Brownsboro remains VA’s ‘preferred site’ for new medical center in final environmental study Friday, Apr 28 2017 

The Department of Veterans Affairs has taken another step toward building Louisville’s replacement medical center on greenfield property at the intersection of Brownsboro Road and the Watterson Expressway, as its final Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) reiterated that this is its preferred site for the nearly $1 billion project. Just as the long-delayed draft EIS concluded […]

Kentucky’s Thapar, Trump Appeals Court Nominee, Will Get Hearing Wednesday Tuesday, Apr 25 2017 

A Kentuckian nominated by President Donald Trump to a federal appeals court will be questioned during a confirmation hearing on Wednesday.

The U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee is holding hearings on the confirmation of Judge Amul Thapar to the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which considers appeals from federal cases originating in Kentucky, Tennessee, Ohio and Michigan.

Thapar serves in the U.S. District Court of Eastern Kentucky and previously as a U.S. attorney for the Eastern District; both appointments were made by President George W. Bush.

Trump included Thapar on a shortlist of potential U.S. Supreme Court nominees released during the presidential campaign. He was one of four candidates interviewed for the position.

There are 20 vacancies in the federal appeals courts and 100 more in federal district courts. The 6th Circuit Court of Appeals has had a vacancy since 2013, when Judge Boyce Martin retired.

Courtesy Vanderbilt

Amul Thapar

President Barack Obama nominated Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Lisabeth Hughes to the seat in 2016, but the move was blocked by Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

Carl Tobias, a law professor from the University of Richmond, said McConnell’s rejection of Obama’s nominee to the appeals court “has some of the same flavor” of his block of Merrick Garland, the president’s Supreme Court nominee.

“The Republicans were saying ‘well, it’s a presidential election year, we should let the people decide and just wait in the hopes that a Republican will be elected president,’” Tobias said. “They were prescient, and that’s what happened.”

After winning the election, Trump nominated Neil Gorsuch, a federal judge from Colorado.

Senate Democrats attempted to block Gorsuch’s confirmation, leading McConnell and Senate Republicans to deploy the “nuclear option” — lowering the number of votes required to stop debate on a judicial confirmation from 60 to a simple majority of 50.

It’s unclear whether Senate Democrats will attempt to slow down Thapar’s confirmation. Tobias said he expects “Democrats will ask some hard questions.”

The Civil and Human Rights Coalition sent a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee expressing concerns about Thapar’s record ruling against “plaintiffs, prisoners, criminal defendants, or campaign finance restrictions.”

Paul Salamanca, a University of Kentucky law professor, published a letter of support for Thapar in the Lexington Herald-Leader, saying the judge would “take the law set forth by the framers of the Constitution or by Congress and apply it with fidelity.”

Thapar’s confirmation hearing will start Wednesday at 10 a.m.

News Commentary: The curious case of a hefty political contribution that coincided with the VA hospital site selection Friday, Apr 14 2017 

For years, the public has pondered why the Veterans Administration paid an investment group led by Louisville businessman Jonathan Blue millions too much for a proposed hospital site near two of the region’s 10 most congested hotspots. Now emerges another question: Was the VA’s site-selection process for sale, too? Here’s what we know: On Sept. 22, […]

McConnell: Trump Team Beginning To Understand Russians Are ‘Not Our Friends’ Wednesday, Apr 12 2017 

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell says President Trump’s decision to conduct air strikes in Syria sends a clear message to the Asssad regime that the use of chemical weapons on his own people won’t be tolerated.

During a news conference Wednesday in Louisville, McConnell said the strike also sends a strong message to the Russians, who claimed that they had removed all chemical weapons from Syria.

“The one thing you can be sure about with the Russians is that they’re never up to any good and they’re not our friends,” he said. “And I think the new administration is figuring that out. They may have been somewhat confused about it during the campaign but I think they’re in the process of figuring that out.”

He said the president’s action did not require congressional approval.

