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Morning Report: glimpsing how things were in 2005

Family (especially Mitzi and me) and friends regularly nag Ed Waggener to "write more". The article below popped up on a search in archives and I've presented it to him as a perfect example of what he's asked to carve out more time for and do more of. His Morning Report, posted Sat., Sept 13, 2005, amazingly 12 years ago, included subjects Gary McKinney; sparing milkweed; driving less and a sidewalk update. He is on notice. It was retired Adair County Public School Teacher, awesome mentor, Mary Marshall Paul Todd who always stressed, "you must write more" to both my husband and me. She read constantly and was a natural guide and teacher for everyone through her 89 years and she wanted words, demanded words about life and how people lived it. And now I follow in her footsteps and ask, "are YOU writing today?" -- Linda Waggener

By Ed Waggener

Gary McKinney recalls what he got out of high school

Gary McKinney, (ACHS 1958), late of Vester and Wain Street, Columbia, KY, now a retired teacher, barber, real estate agent and his own book scout living in Jeffersonville, IN, says that he spends a lot of time in the library these days, doing research. "You couldn't have tied me and kept me in a library when I was in high school," he said. "Now it's one of my favorite places."

It brings to mind, he says, a favorite saying of Joe Janes, a late 1950s Adair County High School principal. Mr. Janes would quote or paraphrase George Bernard Shaw: Youth is such a wonderful thing. It's a shame to waste it on the young."

"That saying is the one thing I heard in high school which has stuck with me over the years," Gary McKinney says.

Right-of-way milkweed preservation a good sign in Adair County

It's hard not to appreciate the right-of-way maintenance landowners do for the benefit of the rest of us.

Across the Petty's Fork Bridge on South 61, a man was clearing overgrowth with a string trimmer one day this week. Everything was clipped to lawn grass height except for a patch of about 20 milkweed (butterfly weed) plants, left untouched to beautifully punctuate the roadside. Time was, people would have not only cut the milkweed down, but would have pulled the roots up as well.

And on out the road, if you turn west toward Edmonton, Farmer Kenneth Scott has spared a whole field of cornflower. Cornflower is sort of a notional plant, and I haven't figured out just when it blooms during the day, or whether it the blooms are governed by the amount of sunshine. But I do know that when Farmer Scott's cornflower is at its showiest, why, it's one of the prettiest sights in the county.

It's not as outlandishly exhibitionist as fields of Texas bluebonnets, but it's sort of remindful of them.

An added benefit is that small yellow finches seem to flock to some stands of cornflower. We get a couple of the thumbsize creatures in an abbreviated patch toward Bobby Graves' pasture field, and they are delightful. Like the cornflowers' bloom, these are notional birds, and I haven't figured out just what season brings them to the cornflower in greatest numbers. But in town, where the Duo-County Exchange is located at the corner of Reed and Fortune Streets in Columbia, diagonally across from Columbiana, there used to be a small patch of corn flower, and in fallish weather, when the seeds would be dry, it seemed that hundreds of the bright yellow birds would congregate there. I appreciate these wildflowers being spared. Hope others do, too.

Two worthwhile observations: We're driving less. We're walking more.

1) Are people driving less because of the high gas prices? Grover C. Gilpin does his own Galloping Grover Windshield Observation Poll, and he says, "Yes, there are fewer cars on the road."When he returns from Campbellsville, he counts the cars on the way home. "Before gas went up so much," he says, "I'd count 100 cars going toward Campbellsville as I drove from the light in Campbellsville to the Fairground Street light in Columbia."

"Since gas got so high," he says, "I count 65-68 cars in the same stretch." That's quite a reduction.

For my money, this is as scientific as it gets, and proves that people are driving less, most likely because gas is so expensive.

2) Also, with all the new sidewalks, we're walking more

Thanks to a couple of mayors, Pat Bell and Curtis Hardwick, and a few more than a half-dozen Columbia City Council Members, we're getting rich in sidewalks.

You'd think this would encourage walking; and so it has. Utilizing a similarly scientific survey, Mayor Bell, using his own windshielding techniques, has found this to be true. "It does seem to me there are more people walking now. I noticed a lot more walkers on Jamestown Hill now that we have the new sidewalks." But he adds a disclaimer, maybe to moderate any elation one might have about Columbia's health consciousness. "It may be just the novelty. I don't know." Even that might not be a bad thing. Remember how we all dodged haybales and the highway patrol before the Cumberland Parkway (LBN) was officially opened? Even after the thrill of being an outlaw wore off and we could ride on it legally, that didn't stop us from using it more and more and more after it was officially opened.

The new sidewalk system is good thing. Another will be when the city, library, local businesses, schools and churches add bike racks to accommodate all the cyclists we have in Adair County, especially the bike team students at Lindsey Wilson College. That would really put us in step with Governor Fletcher's Get Healthy, Kentucky, Initiative. Biking and walking are both being promoted in public service announcements from the Department of Transportation these days.

This story was posted on 2017-09-15 10:30:43
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