The Front Blog

Conversations from the Four Rivers Region

Posts Tagged ‘Land Between the Lakes

the morning cram [the shaken, not stirred, edition]

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Syrian regime has “License to Kill” after diplomatic impasse

NPR reports at least 15 dead following government bombings this weekend

OVC Scores…

Kentucky~ Thousands of Kentuckians visited the downed Eggners Ferry Bridge.  Emergency management officials say they are better prepared to handle disasters. Two have been arrested in connection to the slaying of a Fort Campbell soldier.  Activists invite lawmakers to a  tea party.

Tennessee~ Six state environmental panels are being reduced to three. A state-wide earthquake drill is set for Tuesday.

Datebook: February 3 – The Day the Music Died

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On February 3, 1959, a small-plane crash near Clear Lake, Iowa, killed three American rock and roll pioneers: Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens, and J. P. “The Big Bopper” Richardson, as well as the pilot, Roger Peterson. The day was later called “The Day the Music Died” by Don McLean, in his song “American Pie.” The plane crash has been called the first and greatest tragedy rock and roll has ever suffered.

It’s Friday, February 3

Tomorrow, Land Between the Lakes offers the public a one-time opportunity to view the partial collapse of the Eggner’s Ferry Bridge. Highway 68/80 west will be temporarily opened to traffic. Visitors will be directed to park at the Fenton Camping Area and Boat Ramp, and will be allowed to walk in designated areas to view the bridge. Visit for more information.

The Murray Art Guild offers a Valentine’s sale of handcrafted jewelry and homemade candy tomorrow from 9AM to 4PM. The sale takes place at the art guild, located at 500 North 4th Street. For more, call 753-4059.

A panel of Murray State University’s first African-American students and faculty will discuss their experiences on Monday at 5:30PM in the Curris Center’s Barkley Lecture Hall. A question and answer session will follow. African-American art by 1971 MSU graduate Elliott Jordan will be on display in the lobby.

Hear a rebroadcast of Maya Angelou’s Black History Month Special Sunday morning at 9 on 91.3 WKMS.

Datebook: February 2 – ‘Ulysses’ Published 90 Years Ago

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Ulysses is a novel by the Irish author James Joyce. Considered one of the most important works of Modernist literature, it has been called “a demonstration and summation of the entire movement,” and, “Before Joyce, no writer of fiction had so foregrounded the process of thinking.” Ulysses chronicles the passage of Leopold Bloom through Dublin during an ordinary day, June 16, 1904. Since publication, the book attracted controversy and scrutiny, ranging from early obscenity trials to protracted textual “Joyce Wars.” Ulysses’ stream-of-consciousness technique, careful structuring, and experimental prose—full of puns, parodies, and allusions, as well as its rich characterizations and broad humor, made the book a highly regarded novel in the Modernist pantheon. In 1998, the Modern Library ranked Ulysses first on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the 20th century.

It’s Thursday, February 2

Flute-guitar duo Kathleen Karr and Stephen Mattingly will give a recital tomorrow evening at 6 in the Performing Arts Hall on the campus of Murray State University. The program includes works by Italian, French, Argentinean, and American composers. Admission is free. For more information, call the music department at 270-809-4288.

The Western Kentucky Polar Plunge takes place Saturday at 11AM at the Kentucky Dam Village State Resort Park. Solicit donations to benefit Special Olympics athletes, then take a chilly dip in the lake. The minimum contribution is $75 for adults or $50 for youth. Find more online at

Land Between the Lakes offers a chance to learn more about the American Civil War during the Fort Henry Anniversary Walk on Saturday from 12:30 to 4PM. Learn about the construction, the battle, and the legacy of Fort Henry during the event’s 150th anniversary. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for children. Registration is required by calling 924-2020.

Find more community events at

the morning cram [he’s doing his Walter Huston dance edition]

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Apparently, the fortune I left in Vegas last year isn’t paying the bills anymore, so they’re looking to gold.

NPR reports as the struggling economy has hurt the gambling industry in Nevada, state officials are looking to increase taxes on the state’s prospering gold mining industry.

OVC Scores…

Kentucky~ We can go see the bridge this weekend (photo op; place head here). There was a bomb threat at Calloway Middle. Big trucks and small bridges don’t mix. We have the interwebs back. Former Ag Commish Farmer applied for unemployment. A soldier uses HIV to avoid discharge. There are more jobs at an Owensboro pipeline.

