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UK College of Dentistry Alumni Association Presents Distinguished Alumni Award

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 13:54

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2014)  -  The University of Kentucky College of Dentistry Alumni Association awarded the 2014 Distinguished Alumnus of the Year Award to Dr. M. Raynor Mullins, during the Fall Symposium and Alumni Weekend held Oct. 2-4, 2014.

The Distinguished Alumnus Award was established 10 years ago to honor alumni of the University of Kentucky College of Dentistry who demonstrate loyalty to the College, community leadership, and excellence and merit in his or her field of our profession of dentistry.

Mullins is a dental public health dentist and a member of the Emeritus Faculty of the UK College of Dentistry. He graduated from the College of Dentistry in 1968 and received a Masters in Public Health degree from the School of Public Health at the University of North Carolina in 1970. In 1972, he completed a residency in Dental Public Health at UK and was appointed to the faculty of the Department of Community Dentistry, serving as department chair from 1974 to 1988. He has also served as academic dean from 1988 to 1994, and as chief of the Division of Dental Public Health from 1994 to 2004 for the UK College of Dentistry.       

He is working with the UK Center for Oral Health Research and also with the UK College of Medicine to develop education, service and research partnerships aimed at improving oral health literacy and reducing oral health disparities in Appalachia and rural Kentucky.

Currently, he is serving as the UK project leader for an ARC project, the Appalachian Rural Dental Education Partnership with Morehead State University. The goals of this project include improving oral health literacy, improving the dental careers pipeline and access to dental care in Kentucky’s ARC counties. He is also a member of the 2014 Health Work Group for the Shaping Our Appalachian Region (SOAR) initiative begun by Gov. Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers.

Mullins is also a member of the Friedell Committee, a state citizens group working to improve health in the Commonwealth. He has received numerous professional honors, including induction into the American College of Dentists, Kentucky Public Hall of Fame, president of the American Association of Public Health Dentistry, president of the Kentucky Section of the American College of Dentists and multiple dental service awards from the Kentucky Dental Association and the Blue Grass Dental Society. This year, he also received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the University of Pikeville.

Media Contact: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or

Excellent Student Leadership Positions Available Through SAB

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 13:26

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2014) — The Student Activities Board is now accepting applications for the 2015-16 Executive Team and Board of Directors through Monday, Nov. 17. Applications are due by 5 p.m Monday, Nov. 17, in the SAB office, 204 Student Center. The applications, requirements and other necessary information can be found at

The applications available are for positions on the Executive Team and Promotions Team, and also for directorships for the eight programming committees. Executive Team positions include president, vice president of internal affairs and vice president of promotions. Promotions Team positions include information technology, media, public relations, graphic design and assistant graphic design. Programming director positions include campus life, concerts, cultural arts, engaging issues, multicultural affairs, pop culture, traditions and market research.

With no prior involvement required, SAB is looking for hard-working, passionate and creative students that want to unite the campus and community by bringing exciting events to campus. Directorship, through programming or the executive team, provides the opportunity to earn internship credit, such as COM 399 and JAT 399.

“I would recommend any student wanting to get involved on campus and become a campus leader to consider applying for a position,” Jacob Ewing, president of the Student Activities Board, said. “The board has helped me develop as an individual, professional and leader in ways that I could not have gained elsewhere.”

Applicants are highly encouraged to visit the SAB office before the application deadline. If you have any questions, please email Jacob Ewing, SAB president, at

SAB brings more than 100 entertaining, educational and enriching programs that are reflective of contemporary issues and trends to the University of Kentucky annually. These programs are designed to enhance the college experience for students, faculty, staff and the greater Lexington community.

Connect with SAB at, follow them on Twitter at or Instagram at or like them on Facebook at For more information about SAB and events, email or text a question beginning with SABQ, followed by your question or comment, to 411-247.

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

SAB CONTACT: Olivia Senter,, 859-257-8868

Death Takes Center Stage in UK Orchestra's 'All Hallows Eve'

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 12:47

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2014) — The University of Kentucky Symphony Orchestra (UKSO), under the direction of John Nardolillo, continues its 96th season with "All Hallows Eve" concert. The free public concert, featuring guest violinist and UK faculty member Daniel Mason, begins at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Oct. 31, at the Singletary Center for the Arts Concert Hall.

Mason will perform Alban Berg’s powerful Violin Concerto. The major 20th century work was written in response to the death of a young woman, a family friend of Berg's, and it was the last work he wrote before his own death. Mason is in his 32nd year as a professor of violin and head of the String Department at UK. He is concertmaster of and frequent soloist with the Lexington Philharmonic Orchestra. He was also, for 17 years, concertmaster of the New Hampshire Music Festival Orchestra. Mason has performed in Europe, Brazil, Korea, China and throughout the U.S.

Also on the program are "Tragic Overture" by Johannes Brahms and the great tone poem of Richard Strauss, "Death and Transfiguration," which describes the death of man, and the release of his soul into the infinite. The piece shows the man on his deathbed, where he remembers his childhood, his youth, his loves and life. He dies and receives the longed for transfiguration. Strauss wrote the work when he was just 24 years old. When Strauss himself was dying in 1949, at age 85, he told his family: "It's a funny thing, dying is just the way I composed it in 'Tod und Verklärung.'"

Since Nardolillo took the conductor's podium of the UKSO, it has enjoyed great success accumulating recording credits and sharing the stage with such acclaimed international artists as Itzhak Perlman, Lynn Harrell, Marvin Hamlisch, as well the Boston Pops. In addition to its own concerts, UKSO provides accompaniment for much of the UK Opera Theatre season. UK's orchestra is one of a very select group of university orchestras under contract with Naxos, the world's largest classical recording label. To see the UKSO season brochure, visit

The UK School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

Money Management Matters Site to Aid Students; Topic: Student Loans

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 12:23

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2014) — What might your degree be worth?

The University of Kentucky Graduate School is prepared to aid students in developing the personal financial knowledge to answer this question and others related to financial literacy.

The UK Graduate School has created a personal financial education webpage titled " Money Management Matters," (MMM) built upon six salient personal financial topics that pertain directly to students and graduates:

1.         Student loans

2.         Employment

3.         Health care

4.         Credit

5.         Saving and investing

6.         Money management

This week, UKNow will highlight the first topic: student loans.

The MMM web resource collection provides a myriad of information designed to aid individuals in managing their federal student debt. 

Topics addressed within the MMM student loans category include the types of federal student loans available; comprehensive description of the various federal student loan repayment options; the benefits/costs of loan consolidation; the utilization of the National Student Loan Data System to determine the amount of federal student loans that one has, and the rate of interest applied to each loan; as well as personal federal student loan repayment estimations based upon one's exact loan totals.

The UK Graduate School is one of 15 universities, in partnership with the Council of Graduate Schools (CGS) and the investment firm TIAA-CREF, introducing a personal financial literacy initiative aimed at educating students and graduates.

Last fall the 15 university partners distributed surveys to their graduate student populations concerning a variety of personal financial questions, to understand their “baseline” of personal financial knowledge. Using this information, the CGS developed as a personal financial education platform designed to help students and graduates enhance their personal financial knowledge.

