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International Lineman Competition, Cornhole Fever And More


Novel writers

Quote: Ban Ki-moon

Kentucky co-op linemen at the top

Fishy Students

Cornhole fever

Needlework and the art (of relaxing)


Novel writers

Donna Brown Wilkerson, of Russellville, and Dawn S. Scruggs, of Lafayette, Tennessee, have been intertwined for many years as friends who share common legal backgrounds. Scruggs, who is a self-employed court reporter, and Wilkerson, a former practicing attorney turned full-time wife and mother, have found yet another shared interest–writing novels.

Their first work, The Deliberation (Martin Sisters, $17.95), is the story of a jury trial in a vehicular homicide case as told from the shifting perspectives of a juror, a prosecuting attorney, and a public defender. Each has a unique view of the case, but the real excitement happens when all three viewpoints converge.

The story is a message about forgiveness, resolution, redemption, and closure. Scruggs and Wilkerson hope readers will both enjoy the book and remember its message.

“My main hope is that readers will take the time to absorb the whole story and think about all the issues and how the characters responded to them,” Scruggs says.

“The best thing about a good book is that it gives us an escape from reality,” Wilkerson says. “Beyond that, we hope readers take away the message that there are always consequences to our actions–some of which can come back to haunt us at the most inopportune times.”

The writing duo first learned they were an excellent writing team when a snake slithered into Scruggs’ koi pond. The fish, sensing danger, avoided the snake for several days as he eluded capture. Gradually, however, the fish grew complacent and even a bit curious. The snake took advantage of this opportunity to devour them one by one.

Scruggs immediately recognized a valuable parable in the situation and asked Wilkerson to help her write a short story to share with her youth group.

“Somewhere along the way she said, ‘You know, we should write a book,’” Wilkerson says. “So we did.”

Scruggs’ and Wilkerson’s debut is certainly a milestone in their careers as novelists but they are only getting started. They are already hard at work on their next novel, a sequel to The Deliberation.

To learn more about Wilkerson and Scruggs, visit their Web sites, www.dawnscruggs.com and www.donnabrownwilkerson.com.

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Quote: Ban Ki-moon

Cooperatives are a reminder to the international community that it is possible to pursue both economic viability and social responsibility.
—Ban Ki-moon, United Nations Secretary-General
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Kentucky co-op linemen at the top

Kentucky electric co-op linemen are well-known at rodeos. Yes, that’s right—rodeos. Only their rodeos don’t involve bucking broncos or bulls. The three-man teams compete on utility poles. These professionals take their work seriously day in and day out, as well as during timed events that measure speed and skill, but above all emphasize safety.

In October, Nicholasville-based Blue Grass Energy Co-op Team #1 took first place and McKee-based Jackson Energy Co-op Team #1 placed second at the 28th International Lineman’s Rodeo &Expo in Kansas City, Missouri. Both finished ahead of 25 best lineman teams in their division. There are six divisions in the one-day competition event where 726 linemen competed.

Blue Grass Energy Co-op’s Eugene Neeley, a 19-year veteran, says, “I enjoy seeing what I’ve accomplished by being able to go back, see lines I’ve put up or worked on.”

Teammate Miles Shumaker “didn’t want a job where people get laid off, plus the rodeo gives me a chance to meet people from other areas and practice safety skills.”

The third member of the team, Brad Wiglesworth, explains, “I guess the rodeo is a means to show pride in my job and my competitive spirit. I worked on the family farm as a kid and didn’t participate in sports, so now the rodeo is my sport.”

Jackson Energy’s Garry Creech, who’s worked for the co-op 33 years, says, “It gets in your blood. I remember being on a pole when a tornado hit in Rockcastle County in ’93. There was no way I could get down. I thought I was going to drown.”

Creech is co-inventor of a lineman tool called the Kutout King, which automatically shuts power off under various conditions.

Teammate Brian Turner enjoys “the fellowship and bonding with fellow workers during the rodeo, learning new techniques, and seeing different tools.”

Jackson Energy Co-op’s Marty York became interested in line work at trade school: “Industrial electricity fascinated me. I knew this type of work was for me.”

Kendall Bush, with the Safety & Loss Control Department of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, says, “All of these linemen have competed against each other for years, but are truly friends. When one team wins, Kentucky wins.”

Other Kentucky co-ops participating in the rodeo: Grayson Rural Electric Co-op, Grayson; Inter-County Energy Co-op, Danville; Licking Valley Rural Electric Co-op, West Liberty; Warren Rural Electric Co-op, Bowling Green.

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Fishy Students

Chris Howard, an agriculture teacher at Bath County High School, is excited about the expansion of their FFA aquaculture program.

“We’re finding the kids like working with fish–they can’t get hurt–wet maybe, but they don’t get dirty,” he says.

“They learn to weigh, identify, and how to feed. We’re adding four tanks to our system, one each for catfish, bass, tilapia, and koi. We sell live fish to the public for personal use and to stock farm ponds and lakes. This year we’re introducing students to hydroponic plants also.”

To visit or for more info, phone (606) 674-8191.
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Cornhole fever

What’s the fun in being older? Just ask Johnnie Watkins, at 63 years old the reigning cornhole champion at the Jackson Senior Citizens Center in Breathitt County. “Why, they’d rather play cornhole toss than eat,” he says. “There’s a group that meets at the building five days a week. On a good day we have between 50-55 men and women joining to play rook or cornhole from 8 a.m. until noon.” Watkins, best at tossing a bean bag in the hole for two years, has already broken his own 2010 record. He threw 30 straight bags without missing in January 2011. A notary public and four others signed a document to be sent to the Guinness Book of World Records.
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Needlework and the art (of relaxing)

We have a new word in everyday use around our place. The word is “tranquilizer,” and jet-age living has made it a household term. Most of us need a quieting, soothing interval of some kind nearly every day, it seems. Experts agree that needlework, an ancient feminine art, offers satisfying diversion from the cares and worries of the uncertain age in which we live.

Thanks to simplified modern designs and well-written instructions, knitting and crochet exert no additional pressures. Instead, they help to foster a healthy sense of individuality and accomplishment, and women are reminded that they may depend on these womanly arts for needed relaxation.
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