After seven hours and thirty-three ballots, all of which failed to produce a 13-vote majority, the Louisville Metro Council, on the 34th ballot, elected Dr. Deonte Jamar Hollowell to fill the vacancy in the Sixth Council District. The first thirty-three generally split between my friend Ken Herndon and attorney Neeka Thompson by a 12-11 margin in Ken's favor. After a second hour-long recess, the voting resumed about 10:15 pm with the compromise candidate, Dr. Hollowell, winning by a 17-7 margin over Ken Herndon. Dr. Hollowell, surprised and excited, arrived at the back door of City Hall where Councilman David Tandy and I were waiting to let him in since all the doors were secured several hours ago. After brief congratulations he made his way to the Council Chambers where he was promptly swore in by Jefferson Circuit Judge Barry Willett and took his seat on the Council. At 31, he is by far the youngest member of the Council. He is also a registered Independent, the first non-affiliated member of the Council. His term will end with the certification of the Special Election to be held to fill out the remainder of the term this November on General Election Day, November 2, 2010. The Democratic and Republican Parties' nominations committees will decide the partisan candidates. I suppose Dr. Hollowell could file as an Independent setting up an interesting race. In any event, the Metro Council is now back to being fully represented. Congratulations Dr. Hollowell, Sixth District Councilman for Louisville-Jefferson County Metro.
Wednesday, June 30, 2010
Yesterday's entry, #629, was posted on 6/29. Today's entry, #630, will be posted on 6/30. Number coincidences like that intrigue me. Just like the idea that I have lived in the era that had two palindromically numbered years, 1991 and 2002. The previous one was 1881 and the next one is 2112. Very few people live through two of them.
Here's a Kentucky geography question for you. Do you know the importance of the Ohio River, the Kentucky River, Benson Creek, a line connecting thence to Hammond's Creek, Hammond's Creek itself, the Town Fork of Salt River, a line connecting thence to the Green River, and the Green River itself, as they relate to those of us who live here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606?
Those are the original boundaries of Jefferson County, Virginia created by an Act of the General Assembly of the Commonwealth of Virginia on this day in 1780, 230 years ago. The act was signed into law by Governor Thomas Jefferson and became effective later in the year. Between the formation of these counties on June 30, 1780, and the establishment of the Commonwealth of Kentucky on June 1, 1792, six more counties would be carved from these original three.
Below is the text of the act that created not only Jefferson County, but also Fayette and Lincoln.
Text of Act Creating New County:
CHAPTER XXXVI. An ACT for establishing three new counties upon the western waters.
WHEREAS the inhabitants of the county of Kentucky are subject to great inconveniences for the want of due administration of justice, arising principally from the great extent of the county, and the dispersed situation of the settlements, Be it therefore enacted, That from and after the first day of November next, the said county of Kentucky shall be divided into three counties, that is to say: All that part of the south side of Kentucky river which lies west and north of a line beginning at the mouth of Benson’s big creek, and running up the same and its main fork to the head; thence south to the nearest waters of Hammond’s creek, and down the same to its junction with the town fork of Salt river; thence south to Green river, and down the same to its junction with the Ohio, shall be one distinct county, to be called and known by the name of Jefferson. And all that part of the said county of Kentucky which lieth north of the line beginning at the mouth of Kentucky river, and up the same and its middle fork to the head; and thence south east to Washington line, shall be one other distinct county, and called and known by the name of Fayette. And all the residue of the said county of Kentucky, shall be one other distinct county, and called and known by the name of Lincoln.
And be it further enacted, That a court shall be held by the justices of each of the said counties of Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln, respectively, after they shall take place, upon the following days in every month, to wit: For the county of Jefferson, upon the first Tuesday in every month; for the county of Fayette, upon the second Tuesday in every month; and for the county of Lincoln, upon the third Tuesday in every month, in such manner as is provided by law for other counties and as shall be by their commissioners directed.
Provided always, That nothing herein contained shall be construed to hinder the sheriff of the said county of Kentucky as the same now stands entire from collecting or making distress for any publick dues or officers fees which shall remain unpaid by the inhabitants thereof at the time such division shall take place, but such sheriff shall have the same power to collect and distrain for such dues and fees, and shall be accountable for them in the same manner as if this act had never been made.
