danniewriter

Confessions of a reluctant protestor

Note: The author is a resident of the El Conquistador condo community in Louisville, Ky. Her views are her own and do not represent anyone else at El Conquistador, Casa Granada, or Planet Earth.

There are several reasons I’ve never been much of a “joiner” when it comes to causes, no matter how worthy.

I tend to get too emotionally invested, which often interferes with good judgment. On many issues, I clearly see both sides. And, rather than considering the rightness/wrongness of an issue, I often ask myself how likely will a vocal opposition result in a positive change? Outrage for the sake of outrage, to me, is wasted energy. I dislike the sound of my own voice. I prefer to express my opinions at the ballot box or perhaps by writing a check.

When something hits close to home, naturally I take notice, but even then I try to be circumspect. Is this something to be fought, or something to be accepted?

Every once in a while, however, I run across something so clearly in opposition to respect and common sense that the outrage, and the organized opposition, comes quite easily.

The proposed Hikes Point SpeedWash at 3000 Breckenridge Lane in Louisville is a case in point.

It’s a sweet deal for a small group of people. Reportedly, it’s worth about $1.5 million for the current owner of the property. And, with an average daily traffic volume of more than 31,000 vehicles, it’s about low-hanging fruit for SpeedWash. The business model here touts bargain basement prices; exterior washes start at only $3/car, and self-serve vacuums are free. The only way SpeedWash makes a profit is to process as many cars as possible in the 12-13 hours it is open, seven days a week.

Don’t get me wrong: I’m all for people making money. Also, it would inject a few more low-paying jobs into the local economy. However, the list of pros is pretty short compared to the cons in store for hundreds of people profoundly affected by the project.

Full disclosure: I have a dog in this fight. I live at the El Conquistador Condominiums. If this car wash goes in, I’ll be looking at it out my front windows. The value of my financial investment will plummet.

But, unlike many of my older neighbors, I have options. I can sell out, cut my losses, and move elsewhere to lick my wounds. For many residents, the condos are the last homes they will ever have. For many, they invested a lifetime’s worth of savings and pensions into purchasing a home they thought would be a safe and pleasant place to live out their years. For many, they spend most of their time each day within the walls of their condos, making those homes incredibly important to their quality of life.

I daresay none of the residents moved in dreaming of the day that a high-volume car wash would be built across the parking lot, adding traffic, grit, heat, and unfathomable noise to their everyday lives.

This is very much a David and Goliath story. Many of my neighbors are ill, or so advanced in age, they don’t have much fight left in them. I’ve heard them express great concern even while struggling to sign their name to a petition. As I write this, my eyes well with tears. It’s just not fair, especially to them. Where is the protection for our elderly that our society claims to prize?

I’ve tried to get the attention of local media, and senior citizens advocacy agencies, but so far, few people outside Hikes Point, and the two condo communities, are aware of the project and its implications.

Maybe you can help us. First, I encourage you to read the petition, and the press release about a valid-but-still-Hail-Mary legal battle El Conquistador has undertaken. Here’s a layman’s explanation of the “adverse possession” question.

Get the facts and decide if you think it’s a battle worth undertaking, even if you don’t have a dog in the fight. If you do, help us by reaching out to:

If you are still reading at this point, thank you! That’s a win right there.

Dannah K. “Dannie” Prather lives in Louisville and is a freelance writer and part-time dog walker (Rover.com).

 

 

 

Adverse Possession Adversity

Note: The author is a resident of the El Conquistador condo community in Louisville, Ky. Her views are her own and do not represent anyone else at El Conquistador, Casa Granada, or Planet Earth.

The lawsuit filed last month by El Conquistador Condos against Bayside Properties, LLC makes a claim of “adverse possession” of a portion of the 1.43-acre parcel at 3000 Breckenridge Lane.

Often, the concept of adverse possession is shorthanded as “squatters’ rights.” This writer’s non-legal, and pedestrian explanation follows: If an individual or group maintains a piece of property for several years without complaint from the actual owner of the land, the argument could be made that the land legally belongs to the individual or group.

