JODY NORWOOD | The Sun
Jaedan Graham, 12, nocks an arrow during class at Clark Elementary School. Graham said he started shooting four or five years ago.
A road barricade prevents motorists from turning down a flooded Ky. 1255/Bonds Road from Oaks Road in southern McCracken County on Sunday. The road was inundated by an intersecting creek after persistent flooding associated with weekend thunderstorms.
Gym classes and after-school programs are helping foster new interest in an old sport.
Archery was added to state-sanctioned middle and high school competition in 2012 after years of growth in elementary schools. Educators and enthusiasts say new equipment funding introduced more students to the sport, sparking an interest. Pop culture has also helped, from coverage of competition in the 2012 Olympic Games to bow-carrying characters in books and films such as “The Hunger Games,” “Brave” and “The Avengers.”
Clark Elementary joined the National Archery in Schools Program four years ago, but gym teacher Jan Godwin said she had included it as part of the curriculum earlier. Godwin said it cost about $3,400 for equipment, including seven targets and 12 compound bows, but has become a favorite of fourth- and fifth-graders.
“I don’t see it as a boy or a girl thing,” Godwin said. “Anyone can do it. I think the thing they like about it is it’s not a team sport. The good thing is it’s individual. And it’s fun.”
Godwin said obstacles to other sports aren’t the same with archery, as many disabilities, size or strength don’t factor into student success.
Jaedan Graham, 12, is one of Godwin’s fifth-grade students. Graham said he started shooting on his grandparents’ farm when he was 7.
“I guess you could call it a hobby,” Graham said. “If I don’t have an Xbox or something I’ll go outside and shoot.”
Julie Sheffer, a fifth-grade teacher at Clark, said daughter Taylor Willis is continuing an interest that began in Godwin’s class. Willis, now in seventh-grade, picked up a bow for the first time as a fifth-grade student at Clark Elementary.
“It just kind of developed since she participated in the archery program and enjoyed it,” Sheffer said. “She loves team sports and she plays team sports, but she’s also one of those kids that likes time by herself. Archery allows her that opportunity to do something alone where she doesn’t have to rely on teammates to get the ball across the plate.”
Sheffer said they purchased Willis a bow similar to those used at school. Willis also takes part in a church archery program.
Startup cost varies at each school. NASP-approved equipment ranges from bows at $111 each to protective curtains for $290. Targets cost between $150 and $200.
Jill McCormack is the Region One coordinator for NASP, a joint venture among multiple-state education and wildlife departments. NASP provides the needed structure to include the sport in schools and grants to reduce the initial cost.
McCormack, a teacher at Wingo Elementary School in Graves County, said a National Wild Turkey Federation donation got the school’s program started. Wingo purchased an archery kit that traveled the district. Some elementaries now offer archery as an after-school program.
“It’s spreading so fast it’s hard to keep up,” McCormack said. “I have people contacting me all the time. If you travel east of here, it’s unreal how large their tournaments are.”
On Feb. 16 Graves County will host the regional round of the first KHSAA-sanctioned state tournament. Doug Gloyd, Graves County athletic director, said a meeting was held Jan. 7 to form a school team.
“We had 60-plus archers interested, both male and female,” Gloyd said. “You’ve got kids who aren’t interested in basketball or football, but they can shoot a bow.”
Gloyd said teams must have between 16 and 24 members, with a minimum of five females.
In McCracken County, activities director Kris Garrett said the district will review Title IX surveys this spring when considering additional sports at the new consolidated high school. Garrett said bowling and bass fishing also will be considered.
Unpredictable weather runs
the gamut over weekend
In less than 24 hours time the region ran the gamut of unpredictable weather events, with reports of a tornado to sporadic icing and a much-needed, thorough soaking that proved more than just another drop in the bucket to persisting drought conditions.
Denoted by a nearly 30-degree temperature differential between the leading and trailing edges, the wide line of thunderstorms over the weekend repeatedly tracked through the local area, dropping a widespread 1 to 3 inches of rain and about 5 inches of rain at the National Weather Service in Paducah.
In a region where rainfall in recent months has come mostly in short bursts if at all, the prolonged thunderstorms helped take a chunk out of the lasting 2012 rain deficit of nearly 20 inches.
Preliminary weather service data reported Sunday shows about 6.3 inches of rain for January, about 4.75 inches more than average.
With the weather system stretching across much of the Mississippi River Valley and the river’s tributaries, the deluge spiked dwindling river levels at the Thebes, Mo.-gage by almost 5 feet between Saturday and Sunday. The river is expected to crest at 12.5 feet by Wednesday before starting to decrease again, according to weather service data.
“It’s really good to get this much rain because the rivers needed it, the ground needed it and the area really needed this,” said Beau Dodson, meteorologist with the McCracken County Office of Emergency Management.
“This doesn’t solve the drought, though, because we’ll need multiple rains to make up the difference from what happened last year. We’re not out of the woods yet.” But the weather did as much damage to the local area as good.
Robin Smith, meteorologist with the weather service, confirmed an EF-2 tornado touched down in Livingston County on Saturday that destroyed a rural church.
A storm survey team determined the tornado spawned on the southwest side of Hampton and traveled northeast along Ky. 838 for about 1.75 miles. Officials estimated the tornado had peak winds of about 120 mph and was about 175 yards wide.
The tornado collapsed the sanctuary of North Livingston Baptist Church and a second church nearby had its steeple toppled, in addition to multiple reports of damaged roof shingles and broken tree limbs. Midtown getting a makeover
Midtown getting a makeover
Paducah’s Midtown neighborhood isn’t solidly defined. Street signs don’t guide tourists toward it. One giant landmark doesn’t bring attention to it. Its flow is natural, helped along by good infrastructure and start-up businesses. But the 20-block area is speckled with new construction, a sign that 2013 may be the year of resurgence.
“Watching it grow has certainly been rewarding,” said Sharon Poat, executive director of the Midtown Alliance of Neighbors. “I Christmas caroled down those streets. It was vibrant and had a lot of life when I was younger, then the area hit into a downward spiral and the neighborhood began to suffer. It’s coming back to life now.”
The boundaries of Midtown are wide — it encompasses from 13th Street to 32nd Street, and expands several blocks north and south of Broadway. Inside those boundaries is proof of the neighborhood’s growth, including the city-sponsored revitalization of the Fountain Area neighborhood. There are seven new construction projects slated for 2013, and city Planner Steve Ervin said the city’s total is now at 45 homes that have required an investment of $50,000 or more. The neighborhood’s first commercial construction, a $500,000 building at 14th and Martin Luther King Drive, will be the new home of 5H Technologies.
But the Fountain Avenue neighborhood, for all its accomplishments, is not the only part of Midtown being rehabbed to show growth. A new grocery, Midtown Market, has a steady flow of happy customers. Independence Bank cleared the entire 3100 block for the construction of another bank and made room for a new park a few blocks down Lone Oak Road, as well. A new-and-improved Paducah Middle School will open to students in August.
The old Modine Manufacturing plant at 3047 Jackson St. is being razed with plans for a new health services village by Gersh and Terry Lundberg, who bought the land and buildings in November. Meagan Musselman and husband Edward Musselman closed on the former Coca-Cola plant at the tip of the neighborhood last week, and have a vision to restore it for more potential retail or office space.
“With increased investment, the neighborhood continues to stabilize,” Ervin said. “That is smart growth. It’s investing into our urban core.”
Andy Carloss, owner of Midtown Market, said his business has seen customers from out-of-town because of the unique foods and products it offers. But the out-of-town visitors are outnumbered by those in-town, who stop in on their way home or during the weekend because of the market’s proximity to their homes.