Meade County Fair
People come from far and wide to attend one of Kentuckyâ€™s best. Page 9.
Every Child, Every Day The philosophy that drives Meade County Public Schools. Page 12.
A Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce Publication
FORT KNOX FAMILY AND MORALE, WELFARE AND RECREATION
LEADERS CLUB 1118 Chaffee Ave (502) 942-0959 Banquet and Conference Center: The perfect place to host a special event. Fiddlers Green Bar & Lounge: Quick-service lunch Monday through Friday. Soups, Salads & Sandwiches. Offers Snacks and Karaoke on Wed through Fri evenings.
ANDERSON INDOOR AQUATICS CENTER 7957 Wilson Road (502) 624-6217 Olympic size indoor pool
HOUSTON BOWLING CENTER 2385 Knox Street (502) 624-1651 24 synthetic lanes of Bowling complete with video arcade and the Strike Zone snack bar. Leagues, open play, and tournaments.
JAVA CAFĂ‰ 62 Spearhead Div Ave (502) 624-3711 Coffee, pastries, sandwiches. Free Wi-Fi.
LINDSEY GOLF COURSE 4024 Bullion Blvd (502) 624-2717 PGA Certified, 18 hole course with Bermuda Fairways, practice putting and chipping greens, a driving range, and a fully equipped golf shop.
FORT KNOX WATER PARK 5539 Chaffee Ave (502) 624-1253 Two giant water slides, a zero entry pool plus a 25 meter pool, water obstacle course, and huge childrenâ€™s wading pool.
FRENCH SHOOTING CLUB .BJO3BOHF3PBEt Open to skilled and amateur shooters. Skeet, trap, pistol, rifle and archery offered.
FALLS LANDING MINIATURE GOLF $IBĂ˛FF"WFt 18 hole miniature golf course
CHECK OUT THE LATEST FORT KNOX FAMILY AND MWR NEWS AND OPPORTUNITIES
Meade County Museum & Arts Council
We are your source for Concerts, Festivals, Local History and the Arts in Meade County, Kentucky. Join us for Live Entertainment. Our River Heritage Festival and Event Series features music for all tastes– from Blues and Bluegrass, to Rock, Pop, Country and Jazz.
Become a part of Meade County History. Invest in an engraved brick in our memorialit’s the perfect way to celebrate your family history, or remember the lives of loved ones, while supporting our Riverfront Park projects.
Enjoy Riverfront Park. While taking a stroll along the banks of the beautiful Ohio River, tour our outdoor walking history museum– depicting Meade County history– through our artist-commissioned bronze sculptures. Meade County Museum & Arts Council PO Box 1122, Brandenburg, Ky 40108 270-422-4958 Visit www.meadearts.com for more information.
“Flint for the Hunt”- installed in 2002 Meade County
Contents Reasons to Love Meade County . . . . . 6 Meade County Fair . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 9 Schools . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 12 School Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16 Youth Sports . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19 Real Estate & Housing . . . . . . . . . . . 21 Fort Knox Growth . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Fort Knox & Meade County . . . . . . . 27 Agriculture & Agritourism . . . . . . . . 31 Farmers’ Market . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34 Parks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Buttermilk Falls . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38 Outdoors . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 39 Otter Creek . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 41 Organizations . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 43 Religion . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 45 Entrepreneurial Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . 47 Community Spirit . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 51
Meade County, Kentucky Writers, Editors, Researchers Ben Achtabowski Shannon Leonard-Boone Sandra Stone
Steve Arel The News Standard Meade Activity Center The Meade County Messenger Roberts Family Farm Meade County Public Library
Advertising Melissa Bean
Steve Arel Russ Powell Jeannie Vowels Gerry Lynn Pets In Need Society Meade County Fair Russ Powell Jerlene Rose
Margaret Yates Sam Wiesenberg
Historic Kentucky Inc. doing business as Back Home In Kentucky Shelbyville, Kentucky
Progress Commercial Printing & Graphics Inc. Owensboro, Kentucky
On The Cover
Ron Hart climbs VanBuren Cliff at Otter Creek Park, now Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area. Photo courtesy of The News Standard.
A publication of the Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce.
Advertiser Index All About Homes......................................................... 42 Arch Chemicals Inc..................................................... 50 Brandenburg Diagnostic Center................................ 18 Brandenburg Telephone Company............................ 23 Catholic Churches of Meade County.......................... 46 Century 21/Joe Guy Hagan........................................ 40 Cozy Furniture & Mattress........................................ 22 Doe Valley................................................................... 29 Doe Valley Golf Course............................................... 28 First Federal Savings Bank....................................... 21 Flaherty Mini Storage................................................ 39 Floorscapes/The Final Lap......................................... 26 Fort Knox Family & Morale, Welfare & Recreation... 2 Fort Knox Federal Credit Union................................ 20 Hardin & Duncan Financial Group........................... 26 HealthSouth Lakeview Rehabilitation Hospital....... 54 Kentucky Farm Bureau Insurance............................ 36 KORT – Brandenburg Physical Therapy................... 26 4
McGehee Insurance.................................................... 33 Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce............... 8 Meade County Bank................................................... 30 Meade County Cooperative Extension Service.......... 11 Meade County Education Center............................... 12 Meade County Museum & Arts Council...................... 3 Meade County Public Library.................................... 56 Meade County Tourism.............................................. 53 One Knox..................................................................... 33 Rays Ford-Chrysler-Dodge-Jeep................................ 25 Re/Max Advantage +................................................... 38 Re/Max Commitment.................................................. 45 Rent An Emmert......................................................... 49 Richardson Bulldozing Service................................... 23 River Ridge Marathon................................................ 40 Rubye Realty............................................................... 22 Tony Brown Chevrolet................................................ 42 Western Kentucky University.................................... 13
Welcome to Meade County Speaking for the entire membership of the Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce, we would like to say welcome! If you’re moving, conducting business, or visiting Meade County, you will find a friendly, vibrant community that is a great place to work, live, raise a family, and enjoy life. Of course, if you live in Meade County, you already know that’s the case. We hope you enjoy this edition of our magazine. Our goals are to give prospective residents a taste of what Meade County offers; to provide new residents insights about the community they’re now calling home; and to remind long-time residents of some of the exciting things happening here.
The Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce is a resource for providing community information and opportunities for business growth. We connect business, government, volunteers, and civic leaders to make this a better place to live, learn, work, and play.
And, we promote tourism in cooperative efforts that involve the governments of Meade County and the City of Brandenburg and the Kentucky Department of Travel. The Chamber of Commerce was organized in 1987 when businesses, professionals, educators, and interested residents united to improve the economic and civic well-being of Meade County. Today, 24 years later, the Chamber of Commerce continues to be people committed to working together for positive development and growth. Examples of that commitment are the advertisers in this magazine, without whose support and encouragement this project would not have been possible.
One greatthis community. Besides enjoying edition of our magazine, we hope that you’ll share it with your friends, letting them learn that tucked away on the banks of the Ohio River One strongnatural Chamber Commerce. is a place of dramatic beauty,of friendly and relaxed living, and abundant opportunity. Please contact the Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce when we can be of assistance or provide you with information. Sincerely, Vickie Bryson President The Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce advocates for business and the community - to create a climate of growth and success that benefits all of us.
We connect business, government, volunteers, and civic leaders to make
County a better place to live, learn, work, and play. RussMeade Powell Executive Connect Director with your Chamber of Commerce today.
Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 483 • Brandenburg, Kentucky 40108 270-422-3626 www.meadekychamber.org firstname.lastname@example.org
79 Broadway / P.O. Box 483 Brandenburg, Kentucky 40108
Reasons To Love Meade County The reasons people love Meade County are as diverse as the residents themselves. But the one thing many of them share is a desire to be part of the community for years to come.
Todd & Jennifer Saylor Todd and Jennifer Saylor, both originally of Louisville, made Meade County their home more than a decade ago. Both work at Stuart Pepper Middle School, where Jennifer serves as assistant principal and Todd teaches special education and coaches the seventhand eighth-grade girls’ volleyball and basketball teams. Even though they work in the same building, the nature of their positions doesn’t always afford them much time to see each other during the day. As educators, the couple knows firsthand the quality of the local education system, which is a key component in their children’s futures. But there’s more than that tying them to the area. The Saylors found a number of reasons to remain in Meade County and raise their children. Among them: safety, security, and pace of life. “It’s hit or miss in Louisville,” Todd Saylor said. “We enjoy this community as a whole and see a lot more community pride here than in Louisville. People are proud of their community, and everybody is connected in Meade County.”
Jennifer Bridge Jennifer Bridge didn’t grow up in Meade County, but she has been rooted locally for more than 20 years. After being raised in northeast Kentucky and graduating from Morehead State University with a degree in home economics and child development, she interviewed with the University of Kentucky and was offered a post at the extension office as the agent for family and consumer sciences. She’s been in Meade County ever since. “It’s become home,” she said. 6
As an extension agent, Bridge answers questions from the community about family issues or food and nutrition. The office also offers classes and speakers on different topics relating to the home or health, including recent subjects like upholstery, grilling, and incorporating green practices in the home. Bridge has been part of several community groups as well, including the Meade County Museum & Arts Council, Habitat for Humanity, Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce, and Buttermilk Falls Improvement Committee. She has had opportunities to go elsewhere over the years, but always chose to remain. “The people I serve in the county are phenomenal,” Bridge said. “They’re very supportive of me and what I’m doing.”
Amie Hiebert In 2005, hometown girl Amie Hiebert moved back to Meade County with her family after years away. She and her husband Craig wanted their children to spend time with family and experience the places they had when they were growing up. “I love that our neighbors are our friends and family who share our values, traditions, and history,” Hiebert said. She grew up on a farm near Midway in the middle of the county and moved to Louisville for college, where she earned her master’s in secondary English education. Not long after that, she married Craig, her high school sweetheart and a PGA golfer, and the couple moved off to Bedford, Indiana, to raise their family. But something was missing. After a brief return to Louisville, the couple and their four children, all girls, headed back to Meade County. These days, she stays busy with her church and with her daughters. “While it will always be changing and growing to meet the needs of its community members,” Hiebert said, “Meade County will always be home to me.”
David Craycroft David Craycroft, son of former Meade County Judge-Executive Harry Craycroft and Marilyn Craycroft, graduated in 1994 from Meade County High School and eventually settled with his wife in Bowling Green. The time there didn’t last long, though. Just two years later, Craycroft and his wife moved back to Meade County, where they took teaching jobs. Unlike her husband, Craycroft’s wife didn’t grow up in Meade County. But she was charmed by the easy pace of life and community spirit and enjoys working in the school system as a school psychologist responsible for testing at the middle school and two elementaries. Craycroft teaches art at Stuart Pepper Middle School, and is glad to be close to his family. Much of his time outside the classroom is spent coaching the high school and community soccer teams. “It’s a friendly place and a good place to raise a family,” Craycroft said. “We’re not too far from Louisville, 30 minutes from shopping in Elizabethtown, and it’s generally just a very good place to live.” He and his family have put down roots quickly. They recently built a home, and their kids are enrolled in preschool and elementary school. “We love it here” Craycroft said.
Kyle King When Kyle King wanted to start a medical practice, he wanted to do it back home. So after medical school and work as a resident physician in South Carolina, he convinced residency buddy Brian Honaker to join him as a partner and set up Brandenburg Family Medicine in Meade County, where King grew up. As a general practitioner since 1996, King does everything from well-baby checkups to handling end-of-life issues. Being able to treat his patients brings with it an added sense of responsibility and pleasure.
“It’s a privilege to get to help people and families in their bad times and good, especially families I knew growing up,” said King, who is active in coaching youth basketball, baseball, and football. “It’s nice to be a part of their lives.” King and his wife Meg wanted to raise a family in the Meade County community and give back to the place that enriched them as kids, and being in Meade County is like having an extended family. He said his fellow residents have always been “special” to him. “We feel privileged and blessed to be a part of the patients’ lives,” Meg King said. “Farmers come in to see Kyle. They know him, and they trust him.”
