City Council candidate profiles 2018

Political newcomer Danielle Doth has unique perspective

By Desiree Cross
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

A unique perspective is what city council candidate Danielle Doth hopes to bring to Midway. If given the chance to serve on the council, Doth says, she plans to bring a practical and approachable side of herself and pursue goals such as fixing sidewalks, making the town healthier and listening to the opinions and problems of those in Midway.

Doth, 35, grew up in a family of seven on a horse farm just outside Midway. Her parents ran a small gifts-and-collectibles business, The Cherry Orchard, that Doth began working in at the age of 12. After graduating from Lexington Catholic High School, she went straight to the Marine Corps. After getting out in 2006, she moved back home and began working on her Bachelor of Arts in Equine Management at Midway University.

“I thought about all the places in the world that I wanted to live, and I loved Midway so much, it was such a cool town . . . that I wanted to move back and put my roots down and raise a family there,” she said.

Doth also has a bachelor’s degree in nutrition and dietetics from Metropolitan State University of Denver, and is a certified yoga and fitness instructor and a certified personal trainer with the National Academy of Sports Medicine. She has also been an administrative assistant for the state director of mine permits.

Doth says her fitness work is very important to her, and after working in the field for more than 10 years, says her town could use healthier lifestyle habits: “The studies out there show that, you know, the healthier you are earlier in life or as you age . . .  the healthier your community is.”

Along with striving to live a healthy lifestyle, Doth is passionate about improving Midway’s infrastructure and instead of building more homes, remodeling old and broken-down buildings to create housing, using the city’s budget surplus.

 “My biggest thing is the things that we can do to fix things now,” she said.

Doth said she favors the proposed property-maintenance ordinance “if it’s done responsibly” and wants violation cases to be heard by the council, not a proposed code-enforcement board.

Doth sees a disconnect among  Midway businesses, the city and organizations. She said there have been times when events go on and business employees have left for the day, unaware of the money there is to be made. Doth said she has personally experienced this.

“The businesses, half the time, don’t even know what’s happening,” she said.

She says there are many people in Midway who feel council members are unapproachable, so real issues are often not dealt with properly.

Doth said she often donates her time to teach free classes in and around Midway. A few of her passions for the community include establishing public restrooms and fixing sidewalks.

“Our families shouldn’t have to fall over sidewalks, seniors shouldn’t have to fall over sidewalks, and they are bad… and I think that would be one of the biggest things that I would really push,” she said.

Asked at on Oct. 18 candidate forum, “What do you want to be able to say that you have accomplished that would lead voters to elect you for a second term?” Doth, who had just arrived, replied, “Uh, I wouldn’t vote for me. No, um, what do I want to accomplish? I just want to do a good job. Midway is an amazing town. It’s got great things to offer and I think we should highlight what we have. You know, we talk a lot about talking … but I think there should be more doing.”

Information for this story was also gathered by Christie Netherton of the UK School of Journalism and Media.

Kaye Nita Gallagher, a busy person, wants another term

By Karlil Wilson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Kaye Nita Gallagher, campaigning for her third term on the Midway City Council, says she is looking to help upgrade the infrastructure throughout Midway and get more tourism downtown, where she lives and works.

“The infrastructure needs upgrading and we are working on that,” Gallagher said, noting that the city’s engineers are using a camera to diagnose problems in the sewer system.

Gallagher says the city has more money to improve infrastructure than in recent years because of occupational taxes from the Lakeshore Learning Materials and American Howa Kentucky plants in Midway Station.

Gallagher, co-owner of a candy store, says Midway has been “booming and busy. . . . Being a business owner, I tend to ask people where they are from. My next question is why they are here.” She says people usually come to Midway to eat or shop and even just for a day trip to get away from home.

Gallagher, 54, grew up in Franklin County but went to school mainly in Scott County, where her mother was a special education teacher. She graduated from Franklin County High School and attended the University of Kentucky for one year, then worked 27 years in Kentucky State Parks personnel and payroll and has been retired from that for 13 years.

The last four years Gallagher has served on the Woodford County Tourism Commission, which promotes tourism in the county.

Gallagher said she has lived in Midway for 23 years, in her grandparents’ house in the 100 block of West Main Street. A block east, she and her friend Courtney Neikirk own and operate Midway Sweet Tooth and a mobile kettle-corn business, 2 Ladies and a Kettle.

She has two other part-time jobs, at Kohls in Frankfort (almost 26 hours a week, she says) and at Mezzo Italian Cafe, across the street from her candy shop. Gallagher said she enjoys all her jobs because she enjoys talking to citizens and seeing new tourists.

Members of the newly elected council will be paid $200 a month, up from $50, under an ordinance the council passed last year. Gallagher said she isn’t in it for the money.

Speeding is an issue in Midway, but Gallagher said the council can do nothing about it other than have the police monitor it better. She said she sees speeding in front of her home: “At night a lot of times, you can see sparks underneath the cars as they’re jumping the tracks. It is a problem. They need to slow it down.”

Affordable housing is also an issue. “What may be affordable to someone, may not be affordable to another,” she said, but offered ideas on the issue. She noted that across the interstate at Midway Station, there are at least 10 acres of residential land. “We just approved a zone change from residential to light industrial. There are still few acres that are reserved for residential and I would be okay with a nice apartment or duplex on this land.”

Such a project would be up to Lexington developer Dennis Anderson, who has the development rights to the property, under a deal with the Woodford County Economic Development Authority in which he pays the interest on the loan EDA used to buy and develop the property. Gallagher said Anderson has until December 2019 to pay the EDA the full amount, and she assumes that the land will revert back to the EDA if he does not.

On the proposed property-maintenance ordinance, Gallagher said it is definitely needed, but thinks the council should handle cases of violation, not a new code-enforcement board, as has been proposed. But she also said, “The jury is still out on a board,” and said training that the council members have received on the topic said “It is easier to enforce if there is an officer . . . It seemed like the bigger cities have the board.”            

Sara Hicks, a civic activist, seeks a fourth term on the council

By Christie Netherton
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Sara Hicks, who has served three terms on Midway’s City Council, is running for a fourth term in the Nov. 6 general election.

Hicks says her biggest concerns for Midway in the next two years are moving forward with repairs, policies and regular maintenance of the sewer system and an ordinance that would enforce property maintenance.

She said the ordinance has been delayed by disagreement among council members over such points as whether it should be enforced by the council or a council-appointed board.

Also, she said, “It’s not a popular ordinance with some people because it’s someone’s private property that you may be impinging on when they don’t keep their property up, but I think it’s the right thing to do and I think we need to get off the pot and get it done.”

Mayor Grayson Vandegrift said Oct. 10 that the ordinance will be handled by the council that takes office Jan. 1.

Hicks also said Midway has a need for child care to help young families and safe passage for children walking to and from Northside Elementary School.

“Midway is really well positioned to provide child care for the people that work in the industrial area,” she said. “We’ve had it before and it worked really well.”

“Child care is such a burden on young families,” she said. “It’s so expensive, and you want to know your kids are safe.”

Hicks would like to see a bridge built over the creek along Dudley Street for pedestrians, specifically young children, to avoid walking through the park’s woods or near traffic.

