Thursday, October 29, 2020

As freezing weather looms, protect your pipes

Kentucky American Water Co., Midway's wholesale water supplier, encourages customers to take a few minutes to help prevent their homes’ water pipes from freezing this winter, before really cold weather arrives. A low of 26 degrees is forecast for Monday morning.

“Taking a few simple steps now can help prevent inconvenience and costly damage this winter,” said Vice President of Operations David Farrar. “We encourage customers to spend a few minutes assessing their homes and completing a few simple tasks so that their homes are well-prepared for colder temperatures.”

Frozen water lines typically occur in areas such as crawl spaces or along the outside walls where unprotected plumbing tends to be more vulnerable to the elements. Customers are encouraged to:
  • Disconnect garden hoses from your home. If you have an irrigation system, make sure it is turned off and drained.
  • Search your house for un-insulated water pipes, especially in unheated areas. Check attics, crawl spaces, and outside walls. Consider wrapping pipes with insulation sleeves. Another option is electric heating tape, but follow manufacturers’ instructions carefully to avoid a fire hazard.
  • Seal cracks and holes in outside walls and foundations with caulking to keep cold air away from pipes.
  • Prevent frozen pipes by draining and shutting off the water to any unoccupied residence such as a summer or vacation home. A loss of power during a winter storm could cause pipes to freeze.
Once cold weather arrives:
  • If you’re going out of town, set the thermostat no lower than 55 degrees. Although you may be able to get away with a lower temperature, this setting is safe for pipes.
  • When below-freezing temperatures occur, keep a slow trickle of water flowing through faucets supplied by pipes that run through unheated or unprotected spaces. This will help prevent the water in pipes from freezing.
  • Keep kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors open to allow warm air to circulate around the pipes.
  • Make sure you know where your main water shut-off valve is located inside your home so that you can shut off your water quickly in the event of a water pipe leak. This valve is often located in a utility room, closet or in the basement or crawlspace.

Online Monster Mash to be held from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday

Midway Monster Mash, an online event, will be hosted by Midway Toastmasters from 7 to 9 p.m. Friday, Oct. 30. Winners will be chosen for best spooky tale, best costume, best pet costume, and best Halloween Zoom background. All are welcome! More information and registration are available at https://www.eventbrite.com/e/124287107083.

Midway Toastmasters is an educational club that helps members develop communication and leadership skills. The club says it was recently recognized as Club of the Year for its district, led the U.S. in educational awards earned in 2019-20, and was ranked seventh in the world.

Monday, October 26, 2020

EDA board member raises idea of multi-family housing in Midway Station commercial zone; mayor says no

Portion of zoning map is labeled to show B-5 commercial zone and other zones at Midway Station.

Trying to figure out how to sell the commercially zoned lots in Midway station, some of Woodford County's economic developers are talking about rezoning part of the property for multi-family housing. Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift says he opposes that.

The idea was mentioned at Friday's meeting of the Woodford County Economic Development Authority board, in the first report from a committee appointed to "steer future decisions" on the commercial lots. Chair Paul Schreffler said one option could be rezoning some for industrial or multi-family.

Schreffler said the other options for the commercially zoned tracts include redesigning some lots or "doubling down on the new urbanism" concept in the development's original plan. The concept uses walkable streets, accessible public spaces and housing and shopping in close proximity.

There was no reaction from the board or any comment from Vandegrift when he had an opportunity, but had one when the Messenger asked him later Friday about multi-family housing. "That's not in line with our thinking or policies," he said. "I thought we had settled that when we rezoned everything."

Power lines in Midway Station can complicate
sale of lots in the heart of the commercial zone.
Asked to explain "our thinking or polices," Vandegrift said "Any additional housing in the city needs to be adjacent to other housing." He said "the populace demands" that to avoid "sprawl" and "the feeling of two Midways," which was the prospect when various types of housing were part of the plan for Midway Station from 2008 to 2018.

Vandegrift said the property now zoned commercial "doesn't seem like a good place for homes," and the large power lines running through the property also pose an obstacle. He said "developers want to develop," but "We have to control that impulse."

Vandegrift said Monday that he spoke with EDA Chair Michael Michalisin of Midway about the idea, "He said he was just as surprised as I was; and that idea is not on the table."

At the board meeting, Vandegrift noted that the recent closing of the sale of lots to RD Holdings, for a plant to store and maintain golf carts, will add 30 to 40 jobs, bringing the total in Midway Station to more than 600.

Discussion of marketing the commercial property, zoned B-5 for highway business, dovetailed with talk about the EDA's website.

"We need to get this B-5 ready to go, and no one's going to look at it with our current website," board member Maria Bohanan said.

Schreffler agreed: "The website is awful, and we've got to be competitive." He noted that it requires not just new construction, but constant maintenance.

EDA Executive Director Lucas Witt said he would talk with Mandy Lambert, who has made a proposal for reworking the site, but also offer other options for the next meeting. Bohanan said action on the site needs to wait until Midway and Versailles officials have been consulted about how it will brand the two cities and the county.

Witt reported that Bluegrass Distillers remains in line for a community-development loan from the state for its facility to be built on the northwest quadrant of the Interstate 64 interchange, and said he is coming closer to an agreement with the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce on cooperative activities, such as a quarterly meeting of local industries.

The EDA meeting was held via Zoom and was broadcast on Facebook Live.

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Woman's Club holds Halloween Decorating Contest

233 W. Higgins St. won for best use of inflatables. (Photo provided by Midway Woman's Club)
The Midway Woman's Club has announced the winners of its annual Halloween Decorating Contest. The club said fewer homes decorated this year, but there were more in Northridge Estates. The winners:

  • Most Fun Decor: 211 S. Winter St.

  • Best Use of Inflatables: 233 W. Higgins St.

  • Best Overall Design: 121 Carriage Lane

  • Most Halloween Spirit: 211 Cottage Grove, 323 S. Winter St., 216 Coach Station

  • Creepiest Decor: 129 Old Towne Walk

  • Scariest Decor: 225 E. Higgins St.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

City asks residents to put leaf piles in right of way near street, but suggests leaf removal really isn't needed

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift delivered two public-works updates this afternoon, on leaf collection and the water-line project on Martin Street.

He said leaf collection is starting, and the city is asking citizens to put leaf piles, not bags, in the right of way near the road or street. "Despite popular myths, leaves rarely smother grass, and in fact provide nutrients that we often find ourselves repurchasing each spring," he said. "However, we are more than happy to continue providing this service to any who wish to have their leaf piles removed." He said more information is at https://www.treehugger.com/skip-rake-and-leave-leaves-healthier-greener-yard-4858786.

