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Beau's Journey » 2008 » December

Archive: December, 2008

December 30, 2008: If you get red x’s on the page that means

  If you get red x’s on the page that means you need to hit the refresh button at the top of the page.  That should load everything.  For some reasons some computers put red x’s after too many photos or if you their internet speed is slower.  High speed shouldn’t do that, though.  🙂



December 30, 2008: MGM Studios

  We spent the day at MGM Studios today.  We slept a little later than yesterday.  We made it to the park around 11 AM.  It was nice to sleep in a bit later. 

  Tomorrow is New Year’s Eve!  Kristy and Drew are coming down to visit.  We are going to be at MGM Studio’s again.

  Few photos from today 🙂


Tyler and Danielle at MGM Studios




The next American Idol!!!


No more photos



The family outside of MGM Studios


Danielle – Tyler – Dylan – Me


Deena and me


Danielle and Tyler trying out for American Idol 🙂


To inifinity and beyond



The Osborne Christmas Lights – MGM Studios


Snowing again 🙂



Snowing 🙂


December 29, 2008: A Day at Disney

  We spent the whole day at Magical Kingdom.  I think this has to be my favorite park.  Maybe because I can remember going their as a child.  The kids had a blast.  Everyone had a blast.  🙂  WOOOOORRRRRN out.  lol  The kids just keep on going, of course.

  It is about 80 degrees down here.  Nice and warm – not too warm, though.  I noticed it was in the 30s and 40s back home.  Not too bad either.


Tyler and Dylan at lunch


Tony being magical


Joey at the Space Mountain Roller Coaster


A friend we made along the way



I love signs that make you wonder "why did they need that sign"


Tyler and Danielle with their friend Chip (or is it Dale)




Joey – Dylan – and Goofy 🙂












The Magic Kingdom – lot of fog during the morning hours


Deena and Danielle on one of the roller coaster rides







We got into a little bit of trouble. 


Danielle and Dylan


Christmas Parade – Daisy and Donald Duck




Santa 🙂



Joey in front of the Castle




Deena – Dylan and Tony


Tony and Danielle


That would be me in front of the Castle


Tony on one of the roller coasters


I like the sign showing the people dancing no the roller coaster ride


The night parade – Tyler with one of Snow White’s friends



Tyler exploring his musical interests



Dylan making glasses out of his bread at dinner









December 28, 2008: Disney’s Animal Kingdom

  Wow – long day 🙂  I think I am already worn out!  So much to see.  We spent the whole day at Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  Lot of fun.  Saw a lot of animals.  Rode the rides. 


Tyler and Danielle on one of the roller coasters




Danielle – Tony – Deena at Disney’s Animal Kingdom


Dylan and Tony


Joey at Dino Land



Joey kissing one of the many dinosaurs






Safari at Disney – we saw a lot of animals – I think the giraffe’s are my favorite


Giraffes – Disney Safari


Safari Disney


Tree of life – Disney’s Animal Kingdom


Tyler and Danielle playing the bongos


Beau and Joey – Tree of Life


Tony eating some leaves








Danielle eating her ice cream – actually a chocolate coverered bananna



December 27, 2008: Epcot

  Everyone had a great day at Epcot.  It was a long day.  I think everyday at Disney is probably a long day.  By the end of all of it we were ready to go to bed.  Well, at least the adults were ready to go to bed!  Didn’t get to see everything at Epcot, but we are going back there another day to see the rest.

  A few fast rided!  I think I had some motion sickness a few times!  I guess fast rides will do that to you.

  Looks like they had some high winds back home.  A line of thunderstorms roared through our counties last night.  Nothing unexpected, though.  Winds at the airport gusted between 50-60 mph.  Lot of rain.  Temperature was 76 yesterday.  That is just insane for December.  Crazy weather.

  A few photos from yesterday 🙂


Chip and Dale


Tony – year of a million dreams 🙂



Nick the greeter – Tony thought we should get our picture with him.  He makes a great greeter.



Tyler playing us some music


The family – well missing the photographer 😉


Beau and Joey in front of Epoc


Tyler found a car!!!


Dylan texting his girlfriend for the 200th time today.  🙂

  We are heading to animal kingdom today.



