Monday, June 29, 2015

College's latest endowment report gives only clues of how much it lost on pharmacy-school project

By Megan Ingros
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Three years after Midway College’s venture for a pharmacy school in Eastern Kentucky fell short, the question remains: How much money was lost?

Though the private institution won’t say, it has to file a public report on its endowment, investments that produce income – but which college officials discussed tapping, perhaps not for the first time, as the pharmacy venture was falling apart.

The college’s 2012 report to the state Council on Postsecondary Education showed a plateau in the endowment, which had been growing steadily. That suggests the college may have tapped into the endowment. 

The latest report to the CPE, made April 1, showed an unrestricted endowment a year ago of $9,021,339, an $1,361,306 increase from 2012.

From 2011 to 2012, reports showed an increase of only $217,369, much smaller than the norm.  The figure for 2013 is an estimate, based on the average of the previous and following years. The actual figure is not available because the state has changed its rules to require such reporting every two years.

The college had to twice withdraw applications for accreditation of the pharmacy school in Paintsville, 130 miles east of Midway, because the accrediting agency said it would not be accredited. That had major financial implications because in order to be accredited, the school had to hire and pay faculty, starting a year in advance of its first application.

The Accreditation Council for Pharmacy Education was concerned with the inexperience shown by the dean and didn’t see any proof that there was an understanding of what it would take to run and build the school. The ACPE also noted that the college had to show sufficient financial backing. The building cost turned out to be double the initial $12 million pledged by the Paintsville couple who launched the project. Also, at the time the college had a debt of $10.5 million to PNC Bank, which denied the college’s request for an additional loan.

The college tried to get the University of Charleston, which closer than Midway to Paintsville, to keep the project going, but the pledge was withdrawn. The project died, and President William Drake resigned at the request of the college trustees in March 2012.

That fall, the college suffered an 18 percent decline in enrollment from the previous year. It released 16 staff members, terminated about a dozen faculty members’ contracts and suspended contributions to faculty retirement accounts in order to balance its budget for the 2013-14 year. Enrollment has since rebounded.

Midway College declined to offer any comment on the issue. Vice President of Marketing and Communications Ellen Gregory said in an email, “The project has been closed for many years. The college does not and will not have any further comment on any issues related to the school of pharmacy.”

Robert King, president of the Council on Postsecondary Education, said he was unsure of the project’s financial impact on the college, but said, “I know currently they are back on solid footing.” King said the college just went through an accreditation that came through with very positive results.

Gregory said the college is moving on from the past and leaving the pharmacy school behind. “Our most important focus remains on providing the best possible education for our students, and despite recent challenges, we are pleased with the progress that Midway is making,” she said. The college will change its name to Midway University on July 1.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

The Homeplace at Midway holds an open house

Christian Care Communities held an open house today for The Homeplace at Midway, the new senior-living community across from Midway College on East Stephens Street (or Weisenberger Mill Road). Above, a CCC employee waits to guide visitors to the cottages. Below, the dining area of a nursing cottage was a place to gather, eat, drink and admire the interior design and architecture.

Below, Frankie Fisher, 94, greeted visitors in her apartment at the assisted-living cottage. She said that she "cried the first two days" at The Homeplace because she missed her home on Gratz Street, but Homeplace staff members are "so nice" she has decided to stay.

Sandra Leach and her husband Louie, of Versailles, talked with Sharon Turner, right, about the availability of various types of housing. Turner, who was on the Midway City Council from 2007 through 2014, was one of the leaders of the Midway Nursing Home Task Force, which worked for 16 years to bring such a facility to Midway. Below, a living area in one of the cottages.

Below are the administrative cottage and the Lucy Simms Lloyd Gathering House for special events.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Homeplace at Midway formally opens

By Kacie Kelly and Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Homeplace at Midway was formally opened today, bringing to full fruition a 16-year campaign for a nursing home in Midway. It will host an open house from 1 to 3 p.m. Sunday.

Construction this spring (Christian Care Communities photo)
The Homeplace, which has four residential buildings that look like single-family homes, is more than a nursing home. Two of the buildings are for skilled nursing, but one is for assisted living and the other is for "memory care" or personal care of patients with dementia and other cognitive impairments.

“The Homeplace at Midway represents a new beginning for older adults in Kentucky and for communities across the commonwealth to embrace them as living treasures, not a burden or a challenge,” Dr. Keith Knapp, president and chief executive officer of Christian Care Communities, which built the Homeplace and will operate it, said at the ribbon-cutting ceremony.

Assisted living cottage (Photo by Kacie Kelly)
“We are extremely grateful to the City of Midway, the Midway Nursing Home Task Force, Midway College, state and local government agencies, our capital campaign’s Leadership Council and all our friends and supporters who championed this new direction and envisioned with us a new day when older adults would receive the highest quality care and support, without feeling their lives are being disrupted or overtaken,” Knapp said. “We trust that it will inspire other senior living providers to move in a similar direction.”

