What Questions Do You Have For Mayor Greg Fischer? Monday, Jun 26 2017 

Mayor Greg Fischer will join us for a live news special on Wednesday, July 5, at 1 p.m. The topic of our conversation will be public safety.

Louisville suffered a record number of homicides and gun violence last year, and this year we’re on pace to break it. We’ll talk with the mayor about policing, drugs, community relationships, poverty and economic growth, and various other factors that contribute to — and can help solve — violence.

We want your questions, too. In the box below, please send us your questions about public safety for Mayor Fischer.

We want this conversation to include many voices, so we may get in touch and ask you to record your question. Keep an eye out for an email from us after you submit.

Advocates: City Budget A Victory For Louisville Affordable Housing Sunday, Jun 25 2017 

This week, the Louisville Metro Council approved a city budget with nearly $14 million in allocations for affordable housing efforts.

Nearly $10 million of that is slated for the city’s affordable housing trust fund, its largest ever allotment.

For affordable housing advocates, the move is a reassuring sign that comes after years of showing up and speaking out.

Listen to the story in the player above.

Group Proposes Food Co-Op For Heritage West Saturday, Jun 24 2017 

Cassia Herron says a community grocery store in the West End would operate almost like any Kroger, ValuMarket or Trader Joe’s. The shelves would be stocked with fruit, cereal, bread and other items. The big difference, she says, is who would control the community store.

This week, Louisvillians heard four proposals for Heritage West, the previously proposed site of the West Louisville FoodPort. Herron is among a group of residents proposing the Louisville Food Cooperative.

Louisville Food Cooperative Steering Committee

A slide from the proposal for the Louisville Food Cooperative at Heritage West

Herron says the co-op wouldn’t be exactly like every other grocery store — because this one, she says, would be owned by the community.

“Ownership is important because people would have control of their food system at this one particular food outlet,” Herron says.

The West End isn’t the only part of Louisville in need of more options for purchasing food. Last year, First Link closed in Phoenix Hill, east of downtown. And Old Louisville lost its Kroger at the beginning of the year.

According to the co-op’s steering committee, here’s how financing for the project would work: Members would purchase shares for $1,000, $100, or $25 each.

Louisville Food Cooperative Steering Committee

Financing breakdown proposal for Louisville Food Cooperative

Other ways the cooperative plans to finance the project is through grassroots fundraising, philanthropy and public investment from government.

Members of the co-op would elect a board and the board would oversee a store manager.

“Having ownership really helps to secure the market and customer base,” Herron says.

Herron says a large part of her work is organizing potential owners and shoppers. Despite any differences people may have, she says everyone wants access to good food.  

“There’s this assumption that poor people, people of color, people who have limited access to resources don’t want high-quality products,” she says. “In terms of having a store that you own, you get to have some input into what is in the store, what the store looks like, what other services are provided in the location.”

Since many grocery stores offer other services in addition to selling food — like banking, floral shops, and coffee shops — Herron says the co-op steering committee plans to meet with residents in the area to see what additional services interest them.

Louisville Food Cooperative Steering Committee

A group of residents is proposing a Louisville Food Cooperative for the Heritage West site.

 “We want to in the next six months dig deeper with our potential customer base and member-owners about what other services that the grocery store could provide,” she says.

For Herron and her committee, the Louisville Food Cooperative is a much needed service and she says they aren’t tied to the idea of the project landing at Heritage West. Other neighborhoods she thinks could benefit from the project include Old Louisville, Parkland and Smoketown. The location of the co-op is not important, she says, compared to solving the broader problem of access to healthy food.

Other proposals for Heritage West: a sports complex, a research park, and a mixed use space that includes housing, retail and green space.

Residents have until July 17 to comment on the proposals. Louisville Metro officials will then decide the fate of the site and will enter into an agreement with one of the four development teams by late summer. The option to combine proposals is on the table as well.

As Loved Ones Remember Slain 7-Year-Old, Search For Justice Continues Friday, Jun 23 2017 

It’s been one month since a stray bullet entered a home in Russell, killing a 7-year old boy inside. To the world, he was Dequante Hobbs Jr. To his family, he was “DQ.” On Thursday, family, friends and community gathered to remember him.

Ignoring wind and rain, dozens gathered under the highway next to the Great Lawn in Waterfront Park to release lanterns in remembrance of Dequante.

Kyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Family and friends release lanterns into the sky in memory of 7-year-old Dequante Hobbs.

Christopher 2x, a community activist, helped organize the event. As he thanked everyone for attending, he also urged the community to be vigilant in finding Dequante’s killer.

“Nobody from any walk of life likes the whole idea of an innocent baby getting hurt like that and no answers,” 2x said. “These lanterns are symbolic. They’re about how he still flows. They’re about how he’s still illuminating life. They’re about the innocence of a child. They’re about seeking the unconditional justice that he deserves.”

Micheshia Norment, Dequante’s mom, wants justice.

Norment said Dequante was always happy, smiling and showing off his speakers. She imagines he would have loved Thursday’s ceremony, which included fireworks to celebrate Fourth of July. It was Dequante’s favorite holiday other than his birthday, she said.

Kyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Micheshia Norment, Dequante’s mom, holds onto her daughter.

Norment and Dequante’s dad will not be in Louisville for July 4th — they’ll attend a celebrity event honoring Dequante in New Orleans. But she said Thursday’s ceremony is not the last in Louisville. She wants to celebrate Dequante every month.

“Today and every day is my son’s day,” Norment said. “We hope the person that did this gets what he deserves, and that’s what we’re praying on. Hopefully that person does turn himself in.”

Rashauna Ordway, Dequante’s cousin, remembers him as happy and uplifting.

“This by itself is just going to send a strong message, because we really cared about him. We loved him so much, he was just a sweetheart,” Ordway said. “We just want peace and justice, that’s all we want. We’re not asking for nothing else.”

Kyeland Jackson | wfpl.org

Micheshia Norment releases the first lantern in memory of her son.

Norment released the first lantern into the sky, then others followed. Some lanterns fell. Some, sparkled and dazzled brightly before being grounded by the rain. Others glided on, floating west toward the river, not far from Dequante’s home.

As the lanterns floated away, children chased after them.

“Bye-bye, I love you, DQ,” they said. “We love you, DQ.”

Louisville Lawmakers Approved A Spending Plan. Here’s What You Should Know Thursday, Jun 22 2017 

The Louisville Metro Council voted Thursday evening to send an $839 million spending plan to Mayor Greg Fischer for final approval.

Council members voted unanimously to approve the spending plan for the upcoming fiscal year, which begins July 1.

The budget approved by the council features investments in public safety, city-owned infrastructure and affordable housing. Council members made about $13 million in changes to Fischer’s initial proposed spending plan, which he presented to the council in late April.

City revenues are projected to increase about 23 percent next year compared with the current year, according to the budget document. That translates to about a 3 percent increase in overall spending, said Daniel Frockt, chief financial officer for Metro government.

By and large, revenues are made up of occupational and property taxes, as well as permit fees and citation fines. Budget allocations are spread across 16 city departments and elected offices, as well as a few external agencies.

When will Fischer sign the budget? That depends on when council delivers it. It takes several days to get amendments, but he usually signs it the week after it’s approved.

Here are key details of the $839 spending plan:

Public Safety

Jacob Ryan | wfpl.org

LMPD headquarters.

The police department has the biggest budget of any single city department. Its $193 million allocation for the coming budget cycle is a nearly 10 percent increase from the current year, according to the budget approved by the council Thursday night.

During the current fiscal year, the department has employed an average of 1,550 people, including about 1,000 police officers, budget documents show.

Public safety is a pressing issue in Louisville. Violent crime is on the rise, and the number of criminal homicides reported by police is nearly on pace with last year’s record high.

Council members contend that public safety is the city’s top priority and ensuring that the police department’s fiscal needs are met is critical.

The city’s Office of Safe and Healthy Neighborhoods — which employs prevention and intervention efforts to combat homicides, suicides and overdoses — is set to receive about $1.1 million in general funds. Council members voted earlier this week in committee to cut nearly $500,000 from the office — funds that were included in Fischer’s initial proposal.

Council members also approved Fischer’s request to spend some $4 million on new vehicles for police, fire and ambulance services.

However, the council nixed a $1.8 million allocation that would have afforded the police department the ability to lease a new downtown headquarters.

Robin Engel, chair of the minority caucus, said leasing a building would bring unnecessary costs to the city.

The council also voted to include about $216,000 for new hires related to public safety efforts: two coroners, a public defender and a Casey’s Law advocate.