December 26, 2008: Evening at Disney

  Deena found a great restaurant to take us to eat at last night.  Whispering Springs Mountain Lodge.  It is probably one of the more interesting restaurants I have ever been at.  It is anything but "whispering" as the waiters shout every chance they can get.  When you ask for Ketchup everyone in the restaurant sends their kids over to your table with a bottle.  Tyler made the mistake of asking for Ketchup.  I think he ended up with twenty bottles!!!

Tyler with all of his Ketchup bottles.

  Here is a photo I found on-line of the lodge.

Whispering Mountain Lodge


The lodge was huge.  They had a Christmas tree that must have been at least 40 feet high.  Covered in




And you could sit by the fireplace in rocking chairs.  🙂


  I think everyone had a fun time.  We are heading to EPOC this morning (Saturday).

December 26, 2008: Made it to Disney!

   We woke up this morning at 3 AM and headed to the airport a little after 4 AM.   🙂  So, it was an early day!  I don’t think anyone got much sleep last night. 

  We made it to Disney before 11 AM.  🙂  The weather is beautiful.  Not a cloud in the sky.  Temperatures were above 80 degrees.  Everyone is having a great time.

Tyler at Disney


Beau and Joey


Tony and Deena


Dylan and Joey at the airport earlier this morning



Danielle – Tyler – Dylan


Me and Tony


Joey and Pinocchio


Sunset – view outside our cottage



Rewind back to Christmas Day – Deena’s house.  Ashton and Tommy.


Tyler and Bubba


Dione 🙂 taking video at Christmas


Deena – mother – and Beau


My dad – me  Sparky – Dione and Ashton



December 25, 2008: Arrived in Nashville

  We had a wonderful Christmas at Deena and Tony’s.  All of the family was there except for Mariah.  She was at her dads. 

  We have arrived in Nashville, TN!  At the hotel.  Leaving at 4 AM in the morning for the airport.  THEN ORLANDO!!! 

  Everything seems to be on track.  Might be some big storms back home in Paducah on Friday night and Saturday.  Crossing fingers that the outbreak won’t be anything too severe.  Hard to say this far out.  These severe weather events are best forecast the day of and not before.

  Hoping to see Kristy in Florida.  Waiting to hear back from her.



December 25, 2008: Snow article in Paducah Sun

  MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE.  I hope that everyone has a WONDERFUL CHRISTMAS and a BRILLIANT 2009!  I am sure it will be a year filled with adventure.

  Daisy’s new friend seems to be about the same size as her.  I think the new puppy will be growing a lot faster than Daisy!  Should be about four times larger (maybe more) before all is said and done.

  Daisy disappeared for awhile today.  She was found inside of a puppy chow dog food bag!  Eating the food.

Joey sent me this cell phone photograph of Daisy’s new friend


  The Paducah Sun did an article about my snow obsession.  I am fairly certain that we have now reached the peak of my geekness.  🙂  I was thinking they were going to publish some snow photographs – they did give a shout out to my weather photography blog.

  Full size article can be read here – larger than below.

  I am heading to Deena’s later this morning.  We are all leaving for Nashville at 4 PM.  Then to Orlando – Disney tomorrow morning.  Should be a fun trip.  I am afraid I might miss some severe weather across this region on Friday into Saturday night.  Guess I will watch it from a distance.


December 22, 2008:

  Well, it has been a long week!  Oh wait, its only Monday.  🙂

  Lot going on.  First off it is almost Christmas.  So, it is a given that there is a lot to do.  Plus we are packing for Disney.  We leave at 4 PM on Christmas day.  Head to Nashville and fly out the next morning.  I think we have to be at the airport by 4 AM.  How exciting is that.  lol  I am not a morning person. 

  Should be a fun trip.  I would imagine I can give up on any hope for snow down in Florida.  I will enjoy the warm sunshine, though.

  No snow for Christmas – at least not for Paducah.  Maybe next year.  It is hard to get snow in West KY.  So it would seem.  Every so often we get a good snowstorm, but it doesn’t happen every year.

  I am still searching for a winter "location" to live.  Somewhere with a lot of snow.  A lot of cold.  A lot of ice.  🙂  Maybe somewhere in the lake effect snow belts of Michigan or New York?  🙂

  Dione sent me a photo this morning from Dip N Dots.  They had a fund raiser for Martha’s Vinyard.  One fo the local charities.

