Wednesday, December 08, 1999

History merges with parade, parties

Bands, bell stars of festivities

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        FRANKFORT — Country ham sandwiches, hot coffee, boxes of cookies and a panoramic view made Rep. Jim Callahan's state Capitol office the place to be for Northern Kentuckians during Tuesday's inauguration of Gov. Paul Patton.

        Visitors from all three counties milled in and out of Mr. Callahan's third-floor office to grab a bite to eat, trade political stories and gossip and watch the inaugural parade down Capitol Avenue.

        “You can't beat the view,” said Realtor Sue Teegarden of Alexandria, a Democratic Party activist who watched as high school bands slowly made their way along the route that leads from the Kentucky River to the front steps of the Capitol.

        As he did during Mr. Patton's first inauguration four years ago, and as he often does during the General Assembly session, Mr. Callahan — a Wilder Democrat and the House Majority Caucus chairman — hosted a daylong open house during Tuesday's inaugural festivities.

        “You could look out the window and look right down on the governor being sworn in,” Mr. Callahan said of the view from his office. “But we're going to go down and watch it. It's history and you don't want to miss something like this.”

        Among those in Mr. Callahan's office were two long-time Northern Kentucky Democratic Party leaders, Betty Roth of Boone County and Mabel Ballinger of Covington.

        Mrs. Ballinger was attending her sixth inauguration; Mrs. Roth was at her eighth.

        Both planned to attend the gala inaugural balls planned for Tuesday night.

        “I wouldn't miss an inauguration,” Mrs. Roth said. “It's a lot of history and you see a lot of people and elected officials, but it's also a lot of fun.”

        “I like the ceremonies,” Mrs. Ballinger added, “but I like the parties, too.”

        Northern Kentucky was well represented in the parade, which lasted three hours and featured nearly 150 units. Among them were high school bands from Conner High School in Boone County, Pendleton County High, Grant County High School and Simon Kenton High School in Independence.

        Twelve-year-old Beth Brunyate of Edgewood, a student at Woodland Middle School, got a cheer from the parade route crowd each time she rang a small bell being used to promote Newport's World Peace Bell.

        Beth is the niece of Bev Thatcher of the Kentucky Haus Craft Gallery in Newport. Ms. Thatcher is helping promote the New Year's festivities surrounding the bell, which will ring all day on Dec. 31, beginning at 6 a.m.

        “It's a lot of fun being here, but the bell is kinda loud,” said Beth, who was riding in the back of a truck. She cupped her hands over her ears each time the bell rang.

        Just prior to the swearing-in ceremonies, held on the steps of the Capitol, the crowd of more than 5,000 was entertained by 160 members of the Holmes Junior High School Chorus.

        “The kids don't realize it now, and I don't even think all of their parents realize it, but this is something they will never forget,” said Rex Sholar, the school's music director.

        “It's a wonderful, historic event and we're honored to be here.”

        Mr. Sholar thanked the Covington Board of Education, which allocated more than $1,200 to pay for the four buses used for the trip to Frankfort.

        Holmes seventh-grader Christina McCown, 12, said the choir has been practicing for an hour and 15 minutes every day to prepare for the performance.

        “It's been a lot of work, but it's been worth it,” she said. “This is neat. I've never seen anything like it before.”

        Fellow seventh-grader Michael Gregory, 12, said he also liked performing for the governor. But he also enjoyed watching the other school bands and performers in the parade.

        “One school went by and all the girls were in tank tops,” he laughed. “That was cool.”

        Mr. Patton, a Pikeville Democrat and former coal operator from the eastern Kentucky mountains, is the first Kentucky governor in nearly 200 years to serve a consecutive term. Voters approved a state constitutional amendment in 1992 that allows gubernatorial succession.

        Mr. Patton was elected in November, defeating Republican Peppy Martin and Reform Party candidate Gatewood Galbraith with more than 60 percent of the statewide vote.

        The governor was actually sworn in just after midnight Tuesday during a ceremony at the Old Capitol in Frankfort. He repeated the oath of office Tuesday afternoon as part of the ceremonies.

        Maintaining a 200-year-old tradition, Mr. Patton and first lady Judi Patton started their day by accepting gifts of country ham, beaten biscuits and white cake from local officials.


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