Archive for Clark County

Your Help Urgently Needed

Posted in In The News, National Stories, Winchester Sun, WKYT with tags , , , , , , on November 18, 2013 by Joan Graves

The mission of Stand Up Clark County has always been that of good and that has never been more true than today. A community is known by it’s backbone and our backbone is strong in both giving and receiving through STRIDE. For those that don’t know STRIDE serves individuals with intellectual disabilities by providing them the opportunity to serve the community by volunteering and by being better educated in order to live independently. STRIDE participants learn social skills, how to take care of themselves and participate in Special Olympics. But the greatest thing STRIDE gives to those in the program is what we all take for granted – friendship. This video shows that.

Today STRIDE has the opportunity to win a much needed van from the Toyota 100 Cars For Good program but it can’t be done without you. Please go to and vote for STRIDE. This is the only day of voting so don’t hesitate a moment longer. On behalf of all of STRIDE participants, thank you for Standing Up and being a friend.


Senator RJ Palmer Seeks Our Support

Posted in Ashley Ritchie, Beth Griffith, Board Members, Michael Kuduk, Michael McGowan, Political Scene, RJ Palmer, School Board Election 2012 with tags , , , , on August 30, 2013 by Joan Graves

Senate28Senator RJ Palmer is seeking the support of Stand Up Clark County. Palmer cites his bi-partisan efforts in improving Kentucky and his renewed “commitment to improving education” as reasons for our support.

In the beginning, Stand Up Clark County was dismissed as the unorganized and inconsequential work of only a few. Yet, just as history has done so many times and will no doubt continue to do, underestimating a group of citizens banded together to right wrongs can have serious repercussions. When Colonist, labeled as rebels and troublemakers, had their cries ignored they took control of themselves and the world for that matter, from England and have never returned it. Our fight, albeit, on much smaller scale has been no less significant.

Last November the people of Clark County screamed their need for change at the election poles. After nearly a decade on the board of education, Debbie Fatkin, widely known in the community, lost her seat to unknown resident Michael McGowan. Deanna Wolfe, who has powerful connections at WKYT also lost to an unknown, Ashley Ritchie. Though Beth Griffith was not fully supported by Stand Up Clark County we certainly did not oppose her because the seat she sought against Steve Graves would see change no matter the victor as BJ Swope was not seeking re-election.

People tend to take notice when a group of unknowns demonstrates the power and ability to evoke great change. Now, more than ever we must be diligent in who we support. We have set a precedence and we have a responsibility to the people of Clark County. The trust of the people will always be a top priority for us. We must do as we have always done, research, post facts and informed opinions.

Therefore, this post is to serve only as a notice of the support request from Senator Palmer not a political opinion. We need to generate conversation and share information. Watch for future posts regarding Senator Palmer as research on him takes place. Once all the information is, compiled Stand Up Clark County will then decide if Senator Palmer is a good fit for our focus, goals, and beliefs. So….. Stand Up Clark County and speak your thoughts and experiences about Senator RJ Palmer.

Death Threats, Rivals, Ghosts & The Way To Make It Right.

Posted in George Rogers Clark, Point of View, Schools, Sports with tags , , , , , , , , , on August 23, 2013 by Joan Graves

My last post, “Beyond Friday Night”, generated heated responses from people calling themselves Tony and Jessica. Their remarks indicate they are friends with GRC Head Football Coach Steve Collins. They defended Collins vehemently and I actually applaud them for standing up for their friend. The manner in which they do it however, is highly questionable.

Tony and Jessica went to excessive lengths to hide their identities. They set up a dummy email account, which both used to access the comments section of the blog. Their IP addresses indicate they are in the same network. Which means Jessica and Tony either is the same person or is closely connected.

If you have followed this blog or read the Lexington Herald-Leader, you are aware of death threats made in the past. What you may not know is that a few weeks ago I received a threat, which basically said for me to stop Stand up Clark County or die. I was not impressed. People against Stand Up Clark County have long tried to silence me by using disgusting, perverted, and threatening remarks. The only common denominator is that each time the attack came after a post about the football program.

Let me be perfectly clear. I am in absolutely no way saying that Coach Collins or his staff is responsible for death threats or verbal attacks. What I am saying is that it is the topic of Collins’ football program that triggers the venom. I have no idea if it’s a coach, fan, parent, player, cheerleader, or community member launching the assaults. What I do know is whoever it is they are extremely passionate about Collins’ football program.

