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Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Winners of Midway Woman's Club Holiday Decorating Contest are announced; several are pictured here

Best overall design: 112 Old Towne Walk
The Midway Woman's Club has announced the winners of its annual Holiday Decorating Contest. Here are a few of the winners; the rest are listed below. For larger versions of the pictures, click on them.

Most whimsical lights: 238 W. Stephens St.
Most colorful design: 318 N. Winter St.
Best Christmas spirit: 219 W. Higgins St,
Other winners were:
Best Front Door – 225 Gayland Dr.
Most Creative Lights – 323 S. Winter St.
Best Daytime Display – 111 Coach Station Rd.
Best Indoor Tree – 401 Merrywood Dr.
Best Traditional Decorations – 231 Johnson St.
Best Outdoor Tree – 219 Gayland Dr.
Most Fun – 109 Carriage Lane
Best Porch – 268 W. Stephens St.
Best Yard – 225 E. Higgins St.
Best for Spirit of Woodford County – 115 Coach Station Rd.
Special 2018 14th Anniversary MWC Holiday D├ęcor Judging Award – 217 N. Turner St.
Best Business Decorations – Milam House, 140 E. Main St.

Best wreath: 129 Old Towne Walk

The Messenger welcomes contributions of photos of other winners. Send to al.cross@uky.edu.

Monday, December 17, 2018

Council votes 4-1 to cut sewer rates by 25 percent; farewell resolution names John McDaniel 'Mr. Midway'

Council Members Steve Simoff, John McDaniel and Johnny
Wilson, who are leaving the council, posed after the meeting.
The Midway City Council voted 4-1 tonight to cut sewer rates 25 percent, as Mayor Grayson Vandegrift wanted. Barring an unexpected special meeting, the session was the last for half of the council; three new members take office Jan. 1.

Two of the returning council members did not join the majority. Bruce Southworth, who favored a 15 percent cut, abstained, and Kaye Nita Gallagher voted no. Sara Hicks and the three departing members voted yes.

Gallagher had seconded Johnny Wilson's motion to pass the ordinance, which briefly seemed at risk of dying for lack of a second. "If I hadn't seconded it," she explained, "we wouldn't have been able to talk about it."

Later in the meeting, Gallagher suggested that the council could pass neither ordinance and wait to see what happens to the 21.5 percent rate increase Kentucky American Water Co. has proposed to the state Public Service Commission. Sewer fees appear on water bills and are based on water usage.

Vandegrift said the city would probably have to pass on to customers whatever rate hike the PSC approves in about 10 months, but said the increase was in doubt and he would fight it.

He told Gallagher that if the council didn't cut sewer rates at all, "You have to explain to citizens why." He said the long-discussed cut would reflect the city's early payoff of debt for the sewage-treatment plant, and without it, "I'm afraid what it'll do is kill the appetite" of citizens for sewer improvements.

"In a couple of years we may have to raise 'em anyway to do a major project, and people are gonna say, 'Dang it, you all always come back asking for more, and never give it back when you don't need it any more'," the mayor said.

As for the alternative 15 percent cut, "I'm not sure 15 percent makes enough difference to people, in their lives," he said. "Even with a 25 percent cut, we've still got between, on the low side, thirty thousand, on the high side, fifty or sixty thousand dollars in new revenue that's not going toward old debt."

Southworth, who once operated the sewer system, defended the 15 percent cut as "more conservative" and said rates could be lowered again later. Vandegrift said the 25 percent cut "doesn't scare the most conservative person I ever met, Phyllis Hudson, our treasurer."

Vandegrift argued, "Let's put it in people's pockets while we can. It won't change everybody's lives, but I guarantee you it'll have a major effect on a lot of people's lives." Earlier, he said the average annual savings would be about $120 per household.

The only other discussion at the meeting was on departing Council Member John McDaniel's suggestion that the city make "more presentable" the two African American cemeteries it agreed to take over in 1989. Since then, he said, most of the maintenance has been done by Boy Scouts. Vandegrift called it "a great suggestion."

McDaniel lost his bid for a second two-year term last month, placing a close seventh in the nonpartisan eight-candidate race for six council seats. In May, he finished third in a three-way race for the Democratic nomination for Midway-area magistrate on Woodford County Fiscal Court.

The farewell resolution honoring McDaniel called him "Mister Midway," citing his passion for the city, his civic leadership and his honor as Citizen of the Year in 2003. He told his colleagues, "I'll probably be down here harassing you all from the peanut gallery."

Council Member Steve Simoff, who chose not to seek a second term but said he might run again, "showed great care for all public spaces," said the resolution honoring him. He said his term has been fun and educational.

Council Member Johnny Wilson was appointed in March to fill the unexpired term of Libby Warfield after an application process that discouraged people who were interested in a full term. The resolution for him said he has "a great eye for detail, which he shares with his predecessor."

The resolutions approved by the council, with the subject members abstaining, named Dec. 29, 30 and 31, respectively, as Johnny Wilson Day, Steve Simoff Day and John McDaniel Day in Midway.

The newly elected council members, John Holloway, Logan Nance and top election vote-getter Stacy Thurman, attended the meeting and sat in the back row of the audience.

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.

“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,” said Charles Campbell of Midway.

Campbell 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.”

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.