville fans really liked the hiring of Kenny Payne because of local connections. There are obvious opportunities out there to do so in football, but Brohm feels like the most untouchable financially. And just for S&Gs since it’s being thrown around on social media, a coach known mostly for his stint with the Louisville Bats, Deion Sanders, makes $1.2 million annually and donates half of his salary back to Jacksonville State. More realistically, I think Louisville football should be considering what has worked in the past: Offensive and defensive coordinators for high-level programs. Georgia defensive coordinator Dan Lanning makes $1.7 million a year. Bill O’Brien, Alabama’s offensive coordinator, makes $1.1 million annually. Ohio State defensive coordinator Jim Knowles makes $1.9 million in 2022. And Oklahoma defensive coordinator Alex Grinch is set to make $1.8 million this season. Louisville built much of its success over the last two decades on the backs of Auburn offensive coordinator Bobby Petrino and Florida defensive coordinator Charlie Strong. The Cardinals faltered under head coaches in Satterfield (App State) and Steve Kragthorpe (Tulsa) and sputtered out after re-hiring Petrino post-Atlanta, Arkansas, and WKU. This, of course, is not to say that it’s black and white. Louisville has examples of success under Howard Schnellenberger, John L. Smith, Lee Corso, and others. However, it’s important to realize that hiring another head coach making a lateral move is almost always going to coincide with pricier and lengthier guaranteed contracts with hefty buyouts- Something Louisville can ill-afford at this juncture. Since Jurich’s departure, Louisville has consistently paid new coaches less than their predecessors in their initial contracts. Based on the state of Louisville’s finances, I feel confident in predicting that this trend will continue with UofL’s next football coaching hire. If things go well for the next coach, things should be going well for the university financially. With this being the case, I’d bank on a high-level coordinator being the next coach to get the job with bigger names out of reach for the near future. You may also like:

'Boo at the Zoo' returns to the Louisville Zoo – WHAS11

By |2022-10-01T19:24:42-04:00October 1st, 2022|COVID-19|

Everything you need to know about tickets, the costume contest and discount ticket options. LOUISVILLE, Ky. — If you're looking for a spooky trick-or-treating experience for your family this fall, consider rounding up the kiddos for "Boo at the Zoo". The Louisville Zoo will be transformed every weekend in October with fun rides, amazing characters, great music and lots of trick-or-treating for the little ones. The 41st annual Boo at the Zoo will run Thursdays through Sundays for the entire month of October. You can come by anytime between 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. This fundraiser provides critical support every year to the Zoo’s animal care programs, botanical gardens, visitor experiences and conservation education, according to the zoo's website. ALLERGY-FRIENDLY NIGHT: Thursday, Oct. 20, the zoo will feature peanut-free treat booths and add non-food treats like stickers, tattoos, pencils and more. Children with allergies can receive a teal token redeemable for an allergy-friendly option at the Switch Witch booth.  ATTRACTIONS: Over one mile of themed fun20 treat booths along the wayThe Spooktacular CarouselPhoto opportunities with storybook characters, princesses and superheroesFree-crawling “Not-So-Itsy-Bitsy” Spider HouseVirtual Halloween Costume ContestThe Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hollow experience JUST FOR ADULTS 21+: For an additional fee, guests 21 and over can unwind with beer, wine or frozen cocktails. Member discounts are not valid on sale items or alcohol. COSTUME POLICY: Costumes are welcomed but not required. Adults may wear costumes, but they must be family friendly and not scary. Since this event caters to small children, adults may not wear costume masks that cover the entire face. You can enter the zoo's Virtual Halloween Costume Contest online. To enter your submission, post photos to your social media using #louzooboo or post photos in the zoo's Facebook comments. COVID-19 CHANGES:  To help provide social distancing and to reduce contact, there will be a limited number of treat booths throughout the zoo. This year, rather than receiving one treat per booth, kids 11 years old and under will receive multiple treats at each station. While you may catch a glimpse of some animals at the zoo, most of the animals will not be viewable during the event. ALL ABOUT TICKETS: All tickets must be purchased in advance on the Louisville Zoo's website. Tickets are $13 per person for non-zoo-members and kids under two years old get in for free. "Party" tickets includes access to all rides, attractions and parking.  You can opt for a "Meijer Anytime Ticket" which allows you to purchase a ticket now even if you're not sure which night you want to attend. These tickets are discounted and valid for any Boo at the Zoo night. Make it easy to keep up-to-date with more stories like this. Download the WHAS11 News app now. For Apple or Android users. Have a news tip? Email assign@whas11.com, visit our Facebook page or Twitter feed.

