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connection may/June 2013

Jackson County Cattlemen Building tomorrow's farmers today

Mayor Charles Long

Dedicated to progress

Kentucky Afield

Interview with Tim Farmer

Industry News

One Voice


Telco groups unify to bring stronger voice and new opportunities to rural subscribers By Stephen V. Smith, Editor

Editor’s Note: In February, America’s leading telecommunications trade groups voted to become one association. The unification of NTCA (National Telecommunications Cooperative Association) and OPASTCO (Organization for the Promotion and Advancement of Small Telecommunications Companies) created a single group representing the concerns of rural telcos and their customers across the nation. As of March 1, the organization became known as “NTCA–The Rural Broadband Association.” In an interview following the vote, we asked Shirley Bloomfield, the CEO of NTCA, about the impact a unified group will have on rural subscribers. Smith: NTCA and OPASTCO were both 50-year-old trade associations comprised of rural telecommunications providers. How were the two groups different? Bloomfield: NTCA had a very strong basis in the cooperative movement, and actually originated as an arm of the NRECA (National Rural Electric Cooperation Association). The organization itself was established as a cooperative entity, with control being held by telephone cooperatives. OPASTCO was formed as a home for those companies that were traditionally family-owned. When rural telephone systems were first established, people either got together and created member-owned cooperatives, or a family said “we see a void, let’s fill it,” and they built a telephone company. Smith: What was the driving force behind unifying the two organizations? Bloomfield: Over the past several years, we have found that in this industry the issues are all the same. It doesn’t matter whether you are a cooperative or a family-owned company, the issues facing this industry impact all the carriers. Things that are taking place on the regulatory front, with state utility commission deci2 | May/June 2013

sions, with technology transforming at a daily rate and changing people’s business models ... these things created an opportunity for the two organizations to work more closely together. We all began to realize that if we bring these forces together there is more that we can do as one, as opposed to trying to do the same thing with two separate organizations. Smith: What benefit will rural telcos, and the industry as a whole, gain from the unification? Bloomfield: The first area I would highlight is advocacy. Because there is so much dissension and politicking in Washington, it has become imperative that the message of the rural telecommunications industry find a voice, that we speak a little bit louder. When you have two entities saying the same thing, they diffuse each other. When you put all carriers together, speaking in a definitive voice for the entire industry, it cuts through the clutter. It allows us to move faster and be more powerful, in a day and age where, frankly, this industry is still very heavily dominated by the large carriers. Another area is the business opportunity front. We now have more than 800 companies at the table, and that will give us the ability to go to wireless carriers,

Shirley Bloomfield NTCA CEO go to middle-mile institutions such as hospitals and educational institutions, and form partnerships to offer different kinds of services. Smith: How do these benefits translate to the consumer at the end of the line? Bloomfield: It will give rural telcos the ability to create some scope and scale in order to offer new services. Rural providers have been terrifically innovative, but what could they do if they could get a nationwide presence? What kind of things could they offer their customers? Also, so much of the revenue of these carriers is tied up in the regulatory arena. If we can be successful speaking with one voice, we hope to keep local costs low, to minimize rate increases and to continue universal service support, which makes things like advanced broadband affordable in these rural communities where you don’t have the customer base to offset the costs. 

Our interview with Bloomfield continues in the July/August issue, as she talks about how the uncertainty surrounding FCC regulations is threatening the level of service and investment in rural communities.

The truth behind what’s driving up TV subscription costs nationwide Your Telco (Content Providers/Networks)


As a provider of TV service, we are caught in the middle of a tug-of-war. On one side, content providers and networks are demanding more money every year from companies like ours who carry their programming. On the other side, consumers demand quality content but are growing weary of package prices that continue to rise.


hy does my bill keep going up?” It’s a common question consumers nationwide are asking, as they watch the steady climb of TV programming costs. There are two main factors driving these increases.

1) Cable channels charge us a fee to deliver their programming to you — and those fees keep rising.

We work to include as many channels as possible in our lineup. But most channels add an expense to our cost of providing you TV service. According to estimates from analysts SNL Kagan and Barclays Capital, sports programming accounts for four of the top ten channels as ranked by their monthly subscriber fees. ESPN/ESPN HD leads their list at $5.06 per subscriber. The NFL Network comes in at 84¢. Compare that to Nickelodeon’s 52¢, MTV’s 39¢ and Discovery Channel’s 37¢ and you get a clear picture of the dominant driver behind programming price hikes. (Note: These estimates are based on fees paid by the large, nationwide providers, and do not reflect the exact cost we pay for these channels.)