Vandegrift said the Martin Street water line is in service and the boil-water advisory has been lifted for the residents on and near the street.

Democrat Lamar Allen and Republican Dan Fister running for state House seat being vacated by Graviss

Lamar Allen, Democrat; Dan Fister, Republican
By Nicholas Hall
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

State spending and the tax code are points of contention between Republican Dan Fister and Democrat Lamar Allen, the candidates for the race to represent Woodford County in the state House.

While both candidates agree that the government should secure pensions for state employees, they disagree on what changes should be made to pay for it.

Allen, 32, of Lexington, grew up in Louisville and works as a teacher, but also drives for Uber and Lyft. Allen said he was inspired to run by a desire to help students beyond his work as educator.

“I realized that it was time to have an advocate who will fight for them outside of the classroom just the same way that I will fight for them inside the classroom,” he said in an interview.

Allen became the Democratic nominee by defeating Woodford County educator Bob Gibson in the primary election. While Allen lost by more than 500 votes in Woodford, which cast 60% of the primary vote, his 1,000-vote lead in Fayette County and 329-vote margin in Franklin County won the primary.

Fister, 60, has lived his entire life within 15 miles of the Versailles hospital where he was born. He has been a farmer and a senior accountant for a multinational corporation, and operated his own construction company for 34 years.

Fister ran for the seat in 2016 and 2018. He said he was inspired to run by seeing the problems he saw in the community that his grandchildren would grow up in, noting in particular the murder of six-year-oldLogan Tipton of Versailles in late 2015. “We’ve got to do something, and I’m not doing anything, so that’s when I agreed to get involved.,” he said in an interview.

Fister said that he’s running this time for the same reasons. “I just see it as an extension of the first one,” he said. “I’m still running for the same office; I think it’s a good fit.”

Fister ran unopposed in the Republican primary this year. He won primaries in 2016 and 2018, but lost to Democratic incumbent James Kay in 2016 and to Joe Graviss in 2018.  Graviss is running for the state Senate, so the House race has no incumbent.

The district includes all of Woodford County and parts of Franklin and Fayette. Its voter registration is 53 percent Democratic and 38 percent Republican, but many registered Democrats, especially those in Woodford County, vote for Republican candidates.

Allen says Kentucky’s education and health-care systems need more support from state government. He stressed that funding for public education system should not be rerouted to charter schools or school vouchers, tax credits for private education.

Fister did not reply to questions about those two issues. Earlier, he said the education system should be supported, calling it “a driver in all directions,” but would like to bring in more business by reducing tax rates.

Allen disagreed, saying past tax cuts have benefited Kentucky’s highest earners at the cost of hurting working-class Kentuckians. He said the state should consider an additional tax bracket for Kentucky’s highest earners.

The preservation of state pensions was important to both candidates, though Fister noted that Gov. Andy Beshear’s budget plan in March 2020 would have reduced pension benefits. “I would like to see some changes in it, to make it, to make it go forward in health, okay?” Fister said. “The way it’s set up right now you’ve got fewer people working supporting a larger group of retirees and we’ve got to fix that mix somehow.”

Allen said the government needs to secure the pensions of state workers. “I think that we have a group of people who are doing a lot with a little, and they’re often getting the least amount of resources and they’re still expected to provide the same outcome,” he said. “And at minimum what we should be doing, because oftentimes these people are underpaid, is making sure that they are set up for life after work.”

Allen said state government should decriminalize marijuana to reduce the strain on the criminal justice system, or even legalize it, to bring in new agriculture opportunities. He also said the government could bring in more revenue by expanding gaming and continuing to raise taxes on cigarettes and electronic cigarettes.

Fister emphasized the need for the state government to exercise fiscal responsibility. “You know it’s just like at home, you look around you can find waste, you know. Government, the way the budgets are designed and the way it’s been done since the beginning of time is if you don’t spend what you budgeted for, you won’t get it next year,” he said. “So if you don’t need that money this year, instead of wasting it, let’s cut it out and you can get it back next year if you need it, you know?”

Wednesday, October 21, 2020

Midway City Council candidates are profiled; Messenger will have no print edition for this election, but has a PDF

The Midway Messenger has published profiles of all 10 candidates on the ballot for Midway City Council. As usual, the stories were written by students in the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media, who are enrolled in the Community Journalism course taught by Al Cross, editor and publisher of the Messenger. They are published on our Candidate Profiles page (link on left rail of this page).

The Messenger usually publishes a print edition with election stories, to help Midway voters make their choices, but we will not have one for this election. We are sorry about that, but the pandemic poses obstacles for a print edition, as we discovered this spring and summer. Also, absentee voting has been going on for weeks, and early voting for more than a week, and production of a print edition would have made these stories even later.

Because there is no print edition, we hope you will read and share these profiles with your friends, relatives and neighbors. We have posted online a PDF that you can download for printing and sharing.

Our election coverage also includes stories on the county school board race in the Northern District and the state legislative races in Midway's ballot. We hope you will read and benefit from all these stories. The Messenger exists mainly to provide a real-world experience for journalism students, but it has another very important function, serving as Midway's community newspaper. Please let us know how you think we are doing; just send an email to al.cross@uky.edu.

Amanda Glass and Ian Horn run to replace retiring Ambrose Wilson IV on Woodford County school board

Ian Horn and Amanda Glass
By Haley Woods
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

For almost 28 years, the Northern District seat on the Woodford County Board of Education has been held by Ambrose Wilson IV of Midway. Now he is retiring and two candidates from Midway are running to succeed him: Ian Horn and Amanda Glass.

The race is one of three for school board seats that will end on Election Day, Nov. 3. Early voting and absentee voting are underway.

Horn, 41, is a life-long resident of Midway, a geographic information systems engineer for the state of Kentucky and a former teacher in Bourbon County.

Glass, 39, is the mother of three children, co-owner of Railroad Drug and Old Time Soda Fountain with her husband Ken, and a part-time manager at Workout Anytime Gym in Versailles. She has lived in Midway for 16 years, and is serving her third term as Parent Teacher Organization president at Northside Elementary School. She also served as co-chair of the “I Support Our Schools” committee that advocated a property tax of 5.5 cents per $100 to build a new Woodford County High School in 2018.

