Big Ideas Come to Lexington

Tuesday, May 24th, 2016

Where can you see a digital pioneer, a leading automotive executive, a college basketball guru, a Major League Baseball star, a Broadway dancer, a European health commissioner, and leading thinkers in the worlds of agriculture and sustainability all on the same stage?

They’re at One: The Alltech Ideas Conference, which is being held in Lexington this week. Their website says the event “is about interacting with mind-expanding visionaries across a range of topics. No matter your industry, company size, or role, you are sure to find sessions that inspire.”

KET is at the conference, recording interviews that will air on One to One this summer. Here’s a preview.

Catching Up with Allysum Pohl

Tuesday, May 10th, 2016

Here’s an update on Alyssum Pohl. You’ll remember meeting her here on “Bill’s Eye” last fall.

She’s the young woman I Skyped with on two occasions to tell you her story. The reason I couldn’t meet her in person is because she was kayaking the full length of the Mississippi River -— 2,340 river miles, every day, from June until this past November.

Alyssum graduated from UK with a biology degree, and a Master’s in International Environmental Policy from the Monterey Institute of International Studies in California.

Alyssum didn’t float the Mississippi for fun. On the river, she was documenting water quality and plastic waste, organized a partnership with several organizations including Adventurers and Scientists for Conservation, and raised 130 percent of the estimated budget to complete the project.

She was eaten up by mosquitoes, bitten by fire ants, and suffered through torrential rainstorms and horrendous sunburn.

Before putting her boat into the headwaters of the Mississippi, she had never kayaked in her life.

The Yoga Sutra she carried with her was “Practice becomes firmly grounded when practiced for a long time, without interruption, and with earnest devotion.”

She’s now in Washington, writing a memoir, and says, “whatever inspires you —- go for it.”

Recently, she returned to Lexington for a talk at the downtown library and Lillie Ruschell was there and captured this video update:

Here’s a link to her complete presentation.

Touring Kentucky’s College Campuses

Tuesday, May 3rd, 2016

We should get out more – citizens, business leaders, educators, reporters, all of us. If we did, we might understand each other better.

By getting out more I mean to travel Kentucky and talk to people in other regions of our state. Take time to drive to a part of commonwealth you’ve always heard about but never considered visiting.

It’s worth the effort.

When you do, I suggest checking out our institutions of higher learning along the way. Visit a regional university, a community college, or a small school in one of Kentucky’s beautiful towns. Walk the campuses, talk to students and faculty, and marvel at the buildings where our best and brightest are preparing for their futures.

I want to do that more often. Two weeks ago, I visited my alma mater, Western Kentucky University, and was amazed at how the campus has changed over the years.

In a couple of weeks, I’ll be in Columbia to deliver the spring commencement address at Lindsey Wilson College. I’m eager to talk with President William T. Luckey Jr. about what’s going on at his school.

In June I’ll return to Spalding University in Louisville for their annual MFA alumni homecoming, where poets, playwrights, and authors gather to talk about, what else, the written word.

For me, those are examples of getting out more.

For KET’s year-long initiative on the opioid crisis in Kentucky, I recently traveled to Covington to a record a One to One conversation that will air later this month. I spoke was with journalist Sam Quinones about his book, “Dreamland: The True Tale of America’s Opiate Epidemic.”

The interview took place on the campus of Northern Kentucky University. While waiting for Quinones to arrive, I chatted with NKU Provost Sue Ott Rowlands. She told me about how their school is growing and offering new programs to students.

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