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Saturday, December 31, 2016

Cora Emma Combs Washington, 85, died Wednesday; funeral to be at Midway Christian Church on Monday

A prominent Midway citizen and a leader of its African American community has passed. Cora Emma Combs Washington, 85, died Wednesday, Dec. 28.

She was an elder of historic Second Christian Church and the widow of Jerome E. Washington. Besides her husband, she was preceded in death by two children, Janice Collins and George Anna "Did" Campbell. Survivors include her daughter, Brenda Jackson; grandchildren Yolanda Collins, Juanita Collins, Jerome "J. W." Collins, Ayana Dixon and Jeremy Campbell; great-grandchildren Jasmine Collins, Maya Dixon, Alexa Dixon and Caramia Collins; and special friends, Mrs. William Clark and Dr. and Mrs. Norman Fisher.

"She was always so interested in the children in Midway," Dee Dee Roach said in a comment on the Midway Musings Facebook page. "She was a very special lady who told wonderful stories of Midway's past."

City Council Member Dan Roller wrote, "We went to a picnic at Historic Second Christian Church one time and Mrs. Washington was waiting in her car, near the tables with food. She said, 'If you are looking for my pies, I don't put them out until after people start eating, otherwise they skip the food and go straight for my pies.' We will miss that wonderful smile!"

Wilda Willis Caudle wrote, "The bakers in God's Heavenly bakery will get first hand instructions on making mouthwatering from scratch butterscotch pies. Rest in peace, Ms. Cora Emma. You have more than earned the golden rocking chair in your heavenly mansion."

Funeral services will be held at noon Monday, Jan. 2 at Midway Christian Church, 123 E. Bruen St., with visitation from 11 a.m. to noon. Burial will be in Sunset Memorial Gardens, with O.L. Hughes & Sons Mortuary of Lexington in charge of arrangements.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Organist for 78 years at New Union Christian Church dies at 97

Martha Jane Stone at her organ in 2009. (H-L photo by Tom Eblen)
By Tom Eblen
Lexington Herald-Leader

Martha Jane Stone became the organist at New Union Christian Church when she was a freshman at Transylvania University in 1938, and she stuck with it until shortly before her death Wednesday at age 97.

Stone, who also played cello for decades in several Lexington orchestras and taught music at Transylvania for 33 years, died at Baptist Health Lexington two days after major surgery, said the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, pastor of the church on Old Frankfort Pike at Browns Mill Road.

Kemper tried to get Stone listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest-serving church organist, but she couldn’t find enough documents to prove her 78-year tenure. Many records were lost when the church’s former building was demolished in 1962.

Stone had been a member of the small, 182-year-old congregation longer than anyone else, Kemper said, having been there through two buildings, three organs and five ministers.

“Martha Jane lived a remarkable life filled with music and friendships,” Kemper said. “She was an excellent music educator, continuing to teach me — her one-time piano student at Transylvania — music theory nearly every Sunday as we went over the hymns together. We will miss her greatly.”

Stone grew up in Owensboro, Paducah and Pineville before moving with her family in 1933 to the Lexington house where she lived the rest of her life. She never married.

Stone graduated from Transylvania University with a degree in music and mathematics, which she said caused her to mistakenly get a draft notice after World War II began. Few women studied math in those days, she said, so the Army had put the names of all math majors into the Selective Service System.

Stone earned a master’s degree from the University of Kentucky in 1949 and later studied at the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music. She taught piano and organ at Transylvania from 1947 to 1980.
Stone played cello with several local orchestras, including the UK Radio Orchestra in the mid-1940s and the old Lexington Symphony, before spending 42 years with the Lexington Philharmonic, where she performed on both cello and keyboards.

Stone’s funeral will be Jan. 3 at 1 p.m., with visitation beginning at 11 a.m., at the church. Burial will be at Lexington Cemetery.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Lighting restorer moves to Midway, where he had trade

A wide variety of lights hangs in Setzer's Chandelier and Restoration Shop. (Photos by Claire Johnson)
Alex Hein moved his shop from Lexington and renamed it.
By Claire Johnson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Restoring antiques to their original form is nothing new for Alex Hein, owner of Setzer’s Chandelier and Restoration Shop, which opened Nov. 1 at 120 E. Main St.

In fact, reviving household antiques is more like a family tradition for Hein, since his family has been in the antique business for as long as he can remember.

Hein said most people might know him from his business, previously named Mirror and Brassworks and located in Lexington, where he is from. He lives in Cynthiana, but chose Midway as the best location for his shop.

A customer had pointed out an open space in Midway in the summer, and Hein took the opportunity to revive his shop with a new location and a new name.

“I have been in business for twenty years doing this. I’ve had a lot of customers in this town,” Hein said. “And honestly, I just really like the town.” His new location allows for people to get in and out of town easily to pickup and drop off items, he said.

The shop opened Nov. 1 and is decorated for Christmas.
A great location and love for the town were not the only reasons Hein made his move. “There’s a lot of older generations [in Midway] that deal with brass, copper, and silver and that have it to restore,” he said. “Some of the horse farms here I do a lot of work for, and generally because Midway is so historic.”

One of his most memorable restorations was on the historic 1850s John Graham House near Midway, featured in the May/June 2011 edition of Sophisticated Living Magazine. The owner of the house at the time, Kim Morris, said Hein is one of the few people who are passionate about what they do.

“His restoration knowledge and experience has found him in a niche that needed to be filled.” Morris said, “We are lucky to have a specialty business like his available to us in our community.”

Hein no longer does mirrors but still works with brass.
Hein said he has done work on many of the historic houses in Midway over the last 10 years.

Eric and Ellen Gregory of South Winter Street hired Hein for a large project on her great grandparents’ historic house in Metcalfe County, untouched since 1909.

“In the attic, we found all of the original gas lights.” Eric Gregory said. “We took one to him when he was over in Lexington and his eyes lit up.” He said they were so blown away that he could restore them, they decided to bring Hein dozens more. “He’s a true craftsman,” Gregory said. “With his level of excellence for a fair price, you just keep coming back.”

Hein said he can restore and fix chandeliers, as well as any type of lighting or rewiring a customer may need. The shop also sells restored, antique fixtures, lighting and antique fireplace accessories.

In conjunction with the move to Midway, Hein said he wanted to change the name of the company completely. “I don’t do anything with mirrors anymore and I haven’t in a long time,” he said, “so I wanted to change the name totally.” The new name, “Setzer,” is German for setting prices or a market inspector.

