Daviess County

Apollo High School

Kentucky students involved in the performing arts have been forced into a long and unwelcome intermission during the COVID-19 pandemic.

But theater students at Apollo High School in Daviess County are back on stage in a virtual play being presented this weekend called Everything Seems Like Maybe.  It’s about – what else? – teenagers dealing with the pandemic.

One of those teens offering perspective on living a year alongside the pandemic is Meg Zuberer, a senior at Apollo High.

"The reason I chose this monologue is because I felt like out of them all, it fit me the most," said Zuberer. "During these terrible times, these days of people risking their lives to save others, I find myself questioning the normal. Like why? You know, it’s all made me wonder, 'What do I really want to be doing?' I think the main theme of everything going on right now, I mean when you really boil it down, I think it’s love’.”


Daviess County Fiscal Court Facebook

A partnership between federal, state, and local law enforcement has crippled a drug trafficking organization in Owensboro.

Five members of its member are behind bars and charged with multiple felonies after conspiring to distribute 151 pounds of methamphetamine, 3.5 pounds of counterfeit pills with suspected fentanyl, and other drugs.

“The Owensboro Police Department remains committed to getting narcotics and dangerous offenders off the streets of Owensboro," said Owensboro Police Chief Art Ealum in a news release. “This investigation is undoubtedly the most significant narcotics investigation in our department’s history, which speaks to the magnitude of the drug epidemic in the Owensboro Metropolitan Area."

Moonlight BBQ Facebook

The city of Owensboro is giving an economic boost to local restaurants and bars impacted by COVID-19.

As long as they’re in good standing with the city and don’t owe delinquent taxes, the establishments are eligible for the Restaurant/Bar Supplemental Payroll Program.  City Manager Nate Pagan says the service industry has borne the brunt of restrictions imposed to limit the spread of the virus.

“The Owensboro City Commission wanted to do a program specifically for restaurant workers, those that have had shifts cut and had a sizable negative impact on their income this year," Pagan said.


Owensboro Municipal Utilities

Kentucky’s moratorium on disconnecting utility customers during the pandemic has ended and some residents in Owensboro are among those being cut off from electricity, water and internet.

The statewide moratorium that suspended utility disconnections ended on Nov. 6 

Owensboro Municipal Utilities reported that it is disconnecting an average of 48 customers a week due to unpaid bills.

OMU spokeswoman Sonya Dixon said that average is the same as before the pandemic. 

“Those that are eligible for disconnection at this point are those that have not kept payment arrangements, but primarily those are the ones that had balances prior to the pandemic,” said Dixon.


MAPIO.NET

A controversial statue outside the Daviess County Courthouse is a step closer toward finding a new home. 

The fiscal court voted in August to relocate a Confederate monument amid national unrest over police shootings involving African-Americans. 

A relocation committee met Wednesday and narrowed down a list of potential sites to house the 120-year-old statue.  Chairwoman Aloma Dew said the committee’s first choice is the Owensboro Museum of Science and History, followed by the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art. Dew said the complete statue is too heavy to be housed at either museum and suggested the base of the monument be sent to the Panther Creek battlefield.

“Many people are concerned about the whole statue going to Panther Creek because of the fear of vandalism," Dew said. "Several of the letters have said we want it safe. We want it indoors.”

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When cold weather causes communities to open extra overnight space for the homeless, Daviess County will have a new ‘white flag’ shelter in place. 

Keeping homeless individuals safe and warm when the temperature gets dangerously cold requires an additional layer of safety during this time of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Owensboro Christian Church will open its doors on white flag nights under an agreement with Daviess County Fiscal Court and the city of Owensboro.

Daviess County Deputy Director of Emergency Management John Clouse said the church is a large facility that will have the necessary space to serve as the region’s new white flag shelter. 


LRC Public Information

Voters in Daviess County are deciding several races for the Kentucky legislature.  Perhaps the most high profile contest on the ballot is a rematch between State Representative Jim Glenn and DJ Johnson for the 13th District House seat.  Their last contest was a nail-biter.

Glenn, a Democrat, held the office for ten years before he was defeated by Johnson, a Republican, in 2016.  Two years later, Glenn won the seat back by one vote. 

Johnson requested a recount, which resulted in a tie.  But a lawyer for Glenn filed a complaint with the office of the Kentucky Attorney General, claiming an attorney for Johnson illegally influenced the recount process. Johnson’s lawyer denied the charge, but Johnson later announced he was dropping his challenge in order to end the controversy.

