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Program 615

1. poet Richard Taylor
2. remembering Dr. C.C. Howard
3. UK’s W.T. Young Library
4. recycling wood at Heartwood Industries
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Franklin County

Producer: Joy Flynn
Videographer: Lee Delaney
Editor: Dan Taulbee

You Know It—He’s a Poet

Richard Taylor

He’s also an English professor (at Kentucky State University) and, as owner of Poor Richard’s Books in Frankfort, a man who turned his passion into his business. Kentucky Poet Laureate for 1999-2000 Richard Taylor shows you around the shop, talks about the duties and the honor connected with the title, and reads some of his own works in this segment.

Poetry lovers who can make the drive to Frankfort can get a monthly dose of verse at the Poor Richard’s poetry readings. Meanwhile, Taylor’s own collection Earth Bones was the April 2003 selection for bookclub@ket.

Metcalfe County

For more information:
• The Blue Grass Grotto chapter of the National Speleological Society, located in the region, maintains a Floyd Collins web page with photos, history, and links.

Producer, videographer, audio, editor: Ernie Lee Martin

Doc Howard

C.C. Howard and Floyd Collins

C.C. Howard, born in 1888 in Summer Shade, Kentucky, grew up to be a doctor. A quiet man, he is affectionately remembered by old-timers in rural southcentral Kentucky as one of those “simple” country doctors who could heal just about anything.

Howard, though, had his one brush with wider fame in connection with a patient he could do nothing for. In late January 1925, he was called to a site where rescuers were trying to reach a man who had gotten himself trapped underground while exploring an unknown cave. The man was Floyd Collins, and in answering the call for help, Dr. Howard found himself in the middle of a 1920s version of a media circus.

At the time, the mobility afforded by the automobile was beginning to bring throngs of tourists to see the wonders of Mammoth Cave. Like many landowners in the area, Collins had hoped to siphon off some of those travelers (and supplement the meager income afforded by farming) by luring them to a cave of his own. A suitable cave, which he named Crystal Cave, existed beneath his family property. But the entrance was fairly inaccessible. In search of a better way in, Collins had been exploring a passageway on neighboring property, hoping it would connect with Crystal. He crawled in on January 30—never to crawl out again.

As Dr. Howard stood by helplessly, rescuers tried desperately to reach Collins. But their efforts were hampered by the mob of reporters that had gathered to feed the sensational story to America via radio and newspapers. Collins even talked to the reporters, and he apparently hung on for two weeks; he was heard coughing on February 13. But when finally reached just three days later, he was dead.

In this Kentucky Life profile, Ned Gray, C.C. Howard’s grandson, and former Kentucky Gov. Ned Breathitt recall that famous incident from the doctor’s perspective. They also remember the doctor himself as well as other cases from his distinguished career—most of which had much happier endings.

Fayette County

For more information:
William T. Young Library, 500 S. Limestone St., Lexington, KY 40506, (859) 257-0500

Producer: Joy Flynn
Videographer: Darrin Carr
Editor: Otis Ballard

Books and More

The University of Kentucky’s William T. Young Library

High-tech meets hand-made in our next segment, a visit to the William T. Young Library at the University of Kentucky in Lexington.

Opened for business in 1999, the Young Library is as thoroughly “wired” as you would expect an Information-Age library to be, with the latest in networked computers and electronic media gadgets. But lest all that technology feel a little sterile, the architects chose to include soaring spaces that let in plenty of outside light and to decorate a series of walkways with a collection of homemade quilts from the collection of Kentucky writer Wade Hall.

Another showpiece is a tapestry of benefactor W.T. Young created by renowned fiber artist Helena Hernmarck. Kentucky Life chronicled the making of the tapestry in Program 803.

Located on the UK campus, the library is open both to students and to the general public.

Ohio County

Producer, videographer: David Brinkley

Wood with Heart

Heartwood Industries’ “whiskey wood”

Could that floor you’re walking on once have been part of a distillery?

If the flooring material came from Heartwood Industries, it just might have. Or it could be from an abandoned 19th-century factory or warehouse. Heartwood reclaims lumber from all of those sources, diverting it from a date with the landfill to turn it into a line of building materials the company calls Whiskey Wood.

In this visit, President Ron Peech and Marketing Director Brenda Worley take us through the process, showing how “scrap” wood can be recycled into beautiful hardwood floors.

Heartwood is located in Ohio County, in the small town of Hartford—home, according to the sign outside town, to “2,000 happy people and a few sore heads.”

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