New $17.8 million Northeast Regional Library opens in the East End

Northeast Library

The Northeast Regional Library is located in Lyndon. | Courtesy of Louisville Free Public Library

On Monday morning, Mayor Greg Fischer and other city leaders and officials celebrated the official opening of the Northeast Regional Library, located at 15 Bellevoir Circle off Ormsby Station Road in Lyndon. The $17.8 million facility is 40,000 square feet and features more than 120,000 books and materials.

“The Northeast Regional Library builds on the success we’ve had with the Southwest and South Central Regional Libraries,” Fischer said at the news conference. “They’ve been huge hits with the public, and we’re excited that we can open the third beautiful, full-service modern library our citizens demand and deserve.”

Construction of the eco-friendly library was funded with $14 million from the state and capital funds allocated by Fischer and approved by Metro Council, and $3.8 million from private donations to the Library Foundation. It replaces the much smaller Westport branch and will serve more than 170,000 people in eastern Jefferson County.

The new library will feature an innovative, hands-on “makerspace,” called the Maker Pavilion, which will feature the latest in technology including a Makerbot 3D printer, Glowforge laser cutter, programmable drones, sewing machines and more. —Sara Havens

JCPS teachers to get science professional development, thanks to UofL

Thirty Jefferson County teachers will get energy-related training to take back to their classrooms, thanks to a new grant through the University of Louisville.

A $600,000 National Science Foundation grant will fund professional development opportunities for high school science teachers beginning next summer, UofL announced Monday. The training, co-run by the Speed School of Engineering and the College of Education and Human Development, will focus on energy-related research.

Ten teachers will be in the program’s first cohort in summer 2020, with additional training in 2021 and 2022.

Educators will apply what they learn to the existing science curriculum, potentially bringing student more interest in engineering and energy topics. Schools have increasingly focused on STEM fields — science, technology, engineering and math — to prepare students for jobs of the future.

“An energy-literate culture is important to understanding the energy-related environmental, political and economic concerns of the modern world,” UofL President Neeli Bendapudi said in the announcement. —Olivia Krauth

Five new scooter companies could join Bird and Lime on the streets of Louisville

Jump scooter

Jump scooter | Courtesy of Jump

Bird and Lime may not be the only two scooter companies in town for much longer, as five other companies have had licenses approved to begin operations in Louisville, the city told Insider on Monday.

The companies are Spin, Jump, HOPR, Lyft and Bolt. None of the companies have made the move to put their scooters and/or bikes on the streets yet, but the granted licenses mean they could be around very soon.

The decision to expand the e-scooter market in Louisville comes at the same time other cities are showing concern for the safety and feasibility of the industry.

Nashville’s mayor has directed lawyers to find a way out of the city’s current agreement with scooter companies so he can remove them from the streets, according to the Tennessean. He would allow two companies to return if they met safety standards. This action comes after the city’s first scooter-related death in May.

Bird increased its prices for using its scooters in certain cities in April, leading some to believe the business wasn’t profitable at the lower-cost rates.

With the increase in companies coming into Louisville, the city isn’t as concerned as some other cities.

“I think you will find that every jurisdiction is concerned about safety, but we’re not considering any kind of ban at this point,” said Harold Adams, a spokesman for Public Works.

Adams also said Louisville is embracing the scooters because they’re a low-stress method of transport for those in the city. —Jeremy Chisenhall

Rolling Fork releases high-proof Jamaican rum (this time without any accidents)

Rolling Fork Rum

Rolling Fork Rum Batch No. 1 will be released next week.

In 2018, we told you about how a local spirits company turned an accident into a viable product with the release of its Fortuitous Union, a rum and rye whiskey spirit that ended up selling quite well, despite the fact that it was only supposed to be a rum finished in used rye whiskey barrels.

Turner Wathen and Jordan Morris, the entrepreneurs behind Rolling Fork Spirits, are ready to release a rum-only product this time when Rolling Fork Rum Batch No. 1 hits bar and liquor store shelves as early as this week.

The four-year-old rum, which was aged in used bourbon barrels, is bottled at a stout 100 proof, making it an ideal spirit for cocktails.

“While visiting with bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts, we fielded countless requests for a no-additive, cocktail-focused rum,” said Morris, co-founder and master blender of Rolling Fork, in a news release. “So we listened to our target demographic and started searching for a high-quality rum that packed the right flavor profile to make exceptional cocktails.”

Insider reached out to co-founder Wathen, who told us the higher proof rum makes great daiquiris, mojitos, rum old fashioneds and even rum juleps because it stands up to the ingredients, much like bourbon and whiskey. Rum drinks you get at a resort or beach bar often use lower-proof rums that don’t stand out.

