Owensboro

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.


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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. 


Colin Jackson

As COVID-19 cases surges, it's tempting to look back at other epidemics the country has faced, including HIV and AIDS in the 1980s and 90s.

Since COVID-19 is especially dangerous for those with pre-existing conditions, the care HIV and AIDS positive individuals receive is vital. One western Kentucky-based organization is continuing to provide as many services as possible during the pandemic.

In non-pandemic times, Matthew 25 AIDS Services, Inc. health educators LaDeirdre Mumford and Jenika Soni's job would involve going out into the community. Their normal duties range from holding testing events to attending activities like health fairs or even drag shows, and just about everything in between. 


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.

Brescia University

Students at two Owensboro schools are sponsoring a ‘March for Justice’ on Saturday, in an effort to encourage unity after the deaths of several Black Americans by police.

The Sept. 12 march is a collaborative project of the Black Student Unions at Brescia University and Kentucky Wesleyan College

Brescia University Assistant Dean for Student Activities and Leadership Development, Patricia Lovett, said there’s been planning with administrators from both colleges and the police to make sure it’s a safe event. 

Much of the country is facing a long, painful recovery from the coronavirus recession. But some communities are getting a head start.

Owensboro, Ky., has already recovered most of the jobs it lost this spring, even as the rest of the country is experiencing a painfully slow improvement in employment.

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.

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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.

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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.

Rev. Rhondalyn Randolph

Members of Owensboro’s faith community are preparing to hold a rally to show solidarity against racism and police brutality. 

The event, which will take place downtown Thursday, follows demonstrations in dozens of U.S. cities over the killing of George Floyd, a black man who died after a Minneapolis police officer knelt on his neck for nearly nine minutes.  The rally will also show support for the family of Breonna Taylor, a black Louisville woman fatally shot in her home by police serving a warrant. Rev. Rhondalyn Randolph, president of the Owensboro NAACP chapter, says faith leaders don’t condone the violence that’s taken place at some rallies.

“Violence, in the Word it says, begats violence and nothing good can come of it," Randolph said. "But there’s one thing we have gotten out of it, and that’s the attention to police brutality and racism that’s still prevalent in our country.”

Owensboro Health

Owensboro Health reopened outpatient surgery programs Monday at its hospitals in Daviess and Muhlenberg counties. The procedures had been unavailable due to policies put in place after the COVID-19 pandemic began.

Owensboro Health President Greg Strahan said anybody scheduled to undergo a procedure at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital or Owensboro Health Muhlenberg Community Hospital has to be tested for COVID-19 in advance.

“We’ve already begun calling patients, having them come in and have a test done. It’s a 72-hour test that we have to wait for,” he said.


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