minws 1-12 Free Transit and Owensboro pic

Riders disembark from an Owensboro Transit System bus outside the Owensboro Transit Bus Office on Dec. 31 on East Fourth Street.

Are fare-free bus rides in Owensboro’s future?

On Dec. 5, 2019, the Kansas City, Missouri, City Council voted unanimously to approve the “Zero Fare Transit,” measure. The vote effectively made Kansas City the first major metropolitan area in the United States with free public bus service.

The answer to whether or not Owensboro will adopt a fare-free policy in the near future is a hard no, but that is by virtue of the city’s makeup and need, said Lelan Hancock, assistant city manager.

In short, a fare-free Owensboro is not on the horizon, but with discussions of increased routes and strategies surrounding reducing the time it takes to get from one stop to another as well as increased partnerships with educational institutions and public service organizations, OTS is working toward making the necessity of travel as seamless as possible for people in the community.

GOODFELLOWS — Last fall’s 104th annual fund drive by the Goodfellows Club of Owensboro raised $150,287.50.

That was a good amount, but it fell short of the $162,000 goal. And if fell even shorter of the total needs, which are approaching $200,000, Barry Carden, the club’s president, said last week.

SPECIAL ED TEACHER — Ohio County teacher Stacey Crowe was awarded Kentucky’s special education teacher of the year award by the Kentucky Council for Exceptional Children. Crowe is a special education instructor at Wayland Alexander Elementary School in Hartford.

MARTY STUART — Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives will return to Woodward Theatre in the Bluegrass Music Hall of Fame & Museum on March 6.

DELORIS’ CAFE — The menu at Deloris’ Cafe, 2123 Triplett St., says, “It’s where hungry people meet to eat.” But they’d better bring cash or a check. Deloris’ doesn’t take credit or debit cards.

ONLINE RECORDS — Next month citizens of Owensboro-Daviess County will be able to search for documents from the comfort of their own home. The Daviess County Clerk’s Office in conjunction with their Louisville based technology vendor Software Management LLC are actively working toward having online document searches up and running by Feb.1, said Leslie McCarty, county clerk.

MONDAY

MLK EVENTS — Joanne Kendall grew up in Daviess County as a child of segregation. In the early ‘60s, she attended a Martin Luther King, Jr., rally in Frankfort.

Today, Kendall is the interim executive director of the Owensboro Human Relations Commission. As such, she has helped arrange the city’s MLK commemorative march.

It is one of several events local agencies have prepared for the upcoming MLK holiday.

BRESCIA UPDATE — Those who pass the construction on the corner of Ninth and Frederica streets may notice Brescia University’s new C.E. Field Center beginning to take shape, and university officials say the project is on track to be completed and ready for students by this fall.

Brescia broke ground on the $10 million C.E. Field Center for Professional Studies project in April 2018. The facility will be home to The Charles Albert Reid School of Business, along with the Marilyn Younger Conley School of Social Work and the School of Education that has yet to be named. It will also house the William H. Thompson Center for Business Graduate Studies, a 150-seat auditorium to be named after Roy and Victoria Duffy Roberts, the university’s art gallery, a small chapel area, a digital studio, computer labs and seminar rooms.

FIRE SAFETY — Fire officials recommend installing smoke detectors in homes after two fatal fires claimed the lives of three people.

CARE NET — Care Net of Owensboro is preparing for a spring opening of its new facility at 18th and Sweeney streets.

SALT FLATS — Livermore residents Matt Fenwrick and his father Dan Fenwrick are setting out to break the Bonneville Salt Flats land speed record in Utah for their class this year.

BULL BASH — The bulls are coming back to the Sportscenter on Feb. 15-16 for “Bull Bash and Bands.”

TUESDAY

SENIOR CENTER - Owensboro officials are looking to build a new Senior Community Center of Owensboro-Daviess County while the existing one gets rehabilitated or possibly demolished.

Dana Peveler, the senior center’s executive director, said the current facility, used since 1982, is outdated.

Abby Shelton, director of Community Development, said it was possible the developers could transform the current existing center into something else, such as housing.

HOUSE RACES — There won’t be a May primary election for Owensboro area state House of Representative’s races.

No Republican or Democrat running for state House has a primary opponent this year, so all the contestants who have filed to state House will advance to the November ballot. Also, state Rep. Suzanne Miles, an Owensboro Republican, and Rep. Scott Lewis, a Hartford Republican, have no Democrat opposition at all in November, so they can only be opposed by write-in candidates.

PROPERTY ANNEXATION- The city annexed two properties, a medical office on Burlew Boulevard and an apartment complex on Fairview Drive.

ASSAULT CASES — The Daviess County grand jury returned multiple indictments on assault this month, including one for a man charged with breaking into a home and attacking his ex-girlfriend and her new boyfriend with a shovel.

VAN DONATION -- Dr. Dhiren Haria, a nephrologist in Owensboro, recently donated an accessible van to Puzzle Pieces, which gives the nonprofit three vehicles for transporting clients.

DCPS PRESCHOOL — The Daviess County Public Schools Board of Education is considering raising the tuition for preschool from $175 to $200 per month per child, something they looked at in December but ultimately decided to not approve it due to questions about the legality of discounts to employees.

WEDNESDAY

STATE OF THE COMMONWEALTH -- Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear reaffirmed his support for a teachers’ pay raise and made a pitch to overhaul a criminal-justice system soaking up too much of the state’s money as he delivered his first State of the Commonwealth speech to the Republican-dominated legislature.