Council members also approved a proposal to fund two additional hires to the city’s office of addiction services to help combat opioid addiction, and they voted to bolster funding for Volunteers of America by some $515,000 to help fuel an expansion of addiction treatment services.

Fiber Connectivity

Creative Commons

Fiber internet.

After contentious debate during the past few weeks, Metro Council opted to fully fund Fischer’s proposal to build out a fiber internet network across Jefferson County — beginning with a stretch in West Louisville.

Council members questioned the $5.4 million allocation, and the debate intensified after The Courier-Journal reported well-heeled outside interests were taking stake in the issue.

Once complete, the some 90 miles of fiber infrastructure will be leased to companies looking to provide the ultra, high speed connectivity to residents — a move that could generate additional competition among providers and revenue for the city. But Grace Simrall, the head of the city’s innovation office, wouldn’t speculate on just how much funding it could yield.

Infrastructure

Jacob Ryan | wfpl.org

East Main Street.

Council members continue to invest heavily in city owned infrastructure repair, such as roads, bridges and sidewalks and guardrails, for instance: The budget proposal approved Thursday night includes nearly $32 million for such efforts.

The city’s need for road and sidewalk repair is stark.

City officials have claimed a nearly $112 million deficit related to road paving. To prevent the deficit from mounting, they estimate about $15 million is needed annually.

Council members elected to bolster Fischer’s initial proposal for street repair to more than $22 million. And they boosted sidewalk repair spending to more than $2 million.

Councilman Brent Ackerson, a District 26 Democrat, who is a strong advocate for bolstered spending on road repair, called the boosted allocation for such work a “proper” move.

Bicycle lanes, however, aren’t a high priority for the council this year. Council members voted to slash Fischer’s proposed $500,000 allocation for added bicycle infrastructure in half.

The cut in bike infrastructure comes just weeks after the city launched its long delayed bicycle share program — which costs about $74,000 annually and will likely lead to an increase in the number of cyclists using city streets.

Affordable Housing

Jacob Ryan | wfpl.org

Affordable housing got a boost in this year’s city spending plan.

Council members opted to keep Fischer’s $14.5 million allocation to help bolster the city’s stock of affordable housing.

But in doing so, they rearranged the funding to put more than $9 million in control of the Louisville Affordable Housing Trust Fund, which many say has been long underfunded. The rest of the allocation will be controlled by the Louisville CARES initiative, which is under the city government’s Develop Louisville umbrella.

The move marks the biggest investment in the trust fund since it was created by Metro Council ordinance in 2008. At the time, council members said the trust fund would need $10 million annually to meet the need of the thousands of families in Louisville that struggle to afford housing.

Last year, Fischer and the council allotted $2.5 million for the trust fund, then the largest one-time investment in the program.

Housing advocates estimate the city needs thousands of additional affordable housing units to meet the demand.

Nearly 60,000 households here spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing, and nearly 24,000 of those spend at least 50 percent of their income on housing, according to U.S. Census data.

Families that spend more than 30 percent of their income on housing are considered by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be cost-burdened. They may struggle to afford other necessities such as food, clothing and medical care.

Other Investments

The urban heat island is a challenge for Louisville.

Council members cut Fischer’s proposed spending on tree planting to $200,000. The mayor had sought to dedicate $600,000 to tree planting across the city. Louisville officials have long lamented the rate at which trees are eradicated from neighborhoods and rights of way. The absence of trees is credited with a troublesome urban heat island effect and quality of life issues.

Members are looking to bolster spending on the city’s Arts Master Plan by $150,000, bringing the total allotment to $250,000.

Additional mowing cycle for city-owned public rights of way will be funded with a $238,000 allocation, according to the budget ordinance approved by the council Thursday.

And council members are looking to set aside some $250,000 to begin a program that would install clear, plastic boards over windows and doors of vacant structures. The Courier-Journal reported this week that the program is expected to help reduce vandalism and squatting in thousands of vacant structures across the city. 

‘We Are Louisville’ Aims To Help Immigrants, Refugees Feel At Home Thursday, Jun 22 2017 

Residents gathered at Zanzabar on Preston Street Wednesday night to help launch “We Are Louisville,” a coalition aiming to demonstrate to newcomers that Louisville is a welcoming city.

The nonprofit, Define American, hosted the event. Define American was founded by Jose Antonio Vargas, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist known for revealing his undocumented status in a 2011 essay published in The New York Times Magazine.

