Keeneland President Nick Nicholson welcomed Lexington Forum, the civic issues discussion group, to the track Thursday for its monthly meeting.

He told forum members that he was chatting before the meeting with former Vice Mayor Isabel Yates, who, in her 80s, remains one of Lexington's most active citizens.

"I always like having Lexington Forum here because it gives me a chance to meet with Lexington's young leaders," Nicholson, 59, said he remarked to Yates.

"Without missing a beat, she replied, 'We also like meeting with Lexington's old men.'"

Later, Nicholson said, the track is ready for its spring meet, although the recent cold snap is a complication.

Keeneland planted 2,112 forsythias. "They were beautiful," he said. "Last week."

But the biggest laugh came when forum members introduced their guests.

University of Kentucky spokesman Jay Blanton rose and said he was glad to have with him "Billy Dono ..."

Later that day, Donovan said he would stay at Florida and not become Kentucky's next men's basketball coach.

Ripping good solution

If necessity is the mother of invention then frustration must be the daddy. Ask Lexington Realtor Maria Gnas.

About two years ago, Gnas had finished an open house and took down a heavy, angle-iron yard sign. It wouldn't fit in the trunk of her brand new Subaru Outback so she put the sign in the back seat and drove off.

Moments later, Gnas made a turn, the sign slid and its pointed legs ripped a hole in her car's leather upholstery.

"I was so upset," Gnas said. "I had sworn I would do better with this car and it didn't take me a week to tear it up."

Transporting yard signs is a big problem. They tear up the trunks and back seats of cars, and they get mud or dirt on everything they touch, including Realtors' clothing.

"I have torn a big hole in every car I've ever had in my real estate career and I got sick of it," Gnas said.

Long story short, she has invented and patented Sign-Slippers -- a plastic tube that fits over the sharp leg of a yard sign. It has a cap on one end and is held in place by a cloth bag tied to the sign's cross bar.

Gnas has been selling her invention to local Realtors and through But beginning this week, a national real estate supplier, Sanzo Specialties, is planning to offer Sign-Slippers on its Web site,

The basic price is $14.95 for a pair, but there are discounts for larger orders.

Turning a problem into a profit, it's the Gnas way.

Counting down to April 14

Homeowners know spring is near when they start getting mailings from termite exterminators. Some are so personalized that they get the attention of even longtime homeowners.

One national company asks, "Do you want the facts about termites in Lexington? Or will you take the risk at (your street address)?

"According to our experts," the message continues, "homes in the (your zip code) area are 2 times more likely to suffer a termite infestation than the average home nationwide.

"And now, with termite swarm season predicted to start on 4/14/2007, it's even more critical to know that your home" is protected.

In other words, call us or termites will attack your house before you can finish your income tax returns. Bummer.

Don't "freak out," says Mike Potter, termite expert at the University of Kentucky. Some of their claims are a bit shaky.

Termites actually started swarming several weeks ago in Kentucky, where the risk of damage is rated "moderate." It's lower than in the "big time termite country" of the wet, warm South and higher than in colder Northern states.

Potter says forget the ads and remember the warning signs -- termite sightings, damaged wood, mud tubes, etc. If you find termites, call a professional exterminator. They have the best chemicals and know how to use them safely.

Got questions? Potter's got answers on the Web at

The Buzz is written by Jim Jordan with contributions from readers and the Herald-Leader staff. Reach Jordan at (859) 231-3242 or 1-800-950-6397, Ext. 3242, or