Click on any of the second set of pictures to read each individual, amazing woman's 'life story.'
Each of these amazing women are making a difference in their respective fields. They come from all walks of life and do amazing things. Some were born in western Kentucky while others moved to our area and started businesses.
Women's history month marks one year after the pandemic first shuttered businesses across the U.S. It was a shocking. One we'll never experience again in our lifetime.
These resilient women helped keep the economy moving, continued with their studies, and made a real impact locally, regionally, and across the country. Many working women had to leave the workforce to take care of their children and families during the pandemic. We salute them too.
Eleanor Roosevelt said, "With the new day comes new strength and new thoughts." It is a new day. The sun is shining, spring is in the air, and the whole world is looking bigger and brighter than ever before.
WKY Community Living recognizes these six women: Cherika Johnson, Jennifer Rukavina Bidwell, Dana Sowash Edwards, Chelsey Shumpert, Azia Rouse, and Susie Coiner. All are wonderful examples of the grace, beauty, and strength all women have within them.
The first day of spring is just over a month away. Easter is exactly 46 days from Fat Tuesday. And tomorrow, Tuesday, February 16, 2021 is Mardi Gras. According to Larry, ‘Happy Mardi Gras’ is as common as saying ‘Merry Christmas’ in New Orléans.
Friend and Paducah Tilghman High School alumni Larry Brown has celebrated Mardi Gras from his vacation home in New Orléans for the past five years. He and wife Patti bought their condo and live just blocks from Bourbon Street. The two fell in love with the city many years ago and decided New Orleans was where they wanted to spend the winter months.
Larry said there are a few myths about Mardi Gras and it’s time to set the record straight on a couple of them. One is ‘You don’t have to lift up your shirt to have beads thrown at you.’ Tourists do the majority of the bead throwing to the shirtless crowd. “Mardi Gras is mostly a family affair and most of the local krewes really like to throw things to the kids,” said Larry.
The second misconception is that all parades happen at the French Quarter. There are small walking parades in the Quarter but no big floats. Most couldn’t fit. The beads that ‘rain down on you’ come from the big floats that parade around the city.
“Mardi Gras is bigger than one can imagine,” said Larry. “Things begin on January 6 (Epiphany or King’s Day) which is the 12th day after Christmas and escalate to Mardi Gras day, the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.”
There are at least 50 krewes in southwest Louisiana that host Mardi Gras balls, ride on floats, or take part in social events throughout the year. A krewe is a group or organization that band together to host Mardi Gras events. Larry said, “They have names like Muses, Bacchus, Iris, Zulu, Choctaw and Rex. Throughout the carnival season, most of the krewes have balls and crown their royalty. Some have a ball after their parade.”
Some of the biggest parades are ‘Uptown’ which means they start in the Garden District and progress over a two-and-a-half to four mile stretch toward the French Quarter. Larry said some of the krewes have three to four thousand riders and floats. The themes are different every year. He’s seen Dr. Seuss, Racetrack, 80’s, and political satire. And the krewes will throw so many different trinkets from beads, frisbees, cups, toys, and t-shirts. There are homemade items too like sunglasses, purses, and high heels. The homemade items are considered collector's items. Larry said, “We have a Nyx purse and a Zulu coconut.”
Beginning eleven days before Mardi Gras, there will be two to five Uptown parades a day with dancing, marching bands, and other marching groups. “Our favorites are the 610 Stompers and the Muff-a-Lottas,” said Larry.
“We’re one block off the Uptown parade route in the Central Business District CBD. Lots of people line the streets and they might be 20 or more feet deep,” said Larry. “The amount of beads thrown is ‘mind-boggling’.
New Orleans canceled this year’s Mardi Gras. Larry said people aren’t happy about it but they understand. The reason for the cancellation is to prevent further spread of COVID-19. Louisiana, like many states, was hit hard by the pandemic mere months ago. COVID-19 numbers are starting to go down which provides hope for the residents of Louisiana.
