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Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Archive for February 2010

On a Catfish Farm in Western Kentucky

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by Angela Hatton

This week, I visited a catfish farm in Calloway County for a story. It’s the off-season right now, so things are pretty dull. However, in a few weeks harvesters are going to be out in the water every week  until the middle of October.  Ag Extension Aquaculture Specialist Forrest Wynne was one of my guides on the farm, and he provided me with some pictures he’s taken of past harvests. Click on the image to get a better view, and enjoy!

A tractor hauls a spool holding a seine net. The 700 foot net traps the larger catfish, so farmers don't harvest a batch that's too small.


Workers get wet as a manager keeps track of the harvest on his clipboard.


Catfish is gathered from inside the seine net. A man-made catfish pond is about five acres in size, and between four and five feet deep.


Aerator paddles churn water to keep the pond oxygenated. In the summer, the paddles run on a timer. They click on at night in order to save money through off-peak electricity.

Written by Angela Hatton

February 26, 2010 at 11:29 am

morning cram (front page go! edition)

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KY~ More jobs are coming to Princeton’s cracker factory. An ambulance worker claims he didn’t steal/use drugs on the job. The Bible literacy bill glides through senate and abortion-ultrasound legislation FAILS. Stumbo suggests more construction job spending. Trey plays dirty with Rand attack ads.

TN~ Senate passes low-income energy assistance bill.

IL~ Dems want no more hat tricks in drawing election districts.

SPORTS~ Women’s = APSU < EIU, UTM > EKU, MSU < Morehead. Men’s = APSU < EIU, UTM < EKU, MSU < Morehead = (

Written by Chris Taylor

February 26, 2010 at 9:15 am

Posted in Uncategorized

morning cram (i4Ni edition)

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KY~ Jury recommends state put Dunlap down. Archaeologists to poke and prod in Paducah today. Graves County Health Dept goes rogue! Do you trust your ambulance driver? Underage ‘sexting‘ could lead to $100 fines. Supreme Court may experiment with public juvenile court hearings.

TN~ UT Martin has around 7,700 students. Paris/Henry County property taxes due Monday. Advocacy group warns TennCare cuts will hurt economy.

IL~ Quinn suggests cutting $2billion and still eyes increasing income tax.

Written by Chris Taylor

February 25, 2010 at 8:54 am

Posted in The Morning Cram

morning cram (dueling edition)

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KY~ Area doctors agree something’s wrong with Dunlap’s brain as closing arguments begin today. Paducah Commissioners feel misled and will reconsider protecting their trees. Western Baptist Hospital is expanding. House urges Congress/EPA to delay Clean Air enforcement, considers taxing online horse race betting and will soon vote to scrap dueling language. Group lobbies Frankfort for payday loan caps.

TN~ Where are all these dead birds coming from? Local 911 districts get paid.

Written by Chris Taylor

February 24, 2010 at 9:02 am

Posted in The Morning Cram

morning cram (tutu edition)

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KY~ Archbishop Desmond Tutu offers scathing media criticism and a message of peace/reconciliation/forgiveness to MSU students. McCracken Schools get antsy over laptop privacy and County officials consider development exceptions. MSU’s entrepreneur assistance reaches out to Madisonville. Community college system will rally for funds in Frankfort (again). Beshear hopes to deter highway deaths.

TN~ Clarksville Marina work halts. Because they’re such good drivers. TN lawmakers reject child rights protections, will Bredesen?

Written by Chris Taylor

February 23, 2010 at 9:12 am

Posted in The Morning Cram

morning cram (barrel scraping edition)

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Slow news Monday.. Sometimes that’s a good thing.

KY~ MSU Board: what’s up with enrollment!? Murray woman (allegedly) murders Puryear man. Paducah votes to protect trees tomorrow. Calloway County and Murray Schools team up. Murray Republicans hear from: Grayson, JohnsonMcBeePaul, Whitfield, Winters.

TN~ Who doesn’t carry a gun? Former Paris teacher’s child porn charges go federal.

SPORTS~ Women’s = APSU > TTU, UTM > SEMO, MSU < EIU; Men’s = APSU < ORU, UTM < BSU, MSU > MSU (Morgan).

Written by Chris Taylor

February 22, 2010 at 9:03 am

Posted in The Morning Cram

Here We Go Again?

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by Todd Hatton

As you may have already heard, a bill, SB 142, sponsored by Democratic state senators Dave Boswell of Owensboro, Julian Carroll of Frankfort, and Senate Minority Leader Ed Worley would allow Kentucky schools to offer an elective course on biblical literacy.  You can take a look at it for yourself at this link:

A non-scientific sampling of online opinion reveals something surprising; namely that no one is much surprised.  There are the extremes of opinion, with triumphalist satisfaction on one end and angry disdain on the other, but far and away the majority of opinions can be summed up thus: “Isn’t is wonderful that Kentucky’s legislators have balanced the budget, solved the problem of 10% unemployment, and overhauled the more fundamental parts of the Commonwealth’s education system so that they’re free to worry over something that was never much of a problem?”