The Homeplace is the first facility in Kentucky built with The Green House model, which includes home-like environments and strong relationships with caregivers, with the goal of meaningful lives for residents. Dr. William Thomas, creator of the model, told the crowd at the event, “The Homeplace, with its emphasis on home, shows how care can be made more loving, community centered and effective.”

One of the two skilled-care cottages (Photo by Kacie Kelly)
Patients have been moving in all month. The staff at The Homeplace is trained to use the “best friend approach,” Laurie Dorough, the facility's community-relations manager, said in an interview. Staff and volunteers are to treat residents as they would treat a best friend.

Knapp said at the ribbon-cutting, “Each resident will have a private bedroom and bath and share, just as people do in any home, the kitchen, living room, den and porch areas. It’s all designed to give residents the freedom to set their own daily routines and to live life to its fullest, while receiving the individual care they need – within each cottage.

The assisted-living cottage is larger than the others, to provide room for more activities and “the potential for spouses to live there,” said Laurie Dorough. “It’s kind of the first step out of independent living,” she said. The cottage has an open kitchen where residents can get involved with meal preparation or “come out and see what’s cooking.”

Skilled-care cottage bathroom lift system (Photo by Kacie Kelly)
The skilled-nursing cottages have bedrooms with medicine cupboards rather than medical carts, and a bathroom lift system (photo at right) that takes the resident straight to their own bathroom. The bedrooms are relatively small, an incentive for residents to spend more time in the communal living space.

The Homeplace campus, across Stephens Street from Midway College, also includes an administrative cottage and the Lucy Simms Lloyd Gathering House for special gatherings, worship services and activities.

Between the cottages is the courtyard, with lighted walking paths from building to building, a gazebo, and space for outdoor activities. “Our hope is to maybe start a community garden,” said Dorough.

The long campaign for a nursing home, led by the Midway Nursing Home Task Force, began to see success in 2010 when Louisville-based Christian Care agreed to be the developer. Christian Care has facilities in 11 Kentucky cities, and a church-outreach program with more than 230 churches as partners.

The Homeplace will have a partnership with Midway College. They will be “life long learning partners.” With this partnership both parties will benefit from the relationship in an environment that fosters learning for all ages.

“We are excited to work with Midway College to not only provide learning opportunities for students but also for the residents of The Homeplace,” said Tonya Cox, the facility's executive director. The Homeplace will be offering internships and other learning opportunities for the students. This partnership will also benefit residents, Cox said: “Our residents will also have the opportunity to attend events and classes to foster their lifelong learning.”

Cox said The Homeplace aims to provide “unique long-term care in a way that honors their preferences and desires to be home.” More information is on the facility's website.

Friday, June 19, 2015

Council to meet on sewer-project application

The Midway City Council will hold a special meeting at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday, June 23, at City Hall, to pass a resolution authorizing an application to state and federal agencies for a sewer replacement project. All council meetings are open to the public.

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Council set to hear new burning ordinance, consider deals on emergency management, fish farming

A new open-burning ordinance, a deal for fish farming at the old sewage-treatment plant, and a long-debated agreement on emergency management are among the agenda items for the Midway City Council meeting set for 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall.

The council is scheduled to hear first reading of the burning ordinance, which would replace emergency ordinances passed in 2012 and 2014. It would ban the burning of rubbish or buildings for the purpose of disposal and open burning "that is offensive or objectionable because of smoke emissions . . . when atmospheric conditions or local circumstances make such fires hazardous. It would allow cooking fires, "properly protected and contained fires" and fires for which the fire chief has issued a permit. Violation would be punishable by a fine of $50 to $500 and/or up to 30 days in jail; the current ordinance's penalty is a fine of $1 to $100 per day.

The proposed emergency management agreement is between Midway, Versailles and Woodford County. It would resolve the lengthy impasse over funding of the program by bringing into the formula the $30,000 that the county gets each year from the state for emergency management. It would reduce Midway’s contribution by $1,950 and Versailles’ by $10,320, based on population. The council gave preliminary approval to the agreement in April.

The fish farming agreement would be with Advancing Sustainable Aquaculture Performance LLC, a limited-liability company formed by Steve Mims of Frankfort, who started experimental fish farming at the old wastewater treatment plant a few years ago when he was a professor at Kentucky State University. The draft agreement would be for one year and could be renewed twice. It calls for ASAP to pay the city $100 a year plus an unspecified percentage of the company's "gross profits." Mims plans to raise 40,000 largemouth bass fingerlings from June through October, as stock for fish farmers who would raise them for sale. He already has a similar deal with the City of Frankfort.

The proposed agreements and ordinance, the minutes of the June 1 meeting and other documents are in the council's meeting packet, which can be downloaded as a 10.7 mb PDF here.

