Thursday, May 29, 2008

Jefferson Davis' 200th Commemoration

The first full weekend in June is always packed with things to do in Todd County and this year is no different. Among this year's activities is the annual Jefferson Davis celebration. However, this year's celebration is a little different from the norm. 2008 marks Davis' 200th birthday and as a result the Jefferson Davis State Historic Site is having a shin-dig to acknowledge the Confederate President's bicentennial year.

The Jefferson Davis 200th Commemoration will be June 7 and 8 at the park in Fairview. The annual event includes living history camps, period demonstrations and sutlers (vendors), guest speakers, members of Davis' family, book signings, period music and more.

Davis was born June 3, 1808, on the site where Bethel Baptist Church now stands. He was a graduate of West Point. As a military and political leader, Davis served not only as the president of the confederacy, but also during the Mexican War, congressman and senator from Mississippi and as secretary of war during Franklin Pierce's administration.

The monument, which is comprised of pure concrete, will be open throughout the event. The 351-foot obelisk will open at 9 a.m. Tours will be conducted every half hour until 8 p.m. The tours will cease between noon and 1 p.m.

Events for the celebration include:

Saturday, June 7:
* 8 a.m., gates open;
* 9 a.m., encampments and sutlers open;
* 9 a.m., opening ceremonies by Park Manager, Mark Doss, and Bertram Hayes-Davis;
* 9:30 a.m., period music by Saxton Cornett Band;
* 10 a.m., Varina Davis' memories by Joan Howard;
* 10:30 a.m., lunch basket auction for "The Cause;"
* 11 a.m., Jefferson David remembers;
* Noon, Emilie Todd Helm, by Betsy Smith;
* 1 p.m., artillery demonstrations by Byrens Kentucky Battery;
* 1:30 p.m., authors Ronald and Donald Kennedy book signing;
* 2 p.m., Miss Confederacy pageant. (ages 2-24, Wee, Little and Jr. Miss $10 before May 31, $20 after; Miss and Ms. $15 advance and $30 after May 31. Call 270-889-6100 for more information.
* 3 p.m., The Life of Jefferson Davis by William C. Davis;
* 3:45 p.m., "Jefferson Davis Biography" book signing by William C. Davis;
* 4 p.m., musical instruments of the Civil War by Saxton's Cornett Band;
* 7:30 p.m., re-enactor ball. Music by Saxton's Cornett Band;
* 8:30 p.m., night firing program by Byrnes Kentucky Battery;
* 9 p.m., re-enactor ball continues.

June 8

* 9:30 a.m., gates open;
* 10 a.m., encampments and sutlers open;
* 10:15 a.m., period music by Saxton's Cornett Band;
* 11 a.m., worship service -- Bethel Baptist Church;
* Noon, "A Distant Light" book signing by Justice Bill Cunningham;
* 12:30 p.m., period music by Saxton's Cornett Band;
* 1:30 p.m., "Then & Now" book signing by local historian William T. Turner;
* 2 p.m., artillery demonstrations and cannon firing by Byrnes Kentucky Battery;
* 2:15 p.m., birthday commemoration
* 3 p.m., period music by Saxton's Cornett Band.

The park is located off U.S. 68/Ky. 80 in Fairview, approximately 10 miles east of Hopkinsville and 8 miles west of Elkton in Todd County. For more information call the park at 270-889-6100.

Other events of the weekend include:
* Relay for Life
* Allegre Volunteer Fire Department annual fundraiser
* 400 Mile Yard Sale along 68/80

Photo from

Setting things straight

I recently blogged about teacher layoffs. That blog was published in the paper. In the blog I mentioned a friend of mine. In the paper I took her and tried to make a fictional, hypothetical teacher. Unfortunately, after three weeks of no sleep, things that seemed completely vague to me weren't as vague as I thought. No one came to us and told us we needed to write that editorial. Let's be honest, as journalist we are -- by nature -- apt to do the exact opposite of what we are told. For any trouble that blog/editorial may have caused for anyone, especially my friend, I apologize. I however will not apologize for what I said. The education system is in poor shape and Gov. Bershear needs to find other ways to get money for his casinos than taking it from education.

