Thursday, February 24, 2005

Fiddler on Hauss Square

Beloved Tevye from Fiddler on the Roof, for those of us deprived of regular trips to Broadway, may best be known for his deedle-deedle-deedle-dee warbling of If I Were a Rich Man.

The emperor Nero, in legend, fiddled while Rome burned.

Did you ever have the feeling that you wanted to stay, wanted to go...

The shadow government of New Albany for most of its history has been the local Democratic Party, and now that the party is finished licking its presidential election year wounds, the factions have coalesced for a showdown in just 10 short days. If I Were a Democrat (and I am), I'd be watching this one closely to try to divine the direction of the county's Democrats and just who will be the "public face" of the party, as one new friend puts it.

But I digress. Wednesday's upcoming Public Affairs Symposium isn't talking capital "P" politics. That can wait until next Saturday (okay, maybe until next Thursday). We're addressing New Visions for Downtown New Albany and we continue to solicit your comments, ideas, questions, research, and financial contributions (oops, strike that last one) as we finalize the topic list.

Some of you seem to think you need a personal invitation. You don't. Post a comment here or e-mail me if you a) don't care for your writings to be public, or b) are put off by the Blogger registration procedure. My e-mail is Click there and you'll be part of the symposium.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Well worth your time

Keith Olbermann, the iconoclast who has created a name for himself by getting serially fired from network after network, seems to be firmly ensconced in his MSNBC chair, but some of his best work is done on the blogosphere.

It would be well worth the time of any reader or writer concerned about the integrity of Web logging to read this piece from Olbermann.

Now is the time

Time is running short to receive your submissions of ideas, research, and questions for our March 2 Public Affairs Symposium.

You will recall the topic is "New Visions for Downtown New Albany," and whether your definition of downtown includes only ten linear blocks, the entire Urban Enterprise Zone, or the whole of New Albany proper, we're eager to hear from you.

We've already received dozens of suggestions by e-mail and letter, which we will distill into discussion points for our panel of citizens. In addition, another half-dozen speakers will pose their issues to the panel.

In case you don't know by now, here is the panel for Wednesday night's event.

Brandon W. Smith (no relation), holder of an M.A. in history who taught at the University of Florida, a former insurance professional, and now a second-year at Brandeis School of Law who is on the law review and a summer associate for a major local law firm. Brandon has been an active lay recruiter of professionals and businesses considering NA as a home.

Jean Caesar operates one of New Albany's oldest businesses, J.O. Endris Jewelers, on Pearl Street. As an owner of one of the city's downtown anchor stores, Jean has seen the fortunes of the downtown wax and wane and we look forward to her counsel.

Maury Goldberg is a member of the board of directors of Develop New Albany, a former city council member from the 3rd District, and a motivating force in the exploration of new ideas to rejuvenate the city's economic development.

Jeffrey M. Gillenwater is an IT professional working at Indiana University and another NA resident and potential commercial investor dedicated to restoring the luster of our downtown and stoking the fires of economic development through "outside-the-box" thinking.

Ann M. Baumgartle is the owner of AnnRan LLC, an investor and volunteer in this community and the broader Kentuckiana area, and the spouse of this blogger. She will direct the night's activities as moderator for the symposium.

Thank you to those of you who have already submitted your ideas and questions. For the rest of you, we're keeping the door open for a few more days for new submissions. The comments section below would be a convenient place to post your ideas and to stimulate further discussion prior to the event.

We are sad to announce that the prize-bearing essay contest we envisioned for middle and high school pupils will not come to fruition as the local schools were unable to fit the announcement into their schedules.