Owensboro

University of Kentucky

A judge has ruled that former University of Kentucky board chairman Billy Joe Miles of Owensboro is competent to stand trial on rape and sodomy charges.

Defense attorney Scott Cox of Louisville told the Lexington Herald-Leader that special Circuit Judge Kelly Easton of Elizabethtown ruled Miles is competent for trial, which is set for Sept. 6.

Cox and other defense lawyers argued earlier that psychological examinations of the 77-year-old Miles had shown he wasn't mentally capable of going to trial. Neither Cox nor prosecutors in Attorney General Andy Beshear's office had comment Monday on the ruling.

Flickr/Creative Commons

Owensboro Health is beginning a new partnership with the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. It will focus on sharing research and resources for clinical trials.

Under the agreement announced Wednesday, cancer patients being treated at Owensboro Health's Mitchell Center won’t have to travel to participate in clinical trials. Eligible patients will now have access to new treatments in Owensboro.

Flickr/Creative Commons/ BuzzFarmers

Bowling Green’s homeless population has increased slightly this year over 2016. However, local support groups believe the increase may be due to homeless individuals coming to the city from other areas.

The Kentucky Housing Corporation’s recently released count shows Warren County has a homeless population of about 150 people. That’s 22 more than were counted last year. Brent Childers, Director of Neighborhood and Community Services in Bowling Green, said some of the homeless people are coming from surrounding states and counties.

Sts. Mary & Elizabeth Hospital

Amid the opioid epidemic in Kentucky, hospitals say overdoses have strained emergency rooms.

Kentucky hospital officials told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer that drug overdose cases require intervention and critical care, tying up resources.

The opioid crisis hasn't hit western Kentucky's Daviess County, where methamphetamine is still the dominant street drug, as hard as the rest of the state. Dr. Charles Hobelmann, an emergency department physician at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, said the frequency of opioid overdoses is increasing, however.

Business Wire

A group proposing a natural gas plant in Henderson County is continuing to seek contracts needed to secure financial backing to build the facility.

HenderSun Energy LLC owns 2,000 acres in Henderson County and the proposed power generation plant would be on 40 of those acres.

Owensboro Municipal Utilities had considered signing a 10-year contract to buy electricity from the proposed plant, but decided against it earlier this month. OMU has decided to shut down its aging Elmer Smith plant with its two coal-fired generating units. One unit will be shut down by 2019 and the second by 2023. That will mark the end of coal-fired power in Owensboro after 117 years. The city is continuing to consider options for its future power needs.

Carrie Neumayer for KyCIR

The threats started on September 7, exactly one day after a grand jury indicted her alleged rapist.

The messages were dark, continuous and clear: she could die for testifying against wealthy, politically connected Daviess County farmer and businessman Billy Joe Miles.

She received a Facebook message with a photo of her attached, calling her a liar. It was from one of Miles’ employees, according to court records. Later, she found threats scrawled on the windows — “last warning, no cops, you will die.”

Miles’ accuser was driving alone down the highway when a hammer hurled from a passing vehicle shattered her windshield. She replaced it. Someone carved “lying bitch” into the paint. She left the words there.

Sandefur Training Center

A training center for adults with disabilities in Owensboro is consolidating services at its Henderson location in February. The Sandefur Training Center has been a workshop where adults with intellectual or developmental disabilities work on a variety of basic production projects for local companies.

The center underwent a major transformation about a year ago when it added an expanded focus on education and life skills. Executive Director  Julie Wischer said the increased costs led to the decision to close the Owensboro center.

We increased and expanded our adult day learning program, where we learn daily life skills and academics, like math and geography and cooking. And when we did that, it caused the cost of our program to increase.”

Owensboro Convention Center

Construction on a new hotel in downtown Owensboro will begin next summer. The new hotel will hold 110 to 120 rooms. The Owensboro Messenger Inquirer reports it will bring the number of rooms within a block of the convention center to about four hundred.

One of the project’s partners, Jack Wells, said the brand of the new hotel will be announced in a few months. The project should includes up to 160 new apartments but those plans are flexible. Wells said the estimated cost will be more than $33 million. He expects construction to be complete in the summer of 2018.

Friends of Sinners

A faith-based addiction recovery program in Owensboro broke ground on a new residence for women this week. 

The new facility being built by the group “Friends of Sinners” is in response to a growing demand in the region.

Friends of Sinners Executive Director Joe Welsh says the group already operates five residential sites for men and women in Daviess County.  He says there’s been a trend since the group opened its first women’s residence in 2011.

“One of the things that we’ve noticed in Owensboro, in Daviess County, is that there’s a big need for beds for women. We just wanted to target that and try to increase the number of beds Owensboro has for ladies.”

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."

Creative Commons/Joshua Allen

Daviess County doctors are treating as many as 500 patients who are suffering from a once-rare allergy.

Alpha-gal syndrome is spread through tick bites, and leads to allergic reactions after the eating of red meat.

Physicians at Owensboro’s Allergy and Asthma Specialists are seeing an explosion in the number of people diagnosed with the allergy.

Physician assistant Caitlyn Renaud says Alpha-gal is different from a regular allergy because of its delayed reaction time.

“People had dinner at, like, 7 o’clock at night and they ate a steak or cheeseburger. And they would wake up in the middle of the night with swelling, hives, and itching,” she said.  

Other symptoms of Alpha-gal syndrome include abdominal cramping and vomiting.

The allergy especially prevalent in the south-east because of the number of ticks found in the region.

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:

Flickr/Creative Commons/Doug Kerr

Owensboro is joining the federal interstate system.  The Natcher Parkway will become an interstate spur connecting Owensboro to I-65 in Bowling Green. 

Mayor Ron Payne says the designation has been years in the making and will be a major boost to tourism.

"We have an international bluegrass music center and museum that's under construction, and with our riverfront and all the conventions we're having, I think to finally get Owensboro on that interstate map is really going to be a boost to economic development here," Payne told WKU Public Radio.

Governor Matt Bevin will make the official announcement Friday afternoon at the Owensboro Riverport Authority.  Signage will be unveiled designating the Natcher Parkway as a future interstate spur connector. Bevin is expected to offer more details in the news conference, including a start and end date for the project.

The state budget includes $66 million in construction funds for Daviess, Ohio, Butler, and Warren Counties for upgrading the Natcher Parkway to interstate standards.

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