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Latest News in Prather, CA
UC San Diego Atmospheric Chemist Kim Prather Elected to American Philosophical Society
A distinguished scientist and professor at the University of California San Diego has been inducted into America’s oldest learned society, joining the ranks of other noteworthy Triton faculty and alumni. Kimberly Prather, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry and Distinguished Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the School of Physical Sciences has been selected to join the American Philosophical Society. Prather is among 37 new members elected in 2022, and the ...
A distinguished scientist and professor at the University of California San Diego has been inducted into America’s oldest learned society, joining the ranks of other noteworthy Triton faculty and alumni. Kimberly Prather, Distinguished Chair in Atmospheric Chemistry and Distinguished Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry in the School of Physical Sciences has been selected to join the American Philosophical Society. Prather is among 37 new members elected in 2022, and the first from UC San Diego since 2010.
“I am honored to join the APS along with so many other academic and cultural luminaries,” said Prather. “It’s a reflection of the efforts of my research group and support I’ve received from the UC San Diego community in addressing the importance of our work in confronting the challenges of climate change head-on, using innovative strategies.”
Prather’s work focuses on how human emissions affect the atmosphere, climate and health. She joined the faculty of UC San Diego in 2001 and has five patents for her innovations in mass spectrometry for environmental chemistry lab and field studies. In 2019, she was elected to the National Academy of Engineering. In April 2020, she became a member of the National Academy of Sciences for her contributions to aerosol chemistry. She is an elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Prather is also an advisory board member for UC San Diego’s Institute for Practical Ethics.
She is the founding director of the NSF-funded Center for Aerosol Impacts on Chemistry of the Environment, and is currently working to understand the health and environmental impacts of ocean-derived pollutants and toxins in runoff and outfalls and the concentration of particles small enough to lodge deeply in human lungs and impact our health.
“The urgency of addressing pollution and climate issues cannot be overstated,” Prather said. “It motivates me each day to wake up and share my findings with local, federal, and world leaders to help drive these issues into our broader conversation that will lead to solutions.”
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Prather co-authored several high-profile publications, as well as a letter to the Biden Administration, calling for immediate action to address and limit airborne transmission of COVID-19 and inhalation exposure, which helped improve public-health protections for people around the world. She has advised local and federal government officials, school districts, businesses, and the public at large on how to safely reopen and remain open, with a focus on cleaning indoor air using filtration and ventilation.
Founded in 1743 by Benjamin Franklin to “promote useful knowledge,” the APS honors and engages distinguished scientists, humanists, social scientists and cultural leaders in a spirit of interdisciplinary intellectual fellowship. It provides the nation’s top intellectuals and scholars with opportunities for research, networking and public engagement. Over the years, members have included George Washington, Thomas Paine, Charles Darwin, Robert Frost and Albert Einstein. Since 1960, 22 prominent UC San Diego members have been elected including astronomer Margaret Burbridge, philosopher of science Nancy Cartwright, biologist Francis Crick, and professor of chemistry and former chancellor Marye Anne Fox.
California drought is causing ranchers to sell off cattle which will have a lasting impact
SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. — California is on year three of one of the worst droughts in state history, and it’s hurting our farmers and ranchers.Jim Rickert owns Prather Ranch and has been ranching in the Northstate for more than five decades. He said this could be one of the worst droughts in his lifetime.“It’s been a cause of the significant problem for us,” Rickert said. “In some areas, we have an irrigation distri...
SHASTA COUNTY, Calif. — California is on year three of one of the worst droughts in state history, and it’s hurting our farmers and ranchers.
Jim Rickert owns Prather Ranch and has been ranching in the Northstate for more than five decades. He said this could be one of the worst droughts in his lifetime.
“It’s been a cause of the significant problem for us,” Rickert said. “In some areas, we have an irrigation district there and our allotment from the state water district is zero. So zero is pretty hard to work with.”
He said when people think about the drought they need to remember it goes beyond a lack of water.
“We’re trying to preserve the herds, and the price of hay has doubled, so the feedstuff has really gone up,” Rickert. “And we don’t have as much hay being produced because we have all the drought ”
Rickert said this has meant making some tough and emotional choices like the decision to sell off part of their herd.
“I’ve personally sold off cattle,” Rickert said. “We sold off 200 mother cows out of our herd this spring because I just didn’t have something for them to eat.”
