LouisvilleKY’s THE WEEK: Despite All That, a Super Week

We’re only a few weeks into this Trump thing, and our focus seems to be jumping from one scary concept to another. My vote for the most troubling thing Trump said in the last week is his determination to “destroy” the Johnson Amendment. It may not sound like much, but it would allow churches across the country to become politicized and, I think, to become a focal point for campaigning. Trump wants to allow religious leaders, whose businesses are tax-exempt, to openly campaign for causes and candidates.

Photo by Bill Brymer
Photo by Bill Brymer

Here at home, there were protests galore downtown in reaction to Trump’s immigration executive order, which of course defies logic. In the name of reducing the “radical Islamic terrorist” threat, Trump banned travel from seven countries, none of which produced a person who has committed a terrorist attack. But it did separate individuals from their families, and cause chaos and protests across the country.

Meanwhile, from the alternative facts section of the administration’s PR camp, Kellyanne Conway referred to a “Bowling Green massacre” (which never happened) as a means of defending the travel ban.

Still, it was a Super Week around here:


You’re in for a treat with this one. First, I went over the new East End Bridge to Utica, where I meandered through the small town to find Hidden Hill Nursery, where Bob Hill and his wife have resided since he was a newbie at the C-J, busing was just getting started and the acreage he scraped up money to buy was not much to look at.

Witch Hazel, at Hidden Hill Nursery
Witch Hazel, at Hidden Hill Nursery

Now retired eight years from the paper, where he was a newspaper columnist (a profession that’s going the way of disc jockey), Hill is a busy guy — running the nursery business, serving on the board of the Waterfront Botanical Gardens, and writing pieces for the Parklands of Floyds Fork. Plus, he spends some time commenting on the state of the world, and Trump, on social media. In our interview, he talks about that and some similarities he’s seen to some dark times in our history.

Hill showed me his incredible man cave and one plant he has that blooms in winter — this Witch hazel, which has amazing healing powers, especially if you have hemorrhoids. ouch.

Donald Lassere was front and center earlier this week when thousands gathered at the Ali Center amphitheater to protest Trump’s immigration policy. The Ali Center CEO said it was an important event, one he wanted his kids to see, and sounded out opinions on the disconnect between the mission of the Ali Center and that of the new President.

Also, I got to see the centerpiece of the new Ina Bond Art Gallery at the Ali Center, featuring the piece (pictured above) that Nieman’s Foundation donated. It’s not your typical Nieman.

Listen in here:


Anthony Lamas of Seviche
Anthony Lamas of Seviche

On the city’s best restaurant and bar podcast, Steve Coomes got the culinary experience we can all envy, a seven-course meal prepared by the city’s Latin all-star chefs. He writes about it here, and talks with Seviche’s Anthony Lamas on the podcast (link below). I stopped in at SuperChefs earlier to talk with the friendly Dawn Bianconcini, a VP in the charitable organization Apron, Inc., which holds it annual Dine Around fund-raiser Feb. 8. Choose from 40 locally-owned restaurants, and you’ll feel good knowing that some portion of your bill will go to help food and drink industry workers survive when facing a tragedy.

The podcast, and the site, includes news about the impending closure of the BBC in St. Matthews and the surprising news that nationally-acclaimed chef Edward Lee is bringing a new restaurant concept to Fourth Street Live.

Here’s the podcast:


On Monday, I had the chance to attend GLI’s Capitol Connection event, and was impressed with the new Kentucky House Speaker, Jeff Hoover. He’s a good speaker, he made a great joke at Trump’s expense, and he pushed business-friendly GOP ideas I like, like the new Right to Work law.  And, he maintained that social issues aren’t his priority, despite voting for two abortion bills already. But he made one thing clear — there will be no bathroom bill here.

Hoover’s talk came after some encouraging talk from former Rusty Satellite guests Kent Oyler and Sarah Davasher-Wisdom.

I’m sure he supports the bill being pushed by my friend Chris Thieneman and written by State Sen. Dan Seum, both of whom were there, that proposes an increase in jury pay for the first time in 40 years.  Other notable politicians in attendance included Metro Council members Robin Engel, Stuart Benson, Barbara Sexton Smith and Julie Denton; Jtown Mayor Bill Dieruf and state reps Julie Raque Adams and Darryl Owens.

I was glad to see Jackie Green continuing to fight citations he received for breaking traffic rules on his bike. (WAVE).

In response to the farcical “Bowling Green massacre” above, I had to laugh out loud at Marc Murphy’s cartoon about it:

Marc Murphy is spot-on again
Marc Murphy is spot-on again

Theresa Reno-Weber, who I spoke to at the GLI Annual Meeting and is a former Rusty Satellite Show guest, is thrilled about getting started in her new job heading up the local United Way.

Tailspinning: It won’t be long (Feb. 18) until the best beer fest in these parts. Next week, I’ll be talking to Tailspin Ale Fest founders Tisha Gainey and Trevor Cravens about it on the EatDrinkTalk podcast.

Have a Super Day: I don’t have a dog in the fight, but if you want to find someone passionate about the Super Bowl, check out ex-Rusty guest and U of L professor Ricky Jones’ Falcon fanaticism on Facebook. That’s enough to have me pulling for the Dirty Birds, in addition to hating Tom Brady.