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A State Park deal

Guest Opinion: Spreading the joy of reading

Wise buys guide

Historic (Web) site

Reading Kentucky

Tour guide

What’s up with trans fats?

Barren County voted BEST

Co-op Postcard: 70 years of co-op electricity


A State Park deal
Kentucky State Parks holds its annual Camper Appreciation Weekend on April 27-29 at all 32 campgrounds. Campers will be able to get two nights for the price of one and special programs will be held at campgrounds to open the season. The park system is spending more than $2.5 million on campground improvements across the state, including new fire rings, picnic tables, washers and dryers, and bathroom improvements. Reservations are accepted (but not required) for the 2,600 improved sites by going to www.parks.ky.gov or calling (888) 459-7275.
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Guest Opinion: Spreading the joy of reading
by Terrisa A. Karaus

Have you read a good book lately?

Unfortunately, for many American children, reading is not enjoyable. Today in our country, approximately 10 million children have some degree of difficulty with reading. Of these students, about a million will drop out of high school hampered by poor reading skills.

As communities, we can take a vital role in helping children become better readers and help stamp out illiteracy. If you’re asking, “What can I do, I’m just one person?” there is one easy solution to helping ease the problem of illiteracy. Literacy studies indicate that reading with a child (preschool through eighth grade) 30 minutes every day greatly enhances their reading skills.

Reading with a child every day sounds easier than it really is. Taking the time to read with a child requires very conscious effort. Family obligations, after-school activities, TV, video games, and the Internet compete fiercely for available time.

In addition to finding time, reading needs to be a positive experience, especially for struggling readers. This is where it might get a little tricky and school/community involvement is important in helping encourage children to become better readers.

While many of us are reading with our children and grandchildren, we can still do more to help our children and other children in our communities. We can:

• Set good examples;

• Get in the habit of reading with and to young children often;

• Encourage gifts of books or gift cards to bookstores;

• Host a favorite book character birthday party;

• Support book drives as community service projects for older students. Books can be donated to local libraries, children’s hospitals, homeless/abuse shelters, and youth community services;

• Enforce a weekly “down” day in your home. This is a no/low technology day devoted to reading by all family members;

• Sign up your children for their own library cards;

• Reinforce older children’s reading habits by encouraging them to pursue reading about their hobbies and interests;

• Sponsor and encourage businesses to sponsor newspapers in the classroom;

• Volunteer to be a guest reader at community/school libraries.

Have you read a good book lately? If so, go out and share it with a child.

Terrisa A. Karaus, of Mt. Sterling, is a graduate student at Morehead State University, has worked as a reading tutor, taught leadership classes for the honors and ROTC departments at Morehead State, and has been a substitute teacher for Montgomery County Schools.
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KEYWORD EXCLUSIVE: More ways to help children read
For additional tips to help children read, click here: help read

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Wise buys guide
The Better Business Bureau’s 2007 Wise Buying Guide is now available for consumers throughout the BBB’s service area to help consumers make wise purchasing and service decisions. It includes a listing of reputable Better Business Bureau member businesses and other consumer tips.

The 2007 Wise Buying Guide will be available free at Kroger, ValuMarket, CVS Pharmacy, Thornton, Blockbuster, Sears, and Kmart locations throughout Louisville, southern Indiana, Elizabethtown, Radcliff, and Ft. Knox. In Bowling Green, the Wise Buying Guide will be available at Kroger.

Consumers can also get a Wise Buying Guide by stopping by or calling the Louisville Better Business Bureau office at (800) 388-2222.
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Historic (Web) site
The Kentucky Historical Society has launched a new Web site that offers enhanced content and services. Visitors to the KHS Web site at www.history.ky.gov can explore a wide variety of features such as an online exhibit of the Toyota Kentucky Hall of Governors, conduct family history and genealogical research using KHS databases, view KHS’ calendar of events, and plan a visit to the Kentucky Historical Society’s History Campus, which includes the Thomas D. Clark Center for Kentucky History, the Old State Capitol, and the Kentucky Military History Museum. Visitors can also sign up for KHS’ monthly e-newsletter by submitting their e-mail address on any page of the Web site.
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Reading Kentucky
A number of books worth noting have found their way to Kentucky Living:

Robert Dickey, who graduated from high school in Bowling Green in 1950 and practiced law in Kentucky for 40 years, wasn’t quite part of The Greatest Generation, and he didn’t quite get the girl, so he wrote Near Misses: Growing up in Bowling Green with World War 2, Fledgling Femme Fatales and Fallible Football Fortunes. Dickey’s story about coming of age in Bowling Green includes chapter headings like The Big Bike Crash: Surgery on the Ridge; The Scout Troop: Munitions and Minstrels; The Movies: Breaking the Color Barrier in Reverse; and The Price of Football: A Public Spanking. It’s published by Cold Tree Press in Nashville and sells for $23.95 paperback, $29.95 hardcover.

The title of Harlan County native Chuck Bianchi’s novel, The Blistered Cat, refers to a honky-tonk of questionable reputation across the street from the funeral home in a small eastern Kentucky town, where the main character works. In the story Chuck Moretti explores family, romantic, and spiritual issues as he tries to bridge the spaces between adolescence and adulthood. Published by iUniverse, Lincoln, Nebraska, $14.95.

Kentucky teacher Dwayne Fuchs-Rice’s novel The Color is Black tells about a group of teenage boys researching a school Halloween project. After performing a ritual that is supposed to strengthen their friendship, dead bodies from their past start appearing, and the boys know that something needs to be done. Published by iUniverse, Lincoln, Nebraska, $14.95.

