0:00

BIRDWHISTELL: All right. Well, Mayor Ruckriegel, it's, uh, January twenty-third, I believe, isn't it?

RUCKRIEGEL: (Birdwhistell laughs) Yes, sir. Yeah, it's--

BIRDWHISTELL: We're in, we're here in downtown, uh, uh, Jeffersontown and we're doing this pro-, uh, this interview for that, for the Kentucky League of Cities, uh, Project, and, uh, as I have explained to you, what I'd like to do is talk about your early life and your past history, your family history, and then eventually we'll get into, uh, uh, your role as mayor here in, in Jeffersontown. So, uh, uh, let's start out then, I guess, by, uh, re-, are you originally from Jefferson County?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes, I'm, I was born just two blocks down the street here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's right, you told me that on the phone--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --last time. Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. What year were you born here?

RUCKRIEGEL: Forty-one.

BIRDWHISTELL: Nineteen forty-one. Um-hm. Tell me a little bit about your, your family--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, um--

BIRDWHISTELL:--your parents.

RUCKRIEGEL: --I was, I was one of, uh, ten children--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and we, uh, I mean, we were poor, but we always had a roof 1:00over our head and, uh, uh, plenty to eat--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and believed in the Lord, I mean, and, uh, so, uh, we all grew up here in Jeffersontown. Uh, uh, there wasn't, was no, uh, actually, there was no activities for children or anybody, uh, any age group here in Jeffersontown. Uh, back in, uh, 1951 they did have a, a high school was done away with here, and, and, uh, uh, so there wasn't even a high school here till they started, built a new one in the seventies.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, uh, um, when it come time to go to school now, uh, we had to go to, uh, if we was going to public high school, we had to go Fern Creek High School.

BIRDWHISTELL: Fern Creek.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, how long had, uh, how far back in this area do you trace your, your family roots, your, on both sides of your family?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, well, over a hundred years.

2:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. The Ruckriegels go back--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --a hundred years?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: See, my, uh, my grandfather and my great uncle, they, they were twin brothers--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. What was your grandfather's name?

RUCKRIEGEL: Robert Joseph Ruckriegel.

BIRDWHISTELL: Robert Joseph?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. And they had a dairy f-, uh, there on Nachand (??) Lane, which is about a mile out the Watterson Trail there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and they, they sold milk, I mean, delivered milk.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: 'Course, and during the Depression, uh, they lost it all.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, they did?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm, but now one of his brothers, one of their brothers had a big place up here on, uh, Chenoweth Run Road where that Saratoga, all them development is there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: That was, that was my great uncle's farm, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, and he was, was, uh, here a long time ago, too.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Quite (??) awhile.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. So the Ruckriegels came here from where?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, Jasper, Indiana.

BIRDWHISTELL: Came from Indiana?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's interesting, migration pattern.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, there's a lot of Ruckriegels over in Indiana--

3:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --in Jasper, Indiana.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, and we're, you know, cousins or something.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Somewhat (??), uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, if somebody else is named Ruckriegel, you can almost assume you're related to him, can't you?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. (Birdwhistell laughs) And also, uh, uh, um, my grandmother's maiden name was Betz, B-e-t-z, and, uh, and they come from Jasper, Indiana, too, so, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So your, your grandfather and grandmother had met up--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL:--in--

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, my great-grandfather.

BIRDWHISTELL: Great-great-grandfather.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, my--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. And so you come from a, from an agricultural heritage then?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes, back when this, when I was a kid, Jeffersontown wasn't no, uh, up on Town Square there was four or five beer joints and three or four grocery stores--(Birdwhistell laughs)--a couple of gas stations, and that was it. The rest of it was, well, it was farmland.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. What'd your father do?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, he was in the roofing and guttering business.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: But he died at age fifty with leukemia, so--

4:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? Huh.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, oh, he, he, he, uh, well, I was, he got buried the day before I turned twenty-one, and I was the fourth oldest of ten, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

RUCKRIEGEL:--I had a little sister of seven years old, uh, when, when he died and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow.

RUCKRIEGEL:--so my mom hung in there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Of course, she passed away here, four or five years ago, but, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. What was her maiden name?

RUCKRIEGEL: Ann (??), uh, Stilger, S-t-i-l-g-e-r from, now she's from Lanesville, Indiana. ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: So she's from Indiana, too?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, uh, but, uh, she kept the family together and, and really did a good job at it, I reckon.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. So you're born here in, uh, Jeffersontown. Do you call it J-Town?

RUCKRIEGEL: Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: You call it--

RUCKRIEGEL: I raised hell. I said, you know, them paychecks on 'em, don't have J-Town. (Birdwhistell laughs) It's got Jeffersontown on it.

5:00

BIRDWHISTELL: That's why I asked you because, uh--(Ruckriegel laughs)-- I--(laughs)--I thought that, I thought maybe you didn't call it J-Town. But we'll talk about why people do, I guess.

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, you know, the Courier-Journal, you know, they'd always say J-Town--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, one day I had an interview down there with them, and I was raising hell. I told them, I said, "You don't put L-Ville in the paper." (Birdwhistell laughs) And they agreed, they said, "Other than headlines from now on it'd be Jeffersontown." So that's fine.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Well, I'm glad I asked.

RUCKRIEGEL: (laughs) Yeah, why, I nailed them.

BIRDWHISTELL: (Birdwhistell laughs) No, that's just interesting. (Ruckriegel laughs) That's interesting. So, okay, you're born here in 1940--

RUCKRIEGEL: November 5th, 1941.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Are you born in the hospital or--

RUCKRIEGEL: No, I was born in this house two blocks--

BIRDWHISTELL: You were born--

RUCKRIEGEL:--down the street.

BIRDWHISTELL: When you say two blocks, you mean you were born there, you--

RUCKRIEGEL: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --weren't just ----------(??)-- you came home from the hospital? (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: That's right. That's where I was borned at (??). Yep.

BIRDWHISTELL: And the local doctor--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --was there--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --was there with ya--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, so you're, uh, and you're in this large family and 6:00your dad's a, a roofer and gutter, uh, person. And, uh, so by the time you get old enough to, to start, you know, looking around at the world, uh, it's, uh, the mid 1940s, and the war has been going on. It's coming to a close, I guess, by the time you're five or six years old?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Something like that (??).

BIRDWHISTELL: What, what do you make of this place? As you've said, you described it sort of physically as a, you know, as a few stores and, uh, up here at the top of the hill.

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, Jeffersontown continued to be a sleepy little town till the early fifties, and that's when, uh, like, Taylorsville Road here was built straight through, and the subdivisions started popping up around here because that's when they built the General Electric plant over there at Mutual's (??)--.

BIRDWHISTELL: So the, so the G-, the Appliance Park is what--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --they called it?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: So that, uh, that caused the, uh, building explosion around here for a demand for housing for them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Now, the, uh, from what I read, the, uh, the 7:00interurban would go from Jeffersontown to Louisville, but that stopped in what, '32 or something like that?

RUCKRIEGEL: I don't know. It was way back there, yeah. It turned around right here, up there where the Chamber of Commerce building is now.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, it did?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. But--

BIRDWHISTELL: But you don't remember? You wouldn't--

RUCKRIEGEL: No. No. Unh-uh.

BIRDWHISTELL: So--

RUCKRIEGEL: Naw, they built a firehouse there in '41 so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh--(laughs)--that's the same year I was built or made or born.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So, when you were growing up, did you have the sense that, like now people would, uh, if they would go somewhere they'd say, you know, if there were out of state, they'd say, "Well, I'm from Louisville," or something, you know, or they'd tell people, did you have sense that you were close to a, a major, uh, city or did you have much interaction with Louisville when you were growing up?

RUCKRIEGEL: When I was growing up?

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: No, we didn't have much interaction at all. It was an old two-lane highway down the road--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, Taylorsville Road wasn't it, and very seldom ever went to Louisville.

BIRDWHISTELL: So a trip to downtown Louisville would be an event in your life--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

8:00

BIRDWHISTELL:--at that point?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um, I had shoe, uh, foot problems, one of my feet, uh, one of my, uh, feet had, uh, I had to wear corrective shoes--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and I remember my mom would take me down on a bus to Boston Shoe--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

RUCKRIEGEL:--on 4th Street to get shoes whenever they--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --'cause they had to buy a special kind of shoes and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: --with arch or something in it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I can't remember.

BIRDWHISTELL: So when you were on 4th Street, you were, you were some place?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. (Birdwhistell laughs) Um-hm, but really, that's about the only time we ever went to Louisville.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. Was there a movie theater out here that you went to?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, no, ever, they used to have, uh, movies at the firehouse on, like on Satur-, or Friday night--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? Oh, that's ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL:--but that was, uh, that was even, that was in the middle of fifties, before they started doing that.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's funny.

RUCKRIEGEL: So there's absolutely was nothing to do here--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --for any age people--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --when I was a, grew up.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I, the reason I'm, uh, uh, spending some time on 9:00this because, you know, the, the, the Jeffersontown of your youth and the Jeffersontown at the time you're mayor, are very, very different.

RUCKRIEGEL: Was totally different.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. And so a person driving through here might not realize what a rural, uh, community, small rural community, less than a thousand people, I believe, in the 1940s.

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it wasn't, it wasn't, uh, very many people, not--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um, that's one reason when I became mayor, that we did so many things, I al-, you know, I, that wasn't here when I was a kid and I wanted to make sure that there was activities for all age groups.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And I think I've did a pretty good job of--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --of getting, uh, things.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So your work as mayor connects directly with your roots and your--

RUCKRIEGEL: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --history?

RUCKRIEGEL: That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: That's right. It, it, uh, it, uh, I'm very proud of what, what we accomplished over the nineteen years that I was mayor, uh, and, and we hit all age groups.

10:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, whether you're six-years-old or eighty-years-old, we have some kind of activity--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --for you to enjoy yourself--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and when you just make people's life just a little bit better, it, it, it's worth it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Why do you think your fa-, your dad stayed in Jeffersontown? Was the business good here, or he just felt this was his home?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, uh, well, his father lived right here.

BIRDWHISTELL: So he was close to his family?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, his father lived in this house?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm. This, we bought it from my grandfather's estate back twelve to thirteen years ago and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL:--kind of worked it over a little bit.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, this house was, uh, built in 1880, not this part but that part there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. And when did your family first live in it? ------- ---(??)--?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, it was about 1930.

BIRDWHISTELL: Nineteen thirty

RUCKRIEGEL: Um, the, right Depression time--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --is when they--

BIRDWHISTELL: He bought this house?

RUCKRIEGEL: He, well, he rented it, I think, for three or four years, then he bought it, like, for thirty-one hundred dollars or so-- 11:00(Birdwhistell laughs)--just, might have been twenty-six hundred. It was, it was real low figure.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, uh, so, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's nice that you live in actually the same house then. I mean, that reinforces your deep roots, so to speak.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, it, uh, we love living here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, it's a good location.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. It sure is. What was, uh, in the time you're growing up here in Jeffersontown then, what, uh, what would be the biggest event that happened while you were growing? Any-, anything like the building burned down or any kind of--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --major event?

RUCKRIEGEL: --now, my family was always involved with the volunteer fire department.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um, my grandfather, he was a past fire chief. My dad was a past fire chief--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL:--and then, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So--

RUCKRIEGEL:--several of my uncles were on the fire department and then, uh, back, by the time, you had to be sixteen to get on, time, uh, time I got, uh, up there I had, uh, there was four brothers, was 12:00me and three of my brothers, my daddy, my grandfather, and two of my uncles. There was eight of us Ruckriegels on there at the same time-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--on the volunteer fire department, and, in fact, I got pictures somewhere. In 1958 it was taken, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

RUCKRIEGEL:--uh, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: Huh.

RUCKRIEGEL: --so we were really involved in the fire department.

BIRDWHISTELL: So when you heard a siren go off, you-all had to scoot, didn't you?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. I mean--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and, you know, and there was no, uh, there was no monitors or--

BIRDWHISTELL: Sure.

RUCKRIEGEL:--pagers and things that day--

BIRDWHISTELL: No.

RUCKRIEGEL:--the fire siren--

BIRDWHISTELL: When the fire sirens went off, you-all got--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--got in the truck and got over there.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm. That, uh, but there was no, uh, there, there was absolutely no, they had a county fair every year down there at, uh, where the old high school was, they'd have that every year there. But other than that there was nothing in, in Jeffersontown that, you know, no events--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --they had--

BIRDWHISTELL: Where was the old high school in relation to the city?

RUCKRIEGEL: It's, uh, it's about two blocks from the town square, kind of--

BIRDWHISTELL: Heading toward Louisville? Heading toward ----------(??)--?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. If you go down, if you go down about a block and a 13:00half--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --from the Town Square, and turn left, and go one block, you'd run right into it. There's, Tully School's there now.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, but, uh, they'd have a county fair there every, uh, summer, but I, I can't remember, and, and, of course, during the summer they'd have, uh, the, the recreation league there that, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Baseball?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, well, yeah--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --softball and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Softball.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, but the kind of county supervised things--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --but, uh, that was, that was about it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: If you didn't play ball, I mean, there wasn't a whole lot to do.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Didn't have a library?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, yeah, there was a library in a room about as big as this kitchen--(Birdwhistell laughs)--in a house down here about two blocks from Town Square.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: But, uh, when I, that's, that was like that, Lord I, it was still on that back porch when I was adult, so, young adult, so, uh--

14:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, what, so you went to the graded school, what school, what was the name of the school?

