Daviess County

Spectator Killed in Crash at Western Kentucky Raceway

Sep 9, 2013

A spectator has been killed and two others injured during a crash at a raceway in western Kentucky.

Daviess County Coroner Jeff Jones told the Messenger-Inquirer that 21-year-old Ryan Peters died Sunday night from injuries suffered when a car hit him after crashing at the Windy Hollow Raceway. Jones said several spectators in the pit area were struck.

Two others were taken to Owensboro Health Regional Hospital with injuries, but information on their conditions hasn't been released.

The Daviess County Sheriff's Department said emergency crews were called to the track after two cars apparently crashed and one hit the wall in a turn before striking spectators in the pit.

The Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident.

Emil Moffatt

The repainting of Owensboro's "Blue Bridge" is running ahead of schedule. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd says the original plan called for the bridge to be closed until late this year to allow painting to be completed on the main truss of the span, which connects Daviess County to southern Indiana.

"We think we'll be finished with the main truss around the middle of next week," Todd told WKU Public Radio Friday. "That will allow them to turn around and then begin painting the approach spans."

Todd says two full work crews have worked a combined twelve hours a day, seven days a week throughout the summer to get the main bulk of the work done on the span officially known as the Glover H. Cary bridge.

The contractor is hoping to have the approach spans painted before November 15th, when the bridge is set to re-open. An estimated 8,500 vehicles cross the Owensboro Blue Bridge daily.

Emil Moffatt

As early-morning fog gave way to a clear blue August sky, 30 teams dressed in bright-colored t-shirts climbed into narrow wooden boats, adorned with a dragon head in the front. The teams paddled out to the starting line in the middle of the Ohio River.  

Todd Petzold expressed cautious optimism as his team prepared to participate in the Owensboro Dragon Boat Festival for a second straight year.

“We’re team MPD, and we’re not going to sink this year. And we’re going to have fun,” said Petzold.

The teams were made up of between 15-20 people, including men and women. Their experience level ranged from veteran to novice.

They’re taking part in an athletic event and tradition whose origins date back to the year 278 B. C. in China and a man considered the father of Chinese poetry, Qu Yuan.

Daviess County has the largest caseload of any county in Kentucky without a family court.  The Kentucky Supreme Court last year certified the need for two family court positions in Daviess County, but budget constraints have delayed any action.

"The money has not been allocated,” says Kentucky Supreme Court Chief Justice John Minton, Jr.  “The budgets have been so strained in the last few years that expansion of any sort has been put on hold.  I've not met any resistance from legislators in terms of the need, it's just a matter of the funding."

Minton says family judgeships could possibly be created without additional state appropriations.  He says when a judge retires in one part of the state, that judgeship could be moved to a county in need of a family court. The retiring judge would not be replaced if he or she had a small caseload.  The Administrative Office of the Courts can decertify a judgeship if deemed no longer necessary because of declining caseloads.

"There are places where the populations and caseloads have grown and there are places where the populations and caseloads have shrunk over time," says Minton.  "It's been several generations since we have addressed the deployment of judicial resources around the state, so it needs another look."

The long-term transit needs in Owensboro will be the subject of a final report issued next week at City Hall.

The Corradino Group will present its final report on the study which makes proposals to improve Owensboro’s transit options. The Messenger-Inquirer reports a public hearing will be held Thursday, August 1, where Owensboro residents can comment on the study’s findings.

Owensboro transit manager Michael Hughes has said the study will recommend that the city’s transit system expand to eight routes from six, with all routes taking no longer than half-an-hour to complete. The study is also expected to call for the city’s bus system to expand its coverage area and include new transfer points that would allow riders to reach their destinations more efficiently.

The public hearing on the transit plan is August 1 at 11 a.m. in Owensboro’s City Hall.

Rosenwald School Discovered in Owensboro

Jul 18, 2013

A one-room schoolhouse in Owensboro has been added to a national database of schools built for black children in the early 20th century.

The schoolhouse is in Pioneer Village at Yellow Creek Park. It was one of 5,357 public schools, manual training shops and teacher cottages built in the South with grants from the Rosenwald Fund between 1912 and 1932.

A total of 158 of them were built in 41 Kentucky counties.

Fisk University in Nashville maintains a database of Rosenwald Schools around the country.

Friends of Pioneer Village Executive Director Sean Dysinger told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer the head of the project at Fisk thought the Owensboro school had been torn down, which is why it wasn't included on the list until now.

City of Owensboro

Owensboro's Independence Day fireworks show will be held in November.

The event was canceled last week due to the rainy weather. Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne announced Thursday morning that the show will be held Nov. 9, in conjuction with Veteran's Day. Special recognition will be given to Korean War veterans on the 60th anniversary of that war.

City leaders also considered having the fireworks show during New Year's Eve, or during the grand opening of the new downtown convention center.

City of Owensboro

Rain may have washed out Owensboro's Independence Day fireworks show, but it didn't wash the festivities away.

Mayor Ron Payne told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer  the show will go on, either on New Year's Eve or in conjunction with the grand opening of the city's new convention center.

Payne says the city is leaning toward holding the fireworks show as part of the grand opening of the convention center. The official completion date of the convention center is Jan. 27, although an earlier opening date has not been ruled out.

If the fireworks are held on New Year's Eve, it will be a revival of the First Night celebrations in the city.

Payne said he wasn't sure if the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra will be involved with the fireworks show.

A former chairman of the International Bluegrass Music Museum’s board believes attendance to last week’s River of Music Party will approach 25,000. That would be up from last year’s ROMP attendance of 21,000.

Terry Woodward told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer that he didn’t hear a single negative comment about the bluegrass music festival at Yellow Creek Park, adding that he couldn’t “imagine it being any better than this.”

ROMP was named the event of the year for 2012 by the International Bluegrass Music Association.

Mystery Writers' Festival in Owensboro Canceled

Jun 20, 2013

A festival in western Kentucky for mystery writers has been canceled due to a lack of funding.

The RiverPark Center board of directors made the decision Tuesday during a meeting. The International Mystery Writers' Festival had been scheduled for October in Owensboro.

RiverPark board chairman Jeff Danhauer told the Messenger-Inquirer that the board had a goal of raising $100,000 for the festival by June and didn't reach it.

Board members began looking for alternative funding for the festival after Gov. Steve Beshear decided last year to veto state funding for the event.

The festival returned last year after a 2-year hiatus.