Republican Tax Plan Could Hurt Affordable Housing in Louisville Friday, Dec 1 2017 

Affordable housing development could be a victim of the proposed $1.5 trillion tax cut currently working its way through the United States Congress.

Senate Republicans worked Friday to rally on-the-fence senators to reach the 50 votes they need to pass their version of the bill, with Vice President Mike Pence breaking a potential tie. If successful, the bill would need to be reconciled with a tax bill passed by the House of Representatives before it could head to President Donald Trump’s desk.

In Louisville, affordable housing advocates are concerned about the direct and indirect consequences the tax plan would have on government agencies and housing developers.

Loss Of Tax Credits Could Reduce Affordable Housing

One vulnerable — and valuable — tool is the Low Income Housing Tax Credit. With it, developers can purchase a credit toward their tax liability. This makes it more economical to build affordable housing.

Developer and architect Steve Kersey is behind the affordable housing project that could open at Norton Commons later this month. Asked whether he would have pursued the project without low income housing tax credits, he said, “Absolutely not.”

Currently, developers can buy either nine percent or four percent credits. The four percent credits rely on the sale of so-called “private activity bonds,” which the House version of the bill eliminates. The Senate version retained those bonds, but if the bill passes and returns to the House, their future would be uncertain.

These credits lower developers’ costs, a savings that Kersey said is then passed on to renters. The monthly rent for most three-bedroom apartment in his development will be $850 a month, Kersey said. Similar units at Veranda at Norton Commons, a market-rate apartment complex, range from about $1,600 to $2,000 a month, according to its website.

Without the credits, Kersey said developers won’t be able to provide affordable housing in more affluent communities with amenities such as good schools and parks.

“It’s a terrible thought,” he said. “[Low-income residents] are already sort of the most vulnerable in society and here we are oppressing them even more by taking these options away. It’s just not a good idea in my view.”

‘You Need That Extra Boost’ From The Government

Cathy Hinko, executive director of the Metropolitan Housing Coalition in Louisville, said low income housing tax credits are not perfect, but they’re what affordable housing developers currently have.

“Tax credits are very important right here in Louisville, right now,” she said.

Hinko said there are other things about the plan that worry her, too. Changes to the mortgage interest deduction would benefit only the wealthiest homeowners. The end of deductions for student loan debt interest would make it harder for individuals to rent or buy. And changes to the affordability of healthcare would also take a bite out of many people’s housing budgets, she said.

The tax plan also proposes dropping the corporate tax rate from 35 percent to 20 percent. If that succeeds, Hinko thinks developers will find the tax credits — and the projects they fund — less attractive.

The overall lowering of corporate tax rate altogether, we think, will have a chilling effect on whether somebody wants to bother with low income housing tax credits,” she said.

Weyland Ventures CEO Mariah Gratz disagreed. She said as long as firms have a tax burden, the credits still have value.

Gratz said her Louisville development firm firm has previously used low income housing tax credits. It also uses historic tax credits, which would be eliminated in the House version of the bill and cut in half to 10 percent in the Senate version.

She said any hit to these tax credits would make it harder for developers to deliver affordable housing or to build in under-invested areas. The credits fill a financial gap for developer and investors who can’t get loans that cover the entire cost of  project, she said.

“In general, these are difficult projects to get done,” Gratz said. “Especially in areas that haven’t seen a lot of development in a long time, you need that extra boost and investment from the government in order to get it going.”

Local Housing Agencies Could See Cuts

Another looming question: If Congress passes tax cuts, how will the government pay for them?

Tim Barry, executive director of the Louisville Metro Housing Authority, said some federal agencies will pay the price. His agency is funded by the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). If HUD’s funding gets cut, it could impact the Metro Housing Authority’s ability to rehabilitate and recondition housing units in Louisville, he said.

Barry said it will be a long time before HUD’s budget is known, perhaps even into the next fiscal year. For the Metro Housing Authority, that makes planning hard. He said the best barometer at the moment is the budget proposed by the Trump administration in May, which indicated cuts to both operating and capital budgets.

“The capital was the most significant, which was about 30 percent cut in the overall capital fund, which would impact us to the tune of about $2.5 million a year,” Barry said. He emphasized that there’s no way to know how the budget will turn out.