John Beavin Even while John Beavin was away from Meade County attending the University of Kentucky, he said, he almost always felt a bit of an obligation to come back. “I wanted to continue to improve my hometown,” Beavin said, “because of what it gave to me growing up.” Growing up on a farm in rural Meade County, Beavin learned early on about responsibility and hard work, lessons that gave him valuable experience from which to draw throughout his life. Beavin made sure his career options remained open after he finished school by getting a degree in marketing. He says the degree allowed him the flexibility that has served him well since taking a job as a Farm Bureau Insurance agent. Discussing the advantages of coming back to the county, Beavin points out that many people who are stationed at Fort Knox at some point in their careers end up choosing Meade County for retirement. Beavin is proud of his home for drawing such a diverse group from all over. “This town has grown a lot because of the retired military,” he said. “It’s a melting pot of people who moved here and became Meade Countians.” Much of what keeps him rooted in Meade County is the close relationship he has with so many residents. “Because it’s smaller, it’s one of those communities where everybody knows each other on a first-name basis,” he said. “It’s like everybody’s on your team. There’s a lot of community pride here.” n Meade County
One great community. One strong Chamber of Commerce.
The Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce advocates for business and the community - to create a climate of growth and success that benefits all of us. We connect business, government, volunteers, and civic leaders to make Meade County a better place to live, learn, work, and play. Connect with your Chamber of Commerce today.
79 Broadway / P.O. Box 483 Brandenburg, Kentucky 40108 www.meadekychamber.org 8
Meade County Fair The Meade County Fair’s popular truck and tractor pulls attract competitors from across the South and Midwest.
Despite the community’s size, Meade County has a and has since been picked up by other sports broadcast big draw. The county fair annually attracts more than networks. 45,000 people during the span of just a week each July. “In 2007 and 2009, we were voted NTPA Pull of the Residents of Meade County and its neighbors flock Year out of 50 or 60 grand national pulls,” says Pace, who to the fair – many of them for multiple visits – while credits the respected reputation of the Meade County former residents mark the event on their calendars so Fair pulls to high-quality facilities at the fairgrounds, they can treat it as an annual homecoming, a sure way professional organization and operation, and local to see friends and former neighbors. hospitality. A key piece of the fair’s success is the Grand National Although the pulls are the fair’s biggest attraction, Truck & Tractor Pulls. The powerful specialty machines plenty of other events draw people to the fairgrounds, that compete in this mechanized sport, which has evolved which covers 56 acres on the west side of Brandenburg. from traditional competitions pitting draft horses in A western horse show kicks off fair week, and a pulling contests, are capable of hauling thousands of parade that first Sunday afternoon typically lures 4,000 pounds loaded on a heavy sled along a 100-yard dirt track. And, they don’t fail to thrill the 10,000 or more people who attend the Friday- and Saturday-night events. Typically, the pulls, sanctioned by the National Tractor Pullers Association, the Kentuckiana Truck Pulling Association, and the Ohio River Valley Tractor Pullers Association, last well into the night as competitors in seven classes from throughout the Midwest test their mettle. David Pace, manager of the fair since 1994 and mayor of Brandenburg, says people from all over attend both the pulls and what he calls “one of the best county fairs in the South.” The Meade County pull has been so successful on the circuit that it was featured on ESPN for many years Lead-line competition during the fair’s English & Miniature Horse Show requires that riders be no more than six years old. Meade County
Although the fair runs only a week in July, it’s a year-round project, Pace said. He and members of the event’s board of directors discuss plans, schedule events, and map out improvements to the fairgrounds well before the gates open. Over the past dozen years, Pace estimates the fair board has spent more than $1 million replacing and improving buildings and other facilities, undertaking such projects as air-conditioning the home environment building, and in 2010 erecting a new show barn and a new horse arena. New public address systems were just put into those venues, and some of the blacktop is being resurfaced as well.
On some nights, 8,000-plus people pack the Meade County Fairgrounds for rides, games, food, and competitions.
to 6,000 people after a community worship service in the morning. Other notable events include pageants for girls and young women; noisy, exciting demolition derbies, including one for riding lawnmowers; and a midway with more than a dozen rides. Of course, it wouldn’t be a fair without traditional offerings like livestock shows, music performances, and homemaking and food contests.
Staging the fair is no easy undertaking, Pace said. He attributes its success to the hundreds of people who set up, clean up, and handle maintenance and operations before, during and after the event. And, Pace said, the hundreds of volunteers from school booster clubs and area organizations that operate food concessions and other booths are just as important. The Meade County Fair has been recognized for more than just its high attendance and regional draw. It’s been recognized for 19 consecutive years by the state as an All Kentucky County Fair Award recipient and also honored for its growth and development in comparison with other fairs. Pace said organizers are always looking for ways to make the fair better. And with the economy still stumbling, he expects attendance to continue topping 45,000 as fair-goers see the event as “affordable family entertainment.” “People are a little pessimistic about going too far away, and they’re putting their (financial) reserves back a little,” Pace said. “I don’t foresee us going downhill. This is affordable entertainment people feel they can take the whole family to.” n
Homemade food items – like those here – are among the hundreds of items entered by people seeking ribbons for their hard work in categories ranging from flower arranging to photography.
Within the confines of the fairgrounds, visitors can gaze at a champion steer, listen to a rock band, see virtually any kind of food item that can be homecanned, and check out handmade items ranging from quilted pillows to tole painting. “People take a great deal of pride in the items they submit for the competitions, and many of them enter year after year,” Pace said. “They’re a lot more interested in winning that blue ribbon than in the few dollars that accompany it.” 10
Motocross competition is one of the fair’s most popular attractions.
Cooperative Extension Service We are your local connection to the University of Kentucky and the latest research on ways to make your life better... inside and out. Q 4-H Programs Q Ag Production Management Q Community Development Q Demonstrations & Workshops Q Financial Management Q Food and Nutrition Q Gardening & Landscaping Q Health & Wellness Q Identification Q Leadership Development Q Livestock & Crop Programs Q Parenting Education Q Plant, Insect & Disease Q Soil Testing Q Summer Camps Q Youth Development
Meade County Extension Office 1041 Old Ekron Road, Brandenburg, KY 40108 Phone: (270) 422-4958 Office Hours: Monday-Friday, 8:00 am-4:30 pm Email: DL_CES_MEADE@EMAIL.UKY.EDU Educational programs of the Kentucky Cooperative Extension Service serve all people regardless of race color, age, sex, religion, disability or national origin.
Schools Families settle into communities for various reasons. For those with school children, the strength of the education system is a major draw. Meade County schools, which educate 5,100 students, rank among the best in Kentucky and serve as a point of pride among students, parents, and the community it serves. In terms of its size, the district is 23rd among the state’s 175 public school systems. Meade County students are spread across eight primaryelementary schools, one middle school, one Meade County students get an early introduction to the use of technology in their classrooms. high school, and one technology school where 650 teachers and staff members, in the superintendent’s words, “are doing their best to make excellence something that happens each day in each classroom.”
“Our kids are the future of our community, and we’re providing them the tools they need for futures that are bright and filled with promise,” Superintendent Mitchell Crump said. “It’s because of the support we get from the entire community that we’ve been able to embrace technology in the classroom; implement curriculum changes and improve teaching techniques; and build programs around the ‘best practices’ in education today.” Crump points to the James R. Allen Freshman Academy at Meade County High School and the Brandenburg Primary School – both of which opened at the beginning of the 2007-08 school year – as examples of achieving success when the right teachers have the right technical and academic support. The theory behind the freshman academy is simple, Principal Bob Schrader said. If a student succeeds in their freshman year, they’ll make it in high school. What’s more, smoothing that transition to high school has a dramatic – and positive – impact on 12
• GED Preparation • Developmental Courses • Pre-College Assessment Preparation/Course Readiness • Step Forward Family Program • National Career Readiness Employability Certiﬁcation • Kentucky Paraeducator Preparation & Assessment Many other services available …
Located at 2075 Bypass Road, Brandenburg across from the Dairy Queen Off-Site classes available in Muldraugh
All Services Are Provided Free Services are provided through the Kentucky Adult Education Department and Education Cabinet Meade County Education Center is afﬁliated with Elizabethtown Community & Technical College ECTC is an equal employment and educational institution
discipline problems and drop-out rates, he said. The 400-student academy, once an elementary school, shares a campus in the heart of Brandenburg with Meade County’s high school and its technology center. “Full separation from the high school gives us a huge advantage,” Schrader said. “We can provide a safe, separate environment without instilling a sense of isolation. The shared campus eases the daily class change between schools as each freshman takes one outside elective a day, either at the high school or at the technology center.” The academy emphasizes success and positive attitudes, with teachers and staff working hard to identify struggling students and provide the help they need. Those efforts include parent and student orientations before the first day of classes and again at mid-term to ensure good communication and to resolve academic issues. They work closely with students, and the academy has a summer school that aggressively pursues failing students. Additionally, the family service center, led by Karen Hawkins, provides students in need with everything
from clothing and pencils to medical treatment and nutrition programs. “Our goal is to help resolve academic problems by removing non-cognitive barriers to students’ success,” she said. “Whether or not a student starts the day with a good breakfast can have a profound impact on academic performance.” Brandenburg Primary School shares a campus with the middle school, one of its eight elementary-primary schools and its administrative offices. The school’s design is innovative and contemporary. Students and teachers are housed in a series of fiveroom pods, where four classrooms open into a central area where computers and restrooms are located. Natural light comes through windows and skylights. Pods open into hallways that are color-coded to make sure students can find ways to the cafeteria, gym, and media center. But, Principal Gloria Bertrand said, it’s what is happening inside that state-of-the-art building filled with new technology that’s important. Teachers and staff members are focused on successfully launching the school system’s youngest students on their academic careers.
“We work every day to make sure that our vision statement is a reality,” Bertrand said. “It states that our school ‘will become a place where every person will be a teacher, every teacher will be a leader, and every student will be a success.’ ” One way the school seeks to ensure success is through the system-wide student technology leadership program, a project-based effort designed to let students use technology to learn and achieve.
Students with military ties have long been part of Meade County’s school district. As Fort Knox Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) brings more people to the area, it inevitably has put more children with parents who are soldiers or Department of the Army civilians in local classrooms.
Students involved in the program have produced video programs and PowerPoint presentations over the past three years that have garnered honors at the local, regional and state levels on topics ranging from the lives of Alexander Graham Bell and Amelia Earhart to Internet safety and bullying.
The district has anticipated a student population spike since BRAC was announced in 2005. But because Meade County is considered a growth district, its shortand long-range facilities plans have been designed to accommodate student population increases, not just those spurred by congressional mandate.
“We take pride in the depth and breadth of what we offer students in terms of academics, athletics, and extracurricular activities,” Crump said.
In fact, that forecast is what led to recent building expansions at Ekron and Flaherty elementaries.
