Nov 202017

Town branch by rheotaxis, part 3


By Danny Mayer

Reveal, Clean, Carve, Connect is a strategy that ties the nuances of Lexington’s rich substrata to development potentials on its surface.

–From Reviving Town Branch, Scape/Landscape Architecture Team

In February, 2009, the Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority (KEDFA) delivered preliminary approval for the creation of two Tax Increment Financing (TIF) districts in downtown Lexington: the 14.25 acre Phoenix Park/Courthouse development and the 25 acre Distillery District. Combined, the two developments projected to cost their developers $490 million to complete, of which the city and state had committed to rebate up to $135 million—or about $3.4 million per downtown acre.

Map from

Continue reading »

Oct 162013

An undiscovered gem in Eastern Kentucky

Patty emerges from Dawkins Tunnel. Photo by Dave Cooper.

Patty emerges from Dawkins Tunnel. Photo by Dave Cooper.

By Dave Cooper

The Dawkins Line Rail Trail, in Johnson and Magoffin Counties in eastern Kentucky, officially opened in June – but many Kentuckians still have not heard about it.

This 18-mile-long trail is a little gem in the mountains of eastern Kentucky: it’s our commonwealth’s longest rail trail, it’s in a beautiful and remote area, it’s very peaceful and quiet, and it is in pristine condition.

I first rode this trail solo in late August.  I enjoyed the trail so much that I went back the following weekend with my friend Patty and we rode it on a beautiful late summer day with just a hint of fall in the air: the ironweed and the Joe Pye weed along the trail’s edge were in their full glory, and the wooded sections of the trail were nice and cool and shady.  The trail is quite beautiful in spots, and it’s a low-key and enjoyable ride that is suitable for families and even small children. Continue reading »

Oct 092013

Saturday October 12, 2pm at the Robert F. Stephenson Courthouse plaza

"If they control seed, they control food." Vandana Shiva. Photo courtesy of April Browning.

“If they control seed, they control food.” Vandana Shiva. Photo courtesy of April Browning.

By April Browning

Monsanto, the world’s largest pesticide producer, is a multinational agricultural-based biotechnology corporation that has its sights set on nothing short of complete control of our seed—and, therefore, of total control over our food supply. To help it assert control over our food supply, the multinational company that already controls a large percentage of the world’s food supply has engaged in a number of nefarious practices.

Monsanto has made a habit of suing small time farmers out of business for what it (and a friendly court system) has called patent infringement:  the act of seed saving (something humans have been doing for thousands of years) or the natural act of pollen drift, which farmers have no control over. It has an overwhelming number of documented examples of unethical practices, of creating products that cause potential health risks, of contributing to mass deaths to livestock, of poisoning much of the world’s soil and the plants that grow from it, of Bee Colony Collapse Disorder, and much more. Its influence is underscored by the “revolving door” between the global food corporation and many government agencies here and abroad, which effectively allows the corporation to write its own legislation, mostly to the detriment of the common good of our people.

At 2:00pm on Saturday at the Robert F. Stephenson Courthouse plaza, Kentuckians Against Monsanto will host the Lexington version of the World Food Day March. In contrast to the global food giant, we will advocate the vital need for seed sovereignty, diversity, and control of our own life providing seeds. The march is a part of our mission to spread awareness and educate, while simultaneously to work on petitions and legislation to ask the Lexington city council and Kentucky state legislature to stand behind provisions that advocate for the labeling of genetically modified foods (GMOs), which poll after poll consistently suggests a significant majority of Americans want to see labeled.

This is only the beginning in the fight against Monsanto and we fully intend to continue to demand that our representatives represent the desires of their constituents over their corporate owners. Whether you like it or not, chances are Monsanto contaminated the food you ate today with chemicals and unlabeled GMOs. Our movement is dedicated to empowering citizens of the world to take action against Monsanto and other agriculture-based corporations like Sygenta, Bayer, and Dupont.

Monsanto is a company that thinks it can get away with putting profits before people. According to Philip Angell, Monsanto’s director of corporate communications, “Monsanto should not have to vouchsafe the safety of biotech food. Our interest is in selling as much of it as possible.” They claim to be a company supporting sustainable agriculture, but their products have led to the exact opposite. After 20 years of GMOs and chemical fertilizer, people have decided enough is enough!

Please, join with us on Saturday at the courthouse. We will have a number of dynamic speakers and entertainment at the kid-friendly event. We hope to see you there.

Join us on facebook for updates and info.

Sep 132013

In late August, WLEX reporter Dave Wessex delivered a four-minute report on the North Limestone area that stirred a wide-ranging discussion on the North Limestone Neighborhood Association Facebook page. Below is a slightly revised version of NoC editor Danny Mayer’s contribution to that talk.


I. As a newer white resident with a college degree and job who bought a nice though somewhat shabby house four blocks north of Main Street on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard, I am a gentrifier no matter what I do or say. My actions in the neighborhood must always take that identity into account. Continue reading »

Sep 122013

Public reveal of “MLKV” plans  set for Tuesday, September 17

NoC News

Mayer's Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Mayer’s Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

This past April, NoC editor Danny Mayer issued an urban design challenge for Fayette Urban Countiers. The Mayer’s Challenge sought ideas and plans for affordably redeveloping a small part of city-owned urban space across Vine Street from the LexTran station. The design challenge was inspired by the city’s recent interest in redeveloping under-used parts of the urban fabric–particularly those urban surface parking lots that Rupp Opportunity Zone Master Planner Gary Bates once described as unsightly and unnecessary.

