Friday, June 28, 2019

State rejects only bid for new Weisenberger Mill bridge, says it will re-advertise for bids to be made by July 26

The bridge is a scenic, historic spot due to the mill, built in 1913 on the site of an 1865 mill, and its dam on South Elkhorn Creek.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on Friday rejected the only bid for construction of a new Weisenberger Mill Bridge, which was almost three times the engineers' estimate but may have been made in error.

The cabinet will advertise the project for bids to be awarded after its July 26 bid letting, said Natasha Lacy, spokeswoman for the cabinet's District 7 office in Lexington. Construction is expected to take six to nine months.

Monday will mark the three years since the cabinet closed the bridge for safety reasons. The bidding was the latest in a series of delays for efforts to replace it with a new bridge.

The bid by Louisville Paving Co. was $1.95 million, 2¾ times the estimate of $709,889. Woodford County Magistrate Jackie Brown told the Midway Messenger Kelly Baker, the chief engineer at the cabinet's District 7 office in Lexington, told him Louisville Paving bid on foundation work they would not have to do, and expects a rebid would be much nearer to the engineers’ estimate.

The bridge across South Elkhorn Creek, the border of Woodford and Scott counties, is nominally Woodford's responsibility, under a longstanding agreement between the counties, but the state agreed to take responsibility for it several years ago.

The state closed the bridge after inspectors found it was not safe for a load of three tons. The state had already lowered the limit twice in an effort to turn away heavy trucks whose drivers used the bridge, apparently following Global Positioning System directions for a shortcut to or from Interstate 64, using Paynes Depot Road and perhaps Big Sink Road.

The bridge's closure has further isolated the largely African American community of Zion Hill, at the southern tip of Scott County. Woodford County has been providing emergency services to the area.

Replacing the one-lane span, built in the early 1930s, has been complicated. The first plan was for a two-lane bridge, but the cabinet changed it to one lane, with the pony-truss style of the old bridge, to assuage public concern that a modern concrete span would detract from the scenic nature of the site and encourage speeding, causing accidents in the sharp curve on the Woodford County side.

Since the bridge has historical significance and is a state responsibility, the project had to undergo review by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Kentucky Heritage Council, as well as an environmental impact report to federal officials. The project was delayed at least a month by negotiations over construction easements.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Message from the mayor: Infrastructure summer is here

By Grayson Vandegrift
Mayor, City of Midway
     Three large infrastructure projects are planned and funded for this year, with two about to begin. Within days, bidders will be selected to complete our 2019 sidewalk rehabilitation project, which includes 11 projects as part of our cost-sharing program; and a major street project that includes paving, storm sewer repair, and curb installation and rehabilitation.
     The streets project encompasses parts of East and West Stephens, Starks Alley, and North and South Winter. The end of North Winter, near Leestown Road, will be paved, as will bad stretches of East and West Stephens. Storm sewer work will be done on Stephens, and curb installation will occur on the east end near Brand Street, with curbs also being replaced on Winter near City Hall. 
     Later in the year, a sanitary-sewer project is planned that will camera and clean out all sewer lines east of Winter, but not including Northridge, where the lines are relatively new. The project will tell us exactly why inflow and infiltration occurs on Smith Street (experts disagree), as well as give us invaluable knowledge of the issues that part of the system faces. Furthermore, the cleaning out of the lines with high powered water will immediately make them better functioning. This project is integral for us to know what sewer project needs to begin next, and to get a better idea of its scope. 
     Most of these projects will be non-intrusive, but please note that the street project will at times divert traffic around parts of Stephens, Starks, and Winter. This project should take a few weeks to complete once it begins, and the sidewalk project should also be finished up by late July or early August if the current timeline holds. The sewer project will begin sometime later this summer or fall. 
    As always, if you have any questions please feel free to email mayorgrayson@meetmeinmidway.com or call me at 859-361-6320. This is what I call our “infrastructure summer.” 

Monday, June 24, 2019

Sole bid on new Weisenberger Mill Bridge may be too high for state to accept, state says 'there was no error'

The bridge is a scenic, historic spot due to the mill, built in 1913 on the site of an 1865 mill, and its dam on South Elkhorn Creek.
This story has been updated.

The only bid for construction of a new Weisenberger Mill Bridge was almost three times the engineers' estimate, raising the possibility that the bid will be rejected and the project further delayed. The bridge will have been been closed for three years as of next Monday.

