Friday, May 26, 2017

Big weekend in Midway: First movie night at the park; Horsey Hundred cyclists passing through; block party

Movie Night in the Quarry tonight will kick off a busy weekend in Midway.

The new event, sponsored by the city and Friends of Walter Bradley Park, will be held in the old quarry behind the dog park, in the recently cleared and landscaped area of the park.

A campfire session, with announcements, will begin at 7 p.m. From 7:30 to 8 p.m., the Midway Branch of the library will have a storytelling time.

The movie, the Disney family film "Sing," will begin at 8:15. The temperature at that time is forecast to be 75 degrees. If you go, bring a flashlight, bug spray, a chair or blanket, and a litter bag; and don't bring any alcoholic beverages, because they will not be allowed.

On Saturday and Sunday, hundreds and perhaps thousands of bicyclists will roll through an near Midway on various routes of the annual Horsey Hundred, sponsored by the Bluegrass Cycling Club. That night, the first Block Party sponsored by the Midway Business Association. Larry Corey and the Passport Band will entertain at 7 p.m.

The Memorial Day service at Midway Cemetery will begin at 10 a.m. Monday, May 29. The featured speaker will be Sarah Wilson.

Here's a Google map from the Bluegrass Cycling Club of overlapping Horsey Hundred routes in Midway:

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Message from the mayor: New property-maintenance ordinance coming, will be enforced 'to the maximum'

By Grayson Vandegrift
Mayor, City of Midway

I am currently awaiting a draft of a new property maintenance code ordinance from our city attorney, which will be handed to the Blighted Property Committee of the Midway City Council for their review before it goes on to the full council for final passage.

This city has endured for too long a number of property owners who hold in their possession multiple properties that they choose not to properly maintain. While I do not yet have the particular language of the ordinance in my possession, I am partially familiar with its contents, and pending passage by the council I am committed to enforcing it to the maximum extent which the law allows. As a city, we will do everything within our means to ensure that property owners who diligently maintain their properties do not suffer from the blight and abandonment of others.

With that being said, there are some people who own multiple properties and still make the effort and the investments necessary to keep their properties maintained. Some in particular have gone the extra mile to work with the city over the years to bring blighted properties back to code or have demolished uninhabitable abodes. For them I am extremely grateful, and I would remind everyone, as I often remind myself, not to conflate your frustration with some onto others who are doing what is responsible and right.

Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Parrish-Roach family, Margie Samuels of Maker's Mark are winners of Spotlight Awards from Midway University

A famous Midway family and the co-founder of a famous brand are the winners of Midway University's annual Spotlight Awards, to be presented at a dinner at the university on Thursday, May 25.

The 2017 Legacy Award, for service to the university, goes to the Parrish-Roach family, defined as James Ware Parrish and his descendants.

Parrish worked with Dr. L.L. Pinkerton to establish the Kentucky Female Orphan School, which became Midway College and then Midway University. Parrish raised money to buy land and erect buildings, and the site he chose for the school remains the home of the university, which last year admitted male undergraduates for the first time.

Parrish had two sons who were active trustees of the school, "and their children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and many in-laws have continued to love, work and dream with the school as it transformed to meet its students’ needs," the awards program says. Margaret Ware Parrish was a coach and teacher for 40 years. Parrish’s son, Thompson Marcus, was patriarch to the Roach family.

Current Roach family supporters of the school include Ben and Ruth’s son, James Parrish Roach, who is a trustee; their daughter, Helen Rentch, who spearheaded efforts to build The Homeplace at Midway, an assisted-living facility and nursing home that collaborates with the school's nursing program. "Helen is also a member of the Midway University Ambassador program," the program says. "Robyn Roach, widow of Ben and Ruth’s son, Tom, established and still helps lead the Ruth Slack Roach Scholars program, in partnership with Mildred Buster and Janie Polk. This scholarship has benefited 20 young leaders on campus, giving selected students a full ride for two years, allowing many to complete their college education."

