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June 3, 2008

Erosia

LEO welcomes letters that are brief (250 words max) and thoughtful. Ad hominem attacks will be ignored, and we need your name and a daytime phone number. Send snail mail to EROSIA, 640 S. Fourth St., Louisville, Ky. 40202. Fax to 895-9779 or e-mail to leo@leoweekly.com. We may edit for length, grammar and clarity.


Correction 

A story about Wayside Christian Mission’s expansion plans (“Tearin’ down the house,” LEO, May 28) incorrectly identified the East Downtown Business Association as the East Market Business Association. As well, the inclusion of the facades of buildings intended to be demolished would add $200,000 to the overall cost of the project; the story indicated that the cost was added to the planning phase. That expansion would house women and families. 


Alt to the Alternative 

My heart hurt when a friend told me that Cary Stemle was no longer at LEO, and when I read the confirmation last week, it broke. Thank you, Stephen George, for that tribute to him. It had to be hastily written since it didn’t sound like he was given any notice. I am also “not comfortable” when a company so obviously takes over that employees are ousted without warning.

I rarely read corporate-owned media any longer, and LEO has been my local mainstay. I could depend on Cary to be straight with us. Although I’m grieving the loss, I have to express my gratitude that we still have Stephen George, Jim Welp and Jennifer Oladipo, among others.

Maybe LEO can add a new column similar to the “Weekly Television Rehash” and give us an update on Cary from time to time, to see what direction he’s taken — kind of a “Reality Alt” piece. Hopefully it won’t be necessary for him to start an alternative to our alternative weekly, but if LEO takes on more of a Velocity look, I’ll be watching for it.

Janice Weber, Louisville


Dumb or Dumber

Now that you’ve gotten rid of the brightest, best-experienced guy on the staff at LEO, I do hope that you don’t continue the stupid moves and turn LEO into a lame-ass imitation of itself — that is, something on the order of Velocity that is deliberately written for illiterates. Putting it plainly, please, please do not dumb down LEO. I am a faithful reader of LEO since the beginning.

William H. Sedgwick, New Albany


Thanks to Cary

Cary, thanks for mentoring not only Stephen George, but the many young people who’ve interned at LEO. Your legacy is assured. By the way, your final piece on WFPK was spot-on, as usual.

Bill Bornschein, Louisville

Goodbye, Stemle

Cary Stemle was the best thing ever to happen to the sinking-ship LEO; without him at the helm these last years, it would have gone belly-up. I’m in a unique position to know. He was and is my friend. When he’s cut, I bleed. And I’m bleeding right now.

May he find greener pastures, and I predict one day LEO’s new Nashville masters will rue the day they made the tremendously idiotic mistake of treating my friend, Cary, so wretchedly.

He will be gravely missed.

Of course, that’s my own damn opinion. If THEY don’t like it, FIRE me. Just remember how good LEO used to be …

Carl Brown, Louisville


Stoic Stemle 

I liked working for Cary Stemle for the same reasons I was proud to work for former publisher John Yarmuth. Their loyalty, humanity, eloquence and good citizenship inspired all of LEO’s contributors.

As stewards of LEO, their gigantic hearts brimmed with a love of journalism and community, and I’ve never known either to harbor malice toward anyone.

The last time I dealt with Cary professionally, he showed no signs of burnout. On the contrary, he asked tough, incisive questions and challenged me to write smarter and better. He was never stingy with praise, which was worth more than the money. He was still hilariously irreverent and endearingly self-deprecating.

The last time I saw Cary socially was at December’s annual LEO holiday bash. At the end of it, we had tons of leftovers. He asked me to call Wayside Christian Mission to prepare them for an incoming bounty. We loaded up our cars and convoyed to the charity, where we arrived, as luck would have it, moments before snacktime.

When I drove away, Cary was still talking to the volunteers.

He always made time to learn from strangers, and he was always thinking of other people and how to build a better, closer community.

His ouster is a profound loss for LEO, but it’s also an opportunity to celebrate his decade of service, to thank him and to wish him the very best. He deserves no less.

Steve Shaw, Louisville


Save the Buildings!

The recent “Tearin’ down the house” article regarding Wayside Mission’s plan to demolish nearly a half a block of historic buildings touched a nerve. My family has owned property and/or operated businesses on East Market since the 1940s. The street has always been a hub for small shops, and since the mid-1990s, has emerged as a dynamic neighborhood center home to many unique stores, galleries and restaurants. The Wayside project is completely out of character, and its massive scope and scale will forever alter the historic streetscape — one of the few remaining nearly intact residential/commercial districts in our city with buildings that date from the mid-1800s.

Look at the street today and imagine if Wayside had gotten their way over the years. The historic church at Hancock and Market would have been lost (the fight to save that building is what galvanized neighbors to create the East Downtown Business Association in the first place); the building that houses Felice Vineyards, Melillo’s Italian Restaurant and The Bodega would have been demolished, and, in the 700 block, the only cast-iron-fronted building on East Market was destroyed and turned by Wayside into a lot for junk cars, although it has recently been sold for redevelopment. 

The neighborhood is not against Wayside but against a good-intentioned but ill-conceived plan that will needlessly destroy a significant part of the historic streetscape along East Market. There are too many underused or vacant lots and/or buildings in the area that would be well suited to Wayside’s needs, thereby accomplishing their goals while at the same time preserving these buildings for other uses. Wayside should make the effort to work with neighborhood and city leaders to create a win-win for all, for if not, we all lose.

Mike Maloney, Louisville


Keep Past Intact

I am writing about how disturbed I am about the article saying that Wayside Mission is planning on leveling nearly a half-a-block area of historic buildings on East Market.

East Market Street is in the midst of a revitalization. Each and every homeowner and business owner has worked hard and put in time and resources to make this happen. It is a very diverse group where everyone is welcome and accepted. 

If you take a look around Market Street, you will see that the historic buildings are being renovated, not torn down. This is a great part of why Market Street has the charm it does and why it is attracting so much attention. To allow anyone to destroy this area and any of the historic buildings should be criminal. Each and every year we lose more and more of our past, and by not allowing Wayside to do this, it would be one step closer to making sure this area of our past is intact.

Wayside Mission is a neighbor, but in order for them to be a good neighbor, they must not be allowed to forever destroy the charm of the neighborhood. No one person/place has the right to take away from an entire neighborhood in this manner. Just as Wayside believes they have a mission, the neighborhood also believes that theirs is to preserve the past while forging ahead with the future.

Martha Hibbs, Louisville