New restaurant opens in downtown Louisville as area sees boom of tourists – WLKY

By |2022-10-01T02:26:57-04:00September 30th, 2022|COVID-19|

A new downtown restaurant aims to give Louisville a taste of Nashville hot chicken."Downtown is like going home. It has that familiar sound, familiar smell, familiar look," said chef Shaquan McDonald.The spot at 612 South 5th Street was the perfect location for Chef Shaq's Kitchen. As a matter of fact, it's a life-long dream."I started at the old Spaghetti factory when I was 15 years old, and my uncle was the district manager there and he gave me my first opportunity there in the kitchen," McDonald told WLKY.On Friday, McDonald, along with city leaders, officially cut the ribbon on his restaurant. But Mayor Greg Fischer said this won't be the only ribbon cutting on new businesses in the downtown area"We've had some exciting new business announcements as well, Inception is going in one of our towers downtown and we'll be announcing a few other things in the coming week as well," said Fischer.Rebecca Fleischaker is the executive director of the Louisville Downtown Partnership. She said while the pandemic hit downtown businesses hard, in the past six months to a year; things have taken a turn."Downtown is really returning; there is so much activity, actually better than pre-COVID-19," Fleischaker said.It comes at the same time that around 170,000 people attended Louder than life last weekend, making it one of the biggest rock festivals in the country. Another 140,000 attended Bourbon and Beyond the week before. It's a great sight to see for any business starting out. "It's been really good, especially around lunchtime; lunchtime is really good for us," McDonald said.Officials say both music festivals pumped $33 million dollars into the local economy. LOUISVILLE, Ky. — A new downtown restaurant aims to give Louisville a taste of Nashville hot chicken."Downtown is like going home. It has that familiar sound, familiar smell, familiar look," said chef Shaquan McDonald.

Louisville NAACP calls on Attorney General Daniel Cameron to resign – Courier-Journal

