A new concept coming to New Albany will pair hungry diners with local chefs eager to experiment and to explain.
Story by Steve Kaufman & Photo by Danny Alexander
Just imagine you sit down to a dinner prepared by Scott Dickinson, executive chef at The Exchange Pub + Kitchen. And you have a question about something – preparation, or ingredients, or seasoning.
So, you ask.
And Dickinson leans over the table and answers. That’s the concept envisioned for MESA, a new way of dining coming soon to downtown New Albany.
“We call it a collaborative kitchen,” said Bobby Bass – who co-owns MESA with wife Ysha Bass, of Bass Group Real Estate. “Our tag line is, ‘Bridging the gap between the kitchen and the table.’ ”
Table = Mesa. Get it? (“Mesa” means “table” in Spanish. Ysha is from Mexico City.) But it is in no way meant to suggest that this is a Mexican restaurant. In fact, the cuisine on any given night will depend on who’s doing the cooking.
Rather, the “table” in question refers to the idea of a chef’s table, popular in many higher-end restaurants, where the chef sets up a small service in the kitchen for a few preferred customers to chat, watch the prep and eat a specially-prepared meal.
Except, in the case of MESA, you don’t have to go to the chef. The chef will come to you.
“We wanted to have a place where the consumer gets a fabulous three-to-five-course meal, paired with wine or beer, and the chefs get to do what they rarely get to do: engage in conversation with the public,” explained Bobby. “We feel we’re an advocate for both parties: The consumer gets more than a great dinner and the chefs get to experiment or show off their stuff.”
MESA will be moving into 216 Pearl St., between Market and Main in downtown New Albany, the old Peterey-Hedden Building.
Bobby said he’s looking for a late May/early June move-in, purposely avoiding Derby. “It’s hard for a new concept to compete with all that’s going on at that time,” he said. “Too much noise, too many distractions. I don’t want to waste our marketing dollars.”
Also, he said, it will give them a chance to get everything running properly, do a couple of private runs and work the kinks out. “Never a good idea to rush something and risk anyone having a bad experience.”
When it is up and running, the concept seems so straightforward and logical you wonder how it could possibly fail. A visiting chef from one of the area’s many excellent restaurants comes in for a night, using MESA’s kitchen. Bass said he already has commitments from both Ian Hall properties, The Exchange and Brooklyn and the Butcher, as well as from Habana Blues and SuperChef’s Darnell Ferguson. Bass said he has also been in talks with Vincenzo and Agostino Gabriele of Vincenzo’s and Josh Moore of Volare.
Sampling the chef’s efforts will be 20 to 25 diners, sitting at a table around the cooking area, who have paid somewhere between $85 and $150 for the evening. (Bobby pointed out that not all the details – like prices, hours, schedule – have been entirely worked out.) There may also be breakfast events, probably at weekend brunch, which would be less-formal and less-expensive, and could also include children.
Off to one side will be what Ysha called “a kitchen-essential boutique pantry” – a spice bar, salt bar, chocolate bar, oil bar, sugar bar, cookbooks, aprons, knife sets, supplies, kids’ cooking paraphernalia, “a lot of unique things” – where diners can pick up something while they’re there. The items will be supplied largely by local vendors.
Bobby has arranged with local businesses – like Dine Company, Chefs Supply and Bonnycastle Appliances – for the cooking equipment. “It will all be high-end residential equipment, so people can see it and relate to it. Perhaps they’ll want to contact one of the vendors and buy something after they’ve been in here.”
On the nights when a restaurant chef might not be performing, there will be what the Basses call one of their “in-house chefs.” They’ll rotate in and out, taking a turn at a regular dinner and also for special events, like a reception or a corporate party.
“We’ve been talking to a lady who was a finalist on the Food Network’s ‘Cutthroat Kitchen,’ ” Bobby said. “But she doesn’t have her own restaurant. I’ll work a schedule with her to perform here on a monthly basis and can rotate other chefs who also aren’t attached to restaurants.”
Private events are also part of the endless possibilities. “I’ve already had a request for a 20-person wedding reception,” Bobby said. And, he anticipates local companies wanting to have office parties at MESA, or to entertain clients there.
Among the other opportunities for the space are chefs’ lessons and special events, like pairings and tastings hosted by local suppliers – wine, bourbon, cheese, oils. More endless possibilities.