Since people in the community already know of his work, Hein said he has already seen a good response from the town. Some new clients have even brought items in for him to restore or fix.

“Midway is such a town of renaissance and craft and artists,” Gregory said. “I think he’ll be appreciated here.”

Hein’s reason for repairing antiques is simple according to him: He just enjoys it. “You can take stuff that looks like it should be thrown in the trash and make it look like a million bucks.”

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Woman's Club recognizes top Christmas decorations

The Midway Woman's Club has announced the winners of its 12th annual House Decorating Contest, judged on the night of Dec. 16. The judges were Debra Shockley, Amanda Glass, Katie Vandegrift and Sara Hicks. Pictures of the winners will be posted here as they become available. Several photos, especially the night views, are much better enlarged. To view a larger version of each photograph, click on the image.
Best Yard, 219 Cottage Grove
Most Fun, 103 Carriage Lane
Best Overall Design: 232 West Higgins Street

Best Daytime Display: 238 West Stephens Street
Best Christmas Spirit: 548 South Winter Street
Best Front Door: 412 Mill Road
Best Traditional Decorations: 251 West Cross Street
Most Whimsical Lights, 138 Cottage Grove
Special 2016 12th Anniversary MWC Holiday D├ęcor Judging Award, 102 Cottage Grove
Other winners were: Most Animated Lights, 222 E. Stephens St.; Best Wreath, 408 Merrywood Dr.; Most Creative Lights, 106 Cottage Grove; Best Indoor Tree, City Hall, 101 E. Main; Best Business, Mezzo, 131 E. Main; Best Outdoor Treet, 120 E. Higgins St.; Best Porch, 221 Johnson St.; Best for Spirit of Woodford County, 105 Circle Dr. (off West Stephens, past the cemetery).

Mayor recaps 2016, month by month, mostly in rhyme

By Grayson Vandegrift
Mayor, City of Midway

Every December, while we’re winding down another year, we tend to reflect on our most recent trip around the sun as we decompress and re-energize for a new one. In that same vein, I thought I’d do a month-by-month rundown of what happened in the City of Midway this past year, with help from the archives of the Midway Messenger and old copies of The Woodford Sun. So here it is, “The Year in Midway” in 150 words or less:

January: Midway Renaissance re-ups, MLK service unites us.
February: Chocolate Stroll downtown, American Howa breaks ground.
March: Midway’s “Calendar Girls” wows, Mezzo waters mouths.
April: Volunteers plant 200 trees, Brown-Forman to house whiskey.
May: Francisco’s Farm a success, Midway U. goes co-ed.
June: For the Penns a celebration, Midsummer Nights, no TIF after all at Midway Station.
July: State closes Weisenberger span, council ok’s the sidewalk plan.
August: Lakeshore Learning bringing 300 jobs; new trails at the park for all to walk.
September: FallFestival holds its 42nd, university enrollment in the right direction.
October: Leaves don’t yet fall due to strangely warm weather, a new footbridge ties the city together.
November: Parks Board meets for the first time, Santa arrives on the railroad line.
December: Midway Merchants hold a planning meeting, awards are given for lights in the city.

Seems to me like a pretty good year, so season’s greetings and a happy new year!

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Midway Station plants and new convenience store boost chances for hotel in Midway, mayor and EDA chair say

By Claire Johnson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

With construction scheduled to start in April for Woodford County’s first modern hotel, a Holiday Inn Express in Versailles, Midway and county officials have high hopes for a hotel in Midway.

Plat of Green Gables development with one potential hotel site marked;
another is across the interstate (Click on the image for a larger version)
Two potential sites are currently available in Midway, according to Mayor Grayson Vandegrift and John Soper, chairman of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority. One, on a plat already approved by zoning officials, is between Interstate 64 and the Shell convenience store in the Green Gables development on Leestown Road. The second site could be north of the interstate at Midway Station, according to Vandegrift, who prefers this site.

The prospects for a Midway hotel are improving because Midway Station is getting its first large-scale industries and a convenience store, developed by Dennis Anderson of Lexington, who has an option on the unsold parts of Midway station and is the developer of Green Gables.

Soper said, “When a hotel is looking to build a site, they want gasoline and food next to them. It is also industrial-based. Industry brings people in for the week, tourists come on the weekend.”

Soper said Anderson has had a potential investor look at both sites. “It didn’t pass the mustard, so to speak,” Soper said, referring to the investor’s decision not to build.

Soper and Vandegrift said the investor did not physically visit Midway, but relied on the internet, and Vandegrift said “The hotel chain did a feasibility study to see if Midway would be a good choice” but it probably did not show enough residential homes in Midway, which has a population of about 1,700 compared to 9,000 in Versailles.

“They have more rooftops, so there’s more chance of succeeding with more residents nearby,” Vandegrift said.

Midway City Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher said she thinks Midway should have gotten a hotel before Versailles, and so does Vandegrift.

“I was surprised too,” Vandegrift said. “Our proximity to I-64 is more ideal to a hotel.” The Bluegrass Parkway is not nearly as travelled as much as the interstate, he said.

Soper said the jobs Midway Station is about to receive will boost the chances for a hotel. American Howa Kentucky Inc. will provide at least 54 jobs and Lakeshore Learning Materials has promised 262 in return for state and local incentives.

“When these two plants get up and running,” Soper said, “I think we have a real good shot at landing a hotel.”

Vandegrift, a former restaurateur on Main Street, said it is “crazy” that Midway does not have a hotel already. He agreed the two plants will increase the likelihood, but he also said if investors actually visit Midway, they will see it as a good investment.

“We already have a good amount of people that visit for the day, but would stay if they had a place to stay,” Vandegrift said. “We just need to get them [investors] here on the ground to see that.”

If Midway received a hotel, downtown businesses would benefit the most, according to Vandegrift.

The mayor said he thinks Midway would see a significant increase in tourism if a hotel were added.

“I’m not holding my breath we will get one soon,” he said, “but I’m very hopeful.”

The Holiday Inn Express in Versailles is set to open in the late fall of 2017, according to Soper.

The hotel will have 82 rooms, more than doubling the number of rooms subject to the “bed tax” levied by the county tourism commission. Those rooms are all at bed and breakfasts, and generate revenue of about $10,000 a year for tourism promotion, much less than adjoining counties.

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Northside Elementary madrigal dinner is Thursday and Friday; tickets are still available for the second night

The Northside cafeteria has been decorated like a castle for the dinners. (Photo provided by Erin Casimir)
By Evan Merrill
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

This time of year, many schools offer some sort of musical performance or Christmas play to involve students. Northside Elementary School in Midway takes a different approach.