RUCKRIEGEL: St. Edward.

BIRDWHISTELL: St. Edward.

RUCKRIEGEL: That used to be right up here on the corner--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So that's parochial school?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you had a parochial school here?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Yeah. And we went to school and church--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and then once we got out of the 8th grade, we h-, went to Fern Creek.

BIRDWHISTELL: Went to Fern Creek.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Was that a big switch, going to Fern Creek after being in that little ----------(??)--?

RUCKRIEGEL: Pardon?

BIRDWHISTELL: Was it a big adjustment going to Fern Creek?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, Lord. Hallways and half a block long and here ya-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--well, when I started at St. Edward's, there was two classrooms, and, like in about '51,'52 they built a new school and had three classrooms--(Birdwhistell laughs)--had first and second grade in one room, the third, fourth, and fifth in one, sixth, seventh, eight in the other. (Birdwhistell laughs) And, and, uh, then when going from there to Fern Creek High School is a--

15:00

BIRDWHISTELL: That was an adjustment?

RUCKRIEGEL:--total--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, where is Fern Creek High School from where we are right now?

RUCKRIEGEL: It's, oh, three, four miles, uh, to the--

BIRDWHISTELL: To the west?

RUCKRIEGEL:--west, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, the bus would come and pick you up?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Uh, our driveway, uh, we lived on Billtown Road, about half a mile out of Billtown Road--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--in our driveway the bus turned around and anywhere from there this way, went to Eastern High School over in Middletown.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, the, the, the, this general area was divided between two high schools?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL: Eastern or, Eastern or Fern Creek, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That doesn't sound like a good idea, to divide a community--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, when they closed, the year they closed Jeffersontown High School, they opened Eastern High School up.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: So they, and then just according where you lived here in Jeffersontown whether you was in Eastern's district or Fern Creek's district.

BIRDWHISTELL: What did that do to the community, uh, kind of spirit, to divide up the high school?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I, uh, I don't think there was that many people around here at that time, that it--

BIRDWHISTELL: That it mattered?

RUCKRIEGEL:--made, made that big a difference. I think if it had been 16:00ten years later, it would've been a--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uproar.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, I asked that because, as you know, when you look at school consolidation around Kentucky--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --when they would take the high schools out of these little communities--

RUCKRIEGEL: Hmm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and go to the consolidated school, that would harm, in some way, it would change, let's say, not, maybe not harm would be, harm might be a, too harsh a word, but it would change the kind of community.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, but Jeffersontown's population at that time was still real low.

BIRDWHISTELL: So--

RUCKRIEGEL: That was before the building boom and that, see (??).

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Before the Appliance Park and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. And so you didn't have an athletic tradition here that up, up, up--

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??)-- everybody? (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: No. (Birdwhistell laughs) No. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: So, uh, so what percent of the population when you were a kid, were, was Catholic then? If you had a Catholic school, would it be like twenty percent of the population?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. I'd say 20, 25 percent. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, yeah, I'd say it was--

17:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --probably 25 percent Catholic--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, community.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. So, Catholics and Protestants, there's no problem in Jeffersontown when you was growing up that might cause--

RUCKRIEGEL: No, I don't, blacks and whites, they'd make no difference.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Well, what kind of percentage of the population was black in, when you were growing up, do you remember?

RUCKRIEGEL: I would say one percent. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: One percent, a small percentage?

RUCKRIEGEL: And now, it's probably about 3 percent.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: They're still not--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --we have two or three sections of black neighborhoods that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --was there when I was a kid and they still--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --there.

BIRDWHISTELL: No racial problems when you were--

RUCKRIEGEL: Never. None.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: No. It didn't make no difference anyway. I went to school with black people at St. Edward.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really? That was an integrated school?

RUCKRIEGEL: In early, early fifties, before--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

RUCKRIEGEL:--before the county ever did.

BIRDWHISTELL: Huh. Well, that's neat.

RUCKRIEGEL: Of course, I reckon if you is Catholic, it didn't matter whether you're--(Birdwhistell laughs)--black or white--

BIRDWHISTELL: It's, Catholic trumps race. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. (Birdwhistell laughs) Yeah, but then there never was no problem with it down here.

18:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's interesting I, you know, I never would've thought that, that that school had been integrated.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um, the minister up here at the black church, he, he just retired here in, in November. He was there forty-five years--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --well, and he was down here the other day, we is talking, well, he, you know, I said, "Man, I never, there never was no, any, we never did have no problem with the black and white--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --neither one, that make no difference and it, I think that was good.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. Yeah. So, uh, you grew up listening to the radio probably?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, we had radio. We didn't have television till about '55--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --or--

BIRDWHISTELL: And you, you're getting, you know, listen to the radio, get radio programs, WHAS, and eventually--

RUCKRIEGEL: I remember we used to listen to Old Baby Snooks.

BIRDWHISTELL: Baby Snooks? Huh. Is that on WHAS?

RUCKRIEGEL: Pardon?

BIRDWHISTELL: Was that on WHAS?

RUCKRIEGEL: I don't know what it was--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --but I remember we used to listen--

BIRDWHISTELL: You liked that, huh?

RUCKRIEGEL: I, I don't know why I just--(Birdwhistell laughs)--I've just 19:00always remembered that.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Made an impression.

RUCKRIEGEL: Of course, we had, uh, seven acres out there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --at, uh, and now, we had horses and cattle, and, I mean, you know, milk cows and, uh, pigs, and all that, so, and then we always had, uh--(Birdwhistell laughs)--something to do. Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Did you have to work hard as a kid?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yes. Yes, we worked, we worked with, all of us boys worked with our daddy in that roofing and guttering business from knee- high to grasshopper--

BIRDWHISTELL: But you had, but you had dairy cattle too?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, just a couple.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, so you didn't have to go and milk every morning?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, no. Daddy always did the milking. (both laugh) Yeah, we had a couple of cows we milked and, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and then pigs, we--

BIRDWHISTELL: Chickens?

RUCKRIEGEL:--always had a bunch of them.

BIRDWHISTELL: You had chickens?

RUCKRIEGEL: Not very many.

BIRDWHISTELL: Not very many.

RUCKRIEGEL: They were always messy. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Um, so looking back on your childhood here in, 20:00uh, what would be rur-, rural Jeffersontown, it's a, you have good memories of that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Yeah, I, I, I, I can't get over it sometimes when I get thinking back to when I was a kid, and what it is now.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: It, it--

BIRDWHISTELL: It changed.

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, police department, I mean, we had an old man, was an old town marshal. I mean, he wasn't, you know--(Birdwhistell laughs)--uh, now we got fifty police officers, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow. So you had a volunteer fire department growing up, you had a town marshal basically--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--um, was there a mayor back then, when you were growing up?

RUCKRIEGEL: The first mayor, it used to be, it was a, a board of trustees. They, they weren't mayor-council then, but the first mayor was in '52.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, in 1952. You were still real young then?

RUCKRIEGEL: Pardon?

BIRDWHISTELL: You were still a kid, in fact?

21:00

RUCKRIEGEL: Well yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, when, uh--(clears throat)--a lot of people growing up in, uh, a rural setting in Kentucky, uh, one of their goals was to get, get away, go somewhere. That wasn't one of your goals? Why you think it wasn't?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, I, I've never lived no place except Jeffersontown and my wife she's from, uh, Camp Taylor, Louisville, over there off the expressway and Poplar (??) Road--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, uh, well, uh, I was an electrician in an electrical business--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, uh, and the guy I worked for, had a business here so I think that's one reason, you know, that, and, of course, being involved with the fire department--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --so I didn't want to move away.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, you just, you didn't have a desire to go to Chicago or go to--

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL:--Cincinnati or explore--

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL:--life somewhere else?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, well, eight of my brothers, or eight of us we were right 22:00within--

BIRDWHISTELL: So, you all stayed?

RUCKRIEGEL: Miles from each other right now.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL: We have two sisters lives out of town, but, uh, there's eight of us--

BIRDWHISTELL: Their husbands drug them away, right? (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. (Birdwhistell laughs) That's exactly what happened. Yeah. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Clawing (??), stretching over ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yep. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Do you ever think about that in terms of your family how place- oriented you are? You know, in terms of your desire to live and where you grew up and stayed. You know, the whole family, there's something about your family, I guess--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, well, I think, I think that, that, like, uh, me and my older, next to oldest brother, now, we had paper route when we were kids and that, and I think we just, the, this grew on us to living here and that, and we wanted to, and we, it's home, I, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I think that's great.

RUCKRIEGEL: ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: You just don't, you know, and at the time you were growing up, the country's transitioning into a mobile, move away--

23:00

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--you know, go to the city, you know move--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--move downtown and live in an apartment--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--you know, that kind of thing. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And, uh--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, it, uh, but I think by the time I got old enough to do that, I think it was moving the other way (laughs). I think they was moving out this way.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, you, you went to Fern Creek High School. What year would you've started Fern Creek?

RUCKRIEGEL: Pardon?

BIRDWHISTELL: What year would you've started high school at Fern Creek?

RUCKRIEGEL: Fifty-five.

BIRDWHISTELL: In '55.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you get, you graduated from high school--

RUCKRIEGEL: Fifty-nine

BIRDWHISTELL:--in '59.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: What are your plans at that point? What do you, what do you think you're gonna do at that point?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, my uncle was in the electrical business--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, uh, I'd help him on Saturdays, in the evenings a lot, so I had my mind made up, I was gonna be an electrician.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So how did you go about preparing for that, just working with your uncle?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes, Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And then when I got out of high school, I went fulltime, working every day--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and, uh, then I started my own electrical business. 24:00And, uh, uh, the last twelve years I've been, I was fulltime mayor, so my wife and son, now, they run the electrical business.

BIRDWHISTELL: I wondered who was, uh, helping you out, so, your son is doing that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. So I don't have nothing to do with it. (Birdwhistell laughs) I can't even answer a phone right.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) So when you, that's your uncle Ruckriegel--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes.

BIRDWHISTELL:--that's running, that has the electrical business?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, is he, uh, is his business, uh, wiring new homes or is it all types of things?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, everything, new homes, old rewires, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --commercial, small stuff--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --nothing real big.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm, but if you're going to be an electrical contractor, this would be a great place to be at that point in time, right--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--with the development?

RUCKRIEGEL: See, and there was no, there wasn't no ten thousand electricians back in those days either.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Uh, I bet you there's twenty electrical contractors here in Jeffersontown now--

25:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

RUCKRIEGEL:--and there wasn't two back then.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And so, uh, and you-all had a good reputation?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah. And, but, you know, we did very little work in Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where did you work? Everywhere?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, everywhere.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Prospect and, I mean, you know--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --everywhere, but we never did do a whole lot of work in Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Isn't that interesting?

RUCKRIEGEL: There's something--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, did you work for a, did you-all have a, when you worked for your uncle, and then when you developed your own business, uh, were you working for particular builders most of the time? Did you have--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, you had--

BIRDWHISTELL: --builders who ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL: --we had builders, who'd come and go too, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Of course, some of them--

BIRDWHISTELL: But you, but you'd have a builder who might start ten houses one year and another builder who might do six, and you'd have all sixteen houses going at once --

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and you're trying to get those--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--roughed in and then get 'em, wait till the drywall guy came (laughs)--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. And see, uh, back in the, the early seventies, or the seventies--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--a lot of people was going to central air conditioning, see, and, uh, early eighties, and that meant most houses had to have a new 26:00electrical service put in 'cause they wasn't--

BIRDWHISTELL: Ah, they weren't up to--

RUCKRIEGEL: --so there was a lot of rewiring going on in those, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --on account of central air conditioning--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Right. My grandfather was electrician--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah?

BIRDWHISTELL: --in Whitesburg. He always liked to do new houses, going back to those old houses was luck. He said you never knew what you were gonna run into.

RUCKRIEGEL: That's right. (Birdwhistell laughs) That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) And whatever you ran into wasn't gonna be good.

RUCKRIEGEL: That's right. That's right. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: But he, uh, he was an electrician, uh, during the sixties, uh, sixties and seventies, uh, uh, development, you know--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --building of homes and stuff, and he really enjoyed that and--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, that's about, now, they, they don't do a whole lot of, of, uh, old work. They do mostly new work.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, you know, and getting paid, you know, some people just outsm-, get you right off the bat but, uh, they've been very fortunate here in the last few years, having some good customers--

27:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --that pays like they talk.