Barry said his agency is already under-funded. In a city where the waiting list for public housing already numbers more than 3,500, Barry said further cuts could impact a lot of citizens.

“The problem is we’ve got so many people that need housing,” Barry said. “There’s a huge absence of adequate affordable housing in this community and that’s the case everywhere.”

Uber Data On 57 Million People Stolen In Massive Hack Wednesday, Nov 22 2017 

The ride-hailing service Uber revealed that the personal information of 57 million people, customers and drivers, was hacked last year and that the company kept the massive theft secret for more than a year.

Uber also paid the hackers $100,000 to delete the stolen data and stay silent about it.

The hack, first reported by Bloomberg, was confirmed in a blog post by Uber CEO Dara Khosrowshahi. He said in 2016 the hackers obtained the names, email addresses and mobile phone numbers of 57 million Uber users. The driver’s licenses of about 600,000 Uber drivers in the US also were stolen.

Khosrowshahi said the company’s outside forensics experts see no evidence that the hackers got access to Uber users’ trip location history, credit card numbers, bank accounts, Social Security numbers or dates of birth.

The CEO said that he had “recently learned” of the massive hack, but he wasn’t more specific about what he knew and when.

A source close to the company confirmed to NPR that Uber officials paid hackers $100,000 to delete the data and keep the breach secret. The source also said that chief security officer Joe Sullivan and one of his lieutenants were terminated this week. 

However, Uber declined to confirm how they knew that the data was, in fact, deleted by the hackers.

As NPR’s Aarti Shahani reported on All Things Considered, the out-going chief security officer Sullivan is the apparent mastermind of the cover up.

“He’s a former federal prosecutor — a former public servant — and he had an interesting approach to his job. For example, he felt it was OK for Uber to start using the sensors on drivers’ smartphones to track how they drive, how they perform on the job — even though many drivers were not aware of this practice and didn’t like it. Turns out he didn’t feel an obligation to disclose to them their data was taken either.”

In his post, Khosroshahi said that Uber is contacting all of the drivers whose drivers’ license numbers were downloaded and providing them with free credit monitoring and identity theft protection.

He also concluded with a contrite tone:

“None of this should have happened, and I will not make excuses for it. While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes. We are changing the way we do business, putting integrity at the core of every decision we make and working hard to earn the trust of our customers.”

Here’s A Look At GLI’s 2018 Legislative Agenda Monday, Nov 20 2017 

Louisville’s chamber of commerce has released its 2018 Legislative Agenda for Kentucky and Indiana. Greater Louisville Inc. is prioritizing five issues: business competitiveness, environment and energy, transportation and infrastructure, education and workforce development, and health care.

The group is also working on a bi-state initiative that aims to create a 15-county region to work together to accelerate regional economic growth.

GLI Chief Operating Officer Sarah Davasher-Wisdom said one of the issues important to the organization is getting more nurses to work in the region.

“A vital step in alleviating this challenge is passage of the nurse licensure compact in Indiana, which would allow registered nurses to practice on both sides of the states,” she said.

Davasher-Wisdom said an educated workforce is needed to attract companies like Amazon to the area.

“Our employers tell us they struggle to find people who can show up on time and pass a drug test, among other basics needed to function in today’s workplace.” she said. “This is a significant barrier to growing our regional economy.”

GLI also plans to lobby for expanding gaming and restoring the gas tax to a higher level per gallon. In the past, the group has pushed for so-called “right to work” legislation and repealing prevailing wage laws. GLI has also called for charter schools, expanded gaming and changes to the state’s tax code.

Here are some details of GLI’s 2018 legislative agenda, per the group:

Business Competitiveness

Expand Gaming – Expanding gaming will create new jobs and grow our economy. The tax dollars derived from gaming can improve our education system, build infrastructure that promotes economic growth, and unsure the long-term stability of the state budget.

Environment & Energy

Investment In Energy Infrastructure – Development of “green” infrastructure, including green building construction and rehabilitation, green roofs, and the expansion of tree cover in urban areas through partnerships and incentives, is critical to Louisville’s growth and future quality of place.