The restaurant business can be a tough one for anyone, especially those who – like the Basses – are new to it. They’ve already been through the Kafka-designed world of licenses and permits for food, wine, beer, liquor. Plus, the building is in a historic district, so what they can and cannot change might limit them as they build and design the space.
“We’re in the real estate business,” said Bobby. “But we work in Jeffersonville, live in Floyd County and eat in downtown New Albany about 12 times a week.” He chuckled. He was exaggerating – but only slightly.
What about the challenges of balancing food supply, having enough of what he needs but not so much that the spinach wilts and the bread turns green on the edges?
He seems prepared for that, as well. His manager is a Sullivan University culinary arts graduate.
“We’re only going to do these events on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings, one sitting per night,” Bobby said. “We’ll request that people order tickets online six to eight weeks in advance, so we always have a good idea of who’s coming in the door. This won’t be a place for last-minute walk-ins.”
Though the website currently in place – www. MESAchefs.com – is just a one-page “teaser site” at the moment, it nonetheless has a reservations form.
The grand vision, for both Ysha and Bobby, is a concept that benefits all corners of the local community.
“Chefs will benefit from getting the chance to experiment, and to get feedback directly from consumers,” said Bobby. “Restaurants will benefit by exposing what they do to a wider group of people.
“We’ll give local food and produce vendors a market for their goods, plus the retail opportunities we’ll offer. And the equipment and appliance dealers will be able to sell directly to people whose interests are tweaked by coming to our events.”
They feel downtown New Albany merchants can benefit from more potential consumers coming to the area, particularly those who are drawn from Louisville and are perhaps not yet familiar with what downtown New Albany has to offer.
And, said Ysha, the plan is to have special events that will support food banks, soup kitchens, churches, shelter homes and charities, in collaboration with various non-profit organizations.
Oh yeah, and foodies will benefit, too. “We’ll be giving people an opportunity to try new things, watch the chefs at work, ask questions and learn.” It all adds up to the three E’s at one table: entertainment, education and epicure.
To the medley area that encompasses Kentuckiana, The Kentucky Derby is one of the biggest days of the year. It doesn’t matter if Seabiscuit is your All-Time favorite movie, or if you would really rather not deal with the traffic, there’s no avoiding the festivities and commotion once April hits and the road to Derby has commenced, paving its way to the glory of the track. So, we sent JD Dotson and Grant Vance on a road trip to find out how those who work and/or live in Southern Indiana celebrate the big day. This is just a sample of how our fellow citizens are doing Derby SOIN style this year.
Craig Nance, New Albany
I am a horseracing hobbyist; not an expert or trained professional. I don’t like to give betting advice, and please don’t interpret this as such. This should be read as an uninspiring story about a young boy of 17 that placed a $12 bet that paid $2,000, and who was forever a fan of the ponies after that point. One who cannot resist the allure of the next brilliant bet and big cash (still waiting).
Admittedly, I probably lose more than I win, but I continuously come back to overanalyze the program and hold my breath while my horse gets nosed out at the finish line. I primarily play the ponies for the thrill of outsmarting the rest of the betters, but I also love the history and greatness of horse racing, the atmosphere at the track, the adrenaline of the cheering fans, power of the thoroughbreds, breaking out the seersucker and sipping on a few too many mint juleps.
I tend to dream a little too big and over play the longshots but only because this, again, is just a hobby and where is the fun in playing the chalk?
There is no better day than the first Saturday in May to dream big, overanalyze the program, and look damn good in your seersucker while cashing your first exacta for three times what it would pay on a normal Saturday. What makes the Kentucky Derby such a great day for betting is the inflated pots due to the thousands of tourists, drunk infielders, celebs, hobbyists with inflated expectations (like me), and millions of casual off-track and online bettors adding to the fat Derby Day pots. Look up pari-mutuel betting if you don’t understand how it works.
I usually spend the days leading up to the Derby watching the Derby prep races online to get a feel for the contenders (available at www.kentuckyderby.com at no cost). I don’t need to watch these to pick out the favorites, but I try to find the bridesmaid that looked like she just had a bad rehearsal (bad start or wild trip), didn’t seem to like how her dress fit (track/weather conditions), looks her best after a long day of pampering (conditioning with each race) or caught the bouquet toss (next time a bride). You can also get this information from the program, but sometimes seeing is believing.
