A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky by Heart: Withlovefromharlan shifts focus close to home to help victims of Blackjewel failure

By Steve Flairty KyForward Columnist For the people of Harlan County, in the southeastern region of Kentucky, tough economic challenges became tougher recently when the Blackjewel Mining Company filed bankruptcy and left hundreds of miners, many from their county, hung out to dry financially. Most insulting was the fact that workers received paychecks that bounced, leaving many families unable to...

Kentucky by Heart: Father Ralph Beiting’s impact extends far beyond the organization he founded

Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared at KyForward March 27, 2018 By Steve Flairty KyForward Columnist I do a lot of reading — and often write about — Kentuckians who’ve made a positive difference for our state. One person who I believe often gets overlooked is Catholic priest Father Ralph Beiting, who died at age 88 in 2012. He’s perhaps most easily recognized as the...

Kentucky by Heart: Wrapping up our ‘County Quiz’ of Kentucky’s history, culture and geography

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Now comes the second part of the 120 question “Kentucky County Quiz” after the first one was published last week. Feel free to go back and take the first part Kentucky by Heart: Testing your knowledge of Ky’s history, culture and geography with a ‘County Quiz’ and include it with this week’s for the chance to win a prize. For the first five...

Kentucky by Heart: Testing your knowledge of Ky’s history, culture and geography with a ‘County Quiz’

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Though I’m not sure I’ve been to all 120 Kentucky counties, I believe it is pretty close to that number. I’ve found that if you study the history, culture, and geography of each, you’ll learn some quite interesting trivia, though the people who make up those counties would not prefer to call them “trivial matters.” Ha. I thought it would be fun for...

Kentucky by Heart: Justin Evans’ positive attitude helps through cancer treatments; back to old self

By Steve Flairty Special to KyForward For the regular customers at the Richmond Road Panera Bread, in Lexington, they could tell something wasn’t right with the store manager, Justin Evans. Justin tried to be his usual jovial and upbeat self, but it was a struggle, especially to do so for a nine-hour shift. Truth be told, it just might have had something to do with the chemo treatments he was undergoing...

Kentucky by Heart: An introduction to the recently-released fifth volume of Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist A frequent question I get regarding the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series is quite simple: “Steve, where do you get all those stories?” My prompt answer in recent years has gone something like this: “Well, I’ve been at this a while now. People know I do the project, so the stories pretty much come to me…” And though the process may be a bit more...

Kentucky by Heart: Versailles resident’s watchful eye helps avert major disaster, helps him truly know faith

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Ted Hill must have felt like his own version of The Man Who Knew Too Much. The former Boeing and later Sylvania Osram employee found himself anxiety-ridden while sitting as a passenger at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport (CVG) awaiting his Delta Flight 1661 to San Diego over sixteen years ago. He sat at a window overlooking the wing on his...

Kentucky by Heart: Poring over Kentucky’s past gives new meaning to the present, future

By Steve Flairty NKyTribune columnist This is a reprint of a column originally published on June 21, 2015. I typically write about contemporary life, but once in a while I like to pore over items from Kentucky’s past, especially when I feel a real connection. This particular column will have that focus. A while back, my Aunt Sue sent me a local obituary piece, an involved story from the Kentucky...

Kentucky by Heart: The wisdom found in the words and sayings of ‘old-timers’ can last a lifetime

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist If you spend considerable time around any old-timer (I’ll let you figure out how I define “old-timer”) you’re likely to hear them talk about old sayings and terms they used to hear a lot while growing up… along with telling who the person was who most often said such memorable things. Sometimes they’re shared with a grin or even a giggle, sometimes...

Kentucky by Heart: With the beginning of summer comes fond memories of childhood ‘swimming holes’

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Memorial Day is past and it’s time to focus on summer activities. For many, it’s the season to enjoy a refreshing dip in the pool, or at last be around water. Looking back, however, some of my favorite swimming escapades as a child happened in what I’ll call “unofficial” swimming holes, usually around our family’s home in southern Campbell County. Ironically,...

