September 2, 2009

Inbox — Sept. 2, 2009

Letters to the Editor

Eyesore Kudos

Thanks very much for the picture and small commentary on the property at 1135 E. Kentucky St. (LEO Weekly, Eyesore, Aug. 26). I live next door. I hope it moves someone or something to start the demolition of a really useless and dangerous building. The owner has no shame and no pride — no feelings for the neighbors who have to live close by.

I have to hound the city’s Metro Call just to get the grass cut, and then the owner takes his sweet time sending someone out to do a half-ass job. Once again, thanks for putting this in your excellent magazine.

Patrick & Barbara Logsdon, Germantown

Dead Wrong Assumptions

In reply to your “The kids on the bus” article (LEO Weekly, Aug. 19), specifically Ms. Gatti, who claims she visited Engelhard Elementary: I’d love to have been with her, as I must wonder if she was actually at the same Engelhard that is three blocks from my condo building. She claims the school was “dead” and that she was so saddened as “the kids go home to that same environment.” How the hell can the open-minded Ms. Gatti make that determination?

Is she equating that all poor white and black children go home to detrimental environments? How sad and “dead” Gatti’s assumptions are. Indeed, most children at this school may receive free lunches, but I can attest to the fact that the majority are from homes with a decent, loving environment given from hard-working poor white and black folk. Guess it would really be a wonderment to Ms. Gatti that even Supreme Court judges can come from public housing areas that also have a loving environment.

As for the “dead” feeling she had — clearly she was overwhelmed leaving the “brain dead” zone that must surround her abode in the east of the downtown area. Engelhard Elementary is a vibrant, well-maintained, richly stimulating school of learning for ALL children, regardless of neighborhood assimilation. I do know that. It is my neighborhood school. I see the kids playing outside on a daily basis — those dead-feeling, sad kiddos sure can run fast. Wonder why they are laughing and so happy looking? I think Ms. Gatti should keep her type of TLC at Walden. Clearly she misunderstands what the whole concept of TLC is.

James Geier, Old Louisville

Unsung Local Treasure

After seeing a staffpick in the Aug. 12 LEO about an exhibit by artist Rita Cameron, I visited the Wayside Expressions Gallery on the corner of Shelby and Market streets. What a wonderful surprise! I was met by vivacious Elmer Lucille Allen, who said she had been the 4-year-old gallery’s volunteer curator/director since its inception. She proudly pointed out the professional display of Cameron’s expressionist paintings on one side of the gallery and art created by Wayside Mission clients displayed on the opposite wall. I decided to purchase a large canvas by Cameron, especially after Allen mentioned that 25 percent of a painting’s price goes to the Wayside Mission. Allen later e-mailed the picture she had taken of me standing beside my new painting, and when I e-mailed my thanks and praise for her gallery, she wrote back: “You are the first person who has actually written comments concerning the gallery.”

First comments in four years?! I truly believe Elmer Lucille Allen is a local unsung treasure, so I’m singing her praises in this forum, and I invite LEO readers to meet Ms. Allen at her gallery.

Susan Miller, Prospect

KMAC Loses a Visionary

Mary Norton Shands, chairman emeritus, founder of the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft and a longtime civic leader, died Saturday, Aug. 15, at her Crestwood home, surrounded by the art and craft that so thoroughly enriched her extraordinary life. The visual art and craft family of Kentucky is greatly saddened at her passing, but ever grateful for her wisdom, foresight and passion in support of the artists of our state.

Her husband, the Rev. Al Shands, puts her passion for the arts and her relationship with KMAC in context:

“The Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft has become practically part of the genetic material of the Shands family here in Louisville over the past 25 years. Commissioned by Phyllis George Brown in 1981, with my wife Mary as president working with a very capable statewide board selected by her, the Kentucky Art and Craft Foundation, as it was called then, rapidly became Mary’s major passion. The gallery and offices were located where we had our offices on Main Street, and not a day went by that we did not stop to view an exhibition, shop or chat with the staff. Mary’s trips with the board around the state to visit Kentucky craftspeople were legendary. With the collusion of Phyllis George and Mary, there were trips to New York and Los Angeles where Kentucky craft boutiques were set up in major department stores like Bloomingdale’s and Neiman Marcus.

Public response was major, and before we knew it, we had become collectors. In the intervening years, of course, many things have changed, but what has not changed is the joy of direct personal support of Kentucky artists shown, represented and sold at the museum gallery.

The past 25 years are a monument to Mary and her original board in the firm belief they all shared in the future of Kentucky craft art. Their vision was realized on a path many after them have followed.”

The board, membership, staff and friends of KMAC will miss her passion, drive, enthusiasm and heart-warming humanity.

Mary Stone, Marlene Grissom & Kevin O’Brien, KMAC president, chairwoman & executive director

Let Coach Be

Why is it that a man — public figure or otherwise — should have to stand up and apologize for what goes on behind closed doors? I don’t know what Pitino did or didn’t do, and I don’t care. I don’t understand why anyone does. It absolutely baffles me. This situation is simply nobody’s business but that of him and his family.

I’m not even a basketball fan — of Louisville or otherwise — but I am a fan of individual autonomy. This is something that is growing increasingly scarce in our society. Coach, if you’re reading this, please know that not everyone is out to get you. Not everyone wastes his time wanting for someone else. You have a job to do, and you apparently do it very well. There is a distinct possibility that that’s more than can be said for your adversaries. Godspeed to you and your family.

Dan Box, St. Matthews

Save Our ’Sources

Right now, a bill is before the Senate that lays the foundation for developing cleaner, cheaper sources of power. The old sources of energy are too expensive, too dirty and too damaging to local communities. Kentucky has a quality of life that is disappearing rapidly, with the “development” of rural land, the destruction of mountain landscapes, and the exploitation of natural resources. We talk about development and jobs, but we don’t talk about the high price of that development and those jobs: the loss of something more precious — our scenic, rural beauty and our most precious resource, the land. Kentuckians value land, wildlife and natural beauty. Are we going to let our most precious resource be used up by developers, coal magnates and others whose priority is personal profit?

Support the president’s energy policy, which would create jobs for a cleaner future, with emphasis on developing solar and wind power. Ask your senators to support the Waxman-Markey bill, and tell them that you want loopholes closed that undermine the Clean Air Act and let “the older, dirtiest (coal) plants … off the hook” (New York Times, July 22, 2009). The Senate must write compliance with proposed emissions standards for existing plants into its bill or restore the EPA’s authority to do so. Support the development of clean energy and save Kentucky’s precious natural resources!

Yvonne Hileman, Hikes Point