By |2022-09-30T17:30:01-04:00September 30th, 2022|Breonna Taylor, COVID-19|

Kentucky Attorney General Daniel Cameron should resign immediately, the Louisville NAACP announced Friday, “for failing to conduct a fair and impartial investigation into the fatal police shooting of Breonna Taylor.”If the first-term Republican refuses to step down, the group said it will call on Kentucky’s Republican-heavy legislature to impeach him.“The recent federal indictments of four Louisville Metro Police officers involved in the Breonna Taylor killing has highlighted, demonstrated, and proven the insufficiency of the state investigation led by the Attorney General of the Commonwealth and an absence of an understanding of the Commonwealth’s criminal laws,” the NAACP said in a press release.More:Woman shouldn't face felony for $80 in shoplifting at Walmart, Kentucky Supreme Court saysCameron is running for governor in 2023. In a statement shared Friday afternoon, he said, “I’m proud of the work I’ve done on behalf of every Kentuckian, and I am honored to serve the citizens of the Commonwealth as Kentucky’s 51st Attorney General.”Cameron drew criticism for his handling of the Taylor case, in which he did not charge anyone for her death at the hands of Louisville police in March 2020. Four law enforcement officers were later federally indicted in August 2022 for charges tied to Taylor’s death and the investigation preceding it. In a resolution sent to Cameron and legislative leaders Thursday, the NAACP noted the AG is obligated to “enforce the laws equally and fairly.” Cameron, they continued, has said, “I don’t care what anybody says in the national media, when it comes to supporting and defending law enforcement, we are going to do that. We are going to back the blue.”More:Kentucky AG Daniel Cameron comes to Trump's defense in Mar-a-Lago caseIn separate comments in August just days after the federal indictments were announced, Cameron told the crowd at Fancy Farm, an annual political picnic in Western Kentucky, that he will “always have (law enforcement’s) back and we will always support the blue.”The NAACP wrote “the insufficiency of the investigation and the lack of understanding of Kentucky criminal statutes were the results of the current Attorney General of the Commonwealth of Kentucky in his own words ‘backing the blue,’ not justice.”In a press conference Friday, NAACP President Raoul Cunningham said calling on the first Black man to hold the AG's office to resign was "not the easiest decision.""Although he is the first African American to be elected to a statewide office, that does not exclude him from his responsibility to the entire community," Cunningham said. "Nor does it exclude him from fairness and equality. And we do not think that he possessed that in his decision."More:Who is running to be Kentucky's next governor?August's federal indictments brought the idea of calling for Cameron's removal back to the forefront for the group, Cunningham said. Cameron's Fancy Farm comments played a heavy role in their decision as well, he said."He already decided to take sides when he said he will basically defend the blue," Cunningham said. "To us, that is taking a position that is not necessarily based on fairness."The Kentucky General Assembly has the authority to impeach constitutional officers, including the attorney general, but impeachments are rare. Spokespeople for the House and Senate Republicans did not immediately respond to a request for comment.Three grand jurors in the Breonna Taylor case filed a petition in January 2021 to impeach Cameron, alleging the AG breached public trust and misrepresented findings in his investigation to the grand jury.Cameron's 2021 impreachment attempt was one of a few in a string of high-profile impeachment petitions at the time, including one to remove Gov. Andy Beshear from office over his COVID-19 response.When asked if he thought legislative leaders would do anything, Cunningham said, "I can hope."Reach Olivia Krauth at okrauth@courierjournal.com and on Twitter at @oliviakrauth. 

'It was gut-wrenching': Louisville musicians dealt another blow after latest venue closes its doors

By |2022-09-30T01:24:11-04:00September 29th, 2022|COVID-19|

Louisville musicians are sounding the alarm on a lack of performance spaces after another local music venue closed its doors.On Tuesday, The Whirling Tiger in Butchertown announced it was closing effective immediately. The owners of Against the Grain opened the venue just last year.The announcement hit the local music scene hard, with many artists taking to social media expressing frustration that another venue is shutting down. Several acts had shows already booked at the venue for the coming week.Bryson Townsend was one of them. For the last six years, he has been performing hip-hop music under the stage name TrapKingKai."It kind of just came naturally. I did an open mic, then from open mic I kind of just fell into it," Townsend said.He recently made the decision to move to Nashville to further pursue his career in music. His last big show in Louisville was set for Friday at the Whirling Tiger, but one text changed all of that."It was crazy. I just got up to a text that was like, 'Hey, bad news. The Whirling Tiger is closed,'" Townsend said.A short time later came this post on the venue's Facebook page saying: "Well, we tried our hardest and put our best foot forward. Unfortunately, The Whirling Tiger is closing its doors. We believe in the concept, we believe in the community and we believe in the artists. But sometimes believing is not enough. It's always a knee-jerk reaction to blame someone else or something else, but at the end of the day, we have to own it and we do."Townsend once worked as a doorman at The Whirling Tiger. Despite having to cancel his show due to the last-minute notice, he still had high praise for the venue and the environment it tried to create."Having venues like that like the Whirling Tiger you know to actually embrace hip hop you know it's like a home, especially for younger artists coming in just trying to discover their voice and find their audience. It's very important," Townsend said.That hasn't been the case for him and other hip-hop artists at other venues across the city, according to Townsend."Venues half the time don't even like urban artists, hip-hop music. So it's like very limited. I see more country artists with cover bands playing other people's music more than people with original music and I think that's a problem right there," Townsend said.Riley McCartney is a fellow hip-hop artist performing under the stage name Riley Aaron. He not only performs but does his own graphic design and marketing. "We kind of consider ourselves DIY, or like do it yourself artists. As you see behind me -- home studio. I record everything here," McCartney said.McCartney was also set to take part in Friday's show. It would have been his first performance at The Whirling Tiger. He spent weeks helping to promote the event."It's gut-wrenching. We rely on that. That's definitely the backbone in the local music scene and the community surrounding that. It offers like a sanctuary for artists and not only that but even fans and people who want to come and support," McCartney said.When he first started out, Townsend said there were about 10 venues where he would frequently play. Now that number is down to just two."You hear rumors of one going down and then the other and it kind of creates a lot of anxiety with the scene," McCartney said. The COVID-19 pandemic hit local venues hard, but Townsend and McCartney say you need to look no further than the success of Louisville's own Jack Harlow to see the local music scene here is still worth fostering."Everybody starts out locally," said Townsend. "That's how it goes, ya know?"They're now encouraging the public to take a chance on local artists by coming out to their shows."There's a lot of untapped potential here and I think you could definitely find your next favorite artist out in the city," McCartney said.For people looking to sample the local music scene, McCartney said WFPK is a good place to start."It's a local radio station that gives local artists a lot of press, like myself. I have an EP coming out and I was lucky enough to have an editorial written about me," McCartney said.They hope if more people come out to their shows, it will inspire others to invest in the local music scene by opening additional venues."It's a very great community. It's more close than what people think. Like everybody loves everybody. The community is strong," Townsend said.Another way to find local musicians is through a new app called Groupie. Noah Rough and John Geddes are local tech creators who recently launched the new app that promotes local musicians. You can download it by clicking here. LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Louisville musicians are sounding the alarm on a lack of performance spaces after another local music venue closed its doors.On Tuesday, The Whirling Tiger in Butchertown announced it was closing effective immediately. The owners of Against the Grain opened the venue just last year.

