Sunday, May 31, 2015

Council set to pass budget, anti-discrimination law

At its meeting Monday evening, the Midway City Council is scheduled to pass a city budget for the fiscal year that starts July 1 and become the eighth Kentucky town with an ordinance banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or familial situation.

The council gave the ordinance first reading May 18 and disposed of several questions raised by Council Member Libby Warfield, the only member to voice skepticism about it at public meetings. The ordinance was strongly favored by the 25 people who spoke at a May 7 public hearing.

Newly elected Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, who had served one term on the council, proposed the ordinance after the countywide Human Rights Commission asked him, Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott and County Judge-Executive John Coyle to pass one. The Versailles City Council and the Woodford County Fiscal Court have not acted on the issue.

Other Kentucky cities with such "fairness ordinances," as advocates call them, are Louisville, Lexington, Covington, Frankfort, Danville, Morehead and the Perry County village of Vicco.

The council meets at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. The Midway Messenger will be unable to cover the meeting, but the Lexington Herald-Leader and The Woodford Sun are expected to be there. For a PDF (size: 16 mb) of the council packet, with the ordinance, the budget and a proposal to lease the old sewage-treatment plant for fish farming, click here.

Five locals make dean's list at Midway College

Five students from Midway were among those named to the dean's list at Midway College for the spring semester. In order to be named to the list, a student must have been classified as full time and earned a 3.6 grade-point average for the semester.

The Midway students on the list are Amanda Elkin, Nicole Inman, Raven Rape, Mariah Smock and Andrea Vanvoorhis, according to a news release from the college.

Friday, May 29, 2015

College gives Pikeville banker Jean Hale its Pinkerton Vision Award for being leader, women's role model

Jean Hale (College photo)
Jean Hale, president and CEO of Pikeville-based Community Trust Bancorp, received the L.L. Pinkerton Vision Award for her accomplishments as a leader and role model for women in Kentucky at Midway College's second annual Spotlight Awards on May 28.

Named after the founder of the Kentucky Female Orphan School, which would later become Midway College, the award honors an individual or group who has had a direct impact on improving the lives of women, served as an outstanding role model for women and young ladies, or who has displayed great leadership, innovative thinking and influence in her chosen career.

"A coal miner's daughter, Ms. Hale rose from humble roots in Pikeville and now runs a $3.8 billion company with more than 1,000 employees and is recognized as one of the top 25 most powerful women in banking nationwide," a college news release said.

As previously announced, the Spotlight Awards also included presentation of the Legacy Award to Elizabeth Lloyd "Libby" Jones for her years of service to the college.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

4 from Midway among 302 Midway College graduates

Four women from Midway were among 302 graduates awrded degrees from Midway College at its May 9 commencement ceremonies.

Colleen Christy Jonsson received a Bachelor of Arts in Equine Studies (Equine Management); Denise Michelle Sandfoss received a B.A. in Business Administration (Accounting); Mariah Elizabeth Smock received a Bachelor of Science in Nursing; and Krysta Allison Wright-Blincoe received an associate of science in Nursing.

For a complete list of degrees and the college's news release, click here. The college will become Midway University on July 1.

Friday, May 22, 2015

Court of Appeals upholds ruling that Bluegrass Pipleline can't gain easements through condemnation

The Kentucky Court of Appeals today upheld a circuit judge's ruling that the proposed Bluegrass Pipeline through greater Midway does not have the power of eminent domain to obtain easements for the line that would carry natural-gas liquids.

A three-judge panel of the appeals court unanimously affirmed the decision by Franklin Circuit Judge Phillip Shepherd. Bluegrass Pipeline, which said a year ago that the project had been suspended, has 30 days to appeal to the state Supreme Court.

"Williams spokesman Tom Droege did not immediately return a request for comment late Friday afternoon, nor did representatives of the Kentucky Oil and Gas Association, which has been following the case," The Courier-Journal reported.

The lawsuit was filed by Kentuckians United to Restrict Eminent Domain. Its attorney, Tom FitzGerald, said in an email, "I could not be more proud of the KURE board and members, and Penny Greathouse in particular, for standing up for the rights of Kentuckians."

For a PDF of the Court of Appeals decision, click here.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Council gives first reading to anti-discrimination ordinance, hears and answers questions from Warfield

Midway City Council Member Libby Warfield posed a battery of questions Monday night as the council gave first reading to the proposed "fairness ordinance" that would prohibit discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity and familial status.

