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Contents:
Program 919

1. ROTC basic training
2. the Cave City Farmers’ Market
3. mixed-media artist Debbie Joplin
4. wild horse adoption
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Hardin County

For more information:
Army ROTC, (800) USA-ROTC
Western Kentucky University ROTC, (888) WKU-2666

Producer: Kathryn Stewart
Videographers: Justin Hardison, Chris Mueller, Erin Althaus, Phillip White


Officers in Training

ROTC basic training at Fort Knox

This edition of Kentucky Life starts with the basics—basic training, that is. We meet two Western Kentucky University students who are participating in the U.S. Army ROTC program, then try to keep up with them as they participate in the Basic Camp challenge at Fort Knox. This five-week training course includes everything from jumping off a 35-foot tower to crawling in the dirt to leading a group of recruits through a wilderness area as a test of leadership skills.

Founded in 1916, the Reserve Officers’ Training Corps offers college scholarships to students who agree to serve as Army officers after graduating. More than half a million men and, since 1973, women—75% of all Army officers—have graduated from the program as lieutenants since then. Many other students participate in a two-year elective version of the program that offers training in military skills and leadership with no service obligation.

Western’s Hilltopper ROTC Battalion is one of the oldest in the state, with roots going back to World War I. WKU’s ROTC alumni include an Army vice chief of staff. Eastern Kentucky University, Morehead State University, the University of Kentucky, and the University of Louisville also offer ROTC programs, and many Kentucky high schools offer Junior ROTC activities.

Watch This Story (5:55)




Barren County

For more information:
Directory of Farmers’ Markets from the USDA

Producer, editor: Erin Althaus
Videographers: Cheryl Beckley, Erin Althaus, Courtney McDowell


To Market, To Market

The Cave City Farmers’ Market

Around Kentucky and around the country, farmers’ markets are booming. By eliminating the middlemen between growers and consumers, they make it possible for farmers to make a profit on smaller, more diversified crops—a definite boon in Kentucky, where many farmers are searching for ways to lessen their dependence on tobacco. Chefs and consumers appreciate the freshness and quality of the produce, and environmentalists applaud the savings in energy and packaging realized by selling food close to where it’s grown. Farmers’ markets also serve a social function, helping to reconnect urban and rural neighbors.

They’re also just a lot of fun, as we discover on this visit to the farmers’ market in Cave City. Besides the ever-changing variety of colorful fresh fruits and vegetables, and often craft items, the farmers’ market offers a chance to mingle, bargain, and socialize.

This Barren County example is open Tuesdays starting at noon and Fridays and Saturdays starting at 7:00 am (CT). The official closing time is “when everything is sold,” so get there early for the best selection.

Watch This Story (3:30)




Oldham County

Producer: Connie Offutt
Videographer: Mike Blackburn


Art from Another Dimension

Fiber artist Debbie Cherie Joplin

Think of fabric art, and you think in two dimensions. But Oldham County artist Debbie Cherie Joplin has literally given it a whole new shape. She spent a year and a half in her Crestwood studio developing a technique for building up layers of hand-dyed silk into three-dimensional objects.

Here’s how Debbie herself describes her artistic philosophy and her technique:

“One’s work cannot easily be separated from one’s life, and what I respond to is hearing a voice struggling with itself. Not everything needs to be ‘spoken,’ but everything needs to be ‘heard;’ and with the alchemy of hand and spirit, the narrative takes form.

“To me the vessel is a magical and sacred object capable of containing other tangible objects or offering shelter and protection. The resultant emotions in holding one of these vessels can be very spiritual as the interior spaces evoke personal responses—memories conjured or a book opened to many meanings. My special technique, which took 18 months to develop, as it had not been done before, takes the 2-D medium of hand-dyed silk and hand-shapes it into a 3-D object. This in inself is a metaphor. The layering of silk is much like the events in our lives that shape us: It becomes more than just a container—it becomes the area and associations it contains.

“I enjoy the process of evolution in each piece, as each has its own unique voice. Each piece is an original. There are no shortcuts, pressed or poured molds, or mass-production techniques. My mixed-media approach adds special and handmade papers and found objects, each a tiny message in itself, and combines them into a complete journal. I invite you to hold each piece and find your own personal connection.

“To the journey!”

Watch This Story (5:43)




Shelby County

For more information:
National Wild Horse and Burro Program, U.S. Bureau of Land Management, (866) 4MUSTANGS

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographers: Dave Shuffett, Jeremy Kendall
Editor: Dan Taulbee


Spirit of the West

Wild horse adoption

Diane and Rocky Traylor of Shelby County own a couple of horses. While that’s certainly nothing unusual in Kentucky, these animals’ origins do make them a little out of the ordinary: They were born in the wild.

Bands of wild horses and burros have roamed the American West for centuries, descendants of animals that either escaped from or were released by Spanish conquistadors, the Native American tribes to whom the conquistadors introduced horses, or, later, U.S. Army cavalry units. On lands managed by the U.S. Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Land Management—a hefty percentage of some Western states—they are protected as a living link to the Old West. But when their population grows too large for the range to sustain both the wild animals and the livestock that graze there, some of the wild horses and burros are rounded up and offered for adoption. Since the early 1970s, nearly 200,000 of these animals have been placed in private care.

To adopt their horses, the Traylors had to pay an adoption fee and meet a list of requirements designed to ensure that the animals will have room to roam and will be well taken care of. Though the adopter is responsible for all costs of caring for and training the animal, ownership remains with the federal government during the first year. Adopters may apply for title to the animal after that. The system is designed to prevent animals being “adopted” and then immediately resold for profit or sent to slaughter.

Instead, the adopted animals become companions and even partners. Smart, strong, and agile, many formerly wild horses have been trained for endurance racing and various kinds of riding competitions.

The BLM holds periodic in-person adoptions where potential “parents” can pick out a favorite. The final adoption fee, which starts at $125, is then determined by bidding. For the last few years, selected animals also have been made available via Internet auction.

Watch This Story (7:00)


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