August 18, 2010

Inbox — Aug. 18, 2010

Letters to the Editor

Hard Times
Thank you, thank you, thank you for your in-depth reporting in the article “Recession proof” (LEO Weekly, Aug. 11). Every scenario you depict in your story we are seeing here at St. Vincent de Paul. Requests from families, in particular, are way up. But across the board, formerly middle-class people are in dire need and asking for help with basics like food, rent and utilities.

I hope the article generates a lot of interest. Keep up the great work.
Linda Romine, 
public relations coordinator, 
St. Vincent de Paul

Extra Credit
Thanks for running “Get under the bus?” in the Aug. 4 LEO Weekly. As Manual’s debate coach, I sent my squad up against Lynn Grise’s Fern Creek team many times, and her excellent debaters often bested us. As Manual’s broadcast journalism teacher, I often entered my students in statewide competitions against Steven Boros’ Fern Creek students — and again, their work frequently surpassed ours. Houston Barber has supported both of these programs during his tenure as principal; he, along with Grise and Boros, deserve a great deal of credit for stirring intellectual passion among their students in these areas.

Likewise, Shawnee staffers like Melissa Helton, Joy Harrington and William Vandermeer deserve a great deal of credit for their outstanding academic and magnet programs. For example, Helton’s DECA program has won recognition around the state, and the aviation program that Vandermeer oversees has helped many students earn pilot licenses and go on to careers in aviation.

Four Shawnee staffers have transferred to Manual in the past four years. By the logic of the most vocal education “reformers” who seek to blame teachers and administrators for the failings of our public schools, Manual’s test scores should have dropped, and Shawnee’s should have gone up, since faculty from one of the supposedly “worst” schools in the state went to one of the supposedly “best” schools in the state. But test scores didn’t go that way — why not?

The problem is poverty and the accompanying lack of privileges and resources. The non-magnet schools scoring the lowest on CATS tests have the highest percentages of impoverished students. This isn’t to say that exceptions don’t exist, but we should neither blame the students nor the teachers for a factor that is obviously out of their control. Privileged students should not be the standard by which the rest are judged since they can afford access to private tutors and programs that others cannot.

Too often the excellence in our local high schools is lost in the dry data of federal test scores. I appreciate this opportunity to spotlight the amazing things happening at Fern Creek and Shawnee.
James Miller, Jeffersontown

Barred Neighbors
In response to Rob Storey’s Inbox letter (LEO Weekly, Aug. 11): I am a resident who owns property down the street from Seidenfaden’s, a few doors down from the Come Back Inn. I believe Storey has a few things mixed up. The crux of his argument is that Jimmy Heck’s bar is zoned residential. This is true, but the zoning has essentially been waived by the usage of this location as a bar for 60-plus years. Nachbar also is zoned residential, but its usage as a bar has waived its zoning as well, hence it receiving a temporary injunction to have outside drinking again. Storey should leave the legal arguments to lawyers rather than proclaiming illegalities that he seems to know little about.

As far as the nuisance goes, it seems this bar has existed peacefully for many years. It seems only the new neighbors who have bought houses near the bar (the ones who want all the conveniences of city life, but none of the inconveniences) have been the ones complaining. I understood when I bought my house next to a business that a) it made my house a little cheaper, and b) there might be some inconveniences (I get that bar’s have people who drink).

I believe that when Heck wrote a letter to LEO (July 21), he was merely stating that his troubles began when the smoking ban was implemented, and he wanted to state some of the obvious unfair practices that seem to directly target small Germantown businesses.

One cannot move into an area and then complain about noise because you moved next to a bar. You moved next to a bar! It seems people like Storey are bent on destroying a heritage that has made Germantown so great.
Eric Dennison, Germantown

Jazz Hands
Last spring, my 8-year-old daughter, Emily, auditioned for Music Theatre of Louisville’s production of “Annie.” Alas, there were a couple hundred other girls also wanting a part, so I knew Emily’s chances were slim. I was right.

A few weeks later, we received an e-mail from MTL. They had had so many girls audition, they had decided to offer them an opportunity to be a member of the cast in this summer’s performance. For two weeks, the girls could attend “Camp Annie” and rehearse a song and dance to be performed as part of the “Orphan Chorus” during the actual show.

At Camp Annie, Emily learned technique and terminology, gained skill and confidence, and made new friends. She was given a costume and a bucket and an “orphan attitude.”

“Annie” opened last week at the Bomhard Theater in the Kentucky Center. When Miss Hannigan blew her whistle, 25 orphans ran out on stage and broke into a fabulous version of “It’s the Hard Knock Life.” Those girls sang and danced their hearts out. It was wonderful!

At the end of the show, the orphans came back on stage for the finale, “Tomorrow,” and again, performed beautifully. Beaming, Emily greeted me backstage with, “Did you see everybody clapping?!”

When I thanked Producing Artistic Director Peter Holloway for opening up the show to the girls, he replied, “We just had so many girls audition that we wanted to offer them some way to be in the show. There is a lot of great local talent in Louisville, and we want to encourage that.”

MTL’s commitment to Louisville is unparalleled. Nowhere in this city can you go to a Broadway-style show, excellently produced, beautifully costumed, magically set and flawlessly performed for less than $25. The entire cast and crew are local talent. My family has been season ticket holders for several years, and every show we’ve seen has been top notch.

Kudos to MTL for bringing quality, affordable family entertainment to our city.
Sharron Hilbrecht, St. Matthews/Lyndon

New Math: 7+15 = 8664
Number of years we were told “tolls” were merely an option that may or may not be included in a final solution to finance the Ohio River Bridges Project?: 7.

Number of days after the Louisville and Southern Indiana Bridges Authority ratified their mission statement that they felt surprisingly smug speculating $3 tolls: 15.

There is a bright side. The more they rush the boondoggle of tolls, the more obvious it becomes that the smarter, more innovative future for our great city is: 8664.
Curtis Morrison, Highlands

Jihad
Who are these men I see

On the evening news

Demonstrating in the streets

Faces red with a holy rage

Raising their fists and shouting

In unison some of them

Even brandishing rifles

 

Do you not wonder

Are their children in school

And have they eaten today

Are their wives satisfied

What are these men not doing

Somewhere else so that

They can be here doing this
Frederick Smock, Highlands