Kentucky by Heart: Overcoming writer’s block by getting back to the basics… with a Kentucky twist

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist I normally start writing the weekly Kentucky by Heart columns on Monday. That usually gives sufficient time to meet my Sunday deadline for the following Tuesday’s publication date. This past Wednesday, I sat at my computer having not written a word on KBH and with little idea what my topic for the week would be. Frustrated, I decided to go back to the ABC basics. Translated,...

Kentucky by Heart: Honoring those who paid ultimate price; celebrating milestones at Wilmore Elementary

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist The date June 6, 1944, will always stand out as iconic in American history. That’s when 156,000 Allied troops, including 73,000 U.S. soldiers and marines, stormed beaches in Normandy, France, and began the final stages of victory over Hitler’s Germany and the Axis Powers, bent on domination of Europe, North Africa, and East Asia. Americans fought bravely, paying...

Kentucky by Heart: Former slave, Ky. native Wheeling Gaunt defied the odds with an unrelenting work ethic

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Though making no claims of being a bona fide Kentucky historian, I enjoy researching and discovering people from the state’s past that aren’t particularly well-known, yet have inspirational stories that cry out to be shared. I recently came across an account of Wheeling Gaunt, a man born in 1813 into abject poverty in Carrollton. He was termed, at the time,...

Kentucky by Heart: Liberty’s Galilean Home Ministries provides home for children of all ages

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist The compassionate work of the Galilean Home Ministries (GHM), based in Liberty, has been nothing short of awe-inspiring since its establishment in 1969 after Jerry and Sandy Tucker, with a childless marriage to that point and living in Michigan, adopted a baby boy with medical needs and who needed a family. Today, according to its website, the “Galilean Home”...

Kentucky by Heart: Change in location means gardening — and a surprising interest in the weather

Editor’s Note: This column originally appeared at KyForward May 30, 2017 By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Starting as a toddler, and for most of my youth, hearing my parents talk about the weather seldom interested me. It didn’t seem to matter to me then that the produce we grew in our gardens and the tobacco crops we raised were so dependent upon cooperating weather. It didn’t dawn...

Kentucky by Heart: Some important options for this weekend — Epicurean Experience, American Creed

By Steve Flairy KyForward columnist A few columns ago, I shared some early information about a charity gala affair, called “Epicurean Experience.” Its purpose is to raise funds for the Kentucky United Methodist Children’s Homes (KyUMH). Details are now being finalized and I’d like to share some of the exciting features for the event this Saturday, April 27, at the new campus at 1115 Ashgrove...

Kentucky by Heart: These guys are deltiologists — meaning they collect postcards — lots of postcards

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist When Carl Howell looks back on his professional work career, a highly successful one, he feels a sense of pride. He served for a period in the state of New York as an FBI agent, and later came home to practice law in his native Hodgenville with his father until the elder Howell’s death in 1983. Carl retired in 2014, ending his long professional tenure at a storied...

Kentucky by Heart: Grieving the loss of a beloved brother with the precious legacy he left behind

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist I don’t know for sure if the wildflower seeds, the kind that come mixed in a straw bale that will hold in moisture after being cast on the readied ground, will sprout and provide a summer of gorgeous blooms. That would be my hope, and I suspect they will. What I do know is that the seeds were a gift bequeathed me out of my brother’s garage as he lay dying in...

Kentucky by Heart: Kentucky is full of interesting topics to write about; sharing 33 of the best

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Finding fresh material to write a weekly column about Kentucky is always a bit of a challenge, but the fuel that makes it work for me is the unabashed passion I feel for such a place as this. Hopefully, the passion connects closely to the adoration my readers have for the Bluegrass State. But alas, I must understand that not all who happen to read Kentucky by Heart...

Kentucky by Heart: As state is abuzz with basketball, some new hoops books to highlight ‘annointed time’

By Steve Flairty KyForward columnist Basketball is buzzing in Kentucky these days, with both high school and college basketball tournaments in full throttle. Some might call this annual sports season focus as a state birthright… our “anointed time.” Being in the spirit of such mania, I’ve recently read a couple of good hoops books, one a biography on Adolph Rupp, the iconic University of...