“My neighbor has a 4- and 6-year-old. I’d like for them to be able to walk from here to the library or school and not have their mother worry,” said Hicks.  “They really shouldn’t walk through the woods because it’s just not safe.”

Dudley Street crosses the creek at the entrance to Walter Bradley Park and once led to the school site, but is blocked by the school fence. Apparently, a gate would be needed in the fence for students to access the old part of Dudley Street that leads to the school. Hicks said the safety of the students is worth the extra effort.

Hicks, 66, was born in Midway and grew up on what is now Lantern Hill Farm on Leestown Road. She was a family therapist for 30 years, representing abused children in Los Angeles and Naples, Fla., after receiving a master’s degree in marriage and family therapy at Azusa Pacific University in Los Angeles. In 2004, she returned to Midway where she began working as family counselor at The Nest and joined Fayette County’s Board for Domestic Violence and Sexual Assault.

Hicks is the chair of the council’s Properties Committee and Cemetery Committee, chaired the Francisco’s Farm Arts Festival for three years, is an active member of Midway Presbyterian Church, and is part of an effort to create waterways and paths for biking, hiking and equestrian use in Woodford, Owen and Franklin counties.

Hicks said she became interested in the council in 2012 when Midway debating whether to sell its water infrastructure to Kentucky American Water to avoid the massive expenses of repairing it.
“My concern was that . . . we would always have to get our water from American Water forever,” she said. “It didn’t come to fruition, but I originally stayed on because I didn’t know if that might crop up again, but then after I was on for a while, I became involved in pet projects.”

Many of Hicks’ projects are related to parks development.  She said one project in the works is a boxcar stage in the Paddock Field below the pavilions. The parks board is working on a grant application for the Woodford County Community Foundation to receive a portion of a $25,000 grant, which the public will allocate at Midway University Nov. 14. The city’s Child Care Task Force will also apply, but Hicks said citizens can vote for more than one organization.

Hicks also wants to make Midway more environmentally friendly by incorporating solar power and pushing for electric powered vehicles. “I’m very interested in taking steps to be a leader in preserving the environment,” she said. “I think it has to stay on people’s radar that it’s the right thing to do, if we can afford it.”

Volunteer park manager John Holloway seeks council seat

By Thomas Franconia
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Park manager and former theatre professor John Holloway seeks a spot on the Midway City Council in the Nov. 6 election.

He says he is running to ensure that the city continues to support Walter Bradley Park, the renovation of which he has spearheaded. He filed for council on February 19, six weeks before Mayor Grayson 
Vandegrift and the council named him Midway Citizen of the Year for his work on the park.

Holloway, 63, was born in Texas and received fine-arts degrees from Trinity University in San Antonio. He and his wife Patricia moved to Midway in 2011, when they married; they live in the 100 block of East Stephens Street.

Holloway spent 35 years with the University of Kentucky as a professor, specializing in theatre design. He was also a professional stagehand, and president of the stagehands’ union’s Lexington local, supervising work on concerts, theatre productions, stadium shows, and arena events. He described the work as “industrious” and “creative.”

That also describes his volunteer work on the revitalization and expansion of Walter Bradley Park. The structure of the park board, with one member serving as manager, was made with him in mind.

In declaring Holloway Citizen of the Year, Vandegrift presented him with a 1925 railroad light. "You've been the guiding light on that train," he said.

Holloway said the work sprouted from his desire to use his skills to help the community and a park that needed it. He has been park manager for three years and says he has done or overseen $30,000 worth of work on the park, including several bridges, and has plans for much more. He would like to see a “box car” stage that looks like an old train car station built for shows and movies that would bring people to the area and provide leisure activities for local families.

Holloway also wants to see a quarter-mile walkway of concrete and rock that would offer more reliable access than the current mulch path during sloppy conditions, which he said occur about 30 days a year.

Blighted property such as collapsing buildings, left for demolition by neglect, are an issue for the city. Holloway said he would like to see Midway’s “former glory” shine through with new building projects, and he favors tougher property-maintenance ordinances, such as doubling the property tax on blighted property, to hold building owners accountable.

In an interview, the candidate disagreed with the recent property tax decrease, saying it was too much, if not unnecessary. “We need to be sure we pay for things,” he said, adding that the city’s surplus should be spent on existing issues. 

Holloway would like to see a four-way stop at his corner, where Stephens Street meets Winter Street. Speeding is a constant problem in the area and he says, “If you have to stop there, you’ll go slower through the rest of town.” State officials are unlikely to approve such a sign because Winter Street, US 62, is a state and federal highway.

Holloway said he is not interested in the position for the pay ($200 a month, up from the current $50 as of 2019) because he has made his money and retired with it, but said the raise was a much needed reward for those who dedicate the time and effort to the council.

Several times in the interview, Holloway said, “Most things in life are not just conceived of, they are refined.” He said that  can be applied to many aspects of being a city council member, because a member must be willing to see the faults that exist, plan for a better future and make change.

John McDaniel, a Midway fixture, wants a second council term

By Alex Otte
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

John McDaniel, whose personal history and family name are well known in Midway, is on the ballot for a second two-year term on the City Council. He wants to continue a form of public service that is still relatively new to him, and said that he is running re-election because “It’s fun.”

On May 22, McDaniel ran third in the three-way Democratic primary for Woodford Midway-area magistrate on the Woodford County Fiscal Court, which may have raised questions about his dedication to the council job. (The filing deadline for council was Aug. 14.). He said he ran simply because he “didn’t think the person that was in there was doing a good job.”

McDaniel said Magistrate Linda Popp had “done a lot for Midway, but when she got in that environment, she didn’t focus too much on Midway.”

McDaniel has always called Midway home, and remembers watching it change and grow over his 69-year lifetime.

“I remember when this was a store,” he said as he sat for an interview in the back of of Midway’s City Hall building. “This is where you bought your shells for a rifle.”

McDaniel’s grandfather was a police officer in Midway for 37 years,. and his father was the Midway police chief for 35 years.

John William McDaniel III said he first resisted a career in law enforcement, and got an appointment to the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, but medical reasons kept him out of the Army. He became a Midway patrolman in 1970 and served for 12 years until switching to a career in corrections in 1982 and spending three years as a corrections officer at the Fayette County Detention Center.

After an unsuccessful race for Woodford County jailer, McDaniel tried his hand at business, but chronic back trouble limited his ability to travel and he sold his three businesses in 1994, he said. From 2004 through 2011, McDaniel operated the Thoroughbred Theatre with his brother, Jim.

McDaniel and Midway Mayor Grayson Vandegrift were members of the merchants’ association when they were in business on Main Street and have always worked well together, McDaniel said.

“This council has been so neat,” he said. “That’s why our council meetings have been so short. We study our material beforehand and there isn’t much conflict.”

But the council has disagreed about how to deal with lighted property, such as the old Masonic hall at 116 E. Main St. Vandegrift has proposed a tougher ordinance and an enforcement board to crack down on owners who don’t maintain their property.

McDaniel said, “All of us have gone to several workshops to see what other cities are doing about blighted property and I think all of us are in favor of seeing if there’s something we can do about blighted property. We want to do what’s best for Midway.”

