The new Owensboro Convention Center opens for business Wednesday as the Ag Expo begins. The city also has grand opening festivities slated for this weekend.
Work began on the 170,000 square foot, $40-million dollar facility in March 2012. Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne says the finished product is impressive.
“You go in and the lobby is 60 feet high and you have a lot of lot of unique artwork in there and two huge ballrooms up on the third floor. Off those ballrooms to the north and you have a balcony overlooking the Ohio River,” said Payne.
Payne says despite the facility’s size, it will be able to play host to events large and small.
“The exhibit hall can actually be separated into three separate exhibit halls if you want to do it," said Payne. "Or you can take the panels and open up the entire thing. So, lots of versatility which gives you a lot of options.”
Kentucky’s newest House member was sworn into office Tuesday on the opening day of the 2014 General Assembly session.
Representative Suzanne Miles of Owensboro was also appointed to serve on the House Agriculture, Judiciary, and State Government Committees.
“I’m excited about serving on these committees, and hope to utilize my background as a small business owner, an advocate for our farming community, and my passion for government to help move our Commonwealth forward,” said Rep. Miles.
Miles, a Republican, won a special election in December to serve the remaining term of former Representative John Arnold.
Miles' victory eroded the Kentucky Democratic Party’s margin of control in the House. The Democrats now have 54 seats against the Republicans’ 46.
A meeting where members of the public can sound off about a requested rate increase by Big Rivers Electric Corporation has been rescheduled.
A meeting was to be held Dec. 10 in Henderson, but was called off due to bad weather. The new date is Monday, December 16, in the Stagg Meeting Room at Henderson Community College, beginning at 5 pm.
The meeting will include a presentation by staff with the Kentucky Public Service Commission about the proposed rate increase by Big Rivers, the biggest power supplier in the region. Earlier this year the PSC granted a rate increase of $54 million by Big Rivers after the loss of its biggest customer, Century Aluminum of Hawesville.
Public comments will begin no later than 6 pm.
A second public meeting will be held in Frankfort on January 8, and will be linked through video conference to sites in Brandenburg, Owensboro, and Paducah.
The city of Owensboro has embraced the Ohio River in recent years, hoping it will lead to a revitalization of the downtown area and now the city is awaiting the results of a study on whether a marina would help attract even more residents and visitors to the river.
“We’ve asked these consultants to come back and tell us about the possibility of building not a seasonal marina, but a year-round marina at English Park," said city manager Bill Parrish. "It would be just down the road from our downtown redevelopment."
The city recently built a convention center by the Ohio River and two hotels are under construction.
Parrish says that the study is expected to be complete by April 1. Part of that study involves a public comment session at 5:30 p.m. Thursday in the police department community room.
“This is a study to see if a marina makes sense and what the cost might be. We would be absolutely open to it being operated by the city, by a private entity or a public-private partnership of some type,” said Parrish.
For five days in October a group made up of both student and professional photojournalists made their way to Owensboro to find interesting people and stories that could be told through still and video images.
WKU Photojournalist-in-Residence Josh Meltzer, who helps direct the Mountain Workshops, met WKU Public Radio’s Kevin Willis at the gallery to talk about how some of the images came to life.
Commuters in the Daviess County region will be able to cross the Ohio River “Blue” bridge over the Thanksgiving holiday.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet has announced that the bridge will reopen November 27, the day before Thanksgiving.
The Blue Bridge has been closed to traffic since May while it received a fresh coat of paint. Some work will continue on the Indiana side of the bridge after it reopens, but the contractor is confident the painting will be completed in the next two weeks.
The 4,600-foot bridge connects Owensboro to southern Indiana and is used by an average of 8,500 vehicles a day.
Transportation officials say they won’t hit the Nov. 15 target date for re-opening the “Blue Bridge” in downtown Owensboro. But Kevin McClearn with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet says the extra work this month will reduce the number of traffic disruptions next year.
Crews have been re-painting the bridge and repairing beams, joints and concrete on older sections of the bridge deck. No timeline was announced for re-opening the bridge, but crews are expected to continue working for a “few more weeks”, trying to take advantage of milder weather.
The bridge has been closed since mid-May. When open, an average of 8,500 cross the Blue Bridge each day.
Kevin's audio feature about the 8th annual Bill Monroe Style Mandolin Camp in Owensboro
On an unseasonably cool Friday afternoon in Owensboro recently, the sounds of an unusual summer camp were being heard in the city's downtown.
About 50 campers from across the country--and some from other countries--were in Daviess County to learn the finer points of one of the great instruments of bluegrass music during the eighth annual Bill Monroe Style Mandolin Camp.
Held at the International Bluegrass Music Museum, the camp is a three-day affair focusing exclusively on the instrument Bill Monroe played as he gained the reputation of being the "Father of Bluegrass Music."
"This is the only camp that I know of that specializes specifically on mandolin style. And it's no other instruments--it's all mandolin players, all Bill Monroe, all the time," says Mike Compton, the camp's director.
Compton is a Mississippi native who now lives in Nashville. He says it's an honor to be a part of a camp that pays tribute to an American musical genius.
Even those who don't consider themselves bluegrass fans are likely familiar with the name Bill Monroe. The Rosine, Kentucky, native gained acclaim for his technical wizardry on the mandolin, inspiring legions of fans throughout the U.S. and beyond.
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.