Kentucky by Heart: No shortage of inspirational quotes attributed to well-known Kentuckians

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist My dad used to say to me when I was growing up: “When in doubt, don’t.” I forgot his source for that bit of advice, but I have often recalled those words at appropriate times (though, frankly, I’ve not always heeded them). Fact is, focusing on people’s words can certainly have an effect on the way we act, and that can sometimes be a real positive. At other...

Kentucky by Heart: ‘Talk Bourbon to Me’ takes something old and gives it a fresh spin

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Lexington author Beth Underwood has shown that she’s capable of turning up her writing intensity to a high level; she can turn it down and soften the tone, too, especially after she takes a little time to cool down. Where her previous book was hard-hitting and full of the pathos of war, her newest, Talk Bourbon to Me: A Whiskey Lover’s Guide to Kentucky’s...

Kentucky by Heart: Mike Howard goes from ‘black sheep’ to beloved ‘Mountain Santa’

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist This story is taken from Steve Flairty’s 2013 book, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #3. It was originally published in by KyForward on Dec. 24, 2014 Mike Howard remembers with dismay the negative reputation he carried while growing up as one of 11 kids in an Eastern Kentucky town. “Guess I was the black sheep of the family,” Mike said and then recalled...

Kentucky by Heart: Lots of good causes out there — how to decide which charities to support?

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist I don’t know about you, but I’ve received a barrage of financial donation requests from “good cause” organizations recently as Christmas approaches. By regular mail and often by phone, and by a lesser extent via social media, I learn about the needs for support of organizations that help others. Most of the endeavors, I believe, are good and credible, doing...

Kentucky by Heart: Asbury University’s equine center reaches horse enthusiasts throughout the nation

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Perhaps at the outset, even the strong personal religious faith and vision of Harold Rainwater was tested mightily. That’s when a small group of Asbury College students gathered at his home in 1978 to take his class offered on the subject of horsemanship. It was titled REC 200, and Harold used his own horses for demonstration purposes. It was a modest, but earnest,...

Kentucky by Heart: Don’t hold back; take time to say what needs to be said to your loved ones

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist That gentle nudge to do what seems right can be aggravating at times. For one thing, it’s often not an easy thing to do. It well can detour me away from my sacrosanct schedule, and it often requires some humility to do what I know I should. Moving outside my comfort zone is not much fun, especially at first. And, did I mention that it can be aggravating, too?...

Kentucky by Heart: A bucket list that’s already been fulfilled, sharing a deep sense of gratitude

This article appeared in KyForward previously on November 24, 2015. By Steve Flairty KyForward Columnist Bucket lists get a lot of media play these days, and I’d like to offer mine, created Kentucky-style. But rather than suggest things on a list that I hope to do before I die, let me do a switcheroo. Please allow this grateful fellow to share items that have already been fulfilled…Kentucky by...

Kentucky by Heart: State organ donation program brings sense of hope to times of tragedy

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Back in 1992, Arthur “Whitey” Walson of Winchester lost a cousin who was waiting for a heart transplant. The whole episode touched him deeply, and with a sense of hope he figured his position as Circuit Clerk of Clark County might provide a public forum for him to do something proactive. He wanted to help others seeking transplants to see a better fate, and...

Kentucky by Heart: Delightful seasonal book by Christensen paints vivid picture of Bluegrass state

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Evelyn Christensen is painting the Bluegrass State red for children with her delightful seasonal book offering, The Twelve Days of Christmas in Kentucky. Chock full of colorful pictures that are illustrated masterfully by Kent Culotta, along with including a vast assortment of revealing facts about the Commonwealth, the 32-page book serves as a travel guide, a...

Kentucky by Heart: When communing with nature, sometimes a freight train really is just a freight train

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Several years back, Bill Bryson authored a book called A Walk in the Woods. In it, he gave the reader a humorous look at him and his friend’s not-ready-for-prime-time attempt to hike a significant section of America’s challenging 2,200-mile Appalachian Trail. Fatigue, the elements, and simply being away from home comforts combined to bring extreme irritability...