Warfield's questions were answered mainly by Mayor Grayson Vandegrift annd city attorney Phil Moloney, but Council Members Dan Roller, Kaye Nita Gallagher and Sarah Hicks also replied, explaining and supporting language Moloney had drafted.

When Warfield asked how an employer would know a prospective employee's sexual orientation, Gallagher said a person who believed they had been a victim of discrimination would have the burden of proving that had happened.

The ordinance would apply to employers with more than seven employees. Warfield argued that it would apply to very few employers in Midway, but Hicks said that could change, and Roller cited the new McDonald's restaurant as an example.

Warfield said the city could be on the hook for legal expenses of a case that was appealed in court. Vandegrift said several people in Midway had volunteered to contribute to a restricted fund that could be used for such expenses.

The council does not hold votes (and usually does not hold discussions) on first readings. Vandegrift said after the meeting that the second reading would be held at the council's next meeting, Monday, June 1. If the ordinance passes, Midway would be the eighth Kentucky city with such a law.

The council also held first reading of the proposed city budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. It calls for expenses of about $1,114,264 and keeping the city's unbudgeted surplus at $600,000.

Significant changes include fire department maintenance and equipment, $41,685, up from $17,000, reflecting planned purchase of protective clothing; street equipment, $14,800, up from $10,989, reflecting the planned purchase of a truck; cemetery equipment, $14,800, up from $5,000, reflecting planned purchase of a truck; cemetery maintenance, $50,000, up from $35,000, reflecting sidewalk and roof repairs; City Hall maintenance, $20,000, up from $15,000, reflecting the planned purchase of a new entry door; and donations, $3,500, down from $10,000 in the current year. However, there are line items for new recipients of donations: $1,500 for the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce and $1,000 for Midway College (which becomes Midway University on July 1).

The council gave approval on second reading to the ordinance that slightly increases garbage rates, to $12 a month from $11.95 for residential pickup and $25.50 a month for businesses.

Vandegrift announced that the annual Memorial Day service at the cemetery will be held at 10 a.m. Monday, May 25.

For a PDF of the ordinances, the budget and the rest of the council's meeting packet, click here.

Friday, May 15, 2015

Anti-discrimination ordinance set for first reading Mon.

The "fairness ordinance" to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation, gender identity and familal status is scheduled to get its first reading before the Midway City Council at its next meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall. For a PDF of the proposed ordinance, click here.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Henry Wombles of Heirloom writes a novel, Under the Flagpole, about the people in his native Eastern Ky.

By Kayla Loy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Henry Wombles signs books outside Heirloom Sept. 20
You can usually find Henry Wombles helping his son, Mark Wombles, run the Heirloom restaurant in Midway, especially since Mark opened a restaurant in Lexington. But while running a restaurant, Wombles recently finished a novel.

Under the Flagpole focuses on people in Eastern Kentucky who have never been outside the area or lived anywhere except the mountains.

Wombles said they are smart people but haven’t traveled a lot. The protagonist of the book, Miles Hudson, lies about his age when he joins the military so he was able to join at 16.

“I thought it was a story that never been told that really needed to be told,” he said.

As a younger man, Hudson develops a fever that reaches 103 degrees. His mother doesn’t want to take him to the hospital so she tells Hudson’s 17-year-old sister, Evaline, to go get Silver Eyed Jane to heal him with her magical powers:
“Scared and confused, Evaline lashed out. “I’ll tell you something, Miss Silver-Eyed Jane! I never wanted to come up here on your mountain in the first place, but my momma sent me here!”
Hudson goes through hardships and wants to do something more than only being a coal miner. He tries to find himself.

Wombles, 76, said he wrote the book because he is from Eastern Kentucky: Hazard, where his father owned coal mines. He said he always wanted to write a book about the region.  “I grew up in that area and knew all the people,” he said.

Those people in Wombles’ generation were very patriotic during the World War II years. “It was a different experience for them” to go to war, Wombles said, because the life they lived in Eastern Kentucky was different from the rest of the world.

During this time, people in Eastern Kentucky had movies and radio, but no television. The only thing they saw from the outside world was what they saw on the movie screen. In Hazard, there were two theaters.

“Everyone in the mountains loved going to the movies, especially the cowboy movies,” Wombles said. Many of them “never thought they would ever see anything except mountains.”

Wombles said he started on the book two or three times due to the deaths of his parents.
It took him about four years to write it. Finishing it was a “weight off my shoulders,” he said.