The event was held in partnership with Mayor Greg Fischer’s office.

In December of 2016, Fischer announced his Global Louisville Action Plan, which aims to get immigrants to move to the area. Immigrants, Fischer said, are key to population growth, as well as filling jobs and making the city more entrepreneurial.

Louisville’s foreign-born makes up nearly 7 percent of the city’s population, according to Census data. That population is projected to grow to just more than 10 percent in 2025, according to the Global Louisville Action Plan.

Many in the city want Louisville to be known as welcoming and break away from national rhetoric that is often viewed as anti-immigrant.

“We are trying through efforts like ‘We Are Louisville’ to stand up and turn that tide and say ‘this is not who we have to be as Americans,'” said Rev. Ryan Eller, executive director of Define American. “We are a compassionate community in Louisville. But we still have a long way to go and we’re on that journey.”

In January, following President Trump’s executive order threatening to cut federal funding for so-called sanctuary cities, Fischer gave an impassioned speech in support of immigrants and refugees but did not go as far as publicly proclaiming Louisville a “sanctuary city.” A federal judge blocked parts of the order in April.

Jonese Franklin

Crowd shot at Zanzabar during “We Are Louisville” event.

Social justice group Mijente supports Louisville being labeled a sanctuary and is gathering signatures of residents who also support it. In February, the group, along with other organizations, delivered petitions to Metro Hall with the signatures of 2,600 Louisvillians who wanted the distinction.

Eller of Define American said “We Are Louisville” is made up of members, including faith leaders, nonprofits and social justice organizations who want Louisville to be a sanctuary — and some who don’t.

“One of the things I love most about this ‘We Are Louisville’ coalition is that it’s a coalition of people who are able to disagree with each other openly,” Eller said.

Whether the city becomes sanctuary in name or not, Eller said it’s important to fight the tone that’s coming from Trump administration, which he said many believe is anti-immigrant.

“We’re here to stand up and to say to be a Louisvillian is to be a welcomer,” he said.

Louisville Doesn’t Spend Tax Dollars The Way Congress Does. Here’s Why Thursday, Jun 22 2017 

Steve Haag thinks back to when he worked for the Jefferson County Judge-Executive and laughs at how things were years ago.

He was working for then County Judge-Executive Rebecca Jackson, and he recalls the process for answering the phones as … inefficient.

“We had to take turns,” he said. “She wasn’t allowed to hire a front desk person.”

This was pre-merger — the days before the old county government merged with the City of Louisville government. And back then, Jackson, a Republican, had little say over hiring and firing and even small purchases.

The system she found herself in back then served as an influence, of sorts, for today’s “strong mayor” system in the merged city-county government she was then helping build.

“I believed the executive needed to have not only the responsibility of running the community, but the authority to do it,” Jackson said this week in an interview with WFPL News.

Fast forward to now. That’s what Louisville Metro government has: a strong mayor. And it’s not just the current mayor. It’s the office.

The National League of Cities loosely defines a “strong mayor” as one that acts as the city’s chief executive officer, one that appoints and removes department heads and one that has veto power.

And this brings us to the city’s budget.

When the Metro Council casts their final votes on the city’s spending plan tonight, it’ll be Mayor Greg Fischer who gives the final nod.

The system is starkly different than the federal budgeting process, where Congress calls the shots. But it’s designed to be different — it’s necessary, Jackson said, for checks and balances.

The city’s 26 council members spend two months examining Fischer’s budget proposal, which this year includes some $839 million in spending. They pepper department heads about spending and many do so with an eye towards their own district.

And Jackson – who is retired now – says that’s their job. The mayor’s job, though, she says, is to think about the budget from a city level – and not be driven by the needs of one district. That’s why it’s important the mayor gets a final nod.

And it’s why, despite being a Republican in a city run by Democrats, she still supports the strong mayor system.

“Everybody has their job,” she said.

The mayor can veto the budget, but Steve Haag said it’s a rarity. When it does happen, it’s more so used as a mechanism to force a re-examination of detail — not so much a total rejection.

He said since the merger, he remembers just a handful of vetoes, none of them purely budget related, he said. And of course, the council can override a mayoral veto with 18 votes.