Dione presenting a check to Martha’s Vinyard


  Meanwhile, Daisy has a new friend.  Joey sent me this photo from his cell phone.  Apparently, Joey’s mom got a new puppy.  Soooo Daisy is going to have to place nice! 

Daisy and her new friend.


  I had lunch with Caesar on Saturday.  One of my friends from the Red Cross and well outside of the Red Cross as well!  We ate at the Parlor.  It has been awhile since I visited with Caesar.  So, it was nice to catch up.  We are going to try and get together with Sue in January.

  Speaking of Sue.  🙂  She has been very busy with her new granddaughter.  I have a feeling she will be busy for awhile.  Sue posted this photo on her blog.  I am sure she is very proud!

Sue took this photograph of her new "miss america"  🙂


  So, I am sure that Sue and Jack will be having a WONDERFUL Christmas this year.  Now if we could just get someone to buy their townhouse in Paducah!  They would be well on their way to Nashville.  With many babysitting hours ahead!

  Everyone is wondering about the house project.  We are in slow motion it would seem.  But, I always believe that everything happens in its own time.  Same with my house.  It will happen when it happens.  We are waiting on quotes from the foundation guys.  We have one more to go.  Waiting on a phone call.

  They have not started on the electric yet.  They are supposed to be running lines up there.  Thought they would be done with that by now.  Nothing yet.  Maybe this week or next they will complete the project.



December 21, 2008: Upcoming Paducah Sun Article On My Snow Chasing

  Apparently the Christmas Edition of the Paducah Sun is going to run an article on my fascination with snow chasing and meteorology.  They spent about 1-2 hours here at the house interviewing me a few days ago.  I noticed this add at the bottom of today’s Paducah Sun.  Looks like they will run it on Christmas Day.  The photo on the top right was from my Boulder, Colorado Storm Chase.


Saturdays Paper


Yesterday’s paper 🙂


December 19, 2008: Vault door arrives for tornado shelter

  We are building a tornado shelter at the new house on the farm.  The vault door arrived about three weeks ago, but they are just now getting it up there.  This thing weighs 1200 pounds.  It will go on the FEMA blueprint tornado shelter.  The concrete walls will be 10" thick.


Morning up on the farm – clouds have cleared out.  SIXTY FIVE degrees.  Amazing – we were in the thirties at midnight.


Wagner moving company arrives with the 1200 pound door.




Waiting to be hung.  I have no idea how you hang a 1200 pound door.  Doesn’t sound fun.


This is what the door looks like, once it is hung.


December 18, 2008: Testing new software

  My brother-in-law, Tony Crouch, is installing new software for my blog.  So, this is a test post.  🙂  He is the smartest guy in the world (and he isn’t paying me to say that).  OK, he gave me a dollar.  But, he told me to say that.


December 17, 2008: Sue Henry’s latest photos…

  I have to say that Sue has some of the most wonderful photographs on her site.  She also has a new edition to her family.  😉  Photos here


  Nice work Sue!!!!!!!

December 17, 2008: Slick out there…

  Well, it has been a slick and icy week.  The driveway is covered in pure ice.  Can’t hardly even park on the hill.  The car just slides.  Temperatures should start warming up in the coming days.  We may even have thunderstorms with the next system on Thursday and Friday.  Then more cold air – then another warm up and then more cold air.

  Roller coaster ride in the weather department.

  Nothing new on the farm front.  Looks like we will be starting in January.  The guy that was doing our foundation is in the hospital with some heart problems.  Hopefully he will be okay.

  Not much will happen in the coming days – holidays and all of that.  Plus we are leaving for Disney on the 26th. 

  We got some toys for the CJ’s Bus program.  I posted about them a week or so ago.



December 16, 2008: Sleet

  We had an inch or so of sleet overnight.  A little bit of snow mixed in.  Portions of Kentucky received 3-6" of snow and ice.  Slick roads.


December 14, 2008: Winter storm approaching area…

December 14, 2008:


2.  More confidence in my forecast totals for system 1 and 2.
3.  Added new advisories from the Paducah, NWS Office.

Heaviest ice will likely fall on Monday night into Tuesday.  Lighter amounts on Monday morning into Monday afternoon.

IF the majority of the precipitation falls as freezing rain then power outages and tree damage will be possible on Monday night into Tuesday.  There is the risk for significant ice across our region.  If the precipitation falls as sleet and snow then this will help limit power line damage.