BIRDWHISTELL: I just had an electrician out to my house the other day, and, and, uh, talking about trying to find good, good people to do that, I have a great plumber, and so I need an electrician I call my plumber and I said, "I, this might be an odd question, but you're so good and so honest, who would you recommend for an electrician?" And they said, "You would be, you, you'd be surprised how many times we're asked that question." And they recommended this guy, and he came out, a wonderful guy, and he'd been, he'd been working, and he started when he was sixteen years old--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --been working thirty years, a great guy.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's a great business, I think

RUCKRIEGEL: It's shocking.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. (Ruckriegel laughs) An old electrician joke. (both laugh) Um, so, tell me how, what you thought when you, you get out of high school and you're working as an electrician, you're, you're involved in the, sort of the, the boom of, uh, this area, in 28:00terms of building and expansion, the, you're, you become a businessman, and, and, uh, uh, you know, for business purposes, growth and development is, uh, is beneficial, and, uh, what do, what do you make about the transition as you're a young man here in, uh, uh, in, uh, Jeffersontown, the transition of the community? What, what changes most in that period of time?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I think all these, uh, housing boom, like, uh, from the early fifties to seventies, well, still going on but them--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: --that ten or fifteen year period there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. It was hopping, wasn't it?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, they were just putting houses everywhere.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, and, of course, I was involved in very little of the, the wiring those things because, like I say, we never did do that much, uh, work in Jeffersontown--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --but--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, would it been easier just to work in--

RUCKRIEGEL: Pardon?

BIRDWHISTELL: Would it have been easier just to work on houses here?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, but we never did. (Birdwhistell laughs) We, we, and 29:00even the guy that I worked for, uh, the, the, not my uncle but, this Horton Electrical Company when I got out of high school--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, he didn't do very little work in Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Who did all the work here?

RUCKRIEGEL: Hell, I don't know--(Birdwhistell laughs)--but it wasn't local people.

BIRDWHISTELL: (Birdwhistell laughs) So st-, uh, as the, as more houses are here, and things are, things are developing, uh, more traffic?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Traffic, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Were there concerns about zoning that early on, in terms of how the city was gonna develop?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, uh, back in, uh, '58,'59, uh, Jeffersontown, uh, shopping center down there, that was a, that was a big deal, uh, for Jeffersontown because actually, it was the first big development in the city, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, where is that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, J-Town Shopping Center, they call, it's down Taylorsville Road about a mile.

30:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, a guy by the name of Jack Durant, uh, applied for rezoning in that, and my grandfather was on the city council at the time--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and they granted him zoning. And I think that kind of got Jeffersontown going, uh, for commercial stuff in that, on Taylorsville Road and, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, but see, here with the zoning here in Jeffersontown, you got to go through Louisville and Jefferson County Planning Commission, and if, regardless of whether they approve it or disapprove it, the Jeffersontown City Council has the final say. So we can, they can say yes, and we can say no, or vice versa.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, uh, so, so, really, the planning thing, uh, and zoning in that really wasn't that, uh, um, well, it's controversy--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --but, but most of it was taken out before they got here--

31:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--from downtown, when they had they public hearings, and things like that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. All right. So Appliance Park comes in and GE, and, uh, that causes a building boom--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and an influx of new people. How does the influx of new people change the community, from your perspective?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, number one, like St. Edward's school and church, uh, they, uh, bought ten acres over in Charlane Heights' subdivision and built a new school and a new church over there because, to take care of all these, uh, and that school had about twenty classrooms in it, where we had three--(Birdwhistell laughs)--up here, so, uh, so that made one, uh, big change.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. But as a sense, does your sense of the community, like what the community is like, everybody knowing everybody and that kind of the rural close-knit setting that you grew up in, that starts to change--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yes. We started--

32:00

BIRDWHISTELL:--when you're a young adult?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. When I was a young adult, hell, I knew everybody in Jeffersontown--(Birdwhistell laughs)--you know, and ten years later, you didn't know half of them--(Birdwhistell laughs)--uh, unless they went to church with you.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, so, so, yeah, that all changed, uh, the, but it's still, it's still, even to this day, I think, there's still got a little small-town atmosphere to it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: But you would like that to stay that way?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm. Yeah, we, we don't want to be known as a city Louisville or Lexington.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Uh, I always tell the story, you know, when, uh, Lawrence Wetherby was running for governor, and, uh, it was always really hard for someone from Louisville to win a governor's race, and he'd travel around the state, and they'd say, "Aren't you from Louisville?" And he'd say, "No, I'm from Anchorage." (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: So--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, that's what they said about David Armstrong. He said 33:00he lived a mile from, uh, Milton, Kentucky--(Birdwhistell laughs)--but hell, it was over in Indiana, I mean, that's where, or Madison, Indiana, that's where he grew at, see, but they said he--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) He lived a mile from Milton, I hadn't heard that one. That's funny. (Ruckriegel laughs) That's a good one, Mayor.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oka-, and then, uh, in the 1960s, to kind of move forward here, the, uh, uh, the, uh, uh, Interstate 64--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--was built, developed, and that's just to the east of town, right? How far is that--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, actually it's, it's north and east--

BIRDWHISTELL: North and east?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. It, uh, yeah, then that's, and then, then the industrial park got started--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --about that time, see.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was there any hope in the community here, that the interstate would come closer to town?

RUCKRIEGEL: See, I, I don't, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: You don't have memory of that? ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL:--remember, uh, of course, it's not really that close, I 34:00mean, really that far away.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --from here it's not, not very far.

BIRDWHISTELL: How far is it, like three miles?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, it's three miles, if you go out here to the Snyder Freeway then go back, but, but interstate, uh, well, even if you went Hurstbourne Lane, the three miles would get you, yeah. Yeah. Of course, that was all country then.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: ----------(??).

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, Hurstbourne Lane, is that in Jeffersontown? Is that--

RUCKRIEGEL: Part of it is.

BIRDWHISTELL: Part of it on this end would be in Jefferson community?

RUCKRIEGEL: And part of it is, and part of it's not, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did the, uh, did the actual size of the, the, the, the, the, the city start to expand during this period? Did you annex and, uh--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --physically expand?

RUCKRIEGEL: When they built, uh, uh, 64 and then, uh, Plainview Farms, uh, they annexed that in the city of Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL: So--

BIRDWHISTELL: So Jeffersontown goes all the way to--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah, we go all the way to the Shelbyville Road.

BIRDWHISTELL: You do?

RUCKRIEGEL: There's about six houses on Shelbyville Road, that fronts 35:00on, that's in Plainview subdivision, that's in Jefferson--

BIRDWHISTELL: And that's Jeffersontown?

RUCKRIEGEL: But now the corner, like where Shell and Hardware used to be and all that, that, now, that's not, that's Henry County.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. (Ruckriegel clears throat) So, uh, did the, uh, did the city grew during this period of the interstate and the industrial park, uh, it, but did it grow more during your administration?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yes.

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL: It kind of, uh, back when, uh, in, uh, when I went as mayor in '82, there was about thirty-five hundred jobs in Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And now it's about forty thousand (laughs).

BIRDWHISTELL: Forty thousand? Wow.

RUCKRIEGEL: In the city limits, you know, so it's, so it's, uh, and--

36:00

BIRDWHISTELL: You're the fifteenth largest city in the state, right? Something like that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, no, I think we've, I think we'd be, maybe tenth or something now.

BIRDWHISTELL: You moved up since what I saw.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. I had the, I think the news out (??)--new, the census thing, I think you're gonna see a Jeffersontown population, twenty- eight to thirty thousand.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Thirty times what it was when you were a kid. Thirty times what it was--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um (pause) there's a, uh, before we get into your administration, there's a, uh, uh, a good, uh, nice history of the whole community, I mean, it goes back to the, to the late, uh, eighteenth century, so, late 1700s, early 1800s. So did you have a 37:00sense--(Birdwhistell clears throat)--when you were growing up here, of the history of the community?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, some, uh, but, see, we did a two hundred year book here three or four years ago, well, two, in '97, I think it was--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, and been, some of that stuff I'd, I'd know, I knew, but some of it I didn't, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a great history, isn't it?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Yeah, it, uh, turned out, uh, we, uh, well, it was 1997, and Jeffersontown was, uh, two-hundred-years-old.

BIRDWHISTELL: In 1997?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, it was, it was incorporated in 1797.

BIRDWHISTELL: I'll have to look for that book. I don't, make sure we have that in the library.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, when we get through here, I'll see if I can't find you a paperback one. I ought to have one around here. I'll give it to you.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's nice of you. That's nice. Uh, let me turn 38:00this over.

[Tape one, side a ends; tape one, side a begins.]

BIRDWHISTELL: When did you, uh, you, you're working as an electrical contractor here in town, your roots go all the way back for generations, when did you, and you're on the volunteer fire department, when did you start to get involved in other city-related activities and get an interest in how--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --the city was run?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, the Gaslight Festival that they have up here every year--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, I got, I got involved with that through doing the electrical work, uh, for 'em--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --free of charge, you might say--(both laugh)--wasn't no pay--

BIRDWHISTELL: There you go.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, so, that's how I really, I, I got involved with, with, working with the city, with the, and, uh, and then, of course, the fire department and the city worked together--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --real well.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, you'd stayed alrea-, you had stayed on the fire department all this time?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Um-hm. And then, um, uh, the guy that was mayor, uh, one called me one day and wanted me, wanted to know if I'd run f-, on city council.

39:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. What year was that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, well, '77.

BIRDWHISTELL: Seventy-seven. What did you say?

RUCKRIEGEL: And I thought about it, and I knew if I got elected, that I'd have to get off the fire department 'cause back then, they didn't want, so, I decided, yeah, I'll run. So, of course, I won and I was on the city council for four years.

BIRDWHISTELL: Four years. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, I served two terms, uh, two two-year terms. And then--

BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me, who ab-, who was the mayor at that point?

RUCKRIEGEL: Owen Potts, O-w-e-n--

BIRDWHISTELL: O-w-e-n P-o-t-t-s?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm. Nice guy, nice guy.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. What, uh, had you, uh, I guess, as a, as a, a lo-, a volunteer fireman and a person who had been involved in the city, you had, uh, attended city council meetings?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah. See, they used to have them in the, in the firehouse. In fact, we moved the fire trucks out for them to have the city council. There was no City Hall. (Birdwhistell laughs) Uh, so, 40:00uh, yeah, I went to city council meetings when I was a kid.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: What would be, uh, what would be the main agenda items in, at this point, in terms of city council meetings, what, what would be the major issues that would come up in this period, when you're a member of the council?

RUCKRIEGEL: You mean--

BIRDWHISTELL: What types of things would be on--

RUCKRIEGEL: You mean when I was a kid?

BIRDWHISTELL: No, when--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh.

BIRDWHISTELL: --no, not when you w-, not when you attended as a kid, but when you went on the council--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh--

BIRDWHISTELL:--what were some of the main issues that you all were dealing with at that point?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, uh, I think, uh, benefits, the employee benefits, and that was a big deal--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, and pay for, I think, they were two of the big deals, uh, uh, drainage was a big deal and, uh--(sighs)--they, they didn't do a whole lot about it the four years I was on city council-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--except talk.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Those are tough issues sometimes.

41:00

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So, your, your city payroll had, had increased probably by that time? You probably had more police--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, uh, when I went in, in mayor in January of '82 the, the, there was a million-dollar budget. So, even now we spent five million dollars on police department, so, uh, so that makes them--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Wow. Wow. Uh, what surprised you the most when you went on the council? Anything, I mean, that--

RUCKRIEGEL: Not really. No, it, uh, of course, I kind of knew what they did--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --went on that. Uh, it, the biggest disappointment for me was that, that, uh, there's three or four people, whatever they said, went. I mean, and it didn't make no difference what, and that kind of put me at odds with them, uh--

42:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Were they on the council or were these people--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, these people, was three or four of them, you know, that whatever they said, that's it. And that's hardship for us.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, I got more votes that, than they did--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I was top vote-getter (??) both times that I ran for city council.

BIRDWHISTELL: You were?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: How many people were on the council?

RUCKRIEGEL: Six.

BIRDWHISTELL: Six.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And so, four of them controlled the--

RUCKRIEGEL: See, and the mayor ----------(??) and I ran with him he got thirteen votes more than I did, uh, so, uh, so I--(both laugh)--I thought that was pretty good.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. What do you attribute your, uh, your, uh, vote- getting ability to?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, I think I just knew a lot of people and my personality, I--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --was a bullshitter, I was, I mean I, not, blind the people or anything--

BIRDWHISTELL: I understand.

RUCKRIEGEL:--you know--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--I always, I always tried to be friendly with everybody.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah. That counts for a lot in--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --in running for office.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um, and then my big large family.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I think, I think that, uh--

43:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and we had a good reputation.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. You got all your relatives to vote for you, you were in pretty good shape.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm. (laughs) That's what we always said. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Get out the Ruckriegel vote. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: That's great. Um, so, when did you make the decision to run for mayor then?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, this four years I was on city council, like I say, I didn't feel like I got treated right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: So I made the decision, like, six months before filing deadline, I, I was either gonna go up or out. I was either gonna be mayor or I was gonna be out of it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And myself and, uh, two of the other present councilmen--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, run with me as cannel-, council candidates, and, uh, just one of the other council ran with the present mayor that was Potts. So, uh, um, when it comes time for the, the election then, I, I 44:00just beat him by two hundred and ninety votes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Out of how many?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, about four thousand, but, uh, four of my city-council people won, and two of his won. And--

BIRDWHISTELL: So you had the majority?

