Friday, March 16, 2018

St. Patrick's Day in Midway: business specials, sidewalk vendors, a parade, leprechauns and probably some rain

LIVE UPDATE: Leprechauns strutted in the parade.
(Image from Blake Jones's Facebook Live video)
Members of the Midway Business Association are hoping that rain won't dampen the spirits for Saint Patrick's Day in Midway, the group's latest promotion. The association says a parade and other events will be held regardless of the weather. The forecast for Saturday is for a 50 to 60 percent chance of showers, with  a possibility of thunderstorms at mid-afternoon.

Specials will be offered by shops beginning at 10 a.m. and by restaurants beginning at 11 a.m. Each restaurant will have a beverage, appetizer, and meal special. Sidewalk vendors will also offer food, games, crafts and St. Patrick's Day items. Five participating restaurants are promoting the Shamrock Ramble, in which customers will get their tickets marked to be eligible to win one of five prizes.

Dr. John Marsden
The grand marshal of the Shamrock Parade at 3 p.m. will be Midway University President John Marsden, whose heritage is Irish. The parade will include an equine unit from the university, an Irish court of honor, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, the city's new fire truck and several other units. The World’s Tallest Leprechauns will walk in the parade and then walk around tying balloons and so forth until 5 p.m.

Midway Renaissance, the community garden group and the Friends of Walter Bradley Park will promote “Go Green in Midway” with electric cars and information booths about the garden, the park, recycling and solar energy.

The event is co-sponsored by Coolmore America Ashford, which bought Waterford Farm just east of Midway about two years ago.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Council rejects proposal to extend bar hours, seeks applications for temporary successor to Warfield

By Lizzy Allen
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council defeated an ordinance Monday evening that would have extended legal sales of alcoholic beverages to 1 a.m. six days a week.

The council also honored deceased member Libby Warfield and agreed to accept applications for the appointment to fill her unexpired term, which runs through the end of the year.

The defeated ordinance would have allowed licensed alcohol vendors to remain open until 1 a.m. instead of midnight Monday through Saturday. They would have still been required to close by 10 p.m. on Sunday.

“I don’t like the idea of this,” Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said. He said although the ordinance would pose no legal liabilities, the council should consider moral liabilities that could arise if extended hours of alcohol sales resulted in harm to citizens of Midway.

“At 1 a.m., you can’t get an Uber in Midway like you can in Lexington or Frankfort,” Vandegrift said.

Council Members Sara Hicks, Steve Simoff and Kaye Nita Gallagher also argued against the ordinance.

Hicks said that if Midway had public transportation, she would feel better about extending the hours, but she could not support the ordinance until then.

Simoff cited a serious car accident involving his brother and alcohol as an example of the potential consequences of later alcohol sales. “I just can’t, in good conscience, vote for 1 a.m. shutdown,” he said.

Gallagher said she did not see the need for extended hours. “I’ve always been told ‘nothing good happens after midnight’,” she said.

Council Member Bruce Southworth, who proposed the ordinance, said he believed there was a need for extended hours based on what business owners had told him. But only Council Member John McDaniel agreed with him, so the ordinance lost 3-2. (The mayor votes only to break ties.)

Warfield vacancy: The council adopted “a resolution honoring the life and service of Libby Warfield and declaring the week of March 4-10, 2018, as ‘Libby Warfield Week’ in Midway.”

Warfield died of cancer Feb. 24, after having served on the City Council since Jan 1, 2015. Several of her family members and friends were present at the meeting. After Vandegrift read the resolution, he presented the certificate to her husband, David Warfield.

Vandegrift asked Hicks to replace Warfield as chair of the Cemetery, City Property and Blighted Property Committee. Hicks accepted.

The council then discussed how to go about filling the open seat. Vandegrift reminded the council that it must make its decision within 30 days of Warfield’s death, but he would like to see the position filled by the March 19.

“I would suggest that you all accept essentially an application process,” Vandegrift said.

He said the letter should explain why the applicant would be a good candidate to serve the rest of Warfield’s term, which runs through Dec. 31. He said applicants should also promise that they will not run for the council after the term is up. The filing deadline for council elections is in August.

Vandegrift set the deadline for the applications for noon March 14. His formal notice appears at the bottom of this story. It does not bar applications from people who want to run in the council election, but says others would get preference -- unless none of the applicants say they're not going to run.

