While the forecast is calling for possible flash floods for Saturday’s Kentucky Derby, it was a flash flood of stars that turned out for Friday night’s 23rd annual Barnstable Brown Party.
“This is my first Derby,” said CBS newsman Bob Schieffer, the first celebrity to arrive. “I hear this party is over the top.”
The idea of the party is bringing a little bit of Hollywood to Louisville’s Highlands neighborhood.
Those stars were out, including actor Jerry O’Connell declaring his love for all things Kentucky, such as bourbon and the Wildcats.
And this year’s gala highlighted local talent too, with Cats Coach John Calipari and members of the University of Kentucky basketball team on the guest list and the UK Opera Theatre on stage.
While he is departing for the NBA, Patrick Patterson promied he would be back for events like the Derby.
“I love Kentucky,” he said. “I love the fans.”
“JOHN WALL! JOHN WALL!” cheered Louisville fans surrounding the barricades along the front lawn of host Patricia Barnstable Brown’s home.
And as the stars kept coming out, the cheers rained down.
Louisville defeated the number one team in the nation Saturday by 10 points and that wasn’t even the story of the day. After 54 years the Cardinals said goodbye to Freedom Hall. Former and current players came to pay homage to what former player Darrell Griffith called “A gathering place for the community.”
Hundreds gathered to watch the Ten Commandments being replaced after eight years. A 2002 ruling forced lawmakers to remove the historical documents.
By Linda B. Blackford – firstname.lastname@example.org
LEITCHFIELD — Amid anthems, hymns, and plenty of “amens,” a copy of the Ten Commandments was placed back on the wall at the Grayson County courthouse Monday, almost a decade after it was removed.
“We all love Jesus Christ and anything that comes with it,” exclaimed Steve Mahurin, a minister who works for the road department, one of several hundred residents who showed up for the ceremony. “This represents our savior, and it’s the law we have to go by.”
The ceremony was sparked by the Jan. 14 decision by the U.S. 6th Circuit Court of Appeals, which struck down a lower court order. According to the 2-1 decision, posting the Ten Commandments did not violate the U.S. Constitution because it was part of a display of historical documents, including the Magna Carta, the Mayflower Compact and the U.S. Bill of Rights.
A federal judge in Louisville had previously ordered county officials to remove the Ten Commandments from the display because it violated the constitutional rule against government endorsing or promoting religion.
But the Grayson County Judge Executive Gary Logsdon says the Sixth Circuit judges got it right.
“This brings back our heritage, and let us know how our forefathers founded this country,” said Logsdon, who also keeps a copy of the Commandments in his office.
Magistrate Presto Gary said the fight over the Ten Commandments, which started in 2001, has been a long one.
“If we don’t get something back for Christian people to believe in, what kind of shape will our country be in?” he asked. “But we had faith and kept praying.”
“It’s something good for everybody to live by,” added fellow magistrate Jason Dennis.
Harold Johnson also agreed.
“Our country was founded on Christian values,” he said. “This was taking our Christian values away from us.”
As a paper copy of the Ten Commandments was placed carefully back in their frame, the crowd spontaneously broke into God Bless America, and Amazing Grace. Afterwards, everyone crowded around a big sheet cake emblazoned with an American flag.
The fight may not be completely over.
The American Civil Liberties Union of Kentucky, who represented two county residents seeking to remove the display, said they are reviewing whether to appeal the decision. Judge Karen Nelson Moore strongly dissented from the other judges on the appeals court.
For instance, the motion to approve the display was that the county “place the Ten Commandments in the courthouse along with the historical documents,” Moore said in her dissent.
“The county’s asserted purpose here — that the display was posted for educational or historical reasons — is a sham and should be rejected,” Moore wrote.
The other two judges disagreed.
The available evidence did not support a finding that promoting religion was the main reason for approving the display, the majority opinion said.
The officials didn’t pass any resolutions stating a clear religious purpose and had little official involvement in the display, the opinion said.
Kentucky has been a key battleground on the issue of the Ten Commandments, with some of the most prominent cases decided by the U.S. Supreme Court originating here.
The ACLU and residents have sued a number of counties in the last decade over posting of the Ten Commandments, including Pulaski, McCreary, Harlan, Mercer, Rowan, Garrard and Jackson.
In his remarks Monday, Logsdon noted that Grayson County has no costs in the case, as they are being picked up by the Liberty Counsel, a conservative non-profit based in Virginia and Florida.
A federal judge ordered the Grayson commandments taken down in May 2002 as part of the challenge by the ACLU and local residents.
Yesterday’s ceremony ended with a prayer by Clearview Baptist Church minister Chester Shartzer.
“I’m so proud of the Christian leadership we’ve had in Grayson County,” he said.