Weather Update:

Buckle up because we are about to go on a wild weather ride.  Temperatures in the 50s today will plummet into the teens and 20s by tomorrow,  Rain will turn to ice by Monday morning and we may be talking about a severe thunderstorm threat later this week. 

Needless to say all of those who need to monitor weather changes for their different agencies should be prepared for significant weather changes over the coming days.

Let’s take this one threat at a time.  Each one, in itself, could produce significant problems across our region.

High Winds today into this evening (Sunday)
Flash Freeze on Monday morning

Winter storm number1 is forecast to hit the region on Monday into Monday night – Ice Storm – Sleet/Freezing rain
Winter storm number 2 is forecast to hit the region on Tuesday into Wednesday.

Monday-Wednesday night – December 15-17th.



1. Winter storm watches have now been issued for all of the KPAH (Paducah, KY Forecast Area).  See official NWS text below.

2. A WIND ADVISORY has been issued for the region through 6 AM Monday morning.


Cape Girardeau, MO:  3 AM
Cairo, IL: 3 AM
Metropolis IL: 6 AM
Paducah, KY: 6 AM
Mayfield, KY: 6-7 AM
Evansville, IN: 7-8 AM
Hopkinsville, KY: 8-10 AM
Owensboro, KY: 8-10 AM

A FLASH FREEZE is possible with this cold front.  Temperatures will fall 20-30 degrees within a very short amount of time, once the front passes any given location.  I have moved the arrival time of the front up by 6-12 hours.  This means Monday morning instead of Monday afternoon.  See the attached temperature map for just how quickly the temperatures will fall.  The map attached is the Monday morning forecast.

Rain will develop today and tonight.  Rainfall totals ahead of the cold front will likely range from 0.25"-0.50".  A few thunderstorms are possible.  The rain will change to freezing rain and sleet during the morning hours on Monday.  Light ice accumulations are expected on Monday morning and into the afternoon.  Right now I am thinking 0.10-0.30" of sleet/freezing rain/snow from the first system.

ANY freezing rain or drizzle could cause travel problems.  I am not certain how quickly the road temperatures will cool down on Monday morning.  It is likely the the worst travel weather will be on Monday night into Tuesday as the second winter storm develops over our region.

Speaking of the second winter storm…

A second event is now becoming more and more likely.  This event will develop over our counties on Monday night and continue into Tuesday night.  It appears, at this time, that most of this precipitation will fall as freezing rain and sleet.  There could be significant icing problems across our counties on Monday night and Tuesday. 

In addition to the winter storm threats – strong winds are forecast for today across all of our counties.  Winds ahead of the storm system will gust between 30-40 mph.  There will likely be some branches knocked down from these winds.  This is especially true since there is still a lot of tree damage left over from Hurricane Ike.

I will update this forecast late this evening.

Stay tuned to NOAA Weather Radio for the latest information on this developing winter storm.

Beau Dodson

All opinions and forecasts are my own.  This email is for planning purposes only.

December 12, 2008: New rain/snow gauge has arrived!

  Only a true weather weenie can appreciate the arrival of a new rain/snow gauge.  This is for the farm.  It will go nicely with my other weather instruments.  Daisy helped put things together. 😉


A little bit of hardware to put together…not much, though.


December 11, 2008: Finals – storm system coming up…

  Well, school is over for this semester!  Looks like an A in both classes.  So, yay on that being finished!

  Powerful storm system heading for the region next week.  Thunderstorms will move in on Sunday evening and then ice for Monday evening.  Wild temperature ride.  Temps should fall 20-30 degrees after the front moves through. 



December 9, 2008: Rain Rain – Storms

  Well, it has rained all day long.  We woke up to thunderstorms at 7 AM this morning.  December weather?  I guess it is.  Looks like the rain will continue through this evening and into the overnight hours.  Temperatures will fall into the 30s by 10 PM. 

  If any precipitation can continue into Wednesday we may see it change to freezing rain or sleet/flurries.  Something to keep an eye on.

  A major ice storm is possible next week across portions of Missouri and Illinois.  Still a bit early to know for sure.  A strong cold front will cut the country in half by Sunday and Monday.  There could be a 100 degree temperature difference between North Dakota and Texas.  Pretty amazing.