Transportation & Infrastructure

Investment In Quality Water & Sewer Infrastructure – To avoid catastrophic loss and damage, resources are needed to repair and modernize the Louisville and Jefferson County’s flood Protection System. Storm water conservation efforts such as pervious pavement should also be included in these efforts.

Education & Workforce Development

Choice In Schools – GLI applauds the legislature and the Governor for signing the public charter school bill in 2017.

Healthcare

Medicaid – Overspending in Kentucky’s Medicaid system leaves fewer and fewer resources for important initiatives like education and economic development. Kentucky must continue moving forward with implementing Medicaid spending reforms without inflicting excessive harm on Medicaid recipients and health care providers.

Bi-state

Invest In Parks – GLI continues to support its park systems and the need to further develop and maintain these public spaces. Investment in Louisville’s park systems, including Waterfront Park, has directly spurred millions of dollars in economic impact ranging from restaurants and events and tourism to residential/business development and renovations.

To see GLI’s complete legislative agenda for 2018, go here.

 

Is A Corporate Tax Cut Really What The Economy Needs Right Now? Monday, Nov 13 2017 

Republicans in Congress say cutting corporate taxes would improve the balance sheet for U.S. businesses, giving them more money to spend on jobs and investment.

But how does anyone know that’s what will happen?

It’s the question at the heart of the debate taking place on Capitol Hill right now about whether to lower corporate taxes, and by how much.

U.S. corporations pay an effective tax rate of 35 percent, although most manage to lower that through various loopholes, exemptions and tax credits. The GOP plan would reduce the effective rate to 20 percent, bringing it more in line with other advanced economies.

To hear President Trump and other Republicans describe it, such a cut would be the magic elixir the U.S. economy needs.

The thinking is that by paying lower taxes, businesses would have more money to spend. Companies such as Apple could bring back some of the billions of dollars they’ve stashed overseas and use the money to hire more and invest in factories and equipment.

“When our businesses pay less in taxes, they reinvest that money into their companies,” said Kellyanne Conway, counselor to the president, on Fox News last week.

“They create new jobs. They save and secure jobs that exist. They start paying more in benefits and different benefits, and they invest in inventory,” she said.

When companies invest more in plants and equipment, they become more productive, which leads to higher wages, even for low-skilled workers, according to a recent report from the White House Council of Economic Advisers.

How much would wages increase? The report predicted that cutting corporate taxes would raise annual household incomes $4,000, on average, and probably even more than that.

Economist Kimberly Clausing of Reed College says on the surface the logic sounds airtight.

“The principle makes a lot of sense, the thought that you increase investment and that investment increases the productivity of your workers and then your workers get paid more in consequence,” she says.

But Clausing says the reality is a lot more complicated.

“There’s no evidence that corporate tax cuts unleash a big wave of economic growth or wage increases,” she says.

Clausing says predicting the impact of corporate tax changes on growth is notoriously difficult, because an economy the size of the United States simply has too many moving parts. A surge in growth could be due to tax cuts, or it may be something else entirely.

“The trouble is, we really don’t have a good way to measure what the effects on growth are, because once we have the rate cut, other things start happening over time,” says Jennifer Blouin, professor of accounting at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business.

“We have natural disasters. We have failures in commodity markets. The whole credit crisis. And so once you mix that into the fold, how can you predict what the aggregate effect of just that piece of tax legislation is? And I would argue we really don’t know,” Blouin says.

Economists Alexander Ljungqvist of New York University’s Stern School of Business and Michael Smolyansky of the Federal Reserve recently tried to answer the question by looking at fluctuations in corporate tax rates at the state level.

Some large metropolitan areas, such as Philadelphia and St. Louis, overlap two or more states. The study looked at what happens when one of those states changes its corporate tax rate, and how it affects different parts of the region.

Their conclusion: Tax increases can hurt a region’s economy, but no evidence exists that tax cuts spur growth.

Ljungqvist and Smolyansky say the one exception to that rule is during recessions. When an economy is contracting, corporate profits fall and loans are harder to get. Businesses have trouble getting money to invest. At times like that, a tax cut can be just what businesses need.