That effort won a majority of Midway’s vote but was defeated countywide, 3,758 to 3,442. Recently the board majority and Supt. Scott Hawkins have disagreed about how a new high school would be financed.  The board is setting aside money for the project.

Glass said she is for building a new high school. She says it doesn’t comply with federal rules for disabled students. “Without a doubt, Woodford County definitely needs a new high school.”

Horn said he favors the project but has some concerns. “I have mixed feelings, not because these kids don’t deserve a new school,” he said. “They did renovations back in the ’90s and a lot of corners were cut; things were not up to par. I just don’t want that to happen again.”

Horn said his goals if elected are a resolution of the high-school issue and improvement of mental-health services for students.

“Children are under-serviced in that field; we need adequate training for teachers in this area,” he said. “They obviously aren’t social workers or counselors, but they need to be able to pick up on the signs.”

Glass said she decided to run because “The northern district needs a strong, calm voice. Mr. Ambrose Wilson has done a great job of advocating for the needs of the north side community. I do feel like it needs to be someone who has a passionate, calm voice to continue to advocate for this side.”

Glass said her goals include keeping the peace between the board and superintendent and potentially building a technical education career path. “I want to keep a good line of communication for all families in area,” she said, “so they know what resources are available.”

In-person schooling resumed Sept. 28, but Woodford County families were offered the option to remain virtual. Horn said he had some mixed feelings about returning to in-person school. “I mainly feel this way because of my job,” he said. “I’ve seen it from an analytic standpoint, and I’m concern for the risk, health wise. I just want the kids to be safe.”

Glass said she agreed with the resumption, citing the low number of positive test results in the county. “The best place for our children to be is in the classroom, if we can get them there safely,” she said, adding that she wants to “build upon our virtual program.”

This year concern has been raised about the shortage of minority teachers in Woodford County. Asked what he would do about it, Horn said he would be open to discussing hiring bonuses for minority teachers.  “We need more teachers of color, but we have a very white state,” he noted. Kentucky and Woodford County’s populations are 8.4% and 5.4% Black, respectively.

Glass said the district should look at what other districts are paying “The goal is to get and keep those teachers of quality,” she said. “One opportunity to increase diversity and minority hiring is to attend job fairs in areas that have a more ethnically diverse population.”

Council hears mayor question idea of funding restrooms

By Gage O’Dell 
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The Midway City Council discussed a downtown public restroom, donated to a backpack program for children and heard about a free flu-shot clinic during a 26-minute meeting Monday afternoon.

Council Member Stacy Thurman said Midway Business Association President Cortney Neikirk had reached out to her to explore options for a downtown public restroom. “It’s just to get a plan,” she said. “We really can’t move forward unless they explore the options and see if it’ll work out.”

The issue resurfaced during the online forum for city council candidates in early October put on by the Midway Messenger. Council Member Logan Nance and candidate Mary Raglin opposed using city funding for the project. Thurman called for more research.

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said ”The problem is a little more complicated than some people have made it out to be.” He added later, “I’m not against the idea out of hand, but I do have some questions. I don’t want the city one day looking back and saying that’s something we shouldn’t have done.”

Vandegrift said we are hearing more about the issue since City Hall, which has public restrooms, is closed because of the pandemic and “I don’t want City Hall to become a spread point.”

The mayor discussed issues of location and cost.

“People have said ‘Let’s build a little thing by the railroad tracks’,” he said. “There is a water line there, but CSX would never grant permission to build a structure on their property.” He said building onto the back of City Hall could affect the building’s historic nature, and “The cost would be astronomical.”

Vandegrift said the cost of maintaining a public restroom would be a “huge problem” beyond location and construction. “I think we’d have to hire a professional crew to do the ongoing cleaning,” he said, because the city has difficulty attracting employees and bathroom-cleaning duty would make it less attractive.

While the City Hall restroom is closed, Vandegrift said, the restaurants could fill the vacuum: “I think the restaurants could really step up right now and say look, we will be that public restroom.”

Summing up, Vandegrift said Midwegians need to ask themselves, “What public works project would you rather see not worked on than this bathroom?”

Thurman said she did not disagree with anything Vandegrift said, but “I do feel if they want to explore it, let’s explore it and explore all those options.”

Vandegrift said he has proposed to the merchants they use part of their earnings from the fall festival to help pay for the ongoing maintenance. “I think that’s the way to do it if we’re going to do it,” he said.

Free flu shots: Vandegrift said the Midway Christian Church will host a free-flu shot clinic from 12 to 4 p.m. Nov. 12 in its community room, but he urged the public to get a flu shot before then. “That’s kind of late,” he said. “We encourage people strongly to go on down to Railroad Drug tomorrow or any day to get your flu shot.”

Vandegrift said getting vaccinated for the flu this year is “incredibly critical” in avoiding overrunning hospitals with flu and covid-19 patients. “More immunizations mean less hospitalizations.” Covid-19 hospitalizations are increasing in Kentucky.

The mayor said the city has been working with the Kentucky Department for Public Health to “get as many people immunized as possible,” but will have a limited number of immunizations, “about 150 to 200.” He said the shots would be free to people with insurance and “You don’t have to be a Midway citizen . . . If you live in the area, that’s okay.”

Other business: The council donated $500 of the remaining $1,500 in its donations budget to the Midway Baptist Church for its annual backpack program for needy children. The money will be used to buy food from God’s Pantry. Nance said the program is already underway and filling about 10 backpacks a week.

The council approved the donation 4-0 vote, with Nance abstaining since he is a member of the church. Member John Holloway was on vacation and could not access the online meeting, Vandegrift said.

The council also passed an amendment for changes to the bond issue it sponsored in 2018 for the Lexington School, for a new learning center. The changes to the bond were made by the school and Traditional Bank, which lent the money to the school.

The Lexington School uses Midway as a financing tool because state law allows such bonds to be issued only by local governments that issue less than $10 million in bonds in that year, and the Lexington government issues more than that. The financing tool allows a lower interest rate.

Council Member Sara Hicks asked Vandegrift about his recent proclamations. The mayor said he issued proclamations making October Arts and Humanities Month, as well as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. He also said he made a proclamation for Betty McLean’s 90th birthday and designated Monday as Betty McLean Day.

Council Member Bruce Southworth asked Vandegrift for an update on the sewer project to replace the main trunk line leading to the wastewater treatment plant.

Vandegrift said “there was a chance” digging could start on the Southern Equine Farm as early as November, with the project being finished some time in December regardless of weather.