Since there’s no parade, many residents are decorating their homes like a float, lots of lights and colorful decorations. Maps were published for visitors to go around the city to see these reverse parade home floats. Larry said, “Occasionally, locals will throw beads off their balconies.”
Bourbon, Frenchman, and Decatur Streets closed through February 16 from 7 pm to 3 am. Bourbon Street is closed through Ash Wednesday.
Some of the favorite foods during Mardi Gras include King Cake, jambalaya, gumbo, pralines, and the Hurricane, the festival's drink of choice. All of these foods are classic favorites. Larry said, “King Cake bakeries have people lined out the doors.” His favorite comes from Antoine's on the west bank in Gretna.
For those that want to know, “The king cake is a mixture of French pastry and coffee cake. It’s oval shaped with icing and sugar covering the top," said Larry. "The original colors are gold (representing power), purple (representing justice) and green (representing faith). The shape of the cake represents unity of faiths. All cakes have a hidden baby inside symbolizing luck and prosperity. The person finding the baby becomes king or queen for the evening.”
One might wonder why the Browns chose New Orléans as their vacation home as opposed to the sunny beaches of Florida. He said that his stepdaughter received a scholarship to Tulane University and stayed after graduation. She left the city when hurricane Katrina hit in 2005. His son received a band scholarship to play trumpet at LSU three years after Hurricane Katrina. Larry and Patti visited New Orléans often before and after Katrina to see their children and fell in love with the museums, walking the French Quarter, and attending games for both the NFL and NBA ball clubs.
With all the snow happening throughout the country, seeing beautiful pictures of the colorful and whimsical Mardi Gras parade is a welcomed sight. Though the Browns may not get to see a full blown Mardi Gras event, I'm sure they'll make the best of their circumstance.
Senator Bernie Sanders turned his inauguration day meme into a charitable enterprise. He's created a sweatshirt with his inauguration day mitten-wearing picture and selling it on his website for $45 a shirt. The proceeds from the sweatshirt will go to the Vermont Meals on Wheels program. Right now, the sweatshirts are sold out but you may still order online at berniesanders.com. It may take three to six weeks but all the money goes to seniors in need.
All this attention to this mitten wearing man's attire is the craze and its been a nice break from the rhetoric on social media. Boy, sometimes a little humor goes a long way. There are three groups of slideshows and still more to come.
Two years ago a Vermont teacher gave the sustainable mittens to Sanders as a gift. On a late night talk show with Seth Moyers, Sanders aid, "I was just trying to stay warm." The gift has the world a Buzz and those with photoshop skills busy.
If there are more pictures out there, please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org I'll add them to the collection.
Security will intensify around the Capitol building after threats and heavily armed militia attend Saturday rally in Kentucky
Kentucky officials are prepared to do whatever is necessary to protect the state Capitol if more armed protests occur, Gov. Andy Beshear said. The FBI has warned of plans for armed protests at all 50 state capitals leading up to President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, stoking fears of more bloodshed after last week’s deadly siege at the U.S. Capitol.
“We will not allow that to happen,” Beshear said at a press conference Monday. “We will protect these buildings, these grounds and everyone in them. And we are ready to do whatever necessary, Kentucky State Police and others, to ensure the safety of everyone here.”
The Democratic governor declined to disclose security plans, including whether the Kentucky National Guard would have a role. “We are not going to give those that would commit domestic terror a game plan that they can try to plan around,” he said. Below are photographs taken where armed protesters gathered outside the Kentucky Capitol last Saturday.
The Saturday, January 9, gathering by a group of Kentucky protesters met at the Capitol in Frankfort to have a 'patriot' rally. There were approximately 100 protestors that arrived around noon to protest outside the Capitol while chambers were in session during General Assembly. Several of the protestors were armed with guns and one man even had zip ties.
The crowd was upset about the Trump election loss and some spoke about the incoming administrations plan to strip away freedoms. There was also criticism against Senator Rand Paul, Senator Mitch McConnell and Governor Andy Beshear.
Another speaker spoke about how her life had been affected by the mandates instituted by Governor Beshear. How her inability to provide for her family had been gravely affected by the numerous closures of businesses in her area.