RUCKRIEGEL: And then, the second time around, four years later, I ran against him and a police chief--ex-police chief, the guy I fired the first day I was mayor--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and then the third, fourth, and fifth terms, I had no opposition.

BIRDWHISTELL: So the, Mayor Potts had, uh, asked you to, to run for the council--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--and then four years later, you beat him for mayor?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. He's a nice guy, he's a nice guy.

BIRDWHISTELL: Was he, he was probably pretty unhappy about you running against him, wasn't he?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah. Yeah. He wan-, he tried to talk me into letting 45:00him stay four more years and then--

BIRDWHISTELL: And then you can have it?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: What did you say?

RUCKRIEGEL: And I said, "No, I'm not gonna cut no deals--(Birdwhistell laughs)--I'm in it, and I'm gonna stay in it. I'm either going up or out."

BIRDWHISTELL: So, uh, what kind of campaign did you run?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, we run on a broom ticket. We want a clean sweep.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL: (laughs) That's what we told people, you know, but, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did you have any, uh--

RUCKRIEGEL: We had, uh, well--

BIRDWHISTELL:--had you have--

RUCKRIEGEL:--we had some drainage problem--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--drainage was a, was a big issue, uh, and the police department was a big issue, when I ran, uh, for--

BIRDWHISTELL: So drainage meant that, uh, there was just a lot of, uh, like, storm sewer flooding--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and things like that in town?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. And Jeffersontown didn't do nothing about it. I mean, like I say, we talked about it the four years when I was on the city council, didn't do, and then the police department was total shambles. It was, it was total chaos--

BIRDWHISTELL: Was it corrupt?

RUCKRIEGEL: --so, well, no, not that, but it was no, no supervision at the, uh, we didn't have well trained officers--

46:00

BIRDWHISTELL: It just wasn't professional--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--in your opinion?

RUCKRIEGEL: So, so with that, and, and most of them supported me for mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: Most of the police?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes. Um-hm. There was probably four or five that didn't, and there was fifteen that did, 'cause there was about twenty policemen at that time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Did the police chief know you were against him?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah, he knew. There was no secret.

BIRDWHISTELL: Did that, was that a problem--(laughs)--having a police chief--

RUCKRIEGEL: No, he knew, he knew he was gone, if I got elected mayor. (Birdwhistell laughs) And, uh, the election night when I won, you know, I, I told the newspaper, I said, "We'll have a new police chief. We gonna have a new building inspector." Well, the guy who was building inspector told me the next day, he said, "Dan, this city's getting so big, that we need two building inspectors." I said, "If we need two, you ain't gonna be one of 'em." (Birdwhistell laughs) So, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: He was trying to, he was trying to hang on?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm. And so I got rid of him real quick. But, uh, 47:00but the second time I ran, and them two ran against me, they got eight hundred votes between them, so, and I ain't had nobody running against me since.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. So, uh, the night you win, you already have in mind what your, what your priorities are gonna be. You know, you're gonna--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--work on storm drainage. You're gonna fix the police department--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--fix the building inspector, anything else?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Were those the main things?

RUCKRIEGEL: We, we got, we got professionals, uh, we, we, we got certified--

BIRDWHISTELL: I'm gonna shut that door if that's okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh. Well, yeah, that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Transcribers have a hard time because of the noise.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --uh, talking about your priorities.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Well, uh, the first thing I did, uh, I hired a police 48:00chief from Jefferson County. He was a, he was lieutenant colonel. Then he was a captain and he retired from the county December the 31st and went to work in Jeffersontown January 1st as police chief, and he's still there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL: And of course, I'd knowed the guy all my life, and, uh, and now we have a, we have one of the best police departments in the country.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, they're, they're, they're certified. They're, uh, uh, the, uh, oh, I can't think, the, well, heck, police department, they--

BIRDWHISTELL: I don't know the word.

RUCKRIEGEL: I can't, I'll think about it--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: And then public works. I, I went, um, I left the guy in charge of public works. He's a black fellow. Against my better wishes, I left him in 'cause two or three of the councilmen want-, well, in three months he had a heart attack, so then I put a guy in that I 49:00wanted to put in to start out with, and then he lasted till last year.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And we, uh, got all kinds of equipment now and that, when I went on the city council, Jeffersontown had a little pull-behind salt-spreader. (Birdwhistell laughs) Now, we have fifteen trucks with spreaders and blades and--

BIRDWHISTELL: And blades, yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--uh, you know, so, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) A pull-behind--

RUCKRIEGEL:--so there was no preparation for, for things like that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Um--

BIRDWHISTELL: Did, uh, at, by the time you were mayor, had you already moved from a volunteer fire department to a fulltime fire department?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, unh-uh. Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: I would've thought for insurance purposes that--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, no, the, uh, the volunteers, uh, in fact, they still have some volunteers, but the Jeffersontown fire district, uh, they've hired, they've been there, uh, just three years, a fulltime fire 50:00department.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Just in the last three years? I would've thought for insurance purposes, you'd had to make that move sooner but--

RUCKRIEGEL: No, uh--(Birdwhistell clears throat)--of course, you see, within Jeffersontown's fire d-, uh, area, there's four different fire districts, Fern Creek fire department protects some of it, MacMillan Fire Department, Middletown, and Jeffersontown Fire Department. So, between the four fire districts, there's a lot of paid firemen, so--

BIRDWHISTELL: I see.

RUCKRIEGEL:--per, uh, ratio-wise--

BIRDWHISTELL: You're doing--

RUCKRIEGEL:--we probably got more paid firemen than they do, in the city of Louisville.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) That's interesting. Uh, um, did, did moving into the mayor's job, uh, uh, did that, uh, put a hardship on you in terms of your business?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, one of the first seven-eight years I was mayor, now, I mean, I run the electrical business and, and go up there. I'd spent forty hours a week at nights and Saturdays, and Sundays and that, and finally, uh, we went to a fulltime mayor. Then that's when, uh, I took 51:00and, uh, turned the electrical business over to my wife and, and my son.

BIRDWHISTELL: What, what year did you go fulltime in the mayor's office--

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: --like '90?

RUCKRIEGEL:--let's see, this, I'd say about '88.

BIRDWHISTELL: (clears throat) Nineteen eighty-eight? What causes a, Mayor, one of the things I'm trying to find out in these interviews is, what causes someone to give so much to a community, to give up your nights, give up your weekends, put a hardship on your own business to, to run the city. What, what motivates a person to do that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I think having Jeffersontown in your heart.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, uh, being that I'd lived here all my life.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Now, if I had, if I hadn't, I think if I wouldn't have been here all my life, I would've never, uh, did that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--uh, but, but I want Jeffersontown, I want it topnotch--

52:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Make it as good as it could be. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--accredited that's what I'm trying to say--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: --about that police department. We're state and national accredited

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: In fact, we were, uh, we have been for several years--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --so that's a big--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's important.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's important.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Insurance-wise and everything.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yes, sir.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yes, sir. Uh, my brother's a police, used to be a police officer in Lawrenceburg and then in Georgetown, so I'm familiar with, uh--

RUCKRIEGEL: The old mayor of Lawrenceburg, uh, Colonel Sanders. BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Ha, ha--(laughs)--

BIRDWHISTELL: That was a character.

RUCKRIEGEL:--that's, he was a pretty nice guy.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: And then--

BIRDWHISTELL: And I didn't really know him. I hadn't lived there sin-, in years and years, you know.

RUCKRIEGEL: And the new guy--

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL: --he was a real big heavyset guy.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, he and I went to high school together.

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah?

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: He's a, he's as friendly as can be (??).

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, he's a friendly guy.

RUCKRIEGEL: In fact, when I was cleaning my desk drawer out up here, I found his business card--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: --you know what I mean, one he had given me.

BIRDWHISTELL: He's had, he's had a little problem with his police chief, so--

RUCKRIEGEL: Has he?

53:00

BIRDWHISTELL: That's a tough job for a mayor to have a problem with your police chief. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Hmm. Well, I wouldn't be a policeman. (Birdwhistell laughs) I wouldn't be a policeman.

BIRDWHISTELL: When, uh, one of the things you have to do at, as mayor, you know, that, uh, soon after you're elected, take office, and you, you have to start holding these, uh, council meetings I guess the, what, tell me about the classification for Jeffersontown. What, what class city was it when you became mayor? Is it still the same?

RUCKRIEGEL: Okay. No, unh-uh. We were fourth class and this last legislature--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--uh, we went to a second class city.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you moved from fourth to second--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL:--during your administration?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: What, what change did that mean for the city in terms of how it's organized and how it works?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, really, none.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm.

RUCKRIEGEL: It just, it, uh, we felt like that in Jefferson County, there's about ten or twelve fourth class cities--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --which we were right in there with 'em, uh, and we felt like that this kind of lumped us in with 'em, where a second class city kind of breaks us away from 'em--

54:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and, uh, uh, people from out of town, they come in and said, uh, "Well, we're about l-, locating out, relocating to Jeffersontown." And they get to talk about the city, well, that's why it's a second class city. That's the only second class city in Ken-, in Jefferson County.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right?

RUCKRIEGEL: So, so that kind of, see, and there's not, but about ten in the whole state so where there's probably three hundred fourth class cities.

BIRDWHISTELL: Tell me what are, what would be other second-class cities in Kentucky be that you know about?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, we'd have like Paducah and Owensboro--

BIRDWHISTELL: Those are second class cities?

RUCKRIEGEL:--Henderson, uh, um, up Northern Kentucky, Covington and the, the ones up through there.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you're running with the big dogs then?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah. (Birdwhistell laughs) Yeah. Um-hm. Uh, Bowling Green, uh, it's that class city.

BIRDWHISTELL: I see.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, I, I think it kind of put us in a little cla-, especially for companies looking to relocate and that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: They know they ain't got a little rinky-dink, uh, town 55:00marshal, and then--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: you know, I mean, they know we have--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right.

RUCKRIEGEL: --professional--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right.

RUCKRIEGEL:--police, fire--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. Did, now in the, in the running of the city the, with the cou-, a mayor-council setup, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--uh, you, you would have, like, the city clerk and, uh, and, uh, somebody on your staff that would help you run the mayor's office, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes. I had an executive assistant, and she was also my secretary and --

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and a secretary for the city council.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So that was a very important position?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um, and so the, the issues that would come before the city government then would come to the council meetings, and, uh, I should know this but I don't, when, when you would deliberate on these issues and then vote, uh, the council members would vote, and then the mayor had a vote in that or--

RUCKRIEGEL: No. The only way I voted was is if it was a tie.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, there are six, six council members--

56:00

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--and if they go three-three, then you break the--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--the vote.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And then when you went in, of the six, you, you said four were voting with you at the time, basically?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, I had no prob-, no, I had six votes. The, the two of 'em ran on another ticket, they--

BIRDWHISTELL: They, they, they fell in line?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right in line. I mean--

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow.

RUCKRIEGEL: I treated them just like I treated the ones running with me, and that, we had no problems whatsoever.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. So you were, you weren't in a, you weren't in a divisive situation then, right, with the council?

RUCKRIEGEL: I, of my nineteen years as mayor, seventeen years of it I had six share votes on -----------(??). So I was pretty good.

BIRDWHISTELL: Seventeen out of nineteen. How did you do that, Mayor?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I treated everybody fairly whether, I mean, you know, you can disagree and agree to disagree--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and we, I just got along with 'em. I, I, I don't want, didn't want no animosity and if a guy had a problem with something, well, dammit, let's get it straightened out.

BIRDWHISTELL: Just straightforward?

57:00

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's pretty good in the city-council situation, to not have divisiveness 'cause--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--it's pretty divisive--

RUCKRIEGEL: We didn't, we didn't have no problem.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Huh. Huh. Do you like running those meetings?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I felt like it was a waste of time 'cause I didn't get, you know, I voted about twice in my nineteen year.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you ran the meeting, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, yeah. Um-hm. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: You voted twice? (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, you know, you go up there and you, some old long- winded person, about something, don't mean nothing--(Birdwhistell laughs)--stand up there and talk for an hour. (laughs) Huh.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, when they--

RUCKRIEGEL: But our city council meetings, if they lasted over fifteen minutes that was a long time.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

RUCKRIEGEL: -----------(??)

BIRDWHISTELL: You cut to the chase, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. They didn't last very long. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: And that's, and that's the way you wanted 'em?

RUCKRIEGEL: That's right. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Um, so you were, you moved quickly, as we talked about, 58:00in certain areas, were you, in, in terms of the police and things, were y-, how did you solve the storm-sewer-drainage problem? Did you--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL:--put money into it or, you had to put money into it --

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. We, uh, we had a, the number one project was, we had to buy some land and put a large retention pond in, and, to hold the water back, you know, and it just comes out gradually.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right.

