Kentucky by Heart: Bad boy Peter Cartwright was the Commonwealth’s own circuit rider extraordinaire

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist The Methodist Church leadership called them “traveling” clergy. They traveled on horseback, usually with a simple handbag and of course, a well-used Bible. They often navigated rough terrain, both hilly and over creeks and valleys with thick undergrowth, as well as less challenging landscapes as they moved from area to area. They were popularly called “circuit...

Kentucky by Heart: Veteran outdoorsman Caudill teaches survival … and appreciation for things green

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Nature Reliance School founder and chief instructor Craig Caudill calls wilderness survival “a lazy man’s game.” In what must seem counter-intuitive to many, he explained it this way. “The game of survival is nothing more than ‘calories in, water in…calories out, water out,’’ he said. “You’ve got to make sure you are conserving as much energy...

Kentucky by Heart: When it comes to having pun in Kentucky, there’s a lot of low-hanging fruit

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Note: This column originally appeared in KyForward on April 5, 2016 I have always enjoyed playing with words, and mostly in a fun sort of way. Call me corny, silly, or otherwise, but I consider myself a “pun guy.” (Some would say “fungi,” but I’m not sure how to take that.) Until recently, it didn’t dawn on me that my own state of Kentucky’s geography...

Kentucky by Heart: For Kentuckians, memories of state tournament are all part of our social fabric

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist One of the first times I heard the phrase “Greatest Show on Earth” was at the Kentucky High School Basketball Tournament. The announcer expressed that hyperbole during the introduction, but for me way back in the 1970s, awash with rural state culture and the popularity of hoops, I didn’t consider it as hyperbole. It WAS the greatest show, and the district...

Kentucky by Heart: Spunky youth overcomes physical limits through positive approach to life

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist When ten-year-old Maddie Blankenship talks about being a leader, as she did recently as a guest speaker for Grace Gorrell and her leadership studies class at the University of Kentucky, she is quite eloquent. “My friends and I say we are ‘Team Maddie’ and we make it matter,” she said on that day. “Making it matter means helping others, doing random nice...

Kentucky by Heart: Diverse sampling of stories best illustrate, explain life in the Blue Grass state

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist In last week’s Kentucky by Heart, I shared a virtual tour of Kentucky via the books I have on the shelves in The Kentucky Room, which is another name for my personal writing room at my home in Versailles. My focus was on some noted authors from the state, and for whom their books are ones I most aggressively collect, including: Wendell Berry, David Dick, Thomas...

Kentucky by Heart: Writing room provides many opportunities for virtual trips, enriching experiences

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist My sweet spot for leisurely travel destinations is almost always centered within the state of Kentucky. I don’t feel deprived at all in saying so about what might seem to be such modest expectations; Kentucky is a special place that I can both enjoy and feel a sense of pride as I travel it. Call me simple in tastes, but it won’t matter a bit to me. There’s...

Kentucky by Heart: For many kids across the state, Summer Food Service Program is literally a lifesaver

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Valerie Knight is a big supporter of a government program that she believes is well worth the expenditures. At her position as Director of Food Services for Webster County Schools in western Kentucky, she sees poor children receive a dose of love and kindness outside the scope of the regular school year, during the summer, and it starts with nourishing food from...

Kentucky by Heart: Refugee couple from war-torn Bosnia adds to richness of life in Bardstown

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Ed. Note: This story is reprinted from the 2008 first volume of Steve Flairty’s Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes book series and appeared previously in KyForward. The couple lived a charmed life. Dzevad won renown as a member of both the Bosnian national soccer team and later as a professional player. Living in a place where a fledgling democracy had many economic...

Kentucky by Heart: Hofferts’ historic home renovations lead to some remarkable discoveries

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist When John Hoffert and his wife, Kim, left Roanoke, Virginia, and located back to the their native northern Kentucky area in 2011, they looked to buy a house within a 15-minute commute of John’s new job in Cincinnati. The prospect of finding an older home with character, then rehabbing it, sounded awfully good to them. Besides, they had a good experience while...

Kentucky by Heart: Schuhmanns one example of retired folks giving back to their communities

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist I was thrilled to see that two friends from Campbellsville, Fred and Betty Sue Schuhmann, were honored recently by their local Kiwanis Club with the 2016 “Santa’s Helpers” award, according to an article in the Central Kentucky News-Journal. In the article, their friend and the one who nominated the retired couple, Sara Cobb, said: “They are the kind of people...

Kentucky by Heart: Pioneering medical contributions of McDowell known well beyond Boyle County

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Just about anybody who has spent much time around Danville, or is a Kentucky history buff, knows a bit about Dr. Ephraim McDowell. He is credited with operating on a woman on Christmas Day, 1809, and removing a large ovarian tumor, over 20 pounds. It was the first successfully performed ovariotomy. I’m certainly not a historian, but I enjoy reading about Kentuckians...

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...