Inflation also plays a role in their hard times. He said their input costs have increased exponentially thanks to inflation. Farming necessities such as fertilizer, hay, and even power bills for needing to pump water have all increased.
This isn't just a problem for the present, it causes a chain reaction because of how long it takes to raise and breed cattle.
“That calf is born today won’t be able to have a calf until its two years old and then that calf won’t be ready to be marketed until a year and a half, two years after that,” Rickert said.
Even if California gets rain to offset the drought, Rickert said the effects of it will be felt long after it's gone.
“It needs to rain, that's what it needs to do,” Ricker said. “We need more precipitation. And when we get that done we’ll be back on board but we aren’t going to be through it. You’re going to have to rebuild the herds and that takes time. It just takes time.”
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3 Good Things: Three rings, $300,000 and a red-letter day
Los Angeles Timeshttps://www.latimes.com/opinion/story/2022-05-24/ringling-bros-circus-reopens-tastee-tape-for-tortillas
Back to the big topRemember when “the circus” meant “fun”? It lost its luster when our culture grew more aware of animal exploitation, but the experience never needed to be about elephants on parade. Now the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus is coming back to life after closing in 2017. New and improved — now no animals! I’m glad future generatio...
Back to the big top
Remember when “the circus” meant “fun”? It lost its luster when our culture grew more aware of animal exploitation, but the experience never needed to be about elephants on parade. Now the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus is coming back to life after closing in 2017. New and improved — now no animals! I’m glad future generations will have a chance to attend. Any child will tell you that the true joys of the circus are, after all, quite simple: popcorn and cotton candy.
Who knows where good ideas come from? Well, Kristala Prather is going to make some educated guesses. Her day job is chemical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and now her sideline is spotting the germ of a theory, some undeveloped thought some colleague might have, that would benefit from a grant. She and 16 other “scouts” have been assigned by the nonprofit Hypothesis Fund to award $300,000 for fledgling ideas related to climate change or health. Sounds like a smart way to place bets.
One graduating senior at Dillard University had already scheduled a pretty ambitious weekend earlier this month: walk across the stage on a Saturday morning, induce delivery of her baby that evening. Well, babies aren’t always considerate of such precise plans, and Jada Sayles went into labor the night before. She didn’t get to walk across the stage, but she did get a graduation ceremony to remember. The president of the New Orleans-based university, Walter Kimbrough, heard about the blessed event and visited to confer Sayles’ diploma right there in the hospital.
And one more ...
Here’s an invention for those of us who don’t have the dexterity of a Chipotle artist: tortilla tape to keep wraps wrapped long enough for you to actually eat them. The students at Johns Hopkins University who invented it are calling it Tastee Tape. Now, the description isn’t that appetizing — “food-grade fibrous scaffolding and organic adhesive” — but neither is the sight of a friend’s carnitas dribbling all over the place. This sounds like progress to me.
Silent surge: At-home COVID tests may mask reality of case numbers
Crystal Sicard Kentuckyhttps://spectrumnews1.com/ky/louisville/news/2022/06/06/woodford-county-continues-to-see--covid-cases-increase
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Some health departments in Central Kentucky are seeing a “silent surge” in COVID-19 infections as cases continue to rise.What You Need To Know Cassie Prather with the Woodford County Health Department said although hospitalizations aren’t spiking, Kentucky is not out of the woods with COVID-19 spreading.“We have seen a steady slow increase over the past few weeks and that is without the majority of the home tests being reported,” Prather said.A...
LEXINGTON, Ky. — Some health departments in Central Kentucky are seeing a “silent surge” in COVID-19 infections as cases continue to rise.
What You Need To Know
Cassie Prather with the Woodford County Health Department said although hospitalizations aren’t spiking, Kentucky is not out of the woods with COVID-19 spreading.
“We have seen a steady slow increase over the past few weeks and that is without the majority of the home tests being reported,” Prather said.
And seeing that increase, Prather said, is concerning.
“If you are testing at home, more than likely you’re not going to be one of those people that are still going to go out into the community or, you know, to places where you could potentially infect someone,” she said. “My fear is that that will then cause the numbers to look better than they are and give us a false sense of security.”
At-home tests have been useful, and Prather said she supports having a resource to test yourself and loved ones at home.