The UK Graduate School has created the "Money Management Matters" website to strengthen this initiative at UK. 

“We hope the information provided within and MMM will aid students and graduates in establishing a strong foundation of personal financial knowledge that they can build upon in order to make sound decisions across all stages of their personal financial life cycle,” said Chris Riley, project manager of the Enhancing Student Financial Education Grant and graduate student at the Martin School of Public Policy and Administration.

MEDIA CONTACT: Sarah Geegan, (859) 257-5365;

Designing Better Health Care

Mon, 10/27/2014 - 11:02

Video by UK REVEAL Research Media.

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2014) – From providing a comfortable, caring environment to ensuring the efficient treatment of patients, design can have a major impact on a hospital stay. A recent collaborative project at the University of Kentucky Albert B. Chandler Hospital Emergency Department examined the new space to see how the current design works and what can be learned for the design of future floors and health care facilities.

"We do the best job we can in solving the owner’s puzzle, if you will, with the design process, but we don’t often go away with an understanding of how the building actually works," said David Humlong, project manager at GBBN Architects, of Cincinnati, Ohio.  

To explore the design implementation at the UK Emergency Department, UK HealthCare and health care designers at GBBN teamed up with Assistant Professor Lindsey Fay and Professor Allison Carll-White in the UK College of Design School of Interiors.

"We’re always trying to make design better for our users, and that’s staff, visitors and patients. GBBN, having such a strong focus in health care design, was very, very interested in knowing as a result of their work that they did at UK what was working well, and what may need to be rethought, not just for this space but also for future design projects," said Carll-White.

When designing a new facility much research and preparation goes into trying to meet the needs and specific requests of the anticipated users. However, it can be difficult to predict what needs the department may have in a year, five years or 10 years down the road.

To get a true sense of the day-to-day use of the UK Emergency Department, students and faculty from the School of Interiors implemented a multi-methodological study, which utilized observations, surveys, focus groups, and physical measurements to amass data. The post-occupancy evaluation (POE) gave UK students a wonderful opportunity to develop hands-on experience with research in an environment with which they previously had little experience.

"We were in the Emergency Department for over 200 hours for the first phase. We worked in five teams of two; engaging undergraduate and graduate researchers in this process. We asked them week by week to carry out different research studies," Fay said.

“Anytime somebody wants to look at something you are doing, it's going to help you, because there are going to be things that you don’t know and then there are going to be things that you knew, but you needed the data to prove,” said Patti Howard, enterprise director for emergency services.

The extensive study done by the UK School of Interiors found several successes of the emergency department.

Surveys by users showed a real appreciation for the friendly faces they found at UK's emergency department.

"Something that UK should be really proud of is the quality of their staff. Patients and visitors overwhelmingly said they were the number one thing that they thought was best about the environment at the emergency department," Carll-White said.

In addition, the research found the use of pods, as well as the designs of the pediatric emergency care center, the trauma unit, and the imaging unit to be major assets to the facility. The “pods,” which are patient rooms clustered around a central nurse’s station, allow staff to stay close to their patients without having to travel far to check on them or gather medications and supplies.

The dedicated pediatric center was a favorite of both visitors to the facility and staff. "That’s probably one of the best things we did was to have the Makenna David Pediatric Emergency Center. In the old Emergency Department we had a small area that we called Kids Care where we saw children, but we had very few beds. So that was really a big plus for us to be able to have that space, to have 12 dedicated beds," said Howard.

The faculty at the UK School of Interiors can see exactly why the pediatric center is such a hit. "In the waiting room GBBN used a lot of positive distractions. So there was an interactive wall, there was a computer station, there were some TVs, there were just things to help children who were probably not feeling well or experiencing some kind of trauma to feel comfortable," said Carll-White.

In addition to the successful parts of the department's design, the research also revealed a few areas that could use improvement.

Through observation and interviews with staff members, the faculty and student research team found a lack of line of sight to the intake area was problematic.

In the triage area there are patient rooms that have dual entry. However, there’s not a corridor that connects from this entry point of the emergency department to the patient service area. Unfortunately, the lack of a connecting corridor has led to people cutting through the rooms.

To address these issues, UK School of Interiors and GBBN held a one-day charrette, or design workshop, at the Cincinnati-based firm to rethink the spaces. The use of a collaborative design charrette between researchers and practitioners offered a stimulating challenge in that the researchers had to present their findings in a meaningful and memorable manner, while the practitioners were challenged to critically think about the information and its implications for the built environment.

"What we found is that having the security situated right next to the entrance would give them sight lines to the doors leading back to the emergency department, but then also provide an opportunity to greet patients or families when they are walking in," said Fay. "One scenario also took triage and broke it up into two different design areas with a central space moving from the entry point to the waiting area of the emergency department."

“The fact that they were able to publish their study is very beneficial for all of us,” said Howard. Outcomes from this research have resulted in several research publications in the HERD Journal, the Journal of Learning Spaces, and several conference presentations including two at the Healthcare Design Conference.

Publishing the research garnered from the collaboration will not only impact hospital workers and future patients at UK in the design of new floors, but it will also aid others around the nation by providing data and evidence-based suggestions for design enhancements.

"I have done over 40 emergency departments in my career. We are working on four other EDs right now and some of the things we’re talking about, you know we’re saying, down at UK we did this POE and this is what we learned here and people perk up and say, well, tell me more about it, so there is an immediate use," said GBBN architect, Jim Harrell.

In addition to providing a wealth of data on design for future health care facilities, the collaboration has been a valuable opportunity for UK students giving them skills that will benefit them in their careers.

"I really liked the immersive quality of the post-occupancy. The biggest thing I feel like I learned was how to do behavioral mapping. I think it’s something I can offer professional offices in the future, that I do know how a post-occupancy evaluation works, and I know how to evaluate successes and failures in a space. It was good to be in the space, to see how it functioned, to see the how the different user groups needed to use the space, and how the design was functioning," said Sabrina Mason, a 2014 UK graduate and new instructor at the UK School of Interiors, from California, Kentucky.

The study has additionally resulted in an annual healthcare design studio led Fay. “By engaging students in a POE, they have opportunities to test their beliefs and theories related to the environment that is being examined and develop first-hand experience with the evidence-based design research process and environmental qualities of an emergency department,” Fay said.

In the end though, it's helping make visits to the hospital the best experience possible at a trying time. "To be able to give back and to be part of that patient’s or that family’s caregiving years after the building is turned over to the owners, is very rewarding." 

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

Autism After High School: Making the Transition

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 16:19

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2014) — Melanie Tyner-Wilson is facing one of her toughest battles yet. She wants nothing more than to help her son Jay Tyner-Wilson, who is a person with autism, land his first real job.

Public school provided opportunities for Jay to gain volunteer vocational experience. There, he discovered he enjoyed working with animals — and school offered a repetitive, structured and routine environment.  But Jay is 21 years old now and aged out of the school system in May.

"The challenge is now finding a job," says his mother. "That's the golden ticket that I’m trying to figure out."