And be it further enacted, That the court of the said county of Fayette shall have jurisdiction of all actions and suits in law and equity which shall be depending before the court of Kentucky county, at the time the said division shall take place, and shall and may try and determine all such actions and suits, and issue process and award execution thereon. And the justices and militia officers in the said counties of Jefferson, Fayette and Lincoln, after the division shall take place, shall exercise their several offices in their respective counties, of which they shall be resident at the time when the division shall take place, until new commissions shall be issued.
And be it further enacted, That the justices to be named in the commissions of the peace for the said counties of Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln, respectively, shall meet for the said county of Jefferson, at Louisville; for the said county of Fayette, at Lexington, and for the said county of Lincoln, at Harrodsburg; upon the first court day of each county, after the division shall take place, and having taken the oaths prescribed by law, and administered the oath of office to, and taken bonds according to law of, their respective sheriffs, every of the said courts may proceed to appoint and qualify a clerk, and fix upon places for holding courts in their respective counties, at or as near the centers thereof as the situation and conveniences of the respective counties will admit of; and the courts of such counties shall thenceforth proceed to erect the necessary buildings for such counties, at such places respectively, and until such buildings shall be completed, they shall appoint such places for holding courts as they shall think fit.
Provided always, That the appointments for holding courts, and of clerks for the several counties aforesaid, shall not be made, unless a majority of the justices of such counties be present, where such majority shall have been prevented from attending by bad weather, or their being at such time out of the county, but in such cases the appointments aforesaid shall be postponed until some court day when such majority shall be present.
And be it further enacted, That it shall be lawful for the governour with the advice of the council, to appoint a sheriff for each of the said counties of Jefferson, Fayette, and Lincoln, respectively; which said sheriffs so appointed, shall continue in office during the term, and upon the same conditions as is by law appointed for other sheriffs.
And be it further enacted, That the surveyor of the county of Kentucky as it now stands, shall, as soon as the division shall take place, make his choice of the counties so divided, and shall make out and deliver to each surveyor of the other two counties, a fair and correct copy of all entries for lands in such other county which have not been surveyed, with the warrants or rights upon which such entries were founded; for each of which entries, he shall be paid by the surveyor furnished with such copy, three pounds of tobacco.
REF: Hening’s "Laws of Virginia", Vol. X, 1822, pgs. 315-317.
That's your history lesson for the day.
Tuesday, June 29, 2010
1. This blog has a list of topics over on the right sidebar, one of which is the United States Constitution. That document is very important to me for a number of reasons. Twenty-six entries on this blog have been marked with a "US Constitution" tag. It serves as the Bible for our government, and if it is the Bible, then Robert Byrd certainly must have been God. United States Senator Robert Byrd, Democrat of West Virginia and the longest serving Senator in the history of the United States, passed away two days ago. While he was known to cite the Romans, Shakespeare, and the Bible, along with long passages of poetry as part of his oratorical skills, it was the United States Constitution he most often referenced when informing his colleagues on why things are as they are in the United States. There is a reason and it is spelled out in the Constitution, a copy of which he maintained in his breast pocket, and which quite often he pulled from there as a very strong and potent visual aide while speaking.
While his early life is marked with some errant decisions, he later rebuked those and became a leading liberal and beloved figure not only in Washington but more importantly in his home state of West Virginia, our neighbor to the east. Though some saw him as a throwback to a bygone era, he will be remembered as one whose first interest was that of the people, especially those he represented in West Virginia. And his adherance to the Constitution served as a strong protective element against the powers of the presidency which most often have been used against the less fortunate and underrepresented. Senator Byrd, Rest In Peace. +
2. The Louisville Metro Council tonight interviewed candidates to fill the open seat in the Sixth Council District, created by the unfortunate and untimely passing of George Unseld. Ten candidates made their pitch. I am supporting my friend Ken Herndon who sought the office in 2008. Two other candidates are friends, Mr. Keith Hunter and Ms. Bobbie Powell, and one other candidate is someone I knew many years ago. The LEO Fat Lip column (www.leoweekly.com) has reported that Herndon is the favorite. The vote to fill the vacancy until an election can be held this November will take place at a meeting of the Council tomorrow night beginning at 5:00 pm.