“Something very important to us was that rums are often masked in cocktails, whereas with bourbon and whiskey-centric cocktails, the whiskey is at the forefront,” Wathen said. “We wanted a rum that stood out in cocktails and was not masked by other flavors.”

Rolling Fork Rum will be available in the coming weeks at bars and liquor stores around the city, including The Pearl, Old Town Liquors, State Liquors and more. The suggested retail price is $34.99.

The guys also have other products up their sleeves, including single-barrel releases and an El Salvador rum distilled in 2007 that has been finishing in four different barrels — a bourbon, a rye, a sherry and a port. Stay tuned. —Sara Havens

Heaven Hill re-releases Bottled-In-Bond bourbon, increases age by one year

Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond

Welcome back, kind of. | Courtesy

Last year, fans of the extremely affordable Heaven Hill Bottled-in-Bond 6 Year bourbon were disappointed when Heaven Hill announced that it was going to discontinue the product, which you could find for about $12.99.

But according to a news release that was issued Monday morning, the product will return at a higher cost and a year older — and with new packaging.

Heaven Hill 7-Year-Old Bottled-in-Bond Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey will be launched in a handful of states — strangely not including Kentucky — in October for a suggested retail price of $39.99. Those lucky states are California, Texas, New York, Georgia, Florida, Illinois, South Carolina and Colorado.

“At a time when American whiskey is surging, we are proud to release a namesake product that really brings us back to our company’s founding,” said Heaven Hill President Max L. Shapira in the release. “It celebrates our rich bourbon-making heritage, as well as the values and standards we hold today as a point of passion for our company.”

Heaven Hill first released a Bottled-in-Bond product in 1939. —Sara Havens

EVEREVE, women’s fashion retailer, to open at Oxmoor

EVEREVE, a women’s contemporary fashion retailer, will open its first store in Louisville July 17 at Oxmoor Center Mall.

The 2,600-square-foot store will employ trained stylists who will be available to help shoppers find what they want. Co-founder Mike Tamte said demand for EVEREVE is driving rapid growth with the brand, which currently has more than 80 retail locations in 26 states.

In a news release, Tamte cited the chain’s “modern yet versatile” selection of clothing and “whole-hearted” service. Brands include clothing by 7 For All Mankind, Paige, KUT From the Kloth, SPANX, Free People and more, as well as shoes from J/Slides, Sam Edelman, Kenneth Cole, Sorel and more.

The store also will host special fashioned-related community events. —Kevin Gibson

Kentucky health facilities among CommonSpirit’s least profitable

A graphic showing that CommonSpirit's Southeast division, which includes Kentucky operations, is the least profitable among 13 divisions.

Revenue and operating profit of CommonSpirit’s 13 divisions. The Southeast division includes the Kentucky operations. | Screenshot courtesy of CommonSpirit

The financial struggles of Jewish Hospital and other KentuckyOne facilities have gotten more difficult to ascertain since parent company Catholic Health Initiatives’ merger. However, a new report indicates that the division that includes the Kentucky operations continues to struggle.

CommonSpirit, the Chicago-based health system created through the merger of Catholic Health Initiatives and Dignity Health, in a recent presentation listed the Kentucky operations as part of its Southeast Division, which also includes facilities in Arkansas, Ohio and Tennessee — but did not provide information about Jewish Hospital or other Louisville facilities separately.

Among the system’s 13 divisions, the Southeast division was the fourth-largest as measured by revenue, nearly $2.1 billion through three quarters, but it ranked only ninth in operating profitability, at $69 million. The Pacific Northwest Division, which had similar revenue, generated an operating profit of $192 million.

When measured by profits as a share of revenue, the Southeast Division ranked last, with 3.3%, which was about 19% worse than the Fargo division, which ranked 12th.

KentuckyOne and CHI have been trying to sell their Louisville health care assets for more than two years. Jewish and Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital have been losing more than $1 million per week. Local health care experts have told Insider that they worry about Jewish Hospital’s future, especially now that the University of Louisville’s hurried attempt to save the facility has failed. —Boris Ladwig

In Brief

The state is introducing Kentucky Rise, a digital portal for youths in foster care. The site is expected to be available Monday, June 24, and include links related to education, job training, employment and housing options.

Louisville MSD said its basin under Shawnee Park is now operational. When it rains, MSD said, the basin protects the Ohio River, the park and the neighborhood from combined sewer overflows. As part of the project, the park features new amenities including an open-air pavilion, restrooms, restoration of Paul Hornung Field, refurbished basketball courts, a new paved parking area for the spray ground and a resurfaced Loop Road.