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Friday, August 28, 2020

EDA to develop strategy for marketing commercial land at interchange; City Council to take up greenspace deal

Zoning map adapted by Midway Messenger shows most of Midway Station; for a larger version, click on it.

With all the industrial-zoned land in Midway Station under some sort of formal process leading to sales, the Woodford County Economic Development Authority will be focusing on how to market the commercially zoned land along Georgetown Road and Interstate 64.

The "sticker price" for the tracts zoned B-5, highway interchange service, is $2 million, so it's "a big deal," EDA Chair Michael Michalisin said. "That's our next real item we need to address . . . how to make that more salable." Sales are needed to retire the debt on the property.

Michalisin said board member Paul Schieffler had suggested that EDA needs to develop a marketing strategy for the property, and would "take a leadership role moving forward" on the topic.

Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said the City Council would discuss on Sept. 8 acceptance of a deed from EDA giving it 38 acres, more or less, along I-64. The land, which is not platted for development, has been intended to remain a greenspace buffer.

Vandegrift reported that county Planning Director Pattie Wilson recently found 1991 City Council minutes that say the city was supposed to get "a scenic and conservation easement around the perimeter of the property prohibiting construction within 150 feet of I-64," plus additional easements to total 39 acres.

The mayor and EDA have agreed that the city would get ownership of the property in return for forgiving $500,000 to $750,000 of the debt owed to it by the EDA, most of which is for the natural-gas line built to serve Lakeshore Learning Materials, but not all of which is considered collectible. Vandegrift said he intends to ask the council to vote on the deal Sept. 21.

Wilson reported that Creech Inc. has filed a revised development plan for the lot it is planning to buy for a horse-muck processing facility, in time for the Planning Commission meeting at 6:30 p.m. Sept. 10, and will submit site construction plans Sept. 8. Tom Creech told the board, "I'm ready to go."

Lucas Witt, EDA's new acting executive director, said he met with Barnhill Chimney, which has optioned 2.49 acres for a facility to manufacture chimney caps but has been off and on about going through with it. Witt said the company "fully intends to exercise the option," but hasn't said when. Michalsin said the company has been making its option payments and would bring "a fair amount of jobs . . . I think it's in the dozens." Barnhill has been quoted as saying that it plans to have seven to 10 employees at opening, 10 to 15 in a year and could have 30 in five years.

In the public comment period, Vandegrift said making the transition from former Chair John Soper, who had also been executive director, was "a tough task" but "everybody really did a good job pulling together." He added, "This was a time we couldn't lose steam, and we haven't. I'm as optimistic as ever about Midway Station's outcome."

Gayland and Mill Road residents to get water test kits

Residents of the Gayland and Mill Road subdivisions will soon be receiving water sample test kits at their front door from city employees, as part of testing required by regulations of the state Division of Water. The city is required to sample for lead and copper sample in DOW-designated parts of the city every three years, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said.

"We ask that residents in these areas follow the instructions in the kit and place them back on their front stoop for our employees to collect and send off to the lab," the mayor said. "We ask citizens in this area to complete their sample as soon as possible so we can return our results as quickly as possible to the Division of Water." Midway buys water wholesale from Kentucky American Water Co.

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Funeral Wed. for Geraldine Woodrum, legendary carrier; great-great-granddaughter calls her 'one of the best'

Geraldine Woodrum
Funeral services will be held Wednesday morning in Casey County for Geraldine Woodrum, who died Saturday at 85. She was well known in Midway, perhaps best as the local carrier of the Lexington Herald-Leader for decades.

"She was an integral part of the community," Sally Kinniard posted in the Midway Musings group on Facebook.

"She was the best newspaper delivering person around," Betty Penn Harrod said on Musings, "She will be missed." Peggy Milam Sharon said, "When she left the paper, no one could hold a candle to her work ethic ever again."

"Geraldine was the nicest person you would ever meet," former mayor Tom Bozarth said. "I still see that smile, the van with the yellow light flashing every morning, and the inserts she put in the paper for events."

The family held visitation this evening at Clark Funeral Home in Versailles. The funeral will be held at 11 a.m. Wednesday at St. Bernard Catholic Church in Clementsville in her native Casey County, with burial in the church cemetery. Pallbearers will be Josh Whitaker, Melvin Montgomery, Tyler Woodrum, Joe Woodrum, Scott Woodrum and Archie Woodrum.

