News and Tribune

December 22, 2012

DODD: Lights under Louisville

Local columnist

— One of the best parts of Christmas when Cameron was small was to simply drive around the area during the Christmas season and enjoy the more elaborately decorated houses. Kids love that kind of thing.

As a parent of a small child, we were always looking for quality family time and relatively inexpensive family entertainment.

This past Wednesday evening Kim, Cameron, my niece Meghan and I visited the Mega Cavern in Louisville. After having heard about it for a couple of years, Kim bought a ticket and we experienced the drive-thru spectacle first-hand.

According to the literature, there is about 100 acres of space in the lighted area. The total area consists of 17 miles of man-made caverns located underneath the city. At one point during the drive through Christmas exhibit, you are actually driving beneath Watterson Expressway.

The Christmas tour is called Lights Under Louisville. For a fee per each car, you drive your own vehicle through the cave. We went on a Wednesday and we spent about 25 minutes lined up in the parking lot. The actual drive through portion lasted between 15 to 20 minutes. I am told from people with previous Lights Under Louisville experience that weekend waits can be considerably longer as the holiday gets closer.

The light show was pretty fantastic and even though at 17 Cameron is not quite the little excited kid at Christmas, all of us enjoyed the experience.

 If I were to go again, I would certainly love to have a small child accompany us in the car. I can only imagine the excitement a younger child would add to the trip.

Kim had purchased a discount ticket for $12.50, which was half price, on an Internet site. There are more expensive admission prices for large vans, busses and limousines. Coupons for $5 off are also available at Kroger and Wendy’s. For additional information you can visit

The Lights Under Louisville experience is open until Dec. 30 with the hours on Monday through Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. and from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. To get there, take the Poplar Level Road exit of the Watterson and turn left. Turn right onto Taylor at the Wendy’s and follow the signs. The lights, music, and simply the atmosphere of the cave will certainly make for a wonderful and very affordable night out for all.

School Threat Arrest

I have no idea how the arrest of a 15-year-old Jeffersonville High School student will play out, but I certainly hope parents will use this incident as a teaching tool. What you write on any public Internet forum can have some much unintended consequences which can include, as in this case, some legal problems.

It’s too soon to know if the threat was real or simply some immature attempt at a bad prank. It goes without saying that the ill-timed postings were certainly what anyone would have to call at the very least in very bad taste.

Newtown Aftermath

It’s hard to imagine writing anything for publishing this week and not somehow reference the Sandy Hook Elementary shootings. I won’t in any way attempt to explain the unexplainable. Quite simply, much like many other such public tragedies there is no way for any rational person to make sense of any of it.

I likewise won’t try to engage in any type of gun control debate at this time. However, I do hope another side effect of the situation will be that a serious discussion on mental health treatment begins immediately and spurs some much needed relief.

There is simply not enough availability for people needing mental health services in our country today. Unless you have the very best insurance plan, it is also unaffordable to many. Ask anyone in the corrections industry about where people who are picked up by the police and are in serious need of mental treatment or in some cases simply confinement to a mental health facility end up being housed.

There are people who literally pass by you every day in this community who are mentally unstable. Many are only a real threat to themselves unless they feel threatened or cornered. Then depending upon their particular condition or diagnosis, they can turn physically violent and/or dangerous in an instant with the slightest and most unintentionally provocative action.

It’s well past time to address the current status quo regarding mental health treatment. For anyone who has never personally had an encounter, I can assure you a chance meeting on a city street can certainly be an unpleasant experience. Many of these potentially dangerous persons can be controlled and rendered much less harmful with proper mental health treatment and available drug therapy.

Having dealt with such people first-hand, I can assure you they can certainly lead to an unnerving encounter. I have seen people engage in some most inhuman actions. Currently, the jails and the courts have to deal with them on a regular basis, with too often very few available alternatives for the help they so desperately need.

— Lindon Dodd is a freelance writer who can be reached at