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Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Two local students make Midway University dean's list

By Midway Messenger staff
Two students from Midway landed spots on Midway University’s dean’s list for the fall semester.

Adriana Dennington and Kristina Thompson met the two requirements of obtaining a semester grade-point average of a 3.6 or above and maintaining full-time status at the university.

The list named 237 students, including eight from from Versailles: Hannah Brown, Sydney Buck, Savannah Carl, Sandy Pecina, Elizabeth Pecina, Juan Perez, Cortni Troublefield and Madison Turner.

Georgetown had 13 students on the list: Alexandria Allen, Emily Bailey, Gracie Bowling, Samantha Caudill, Samantha Chambers, David Coleman, Latavia Gadberry, Mary Hamner, Jacob Hawkins, Alexis Hoffman, Sarah Onderko, Kathryn Rios, Casidy Stoltz and Madeline Wasson.

Also making the list were 28 students from Lexington and 15 from Frankfort. The list also included many students from out of state: six from Tennessee, five from Ohio, four from Texas, three from Indiana, two each from California and Georgia, one each from Arizona, Idaho, Missouri, North Carolina, Nevada, New Jersey, New York, Oklahoma, West Virginia, Wisconsin and Wyoming; one each from Peru, South Africa and Spain; and 16 of the 24 Panamanian students who earned degrees in a special program.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Mayor: Annex Freeney property before rezoning, clean out sewers without borrowing, pass anti-blight ordinance

New City Council members Logan Nance,
foreground; John Holloway, opposite;
and Stacy Thurman talked as holdovers
Sara Hicks and Bruce Southworth listened
before the meeting. (Click for larger view)
The Midway City Council will be asked to annex a 137-acre farm next to Midway Station before the property is rezoned, so the council can have final say on the rezoning, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said Monday night.

The fate of the Homer Freeny property, which was originally supposed to be considered by the county planning commission in November, was one of several points Vandegrift made in his annual report to the council as he began his second four-year term. He said it should be annexed first "to ensure that future development will have a very significant impact on city revenue and thus on our opportunities to improve infrastructure all over the city." Vandegrift also said:
  • The city will spend "roughly $160,000" to video and clean out all the old sewer lines, without having "to borrow any money or to dip into any reserves."
  • He will renew his efforts to pass an ordinance making it easier for the city to crack down on owners of blighted property, with a new code enforcement board to handle cases.
  • Stephens Street will get edge and center lines when warn weather arrives, as part of the city's plan to slow down speeders.
  • He will appoint an affordable-housing task force to provide suggestions for infill development of housing rather than new subdivisions. "There is no appetite for new development of housing or for any kind of residential sprawl," he said.
  • City employees will be slated for a 5 percent pay raise in the budget he will offer this spring, up from the recent 3 percent annual raises.
"We've got a lot going on, and a lot left to do," Vandegrift said as he began to read the report. In closing, he said, "We’ve so far laid the groundwork to be able to improve infrastructure, to enhance our quality of life, and to truly reach a goal I talked about 4 years ago and which I now believe is firmly within our grasp: to become the model for small cities in the 21st century."

For the full text of the mayor's report, click here.

Friday, December 21, 2018

Midway University athletes do well in the classroom

Most of Midway University's athletes recorded a B average or better in the semester just ended, the university announced today. It said 249 student-athletes made the athletic director's honor roll by achieving a minimum grade point average of 3.0 on a 4.0 scale. The school has more than 400 athletes.

The dean's list, which requires a 3.6 GPA, had 114 athletes, and 42 of them scored a perfect 4.0 GPA. "As a department, Midway's student-athletes chalked up a 3.01 cumulative GPA, while 14 of the 20 teams earned above a 3.0 in the classroom," the university said in a news release.

"Taking home the honor of the highest team GPA for the second semester in a row was the equestrian hunt seat team, who collected a 3.38 team GPA," the release said. "Women's cross country was close behind with a 3.36, while women's soccer and men's golf each had a 3.28."

Rusty Kennedy, the university's vice president of admissions and athletics, said in the release, "Our student-athletes continue to amaze me with their work in the classroom. To balance their work both on the playing field and in the classroom takes focus, time management, and determination. I applaud our student-athletes for their hard work in the classroom."

Thursday, December 20, 2018

24 Panamanian students get degrees at Midway Univ.

Graduates from Panama posed with their diplomas after the ceremony. (Midway University photo)
Midway University hosted a commencement ceremony Thursday, Dec. 13 for 24 students from Panama who came to the university as part of a program sponsored by the Panamanian Institute for the Development of Human Resources.

After completing high school in Panama, the students came to Midway in spring 2014 and participated in a nine-month college readiness program developed by Midway University faculty and staff. It included courses in English conversation, leadership and cultural activities, and weekend excursions. Then the students enrolled as regular students.