3. Finally, my friend and fellow blogger Tim Havrilek, a western Kentucky Democrat who blogs at www.undergroundrooster.blogspot.com, has an entry today on two different subjects, the first being a rumor concerning Frankfort. I try not to report all the rumors coming out about Frankfort because too many of them turn out to be true, which is usually not a good thing. But the second part of his entry concerns this fall's United States Senate race in Kentucky. Actually, it concerns the United States Senate races in Kentucky during the last twenty-six years, which is to say the era of one Addison Mitchell McConnell, Jr., which began with some hounddogs on a TV commercial seeking out the Democratic incumbent who apparently missed more meetings than he should have.
Tim's article on the McConnell era appears below in italics. He begins by taking a swing at what he perceives to be the plan put forth for this fall by the Kentucky Democratic Party's candidates and leaders saying it "empowers unions, liberals, and minorities." Those bastards! Ok, Tim didn't call us bastards - he is not that kind of guy. But here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606, if you take away the votes of the unions, liberals, and minorities, few, if any, Democrats would be elected to any county-wide offices. Those are important votes here. But, as Tim points out with numbers to back him up, those elements aren't important in most of Kentucky's other counties.
Tim's article caught my eye because not only does he provide the electoral returns - numbers - to make his claim, he also posits solutions to Kentucky's failure to elect Democrats to the world's most exclusive club - the 100 member United States Senate - with specific counties. I like "talking 'bout counties" and those who are in charge of the fall elections would do well to read Tim's ideas. The specific counties he mentions are Hardin (Elizabethtown, Radcliff, and Fort Knox), Barren (Glasgow), Christian (Hopkinsville and Fort Campbell), Warren (Bowling Green), and Daviess (Owensboro). I would counter that Daviess is already ours and would replace it with McCracken (Paducah) but that is just me. Tim makes some very good points, many we do not often think about here in the land of unions, liberals, and minorities. I urge you to read his article below, or better yet, go visit his blog and comment there.
One final cautionary and educational note, though. Based on Tim's figures below, the candidate who did come closest to defeating Senator McConnell after his initial vicotry over Dee Huddleston, was not an Ag-loving, gun-toting, military man from the First or Second Congressional District. No, it was a bleeding-heart leftie from the land of unions, liberals, and minorities, the red-jacketed, Ford Maverick driving Dr. George Harvey Ingalls Sloane, Democrat, a resident of Old Louisville, former Mayor of Louisville, and Judge/Executive of Jefferson County.
From The Underground Rooster, www.undergroundrooster.com, written by Tim Havrilek
It would appear to me that Gov. Beshear, Conway and the Party are putting together the traditional general election campaign that empowers unions, liberals, and minorities. A strategy that has spelled doom since 1984. Rand Paul will surely run against Obama and a liberal agenda. The usual "Golden Triangle" strategy has failed time and again but always looks good on paper to the DNC.
Obama garnered a 49,136 vote margin out of Jefferson and Fayette and ending up losing Kentucky by 296,477 votes. Lunsford had about the same margin of victory out of these two counties but lost by almost 107,000 votes. Here are some statistics of this failed strategy over the last 26 years.
1984: McConnell: 644,990 - Huddleston: 639,821
1990: McConnell: 478,034 - Sloane: 437,976
1996: McConnell: 724,794 - Beshear: 560,012
1998: Bunning: 569,817 - Baesler: 563,051
2002: McConnell: 731,679 - Weinberg: 339,634
2004: Bunning: 873,507 - Mongiardo: 850,855
2008: McConnell: 953,816 - Lunsford: 847,005
By my assessment of the last 26 years I have concluded that for the democrats to win they must employ a "must win" strategy in 5 counties which included Barren, Christian, Warren, Hardin and Daviess. Only a moderate to conservative stance on just about every issue will be required. The main themes will have to be agriculture, military, veterans and industry. The margin of error is very slim for the Jack Conway. Conway will have to prove that he is committed to staunchly defending Fort Knox and Fort Campbell as well as Agriculture. I think its important for democrats in Rural Kentucky and these 5 counties to hear that Conway will seek a seat on Agriculture and Defense Committees and Sub Committees.
