Chad McClure, who works in maintenance at Kentucky School for the Deaf, says his motorized bike gets 200 mpg. (Clay Jackson photo)

The engine on Chad McClure’s bike is much like one on a Weed Eater. (Clay Jackson photo)

Chad McClure built his motorized bike with a kit he bought on eBay. (Clay Jackson photo)

Monday May 19, 2008

Cool Rides: Danville man’s motorized bike gets 200 miles to gallon


With gas prices reaching record highs, one Kentucky School for the Deaf employee decided to make his travel around town a little less expensive.

Chad McClure built a motorized bicycle with an engine running on gasoline and oil. The bike gets about 200 miles per gallon and was built with a kit ordered from eBay, an auction Website. He said it was somewhat challenging to build, and it took him about two days to finish the project.

“Well, I had decided because of the gas cost that it would be interesting, and it’s actually fun,” McClure, who is hearing-impaired, said via an interpreter.

When riding the bike, McClure has to be very careful and make sure other drivers see him. The weather is also a factor when he rides his bike. McClure, in addition to having a car, uses the bike intermittently when the weather’s nice, he said.

Others in town have similar bikes, he said, and sometimes people stop by to look at his bike and ask him how it works.

Engine similar to Weed Eater’s

The bicycle has a two-stroke engine, which is similar to an engine one would find on a Weed Eater. To start the engine, he just has to start pedaling. It takes very little gas to operate the bicycle, he said, and it saves about 25 to 30 percent of gas he would normally consume in his car.

“If I used it on a daily basis, it would make a difference,” he said.

Continued maintenance on the bicycle doesn’t take a lot of work and is similar to engine maintenance on a car. McClure said he has to buy spark plugs and clean out the engine occasionally. He also has to monitor the bicycle chain and make sure the engine is operating correctly.

Anyone can buy the engine kit, and there are a variety of choices when it comes to the type of engine one would desire. Some range in different physical sizes, while others have more horsepower or are mounted on the front or rear of the bicycle, he said.

The owner can install the kit or get a specialty bike store to mount the engine on the bike. Price is also a factor when buying an engine. McClure said he went with a cheaper version.

Above all, state law dictates what kinds of vehicles are permitted to have more or less horsepower. McClure said he followed the Kentucky law about mopeds when he bought his engine kit. The bike cannot have a top speed more than 30 mph, and the engine cannot have more than two horsepower.

Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2008


KY Chapter of GUAA
is hosting a social for
Attorney, Federal Communications Commission
1 of 4 Gallaudet Deaf President Now (DPN) Leaders in 1988
Greg will be the guest speaker at KSD’s Graduation ceremony.
Come meet him at the social!
Thursday, May 22
8 – 10 PM
Jacobs Hall
2nd floor
Kentucky School for the Deaf
**Appetizers & drinks will be provided by the chapter**


Editorial: KSD task force plan should nudge state

There is a now locally-generated plan, or the makings of one, for the property that is home to Kentucky School for the Deaf. A task force formed a little more than a year ago presented its recommendations this week to Danville City Commission. This proposal is well thought out, and we believe it should be pursued.

The 170 acres in the heart of Danville known as the KSD campus is largely unused, and the state has been sitting on something it calls a comprehensive plan for several years. It would reduce the size of the campus to 62 acres and enhance the facilities to better serve the deaf population. Much of the rest of the property would, or could, be declared surplus and sold.

We’re not sure how long a plan can remain a plan without any movement, but the state’s is approaching the need for a name change. This community seldom has that problem, and has a strong interest in making sure its deaf residents are well served and that use of whatever surplus property results is of benefit to all. Few small towns can lay any claim to such open space with such possibilities.

As we reported Wednesday, care is being taken to assure the preservation of historical structures like Jacobs Hall, and to make sure the elementary school at Third Street and Martin Luther King Boulevard is replaced with a state of the art facility. Attention also is being given to the appropriate buildings for demolition and the efficient use of the remaining property and its infrastructure.

It’s not a complicated math problem to figure out that one “developer” (a task force term) likely to be interested in that corner is Ephraim McDowell Health.

Whether the proposed “property swap” — 13 acres in exchange for a $6.5 million school — would interest the hospital board or its surrogate remains to be seen.

This attractive location should interest someone, though, and the price seems reasonable. Nothing will happen without the state’s approval, which the task force expects to begin seeking next month.

We urge the state to recognize the importance of this effort and to expedite whatever measures are necessary in the multiple levels of bureaucracy involved with the declaration of surplus property.

This community has made it clear it is willing to join hands with the deaf population to make certain its needs are more than realized, and that the future use of public property is determined in everyone’s best interest.
Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2008

People:Second Home–Bill Melton a KSD fixture for more than three decades

People: Second home — Bill Melton a KSD fixture for more than three decades


Bill Melton’s office is in a museum.

“I’ve been here more than 30 years, so maybe a museum is a good place for a relic like me,” says Melton, campus manager at Kentucky School for the Deaf.

