A1 A1
Chaney's getting $250,000 grant from USDA

Like a youngster enjoying an ice cream cone, Carl Chaney was smiling Wednesday afternoon.

And for good reason.

In the midst of the storm that the coronavirus pandemic has created for small businesses like Chaney’s Dairy Barn on Nashville Road, Chaney got some welcome news.

Chaney’s is receiving a $250,000 grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that will allow the business to continue innovations that have helped it survive even as the economy has taken a hit.

“This is fantastic news,” Chaney said. “It’s a value-added production grant that helps you take your own product and add value to it. We had heard about it before but didn’t think we would qualify.

“Now that we’re processing our own milk and using it to make our ice cream, we’re eligible. This will allow us to expand what we’re doing.”

Chaney said the grant can be used primarily for supplies and labor.

“You can’t buy equipment or trucks, but you can get your trucks wrapped,” he said. “It will help us be able to add some things that might help us.”

Mostly, the extra funding will allow Chaney to continue the innovations that have kept his farm and restaurant/ice cream store alive during a trying time for the dairy industry that was only worsened by the pandemic.

“So many dairies in Kentucky have struggled,” said U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, R-Bowling Green, who was on hand for presentation of the grant. “Value-added strategies are what’s going to keep farms viable.”

Chaney, the fourth generation of Chaneys to run the farm that has been in the dairy business for 80 years, explained that he and his family started processing milk a little over a year ago.

“We wanted to cut out the middle man,” he said of a business strategy that has also included installing robots to do the milking.

Chaney’s farm is now producing 23,000 pounds of milk per week and processing about half of it themselves with the rest going to a processor in Logan County. Chaney’s-branded pasteurized milk is now being sold at local stores owned by Houchens Industries and at other retail outlets.

Much of the milk goes into making the ice cream for the dairy barn operation.

Hilda Legg, the USDA Rural Development Kentucky state director who joined Guthrie to present the grant, pointed to Chaney’s innovative strategies as a reason for awarding the grant.

“This family has been so creative in adapting,” Legg said. “You have survived because you’re flexible and innovative in expanding your customer base.”

Chaney said that, despite the drop in business brought about by the pandemic, he has maintained his employment of about 40 people.

The presentation at Chaney’s was one of three that Legg and Guthrie made Wednesday. The others:

  • A $50,000 grant to the city of Brownsville that will be used to install physical security equipment at city hall.
  • A grant of $84,606 to Bowling Green’s Connected Nation that will be used to help military veterans and military families across nine counties. The grant funds will be used to provide employment opportunities and business coaching to veterans and family members with remote-based jobs.

Legg said the grant to Connected Nation will help veterans and their family members “learn the latest technology and earn high-tech jobs regardless of where they’re stationed”.

Fossil treasures, new shark species continue to be found at Mammoth Cave

A team of paleontologists, cave specialists and park rangers is exploring a trove of fossil treasures at Mammoth Cave National Park that has yielded one of the most diverse Mississippian shark faunas in North America.

During a news conference Wednesday at the park, fossil shark specialist John-Paul Hodnett of the Maryland-National Capital Parks and Planning Commission described the discoveries.

In total, at least 40 species of sharks and their relatives have been identified, including six new species.

Rare preservation of three-dimensional skeletal cartilage documented in Mammoth Cave allows researchers to understand the anatomy and relationships of these ancient sharks.

The discoveries in remote cave locations within the park were made during an ongoing paleontological resources inventory that began in November 2019.

The largest species found was Saivodus striatus, which was the apex predator of the different species found at Mammoth Cave. Hodnett said this shark is often found to be a bit larger than current great white sharks.

The 325 million-year-old fossil-rich limestone of the Mammoth Cave system was formed during the late Paleozoic Era during a period known to geologists as the Mississippian Period. At this time, the cave system was actually an ocean floor.

The park staff reported a few fossil shark teeth exposed in the cave walls of Ste. Genevieve Limestone in several locations.

Hodnett was recruited to help identify the shark fossils, which were primarily teeth and fin spines. Since most of the skeleton of sharks is composed of cartilage, rather than bone, the skeletons of sharks are rarely preserved as fossils.

“It’s very exciting,” Hodnett said of the discoveries. “It’s like training a brand new child for the world and letting other people see it. I am absolutely amazed at the diversity of sharks we see while exploring the passages that make up Mammoth Cave.

“What I’m hoping to get out of this project is to see what different kinds of sharks are at different layers, and how they change over time,” Hodnett continued. “We are getting new things we have never seen before in science. This is the only place we are finding sharks in this specific geological layer. It’s a weird mystery we are trying to solve.”

Most of the shark fossils have been discovered in areas inaccessible to visitors on cave tours, but park staff are preparing photographs, artists’ renditions and three-dimensional models for the visitors to view and explore in park exhibits.

In order for Hodnett and other team members to reach the fossil site, they had to crawl on their hands and knees for more than a quarter of a mile.

A new painting showing some of the Mississippian shark and invertebrate fauna from Mammoth Cave has been completed by paleoartist Julius Csotonyi and was premiered to the public Tuesday, which also happened to be National Fossil Day.

