Open for business

The much-awaited Robert F. Stephens Circuit Courthouse has finally opened its doors. The building, located at 120 North Limestone Street, is to be but a part of a courthouse complex. The complex, which will also include a new District Courthouse, a public plaza and a public parking garage, will replace many of the functions of the Main Street Courthouse. The District Courthouse itself will open in the spring of this year. The project was undertaken in 1996 with an approved budget of $47.5 million, and an additional $15 million approved in the 1998 session. Construction began in May of 1998; a busy corridor of Short Street was closed for construction, wreaking havoc on traffic patterns; and the completion date is expected to be sometime in the spring of 2002.

Along with the new buildings, renovations have been made along streets Limestone, Vine, Short, Barr and Martin Luther King Boulevard, as well as widened sidewalks on Limestone and Short. Yet, the question remains: How will these new edifices and renovations affect the downtown area? Will it result in a boon of commerce for the surrounding restaurants and shops? Or will it just cause automotive and pedestrian congestion in an already crowded area?

- Rob Kirkland

Living the fight of civil rights in Kentucky

With technical neutrality, Kentucky's role in the Civil Rights Movement often gets lost in the gray middle. But a new documentary, Living the Story: The Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky, reveals the powerful struggles of Kentuckians who fought to end legal segregation in Kentucky and participated in the civil rights movement from 1930-1975. Living the Story is based on more than 175 interviews collected by project director Dr. Betsy Brinson and Dr. Tracy K. Meyer from the University of Louisville, detailing vivid recollections of men and women from the Civil War to the 1950s and 1960s with stories of protests, marches and boycotts that challenged the political and social barriers to change the segregation laws. It will premiere on Thursday, Jan. 17 at a private viewing at the Kentucky History Center, presented by the Kentucky Oral History Commission of the Kentucky Historical Society. It broadcasts statewide at 8pm on Monday, Jan. 21, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, on KET. "The film is important because it provides a rare opportunity to get to know some of the people who were instrumental in the civil rights movement in Kentucky, and to be assured that a person can make a difference," says Arthur Rouse, co-producer/director.

-Jessica Gipson


To celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day appropriately, many Lexington businesses and organizations will be holding memorial and educational events to honor the struggle of civil rights and its leaders, particularly MLK, Jr. Beginning on the 17th of January at 11:30 am, there will be a Dream Award Presentation in the UK Hospital auditorium. Call 257-5190 for details.

On the 18th at 6:30 pm the Carnegie Center will host an event called "Celebrating our Diversity." For more info call 254-4175.

January 19th from 11-1:30 an MLK activity for kids called "Make Art and March" will be held at the Phillis Wheatley YMCA, (254-3786).

At 6 pm on January 20th Dr. Alvin Jackson of National City Christian Church will be speaking at Central Chrsitian Church (231-3403).

And the big day itself, January 21st will be packed with enough events to keep you running all over town. Start the day with a Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Breakfast at the Patterson Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel from 7:30-9:30 am, then head down to Heritage Hall at 10 am to join in the MLK, Jr. Day march.

After your sprint, enjoy the words of Ossie Davis at 11 am at Heritage Hall.

Then pack up the kids and the paint clothes to lend a hand in the "I Have A Dream" community mural painting at the Lexington Children's Museum. This event starts at 10 am and ends at 5 pm; for more details call 258-3253.

Take a breathe,r then get ready for the next round of commemoration, starting at 7 pm when educator Johnson Cannon, the Dunbar step team and East 2nd St. Christian Church Choir perform. Call 233-8182 to find out where. And last but not least, at 8 pm the aforementioned Living the Story: Civil Rights Movement in Kentucky airs on KET. -Martha Mulholland