  Will have to keep an eye on just how far south the cold front will push on Monday and Tuesday.  North of the front is where the ice is expected.

  So far today we have picked up 1.10" of rainfall.  Not bad!!  I wish it would have been snow, though.

  Do you think it has been cold lately?  Check out these temperature departure maps!  Amazing!

7 Day Temperature Departure Maps – very cold in the east

30 Day Temperature Departure Maps – COLD!

  No word yet on the foundation guys.  Still waiting. 

Someone was caught under the blanket again this evening.  🙂  She loves her blanket. 


December 8, 2008: Cloudy…

  I cloudy day.  Storm system is approaching from the west.  We should have rain by later tonight into Tuesday.  Locally heavy rainfall.  I am expecting amounts of 1/2-1" for the Paducah area.  Gusty winds as well.

  No real snow chance with this storm.  Perhaps a flurry or sleet pellet behind the cold front.  Nothing major, though.  Guess we will just have to wait a little while longer for "real" snow.

  Was up at the farm today.  Nobody has started on anything.  Maybe later this week.  🙂


December 7, 2008: Rain moving in – Daisy staying warm

  Well, it appears that our next storm system will be knocking on the door by Monday afternoon.  A low pressure area will move across Missouri into Illinois by Tuesday evening.  This will spread showers and thunderstorms across all of our counties.  I am expecting 1/2"-1" of rain.  This would be our second thunderstorm event in the last 10 days. 

  All this cold air is going to waste.  Too bad!

  The next snow threat would come after Wednesday.  Details still to be worked out – if we get anything at all.  Keeping an eye on two storm systems approaching the area (sort of left over energy from this first one).

  Went to the farm today with my dad.  We turned on the heat in the house and looked over the pipes.  We have one frozen pipe to repair.  I put a heat lamp in the well house.  This should help keep things thawed out, at least in the well house.

  Tomorrow I am going back to the farm to fix a drainage issue in the back of the house.  Going to build a little deck cover to keep the rain from falling into the drain at the back door.  Apparently the old pipes have collapsed and the water won’t drain out.  So, we need to put a pump at the base of the stairs and then put a tarp over all of that.  Hopefully that will keep the water out.

  The foundation guys are supposed to start work on Wednesday or Thursday.  Color me skeptical.  We shall hope, though.

  Daisy was cold tonight.  She was all bundled up under the covers watching tv.  I took these photos with my cell phone cam.


December 6, 2008: Oil: $25 Is The New $200 – Train wreck

  Remember last July? A shy Goldman analyst predicted that oil was going to $200 and immediately became the next Meredith Whitney. The mine’s-bigger-than-yours game drove other targets to $500. T. Boone Pickens announced plans to become a wind mogul. Detroit announced a permanent "new era" and pulled the plug on its guzzlers. Peak oil became "a fact."  How was it possible that, once again, so many smart people had been so stupid?

  Six months later, oil has crashed back into the low $40s. And now Merrill’s analyst is predicting that it could go to $25:

  FT: Francisco Blanch, head of commodities research at Merrill Lynch, said his main scenario was for oil prices to average $50 a barrel next year, but warned: “A temporary drop below $25 is possible if the global recession extends to China.”…

Yes, yes, we know: When the economy comes back, oil is shooting right back to $100+. Everyone agrees on that, so it’s obviously true.

Meanwhile, how are things in the Middle East about now? Are folks still building indoor ski mountains in the desert?  What about that rotating skyscraper?




  Ahh yes, the Bush administration has brought about the biggest train wreck of my lifetime.  The worst is yet to come.  Cheap oil is not a good sign.  It is a reflection of everything that is wrong with the economy.  The cheaper oil goes the worse the economy is.  Yes, it might be nice to see gas below $1.50, but it isn’t a good sign.

  The train wreck continues and will continue for some time to come – thanks to the inability of our government to find real solutions to a problem they have helped create.  Latest unemployment numbers are WRONG and basically a lie.  They have revised the Aug/Sept numbers and anyone who thinks the current numbers are correct is smoking something.  They are much higher – the government will "revise" them later.  No need to panic people at this point. 


  Thanks a lot President Bush – your ignorance never fails to impress me.


December 6, 2008: Weather instruments and cam – back up!

