Daviess County

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Daviess County Fiscal Court has unanimously passed a resolution that supports separating the County Employees Retirement System, or CERS, from the Kentucky Retirement System. A vote at Thursday night's fiscal court meeting in Owensboro.

There are 250 Daviess County employees enrolled in the County plan. The resolution doesn't result in any change in law, but calls on the state legislature to break CERS away from KRS.

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An Owensboro man is leading an effort to move a Confederate statue off the Daviess County Courthouse lawn.

Twenty-two-year-old Jesse Bean started a petition on the website Change.org to convince local leaders to act.

Bean says he was inspired to take on the issue following the weekend violence at a white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, and efforts in Lexington to move a pair of Confederate statues away from that city’s downtown.

Bean says the local statue should be displayed at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History.

Daviess County Animal Shelter

The Daviess County Animal Shelter has declared a “code red.”  That means the shelter is stepping up efforts to reduce the number of animals so it doesn’t have to euthanize healthy, adoptable pets.

There are currently 69 dogs, 83 cats and four rabbits.

Shelter Director Ashley Clark says there are several ways to avoid unnecessary euthanization.

“If we could have rescues and fosters and adopters to come in and help with the animals, it’s not going to one avenue that solves the problem. You know, we can’t adopt our way out of it, and we can’t foster our way out of it.”

Alorica Owensboro Facebook

The California-based customer service company that opened its Owensboro office in July is putting down roots as a major corporate citizen.

Alorica already has 200 employees working in Owensboro in the former BB&T building that it’s renovating.

Company spokesman Ken Muche said 500 employees will be in the Owensboro offices by the end of this year and employment will reach 840 in three years.

Muche says the company is dedicated to having a long-term positive impact in every community where it locates. That’s done by partnering with regional nonprofits and encouraging employees to participate in the partnerships.

Daviess County Public Library

The Daviess County Public Library could become the first library in Kentucky to employ a full-time social worker. The social worker would train and support library staff, as well as refer people in need to the appropriate agencies.

 

The Messenger-Inquirer reports the Daviess County Public Library board approved a budget for the fiscal year starting July 1, that allocates a $37,000 starting salary for the position.

The social worker won’t provide counseling services, since they will not be working in a health-care facility. Treasurer Rodney Ellis told the paper that he’s wary of a decision that could open the library up to legal liabilities.

Islamic Center in Owensboro Vandalized With Paint

Nov 14, 2016
Facebook/Islamic Center of Owensboro

The Islamic Center of Owensboro has been vandalized for the second time in less than a year.

Dr. Aseedu Kalik, treasurer for the center, tells local media that paint was thrown at the Islamic Center sign sometime over the weekend. The center filed a police report on Sunday.

Kalik says the Owensboro Police Department assured him they would be making extra patrols in the area.

The act of vandalism follows a January incident in which someone squirted ketchup on the center's sign. According to a sheriff's department report at the time, the damage was not permanent.

Kalik says he doesn't want people to get frustrated about the acts of a few individuals, because "that is not what the bigger community is about."

Yager Materials

A high school career coach in Daviess County is making sure students are aware of job opportunities created by the Ohio River. 

About 50 students from Apollo and Heritage Park high schools will go to the Owensboro Riverport and to Yager Materials, a company that builds and repairs barges.

Jeremy Camron  is the college and career readiness coach at Apollo High School. He says the Nov. 9 field trip called “Who Works the Rivers?” gives students a close-up look at, “…what it’s like to be a deckhand or a crane operator, or how you can become an electrician or an engineer on barge motors. All of those jobs may start in the $20,000 range, but their top end wage range is somewhere close to $100,000. You know, a riverboat captain is making $150,000 a year.”

The field trip includes a career fair at the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, where about a dozen companies will speak to students about river-based jobs. Camron says opportunities for river jobs are right in the students’ backyard.

“We’re fortunate that we’re located right on the Ohio River and we have a massive river port that’s developed, as well as Yager Materials that does a lot of work with barges. So there are a lot of high quality jobs for kids who just have a high school diploma want to go straight to work.”

The field trip is sponsored by RiverWorks Discovery, a program based at the National Mississippi River Museum and Aquarium in Dubuque, Iowa.

Daviess County

Daviess County is expecting a record turnout on Election Day that could go as high as 70 percent of registered voters.

Daviess County’s chief election officer, Richard House, says the anticipated high voter turnout is due to a combination of national, state and local races that are generating a lot of interest.

“I think both sides are really polarized as far as the presidential race is concerned. We have several State House races here in Daviess County that are competitive. We’re going to have a new mayor. We’re going to have new city commissioners. So we have a lot of local interest in this race.”

Lots of candidates have stepped up to the plate in Daviess County. Five are running for mayor of Owensboro. Ten people are running for four seats on the Owensboro City Commission.

“We also have our first family court judge and there are four candidates running really competitive races,” said House. “That’s a non-partisan office and it’s the first time we’ve ever had a family court judge. So that’s been drawing a lot of attention.”

Expectations of high voter turnout are leading Daviess County to add 30 poll workers for the Nov. 8 election. The county is estimating that 50,000 voters could cast ballots on Election Day.

House said the voter turnout in previous presidential election years was about 68 percent in 2008 and 63 percent in 2012.

Nicole Erwin | Ohio Valley ReSource

Mount St. Joseph in Daviess County, Kentucky, may appear calm with the Green River flowing past  homes that dot the farmland here. But there is trouble in the air and it comes along with the smell of a large hog farm.