“It’s a good way to know your status, if you’re going to be around a lot of people, if you’re having what you think are seasonal allergy symptoms here in Kentucky,” Prather said.
But they may also affect the reality of the situation when it comes to COVID-19 cases.
“COVID is still here, and we still need to be taking the preventative measures that we should have been before,” Prather said.
According to the Kentucky COVID-19 tracker, Woodford County is in the red with positivity levels at nearly 12%. But the good news: hospitalizations and serious cases aren’t seeing the same spike.
“Thankfully with this particular variant, the sub-variant of Omicron, it does seem to be causing milder symptoms,” Prather said.
In order for health departments to fully track COVID-19 cases, Prather is encouraging people to fill out forms online when testing positively at home.
“We are still getting quite a bit of traction on that interview forum,” Prather said.
With vaccinations and at home tests, she hopes to see a decrease in cases soon, but wants to remind everyone that COVID-19 is still affecting communities.
According to the CDC, over 75% of Woodford County’s residents are vaccinated and averaging less than two people hospitalized each week because of COVID-19.
UCI Health brings in-home medical care to southern California residents
UCI Health has partnered with DispatchHealth, the nation’s first comprehensive in-home medical care provider, to offer same-day, in-home medical care. The partnership is designed to improve access to care, deliver a better patient experience and reduce the total cost of care for patients throughout Orange County.“UCI Health is honored to be the first healthcare system in California to offer our patients and the community this exciting program,” said UCI Health CEO Chad T. Lefteris. “As Orange County’s onl...
UCI Health has partnered with DispatchHealth, the nation’s first comprehensive in-home medical care provider, to offer same-day, in-home medical care. The partnership is designed to improve access to care, deliver a better patient experience and reduce the total cost of care for patients throughout Orange County.
“UCI Health is honored to be the first healthcare system in California to offer our patients and the community this exciting program,” said UCI Health CEO Chad T. Lefteris. “As Orange County’s only academic health system, we are dedicated to finding novel ways to improve access to care, especially among patients whose health needs do not require a hospital stay.”
DispatchHealth’s complete platform delivers, provides and coordinates medical care to patients in their homes and is in-network with most health insurance plans and is often the same out-of-pocket cost as an in-network urgent care center.
“Healthcare is rapidly changing and what our patients want has evolved throughout the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Our innovative partnership with DispatchHealth is one more step forward towards building a community benefit and part of our spectrum of solutions to expanding access to care, in a high-quality, safe and sustainable way,” said UCI Health Executive Director of Virtual Care Susanna Rustad. “DispatchHealth will help us meet our patients where they are and where they want to receive care, in their homes.”
To learn more or request an appointment, visit ucihealth.org/inhomecare or call 949-594-0447. UCI Health DispatchHealth services are available from 8 a.m. until 10 p.m., seven days a week, including holidays.
The UCI Health DispatchHealth service treats simple to complex illnesses and minor injuries, all from the comfort of your home, including, but not limited to:
“For the past eight years, DispatchHealth has focused on lowering the access to care barriers while also providing the best patient experience. Many health systems have a strong desire to deliver home-based care, and DispatchHealth can provide a proven platform to quickly extend care outside of the typical clinic and hospital setting,” said Dr. Mark Prather, CEO and co-founder of DispatchHealth. “Our partnership with UCI Health combines both organization’s focus on value-based care with the proven convenience of effective care in the home.”
Additionally, as part of this partnership, patients identified as being at high-risk of readmission will have access to proactive in-home care 24-72 hours post-discharge from an acute care hospital stay. This service, known as DispatchHealth Bridge Care, helps identify gaps in care and bridge the patient back to their primary care physician or specialist in the community.
DispatchHealth is building the world’s largest in-home care system to deliver trusted and compassionate care to all. DispatchHealth offers on-demand acute care and an advanced level of medical care for people of all ages in the comfort of their own homes. DispatchHealth’s emergency medicine and internal medicine trained medical teams are equipped with all the tools necessary to treat common to complex injuries and illnesses. DispatchHealth works closely with payers, providers, health systems, EMS, employer groups and others to deliver care in the home to reduce unnecessary emergency room visits, hospital stays and readmissions. Acute care medical teams are available seven days a week, evenings and holidays and can be requested via app, online or a quick phone call. DispatchHealth is partnered with most major insurance companies. For more information, visit DispatchHealth.com.