  Well, I was a little bored today.  I guess since my finals are over I am ready for a little "boredom".  I put my weather instruments back up here in Lone Oak.  I had them in storage.  That and my cam.  I am trying to troubleshoot everything before we take it up to the farm.  That will be awhile, though.  lol  We need a house first!!!

  You can see the current weather conditions here:


  Anyway, that is what I did today.  Going to the farm tomorrow with my dad.  We are going to make sure there is enough heat in the well house.  We don’t want everything freezing up on us.  Turning the water back on, as well, inside the old farm house.  Need to get things ready for the workers.  Some of them are going to stay there while they are building the new house.

Weather instruments up and running.



December 5, 2008: FINALS ARE OVER!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!




December 5, 2008: FINALS!!!!! WOOHOO!

  Finals start today!  I am sooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo glad!  This has been the longest semester, yet.  I will be THRILLED to finish!  Already registered for next semester.  Then I graduate in August!!!!!!!!!!!!!!  YAY!


December 4, 2008: CJ’s Bus

  The Shadow Angel Foundation has started support of a new organization out of southwest Indiana.  CJ’S Bus. 


The story of C.J.

C.J. Martin, 2 – killed during the November 2006 Evansville Tornado

Not even death could separate them.

Three generations are entombed in 2-year-old C.J. Martin’s crypt at Sunset Memorial Park Mausoleum, where some of his gamma’s and mammy’s ashes attend the blue-eyed boy they called their "little man."

C.J., "Gamma" Julie Dean, 46, and "Mammy" Jean Martin, 70, died at 1:58 a.m., when Martin’s home was obliterated as the tornado roared through Eastbrook Mobile Home Park.

"Sometimes I think he was here to make their last days as good as they could be, and it was their time to go and it wouldn’t be heaven without him," said John Martin, C.J.’s father, Dean’s son and Jean Martin’s grandson.

C.J.’s mother, Kathryn Martin, collapsed when she received confirmation her son’s body had been found on a muddy bank near a lake. She had last seen him shortly before 10 p.m. Nov. 5 and did not see him again until the services at 10 a.m. Nov. 12.

"His eyes weren’t lit up. He wasn’t smiling and laughing. Even at the funeral I felt this sense of loss, but I don’t think I really accepted the fact that he was gone until a couple of weeks later because he wasn’t in Florida and he wasn’t at Gamma Julie’s," she said. "When all three of them were gone, they were all together gone."

Another of C.J.’s constant companions, "Mr. Blankie," also is interred with him. The toddler’s cherished green blanket was discovered buried in the mud a few feet from where a volunteer firefighter found the boy. The firefighter said C.J. looked as though someone had gently laid him there.

Although C.J. died of blunt force trauma, Kathryn Martin, 28, said C.J. had only a scratch on his hand and one on his face. She does not know what clothing, if any, he was wearing, but C.J. did have on his Spider-Man underwear.

The Martins now laugh about the way John would grouse "underwear" when he heard his son discussing "’Spider-Man panties."

C.J. hated plain white briefs, so his mother made sure he was wearing Spider-Man underwear and his Colts uniform when he was prepared for the funeral. "There are just so many things that during the day I’ll smile about, and now it’s becoming a lot more comfortable to be able to smile than it was in the beginning," Kathryn Martin said. "In the beginning, if I smiled I felt like I was betraying them."

Their mobile home was about 20 lots away from Jean Martin’s, where C.J. and his grandmother frequently spent the night playing games and watching movies before snuggling into bed.

A trailer blocked the Martins’ car as they raced toward Jean Martin’s home. John Martin realized what had happened before his wife did. The tornado had obliterated Jean Martin’s mobile home and deposited another one in its place.

John Martin tried not to completely break down as he shared the news with C.J.’s siblings, who had spent the night with their grandparents in Evansville. Cyvannah, now 10, said she, Simon, 9, and Sydnie, 7, cried tears of disbelief.

"I thought I could show them how much I thought it wasn’t true," Cyvannah said. "I thought they were mistaken, maybe C.J. hadn’t died, and some of the doctors needed to find out more."

The mobile home John Martin’s mother and stepfather shared at 2338 Indian Blvd. was destroyed. Stephen Martin, suffered six broken ribs, a broken clavicle and punctured lung but survived.

