Friday, September 28, 2012

Sign of the seasons: Panel to discuss snow removal

The Streets and Lights Committee of the Midway City Council will meet Monday, Oct. 1, 2012 at 4:30 p.m. at City Hall located to discuss bids for snow removal. The regular city council meeting will follow at 5:30 p.m. All council and committee meetings are open to the public.

The Homeplace at Midway comes closer to reality, with additional funding commitments

The long-awaited and sometimes-sidetracked plan to build a community for seniors in Midway has come much closer to reality in the last few weeks, as the developer received a $300,000 challenge grant, local pledges totaling $100,000, and conditional approval for a federal loan to build The Homeplace at Midway.

“This significant new funding support moves us closer to developing the next generation of elder care – a truly person-centered care community – in Midway, fostering the transformation of long-term care in Kentucky,” Dr. Keith Knapp, president and chief executive officer of Louisville-based Christian Care Communities, said in a press release.

Knapp thanked the Mary K. Oxley Foundation of Tulsa for its challenge grant, and the Woodford Health Foundation and Midway Presbyterian Church for their pledges of $50,000 each. He complimented the Rural Development staff of the Kentucky office of the U.S. Department of Agriculture for guiding his non-profitcompany through the application for a low-interest loan under the Rural Community Facilities Direct Loan Program.

The project needs to raise another $400,000 by the end of the year to take full advantage of the loan's favorable terms, said John Greely, owner of Wintergreen Stallion Station and head of the fund-raising campaign. “We are extremely grateful to the more than 500 individuals, numerous foundations and corporations that have brought us to within reach of the bulldozer arriving on the site,” he said in the release.

The Homeplace at Midway is to be built on 31 acres across from the entrance to Midway College, which will have a cooperative arrangement through its nursing program. The facility is to be Kentucky’s first Green House community, part of "de-institutionalization effort designed to restore individuals to a home in the community by combining small homes with the full range of personal care and clinical services expected in high-quality nursing homes," according to the Green House Project. (Click on illustration for larger version)

"Plans for The Homeplace at Midway include two skilled nursing cottages for 23 residents in need of short-term rehabilitation or long-term care; a 12-bed Memory/Personal Care cottage for individuals with Alzheimer’s or dementia; and a 12-bed Assisted Living cottage for residents who need periodic assistance with daily living activities," the press release said. "Future plans include the addition of an Adult Day Care program and independent living duplexes to complement the initial resident cottages."

Helen Rentch, chair of the Midway Nursing Home Task Force, said in the press release, “This design moves the whole concept of caring for Older Adults from the established, medical model to an approach that is more residential in scale, honors people’s privacy more appropriately and relies more heavily on the importance of relationships among care givers and recipients. Residents of The Homeplace at Midway will enjoy their own private bedroom and bath while sharing all other areas of the cottage, including the kitchen. It is all designed to promote freedom from the limitations of an institutional schedule.”

Friday, September 21, 2012

Council to meet Monday to discuss video project

UPDATE, Sept. 24: The council met with Kerkhoff and made some suggestions but took no action because the Memorandum of Understanding is between the video producer and the Woodford County Fiscal Court. UPDATE, Sept. 25: The issue is on the agenda for Monday's regular council meeting.

The Midway City Council will hold a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. Monday, Sept. 24, at City Hall to discuss the ​Memorandum of Understanding for production of the Uniquely Woodford promotional video that was discussed at the last regular council meeting. Versailles Council Member Ken Kerkhoff, who is spearheading the project, is scheduled to be present. The council has tentatively agreed to give $1,500 to the project but wants more details. All council meetings are open to the public.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Officials call festival 'record-breaking;' it looked it!

By Ariel Waldeck
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Another year at the Midway Fall Festival has trailed off into the distance. One of Kentucky's top 20 festivals is now a memory that, for several thousand people, will live on for years to come.

The 38th annual Midway Fall Festival was held Saturday, Sept. 15, and Sunday, Sept. 16, on Main Street. Nearly 100 vendors from Kentucky and neighboring states came to Midway to showcase their wares. The Fall Festival is put on by the Midway Business Association and City of Midway and traditionally brings several thousand people to this Central Kentucky town. These pictures were taken on Sunday during the festival. For a larger version of a photo, click on it.

Someone among the crowd said,” I don’t know what paid for this weather, but it was a good investment.” The sunny day proved to be a one of the deciding factors for those attending the event. “Biggest one I’ve seen,” based on the parking, “which went for blocks in all directions,” said Diane Shepard, assistant city clerk. Mayor Tom Bozarth called it “record-breaking.”


Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Council wants details on video, hears audit and news that a major, long-idle property will be developed

Midway officials still want more details before forking over $1,500 for a promotional video for Woodford County, the city has received a favorable audit, and work has begun on a new convenience store and gas station at the Interstate 64 interchange.

Those were the headlines from the regular meeting of the Midway City Council last night.