I rarely bet the win, place or show bets, even though you can get some great odds on Derby day. I prefer the exotics and searching for the big cash. Most races consist of a large trifecta and a couple exactas to back it up. I try to take on partners when I want to bet bigger and go for the pick six or a superfecta. I prefer to use an alternative to boxing my bets when I play trifectas and superfectas, which is called a part wheel. This type of bet allows me to pick different quantities of horses to come in specific finish positions (i.e. 3,7/3,7,5/3,7,5,4,9). I will put my favorites picks on top, consider plugging others betting favorites in the place position to be safe, and oftentimes add longshots to the show position for the unknown.
My analysis of the program usually starts with looking at every horse without paying attention to odds. I look mostly at past performances and a multitude of factors, including but limited to race quality, track conditions, splits, finish, distance, speed figures, etc. Once I narrow it down to a handful, I rank them and consider other factors like jockey, trends, breeding, layoffs, track condition, etc. Then I factor in odds and look for value. I usually throw out any extreme chalk unless it seems inevitable. I land on a couple personal favorites and tailor my bets to maximize my return on those select few while giving myself some outs in case I completely miss judge the field.
Top riders usually matter but they are all (top riders) in the Derby. Good trainers help, but they all did their job to get their horse here. Breeding sometimes matters, but I just don’t have the time to follow it that closely. Grey horses have a certain mystic, but I don’t think that really matters either. Speed figures are a good basis for easy analysis, and tip sheets are useful but you need to find the right ones. When all else fails or you have had too many mint juleps, horse names might just be the best approach.
Josh Premuda, Jasper
This is my first year going (to the Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs). We’re renting a charter party bus. It’s like 30 bucks a person. They’re picking us up, and I want to say there’s close to 30 of us going. We’re going to get dressed up. My wife is a photographer, so I think she is going to try do some of our own Derby staging photos, before we all get too many mint juleps in us. Going to spend the day and come back, really. I want to go to the Oaks, I’ve heard that’s more fun, but I doubt we’ll go. I’m a big check-it-off my list kind of person. You have to do it one time and have a good time doing it. No $1,000 mint julep for me, though. Don’t you get a cup or something? I’d love for my bar. (Maybe if I) win big I’ll do it.
Rose Glasser, Louisville
Either the day before Derby, or an hour before Derby starts, I regret that I haven’t been doing anything for Derby, so I hurriedly find my friends and go hang out at their place. My friends have a place that’s walking distance from Churchill. My favorite time is just celebrating each other, but my favorite couple years — we’re actually a group of swing dancers — and for a couple years, we occasionally bust out, and it stops being us spectating them(passersby) and them spectating us. And, most of the time, you could hear their music going by, so it would depend on their music. The common thing is that girls would have heels in their hands walking. My friend started offering hospital booties, and it was hilarious. … He would have to convince (people) to put them on their feet.
Marsella Congleton (pictured with her husband, Keith), Corydon
We just have another couple in and – no money exchange – and we each pick a horse. We always watch it on TV, but we’ve never been. I pick my horse by the way he looks – the stout one! – and I’ve been pretty successful.
Well, I tell you what, we have people from (Jasper) that go up there (to Derby). We had a guy who owns the print shop the other year rent a limo, brought his party in here (to the Schnitzelbank Restaurant), drove up there and as soon as the Derby was over, they came back down here for dinner. We usually all work on Derby. It’s busy, busy. I have some friends from Kansas City (in Missouri) who come here and stay in our town because they don’t want to deal with the camaraderie and everything that’s going on in Louisville. You can’t get a hotel half the time. So, they stay here. They usually come the Tuesday before Derby, go up Thursday for Oaks, and stay until after Derby.
Travis Cheatham, Ferdinand
We used to go to Derby all the time. We’d get a rental van and a bunch of us would go, and then, now we just do it at the house, and we’ll put out banners and flags of horses, and just do our own bets and stuff. Just to avoid the crowd. Winning big (is my favorite part). Getting the tickets and changing your mind last second, being the winner. I’ve won a little over $200 before (on a) trifecta.
Kenneth Keller , Ferdinand
We have a Derby party at my parents’ house every five years. There’s usually about 50 people there. We do all kinds of decorations and stuff, but out thing is every year we do a stick-horse race, like a backyard derby. And the stick horse gets wreathed with roses and get some kinda prize for being the fastest runner. It’s really funny to watch people do it.
