Thursday, December 29, 2011

Second son of Ferdinand moves to Old Friends

A second son of Ferdinand, the Kentucky Derby winner that was apparently sold for slaughter in Japan, is now living at Old Friends, the Thoroughbred retirement farm in Scott County between Midway and Georgetown.

Ferdinand’s Star, a son of the 1986 Derby winner and the Dare to Command mare Rose and Betty, is a 16-year-old gelding who was retired from racing after winning one of 10 starts. He was retrained for competitive dressage, then was donated to the Thoroughbred Retirement Foundation "after he was no longer able to compete due to soundness issues," said a story in The Blood-Horse.

TRF send the horse to the Maker’s Mark Secretariat Center in 2008, where he was a lightly used school horse and a mascot for the facility, "but a tendon injury ended his career for the second time," the story said. "Before retiring to Old Friends, Ferdinand’s Star was briefly part of the equine rehabilitation program at Blackburn Correctional Complex near Lexington and also spent several months being 'clicker' trained by Kentucky-based artist and equine advocate Marti McGinnis. Ferdinand’s Star will spend his remaining years at Old Friends in a paddock alongside Bull Inthe Heather, another son of Ferdinand." (Read more)

Monday, December 19, 2011

Midway native Teresa Jones James named acting head of state Dept. of Community Based Services

A Midway native has been named acting commissioner of the embattled state Department for Community Based Services, which has been under fire for its handling of child abuse and neglect cases.

The challenging assignment goes to Teresa James, who has been the department's deputy commissioner since April 2008 and "has 25 years of clinical social work experience, including more than 17 years working with severely abused and neglected children and their families and four years working with vulnerable adults," a state news release said.

James is the daughter of Clyde and Carolyn Jones and the second cousin of City Council member Doris J. Leigh, according to Mayor Tom Bozarth. James received bachelor’s and master's degrees in social work from Eastern Kentucky University and the University of Kentucky, respectively, and has been a licensed clinical social worker since 1993.

“Teresa is a proud and passionate social worker who has a wide range of experiences in her field,” Health and Family Services Secretary Janie Miller said in the release. “She has worked in pediatric medical settings with the issues of abuse and neglect and has dealt with issues surrounding children with chronic illness and severe health needs. She has also performed trauma and crisis intervention work and was a domestic violence trainer, educating more than 4,000 medical professionals a year on the issues surrounding violence in families.” When she worked in Florida, James helped develop a medical foster parenting program that "became the model for many states around the country," the release said.

James replaces Patricia Wilson, who quit this month as her department and cabinet continued to lose court battles with newspapers over records relating to their handling of child abuse and neglect and Gov. Steve Beshear told the agencies to be more transparent and accountable. For background from the Lexington Herald-Leader, click here.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

City council will not meet Monday

The Midway City Council will not hold its regularly scheduled meeting on Monday, Dec. 19.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Rollins upbeat, Carroll cautious on Beshear's plan for constitutional amendment to expand gambling

Democratic state Rep. Carl Rollins of Midway, left, sees support for a constitutional amendment to expand gambling, proposed by Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear in his second inaugural address yesterday, but Democratic Sen. Julian Carroll, whose district includes Woodford County, "says any proposal must be vetted before there’s a vote," Kevin Wheatley of the Frankfort State Journal reports today.

The issue is of particular interest around Midway, because it is pushed by the Thoroughbred industry as a way to keep racing horses and breeding stock from leaving Kentucky for states where slot machines and casino table games finance race purses and breeders' awards. The idea has been blocked in the Senate, where President David Williams has been its most powerful foe, but Williams lost to Beshear in last month's election and now says there are enough Senate to pass it, depending on its content.

Carroll indicated similar caution. “I think there are a lot of questions that need to be thought through before we start putting that on the ballot because it’s not a question of the right of the people to vote on the issue, but it is a question of once it’s voted on,” he told Wheatley. “I am deeply concerned about some of the influences that are going to come in here with a constitutional amendment issue, so I want to see the legislation itself before I make a commitment.”

If three-fifths of each chamber voted for an amendment in the legislative session that will run from January until April, the proposal would be put to voters on the November ballot.

Rollins "said he’s heard positive comments from fellow lawmakers regarding a constitutional amendment," but wants it to start in the Senate, which in 2009 killed a House-passed bill for slots at racetracks. “Once before we took a hard vote on it. It was hard for a lot of members, not for me, and then the Senate killed it in committee. Never even heard it,”  he told Wheatley. (Read more)

Christmas-tree lighting brings season to town

Story and photo by Dick Yarmy

While the daily news of the last three weeks may have stuffed coal in our stockings, touting political gridlock, financial institutions misplacing funds, an lack Friday violence, the city of Midway gave its residents a present –– the annual Christmas tree lighting.

Friday night, a crowd of more than 100 including families, students, friends and neighbors waited in the glow of decorated store fronts and mercury vapors for WLEX-18 weekend anchor Nikki Burdine (at left in photo) and Mayor Tom Bozarth to light the tree.

Burdine greeted the crowd and remarked how impressed she was by the city. "I'm really thrilled you asked me to be part of this,” she said. "I'm going to get out of Lexington and come down here more often ... especially for dinner.”

John McDaniel of the local business organization enlisted help from local students to pass out Christmas-carol lyrics and the crowd joined Bozarth and Burdine for a community sing.

The event might not have come up to the stereotypical Norman Rockwell or Frank Capra standards –– but was well worth witnessing.

Burdine’s dinner comment must have stuck a note with the crowd –– many went directly from the event to queue up for tables at downtown restaurants to share in the cheer.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Property maintenance panel won't meet tonight

The following notice was sent by City Council Member Dan Roller, chairman of the council's Property Maintenance Committee: "We were unable to secure an official 24-hour notice to schedule an official meeting of MPMC on Tuesday, December 13, at 6:30 p.m. at the Midway Library and therefore will have no meeting . . . or recommendations on the Midway Property Maintenance Code for the City Council meeting scheduled for Monday December 19. Recommendations will be delayed until 2012. Thank you."

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Midway mayor has been at the center of 'righting the ship' at the Kentucky League of Cities

By Dick Yarmy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Five hundred days ago, news coverage of the Kentucky League of Cities depicted a listing ship, awash in staff executives’ extravagant spending and mismanagement of the organization that provides insurance and many other services to cities.

That ship has been righted, according to Midway Mayor Tom Bozarth, left, and other recently elected officers of the league.

Bozarth, the league's second vice president, said the problems that culminated in the resignation of Sylvia Lovely as executive director were a learning experience for the three new officers. “We were on the executive board when it broke,” he said. “Bottom line is, we didn’t ask enough questions.”

The transition to new leadership was difficult. “We were basically a split board,” he said, with staunch supporters of Lovely on one side and members whom Bozarth considered more objective on the other side. “We started apart,” he said. “Then over the year we came together in the middle, and in the end became a stronger board.”

“Our national search uncovered some good candidates; we decided on Jon Steiner and it’s been a good hire for the league,” Bozarth said. “The attitude of the employees has been like night and day; it’s been a good transition.”

The hiring of Steiner as CEO and an increase in transparency have restored pride to the member cities, KLC President and Paducah Mayor William Paxton said in a news release.

“The executive director hit the ground running,” Lyndon Mayor Susan Barto, the first vice president, said in a telephone interview with the Midway Messenger. “He’s been out to visit two-thirds of the cities and he’s open about everything. Anyone in the general public that wants to know how the KLC runs can go to a meeting ... our records are open and we respond to everything.”

After questions about the management of KLC and the Kentucky Association of Counties, first raised in both cases by the Lexington Herald-Leader, the legislature made them subject to state open-records and open-meetings laws.

Barto said KLC provides products and services to 382 member cities. (Kentucky has 420 cities.) “KLC does nothing but help cities,” she said. “We provide legal advice, legislative programs, lobbying, as well as financial and insurance programs.”

Bozarth said the training provided by the league is critical for small cities like Midway. “People who run for office in small cities have no political experience. They need to reach out and have someone help them learn,” he said. “That’s what the league does.”