The council had agreed to support the video project, but wanted more details. Mayor Tom Bozarth said the county was asking for the money, but had left some blanks in its memorandum of understanding with filmmaker Samuel Koltinsky of Marvo Entertainment: the names of three people who "will be providing input on content" and a list of "seven potential on-camera interviewees."

Phil Moloney of Lexington, attorney for the city, wondered if any of the interviewers would be people who would promote Midway. After some discussion, Bozarth asked Moloney to get the details from County Attorney Alan George.

George, who received Moloney's emailed list of nine questions while he was being interviewed by the Midway Messenger this afternoon, said he would refer the questions to Versailles Councilman Ken Kerkhoff, who is spearheading the project. George told the Messenger he did not think the three local consultants had been selected, but said it might make sense to have one each representing Midway, Versailles and the county.

The county is paying $3,500 toward the video's cost of $11,000, and Woodford Tomorrow and the City of Versailles are paying $2,500 each. Woodford Tomorrow's interest is the promotion of the "Uniquely Woodford" brand that it developed for county products and tourism, which the county has adopted and which is to be the theme of the video.

"Everybody's paid but Midway," Bozarth said. "They want their money by tomorrow and they want it all finalized by Friday."

Some of Moloney's questions dealt with the broader Uniquely Woodford branding project. Noting that Bozarth had received "a list of members composing a branding committee," he asked how they were chosen and by whom. He also asked, "What number of members will compose the branding committee, and what limitations will there be by time or length of service, and what involvement will the funding members have in selecting and appointing these representatives or replacements in the future?"

During the meeting, Bozarth endorsed the branding concept, saying, "It's a good idea."

Audit report

Louisville CPA Robert Ryan, the city's outside auditor, presented his audit of city finances for the 2011-12 fiscal year, which ended June 30. He said the city is in a good financial position, with very small liabilities and $2.5 million in assets, not counting the $6.3 million water and sewer system, which has separate finances.

Last year's income to the city's general fund was $93,000 over budget, and the water-sewer system took in $30,000 more than budgeted, Ryan said.

He suggested that the city find another home for its cemetery fund, because fees charged by the Old National Bank in Evansville, Ind., are "on the high side" and have been more than the interest earned by the fund. Bozarth agreed, and said he would like to keep the fund in Kentucky.

The council approved an amended budget for the current fiscal year, reflecting an increase in expected general-fund revenue to $968,257, up from $912,912. On the expense side, the major changes were adding $26,000 to fire expenses for a new van that the council had agreed to buy, and reducing street expenses by $34,000. Bozarth and City Clerk-Treasurer Phyllis Hudson said state aid money has made up the difference in the street fund.

Other business

In a brief aside at the end of the meeting, Bozarth announced that a bulldozer had started clearing ground on the former Weems property, which lies between I-64, US 421 and KY 341. He said it will be the site of a Shell gas station and convenience store.

The property is owned by Lexington developer Dennis Anderson, who is the prospective re-developer of Midway Station, the failed industrial park on the northeast quadrant of the interchange, across the interstate from the Weems lot. Bozarth said the station will be operated by a company that has stores in one or more Anderson developments in Lexington.

The council delayed second reading and passage of an ordinance changing the colors of the city's fire hydrants because Council Member Charlann Wombles noted that the ordinance didn't refer to the ordinance it would replace. The current ordinance calls for hydrants to be red with black caps; the new one calls for yellow with red caps, thought to be more visible.

Pam Yount gave a progress report on repair and demolition of her family's dilapidated properties and got a favorable reaction from the council.

Bozarth thanked Midway Business Association President Grayson Vandegrift for his hard work that helped make last weekend's Midway fall Festival "a record-breaking event." He said before the meeting that the crowd was the largest ever.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Midway Fall Festival to be held Saturday and Sunday

The 38th annual Midway Fall Festival will be held this weekend, and Mayor Tom Bozarth and Midway Business Association President Grayson Vandegrift promoted it on today's noon-hour news on WLEX-TV, Channel 18.

"There's something for everybody," Vandegrift said, but indicated that the festival is not just about quantity, but also about quality in arts, crafts and food: "We're very selective about vendors we accept."

Bozarth said the event is a big homecoming for former residents: "We have a lot of people who come back to Midway who have moved away, and every year they come back to the Fall Festival."

A recent survey of visitors, residents and business owners found that the festival was clearly the most popular annual event in the Midway area.

The festival runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Old Smokey (in photo), the steam locomotive of R.J. Corman Railroad, will be on display Saturday. For details on the festival, go to its website.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Teresa Jones James, Midway native, affirmed in job supervising state government's social services

Midway native and Versailles resident Teresa Jones James has been named commissioner of the state Department for Community Based Services, after serving as acting commissioner since December under appointment from a Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary who has since resigned.

James, the daughter of the late Clyde and Carolyn Jones, had been the department's deputy commissioner since April 2008. She received bachelor’s and master's degrees in social work from Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky, respectively, and has been a licensed clinical social worker since 1993.