RUCKRIEGEL: That solved fifty percent of the draining problems in Jeffersontown, by doing that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that right? So did you have to--?

RUCKRIEGEL: Of course, it costs a lot of money but it--

BIRDWHISTELL: You had a consultant come in and--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--here and tell you that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And every year we'd spend half a million dollars on drainage, I mean, we, we still do.

BIRDWHISTELL: Is that because of all the creeks running through here?

RUCKRIEGEL: Creeks, uh, people's, uh, uh, yards gets built up from silt and that and water starts standing, and then they gonna blame it on the city 'cause they're too damn lazy to, to--(Birdwhistell laughs)--clean 59:00it out theirself and, and, uh, but, uh, but, but that'll be an ongoing thing, drainage and sidewalks. Uh, we put the streetlights on every street in Jeffersontown and we, then we got sidewalks just about every street in Jeffersontown. Then we have a sidewalk maintenance program now where we, if a block of it, busted up or something, we'd take it out and, and keep four guys busy just working every day doing that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Now, where there, there were sidewalks in the center part of the town, but you're saying you expanded the sidewalks--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yep.

BIRDWHISTELL: --throughout the city?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's what--

RUCKRIEGEL: We, we've got sidewalks in just about every street in Jeffersontown, the, uh, the Watterson (??) Trail going that a way. There's a section that, is, uh, costs a billion dollars to get it in 60:00there, and that's the only s-, part of town that don't have sidewalks that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --on major streets.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. And that's one way when you go from town to town, city to city, you can really tell the difference between a towns that has sidewalks. I mean, that is a, sort of a, symbol of--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Of, uh, how government is run--

RUCKRIEGEL: Hmm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --isn't it?

RUCKRIEGEL: See, and then we have streetlights on--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --every street. I mean, we, we did away with the overhead ones, of what there was, and put pole lights up at, uh, twelve--

BIRDWHISTELL: You mean, the ones that are just strung from pole to pole, is what you got rid of so now you just--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Well, now we got like twelve-foot poles, there on that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and we have them all over the city of Jeffersontown--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, but we spent about three hundred thousand dollars a year on electricity for them. But it's still, it's good security. People can walk at night and not be scared.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Of course, we have a very low crime rate here in Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Still do?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, in, in int-, in talking to mayors around 61:00the state, uh, uh, you share many different concerns as mayors and obviously you know that from all, you know, from your work with the Mayors Association and League of Cities--

RUCKRIEGEL: Hmm.

BIRDWHISTELL:--but your police, your fire protection, your sanitary sewer, storm sewer, all those types of things, um, public works, roads, uh, it takes a lot of money, and over the last, uh, quarter century, especially at the time you've been mayor, uh, there's been higher expectations for what city government provides, hadn't there?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: And, uh, have you been able in Jeffersontown to provide those increased services, the sidewalks, the lighting, and everything without tax increases or were you, were you a-, in a situation where you had to increase your tax base?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, probably the luckiest guy in the world. Uh, we have a 62:00occupational tax, a one percent occupational tax.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, with that we have been able, of, of my nineteen years as mayor, the property tax was cut fifteen of the years--(Birdwhistell laughs)--but, that was done on account of the occupational tax.

BIRDWHISTELL: Where you have all these businesses coming--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL:--and the more employees you have in Jeffersontown, the more money you have.

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Um-hm. So, uh, so, this year we'll get about eight and a half million dollars out of that one percent, uh, occupational tax.

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, so that makes the people that live here get by cheaper and more services.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, we floated several bond issues over the last fifteen years, uh, but I felt like that, uh, I wanted to keep it at, maybe like, uh, two million dollars a year for capital improvements. In other words, uh, loans of bond issues didn't get past that amount a 63:00year, fine--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and right now it's about a million six, I think. So we could do some more bonding, if we wanted to, to do big projects--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --but we basically got everything that we need here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. So the, the, the, the, uh, uh, light industry and the, uh, uh, uh, industrial park development, all of that really benefited the economic development of this city?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, and it is the economic development.

BIRDWHISTELL: It is the economic, you know, when I was interviewing Mayor Gorman down in Hazard and, you know, he's worked so hard down there to get his tax base increased, to build, you know, to attract industry, and to get things built up, and it's so hard, you know, like I was telling almost teasingly that, you know, to bring, you know, any kind of development, he has to knock the top off a mountain first before he can put--(laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --it in there, and in some ways, it was so hard for him in that community trying to build and here, you know, you've got the 64:00natural expansion of Louisville and Jefferson County building out this way. You got the interstate highway and you got the industrial park and I guess it, it, the real challenge for you, Mayor, was how do you control that without losing what you like best about Jeffersontown.

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, the industrial park, oh, it's kind of out over by itself.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, uh, you know, it's like two Jeffersontown. I mean--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. You got the industrial park and then you got the old--

RUCKRIEGEL: And then you had Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??). Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you were able to sort of balance those two?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Um-hm. Um, but thi-, this occupational tax thing is, but it's gonna get to a point where it's not gonna, you know, it's gonna level off--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and the salaries and that's gonna keep going, and I don't want to be mayor--(Birdwhistell laughs)--that's when they're gonna raise property taxes, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: You don't want to be the one to do that?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, hell, no. (Birdwhistell laughs) I've never voted for a tax increase in my nineteen years as mayor and four as city council, I 65:00never voted for a tax increase. (Birdwhistell laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Huh. That's great. Um, some cities have, uh, issues with landfills. Did you-all have a problems with that?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, we contract out our--

BIRDWHISTELL: Sent that out?

RUCKRIEGEL:--that's the one reason we went to that, so--(laughs)--we didn't have to worry about the landfill.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. And, uh, because of your location, uh, just looking at this in terms of, uh, what other mayors face, you didn't have to worry about an airport--

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL: You had an airport. You didn't have to worry about, uh, uh, getting a road near your city 'cause you already had a great road near your city, a landfill. Uh, what about, uh, emergency medical, how did that, how was that handled during your career (??)?

RUCKRIEGEL: Okay. Well, of course, Jefferson County has emergency medic--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--in which they should provide a service but--(laughs)--they don't--(Birdwhistell laughs)--so we have, uh, a rural metro that's here 66:00in, located here in Jeffersontown and we, uh, contract with them, and we pay them so much a run, uh, if they make a hospital run or if they get canceled. And we've been doing that for the last, uh, well, ever since I've been--

BIRDWHISTELL: So, the city's underwriting that service, basically--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--if you, if you have a citizen in Jeffersontown who's having medical emergency, uh, they, they come and get him and the city picks up the tab?

RUCKRIEGEL: If they don't pay, we do.

BIRDWHISTELL: If they don't pay?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: If their insurance doesn't cover it?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, uh, and it don't amount to that much, in a year's time, maybe twenty-thousand dollars.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: And that's pretty damn cheap--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: --for the--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and w-, to know we got an ambulance sitting here, well, within a half a mile, here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. What about issues like 911, was that a problem in getting it inst-, implemented here in Jeffersontown?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, 'cause it all went through the county judge.

BIRDWHISTELL: All went through the county?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: All right. Well, let's, let's talk about that. One of the interesting things about running , a--a fourth-class and then a 67:00second-class city in Jefferson County is that you got to deal with Jefferson County, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: And what's it like, from the time you took over as mayor until today, what it's been like working with the county government?

RUCKRIEGEL: Great.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

RUCKRIEGEL: I've never had no problems with, I mean, all the county judges we had, the mayor of Louisville, I've got along with them all great. Uh, they treated me fair and square, and, uh, we might not always agree, but, uh, they always treated me fair and square.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. You didn't have a favorite county judge?

RUCKRIEGEL: A favorite one? Oh, I don't know. (Birdwhistell laughs) You know I, of course, I always David Armstrong but, uh, and I like Rebecca Jackson.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, but I've got along with all of 'em good.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. By the time one of them would be elected, did you already know who they were? You weren't, you didn't have to go 68:00introduce yourself, did you?

RUCKRIEGEL: No. No, I--(Birdwhistell laughs)--no, I knew 'em all, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Uh--

RUCKRIEGEL: And I think that helped.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Did--

RUCKRIEGEL: They knew me, too.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: They knew I wasn't bashful.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Were you involved in, uh, partisan politics in any way, as mayor?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, we ran nonpartisan and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. But you--

RUCKRIEGEL:--I mean I'm a Democrat but--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. But you didn't get involved in Democratic--

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL: --politics ever?

BIRDWHISTELL:--outside--

RUCKRIEGEL: Unh-uh.

BIRDWHISTELL: --the city?

RUCKRIEGEL: Very few signs I've ever put in my front yard for a Democrat or a Republican. I, if a friend of my runs for something, I don't give a damn whether he's a Democrat or Republican--(Birdwhistell laughs)- -I'll put his sign out there, other than that I, we don't, uh, we, we haven't, and that makes it bad sometimes, too 'cause everybody, you either fool with a Democrat or a Republican downtown.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um, who all were the county judges while you were mayor? 69:00Let's go through--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, McConnell--

BIRDWHISTELL: So he was in there?

RUCKRIEGEL:--uh, and Harvey Sloane--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and then Bremer Ehrler--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL:--uh, was in there, and, uh, David Armstrong and Rebecca, I think that's all of them.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Did you think any of that group was better at being county judge than the other? More skilled? Uh--

RUCKRIEGEL: No, I think I, I think I, I, I, uh, David Armstrong, I think I had better rapport with him than any other--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --except with, uh, Rebecca Jackson, now I've had, great with her.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, I can't say nothing but great.

BIRDWHISTELL: You're still a good politician, Mayor. I'm not gonna get you to say anything, am I? (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: (Birdwhistell laughs) Yeah, I can't say nothing but great things about her.

BIRDWHISTELL: What about the, what about the relationship with Jeffersontown and you as a mayor with the city of Louisville? What kind of relationship was that? Was that a bit more difficult relationship, 70:00trying--

RUCKRIEGEL: No, unh-uh. No, I've always got along with the Board of Aldermen, uh, I went to, uh, you know, I mean, I know 99 percent of 'em, the, just as well as, as I do people here in Jeffersontown, and, and if we had a problem or something that they were for and we was against and that (??), I'd try to work something out with 'em, and it's worked pretty good.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Did you have to spend a lot of time going down, down to Louisville--

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL:--working with people?

RUCKRIEGEL: Naw.

BIRDWHISTELL: You had problems, call 'em up?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, I'd get on the phone.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: No, I never, never had no problem with--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. The, uh, we're about out of tape on this side, do you want to go ahead and continue, or would you rather me come back sometime?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, hell, I've, how much longer we gonna be?

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, probably another thirty, forty minutes. ---------- (??)--

RUCKRIEGEL: Let's go, let's do it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. All right.

RUCKRIEGEL: If you want to --

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, let's turn the tape over.

71:00

[Tape one, side b ends; tape two, side a begins.]

BIRDWHISTELL: One of the things that, uh, that comes up in terms of, uh, being a mayor in, in Jefferson County is the, the whole issue of this merger, and that merger's talked about before you became mayor and it went all the way through till the time, to the end--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --of your administration, what, what did you make of all that discussion?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --what did you, how did you try to deal with that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, this last time, I mean, when it passed, I supported it.

BIRDWHISTELL: You did?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, I felt, felt like that it was, uh, the least of two evils. Uh, I felt like if it didn't pass, that the city of Louisville was gonna annex everything that was in unincorporated area of Jefferson County, in which they got their nibs on it, so I felt like we'd better go with Metro government this time, and, and they promise they're not gonna fool with the small cities--

BIRDWHISTELL: Do you believe them? Uh--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, I think it will for ten years anyway, I think. (both 72:00laugh) I think it'll be all right. Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) You can't say for how long that ----------(??).

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm. But, uh, but that's one reason I supported it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. What was, uh, go over the different, uh, merger things that came up during the time that you were mayor and how those were different from what eventually passed this last time?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I think the, the, the two prior times, I think the, uh, there was no, uh, guarantee about the do-, well, in fact, they were gonna do away with the cities, and this time they said they wasn't gonna touch no cities, no fire districts.

BIRDWHISTELL: So in the previous merger, movements in Jeffersontown would've disappeared?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: As a government?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. That's, both times before.

BIRDWHISTELL: Both.

RUCKRIEGEL: So that's, so that's how it got passed this time.

BIRDWHISTELL: That it, that they don't disappear?

73:00

RUCKRIEGEL: No. Yeah, so, uh, so I think that was a big, biggest deal.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, in, in, in the one that passed recently, what does that mean for Jeffersontown and its relationship to the county? How does that work?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, there's gonna be twenty-six council seats--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and Jeffersontown's gonna be one full district and part of another one because of the size of it. Uh, I think it gonna be like, uh, twenty-five thousand in each district, so, so we're gonna be two districts of Jeffersontown, so we will have two votes down there or anyway.

BIRDWHISTELL: Two out of twenty--

RUCKRIEGEL: Six, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL:--twenty-six, but what does it mean for the way the government's gonna operate here in Jeffersontown?