From my point of view, this is what I see. Paul Columbia’s firing was not the fault of Coach Collins, though Collins and his staff like to use that as an excuse for their shortcomings. Collins took a job he knew was in drowning in controversy so none of this is a surprise to him. What is surprising to us, however, is that Collins has invested more in our rival Montgomery County than he ever has in the community of Clark County. He made the decision early on to place himself in opposition of the majority of the community. Little did he know the previous board of education would fall and the superintendent who hired him retire, leaving him at the mercy of the very people he has shunned.

One of the first things Collins did, as football coach was take business away from Clark County’s long time small business staple, South Main Grocery. He immediately ended the team’s tradition of having breakfast there. Many saw that move as self-serving because Collins failed to realize the importance of tradition in the midst of turmoil. Since then, Collins’s program has been embroiled in controversy surrounding the treatment of players.

Collins has failed to ever address the concerns or even as much as attempt to interact with the community. Instead, he opted to take money from our small businesses while investing in Montgomery County golf scrambles. Collins appears to be heavily involved in the community in which he lives but not in the community who pays his salary or in which the kids he interacts with live. If Collins does not produce well-rounded individuals, what concern is it of his? Clark County is a paycheck not an investment.

Collins’s divided mind has cost him greatly but us even more so. While he spent his time trying to defeat the ghost of Paul Columbia, his team logged one of the worst seasons on record. Now, rather than focus on the players and how to make them successful he has opted instead to spend his time and energy into making PR rounds for an Astro Turf. When what we really need is a leader.

Clark County takes pride in our heritage and sense of community. We are not like other counties. We still stand for “old fashioned values”. We do not want new flashy things that spend our money but produce nothing. We prefer to invest in people not things.

We do not want to oppose Coach Collins but we must protect our core values. We have an obligation to the future of our kids. Therefore, we must insist Coach Collins invest in Clark County, speak out against those creating turmoil and crime in his name and begin building a bridge that will improve the lives of all Clark Contains.

Stand Up Clark County for all we are, have been and will be.

CNN iReport

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on May 15, 2013 by Joan Graves

CNN iReport

As requested I’m posting the link to my CNN iReport. After you read it don’t forget to recommend it. If enough people click the button for it to be on CNN they will do an on air broadcast about it. National exposure could mean a huge difference in how the facilities plan plays out.  

Weather Decisions Can Mean Life Or Death For Students

Posted in Board of Education (General), Point of View with tags , , , , , , , , on January 30, 2013 by Joan Graves

I am a trained weather spotter and always monitor the sky anytime there is a threat of severe weather.  I report to the National Weather Service in Louisville about conditions as they unfold and they pass the information to the general public.

During the spring tornadoes can be seen in early morning hours but a tornado in January is concealed because the sun isn’t up. Add to that, a rain wrapped and we have the makings for potential disaster. That was the case this morning.

When my ears began popping I knew the pressure had changed and the possibility of a tornado was high. I opened my front door I saw the rain that was falling nearly horizontal at that point, start twisting and swirling into a perfect funnel form. I immediatel beat on my neighbors door to warn them but despite knowing what danger to look for,  I still had seen it. People tend to look and see only rain not considering there is danger hiding on the other side of that rain. In more ways than one, we all should be acutely aware that just because we don’t see a threat doesn’t mean its not there.

Apparently, this illusion of safety extended to our school leadership. But that illusion is not an excuse because we’ve known the storm was coming for days. It even made national news. We also knew that the path of the storm was headed straight for us and would hit at the exact time small kids on wet, dangerous county roads would be boarding busses. It was a fast moving storm and an hour delay would’ve been sufficient. Decisions made by school leaders can save or risk lives and sometimes it’s up others to determine if they will obey the decision or not.

On May 18, 1995 my nephews were waiting to exit a bus at Jessamine County High School when the principal made the decision to have drivers hold students on the buses rather than open their doors at the bell. A storm had been brewing since the middle of morning pick up and the principal could tell a different plan was needed for the 600 students in the parking lot. The storm created millions of dollars in damage to the school district. But because a principal made a decision no students were walking the halls of the school when the wall collapsed. Had those students been in the school rather than on the buses there would have been more than 26 injured and would’ve likely resulted in fatalities. Those kids now have an exciting tale to relay to their own kids thanks to the decision of one man.

As parents it is first our responsibility to make choices about our kids attending school. No parent should ever put a child on a bus if they have questions or misgivings about safety. But the district equally shares that responsibility, especially for students whose parents aren’t home when they get on the bus.

At 5 a.m. we knew beyond a shadow of a doubt that the fast moving storm was barreling down on us at the same time elementary students would be boarding buses. There was no guess work here. Over the last few years Clark County has developed a chronic lack of weather safety and parents are furious. Parents feel children are being put at risk by district decisions.