Posted by Stephanie


Wednesday, May 21, 2008


Despite the voting preferences of Kentucky and Todd County, it would be a minor miracle if Hillary Clinton is the Democratic nominee for the presidential race this fall.

Barak Obama has said he will come to Kentucky and work hard to convince us that he is the best choice. Todd County had 373 voters who liked Obama. Only three out of 10 Kentucky's Democrats like him as well.

We can't count the times we've heard people say that they don't like any of the choices. We wonder if that is because people only go by what they hear from the media or why else would state Democrats overwhelmingly vote for Clinton, whose husband has a tremendous amount of detractors here? Bill only had about 300 people to show up to hear him in Hopkinsville last week.

This political season will pay out more for voters if they make a point to become as knowledgeable as possible before heading to the polls in November.

Because, despite Obama's promise, something tells us that after the thumping of the past few weeks Obama won't see much use in working too hard in Kentucky and West Virginia.

Most likely, neither will McCain.

He's the safe choice for those who won't, or are too lazy, to judge for themselves if a black man or a woman should be president.

So, when McCain wins Kentucky (and Todd County) by 40 or 50 percent it shouldn't come as a surprise.

What would be a (welcome) surprise is if McCain or Obama win in Kentucky because they are indeed the best candidate for the job not just the best choice for the uninformed.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Teacher lay offs

The Todd County Board of Education has recently declined to renew several teacher contracts due to budget cuts. This is a disturbing trend across the state in a reaction to Gov. Beshear's massive budget cuts.

Kentucky has traditionally lagged behind in terms of education when compared to the rest of the states. In 2006, Kentucky ranked 34. Not as bad as it could be but not what you'd call great either. The state also has a poor retaining record when it comes to the workforce, meaning that students that go out of state to college don't return.


Currently, there are approximately 30 per classroom. The number to students per class is determined by grade with the cap being 26 in the upper grades and 33 in lower grades. With the elimination of teachers that means more students per classroom. More students per class will mean students not getting the attention they need. It means teachers, who are already spread thin, are going to be spread thinner. More kids falling through the cracks.

I have a friend who teaches in Russellville, she has taught for three and a half years, therefore is nontenured. She got word this week -- on her birthday of all days -- that as of now her contract would not be renewed. No nontenured teacher's contract was renewed in Russellville city schools, she said. Now, you probably think that well she's a new teacher and may not cut the mustard. Not true and I'm not saying that because she's my friend. Her classes have had among the highest testing scores and highest attendance rates since she began teaching. She was forced to move grades Christmas 2006 to a class that was seemingly uncontrollable. It is teachers like these that make the difference in the world. And they are the teachers being let go because of budget cuts.

It's a sorry state, I must say. Perhaps Gov. Beshear should concentrate on getting more money for education -- both public K-12 and state universities that have had to cut programs and massively increase tuition -- and less money toward finding a way to get casinos in Kentucky.

Posted by Stephanie


Friday, May 09, 2008

Date change for Stokes

The pre-trial diversion hearing for Todd County Sheriff W.D. "Billy" Stokes has been postponed. The hearing, which was scheduled for 9 a.m. May 12, has been moved until 10 a.m., May 19. Bowling Green attorney David Broderick will represent Stokes.


Thursday, May 08, 2008

Primary elections

For the past several months, candidate hopefuls have been pounding the pavement shaking hands and kissing babies looking for your vote. Now, it's important to understand that the upcoming May 20 election is only a primary. The only thing it really decides is who gets to keep shaking hands and kissing babies until November's general election.

BUT it is important to vote. The right to choose our leaders is one of the reasons the Revolutionary War took place. Before the war began, Britain issued several laws in an attempt to reign in the colonist. Long story short. Paul Revere road, the war raged on, the French (Yes, those French) stepped in to help the unprepared colonist get out from under Britain's rule, bombs bursted in air....