RUCKRIEGEL: It won't, won't affect us one bit, not one bit.

BIRDWHISTELL: So what's the advantage to the merger?

RUCKRIEGEL: For Jeffersontown?

BIRDWHISTELL: For, no, well, for the, for the county?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, number one, uh, Lexington won't be bigger than 74:00Louisville (both laugh). I mean, you know, I suppose that's a big deal (??), you know--.

BIRDWHISTELL: Size matters. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: --that's gonna be a big deal, um, and, and then it puts, uh, puts, uh, Louisville area in the top twenty-five country-, in the country, cities in the country, population-wise.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: A lot of companies will say they're looking to relocate, or they say, uh, "Give me a list of top twenty-five cities in the United States." Well, Louisville's not in that, with merged government, we are.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. And you, and it needs to be in there, doesn't it?

RUCKRIEGEL: So, uh, so, that, that was a good selling point, I think, for me, too, uh, uh, the, the to make me support it a little more what, uh, with the industrial development out here in Jeffersontown and getting new jobs, and, and I think that kind of was a selling point for me.

BIRDWHISTELL: Explain for me out, how, how it works in terms of economic development initiatives with what Louisville's trying to do, what 75:00Jefferson County was trying to do, and what Jeffersontown was trying to do during your administration? How was that coordinated, if at all?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, it used to be before, uh, Greater Louisville Inc, um, before Greater Louisville Inc took in, uh, got together and put their development council and, and Chamber of Commerce together, we would be out chasing the same, uh, people as they were, as far as trying to get 'em relocate--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --or locate in our area--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --where, now, uh, the way the Greater Louisville Inc is set up, uh, they, uh, they bring people to Jeffersontown, just the same as, uh, they do it in, Louisville--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, so it helps us quite a bit there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: In other words, they're doing our economic development for us--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Well, you can't beat that, if that's--

76:00

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL:--if it's fair, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. And, and they give us a list of, uh, of, uh, who they interviewed this, or who came to town this month and that, and where they took 'em, and that. So, uh, and I, I think you try to be fair too--

BIRDWHISTELL: So, from what you, from what you described to me, Mayor Ruckriegel, the, uh, Jeffersontown, through your leadership, maintained good relations with Louisville, Jefferson County, with the development that was going on county-wide. You were well positioned to take advantage of that growth and development--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL:--and that's important in terms of your success. Um, what about the, uh, uh, as you look at the future development are, are, is Jeffersontown filling up, in terms of its potential for, uh, new jobs, or you gonna, do you have space? Do you have, uh, the ability to expand 77:00like you expanded in the last twenty, thirty years?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, no. Uh, Jeffersontown is just about built up, e-, even in, uh, in, uh, commercial and residential. I'd say in the next two year there won't be nothing left in the corporate limits of Jeffersontown to build on.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Now, can you incorporate, I mean, can you annex south?

RUCKRIEGEL: We can't with the compact that they have with, see, the city of Louisville's got an annexation proposal, so they come, the county and the city of Louisville made an agreement that nobody can annex at nothing, um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Now--

RUCKRIEGEL: We're being held hostage. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, when did, the thing that I'm, I don't quite understand that, Mayor, how did that, when did that happen, and how does it work?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, it's, uh, it was twelve years and then it's j-, a new one came here, uh, two years ago so, fourteen years ago.

BIRDWHISTELL: So you're landlocked, basically?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. We cannot annex nothing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Because all this land is right out to your south?

RUCKRIEGEL: It's in unincorporated Jefferson County, and people have 78:00been held hostage. They want to come in Jeffersontown. We can't annex. That's not right, but that's the way it is.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, how did that happen?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, the com-, the city-county compact, Louisville proposed annexation ordinance: annex everything that wasn't--

BIRDWHISTELL: That wasn't already incorporated? Everything?

RUCKRIEGEL: Everything. So--

BIRDWHISTELL: Leapfrog right over Jeffersontown--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and go all the way to the county line?

RUCKRIEGEL: --county line.

BIRDWHISTELL: Which is how far out that way?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, it's five miles--

BIRDWHISTELL: Five miles.

RUCKRIEGEL: But, so the county made an agreement with them on, they call it the cou-, city-county compact that, where they wouldn't allow no more annexation than that, and they, for that they'd stopped their annexation ordinance, but they still got their nibs on it. That's still there, they--

BIRDWHISTELL: So it's frozen right now, basically?

RUCKRIEGEL: Pardon?

BIRDWHISTELL: It's frozen right now?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Um-hm. So that's why, one reason I, like I say, why I supported, uh, the, uh, compact, I mean, the, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Merger.

79:00

RUCKRIEGEL:--merger because I was afraid if it failed that Louisville was gonna go ahead and do their damn annexation ordinance and take in all of unincorporated Jefferson County--

BIRDWHISTELL: And what--

RUCKRIEGEL: --and they could've did it.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and what would that have done to Jeffersontown?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, it wouldn't have did nothing, but it would have, in five years time, there wouldn't have been no Jeffersontown, 'cause they'd have voted to put us out of business.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Now, how could they vote to put you out of business?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, they could've got it put it on the ballot, I mean, they could have, to, and, uh, legislature, 'cause they'd had all them legislators on their side--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh--

RUCKRIEGEL:--and they have put--

BIRDWHISTELL: 'Cause your incorporation depends on the legislature, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. So they could, uh, and they, they get the legislation and to put it on the ballot, and here we're gonna be outvoted a hundred to one. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) There's nothing trickier than this Jefferson 80:00County politics over merger, it seems to me. I mean, in who controls what, is, it's a very tricky business.

RUCKRIEGEL: It is.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you, you've been, you know, you've seen it now for all these years?

RUCKRIEGEL: It, it, it--

BIRDWHISTELL: Do you think there will come a time when there won't be a Jeffersontown?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: That must be a hard thought for you to have?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, I'd say, I'd say it won't be in my time, but I'd say--

BIRDWHISTELL: There will be a time.

RUCKRIEGEL:--I'd say there will be one city, one thing in Jefferson County--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and there's a lot of cities in Jefferson County that shouldn't be cities, you know, they've one hundred and fifty homes and that, they just made cities, so they could have their own policemen, and they shouldn't be cities.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL: But, uh, I've been assured by just about every legislator I know, you know, Jeffersontown, St. Matthews, and Shively will never be bothered, you know.

81:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, I don't know, I, you know. It would be interesting.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) It is interesting. One of the things I've learned, Mayor, is that, uh, it's just naive on my part, I didn't realize how involved you mayors were in the legislature. It just never occurred to me, and I, you know, just nai-, as I say, it's naive, but you-all spent some time down there, don't you?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, well, you know, Kentucky League of Cities' got about six or eight people that--(Birdwhistell laughs)--that's all they do when legislature is in session and that, I mean, you know, this one will throw some kind of a bill out that's gonna affect this and that and, hell, you got to twist their arm--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Hit 'em over the head?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm. Yeah, and, uh--

82:00

BIRDWHISTELL: And as they say about the jackass, you got to explain it to 'em. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Yeah. I know last time, uh, this modular housing thing--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Hell, it was gonna pass up there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

RUCKRIEGEL:--and then Sylvia called me about talking to this Reeds (??) that's, uh, represented here in this area, 'cause she knew I could handle it.

BIRDWHISTELL: You took care of it.

RUCKRIEGEL: I said, I'll get the damn thing. (Birdwhistell laughs) By God, we got it killed, too, or he was ready to let her roll through there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Before you became mayor, you, had you ever been down to the legislature? Did you ever--

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL:--done anything with the legislation?

RUCKRIEGEL: No.

BIRDWHISTELL: And when you became mayor you had to get down there a few times, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, probably went down there fifteen times--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and I kind of enjoy it.

BIRDWHISTELL: What did you make of that setting down there? What did you think of that--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, I think it's a bunch of crap--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and they, whoever got the most friends that's when--(Birdwhistell laughs)-- then they'll walk and they'll start, they gonna vote on something, hell, half of 'em will walk out so they won't have a quorum and all that. (laughs) That's the damnedest thing you ever seen. (Birdwhistell 83:00laughs) It, it, it's education.

BIRDWHISTELL: Uh, but I would guess with your political skills and your people skills, you were able to function pretty well in that environment (??)?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes. Oh, yeah. Yeah. I mean I, like I say, I, I ain't no (??) bullshitter, but I can hold my own.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Was it important for Jeffersontown during your administration to have the support of the governor? Did you have to deal with the governor any time?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yes. We've, um, we've, uh, did a lot of, several roads in that with state, county, uh, local, like Blankenbaker overpass, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Over the interstate, you mean?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. See, we got that in there, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Why was that important to you?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, to, to get some of the traffic off Hurstbourne Lane.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Well, I think about that every time I--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --see that Blankenbaker thing, it, it, I mean, it just made all the difference. Well, and of course, Hurstbourne's still--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

84:00

BIRDWHISTELL:--a busy street.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Uh, we, uh, built Ruckriegel Parkway around the town here, the state, and the county, and Jeffersontown--

BIRDWHISTELL: It, it goes around the town?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, it goes right around here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Uh, who's that named for?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, my family. (Birdwhistell laughs) Not me. Not me, my family. Um, then, uh, Hurstbourne Lane, uh, south from Taylorsville Road going for, we put a million dollars in that to, uh, with the state and the county to keep, get that road out of the subdivision. That was designed to go right through a subdivision, a four-lane highway, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Isn't that funny?

RUCKRIEGEL: So it--

BIRDWHISTELL: I didn't realize that, Mayor.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: It's nice across there then?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah. Yeah, it, it eventually gonna tie into, over by the Ford plant somewhere over in Fern Valley Road over there in somewhere--

BIRDWHISTELL: Is it? Hmm. So, the governor's support was important for 85:00roads, and--

RUCKRIEGEL: Sure, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: --that type of development?

RUCKRIEGEL: And I had, I've had great working relations with all the governors that's been there since I've been--

BIRDWHISTELL: No problem with any of them?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, I ain't had no problems, no. Like I say, I, I've tried be nice to 'em.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Now, if you're trying to get the governor or some legislators to do something for Jeffersontown, it, wouldn't there be a tendency on their part, especially the governor, who's not from Louisville and Jefferson County, excuse me--(laughs)--to say, uh, "Well, you-all got all the industrial parks, you got all the roads, you got the airport, you got everything, you know, I've got to help Pikeville. I've got to help, uh, Campbellsville.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, Campbellsville's just lost their factory. I can't be coming, I mean, you-all are greedy. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, yeah, but then you say, "Well, look how much state tax you're getting out of Jeffersontown (??)." (Birdwhistell laughs) I mean, you got to look at it that way, too.

BIRDWHISTELL: I know you, I'm just--

86:00

RUCKRIEGEL: Ha. Ha.

BIRDWHISTELL:--but that's, that's your answer to--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, would they say that you? Would they, would they say--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah, they--

BIRDWHISTELL:--well, Mayor, what is it you want--

RUCKRIEGEL: Sure.

BIRDWHISTELL: --when you got every job that there is--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --I mean, you got more jobs than you got people?

RUCKRIEGEL: And then we'd have to sometimes back up a little bit, instead of getting a whole loaf, we might just get a half of it or something--(laughs)--and, uh, but, uh, I've had good working with, with all of 'em, with all of 'em. Yeah, every project that I tried to get money out of 'em for and that, I did, eventually, uh, uh, between the county and the, uh, state. Um, when we built Ruckriegel Parkway, that's the first project in the state of Kentucky that was ever built by the state, the county, local government, and the developer. That was the first project--

BIRDWHISTELL: So it's a kind of a joint--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yep.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--that was ever paid for by the four, uh, when we built that 87:00back in '83, '84.

BIRDWHISTELL: And Ruckriegel Parkway runs from where to where? I, I'm a little confused about that--

RUCKRIEGEL: It runs from Watterson Trail to Watterson Trail. (laughs) Actually, when you come to Electron Drive--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and turn left--

BIRDWHISTELL: Left.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and you come over that overpass--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--okay, when you got that red light, that starts Ruckriegel Parkway.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: And it goes all the way around and comes in on the other side of town over here.

BIRDWHISTELL: All right. Well, I want, yeah, 'cause you gotta go straight around, okay. All right. That's good. I guess, uh, you know, we talked about storm sewers, you got these issues and, uh, lighting, and police, the traffic had to be a concern for you the whole time you were mayor, right? The d-, the developing traffic, the pro-, you know, the issues with Hurstbourne Lane, I mean, anybody who's been on Hurstbourne Lane on Friday afternoon at 5:00 and sat there and go, "What in the world--(laughs)--

88:00

RUCKRIEGEL: The world's largest parking lot.

BIRDWHISTELL:--what happened here?" (laughs) So that's got to be a--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL:--something else, that, that, uh, you had to work on all this time?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes. Uh, I mean, uh, the, getting the Hurstbourne Lane south open, see--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --we felt like that would take some of the traffic instead that was going that a way, maybe come this way.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, uh, the, uh, and a Blankenbaker over-change and then this Blankenbaker access road that comes around to Watterson Trail and over the, uh, the bridge that you went across there, and, uh, right now we're working on getting a three-lane, the, all' way to over Middletown, sort of the Watterson Trail Park, so that will take a lot of traffic off of, uh, Hurstbourne Lane, I think--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --because they're gonna have a decent road to travel on--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --there.