Under the leadership of music teacher Erin Casimir, the school will be hosting its second annual madrigal dinner, with a cappella singing by students, Thursday and Friday nights.

Casimir said she came up with the idea as she sought a program for the children that could also be an effective fundraiser.

“The idea for the program came about as a ‘revival’ of sorts from a program that I participated in while in elementary school,” Casimir said in an email.

About 80 students in the fourth and fifth grade will participate in the event. Casimir said they will be servers for the two-day event, beginning Thursday evening, as well as a “royal court” of students who auditioned for parts.

Casimir said the production is a very special event due to the high level of production for such young children.

The food will be provided by the school district’s food services, and the event will raise funds for the school’s music department. Casimir and the school have decorated the cafeteria as a castle, reflecting madrigal singing’s roots in the Renaissance.

“It is a big night, as it is such a huge production it is not your typical ‘elementary Christmas program,’” Casimir wrote. “With the meal, drama, comedy, and music it incorporates so much more than just singing some songs. The kids really take ownership in the serving process and making the guests feel welcome.”

The two-day event will seat an average of 125 people a night. Tickets are still available for Friday night: $12 for adults and $6 for students 3-12. Doors will open at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 15 and Friday, Dec. 16. For ticket inquiries contact Erin.casimir@woodford.kyschools.us.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Police still seek convenience-store thief, step up patrols

By Kaitlyn Taylor
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Police are still looking for the employee who they think stole $30,000 and a truck from the Midway Food Mart on Nov. 20. The theft has prompted Versailles police, who patrol all of Woodford County, to increase their presence in Midway in the third shift, from 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.
A Versailles police officer who lives in Georgetown parks his cruiser at the convenience store. (Photo by Kaitlyn Taylor)
According to police and an employee of the store, Baljit Singh, the suspect is Greg Smith, who worked as a handyman for the Shell-brand convenience store for four to six months.

Singh, brother of the store manager, said he never suspected Smith. “He was working with us for the past six months,” he said, “and we never doubted him.” But WLEX-TV quoted the manager as saying that Smith had taken the truck and disappeared for two days before returning.

Singh said the theft occurred while Smith was fixing ceiling tiles. “We are open 24/7 and employees were still present when he was doing his job,” Singh said. “He was the one who put the safe in the ground. Maybe it was since then that he put the plan in his mind.”

Although the safe needed a code to open it, Singh said, Smith broke into the safe and walked out the front door as if nothing had happened. According to police, Smith was caught doing the crime on surveillance cameras before unplugging surveillance them and unlocked the office door through the ceiling tiles.

Greg Smith (driver's license
photograph via WLEX-TV)
Smith hopped in the black Ford F-150 that belongs to the store and has not been seen since. Police are continuing to search for him and the truck, and have a warrant for his arrest, said Mike Murray, assistant chief of the Versailles Police Department.

“We are still going over the video and surveillance,” said Lt. Michael Fortney. “Stuff like this does affect the community. Luckily no one was hurt and we want to tell people it is a random, isolated incident.”

Fortney said police “have stepped up patrols” in the Midway area in response to the theft.

Murray said, “Whenever on third shift, all the officers that work in the Midway district, especially any business that is open 24/7, we constantly do extra patrols. Third shift is so vigilant under business checks. That’s what we focus on, on third shift." He also said that after the theft, officers in the northwestern part of the county were told to also keep an eye on the Midway area.

Fortney said police want to make sure that the area near the interstate is a safe environment for locals and those who are passing through.

“We have an officer that is assigned to Midway city limits 24 hours a day and we want to let people know that they are safe and that we are taking this seriously,” he said. “We stepped up our patrols before this convenience store was opened. We simply added it to our routes when Subway, McDonald’s and other businesses were building in that area and when it officially opened.”

According to police, when the store opened three years ago, they stepped up patrols because it was the first 24/7 business in Midway. An officer who lives in Georgetown parks his cruiser at the store, Fortney said. Murray said officers may also fill out paperwork in their cruiser at the store when time permits.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Trails Committee to have organizational meeting

The Midway Trails Committee will meet this Monday, Dec. 12 at 5 p.m. at Midway City Hall. "This meeting will be organizational in nature," Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said in an email.

Wednesday, December 7, 2016

Council honors departing Roller and Craig, reviews annual audit of city's finances

By Emily Priddy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council Monday evening honored Dan Roller and Steven Craig as they leave the council, reviewed a recent audit of the city, and confirmed the goals and objectives submitted by the planning commission.

Council Members Dan Roller and Steven Craig, left and right,
posed with Mayor Grayson Vandegrift after their last meeting
as members. (Midway Messenger photo by Kaitlyn Taylor)
Roller has been elected to the council three times, serving since 2011. This year, he decided to not seek re-election. “Dan has been the driving force on the council in updating the city of Midway’s property maintenance code,” Vandegrift said, reading from a proclamation he had written.  Roller served on the Property Maintenance Code Committee during his time on the council, working to resolve issues with blighted properties. Continuing his proclamation, Vandegrift said, “Many formerly blighted properties have been rebuilt as a result of Dan Roller’s work.”

Vandegrift added: “Dan put significant time and energy into making Midway the eighth city in Kentucky to adopt a fairness ordinance.” The June 2015 ordinance prohibits businesses that have more than seven employees from discriminating on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. In recognition of his service, Vandegrift declared Dec. 31 “Dan Roller Day.” This will be his last day on the council.

Craig, the other council member honored at Monday’s meeting, was one of two members who opposed the fairness ordinance. The other was Libby Warfield. After serving one two-year term, he ran seventh in last month’s election for six council seats.

Vandegrift praised Craig in his proclamation for using “his considerable skills and talents to improve Midway’s city property.” Craig has worked at Georgetown College for the last 20 years and also works for the Woodford County Fire Department.

Vandegrift credited Craig for the sidewalk in front of the Midway Veterans Memorial in the cemetery. Craig was on the council committee dedicated to sidewalks that created the city’s first sidewalk cost-sharing program. Vandegrift declared December 30 “Steven Craig Day.”

The council passed a resolution confirming the goals and objectives for the comprehensive plan adopted by the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission. The council had passed a similar motion at its last meeting, but Planning director Pattie Wilson asked the council to adopt a formal resolution.

The goals and objectives had long been a point of contention because one goal specified an objective that included a proposed northwest Versailles bypass. If built, the bypass would funnel traffic from Versailles onto Midway Road, U.S. 62.