“We are very excited to find such an important set of fossils at the park,” said Rick Toomey, cave resource management specialist and research coordinator at Mammoth Cave National Park. “Although we have known that we had a few shark teeth in the limestone exposed in the cave, we never imagined that we would have the abundance and diversity of sharks that Hodnett has identified.”

In addition to this diversity of primitive sharks at Mammoth Cave, two partial cartilaginous skeletons of different species of sharks were also found.

One specimen was discovered by a caver with the Cave Research Foundation, and the other has been known by the park guides for years.

The preservation of cartilage in layers of Paleozoic rock is a very rare occurrence and moved the team to thoroughly document these specimens.

National Park Service geologist Jack Wood lugged equipment through narrow cave passages to capture images of the two rare specimens. Wood produced 3D models of the cartilaginous shark remains which are posted on the National Park Service website.

Paleontological resource inventories, similar to the one underway at Mammoth Cave National Park, have helped to document fossils in at least 277 different national parks throughout the United States.

These inventories enable scientists to establish baseline fossil data capturing the scope, significance, distribution and management issues related to park fossils. Many new and important fossil discoveries are tied to field inventories in national parks.

For the immediate future, Hodnett and other researchers are still going through the site to find any further discoveries. In fact, Hodnett said a new species was found only just a few days ago.

“I’ll be back for multiple trips just to collect more data,” Hodnett added. “We are literally just scratching the surface, and the information is pouring out. It’s going to take a while to process all the findings, but we are excited with what we are seeing right off the bat.”

Breonna Taylor's boyfriend recounts her shooting by police

LOUISVILLE (AP) – The boyfriend of Breonna Taylor said the hail of bullets coming at them from police the night she was killed in her Louisville apartment sounded like a war.

Kenneth Walker said he tried to pull Taylor down to the floor amid the gunfire but “she was just scared, she didn’t get down.”

“I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many gunshots like all at the same time,” Walker told “CBS This Morning” in his first televised interview since the shooting. “I’ve never been to war but I assume that’s what war probably sounds like.”

He said the loss of Taylor, an emergency medical worker, is especially hard because she “took care of a lot of people.”

“There’s a lot of people who need her bad right now, including me,” Walker said in the interview, which aired Wednesday.

They were in bed watching a movie early March 13 when police serving a narcotics warrant knocked down the door. Walker told investigators he heard loud knocking, but didn’t hear police identify themselves, so he thought it was an intruder.

“I’m a million percent sure that nobody identified themselves,” Walker said in the CBS interview. “That’s why I grabbed the gun. Didn’t have a clue” they were police, he said.

Walker fired a single shot toward the door, striking a police officer in the leg. That officer and two others returned 32 shots. Taylor was hit five times and died at the scene. Walker wasn’t hurt, but he was initially arrested for attempted murder of a police officer. That charge was dropped in May.

Last month, a grand jury in Louisville declined to charge any of the officers in Taylor’s death. One officer was charged with wanton endangerment for firing bullets that went through Taylor’s apartment and penetrated a neighbor’s home.

County schools add wrestling program

Barring any COVID-19 disruptions, a wrestling program for Warren County Public Schools students will launch next month after the district’s school board took action Monday to approve the offering.

The program will be open to middle and high school students.

The local program is spurred by new wrestling programs in school districts across Kentucky and northern Tennessee, along with growing popularity locally.

WCPS Athletic Director Eric Wilson said the district is searching for a program coach. The program will function much like the district’s swim team, with individual members representing their school but competing on a single team.

“We decided that we would give it a shot and see if it’s something we can do,” Wilson said in an interview Wednesday. “Warren County Public Schools is all about student opportunities, and this is just another athletic opportunity for students …

“We wanted to make sure that they were able to compete in the KHSAA (tournament) and compete for a state championship,” Wilson said. “That’s one of the reasons why we went ahead and made it a school sport.”

For years now, there’s been some level of community support for adding a program, Wilson said, but not quite enough to make the program viable. That factor, coupled with a lack of relatively nearby programs to compete with, were obstacles to the program’s development.

That’s changing however with the growing popularity among WCPS students of the SOKY Wrestling Club, which is unaffiliated with the district, Wilson said. Nearby programs have also sprung up in Elizabethtown, Hopkinsville, Owensboro and northern Tennessee, he said.

Participation in the program is co-ed, provided students qualify for the weight class in which they’re competing, Wilson said. A partnership with the Mid-South Conference means the school district will be able to use specialized wrestling mats that would otherwise be expensive for the district to purchase, Wilson said.

“We think there’s enough interest now,” Wilson said. “We know that with the students that are participating in the club we definitely have enough to give it a shot and see where it takes off.”

That said, the program does face some lingering hurdles in getting off the ground, including competing for space as a winter sport, and the coronavirus pandemic’s complications for high-contact sports, Wilson said.

“The state so far has set Nov. 1 as the start date, but that’s pending everything that’s going on,” he said. “They’re optimistic about that, but I think in reality they’re not sure that it’s going to be able to go this year or not, especially when we see the cases starting to increase now again throughout the state. It kind of puts that in jeopardy, but we’re going to hold out hope that we can start this program on time in November.”