On another construction project, Vandegrift said the cemetery pavilion is “for all intents and purposes done” and that they would have a ribbon-cutting ceremony in November.

This story has been corrected, as indicated by the strikethrough above.

Plan for distillery at I-64 is recommended for approval by county's Agricultural Review Advisory Committee

Magenta line on site plan outlines industrial zone; distillery would be just northwest of mansion. Click image to enlarge it.
By Taylor Beavers
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

The plan for the first distillery in Midway for 80 years was recommended for approval Oct. 14 by the Woodford County Agricultural Review Advisory Committee.

If the county Board of Adjustment approves the conditional-use permit for a tourism destination in an agricultural zone, Bluegrass Distillers will relocate from Lexington to Midway at 158 Leestown Pike, on the northwest quadrant of the Interstate 64 interchange.

The $3 million plan includes a tasting room in the historic Elkwood mansion, which would be preserved by having it within walking distance of the distillery, BGD owners Sam Rock and Ben Franzini told the committee.

Elkwood (Photo from Bluegrass Distillers business plan) 
Normally, a distillery would have to be located in an industrial zone, but the closest spot to the mansion is 350 feet away, the owners say, so the walk would be too long. The mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places, but that doesn’t protect it.

“If we’re able to keep the house, we really need to use it as a tasting room,” Rock said. “It’s just not realistic to have people go to a tasting room down there and walk 350 feet to go to the distillery.” Rock said the spot that “makes the most sense” for the distillery is even farther away, at 450 feet.

Rock and Franzini said that they were drawn to the property because it would help them exhibit the agricultural history of bourbon.

“Clearly,” Rock said, “a distillery is one of the best examples of agricultural tourism in Kentucky.”

By law, the grain used to distill bourbon must be 51 percent corn, and Rock and Franzini said the project will display the “whole circle of life of corn,” growing it on the property, to being dried and consumed by livestock.

“That’s the beauty of the property,” said Rock. “It really helps us tell the story without fabricating anything.”

Lori Garkovich, secretary of the committee, suggested that the location of the company’s four warehouses should be adjusted so they all can be located in the industrial zone.

That “keeps intact the agricultural parcel that you’re using as the foundation for your story, which is what’s going to be attracting visitors to your place,” said Garkovich. “The location for the proposed distillery is really very powerful in terms of its visual and spatial connection to the agricultural parcel.”

Rock and Franzini said they would do that. They said they want to add a bed and breakfast to the property, but later, and Garkovich said that was good because the proposal is already complex.

The distillery site is the former Mitchell farm. (Click to enlarge.)
Bluegrass Distillers plans to remodel barns on the property for other purposes such as processing, bottling and events.

“We really want to make this a place the community looks to,” said Rock. The property will be available to rent for events.

The application says the facility could host up to seven events a week, but Rock said, “We have no intention of doing that.”

To provide oversight of events held by third parties, the company agreed to have an agent on the property full-time. That was an important factor in raising the proposal’s score to the committee’s “recommended” level, from “additional review by the Board of Adjustment.”

The committee uses a point scale to evaluate proposals. “When we look at an application and we’re doing a site visit, we have certain conditions that we look at and we assign points to it,” said Skip Phillips, a committee member. “It helps us quantify what we’re seeing.”

The committee considers how things such as light pollution, noise pollution and traffic will affect the surrounding area. The maximum number of points is 875; earning 675 qualifies for a recommendation of approval without further review by the Board of Adjustment.

Another important change was the replacement of “restaurant,” a business inconsistent with the county’s definition of agricultural tourism, with “snack shop.”

“We have no intentions of operating a full-blown restaurant,” Rock said. “We don’t really expect to draw any additional traffic from our snack shop.”

Under the proposed permit, music must end by 10 p.m. and the property must be closed by 11 p.m. Lights must be shielded and pointed down and there must be “no trespassing’ signs posted to prevent guests from going where they shouldn’t.

During a walkthrough of the property the week before, committee members made suggestions such as no-trespassing signs and a boundary marker to separate the machine shed from the crop production area. Other suggestions included getting an insurance representative to do a walkthrough of the site and providing walking maps to guests to help guide them when visiting.

The Board of Adjustment is scheduled to consider the application Monday, Nov. 2 at 6:30 p.m. on the second floor of the county courthouse in Versailles.

Tuesday, October 20, 2020

Trick or treat will be twice as long as usual, 4-8 p.m. Oct. 31; churches and shops will help make it safe

Kelly McDaniel, who was a mainstay of Airdrie Stud, dies at 56; graveside service Thur. in Midway Cemetery

Kelly McDaniel with an Airdrie Stud stallion
Kelly Dean McDaniel, who was stallion manager at Airdrie Stud near Midway for 32 years before retiring in 2017, died Sunday, Oct. 18, of cancer. He was 56.

McDaniel was "known for his affable character and great love of the history of the land on which Airdrie was built," the Thoroughbred Daily News reported.

“Kelly was one of the all-time originals,” Bret Jones of Airdrie told TDN. “He, of course, took wonderful care of his horses, but I think Kelly’s incredible storytelling is how he impacted so many people. He loved giving tours of Airdrie to anyone with even a hint of interest and they always walked away so grateful for the experience. 

Jones said his father, former Gov. Brereton Jones, “always said that Kelly got more fan mail at the farm than any horse or human that set foot here. He loved talking to people and took great joy in teaching them something they didn’t know. I think he knew more about the history of this land than anyone named Jones. We have been so lucky to have had Kelly in our lives, and our Airdrie family sends our deepest condolences to all those fortunate enough to have known and loved him.”

McDaniel is survived by his brother, Kenneth D. McDaniel Jr. of Midway; a nephew, Doug McDaniel, and great nieces and nephew, Sara and Seth Coomer and Lily McDaniel. 

A graveside service will be held at 10 a.m. Thursday at Midway Cemetery, with Clark Legacy Center in charge. Serving as honorary casketbearers will be Woods Reeves, Carl Sayre, John W. McDaniel and James A. McDaniel. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Hospice of the Bluegrass.

Midway, Woodford and four other counties have three candidates to choose from to fill state Senate seat

By Nicholas Hall
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Gov. Andy Beshear’s handling of the pandemic is among the issues splitting the three candidates for the state Senate in the district that includes Woodford County. Independent Ken Carroll, Democrat Joe Graviss and Republican Adrienne Southworth disagree on how well the governor responded to the novel coronavirus and what measures were justified. They also differ on education.