But the U.S. economy isn’t in a recession right now. It’s in the longest postwar economic expansion on record, with very low interest rates and very high corporate profits.

In fact, most corporations have access to pretty much all the money they need right now, says Josh Bivens, director of research at the liberal-leaning Economic Policy Institute. But they’re not investing all that much or increasing wages.

“So we have exactly what the corporate tax cut is trying to engineer — really high post-tax profit rates. And yet it has not resulted in more investment.

“So the idea that we just want to do more of the same thing that has not spurred investment strikes me as not correct,” Bivens says.

Clausing says, “The reason firms aren’t investing is because of a lack of investment opportunities, not because they need more tax incentives to do so.”

That points to a much larger and more formidable problem for the economy, one that the U.S. and other advanced economies have struggled to explain.

After a record economic expansion, companies still don’t see a lot of reasons to invest out there. Giving them even more money by cutting their taxes, Bivens says, isn’t going to address the real problems the economy faces.

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

A BOOn From Bats: Naturalists Aim To Help Bats Fight Deadly Disease Thursday, Nov 2 2017 

Bats have a bit of an image problem. You probably saw some Halloween decorations this week featuring flying, fanged creatures of the night. But conservationists say bats are actually very helpful animals, saving farmers in the Ohio Valley region alone hundreds of millions of dollars simply by eating harmful insects.

Now bats need some humans to return the favor and help to halt the spread of a deadly disease.

Nicole Erwin | Ohio Valley ReSource

A Tri-colored Bat killed by White Nose Syndrome is kept in a collection at Murray State Univ.

White Nose

The bat disease called White Nose Syndrome was first spotted in New York about 10 years ago and researchers say it is rapidly moving across the country decimating many bat populations.

Three species in the Ohio Valley Region have been affected most: the Little Brown Bat, the Tri-colored Bat, and the Northern Long Eared Bat.

John Pollpeter, lead naturalist at the Land Between the Lakes Woodland Nature Station in west Kentucky, recently used a bat detector to scan the airwaves around him for any chatter from hunting bats.

The air was quiet. Pollpeter said only 10 percent of bats using the park’s man-made bat houses survived when the disease first hit the region.

“In 2012 we had close to 500 bats in our bat boxes that we have in the backyard,” he said. “Unfortunately, Trigg County at that same time got labeled as a White Nose Syndrome County.”

Pollpeter said the fungus is spread by the bats.

Nicole Erwin | Ohio Valley ReSource

Bat houses at Land Between the Lakes Woodland Nature Station.

“When the bats go to hibernate they mingle with each other,” he said. “As they move from cave to cave, the fungus continues to spread.”   

The fungus kills hibernating bats by interrupting their sleep cycle, causing them to use up precious energy in their fat stores.

In an effort to provide more bat-friendly habitats, the nature station has set up 36 bat boxes across the state park. Pollpeter said thanks to awareness campaigns like the recent “bat week,” bat houses — and bats themselves — are becoming more popular.

“Since my time here in the past 20 years, bats have made the biggest turn around, more people come to the Nature Station with less fear and more interest,” he said.

Bats vs. Bugs

Pollpeter said visitors want their own bat houses for natural insect control. While number of methods can help to combat the fungal threat –from cave conservation and protection to the development of artificial caves — the easiest is a backyard bat house.

“The design itself is what attracts them,” Pollpeter said. “The placement of the bat box where it is, so its got kind of an east-west orientation. So the bats can utilize the heat that hits it, they love it hot.”

Nicole Erwin | Ohio Valley ReSource

In addition to caves, trees like the Shagbark Hickory provide roosts for small bats.

Pollpeter advises patience. He said it took seven years for bats to warm up to some of their boxes.

Bat Conservation International’s Micaela Jemison said widespread natural insect control can translate into huge savings for the agriculture industry. In an effort to demonstrate the value of bats, a 2011 analysis showed that a continued decline in North America bat populations could lead to agricultural losses estimated at more than $3.7 billion a year.

By comparing bat populations and acres of farmland in each state, the researchers were able to estimate the agricultural value bats contribute.

For Kentucky, those savings would translate into more than $374 million; Ohio $740 million and in West Virginia, around $51 million in pest control savings, according to the report.

