Virginia Vassallo never knew her grandfather, Guy Viskniskki, who founded regular publication of the Stars and Stripes newspaper, but she heard family stories about him throughout her childhood. Each one provided her with another puzzle piece to his life, later creating in her a desire to fit the pieces together, not just for her own benefit but for future generations as well.
Her biography, Unsung Patriot: Guy T. Viskniskki (Krazy Duck Productions, $21.95, www.krazyduck.com), is the culmination of her research.
Viskniskkiï¿½s efforts in founding and editing the official newspaper of the American Expeditionary Forces, written for and by the soldiers during World War I, earned him notoriety and honors from the military. Upon returning home, he would become a sought-after speaker as well as a consultant for ailing publications. Twenty-five years after his war experience, Viskniskki wrote his memoirs entitled Meï¿½and a War Goinï¿½ On. Vassallo owns one of four copies in existence.
When Vassalloï¿½s first grandson, Michael, or Mikey, was born 123 years to the day after Viskniskki, she began writing down stories she remembered of Viskniskki, reading through his memoir, and contacting relatives who might give more insight into his personality. Vassalloï¿½s husband, Russell, also an author, continued to encourage her to put her findings into book form.
Doing so, Vassallo says, changed her and gave her a less compartmentalized view of her grandfather.
ï¿½I always wondered if my grandfather would like me,ï¿½ she muses. ï¿½Maybe itï¿½s wishful thinking, but I believe that he would have, especially because, in some respects, we are very much alike…Plus, I think he would be proud of me because I am getting his story out.ï¿½
Vassallo was recently asked to speak about Viskniskki to the Daughters of the American Revolution and was the keynote speaker at the Stars and Stripes Reunion in Missouri. ï¿½I would love to do more public speaking to get Guyï¿½s story told,ï¿½ says Vassallo. To discuss an engagement with Vassallo, contact her at email@example.com.
To those interested in researching family history, Vassallo offers these tips: ï¿½Start by talking with relatives who can tell you stories about your familyï¿½people, places, events, dates. Take notes. Also, if you have the chance to go through family papers, read them carefully. You never know what you may find.ï¿½
The Central Hardwoods Scenic Trail is now open at Land Between The Lakes National Recreation Area in Golden Pond. The trail runs parallel with US 68/KY 80, east and west between Lake Barkley and Kentucky Lake. Bill Ryan, trails manager, says, ï¿½We designed this family-friendly trail with smooth surfaces, gentle grades, and trailside rest areas. The paved 3.2 miles of the eastern portion of the trail provides shoreline views of Lake Barkley as well as wildlife viewing opportunities in adjacent open areas. The 8.5 miles of the central and western portions were developed using a compacted stone surface. Here visitors will explore rolling hills and ridge tops of a central hardwood forest ecosystem.ï¿½ There are seven access points for visitors to bike and hike different sections. For additional details go to www.lbl.org.
Under the leadership of Kentucky natives Jess and Angela Correll, the town of Stanford in Lincoln County continues to undergo a revitalizing facelift.
The historical community began its self-improvement efforts in the 1990s, and the Corrells increased their involvement in 2004.
Jess, chairman/president of First Southern Bancorp Inc., says he ï¿½has a passion for preserving history and restoring downtown Stanford.ï¿½ In addition to historic preservation and hospitality, Angela says she ï¿½cares about everything local, natural, and healthy.ï¿½ Their new slogan, ï¿½Eat, Shop & Stay,ï¿½ addresses several areas of interest for travelers and town folk.
Eat: A number of restaurants are located in and around the area. Among the newest, Bluebird, offers ï¿½farm to tableï¿½ fare, partnering with local farmers serving local produce, Kentucky Proud items, and featuring Marksbury Farm Market meats. Chef/partner Bill Hawkins was recruited from Victoria National Golf Club in southern Indiana, as he says he was ï¿½anxious to provide his family with the ideals country living celebrates.ï¿½ Patrons enjoy watching him cook and instruct apprentices in his open-design kitchen.
