Sunday, January 21, 2018

The Story Behind The Story, Part 2: The Invention Of The Former "Folk Tales" Series At The Bowling Green (KY) Daily News

      In May of 1990, I was hired on in the newsroom at the BG Daily News or more commonly know back then as just "The Daily News."  It was one Bowling Green's and Southcentral Kentucky's premier news outlets at the time besides the local television station WBKO.  Of course, we also had and still do, our fair share of radio stations in the area.  The early 90's, were long before the days of the "Super Information Highway" or just the "Internet" as we know it today.  Nowadays, as we all know there's a lot of competition where people get their news even for local news.
I always had a strong desire to write every since my English classes in high school where we learned to journal and developed the"first person voice" in our writing style.  I suppose the writing bug stuck with me even into college. But at first, I was a little confused and wasn't quite sure what areas of study I wanted to go into.  But eventually I found my way into print journalism and developed a keen sense and interest in the "human interest" story. 
     After a year or so of working in the newsroom, I brought the idea of a human interest story series for the newspaper to Don Stringer, the former longtime managing editor of The Daily News.  He loved the idea and decided to call it "Folk Tales."  He gave me a $25 gift certificate to O'Charley's restaurant for giving him and the newspaper the idea.  It was one of my proudest accomplishments while working at the newspaper.  The series featured in depth news articles about local and common people in Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky community or just plainly spoken, "the folks of Bowling Green and Southcentral Kentucky."  I had the honor of writing several of these stories and they were always published as front page stories with big and bold headlines.  One of the stories that I wrote and was published, I was the one I wrote about J. Frank Gerard, a local and retired dairy farmer who was 81 years-old and blind at the time.  Of course,  J. Frank has been passed away for many years now.
     J. Frank had lived in Bowling Green and Warren County his whole life and had a dairy farm on Cemetery Road on the outskirts of town where the gated Rivergreen community is located now and where Sen. Rand Paul lives among other prominent and wealthy citizens of Bowling Green and Warren County.  I had met J. Frank originally through our one of elderly next door neighbors on a street where we used to live.  Patty and I used to drive our neighbor and J. Frank and take them out to eat.  But J. Frank always on insisted on paying for our dinner.  He loved to tell us stories about growing up in Bowling Green and what the town was like back in the "good ol' days" and what it was like being a dairy farmer back in then too. 
    Eventually, I asked him if I could write a story about him and he said, "Sure, I would love it! It turned a out to be a fantastic story for the newspaper with great reception from everyone I knew and who had read it.  I received lots of compliments from readers in the community.  Eventually, the Folk Tales series had run its course and was disbanded. But the one quote I remember most that J. Frank said about his dairy farming days in the story, he said he remembers when the milk was "sweet as ice cream!" Now, that's one quote for the history books, folks!

Saturday, January 6, 2018

The Spirit, The Soul And The Sparkle Of An Eye

"Patty and I attended a funeral today of one her classmates from high school. Yet we are reminded again that life is fleeting and that death is eminent for all of us. This old body is just a shell. The life of a being is the spirit, the soul and the sparkle of an eye."-Galen A. Smith Sr.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Goodbye 2017

"Diligence is the mother of good fortune, and idleness, its opposite, never brought a man to the goal of any of his best wishes."-Miguel de Cervantes

2017 was a good year for me. The biggest thing I have learned is that I don’t have to be in control because I am the master of my own destiny. I also learned to put a “Do Not Disturb” sign on the door in my mind and not get caught up in other people’s drama and gossip. I have learned to not react to those figurative “snakes” in life. I learned that’s okay to be me and accept who I am. I am assertive, confident and I am an observant participant in our community and society. I cannot change the fact who I am. The money will always come because I am a professional at what I do for a living. I love God, my church, my wife, son and dog. Also, I love all my family members, friends and coworkers. But some of them are challenging and they are the ones who give me a gift. Their gift to me is that teach me things about myself that I didn’t even know about and they help me to grow as a person. They help me to change for the better. Thanks to all of you that I know and love and have a chance to interact with many times throughout the year whether in person or on social media. Happy New Year to you and your families and God Bless! I look forward to seeing you in 2018!

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

College Town At Christmas: 2017, "My Top 10 Crazy Christmas Wish List Items For The City of Bowling Green"

I am sorry to admit but I have struggled with getting into Christmas spirit this year so far.
I did not make it to the annual Christmas parade in downtown Bowling Green this past Saturday morning nor to the annual Christmas Tree Lighting at Fountain Square Park this past Friday night either.  Like most Bowling Green citizens, I've been busy with work and life in general.  However, I have been trying to think of an idea for my annual "College Town At Christmas" blog for awhile now.  But I finally thought of idea today.  I thought, "What about if I wrote a blog based on my "My Top 10 Crazy Christmas Wish List Items For The City of Bowling Green?"  Yes, for our beloved City of Bowling Green located in Southcentral Kentucky! So here it goes.  It's some crazy, far out Christmas wish list items but I hope you enjoy them nevertheless! It's meant to be in all fun and for your amusement! I hope you enjoy them!