Women, Words & Wisdom, a Kentucky Cookbook, is about half recipes and half memories of and by women embodying Kentucky traditions. Next to a recipe for strawberry ice cream you’ll find Charles Moseley observing, “When I was a kid Mama used to make us boys go to church on Sundays. She would load us up in a road wagon and set chairs up in the back. After church we would visit family, make ice cream and things like that.” Or Debbie Green Moxley writing of her cabbage patch soup, “This is my ‘lose weight during the winter months blahs’ soup.” Besides a wide range of recipes, this book includes spiritual observations, family advice, letters, and photos from years past. It’s the second cookbook for authors Kim Mitchell and Judith Ralph, who also produced A Kentucky Gathering, Recipes and Remembrances. Their latest book is published by Hen House Press of Reynolds Station and sells for $21.95.

For Libra always ends the summer
with its one unbalancing question:
What are you waiting for?

ends a poem in Asparagus Seems Deaf, a collection of poetry by Munfordville attorney Charles D. Williams. The poems observe nature and people, in Kentucky and around the world. Williams has produced earlier books as well, Out of Green River Kitchens, a collection of family recipes, and A Man of the Courts, about the law career of his father, Davis Williams. Asparagus is published by Harmony House Publishers of Prospect, and sells for $19.95.

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Tour guide
New and free for the asking is the state Department of Tourism’s Kentucky Unbridled Spirit 2007 Official Visitor’s Guide. The 176-page publication is designed to help you plan a visit to Kentucky and to serve as a handy resource once you get here. The guide provides a wide range of visitor information, organized mostly into the state’s nine travel regions. For each region, you’ll find an overall description as well as information on accommodations, campgrounds, marinas, historic sites, state parks, major events, and attractions.
To get the guide, visit www.kentuckytourism.com, call (800) 225-8747, or write the Kentucky Department of Tourism, 22nd Floor, Capital Plaza Tower, 500 Mero St., Frankfort, KY 40601. Or you can stop by one of the eight Welcome Centers or the visitor desk at the State Capitol in Frankfort.
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What’s up with trans fats?
Efforts to eliminate or reduce trans fats in Americans’ diets have made headlines in recent months. So what’s the story behind these headline-grabbers? A type of manufactured fat, also called “partially hydrogenated vegetable oil,” found in a variety of products that Americans regularly consume.

“Fast foods, fried foods, and a lot of processed foods have this hydrogenated fat in them,” says Sandra Bastin, food and nutrition specialist with the UK Cooperative Extension Service, who considers the trend to reduce any fat in the diet good news.

“In my opinion, we all eat too much fat anyway,” she says. “If we would stay within that recommended 30 percent of our dietary calories from fat, we probably would avoid even having to talk about trans fat.”

But people are talking about trans fat. Trans-fatty acids, commonly known as trans fats, occur naturally in small amounts in meat and dairy products. But since the 1900s, manufacturers have been processing naturally occurring unsaturated fats into trans fats so that they are solid at room temperature and, therefore, help products stay fresh longer.

The problem with trans fats occurs in the processing, which involves adding hydrogen to liquid vegetable oil or other natural fat. The result is an unhealthy saturated fat. Trans fats are thought to boost “bad” cholesterol and decrease “good” cholesterol, and are linked to an increased risk of heart disease, obesity, and childhood asthma.

Bastin encourages people to read the Nutrition Facts labels on food packaging to see how much trans fats a food item contains.

She also reminds people that watching the amount of fat they consume is only part of the effort to live a healthier lifestyle.

“You can watch your trans fats all day, but the bottom line is still the same: you’ve got to have a varied diet, eat in moderation, and get exercise,” she says.

—Terri McLean, UK Extension
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Barren County voted BEST
Barren County in Kentucky took top honors in the third annual edition of the “Best Places to Live in Rural America” rankings by The Progressive Farmer magazine. Each year, the rankings name the top 10 rural counties in the nation according to several quality-of-life indicators and statistics; all 10 counties were profiled in the February 2007 issue of The Progressive Farmer.

The magazine says that the rankings underscore the growing interest in “new ruralism,” or the trend of migration toward rural areas. Most rural areas in the nation are growing at the fastest rate in more than 20 years, and 71 percent of rural counties in America gained population from 1990 to 2000, according to two recent studies by Kenneth Johnson of Loyola University in Chicago.

“Each month, our magazine covers the issues and trends found in rural America, and more and more we see all kinds of people forging new paths and pursuing less hectic lifestyles,” says senior editor Jamie Cole. “We feel our rankings reflect the newfound energy and vitality of rural America and showcase places that offer the very best in quality of life and comfort for their residents and workers.”

According to The Progressive Farmer, a strong and growing economy, great education, superior access to health care, and historical flavor were all important reasons why Barren County was selected.

In order, the other counties selected among the top 10 “Best Places to Live in Rural America” are: Warren County, Pennsylvania; Randolph County, Illinois; Gillespie County, Texas; Union County, South Dakota; St. Lawrence County, New York; Sac County, Iowa; Garfield County, Oklahoma; Amador County, California; and Polk County, North Carolina.

To view the comprehensive rankings online, or create your own personal list of “Best Places to Live in Rural America” using the same criteria editors used in the rankings, log onto www.progressivefarmer.com/bestplaces.
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Co-op Postcard: 70 years of co-op electricity

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