The bid by Louisville Paving Co. was $1.95 million, 2¾ times the estimate of $709,889. The Awards Committee of the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is scheduled to consider the bid and others from Friday's bid letting at 9:30 a.m. Friday. (The meeting is exempt from the state Open Meetings Act.)

Woodford County Judge-Executive James Kay told the Midway Messenger that his office had heard from Kelly Baker, the chief engineer at the cabinet's District 7 office in Lexington, "that the bid may have been a mistake." District 7 spokeswoman Natasha Lacy said in an email that Baker "has not talked with Judge Kay about this. In addition, there was no error." Kay said in an email, "Magistrate Jackie Brown spoke with Kelly Baker and relayed that info to me."

Brown told the Messenger Tuesday evening that Baker told him Louisville Paving bid on foundation work they would not have to do, and expects a rebid would be much nearer to the engineers’ estimate.

Told that, Lacy sent an email Wednesday saying, "The existing abutments are being left in place for the project. The design calls for placing a soil-nail wall around the abutments . . . to sufficiently protect and strengthen them. If the bid is rejected, we will discuss the possibility of separating out this part of the project. It then [could] be completed through maintenance agreements that we have in place. The remainder of work for the bridge would be placed back out for bid."

The bridge across South Elkhorn Creek, the border of Woodford and Scott counties, is nominally Woodford's responsibility, under a longstanding agreement between the counties, but the state agreed to take responsibility for it several years ago.

The state closed the bridge on July 1, 2016, after inspectors found it was not safe for a load of three tons. The state had already lowered the limit twice in an effort to turn away heavy trucks whose drivers used the bridge, apparently following Global Positioning System directions for a shortcut to or from Interstate 64, using Paynes Depot Road and perhaps Big Sink Road.

The state could ask the county to share in the unexpectedly high construction cost, but Kay said he doubted that the Fiscal Court would be willing to do that, even with a contribution from Scott County.

Magistrate Liles Taylor, who represents the Midway area on Fiscal Court, said he expects the state to keep its commitment to replace the bridge, and said the top concern must be public safety, but "Everything's on the table."

The bridge's closure has further isolated the largely African American community of Zion Hill, at the southern tip of Scott County. Woodford County has been providing emergency services to the area.

Replacing the one-lane span, built in the early 1930s, has been complicated. The first plan was for a two-lane bridge, but the cabinet changed it to one lane, with the pony-truss style of the old bridge, to assuage public concern that a modern concrete span would detract from the scenic nature of the site and encourage speeding, causing accidents in the sharp curve on the Woodford County side.

Since the bridge has historical significance and is a state responsibility, the project had to undergo review by the State Historic Preservation Office and the Kentucky Heritage Council, as well as an environmental impact report to federal officials. The project was delayed at least a month by negotiations over construction easements.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Civic leader Jean Sharon dies; service at noon Monday

Lillian "Jean" Sharon
Funeral services will be held at noon Monday at Midway Baptist Church for Jean Sharon, a longtime civic leader in Midway who died Thursday, June 20, at her home. She was 90.

Sharon served three terms on the City Council, where a daughter and grandson also served; was president of the Midway Women’s Club and Midway Parent-Teacher Organization, and was a member of the Woodford County Schools Hall of Fame. She was instrumental in building the veterans memorial at the Midway Cemetery and The Homeplace at Midway. 

She was the longest continually active member of the Midway Baptist Church, serving over 20 years as youth leader/director for various children's organizations; treasurer for many years; choir member; and various positions in the Women's Missionary Union. For more than two decades, she was The Woodford Sun's Midway correspondent.

She was born Lillian Clifton on Nov. 1, 1928 to Roy and Elizabeth Nave Clifton, and lived in Midway her entire life. She was the widow of Leslie Murphy Sharon, who died in 2016. She is survived by two daughters, Margaret “Peggy” Sharon and Cynthia Jean (Philip) Karrick; a son-in-law, David Warfield; six grandchildren, Wendy Warfield (Jonathan) Creech, Matthew Warfield (a former City Council member), Krissy Sharon (Scott) Fett, Mason (Heather) Karrick, Sharon Karrick and Spencer (Devon) Karrick; eight great-grandchildren; two sisters-in-law, Helen Clifton and Elizabeth Clifton; and numerous other nieces and nephews.

She was preceded in death by a daughter, Leslie Elizabeth “Libby” Warfield, who died in 2018 while serving on the City Council; four sisters, Dora Faust, Martha Clifton, Frances Clifton and Elizabeth Clifton; six brothers, William, Charles, Oscar, Roy, James and Finnis Clifton, and her brother-in-law, Jesse Faust.