Jay did not qualify for an official high school diploma, so the path to college or career is a tricky one. Melanie laments that many people with disabilities end up living in poverty unless they have families and other resources that can save and plan for them. With an ever-increasing number of students on the autism spectrum coming through the school pipeline, questions abound as to what they can do to build a life for themselves beyond school.

A new study at the University of Kentucky College of Education helps frame the conversation around this transition. The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) has awarded a $693,000 grant to College of Education Professor Lisa Ruble and a cross-disciplinary team of co-investigators at UK and Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

"This funding will allow us to find ways to help reduce or eliminate the disconnect from needed services that often occurs when students with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) complete school," Ruble says.

Melanie says her son is a person with multiple skills that would be of value to an employer, but who would need additional support.

"The powerful thing about this study is that it brings national attention to it beyond just some parent like me saying 'oh dear, my poor child,'" she says. "It is exciting because when something gets researched, it gets attention and it counts. It formalizes things and forces people to begin to pay more attention in this area. We have all kinds of people like my son Jay in the far reaches of this state and we need to figure out how we are going to meet their needs and give them a quality of life." 

The study will further the research team's previous work with an intervention called the "Collaborative Model for Promoting Competence and Success" (COMPASS) for young children with ASD. COMPASS is a parent-teacher consultation model that has been shown to empower teachers, families, and above all, students, by improving educational outcomes.

While the work with COMPASS has been successful for young students, it will need to be adapted, based on stakeholder input, for students nearing adulthood and preparing to complete high school. Once adopted, it will be tested in a randomized controlled study of 32 participants. Additional variables to help understand factors that explain optimal and poor outcomes will be obtained.

Jay has been receiving services at the UK College of Education ever since he was a pre-school student at the college's Early Childhood Lab. He participates in services offered through the college's CASPER center such as social skills training and small group programs. Through the years, Jay has had the opportunity to interact with many of the college's faculty and students.

"UK is conducting research and training all these people who are going into careers to help those with autism," Ruble says. "It is uplifting because I know every student who goes through these programs helps raise the state and nation's capacity to provide services to children and adults with ASD. We need to continue to keep doing better."

Melanie is involved with the Autism Society of the Bluegrass, which is a caregiver support and advocacy group. She has had an opportunity to meet many individuals on the autism continuum. These individuals have a wide range of abilities — some attend college, but many struggle to find employment.

"While many on the continuum have achieved postsecondary education and/or employment, there continues to be a significant number that struggle,” she says. "The challenge is how we are going to plan and get what we need for these individuals."

For now, Jay is putting in lots of volunteer hours in pursuit of "the good life."

"I'm doing the same thing any parent would want for their child," his mother says. "We want to make sure our children are okay after we are gone. With Jay, it's a more involved, complicated plan.  I think it's possible. I have got to figure out as a parent how to do it.

"It's been really humbling to be on this journey with my son, and it's probably the hardest thing I have ever done in life. It's also an honor because he's just an amazing person and has taught me so much as a parent."

MEDIA CONTACT: Jenny Wells, 859-257-5343;

Investment in UK Yielding Returns for State in Better Health, Economy

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 16:10

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2014) — The University of Kentucky is more intently focusing on its mission of serving communities by working with communities across the state.

But addressing and solving Kentucky's challenges — particularly in health care — means further expanding a network of advanced clinical care across the Commonwealth while finding ways to grow the university's ability to do cutting-edge research into the most intractable of problems.

That focus was the primary message of UK President Eli Capilouto and Dr. Mike Karpf, the university's executive vice president for health affairs, during a recent appearance before a joint meeting of the state legislature's Economic Development and Industry committees.

"We are the University for Kentucky," Capilouto told lawmakers during the recent meeting that occurred on the UK campus. "I see it as I travel around the state, meet with your colleagues, break bread in living rooms and backyards across Kentucky. People hold great hope for our state through UK. And, at an increasing rate, we're working in, for and with communities to make that brighter future a reality."

To that end, Capilouto told lawmakers that the state's $280 million annual investment in UK results in a now more than $3 billion university budget, which centers around four missions -- teaching, research, service and health care.

In particular, Capilouto said that state investment — even in the midst of a struggling national economy — has helped UK's health care system add more than 5,000 jobs in the last decade.

UK health care jobs have an average full-time salary of nearly $70,000 annually. Moreover, he told lawmakers, that the institution's research efforts resulted in an over $400 million contribution to the state's economy last year and nearly 9,500 jobs at UK and across the Commonwealth.

The university is now seeking to grow that economic impact even more with some $1.3 billion in self-financed construction projects underway on the UK campus

"These proof points are evidenced-based results of our institutional 'why,'" he said. "Why are we here? We are here for Kentucky, for the people we serve, and our impact is felt in all corners of the Commonwealth."

Increasingly, Capilouto and Karpf said, the focus of UK's efforts is on addressing significant health issues across the Commonwealth that only the university is uniquely positioned to take on. For example, Capilouto said the state's five leading causes of preventable death include heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory diseases and unintentional injuries.

The state is above the national average in incidences of those health challenges and they are, in many respects, most acutely felt throughout Eastern Kentucky.

In fact, Capilouto said, "Hundreds of Kentuckians (in the 5th Congressional District) die each year from chronic, preventable illnesses. This is a painfully important question of our day. And the University of Kentucky is uniquely positioned to help answer it."

Capilouto cited the fact that UK is one of only eight institutions in the country with the full range of health, professional and educational programs on one campus — a potentially incomparable setting to address issues whose challenges span across disciplines and areas of research.

At the same time, as Karpf pointed out to legislators, UK's academic medical center has spent the last 10 years creating a "regional referral network" of partnerships with local providers that ensures that more Kentuckians can stay closer to home while still receiving high-quality, advanced subspecialty care.

Karpf cited UK HealthCare's growing stroke care network, with 24 active hospitals across 400 miles, as an example of how a referral center can increase the quality of care for more Kentuckians. Similar networks have been established in heart and cancer, with Markey Cancer affiliates in cities ranging from Ashland to Louisville.

"The cumulative growth in our discharges (patients) exceeds a 90 percent increase over the last 10 years," Karpf said. "At this level, UK is near the Top 30 of Academic Medical Centers by discharge rate … we are treating more complex cases equivalent or higher than the 75 percentile of academic medical centers.

"Our strategy is focused on people … and ensuring them that the most complex cases can be treated without leaving the state."

A centerpiece of that strategy, Karpf said, is the growth in research capacity that can be translated to clinical outcomes — going from the lab to the bed in communities across Kentucky. UK, in fact, is now one of only 22 institutions in the country with three federally designated centers for aging, cancer and in translational science.

The most recent designation was from the National Cancer Institute for UK's Markey Cancer Center.

"As research and medicine continue to grow," Karpf said, "Kentuckians have greater access to the most advanced care."

Going forward, though, Capilouto cautioned that UK's capacity to grow both its research and clinical work is limited by a lack of space. "We don't have the adequate space to attract the next team (of researchers) to Kentucky who will help us address these challenges," he said.

