Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Baptist Church did its second Mission Midway Sat.

By Cassidy Myers
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Some churches say they care about their community, but Midway Baptist Church shows it cares.

It is 8:30 on Saturday morning and volunteers of all ages are gathered in the church’s dining area eating biscuits and donuts and cheerfully visiting with other helpers. At this hour, most people are still at home in their warm beds. Not these eager, smiling volunteers! They are up early to participate in Midway Baptist Church’s second annual Mission Midway project. (Photo: Chad Royalty, on roof, and Kash Foster so some exterior work on a home)

Mission Midway is a one-day mission outreach event in which members of the church volunteer for a day of goodwill around their town. Some groups will brave the cold and the rain to do yard work for the elderly; 20 others will give blood; and a group of preschoolers will deliver care packages to the town merchants. Other projects include delivering blankets to shut-ins, administering medical check-ups and distributing appreciation gift bags to first responders such as firemen and policemen.

The purpose of the project is to focus on the needs of the community and provide an opportunity for everyone to help. “We wanted to encourage our members to get really involved in the community,” Senior Minister Tom Allen said. “A lot of times we have these mission projects that involve going overseas or a long-term commitment with a lot of planning and preparation, but we wanted to provide an opportunity that almost anyone could be a part of.”

Volunteer Joy Arnold, who also helped spearhead last year’s Mission Midway, echoed the same sentiment. “It’s very easy to go off somewhere for a week and never see those people again. It’s another thing to serve the people you see on the street,” she said.

The church had plenty of willing volunteers with about 85 members of varying ages stopping in to help throughout the day. The event also inspired Midway Presbyterian Church to participate, which symbolizes the theme for this year’s project, “Making Tracks in Midway.”

The motto represents the goal of longevity and participation that the church has for this project. “We are laying the foundation for mission work in Midway and hopefully after years of doing this, we’ll make tracks in Kentucky and then the United States and then the world,” said Mission Midway coordinator David McCoun.

After a morning of distributing blankets and benevolence, volunteers began filing back into the dining area where the aroma of six homemade soups greeted them. Most of the seven projects had been completed and the day was declared a success, not only by the participants but by the Midway community as well.

Mission Midway beneficiary and longtime church member Joe Fischer was grateful for the volunteers who helped clean up his yard just in time for winter. “They did a great job and trimmed some limbs off the fence and cleaned my gutters out. It was a great thing for me. It helped me out a lot. It was a good day and they couldn’t have done a better job,” he said.

“It went well. We got done what we wanted to do,” said volunteer and resident videographer Zachary Rankin. “It brightened a lot of people’s days to see us out there.”

On an otherwise cold and dreary day, spirits were high and the day was brightened for everyone involved, exemplifying the day’s theme of “Making Tracks in Midway” and increasing expectations for next year’s event. (Photo: Left to right, Kristy Royalty, Khristina Meissner and Catlynn Taylor brave the cold to administer free blood glucose and blood pressure checkups.)

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Council rezones old sewage-treatment plant to pave way for sale, perhaps to grease recycler

By Mark Wetherington
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Midway City Council voted last night to zone as industrial the city’s old wastewater treatment plant, which has been proposed as a site for recycling waste oil and grease from Bluegrass restaurants.

The 2-acre tract was rezoned I-2, or Heavy Industrial. It had been zoned in three separate parcels as A-1 (Agricultural), CO-1 (Conservation) and I-1 (Light Industrial). Rezoning the land as I-2 was recommended by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission.

The city had accepted bids for the property last year and received one bid, from Mike Thornton of Martin’s Sanitation Service, but zoning and surveying issues prevented the bid from being accepted. The property has now been consolidated and rezoned, and surveying revealed that it is a slightly larger parcel than was previously estimated.

“Because the property size has changed, there will have to be a new bid,” Council Member Sharon Turner said after the meeting.

Thornton in a telephone interview Tuesday morning, “I would assume we would still be interested, unless there is a conditional use on it that we can’t meet.” He said that if he purchases the property he intends to use it to process the waste he collects. The solid waste would be separated and sent to a landfill, while the wastewater would be processed by the Midway Wastewater Treatment Plant and a per-gallon fee charged.

Turner noted, “Treating the wastewater will create a revenue stream for Midway.”

Thornton also said that he is planning to eventually use the property as a location for processing used restaurant grease into an alternative energy source.

Although the council voted unanimously to approve the rezoning ordinance, there was some skepticism. Maralyn Burstein, who voiced her opposition to the rezoning at the preceding council meeting, said the rezoning could have negative effects. “There aren’t any restrictions that would prevent it from being used in a harmful way in the future,” she said in an interview.

Other business

The council gave first reading to an ordinance to establish the City of Midway as a drug- and alcohol-free workplace. Final passage would bring Midway into compliance with the federal drug-free workplace policy and will help reduce worker’s compensation insurance premiums, city officials said.

David Collins of the C.I. Thornburg Co. spoke to the council about equipment that would allow Midway’s water meters to be accurately and quickly read through radio frequencies. Radio meter readers are cost-effective and eliminate many of the problems associated with traditional meters, Collins said. The city recently had a problem with meter readings.

Laura Dake and Gale Reece of ITN Bluegrass told the council that their group, a local affiliate of a national non-profit organization that provides transportation to senior citizens, is interested in expanding from Fayette County to Midway and other outlying towns. ITN Bluegrass is funded by membership fees and fares, as well as through local support such as volunteer drivers, car donations and local grants.

Helen Rentch, a Midway citizen who introduced Dake and Reece to the council, said there is a growing need for a transportation service for senior citizens in Midway, and “We don’t have taxis.”

Dake and Reece said providing transportation services to seniors allows them to stay in their home after they no longer feel safe behind the wheel. Rather than entering a nursing home or assisted-living facility, they can remain at home and safely travel by using the service provided by ITN Bluegrass.

The next meeting of the Midway city council is scheduled for Monday, November 2, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.