“We congratulate this group of new alumni on their accomplishments,” said Dr. John P. Marsden, president of the university. “The students came to Midway speaking little English and most had never traveled outside their home country. It has been a privilege to watch them learn, mature and grow and now be Midway University graduates ready to take on the world.”

Faculty member Gayle Bartilow and former staff member Emily Evans, the featured commencement speakers, reflected on the accomplishments of the students and offered them well wishes.

The graduates are:
Alexis Javier Aguirre Mojica
BA
Business Administration
Chiriqui, Panama
Glorisneth Yadhir Arcias Saenz
BA
Business Administration
Colon, Panama
Milagros Del Carmen Broce Pardo
BA
Business Administration
Veraguas, Panama
Maria Cristina Castillo Castillo
BA
Business Administration
Veraguas, Panama
Odalys Cedeño Gutierrez
BA
Education Studies: English
Darien, Panama
Jose Jesus Coronado Alveo
BA
Mathematics
Cocle, Panama
Katherine Milena Cortez Barria
BA
Interdisciplinary Studies
Chiriqui, Panama
Vielka Itzel Cruz Bonaga
BA
Education Studies: English
Los Santos, Panama
Elsy Elizabeth Duarte Arena
BA
Interdisciplinary Studies
Chiriqui, Panama
Dania Isel Frias Chavez
BA
Business Administration
Los Santos, Panama
Ilcia González Garcia
BA
Business Administration
Colon, Panama
Eliel Alberto Guerra Alveo
BA
Business Administration
Cocle, Panama
Velkys Lismeth Montemayor Jordán
BS
Health Care Administration
Chiriqui, Panama
Amado Manuel Mendoza
BA
Interdisciplinary Studies
Darien, Panama
Ibeth Karina Morales
BA
Business Administration: Accounting
Chiriqui, Panama
Beverly Murillo De León
BA
Education Studies: English
Darien, Panama
Rosaura Ortega Rodríguez
BA
Business Administration
Cocle, Panama
Nelydeth Peralta Cortez
BA
Business Administration
Los Santos, Panama
Carlos Manuel Pinto Villarreal
BS
Health Care Administration
Los Santos, Panama
Jarol Alexander Prado
BA
Mathematics
Los Santos, Panama
David Francisco Rios Gomez
BA
Business Administration
Panama City, Panama
Yiniva Madelen Sarmiento
BA
Business Administration
Veraguas, Panama
Marianela Valdés Concepcion
BA
Education Studies: English
Veraguas, Panama
Ada Lisbeth Valdés Santo
BS
Biology
Veraguas, Panama

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Winners of Midway Woman's Club Holiday Decorating Contest are announced; several are pictured here

Best overall design: 112 Old Towne Walk
The Midway Woman's Club has announced the winners of its annual Holiday Decorating Contest. Here are a few of the winners; the rest are listed below. For larger versions of the pictures, click on them.

Most whimsical lights: 238 W. Stephens St.
Most colorful design: 318 N. Winter St.
Best Christmas spirit: 219 W. Higgins St,
Other winners were:
Best Front Door – 225 Gayland Dr.
Most Creative Lights – 323 S. Winter St.
Best Daytime Display – 111 Coach Station Rd.
Best Indoor Tree – 401 Merrywood Dr.
Best Traditional Decorations – 231 Johnson St.
Best Outdoor Tree – 219 Gayland Dr.
Most Fun – 109 Carriage Lane
Best Porch – 268 W. Stephens St.
Best Yard – 225 E. Higgins St.
Best for Spirit of Woodford County – 115 Coach Station Rd.
Special 2018 14th Anniversary MWC Holiday Décor Judging Award – 217 N. Turner St.
Best Business Decorations – Milam House, 140 E. Main St.

Best wreath: 129 Old Towne Walk

The Messenger welcomes contributions of photos of other winners. Send to al.cross@uky.edu.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Council votes 4-1 to cut sewer rates by 25 percent; farewell resolution names John McDaniel 'Mr. Midway'

Council Members Steve Simoff, John McDaniel and Johnny
Wilson, who are leaving the council, posed after the meeting.
The Midway City Council voted 4-1 tonight to cut sewer rates 25 percent, as Mayor Grayson Vandegrift wanted. Barring an unexpected special meeting, the session was the last for half of the council; three new members take office Jan. 1.

Two of the returning council members did not join the majority. Bruce Southworth, who favored a 15 percent cut, abstained, and Kaye Nita Gallagher voted no. Sara Hicks and the three departing members voted yes.

Gallagher had seconded Johnny Wilson's motion to pass the ordinance, which briefly seemed at risk of dying for lack of a second. "If I hadn't seconded it," she explained, "we wouldn't have been able to talk about it."

Later in the meeting, Gallagher suggested that the council could pass neither ordinance and wait to see what happens to the 21.5 percent rate increase Kentucky American Water Co. has proposed to the state Public Service Commission. Sewer fees appear on water bills and are based on water usage.