The Pinkerton Vision Award honors a person or group that has had a direct impact on improving women's lives; a woman who has been an outstanding role model; or a woman who has displayed great leadership, innovative thinking and influence in her career. This year's winner is the late Margie Mattingly Samuels, wife of Bill Samuels Sr. of Bardstown, with whom she conceived and promoted Maker's Mark bourbon in 1953. She died in 1985.

Margie Mattingly Samuels
"While Margie never held an official position or had delineated responsibilities, her contributions were invaluable," the Kentucky Distillers Association says. Not only did she name Maker's Mark, "She discovered a way to help her husband decide which small grain should be selected to replace rye as part of the formula in his new whisky; she baked bread with a variety of alternative grains. Bill blind-tasted the bread and decided on taste. She insisted that all the old buildings at the Victorian-era distillery they had purchased to make their whisky not only be saved but also faithfully restored, even at a time when money was scarce. This resulted in Maker’s Mark becoming America’s first distillery to be designated a National Historic Landmark and earned a listing in the Guinness Book of World Records for Maker’s Mark as 'America’s oldest operating distillery on its original site.' By far her most famous contributions were the creation of two of the spirits industry’s most famous symbols for handcrafted quality: the brand name Maker’s Mark, and the distinctive red wax which drips down the neck of every bottle. . . . Margie also designed the shape of the Maker’s Mark bottle, as well as the distinctive lettering on each label that has become an internationally recognized type style."
Below, Rob Samuels, Margie's grandson, accepts the award for her as President John Marsden listens.
Below, Dr. Jim Roach accepted for his family as Donna Moore Campbell, trustees chair, listened.

Monday, May 22, 2017

14th annual Francisco's Farm Arts Festival attracts varied artists and a good crowd to Midway University

The 14th annual Francisco's Farm Arts Festival, with juried artists and craftspeople from several states, drew a good crowd to the campus of Midway University on Saturday and Sunday.

One of the more striking items was an American white pelican made of stainless steel and copper by Scot and Laura Kellersberger of Phoenix Creative Metal Artwork in Salvisa. Scot said the bird “is not quite life size; it has a seven-foot wing span.” He and Laura work on only one piece at a time. Some of their work is on display at Damselfly in Midway, Sincerely Yours in Lexington and Secret Garden in Louisville.

Jean-Marie Havet and wife Juanita, at left, talked with David and Lynn Perron of Lexington, at the festival Sunday. The Havets are owners of JM Havet Jewelry in San Francisco.

Photos by Elizabeth Spencer, University of Kentucky College of Communication and Information

Below, vibrant glass art by Larry Hamilton of Hamilton Glassworks in Winterville, Ga., was on display.

The festival is sponsored by the university and Midway Renaissance.

Right, visitors looked over the menu of food options.

Below is a collection of handmade brooms by Shannon Lewis, owner of Bluegrass Brooms in Ashland.

At bottom, Lewis talked with Fred Thomas of Midway during a broommaking demonstration.

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Midway-tied Classic Empire a head short in Preakness; headed to Belmont Stakes in New York June 10

The Preakness finish (Photo by Nick Wass, The Associated Press)
Midway-connected Classic Empire grabbed the lead in the final turn but was overtaken by 13-1 shot Cloud Computing, who won the Preakness Stakes by a head at Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore yesterday.

“I got to the lead early, maybe too early,” Classic Empire's jockey, Julien Leparoux, said afterward.

Trainer Mark Casse seemed to agree: “His mind tends to wander. . . . He starts seeing things and stops paying attention. You could see Julien getting after him like, ‘Come on. Come on. We’re not done.’ He thought he was done.”

Cloud Computing did not run in the Kentucky Derby because his trainer, Chad Brown, thought he needed more than three races in preparation. “Classic Empire and Always Dreaming are two outstanding horses, and our strategy was, if we are ever going to beat them, let’s take them on on two weeks’ rest when we have six, and it worked,” Brown said after the Preakness. Always Dreaming, the Derby winner, finished eighth in yesterday's 1 3/16-mile race.

