Friday, March 27, 2015

Dr. Jim Roach's book about near-death experiences, God's House Calls, is being published tomorrow

By Kacie Kelly
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Dr. Jim Roach (Photo by Kacie Kelly)
On a typical Friday, Dr. Jim Roach is seeing patients at the Midway Center for Integrative Medicine. But today, he is in Southern California doing radio interviews to promote a book being published tomorrow about his patients’ near-death experiences.

God’s House Calls: Finding God Through My Patients stands at No. 2 on Amazon book pre-sales and is being pushed by Roach and his promotion team to become No. 1.

Roach said in an interview that he wants his book to spread the words of these occurrences and even change medicine: “I feel like this could be the tipping point towards that transformation to recognizing the reality of these spiritual experiences.”

The book reflects not only on patients’ experiences, but on Roach’s integrative approach to medicine. Integrative medicine is a practice not common among doctors. It uses natural methods of healing while utilizing modern medical technology and advances.

Roach became interested in integrative medicine when he was about 50 years old. “I wanted to see how well and long I could live,” he said. After attending conferences about integrative medicine and its benefits, he began incorporating spirituality into his practice.

“Spirituality is a big part of my practice now,” he observed. “We are finding that incorporating spirituality is impacting patient health.”

For the last 15 years Roach has been pulling patients off of prescription drugs and incorporating more natural medicine, such as botanicals. Roach says botanicals can combat pain, allergies, digestive problems and more without the negative consequences of modern pharmaceuticals.

Roach began being fascinated with near-death experiences when a patient told him a story of her “blissful” encounter with death: “She told me she didn’t fear death after that.” Roach replied, “What do you mean you don’t fear death? Everyone is scared of death.”

He said the episode posed a question for him: What about these experiences makes people no longer fear death? For two years, he collected the stories found in God’s House Calls.

Examining near-death experiences has become a part of Roach’s practice and he says they are, “the gateway to understanding it all.” Roach said that “If someone reads this book with an open mind … I think you can’t read this book and not be convinced of the reality of God.”

One story from the book asks, “Could death be pleasant?” and is about Roach's own near-death experience. He was swallowing supplements when he accidentally swallowed the plastic preservative. Roach choked for minutes and felt “a peaceful feeling settle in.” He laid down and gravity saved his life when it made the preservative pass through.

The stories don’t always involve the patient coming close to dying. Sometimes it is about someone being intuitive. One story is about a woman named Karen who had a daughter named Amanda, who was suffering from spousal abuse and committed suicide. Two weeks before the incident, Roach writes, “Karen heard God’s voice telling her, ‘Amanda isn’t going to be with you for long.’”

The book is filled with very different experiences with death or near-death experiences. Some patients have a first-hand encounter with it, and some sense “spiritual entities.”

Roach says in his introduction, “Their lives were substantially impacted by these events, always in a positive way.”

Roach and his wife, Dee Dee, said they continue to grow spiritually as they learn of patient experiences. “It has been eye opening,” she said.

Roach said, “When writing this book, there was temptation to whitewash its contents, to conform to a particular spiritual belief system. That would have made it more tidy and acceptable to a traditional audience. But I do not accept that as my calling.”

Roach said he likes to take a personal approach to his practice. “I realized how important relationships are in the healing process,” he said after he saw one patient’s health dramatically decline at the beginning of his career. The patient was seen by a nurse every day, and Roach watched the patient begin to heal. The nurse had some time off work and from then on the patient’s health decline dramatically.

Roach said he finds that building strong relationships with his patients improves his ability to treat them. In doing this he is able to find the best method and course of action to improve their overall health. “My greatest need is to serve the needs of others,” he said.

Roach said he has come to the conclusion that “The way we live our life matters.” He said, “Maybe if we are making the world a better place, we shouldn’t have to fear death and dying.” He said he lives by this motto and will donate all profits from the book to charities including Habitat for Humanity, the Academy for Integrative Health and Medicine, Midway Christian Church, and Midway College (soon to be Midway University). In churches where this book is sold, buyers will have $4 of their purchase donated back to the church.

Roach said he will continue to push and promote his book until his “face turns blue.” The books kick-off party will be held at the Holly Hill Inn Tuesday, March 31, from 5 to 7 p.m. Roach and his wife will be there along with people featured in the book. He said those who know him are invited.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Council committee picks fairness ordinances for city attorney to choose from in drafting one for Midway

By Anthony Pendleton
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications
To read a document highlighted in blue, click on that highlight. An Adobe PDF will load.

A Midway City Council committee will have City Attorney Phil Moloney compare different versions of a fairness ordinance, which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, to help decide what to include in the city's version.

The Finance, Ordinance and Policy Committee met Monday to discuss differences between fairness ordinances from Morehead and Danville, a "model ordinance" from the Kentucky Commission on Human Rights, and a fairness ordinance that failed at the Berea City Council on a 5-3 vote.

Toward the end of the meeting, the committee dropped Berea's version of the ordinance. "I think the Berea one is out because it's never been tested," Roller said. Asked after the meeting why the committee chose ordinances from Morehead and Danville, as opposed to Lexington, Roller said those cities are similar "culturally and in size" to Midway.

The Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission proposed a countywide ordinance, by way of revising the interlocal agreement that created the commission. Committee and Council Member Sarah Hicks wanted to use that document as the basis for Midway’s ordinance.

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said that in his discussion with Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott and County judge-Executive John Coyle, “It was in everyone's opinion there, that even the lawyers would agree, that's not the way to do it. That it should be done municipality by municipality . . . If we end up having three of them, we could amend them, like we did with the smoking ordinance, so they all kind of fit."

Committee chair Daniel Roller said the interlocal agreement should not be part of the process. "You're mixing ordinances and interlocal agreements," he told Hicks.

Roller took a moment to clarify what he thinks the ordinance is supposed to be about. "There was an article in the paper that referred to this as, I think they called it the ‘gay ordinance.’ This ordinance, the fairness ordinance, is much, much broader. I mean that’s sort of like saying civil rights only apply to black people. Civil rights applies to all these different groups. It's not giving a privilege to one, but it's treating all people the same." Roller was referring to a story in The Woodford Sun on March 12, which called it a “gay rights ordinance.”

Roller said he also wanted to make sure that people who oppose the ordinance would still feel welcome in Midway. He said that can be achieved with an “obstruction and retaliation” provision, which is included in the state’s model and the Danville ordinance. “I think that is really important,” he said. “That was one of the things that I think will assure people that we're not trying to do something to people who don't think they automatically fall under one of these groups.”

Council and Committee Member Bruce Southworth voiced concerns over the state model ordinance. "This one is cumbersome . . . and on top of that, it's setting up a human rights commission, which we already have." He asked, "Why do we have to reinvent the wheel when we can have Phil go through this and make this what we want?"

As the committee attempted to go through each ordinance, Vandegrift seemed to share Southworth's view, saying, "I don't know that it's really your responsibility to write it line-by-line . . . It would be a little unprecedented, I think, for you all to write this ordinance this way." He suggested that the committee turn over the responsibility of writing the ordinance to Moloney.

Southworth and Hicks agreed, but Roller was initially a bit reluctant, saying, “If you’re interested in streamlining, let the lawyer do it all.” He said the committee needs to tell Moloney what it wants. “We’re the legislators and we have to come up with the material.”

Hicks asked when the committee would “start the hammering-out process. We’re meandering around it now.”

After more discussion, including at stab at writing definitions of key terms, Vandegrift said, “I don’t know that it’s really your responsibility to write it line by line. . . . I would give Phil, 'This is what the ordinance should say, this is what we're talking about,' and then it comes back to you all then you all can kind of go through it and say, 'Well I don't like that, let's strike that, let's change it to that.'"

The committee agreed, and decided to give Moloney the fairness ordinances from Danville, Morehead, and Midway's 1997 Fair Housing and Discrimination Ordinance as guidelines.

Vandegrift, who spent two years on the council before becoming mayor at the start of the year, said he commended the committee’s attention to detail, because “Too many lawmakers don’t even read the laws that they’re voting on.”

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Committee to meet on 'fairness ordinance' Monday

The city council committee considering an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity will have its third meeting at 11:30 a.m. Monday.

The Finance, Ordinance and Policy Committee will meet at City Hall, 101 E. Main St. All council and committee meetings are open to the public.

State offers city money to create parkland along Lee's Branch, but city would lose much control of the tract

By Anthony Pendleton and Al Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Should the Midway City Council give up control of seven wooded acres along Lee’s Branch in return for state money that can be used to make the tract usable by the public but maintain its natural state?

The council deferred action Monday night on the issue of a conservation easement suggested by Zeb Weese of the state Land Heritage Conservation Fund.

At last week's Cemetery and City Property Committee meeting, Weese said the city could apply for funding to help clean up the seven acres and make it easier for the public to enjoy. In exchange for the funding, the city would lose its right to develop it.

Council Member Sara Hicks, chair of the committee, told the council that up to $15,000 might be available for removing invasive species from the property and otherwise improving it. That was the amount Weese had suggested at the committee meeting.

The Internal Revenue Service defines a conservation easement as the "historic preservation of land and buildings" in which "the property owner gives up certain rights but retains ownership of the underlying property."

Council Member Libby Warfield, a member of the committee, said at the council meeting that she is not in favor of the conservation easement.

"If we do this with the state, I don't believe we'll ever have control again. ... I have read all of their application forms and then their management guidelines and so forth. They are pages and pages and pages," she said. "Anything you want to do within that seven acres, you have to go to their board and ask."

Warfield said she believes there's no need for a conservation easement because the land is already partially protected by covenants in an existing conservation easement. "They are fairly extensive,” she said. "So the property is already protected to a certain extent."

In 1991, Blue Grass Properties & Investment Co. granted the city of Midway an easement on 23.54 acres for “preservation of scenic and agricultural values,” including the seven acres along Lee's Branch.

The 1991 easement prohibits “industrial and commercial activity” on the land but allows farming and “recreational activities approved by the City of Midway,” subject to certain requirements.

More significantly, it allows the city to build “facilities deemed necessary and appropriate by the City of Midway,” including access roads and “recreational and community facilities, and accessory structures,” including fences.

It could not do that under the state easement, though the committee seemed to agree that the entire seven acres did not have to be included in the easement. Specifically mentioned as an exception was the flat area in front of the old rock quarry.

The council discussed possible improvements to the area in 2013. Here's an aerial photograph that then-Mayor Tom Bozarth used for reference (click on image for larger version):
Warfield told the council she also wants to discuss conceptual plans from 2007 that would add a walkway from Northridge Estates to the rest of Midway, through or near the area. Hicks said at last week’s committee meeting that such a walkway is needed, but shouldn’t go through the wooded area.

The council decided to defer further discussion until a Property Committee meeting on April 13.

Friday, March 13, 2015

Midway College will charge most students same tuition next year, lower it for master of education degree

By Megan Ingros
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

As Midway College prepares for a new academic year as a university, students will notice that while some things change, others remain the same.

Midway College announced that tuition rates will remain the same for the 2015-16 academic year, and Master of Education tuition will decrease.

Students enrolled in the women’s college or the coeducational undergraduate and graduate programs for working adults will not see a raise in tuition costs for the 2015-16 academic year. Students enrolled in these evening or online undergraduate classes will continue to pay $395 per credit hour. 

Students pursuing a Master of Education will see a decrease in tuition from the previous set rate.
“Instead of $410 per credit hour, teachers seeking their M.Ed. will only pay $395 per credit hour, making this the most competitive tuition for such a program in the Lexington area,” said Ellen Gregory, the college’s vice president of marketing and communications.

College President John P. Marsden said, “To remain competitive in the current marketplace we are reviewing every touch point we have with our students and their families. The Midway difference has always been our high level of service to our students and now more than ever we want to continue that. I am proud of our faculty and staff's commitment to go above and beyond to help all of our students achieve their educational goals. To support those efforts, we believe keeping the cost of our tuition competitive is one of the most important things we can do.”

The announcement was released a week after the college announced that it will become Midway University on July 1. This name change is part of a three-year strategic plan for the college, which also includes a new website to be launched and brand changes that will also take place over the summer.

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Fairness ordinance advocates say it would show town's tolerant and welcoming nature, particularly to tourists

Midway needs an ordinance banning discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity to let the world know that it is "a very tolerant community and a very welcoming community," the city's appointed representative on the Versailles-Midway-Woodford County Human Rights Commission said at Tuesday afternoon's meeting of the city council committee considering the ordinance.

"We want people to be at home here, and we love our neighbors," Helen Rentch told the Finance, Ordinance and Policy Committee as a largely supportive crowd looked on at City Hall.

Another human-rights commission member, Marilyn Daniels of Nonesuch, added, "We also have a very active tourist trade, and this message, I think, would be very important to that industry."

L to R: Roller, Seal, Rentch.  The committee met at the city council table.
The comments came near the end of a 40-minute meeting the three-member committee had with three members of the nine-member rights commission, including Dan Brown of Nonesuch, and a former member, Peggy Carter Seal, who remains on the commission's Fairness Ordinance Subcommittee.

Most of the discussion dealt with details of the ordinance, which Seal said the commission proposed to Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift, and Versailles Mayor Brian Traugott and County Judge-Executive John Coyle on Jan. 19, Martin Luther King Day. "Your mayor chose to go ahead and take the lead," she said.

Council Member Dan Roller, the committee chair, asked what problem there might be if Midway were the only local jurisdiction to expand anti-discrimination protections beyond those in state law. Daniels, a lawyer, replied, "To the best of our knowledge, that is not a problem. . . . We are very hopeful that all three governmental bodies are going to adopt the same approach." There has been no public discussion of it at the Versailles City Council or the county fiscal court.

The rights commission has one member appointed by Midway's mayor, three by the mayor of Versailles and five by the county judge-executive, under an interlocal cooperation agreement. The Rev. Sheila Harris of Midway is one of the county-appointed members.

The commission representatives gave the council committee a copy of a proposed revision to the interlocal agreement, which could guide Midway in its drafting of the ordinance. Roller said he had not discussed it yet with Phil Moloney, the city's attorney. Council and committee member Bruce Southworth said he has many questions for Moloney.

Southworth asked why the proposed ordinance would not apply to businesses with eight or fewer employees, and whether the rights commission could act as the "fairness officer," mentioned in some such ordinances, who investigates complaints and holds hearings.

Daniels said the threshold of eight employees is in the state anti-discrimination law, which authorizes local rights commissions. Rentch said the commission could contract with the city to be the fairness officer, or the city could contract with a commission that has staff, such as the state commission or the one in Lexington.

Rentch said that when the local commission has a case that it can't resolve by mediation, it refers it to the state commission for prosecution, but it could not do that for cases involving sexual orientation or gender identity because the state law doesn't ban such discrimination. She and Daniels said 90 percent of cases are mediated and don't reach the hearing stage.

Midway would be the eighth Kentucky city with such an ordinance. Roller said he has received many calls asking him how he will vote on it, but he and Southworth said there is no way to say at this point because no ordinance has been drafted. Council Member Sarah Hicks, the other committee member, said the drafting could be influenced by a public forum on the issue, which hasn't been scheduled.

About 10 people attended the committee meeting, including Council Members Nita Kaye Gallagher and Libby Warfield, who sat in the audience.

Comments were not solicited, but most in the crowd appeared to be supportive of the ordinance. Brown said one man from Nonesuch identified himself as having ties to the Family Foundation of Kentucky, which opposes such ordinances.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Merchants back letter questioning Versailles bypass, hear about April 22 cleanup and fairness ordinance

By Arion Wright
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Midway Merchants Association voted Wednesday morning to endorse a letter that expressed the concerns of an alliance of Woodford County groups about the proposed Versailles Connector.

The association also heard from Mayor Grayson Vandegrift about the proposed “fairness ordinance” and from a representative of a nonprofit group seeking sponsors for the Main Street Clean Sweep in 14 Kentucky cities April 22. Members said they were willing to help.

The Corridor Study Group has a drafted a letter to the Northwest Versailles Mobility Corridor Citizens Advisory Committee and representatives of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet that expresses their concerns about the proposed Versailles bypass. The association agreed to have its name placed in the document as representatives of groups who participated in drafting the letter.

“We call it a bypass. The state calls it a connector,” association President Kenny Smith said. “What has been proposed is a bypass that would tie in over by Falling Springs and it would go around Versailles and tie into US 60. The most logical place where it would be able to tie in would be at Midway Road, and it would be directing all this truck traffic right through our town.”

The letter has a list of concerns and possible suggestions. It states that there have been no traffic studies to show the bypass would help, and that it would cause increased traffic and reduced safety on Midway Road (US 62).

The letter suggests, among other things, that better signage would direct truck traffic away from Versailles and Midway Road, and Midway Road could be made safer by moving the “Federal AAA trucking highway” designation from the Midway Road portion of US 62 to part of US 60. For a PDF of the letter, click here.

Next on the agenda was a representative from the nonprofit environmental group Bluegrass Greensource, who talked about the Main Street Clean Sweep.

Businesses from the 14 cities can send volunteers to pick up trash in various parts of their towns as part of the Main Street Clean Sweep.

“It is an Earth Day cleanup,” Bluegrass Greensource Ashley Cheney told the merchants. “We want to encourage businesses to get involved with the cleanup. It will be centered to downtown. It changes for each community. Sometimes the downtown area is not what needs to be cleaned up. Driving around Midway, I see you keep Midway clean. That may not be true for other areas of the town. There may be areas that you know need some attention.”

Cheney said Greensource will provide gloves and bags on April 22, and businesses can provide volunteers, a $100 sponsorship, or a $250 sponsorship. There are various incentives for each donation.

Vandegrift said he was at the meeting to clear up some misconceptions that people may have about the fairness ordinance, which would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identification.

“In the state of Kentucky you can be fired or evicted for being gay,” Vandegrift said. “Businesses with eight or fewer employees are exempt. It will allow everyone to have a right to have a roof over their head and to eat at their favorite restaurant without being discriminated against. People are in favor of the fairness ordinance.”

Vandegrift said opposition is coming from other parts of the county, but he acknowledged that not everyone in Midway is not in favor of the ordinance. He said citizens will be given a chance to talk about it at a public forum at Midway College.

Smith was the only merchant who expressed his opinion at the meeting. He said it wasn’t right for businesses with eight of fewer employees to be exempt.

Each year, artists from all of the world come and showcase their art at the Francisco’s Farm Art Festival. Smith said 121 artists have applied, and the application period has closed. The festival will be at Midway College on May 16 and 17.

There have been concerns about parking. Parking at the college is $5, but downtown it is free. The association plans to have a shuttle from downtown Midway to the college, so it will be easy for people to park their cars downtown area and go to the event.

In the near future, association members will allow artists to showcase their artwork in front of their business as a way to get the word out about the festival.

The association is also making plans for the Breeders’ Cup, to be held at Keeneland Race Course Oct. 30-31.

Smith ended the meeting by talking about upcoming events. Vendor applications are now available for the Fall Festival.

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Midway College gets OK from state and accrediting agency to call itself Midway University, starting July 1

By Megan Ingros
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Midway College has received approval to be called Midway University as of July 1.

President John P. Marsden said he envisioned this change when he first arrived on campus three years ago. “Our vision statement mission plan says we will become Midway University so this should not be a surprise to anyone,” he said in an interview.

Through building partnerships and recruiting international students, Marsden said, it was discovered that the term “college” is often misunderstood in other countries and might be confused with high school or community college. “We felt that ‘university’ would clarify or purpose at the same time it would more aptly describe who we are today,” he said.

The Midway College Board of Trustees approved the name change at its last meeting, in November 2014, and the campus was notified. The state Council on Postsecondary Education approved the name change Jan. 30, after approval by the accrediting body, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The college issued a press release Monday about the name change after the Midway Messenger learned of the council’s action.

“Becoming a university is a major step forward for Midway,” said Gary S. Cox, president of the Association of Independent Kentucky Colleges & Universities. “It provides new opportunities to meet the diverse, higher education needs of students while continuing its traditional, unique mission as a women’s residential college.  This type diversification of educational offerings is a model most successful women’s colleges are following today.”

Founded in 1847, Midway College remains Kentucky’s only college for women, but it offers associate, baccalaureate and master’s degree programs to both sexes online and at its Lexington campus.

Click on chart for larger version (Assn. of Indep. Ky. Colleges and Univs.)
According to the AICKU, Midway College had the seventh lowest total enrollment among the association’s 19 schools last fall. The next five largest schools are colleges, and so is the fourth largest school, Lindsey Wilson in Columbia. Two of the six schools with smaller enrollments, Brescia in Owensboro and Kentucky Christian at Grayson, are universities.

Midway’s fall 2014 undergraduate head count was 1,059 and graduate 74, for a total of 1,133. The College’s total fall 2013 enrollment was 1,351. The drop in enrollment prompted layoffs of faculty and staff.

Unlike some other states, Kentucky has no law defining the term “university,” so no college has to meet any requirements to become one.

Marsden said the university designation better describes the complexity of the mission that Midway College is serving, with so many different student populations. The college intends to announce new academic programs soon.

“We say ’university,’ but we will still remain a small institution, we will still have a high touch environment, we are working on our personalized approach with students and that’s not going to change, we do not intend on becoming a 10,000-student institution,” Marsden said.

Midway College has been on a road of evolution over the last decade or so. It began offering co-educational evening and online programs for working professionals, and co-ed graduate programs.

“Since I’ve arrived, we’ve also been focusing on our changing demographics that have been building international partnerships,” said Marsden. As part of a college readiness program offered at the college, students from Panama have now matriculated into the college as full-time students.

“We see this as an opportunity to move forward and to hit the re-set button,” Marsden said. “It’s also in conjunction with the major rebranding of the institution that were going through right now.” Midway University will have a refreshed logo as well as a new website, which will also help with recruitment. Those changes will become effective over the summer when the official name change takes place. 

The college has been undergoing rebranding for the past six months. The new logo is not that different from the current logo, “but it does have 1847 in there prominently and that was very important to us to show the history,” said Ellen Gregory, the school’s vice president of marketing and communications.

Gregory said the name change will help rebrand the college. “We have a very defined diversity group that we’re marketing to, so the real boost for us is helping clarify who we are to whom,” said Gregory. “It’s really a point of clarification and moving forward.”

Marsden said, “We have a particular emphasis on career focused education, which is going to be part of our new branding,”

The strategic plan, which includes building the new website, messaging, adding new academic programs and a new logo is “in the messy part right now,” said Gregory. “We have a central mission but we have to interpret it to different audiences for them.”

This is not the first name change for the school. Originally founded as the Kentucky Female Orphan School, it became Pinkerton High School, then Midway Junior College and Midway College.

Marsden elected an officer of Disciples college group

John Marsden, Ph.D.
Midway College President John P. Marsden has been elected secretary of The Council of Colleges & Universities of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) for a term ending June 30, 2016. "It's a great honor to be elected to serve on the council's executive committee and I look forward to working with other administrators to form even stronger bonds between our institutions and the Christian Church," Marsden said in a college press release.

Marsden is in his third year as president of Midway. He is the author or co-author of four books in the areas of assisted living, dementia care settings and evidence-based design, as well as numerous book chapters, articles and presentations.

Council backs group's letter opposing Versailles bypass; mayor views Chamber's budget request favorably

By Paige Hobbs
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The Midway City Council voted Monday evening to endorse a letter of expressed concerns from an alliance of Woodford County groups about proposed construction of a bypass in the Northwest Versailles Mobility Corridor. 

The council also heard from the executive director of the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce, Don Vizi, who requested a $4,000 appropriation from the City of Midway for the 2015-16 budget. He got a favorable reaction from Mayor Grayson Vandegrift.

The Corridor Study Group is composed of members from various Midway organizations including the Woodford Coalition, Citizens for Sustainable Growth, Midway Citizens Group, Midway Renaissance, Pisgah Community Historic Association, and a Woodford county farmer.  They wrote a letter to the members of the Mobility Corridor Citizen’s Advisory Committee and representatives of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.

Co-Chair Joyce Evans spoke to the council on behalf of the group. The group is encouraging the ‘no build option.’ “People think it’s not a real option,” Evans said. ”It is a real option.”

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift elaborated, saying no-build is one of four possible options for this project,the other three where the extension would join US 60. The middle one is Midway Road (US 62). “You can extend Fall Springs Boulevard to US 60 . . .  or you don’t build this bypass at all,” said Vandegrift, a member of the Citizens Advisory Committee.

Council Member Daniel Roller added, “No build does not mean do nothing; it means do something to improve the volume of traffic flow in Versailles.” Roller suggested increasing signage along US 60 near the Bluegrass Parkway exit to help guide truck traffic to the Sylvania plant on US 62 west of Versailles. This would be a much less expensive option.

The list of concerns centered on safety of Midway citizens because of the potential for increased traffic along Midway Road. Another concern is whether it is appropriate to use road funds for this project when there are other roads and bridges that need repair and improvement.                               

The group proposed moving the “Federal AAA trucking highway” designation of the Midway Road portion from US 62 to US 60 to improve safety in the area. They also suggested making the needed repairs and improvements to existing roads rather than building a bypass.

In drafting the letter, Evans asked members of the community for support. Among others, council members Roller, Sara Hicks, Libby Warfield, and Kaye Nita Gallagher supported the letter. Vandegrift noted that they did not do so behalf of the city council. Council members Steven Craig and Bruce Southworth joined in the council’s endorsement.

For a PDF copy of the letter, click here. Last month, the council passed a resolution calling for "extreme caution and careful consideration" in the bypass design.

The mobility corridor citizen’s advisory committee will meet Thursday, March 5, to discuss plans for the project. Evans told the council no public input will be permitted at this meeting. UPDATE: This meeting was canceled due to heavy snow and will be rescheduled.

The chamber of commerce has approached the council several times for money without success when Tom Bozarth was mayor, but Vandegrift said after the meeting that he was 99 percent sure that he would put the request in the budget and let the council members decide.

In a letter to the council, Vizi explained how the funding would allow the chamber continued management of the community portal website, www.woodfordcountyinfo.com. The chamber is using it as way to boost economic development for the county. He was accompanied by Midway gallery owner Kenny Smith, who is chair of the chamber’s board this year.

In remarks to the council, Vizi offered to provide Midway a digital TV board to display activities of community organizations. There are six digital boards around Versailles.
Police and speeders: The Versailles Police Department, which patrols all of Woodford County, provided its 2014 annual report. Hicks requested the department break out statistics for Midway; specifically including the number of speeding tickets, where they occurred, the time of day, and the speed of vehicles going down Winter Street.

Warfield shared this concern, and said she and Hicks spoke with state Rep. James Kay about the speeding issue on Winter Street.  “He has some plans to help us . . . and we think the more information we have to back him up the better,” Warfield said. Vandegrift said he would make a request for those numbers.

Roach book: Dr. Jim Roach of The Midway Center for Integrative Medicine requested a resolution from the council endorsing his upcoming book, “God’s House Calls,” By declaring March 31 “God’s House Calls Day.” Roach said he has spoken with patient after patient who have had spiritual near-death experiences. “They don’t want to come back from death. . .they’re not afraid of death anymore,” said Roach. The book will discuss the science behind these experiences.

Vandegrift said city attorney Phil Moloney would draft a resolution and present it at the next council meeting, March 16. The book will be available March 28, Roach said.

Water project: The council approved a resolution authorizing Vandegrift and city clerk Phyllis Hudson to sign the final assistance agreement between the city and state for the Higgins Street water line project. Due to the recent weather, the project will be delayed two weeks, now starting March 16. Completion is expected by the end of April.

Vandegrift expressed his gratitude for the cooperation of Midway College during this project as they allowed the city to store materials on their soccer field. “There was very good cooperation from the city and the college,” said Vandegrift.

Vandegrift noted the new fire truck has been delivered and is in town.

Weather: Gallagher made a comment about several sidewalks in town that are still frozen over. Vandegrift said, “Each business owner has responsibility for the sidewalks. . . . It’s an ordinance, we should be enforcing it . . . there are probably penalties attached to it.”  He said he would look into the matter.

Vandegrift concluded the meeting by complimenting the job of Wright Farm Services, a company based in Richmond, for their efforts clearing streets during the recent weather. “We had the best looking streets around,” said Vandegrift.