Many years ago, El Conquistador leased the building and property at 3000 Breckenridge Lane as a clubhouse and swimming pool, but the developer eventually sold the land, and over the years, the building was rented out as offices for various professional services such as attorneys, dentists, chiropractors, etc. Other than no longer having a clubhouse and swimming pool, nothing much changed for El Conquistador residents.

It is only now that residents are learning that the boundaries of the parcel drawn up so many years ago include a much bigger chunk than they likely imagined.

For decades, residents of El Conquistador have paid for the maintenance and improvement of the strip of property that constitutes the border of the condo community and the office building. With the complete knowledge and tacit approval of owners past and present, ECC has resurfaced the thoroughfare, installed speed bumps, striped parking spaces, and landscaped the parcel.

Now, Bayside wants to sell the whole enchilada to a high-volume car wash likely capable of processing more than a dozen cars each hour, and open for 12-13 hours daily and seven days a week. The location is smack dab between El Conquistador, and another senior living community, Casa Granada.

Lost in that enchilada will be several parking spaces and landscaping for El Conquistador, expanding the thoroughfare of El Conquistador Place to within seven feet of one of four entrances to ECC’s Building Two. Yes, seven feet. There are basketball players taller than that. In the photo below from Bayside’s website, Building Two runs parallel to Breckenridge Lane. The structure with the star is the proposed location of the car wash’s office. For reference, the parking lot across Breckenridge Lane in the upper righthand corner is in front of the McMahan Plaza Kroger. At bottom right is one of Casa Granada’s buildings.

Whether El Conquistador’s attorney succeeds in court, is the question of the community’s maintenance of the property really a question at all? The photo under the headline at top, and the images shared below reveal clearly how ECC is using the property, and how well it has been maintained. In marked contrast is the almost complete lack of maintenance by Bayside of 3000 Breckenridge Lane, which has created an eyesore for condo residents for many years.

A former ECC board member said the condo contacted Bayside to invite the realtor to piggyback on the annual resurfacing project in order to save time, money, and inconvenience to all involved. Bayside declined, and opted to continue doing essentially nothing to maintain what it considers the portion of the property for which it is responsible.

It’s pretty obvious where ECC’s care ends and Bayside’s begins:

Here’s a visitor handicapped parking spot that Bayside alleges to maintain:

Bonus eyesores for ECC residents include a stand-alone carport, three junk vehicles complete with towering weeds and flat tires, and a boat that definitely has seen better days.

Some will argue that Bayside and previous owners have been benevolent for all these years, allowing ECC to use the property for parking and landscaping. It’s a fair point until you figure that, with all the money ECC has spent, residents likely have paid for the property itself a few times over.

Another argument is that Bayside’s lack of maintenance of 3000 Breckenridge Lane is a point in favor of selling, but that argument falls as flat as the tires on the boat trailer. If polled, residents likely would opt to live with the junk cars and weeds compared to a noisy car wash that will divert a portion of the 30,000 cars that travel Hikes Point daily onto a thoroughfare that was never designed to handle such numbers.

The lawsuit is in the hands of ECC’s board, and now, Jefferson Circuit Court, but residents are hoping to generate support for their cause with these efforts:

  • An online petition that explains the issues in more detail.
  • A Facebook page (Hikes Point Wipe Out the Wash) to share facts and encourage others to share to their Facebook pages in order to build awareness.
  • We’re also on Twitter as @wipeoutwash, and are using the hashtag #wipeoutthewash.

Thank you in advance for your support.

Dannah K. “Dannie” Prather lives in Louisville and is a freelance writer and part-time dog walker (Rover.com)

 

Hikes Point Wipe Out the Wash

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

LOUISVILLE — A senior condo community has filed suit against a commercial realtor to reclaim property in a move residents hope will prevent the construction of a high-volume car wash in busy Hikes Point.

El Conquistador Condominium Association, Inc., filed suit in Jefferson Circuit Court Nov. 7 against Bayside Properties LLC of Louisville citing condo residents’ decades-long maintenance of a portion of the 1.43-acre parcel at 3000 Breckenridge Lane that Bayside wants to sell to SpeedWash Car Wash.

Casa Granada, another mostly-senior condo community, is located on the other side of the property in question.

Without a favorable ruling in the suit, some El Conquistador residents will find the driveway of the car wash about seven feet from their door. (See the photo above which highlights the boundaries of the parcel in red.) Additionally, several parking spaces and landscaping will be lost if the development proceeds.