She was the widow of Melvin T. Woodrum and is survived by her children, Rita (James) Allen, Frankfort; Freda (Dennis) Whitaker, Versailles; Monica Keeton, Versailles; Marsha Wells, Frankfort; Marie (Richard) Kirk, Frankfort; Archie Woodrum, Harrodsburg; Joe (Becky) Woodrum, Lawrenceburg; Jeff (Trish) Woodrum, Midway; and Angela (Johnie) Tudor, Nicholasville; a sister, Mary Frances Phillips of Ohio; a brother, Phillip Wethington of Georgia; and numerous grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great grandchildren.

UPDATE: A remembrance and tribute by a great-granddaughter, Lisa Howell, has been added as a comment to this story. It begins, "Few people in life get to meet their great grandparents. Even less get to have them for 32+ years of their lives. The Lord blessed me with not only knowing my great grandmother but having one of the best."

In lieu of flowers, the family suggests memorial contributions to the Alzheimer’s Association or Bluegrass Care Navigators.

Saturday, August 22, 2020

Property valuations rise 14.4% as payroll-tax revenue is steady, so mayor proposes cutting property-tax rates

UPDATE, Monday, Aug. 24: The council heard first reading of the ordinance.

Property valuations in Midway are up substantially, and Mayor Grayson Vandegrift is recommending that the City Council reduce tax rates so the city will get about the same amount of tax revenue and property owners will collectively pay about the same amount of taxes.

Vandegrift has called a special council meeting for Monday to give first reading to the tax ordinance so the council can give it second reading and enact it at the regular meeting Sept. 8, "to get our tax preparations out on time," he told the council in an email. "The state was behind in sending the compensating rates."

Each year, the Revenue Cabinet looks at assessments made by property valuation administrators and calculates for each taxing authority a compensating rate, one that would give it about the same amount of property-tax revenue as the current year, which Vandegrift has proposed. (It also calculates what rate would raise revenue by 4 percent, the most that a taxing authority can get without being subject to a petition for a referendum on the rate.)

The valuation of real estate in Midway went up 14.7%, to $135 million, from $117.7 million. Personal-property valuations were $5.35 million, up from $5 million. The total valuation rose 14.4%.

Vandegrift was aware of the increases in July, when he named Council Member Logan Nance, Fiscal Court Magistrate Liles Taylor of Midway and Midway Business Association President Cortney Neikirk to a committee to study the possibility of tax rebates due to rising valuations.

He said then that valuations are rising because housing demand exceeds supply, and valuations in the city weren't closely scrutinized for four years before its housing market "really took off." He said Property Valuation Administrator Judy Bobbitt told him she divides the county into quadrants that are reviewed every four years and assessed at fair market value, mainly on comparable sales in the area.

The mayor also said in July that rates could be reduced, “but we’ve already cut them 30% and I don't want to hamstring ourselves or future leaders from being able to raise them if the revenue is needed."

His thinking has changed. He has proposed compensating rates of 6.2 cents per $100 on real property, down from 7 cents, and 6.4 cents on personal property, down from 7.5 cents.

He said in his email that there is an argument that cities shouldn't cut property-tax rates because "you can never get that revenue back," but he said that does not applies to cities like Midway, which rely mainly on occupational taxes on wages and net profits.

He said City Clerk-Treasurer Cindy Foster told him that occupational-tax income in the second quarter was virtually the same as in 2019, though "we expected to take our worst hit due to the pandemic."

Vandegrift said the coronavirus will continue to be unpredictable, but "Our numbers and the new businesses we're bringing in, along with the construction crews building new facilities, gives me great confidence that we will exceed our revenue projections for this fiscal year. Other revenues are holding steady as well, but occupational tax butters our bread."

He added, "I believe these rate cuts are appropriate since individual families and businesses are struggling. Anything we can do to ease their tax burden, not add to it, seems prudent and necessary."

He said his proposal amounts to a 12% tax cut on real estate and a 15% cut on personal property, "but as you can see from the calculations, it will overall still generate the same amount of revenue for the city."

The meeting will be held via Zoom at 5 p.m. and will be on the Facebook page Midway Streaming Government Meetings.

