Bowling Green

A Japanese corporation is planning a $15 million expansion at its manufacturing site in Bowling Green.

NHK of America Suspension Components Incorporated (NASCO) is adding a new building next to its existing facility in Warren County. The new location will manufacture automotive suspension coil springs, and is expected to be completed within two years.

NASCO employs 280 people, and its  Japanese parent company owns another operation in Warren County (Topura America Fastener), Franklin (New Mather Materials), and Louisville (NHK Spring Precision of America). In all, NHK International Corporation employs about 1,000 Kentucky workers.

Flickr/Creative Commons

A new farmers market slated to open this spring in downtown Bowling Green hopes to attract customers who don’t normally visit such establishments.

The new market—which will be known as Southern Kentucky Fresh--will be located near the Southern Kentucky Performing Arts Center on College Street.

Megan Bailey, with the Warren County Extension Office, says the location is within walking distance of many residents who might not otherwise have access to fresh, locally-grown produce.

“That was one of the purposes of this downtown market—to be able to serve an audience that may not have been able to go to the farmers market before. It’s going to be closer to some of our communities that are using SNAP benefits, and they’ll actually be able to utilize those at the market.”

Bowling Green will be the host of the tournaments for the next five years in a partnership announced at the Bowling Green Ball Park Wednesday morning. The city will host eleven tournaments this year and as many as 15 beginning next year.

The conference will also hold at least six league meetings in Bowling Green throughout the year.

The NAIA conference includes Campbellsville University, Lindsey Wilson College and the University of Pikeville as well as schools in five other states. They'll kick off the partnership February 6th and 7th wil the conference bowling tournament at Southern Lanes in Bowling Green

Conference commissioner Eric Ward said they were afraid the championships might fall under the public's radar in a city larger than Bowling Green. He said the conference was looking for a neutral site that was big enough to handle several tournaments back to back or even at the same time at different facilities.

He also said they wanted a site with a variety of things for players and fans to do when their team isn't playing.

Amy Cardwell with the Bowling Green Area Convention and Visitors' Bureau estimates each tournament will bring about 250 participants to the city and twice that many family and fans.

Bowling Green City Schools

The superintendent of Bowling Green Independent Schools has announced plans to retire. 

Joe Tinius has worked in the city school system since 1977 in a number of roles, including teacher, coach, and principal.  He became superintendent in 2005. 

In a letter submitted to the Board of Education, Tinius said after 37 years in education, he had reached the point in his life where he wanted to spend more time with his wife, children, and grandchild. 

He tells WKU Public Radio that while technology and education reforms have had major impacts on Kentucky’s classrooms, a teacher’s ability to connect with students remains vital.

“It is still, at the end of the day, that personal relationship that teachers develop with students that ultimately determines how much of an impact and effective the learning process is.”

Tinius says one of the biggest changes he’s seen over the years is the increasing diversity of the area’s student population, with major growth seen in the number of students who speak English as a second language. Tinius said school administrators have to be willing to connect with students and parents from international communities.

The U.S. Postal Service says it will open post office locations in Bowling Green and Evansville on two Sundays this holiday season to reduce wait times and allow customers to get a jump on holiday shipping. 

The Bowling Green General Mail Facility on Scottsville Road along with the Lawndale Station on S. Green River Road in Evansville will open on December 14th and 21st.  The facilities will be open from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m. those days.

The Postal Service says 607 million pieces of mail will be processed on Dec. 15th, making it the busiest day of the season. 

Abbey Oldham

The leader of the Bowling Green International Center says he hopes President Obama will announce that undocumented immigrants in the U.S. will not face deportation.

Albert Mbanfu says he’ll be watching the President’s speech Thursday evening with the hopes that Mr. Obama will take executive actions that clarify the status of undocumented immigrants.

“When you’re not sure if you’ll be with your kids tomorrow, you plan for contingencies, rather than thinking about how to comfortably raise your family,” the native of Cameroon said.  

Mbanfu believes the fear of deportation psychologically cripples many immigrants who would otherwise contribute greatly at the workplace and community.

“If you have that comfort in you, that a police officer is not looking over your shoulder to arrest you and send you back to your country, or wherever you came from, then you can think rationally, you can do things in a more composed manner, and that will translate into whatever job that they may be doing,” Mbanfu told WKU Public Radio.