Louisville officials plan to reopen the long-closed Parkland Library – WFPL

By |2022-09-30T01:24:18-04:00September 29th, 2022|COVID-19|

The city plans to spend roughly $800,000 to expand and reopen the facility, located at 2743 Virginia Ave. When it opens, the library will serve the 5,000 residents of Parkland and folks in the surrounding communities. Lee Burchfield, director of the Louisville Free Public Library system, said Thursday that the project is still in the design phase. He did not provide a timeline for when renovations would be complete. WFPL’s Roberto Roldan recently sat down with Mayor Greg Fischer to discuss the Parkland Library and how its renovations fit into the larger push to invest in libraries across Jefferson County. This interview has been edited for clarity and length. Can you tell me a bit about Parkland Library and why it was important to the city to reopen it? The Parkland Library closed in 1986 due to budget cuts. It was built in 1908, one of the many Carnegie libraries that you see here, thankfully, in our city and all over the country. So, it was a big priority of ours to try to get that back open. And thanks to the American Rescue Plan funds, we were able to make the announcement, break ground and serve the residents of Parkland. And, of course, anybody else that wants to come.” There’s also a big renovation and expansion project already underway at the Portland Library in west Louisville, which is an area that the city has historically disinvested from. What do you hope that these projects bring back to these communities that surround these public libraries? Well, I’ve made it a big priority to invest in areas in the west. Libraries, of course, have got to be part of that investment, because they’re the learning centers. The challenge with the Portland Library is it’s not been accessible. So, we’re adding a wing so people with disabilities can have access, much easier access to the library. And then we’re expanding it as well.  And it seems like these two renovations that we’ve talked about are part of a larger investment in libraries across Jefferson County. What other library projects does Louisville Metro have in the works? And how does it fit into the larger picture? When I was elected, I said there’d be three big values to guide our city: Lifelong learning, health and compassion. So, the very first investment was the Southwest Regional Library, just off of Dixie Highway. Then, of course, we followed with the South Central, Okolona and the Northeast Library. What will be turned into a regional library, in effect, will be the downtown library. We’ve got over $10 million going into that. Fern Creek also is getting a new library. Unfortunately, we had to close their library when the budgets were real tight several years ago. So kudos to them, gonna have a $5 million project out there. And so all told, it’s about $50 million investment in libraries throughout Louisville during my time in office here, during these past 12 years. It seems like these libraries are not just necessarily a place to check out books, but it’s almost operating sort of as a community center? Absolutely they are. So, you see people having their individual meetings, you see group meetings, you see us having city meetings as well. We’ve got maker spaces, we’ve got kitchens in these, any avenue there is to learn, whether it be through the traditional way of checking out a book — or it could be arts, it could be cooking, it could be maker spaces. All that now is in our library system. And we’re just going to continue and expand in that way. And as you said, the funding for these expansion projects are coming from these one time federal dollars from the American Rescue Plan Act, which was related to the COVID-19 pandemic. What’s the city’s plan for ensuring continued investment in public libraries and public spaces? We really wanted to focus using most of the American Rescue Plan money on capital projects, so they didn’t have ongoing, annual expenses associated with them. So you see us upgrading our libraries that we have right now. And I really want to recognize the Library Foundation as well. They are the group that, when we come with a library plan, they’ll say, “Here’s a few things that we can do to make these world class libraries.” So they will raise millions of dollars in the community for each of these projects to really make them destinations. And when people go to them they’re like, “This is as good as anything in the world when it comes to libraries and lifelong learning.” So I really appreciate what they do as well. Mayor, thank you for taking the time today to talk to us a little bit about our public spaces here in Louisville. Well, I appreciate it. I’m excited about libraries. My grandmother used to take me to the library with her. So it was always a magical place for me and I love to learn. And so I just am really grateful to be able to use our libraries as a way to bring our city along and bring joy in education, joy and learning to so many people.

