By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
WILLIAMSTOWN, KY.–The Ark Encounter, which opened July 7, is a life-size experience with over 50 exhibits throughout three decks connected with a central ramp for easy maneuvering. It’s an artfully-filled museum and demonstration of how Noah his wife, three sons and their wives might have lived, worked and survived for a year within its confines with the ancestors of every land, air-breathing bird and animal we know today.
My son, Jack, and I visited the exhibit while in Louisville, Ky. on business. The largest wooden-framed construction in the world is located just an hour and a half north of Louisville and just 40 miles south of Cincinnati, Ohio. We took in the controversial theme park on a Sunday and treated ourselves to some KFC for lunch at a nearby town. (Sorry I killed my phone soon after leaving the park, so don’t have the photos of the KFC. Happily, I also took some photos on my work camera.)
The sheer size of the ark is mind-blowing and awesome, as it appears on a bare hilltop. According to its architects, the ark can hold 10,000 people at a time, with more than 140,000 square feet inside. It would take nearly one and a half football fields to equal the Ark’s length. About a quarter of the cost to build the $100 million project was raised through donations. It is expected to draw as much as two million visitors in its first year. America’s Research Group reports four out of five Americans believe in the ancient Ark and would consider visiting a full-size replica.
There were no lines when we arrived. I had already purchased tickets online the day before to avoid lines at the ticket booth. But had there been a line, we would have been entertained with the watching of the lengthy documentary on the building of the park and the attention to detail, historical research and craftsmanship involved in its construction (wish there had been a line).
I was grateful to be presented with the processes Noah and his family might have employed in the feeding and care of so many animals. Exhibits detailed several technologies the first family could have employed and their presentation not as Neanderthals but as highly intelligent, thinking, art appreciating individuals who used their time in preparing the ark to solve several life survival issues, just as disaster preppers do today.
Though a little weak on entertainment value, the Ark Encounter delivers on the informational side and contains a running salvation theme throughout. The addition of a petting zoo and zipline adventure adds to the experience. Other entertainment aspects of the park are being developed.
The environment inside the ark is dimly lit and animal sounds and music you might expect from the era adds a certain mystique. Though there are no actual animals on board, lots of cages contain lifelike models of the kinds of animals, in pairs, that might have been on the ark, including seven kinds of dinosaurs. It also shows how these animals might have been fed and watered, waste removed, air circulated, light provided, using natural materials and arts and science of the day, which included ship building, pottery and metal working.
As a journalist, I was impressed with a video of an interview between an ancient journalist, her graphic designer and stenographer and Noah. The video theater presenting the short was similar to those I’ve visited at national parks. The female journalist conducted the interview with curiosity and disdain. At one point, the stenographer, taking down the entire conversation for posting on the city walls, became incensed at what Noah referred to as wickedness. The stenographer stood and passionately proclaimed it was his right under freedom to live by such practices. After the interview, the journalist attempted to “pull strings” with Noah to ensure a seat on the ark, should the impossible occur. Noah’s answer: He would take all who God sent him into the ark.
Theme-park developer Ken Ham contends that the ark would have been built at the height of society’s technological advances. He also introduces questions that an actual cataclysmic global flood explains in many of the earth’s visible features today, such as the many strata of rock formation found throughout the earth, such as that at the Grand Canyon. They could have developed in a very short period of time under the cataclysmic conditions of the flood, rather than the thousands, or millions of years, evolution purports to explain.
“The fountains of the great deep were broken up” strongly implies earthquakes on the ocean floor that would have released enormous amounts of subterranean water under high pressure and temperatures causing tsunamis and volcanic activity, occurring all over the earth, creating the continents. The violence would have buried billions of creatures in mud, creating the fossil layers we know today. These turbulent waters would have eroded and redeposited massive amounts of sand, silt, clay and rocks of all sizes. This would have been no tame event but a catastrophe of unimaginable destructive power. This was no localized flood with ever, gently rising waters. This was a global event covering the highest mountain peaks, and so pervasive that Noah and the animals with him were forced into confinement for an entire year! And all else outside the ark, except water-based creatures, would not have survived. It also explains a global ice age, occurring afterwards, as cloud cover and volcanic activity blocked much of the intensity of the sun’s rays for a time, cooling the earth.
