Ohio County

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Workers at two Western Kentucky coal mines are preparing to be laid off in the coming days. 

The Genesis Mine in Centertown previously announced it would close Feb. 24, but Ohio County Judge-Executive David Johnston said on Tuesday that Saturday is expected to be the last day of operation. 

Two informational sessions will be held in Muhlenberg County on Wednesday for the 250 workers at that Genesis mine.


Brittany McFadden

There’s a new wildlife rehabilitation center in Ohio County, Kentucky, launched by a woman who found a need and decided to fill it.

Brittany McFadden saw a posting on Facebook by Ohio County Animal Control asking for a local person who is a “wildlife rehabber” to come pick up an animal.

That gave McFadden the idea for Shamar Wildlife Rehab and Sanctuary, which opened in January.

McFadden said Shamar is a Hebrew word, suggested by her mother, that means “to keep, guard, protect and save life.” McFadden said it just seemed natural for her to launch this project.

“I’ve always had a love for animals, and I always wanted to do something with animals. I’m literally living my dream," said McFadden. "I imagined it would be cats and dogs, but there are people advocating for cats and dogs. There’s no one advocating for the wildlife, so that’s why I chose to take care of the wildlife.”


Feeding Kentucky

A new report shows the 2019 Summer Food Service Program served 3.2 million meals to Kentucky children. Those meals were served at schools, in buses converted to mobile cafés, and sometimes at tables set up in someone’s yard.

The 2019 KY Kids Eat Summer Success Report by Feeding Kentucky shows summer meals for children increased by 10 percent over the previous season. 

That expansion of meals served to children has been a trend, with double-digit increases every year during the past five years. 

One reason for the increase is an expansion of mobile feeding programs that bring meals to children in rural areas. 


Lisa Autry

What’s in a name?  

Some rural communities between Bowling Green and Owensboro are hoping investment. 

The newly designated Interstate 165 is expected to be an economic shot in the arm for towns along what was formerly known as the Natcher Parkway. 

The William H. Natcher Parkway carries some 50,000 vehicles daily between Bowling Green and Owensboro.  The 72-mile corridor is expected to get more crowded now that the parkway is a spur of Interstate 65.  Kentucky Transportation Secretary Greg Thomas made the announcement in Bowling Green in March.

“We are proudly witnessing the transition of the Natcher Parkway to a federally-recognized interstate, I-165," Thomas said. 


Rhonda J. Miller

When school is out in summer, hunger in economically-stressed communities can increase. That’s because students are no longer going to the school cafeteria for the free lunch, and often free breakfast, funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Ohio County is one of the Kentucky school districts where buses take free meals to children in the rural communities where they live. WKU Public Radio's Rhonda Miller recently tagged along to see first-hand how the mobile summer program is impacting local youth and their families. 


Rhonda J. Miller

A business incubator called ‘The Hub’ in Ohio County has a second training program at no cost to residents. Ten people are enrolled in the ‘virtual assistant’ training.

The main goal of ‘The Hub’ is to create jobs, especially high-tech remote jobs, that offer Ohio County residents a chance to continue to live in this rural community and have a 21st Century career with a good income. 

Chase Vincent is Executive Director of the Ohio County Economic Development Alliance. He says the 10 residents who are currently enrolled in the ‘virtual assistant’ program are getting training that will prepare them to manage a distant office, for instance a medical practice, from home or from co-working space in ‘The Hub.”

Bill Monroe Museum

A long-time dream of the small town of Rosine in Ohio County has become a reality. The community opening of the Bill Monroe Museum on April 20 offers a first public view of a collection of memorabilia that’s long been in storage.

Two of the legendary musician's  mandolins will be on exhibit, along with a Gibson banjo played by Rudy Lyle, a member of Monroe's band, The Bluegrass Boys. Some larger items, will also be in the museum, including one of Monroe's Cadillacs, and another Cadillac owned by him and his son, and last driven by another music legend Ralph Stanley.

Special guests at the opening include the Ohio County Judge Executive David Johnston, and Bill Monroe’s son, James Monroe and the musician’s grandson, Jim Monroe.   

New exhibits will be added throughout the season, including memorabilia and photos from many in the community who knew Monroe, as well as from other musicians and their families.

Bill Monroe Museum

A new museum honoring ‘The Father of Bluegrass’ opens April 20 in Bill Monroe’s hometown of Rosine. The museum that’s been a long-time dream of the Ohio County community is finally a reality.

This community opening of the Bill Monroe Museum will launch the tourism season for Ohio County that’s naturally focused on the legendary musician who’s given credit for creating a genre of music because, as he said, he “didn’t want to copy anybody.”