2) Local network affiliates now charge us a fee to deliver their programming to you — and those fees keep rising. There was a time when your “local stations” charged nothing for a carrier to rebroadcast their signals. Not anymore. In order for you to enjoy channels such as ABC, NBC, CBS and FOX, we must pay them a fee based on our number of subscribers —

and these fees continue to rise each time we renegotiate what is known as the retransmission consent agreements with them. SNL Kagan reported in November that the revenue TV station owners receive from these fees could reach $5.5 billion by 2017 — an even higher number than was previously projected. Why? “The increased projections are due to the success of a wider range of TV station owners in securing sequentially higher (retransmission) fees from multichannel operators over the last year of negotiated deals,” says the report.

Will this trend continue?

Unfortunately, there is no end in sight. Content providers know that consumers want their channels, and they continue to build fee increases into their contracts with providers like us. Furthermore, sports channels are negotiating huge deals with teams and leagues that are driving up their production costs (for example, in late 2011 ESPN agreed to pay the NFL some 70 percent more to carry Monday Night Football through 2021). They are passing these costs on to providers like us nationwide, who have no choice but to pass the increases on to consumers. The bottom line is that we are committed to providing all our subscribers with the channels they want. And as your local telecommunications company, we are doing everything we can to control our operating costs and keep our prices as low as possible. In the end, however, the reality is that TV rates will continue to move upward as long as content providers keep increasing the fees we must pay and the number of channels we must carry.  May/June 2013 | 3

From the CEO

Investing in a stronger future For those who put money in the U.S. stock market, the past few years have been like a long ride down a rough road. The same can be said for the real estate market. But as your telco, we are making investments that have guaranteed returns. We are investing in our communities. We are committed to doing more than just providing a basic service to the communities in our area. We understand that quality of life is about more than the basics; it’s about having access to services that create greater opportunities for our families, businesses, schools and other institutions. We are investing the time and resources into making sure you have access to those advanced services. We are investing in technology. Technology is the key that makes those advanced services possible. Just like electricity in the 1930s and 1940s, and reliable telephone service in the 1950s, broadband is the new infrastructure that is driving our community development. We are investing in the equipment and people to deliver broadband technology to everyone in our service area. We are investing in education. Today, children in rural America can have the same opportunities to pursue a top-notch education as their urban counterparts. To take advantage of those opportunities, the systems and the technology must be in place — from Wi-Fi tablets to distance learning. We are partnering with our schools by investing in the broadband network that makes advanced education happen. We are investing in health care. Technology is changing health care faster than perhaps any sector. From electronic medical records to telemedicine, technology is helping people receive better care while helping providers control costs. We are partnering with health care providers by investing in the broadband network that powers these advances. We are investing in business. Local businesses are no longer competing with just the shop next door or in the next town. Now they are competing with companies in other states, and even other countries, thanks to the Internet. We are partnering with our businesses by investing in the broadband network that helps them offer the best local service while competing on a much larger stage. We are investing in the future of this industry. The progress of rural America is directly tied to the success of the rural telecommunications industry. On Page 2 of this issue, you will read how two national rural telco associations have come together to form one voice in order to be more effective in representing your concerns in Washington, D.C. In April, leaders from rural telcos across the country met in our nation’s capital to discuss policy concerns and remind our elected officials that any reforms to this industry must be fair and workable for rural communities. For every proposed law or regulation that comes along, we are there to work on your behalf to protect the progress we have all made together. These are the kinds of investments we are making — and will continue to make. And they are guaranteed to yield a return, because ultimately what we are investing in is a stronger future for you and your family.  Keith Gabbard Chief Executive Officer 4 | May/June 2013

is your member-owned cooperative serving Jackson and Owsley counties in East Kentucky. The cooperative is dedicated to using technology to keep its members connected through high-speed broadband Internet, digital and HD television, wireless 3G phone service, local and long-distance calling and beyond.

Board of Directors Don Hughes President Kendall Norris Vice President Wendell Gabbard Secretary Nelson Bobrowski Treasurer Donald Barrett Armel Davidson Pat Henderson Vol. 1, NO. 3 May/June 2013


connection is published by Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative, © 2013. It is distributed without charge to all members of the cooperative. Send address corrections to:

Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative P.O. Box 159 McKee, KY 40447 606-287-7101 • 606-593-5000 Produced for PRTC by: On the Cover:

The local chapter of the Kentucky Cattlemen's Association was awarded for building membership. See story Page 8.


in Owsley County

Abraham Lincoln Rock sits atop a hill along Highway 846 in Owsley County.