Wombles describes the self-published book as a “work of love” for the people he grew up with.

For several years after high school, Wombles worked for his father in the mines. After that, he found work in Hazard at an engineering company, then with an engineering firm in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., that was restoring the home of Samuel Lerner, who owned the Lerner Shops.

“The home had a lot of history to it,” said Wombles, indicating Ernest Hemingway wrote many of his stories in that house.

The project lasted about three years. Wombles said it was a great experience for a man in his early 20s, and he hopes to go back to Bimini this summer.

When Wombles left Bimini, he moved to Winter Park, Fla., just outside Orlando. He lived there for about five years, working at a one-hour cleaners, but his father kept asking him to come back to Kentucky to help him work in the mines. Wombles did come back, but to Lexington, and traveled back and forth to work in the mountains.

When the coal business slowed down, Wombles got a job in single-copy sales at the Lexington Herald-Leader, where he made and directed training films for new employees. He retired from the newspaper at age 63.

Wombles held a few other jobs, then retired to his small farm on the Woodford- Fayette county line. 
“I just wanted to live out in the country. I like country living,” he said. "I’ve been there now close to 30 years.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Libby Jones to be honored, Ouita Michel to deliver keynote at Midway College Spotlight Awards May 28

Elizabeth Lloyd "Libby" Jones
Two of Midway's most famous women will share the spotlight at the second annual Spotlight Awards at Midway College on May 28. Elizabeth Lloyd "Libby" Jones will receive the Legacy Award for service to the college, and chef Ouita Michel will deliver the keynote address.

The Legacy Award was created to honor people who have helped the college over many years by giving time, service, support and/or resources. Jones is a second-generation trustee of the college, following her father, Gen. Arthur Y. Lloyd. She chairs the board's Academic Committee and is active in several other organizations throughout Kentucky and the nation.

Jones is a director of American Farmland Trust, vice chair of The Bluegrass Conservancy, founding director of Kentucky Agriculture and Environment in the Classroom, and a director of the Kentucky Historical Society Foundation. She is co-owner of Airdrie Stud Inc. with her husband, former Gov. Brereton Jones. They have two adult children, Lucy and Bret, and two grandsons.

"Libby has been an invaluable asset to Midway College during her many years as a trustee and has touched so many lives on this campus and in the community," Dr. John P. Marsden, president of the college, said in a news release.

The Spotlight Awards will also include presentation of the Pinkerton Vision Award, which honors a person or group that has had a direct impact on improving women's lives; a woman who has been an outstanding role model; or a woman who has displayed great leadership, innovative thinking and influence in her career. The winner has not been announced.

Ouita Papka Michel
Michel is the owner and executive chef at Holly Hill Inn, Wallace Station, Windy Corner Market and Restaurant, Smithtown Seafood, and the Midway School Bakery. She is chef-in-residence at Woodford Reserve Distillery and operates Glenn's Creek Café and Glenn's Creek Catering. She is devoted to using local foods to help sustain Bluegrass family farms and provide the freshest, best-tasting cuisine. Her restaurants have used more than $2 million worth of Kentucky-grown meats, dairy products, fruits and vegetables over the last 13 years.

Michel's reputation for food and her commitment to sustainability have earned her national attention. She has often been a nominee for James Beard Foundation Award as best chef in the Southeast. She is a graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, a member of Slow Food USA, congregational coordinator of the Kids in the Kitchen at Midway Christian Church and manager of the church's free, monthly community supper. She is a member of FoodChain, a non-profit food incubator in Lexington, and is a member of the Prichard Committee for Academic Excellence, formerly headed by her late stepfather, Robert Sexton. Her father, Ray Papka, is a mixed-media artist in the Midway area. She lives in a 200-year-old cabin next to the Holly Hill Inn with her husband, Chris, and daughter, Willav.

"Not only does Ouita excel in her professional endeavors, she, like our Spotlight Award winners, is a tireless advocate for the causes she champions," Marsden said. "It is a pleasure for us to call such a renowned chef and speaker our friend and neighbor, and to welcome her to Midway College."

