Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Breeders' Cup races to be held at Keeneland in 2015; mayor says could be catalyst for a hotel in Midway

Partial screenshot from Breeders' Cup website
The Breeders' Cup, which bills itself as the world championships of horse racing, will bring thousands of people to the Midway area when it makes its first stand at Keeneland Race Course Oct. 30-31, 2015.

The date, which Kentucky newspapers reported last week, was confirmed by the Breeders' Cup on Tuesday. The news "is huge for the horse industry and Central Kentucky," said Midway Mayor Tom Bozarth, a bloodstock agent. "The greatest two days of racing is coming home where John Gaines' vision became a reality." Gaines, a Lexington horseman who died in 2005, came up with the idea for the cup.

"Midway is in a position to reap a lot of the benefits through tourism influx for the Breeder's Cup to our downtown," Bozarth said in an email. "We have seen that with the World Equestrian Games and Rolex and how it impacted our downtown. This might be the catalyst we have been looking for to get a hotel in Midway."

Breeders’ Cup Chairman Bill Farish of Lane's End Farm said, “Throughout its storied history, Keeneland has developed an extraordinary reputation for delivering a first-class racing and hospitality product. We are excited to bring the Breeders’ Cup home to Lexington and are energized by the support from the local community and the breeders of Central Kentucky who have been such a vital part of our program since its inception.”

Keeneland President and CEO Bill Thomason said, “The Breeders’ Cup at Keeneland is a homecoming for many of these great champions who were foaled and raised at Central Kentucky farms, and often sold at Keeneland. The Keeneland team feels that sense of connection and history with the Breeders’ Cup, and we look forward to offering fans an extraordinary racing and entertainment experience.”

The Breeders' Cup also announced sites for 2016, at Santa Anita Park, and 2017, at Del Mar, both in Southern California.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Joy Arnold to debate campaign finance laws on KET

Joy Arnold
Joy Arnold of Midway will be one of four panelists discussing campaign-finance laws on the "Kentucky Tonight" program from 8 to 9 p.m. Monday on KET. Arnold, a former member of the Midway City Council, will represent the Central Kentucky chapter of Move to Amend, a national organization. It is pushing for a constitutional amendment to reverse Supreme Court rulings that struck down some campaign-finance laws on grounds that campaign spending is a form of free speech. Her ally on the panel will be Richard Beliles, state chair of Common Cause Kentucky. Arguing the other side will be Christopher Thacker, president of the Central Kentucky Lawyers Chapter of The Federalist Society, and Paul Salamanca, a law professor at the University of Kentucky. The host is Bill Goodman, and the live program welcomes telephone calls and electronic messages.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Steppin' Out Boutique has more room in theater building

A view from the stage of the theater building, with the balcony and front door in the background.
Story and photos by Brian Bouhl
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

There a renaissance happening in downtown Midway and it involves both a business and a building.

Steppin’ Out Boutique, an upscale women’s clothing and accessories store, moved into the former Thoroughbred Theatre building on Main Street this winter and reopened for business Feb. 14.

Peggy Angel, left, a business partner at Steppin’ Out’s previous location on the other side of the tracks, bought the business and decided to expand across the street for more room.

“I just was not happy with that location,” said Angel. “We only had nine hundred square feet there, and here I’ve got fifty-three hundred; it’s a big difference.”

The boutique specializes in distinctive, upscale women’s apparel—items you can’t get at national department stores—as well as accessories including jewelry, hats and scarves.

“She’s taken a small boutique and made it into a store out of New York,” said customer Bonnie Smith of Georgetown. “It has such a variety for all ages and all sizes. Not everyone is a size zero.”

The larger space has also allowed Angel to sell antique furniture, which helps create a comfortable atmosphere for customers.

“I wanted the warmth of feeling of people coming in and feeling comfortable, almost like they’re at home,” said Angel, who has included some of her own furniture among the mostly consigned offerings.

“The biggest thing I’ve noticed is the customers go out happy,” Smith said. “She doesn’t push a sale, she makes them feel good and look good. She doesn’t care if you walk out with anything as long as they enjoy themselves.”

Stable doors from Hamburg Place hang on a wall.
Besides the increase in space, Angel also liked the idea of operating inside an historic building. Built in the early 1900s, the theater building was operated as a daily theatre from 1928 to 1958, and was a hot spot in downtown Midway. The building went back and forth through different owners, occupants and business models before brothers John and Jim McDaniel helped turned it back into a working theater in the 2000s. 

The building’s historic features include the doors from Man O’ War’s barn, which hang on one wall, opposite from stall doors from a barn at Hamburg Place, Anita and Preston Madden’s famous farm in Lexington. The original balcony seats are still in place upstairs and the spindles on the steps leading to the stage are from Churchill Downs, Angel said.

“I was born and raised in Kentucky so I naturally have a linkage to the history and the equine world,” she said.

Smaller stores like Steppin’ Out often suffer in the winter, and the recent one was harsh, but Angel said her business increased since the move. She says customers are enthralled by the building and its features and also enjoy the greater room to move around.

A view from the balcony shows items on the floor and stage.
Spring has been good to the shop, which has been visited by guests from around the world who have been in the Bluegrass for both Keeneland and the Rolex Three-Day Event, Angel said. Derby hats were also quite popular this season, she said, with only a handful of the original stock of 40 remaining a couple weeks before the race.

Angel keeps late hours on Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, the busiest nights of the week in Midway, in order to host the overflow crowd from the popular restaurants on either side of her building and elsewhere in town. Some of the owners will often let her know if there’s a special event or they’re expecting a big turnout.

“I benefit greatly from the restaurants, it’s a definite asset for me,” Angel said. “I have a wonderful working rapport with them.”