The Ark Encounter is an extension of the 9-year-old Creation Museum some 45 minutes away. We knew we wouldn’t have time on this visit to take in the older attraction, but knew we could cover the ark in six hours. This part of the country is also beautiful and bears further exploration, hiking, camping, etc.
Though built to dimensions recorded in Genesis 6, the art replica is not sea-worthy. This is because of God’s promise, Ham explains, that He will never again send a flood to destroy all life on the earth. The rainbow is an everlasting sign of this promise to every living creature to dispel fear when a storm should arise.
The reason the founder of Answers in Genesis built the Ark replica is so visitors may have “an encounter with God’s Word and their by an encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ,” he said. “Other than the Cross, I believe the Ark is the greatest reminder of the salvation message. Just as those who entered into the Ark through that one door were saved from the judgment of the Flood. Later, God’s Son stepped into history to become the one door through which we must pass to be saved from the coming judgment.”
Jesus said. “I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved. (John 10:9)”
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14:6)”
For those who believe, the Ark Encounter and its 100 distinct exhibits is strong verification of the truth of God’s Word, the Bible. It strengthens one’s faith and gives answers to refute scientific theories that explain the natural world, apart from a living Creator.
There is little evidence that nonbelievers have converted as a result of their visit to the attraction. But then again, Noah spent 120 years in the actual preparation and construction of the ark and converted no one, though he is referred to as a “preacher of righteousness.” Only he and his family were saved.
As one walks through the ark, the story of man and his broken relationship to the creator is brought to light, as well as certain similarities between then and now:
“… the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every intent of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually. And it repented the Lord that he had made man on the earth, and it grieved him at his heart. And the Lord said, I will destroy man whom I have created from the face of the earth; both man, and beast, and the creeping thing, and the fowls of the air; for it repenteth me that I have made them. BUT Noah found grace in the eyes of the Lord.”
Posted by : November 22, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Posted by : November 18, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
ATHENS–Jurors returned a guilty verdict in the trial of Stacie Marie Parsons, 27, who is charged with murdering her 4-year-old daughter, Victoria Wyatt, on July 21, 2014.
The seven-man five-woman jury returned a verdict after roughly 90 minutes of deliberation Thursday.
Juror Barbara Meyer told The Monitor that the defendant didn’t exhibit any reactions or emotions during the 10-day trial that she could tell. She described the members of the jury as open-minded and able to render an opinion based on what was presented.
Meyer said what was the most convincing came from the defendant during several interviews with investigators recorded on video. “She confessed to the crime and believed she’d spend the rest of her life in prison,” Meyer said. “She didn’t show any diminished capacity to know right from wrong.”
173rd District Judge Dan Moore rejected a motion by Parsons’ defense team, pleading diminished mental capacity as a defense. Moore ruled that Parsons’ could not avoid criminal culpability on that basis. “It is not a defense under the criminal law,” Moore said.
In that case, Parsons’ lawyers claimed that Moore was denying Parson her Sixth Amendment right to legal counsel and that they were rendered ineffective. Moore said the two attorneys have been very effective at representing their client.
The defense is sure to seek an appeal since its evidence of intellectual disability and diminished capacity was disallowed from being presented to the jury, but was recorded in a closed session — as well as evidence of Parsons’ mental state or awareness of criminal activity at the time of its commission.
This evidence included depositions from those who have known Parsons, as well as from witnesses who testified as to her childhood and the IQ test she was given shortly after her arrest. Dr. Joan Mayfield found Parsons IQ to be 70. A score of 100 is considered average.
District Attorney Scott McKee told the judge the people were not seeking the death penalty for Parsons because of her mental disability. “Under the law, she does not qualify for the death penalty,” McKee said.
Parsons’ defense team entered a guilty plea by reason of insanity. A guilty verdict carries a sentence of life in prison.
Shortly after 9 a.m. July 21, 2014, Parsons walked into the Athens Police Department and stated she had killed her daughter and informed that the body could be found in the trunk of her car parked at an apartment building on Martin Luther King Blvd.