The district has grown steadily in recent years, thanks to military realignment that has brought more Army families to the area and increased interest in general among people wanting to reside locally. As a result, Meade County schools completely renovated Ekron Elementary and built a primary school adjacent to Flaherty Elementary to ease overcrowding. The projects also are helping keep down operational costs. Both schools have received gold star ratings for being energy efficient. At the high school level, Crump touts the school as an example of breadth and depth of what the school system offers: ♦♦Advanced Placement classes in English, calculus, chemistry, U.S. history, French, Spanish, and computer science in addition to standard subjects. ♦♦Expanded academic opportunities through the Kentucky Virtual High School, which offers access to nearly two dozen Advanced Placement courses. ♦♦Eleven sports for boys and a dozen for girls that involve hundreds of students. ♦♦More than two dozen clubs and organizations, such as the high school newspaper and archery club. To encourage participation, the district operates after-school activity buses to provide transportation home for middle- and high-school students. Although that’s an expense, by Crump’s account it’s money well spent to enrich students’ lives and strengthen their ties to their schools and their community. “Creating the best environment and the most opportunities for our students is what we’re all about,” he said. n 14
Schools & Military
When it comes to BRAC specifically, area schools are specially equipped to help students face the stresses that can accompany such a transition to a new school. “Students are coming into new surroundings, having to develop new friendships,” Meade County Public Schools Superintendent Mitchell Crump said. “So what we try to do is make that transition as easy and inviting as we possibly can by taking them around, introducing them to our teachers and students. And we try to build communication lines with parents.” Meade County has about 870 students with some connection to the military, said Susan Fackler, the district’s finance director. They either have a parent serving in uniform or working for the military. For students with a parent serving on active duty abroad, the challenges of fitting into a new school are compounded by home situations that can affect performance and behavior. To help deal with such challenges, a Fort Knox school liaison works with offpost schools and guidance counselors to craft strategies and supply resources for students and their families. Family Resource Center directors oversee programs targeted at elementary education, and youth service directors serve middle- and high-school students. They offer special training for fellow educators and work with parents needing help with home, school or community adjustment. “Transition is something we’ve always done well here in the school system,” Crump said. He points out that existing activities like sports and clubs have long helped students become more involved during and after a big change. “We try to mesh activities and opportunities so that new students can get involved as soon as possible,” he said. n
Meade County Schools Elementary Schools
8585 Battletown Road Battletown, KY 40104 Grades - Pre-school - 6 270-422-7560 www.meade.kyschools.us/B-Town/
1085 Old Ekron Road Brandenburg, KY 40108 Grades - 7 - 8 270-422-7530 www.meade.kyschools.us/spms/
Battletown Elementary School
Stuart Pepper Middle School
Brandenburg Primary School
David T. Wilson Elementary School
918 Old State Road Brandenburg, KY 40108 Grade - 9 270-422-7520 http://www.meade.kyschools.us/mchs/
Ekron Elementary School
938 Old State Road Brandenburg, KY 40108 Grades – 10 - 12 270-422-7515 www.meade.kyschools.us/mchs/
750 Broadway Brandenburg, KY 40108 Grades - Pre-school - 3 270-422-7520 www.meade.kyschools.us/jra/
1075 Old Ekron Road Brandenburg, KY 40108 Grades – 4 - 6 270-422-7540 www.meade.kyschools.us/dtw/
2500 Hayesville Road Ekron, KY 40117 Grades - Pre-school - 6 270-422-7570 www.meade.kyschools.us/ekron/
Flaherty Elementary School 2615 Flaherty Road Ekron, KY 40117 Grades - Pre-school - 6 270-422-7565 www.meade.kyschools.us/flaherty/
Flaherty Primary School
2635 Flaherty Road Ekron, KY 40117 Grades Pre-kindergarten-3 270-422-7575 www.flaherty.ky.mcp.school.insites.com
Muldraugh Elementary School 202 Wendell Street Muldraugh, KY 40155 Grades – Kindergarten - 6 270-422-7555 www.meade.kyschools.us/Mul/
Payneville Elementary School 520 Rhodelia Road Payneville, KY 40157 Grades Kindergarten-6 270-422-7555 www.meade.kyschools.us/P-ville/
James R. Allen Freshman Academy
Meade County High School
Technology Center Meade County Area Technology Center
110 Greer Street Brandenburg, KY 40108 Grades – 9 - 12 270-422-3955 www.meade.k12.ky.us/ATC/index.htm
School Sports Whether it’s a high school team lifting another district championship trophy or an archer hitting another bull’s eye during a national competition, Meade Countians have a special love of their sports and their athletes. Like any small community, both are points of pride. “Once you put on that (Meade County) jersey, you’re hooked,” said David Hamilton, a Meade County super fan. “There’s no going back. You’re a Greenwave for life. If I had to be addicted to something, it would have to be Meade County sports. … I just love it.” Hamilton, affectionately known as “Ham,” has been a Meade County fan since the 1950s, when his parents first took him to high school basketball games. Since graduating from Meade County High School in 1971, Hamilton has seen everything from the varsity football team’s first touchdown scored by Tony Brown in 1966 to the first wrestler ever to finish in the top eight in the state in 2009. “I’ve seen it all,” Hamilton said as he recalled some of the great athletes to come through Meade County. “It’s a point of pride. It’s something we hang our hat on.” The Meade County athletic teams are an extension of the hard-working, blue collar community, and it all starts out with the Meade County High School Greenwave and Lady Wave teams. The community only has one high school, which heightens the sense of camaraderie. “What’s nice is there is one (high) school in the entire county,” said John Proctor, the school’s athletic director. “We have built this support base that travels well. Everyone supports everyone else. That’s important to us.” The high school offers 11 boys and 12 girls athletic teams, including football, volleyball, and even a Special Olympics team. Greenwave football has been a source of community pride since Meade County High School’s first team was field in 1966.
One of the most tradition-struck athletic teams is Greenwave football, which has become a respected program in Kentucky and was founded in 1966. “It means a lot for any kid who puts on a Greenwave jersey,” said football head coach Larry Mofield, who has been a coach at Meade County since 1994. “They are hard-working kids who have grown to love the tradition of Meade County.” The teams at Meade County may not be the biggest, tallest or fastest. But they are hard-working. “The teams may lose sometimes, but they never get beat,” Hamilton said. “There’s a big difference… They’ll never back down. They’ll fight until the end.” That tireless approach and community support have kept Meade County competitive against many of the powerhouse athletic programs in the state. “You just don’t do that,” Hamilton said with a hearty laugh. “You just don’t beat those teams on their home turf. Those are the games that make Meade County proud.” Even after high school careers are over, past players cherish their playing days in Meade County. Former Greenwave quarterback Blake Powers, who lettered four years (2004-2007) while he played for Indiana University, looks back on playing at Meade County with fond memories.
“I loved playing football in Meade County,” Powers said. “The fan base is unbelievable, and the coaches were great. Meade County just has such a great tradition. I have nothing but great memories about Greenwave football.” Powers is one of the many players who reminisce about his or her Meade County days. “Former players always come up to me and say they miss playing here,” Proctor said. “We get it all the time, and they’ll come back to cheer on the new team. You don’t get that at many other places, but you’ll see it here.” That support extends beyond the county’s borders as well. During away games, “sometimes there will be more Meade County fans than the home team,” Proctor said.
MCHS gym was packed with loved ones and friends who said goodbye and celebrated her life as a Lady Wave and resident of Meade County. “Meade County is a special place,” girls basketball head coach Josh Hurt said. “Of course, it was a tragic situation, but the response from the community was immediate. Everyone was fantastic and pulled together. It truly was an amazing sight.” As the season rolled on, teams embraced her by wearing her jersey number on shoes, armbands, and T-shirts. Moments of silence muted gyms around the community before games, and tears were shed during every win and loss without her that season. The successes behind the Meade County athletic programs swirl around the state-of-the-art facilities it offers. In fall 2008, the high school finished a multimillion dollar addition. Along with a new auditorium and classes, the addition offered athletic teams new locker rooms and an expansive weight room. “The addition is second to none,” Mofield said. “All of our facilities are great. Talent can take (a program) a long way, but you need the behind-the-scenes-stuff to make the program consistent. Meade County has the facilities and the coaches who want to continue the tradition of winning.” Also in fall 2008, the football stadium received additional bleachers and a new press box, giving an even more intimidating feel to a field that is appropriately named “Death Valley,” as a cemetery looms on a nearby hill over the field. “It’s big advantage to play at our home field,” Mofield said. “It’s a neat place to play football when that fog rolls in, and you have the crowd cheering for you on Friday nights. The kids love running out onto that field. It makes all the hard work worth it.”
Swimming is one of nearly two dozen varsity sports available to high school students.
“We also have a great student section where you see football and softball players cheer on the basketball team, and vice versa.” The Meade County High School teams are more than just teams. They are families that learn life lessons on and off the field. In December 2008, senior volleyball and basketball player Chelsea Stinnett died in a car crash. Her loss resonated throughout the tight athletic community and was felt from her teammates on the basketball court to her peers on the swim team. During her funeral, the
Alongside the likes of baseball and football, the upstart archery program has seen some of the most success in the community in its nearly decade of existence. The archery program is part of the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP). Meade County schools have dominated the region and state competitions and have even placed high in the nation during the annual national championships held in Louisville. Meade County archery is a thing of pride now,” said Jason Sutton, president of the Archery Boosters. “When we’re at nationals, everyone wears that Meade County shirt with pride.” The success of the program comes from elementary archers to high school, where the team has collected three national individual championships and several team titles. Meade County
“We are a rural community where kids grow up with hunting,” Sutton said, explaining the recipe for archery’s success. “It’s a sport that doesn’t matter if you’re big, tall, small, short or any size. You can be good. You don’t have a to be an amazing athlete to do it. You just have to pay attention and be coachable. If you’re those things, you can be good.” The Greenwave athletic family continues to grow. A few years ago, high school teacher Bob Davis formed the high school wrestling team. Since then, the team posted a 21st overall finish in the state and crowned its first top eight finalist in 215-pound Tyler Crow. Crow says with conviction,“ I will win the state championship next year.” The wrestling team formed a youth program called the Meade County Wrestling Club to As in other parts of Kentucky, soccer is attracting increasing interest among promote future wrestlers. The club boosts local athletes. more than 40 participants and holds several and dance remain staples of the women’s athletic tournaments a year. environment, sponsoring camps during the summer. Young children have a plethora of sports to choose The past few years, soccer has become popular among from with archery, baseball, and football, but also children of Meade County. volleyball, tennis, and softball. Girls’ sports include softball and fast-pitch softball, which was sanctioned by the Kentucky High School Athletic Association in the mid-‘90s. Cheerleading
“You go downtown and you see hundreds of kids playing soccer,” Hamilton said. “When I was a kid you’ve never even heard of soccer, let alone play it.” n
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Youth Sports kid in Meade County wants to play on (Ramsey Field).” Adult leagues include co-ed church leagues, a men’s fall league, and a fall co-ed league. With no shortage of patrons and sponsors, improvements and upgrades are ongoing at Meade Olin Park. In the spring 2008, a federal grant financed repairs to the lights, trees, dugouts, and the indoor practice building that had resulted from a winter ice storm. New restrooms and a concession stand have since been added as well.
Youth baseball is everywhere in Meade County, with youngsters playing at Meade Olin and Flaherty parks as well as at Ramsey Field.
Aside from the ever-popular fair, youth sports are the summer focal point for many in Meade County. The 65-acre Meade Olin Park, just outside Brandenburg on Kentucky 448, serves as the summer sports hub. There is a league, sport, age group, and sponsor for everything from fast-pitch softball to Cal Ripken baseball (rookies to major league) to girls slowpitch softball to soccer and even football. The summer football league uses the football field at Stuart Pepper Middle School, where Meade County High School football coach Larry Mofield directs the players.
Seasons at the park run from mid-February until mid-October. The park operates with one full-time employee, six part-timers, and four high school football players during the summer and sometimes after school. Danny Tate, parks director for Meade County, sees further expansion and improvements being part of the future of local recreation.
“Our parks are very important to our community’s social network,” Tate said. “Grandparents come out to watch the kids play. It’s generational. They were watched and coached by their parents, and so on.” Brandenburg Mayor David Pace puts youth sports as one of the top draws for people in Meade County. “People want to be a part of it,” he said. “Meade County is a great place to live; wouldn’t leave it for anything. Everybody’s on the same page. It’s all about the kids, and the kids come first … as it should be.” n
At Meade Olin Park, baseball and softball players enjoy the well-groomed fields along with an indoor batting cage facility completely equipped with artificial turf and portable pitching mounds. Nearby Ramsey Field is a Little Leaguer’s dream and a Petri dish that incubates a lifelong love for baseball. In the middle of Brandenburg, the field is one of the focal points of the town. On many summer nights, Little Leaguers can be found playing under the lights of Ramsey Field, while parents and on-lookers cheer them on. “The kids love this place,” said Joe Carter, Meade County’s Little League president. “This is where athletic careers start. Every The annual parade along Broadway to Ramsey Field is the traditional opening event for Meade County’s youth baseball season. Meade County
Real Estate & Housing When the economy soured, so too did much of the region’s real estate market. Structures that went up with builders’ hopes of quickly selling them sat vacant for months. And, in some cases, years. As the economy strengthens, the real estate market finds itself on the rebound. Then again, the Meade County economy didn’t suffer nearly as much as others did, cushioned by historically low interest rates and an influx of newcomers connected to Fort Knox. Those two factors are also reasons for continued optimism among local real estate agents. “There’s great opportunity for everybody,” said Michelle Thompson of Re/Max Commitment. “If you’re thinking about moving up (in size) or moving down, now is the time to do it.”