Barto called the training “invaluable.” She said she hadn’t been an elected official before becoming mayor of her Jefferson County city, and “ I knew nothing. . . .  I came in as mayor with absolutely no training. They were there to bail me out and give me all the information I needed.”

Bozarth said KLC’s services are a bargain for the dues the cities pay, in Midway’s case $495 a year. “We get that back ten-fold,” he said. “They have the support staff –– it’s like having more employees working for you.”

As examples, Bozarth cited the league’s legal help. “They answer legal questions and provide sample ordinances, cutting down on our legal fees,” he said. For example, league staff helped a recent alcohol ordinance, the insurance discounts for being a drug-free work place and the firefighter grants KLC awarded the city.

Barto also gives the League’s staff high marks. “ They have a remarkable staff,” she said. “They really do care about cities. Members of the staff will work with the individual cities to help develop a personalized master plan, a strategic plan and other concepts to encourage citizen’s involvement.”

Kentucky’s cities and towns have a wide range of sizes and demographics, but have common issues. according to Barto. “Retirement is the biggest issue,” she said. “ If you have a police or fire department you’re paying almost 39 percent in retirement benefits. You have nowhere to pass the buck at the local level –– we have to operate on a balanced budget.”

The league’s accomplishments after the reorganization appear to have been noticed by its members. The last convention had 64 percent more attendance than the previous one. Bozarth credited the increase to a good program, calling out the drug summit in particular. “We addressed problems that were common across the state,” he said.

Bozarth also called attention to KLC’s legislative accomplishments. “We got eight pieces of legislation passed for cities” in this year’s short legislative session,“ he said “We get behind any issue that will impact a city.”

One of those bills allows incentive pay for city officials who get training. Bozarth said that was a good example of legislation bubbling up from the city level: He said Carl Ellis, a Versailles council member, asked state Rep. Carl Rollins of Midway why cities didn’t have a voluntary training program similar to the mandated program offered by the counties’ association. Rollins and Bozarth presented the idea and it was placed on KLC’s legislative agenda. The bill failed to pass the first time, but passed a year later.

Midway and Versailles have passed ordinances implementing the incentive pay. The Midway ordinance was questioned by some council members, but passed. Bozarth considers the passage an accomplishment and places a high value on training. “I believe people should be compensated for getting training,” he said. “They sacrifice a lot of time for just $50 a month,” the salary of a council member.

Bozarth said KLC has “righted the ship” and is going in the right direction. “When we started asking questions and looking into things we got a real education,” he said. “We lost some trust with members, but with the changes we’ve made, we’ve regained that trust.”

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Council hears new reasons for siding delay and discusses crime and Elkhorn Creek pollution

By Dick Yarmy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Construction of the downtown railroad siding has been delayed by disagreements with CSX Corp., the big railroad that owns the right of way, R.J. Corman Corp. Chairman Fred Mudge told the Midway City Council Monday night. He said the project, slated for completion this year, has also been delayed by protracted negotiations with the state Transportation Cabinet and by unseasonal weather conditions in areas where Corman's crews do rail construction and repair

Mudge didn't specify the disagreements with CSX, which leases the rail line to Corman, but he said they were minor and said he expects the project to be completed next year.

Mudge also updated the council on Rick Corman’s struggle with cancer. Corman is commuting between home and Boston, Mass., where he is receiving experimental drug treatment for the disease. Mudge said Corman is responding well to the chemotherapy, and “We’re all hoping he continues to go in the same direction and the treatment is successful.”

Midway has enjoyed a good relationship with Corman, who has made special trains available as a centerpiece for community events, including bringing Santa Claus to town for the upcoming holiday season.

Citizens urged to report unusual behavior

Assistant Chief Fugate of the Versailles Police Department reported that incidents needing police attention are on par with last year, but warned that citizens too often fail to report unusual behavior. Afterward, Mayor Tom Bozarth said he requested the chief’s visit. “These are tough times in central Kentucky,” Bozarth said. “It’s desperate times for a lot of people and a lot of bad things are going on. I just want neighbors to look out for their neighbors and to report anything suspicious to the Versailles police dispatch so we can all look after each other.”

Council reacts to article on Elkhorn Creek pollution

In a spirited discussion, the council reacted to the Dec. 1 Messenger article regarding pollution standards for the South Elkhorn Creek watershed. Council Member Dan Roller asked Bozarth for clarification on the operation of the city's wastewater treatment plant, which a state study said puts an average of 43 fecal coliform colonies per 100 milliliters of water into Lee Branch. The state limit is 200 per ml. Roller mentioned that the study covered a period where the water was treated by the city’s old plant.

In a later interview, Roller said he was concerned about how the study could differentiate between pollution stemming from the plant and that coming from livestock farms. A former state employee, he said state agencies would most likely continue to set the bar higher toward a better environmental standard.

At the meeting, Bozarth related a conversation with sewer-plant manager Mark Roberts and assured the council the plant was operating within the present guidelines, quoting the same figures as the report.  In a later interview Bozarth said, “I took a little exception to the article because it gives the impression the city is doing something wrong and the city’s not doing anything wrong.  We operate the plant well within the boundaries the state requires.  I was just taken aback when I first read the article.”

Bozarth noted that developments on KY 341 north of town are served by septic tanks that have drain fields approaching the creek. Those were not mentioned in the state report.

Midway Messenger Publisher Al Cross said afterward that the state report did not assert that the city was in violation, but indicated that the sewer plant might be one obstacle to making the creek swimmable if the state decided to try to achieve that standard.

Midway to light Christmas tree Friday night

Downtown Midway will hold its annual downtown Christmas tree lighting ceremony, Friday, Dec. 9, at 6:30 pm. Nikki Burdine, Channel 18 weekend news anchor, will be this year’s special guest.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Environment agency seeking comments on bacterial pollution of South Elkhorn Creek

The Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet is seeking public comment until Jan. 2 on a draft report on bacterial pollution in nine stream segments and two springs in the South Elkhorn Creek watershed, including some in and near Midway.

One stream segment is the last mile of Lee Branch, which flows through Midway. It is polluted with fecal colifrm bacteria, presumably from livestock farms and the City of Midway sewage-treatment plant. Almost all of South Elkhorn Creek, which forms the northeast boundary of Woodford County, is similarly contaminated for those and similar reasons, the report says.

The Midway treatment plant's permit allows its discharge to contain 200 fecal coliform colonies for every 100 milliliters of water. The report says the plant's average from 1983 to 2003 was 43 colonies per 100 ml.

The federal Clean Water Act requires the state to identify waters where designated uses are not being met and water quality impairments exist, and to prioritize the list of impaired waters, calculate a total maximum daily load (TMDL) of pollutants for those waters and devise plans to improve the water quality. A TMDL is a calculated amount of pollutants a particular water body may contain and remain unimpaired for its designated use.

The report by the state Division of Water addresses bacterial pollution in the South Elkhorn Creek watershed at levels that makes the streams unsuitable for swimming. The report includes data and procedures used to calculate the TMDL for the stream segments. Revisions to the report may be made following the public comment period and before it is sent to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for approval.

The report may be viewed on the Division of Water website here. (It's a 277-page PDF that may take a while to load if your connection is slow.) Comments should be sent in writing to Eric Liebenauer, Division of Water, 200 Fair Oaks Lane, Frankfort, KY 40601, or by e-mail to eric.liebenauer@ky.gov.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Property Maintenance Committee to met at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the branch library

The Midway Property Maintenance Committee will meet Tuesday evening, Nov. 29 at 6:30 p.m. at the Woodford County Library Midway Branch, 400 Northside Drive. The purposes of the meeting are to prepare recommendations on the inspection process and office procedures, discuss proposed legislation and citizen offers of assistance with Main Street properties. As with all City Council and Property Maintenance Committee meetings, the meeting is open to the public.

