March / 2010
COMMONWEALTHS

Beach books, money-saving energy tips, and more


Bill Noel’s (dead) body of work

Energy tip

Quote

Money back on green appliances

Filmmaker keeps it local

Time Capsule: 50 years ago in Kentucky Living

How St. Catharine students turned a Haiti book into action

Donating co-op expertise to Haiti—and the rest of the world

The art of junk

Horse flick

Red River artists



Bill Noel’s (dead) body of work
by Penny Woods

As spring approaches and winter closes, warm up with a good beach mystery.

Louisville’s Bill Noel continues his Folly Beach series with Washout (iUniverse, $16.95). This installment finds amateur detective and Folly transplant Chris Landrum trying to uncover the source of death threats on his buddy Larry. With an island full of quirky characters, Larry’s ex-con background, two murders, and several near misses, Chris and his cronies have their work cut out for them.

Like his characters, Bill Noel loves the beach life, but says he is only involved in amateur sleuthing when he can’t find his reading glasses. He has served as a college and university administrator for the last 42 years and currently holds the position of executive vice president of the Sullivan University System.

“Throughout my professional career in higher education—both as a student and administrator—I did a lot of writing; mostly nonfiction, fairly boring, and quite forgettable,” Noel says. “I decided about four years ago to dig a little deeper in my imagination and try fiction. I have been blessed with creating four novels as a result.”

Noel was inspired to write the Folly Beach series based on personal experiences beginning with a 2003 vacation to the South Carolina island.

“The third day there, we were walking on the beach and about a hundred yards in front of us, we saw a body that had washed ashore; the police were just arriving. It proved to be an accidental death, but a small seed of a story was planted in my mind,” says Noel. “After all, that’s not a sight you see every day; and it struck me in such contrast to the peaceful, pleasant vacation we were experiencing.

“I didn’t give writing another thought until spring 2006 when we took my inlaws to Folly for a vacation. As Confucius should have said, ‘A week in a condo with one’s mother-in-law leads to thoughts of murder!’ So, the drowning a few years earlier, combined with the inspiration of Susan’s mother, allowed the seeds to germinate more.”

Noel also shares a love of photography with his novels’ hero and has sold his work in juried art shows and a few galleries.

Penny Woods for Joseph-Beth booksellers, pennymouse1@yahoo.com,(800) 248-6849, www.josephbeth.com

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Energy tip

When washing clothes, use less water by running full loads. About 80 percent of the energy used by washing machines heats water, so by using cold water and cold-water detergents you can cut a load’s energy use in half.
—U.S. Department of Energy

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Quote

Kentucky’s challenge for the 21st century is to develop clean, reliable, affordable energy sources that help us improve our energy security, reduce our carbon dioxide emissions, and provide economic prosperity.

—Kentucky Department for Energy Development & Independence annual summary, December 2009

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Money back on green appliances

If you’re in the market for a new home appliance, mark April 22 on your calendar. That is the start date for the Kentucky Energy Efficient Appliance Rebate Program, which provides a rebate of between $40 and $400 for certain ENERGY STAR appliances. Among eligible appliances are clothes washers, dishwashers, refrigerators, freezers, air conditioners, water heaters, heat pumps, and furnaces. To be eligible, Kentucky residents must purchase qualified replacement appliances from Kentucky retailers. For a full list of qualified appliances and program details, visit www.energy.ky.gov/recovery/rebate. The $4 million in Kentucky rebates is funded by the federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.

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Filmmaker keeps it local

Lexington filmmaker Blake Judd is a Kentuckian by birth and by choice. Following graduation from Transylvania University, he was accepted at three out-of-state film schools and spent time in Los Angeles, but he decided to pursue filmmaking in his home state.

“I like working with people I can trust and work with on a handshake,” says Judd, a Greensburg native. He established JuddFilms and produces documentaries, music and wedding videos, and still photography—in his words, “whatever keeps the lights on.”

Judd describes his company as producing “Kentucky-flavored indie films,” an homage to Ski soda, which was bottled in his hometown and used “naturally flavored citrus soda” on its logo.

