Daviess County

A Daviess County restaurant and bar is on a quest to offer the world's largest selection of bourbons.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Spirits at The Miller House in downtown Owensboro currently has at least 200 types of bourbon in stock on a daily basis. That's double what it had a year ago.

General manager Aaron King said that number puts it among bars with the largest selection of bourbons in stock. He said there are about 250 different bourbons.

"There are bars that claim they have 120 bourbons and say that's the largest collection and there are bars that say they have 250 bourbons," King said. "But when you go there, they aren't all in stock."

U.S. Bank plans to expand its mortgage operations in Owensboro, adding a new facility and 332 jobs to its operations in Daviess County.

The bank’s investment, announced Friday afternoon, comes at a time of increased demand for mortgage services in the area, and represents a $15.2 million commitment. U.S. Bank is the fifth-largest bank in the country, and currently has 1,900 employees in Owensboro.

As part of the expansion, U.S. Bank has been given preliminary approval for $2.8 million dollars in tax incentives through the Kentucky Business Investment program.

visitowensboro.org

Sports tourism is expected to have a $20 million impact on the Owensboro community this year.

Jared Bratcher is sports marketing director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau.

He told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer there will be more than 50 tournaments, including figure skating, hockey, baseball, running, soccer, softball, basketball, tennis, volleyball, fishing and football.

There's some type of tournament in town every month and they will fill every hotel room in the city on 10 weekends this year.

daviesskyschools.org

Schools in western Kentucky have started to consider options if federal funding cuts are implemented next Friday.

If Congress doesn't move to stop the cuts scheduled to take place on March 1, nearly $3 billion in education funding would be cut.

Daviess County Superintendent Owen Saylor told the Messenger-Inquirer that the district is trying to prepare just in case.

"Worst case, we're looking at $535,000 in lost funding for our district alone," Saylor said. "We don't want to scare anyone. We don't like giving bad news, but if nothing changes, we're like everyone else. Eventually you have to cut jobs."

Rogue Cinema

An independent filmmaker from Owensboro is wrapping up an effort to help spotlight other filmmaking talent in the region.

"Unscripted: An Indie Film Xperience" is the brainchild of P.J. Starks, and is a collaboration between his film company and the Daviess County Public Library. The series of short films written, directed, and produced by filmmakers in the Owensboro-Daviess County region concludes Friday night.

Starks says the series gives attendees the chance to see the local films, and then watch them again with the director offering live, interactive commentary.

"It gives the public and the community an opportunity to see the types of talent and artistry we have in the area, and the types of films being made, because it really does run the gamut," says Starks.

Legislation introduced in both the Kentucky House and Senate is designed to help keep aluminum smelter jobs in the northwestern Kentucky region of Daviess, Henderson, Hancock, and Webster counties.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports Sen. Joe Bowen and Rep. Tommy Thompson, both of Daviess County, have introduced identical bills in their respective chambers. Bowen told the newspaper the legislation is aimed at allowing Century Aluminum in Hawesville to buy electricity on the open wholesale electricity market.

That is currently not allowed under state law.

Last summer, Century, which employs 700 workers, announced it would shutter its smelter unless either the price of metal went up or its electric rates dropped. The smelter terminated its contract with Henderson-based Big Rivers Electric Corp. Before that, Century was Big Rivers largest customer.

Owensboro's "Blue Bridge" to Close for Six Months

Feb 5, 2013

A rusting a faded bridge that connects Owensboro, Ky., to southern Indiana will close for around six months while it is painted.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne made the announcement Monday during a speech at the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau.

Payne said the $17 million paint job for the Glover H. Cary Bridge, known simply as the "blue bridge," would take up to two years if a lane is kept open for traffic, so officials decided to close it and get the job done quicker. He said the bridge would close in May after the International Bar-B-Q Festival and wouldn't "until they get it finished," which is expected to happen by November.

"I kind of like that," Payne said of the shorter schedule. "Knock it out all at one time."

The president and chief executive officer for Owensboro Medical Health System announced his resignation Tuesday.

Jeff Barber made the announcement during meetings with the the OMHS management team and medical staff leadership. His retirement will begin July 26, following a nearly 40 year career in health care.

Barber joined OMHS in 2004.

A news release from OMHS says a search committee consisting of current and past board members will lead the search process for Barber's replacement.

