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The crux of the matter: As passions for rock climbing rise, so do concerns about nature in the Gorge

 When the weather warms — and it is warming — we can expect full-on sun and steam ahead in this river valley. This week, LEO shows you all the options to plunge into summer action — from taking in the majesty of Kentucky’s Red River Gorge to rowing on the Ohio River to grooving to summer sounds at area concerts to relaxing with the best in summer reading. In LEO’s 2006 Summer Fun Guide, photographer Ross Gordon takes readers to the Gorge and gives breathtaking views of climbers on the area’s rugged cliffs while reporting on efforts that these climbers and others are making to preserve the natural beauty and heritage of Kentucky. Look further and see where Bill Doolittle hits on what he thinks is ahead for the Bats this season. And finally, check out the area farmers’ markets where purchasing local produce helps support regional farmers and neighborhoods. —Elizabeth Kramer, special projects editor 

Rumor & Innuendo: Rumblings From the World of Sports

Dynamic Duo.Together again after all these years for a tour of Japan are the hottest duo since Jordan and Pippen. I’m talkin’ NRBQ’s Terry Adams and Steve Ferguson. Uh, oh yeah, the tandem are rock and rollers, not ballers. My point — not that you feel my pain — is that this is the most fallow season for the sports rumor biz. Like I said last week, nobody’s got nothin’, and them’s that do ain’t talkin’. OK, I’m off the pitty pot.

What a Week

Democracy inactionLocal voters flocked to the malls on Election Day, and to the parks and to work and to bars and just about anywhere besides the polls, as Kentucky held primary voting for dozens of offices that were too much trouble for all but 20 percent of voters to think about. The low turnout — coming at a time when the NSA is spying on citizens and Washington wants to build a wall between Mexico and the United States — should help show Iraqis what democracy and freedom are all about. Among the election winners was a fellow who, like Yahoo! and Yum!, starts with a Y and ends with a “!,” and who will try to can Anne Northup in the fall. In other freedom news, Metro Corrections mistakenly released a fifth inmate in less than a year.

Rumor & Innuendo: Rumblings From the World of Sports

Osborne cornhuskered! A couple of football seasons ago, Nebraska moved into the modern day when they rejected a legacy and hired pass-happy Bill Callahan as football coach in Lincoln. It’s been a rocky start. But those Big Red fans showed last Tuesday they are truly ready to move on. Former pigskin coach-cum-icon, Tom Osborne, lost the GOP gubernatorial primary. Say it ain’t so. A three-term congressman, the three-time “national champion” coach had never received less than 82 percent of the vote in an election. He’s quoted as telling his supporters: “This is a tough one to take.”

What a Week

Dull man walkingGovernor Ernie Fletcher was indicted in connection with the merit-system scandal that’s plagued most of his term. The misdemeanor charges include criminal conspiracy, misconduct, political discrimination and getting the verbs in his promises to “end waste, fraud and abuse” and “restore hope” backwards. The charges stem from accusations of political shenanigans at the Transportation Cabinet, an agency that coincidentally announced it is once again accepting bids to paint the Kennedy Bridge, a seven-year, $23-million failed project that has exhausted both the nation’s supply of bridge painters and the repertoires of local joke writers. If convicted, the governor faces a year in the pokey. On the bright side, his re-election campaign can save money by not having to come up with new slogans.

Barbaro: a living flame flickering

Right now, in the days just after Kentucky Derby winner Barbaro broke down in the opening strides of the Preakness Stakes, we don’t know if the horse will make it or not. Surgery performed at the New Bolton Center for Large Animals at the University of Pennsylvania was pronounced a success, but long months of recovery remain.

Unbridled spirit of KY gun control

Some might say it’s ironic that a man was shot and killed last Sunday evening at a funeral home. The man, 33-year-old Kevin D. Carter, was attending the service of his future father-in-law when shots were fired into a crowd in front of A.D. Porter & Sons Funeral Home on West Chestnut Street.

FOR’s Friendship Delegation to Iran: May 2006 - Report One: An Early Start to Peace-Making

BY FOR IRAN DELEGATIONNote: A story in last week’s LEO discussed a group of seven Louisvillians taking part in a Fellowship of Reconciliation peace mission to Iran. The following is part of the group’s first report, filed late last week. Please visit www.forusa.org to read more of the group’s updates.

Long ride to freedom

The language being foisted on the debate over Derby cruising has shown a profound range, from righteous indignation to benign denial. Words like “apartheid” have entered the discourse not sideways but head-on, as in accusations thereof, as city and police officials continue to call the lock-down on West Broadway a “success” in unmitigated terms. It’s essentially a default dismissal, some argue, until next year’s Thunder Over Louisville, when the debate will again begin and end over the course of about a month.

What will the neighbors think?

Any game show contestant takes the audience along for a suspenseful ride in the time leading up to the announcement of the grand prize. Imagine the stiff-grinning host cutting the tension in a booming voice, “You’ve won a free all-expenses-paid trip to Louisville!”