He said some Central Kentucky towns have excellent plans of what to do about blighted property and have executed them well, but those plans would not work for a small town such as Midway.

McDaniel said his priority is to bring the town’s infrastructure up to date, a goal he has been passionate about, to the point of witnessing markings and repairs. McDaniel said he would like to continue the work the council and Vandegrift have started on water and sewer lines, and to continue work on the sidewalks.

McDaniel said would like to see the Midway Business Association come in and bring together all of the town organizations, as Bardstown does. This new group would be separate from the business association, and self-supporting, he said.

McDaniel was married for 12 1/2 years, welcomed two daughters, and lives n the 100 block of West Stephens Street. His oldest daughter and her roommate were carried off by a tornado over 14 years ago. Her roommate was killed, and his daughter was left paralyzed, later resulting in the loss of a leg. When The Homeplace at Midway opened, McDaniel was able to move his daughter there so that the family could remain close and visit often, he said.

Logan Nance wants city to do more to fix sidewalks

By Ana Neal
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

People go into politics for a lot of reasons, but the reason Logan Nance gives is quite small. Nance, 31, said his motivation to run for Midway City Council was his two-year-old daughter. Nance said after she was born he began to get more invested in the future of Midway.

Nance has lived in Midway for three years with his wife, Samantha, in the 100 block of Coach Station Road. They have a two-year-old daughter, Olivia, and another on the way. Now, he says he’s ready to show this new generation “what servant leadership is really about.”

Although Nance is a political newcomer, he knows a thing or two about public service. He is a six-year veteran of the U.S. Army and was in Intelligence for some of that time. He was also deployed to Afghanistan for a year and attached to the 82nd Airborne Division.

Nance now works for Scholastic, the largest children’s book publisher in the world, as a regional representative, a job in which he says he enjoys working to promote literacy.

He says he has always “been a proponent of public service,” and felt that familiar call of duty – another reason he decided to run for city council.

“I want to make sure the Midway that we love is protected,” he said, and for him that means protecting the surrounding farmland.

“A huge part of our community is agri-tourism, the natural beauty of the region,” he said, “and I want to make sure we’re protecting that and not trying to develop it.”

The council has zoning authority only inside the city limits, but it can influence the county comprehensive plan that is revised every five years, most recently this year. Council members serve two-year terms.

While attending the University of Kentucky, where he earned a degree in political science, Nance interned at the Kentucky Department of Agriculture. He is a native of rural Western Kentucky.

Another issue Nance says he would tackle is affordable housing. He said the council needs to look at areas around Midway and on the town side of the interstate to find properties that would make for suitable townhomes.

Nance was asked what he would’ve done if he had run for the council and been elected two years ago. “I would’ve been a little more aware of what we were using some of our tax dollars for. I’d like to have seen some more beautification of some areas,” he said.

“Mainly I’d like to see some of our sidewalks repaired around downtown and just make sure that we’re progressing responsibly, make sure we don’t get too big before we’re ready to.”

Last year the city began helping property owners replace bad sidewalks, targeting the most dangerous.

“I think the city needs to take a more active role to make sure the sidewalks near downtown are repaired,” Nance said. “They are dangerous and a potential liability to the city, especially with so many tourists coming to our town.”

When it comes to big issues like blighted property, Nance said the council needs to set a precedent for how it’s handled and how many notices are sent to violators. He said enforcement should be up to the proposed Code Enforcement Board instead of the council because it would create “a conflict of interest . . . We need committees that have no vested interest, so they can look at things and come back to the council with what they find.”

If elected Nov. 6, Nance says, he will also focus on repairing infrastructure and making sure tax revenue is being used responsibly.

Veteran public servant Southworth says this would be last term

By Hannah Woosley
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

After regularly attending over two decades of city council meetings in Versailles and Midway and serving three terms on the Midway council, Bruce Southworth hopes his experience will earn him one last two-year-term on the council.

Southworth retired in 2011 after 27 years of public service. He was water-treatment plant operator in Georgetown for six years, wastewater-treatment plant operator in Midway for 11 years and city administrator for Versailles for several years.

Because he received the most votes in the last2014 election, he serveds as the mayor pro tem, filling in when the mayor iwas absent.

Southworth wants to make clear that if he is re-elected, his next term on the council will be his last. He said he believes others should have a chance to serve, too. He also said he will probably not run for any other office.

Southworth has been the leading opponent of the proposed three-person code enforcement board that would oversee blighted property offenses, under a property-maintenance ordinance that Mayor Grayson Vandegrift proposed more than a year ago.

He thinks the council should be responsible for addressing such issues, not another board. “I think sometimes government has overreach,” said Southworth, “On top of that, if you’re going to appoint a board for a job [city council] is supposed to be doing, that’s kind of the way I look at it.”

Council Member Johnny Wilson, who is not seeking re-election, disagrees with Southworth.  “I don’t know anything about [building inspection]. You need people with experience,” he said, citing the advantage of having individuals who would be familiar with complaints brought before them, and the council should ultimately be responsible for the decision for what happens to blighted properties.

Serving on the council when the 20-year wastewater plant review occurs next year is one of Southworth’s main priorities. Over the last term, he been vocal about the need to repair and upgrade sewage systems.

At a council meeting in August, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift suggested that he would ask the council for more than the $20,000 originally planned for sewer repairs. Southworth supported his suggestion, stating that, “We need something to address it overall,” instead of slight repairs overtime, he said in an interview.

Advancing the Midway Station industrial park is also at the top of his priority list, Southworth said in an interview. He said he wants to see Midway Station grow and develop and keep infrastructure upgraded.

When asked if the council did, or didn’t do, something he would’ve done differently, Southworth said the council mainly agrees on everything. He said he thinks Midway is on the right course and the council is working well together.

Southworth, 62, is divorced and lives in the 200 block of East Stephens Street. He said he hopes to get the chance to serve two more years on the council.

“I just want to thank all the people that voted for me in the past and I hope they’ll give me a chance to serve two more years,” he said, and added, “and then I’ll be out of their hair.”

Librarian Stacy Thurman wants to expand her public service

By Sierra McLean
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media

Stacy Thurman, manager of the Midway library, is looking to serve the community in a bigger way by becoming a city council member. Thurman has lived in Midway for 10 years and says she has a “passion for community service.”

The issues that the city needs to focus on, Thurman says, are affordable housing and reliable child care. She says she does not want to see another neighborhood built, but wants to help develop more affordable housing.

“I would work with individuals and neighborhood associations to find viable infill lots and develop housing that is affordable, not cheap, and that fit with the existing infrastructure and landscape,” she said.

Thurman acknowledged that the council has been trying to focus on reliable child care and said that she “would continue to support that.”

Thurman said the city should create neighborhood associations and a youth sports league, and the council could find ways to “better communicate with the Midway Business Association.”

Thurman said her passion for community service would make her a good council member. “I think my strengths lie in my ties with the community and being able to make connections with people that maybe have not been heard in the past.”

Asked who didn’t have a voice, she said, “I just think there are people in Midway who aren’t always considered, who don’t speak up but still have needs as members of our community.”

She said council members are “very accessible,” but thinks there may be a better way to communicate with neighborhoods and residents.

