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Saturday, July 19, 2014

Tracy Farmer renamed to Racing Commission; Mary Ann Blankenship put on Southern Region Education Board

Gov. Steve Beshear has reappointed Tracy Farmer of Midway to the Kentucky Horse Racing Commission and named Midway resident Mary Ann Blankehship to the Southern Region Education Board.

Farmer, a Thoroughbred breeder, was among five people reappointed for three-year terms. The others were Ned Bonnie of Prospect, Louisville lawyer Tom Conway (father of Attorney General Jack Conway), Lexington lawyer Robert Beck and John W. Phillips of Darby Dan Farm.

Blankenship is executive director of the Kentucky Education Association. She replaces Tim Shaughnessy of Louisville, a former state senator who is associate provost of Gateway Community and Technical College. She will serve a four-year term on the SREB, which works with its 16 member states to improve public education at all levels. Each state has four members appointed by its governor. Beshear is the board's 2013-14 chairman.

Friday, July 18, 2014

815 Prime, Heirloom, Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station participating in Lexington Restaurant Week July 24-Aug. 2

Three Four Midway restaurants are participating in the second annual Lexington Restaurant Week, from Thursday, July 24 through Saturday, Aug. 2. The event is designed to focus attention on the wide array of eateries and menus in the area. Each of the 65 restaurants offers a $25 special, most for one person but some for two.

The Midway participants are Heirloom and 815 Prime, on Main Street; Holly Hill Inn, on North Winter Street; and Wallace Station, on Old Frankfort Pike.

Two sister restaurants of the latter two restaurants are among those participating in Lexington: Smithtown Seafood and Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, both of which are offering two-for-$25 specials.

Other Midway restaurants and businesses should expect some overflow business from the event, Grayson Vandegrift, manager of 815 Prime, said at a Midway Merchants Association meeting in March.

Sunday, July 13, 2014

EDA is taking option on agricultural tract to expand Midway Station, will seek rezoning to industrial

Prospects for industrial development at Midway Station rose again Wednesday, as the Woodford County Economic Development Authority voted to take an option on 37 acres adjoining Georgetown Road and the west side of the Station area recently rezoned industrial.

The property is the white area outlined in purple below on the plat of Midway Station. The other area outlined in purple has already been rezoned industrial. The solid purple area has been industrial since Midway Station was created more than 20 years ago.
EDA will ask the county Planning and Zoning Commission to rezone the agricultural property as industrial, creating a larger block of property to industrial buyers, said Sonny Jones, a member of the EDA board.

"With the recent up-tick in advanced manufacturing in Central Kentucky, we feel like having 80 acres available will be a significant benefit in both, attracting multiple businesses and to the taxpayers," Jones said in an email. He provided an aerial photograph of the property, outlined in gray:

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Candidates strike few sparks at Sparks in the Park

The annual Sparks in the Park community gathering for the Independence Day holiday had some mild sparks of another kind Thursday night, as candidates in the Nov. 4 election spoke to the crowd in Walter Bradley Park.

Most attention was focused on mayoral candidates Sharon Turner and Grayson Vandegrift, city council members who are in "a great race that we've already heard a lot of talk on the street about," master of ceremonies Jim McDaniel told the audience.

Turner, an association executive, highlighted her record as a council member since 2005 and secretary of the Midway Nursing Home Task Force since 2003. She said the city has kept its equipment up for public safety, noting impending delivery of a new fire truck, and now needs to work on water lines, sewer lines and sidewalks "and pay as we go . . . being self-sufficient but helping each other."

Vandegrift, a restaurateur, noted his leadership of the Midway Merchants Association, the Midway Fall Festival and the Woodford County Tourism Commission. He also called for infrastructure work and said "Midway is a special place that must be preserved. . . . With that delicate balance of progress and preservation, Midway could be the model for small cities in the 21st Century."

Mayor Tom Bozarth, who is not seeking a third four-year term, said both candidates to succeed him have the best interests of the city at heart, so "It's going to be in good hands in the future."
Council candidates (L-R) Steven Craig, Kaye Nita Gallagher, Sara Hicks, Dan Roller, Bruce Southworth, Libby Warfield
Candidates for the city council were scheduled to make short speeches, but the event ran late, so they simply gave brief introductions of themselves. There are seven candidates for six seats, and six of the seven attended. The incumbents in the race are Sara Hicks, Dan Roller and Bruce Southworth; the newcomers are Steven Craig, Kaye Nita Gallagher, Libby Warfield and Peggy Sharon, who was the only one not present.

The other face-off of the evening was between Democratic state Rep. James Kay and his Republican challenger, Ryan Schwartz, both of Versailles. Kay noted his ties to Midway and said he would continue to represent all the people of the district, which comprises Woodford County and parts of Fayette and Franklin counties. Schwartz said Frankfort needs leaders "who don't put politics first, who aren't afraid to lose their seats."

