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Co-op college help

Guest Opinion: A Solution For Thoroughbred Racing is Underfoot

Where to take your spring break

A child’s garden

Co-op Postcard: Pictures of light


Co-op college help
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 three scholarships. The deadline for application is June 16. 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.

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Guest Opinion: A Solution For Thoroughbred Racing is Underfoot
by Dan White

On May 6, 2006, millions watched a display of sheer beauty and athletic excellence. This was the kind of moment from which legends are born. This was Barbaro, and this was one of racing’s finest moments.

Two weeks later, millions watched as something went terribly wrong. They watched their hero struggle to stand as his broken leg dangled. This was Barbaro, and this was one of racing’s worst moments.

Unfortunately, such moments are not that unusual to horse racing. What happened to Barbaro dominates and skews the general public’s image of thoroughbred racing, but those tragedies can be greatly diminished: synthetic racetracks are the key to solving many of thoroughbred racing’s problems with safety and public image.

Traditional dirt tracks are less forgiving on horses’ legs than natural grass courses. In full stride, a horse often has only one foot on the ground at a time. This means the entire body weight, 1,200 pounds, is supported by a lower leg and ankle barely larger than a human’s. Synthetic surfaces are designed to replicate the forgiving nature of grass courses.

For average fans that only see big events like the Kentucky Derby, synthetic surfaces are not understood. Polytrack, one of the variations of synthetic surfaces, is used at Keeneland Race Course in Lexington. It is a combination of conventional and synthetic materials, designed to provide a more forgiving surface. Though synthetic tracks have been in use for decades in Europe, the technology is relatively new to the U.S. Turfway Park in Florence, Kentucky, installed the first U.S. synthetic track for their 2005-2006 racing season.

During their first meet with the synthetic surface, Turfway had three horses suffer fatal injuries on the track, opposed to the previous year’s 24 fatal breakdowns. After installing polytrack for their 2006 season, Keeneland had only one fatal breakdown. California’s Hollywood Park had zero deaths in 2006.

Turfway and Keeneland are helping lead the horse-racing industry to a brighter future. There will be other horses like Barbaro, and they will help change the public image of thoroughbred racing because their moments of excellence will be unspoiled. And the everyday horse that never makes it into the headlines, or even wins a race, will experience the same benefits from the safer conditions all these majestic animals deserve.

Dan White is a horse-racing enthusiast in Shelbyville.

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Where to take your spring break
If you’re ready to shake off winter and take the family rambling, here are some great choices (be sure to phone ahead so you won’t be disappointed by last-minute changes or cancellations):

Head to Lake Barkley State Resort Park in Cadiz to learn Backpacking 101 on April 5 and 6. Spend a night under starry skies and a day surrounded by woods and water. Registration is limited, so call ahead and reserve your spot. For information, e-mail Jenny Howard at jenny.howard@ky.gov or phone (800) 325-1708.

Travel to India for the day Sunday, April 6, from 1 to 5 p.m. at the University of Kentucky Arts Museum at Rose Street and Euclid Ave. in Lexington. Journey to India Family Day includes a sampling of art and craft, dance, a children’s fashion parade, a tour of the exhibition, and making Diwali lights. Events are planned for all ages. Admission is free. For more information, phone (859) 257-5716 or visit www.uky.edu/ArtMuseum.

The Kentucky Junior Rodeo comes to Murray on April 11-13 at the West Kentucky Expo Center at 100 Expo Drive. Events include barrel racing, goat herding, bull and steer riding, and bronco riding. Phone (270) 809-3125.

The Appalachian Artisan Center at Hindman will have an “Artists’ Gathering” April 11-12, with workshops and other programs. The Center serves as a sales outlet for artisan wares for a 49-county area. It’s open during the week 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Phone (606) 785-9855 for information.

Enjoy the international percussion sensation of “Stomp,” performing at the Norton Center for the Arts in Danville on April 15 and 16 at 8 p.m. Tickets range from $40 to $55 and the Center is located at 600 W. Walnut Street. Tickets may be reserved online at www.nortoncenter.com or call (877) 448-7469.