The Spotlight Awards highlight women and men who have been leaders in representing women's issues, have made an impact that benefits women in the state of Kentucky and beyond, and innovative women in their chosen field. For more information on the event, go to www.midway.edu/Spotlight or call 859-846-5300.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Motorcyclist killed in wreck on Old Frankfort Pike tonight

An unidentified motorcyclist was killed in an accident around 8 tonight on Old Frankfort Pike near Pisgah Pike. Police said the cyclist apparently lost control and was pronounced dead at the scene. Officials did not release the name but said speed played a role in the accident, and road conditions at the time were good. (Based on reports from WKYT-TV)

Sunday, May 10, 2015

20 favor, five oppose 'fairness ordinance' at city's public forum; more than half of sign-ups weren't from Midway

By Jacqueline Nie
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Twenty people endorsed and five opposed the proposed “fairness ordinance” in a public forum at the Northside Elementary School gymnasium Thursday evening. The ordinance, awaiting first reading before the Midway City Council, would prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity.

About 75 people attended the forum, according to Assistant City Clerk Diane Shepard. She managed the sign-in sheets, which had the names of 57 people, a few of whom listed post office boxes or other uncertain addresses. About 25 were from Midway, 15 from elsewhere in Woodford County and about 10 from elsewhere in Kentucky. Midway would be the eighth Kentucky city with such an ordinance, and the second smallest.

Isaac Batts of Midway shared his story of coming out as transgender, about a year ago. “Right now, I could be asked, or even made to leave any public place, because someone else isn’t comfortable with me being transgender,” he said. Batts said he felt uncomfortable to go into the bathroom at school, but the proposed ordinance states that schools would not have to comply with the ordinance.

Business owners, ministers and employees of the Kentucky Human Rights Commission shared their thoughts. Midway minister Pete Jones stands with the ordinance. “I wanted to stand as a faith leader in the Woodford County community and say that I support this,” he said. Jones was one of four ministers who spoke; all supported the ordinance.

Bernice Yates of Versailles said she believes the ordinance could infringe on her religious beliefs. “I’m opposed to this ordinance,” Yates said, adding, “I believe in treating people fair and with love and respect.”

One speaker suggested adding veterans to the classes of people the ordinance would protect from discrimination. “We may consider adding the veterans,” Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said afterward. “That was an interesting remark.”

Otherwise, Vandegrift said the ordinance is ready for its first reading. “I don’t see any reason to change the ordinance,” he said. “It’s come through committee and it’s probably ready to go to full council now.”

The forum went smoothly, with audience members respecting all opinions. “I thought everybody acted very civil and courteous, and I think these things go exactly as the citizens make them go, so I give them a ton of credit,” Vandegrift said. “I think they did a great job.”

Saturday, May 9, 2015

The Woodford County Farmers’ Market opened in Midway on Monday, and the number of vendors is expected to grow as the season extends.

All the vendors of vegetables, plants, and baked items are part of Kentucky Proud, which is the official marketing program for in-state agricultural products. Vendors who participate in the market cannot resell items they bought from somewhere else.

“You have to grow it or produce it yourself,” Hutcherson Family Farm Produce owner Susan Hutcherson said while selling vegetables at the market on May 4. The other vendors on opening day were Be Good to Yourself: Baked Goods and Produce; Highland Moor, a nursery; and Bluegrass Aquaponics, a vegetable monger.

The market operates Monday from 3 to 6 p.m. on East Main Street in Midway; Wednesday, starting June 3, from 3 to 6 p.m. at Versailles Presbyterian Church; and Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon in downtown Versailles at the courthouse.

The market has a Facebook page that lists what is being sold each week is posted, along with pictures. Five board members oversee the market, which is managed by the Woodford County Cooperative Extension Service.

Root crops from Hutcherson Family Farm Produce
Hutcherson, who is from Frankfort, said she started joining farmers’ markets in 1994. She has been doing the Woodford County market for “seven years or so” and also participates in the Franklin County and Owen County markets.
On her 20-acre farm, she grows tomatoes, corn, watermelons, cantaloupes and other items watered from the bottom up. She will soon start having strawberries, which only last about a month. “Last year I started having strawberries May 17th, so this year I think we’re on target,” she said. “We always have them during the Memorial [Day] weekend and usually a couple weeks before.”