Some El Conquistador residents have undertaken a petition to raise awareness of what they say is a safety, and quality-of-life, issue.

According to Kentucky Transportation Cabinet records, the average daily traffic rate for the area across the street from the McMahan Plaza Kroger, and many other businesses, is more than 31,000 vehicles. Diverting even a small percentage of that traffic onto El Conquistador Place is likely to make driving and parking more difficult for residents, increase the noise level exponentially, and could possibly interfere with first responders’ access to the condos.

Get more information on our Facebook page and also read the petition online.

MEDIA INQUIRIES: Contact Dannah Prather at 502-432-8725 or email hikespointwipeoutthewash@gmail.com

(Photo from Bayside Properties LLC website)

Foto Phriday (Sun Worshipers)

sun
This was a day or two after Christmas. Since then I can’t remember the last time I needed my sunglasses.

Winter is a gray business in the Ohio Valley. It has led me to cherish even more the memories of Christmas in Georgia last month. Of course winter, quite often, is a gray (or gray/brown) business in Georgia, too, but there was abundant sunshine at my sister and brother-in-law’s home in Toccoa. The photo above was taken from the front yard.

Since returning to Louisville I have pretty much altered my routine on the spot whenever the sun has managed to break through the gloom. My dog, Chip, is on notice that walk-time could be at any moment depending on the presence of shadows outside.

As I’ve longed for sunbeams, I decided to select the best sun worshipping photos from our Christmas vacation in North Georgia. I love, and long for, these and other shadows to come.

sunshadows
Shadows on the front porch.
sunchair
I like how the sun gleams on the red metal chairs. My dog, Chip, is dozing in the background.

Fatigue, nagging concerns, a long to-do list, it all gets shoved to the back burner on days such as these.

sunlarrycricket
My brother-in-law, enjoying the rays with his dog, Cricket.

My sister and I grew up in the country but we have been suburban dwellers for decades. Our parents were both country kids. This place in Toccoa, built in 1922, is fairly new to my sister and brother-in-law, and there’s really no way to overstate how wonderful it is to hear cows instead of sirens and have stars as the primary form of outdoor lighting.

sunshinefam
The same sun that can be unbearable in a Georgia summer makes winter chores bearable. The addition of grandchildren can make them a pleasure.

To really get an idea of the restorative and languorous properties of our solar system’s greatest star, just observe its magical effect on the canine members of the family. I call it being “sun drunk.”

sungirls
Cricket and Allie, soaking it in.
sunchip
My own version of the Sunchip.

On the street(s) where we (don’t) live

chipoct2016

Hi all. Chip here.

Just a quick post from the intersection of Indian Summer and Fall, also known as the “layering season.” The mornings are cool and often require a sweater, sweatshirt, or jacket, but odds are you’ll forget those at the office or school because by the end of the day, the temperature will have soared into the 70s or even higher. Prue* has been putting the top down on the car in the sunshiny afternoons but by dusk it’s time to button up for the drive home.

In this time of transition, we are still seeing bright colors of summer here and there, alongside the appearance of gold, bronze, and an abundance of orange.

sheilaflower flowersklondike yellow

purple

We love this little driveway lending library on our walking circuit.

drivewaylibrary

And the yards are transforming, in very peculiar fashion. I haven’t decided exactly how I feel about this. It looks somewhat ominous.

tricktreat

*Person Responsible for Ultimately Everything

Foto Phriday (Rending Required)

rendfence3a

PeeWee Park is smack dab in the middle of a lovely neighborhood that is fast becoming one of my favorites here in our neck of Louisville. It has been almost swampy this summer, which I assume explains why this small greenspace with picnic tables, a paddle ball court, and playground even exists. Were the drainage better, I’m confident there would be houses filling the space, and Chip and I would never have had reason to visit the neighborhood.

A visual interruption to the idyllic setting is the chain link fence separating the park from the back/side yards of a dozen or more homes. The barrier, of course, is necessary for several reasons, not the least of which are the number of dogs who live on the perimeter.