Maysville has something for your sweet tooth when it hosts the 21st annual Chocolate Festival on Old Main Street in the Washington historic district Saturday, April 19, and Sunday, April 20. Enjoy homemade chocolates, fudge contest, candy hunts, outside vendors, games, entertainment, guided tours, horse-drawn carriage rides, and other activities that make a fun-filled weekend. For information on this free festival, phone (606) 759-7423 or log onto www.washingtonky.com.

Georgetown International Kite and Culture Festival at the Cardome Centre on Cincinnati Pike (U.S. 25) in Georgetown takes place April 19-20. This growing tradition offers an International Food Court, entertainment, children’s crafts, displays, exhibits, free kite making, and more. Admission is free with a $3 per car parking fee. For information, visit www.kitefest.com or phone (502) 863-1575, ext. 102.

Say happy birthday at the Corvette C5/C6 Birthday Bash at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green on April 24-26. Located just off I-65 at 350 Corvette Drive, this 11th annual bash includes scenic road tours, museum tours, drag racing and auto cross, and a special event honoring the Corvette Race Team. Log on to www.corvettemuseum.com or phone (800) 53-VETTE.

Travel through regional history that takes you along rivers, roads, rails, and runways while enjoying artifacts, interactive displays, and hands-on activities at the Behringer-Crawford Museum in Covington. Hear the stories of the commuters on the Kentucky, the last streetcar of its kind known to exist in the U.S.; climb the Roebling Bridge and pilot a packet boat along the Ohio River; stop in at the drive-in theater and enjoy the show in a 1959 Buick; and soar through the development of the International Airport. Open Tuesday-Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday 1-5 p.m. Closed major holidays. Admission $7; $6 (ages 60+); $4 (ages 3-17). Rates may change for special events. Phone (859) 491-4003 or visit info@bcmuseum.org.

Camping cranks up in April and numerous state parks are hosting Camper Appreciation Weekends during the last weekend of April. Check www.parks.ky.gov for details. Log on to www.kentuckytourism.com and click on Festivals and Events to view a list of locations from Falmouth to Burkesville, Cadiz to Corbin, and points in between.

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A child’s garden
Imagine an outdoor learning environment that gives Kentucky children hands-on opportunities to learn and have fun at the same time; a place that helps children understand the environment and develop a love and respect for the Earth; a climate that inspires parents and teachers to learn about the importance of plants and their impact on the world and a setting that motivates children to try fresh fruits, vegetables, and other foods to improve their attitudes and behaviors.

The University of Kentucky–Lexington Fayette Urban County Government Arboretum, the official State Botanical Garden of Kentucky, will implement all these things with its Kentucky Children’s Garden project. A campaign to raise funds for the garden will run through January 2009.

“Today’s children have less direct contact with nature, poorer nutrition, and they spend a lot more time in front of a television or a computer screen,” says Marcia Farris, director of the arboretum. “We know that gardening is a source of physical activity and it can give children and their parents a reason to be outdoors and be active.”

Designed by nationally renowned and award-winning landscape architect Herb Schaal with EDAW design company of Ft. Collins, Colorado, the Kentucky Children’s Garden will be a 1.85-acre outdoor learning environment where children ages 2 through 10 can discover plants and the environment. The location will also reserve an area for children to plant and maintain.

The garden will not be a garden in the traditional sense, but rather an integrated combination of various “child-scaled” theme gardens and garden-like elements for experiential play. There will be a small amphitheater for presentations, interactive educational exhibits, interconnecting paths, and comfortable benches.

The project will incorporate design elements that have proven successful at existing children’s gardens around the United States, and will inspire learning by children, parents, and teachers about gardening and its relationship to everyday living.

Hidden in the woods of the Kentucky Children’s Garden will be a dry sinkhole and a sinkhole spring, emanating from a dripping limestone overhang. This spot will also be a good observation point for ferns, orchids, mosses, and other plants that grow in the shade. Farris said it may also be a good spot to discover fossils in the rock. Small buckets will be stashed here, allowing visitors to make waterfalls from the ledges.

The Transportation Garden will include a raised bed with an outdoor model railroad and a gathering circle where children can learn how man travels with plant products, and how plants naturally travel by water, air, and land. A compass rose will be the centerpiece of the paving in the gathering circle and it can be used to teach direction and the sun’s location during the solstices and equinox.

—Aimee Nielson, UK Extension
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Co-op Postcard: Pictures of light

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