Owensboro

Judge: Kentucky Must OK Sale Of Alcohol Distributor

Nov 14, 2014

A Franklin County Circuit Court judge has ordered the state to approve the sale of a small Owensboro distributor to Anheuser-Busch in a decision that could prompt a legislative fight when the General Assembly meets in January.

Judge Phillip J. Shepherd ordered the state Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control to issue a wholesale beer distributor's license to Anheuser-Busch within the next week, which would allow the sale to go through. Other alcohol distributors and retailers have opposed the sale, arguing it would give Anheuser-Busch too much power to control how competing products are distributed.

A spokesman for the department said the state is reviewing the decision. Shepherd noted the case is part of a debate that dates back 50 years over whether brewers should be able to own the distribution.

Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce

A lot has happened in Owensboro in the last 2 ½ years. And the person at the helm of the city’s Chamber of Commerce during that time says she expects the momentum to continue.

“I started and then two months later Smothers Park and the brand new downtown revitalization opened,” said Amy Jackson. “Then six months later, we were working on new things; a year and a half later opening up the new convention center and so it’s really just continued to gain steam.”

But Jackson’s last day as CEO and President of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce is Friday.  She’s leaving to take a position with First Security Bank in Owensboro. Jackson says she’s pleased with the direction in which the chamber and the city are headed.

“It’s to be applauded to know that within a year of opening that downtown revitalization, the public investment has been already matched and surpassed by the private investment,” said Jackson.

Businessman Kirk Kirkpatrick has been named interim leader of the Owensboro Chamber.  The chairman of the chamber's board says a search is underway for Jackson’s permanent replacement.

Daymar Colleges Group

A for-profit college targeted by Kentucky’s Attorney General says it will close its Louisville operations, and is seeking to transfer its students.

The announcement is the latest bad news for Owensboro-based Daymar Colleges Group.

The Courier-Journal reports Daymar has submitted a closure plan to its accrediting body that would lead to the shuttering of its classrooms, and transfer most of its 89 Louisville-area students to other schools, or Daymar’s online program.

Daymar runs more than a dozen campuses in Kentucky, Tennessee, and Ohio, with around 2,000 students. Daymar has recently closed operations in Scottsville and the western Kentucky town of Clinton, and has sold--or is trying to sell--buildings in Owensboro and Louisville.

Tonya Ratliff’s 15-year-old son Tyler has been living with diabetes for 10 years.  Two years ago, doctors told the Owensboro family they’d have to start replacing the insert in Tyler’s diabetes pump more frequently.

“It already was a lot, and that would double it," she said. "So I was like ‘I don’t think I can do that,'."

With three sons, it would be an extra financial burden the Ratliff family. Their doctor told them about a foundation that helps pay for medical expenses not covered by a healthcare plan.  

Since 2007, the UnitedHealthcare Children’s Foundation has given 7,500 grants across the country. In the last three years, 90 of them have been in Kentucky, providing nearly $300,000 for families with children 16 and under. The organization is trying to increase the number of Kentucky families who receive assistance.

“It was a life-changing experience for us, because we literally lived paycheck to paycheck and this was a great burden off of us,” said Ratliff.

The program can cover up to $5,000 dollars in expenses, and each child can receive a maximum of $10,000 over a lifetime.

Emil Moffatt

The only way to get across the Ohio River “Blue Bridge” in Owensboro Saturday morning will be by foot.  The bridge will be closed to vehicles from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m. for a Bridge Day event. 

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says a marked detour will take cars over the US 231 Ohio River “Natcher” Bridge, a route that will add 10 minutes of travel time between Reo, Indiana and downtown Owensboro.

Kentucky Wesleyan College in Owensboro has appointed its 34th president.

The school announced Thursday Barton D. Darrell will be officially introduced as its next leader at a news conference on Tuesday.

Darrell has been a vice-president at the school for 11 months. He has extensive ties to the Bowling Green area, serving as a partner with the law firm of Bell, Orr, Ayers, and Moore beginning in 1991. Darrel served as general counsel for the Warren County Public School system, and is a former president of the Bowling Green-Warren County Bar Association.

His father, Bob Darrell, is a professor emeritus of English at Kentucky Wesleyan College.

The news conference to introduce Barton Darrell as the school’s new president is Sept. 9, at noon in Rogers Hall at the Winchester Center. The public is invited to attend.

Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce

Democratic U.S. Senate candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes has joined the list of confirmed speakers at Owensboro’s Red, White & Blue Picnic later this month.  Grimes’ November opponent, Senator Mitch McConnell already committed to the August 26th event.

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce sponsors the picnic which begins at 5 p.m. on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse.

City of Owensboro, KY

Kentucky's fourth largest city began its journey Tuesday night toward joining seven others that don't discriminate against people based on their sexual orientation or identity.

The Owensboro Human Rights Commission presented a proposed ordinance, with director Sylvia Coleman recommending its consideration and approval. In fact, all five members of the City Commission expressed support Tuesday night for the fairness ordinance, prompting Mayor Ron Payne to instruct the city's legal staff to bring it to the commission for future consideration.

The Fairness Campaign's Dora James says Owensboro officials have been working toward the ordinance since December. She says it all started with a simple chat between a campaign member and a city commissioner.

If Owensboro approves the ordinance after a first reading on the 19th and a second reading next month, it would become the eighth Kentucky community with such a law.

Kentucky BioProcessing

An experimental drug used to treat two Americans infected with the Ebola virus was created in Owensboro.

Kent Brantly and Nancy Writebol are reportedly showing significant improvement after being treated at an Atlanta hospital with a drug called ZMapp.

Compounds used in the drug are grown in genetically modified tobacco plants in an effort overseen by the Owensboro-based Kentucky BioProcessing. The Herald-Leader reports that KBP received a federal contract in 2007 to work on a drug that could treat those exposed to the Ebola virus.

An Ebola outbreak in west Africa has claimed nearly 900 lives, with many more victims infected. Brantly and Writebol, who were giving medical treatment to Ebola victims when they fell ill, are the first known humans to receive Z-Mapp.

A spokesman for the company that runs the Owensboro operation says production of the drug was already being ramped up for approval testing later this year, and that schedule may accelerate given the magnitude of the current Ebola outbreak.

KBP is also involved with the Owensboro Cancer Research program, which this week was given a federal grant to further its research into a possible HIV vaccine using tobacco plants.

The University of Louisville

HIV vaccine research being conducted in Owensboro is getting a boost from a federal grant. The National Institutes of Health Monday announced a five-year, $14.7 million dollar grant for a project being led by the Owensboro Cancer Research program.

The goal is to create a gel-based vaccine that involves tobacco plants.

Researchers in Daviess County have been extracting a protein found in red algae, injecting it into tobacco plants, growing the tobacco on a massive scale, and then extracting the protein for use in a gel. Lab tests show the protein blocks HIV cells from entering uninfected cells.

Researchers have developed a gel using the protein that they hope can be used to stop the spread of HIV during sexual intercourse.

Owensboro Cancer Research program director Kenneth Palmer says the irony of using tobacco plants to possibly create a medical breakthrough isn’t lost on him.

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