Hutcherson said she likes to grow vegetables because it’s “mainly what we like to eat.”
A basket from Be Good to Yourself: Baked Goods and Produce
Be Good to Yourself: Baked Goods and Produce sells herbs, whole-wheat items and pies. Owner Connie Sandrock, who is president of the Woodford County market, describes herself as an “urban farmer.”
She and her husband, Bob Sandrock, started their business in 2005, when they got the idea from their daughter, who wanted to sell jewelry to give money to the Woodford Humane Society. Sandrock said she sold a few things from her garden and baking, and went from there.
She grows raspberries, tart cherries, blackberries, apples and some strawberries in Versailles, and and hopes to get a “couple or so acres” someday.
Sandrock said she enjoys baking because “It’s kind of relaxing, actually, if you’re by yourself and just putting different ways to either cook or bake. It’s creative. It could be an outlet. It’s a fun stress reliever.”
Flowers and plants from Highland Moor nursery
Highland Moor, from Midway, is is a family-owned production nursery that began in 2003. Owner Robert McNeil said he cuts flowers and grows vegetables such as tomatoes, beans, cabbage, broccoli, peppers, cucumbers and squash.
McNeil said he has been working with plants for 60 years, and grows vegetables “just to have more product during July and August when plants don’t move during those months.”
The seeding for cabbage and broccoli starts in late February. Other vegetable and flower seedings are weekly, which starts April 1 and ends in July.

McNeil grows different varieties of hydrangea, bearded iris, stone crop and butterfly bush. “Our specialty is hydrangea from the plant standpoint, but we also have a number of Kentucky natives,” McNeil said. “That makes us unique compared to other production nursery in the area.”
Lettuce from Bluegrass Aquaponics
Bluegrass Aquaponics, from Versailles, was the sole vendor last Monday that participates in only one market. “One step at a time,” said owner Lora Ginter, who started her business last July with her husband, Ed Ginter.
Ginter said she also has market hours on her farm on Thursdays and Saturdays: “I want to be local for the local people.”
Ginter grows 10 varieties of lettuce, kale, cucumbers, herbs, eggplant, and 18 different varieties of tomatoes, which are experimental.
Aquaponics raises fish and vegetables in one circulating system. Everything is grown on water or in water, in a greenhouse, with no fertilizer, said Ginter.          
“If you just do fish, you have to get rid of the waste, and if you just do vegetables, you have to fertilize them,” Ginter said. With aquaponics, “You’re able to make the waste have a job, and then you don’t have to fertilize your vegetables, so it all just works together.”

The market runs through October. For information, go to https://woodford.ca.uky.edu/FarmersMarket or contact Faye Tewksbury, county extension agent for horticulture, at Faye.Tewksbury@uky.edu or 859-873-4601.

Education minister of Panama speaks at Midway College commencement; 302 getting degrees

Panamanian Education Minister Marcela Paredes de Vásquez is the keynote speaker at Midway College's commencement ceremony today, beginning at 11 a.m. in the Graves Amphitheater. The event will be livestreamed at http://www.ustream.tv/channel/midway-college.

The minister, an engineer by trade, will speak about the importance of global education. Midway has partnered with the Panamanian government on several initiatives over the last two years, including a program that brought 26 undergraduate students upon their high-school graduation to participate in a college readiness program for nine months. These students have now matriculated into degree programs at the college.

Midway is also partnering with the Panamanian government program Panama Bilingue to provide professional development for Panamanian teachers to enhance their knowledge of pedagogical methodologies and to advance their English-speaking skills.

"It is a great honor for us to welcome Marcela Paredes de Vásquez to Midway College," said Dr. John P. Marsden, president of the school. "She is an incredibly accomplished, well-educated woman who I am sure will inspire our graduates to continue expanding their horizons and exploring the world."

This is the college's last graduating class before it changes its name to Midway University on July 1. The class has 302 graduates, including those who completed their degrees in December 2014 and at the end of the 2015 spring semester.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Council to work on budget at 5 p.m. Monday

The Midway City Council will have a special meeting at 5 p.m. Monday, May 11, at City Hall, to work on the city budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1. All council meetings are open to the public.

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Francisco's Farm Arts Festival May 16-17 at Midway College will have jury-selected art in many media

By Arion Wright
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Mixed media art by Charlie Yowell
The annual Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival will be held on May 16 and 17 at Midway College. Pottery, jewelry, photographs and various artwork by 85 artists will be on exhibit.

The event is named for Col. John Francisco, who was the original owner of the property where Midway now sits. He sold his farm to the Lexington and the Ohio Railroad, which established Midway in the 1830s. The festival started at Midway College at 2004.

This year’s event will feature the work of fine artists and craft artists pre-selected by a panel of jury members from 125 applicants.  Artists come from all around the world.

The outdoor exhibition is an opportunity for the public to meet and interact with artists and purchase art. The festival will feature artists’ booths, food concessions, live music, public art projects, artist demonstrations and other special exhibits. There will be a variety of exhibits, including two-dimensional art, and fine crafts in all media. There will be a diverse showcase of fine art and fine crafts.

