Monday, November 29, 2010

Louisville newspaper features David Hume and his automotive specialty, Citroën

Sunday's Courier-Journal had a well-illustrated feature story about David Hume, whose Excelsior Motors on his like-named farm about three miles west of Midway on Old Frankfort Pike specializes in repair, maintenance and restoration of cars made by Citroën, a French firm known for its engineering innovations. (C-J photo by Pat McDonogh)

"On a warm afternoon this fall, a handful of Citroëns sat gleaming in the sun, looking every bit as sleek and mysterious as the thoroughbreds running around neighboring horse farms," reports Jeffrey Lee Puckett, normally the Louisville newspaper's pop-music writer. He writes that the Citroën developed "a reputation for being unreliable and difficult despite winning the 1972 Car of the Year award from Motor Trend magazine. Hume said that one reason the Citroën appeals to him is that it's misunderstood. While the maintenance is comparable to that for a small airplane, he said, the return in your investment is substantial." To read the story and see the pictures, click here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Businesses worry about arts festival's move; Renaissance says weekend could be bigger

By Rachel Bryant
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Midway Renaissance works with the Midway Business Association to promote commerce downtown, but merchants are concerned that the Renaissance decision to move the Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival to Equus Run Vineyards will rob them of a big weekend.

“Of course we wish them all the luck but we’re wondering what kind of effect that’s going to have on what we do downtown,” said Eric Thoreson, owner of Damselfly Studio Gallery.

The festival has been held at Midway College since it began in 2004. Last year’s festival showcased 150 artists from 14 states and saw nearly 8,000 visitors.

The Renaissance committee in charge of the event announced at the group’s annual membership celebration Nov. 11 that it would hold the 2011 festival at Equus Run Vineyards and Winery, three and a half miles from downtown. (MapQuest image)

“I know there are efforts underway on trying to have people come downtown,” Thoreson said, “but it’s going to present challenges.”

Marcie Christensen, the Main Street manager for Renaissance, acknowledged at the meeting that the decision is causing concern among business owners.

“It was a long, long considered decision and carefully considered,” Christensen said. “It presents some challenges because there are some people who are concerned about how it’s going to work.”

While business owners fear that the new location will take the customers they normally see that weekend, Christensen says the change will attract more visitors to the area.

“I disagree with the opinion that we won't draw as many customers downtown,” she said in an interview. “In fact, I think we can draw even more than we have in years past. We'll be working with the Midway Business Association and the community over the next few months to develop plans and promotions that will tie the festival to downtown in ways that draw visitors to both places during the last weekend in June and well beyond.”

There were many factors in the decision to move the festival. Christensen said the college was not interested in a multi-year agreement to host the event, and the uncertainty left the board looking for alternate venues.

A group of artists, arts organization directors, and marketing consultants advised the committee that Equus Run offered many benefits, Christensen said: convenient parking, electricity for exhibitors, the opportunity to drink beer or wine, an even greater variety of dining options, room allowing a booth layout with easy access, and broad promotion from the winery including its thousands of loyal customers.

The college had declined to allow beer and wine to be served on its campus, Christensen said.

Not only are merchants worried about business, some feel that the involvement of the college was an important part of the festival.

“The college won’t be promoted at all. That was free advertising for the college and its nice having any college involved in the arts,” said Leslie Penn, owner of the Historic Midway Museum Store.

While merchants worry about the possibility of lost sales that weekend, they recognize that it’s impossible to know the end results, and acknowledged that it could be a successful event for all involved.

“Now one good thing about our outlook from the merchants’ association is we are trying to make people shop not just in Midway but all around Central Kentucky,” Penn said, “so expanding it out there might be good.” The committee’s new challenge moving forward, Christensen said, is to develop the concept of the community of Midway to be more inclusive, interdependent and collaborative.

She said at the meeting, “One of the things that is important for all involved in Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival or who wants to be or feels that it is an important part of the community is to look at expanding our concept of what our community is, and figuring out ways that we can make this work very well for everyone.”