Monday, November 14, 2011

Comprehensive plan mostly approved; equine preserve remains, parkway reference deleted

By Nate Courtney
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The county planning commission voted Thursday night to adopt a new land-use plan that keeps the protection the agricultural-equine preserve in the northern part of Woodford County.

In addition to the ag-equine protection, the commission voted to delete any mention of extending the Bluegrass Parkway to Interstate 64, a project that would have to go through northeast Woodford County and some of the richest soil and horse farms in Kentucky.

But the commission did vote to include extension of Falling Springs Boulevard to U.S. 60 and Midway Road – the only issue Midway Mayor Tom Bozarth spoke about at the public hearing on the plan a week earlier.

Bozarth said then that extending Falling Springs Boulevard would “adversely affect the city of Midway, all of the farms, and anyone who travels Midway Road regularly” because it would “put more traffic on Midway Road.”

But commission Chair Brian Traugott said this road extension was in the state’s six-year road plan and “to ignore that fact was not proper planning.”

In his column in tonight's Woodford Sun, Bozarth, a bloodstock agent, said the commission "made the right decisions," and specifically mentioned the equine preserve.

Versailles Mayor Fred Siegelman, who had endorsed the entire plan at the hearing, said Thursday night that the Bluegrass Parkway extension “had been talked about for 30 years” and didn’t think it would be built “in his lifetime or the lifetime of his kids.”

Several residents at the hearing complained that the commission had not made clear its reasons for the changes and that the speakers could not engage the commissioners in direct conversation. At Thursday's meeting only the commissioners spoke; Traugott, David Floyd and Jim Boggs, read prepared statements.

After reading his statement and motion, Traugott defended the plan, saying he’s concerned about the lack of manufacturing jobs in the county and that the county’s number of people 60 and older rose 45 percent from 2000 to 2010.

“These facts do not bode well for our future,” he said.

Still, Traugott has not lost his since of humor.

He said he got “one positive email,” saying, “The revisions to the comp plan were well thought out and I loved your editorial in The Woodford Sun. Love, Mom.”

The protections for the equine preserve were the commission’s biggest obstacle in passing the land-use plan.

In a post-meeting interview Traugott said that the commission never wanted “anything bad to happen to the horse farms” and added he was “very pleased with the vote.”

For a copy of Traugott's four-page motion to approve the plan, click here.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Renaissance offers volunteers to pick up Nov. 19 cleanup-day items, pay for disposal of 100 tires

The Midway Renaissance Greenspace committee is offering support to the city of Midway’s Nov. 19 trash collection day.

Citizens who are not able to deliver articles to the old sewage treatment plant can call City Hall and arrange for Greenspace volunteers to load and transport their articles.

In an effort to promote the recycling of old tires, Greenspace will pay the 8-cent-per-pound tire disposal charge for the first 100 rimless tires registered by a phone call to City Hall. Interested citizens can call and give their name, address and number of tires. The registered tires will be picked up and delivered to the recycling center by Greenspace volunteers.

Property maintenance panel sets agenda for Tue.

The Midway Property Maintenance Committee will meet at the Midway Baptist Church Ministry Center, 121 S. Winter St., Tuesday evening, Nov. 15, at 6:30 p.m. The committee will hear a speaker on preventing property invasions by wildlife, review an updated property list, and discuss proposed legislation, the inspection process and a citizen offer of assistance with Main Street properties.

As with all City Council and Property Maintenance Committee meetings, the meeting is open to the public.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Midway, Woodford among places that favored Galbraith over Williams in election for governor

Gatewood Galbraith
Independent gubernatorial candidate Gatewood Galbraith beat Republican nominee David Williams in four counties in Tuesday's election, including Woodford County, where Galbraith came in second in most precincts, including the City of Midway.

Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear got 3,632 votes in the county, or 51 percent, while Galbraith received 1,771 (25 percent) and Williams tallied 1,674 (24 percent).

In the Midway city precinct, the vote was Beshear 296, or 58 percent; Galbraith 123, about 24 percent; and Williams 90, just under 18 percent. (Galbraith's best precincts in the county were High School, 33 percent, and Nonesuch, 32 percent.)

In the Midway county precinct, outside the city limits, Beshear got 157 (58.6 percent), Williams 59 (22 percent) and Galbraith 52 (19.4 percent). The other Woodford precincts in which Galbraith placed third were the Depot Street Community Center and the two Huntertown School precincts.

Other counties where Galbraith placed second were Franklin, home of his running mate for lieutenant governor, Dea Riley; Nicholas, his home county; and Bourbon, between Nicholas and Fayette County, where he lives and practices law. In Fayette, he placed a close third, with 22 percent of the county's vote. For all counties' results, click here.

Interviews with voters in South Lexington suggested that much of Galbraith's vote came from Republicans who were unhappy with Williams. For that story, by University of Kentucky journalism student Lauren Forsythe, click here.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Lexington-Louisville cooperation plan is not about development along Interstate 64, Jim Host says

By Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Efforts by Lexington and Louisville to cooperate in economic development, selling the two metropolitan areas as a "super region," might seem to raise some issues for places between them, particularly places on Interstate 64, such as Midway, and especially in light of the new comprehensive plan proposed for Woodford County.

The leader of the project is Jim Host, left, the Lexington sports entrepreneur who impressed just about everyone with his supervision of the construction of Louisville's KFC Yum Center. When Host spoke to the Lexington-Fayette Urban County Council on Tuesday, he cited the Dallas-Fort Worth area as an example of a an economic super-region. He should stop that, the Lexington Herald-Leader said in an editorial.

"The image it conjures of miles of urban sprawl is an instant turnoff to many of the people whose support the regional effort will need," the newspaper said. "In fact, the committee that Host will chair should make it clear early on that preserving the rural character of the corridor between Lexington and Louisville is a priority," the editorial said. "The last thing they need is an anywhere-USA vista of glass high-rises and chain restaurants running the length of Interstate 64."

Since Midway is surrounded by some of the world's best farmland, has a white elephant of an industrial park on the other side of I-64 from the rest of the town, and may be governed by a land-use plan that could encourage traffic and road-building in its environs, we wondered what implications the Louisville-Lexington effort might have for Midway.

"This is not about us filling the gap between here and Louisville with a bunch of manufacturing plants or anything else," Host told me in an interview. "It's about teaching people how to use technology." He said Dallas and Fort Worth are connected not just by I-20 and other roads, but by education, and a major focus of his effort is to get the state's two major universities to collaborate on engineering projects and reshape the state's education system to create a more solid foundation for that.

"This doesn't have anything to do with any Woodford County industrial sites," Host said. He said the 15-member board of the Bluegrass Economic Advancement Movement will include the presidents of the two universities and the owner of a small business in Shelbyville. (Full disclosure: Host is a contributor and fund-raiser for the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, which I run.)

Beverly Fortune reports for the Lexington Herald-Leader on Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer's speech to the Lexington Rotary Club: "For too long, Lexington and Louisville have spent energy on college sports rivalries and differences that separate them, rather than looking at resources they share, Fischer said. With teamwork, the state can get ahead, he said. The goal of the economic initiative is to create high-quality jobs and to increase exports by making Kentucky a global center of excellence in advanced manufacturing." (Read more)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Big majority at public hearing object to removing Equine Preserve from county's land-use plan

By Nate Courtney
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The overwhelming majority of local residents who spoke to the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Planning and Zoning Commission Thursday night, Nov. 3, were against removing the Agricultural-Equine Preserve district from the proposed new Comprehensive Plan.

Over and over, those at the courthouse hearing said development of the northern part of the county would destroy land that Mary Ann McCauley said has the “richest soil in the world.” (Map: limited-capability soils in dark gray; click map for larger image)

“To remove the protection from our Agricultural Equine Preserve is to set up for the destruction of one of our most valuable assets – our soil,” McCauley told the commission. “We got the goose that’s laying the golden egg. Don’t kill that goose, for if we do we’ll be left with a dirty nest.”

Community residents acknowledged that rural development might create jobs, but some asked, at what cost to the rest of the community?