10.) An GM Corvette sports car themed Amusement Park like Disney World close to the Corvette plant, racetrack and museum next to I-65.  Bowling Green is the only place in the world where the Corvette is made.

9.)  A six to eight lane loop around the whole City of Bowling Green that will alleviate the heavy traffic problems especially on Campbell Lane and Nashville, Smallhouse, Three Springs and Scottsville roads.

8.) A Bowling Green and South Central Kentucky Rock & Roll Music Museum honoring the likes of Bowling Green based indie rock bands, "Cage The Elephant" and the former indie rock band "Sleeper Agent." Also, the hard rocking Kentucky rock band, "Black Stone Cherry" from nearby Edmonton, Ky., just down the road and Kentucky country cock rockers, "The Kentucky Headhunters," also from Edmonton.   Also, throw in "The Hilltoppers" from the early 50's who were from Western Kentucky University.  The museum would celebrate these bands who made an impact nationally and internationally and who have brought world-wide attention to Bowling Green and the region by national television appearances, newspaper and magazines articles, radio, internet and television interviews, albums, CD's, iTunes,  videos and concert appearances world-wide.  Also, include displays for Grammy winners "Cage The Elephant" and "The Kentucky Headhunters," as well as displays for all local and regional bands who have had an impact on the Bowling Green Music Scene.  And the museum, would feature a local beer brewery spotlighting Bowling Green's own regionally known and popular "White Squirrel" beer with a brew pub, full size restaurant and a large venue for indoor and outdoor concerts with lots of seating.

7.) Give "Cage The Elephant" and "The Kentucky Headhunters" keys to the City of Bowling Green for bringing world-wide attention to our city and region for their musical achievements with winning Grammys.

6.) A museum honoring some of Bowling Green most colorful and most recognized famous citizens, such as "Pauline Tabor," the famous madam who ran a brothel on Clay Street at one time, John Carpenter of Hollywood, Calif.,  the famous horror movie director of "Halloween" and other scary movies and the famous wrestler from Bowling Green, "Hillbilly Jim," just to name a few.

5.) A plaque somewhere downtown Bowling Green to honor and recognize the city's own local billionaire, "Brad Kelley," who likes to fly under the radar, incognito away from the public eye and press but for his founding of his former cigarette factory, "USA Gold" cigarettes and other brands.  As I understand he sold his business to Houchens Industries for a billion dollars and Houchens later sold for several more billions to a company in England.  Kelly is supposedly one of the top five landowners in the country.  We should all be proud he is from here.  "From farm boy to billionaire."

4.) A walkway bridge over University Avenue and the CSX railroad at the Old Morgantown Road entrance for the Western Kentucky University students to cross.  That's a very dangerous intersection for students to be crossing considering all of the automobile traffic and the amount of railroad traffic.

3.) A movie made about Ervin G. Houchens honoring the founder of Houchens Industries, based in Bowling Green, one the nation's largest employee stock ownership plans (ESOP).  It's basically a rags to riches story of a young boy who began working hard early life in rural Barren County, Ky.,  and later left a legacy of tremendous wealth in our community that still lives on today in many aspects and businesses.

2.) A monorail railway system for Western Kentucky University and the City of Bowling Green to alleviate all of the bus traffic.  Since we can't go underground because of karst cave systems, sinkholes and limestone underneath us, let's go above and beyond like Disney world!

1.) And finally but not least, let's create the world's largest dog park with hotels, swimming pools, cabins, lakes and pontoon boats with fishing included among other recreational things to do.  Since we have one dog park already in the city let's add new one out in the county somewhere.  Also local dog food manufacturers, Hills Pet Foods and Champion Pet Food Auburn could be major sponsors.  We could draw people in from all over the world!

Merry Christmas everyone and Happy New Year! I hope you had a wonderful 2017!

Sunday, November 19, 2017

The Story Behind The Story: 'Metros' Cars And Center Street In Bowling Green, Ky.