Donald Pekarek jewelry
Also, the Woodford County Public Library will sponsor a children’s’ booth, that will include tie dye crafts, a fun diffusing paper activity, with water soluble markers, and water, for a beautiful color effect.

Kenny Smith, the festival’s artist coordinator and the owner of Kennydid Gallery in Midway, noted that the event has been named one of the top festivals in the South by the Southeast Tourism Society.

The festival’s other awards include the Kentucky League of Cities Enterprise City Award, the Kentucky Tourism Council’s Top 10 Events and American Style Magazine’s Top 10 Art Festival for four years.

The event will run between 10 a.m. and 6 p.m. on Saturday, and between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. on Sunday at Midway College. Admission is free, and parking at the college is $5.

On Saturday, there will be live music on the steps of the Little Memorial Library. The Lexington Saxophone Trio, Celtic group Margret Lyle Gravit and Jack Twombly, traditional Irish singer Liam’s Fancy, jazz and African spoken-word artist Water, and the gyspy jazz Americana and Latina group Stirfy Musette, will perform.

On Sunday, the entertainers will be traditional English and Irish folk singers Bill and Leslie Penn; the rock, blues, and roots group Chung Yen Twins; the American and classic pop group Chester the Band; tonk piano balladeer Keith Hubbard; the Midway Children’s Choir; the Americana group Bill, Lauren and Sophie Hill; and gospel singer Aaron Hamilton of Midway.

Ceramic by Janet Essenpreis
The festival will have a variety of vendors, including Two Ladies and a Kettle, Rick’s Hotdogs, Lucky Dog BBQ, The La Petite Creperie, Oak Barrel Honey Lemonade, Honnah Lee Bubble Tea, and KC Candy.

Local-area artists include Raymond Papka, a mixed media artist; Gray Zeitz, a letterpress publisher; and Karen Riggins, a quilt artist. For a complete list of the artists see http://www.franciscosfarm.org/#!2015-artists-/c1pxi.

"Midway Renaissance and Midway College are excited to welcome visitors to this year's festival,” said Ellen Gregory, festival committee marketing chair and college spokesperson. “The variety of artists will please all of our visitors and provide something for everyone's artistic tastes."

For more information about the festival, go to www.franciscosfarm.org.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Council names new alcohol administrator, starts raising garbage fees, discusses Thurs. forum, senior services

By Nicole Hennard and Jacqueline Nie
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Midway City Council appointed a new alcoholic-beverage control administrator Monday evening and heard first reading of an ordinance that would slightly increase garbage rates. The council also discussed the upcoming forum on the proposed anti-discrimination ordinance and the availability of services for seniors.

The first order of business was appointing John Wilhoit, assistant police chief in Versailles, as ABC administrator. Versailles police patrol all of Woodford County, including Midway.

Tom Bozarth, who was mayor until the first of the year, had been the administrator, but new Mayor Grayson Vandegrift is ineligible for the job because his restaurant, 815 Prime, holds an alcoholic-beverage license.

Vandegrift said after the meeting that Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott agreed to include Wilhoit's new duties in that city's contract with Midway, at no extra charge. Vandegrift said Wilhoit Is planning to retire in four months, so another new administrator will be needed then.

The new garbage rates would be $12 for residential customers, up from $11.95, and $25.50 for businesses, up from $23.80. Residents get one pickup per week and businesses two; churches can choose to pay the residential fee, but get only receive one pickup per week.

Vandegrift spoke about the forum scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Thursday at the Northside Elementary School gymnasium to discuss the proposed “fairness ordinance” to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The mayor proposed the idea of the ordinance in early February, and city attorney Phil Moloney prepared the drafts in March at the direction of a council committee. The council has been discussing the language in the proposed document and wants input from the residents of Midway.

“The forum will be an opportunity to hear what our residents have to say,” without comments from the council, Vandegrift said. “This will not be a back-and-forth discussion, just a chance for them to speak.” He said said anyone who speaks will have two to three minutes.

The original wording of the proposed ordinance included language similar to that of Indiana's "restoration of religious freedom" law, which made national news, but that wording has been eliminated by the council's Finance, Ordinance and Policy Committee.

The council recently agreed that it wants to hear what citizens think before it holds a first reading of the ordinance. “However many people show up, you know, it’s a chance for everybody to speak their mind,” the mayor said.

Council Member Sarah Hicks said after the meeting that she does not know what to expect at the forum. “I think it’s a great thing and I hope that, you know, we find out more about what the community wants,” she said.

