City Strobe: Cleaning up the dirty, dirty air, Part I

At least the sirens sounded this time. A spill just after 11 p.m. Monday night at Rubbertown’s Carbide Industries produced a cloud of toxic vapor over Bells Lane, the breadth of which an official with the company was unsure of Tuesday morning. Frank Sizemore, manager of engineering for the company — which has been at 4400 Bells Lane since November 2002 — said the cloud dissipated when the liquid spill was contained and cleaned up.

New wave, old hand: Could maestro Mester’s return signal a renaissance for the Louisville Orchestra?

If there is one Louisville organization way overdue for a run of good luck, it’s the Louisville Orchestra. Beaten up and bogged down by financial woes and dwindling attendance — and virtually leaderless for the past two seasons — the orchestra has to be first in line to finally find a four-leaf clover.And maybe it has.

Staff Picks

<ANNIVERSARY>Aug. 2-5Phoenix Hill Tavern turns 30    We won’t belabor the phreaking point, except to say it is unusual for a nightclub to live for 30 years with the same name, under the same (local) ownership. But Phoenix Hill Tavern has done it, and this week the place that started out so humbly in 1976 has a phull schedule of phun and phrivolity to celebrate its life so phar.

Tubing on the Alaskan’s pipeline: Or, how a feckless U.S. senator is running interference for Big Media

Anyone with access to a modem probably realizes by now that Ted Stevens’s understanding of technology runs about as deep as a table ashtray. The U.S. Senator from Alaska, a brutish and tone-deaf Republican (not all Republicans, thankfully, are this way — see, in this matter, Olympia Snowe of Maine), chairs the Senate committee that oversees telecommunications. He’s also the sponsor of a bill that sits now on Congress’ table — the Communications Opportunity, Promotion and Enhancement Act of 2006, aka COPE — which would considerably rewrite the 1996 Telecommunications Act, most drastically in the sense that it would allow major media companies to control how Americans access Internet content.

Think locally, grow locally

Environmental issues seem to be gaining more public traction these days, what with Al Gore’s movie and all. Here’s hoping it’s more than just a media-generated illusion. Which brings us to this week’s cover story, about a modest farm in Campbellsburg that could be modeling a better, more sustainable vision for our community. As Fairleigh Brooks notes in his story, terminology can be vague and confusing, so keep your eyes on the term “local.” We have the power to change life right here in Louisville, Kentucky.—Cary Stemle, editor

Rumor & Innuendo

The Brohm factor.
Yet another source advised this week that there is more concern in the locker room about the sturdiness of the Cardinal QB’s knee than is being admitted publicly.

Truth and consequences: ANNE SHELBY THINKS DIFFERENTLY THAN MOST OF CLAY COUNTY. IT HASN’T KILLED HER — YET

Anne Shelby crumbles a multi-grain cracker with both hands over a blue porcelain plate, wondering aloud why people react with such pained reproach to calls for banishing mountaintop removal mining, that particularly destructive way of mining coal that relies heavily on machinery, not miners.

Rumor & Innuendo :Rumblings From the World of Sports

Optimism with an asterisk. Folks on the inside and others close to U of L’s football program advise there’s a cautious optimism about the upcoming season. Despite an apparently speedier-than-expected recovery, Brian Brohm’s condition is the biggest possible gotcha. There’s anxiety over whether the marvelously talented Mario Urrutia is ready to become the go-to guy. And if he isn’t, who among the receiving core can and will step up? The hope for the other side of the ball is that the secondary will finally match its promise, something it’s done only in spurts during the program’s rejuvenation under Petrino.

City Strobe

To wear or not to wear (the air, that is)There’s nothing funny about smelly air. To the contrary, bearing the brand of such air is much like Hawthorne’s “Scarlet Letter”: Enter at your own peril, and don’t be surprised if you can’t cope.

Staff Picks

<VOLUNTEER>Thursday, July 27What is the Peace Corps?    Stereotypes abound when one utters the two words “Peace Corps.” There is the idea of a multitude of baby boomers circa the late 1960s going to exotic and isolated locations to live in grass huts. Then there is the subversive idea of volunteers who act as American agents in other countries to propagate U.S. interests. Neither of these readings is correct. Anyone who has been a Peace Corps volunteer will attest that it’s a difficult job to peg, given that over the past 46 years, 178,000 volunteers from 18 to 80 years old and with varied backgrounds have served in 138 countries worldwide. But Peace Corps recruiter Ken Surdin, during an information session tomorrow, will try to give a modern view of the agency and what it means to serve as a volunteer. (Disclosure: The writer was a Peace Corps volunteer from 1991-1994 in the Federal Islamic Republic of the Comoros and later worked for the organization’s New York City office.) —Elizabeth Kramer