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Program 1306

1. preserving the Palisades
2. General Butler State Resort Park
3. Coach Ed Diddle
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Garrard County

For more information:

The Nature Conservancy, 642 W. Main St., Lexington, KY 40508, (859) 259-9655
Palisades Appaloosas, 1601 Bowman’s Bottom Road, Lancaster, KY 40444, (859) 338-7955

Producer, videographer, audio: Brandon Wickey
Editors: Dan Taulbee, Brandon Wickey

Buffer Zones

Conservation Buyers in the Palisades

While other groups work (and sometimes battle) with policymakers to preserve special natural areas through legislation, the Nature Conservancy was founded with a more direct approach in mind: Buy the land and thus control its use yourself. But funds are limited, and needs are great. So the group also enlists other landowners as partners in its conservation efforts. In this segment, we meet two Kentucky families who are helping to preserve the unique geological and ecological features of the Kentucky River Palisades by participating in the conservancy’s Conservation Buyer program.

Through this program, TNC re-sells land it has acquired to people who have agreed to preserve it through a conservation easement—a binding legal agreement that specifies how it may be used and the qualities that must be preserved. The properties available through the Conservation Buyer program are not the cores of preserves; they don’t shelter endangered species or contain unique geological formations. Instead, they are “buffer zone” areas that surround those cores, providing additional protection for a watershed and keeping development from encroaching on the heart of a preserve. The Nature Conservancy and the buyer of the land work out an agreement on uses for the land that are compatible with the conservation goals, and the conservancy can use the proceeds from the sale to purchase more critically endangered habitats elsewhere.

For this Kentucky Life look at how the program works, the preserve in question is the Sally Brown Nature Preserve in Garrard County (which we previously visited in Programs 616 and 1302). We meet two families who have bought adjoining land from the Nature Conservancy: Lisa and Mitch Estridge, who pasture Appaloosa horses on their land overlooking the Palisades, and Vicki and Ken Brooks, who live on a 50-acre plot nearby.

Carroll County

For more information:
General Butler State Resort Park, 1608 Hwy. 227, Carrollton, KY 41008, (866) 462-8853

Producer: Brandon Wickey
Videographers: John Schroering, Brandon Wickey
Audio: Noel Bramblett, Brent Abshear
Editors: Dan Taulbee, Brandon Wickey

Going Local

Two Rivers Restaurant at General Butler

The restaurants at Kentucky’s state resort parks have always offered hearty fare and plenty of it, with reasonably priced all-you-can-eat buffets that have made them popular dining destinations for locals and tourists alike. But the traditional menu is heavy on “comfort food” and doesn’t vary much from Pine Mountain to Lake Barkley. In this visit to Two Rivers, the restaurant at General Butler State Resort Park in Carrollton, host Dave Shuffett samples the results of an experiment: a specially tailored menu that features local favorites and local produce.

Dave visits with assistant park manager Scot Williams and chef Eric Clippert to learn about the benefits of their new approach, which range from providing healthier fare to supporting local farmers. He also tours one of the park’s other main attractions, the Butler-Turpin House, built in 1859, and talks with manager Evelyn Welch about family patriarch and military hero William Orlando Butler, for whom the park is named.

General Butler also offers golf; mountain biking; hiking; fishing, boating, and swimming; and a scenic overlook at the confluence of the Kentucky and Ohio rivers.

Warren County

For more information: Biography of E.A. Diddle from Western Kentucky University

Producer: Tom Thurman

Red Towels and Winning Seasons

basketball coach E.A. Diddle

Before Tubby or Rick or Denny or even Adolph, there was Uncle Ed—Edgar Allen Diddle, the legendary coach who put Western Kentucky University Hilltoppers basketball on the national map. The first man to coach 1,000 games at a single NCAA school, he was also the first to compile a 30-win season and a legendary motivator and innovator.

He was also, it seems, a natural-born showman. Playing in non-air-conditioned gyms, the Hilltopper players were given towels to mop up perspiration. (They were originally white, until a 1940s administrator hit on the idea of dyeing them red for the school color.) Diddle used his as a prop, waving it like a flag to encourage his players or whip up the crowd, throwing it to show displeasure with the referees, or burying his face in it when things were going badly. Spectators began following suit, and soon the red towel was as much a fixture at WKU games as Diddle himself. Astronaut Terry Wilcutt, a Western alumnus profiled in Kentucky Life Program 513, has even taken his red towel into space.

When Diddle first arrived at what is now Western Kentucky University in 1922, it was known as Western Kentucky State Normal School and Teachers College and had just won the right to award bachelor’s degrees in education. Intercollegiate athletics was hardly a priority. Diddle, who had coached basketball briefly but successfully at the high school level, was at first put in charge of all of the school’s teams. He would make himself a legend coaching the men’s basketball team, of course, but his brief stint as mentor to the women’s team did yield one lasting benefit: He married one of his players, Margaret Louise Monin.

Western’s small-college status (it would not be a university until shortly after Diddle retired in 1964) also made recruiting a challenge. But Diddle, who had been raised on a farm in Adair County, had a talent for identifying basketball potential and convincing rural and small-town boys that Western was the only place for them. Rather than trying to compete for high school stars, he looked for size and speed and figured he could mold raw recruits into the kind of player he wanted. A pioneer of the fast-break style, he believed in putting on an entertaining show—even encouraging his players to dunk whenever possible in an era when many coaches shunned the practice.

That style also translated into plenty of on-court success. Diddle averaged 25 wins a year and retired as the winningest coach in NCAA history at the time, with 759 total victories. His teams won or shared 32 conference championships; played in the NIT, then the premier post-season college tournament, eight times; and participated in the Olympic Trials.

Off the court, Diddle’s motivational style endeared him to his players, who called him Uncle Ed. More than 100 of them followed his example and became coaches themselves. His absolute loyalty to Western, his generosity with his time, and a certain unique approach to the language also endeared him to the Bowling Green community and made him a certified local character. Today’s Hilltoppers play in E.A. Diddle Arena, built just before his retirement. Diddle faithfully attended games there, red towel in hand, until his death in 1970.

Bourbon County

For more information:
Hopewell Museum, 800 Pleasant St., Paris, KY 40361, (859) 987-7274

On Location

Hopewell Museum

Dave hosts this edition from Bourbon County’s Hopewell Museum, a restored Beaux Arts building that was originally a post office and now houses changing exhibits on local history and regional fine arts. A permanent exhibit honors African-American inventor Garrett Morgan, the Paris native who created the traffic light and the gas mask.

SEASON 13 PROGRAMS: 1301130213031304130513061307/1326: The Lincoln Wedding130813091310

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