Capilouto and Karpf said they are challenging the university and the state to not let such limits define Kentucky's future, however.

"We do a disservice if we dream too little dreams," Capilouto told lawmakers. "This is why we're here. We are the University of Kentucky — committed to our people and our Commonwealth."

Big Blue Family VIDEO: UK Twins Excel on the Court, in the Classroom and on the Field

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 14:29

Video Produced by UK Public Relations & Marketing. To view captions for this video, push play and click on the CC icon in the bottom right hand corner of the screen.  If using a mobile device, click on the "thought bubble" in the same area. Special thanks to UK Athletics for the use of game footage and photos. 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2014) — On a campus the size of the University of Kentucky, it’s not too uncommon to find students who are related to each other in some way.

But what is it like to be twins who make the decision to come to college together?

In this Big Blue Family video, we highlight three sets of Wildcat twins:  UK Basketball junior Alex Poythress and his sister Alexis, competitive academic scholarship-winners Evelyne and Elizabeth Mechas and UK Football juniors Daron and Zack Blaylock. 

Watch why each set of twins made the decision to stay together in college, what it’s like being at UK with their twin as well as why minutes matter when it comes to their birth order. 

This video feature is part of a special new series produced by UKNow focusing on families who help make up the University of Kentucky community.  There are many couples, brothers and sisters, mothers and sons and fathers and daughters who serve at UK in various fields.   The idea is to show how UK is part of so many families’ lives and how so many families are focused on helping the university succeed each and everyday. 

Since the "Big Blue Family" series is now a monthly feature on UKNow, we invite you to submit future ideas.  If you know of a family who you think should be featured, please email us.  Who knows?  We might just choose your suggestion for our next feature!

VIDEO CONTACTS:  Amy Jones-Timoney, 859-257-2940, or Kody Kiser, 859-257-5282,

Heat to Rise With UK's 21st Iron Pour

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 13:15

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2014) — The heat will rise on campus again this week as the University of Kentucky School for Art and Visual Studies hosts its 21st Iron Pour.

The iron pour, which begins 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 1, at the metal arts studio at Reynolds Building Number 2, is the highlight of a week of festivities celebrating the metal arts program at UK. Other festivities scheduled in conjunction with the iron pour are mold-making workshops, two exhibitions featuring work by students and alumni, and a lecture by visiting artists Alison Ouellette-Kirby and Noah Kirby, of Six Mile Sculpture Works in Granite City, Illinois.

Programming showcasing UK's metal arts programs begins with two exhibitions. An iron art exhibition featuring the work of students, faculty and guest artists, will run Oct. 28 through Nov. 1, in the Barnhart Gallery, in Reynolds Building Number 1. Hours for viewing this exhibition vary daily, see UK College of Fine Arts website. The exhibition is free and open the public.

Another exhibition of sculpture, “Garry R. Bibbs featuring 25 years of UK Sculpture Excellence – Past, Present and Future,” will be on display at the Lyric Theatre. This exhibit will be available for viewing Oct. 30 through Jan. 15, 2015. An opening reception for the exhibition will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 30, at the Lyric. The reception will feature guest speakers and alumni Melanie VanHouten of Josephine Parks, Frankfort, Kentucky; Gerry Masse of Sculpture Trails, Solsberry, Indiana; and Isaac Duncan III of Mid-South Sculpture Alliance. Both the exhibit and reception are free and open to the public.

In addition to the exhibitions, visitors are welcome to take a self-guided tour of the Art Museum at UK sculpture garden and student sculptures throughout campus on the UK Sculpture Trail. A map and information on these pieces can be found here: .

Workshops with the visiting artists will begin Monday, Oct. 27. Bonded sand and ceramic mold-making workshops will run from noon to 6 p.m. daily and 6 to 10 p.m. nightly, Oct. 28–Oct. 31.

Throughout the week the visiting artists will not only present workshops, but also class talks and a free public lecture as part of their residency at UK.

Alison Ouellette-Kirby received her bachelor's degree from the University of Windsor in 1993 and her master's degree from the University of Tennessee in Knoxville in 1996. Her work has been shown throughout North America at such venues as the National Ornamental Metal Museum, the Schmidt Art Center, the Walker Gallery at the University of Nebraska at Kearney, Gallery 130 at the University of Mississippi, Washington University’s Medical School of Medicine, the Art Gallery of Windsor and String Gallery in Toronto. She is currently department chair of the art department at St. Charles Community College, and co-director of Six Mile Sculpture Works.

Noah Kirby received his bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee in 1998 and his master's degree from Washington University in 2000. Noah has worked for Cassily and Cassily Inc. at the City Museum in St. Louis, and runs NK Metalworks in St. Louis. His work has been shown throughout North America at such venues as the National Ornamental Metal Museum, Bradley University, Auburn University, University of Mississippi and String Gallery in Toronto. He currently teaches blacksmithing, fabrication, metal casting, 3-D Design and public art practice for Washington University, and is co-director of Six Mile Sculpture Works.

The Visiting Artists and Scholars Lecture, which is free and open to the public, is scheduled for noon Friday, Oct. 31, at 118 White Hall Classroom Building.

The iron pour takes center stage starting at 4 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 2, in the open air metal arts studio located at Reynolds Building 2, also known as the Metal Arts Building on the UK campus. Individuals attending should enter this event from Scott Street.

Demonstrating the most dramatic part of the metal-casting process, the iron pour attracts a national audience of artists, students and art enthusiasts alike, with past attendees coming from as far as New Mexico to take part in the event.

Many artists turn out for the event to finish pieces of their work. It is $40 to produce a mold measuring up to 100 pounds in sand and 30 pounds in metal. Another $20 covers each additional 100 pounds of sand or 30 pounds of metal. Artists will begin their work at the pour at 10 a.m.

"We host this national caliber event to share the experience of an iron pour so audience members may take the practice and experience back and apply it for themselves in their schools or communities," said Garry Bibbs, associate professor of sculpture.

The iron pour is as exciting for professionals as it is for novices. Art students from other disciplines and art enthusiasts from the community can purchase a scratch block and leave with their own pieces of art. The opportunity allows individuals to test their talents by etching an image in the resin tablets, having graphite applied and processed in the iron pour. Scratch blocks are $20 per 6”x6” block or $15 for students with a valid ID, and $80 per 16”x16” block. Individuals planning to watch the Iron Pour should enter the site from Scott Street.

To find out more about any of the events presented in conjunction UK's 21st Iron Pour, contact Garry Bibbs by phone at 859-257-3719 or email to

The UK School of Art and Visual Studies, at the UK College of Fine Arts, is an accredited member of the National Association of Schools of Art and Design and offers undergraduate and graduate degrees in the fields of art studioart history and visual studies and art education.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

UPK Book Recounts Ky. Haunted Houses, Families

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:59

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 28, 2014) — The supernatural is more popular than ever. Movies like the "Paranormal Activity" series and books like Charlaine Harris’s Sookie Stackhouse vampire mysteries have generated huge fans bases, and horror master Stephen King continues to produce bestseller after bestseller. At a time when technology exerts an increasing influence over our lives, perhaps the idea of the unknown and intangible still has the potential to capture our imaginations and, occasionally, make us want to pull the covers over our heads.