In the last 26 years in these 7 U.S. Senate races the democrats have only carried 3 of these counties on 4 occasions. Huddleston carried his home county of Hardin by only 465 votes in 1984. In 1990, Harvey Sloane carried Daviess County by 655 votes over McConnell. In 1998, Scotty Baesler carried 2 of 5 by winning in Barren County by 187 votes over Bunning and he also carried Daviess County by 1350 votes.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
1. We did what the governor wanted us to do Saturday and named Dan Logsdon as the Kentucky Democratic Party chair. Now comes the reports of his giving money to Republicans, including the one which ran against the governor. In this year's Democratic Primary for mayor, I supported and worked for a guy who gave money to Anne Northup a decade ago. His opponents tried to use it as a campaign theme, but, given he won with 45% of a eight-way race, I guess that didn't matter to the voters. But Mr. Logsdon is now chair of the Party. We should have vetted better. One of our group suggested doing so but we didn't follow up. Stay tuned to see what happens. Sometimes Jacob Payne's comments on the KDP are quite on target. This may be one of those time.
2. My friend Ken Herndon, who is celebrating a birthday today - for the record, he is many, many years older than me - is trying to be seated as the 6th District Councilmember here along the Left Bank of the Ohio River near Milepost 606. There are nineteen others seeking to do the same thing. I know about six of them including all of those who seem to be the frontrunners. The County Attorney's office is vetting them to make sure they actually live and vote in the 6th District and have for the requisite twelve months as of the vacancy as well as meeting the age requirement, which is 21. I'm pretty sure all the candidates are 21 or older. I'm not as sure they all meet the residency requirements, especially those related to how long they've lived in the 6th District. Not only is it hot outside of City Hall, this race is making for some interesting heat inside.
3. My garden, about which I've not written this year, is really doing good. There are five tomato plants (two different varieties including little cherry tomatoes which are best eaten off the vine), three bell pepper plants, two banana pepper plants (one of which is "hot"), three cucumbers hills, and pumpkin vines everywhere. The pumpkins are "volunteers," left over from the my jack-o-lantern from last Hallowe'en. I've got to keep an eye on the pumpkins or they'll take over the entire space.
4. This weekend in Holy Family's Picnic. Although I've left the membership of that church (where I belonged for thirty years), I'm still volunteering as the announcer on Friday night, something I've done for many, many years. The picnic is Friday and Saturday, on Poplar Level Road, three blocks north of the Watterson Expressway.
Yesterday was the longest day of the year. What did you do to celebrate? Happy Solstice.
Friday, June 18, 2010
The State Central Executive Committee (SCEC) of the Kentucky Democratic Party (KDP) will be called into session tomorrow at 11:00 am. Typically, the members receive an agenda telling us the business to be discussed but that has not happened for this meeting. We have all received an email from Governor Steve Beshear informing us of his pick as the new chair of the Party, Dan Logsdon, presently a staffer in his office and the son of former Agriculture Commissioner Ed Logsdon. Mr. Logsdon's name had been circulated as the governor's choice for about two weeks. I'll add I've never met Mr. Logsdon nor do I ever recall his presence at the KDP headquarters on Democrat Drive in Frankfort.
Article VIII, Section D, Paragraph 1 of the KDP By-Laws provides that "If there is a sitting Democratic Governor or an elected Democratic Nominee for Governor, he or she may present an individual for consideration and vote to the State Central Committee." It has been my experience through the years that if the governor wants a particular person to be chair of the Party, we the members of the Committee are very likely to seat that person. I fully expect that to happen tomorrow.
But the by-law setting forth that situation provides for an interesting scenario. Presently, a campaign is being conducted by the sitting Democratic governor for his re-election. What would happen if he were challenged in 2011 and that challenger won the nomination? Who, then, would have the authority to "present an individual for consideration and vote to the State Central Committee" - the sitting Democratic governor or the elected Democratic nominee for governor? The current by-law isn't clear.
There is a reason why by-law amendments should be seriously and timely considered. Occasions arise without warning which aren't always covered by the existing by-laws, or occasions arise where there is no clear direction from the by-law, something which can and should be avoided.
