Thursday March 22, 2018
News Topics

Thousands of volunteers will join together on Saturday, October 21 for the bi-annual Brightside & Passport Health Plan Community-Wide Cleanup to pick up litter and beautify sites across Louisville.

Volunteers across the city—Boy & Girl Scouts, neighborhood associations, business associations, elementary school classrooms, families and more—will be participating in this fall’s event.

“By working together with neighbors, classmates and co-workers, we can show pride in our neighborhoods by keeping them litter-free,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “I encourage citizens from all corners of our city to work together and keep our streets and greenspaces clean and green.”

To participate, volunteers choose their own cleanup site and register with Brightside to receive gloves, bags, and for the first 5,000 volunteers, t-shirts. Trash pick-up will be coordinated with Louisville Metro Solid Waste Management Services. The cleanup is sponsored by Passport Health Plan. Registration can be found online at

“We are thrilled to be the title sponsor of the 2017 Brightside & Passport Health Plan Fall Community-Wide Cleanup,” said Mark B. Carter, CEO of Passport Health Plan. “We come together with Mayor Fischer, Brightside and all Louisville residents in the knowledge that a cleaner city helps all residents improve their health and overall quality of life.”

Cleanups are an integral part of Brightside’s mission, and without the help of over 25,000 volunteers throughout the year, Brightside could not meet its goal of a making Louisville a cleaner and greener community. Neighborhoods can hold their own cleanups at any point throughout the year, and Brightside encourages neighborhood associations, block watches, businesses and faith groups to play an active role in keeping their neighborhoods litter-free.

Registration for the October 21 community-wide cleanup is still open. Visit the Brightside website at to complete the registration form or call (502) 574-2613 to register your team.

The West Louisville Community Council (WLCC), One West, and Louisville Forward
are offering west Louisville the opportunity to share the historic legacy of the Shawnee, Russell, and Portland
neighborhoods through art. This partnership of local residents, non-profit organizations and city government is asking artists to submit artwork that can be considered for display on a billboard at 30th Street and Muhammad Ali Boulevard on the Heritage West site.
Designs will be accepted from middle school students through adults who live, work, worship, or learn in the 40203,40210, 40211, or 40212 zip codes. Designs must help tell the story of a vibrant west Louisville community with active families, rich history, and numerous possibilities. This is an opportunity for west Louisville residents to tell their story through art.
A panel of local west Louisville artists will select the best work from each of three categories: Middle/High School (grades 6-12), Young Adult (ages 18-35), and adult (age 36+). The community will then be invited to vote for their favorite design at the March 13, 2017 WLCC Meeting. Cash awards will be presented to the 1st ($500), 2nd ($300), & 3rd ($100) place designs.
The Heritage West Art Competition will officially launch on February 6, 2017 at the WLCC Meeting held at Southern Star Community Center ( 2308 Algonquin Pkwy, Louisville, KY 40210) from 6:00-7:30pm. During the meeting entry forms and complete guidelines will be made available. Entry forms can also be downloaded at after the February 6th meeting.
The deadline for entry is Monday, February 27, 2017.
Everyone is invited to the WLCC Meeting on February 6th. In addition to launching the Heritage West Art Competition, we will present the WLCC Development Priorities & Visioning Report and initial strategies for community input regarding development of Heritage West. The Development Priorities & Visioning Report is a presentation of ideas gathered from a community visioning session held at the Louisville Urban League in September 2016.
Contact: Ramona Lindsey, , WLCC P. O. Box 11293, Louisville, KY 40291

Mayor Greg Fischer launched his SummerWorks jobs program for 2017 last week by setting a goal for a new record of employers involved, and proclaiming it necessary to ensure “a pipeline of future talent.”

“Summer jobs are critical building blocks for young people, and SummerWorks is crucial for the health of the local economy, because it creates a pipeline of future talent,” Mayor Fischer said.  “We want Louisville’s business culture to be one where every company, large and small, hires or sponsors summer jobs for youth.”

A 2016 study confirmed the value of the effort. Young people participating in SummerWorks are more likely to stay in the workforce and pursue postsecondary education, according to an analysis of the program by the Kentucky Center for Education and Workforce Statistics.

Last year, more than 140 companies and organizations hired SummerWorks youth. Mayor Fischer said momentum is already building for this summer, including many employers that will hire youth through the program for the first time, including Coastal Cloud, Hyatt Hotel, McDonald’s local franchises, MSD and the Speed Art Museum. Other companies, including GE and Humana, are doubling the number of young people they hire.

Today’s SummerWorks kickoff was at Kindred Healthcare, which plans to hire 10 youth this summer, after becoming a new SummerWorks employer last year.

The push for a stronger public/private partnership is being enhanced by Greater Louisville Inc., which is encouraging its member businesses to step up and support the program by hiring more young people for summer jobs.