A 360-acre lake – with a marina and beaches – is one of the amenities at Doe Valley.
The Meade County area features a diverse mix of properties, from those with postcard views of the Ohio River to down-and-rugged acreage in rural areas. Agents report that sales are strong among all sizes, all prices, and in all parts of the county. Despite most of Meade County being unincorporated, location proves a considerable draw.
Jonathan Lee, of J. Lee Inc., cuts siding to install on a duplex and his brother are building off Kentucky 448 in Brandenburg.
Not only does it provide relatively short commutes to shopping and other metropolitan attractions, it offers shorter commutes for those whose jobs relocated to Fort Knox and who used to experience one-way drive times of a half-hour or more.
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“That’s very enticing to military or civil service employees to live there,” said Erica Gudenkauf of Re/Max Advantage Plus. “They can even run home for lunch. The convenience of being that close is a good thing.” Highway improvements and commercial developments to better accommodate a population influx have closed the gap between the country and the city. Rebecca Richardson, the county’s property valuation administrator and a lifelong Meade resident, pointed to the area off Old Ekron Road where she settled some years back. “When we moved out there, it wasn’t Housing options abound in Meade County, including condominiums, such as close to much,” she said. “Now it’s a these adjacent to Doe Valley’s golf course. mile and three-tenths from everything. “If our property goes up in value, $5,000 would It’s right off the bypass, practically.” be a big jump for a single-family residence,” Mickey As demand grows for shorter commutes, there’s been Chism of StoneGate Realty said. a marked increase in property values for southern That’s good news for buyers and sellers alike, as portions of the county in and around Flaherty, as the conditions that insulated the county from wild well as in other areas close to Fort Knox, where more swings in property values during the boom have also people are settling. The total number of home sales kept prices stable since turbulence struck. has increased, too, as developers in these growing areas hurry to meet demand. Single-family residences represent the bulk of sales, but there has been considerable activity with patio Elsewhere in the county, values have held largely homes, condominiums, townhouses, and apartments. steady despite the ups and downs of the housing The average home remains on the market for four market. months, down from six months in 2009.
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Real estate agents say the bulk of sales fall between $165,000 and $175,000 for a family-sized house, with buyers typically expecting to pay $100 per square foot. For example, agent Delaine Streible, also with StoneGate, said she recently sold a new 1,500-squarefoot house with three bedrooms, two baths and a twocar garage on one acre for $149,000. Meade County has become more of a destination for people looking for new homes, many say, because of the countless amenities, opportunity, and affordable cost of living. Aside from houses, people seeking a residence in Meade County who aren’t ready for a big investment are finding a growing number of apartments available, mainly in the Brandenburg city limits. Better yet, Farm Bureau Insurance agent Jeanna Turner said, “They’re a little more upscale than what we’ve had before.” Agents have noticed lots of townhouses with two bedrooms and two baths and brick apartment buildings going up. “By the time they get them done, they’ve got them full,” said Stephen Barr of Barr Realty and Auction Company.
Acreage – from small plots to large farms – is available throughout Meade County.
Around the county are pockets of subdivision development. Doe Valley, a gated community east of Brandenburg, continues to grow as it has since starting in the 1960s. With an 18-hole public golf course with views from dozens of condos and a lake surrounded by upscale lakefront properties, two beaches and a marina, builders and sellers tend to command higher prices. The rural countryside is drawing people to Flaherty, where there are larger, lower-priced properties available and close to Fort Knox. Still, development is unfolding throughout the county. The attractiveness of a property hinges on various factors, including the property itself, price, location, and a buyer’s job stability. While the build-up at Fort Knox has been a boost to the local market, those like Gudenkauf believe it will continue to fuel the industry. Many employees who came in the initial wave of transition to the post leased dwellings until they could get established. And, soon, those leases will expire. “They’ve decided Meade County is the place to live,” Gudenkauf said. n
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Fort Knox Growth The new Human Resources Center of Excellence at Fort Knox houses 4,400 workers in Kentucky’s largest office building.
For many months, Meade County has welcomed scores of newcomers whose jobs have come to Fort Knox because of Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) changes, with growth in services, housing, and population already under way. And there’s more to come. “We’re starting to see home sales increase,” said Harry Craycroft, who was Meade County’s judgeexecutive during much of the change taking place at the military reservation. “And we’re feeling the impact of residents moving into the Fort Knox area. … It’s going to open up Meade County tremendously. You’ll see a big change.” One Knox is an initiative of the Workforce Investment Board of the Lincoln Trail Area Development District to inform and welcome the area’s newest residents. More than 5,000 additional permanent jobs will arrive areawide by 2012, with more than 13,000 new residents – both employees and their families. Historically, 89 percent of Fort Knox’s military and civilian work force has called Meade and Hardin counties home, One Knox statistics show. The financial impact of BRAC is significant, creating more than $350 million in new payroll, and 2,500 spinoff jobs, basically one job created off post for every two new jobs on post. Regional planning by all levels of government has been under way, with the help of more than $100 million in infrastructure funds committed by the state to improve roads and utilities to meet the demands of the population growth. One notable project is the expansion of Kentucky 313. Phase I received more than $16 million for rightof-way purchase and utilities. The second phase, begun 24
in 2011, will extend the roadway from Kentucky 1500 to U.S. 60. Meanwhile, construction on post has progressed at a hurried pace. Several new commands have staked roots, moving into new or renovated buildings left vacant by the departure of armor units. Several roadways, including Wilson Road that leads to the new Human Resources Center of Excellence, have been widened or resurfaced. Gates leading into Fort Knox also have been expanded to more adequately handle the increased number of vehicles coming and going. Craycroft said he expects the majority of newcomers to settle in the Flaherty area, as well as Brandenburg and Payneville. Drive times from these areas to post are as short as 20 minutes. Anticipating and accommodating swift increases in student populations due to BRAC is a challenge local school officials are rising to meet. Meade County Public Schools is receiving $1.55 million in state funding, according to One Knox. MCPS Superintendent Mitch Crump said the district has roughly 5,100 students enrolled this school year in preschool through 12th grade, with between 300 and 600 more students expected based on military projections. The district has embarked on property purchasing and planning projects and expects to hire new employees from teachers and bus drivers to cafeteria staff, Crump said. Flaherty Elementary School opened this school year after being transformed into a facility for fourth through sixth grades, and a new primary center for 445 students has been built.
family homes, and condominiums, and some increases in service-oriented businesses. The BRAC Action Group was created by the Chamber of Commerce shortly after the announcement of the BRAC changes in 2005.
The hundreds of Army military and civilian family members who were guests of the Meade County BRAC Action Group during a series of tours and luncheons were briefed about the community’s school system during classroom visits and got to meet Parker The Otter, the mascot at Otter Creek Park.
“It’s going to impact us with everything,” Crump said of the changes stemming from BRAC. Russ Powell is executive director of the Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce and Meade County Tourism and chair of the Meade County BRAC Action Group. Powell said he’s noticed more construction in the area as a precursor to BRAC’s projected population peak in 2011, with newly built apartments, single-
Some 1,500 military members, Department of the Army civilians, and their families currently reside in Meade County, according to the latest Fort Knox figures. “We know that most of the people who are military are going to live off-post,” Powell said, as well as civilians working at the Human Resource Center of Excellence, which opened in summer 2010. The group wants to encourage as many people as possible to pick Meade County as their new home. “I think we’ll see probably more population growth in the next five years than we’ve seen in probably the last five or maybe the past 20 or 25,” Powell said.
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The diversity in this population will be enhanced, he said, and their presence will boost the local economy. “I think that Meade County will be a better place” with the influence of these residents and their new ideas,” he said. And those moving to the area can expect a warm welcome, Powell predicts, as many active and retired military already call Meade County home, as well as civilians who work on post and realize Fort Knox’s importance to the region and state. In or near Meade County, newcomers find ample places to worship, access to higher education, cultural events and entertainment, as well as local events that instill a sense of community pride such as the Meade County Fair, the River Heritage Music Festival, and Christmas By The River. Wendell Lawrence, executive director of the eightcounty Lincoln Trail Area Development District, said the economic impact of BRAC on Meade County will be second only to Hardin County’s. The district and One Knox have been heavily involved in planning training and recruitment aspects of growth on post, securing nearly $3 million in federal funding for numerous studies on BRAC’s effects. Regional area development districts and their
partners received another $40 million from the state for water and sewer project upgrades in Meade County, including one in Brandenburg. Brandenburg Mayor David Pace, who is a longtime member of the Meade County-Brandenburg Industrial Development Authority, envisions supplytype industries that serve Fort Knox locating in Meade County, such as warehousing and delivery facilities. The construction industry is also benefiting from increased demands for housing. Several rental facilities, apartments, and homes have been built in recent months. A number of additional dwellings are going up now and in the coming months. One Knox Executive Director Brad Richardson said Meade County’s proximity to the metropolitan amenities of Jefferson County is a strong selling point for many prospective residents with whom he’s spoken. Meade County also has many other attributes – a quality school system, new and established homes in all sizes and price ranges, and a thriving business community. “I think anything somebody would look for in quality of life and quality of place, they’d find it in Meade County,” Richardson said. n
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Fort Knox & Meade County Wilbur Beasley, commander of Brandenburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 11404, traveled the world during his 21 years in the U.S. Army. Although never stationed at Fort Knox, the Koreaand Vietnam-wars veteran, like many others before and after him, chose to call Meade County home after calling it a career. Serving military veterans and their families and the community as a whole, the local VFW post has about 174 members, mostly Vietnam-era veterans, Beasley said. And all of them are eagerly anticipating the considerable changes the Fort Knox Base Realignment and Closure is bringing as these neighbors begin a new and extraordinary chapter together. “We’re hoping that it will increase business in the
area,” Beasley said. “I believe it will. We are trying to gear up, and we are trying to look for new members to help us in the VFW and hope it will benefit the VFW as a whole.” Meade County and Fort Knox’s ties go back generations, and the community appreciates the jobs, people, and opportunities the post brings. “I’d say it’s one of the best, long-standing relationships that you could really want,” Beasley said. The 109,000-acre post encompasses part of Hardin, Meade and Bullitt counties, with 15,000 acres of the post estimated to lie within Meade County. Military personnel and their families have long been fixtures in the Meade County area, with nearly 1,500 residents working at Fort Knox. Since the federal government officially established it as Camp Knox in 1918, military members have lived, spent leisure time, and frequented businesses in Meade County. Now, job opportunities for Meade County residents and others have arisen due to BRAC, a welcome trend in a sluggish national economy. These positions are being publicized through monthly federal hiring symposiums sponsored by One Knox and the Lincoln Trail Area Development District’s Workforce Investment Board. The development of the post to make room for and to support several incoming commands has pumped hundreds of millions of dollars into the regional economy, and tens of millions locally. Continued on Page 30.
Army First Lieutenant Matthew Reff stands in the card room of his home off Old Ekron Road. Reff, who works for the 1st Brigade of the U.S. Army Cadet Command at Fort Knox, and his family are among the many with military ties who have made Meade County their home. Meade County
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Spending on post related to BRAC between 2006 and 2013 will be momentous, with $632 million in construction projects, $83 million in medical facility construction and renovation, and $248 million in other construction such as housing and a new high school that opened a couple of years ago, according to One Knox data. Several roads on post have been resurfaced and widened. New buildings, including the second largest in the Department of Defense – the Human Resources Center of Excellence – have been erected.
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A new facility to house injured soldiers, which has a $70 million price tag, and a new hospital, at $500 million, are in the works. Some of that work has been done by local contractors using local people. That, in turn, has funneled money into Meade County.
