Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Halloween weather forecast delays trick or treat

Midway's ghosts and ghouls will have to wait out Halloween's spooky weather. Officials decided to move trick or treat to Friday because stormy weather is expected.

Midway Mayor Tom Bozarth told The Messenger that he, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott and Woodford County Judge-Executive John Coyle decided Wednesday to move the observance. The hours will remain 6 to 8 p.m.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Council discusses local business's flyers on windshields, sets trick or treat for 6-8 p.m. Oct. 31

By Holly Brucken
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Midway residents have complained about flyers from a local business on their car windshields, leading to a Midway City Council discussion about a possible new city ordinance if the situation creates a greater problem. 

Council Member Grayson Vandegrift, who operates a West Main Street restaurant, brought the issue to the council’s attention at its meeting Monday evening. “It’s unattractive to a lot of visitors,” he said. “It’s unattractive to a lot of residents.” He said no merchants had complained to him.

West Main Street on a busy day (file photo)
Helen Ringus, the owner of EquiTreasures, placed the flyers on the windshields of cars parked on West Main Street. She recently moved her store from West Main, where most of Midway’s shops are located, to behind Darlin’ Jean’s Apple Cobbler CafĂ©, invisible from Main, and said in an interview after the meeting that using flyers “is the only way I can get business.”

The issue was discussed by the council as a possible violation of the ordinance that requires business solicitors to be licensed, but Vandegrift said Ringus was unlikely to fall under this description. City Attorney Phil Moloney said the activity falls into “a gray area.” He said “It’s going to need to be tightened up somewhere,” particularly if residents are complaining.

Vandegrift said after the meeting that there haven’t been enough complaints to justify changing the ordinance or passing a new one. “If that starts happening, then the council will need a new ordinance,” he said. “What we can’t have happen is people doing it like crazy. . . .  It takes away from our quaintness and our charm a little bit.”

Ringus said in the interview that customers are grateful to be reminded of her store. “Women thank me for the cards,” she said. “Very few people complain.”

That will be the standard for future action, Vandegrift suggested: “If the vast majority of people are okay with it, then majority rules.”

Mayor Tom Bozarth commented on two races that brought traffic into Midway, the Iron Horse Half Marathon on Oct. 13 and the Bourbon Chase Oct. 18-19.

“This was the best event managed, as far as traffic, that we have had with the Bourbon Chase,” said Bozarth. “It looked to me like the restaurants were full.” He also said the Iron Horse Half Marathon, which had a record number of nearly 1,300 runners complete the race, went very well.

These events and the Midway Fall Festival in September may have led to a spike in visits to the meetmeinmidway.com website, on which Vandegrift reported.  The site had a 43 percent increase in total visits from August to September, and he said it was encouraging that the events calendar was the third most visited page on the site and real estate was the fifth most visited. Total page views were up 33 percent from August to September. According to Vandegrift’s report, more locals are using the site as well as visitors.

Among other items of business, the council designated the time for trick-or-treating as 6 to 8 p.m. on Oct. 31.

The council heard first reading of an amendment to the alcohol beverage license fees ordinance, drafted to be consistent with a reclassification of alcohol licenses by the Kentucky General Assembly. The city is “just having to mirror the changes,” said Council Member Sharon Turner.

The ordinance adds three classifications of liquor licenses: historical sites, sampling sites and hotels.
Council members said after the meeting that they are not aware of any plans for a winery, distillery, brewery or a hotel in Midway, but “We’re hoping for a hotel,” Turner said.

Presentation of the city’s annual audit report, originally part of the agenda, was delayed until the next meeting.

Monday, October 14, 2013

Great weather, lots of runners and a welcoming community bless the fourth annual Iron Horse Marathon

Story and photos by Holly Brucken
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The sun illuminated Midway Sunday morning as the city welcomed the fourth annual Iron Horse Half Marathon, bringing runners together to enjoy a scenic 13.1-mile race through the city and surrounding area.

Midway’s beauty was a draw for many participants, including Carolyn Karageorges and Naomi Sayles. They chose to run the Iron Horse Half Marathon after seeing an ad at the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, where they live. 

“It’s supposed to be a pretty run,” said Karageorges, explaining why she decided to participate in this particular half marathon. She and Sayles agreed the race lived up to its reputation.

“It was beautiful,” said Sayles.

The race, hosted by John’s Run/Walk Shop in Lexington, started on South Brand Street, took runners out to Spring Station, back through town and on to Weisenberger Mill, before returning to the finish line at South Brand Street.

Race coordinator Chuck Griffis said the Iron Horse Half Marathon was put together to reflect “what we like to do,” going out into the country.

The picturesque course was not an easy one, due to small valleys created by creeks and underground drainage. This landscape posed a challenge to many runners.

“I would encourage faster runners to do it,” said Sayles, who noted the toughness of the course.

The landscape did not scare away Geoff Parker of Lexington. “I heard that it was gonna be hilly,” said Parker, who was participating in his first half marathon.