Datebook: February 1 – Voice of America begins broadcasting 70 years ago

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Voice of America (VOA) is the official external broadcast institution of the United States federal government. VOA provides a wide range of programming for broadcast on radio and TV and the Internet outside of the U.S. in 44 languages. VOA produces about 1,500 hours of news and feature programming each week for an estimated global audience of 123 million people, “to promote freedom and democracy and to enhance understanding through multimedia communication of accurate, objective, and balanced news, information and other programming about America and the world to audiences overseas.” A 1976 law signed by President Gerald Ford requires VOA to “serve as a consistently reliable and authoritative source of news.” The VOA Charter states: “VOA news will be accurate, objective and comprehensive.” However, the service has been criticized as an instrument of American propaganda. Under §501 of the Smith–Mundt Act of 1948, VOA is forbidden to broadcast directly to American citizens. The intent of the legislation is to protect the American public from propaganda actions by its own government. Although VOA does not broadcast domestically, Americans can access the programs through shortwave and streaming audio over the Internet.

Learn more about VOA on their website.

It’s Wednesday, February 1

The Empty Bowls Project, an effort to combat hunger in our region, will be held Saturday, February 25, at the Paducah Convention Center. $15 tickets purchase a handmade ceramic bowl and food donated by local restaurants, with proceeds going to the Community Kitchen. Purchase tickets in advance by calling Michael Terra Cottage Studios at 908-0090.

Applications are now available for the first six hunting days of the 2012 Turkey Season at Land Between the Lakes. These quota hunts provide unique recreational opportunities and help maintain a healthy turkey population. The application fee is $5. Find more information and apply online at

The 8th Annual Reelfoot Lake Eagle Festival takes place on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday. Festival features include guided bus and van tours, a live birds of prey program, an art and photography contest, storytelling, a silent auction, and more. Make reservations for van tours at 731-253-9652.

Tomorrow at noon, hear Maya Angelou’s Black History Month Special on 913 WKMS. Click here for details on Black History Month programming.

the morning cram [what ignorant, lowdown, slanderizin son of a…edition]

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Things are getting nasty in Florida…and in the Republican Primary as well.

NPR reports the mud slinging between Republican Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich has reached new levels in the Florida primary.

OVC Scores…

Kentucky~ Bridge inspectors bring in an Echoschope, sounds fancy. MSU draws Saint Mary’s in the BracketBuster. KCTCS wants more black students. A soldier’s facing lesser charges now that murder’s off the table. Turkey huntin’ in LBL, get your gun, and boat. Ron Paul wants to give Kentucky a shot. Beshear thinks expanded gaming can happen.

LBL’s Eggner’s Ferry Bridge Collapse Updates

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Last Update: 3:45 p.m. Saturday, February 4, 2012 – Removed Outdated Info

Housing Option for MSU Commuter Students Affected by Bridge Damage

from Murray State University press release

Current Murray State University students with a longer and more expensive commute to classes on campus due to the damage to Eggner’s Ferry Bridge now have another option. MSU’s department of housing and residence life has announced that housing spaces on campus are available to rent for the remainder of the semester at a prorated cost. Anyone interested in more information on this opportunity should contact the housing office at (270) 809-2310 or toll free at 1 (877) 551-7774.

Ky Transportation Cabinet Spokesman on Restoring Eggner’s Ferry Bridge

(Shelly Baskin 2012-02-03)

On Thursday, January 26th, the cargo ship Delta Mariner struck an eastern span of the US 68/KY 80 Eggner’s Ferry bridge that crosses Kentucky Lake and the Tennessee River. U.S. Coast Guard officials say the ship was in a shallower recreational channel outside the regular, deeper, shipping lane when it hit the bridge. Luckily, no lives were lost and no injuries were reported. The wider impact has been significant, however, affecting over-the-road transport, personal travel, and even the businesses that rely on the traffic that comes by on Highway 68/80. Officials say they’re working to restore the crossing, but first they have to look at the bridge’s structure before determining the way forward. Shelly Baskin speaks with Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd for some perspective on the process.

Click here to listen to the interview.