On Tuesday, January 12. as a petition began circulating to impeach Democratic Governor Beshear. he called out those individuals demanding impeachment. One of those mentioned was Tony Wheatley of Mercer County that helped to organize the event on Saturday.
"He is the one that put together the rally where the the Three Percenters hung me in effigy. He's the one who put together the rally where they stormed past all the barricades in front of the governor's mansion and stood on the other side of the windows from where my kids play. He's also the individual that helped organize this last weekend, where heavily armed individual showed up, showing exactly what they intended to do."
Beshear showed an image of a man who attended the Saturday rally in Frankfort, armed and wearing camouflage, who said he was carrying zip ties "just in case." Beshear said zip ties were also carried during the riot at the U.S. Capitol, and "we know exactly what they're used for."
"These people who signed this petition have tried to create terror for me and my family before, and when that hasn't worked, I guess they're trying something new," Beshear said. The petition was filed by four Kentuckians.
Since the petition was filed, a committee was formed by the GOP to review it. The petition calls for the governor's impeachment for lockdown orders used to fight the pandemic.
If you're looking for the $600 second round stimulus check, there's an easy way to check on the progress. Americans are waking each morning and checking bank accounts to see if checks have been deposited.
As it stands, many have received their direct deposits but some still haven't. The delay could be simply that the IRS is still working on it or maybe you don't qualify.
The IRS portal is up and running. The pandemic has cost Americans and those around the world so much in terms of life, finances, and overall mental health. The federal government voted on the second round of stimulus checks before the new year. Though they aren't the $2,000 checks as President Trump preferred, the $600 checks will help with food and basic necessities.
With vaccine distribution underway, a new group is about to receive their opportunity to get vaccinated. Those 70 and older will start the vaccination process beginning February 1, 2021.
For information on stimulus checks, got to IRS.gov and click on Get my Economic Impact Payment. Then, click on Get my Payment. On this page, you'll need your social security number or individual tax ID number, date of birth, and address. At this time, you'll be able to see where your payment might be or what's the hold up.
Forty second audio and video of the Nashville explosion played on a Facebook link is unbelievably shocking
Metro Nashville Police Department responded to a call of shots fired at approximately 5:30 am on Friday after finding a motorhome parked in front of an AT&T transmission building in downtown Nashville.
Coming from the RV was an audio indicating that a bomb would explode in 15 minutes. According to the Nashville Mayor Jim Shulman, several did evacuate the area but when the bomb didn't ignite after the 15 minutes, some returned to the location. Officers couldn't find where the shots were being fired but called in the hazardous devices unit and began evacuating residents. The RV exploded at 6:30 am CST.
Due to telecommunication issues from the explosion that rocked Nashville, EMS lines across western Kentucky have been affected. AT&T said due to the damage to the facilities in Nashville, it's producing a more far reaching service outage.
Kentucky State Police Post 1 said that outages are being reported. It's affecting Verizon carriers and possible AT&T customers. The issue could be all across Kentucky and other surrounding states. In case of emergency, there are alternative phone numbers that may be dialed:
Mayfield Police: 270-856-3749
Murray Police: 270-753-1621
KSP Post 1: 502-395-1698
KSP Post 2: 502-395-1771
Events that happened earlier today:
The explosion that rocked Nashville this morning has caused a temporary shutdown of flights at BNA due to telecommunication problems. Authorities believe the explosion in the downtown area on Christmas Day was a deliberate act, according to Metro Nashville Police Department. Police spokesman Don Aaron said the explosion that took place at 6:30 am was believed to be "an intentional act." It's believed that a vehicle is involved in the explosion. Three people were taken to area hospitals, though none were in critical condition.
This is a breaking story. See the tweet below.
Photo: First Lady Melania Trump descends the steps of the White House to prepare for Christmas 2020: America the Beautiful.
The Trumps and the White House staff prepare for Christmas 2020: America the Beautiful...traditional style. The song, "America the Beautiful" is traditionally played during July 4th celebrations and other patriotic holidays. The history behind the song isn't remarkable, it's more of a revelation.