“SummerWorks is an investment in the regional talent pipeline,” said Kent Oyler, president & CEO of Greater Louisville Inc. “Companies that hire young workers this summer are training people who may become their full-time employees. We want to rally our business community, get them involved In SummerWorks and connect our talented young people with the future career opportunities that exist in Greater Louisville.”

Companies and organizations that aren’t able to directly hire youth this summer can instead sponsor jobs. A donation of $2,500 funds a summer job at a non-profit organization or city agency.

Also today, Mayor Fischer announced a “challenge” donation of $250,000 to the SummerWorks program by businessman Paul Diaz and his family. Diaz is a former CEO of Kindred Healthcare and has been a volunteer advisor, donating a “huge amount of time, talent and advocacy” to help grow the summer jobs initiative.

SummerWorks this year will expand its focus on creating job experiences that build entrepreneurial skills in young people. Program organizers will set up six groups of youth to work as a start-up company in collaboration with local tech firms and creative agencies.

SummerWorks also will continue working closely with Jefferson County Public Schools to place students in jobs that match up with what they are learning in school, and jobs in the key business sectors the city is focused on growing, such as technology, healthcare and business services.

“Our students have a chance, through the SummerWorks program, to get out of the classroom and apply the skills they’ve learned at some of our city’s top employers,” said Dr. Donna Hargens, superintendent of Jefferson County Public Schools. “In addition to expanding their learning experiences, our students also gain critical job experience and networking skills that will help them graduate prepared, empowered and inspired to reach their full potential.”

A new partnership with Louisville YouthBuild will bring expertise in helping at-risk youth who register for summer jobs. YouthBuild will provide additional mentoring and job-coaching for youth placed directly by staff, and will provide access to a network of supportive services and resources. SummerWorks and YouthBuild are striving to provide a more positive experience and stronger long-term outcomes for young people involved in the program.

SummerWorks, which is operated by KentuckianaWorks, the workforce development agency for the Louisville area, was recognized by the U.S. Conference of Mayors in 2014 as one of the nation’s best summer jobs programs for young people.

The Mayor launched SummerWorks after taking office in 2011, in response to the elimination of federal funding for summer jobs.  In that first year, the effort placed 200 young people in jobs. Last summer, more than 5,100 youth found summer work through the program and its champion employers.

Other businesses that have committed to hiring SummerWorks youth this year include 4th Street Live, Dare to Care, GlowTouch Technologies, Interapt, Kentucky Kingdom, Kroger, Louisville Zoo, Norton Healthcare, Oxmoor Auto Group, YMCA of Greater Louisville and UPS.

Both employers and youth participants can quickly sign up for or donate to the program at

Citing $9 billion in investments – ranging from new libraries in Okolona and the east end, to restoration of Colonial Gardens in the south end, to 23 new hotels in and around downtown – Mayor Greg Fischer focused his seventh annual State of the City address on Louisville as “one rising American city.”

“Our city overall has achieved a level of prosperity unlike anything in recent memory,” he said in remarks made during a Downtown Rotary Club luncheon held at the Baxter Community Center at Beecher Terrace.

But there is work yet to do, he said, noting that, “To take our place alongside great global cities, we have to ensure that prosperity spreads throughout our city.”

(Read Mayor Fischer’s entire speech here)

In his six years in office, the Mayor has rotated the location for the State of City address throughout the community. This year’s location was a nod to one of Louisville Metro Government’s biggest recent announcements – a $29.5 million federal grant to redevelop the Russell neighborhood, which Mayor Fischer said is “a tremendous and important opportunity” that will have ripple effects throughout the city.

In a speech that centered on economic and job growth throughout Louisville’s many diverse neighborhoods, the Mayor noted that Russell has a proud past and a promising future.

“I can’t think of a better place from which to examine where we’ve been, where we are, and where we’re going,” he said.

In an overview to open his speech, he said the city has seen:

  • Creation of 61,000 new jobs and 2,600 new businesses;
  • Our unemployment rate drop from more than 10 percent to 3.5 percent, the lowest in 15 years;
  • Our median wage, adjusted for the cost of living, increase every year since 2008. In 2015 alone, more than 10,000 Louisvillians lifted themselves out of poverty, and more than 7,000 Louisville families joined the middle class.

As he took his audience on a virtual tour of the city, the Mayor highlighted the $320 million Omni Louisville Hotel in downtown; new restaurants and businesses in NuLu, Butchertown, Sheppard Square and Portland; and library expansions and construction in south Louisville, St. Matthews and east Jefferson County.

He noted that Louisville has become a top-tier tourist destination, welcoming over 24 million tourist visits a year, largely thanks to Bourbonism, which brings people to the city year-round for restaurant and distillery experiences on our Urban Bourbon trail.

He also highlighted the city’s commitment to affordable housing, as witnessed by a $2.5 million allocation for the Affordable Housing Trust Fund this fiscal year, and $12 million in loans and support from Louisville CARES to develop more affordable units in all corners of our community.