Melton’s office is in Jacobs Hall, a historic 19th century building, much of which has been converted into a museum. He is the only person who works in the entire building.

Though KSD’s enrollment and staff have greatly decreased over the years and plans are being made to reduce the size of the campus, Melton doesn’t feel the whole school will be relegated to the status of a museum or all of its facilities and programs — or staff — turned into relics.

“There is still a lot of life at KSD and also a lot of work to do to educate deaf kids and prepare them for the world after graduation,” he says.

Unlike a lot of his colleagues, who either are deaf or came from deaf families, Melton was an Air Force brat who essentially stumbled into the field of deaf education.

He was born and raised in South Bend, Ind., his mother’s hometown and where his father taught in the ROTC program at Notre Dame University. The family then moved to Texas and Germany and ended up in Colorado where his father retired. After high school, Melton went to Colorado College where he played football.

“The college didn’t have football scholarships, so I needed a part-time job to generate some extra money,” he says. “I found one at the Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind where I worked 20 hours a week.

“I really enjoyed working with the kids there,” he says. “The deaf kids taught me sign language, but that meant I was at their mercy. Because I sometimes was signing inappropriate words or phrases sometimes and didn’t know it, I looked foolish on occasion.”

The part-time job planted a seed that eventually germinated into a full-time career.

After graduating from college in 1971, Melton went to the University of Northern Colorado where he earned a master’s degree in deaf education in 1972 and then spent the next four years as a teacher at Colorado School for the Deaf and Blind.

In 1976, he was hired as a supervising teacher and athletics director at KSD. It looked like it was going to be short-term assignment.

“I was almost ready to leave after my first year,” he says. “I was homesick for Colorado. I missed the family, my friends and the much less humid weather.”

But then Melton met a young kindergarten teacher and fell in love and got married. Suddenly, he didn’t mind Kentucky’s humid summers, or at least not as much.

Careers at KSD

Bill and Mary Fran Melton both went on to turn jobs into careers at KSD. She continued as a teacher of younger children at the school, while he has filled various additional roles, including physical education teacher, junior high supervising teacher, assistant high school principal, director of outreach, and, for the last six years, campus manager. They both served under superintendents Winfield McChord, John Hudson and Harvey Corson.

Melton earned a master’s in education administration in 1978 from Notre Dame University, a fact that is made clear by the Irish bric a brac in his office and his annual trips to South Bend for a Notre Dame football game.

In the meantime, the Meltons raised two children, Brian, 21, and Valerie, 18.

“KSD has become our career and Danville has become our home,” he says, then adds, “I guess you really could say KSD also is our home because the very dedicated staff and the hard-working kids are like our second family.”

Regarding his KSD home, Melton acknowledges it has gotten a lot smaller, at least in terms of enrollment and staff numbers, since he arrived on campus 32 years ago, and he says it very likely will get smaller in terms of acreage and buildings in the future.

“We are now down to 130 kids — 70 residential and 60 day students — and our staff totals 155,” he says. “We used to have more than 450 kids here, and our staff also is quite a bit smaller.”

As campus manager, Melton oversees KSD’s physical plant, buildings, grounds, health center, business office and personnel. The buildings and grounds part of his job will be reduced over the next few years, he says.

“We have 160 acres and 17 buildings, and many of those are not used any more,” he says. “Three properties have been declared surplus, and we’re working on a plan under which several other properties and buildings will be removed from the campus.”

A task force comprised of community organizations is working with KSD and state officials in developing the plan.

“Right now, we are looking at a plan that would create a compressed campus of 60 acres with seven buildings, including such buildings as Brady Hall, Middleton Hall and Kerry Hall and the gym,” he says. “We’re working on details about what to do with the other acreage and buildings.”

Melton doesn’t know if he will be around for KSD’s major physical transition. He says retirement is around the corner but isn’t sure how close he is to that corner.

But Melton does know that whatever lies ahead for him will be icing on a cake of a wonderful career.

“I have been blessed with the opportunity to work with some great professionals who have been totally dedicated to the education of deaf children and to preparing these kids for their future careers and lives,” he says. “I have also had the opportunity to work with many great students, and it has been exciting to see them grow and develop and graduate and become contributing citizens.

“Whenever I leave here, I will be taking a lot of memories of a lot of great colleagues and kids with me.”
Copyright:The Advocate-Messenger 2008

Jacobs Hall Volunteer–May 17th!

May 6, 2008

Jacobs Hall Museum Committees, KSD Alumni Association, Inc, Alumnus and Visitors,

Jacobs Hall Museum Committees, Roger McCowan, Barbie Harris and I agreed that we need you come and help with Jacobs Hall each month for repairs, painting and other duties need to be done.

The date will be on Saturday, May 17 from 8:30 am  at Jacobs Hall.  You may want to work all day or half day.  Each month I will inform you the date to come.

We will provide the food and soft drinks if you stay all day.

Please consider to willing to come and help us.  Please email to Roger McCowan – or or

Please share this with your friends through videophone, pager and computer.

Rhonda Bodner
Jacobs Hall Museum Staff