The specific reference to the bypass was removed as part of an amendment by a committee of representatives from the governing bodies, appointed so that all would be in agreement.

The resolution passed unanimously. Council Member Sara Hicks, who voted against last month’s motion, was not present Monday evening.

While the resolution didn’t plow new ground, it gave Vandegrift an opportunity to comment on planning and zoning issues.

“I think the whole document is a compromise . . . There are questions that we need to not let drop,” Vandegrift said, alluding to relations between Midway and the rest of Woodford County. Midway’s sole representative on the commission, Rich Schein, was left off of the subcommittee that drafted the goals and objectives.

Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott has proposed giving Midway another seat on the commission, and the Woodford County Economic Development Authority, in return for Midway paying more to fund the planning function and EDA.

Traugott’s proposal was a reaction to tension that arose at the last meeting between Vandegrift and EDA Chairman John Soper over Soper’s proposal to raise Midway’s payment to EDA to finance a contract for Soper, who already has such a contract with Versailles. Midway also only has one representative on the seven-member EDA board.

Vandegrift told the Messenger that he has scheduled discussion of the proposal for Jan. 3, the next council meeting, when new members Steve Simoff and John McDaniel will take office.

Audit finds a weakness and a deficiency

The council also reviewed a financial statement provided by Smith & Co. CPAs. The statement said the city's finances have a material weakness and a significant deficiency. The firm described the material weakness as the city not having internal control “over financial reporting that would allow it to prevent, detect, and correct a significant misstatement in its financial statements.”

The statement said, “The city has financial restraints that prevent the hiring of accounting personnel” such as certified public accountants. It described a similar cause for the significant deficiency.

In describing the deficiency, the financial statement said “There was not adequate segregation of duties over receipts, disbursements, and reconciliations at City Hall. The clerk/treasurer accepts cash receipts and also records the amounts into the accounting system.”

The recommendations suggested by the firm were: “Mail should be opened by an employee not responsible for accounting, such as the assistant clerk or the mayor. Cash receipts could be recorded in a cash receipts journal and the deposit prepared by this person. The cash receipts journal, supplemented by remittance advices, could be forwarded to the clerk/treasurer for postings to the general ledger and detail customer accounts. Cash receipts should be deposited intact daily. Holding receipts for a weekly deposit exposes the city to loss.

“Bank statements, canceled checks, and appropriate advices should be received by someone other employees maintaining cash records. Such items could be periodically reviewed prior to turning them over for reconciliation. Unusual items noted during the review should be investigated promptly. Signed checks should be also mailed without allowing them to be returned to the employee responsible for accounts payable.

“The mayor should review supporting documents for normal recurring disbursements (not usually reviewed) on a spot-check basis. Non-routine testing would aid in ensuring compliance with city policy for all disbursements.”

Vandegrift told Smith & Co. accountant Jason Strange that he actually does such a review when the city issues checks, twice a month. Strange said the statement was referring to corrections in the ledger, which Vandegrift said he does not check routinely.

The audit statement also said, “Journal entries should be approved by an employee other than the one who prepared the entry. Bank reconciliations should be reviewed by someone not responsible for entries in the receipts and disbursements records. Inasmuch as this is difficult because of the small number of office employees, we recommend that test reconciliations be made from time to time by one of the council members. In addition, he or she should review, approve, and sign the bank reconciliations to document the approval.”

Strange said both findings were common for cities similar in size to Midway. “The second finding is very common for local governments and cities of smaller sizes . . . it’s related to segregation of duties,” he said.

Warfield, the only council member who asked questions about the audit, told Strange, "I take from your comments that you're not overly concerned about it."

“I wouldn’t say I’m not concerned,” Strange said. “They’re common.”

Warfield said of Strange’s staffing recommendations, “I can see the benefits to that.”

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

New city Parks Board to meet Thursday at 5:30 p.m.

The new Midway Parks Board will hold its regular meeting Thursday, Dec. 8, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, at 101 E. Main St. The board was created by the city council, so all its meetings are public, as are meetings of the council and its committees.

Friday, December 2, 2016

Midway Business Association, citizens hash out issues

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, standing, spoke with Business Association members and interested parties Thursday night.
By Emily Priddy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media 

The Midway Business Association hosted a “business social” Thursday night to allow business owners and citizens to share ways the group can improve attendance at association meetings and prepare for the future of the Midway Fall Festival.

The group discussed how to improve communication among members, how to address parking issues, and how to provide a public restroom for visitors, and heard Mayor Grayson Vandegrift say a new City Council committee will help local businesses.

Business Association members, Vandegrift and interested citizens gathered at the Grey Goose to discuss the future of the group. Approximately 20 people attended, participating in open discussion for nearly an hour. Amid waning attendance at meetings, communication was a point of concern.

“There just seems to be a lot of pettiness and self-interest,” said Steve Simoff, MBA member and council member-elect.

Joshua Naylor, general manager of the Grey Goose, commented on communication issues, citing “unnecessary and detrimental pettiness.”

Elisha Riddle, a social media and marketing consultant who works for the MBA and the Versailles Merchants Association, also pointed out the communication problems. “I think the biggest thing I see in Midway is a cohesion problem,” she said, “In Versailles I have cohesion. People work together, they ask what the event link is, they ask what they need to do, and they do those things.”

For example, Riddle compared the towns’ Christmas open houses. She said 1,000 people were interested in the Versailles event’s page on Facebook, while Midway had 256 people interested in its event. “There is no reason we can’t accomplish the same thing here,” she said.

Vandegrift told the group, “I have seen this merchant association do well, I’ve seen it not do well, and the key is y’all have to work together. If you all work together, the city will be there to carry you across the finish line.”

Two years into his four-year term, Vandegrift sees the need for the city to play a bigger role in helping local businesses. “Maybe we need to help out a little more than we have the last two years,” Vandegrift said.

Vandegrift announced that he would be making appointments to a new committee called Events, Outreach and Tourism. He has named council members-elect John McDaniel and Simoff to the committee already, both were present at the business social Thursday night. Vandegrift said more appointments will be made in January. 

The committee would focus on city events and tourism by reaching out to the business association on how they can help, Vandegrift said.

Vandegrift, who operated a Main Street restaurant for several years, had some advice: “Try and every now and then see the city as the newcomer sees the city.  Try to remember the first time you saw the city, it’s magical, it just captures you immediately.”

Kenny Smith, association president, said the Fall Festival is a tremendous amount of work for one person, and the association will benefit from hiring Riddle to be its coordinator, a job he has handled the last two years. Riddle was chosen to take over the festival by three members of the association who attended its October meeting. He suggested that she be hired as the event coordinator year round.