The Rev. Jeffery Sames will officiate at the service. Burial will be in Midway Cemetery. The pallbearers will be Austin Creech, Mason Karrick, Spencer Karrick, Scott Fett, Jonathan Clifton and Jonathan Creech. Honorary pallbearers are Matt Warfield, David Warfield, Philip Karrick, Dr. Norman Fisher, Dr. James Roach, James Johnson and Charles Logan. Johnson Funeral Home, where visitation was held Sunday afternoon, is in charge of arrangements. The full obituary is here.

Friday, June 21, 2019

City Council approves budget with $200K for sewers, $50K for curb extensions and many other additions

The City of Midway's budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1 is the probably the largest in the town's history, with General Fund appropriations of $1.9 million and a projected surplus of $488,601.

"It's likely the biggest ever," Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said as the City Council approved the budget on a 4-0 vote in an eight-minute special meeting Thursday. Members Sara Hicks and Kaye Nita Gallagher were absent, but they had attended all three workshops at which the council tweaked the budget Vandegrift had proposed.

The budget has been boosted mainly by increased occupational taxes on payrolls and net profits, mainly from the Midway Station industrial park. The council has lowered property taxes and water rates in the past year.

Holding up the budget, the mayor said, "This, as much as anything, is a policy document. What this shows is that our policy focuses on infrastructure."

The biggest infrastructure item is $200,000 for a project to examine and clean out the old sewer lines on the east side of town and see where repairs and replacements are needed. $50,000 is budgeted for curb extensions, or "bulb-outs" on Winter Street at the intersections of Bruen and Stephens streets, to help slow traffic and increase pedestrian safety.

The plan has $40,000 for interest payments on Midway Station, which are no longer made by the developer who gave up his option on the property, but the city and the Woodford County Economic Development Authority are hoping property sales will eliminate the need for interest payments.

The budget also adds $10,000 for new signs; $5,000 for new City Hall computers; $5,000 for the Court Appointed Special Advocate program, which has come to the county with the help of the Fiscal Court and the Versailles City Council; $2,000 for local churches' backpack meal program for needy children; and about $11,000 to join the Woodford County geographic information system, which Vandegrift said would help track infrastructure.

The budget includes $10,000 and $15,000, respectively, for repairs and maintenance on the firehouse, up from $5,000 and $10,000 in the current year; and $1,000 for the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce, up from $500. The Versailles Police Department will get $27,000 more as the city shares in the one-time cost of computer and telephone upgrades to the department, which patrols all of Woodford County. Under a contract, Midway pays 4.25 percent of the department's budget.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Mayor says he will ask council committee to plan for buying water from Frankfort, not Kentucky American

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift told the City Council this evening that Midway should run a water line to the Duckers area so it can buy wholesale water much more cheaply from the Frankfort Electric and Water Plant Board instead of Kentucky American Water Co.

Following are Vandegrift's remarks, as prepared for delivery, followed by additional comments and a report on other action at the council meeting.

Kentucky American Water Co.'s connection to the Midway water system
"As you know, I have been looking into our options as they pertain to our wholesale water supplier. In 1985 the city signed a 40-year contract with Kentucky American Water, meaning that this contract will expire in 2025.

"It is the opinion of our city attorney and his associates that the contract is, at least for now, a valid one. The Kentucky Supreme Court has a case before them which argues that such a contract shouldn’t be valid because Kentucky American should be considered a franchise, not a utility. That case is unlikely to be overturned, and even if it were, the planning for an endeavor such as switching water providers would be a process that could take that long time regardless.

"I have been in discussions with executives at the Frankfort Plant Board, including their chief engineer, and they have assured me that they are ready, willing, and able to sell us water at a wholesale rate. Their current rate for wholesale customers is $2.55 per 1,000 gallons. We currently pay Kentucky American $4.21 per 1,000 gallons. That means we could get water for 40 percent less than what we’re paying now, and we could conceivably cut water rates for our citizens and still flood our water fund with new revenue for infrastructure improvements. And this is before the Public Service Commission rules on the current rate increase Kentucky American has asked for. Who’s to say how many more increases they’ll have received by 2025?

"We owe it to our citizens to find a source of clean, potable water at a reasonable price, and this seems like a no-brainer. We will be responsible for running a water line to the Duckers area, less than two miles from Midway, to hook in with the Frankfort Plant Board’s 20-inch supply line.

