A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Kentucky by Heart: Revisiting some of Kentucky’s recent good works and celebrating state’s positivity

By Steve Flairty
NKyTribune Columnist

As I write on this particularly sunny day of spring, I feel a keen compulsion to spread a share of sunny disposition to others. And with all the metaphoric clouds of darkness appearing quite regularly in our world (see pandemic and racial violence, etc.), I’ve found from experience that intentionally “looking for the good” is essential in order to do the sharing. That said, I decided to carefully peruse some recent KyForward and Northern Kentucky Tribune news and feature articles, along with other sources, to mine some good reasons from the media for immediate positivity, particularly in our state. Here are a few I found:

(Photo provided)

• Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts, and Heritage is planning to establish the COVID-19 Memorial at the state capitol, and they’re looking for artists to help in the design. You can help support the effor financially by visiting secure.kentucky.gov.

• In Georgetown, Toyota announced it is partnering with three schools and investing 1.7 million to help underrepresented students to earn engineering degrees.

• Centre College, in Danville, is stepping out to help its students have more and better counseling choices, partnering with The Jed Foundation, which aids schools in having the “strongest possible mental health safety nets.”

• Crystal Wilkinson was named the 2021-22 Kentucky Poet Laureate, well-deserved and long overdue.

• 23 organizations around the state will receive financial support in helping clean the air and adding beauty through tree-planting through receiving grants from Louisville Gas and Electric Company and Kentucky Utilities.

• Two Kentucky colleges excelled in sports competitions recently. The University of Kentucky volleyball team won its first national championship, and the EKU All-Girl cheerleading squad won the All-Girl Division 1 title and the EKU CoEd team won the Small CoEd Division 1 championship.

Aspire Conservatory adult learners (Photo from Aspire Conservatory)

• Demetrius Booker is blessed to have his coworkers have his back in a big way as he encountered the illnesses of COVID-19 and gallbladder failure. The health conditions threatened his life. Over $21,000 was raised by Facebook friends on a GoFundMe page, and colleagues transferred their sick and vacation days to help the graphics designer employed by the J.B. Speed School of Engineering at the University of Louisville.

• At the Spark Café, in Versailles, Executive Director Kyle Fannin told Spectrum News One that the eating place is a “pay it forward, pay what you can restaurant… The way it works is that people come in and enjoy this fantastic farm-to-table food in this amazing environment, and instead of tipping a waitstaff, we are all volunteers here. They tip the mission.” The mission primarily is to aid food insecure persons in the community.

Steve Flairty is a teacher, public speaker and an author of seven books: a biography of Kentucky Afield host Tim Farmer and six in the Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes series, including a kids’ version. Steve’s “Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes #5,” was released in 2019. Steve is a senior correspondent for Kentucky Monthly, a weekly KyForward and NKyTribune columnist and a former member of the Kentucky Humanities Council Speakers Bureau. Contact him at sflairty2001@yahoo.com or visit his Facebook page, “Kentucky in Common: Word Sketches in Tribute.” (Steve’s photo by Connie McDonald)

Upcoming soon, I will have a Kentucky by Heart column giving more information on the work of the Spark Café.

• Aspire! Conservatory, In Ashland, has spawned a similar project in nearby Louisa, in Lawrence County. Their mission, according to the organization’s website, is “to promote both recreational and performance-driven music-making and fine arts education within the community in a positive, friendly, Christian atmosphere; and to enhance personal, mental, physical and spiritual well-being through arts experiences.” The Louisa United Methodist Church will be the location, starting in July. For more information, visit aspireconservatory.com.

• According to an article in Kentucky Health News, Gov. Andy Beshear announced news that should give our state’s citizens reason for hope, saying: “When we have vaccinated 2.5 million Kentuckians, we will remove capacity restrictions for nearly all venues, events, and businesses that cater to 1,000 or fewer patrons.”

Kentucky needs to vaccinate about 700,000 more to reach that goal. For those who haven’t yet but plan to get their Covid shot, there are plenty of opportunities now, including at Louisville’s Cardinal Stadium, where a 28-lane drive-thru operation is delivering them.

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In last week’s column on Rebecca Caudill, I spelled the award name for the author’s book, Tree of Freedom, as “Newberry” rather than the correct way, as “Newbery.”

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I resumed spending time on the speaking circuit a few weeks back after over a year off since the pandemic intruded in our lives. Contact sflairty2001@yahoo.com if you are interested in scheduling me to share at your gathering. The general topic is about people in my book series, Kentucky’s Everyday Heroes, and I always hope to inspire with their stories. Recently, I’ve focused on heroic women of our state. Hope to hear from you.

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