Ken Carroll
Carroll is the son of Sen. Julian Carroll, D-Frankfort, a former governor who has held the seat since 2005 and is retiring at age 89. He encouraged and endorsed Graviss to run before his son filed for the seat, shortly before the June 2 filing deadline. District 7 also includes Anderson, Franklin, Gallatin and Owen counties.

Carroll, 65, has lived in Frankfort since 1972, when his father was lieutenant governor. Carroll has over 20 years of experience in state government and says he wants to create policies that will bring prosperity in Kentucky. He says he wants to avoid partisanship, and candidates in political parties will be influenced by the party’s leadership. He says that while he was once a registered Democrat, he now identifies as conservative. In an interview with The State Journal, Carroll said he would caucus with Republicans who control the Senate.

Rep. Joe Graviss
Graviss, 50, is a Versailles resident who owned and operated nine McDonald’s restaurants before selling them a few years ago. He is state representative for District 56, which includes Woodford County and parts of Fayette and Franklin counties. He identifies as a pro-business Democrat and is the only Democrat running for the Senate who is endorsed by the Kentucky Chamber of Commerce. Graviss said he’s running to support public education, make health care affordable, and pay pensions through a bipartisan approach.

Southworth, 32, lives in Lawrenceburg and was deputy chief of staff for Jenean Hampton when she was lieutenant governor under then-Gov. Matt Bevin in 2015-19. Southworth won the Republican primary with 31% of the vote, defeating four other candidates. Southworth, who espouses some libertarian views, says she’s a conservative running to fund classrooms, defend the Second Amendment and finance state pensions.

Adrienne Southworth
Southworth criticized Beshear’s response to the coronavirus, saying “It has turned into all politics.” She said that his extension of mask mandates by executive order might not be constitutional, and claimed that Beshear’s mask mandate wasn’t responsible for reductions in Kentucky’s COVID-19 cases. “It's obviously politics and not science when he's looking at the case numbers to decide whether people are wearing masks,” she said. Public-health experts say mask wearing and social distancing are the two most important measures to stop spread of the virus.

Southworth said Beshear broke with testing guidelines of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in August, when the CDC changed the guidelines to say that asymptomatic people who had come into contact with someone who tested positive for the virus did not necessarily need a test. Beshear, citing his own experts, continued to call for exposed asymptomatic people to be tested, and in September the CDC reverted to the previous guidelines.

Southworth said she would not support the mask mandate or closing businesses that don’t enforce it, stressing the need for citizens to be responsible for their own health, rather than the government. “So I think it’s cool people have the idea of ‘we need to take responsibility,’ however, where you need to draw the line is who’s taking that responsibility,” she said. “I shouldn’t need somebody to tell me I have to wash my hands. What I should do is be responsible to wash my hands.”

Graviss thinks otherwise. “I think Governor Beshear has done an amazing job,” he said, considering the huge problems the pandemic created. “I mean, the guy was in office for what, three months? And then we have a global pandemic. We have things happen that nobody has ever had happen before. He is literally building a plane while he’s flying it with one hand tied behind his back while idiots are out on the grounds hanging him in effigy.”

Graviss also supports the mask mandate. “It’s a great idea,” he said. “Masks are proven to make a difference, and I believe it.” He said wearing a mask is easier than the hardships faced by Americans during the Great Depression or World War II.

Carroll, the son of a governor, showed sympathy for Beshear’s circumstances but had some criticisms. “I will be the first to say that’s a very, very difficult role to be in, whether it’s Governor Beshear or any other governor,” he said, adding later, “No matter what you do, you’re probably going to be viewed by many as having done something wrong.”

Carroll said he didn’t like how state police carried out the order against mass gatherings. He noted a case on Easter Sunday where police wrote down license-plate numbers of cars in parking lots of seven churches that held services despite Beshear’s order against mass gatherings and placed notices on the cars telling congregants to self-quarantine. “I think that was way out of line,” Carroll said. ”It was very scary. . . . We like our freedoms and like our privacy and I think that was totally unnecessary.”

Carroll also said he saw a lack of consistency in which businesses were allowed to operate while most were closed. He said the government was “less restrictive on larger businesses and more restrictive on smaller businesses.” Government mandates had not specifically limited small businesses from operating, but groceries and big-box stores fell under the definition of “essential business.”

Another topic that divides the candidates is education reform and funding.

Carroll said that while he would support public education, the system would be improved by competing with charter and private schools. “You know I’m a product of public education, my kids are. And I’m not going to tell you today ‘Oh, I’ll support charter schools.’ Well what I will tell you is this: we need competition in the education world, if you will,” he said. “We all know, just like athletic competitions or athletic teams, you get better by . . . competing with others and measuring where you are and your level of success, skill and knowledge of what you do. So the same thing I think goes for education.”

Southworth said she wants to loosen the requirements for a school district to become a District of Innovation, and would support school choice. “You have a kid that is really struggling, but the next-door school district has a teacher or a program or something that would be more helpful,” she said. “There should be a lot more opportunity for children to be able if their parents find a better opportunity for them. . . . We shouldn’t have to just be stuck with zip codes.”

Southworth also said she would support education savings accounts that would operate similarly to health savings accounts, allowing money to be taken from taxable income in order to pay tuition fees for schools.

Graviss said he had no plans for education reform but wants more funding for the public-school system. “I am happy to work with my education colleagues, with my teachers, my administrators and staff of all of the schools and come up with what’s the best plan for the most,” he said.

Supporting public education is a major topic in Graviss’ ads, along with supporting affordable health care and bipartisanship. He’s been able to run numerous television ads thanks to the significant amount of funds his campaign has raised, totaling $215,331, including $2,000 from the political action committee of the Jefferson County Teachers Association.

Southworth’s campaign has raised $46,389, including $1,000 from the PAC of U.S. Rep. Thomas Massie, R-4th District. She has relied on advertising that makes a point of her support for the Second Amendment, “funding classrooms” and paying pensions.

Carroll’s campaign has raised the least, totaling $8,075. The reports were filed in early October; another report is due Wednesday, Oct. 21. Reports are available at www.kref.ky.gov.