On domestic matters, McConnell said he and other Republican leaders on Capitol Hill haven’t given up on taking a new approach toward repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act.

A plan supported by Trump was shelved last month by House Speaker Paul Ryan when it became clear there was not enough support for it in the House.

After a partisan battle over the president’s Supreme Court nominee, McConnell said he hopes to get down to work with Democrats on issues like tax reform and infrastructure legislation when the session resumes.

“We had a very partisan beginning to this administration but I predict it’s going to settle down a couple of weeks from now,” he said.

Gorsuch’s Ascension To High Court Vindicates McConnell Plan Sunday, Apr 9 2017 

Neil Gorsuch’s ascension to the Supreme Court was vindication for Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell, whose risky bet more than a year ago paid off big time for President Donald Trump and the Kentucky senator himself.

When Justice Antonin Scalia died in February 2016, McConnell decided immediately that the Senate would not fill the seat until the next president was elected. McConnell never wavered. He ignored Democratic griping, misgivings from fellow Republicans, and ultimately erroneous predictions that GOP Senate candidates would pay a political price.

Now McConnell can take credit for allowing Trump to put a young conservative on the court for life, even though it took changing Senate rules to do it.

“No. 1, it’s courageous. No. 2, it’s genius, in that order, because he knew how much criticism he would get,” said Sen. James Inhofe, R-Oklahoma.

Democrats and some Republicans predicted dire fallout from McConnell’s divisive Senate rules change that removed the 60-vote filibuster barrier for Supreme Court picks, and they warned of a more polarized Senate and court over time. But most in the GOP were full of praise for their wily leader.

“Mitch did what he thought was the right thing at the time, and I think the American people agreed with it, as was evidenced by the outcome of the election,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. “And now we have a great justice on the Supreme Court.”

Frustrated Democrats grudgingly acknowledged that McConnell got what he wanted and delivered for his party, even as they insisted that the damage done to the Senate in the process would not quickly be forgotten.

The next time Democrats control the White House and the Senate, they could be the ones to benefit from the rules change enacted under McConnell. That’s because the change will apply to all future Supreme Court nominees, too, eliminating any need for input from the minority party in making confirmations to the high court.

“The Republicans engaged in historic obstructionism that made it possible for this confirmation process to be conducted,” said Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. “We now have a radical right-wing justice on the Supreme Court. And I think that was their goal all along. So it is successful.”

Some Republicans say the vacancy was an important factor in Trump’s victory in November because the prospect of putting a conservative on the court helped evangelicals and other voters overcome their misgivings about Trump. In exit polls, 21 percent of voters called Supreme Court appointments “the most important factor” in their vote, and among those people 56 percent voted for Trump.

McConnell told reporters Friday that “the most consequential decision I’ve ever been involved in was the decision to let the president being elected last year pick the Supreme Court nominee.”

It was a gamble. McConnell said after the election that he didn’t think Trump had a chance of winning or Republicans of holding their Senate majority.

McConnell and other senators also expressed the hope that after the bitter fight over Gorsuch, the Senate can get back on a more bipartisan course. That will be necessary to pass spending bills to keep the lights on in government by an April 28 midnight deadline.

McConnell pledged to preserve the 60-vote filibuster threshold on regular legislation, as opposed to nominations, which will continue to act as a tool forcing bipartisan outcomes and ensuring participation from the minority party.

As for Gorsuch, 49, he will be sworn in Monday and jump into cases of consequence, including one involving separation of church and state that the justices will take up in less than two weeks. Gorsuch is a veteran of Denver’s 10th U.S. Circuit of Appeals with a history of conservative rulings that make him an intellectual heir to Scalia.

“As a deep believer in the rule of law, Judge Gorsuch will serve the American people with distinction,” Trump said in a statement.

The judge won support Friday from 51 of the chamber’s Republicans as well as three moderate Democrats up for re-election in states Trump won last fall: Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota and Joe Donnelly of Indiana. GOP Sen. Johnny Isakson of Georgia, who has been recovering from back surgery, did not vote.