Although I don’t know for a certainty exactly what happened, it’s obvious that at some point in the life of the park, the fencerow was forgotten. Perhaps there was some miscommunication or disputation regarding who exactly was responsible for its maintenance; was it homeowners or the park service? Things happen (or in this case, don’t happen). Tasks fall through the cracks. To-do lists are lost and never re-prioritized. We are imperfect creatures running around on the big blue marble.

Here are some examples of the resulting neglect: gnarled and dismembered remnants of trees, and pseudo trees, eventually sacrificed to save the fence, and more than a few dollars in labor and material.

bwrend1 rendfence4a cawfence

Nearly every time we make our circuit around the tiny walking path before setting out onto the sidewalks of the neighborhood, I’m drawn to these “left behind.” They so firmly attached themselves to, and even in, the fence, that separation was impossible. There’s a weird violence to the whole thing, but, I think there’s also beauty.

The one at the top of this grouping reminds me of a decorative iron work on the front stoop of a fancy house. The one on the right, a pair of king crab claws, or maybe the critters from Tremors.

oldman

And finally, my “favorite.” Here’s the Old Man. Like many of his kind in Kentucky, he had aspirations to one day become a walking stick. Unfortunately, he waited too long. It’s OK fella. Someone out there thinks you’re beautiful.

 

Adventures of Chip de ‘Ville (So many parks, so little time)

clover

Hi all. Chip here.

As you can see, I’ve been all in clover lately.

What a late, but great, Spring it has been. I’ve been so busy collecting photos and ideas for my column, I haven’t had time to dictate.

As a recap, this is a place for Prue* and me to share insights on a few of the dozens of top-flight parks in our area. Additionally, we wanted to find pet-friendly/pet-focused businesses in Metro Louisville. As a bonus, readers gain insight on my profound and inspiring thoughts about life.

My first greenspace columns were about Brown Park in St. Matthews and Seneca Park. It was at the latter where we saw the first glimpses of Spring 2016.

hyacinth

And where Prue was inspired to make me into a meme.

poopmeme

Very funny, indeed. This was the moment where we discovered that my walking limit for one, semi-continuous session is two miles. That’s it. Zero, zip, nada more. This discovery has enabled me often to enjoy the view of Seneca Park at Prue’s shoulder rather than her ankles. It’s simply lovely up there!

We enjoyed a trip to the Metro Park Services headquarters, Joe Creason Park, on Trevilian Way. This is a hub of recreation with all the conceivable amenities in the 41-acre Beargrass Creek State Nature Preserve. The 3.1-mile hiking path is managed by the Louisville Nature Center, which is also on site and is deserving of a column all on its own.

creasonpark

The terrain is hilly but, according to Prue, isn’t so bad that she loses her will to live before reaching the top. The Louisville Tennis Center a nine clay-court facility is also on site. Across the road is the Louisville Zoo. Creason Park is named for an excellent Kentucky journalist whose columns were collected in the book, Crossroads and Coffee Trees.

Another piece of lovely rolling land in the heart of Louisville is George Rogers Clark Park. It’s located off Poplar Level Road across from the main campus of St. Xavier High School. One of the highlights, for me, is the seemingly never-ending collection of wooden posts just begging to be sprinkled.

grc pylons

There’s also a lovely old stone house that now can be rented for parties, receptions or other events. The park is named for Gen. George Rogers Clark, a hero of the American Revolution. (He sometimes is confused for his youngest brother, William, who accompanied Merriwether Lewis on the Lewis and Clark Expeditions.) In his later life, George Rogers Clark lived with his sister’s family at Locust Grove in Louisville, a beautiful estate with an 18th century Georgian house at the center. Clark died in Louisville and is buried at historic Cave Hill Cemetery.

Our last park on today’s tour has become one of our favorites. PeeWee Park is located off Klondike Lane quite near our home. Perhaps it was named for Louisville’s favorite baseball son, Pee Wee Reese, or maybe it’s because the park is very tiny. The park is the terminus for a dozen or more residential back yards, and we’ve had waves and conversations as we have meandered around the short path and taken a rest on the benches. I’ve met several cute kids, too, who always seem to want to pet me, which is cool so long as they don’t pull my tail. The other day, we had the playground to ourselves, which, I have to admit, was kind of boring.

chipplay

(Gotta give Prue a break though. Pretty much impossible to take photos and make the thing-y go at the same time.)