BIRDWHISTELL: And, one of the, the, the opinion writers in the local paper in Lexington, you know, they've been harping for a long time that, 89:00uh, the more roads you build, just the more traffic you're creating. Now what, as a, as a long-time mayor, how do you look at that issue? Now, can you build enough roads to solve the traffic problems or is it every time you build a new parkway is it just full of cars?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I would say the only, the worst in, in the world is Hurstbourne Lane--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, and all that needs is sixty million dollars spent to put some fly-over ramps in that, and they'd solve that problem.

BIRDWHISTELL: So what kind of ramps?

RUCKRIEGEL: Stack 'em, your, take, the first thing it needs is a lane, a westbound lane, to, to Louisville, if you're going northbound on Hurstbourne Lane, you go up a ramp and go over top of 64--

BIRDWHISTELL: Instead of having to turn left at that first point?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right, and do away with that left turn.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you got that right. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: That would, that would solve a lot of problems--

BIRDWHISTELL: And the other left turn would be--

RUCKRIEGEL:--that would solve a lot of problems right there. That interchange, if it was worked over and put sixty million dollars--

90:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Sixty million.

RUCKRIEGEL:--that would solve that problem, uh, tremendously.

BIRDWHISTELL: They gonna do it?

RUCKRIEGEL: I think eventually it will be done. Uh, the traffic problem in Jeffersontown is not really that bad other than Hurstbourne Lane.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Now, I know Ruckriegel Parkway and we was building on that shit, we got people raising hell, you know, it's gonna kill downtown and that--(laughs)--I don't know what we would do without it. (Birdwhistell laughs) They're, they're backed up, up here and they're backed up there in the evenings and mornings, so--(Birdwhistell laughs)--um--

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, one of the things, uh, Mayor, you know, sometimes we tend to look back with nostalgia and think, well, that would've been great if we could just do that, and, you know, in Lexington, you used to have the interurbans out to Paris, and Nicholasville, and Georgetown. And when you watch the traffic going down Nicholasville Road you'd think, well, you know, what if you had an interurban, do you ever think about that here in Jeffersontown? Do you have enough people who are in, in this part of Jeffersontown that 91:00would, that commute to downtown Louisville, that, uh, that something like an interurban would still be a good idea?

RUCKRIEGEL: No, I don't think we do.

BIRDWHISTELL: People go in all directions, aren't they?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, they're going, they're just scattered.

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Yeah, I don't think--

BIRDWHISTELL: So--

RUCKRIEGEL:--I don't think that would, would be feasible.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. What about something like, in, in terms of, uh, public transportation, d-, does Jeffersontown have a bus operation? Or you do, you're involved with the--

RUCKRIEGEL: TARC.

BIRDWHISTELL: TARC.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: So, that's all run by--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --them and that--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --keeps you all from having to--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Does that work pretty well for Jeffersontown?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. We have a lot of bus service out here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm, 'cause I saw one when I--

RUCKRIEGEL: Even in the industrial park.

BIRDWHISTELL: I saw the bus stop--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh--

BIRDWHISTELL: --signs, yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --yeah, we have a pretty good bus server.

BIRDWHISTELL: Looking at the development, um, on the, uh, Chamber of Commerce for Jeffersontown homepage, on the, on the Internet, the 92:00city of Jeffersontown is a pro-business, full service community. Pro- business, uh, that's a positive thing, isn't it?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: You know, a town in Lexington, they, you know, Lexington doesn't want to grow any.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, that's right. (Birdwhistell laughs) Yeah. We want the job.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) But I interviewed your, uh, your, your counterpart, uh, Mayor Hoge, over in Anchorage, and they don't want any--

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, hell, no.

BIRDWHISTELL:--they don't want any jobs over there. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: No. Unh-uh. No, they'd rather pay a dollar and a half, uh, property tax. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) So, what, what is the difference between, like, Anchorage and Jeffersontown, in that philosophy of growth and, and, and what makes it--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well--

BIRDWHISTELL: --like that, Mayor? ----------(??)--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I don't think, I don't think that, that, uh, I made the decision to be pro-growth. I think when they put Interstate 64 through, they put Snyder three--Freeway through, and then started the industrial park, I think that the location of Jeffersontown with those, 93:00uh, highways, I think--

BIRDWHISTELL: The, the di was cast, basically? Right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: I mean, it being--

RUCKRIEGEL: It was there, yeah, it, we got to locate here.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. And the people who have jobs in those indu-, in those, at industrial park and all those, uh, businesses out there, they don't bemoan the fact that they're there, do they?

RUCKRIEGEL: No. (Birdwhistell laughs) And, and, and, and one thing about Jeffersontown, you, you can, you can, uh, live in a one hundred thousand-dollar home or a five hundred thousand-dollar home and be ten minutes from work--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, you know--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--where, where--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um, what if, I, I know you're very proud of what you've done in terms of, uh, you know, we were talking about when you were a kid and what was, what was available here in Jeffersontown. I know you're very proud of the projects you've worked on. There's a park up 94:00here a, a Veterans Park--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and I'm sure there are just multiple projects, uh, that you've worked on to, to enhance quality of life in Jeffersontown. What, what would be some of the things you're most proud of in that regard?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, okay, I, here just a few of the things that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: --I, that I'd kind of, put, sometimes I forget 'em. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, sure.

RUCKRIEGEL: But the Community Center up here at the, we, uh, the, they had an old building that was wore out and wasn't very big. So we built a new, uh, Community Center--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, and, and also a ballpark, a site of it for adults to play, uh, ball in.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: We're, we're, we never had that before.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, Veterans Park, which adjoins that. That's the only park in the state of Kentucky, that's dedicated strictly to veteran.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Why did you decide to do that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, uh, we're gonna name it something and, uh, and we 95:00thought, in fact, I was recuperating from my injuries and surgery, and I was sitting out there on the porch one day, and I got to thinking, I said, "We ought to call it Veterans Park."

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And I got a hold of a guy down at the, the American Legion Post. We got talking, and that's what we came up with.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Now, are you a veteran?

RUCKRIEGEL: Pardon?

BIRDWHISTELL: Are you a veteran?

RUCKRIEGEL: No. Unh-uh. No.

BIRDWHISTELL: I thought when I saw that park, I thought, well, I need to ask Mayor Ruckriegel if he's a veteran because I--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, it's a, it, 'course, there's a lot of that woods we ain't cleaned out yet, but we will eventually get it cleaned out, but it's--

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: --pretty nice, and it sure gets used--

BIRDWHISTELL: All right.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and that's the main thing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, the Plainview Swim and Tennis Center, uh, we bought that, uh, about five years ago. Uh, it was a old, uh, it was the Tway estate, I mean, uh, the farm, one of the farmhouses there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Now, where is that?

RUCKRIEGEL: It's over in Plainview on, on, uh, Timberwood Circle.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: It's a beautiful place, eight acres--

96:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and got four swimming pools and the mansion--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: So the city owns that now?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, uh, we bought that, and, uh, that's really turned out to--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --be a nice thing. And the Skyview Park, uh, here at Electron Driveway--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. I saw that.

RUCKRIEGEL:--that second-to-none, that ball field, it, there's six fields there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Softball?

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, Little League.

BIRDWHISTELL: Little League?

RUCKRIEGEL: That's all strictly used for Little League.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, they play, but they play softball--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --girls play softball--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --in that.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, this year we're gonna have a World Series up there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL:--Girls' World Series up there.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, that's great.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, the, uh, uh, Armstrong Gyms, we bought, uh, we built two new gyms there on Bluebird Lane, uh, uh, we just finished 'em last year.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, uh, uh, they're used all winter long, I mean they're, just keep so many kids out of trouble, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, when you get a kid in a gym you've--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --you've done a big service.

97:00

RUCKRIEGEL: And the senior citizen's building, uh, di-, you know, you probably seen that when you'd come up.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, it's a second-to-none. It--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --it, uh, and then we have the library there that, we built that and then Louisville, Jefferson County Public Library, they run it.

BIRDWHISTELL: So--

RUCKRIEGEL: But we built the building, so we'd make sure we always had a library in Jeffersontown.

BIRDWHISTELL: And you believed that there: if you built that they will come, right? (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. And it gets used a lot.

BIRDWHISTELL: I'll bet.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, and also, we have a museum in back part of the library building there that--

BIRDWHISTELL: That's the city stuff (??)?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, really?

RUCKRIEGEL: We have a doll collection a lady give us--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --it's, I think it's like a one thousand dollars--

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I don't know what it's worth--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --like, four or five hundred thousand dollars worth of dolls.

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow.

RUCKRIEGEL: And it's really a beautiful ----------(??)--. And then the, uh, Development Council, see, uh, uh, I did out here what they did in Louisville in the last three or four years ago, I did it six years ago--

98:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--merged the, uh, economic development and the Chamber of Commerce together to where they, uh, and it's worked out real good.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and it makes Jeffersontown look good, the Chamber of Commerce does--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and so, uh, it's, uh, I'm kind of proud of that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --but, but, you know, I'm always said, I, I wanna to take care of the kids and the older people.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: The ones my age, I feel like can take care of theirself.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And if I can make somebody's day just a little bit better--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --I'm happy.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, even over at that ballpark, you see 'em kids over there in wheelchairs playing--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--a ball--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and you see a smile on their face.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, that's worth a, that's worth a m--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--ten million words--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean it's just a--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, and it makes me feel good to know that I had something to do with it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Makes all those long hours--

99:00

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --worth it.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, the, over at the high school, Jeffersontown High School, we've did twenty projects over there, uh, different things, built buildings for 'em and thi-, this and that, and I'm, I'm real proud of that, I mean--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --'cause we want to take care of the youths and the old people, and--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and you keep one kid off of drugs, it's worth it.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm. So your connection with the school was, was a close connection?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??)----------

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??) high school?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: What year did the high school come back here?

RUCKRIEGEL: Ah, I wanna say around, uh, '70, I'd say.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um, you know Bernie Lovely, Sylvia's husband?

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: (laughs) He did student teaching over there when--

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: --the year it opened.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. (both laugh)

RUCKRIEGEL: Huh, and I'll be damned (laughs).

BIRDWHISTELL: How about that? (Ruckriegel laughs) How about that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Unh-uh.

BIRDWHISDTELL: Where is it located?

RUCKRIEGEL: It's, uh, if you would, going in towards town--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --it's, um, on, um, west of Taylorsville Road, uh, that old 100:00six-mile lane is what it's on.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, I see.

RUCKRIEGEL: It's kind of, kind of a out-of-the-way place--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--uh, I reckon that's where the land was cheap or-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--something that time. (laughs)

BIRDWHISTELL: What else you got on your list, Mayor? What have, was there anyth--

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, the ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: ----------(??)--. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, then, of course, there's public works equipment and that, I mean we--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--we, we, we got all, any kind of equipment you need now--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --where we didn't have that, uh, back when I first went in as mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: It seems to me, Mayor, that i-, when you're looking at successful mayors, and, quite frankly, the League of Cities is sending me out to talk to successful--(laughs)--mayors--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: I'm sure of that, but there's a, there's a common, uh, uh, outlook that I sense from all you successful mayors, and that's uh, uh, uh, progressive, uh, way of doing things. I mean, you're looking 101:00for better, you're looking to try new things, so you got this sort of progressive outlook. How do you account for that with you, I mean, have you always been that way, just--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes.

BIRDWHISTELL:--always wanting to fix things?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, I can, I can tell you what, there's more deals sitting here at this kitchen table or me setting on--(Birdwhistell laughs)--our front porch that I've, that I've thought about myself, you know--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, and, uh, it, uh, well, I think, I, I think I, I lived it twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, a dummy come up with something, you know, if you-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--in that many hours.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I don't think, I don't know if that's the answer.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh ----------(??)--(Birdwhistell laughs)--but I, you know, the, being the president of the Kentucky League of Cities last year--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --that, that absolutely was the most, uh, prestigious job, I think, I ever had.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, I was so proud of being that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--pre-, president--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --of that for that one year--

102:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Right.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Sort of the pinnacle of your--

RUCKRIEGEL: Right.

BIRDWHISTELL: --career in a sense--

RUCKRIEGEL: You know, I just really, uh, I really enjoyed it, we bought the building up there. It's in Lexington, you know, the one across from KU building there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, of course, got the office there in, uh, Frankfort now--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--so, uh, uh, and got 'em in the retirement system. So, I believe in trying to take care--(Birdwhistell laughs)--of the employees, too.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I mean, that's a, that makes sense because your, your operation is only as good as your worst employee, right?

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. That's right.