UCI Health is the clinical enterprise of the University of California, Irvine, and the only academic health system in Orange County. Patients can access UCI Health at primary and specialty care offices across Orange County and at its main campus, UCI Medical Center in Orange, Calif. The 459-bed, acute care hospital, listed among America’s Best Hospitals by U.S. News & World Report for 21 consecutive years, provides tertiary and quaternary care, ambulatory and specialty medical clinics, behavioral health and rehabilitation services. UCI Medical Center is home to Orange County’s only National Cancer Institute-designated comprehensive cancer center, high-risk perinatal/neonatal program and American College of Surgeons-verified Level I adult and Level II pediatric trauma center and regional burn center. UCI Health serves a region of nearly 4 million people in Orange County, western Riverside County and southeast Los Angeles County. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Texas Free Speech Lawyer Takes Lessons From Depp Case to Europe
Laura Prather wants to bring Texas-style free speech protection to Europe.Prather, a First Amendment lawyer in Austin, Texas, is headed to Europe on a Fulbright scholarship to study how meritless lawsuits meant to silence critics have impacted human rights. She also plans to push European Union countries to adopt protections against those suits, like “anti-SLAPP” laws in Texas and other US states.“Much of my career has been trying to remedy the use of the judicial system to harass, punish and si...
Laura Prather wants to bring Texas-style free speech protection to Europe.
Prather, a First Amendment lawyer in Austin, Texas, is headed to Europe on a Fulbright scholarship to study how meritless lawsuits meant to silence critics have impacted human rights. She also plans to push European Union countries to adopt protections against those suits, like “anti-SLAPP” laws in Texas and other US states.
“Much of my career has been trying to remedy the use of the judicial system to harass, punish and silence those who speak truth to power,” Prather said in an interview.
Prather, a partner at Haynes and Boone, has defended the New York Times Co., KTRK Television, Inc., and Spotify USA, Inc. in free speech and other cases. She’s best known for her work getting the Texas anti-SLAPP law on the books in 2011 and rallying a coalition to save the law when it was threatened eight years later.
The law—and those in 32 other states—is generally meant to protect media outlets, domestic abuse accusers and others from being silenced by expensive and flimsy lawsuits. As actor Johnny Depp’s recent $15 million case against ex-wife Amber Heard shows, the laws’ protections vary widely from state to state.
Prather heads to Europe amid a rise there in lawsuits meant to intimidate media, she said, including suits by Russian oligarchs against journalists in the United Kingdom.
Anti-SLAPP—"strategic lawsuits against public participation"—laws recently got a turn in the spotlight in the Depp-Heard case.
Depp’s lawyers filed the suit in Virginia, although neither actor lives in the state, to take advantage of the Commonwealth’s soft anti-SLAPP law.
Unlike in California, where Depp and Heard each have homes, the law doesn’t immediately stop the case from going forward if a judge allows it. Instead, the law can only be used as a defense during trial.
“Forum shopping” like that by Depp’s lawyers is frequent, according to Prather, who was not involved in the case.
She was a partner at the Sedgwick law firm in Austin when she got involved with the abusive lawsuit issue in the mid-2000s. Prather moved in 2012 to Haynes and Boone, where she is head of the firm’s media law practice group and has represented various organizations—sometimes pro bono—targeted by lawsuits.
The Texas law passed a decade after the state became a SLAPP hotbed, according to Prather. The state’s Citizen Participation Act allows quick dismissal of those suits.
“There were a significant number of meritless lawsuits against reporters and others, often so the public did not find out what journalists were uncovering,” Prather said. “But there was no mechanism to stop these lawsuits.”
She successfully invoked the law to defend NBCUniversal Media in a 2021 lawsuit by former California Rep. Devin Nunes (R) against the company and MSNBC host Rachel Maddow over statements made on Maddow’s show. A court in Texas transferred the matter to New York, finding the case didn’t have sufficient local ties.
The Texas anti-SLAPP law was targeted by a variety of corporate and individual advocates in 2019. They pushed a change that would have allowed plaintiffs to threaten meritless suits, file those suits in court and then withdraw the suits within three days with their fees refunded. Prather countered with a coalition of more than 600 organizations, who fought to keep the law intact.