Although there is no agenda for tomorrow's meeting, at the last meeting a proposed by-law amendment was presented and it was announced that that presentation served as the proper notice for that proposal to be heard and voted upon at the next meeting, which is tomorrow. I am hopeful that tomorrow's meeting will not be the simple ceremonial ratification of the governor's chair-appointee, but will also consider the business matters at hand, one of which is a by-law proposal from the last meeting.
All Democrats are welcome to attend the meeting.
Unrelated, today is the birthday of my oldest niece, Lindsey Shea Noble, who is now pushing her mid-20s. Happy Birthday Lindsey.
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Several years ago I proposed an amendment to the Kentucky Democratic Party's By-Laws, specifically to a by-law pertaining to Special Elections in Jefferson County. That was 2003. For the most part, I was ignored by the powers-that-were (and in many cases still-are) and my proposal went nowhere.
I was told that one way to have my idea heard by a bigger audience was to speak with members of the Kentucky Democratic Party State Central Executive Committee, the body that would or could ultimately approve or not approve my proposed change.
In 2004 several friends, including Aaron Horner, his former wife Mary Ellen, along with Ted Shlechter, and others suggested I run for a seat on that committee as a Third Congressional District voting member. I knew the drill as I had been nominated (mostly self-nominated I might add) at every state convention I had attended back to my first one in Frankfort in 1980. I had lost all of the previous elections.
The race for Third Congressional District Committeeman was a three person affair - the two incumbents and me. I defeated one of those incumbents and went on to serve a four-year term. I first formally discussed my proposed by-law amendment at one of the "road" meetings then-Chair Jerry Lundergan held. I'll be honest; I don't remember where it was, it may have been in either Carrollton or Henderson. Shortly thereafter, I became ill, suffering from a brain tumor and a very slight stroke. I was hospitalized the summer of 2005 and recovered in the fall, during which time my proposal went by the wayside.
Throughout my term, I worked with then By-Laws Chair George Blackburn of Rockport, a small village on the Ohio County side of the Green River, opposite Muhlenberg County, just north of where the Western Kentucky Parkway crosses into "Paradise." Despite George's help, my by-law proposal was never fully heard, although it was scheduled to be heard at the 1st Quarter meeting of the Committee in 2008.
That day's meeting ran very, very long. At one point, the Vice Chair of the Committee, Nathan Smith of northern Kentucky, simply got up from the meeting and left. When the time finally came to hear my proposal, the discussion was blocked by Jefferson County Chair Tim Longmeyer, saying we could table it until the next meeting. I pointed out to Tim that the next meeting was the state convention, meaning that it would not be heard until at least September. He suggested I run for re-election and bring it back up. Rather than table the item, he moved to adjourn the meeting and his motion passed.
I took Tim's advice (for once) and ran for re-election. After some work, I was finally seated on the Committee in September 2008 at a meeting at KenLake State Park in Aurora, just inside Calloway County where the new KY80 finally leaves its long sojourn with US68 across southern Kentucky. Although I requested to be placed on the By-Laws Committee, as I had served there for the previous term, then-Chair Jennifer Moore failed to name me to any committees. I remain a member of none of the KDP's various committees, all of which are appointed by the chair.
In April 2009, I made a call to the new By-Laws Chair George Mills, an attorney from Lexington. I eventually addressed my concerns with him and through his hard work and that of his committee, my proposal was finally heard and passed, taking effect just over three months ago.
The jist of my proposal was to expand the voting body of special committees which have the power to name candidates in certain cases, such as when a candidate resigns or, perhaps, dies. The old rules allowed for some of these special nominations to be wholly controlled solely by one person, an idea I felt undemocratic and unbecoming the Kentucky Democratic Party. The amendment calls for a minimum of three people (and in some cases more) to make such a nomination. While no one ever expects or seeks the need to use the rules, it is necessary to have rules in place to assure a continuity in governance. Most people felt the adoption of my proposal wasn't all that important given that such needs are rare - few and far between.
Last week one of Louisville's Metro Council members collapsed at City Hall and later that same evening passed away. While it is important for individuals to mourn the loss of a civil servant, it is also important to have rules in place for the continuity in governance, as I previously stated. One set of rules, the Kentucky statutes, governs an interim appointment to be made by the Council. Due to the timing of this great loss, there will also be required a Special Election this November to serve out the term of the deceased councilman. This process is laid out by the Kentucky Constitution. And the rules on how the Kentucky Democratic Party will nominate their candidate for this special election in Jefferson County are governed by the very recently amended By-Laws of the Kentucky Democratic Party, amended by a proposal first made in 2003.
