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Commentary on Life in Kentucky

By wmadministrator

Chad and Julianne Perry: Vision, Determination, Generosity
Paintsville attorney G. Chad Perry III says he is not a get-rich-quick type. He’s done well enough, though, that he and his wife of 50 years Julianne last month donated $1 million to help Midway College establish a new school of pharmacy in his Eastern Kentucky town.

It’s the second time the Perrys have written a $1 million check to launch an ambitious professional school for the region. When the Pikeville College School of Osteopathic Medicine enrolled its first class in 1997, it was because Perry had spent more than five years pushing for its creation, then backed up the talk with cash.

“I don’t pretend to have been successful in making a lot of money quickly. I just worked a lot of hours over a long period of time,” said Perry, who has practiced law for 58 years. “If you come to work an hour earlier – at 8 instead of 9 – and stay until 6 rather than leaving at 5, and you eat lunch at your desk, it gives you more hours that add up over the years.”

The pharmacy school will open in fall 2011 on the campus of the Big Sandy Community and Technical College in Paintsville, population 4,500, as a non-profit operation of private Midway College. Julianne Williams Perry is a 1955 graduate of Midway and a member of the college board of trustees.

Pikeville’s osteopath school “has been a success from every point of view,” Perry said. “It has produced a lot of physicians, primary care physicians, and they’re inclined to stay in Eastern Kentucky.”

As with the rest of rural American, Appalachia has a shortage of doctors, especially primary care physicians. Kentucky also has a critical shortage of pharmacists.

Perry and his wife are a team. She has been his sole general practice law office staff for the past 40-plus year. They have no children, he said, but like to consider students at the colleges they’ve helped bring into the world their special adoptees.

Osteopathic medicine came to Perry’s attention, he said, as he handled black lung workers’ compensation cases in West Virginia, a state with half Kentucky’s population but three medical schools, including an osteopath college in Lewisburg. He credits William Sturgill, Burlin Coleman and former Gov. Paul Patton with playing key roles in establishing PCSOM.

Perry has “a little entrepreneurial spirit,” he admits. “I have the ideas, and sometimes I help a little with the money.”

The commonwealth of Kentucky is grateful to call a man like Chad Perry
its native son.

When Work Works
Sure workplace flexibility policies can help you improve your employees’ morale and productivity while making it easier to recruit and retain good workers. But they can also pay benefits for the entire state.

An initiative by the University of Kentucky Institute for Workplace Innovation and Greater Louisville Inc. offers commonwealth businesses a special opportunity to boost the rep of the state while gaining recognition for themselves. The project is called When Work Works, and it encourages employers to apply for an Alfred P. Sloan Awards for Business Excellence in Workplace Flexibility.

If your organization offers workplace flexibility, it’s an opportunity to be recognized nationally. Flexibility is a dynamic partnership between employers and employees that defines how, when and where work gets done and how careers are organized in ways that work for both. It’s a critical ingredient in an effective workplace, where work “works” for both employers and employees.

The application process entails an online questionnaire for employers, which takes less than an hour to complete. Employers who apply will be benchmarked against national data, and the top 20 percent are recognized as award winners in the Congressional Record, in local media, and at local and regional awards ceremonies.

The application process is short, easy and free. You can apply now at familiesandwork.org/3w/awards/index.html . Select “Louisville, KY” or “Kentucky (Statewide)” as your worksite location.

The application deadline is April 16.

Louisville and Kentucky had 23 and 18 winners, respectively, last year and want to increase the number in 2010. A mission of the awards program is to help spread research and best practices on workplace flexibility, but participation also helps improve Kentucky’s reputation as a good place to work and do business.

Organizations of all types and sizes can apply for the awards. To be eligible, employers must have at least 10 employees and have been in operation for at least one year.

‘Small Town Sexy’
Economic development official Kim Huston combines work with pleasure in a book she wrote last year advocating the charms and benefits of living and doing business outside the big city. “Small Town Sexy – The Allure of Living in Small Town America” is gaining some traction in the marketplace, too.

Huston, president of the Nelson County Economic Development Agency in Bardstown, was luncheon speaker in January at the national Agriculture and Rural Leaders Summit in Orlando. She’s made television appearances on Louisville and Lexington stations and done a book signing in Thomasville, Ga.

Published by The Clark Group in Lexington, “Small Town Sexy” has sold more than 1,000 copies, far exceeding Huston’s expectations, she said. Other appearances on her schedule include a conference in Michigan, an event in Illinois and the national Creative Cities Summit slated for April 7-9 in Lexington.

“I’m having a ball,” Huston said. She promotes Bardstown when she travels and is finding a strong positive reaction to her advocacy on behalf of the modern small town as a great place to live and do business.

“People in small towns want to know that their towns are worthy, that they are cool,” said Huston. “People like to share those stories and feel good about themselves.”

Her 216-page paperback explores the symbiotic relationship between cities and small towns today with insight and humor, admitting life rural America is not everyone’s cup of tea but passionately making the case that there is a charm, richness and sweetness to be savored – while noting that the Internet makes it possible to do business from anywhere.

“Small Town Sexy” is available at amazon.com, smalltownsexy.com,
Joseph-Beth Booksellers, Morris Book Shop in Lexington and from The Clark Group (800-944-3995).

High-Tech Integrity
When the University of Kentucky reaches its goal of entering the ranks of the top 20 research universities in the United States, it will be in part because of Dr. William R. Markesbery, the founding director of UK’s Sanders-Brown Center on Aging who passed away late last month at age 77.

Markesbery became a world-renowned Alzheimer’s disease researcher and headed a team that produced ground-breaking research at the university over several decades. A neurologist and neuropathologist, he received the Khachaturing Award last July in Vienna from the National Alzheimer’s Association for “significantly advancing” the science of fighting the debilitating and still-fatal disease.

One of his contributions was to disprove a widely held belief that aluminum causes the disease. He and his researchers also connected Alzheimer’s with nerve-cell-killing oxidative stress.

A Florence, Ky., native who attended UK and graduated with distinction in 1964 in the UK College of Medicine’s first class, Markesbery decided early in his career to dedicate himself to fighting Alzheimer’s after having to diagnose patients for whom he could then provide no treatment. He developed a preventive regimen for patients with risk factors for the disease.

After returning to UK as a physician and researcher in 1972, he was named to head the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging – one of the nation’s 10 original Alzheimer’s Disease Centers – when it opened in 1979. The National Institute on Aging has funded UK’s center since 1986.

Markesbery, in a prepared statement released through Kerr Brothers Funeral Home in Lexington, said he was “grateful to have the opportunity to take part in the investigation of the most devastating disease that affects humanity” and was privileged to have cared for patients.

The Markesbery family requests those wishing to recognize the passing of this special man make contributions to the Sanders-Brown Center on Aging, where he spent more than 30 years working to lessen human suffering.

We join those who honor and celebrate the life of Dr. Markesbery.