Gorsuch is expected to join a conservative-leaning voting bloc of justices, making five on the nine-member court.

Senate Pulls ‘Nuclear’ Trigger To Ease Gorsuch Confirmation Thursday, Apr 6 2017 

This is how the Senate changes — not with a bang, but with a motion to overturn the ruling of the chair.

By a simple majority vote, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., set a new precedent in the Senate that will ease the confirmation for President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch on Friday, after 30 more hours of debate on the floor.

“This will be the first, and last, partisan filibuster of a Supreme Court justice,” said McConnell in a closing floor speech.

Senate Democrats voted against ending debate on Gorsuch’s nomination on a near party-line vote, leaving Republicans shy the 60-vote hurdle required by Senate rules to move on to a final confirmation vote.

Democrats opposed Gorsuch for a variety of reasons, including his conservative judicial philosophy, dissatisfaction with his answers during his confirmation hearings and a simmering resentment towards McConnell’s decision to block any consideration of President Obama’s nominee Merrick Garland last year.

“We believe that what Republicans did to Merrick Garland was worse than a filibuster,” said Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer, D-N.Y.

So McConnell then, as promised, used the power of his position and with all of his GOP colleagues lined up behind him, to essentially change the rules of the Senate — to lower that threshold on Supreme Court nominations to end debate from 60 to 51 votes. The change did not affect the legislative filibuster.

McConnell made a point of order that ending debate on the nomination only requires a simple majority. The motion was not sustained by the chair because Senate rules required 60 votes, so McConnell then made a motion to overturn that ruling. And once that motion passed on a party-line vote, the Gorsuch nomination only needed 51 votes to clear the hurdle.

That mild-sounding parliamentary maneuver has the most destructive nickname, “the nuclear option,” because it contains sweeping impact on the Senate, President Trump and all of his successors — and the nation as a whole.

By essentially eliminating the filibuster for Supreme Court nominees — an extension of the 2013 nuclear option triggered by then-Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., for all lower court and executive branch nominees — all presidential nominees will now face a far easier path navigating through the Senate confirmation process. It also could make it easier for presidents to appoint more overtly partisan justices to the Supreme Court.

The change will also test the character of the Senate and the people who serve in it, and lay bare whether the upper chamber is slowly lurching towards becoming more like the majority-driven and reactionary House of Representatives, where the minority party has little substantive role.

Opponents of easing the filibuster warn that the next and likely step is to eliminate the legislative filibuster, which allows any one senator to hold up a piece of legislation and requires a 60-vote threshold to break the logjam and move such a bill forward. Critics of the filibuster say the maneuver is abused and used so regularly that it has rendered the Senate incapable of acting on even routine legislative matters.

The filibuster and the rights it gives to individual senators and the minority party are reasons why the Senate has long considered itself “the greatest deliberative body in the world.”

But the use of filibusters and the polarization between the two parties have dramatically increased in the past two decades, making it harder and harder for the Senate to reach bipartisan consensus even on matters like the annual 12 spending bills.

The impact of McConnell’s move Thursday is a matter of heated debate, and its long-term effects are unpredictable. Advocates of changing the Senate rules on filibusters say it may be a necessary evolution for a polarized Congress to function in the modern era, while opponents say it threatens to send the nation further down a path where the two parties are so opposed that bipartisanship and centrism are relics of another era.

“Today’s vote is a cautionary tale about how unbridled partisan escalation can ultimately overwhelm our basic inclination to work together, and frustrate our efforts to pull back, blocking us from steering the ship of the Senate away from the rocks,” Schumer said.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Trump rally draws supporters and protesters Tuesday, Mar 21 2017 

By Shelby Brown–

President Donald Trump promoted his replacement healthcare plan at a rally March 20. Trump’s speech echoed those of his 2016 campaign. Trump reiterated that the House of Representatives will vote on the new healthcare plan March 23.

