When you buy food or drinks at the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games this fall, you might be helping to eradicate polio on the other side of the world. That's because the person behind the counter might be a Rotary Club member, or a relative or friend of a member.
Kentucky Rotary Clubs are looking for volunteers to staff 300 concession shifts at the Kentucky Horse Park during each of the Games' 16 days, Sept. 25 through Oct. 10.
Volunteers must be at least 18 years old, but they don't have to be Rotary members. The Lexington Rotary Club is trying to arrange housing for out-of-town volunteers with its members. For each shift worked, volunteers will get a general admission pass worth $25 to enjoy another day at the Games as a spectator.
Volunteers will raise money for Rotary International's Polio Plus project, which hopes to wipe out the crippling childhood disease. Once widely feared in this country, polio now exists in only a handful of developing nations.
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The Rotary Foundation will receive a percentage of sales from concession stands staffed by its volunteers. Based on projections by the Games' concessionaire, Chicago-based Buona Event Catering, proceeds could amount to $300,000 to $400,000 for Polio Plus. The foundation hopes to raise $200 million for Polio Plus to match $355 million in challenge grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
To sign up and schedule volunteer shifts, go to www.rotary-weg.org.
"Anybody who's willing to come in and support the cause is certainly welcome," said Robert Ryan, a Lexington lawyer and governor-elect for the Rotary district that covers the eastern half of Kentucky.
Fresh books weekly
In addition to local food, you will soon be able to buy local books at the Lexington Farmers Market. And, in true market fashion, you will be buying them from the authors.
The Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning and The Morris Book Shop are partnering with the market to create a Homegrown Authors booth, to be staffed by local authors from 9 a.m. to noon each Saturday at Cheapside.
The booth will begin June 12 with the Carnegie Center's writer in residence, Neil Chethik, author of FatherLoss and VoiceMale; and market vendor Abigail Keam of Abigail's Honey. She has written a murder mystery, Death by a Honeybee.
Other Homegrown Authors booths are planned for June 19, July 10 and July 24.
"We're hoping people will support their local writers just as they support their local farmers," Chethik said.
A new mountain economy
Apologists for mountaintop removal and other destructive forms of surface mining often rationalize it by saying that digging coal by any means is essential to Eastern Kentucky's economy, even as the number of mining jobs steadily declines.
A new Web site hopes to foster more public discussion about creating a sustainable, healthy and environmentally friendly economy for Central Appalachia.
The Web site, www.appalachiantransition.net, was created by the Berea-based Mountain Association for Community Economic Development and the social-justice group Kentuckians for the Commonwealth.
"We believe the old extraction-based mono-economy has produced poor results and offers a very limited future," said Jason Bailey, MACED's research and policy director. Besides, coal reserves are dwindling.
"We know that transitioning to a new economy in Central Appalachia will not be easy or quick," Bailey said. "But we believe with a clear vision and a steady approach, together we can move to a new economy that sustains the people and the land."