Bowling Green

Abbey Oldham

Cathy Roemer-Garrison is always looking out for innovative ways to teach.  She’s an English as a Second Language instructor at Moss Middle School in Warren County. 

"I came across on the Internet something about children reading to shelter animals, and that the research showed it was successful at improving reading fluency and building self-esteem, which is a perfect fit for my ELL kids," explained Roemer-Garrison.

She took the idea to Principal David Nole, who admits he was skeptical at first.

"I thought, 'How's that going to improve what we're doing?'  The more I listened the more I realized she was going about the heart of the reader, and that's just developing the love to read," Nole said.

And so it began.  An initiative called Paw Pals: Literacy with Love.  Every Wednesday, Roemer-Garrison visits the Bowling Green-Warren County Humane Society with a group of ELL students, or English Language Learners.  Most are from war-torn countries, but at the shelter, those memories are overcome with smiles and laughter.

On this visit, a shelter employee brings out eight-week-old long-haired Chihuahuas.

Seventh graders Graciella Ventura of El Salvador, and Soe Meh and Bway Baw both of Thailand, sit in a circle, each holding a puppy and a book.  Storytime is about to begin.  Ventura has a wide grin as one of the puppies licks her face.

Southern Kentucky Book Fest

An organizer of an upcoming book festival in Bowling Green says it’s becoming more of a challenge to get authors at larger publishers to appear at events for free.

Kristie Lowry is literary outreach coordinator with WKU Libraries, and an organizer with the Southern Kentucky Book Festival. She says book companies have cut their budgets related to book tours and marketing campaigns.

“So getting the authors to come to an event like ours for free, which would have been a little easier back in the day, is harder to do now,” Lowry told WKU Public Radio. “And Penguin and Random House have their own speaker bureaus now, so they market their authors, but you have to pay a fee in order to have them come into town.”

Lowry says another growing trend in the literary world is the rising number of self-published authors. She says many self-published writers in the southern Kentucky region, like Allison Jewell and Jennie Brown, have loyal followings and are well-received when they appear on panels at local book festivals.

What’s being called an industrial incident at the Kobe Aluminum Automotive Plant in Bowling Green has left two people injured. The Bowling Green Fire Department says the two people were airlifted to a trauma center, but the extent of their injuries is unknown. 

Seven units and 15 firefighters responded to the scene just before 2 p.m. Tuesday afternoon. But emergency officials say there was no fire.

A 62-year-old Bowling Green man has died at a Nashville hospital, nearly one week after he was found beaten on the porch of his home. The attack happened on the afternoon of April 14 on Sunrise Drive.  

Bowling Green police say the victim, Gary L. Wynn, died of his injuries early Monday morning.  Officer Ronnie Ward says police have surveillance video of three men who were in the area at the time of the incident.

“Whether they were the ones or whether they saw something, we certainly want to identify them," said Ward.  "As far as the motive goes, we really don’t have any.  We don’t know if it was a robbery or a burglary that had gone wrong. We really don’t have an idea at this point.”

Ward says they’ve been investigating the incident as a homicide from the outset.

Kentucky Executive Appointed to Hunger Commission

Apr 14, 2014

A Bowling Green business executive has been appointed to serve on the National Commission on Hunger. Spencer A. Coates was selected by Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell. Coates is president of Houchens Industries, a diversified employee-owned company with roots in retail grocery and convenience stores.

The Commission is made up of ten people selected by Congressional leaders. The Commission will make recommendations to Congress and the Secretary of Agriculture on how to modernize and improve federal food assistance programs.

McConnell says Coates is a great fit for the new commission. He says Coates has front-line experience dealing with how and where people use food assistance programs.

Coates also serves on the Board of Directors of the National Grocers' Associations.

National Corvette Museum

The last Corvette remaining in the giant, 50-foot sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green has been removed. 

Crews pulled up the badly-crushed,  2001 Mallett Hammer Z-06 using a crane Wednesday afternoon.

"You would think there would be tears of happiness to pull the last one out, but it's not even recognizable, so I think that created a somber mood among everybody," said the museum's Communications Director Katie Frassinelli.  "You usually save the best for last, but in this case, it was definitely the worst."