“It’s time for Democrats in Washington to take responsibility for the disaster that they, and they alone, created,” Trump said. “Thursday is our chance to end Obamacare and the Obamacare catastrophe.”

Trump touched on reducing taxes, keeping trade deals and border security. Trump’s original travel ban was blocked by several Federal judges. Most recently, Trump revised the ban and it was blocked by U.S. District Court Judge Derrick Watson of Hawaii.

“We are fighting on the side of our great American heritage,” Trump said.

Supporters began lining up this morning with doors set to open at 4:30 p.m. and Trump scheduled to speak at 7:30 p.m.

   

 

Ticket holder restrictions kept most protesters outside. Organizations like Indivisible Kentucky, Planned Parenthood, Black Lives Matter Louisville and Students for Reproductive Justice were present. U of L’s Bree Perry said intersectional representation was her main goal for the day.

     

“I had to make sure that black trans lives are represented, disabled lives are represented, and every part of me that sometimes gets pushed to the side,” she said.

Perry also expressed concerns about education under the Trump administration.

“I know a lot of people who were going to go get their PhDs and then Trump won,” Perry said. “They just aren’t comfortable being stuck in school and they don’t know how their financial lives are going to change under this administration because it’s so unpredictable. He’s so anti-lower working class people and that’s who a lot of my friends are in academia. If we don’t have a safety plan for our finances how are we supposed to achieve to higher education?”

Elizabethtown High School student, Jamax McAdams thinks Trump is on the right track.

“Everything he says, it’s really good and what he’s been doing in the first 100 days,” McAdams said. “He’s going to repeal Obamacare, he’s going to start the construction on the wall soon, so I’m liking what he’s doing so far. It’s everything he’s promised.”

Supporters chanted “USA” and “build the wall” through the evening. During Trump’s speech protesters attempted to disrupt but were escorted out by police. One individual waved a flag that read ‘Antifa International’ before a Trump supporter snatched it away from him.

Protester waves flag before being escorted out.

Eric Hymel, another protester who was removed, said he had demonstrated at a Trump rally in 2016.

“He’s lying to us on a daily basis,” Hymel said. “We cannot stand for this.”

Three members of Black Lives Matter Louisville were the last to be removed during Trump’s speech. J. Graham Brown School student, Christian Jones was one of those escorted out.

“We planned to infiltrate the rally and cause a disturbance because this rally is nothing but white supremacists and oppressors. They’re oppressing people. They’re trying to control people. We came here to stand up and speak for the voices of the unheard.” Jones said.

Black Lives Matter protesters escorted from rally

Kentucky Majority floor leader Jonathan Shell hosted the evening. Midwest Church of Christ’s Pastor Jerry Stevenson led the hall in prayer. Dr. Ralph Alvarado, a Kentucky senator spoke about his experience in this medical field and praised Trump’s healthcare plan.

“For the next 4 years I’m feeling very hopeful about where our country and where our state can go,” Alvarado said.

Governor Matt Bevin speaks at rally.

Governor Matt Bevin and Mitch McConnell were also present.

 

Photos by Dustin Massengill/ The Louisville Cardinal

 

 

 

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5 Key Takeaways From The GOP Health Overhaul Plan Thursday, Mar 9 2017 

Got questions about the GOP plan to overhaul federal health law? Join us on Twitter Thursday 12-1 p.m. ET for our #ACAchat. Kaiser’s Julie Rovner, NPR’s Alison Kodjak and health policy analysts of various political persuasions will be online discussing how the Republican plan could work, who wins and who loses. See you there!

After literally years of promises, House Republicans have a bill they say will “repeal and replace” the Affordable Care Act.

Some conservative Republicans have derided the new proposal — the American Health Care Act — calling it “Obamacare Lite.” It keeps intact some of the more popular features of the ACA, such as allowing adult children to stay on their parents’ health plans to age 26 and, at least in theory, ensuring that people with pre-existing conditions will still have access to insurance.

