• Wandering Wisemen December 19, 2014
    The Christmas season, for all it's supposed to be a time of joyful expectation as we await the birth of the Christ child, can be pretty draining. There are presents to buy and wrap. Cookies to bake. P […]
  • Something to celebrate December 19, 2014
    "Come on! Let's go!"  Have you heard them? I've said those words many times, and I've heard others say them. They were said because something, thought to be extraordinarily important or especially int […]
  • The blessing of the hands December 19, 2014
    "I don't think he's going to make it through the ceremony," my daughter Madi predicted of her 2-year-old son, Eli. We were standing in the foyer of Ransdell Chapel for Madi's pinning ceremony. She was […]
  • Captured: Facing the mirror of our lives December 12, 2014
    My daughter has this huge floor mirror that she received for Christmas a few years ago. I love that mirror because for some reason, whenever I check myself out in that mirror, I look really thin. Not […]
  • A simple, but life-changing, way to get ready for Christmas December 12, 2014
    The Bluegrass Country around Lexington, Kentucky, not far from where I live in Lebanon, Kentucky, is home to some of the world's finest racehorses. It's exciting to watch the horses bolt from the star […]
Contact Ben

Work: (859) 236-2551 ext. 127
Home: (859) 474-0747
E-Mail: bkleppinger@amnews.com

Archive for the ‘Blog Info’ Category

A farewell to Garrard County from Ben

The Advocate-Messenger has decided to move me into a new position, where I will be designing pages for the Advocate and Jessamine Journal papers full-time, which means I will no longer be the Garrard County reporter.

I will greatly miss covering Garrard. You all have been very welcoming and open with me, an outsider, and made me feel right at home. I’m glad I could serve the people of the county for close to two years, providing as much accurate info as I could on important and interesting events and happenings. I hope if you were a regular reader of the paper or this blog, you were satisfied with the coverage I provided.

Advocate-Messenger reporter Mandy Simpson will be taking over as Garrard County reporter as I step down. She is a recent graduate of Western Kentucky University who came to the Advocate in January. She has some serious reporting chops and I have no doubt she’ll be great at covering Garrard.

Sources: You can still contact me with any story ideas or information you have, and I will be more than happy to get it into the paper or pass it along to the appropriate person. You can also contact Mandy at msimpson@amnews.com.

Once again, thanks to everyone in Garrard County for letting me cover your news.

Raw notes from interviews now available

I’ve begun posting selections from some of my raw notes from interviews and events to a Web site called Evernote. For any news junkies out there who want to read beyond the paper’s story and see the ‘B-roll’ quotes and info that weren’t printed, you can check out my notes here. There’s also now a link to my notes page on the right side of this blog, under the search box.

I’ve posted two notes so far, and will continue to post new notes in the future.

Upcoming stories

UPDATED: Here is the story about Jaydon.

I’ll have a story in the paper soon about Jaydon Griffith, the little boy from Garrard who received a heart transplant in Arkansas last year. There was a big event held to raise funds to cover his medical costs, so I think many people will be interested and glad to hear he’s doing well and continuing to grow up with a new heart. It’s quite amazing to hear his mom talk about all the surgeries, complications and other obstacles Jaydon has been through, and then to see him sitting in her lap, alive and content.

There are also plans in the works for our newest reporter at the Advocate, Mandy Simpson, to profile a very special Garrard County person. Mandy started here on Tuesday, and she’ll be helping me cover Garrard County as well as helping David Brock cover Boyle County.

I’ll post links here when those stories become available.

Halloween in Lancaster…

Has been rescheduled from Sunday night (Oct. 31) to Saturday, Oct. 30 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

I’ve been off this blog for the past few weeks getting ready for my wedding and then off on my honeymoon (which I’m still on), but I’ll be back beginning Monday.

Recovering from mono

In the middle of last week I began getting sick, and by the end of the week I couldn’t do much except shift from my bed to my refrigerator to my couch. They tested me and discovered that I have mono. Today is the first day I am feeling well enough since then to come in for a full day of work, which is excellent news because apparently it can take months for some people to recover from mono.