These days, Haag is the director of the council’s minority Republican caucus. In his office on the second floor of City Hall, tucked on a shelf above his desk, sits a set of thick, dusty binders that hold the documents detailing the ordinance that brought the city and county together.

He points them out and laughs.

“Fun stuff,” he said.

On World Refugee Day, New Louisvillians Reflect On Home Tuesday, Jun 20 2017 

Relief organizations around the world are recognizing June 20 as World Refugee Day. Refugees and advocates say it is a day to honor the resilience of those who have fled their home countries.

Kentucky Refugee Ministries celebrated the day in Louisville with a picnic in Tyler Park. Citizens and folks who had recently settled in Louisville gathered to eat, dance and relax in the shade. Even those fasting for Ramadan were encouraged to take a plate of Halal food to go.

June Leffler

Kentucky Refugee Ministries celebrated the day in Louisville with a picnic in Tyler Park.

I spoke with three people about what living in the United States has offered them, despite the tough transitions. Listen to what they said in the player above.

Rolando Gil is an ESL teacher with Kentucky Refugee Ministries. Gil came from Cuba, where he could not express himself freely.

“Then you come to America and realize you’ve been deceived all your life,” Gil said.

Yahye Garame sat in the shade alone, but his son and daughter were nearby on the playground. Garame is from Somalia and spent the last nine years in the U.S. It wasn’t until this year that his children were able to come live with him in Louisville.

“You don’t see them because it’s a long way,” said Garame. “Now everything that she sees, I see.”

Featured Image: Seventh grader Mundi Kapuya (left) is with his friends for World Refugee Day at Tyler Park. Mundi was born in Zambia and said that he can get a free education in the states, unlike many countries in Africa. 

Game Changer? Sports Complex Proposed For Heritage West Monday, Jun 19 2017 

The Louisville Urban League wants athletics to be a part of the West End’s economic future.

Louisvillians were given a peek on Monday night at proposals for Heritage West, the previously proposed site of the West Louisville FoodPort.

One of those proposals — introduced by the Urban League — is for a sports complex. It would include an indoor track and field facility, retail space and restaurants and cafes.

Take a look:

Louisville Urban League

A slide from the Louisville Urban League’s Monday night presentation.

Sadiqa Reynolds, president of the Louisville Urban League, said the project is about more than just sports.

“You’re talking about people moving in and out of the community,” Reynolds said. “Even more, this is about economic impact. The idea that you would bring this kind of facility into this part of the city and then we would then be able to compete on a regional level.”

Reynolds said the $30 million project would generate revenue from organizations such as the NCAA and the Indianapolis-based USA Track & Field organization.

“So just from a track and field perspective, you’re talking 30,000 to 40,000 visitors to our city,” said Reynolds. “They will have to have hotels, they will eat, they will do all the things people do.”

Approximately 24 million people visit the city annually, according to the Louisville Convention and Visitors Bureau. The city is also within a day’s drive for about half of the population of the U.S. That distance, Reynolds said, is important for track teams who want to compete and travel by car.

The proposed sports complex is minutes away from the Kentucky International Convention Center, which is being renovated, as well as the new Omni Hotel, both projected to open in 2018.

Louisville Urban League

In a slideshow presentation, the Urban League laid out plans for financing the $30 million complex.

Besides the potential big money the venue could bring to the city, Reynolds said the elite athletes competing at the facility would provide a positive image for children in West Louisville.

“Our kids need to see some heroes up close, gathered in one location, and this is going to do that,” she said.

The Heritage West site is located at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard. The West Louisville FoodPort would’ve occupied its 24 acres, but the plan fell through last August after an anchor tenant backed out.

The development was intended to boost economic activity and bring hundreds of new jobs to West Louisville. Reynolds said after plans fell through, she wanted to come up with something that would help the neighborhood.

“After that FoodPort didn’t happen, I just wanted to think of something that the community could buy-in, that the people could support — people with dollars could support — and that would change the way West Louisville operates and is seen,” she said.

In October 2016, Walmart canceled plans to build a new superstore at 18th and Broadway. The $30 million project was expected to bring 300 new jobs to West Louisville and have an annual payroll of $6 million.

Louisville Urban League

A slide from the Louisville Urban League’s presentation on their proposal for Heritage West.

Two months later, some good news finally broke for West Louisville.

In early December, the city received a $30 million federal grant from Housing and Urban Development to revitalize Russell. Good news continued this spring when in April, officials announced plans for a new 62,000-square-foot building at the corner of Broadway and 18th Street.