braham Lincoln has stood atop a hill in Owsley County for more than 70 years. Many people in the region know he’s there, but very few have seen him. “I had always heard that he was up here somewhere, but I never knew exactly where,” says Will Judd, a lineman with PRTC. “I had never climbed up here to see it.” But Judd can’t say that any longer. He recently made the trek up the hill, pressing through the thick undergrowth to reach the summit where a sandstone rock is carved in the image of Honest Abe. In 2008, Owsley County Fiscal Court purchased the statue along with a house and 29 acres of land. Plans are underway to build a gravel road to the carving that will allow better access to the historical landmark. Owsley County Judge Executive Ronnie Debord says the county is studying other ways the public can benefit from the unique folk art. According to the Owsley County Historical Society, a wandering pack peddler

named Granville Johnson was passing through the area in the 1930s when he became ill. The John Williams family took him in and nursed him back to health. During his recovery, Johnson would take long walks around the farm. As he recovered, he began carrying a hammer and chisel up the hill behind the Williams' home. Several months later, after Johnson had fully recovered, he led the Williams family up the mountain to show them his work. The carving of America's 16th president was Johnson’s way of showing his gratitude to the Williams family. The carving still stands today, just south of Booneville off what is now Highway 846 in the Conkling community. In the carving, Lincoln wears a long overcoat and in his hand he holds a book that many believe is a Bible. The carved rock is listed in the Smithsonian Institute’s Registry of American Folk Art. For more information, contact the Owsley County Heritage and Tourism Board at 593-7293. 

Volunteer to be a part of history


ames Moore Sr. was the first settler in Booneville. He built a small house along the South River in 1806. Today, that home sits among a cluster of other 18th century structures on about three acres of land along Highway 30 near Meadow Creek. The Dwelling House, which was built in 1874, an old well, a shop house and old farm equipment are just some of the pieces of history that are part of the Noble Pioneer Village and Museum. “The buildings at Pioneer Village are filled with tools, household utensils and other items that are important to preserve as a reminder of Owsley County and Kentucky’s culture and history," says Delcie Hall, director of the Owsley County Historical Society. She says the Historical Society is working to prepare the village for tours that will begin in the fall. The organization will offer guided tours to anyone interested in viewing these pieces of Owsley County history. But in order to do that, Hall needs help. “We need volunteers,” she says. “We need at least seven people to give tours and talk about the history of the cabins and other buildings.” Hall says she also needs volunteers to organize items in the buildings, as well as to work in the Historical Society office. In the office, volunteers will organize historical documents and help researchers find the information they need. Anyone interested in either of these opportunities can contact Delcie Hall at 593-5981, Ella Addison at 593-5202 or Wallace Edwards at 593-5360. Volunteers can also e-mail 

Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative

This old smokehouse is one of the buildings preserved in Pioneer Village.

Owsley County's historic past is preserved in the Noble Pioneer Village. May/June 2013 | 5

Education Focus

Keeping students off the summer slide By Brian Lazenby


eading, writing and arithmetic are the last things on kids’ minds during summer vacation. Most are focused on sports, video games and playing with their friends. This educational downtime contributes to what is known as the “summer slide,” when students lose much of the skill, knowledge and motivation acquired during the previous school year. In fact, a 2011 study conducted by the RAND Corporation shows that most students lose a month’s worth of learning by the time school resumes the following year. This phenomenon affects children of all ages and from all economic backgrounds, but it is most harmful to those students already struggling to keep up. However, it can be avoided. Broadband technology provides access to numerous websites and applications that transform computers and Wi-Fi-enabled tablets into tools that make learning fun and will help avoid the summer slide. Let's take a look at a few of the best sites for your kids to visit this summer., for example, is a site geared toward children in grades K-8 that offers online activities to boost learning in math, grammar, science, spelling and history.

6 | May/June 2013 is another site that specializes in providing fun, educational activities for children. Others include and According to many educators, one of the most valuable things students can do during the summer to avoid the slide is to continue reading. “Just because school is out doesn’t mean students should take a break from reading,” says Dennis Van Roekel, National Education Association president, on the group's website at “When students return to their classrooms in the fall, we want reading to top the list of what they did this summer.” There are thousands of books available on just about any reading level that can be downloaded to an e-reader or wireless tablet. Farfarfia is an app for your smart tablet that gets kids excited about reading. It includes more than 100 stories in e-book form for kids ages 2 to 9, and new titles are added every week. This app will make reading fun for your child, and will make it easy to carry a whole load of books to the pool, the park or the beach — without lugging a heavy bookbag. 

There are many other apps designed to keep your kids entertained all summer (they may not even realize they are learning!). For example: • PBS character apps are for children 6 and under who will love reviewing science and math skills with favorite characters from PBS shows. • Ruckus Reader, another educational app for children, offers a unique series of digital storybooks designed to help your child practice important reading skills. • Motion Math Games is one of the many apps that offers a variety of games focused on fundamental math skills. It provides fun with numbers for students ranging in age from 4 to 14, and studies show children who played the game improved their scores on a fractions test by 15 percent. • iLearnWith is an app that offers a suite of games to encourage children ages 3 to 6 to have fun while learning key developmental skills such as adding, counting, spelling, phonics and meteorology.

