Liberty author Russell Vassallo decided to step outside his comfort zone with his newest release, Deep is the Dark (Krazy Duck Productions, $22). Typically a memoir and short-story writer, Vassallo felt driven to write a full-length suspense novel that had brewed inside him since his 20s when he met Puella, the mentally ill daughter of his tailor.
The story centers around Simon Trent, a man of few friends, gifted with the ability to diagnose medical issues simply by touching the affected person. Years of rejection and ridicule by those around him have fostered bitterness and dread in Simon, wishing he could lead a normal life where a mere handshake does not reveal life or death matters.
His childhood doctor helps Simon to use his power in a positive way, diagnosing secretively when the doctor cannot. Eventually, after a Caribbean trip prompts Simon to experiment with voodoo, his gift escalates to full healing. His attempts to treat a demented girl named Puella, however, will change his life forever.
Vassallo says when he first met the real Puella, “She was sitting on a wooden chair, grossly overweight, mumbling to herself, cutting her hair with a plastic scissor, and gesturing at me…She was about 35 years of age then. I learned from others that she was feared. In her time, she had attacked her mother violently on several occasions.”
Her story would haunt him for years afterward.
Vassallo plans to continue writing novels. “I felt driven to complete Deep is the Dark. It literally possessed me,” he says. “I am thinking of a sequel that would be even deeper than the original.”
Adding insulation to your home? An R-value indicates insulation’s resistance to heat flow—a higher R-value means more effective insulation. Every type of insulation has a unique R-value depending on material, thickness, and density. Your ideal R-value depends on whether your home is new or existing, your heating fuel, and where you live. Learn more in this month’s Energy 101, and at www.energysavers.gov.
Three cheerleading teams from universities in Kentucky returned from competition in the Universal Cheerleaders Association final in Orlando, Florida, with big wins. The University of Kentucky placed first in Division 1A, for a record 19 top place trophies. Head coach Jomo Thompson posted on Twitter, “Kentucky has climbed the mountain once again and we stand alone. Championship #19 is coming home!” Morehead State University placed first in Division 1 competition and Western Kentucky University came in 14th.
Coaching a winning tradition
The University of Kentucky’s head cheerleading coach, Jomo K. Thompson, continues to put the squad’s Division 1A in the spotlight.
And, yes, Jomo is his real name.
Born in the British West Indies, his family moved to Orlando, Florida, when he was 7.
“All the kids in my neighborhood knew how to tumble and in order to learn the correct methods,” he says. “I was enrolled in classes, then continued to participate in gymnastics throughout school.”
Thompson, who’s lived in Kentucky for 16 years, was a cheerleader at UK for three years and an assistant coach for three years before making his way to head coach. This year’s first-place win set an unprecedented 19th national championship, giving Thompson his seventh triumph as head coach.
“I enjoy working with kids in the program, and watching as they grow and gain confidence in themselves and their abilities,” says Thompson. “I believe it helps them throughout life. Cheerleading takes a lot of conditioning and body control. It’s important to pay attention to details—work hard at basics and fundamental skills. They need to be dedicated because we practice four times a week for 2-1/2 hours and work with weights three times for an hour.”
As far as recruiting, Thompson holds two clinics a year in Lexington, visits high school competitions, and travels the world. He’s held camps in Finland, Sweden, Chile, Singapore, and Colombia, to name a few. This year, for instance, five of 22 on the Blue team are from Kentucky and one is from Slovenia.
The smart grid will provide instantaneous access to a wide variety of energy sources with modest additional investments in pipes, concrete, and wires.
—Richard E. Schuler, graduate school professor of economics and of civil and environmental engineering, Cornell University, in The Bridge, published by the National Academy of Engineering.
Kentucky farm cash receipts will likely exceed $5 billion for the first time in 2011.
University of Kentucky professor of agricultural economics Will Snell reports he and the team of UK economists are seeing improvements in returns in corn, soybeans, wheat, cattle, horses, hogs, dairy, and poultry, with corn and poultry the two top sources of cash receipts.
“U.S. farm exports plunged in 2009, but jumped to $109 billion in 2010,” Snell says. “Ag exports rebounded to a record $137 billion in 2011. It’s not so much that the volume of exports has been impressive, it’s that prices have soared.”
Women in Rural Electrification (Kentucky W.I.R.E.) is taking applications for $1,000 scholarships. The scholarships are open to any eligible student whose family is served by a Kentucky electric cooperative and has at least 60 hours of credits at a Kentucky college or university by the start of the fall term. W.I.R.E. will award at least three scholarships. The deadline for application is May 7. For an application form, go to www.kaec.org and click on the link at the bottom of the New Info box, or call your local electric cooperative or the Kentucky Living office at (502) 451-2430.
This is Windy Wonderful, Channel 27’s boastful horse who has been entertaining youngsters in the Bluegrass for more than three years. With his good friend, Mary Ann, Windy interviews the children who visit him daily. He graciously accepts a pat on the nose and ungraciously battles progress in his untiring efforts to “bring back the horse.”
He’s a thoroughbred who brags that he never lost a race, but where he ran seems to be a secret. His grammar leaves much to be desired but as he says—“horse English ain’t like people English.” That’s true, and we’re grateful. Watch Windy weekdays at 5 p.m.
“Learning to garden doesn’t only teach school children where food REALLY comes from, but also helps with lessons in the classroom,” says Jo Stone, who initiated a coalition connecting Fayette County schools.
With the help of a Fayette County grant, Stone, an Ashland Elementary School parent, started a collaborative garden with nearby Temple Adath Israel religious schoolteachers and students.
“For science, they can watch the life cycle of insects and even pick up a worm or two. Using a yardstick to measure a plant’s growth and spacing rows of vegetables is valuable in math,” says Stone.
Jane Grisé, the Temple’s Youth Education director, incorporated gardening into existing Jewish environmental education curriculum by having students plant fall and spring gardens.
Green Team chairman Mickey Hernandez says, “We welcome volunteers in the community to join us in our efforts.” If you’re interested, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Warren Rural Electric Co-op, headquartered in Bowling Green, is now ranked as having the third highest operating capacity of renewable energy enrolled in the Generation Partners Program among 155 power distributors in the seven-state TVA service area.
Warren RECC currently has 3.46 megawatts of renewable energy in completed projects with the Generation Partners Program. Projects of interest include Richardsville Elementary School (the nation’s first “Net Zero School”), Perdue Farms, and Scotty’s Development Solar Projects.
Eligible renewable resources are solar, wind, biomass, and low-impact hydropower.
According to Ernie Peterson, TVA Kentucky district general manager, “Warren RECC has provided valuable support to TVA and the Generation Partners Program to make renewable energy a reality in Kentucky. The management and staff of Warren RECC have dedicated countless hours to provide technical assistance to their members to aid with the interconnection of the renewable projects.”