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Agriculture & Agritourism Nicholas Hardesty remembers learning a lot about farming from his father first-hand, starting at age 8. “If my dad was on tractor or in a combine, I was with him,” Hardesty said. “Stripping tobacco, I was with him.” Just a few years later, his family pulled out of farming after his father was in an accident and his mother became ill. But Hardesty continued the tradition on his own. He was showing hogs by fourth grade, and by high school he was leasing land and trading labor for the use of farm equipment. His hard work paid off in recognition. In 2007, he was named Kentucky’s first-ever American Star Farmer by the Future Farmers of America. But Hardesty, now 24, is an exception for more than his accomplishments. In a county where the average age of farmers is older than 55, Hardesty is one of relatively few young people choosing agriculture for a career.
Howard Stull rips the casing from a bale of hay he’ll feed to his cattle on his farm in Webster.
average size is just 135 acres, Mills said. Farmer Howard Stull works 650 acres – one of the county’s largest farms – and has farmed since 1974. He enjoys the lifestyle and self-employment, but he says the biggest challenge for farmers is expense.
Nicholas Hardesty explains how the watering system works in one of his greenhouses near Midway.
“It’s a lot of hard work and long hours,” said Andy Mills, agriculture extension agent for the Meade County Cooperative Extension Service. “When the weather is right, you work from dawn way into the night. And the market is always fluctuating, so some years are good and some years are really up and down.” There are still farmers who rely only on agriculture for their main income, but most farms in Meade County just aren’t big enough. Among its 800 or so farms, the
“You know, prices have just gone tremendously high on fertilizer, fuel, just about everything a farmer buys,” Stull said. “Seed corn has doubled.” And it didn’t help when fuel almost hit $4 per gallon during a recent harvest season. Despite the dwindling number of farms, agriculture still plays a key role in Meade County’s economy, Mills said. At last count, the total market value of products sold by local farms was $28.7 million, up 78 percent from 2002, with livestock and poultry sales representing 57 percent of that value and crop sales 43 percent. By Mills’ account, about 60 percent of that money stays in
Meade County to circulate in the local economy. Those figures, he said, come from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s 2007 census of agriculture, which takes place every five years. By the time the next census comes around in 2012, Mills expects the number of farms to shrink, attributing the decrease to: ♦♦ The aging farmer population. ♦♦ The inability of small- and medium-size farms to take advantage of economies of scale. ♦♦ Urban sprawl and the high value of land, which takes too long to pay for with current per-acre farm income. One bright spot, Mills said, is the port being developed on the Ohio River, near Arch Chemicals Inc.’s plant. “When it opens, it will mainly reduce transportation costs for grain delivery, which will keep our farmers from having to haul their crops to Owensboro (Ky.) or Jeffersonville (Ind.),” he said.
and activities, such as “you-pick” blackberries in the summer and an annual Miss Fall Harvest pageant. There’s also a country store that sells pumpkins, gourds, Indian corn, honey, local wood crafts, and Rhonda Roberts’ award-winning homemade blackberry jam. “It’s still not really big,” Rhonda Roberts said, “but we’ve come a long way. Our farm gives families opportunities to get back to basics and to spend quality time together.” Kentucky promotes agritourism as a way to diversify its farm economy, Mills said, and even has developed a website that provides farmers resources on topics ranging from marketing to safety. It’s not cheap to start an agritourism business. The Roberts figure they spent tens of thousands of dollars to start their venture. Expenses are everywhere – not just in agriculture. Increasingly, as food prices spike
“In the longer term, I’m hopeful it will attract other agriculture businesses that can take advantage of a port – and that may develop some other crops that can be grown locally.” In the meantime, those like Hardesty consider diversity as key to their survival. Having long raised cattle and grown tobacco and hay, he plans to venture into vegetable production, selling tobacco transplants, and growing flowers for gardens and landscaping. “The more diversified you are, the better off you are,” said Hardesty, who farms 300 acres of land scattered about Midway. Although traditional farming is still the rule in Meade County, agritourism is growing. Agritourism is a way of using agricultural endeavors to attract people wanting to take part in activities on the farm. Kevin and Rhonda Roberts got into the agritourism business a decade ago after getting the idea from field trips their children took to places like the Huber Family Farm in southern Indiana. Since there was nothing like it locally, the couple decided to create one and opened the Roberts Family Farm on 57 acres near Guston in southern Meade County. Attractions feature an elaborate corn maze with a different design each fall, an animal petting area and, of course, a pumpkin patch that visitors reach via horse- or tractor-drawn hayrides. And there are events
Kevin and Rhonda Roberts have operated their Roberts Family Farm near Guston for a decade, attracting tourists with such things as a country store, a pumpkin patch, and numerous events.
and fresh produce becomes too expensive for many people to afford, some are trying to make extra money or at least get some production from their excess land. These “hobby farmers” typically will have a house on a large lot (10 to 20 acres), and they want to add anything from a big garden to livestock like goats or chickens. The Roberts started from scratch, buying an old farm that was clear of any structures. They erected buildings over the years and have turned the farm into an attraction that sees 10,000 visitors a year. Among the visitors are 3,000 students who come as part of school field trips. “A lot of the money we make is reinvested into the farm,” Kevin Roberts said. “We try to do more every year.”
Many of the 10,000 annual visitors to Roberts Family Farm enjoy the hayrides it offers.
Mills said that as more people consider gardens and smallscale agriculture, they might not understand the tradeoffs.
“You have to consider the labor you put into the garden – it can be a lot of time,” he said. Keeping a vegetable garden doesn’t necessarily save money, he cautions. “But at least you know what went into the vegetables, and you know where it’s coming from,” Mills said. Although most farmers and small landowners work with animals and produce, Meade County still produces tobacco, too. Tobacco doesn’t supply the same level of financial security it once did, but it’s still a lucrative crop to grow. Even younger farmers like Hardesty raise the laborintensive cash crop. One of the big hurdles for agriculture generally is a broad lack of understanding about what it is and what it does. As Hardesty points out, “Kids think hamburger comes from the grocery, not from a cow on a farm.” That’s where events like the county fair, farmers’ markets, and agritourism businesses like the Roberts Family Farm play pivotal roles in giving residents, and especially young people, a sense of what the land and hard work provide.
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“It’s a lot of work,” said Kevin Roberts, who works at a full-time job. “You come home, change clothes, and go to work.” n
Farmers’ Market The spring 2010 opening of a pavilion that houses the Meade County Farmers’ Market proved fruitful for growers and shoppers. The facility gave growers a permanent spot to showcase their produce, and gave residents more access to a variety of locally grown food in a sheltered, permanent venue. “It made everything so much better,” said Mary Frances Pike, market manager.
giving greater variety to shoppers. There is parking for a few dozen vehicles. “We had so many people tell us that if it were out on the blacktop like before, because it was so hot, they wouldn’t have come,” Pike said. With the welcome shade, attendance soared. Close to 4,500 people frequented the market throughout its run from spring to early fall, with the biggest draws coming on Saturdays in the late spring and summer months. Hours are 1 to 5 p.m. Tuesdays and 8 a.m. to noon Saturdays. The market is open from mid-May to earlyOctober, and sometimes later depending on growers’ bounty. Last year’s offerings from growers in Meade and Hardin counties and Southern Indiana included an array of fruits and vegetables, chicken, beef, canned goods, eggs, and herbs.
Mary Frances and Edd Pike, center, are two of the regular vendors at the Meade County Farmers’ Market.
Until last spring, the market had been set up in the parking lot of the Meade County Cooperative Extension Service’s office. It wasn’t the best of sites, providing no shelter beyond a handful of tents vendors brought with them. And even with the portable cover, the summer heat rising from the asphalt became almost unbearable at times. Despite the temperatures, the market has seen steady growth it moved to the extension office parking lot in spring 2008. That season, the market had three vendors but grew to seven by the end of the year. In 2009, the season opened with 11 vendors and has held steady since. Grants and contributions of $53,000 helped pave the way for the permanent venue. The extension office matched those funds with land and other fund-raising measures.
Bringing a high degree of quality and freshness, customers know not only how and where what they bought was grown, but also the people who grew it. Mary Faye Shaffer regularly made the short trek last year from her home in New Amsterdam, Indiana, where she also runs a general store that sells produce she and her family grow. She said the market gave her additional opportunities to sell her crops in a down economy. “It sounded like fun,” said Shaffer, who sold zucchini and green beans, among other items. “It sounded like something to do.” But as much as anything, she said she enjoyed interacting with other people and swapping recipes. Even during the winter, she was thinking about what sort of produce to put out when the weather warmed. “I hope to be back,” Shaffer said, “and with lots more.”n
And the pavilion isn’t just for the farmers’ market. It’s used by the extension service’s 4-H, agriculture, and family and consumer science programs, and it can be rented by the general public. The pavilion is an open-sided structure that covers 4,000 square feet. With room for 15 vendors, it features electricity and water for those vendors, as well as public restrooms. Electricity helps vendors refrigerate locally raised poultry and dairy products to keep them fresh during the many hours necessary on market days, thereby 34
Since 2010, the Meade County Farmers’ Market has been housed in a multi-use pavilion on the grounds of the Meade County Cooperative Extension Service.
Parks The bandstand at Brandenburg Riverfront Park is the site of events ranging from concerts to weddings.
They’re good for individuals. They’re good for communities. And they’re good for the economy. Public parks are abundant in Meade County, offering residents places to gather, play, and relax. “They touch the lives of so many people in so many ways,” said Jennifer Bridge, family and consumer sciences agent for the Meade County Cooperative Extension Service. “They make our community stronger by giving us places to come together. They improve our psychological and physical health by giving us places to exercise and engage with nature, and they draw people to Meade County not only because of the events they host but for their beauty.” In Meade County, responsibility for maintaining and administering the parks falls to Parks Director Danny Tate, while in Brandenburg, the city’s public works department handles the job. “In total, there’s about 127 acres we have to take care of all over the county,” Tate said, “and they’re spread out from one end to the other.”
the forested Indiana shoreline to the north, and the graceful Matthew Welch Bridge in the distance to the west. A river walk that runs half the length of the park separates the river from an expanse of grass dotted with picnic tables and grills, benches, and even statuary in stone seating areas to their south. Where Flippins Run Creek divides the park, there is a majestic foot bridge that carries visitors to picnic pavilions, boat ramps, a children’s playground and soccer fields. Near that area are three of the park’s most prominent features – a wooden bandstand, which hosts events ranging from weddings to small concerts; a tiered, concrete-and-earth amphitheater that hosts concerts and community events throughout the year; and the entrance to Historic Buttermilk Falls Recreational Trail. Brandenburg Mayor David Pace calls the park “one of the jewels of our community.”
“We make every effort to keep the parks in good shape, and I think everyone who uses them appreciates our efforts.” Some of Meade County’s top recreational spots are:
Riverfront Park A good park doesn’t require a dramatic view, but it doesn’t hurt. In Brandenburg, along the south bank of the Ohio River, Riverfront Park offers views that you might expect to find in a county with the longest stretch of the big river in Kentucky: The Ohio at your feet, The Boot Scootin’ Grannies perform during the annual River Heritage Music Festival at Brandenburg Riverfront Park. Meade County
“I think the park’s biggest use is by people who go there to enjoy the scenery, to watch the river, and to enjoy the outdoors,” he said. But that’s by no means all that happens. The park is the site of events that draw people from throughout Central Kentucky and Southern Indiana: ♦♦ In July of alternate years, Civil War Days features a re-enactment of Confederate Gen John Hunt Morgan’s Great Raid of 1863 from the very land on which Morgan and his troops crossed the Ohio River into Indiana. The event is
a weekend of lots of history and fun, with authentic encampments of both Union and Confederate troops on the banks of the Ohio River; living history presentations on military tactics, artillery and cavalry; and events in which visitors can participate. ♦♦ Each September, the Meade County Museum & Arts Council stages its River Heritage Music Festival, a day of music by a half-dozen or so bands, a 5k walk and run, food and craft vendors, and pumpkin- and scarecrowdecorating contests. ♦♦ During Christmas By The River, which begins Thanksgiving weekend and runs through New Year’s Day, the park is the site of some 100 holiday light displays illuminated by an estimated 250,000 bulbs. From dusk to midnight each night, visitors view the displays as they either walk or drive through the park.
