One Hell of a (Bar) Belle

For 15 years of devotion, and on behalf of all the LEO staffers you helped guide, nurture, and impact along the way, thank you. And in whatever your next endeavor entails, the absolute best wishes and all the success in the world.

Sara Havens has been a presence in and around the Louisville Eccentric Observer for three different ownership groups, three offices, and proved to be a rock in an otherwise constant current of change — and seemingly all along doing it with a smile. Straight out of college Sara came to LEO, ultimately working all the way up to Editor of Louisville’s foremost social, cultural, and political commentary medium. Through what might be the most tumultuous period in the history of publishing, Sara remained a steady presence and leader, contributing far beyond the pages on which the Bar Belle — for which she is synonymous — was printed. 
 
As I spent the better part of my childhood around LEO, I am acutely aware that it takes a special type of character to be an “alt-weekly” person. You have to have a desire to seek out and surround yourself with all things eccentric. Moreover, it takes a person who refuses to prejudge or presume, and simply enjoys having fun in all colors, shapes and sizes. As I understand it, Sara did that to the fullest, and with a smile on her face. 
 
I only got to know Sara briefly, and under circumstances that now seem surreal. We had talked a number of times on the phone, and she even helped me submit Guest Commentary articles from time to time — probably when Mitch McConnell the Malevolent was up to some reprehensible act. But when the announcement was made back in late April that I had entered into an agreement to buy LEO, I had the fortunate opportunity to take Sara out for a beer. It was truly a wonderful time getting to know her — albeit briefly — and to exchange thoughts and visions for the future of the magazine we both loved. I can neither personally believe, nor express enough sympathy, that we will not have the opportunity to explore that road together. 
 
So as I have the privilege of thanking Sara for everything she has done for LEO over the last 15 years, I also want to clarify a couple of lingering issues. 
 
First, I am sincerely sorry for the way things transpired on Friday, August 1st. I was in hysterics trying to close the deal with SouthComm. A little after 1pm I received a text notifying me that it was your anniversary. My heart sank when I read that, and I cannot express how sorry I am. I would like to think that if we had been aware of that ahead of time that we could could have worked to avoid it. Unfortunately, there was nothing SouthComm or we could do at that time. 
 
Similarly, I had every intention of being in the office with you, April Corbin, and the rest of the staff that afternoon. I firmly believe in, and aspire to maintain, a high level of etiquette in how I conduct myself personally, as well as any business dealings. Not being able to uphold myself to that personal standard, I apologize to you and everyone else for not being there that day.
 
I wish you and the Bar Belle all the best in your future endeavors.
 
Thank you once again for everything. Thank you for handling everything with the utmost class and dignity. Thank you for keeping LEO eccentric. And thank you for doing it all with a smile. 
 
Best of luck Sara Havens.