Poe’s “Crossings at Irish Hill” proceeds with caution
The huge, empty lot on Lexington Road that’s currently owned by River Metals and Progress Rail — across from Distillery Commons and Headliners Music Hall — may soon (within three years) become a modern, urban shopping center, sorta like parts of the East End but maybe not as repulsively commercial. Poe Companies, the Louisville developer behind the planned Museum Plaza, among other urban amenities, plans to cap the environmental wasteland with a pair of “big box” stores (the short list includes Whole Foods, Kroger and Trader Joe’s, as well as a home repair store), some restaurants, small locally owned retail spots and green space.
Neighborhood residents — about 60 were at a Monday night meeting — aren’t so much opposed to all of this as they are wary of being taken advantage of. Monday was the second meeting Poe has held seeking public input; at this one, an amended design was revealed, based on comments from the previous meeting.
The plan presented last night will be submitted to city agencies for review in the near future. —Stephen George
Nickolas v. Fletcher, Round 1
Concerning matters Constitutional: Political blogger and LEO columnist Mark Nickolas filed a lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Frankfort Monday, accusing Gov. Ernie Fletcher and two others in his administration of violating the First Amendment by selectively blocking certain Web sites from state computers, most notably Nickolas’ Bluegrass Report. Nickolas’ lawsuit does not seek monetary damages, but only to undo what bears the mark of a blatantly political act of censorship, Chinese-style.
Bluegrass Report, which has 25,000 visitors a week, was blocked from state computers beginning June 21, the morning after a front-page New York Times story discussing the recently indicted governor’s political problems appeared, quoting Nickolas. Nickolas has often been critical of Fletcher, and managed U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler’s unsuccessful bid for the governor’s office in 2003.
“I’m not backing down,” Nickolas said in an interview Tuesday. “These are our constitutional rights at stake. I’m not prepared to let the government roll right over me.”
Included in the lawsuit are John Farris, secretary of the Finance and Administration Cabinet, which oversees the Office of Technology, which implemented the ban; and Robbie Rudolph, secretary of the Governor’s Executive Cabinet and his running mate for a reelection bid next year (don’t laugh — Fletcher appears to be running again, despite a set of prominent Republicans emerging one-by-one to suggest otherwise).
Despite attempts by the Fletcher administration to justify the ban — they’ve said all blogs, auction and entertainment sites are blocked — they’ve come off as arbitrary: the ban is rife with inconsistencies, allowing some sites that fall into such categories but not others.
Jill Midkiff, spokeswoman for the Finance Cabinet, did not return a phone message on Tuesday.
Nickolas is being represented by Louisville lawyer Jennifer Moore, who also represented Virginia Woodward in another high-profile case of apparent Republican corruption, the battle between Woodward and Dana Seum Stephenson. —Stephen George
Ken Lay spotted at Shoney’s
When former Enron racketeer Ken Lay went to that big hoosegow in the sky last week, his so-called death from a supposed heart attack set off a frenzy of conspiracy theories usually reserved for Elvis, Hitler or Princess Di. The man known as “Cheato Lay” was awaiting sentencing after being found guilty of fraud in connection with the demise of the energy giant, whose investors and employees he cheated out of billions of dollars.
When Lay turned up dead, the blogs went wild with speculation. The most popular theory is that he faked his death and is already living tha gangsta life with his ill-gotten gains in another country. Another popular theory is that he committed suicide to avoid 25 years of … um, giving his surname yet another unpleasant meaning in prison. Still another popular theory — the Vince Foster theory — is that the CIA offed him to spare further embarrassment to President Bush (who affectionately nicknamed him “Kenny Boy” back in the good ol’ days).
Two gentlemen who might want to get a peek inside that casket are Kentucky Senators Mitch McConnell and Jim Bunning, both of whom accepted thousands of dollars in campaign contributions from the now-disgraced and quite possibly dead Lay. But they’d better hurry: The family plans to cremate the body, which probably won’t do much to quash future reports of Ken Lay sightings, grazing along with Elvis at the all-you-can-eat seafood bar at Shoney’s. —Jim Welp
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