"This is a large initiative but one that will have an immediate and long lasting impact on our city and its residents for many years after we’re gone. It is my firm resolve that we begin now the process of switching water suppliers so that come 2025 we’re ready to flip the switch and begin drawing our water from a local, municipal-minded utility as opposed to a publicly traded profit making entity. It has become abundantly clear that Kentucky American’s business model is going to continue to be based on frequent rate increases. To me, that is unacceptable, and we shouldn’t let ourselves be held for ransom every time they decide they’re not making their executives and shareholders enough money at the expense of the rest of us.

"Therefore, I’m asking that the Public Works and Services Committee, consisting of Council Members John Holloway, Kaye Nita Gallagher, and Bruce Southworth as chair, to begin the process of laying out a plan with logistics and probable costs so that on that day in 2025, we’re ready to sell good water at a greatly reduced price. I will be heavily involved with the committee’s work, but will also respect their autonomy as a committee of our legislative body. The committee should consult with the Frankfort Plant Board as well as our engineers and/or consultants we may hire to achieve our goals.

"When we lowered our sewer rates by 25 percent I told you that in my opinion, that was just the start. Significantly lower water bills in Midway, once thought by many to be a fairy tale is now underway, with this even bigger step firmly within our grasp. We have the money and the flexibility to finance this project in a cost-effective way, and one could argue the savings alone would finance the project to come within several years. I hope that the city council will enthusiastically join me in beginning this plan, while keeping all options on the table as we go, so that we can finally realize that long sought after dream, and conclusively turn a fairy tale into a reality."

Vandegrift added that he would "keep all options on the table," because construction of the supply line would require research and purchase of easements, and he said he does not believe eminent domain, or condemnation, should be used for the project.

"It would be a complete sea change in the way Midway utility bills work," Vandegrift said. He said he would welcome a counter-offer from Kentucky American, but "They don't care about Midway."

Budget nears approval: The council heard first reading of the budget for the fiscal year that begins July 1, which it had agreed on at three budget workshops (details here and here). It plans to hold a special meeting at 5 p.m. Thursday for second reading and passage.

Vandegrift thanked Assistant City Clerk Sonya Conner and former assistant clerk Diane Shepard for their work on the budget, which included "figuring out from scratch how to get into ordinance form," following the retirement of Phyllis Hudson as city clerk-treasurer.

For a PDF of the budget ordinance and the rest of the council's meeting packet, click here.

Sidewalk bids in: Vandegrift said the city had received two bids for sidewalk repairs, about $39,000 and $42,000, which he would present to the council at its July 1 meeting. He said he would ask the council to increase the city's maximum contribution to each job to $1,500 or $2,000, from the current $1,000. The city splits the costs with property owners, but its contribution is capped.

"When we set that one thousand, we didn't quite know what the scope of it was," he said. Even with a higher cap, he said, "It'll be more fair, but they'll still pay their share."

Events: The council approved event permits for the 45th annual Midway Fall Festival, to be held Sept. 21-22, and the Bourbon Country Burn bicycle tour, which is expected to bring 1,000 riders to town on Friday, Sept. 27, when riders will follow various courses from the Lexington base camp to distilleries in the Frankfort area.

Fall Festival coordinator Elisha Holt said the festival needs to hire off-duty police officers to direct traffic. Vandegrift said he would discuss that with the Versailles Police Department, which covers all of Woodford County. Holt said the festival's new partnership with the Iron Horse Half Marathon on Sunday, Sept. 22, will bring more portable toilets to the festival, a total of 28.

She said organizers of the foot race want to start music at 8 a.m., but Vandegrift said, "I wouldn't push it" because there are already some misgivings about combining the two events. All present went along with a suggestion by Council Member Sara Hicks that the music be acoustic, not amplified.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Mayor picks former Sadieville city-clerk treasurer for that position in Midway; will ask council to confirm by July 1

Cynthia Foster
Mayor Grayson Vandegrift has chosen Cynthia Foster of Versailles to be Midway's new city clerk-treasurer, he told the City Council and news media in an email this evening. The appointment is subject to council approval; the mayor said he would ask the council to confirm the appointment before July 1, when Foster is scheduled to start work.

"Cynthia is a uniquely qualified candidate with more than eight years experience as the city clerk-treasurer for the City of Sadieville, a performance for which she received glowing reviews from her supervisor," then-Mayor Claude Christensen, Vandegrift said. "I am confident you will be pleased with the experience, demeanor, and professionalism that Cynthia brings to the office."

