Bowling Green

Lisa Autry

Bowling Green voters will soon have a new mayor for the first time in nearly a decade. 

On September 1, the local mayor’s race got more interesting.  Incumbent Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson announced he was withdrawing from the contest due to medical reasons.  That’s also when he endorsed retired Air Force Lt. Col. Todd Alcott, who is the only candidate on the ballot.  Businessmen Tom Morris and Chris Page are running as write-in candidates. 

Morris and Page are making their first bids for public office. Alcott entered politics two years ago when he ran for State Rep. Jody Richards’ seat in the legislature. Alcott lost the Republican primary in that race.

"No one wants to lose a campaign, but when you lose, you persevere and you grow from it," Alcott told WKU Public Radio.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Refugee resettlement officials in Bowling Green believe the international community should be among the first to have access to a COVID-19 vaccine once it’s available. 

Executive director of the International Center of Kentucky in Bowling Green, Albert Mbanfu, said the refugee community is at high risk because of their living arrangements and because many are essential workers. Most refugees that the International Center has helped place in jobs were working in processing plants where COVID-19 outbreaks have occurred. 


City of Bowling Green

Bowling Green Mayor Bruce Wilkerson is facing an ethics complaint over his use of City Hall to endorse mayoral candidate Todd Alcott. 

Speaking to media inside the City Commission chambers last month, Wilkerson announced he was withdrawing from the mayor’s race for health reasons and endorsing Alcott. 

The anonymous complaint says the mayor doesn’t have the right to use city property or city resources for political purposes.  City Clerk Ashley Jackson says the complaint can’t be made public at this time.

Lisa Autry

Refugee resettlement in Kentucky has been significantly lower over the past 12 months than what was seen during the previous federal fiscal year. The number of refugees arriving in the Commonwealth has decreased by more than 50 percent according to the Warren County based International Center of Kentucky. 

The United States temporary suspended resettlement programs in March due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The International Center of Kentucky based didn’t have any new arrivals from March until early August. This year, the center was only able to resettle 162 refugees during the federal fiscal year that ended on Sept. 30. Many of those refugees are from the Democratic Republic of Congo. 


https://homethods.com/

As demands for racial justice play out in Louisville and across the nation, community members from Warren County are tackling racial issues closer to home. 

A new group called Gamechangers is working to bring African-Americans equal opportunities in the local job market.  Attorney Alan Simpson is a member of the group, and says communities can discriminate unintentionally.

“There is systemic racism everywhere. It doesn’t mean everyone is wearing a hood and burning crosses in people’s front yards, but you have to be thoughtful about your actions," Simpson said. "If you want to employ someone who’s African-American, then seek them out. They don’t necessarily come in and apply for a job if they think, 'Well, everyone is white and they’re not going to want me there.'”


Flickr/Creative Commons/Jeremy W. Osborne

The deadline to fill out the 2020 U.S. Census form is Sept. 30. That means counties like Warren are stepping up their door-to-door efforts to count every resident.

In the spring, the bureau started sending out surveys through the mail. As of Monday, 67.6% of Kentucky households had completed the census form on their own.

In Warren County, that estimated number is only 66.4% of estimated households. It's a number the Bowling Green-Warren County Complete Count Committee would like to see move higher.


WKU Public Radio

Bowling Green will have a new mayor next year.

Bruce Wilkerson announced Tuesday that he's dropping out of the race for re-election.

The Bowling Green Daily News reports Wilkerson said the move was because of what he called “a prior health condition” that he needs to address.

The announcement was made prior to Tuesday's meeting of the city commission. Wilkerson said he planned to serve out the remainder of his current term, which expires at the end of this year.

Colin Jackson

The Bowling Green Police Department honored Ret. Chief Doug Hawkins on his last day Friday with a luncheon at the SOKY Marketplace Pavillion.

Local law enforcement, county and government officials, gathered to celebrate Hawkins' 30 years with the department.

Hawkins said he's most proud of brining a police training academy to Bowling Green.

"Establising the Bowling Green Law Enforcement Academy is going to be, I think, a pivotal moment in the history of the department, and I think it is going to pay dividends for many, many, many years to come," Hawkins said.

Tom Morris

The COVID-19 pandemic has caused widespread anxiety about what used to be common daily activities, like going to the grocery store and getting a haircut.

Now, Bowling Green area residents are using social media to share information about businesses that are using safety precautions, and others that are not following guidelines for masks or social distancing.

The public Facebook group is called 'Safe Places to Patronize in Bowling Green, KY.'

Retired engineer Tom Morris, who created the group,  said it’s grown to more than 2,500 members in two months.

“Actually, it kind of started on a whim," said Morris. "Somebody had posted something about, you know, it would be nice to know where we can go that’s safe. And I said, ‘Well somebody ought to start a Facebook group about safe places to patronize, you know.’ And I said, ‘Well, heck, I’ll start it'."


Colin Jackson

Around 100-150 south central Kentucky residents met in Bowling Green's Circus Square Park Sunday evening to voice their concerns about discrimination, policing and city government. Meanwhile, a handful of city leaders listened on a nearby panel.

The discussion and a candlelight vigil that took place afterward are the latest events in Bowling Green to stem from a recent wave of activism that started with the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor at the hands of police.


Becca Schimmel

A Bowling Green group that has been organizing local protests recently gathred hundreds for a different kind of event over the weekend.

The Bowling Green Freedom Walkers is expanding its reach with a Juneteenth celebration in a historic part of town.

Juneteenth marks the symbolic moment on June 19th, 1865, when Union troops arrived in Galveston, Texas, and informed enslaved individuals of their freedom. 

The Shake Rag District is a historically Black part of Bowling Green, and the namesake for Chris Page's Shake Rag Barbershop. He said it's a meaningful location to host Friday night's celebration.


Becca Schimmel

With protests against racial injustice happening across the nation, WKU Public Radio reporters sat down with community activists who have been organizing individuals in Bowling Green.

Sitting under a pavilion at Keriakes Park, members of the Bowling Green Freedom Walkers and Bowling Green for Peace, as well as Kentucky Rep. Patti Minter (D-Bowling Green), discussed where the summer goes from here.


Colin Jackson

By now, George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery have become household names. 

The deaths of the three Black individuals have sparked days of nationwide protesting against racism and police violence. 

Over the weekend in Bowling Green, a crowd estimated at 1,000 people gathered in Circus Square Park for the city's largest demonstration yet.


Colin Jackson

A midday protest against racism and police drew a crowd of around 180 people Wednesday morning in Bowling Green.

It was the latest in what has now been six straight days of peaceful gatherings in the city following last week's death of Minneapolis resident George Floyd, a black man who died after an officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.

The video-taped incident, along with the police-related death of Louisville Emergency Medical Technician Breonna Taylor, and the shooting of Georgia jogger Ahmaud Arbery, have spurred protests nationwide.

Becca Schimmel

Protests against racism and police violence directed at minorities continued for a fourth striaght day Monday morning in Bowling Green.

Posts spread across social media and text message drew dozens of people outside the Warren County Justice Center to hold signs, march, and hear speakers discuss the civil unrest seen in much of the country.

Derik Overstreet is a local mixed martial arts fighter who agreed to help oragnize and co-lead the mostly college-aged crowd in its peaceful gathering.

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