Merchants’ business: Leslie Penn, treasurer of the Midway Business Association, asked the council to reconsider donating $300 for interstate signs. This request was denied at the last council meeting.

Penn said that advertising like the interstate signs is crucial to keep business in Midway from dying out. “You have to remind people that Midway is alive and it is so interesting and we’ve got very diverse people and shops,” she said.

Southworth asked the balances of the association’s checking accounts. Penn said there is around $8,000 in the main account and another $8,000 or so in a separate account that holds only Fall Festival funds.

Vandegrift said that the donation for the interstate signs “was not denied out of malice.” He said that the council is planning on including funds for a new “Welcome to Midway” sign in next year’s budget.

The council approved the Business Association’s application for a parade/event permit for its “St. Paddy’s Day” celebration on Saturday, March 17.

The event will include six booths, a band, and cars, trucks and horses for the parade.

Other business: Helen Rentch of the Woodford County Community Fund invited the council to attend “On the Table,” an event the group will host March 28.

Rentch described the event as “a community conversation about ways to improve the place we call home.” She invited council members to register for breakfast, lunch or dinner, all of which will be served at the Life Adventure Center in Versailles.

Property owner B.J. Bentley asked the council to work on controlling the noise in downtown Midway, noting that most of the restaurants back up to houses and the noise from them, vehicles and music disturbs some citizens’ sleep.

Vandegrift said the noise ordinance is “difficult to enforce,” but said he would send out a letter as a reminder.
    The Midway City Council is now accepting letters of interest from Midway citizens who are interested in filling the open council seat left by the passing of Libby Warfield.
    Interested persons should write a summary (500 words or less) of their background and why they feel they are a good candidate to fill the rest of the term, which ends December 31, 2018. If you are interested, please turn your candidate summary in to City Hall no later than noon on Wednesday, March 14.
    By state law, the decision of who will fill the open seat is entirely up to the five remaining council members, and they are required to fill the seat within 30 days of the vacancy. They will confirm their appointment at our regularly scheduled council meeting on March 19 at 5:30 p.m.
    All candidates must be at least 18 years of age, and must be a registered voter in the city. Candidates who are NOT planning to run for a full city council term in the fall are preferable, so as not to give any non-incumbent candidate an advantage over other non-incumbents. 
    Intention to run for city council in the fall should not preclude any potential candidate from applying, but those applicants will most likely only be considered in the event that only full term council candidates apply.
    Feel free to call me at City Hall (846-4413) or on my cell (361-6320) if you have any questions.
Grayson Vandegrift, Mayor
City of Midway

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ouita Michel and Paducah chef Sara Bradley presenting Ky. dinner at James Beard Foundation in N.Y. tonight

Ouita Michel in the kitchen at her Holly Hill Inn on North Winter Street
Midway's Ouita Michel and a fellow Kentucky chef, Sara Bradley of Paducah, are bringing a Kentucky-rich menu to the world-famous James Beard House in New York City tonight.

“Kentucky continues to emerge as a top culinary destination, and being featured at the Beard House demonstrates that others are catching on to what we have to offer,” Kentucky Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum said in a news release. “Even more exciting is the opportunity to showcase our state’s hospitality and unique culinary culture through an exquisite menu created by two of Kentucky’s top chefs.”

Sara Bradley in her Freight House
The Kentucky menu will include canap├ęs and cocktails to start, followed by five courses including Lake Barkley bighead carp with paddlefish caviar and Franklin County chicken-fried rabbit with rolled parsley dumplings. One dessert is an apple stack cake cobbler with Crank & Boom Bourbon honey ice cream. For the complete menu, click here.

Other Kentucky farmers and producers being showcased include Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, Heritance Farm, Weisenberger Mill, Freedom Run Farm, Hindman Settlement School, JD Country Milk, Broadbent Hams, Newsom’s Country Ham, Fin Gourmet Foods, Koru Gardens, Shuckman’s Fish Co., Reed Valley Orchard, Jim Nance Hickory Nuts, Country Rock Sorghum, Kennameade Farms, Two Shakes Ranch and many more.

The dinner is open to James Beard Foundation members for $135 and non-members for $175 (inclusive of tax and gratuity). Proceeds benefit the foundation. For more information, go to www.jamesbeard.org; for more information about the chef team, see www.ouitamichel.com and www.freighthousefood.com/about.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Expert on Monarch butterflies will show how to create habitat for them Thur. night at Midway Christian Church

Would you like to help create a way station to support and sustain migrating Monarch butterflies? The Woodford County Extension master gardeners will host a presentation on it by Joanna Kirby of the Kentucky Garden Club at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1 in the fellowship hall of Midway Christian Church, 123 E. Bruen St.