Foster, 60, has more than has 35 years of administrative and financial experience in non-profits, management and government, including the Army, Vandegrift said. "She also has extensive experience with grant writing, having previously assisted Bluegrass Council of the Blind and Bluegrass Tomorrow in their endeavors. While grant writing is not a requirement, nor part of the job description for city clerk/treasurer, Cynthia is enthusiastic about helping to write grants in addition to her official duties."

Phyllis Hudson retired as clerk-treasurer May 31 after a more than 10 years in the job and 21 with the city. Assistant Clerk Sonya Conner has been handling council meetings for several months.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

Midway University announces student, faculty honors

Kristina Thompson accepts the psychology award from Dr.
Charles Roberts, dean of the School of Arts and Sciences.
Midway University has announced a long list of student and faculty honors.

Kristina Thompson of Midway was named Outstanding Psychology Student at the university's annual awards program on April 11, and was on the dean's list for the spring semester, announced this week.

Others from Midway on the dean's list, which requires a 3.6 grade point average, are Andrew Blaydes and Adriana Denington.

On the dean's list from Versailles are Sydney Buck, Jordan Lynch, Elizabeth Pecina, Juan Perez, Madison Turner and Maria Vieyra.

Those on the list from Scott County are Alexandria Allen, Ely Bonifant, Samantha Caudill, David Coleman, Sarah Goettel, Caitlyn Morris, Sandra Onderko, Cassidy Stoltz, Madeline Wasson and Alyssa Yates of Georgetown; and Lauren Boehm, Tara Casey and Elizabeth Hazlett of Stamping Ground.

On the list from Frankfort are Erica Ashley, Niki Bailey, Kendra Cantrell-Coyle, Nadya Clark, Daniel Cox, Kristin Cummins, Molly Lecompte, Aunjelle Mansfield-Jones, Regan Snyder, Grayson Strasburger, Sadie Taylor, Michael Wallen and Ellen Williams.

Among the awards presented April 11 was Outstanding Teacher, to Dr. Linda Cain.

Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Eli Bradshaw wins title of Miss Bluegrass Fair

Eli Bradshaw of Midway won the title of Miss Bluegrass Fair last night in Lexington. She is pictured with her mother, Melanie Jo Bradshaw. (Photo from Facebook page of Bluegrass Fair)

Monday, June 10, 2019

Farmers' market open downtown from 3 to 6 p.m. Mon.

The Woodford County Farmers' Market at Midway opened last week and will be open Mondays from 3 to 6 p.m. through October. Current offerings include fresh spring and summer flowers, fruits and vegetables, fresh beef and sausage, and baked treats. The market is located in the parking lot of Darlin' Jean's Apple Cobbler Cafe at Gratz and East Main streets.

The market is coordinated by the county office of the Cooperative Extension Service. Its market in Versailles is open from 3 to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 8:30 to noon Saturdays in the Lexington Road Plaza shopping center. For market offerings and events, see the market's Facebook page; questions about the market should be directed to Faye Kuosman, county extension agent for horticulture, at 859-873-4601 or faye.tewksbury@uky.edu.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Service for Mildred Buster 11 a.m. Monday at cemetery

Mildred Martin Buster
A graveside service will be held at Midway Cemetery at 11 a.m. Monday, June 10, for Mildred Martin Buster, who died at her Audubon Farm on June 4 at the age of 99.

Buster was a founder of the Logan-Helm Woodford County Library, served as a board member for many years and helped start a branch library in Midway with her friend Helen Hicks. She was a lifetime member of the Woodford County Historical Society and New Union Christian Church on Old Frankfort Pike. She spent many years working to ensure that the church’s landscaping was maintained for the congregation to enjoy. The church's former pastor, the Rev. Nancy Jo Kemper, will officiate at the services.

At Audubon, on Moores Mill Road, she maintained extensive gardens that were visited by many throughout the years. She was an original and longtime member of The Little Garden Club of Woodford County, which she served as president in 1963- 65. In 1991, she and Kristina Minister initiated the Midway African-American Oral History Project.

She and and her late husband, Gen. William R. Buster, who led the Kentucky Historical Society in 1973-83 and died in 1995, gave many years of service to Midway University. In 1995, she started the Ruth Slack Roach Leadership-Scholarship Program in honor of her late, close friend. Memorial gifts to the fund are suggested in lieu of flowers.