In some cases the elements of the law that remain are due to political popularity. In others, it’s because the special budget rules Congress is using so Republicans can avoid a Senate filibuster do not allow them to repeal the entire law.

But there are some major changes in how people would choose and pay for health care and insurance. Here are some of the biggest.

Tax credits to help buy insurance

Both the GOP bill and the ACA provide tax credits to help some people pay their premiums if they don’t get insurance through work or government programs. And in both, the credits are refundable (meaning people who owe no taxes still get the money) and advanceable (so people don’t have to wait until they file their taxes to get them). But the GOP’s tax credits would work very differently from those already in place.

Under current law, the amount of the credit is tied to a person’s income (the less you earn the more you get) and the cost of insurance where you live.

The GOP tax credits would be tied largely to age, with older people getting twice as much ($4,000 per year) as younger people ($2,000). But the Republican plan would also let insurers charge those older adults five times as much as younger adults, so even a credit twice as big might not make up the difference in premiums.

The GOP credits also do not vary by location, so they would be worth more in places where health care and health insurance are less expensive.

The GOP credits do phase out gradually, starting with incomes above $75,000 for an individual and $150,000 for families.

Medicaid

The biggest changes the Republican bill would make are to the Medicaid program. Starting in 2020, it would roll back federal funding for the ACA’s expansion that allowed states to provide Medicaid coverage to all low-income individuals under 138 percent of the poverty level, rather than just the specific categories of poor people (children, pregnant women, elderly, disabled) who were previously eligible.

Thirty-one states opted to expand access to Medicaid. People who are covered under the expansion would continue to be funded by the federal government after that, but states would no longer be allowed to enroll anyone under those expanded criteria. And an enrollee who loses eligibility for the expansion program could not re-enroll.

But the bill would go further as well, making changes to the underlying Medicaid program that House Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Greg Walden, R-Ore., described as “the biggest entitlement reform in the last 20 years.”

Currently, Medicaid costs are shared between states and the federal government, but the funding is open-ended, so the federal government pays its percentage of whatever states spend. Under the proposed bill, the amount of federal funding would be capped on a per-person basis, so funding would go up as more people qualify. But that per-capita amount might not grow as fast as Medicaid costs, which could leave states on the hook for an ever-increasing share of the costs of the program.

“Capping federal contributions to the Medicaid program will likely force states with already tight budgets to limit eligibility and cut benefits to at-risk Americans,” said the American Public Health Association in a statement.

Help for wealthier people

If you earn a lot of money, or even just enough to put aside something extra for health expenses, the GOP bill will provide a lot to like.

First, it would repeal almost all of the taxes that were increased by the ACA to pay for the expansion of health coverage. Those include higher Medicare taxes for high-income earners, a tax on investment income and various taxes on health care providers, including insurance companies, makers of medical devices and even tanning salons.

The bill would also provide new tax advantages for those who can afford to save, including allowing more money to be deposited into health savings accounts, and lower penalties for those who use those accounts to pay for nonmedical needs.

In addition, the plan would lower the threshold for deducting medical expenses on income taxes and allow people with job-based tax-preferred “flexible spending accounts” to put away more pretax money. It would also restore over-the-counter drugs as eligible for reimbursement from those accounts.

Mandates to buy or provide coverage

The GOP plan doesn’t actually repeal the requirements for individuals to have coverage or for employers to provide it. That’s because it can’t under budget rules. Instead, the bill would reduce the penalties in both cases to zero, rendering the requirements moot.

The individual requirement was used by the health law to force healthy people into buying coverage to help improve insurers’ risk pools since they could no longer bar customers with pre-existing conditions.

Instead, the Republican plan would provide a penalty for those who do not maintain “continuous coverage.” Those with a break in insurance coverage of more than 63 days could still purchase insurance without regard to pre-existing health conditions, but they would be required to pay premiums that are 30 percent higher for 12 months.