Thursday, October 15, 2020

Mayor observes National Arts and Humanities Month

This week Mayor Grayson Vandegrift signed a proclamation declaring October Arts and Humanities Month in Midway, part of a national observance. Behind him, from left, are Midway artists and arts supporters: Sally Kinnaird, Assistant City Clerk Sonya Conner, Marcie Christensen, Debbie Graviss, Ellen Skidmore and Lori Meadows. They stood below our new banners featuring art by Graviss, who owns a studio in downtown Midway. (Photo by City Clerk Cindy Foster)

The proclamation says "The arts and humanities enhance and enrich the lives of every American" and "play a unique role in the lives of our families, our communities, and our country." It also says "The arts and culture industry also strengthens our economy" and Kentucky’s creative industry employs almost 100,000 people, with total industry earnings of $2.3 billion and nonprofit cultural revenues of $257 million.

Chamber of Commerce online sale tonight, 7:30-9:30

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Mayor announces city's detailed plans for Halloween; churches will provide 'safe zones' for kids to have fun

By Taylor Beavers
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

New safety guidelines will be implemented in Midway this Halloween to reduce the spread of the novel coronavirus, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift announced in a video today. 

The City Council set trick or treat festivities for 4-8 p.m. Oct. 31 to “dilute the typical crowd,” especially on streets such as Winter and West Higgins, said Vandegrift.

He said Midway is introducing “safety zones” for Halloween. These locations, at five churches, are for families who want to participate in trick or treating, but want to take extra precautions against the virus.

Vandegrift said these zones are designed to have little to no risk of spreading the virus. Candy will be passed through PVC pipe and there will be socially distanced activities such as pumpkin carving and ring toss. He said more information about these activities will be released closer to Halloween.

He said the safety zones will be located at Midway Presbyterian Church, Midway Christian Church, Midway United Methodist Church, St. Matthew A.M.E. Church, and Pilgrim Baptist Church.

“If you’re worried about going all around, here’s a place,” said Vandegrift. “Five zones that will be safe where they can get plenty of candy.”

He encouraged people, when they are passing out candy, to put pre-wrapped candy on a table in their yard to maintain social distancing.

In order to further follow social distancing, Vandegrift said, “We should really only be traveling with people from our own households.”

Masks must be worn while trick or treating. He said that a Halloween mask is not enough and that a real mask must be worn underneath, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Halloween parties are “off the table,” said Vandegrift. He said they are “probably the biggest threat to community spread” of the virus.

He said other things that are not allowed this year are “trunk or treats” and haunted houses.

The mayor also said that if there is an outbreak in Midway before Halloween, the festivities may be cancelled.

“I believe firmly that if we do this the right way,” he said, “we’re going to have a safe, happy Halloween.”

Vandegrift encouraged people who have questions to email him at mayorgrayson@gmail.com.

Thursday, October 8, 2020

Farmers market to thank customers with music Monday

As the harvest season signals an end to farmers' markets until the spring, the Midway Farmers Market will hold a customer-appreciation day from 3 to 4:30 p.m. Monday to thank its customers and the Midway community. Local guitarist and vocalist Michael Robinson will entertain.

The farmers' market is open on Mondays from 3 to 6 p.m. with produce and crafts in the Darlin' Jeans-Wesbanco parking lot. It follows health-department guidelines, and asks that customers wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

City, business association fund digital ads for downtown; association renews push for downtown restrooms

The Midway Business Association agreed Wednesday to help fund a digital marketing campaign that the city plans to help downtown businesses.

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift allocated $2,000 for the campaign out of the city's contingency fund late last month, and the MBA voted to contribute $1,000.

The money will go to Think Tank Media, which is based in Gadsden, Ala., but has a local agent, Sean McDonald, who lives on Highview Drive.

McDonald met with the MBA at its regular meeting Wednesday morning and explained the company's approach. It places short commercials in video streaming services (not Hulu or Netflix, which sell their own ads) through geographic and demographic targeting.

Using some of Vandegrift's geographic suggestions, household-income data and evidence of interests in things that Midway has to offer, McDonald said, he developed a list of ZIP+4 codes with 8,971 homes in Louisville and Lexington.

"The targeting can get very specific, unlike common Facebook advertising that simply draws a circle around an area," Vandegrift told the City Council and the Midway Messenger in an email Sept. 29. "We can draw lines that look more like gerrymandered congressional districts, all based on data that indicates the consumers' proclivity to visit a place like Midway."

Since the pandemic began, Vandegrift has voiced concern about the future of local businesses, and the City Council has funded two forms of relief: "Midway Bucks" sent to each household, which could be spent only in Midway, and direct grants to businesses, from federal relief funds. 

"While our larger industries are faring well and new ones continue to relocate here, I’m very concerned, as I’m sure are you, about the fortunes of our shops and restaurants, especially as cooler weather begins to approach," wrote Vandegrift, a former restaurateur. "I’m afraid restaurants may be hit especially hard as they lose their patios."

The mayor said the business environment is unprecedented environment, "and I believe we have to pull out all the stops to help keep them going. We will undoubtedly roll out other ideas as winter approaches about how to help them through, and we’re all going to have to work together to encourage anyone who can to support our local merchants however they can.

"In normal times, I might not even support such an effort, let alone propose it; out of roughly $800,000 annually in occupational tax revenue we receive, about $50,000 comes from our restaurants, $3,000 from our shops. But they offer something more vital that mere dollars and cents, and we wouldn’t be the same without them. They work hard, employ people, and are ambassadors for our city."

Vandegrift said the city will be able to gauge the effectiveness of the campaign because "Think Tank Media uses a very advanced metric to track return on investment, and has a higher standard than normal of what a true consumer engagement is."

McDonald told the MBA that at least half of an image must be viewed to count as an engagement, and his company's proprietary software can track how many targeted customers actually came to Midway.

Vandegrift's email concluded, "If this initial advertising push works as well as I believe it can, we can talk more about potential future efforts with the business association throughout the pandemic."

Restrooms: The MBA renewed action on one of its continuing desires, public restrooms downtown, after the idea got a higher profile Monday night in the City Council candidates' forum sponsored by the Midway Woman's Club and the Midway Messenger. The question was proposed via Facebook by Sam Fisher of Fisher Antiques.

Five of the eight participating candidates said they were open to the idea, and one, Steve Simoff, endorsed it wholeheartedly, while Mary Raglin and Council Member Logan Nance said they did not favor it. Council Member Stacy Thurman said she wanted to do more research, and said the project should be a collaboration between the MBA and the city.

MBA President Cortney Neikirk said she would contact Thurman to see if she would join an effort to gather information, look for a location and make a plan for maintenance of the restrooms. "We can't just go to the city and say, 'Give us bathrooms'," she said. But with a comprehensive plan, "They're not gonna turn us down."