A Woodford County native, Buster was a graduate of Margaret Hall in Versailles, Stuart Hall in Virginia and Pine Manor College in Massachusetts. She was known as “Marmee” to close family members, who surrounded her at the end of her life.

She is survived by her son, William R. Buster Jr., of San Leandro, Calif.; two daughters, Kathryn Martin Buster (who is in the process of relocating to Kentucky after more than 40 years in Colorado) and Martha Buster Martin (David Lynn) of Midway; two granddaughters, Kathryn Todd Martin (Benjamin Baranek) and Jessica Martin Gwaltney (William) of Lexington. They "remember fondly their childhoods on the farm and spending time with her," her obituary said. "Katie and Jessica are grateful for the many things they learned from Marmee, such as cooking, reading, enjoying good food, a love of exploring the world through travel, and an appreciation for beautiful flowers. In the final years of her life, Mildred found joy through spending time with her great-grandchildren, Caroline Todd Gwaltney and William James Gwaltney."

Milward Funeral Directors of Lexington is in charge of arrangements.

Saturday, June 8, 2019

Sir Winston, owned by Tracy and Carol Farmer of Midway, wins Belmont in his first graded stakes victory

Sir Winston, with Joel Rosario up, wins the Belmont Stakes. (Photo by Eduardo Munoz Alvarez, The Associated Press)
Sir Winston, owned by Tracy and Carol Farmer of Midway, won the Belmont Stakes in New York today. It was a big upset, and an ironic one, because Sir Winston has the same trainer, Mark Casse, as the horse that went off as the second favorite in the race, Preakness winner War of Will.

Casse and Farmer joined forces at the suggestion of John Oxley, who owns Fawn Leap Farm, just south of Midway and near the Farmers' farm. Casse, who has trained several Oxley horses, told NBC after the race, "The Farmers, they've been so good to us, and to have this opportunity, is just a dream come true."

War of Will won the Preakness after being interfered with in the Kentucky Derby by Maximum Security, who hit the wire first but was taken down by the stewards, giving the win to Country House.

Sir Winston had won only one race, the Display stakes at Woodbine in December, and did not run in the Derby or Preakness. However, he closed very fast to place second in the mile-and-an-eighth Peter Pan Stakes at Belmont on May 11, then showed well in training on the track. He was initially rated a longshot, but his morning line was 12-1 and bettors had made him 9-1 just before post time. He was 10-1 when the bell rang and paid $22.40, $8.80 and $6.10.

Sir Winston and jockey Joel Rosario saved ground, found running room on the inside, moved outside and "slightly bothered War of Will," The Associated Press reported. He took the lead and beat the 9-5 favorite, Tacitus, by a length. Joeiva, which led for most of the race, was third, and Tax finished fourth. War of Will was ninth. Sir Winston ran the mile and a half in 2:28:30.

Tracy and Carol Farmer
The trophy was accepted by the Farmers' nephew, Robert McQueen; they watched the race from their home at Shadowlawn Farm.

Tracy Farmer bred Sir Winston. The horse is out of Breeders Cup Classic winner Awesome Again by LaGran Balladora, a daughter of Afleet Alex, who won the Belmont; his grandsire is Deputy Minister.

Farmer named the horse for Sir Winston Churchill, prime minister of the United Kingdom during most of World War II. NBC noted the recent 75th anniversary of D-Day and Farmer's resemblance to Churchill.

This was the first graded stakes win for the Farmers since La Gran Bailadora won the 2011 Distorted Humor Kentucky Cup Distaff Stakes at Turfway Park. They had two prior Belmont entries; Royal Assault placed third in 2004, and Indy Storm was fourth in 2005.

Another Midway horse, Bourbon War, finished last in the Belmont after going off at 10-1, as Sir Winston did. He is owned by Bourbon Lane Stables and Lake Star Stables. Bourbon Lane is a public racing partnership managed by McMahon & Hill Bloodstock, LLC, with offices in Midway.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

Midway Heritage Day, July 27, will celebrate history and culture with visit of steam locomotive to be restored

Adapted from a press release

Midway will celebrate its railroad heritage July 27, centering a day-long festival around the arrival of a historic locomotive that hasn’t visited the region in more than 60 years.

The City of Midway, Midway Renaissance and the Midway Business Association will sponsor Midway Heritage Day in conjunction with the morning arrival of Chesapeake and Ohio Railroad steam locomotive No. 2716. The event will include live music, food vendors, historical displays and walking tours, including a look at the massive visiting locomotive.