Making today’s circumstances worse are rumors that Superintendent Elaine Farris didn’t show up at work today. Many are wondering if that’s because she didn’t want to come out in the weather or if she is hiding, unwilling to take responsibility for the choice to not delay school. I have no idea where Elaine Farris is. But wherever she is, I hope she’s getting an apology and a better weather plan together.

Stand Up Clark County and refuse to accept decisions that shift in the wind.


Take 2 of The Backpack Attack

Posted in Board Meetings, Board of Education (General), Point of View with tags , , , , , , , on January 7, 2013 by Joan Graves

mesh laundry bag

It has become impossible for me to ignore this entire backpack issue but the sheer number of people requesting a response is too much to ignore. I am simply sick with what happened today to some students. The point of having a dress code in school was to level the economic playing field. When my son, Colton, was in middle school his therapist didn’t want to pull him out of class for therapy exercises. The rationale was to not single-out a student as being different. Even though Steve and I both said that therapy was more important than peer perception, it wasn’t done.  So, imagine how surprised I was to learn today that administrators at GRC purposely  singled-out students in front of their peers for lacking the ability to purchase a mesh backpack.

Just like you, my mind is incapable of comprehending why anyone would find it necessary to go to such links to shame and embarrass students. Any attempt at school safety was completely undone the second the decision was made to haul kids into the library for a grotesque display of “the haves and the have nots”.

Before I go further, let me make clear a few things. First, I am speaking opinions that I share with others, some involved in Stand Up Clark County and some not. This is our exercise of our constitutional right to free speech. Secondly, anyone attempting to make this blog about them should save themselves the time and effort. These are statements about a public school system not an individual. If you are an individual, in charge in some capacity within the school system , and you take offense to these remarks, it is only the guilt of your own conscience. Third, I am in no way attempting to create public outrage. I am, in fact, attempting to contain it by encouraging others to peaceful, meaningful and acceptable ways of challenging public regime by elected officials.

Today, a report was released stating that Kentucky scored the absolute lowest in the area of communication between school district policy makers and the community. That has been the central focus of Stand Up Clark County from the onset. There is no way this school district will ever be successful as long as there is no open, on-going dialogue between school officials and the community. At this point there is nothing more the community can do. We have spoken. We’ve made our point and cast our ballots. We must now rely upon our governing educational system to, at the very least, attempt to find a middle ground.

As parents, it is imperative for us to keep a cool, rational mind. We are an example to our kids. There is no harder job than for a parent to remain calm, cool and collected when we perceive our kids have been done wrong. But it is only with a clear mind that we will achieve success for them.

Today, some students at GRC, got an embarrassing lesson in the ramifications of poor leadership.  To those students I would like to say, you have done nothing wrong. You are not less than anyone. You are valuable, intelligent and worthy. You have a tremendous future in front of you. In the words of Elenore Roosevelt, “No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.” Do not consent. Do not be angry. See this moment as an opportunity for personal growth. It takes a tremendous amount of character to avoid responding when you feel slighted, yet to do so offers unspeakable rewards.

To the students that had mesh backpacks and were not singled-out, I ask you to go out of your way to help your peers. Show your own integrity by refusing to participate in singling-out students already scorned. The difference in what you carry on your back means nothing if it doesn’t make a difference in how you behave.

School employees, I am well aware that many of you were surprised, disappointed and embarrassed by today’s events.  My advice to you is to always act appropriately but to also stand up for your students. If you are unable or unwilling to go to your supervisors at the very least go to the kids. Make sure your students are not carrying emotional burdens in-place of mesh backpacks.

As parents, it is our  responsibility to make sure our kids always respect employees of the educational system, yet they need to know they have support. Talk to your student about today’s events and determine the level of importance your student assigned to it. Gage their thoughts and emotions without inserting your own. Afterwards, if you feel it necessary I suggest you address the board at the next meeting, which I believe is January 15th.

All of that being said I must again clarify the legality of these statements. I, Joan Graves, am writing these words based upon the overwhelming response to this backpack issue. I am not in any way telling anyone how to behave. I am only pointing out a legal, peaceful, and logical way to express an opinion on the matter at hand. I am in no way encouraging community outrage, contempt, hatred or conspiracy. These remarks are not intend to annoy, slander, annoy, ridicule or defame anyone within the school system. And absolutely, under no circumstance would I be intending to alarm an individual, disturb his/her fragile emotional state or in any other way cause harm or injury to another’s reputation.

So……Stand Up Clark County but only if you want to. 

Keep Standing Up Clark County This Is Your Defining Moment

Posted in Encouragement, Point of View with tags , , , , , , , on August 30, 2012 by Joan Graves
Cover of "TGIF: Daily Workplace Inspirati...