Michael Durham, Bat Conservation International

A Little Brown Bat in flight.

Bat Bandwagon

This is the fourth year for the conservation group’s bat week and Jemison said more states are jumping on board.

“We’ve seen some of that actually happen this bat week with individuals from states all over the country petitioning their local members to proclaim it as bat week,” said Jemison. So far, West Virginia is the only state in the Ohio Valley region to declare a statewide bat week.

Here’s How The Butchertown Stadium Investments Break Down Wednesday, Oct 25 2017 

Confused about how the math of Louisville Metro Government’s proposed contract with Louisville City FC works out? There’s a lot to it. WFPL’s Jake Ryan breaks it down here:

Over the past month, this story has had a lot of moving parts. Ahead of Thursday night’s Metro Council vote on a $30 million bond to buy land for the project, here’s what else you need to know:

Mayor Greg Fischer is touting the economic benefits of the deal, saying it’s a way for public money to spur private investment in the area.

The proposal includes $30 million in city bonds, which would accrue interest over time. Here’s how bonds work, why cities like to use them for projects and why they can backfire.

An economic analysis of the project has a rosy outlook on the stadium development’s long-term affect on Louisville. But experts say some of those predictions aren’t realistic.

Louisville City FC is owned by 47 well-connected community members. Many of those members have contributed money to the campaigns of current council members and Mayor Greg Fischer.

The contact between Metro Government at Louisville City FC under consideration is ambiguous on several key points, like how much money will actually be invested in the development.

Metro Council meets Thursday at 6:00 p.m.

Kentucky Group Wants Living Wage For Butchertown Stadium Workers Tuesday, Oct 24 2017 

The Kentucky chapter of Jobs With Justice is asking Metro Council to urge Louisville City FC owners to work toward agreement on wages for stadium workers. The council is expected  to vote Thursday on whether to approve a $30 million bonding measure to buy land in the city’s Butchertown neighborhood for a massive stadium development project for the soccer team.

In a letter sent Tuesday, Kentucky Jobs with Justice co-chair Richard Becker said Louisville City FC’s proposal to pay stadium workers $10 an hour makes “no serious effort to raise real household incomes for Louisvillians who will do this work.”

The Kentucky chapter of Jobs With Justice is calling for three key elements in the soccer stadium development: a $15 wage floor, union rights, and that at least half of the hiring should be done from Louisville ZIP codes with high unemployment.

Becker said the team’s proposal didn’t address any of the group’s key elements.

“In its letter, the ownership makes no meaningful commitment to prioritize hiring people who live in ZIP codes with the highest levels of unemployment,” he wrote.

“The team’s letter makes no mention of respecting the rights of people who will work in the stadium district to join together in an organization without interference. This means it would be much more difficult to those workers to gain a seat at the table to discuss their future concerns about their jobs.”

Becker said the group wants team owners to agree to offer a livable wage. 

“We felt like in the broader context of the national Fight for $15 campaign, $15 an hour is a wage that people have sort of rallied around as a decent wage,” he said.

The federal minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Kentucky and Indiana’s state minimum wage is also $7.25.

According to the MIT Living Wage Calculator, the living wage for a single person working full-time in Jefferson County is $10.50 per hour. The living wage jumps to $27.28 for an adult with two children.

In 2014, Metro Council approved an ordinance to raise the city’s minimum wage to $9 per hour by 2017. Kentucky’s Supreme Court denied the ruling in 2016.

The proposal from Kentucky Jobs With Justice is based on a similar one in Milwaukee, where a new stadium is currently being constructed for the city’s NBA team. Peter Rickman is president of the coalition Alliance For Good Jobs in Milwaukee. His group negotiated the agreement with the Milwaukee Bucks.

“The agreement between the Milwaukee Bucks and the Alliance For Good Jobs not only covers direct employees of the Milwaukee Bucks, but also the firms they’re going do business with — so the concessionaires in the arena preparing food service,” Rickman said.

The Milwaukee contract applies to “end-use” jobs, or the permanent positions that will be needed once the arena is built, including workers for the mixed-use space.