Dating back to the late 1800's, a professor, Katherine Lee Bates, and a group of fellow educators set out to tour the United States. Part of the plan was to leave on the lecture trip by covered wagon and explore Colorado's Pike's Peek. Bates was an English Professor at Wellesley College in Massachusetts and a pioneer for women's issues. As the story is told, when they were nearing the top of the mountain, the group left the wagons and continued on mules. Bates, though tired, was determined to reach the top. After topping the mountain, the view of America was spectacular. Upon returning to her hotel, Bates was so inspired that she wrote the poem which was eventually set to music.
Though Melania Trump isn't what one might call a 'traditional' first lady, she pulled out all the stops this year with traditional green trees decorated in red, gold, and silver illuminated by white lights.
Tweet: Melanie Trump tweeted in her twitter account Monday about this year's Christmas decorations with a one-minute video. Absolutely beautiful.
Though the stage is set to be the last Christmas at the White House for the Trumps, First Lady Melania has added the sparkle to the holiday that many Americans need and want. Along with well-;laced decorations of planes, trains, and automobiles a tribute was paid to front-line workers with ornamental snow-capped hospitals, medical lab coats, nurse's hats, and other essential worker's representations.
As COVID-19 continues to paralyze the United States and countries around the globe, we need to address and remember the meaning behind Christmas. It's a time for celebration. A time to remember Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior. A time to remember the many blessings. A time to hold loved ones close.
Taking a step back to the height of the campaign, the RNC 2020, and Melanie's speech during the convention, we're reminded of the grace and poise shown by the First Lady. During that night, she captured the essence of the Trump presidency and presented 'the softer side'.
The White House is magnificently decorated this Christmas and represents the best of America. The country appreciates Melania Trump and her many contributions.
Big Blue Madness 2020 Tonight at 8 pm CST on SEC Network: Streaming on ESPN: Played at Memorial Coliseum in Lexington, Kentucky
After tonight’s Big Blue Madness event, the first regularly scheduled ballgame is Wednesday, November 25 against Morehead State at Rupp Arena. To add to the excitement, Kentucky will play again on Friday and Sunday. What a ‘slam dunk’ for Kentucky fans and a great beginning to the holiday season. Fans won’t be in attendance since COVID-19 is sweeping through Kentucky and the nation but Big Blue Nation will be able to watch it ‘live’ on the SEC Network for a 90 minute telecast.
One of Kentucky’s local fans, Zac Willis and sports writer for WKY Community Living shared his take on the 20-21 Kentucky Wildcat season in an informative Q&A.
What do you think about this year’s Kentucky team potential?
Willis: Every year I believe in the Cats and this year’s team is no different. Gonzaga, Kansas, Baylor, Villanova and Duke will be good too. You can’t deny the Kentucky roster. The majority of the team is young but the Cats have some excellent transferred players suiting up this year. I’m excited to see what the 7’0 Olivier Sarr brings to the table. We weren’t sure if he would be eligible to play, but once approved, the players, Kentucky fans (myself included) were ecstatic!
What can you tell us about the players?
Willis: Kentucky has one returning player, Keion Brooks. I believe Brooks has leadership qualities that will be showcased this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if two or three of the freshmen are part of the starting five or at least get a lot of minutes. B.J. Boston, Terrance Clarke, and Devon Askew are a few notable freshmen.
Davion Mintz is a graduate transfer student that is eligible to play this season after missing last season at Creighton due to an ankle injury. Olivier Sarr is a transfer from Wake Forest. He put up great numbers against Duke in the ACC last year. He and Jacob Toppin were both recently announced as being eligible to play. Toppin is a sophomore transfer from Rhode Island. His brother Obi was named 2019-2020 National Player of the Year.
What will the competition be like in the SEC?
Willis: Tennessee will be really good. LSU, Florida, Alabama and Auburn will be in the mix. It would be nice to see Kentucky win this year. They haven’t won since 2018. However, they do have 31 SEC Championship titles. Alabama is second with six.