Monday, November 15, 2010

Finance and City Property Committee meeting scheduled for today has been canceled

The meeting of the Finance and City Property Committee of the Midway City Council, scheduled for noon today, Nov. 15, has been canceled, according to City Clerk Phyllis Hudson.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Sidewalk repairs on committee agenda Thursday

The Streets and Lights Committee of the Midway City Council will meet Thursday, Nov. 11 at 5:30 p.m. in the Community Room, upstairs of City Hall, to discuss sidewalk repairs. All council and committee meetings are open to the public.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Incumbents successful in Midway elections

All Midway officials who sought another term in yesterday's election were successful: Mayor Tom Bozarth, three of the six City Council members, Magistrate Larry Craig and state Rep. Carl Rollins.

Bozarth got 483 votes to 104 for Scott Hayes, a Woodford County ambulance technician who mounted a write-in campaign after he missed the late-January deadline to get on the ballot.

In his second four-year term, Bozarth will be joined by three new council members serving two-year terms: Joy Arnold, who got 407 votes; Dan Roller, who got 408; and former mayor Becky Moore (428 votes), who said when they filed that they were "kindred spirits" who had been heavily involved in volunteer activities in Midway. Some volunteers were rankled by a ordinance, backed by Bozarth and passed 5-1 by the council, that formalized volunteer work on city property. The three council members who sought re-election got the most votes: Sharon Turner (478), Aaron Hamilton (442) and Doris Leigh (433). City races are nonpartisan.

Democrat Larry Craig, the Midway area's magistrate on the county Fiscal Court, was re-elected with 61 percent of the vote, amassing 642 votes to 405 for Republican challenger Curt Savage. The 1st District's constable, Democrat Mike Morris, was re-elected without opposition.

In another Fiscal Court race of countywide interest, independent Bruce Gill defeated Democrat Rick Curtis and Republican Jenny Sue Given for 7th District magistrate. Gill got just under 51 percent of the vote. In perhaps the county's hottest race, Versailles Mayor Fred Siegelman won re-election by defeating council member Ann Miller 1,521 to 1,374.

Rollins, a former magistrate and Midway mayor, got 52 percent of the vote to defeat Midway College executive Lyen Crews and win another term as state representative from Woodford and parts of Fayette and Franklin counties. Rollins, a Democrat and chairman of the House Education Committee, got 8,590 votes to 7,846 for the Republican. Rollins carried both Midway precincts, winning them 762 to 372. He won Woodford County 5,128 to 4,624.

Democratic U.S. Rep. Ben Chandler carried his home Woodford County 5,182 to 4,817, helping him edge out Republican Andy Barr of Lexington by just 625 votes out of more than 238,000 cast -- a margin of only 0.26 percent. Barr did not concede and said "The campaign continues," indicating that he will ask for a recanvass. Chandler, who lives in Pisgah Pike near Versailles, carried the Midway city precinct 426 to 245, but barely won the county precinct, 188 to 184.

U.S. Sen.-elect Rand Paul, a Republican, carried the county 5,344 to 4,520 for Democrat Jack Conway. Paul carried the county precinct 211 to 173, but Conway won Midway, 498 to 269.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Midway College completes expansion in Lexington

Midway College announced today that it has completed the expansion of its Lexington campus, located in the Hamburg area on the east side of the city. The college expanded to the entire third floor of the building and more than doubled its floor space, to just under 10,000 square feet. The expansion has added additional classrooms, a computer lab, a library, a conference and seminar room, and other workspace for faculty and staff. "Just as the expansion was nearing completion, the college received word from its accrediting body that it can now offer one of its most popular programs at the Lexington campus, its teacher-education degree program," the college said in a release.

The college says more than 400 students have been served at its coeducational Lexington campus since it opened in February 2008. The campus provides programs for the college's School for Career Development, which offers accelerated degrees and degree-completion programs in the evenings, with some weekend courses.

The college has set a goal of increasing its enrollment to 2,000 by the end of the 2010-11 academic year and 4,000 by 2015. It recently reported that its enrollment of 1,622 is 20 percent higher than last fall's figure of 1,349. Most of the increase came in online enrollment, which more than doubled, going from 205 to 413. The MBA program went from 56 to 75, while evening and weekend programs rose from 625 to 677. Women's College enrollment declined to 433 from 445.