Donna Wilson, Corydon
I’m going to Derby and I usually go to Derby parties at a friend’s house. This year I’m going to Oaks and I’m going with my sisters and sisters-in-law. We’re in a box, getting a ride – dropped off and picked up – and going to a nice dinner afterwards. Everyone will have hats. Derby day, I’m going to a Derby party at my friend’s. We do fun “friends betting.” But If I’m at the track, I definitely bet at the track, and I pick the horses by their names. Our Derby party isn’t themed or anything, just standard food and, of course, Juleps.
(At Emery’s Premium Ice Cream), we have our Derby flavor, bourbon pecan pie. We’re open on Derby, so we don’t go to actually celebrate Derby, but you know we’re in (slinging some Derby Pecan Pie). It’s a bourbon cream with chocolate and pecans, so it’s very similar to a Derby pie, but with a bourbon base. I’ve been to Oaks 10 times; haven’t stepped foot in the Derby once. I’ve worked here 10 years, so I definitely haven’t been since. Boss would know if I called in, it’s just me and him.
Lee Webster, Jasper
I usually watch the Derby at home and pool bets if we have enough people. I used to go but not anymore. Now, it’s just a fun day with friends and food… I love the hats; wish I had a place to wear it.
Amanda Bennet, Selvin
I used to go to Ellis Park (in Henderson, Ky.) for the horse races, dollar beer and dollar hot dogs. That was big when (all of my friends and I) were 21. We would go around Derby, especially. But I haven’t been in five years.
Dolores Dotson, Lanesville
Yard sale day (is an annual event on Derby in Lanesville). I’ve done it almost 20 years. Has it been that long? I guess it’s been 20 years. All of Lanesville! It’s pretty big. We used to watch the Derby after and everyone would put five bucks in a jar and pick a name, but everybody is too pooped now. We’re all getting older, and we all just go home and watch it.
Tara Smith, New Albany
It’s my mom and sister’s birthday, so we typically have people over, watch the race, bet money and have a cookout with a big cake with roses. And, of course, we dance and have a great time doing so.
A Money Matter’s duo, Eric Ballenger, Senior Vice President – Investments and Michael Grau, CFP®, RICP®, Vice President – Investment, start with the basics, Investing 101. Its the moment when you realize that you must invest early, but why? They explain how compounding works and how easy it is to set it and forget it.
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Basketball is always the topic of conversation in March. This year, basketball is also a hot topic at the New Albany Animal Shelter along with kitten season. Soon, the shelter will be overrun with moms and babies. While the shelter does not euthanize due to space, it can easily become crowded and overwhelming for these already stressed animals. Stressed mothers can have a harder time keeping their little ones healthy while they grow.
To help promote adoptions and reduce overcrowding, the Shelter is embracing basketball madness and holding our March Madness Feline Frenzy. This promotion will be held March 20th through April 1st.
Eight cats have been selected as part of the Elite 8. As adoptions continue the remaining cats will progress to the Feline 4 and the Final 2. All eight will automatically have their adoption fees cut in half! Those cats that have made it to the Final 2 will have their fees completely waived. The last cat remaining on the brackets, the Champion, will have their adoption fee waived, as well as receive a Champion Cat Basket! Cats that weigh over 4 pounds that did not make it in to the Feline Frenzy Brackets can still “Shoot for Savings”! Adopters will get one chance to shoot a basket and receive half off of their adoption fee!
All cats are spayed/neutered, microchipped, Felv/FIV tested negative, and current on yearly vaccinations. Some of these cats have already been waiting for many months for their forever home. These sponsored adoption fees are made possible by the Floyd County Animal Rescue League.
Come see what all the hoopla is about at the Shelter and meet our furry friends who need a home. Shoot for a winning cause!
Over three thousand animals a year come through the doors to the New Albany Floyd County Animal Shelter seeking homes. Together, we can make a difference!
Story and Photos by Miranda McDonald
Starting and maintaining a small business is always a challenge. However, what if you needed to factor in homework, extracurricular activities and the usual social angst that comes along with being a teenager? Meet Ethan Thomas: a 15-year-old entrepreneur who recently launched his first company, All Tied Up, and is proving that success doesn’t have to come after a certain age.
Even as a young child, Ethan had a deep appreciation for fashion. His eye for mixing fabrics and knack for building interesting outfits is something the young business owner has always prided himself on.
Wanting to add some panache to his wardrobe, Ethan bought his first pre-tied bowtie and instantly fell in love with the accessory. “I got to a point where I wore a different bow tie to school every day for a full year,” he explained.
