Salvation Army Owensboro

As Kentucky continues to recover from the job losses and the unpredictability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, one of America’s iconic social service organizations is finding many families in the Owensboro region struggling to make ends meet.  

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Lt. Judah Irvin, commanding officer of the Salvation Army in Owensboro, which serves Daviess, Hancock, McLean and Ohio counties. 

Lt. Irvin said the organization is seeing an increasing need among adults and children for that most basic of necessities: food. 

Daviess County Sheriff's Department

The long-time sheriff of Daviess County will hang up his holster before the end of this year.

Sheriff Keith Cain recently said he wouldn’t run for re-election in 2022, but announced on Thursday he will leave office on Dec. 1 before his current term ends. 

Cain said his motivation for retiring was family.

"If this pandemic has taught me anything, it's that life is precious and time with those you love is fleeting," Cain said during a news conference. "After much thought and prayer, I've decided to leave office before my term expires and take the opportunity to spend more time with those that I've neglected far too long."

The former Marine has served 48 years in law enforcement and the past 24 years as sheriff of Daviess County. 

Elected to six terms in office, Cain called leading the sheriff’s department an honor and privilege.

Facebook/City of Owensboro

The city of Owensboro and other Kentucky communities are partnering with a steamboat company on an environmental project to protect the Ohio River.

When the American Duchess Riverboat docked in Owensboro this week on its eight-city tour along the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers, it was more than just an opportunity for passengers to take a stroll and enjoy the music of some of the region’s talented bluegrass musicians.

The stop included an activity for the Community Outreach Project, a collaboration intended to study environmental issues affecting the Ohio River.

First Christian Church of Owensboro

A combined effort featuring business, health, and religious groups is resulting in a drive-through COVID vaccination clinic in Owensboro.

The Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce is hosting the event Thursday, Aug. 5,  in the parking lot of First Christian Church on J.R. Miller Blvd., from 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Staff from the Green River District Health Department will be offering the one-dose Johnson & Johnson shot, and the two-dose Pfizer and Moderna vaccines.

The clinic comes at a time when Kentucky’s COVID incidence rate map shows more than half of the state’s counties are in the red zone, including Daviess and nearby Hancock, Henderson, McLean, and Ohio.

Candance Castlen Brake, CEO and President of the Greater Owensboro Chamber, said boosting the region’s vaccination rate is in everyone’s interest.

Kentucky Wesleyan College

A small private college in Owensboro set July 1 as the date for all faculty and staff to have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

Now, the school is easing its stance a bit for those who are not yet vaccinated. 

Kentucky Wesleyan College said it’s requiring the coronavirus vaccination so it can offer a safe, residential experience for students, keep faculty and staff safe, and serve as an example for Owensboro community. 

President Tom Mitzel said there’s been a good response to the required vaccination. 

“Right now, we have about 90% of the faculty and staff who are fully vaccinated," said Mitzel. "The rest of that percent are those who are requesting either a medical or religious exemption, or got their shots late and are not fully vaccinated.” Mitzel said the college will work with faculty and staff who need more time to complete the required doses.

Facebook/Kentucky Wesleyan College

Colleges across the Bluegrass State are developing a range of COVID-19 safety plans as students return to campus for in-person classes.

The deadline for required vaccinations is Thursday at one campus in Owensboro.

Kentucky Wesleyan College set a July 1 deadline for all faculty and staff who work on campus to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. 

School leaders said the mandated vaccination is now part of the private college’s employment policy. 

First Christian Church of Owensboro

While many parts of Kentucky, and the nation, are reporting lower demand for COVID-19 vaccines, one partnership in Owensboro is offering a drive-through vaccination clinic Thursday.

The partnership includes the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, Green River District Health Department, and First Christian Church.

Chamber President Candace Castlen Brake says she’s hoping this clinic is as successful as the previous one her group sponsored.