Thursday, June 11, 2015

Storyteller Mary Hamilton of Frankfort will speak to Midway Toastmasters Monday, June 22 at 6 p.m.

Longtime Kentucky storyteller Mary Hamilton of Frankfort will be telling stories and speaking about her craft at the Midway Toastmasters meeting Monday, June 22, at 6 p.m. in Room 120 of the Anne Hart Raymond Building at Midway College. The meeting is free and open to the public.

Hamilton has been telling stories professionally for 30 years at storytelling festivals, performing arts festivals, conferences, universities, theatres, libraries, museums, schools, and private gatherings. She also teaches the art of storytelling to teachers, librarians, speakers, and fellow storytellers. She is president of the Kentucky Storytelling Association and one of its founding members.

Hamilton's awards include the 2009 Circle of Excellence Oracle Award from the National Storytelling Network, recognizing her as a master storyteller with a long-term commitment and dedication to storytelling.

In 2012, Hamilton published a book, Kentucky Folktales: Revealing Stories, Truths, and Outright Lies, a collection of 26 stories and interpretive essays about each of those stories. She has also published several oral collections of her stories.

Toastmasters International is a non-profit educational organization that teaches communication and leadership skills through a worldwide network serving more than 313,000 memberships in more than 14,650 clubs in 126 countries. Midway Toastmasters meets every Monday and visitors are invited. For more information, contact the club at larryloganohio@msn.com or 859-420-2217.

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Bafferts give $50,000 to Old Friends, home to 3 he trained, including near-Crown winner Silver Charm

Famed horse trainer Bob Baffert, who won the Triple Crown with American Pharoah on June 6, has donated (with his wife Jill) $50,000 to Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement farm near Georgetown, six miles from Midway.

The farm is home to Silver Charm, who fell just short of the Triple Crown in 1997 when Touch Gold caught him at the wire in the Belmont Stakes, and two other horses Baffert trained: Danthebluegrassman, named for the late Dan Chandler of Versailles and Las Vegas, and Game On Dude, the only horse to win the Santa Anita Handicap three times.

Baffert visited the farm just before this year's Kentucky Derby, according to a news release from Old Friends, which included the photo at right, showing Baffert and his son Bode visiting Silver Charm, who was named for his light-colored coat and came to the farm just a few months ago. UPDATE: The reunion was tearful, Baffert's mother-in-law, Carolyn Moss of Centerville, Tenn., reports in her account of the Triple Crown chase in the Hickman County Times. Her daughter, Jill Moss, is pictured below with Baffert and Bode.

According to the release, after he won the Triple Crown, Baffert said, "I want to share this, I want to make sure that those horses that we really love -- we have to take care of them. Win, lose, or draw, I was going to do it." He and his wife also donated $50,000 each to the Permanently Disabled Jockey Fund, the Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance and CARMAcares, or California Retirement Management Account, a charity for retired California Thoroughbreds.

Photo by Gary Gershoff, Getty Images
Tim Layden of Sports Illustrated reports that Baffert made the donations from $200,000 that Burger King paid him to allow a man in a Burger King costume to sit in his box at Belmont Park, putting the man in countless photographs, including on the SI website, at left. Baffert had turned down $150,000 from Burger King for a seat at Pimlico for the Preakness Stakes. (Here is Layden's story about the race, a fine piece of writing, to be expected from a man who took SI's horse-racing beat after Bill Nack retired in 2001.)

Michael Blowen, president and founder of Old Friends, said in the news release, "We are so grateful to Bob and Jill for this wonderful gift. The thrill and excitement of the first Triple Crown in 37 years would have been enough, but their generosity is unsurpassed, as is their love and dedication to the horses. Everyone at Old Friends wishes to congratulate Bob and Jill and American Pharoah's owners, the Zayat family, on their historic victory, and for sharing their wonderful horse with all of his fans."

For more on Old Friends, Blowen and his favorite horse, Silver Charm, click here.

Monday, June 1, 2015

City council passes anti-discrimination ordinance, 4-2; Warfield adds written statement to minutes

The Midway City Council tonight passed the long-discussed "fairness ordinance" that will ban discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations based on sexual orientation, gender identity or familial status.

The vote was 4 to 2, with Council Members Libby Warfield and Steven Craig opposed. Warfield asked Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, "Why are we doing this?" The mayor, who proposed the ordinance, said people could be fired, evicted or denied service in a place of public accommodation because they are gay or transgender.

UPDATE, June 19: Warfield attached a written statement to the minutes of the meeting, explaining her vote. "There is no prejudice or discrimination here," she wrote. "My 39-year-old-son, who is gay, was born here and lived most of his life here. He is a past member of this city council. He and I agree that there is no reason for this ordinance at this time."

When the ordinance takes effect with publication in The Woodford Sun, Midway will become the eighth Kentucky town with such an ordinance. For more background, click here. For more details on the meeting and reaction, see Greg Kocher's story in the Lexington Herald-Leader, here.