Story acquires Wild Accelerator

first floor mural

Story and Wild Accelerator are combining forces. | Photo by Kevin Gibson

Story and Wild Accelerator announced this week that they would join forces, with the former acquiring the latter’s brand assets for $1.

Launched in 2018 by local design company Kale & Flax, Wild Accelerator is a nonprofit, 10-week immersion program designed to support early-stage women entrepreneurs in getting their business ideas off the ground.

Kale & Flax founder Tarik Nally said in a news release his company believes merging Wild Accelerator with Story will enable the entrepreneur program to make a greater impact.

Story was founded four years ago by Natalia Bishop as a co-working community for creatives and entrepreneurs. It recently added a second location in NuLu and launched an entrepreneur program called Story LABS designed to shepherd new entrepreneurs.

“As a woman and a founder who started with nothing but an idea,” Bishop said in the release, “I know from experience how hard it can be. We are excited to have Wild Accelerator under the Story umbrella so we can continue knocking down those barriers together.”

“Research shows that female founders have a 35% higher return on investment when they are leading, but women are still only receiving about 2% of venture capital funding,” Amanda Bates, executive director of Wild Accelerator, added. “By locking arms with Story, Wild can continue working to change that.” —Kevin Gibson

KMAC awarded highest national recognition a museum can get

AAM logoOn Tuesday, the staff of KMAC certainly were celebrating a major achievement. The museum was honored with the highest national recognition a museum can get in the United States by receiving accreditation from the American Alliance of Museums.

This honor marks the seventh accredited museum in Kentucky and only three in Louisville: the Speed Art Museum, Locust Grove and now KMAC. And of the country’s more than 33,000 museums, only 1,070 currently are credited from AAM, whose process is extremely rigorous but rewarding, according to a news release.

“This is a tribute to the founders and supporters of KMAC Museum through the years,” said KMAC Executive Director Aldy Milliken in the release. “Internally, we have been working on this goal for almost eight years; achieving accreditation is wholly due to the outstanding effort of KMAC’s board members and staff.”

KMAC will continue to maintain these standards while serving the community.

“Accredited museums are a community of institutions that have chosen to hold themselves publicly accountable to excellence,” said Laura L. Lott, AAM president and CEO, in the release. “Accreditation is clearly a significant achievement, of which both the institutions and the communities they serve can be extremely proud.” —Sara Havens

LFPL aims to better educate the community about health with new grant

People gathered outside Louisville's Main Library on York Street.

People mill around the outside of the Louisville Free Public Library on York Street. | Courtesy of LFPL

The Louisville Free Public Library will hire a new staff person, partner with community groups and boost employee training as part of an effort to educate the public on health issues, ranging from cancer to drug addiction.

The effort is being funded by a health education grant of up to $100,000 to The Library Foundation. The award was recently announced by the Greater Midwest Region of the National Network of Libraries of Medicine.

“The money for the grant will be used to pay for a staff position here at the library who will be a program coordinator,” said Paul Burns, a spokesman for LFPL. “Their main focus will be to work with community partners in the health industries and support industries to develop programming for use in the library.”

The coordinator also will help train staff so that they’re better able to help people find health-related resources, Burns said.

The initiative is linked to a partnership between the network and the National Institutes of Health All of Us Research Program, which collects health data from volunteers to foster breakthroughs in precision medicine.

LFPL will be working to educate residents about some of the top health concerns in the area such as cancer, obesity, substance abuse, heart disease and nutritional deficiency.

“At a time when our city is focused on significant issues affecting public health and health equity, this is a great opportunity for the Library to offer free, health-related educational programming in the community,” LFPL Director Lee Burchfield said in a news release. —Darla Carter

Diageo breaks ground on $130 million Lebanon Distillery 

rendering of the new Diageo Lebanon Distillery

A rendering of the new Diageo Lebanon Distillery | Courtesy of Diageo

On Wednesday, state officials, media and Diageo executives gathered in Lebanon, Ky., at the site of the soon-to-be Diageo Lebanon Distillery for the ceremonial breaking of the ground on the $130 million, 144-acre distillery.

The grounds will house a 72,000-square-foot distillery and dry house, as well as 12 barrel rick houses. And it will have the capability to distill a variety of Diageo bourbon and American whiskey brands.