Thurman says she enjoys creating new relationships and has recently gotten more interested in local government and thought, “This would be a good way for me to take my service to another level.”

This is her first run for an office, but Thurman did apply to fill Libby Warfield’s council position after she passed away this past spring. “Maybe that sparked my interest,” she said. “My interest in local government has developed simultaneously with my personal investment in Midway.”

She said another reason for running is the “civically engaged, strong women in Midway… There are many women, pastors of churches, business owners, community activists, and so many other that help our community in ways that residents don’t even realize.”

Last spring, Thurman completed Leadership Woodford County, a nine-month program that informs leaders in the community about issues facing the county.

Asked if the city council should have done something differently in the past two to four years, Thurman said, “I’m not running because I’m upset with how the way things have been done, by any means. I think that it’s good to have new people on the council. I think that many of them have had several terms and it’s good to have some turnover and some new faces.”

She said she has worked with all the council members and knows they “have a difficult job.” She said that she is not “coming in and saying I’m going to make all these changes and make everything grand.”

Thurman is a member of the Midway Woman’s Club and is an active member of the Midway Christian Church. She also tries to help out with the church’s monthly community dinners.

Thurman graduated from Madison Central High School, and from Berea College with a degree in art studio, as inspired by her grandmother.

But she “quickly learned two things,” she said. “It’s difficult to make a living as an artist, and I also have a passion for public service.”

Thurman earned her master’s degree in library science from the University of Kentucky in 2015.
Thurman lives on the 100 block of Old Towne Walk in Northridge Estates. She and her husband, Ian Thurman, who is from Versailles and works for the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, have two children, Clara, 7, and Chase, 12.

Thurman said Midway was the perfect fit for her family because “it was close to grandparents and friends.” She added, “We both love small towns and found Midway charming and friendly. And we liked being close to Lexington, Versailles and Frankfort.”

Thurman said that her daughter has been “very interested in the political process” and attended a council meeting.

City Council candidate profiles 2016
Steven Craig focuses on utilities, including electric
By Alexandria Kerns
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
The city of Midway is undergoing great changes due to new plants coming to the Midway Station industrial park; Steven Craig says his skills could help ease the transition if he is re-elected to the city council.
“I have a skill set that applies to any city. . . .
I’m all about taking care of problems.”
Craig, 45, was born in Midway, and has spent his entire life in the town. He has one daughter who is 23 years old, and he has a brother, former magistrate Larry Craig. The council is Craig’s first political position.
Craig has worked in the Georgetown College facilities department for the past 20 years and also works for the Woodford County Fire Department.
He said the traits he learned in trade school and his Georgetown job gave him knowledge that appeals to the council.
“I have a skill set that applies to any city. My skill set is water, sewer, and electric. All of these things a city needs and I am very functional at them,” said Craig.
“With the growth coming in from the industrial park, there’s a lot of things in there that certain people wouldn’t ask certain questions about that would help keep things running smoothly.”
Craig was on the committee that came up with the city’s plan to help property owners renovate dangerous sidewalks.
Craig said that he knew that this would be a touchy subject for citizens, but with the great amount of foot traffic the city sees, he believed that this was crucial to the city’s continued growth, and he understood that citizens may not have the funds to fix their sidewalks.
“I’m all about taking care of problems,” said Craig. “I’m all for redoing this sidewalk thing, but I’m also all for working with people too.”
Craig has several ideas for the future payroll-tax income from new plants in Midway Station. He would like to see this money pay off the loan for the sewer plant.
This could potentially decrease residents’ water-sewer bills or save the money to put into the city’s infrastructure. Craig said he would leave this decision up to the citizens.
While many typically define infrastructure as water and sewer lines, Craig also adds electrical systems to this definition. Midway’s water and sewer lines have a problem with leaking, and currently need to be updated. The electrical system could also be updated, he says. If the citizens chose to put the money into infrastructure, Craig said, he would like to update the electrical system and move it underground.
Craig said the city would help pay for the update but Kentucky Utilities would still own the equipment.
Craig said this would be beneficial for both the city, which would be more prepared to handle bad weather, and the electric company, which would not have to spend as much time repairing the equipment.
Craig is the only candidate who opposes city involvement in creating public restrooms downtown, saying such facilities are the responsibility of businesses.
In May 2015 Craig was one of two council members to vote against the “fairness ordinance,” which prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity in housing, employment, and public accommodations.
The ordinance exempts religious institutions but not people acting on the basis of their religious beliefs. Craig said the ordinance should also protect such people’s rights, and would like to see the ordinance amended.
Craig said he is not anti-gay, and does not want anyone to be discriminated against.
Craig said he does not want to be re-elected to gain fame from the community; he simply wants to use his skills to better Midway.

Kaye Nita Gallagher sees more potential in tourism
By Olivia Jones
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
Kaye Nita Gallagher draws on her experience with tourism as she campaigns for another two-year term on the Midway City Council.
“I heard someone say once that you just take a left
off of Leestown Road, and you go back 75 years.”
Gallagher said she attended the University of Kentucky for one year but then “opted to start working for state government instead.” She worked in Kentucky State Parks personnel and payroll for 27 years. Eleven years after retirement, and several tourism-related jobs, this focus is still in the front of her mind.
Gallagher started restaurant work at 12, wiping tables at the Midway Café, owned by her grandparents. She grew up in Franklin County but attended school mainly in Scott County, where her mother was a special education teacher. She finished her last two years at Franklin County High School.
She moved into her grandparents’ house 25 years ago. Standing outside City Hall, Gallagher pointed to a tidy, blue house: “See that? That’s where I live. I can walk to work.”
Gallagher enrolled in the first night program at Midway College, now Midway University, studying business and organizational management. “I am about 15 hours away from a bachelor’s degree,” she said. “I keep thinking about going back.”
Gallagher is a server at Mezzo Italian Café and Provisions, which occupies the building where Mayor Grayson Vandegrift’s restaurant, 815 Prime, operated until it closed in 2015.
Gallagher said she has dabbled in a wide array of jobs in addition to purchasing a small business. “I work at Kohl’s part time, help over at Equus Run Vineyard whenever they need it, serve at Mezzo, and the kettle corn business,” which she bought from John Maybriar in 2014 and runs with her friend Courtney “every weekend in the fall.”
In an interview, she commented on the little shops, fairs, parks, railroad and the overall ambiance of the city, emphasizing her priority to bring in more tourists. “Midway is such a cute little town,” she said. “I heard someone say once that you just take a left off of Leestown Road, and you go back 75 years. It’s true.”
She shared some ideas to improve tourism, which included encouraging businesses to stay open later, and pushing for a breakfast restaurant, and a small hotel.
The hotel idea has long been on the city’s mind, but the prospect lies mainly with Dennis Anderson, who owns the small Green Gables development in the south side of I-64. It includes a plat for a hotel, but the other city in Woodford County may see one first.
“Versailles is getting the hotel—even though we’re right off of the interstate,” Gallagher said. However, the Holiday Inn Express in Versailles may not be built until a sit-down restaurant is secured.
New plants in Midway Station, across the interstate from Green Gables, could increase prospects for a hotel. They will certainly bring the city a windfall of new payroll-tax revenue.
Asked what should be done with the funds, Gallagher said a few sewer lines need to be fixed and some sidewalks should be repaired.
During her last two years on the council, Gallagher was appointed to the committee that came up with the plan to help property owners repair the sidewalks the city considers most dangerous.
Gallagher said she’s running for re-election because the same people who prompted her two years ago are prompting her now. “And I’m doing it for the money,” she said with a laugh (council members are paid $50 a month). She clarified that people run for council “because we want to see things happen.”

