THE WEEK: Bikes, Wishes, Beer and Politics

John Bizzell, Rolf Eisinger, Jerry Abramson and Keith Lerme

I had a series of interesting conversations in a busy post-Derby Week — so here’s some of the highlights.

What if you worked in Old Louisville, (maybe at Genscape’s office on Garvin Place) and you want to go over to the Mayan Cafe in NuLu for lunch. That’s one scenario in which Rolf Eisinger, director of the city’s bike and pedestrian program, says you might take advantage of an available bike you could pick up at an exchange station less than a block away.

Eisinger’s been busy this week setting up 27 stations, including the one at Oak and Garvin, for the anticipated launch of Louisville’s BikeShare program next week. The BikeShare program has been a hit in a number of cities, and certainly helps the city’s reputation for biking. The program is a public-private partnership with a price tag of $1.3 million. You’ll have to get an account and pay a fee to use any of the 300 bikes.

Eisinger, who grew up in Minnesota and went to college in Colorado, will coordinate the details of the program. We did our businterview at Garvin Place, where a crew was installing one of the stations. We also talked about pedestrian safety, a part of Rolf’s duties, as a bus promoting it passed by. He said 20 pedestrians were killed last year in the city.

Hear our interview at the Rusty Satellite Show, along with the Keith Lerme interview (detailed below)

At the Breakfast of Champions Tuesday, Jerry Abramson showed one of the reasons why he had such a successful career in public service. He’s a great speaker, and told an audience of 60+ about his experience in the West Wing, where it sounds like he worked pretty hard. And then he deftly avoided commenting on the Trump Administration.

You can hear some of Jerry’s stories on the Rusty Satellite Show from a few weeks back.

On Monday, John Bizzell led me through the back offices of the Highlands ValuMarket, where we discussed how that store became THE place to buy beer in the Highlands. John knows a LOT about beer, and heads up the Highlands Beer Fest taking place May 20 near the store. Everybody in the neighborhood seems to know John, who started working for ValuMarket while a St. X student at age 16. He’s now 40, and not going anywhere.

Hear our interview on the EatDrinkTalk podcast.

For Keith Lerme, the life-changing moment he described to me is the one every parent dreads — the moment a doctor told him his daughter had a brain tumor and needed surgery immediately. It didn’t take long for Keith to change his career direction, leaving a high-level position in hospitality to spend more time supporting his daughter. The series of events led Keith to leave Yum! Brands, take a corporate position at Barnes & Noble, then help GiGi’s Cupcakes get going, and finally a stint as a dean at Sullivan University, before Make-A-Wish Foundation’s local chapter asked him to head up operations at their office near Linn Station Road.