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Writer Jennfer Johnson, Pole Training Horses, Energy Tips, And More


Don’t talk, just write

Energy efficiency tip

Time Capsule: 50 years ago

Quote: U.S. Department of Energy

Pole training for horses

Don’t get burned by an energy scam

Honoring the music teacher

Focusing on part-time farmers


Don’t talk, just write

Lawrenceburg author Jennifer Johnson felt a pull to write beginning in high school but changed directions as life happened, letting her writing urge fall to the background.

Several years later during a trip to the library with her daughters, she discovered some new favorites in the Christian fiction genre.

She says, “Afterward I thought to myself, ‘Jen, you could do this.’ So, I did. I wrote my first book. It was pretty bad. Okay, really bad. It’s never been published, but it was a start, and I fell in love with writing.”

In the meantime, Johnson had followed a career in teaching. She now balances both careers but reports that it is not easy.

“When I start a story I literally plunge my entire being into the characters’ lives. In fact, I’m not overly great about being able to distinguish between the real world and fiction world when I’m in the midst of a book. Therefore, when I start a story, I finish it. I write my small books, 45,000-50,000 words, in about two weeks. I completed one in four days. I do not recommend it! Talk about some sore fingers and back muscles,” Johnson says.

Her new novel, A Wedding Song in Lexington, Kentucky (Barbour Publishing, $12.99, www.barbourbooks.com), was written in a month. Johnson says she enjoyed being able to dig deeper into the characters and bring them to life. The story follows twin sisters Megan and Marianna throughout Marianna’s wedding and Megan’s struggle with a difficult dating past. Megan has sworn off men and dating for good until God shows her he has other plans.

Now that Johnson has realized her adolescent dream of becoming a writer, she encourages others who may be interested.

“One of the best pieces of advice I was given as a new writer was to plant my rear in the chair, put my fingers on the keyboard, and start writing. Getting started is the hardest part,” says Johnson. She adds, “Don’t just talk about it. Don’t simply think about it. DO IT!”

To learn more about Jennifer Johnson and her other published work, visit her Web site at www.jenniferjohnsonbooks.com.

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Energy efficiency tip

Your kitchen can yield big energy savings. Check the refrigerator door seal for a tight fit. Run only full dishwasher loads, and use the microwave rather than oven to reheat food and make small meals. Finally, unplug small appliances when not in use—many draw power even when turned off.

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Time Capsule: 50 years ago

Are families losing the habit of eating together? We have to admit the pull of the distractions—the outside appointments and obligations which most families must meet—but that is not to say that homemakers should accept these influences without a determined stand on the matter of protecting family rituals.

Certainly our great days should be observed by the gathering of the family about the dinner table for the enjoyment of a good meal, well prepared and attractively served. Thanksgiving is one such day, and if there can be a sharing of the making ready—some part of the preparation for each one to do—or some special privilege of service on the day itself, it can be a day to remember. If there’s a camera fan or just a picture-snapper in the group, it should be his or her job to plan so that the table and everyone present is in at least one picture. These will become treasures, to be brought out on other Thanksgiving days.

Of course the table and the feast are really not the important things. They only serve as symbols and provide the setting. The real values lie in the gathering of those who love and depend upon each other, the strengthening of the bonds, the affirmation of faith in the best way of life that we know. I believe these will be more important in the space age than ever before. I believe they must be sanctioned often and preserved with loving care.

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Quote: U.S. Department of Energy

“…though coal looks to be in decline today it actually may be ahead of the pack in terms of economical solutions and could be the winner by 2020-2025…”
—James F. Wood, deputy assistant secretary of the Office of Clean Coal, U.S. Department of Energy, in energybiz, September/October 2012

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Pole training for horses

Larue County resident Karen Weaver has a new horse training DVD filmed at her farm in Buffalo. She trains with a garrocha, a long pole used centuries ago. “It’s a fun alternative to the boring rail work people go through when practicing for shows and an exciting way to improve both your horse and horsemanship skills. English and Western disciplines can benefit by modifying routines already used in training programs,” Weaver explains. Cross-Training with a Garrocha demonstrates how to prepare your horse, what to practice before using the pole, and how to put it together with music. DVD available at www.GarrochaUSA.com.

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Don’t get burned by an energy scam

Last summer, thousands of consumers from coast to coast, including members at electric cooperatives, fell prey to a telephone scam promising bogus help with energy bills.

Basically, the criminals called and told residents that President Obama had authorized a special federal program to pay electric bills. Then they asked each victim to provide personal information, such as a bank routing number or a Social Security number, to receive the payment.

Although this particular scam appears to have run its course, scammers are always coming up with new ways to steal consumers’ personal information.

Always guard your personal accounting and banking information and never share this information with family, friends, or strangers.

Falling for a scam could prove very expensive, resulting in stolen identity, bank and credit card fraud, and, in the case of those believing their electric bill has been paid, power being cut off for nonpayment.

—National Rural Electric Cooperative Association

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Honoring the music teacher

Christina Hartke-Towell is this year’s recipient of the Education Award for the Governor’s Awards in the Arts, announced by the Kentucky Arts Council. This recognition is given to a Kentucky individual, school, school district, or organization for significant contributions to the arts in education.

Hartke-Towell moved to Rowan County in 1995, teaching general music in Salt Lick and Bethel schools as well as private lessons from her home studio. In 2006, she became director of Morehead State University’s Orchestra and founded the Lucille Caudill Little Strings Program for Rowan County Schools. This program provides instruction to students, elementary through high school, including those with hearing and physical disabilities. It provides them with an awareness and appreciation of music performance.

Hartke-Towell credits her teacher/mentor, Sister Regina Marie McIntyre, at St. Charles Catholic School in Indiana for her love of the violin.

Hartke-Towell says, “I started playing the violin when I was 4. I had an older brother and sister in school and I wanted to go with them, but was too young. Sister Regina Marie taught string lessons to small groups and worked it out so I could join them. Then, as a 5th- and 6th-grader she asked me to help her teach. I continue to stay in touch with her.”

Hartke-Towell then attended public schools from middle through high school, taking violin lessons from Professor Henryk Kowalski at Indiana University. She graduated with a degree in music education and completed graduate courses from the Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati.

For the complete list of awards go to art awards.

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Focusing on part-time farmers

Trends suggest a growing percentage of farmers earn primary income from off-farm sources. Alison Davis, director of the Community and Economic Development Initiative of Kentucky and associate professor of ag-econ at the University of Kentucky, reports, “There are only a handful of counties in Kentucky where more than 50 percent of principal operators are full-time farming. This doesn’t diminish the role of farming in our economy or the social life of rural communities. What’s important is providing producers and their families with employment opportunities, a sense of community, and quality of life,” she writes.”Ways to gauge your community’s success are by looking at several key factors: unemployment rates, commuting trends, and entrepreneurship. If your community is deficient in any of the three, this would be a signal they may not be meeting the needs of farm and nonfarm residents. Action items might include an asset mapping exercise, business retention, and expansion programs geared toward the agricultural sector.”

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