Vandegrift added something new at the end of the meeting. He said he wants to conclude all future meetings with an open discussion, asking each council member if they had any concerns or talking points they wanted to bring up to the rest of the council.

Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher said she spoke with contractor Bill Blaze about fixing the cemetery sidewalks, which are in need of repair. Gallagher said she is talking with other contractors about the job.

Council Member Bruce Southworth was concerned with the language of the ordinance that bans open burning and was written during a state of emergency. Council Member Libby Warfield was also concerned. “The ordinance we have is not logical. It prohibits gas and charcoal grills,” she said.

Council Member Steven Craig suggested that the fire chief be involved in rewriting the ordinance, and also pointed out that the door of the fire station needs repainting.

Vandegrift said he would like to see the citizens of Midway utilize the Woodford County Senior Citizens Center, which has only one client in the city and wants to get more involved in Midway. In addition to walking around town, the center will have a booth at the fall festival.

The center provides three hot meals a week, rides to doctors’ appointments and to grocery stores for people over 60. “It’s an untapped resource for Midway,” Vandegrift said.

The center receives federal and state funds, along with private donations, so its services are free and only require the client to fill out a piece of paper. Pam Wesley is the new director and can be reached at 873-8384 or pam.wesley@bgcap.org.

Organizers of Derby Eve Lexington gala, in greater Midway, say it will be held a second time next year

By Megan Ingros
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

When you think of Kentucky Derby Eve events in the Lexington area you may think of Anita Madden, but her last extravagant event was in 1998. In the past 17 years no event has come close to being a rival to the pre-Derby celebrations in Louisville. However, on Friday, May 1, a new event emerged: Derby Eve Lexington. Hosted by Saxony Farm, in the Scott County part of greater Midway, it is an attempt to restore the big party scene to Lexington.

Event coordinator Donna Sturgeon said in an interview, “We would love to break $100,000 after the bills are paid and distributed to charity.” Five days after the event, she said no official figure could be given since deposits were still coming in, she said, but “Tons of folks have been calling us that were not involved this year but want to be next year. The outcome is looking very good for next year.”

A pioneer-dressed greeter from a beer tour welcomed guests.
(Photo by Rashad Bigham, UK School of Journalism)
As guests arrived at the party their pictures were taken on the red carpet sponsored by Park Equine Hospital. Stationed on the red carpet were three models hired by Images Model and Talent Agency, wearing dresses from Bella Rose.

Inside seven tents and two structural barns, and under 18 chandeliers, three bands entertained. Opening acts were the Cainlands, a funkadelic and blues band, and Payback, a James Brown tribute band. The headliner was The Spazmatics, an ’80s cover band from Fort Lauderdale.

Victor Espinoza, vice president of sales and operations at Equibase Co. in Lexington, one of the event’s corporate sponsors, summed it up: “It’s close, three bands and bourbon. What more could you ask for?”

Horses were the toast of the evening. (Photo
by Rashad Bigham, UK School of Journalism)
Proximity and a sense of community seemed to be key assets of the event. Sturgeon estimated that more than 500 tickets sold, some to people who made last-minute calls saying they had heard about the event and wanted to pay at the door. She said, “We were not prepared originally to do that but we thought ‘why not’, so we made ourselves prepared so we are now over 500.”

Amy Willis of Lexington said, “I think it’s a great event. I used to come to the Anita Madden parties way back when, and they were wonderful, so I’m glad they’re bringing something similar back.”

Several volunteers from the Woodford County Humane Society, of which Sturgeon is vice president, worked the event. Sturgeon has been on the group’s board of directors for the last nine years and worked with them for the last 11 years on the philanthropic committee. In the past, the humane society has relied on Freedom Fest, a huge, two-day, philanthropic event, Sturgeon said.

Organizer Donna Sturgeon enjoyed the event.
“They do it the same old way every single time; they do a high ticket price and have a silent auction and a live auction; music doesn’t start until 10 or 11 at night,” Sturgeon said. “There had to be a way that we could bring philanthropic people to a party, entertain them, without dipping in their pocket every ten or fifteen minutes. They’re just getting tired of the same old boring fundraising parties, so this is it I think, I think we’ve struck gold, I hope.”

Al Young, brand ambassador for sponsor Four Roses Bourbon spoke in the same vein. “I think it’s the best thing that’s happened in a long time,” Young said. “It should happen every year.”

