Mar 172013
Mayer's Town Branch Commons Design Challenge. Photo by Danny Mayer.

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

NoC editor Danny Mayer is sponsoring a Town Branch Commons design challenge. He’s calling on area commoners to come up with an affordable and functional design to redevelop a portion of  151 East Vine Street, a .62 acre publicly owned surface parking lot that runs downtown between Vine and Water Street in Lexington, Kentucky. He will present the winning idea to a meeting of the city council, at which time he will formally request public funding for the project.

The idea for Mayer’s challenge began after the NoC editor read about a city leader’s recent admission that closing down surface parking lots on Vine Street is “clearly implementable” and “within the realm of do-ability.”

“I think it’s great,” Mayer said, “that city leaders are finally acknowledging the benefits of transforming under-used government property into human-scaled places of interaction and mobility. I want to do my part to encourage more of that thinking.” Continue reading »

Mar 062013

Film Explores African-Americans ‘Soul Food’ Habit

soulfoodjunkiesposterWEBOn Tuesday, March 26, the Lyric Theatre will host a free screening of Soul Food Junkies as part of the Good Foods Market and Café Film Series.

Soul food Junkies, which recently won the Best Documentary Award at the prestigious American Black Film Festival in Miami, explores the health advantages and disadvantages of soul food. A quintessential American cuisine with a rich history and an abiding significance to black cultural identity, soul food and its core celebration of all things fried and smothered has had lasting effects on the health of African Americans, both good and bad. Continue reading »

Mar 062013

Reflections on attending I Love Mountains day

Daniel, the 24 year old, with Unitarian Universalists at I Love Mountains march in Frankfort on February 17. Photo courtesy of  Stacey Stone.

Daniel, the 24 year old, with Unitarian Universalists at I Love Mountains march in Frankfort on February 17. Photo courtesy of
Stacey Stone.

By Joseph G. Anthony

Daniel, my 24 year old, was happy to be a part of the annual Frankfort “I Love Mountains” rally and march organized by the Kentuckians for the Commonwealth. He wasn’t, however, thrilled to be carrying the Methodist sign—(the Methodists had more signs than people). He kept trying to hand it off to me as we paraded up to the capitol steps and settled in for a rally. But I’m a well-lapsed Catholic, current Unitarian-Universalist. I need no other religious affiliation.

The U.U.’s and other faiths were well represented.  It was a big, enthusiastic crowd. And the February day kept acting like it was early April. All that coal-induced global warming has its plusses.  After the marching, we were ready for speeches. Continue reading »

Mar 062013

Misadventures in the city

By Beth Connors-Manke 

In December, I wrote a column about stickering over sexist images and graffiti that popped up along on my daily commute. In both cases, my resistance was reactive: I was trying to block someone else’s message.  Since then, more sexist—sometimes virulently and violently sexist—messages have come my way, although not always at street level.  Continue reading »

Mar 062013

By Marcus Flores

In the beginning, Roy Allen made root beer. He initiated the first of many A&W franchises in 1919, which allowed Americans to reside inside their first love—automobiles—while being served curbside. And in 1927, a young Mormon missionary and his wife franchised an A&W stand in Washington, D.C., innovating once again by adding hot foods to the menu. That man was John Willard Marriott, and his is the name now perched atop some 3800 hotels.

Mobility is by now interwoven in American DNA; we crave our fast food and would be unable to do without the hotel chains and modern automobiles that enable access to virtually all of the United States.

Yet U.S. cities—concrete jungles, to use an apt metaphor—are far denser and hence competitive than those of yore. Some entrepreneurs have responded by channeling the innovative spirit that once prevailed among the fast food pioneers. By adding a set of wheels to their operation, they have displeased some brick and mortar restaurants who view the mobile invaders as an encroachment on their business.

Is this a legitimate claim? It’s certainly under discussion here in Lexington.  Continue reading »

Mar 062013

By Mary Grace Barry 

In late February, this email showed up twice in my inbox:

“Vote Lexington! The Bloomberg Mayors Challenge is nearing the finish line. This is a competition for the best ideas to improve cities. Our idea,, created by our citizens for all citizens, is up against ideas from 19 other cities nationwide. Million-dollar prizes are at stake. Starting today, you have the opportunity to Vote Lexington at Vote Lexington at the Huffington Post site, now through March 6. Tell your friends, tell your family, use Facebook and Twitter, tell everyone…Vote Lexington!”

(Didn’t you get it? Must not be on the city’s email blast list. Or, you’re not in the right network. Hopefully, we’ll have a website to ameliorate that soon.)

The Bloomberg Mayor’s Challenge is a contest to spur national innovation through initiatives developed in cities, initiatives that can be replicated in other cities. In other words, it’s an attempt at an end run around national governmental programs in a time when the capacity (or will) of federal government to address problems seems to be floundering. Bloomberg Philanthropies will pony up $9 million to the “five boldest ideas”: $5 mil to the winner, $1 mil to the next four runners-up. 305 cities submitted proposals; 20 finalists were chosen; Lexington is in that 20 (hence the email). Continue reading »

Mar 062013

Valley View to Paint Lick, part two

By Wesley Houp

Danny nudges me awake.  The fire has relented to a glowing heap.  I check my watch.  It’s 3:43am.  “What’s that noise?” he whispers.  I listen, having momentarily lost my bearings to sleep.  At first I hear nothing and look back at Danny’s dark and uncertain face.  Then I discern a sound issuing from the back of the cave, a deep, raspy chirp sustained over several seconds.  Suddenly, the presence of the stranger, Free Willy, comes rushing back.  The sensation sends a ripple through my reptilian brain.  The chirping ceases, and then the voice follows.

“Don’t be alarmed, good fellows.  It’s just poor Jenkins.  He’s singing a lamentation.  Does it every night.  Throw me one of your torches and I’ll show you.”  Danny sits up and tosses his headlamp into the darkness of the cave.  The light flicks on, and there is our strange guest, holding the lamp up to a mason jar filled with water glowing like a cathode ray.  “Meet Jenkins.”  He holds the jar up in the light for us to see. Continue reading »