Dancing in Elizabethtown
The Kentucky Center for Performing Arts in Louisville has established a partnership with Hardin County Schools to present Axis Dance Company on Friday, February 22, at 8 p.m. at the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center at 384 W.A. Jenkins Road in Elizabethtown.
As a group of dancers with and without disabilities, Axis creates and performs high-quality contemporary dance, and includes one dancer with a prosthetic foot and several who use wheelchairs.
Axis Dance Company has received national critical acclaim and attracted some of the most renowned choreographers in the country.
Single tickets are $15, and may be purchased by contacting the Hardin County Schools Performing Arts Center at (270) 769-8837.
Perhaps the biggest challenge—and opportunity—in civic engagement is involving young people who perceive their roles and responsibilities in their communities differently than local leaders may be used to.
There are encouraging signs that our younger citizens are ready to participate:
• They turned out to vote in historically high numbers in the 2004 presidential election.
• Seventy-seven percent of college students voted, and college students “were more likely to participate than many other groups in American society,” one study reported.
• Voting by young minorities also increased, including an 11 percent jump among African-Americans age 18 to 24.
These young people are part of Generation Y, described in Fortune magazine as ambitious, demanding, and questioning of everything, “so if there isn’t a good reason for that long commute or late night, don’t expect them to do it. When it comes to loyalty, the companies they work for are last on their list—behind their families, their friends, their communities, their co-workers, and, of course, themselves.”
Some suggest this translates into “the end of authority” in the American workplace.
Certainly the young will find their own way. They’re more likely to connect through networking Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook, which allow daily collaboration. And hundreds of thousands of them have visited TakingITGlobal.org, an online community that helps young people connect with each other. They are taking action in their local and global communities.
Others are combining old and new ways of approaching civic life, as in Inez, Kentucky. This is where, in 1963, President Lyndon Johnson declared the war on poverty in a front-porch appearance with an Appalachian family.
Forty years later, the statistics are discouraging: Inez has fewer than 500 people, and about one-third of them live in poverty. Inez is losing its young people, and drugs are a scourge there as they are in small towns throughout America. Jobs are scarce.
What gives me hope, however, is that Generations X and Y are assuming leadership roles there. On a recent visit, I became acquainted with the mayor, in his mid-thirties, who had run for office to turn things around; a councilman who kept me from my lunch to drill me with questions about revitalizing downtown, growing the city, and stopping the drugs; and the woman who runs the Roy F. Collier Community Center, an amazing place with fitness facilities, an award-winning day care center, and first-run movie theater all under one roof.
There’s no way to know if this generation’s answers will take hold.
On the other hand, it’s also possible they’ll take hold more effectively than previous generations’ answers did.
Sylvia L. Lovely serves as executive director/CEO of the Kentucky League of Cities as well as president of the NewCities Institute, a national nonprofit organization that encourages citizens to get involved in their communities. This essay was adapted from her new book, The Little Red Book of Everyday Heroes, How Ordinary People Can Become Community Patriots. For more information, visit www.newcities.org.
Celebrating Wives Day in Radcliff
Four years ago, Radcliff started celebrating Wives Day, which lands on March 7 this year. Here’s an e-mail that Radcliff resident Regina R. Campbell sent with some background.
The community of Radcliff looks forward to the first Friday of each March. This day has been designated by the mayor of Radcliff to be Wives Day. It is a 24-hour community holiday set aside for husbands to let their wives know how special and appreciated they are. In past years, marquees displayed their support for Wives Day. Local businesses and Wal-Mart are participating as well.
Wives today wear many different hats in society. Some are lawyers, waitresses, secretaries, teachers, and soldiers (just to name a few). After their work is done outside the home, many still fulfill other duties for their families. They are working a “second shift” job, such as cooking, cleaning, and caring for the family’s needs. They are certainly unsung heroines of our society.
There has never been a holiday specifically for the wife. Anniversaries are special but that is geared more toward the couple. Valentine’s Day is something for everyone and Mother’s Day leaves out the many women who have yet to have children. So husbands, get your wife something special. You could write her a poem, or take her to dinner and a movie. Other gift ideas: the husband could take over some chores for a week that the wife always does; give her a day to get out of the home and spend some personal time (doing whatever she wants to do), or send her to the spa for a day. No matter how big or small the gift may be, just let her know she is well-appreciated.
In the future, we hope that Wives Day will ignite throughout the state, country, and world.
Staying warm without breaking the bank
An easy way to reduce energy bills during cold weather is to set thermostats lower when homeowners or occupants are gone or asleep. For every degree thermostats are lowered, people can save up to 4 percent off their heating bills. Heat pumps require special thermostats if a homeowner wants to lower them while they are gone or at night.
Another way to reduce energy bills is to block air leaks. Small gaps around doors, windows, and other areas in people’s homes may be costing them money and creating cold drafts. Plugging these leaks could save homeowners up to 10 percent on energy bills, and the materials will probably pay for themselves within a year.
“The more airtight you can get a home, the more it’s going to hold the conditioned air,” says Linda Adler, UK Extension specialist for home furnishings.
To find leaks, wait until a windy day. Then hold a lit incense stick up to areas around window and door frames. If the flame flickers, an air current is flowing, Adler says. These places should be caulked and sealed. Also, check areas where plumbing, electrical wiring, or ducting enters through exterior walls, floors, and ceilings. These openings may be under sinks or in other places that are hidden from sight, but they still allow cold air to enter your home. If you have pull-down attic stairs, be sure to check for drafts and air exchange here too, she said.
Plastic film can also be installed on inside frames of older windows to help control drafts. Shrink-wrap plastic kits are inexpensive and available from most hardware and home improvement stores. Plastic film can be a beneficial option for renters looking to save on energy costs because it is easily removed.
Adler says homeowners should inspect and change furnace air filters on a regular basis. Changing filters once a month is recommended, but they should be changed at least once every season. People should write the date on the filter so they will remember when it was last changed. Clogged air filters will reduce the efficiency of furnaces and cause them to work harder.
She recommends people with allergies or asthma get a high-efficiency or electronic filter for their furnace. A high-efficiency or electronic filter traps more dust and allergens. Before buying a high-efficiency filter, check the instruction manual for the furnace or contact a manufacturer to make sure their furnace fan can maintain sufficient airflow.
When trying to save on energy, people need to consider the airflow within their homes. For example, heating vents need to be kept clear. Vents blocked by rugs and furniture prevent heated air from circulating efficiently.
Fans should be used wisely. Kitchen and bathroom ventilation fans serve a purpose. These fans should be used and turned off when they have completed their task. If left on for just one hour, a hard-working ventilation exhaust can force out a houseful of warm air and bring in cold air that must be heated.
Ceiling fans can be useful all year long since most fans have a reverse option. The reverse option should be used during cold weather months. Since warm air rises, rooms with especially high ceilings will benefit from a ceiling fan set on reverse and run at the lowest speed. This moves the warm air back down toward the floor and creates a more even temperature throughout the room.
—Katie Pratt, UK Extension
Mammoth trail opens
As you plan outdoor activities, you can now include the recently opened Mammoth Cave Railroad Bike and Hike Trail. The 9-mile trail runs from the park headquarters area to the boundary, connecting to the one-mile Park City bike trail, and ending at historic Bell’s Tavern. It is designed with several entry points so that hikers and bikers may choose to cover the entire length, or opt for shorter segments. Funding was provided by the National Park Service and a grant from National Park Concessions Inc.
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