• Have you ever had one of those days that you just didn’t want to end? You know the kind. It’s the day when everything is perfect, so perfect that you almost dread the sun going down because you fear that you may never have another day quite like it.
    This was the 2011 Owen County football season.
    It began in the summer when players and coaches took the field. They spilled sweat and blood in an effort to get ready for that first night when they could see just how much all that work might pay off.

  • It’s taken a  while to organize my thoughts on the “Occupy” protests.
    One phrase keeps running through my head.
    Who is that exclamation pointed at?
    To the protesters:
    The right-wing media is already trying to portray you as latter-day hippies — lazy malcontents unwilling to work hard and get ahead.

  • As fall arrives, it is also time to start planning and praying for shoebox collection through Operation Christmas Child. Collection Week this year is Nov. 14-21, and Pleasant Ridge Baptist Church will once again serve as your “relay center” to accept your shoeboxes during that week.

  • When country music’s most notable figure, Hank Williams, died in the back of his Cadillac en route to a show in Canton, Ohio, on Jan. 1, 1953, America’s rural people had lost their first superstar. Three days later, the legendary singer-songwriter was buried in Montgomery, Ala., his funeral drawing a record crowd — the largest since Jefferson Davis was inaugurated as president of the Confederacy in 1861.

  • I’ve written about my Aunt Lucy many times because she’s been such an important and influential person in my life, but one of the other special women who had a profound impact on me never got much ink.
    Two weeks ago, our family had to say goodbye to Opal Smoot Hawkins. Opal was also my aunt; one of my mom’s older sisters.  Since my mom is the baby of the 12 Smoot children, all of them are older.

  • In the great, grand scheme of the universe, it’s really not that big of a deal.
    Last week, the members of R.E.M. announced they will “call it a day” after a 31-year career.
    The decision registered as a blip on most of the national news outlets.
    But for me and a lot of my friends, it’s the end of something more than a band. It’s pretty much the end of something else. I won’t call it “youth” because, at 46 years old, I think that ship has pretty much sailed and beached itself on the rocky shores of middle age.

  • Constitution Week, Sept. 17-23, commemorates the signing of the Constitution of the United States. The U.S. Constitution is the oldest and shortest written constitution of any government in the world. Drafted in less than 100 working days, it contains only 4, 543 words, including signatures and takes about 30 minutes to read. It is the basic document of our republic, which protects individual liberties of all citizens through written law.

  • In the moments before the first plane hit the World Trade Center on Sept. 11, officials from 18 states had gathered for the annual Southern Governors’ Association conference in Lexington. As Governor of Kentucky and chairman of the association, I was hosting the event.

  • It was a dark day, maybe the darkest.
    Ten years have passed since Sept. 11, 2001. Ten years have come and gone since planes flew into three buildings and one crashed in an open field. People have lived now for a decade without a loved one who was either on a plane or in a building just minding their own business. They did not choose their fate and neither did the country. It happened anyway.   

  • I have a confession to make.
    My name is John and I am a tomato bum.
    For most of my adult life, I have been able to slip through the summer rarely spending money on the most wonderful of summer fruit — the vine-ripened, but still carrying flecks of dirt, homegrown Kentucky tomato.
    For me, homegrown tomatoes are the crystal meth of agriculture. Usually, the first taste is free but after that, they start charging. And as soon as you’re are done with the first one, you crave more.

  • Secretary of State candidate Bill Johnson was in Owen County Thursday. After a hard day’s work from the time he unhooked his pickup from his travel trailer at Kentucky Horse Park, to loading up the yard signs, to asking for votes and endorsements from the home of Paul Smith in south Owen County to the enterprises along Owenton’s Seminary Street, Johnson spoke that evening at the very first event sponsored by Pro-Israel Voters for Bill Johnson.

  • All of us remember places from our childhood that don’t exist anymore. Whether it’s the old home place that has been bulldozed or a family farm that has been divided into lots, the landscape of the past has changed.
    This change is often called “progress.” While progress can improve lives of families and communities, not all change is progress. Many people are realizing that their quality of life and the character of their communities are being diminished by continued conversion of farms and forest to other uses.

  • I love Chinese food. It’s one of my favorite types of food to eat and I especially like the fortune cookie you get when they give you the bill. I’ve traveled to Asia and they really don’t give you fortune cookies at most restaurants there.
    The fortune cookie is an American thing, but it’s fun anyway.
    While I don’t follow the signs or stars or don’t let astrology rule my thought process — except for belief in that whole full moon thing — I do save the fortunes from my cookies.

  • One of the things that has impressed me most about Owen countiains since I came here nearly three years ago is the strong sense of independence people around here constantly display and their commitment to preserving the past.
    When word started circulating around town last week that Saveway would be closing its doors, people took it personally.
    “There has never been a time during my life when there wasn’t a Saveway,”

  • I faced an ugly truth this week.
    It’s about time to say goodbye to an old friend - my 1999 Toyota Sienna van.
    When I bought the van from the Kentucky Press Association, it already had about 130,000 miles on it. Most of those were highway miles. It had been used my staff members who had to attend meetings and workshops around the state and nation.
    David Thompson, president of KPA, is meticulous about making sure the oil was changed well before the 3,000 mile mark.

  • As I write this, it’s Election Day. According to Owen County Clerk Joan Kincaid, it looks like a lot of people are coming out to vote on this topic.
    The fight over the wet/dry issue wasn’t particularly bloody thank goodness.
    When I was the editor of the Times-Tribune in Corbin, the local-option issue came to a vote and it made for some strange bedfellows.

  • There are dozens of volunteers working in the hot sun to put Owen County in the best light possible.
    These aren’t paid employees. Most of them are small business owners or just concerned private citizens who want to see Owen County grow and prosper.
    The first-ever Owen County Fan Fair opens today and will continue through Sunday.
    The event is designed to give Owen County a moment in the spotlight as people travel to the big Sprint Cup race in Sparta this weekend.

  • It’s almost fair time again in Owen County, which likely means the coming week will bring back many fond memories for me.
    Throughout my entire life, my dad has owned and operated his own business. While most people are beginning to wind down from a day of work at 5 p.m., sometimes it seemed like dad would just be gearing up for work. During the summer months it was come home, gobble down supper and head straight to the tobacco field or garden.

  • A few weeks ago, I had a conservation with David Morgan and Holly Bowling about the upcoming Fan Fair and some other projects they are undertaking to promote Owen County.
    The Visioneers group, to which they belong, has worked tirelessly to organize this event and it should be pretty amazing.
    One issue that we discussed is the need to clean up some parts of the county that visitors will see on their way to the Sprint Cup race in Sparta or to our own Fan Fair.

  • Don’t miss the “must-attend” event of the year July 26, 2011, at your voting poll.
    Last month on May 17, Primary Election Day, only 14 percent of the registered voters in Owen County went to the polls and voted. How to get citizens to vote is a question for people more knowledgeable about this than I.
    As your county clerk it is my responsibility to make sure that on election day the machines are ready and supplies available for the precinct workers.
    My staff and I have been busy getting ready for the special July 26 election.