Sara Hicks aims for clean energy and cooperation
By Ben Wolford
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
Environmentalist and long-time family therapist Sara Hicks aims to keep her seat on the Midway City Council in the Nov. 8 election.
“I really care about all parts of our society. I really
 care about justice and respect for all people.”
Hicks, who spent much of her childhood on Hicks Brothers Farm, now named Lantern Hill Farm on Leestown Road, said in an interview that she moved to Los Angeles at 26 to pursue a film career.
“I was a musical theatre major and that’s what took me to Los Angeles,” said Hicks, 64. “I wasn’t very good at it. I became a therapist out there, and that's what I really loved doing. I did that for 30 years.”
Hicks moved to Naples, Florida, where she had spent part of her childhood, to continue practicing therapy. In 2004, an ice storm ravaged Kentucky, and she returned to her home state to care for her mother, who was living alone.
“My mother lost electricity for almost two weeks and no one came to get her out of her house,” she said. “So I said ‘I’ve got to go home, this is my job.’”
Hicks began working at The Nest, a center for women, children and families in Lexington, saved money and bought a home across the street from the church she grew up attending, Midway Presbyterian, where she uses the community garden.
Hicks said friends encouraged her to run in 2014. “They knew that I really care about all parts of our society. I really care about justice and respect for all people,” she said. “I’m really passionate about it. I’ve spent my whole life working for non-profits and never wanted to get rich on someone’s back.”
She added, “When I decided to run I just really started thinking . . . What is the role of a city official, what do I want my legacy to be? What do I want our legacy to be?
Where do we want the town to move into the future? It is important to consider in order to clarify for oneself the parameters of your responsibilities.”
Hicks presents a goal-oriented, cooperative but occasionally persistent demeanor in meetings. She said that unless she “finds it very important, won’t talk about it,” but in the recent case of a Midway resident’s pet cat killed by a trap set for groundhogs, Hicks pressed the council to do something.
Hicks spoke to the idea of working with other council members to find solutions that are appropriate for the whole, not the individual.
“It’s important to know that each council person has different goals and things they care about. If you don’t think it’s a bad idea and you can tell it’s something they are passionate about, it’s important to support them,” she said. “In turn, you hope they will support you in the things you really care about. I think that’s how things really get done.”
If re-elected for her second two-year term, Hicks said she would “work towards cleaner energy, water system repairs and improved sidewalks for the city.”
“The first thing we need to do is lock down our sidewalks and lock down our water system and sewer system,” she said.
“We have to start moving into geothermal and solar power. It would attract a positive populace to the town.”
Hicks said those who “feel the same about the environment would be drawn to Midway.” and has ideas of how to reach this goal.
“Midway should probably be in the energy business,” she said. “The city could do geothermal and solar for city hall to save money in the long term and to be a leader or example of what is possible for private citizens.”

John McDaniel favors tourism committee, Main Street manager
By Evan Merrill
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
Correspondent for the Woodford Sun, president of the merchants association and director of the Midway museum, with a family legacy of giving back to the community: Many things qualify John
“Midway’s never had like a five-year vision plan;
everything’s done according to a crisis.”
McDaniel, 67, for a city council seat, and he has long wanted one.
“For me it’s all about Midway,” he said. “I don’t have any other agendas or anything like that. Everything I do is for Midway.”
His desire couldn’t become a reality until 2015, when McDaniel had his voting rights restored. He had been convicted of drug possession, which resulted in his imprisonment for three and a half years, ending in 2000. That came after stints with the Midway and county police forces and owning a business that left him with a back injury. He began selling his leftover painkillers and moved on to other drugs, he told the Messenger in 2012, and that led to prison. However, he feels that he turned the experience into a positive.
“It’s actually the best thing that ever happened to me, in the standpoint that it got me out of all that and it got me back to Midway again,” McDaniel recalled. “I got involved, started the museum, I started writing when I was in prison. It was a learning experience. I never did drugs myself.”
In some communities it may be tough to re-establish trust after crime. Not in Midway, according to McDaniel.
“It’s amazing,” he said. “I’m not sure you can do that in just about any town. He said he is “really confident” that he has re-established trust with the community. That appeared to happen quickly; he was named the town’s Citizen of the Year in 2002.
McDaniel said he has attended council meetings since he was 10, when his father was chief of police.
“John has attended more council meetings than anyone,” former mayor Tom Bozarth said. “He always wants to know what is going on in Midway and how he can help. When I was in politics, I would ask John his opinion on certain matters to give me a different perspective on an issue. He helped me see both sides in a different light.”
Such experience gives McDaniel an unusual amount of experience for a non-incumbent, having attended council meetings and being a good friend of a two-term mayor. According to McDaniel, he met with the former council under Bozarth after meetings on many occasions.
Looking ahead, McDaniel says Midway needs a tourism and economic development committee, as well as a paid Main Street manager, which the town once had.
“We could coordinate more downtown activities,” he explained. “We’ve missed out on a couple of good downtown businesses that we probably could have had, had we had a Main Street manager, a tourism committee, or an economic development one.”
With increased payroll taxes from Midway Station, McDaniel would like to see another project: “Redoing the water and sewer lines and setting up a plan for that. Midway’s never had like a five- year vision plan; everything’s done according to a crisis.”
He would also like to see the alley behind some stores converted into parking, and see council members and the mayor get a pay raise.
For citizens on the fence, Bozarth gives his best pitch for McDaniel: “John does not have an agenda and more importantly, John will ask questions, which I feel is much needed on the council.”
So, can the man who wrote the 16-year-old Bozarth a speeding ticket, the man who overcame tough times, the man who has served numerous roles in Midway – achieve his aspirations of being on the council? On Nov. 8, Midwegians will decide.