Wednesday, August 19, 2020

Council accepts mayor's plan to use surplus to finish sewer repairs by replacing main line to treatment plant

Green lines show sewers that are part of the video-and-cleanout project.
By Heston Bates, Taylor Beavers, Jordan Brown and Gage O'Dell
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council went along Monday with Mayor Grayson Vandegrift’s plan to finish repairs to the sewer system though the cost is expected to exceed their original estimate.

Vandegrift noted that the original budget of $200,000 for a project to video and clean out sewers on the east side of town was cut back to $150,000 due to COVID-19’s expected effect on occupational-tax revenue, but he said the revenue picture is better now.

When the pipes were cleaned out, they were in better condition in many areas than was previously thought and since then there have not been any spills, but the main line near the plant has “entire gaps of sewer missing” and is causing backups upstream, he said.

Vandegrift said it is likely that the cost will be closer to the original budget. “I don’t think we can blink at this,” he said. “The project is too big not to move forward with.”

The council agreed. Council Member Logan Nance, often a fiscal conservative, agreed with Vandegrift. “That’s what surpluses are for, to help with projects like this,” he said. “This is only going to make things better down the road.”

Some other council members said likewise, so the project will be advertised for bids and the council may pick a bidder Sept. 8.

The mayor hired Buchanan Contracting to video and clean out the sewer system. He said sewage overflows from manholes during heavy rains have stopped, but the condition of the main line causes blockages upstream.

“This will be the city’s biggest public works project in over 50 years,” Vandegrift said. He estimated that the work will begin in late fall or early winter, depending on approval by the state Division of Water.

University students return: Addressing possible concerns about the influx of Midway University students for the start of the fall semester, Vandegrift went over the school’s plans and voiced confidence in them. “If a university can pull this off, it’s going to be Midway,” he said.

He said capacities in classes are limited and students are required to complete a negative coronavirus screening within one week of returning. He said students cannot be confined to campus because many have jobs, but if tested positive, a dorm is available for quarantine if the student is not able to leave campus.

“We are going to continue to communicate with them whether there’s cases or not, as it certainly is an issue that can affect public health,” said Vandegrift. He noted that Midway only has two of the reported 187 coronavirus cases in Woodford County, but expressed concern because most of the recent cases have been people younger than 40.

Vandegrift said  contact tracing will be the key to preventing covid-19 not only on campus but in the community. He praised the university’s quick response to the virus in the spring, saying the closure of the campus helped it better prepare for this semester.

Rentch property is labeled "private property" on map.
A piece of the park: The mayor told the council that Helen Rentch is willing to donate the part of her property that is being used as part of Walter Bradley Park back to the city, if they can agree that her part will not be developed and if the city ever abandons it, it will revert to Rentch or her estate.

Council Member John Holloway, the unpaid park manager, said “virtually all of that property” is in the floodway of Lee Branch, meaning it can’t be developed.  “Helen has been just extremely gracious to let us use her property the way that we have been,” he said.

In its only official action of the meeting, the council approved a permit for the “Turn the Town Purple” parade scheduled for 11 a.m. Sept. 10 by The Homeplace at Midway to raise awareness for Alzheimer’s disease. Representatives from The Homeplace at Midway will be driving through town with purple-adorned vehicles, purple being the signature color of the Alzheimers’ Association.

The event will not seek public participation due to the pandemic. The caravan will start at the Homeplace, go down Stephens Street to Winter Street, turning around at Main Street to head back to the Homeplace.

In the roundtable at the end of the meeting, Council Member Stacy Thurman asked Vandegrift about the progress of the city's new Code Enforcement Board. The mayor said the board, three members and an alternate, has been meeting via Zoom (as the council does) to develop a list of abandoned properties for the council's consideration after Jan. 1. Property that the council declares abandoned can be taxed at about 10 times the normal real-estate tax rate.

Vandegrift said he is still having difficulty hiring a code enforcement officer, partly because of the pandemic. He said the task is "a little bit more challenging than it was six months ago," when the board was appointed. Jim Starks, whom the council appointed to a three-year term, is the board chair.

Saturday, August 15, 2020

Kim Dudgeon named to Historic Properties Commission

Kim Dudgeon
Kim Dudgeon of Midway is one of two new appointees by Gov. Andy Beshear to the state Historic Properties Advisory Commission, which is responsible for management and conservation of the state Capitol, the Executive Mansion and the Old Governor's Mansion.