Anyway, I’m not 100 percent yet, but I’m getting there, and I’m getting back into the swing of things. If anything big happened over the weekend (besides the flooding) or if anything is coming up that you think I might not know about, feel free to drop me an e-mail or a comment and let me know.

Back from Break

Garrard Conversations was on a brief hiatus over the new year’s break, thanks to me getting sick and my brother getting married way out in Eastern Kentucky. But I’m back now, and will be posting regularly again.

— — —

The Bluegrass 911 board met this morning and went into executive session for about an hour to discuss in part “potential litigation.” A representative from Dulworth, Breed and Karns, the office hired to review the past six months of the center’s finances and make recommendations, sat in with the board to discuss the litigation.

In case you don’t remember, the former director of the 911 center, who also directed the Lincoln 911 center before it and the Garrard center merged, resigned in July after problems with the budget came to light. Tens of thousands in unpaid bills and taxes have been discovered, and Dulworth, Breed and Karns has been hired by the board to help it decide what to do.

In September the board received drafts of DBK’s investigation, but that draft has not been made public. The board, especially Stanford Mayor and Board Chairman Bill Miracle, has been “negotiating” with DBK on what to do about its findings.

SO, nothing major has been released and there are no new revelations about the center’s financial situation, but the board is still meeting and discussing things with DBK. So things are apparently moving forward, even if they’re moving forward slowly. Miracle did tell me the results of the investigation won’t be released anytime soon.

— — —

City Council Meeting tonight at 7 p.m. Check here for updates if I can post them during the meeting, or later in the evening if I can’t get Internet until I get home.

Cash for Trash and More

1. Beautify Garrard County has a blog post up about some volunteers who recently cleaned up roadways to support the local backpack club that helps to feed kids on free lunches at school when they go home for the weekend. Read the whole thing here.

2. I’m looking for local farms that participate in community-supported agriculture, where local residents can buy shares of a cow or a chicken or a field of veggies and then get a share of the milk, eggs or produce when it becomes available. Right now might be the off-season for such operations, but I’m hoping to find out which local farmers do this and when they’ll be revving up for the warmer months, so I’ll know when a story about this would be possible.

Back up and running

My blog’s server was down for several days, preventing me from posting and you from visiting. But now it’s back up, so I’ll be posting daily again!

Some good news during the downtime — Garrard’s Ambulance Director Colby Arnold is improving. Colby suffered a severe head injury when he fell off his bike in September. Here is a story about what happened, and here’s Wednesday’s story about his recovery.

And this was posted by Sarah Arnold yesterday on the wall of the Facebook group “Friends and Family of Colby Arnold:”

Update- DAD IS GOING HOME TODAY!!!! Should be headed home this afternoon. Had his stomach tube pulled this morning, is able to do pretty much everything by himself. Will still have to go to physical therapy a few times a week to help get his strength back and still has a lot of recovery left but all in all doing great!

Let the conversation begin!

Welcome to Garrard County Conversations, a unique blog aimed at transforming how journalism is done in Garrard County. As the Garrard County reporter for the Advocate-Messenger, I feel like the work I do could be far more useful if the communities I cover are involved in their own coverage. After all, I’m not reporting on Garrard County for my own education; I’m doing it so the communities in Garrard County can stay informed and aware of what’s going on.

So, instead of the old model of journalism, where I’m the only who chooses what to cover, digs up sources and decides what is news, let’s try a new model, where I act as a facilitator for local conversations. If there’s an important issue in Garrard County, I can dig up statistics, research and sources that will inform the community’s conversation about that issue. And you guys can do the same thing ? if you know about a story that the community should hear about, if you want to voice your opinion on an issue, if you know of a good source for a story I’m working on, you can contribute to the conversation by commenting on a post or e-mailing me.

I’ll be trying to post once or twice a day when I’m on duty. My posts will be focused on stories I’m working on, what story ideas are coming up, issues I’m having with finding information, stuff like that. With your help, this blog can be a valuable asset for Garrard County, and help fine-tune the Advocate-Messenger’s coverage to what the county really needs.

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