April 1

Please tell me you all are kidding about horses dropping into Triangle park [Ace List, Mar 27]. I couldn't find the Florida "company" you listed in any yellow pages directory.

If that were to ever happen, I would be distraught to miss the debacle.

On the other hand, it's a pretty funny joke even if you were kidding.

BV Woodford

I was recently made aware of the April Fool's Day "joke" in this week's Ace regarding the fake announcement that horses are supposedly to be dropped from a plane over Triangle Park.

I would like to inform you that this prank is in extremely poor taste. It is disrespectful to animals and insulting to your readers. I request that you print a retraction and an apology in your next issue.

Thank you for your time.

Lindsey L. Clouse

Dropping horses over Triangle Park would not constitute a "prank." Obviously. (Radio stations don't really drop live turkeys out of helicopters to celebrate Thanksgiving either.) Ace's long, long, longtime record of animal welfare advocacy speaks for itself.

As any animal welfare advocate knows.

The Great Lexington Horse Drop?

Are you kidding? (Answer: Der.) In an edit department populated in part by 20-something boys, the absurdities of April Fool’s Day enjoys tremendous significance.

In this cover photo from November 2000 (a shameless homage to National Lampoon), an anvil was actually NOT dropped onto a puppy’s head. Still, outraged readers had to be painstakingly reassured that, thanks to the miracle of Photoshop, the puppy and the anvil were actually never in the same room.

Letters Policy: Ace LOVES to publish our mail (250 words or less please); please include name and daytime phone. No photocopies. No bulk mail. First come, first served. We may edit for space and grammar; we will limit frequency; and, on popular issues, we may print one or two letters to represent a segment of public opinion. Private correspondence should be labeled “NOT FOR PUBLICATION.”

Mail: 486 West Second St , Lexington, Ky 40507



I always thought if she had a dog she'd name him Spot-without irony. If I had a dog, I'd name him Spot, with irony. But for all practical purposes nobody would know the difference.

-Flannery O'Connor
(in Southern Dogs and their People)

The town and the world has big things on its mind these days, but I'd be remiss if I didn't pause to thank the readers for all the good wishes they've expressed for me, and my terminally ill dog over the last month.

She died earlier this week.

After a sudden and obviously irreversible turn for the worse, the vet was at our house within 12 hours.

His compassion and sensitivity certainly made things more bearable, as has that of so many others, friends and strangers alike.

He told me I would know when it was time. And I think I did. I'll always second-guess that, but I did the best I could.

As many regular readers know, Martha wasn't expected to last through the ice storm, but with the benefit of the warmer spring weather (augmented by steroid therapy), she enjoyed a brief and amazing rally.

While it wasn't a cure, I was very very grateful for every minute of borrowed time we had. Our priest did say a mass of special intention for her, so I like to think of it as a miracle.

In an especially gruesome high point, she even felt well enough to kill her last possum last week.

I felt bad for the possum. Hell, I felt bad for me (this is the second bag of hydrated lime we've gone through in a year at my house.) But she was doing what she loved best: prowling and protecting the manse and grounds.

Readers have emailed frequently to ask about her. Friends have regularly dropped off doggie bags from the best restaurants in town. People I don't know have taken the time to introduce themselves at the grocery and the drugstore and to express sympathy, and tell me about struggles they've faced losing their own pets.

I appreciate these sweet, generous gracious impulses more than I can say.

Martha is buried on my family farm, in a family pet cemetery that goes back to the pets owned by my Grandma Doll (like Cornelius, a blind hound dog who died after he was trampled by a horse and Old Crow, a grouchy gray mongrel I remember mostly for the fact that he bit me in the face) and up through the St. Bernards I grew up with, and later, mastiffs.

The cemetery opens onto a foot path and a deer lick, and is heavily populated by wildlife. Hopefully a possum or two.

No one ever forgets the love of a truly great dog.

As Willie Morris put it, "I came across a photo of him not long ago, his black face with the long snout sniffing at something in the air, his tail straight and pointing, his eyes flashing in some momentary excitement. Looking at a faded photograph taken more than forty years before, even as a grown man, I would admit I still missed him."

My friend author Larry Brown has written, "it's really enlightening to watch and wonder about the emotions of dogsIt opens up other ramifications, like, do they know heartbreak? And loneliness? And angst? I think they do. I think they know fear and greed and love, impatience and uncertainty."

And as many tears as I've cried over the last 72 hours, and as many more as there are to come, I'll always consider myself lucky that I was the beneficiary of so much unconditional love, compressed into such a brief time. Deserved or not.



FEMA Disaster Relief

Residents of Fayette and other Kentucky counties stricken by Ice Storm 2003 are eligible for tax breaks and disaster relief pay-outs.

The assistance, to be coordinated by FEMA, can include funding assistance for temporary housing, home repairs and other serious disaster-related expenses. Low-interest loans from the U.S. Small Business Administration will also be available to cover residential and business losses not fully covered by insurance.

Citizens wanting to apply for assistance need to call 1-800-621-FEMA (3362).

Those whose homes or personal property were damaged in the Ice Storm 2003 are also eligible for tax breaks.

To be eligible for a tax break, you or your family must have sustained uninsured losses exceeding 10 percent of your adjusted gross income. For federal tax breaks, call the IRS at 1-800-829-1040, or visit the website at www.irs.gov. For state tax breaks, call the Kentucky Revenue Cabinet at 502/564-4581, or visit the website at www.revenue.ky.gov.

Get out the Yard Waste

Lexington's Division of Solid Waste will soon resume collection from Lenny yard waste recycling carts and paper yard waste bags, beginning the week of April 7.

To get more coupons for 10 free paper yard waste bags available at participating grocery and discount stores, call LexCall at 425-2255. The bags, along with more coupons, can also be picked up every Saturday in April from 8am to 4 pm at the old Furrow's Hardware store, 1306 Versailles Road.

Butt Out?

Public smoking is one vote away from being extinguished by the Urban County Council.

The previous six members who have been in favor of a smoking ban gained another when Vice Mayor Mike Scanlon, reversed his position on the issue (formerly favoring a referendum) and is now lending his support of a ban in all public places.

For passage, eight votes are necessary.

Come April 14, the council's services committee will look over the three drafted ordinances that would ban smoking either in all public places or in restaurants and bars.

Next for Fletcher

Ernie Fletcher is still eligible to run for Kentucky governor. Judge William L. Graham refused to issue an injunction, which would have ended Fletcher's campaign.

Opponents wanted his candidacy nullified based on his invalid ticket (running mate Hunter Bates had been living in Washington, D.C. as Chief Counsel to Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell and was kicked for lack of residency). His new running mate had not been named at press.

To submit an advocacy/activism activity or event for Quickies, email rkirkland@aceweekly.com, or editor@aceweekly.com.