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Program 1008

1. LST-325
2. Three Fork Creek Ostrich Ranch
3. Jailhouse Arts & Crafts
4. Dan Torpey’s automata
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McCracken County

For more information:
USS LST Ship Memorial, 840 LST Dr., Evansville, IN 47713, (812) 435-8678

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Associate producers: Carolyn Gwinn, Jim Piston
Editor: Jim Piston

Sailing Into History


To begin this edition, host Dave Shuffett meets a special World War II veteran: LST-325, a transport ship that saw action in the Mediterranean and off the coast of Normandy and is now a floating memorial.

More than 1,000 LSTs (Landing Ship, Tank) were built to transport troops and heavy equipment. Their shallow drafts allowed the LSTs to deposit their cargo directly onto beaches, then pull away under their own power. Built in 1942, LST-325 spent much of 1943 ferrying men and materiel from North Africa to the Sicily and Italian campaigns. Then in the spring of 1944, she became part of the back-up force for the massive D-Day invasion, landing engineers and support equipment on the beaches of Normandy on day 2 of the campaign.

Some months later, the ship was damaged in a severe storm and sent home for repairs. LST-325 was headed back out, this time to the Pacific to test some new navigational equipment, when word came of Japan’s surrender and the end of the war.

Some of the LSTs saw action in Korea and even in Vietnam, but most were sold or scrapped. After several years of Arctic patrols, LST-325 herself was sold to the Greek navy in 1964. Several decades later, she seemed destined for the scrapyard, too—until a group of WWII veterans banded together to save the ship, which by the end of the century was one of only a few still intact. They convinced Congress to buy the ship back and spent months restoring her to seaworthiness. Then the all-volunteer crew, most of them in their 70s, sailed her 6,200 miles back across the Atlantic to Mobile, AL, where further repair work was done. In 2003, LST-325 made an inland voyage from Mobile up the Mississippi and Ohio rivers as far as Jeffersonville, IN (which, along with Evansville, was a center of LST building). Dave goes on board during a stop in Paducah as the ship was on its way back to Mobile, getting a tour with Skipper Robert Jomlin.

LST-325 is now dedicated as a living tribute to all the LSTs and their crews. Since 2005, she has been based in Evansville, IN; tours are available every day but Monday. Restoration efforts continue, and donations of both money and time are welcomed.

Owen County

For more information: Three Fork Creek Ostrich Ranch, 1010 Cross Road Pike, Corinth, KY 41010, (502) 484-0010

Producers: Philip Allgeier, Cassandra Arza
Videographers: Philip Allgeier, Matt Hilton

Big Birds

Three Fork Creek Ostrich Ranch

Ostriches are the world’s largest birds, with mature males sometimes standing nine feet tall and weighing 300 pounds or more. They can’t fly, but their wings and legs are strong—they can cruise at 30 mph for half an hour and top out around 50 mph. And they’re temperamental, prone to kicking if they can’t just run away. But they are also hardy and potentially valuable creatures. The scientific name of Struthio camelus acknowledges their desert heritage: Like camels, they get their water from the plants they eat. And they are a source of lean, low-cholesterol meat; exotic feathers; and fine leather. So at some Kentucky farms, ostriches have become livestock.

We visit one of them, the Three Fork Creek Ostrich Ranch in Owen County, in this segment. Owner James Settles leads the tour and explains some of the operations at the farm, which raises birds and eggs for sale to other ranchers. At any given time, Three Fork Creek has around 175 adult ostriches and 400 eggs incubating in the hatchery. The Settles family also creates and sells hats and other craft items made from ostrich feathers and egg shells.

And in case you wondered ... Female ostriches, which nest on the ground and are a drab gray that blends with desert surroundings, sometimes stretch their necks out along the ground to “hide” if their nests are threatened. But ostriches don’t really bury their heads in the sand.

Spencer County

For more information:
• Taylorsville Jailhouse Arts & Crafts Cooperative, P.O. Box 838, Taylorsville, KY 40071, (502) 477-6654

Producer: Dave Shuffett
Videographer: Matt Grimm
Editor: Jim Piston

Multi-Cellular Art

the Taylorsville Jailhouse Arts & Crafts Cooperative

In our next segment, Dave goes to jail. More precisely, he visits Jailhouse Arts & Crafts in Taylorsville, where the former Spencer County jail has been turned into an arts collaborative.

The building dates to the early 1900s, when a new jail was built after the original one from 1856 burned down. Closed in 1985, it found new life as a home for the work of local artisans three years later. Not much remodeling was done in the meantime, though. The wares of individual artists and crafters are displayed in the cells, which function as ready-made booths. The offerings include ceramics, gourds, cards, wall hangings, and more.

Jailhouse Arts & Crafts is located right behind the courthouse in downtown Taylorsville.

Jefferson County

For more information:
Barking Dogs Automata, 1814 Deer Park Ave., Louisville, KY 40205, (502) 458-4323

Producer: Cheryl Beckley
Videographers: Cheryl Beckley, Erin Althaus

Crank It Up

Dan Torpey’s automata

Dan Torpey has been fascinated by automata and hand-cranked toys since childhood. Now he crafts his own—whimsical folk-art pieces that tell little stories when you turn their handles.

Torpey, whose day job is teaching 5th grade, creates all his automata by hand, from the initial sketch to the carving and painting. In addition to the artistic element, he enjoys the puzzle-solving aspect of the work as he figures out how to achieve the desired motion or effect.

Many of Torpey’s creations are reminiscent of the toys he remembers from boyhood. His company, Barking Dog Automata, is named for a design featuring two canines who appear to be snarling at each other. Only a turn of the crank will reveal whether they’re really friends or enemies. Other designs include a cat tracking the motions of a flying bird, a man visiting a chiropractor, and an angel flapping her wings. Several examples, including some on slightly more risqué themes, can be found in Torpey’s online gallery.

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