Passing Lane — May 2013

By wmadministrator

What, us worry? Gallup ranks Kentucky third-most stressed

We like it better when we top the list of bourbon states. (OK, Kentucky is the only bourbon state, but that’s a good thing.) In April, though, “Marketplace,” the American Public Media nightly business report, had a post about a Gallup wellbeing poll that found Kentucky is behind only West Virginia and Rhode Island on a list of America’s most stressed states.

(Hawaii is the least stressed, which you’d expect of a place where everyone wears shorts and those crazy shirts year round.)

StressedAccording to Marketplace Life reporter Katie Long, Gallup asked more than 350,000 Americans – about one of every 1,000 people –  “Did you feel stressed during a lot of the day yesterday?”

It gets worse.

Gallup has done the study five straight years and in all five, pollsters deemed Kentucky a state of high anxiety – despite few long commutes, no crazy real estate prices and relatively low crime rates.

In fact, West Virginia, Kentucky and Utah all ranked within the top five most stressed states every year. West Virginia was the most stressed state in 2012, Kentucky 2008 and 2011, and Utah in 2009 and 2010.

Gallup didn’t look for correlations between what’s eating people and unemployment or health issues. Checking stats from the U.S. Bureau of Labor, however, finds no real overlap.

No. 3 least stressed state Mississippi is tied with California for the third-worst unemployment rate in the nation at 9.4 percent. Yet extra-stressed state Rhode Island is right there, with 9.1 percent unemployment.

Hawaii’s jobless rate is only 5.1 percent, but it also has the most casual work environment so that unemployment figure may be somewhat misleading.

Maybe Kentuckians are just more honest in answering pollsters?

Distilleries fill 1 million barrels of bourbon in 2012, first time in 40 years

Kentucky’s bourbon revolution continues. For the first time since 1973, the state’s iconic distilleries produced 1 million barrels of amber liquor in 2012, further proof that the industry is enjoying a historic renaissance not seen in decades.

barrells“This is an incredible milestone that’s been 40 years in the making,” said Eric Gregory, president of the Kentucky Distillers’ Association, which promotes and protects the commonwealth’s signature bourbon industry.

“The bourbon revolution is real and perfectly poised for a spirited future,” he said. “Our legendary distilleries are posting landmark production levels, investing millions in new facilities and experiencing double-digit growth in sales.”

There were 1,007,703 barrels filled in 2012. The industry hasn’t created that much bourbon since 1973, when 1,004,877 barrels were filled.

“A lot has changed since then,” Gregory said. In 1973, a gallon of gas was 39 cents and a stamp was only 8 cents.

Since 1999, bourbon production has increased more than 120 percent, thanks in large part to the growing global demand for premium small-batch and single-barrel brands and the rebirth of the “cocktail culture,” Gregory said.

There are more than 4.9 million barrels aging in Kentucky warehouses, the highest inventory since 1977. A record 500,000-plus people last year visited the KDA’s seven Kentucky Bourbon Trail distilleries, which are becoming a world-renowned tourism attraction since the trail’s 1999 inception.

EKU program gives professionals chance to ‘Try Teaching’

Eastern Kentucky University’s Try Teaching program, now in its eighth year, is accepting applications from mid- and second-career professionals intrigued about their potential to work in front of a classroom.

Try TeachingThe program gives those with doubts about leaving their current job to return to college for a second degree a chance to gauge their comfort level as a classroom teacher before making a life-changing career move.

Funded by a $175,000 grant from Ashland Inc., Try Teaching’s past 51 participants each spent one or two weeks in a K-12 classroom, gaining first-hand experience assisting in the preparation and execution of lesson plans and learning successful educational practices from their teaching mentors.

Several opted to enter EKU’s Master’s in Teaching (MAT) program, which prepares and certifies individuals who hold non-teaching baccalaureate degrees, according to Dr. Cynthia Resor, coordinator of MAT and director of Try Teaching.

In addition to classroom time with their mentoring teacher, Try Teaching participants spend time with a university-level educator learning about certification procedures, the teaching profession and career benefits.

The application deadline for the program is June 30 and participation is limited. More information is available at tryteaching.eku.edu.

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