Cemetery pavilion almost done, at a cost of $46,000

For a larger version of the photo, click on it.
Natalie Bays put some pre-painting finishing touches on the new pavilion in the Midway Cemetery on Tuesday, as her husband Tony did carpentry. They said the pavilion should be completed by Nov. 1. Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said their $34,000 bid was "the only one that wasn’t way out of our budget," which was $31,000. The city will spend another $12,000 or so for a driveway to the pavilion, Vandegrift said. "The road will be partially done (gravel) when we cut the ribbon on it in November," he said in an email, "but we’ll pave it in the spring when we do other paving."

Tuesday, October 6, 2020

Nance, Raglin oppose city-funded public toilets, Simoff endorses them, in forum for City Council candidates

Candidates were questioned by Midway Messenger reporters, students in the University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media. The moderator was their Community Journalism instructor, Al Cross, editor and publisher of the Midway Messenger.
By Gage O'Dell
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Candidates for Midway City Council mostly agreed on issues in an online forum Monday evening, but the idea of funding public restrooms downtown brought some disagreement.

Questions in the forum sponsored by the Midway Woman’s Club and run by the Midway Messenger also included strategy on tax rates, industrial rezoning around Midway Station, funding another round of covid-19 relief for businesses, and speeding on city streets.

After four candidates said they were open to funding a public restroom downtown for visitors, Council Member Logan Nance disagreed.

“At this point I don’t believe I support public funding for a restroom downtown,” Nance said. “I have concerns with the logistics of building the facility and maintaining it.” He said city employees are already overworked, and “Not having public restrooms does force people into the restaurants.”

Candidate Mary Raglin, who answered immediately after Nance, agreed.

“I don’t really see a need for a public restroom,” Raglin said. “It would force them to go into the restaurants that they are supporting and use the restrooms there.”

Steve Simoff, who answered eighth and last, was a strong proponent for the restroom idea.

“I think there is a way to work it out,” Simoff said. “I firmly believe there is a need for public restrooms downtown and we need to take that burden away from the store owners and restaurants.”

Council Member Stacy Thurman said businesses have been seeking public restrooms for years, “which makes me think there is a need, of sorts,” but more research is needed.

“I would talk to other cities that have a public restroom and see how it works, who maintains it and is it opened twenty-four hours,” Thurman said. “These are all questions I would want answered before I approach having it publicly funded.”

She said such a project would need to be a partnership with the Midway Business Association, but “I do think there is a need.”

The other candidates also took a cautious approach. Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher, who answered first, said she was willing to consider the idea.

Adam Bailey said it is “definitely something to explore” but probably not until the pandemic has ended.

Council Member Sara Hicks said, “I don’t see us doing it right now, though it would be great to have.”

Andrew Nelle was more skeptical. He said most people in need of a restroom probably use restaurants’ restrooms, and “I would like to see a serious need.”

Council Member Bruce Southworth and former member John McDaniel did not participate in the forum, which was broadcast on the Messenger’s Facebook page and YouTube. The order of questions was rotated among the candidates, in pairs of the five incumbents and non-incumbents.

Taxes: Asked if the city should continue to reduce property tax rates if real estate assessments continue to go up, reduce the occupational tax rates, or enact some other kind of relief, candidates generally took a wait-and-see attitude.

But Nance again stood out, saying, “If we’ve decided there’s not a ton of places to build more homes, I do think we need to look at reducing or getting rid of property taxes at the city level altogether.”

Hicks, who answered this question first, said, “I think during this covid period, we need to see how we are doing in terms of income for the city before we think about reducing property tax further or reducing occupational tax.”

The other six candidates generally agreed with Hicks that with the current climate, it would be tough to predict if they could continue to reduce property taxes in the future.

Development: The candidates also agreed that it was time to stop rezoning land in and around Midway for industry, especially once Midway Station hits capacity.

“Once we get Midway Station full, which it’s almost done, that’s it,” said Gallagher, who answered first. “No, we don’t need to develop anymore.”

Bailey, who answered next, said, “I think it’s critical that we use that urban service development area, those boundaries and stay within that.”

Thurman and Nance also opposed expanding the urban services boundary, which limits industrial and commercial development. Nance noted that he voted last year against annexation and industrial zoning of 138 acres next to Midway Station.

Speeding: Asked what should the city do about speeding on city streets, candidates had a variety of thoughts.

Thurman, who answered first, said “I think we should look at speed tables,” which raise the entire wheelbase of a vehicle, are flat-topped and can form crosswalks. “We’ve talked about bulb-outs at the post office, and caution lights.”

Bulb-outs are circular extensions of curbs at intersections, which narrow the street, discouraging speeding.

Simoff, who spoke next, said, “I think students at the university could help a great deal. I know they’re rushing to class, but I’ve sat at intersections many times and seen them going at excessive speeds.”

Gallagher said, “I think we need speed humps again on Stephens Street.”

The other candidates agreed with some of the options mentioned, and said the city should work with the state, which has rejected the idea of lowering the 35 m.p.h. speed limit on Winter Street, which is  a state highway.

Summing up: During opening and closing statements, candidates said why they’re running and made appeals to the nearly 100 voters watching.

Bailey said he wants to “give back to the community who’ve given myself and my family so much.”

Nelle said he “wants to bring a fresh set of eyes and perspective to the council” as well as “create an environment of prosperity.”

Raglin said she “wants to be that voice you don’t hear; I want to be that Black voice. I’ve lived in Midway all my life and I’ve been silent. I don’t want to be silent anymore, I want my voice to be heard.”

Simoff, who was on the council in 2017-18, said his objective is to “serve the city and citizens of Midway and to finish the work the present City Council has started and to further better the community.”

Gallagher said she is running for re-election because “she wants to see some of the projects the current council has going finished.”

Hicks said she is seeking her fourth term because “I have been chair of the property and cemetery committee and those are places I still have work that I’d like to see done.”

Nance said he is running for his second term because he “wants to make sure to protect that farmland that surrounds us and reinvesting in our infrastructure.”

Thurman said she is seeking a second term because “I can help my community and I can be a part of the change.”

Council OKs animal ordinance, gives Chamber $1,000; 116 E. Main owner says 'I'll be done when I'm done'

Ness Alamdari, owner of 116 E. Main St., gave directions to a worker Tuesday afternoon. The progress of his work was a topic of discussion at Monday's meeting of the Midway City Council.

