Kentucky by heart: In these turbulent times for our country, there is a lot of good going on in Kentucky


Posted by Steve Flairty
NKyTribune columnist

There are many good things in our state these days that may not get the coverage they deserve, whether because they just have a “local” label, maybe they are drowned out by so many reports of bad news, or maybe by those who involved in it The good things are limited in their publicity.

Good things that weren’t told are a perfect reason to bring some of them to light in this week’s Kentucky by Heart column. Check out these nuggets and spread the word!

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Scott Whiddon (photo provided)

The director of the Writing Center of the University of Transylvania, Dr. Scott Whiddon has some uplifting projects underway related to his additional work as an independent musician. Archipelago: Songs from Quarantine Volumes 1 and 2 is a collection of instruments that was remotely recorded in the early days of the pandemic from May to September. Scott works with Dr. Kevin Holm-Hudson, UK, and Jim Gleason, EKU, and the work were featured at events such as the most recent online conference “Sounds of the Pandemic” / Universita di Firenze, Italy. The proceeds from the sale of support the work of the Central Music Academy in Lexington, which since 2004 has provided more than 40,000 free music lessons to students in need.

Scott recently released a two-song single as part of a series of ongoing releases. “Chris Bell’s ballad,” he noted, “tells the story of Big Star, one of the most influential but underrated bands of the 70s from Memphis, Tennessee.” Funding from this project supports the efforts of Lexington and Memphis Habitat for Humanity. “

For more information on these rewarding endeavors, email Scott at

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According to a recent article by Woodford Sun, the Salvation Army Red Kettle’s total collection was $ 27,955 and reached the destination with fewer sites and volunteers despite the pandemic. Spokeswoman Debbie Tichenor praised the support, including a Woodford County church, Pisgah Presbyterian, which donated “one hundred percent of its collection from the“ Living Nativity ”of Pisgah December 19, 2020 to the Red Cauldron. In two hours they raised $ 2,847. Mind-blowing indeed! “

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Marie Parsons, 75, recently started writing poetry after her writing class. She said, “Convinced that I was a poet … a revelation to me!” What followed was her volume of poetry, Echo in the Wind, published in January by the Main Street Rag Publishing Company. Clark County Librarian John Maruskin called her poems “rooted, solid as the hills, in the tradition of the Appalachian ballad. They are moving, enigmatic, humorous – always unforgettable, always good companions. “

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In southern Kentucky, a theatrical performance with a religious focus is on the agenda. Spokeswoman Amber Frangos announced that Mary: Her Story has launched a social media campaign that will run until production in May 2022 at the Flashback Theater in Somerset.

Information about the piece and more can be found on the Facebook page of the production as well as on Instagram and Twitter. According to Amber, it is “a story of mother and son … the human story between Mary and Jesus. The Facebook page offers weekly trivia, development history, blogging and updates. ”

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Harold Rainwater (center) with Asbury Service Mounts. (Service provided)

Harold Rainwater is a busy man, both as director of the Asbury Equine program at Asbury University in Wilmore and as mayor of his city for over three decades.

What is particularly fascinating for me is the range of the school for horses in the specialty of training “service mounts” or horses that are used for police work.

Currently, Harold explained, 26 horses are being prepared. “Six of the current horses (being trained for police work) are already employed in various departments in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Grand Rapids, Michigan; and Louisville. Last year we placed ten horses in the USA and Canada, ”he said.

A video by Harold of Asbury’s entire program is available on

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The oldest rural settlement school in the country, which has been going strong since 1902, is located in southeast Kentucky. The Hindman Settlement School, said new board member Lois Matteus, is a “Kentucky treasure.” The school’s purpose, as stated on its website, is to be “a living beacon for progressive learning, community enrichment and cultural exploration in the Central Appalachian Region”.

His work includes Lois’ personal favorite, the Foodways program, which teaches local families how to plant small property gardens to grow their own food. Lois noted that Foodways needs seeds for spring planting.

Visit to learn more about this amazing school in the beautiful mountains of Kentucky.

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Barry Hisel (photo provided)

Butler’s Barry Hisel sees more in his living than making money to support his family.

A few years ago when he was doing lawn maintenance as a side concert, I appreciated the fact that he was cutting my older mother’s garden at a discounted price. When I talked to him, I found that he does this all the time. He said, “For the elderly and widows … I see it as a service.”

Today, after losing his ten-year job due to the pandemic, he has expanded his part-time job into a craftsman’s service called “That’s Odd – Odd Jobs”. If you live in the Pendleton County area and need his services, contact him on Facebook or by email at

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In Winchester, Unity Committee Director Deatra Newell is rightly proud that her group reaches out to the underserved in her community. “Martin Luther King Jr. promoted service to God’s people just like Jesus did a long time ago,” she said. “Our theme this year is,” Everyone can be great … because everyone can serve. “

The group recently offered a healthy lunch to Clark County Health Department staff, Deatra said, for their “long, busy hours … it seems their days never end”. The committee also plans to set up four “blessing boxes” of free basic groceries and personal items in front of various public places in Winchester. Next to it there are “library boxes” with free books with different contents. She added that the committee is also looking at ways to ensure that “no child (in the ward) sleeps on the floor.”

For help or for more information on the good things in town, email Deatra at

Steve Flairty is a teacher, speaker, and author of seven books: a biography of Tim Farmer, host of Kentucky Afield, and six on Everyday Heroes of Kentucky, including a children’s version. Steve’s “Kentuckys Everyday Heroes # 5” was released in 2019. Steve is the senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, weekly columnist for KyForward and NKyTribune, and a past member of the Kentucky Humanities Council’s Speakers Bureau. Contact him at or visit his Facebook page, Kentucky Together: Word Sketches as Tribute. (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)

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Wilderness Road Hospitality writer and co-founder Angela Correll recently started sending email updates on the good happenings in Lincoln County and beyond, where she and her husband Jess Correll have been instrumental in the revitalization of Lincoln County . Check out the ambiance in downtown Stanford … an inspirational model for other Kentucky cities!

For regular updates, contact Angela at

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Oh, the good-hearted people of West Kentucky! In Henderson, retired teacher Roy Pullam, who grew up poor in the nearby town of Providence, saw the need to provide bicycles to the underserved in the community – both children and adults. A local columnist for The Gleaner newspaper wrote an article about the need, and Roy noted that “the motorcycles were soon flooding in”. The Salvation Army helped qualify beneficiaries, including students, the homeless and the elderly. The local prison guard offered some inmates the service to repair bicycles if necessary. For those who received the bikes (for the homeless) at the Harbor House Christian Center, it offered some exciting opportunities, Roy said. “The lucky bike owners could (now) ride to the YMCA, where scholarships were available. You could drive to the library to check out books, music, and DVDs, or the Henderson public pool. “

Roy was also instrumental in purchasing computers for distribution in Henderson. The reach of bikes and computers has drawn those who donated the Lexington items.

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To wrap up this sample of positive events in Kentucky, here are new books recently published by some of our good but too often under the radar authors. Michael Embry from Frankfurt published Make Room for Family, part of his John Ross Boomer Lit series, which I liked. Another Frankfurt writer, Chris Helvey, has two in brief: The White Jamaican and, along with Howard R. Wolf, Echoes of Loss and Belonging: A Duet of Novellas.

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