Rhonda J. Miller

The Hub in the small town of Hartford in rural Ohio County is a co-working space, business incubator and training site. After getting a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture to train eight county residents, at no cost to them, in a $12,000 coding boot camp, The Hub has a second offering - a chance to be trained as a virtual assistant, also at no cost to the residents. The deadline to apply is April 7.

A virtual assistant is someone who manages an office remotely, doing tasks like bookkeeping, scheduling appointments, research or posting products online for e-commerce.

Green River Area Development District

The small community of Rosine in Ohio County now has high-speed Internet thanks to a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture. The new service has led to the creation of a community Internet center and is even connecting to the father of bluegrass music.

Rosine is the home of Bill Monroe, the father of bluegrass music, and a museum in his honor is under construction. Now the new museum will be able to have high-speed Internet. It’s one of the bonuses for Rosine that comes along with an $800,000 grant from the USDA’s Rural Utilities Service. The grant was awarded to the Evansville-based company Q-Wireless. 

Ohio County Economic Development Alliance

Ohio County is boosting its economic development, but not with a big manufacturing plant or a major expansion of an existing business. The county is launching a coworking space for entrepreneurs called The Hub on July 24.

The new business incubator called The Hub is in a renovated house on Peach Alley in the town of Hartford. It offers a workspace nestled in the rural environment of Ohio County, while connected to national or global businesses with fiber broadband.

A local entrepreneur, or one who wants to leave an urban environment, can work remotely from Ohio County and hold meetings through audio or video conferencing.

Hartford Voters to Decide Whether to Allow Alcohol Sales

Nov 21, 2016
Rick Howlett

Voters in Hartford will be the next Ohio County community to decide whether to allow alcohol sales.

The Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer reports the city's wet-dry election will be held Jan. 24. Voters must live in the city limits of Hartford.

Ohio County Clerk Bess Ralph says two precincts will be voting in the election. A petition submitted in October had enough signatures to call a special election on the issue.

It will be fourth-such election the county has seen in the past year.

Beaver Dam held its local option election in February, with voters passing the measure. In Ohio County, a majority of residents voted against going wet in April.

In October, the city of Rockport held a wet-dry election that failed with a majority of "No" votes.

Ohio County Schools

Three Kentucky school districts are sharing a $450,000 state grant to expand preschool programs.

Owensboro, Daviess County and Ohio County will each get $150,000 to upgrade preschool offerings, especially for at-risk children.

Cheston Hoover is director of district programs for Ohio County Schools. He says the school district is partnering with Audubon Area Head Start to give more children a solid educational foundation.

“We’re a very large county and in some of the communities within our county, the child care, preschool, early education services are pretty limited.  And so we’re looking to expand one of those from a half-day to a full day.”

That expansion will be at the Horse Branch Elementary preschool program. Hoover says part of the funding will be used to add a staff member in the classroom and a recruiter to identify more eligible children.

“There’s lots of research that shows that full day Head Start and preschool benefits the child academically and socially. It’s also a benefit for parents to where their child can receive those services throughout the school day and not have to find another service for either the first or second half of the day.”

Owensboro will add a new full-day preschool class at Estes Elementary.

Daviess County Public Schools will partner with the Owensboro Family YMCA to expand preschool services to children who don’t speak English at home and those in foster care.

Art Smith, EPA

Thousands of tons of arsenic-contaminated material have been removed from a site in Ohio County.

The state dug up contaminated soil and replaced it with dirt and loose stones.

Kentucky inspectors believe that containers of arsenic were dumped in a wooded area of Ohio County between 50 and 60 years ago.

The arsenic leaked out of those containers, made its way into a culvert, and showed up on two residential properties.

John Mura, spokesman with the Kentucky Energy and Environment Cabinet, says the state removed the contaminated soil.

“You have to dig up the ground that is contaminated. And we have very sophisticated measuring devices that we can tell when we’ve removed enough. In total in the site, we removed 4,833 tons of material.”

The state doesn’t know who is responsible for dumping the arsenic containers in Ohio County decades ago.

Ohio County Economic Development Alliance

Ohio County is launching an innovative business center with the goal of bringing  new jobs that have most of the commuting done online.

Chase Vincent is executive director of the Ohio County Economic Development Alliance. He says the business incubator is a way to offset the expense of bricks-and-mortar for startups.

“The concept of an incubator is that they come together and share experiences and advice and learn together. It dramatically increases their rate of success for becoming a long-standing business in the community.”

Vincent points to the increasing popularity and viability of remote work as confirmation of the timeliness of the Ohio County project. He says all the pieces are in place for the incubator. 

“We were recently approved for $100,000 from the Ohio County Fiscal Court to purchase property in Hartford to be used as an incubator, training center and co-work space.”

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