BOWLING GREEN, KY _ I had been working in the newsroom at the Bowling Green Daily News for almost two half years by the time, that former Managing Editor, Don Stringer and Roger Jones, former advertising director, decided to create a local car section tabloid insert loaded with car stories and advertising for our popular daily newspaper.
   Back in those days, the Bowling Green Daily News and local television station, WBKO, dominated as the top media outlets in our community.  It was long before the days of the internet, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter and other forms of social media. Although, I was probably one of Don's least favorite writers or employees of the newsroom, he did actually utilize my writing skills from time to time.  This story "'Metros' Man's Fascination Of Bowling Green" was an easy story to write.  It was simple, clean, cut and dry.  It was written in November of 1993, so that was 24 years ago this month.  But I can't remember if I interviewed the main subject in person or on the phone.  Most likely it was over the phone because that's how we wrote most of our stories at the time because of a "lack of time."  We had a noon deadline in our newsroom.  But with the special insert tabloid sections, we always had a lot more time to get our stories done.
    Looking back now, I think this how I wrote this story. I interviewed Mr. Ken Marshall, the main subject, over the phone and then he had invited me to his wholesale and salvage warehouse that was located on Center Street at the time near Western Kentucky University in Bowling Green.  One of our newsroom photographers drop by and took some pictures for the story.  We used the best shot of Mr. Marshall using his elbow to lean up against one his blue and white Metro cars.  His warehouse used to be across the street from the old, former Jr. Food Store on the corner where the new High Tops Sports Bar and Grill is now located.  Of course, all those old houses and buildings have been torn down in the last few years and new fine brick structures have been rebuilt such as a hotel, a WKU alumni center, fraternity houses, apartments, restaurants and storefront shops.  And if I remember correctly, I did take up Mr. Marshall's invite to drop by to sneak a peek at his 'Metros' cars.  They weren't running but he had some really cool ones under covers and a couple stored up on some racks inside his warehouse.  Mainly, I just remember all the junk he had stored in his warehouse and that he was a real friendly fellow with a big smile.  I bet it took forever for whoever to get all that junk and cars out of that warehouse before they sold and tore down the building.
    Besides being an easy to write, it was a fun story with some interesting facts regarding the unusual cars and Mr. Marshall and his the junky warehouse. Also, reading the story over again, makes me take a trip down memory lane, remembering those long gone days of what Center Street in Bowling Green used to look like back in the early 90's. Very cool!

Sunday, October 15, 2017

A Young Classic Rock/Led Zeppelin Retro Sounding Band: Michigan's Greta Van Fleet Is Causing Black Smoke To Rise Everywhere

   I was at a Pizza Hut in Bowling Green recently and I struck up a conversation about music with a young man who was listening to Pearl Jam while he worked.
He said he really loved the sound of Eddie Vedder's voice, the lead singer of the band, and we talked about the fact that this young man was also a musician. Then he pulled out his iPhone and showed me a Youtube video of new young rock band who is exploding on the music scene currently called "Greta Van Fleet" and they hail from Michigan.
    I was blown away by the video who showed me especially since I am a baby boomer and I love classic rock and Led Zeppelin like millions of other people do in the world.  Greta Van Fleet formed in 2012 and they have that incredible sound of classic rock/Led Zeppelin to be exact and to be such a young musicians in my opinion.  Their style of music appears to us old timers especially.  Even the lead singer sounds exactly a young Robert Plant.  They have apparently tapped into a unique music niche market in order appeal to the masses of all age groups with their sound, music and style.
      The band members are Josh Kiszka, Jake Kiszka, Sam Kiszka, and Danny Wagner and in April of this year, the band released their debut studio digital EP on iTunes called, "Black Smoke Rising."  The debut single, "Highway Tune," has topped the Billboard US Mainstream and Active Rock stations this past September. Currently,  Greta Van Fleet is touring the country to sold out clubs and venues everywhere. 
      It appears that if Greta Van Fleet keeps stoking the fires that's causing black smoke to rise everywhere, they will stay on a fast track to fast fame and fortune.  They will go far in this brave, new digital world that we live in if they keep it up.  Greta Van Fleet's already quick success on the internet and in the social media realm of the globe, kind of reminds me of Van Halen's fast rise to world-wide recognition and instant riches in the late 70's during the vinyl record and analog recording days of that time era.  Great Van Fleet better fasten their seat belts because it looks like they are in for one hell of a ride!

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

President Trump At His Best During One Of The Worst Days In America After Vegas Mass Shooting

I think most of us in America as well as those around the world were probably shocked when saw the news yesterday morning when we woke up that over 50 people were slaughtered by a lone gunman shooting out of a Las Vegas hotel room with rapid fire at a Jason Aldean's outdoor country music concert on Sunday night.
    We were dumbfounded and thinking, "What the hell is going on?"  We were all searching for a meaning that such a horrible and senseless act of evil could take place in a place like "Vegas" where everybody is suppose to have fun and a good time.  The shooter, Stephen Paddock, 64, ended up killing 59 people and wounded over 500 more at the country music festival near the Mandalay Bay Resort and Casino where the shooter had a room and where he was shooting from.  Police stormed his 32nd floor hotel room and found that he had killed himself after committing the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history.
 However, a lot of us found comfort in President Trump's speech about the tragedy during his speech at the White House yesterday whether you watched it on television or on the internet. I watched President Trump's speech yesterday evening on Youtube (see video posted below).  In spite of President Trump's flaws and character defects, he is a man of conviction, passion and a believer and not afraid to use the words, "God, love, prayer, care" in his sentences. This is the kind of leader we need during times like these. He gives us hope for America and a feeling of security regardless of what's going on in the world.  After President Trump visit to hurricane devastated Puerto Rico today and he will fly to Las Vegas to visit with the victims and family members of the mass shooting on Wednesday.  We pray for all the innocent concert goers who lost their lives on Sunday night and for those who were injured.  We also pray for the victim's family members.  God Bless President Trump and America.