Many in attendance voiced the need for a public restroom on Main Street. “We have to work with the city to get a bathroom downtown,” said Leslie Penn, owner of the Historic Midway Museum store and association treasurer.

Vandegrift said he understood the need, but saw it as a future endeavor for the city: “We can use our resources in better ways.” He estimated $20,000 would need to be raised for a restroom and maintenance that is required, and suggested that Midway Renaissance aid in the fundraising effort.

Vandegrift encouraged more shop owners to provide bathrooms for their customers if possible. 

Brian Lynch, owner of Amberway Equine, suggested that City Hall restrooms be opened on weekends with volunteer help.

Vandegrift said, “If we had a consistent turnout for volunteers to man City Hall I would certainly look into it.”

Lynch volunteered to build a public parking lot on land he owns just north of Main Street, with help from the city and businesses. Lynch said he would need “stone, electric . . . put some lights in for the staff to safely get back to their vehicles” after restaurants close.

Simoff expressed the need to resolve the parking situation for businesses downtown. “An idea I have is that if you own a business try to find a place off the street so that your customers can park there,” he said. Simoff said each parking spot in front of businesses downtown is worth about $5,000.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Neighbors protest two-lane plan for Weisenberger Mill bridge, but state says it won't change that design

The bridge was closed July 1 after an inspection found danger.
By Marjorie Kirk
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
    Residents of Woodford and Scott counties contested the plan for a two-lane Weisenberger Mill Bridge during a three-hour meeting Tuesday evening at Midway University.
    The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet and the State Historic Preservation Office invited property owners who would be directly affected by the project to help find ways to mitigate any adverse effects on historical and archeological properties.
    The National Historic Preservation Act requires that federally funded projects consider effects on historical sites and give the Advisory Council on Historical Preservation a chance to make comments or recommendations.
    The cabinet gave about a dozen people “consulting party” status, and most objected to the limited time they were given to look over documents concerning the project, including the physical features of the new bridge, and communications with Project Manager Ananias Calvin III.  
    Nearly all took issue with the proposed two-lane bridge, but Kentucky Heritage Council Director Craig Potts said the plan is a foregone conclusion and the purpose of the meeting was to discuss the project’s effect on the historical aspects of the area—not to debate one lane versus two.
    Some of the consulting parties pushed back. Ellen Bagby interrupted the agency representatives with calls to change the plan and push back the deadline for comment on the mitigation process.
Bagby said she lives less than a mile from the bridge and making it two lanes would encourage drivers to speed on the narrow country road, creating a hazard to other cars and pedestrians. Others made the same complaint.
    Calvin said a two-lane bridge would be safer than a one-lane, and engineers on the project had considered the traffic that would use the road—including the semi-trailer trucks that were part of the reason for the bridge’s July 1 closure—when evaluating the safety standards the road would have to meet.
    “I can’t say if the speed [of drivers] is going to increase or decrease,” Calvin said. “What we’re going to recommend is that they put a sign over on the Scott County side as well as the sign they have on the Woodford County side: 15 miles an hour because of the curve. We can’t make people abide by it, but that’s one issue that we’re going to bring up.”
    The road is maintained by the counties. Woodford County has responsibility for the bridge, but the state is doing the project in return for the county doing work on a state road a few years ago.
Calvin said semi-trailer trucks continued to drive on the bridge after a 3-ton weight limit was implemented last winter, causing the bridge to weaken. When it was inspected in late June, it was discovered that there were significant problems with the steel infrastructure and it was closed.
    The bridge attracts residents, touring motorists and bicyclists because it offers a good view of the historic Weisenberger Mill, and it is also a popular spot for anglers in South Elkhorn Creek.
Tuesday night’s discussion in a meeting room at Midway University turned into a contentious debate that often interrupted the Transportation Cabinet’s presentation.
L-R at table: Midway Magistrate Linda Popp, mill owner Mac Weisenberger and wife Sally (Photo by Marjorie Kirk)
    At one point, Scott County resident Pat Hagan got up from his seat in the crowd and joined the table of authorized consulting parties after he was told that the meeting’s priority was to address the concerns of those parties.
    When the group continued to make points about the safety of a one-lane bridge, and a cabinet representative said that alternative would not be considered, Bagby shouted out, “Change it.”
    As the night was coming to a close, Bagby persisted, asking for an extension of the Dec. 13 deadline for written comments.
    To this, a member of the crowd pointed out that the longer the public tries to prolong the project, the longer ambulances, buses and traffic from using a route that in some cases is faster for them.
    The cabinet refused to extend the deadline, but representative Jonna Wallace said the discussion did unearth the option of keeping one of the stone abutments that would have been replaced to accommodate a bridge that will be nearly twice as wide.
    But aside from that, Wallace defended the cabinet’s decision. “These determinations and recommendations are evidence-based,” including traffic counts and consultations from traffic experts, she said. “They’re not just because we think it should be this way.”
    Consulting party Bryan Pryor was among those voicing concern over the two-lane bridge, but he suggested at the end of the meeting that the best use of the parties’ efforts would be to lobby their county governments to put up warning signs and traffic restrictions on the approaches to the bridge.
    The bridge is a “pony truss,” or small-truss, span built in 1932. All such bridges more than 50 years old are eligible for the National Register of Historic Places, according to David Waldner, the cabinet’s director of environmental analysis.
    To mitigate the loss of the old bridge in a historic district, the new one will be “a truss structure of similar design,” Waldner said in an interview before the meeting. “The aesthetics of that were important.”
    Calvin said in an interview that the cost estimate of $1.3 million is about double the cost of a standard bridge for such a location.
    Waldner said the cabinet considered rehabilitating the bridge, but estimated that would extend its life no more than 20 years and would have cost 40 to 50 percent of the cost of a new bridge, which will last 75 to 100 years. “The economics really didn’t make a whole lot of sense,” he said.
    Waldner said the cabinet wouldn’t normally hold a meeting for consulting parties and observers on such a small project, “but the interest in this project is fairly high.” He said the cabinet had shared information with consulting parties for six to eight weeks and had met with some of them.
    Calvin told the Midway Messenger on Wednesday that the bid letting for the project has been delayed again, until June, to give the cabinet time to buy small pieces of property that will be needed for the project. He said offers cannot be made until the project’s environmental documents are approved by the State Historic Preservation Office.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Midway Christmas events start with tree and pole lighting Friday night; Santa set to arrive by train Sat.