BIRDWHISTELL: Ain't that the way it works?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, here in Jeffersontown, when I went in as mayor, there was no retirement system or nothing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And the first couple of years, uh, I worked with, trying to rig up enough money to, and we went back and we bought everybody's time back that worked for city, cost us nine-hundred thousand dollars --

BIRDWHISTELL: Wow. That's quite a --

RUCKRIEGEL: --and we went into the state retirement system then, and, 103:00uh, so if you'd been working for the city for ten years, we bought ten years time for you and it really, uh, uh, they appreciated it, and, uh, now I think we have about a one hundred and ten, uh, city employees between police and, uh, -----------(??) and, uh, I probably hired a one hundred and one of 'em--

BIRDWHISTELL: Really?

RUCKRIEGEL:--in my nineteen years, and so, uh, there's very few that was there when I came, you know, I mean, when I went in as mayor.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, I think everyone of 'em was, uh, I was either on the city council or mayor when every city employee, uh, were hired.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: So that's pretty good. (both laugh)

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) What was the toughest time for you as mayor?

RUCKRIEGEL: Toughest job?

BIRDWHISTELL: Toughest thing you had to do? What was the toughest time you went through?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, when Courier-Journal was on my butt.

104:00

BIRDWHISTELL: What were they on you about?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, about, uh, giving friends jobs, to, to building and say we didn't bid this and didn't bid that, and that. They were on me pretty heavy. And--

BIRDWHISTELL: What did they d-, when was that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh hell, seven years ago, I reckon.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: But, they didn't get me for nothing.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I mean, but it was hard, that, here I work my butt off and I felt like, and they just tried to tear me down, is what tried to do.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, why did they wanna do that?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, metro government, I believe, I think it had a whole lot to do with it. (Birdwhistell laughs) But, uh, you know, I, I, I've been, uh, I've really, with my, my nineteen years as mayor, I was very fortunate. I really didn't have that many tough times.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, I mean--

RUCKRIEGEL: Um, it, it was a, of course, I mean, there again, when you get, uh, qualified department heads and that, that takes a lot of the 105:00load off of you.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, and then I felt like I did, uh, but I've, uh, hands-on mayor, I mean, hell, if they'd had to, a ditch had to be dug or drainage ditch stopped up, they'd get water, I'd do it, I mean I-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--I wasn't no, I wasn't too good to do it.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Lead by example, right? During the time you were mayor, in this country, uh, the rhetoric increased during the whole time, during the last, say, twenty-five, thirty years, about negative aspects of government saying, you know, government should get out of this, government shouldn't be doing that, the government's too big, the government's too intrusive, the government's spending too much money, government this, government that, and we started on talk radio, we heard it, we read it. At the same all that was happening, here 106:00in Jeffersontown, you were an activist mayor, increasing the budget, involving the, the city government in more and more things, in people's lives, how do you account for those two views of government?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, we, uh, the, the Chamber of Commerce did a, hired a company and did a survey about city government, and all aspects. And we just blowed 'em out, I mean, we had like ninety-five percent rating, I mean--

BIRDWHISTELL: Really? Approval rating?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: It was a--

BIRDWHISTELL: It was as big as Clinton's.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, they scared the hell out of me, that did-- (Birdwhistell laughs)--but, but--

BIRDWHISTELL: How do you explain that?

RUCKRIEGEL:--but I think, I think, uh, talking to people, uh, I think people, uh, know that, that, that knowed me, knowed I was gonna try to do what's right and try to get by as cheap as we could, and we weren't 107:00out wasting our money like--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --might look like we were.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: And, and I think things like that, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. So, uh, I mean, I would assume, and I, you know, in, in, in talking to mayors, I think you have to have this philosophy, that, that government can be a, an instrument of good for a community. I mean, where would you be without good city government?

RUCKRIEGEL: Hmm. Well, I'd hate to be the guy to take my place up there, ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: Why is that?

RUCKRIEGEL:--'cause here, they gonna say, "Well, Danny would have did that, you know." Yeah, well Danny ain't here no more. (both laugh) I mean, over nineteen years, you know, you--

BIRDWHISTELL: You don't wanna be the guy who follows Mayor Ruckriegel--

RUCKRIEGEL: A black preacher --

BIRDWHISTELL: You wanna be the guy who follows the guy, who followed Mayor Ruckriegel. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. The guy, the black preacher down here the other day said, "My people, what are we gonna do? What are we gonna do?" Well, hell, said, said, "If you call Danny, we'll get something taken care of,"--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and which I did.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Y'all getting through?

108:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, we're--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, did you, oh, there it is. No, I'm going to put that first--

BIRDWHISTELL: I'm taking up a little too much of his time but we're almost--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, well, we ain't doing anything anyway (Birdwhistell laugh).

RUCKRIEGEL: Close that door, hon, so that, uh--

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Cold in here, shit--

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) When, uh, how did you come to the decision to retire?

RUCKRIEGEL: Four doctors told me to. I went to my vascular doctor November the 6th, the day before elect-, and he told me, he said, you gotta get out of there, the stress and everything. You gotta get out of there. So, then I went to my heart doctor like two weeks later. He told me the same thing. I told him what he said. He said, "You should've got out four years ago when you had your heart attack." So then my back's been killing me and, and, uh, uh, my, uh, orthopedic guy, he said, he said, "I'll write you a letter and you, you should get 109:00disability," said, "You ain't got no business," he said, "You ought to retire and forget about things." So, that's why I resigned, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --for medical really--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --not, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Was that the hardest thing you ever had to do?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yes, that's the hardest thing I ever did in my life.

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm. Hmm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I'd give up something I love.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, I mean, you know, I'd been so, mayor so long, even my kids call me mayor, you know (Birdwhistell laughs). And, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you'll always be Mayor Ruckriegel.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: That will be, that will be hard to change.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, but I, uh, but being this three weeks old now, uh, it's kinda, uh, getting where I, uh, I believe I feel better--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--um, don't have no stress--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --so, uh, and I think that make me feel better, and I think I'll be, be able to get over--off of two or three of the pills I'm 110:00taking every day. Hell, I'm taking nine kinds of--

BIRDWHISTELL: Hmm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --medicine, and that's too damn many. (both laugh) So, I, I, I'm, I'm gonna try to get rid of three or four of them, and, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, and if I'm gonna go somewheres, I will, you know. My wife and I, we've, uh, had a, a house here in Jeffersontown, we sold it the end of December, and of course, we own this thing next door, so, uh, we're gonna keep that--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, make a little money off of that, but, uh, we don't have no worries--

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: --so it ain't no, I reckon everything's gotta come to an end--(Birdwhistell laughs)--and, uh, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, I guess the city, if they're smart, will be able to utilize you in special projects and different things.

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I'm, uh, you know, they told me, they'd pay me insurance and that I, and to keep the telephone, if they want to ask me something about something.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: That's fine. I don't care, you know, I don't want 111:00Jeffersontown to--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --go down the tubes.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. So did you get disability? Were you able to--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I applied for it.

BIRDWHISTELL: You worked on it, you're working on it? Uh, ---------- (??)--, to be mayor that long and to love it that much--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. ----------(??)--

BIRDWHISTELL: --that's tough.

RUCKRIEGEL: --tough.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's tough.

RUCKRIEGEL: It, there was something, now, I had no idea I'd be mayor that long.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, you sure surprised the people in your office, I guess, 'cause that day I called, you'd just resigned and it was turmoil, as far as I could tell from--(laughs)--from my end of the phone.

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, see, what happened. I told the city council--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--privately, and I told 'em to keep it quiet--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --and I was gonna announce the week between Christmas and New Year. Well, there's one city councilmen called the damn newspaper guy--(Birdwhistell laughs)--so that's the reason it come out before Christmas, so it ruined a few of 'em's Christmas, you know.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. That's tough. Yeah. I've always figured if you tell a, a councilmen or a legislature, you might as well put it in the 112:00Courier-Journal. (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, just might as well.

BIRDWHISTELL: (laughs) Um, so, we've talked a little bit about what you think the, uh, future of Jeffersontown is, and you're kind of, uh, you're, you're kind of wonder about it, don't you?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, uh, with merged government and that, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Let me turn this over real quick.

[Tape two, side a ends; tape two, side b begins.]

BIRDWHISTELL: Go ahead.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, I don't think, uh, m-, I don't think that, that Jeffersontown can, uh, uh, excel much higher than it is right now. Uh, I proposed back a couple of months ago about buying the old Sam's Club over at, uh, off of, uh, Bluegrass Parkway there--

BIRDWHISTELL: Right.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and putting a small convention center in there, um, and the city council thought it was a good idea and that. 'Course, Courier- 113:00Journal, uh, they talked with people at the state fairgrounds that owns the one in Louisville, you know, didn't think it was a good idea. Well no, I wouldn't either--

BIRDWHISTELL: No, they wouldn't think that was a good idea at all, because that would be too convenient.

RUCKRIEGEL: So, so, I think that's something that, that we need to keep pursuing and try to maybe work out something on that because, I think that would, that would help keep businesses over there. And we got so many hotels over there nowadays.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah, what happened to Sam's, why did that, why didn't that--

RUCKRIEGEL: Naw, they're moving on the other side, a larger one.

BIRDWHISTELL: To, um, across the interstate?

RUCKRIEGEL: Hmm. No, just across Blankenbaker Road.

BIRDWHISTELL: Oh, they are?

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm. Yeah, they're not moving five hundred-foot, a thousand-foot from there.

BIRDWHISTELL: That's what Walmart does and Sam's Club. They don't like the facilities, they just move out m--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --and build another one, don't they?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, it's just a bigger building, they're building.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah. So you th-, they got a move on that convention thing, seems like?

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, see, the trust of Leona Helmsley's husband, Harry--

114:00

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL:--owns that building.

BIRDWHISTELL: Really? (laughs)

RUCKRIEGEL: And so, so they're screwing around with them--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL:--and, uh, and we might get something worked out, uh--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: I, in fact, I talked with the economic development guy yesterday--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --on that, 'cause I'd like to see it--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --fly.

BIRDWHISTELL: All right. And you talked a little bit about your involvement with the Kentucky League of Cities. What, how does the Kentucky League of Cities help you in terms of being mayor and how has helped Jeffersontown? What, what is it that the Kentucky League of Cities is helpful with?

RUCKRIEGEL: Okay. In 1981, when I got elected mayor, they had a newly elected official seminar, like, in that December.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, I think that's first time they helped me 'cause I went to that and I learned a whole lot.

BIRDWHISTELL: And that was helpf-, so that was helpful?

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Me and the city attorney went--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --in Owensboro and we spent two days down there, and it was, uh, and since then, you know, I've been involved with them, but our insurance programs, uh, I mean, you know, the cost of, of insurance 115:00is just, uh, phenomenal, uh, uh, if you, if you're not, if you're not have, if you don't have it with the Kentucky League of Cities, it cost you a lot more. So we save a lot of money on, on, on insurance.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Uh, all their programs or their, they, uh, seminars, they have, always having something--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --seminars or something, that, uh, are very beneficial to city, or employees, or, or elected officials in that. Um, they, and they got a great staff, and if you want to know something about something you call up there, this pertains to the city government, somebody up there is gonna, uh, have an answer for you.

BIRDWHISTELL: If they don't know, they'll find out.

RUCKRIEGEL: Right. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: And of course, the work they do with the legislature to protect the interest of cities.

RUCKRIEGEL: Oh, yeah, and the legislature it just, that's, uh, it's, that's a big job. And they do a great job.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. And, of course, you've been on, involved in 116:00that, in the League of Cities, you worked your way up through that organization, culminating in president of that and on the board, and, and that's been--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, yeah.

BIRDWHISTELL: --a good experience for you, I guess.

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, I really enjoyed it. Like I say, it was one of the-- (Birdwhistell clears throat)--most prestigious jobs I ever had.

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm. And then you culminated that with the statewide convention here--

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah. Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: --last year?

RUCKIEGEL: We had the convention here in Louisville--

BIRDWHISTELL: 'Cause I was gonna contact you last, early last fall and Carolyn (??) Richardson said, "No, he's busy right now." (laughs) "He's --

RUCKRIEGEL: Yeah, we, well, me and my executive assistant--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --uh, oh, we, we were busy with a lot of aspects I've, more than normally would, I reckon--

BIRDWHISTELL: Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: --but being that I was president, I reckon.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: Um-hm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Yeah.

RUCKRIEGEL: So--

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, that's great.

RUCKRIEGEL: (coughs) We wanted to make sure everything turned out right. (Birdwhistell laughs) And believe it did.

BIRDWHISTELL: Well, Mayor, I've enjoyed talking with you, and, uh, you've been very helpful to me and--

RUCKRIEGEL: Well, if there's anything you can think of you want, give me 117:00a holler, give me a holler.

BIRDWHISTELL: Okay. I'll do that, and, uh, as I said, normally I do this in two sessions, but we were going pretty good, so it might as well--

RUCKRIEGEL: No, it's fine. There was no use you--(Birdwhistell laughs)- -now, you live in Lexington, right?

BIRDWHISTELL: Lexington. Um-hm.

RUCKRIEGEL: Hmm.

BIRDWHISTELL: Right. So, thank you very much.

RUCKRIEGEL: Okay. Uh--

[End of interview.]

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