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Saturday, May 23, 2015

4 from Midway among 302 Midway College graduates

Four women from Midway were among 302 graduates awrded degrees from Midway College at its May 9 commencement ceremonies.

Colleen Christy Jonsson received a Bachelor of Arts in Equine Studies (Equine Management); Denise Michelle Sandfoss received a B.A. in Business Administration (Accounting); Mariah Elizabeth Smock received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and Krysta Allison Wright-Blincoe received an associate of science in Nursing.

For a complete list of degrees and the college's news release, click here. The college will become Midway University on July 1.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Court of Appeals upholds ruling that Bluegrass Pipleline can't gain easements through condemnation

The Kentucky Court of Appeals today upheld a circuit judge's ruling that the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline through greater Midway does not have the power of eminent domain to obtain easements for the line that would carry natural-gas liquids.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court unanimously affirmed the decision by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd. Bluegrass Pipeline, which said a year ago that the project had been suspended, has 30 days to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"Williams spokesman Tom Droege did not immediately return a request for comment late Friday afternoon, nor did representatives of the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association, which has been following the case," The Courier-Journal reported.

The lawsuit was filed by Kentuckians United to Restrict Eminent Domain. Its attorney, Tom FitzGerald, said in an email, "I could not be more proud of the KURE board and members, and Penny Greathouse in particular, for standing up for the rights of Kentuckians."

For a PDF of the Court of Appeals decision, click here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Council gives first reading to anti-discrimination ordinance, hears and answers questions from Warfield

Midway City Council Member Libby Warfield posed a battery of questions Monday night as the council gave first reading to the proposed "fairness ordinance" that would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and familial status.

Warfield's questions were answered mainly by Mayor Grayson Vandegrift annd city attorney Phil Moloney, but Council Members Dan Roller, Kaye Nita Gallagher and Sarah Hicks also replied, explaining and supporting language Moloney had drafted.

When Warfield asked how an employer would know a prospective employee's sexual orientation, Gallagher said a person who believed they had been a victim of discrimination would have the burden of proving that had happened.

The ordinance would apply to employers with more than seven employees. Warfield argued that it would apply to very few employers in Midway, but Hicks said that could change, and Roller cited the new McDonald's restaurant as an example.

Warfield said the city could be on the hook for legal expenses of a case that was appealed in court. Vandegrift said several people in Midway had volunteered to contribute to a restricted fund that could be used for such expenses.

The council does not hold votes (and usually does not hold discussions) on first readings. Vandegrift said after the meeting that the second reading would be held at the council's next meeting, Monday, June 1. If the ordinance passes, Midway would be the eighth Kentucky city with such a law.

The council also held first reading of the proposed city budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. It calls for expenses of about $1,114,264 and keeping the city's unbudgeted surplus at $600,000.

Significant changes include fire department maintenance and equipment, $41,685, up from $17,000, reflecting planned purchase of protective clothing; street equipment, $14,800, up from $10,989, reflecting the planned purchase of a truck; cemetery equipment, $14,800, up from $5,000, reflecting planned purchase of a truck; cemetery maintenance, $50,000, up from $35,000, reflecting sidewalk and roof repairs; City Hall maintenance, $20,000, up from $15,000, reflecting the planned purchase of a new entry door; and donations, $3,500, down from $10,000 in the current year. However, there are line items for new recipients of donations: $1,500 for the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce and $1,000 for Midway College (which becomes Midway University on July 1).

The council gave approval on second reading to the ordinance that slightly increases garbage rates, to $12 a month from $11.95 for residential pickup and $25.50 a month for businesses.

Vandegrift announced that the annual Memorial Day service at the cemetery will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 25.

For a PDF of the ordinances, the budget and the rest of the council's meeting packet, click here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Anti-discrimination ordinance set for first reading Mon.

The "fairness ordinance" to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and familal status is scheduled to get its first reading before the Midway City Council at its next meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall. For a PDF of the proposed ordinance, click here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Henry Wombles of Heirloom writes a novel, Under the Flag Pole, about the people in his native Eastern Ky.

By Kayla Loy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

You can usually find Henry Wombles helping his son, Mark Wombles, run the Heirloom restaurant in Midway, especially since Mark opened a restaurant in Lexington. But while running a restaurant, Wombles recently finished a novel.

Under the Flag Pole focuses on people in Eastern Kentucky who have never been outside the area or lived anywhere except the mountains.

Henry Wombles at the Heirloom bar
Wombles said they are smart people but haven’t traveled a lot. The protagonist of the book, Miles Hudson, lies about his age when he joins the military so he was able to join at 16.

“I thought it was a story that never been told that really needed to be told,” he said.

As a younger man, Hudson develops a fever that reaches 103 degrees. His mother doesn’t want to take him to the hospital so she tells Hudson’s 17-year-old sister, Evaline, to go get Silver Eyed Jane to heal him with her magical powers:
“Scared and confused, Evaline lashed out. “I’ll tell you something, Miss Silver-Eyed Jane! I never wanted to come up here on your mountain in the first place, but my momma sent me here!”
Hudson goes through hardships and wants to do something more than only being a coal miner. He tries to find himself.