Shop: In 2006, the Corrells opened Kentucky Soaps & Such, a specialty shop featuring hand-crafted Plainview Farm Goat Milk soaps, lotions, and scrubs. If you call ahead you can make an appointment to watch the process in the basement of the store. Many other Kentucky products are available in the shop: pottery, books, gourmet food items, candles, hand-knit scarves/hats, and hand-made jewelry. Other antique, art, and gift shops are sprinkled throughout downtown.
Stay: There are five fully furnished, historic guest houses available for nightly rental in downtown Stanford. Stanford, Kentucky’s second oldest city founded in 1775, was known as Logan’s Fort, a place settlers often stopped on the Wilderness Road (which runs through downtown Stanford) while traveling the frontier. The Corrells renovated the historic homes, furnished them with amenities, and named each for pioneer families. Angela Correll says, “I like the unhosted concept, common in Texas, where no food or services are provided but it enables families, friends, or businesses the privacy and comfort of a home environment.”
Remember that a cozy fireplace fire can be a costly net energy loser as it pulls warm air out of the house and sends it up the chimney. Feel free to watch and enjoy the warm and pleasant flame, but know that unless you have an especially well-designed fireplace insert, the price of that glow is that the rest of the house will be cold and your furnace will be working overtime.
The AARP Foundation Tax-Aide program, co-sponsored by the IRS, will accept qualified volunteers in early January. This free program helps seniors and people with low to moderate incomes complete their tax returns. Approximately 70 sites are available across Kentucky from February 1-April 15. For volunteer registration or additional information, e-mail LouTax-Aide@insightbb.com or visit the Web site www.aarp-tax-aide-lou.org.
“The presence of intermediate institutions, such as cooperatives, greatly helps to reduce co-ordination costs related with renewable energy investment in rural areas.”
—Linking Renewable Energy to Rural Development, Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development
Veterans Day, November 11, 2012, was a special one for Hardin County native Rik Hawkins. After a four-year journey of planning, fund-raising, and construction, the new Elizabethtown Nature Park, created by the city of Elizabethtown in response to the quest for a site for the tribute, unveiled the Hardin County Veterans Tribute—statues representing each branch of the military, including another for civil servants and those committed to the ongoing effort to never forget our POWs and MIAs.
Hawkins, whose role included securing the location, with the support of the city of Elizabethtown, worked with others, including sculptor Rich Griendling, to promote the event, and helped raise nearly $500,000 to finish the project. A key part of the fund-raising was the brick campaign, in which people could purchase engraved bricks used in the structure.
“A crowd of approximately 3,000, including veterans from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Gulf, Iraq, and Afghanistan, joined to pay homage,” he says. “My thoughts when I looked at the 600 or so bricks with names of veterans from 20 states were about those people and their stories. If spirits could only speak—tell us about the sacrifices they made while serving our country, it would be amazing. My wife, Sandy, and I saw the bundles of bricks when they came in and the first hands to touch them when they were unbanded were the veterans’ families. It was touching and impressive.”
Hawkins says, “Our hope is that this will serve as a place that not only honors those who have and are currently serving our nation, but also as a place of inspiration for the next generation to understand the sacrifices necessary to have a free nation.”
Hawkins is currently working at Fort Knox on a project to restore the last remaining barracks of the Korean and Vietnam wars. Find out more about the tribute at www.vettribute.org.
FREE — JOIN NOW! REGISTRATION EXTENDED TO JANUARY 15
Register for a Chance to Win a new Wii u Console, Fit Balance Board Bundle, and other Wii u games*
Up to a $500 value! Registration ends January 15.
Take control of your familyï¿½s health and receive FREE information and support. Last yearï¿½s KL Health Club was life-changing for many. This year itï¿½s geared toward childrenï¿½s health, but itï¿½s also for Mom and Dadï¿½your entire family!
HOW LONG IS MY COMMITMENT? Now through March 31, 2013.
HOW DOES IT WORK? Register online with your health goal and at least three action steps for achieving that goal. Submit one form for your overall family goal or submit an individual form for each child with their input.
KL Health Club members will share health information and support each other on our private Facebook page. It is not visible to any other Facebook users, nor is it searchable.