Classic Empire is owned by John and Debby Oxley, who own Fawn Leap Farm just south of Midway. He is a Tulsa oilman who also has homes in Palm Beach and Saratoga; she is a native of Shively. The horse was last year's two-year-old champion and finished fourth in the Derby after being heavily bumped at the start.

UPDATE, May 22: Casse told Jason Frakes of The Courier-Journal that he plans to run Classic Empire in the June 10 Belmont Stakes. He initially was pointing toward the Haskell at Monmouth Park on July 30, but decided against a break because the horse is improving. On Saturday, "He was a better horse than he was two weeks ago." Brown said the mile-and-a-half Belmont may not suit Cloud Computing. Always Dreaming trainer Todd Pletcher also hasn't decided. Senior Investment and Lookin at Lee, third and fourth respectively in the Preakness, are headed to the Belmont. 

Monday, May 15, 2017

Council sticks with Stephens speed bumps, hears Soper back officials' pay raise, and helps merchants with signs

The Midway City Council stuck with its new speed bumps for now, helped merchants pay for signage, and heard a strong endorsement of its proposed pay raise Monday evening.

The council also had first reading of the city budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, and passed on second reading an ordinance allowing all nonprofit organizations, not just churches, to get once-a-week trash pickup instead of twice a week.

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift and council members were expecting comments from guests about the removable speed bumps installed a week ago on East Stephens Street to discourage speeding on the avenue, which becomes Weisenberger Mill Road. They got one complaint and one compliment, and had a lot more discussion among themselves.

Dakota Shaw, who lives in the 200 block of South Gratz Street, said the devices had diverted speeders into her street and others, and "They're speeding more than usual." She added, "There's a lot of kids where I live, so it's pretty dangerous."

Margi Stout, of the 200 block of East Stephens, said she favored the bumps "or whatever mechanism you choose to do," because traffic on the street "has improved immensely."

She said the biggest problem had been from eastbound drivers going downhill out of town. "By the time they get to Gratz, they're going like 55 or more. . . . Something had to be done, and it does seem to be helping."

Vandegrift said, "They're extremely effective, but there have been some concerns brought forth. I'm a little disappointed that, you know, then, some of the voices on social media didn't come to the meeting tonight, because they were invited to. But that's kind of the nature of social media, in some respect."

Vandegrift said he was sorry that he had not checked beforehand with Woodford County Ambulance Director Freeman Bailey, who was concerned that the bumps could cause complications for patients being transported. He acknowledged that they had diverted traffic to other streets, and said the city has ordered a sign to alert motorists that they are approaching the bumps. UPDATE, May 16: Here's a short video of traffic crossing the bumps:

The mayor recommended that the city get bumps "that aren't quite so tall" because "You have to go 5 miles an hour over those" that have been installed. But later he said that if shorter bumps didn't work, the city would "be between a rock and a hard place."

Council Member Bruce Southworth, who lives on East Stephens and spearheaded the purchase, said "I think they're doing exactly what they're designed to do." Later, he said, "We need more of 'em in town."

In response to a question from Council Member Steve Simoff, Southworth said he didn't know the speed rating for the bumps, but "I ordered the tallest ones they had," 3 inches high. The speed limit on the street is 25 miles per hour.

Council Member Libby Warfield said she had received three calls for the bumps and three against, with some suggesting four-way stops at various intersections.

Council Member Sara Hicks suggested using 2-inch bumps on Stephens and moving the 3-inchers to other streets. But when Simoff asked Council Member John McDaniel, a former city policeman, what he thought, McDaniel said "Give it more time," and the council informally agreed.