However, as a young fashion enthusiast with limited income, his affection for the accessory became costly. So out of necessity, he decided to start making his own. “Eventually, people started telling me how much they really loved my bow ties and that I should sell them,” said Ethan. That is when he decided to setup his first booth at a local craft show last year. “I did a lot better than I was expecting, so things just kind of evolved into something much bigger from there.”
Now, Ethan regularly sets up booths at craft fairs and art-related shows – like the Flea Off Market – and fields orders for custom creations from those who hear about his company through social media or by word of mouth. This year, he is even expanding his line of products to include skinny ties, pocket squares and cufflinks that will all be made by hand.
However, even with this expansion of products, Ethan is still determined to stay true to his mission of creating accessories that are handcrafted from interesting materials. Many of his fabrics are sourced from local shops, but some are so unique that they date back as far as 70 years in age. He attributes the acquisition of these one-of-a-kind fabrics to a family friend named Mary Norris.
Ethan met Norris when his first sewing machine broke down. Her husband, Bill Norris, not only gifted Ethan with a high quality sewing machine from the1940s, but he also became a mentor to the young business owner. Because of this relationship, Ethan regularly pulls from Mary’s carefully-curated collection of fabrics. He was even able to acquire a fabric which features a colorful Van Gogh print he used to construct his favorite bow tie.
Choosing the right fabric is just a first step in the process of making a bow tie though. “After I choose the fabric, I cut out the pattern. Then I sew it, flip it and iron it out,” explained Thomas.
However, the process doesn’t stop there either. Thomas also handles the marketing of each of his custom pieces. His passion for selling at such an early age is extremely rare, but it is what has allowed Thomas to successfully grow his business in such a short amount of time. His motto? Everyone should “give a bow tie a try once.”
All Tied Up by Ethan Thomas
*Please message Ethan Thomas directly for orders and details.
FASHION TRENDS COME AND GO, BUT FOR THOSE UNAFRAID TO DRESS TO IMPRESS THEMSELVES, ONE CONSTANT REMAINS: STYLE IS WHAT YOU DETERMINE IT TO BE, ALWAYS.
Photos By Andrea Hutchinson, 502.299.6588, love. firstname.lastname@example.org
Ann Dunagan Crabtree
Retired civil servant whose last position was with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers I see my style as eclectic, playful and expressive of my personality. It is fun for me to create and imagine the freedom of taking simple pieces and wearing them in unexpected ways to pull together several looks with one changeable article. For example: an unadorned knee-length dress – straight or A-line – becomes a tunic over straight-leg pants or leggings. Or, add a long vest or maxi coat. Use clothes as a canvas, feature a unique scarf or necklace. Maybe try multi-layers, knit tops over or under a dress. Just because clothing is shown being worn one way, break away! Have fun! Try wearing an item backwards or maybe inside out. Never be afraid to play, interchange or re-arrange. Give your wardrobe a voice – your voice! I think of my style as layer upon layer of paint, an accumulation gathered over the years experimenting and capturing the lines that best express my personality. Consider yourself a hanger and play. Simply, have fun. I am a mature woman who allows herself the freedom of expression in dressing, unafraid to explore. I live by a saying from my Mother: “It’ll never be seen on a galloping horse.” That’s my philosophy on aging, dressing and having a style unique to me. Ann Dunagan Crabtree is a yoga enthusiast with a love of creating the unexpected when it comes to her style.
Maureen Elizabeth Bacon
Office manager for Justin Graphics, a graphic arts company in Louisville My style is definitely eclectic! I can honestly say that I do not have a person that has influenced me or whom I want to emulate in dressing. I am amazed by the women my age and older who are getting so much attention in the fashion world. We’re nothing new – We’ve always been here!!! Wear what makes you happy. It makes me sad when I hear women say they love an outfit or a piece of jewelry but won’t wear it because they would feel foolish. If you look in the mirror and smile, wear it! As the old saying goes “beauty is in the eyes of the beholder” that includes what you see when you look in the mirror. Wear what makes you feel beautiful and wear it boldly!