Wombles, 76, said he wrote the book because he is from Eastern Kentucky: Hazard, where his father owned coal mines. He said he always wanted to write a book about the region.  “I grew up in that area and knew all the people,” he said.

Those people in Wombles’ generation were very patriotic during the World War II years. “It was a different experience for them” to go to war, Wombles said, because the life they lived in Eastern Kentucky was different from the rest of the world.

During this time, people in Eastern Kentucky had movies and radio, but no television. The only thing they saw from the outside world was what they saw on the movie screen. In Hazard, there were two theaters.

“Everyone in the mountains loved going to the movies, especially the cowboy movies,” Wombles said. Many of them “never thought they would ever see anything except mountains.”

Wombles said he started on the book two or three times due to the deaths of his parents.
It took him about four years to write it. Finishing it was a “weight off my shoulders,” he said.

Wombles describes the book as a “work of love” for the people he grew up with.

For several years after high school, Wombles worked for his father in the mines. After that, he found work in Hazard at an engineering company, then with an engineering firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that was restoring the home of Samuel Lerner, who owned the Lerner Shops.

“The home had a lot of history to it,” said Wombles, indicating Ernest Hemingway wrote many of his stories in that house.

The project lasted about three years. Wombles said it was a great experience for a man in his early 20s, and he hopes to go back to Bimini this summer.

When Wombles left Bimini, he moved to Winter Park, Fla., just outside Orlando. He lived there for about five years, working at a one-hour cleaners, but his father kept asking him to come back to Kentucky to help him work in the mines. Wombles did come back, but to Lexington, and traveled back and forth to work in the mountains.

When the coal business slowed down, Wombles got a job in single-copy sales at the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he made and directed training films for new employees. He retired from the newspaper at age 63.

Wombles held a few other jobs, then retired to his small farm on the Woodford- Fayette county line. 
“I just wanted to live out in the country. I like country living,” he said. "I’ve been there now close to 30 years.”

Wombles is self-publishing his book and will have a signing at the Heirloom, on a date to be announced.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Libby Jones to be honored, Ouita Michel to deliver keynote at Midway College Spotlight Awards May 28

Elizabeth Lloyd "Libby" Jones
Two of Midway's most famous women will share the spotlight at the second annual Spotlight Awards at Midway College on May 28. Elizabeth Lloyd "Libby" Jones will receive the Legacy Award for service to the college, and chef Ouita Michel will deliver the keynote address.

The Legacy Award was created to honor people who have helped the college over many years by giving time, service, support and/or resources. Jones is a second-generation trustee of the college, following her father, Gen. Arthur Y. Lloyd. She chairs the board's Academic Committee and is active in several other organizations throughout Kentucky and the nation.

Jones is a director of American Farmland Trust, vice chair of The Bluegrass Conservancy, founding director of Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom, and a director of the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation. She is co-owner of Airdrie Stud Inc. with her husband, former Gov. Brereton Jones. They have two adult children, Lucy and Bret, and two grandsons.

"Libby has been an invaluable asset to Midway College during her many years as a trustee and has touched so many lives on this campus and in the community," Dr. John P. Marsden, president of the college, said in a news release.

The Spotlight Awards will also include presentation of the Pinkerton Vision Award, which 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. The winner has not been announced.

Ouita Papka Michel
Michel is the owner and executive chef at Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station, Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, Smithtown Seafood, and the Midway School Bakery. She is chef-in-residence at Woodford Reserve Distillery and operates Glenn's Creek Café and Glenn's Creek Catering. She is devoted to using local foods to help sustain Bluegrass family farms and provide the freshest, best-tasting cuisine. Her restaurants have used more than $2 million worth of Kentucky-grown meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables over the last 13 years.

Michel's reputation for food and her commitment to sustainability have earned her national attention. She has often been a nominee for James Beard Foundation Award as best chef in the Southeast. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, a member of Slow Food USA, congregational coordinator of the Kids in the Kitchen at Midway Christian Church and manager of the church's free, monthly community supper. She is a member of FoodChain, a non-profit food incubator in Lexington, and is a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, formerly headed by her late stepfather, Robert Sexton. Her father, Ray Papka, is a mixed-media artist in the Midway area. She lives in a 200-year-old cabin next to the Holly Hill Inn with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Willav.

"Not only does Ouita excel in her professional endeavors, she, like our Spotlight Award winners, is a tireless advocate for the causes she champions," Marsden said. "It is a pleasure for us to call such a renowned chef and speaker our friend and neighbor, and to welcome her to Midway College."

The Spotlight Awards highlight women and men who have been leaders in representing women's issues, have made an impact that benefits women in the state of Kentucky and beyond, and innovative women in their chosen field. For more information on the event, go to www.midway.edu/Spotlight or call 859-846-5300.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Motorcyclist killed in wreck on Old Frankfort Pike tonight

An unidentified motorcyclist was killed in an accident around 8 tonight on Old Frankfort Pike near Pisgah Pike. Police said the cyclist apparently lost control and was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials did not release the name but said speed played a role in the accident, and road conditions at the time were good. (Based on reports from WKYT-TV)