The Midway City Council passed a new animal-control ordinance, donated $1,000 to the Woodford County Chamber of Commerce and heard some reports during a 20-minute meeting Monday afternoon.

The ordinance, sponsored by Council Member Sara Hicks, repeals and replaces the city's current ordinance and calls for humane treatment of animals. It allows chickens but not roosters, turkeys, swans and peafowl. It brings the city more in line with the ordinances in Versailles and the county.

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift asked for the grant to the Chamber of Commerce, saying new Executive Director Emily Downey has taken it "to the next level." He noted that Michael Moorman of Lakeshore Learning Materials, the city's largest employer, is now on the chamber board.

To Council Member John Holloway's suggestion that the city install "speed tables" like those in Shillito Park in Lexington, the mayor said "I'm gung-ho on moving forward" with such devices, which raise the entire wheelbase of a vehicle and are flat-topped. Sometimes they form crosswalks.

Vandegrift said he was working on "special accommodations" for trick-or-treating, which the council has expanded to four hours due to the pandemic. He said it would include hand-sanitizing stations, probably at churches and other locations, where candy and "safe games" would be offered.

The mayor said he did not expect Ness Alamdari, the owner of the now-gutted building at 116 E. Main St., to meet the Oct. 31 deadline for rehabilitating it. He said he expects Alamdari to seek an extension from the county planning office, and said he would encourage the office to deny it.

UPDATE: While Alamdari was working on the building Tuesday, the Messenger asked him if he would have it completed by Oct. 31. He said "I'll be done when I'm done." He said he had discovered more termite damage, and is using aviation cables to hold the building together. As for an extension, he said state law allows him to continue work as long as he has a valid permit.

The council approved a street-encroachment permit for Imperial Asphalt, which has bought the easternmost lost in Midway Station and is ready to break ground and bring 15 to 20 jobs, Vandegrift said. The facility is to be used for equipment storage, not asphalt handling.

In response to a question from Council Member Kaye Nita Gallagher, the mayor said Martin Street hasn't been opened because tests of the water line along it have shown bacteria. He said it would be opened as soon as that problem could be corrected.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Beau Greely, 4th-generation horseman, 49, dies in Calif.

Christopher Beau Greely
Beau Greely, an ex-Midwegian whose family name is synonymous with Thoroughbred racing in Kentucky, died Wednesday, Sept. 30, in Redondo Beach, Calif., after a short illness. He was 49.

Christopher Beau Greely, who went by his middle name, was born Aug. 1, 1971, in Lexington to Ann Evans and John Joseph "Bud" Greely III. He grew up on Wintergreen Farm near Midway and attended the Baylor School in Chattanooga, South Kent School in Connecticut and the University of Kentucky.

After college, he worked under trainers Criquette Head of France and Richard Mandella of California, then started his own California-based stable and won several stakes, including the Grade 1 Pacific Classic, Jockey Club Gold Cup and Manhattan Handicap. In 1,327 starts, his horses had 131 wins, 156 places and 167 shows, finishing in the money 34.2 percent of the time and earning more than $11.2 million.

"His first Grade 1 victories as a trainer came in 2000, when he saddled the Irish-bred Manndar to victories in the G1 Woodford Reserve Turf Classic Stakes and G1 Manhattan Handicap. He won the G1 Hollywood Turf Cup Stakes with Sligo Bay, and he took the G1 Jockey Club Gold Cup and Pacific Classic Stakes with Borrego," reports The Paulick Report. "Other runners of note for Greely's stable included Grade 2 winners Tres Borrachos, Century City, Grammarian, Takarian, and Five Star Day."

Greely and his brother, John J. Greely IV, who passed away this year at 54, founded Wintergreen Stallion Station in Scott County, just across South Elkhorn Creek from Midway. Their uncle, Bill Greely, was president of Keeneland from 1986 to 2000.

Greely left training in 2015 and became an underwater and art photographer.

He is survived by his parents; three children, Christopher Beau Greely II, Jacqueline Greely and Margaux Greely of Redondo Beach; sisters Shannon Totty (Seward) of Lexington and Laura Whitworth (Jason) of Atlanta; the mother of his children, Heidi Marsh; a special friend, Tracy Stephenson; and numerous aunts, uncles, and cousins.

Due to the pandemic, the burial at Calvary Cemetery in Lexington will be private and the family asks that contributions be made to God’s Food Pantry at 1685 Jaggie Fox Way, Lexington KY 40511. Funeral arrangements are being handled by Milward Funeral Directors.

Saturday, October 3, 2020

Forum for City Council candidates to be on Messenger Facebook page and YouTube at 7 p.m. Monday

The Midway Woman's Club and the Midway Messenger will hold an online forum for City Council candidates from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5. The forum will be broadcast on the Messenger's Facebook page, and on YouTube at https://youtu.be/L9Utz929KMw.

Questions have been developed, and will be asked by, Midway Messenger reporters, who are University of Kentucky students covering the race for the council. The forum will be moderated by their instructor, Al Cross, the editor and publisher of the Messenger.

In mid-October, the Messenger will publish its once-a-semester print edition, with profiles of the council candidates and stories about the races for school board and the Kentucky General Assembly.

The council race has five incumbents and five non-incumbents, including two former incumbents. The top six vote-getters on Nov. 3 will be elected.

The deadline for voter registration is Monday, Oct. 5. The deadline to apply for an absentee ballot is Friday, Oct. 9. Early voting begins Oct. 13.

Friday, October 2, 2020

250 Midway voters who received absentee ballots without City Council race will get supplemental ballots

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift reports, "The 250 Midway residents who had already received their absentee ballots will be sent a separate ballot with the City Council race. They can either place both ballots in the same envelope or, if they already sent the first one, they can put the council ballot in the separate envelope they will be receiving with the second ballot. Everyone receiving absentee ballots in Midway from today on will receive the correct ballot with all races included on one."

Vandegrift's information comes from Woodford County Clerk Sandy Jones, whose office mistakenly sent city residents the ballot for the Midway rural precinct.

Absentee ballots are expected to account for most of the votes in the Nov. 3 election because of the pandemic. The deadline to apply for a ballot is Oct. 9. Early, in-person voting begins Oct. 13.

Ten candidates are running for six seats on the City Council: five incumbents and five non-incumbents. The Midway Woman's Club and the Midway Messenger are holding a forum for the candidates on the Messenger's Facebook page and You Tube from 7 to 8:30 p.m. Monday, Oct. 5.