Foss Maritime Bridge Update

from press release

The U.S. Coast Guard has approved the plan submitted by Foss Maritime to conduct salvage operations at the Eggner Ferry Bridge. Foss will spend the rest of today on safety briefings for the crew and salvage team, and on safety inspections of equipment. Foss expects to begin operations on Saturday.  The first step once salvage begins is to cut the sections of the bridge at the waterline to free the ship from the subsurface debris. Then the salvage team will work up the side of the ship removing other pieces of the bridge. One piece at a time will be removed. The operation will be done slowly and carefully to assure the safety of the workers and to avoid having any pieces damage the ship. When the ship is free of the underwater debris, it will be moved out of the channel to a protected area where the debris above the waterline will be removed. When all the debris is removed, the ship will be moved to a facility for any needed repairs. At the same time, remaining debris under water will also be removed. No decision has been made on where the debris will be taken.No decision will be made on the location for the ship repair until the debris is removed and the ship is inspected again. Foss Maritime is working in cooperation with the U.S. Coast Guard and the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to safely and efficiently conduct salvage operations. There is no estimate of the amount of time each step will take. Our primary focus is to assure the safety of the public and the responders throughout the operation.T&T Bisso is the Foss contractor overseeing the salvage operation.

LBL Info

LBL reminds the public all other LBL facilities normally open at this time are operating as normal, except Turkey Bay Off-Highway Vehicle Area and Trails due to saturated soil conditions. Please visit for outdoor recreation, program information, spring Calendar of Events, and any Alerts & Notices. Land Between The Lakes is managed by the Forest Service, U.S. Department of Agriculture, to provide outdoor recreation and environmental education for the public to enjoy. Additional information is available on LBL’s official website at, or by calling 1-800-LBL-7077 or 270-924-2000.

Bridge Detour Routes

With the collapse of the US68/KY80 Eggner’s Ferry Bridge spanning Kentucky Lake, the only way around is either north at the I-24 crossing, or south in Tennessee at the Hwy 79 crossing. Western Kentucky residents heading east who live closer to the Tennessee border would be served best heading down to Hwy 79 either on Hwy 121 south or US 641, then taking 79 east towards Clarksville intersecting with I-24. Those who are north of Mayfield or Benton would need to head north on the Purchase Parkway intersecting with I-24 there.

The Kentucky State Police request that motorist who normally travel westbound on US 68 through the Land between the Lakes to please avoid LBL and KY 453 or The Trace as well as US 68.

About the Bridge

The two-lane bridge – formally the Eggners Ferry Bridge – opened to traffic in 1932. Its elevation was raised in 1943 when the Tennessee River was impounded to create Kentucky Lake. A KYTC traffic count conducted in 2009 showed 2,650 vehicles per day crossed the bridge. The Transportation Cabinet is in the process of replacing the bridge, along with the nearby bridge over Lake Barkley on the eastern side of Land Between the Lakes. Pre-construction work, including geo-technical drilling, began months ago. Gov. Steve Beshear’s recommended highway plan, which he sent to the General Assembly on Jan. 17, contains $165 million in construction funding for a new Kentucky Lake bridge from 2013 through 2015.

About the Delta Mariner

According to the Foss Maritime Company website, the Delta Mariner is a 312-foot long and 8,000 horsepower supply ship that transports space-bound hardware, including common booster cores, for the Boeing Delta IV rocket program. It’s designed to navigate shallow inland waterways and the open ocean. The ship hauls rocket components 550 miles from the Boeing factory in Decatur, Alabama, down the Tennessee-Tombigbee waterway to Mobile Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, through the Panama Canal, arriving at the Vandenberg Air Force Base in California. According to a press release by the Foss Maritime Company, the ship has not been involved in any serious incidents similar to this one in the past. The Delta Mariner carries a crew of 16 individuals.

Statement from United Launch Alliance:
“The 312-foot vessel was carrying a United Launch Alliance Atlas booster and Centaur upper stage for the Air Force’s AEHF-2 mission scheduled to launch in April and an interstage adapter for NASA’s RBSP mission scheduled to launch in August. There is no schedule impact to either launch date expected at this point.The Mariner cargo area of the ship and the flight hardware did not experience any damage. The hardware is well instrumented and all data from these instruments is being reviewed to confirm that there were no issues.The Delta Mariner was commissioned in 2002 to transport flight hardware from the United Launch Alliance factory in Decatur, Ala., to launch sites at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station, Fla., and Vandenberg Air Force Base, Calif.”

See photos of the Delta Mariner on Flickr.