Santa's arrival by train is a big event. (2013 photo by Jill Novak)
The holiday season has arrived, and downtown Midway is a full participant, with a big ad from local businesses on the back page of today's Woodford Sun, inviting readers to "Spend a Day in Midway."

The Christmas lighting ceremony is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Friday, starting with the downtown light poles and concluding with the community Christmas tree. Christmas carols will follow. "Please come and add your voice," says Mayor Grayson Vandegrift.

Santa Claus, hitching a ride with R.J. Corman Railroad, is scheduled to arrive downtown at 11 a.m. Saturday. Children can visit him at his Main Street workshop from 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Free carriage rides will be available from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m.

"It's no coincidence hat this event takes place on 'Small Business Saturday,' an answer to 'Black Friday,' where Americans are encouraged to support their local businesses who really make our economy go," Vandegrift says. "I hope you'll come out and support out Midway entrepreneurs, enjoy the magic of the season and sip on some hot cocoa provided by the Midway Presbyterian Church."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Mayor, EDA chairman clash over proposal to have Midway pay more and expand chairman's contract

UPDATE: EDA Chairman John Soper withdrew his proposal from the agenda for tonight's Fiscal Court meeting.
UPDATE, Nov. 23: Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott offered a new proposal that would have Midway pay 15 percent of EDA expenses, up from 10 percent, and 24 percent of planning and zoning expenses, up from 11 percent, with an additional appointee form Midway to both the EDA board and the planning commission, and a prohibition on EDA advocating "anything even remotely similar to" the northwest Versailles bypass. For a copy of the proposal, click here.
By Alexandria Kerns
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
    The Midway City Council meeting Monday evening ended in frustration after discussion of modifying the contract with the Woodford County Economic Development Authority.
    The tension rose after Mayor Grayson Vandegrift gave an update concerning the revision proposed by Versailles and the EDA. 
    The proposal would have Midway, Versailles and Woodford County each pay $26,884 a year for EDA operations. Midway now pays $5,000 and the other two $22,500 each.
    The extra money would cover an expanded contract for EDA Chairman John Soper, whom Versailles now pays $63,000 a year for job recruitment. Craig McAnelly, part-time executive director of the EDA, would be phased out of his position. 
    Vandegrift said at the council meeting that he would like to see the city receive another seat on the EDA board and another seat on the planning and zoning commission in return for the new agreement. Last week, he suggested two new seats on the EDA, but he said Monday night, “I don’t think we can agree to this deal without getting more representation on EDA and planning and zoning.”
    Currently, Midway only has one representative of seven on the EDA board and one of nine on the planning commission.
    Vandergrift said Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott and County Judge-Executive John Coyle did not seem open to his suggestions in his meeting with them Monday. The proposal is on the agenda for the Fiscal Court meeting Tuesday at 7 p.m.
    “I think we can be open to other possibilities,” Vandegrift said. “I don’t think anyone has a problem with giving us two more EDA appointments, but I think in reality this is a big step up for us and it’s the first time we’ve been asked to be an equal partner in it, and I thought what’s really more important was . . . give us one more planning and zoning appointment, because those two things do go hand in hand, and I think, honestly, the planning and zoning appointment would be extremely important.”
    The Midway council indicated agreement with the mayor’s stance.
     “If I’m going to go down to the Grey Goose, and order a steak, and two other people order a steak, and we’re all paying $27, they’re better damn be all the same size steak,” Council Member Dan Roller said.
    Vandegrift said, “I appreciate John Soper’s work, I appreciate Craig McAnelly’s work, but I’ve never seen a deal like this where you already have the person in mind ahead of time. I think in all fairness – this is nothing against John, because he’s a wizard – but there probably should be some kind of open hiring process to this.”         
    Soper said, “If you want to start the process and look at somebody else, that’s certainly an option.”
    Vandegrift replied, “It’s not personal, John, it’s just that I’ve never done this . . . and had a person picked out ahead of time. Generally it’s not done that way.”
    Soper responded, What we have now, I think, is working.” He said Midway Station was developed by a volunteer board and “was poorly designed and was a failure,” costing the city and county $750,000 in extra interest costs until developer Dennis Anderson agreed to pay the interest in return for an option on the property.
    Soper argued that someone who is familiar with the development should be in charge of its future.
“I’ve uncovered most of the issues in Midway Station, and let me tell you there’s a lot of issues,” he said. “From you all not knowing that you didn’t own the water tank, to there not being proper easements into it, to the roads you got that you can’t get a car turned around in. . . . If you go out and you try to bring someone else in, they’re gonna have that learning curve. It’s a tough piece of property. It’s a snake pit and it always has been.”
    Anderson recently decided against building housing in Midway Station, a decision that local leaders endorsed, but he has never developed industrial property and wants EDA’s help. “I think he’ll stay on board if we help him,” Soper said.
    “I’m not sure, you know, if we don’t have a good presence trying to help him convert that, that he’ll continue to pay $10,000 a month in interest for the learning experience of knowing how to do an industrial development. I think he’ll walk. I think he’ll sell three or four more lots and I think he’ll walk.”
    Soper said he disagrees with those who think Anderson is already too heavily invested in the property to walk away from it. “If we’re going to convert it to industrial, which I do think is what needs to happen, then we need to keep the press on like we’ve got and let’s get it converted and get the debt paid for. . . . As long as the principal is out there, you all are still on the hook for the interest.”
    Soper said some members of the Fiscal Court have said the ultimate solution would be a foreclosure sale, but he said that might not produce enough money to pay the debt, and without the property as collateral, “You’d have to pay off the debt or you’d have to pay interest forever.”
    After a brief discussion with council members, Vandegrift said, “I just don’t think it’s the best tactic in the world to say, pay up this money or it’s all going to fall apart, and that’s what I am hearing tonight.”
    Soper replied, “Grayson, I am a realist. You do not pay me to be a politician. I tell you what my opinion is, and my opinion is you all got a lot at risk here. It’s as simple as that.”
    When Vandegrift replied, “Thank you,” and Soper kept talking, Vandegrift cut him off,  saying, “That’s enough. That’s enough. Thank you. That’s enough.”
    Soper then left the meeting. McAnelly, who stands on the losing end of the proposal, stayed for the rest of the meeting. Afterward, Soper sent the Midway Messenger a summary of new tax revenue generated by EDA-coordinated projects.
    Midway’s relations with the rest of the county also figured in the council’s 3-1 vote to approve the revised goals and objectives for planning and zoning.  One change would allow more flexibility in the urban services area. 
    Council Member Sara Hicks voted no, saying the new language “makes the urban service boundary fluid in a way that does not protect agricultural lands.”
    Vandegrift said he believed accepting the language would be a good compromise with Versailles and the county, since a committee of representatives agreed to remove from the proposed goals and objectives a specific reference to the proposed northwest Versailles bypass, which Midway opposes.
    Vandegrift said, “Removing that bypass language was extremely important, and I think we have to show the rest of the county that we are willing to compromise, we are willing to find common ground, even when they are not.”
    In other planning and zoning business, the council approved Vandegrift’s reappointments of Phil Kepler to the Architectural Review Board and Al Schooler to the Board of Adjustment.
    Earlier, the council passed on second reading an ordinance of intent to annex 33.485 acres next to Midway Station, which Lakeshore Learning Materials is eyeing for expansion and a possible supplier.
    After more than two months of discussion and debate, the council passed an ordinance that would make the killing of domestic animals through kill traps illegal. This stemmed from the death of the pet cat of Sarah Gilbert and Stewart Surgener, who wanted to prohibit kill traps altogether.
    “I do not feel as if the ordinance addresses the heart of the problem,” Gilbert told the council.
    Council Member Libby Warfield said a kill-trap ban would be difficult to enforce, and said she hoped that people who set traps for groundhogs or other pest animals will let their neighbors know so pets can be protected.
    The vote on the ordinance was 4-0. Council Members Kaye Nita Gallagher and Steven Craig did not attend the meeting.
    Craig ran seventh in the recent election for the six council seats. This council will have one more meeting next month before the new council including newcomers John McDaniel and Steve Simoff, begin their terms. Roller did not seek re-election.