Magistrate Larry Craig, who represents Midway on the Woodford County Fiscal Court, asked, “If we do away with one agricultural job to promote a new business job, what are we accomplishing?”

The elected Fiscal Court has no say over adoption of the Comprehensive Plan. That is up the commission, which is appointed by the three local governments. It could vote on it as early as Thursday, Nov. 10.

Some of speakers also objected to the plan’s suggestion that Falling Springs Boulevard be extended to the south end of Midway Road to form a southwestern bypass of Versailles, and that consideration be given to extending the Bluegrass Parkway to Interstate 64. Both could affect Midway.

The commission allowed each resident to speak for three minutes about the proposed plan but direct dialogue was not allowed between the speakers and commission members. Some speakers wanted to know why the commission would remove the Ag-Equine Preserve, in which residential subdivisions are all but banned.

Commission Chair Brian Traugott told The Woodford Sun about a month ago that removing the district “was driven by an effort to put all agriculture in Woodford County on a fair plane.” Pattie Wilson, the county planning director, said at the start of the hearing that the plan would still require residential lots in agricultural areas to be at least 30 acres.

But residents from both the northern and southern part of the county suggested a different tack: extend the preserve to the whole county, instead of removing it. (Map: County geology by rock units, with evenly bedded limestone in green; click for larger image)

“It would be just as fair to all the farmers and land owners to extend protection to the south end of the county as it would be to remove it from the northern part,” said Evan Miller, a farmer on the south end.

Hank Graddy, a Midway attorney and farm owner, agreed, reminding the commission that 20 years ago residents in the north wanted “greater protection” and “went road to road to gain 90 percent support to create the Ag-Equine Preserve.” That percentage of landowners in the district had to agree in order for it to be created.

Part of the compromise allowing the preserve was to allow cluster residential development in the southern part of the county. “I would support efforts to make it fair for north and south,” Graddy said, by making the preserve countywide.

Graddy called the proposed plan “a slap in the face of our productive farmers that wish to continue farming and thoroughbred industry,” and said, “It is out of step with the will of the overwhelming majority of people on this community.”

The crowd of about 100 gave Graddy lengthy applause after a loud buzzer signaled the end of his three minutes.

Photo by Dick Yarmy
(from city council meeting)
Midway Mayor Tom Bozarth, left, a bloodstock agent, expressed concerns only about the extension of Fallings Springs Boulevard, saying it would put more traffic on Midway Road (US 62). That would “will adversely affect the city of Midway, all the farms, and anyone who travels Midway Road,” Bozarth said. “It is a small road with little shoulders.” 

Lori Garkovich, a University of Kentucky professor and Woodford County resident for 28 years, also expressed concerns regarding the future design and construction of improvements to Midway Road.

Garkovich, a rural sociologist and planning specialist speaking on behalf of the Woodford Coalition, also recommended standards in writing to the commission that she said would “preserve Midway Road’s designation as a scenic corridor and improve its safety.”

The extension of the Bluegrass Parkway to I-64 was proposed 40 years ago but dropped by the state because of the impact it would have on the Pisgah Pike Historic District and the eastern end of the Midway census tract and ZIP code.

"Why build new roads that aren't desperately needed when we desperately need when we to take care of the roads we already have?" asked former Gov. Brereton Jones, a horse breeder who lives a few miles west of Midway. "We need new roads, no question about it, but we don’t need to be destroying the prime agricultural land, the best land that exists."

Traugott said after the meeting that the commission “would absolutely consider the questions that were raised by the community residents.”

A few of the approximately 30 residents who spoke did commend the commission for shrinking the current 400-page document to about 100 pages, and endorsed it. Those included Brad McLean of Midway, chairman of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority.

McLean said the EDA gives the plan their “entire support” and thanked the Commission “for making economic development a priority.” Versailles Mayor Fred Siegelman also endorsed the plan.
Traugott said in a post-meeting interview that there were “many, many things that everybody agrees on” in the plan. “There are three or four real issues.”

The biggest issue by far was the future of the equine preserve. “The destruction of the farmland would turn Woodford County into another faceless and indistinct bedroom community,” horse farmer Richard Masson said.

He called the plan “the first step to becoming just another off ramp on a freeway instead of a famous and historic landmark and the crown jewel of the Bluegrass.” Masson received the heaviest applause of the night.

The hearing was the latest episode in a long debate between preservationists and pro-development interests in Woodford County. For background on the debate, from the current plan, click here.

Council to to name EDA member, hear from chair

The agenda for the next meeting of the Midway City Council, at 5:30 p.m. Monday at City Hall, includes the proposed appointment of John Dodds to the Woodford County Economic Development Authority board and a report by Brad McLean, chairman of the EDA.

Thursday night, McLean spoke in favor of the proposed new land-use plan for the county, which is controversial because it would eliminate the equine preservation district that prohibits residential development among horse farms.

The council agenda also includes discussion of the citywide cleanup to be held Nov. 19, and continued discussion of the "full occupancy" goal first discussed at the council's town meeting on May 2. For the full agenda, click here. The agenda can be revised up to 24 hours before the meeting. All council meetings are open to the public.

Friday, November 4, 2011

Committee to meet Mon. about drainage inquiry

The Midway City Council committee that handles water, street and sidewalk matters will meet Monday, Nov. 7 at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall to discuss a citizen inquiry on a drainage issue at 213 N. Winter St. All council and committee meetings are open to the public.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Property Maintenance Committee will meet next at Baptist Church; later meetings set for library

The Property Maintenance Committee of the Midway City Council now plans are to meet twice a month, on Tuesdays of the weeks that follow council meetings, Chair Dan Roller advises. "Meetings will be at the library when it is available," he writes. "Alternate accessible locations will be within the city, and announced timely prior to the meetings." The next meeting will be Nov. 15 at 6:30 p.m. in the Midway Baptist Church Fellowship Hall. The Nov. 29, Dec. 13 and Dec. 27 meetings will be held at the library.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Three Chimneys Farm president says Thoroughbred industry more disciplined after 'worldwide crash'

Next to the world economy, the biggest recent factor affecting the Thoroughbred breeding business that surrounds Midway was the purchase of a regional bank in Cleveland by one in Pittsburgh, Three Chimneys Farm President Chase Clay, right, told The Lane Report in an interview published in the magazine's current edition and online. But Clay says the resulting decline in breeding, also a function of the economy, wasn't entirely a bad thing, even as the industry suffered "a worldwide crash."

"PNC Bank decided to exit lending to the equine industry," Clay told Publisher Ed Lane. "National City invested an estimated $400 million in equine loans, most of which has disappeared. When less money is available for lending, there are fewer horses because bottom-end mares are not being bred. The lowest-quality mares shouldn’t have been breeding from the start. They should have been pets, in my opinion. The breeders with the lowest-quality mares didn’t have the borrowing capability or the cash to breed the horse, so they didn’t breed them. There are some positives to that. Now it’s more of a flight to quality, which is a good thing. As supply declines – 4,500 horses as opposed to 5,500 – and demand remains the same, then prices go up, which thankfully happened this year," most notably at the September yearling sales at Keeneland.

Clay, 37, said breeders, trainers and owners tell him 2009 and 2010 were "the most difficult financially for our industry" that they can remember. "If our industry can maintain the discipline that it learned over the last two years," he said, "then our future margins will be higher."

In the interview, Clay also discussed the farm's recent sales and breeding success (its top stallion, Dynaformer, is fetching a stud fee of $150,000) and how and why he returned to the family farm to manage it, and this interesting analogy: "Our business is equivalent to the oil business. Investors drill 11 holes – we have 11 stallions – and one or two will gush oil, and one or two of them won’t. But they all cost money to drill." (Read more)

Friday, October 28, 2011

Council's Property Maintenance Committee holds first meeting; next one scheduled for Nov. 15

The first meeting of the Midway City Council's Property Maintenance Committee was held Wednesday night. (A notice placed in The Woodford Sun said it would be Thursday might.) Here are excerpts of an e-mailed report on the meeting by City Council Member Dan Roller, the committee chairman:

"Joy Arnold is working on minutes of the meeting and they will be sent our when finished. I have interviewed Paul Noel, P&Z Building and Zoning inspector, and as soon as Mr. Noel, Mayor Bozarth and P&Z Director Patty Wilson review and comment on the write-up, an outline of the Building Inspection process will be provided." A draft description of that process is in a PDF, availably by clicking here.