Prather heads to Paris in September, where she will be based as a Fulbright scholar for the next four-plus months.
She plans to work with Reporters Without Borders to evaluate legal systems in Europe, the factors that contribute to the rise of meritless lawsuits and current regulatory efforts to prevent such suits. She will also work with a coalition of 70 organizations aimed at developing EU-wide anti-SLAPP rules.
She hopes her work in Europe will also “rekindle” efforts to pass a federal law standardizing anti-SLAPP protections in the US.
Four Contestants to Compete for Miss California Rodeo Salinas Title
SALINAS, CA – Miss California Rodeo Salinas is a year-round ambassador for the California Rodeo Salinas who travels to rodeos, parades, and other community events to promote the largest rodeo in California. The competition consists of personality and appearance, scholarship, and scholastic contests. Miss California Rodeo Salinas 2021 Emily Cullins will pass the title along to one of the following ...
SALINAS, CA – Miss California Rodeo Salinas is a year-round ambassador for the California Rodeo Salinas who travels to rodeos, parades, and other community events to promote the largest rodeo in California. The competition consists of personality and appearance, scholarship, and scholastic contests. Miss California Rodeo Salinas 2021 Emily Cullins will pass the title along to one of the following contestants: Mayson Bothwell, Miss La Grange Rodeo Princess, Rose Escobar, Miss Salinas Valley Wine Country Pro Rodeo, Macee Nunes, Miss West Hills College Rodeo, or Chelsea Rogell, Miss California Gymkhana Association District 14.
The 2022 contest, presented by Holiday Inn Express & Suites, begins on Thursday, July 7th and concludes on Saturday, July 9th; the winner will be announced before noon at the awards ceremony on the Mike Storm Director’s Patio at the Salinas Sports Complex. The winner will receive a $3000 cash scholarship to be used at the college of her choice, a gold and silver trophy belt buckle and tiara, the use of a two-horse trailer for one year and many other gifts. “We look forward to meeting each contestant. The unique and individual character of each contestant plays a part in the long-written history of the Miss California Rodeo Salinas Contest,” said Laurie LaVelle, Director of the Miss California Rodeo Salinas Committee.
A schedule and other contest details can be found at: www.carodeo.com/p/about-us/mcrs/2022-miss-california-rodeo-salinas-contest along with contestant photos. Contact Mandy Linquist (email@example.com) for high resolution photos. Biographies for each contestant are below.
Mayson Bothwell – Miss La Grange Rodeo Princess
From a fifth generation California family, Mayson Bothwell hails originally from Livermore but now lives near King City. This current student at Cuesta College is pursuing a degree in Agricultural Business with the goal of becoming a Cattle Brand Inspector. Previously a member of the Future Farmers of America, she plans to continue being an advocate for the agricultural industry and to strive for the knowledge and understanding of what it will take to keep the industry strong.
Mayson stays busy preparing her horses for competitions in ranch riding and ranch trail with hopes to compete in reined cowhorse this year. She has competed in High School and Norcal Jr. Rodeo with many successes in the barrel racing event. In her spare time, Mayson enjoys the beautiful beaches of California, home projects, leather making and testing her green thumb in the garden.
Familiar with the responsibilities of a rodeo ambassador, Mayson is dedicated to educating the next generation of young cowboys and cowgirls. Grateful for her previous queen opportunities, she now looks forward to the new memories she will make while competing for the coveted titled of Miss California Rodeo Salinas.
Rose Escobar – Miss Salinas Valley Wine Country Pro Rodeo
Born and raised in the Salinas Valley, Rose Escobar has a passion for helping others in her community. As a Client Associate for a national investment manager, she plans on furthering her career by studying for certification as a Registered Client Associate. She also wants to help equine athletes feel and perform their best by receiving certification as an Acuscope Practitioner.
With a love for the western way of life Rose has competed in barrel races and ranch rodeos for the last 10 years. Being a member of the West Coast Barrel Racing Association, she has qualified and competed in the finals several times with many accomplishments. In her free time, Rose volunteers at the Salinas Valley Fair and King City Stampede Board; she is proud to give back to the committees that do so much for the community.