John and Kathryn Martin’s mobile home was damaged but intact. C.J.’s ride-on coupe car was still parked in the yard, but the tornado had stolen the swing set he loved. Kathryn Martin said the family could not live in the trailer anymore.

"That’s the place that destroyed our family. That’s what I thought in the beginning. Now I don’t know," she said. "I think that is where we were the happiest as far as where we lived."

The Martins removed all of their belongings in two trips. When Cyvannah saw Mammy Jean’s home had been destroyed, she began to understand her "really, really, really" sweet brother and two "really sweet" grandmothers would not return.

"I think that they have just suffered probably the most pain a child could suffer," Kathryn Martin said. " You know, one day everything’s fine. The next day, everything’s gone."

Although Cyvannah still doesn’t like to hear others talk about the storm, she is learning to express her emotions and is feeling "kind of better."

Although life is returning to normal, John Martin said it’s a new normal. After living with his in-laws for months, the family moved into a one-story brick home with a basement.

He is back on the job at Infinity Molding in Mount Vernon, Ind., and a toy car purchased for C.J. frequently rides "shotgun" when he drives.

Kathryn is looking forward to returning to the work force after earning an associate’s degree in human services at Ivy Tech State College and has dedicated herself to preserving and sharing memories of her family and promoting severe weather safety.

She was instrumental in the establishment of the Tornado Memorial Park and Playground at Eastbrook and on Sunday announced her latest endeavor: C.J.’s Bus Foundation. The foundation will raise funds to build a customized bus that will travel the nation, providing a safe recreation area for children in the immediate aftermath of disasters.

Some day, the Martins "new normal" may include another child. "For the past year, we’ve kind of just been maintaining the living status," she said. "Now I want to actually live."

– Libby Keeling


The Story Of CJ’s Bus

The Story

The Story behind CJ’s Bus

CJ’s Bus was born out of three unique ingredients: the personal experience of Jeff Parness following the 2003 San Diego wildfires; Kathryn Martin’s experience providing emergency child care assistance to a family following the May 2006 Otwell, Indiana tornado; and a conversation Jeff and Kathryn had in June 2006 in which Kathryn stated her desire to honor her son C.J.’s legacy by continuing to reach out and help other families by caring for their children in the immediate aftermath of disasters. What came out of this experience was the realization of the need for a mobile recreation unit to drop directly into disaster sites in the immediate aftermath of disasters in order to keep kids distracted in a safe group environment.

Kathryn lost her 2-year-old son C.J., as well as her mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law in the deadly F3 tornado which ravaged Evansville and Newburgh, Indiana at 1:58AM on November 6, 2005. The tornado took 25 lives and was one of the deadliest in Indiana history.

As a testament to her character, Kathryn returned to school and received her degree in human services with a special focus on child advocacy; she led the effort to build the Memorial Park for the surviving children and families of Eastbrook Mobile Home Community to enjoy; she’s pushing “CJ’s Law” through the Indiana Legislature, with the help of Representative Phil Hoy, that will mandate mobile home manufacturers to pre-install NOAA weather radios in order to provide mobile home residents with potential life-saving warnings in the event of future storms; and she reached out in May 2006 to the families in the neighboring community of Otwell, Indiana who were also hit by an F3 tornado – with a very simple and kind gesture:

Kathryn loaded up her car with coloring books, crayons and juice boxes, and along with a friend, went about searching for children playing in the debris and offered their parents to keep their kids distracted for a few hours by sitting down with them and coloring.

This simple gesture provided immeasurable relief to the families she and her friend Brandi Crawley-Gish assisted, as these parents were given a few hours to attend to their immediate recovery needs. And it also provided these children with the opportunity to maintain their innocence as children in the face of disaster.

(The Evansville Courier & Press wrote a beautiful story about Kathryn and Brandi’s efforts to help the families in Otwell, Indiana which you can read here).

When Jeff met Kathryn in Evansville in June 2006, he asked her what she wanted to do with her life going forward. Kathryn’s response was immediate: “I wish I could drive to disaster sites with crayons and coloring books and help parents by keeping their kids distracted.”

At that moment the “light bulb went off” and the idea for CJ’s Bus was born.