Gov. Beshear Directs Immediate Development of Options:

Governor Steve Beshear today announced the immediate review of options for restoring the US 68/KY 80 bridge over Kentucky Lake after a large vessel struck the span last night and destroyed a main truss. Lieutenant Governor Jerry Abramson and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet Secretary Mike Hancock will visit the bridge today and talk with local officials about the investigation, alternate routing, and impact on nearby communities. “We are grateful that this wreck caused no injuries or loss of life. Since that bridge carries 2,800 cars every day, we were very fortunate that no one was on the span at that time,” said Gov. Beshear. “We’ll turn our attention to a full inspection of the bridge and determine what steps we can take next to speed up the replacement of that important artery.” Lt. Gov. Abramson and Secretary Hancock will be visiting the command center near site of bridge accident and collapse today, to discuss investigation and future options for bridge.

Leaders Respond:

Sen. Bob Leeper, of Paducah: “I appreciate the quick response by the Governor and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet to help this situation in western Kentucky. I look forward to working with them to explore all the available possibilities for a solution for the transportation needs of this area.”

Sen. Ken Winters, of Murray: “I encourage our citizens to remain calm and patient as our state transportation officials investigate the structure and determine next steps. I thank the Governor and Transportation Secretary for their immediate attention to this matter, and I hope that they will fully explore many alternatives, even temporary bridges, to best serve the people of western Kentucky.”

Rep. Will Coursey, of Symsonia: “I think Governor Beshear’s plan for an immediate review of our available options is an excellent first step in getting this bridge back open. I have been working with House leaders to see what more we can do while we are in legislative session, and want the people to know that the General Assembly stands ready to act.”

Sec. Hancock: “At this moment, we’re assessing the situation to see whether repair is feasible. We also will be exploring whether construction of the new bridge can be accelerated.”

Lt. Gov. Abramson: “We had already committed in our new six-year highway plan to replace this bridge, because we know what an important route it is for our citizens in western Kentucky. We will shift our focus to determining how to restore that route as quickly and safely as we can.”

Governor Steve Beshear:  “We are grateful that this wreck caused no injuries or loss of life. Since that bridge carries 2,800 cars every day, we were very fortunate that no one was on the span at that time. We’ll turn our attention to a full inspection of the bridge and determine what steps we can take next to speed up the replacement of that important artery.”

U.S. Senator Rand Paul: “I am relieved that it appears no one was hurt in the accident. I have used the bridge many times and know how big of an inconvenience it will be for people to take the long way around the lakes. I will visit the bridge today to meet with local officials and find out what happened and what must happen to get the road reopened, and I will do what I can to help with this situation.” Senator Paul visited the site Friday to speak with media.

U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell: “I am thankful that reports indicate no one was injured in last night’s cargo ship accident at Eggner Ferry Bridge.  My office remains in contact with state officials and I have sent a staff member to the scene to update me. I will continue to closely monitor the situation.”

U.S. Congressman Ed Whitfield: “I join my fellow Kentuckians in giving thanks that there were no injuries or loss of life from this terrible accident. I will continue to monitor the situation and work to ensure all Federal agencies with jurisdiction remain on top of this incident so that this vital roadway is restored as soon as possible.” Congressman Whitfield visited the site Friday to speak with media.

Datebook: January 24 – Shoichi Yokoi Found 40 Years Ago

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Shoichi Yokoi was a Japanese sergeant in the Imperial Japanese Army during WWII. He was among the last three Japanese hold-outs to surrender after the end of hostilities in 1945, being found in the jungle of Guam in January 1972, almost 28 years after the island had been liberated by US forces in 1944. When American forces captured the island in the 1944 Battle of Guam, Yokoi went into hiding with ten other Japanese soldiers. Seven of the holdouts moved away and the other two died of starvation. Yokoi survived by hunting, primarily at night. He used native plants to make clothes, bedding, and storage implements, which he carefully hid in his cave. On the evening of January 24, 1972, Yokoi was discovered in the jungle by Jesus Duenas and Manuel De Gracia, two local men who were checking shrimp traps along a small river on Talofofo. They had initially assumed that Yokoi was a local villager, but managed to surprise and subdue him, and carry him out of the jungle. “It is with much embarrassment, but I have returned,” Yokoi said upon his return to Japan. The remark would become a popular saying in Japanese.