The commission was in the news recently after Beshear asked it to recommend removal from the Capitol rotunda the statue of Confederate President Jefferson Davis, which had been installed in 1936, before the commission was created. The commission voted to recommend removal, and the only "no" vote was cast by Brandon Wilson of Somerset, whom Beshear replaced with Dudgeon, owner of The Milam House.

Another new appointee was Kenny Bishop of Lexington, the legislative liaison for Transportation Secretary Jim Gray. Bishop was a personal aide to Gray when he was mayor of Lexington and previously for then-Gov. Ernie Fletcher. He replaced Jon Park of Lexington, who said his vote to remove the statue was "reluctant." Park and Wilson were appointed by Republican Matt Bevin, whom Beshear beat in last fall's election; their terms had expired.

Beshear reappointed the commission chair, Steve Collins of Shelbyville, the son of former Gov. Martha Layne Collins. He, Bishop and Dudgeon were appointed to terms expiring Aug. 11, 2024.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

EDA board lines up sales of four large Midway Station lots that are supposed to produce 70 new jobs

Lots 24, 25, 26 and 27 were prepared for sale by EDA at its meeting Tuesday. (For a larger image, click on it.)
Seventy more jobs would come to Midway Station under instruments approved Tuesday by the board of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority. 

The EDA board approved a letter of intent to sell two lots to CSI, which makes auto parts robotics for the auto industry, and a purchase contract for two with Dever Inc., which sells and rents golf-cart fleets.

"CSI is a hi-tech manufacturer for the automobile industry which will bring 40 high-paying jobs and will take Lots 24 and 25," Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said in an email to the City Council after the meeting. He said Dever will buy Lots 26 and 27 and "bring roughly 30 more jobs to town."

EDA Chair Michael Michalisin of Midway said the sales, after real-estate commissions, would generate $845,000, about $688,000 of which would go toward reducing the mortgage on the industrial and commercial park, with EDA keeping the remaining $157,000.

Vandegrift said the sales would reduce the debt on the property by about a third. "This is a big day for a number of reasons," he wrote. "This marks the beginning of a shift to a new phase, as these are the last remaining industrial lots in Midway Station not currently under contract."

Lot 30 is under option with Barnhill Chimney, and Lots 29 and 31 are in the process of being sold to Creech Inc., which collects muck from horse farms and ships it to mushroom farms in Tennessee.

Vandegrift noted that 130 acres of north of Midway Station is zoned industrial, "but this is a very nice turning point for the history of our industrial park. Both of these new companies are relocating from Lexington, and while they are not done deals just yet, they’re moving along very quickly and I am confident they will both get across the finish line. We could all use good news right now, and I’m very excited about both of these new companies."

Wednesday, August 5, 2020

In monthly update on covid-19 issues, mayor focuses on mental health and dealing with anti-mask peer pressure

By Aaron Gershon
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift discussed the importance of maintaining mental health, and encouraged Midway residents to fight against anti-mask peer pressure, in his monthly video update on the covid-19 pandemic.

“Mental health is going to be something we really need to focus on,” Vandegrift said. “It’s going to take a while to get through this.”

With uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, anxiety and stress have deeply affected millions of people worldwide, including in Midway, he said: “Pandemics obviously are not unprecedented, but for us this is an unprecedented time.”

Noting that suicides rose during the 1918-19 flu pandemic, he called on Midway residents to help one another in any way possible.

“There are difficult things we all deal with, but we don’t want to lose anyone,” he said. “We don’t want to lose anyone to something so self-inflicted when there are resources to help.”

Vandegrift encouraged those needing help or know someone struggling to email him at mayorgrayson@gmail.com.

Anti-mask peer pressure: Despite a surge in coronavirus cases (the state reported seven more in Woodford County Wednesday) and a mandate to wear facial coverings in social settings, some Kentuckians still refuse to wear them. Vandegrift called on Midway to resist the anti-mask peer pressure, which he said he hopes is not intentional.

“I’m talking from experience when I know it’s difficult to walk into a situation … and people you know and respect don’t have their masks on,” he said. “I was in a situation recently where I was in quarters where we all should have had masks on and nobody did and I did not handle that situation as well as I would have liked to.”

Vandegrift said he has since been able to better speak up in similar situations, which is important and “not as difficult as you’d think.” He added, “Nobody wants to be, so to speak, the wet blanket . . . I think we need to work on being that person; I think that’s what leadership really is.”