“I love the scenery,” he said, admiring the beautiful morning. “I’m happy that I finished it. It was fun training for and I’m proud of myself for doing it.”

The top finisher was 24-year-old Josh Nadzam of Lexington, who ran the half marathon in one hour, 16 minutes and 24 seconds, a pace of five minutes and 50 seconds per mile. Josh Wolf from Shepherdsville, also 24, finished second in 1:17:55. His pace was 5:55 per mile.

Betsy Laski, a 30-year-old from Lexington, was the first female finisher. She ran the race 1:29:23, a 6:49 per-mile pace. Another Lexington resident, 34-year-old Elizabeth Salt, was the second fastest woman, in a time of 1:30:54.
After collecting their medals, racers congregated with family and friends in front of Darlin’ Jean’s,
walking around the town center and enjoying music, fellowship and a beautiful, sunny day.
Organizers said 1,500 entrants pre-registered for the race, and an additional 27 people were allowed to participate unofficially as part of training or charity groups. Of this number, 1,252 completed the race, according to www.TimingSpot.com, where the official results are posted.

The Iron Horse Half Marathon was open to runners of all levels and included a variety of age groups ranging from 14 to 74. The race results and winners of each age group can be found at www.ironhorsehalfmarathon.com/results.

Participants came not only to enjoy the race, but for the experience, which includes everything from the course to fellowship. “These types of things are changing,” Griffis said.“People are there for a total experience, to join in with other people.”

The sense of fellowship was not limited to race participants and their families. Residents could be seen watching the race from their front porches. Midway Christian Church served a pancake breakfast for spectators during the race, bringing participants and citizens together. Several local businesses sponsored the half marathon, including the Midway School Bakery.

Claire McCarthy, Midway resident and owner of Celtic Trends, took advantage of the race to open her shop early.

“I don’t normally open until noon on a Sunday,” said McCarthy, who opened her store at 8 a.m.

“It’s fantastic,” she said, commending the race and the people it brought to Midway. “Of course, the weather was great,” she added, attributing the day’s mild temperatures and sunny skies to the date, earlier than Previous Iron Horse Marathons.

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Iron Horse Half Marathon, doubled in size from its initial running, will start at 8 a.m. Sunday

By Holly Brucken
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Iron Horse Half Marathon, to be held in Midway this Sunday, has doubled participation since its conception in 2010.

Named 21st out of the top 28 half marathons in the United States by Runner’s World Magazine, the 13.1-mile event has grown rapidly. Between 700 and 800 runners participated in its first race. That number increased to 1,500 entrants this fall, according to the race coordinator Chuck Griffis, who represents John’s Run/Walk Shop in Lexington. Last year’s event had 1,240 entrants and 1,000 finishers.

The race kicks off at 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, starting and finishing on South Brand Street in downtown. Runners will go to Spring Station, back through town to Weisenberger Mill, then back to Brand Street. (Click on image for larger version)

The race started when John’s Run/Walk Shop in Lexington saw the need for a locally sponsored race. “We were asked five years ago to help with a group from out of town to help with the Lexington Half Marathon,” said race coordinator Chuck Griffis. After helping with that race, the team from John’s came up with the Iron Horse Marathon, an event that would be organized and executed locally.

Griffis said many races such as the Lexington Half Marathon have little benefit to the communities where they are held, because the organizers come from outside of the community. “These types of events should be more beneficial to the community,” he said, adding that the race also stands out because it is produced by an organization with roots in running, rather than an outside cause.

The organizers of the Iron Horse Half Marathon chose to move the event from Lexington to Midway in 2011, and think one of the most valuable assets of the race is its location. “The beauty of the course is its rural location in Midway,” said Griffis, who highlighted not only the scenic attractiveness of the course, but also the support that comes from the community.

In 2011, Midway citizens were concerned that the event caused parking and traffic complications, because it occurs on Sunday morning, when many residents attend church. Such problems have been resolved. This year, parking should not be a concern, because the race is being held during Midway College’s fall break, and participants will be able to park on campus.

Griffis can boast a positive relationship with members of the Midway community. Mayor Tom Bozarth said of last year’s race, “It was very well run.”

Organizations in Midway host events surrounding the race. For example, the Midway College cross-country team will host a pre-race dinner Saturday, Oct. 12 at 5:30 p.m. in the McManis Student Center. The profits of this event benefit the cross-country program. Midway Christian Church will serve a pancake breakfast at 8 a.m. on Sunday, for spectators to enjoy while waiting for the runners to start, come back through town or finish.

"We are drawing in more and more of the community," said Griffis. The Iron Horse Half Marathon returns the support by investing some of its earnings in the community. A portion of the proceeds will be given to the Woodford Humane Society. Last year, John’s Run/Walk Shop donated $2,500 of the proceeds to the city of Midway, which used it to buy software for the cemetery. The Woodford Humane Society received $7,500.

More information about the race can be found at www.ironhorsehalfmarathon.com. Here's a map of the entire route and another version of the detail map (click on image for larger version):