A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky by Heart: Mike Howard went from ‘black sheep’ to beloved ‘Mountain Santa,’ the legend

Because Christmas is all about traditions, we are offering this traditional Kentucky by Heart column on Mike Howard, the Mountain Santa who, sadly, has passed away. But like the Christmas spirit in all of this, his spirit lives on in his legacy of generosity to others. Merry Christmas — and happy memories.) By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Mike Howard remembers with dismay the negative reputation...

Kentucky Afield Outdoors: Explore Kentucky’s wildlife management areas during Christmas holiday

By Lee McClellan Special to KyForward The Christmas holiday provides most of us some much-needed days off and time with family and friends, but sometimes, it is nice to escape from all of the food and festivities and stretch your legs. For those who need to relax and get away for a bit, Kentucky’s wildlife management areas (WMAs) offer a place to go wander. “We have 89 public wildlife management...

Kentucky Distillers’ Association leads coalition offering $10,000 worth of free rides during holidays

The Safe Ride KY coalition has announced that it is offering $10,000 worth of free rides during the upcoming holidays to complement DUI enforcement efforts and prevent impaired driving on Kentucky roadways. Individuals can claim $10 in ride credits by downloading the Lyft app on their phones, entering promo code SAFERIDEKY2020 and ordering a ride home. Rides can be taken between 5 p.m. Dec. 20 and...

December is the leading month for U.S. home fires; take steps to avoid tragedy during the holidays

Glittering decorations, holiday meals and treats, enjoying the warmth of home on a wintry day — these are hallmarks of the holiday season. However, these traditions and festivities also present an increased risk of fire, making December a leading month for U.S. home fires. According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), Christmas Day and Christmas Eve are two of the top three days for...

Art Lander’s Outdoors: Last minute gift ideas for the anglers, hunters and target shooters on your list

There are just four shopping days until Christmas. Is there an angler, hunter or target shooter on your shopping list? Here’s some last-minute gift ideas: • For the angler, a pair of boat shoes, ideal for fishing and casual wear. Head to the nearest Bass Pro Shop/Cabela’s and pick up a pair of World Wide Sportsman Men’s Blue Water Boat Shoes. MSRP is $79.99. These comfortable, sturdy, lace-up...

For past 25 years, UK Extension Homemakers have spread ‘Joy of Giving’ during Christmas season

By Carol Lea Spence University of Kentucky Before the tables were arranged, before the cookies were spread, before the doors were opened, residents of Pine Meadows Post Acute were lined up in the hallways, happy anticipation lighting their faces. Inside the activities hall, Fayette County Cooperative Extension Homemakers were preparing for the annual Joy of Giving, their county-wide gifting project...

Constance Alexander: The simple gift of reading brings peace on earth during Christmas season

In Iceland during World War II, foreign imports were restricted and gift options were scarce. Even though paper was cheap, such a small country could not support a year-round publishing industry. As a result, book publishers flooded the market with new titles in the final weeks of the year, thus launching the Icelandic tradition of Jólabókaflóð. To make the Christmas Eve tradition possible, the...

Richard Nelson: The true gift of Christmas isn’t found in the robust retail numbers or under the tree

According to Deloitte’s 2018 Annual Retail Survey, American households will spend an average of $1536 on the holidays, up from $1,226 last year. Their analysts say American’s are bullish on the economy. Altogether, we’ll spend over $1.1 trillion in holiday-related retail sales, which includes food, beverages and gifts. Of course, family gatherings with gifts under the tree and office...

Lextran to operate on Sunday schedules for Christmas and New Year’s Day

Lextran will operate on Sunday schedules in observance of Christmas and New Year’s Day to meet the needs of the community during the holidays. On Tuesday, Dec. 25 Lextran routes will operate on a Sunday schedule with limited service hours in observance of Christmas Day. The first departure from the downtown Transit Center will occur at 11 a.m., and the last departure from the Transit Center will...

Beth Underwood: Now, more than ever, the spirit of Christmas lives on for children and adults alike

Every holiday season, the scrooges of the world seem to grow in number. They talk about how they no longer exchange gifts with their spouse, or what an imposition it is to shop for anyone. Some talk about drawing names for gift exchanges, then whine about the name they draw. Worst of all, a lot of people declare that Christmas is only for the kids. I disagree wholeheartedly. In fact, I’m convinced...