Kentucky Republican Senator Mitch McConnell warned from the Senate floor Thursday that “Congress will act” if lawmakers believe the President oversteps his legal authority and unilaterally changes U.S. immigration law Thursday night.

National Corvette Museum

The 2009 Corvette known as the Blue Devil is back at the Corvette Museum in Bowling Green following its restoration by General Motors. 

The car was one of the eight that was swallowed by the gigantic sinkhole that opened underneath the museum in February.  The restored Blue Devil was unveiled last week, but hadn't completed its journey back to Bowling Green until Tuesday.

Two more damaged Corvettes will be restored; the other five will become part of a future museum exhibit documenting the sinkhole.

WKU

The Kentucky Commission on Human Rights is in Bowling Green this week to announce the latest inductees into the state’s Civil Rights Hall of Fame.

The Commission will unveil which of the 35 nominees will receive the honor at a ceremony Thursday afternoon at WKU’s Carroll Knicely Conference Center. The executive director of the state’s Human Rights Commission, John Johnson, says those nominated for the Hall of Fame have made contributions to a wide variety of causes throughout the commonwealth.

“They have a wide span of interests and involvement, whether it’s dealing with people with disabilities, or dealing with legislative issues, or working to improve the quality of life of people based on sexual orientation.”

Among the nominees are:

  • Dr. Alan Anderson, a retired WKU Philosophy and Religion professor who worked with Martin Luther King, Junior, in efforts to desegregate parts of Georgia
  • Samuel Byrd, who has been a long-time leader with the Owensboro N.A.A.C.P
  • Linda McCray, the former longtime executive-director of the Bowling Green Human Rights Commission

See the entire list of nominees for the 2014 Kentucky Civil Rights Hall of Fame and their profiles here.

City on a Hill

A new movie called The Song comes out in theaters Friday. The film is the first full-length feature directed by Bowling Green native Richie Ramsey.

The Song is said to be inspired by the Song of Solomon, so it's no surprise the film about a singer-songwriter is heavy with religious imagery. One of the first conversations between main characters Jed King and Rose Jordan involves a debate over a popular song from the 1960s that's based on biblical text.

Jed: I love that song too, it’s just not the Beatles.
Rose: Yeah it is.
Jed: No it’s the Byrds, you’re thinking of the Byrds.
Rose: No. Agree to disagree.
Jed: No, you’d still be wrong.
Rose: The lyrics are in the Bible. Can we agree that God wrote them?

Kentucky Historical Society

When a young Bowling Green woman’s diary was published as a book in 2009, it gave a glimpse of life in Kentucky during the Civil War.

But those entries weren’t the end of Josie Underwood’s story.

A Louisville woman was browsing a bookstore when she picked up a copy of the diary.

 “[She] realized that she was related to the Underwoods and that she had some family papers and decided to go looking through her closet and lo and behold discovered that she had the second volume of Josie Underwood’s diary, ” said David Turpie, editor of the Register, a publication of the Kentucky Historical Society which has published Volume 2 of Underwood’s diary. It mainly covers the years 1862-66

“It also helps us to understand the thoughts and feelings of one individual, one young woman from Kentucky and that life went on for her,” said Turpie.

Emil Moffatt

For 72 hours earlier this month, residents in Toledo, Ohio were told not to use the city’s water because of  toxic algae bloom.  It’s a story that gave many a renewed appreciation for being able to turn on a faucet and drink what comes out.

In Warren County, Bowling Green Municipal Utilities is in charge of the treating the water and delivering it to the community.

Doug Kimbler, superintendent of treatment plants,  took us  on a tour last week so we could get a better idea of what actually goes into the process.  We started by overlooking the source: the Barren River on the east side of downtown. Then, we briefly stepped inside.

“We have two pumps actually running in here right now, it’s fairly hot day for Bowling Green. We’ll probably produce somewhere between 21 and 22 million gallons of water between Bowling Green and Warren County for the day,” said Kimbler above the din of the pumps.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

For months, crews with heavy construction equipment have been busily converting a busy Bowling Green intersection from one controlled by traffic lights to a roundabout.

“It’s been a little chaos, but we’ve managed,” said Betty Kirby who lives in the neighborhood.

“But this whole week, we haven’t gotten any U.S. Mail and I really didn’t think that was necessary to stop the mail. We got here, so I don’t know why they didn’t bring the mail. I guess it’ll get here next week,” she said.