Summer vacation doesn’t mean your kids have to take a break from learning. By exploring these tools and the many others that are available, your child can still have fun while staying off the summer slide.

Nationwide, consumers are reporting failed connections and poor call quality when dialing into rural areas By Stephen V. Smith, Editor


called you earlier today, but I couldn’t get through; it never even rang.” If you have heard this or similar complaints from friends, family or business associates, there’s a good chance the problem is not with your local telephone company. According to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), telephone subscribers in rural areas “are reporting significant problems receiving long distance or wireless calls on their landline phones.” The problem appears to lie in the fact that some long distance and wireless carriers, in an effort to cut costs, are contracting with third-party service providers to route phone calls into rural areas. The FCC in February announced that it plans to adopt rules requiring these carriers to keep records on call attempts to determine and track the rural call failure rate. “Our nation’s telephone network is a valuable asset in part because everyone has access to it,” says Trevor Bonnstetter, CEO of Ben Lomand Connect, WK&T Telecommunications and Ardmore Telephone, serving portions of Kentucky, Tennessee and Alabama. “These call completion issues are weakening that network, making it less useful to consumers.” Fred Johnson, executive vice president and general manager of Farmers Telecommunications Cooperative in Alabama, agrees. “I’m proud to see the FCC stepping up its efforts to address this issue,” he

says. “Substandard service into America’s rural areas threatens commerce, public safety and consumer convenience. This is an issue that must be resolved.”


On its website (, the FCC outlines two problems that are being reported by rural consumers and people who call them: Failure to Complete »» Long distance or wireless callers tell you they repeatedly hear nothing or “dead air” for 10 seconds or more after they dial your number. If they stay on the line, the call may seem to be dropped or they may eventually hear a busy signal. »» Long distance or wireless callers tell you they repeatedly hear prolonged ringing on their end after they dial your number (e.g., the callers wait 10-20 rings before they finally hang up). »» Long distance or wireless callers tell you they repeatedly hear a recording such as “The number you have dialed is not in service” or “Your call cannot be completed as dialed” when they know they’ve correctly dialed your number. Poor Call Quality »» Long distance or wireless callers tell you they repeatedly hear nothing or

“dead air” for 10 seconds or more before hearing ringing and you answer your phone. »» Long distance or wireless callers tell you they repeatedly hear prolonged ringing (e.g., 10-20 times or more) before you answer the phone — when you are sure the phone actually rang only a couple of times before you answered. »» Consistently after you answer a call, the voice quality is unacceptable. For example, one person cannot hear the other, the sound is choppy, there are awkward transmission delays after speaking, or there is an echo. »» Fax machines fail to interoperate.


If someone has trouble completing a call to you from a long distance or wireless telephone service provider, the FCC recommends that you encourage them to report the issue to their provider. They will need the following information: • the date and time the call was attempted • the calling and called telephone numbers • the name of the caller’s long distance or wireless telephone service provider Next, call your local phone company and provide the same information so it may work with the caller’s provider to isolate the problem.  May/June 2013 | 7

Cattle farmers

embrace technology to boost membership By Brian Lazenby

8 | May/June 2013


hen you think of farming, technology isn’t usually the first thing that comes to mind. But technology has played a key role in helping the Jackson County Chapter of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association grow its membership – and earn a statewide award along the way. “Facebook really helped us spread the word,” says Josh Lakes, Jackson County Chapter president. The group used the social media site to grow the membership from 13 members in 2011 to 116 in 2012. “We’re not just a dot on a map anymore,” Lakes says, noting the chapter has been recognized multiple times by the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association. At this year’s state Cattlemen’s Association convention, the Jackson County Chapter was awarded with a plaque for their efforts to grow their chapter by almost 800 percent. But the group isn’t finished yet. This year’s goal is to increase the number of young members. “The concern is that 90 percent of members are retired. There are just not that many young farmers getting into beef production,” Lakes says. “We are really focusing on the youth.” Lakes expects Facebook will also be instrumental in increasing the number of young members. He also hopes that by working with the Jackson County Future Farmers of America, they can form an apprenticeship to provide education to those who might be interested in farming and help steer youth toward a career in cattle farming. “We are always looking for new members,” Lakes says.

Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative



Members of the Jackson County Cattleman's Association display a state award it received for building membership. Left to right, Chris Boggs, chapter vice president; Hilda Judd, treasurer; and Josh Lakes, president. roles of the Association is maintaining lobbyists at the state and federal levels. Membership dues help fund efforts in both Frankfort and Washington, D.C. to ensure that lawmakers are informed about issues affecting farmers and making legislative decisions that are in the best interests of both farmers and consumers. “Somebody has to look out for our interests, and membership dues ensure that someone is,” he says. Joining the local chapter also includes a membership to the statewide Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association. Memberships

are $30 for a single farmer and $45 for a couple. Lakes says $10 from each membership comes back to Jackson County. The Association also offers junior memberships for $10. “It is a cheap investment,” Boggs says. “It is educational, and in the long run it will save you money.” 

Click For more information, visit


Both Lakes and Chapter Vice President Chris Boggs say membership in the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association is an educational resource for those in the industry. “We are here to inform the farmer,” Boggs says. The Jackson County Chapter, which also has members from Owsley and Laurel counties, holds monthly meetings with a keynote speaker who addresses issues important to the industry. The speaker for May will demonstrate cattle handling techniques and discuss the importance of and issues regarding vaccinating livestock. The Association also releases a monthly publication to members that contains a lot of educational information that many cattle farmers may not be aware of, such as weed eradication or insect and parasite control. “We always have a topic that is current and seasonal,” Lakes says. The organization offers online education for members and gives back to the community, Lakes says. They are forming a college fund and will be offering scholarships to young members. Lakes says the Jackson County Chapter makes an effort to involve the entire family. It holds a number of picnics and family events that include games, hay rides and, of course, good food. “This is our community,” he says. “We are a part of it and understand the importance of giving back.” Boggs says the organization also acts as a watchdog to make sure area farmers are properly caring for their livestock. “We are looking out to make sure farmers are doing what they are supposed to,” he says. “We are making sure they are not neglecting their animals.” Lakes says one of the most important

This is our community. We are a part of it and understand the importance of giving back.

Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative

–Josh Lakes

May/June 2013 | 9

The Southeastern U.S. is an outdoor lover’s paradise. Whether you're looking for a rugged multi-day hike or an afternoon paddle along a quiet creek, the region has something for everyone. But before packing up, spend some time exploring the Internet to ensure you get the most from your adventure. Congaree National Park

Six outdoor destinations and the technology that can enhance the nature experience By Andy Johns

Canoeists at Congaree National Park

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10 | May/June 2013

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Savage Gulf

Dotted with waterfalls, unusual rock formations and lush gorges, the trails at Savage Gulf State Natural Area in Tennessee have been ranked among the nation’s best by Backpacker magazine. Not all of the park’s 50 miles of trails are as savage as the name states, but there is a good mix of routes from short walks to multi-night backpacking adventures. The area is also popular with rock climbers for features like the Stone Door, a 10-foot wide, 100-foot deep crack in the rock. Located on the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau, Savage Gulf offers fantastic views during leaf season in the fall.

The Duck River

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Located southeast of Columbia, S.C., the Congaree National Park claims to preserve the biggest section of old-growth bottomland hardwood forest in the region. What that means is visitors should be prepared to see trees like they’ve never seen before. In fact, to find a “taller” forest you have to travel out west to the famous redwoods and sequoias. One of the nation’s newest national parks, Congaree offers everything from a 2.4-mile boardwalk to the ominously-named, 11-mile King Snake Trail. Rangers say the best way to see the park, however, is by water. Canoes and kayaks can be rented from outfitters in Columbia, or you can register for one of the park’s guided canoe tours.

The 270-mile Duck River has more species of fish than all of Europe, according to the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation. A 37-mile section of the river has been designated a State Scenic River and is a perfect spot for beginning paddlers. The river is mostly moving flat water with only a few easy rapids that can be easily portaged. Paddlers will enjoy a variety of wildlife, along with forested banks, rocky cliffs and even a cave or two. At least three outfitters offer canoe or kayak rentals from Columbia and Chapel Hill, so not having a boat is no excuse to stay on the banks.

Upper Greeter Falls in Savage Gulf

A great blue heron at Congaree National Park

Web-based technology can add to your hiking experience before, during and after your hike. Here are three ways technology can help you on the trails.

Photos courtesy of Tennessee State Natural Areas and Congaree National Park.

A green anole lizard at Congaree National Park


Lower Greeter Falls in Savage Gulf

Zebra swallowtail butterfly at Congaree National Park

Hiker at the Walls of Jericho

The Sheltowee Trace

Running for about 300 miles through East Tennessee and Kentucky, the Sheltowee Trace offers hikers a multi-night long-distance trail experience or a collection of shorter day trips. Some of the highlights along the route include Cumberland Falls, Natural Bridge State Resort Park and Cave Run Lake. For some variety, sections of the trail are open to mountain bikes, horses and some off-road vehicles.