Steve Simoff looks to preserve Midway as it grows
By Kaitlyn Taylor
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
Some children know exactly what they want to be when they grow up; that is when Steve Simoff knew he wanted to be part of a city council.
“I look at the big picture, long-term picture, not just
what we need now, but what are the future citizens
of Midway and Woodford County are going to
need and acquire 50 years from now.”
Living in Orient, Iowa, population 427, Simoff grew up attending council meetings with his father, who managed the local grain elevator. When his father wanted to do certain things, he went to council meetings to seek approval. Simoff didn’t fully understand it until his father told him about the importance of being involved with the community and having its respect.
Simoff, 67, was born in Orient, southwest of Des Moines, but raised in Kentucky. He said he has lived in Midway for 15 years. For 18 years he was a trainer at a public racing stable. After that he was a manager at a race horse center in New Mexico for three years.
He said he moved to Midway to work as operations director for Margaux Farm, worked there for five years, and is a certified racing official and has worked part-time as a placing judge for three years.
Simoff is single and has a 33-year old daughter who lives in Indiana. He has two grandchildren, aged 4 and 6.
The first-time candidate says he has a duty to fulfill: “giving back to a community that has looked after me; it is my turn to look after it.” He says he is confident that he has the community’s best interests at heart and has tremendous respect from his neighbors.
Simoff said his father taught him to be genuine. “The best way to live life is to be genuine,” he said. “If you are genuine with others, respect, truth, trust and support come with it.”
Simoff served on the Citizens Advisory Committee that spurred improvements at Walter Bradley Park. Asked what he can bring to the table as a council member, he said he would listen to the community and get citizens involved with council meetings.
“Our job is to be stewards of Midway,” Simoff said. He said that if elected, he wants to go through neighborhoods to bring residents to council meetings because they deserve to know what is going on.
Simoff said the council must look at the big picture when making decisions. “I look at the big picture, long-term picture,” he said, “not just what we need now, but what are the future citizens of Midway and Woodford County are going to need and acquire 50 years from now.”
With new plants coming to Midway Station, “keeping Midway intact” should be taken seriously “with the thought of future generations kept in mind,” Simoff said.
He said he is for development and growth, but “We have to continue to protect the city as it now stands. . . . The growth does not take away the uniqueness of our community, but at the same time, we have to be aware that there are growth issues that we have to face, and I believe I can help with the making of those decisions.”
At a candidate forum, he said that as Midway grows, it will need to expand fire and police services, have long-range plans and fix problems with the sewer and water systems, which have been “neglected for a long time.”
He said the increased payroll-tax revenue from Midway Station won’t arrive for two years, but there are things that need doing, such as sidewalk repair and the entrance to Midway.
Afterward, he said the money “should probably be used for the infrastructure of the city, repairing water lines and sewer lines, and paving more roads – or at least a good share of it.”

Bruce Southworth favors upgrading utilities and sidewalks
By Matthew Hunter
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
After holding several leadership roles in different areas of public service, most recently the Midway City Council, Bruce Southworth hopes that experience earns him another two-year council term.
"I want to be a good steward for the taxpayers'
money. . . . I hope I've done a good job for them."
The Scott County native was Midway’s wastewater plant operator from 1992 to 2000, then was utility manager for the water and sewage department in Versailles, ultimately moving up to public works director.
“I will use my professional experience to continue to develop Midway,” Southworth said in an interview.
“I’ve been useful with the water and sewage. I have a lot of administration experience in Versailles and a lot of city experience with departments.”
Southworth said that during his two terms on the council, Midway’s water and sewer department have improved.
“Work still has to be done,” he said, “but it’s functioning well and moving in the right direction.”
Water-sewer bills are a major complaint of Midway residents. At a council meeting early this year, he noted that Midway’s water rates are lower than in most small cities in the Bluegrass.
However, the sewer bill, which is based on the water bill, is higher because the city had to build a new, updated sewage-treatment plant in 2000 before the old plant had been paid off and is still paying off both plants.
After receiving the largest number of votes in the 2014 council election, Southworth has served as mayor pro tem, filling in for the mayor when he is absent.
In 2015, Mayor Grayson Vandegrift appointed a committee of council members to address Midway’s sidewalk dilemma, with Southworth as chair. The committee came up with a plan for the city to help property owners repair the sidewalks the city deemed most dangerous to the public, up to $500. The council, which had budgeted $25,000 for the work, raised the limit to $1,000.
“We have a plan in place where we’re offering incentives,” Southworth said. “The extra revenue from factories and developments could go toward helping repair them.”
The cracks, which rise and dip in some areas around downtown and in local neighborhoods, create a tripping hazard for those wishing to walk. Midway painted some of the hazards with yellow lines to make them more visible, but it is not a long-term solution.
At a recent forum, Southworth said the city “has made some real progress,” including passing the “fairness ordinance” to ban discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity, and attracting major employers to the Midway Station industrial park.
Southworth said he wants to see Midway Station continue to develop, including keeping the utilities and infrastructure upgraded.
“I want to be a good steward for the taxpayers' money,” he said.
As a result of the new plants in Midway Station, the city will get an estimated $200,000 more per year in payroll taxes. Asked what the city should do with the money, Southworth said, “Improvements in the wastewater system in infrastructure. We need the city to run more efficiently.” At the forum, he also mentioned sidewalk repairs.
Southworth, 61, said he encourages citizens to call or email him when they have questions, comments or concerns.
“I hope I’ve done a good job for them and they see fit to elect me once again,” he concluded.

Warfield says water and sewer are her top priorities
By Marissa Beucler
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
Libby Warfield is not only a Midway City Council member running for a second term, she is a mother, church organist, interior designer and cancer survivor.
“As a council member I try very hard to not
have any ulterior motives of any kind and
always think how will the decision I make
affect my neighbors, my friends, my
family, church members and myself.”
Warfield, 64, was born and raised in Midway. She was married in 1972 to David Warfield and has a daughter and a son. Serving the community runs in the family. Her son Matt was a council member for two years, and her mother, Jean Clifton Sharon, was a member for 12 years and was a correspondent for The Woodford Sun.
Warfield filed to run for the council in 2012, but pulled out of the race because she was diagnosed with stage-four cancer of a salivary gland. Given a 30 percent chance of survival, she underwent successful radiation and chemotherapy, but the cancer grew into Warfield’s facial nerve trunk, permanently paralyzing one side of her face.
Five months after her treatments, Warfield said, she was again playing the organ for her church, a role in which she has volunteered since the age of 16.
Warfield’s passion for the community’s needs and issues are seen in council meetings. She often speaks up to voice her opinion, and can get emotional when certain issues are brought to the table.
“As a council member I try very hard to not have any ulterior motives of any kind and always think how will the decision I make affect my neighbors, my friends, my family, church members and myself,” said Warfield.
Asked what issues she cares about most, Warfield replied, “Citizens need to be responsible for their own properties.” She said keeping Midway beautiful and safe for families is essential for residents and tourists.
As for her goals as a council member, she said she wants the city to live in harmony, with citizens respecting each other’s choices and space: “We must learn to live with each other as peaceably as possible.”
Warfield was one of two council members who voted against the “fairness ordinance” that bans discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The ordinance exempts religious institutions but not people acting on the basis of their religious beliefs.
“The fairness ordinance is fair to everyone except some religious persons who cannot find scripture that allows them to support it,” she said. “For these who try to study and find guidance in the Bible there must be scripture to support arguments that dictate daily living.” She said she tries to represent all Midway residents as individuals.
Midway will be receiving more payroll-tax money as a result of the new plants in Midway Station, and Warfield has several ideas about what to do with the funds.
“The number one thing that I see as the problem is the water and sewer pipelines,” she said “They are older than me and I know how I feel when I get up in the morning.”
The resurfacing of roads and improving the quality of sidewalks in Midway is one of Warfield’s main concerns, she said, because it benefits all who live and visit Midway. But such work is expensive. “This month it will cost around $75,000 to resurface Northside Drive,” she noted.
Warfield has visions of a visitor’s center that would attract more tourists and generate revenue. She said the city could acquire a business storefront or house, or build new, financing it with its own tourism commission and bed tax if a motel or hotel comes to town.