The 400-ton engine is being moved from the Kentucky Railway Museum at New Haven to be restored at the new Kentucky Rail Heritage Center in Estill County, a project of the nonprofit Kentucky Steam Heritage Corp. The locomotive’s move will be a mobile kick-off for the project. 

The unprecedented event will be held in collaboration with CSX Transportation, which owns the railroad bed, and R. J. Corman Railroad Group, which leases it. The move will include several stops and a public excursion on July 26, the proceeds from which will be shared by Kentucky Steam Heritage and the Railway Museum. The locomotive is scheduled to be on display in Midway from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. The schedule is subject to change. 

“We were thrilled to have the opportunity to take part in the historic move that is part of a larger plan to use the railroads to revitalize parts of Eastern Kentucky,” said Corman President and Ed Quinn. “Working with Midway is always a pleasure, and their willingness to host this unique and fun event brings us even more excitement for the move.”

July 27 will also be one of Renaissance's "Midsummer Nights in Midway," with entertainment and vendors from 6 to 10 p.m. Renaissance President Christy Reaves said the news of the locomotive’s visit prompted the idea of “Heritage Day” to revolve around the history and culture of Midway. She said, “The citizens of Midway look forward to welcoming people into the community to celebrate the rich heritage of the railroad and the extraordinary sense of community that Midway enjoys. The festival will feature in-depth presentations, artifacts, discussions and tours regarding the history of Midway.”

Scale model of Midway in January, before restoration
The artifacts will include a 1950s scale model of Midway that Reaves and others have been restoring for several months. 

The main attraction, No. 2716, was built in 1943 and visited the Bluegrass Region frequently while in service until its retirement in 1956. It was one of the largest locomotives to ever run on the line between Louisville and Ashland. After being retired, it was donated to the Kentucky Railway Museum. Kentucky Steam Heritage leased it in 2016 with plans to run it on excursions and use its operation as an educational tool.

Both nonprofits will have booths at the event, promoting rail tourism on both sides of the state. The locomotive will make several other stops over the course of the weekend. For more details and updates, information on membership and donations, and to order tickets, visit www.kentuckysteam.org or the event website, www.heritagehighball.com. For more info about the Kentucky Railway Museum, visit www.kyrail.org. Further information on Midway Renaissance visit http://MidwayRenaissance.com.

Tuesday, June 4, 2019

State plans to close left lanes of I-64 from 9 p.m. Wed. to 6 a.m. Thurs. for installation of cable barriers

The left lanes of Interstate 64 between Midway and I-75 will be closed from 9 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday for installation of cable barriers in the median. The closure had been scheduled for Thursday night, but was moved up because rain is forecast, the Transportation Cabinet said.

The left shoulders of the interstate will be closed Wednesday and Thursday. Work is scheduled to begin at 7:30 a.m. each day and could continue past 5 p.m., the cabinet said. "All work is subject to change depending on weather, emergencies and other factors beyond the control of the Department of Highways," the cabinet said.

Council makes Midway Station all industrial or highway business; keeps fish farm as is; talks streets and speed

EDA Chair John Soper pointed to an old map of Midway Station to indicate property that the council was about to rezone.
Midway Station no longer has any property that is zoned for residential development or professional offices, following the Midway City Council's approval of a rezoning ordinance Monday night.

Among other business, the council rejected bids for the old wastewater-treatment plant, leaving it under lease to a small fish farm, and heard from a potential new telecommunications provider.

Midway Station: "This gets back to where it was originally intended to be," Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said, referring to the development's original status as an industrial park. It also includes some tracts that are zoned for highway business.

Vandegrift recalled that after Bluegrass Stockyards abandoned plans to buy the property in 2007 due to opposition from some in Midway, the debt of the failed industrial park left the city and Woodford County "in a much more desperate situation," and they converted the property to residential and commercial to get Lexington developer Dennis Anderson involved.

For years, Anderson paid the interest on Midway Station's mortgage in return for an option on the property, but the Great Recession stymied his plans for development. Coming out of the recession, industries began buying tracts in the development and adjacent to it. In February, Anderson dropped his option, putting development back in the hands of the county Economic Development Authority.

Vandegrift said Anderson originally wanted to build 500 homes, and the city has only 600, so "You might as well have named a different city other than Midway out there."

Some in Midway had thought the residential property in Midway Station could answer the city's need for more housing, especially with the growth in jobs at the industrial park. Before passage of the ordinance, Vandegrift addressed those concerns.