Kentucky has its own rich legacy of ghostly visitations. In "Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky," noted folklorist William Lynwood Montell offers a compelling collection of tales from across the Commonwealth, told to us as they were told to him. The shadow of a dead girl in a window, the vanishing apparition of a husband long dead, the creaks and groans of a house that may just have a life of its own — these tales and more will frighten and intrigue even the most skeptical reader. From 103 counties and 261 mouths, Montell offers an amazing glimpse at just how many people claim — and truly believe — they have had paranormal experiences.

In this book from University Press of Kentucky (UPK), Montell argues that these stories are valuable because they capture an oral tradition that is quickly dying in our fast-paced, media-driven society. Many of the stories date back to the 1870s and the 1880s and reveal historical information about buildings and peoples never recorded in formal documents.

“People just took the time back then to share these family and community stories because that was their way of entertaining each other. People need to record these family stories while there is a person around who can still tell them,” Montell said.

An excerpt of Montell's "Haunted Houses and Family Ghosts of Kentucky" can be read below.

Mom died when I was just fifteen years old. Well, once when I was alone in my house here in Princeton, I felt something smoothing my hair down just like my mother always did when she'd rub it with her hands. I turned around, and there Mom was, her spirit, standing there right in front of me.

She said to me, "Liz, I love you."

I was so glad to see her again, but I almost fell out of my chair when I saw her and she spoke to me.

When I looked back up toward her, she was gone.

-        “A Dead Mother’s Return”

Montell himself has had two brushes with the supernatural. At the age of six, he claims to have seen his dead grandmother and described her in perfect detail to his mother, who said he was too young when she was alive to have remembered what the women looked like. Later, in the 1980s, he felt the presence of a woman who haunted an inn where he was staying in Louisiana. These experiences have taught him how important it is to listen to people’s tales with an open mind and a capacity for understanding. "Whether you believe or don’t believe is not important. What is important is that the people who tell these stories believe them."

Montell, professor emeritus of folk studies at Western Kentucky University, is the author or editor of more than 20 books, including "Ghosts across Kentucky," "Tales of Kentucky Doctors," "Tales of Kentucky Ghosts" and "Tales from Kentucky Funeral Homes."

UPK is the scholarly publisher for the Commonwealth of Kentucky, representing a consortium that now includes all of the state universities, five private colleges and two historical societies. Led by Director Stephen Wrinn, its editorial program focuses on the humanities and the social sciences. Offices for the administrative, editorial, production and marketing departments of the press are found at UK, which provides financial support toward the operating expenses of the publishing operation.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

Coffey Named Chair of Animal and Food Sciences at UK

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 11:58

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Oct. 28, 2014) — The University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment has named Richard Coffey chair of the Department of Animal and Food Sciences.

Coffey is the current director of the UK Research and Education Center in Princeton, a longtime swine extension specialist and leader of the youth livestock programs for the college. He will begin his new administrative role by April 1.

“The department is on a forward-moving and successful trajectory and is positioned for a bright future,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the college. “It must sustain faculty excellence, enhance the already great undergraduate teaching program, support the diverse animal agriculture economy and successfully transition to the university’s values-based budget model. The overall consensus was Dr. Coffey is well equipped to lead the department to face these challenges.”

Because the department’s work is critical to Kentucky’s animal agricultural economy, representatives from the animal agriculture community participated in the interview process and provided valuable input, along with college administration, faculty, staff and students, during the selection process.

“I’m excited to work with our department’s outstanding faculty, staff and students to maintain our excellence in research, teaching and extension,” Coffey said.

Coffey received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Oklahoma State University and his doctorate from UK. After completing his doctorate in 1994, he became the UK swine extension specialist in Lexington and eventually moved to the center. He will return to Lexington as chair.

Coffey replaces Bob Harmon, who has chaired the department since 2000. Harmon will remain in the department as a professor.

“I would like to thank Bob Harmon for his valued leadership,” Cox said. “He was trusted by the administration for his ability to transmit department concerns in a strong and effective way. He is appreciated throughout the state and beyond for his contributions to Kentucky’s animal agriculture. He is leaving the department in great shape.”

The college will soon be looking for new leadership for the center and for swine extension programming.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Katie Pratt, 859-257-8774.

UKAg Butcher Shop Product Debuts Tonight in Rupp

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:49

LEXINGTON, Ky., (Oct. 27, 2014) — The “Spicy Fat Cat,” a new smoked beef sausage developed by the University of Kentucky College of Agriculture, Food and Environment, will make its Rupp Arena debut tonight (Monday, Oct. 27) during the UK men’s basketball team’s Blue-White scrimmage.

The Spicy Fat Cat is a skinless, 100-percent-beef smoked sausage infused with pepper jack cheese, said Gregg Rentfrow, meats specialist and director of the UKAg Butcher Shop.

Rentfrow said the idea for such a product began with Dave Maples, executive director of the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association. Maples wanted a specialty beef sausage product that could be sold in the association’s food booths in Rupp Arena. In addition, they wanted to promote UK, the college and the butcher shop.

Maples said the idea came to him while touring the UK meats lab with his children during a 4-H event and was reinforced when meeting with officials at Rupp Arena who were looking for a new product. He was able to connect the two and is excited about the possibilities.

“My job is to promote the beef industry and beef education in Kentucky, and this is a good fit,” he said. “I hope it is a great success.”

Rentfrow and Maples worked with Rupp Arena officials to develop plans to sell the product during UK men’s basketball games. Currently, it will only be available during the games in the specialty concession stand located behind Section 34.

"We are excited about being able to work directly with the UKAg Butcher Shop in the development of new products for our patrons,” said Carl Hall, director of arena management for Rupp Arena. “This is a great opportunity to work with local suppliers and provide different food options to the more than 900,000 guests that come to Rupp Arena annually."

UK students will play an active role in the production of the Spicy Fat Cat, Rentfrow said. Proceeds will go to support student activities within the Department of Animal and Food Sciences, including covering teaching and travel expenses related to UKAg judging teams. It will also be used to cover production and maintenance costs.

“We are delighted to embark on this new collaboration with Rupp, our valued Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association and the butcher shop to create a tasty treat that will help student programs and promote Kentucky products,” said Nancy Cox, dean of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Rentfrow, butcher shop manager Ryan Chaplin and Chef Zalatan Prasovic tried various recipes before deciding the Spicy Fat Cat was the way to go. Explaining the product’s name, Rentfrow noted the “spicy” is provided by the cheese and the “fat” from its size – a quarter pound. The “cat” is a tribute to the UK mascot.

UK opened its butcher shop in the basement of the W.P. Garrigus Building in February 2013 to give the UK community and the general public more opportunities to eat locally produced food. Interest in local foods is gaining popularity across the country.

"This innovative project is an outstanding example of our college's growing leadership in building a vibrant food economy in Kentucky," said Scott Smith, former college dean and now director of the Food Connection at UK.