While holding the queen title for the newest rodeo in the PRCA California Circuit, Rose has traveled the state representing the rodeo. Her love for the western way of life and her childhood dreams of holding the title of Miss California Rodeo Salinas give her the drive to compete in this contest.
Macee Nunes – Miss West Hills College Rodeo
Macee Nunes of Prather is a proud fourth generation Californian continuing a long family history in horses and in ranching traditions. With goals of becoming a large animal veterinarian, Macee is currently a student at West Hills College. Her future academic plans include studying at a four-year university for pre-veterinary medicine and then attending veterinary school.
With many animals under her care, Macee is involved in the training, exercise and competition of her family’s bucking bulls at PBR events. She also spends lots of time riding and practicing with her horses. Having qualified and competed at many top barrel racing events and championships across the nation, she now competes on the West Hills College Rodeo Team for the NIRA West Coast Region. An all-around animal lover, she fosters dogs for local animal shelters and recently adopted a dog named Charlie.
Macee wants to use her knowledge of rodeo and her western heritage to help promote the sport of rodeo. She recognizes the prestige and tradition that is synonymous to the Salinas Rodeo and is excited for the opportunity to compete for the title of Miss California Rodeo.
Chelsea Rogell – Miss California Gymkhana Association District 14
Just like her new favorite painting inspiration, Chelsea Rogell of Creston is spreading her wings to fly like a butterfly. She has chosen to further her studies in Agriculture Business at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in addition to minoring in Art and Design.
Chelsea has found happiness and inclusivity while competing in rodeo events throughout her life. She credits this gained confidence to the many rodeo organizations she was a part of throughout her youth including WCJRA, NBHA, CHSRA and more. She has achieved many awards for competition from these associations as well as academic honors. In high school she joined Future Farmers of America taking on public speaking contests and showing animals. In addition, she took on leadership roles, including chapter president and regional officer, where she helped students find confidence within themselves.
Rodeo has shown Chelsea a way to give back to her local communities as an ambassador spreading awareness about the rodeo industry. Annually she partakes in a local agricultural day where she teaches students to rope. Chelsea enters our contest with the hopes of becoming the official ambassador of the California Rodeo as Miss California Rodeo.
About California Rodeo Salinas The California Rodeo Salinas will take place July 21st-24th, 2022. The California Rodeo Association is a not-for-profit organization that strives to preserve and promote the traditions of the California Rodeo Salinas and the West. We support the community and other non-profit organizations through the staging of the annual California Rodeo Salinas and other year-round operations of the Salinas Sports Complex. Through donation of our facility, vending and fundraising opportunities during Rodeo and other events, the California Rodeo Association returns over $500,000 annually to local non-profits. For more information about the California Rodeo Salinas, log on to www.CARodeo.com or call the California Rodeo Office at 831-775.3100. ‘Like’ the California Rodeo on Facebook at www.facebook.com/CARodeoSalinas or follow us on twitter @CaliforniaRodeo for updates, photos and more.
On the job: What it takes to earn $70,000 per year painting roller coasters in Kentucky—and around the world
Abigail Johnson Hesshttps://www.cnbc.com/2021/12/21/what-it-takes-to-earn-70000-per-year-painting-roller-coasters.html
Jason Prather, 32, grew up in Edgewood, Kentucky. He played every sport possible for his small high school: football, baseball, basketball. He helped do repairs on boats and cars for extra cash.When he graduated high school, Prather tried college but quickly returned home. While his friends continued their degrees, Prather began working for a credit card company calling borrowers behind on their payments, who were often irate on the phone — a job he remembers as “horrible.”Later, Prather worked at a nearby was...
Jason Prather, 32, grew up in Edgewood, Kentucky. He played every sport possible for his small high school: football, baseball, basketball. He helped do repairs on boats and cars for extra cash.
When he graduated high school, Prather tried college but quickly returned home. While his friends continued their degrees, Prather began working for a credit card company calling borrowers behind on their payments, who were often irate on the phone — a job he remembers as “horrible.”
Later, Prather worked at a nearby wastewater treatment plant for eight years and earned roughly $90,000 per year. Despite the good pay, he left the job to work for his father selling electrical equipment, where he earned roughly $70,000 per year. One day, he realized he could ride a bike between all of the places he had lived and worked.