The butterfly's numbers have declined, supposedly because of development of corn and soybeans resistant to herbicides that kill weeds including milkweed, which they need during breeding.

The program is free, but advance registration is required. To sign up, call the Extension office at 873-4601. (Wikipedia photo)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

City Council Member Libby Warfield dies of cancer at 65; Vandegrift says she made him a better mayor

Libby Sharon Warfield
Midway City Council Member Elizabeth "Libby" Warfield lost her long battle with cancer Saturday, Feb. 24.

Warfield, 65, was one of the first certified interior designers in Kentucky and an accomplished musician. She played at least eight instruments and provided music for church services, weddings and funerals in the Bluegrass for more than 50 years. She was the wife of David Allen Warfield.

In 2012, Warfield filed to run for the city council, on which her son, David Matthew Warfield, and her mother, Jean Sharon, had served. She withdrew from the race because she was diagnosed with stage-four cancer of a salivary gland. The cancer grew into her facial nerves, which caused one side of her face to be permanently paralyzed. Elected to the council in 2014 and re-elected in 2016, she was known for her independence, thoughtful consideration of issues, and detailed questioning.

Other than her husband and son, she is survived by her daughter, Wendora Jean (Jonathan) Creech; two grandchildren, Austin Murphy Creech and Mackenzie Frances Creech; two sisters, Peggy Sharon and Cindy (Philip) Karrick; and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held at Clark Funeral Home in Versailles on Tuesday, Feb. 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. The funeral will be held at Midway Christian Church at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, followed by graveside service at the Midway Cemetery and a fellowship meal at the church. For the full obituary, click here.

The City Council will appoint a member to serve out Warfield's term, which runs through Dec. 31.

UPDATE, Feb. 25: Mayor Grayson Vandegrift released one of his occasional "Messages from the Mayor" in reaction to Warfield's death:
By Grayson Vandegrift
Mayor, City of Midway
            Midway City Council Member Libby Warfield passed away on Saturday, Feb. 24, and although I knew it was likely coming, I had believed until the end that Libby would pull through. She was never the kind of person who gives up, because Libby was a fighter, and she fought valiantly in her battle with cancer.
            Libby and I ran the gamut in our service together. We often disagreed with each other, but we also agreed on more than you’d think. We could be exasperated with each other one day and then work on something together the next. In all honesty, we saw the world very differently, but we never stopped talking to each other, and we always acknowledged that although we disagreed, we knew that we both cared equally.
            I wrote Libby a letter a few weeks ago, telling her that although we drove each other crazy on most days, I had come to realize how much I missed that in her absence. I told her that she was challenging and incredibly hard-working, and that she made me a better mayor. My experience with Libby echoes the old adage that our critics are our friends. Although my relationship with her was based on our service together, I feel like I’ve lost more than a colleague, I feel like I’ve also lost a friend.
            My heart goes out to all of her family and friends in their time of grief. Rest in Peace, Libby.

Friday, February 23, 2018

UK professor, expert on Russian language and culture, to speak at Midway Branch Library at 6:30 p.m. Monday

Dr. Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby, a University of Kentucky professor who has written extensively on Russian culture and is researching "holy waters," springs at former sites in Soviet gulags in Siberia, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at the Midway Branch Library.

Rouhier-Willoughby is a professor of Russian studies and folklore, and chair of UK's Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Her research interests include religion and Russian rituals and holidays. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

Sign up to attend the event by calling the library at 846-4014.

Skies brighten briefly, but more rain is on the way; governor declares statewide emergency due to floods

The rain slacked off and the sun came out briefly this afternoon, but it is forecast to resume tonight and continue through tomorrow, so a flood watch is in effect for the area until 7 a.m. Sunday.  South Elkhorn Creek was running heavy over the dam at Weisenberger Mill at mid-afternoon. Commercial weather projections call for the heaviest rain Saturday morning and Saturday night, with a chance of thunderstorms.

UPDATE, 6:40 p.m.: Gov. Matt Bevin declared a statewide emergency in response to continued flooding. The order enables state resources to be mobilized and made ready to assist cities and counties should they be needed, a press release said. Bevin has also activated the state’s prohibitions on price gouging to protect consumers.