Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Local News

April 28, 2013

Poage seeking funds for special needs play area

ASHLAND — Wanting to fit in with friends and classmates is natural for any third-grader and no less so for Kailee Sharp, even though she has cerebral palsy and gets around in a wheelchair.

From her miniature “Girls Rule” license plate to the Justin Bieber backpack hanging from the back of the chair, Kailee’s world is little different from that of her playmates. She just has more difficulty getting around.

So when she goes to the playground at Poage Elementary School, where there is only one handicap-adapted swing and where the motorized wheels on her chair slip on the bark mulch surface, Kailee sometimes feels a bit left out.

It isn’t because the other children ignore her. Poage is structured as an inclusive school and its students, handicapped and non-handicapped, study and play together most of the day.

However, the swing is offset in a corner of the playground. Under most circumstances her friends will help her on and off and play with her while she swings. But often the sheer volume of playground chatter, and their own concentration on the spiral slide that is the nearest piece of equipment, drowns out her calls to them.

And because motoring her chair over the mulch is difficult, Kailee often can’t maneuver herself into the conversation circles where other children are swapping jokes or making after-school plans. “It frustrates her. She just wants to play with her classmates,” said her mother, Dorothy Giles. “Sometimes she’d rather stay inside because she can’t do anything out there.”

Kailee is not the only child so encumbered at Poage, which is the designated school in the Ashland district for the most severely handicapped children, including some who are autistic and others, like Kailee, who have mobility issues. The playground simply isn’t adequate for them, said kindergarten teacher Betsy Moore.

The mulch surface complies with the Americans With Disabilities Act, but in reality it isn’t suitable for wheelchair needs.

What they need is an extension of the existing playground with equipment adapted for special needs kids, with a wheelchair-friendly surface.

They don’t want a separate playground, because that would be counter to the school’s inclusion policy; the design under consideration would add a new section on the side of the playground facing 29th Street and would include several pieces of equipment suitable for all children, including those with special needs.

The existing playground would remain mostly unchanged, but children — whether special-needs or not — could run, walk or wheel from one to the other and mingle freely.

School officials envision making the playground open to the community outside school hours and in the summer, Moore said. That would encourage parents of special needs children to bring their kids there, she said.

The surface they are considering is a tough yet springy composition on which wheels will roll but forgiving in the event of falls. Unfortunately the surfacing roughly doubles the cost of the playground.

The school and its boosters have raised about $10,000 through donations and fundraisers and the district is prepared to kick in about $30,000, principal Bob Blankenship said. Further donations would be required for the rest of the approximately $58,000 cost.

District officials are talking to the city about chipping in as well, since the playground would serve the community.

Moore believes a playground should be a refuge where children don’t have to dwell on disabilities, lack of mobility or other issues that sometimes separate them from their schoolmates and friends. “Out here, you should just be able to play,” she said. “It’s the one time of day that kids should be able to be the same.”

Anyone who wants to donate may contact the school at (606) 327-2734. The school has set up an account for donations.

MIKE JAMES can be reached at mjames@dailyindependent.com or (606) 326-2652.

Text Only
Local News
  • Judge denies renewed motion to dismiss Rosen lawsuit

    A judge has refused to dismiss a former Boyd district and circuit judge’s lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a law that affects his ability to run for re-election this fall.
    In an order entered on Friday, Franklin Circuit Judge Thomas D. Wingate denied a renewed motion to dismiss by current Boyd Circuit Judge George W. Davis III, an intervening respondent in the suit filed in January by Marc I. Rosen.

    April 23, 2014

  • Ashland football players join special-needs students for prom

    The purple chiffon gown and the sparkling tiara are back in the closet four days after the big dance, but Karina McBride still hasn’t stopped talking about Saturday night — the decorations, boys bringing her cups of punch, her first kiss (on the cheek, her mother hastens to interject), and dancing the night away at her first prom.
    “She’s been flying high since that night,” said Michele Woods, who is Karina’s mother and who brought together friends and volunteers to organize a prom for special needs students.

    April 23, 2014

  • Concrete pouring at Putnam

    Workers are pouring concrete foundations at Putnam Stadium and once those are dry and cured will be ready to install seats at the historic arena.
    The workers are putting in 12-hour shifts to keep on schedule to complete the stadium’s reconstruction in time for this fall’s football opener, said site supervisor Craig Chinn of Trace Creek Construction.
    The most visible work is happening on the home-team side of the stadium, where workers Tuesday were setting forms for the cylindrical concrete piers that will support the seats. Once those are poured, cured and inspected they will add the seats.

    April 23, 2014

  • Unique races for Carter magistrates

    Carter County magistrate ballots are full of candidates eager to represent constituents in each of the five districts that make up the county’s fiscal court.
    Of the five seats available, three magistrates are seeking re-election: Clarence “Sonny” Fankell, D-Grayson, District 2; Clifford “Sodbuster” Roe, D-Olive Hill, District 4; and Brandon Burton, R-Olive Hill, District 5.
    The incumbents will each have to battle as many as three opponents in their district primaries next month before they can focus on reclaiming their magistrate titles in the November general election.
    This year’s magistrate race will host a total of 22 candidates, with 11 from Grayson, nine from Olive Hill and two from Denton.

    April 23, 2014

  • Martin County marks 50 years since LBJ visit

    Today marks 5o years since former U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson visited Inez resident Tom Fletcher and promised to end poverty in America on April 24, 1964. On Friday, Inez will be commemorating the occasion with a special event.

    April 23, 2014

  • Trail Town trial run to be in Olive Hill this Sunday

    Olive Hill will participate in a trial run this Saturday in the city’s push to become a certified Kentucky Trail Town.

    April 23, 2014

  • Some area farmers may be eligible for LIP program

    The Grayson  Farm Service Agency, (Boyd, Carter, Elliott and Lawrence) is having registration for the Livestock Indemnity Program to eligible producers who suffered losses beginning Oct. 1, 2011, and subsequent years.

    April 23, 2014

  • News in brief, 04/24/14

    The King’s Daughters Pregancy and Infant Loss Support Group invites families who have experienced the loss of an infant during pregnancy or following birth to participate in a butterfly release and prayer ceremony at 2 p.m. May 10 at the Ashland Central Park fountain.

    April 23, 2014

  • Garner hosting National Day of Prayer activities

    The Garner Missionary Baptist Church will be hosting day long events at the Kyova Mall to commemorate the National Day of Prayer on Thursday, May 1.

    April 23, 2014

  • Flatwoods mayoral debate set for Tuesday

    A public debate among the candidates seeking to become the next mayor of Flatwoods will take place next week.

    April 22, 2014