Archive for June 2nd, 2008

The great Ohio-Kentucky rock war

Monday, June 2nd, 2008

A large boulder that lived for centuries in the middle of the Ohio river serving both Kentuckians and Ohioans as a navigation marker and graffiti carving canvas, has turned out to be a powder keg.

Last September, an Ohio historian decided the rock needed rescuing from its watery bed, so he hauled it out and lovingly placed it in a safe environment for historical preservation: on top of some tires in a corner of the Portsmouth city maintenance garage.

The fact that the rock was a registered protected archaeological object with the state of Kentucky doesn’t seem to trouble our intrepid Ohioan.

The historian, Steve Shaffer of Ironton, Ohio, said people are overreacting. The rock, he said, was neglected and in danger of being damaged or lost forever. […]

Shaffer says he deserves praise for saving the rock.

“They want to punish Portsmouth and they want to punish me and they want to put this rock back in the river,” Shaffer said.

Yeah! Meanie peanie fo-feanie Kentuckians with their anti-tireyardism and desire to preserve a protected object in its proper context. They’ll have to tell it to the judge.

Kentucky’s elected officials also insist that the rock belongs to their state. A Kentucky grand jury is investigating whether criminal charges should be filed and Portsmouth Mayor James Kalb has been subpoenaed to testify. Earlier this spring, Kentucky lawmakers adopted a resolution condemning the rock’s removal and demanding its return.

Ohio lawmakers are considering a counter-resolution calling on Kentucky to abandon its claim to the rock.

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