The employer “mandate,” which requires firms with 50 or more workers to offer coverage or pay a fine, has actually had relatively little impact on insurance coverage, analysts have concluded, and probably is not necessary to prevent employers from dropping coverage. In both the ACA and the GOP bill, however, workers whose employers offer coverage could not decline that coverage and get a tax credit instead.

How to pay for it

With all the taxes and fees stripped from the ACA, how will Republicans pay for their tax credits? The answer is not clear.

“We are still discussing details, but we are committed to repealing Obamacare and replacing it with fiscally responsible policies that restore the free market and protect taxpayers,” said the Republican fact sheet that accompanied the release of the bill.

Also still missing is an estimate from the Congressional Budget Office that will detail not only how much the proposal will cost, but also how many people would gain or lose health insurance. Republicans insist that estimate will be available before the full House votes on the bill.

Kaiser Health News (KHN) is a national health policy news service. It is an editorially independent program of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation.

Copyright 2017 Kaiser Health News. To see more, visit Kaiser Health News.

Study: KY ranks fifth in student default rates Thursday, Mar 2 2017 

By Kyeland Jackson —

Many of the Commonwealth’s students cannot pay their loans, ranking Kentucky fifth in national student default rates.

A new report by LendEDU details the findings, dividing student debt averages and percentages by states, districts and representatives. States surrounding Kentucky, except West Virginia, averaged lower default rates for their students. A default means students have not made payments toward student loans within a year.

Freshmen McKena Alford and Riley Penhorwood withdraw student loans, anticipating thousands in debt when they graduate.

“To be honest, I haven’t really thought about it,” Alford said, referencing how she will pay loans after college.

“I plan on getting a job right after I get my degree, while working on getting my masters so that I can get paid more,” Penhorwood said. “Jobs are not easy to find, especially depending on what your major is, and where your going and where you’re living especially.”

Penhorwood, studying special education, pays out of state tuition and anticipates borrowing $90,000 for her three-year program.

“Typically the student that’s going to default is not the people with all that big money. It’s usually the people who started here in college, took out some money – $2,000 or $3,000 – they default on a student loan,” Financial Aid Office Executive Director Sandy Neel said, referencing students who do not finish their degrees.

When a student’s account defaults, it transfers to the federal department of education who can take tax refunds, garnish wages and stop students’ financial aid eligibility to balance debts.

“If it goes as far as when the student’s retired, and in retirement, they can take social security benefits from people,” Neel said.

In Kentucky’s congressional district three, which encompasses Louisville, Shively and Jeffersontown, 57 percent of students graduate with debt averaging upwards of $25,000 according to lendEDU’s research. U of L students comprise more than 75 percent of district three’s students, represented by John Yarmuth. Yarmuth’s policies, compiled in the study, advocate student finances by supporting low loan interest rates,federal refinancing, loan forgiveness and tax benefits.

His default rate in the report is the lowest compared to other Kentucky representatives.

  • John Yarmuth – 6.8 percent
  • Thomas Massie – 8 percent
  • James Comer Jr. – 9.27 percent
  • Andy Barr – 10.75 percent
  • Brett Guthrie – 11.45 percent

Though Neel said U of L’s default rate is the second lowest, trumped by the University of Kentucky, she explained Kentucky’s high default rates come from poorer areas like eastern Kentucky and the Appalachian area. Financial Aid Office Associate Director Mike Abboud suggests working closely with servicers to reduce chances for default. Servicers can help students defer, postponing payments, or forbear loans, temporarily suspending or reducing payments.

“There’s opportunities of deferment and forbearance, so those servicers are extremely understanding,” Abboud said. “They (students) shouldn’t see the servicer as a collection agency, but more so as somebody who will work with them and is willing to find them opportunities of the various, different kinds of forbearances and deferments.”

Abboud and Neel also recommend students know their loan amounts and anticipate how much money they’ll borrow for their degrees.

