Last week I attended the monthly McLean County Chamber of Commerce member meeting.

It’s always a nice time of visiting and networking over lunch. One of the new Chamber members for 2023 is River Traditions Custom Cabinetry & Furniture, which is located at 165 Adams Ave (Hwy 431) in Island.

It’s where the old Standard Service Station was, and directly across from Island Baptist Church. They have a lot of pictures on their Facebook page of the custom work that they do.

Per their Facebook page they are open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., and their number is 270-499-0194. Be sure to check them out if you’re in the market for any type of custom cabinetry and furniture.

Those celebrating birthdays this week are Joyce (Allen) Rios, Jeff Howell, T.J. Israel, Aiden Parham, Derrick Parham, Curtis Sutton and Bobby Lott. And celebrating an anniversary are Charlie & Anna Lou Strole. I wish you all a very special day.

Reminiscing 45 years ago (Feb 2, 1978) — On Thursday, Jan. 26, 1978 Mrs. Larry (Beverly) Kassinger went into labor with her first child, during the “first bona fide blizzard in 60 years.” Unable to get in touch with her Owensboro obstetrician and with roads to Owensboro-Daviess County Hospital impassable, she was informed that she would have to go to McLean County General Hospital. She, her husband, and her mother-in-law, Juanita Kassinger, loaded into the couple’s four-wheel drive pickup and headed out from their Island home, “through the most devastating winter weather conditions since 1917-18.”

Mickey Keplinger was the McLean County sheriff at that time, and he and David Allen Sunn of the Rescue Squad had been dispatched to escort the Kassingers to the hospital. They met them on KY 138, about halfway to Calhoun. (Jennie Seymour, who lives in that area, said that she remembers it well — watching for the Kassingers to arrive at that location. She was very happy when they safely arrived there.)

It took the Kassingers almost two hours to arrive at the McLean County General Hospital “through whirling snow and drifts that sometimes brought their movement to a standstill.” Beverly Kassinger said she was “tickled to death” to get there, and felt so much better after arriving there and talking with Dr. (Hugh) Wilhite. The Kassingers’ seven pound, three ounce daughter, Lori Nichol, was born at 6:21 a.m., Friday, Jan. 27. Dr. Wilhite delivered the baby, who, in addition to being born in the first blizzard in 60 years, was also the first baby to be born in the county in 1978. Since 1974 babies had only been delivered at McLean County Hospital in emergency and special cases. “Thank heaven for McLean County Hospital,” Beverly Kassinger said.

Belated happy birthday to Lori Kassinger, as well!

I’d like to thank Barbara Drake for bringing in a copy of an article that was in Kentucky Living Magazine in July 1994. Called “Bridging Generations,” the article mentioned that the 1994 Wooden Bridge Festival — the community’s second annual such event — might well be the last. The bridge was slated by the Kentucky Department of Highways to be replaced, as it was too costly to maintain, according to highway officials.

The Sept. 17, 1994 festival would be celebrating the 122-year-old wooden bridge (which is 151 years old this year). The day’s activities were to include opening at 10 a.m. with a parade, including floats and a marching band, and then performances by area musicians, vocalists and the county’s Green River Players were to be held on a stage between 1st Security Bank and Worthington Plaza.

Line dancing, square dancing, a Little Miss and Mister Wooden Bridge Festival pageant and games for children were also planned, as well as arts and crafts booths, a History Room and pioneer exhibits. On the menu for sale would be barbecued chicken, porkburgers, homemade desserts, caramel apples and funnel cakes.

“If attendance is anywhere near the 2,000 which crowded into the town of 500 last year, festival-goers will want to arrive early for a parking space. They also should bring their own lawn chairs.

“’We’re definitely planning to have more food this year,’ said Mrs. Sue Markwell, explaining that the surprise 1993 crowd had concessionaires scurrying all over the county for more chickens and pork. ‘Things just snowballed. We even sold to the public the doughnuts we’d purchased to serve committee members, entertainers and exhibitors,’ she said.” Free events were scheduled to begin every 30 minutes and continue until 9 p.m.

Thankfully, with the help of some super-dedicated Islanders, who formed the Island Heritage Council, the wooden bridge was relocated to its current location at the park. Without their hard work, over several years, the bridge would have disappeared. We can’t thank you all enough!

“Be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only.” James 1:22.

Wishing everyone a great week ahead!

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