Rickman said there are about two dozen positions that currently qualify as end-use jobs and that the three key elements of the negotiation are being met around those positions.  

Earlier this week, Mayor Greg Fischer’s office sent Metro Council answers to questions members had about the contract. In response to a question about hiring provisions, Fischer’s office said only that the project would comply with the city’s fair labor laws, and seek to use female and minority-owned businesses when possible.

Louisville Company Hosts Exotic Meat Entrepreneur From Ecuador Tuesday, Oct 24 2017 

About a dozen chefs wearing white coats and white hair nets are gathered in the frigid red-floored production facility of Superior Meats on West Main Street in Louisville. The chefs are here on this weekday afternoon to learn methods on how to “take down” or cut up a lamb.

Lamb "Take Down" At Superior MeatsRoxanne Scott | wfpl.org

Lamb “Take Down” At Superior Meats

Superior Meats supplies meat to restaurants, hotels and medical facilities. It is the last family-owned local meat supplier in Louisville. Company President Ben Robinson says they get their beef, bison, pork, poultry, wild game and other meats from many places.

“Everywhere — we source everywhere,” he says. “Everywhere from the commoditized beef out West to our local farmer in Bardstown.”

And Superior Meats is also sourcing its talent from afar. The company is currently involved in an exchange through the Young Leaders of the Americas Initiative sponsored by the State Department.  

Entrepreneurs from all across Latin America are in Louisville as part of the program. The founders are hosted by small businesses and nonprofits in the city for the next few weeks.

The entrepreneur chosen to do his fellowship at Superior Meats is Jose Lema from Ecuador. At his home in Quito, Lema sells exotic meat to hotels and restaurants.

“I’m in the meat industry back in my country but I deal with different animal,” he tells the chefs. “I deal with guinea pigs.”

Guinea pig might not be the first thing that comes to mind when you think of an ‘exotic meat’ in the U.S. But in Ecuador, this is nothing new.

“Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia share a culture because that’s where the Incan Empire was set up thousands of years ago,” Lema says. “Since we share all of these, guinea pig is eaten in these three countries.”

And to Lema, it does NOT taste like chicken.

“If you mix like a pork and a rabbit — it has a particular pork-ish flavor,” he says. “But you still can have these rabbit undertastes.”

Lema’s company is called Cuyempak and was founded in 2010. “Cuy” is the word in Ecuador for “guinea pig.” Lema works with 200 small farmers in rural areas in Ecuador on best practices on how to raise and sell the animal. That includes processes around mating, feeding them with plants that will let the animals gain weight, and composting.

Lema buys the animals from farmers at a fair price, takes them to the plant, then processes and sells them.

The vacuum-packed cuy can be bought with or without marinade. The animal is prepared with Ecuadorean spices, as well as garlic, a lot of onions, cumin, a little bit of pepper and the company’s secret ingredient. Cuts include guinea pig filet and guinea pig ribs.

For Lema, this isn’t just about cuy or guinea pigs. According to the World Food Program, chronic malnutrition affects nearly 24 percent of children under the age of five in Ecuador.

“It needs solutions for that,” Lema says. “So guinea pig is part of our culture and that’s the response for that.”

Lema wants to use Cuyempak to help small farmers. He says the goal is to use local resources to solve a problem.

“So we’re trying to help a little bit for this problem and give these families a chance to have a better life, a better economy,” says Lema.

The same goes for Ben Robinson of Superior Meats. 

“We’re sitting here in a state that’s the number one producer of beef cattle East of the Mississippi,” says Robinson. “We care about our community we care about our farmers and we want to help be a piece of this industry going forward.”

Although they may work with different types of meat, Lema and Robinson say they have a lot to learn from each other.

Highlands’ Businesses Expect Financial Boom, Exposure With Cyclouvia Friday, Oct 20 2017 

Cyclouvia is on Bardstown Road this weekend for the sixth year in a row.

For four hours Sunday afternoon, the street and part of Baxter Avenue will be closed to cars from Broadway to Douglass Boulevard, opening the streets for people to walk, bike, skate and dance.

