Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Model train exhibit drew steady stream of visitors Saturday; will be on display once more this Saturday

Story, video and photo by Karlil Wilson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Train enthusiast Christy Reaves displayed her “Joy Land” model train layout for the citizens of Midway and many more last Saturday at the Thoroughbred Theater, and will again this Saturday.

The Midway Business Association sponsors the exhibit, which will be on display from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. It’s a free event that welcomes all comers, and the first one had a steady stream of visitors.

Reaves said “Joy Land” is her happy place and uses parts from her last project in Ashland. “The inspiration was to take stuff that wasn’t going to be used anymore and turn into something that I can enjoy and love forever.” Reaves said she spent two and a half months putting it together.

Reaves said her train layout gives children and families in the community something to do together that’s happy and positive: “Trains ever since the beginning of time have been uniting communities.” She said everything a train did always had something to do with community growth and she believes that model toy trains do that same thing today. Reaves said she hopes that she can do an event like this at least once a year.

Steve Morgan, secretary of the MBA, said this was a good event to have in Midway because historically, Midway is historically a railroad town and “there is a lot interest in model trains.” Midway was the first town in Kentucky created by a railroad. “Our goal is to have people that interested in model trains come take a look and bring people to downtown Midway,” he said.

Morgan said this is the first time that the MBA has sponsored an event like this, but members hope that they can do something like this every year. Along with the exhibit, the association was also accepting cash donations for the charity Toys for Tots last Saturday.

With a lot of visitors, also came a lot of families. Many parents brought their children to look at the train exhibit.

Charles Campbell of Midway said the first thing that stuck out to him when he saw the exhibit was Reaves’s attention to detail. He thinks this is “a great event for kids to come experience and gives them a chance to get away from the TV for a little bit. It blows my kid’s mind; he’s gonna be here for an hour or two and then scream the house down when we’re about to leave.”

Campbell said this event is “huge” for a city like Midway and does a lot for the community. “You see so many parents and children out here – and the fact that it’s free. You can go and eat at the surrounding restaurants. So even though this event is small, it’s still helping the economy.”

Boil-water advisory lifted, mayor says

From Mayor Grayson Vandegrift:

As of 1:20 p.m. today the boil water advisory affecting several streets in town has been lifted. We recommend that you run your faucets a few minutes to clear any sediment that may be in the lines, but lab tests have come back and the water is safe to drink. Thank you for your patience during this advisory.

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

Business Association adopts January promotion, elects officers, donates profits from chili cook-off, hears reports

For a larger version of the poster, click on it.
By Desiree Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Midway businesses will try to jazz up January, usually a slow month, with a “Taste of Kentucky”/Winter Clearance Sale promotion.

The Midway Business Association adopted the idea at its monthly meeting on Wednesday, Dec. 5. It also elected Cortney Neikirk president for 2019, allocated profits from November’s chili cook-off and heard reports on Toys for Tots, Midway University and the plan for a tourism-oriented entrance to the town.

The January promotion will be a two-week event in which restaurants offer specials on appetizers, lunch and dinner entrees, and desserts, and retailers would have special clearance sales. Members of the association plan to spend no more than $500 on advertising it.

Officers: Neikirk, the MBA president, is co-owner of Sweet Tooth. Steve Morgan was elected vice president, Leslie Penn was re-elected treasurer, Katie Hicks was elected secretary, and Justin Werner and Doug McDaniel were chosen for member at large.

If you are interested in joining the Midway Business Association, there will be an open house membership meeting at 9 a.m. Wednesday, Jan. 2, 2019 at the Brown Barrel Restaurant. Following the meeting, or at 10 a.m., a Fall Festival contract meeting will be held.

Toys for Tots: Collections for Toys for Tots, a program for underprivileged children, have at least doubled from last year, Morgan reported. He and Logan Nance are delivering toys collected this week to the Marine Reserves unit in Lexington.

“I think that is such a statement … as a community, for us to even double what we did last year,” President Peggy Angel said.

Google map, labeled, shows tract proposed for town entrance
Town entrance: Morgan reported that Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, Cynthia Bohn of Equus Run Vineyards and members of the City Council continue to discuss with RJ Corman Railroad Co. and property owner Helen Rentch the idea of a railroad-themed entrance to Midway at the corner of Midway Road (US 62) and Leestown Road (US 421).

The location would be one of the trailheads for the hike, bike, canoe, and horseback trail portion that is being established between Frankfort and Midway.

Campus report: Ellen Gregory of Midway University gave an update on projects on the campus. In addition to the new sports field house, for which a ceremonial groundbreaking was held Nov. 8, Pinkerton Hall is being converted back to a residence hall and is expected to reopen by fall 2019 with space for up to 52 students.

The upstairs floor of Marrs Hall is being converted into a welcome center for admissions, the business office and financial aid, and the ground floor will house accounting, human resources and marketing. 

Chili cook-off: The Nov. 17 chili cook-off made a profit of $840. Members decided to give half, $420, to the Midway Area Ministerial Association. The association has donated $200 to the Presbyterian Church backpack program and also contributed to Northside Elementary art classroom supplies.

Members also agreed to provide a $50 gift card to Christy Reeves to thank her for providing the model train exhibit on Dec. 8 and 15.

In other business, Penn reported on the Renaissance Living History Committee, announcing there are now five photo plaques posted downtown. Most recently, a map of the city in 1852 is now on display at City Hall.

Monday, December 10, 2018

Water main broken in 100 block of East Stephens Street

A message from Mayor Grayson Vandegrift:

We have located a water main break on the 100 block of E. Stephens. City employees are on site working on the repair, but water customers living on the 100 block of E. Stephens between Winter and Gratz will be affected, and the break will likely affect customers living on S Gratz between E. Stephens and the softball field. As water service is restored, city workers will be placing boil water advisory notices on the front doors of all homes affected.