Zeb Weese named director of Kentucky State Nature Preserves Commission

Zeb Weese (Commonwealth of Kentucky photo)
Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed Zeb Weese of Midway director of the Kentucky Nature Preserves Commission, which oversees 63 state nature preserves with a total of 63,000 acres.

Weese had been coordinator of the nonprofit Kentucky Heritage Land Conservation Fund, which works closely with the commission. Before that he was a naturalist at Natural Bridge State Resort Park and a conservation education and natural-resources manager for the state Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources.

"Since 2008, the commission and its work have come under withering attack from governors and lawmakers alike, with cuts and funding source raids adding up to about a 40 percent reduction," reports James Bruggers, environmental writer for The Courier-Journal. "Staffing had been cut from 23 in 2008 to about 14 employees," according to former director Donald Dott.

Weese said in a press release, “I am excited to play a role in furthering the KSNPC’s mission to promote understanding and appreciation of the aesthetic, cultural, scientific and spiritual values of our natural areas. These special places are part of our legacy to our children and future generations.”
Weese previously worked at Natural Bridge State Park and the Kentucky Department for Fish and Wildlife Resources as a conservation educator and natural resource manager.

KSNPC Commissioner Carl W. Breeding said in the news release, “I’m very confident that he will take the preserves to the next level.”

Midway Business Assn. to hold social Dec. 1 to discuss future of the group and its Midway Fall Festival

The Midway Business Association will host a “Business Social” Thursday, Dec. 1, at 6 p.m. at the Grey Goose to give community members an opportunity to express their opinions about the future direction of the Business Association and its main event, the Midway Fall Festival.  You are invited to attend and make your views known.  Light hors d'oeuvres will be provided by The Grey Goose.   "We hope to see you there," says Kenny Smith, president of the association.

Sunday, November 20, 2016

Mayor cancels ban on open burning in Midway

Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift has canceled his executive order banning all open fires in the city. "The burn ban has been lifted, but please use extreme caution when having contained burnings, as drought conditions still persist," Vandegrift said in an email today.

Friday, November 18, 2016

EDA and Versailles want to cut job-recruitment expense 29% but have Midway pay one-third of budget

By Marissa Beucler
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Midway is being asked to pay more than five times as much as it does now for the agency that recruits jobs for the city and the rest of Woodford County.

The Woodford County Economic Development Authority and the city of Versailles proposed this week that Midway’s annual contribution to the EDA rise to $26,884 from current $5,000.

Versailles and Woodford County each contribute $22,500 a year to EDA, but Versailles also pays EDA Chairman John Soper $63,600 to recruit jobs for the city.

“I can’t do my job for the city and spend half my time in Midway; it’s just not fair,” Soper said in at Friday’s EDA meeting. 

The Versailles City Council endorsed the idea Tuesday night. Mayor Brian Traugott said most of the work being done by EDA has produced jobs in Midway through two industrial projects while Versailles is paying “a good deal” for economic development and has no property to offer that is not in litigation.

Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said in interview Friday morning, “I feel to even consider the deal there should be two more appointments” to the EDA board from Midway, which has one of seven members.

Soper indicated that he would favor one more Midway member: “I would welcome another EDA member because we got 103 acres coming to Midway. I’d like another local person that has their ear to the ground saying ‘John, that’s good; John, that’s not good’.”

To enlarge the board, the three governments would have to revise the 1986 agreement that created the EDA. Soper said it needs changing anyway, to reflect current conditions.

Vandegrift said he had not spoken with any Midway City Council members about the proposal, but he and the council will discuss the issue during the council’s regular meeting, set for 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Under the proposal the three governments would equally split the cost of a contract with Soper and pay his health insurance for a total of $68,652 a year. Each would also pay $4,000 a year for other EDA expenses.

The total funding of EDA would be $80,652 a year, down 29 percent from the current $113,600. The savings would come from no longer paying Craig McAnelly of the Bluegrass Area Development District $45,000 to serve as EDA’s part-time executive director.

Midway now pays 4.4 percent of EDA expenses; the proposal asks it to pay 33.3 percent.

Soper discussed the possibility of the county loaning Midway money to pay its share until the American Howa Kentucky and Lakeshore Learning Materials plants generate expected payroll taxes.

Soper said Lakeshore will generate $132,000 in annual payroll taxes, and AHK will produce $44,000 a year. “The money is there but they are going to have to ramp up,” he said.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Midway University trustee pledges $2 million to school

By Matthew Hunter
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Long-time Midway University trustee Jan Hunter announced at the trustees’ November meeting her family’s intention to donate $2 million to the school over the next two years.

Hunter (2006 photo)
In a university press release, Hunter commented on the timing of the announcement. "I recently heard someone say that 'The opportunity of a lifetime must be taken during the lifetime of the opportunity' and that spoke to me," she said. “There are so many positive things happening at Midway and we need to invest in the institution and rally others to do the same to keep building on our current momentum."