We love PeeWee’s neighborhood park feel with its badminton court, multiple grills (one of them extra big) and porch-type swings. The neighborhood next door is a perfect place to get in more steps on the abundant sidewalks.

There are three more parks (and counting) to give you info on, and other places to explore. I hope you will stay tuned.

Later, Chip.

(*Person Responsible for Ultimately Everything)

Soundtrack of a lifetime

elvis

“Oh no.”

I said it to the dog, the ether, the universe yesterday, like many people, when checking my Twitter feed.

Prince had died.

I said the same sad, pointless words when I heard about Robin Williams, Phillip Seymour Hoffman, Alan Rickman … and others.

But music is different.

For the most part, when you watch a movie, that’s what you’re doing, watching a movie. Certainly music is, and should be, experienced in the same concentrated and uninterrupted way … but it’s not always like that.

It’s in the foreground, then moves to the background only to switch seats again. When I need to let a thousand racing thoughts go, music insists, persists and demands my full attention. It’s also the ice breaker and the mood setter for conversations, and the most comfortable of silences, among friends. (Regarding the latter, my sophomore college roommate and I frequently went to sleep listening to Barbra Streisand’s compilation album, Memories, released in 1981.)

Music has helped me write leads for news stories, and on long trips, entire scripts and chapters. (It never judges my stuff, either.) It has never cared if I was speeding, crying, cussing, arguing or plotting as I drove. It never got its feelings hurt when I lowered the volume or changed the station. It’s seen me at my absolute worst, and has never given a crap if I had on make-up or was just wearing my pajamas.

And there are those moments, those unforgettable, eye-popping, gut-clenching and oh-so-meaningful moments, when the song I hadn’t heard “since that time when …” was waiting for me on the station, the long-forgotten mix tape, and these days, Pandora.

I pity anyone who has never been so bombarded with memories contained within a song that they had to pull the car over.

All of those moments, from the “surprise attacks” to the deliberate act of putting a disc on the turntable, have created the soundtrack of a lifetime … my lifetime. It’s an intimate collection of music and musicians unique to my story.

It began with something that looked a little like this*

stereocab

upon which I heard Cher, Rare Earth, Herb Alpert & the Tijuana Brass, and many others. On road trips to see the grandparents, we switched to these

Many old 8-track audio tapes of different colors

and Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, Ray Price, and Charley Pride. Then came the cardboard record player and one of these

45rpminsert

so my sister and I could start the magnificent journey of defining our own musical tastes. We began with Disney tunes, The Partridge Family, Bobby Sherman, Donny Osmond, and Elvis Presley. Eventually we graduated to 33s and Ronco compilation albums, Abba, Simon and Garfunkel, and Neil Diamond. There were The Eagles, Foreigner, Queen, and REO Speedwagon on the juke box at the Pizza Hut in Hodgenville, and every roller rink in three counties. Then came college. The family sedan only had AM radio, so there was this:

boombox

and these

cassette

along with some treasured purchases on cassette such as Hall and Oates, Billy Joel, Springsteen, and the Purple One’s 1999.

Finally came a car with this:

car stereo copy

and WQMF where I cranked Fleetwood Mac, U2, Zeppelin, and (specifically) Pink Floyd’s Learning to Fly so loud it scared livestock on the county roads I traveled as a greener-than-green reporter.

Richard Strauss, Mozart, Mahler, Copland, and Bach have helped me settle into each new home, and taken me back to the days when I played this

FRENCH HORN

and my life changed. There’s Rich Mullins, Susan Ashton, Natalie Grant, and Geoff Moore, who helped me find hope again.

There’s Basie, Ellington, and Billie Holiday who got me through a nasty three-week upper respiratory infection, and Debussy, Barber, and Mussorgsky who helped me finish the best 350 pages of my life.

Yes, music is different.

It’s the framework of the sometimes-lovely-sometimes-messy-but-never-boring mural of our lives. It belongs to everyone, but it’s also so naked, so intimate that sometimes it makes me want to hide.

It’s that intimacy and ubiquity, I think, that makes those of us who grew up in the 70s and 80s grieve so hard at the passing of musicians such as Glenn Frey, David Bowie, Merle Haggard, and now, Prince.