Profiles of candidates for 56th District state representative
Republican Dan Fister says it's time for a change
By Claire Johnson
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
From a farmer in high school, to a Fayette County jail sergeant and senior accountant for a multinational corporation, a now-retired Daniel Fister wants to be a state representative.
Dan Fister
At 58, Fister has lived his entire life within 15 miles of the hospital where he was born in Versailles.
Fister said he never wanted to be involved with politics, until early December, when his father-in law, Jack Kain, suggested the idea of running against Democratic state Rep. James Kay of Versailles.
Kain said in an interview, “The county Republican Party approached me and asked if any of my sons wanted to run. He said he thought his son-in-law would “be perfect for this” because he is a good man with a great family.
But the biggest factor Fister had going for him, Kain said, was that he was not a politician, but still experienced for the job.
“Dan’s been here for over 20 years,” Kain said. “He knows the problems we have, and I am with him all the way.”
Fister said that as he was testing the waters, his deciding moment came while he read The Woodford Sun’s coverage of the county’s heroin problem, and “There was a news report about a shooting in Lexington, and my granddaughter was sitting on the floor playing,” Fister said. “She was five at the time.”
“I took a look at her and a cold chill went down my back. These kids have got to have something better.”
If elected, Fister said, he would get to know community problems by weekly town hall meetings.
“I want to pass laws and make decisions based on right and wrong,” he said, “not on what is politically correct or who I’m going to offend.”

Democrat James Kay says his experience trumps his age
By Elizabeth Allen
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Media
At just 33 years old, James Kay is one of the youngest members of the Kentucky House of Representatives, but says he is not lacking in experience or knowledge of state and local issues as he seeks re-election.
James Kay
Kay was nominated by Democratic Party officials and won a special election to represent the 56th District in June 2013 after the resignation of Carl Rollins of Midway.
Kay said he is one of the busiest legislators, claiming that he has more committee appointments than most of the other representatives and has passed three bills into law, “more than the entire freshman class of state representatives in the House.” Kay is not really a freshman, because he served most of Rollins’ term.
Another prominent issue in Kentucky is the heroin epidemic, which Kay said may be the most important issue throughout the state. Last year, he said, nine Woodford County residents died from overdoses.
Kay’s plan begins with limiting doctors’ abilities to prescribe pills.
“While I know that it is a drastic measure, desperate times call for desperate measures,” he said.
He also calls for more funding to improve the quality of treatment to break the addiction cycle; increase funding for law enforcement, first responders and the health care community; and “We have to crack down on the dealers of death, who are dealing heroin, because they are literally killing our citizens.”
As Republicans push to gain control of the House, Kay calls himself an independent voice working to address the needs of all the people of his district.
“I’ve worked as hard as anybody to make real changes in Frankfort,” he said. “No one tells me what to do. I listen to the voices of my constituents.”




By Paige Mullen
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

With almost two years on the city council under his belt, Grayson Vandegrift is hoping to be the next mayor of Midway.

Vandegrift said he had no intention of running for mayor two years after being elected to the council, but gained confidence and received encouragement and support from many people and decided to run.

His opponent, Sharon Turner, is running on her greater experience. Vandegrift said that he respects her but they just see things differently.

He said that his experience of running a business during a massive recession, and his involvement in many aspects of the community, have qualified him to be the best candidate.

“Sometimes there is a time when you feel like maybe it’s time for a new voice, maybe it’s time for a step in a little bit different direction, a different way of thinking about things and I feel like I can provide that better than anybody,” he said.

Vandegrift is 32 years old and was raised just outside the city limits.

He said that as a child, he took piano lessons and taught himself to play guitar, and was captain of his high school basketball team at Sayre School in Lexington. He went on to study English and history at Wittenberg University in Ohio as well as the University of Kentucky.

Today, Vandegrift says he loves U.S. history and is an avid sports fan, as well as an animal lover who has two dogs and a cat. He also enjoys volunteering in community organizations.

“It’s just fun to be a part of something bigger than yourself and it is fun to be able to work for the people and see results of improving your community,” he said.

Vandegrift and his fiancé, Katie Brown, plan to marry in May 2015.

When asked to name the most influential person in his life, he said it was his father, Rob Vandegrift, from whom he learned a lot about business and how to treat people.

“I think I learned a lot from how fair he is,” he said.

Vandegrift and his father opened the 815 Prime restaurant in the heart of downtown Midway.

 “I learned a ton about what it really means to run your own business so, it’s been an enjoyable experience,” he said, adding that running a business is a lot like government.

Vandegrift paraphrased Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper, a former restaurateur: “All public officials should run a restaurant first.” He said Hickenlooper was probably referring to budgeting, dealing with criticism and many different people from all walks of life, and making quick decisions.

Vandegrift got his foot in the door early with Midway civic affairs.

At 25, he was elected president of the Midway Merchants Association. He has been chairman of the Woodford County Tourist Commission, as well as coordinator of the last two Midway Fall Festivals.
“I think we had some success in those organizations in what we were able to accomplish, and from then on I got more and more involved with all of Midway,” he said.

Turner said of her opponent, “I think Grayson has been great on council. He asks great questions and he gets out there and works. . . . I’ve always liked and admired Grayson. I think he’s done a great job the past couple years.”

At the Oct. 2 candidates’ forum, Vandegrift said the downtown is “in good shape” and citizens want to see rest of the city get the same attention.

When asked about the civic group Midway Renaissance, which had some conflict with the city before he joined the council, he said he can bring the city together.

“I don't have any enemies and I don't think anybody considers me their enemy, so I think I have a unique ability to do that,” he said, “because I have done it before with bringing merchants together, which can sometimes be difficult and bringing other facets of the county together to work on projects.”

Vandegrift said that no matter the circumstances, citizens will be welcome to the table to voice their ideas and opinions.

“I just don't want to see it split into factions,” he said. ”We have seen other parts of the county where there are different groups and they are kind of working towards the same team but their almost working against each other duplicating efforts.”

Vandegrift said he would assemble a committee of Midway citizens, council members and experts to draft a plan to work on the city’s infrastructure: water lines, sewers and sidewalks.

“If you put enough people together and you work towards something, you can get it done,” he said. “I think that Midway could be one of those places you hear about getting an award for being greatest small city in Kentucky.”

Vandegrift said he would be a mayor of action, but “We are not going to change Midway. Midway is great the way it is; we are just going to make it better.”


By Nicole Hennard
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

Sharon Turner knows Midway like the back of her hand. Her love for the community drives her to better the town, and she says that’s why she’s running for mayor. 

Turner has served on the City Council since January 2005. She fills in for Mayor Tom Bozarth when he is absent, serving as mayor pro tem, a job that by tradition goes to the highest vote-getter for the position – which was her in all five council races she ran. She chairs the finance committee and sits on the cemetery, ordinances and policy committee. 

Turner is also well known for her work with the Midway Nursing Home Task Force for its entire 16 years, and serving as the group’s secretary for the past 14. Its efforts have produced a senior-living community, the Homeplace at Midway, due to open soon. But her work for seniors goes beyond that.

“Something a lot of people don’t really know about Sharon personally is, through the years Sharon has helped a lot of us senior citizens with our computers when we would have problems,” said Ola Moore, a Midway resident and good friend of Turner. “I think that says a lot about her, that she takes time out of her day to look out for us. She’s really just a wonderful person.”