Music, nativity scenes, book signings and more, Kentucky Artisan Center sets holiday event schedule

Live holiday music, cornshuck nativity scenes, book signings, and demonstrations in wood carving, oil painting, pottery, and woodturning highlight a fun-filled holiday season of events at the Kentucky Artisan Center in Berea. The Kentucky Artisan Center features a wide array of gift ideas for patrons of all ages. Dozens of Christmas trees displaying countless beautiful ornaments will be available for...

Shaker Village of Pleasant Hill invites Kentuckians to Illuminated Evenings Saturdays in December

For many years, the Shakers of Pleasant Hill celebrated Christmas by singing hymns, decorating their Christmas trees and donating to help those who were less fortunate. You are invited to continue this holiday tradition with your family and friends this December by joining one of Shaker Village’s annual Illuminated Evenings. These traditional, Christmas evenings occur on Saturdays, from December...

Chef John Foster: Really, Christmas is coming; so is another way of cooking, eating, finding ‘comfort’

Christmas is coming!! No really, it is. I heard my first Christmas music this week and some of my neighbors still have their decorations up from last year. You want more proof? Black Friday sales which used to be advertised for the day after Thanksgiving are now the subject of a race to see who has enough hutzpah to announce theirs before Thanksgiving. I’m not talking the night before, but a month...

Beth Underwood: ‘Judge not, lest ye be judged’ — But about that wearing white after Labor Day thing…

I hate to admit it, but I’ve been known to pass judgment from time to time when observing social faux pas. Like when I spot someone wearing white after Labor Day, flying the American flag in the rain, leaving Christmas lights up year-round — you know, the sorts of things that would appall Emily Post. If only I would’ve heeded the words of Jesus and judged not, lest I be judged. I bring this...

Beth Underwood: It’s time for us all to set aside life’s troubles and embrace the true spirit of the holidays

Here we are once again, smack dab in that most wonderful time of the year. T-minus a few days until the big day. Yet it seems like a lot of people have lost touch with their Christmas spirit. They’ve lost their sense of wonder and faith in humanity — like that whole peace on earth, goodwill toward men thing is nothing more than the words to an old song. It’s as if many of us — dare...

Constance Alexander: ‘Tis the season to celebrate simple gifts, the ones we cherish most

From the North Pole to South, coast to coast, and border to border, 2017 has had its ups and downs. Violence blazes in far reaches of the globe, and millions can be vaporized with the flick of a finger. Voices worldwide are raised in dissent and disharmony. Hardly a joyful noise, the result is cacophony. Closer to home, debates about a library addition, a payroll tax, and the state pension fiasco have...

Gov. Matt Bevin and family invite Kentuckians to Capitol for annual Christmas Tree Lighting

Come light up the night and usher in the holiday season on the front steps of the State Capitol with a timeless Kentucky Christmas tradition: the Governor’s Christmas Tree Lighting! Festivities begin Monday, Dec. 4 at 6:30 p.m. Enjoy complimentary hot chocolate and cookies as you watch performances by the Frankfort School of Ballet, the Frankfort Christian Academy Middle School choir and bell ringers,...

Kentucky State Parks historic homes plan full slate of events for Christmas and holiday celebrations

The Kentucky State Parks are open for the Christmas holidays with decorations, candlelight tours, special meals, entertainment and other unique events. My Old Kentucky Home State Park in Bardstown (From Kentucky State Parks) The historic homes, Waveland, White Hall, and My Old Kentucky Home, all have special Christmas tours planned. Resort parks are planning special meals and events for the children....

Celebrate a Dickens of a Christmas Small Business Saturday event in Historic Downtown Paducah

On the Saturday after Thanksgiving, historic downtown Paducah will be bustling with holiday shoppers and Christmas cheer. On November 25, enjoy the Dickens of a Christmas Small Business Saturday event organized by Paducah Main Street, a division of the Paducah Planning Department. From 10 a.m. until 4 p.m., downtown Paducah will be transformed into a Dickens atmosphere with free Victorian carriage...

December at My Old Kentucky Home to feature “A Christmas Carol” and “The Gifts of Attention”

My Old Kentucky Home State Park and its musical cast will perform the Charles Dickens’ classic “A Christmas Carol” on six evenings in December. Federal Hill will be decorated for Christmas and guests will meet Charles Dickens, who will set the stage for the holiday classic. Visitors will move from room to room and encounter the world of Ebenezer Scrooge, the ghost of Marley and the spirits of...