Speaking to a statewide television audience Tuesday night, the state’s new Democratic governor outlined a broad agenda that includes protecting health-care coverage, tackling criminal-justice reform, ending cuts to higher education and embracing new gaming-related revenues.

Beshear, who made support for public schools the hallmark of his successful 2019 campaign, said education is the key to breaking cycles of poverty in the state. He called for bipartisan cooperation on education and other issues as Kentucky embarks on a new era of divided government.

BUSINESS HALL OF FAME — Three leaders of the Owensboro business community — past and present — were inducted into the Owensboro Business Hall of Fame at Tuesday’s Junior Achievement luncheon at the Owensboro Convention Center.

The late John Geoffrey “Pete” Barnard, founder of Modern Welding Co.; Michael E. Horn of Horn Industrial Companies and Chris C. Reid, chairman and CEO of Independence Bank, were hailed as “three champions” of Owensboro by Malcolm Bryant, one of last year’s inductees.

CHARTER SCHOOLS — Owensboro and Daviess County public schools officials are seeking a waiver from a state requirement that board members receive 12 hours of training on charter schools every year.

OPD DEGREES — The Owensboro City Commission heard the first reading of an ordinance that will allow new police applicants to get an associate’s degree while they are in basic training.

TRUENORTH — TrueNorth, which operates a women’s residential recovery complex and downtown treatment center, is expanding to offer a men’s residential recovery apartments and many new programs at its treatment center.

NONDISCRIMINATION ORDINANCE— The proposed Daviess County non-discrimination ordinance has been drafted not only to address the equal rights of the LGBTQ community, but also the specific fears of those opposed to an ordinance being adopted, said Deanna Smith, Owensboro Fairness Campaign chairwoman and city commission candidate.

THURSDAY

VAPING LAWSUIT -- Superintendents at Daviess County Public Schools and Owensboro Public Schools are recommending their boards file civil lawsuits against the maker of Juul brand vaping devices.

DCPS board members will vote Thursday on a resolution from county schools Superintendent Matt Robbins to file a suit against Juul Labs, the maker of the vaping devices. OPS board members are scheduled to vote on a similar resolution next week recommended by Interim Superintendent Matthew Constant.

Civil lawsuits against Juul Labs have been filed by school districts across the country in states and cities such including Florida, Kansas, Missouri, Mississippi, San Diego, Seattle and San Francisco. In Kentucky, public school districts in Fayette, Jefferson, Warren, Jessamine, Bullitt and Madison counties have filed a public nuisance lawsuit suit against the company. The city of Louisville has also filed a lawsuit against Juul Labs.

ROXIE PICKRELL BENEFIT GAME — Roxie Pickrell, 13, of Owensboro, died last year of complications from a cancerous brain tumor.

A benefit hockey game is scheduled for 4:30 p.m. Jan. 25 at Edge Ice Center to raise money for her medical expenses.

ECONOMIC IMPACT — The combination of this week’s Kentucky 2A Basketball Championship and the Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association convention should pump nearly $800,000 into the local economy, Mark Calitri, president of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, told the Messenger-Inquirer.

NONPROFITS — The Green River Area Community Foundation recently awarded more than $20,000 to four area nonprofits.

GOEDC — Owensboro Mayor Tom Watson and the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corporation say their relationship is in good standing after Watson said the group was upset with a portion of the State of the City address.

ART EALUM — Owensboro Police Department Chief of Police Art Ealum earned the Martin Luther King Humanitarian Award from Zion Baptist Church.

FRIDAY

DUI WARRANTS -- On Thursday morning, a Senate committee gave first approval to a bill that would allow law enforcement officers to seek a search warrant for a blood test in all DUI investigations.

Senate Bill 74 is sponsored by Sen. Whitney Westerfield, a Hopkinsville Republican and chairman of the Senate’s Judiciary Committee. The bill was heard in the committee and was presented by Martin Hatfield, president of the Kentucky County Attorneys Association.

Law enforcement officers can currently request a judge issue a search warrant for a blood test when a person is charged with DUI in a case where someone is killed or suffers a serious physical injury. Westerfield’s bill removes language about there needing to be a criminal charge and a death or serious physical injury.

CHILD CARE PROGRAM -- Many parents don’t know a state website exists — https://benefind.ky.gov/kccps — for checking the star ratings of child care providers.

Also, many in-home providers aren’t aware of the number of kids they can care for without being registered with the state. If they are turned in, their businesses can be shut down for noncompliance.

VAPING LITIGATION -- Daviess County Public Schools Board of Education voted Thursday to move forward with a civil lawsuit against the manufacturers, distributors and marketers of electronic cigarette and vaping products.

CATTLEMEN’S CONVENTION — Competition from plant-based protein products to beef prices for producers were among the topics of the 2020 Kentucky Cattlemen’s Association Convention and Trade Show that kicked off Thursday at the Owensboro Convention Center.

VSO TAX EXEMPTION BILL — Legislation geared toward alleviating the financial burden of property taxes on Kentucky’s veteran service organizations is quickly gaining momentum and support among state legislators.

NEW HEAD START DIRECTOR -- Jeff Martin has been named the new director of Audubon Area Head Start following the departure of former director Angie Messmer, who left the organization for a new position in Illinois.

bbruck@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7306

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