"The meeting dates for the next 2 months are Nov. 15 and 29, Dec. 13 and 27," Roller continued. "When available we will meet at Midway Branch of the Woodford County Library. Alternate accessible locations will be within the City, and announced timely prior to the meetings. The library is unavailable Nov. 15." Besides Roller and Arnold, the other member of the committee is Council Member Becky Moore.

Water lines to be flushed Monday through Thursday

The Midway Water Works Department will be flushing fire hydrants Monday Oct. 31, through Thursday Nov. 3, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Several fire hydrants in an area will be opened at once to create increased water flow, to flush mineral deposits and sediment. Residents may notice cloudy tap water, but the cloudiness should pass in a short time, and the water will be safe to drink, but should be allowed to clear before doing laundry. "The City of Midway is not responsible for laundry being damaged during the hydrant-flushing period," the notice from City Hall says. "We apologize for this inconvenience and assure you it is a necessary part of our operation. If you have any questions please contact City Hall at 846-4413."

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Property Maintenance Committee to hold first meeting in library at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday

The newly created Property Maintenance Code Committee of the Midway City Council will hold its first meeting Wednesday, Oct. 26, at 6:30 p.m. at the Woodford County Library Midway Branch, 400 Northside Drive.

The notice from City Hall says the committee will discuss the 19 properties cited for building-inspection violations and review the city's Property Maintenance Code and any of the regulations, provisions, penalties, conditions and terms of the Building Officials and Code Administrators' National Property Maintenance Code.

All city council and committee meetings are open to the public.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Midway students collecting canned food for food banks, dollars for breast-cancer research Oct. 24

The Midway College Students In Free Enterprise team is asking local residents to support their second annual Pink Hair Day food drive for local food banks and breast cancer research by bringing one canned, non-perishable food item (for food banks) and $1 (for research) to the McManis Student Center Monday, Oct. 24, between 11:30 a.m. and 5:30 p.m. The event is part of the international "Campbell's Let's Can Hunger Challenge" sponsored by Campbell Soup Co. For more information, contact Dr. Marla Ashe at 846-5731or SIFE@midway.edu.

City council discusses recycling, Renaissance, Francisco's Farm, scout projects, more

By Dick Yarmy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Midway City Council played to a standing-room only crowd Monday night in what longtime council watcher John McDaniel called “the best meeting I’ve seen in a while.”

The standing room was rectified with the arrival of extra chairs as the council discussed issues ranging from recycling a business study to Eagle Scout projects, and received updates on Midway Renaissance and planning for the 2012 Francisco’s Farm Art Festival.

Recycling: “Name me a business that can show a 53 percent increase in productivity,” Magistrate Bruce Gill said as he ran the numbers describing improvements in Woodford County’s recycling efforts.

Gill reported how grant monies were used for machinery that has all but eliminated using middlemen to sell recycled products. By bundling the materials and taking only mill-ready material to the end user, the county is receiving top prices, Gill said.

The county received $186,000 for recycled materials this year and kept 1,100 tons of material out of the landfill. By not using the landfill, Gill estimated, the county saved fees of more than $60,000. “That savings goes un-noticed,” he said. Midway residents pay county taxes.

The problem of not accepting fiberboard, which drew criticism from the city last February, was addressed by recycling resource coordinator Nola Serber. She reminded the council that in addition to household material, they are handling 204 businesses five days a week. “We take everything, but glass, and we’re working on that right now,” she said.

Renaissance: “I can see an opportunity for this community,” said Council Member Becky Moore, as she reviewed the status of the group. “It is a very well established, driven 501(c)(3) organization, and depending on who’s on the board ... it can go in whatever direction the community wants it to go.” Renaissance is recruiting volunteers and board members to fill vacancies created by three retiring board members. Moore directed interested parties to the organization’s website for more information.

The status of the Francisco’s Farm festival was covered in a report from event coordinator Marcie Christensen, right (photo from a different meeting). The event planning committee is proposing June 23-24 for the festival and recommending it remain at Equus Run Vineyards, where it was moved last year. This recommendation will be offered to the Renaissance board for approval.

The board has said it needs to know who will be responsible for the finances and momentum of the festival. Co-chairs for the festival are Equus Run owner Cynthia Bohn and Sarah Hicks. Bozarth asked, “Who is ultimately responsible for Francisco’s Farm?” Christensen replied, “Midway Rennaisance.”

Market study: “The right direction for Midway has to come at the intersection of community desire and market potential.” That’s what Josh Bloom, principal in the Community Land Use and Economics Group, said at a public meeting last March. CLUE was hired to prepare a state-funded market study of Midway’s business potential, administered by Renaissance. The completed study is now available on the Renaissance website, Christensen said.

She called attention to the retail and restaurant tip sheets, designed to help businesses improve traffic and sales. McDaniel, president of the Midway Business Association, said downtown merchants are already using some of the suggestions and added some have purchased virtual business tours to increase their online presence.

Eagle Scouts: The community projects that Boy Scouts Tim Hagan and William Borland are mounting to gain the Eagle rank continued to gain momentum. Both gave the council addenda to their proposals, filling in details needed to gain the council’s approval. The council voted to let Bozarth grant final approvals and schedules for the projects.

Hagan’s dog park project received an additional boost. Donations of resources and materials were pledged to help reduce the cost. “I called in a few favors,’ Bozarth said as he told Hagen about the contributions. (He said after the meeting that posts have been donated by Shadwell Farm and the concrete is being donated by John and Jim McDaniel in honor of their dogs Little Man and Molly.) Borland is mapping and cleaning cemeteries.

Other business: The council set Nov. 19 as the day to dispose of large items, at the old sewer plant from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and Bozarth said the city’s property maintenance code needs to be strengthened. He appointed a committee of council members to work on it: Joy Arnold, Dan Roller and Moore, his predecessor as mayor.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Francisco's Farm committee wants to keep going; Renaissance wants key questions answered

By Nate Courtney
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications
(This story has been revised to correct a mistaken attribution.)

The Planning Committee for the Francisco’s Farm Art Festival decided at its meeting Sept. 29 that the festival should continue in 2012 because they believe enough people have committed to raise necessary funds and do other work.

The committee, which will meet again Thursday, also decided the venue should be Equus Run Vineyard, where it was moved last year after seven years at Midway College.

After the planning committee meeting, the Midway Renaissance board voted “in favor of Francisco's Farm continuing, especially if they have enough interest for that to happen in an effective manner,” according to a report provided by Marcie Christensen of Renaissance. However, the directors won’t fully endorse it until two items are resolved: First, who will be responsible for the finances of the festival, and second, who is going to be the driving force of the festival and keep the momentum going forward?

The driving force of Francisco’s Farm has been Midway Renaissance, the future of which is in doubt.

“We will not continue to exist without people taking leadership positions,” Renaissance President Randy Thomas, said at a general Renaissance meeting on Sept. 26. Thomas has said he will be leaving the Renaissance board at the end of the year.

Three days later, at the planning committee meeting, Cynthia Bohn, right, owner of Equus Run, agreed to serve as co-chair of the festival.

“I love art,” Bohn said at the meeting. “But it will take a village to run this festival.”

Phil Dare, a regular volunteer for Francisco’s Farm and chair of the Greenspace Committee of Renaissance Jon Maybriar, a former Renaissance member who has volunteered to help with the festival, said there are Midway residents who feel separated from the organization. “There is a mistrust,” he said. “It needs to be repaired.”

Dare Maybriar also said that the planning committee meeting was the “first serious dialogue about including downtown Midway.” Downtown businesses were upset that the festival moved three and a half miles away.