CHFS Secretary Audrey Haynes, a social worker by trade, said in a press release, “Since my appointment four months ago, I have had the pleasure of working closely with Teresa on many issues related to child protection and family services. She has a true servant’s heart and is committed to the Cabinet’s mission of protecting our most vulnerable children and adults. I am proud to have her serve as our commissioner of DCBS and am pleased she has accepted the challenge.”

DCBS has offices in all 120 counties, an annual budget of about $930 million, and more than 4,000 employees. It provides family support, child care, child and adult protection; makes eligibility determinations for Medicaid and food benefits; and runs the state foster-care and adoption systems. The agency "has been under intense scrutiny from the media and legislature over its handling of child-abuse cases," Beth Musgrave reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader. "Since James has been interim commissioner, relations between the legislature and the department have started to improve."  

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Tax rates raised to keep city revenue stable; new, joint city-county fire station is a possibility

By Drew Teague and Cassandra Shouse
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Taxpayers in Midway will be paying 3 cents more per $1,000 of assessed value in taxes on real property after the City Council voted Tuesday evening to raise the tax in order to stabilize the city's revenue in the wake of lower property assessments.

The tax rate on real property will be 10.5 cents per $100 of assessed value, up from last year’s 10.2 cents per $100. The new rate is designed to generate about the same amount of money from real property as in 2011.

According to the tax calculation sheet given to council members, the value of Midway’s real property, or property that is immovable, such as land and buildings, in 2011 was $99,413,900. This produced revenue of $101,402. For the year 2012, the assessed value of real property decreased by 2.19 percent, or $2,172,500, to $97,241,400. Had the tax rate stayed at 10.2 cents, Midway would have collected $99,186, a 2.1 percent decrease from 2011.

To get approximately the same revenue, the tax rate would have to be 10.4278813 cents per $100, according to the calculation sheet provided by the state Revenue Cabinet. The law requires the rate to be rounded up to the nearest tenth of a cent, resulting in the 10.5 cent rate. The 0.3 cent bump is a 2.9 percent increase in the rate that will produce a 1.94 percent increase in revenue because the rate was rounded up. It is expected to produce $103,269 in revenue.

State law allows the council to raise tax revenue up to 4 percent without being subject to a petition for a referendum on the new rate.

The tax on personal property tax was also raised because of a decrease in assessed value. The rate is now 16 cents per $100, up from 14.5 cents, a 10.3 percent increase in the rate. This is also a compensating but rounded-up rate; the tax will only generate about $1,850 in revenue for the city.

The council approved Mayor Tom Bozarth’s appointments to the new Vacant Property Review Board, created by the new ordinance that will raise tax rates on property that the board rules is blighted and is not fixed up to 75 cents per $100. The board members are Dale Benson, Eddie Hardy and Council Member Doris Leigh.

Council Member Dan Roller questioned Leigh’s appointment, noting that she had voted against the ordinance. Leigh said she did so only because she thought a board member should be both a resident and property owner in the city, “not just a renter.”

County firefighters Thomas Hagan, left, and
Timothy Rader clean a truck Tuesday evening.
New fire station?

Magistrate Larry Craig spoke about renewed hopes for a new Woodford County fire station in the Midway district. He said the existing station stands on the site of an old pond, resulting in flooding whenever there are heavy rains, and the new county fire chief is interested in a new building that both the city and county departments could use.

Craig, who is captain of the county’s Midway unit, said the old sewage plant could be a home for the new fire station. The proposed location is just on the other side of Interstate 64 from the county's existing station.

Bozarth suggested forming a committee to study the issues and make recommendations. Craig said he would take that idea to the county fire board’s next meeting, in early October.

Business survey, donations

Expansion was also on the mind of three master-of-business-administration students from Midway College. Phil Luckett, Ydaisa Gomez, and Srihari Medam, surveyed 123 residents, customers, visitors, and business owners and found that people visited Midway mostly because of its restaurants, with arts and crafts second.

The downside was the respondents thought too many establishments closed earlier, and there was not a lot of available parking. To increase business, the students suggested more parking and store hours that are more in line with those of the restaurants.

Ellen Gregory, chief spokesperson for Midway College, asked the council for $1,000 to support the college’s new lecture and convocation series, which will begin Sept. 13 with a lecture by author Dorothy Moore. To find out more, click here.

The series will also feature the American Spiritual Ensemble and a panel of women athletes to mark the 40th anniversary of Title IX, which guarantees gender equality in intercollegaite athletics. Council members unanimously agreed to make the donation.

Another program in need of money is Cops for Kids, operated by the Versailles Police Department, which patrols countywide. Officers take underprivileged children in their cruiser to a store to shop. Normally the charity receives money from profits of a haunted house, but this year has no location for it.

Bozarth said six children from Midway were in the program last year, at a cost of about $150 per child, and the police wanted unspecified financial support. However, some council members weren’t sure if they should or could use taxpayers’ money for charitable donations. Arnold suggested that the matter be tabled until the next meeting, Sept. 17, and Bozarth agreed.