REST IN PEACE - George Dorsey Unseld. May his soul and all the souls known to God rest in peace. +
Wednesday, June 2, 2010
I left off with a planned coffee visit with Preston as he was arriving to Washington very close to the hour I was departing. We ended up meeting at a coffee shop just south of Dupont Circle on 19th Street NW. I waited for him as he was arriving from the Metro Red Line and there was an up-escalator there on 19th where I could see him as he arrived. We chatted for about 40 minutes, mostly on political economy and philosophy, with very little actual discussion about Democrats or Republican or Independents. Playing drums in the background over in Dupont Circle was the all-female percussion group Batala - visit their website at batalawashington.com. They had been practicing for at least an hour before Preston arrived and were still playing as we departed.
My car was parked around the corner in front of the Honk Kong Trade Office (shown at left) at 18th and Church streets NW. From there I left for New York City, the Big Apple, the City that Never Sleeps, the city So Nice they named it twice. While my stay in Washington was a combination of business and pleasure, the trip to New York had the sole purpose of helping a friend of mine move from an apartment in the Bronx to another one in Brooklyn, and then to bring him back to Louisville to witness his brother's graduation from Ballard High School which took place last night. When he found out I was to be in washington he suggested that "while I was in the neighborhood" I could give him a ride back to Louisville. His moving from the Bronx to Brooklyn was never a part of the "no-plans" vacation, but it did become so.
Thus I left from DC along the I-95 corridor which would take me to Baltimore and points to the northeast. Somewhere outside of Batlimore I stopped at a rest areas where a Boy Scout Troop (and their parents) were serving coffee, lemonade, and hot dogs. While they weren't charging, buckets were available for donations and I made mine. I passed through (and literally under) Baltimore Harbor on I-895 before returning to the parent route en route to Delaware. As I recall there were two tolls booths along the short route of I-95 in Delaware. In New Jersey, you are somewhat force-fed onto the New Jersy Turnpike, and another toll road. Tolls were about to become a big part of my trip.
Riding along the New Jersey Turnpike is, frankly, boring. It is a four to six lane divided highway with groves of trees along both sides, devoid of anything other than concrete and cars. There were maybe six intersections along the entire route. You get a toll-ticket as you enter the turnpike and there are toll booths along each exit. I drove the entire length of the turnpike, all the way to my destination in Little Ferry, just across the Hackensack River from New York on US46. My toll for the privelege of travelling the entire distance was $9.05.
I haven't much to say about my non-tourist visit to New York City. It was mostly spent on interstates and freeways, with regular stops at toll booths to pay very high tolls, anywhere from $3.00 to $11.00 for the privelege of being in one or more of New York's five boroughs. And, getting around by car wasn't made any easier by my friend.
Keith doesn't own a car and doesn't seem to need one. He lived in the Bronx and worked in Lower Manhattan. He now lives in Brooklyn. All of these points are connected by busses, trains, and subways, and Keith's directions to and from anywhere are mired in subway stations, transfer points, and bus-stops. Unfortunately he couldn't tell me exactly how to get around in a car other than if one was close to the Brooklyn Bridge, shown at right. From sighting the bridge Keith could easily get you into Brooklyn or out of Manhattan. In Manhattan it is easy - most of the streets are numbered and the whole affair isn't all that wide. The Bronx continues the numbered street system of Manhattan which makes it a little easy. All the other boroughs have their own sets of numbered streets along with a collection of Broadways, Parks, Markets, and Mains. Keeping them all straight requires some concentration.
Given that I was in and out of New York in 36 hours, I tried to go as many different ways as I could between his two apartments, one on 238th Street in the Bronx, the other on DeKalb Avenue in Brooklyn. Along the ways, I may as well have travelled to others countries as I drove through areas wholly occupied by people speaking Spanish or Polish or Arabic or something else. Latinos seem to outnumber everyone else. for a while I was in an Hasidic Jewish neighborhood in Williamsburg, this on a Saturday night with everyone in their synagogue-going best. It was quite an experience.