“Only about four percent of the population borrow over $100,000 and it’s usually for the advanced degrees,” Neel said. “But students do need to be careful about what they’re going to borrow…You can’t bankrupt it (student loans). You can’t do anything with it. You can’t escape it. It’s going to follow you.”

Read lendEDU’s full report here.

File photo / The Louisville Cardinal

The post Study: KY ranks fifth in student default rates appeared first on The Louisville Cardinal.

LouisvilleKY’s THE WEEK: From Tailspin to a Turtle’s Appearance, and on to the Gravy Cup, Friday, Feb 24 2017 

Much was focused this week on Mitch McConnell’s appearance at a luncheon sponsored by the Jeffersontown Chamber. Plenty of protesters showed up at the Marriott, but none were able to get anywhere close to the Senator, who took only a few questions from the audience, mostly about healthcare. Of course, Mitch and his colleagues don’t like talking about a topic for which they don’t have an answer.

But let’s move on to more pleasant topics, like how I’m never going to lose any weight with this kind of schedule.

Drinking beer in an airplane hangar -- what Tailspin is all about

Drinking beer in an airplane hangar — what Tailspin is all about

It all started Saturday at the Tailspin Ale Fest at Bowman Field, where a cool wind was blowing, occasional raindrops were falling and the beer was flowing. Thanks to an excess number of volunteers, my beer pouring post (Christian Moerlein of Cincinnati) was already ably manned, so there were a few free hours to sample some of the record number of choices. My favorite turned out to be a Pineapple Shandy made by Travelers Brewing in Vermont.

Monday was the Taste of 502, a five-year-old event held at the Seelbach as the kickoff to the organization’s Restaurant Week. And while there were some great restaurants handing out samples, the floor was dominated by bourbons, beers and spirits samples. It is not wise to mix tequila, vodka and bourbon, I can tell you that.

The recovery from that was near complete by Thursday, when I was invited to Das Meal II at Shelbyville’s Science Hill Inn.

Gravy Cup poster from 2014

Gravy Cup poster from 2014

Chef Ellen Gill McCarty, and Michael Beckmann, spoiled us with several courses of German food paired with beers from Gordon Biersch.

Now I’m laying low until Saturday, when I’m excited to be attending my first Gravy Cup. The biscuits & gravy competition is being held for the first time at the Mellwood Arts Center.

Here’s who I’ve been talking to this week:

RUSTY SATELLITE SHOW

If Mike and Medora Safai are able to do half of what they want to do at their new building in Shelby Park, it will transform the neighborhood and become a new hotspot for drinking. The Safai Coffee owners recently bought

With the Safais in Shelby Park

With Mike Safai in Shelby Park. Bill Brymer photo.

the 61,000 square foot building for the coffee brewing operation, and so much more. Mike is an immigrant from Iran, and you’ll be interested to hear the interesting story of his move to the U.S. and the success he and his family have had here. Read about it on EatDrinkTalk.

My other guest is Zach Fry, the man behind the Gravy Cup. The rise of the event, now in its fifth year, is an amazing story to hear. For details, check my story on EatDrinkTalk.

Check out the 190th Rusty Satellite Show here:

EATDRINKTALK

Steve Coomes sat down with the man behind one of the city’s culinary institutions on the occasion of the Bristol Bar & Grille’s 40th anniversary. Check out the conversation in which Doug Gossman explains he never expected the kind of longevity and multiple locations the Bristol has enjoyed for four decades. My interview is with Ed Hartless, Cordish’s top local executive who is seeing to it that 4th Street Live! is focused on attracting locals, both in terms of restaurant operators and visitors. He also explains how he helped negotiate the new Edward Lee restaurant, Whiskey Dry, to come downtown.

Listen to the show here:

The post LouisvilleKY’s THE WEEK: From Tailspin to a Turtle’s Appearance, and on to the Gravy Cup, appeared first on Louisville KY.

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