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.
Members of the public who would be impacted by a potential rate increase by Big Rivers Electric Corporation have opportunities to speak out this week. The Kentucky Public Service Commission is holding meetings in Owensboro and Henderson, and a chance for Brandenburg residents to link via video conferencing.
The Henderson-based Big Rivers wants approval for a rate adjustment that will raise $74.5 million dollars in increased revenue. The possible 20 percent increase would account for an extra $24 per month for the average customer. Industrial customers would see nearly 17 percent rate increases.
The utility says most of that new revenue is needed to offset the loss of the Century Aluminum smelter in Hawesville, which will cease to be a Big Rivers client in mid-August. Big Rivers provides power to a region extending from Meade County through Owensboro and Henderson and into Paducah in far western Kentucky.
The Public Service Commission will hold two meetings this Thursday for public comments on the proposed rate hike. The first is at South Middle School in Henderson at 1 p.m., and the second will be at the Owensboro Community and Technical College that evening at 5:30.
Big Rivers customers in the Brandenburg area can watch the Owensboro meeting via a video-conference at Meade County High School starting at 6:30 p.m. eastern.
A truck crash at the Natcher Parkway/US 60 Interchange in Owensboro will require some of the ramps to be closed for most of Friday.
The northbound Natcher to westbound US 60 ramp and eastboud US 60 ramp to southbound Natcher will be closed to allow recovery of the truck.
Motorists may use the remaining open ramps to maneuver around this crash site. Caution is required due to emergency personnel in the area.
Due to spilled fuel, damage to guardrail, and the need for emergency personnel to continue their work at the crash site, these ramps are expected to remain closed most of the day for clean up and repair work.
Kevin's interview with Owensboro Health's Gordon Wilkerson
It's the last week of preparations before Saturday's official opening of the new Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. The 447-bed facility sits on 162 acres of land in eastern Owensboro, and is opening this weekend after three years of construction.
Owensboro Health spokesman Gordon Wilkerson says the hospital has been trying to make the transition as painless as possible.
"We'll be identifying patients who will still be in the hospital Saturday morning and who will need to be moved to the new facility. And we're working closely with their family members to ensure they have at least one family member present during the move," said Wilkerson.
The final price tag for the new hospital on Pleasant Valley drive was $385 million, and was paid for by a bond issue in 2010. Wilkerson said the costs associated with the new facility will not lead to increased care costs for patients.
Officials are taking cue from Tennessee in their effort to make Owensboro synonymous with bluegrass music.
Owensboro mayor Ron Payne wants to rename Second Street so that it reflects the city's growing reputation as a hub for bluegrass music. He says in Tennessee, Nashville, which is known for country music, has Music Row; Memphis, which is known for blues, has Beale Street.
Payne said he's already talked to City Commission members and now he's ready to hear ideas from the public for renaming the street.
A construction worker has died following an accident at the site of the Owensboro “Blue Bridge” painting project. Daviess County Coroner Jeff Jones says the man—whose identity has not been released—died Monday evening after being taken to the Owensboro Health Regional Hospital.
Co-workers found the 35-year-old unconscious in safety netting at the work site. He was cut from the netting and taken to the hospital with burns on his hands, indicating that he may have come into contact with energized electrical wires on the bridge.
The contractor and Kentucky Transportation Cabinet safety personnel will conduct an investigation into the incident.
The Glover H. Cary Bridge—also known locally as the “Blue Bridge”—is closed until November while it gets a fresh coat of paint. The bridge connects Owensboro with southern Indiana, and is used by an average of 8,500 vehicles a day.
Owensboro police reported clearing 77.1% of violent crimes and nearly 39% of property crimes in 2012. Those figures put them above the national averages of 48% for violent crime and 19% for property crimes.
Police chief Art Ealum says the clearance rate comes from the department's efforts to build close ties with the community. Ealum says the city's relatively small size allows patrol officers to interact with the public in a way an officer in a large metro area can't.
In 2012, the department had 101 full-time officers and five reserve officers.
Kevin's interview with Nick Brake, incoming head of Owensboro Public Schools
The incoming chief of the Owensboro Public School system says fully-funding pre-Kindergarten programs would be the best education investment state lawmakers could make.
Nick Brake will take over as leader of Owensboro's school system July 1, following seven years with the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation.
He told WKU Public Radio increased pre-K funding is money well spent.
"If you fully fund those programs, not only do you contribute three-to-one to their earnings later, but every dollar you spend there ends up saving the state money on the back end with benefit programs, criminal justice, and other savings," Brake said. "It's a long-term investment and sometimes those are difficult for public policy makers to swallow, but I think it's an investment that needs to be made."
Brake signed a four-year contract Monday to take over as leader of the Owensboro Public School system.