Since the event first began in 2012, it’s drawn tens of thousands of participants and spread to other Louisville neighborhoods and thoroughfares, including Frankfort Avenue, West Broadway and Goss Avenue. But in 2012, some local business owners along Bardstown Road were skeptical that shutting down the street to car traffic would bring economic benefits.

Now, after five successful years, many say the annual event is a financial boon.

Erica Peterson | wfpl.org

Folks stop and chat during Cyclouvia 2012.

“If nothing else, it’s introducing people that may not have come to our area to our businesses,” said Ashley Isaacs, marketing director of Wick’s Pizza Parlor. “They’re getting to see Wick’s and O’Sheas and Molly Malone’s and all these bars and restaurants that they may not have gone to or may not have known about.”

David Phillips at Molly Malone’s Irish Pub agrees. The bar and restaurant has been in town for 19 years, and Phillips said any exposure to the bar will help business. At this point in October though, the weather on Sunday will have a lot to do with how Cyclouvia impacts them.

Even corporate stores that rely on drive-thru traffic see benefits from the event. Shift Leader Robert Bryant has worked at the McDonald’s near Mid City Mall for 13 years and said Cyclouvia almost triples foot-business to the store. The foot-traffic, he said, makes up for the lack in drive-thru purchases.

Erica Peterson | wfpl.org

“No Stopping” sign seen on Bardstown Road during Cyclouvia 2012.

“I think it’s a good thing for Bardstown Road, period,” Bryant said. “Any event that helps Bardstown Road grow as far as making money, we welcome it.”

For Isaiah Baker, owner of Did it For My Dogs Social Daycare — a grooming and pet center — this will be his first Cyclouvia. Baker sees pros and cons with the event, but said at the very least it will bring attention to his business. He just opened in July and he plans to have a grand opening this winter.

“It may deter a little bit of [small businesses’] clientele base or customers away, but outside of that I think it would be beneficial for the community overall,” Baker said. “It’s going to bring a lot more attention to this area and people can see the new businesses and see the older businesses that are still withstanding over the years.”

Erica Peterson | wfpl.org

There’s even room for yoga during Cyclouvia.

Since it began in 2012, Cyclouvia has gathered tens of thousands of people for its events according to the event’s website.

Cyclouvia starts Oct. 22 from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. Bardstown Road from Douglass Boulevard to Highland Avenue, and Baxter Avenue from Highland Avenue to East Broadway will be closed to motorized vehicles for the event.

#HiddenNoMore: International Women Leaders In STEM Visit Louisville Wednesday, Oct 18 2017 

The back room of Fante’s Coffee on Grinstead Drive had an international flair on Tuesday morning. Women scientists, engineers, and mathematicians from Israel, Kazakhstan, Italy and more gathered over coffee as part of the program “Hidden No More: Empowering Women Leaders in STEM.

Omowunmi Hassan from Nigeria has run a tech center for women and girls there for the past 14 years. She said STEM — science, technology, engineering and math — offers an opportunity to use intelligence to change your community.

“STEM is not an issue of color,” said Hassan. “STEM is an issue of what you know and what you can give to your community.”

Omowumni HassanRoxanne Scott | wfpl.org

Omowunmi Hassan

Besides working in STEM, the women at the coffee hour had another thing in common: they’ve all seen the film “Hidden Figures.”

The 2016 Academy Award-nominated film highlighted three black women mathematicians at NASA who were instrumental during the U.S. space program in the 1960s. The movie was based on the book “Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Who Helped Win The Space Race,” written by Margot Lee Shetterly.

The film earned more than $230 million worldwide and was so popular across the globe that U.S. embassies requested screenings of the film.

And that inspired the State Department to create the Hidden No More exchange program, where nearly 50 women from across the world are visiting the United States this month. The group met in Washington and is traveling in subgroups in different parts of the country.

Thoai Huyen Le was also an attendee at the coffee hour, hosted by the World Affairs Council of Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Le is a scientist in Vietnam and said watching “Hidden Figures” can help women and girls unlock their power.

“I want to open a chance to our female scientists in our country to see this movie,” she said.  

But many countries, including the United States, have a long way to go when it comes to women in STEM. In the U.S. women obtain only 35 percent of their undergraduate degrees in STEM.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the national average wage of all STEM occupations was approximately $87,000.

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