North/South Trail

While many trails will wear you out climbing mountains, the North/South Trail at Kentucky's Land Between the Lakes (LBL) National Recreation Area is wide and relatively flat, making it easy on hikers. Like other long distance trails, the North/South offers appealing segments for single day hikes or the full 60-mile distance for multi-day trips. The trail offers a few views of nearby Kentucky Lake, but the big attraction to hikers here is the solitude and wildlife. Deer and turkey roam the LBL, and there are even bison in one designated area off the trail. Mountain bikes and horses are allowed, but motor vehicles are prohibited.

Walls of Jericho

The Walls of Jericho is a great example of two states working together. Tennessee and Alabama (with the help of private groups) have teamed up to protect 21,000 acres on their border that feature 200-foot cliffs, endangered species and unusually shaped rocks. Getting to the Walls is a 7-mile round-trip hike with several small stream crossings. Hikers need to be sure to wear good boots, bring plenty of water and pay attention to the weather.

Websites like destinations and (which stands for "Good Ol’ Raisins and Peanuts," a popular trail snack) offer countless maps, images and user reviews for hikes in your area. Research ahead of time so you don’t miss spectacular side trails — and so you'll be aware of hazards in the area.

During: The Audubon Society and other groups have developed apps for smartphones that can enhance your nature experience. Apps like Audubon Birds give you access to thousands of bird call sound files and photos to help identify species you may run across.

After: Mobile apps like RunKeeper allow you to map your route as you go. Most of them have features that allow you to review your pace, elevation gain and distance covered so you can analyze your trip. Many also allow you to share your route with friends so they can see where you’ve been and try it themselves.

May/June 2013 | 11

remembered for contributions to Kentucky’s wildlife

Many outdoors enthusiasts in East Kentucky knew him simply as “Rabbit,” the Kentucky wildlife officer responsible for protecting the state’s natural resources in much of Southeast Kentucky. But the impact Earl Gray had on Kentucky’s wildlife and the men and women who protect it will live on for years beyond the former Kentucky ’Fish and Wildlife officer’s death this year. Gray began his career as a wildlife officer in 1968 and quickly rose through the ranks. He served as the assistant director of the Law Enforcement Division in Frankfort and served as its colonel from 1999 until his retirement in 2002. He held several other positions during his career, including one in which he oversaw the 9th Wildlife District that stretches from the Tennessee border in Clinton County to Harlan County and north to Jackson County. Gray is credited with revolutionizing officer training at the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife by forming the first certified training class and ensuring that all officers undergo a 16-week training program. He also formed the department's first K-9 unit. He helped restock the deer and turkey population in Jackson County in the early 1980s and was instrumental in the elk restocking program in southeast Kentucky from 1998 to 2001. Gray was known to do whatever was necessary to protect Kentucky’s wildlife, including working covert, undercover operations and using aircraft to search for aircraft violators. At the time of his death in January 2013, Gray lived in Gray Hawk with his wife, Joyce. He is survived by four children and four grandchildren.

12 | May/June 2013

Q&Angler Kentucky Afield star Tim Farmer answers our questions on fishing, TV and technology


entucky native Tim Farmer has become one of the state’s bestknown outdoorsmen through his work hosting "Kentucky Afield." The television show is the longest-running program of its kind in the United States, and Farmer says he knows the tradition leaves him a high standard to live up to. Q: A lot of folks would say you have a dream job. How did you get to be host? A: A friend talked me into taking the application test at the Fish and Wildlife Department. I thought Fish and Wildlife was just game wardens. I didn’t really know what a vast outfit it was. I passed the test and started working in 1989. I worked that job for about five years when the job of television host came open. It was such a tradition. I’d been watching it since I was a kid and the show’s been on since 1953, I think. One of my buddies convinced me to take some video I’d done, the last day they were taking applications. I started doing this in ’94 or ’95 and I’ve been doing it ever since. Q: What makes Kentucky special for outdoorsmen and women? A: We have a lot of water. We have a lot of really big waterways. You think about Kentucky Lake and Barkley, two of the biggest man-made lakes. You’ve got lakes all over the state and a lot of flowing water. If you’ve ever fished Kentucky or Barkley Lake you know they’re just phenomenal for crappie or bass or whatever you want to fish for. As far as big deer, we’re always in the top five in the nation. For a state as small as we are, that’s pretty substantial.

Tim Farmer, host of Kentucky Afield, talks about technology.