The Mallett Hammer was one of two Corvettes that had not been seen since the February 12th sinkhole collapse. 

The car was donated to the museum last December by a Florida couple who modified it into a racing car.  The Mallett Hammer was supposed to be used at the new Motorsports Park.

All eight cars will be on display at the museum through early August. They will then be shipped to Michigan for restoration. 

It took nearly two months to unearth all eight vintage automobiles. 

GM

Workers at the General Motors plant in Kentucky that assembles Corvettes have voted to authorize a strike over lingering safety concerns. But a local union leader says he hopes the dispute can be resolved without a walkout.

Union members voted to give union leaders the green light to call a strike if necessary. About 800 union workers were eligible to cast ballots.

Eldon Renaud, president of United Auto Workers Local 2164, says the issues involved include safety and quality control.

He says there have been several "near misses" that could have led to serious injuries for assembly line workers at the Bowling Green plant.

Renaud says he hopes the strike-authorization vote leads to stepped up negotiations.

The plant says worker safety and quality of its products are at the forefront of every decision. It says it's confident management and the union can work together.

Emil Moffatt

A crowd of over 3,000 fans turned out for the Bowling Green Hot Rods season opener, a 5-2 win over the South Bend Silver Hawks Thursday night. The game marked the beginning of a new era for Bowling Green’s minor league baseball team and the area around its downtown ballpark.

It’s the team’s sixth year at Bowling Green Ballpark, which now has a new neighbor:  a multi-restaurant, parking garage and apartment building next door known as Hitcents Park Plaza.  One of the restaurants named "6-4-3", after the scoring notation for a double play, features a distinct baseball feel.

It was also the first game since the new ownership group, led by Stuart and Jerry Katzoff, took over in December.

Fruit of the Loom announced Thursday it will close the company's Jamestown, Ky. plant, laying off hundreds of workers. 

The clothing manufacturer says 600 employees will lose their jobs.  The layoffs will begin in phases starting in June and the plant will be closed by the end of the year.  Production at the Jamestown plant will transition to facilities in Honduras, according to a press release.

The company says global competition and cheaper production overseas forced the plant to close.  State Representative Jeff Hoover of Jamestown posted on Twitter that he is "devastated" by the news. 

Fruit of the Loom is the largest employer in Russell County. The company is headquartered in Bowling Green.

Lisa Autry

Just over a week from now is the deadline for Kentucky’s uninsured to get coverage through the state’s health care exchange known as Kynect.  The state is working to reach as much of the uninsured population as possible.

On Saturday, several Bowling Green residents turned out for a sign-up event at the Greenwood Mall.  Among them was 32-year-old Jason Abney who was frustrated trying to navigate the website on his own.

"I didn't know exactly which website to go to because when you pull up Kynect on the Internet, it goes to three or four pages at a time, and it was just a hassle," remarked Abney.

Abney has been without health insurance the past year-and-a-half.  He lost coverage when he left his job at a Bowling Green manufacturing plant. 

“I used to have insurance when I worked for Magna and it was pretty good insurance.  I had a car wreck and they paid a bunch of hospital bills, so it pays to have insurance," he added.

Abney got assistance from Sandra Lindsey with Community Action of Southern Kentucky.  She’s a ‘Kynector,’ someone who’s been trained by state officials to help the public navigate Kentucky’s health care exchange.

National Corvette Museum

The oldest Corvette that fell into the sinkhole at the National Corvette Museum in Bowling Green last month has been recovered.  The museum says a black, 1962 Corvette was pulled out by crane today. 

On Monday, two others – a 1993 model and one from 2009 were brought back to the surface.

Five more cars remain in the 50-foot sinkhole. The museum says the cars will be put on display at the museum before being shipped to Michigan for repair.

Pokey LaFarge

Among the things that make Pokey LaFarge stand out: his unique moniker, his throwback sound, the formal attire he often sports on stage and one of the songs from his latest album, which celebrates….a time zone.