But the whole New York thing was overwhelming - too much humanity for me. I cannot imagine existing everyday amongst so many people. Thus, there was no sorrow when the time came to leave the Big Apple and return to the relative southern comfort of America's biggest little town, Louisville.
One place I had never been was Staten Island, so the trip out of New York took us across the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge, America's largest suspension bridge, from Brooklyn onto Staten Island (also the name of the borough) and into the County of Richmond. Crossing the bridge brought the highest toll I paid anywhere on the trip - $11.00. I'm not sure that my $11.00 bought me $11.00 worth of goods, but it was a place I had never been before and one of the great points of driving anywhere is to visit places theretofore unvisited.
We left Staten Island and ventured northward up to Hackensack, NJ and Interstate 80. I-80 would take us across northern New Jersey, through the Delaware Valley Water Gap and into the mountains of central Pennsylvania. At another rest area we encountered more Boys Scouts doling out hot dogs and soft drinks. This time we could add chili and sauerkraut. I had one of each and made a hefty donation.
Midway across the state, we left Interstate 80 headed for Interstate 99, the highest numbered two-digit interstate. I-99 is unusual in a number of ways. First, it should not be in central Pennsylvania. I do not know what the highway located east of I-79 and west of I-81 should be numbered, but I-99 should certainly be somewhere along the eastern seaboard. But, it isn't. It is also odd in that it physically begins as PA26, a two-lane state highway. PA26 picks up US220 and then becomes I-99. Similarly, at its end, it goes back to US220. Very few interstates do not begin or end at another interstate and only 15 lay wholly within one state. I-99 takes you through rolling hills and valleys, running closeby State College, home to Penn State University.
At the end of I-99 we continued south on US220 the handful of miles left between the town of Bedford and the Maryland border, the very well-known Mason-Dixon line, or properly, Mason's and Dixon's line, the symbolic boundary between the North and the South. US220 leads into the very historic town of Cumberland, Maryland. Cumberland is a city full of church steeples, and the city itself is steeped in the history of our republic, established long before the Revolution. Because of its site on a river, canal, and rail line, it, like Louisville, grew as a transportation hub and at one time this little town stretched along the banks of the Upper Potomac River and Wills Creek was Maryland's second largest city. It is sometimes known as Maryland's Queen City.
From Cumberland it is only a small stretch along Interstate 68, formerly known as US48 over to the West Virginia state line (and therein lies a story from 1981 about a certain KYD/YDA convention, former KYD president Bobby Rowe, and me and John Warren McCauley, perhaps somewhat intoxicated, giving bad directions to a lost Morehead State University bus driver). But, I digress.
Arriving in West Virginia, I-68 comes to an end and I-79 is the southbound interstate which takes you up and down and over and across the hills and valleys of central West Virginia. While it is a well-built highway, the path it follows - the only path it could follow - leaves much to be desired. Being quite familiar with this stretch of road, I turned the driving over to one of my fellow travellers, took to the back seat and woke up, thankfully, in Kentucky. Thus, I missed Clarksburg, Charleston, and Huntington.
The final leg of the 2185 mile trip was along I-64 from Catlettsburg and Cannonsburg in Boyd County across the center of the Commonwealth. It was longer than usual because we were all tired and at this point, it was the middle of the night. We stopped alot mostly to wake up and drive a few more miles. I remember stretching out of the grass for a catnap at the rest area between Lexington and Frankfort, something I had not done since I was a UK student back in the late 1970s.
At some point around 4:15 am, we exitted I-64 onto Mellwood Avenue, then north on Frankfort, and west on Story making our way back home. It was a wonderful trip.
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- Jeff Noble
- Louisville, Kentucky, United States
- Never married, liberal Democrat, born in 1960, opinionated but generally pleasant, member of the Episcopal Church. Graduate of Prestonia Elementary, Durrett High, and Spalding University; the first two now-closed Jefferson County Public Schools, the latter a very small liberal arts college in downtown Louisville affiliated with the Roman Catholic Sisters of Charity of Nazareth. My vocation and avocation is politics. My favorite pastime is driving the backroads of Kentucky and southern Indiana, visiting small towns, political hangouts, courthouses, churches, and cemeteries. You are welcome to ride with me sometime.