Several committee members also wanted to have a meeting with the Midway City Council and Mayor Tom Bozarth to “bridge the gap,” as Dare Maybriar put it.

One way to bridge the gap is transparency of information, Bohn said. “Communication,” she said. “That will help unify Midway again.” She said the key mission of Francisco’s Farm is simple: to give back to the community.

Bohn acknowledged that the festival’s overall preparation was an issue its first year at Equus Run. Everything from the loosely kept entrance gate to toilet paper control led to some revenue loss, the committee said. Christensen said the festival account had about $1,000.

In order to counter these flaws, Bohn wants to see the creation of specific teams for parking, signs, advertising, music, production, and food vendors, which could improve revenue for the festival, which she said drew more than 11,000 visitors last year.

Bohn has offered her 16 employees to Francisco’s Farm but the festival has been heavily reliant on a larger number of volunteers.

Former Renaissance president Diana Ratliff expressed her concerns in an interview with the Midway Messenger.

She said the important point of the festival’s success is the volunteers, and it can’t replace 400 volunteers with 16 employees.

Ratliff said Francisco’s Farm should still remain a community engaged event, and there are a number of people in the community that would be willing to help.

Several steps the committee is taking include: having a downtown restaurant owner on the committee, promoting downtown at the festival, and alternating future committee meetings between Equus Run and downtown. Committee members said alternating the meetings would reinforce the understanding that the festival is a Midway event, not just an Equus Run event.

The committee’s next meeting will be Thursday, Oct. 13 at 5:30 p.m. at United Bank.

Committee members know that the longevity of Francisco’s Farm depends on the community and its volunteers, like Sara Hicks.

“I love the festival because I love the arts,” Hicks said at the meeting. “I don’t want to see it leave. I’m here to see it stay.”

Information for this story, originally published in the Midway Messenger, was also provided by Dick Yarmy.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Committee on water, streets etc. to meet Wed.

The Water, Sewer and Garbage and Recycling / Street / Sidewalk Committee of the Midway City Council will meet Wednesday, Oct. 12, at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall. The purpose of the meeting, according to a notice from City Hall, is to discuss street painting on the corner of Main and Winter streets and a citizen's request for a water-bill adjustment. All council and committee meetings are open to the public.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Would-be Eagle Scout wants to build dog park

By Nate Courtney
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Tim Hagan, 14, approached the Midway City Council on Monday night with an agenda.

Distributing a manila folder to each council member, Hagan proposed building a dog park behind Northside Elementary that would cover about an acre for his Eagle Scout project.

In his folder Hagan provided a detailed cost estimate of $3,225, which would be less if some materials were donated.

Mayor Tom Bozarth suggested that Hagan mark off the area so people can see where the dog park would be and help him attract sponsors for the construction cost. A diagram Hagan prepared on an aerial photograph shows the black outlines of the park along Dudley Street in the middle, narrow part of Walter Bradley Park, which is outlined in red.

Council Member Joy Arnold encouraged Hagan to get in touch with the Woodford Humane Society, which “might have grants for these things.” Other council members suggested Hagan might be able to entice volunteers to help with the project.

With or without help, Hagan’s motives for building a dog park were simple. “I just wanted to give back to the community (of Midway),” he said in an interview.

Hagan already has some support. He told the council that Smithers Sign Company of Lexington has agreed to donate two signs: – a title sign and one that will contain the rules of the park.

Hagan showed the council signs that Smithers made for the dog park in Lexington's Masterson Station Park, which he said inspired his project.

Hagan said he will achieve the Eagle Scout rank upon completion of the dog park but the rank is not why he’s doing it. “I want to not only help out the community but also the animals that will enjoy it.”

The council voted to endorse the concept of Hagan’s project without committing financial support.

Another would-be Eagle Scout, William Borland, told the council that he wants to clean up, map and index the cemetery behind the Presbyterian Church and perhaps another. After discussion of some details of his plan, the council asked him to do more research and report back at the next meeting, Oct. 17.

Bozarth told the crowd that Midway should be proud of Boy Scout Troop 40, which has produced 36 Eagle Scouts since it was chartered in 1994, more than two per year.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Council members to inspect old sewer plant, Spring Station Road property Monday morning

"Three or more Midway City Council members" will view the old wastewater treatment plant on Leestown Road and city property on Spring Station Road Monday, Oct. 3, at 9:30 a.m., says a notice this afternoon from City Hall. The notice did not say which property would be visited at that time, but listed the Spring Station site first.

The notice was necessary because a gathering of four council members is a quorum that constitutes an official meeting under the state Open Meetings Act. All such meetings are subject to public-notice requirements and are open to the public.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Tom Roach remembered as a smiling gentleman, a traditionalist and a fine Thoroughbred breeder

By Nate Courtney
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Tom Roach knew tradition.

He was the fourth generation to operate his family’s Parrish Hill Farm, co-bred a Kentucky Derby winner and Horse of the Year, and was known as a true gentleman.

At his funeral Sept. 10 at Midway Christian Church, longtime friend and Midway Mayor Tom Bozarth summed up the man he knew in a fitting sendoff.

"The definition of a gentleman is a well mannered and considerate man with high standards of proper behavior," Bozarth said. "This describes Tom."

Roach was born in Lexington on May 26, 1948, but lived in Midway for most of his adult life, working as a Thoroughbred breeder on the family farm after graduating from Duke University and attending the University of Kentucky law school.

The son of the late Ruth and Dr. Ben Roach, Tom learned his character traits from his father, who helped him breed the family’s only Derby winner, Charismatic, with Will Farish.

Virginia Glass delivered Charismatic at Parrish Hill Farm from Roach's mare, Bali Babe, and witnessed the 1999 Horse of the Year's rise to prominence.

"Charismatic raced at Keeneland and Tommy said he might run in the Derby if he won,” Glass recalled. “Coming down the stretch Charismatic was leading and Tommy was running with him to the finish line as he won."

After his victory, Glass asked Tommy if she got a raise for delivering him. "He smiled and gave me two thumbs up," Glass said.

Charismatic went on to win the Derby and the Preakness, falling just short of the Triple Crown. Roach also bred Princess Rooney, which won the first Breeders’ Cup Distaff race.

According to The Blood-Horse, Roach also bred graded stakes winners Millennium Wind, Storm Tower, Tossofthecoin, Cormorant, Lawyer Talk, Inca King and Queen of Song, and "The breeding of current millionaire and multiple grade I turf runner Get Stormy was planned by Roach for his longtime client and dear friend, Mary Sullivan. Get Stormy was born and raised at Roach’s Parrish Hill Farm until he left to be broken for racing."

Roach always used a traditional, hands-on approach with his horses. In fact, he fed them personally every night, after eating his own dinner.

"Tom would go to the barn and mix his famous concoction of who knows to his beloved race horses," Bozarth said. "It sure did stink but the horses ate it.”

There was no job too big, too small or too smelly for Roach. "He always did what needed to be done," Glass said.

Tom and his wife Robyn decided in 2008 to sell the original Parrish Hill property in Midway and move to Versailles, where they continued breeding under the Parrish Hill name. He resided at that home at the time of his death, when he lost his longtime battle against a stomach disorder.

Roach was a director of the Thoroughbred Club of America, a member of the Midway Christian Church, and a member of the Pi Kappa Alpha fraternity, the Kentucky Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, the Thoroughbred Owners and Breeders Association, and the Honorable Order of Kentucky Colonels.

He is survived by his wife Robyn, daughters Amanda Parrish and Hallie Thompson Lewis, grandson son-in-law Drew Lewis, grandson Parrish Lewis, brother Jim Roach, sisters Julia Roach and Helen Rentch, and many nieces, nephews, brothers-in-law and sisters-in-law.

Bozarth said at the funeral, “He was always smiling.”