The mayor continued to praise the city's response to the virus, noting only two confirmed cases have been seen in Midway and both have fully recovered.

“Considering the cases we’ve seen around the country and in parts of Kentucky,” he said, “it’s really a testament to your will that we’ve kept cases so low here.”

Monday, August 3, 2020

Council discusses school, OKs short-term economic developer, hears fire department has its first ladder truck

Northside Elementary School is scheduled to welcome students Aug, 26. (File photo by Megan Parsons, 2019)
This story has been updated.

By Aaron Gershon
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council and Mayor Grayson Vandegrift spent much of their meeting Monday sharing their thoughts on re-opening schools amid the covid-19 pandemic.

The council also approved a short-term contract for an economic developer, passed an ordinance easing paperwork rules for volunteer work on city property, made one block of Johnson Street one-way, and heard that Vandegrift bought a used ladder truck for the fire department.

The Woodford County Board of Education is planning to resume classes Aug. 26 with a dual option, in which parents can send children to school or have them do virtual learning, online at home. The board will have a special meeting Tuesday, Aug. 11.

“We want kids to go back to school at some point,” Vandegrift said. “My main concern, though, is if you go back in and we’re not ready to control the spread, if there are four to five kids a week testing positive for coronavirus and we can’t truly test for it the spread is going to continue.”

Vandegrift’s estimate was based on research that uses county infection rates to estimate the number of infected people likely to arrive at a school of 500 in the first week.

The mayor called for delaying the in-person start date, saying said more testing is needed first, to allow tracing the contacts of infected people and asking them to quarantine.

“I think the board should seriously consider delaying an open that allows students to enter the school until we can guarantee more testing,” he said. “I’m not putting that on Woodford County; the health department has done an unbelievable job, but everywhere this thing spreads, you can’t tell where it’s coming or going, and that’s because of testing.”

Council Member Sara Hicks raised concerns about parents who have health risks but face losing their jobs if their children do not go back to school: “If you say you can your kids or not send your kids, it sounds like that’s just a free decision, but I don’t think that’s really a free decision for people who don’t have the financial wherewithal to put their jobs in jeopardy.”

Council Member Stacy Thurman didn't opine about opening but said the school board should get support no matter what decision it makes: “We need unity, we need a united front and we need solidarity with the board and the county.”

“There’s no good solution,” said Thurman, mother of a fourth grader and an eighth grader. “Both solutions are bad and inconvenient and hard.”

Council Member Logan Nance agreed, saying “The bigger risk than covid to our community is the divisiveness and the language we’re using to talk to one another.” He also didn’t give the school board any advice, and no other council members spoke on the topic.

The City Council usually does not involve itself in school matters, “but this is an unprecedented situation,” Vandegrift said, and the final call will be “the most important decision that board has made in a long time, if not ever.” 

The mayor said at the start of the discussion, “We don’t in any way ever want to step on another board or jurisdiction’s toes,” adding later, “I think it well help them to have an idea how our city, our constituency, our end of the county feels about this.” At the end of the discussion, he said Midway-area school-board member Ambrose Wilson posted his thanks on the Facebook page that carried the meeting.

Other business: The council unanimously approved a six-month contract with Fortune Solutions LLC and point person Lucas Whitt to staff the Woodford County Economic Development Authority for six months, filling the role played by retired EDA chair John Soper.

Whitt worked with Midway on the location of Lakeshore Learning Materials when he worked with the state Economic Development Cabinet, Vandegrift said: "He's well aware of what is going on in Midway Station." The city will pay him $1,050 a month; Soper was paid $1,333.

Most of the pay will come from Versailles and the county government; Vandegrift said he, Mayor Brian Traugott and Judge-Executive James Kay agreed on the temporary hire to give them time to develop “a more concrete, more comprehensive” request for proposals from potential long-term hires.

The council defeated, with lack of a motion, Council Member John Holloway's proposal to rename and replace “Sparks in the Park,” normally held on July 3 or 4, with a celebration on June 19 to honor Juneteenth, a now official city holiday, to honor the end of slavery.

Vandegrift said he had discussed with Holloway “what could be done,” and asked for a motion, but none came. He said Sparks in the Park would continue but “We are going to have a Juneteenth celebration next year on June 19, which happens to fall on a Saturday.”