Never be afraid to play, interchange or re-arrange. Give your wardrobe
a voice – your voice!” – Ann Dunagan Crabtree
It makes me sad when I hear women say they love an outfit or
a piece of jewelry but won’t wear it because they would feel foolish. If you look in the mirror and smile, wear it!” – Maureen Elizabeth Bacon
Most clothing and accessories are from Colokial Boutique, 219 Pearl St. in New Albany
Creative fuel for the distinguished taste
Story and Photos by Grant Vance
Writers and creatives are oft stereotyped for their studio away from home studio – the atmospheric and expresso-equipped shelter best known as the coffee shop. Quills Coffee fully embraces its place as the creative’s shelter, aptly naming the shop to embrace the writer’s antiquated tool. Certainly rolls off the tongue better than Keyboards.
Quills of Downtown New Albany, located on Market right across the street from The Grand, is a welcome treat to Southern Indiana, offering uniquely crafted brews every day of the week, even the well-known barren business day, Monday. Their other locations are located on Bardstown Road, downtown Louisville and Indianapolis.
Originally started in 2007, Quills branched from Germantown into the Highlands, eventually making way to New Albany. Although the name appropriately fits as an allusion to writing, it also derives from founder Nathan Quillo’s last name.
As far as options go, Quills offers just about everything you’d expect from your average, run-of-the-bean coffee shop: in-house coffee, espresso, Americano, cappuccino, latte, cortado —and then some. If you plan on staying awhile, you can even order a bottomless option for just a dollar more than a cup of the in-house brew.
The manual brew option, described as a “fuller, more precise expression of flavors,” offers seasonal brews of all different varieties to choose from. The back of the menu lists each, as well as the prominent tastes, including the farm and region the bean was grown, its process (washed, natural, etc.) and when it was harvested.
The manual brew is a fancy edition to the menu, but the fancy doesn’t end here. Like any well-accomplished coffee joint, Quills offer their very own signature drinks, including the Bourbon Latte, The Alchemist and Café Miele.
Quills’ predominantly wooden interior is as relaxing as it is aesthetically pleasing, decorated with old typewriters and an alternating wall displaying art for sale from local artists found adjacent to the barista’s headquarters behind the counter.
Opposite the wall on the other side of the counter is a shelf full of Quills’ merch, including hats, shirts and mugs, as well as bags of coffee for the home brewers out there. Also offered are delicious pastries, including but not limited to toaster tarts, muffins, donuts and bagels.
An additional feature that sets Quills in Downtown New Albany apart is the style of music. Baristas alternate vinyl records, adding to the vintage, analog feel of the shop. All thee who dig an album from start to finish, rather than the typical shuffled variety approach taken by most other shops, enter here.
The combination of unique atmosphere and great, distinctly cared for coffee sets Quills apart as a coffee shop going above and beyond the standard. Though it caters to the creatives in us all, you need not require the creative bug to enjoy all Quills has to offer.
But, after your second or third cup of bottomless coffee, who knows what can happen.
137 E. Market St.
WAVE 3 Reporter Katie Bauer gave birth to her son Quinn Dec. 29. Only hours later, she was working with this reporter to help get this story into print.
Compiled by Lisa Hornung | Photo by Danny Alexander
Katie Bauer’s dedication to her family and telling stories are what drove her back to her home in Southern Indiana, despite the difficulty of finding a job in the same market as her husband.
Bauer, 31, grew up in Floyds Knobs and now lives in New Albany with her husband Chris Sutter, a reporter and anchor for WDRB. The two met while students at Ball State University. After graduation, Bauer got a job in Lubbock, Texas.
“It was an experience,” she recalled. “People who live in Texas love Texas!” While it was a good place to start, Bauer said she always had her eyes on Louisville.
While Bauer was in Texas, Sutter was in Michigan. They tried to see each other once every six weeks, so there was a lot of traveling. Eventually, Sutter found a job in Lexington, and in 2010, Bauer was hired at WAVE 3. The couple lived in Frankfort, Ky., and commuted to their respective jobs. Even worse, they worked opposite shifts. The TV news schedule can be tough.
Enduring their tough TV news schedules paid off when Sutter got his job at WDRB, which is located in downtown Louisville, and they began working the same shift. The pair – and their new baby, Quinn – now live in Southern Indiana and are happy there.
“I’ve just been so impressed with the area since moving back.” Bauer said. “We lived in Louisville for a little bit, but I feel like when you’re from Southern Indiana, you’re always drawn back to Southern Indiana. Even when I lived in downtown Louisville, I’d find myself over here shopping, the restaurants, everything. And we do a lot of fun, fun stuff in Louisville. But now that we live in New Albany, I’m so proud of this community! Just in the last seven to eight years, how much it’s grown. The restaurant scene and the small shops, you can really do everything over here and still have that small-town feel. I kind of get the best of both worlds.”