Turner, 52, says she wants to be mayor to further her service to the community.

“I think experience and a common sense approach will go a long way,” she said. “I think if we were in a bigger city, there would be more direct paths laid out for us because it’s to a grander scheme. Being in a small town, we still have the ability to use to common-sense approaches and be more efficient and fine tune, while still allowing these people to do their jobs every day without micromanaging.”

Friends call Turner selfless and dedicated.

“She’s really true to Midway,” said Moore. “She’s been here all of her life and she’s going to put Midway first.”

Turner said she and her family moved back to Kentucky three weeks after she was born in Van Buren, Ark. Her father was in the Army at Fort Chaffee. Turner and her brother, who lives in Midway, and her sister, a Lexington resident, grew up working on a farm on Old Frankfort Pike raising Thoroughbred horses, corn and tobacco. 

Turner is still close to her family and she attributes her passion for serving to her parents’ love of the community. When asked who has inspired her the most, Turner named her mother, Kathy Alexander.

“She stayed home and took care of us kids and got us all through school,” said Turner. “She made sure that we all did what needed to, first.”

Turner has business experience. She started keeping books for the family farm while a student at Woodford County High School, and keeps books for four businesses out of her home office in Midway.

Turner and her family bought Kentucky Beverage Journal, a 68-year-old monthly magazine, in 1992. She works in Frankfort running a trade association for a group of beer distributors, which keeps her there much of the time during legislative sessions. Turner says she can do mayoral work from her Frankfort office.

Turner says she is running on both her “business experience and personal life experience,” and her vision for Midway is to make it an ever better place to live by becoming more efficient, with better policies and procedures to make city government more transparent. 

Turner has noted that during her tenure on the council, the city’s budget surplus has increased from $25,000 to $600,000. Asked how much credit she takes for it, she said she is the chair of the finance committee and works closely with the mayor to make the best decisions for the town. 

“Not one person can take the credit; it takes all of us,” she said. “We are using our money to work for us. We have cut out things that we got in the habit of using, but didn’t really have to have. Under Mayor Bozarth, we have been under budget all eight years.”

Turner says she plans to continue to lead through efficiency, managing the budget, public safety, and water, sewer and sidewalk projects. She said that because a water and sewer plan is in place, she wants to immediately start work on sidewalks, and would start with the issue the needs the most attention, take care of it in a timely fashion and work her way through a prioritized list of problems. 

“Sharon is a hard worker,” said Charlann Wombles, who served on the council with Turner for more than seven years. 

Grayson Vandegrift, the other candidate for mayor and fellow council member, says he respects Turner’s abilities.

“One thing about Sharon I've always admired is that she sticks with what she believes,” said Vandegrift. “She has always been diligent in looking at a budget and how you work with it.”

After years of working to serve Midway and the community, Turner wants to keep working. 

“I have the time and the ability to do this,” she said. “I am willing to serve.”


By Sarah Brookbank
University of Kentucky School of Journalism and Telecommunications

The City Council election in Midway is simple this year. There are only six candidates for six seats, so there is no true race. There will be some new faces, but you might recognize them.

The council will lose Aaron Hamilton, who has been on the council for eight years. Council Members Grayson Vandergrift and Sharon Turner are running for mayor, since Mayor Tom Bozarth is not seeking a third four-year term.

New to the council will be Libby Warfield, Kaye Nita Gallagher and Steven Craig. Returners will be Sara Hicks and Bruce Southworth, starting their second two-year term, and Dan Roller, who will be starting his third.

Craig, who placed ninth of 10 candidates in the 2012 council election, is the brother of Magistrate Larry Craig, who was defeated for re-election in the primary.

Warfield, whose mother and son have been on the council, was among several people who applied for appointment by the council to fill a vacant seat in 2012. The seat went to former council member Charlann Wombles.

Warfield and Gallagher discussed what they wanted to do during their term on the council during a candidate forum at Midway College on Oct. 2.  The candidates both stressed improvement to the city of Midway, but in different ways.

Warfield led with a wish list of things that she would like to see in Midway: a pavilion for the cemetery and an urgent care clinic. At the top of her wish list is an ambulance station closer to the town, something the county government is slowly moving toward.

“Once again I feel that we have begged and pleaded long enough for an ambulance hub closer to Midway,” Warfield said. “If you have ever sat with a loved one that you weren’t sure was going to make it, that’s the longest 20 minutes you’ll ever sit waiting for the ambulance just to get to you before they start to move the patient to somewhere to get them some help. It’s terrible.”

Gallagher stressed the need for Midway to boost tourism and mentioned bringing a small hotel to Midway, noting that when people come to town, there is only one bed-and-breakfast. She stressed the need to keep those tourists in Midway instead of letting them stay in Frankfort, Georgetown or Lexington.

“I’m just interested to see how things can be changed to bring more tourists to Midway since a lot of people come for the horses, for Keeneland and for the dining destination, and hopefully we can get that to grow as well,” Gallagher said.

Asked why she was running, Gallagher said “Several people asked me to run. I’m retired from state government, where I was in tourism. I’ve worked at Equus Run. I’ve waited tables for the past 30 years in downtown Midway.”

In a telephone interview, Craig stressed the need for the council to be fiscally responsible. He also said that a big obstacle that the council will face is that many of the council members are going to have less experience than usual.

Warfield said one of the most important things a new council member can do is research and learn. She frequently attends council meetings, and recently confronted the council about adherence to the state Open Meetings Act, noting that enough council members to make a quorum spend time downtown after meetings. Council Member Bruce Southworth replied that such meetings are legal as long as city business is not discussed.

In October, Warfield submitted to the council six questions, which she said were written by her son Matt, about the proposed tax-increment financing of the public infrastructure for redevelopment of Midway Station.

One of the biggest topics among candidates for city office is infrastructure. During and after the forum Council Members Sara Hicks and Dan Roller stressed the importance of fixing the infrastructure, as did the new candidates.

Craig said in the interview, “We have to make sure we do our homework right.” He said the council as a whole will have to think in advance to make sure that projects are properly executed and funded as there are many large projects to be done.

“We’ve got some really big projects coming up; we have to be accountable,” Craig said. He also said that the projects like revitalizing infrastructure need to be researched and planned before they are started.

At the forum Hicks said, “I would like for us to fix our sidewalks. I would like to solve the problems of the water that’s brown for some of our citizens. I would like to fix the problems where the grade on some of our roads isn’t working correctly.”

Warfield agreed that sidewalks and streets need to be fixed. She also stressed the importance of fixing water problems.

After the forum, Roller noted that Midway has received a low-cost loan to fix water lines on Higgins Street, but fixing the lines is just one step. Both mayoral candidates hope to fund infrastructure projects with revenue from developments at the Interstate 64 interchange.

“We have no street cleaning equipment, so anything that goes on the street ends up going into our storm sewers,” Roller said. He also said that this doesn’t help with the road grading issues that need to be fixed.

Roller said he feels confident in working with all the candidates for the council, and while each of them will bring something new to the table, they’ll be able to work toward the same goals. “We’ll work with anyone if they’ll work with us,” he said with a laugh.

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