Cover of TGIF: Daily Workplace Inspiration

I receive a brief email devotion each day from TGIF (Today God Is First). A prayer comes before the devotion and apparently are written by different individuals because sometimes they don’t seem to be on the same subject. None-the-less, they are each powerful on their own. But when the two connect, the message is twice as powerful. That was the case today. Considering all the problems we’ve had with our school system, superintendent and board of education, I had to share today’s message with you.

This community has spent nearly 9 months taking the high, very narrow road to change. We’ve battled many things along the way and each has made us stronger. We rolled past every refusal, lie, condescending attitude and threat. Rather than let those things slow us down we rolled them together, forced them behind us and allowed them to become rocket boosters that thrust us forward to a greater good. Each attack that intends to take us down only built us up. We are a community united.

Today, the devotion was on defining moments and I thought of all of you that have been in these educational trenches with me. It has been a tremendous honor to be a part of what this community is doing and the defining moments you all have made. You’ve risked much to gain more. Your efforts are not in vain. And your defining moment isn’t over yet. May God bless you all.

Today’s Prayer

Dear God, Thank you for being orderly and powerful and loving and understanding! I need your help. You know there are difficult people in this world. There always have been and always will be. Some people can be avoided. Some people I must see and deal with, so I need to know what to do. When they are so wrong and their sin and stupidity affects other people’s lives, but they do not want help nor do they listen to reason and good sense or even Christian counsel from others who have ‘been there,’ there really isn’t much I can do. So what I need to do is ask you to please intervene. Please help me to not react and do or say anything wrong. Please open the other person’s eyes, enlighten their mind, and speak to their heart. Draw that person (or those people) to you. Fill them with spiritual wisdom, increase their knowledge and maturity, and break down the strongholds that keep them from doing what is right and following your will. Please help. In the name of Jesus Christ I pray, amen.
Defining Moments
TGIF Today God Is First Volume 1, by Os Hillman
“As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him.”Acts 9:3For Moses, it was the burning bush.

For Peter, it was walking on water.

For Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, it was walking through the burning furnace untouched.

For Paul, it was being blinded and spoken to by Jesus on the Damascus road. For Daniel, it was deliverance from the lions’ den.

For Joshua, it was parting the Jordan River and crossing into the Promised Land.

There have been many defining moments in the lives of human beings that changed their lives forever. These defining moments often set the course for the balance of their lives.

We could go on and on. Each of these servants had years of preparation leading up to their defining moment. These moments forced the servants to be involved in something beyond their human experiences. It took them outside their own paradigms of life. God had to move them outside their own boxes. And when He did, their lives were never the same.

You may be in one of three stages of life: You may not have had your “defining moment” yet – God may be preparing you with many important life experiences. You may have had your defining moment and you are living out your call. Or, you may be toward the end of your journey and you have already experienced what I speak of. We are all called to a relationship with God; and we are all called vocationally, which is often ushered in by a defining moment. And there can be more than one defining moment, each pointing you down a path that God foreordained from the foundation of the world. The secret of a great life is often a man’s ability to discern the defining moments given to him, understanding them, and learning to walk in the path that leads him to his ultimate destination.

Once you have had a defining moment, you are never the same. Pray that you have eyes to see and ears to hear when your Master brings a defining moment into your life. 

Stand Up Clark County Takes The Case To CNN

Posted in In The News, National Stories, Winchester Sun with tags , , , , , , , on July 12, 2012 by Joan Graves

Sun’s Report on Possible Tape Tampering

Bob Flynn’s report on the possible tape tampering that was in today’s Winchester Sun was excellent. I posted it to CNN’s iReport.  We can take our battle national by following the link above, “Sun’s Report on Possible Tape Tampering”. That will connect you to the sight. At the end of the article you will be asked about your thoughts on the article. If enough people click “This belongs on CNN” – BAM – we’re national news.

Stand Up Clark County and show all of America how much we love our kids, teachers and community.

Judy Hicks Debates Breaking The Law

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on June 13, 2012 by Joan Graves

Judy Hicks Debates Breaking The Law

This is an email from Clark County Board of Education Chairperson Judy Hicks to Superintendent Elaine Farris. Under KY Open Records Law I requested Elaine’s evaluations. Rather than automatically comply with the law Judy forwards the request to Elaine and asks her what to do. The law is clear & Judy obviously knows the law. The question is only if she should comply. Why would she hesitate? At some point Barbara Disney was notified who did NOT hesitate. Barbara called me immediately & walked me through the process. Later I had issues with Barbara but in this case I believe Barbara was the only one with sense enough to know that breaking the law would get them into more trouble.