MEDIA CONTACT: Laura Skillman, 859-323-4761;

Overactive Bladder is a Common – But Treatable – Health Issue

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:15

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2014) -- People often joke about how many times they have to urinate, especially after drinking caffeine-laden beverages or a lot of water. But having a true overactive bladder is a serious – and for many patients, an awkward and uncomfortable – health problem.

Overactive bladder is defined as urinary urgency, usually with frequent urination and nighttime urination (known as "nocturia"). It may or may not involve urge urinary incontinence, which is a strong, immediate need to urinate followed by the involuntary loss of urine.

Overactive bladder is a symptom complex that is potentially caused by several diseases or conditions. It may be the result of several factors including infection, inflammation, obstruction, neurologic disease and/or psychologic issues.

Overactive bladder is estimated to affect 12-17 percent of Americans and Europeans, with likelihood of the condition increasing with age.  The prevalence of overactive bladder appears to be similar between men and women; however, women are more likely to experience urge incontinence.

Many patients are reluctant to discuss symptoms of overactive bladder with their physicians due to embarrassment. Additionally, many patients are not aware that there are treatment options and just assume it is a normal part of aging that they must deal with.

However, there are several options for the management and/or treatment of overactive bladder, including:

  • Behavioral and lifestyle modifications including weight loss, dietary changes and fluid management. For example, avoiding spicy foods, artificial sweeteners, caffeinated beverages and/or simply drinking less in one sitting may help.
  • Bladder retraining, pelvic floor muscle exercises (like "quick flick" Kegels) and/or biofeedback therapy (using measuring devices to become more aware of and control bodily functions).
  • Medications.

Neuromodulation including percutaneous tibial nerve stimulation (PTNS) or sacral nerve stimulation (SNS). PTNS is a series of office treatments involving a tiny needle electrode that stimulates a nerve near the ankle. The stimulation travels back to nerves in the spinal cord that help control the bladder. SNS works via a surgically implanted pacemaker for the bladder and is designed to imitate a signal sent through the central nervous system.

Botox injections. Though Botox is well-known as a cosmetic procedure meant to reduce the appearance of wrinkles, it can be used for a variety of health issues, and it was recently approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a treatment for overactive bladder. Botox injections inhibit muscle contractions, which can help reduce the urge to urinate. Injections can be performed as an office procedure  under local anesthesia.

In short, patients with bothersome urinary symptoms need to know that overactive bladder is a common issue among both men and women, and one should never be embarrassed or ashamed to seek help from a medical professional. Multiple treatment options are available and could make a huge difference in your quality of life.

Dr. Katie Ballert is a urologist  board certified in Female Pelvic Medicine and Reconstructive Surgery at UK HealthCare.

This column appeared in the October 26, 2014 edition of the Lexington Herald-Leader

Shoulder to Shoulder Hosting Pumpkin Carving Tournament Tonight

Fri, 10/24/2014 - 10:04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2014) - Tonight, Friday, Oct. 24, 2014, the Shoulder to Shoulder Global Student Association is holding a pumpkin carving tournament at the Student Center on UK's campus. The tournament will take place from 6 - 8 p.m. on the Student Center Patio.

The event will be open to all UK staff and students and help fundraise for a full-time health care clinic in Ecuador. The funds raised will go towards supplies and equipment for the clinic, as well as fund trips for UK students to help run the clinic.

Cost for this event is $10.  Prizes are sponsored by the UK Bookstore. Prizes include: 3rd place - $25 gift card, 2nd place - $50 gift card, 1st place - $100 gift card.

Register for this event here:!pumpkin-carving-tournament/c16be

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

WUKY's 'UK Perspectives' Previews Oct. 28 Mayoral Forum

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 21:08

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2013) — WUKY's "UK Perspectives" focuses on the people and programs of the University of Kentucky and is hosted by WUKY General Manager Tom Godell.  WUKY News Director Alan Lytle is sitting in for Godell today.  Lytle and   Karyn Czar, WUKY morning news anchor discuss the upcoming WUKY Lexington mayoral forum scheduled for 7 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 28, at Worsham Theater in the UK Student Center.

To listen to the podcast interview from which "UK Perspectives" is produced, visit

"UK Perspectives" airs at 8:35 a.m. and 5:45 p.m. each Friday on WUKY 91.3, UK's NPR station.

UK Choirs Lend Their 'Voices' to Concert Series

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 17:38

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2014) — The 2014-15 University of Kentucky Men’s Chorus and Women’s Choir will make their fall debut in a joint concert presented as part of the "Voices! Choral Concert Series" at  First United Methodist Church this weekend. The Men’s Chorus, under the direction of Jefferson Johnson, director of UK Choral Activities, and the Women’s Choir, under the direction of Lori R. Hetzel, associate director of UK School of Music, will feature world premiere commissions specifically for UK Choirs as well as special performances by UK’s premier a cappella ensembles — the acoUstiKats and Paws and Listen. The concert will begin 4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 26, at the church, located at 200 W. High St.   

"Gaudete" performed by the UK Men's Chorus. Video courtesy of American Choral Directors Association.

The UK Men’s Chorus is a 90-voice ensemble composed of students who range from freshmen to graduate students. These young men represent a variety of musical backgrounds and academic disciplines at the university. Begun in the fall of 2002, the Men’s Chorus has grown in size and popularity each semester. The choir’s challenging and diverse repertoire includes literature that spans from Gregorian chant to music of the 21st century. Rehearsing only twice weekly, UK Men’s Chorus maintains an active performing schedule throughout the state of Kentucky, touring each semester.

UK Women's Choir singing "Pie Jesu" at Ely Cathedral. The UK Women’s Choir is a select ensemble composed of more than 100 of the school’s most talented female voices. These singers, ranging from freshmen to graduate students, also represent a variety of musical backgrounds and academic disciplines. The choir’s challenging and diverse repertoire includes literature spanning from Gregorian chant to eight-part music of the 21st century. With an emphasis on music by female composers, the ensemble performs works of many different languages and compositional forms.

UK's Men's Chorus and Women's Choir are excited to be part of the "VOICES! Choral Concert Series" at First United Methodist Church, which is celebrating its 225th anniversary this year. The series is organized by UK doctoral candidate Brock Terry, who serves as director of music at the church. All concerts are open to the public and admission is free. Donations to the concert series are suggested.

For more information on the "Voices" concert or the UK Men’s Chorus, contact Evan Pulliam, administrative assistant to UK Choirs, at

UK's Men's Chorus and Women's Choir are part of UK School of Music at UK College of Fine Arts. The school has garnered a national reputation for high-caliber education in opera, choral and instrumental music performance, as well as music education, composition, and theory and music history.

MEDIA CONTACT: Whitney Hale, 859-257-8716;

UK Ag Equine to Host Showcase, Breeders' Course

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 16:58

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 27, 2014) — University of Kentucky Ag Equine Programs will host the UK Equine Showcase and the 6th Annual Kentucky Breeders’ Short Course Jan. 23-24, 2015, both at the DoubleTree Suites by Hilton, 2601 Richmond Road, in Lexington.