Bauer is the Southern Indiana reporter for WAVE, which is unique because she covers her hometown. It gives her a clearer view of what matters to the people in the area.
Her first assignment was a house fire across the street from Floyd Central High School, her alma mater. “We had to park in the Floyd Central parking lot, and it was so weird,” she said.
Bauer goes back to Floyd Central a couple times a year to speak to students, but the school was completely remodeled in 2010, so she has trouble navigating it, she said with a laugh. “You run into people and see a lot of familiar faces,” she said. “A lot of my core girlfriends are still around here, so that’s nice.”
When Bauer and Sutter got engaged, Bauer took up running as a way to get fit for the wedding. It took. She has run the Chicago Marathon twice and run several half marathons. She’s planning to run the Triple Crown of Running this year, but with the new baby, she will see how things go. “I don’t know if I could ever do another marathon,” she said. “It’s so much work.”
Bauer hasn’t been able to run since early in her pregnancy, but she did continue to workout. She and Sutter are members of the YMCA, and she enjoys Pure Barre classes, too.
During her labor and delivery classes while pregnant, the instructor said that giving birth is like running a marathon. “A marathon lasts about four hours, so, if that’s how it’s gonna be … great!” Bauer joked. She wasn’t quite that lucky, but she and Quinn are both healthy, and Sutter is excited to be a new dad.
“Working in the news business, you hear about all the things that can go wrong. But it went well,” he said. “It’s a blessing for sure.”
Family is important to Bauer. She’s glad to have hers nearby, and her husband’s family is only four hours away. Her parents, Mike and Gail Bauer, still live in Floyds Knobs, while her three siblings are scattered about the Midwest. All of the family is excited about baby Quinn. “This will be first grandchild on both sides,” she said, “and the first niece or nephew for anybody.” But being a mom and managing a reporting career will be a challenge. Neither parent works typical hours for daycare, so a balancing act will likely ensue, which is just fine with Bauer, who enjoys her job at WAVE.
“I just love how community-driven WAVE is,” she said. “They understand the importance of not just covering metro Louisville. Obviously, that’s going to be our main focus, but there are so many communities that rely on us. I’m able to stay over here and tell stories that matter to Hoosiers. I think it’s awesome that they recognize that.”
Her station’s focus on people makes her job more rewarding.
“The media gets a bad rap a lot, and we become the punching bags, and if we can prove that we’re not just in it for the sensational stuff and we care about the pulse of the community, that’s great,” Bauer said.
Sutter has high praise for his wife.
“She’s just a good person, and that’s hard to find,” he said. “She’s driven, she’s ood at heart, she always wants to do the right thing and is nice to other people.
“She’s going to be a great mom; I can already tell,” the proud father said from the hospital room when his son was a mere day old. “She knows what she’s doing, and I’m excited for what’s next.”
Most People who’ve been filing income taxes, and maybe also business taxes, for years know the drill: gather all your records, keep your receipts and use an experienced professional tax preparer.
Beyond that, though, what are some items that frequently slip through the cracks? Nicole York, senior manager at Rodefer Moss & Co., took time to share her expertise.
By Steve Kaufman
EXTOL: What are the things your clients need to bring to their tax preparation visit with you?
NICOLE YORK: First, any income statements: a W-2 for an employee, a K-1 for someone in an S-Corp or partnership, 1099s for sole proprietors and independent contractors. Then, all reports regarding mortgage interest paid, real estate taxes, property taxes (on cars, boats, motorcycles, campers) – it’s called “excise tax” in Indiana, “advalorem tax” in Kentucky. In short, I always tell my clients, “Include anything you get in the mail that says ‘Important Tax Documents Enclosed.’ ”
EXTOL: What about business expenses?
YORK: Have a list of all ordinary and necessary business expenses that might be deductible – anything they’ve had to pay to keep themselves in business.
EXTOL: What might change from year to year?
YORK: The birth of a child. A job change or relocation. Sale or purchase of a home, investments or other large assets. Distributions from a retirement plan. Significant medical issues. It could be something as simple as putting a child in daycare. We also recommend that they show us a couple of prior year tax returns, so we can see what’s been normal in the past.
EXTOL: Is it too late to make any significant changes to one’s 2016 tax situation?