What do you think about Kenny Payne’s replacements?
Willis: Kenny Payne will be missed. Bruiser Flint was an assistant coach with Calipari at UMAS. He’s known for his college recruiting and player development. I’m excited about assistant coach/recruiting coordinator Jai Lucas. He’s a former McDonald’s High School All American and the new recruits will really connect on his level. He’s already been successful with some big recruit signings over the next two seasons.
What do you think about Coach Calipari’s connection with the players?
Willis: Coach Cal is a player’s coach. He cares about the success of the players before the university. He wants to see them succeed in life, make it to the NBA, and then, win a National Title. Coach Cal’s been a head coach for 23 years and he’s seen it all. He knows how players should live their lives on and off the court. This year, Calapari made sure all of his players were registered to vote. He stood by their side as they stood for racial equality. Like I said, he’s a player’s coach.
Big Blue Nation will be waving banners, chanting 'Go Big Blue', and proudly wearing royal blue apparel. And the venue will be at home, in front of a big screen tv, with family or a close friend or two. 'That which does not kill us makes us stronger.' The fans may not be able to cheer in person but I have no doubt they’ll be cheering all the same.
Not this tweet but that tweet. Not this Four Seasons but Four Seasons Total Landscaping
The story about the Four Seasons Total Landscaping presidential press conference is still the rage today. Reporters from the bigger news organizations are still writing about the bazaar event that happened on Saturday as the networks were announcing that Biden was the president-elect.
If you're in the dark about this story, you're not alone. For a recap...A tweet went out on Saturday morning from President Trump about a press conference taking place that morning at the Four Seasons in Philadelphia. Everyone assumed it was the Four Seasons Hotel Philadelphia. Shortly after, another tweet followed with a clarification. 'No, no, not the hotel but the Four Seasons Total Landscaping.'
The Four Seasons Total Landscaping is a gardening business, in an industrial area, on the outskirts of Philly. The Washington Post quoted the owner - Sean Middleton, "I have no idea why (the campaign) wanted to do it here. I don't know how the government works. Maybe they saw on satellite images that we have a big back lot and proximity to Interstate 65." The Trump campaign made its decision and set up in the yard.
It was a low key affair with some signage, a podium, reporters, Trump supporters and Trump's personal attorney Rudy Giuliani. The press conference held at the Four Seasons was a few doors down from a sex shop and across the street from a local crematorium.
And it was at the event that Giuliani heard the news that the race had been called. He made some remarks like 'Oh, the networks called the race. Don't mind the attorneys and the law.' (something to that affect).
All of this attention has made the Four Seasons Total Landscaping famous...and they've taken advantage of it. In today's article from NPR, it goes on to explain how the landscaping business is 'cashing in' and possibly changing political parties.
The Philadelphia Inquirer reported how other businesses were dealing with all the attention. They reported that a 78 year old employee manning the counter at the Fantasy Island sex shop said the phone has been ringing off the hook since Saturday with callers asking, 'Is Rudy Giuliani there?'
On the Facebook page of the Four Seasons Total Landscaping it said they would proudly host ANY presidential campaign at their business. Maybe the Four Seasons will become a fixture in Pennsylvania in politics.
In a ruling on Sunday, US District Court Chief Judge Beryl Howell wrote that making the change in food stamp regulation would "radically and abruptly alter decades of regulatory practice, leaving States scrambling and potentially increasing food insecurity for tens of thousands of Americans."
Last December, the Department of Agriculture set out to change the work requirements of food stamp recipients. The SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) would've disqualified close to 700,000 people for food benefits.
Judge Howell said that the administrators of the proposal hadn't disclosed the number of people that would be affected by the changes. Since May of this year, "SNAP rosters have grown by over 17 percent with over six million new benefit recipients."
This wasn't the first time Howell ruled against the proposal. In mid-March, the beginning of the first wave of coronavirus shutdowns, she issued an injunction against the rule that threatened the food security of those affected by COVID-19.
According to a recent study by Columbia University researchers, more than eight million Americans are considered living in poverty since May.