Sadiqa Reynolds: Thank you, Louisville. We are not perfect but we are doing the work

By |2022-09-30T01:24:25-04:00September 29th, 2022|COVID-19|

Sadiqa N. ReynoldsFirst, to God, I give thanks because without grace and mercy none of what you see would be possible. Second, thank you to Sydney and Wynter for understanding the reason behind the sacrifice, for being the most loving warriors, for staying true to your convictions, for questioning everything and for over and over again affirming my life purpose. Third, I thank the leadership team at the Louisville Urban League for making hard work fun, for completely trusting me, and for caring about people who, because life has convinced them they were unlovable, don’t always love themselves enough to love you for your sacrifice.More:Ricky Jones: Sadiqa Reynolds is a great leader because she remembers her historyNext, I thank the entire team at the League for taking seriously the line in the job description reading, “other duties as assigned.” For believing we could change the world and for saying yes to whatever was required. We navigated hundreds of people being COVID-19 tested when we were still afraid ourselves. We got vaccinated publicly to set examples for a community that needed to be reassured.I am a woman who has become accustomed to threats. There were days when the hate was overwhelming. Times when the critiques were so loud they were all that could be heard. I read every comment and evaluated every recommendation on how the job could be done better, and how there might be a softer way to lead.All along it was clear to me that the only way to go was the way of the author of my destiny. That meant friendships were not priority and comfort not guaranteed. My tears spilled at awkward moments and my heart was broken again and again, and also, somehow simultaneously, there was healing. There was empowerment, and of course, there was always you. You who always believed, or maybe began to believe. Your faith, your prayers, and your love lifted me.  We weathered storms. And on September 24, the wonderful Board of Directors of the Louisville Urban League hosted a party fit for a community that had survived it all. We are not perfect but we are doing the work. We are not fixed but we are not irreparably damaged. From the stage, looking out at the crowd, your faces glowed. Some skin was young and smooth and some clearly weathered by life storms. You were Black, White, Hispanic and Asian and you felt the same love I felt. Thank you for showing up, for planning, for donating and for speaking. Thank you for your vulnerability and your trust. From police to protestor, CEO to janitor, for one night we all agreed that what we had in common was more important than anything that ever divided us. That is what I wanted for my adopted hometown. All I ever wanted was for us to be free. More:Sadiqa Reynolds is stepping down as head of the Louisville Urban LeagueFinally, if you follow me on social media, you know there is a song by Major that I have dedicated to Louisville for years, the words are:I found love in you/ And I learned to love me too/ Never have I felt that I could be all that you see/ It’s like our hearts have intertwined into the perfect harmony./ This is why I love you/ Because you love me./ Every moment that you smile chases all of the pain away/ Forever and a while in my heart is where you'll stay/Thank you, Louisville. Let’s keep going. I will be right here.Sadiqa Reynolds is Outgoing President and CEO Louisville Urban League as well as Founder and President Louisville Urban League Sports & Learning.