This is one example of the many types of updates we can give you through our participation in Heads Up Community. We will be sharing more information about Heads Up in the coming weeks, including for those who aren’t technologically advanced and those without internet connections, but if you are interested in learning more at this time you can visit headsupemergency.com or download the app for free on your phone. We also have hard copy information about this program at City Hall. Our goal is to be able to reach as many people as possible in the event of emergencies, for public notices, or for important city updates, connecting to you in the way that is most convenient for the user.

Friday, December 7, 2018

Model train exhibit Saturday at Thoroughbred Theater

Local train enthusiast Christy Reaves will display her “Fantasy Land” model train exhibit Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Thoroughbred Theater building on Main Street. Stores in downtown Midway will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday. Restaurants will have food and drink options all day and there will also be activities for kids, including trackless train rides and face painting from noon to 4 p.m. For more information, contact Steve Morgan at 859-552-1377 or morganstv01@gmail.com.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Council hears first reading of ordinances to cut sewer rates 15 percent or 25 percent; action set Dec. 17

Story and photo by Ana Neal
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift presented dual ordinances to the city council Monday evening for cutting sewer rates, saying the city needs a new baseline for the service.

Vandegrift said he prefers a 25 percent cut, which would mean the current monthly rate of $14.60 for the first 1,000 gallons of water used would be lowered to $10.95, and everything over 1,000 gallons would go from $7.30 to $5.47.

The 15 percent cut, which Council Member Bruce Southworth favors, would mean the rate would go from $14.60 to $12.41 for the first 1,000 gallons and from $7.30 to $6.21 for over 1,000 gallons.

Vandegrift said Midway was financially set back in 2002 to pay for the new sewer plant, but now that the debt is paid off, four years early, rates could be lowered. “Too often government will take money when they need it but they never give it back when they don’t,” he said.

The second reading and vote on both ordinances is scheduled for Monday, Dec. 17. Vandegrift said the council also has the option of leaving rates as they are. A new council takes office Jan.1.

Vandegrift touched on the projected cost for a sewer-improvement project with HMB Professional Engineers. This project would focus on cleaning out the old lines in town, tree root removal, and inspections. He said he thought the project would cost around $300,000, but the HMB is projecting only $107,000.

The mayor said the city has two choices, “one side with HMB as the engineer, and one is with us essentially doing it ourselves.” Vandegrift also said that Chris Stewart of HMB will attend a council meeting in a month or so to explain the project in more detail.

Assistant Chief Joe Campbell and Kentucky American's Jimmy Keaton
Fire department gift: Jimmy Keaton, government-affairs director for Kentucky American Water Co., presented a $500 check to the Midway Fire Department.

Keaton said, “Our firefighting support grant program is one way we can say thank you so very, very much to the men and women of these departments for their tireless dedication.”

The assistant chief of the fire department, Joe Campbell, accepted the check and said the money will be used for a new firefighting curriculum, including textbooks.

Iron Horse: Next year will be the 10th year of the Iron Horse Half Marathon, but it will be held about a month earlier, in conjunction with the Midway Fall Festival, under a permit the council approved. The Midway Business Association, which sponsors the festival, adopted the idea last month.

Because the race has been held on Sundays at 8 a.m., race representative Riley Marshall said, the biggest thing they hear from their runners is that they have little chance on a Sunday morning in mid-October to “drink in” what Midway has to offer.

Marshall and Zach Beavin, another representative, said parking will be available at Southern Equine Farm and Midway University. Asked how they will prevent runners from parking on the street, they offered the idea of issuing parking passes beforehand. The race will be run from 7 to 10 a.m.

Other business: Rex Cecil’s request for the council to waive the $850 fee for restoring water to properties that have been inactive for five years was approved. The council agreed that Cecil could only pay the deposit fee of $75 for his building at 123 W. Main St.

Sunday, December 2, 2018

Message from the mayor gives his view of options for sewer-rate cuts; first reading of ordinances Monday

By Grayson Vandegrift
Mayor, City of Midway

It’s time to set a new baseline for our sewer rates – one that reflects our much improved financial situation.

Tomorrow night, I will present two options to the city council for cutting sewer rates – a 25 percent cut (which I prefer) and a 15 percent cut. The reason our current sewer rates are what they are is because they were raised in 2002 to cover the bonds issue for the new sewer plant. Now that we’ve paid off the debt on both the old and new plants, I believe it’s time to set a new baseline sewer rate.

Governments too often take money when they need it but never give it back when they don’t. Our upcoming sewer project to camera and clean out the old lines in town will not require us to borrow money, but future projects likely will. At that time, we may have to raise rates temporarily to pay off the loan of such a project – but it will only be for the life of the loan – then, rates will be reduced back to the baseline.

The question is, what should that new baseline be? I believe it should be 25 percent lower, bringing the rate just below the levels they were before the city had to build a second sewer plant because of failed technology in the old plant. The numbers and projections show (they are available at City Hall or here) that even with a 25 percent rate cut, there is still plenty of new money coming in because we are debt free in our sewer fund, and we’ve got plenty of money saved for rainy day funds.

The ordinance requires two readings, the first of which is scheduled for our regular council meeting on Monday, Dec. 3 at City Hall. The second readings, and vote to approve one of the ordinances, is set for Dec. 17 at City Hall. Both meetings begin at 5:30 p.m. and members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend. Thank you for taking the time to read this and on becoming more informed on the issues, that’s part of what makes this community so great.