His most acclaimed work to date is Seven Signs, a film produced with fellow Kentuckians J.D. Wilkes of Paducah and Jacob Ennis of Greensburg. Shown here are Judd, Wilkes, and Ennis in front of Dumas Walker’s, a local landmark in Greensburg memorialized in a Kentucky Headhunters song by the same name.

Shot in 17 days across seven states, the documentary presents Southern culture, music, and art in a positive light.

“It’s an answer to films that show Southerners as hillbillies and idiots,” Judd says. The film was recognized as best featurette at Philadelphia’s Backseat Film Festival.

Judd is working with Hank Williams III on a film exploring the Grand Ole Opry’s treatment of legendary singer Hank Williams and other early performers. Collaborating with Judd on the project is another Kentuckian, Keith Neltner of Camp Springs. For a Seven Signs trailer and purchasing information, plus lots more about JuddFilms projects, visit www.JuddFilms.com.

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Time Capsule: 50 years ago in Kentucky Living

Tell your neighbor

Reynolds Wrap Jr., the first household aluminum foil in color, is now available in food markets nationally. Three brilliant colors; sky blue, flame rd and bright gold, are available, with the color on one side and the reverse side remaining bright natural aluminum. Each roll contains 180 inches of 7-inch-wide standard gauge aluminum foil. It is attractively and conveniently packaged with a see-through window which clearly shows the color inside. It is expected to prove immediately popular for preparing party foods, table and home decorations, gift wrapping, and a wide variety of entertainment uses.

About the color: Special odorless non-toxic colors have been developed by Reynolds. When Reynolds Wrap Jr. is used with food, put the plain aluminum side next to the food so the color will show.

You may cook with it: While not intended primarily for cooking, Reynolds Wrap Jr. colors will withstand temperatures up to and including 400° F. It is excellent for adding that touch of color and glamour to party foods.


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How St. Catharine students turned a Haiti book into action

When the catastrophic earthquake struck Haiti in January, organizations across the globe mobilized for disaster relief. Kentucky’s St. Catharine College was a step ahead, with donations for the impoverished island nation already in hand.

By coincidence, all St. Catharine College freshmen during the fall of 2009 had participated in a Freshman Read program involving Restavec: From Haitian Slave Child to Middle-Class American, a book chronicling the abuse suffered by Haitian children enslaved as servants by the wealthier population. After reading Jean Robert Cadet’s book, the campus was already energized to help the Restavec Foundation and the poor children of Haiti when the world’s attention was riveted by the tragedy. Spearheaded by Mary Sue Barnett, campus minister, and Evelyn Silliman, Freshman Read director, the campus fund-raising effort initially had a $3,000 goal to support a Haitian school for one year.

“We have a personal connection since Jean Robert Cadet was (at the campus) in October to speak to our students and faculty,” says Barnett. “Our campus was really moved by the book and even more so after listening to Jean Robert speak.”

Students sold “Freedom for All” bracelets, faculty and staff contributed at the annual Christmas party, and many people gave personal donations. Just as the effort was reaching its goal, the earthquake hit.

“We’re hoping to get the word out that we’re still taking donations to support the Restavec Foundation,” Barnett says. “(The money raised) will definitely go to those needy children who are the most vulnerable. We hope to make this an ongoing campus activity. There’s a lot of generosity in our community.”

To contribute, contact Barnett at (859) 336-5082,
ext. 1090.

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Donating co-op expertise to Haiti—and the rest of the world
by Bob Gibson

On a day in mid-January, amid a landscape shaken into ruin by a powerful earthquake, Myk Manon perched on a rickety ladder maneuvering a length of PVC pipe and a screwdriver to hook wires from a generator to the electric grid serving a hospital in Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

Manon is an electric utility engineer, but in his specialty it is not unusual to work without bucket trucks or lineworker tools, or to be coolly focused on the job at hand in a setting fraught with danger and despair.