Vandegrift said the city would probably have to pass on to customers whatever rate hike the PSC approves in about 10 months, but said the increase was in doubt and he would fight it.

He told Gallagher that if the council didn't cut sewer rates at all, "You have to explain to citizens why." He said the long-discussed cut would reflect the city's early payoff of debt for the sewage-treatment plant, and without it, "I'm afraid what it'll do is kill the appetite" of citizens for sewer improvements.

"In a couple of years we may have to raise 'em anyway to do a major project, and people are gonna say, 'Dang it, you all always come back asking for more, and never give it back when you don't need it any more'," the mayor said.

As for the alternative 15 percent cut, "I'm not sure 15 percent makes enough difference to people, in their lives," he said. "Even with a 25 percent cut, we've still got between, on the low side, thirty thousand, on the high side, fifty or sixty thousand dollars in new revenue that's not going toward old debt."

Southworth, who once operated the sewer system, defended the 15 percent cut as "more conservative" and said rates could be lowered again later. Vandegrift said the 25 percent cut "doesn't scare the most conservative person I ever met, Phyllis Hudson, our treasurer."

Vandegrift argued, "Let's put it in people's pockets while we can. It won't change everybody's lives, but I guarantee you it'll have a major effect on a lot of people's lives." Earlier, he said the average annual savings would be about $120 per household.

The only other discussion at the meeting was on departing Council Member John McDaniel's suggestion that the city make "more presentable" the two African American cemeteries it agreed to take over in 1989. Since then, he said, most of the maintenance has been done by Boy Scouts. Vandegrift called it "a great suggestion."

McDaniel lost his bid for a second two-year term last month, placing a close seventh in the nonpartisan eight-candidate race for six council seats. In May, he finished third in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for Midway-area magistrate on Woodford County Fiscal Court.

The farewell resolution honoring McDaniel called him "Mister Midway," citing his passion for the city, his civic leadership and his honor as Citizen of the Year in 2003. He told his colleagues, "I'll probably be down here harassing you all from the peanut gallery."

Council Member Steve Simoff, who chose not to seek a second term but said he might run again, "showed great care for all public spaces," said the resolution honoring him. He said his term has been fun and educational.

Council Member Johnny Wilson was appointed in March to fill the unexpired term of Libby Warfield after an application process that discouraged people who were interested in a full term. The resolution for him said he has "a great eye for detail, which he shares with his predecessor."

The resolutions approved by the council, with the subject members abstaining, named Dec. 29, 30 and 31, respectively, as Johnny Wilson Day, Steve Simoff Day and John McDaniel Day in Midway.

The newly elected council members, John Holloway, Logan Nance and top election vote-getter Stacy Thurman, attended the meeting and sat in the back row of the audience.

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Model train exhibit drew steady stream of visitors Saturday; will be on display once more this Saturday


Story, video and photo by Karlil Wilson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Train enthusiast Christy Reaves displayed her “Joy Land” model train layout for the citizens of Midway and many more last Saturday at the Thoroughbred Theater, and will again this Saturday.

The Midway Business Association sponsors the exhibit, which will be on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a free event that welcomes all comers, and the first one had a steady stream of visitors.

Reaves said “Joy Land” is her happy place and uses parts from her last project in Ashland. “The inspiration was to take stuff that wasn’t going to be used anymore and turn into something that I can enjoy and love forever.” Reaves said she spent two and a half months putting it together.

Reaves said her train layout gives children and families in the community something to do together that’s happy and positive: “Trains ever since the beginning of time have been uniting communities.” She said everything a train did always had something to do with community growth and she believes that model toy trains do that same thing today. Reaves said she hopes that she can do an event like this at least once a year.

Steve Morgan, secretary of the MBA, said this was a good event to have in Midway because historically, Midway is historically a railroad town and “there is a lot interest in model trains.” Midway was the first town in Kentucky created by a railroad. “Our goal is to have people that interested in model trains come take a look and bring people to downtown Midway,” he said.

Morgan said this is the first time that the MBA has sponsored an event like this, but members hope that they can do something like this every year. Along with the exhibit, the association was also accepting cash donations for the charity Toys for Tots last Saturday.

With a lot of visitors, also came a lot of families. Many parents brought their children to look at the train exhibit.

“It blows my kid’s mind; he’s gonna be here for an hour or two and then scream the house down when we’re about to leave,” said Charles Campbell of Midway.

Campbell said the first thing that stuck out to him when he saw the exhibit was Reaves’s attention to detail. He thinks this is “a great event for kids to come experience and gives them a chance to get away from the TV for a little bit.”

Campbell said this event is “huge” for a city like Midway and does a lot for the community. “You see so many parents and children out here – and the fact that it’s free. You can go and eat at the surrounding restaurants. So even though this event is small, it’s still helping the economy.”