Meade Olin Park When it comes to recreation sports, Meade Olin Park is the go-to place. Meade Olin, just east of Brandenburg, boasts sporting facilities with familyfriendly amenities. Inside the park’s 75 acres are two baseball fields, five softball diamonds, a soccer field, and a basketball court. Summertime keeps the fields busy with youth baseball and girls’ fast-pitch softball. A church league also plays on the ball fields, albeit with a slower-pitch version of the game. Another feature of the park is the increasingly popular 18-hole disc golf course, with metal baskets placed along the rolling terrain to challenge area players. The sport has been growing in popularity, said Eddie Whelan, a member of the local Elbo Disc Golf Club. Since 1998, the club has sponsored a summertime tournament there that typically draws more than 100 competitors from throughout the Midwest and is sanctioned by the international Professional Disc Golf Association. “Beautiful and challenging” is how Whelan describes the 5,912-foot course, which, he said, “takes advantage of the elevation, the woods, and the fields at Meade Olin.” People also turn out for the annual mid-summer car show that has taken place at Meade Olin since 1986 and has in recent years been organized by the Weldon Classic Car Club. Weekends are particularly busy at the park, with families and groups making use of its three pavilions, numerous picnic areas, and children’s playground for events ranging from reunions to simple picnics. “It’s as nice a place as you can find for a family event,” says Meade County Judge-Executive Gerry Lynn. “Even when the ball fields are busy, the park is large enough that people can enjoy its serenity.” n
Meade County’s Parks Battletown Park Location: Directions: Operator: Size: Facilities & Amenities:
75 Lawson Park Road The entrance is near the intersection of Lawson Park Road, which runs east from KY 228 (Battletown Road). Battletown Community Park Inc., a non-profit organization 4.2 acres Picnic pavilion, children’s playground, baseball field, basketball court, picnic areas; a building houses a meeting room, kitchen, and restrooms and is available for special events
Information & Reservations: 270-497-4329
School when she died in 1999, was built and is maintained by members of her family and a group of dedicated community volunteers. Less than one acre Elaborate playground for children
Flaherty Community Park Location: Directions:
Flaherty The entrance is on Community Park Road, which runs south from KY 1600 (St. Martin Road) and which is threequarters of a mile west of KY 1600’s intersection with KY 144 (Flaherty Road). Meade County 8 acres
Operator: Size: Facilities & Riverfront Park Amenities: Four ball fields, two picnic pavilions Location: Brandenburg Information & Directions: The entrance is at the foot of KY 2204 (Main Street), which runs north from KY Reservations: 270-422-3967 448 (Broadway). Meade Olin Park Operator: City of Brandenburg Location: Brandenburg Size: 15 acres Directions: The entrance is on Olin Road, just Facilities & east of its intersection with KY 448 Amenities: Children’s playground, benches and (Brandenburg Road). picnic tables, bandstand, amphitheater, Operator: Meade County boat ramps, two picnic pavilions, two Size: 75 acres soccer fields, riverwalk Facilities & Information & Amenities: Picnic tables, three pavilions, soccer Reservations: 270-422-4981 field, two baseball fields, five softball fields, two basketball courts, disc Concordia Park golf course, children’s playground, Location: Concordia restrooms, locker rooms Directions: The entrance is off KY 230 (Concordia Information & Road) on the south side of Spring Reservations: 270-422-3967 Creek. Operator: Meade County Wolf Creek Park Size: 14 acres Location: Wolf Creek Facilities & Directions: The boat ramp is at the foot of Rick Amenities: Boat ramp, primitive camping Stansbury Street, which runs northwest Information: 270-422-3967 from KY 228 (Wolf Creek Road). Operator: Meade County Dianna’s Park Size: 7 acres Location: Brandenburg Directions: The entrance is on KY 448 (Broadway) Facilities & Amenities: Boat ramp just east of St. John The Apostle Information: 270-422-3967 n Church at 515 Broadway. Operator: The park, dedicated to the memory of Dianna Marie Powers, who had just completed the first-grade at St. John Meade County
Buttermilk Falls Trail The heyday of the defunct pump house at Buttermilk Falls might have passed, but the streams of water that babble from clefts in the scenic hillside still flow down stair-stepping rocks and under Historic Buttermilk Falls Recreational Trail, spilling into Flippins Run below. The trail that begins near the center of Brandenburg’s Riverfront Park has seen many changes since the days when it was used to transport drinking water from the springs and small waterfalls that lend the path its name.
Historic Buttermilk Falls Recreational Trail is a favorite place for walkers and runners from Meade County and neighboring communities.
More improvements are on the way for the popular attraction, say members of the committee planning and overseeing the trail’s improvements. ♦♦University of Kentucky forestry students and faculty have identified the varied flora along the trail and are developing a map and brochure that will be published and identification signs that will be posted. ♦♦Other new signage will be installed. The hillside springs that create Buttermilk Falls usually flow throughout the year.
In 1996, what was once a road-width stretch of gravel through a trash-strewn area was paved with a narrow strip of asphalt, turning 2.2 miles of country road into a trail connecting Riverfront Park in the west to Olin Road to the east. In 2007, using local and federal funds, the westernmost mile of the trail was improved to a 15-foot-wide ribbon of smooth blacktop that’s great for sharing among runners, walkers, cyclists, skateboarders, and even parents pushing strollers. For those wanting to enjoy a picnic or for those who just wanting to sit and relax among the sycamores and sounds of water rushing from the springs, there are picnic tables and benches positioned along the route.
♦♦Design work is under way for construction of a 2,800foot spur from the existing trail to an overlook on the banks of the Ohio River that will be furnished with picnic tables and benches to allow the trail’s users to rest, relax, and watch the river. n
Outdoors From prime fishing spots to inviting running and hiking trails, Meade County is an outdoor enthusiasts paradise.
Boyer said. “I think it’s getting so popular because you have a longer season, and it takes more skill. It’s challenging.”
Start with two of the area’s most popular sports – hunting and fishing. In a community filled with avid hunters, local bait and hunting shops are abuzz each fall and spring with outdoorsmen trading ideas and tips.
Meade County has one of the oldest sportsmen clubs in the state — the Meade County Sportsmen Club — that started in the 1940s.
Some rank Meade County among the best areas in the state to hunt and fish. With three major preservation areas surrounding Meade County — Fort Knox and Yellowbank wildlife management areas and Broadbent Wildlife Sanctuary — the area flourishes with wildlife. “You get these areas that can’t be hunted on, which helps the population grow,” said Bill Boyer, owner of the Brandenburg Huntin’ & Fishin’ store. “Then they over spill into the county, and it makes for some great hunting.” With all but a small percentage of hunting land in Kentucky privately owned, there actually are few accessible sites open for public game harvesting, said Tony Brown, former state wildlife commissioner for Meade County. “We are fortunate here with Yellow Bank and also Fort Knox,” Brown said of the two management areas nearby that allow public hunting. “The key to keeping the tradition of hunting is opportunity. Luckily for Meade County, there are plenty of opportunities.”
Capitalizing on the popularity of archery, the county also formed its first archery club a couple of years ago. Helping its creation, some say, was the start of an archery program in the school system that introduced younger people – and their parents – to the sport. County schools participate in the National Archery in Schools Program (NASP) and have seen a lot of success locally, statewide, and nationally. “The (NASP) program has really been a shot in the arm for Meade County hunting,” Brown said. “Of course, you don’t have to do archery and hunt. You can just enjoy shooting targets … a lot of people in Meade County do that.” Turkey season kicks off in the spring as the weather warms. It gives way to fishing, which dominates the summer. The Ohio River, creating the northern border of the county, provides considerable opportunities for those casting their lines. The waterway contains a variety of edible species, including catfish, bass, and sauger. “The key is knowing how to navigate and how to fish on such a large river,” Brown said.
Meade County hunters pursue deer, turkey, wild hog, rabbit, quail, and squirrel.
Besides the river, Meade County ponds and lakes are also hotspots for anglers.
Deer is, of course, the most popular hunting season. It starts in the fall with bow season and follows into the winter with gun season.
Local hunting expert and hunting guide Larry Mangin has hunted and fished throughout North America. Having fished for salmon in Alaska and hunted elk in Colorado, he says nothing trumps pond fishing in Meade County.
“Bow hunting has gotten huge the last few years,”
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In fact, the Kentucky Fish & Wildlife Department surveyed Doe Valley Lake recently and suspects a state record fish might eventually be pulled from the water, Boyer said. Just when remains uncertain.
With its dense tree lines and steep hills, Doe Valley isn’t easy to play, former Doe Valley golf pro Trent Gully said. “The challenge it presents and its beauty are two of the reasons if attracts golfers from throughout the region.”
Doe Valley Lake is a privately owned, and only members of the Doe Valley community can use it.
Regardless of one’s outdoor interest, Meade County caters to varied interests. “I’ve lived here all my life,” Brown said. “I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.” n
“There’s consistently 8- to 10-pound fish that come out of there,” he said. “There are some huge fish in there just ready to get caught.” Gamesmen aren’t the only ones with plenty of outdoor options in Meade County. Those who run, bike, and hike can find scenic and challenging routes winding through the area. Historic Buttermilk Falls Recreational Trail, which has its western terminus in Brandenburg Riverfront Park, offers a walking, biking, and running trail that is busy every day of the year, and there also are boat launches throughout the county for easy access to the Ohio River and creeks.
We’re proud to be part of Meade County!
John Bevill has been routinely running Meade County’s roadways since the mid-1970s. What he likes most about trekking around the county is the scenery and serenity. “Routes can be as challenging as you want them to be,” Bevill said. “There’s a hill we run in Doe Valley where it takes four minutes to get up. The older I get, the faster I used to be.” The popularity of golf locally has mirrored the rising interest nationally. Meade County has two noted golf courses with the Meade Activity Center and Doe Valley Golf Course, both of which can intimidate novices and challenge seasoned pros. The MAC has a public nine-hole course that plays 3,112 yards from the longest tees. Doe Valley’s public course is 18 holes. It measures 6,471 yards.
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Otter Creek Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area overlooks the Ohio River and provides more than 2,000 acres for recreation.
When Otter Creek Park reopened in May 2011 – under new management and a new name – it came at a cost. Literally. Patrons using the park must first pay at least $3 a day. Users will be charged more to fish and participate in other activities. Access will be free to those younger than 12. At any rate, the reopening is being heralded as a positive move likely to bring more people – and more money – to the area.
The revamped park – rechristened Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area – is being run by the Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife, which spent months negotiating the takeover of the 2,155-acre park. Money will be charged to offset operational costs, said Jon Gassett, commissioner of the Department of Fish & Wildlife. The agency receives no state funding, thus sustaining itself financially through fees for hunting and fishing licenses sold statewide. “The Kentucky Department of Fish & Wildlife story has been one of self-sufficiency, thanks to the license purchases and fees paid by hunters, anglers, and boaters,” he said. “User fees support the department and its programs.
“It’s very important for the people of our community and for development in the area,” said Danny Tate, Meade County’s parks director. “It was a big blow when it closed. The stores missed all the people coming in. “I think people will go back because it’s so close, especially if gas gets to $5 a gallon.” The popular Otter Creek shut down in late 2008 amid budget troubles for the city of Louisville and its metro parks system, which oversaw the site.
Otter Creek Fees Daily access fee: $3 for those ages 12 and older. Those younger than 12 admitted free. High-impact activities fee: Additional $7 for those participating in horseback riding, mountain biking and to use the shooting ranges. An annual highimpact permit will be available for $70. Hunting and fishing fees: Will be required to have the appropriate state licenses and permits, in addition to the daily user fee. Annual access permits will be available for $30.
“We believe the most reasonable approach is to ask those who use this recreation area for picnicking, hiking, biking, horseback riding, camping and more to help shoulder the cost of operating it and keeping it open to the public.” Rock climbing at Otter Creek.