5 Louisville nonprofits will receive millions for supportive housing – WFPL

By |2022-09-28T21:40:09-04:00September 28th, 2022|COVID-19|

Louisville Metro will give $32 million in grants to local nonprofits that have plans to build permanent supportive housing. It’s a type of affordable housing that also includes ongoing access to mental health care, job training and other social services. Mayor Greg Fischer made the announcement at a press conference Wednesday morning, standing alongside housing advocates and members of Metro Council. The funding will come from an $80 million block of federal COVID-19 relief city officials set aside for housing services last year. Louisville received a total of around $380 million from Congress’s American Rescue Plan Act. That money has been directed to policing, libraries and childcare access.  Fischer called the spending on permanent supportive housing a moral and economic imperative.  “When we know where the hungry and the homeless exist, we can help,” he said. “These are our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. We’ve got to be there to help.” The five area nonprofits receiving the funding are the St. John Center, Volunteers of America, Wellspring, House of Ruth and Choices, Inc. All of these organizations have experience providing housing and social services. Fischer said the city is in the process of finalizing the grants now. Rashan Martin, executive director of the St. John Center, said the organization is working with the private company LDG Development to create Sheehan Landing, an 80-unit housing complex for people who have experienced homelessness.  Martin said the development will be staffed around the clock with community health workers that can help residents in crisis.  “This model of housing has been very successful in other states, in other cities, and it will be the first of its kind here in Louisville,” she said. “For the first time, we will be creating permanent supportive housing at a scale that will begin to address the need.” According to a 2019 report commissioned by the city, Louisville needs 31,000 housing units to meet the needs of its lowest-income residents. Martin said the St. John Center has not signed a contract on a property yet, but hopes to break ground on Sheehan Landing in early 2023.  Volunteers of America will build its permanent supportive housing development, dubbed Monarch Station, on Bland Street near Shelby Park. It will be right next to the nonprofit’s existing Shelby campus where they provide substance abuse treatment and mental health services, said Tamara Reif, associate VP of housing services at Volunteers of America. “VOA will be bringing more high-quality, safe affordable housing to a changing neighborhood that desperately needs to maintain options for Louisville families,” she said. “We think Monarch Station can be a game changing example of how to service Louisville families.” Volunteers of America will work with Beargrass Development to build a total of 80 housing units. Sixty units will be affordable rental housing, while the other 20 will be supportive housing for people who need ongoing access to social services. Reif did not provide a timeline for the development. “The location is on a bus line that provides convenient transportation,” she said. “It’s close to healthcare options, schools, parks and other amenities. Building more affordable housing to serve this neighborhood fits Louisville’s long-term housing goals and is simply the right thing to do.” Advocates of permanent supportive housing say the wraparound services provided to residents address some of the root causes of homelessness and poverty. It also provides housing options that can realistically support people who require ongoing assistance and for whom regular affordable housing may be inadequate. Of the $380 million the city has received from the American Rescue Plan Act, about $58 million remains unallocated. Louisville Metro has until the end of next year to spend that. The city’s final appropriation of federal COVID-19 relief is expected to focus on workforce and economic development. 

Louisville will build 'permanent supportive housing' with ARP funds – Courier-Journal

