Bowling Green

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.

City of Bowling Green

Warren County has become a hot spot for COVID-19 at the same time the state is working on a phased-in reopening of the economy. The county has 709 confirmed coronavirus cases as of Wednesday evening.

The Bowling Green coronavirus task force believes there are a couple of reasons for the increase. Warren County is administering more coronavirus tests, and it has increased locations for the screening of the virus. Brian “Slim” Nash is a Bowling Green City Commissioner and member of the local coronavirus task force.


medcenterhealth.org

A southern Kentucky physician who has helped shape the local response to the coronavirus has tested positive for COVID-19.

Dr. Rebecca Shadowen, an infectious disease expert at Med Center Health in Bowling Green, released a statement through the health care group saying she tested positive for the virus Tuesday.

She said she doesn’t think she contracted the virus while working at the hospital, but instead came in contact with an elderly family member who was exposed to an infected caregiver.

Rhonda J. Miller

The Bowling Green Housing Authority has gained national attention for its programs, especially its Envision Center. 

A group of visitors from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development  and the philanthropic organization Scholarship America recently came to see some of the activities at the Bowling Green facility. 

The group included Michael Browder, deputy regional administrator for Region 4 of HUD, which covers eight southeastern states, as well as Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Becca Schimmel

Bowling Green is home to residents from dozens of countries, and schools where students speak about 90 different languages. One of the biggest challenges facing members of the city’s international community is the language barrier.

That can be especially true in the areas of healthcare and housing. 

Navigating the many obstacles of finding a place to live in Bowling Green can be difficult enough for someone who’s a native of the area. Now imagine the challenges faced by someone who struggles to speak English. 


Lisa Autry

The Bowling Green Police Department has won approval to open its own training academy.  

Recruits in Warren and surrounding counties currently have to travel to the Department of Criminal Justice Training in Richmond, and be away from their families during weekdays for five months. 

Police Chief Doug Hawkins says the local academy will offer curriculum and training that’s specific to Bowling Green.


LRC Public Information

A measure is moving through the Kentucky legislature that would provide the necessary funding to build a veterans nursing home in Bowling Green.

The Kentucky House of Representatives will vote on Monday on HB 24, sponsored by State Rep. Michael Meredith.

The House Appropriations and Revenue Committee  passed the bill last week that puts $2.5 million toward design work.

Becca Schimmel

The City of Bowling Green unveiled a new plan Tuesday aimed at building more inclusive communities that are economically vibrant for refugees and immigrants. 

 

The “Welcoming Plan” aims to create a stronger economy, provide safer and more connected communities, and promote resources for New American residents. “New Americans” are defined as any foreign-born person living in the region regardless of immigration status. 

 

Leyda Becker is Bowling Green’s International Community Liason and helped put the strategic plan together. She said refugees and immigrants kept telling her about the challenges they faced finding local jobs. 


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