City Strobe

Click it to ride

Ever found yourself wondering, Now how in Sam Hill can I TARC it from Germantown to the Eline Library? From PRP to the Clifton Center? From Southeast Christian Church to Foxy Lady Gentlemen’s Club? You’re not alone. If you’re traveling a major thoroughfare, you can usually get where you’re going by just hopping on a bus. But for the off-the-beaten-path or cross-town destination, figuring your TARC route can be harder than Clay Aiken watching a Justin Timberlake video.

Fortunately, TARC is coming to the rescue, thanks to a half-million-dollar assist from the state transportation cabinet, an agency widely admired for its bridge-painting and merit-system expertise. The state funding will allow TARC to develop Web software (at that will let riders generate MapQuest-style itineraries for their TARC trips. The new software will be ready by next summer (or by the time the Kennedy Bridge is painted, whichever comes first), when you can plan your route online or simply entertain yourself by asking to plan a route from here to Uranus. —Jim Welp

Betting on better budgeting

For the past decade, the drumbeat warning of the woes of debt has been sounding steadily. They include the following facts: During the 1990s, the rate of personal bankruptcy in the country rose by 69 percent, and the United States reportedly has the lowest savings rate in the industrialized world.

In response, non-profit organizations, governmental agencies and financial industries have been calling for financial literacy among the public. (Interestingly, calls for financial industries to be accountable for providing extended credit to people who can’t afford it have not outstripped calls to hold individuals personally responsible for their financial situations.) For instance, Russell Simmons’ Hip-Hop Summit Action Network is hosting a financial empowerment program, “Get Your Money Right,” which is touring the country and has lip service from the likes of Ludacris and Young Jeezy.

This week, Metro Louisville has encouraged people to attend events held by several organizations to help children and adults understand finances. They address issues from basic budgeting to saving for college. But the week’s only unique event was yesterday’s meeting, dubbed the Louisville Asset Building Summit: 77 people representing 50 city, financial, educational and community organizations at Metro United Way.

United Way’s John Nevitt says the event was a brainstorming session to better coordinate efforts to help improve the financial standing of citizens throughout the city by helping them learn how to save for assets, such as homes, retirement accounts and college savings. He hopes that by sometime next year the organizations, working under the umbrella of the Louisville Asset Building Coalition, will have mapped out a coordinated effort to achieve better financial literacy throughout the community by reaching children through schools and adults through their employers. He also wants to upgrade the coalition’s Web site (, where people can now find a calendar of financial workshops throughout the year. —Elizabeth Kramer

All you have to do is Gream
Are you ready for this?
A new director of sales and marketing has joined the LEO team. And he’s straight outta Velocity.
His name is Kelly Gream, and his departure is surely the subject of much consternation over at Sixth and Broadway. So what’s up with that?

Nothing that outrageous, says the 42-year-old Louisville native, who worked in corporate sales at Kinko’s before helping Gannett launch its uber-youthful advertorial-ish faux weekly — affectionately known around here as V-puff (props to the Video Tapeworm) — in 2003. After having been in on the ground floor, Gream got the weekly bug and figured joining the original Louisville free weekly would be just the right challenge at this stage of his life.

“The opportunity to lead both the sales and marketing efforts for LEO is a dream come true,” he said. “I will be able to flex the business muscles I’ve been growing all these years.”
LEO editor Cary Stemle welcomes the new blood. “When you’re a free newspaper, all of your revenue comes from advertisements. As that goes, so goes LEO. And I think the paper can grow, which starts with bringing in more revenue, which should eventually give the editorial staff more resources to work with.”

Gream has bachelor’s degrees in communication and business and an associate’s degree in journalism from Indiana University. With that varied background, he says, he probably reads newspapers more closely than the average S&M guy (sales and marketing, folks, sales and marketing).

Gream pledges to not reveal any Gannett state secrets, but seeing how torture is in vogue these days, and seeing how LEO has the Plain Brown Rapper at its disposal, we’ll see about all that. (We kid the new sales manager.)

At any rate, Gream is crystal clear about the role of a paper like LEO.
“I am excited to be part of such a Louisville tradition,” he said, “and also the opportunity to pave a new business future for LEO.” —Staff

Shadenfreude, Inc.

The German word shadenfreude, which means “enjoying the misfortune of others,” has no English equivalent. But one candidate could be “Humana,” which expanded sales of its increasingly popular HumanaOne Individual Health Plans to 24 states last week. Why are individual health care plans increasingly popular? Because American businesses are increasingly following the Wal-Mart model and reducing health benefits for their employees. And with more and more Americans starting each day with a Minoxidil-Lipitor-insulin giddy-up and relaxing each night with a Cialis-Zoloft-Rogaine cocktail after having something implanted and then having the implants removed and re-implanted and then having some angioplasty to make room for more cheeseburger residue and burning off that cancer to make room for more cigarette smoke, now is not the time to find oneself without health insurance. So with 40 million people uninsured in America (give or take) and about 18 million people holding individual health insurance plans, the shadenfreude business — not to mention a full-blown health care crisis — is booming.

Enter your friendly local corporate giant. Humana, which makes most of its money on employer, government or military health plans, clearly sees an opportunity in expanding into the individual market in a big way. The Louisville company got into the individual-plan game in 2002 and has already grown it to cover half of the United States, with several more states on the drawing board. With 170,000 individuals already signed up, the company sees plenty of potential growth as businesses scale back coverage for spouses and children or discontinue health benefits altogether.

Of course, there have been many attempts to reform health care and the insurance crisis, most notably by Hillary Clinton during the 1990s, a decade that now seem like a comparatively shadenfredeude-free time. But there was a vociferous outcry against health-care reform back then and it was led by … um, well, giant insurance companies like Humana and giant corporations like Wal-Mart. So, are you one of those lucky Americans with no health insurance? Get a free quote on an individual plan at ... no wait, check that. It’s —Jim Welp

Dare to Care turns 35
We could play the game of “what’s changed in 35 years,” but that’s a bit too easy
(like, you know, GW Bush
still thought cocaine was
pretty cool back in 1971 …
oh, never mind).
Suffice to say that Dare To Care, whose name does a nice job of describing its mission of feeding hungry people, has reached a milestone and is fixing to celebrate with a big party at Waterfront Park. This Sunday at the Brown-Forman Amphitheatre, in the eastern portion of the park, there’s food, music and kids’ activities in what’s billed as the Care Fair.

Rufus Huff, featuring Greg Martin of the Kentucky Headhunters, will handle the music. Chuggles the Cow, who looks amazing in her/his press photo, will entertain the kiddos, and you can meet ARCA driver Frank Kapfhammer and see his Long John Silver-sponsored Chevrolet.
The event runs from 1-5 p.m. Tickets are $10 (children age 5 and under get in free), with proceeds going to Dare To Care. You can save $5 off admission with discount coupons from Kroger. For more information, call 966-3821 or visit—Cary Stemle  

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