After months of collating ideas, on Tuesday, September 17, Mayer will present at two different public gatherings his findings for “MLKV”–his name for  the area under the MLK Viaduct. The first will be a brief presentation to City Council at their weekly 3:00 Tuesday Work Session. After that, a second public unveiling and presentation (you are all invited) will take place beginning at 7:00 pm at Al’s Bar.

“This is important,” Mayer said at a Sunday morning press conference. “The Scape design for the area calls for removal of the MLK viaduct. Our plans, meanwhile, attempt to work with it rather than remove it. It’s a difference worth considering. And 2-for-1 at Al’s.”

And don’t worry, Mayer says. There were plenty of great ideas.

“I was skeptical at first, but color me impressed. There’s just a lot of bright FUCers out there.”

Sep 122013

Courier News

Sunday afternoon at the BCTC bike-check. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Sunday afternoon at the BCTC bike-check. Photo by Danny Mayer.

To encourage healthy and environmental modes of travel, for the fourth consecutive year the BCTC Sustainability Committee staffed a bike-check service at the internationally known Woodland Arts Fair, which was held this year on August 17 and 18. The service allows fair-goers to drop off their bikes in a secure area overseen by faculty and staff. Previous years have seen such notables as then-mayor Jim Newberry utilizing the service.

This year, the bike-check included several “snail” bike racks welded together by BCTC faculty member Shawn Gannon. And they were needed: over the course of the weekend, faculty and staff volunteers checked in over 170 bikes of all varieties–from 1940s-era three-speeds to modern bike-pulled children’s trailers. BCTC staff member Larry Porter, chief organizer for the bike-check, hopes to expand upon the service next year by providing it for downtown Lexington’s Thursday Night Live series.

Reprinted from the Bluegrass Courier, the student newspaper at BCTC.


Sep 112013

Notes on leaving the classroom behind

By Joseph Anthony

I have always—to a fault—followed Theodore Roethke’s advice in his poem The Waking “to learn by going where I have to go.” So here I am still inching my way forward—35 years in—my last term of teaching, excited and anxious and still a bit lost.  I remember a student pausing  on his way out of class several years ago and saying: “You know. At first I was confused, but now I see your plan.”

I wanted to call him back from the hallway.

Tell me. What’s my plan? Continue reading »

Aug 122013

Yet another Creatives for Common Sense position paper

Everybody loves a good parade. With their endless public dioramas of who-knows-what processing down the line, parades are open-access patchwork showcases of our livesand we love them for it.

Taiwanese American Association of Central Kentucky parademembers awaittheir place in line at the Fourth of July Parade, Lexington, KY. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Taiwanese American Association of Central Kentucky parademembers awaittheir place in line at the Fourth of July Parade, Lexington, KY. Photo by Danny Mayer.

Big bands march. Young Republicans, old Democrats, ethnic societies, and the proletariat hike. Beauty queens, fire and police brigades, pug clubs, bikers and boxers, equestrians, the occasional unicycle, and Jerry Moody ride. And the rest of us cheer, standing firm in loose rows upon sidewalks, under building facades, along friends porches, evincing a rag-tag patchwork spectacle of our own, because somewhere in the procession of strange happy fellows travelling together in packs with their banners, and probably at several points, we see ourselves–or we see reflections of our neighbors, our mascots, our dreams, and ideals.

We Creatives for Common Sense (CfCS) call upon Fayette Urban County Government to build upon this common love of the public procession and to create a positive parade environment by dividing the county into eight designated Parade Eruption Zones (PEZ). Each PEZ should be criss-crossed by a series of parade routes that showcase county neighbourhoods, parks, and commercial zones appearing within it, with each zone anchored by a PEZ Station, a central public space into which various parades may choose to culminate. (In keeping with Commonwealth practice, PEZ Stations by law must lie within one hour amble of all able-bodied residents residing therein, or within two hours horse trot for individuals located far out on the rural PEZ). Continue reading »

Aug 112013

By Taylor Riley

Editor’s note: in her previous article, Taylor introduced readers to the Common Good program; here, we meet a Common Good family. 

“Rock, paper, scissors, shoot!”

Waiting for the kids to file from a basement classroom of Common Good, I sit at a table and observe.

Most of the kids are waiting for their parents and guardians to pick them up, but most of them aren’t quite ready to go home.

“Say ‘goodbye’ to Henry. You’ll see him tomorrow,” a tired-sounding mother says to her elementary-aged son as she practically drags him to the door.

Common Good, a non-profit afterschool program founded by John and Laura Gallaher on the northside, proves to be a place where kids want to be day after day.

And who can blame them? Common Good is an equal opportunity place to go for kids—black, white, Latino, large, small. Nobody, the mentors or the other children, really seems to care about the physical attributes.  Continue reading »