After years of falling enrollment, Midway welcomed men as undergraduates this fall and received its largest incoming class. To accommodate the growth and expansion, its residence halls and athletic facilities need enhancement, President Dr. John P. Marsden said.

“We plan to utilize this gift in the way that will touch the most students – improving their living space and enhancing our student center and athletic facilities,” Marsden said in the release, which said the school’s leadership team will draw out specifics “over the next few months” on how and where the funds will be spent.

This isn’t the first time the Hunters have been generous to the university. In 2013, Hunter and her husband, Dick, pledged $500,000 to the school shortly after Marsden started his tenure.  In February, she and trustee Belinda Metzger each gave $25,000 for upgrading athletic facilities.

Hunter has been a trustee since November 2000. She and her husband own Hunter Industries Inc. in San Diego, California, which manufactures irrigation systems.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

City Parks Board to organize at 5:30 p.m. Thursday

The new Midway Parks Board will hold an organizational meeting Thursday, Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. The notice from the city says the agenda items include election of officers and selection of a park manager. All meetings of city agencies are open to the public.

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

Kay defeats Fister to return as state representative, says he will be independent in new House minority

Daniel Fister and Rep. James Kay
By Claire Johnson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The 56th district state representative race did not come down to the wire as the presidential election did through the the night.

Democratic State Rep. James Kay defeated Republican Dan Fister in Tuesday’s election 12,590 to 8,525. Kay carried Woodford County 8,180 to 5,255, the district’s Franklin County precincts 2,071 to 1,597 and the Fayette County precincts 2,339 to 1,673.

While Fister was not victorious, he claimed victory in the experience he received.

“It has been absolutely amazing,” he said. “It’s been the most exciting thing I’ve done in probably 30 or 40 years.”

Fister ranked the excitement of campaigning for election to that of his wedding or when his children were born.

“There’s just a lot of emotions that go with it,” he said.

Kay said he was excited by the response he received in the race: “It was the best response that I’ve ever had in the three times I’ve run.”

He said it was great to see the turnout of Republicans, Democrats and independents who voted for him, especially in Woodford County, where both candidates live.

“When you go door to door and talk to people and visit people on Labor Day, I was confident in what the results were going to be,” Kay said. “I’m truly humbled by the large margin of victory, we personally knew more people.”

On Election Day, Fister felt disappointment for his supporters over a lost outcome, but congratulated Kay for winning.

“I’ve got to meet a whole lot of people and do a lot of exciting things,” Fister said, “and I’ve learned a whole lot.”

Fister said he holds a positive outlook for Kay's next term, but is fearful of the new House that Kay will be step back into. Republicans won a majority of the chamber for the first time since 1920, which puts Kay in a 64-36 minority in the House.

“The whole terrain of the legislature has changed for him,” Fister said, “but I’m hoping he does well and represents us well. I wish him nothing but the best.” He said he hopes Republican control will not put his fellow Versailles resident at a major disadvantage.

Kay said, “It is going to be a big change, but I am truly interested in being the voice of the legislative independent.”

Kay said his aim is for everyone to have a voice. “Kentucky is at risk,” he said, because a governor will have too much power with a Republican House and Senate.

He said it is important to be the voice for multiple parties, especially for workforce and education.

Vandegrift to Democrats: Progressive agenda can fit with job creation; leaders must take stands

In the wake of Democrats' landslide loss of the Kentucky House of Representatives, Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift sent the following letter to newspapers very early Wednesday morning.

By Grayson Vandegrift
    There will undoubtedly be autopsies performed of the Kentucky Democratic Party in the coming weeks, but I’d rather focus on a plan for the future, not a postmortem of what went wrong. The fact is, many people already know what’s been going wrong for some time: very few, including Kentucky Democrats, know if the KDP stands for anything that may be seen as controversial.
    In Midway, we’ve proven that a socially progressive agenda can perfectly coincide with a common sense approach to job creation, infrastructure, and quality of life. Despite passing what some opponents called a “job killer,” our fairness ordinance hasn’t resulted in the loss of jobs, but rather, a dramatic increase in them. We are experiencing a nearly 100% increase in jobs in our city since our civil rights bill was passed. That’s not to say that these jobs were created because of the ordinance, but they certainly weren’t deterred by it.
    Increased revenue has allowed us to begin to invest in programs that are resurfacing roads, fixing sidewalks, upgrading our water and sewer systems, and making enormous improvements to our city parks.
    I serve as the mayor of our city in a non-partisan office, and I’m thankful for it. But I am a registered Democrat, and proud of it, even if only because I find the Republican Party mostly unappealing. But I have many Republican friends, and today I’m telling them one thing they must be proud of – at least I know where they stand. If I understand anything about politics it’s this: you have to stand for something that might get you criticized before you can achieve anything worthwhile.

Voters in Midway go for Clinton, Gray and Kemper

City voters formed a line Tuesday afternoon at Northside. The poll for the smaller county precinct, at right, had less traffic. 

Trump precincts in red
The Midway city precinct was one of only three in Woodford County that Hillary Clinton carried in the presidential election. Clinton got 421 votes to 338 for Trump, with 28 voting for Libertarian Gary Johnson, 14 for independent Evan McMullin and 7 for Jill Stein of the Green Party.

In the rural Midway precinct, which extends to the city limits of Versailles, it was Trump 345, Clinton 225, Johnson 20, McMullin 10 and Stein 4. In addition to the Midway city precinct, Clinton carried two Versailles precincts, B103 and C102.

Countywide, the results were Trump 7,697, for 57 percent; Clinton 4,958, for 37 percent; Johnson 529, McMullin 246, Stein 217 and Rocky de la Fuente 13. Statewide, Trump got 62.54 percent of the vote; Clinton won 32.69 percent.

Paul precincts in red
The U.S. Senate race was closer, and much closer in Woodford County, as Republican Sen. Rand Paul edged out Lexington Mayor Jim Gray by 0.6 percent of the vote, 6,838 to 6,759.

Gray carried both Midway precincts, taking the city 489-316 and the rural precinct 309-303. Statewide, Paul won by about 14 percentage points.

The city precinct was the only one in the county won by the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, the Democratic nominee for Congress in the 6th Congressional District against Republican Rep. Andy Barr. The vote was 407 to 390. Barr carried the county 8,650 to 4,873 and easily won re-election. Both are from Lexington, but Kemper pastors the New Union Christian Church at the eastern tip of greater Midway, in the county precinct.