The council defeated, with lack of a motion, Council Member John Holloway's proposal to rename and replace "Sparks in the Park," normally held on July 3 or 4, with a celebration on June 19 to honor Juneteenth, a now official city holiday, to honor the end of slavery.

Vandegrift said he had discussed with Holloway "what could be done," and asked for a motion, but none came. He said Sparks in the Park would continue, but "We are going to have a Juneteenth celebration next year on June 19, which happens to fall on a Saturday."

Interviews after the meeting, via email, indicated that the opposition stemmed from the idea of doing away with Sparks in the Park.

"I'm really excited to work with members of the black community here in Midway to honor and celebrate Juneteenth as they see fit. I also didn't want to do away with Sparks in the Park," Nance said. "It's a fun event for families and members of the community to come together and socialize and celebrate Independence Day. I know John's heart was in the right place when he wrote the resolution, but instead of repurposing Sparks in the Park I would rather keep that tradition and create a new, special tradition to honor Juneteenth."

Thurman said, "I appreciate the thought process behind this resolution and feel that Midway should definitely commemorate Juneteenth next year. I didn't make a motion to accept this resolution simply because I think both of these events provide great opportunities to bring our community together and I don't think we have to substitute one for the other."

Hicks said, “I believe Sparks is a loved tradition that should not be eliminated. I am also happy to add another celebration of Juneteenth. There are many reasons to celebrate in Midway.”

Holloway said, "Maybe I'm a purist, but it seems like a Fourth of July celebration should be on the Fourth of July. Juneteenth is 15 days before Sparks in the Park, and it seems strange to have two events that close together.  I was afraid that even if we actually have a Juneteenth celebration (which frankly seems unlikely), the tendency would be for it to become a lesser stepchild – which to me smacks of separate but equal, and I'm totally opposed to that, as we all should be."

The council also:

    Heard the mayor announce the purchase of a used ladder truck from Stewart County, Tennessee, for $13,500, using state fire aid money and a city appropriation that was going to be used for an antenna but is no longer needed. Vandegrift said the city needs a ladder truck more than ever, with major facilities in Midway Station. He said Stewart County bought the truck used from Beverly Hills, Calif., but “The truck’s in great condition” and has been driven less than 50,000 miles.
    Unanimously approved an ordinance simplifying volunteer work on city property. Volunteers will no longer be required to sign in and out each time, and won't be required to be under city supervision at all times, since they would sign a waiver of liability. The change confirms current practice.
    Unanimously made the 200 block of Johnson Street a one-way street, from Gratz Street to Brand Street, effective Sept. 1. Nance said he interviewed all but one resident of the block, and all but one were in favor of the change.
    Heard Vandegrift report that more than 700 people watched Wednesday’s online forum about traffic issues, and almost 80 made comments. One suggested traffic cameras to catch and ticket speeders, but the mayor said he had learned such cameras are illegal in Kentucky.

Before the moment of reflection at the start of the meeting, Vandegrift asked members and the online audience to remember the late Joyce Logan and the late Pat Wilson and their families.

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Mayor and City Council put discussion of Aug. 26 school reopening on Monday agenda, invite public comment

By Aaron Gershon
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council and Mayor Grayson Vandegrift will discuss the status of re-opening schools amid the covid-19 pandemic during their twice-monthly meeting at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

Anyone wanting to share their thoughts on school reopenings will be able to comment on the online meeting’s Facebook Live stream on the Midway Government Streaming Meetings Facebook page.

“I hope Midway citizens will join the discussion via Facebook,” Vandegrift told the Messenger. “I’ll share my thoughts and ask the council members if they would like to weigh in as well. And all of this in the hope of helping the [school] board, not in any way stepping on their toes.”

The mayor noted that the Woodford County Board of Education is planning a dual option, in which parents can either opt to send kids to school or have them do virtual learning, online at home. School is scheduled to start Aug. 26.
 
“A couple of board members recently expressed concern about sending kids back to school,” Vandegrift said, especially with the rise in cases the last several weeks and a survey that showed many teachers are leery about returning to in-person instruction.”

The school board scheduled a special meeting for Monday night, but that has been postponed to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 11.

While the council normally does not involve itself in school-board decisions, the mayor said he hopes the conversation will give an idea of where people in Midway stand on school re-opening.

“My goal is simply to be able to give the school board and idea of how Midway and this end of the county are thinking about this, hopefully, to help inform their decision making,” he said.