A letter from Kathryn Martin

On November 6th, 2005 our family was forever altered by Mother Nature. My two-year old son, C.J., was having a slumber party at his great-grandmother’s house. His grandmother stayed for the sleepover and joined in the festivities.  In the middle of the night, an F3 tornado instantly destroyed three generations of love.  The smell of gas, the screams from those who used to be my neighbors, the darkness, and the sirens, were all the sights and sounds of that night.  The fear of not finding my baby and having to tell other injured individuals that I could not stay with them because I had to find my son, will forever haunt me.

Having lived through this type of disaster gives you first hand experience in the amount of support a community needs and the gaps where no support can be found. As volunteer organizations focus on housing, clothing and feeding the survivors, families with children are placed into an impossible balance of caring for their children and ensuring their safety while dealing with the aftermath. Safe and accessible childcare is overlooked as a necessity.

CJ’s Bus is a proposal to provide a safe, mobile childcare facility loaded with games and toys for children in disaster. CJ’s Bus will enable parents to take the time to deal with paperwork as well as the opportunity to "just breathe". CJ’s Bus will allow children to play and have fun with other children who have suffered the same devastating events as one another. I envision CJ’s Bus as a way to begin the battle of healing for families that are put in unpreventable circumstances.

Thank you for helping us to make CJ’s Bus a reality.

Kathryn M. Martin
November 5, 2006
Evansville, Indiana


CJ’s Bus Video’s

More information on CJ’s Bus


December 4, 2008: COLD!

  A cold morning across the region.  This is especially true considering that we were in the upper 50s yesterday with thunderstorms!  Here is the morning temperature map.

Tempeartures – purple would be 20s.

Morning satellite shows the storm system has pulled off to our east.  We are in clear skies this morning.  Clear=COLD!


December 4, 2008: Rainy night and brutal cold headed our way?

  It was a rainy night across West KY.  Strong cold front moved through.  Temperatures fell from 50 degrees to 42 degrees in less than an hour.  Not bad!  It even snowed a little across some of our counties.  Nothing major, though.

Evening satellite showing the storm system moving across our region.  The blue area is higher cloud tops and where
rainfall is falling – thunderstorms, as well.

  The latest update on the farm is that they now say they are going to start the middle of next week.  🙂  Course, I have heard this before!  So, we shall see.

  Waiting on word from Sue – I understand she has a new family member!!!!!!!  CONGRATS to her!  I am surrrrrreeeee she is proud.

  Now, about that cold weather.  A lot of computer models are forecasting very cold temperatures next week.  I am not sure, just yet, how cold it will get here in West KY and South IL.  It could be very cold across the Ohio Valley.  Single digits?  Stay tuned.  Here are a few forecast maps.

Temperatures being forecast into the single digits in our region by one computer model


And another shot of cold weather after that. 



  Stay tuned on this forecast.  You can also visit my weather blog at www.beaudodson.com


December 3, 2008: Hurry up and wait…

  Well, the guys who are building are foundation were supposed to start last week – then they said this week.  It is Wednesday now and they haven’ returned our calls.  So, will they start this week?  Who knows.

  I guess I am getting anxious to begin.  With winter upon us…we need to get that foundation in.

  Maybe we will hear something later today.  🙂  🙂  We shall keep hope alive!!!!

  Not much else going on.  It was sunny yesterday and we rented a U-Haul and brought some boxes up from Mayfield.  I am going to go through some of our stuff and widdle it down a bit more.  We need to get rid of some items before we move into the new house.  I figured I could do that now – instead of later! 

  We had to spray for spiders, because we saw three brown recluses.  I can NOT stand spiders.  They used to not bother me, but now they do.  I guess that phobia grew on me.  Living on the farm all those years I would imagine that I saw hundreds and hundreds of spiders.  Never bothered me then.  I guess something changed.  🙂  Anyway, I set off like six foggers around the boxes.  I figure that would kill anything living inside of them.  Once the dust settles I can start going through each box.  I think I will give it a day or two.  😉

  Finals start later this week.  I will be studying for those.  I am going to try to take one of them on Friday.  Get it over with and MOVE ON!!!  I have already registered for next semesters classes.  They begin in January.

  Cloudy today – rain is moving back into the region.  Rain – not snow.  🙁  We may get light snow at the end of this system, but nothing major.  ALLLLL these cold days and nights and then when precip moves in we end up with rain.  Why can’t it just snow!!!!!!  I am addicted to snow, but I am not the only one.  I know several snow fanatics.