Sixty-three year old Jerry O’Bryan was born and raised on a farm in Daviess County. By the time he was 22 he had lost both parents and was left 150 acres to support his family.

“Back when I started there was two things that a young man with very little money could do to get started in agriculture, one of them was tobacco and the other one was hogs,” explained O’Bryan.

Now he produces more than 200,000 market hogs a year. Recently, he built a hog truck wash, Piggy Express LLC., to sanitize five semi trucks used a day to transport hogs to market. The facility upset local residents. They’ve formed  a group called CAPPAD, or Community Against Pig Pollution and Disease. Don Peters, a retired engineer, is a member.

Minor League Hockey Team Will Not Move to Owensboro

Oct 2, 2016
City of Owensboro

The owner of a minor league hockey team says he will not move the team to Owensboro because it would cost too much to renovate the city's arena.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports IceMen hockey team owner Ron Geary sent a letter to city officials saying the up to $6 million cost to renovate the Owensboro Sportscenter was not feasible. The city had announced earlier it would not build a new arena for the team.

The IceMen were located in Evansville, Indiana through the end of the 2016 season. In January, the team signed an agreement with city officials to move the team to Owensboro. The city had agreed to sell the team the Owensboro Sportscenter for $1 if the team would renovate it. But the contract was never finalized.

Institute of Southern Jewish Life

A synagogue in Owensboro, Kentucky is preparing to hold services for the High Holy Days that begin at sundown on Oct. 2. 

The synagogue was built in 1877 by 13 founding families. There are currently seven member families, as well as a few non-members who participate.

The effort to keep the synagogue functioning is led by two Jewish members who open the doors for a Friday evening study session. Through those open doors have come several non-Jews drawn to the Jewish teachings.

“Come let us welcome the Sabbath. May its radiance illumine our hearts as we kindle these tapers,” said synagogue President Sandy Bugay, as she recently lit the candles that mark that start of the Jewish Sabbath that begins at sundown Friday and ends at sundown Saturday.

Bugay led the Hebrew blessing for the half-dozen people gathered around a table in a meeting room at the synagogue:

ADANI

The Daviess County Detention Center has a new state-of-the-art body scanner to help cut down on contraband.

Jailer David Osborne says Daviess County has problems common to most jails and prisons – the continuing and increasing amount of contraband being smuggled in, especially drugs.

“It seems that nowadays people are getting smarter about how they try to smuggle it and most of the time now it’s actually in body cavities. Even in the jail, once they’re in here, they just keep it stored there, if you can imagine, in balloons or in plastic bags or whatever.”

The body scanner is similar to the machines used at airports, but it has two views from different angles to help detect hidden drugs or other items.

The scanner has advanced technology called DruGuard. The software component outlines the part of the body of the person being scanned where drugs may be concealed.

Osborne says the scanner is especially important for inmates who leave the jail for work assignments,  where they sometimes try to arrange drug deals.

“You name it, they’ll smuggle anything in and everything in here , you see, is valuable. And it’s dangerous, because it causes the inmates to want to fight each other to get that drug. Or when they get high it causes problems for our staff."

Osborne says the $150,000 scanner is an important step to increase safety. He says the new technology may eventually allow the jail to do away with strip searches.

Daviess County Emergency Management

The first solar-powered weather siren in Daviess County is taking the emergency warning system a step forward in green technology.  The siren is at Shively Park in Owensboro.

John Clouse is deputy director of emergency management for Daviess County.  He says all 40 sirens in the county are powered with battery back-up and this first solar one is a test project.   

“So charging that with solar energy versus an electrical charge from one of the companies just seemed to make sense. We have a lot of sunshine and the new solar technology is very good at being able to collect and generate energy even on cloudy days now.”

Clouse said the solar-powered siren is tested regularly and so far, so good.

“To this point it’s been working great. We have had no problems with it at all. We test the sirens usually about three times a week, most notably on Friday at noon when we have the audible test. The siren has been behaving as it should since it’s been installed.”

Creative Commons

Voters in the small Daviess County community of Maceo  have voted to allow the sale of alcohol.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports only about 12% of eligible voters cast a ballot Tuesday with the final result being 63 for and 51 against.

Ironically, voting was held inside the Maceo Baptist Church whose pastor, Rev. Scott Ford, led the opposition to the local option. Supporters were led by a businessman whose family owns nine convenience stores in Daviess County.

Maceo was the second precinct in the county to go wet this year. Whitesville voters passed a local option in June. Daviess County spent more than $6,000 for both elections.

Daviess County now has just 15 dry precincts out of a total of 85.

The next wet-dry vote can’t be held until December at the earliest.

Creative Commons

A vacant judgeship in Daviess County will remain unfilled until the November election. 

The state budget approved by Kentucky lawmakers this year funded Daviess County’s first family court judgeship.  Monday was the deadline for Governor Matt Bevin to appoint someone to the bench.  The governor’s office issued a statement confirming the position will stay vacant but declined to say why. 

"We have no comment but can confirm the governor passed on making the appointment," Press Secretary Amanda Stamper told WKU Public Radio.

The position won’t be filled until the November election.  Four local attorneys are vying for the judgeship.  They include Angela Thompson, Clifton Boswell, Julie Hawes Gordon, and Susan Montalvo-Gesser.

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