Police found the little girl with trauma to her head and chest. Later Parsons lead police to the place where the crime was committed under a bridge on County Road 1500. The girl’s father, Gary Wyatt, told news outlets that the girl’s mother had never acted violently toward their daughter before and that the couple had been together for six years. When Parsons left that morning with the little girl it was presumed she was going to register the girl for pre-kindergarten. When she returned without the girl and started walking away, Wyatt approached the car to look for her, “I wouldn’t be in that car if I were you,” Parson is reported as having told Wyatt. When he and a family friend opened the trunk, they found a garbage bag with his daughter’s leg sticking out of it. The two men pulled the body out and started CPR. Water was expelled from her lungs, it was reported.
According to news reports, Wyatt said that the night before, he had threatened to leave Parsons. Looking back, Wyatt said, weeks ago she had threatened to kill the baby if he ever left her, but he had chalked that up to just “angry talk”
“I never thought for a second she’d actually do it,” he said.
Posted by : November 4, 2016| On :
By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer
MABANK–The Mabank City Council members issued a statement at their Nov. 1 meeting leaving no doubt as to the fate of Whisper the Library Cat.
The only animals that will be admitted to the Tri-County Library, now under the city’s management, are those trained as service animals and restrained by their owners, or those brought in for a Summer Reading Program.
The council prepared the statement in response to the media attention and petition efforts of those protesting Whisper’s eviction.
Once again, Ed Busch, Friends of the Animals and serving as spokesperson for the group presented an informal petition of about 200 names favoring the return of Whisper to the only home she has known, The Tri-County Library.
Busch presented clippings from local newspapers and attention from Dallas media, including two radio stations and the Dallas Morning News, all seeming to favor the return of Whisper to her home. He also presented an informal petition from local residents.
“Only one person refused to sign the petition and that was because the person was a household member of one of the council members,” he said. As to the issue concerning possible liability and harm the cat might cause to a visitor to the library, Busch pointed to the eight years without a single incident occurring. He reminded the council that all costs related to Whisper were being provided by Friends of the Animals and that would continue.
“As difficult as this is,” stated a prepared response from the City of Mabank, “we must regard the safety and the needs of all of our constituents and the potential danger and risk associated with animals and the resulting liability of the library if anyone is injured because of disease, fleas and ticks, allergens, or biting and scratching, whether intended or unintended.”
The statement refers the reader to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for potential harm, the city seeks to avoid.
The council left no doubt that it would not supercede the advice of attorney and insurer in the matter.
While the library was under the management of a nonprofit, there was little motivation for an injured party to sue. However, cities and other public entities perceived to have deep pockets would likely not be overlooked if someone felt their health was put in jeopardy, if they were to contract a disease or were severely affected due to an allergy to cats are some of the objections from the city’s advisors.
Mayor Jeff Norman pointed out that if the city had not taken over the library, it would most likely be facing closure and Whisper would still be evicted.
During last month’s council meeting, the council members recognized that only one of the Whisper supporters was a city resident. On closer examination of the petition, perhaps only 80 names were actual Mabank residents. The rest were from addresses with a Mabank zip code but not someone eligible to vote in a city election.
In other business, council members:
• approved final audits for the city, Economic Development Corporation and the Hotel-Motel Fund. The firm of Yeldell, Wilson, Wood & Reeve, P.C. returned a clean audit, with the city’s assets exceeding its liabilities at the end of fiscal year 2015 with a net position of $7,864,041. Of that amount $2,603,323 is unrestricted (includes utility fund) and may be used to meet the city’s obligations to citizens and creditors. It’s net position represents a decrease by $79,949 from last year’s closing audit.
The fund balance on the city’s governmental fund is $1,272,645 of which 93 percent is unassigned, totaling $1,182,366.
The 2015-16 budget reflects an 8.91 percent increase in expenditures with property taxes accounting for 36 percent of the revenue.
Bonded debt totals $6,865,000 for the city and capital assets total $10,881,199.
• authorized the EDC to negotiate with Fiber-Con to build a new manufacturing facility on two acres owned by the EDC not to exceed $10,000.