September 20, 2000 | By: Laura Skillman

When Michael Carneal opened fire on fellow students at Heath High School near Paducah in 1997, it brought home the reality that violence can and does happen in rural areas.

A seminar on Oct. 4 called Violence in Our Communities aims to educate participants in everything from youth violence to road rage, said Nancy Hunt, Crittenden County Extension agent for Family and Consumer Sciences and program committee chairman.

"A lot of times knowledge is prevention and there's not been a seminar like this for the general public," Hunt said.

Bill Bond, retired Heath High School Principal, will open the program during a segment called "Violence and Its Effect on Communities."

The seminar is open to the public and will be from 9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. at the University of Kentucky Research and Education Center in Princeton. The event is sponsored by the Pennyrile area offices of the UK Cooperative Extension Service and the Pennyrile Area Extension Homemakers Association and is funded in part by a Kentucky Extension Homemakers Association Community Development Grant.

The program will feature a general session at the beginning and conclusion of the day. In between, participants will be able to select three workshops to attend. Bond will open the program while Louisville Police Officer Chris Heaps will close out the program with a discussion on gang culture and recognizing it in the community.

Workshops include Recovering from Violence, presented by Rev. Tom Hughes, Princeton First Baptist Church, who provided community counseling following the Heath crisis; STOP the Violence - Students Taking On Prevention, by Lee Wilson, a Lyon County High School senior and president of the National Family, Career and Community Leaders of America; and Road Rage, presented by the Kentucky State Police.

Other workshops include Gun Awareness, presented by Cheyenne Albro, director of the Pennyrile Narcotics Task Force; Rape - Recovery & Prevention presented by Myra Starkey, assistant director of Sanctuary Inc., of Hopkinsville; and Conflict/Anger Management presented by Gale Cherry, chair of the Pennyrile Mental Health Board.

There is an $8 registration fee and anyone interested in attending is asked to register by contacting any of the extension offices in Caldwell, Christian, Crittenden, Hopkins, Livingston, Lyon, Muhlenberg, Todd and Trigg counties. There will be a catered lunch.


Nancy Hunt, (270) 965-5236