By |2022-09-28T21:40:10-04:00September 28th, 2022|COVID-19|

Louisville is using $32 million in federal American Rescue Plan funds to build additional "permanent supportive housing," with officials announcing several projects Wednesday to provide shelter and resources to homeless men and families.The money will help nonprofit organizations like the St. John Center and Volunteers of America Mid-States build supportive housing units to offer a permanent place to call home to those who struggle with chronic homelessness."It's a moral imperative that we do this. It's also an economic imperative," Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said while flanked by over a dozen housing advocates and officials during a news conference at Metro Hall. "These are our brothers and sisters, sons and daughters. We've got to be there to help."Louisville received $388 million to help recover from the COVID-19 pandemic after President Joe Biden signed the American Rescue Plan Act into law in March 2021. The city has about $58 million in ARP money left to spend, with officials indicating they expect it to focus on workforce development.The ARP funds must be directed to different areas by the end of 2024 and spent by the end of 2026, per federal rules.Louisville traffic stops:LMPD still searches Black drivers most frequently despite promise of reforms"There's abundant and growing evidence that communities with affordable housing shortages have more houseless neighbors," Metro Councilman Bill Hollander said, alluding to Louisville's estimated 31,000-unit shortage of affordable housing. "We also know that many people who are living on the street need more than just a key to an apartment to get back on their feet, and they may need that help for an extended period of time."Metro Councilman Jecorey Arthur thanked the various nonprofit leaders and advocates who help residents experiencing homelessness, also giving a nod to outreach workers."Where you feel the most safe? In your home," Arthur said. "But if you don't have a place to call home, a permanent place to call home, a sustainable place to call home, a consistent place to call home, you're the least safe person in the city of Louisville."The mayor and Metro Council directed the city's previous four rounds of ARP allocations to COVID-related needs, affordable housing, premium pay for city employees, violence prevention programs, reopening several library branches, renovating parks and supporting youth development, among other areas.Last fall, officials directed about $89 million toward affordable housing and homelessness programs, including a "safe outdoor space" on College Street, the creation of more rental units with resources like counseling and substance abuse support, down-payment assistance, home-repair initiatives and a boost to the city's Affordable Housing Trust Fund.Much work remains to curb the estimated shortage of 31,000 units needed to be affordable for those who make 30% of the Area Median Income, which a Louisville study said was $25,100 for a family of four in 2018. Fischer said filling that gap could cost $4.5 billion.Here's a summary of the new plans:St. John Center and LDG Development to build supportive housingRa’Shann Martin, executive director of St. John Center, the day shelter, street outreach and social service provider at 700 E. Muhammad Ali Blvd., said her organization and LDG Development, a Louisville developer, are teaming up to create "Sheehan Landing."Named after Sister Mary Kathleen Sheehan, the center's founding director, the spot will feature 80 one-bedroom apartments as part of an "affordable, supportive development that will be the first of its kind in Kentucky," Martin said.Staff will provide wraparound services, such as counseling or recovery resources, and be available 24 hours a day to residents, Martin said. St. John Center is receiving $17.5 million in ARP money, per city officials.The site has yet to be determined, but Martin said the aim is to break ground by early 2023 and complete the project by 2025.Volunteers of America hopes 'Monarch Station' will help familiesVolunteers of America Mid-States, which is based in Louisville and fights opioid abuse and family and veteran homelessness across Kentucky and Clark and Floyd counties in Southern Indiana, will use $4.5 million to create "Monarch Station" for families experiencing housing crises.Tamara Reif, senior director of housing services for Volunteers of America, said it is working with Beargrass Development on the project, calling it an "integrative housing model unlike anything that's been done in Louisville before (that) puts into place best practices for providing housing" to families in need.Monarch Station will be on Bland Street by VOA's existing Shelby campus off Shelby Street in the Shelby Park and Merriwether area, Reif said, adding the land was donated. It will feature 80 affordable units, 20 of which will offer support services to residents.Kentucky high school sports:Meet 25 of the top boys basketball prospects suiting up this seasonServices will include job coaching, case management, housing specialists, substance abuse treatment referrals and counseling, Reif added."The location is important," Reif said, noting it is close to a bus line, health care options, schools, parks and other amenities.Other permanent supportive housing plans in LouisvilleFischer also said this ARP allocation will help three other projects from Louisville nonprofits.Wellspring, which offers mental health recovery, housing and other support services, is using $3.3 million to purchase and remodel units for permanent supportive housing.House of Ruth, which provides housing and support for people with HIV/AIDS and their families, will use $6.5 million for 40 permanent supportive housing units.Choices, Inc., which helps women and families who are homeless, will use $120,000 to build one home featuring support services.Reach Billy Kobin at bkobin@courierjournal.com

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