Owensboro

Emil Moffatt

The repainting of Owensboro's "Blue Bridge" is running ahead of schedule. Kentucky Transportation Cabinet spokesman Keith Todd says the original plan called for the bridge to be closed until late this year to allow painting to be completed on the main truss of the span, which connects Daviess County to southern Indiana.

"We think we'll be finished with the main truss around the middle of next week," Todd told WKU Public Radio Friday. "That will allow them to turn around and then begin painting the approach spans."

Todd says two full work crews have worked a combined twelve hours a day, seven days a week throughout the summer to get the main bulk of the work done on the span officially known as the Glover H. Cary bridge.

The contractor is hoping to have the approach spans painted before November 15th, when the bridge is set to re-open. An estimated 8,500 vehicles cross the Owensboro Blue Bridge daily.

Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health has hired a new president and CEO.

Philip A. Patterson will take over the positions November 1 after accepting an offer made this week by the Owensboro Health board of directors.

He inherits the posts from Jeff Barber, who resigned in January, but who has stayed on at Owensboro Health until a full-time replacement takes over.

Since 2009, Patterson has been CEO of the New York-based Bon Secours Charity Health System, a three-hospital system with net patient revenue of nearly $500 millions.

Owensboro Health Board of Directors Chairwoman Deborah Nunley told WKU Public Radio one of the challenges facing Patterson is finding ways to expand the system's geographic footprint.

Emil Moffatt

As early-morning fog gave way to a clear blue August sky, 30 teams dressed in bright-colored t-shirts climbed into narrow wooden boats, adorned with a dragon head in the front. The teams paddled out to the starting line in the middle of the Ohio River.  

Todd Petzold expressed cautious optimism as his team prepared to participate in the Owensboro Dragon Boat Festival for a second straight year.

“We’re team MPD, and we’re not going to sink this year. And we’re going to have fun,” said Petzold.

The teams were made up of between 15-20 people, including men and women. Their experience level ranged from veteran to novice.

They’re taking part in an athletic event and tradition whose origins date back to the year 278 B. C. in China and a man considered the father of Chinese poetry, Qu Yuan.

The long-term transit needs in Owensboro will be the subject of a final report issued next week at City Hall.

The Corradino Group will present its final report on the study which makes proposals to improve Owensboro’s transit options. The Messenger-Inquirer reports a public hearing will be held Thursday, August 1, where Owensboro residents can comment on the study’s findings.

Owensboro transit manager Michael Hughes has said the study will recommend that the city’s transit system expand to eight routes from six, with all routes taking no longer than half-an-hour to complete. The study is also expected to call for the city’s bus system to expand its coverage area and include new transfer points that would allow riders to reach their destinations more efficiently.

The public hearing on the transit plan is August 1 at 11 a.m. in Owensboro’s City Hall.

Rosenwald School Discovered in Owensboro

Jul 18, 2013

A one-room schoolhouse in Owensboro has been added to a national database of schools built for black children in the early 20th century.

The schoolhouse is in Pioneer Village at Yellow Creek Park. It was one of 5,357 public schools, manual training shops and teacher cottages built in the South with grants from the Rosenwald Fund between 1912 and 1932.

A total of 158 of them were built in 41 Kentucky counties.

Fisk University in Nashville maintains a database of Rosenwald Schools around the country.

Friends of Pioneer Village Executive Director Sean Dysinger told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer the head of the project at Fisk thought the Owensboro school had been torn down, which is why it wasn't included on the list until now.

City of Owensboro

Owensboro's Independence Day fireworks show will be held in November.

The event was canceled last week due to the rainy weather. Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne announced Thursday morning that the show will be held Nov. 9, in conjuction with Veteran's Day. Special recognition will be given to Korean War veterans on the 60th anniversary of that war.

City leaders also considered having the fireworks show during New Year's Eve, or during the grand opening of the new downtown convention center.

www.vvmf.org/twth

A Spencer County, Indiana, man hopes a replica version of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall will bring healing to those in the region who served in that war.

Frank Richey was in the Army for twenty years, including tours in Vietnam in 1969 and 1970. Richey has led the effort to bring to the southern Indiana region a traveling replica of the Vietnam Wall known as "The Wall That Heals."

Richey and a small committee of family members and supporters have raised over $10,000 to pay for the costs associated with bringing the replica wall to the town of Grandview, Indiana.

Richey hopes Vietnam veterans and their family members from southern Indiana and northwestern Kentucky will come to Grandview this fall to see the exhibit.

“That’s what this traveling wall is for. It’s for people who can’t actually make it to Washington D.C. to see the real wall,” said Richey.

You can learn more about The Wall That Heals by clicking here.

City of Owensboro

Rain may have washed out Owensboro's Independence Day fireworks show, but it didn't wash the festivities away.

Mayor Ron Payne told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer  the show will go on, either on New Year's Eve or in conjunction with the grand opening of the city's new convention center.

Payne says the city is leaning toward holding the fireworks show as part of the grand opening of the convention center. The official completion date of the convention center is Jan. 27, although an earlier opening date has not been ruled out.

If the fireworks are held on New Year's Eve, it will be a revival of the First Night celebrations in the city.

Payne said he wasn't sure if the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra will be involved with the fireworks show.

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.

Mystery Writers' Festival in Owensboro Canceled

Jun 20, 2013

A festival in western Kentucky for mystery writers has been canceled due to a lack of funding.

The RiverPark Center board of directors made the decision Tuesday during a meeting. The International Mystery Writers' Festival had been scheduled for October in Owensboro.

RiverPark board chairman Jeff Danhauer told the Messenger-Inquirer that the board had a goal of raising $100,000 for the festival by June and didn't reach it.

Board members began looking for alternative funding for the festival after Gov. Steve Beshear decided last year to veto state funding for the event.

The festival returned last year after a 2-year hiatus.

Owensboro Named One of 20 All-American Cities

Jun 17, 2013
City of Owensboro

Owensboro has been tapped as an All-American City for the first time since 1952.

The National Civil League bestowed the honor on Owensboro on Sunday night in Denver. Twenty other cities were in the competition. Owensboro was one of nine to make the grade.

Mayor Ron Payne told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer the win should be a boost to economic development.

The other nine winners were Birmingham, Ala.; Peoria, Ill., Dunn, N.C.; Montrose, Colo.; Garner, N.C.; Norfolk, Va., Downey, Calif.; Thomasville, N.C.; and Dubuque.

Owensboro's application stressed three areas: downtown revitalization, the Mechanicsville Neighborhood Redevelopment project and storm water improvements.

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.

Owensboro Health

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.

City of Owensboro, KY

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.

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