Rogue Cinema

Owensboro filmmaker P.J. Starks is set to launch a new film series called "Unscripted Xperience", which allows audiences to meet and offer live commentary with filmmakers and actors. Starks donates to charity most of the money raised from the events, and he hopes the "Xperience" will help raise the profile of independent filmmakers in the Daviess County region.

WKYU-PBS is planning to tape the Feb. 1 film series session and produce a piece for the program Main Street that will likely air in early March.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer has this profile piece of Starks and his upcoming film series.

Unique Granite and Marble Inc. plans to expand their manufacturing operations in Owensboro, creating 25 new full-time jobs and investing $400,000 in the project.

Unique Granite and Marble has been manufacturing custom granite and quartz countertops in Owensboro since 2004 after transitioning from home building and remodeling. The company currently employs 28. With the expansion, the company plans to establish a new division to produce countertops for large commercial and multi-family units throughout a six state region.

The Kentucky Economic Development Finance Authority preliminarily approved the company for tax incentives up to $250,000 through the Kentucky Business Investment program. The performance based incentive allows a company to keep a portion of its investment over the term of the agreement through corporate income tax credits and wage assessments by meeting job and investment targets.

Officials in Daviess County have begun making a list of every household without water.

Daviess Judge-Executive Al Mattingly told the Messenger-Inquirer that the move is aimed at making the county the first in the state to have every home connected to water lines.

He said funding is available from the state to help pay for the extensions, and the county hopes to partner with rural water districts and homeowners to get lines extended.

Community Services Director Nate Pagan says he is making a list of homes that aren't connected and is asking those who want service to contact him at 270-685-8424, or npagan@daviessky.org.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports the 2012 General Assembly approved $160,000 in coal severance funds for extending waterlines to homes in Daviess County that are currently reliant on well weather.

Owensboro Mayor: City Needs to Remove Barriers to Business

Jan 14, 2013

A western Kentucky city plans to have a panel determine whether it can make things easier for businesses looking to locate or expand in the area.

Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne told the Messenger-Inquirer that he's heard several complaints from the business community and this is an attempt to see if there are problems and, if so, how best to address them.

"Ever since I've been mayor, I've heard complaints about problems with planning and zoning and other requirements, or difficulties dealing with City Hall, and given the amount of business activity we have and what I anticipate will occur, we want to make sure it is as easy as possible to do business," Payne said recently in calling for the appointment of a Commission on Business Development.

He said the group would talk to developers and business owners to see what kind of problems they have when they attempt to open or expand a business and determine whether issues really exist.

Wendell H. Ford GEC

Former President Bill Clinton is coming to Owensboro this spring for a benefit fundraiser. The Messenger-Inquirier reports the event will raise funds to support the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center.

Ford served in the U.S. Senate from 1974 to 1999, and was Democratic Whip the first six years of Clinton’s presidencies.

President Clinton has appeared in Daviess County before—in 2000, he presented an education award to Audubon Elementary School, and he campaigned at Kentucky Wesleyan College in 2008 on behalf of his wife, Hillary Clinton, who was seeking the Democratic presidential nomination.

The Ford Government Education Center is located downtown in the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, and has displays of pictures, artifacts, and documents from Ford’s political career.

Kevin Willis

Officials say private fundraising for a planned Bluegrass Music Center in Daviess County is going well.

International Bluegrass Music Museum Terry Woodward says the drive has received pledges from large donors for $2.6 million and expects to reach a $7 million goal.

The proposal calls for turning an old state office building in Owensboro into a center that will include a museum, an indoor theater and outdoor festival seating. Woodward has said organizers want to offer fans a Bluegrass Opry, something akin to the Grand Old Opry in Nashville, Tenn.

A major fundraising drive kicked off in August, and four months later Woodward updated officials in Owensboro  on the progress.

"I'm happy to report that of the $3 million goal from large donors, right now we have $2.6 million," Woodward told commissioners last month. "We're off to a good start."

Owensboro Elementary Teacher Wins National Award

Dec 30, 2012

Cravens Elementary School teacher Ryan Williams was one of 40 people nationally to receive the 2012 Milken Award and the only recipient in Kentucky. The award comes with a $25,000 gift.

Williams is a native of Henderson and began teaching in Owensboro Public Schools in 1999 after graduating from WKU. He taught first grade for 11 years before moving to third grade. He's currently on temporary assignment as curriculum facilitator at Estes Elementary School. 

"I try to ebgage the students every day, find something that interests them, something they can relate to," Williams said. "I come to work every day with a smile on my face."

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