Diageo also owns Bulleit Bourbon, which recently celebrated the opening of its new Visitor Experience at its Shelbyville distillery. Since 2014, the international spirits company has invested more than $300 million in Kentucky. The new distillery will employ about 30 full-time staffers.

“One thing I’ve learned about Diageo doing business in Kentucky is that it is focused on environment and sustainability and cares for every community it builds,” said Tom Lund, president of the Marion County Economic Development, in a news release. “We are excited to have Diageo extend its footprint right here in Lebanon.”

In addition to Bulleit, Diageo owns Johnnie Walker, Crown Royal, Buchanan’s whiskies, Smirnoff, Cîroc and Ketel One vodkas, Captain Morgan, Baileys, Don Julio, Tanqueray and Guinness.

Bourbon insiders believe that with the addition of this new distillery, Diageo might come out with more brands of bourbon and whiskey to enter into the competitive market. —Sara Havens

UofL professor pushes for comprehensive approach to tobacco control

UofL professor Aruni Bhatnagar, speaking at a press conference

UofL professor Aruni Bhatnagar also is co-director of the American Heart Association Tobacco Regulation and Addiction Center | Photo by Darla Carter

The director of the University of Louisville’s Christina Lee Brown Envirome Institute argues for tougher tobacco control this week in an op-ed for The Hill.

Efforts to raise the legal age of purchasing tobacco to 21 deserve serious consideration by Congress, but the country must go farther than that, according to the article co-written by UofL’s Aruni Bhatnagar and American Heart Association Chief Executive Nancy Brown.

“Increasing the tobacco sales age to 21 nationally would signal our country’s commitment to protect our nation’s youth, but our efforts cannot end there,” the piece says. “We must also ensure Tobacco 21 bills include effective enforcement, and that they not penalize youth and adolescents.”

Brown and Bhatnagar also point out that weak Tobacco 21 laws can be detrimental in several ways, such as “creating carve outs for certain products and prohibiting communities from enacting other effective tobacco control policies.”

The co-authors push for a comprehensive approach to tobacco control that includes “strong FDA regulation of tobacco manufacturing and marketing; prohibition of all flavored tobacco products; comprehensive clean indoor air laws; and funding for cessation and prevention programs and increased tobacco taxes.”

They also advocate for the National Institutes of Health to do a large evaluation of the long-term health effects of electronic cigarettes and other nicotine delivery devices. —Darla Carter

Courier Journal expanding paywall with ‘Subscriber Only’ stories

Rick Green, editor of the Courier Journal

Rick Green, editor of the Courier Journal

Courier Journal editor and vice president of news Rick Green announced this week that the 150-year-old Louisville newspaper will now offer certain stories online to subscribers only, blocking all of those who don’t pay to access the site.

Green explained the move in a column detailing the changing business model of newspapers and the increased dependence on subscribers for revenue, urging readers to pitch in with a subscription and do their part to support their journalism.

Currently, those who are not subscribed to the Courier Journal can read up to seven stories on their website per month until they hit a paywall blocking access to stories. As Green indicated, the new subscriber-only stories would not affect the access of those already subscribed but would block anyone else from reading those labeled “For Subscribers,” no matter how often they had visited the site that month.

On Thursday afternoon, eight of the stories on the front page of the Courier Journal website were labeled for subscribers only, though most remained free to access for those who have not hit the monthly paywall limit. —Joe Sonka

In Brief

There’s a pop-up Pokémon pub coming to Louisville, but not until February. The concept is part of a national organization called PokéBar, and organizers are keeping tight-lipped about its whereabouts in town. When we know more, you’ll know more.

Greater Louisville Inc. was named the best large chamber of commerce in 2019 by a national association of chamber executives.

Leadership Louisville selected 60 individuals for its 41st class, which will meet over the next 10 months.

The Dare to Care Food Bank presented grants to six of its urban and rural community partners with the help of $75,000 from the CareSource Foundation. The recipients are Catholic Charities of Louisville, the Jewish Family & Career Services, Redeemer Lutheran Church, Grace & Glory Lutheran Church, Hope Southern Indiana and Harrison County Community Services.