Virginia L McQuitty Practices get underway for fall sports Jays soon to begin quest for SHAC title Western Brown to hold Meet the Teams Night and OHSAA parent meeting Aug. 8 Norville F Hardyman Carol J Tracy James Witt Ripley officer receives commendation for quick action Bicentennial at Ripley First Presbyterian RULH welcomes new school principals Aberdeen’s Police Dept. continues to grow Mary F McElroy Broncos out to defend SBAAC American Division soccer title Bronco 5K to take place Aug. 5 EHS volleyball team ready for new season Michael C Cooper Raymond Mays Harry E Smittle Jr Mary A Flaugher Western Brown’s Leto excels in Australia Rockets ready for 1st season in SBAAC Paddling, hiking activities available at Ohio State Parks SB Warriors get set to hit gridiron for 2nd year of varsity football Scotty W Johnson Glenna V Moertle Rickey L Hoffer Ruth E Ward David A Watson Janet L Dotson Vilvie S King Steven C Utter Cropper joins Fallis at Bethel-Tate Local kids find success in world of martial arts 13th annual Bronco 5K Run and Fitness Walk set for Aug. 5 Teams compete in memory of Randy Fulton Mike W Smith Roger Helton David A Borders Timothy E Argenbright Joseph W Sherrill Frances K Pedigo Water distribution plans for Ripley move forward Historic Trapp and Wilson building sold RULH graduate wins HFR Scholarship Blanche Malblanc Pauline L Kirk Over 70 take part in 11th Joe Myers 5K Classic Lions Club 4th of July Festival brings outdoor fun to Ripley ODNR reminds visitors to swim safe this summer Changes in high school track and field/cross country rules include school issued and approved uniforms Betty L Philpott Judy B Williams Billie J Russell Remembering Ravye 25 attend volleyball camp in Fayetteville Western Brown hosts Pee Wee Football Camp Eugene L Baumann RULH selects Wilkins as new superintendent Corps of Engineer to study erosion issue in Ripley More funds available through Revolving Loans Jack Hamilton Charles L Glover Maxine M Stires Western Brown youth basketball camps a success Leto to represent Team USA in Australia Broncos hard at work in preparation for fall season Eastern approves bowling team Phyllis Ruth Lois A Manley Eddie L Carr Thomas L Carnahan Cameron Barkley Walter J McGee Gary J Graham George D Johnson Walter F Crawford Jr Charles E Meranda Jr Historic home in Ripley is sold following renovations Hyde finds home at Midway Youngsters work to improve on hoop skills at Eastern basketball camps Sizer named All-District Honorable Mention Western Brown’s Barnes earns All-State, All-District honors Local players compete in SWOFCA Ron Woyan East/West All-Star Game 6th annual Ravye Williams Memorial 3-on-3 Basketball Tournament set for June 24 Clarence E Teal Rosie B Poe Monard C Boots James P Conrad James T Dinser Scott J Swearingen Eastern’s Farris earns award for top 2-point field percentage in Ohio Georgetown’s Seigla earns All-District honors OHSAA announces 2017 football regions and playoffs format Western Brown volleyball camps a success with over 100 in attendance Rigdon finishes high school running career with 10th place finish at state track and field championship meet Grace E Fite Students speak out in support of Skinner Ripley Council to pay half the cost for Air Evac services John McGee Timmy Burson

Life on the Ohio River through the eyes of a Ripley resident

By Martha Jacob –

The Ohio River is over 980 miles long running from Pittsburg, through six states before entering the Great Mississippi River. All year long barges filled with everything from coal, to gravel and sand to chemicals of all kinds slowly move up and down the river each day.
One Ripley resident knows first hand about life on the river. Darrin Brookbank, a Ripley High School graduate, has spent his entire life working on the river, as did his father and his grandfather.
Darrin Brookbank began working  for his father, Donald Brookbank’s  company, Brookbank River, Inc. when he was only 14 years old, cleaning  the barges when they were emptied making $20 a piece.
“It was a hard job cleaning the old dirty barges, but it’s what my dad did,  it’s what I chose to do and it’s what my brother Donnie chose to do,” Brookbank said. “My dad’s company did real good for a lot of years, hauling and unloading sand and gravel, concrete and blacktop. But then the really big companies from Cincinnati moved into our area and bought all the little companies out. They had their own barges, so we just couldn’t compete with them.
“We had to choice to start traveling to look for work elsewhere or go to work at a Cincinnati or Huntington company that could offer things we couldn’t, like insurance and 401K and pensions, so we had to let it go.”
Brookbank said his father operated the company for over 55 years. “A lot of people know my dad,” Brookbank said. “He had his own old 1923 paddle boat which he just sold about five years ago. It was called the Donald B and most people around here remember it going up and down the river.”
Brookbank has been working for Maysville Harbor moving coal for Eastern Kentucky Power Plant   (EKP) for the past 10 years. He pushes at least 15 barges at a time approximately 15 miles. He works 12 hour shifts five days in a row, then has a day off  then works five nights in a row and has four days off.
“That’s pretty much my life…” Brookbank said with a smile. “I’m always on that river, even when I’m not pushing barges,  I’m out there on my pontoon boat, enjoying it. That’s my getaway, You haven’t lived until you’ve watched a sunset go down over the river while you’re in the river.”
Brookbank said he would recommend what he does to young people, but added that it isn’t for everyone. It’s a hard job, but rewarding.
He said the business of hauling coal, however is getting harder and harder each year with all the government restrictions.
“Hauling things in the river is still the most economical way to move things,” he said, “It’s cheaper than by semi or train. Fifty-three semis will fit onto one barge, and I push 15 barges at a time, so you do the math.”
Darrin Brookbank has two children Collin and Claire and is also the owner of a business in Ripley called Brookie’s.

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