Plans are in the works for regular events at Steppin’ Out, including special outings on the third Saturday of each month. They include cosmetics color testing, an Amish jam tasting, and neck massages. Angel is also planning seasonal style shows utilizing the venue’s unique features.

With a new face on the business, and a potentially successful business in the building, it appears as though there may be a fruitful renaissance at the theater building in downtown Midway.

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Keeneland to host Breeders' Cup next year, papers say

UPDATE, June 23: The Breeders' Cup confirmed that it will be at Keeneland Oct. 30-31, 2015.
Using unnamed sources, The Courier-Journal and the Lexington Herald-Leader (in a later but longer story) report that Keeneland Race Course will host the Breeders' Cup for the first time in 2015. Breeders' Cup "Chairman Bill Farish of Lanes End Farm said an announcement is close and said it would be around June 24, The C-J's Greg Hall reports. "Dates have not been determined, though the Breeders' Cup typically takes place over two days in late October or early November," the Herald-Leader notes. Keeneland's fall meet usually ends in late October.
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/06/17/3295856/keeneland-expected-to-host-2015.html#emlnl=Breaking_news#storylink=cpy

Read more here:tp://www.kentucky.com/2014/06/17/3295856/keeneland-expected-to-host-2015.html#emlnl=Breaking_news#storylink=cpy
Read more here: http://www.kentucky.com/2014/06/17/3295856/keeneland-expected-to-host-2015.html#emlnl=Breaking_news#storylink=cpy

Sunday, June 15, 2014

Midway Christian Church will host life celebration for Pam Sexton, followed by reception at Holly Hill Inn, Wednesday

The life of poet, writer and artist Pamela Papka Sexton will be celebrated at 11 a.m. Wednesday, June 18 at Midway Christian Church. She died Thursday, June 12 at her home in Lexington after a year battling cancer. She was 68 and the mother of Ouita Michel of Midway, owner of the Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station and the Midway School Bakery. Following the celebration of her life, a reception will follow at Holly Hill Inn. All are welcome. Visitation will be held Tuesday, June 17 from 5 to 8 p.m. at Milward Funeral Home, 159 North Broadway, Lexington. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages donations to two of her most beloved organizations: the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, 271 West Short Street, Suite 202, Lexington 40502, or the Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, 251 West Second Street, Lexington 40502. A full obituary is here.

Read more here: http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/kentucky/obituary.aspx?n=pamela-sexton&pid=171364233&fhid=6197#storylink=cpy

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Midway College presents its first Pinkerton Vision Award to the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper; Mira Ball also honored

The Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, pastor of New Union Christian Church at the eastern tip of greater Midway and former executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches, accepted the first L.L. Pinkerton Vision Award at the initial Spotlight Awards Dinner at Midway College Thursday, June 5.

Kemper spoke to the crowd after accepting the award.
The criteria for the award, named for the founder of the school that became Midway College, say it should go to an individual or group who has had a direct impact on improving the lives of women; a woman who has served as an outstanding role model for women and young ladies; or, a woman who has displayed great leadership, innovative thinking and influence in her chosen career.

"We received several wonderful nominations, but one stood out above all others: Reverend Nancy Jo Kemper," college President John Mardsen told the crowd of more than 200. He quoted from several of the nominations of Kemper:

Dan Rosenberg wrote, “For more than 20 years Rev. Kemper has been a positive role model for women by championing . . . a vast array of issues including: civic literacy, economic justice, living wages, universal health care, a more humane federal farm bill, environmental justice, child abuse prevention, low income housing, and racial profiling, just to name a few. . . . Her willingness to do so, often standing up to the rich and powerful on behalf of the poor and disadvantaged, has set an important example for all women, inspiring them to follow in her footsteps.”

Martha Billips, associate dean at Transylvania University, Kemper's alma mater, wrote, “Rev. Kemper has often put her own needs aside to comfort the elderly and dying, the grieving, the young and searching, and the simply confused and misguided. She extends this kind of care and compassion to all who need it, regardless of socioeconomic class, race, gender, or any other markers of status.”

Crit and Lynn Luallen wrote, “Hers was the voice of reason and principle on many critical policy issues facing Kentucky as she served as the liaison to the Kentucky General Assembly . . . She has affected many critical decisions with that thoughtful, but powerful voice. And as a minister, she brings a level of highly intellectual discourse to her congregation and other religious organizations and groups.”

Kemper has a master's degree in divinity from Yale University and ministerial standing in both the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ. She was executive director of the Kentucky Council of Churches from 1991 until her retirement in 2009.

The Spotlight Awards also included a keynote address from Olympic diving champion Micki King and presentation of the first Legacy Award to longtime college trustee Mira Ball, who headed the board of trustees for several years. "Whenever there has been a need of any size or scope, Mira has stepped up," board Chair Donna Moore told the crowd.

Thursday, June 5, 2014

First printed edition of Messenger responds to reader requests, has articles of continuing importance

The Midway Messenger has been publishing online since January 2008. Now it has its first print edition, 500 copies of which are being distributed to several locations in Midway. However, online is always faster; for a printable PDF of the 16-page publication, click here.

A print edition was suggested by several Midwegians who were interviewed this spring by Rachel Aretakis, a student in the community journalism class that produces stories for the Messenger. Her assignment was to write an article about the Messenger project from the viewpoint of people in Midway. A PDF of her article can be downloaded here.

The print edition contains articles that are not time-sensitive and are of continuing importance. Our plan is to publish a print edition once a semester, in the spring and fall, depending on financial suppport. Thanks to the sponsors who made the first edition possible; they are listed on its back page.