Kirby says the roundabout should help relieve congestion in the intersection as long as drivers “watch what they’re doing – which they don’t a lot of times.”

The roundabout at the intersection of University Boulevard, the 31-W Bypass and Loving Way was officially unveiled Friday morning with a ribbon- cutting ceremony.  Warren County Judge-Executive Mike Buchanon was among the state, county and city officials who attended.

“I think this is an extraordinary advantage to moving traffic safely and continuously through this tremendously active roadway.  This intersection is very important to getting people to and from work and home safely,” said Buchanon.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

For 33 years, hundreds of the members of the very tight-knit community of Corvette owners make their way to Bowling Green for the Corvette Homecoming.  It’s happened every summer since 1981 and heat can usually be the biggest weather concern. But this year, the problem was rain.

There was a steady drizzle all day Saturday in Bowling Green – not conducive to walking around and looking at Corvettes in a parking lot. The cars were still there, just not in the numbers as have been seen in past years.  Most of the action was taking place inside, under the roof of the Sloan Convention Center where some of the most prized Corvettes were on display.

Fans of the car from all over the country were in attendance. For some, they make it a yearly pilgrimage.

“Just the camaraderieship. Mingling with people, having fun, talking Corvette stuff.  Good stuff,” said Cedric Wingo of Clarksville, Tennessee.

Abbey Oldham/WKU Public Radio

Republican efforts to win control of the Kentucky House got a boost from a national figure Saturday.

The incoming U.S. House Majority Leader, Kevin McCarthy, was in Bowling Green to raise money for the Republican Party of Kentucky House Trust. McCarthy visited the commonwealth at the request of the state’s 2nd District Congressman, Brett Guthrie of Warren County.

Speaking to reporters before the fundraiser, Rep. McCarthy said what happens in state legislatures can often trickle up to the nation's capital.

“I feel states are able to show and be a generator of ideas greater than Washington--that you can do the pilot programs,” the California Republican said. “The whole concept of welfare reform came from states. States don’t get to print more money. States have to balance a budget. States have to move forward. They carry out agencies they didn’t create.”

Democrats have controlled the Kentucky House for over 90 years, and the party’s state leaders say they will continue to hold the chamber despite the amount of GOP money being raised ahead of the November election. Republicans would have to win a net gain of five seats this fall to take control of the House.

Multiple super PACs have been created by Republicans this year to boost their party’s efforts to win the chamber, including a group founded by GOP gubernatorial candidate Hal Heiner, and a PAC run by a Kentuckian who served as a top aide to Mitt Romney’s 2012 presidential campaign.

Broadening the Republican Party’s Appeal?

During his visit to The Club at Olde Stone in Bowling Green, McCarthy said he agreed with Kentucky Senator Rand Paul’s recent statements about Republicans needing to expand the party’s appeal to groups that haven’t recently voted for the GOP in large numbers, such as African-Americans, Hispanics, and young people.

Kevin Willis

Some retired military veterans are asking Kentucky lawmakers to commit funding for a new long-term care facility for veterans that would be located in Bowling Green.

The commonwealth currently has only three such facilities, with a fourth veterans nursing home scheduled to open next summer in Hardin County.

Dr. Ray Biggerstaff served in Vietnam as a Captain with the 101st Airborne Division, based in Fort Campbell. He told state lawmakers in Frankfort that the number of veterans in the south-central Kentucky region makes Warren County a logical location for a long-term care operation.

“When we take a look at the demographic data for Bowling Green and the Barren River Area Development District, we’re looking at a total of 20,000 veterans in that particular area. Surrounding the area, we have an additional 22,000 veterans that are in the perimeter,” said Biggerstaff.

Biggerstaff said he also thought a long-term care facility for veterans in southern Kentucky could attract veterans who live in northern Tennessee.

In testimony before a joint committee on State Veterans, Military Affairs, and Public Protection, Biggerstaff said backers of the proposed veteran’s nursing home in Warren County have identified a 30-acre site off I-65 near the Kentucky Transpark as a possible location for the facility.

The nursing home being built in Hardin County will sit on 195 acres of land donated by the Defense Department, and feature a dozen ten-person homes providing full nursing services to 120 veterans. It’s scheduled to open next June.

Kentucky’s three nursing homes for veterans currently in operation are in Hopkins, Jessamine, and Perry counties.

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