I don’t mind the West Coast, and I don’t mind the East Coast, Oh, baby, but I ain’t gonna live on no coast. I’m just a plain ol’ Midwestern boy, gettin’ by on central time.

LaFarge says the song, called "Central Time", took him only five minutes to write

“Some songwriters would say that’s proof that it’s a good song,” said LaFarge. “Some of the best songs come out that way If it came out in five minutes, I wasn't even consciously thinking about it. It just came out.”

The 30-year-old St. Louis native along with his five-piece band will keep it within the Central time zone tonight as he performs in Bowling Green. The Pokey LaFarge sound can be described in a variety of different ways. He says it changes every time he’s asked.

“If I had to describe it today, I would say that it’s acoustic-rooted, horn-accentuated, lyric- and melody-driven Midwestern swing. How’s that?”

National Corvette Museum

General Motors says it will oversee the restoration process for the eight sports cars that fell into a giant sinkhole Wednesday morning at the Corvette Museum.  Bowling Green Corvette plant manager Jeff LaMarche  says they won’t know the exact condition of the cars until they’re recovered.

“We know that these cars represent significant milestones – not just in our history in Chevrolet and General Motors but also in the automotive history. And nobody really has a better understanding of their significance and what it takes to properly restore these than the engineers and designers at Chevrolet where they were developed," said LaMarche.

The lead engineer for the reconstruction project says it will take 2-3 weeks to stabilize the ground around the sinkhole.  After that, he says it will take 4-6 days to remove the cars. Museum officials say repairs will start Friday and they hope to have everything complete by August when the museum celebrates its 20th anniversary.

Abbey Oldham

A well-known Bowling Green restaurant is moving from its historic downtown location after being purchased by a new owner.

Mariah’s 1818 restaurant is headed to the Hitcents Park Plaza, in a different part of the city’s downtown. The restaurant was purchased by the MR Group Monday, and will be one of five restaurants opening in the plaza.

Bowling Green natives have taken to Mariah’s Facebook page to share their feelings on the move. Although there are some who support the change, many are sharing feelings of disappointment, saying that the Mariah’s Moore House location is what creates the beloved atmosphere of the restaurant, and that the new location simply won’t be the same.

Some accused the purchasing group of not understanding the historical significance of Mariah’s Restaurant and its location and what it means to the community.

Mariah’s responded on their Facebook page, saying the new location will provide more space and necessary updates which will better serve the community.

Mariah’s will be opened in the current location through March 31 and will open its new doors in April.

Jacinda Jones

At 170 pounds, Jacinda Jones is half the woman she used to be.

“I’d managed to get up to 350, actually I don’t know the exact weight because my scale would not measure my weight," said Jones.

Two years ago, this Bowling Green wife and mother was a size 28.  She lived on fast food and was an admitted couch potato.

“I ate out a lot and it would be a salad, bread, the entrée, and dessert.  It would be all of it," Jones confessed.  "When I got fast food, it would be chicken fingers and fries.  It was just a free for all.  There was no exercise.”

Jacinda had experienced weight problems since her youth, but her life changing moment came on an airplane in 2010.

“I had went to Vegas, and the seat belt buckle wouldn’t and I was too embarrassed to ask for the extender," she said.

Following the trip, she began thinking about gastric bypass surgery.

“My mom told me I needed to have the surgery, and I was so scared of surgery, I told her to give me one more shot to do this, and I told her if it fails this time, I will have the surgery," remarked Jones.

At 32 years old, Jacinda was obese and pre-diabetic. She had high blood pressure and no energy. 

“I also developed what’s called benign intracranial hypertension.  It’s where my body either doesn’t get rid of or makes too much spinal fluid because of my weight," she explained.  "It would give me headaches because I had too much pressure on my spine, and it also pushed on my optic nerves and I could have gone blind.  I went to an opthamologist and he said you’ve got to lose weight.”

And then she turned to an unexpected place: her job.  Jacinda works as a claims specialist for Progressive Insurance in the company’s Bowling Green office.  She began taking advantage of the company’s employee wellness program called Healthy U. 

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