“I never got to travel. I worked 15 minutes from home. I was home at all times and I got good perks, vacation and things of that nature, but I was complacent,” says Prather. “I stayed exactly where my hometown was. I wanted to see more, travel more, experience more.”
Today, Prather travels the country and around the world as a project foreman for a roller coaster painting company called Baynum Painting and he earns roughly $70,000 per year.
Here’s why, and how, he changed tracks:
Jason Prather on the job
Getting the job
Prather was at a family barbeque when he first learned about painting roller coasters. His cousin worked at Baynum and told him to apply for a painting position.
After having a difficult conversation with his dad about leaving the family business, Prather put in his application. Following a “typical” interview process, he began working as a general painter in 2019.
“I started at the entry-level just like most people,” he says. “The training process to get this job was very hands-on. Most of the training happens in the field. We do have good retention of employees, so I learned most of my training from guys that have been doing this for 30, 40 years.”
He also earned several construction-related certificates from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, known as OSHA.
“We hold multiple certifications, everything from an OSHA 10, which is a typical construction type certification from OSHA, as well as safety training for lifts,” says Prather, describing the tall cherry-picker lifts the crew often uses to reach parts of the amusement rides. “I had the certifications for lifts and that led me to being on the job site, learning how to actually maneuver the lift around the job.”
After working as a general painter, Prather began to be recognized for his ability to coordinate and work well with crews. In 2021, he was promoted to the position of project foreman.
“I’m in charge of getting the crew on-site and getting them up and rolling, as well as sourcing lifts as well as sourcing material paint sundries,” says Prather. “I’ve been in this position officially for about six months.”
As a project foreman, Prather earns $23 per hour when working in Kentucky, earns an additional 15% when he travels and earns overtime pay when he works more than 40 hours per week.
So far, Prather has worked on amusement park attractions in over 20 states and has worked abroad in Japan and France. He has worked on rides at Universal Studios, Six Flags and on cruise ships. This year, Prather estimates that he has spent six months traveling and has worked roughly 1,500 hours of overtime.
A day on the job
A typical day on the job is “all weather dependent,” says Prather. “As long as the day looks good and there’s no rain, no moisture, we like to start as early as we can. Usually, when the sun’s coming up, we’re already here in the process of working. And usually, we stay until the end of the day.”
Most days this means being on-site by 6:00 a.m. and ending work when the sun goes down.
On the first day of a project, the first task is to clean the amusements.
“The way we begin these jobs, it all really depends on the difficulty of the project. Sometimes we have coasters that we have to walk to, sometimes we have to use ladders, but we mainly start with one process and that’s cleaning,” says Prather. “We pressure wash with 5,000 psi pressure washers, sometimes heated units. The heated units remove grease and build-up. Sometimes we do sandblasting as well, sometimes we grind rust.”
Next, Prather and his team work on priming the parts of the amusements that are susceptible to retaining water such as bare spots of metal and bolts.
The final step is applying topcoats of paint, or in the case of water slides, special moisture-resistant compounds.
Prather and his team use typical house brushes and rollers to paint these roller coasters and wear harnesses, hard hats and work boots.
Getting to see the world
The work is often hard, but exciting, says Prather
“Sometimes you’re in a lift for 13, 14 hours a day,” he says. “I was never afraid of heights. I would say I’ve always respected heights … But I enjoy getting to climb up and go see roller coasters. It gets a little adrenaline junkie out of me.”
Prather also finds fulfillment in the cleaning and painting processes.
“The work itself is very satisfying,” he says. “You come in and see coasters and water slides that are in need of repair and being able to see the whole project start to finish, and see the color change and see all the patrons in the park actually looking up and pointing and taking photos of you doing your job, it’s quite satisfying because you’re making their day as well as earning a paycheck and making a life for yourself.”
And while he says traveling so much for work can make it difficult for him and his coworkers to have close relationships with their loved ones at home (Prather’s girlfriend is a speech-language pathologist for a Kentucky school district), he says he is grateful to have gotten to see the world outside of Kentucky thanks to his job.
“The beauty is getting to go see things that I would have never got to see in the world,” says Prather. “I’ve gotten to see a lot of things that I would never get to experience or see on my own — visiting all the different continents, traveling around the world, going to foreign and different locations, as well as trying different foods and seeing different cultures. That plus the personal benefit of climbing up and knowing that I did something.”
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