YORK: Not at all. Many people don’t know theystill have time, even after the prior tax year ends, to take steps to mitigate their taxes for that year. You can still put $5,500 into your IRA ($6,500 if you’re over 50) until April 15 to count against last year’s taxes, assuming you meet the eligibility requirements. Self-employed individuals can still set up retirement plans until April 15. With a SEP (Simplified Employee Pension), you can put in about 25 percent of your net earnings. In fact, you even have until Oct. 15 to do that if you need to file for an extension on your taxes. And you still have time to max out a Health Savings Account (HSA) if you have one – up to $3,350 for a single taxpayer, $6,750 for a family, with an option for an additional $1,000 catch-up contribution if you’re over 55.
EXTOL: A Health Savings Account? What is that?
YORK: It’s a set-aside fund to pay for qualified medical expenses that exceed your health insurance plan’s deductibles.
EXTOL: Can anyone set one up?
YORK: No. First, you need to have a high-deductible health insurance plan. The government defines that, for 2016, as having deductibles of at least $1,300 for an individual, $2,600 for a family. In addition, the total out-of-pocket expense can’t exceed $6,550 for an individual, $13,100 for a family.
EXTOL: Do many people have that?
YORK: More and more, probably. It’s one way to keep premiums down, whether for health insurance coverage you’re required to carry under the Affordable Care Act or for health insurance coverage you’re getting through your employer.
EXTOL: How do you set up an HSA?
YORK: If it’s an employee benefit, your employer sets it up and withholds the contributions from your paycheck.
EXTOL: Is it too late to set one up now for your 2016 taxes?
YORK: It is. Those plans have to be set up before year-end. If you already have one, though, the deductible contributions can still be made until April 15. However, any HSA contributions made in 2017 for the tax year 2016 have to be made by the individual, such as a check deposited directly into the account. Just tell your bank that those are “prior year contributions.” Any contributions that come from the employer’s withholding on your paycheck will only be credited for the year in which they’re withheld.
EXTOL: We live in a two-state, multi-county community. It must get complicated.
YORK: Yes. For instance, a lot of Indiana residents working in Louisville have Louisville tax withheld from their paychecks. Indiana allows for a tax credit for those payments. One thing we find with new clients is that they’re not taking that credit, especially if they’d been preparing their own returns, or if the returns were done by a tax preparer unfamiliar with Indiana tax law.
EXTOL: Does that apply to state withholdings, as well?
YORK: No, Kentucky and Indiana are reciprocal states. So, if an Indiana resident is working in Kentucky, the employer withholds Indiana state income tax. And, of course, vice-versa.
EXTOL: Indiana residents do pay county income tax,
too, don’t they?
YORK: Yes, based on the county they lived in as of January 1 of the taxable year. It’s a flat tax filed with their Indiana state return. It’s not a separate metro return, like in Louisville/Jefferson County.
EXTOL: And the county tax rates are all the same?
YORK: Not at all. Around here, it’s 1 percent in Harrison County, 1.15 percent in Floyd County and 2 percent in Clark County. Something to think about if someone is planning to move this year.
EXTOL: Does anything still surprise you?
YORK: I’m still shocked that people enter into large transactions – selling a house, selling land, selling large investments – without first consulting their tax preparer about all the tax consequences. After the fact, there’s not always much we can do to mitigate the tax effects.
EXTOL: Any particular examples?
YORK: Social Security recipients are often shocked when a large transaction puts them over an income level and suddenly makes 85 percent of their Social Security income taxable. We get a lot of timber sales in Southern Indiana, where someone will have a logger come in and cut down standing timber on their property. Then they sell it and – oops – it raises their taxable income.
EXTOL: “Oops” sounds bad.
YORK: Nobody likes “oops,” especially when it comes to taxes.
About Nicole York
Nicole York is a CPA and a senior manager of the firm Rodefer Moss & Co. She works out of the Corydon office. “If you haven’t seen a tax preparer yet, there’s still time,” she said. “If you’re seeing a new preparer, you should pull together at least one prior year tax return (two is better), and write down a list of questions you have. If you’re a small-business owner, summarize all of your income and expenses for the year. Having these items handy before we meet will expedite the preparation process.”
For more information on Rodefer Moss, go to roderfermoss.com/indiana.html
THE FIRM’S THREE INDIANA LOCATIONS ARE AT:
301 E. Elm St., New Albany | 812.945.5236 119
E. Beaver St., Corydon | 812.738.3777
1074 Copperﬁeld Dr., Georgetown | 812.951.2708