Otter Creek, the department’s first outdoor recreational facility, features an array of activities. Among them, hunting, fishing, horseback riding, mountain biking, and shooting ranges. Otter Creek is managed by veteran department employee Charlie Logsdon. He led the months-long to clear brush and debris throughout the park, which had been untouched since it closed. So general maintenance is a must. The department is also set to soon begin accepting bids for the renovation of the conference center overlooking the Ohio River and operation of the park’s popular campgrounds. Shooting ranges are being put in, and walking trails are re-emerging from under blankets of leaves and branches. The goal is to have the park looking at least as well as it did before it closed. Meade County
“The ice damage (from winter 2009) wasn’t as bad as we thought,” Logsdon said. “But it’s grown up and hard to find the trails. When nobody uses them, nature takes over.”
realistic,” Logsdon said. “Our goal by opening day is to have it to at least the same level it was when it closed. That seems to us a good Phase 1 goal. “This is a new adventure for the Department of Fish & Wildlife. I’m excited about taking on a new challenge.”
Feedback to the reopening has been positive, Logsdon said. Hundreds of people from around the area have volunteered, too, to help with the facelift. Besides Logsdon, about six to eight seasonal workers are employed at the park. They will work in nine-month stretches, with continued employment determined by revenue generated.
Those who used the park for years say the area has an inviting appeal that’s tough for any outdoors enthusiast to overlook. Kentucky Governor Steve Beshear visited Meade County on May 11 to open the new Otter Creek Outdoor Recreation Area. With him on the banks of Otter Creek were Marquetta Sparrow, left, secretary of Kentucky’s Tourism, Arts & Heritage Cabinet, and his wife, Jane.
It’s estimated that some 500,000 people used Otter Creek each year before it closed. And officials aren’t sure how many visitors the park might attract annually once it reopens, especially since fees will be charged. They’ll spend a great deal of time early on determining the best way to operate.
“It’s a place to be back in nature,” Tate said. “You drive toward the river … it’s just peaceful there.” n
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Organizations The act of helping others stands at the center of every community. Meade County is no exception. A number of local organizations exist to assist neighbors in need, serving more as a hand up and not necessarily as a hand out.
Habitat for Humanity Part of the American dream is home ownership. In recent years, as the economy soured and unemployment soared, many Americans saw their dream become a nightmare. They struggled to hold onto their homes. Despite the volatility, Habitat for Humanity has been helping people in Meade County since 1991. The organization has built 11 homes for families in need over the years, with considerable help coming from churches, service organizations, and individuals. Habitat expects to break ground this summer on its next project, which will be an extensive renovation in partnership with the Louisville Housing Authority, Habitat President Mark Jones said. Despite the downturn in the economy, applications have not increased, a surprised Jones said. He attributes that to people not knowing about the organization or to simply not requesting assistance.
Need Society has grown to more than 100 members who work together to public awareness of animal issues and raise fund to help pet owners and adopters cover the cost of spaying and neutering – $40 for dogs and $25 for cats. Those who adopt an animal from the Meade County shelter can have the full cost covered. The organization, which has no formal home, meets the fourth Monday of each month at Home Plate Family Restaurant in Brandenburg. PINS raises thousands of dollars each year through events like the 5-K “Run Your Tail Off” where participants can walk or run, with or without pets, along the scenic Historic Buttermilk Falls Recreational Trail. Other recent events include raffles, bowling dates, and even a pet festival at the amphitheater at Brandenburg Riverfront Park.
Applications for homes are evaluated for need, ability to repay the $65,000 no-interest loan, and a willingness to donate a significant number of labor hours to construction. But that’s not enough to cover everything. Fortunately, Habitat Treasurer Ronnie Joyner said, almost all material for projects is donated. Habitat has partnered with several local and outof-state churches, which provide workers or meals for those building the structures. Continuing such partnerships is a priority for Habitat. The collaborations in the future can keep helping families. “There’s no better feeling than when you give the keys to a homeowner who’s been living in substandard conditions,” Jones said. “It’s a tremendous feeling. There are a lot of other worthwhile organizations out there, but Habitat has to be one of the best in my opinion.”
Pets in Need Society A small group of citizens concerned about animal welfare set out in 2000 to improve conditions at the local animal shelter. In about 10 years, the Pets In
At PINS events, pets often appear in festive attire.
In its first two years, the organization significantly improved conditions at the Meade County Animal Shelter through renovations and putting up an addition to the facility. Continuing assistance programs and education efforts provided by PINS have decreased the number strays in the county, and thereby decreased the burden of unwanted animals being taken in at the shelter in the first place, said David Kitson, president of the society. The organization has created a website, www. petsinneedsociety.org, to convey stories of successful
So many people have tried to come to the aid of their fellow Meade Countians that the closet and pantry has run out of space to store all the items. The organization, established by the Meade County Ministerial Association, accepts donations of gently-used clothing, household goods, and food, and then distributes those items to people referred from the Community Action Center, which evaluates families and provides vouchers redeemable for food and clothes.
The Rev. Jim Robinson, pastor of Brandenburg United Methodist Church, blesses the animals during one of PINS’ festivals.
adoptions, post the county animal ordinance, and list upcoming events. The society wants to eventually have a dog park in the county, where pet owners can walk and play with their animals, Kitson said.
Meade County Clothes Closet & Food Pantry
Like most thrift stores, anyone from the community is allowed to shop at the Clothes Closet to find either needed clothes or affordable house wares. Proceeds from those sales go to help the organization buy more food and to pay bills for people who need help with overhead expenses like accommodations and utility bills. There is already too little space for what they have, Whelan said. So moving forward, organization leaders are hoping to acquire land and build a new facility that can continue helping residents of Meade County. No timetable has been set for the project. “God established this ministry to help people,” Whelan said. “The idea that maybe they have more to eat and to wear … it’s a good feeling to be able to do that.” n
Nobody in need is turned away empty handed. Nothing of value goes to waste. Those are the two sustaining principles for the Meade County Clothes Closet & Food Pantry, which has helped Meade County residents in need for more than 30 years. And during the last couple of years, that need has risen. For example, the number of food vouchers issued per month has gone to 90 from 60, a number directly tied to the economy, said Director Linda Whelan. At the same time, contributions are up, too. The thrift store at the Meade County Clothes Closet & Food Pantry helps fund the organization’s operating expenses and food distribution program.
Religion The foundational creed of many churches focuses on spreading the Gospel. Congregations locally are spreading a goodly amount of goodwill, too. From food to money to shelter, the Meade County Ministerial Association has long worked to ensure those in need have somewhere to turn. “The church is looked at as a helping organization,” said Dave Campbell, pastor of Buck Grove Baptist Church and ministerial association president. “People don’t always come to us, and we need to take the initiative to try to provide for folks.” Outreach by the association – involving some 15 active churches – comes with an obvious religious tone. But the focus is on providing assistance spiritually and physically. “It’s hard to separate the body from the soul,” Campbell said. “They’re intertwined. When someone is down and needs things for daily sustenance, that plays on their minds, their anxieties, and their worries. We try to do the right thing in the name of Christ.” The association’s largest program is its food pantry and clothes closet. The store, located in the shopping center at the intersection of ByPass Road and High Street in Brandenburg, sells a variety of gently-used items at a low cost to the public – and at no cost to those with a proven need. Money generated from sales goes to support other ministerial association programs, said Roxanne Nanney, the organization’s secretary. The association holds a number of food drives throughout the year to stock the pantry and keep pace with the need. Winter tends to be especially demanding for assistance. Another program has been set up to help residents pay utility bills, which typically spike as the temperature drops.
Volunteers work year around collecting food donations for the Meade County Ministerial Association’s clothes closet and food pantry.
The word of God, of course, is at the heart of the association’s outreach effort. The organization holds two community services a year – one at the start of the Meade County Fair, and the other the Sunday before Thanksgiving. It also participates in the National Day of Prayer in May with a service in front of the Meade County Courthouse. Campbell was particularly heartened this past holiday season by a man who had visited the clothes closet seeking items to give to his children at Christmas. He was so appreciative, he called Campbell to offer his gratitude. The man’s voice broke up as he spoke to the pastor, who quickly sensed how much the contribution meant. “It warmed my heart to realize we are making an impression on people and ministering to their needs,” he said. “Sometimes you do things and don’t know if you’re doing any good. When you hear stories like that, it’s the little things you do that make differences in people’s lives. “We want to be part of the community. This is our community. People around us are our responsibility.”n
The association also works to help transients. Those who can’t afford a place to stay the night or fuel to reach their destination can inquire at the Meade County Sheriff’s Office for a voucher that will get them what they require at local partner businesses. Vouchers also have been used to help victims of domestic violence and families suffering household emergencies. “It’s a great reminder of the needs out there,” Nanney said of the needs that arise. “Sometimes we get so focused on the needs in our own congregations that we forget there’s people outside we’re supposed to take care of also. I feel good about the time I put in with this group, and what we’re able to do.” Meade County
Blessings from the Meade County Catholic Churches. And this is His command: to believe in the name of His Son Jesus Christ and to love one another as He commanded us. ~ I John 3:22-24 Saint Martin of Tours Saint Theresa
While they were eating, Jesus took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to his disciples, saying, â€œTake and eat; this is my body.â€? ~Matthew 26: 25-27 Saint Mary Magdalen of Pazzi Saint John the Apostle
Visitors always welcome! "RANDENBURG s 0AYNEVILLE &LAHERTY s 2HODELIA 46
Entrepreneurial Spirit Meade County is ripe with entrepreneurial opportunities. Although some budding business owners might struggle to find a unique venture that works, there are plenty of examples of success among residents who found success locally over the years. which prepares paper specifically for ATMs and adding machines. The company plans to eventually get into producing paper for large format copiers used to print house plans for construction projects and butcher paper for meat-packing. “The future is bright,” Martin Powers said. “There’s lots of different uses for paper out there.”
Tara and Martin Powers In late 1989, Martin and Tara Powers spent $10,000 on a paper slitter machine. Twenty-plus years later, their paper business has grown to $25 million in annual sales and provides masking paper to more than half of the auto body painting industry.
Carl Austin got his start in business as a management trainee in groceries. He left his job with Kroger 1965 to start his own grocery and found success. At one time, he had a small chain of stores in Louisville called Warehouse of Groceries. Eventually, though, Austin noticed something. “It seemed to me that the people owning the properties were making more money than the people who owned the businesses,” he said.
Through it all, they’ve kept Powers Paper Company local. “We’ve been blessed,” Tara said. “We love the community.” In the beginning, the couple ran the operation inside a rented warehouse in Elizabethtown, the only place they could find with adequate warehouse space. Within eight years they’d acquired four more machines and moved the business to Meade County, where Martin grew up. In 1997, the Powers built a plant in Corum Industrial Park near ByPass Road and have since expanded twice to house 12 machines and more than two dozen employees. “We wanted to stay here to raise our children, have them attend the great local schools, and live here,” Tara said. “We have lots of family members in our business, and the employment pool is better in Meade County than elsewhere.” After establishing itself in the auto-painting market, Powers diversified its offerings to produce plastic sheeting, chemicals and coatings used in the resurfacing process. Today, Powers Paper also supplies to a number companies such as Sherwin Williams and PPG Industries. Seeing opportunity in other fields, Powers formed a subsidiary, called Bluegrass Business Products,
So Austin switched from operator to owner. He pared down his grocery businesses just as the industry was heating up competitively among chain stores and transitioned into property development. The largest of his development properties, he said, was the 130,000-square-foot shopping center in Brandenburg that now houses Kroger and many other businesses. He sold it in 1992 for a significant profit. Meade County
Austin, who was raised in Crawford, Indiana, moved to Brandenburg in 1983 and into a home in Doe Valley. He said the appeal of Meade County “just clicked.” Austin has owned many properties that have gone from vacant lots to the homes of popular businesses, such as Pamida, Rite Aid, Huddle House and the strip center behind it, and gas stations. Austin has remained in Meade County through good times and bad. When his wife fought cancer and survived, he said there was an outpouring of support from all points, especially through the church, for his wife and family. “It was a phenomenal response,” Austin said. “I can’t say I ever had a true church family until that happened. It solidified my desire to live here. I fell in love with Meade County.” Although pulling back from hands-on management of his properties, he remains active and is looked to as an astute judge of Meade County’s potential. His judgment? “There is considerable potential here, particularly with the influence of Fort Knox. People used to have to leave Meade County to satisfy their needs,” he said. “Now a lot of those things can be satisfied right here.”