The UK Equine Showcase, now in its fourth year, will highlight the university’s current equine programs and relevant industry findings. It will run from 1 to 5:30 p.m. Jan. 23, with a light reception following.

The 6th Annual Kentucky Breeders’ Short Course is an in-depth program on equine reproduction and horse management issues from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Jan. 24, with lunch provided.

“We are pleased to again offer these educational events, which have grown in popularity over the past several years,” said Jill Stowe, event co-chair and director of UK Ag Equine Programs, part of the College of Agriculture, Food and Environment. “The showcase and short course really highlight the breadth and depth of expertise found at UK.”

“The UK Equine Showcase is a great opportunity for those in the industry to learn about the latest equine research and education efforts at UK. The annual Kentucky Breeders’ Short Course will focus on equine reproductive efficiency and horse management issues,” said Ed Squires, faculty member in UK’s Gluck Equine Research Center and event co-chair.

Topics for the UK Equine Showcase include:

  • Update on the illicit use of cobalt in racehorses
  • Moxidectin poisoning
  • Parasites and growth rates in foals
  • The ergot alkaloid enigma: Understanding stability of ergovaline in tall fescue
  • The molecular composition of Sarcocystis neurona and its application for controlling equine protozoal myeloencephalitis
  • An update on equine proliferative enteropathy and Lawsonia intracellularis
  • Physiology effects of aging – Focus on the horse: Let’s talk about inflammation, vaccination and deworming
  • Amino acid requirements in horses: In search of new knowledge
  • Emerging equine diseases

Topics for the Kentucky Breeders’ Short Course include:

  • Old and new approaches for lighting mares
  • Deworming strategies for broodmares and foals
  • Plasma for foals: Is it all the same?
  • Angular limb deformities in foals
  • Omega 3 fatty acids in mares and stallions
  • The genetic tool box: Beyond answering the question, “Who’s your (horse’s) daddy?”
  • What goes wrong in the geriatric mare?
  • Vaccination strategies for EVA and managing the EVA carrier stallion
  • Improving the survival of stallion sperm
  • Placentitis update

Both programs are open to veterinarians, owners and managers of all horse breeds or anyone with an interest in learning more about equine reproduction and topics concerning horse management. Continuing education credit for veterinarians and veterinary technicians is pending approval by the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners.

UK is also accepting sponsor participation in the event. Display opportunities are available to participating organizations. Please email for details.

To register for the event, visit Early bird registration rates last until Jan. 5. UK Equine Showcase early bird rates are $50 per person, or $40 each when two or more people from the same organization register at the same time. Early registration rates for the Kentucky Breeders’ Short Course are $100 per person, or $90 each when two or more people register at the same time. Attendees can enroll in both the showcase and the short course for $125 per person, or $115 each when two or more people from the same organization register. Registration will close Jan. 16.

College students are eligible for a reduced rate to the showcase and short course, but student designated space is limited and on a first-requested, first-served basis. Students or UK faculty interested in attending either or both days should email More about this event and other information about UK Ag Equine Programs can be found at

MEDIA CONTACT: Holly Wiemers, 859-257-2226.

Homecoming 2014 - The Great CATSby: What is the Wildcat Cup?

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 15:28

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2014) — When you think about Homecoming, things like alumni visiting campus, the Homecoming King and Queen and the battle on the gridiron, quickly come to mind. But the football game isn't the only competiton that is part of Homecoming. Student organizations of all sizes compete for the Wildcat Cup — a fun, but highly competitive competition each fall.

The Wildcat Cup is the annual point system for homecoming competition. Points are awarded for attendance, participation and victory at the following events:

·       Kitty Karnival

·       Paint The Town Blue

·       Street Fair

·       National Pan-Hellenic Council Step Show

·       Mr. and Miss Black UK

·       Royalty Showcase

The competition is split up between three categories: sorority, fraternity and non-Greek. The student organization that has the most points collected throughout the week will win the Wildcat Cup and be announced at halftime of the UK football game against Mississippi State Saturday, Oct. 25.

Attendance points are measured by organization members checking in at designated areas. Check in occurs via University of Kentucky Student ID swipe - TallyCats readers. Points are awarded for attendance by calculated percentage of checked-in organization members.

Points are also awarded for placement in competitive events.

The Wildcat Cup is an annual tradition to express the spirit and passion behind the Big Blue Nation and its organizations. Let the competition begin!

The University of Kentucky’s Homecoming Coalition exists to unify the UK community through programmatic efforts, bringing forward a celebration of tradition, spirit and university values. The Homecoming Coalition was formed in February 2010 and has since worked to better coordinate many organization’s individual programming into one cohesive homecoming schedule.

Connect with the Homecoming Coalition at, follow them on Twitter at @UKHomecoming and like them on Facebook at “University of Kentucky Homecoming."

MEDIA CONTACT: Katy Bennett,, 859-257-1909

Homecoming Coalition PR Contact: Hagen Brown,, 859-608-7538

WUKY Mayoral Candidate Forum is Oct. 28

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 14:32

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2014) — The WUKY Town and Gown, a Lexington mayoral candidate forum featuring Lexington Mayor Jim Gray and mayoral challenger Anthany Beatty, is Tuesday, Oct. 28 and will be the last opportunity for voters to hear from both candidates together before casting their ballots Nov. 2.

The event takes place at 7 p.m. Tuesday at Worsham Theater in the University of Kentucky Student Center. It is open to the public and seats are available on a first come-first served basis.

Award winning journalist and evening anchor for LEX-18, Nancy Cox, will serve as moderator and the questions will come from the voters themselves. Voters can submit questions for the candidates ahead of time at the WUKY Mayoral Forum Facebook page:   

The WUKY Mayoral Town and Gown will be broadcast live on 91.3 WUKY and partner station 88.1 WRFL.

MEDIA CONTACT:  Kathy Johnson, 859-257-3155;

Kentuckians Win Top Awards of Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues

Thu, 10/23/2014 - 14:18

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Oct. 24, 2014) — A couple who created a new sense of community in rural America with an online news site, and a crusading weekly editor who set an example that drew national attention, are the winners of this year’s top awards from the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, based at the University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information.

The awards are the Al Smith Award for public service in community journalism by a Kentuckian, which is co-sponsored by the Bluegrass Chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, and the Tom and Pat Gish Award for the courage, tenacity and integrity that are so often needed to do good rural journalism.

The Smith Award goes to Bill Bishop and Julie Ardery, husband and wife of La Grange, Texas, and natives of Louisville.  For several years recently they were co-editors of the Daily Yonder, the online news site of the Center for Rural Strategies, which Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues Director Al Cross says has “created a much greater sense of community among rural people in a diverse, changing rural America.”

The Gish Award goes posthumously to Landon Wills, who was publisher of the McLean County News in Calhoun from 1946 to 1972, and editor for almost all that time. He was the subject of a national television documentary in 1963 after advocating for civil rights and community development, and against religious prejudice and political mendacity.

Giving the awards to three Kentucky natives is “especially fitting” in a year when the institute is celebrating its 10th anniversary and the university is celebrating 100 years of journalism at UK, said Beth Barnes, director of the UK School of Journalism and Telecommunications. Also this year, the school’s Scripps Howard First Amendment Center is celebrating its 25th anniversary.