General admission tickets were priced at $200 and VIP tickets at $350, which included access to the Hagyard Equine Medical Institute VIP lounge, with better food including asparagus and beef brisket. Attire was cocktail, and admittance was limited to those 21 or older. The party was equipped with multiple open bars, a cigar bar and food catered from Dupree’s Catering.

Midway's Damselfly Artisan Gallery had a display at the Derby Eve gala.
The event had 20 sponsors and benefited five charities including the humane society; Horses and Hope, committed to breast cancer prevention; Horse Aid Live, which promotes humane treatment for all equines; the Race for Education, for academic development programs; and The Calipari Foundation, which focuses on improving quality of life with an emphasis on children.

University of Kentucky basketball coach John Calipari attended a party in Louisville instead, but Sturgeon said he did tweet about the event the day before, and with 2.1 million followers, “It was amazing the last minute ticket sales we had yesterday after that one tweet.” Sturgeon guessed about 80 tickets sold within two hours after that tweet was sent out. Sturgeon joked, “Maybe next year he’ll hear about it and say ‘I got to go there first’.”

Sturgeon, the marketing director for Jack Kain Ford in Versailles, said the total amount of sponsorships was almost $60,000, aware that “For a party this size it is extremely low. We should have done twice that.”

Sturgeon remained hopeful, saying it is just a first-year event and folks have to be sold on it.
She said the committee invited a lot of people who said no. “Actually, my committee has spent a lot of our own personal money to make this happen because the businesses wouldn’t do it. So, nothing against them; hopefully . . . we will wow them enough tonight that they say yes” next year.

Keith Yarber, owner of TOPS in Lexington magazine, said, “I feel terrific about this event. It’s very much needed … and Kentucky’s all about horses, the horse capital of the world, and we need a party in Lexington. We need a big party with glitz and glamour and it looks like this one is it.”

One celebrity spotted at the event was Grant Wilson, co-founder of SyFy Channel’s “Ghost Hunter” & “Ghost Hunter International”. The provided list of celebrities who were scheduled to attend was modest, but included Lana Parrilla, star of ABC’s Sunday night show “Once Upon A Time.”

TOPS was a media sponsor, as were WKYT, WDKY, iHeartMedia, QX.net, and Secrets of Bluegrass Chefs.

Other party sponsors and partners included Traditional Bank, Old 502 Winery, Jake’s Cigar Bar, Clark Beverage Group, Dillard’s, Tito’s Handmade Vodka, the Breeders’ Cup, Keeneland, Office Depot/Office Max and Blue Grass Tours.

Sturgeon said the event started out with the humane society as the only beneficiary. When the Breeders Cup came on board, “their sponsor of choice is Race for Education, so they said ‘We’ll do it if you give back’ so of course, that’s a no-brainer,” Sturgeon said. “That’s how the other charities came on board, as sponsors came on board we had to donate a little bit to their charity, which is fantastic.”

Attendees interviewed were all complimentary.  “It’s nice not to have to drive out to Louisville and I can stay home and have a good time,” said Christian Motley of the Governor’s Office of Early Childhood.

The breeders of Derby horse Far Right, Patrick and Jason Crowley, said, “This event needs to be done every year. It’s great.”

In a post-event interview, Sturgeon said she was “ecstatic for a first-year event. I could not have been more pleased.” As for next year, she said, “Planning begins Tuesday, May 12, for 2016.” 
MapQuest image (click on it for a larger version)

Friday, May 1, 2015

Brereton Jones's Lovely Maria wins the Kentucky Oaks

Lovely Maria, owned by former Gov. Brereton Jones of Midway, won the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs Friday afternoon. In this image taken from Louisville's WAVE-TV, Jones holds the trophy in front of trainer Larry Jones (no relation). At left are jockey Kerwin Clark and the former governor's wife, Libby Jones. At far right is Lt. Gov. Crit Luallen, who presented the trophy and served in Jones's 1991-95 administration as tourism secretary. It marked the third victory for the Jones owner-trainer team in the Oaks in eight years.

"I know that my family and I are blessed; I don't know why it has happened," Jones said at a press conference after the race. "But for some reason it's happened, and we could not be more thankful. And we recognize that this happened because of a big team effort. It happened because people at the farm have done the right things. . . . The trainer then gets to look 'em over and start training them, and we leave him alone; and then he gets the jockey, and he gets a good jockey, and he leaves the jockey alone, and I just kind of sit back and say, 'Man, this is fun.' And sure enough, it all works."