Here is a roundup of news in and around Louisville.
‘Bucks for Brains’ program at UofL gets funding
The University of Louisville and the University of Louisville Foundation have found a way to “stabilize” “Bucks for Brains” and other endowment accounts — and to “unlock” $4 million each year for the university, they said on Monday.
As Insider reported recently, the “Bucks for Brains” program was funded by the state in 1997 and used state funds to match private donations to double the impact of private investment supporting research in strategically defined areas.
According to a news release, the foundation’s board voted to invest $15 million in savings from real estate-related refinancing and unspent current-use resources back into the university endowment.
“As a result of this decision, over 90 funds within the Foundation’s endowment — all associated with the “Bucks for Brains” program — will be made whole and therefore be operationalized for University use,” UofL said.
The move could generate $4 million each year for academic funding, according to UofL, adding that the money would not go to athletics.
The foundation said it refinanced debt on dormitory projects and found other unspent resources. About $13 million was used to “stabilize” “Bucks for Brains” accounts, it said, with $2 million evenly spread over the remaining 800 underwater accounts inside the foundation, which are all privately funded. —Mickey Meece
Dean Dorton goes big on a Derby contender
Dean Dorton, the big regional accounting firm, announced on Monday that it would sponsor the Kentucky Derby contender, Tax, in all three races of the Triple Crown.
Aside from the appeal of the horse’s name, there was a personal connection, the firm said. Tax is ridden by the jockey Junior Alvarado, trained by Danny Gargan, and owned by R. A. Hill Stable, Reeves Thoroughbred Racing, Hugh Lynch and Corms Racing Stable.
Patti Reeves of Reeves Thoroughbred Racing is a longtime acquaintance of Donna Logsdon, a Dean Dorton employee. The two reconnected recently, the firm said, and the sponsorship idea seemed a good fit. “The circumstances of a horse named Tax and Patti’s personal relationship with Donna make this such a special moment for us as a firm,” said David Bundy, its president and CEO.
The firm also introduced a new logo, which will be seen on jockey Junior Alvarado’s pants, silks and boots.
“The Triple Crown represents the quality of the highest level so it’s an ideal fit for our company,” Bundy said.” We look forward to seeing Tax and Dean Dorton on the track and hopefully in the Winner’s Circle on May 4.” —Mickey Meece
County boosts Churchill Downs racetrack valuation
County officials have increased the tax value of the Churchill Downs racetrack to $117.2 million after WDRB reported last year that the facility’s value had not changed in 16 years.
WDRB said on Friday that the Jefferson County Property Valuation Administrator previously had valued the property at $20.4 million, despite hundreds of millions of dollars Churchill Downs has spent on upgrades in the last few years.
Churchill Downs has a month to dispute the new valuation. If the new valuation becomes official, Jefferson County Public Schools would get an additional $700,000 in property taxes annually, according to a WDRB analysis. —Boris Ladwig
Newly renovated St. Matthews Library will open May 9
Despite the uneasiness surrounding Louisville’s libraries amid the mayor’s suggested budget cuts, there is some good news. On Thursday, May 9, the St. Matthews branch of the Louisville Free Public Library will reopen its doors after nine months of renovation.
The library, located at 3940 Grandview Ave., will become the fourth largest public library in Louisville and also is one of the city’s busiest. The renovation added an extra 7,800 square feet, the now the 19,000-square-foot library will house more than 70,000 books and feature a large meeting room with seating for 100, a small conference room, a space for teens, an outdoor children’s area, and new technology.
A new entrance with glass façade also will fill the space with natural light, and services will be on one level for easy access.
The renovations were led by St. Matthews Mayor Rick Tonini and the St. Matthews City Council as part of a comprehensive $10 million project to remodel the St. Matthews city hall and police headquarters. Louisville Metro contributed $1 million toward the library portion of the project.
There will be a free grand opening celebration on May 9 at 10 a.m., featuring tours, snacks, activities and more. —Sara Havens
Steak & Bourbon will open May 16 in Westport Village
The Olé Hospitality Group — proprietors of hit restaurants like Mussel & Burger, Taco Luchador and Guaca Mole — have a new concept up their sleeves, and it’s slated to open on Thursday, May 16. Steak & Bourbon: An American Grill will take the place of the group’s former restaurant, Artesano Vino Tapas y Mas, in Westport Village. Artesano closed on Sunday, April 28, for good.
“We looked at a lot of locations around the city, but we really felt like the Westport Village spot was the best place to do it the right way,” said Olé Co-Founder Chef Fernando Martinez in a news release. “We have been making a lot of design changes. By mid-May, the space will look totally different.”
The casual steakhouse will include staples like a center-cut filet, pan-roasted chicken and grilled salmon, plus a signature dish from Executive Chef Jason Smith — a 24-ounce Cowboy Cut Ribeye of certified Angus aged a minimum of 30 days from Sherwood Farms and the house-cut Tallow Fries.
There also will be a focus on the cocktail program, featuring top-notch local favorites and interpretations on the old fashioned and manhattan.
Earlier this year, the Olé Hospitality Group announced a pop-up Steak & Bourbon concept, and there was so much interest in that, Martinez knew he had made the right decision.
“That kind of sealed the deal to make the change,” he said.
Stay tuned to Insider Louisville for a first look at Steak & Bourbon. —Sara Havens
Alun Jones, who served as the Louisville Ballet‘s artistic director for 24 years, died Thursday, April 25, of a heart attack while in Greece. Jones helped bring extraordinary growth and innovation to the ballet, increasing subscriptions from 900 to 9,000 and presenting 78 world premieres, further solidifying its national reputation.
The University of Louisville said two of its students — juniors Praneeth Goli and Garrett McGrady — had earned Goldwater Scholarships, which provide $7,500 per student each year to help cover education costs. The award is for students pursuing research careers in math, science and engineering.
Cuddle Clones, the Louisville-based company that sells plush pet toys and other goods, has introduced a video on YouTube to promote a shelter pet adoption campaign. The company said “Adopt Me Maybe” is a parody of the 2011 hit “Call Me Maybe” by artist Carly Rae Jepsen.