That's a tradition that will live on through his legacy.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Policy committee to discuss several issues at 8:30 a.m. Tuesday

The Ordinance, Policy and Finance Committee of the Midway City Council will meet Tuesday, Sept. 27 at 8:30 a.m. at City Hall to discuss parking tickets, the candidate filing deadline, alcohol ordinances and "CD Review," which the notice from City Hall did not define. The next council meeting will be at 5:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 3. All council and committee meetings are open to the public.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Renaissance calls open meeting Monday night to discuss its future and recruit new leadership

Midway Renaissance will conduct an open meeting Monday, Sept. 26 at 7:30 p.m. at the Midway Christian Church to discuss the organization's future. Outgoing President Randy Thomas says the group is looking for volunteers to serve as board members and other leadership positions.

In the past year, Renaissance has experienced personnel losses caused by staff resignations and members rotating to a volunteer status. In a letter notifying the city of the meeting, Thomas wrote: "We will hold this public discussion to inform our community of the opportunities that exist for this community and volunteer driven organization."

Thomas plans to leave the Renaissance board at the end of the year, "and the other board officers do not intend to run again after serving for a number of years," says a notice on the group's web page. "Change in leadership is good for an organization and both Midway Renaissance and Francisco's Farm are in need of new leadership and additional volunteers if they are to continue."

Sunday, September 18, 2011

37th Fall Festival blessed with great weather

The 37th annual Midway Fall Festival was blessed with perfect weather this weekend and drew big crowds downtown. The Old Smoky steam locomotive of R.J. Corman Railroad Co. was an object of curiosity, as usual. Corman was one of the major sponsors of the festival, with Christian Care Communities and Midway College. "It was one of our best festivals yet! We had lots of help from Midway residents, City Hall and fantastic support from our sponsors," said John McDaniel, president of the Midway Business Association. "It was good to see that much energy in our our downtown area."
Photos by Dick Yarmy,
University of Kentucky
School of Journalism
and Telecommunications

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Community commemorates 9/11 at joint Service of Peace and Hope; to be an annual event

Story and photographs by Dick Yarmy
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

“It just felt right,” said the Rev. Heather McColl of Midway Christian Church.

Sunday, nearly 200 Midway citizens gathered for the first annual Service of Peace and Hope. The event commemorated the toll of Sept. 11, 2001, was sponsored by eight local churches, and was initiated by McColl.

Seated in the Bradley Park pavilion, the worshipers were surrounded by a panorama typical of Woodford County and the Bluegrass. The view included fenced pastures, grazing horses and a steeple of Midway College.

Community members came in all ages, shapes and sizes, sporting fashions that announced membership in one of the many generations in attendence. The overall scene could be described as a collage of virtual snapshots, any one capable of inspiring a Norman Rockwell magazine cover.

There were seniors arriving with the help of walkers and golf carts; families struggling to carry toddlers; pre-schoolers clutching American flags; a father, son and grandfather attending together; and a city council member arriving in a pick-up truck carrying additional folding chairs for the overflow.

The audience was diverse. Yet, when members rose to “pass the peace” (right) and began greeting neighbors, the scene looked more like a community than a collection of individuals.

The service was simple, ecumenical and moving. Ministers and lay people representing six churches took the podium to read scripture and share their thoughts.

A cascade of concise messages flowed from the pulpit.

Phrases like: “Father give us strength,” from a reading by city council member Joy Arnold.

From the Rev. Don Johnson: “ Where there is unity there is strength.” And, “Although we worship in different buildings we should worship as one.”

At times, the worshipers reacted to message lines with a simple “Amen.”

Other messages talked of the history of 9/11 as a placeholder. “We felt a lot safer before then,” said Bud Ratliff. “ It was easy to think that peace and quiet, was the same thing.” Ratliff ended his thoughts with topical humor: “If the wolf and the lamb can lie down together, there may even be hope for the elephant and the donkey.” (Photo: Bud and Zoe Ratliff)

Between each message the audience sang well known songs like “Down by the Riverside,” and “We Shall Overcome.” The crowd’s voices were reinforced by the Community Choir and backed by keyboardist Angela Eaton and guitarist Blake Jones.

After sharing communion, the crowd was invited to prepare "peace flags," using their imaginations to express their own personal feelings. The flags were attached to lines and displayed around the pavilion.

“It was a perfect place and a perfect setting,” McColl said afterward. “They loved getting together as a community, and we’ve decided to make this an annual event.”

For more and larger photos, with another version of this story, click here.

Monday, September 12, 2011

City Council to meet one hour later than usual

The next meeting of the Midway City Council has been set for one hour later than usual, at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Sept. 19, at City Hall. City Clerk Phyllis Hudson said in an email that the regularly scheduled meeting has been rescheduled for a special meeting at that hour.

Because the rescheduled meeting is being called a special meeting, its agenda will be limited to the subjects specified in the meeting notice: council questions about the audit for the 2010-11 fiscal year and an ordinance amending the budget for that year, in order to match the audit figures. The ordinance was on the agenda but was not acted on the last meeting, at which the audit was discuseed. UPDATE: The agenda has been expanded to include consideration of an adjustment request, passed on by the Water and Sewer Committee at its meeting Wednesday, Sept. 14.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Water and Sewer Task Force to meet Tuesday

UPDATE: This meeting was canceled.
The Water and Sewer Task Force will meet at noon Tuesday, Sept. 13 in the Piper Dining Hall on the Midway College campus. Meetings of the task force are open to the public.

Governor's wife to speak at dedication of new Midway College center, attend school convocation

Jane Beshear, the wife of Gov. Steve Beshear, will be the featured speaker at dedication of the Learning Resource Center building at Midway College tomorrow, Sept. 8, at noon. She will also attend the annual convocation starting the school year, in the Anne Hart Raymond Duthie Auditorium, and 11 a.m.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Midway College's new equine program director teaches how to train horses with body language

"Avo Kiviranna understands the silent language of the horse," KyForward contributor Elizabeth Troutman writes of the new chair of Midway College's equine program. said. “The horse, because it’s a prey animal, will instinctively scrutinize you. Because he wants to know what you are thinking, and the only way you can let him know what you’re thinking is through your body language,” he told Troutman.

Kiviranna, a New York City native who Troutman writes "marveled at the draft horses that delivered blocks of ice to his family’s brownstone," attended the University of Kentucky because “that’s where all the horses were,” he said. He returned to New York and worked as an extension agent, an assistant professor of equine science at the State University of New York at Delhi, a horse trainer, executive director of the American Morgan Horse Association and consultant for a Thoroughbred farm in New York.

He trains "through the least-resistance approach," using "calculated gestures" and what he calls "natural horsemanship," Troutman writes.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

City council to consider audit at Tuesday meeting

The city audit for the 2010-11 fiscal year, and final changes to last year's budget to reflect actual spending, are on the agenda for the next meeting of the Midway City Council. It will be held at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 6 at City Hall, a day later than usual because of Labor Day.

Also on the agenda is a funding request from the Woodford County Economic Development Authority, to be presented by new Chair Brad McLean.

Though the meeting will be held a day later than usual, the notice from City Hall has the usual advisory that "Anyone wishing to address the council must request to be on the agenda and submit any information by ... noon the Wednesday before."

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Council approves incentive pay on 3-2 vote

By Dick Yarmy and Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

After debating the issue a second time, the Midway City Council voted last Monday night to give escalating incentive pay to council members, the mayor, the city clerk and the assistant clerk for receiving 15 hours of annual training on topics related to their official responsibilities.

The vote was 3-2, with Council Members Aaron Hamilton, Doris Leigh and Sharon Turner supporting the proposal by Mayor Tom Bozarth, and Becky Moore and Dan Roller opposing it. Member Joy Arnold, who had been skeptical of the plan at the Aug. 1 meeting, was absent due to a death in her family. If there had been a tie vote, Bozarth could have voted to break the tie.

To support his initiative, Bozarth introduced James Chaney, chief governmental affairs officer of the Kentucky League of Cities. KLC will offer the training under a bill that it and state Rep. Carl Rollins of Midway got passed in the 2011 General Assembly. Cheney mentioned Rollins’ dismay that 50 to 60 percent of the 2,600 city officials in Kentucky receive no training.

Moore said the bill appeared self-serving for KLC, but Chaney said cities can award incentives for training from other accredited sources. The bill does not mention accreditation or providers.

Moore, who preceded Bozarth as mayor, asked, “If we’re going to incentivize training of city clerks, why not water plant workers and others?” She suggested the vote be delayed while a “policy statement” is drafted to ensure future leaders administer the program consistently, but made no motion to that effect.

Roller’s objections were budget-focused. He said an annual outlay of $18,000 (which would be the total in the fourth year if all eligible officials took the training each year) was excessive, and noted that Bozarth had not taken the plan to the council's Ordinance and Policy Committee. Roller read a prepared statement for the record, and Moore asked that her request for a policy statement be included in the minutes of the meeting. For a PDF of Roller's statement, click here.

In other action, the council approved tax rates for the coming year, as described at the Aug. 1 meeting. After the meeting, just as they did two weeks earlier, Bozarth and his allies walked down East Main Street, while Roller and Moore walked up South Winter Street.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Water & Sewer Task Force meets at noon today

The Midway Water and Sewer Task Force will meet at noon today in the Piper Dining Hall on the Midway College Campus. Meetings of the task force are open to the public.

We regret that this notice was not posted yesterday, when we received it. Since the task force does not have a regular meeting schedule, all its meetings are considered special meetings, which have a limited agenda. However, the only agenda item, "Water and Sewer Issues," is broad enough to allow discussion of any topic related to the task force's purview.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Council plans second and final readings Monday of ordinances on tax rates, training incentive pay

The tentative agenda for the next meeting of the Midway City Council, Aug. 15, is much the same as the agenda of the last meeting, because the major business is second readings and adoption of three ordinances: two setting tax rates and the other creating pay incentives for the mayor, clerks and council members to take annual training related to city government.

The proposed tax rates are the compensating rates, those that the state says will generate the same amount of revenue being generated by current rates. The personal-property rate would remain the same, 14.5 cents per $100, while the real-estate rate would rise to 10.2 cents from 10.1 cents per $100 in order to make up for a decline in the total assessed value of real estate in the city.

See the blog item after the one below for a report on the council's discussion of the training incentive program.

The meeting notice from City Hall says anyone wishing to address the council must request to be on the agenda and submit any information by noon the Wednesday before the meeting.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Farmers Market and Midway restaurants team up to hold special event Friday evening, Aug. 19

In an effort to promote more local use of local food, the Woodford County Farmers Market and six Midway restaurants are cooperating to hold a special event Friday evening, Aug. 19, from 6 to 9 p.m. The Midway City Council approved a permit for the event tonight.

The market's Stacy Westfall told the council that farmers will offer samples of their products, and provide free samples to restaurants to prepare special offierings. She said two or three wineries are interested in participating, and the event may be ticketed.

The farmers market comes to Midway each Monday from 3 to 6 p.m. For the farmers market's Facebook page, click here.

Mayor and ex-mayor turned council member are at odds over incentive pay, meetings, emails

By Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Amid talk of such big issues as tax rates and officials' compensation, the main action at tonight's Midway City Council meeting was between Mayor Tom Bozarth and Council Member Becky Moore, who preceded him as mayor and was elected to the council last year.

The council gave first reading to three ordinances, two to set property-tax rates (only the real-estate rate would change, rising 0.1 cent per $100, to 10.2 cents producing the same revenue as last year due to declines in property values) and one to create an incentive program that would give city officials accelerated compensation for receiving 15 hours of annual training from the Kentucky League of Cities.

After the council spent some time addressing Council Member Joy Arnold's concerns that the incentive schedule needed clarification, Moore said she wanted to make clear that council members make only $50 a month ($600 a year) and would not consider raising that salary, but would be able get $5,000 apiece in incentive pay over four consecutive years of training.

The incentives would be $500 for the first year of training, $1,000 for the second and $1,500 for the third. If all six council members received training each year for four years, the total cost in the fourth year would be $12,000. The ordinance says the payments would not be considered wages; Bozarth said after the meeting that is so they would not count toward retirement benefits; he said they will be taxable. (An early version of this story said otherwise.)

Moore said the council needs to make sure the money is in the budget. Bozarth said the money for next year is in the budget, the training would be voluntary, and "This is to be an incentive . . . to be more informed. We're all volunteers." City Attorney Phil Moloney said later that trained officials are less likely to get the city into costly trouble.

Bozarth said any mayor needing to cut expenses would cut the program. The ordinance would give the mayor the authority to approve city officials for training. Moore said that approval should also be up to the council. Bozarth said, "I don't see what the problem is." Moore said her request was not aimed at him, but made out of a desire for the council to keep tabs on spending.

Arnold said she could envision some future mayor ("she or he," she said) showing favoritism, approving one council member's training but not another's. Arnold, a lawyer, said she would rather have "regulatory language" on the mayor's power than have joint mayoral-council approval. But neither Arnold nor Moore made a motion to amend the ordinance, and it was accepted for first reading. Presumably, second reading will be held at the next meeting, on Aug. 15.

At the start of the meeting, as the council prepared to approve the minutes of the last meeting, Moore asked that minutes of future meetings reflect more of the council's discussions. Bozarth told her that the minutes are only required to reflect council action, but if she wants something in them, all she has to do is ask.

Moore did just that at the end of the meeting, after saying she finds it "weird" that council committees have met infrequently since she joined the council and Bozarth reorganized them. Bozarth replied, "There are some issues that are easier to take to the whole council." Moore expressed concern about business being conducted outside the committee system. With a committee meeting on the incentive plan, she said, "I think we would have had a lot of these questions answered." She asked that her concern appear in the minutes.

The discussion prompted Council Member Doris Leigh to give an informal report about her work as chair of the Cemetery and City Property Committee, the only panel to which Bozarth appointed Moore. Moore replied to Leigh, "I don't know what you're doing, and I'm on your committee."

Last week, after getting the preliminary agenda for the meeting in an email from City Clerk Phyllis Hudson, Moore sent two replies to all recipients, asking that three items be added to the agenda: a report on Fiscal Court redistricting, an economic-development report and discussion of points made by citizens at a forum the council held in May. For more on that, click here. As last night's meeting was about to end, Moore said, "Some of my e-mails were not getting answered," and after adjournment she directed a similar comment to Bozarth. The mayor threw up his hands and said, "I'm not getting into it."

Interviewed by email, Bozarth told the Midway Messenger that he set the agenda for the meeting, and "I had already addressed her requests with the agenda that was in place." He said "everything Ms. Moore had concerns with were fully addressed." The council heard a report from Chairman Brad McLean of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority, and Bozarth and Arnold agreed during the meeting that the public's May comments would be discussed at the next meeting. Bozarth said in his email that redistricting will be discussed "when that is approved by the court."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Council set to OK tax rates Monday; Moore wants to discuss points from May forum, other topics

Tax rates are on the agenda for the Midway City Council's next meeting, to be held Monday, Aug. 1, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall.

According to a notice from the city, the meeitng agenda includes ordinances on the tax rates for real estate and personal property; an incentive program for officials to get training related to city government; and the event permit for the Woodford County Farmers' Market.

As usual, citizens' comments will be taken before the agenda items are addressed. Anyone wishing to address the council "must request to be on the agenda and submit any information" by noon on the Wednesday before the meeting, according to the notice from the city, which also notes, "The agenda can be revised up to 24 hours before the meeting."

UPDATE, July 28: Becky Moore asked her fellow council members in an email if the meeting would also include, as she said Council Member Joy Arnold requested at the last meeting, a discussion of the points raised at the council's public forum in May.

In another email, she asked if Brad McLean and Charlann Wombles of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority could be added to the agenda to give "an update on EDA business" and invite Magistrate Larry Craig of Midway to talk about redistricting of the county Fiscal Court.

The Midway Messenger and The Woodford Sun, which receive email notices of the meetings, were on the distribution list for Moore's emails. They were sent Wednesday morning; the Messenger received no replies to either of them through midnight Thursday.