The moral to the very abridged history lesson is that about 25,700 men, women and children (7,200 in battle; 10,000 from disease and exposure; and 8,500 in British prisons) died to free what is now the United States. Through that freedom we have got the right to choose our leaders.

Very few exercise their right to vote and that is very sad. If you don't vote you are disparaging those who died in every war from the revolution to the current Mr. Bush's war.

So, on May 20, exercise your right to vote; chose who will lead this state and this country. Remember, every vote counts and makes the difference.

Races that will affect Todd County include:
House of Representative Sheldon Baugh will step down after this term. The five vying for his seat are:
Mary Jane King
Tim Thompson
Kent Knight
Billy Hall
Michael Smith (note parties were not mentioned. See above for reason)

Commonwealth Attorney for Todd and Logan counties. This is a special election. Commonwealth Attorney Charles Orange passed away after Christmas, barely a year into a new term. An attorney has been named interim until a replacement could be found. Running for the office are:

Logan County Attorney Elizabeth Wilson and
Acting Commonwealth Attorney Gail Guiling.

No candidate will be expounded upon. The Standard is not in the business of telling voters for whom to vote, just to give you the knowledge you need to make an educated decision.

So, mark your calendars and vote May 20. Don't worry, jury pools are no longer pulled from voting records so don't worry about that. Do your civic duty vote. If you don't you have no right to complain later.

Posted by Stephanie


No ink, no ordinance ...

Here is one from the "news of the weird."

According to Todd County Judge-Executive Arthur Green, in May of 2003 the Todd County Fiscal Court passed an ordinance dealing with subdivisions.

In an ironic blunder, the ordinance was never put into effect. It was passed by the court. It was put into the minutes. But, oddly, it was never published in the newspaper within 10 days --- which is required by law.

So, now the current fiscal court will have to deal with the issue from square one and how this will affect the current subdivisions is hard to say.

Either way, how local government deals with growth (especially subdivisions) could be one of the biggest challenges to Todd County in the next five to ten years.


Friday, May 02, 2008

Guthrie Schoolhouse Daycare

After a month-long battle with the Guthrie Board of Adjustments, Kathy Smith was given permission todaymby the board to proceed with her proposed day care in downtown Guthrie.

The board is allowing her a conditional use permit for the building. Smith must adhere to several conditions the board setforth, providing documentation to the board before being allowed to apply for a business license.

For more, see Wednesday's Todd Coutny Standard.

Posted by Stephanie


Thursday, May 01, 2008

Animal minds

I just finished reading this article in the March edition of "National Geographic" entitled "Inside Animal Minds." The article was not one of those how-to-communicate-with-your-pet like you see while waiting in the supermarket check out line. This article was more about how the minds of some animals are not that different from the minds of humans.

The writer, Virginia Morell, talked to several animal researchers that explained experiments done with animals to prove they are cognitive thinkers. Skills that are considered to point toward higher mental abilities include: good memory, a grasp of grammar and symbols, self-awareness understanding motives, imitating others and being creative.

Several animal researchers were quoted in the article describing how the researchers came to the conclusion that robots as previously thought. First, however, I think it is important to know that these are not the stereotypical researchers with mice and test tubes. Theses animals were considered friends and colleagues.

The first researcher Irene Pepperberg who decided to find out if birds could communicate. During her 31 years with her research subject — an African gray parrot named Alex — Pepperberg found out that birds were able to gather and use information and act on it. By the time Alex died at age 31, he could count to seven, name what he wanted to eat and what he was eating, differentiate between colors and shapes. Alex would also tell the other birds of his flock to "Talk clearly."

Another researcher found a Border Collie named Betsy who could identify her toys from pictures and bring the correct on from several toys. Betsy could identify approximately 300 words.

The article named several other animals tested with cognitive skills, including crows, pigeons, types of monkey and dolphins. The article wasn't necessarily about Darwin or his theories of evolution. Obviously a species, no matter the type, has to evolve to cope with its ever changing environments or else become extinct.

Just some food for thought.

Posted by Stephanie