In that light, one does wonder why Senators Carroll, Boswell, and Worley have chosen this moment to advocate such legislation.

What is more unusual is the fact that, according to Bible Literacy Project Executive Director Sarah Janislawski, nine Kentucky public schools are already using their curriculum to teach just such a class.  This raises the additional question of whether a bill like this is even necessary.

Some online commentators are concerned that Senate Bill 142 will end up cost the state money through lawsuits that it can ill afford.  Kentucky ACLU Executive Director Michael Aldridge says the bill doesn’t appear unconstitutional, but he told the Lexington Herald-Leader that “it opens up the back door to curricula that is unconstitutional.”  Louisville Senator Gerald Neal agrees, saying “There are teachers I know that would probably cross the line in terms of prosilitizing in the framework of this particular type of bill.”  All things considered, it’s beginning to look irresponsible, however well-intentioned,” to advance a bill like this.

Constitutionality and appropriateness aside, I do wonder why we have such trouble talking about the Bible, either in the classroom or in the public sphere.  I’m well aware that we’ve invested the Bible, no matter what translation or version, with a deep importance, but has that significance put it outside the public, and hopefully civil, realm of criticism or discussion?  And if it has, does that mean the Bible is no longer as accessible as it once was, confined as it could be to specific interpretations?

Gardening Season’s Coming, Prep Now

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by Angela Hatton

This week on The Front Page, host Todd Hatton interviews Trace Stevens with the Paducah Parks Service about the city’s new community garden. A few years back, I started growing my own herbs to save on the cost of buying fresh herbs, and last year I participated in a local Community Supported Agriculture program.

I know we’re all tired of hearing this phrase, but in economic times like these, growing your own food, even if it’s a small amount, can result in big savings. Herbs are some of the easiest plants to grow. Most require sunny patch of land and little watering. Plant perennials like rosemary and thyme and you’ll have fresh flavoring year-round (not to mention pretty landscaping around the house, as both plants tend to grow large).

Tomatoes and peppers are another easy option for the would-be gardener. Last year, my CSA farmers introduced me to a variety of heirloom tomatoes. If you haven’t eaten anything other than the bland pale red things restaurants scatter over house salads, you must try an heirloom tomato. My favorite is the Cherokee Purple. Heirloom seeds are widely available on the Internet. Some nurseries may also carry these seeds.

If you know a friend who gardens, you can always ask him/her about starting your own. And, again, the web has a seemingly boundless supply of resources. A Google search for “gardening” returns nearly 45 million hits. I recommend going the organic route, especially on a small-scale. If you have to spray, use an organic spray that won’t add unnecessary chemicals to your food. The site offers a free newsletter with tips and information.  For a comprehensive and accessible guide to setting up a garden, check out this article from the University of Arizona College of Agriculture. Apartment-dwellers: look for the section on container gardening.

If you can’t grow your own, consider joining a CSA or going to your local farmer’s market. Veg tastes best when it’s grown and bought locally.

Written by Angela Hatton

February 19, 2010 at 4:34 pm

morning cram (drop in on the dropout edition)

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KY~ First Lady Jane and Education Commissioner Holliday confront high school dropouts @ MSU summit, while Paducah-area  high schoolers have their graduations pushed back.  Fulton County arrests an (alleged) jailhouse drug dealer. Courthouse arsonist gets 12 years / $2.4m in fines. The Dunlap trial hits its sentencing phase. House budget targets universities for cuts and passes blow-to-drive bill.

TN~ 6 Henry County felons are arrested for voting. Senate passes phone scam prevention bill and clarifies a gun law.

SPORTS~ Women’s = APSU > JSU, MSU > SEMO; Men’s = APSU > TTU, UTM > EIU.

Written by Chris Taylor

February 19, 2010 at 10:02 am

Posted in The Morning Cram

Todd’s Good Read – “Manhunt: The 12 Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer”

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Manhunt: The 12-Day Chase for Lincoln’s Killer

James L. Swanson

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Product Description:
The murder of Abraham Lincoln set off the greatest manhunt in American history. From April 14 to April 26, 1865, the assassin, John Wilkes Booth, led Union cavalry and detectives on a wild twelve-day chase through the streets of Washington, D.C., across the swamps of Maryland, and into the forests of Virginia, while the nation, still reeling from the just-ended Civil War, watched in horror and sadness. James L. Swanson’s Manhunt is a fascinating tale of murder, intrigue, and betrayal. A gripping hour-by-hour account told through the eyes of the hunted and the hunters, this is history as you’ve never read it before.

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“I picked this book up in the bookstore that’s tucked into a corner of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. I was looking for a good historical non-fiction read while I was in town, and I found it. Swanson translates his encyclopedic knowledge of the Lincoln Assassination and its players, both major and minor, into a story that reads like a good thriller. It’s a thorough account (some 392 pages) that neither bogs the reader down nor engages in stereotypes; I finished Manhunt in a mere three days. An absolute must for Lincoln enthusiasts, history buffs, and even lovers of a good mystery.” – Todd Hatton

Click here to see more books  on our complete “Good Reads” page.

Written by Matt Markgraf

February 19, 2010 at 10:00 am