Manon and a four-man team from the nonprofit NRECA International Foundation were among the first wave of aid workers landing in Haiti in response to the January disaster. While most relief workers attended to the immediate tasks of trying to free people trapped in the rubble, treating injuries, or bringing food and water to survivors, Manon’s team traveled overland from the Dominican Republic to help get the power back on.

The tiny NRECA International Foundation is a relatively recent addition to a mission that dates back to a meeting in the White House 48 years ago, when President Kennedy signed an executive order creating a partnership between the U.S. Agency for International Development and NRECA, an association of electric cooperative utilities in the U.S., in order to together bring electric power to the developing world. The partnership continues to this day, and the NRECA International Programs over the years has sent more than 400 experts like Manon to 50 countries on missions large and small. As a result, more than 70 million people have received power.

In Haiti, Manon and his team worked as volunteers sent by the nonprofit Foundation, their work made possible by the donations of electric co-ops and their communities. Contributions to the Foundation come in the form of dollars, but also equipment and manpower. Co-ops have shipped used equipment—everything from conductors and meters to substation transformers and line trucks—to projects around the world. They also send volunteers, typically lineworkers and engineers, who work with members of a community to install electric lines, and bring power to homes, schools, health clinics, and small businesses.

Bob Gibson investigates new energy technologies for NRECA’s Cooperative Research Network. Previously he spent five years working in the NRECA International Programs Division.

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The art of junk

Using their imagination and creativity, western Kentucky students turned newspapers, yarn scraps, magazine clippings, and even bubble gum into “trash sculptures” covering an array of subjects, including a turkey by Matthew Butts of Caldwell County and Sponge Bob Square Pants by Tiffany Shafer of Livingston County. The sculpture contest was sponsored by the Regional Recycling Corporation of solid waste coordinators and judges-executive from Caldwell, Crittenden, Livingston, Lyon, Marshall, and Trigg counties. “If we can educate kids to recycle at school, then they will go home and recycle, and it will become a habit,” says Janeen Tramble, Trigg County Extension agent for 4-H youth development.

Katie Pratt, UK Extension

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Horse flick

Thoroughbred, a new KET production by Academy Award-winning filmmaker Paul Wagner, airs at 8 p.m. Central Time on March 8 on KET. Exploring Thoroughbreds from central Kentucky to Dubai, the film focuses on people whose lives revolve around this legendary animal. “The film takes you into the hidden world of the Thoroughbred—the places, the people, the history, and culture of America’s oldest sport,” says Wagner. “Although it focuses on the year of racing, breeding, and sales leading up to the 2009 Kentucky Derby, our hope is that we’ve created a timeless film.” The film culminates at Churchill Downs, as jockey Kent Desormeaux nears the finish line on Dubai Majesty in the ninth race on Derby Day 2009.

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Red River artists

The Kentucky Folk Art Center in Morehead is presenting a new exhibition featuring four prominent Kentucky artists—“Red River: The Narrative Works of Edgar Tolson, Carl McKenzie, Earnest Patton, and Donny Tolson.” The exhibit runs through July 3 with a reception 6-8 p.m. on March 11.

“All of these artists, four of the most important in contemporary American folk art, came out of the same place and were influenced by the same local culture,” says Kentucky Folk Art Center Director Matt Collinsworth.

The exhibition features 46 of the Red River artists’ major works, most of which are complex, multi-figure scenes, such as Banjo Players by Carl McKenzie.

“This exhibition was assembled to illustrate the connections, influences, styles, sources, and evolutions of the four major sculptors of the Campton School,” writes curator Larry Hackley in the exhibition essay. “It establishes that Appalachian Kentucky’s visual arts tradition is equally as rich and vibrant as the region’s music and literature.”

The exhibition will be shown at the Kentucky Museum of Art and Craft in Louisville mid-July through October 2010, and at the Huntington Museum of Art in West Virginia in November 2010 through February 2011.

The Kentucky Folk Art Center is a cultural, educational, and economic development service of Morehead State University. The center, located at 102 W. First St. in Morehead, is open 9 a.m.-5 p.m., Monday-Saturday. For more information, call (606) 783-2204 or go to the Web site www.kyfolkart.org.

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