Kentucky by Heart: Breast cancer is ‘common denominator’ in group’s shared journey

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist It was 1999 in Lexington, and five women who attended the Southern Acres Christian Church made it a habit to have lunch together. They usually enjoyed the food and, for sure, they enjoyed each other. But what mostly brought them together was a health issue each had, and it brought out the best in them. “Breast cancer was the common denominator in our group,”...

Kentucky by Heart: Corns, ‘poor boy from Lewis County,’ made historic impact on education system

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Judge Ray Corns, of the Franklin County Circuit Court, handed down one of the most far-reaching judicial decisions ever rendered in the state of Kentucky—precipitating a dramatic change in the state’s education system. It was the passing of the Kentucky Educational Reform Act (KERA) in 1990. The legislative act occurred after the judge’s 1988 decision ruling...

Kentucky by Heart: Some personal reading recommendations to get you through the fall season

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist My personal reading choices have little to do with the time of the year it happens to be. In fact, I just finished Louisville novelist Bill Noel’s new book, a Christmas story called Silent Night (Hydra Publications). Good reading is good reading, any time. My literary material decisions usually answer this question in the affirmative: Is the book about Kentucky...

Kentucky by Heart: Far from intimidating, former Clark educator Pace was a warm problem solver

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist My early perception of Donald Pace, long-time Clark County educator who died on on Sept. 26, was that he was a crusty, no-nonsense kind of a man whom I would find intimidating if I worked as a teacher under his leadership as my principal. At the time I started my career, I was glad that I taught under a few easy-going, though effective, administrators. My impressions...

Kentucky by Heart: My only sibling is not only something special; he is one of the best

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist I could see clearly when my brother and I were growing up that we had few common interests other than having the same parents and living under the same roof. Our family lived on a small farm in Claryville and raised tobacco and a fairly large garden. Mike embraced the lifestyle—especially the part where he got to do tractor work. In contrast, I worked the crops...

Kentucky by Heart: Writing, faith in God help Rita Setness cope with unexpected loss of son

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Writing a book called Surviving Child Loss was, for Nicholasville resident Rita Setness, part of her personal therapy in attempting to survive the loss of a child. In fact, her writing about son Jonathon began soon after his unexpected death at age 26 in December 2013. As one might expect, the emotional blow of her son’s sudden passing tossed Rita head long into...

Kentucky by Heart: From east to west, parks to lakes to caves, there is much to love about our state

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist When Rich Dailey talks about what he likes about his adopted state of Kentucky, it sounds like he sees the place as somewhat of a pleasant sanctuary. “Silence and solitude are certainly not unique to Kentucky,” said Dailey, “but they are the first two qualities that I experienced after I moved from a noisy suburb of Akron, Ohio, to the stillness of a cabin...

Kentucky by Heart: Some interesting facts you may not know about our first (and fifth) governor

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist “Who was the first Kentucky governor?” is the question I’ve asked fourth graders for years as part of my impromptu state history trivia moments as both a regular and a sub teacher. Most will respond that the answer is Isaac Shelby. You can bet the kids were and are ready for the follow-up question: “Who was the fifth Kentucky governor?” That would also...

Kentucky by Heart: Recruiting ‘rockstar’ David Armstrong paid his dues on road to success

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist No one should ever question David Armstrong, former Western Kentucky Hilltopper quarterback, UK coaching staff member, and now a football recruiting scout’s willingness to pay his dues—and to be patient–in order to find eventual lasting success. That practice started as a youngster growing up in his Brentwood neighborhood in Nashville, where David’s...

Kentucky by Heart: One man’s top 10 bucket list of books not to be missed — what are your favorites?

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist My love of reading Kentucky-related books, particularly non-fiction, started as a child. Inspired by my father’s interest in showing our small family the people and places of the state, I devoured the biographies in the tiny Grant’s Lick Elementary School library dealing with the Commonwealth. I read books about Daniel Boone, Abraham Lincoln, Henry Clay, Mary...