Photo courtesy of Dave Baker/Kentucky Fish and Wildlife

Earl Gray

Q: What changes have you seen in the outdoors world in the past few years? A: When I was a kid I would try to get my girlfriend to go out with me and it’s something she was just not interested in. I think most guys have tried to get their significant others out there with them and now I think it’s happening more and more. Over time, the equipment companies have started noticing that there’s a market for ladies. They’ve started making equipment targeted for them. Q: How has technology changed things for anglers? A: Back in the day, we didn’t have GPS. Depth finders were pretty rudimentary. Today they have side-scanners and you can really see what’s down there. You have folks that may have 500 waypoints marked where they’ve caught fish before. Back in the day you had to just guess or use your wits. Now, you hit a button and your device tells you where to go fish. Q: Has technology made being outdoors safer? A: I always check weather reports to see what’s coming in. On Kentucky Lake you can be out there and all of the sudden it can be white-capping in 10 minutes. If we hear a rumble in the distance we can pull up the weather on our phones and know, “We need to get out of here right now.” 

Kentucky Afield airs on PRTC TV Sat. at 8:30 a.m. and Sun. at 4:30 p.m. on KET Ch. 13 & KET HD Ch. 115 Mon. - Fri. at 11:30 p.m. on Lexington CW-KYT Ch. 10 & Lexington CW-KYT HD Ch. 106 Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative

Booneville's Mayor Long In it for the long term


hen Charles Long became the mayor of Booneville, the sleepy mountain hamlet had just gotten telephone service and certainly did not have high-speed Internet. But all that has changed thanks to the hard work and dedication of Booneville city officials and Mayor Long. A 92-year-old Navy veteran, Long was elected to the town’s board in 1954. He was elected mayor four years later and has held that post for the past 55 years. He has never had a challenger and remains the longest-serving mayor in the state of Kentucky. “We’ve gotten a lot accomplished over the years,” Long says. And the enjoyment he gets out of seeing hard work transformed into progress is what has kept him leading the city’s government for so long. Some of his biggest accomplishments include helping to usher in electricity, and working to bring water to not only the residents of Booneville, but to the entire county as well.


I plan on doing it as long as the good Lord will allow it.


–Charles Long

Today there are 12 water tanks scattered across Owsley County and one tank in Perry County. Electricity covers the region, and People’s Rural Telephone Cooperative is in the process of providing a state-of-the-art broadband fiber network to its service area. “We have seen a lot of change,” Long says. “We’ve seen this place become somewhere people want to live.” Ronnie Callahan Jr., Booneville city clerk, treasurer, finance officer and administrator, has worked with Long for more than 20 years. He admires the mayor for his dedication to the city and his ability to make things happen. “He just loves everybody,” Callahan says. “He is a true public servant.” Peoples Rural Telephone Cooperative

Booneville Mayor Charles Long is Kentucky's longest serving mayor. He was first elected mayor in 1958. Long says his secret to getting things accomplished is his ability to partner with others and work together to reach a common goal. This philosophy has helped him build relationships with regional leaders, as well as with those in Frankfort and Washington, D.C. These partnerships have been instrumental in helping Booneville obtain grants for various city projects. “We try to get grants for just about everything we do,” he says. “Any financial assistance we can get, whether locally, at the state level or in Washington, that’s what we try to do.” This same theory of partnerships and working together enabled Long to purchase an 80-acre tract of land for the city where officials built an industrial park. Long says a large roofing company occupies one of the buildings on the property, but he continues to try to find a tenant for an empty 25,000-square-foot space. Recent years have been tough on Long. He lost a daughter to cancer, and a son died following an automobile accident. And just last year, he lost his wife, Ruth, after 72 years of marriage. The pain he feels is evident, especially when talking about his late wife, who he calls his high school sweetheart. But it is his dedication to the city and his devotion to the people of Booneville that keep him going. And after 55 years, he has no plans to quit anytime soon. “I plan on doing it as long as the good Lord will allow it,” he says.  May/June 2013 | 13

Southern Kitchens An art fired by passion My dad was never too fond of barbecue. As a result, I really never experienced smoked foods until well beyond my youth. In fact, it wasn’t until I was well into my third decade of life that I not only learned to love barbecue, but also learned there was more to it than I ever knew — all because of an invitation to judge one of the most esteemed of all barbecue competitions, the Jack Daniel’s World Championship Invitational. In accepting the invitation, I also took classes to become a certified judge. I went back several years to judge this event and came to discover that barbecue is an art. It’s a sixth sense in many barbecuers who are born to the flame, it seems. As years go on, they become adept at putting on the heat to produce just the right amount of smoke to marry with the juices flowing through the meats. These sons — and daughters — of the South have smoke in their veins. It’s an all-consuming passion, and one shared by many now that it’s gone beyond the back yard to become a global cuisine. Just take a look at Eric Stephenson’s recipes in the adjoining story and see if you don’t become addicted to his fiery passion… if you’re not already.