“The last one we had, the health department team had to go back and get more J&J’s,” Brake said, referring to the one-shot Johnson & Johnson vaccine. “Because a lot of men were coming to get the single vaccinations, and they could do it there, and if they had a little bit of anxiety, it was more private, because they got to sit in their car.”

Annual Owensboro Pride Picnic to Return Sunday

Jun 25, 2021
Creative Commons

The 7th Annual Owensboro Pride Picnic is returning to Daviess County on Sunday, June 25, for the first time since the pandemic began.

Organizer Emma Latta said she feels like the event has more support now than when she first started helping put on the picnic years ago.

"It's stronger now than it was back then. Because back then, it was still mainly everybody was still in the closet, and there wasn't very much support or movement for LGBT equality," Latta said.

She said, despite national progress, Kentucky still needs to do more at the state level to protect the LGBTQ+ community against discrimination.

For example, many cities in Kentucky have not passed anti-discrimination protections for the LGBTQ+ community known as Fairness Ordinances.

Andrea Robinson

As Kentucky emerges from the isolation and stress of the COVID-19 pandemic, the impact on mental health and domestic violence is rising to the surface. 

WKU Public Radio reporter Rhonda Miller talked with Andrea Robinson, who was recently named president of the board of the Kentucky Coalition Against Domestic Violence. Robinson is executive director of Oasis, a domestic violence service agency in Owensboro. During the past year, when the pandemic was raging, Robinson says Oasis received half as many calls as it did the previous year and that just increased concern for victims of domestic abuse.

The Creme Coffee House

A coffee shop in Owensboro is among businesses across Kentucky preparing for Friday’s return to full capacity, as the state emerges from the shadow of COVID-19 with vaccines readily available and the number of cases dramatically reduced. 

One young owner took a big risk when she bought a small Daviess County business in the midst of the pandemic and guided it through the economic and emotional turmoil of the past year. 

Brooklyn Patterson became owner of The Creme Coffee House in May 2020. It was a time when many small businesses were wiped out as a result of mandated closures, limited capacity and COVID-19 ravaging families and communities. 

Saints Joseph and Paul Catholic Church

A church in Daviess County is part of the national effort to bring the COVID-19 vaccine to members of the Spanish-speaking community.

Sts. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church in Owensboro serves about 700 families, with about 200 of those attending the Spanish-language masses. 

Stewardship Minister Ashley Wilkerson said the church hosted two vaccination clinics recently, in collaboration with FEMA, to get the COVID-19 vaccines to underserved communities. 

“We had a fantastic turnout. They actually ran out of vaccines twice at the first clinic, and got more from some other places in town that had extra vaccinations," said Wilkerson. "We had about 65 to 70 vaccinated the first time. And then we had at the follow up we had about 45 to 50.”

Virtual Location

A major geocaching event in its 18th year is set to be held in Daviess County for the first time. Owensboro is hosting the event in parks and along the riverfront beginning Friday evening.

The Midwest Open Geocaching Adventure, or MOGA, will send visitors on a high-tech treasure hunt to find small containers using a GPS device, or a GPS-enabled mobile phone. 

President and CEO of Visit Owensboro, Mark Calitri, said the event was already planned to meet COVID-19 safety guidelines using the outdoor venues of the Rudy Mine Trail, Yellow Creek Park, and the Riverwalk. 

Lisa Autry

The Vatican has restored a priest of his duties within the Catholic Diocese of Owensboro. 

Father Joseph Edward Bradley was permanently suspended from public ministry in 2019 following allegations of sexual abuse by two minors in the 1980s. During that time, Fr. Bradley served as Dean of Students and Principal of Owensboro Catholic High School.

The local Diocesan Review Board found the accusations credible and permanently suspended him two years ago. Bradley filed an appeal with the Vatican which immediately reinstated his priestly duties last week. 

The Vatican decree notes “given the imprudent behavior of the cleric throughout the course of his ministry in education, the Congresso (Vatican body) imposes a penal precept (restriction) on the cleric, according to canon 1739, through which he is forbidden to enter any primary or secondary school for a period of five years.”

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.