It’s Tuesday, January 24

The American Red Cross holds a blood drive on Friday from 11 to 3 at St. John’s Episcopal Church, located at 1620 West Main Street in Murray. Donors must be healthy, be at least seventeen years old, and weigh at least 110 pounds. Find more information and schedule an appointment online at

The Alzheimer’s Association provides a program on legal and financial planning on Thursday at the Pennyrile Area Development District Office in Hopkinsville. The program begins at 5:30PM. For more information, contact James Patterson at 886-9484.

Land Between the Lakes hosts their annual Bison Auction on Saturday, with viewing at 8AM. The auction will occur at the South Bison Range Corral beginning at 9AM. All buyers are required to pay in full and to load bison on the day of the auction. For more information, contact Curtis Fowler at 924-2061.

Hear President Obama’s State of the Union speech tonight at 8 on WKMS.

Written by Matt Markgraf

January 24, 2012 at 11:31 am

Datebook: January 20 – Richard Henry Lee Turns 280

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Richard Henry Lee was born on January 20, 1732 (and died June 19, 1794). He was an American statesman from Virginia best known for the motion in the Second Continental Congress calling for the colonies’ independence from Great Britain. He was a signatory to the Articles of Confederation and his famous resolution of June 1776 led to the Declaration of Independence, which he signed. He also served a one-year term as the President of the Continental Congress, and was a U.S. Senator from Virginia from 1789 to 1792, serving during part of that time as one of the first Presidents pro tempore of the United States Senate. He was also the great uncle of famous Confederate general Robert E. Lee. He famously said, “The first maxim of a man who loves liberty, should be never to grant to rulers an atom of power that is not most clearly and indispensably necessary for the safety and well being of society.”

It’s Friday, January 20

Land Between the Lakes offers an Eagle Viewing Van Tour on Sunday from 1 to 4:30. Spend the day visiting some of LBL’s eagle-viewing hot spots as staff members share tips on how to spot bald eagles in the wild. The cost is $7 for adults and $5 for children. Register by calling 924-2020.

The Humane Society of Calloway County seeks volunteers for next Saturday’s Fashion 4 Paws formalwear consignment sale. Volunteers are needed throughout the week to collect and transport dresses, hang up clothing by style and size, and set up for the sale. To find out more about volunteer opportunities, call the Humane Society office at 759-1884.

A free class on planning for a weed-free garden and lawn takes place tomorrow morning at 10 at the McCracken County Extension office. Susan Fox and Dr. James “Chip” Martin will discuss identifying and eliminating weeds and invasive plant species.

Find more about these and other community events online at, and thanks for listening!

Written by Matt Markgraf

January 20, 2012 at 10:28 am

Datebook: January 11 – William James Turns 170

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William James was born on January 11, 1842 (and died August 26, 1910). He was a pioneering American psychologist and philosopher who was trained as a physician. He may be best known for his contributions to different aspects of psychology and as the brother of novelist Henry James and diarist Alice James. William gained widespread fame for his book Principles of Psychology, which criticized Hegelianism and sough to re-conceive the human mind as inherently purposive and selective. In 1906, he gave a speech, in which he defined one of the “classic problems of politics: hot to sustain political unity and civic virtue in the absence of war or a credible threat.” and sounded “a rallying cry for service in the interests of the individual and the nation.” Thoughts echoed in President Jimmy Carter’s Moral Equivalent of War Speech, 70 years later (

It’s Wednesday, January 11

Jeff Daniels’ deer-camp comedy Escanaba in da Moonlight opens at Paducah’s Markethouse Theatre tomorrow night. Steve Schwetman plays Reuben who seeks to shed the mantle of being “a buckless yooper.” Shows are Thursday through Saturday at 7:30 p.m., Sunday at 2:30 p.m. this weekend and next. Parental guidance is suggested due to language!

Practice sessions start Friday for a Dancing with the Stars Event, March 1 at the University of Tennessee at Martin Student Life Center. The UT-Martin Relay for Life Team fundraises for the American Cancer Society. The first practice Friday is from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at Trinity Presbyterian Church 145 Hannings Lane in Martin.

LBL offers a balm for the winter blues with wildlife-viewing van tours through March. Saturday there’s an all-day Nature Watch tour seeking eagles and some 25 plus species of ducks which winter with us. The tour costs $40 per person and includes lunch at a local restaurant. See for details.

Hear KET’s Connections with Renee Shaw tonight at 6:30. See our programming schedule at Thanks!