Pay raise: Hicks reported that the council's Ordinance and Policy Committee had recommended that the mayor and council elected next year be paid $12,000 and $4,800 a year, respectively, instead of the current $1,200 and $600. She gave many of the same reasons that she gave in an interview with the Messenger last week.

"We think that we are going to have a lot more work ahead of us, because of the way Midway Station is developing," Hicks said. "We want the positions to be positions that younger people would be willing to give their time up for, and we think that if we raise the money that maybe we'll get some fresh, new ideas."

John Soper, the paid chairman of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority, said "I strongly endorse those concepts."

Soper, who was at the meeting to report on developments at Midway Station, said the mayor and council will have many more decisions to make about the industrial and commercial development in the next few years. He said "the work's there," and so is the revenue, to justify a mayoral salary of $25,000 that could be raised to $40,000.

"Twelve thousand dollars is not enough to put up with me for what's coming at us," said Soper, who had some contentious meetings with Vandegrift and the council last year. "We've got a major project going on out there . . . and it needs to be shaped by the people in this room. . . . It's going to require a lot of time and your effort."

Soper alluded to the county's longstanding conflict between preservation and development interests. He is identified with the former, and Midway has been largely identified with the latter. "There is probably no town in Kentucky that has a better identity than Midway," he said, "and we've got to keep that."

Earlier, Soper said commercial development at Midway Station is about to start, with sale of a big lot for a convenience store. He said an "ag retail" business may buy eight acres and a "high tech
manufacturing" company that serves automobile plants may locate on the remaining 1.5 acres of original industrial land in the development.

Other business: The council voted to give the Midway Business Association $600, the remainder of its donations budget for the fiscal year, to keep signs on Interstate 64 and place a new sign downtown directing motorists to parking, shopping and the city park.

"A lot of people coming into our city don't know where everything is," MBA President Peggy Angel said.

Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher said she was more concerned about the interstate signs, the fees for which are due this month. Angel said the group had run short of money to pay the $1,200 bill, and had obtained about $200 in donations from non-member antique stores because one sign in each direction of the road mentions antiques.

In other business, Gallagher stepped down as chair of the Tourism and Outreach Committee, saying she was going to help start a new business. Vandegrift appointed McDaniel to succeed her.

The council granted an event permit for the annual Horsey Hundred bicycle race, which will pass through town May 27 and 28. There will be live music in the Darlin' Jean's parking lot from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, May 27.

The second reading of the proposed city budget for 2017-18 is scheduled for the council's next meeting, on June 5. The pay raise will also be up for discussion, but it would require drafting of an ordinance, which requires two readings.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

June 4 picnic will celebrate 2nd anniversary of anti-discrimination ordinance, promote passage elsewhere

A group promoting a countywide "fairness ordinance" like the one in Midway will have a picnic Sunday, June 4, from 2 to 5 p.m. in Walter Bradley Park.

The picnic is coordinated and organized by the Woodford Fairness Coalition, which wants Versailles and/or the county government to pass an ordinance banning discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.

The Midway City Council passed such an ordinance almost two years ago, and the picnic is scheduled for the second anniversary of its effective date.

"The Woodford Fairness Coalition believes it is important and time to organize such an event in order to bring the community together in support of the LGBT community as well as to celebrate the city of Midway," spokesman Dan Brown said in an email. "We are proud of Midway for stepping forward, and taking a prominent stand in the Commonwealth of Kentucky by becoming more welcoming and affirming."

The picnic is sponsored by Woodford Reserve, Ouita Michel's Family of Restaurants, MBS Writing Services and Photography, Homegrown Yoga and individuals in the community. 

"The event is family-oriented," Brown said. "Games, music, food, a rally and good fellowship will be part of the afternoon. The Northside Elementary playground is adjacent to Midway's Walter Bradley Park. The Woodford Fairness Coalition is also providing informational booths for several Central Kentucky organizations. Everyone is invited to attend. Bring a side dish to share, a blanket and/or chair. We are providing all paper products, water, and fried chicken."