Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Profiled in Owensboro, Ky., newspaper

Suzi Bartholomy plans to feature Precious Blood in her column in The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer tomorrow. (The paper costs a dollar per day to view on line, so be prepared if you attempt to read the column. The Google link to Suzi's name is the best I could do because of the accessibility of the web site.)

Suzi is an editorial assistant, columnist and avid reader, whose husband, a literature professor, runs a popular poetry reading series. Her regular column and her News and Notes column are widely read in Owensboro and the surrounding area. I worked with her when I was assistant city editor at the M-I.

Perhaps Kentucky, better than any other place, proves the adage, "East is East and West is West and never the twain shall meet." And perhaps no towns in the state but Whitesburg, where the crime detailed in Precious Blood occurred, and Owensboro are more illustrative of that fact. Whitesburg is in the far southeastern reaches of Kentucky, and Owensboro is in the northwest. Whitesburg lives and dies by coal, but corn is coin of the realm in Owensboro. Whereas Whitesburg is a mountain town, Owensboro is a river port. And while Whitesburg has a mere 1,600 residents, Owensboro is the third largest city in the state with a population of 55,000 and a metro population of 111,000. Despite those differences, Owensboro residents should identify with the folks in Whitesburg.

Letcher County, where Whitesburg is located, is on the Virginia border, but Pike County residents like to point out that their county, not Letcher County, is the eastern-most in the state. Owensboro is in the western third of the state, on the Indiana border, but people in Paducah scoff at the idea that Owensboro is western Kentucky. But more than anything, the two are similar in the closeness of their residents. Owensboro is a small town masquerading as a city. Its longtime residents are every bit as intimate at those in Whitesburg. I hope Owensboro residents enjoy Precious Blood, and find some common ground with their neighbors 300 miles to the east.

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