Harry Lusk Harry Lusk took a building that had sat vacant for years along one of Muldraugh’s most visible stretches on U.S. 31W and gave it new life. Ironically, the structure sits not far from the gates of Fort Knox, where the Lusk name in recent years, some might say, is as familiar as that of Patton or Chaffee. But for all the work The Lusk Group performs inside the gates, it only represents a small portion of the company’s total load. The contracting and engineering firm, which employs 180 specially trained technical, engineering and management staff and hourly personnel, oversees projects of varying scales in 19 states. The company pursued work in and outside the region to provide opportunity in tight economic times. “With the way the economy is, you have to diversify to stay even,” Lusk said. “You can imagine that when you’ve got that big a payroll, it’s a lot of work to keep the machine going.” After years of work in the mechanical and industrial markets, Lusk ventured out on his own. Harry and Judy Lusk got started operating from their daughter’s bedroom after she left for college.
“Meade County provides a good pool of employees and a good business environment,” Harry Lusk said. “The Chamber of Commerce, the cities, and the county all welcome and help businesses.” Growth and contracts in many states hasn’t stopped the Lusks from supporting the area by sponsoring ball teams, supporting churches, and helping with civic organizations like Boy Scouts of America and Kosair Charities. “The community is the reason that we’re still here,” Harry Lusk said. That’s why it was important that when The Lusk Group needed a new home, it provided a boost to the community to refurbishing the empty Knox Ford building. Lusk was a longtime member of the local industrial authority, as well as being involved in a number of other projects that have bolstered the area economically and socially. But Lusk won’t take credit for any of them. He sees the success of those ventures as team efforts. “I worked with other people to get things accomplished,” he said. “We’ve accomplished many
things over the years. It’s being in the right places at the right times.”
Ray Cottrell Sr. After retiring from the Army as a command sergeant major, Ray Cottrell Sr. steered his career in another direction. He opened Ray’s Motors, a used car lot in Muldraugh, in 1977.
Cottrell’s business is responsible for building the soccer field at Meade-Olin Park and also coordinated with other businesses to put up scoreboards on three softball fields. “Anyone who resides here is fortunate,” Cottrell said. “We just don’t have the problems they have in other counties in the state. Meade County is a good place to live and raise your family. It has been growing and will continue to grow.” Cottrell was sent to Fort Knox in 1949 and regularly spent time in Meade County during his time off. A fan of small towns, he said Meade County quickly grew on him. So when he retired, where to settle was a simple decision. Cottrell brought positive attention to Meade County in the early 1990s when he had two horses run in the Kentucky Derby. Though the horses finished near the back of the pack in both contests, Cottrell was fortunate enough to have a shot at standing on the sport’s biggest stage. He continues to maintain a statewide presence as a member of the Kentucky Motor Vehicle Commission, a position he has held since 1987. The agency is responsible for issuing licenses to all of Kentucky’s auto dealerships and salespeople, as well as ensuring sales practices follow the law. Though the commission as a full-time staff and executive director, Cottrell spends about four days a month in Frankfort working with them. He said his time at the capital exposes him to a number of influencers, with whom he often promotes Meade County projects. Though having reached retirement age, Cottrell has no plans to step away from his work. He’s still at his dealership seven days a week. “Every day I’m available, I’m here,” he said. “I just enjoy my work. It’s not like a job. Most people are glad when their day is over, and I can’t blame them. I get enjoyment working here.”n
His son, Ray Jr., soon joined him, and before long he landed a Ford franchise. Ray’s Ford opened in October 1979 in Brandenburg and has since expanded its vehicle offerings to include Chrysler, Dodge, and Jeep. Growth and a focus on customer satisfaction paid off over time, and the business made several significant contributions back to the community in thanks. When the old school closed, the Cottrells bought Ramsey Field and donated it to the community. Meade County
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Community Spirit A community can’t sell itself unless it first believes in itself. As Meade County becomes a destination for scores of newcomers calling the area home – some due to military realignment, some due to business opportunities, some due to word-of-mouth – the pride residents have for their home can be found in a spirit driving several projects aimed at making Meade County a better place for all to live. Two major projects under way will bring muchneeded services to the area, community leaders agree. When it’s completed in August 2011, a new Meade County Public Library will more than double the space of the existing structure to 25,000 square feet from 10,000 square feet. The $3.6-million project will bring the library into compliance with standards for such facilities for the first time in several years. Library leaders, who broke ground in early September 2010, plan to set aside rooms for pursuits like genealogy and local history research. The facility also will have a café stand with coffee and tea. And the beverages A worker installs steel rafters at will be free to the the new library. 12,000 people who visit the library monthly, said Rachel Baelz, library director. The new building, which was envisioned a decade ago, will sit on 8.7 acres of land on Old Ekron Road, just across from the office of the Meade County Cooperative Extension Service. The library purchased five acres from Virginia Miller, and the remaining 3.7 acres were donated to the City of Brandenburg by the Miller
This architect’s rendering shows how the new Meade County Public Library will fit into the City of Brandenburg park that will surround it.
family. The allotted land around the new building will include walking paths and scenic grounds that will give the place a campus-like feel, and a patio will give library patrons a chance to enjoy the surroundings. After securing initial drawings for the building and, of course, the property on which to build, the library is using saved property tax funds and bonds to pay for the project. Besides the library, a collective ambition to further enrich Meade County is driving momentum for another key project – the Meade Activity Center. The center, or “The MAC,” as it’s called, would provide a base for fitness, wellness, and recreation activities in the community. When discussions several years ago identified these needs, a core group of motivated residents started researching ideas to meet them.
This architect’s rendering shows how Meade County’s new public library will look when it opens in the later summer of 2011. Meade County
This architect’s rendering shows the look of the fitness, wellness, and recreation facility that the Meade Activity Center plans to build.
MAC already has sponsored a number of community events, and has acquired the 180-acre Hillcrest Country Club in Brandenburg, which is the home of a nine-hole golf course, an outdoor swimming pool, and tennis courts. Programming using those facilities has begun, says John Beavin, president of the organization’s board of directors. Following a capital fundraising campaign that will begin in 2012, the property, part of which overlooks the Ohio River, will be the site of a 65,000-squarefoot facility that will house: ♦♦A 25-meter, eight-lane competition pool, with an adjacent heated therapy pool and a splash pool for children. ♦♦A gymnasium large enough to accommodate two regulation-size basketball courts and an elevated walking-running track. ♦♦A fitness center with fully-equipped weight room and cardiovascular exercise room. ♦♦A series of multi-purpose rooms that will be used for a range of activities and a child-care center.
development by making the area more attractive to outside people and companies. The project is expected to cost between $9 million and $11 million. A fundraising campaign began in February 2010 with a dinner event with pro golfer Kenny Perry that generated $40,000, and in February 2011, legendary newsman Dan Rather was the featured speaker. “We feel excited about the progress we’ve made thus far, and we know that the entire community is enthused about what we’re doing,” Beavin said. “There’s a huge need for this – and we know we can pull it off.” n
The strength of the center will be its programming, which will provide wellness, fitness, and recreation activities, Beavin said. Among the first programs to be implemented in the new facility, he said, will be: ♦♦Individual fitness programs for youngsters, teens, and adults. ♦♦Group fitness programs for youngsters, teens, and adults. ♦♦Youth and adult volleyball, basketball, and indoor soccer. ♦♦Aquatics for all ages, including such things as learn-to-swim classes and cardio and arthritis fitness sessions. ♦♦Cardiovascular health and diabetes prevention classes. ♦♦Special activities and events designed for families, youth of varying ages, adults, and seniors. Beavin and the community volunteers working with him see a community recreation and activities center as not only improving the health and well-being of Meade County residents, but as a spur to economic 52
This floor plan shows how space will be used inside the facility the Meade Activity Center plans to build.
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134 Heartland Drive • Elizabethtown, KY 42701 • 270 769-3100 54
36 Reasons To Love Meade County, Kentucky 2. No rush hour trafﬁc.
Driving is a breeze, and trafﬁc jams are non-existent.
The Meade Activity Center.
The MAC is on its way to being one of Kentucky’s premier facilities for health, wellness, and recreation.
Kids are the priority every day in Meade County’s schools.
1. Very affordable housing.
It’s amazing how much house you can get for your money.
4. Very low
We have one of the lowest crime rates in Kentucky.
6. Higher education.
8. Cheap power.
Colleges and opportunities abound, all within 45 minutes of Meade County.
Our electricity rates are among the lowest in the nation.
7. Highways. Nearby I-64 and I-65 provide easy highway access in all directions.
10. Riverfront Park. 9. Emergency medical service.
12. Ohio River.
This Brandenburg park is a picturesque place to go to watch the river, to stroll, and to picnic.
11. Proximity to big cities.
Trained medical personnel are available 24/7 by calling 911.
It’s an easy drive to Louisville, Indianapolis, Lexington, and Nashville.
14. Meade County
16. Youth sports.
Our new public library is among the best in the state.
Nature puts on a great show each fall.
15. Hunting and ﬁshing.
The Ohio River is at our doorstep and numerous lakes are nearby.
Opportunities abound for kids of all ages.
There are abundant woods and streams for the outdoor sportsman.
20. Historic Buttermilk Falls
19. Otter Creek
17. Water sports paradise.
The mighty Ohio is a major resource for recreation and transportation.
Meade County is a place where people care about their neighbors.
Recreational Trail. You can walk, run, bike, or skateboard while you’re enjoying nature along the trail.
Outdoor Recreation Area. 2,400 acres of
outdoor recreation and fun.
23. Diana’s Park.
Youngsters from all over enjoy this volunteer-built fantasy land.
21. Meade Olin
Park. 75 acres of ball
and soccer ﬁelds, picnic areas, and disk golf.
Meade County has a vibrant faith community.
22. Meade County Fair.
We host one of the South’s great fairs the last week of each July.
26. High per capita income. Our county is
high in the state’s rankings.
30. Christmas 29. Jingle Bell Trot. The trot (or run or walk) is a favorite event for many families.
33. Recycling. Meade County is one of the state’s leaders in the effort to go green.
By The River. The annual light display attracts thousands to Riverfront Park each year.
34. Meade County Cooperative Extension Service. Information, classes, and training is available for virtually everyone.
27. Medical care. Meade County beneﬁts from good doctors and easy access to some of the nation’s best hospitals.
31. Habitat for
24. Family friendly lifestyle. Meade County offers a safe, comfortable environment.
Business opportunities. Two industrial parks offer sites for new growth and expansion.
32. Pets In Need Society. These
Humanity. Here, providing housing for those in need is a community-wide effort.
dedicated volunteers see that pets get kind, compassionate care.
Meade County Clothesline of Quilts. This volunteer effort honors our heritage.
Farmer’s Market. Yum! Fresh fruits, vegetables, and meats produced right here.
36 Reasons To Love Meade County is a project of the Meade County Area Chamber of Commerce and its media partners. Brandenburg Telephone Company • The News Standard • WMMG Radio • WVIH.com Radio Meade County
FIND YOUR WAY. Feel Welcome. The Meade County Public Library can open a world of life-long learning and fun for your entire family. We feature a wide variety of programs: from pre-school story hour, and teen movie night; to adult health and fitness classes. We also have a diverse collection of movies, as well as music on compact disc for all tastes.
Visit www.meadereads.org. Our web site provides instant access to our collections, as well as e-books, career development tools, homework help, genealogy research, and an ever-growing list of resources that put the world at your fingertips.
Take Charge. Whether your interest is reading the latest best-seller, searching for ancestors, or Get Connected. Enjoy our on-site computers, looking for a new career, you can depend on your or bring in your own laptop, for free access to the Meade County Public Library. internet through our high-speed wireless network. You can also visit the library anytime, from the Think Big. In a world of endless possibilities, our comfort and convenience of your home computer. mission is to help you find your way.
MEADE COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY 400 LIBRARY PLACE, BRANDENBURG, KENTUCKY 40108 PHONE: 270-422-2094
Facilities and programs are accessible to disabled persons. Facilites and programs are accessible to disabled persons.