And less than a week later, Passport Health Plan announced their plans to relocate to the former Walmart site.

Other proposals for Heritage West include a food cooperative and a research park modeled after one in Durham, North Carolina.

The Louisville Urban League’s sports complex proposal would take 18-24 months to build and would open in 2020, Reynolds said.

However, she said the time for athletics to be a part of the West End’s economic future is now.

“This is the time. You know how you just feel like I got this one shot, I feel like this is the one shot, let’s get the momentum behind it,” she said.

Remembrance: Branden Klayko Was Louisville’s Voice Of Reason Monday, Jun 19 2017 

Listen to an obituary by WFPL’s Jake Ryan in the audio player above.

A city in transition needs a voice of reason. For a critical and all-too-brief period, Branden Klayko was Louisville’s.

Branden died Thursday evening at age 33, shortly after being diagnosed with graft-versus-host disease. He was in remission after an aggressive form of leukemia. He leaves behind a city that will forever miss his insight.

Since Branden founded the urbanism blog Broken Sidewalk in 2006, Louisville has experienced a development boom unlike much before it.

We’ve seen shiny new condo and apartment buildings pop up, many of them in the urban core. We’ve watched entire neighborhoods re-emerge and begin to thrive again — looking at you, NuLu — while serving as demonstration projects for a more history-minded, pedestrian-friendly future. We’ve finally started to think more critically as a city about the ways we move ourselves, which is essential if we’re to have a sustainable future.

Mostly, though, we’ve watched as so much of our streetscape has changed — and with it, parts of our identity.

It’s easy to get excited about change. It’s not as easy to understand what it means for us.

That’s where Branden shined.

Patrick Piuma

Branden, left, with former WFPL News editor Gabe Bullard and reporter Devin Katayama. The group was exploring Louisville alleys for a project.

More than any other writer working in Louisville during this period, Branden captured what our city is, has been and could be. He gave us reason to be optimistic about an uncertain future and showed us where streetscapes and buildings connect with our health and our environment. He was a skeptic and a champion. And he presented a version of our connected future that was aspirational, if only we could marshal the forces to get there.

As a writer, Branden was concise and direct, and his pieces could be definitive. I read him religiously, and I know scores of journalists and thinkers and people of influence here did, too.

It feels different now to walk around East Market Street, or to ride your bike through Old Louisville. Are we still a mid-sized city with a small-town vibe? Do we want to be that next year? In 10 years?

Those intuitions are why people here consumed Branden’s work with such vigor.

Even during the six years he lived in New York City, Branden’s writing about Louisville was on point. And by the time he came back here in 2014, Broken Sidewalk had become a critical part of my own understanding of our city in a time of fundamental change.

Patrick Smith

Branden Klayko on Main Street during Park(ing) Day 2011.

Branden knew and articulated better than most the essential interconnectedness of cities. He wrote about food access and insecurity in low-income neighborhoods here, and explored ways to solve it. He wrote about sustainability and environmentalism, and how they manifest in the construction of buildings.

“When you look at these issues that revolve around how cities are made, they can touch on everybody’s life in a pretty intimate way that is worth looking into and studying,” he told WFPL in 2014.

That was the essence of Broken Sidewalk, which became a robust community where people discussed and tried to understand our shared future. It was informed primarily by Branden’s enthusiasm for our city and the challenges ahead.

I loved that as much as the immense knowledge he shared. His writing was informed, thoughtful and technically savvy. It was also optimistic.

“He was not afraid to call out Louisville’s weaknesses or imperfections, or errors in judgement made by city leadership,” Porter Stevens, a Broken Sidewalk contributor, told me. “But he always had a positive, hopeful vision for Louisville’s future. He saw what a wonderful community this city could be and in many ways already was.”

We need that right now.

We must hold ourselves to a high standard as we grow and change. We need to fully understand how transformational decisions affect our lives in more subtle ways. We need to see, clearly, how and where we are connected.

On Monday night, there is a public meeting about the future of a massive empty lot in West Louisville that was once destined to be the home of the West Louisville FoodPort, a subject about which Branden wrote a signature definitive account.

This is one of those moments when the decisions we make now will have broad, lasting implications for our future. What a loss that, for the first time in more than a decade, we’ll be without Branden’s voice of reason to help us understand it.

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