The end of July 2016 will go down for a few big things in Louisville — it was the time when the giant Hopcat opened at Bardstown and Grinstead, officials argued over a hair policy at a local high school, and while it wasn’t pretty, it was the week James Ramsey was finally ousted as the U of L president. And, also, America’s Democratic Party nominated a woman, Hillary Clinton, to be President of the U.S.
Sneak Peek at Hopcat: The folks from Michigan seem to have everything figured out as they launch their $5 million restaurant in the Highlands. It opens to the public Saturday. On a preview tour, there was amazing art featuring rock and roll icons, art made from vinyl records, a wall of classic albums and a tribute to Muhammad Ali. But the most amazing site is one guests won’t see — the keg room where 132 beers will always be available on tap. More than 200 staff are ready to go. If you go, use the valet or use Uber/Lyft.
Ultimate Ouster: How long have we been dealing with trying to get rid of James Ramsey as U of L’s president? It finally happened after a seven-hour closed door meeting that most of us can’t figure out. Here’s part of the C-J’s story:
Bridgeman said the board rejected his proposal to serve for up to one year as interim president with his current salary and benefits. Bridgeman indicated that at one point the board considered firing Ramsey outright.
Bridgeman and the board’s lawyer said the settlement was reached in part to avoid potential litigation. Ramsey had a contract through 2020.
So why did no one on this new Board have the guts to pull the trigger on an outright firing? And does the board really think it’s worth $690,000 (2 years of salary) to avoid the possibility that Ramsey would sue the school, especially after all the money he’s earned there, and the fact that he’s still hanging on to some unclear relationship in which he’s getting paid by the U of L Foundation?
Decision-makers over at U of L seem really afraid of former employees, so much so that it seems every one that leaves employment gets a giant exit package. Was Steve Kragthorpe the last guy to get fired there?
Who’s the Racist Making Policy at Butler HS?: A new policy at Butler seems to target African-Americans — it says cornrows, braids, twists and dreadlocks are no longer accepted on the top of students’ heads. WHAS-TV’s Renee Murphy posted a video in which she explained how her natural hair might not comply with the policy. I understand that traditional schools like Butler want to restrict student freedom, but this one goes too far. They’re having a meeting Friday and my guess is that the policy will be modified.
Idiots and Guns: Twice this week, dumb criminals stole vehicles (one a Corvette) for the purpose of ramming them into the front of a gun shop to steal firearms. WHAS-TV
Sounds of the Season: A new season at Actors Theatre is just around the corner, and I got to talk with the new managing director, Kevin Moore, just as he settled in to his new job. Also, I’ve been a long-time critic of bottled water, so I chatted with Channa Newman of the Louisville Water Co. to help affirm my theory that the industry is a farce foisted on gullible consumers who could get the same stuff for free from their faucets. Listen in:
Eatin, Drinkin, Talking: There’s plenty of interesting news over at EatDrinkTalk.net, including a discussion of the new normal in food media — Steve Coomes writes that hard-core reviews are a thing of the past, and that we’ve all gone along with the idea that being invited to soft openings and being treated to free food comes with an unsaid understanding — no harsh criticism of the food or service, since they’re letting you in on a practice run.
There are similarities, I think, to the coverage of sports, where every major event includes a nice spread of hospitality for media. No one says publicly that in exchange for the nice buffet that you won’t criticize the event, but it’s certainly a lot different than covering politics. Media covering this week’s U of L Board Meeting, which took seven hours, meant a lot of hanging out and waiting, and the hosts would be much happier if no media showed up.
Listen to that one here: