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Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Ouita Michel and Paducah chef Sara Bradley presenting Ky. dinner at James Beard Foundation in N.Y. tonight

Ouita Michel in the kitchen at her Holly Hill Inn on North Winter Street
Midway's Ouita Michel and a fellow Kentucky chef, Sara Bradley of Paducah, are bringing a Kentucky-rich menu to the world-famous James Beard House in New York City tonight.

“Kentucky continues to emerge as a top culinary destination, and being featured at the Beard House demonstrates that others are catching on to what we have to offer,” Kentucky Tourism Commissioner Kristen Branscum said in a news release. “Even more exciting is the opportunity to showcase our state’s hospitality and unique culinary culture through an exquisite menu created by two of Kentucky’s top chefs.”

Sara Bradley in her Freight House
The Kentucky menu will include canap├ęs and cocktails to start, followed by five courses including Lake Barkley bighead carp with paddlefish caviar and Franklin County chicken-fried rabbit with rolled parsley dumplings. One dessert is an apple stack cake cobbler with Crank & Boom Bourbon honey ice cream. For the complete menu, click here.

Other Kentucky farmers and producers being showcased include Kenny’s Farmhouse Cheese, Heritance Farm, Weisenberger Mill, Freedom Run Farm, Hindman Settlement School, JD Country Milk, Broadbent Hams, Newsom’s Country Ham, Fin Gourmet Foods, Koru Gardens, Shuckman’s Fish Co., Reed Valley Orchard, Jim Nance Hickory Nuts, Country Rock Sorghum, Kennameade Farms, Two Shakes Ranch and many more.

The dinner is open to James Beard Foundation members for $135 and non-members for $175 (inclusive of tax and gratuity). Proceeds benefit the foundation. For more information, go to www.jamesbeard.org; for more information about the chef team, see www.ouitamichel.com and www.freighthousefood.com/about.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Expert on Monarch butterflies will show how to create habitat for them Thur. night at Midway Christian Church

Would you like to help create a way station to support and sustain migrating Monarch butterflies? The Woodford County Extension master gardeners will host a presentation on it by Joanna Kirby of the Kentucky Garden Club at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 1 in the fellowship hall of Midway Christian Church, 123 E. Bruen St.

The butterfly's numbers have declined, supposedly because of development of corn and soybeans resistant to herbicides that kill weeds including milkweed, which they need during breeding.

The program is free, but advance registration is required. To sign up, call the Extension office at 873-4601. (Wikipedia photo)

Saturday, February 24, 2018

City Council Member Libby Warfield dies of cancer at 65; Vandegrift says she made him a better mayor

Libby Sharon Warfield
Midway City Council Member Elizabeth "Libby" Warfield lost her long battle with cancer Saturday, Feb. 24.

Warfield, 65, was one of the first certified interior designers in Kentucky and an accomplished musician. She played at least eight instruments and provided music for church services, weddings and funerals in the Bluegrass for more than 50 years. She was the wife of David Allen Warfield.

In 2012, Warfield filed to run for the city council, on which her son, David Matthew Warfield, and her mother, Jean Sharon, had served. She withdrew from the race because she was diagnosed with stage-four cancer of a salivary gland. The cancer grew into her facial nerves, which caused one side of her face to be permanently paralyzed. Elected to the council in 2014 and re-elected in 2016, she was known for her independence, thoughtful consideration of issues, and detailed questioning.

Other than her husband and son, she is survived by her daughter, Wendora Jean (Jonathan) Creech; two grandchildren, Austin Murphy Creech and Mackenzie Frances Creech; two sisters, Peggy Sharon and Cindy (Philip) Karrick; and several nieces and nephews.

Visitation will be held at Clark Funeral Home in Versailles on Tuesday, Feb. 27 from 4 to 7 p.m. The funeral will be held at Midway Christian Church at 11 a.m. Wednesday, Feb. 28, followed by graveside service at the Midway Cemetery and a fellowship meal at the church. For the full obituary, click here.

The City Council will appoint a member to serve out Warfield's term, which runs through Dec. 31.

UPDATE, Feb. 25: Mayor Grayson Vandegrift released one of his occasional "Messages from the Mayor" in reaction to Warfield's death:
By Grayson Vandegrift
Mayor, City of Midway
            Midway City Council Member Libby Warfield passed away on Saturday, Feb. 24, and although I knew it was likely coming, I had believed until the end that Libby would pull through. She was never the kind of person who gives up, because Libby was a fighter, and she fought valiantly in her battle with cancer.
            Libby and I ran the gamut in our service together. We often disagreed with each other, but we also agreed on more than you’d think. We could be exasperated with each other one day and then work on something together the next. In all honesty, we saw the world very differently, but we never stopped talking to each other, and we always acknowledged that although we disagreed, we knew that we both cared equally.
            I wrote Libby a letter a few weeks ago, telling her that although we drove each other crazy on most days, I had come to realize how much I missed that in her absence. I told her that she was challenging and incredibly hard-working, and that she made me a better mayor. My experience with Libby echoes the old adage that our critics are our friends. Although my relationship with her was based on our service together, I feel like I’ve lost more than a colleague, I feel like I’ve also lost a friend.
            My heart goes out to all of her family and friends in their time of grief. Rest in Peace, Libby.

Friday, February 23, 2018

UK professor, expert on Russian language and culture, to speak at Midway Branch Library at 6:30 p.m. Monday

Rouhier-Willoughby
Dr. Jeanmarie Rouhier-Willoughby, a University of Kentucky professor who has written extensively on Russian culture and is researching "holy waters," springs at former sites in Soviet gulags in Siberia, will speak at 6:30 p.m. Monday, Feb. 26, at the Midway Branch Library.

Rouhier-Willoughby is a professor of Russian studies and folklore, and chair of UK's Department of Modern and Classical Languages, Literatures and Cultures. Her research interests include religion and Russian rituals and holidays. She is a graduate of the University of Virginia.

Sign up to attend the event by calling the library at 846-4014.

Skies brighten briefly, but more rain is on the way; governor declares statewide emergency due to floods

The rain slacked off and the sun came out briefly this afternoon, but it is forecast to resume tonight and continue through tomorrow, so a flood watch is in effect for the area until 7 a.m. Sunday.  South Elkhorn Creek was running heavy over the dam at Weisenberger Mill at mid-afternoon. Commercial weather projections call for the heaviest rain Saturday morning and Saturday night, with a chance of thunderstorms.

UPDATE, 6:40 p.m.: Gov. Matt Bevin declared a statewide emergency in response to continued flooding. The order enables state resources to be mobilized and made ready to assist cities and counties should they be needed, a press release said. Bevin has also activated the state’s prohibitions on price gouging to protect consumers.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

State to paint lines on Winter to slow traffic; city council hears ordinance to extend alcohol sales to 1 a.m.

Changes are in store for South Winter Street in an effort to slow down speeding motorists, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift told the Midway City Council Monday evening.

In other business, the council started the process of extending alcoholic-beverage sales until 1 a.m. and turned down a request from the Midway Business Association to help pay for the merchants' signs on Interstate 64.

State diagram shows possible markings on Winter Street.
Winter Street: In the council's meeting packet was a letter from state traffic engineer Natalia McMillan, following a meeting she and others at the district office of the Department of Highways had with Vandegrift recently. It said the state would paint edgelines on the street like those on rural portions of US 62. "This will narrow the driving lanes and encourage drivers to slow down," she said.

McMillan said the city could mark the sides of the road for parking, and with a state permit extend curbs at intersections to shorten the crossing distance for pedestrians. She also said parallel parking could be changed to angle parking in some places to "contribute to the tightened feeling driving through that block."

Vandegrift told the council, "I am real excited about this. . . . I think this might be the first chance in a long time to finally tame traffic speeds on Winter Street."

The mayor said he wanted state officials to lower the speed limit 25 miles per hour, but "They made it pretty clear that wasn’t going to happen, partly because the state has no road in Kentucky less than 35," and because street's incline "makes it difficult to stay at 25."

"I made it pretty clear we had to do something, and they came back with this idea to do edgelines," Vandegrift said. He said the state still has some preliminary work to do, but "I’m assuming it’s going to happen in the near future . . . I think they’ll do it soon; soon might be a month or two."

Council Member Sara Hicks asked about adding bicycle lanes, but Vandegrift said. "I’m not sure we should encourage people to ride bikes down Winter Street," a busy thoroughfare.

Alcohol sales: The council heard first reading of two ordinances that would extend the legal hours for sales of alcoholic-beverage sales to 1 a.m. from midnight. Sunday sales would remain legal from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. unless New Year's Eve falls on Sunday, when the weekday hours would apply.

Council Member Bruce Southworth proposed the change last month, suggesting that late-night trade has increased. "At 11:30, they're getting ready to close, and people start coming in," he said.

Merchants' requests: With little discussion, the council turned down a request by the Midway Business Association for help in paying the $1,200 annual fee for the merchants' placards on the logo signs at the I-64 interchange. The placards, in both directions, say “Antique Shops” and “Railroad Street Shops.”

Vandegrift said the city gave $300 last year toward the signs and has $330 left in its donations budget for this year. Southworth asked if the merchants give the city anything, and Vandegrift said the MBA collects license fees from vendors at its annual Fall Festival and pays them to the city.

Council Member John McDaniel moved to donate $300 toward the signs but his motion died for lack of a second. He said after the meeting that most council members felt that the MBA has enough money to bear the cost alone.

Council Members Kaye Nita Gallagher and Libby Warfield were not in attendance. Vandegrift said Warfield remains ill.

The council delayed action on the MBA's request for a parade permit for Saturday, March 17, for its "St. Paddy's Day in Midway" event, so the merchants could revise their parade route.

The proposed route called for the parade to begin at the firehouse on Bruen Street, go north on Winter Street to Main, then down Main one block and go back to Winter; then north on Winter to Martin Street and down Martin, ending at Gratz Street.

Vandegrift said state permission would be needed to use Winter Street because it is US 62, and would probably not be allowed, but thought it would be permissible for the parade to use the street for the Main Street turnaround.

Steve Morgan of the MBA said the route might be less extensive than originally conceived, depending on how many units are in the parade. For example, he said the MBA hopes to have Scout groups and is talking with Midway University about entering an equine unit, and with Woodford County High School about having its band march.

Other business: The council examined a proposed pavilion for the cemetery, which would provide shelter during inclement weather. Vandegrift said the cost was estimated at $17,000, with most of the labor being done by city employees and John Holloway, the University of Kentucky arts professor who has designed and built structures in Walter Bradley Park.

Vandegrift referred the idea to the cemetery committee (Simoff, Hicks and Warfield) and said that if the panel agrees to it, he will put it in his proposed budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1.

Vandegrift said most of the $40,000 that the city had budgeted for paving in the current fiscal year will be spent on East Stephens Street, in front of and past the university. He said some other spots need work and will be included in a request for proposals he will advertise this week.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Gov. Bevin names Midway equine vet Jeffrey Pumphrey to Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners

Gov. Matt Bevin has appointed Dr. Jeffrey L. Pumphrey of Midway, an equine veterinarian, to the Kentucky Board of Veterinary Examiners, for a term expiring Jan. 24, 2021.

The board has eight members, all appointed by the governor. It regulates the licensing and conduct of veterinarians in Kentucky.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Midway U. Pres. Marsden wins award based on school's turnaround since 2012 pharmacy-school debacle

Marsden and Bluegrass Tomorrow CEO Rob Rumpke (Custom Photo)
Dr. John P. Marsden, president of Midway University since 2013, received the Excellence in Education Vision Award from Bluegrass Tomorrow on Feb. 6. The awards honor improvements to the quality of life and place in the Bluegrass Region.

Marsden's award was based on the school's turnaround since he became president five years ago. "He inherited a college with declining enrollments, cash-flow shortages, budgets in the red and other issues," said a video at the awards breakfast. "In 2015, the institution finalized an agreement regarding the financing of all debt." Under Marsden's predecessor, Wiliam Drake, Midway had lost much money on an ill-fated attempt to start a pharmacy school in Paintsville, Ky.

A university news release about Marsden's award said, "The institution worked to balance its operating budget, improve cash flow, develop a strategic plan, improve community and donor relations, develop new revenue streams with international partnerships and fundraising events, and expand graduate programs. Most importantly, he led the institution through its change to university status, its successful 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation . . . and launch of men's athletics."

The release made that last point only in passing, but it was a function of perhaps the single greatest change in the school's history: welcoming men as resident undergraduates. The change was accelerated by the closing of Saint Catharine College near Springfield; the video says Marsden worked with the college to "absorb some of the men's athletic teams." The release said Marsden has overseen the expansion of athletics from fewer than 100 student-athletes to 340 in the current academic year. In 2018-19, the school will add three more sports, giving it 20 athletic teams.

Fewer than 100 days after the decision to go co-ed, "the university welcomed its largest incoming daytime class in the history of the institution with 432 students, compared to 2015's 261 students," the release said. "In fall 2017, the daytime class grew to 482," making overall enrollment 1,217. The school also has record graduate enrollments, with addition of new MBA areas of concentration (Equine Studies, Health Care Administration, Tourism and Sport Management) and new master's degrees in education and nursing.

"I am honored to have received this award on behalf of the entire university," Marsden said in the release. "Our board of trustees, ambassadors, faculty and staff have dedicated great time and effort into making Midway University the place it is today. This has truly been a team effort. Difficult and courageous decisions were made to transform Midway University to ensure our relevance and viability and to establish a solid foundation for the future. We are grateful to Bluegrass Tomorrow for acknowledging our progress."

Marsden added, "Our work is not yet done. We have many ongoing projects to make improvements to our campus facilities, create more business partnerships, grow new academic programs and continue our outreach internationally. In 2017 we launched a mini-capital campaign to raise funds for a recreation center as an addition to our existing student center, an on-campus baseball park, and improvements to our existing residence halls. To date $4 million of the $5 million goal has been raised and we hope to break ground this fall on the recreation complex." More information is in the 2017 President's Report.

Friday, February 9, 2018

'Passport Fair' at Midway University Tuesday, Feb. 20

Midway University will host a U.S. Postal Service "Passport Fair" in the student center from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 20. Anyone can apply for a new passport or do a renewal, but will need to have their birth certificate. Photos can be brought or taken that day. Cash, checks or credit cards will be accepted.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Midway University conducting week-long community survey as part of its strategic planning; online link below

Midway University is conducting a community survey as part of its strategic planning "to set future directions and position the institution for a stronger future," Vice President for Marketing and Communications Ellen Gregory said in an email.

"Your input is an important part of the process," Gregory writes. "We hope that you will provide feedback through an online survey. We anticipate that the survey will take approximately 20 to 30 minutes to complete." The survey will conclude Feb. 14.

Gregory said all survey responses will go directly to Sutherland & Associates, a Lexington firm handling the survey. "Although verbatim responses will be shared with some members of university leadership, under no circumstances will the identity of the respondent be shared," she wrote. "Your responses are confidential."

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Council OKs new police contract, hears plans for events; annual Chocolate Stroll scheduled this Saturday

By Lizzy Allen
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council approved a contract Monday with the City of Versailles for five years of police protection at a much higher cost.

Midway will pay Versailles, which patrols all of Woodford County, 4.25 percent of its annual police budget. The current budget is $3.9 million, which would make the first year's payment $165,975.

That would be 66 percent more than the current annual cost of $100,000, but Midway officials have long expected a big increase. The county has already agreed to pay Versailles more -- $1.4 million, or 38 percent of the city's police budget.

Each citizen will end up paying about $100 per year for this service, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said, adding, “That sounds like a fair deal to me.”

Vandegrift said that the Versailles Police Department “serves us very well. They are very responsive to our needs.” He added that Assistant Chief Mike Murray, the department’s point man for Midway, “does an outstanding job.”

Council member Sarah Hicks also said that she has been impressed with the Versailles police.

“In my previous terms on the city council, I did not have as good of an experience as I have been having the last year and a half, and I’m really, really appreciative,” Hicks said.

Vandegrift said a few minor changes were made to the contract from the one approved by a council committee, plus one material change, to let him to “select a representative to participate in meetings with the mayor of Versailles and chief of police of the Versailles Police Department beginning in March each year as the budget recommendation is drafted.”

“That will basically give us a voice in the budget process each March,” Vandegrift said. “Not a vote, but a voice.” For the contract and the rest of the council's meeting packet, click here.

Merchants plan monthly activities: Peggy Angel, who was re-elected as president of the Midway Business Association last month, told the council that the merchants are planning events almost every month this year.

“We have been really actively reflecting back on 2017 to see how we could do more things in 2018 to help bring visitors into the city,” Angel said. “I understand that the city would like us to do an event every month. We are going to try our very best to do that.”

The first event is this Saturday, Feb. 10: the annual Chocolate Stroll, in which visitors and citizens visit businesses on historic Main Street to get their tickets stamped so they can be entered into a raffle, all while enjoying chocolate treats from each business.

“Basically, the idea is to get them into our businesses to see what’s here,” Angel said. “They may not buy, but at least we’re educating them.”

Other events this year include a new St. Patrick’s Day event on Saturday, March 17, for which restaurants will donate food, drinks and gift baskets; and the annual Fall Festival in September, which Angel said will feature around 20 more booths this year, some of them educational.

Angel asked the council to help the merchants keep their interstate signs, which cost $1,200 a year. Vandegrift asked her to write a formal request to be put on the agenda for the next meeting, and said the money is available.

In other business, the council renewed the contract with John Soper, chair of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority. Vandegrift said the contract reads exactly the same as last year’s. Soper is paid $5,720 a month; Midway’s share is $858.

Soper recruits employers for the county, and one of his most active areas has been Midway Station and property adjoining the industrial park, which was largely vacant until recently. “The outlook at Midway Station, honestly, looks a lot better than it ever has,” Vandegrift said. He said the city is in a position “to truly tailor Midway Station more to our liking.”

The council also approved a request by Gary Smith, who recently purchased half an acre just south of the city limits, to hook on to the city water system. Smith and his wife intend to build a home on the property.

The council also voted to accept the final version of the audit for the 2016-17 fiscal year, the preliminary version of which was discussed at a previous meeting.

Council Member Libby Warfield again missed attending due to illness. In calling for the usual moment of silent reflection at the start of the meeting, Vandegrift asked members to remember Warfield.