The crowd also heard from Bobby Gaffney, the Republican candidate for Woodford County judge-executive, who said the county needs more jobs and "We need to work toward that as hard and fast as we can." He also called for better long-range planning and said that as a Fiscal Court magistrate, he voted against building streets in Midway Station before employers located there. Few have. County Judge-Executive John Coyle did not attend.

The first speaker was Democratic congressional nominee Elisabeth Jensen, who gave a largely patriotic speech but did mention the "dysfunctional Congress." State Rep. Kim King spoke for U.S. Rep. Andy Barr, who had an official engagement in Nicholas County, McDaniel said.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Midway College expands ties with Panama; course to send equine students there for part of spring semester

Midway College has another connection with Panama. Eight Midway College juniors will have the opportunity to spend part of the spring semester in the Central American country, as part of a new partnership with the University of Panama School of Veterinary Medicine and a Panamanian horse farm, financed by an anyonymous donor.

As part of a semester-long course, the students will observe and participate in activities related to breeding, foaling and the management of breeding stock at Cerro Punta Horse Farm, according to a press release from the college. That will give them "a foundation in collaborating with colleagues whose culture differs from their own, a vital skill in the international equine industry," the release said.

"This program will give the young women who participate an extraordinary opportunity to forge connections, absorb a new culture and gain experience that will set them apart as leaders in their chosen fields," Dr. John P. Marsden, president of the college, said in the release.

"The partnership was forged by Rosa Ponce-Sanabria, director of multicultural and international affairs at Midway, and the curriculum was developed by Midway's equine faculty under the leadership of Dr. Laura Armesto, the provost and vice president for academic affairs," the release said.

Midway's students will help care for horses, observe the veterinarian during routine evaluations, assist with routine neonatal examinations, and participate in routine post-partum care for mares," the release said. "Following their return to Midway, they will participate in discussions and lectures that will require them to apply their knowledge of equine breeding operations in Central Kentucky and Panama.

"In addition to intensive study of Panama's equine industry, students will be immersed in the language, history, culture and economy of the country and will reflect on these experiences with their campus community upon their return. This initiative correlates with the college's new strategic plan and puts important components together to address the specific goals of expanding study-away opportunities, establishing partnerships with international universities and colleges, and to further internationalize the campus community."

Midway College recently welcomed a group of Panamanian students in a college-readiness program.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Breeders' Cup races to be held at Keeneland in 2015; mayor says could be catalyst for a hotel in Midway

Partial screenshot from Breeders' Cup website
The Breeders' Cup, which bills itself as the world championships of horse racing, will bring thousands of people to the Midway area when it makes its first stand at Keeneland Race Course Oct. 30-31, 2015.

The date, which Kentucky newspapers reported last week, was confirmed by the Breeders' Cup on Tuesday. The news "is huge for the horse industry and Central Kentucky," said Midway Mayor Tom Bozarth, a bloodstock agent. "The greatest two days of racing is coming home where John Gaines' vision became a reality." Gaines, a Lexington horseman who died in 2005, came up with the idea for the cup.

"Midway is in a position to reap a lot of the benefits through tourism influx for the Breeder's Cup to our downtown," Bozarth said in an email. "We have seen that with the World Equestrian Games and Rolex and how it impacted our downtown. This might be the catalyst we have been looking for to get a hotel in Midway."

Breeders’ Cup Chairman Bill Farish of Lane's End Farm said, “Throughout its storied history, Keeneland has developed an extraordinary reputation for delivering a first-class racing and hospitality product. We are excited to bring the Breeders’ Cup home to Lexington and are energized by the support from the local community and the breeders of Central Kentucky who have been such a vital part of our program since its inception.”

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said, “The Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is a homecoming for many of these great champions who were foaled and raised at Central Kentucky farms, and often sold at Keeneland. The Keeneland team feels that sense of connection and history with the Breeders’ Cup, and we look forward to offering fans an extraordinary racing and entertainment experience.”

The Breeders' Cup also announced sites for 2016, at Santa Anita Park, and 2017, at Del Mar, both in Southern California.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Joy Arnold to debate campaign finance laws on KET

Joy Arnold
Joy Arnold of Midway will be one of four panelists discussing campaign-finance laws on the "Kentucky Tonight" program from 8 to 9 p.m. Monday on KET. Arnold, a former member of the Midway City Council, will represent the Central Kentucky chapter of Move to Amend, a national organization. It is pushing for a constitutional amendment to reverse Supreme Court rulings that struck down some campaign-finance laws on grounds that campaign spending is a form of free speech. Her ally on the panel will be Richard Beliles, state chair of Common Cause Kentucky. Arguing the other side will be Christopher Thacker, president of the Central Kentucky Lawyers Chapter of The Federalist Society, and Paul Salamanca, a law professor at the University of Kentucky. The host is Bill Goodman, and the live program welcomes telephone calls and electronic messages.