Smoke runs in his blood


ric Stephenson was just 16 years old when he learned that a little bit of flame, a smoker filled with wood and a careful eye produces incredibly good meat. It was then that his dad, James, opened a barbecue restaurant in Geraldine, Ala., and employed his son to work after school and during his summers off. Soon, Eric became a master of the flame under his father’s watchful eye. Now 32, Eric owns his own barbecue restaurant, Stephenson’s Bar-B-Que in Stephenson Rainsville, Ala. It has a take-out drive learned the art through, as well as a covered front porch of barbecue with a handful of picnic tables where from his father. folks can “eat-in.” “I loved working with my dad growing up,” Eric says. "I was able to see first-hand the pride he took in his work. Before his death, he laid out a blueprint for me through multiple conversations. That’s where the idea for Stephenson’s Bar-B-Que began. It’s in my blood.” His first barbecue hut was a Saturday-only business located next to his house. When that building was destroyed by a tornado in April of 2011, he reopened in a new location along Highway 35 in downtown Rainsville. Now folks can smell the smoke from the hickory pit five days a week. From pork sandwiches to rib plates, Stephenson’s Bar-B-Que reigns in Rainsville. Eric took time out from smoking to answer a few barbecue questions: Q: Do you prefer using gas or charcoal? A: Neither. The best method is to use all wood when smoking meat. It gives it a whole lot better flavor. Q: What are the best woods to use? A: Most all hardwoods are good — pecan, hickory, oak, cherry. Q: How do you get juicy meat? A: Don’t pierce the meat; it creates holes that let the juices escape. Brining the meat is a better option. I brine all of mine, from the chickens and turkeys to pork butts and ribs. Q: What is the biggest mistake people make when smoking meat? A: Allowing the flame to touch the meat or cooking it at too high a temperature. That scorches the meat, and the smoke won’t have time to penetrate the inside of the meat. Q: How do you know when the meat is done? A: I can tell just by touch. But people who are new to smoking meats should use a meat thermometer. I cook my pork butts to at least 175° F. Makes them more tender, too. 

FOLLOW THE SMOKE TO... Anne P. Braly Food Editor Email Anne Braly at 14 | May/June 2013

Stephenson’s Bar-B-Que H 832 Main St. East H Rainsville, Ala. Hours: 10 a.m. – 8 p.m. H Tuesday – Saturday Phone: 256-717-4080 House special: Pulled pork barbecue plate with coleslaw and baked beans ($6.25-$7.75)

BBQ: A mouth-watering Southern tradition Sweet ’n Savory Rub This rub adds a zesty flair to whatever meat you put on the grill. 1/2 1 2 1 1 1 1

cup brown sugar tablespoon black pepper tablespoons paprika tablespoon salt tablespoon onion powder tablespoon garlic powder tablespoon chili powder

Mix together all ingredients and store in airtight container. May be used as a rub for chicken, beef or pork. Makes about 1 cup rub for 2-3 pounds meat. When ready to use, sprinkle rub onto meat and allow to rest for 5 minutes before grilling. Or, rub onto meat, wrap meat in foil and refrigerate overnight to grill the next day.

Bourbon Smoked Pork Tenderloin

Makes an elegant entree or one that can be served with baked beans and coleslaw for tasty picnic fare. 2 pounds pork tenderloin, trimmed of silver skin 1/4 cup bourbon whiskey 2 tablespoons molasses or strong honey 1 tablespoon red pepper flakes 3 cloves garlic, crushed 2 bay leaves, crushed 5 teaspoons dried thyme 5 teaspoons dried sage 3/4 cup oil 1 teaspoon salt Combine the bourbon and molasses. Add the remaining ingredients and roll the pork in the marinade. Refrigerate 8 hours, or overnight, turning occasionally. Remove the pork from the marinade, season with salt, and smoke, basting with marinade for 15-20 minutes. The pork may then continue to cook on a smoker, be finished on a grill, or be roasted in a

Using nothing but wood will give your ribs that distinct smoke flavor that barbecue lovers crave. 350° F oven until reaching an internal temperature of 145-150° F. Remove pork from heating source and let rest 15 minutes before serving.

Stephenson's ribs with spicy barbecue sauce

Ribs with Spicy Barbecue Sauce The sauce tickles these ribs with lots of flavor.

1 3-pound rack of ribs

SAUCE: 1 cup firmly packed brown sugar 1/2 cup ketchup 1/3 cup soy sauce 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce 2 cloves garlic, crushed 2 teaspoons prepared mustard 1/8 teaspoon pepper

Place ribs in pan. Combine all sauce ingredients and pour over ribs. Cover ribs and refrigerate for 2 hours, turning ribs frequently. Drain sauce from ribs, reserving sauce. Place ribs over medium coals and grill over direct heat for 1 hour, turning ribs and basting often with sauce. May/June 2013 | 15

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