The awards will be presented at an Anniversary and Awards Dinner at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort in Lexington Thursday, Nov. 13. Invitations for the event will be mailed soon. For more information call 859-257-3744. Here are details about the awards, the winners and the institute:

The Tom and Pat Gish Award, to the late Landon Wills

For more than 50 years, Tom and Pat Gish published The Mountain Eagle at Whitesburg, Ky., and became nationally known for their battles with coal operators and corrupt politicians, and the firebombing of their newspaper office by a Whitesburg policeman. Tom Gish, who died in 2008, and Pat Gish, who died this year, were the first recipients of the award.

This year’s winner, the late Landon Wills, was a native of Henry County and a World War II veteran who bought the nearly defunct McLean County News in 1946. He hit the ground running, helping start ultimately successful campaigns to build a hospital, attract factories and get a navigation and flood-control dam on the Green River; taking strong issue with the "neo-isolationist" views of a highly respected jurist who had returned to the county of his birth to make a speech; and endorsing the civil-rights plank in the 1948 Democratic Party platform in the face of plenty of “Dixiecrats” in Western Kentucky. From the start, he was a watchdog on taxes and schools; on his front page, he ran a notice about the county schools’ annual financial statement and editorials pointed out that the Kentucky law requiring property to be assessed at fair cash value was being routinely violated, cheating the state's school systems. Seventeen years later, the state’s highest court agreed.

Wills’ news columns were almost exclusively local, but he believed the editorial page was open to any subject, and he often opined on state and national issues. His endorsement of John F. Kennedy for president in 1960 riled readers who were Democrats but didn’t want a Catholic president, and prompted concern for, and opposition to, him in some local churches.

In the ABC-TV documentary, “Vanishing Breed,” which gave Wills credit for the hospital and two factories, some citizens said he made them mad, one example being front-page play for a police raid on a Livermore brothel, but they said he was good for the county.  “He probes old sores and he makes new ones,” one said. “Some of us would like to beat the hell out of him, frankly. And yet again, we can’t help but think he deserves a pat on the back. Frankly with all my disagreement with Landon, I think he’s an excellent newspaper editor.”

One of his six sons, Clyde Wills, recalled recently that the paper produced “few financial rewards.  The conservative people in rural McLean County had very different opinions than my father.  While there was never a general business boycott, there were businesses that did not advertise because of the liberal editorials.” Ilene Wills taught school to supplement her husband’s income.

“It is no stretch to say that Landon was ahead of his time,” wrote Frankfort lawyer and Calhoun native William Ayer, one of the nominators for the award. “He engaged in journalism the way it was meant to be. . . . He never took a position on any local issue until he had thought the issue through, discussed it with his wife and staff at the paper and, ultimately, questioned his own position.” But one thing that “never seemed to enter the equation,” Ayer wrote, was whether a position would cost the paper money.

Landon Wills went to work for a War on Poverty program and turned over editorship of the paper to Clyde Wills in 1968. It was sold in the early 1970s to Walt Dear, then of Henderson, who also nominated him, calling him “the miracle man of weekly newspapering in Kentucky.”

The Al Smith Award, to Bill Bishop and Julie Ardery

The award is named for Albert P. Smith Jr., who published newspapers in rural Kentucky and was founding producer and host of KET’s “Comment on Kentucky” and federal co-chair of the Appalachian Regional Commission. He was the driving force for creation of the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, headed its national advisory board for many years, and remains on the board as chairman emeritus.

Bill Bishop, a member of the advisory board, and his wife Julie Ardery “have devoted their careers to producing quality community journalism that has improved the civic discourse in Kentucky and far beyond,” wrote board member Dee Davis of Whitesburg, president of the Center for Rural Strategies, in his nomination. The center publishes the Daily Yonder, the rural news site that the couple co-edited from 2005 to 2012.

Bishop worked for the Gishes at The Mountain Eagle while Ardery edited Jim Garland’s "Welcome the Traveler Home," a University Press of Kentucky memoir of the coal-mine wars in Bell and Harlan counties in the 1930s. They bought a 100-year-old weekly newspaper, the Bastrop County Times in Smithville, Texas, with proceeds from the sale of a newsletter Bishop had created about strip-mine regulation under the 1977 federal law.  Davis wrote, “The two made the paper so lively, innovative and popular that the competing paper eventually bought them out,” and they were the subjects of a feature story in Washington Journalism Review.

Bishop joined the Lexington Herald-Leader as an editorial writer and columnist, focusing on economic and community development issues; meanwhile, Ardery earned a Ph.D. in sociology at the University of Kentucky and wrote a book that explored the emergence of the contemporary folk-art economy in the state through the life of Edgar Tolson, a woodcarver from Wolfe County.

They returned to Texas, where Bishop worked for the Austin American-Statesman and wrote "The Big Sort: Why the Clustering of Like-Minded America is Tearing Us Apart," a book about voluntary political segregation that was favorably reviewed in major publications from The Economist to The New York Times and has earned frequent compliments from former president Bill Clinton.

Bishop and Ardery designed and ran the Daily Yonder, which explores and explains the relevance of rural America and helps create a stronger community of rural interests at a time when rural America’s population is steadily declining. They assembled a stable of writers, helped create polling of rural voters, and changed the national conversation about rural issues by pointing out such disparities as rural America’s disproportionate share of military casualties. They continue to contribute to the site from their home in La Grange, Texas, where they are preparing a book proposal that follows up on "The Big Sort" and attend the polka dances that fill halls and church grounds in Central Texas.

The Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues

The 10-year-old institute was piloted in 2002-04 with grants from the Appalachian Regional Commission and the Sigma Delta Chi Foundation, after organizational work by Al Smith and the late Rudy Abramson, a longtime Washington correspondent for the Los Angeles Times. It gained a permanent home at the University of Kentucky in 2004 with grants from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and the Ford Foundation, and the hiring of Al Cross as director.

Cross, who had been the longtime political writer for The Courier-Journal and still writes

columns for the Louisville newspaper, is now a tenured associate professor in the Extension Title series, reflecting his self-styled role as “extension agent for rural journalists.” The institute’s mission is to help rural journalists define the public agenda in their communities with strong reporting and commentary, especially on broad issues that have a local impact but few good local sources. It conducts workshops and research, offers consultations, and publishes The Rural Blog, a daily digest of events, trends, ideas and journalism from and about rural America, at, and Kentucky Health News at with support from the Foundation for a Healthy Kentucky. Its website is The institute’s national advisory board is chaired by Lois Mateus, a former Brown-Forman Corp. executive who is a regular contributor to The Harrodsburg Herald in her Kentucky hometown.

The Anniversary and Awards Dinner of the institute, at which the Tom and Pat Gish and Al Smith awards will be presented, is also being held to boost the institute’s endowment and guarantee its ability to continue to and expand its work. For information, call the institute at 859-257-3744 or email Cross at

MEDIA CONTACT: Ann Blackford at 859-323-6442 or 


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