Emphasizing Metro’s focus on jobs and economic development, the Mayor discussed the Global Louisville Action Plan, which lays out strategies to attract, retain and grow our foreign-born population. “A great city must be a global city,” he said. “We need people who can help us think, work, connect and compete globally.”

The Mayor also announced during his speech that:

  • He is asking the Metro Council to add hookah and e-cigarettes to the city’s Smoke Free ordinance.
  •  The Compassionate School Project, which began with three Jefferson County Public Schools in 2015, is expanding to 25 schools next year.
  • Metro Government has received a $100,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to support the Cultural Pass, which provides the city’s children with free access to dozens of our city’s great cultural institutions.

Mayor Fischer closed his remarks by urging Louisville’s residents to take an active part in helping the city succeed.

“The people who have the greatest power to shape the future of Louisville are the people of Louisville,” he said. And, “To make the most of that power, we must face the opportunities and challenges before us together, as one community. Our fates are as connected as our streets and the air we breathe.”

Christi’s Cafe Celebrates 10 years as a Great Local Business on Dixie Highway

christiscrewIn November 2006, Christi Druin took a chance and opened a small business on Dixie Highway. From that day forward, Christi’s Café has developed a great reputation for its home cooking and friendly service for the people of Valley Station.

On Monday, President David Yates (D-25) and Councilwoman Cindi Fowler (D-14) will honor Christi’s Café with a proclamation and a thank you for her continued success as a small businesswoman in Southwest Metro Louisville.

“Christi’s Café is a great example of how small businesses drive the growth of our local economy,” says Yates. “For that reason, we are proud to honor Christi Druin and her dedicated employees for their contribution to making this locally owned and operated business a success.”

Druin is a graduate of Valley High School and the mother of six.

Two years after she started Christi’s Café, she was able to expand and purchase a familiar place along Dixie Highway that was once noted for its food served to the people of Valley Station.

“Everyone has a favorite place to eat and Christi has never forgotten where she came from. She makes her business feel more like a place where you go to meet your family and friends,” says Fowler. “She is successful because she cares about people.”

Christi’s Café is located at 12810 Dixie Highway which has a history for the people of Valley Station. When Druin bought the building, it was the location of a closed upholstery shop. Back in the 1950’s and 1960’s, the building was the location of Scotties Restaurant which was a local favorite along Dixie Highway.

On Monday November 14th, President Yates and Councilwoman Fowler will visit Christi’s Café at 1:00pm to bestow the proclamation and offer their congratulations on her tenth anniversary of operation.

To learn more about Christi’s Café, go to:

City Christmas Tree Being Erected Today

louisvillechristmastreeThe Holiday in the City Christmas tree will be erected today in Holiday Square — the plaza at Fourth and Jefferson streets — near the ice skating rink.

Due to construction at the Kentucky International Convention Center, an artificial tree will be used for the next two years for Holiday in the City. The traditional 45- to 50-foot live tree that the city normally uses requires a crane to put in place, and the KICC construction does not allow room for that.

The tree will be lit during the annual Light Up Louisville ceremony, which traditionally kicks off Holiday in the City, on the day after Thanksgiving, Nov. 25, 2016.

The tree, donated by Fourth Street Live!, will be especially visible with extra lights and ornaments.

Learn more about Holiday in the City here.

Brightside will hold its fall planting event Saturday, November 5 in the Parkland neighborhood. Volunteers will join Brightside, who has partnered with the Division of Community Forestry, UPS, Louisville Gas and Electric Company and The Nature Conservancy to plant approximately 120 trees on Virginia Avenue from 26th to 28th Streets.

“There are many benefits to plantings trees and I am glad that Parkland residents will soon be able to enjoy more greenery in their neighborhood,” Mayor Greg Fischer said. “Planting trees is a great example of compassion towards our neighbors and the world around us.”

Planting in this area can improve the overall aesthetic for businesses and residents, control storm water runoff, increase property value, reduce urban heat island effect, improve air quality and lower energy costs.

“By going out into the community and planting trees, Brightside hopes to start a ripple effect among residents,” Brightside Director Gina O’Brien said. “Brightside encourages community members to join in on beautifying their own neighborhood.”

Brightside’s recent plantings, as well as those of other Metro and non-profit partners, have been focused in west Louisville, where an increase in tree canopy is needed. In addition to 120 trees planted in Parkland this year, Brightside planted 150 trees on West Broadway in 2015 and 80 trees near Chickasaw Park in 2014.

On Saturday, November 5 at 9 a.m., Brightside will meet volunteers at the corner of 26th & Virginia in front of Pleasant View Missionary Baptist Church. A limited supply of shovels and other tools will be provided by Brightside, but volunteers are encouraged to bring their own tools. All ages are invited to attend the event.

There is still time for volunteers to register. To register, please visit