The mayor said he is eager to get more residential development in Midway, but "It's got to go in the right place," inside the city's current urban services boundary.

The latest rezoning also eliminates all professional-office (P-1) zoning in the development, which Council Member Stacy Thurman questioned.

EDA Chair John Soper said there is "no demand" for such property, and "We're reacting to demand. "That doesn't mean we couldn't come back at some point with a user who could use P-1." He said Journey Church, which will get part of the current P-1 property, wanted to be in a highway business zone because it will have a coffee shop and day-care center open to the public. Churches can be in any zone, under a conditional-use permit.

In response to a question from Council Member John Holloway, Soper said the coffee shop would draw business from travelers on Interstate 64 and workers in Midway Station. "The church sees getting people into the building as their first mission," Soper said.

The day-care center would meet a longstanding need in the city. The church plans to employ 70 people, more than EDA's goal of 10 jobs per acre in Midway Station, Vandegrift said.

On another real-estate issue, Thurman asked the mayor about the status of the proposed ordinance that would crack down on owners of blighted property. "People have been asking," she said. Vandegrift said city attorney Phil Moloney is working on the ordinance, which would be "put out as soon as possible," followed by council workshops to discuss it.

Steve Mims feeds his fish at the old wastewater treatment plant.
Fish farm: The council decided not to sell the city's old wastewater-treatment plant, after both bids fell short of its appraised value. The bids were $20,000 from Buchanan Contracting of Mount Sterling, which EDA has hired to do work at Midway Station, and $13,100 from Advancing Sustainable Aquaculture Performance for Fish, owned by a retired Kentucky State University aquaculture professor who has leased the facility for four years.

Council Member Logan Nance moved to accept ASAP Fish's bid, saying he had toured the facility with lessee Steve Mims and talked with people in the community who want the city to retain a business, but after a discussion, only Thurman voted with him.

Council Member Bruce Southworth opposed a sale, saying the city would have to find a place for salt and equipment that is stored on the property. Mims offered to let the city do that under his ownership, but Southworth said his bid wasn't high enough.

Nance said the city should "get out of the landlording business," but Vandegrift said that if the property were sold to Buchanan for use as a staging area for equipment, it "wouldn't look as nice." He said earlier, "I think Steve's got the best use for it."

Vandegrift said he had no problem continuing to lease the property to Mims, as long as he got his own electric service and started using water from Lee Branch instead of the new plant across Leestown Road, which Mims told the council last month he was planning to do. "We're paying his electric bill now, so we're losing money," the mayor said. Mims' lease fee is 5 percent of gross revenues; those payments totaled only $800 last year, Vandegrift said last month.

Streets and speed: Holloway said the city needs to keep pressing the state Highway Department to lower the speed limit on Winter Street downtown to 25 miles per hour, because the agency has done so in similar situations in other towns, including a railroad crossing in Lawrenceburg.

Vandegrift said that when he formally requested a lower speed limit last year, highway engineers rejected it, partly because the downhill slope on northbound Winter would require drivers "to ride their brakes" from Bruen Street to the crossing.

He said the rejection was the reason he got the state to paint stripes on the sides of Winter and has proposed up to $50,000 for curb extensions or "bulb-outs" at the intersections with Bruen and Stephens streets. Both measures are intended to slow down motorists by narrowing the trafficway, but Vandegrift agreed that the city needs to keep asking for a lower speed limit.

Fiber-optic franchise: The council heard from Kathy Sholar of MetroNet, which plans to install fiber-optic cable in the city under a non-exclusive franchise agreement similar to the one the city has with Spectrum. "What we bring to your community is choice," as well as "the best technology available in the world" for internet, television and telephone," she said.

Sholar said the company is coming to Midway because it got a contract to serve the county school system, and is also pursuing a franchise agreement with the county government.

Vandegrift said, "I've been very impressed with MetroNet, and everything she said is true."

Other business: The council approved an event permit and street closure for the 175th anniversary of Midway Christian Church on July 7. "I think Midway Christian is the pillar of this community," said Nance, who attends Midway Baptist Church.

The council also heard a report from state Rep. Joe Graviss, D-Versailles, who reiterated that he is running for the seat of retiring state Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort. Graviss, who was elected last year, was praised by Vandegrift, who has said he may run for the House seat.

"You did a great job," Vandegrift told Graviss. "You're going to be great as our senator. . . . You stick up for what you believe in."

As Graviss left, he was asked if he and Vandegrift would endorse each other. Neither replied.