The Daviess County Clerk’s office has finalized plans for the November election, as they anticipate slightly higher voter turnout than in the 2016 presidential election year.

Unlike the June 23 primary when the Owensboro Sportscenter served as the only voting precinct, the county will have six polling locations open for in-person voting on Nov. 3. Daviess County Clerk Leslie McCarty says COVID-19 has forced her office to forgo places that normally serve as precincts.

“You need a space big enough to distance everything and you need a place that has a separate entrance and exit, so it’s been quite a challenge," she told WKU Public Radio.

As the nation pauses to remember the 19th anniversary of the nine-eleven terrorist attacks on Friday, Daviess County residents will honor first responders close to home. 

The First Responders Memorial was erected on the lawn of the Daviess County Courthouse in the spring, but COVID-19 delayed its dedication.  The marker has been covered since then and will be unveiled during a ceremony at noon on Friday. 

Sergeant Adam Johnston with Owensboro Police says it’s been decades since Owensboro and Daviess County have had a first responder die in the line of duty.

“Unfortunately we won’t go without having another one.  It’s just a matter of time, but with training and safe habits, we’ve been able to go this long without a line of duty death.”

Owensboro Multicultural Festival Facebook

The pandemic has forced the cancellation of countless arts and cultural events throughout the region.

One event that’s persevering is the annual Owensboro Multicultural Festival—although it’s going to look radically different this weekend.

The festival will be online only, with all events streamed Saturday through the festival’s Facebook page.

Festival Committee Chair Debbie McCoy said Owensboro is home to people from many different backgrounds, due in part to the local refugee resettlement center. She hopes the digital festival promotes understanding of local refugees and immigrants.

“It’s not a matter of them fitting in, it’s a matter of them being able to flourish in whatever way they feel is important,” said McCoy.

mapio.net

A Confederate statue sitting on the Daviess County Courthouse lawn will be moved.

But where the statue is going is still unknown.

Daviess Fiscal Court voted Thursday night to form a five-person public committee tasked with presenting the court with options on where to move the 120-year-old statue.

The Messenger-Inquirer reports those committee members will be named by members of the fiscal court, with appointments announced within six weeks.

The debate over the Owensboro statue comes amid a renewed conversation nationally over what to do with symbols depicting elements of white supremacy.

A Daviess County grand jury has declined to issue indictments stemming from two incidents in Kentucky’s June 23 primary election. 

In a statement issued on Thursday, Commonwealth’s Attorney Bruce Kuegel said the grand jury heard the findings of an investigations by the Daviess County Sheriff’s Department and took no action.  

"Because testimony before the Grand Jury cannot be divulged, I cannot comment on the evidence or testimony," Kuegel added.

MAPIO.NET

Some African-Americans in Owensboro are joining a growing call to remove Confederate monuments in the wake of nationwide protests against racial injustice.

The local NAACP is calling for the removal of a Confederate monument on the lawn of the Daviess County courthouse. The bronze statue features a soldier holding a rifle on top of a granite pedestal. It was erected in 1900 by the United Daughters of the Confederacy. 

Rhondalyn Randolph, president of the Owensboro NAACP chapter, says Owensboro is no longer a community that would glorify white supremacy.

“We just want to show we need to progress forward from that kind of thinking, and our community demographics, we are changing," Randolph stated.

Beckett Gilmore

With the coronavirus forcing schools across Kentucky, and the nation, to shut down, educators are being pushed into new territory.

A husband and wife, both teachers in Owensboro Public Schools, are expanding the boundaries of the classroom to keep students engaged while they’re learning at home. Sarah and Joshua Sullivan are among thousands of teachers across the U.S. who are creating the new reality for education in this unusual time.

When it became clear that Owensboro Public Schools would close down to prevent the spread of the coronavirus, sixth grade social studies teacher Joshua Sullivan said educators leaped into action. 

The school district actually set up Google Classroom to have special NTI classes,” said Sullivan, who teaches at Owensboro Middle School. 


Lisa Autry

A Fairness Ordinance failed to pass the Daviess County Fiscal Court at its Thursday meeting. 

 

The ordinance would have offered legal protections for members of the LGBTQ population in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations. 

 

The ordinance needed three votes to pass. The vote total was 2-2.

 

Daviess County Judge Executive Al Mattingly and County Commissioner Mike Koger voted in favor of the proposal.

 

County Commissioners George Wathen and Charlie Castlen voted against it.

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