The first 200 families to register will receive a FREE STARTER KIT with health information and educational tools.
WHAT INFO WILL BE PROVIDED? Kentucky Living magazine staff along with other healthcare professionals will share health information and answer questions online.
Always consult your physician before starting a new exercise program or making any changes affecting your health.
FREE ONLINE CLASS FOR ADULTS! Adults can participate in a free 12-week online class, “Cultivating the Authentic You,” with exercise physiologist and certified wellness coach Lisa Capehart, designed to change health behaviors from the inside out and help you discover what is most important to your familyï¿½s wellness. Weekly lessons will be posted on the KL Health Club Facebook page.
Interested in a more personalized approach? An optional 12-week tele-class is available for up to 10 members, at $119 per person, which includes materials. You can pick up the phone, ask Capehart questions to better understand class concepts, and receive coaching.
HOW DO I JOIN? Adults age 18 or older can register online at www.KentuckyLiving.com
—click on “KL Health Club.” You will need a Facebook account prior to registering.
*To be eligible for prize drawing, you must post on the KL Health Club Facebook page at least once monthly through March 2013. Employees and immediate family members of the Kentucky Association of Electric Cooperatives, Kentucky Living, and Kentucky’s electric cooperatives may participate but are ineligible for the prize drawing.
By Barney Arnold
Farm Program Director
WHAS and WHAS-TV
Our office wall display of awards and things we treasure most highly has had a recent addition and one which we appreciate very much. At its last meeting, the Kentucky Agricultural Council presented gavels to all of its past state chairmen, an office I was privileged to hold in the years 1954-1955. The interesting thing about these particular gavels is the historical significance.
They were made from a branch of an ash tree from “Ashland”… a farm belonging to Henry Clay, Lexington, and site of the first land-grant institution in Kentucky, then a part of Transylvania College. This tree was standing 100 years ago when the first step was taken in establishing what is now, a century later, the great land grant college system of the United States. Dr. William Schneider, associate director of the Agricultural Extension Service, Lexington, obtained this historical wood. Bill Johnstone, recently retired agricultural representative of the Kentucky Bankers Association, turned the gavels on his own lathe.
Hal and Yvonne Davis were like a rainbow after the storm when they moved from Hanover, Indiana, to Paint Lick in Kentucky in April of last year.
The area, hard hit by the 2010 “100-year flood” and the economic recession, experienced the closing of businesses, including the town bank. The Davises, who’d visited the year before, had dreamed of opening an arts center, so they scraped funds together and purchased the bank building in August.
The retirees, Hal a public school art teacher, Yvonne a professional piano player, had a mission to fulfill—offering creative ways to learn and grow.
And growing it is, by leaps and bounds with folks aged 5-86 coming from numerous surrounding counties. The center opened in October and has folks clamoring for classes.
“They were the spark that awakened the town,” Karla Sefcak, local documentary photographer and new painting student, remarks. “They came and saw possibilities with a new eye, bringing love and hope to the community and its people.”
Activities have expanded to include clay, yoga, creative writing, recitals, and lectures in addition to oil painting. Since then, three new businesses have opened.
For more information, including class schedules, visit the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/PaintLickCommunityArtsCenter.
A raptor rehabilitation center in Somerset is expanding with plans to include a Nature Center.
The original facility opened 19 years ago at Southwestern High School in Somerset with two cages and a small building to aid injured birds of prey. Today the complex features multiple holding areas, walking trails, and a presentation area. Students rehabilitate birds to be released back into the wild. Those unable to return because of debilitating injuries or who’ve become domesticated and canï¿½t fend for themselves are kept for educational purposes.
The planned Nature Center, named Liberty after a deceased bald eagle, will feature a classroom with computers and a laboratory.
Frances Carter, director and teacher at the school, says, “New birds from other states have come inï¿½a Harris hawk from Colorado and a Eurasian tawny owl from Kansas. We’ll have four shows scheduled by summer and we’ve opened a gift shop with our birdsï¿½ pictures printed on items.”
Find out more about the center at www.swhsraptorcenter.org.