They’ve been in our passenger seats, back seats, kitchens, bedrooms, living rooms and offices–right there with us–through the bullying, the break-ups, the deaths, the loves, the successes, and even some triumphs.

Background music? No way. That sounds so insignificant. They’ve been mastering the soundtrack of a lifetime … ours.

*Copyright through Creative Commons, Dan Johansson, Musik & Teatermuseet, 2008

 

Spring Scenes

pinkdogwood

It took some time, and a few false starts and late freezes, but Spring finally made it to Kentucky, and what a Spring it is. The dogwoods, pink and white, have never looked more lovely. Pollen counts are off the charts and I’m popping the Excedrin daily, but a walk in one of Louisville’s many gorgeous parks, and even the familiar terrain around my home, and the pain subsides.

hyacinth

pinkbud

azaleas

chippark

Chip’s limit for one session of walking is a little under two miles. He hangs in there like a trooper with those little legs. Thankfully he’s pretty light to carry. Yesterday at Seneca Park, we had to take a breather.

Adventures of Chip de ‘Ville (Lydia House)

lydiahouse1

Hi all. Chip here.

Louisville is a dog-loving city. Now that it’s getting warmer (then colder, then warmer again), the bipeds are enjoying dining al fresco, and dozens of wise restauranteurs around the city invite customers to bring their canine companions to the patios. Even some stores with boring and/or breakable stuff where dogs (inexplicably) aren’t allowed inside are owned by really cool humans who put water dishes outside on the stoop. Well done.

Prue* and I found a rare gem recently, though, an amazing restaurant that welcomes dogs (and I assume felines, should they deign to emerge from their castles) inside.

Lydia House is located in the Schnitzelburg neighborhood of Louisville’s Germantown area at 1101 Lydia St.

We went for lunch. Tuesdays are Cuban Sandwich Day, and it just so happened we were there when President Obama was on his historic trip to the island, so Prue felt obliged to order one. Never a fan of pickles, she nevertheless embraced the experience and said it was one of the best things between two slices of bread she’s ever tasted.

As for me, I got a few bites of pork (where have pigs been all my life?) and some brought-along treats from our recent trip to Three Dogs Bakery.

The bar is vintage and above it is a sign bearing the name of the original business: Flabby’s. Certainly there are items on the menu that could maintain or produce another Flabby (gouda mac and cheese, grilled bread pudding!), but make no mistake, one look at the menu with my Magic Eye of Discernment & Sensitivity (below), and I knew that this is real, good-for-you-as-well-as-good-tasting food. More on that in a sec.

chipeye

I was welcomed warmly and appropriately fawned over by owner/chef Emily (above) and two members of her staff, one of them server dude, Nathan. With only one small tattoo, Prue commented later that she likely was the most un-cool person to show up there recently, but was made to feel right at home. (I would say this is chiefly because of me, but that would be ungracious and arrogant; I don’t want to detract from my cuteness.) We also briefly met Emily’s own canine companion, Biggie Smalls. I’m glad it was after the photo was taken. As you can see in the top photo, I instantly fell a little in love with Emily. (She’s cute and smelled wonderful!) It would have been so awkward had Biggie shown up earlier.

Now, back to that amazing menu. There are vegan and vegetarian offerings, and many in-house creations such as kimchi, ginger-pickled carrots, dressings, and even beverages, but that’s just the tip of the culinary iceberg. Upon reviewing the menu and following their Facebook page, it’s obvious that this is a very creative kitchen that is mixing it up all the time. It would be a huge mistake just to go by the online menu and risk missing the specials.

“Noodles at Night” (vegetarian or meat broth with soft egg, scallions, the aforementioned ginger-pickled carrots with your choice of yummy add-ins) have become such a hit they’re being added to the lunch menu. In fact, the entire menu is expanding next week and there’s no way to list all the goodies.

But here are three: cherry habanero dressing, herbed goat cheese, and chia seed coconut milk iced mocha!

There’s a patio, original art for sale, frequent live music at night, and a bustling brunch trade on Saturday and Sunday.

And, best of all, your canine can come with you all the way into the restaurant.

You bet I’m in love.

Later, Chip

*Person Responsible for Ultimately Everything