Owensboro

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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.


Daniel Brown

In a school year when almost everything is different due to the impact of the coronavirus, Kentucky students who take Advanced Placement courses to earn college credit have one more new experience facing them. 

The College Board is allowing students to take AP exams this year from home, on a computer, a tablet or a mobile phone.

Students will log in for a specific AP subject exam, on the same day, at the same time nationwide. 

Owensboro High School English teacher Daniel Brown has about 130 students in several courses, with about 60 of those in his AP Literature and Composition classes.

With no in-person classes in Kentucky for the remainder of the academic year, Brown said he and his AP students are making the most of technology to prepare for the AP Literature exam on May 13.


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. 


Chris and Nikki Hall

An Owensboro couple is under quarantine at their home following an eventful vacation cut short by the coronavirus.

The couple tested negative for COVID-19, but must remain quarantined at their home until Mar. 25.

Chris and Nikki Hall left for a Hawaiian cruise on Feb. 21.  Toward the end of their vacation, they learned the ship and passengers may have been exposed to the coronavirus.  They spent eight days quarantined in their room.

Liam Niemeyer | WKMS

A $69 million lawsuit over control of Owensboro-based hemp processing company Bluegrass Bioextracts has been settled amid controversy surrounding the company not paying out potentially hundreds of thousands of dollars in contracts to hemp farmers.

Plaintiff Gerald Edds is one of the former Bluegrass Bioextracts owners who sold his company last year to a Nevada-based limited liability company, DTEC Ventures. Edds, along with other former owners, sued DTEC Ventures last month for multiple reasons including not fulfilling contracts to hemp farmers.

Edds said the settlement will have former owners reacquiring hemp processing equipment owned by Bluegrass Bioextracts, with no money being exchanged between DTEC Ventures and the former owners. With the equipment, Edds said he’s planning on starting a new hemp processing company by this summer, called Precision Biotech, LLC.

Lisa Autry

Kentucky’s first anti-discrimination law protecting gays, lesbians, and transgender individuals was approved 20 years ago by the city of Louisville, ushering in a new era of LGBTQ rights. 

Since then, more than a dozen communities have passed what supporters call fairness ordinances.

Mark Twain once said “When the end of the world comes, I want to be in Kentucky, because everything there happens 20 years after it happens anywhere else.”

LGBTQ individuals and their advocates are hoping Daviess County joins the national trend of protecting members of the group through a change in local law. Often referred to as a fairness ordinance, it would protect the LGBTQ population in the areas of housing, employment, and public accommodations.  Gender identification and sexual orientation would be added to an existing law barring discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, and age.

BarLouie.com/Evansville

A national restaurant chain with several locations in our region has filed for bankruptcy and closed 38 of its gastropubs.

However, Bar Louie locations in Owensboro and Lexington, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana will remain open.

Michael Frierdich and his wife launched the Bar Louie franchise in Evansville 10 years ago. Frierdich said he had recent discussions with corporate headquarters in Texas.

“I have heard of no franchise stores closing at this time. It’s just corporate stores that were nonperforming, and most of them were in malls where the traffic’s down and the sales are down," said Frierdich. "It’ll have no impact on our operation in Evansville. We just signed a new franchise agreement for 10 additional years.”

Facebook

One of the races on the ballot this year will feature a rematch for a seat in the Kentucky legislature that represents part of Daviess County.

DJ Johnson is challenging incumbent State Representative Jim Glenn in the 13th District House race.

The 13th District election in 2018 was one for the record books.  Democrat Jim Glenn held the seat for a decade before being defeated by Republican DJ Johnson in 2016.  Two years later, Glenn won the seat back by only one vote.  When a recanvass didn’t change the outcome, Johnson requested a recount, which ended in a tie.  That left a special committee of House lawmakers to decide the winner of the race. 

Owensboro Regional Farmers Market/ facebook

The Owensboro Regional Farmers Market is showing significant growth in the number of vendors and customers.

One reason for the increase is the new permanent structure.

This first full season with the permanent pavilion offers shoppers a comfortable place to relax and chat with neighbors, as well as an expanded choice of vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, and crafts. The permanent structure opened in late spring 2018, giving roots to the market that began 35 years ago.

Jim Gilles, president of the board of Owensboro Regional Farmers Market, said the market used to have an average of 30 vendors, and now it’s jumped to 40. He said customers like the increased offerings.


Oasis/facebook

Four men and 25 women in Kentucky were murdered by intimate partners between Sept. 1, 2018 and Aug. 31, 2019.  Some of the convicted or alleged murderers were no longer partners to those who died, but were an ex-boyfriend, ex-wife or ex-husband. 

The Oasis shelter in Owensboro will hold a candlelight vigil in honor of victims of domestic violence on Tuesday, Oct. 1 at Bridgepointe Church at 6 p.m. 

Oasis and a Daviess County family are among those reminding people that there is help to get out of abusive situations. 


Owensboro NAACP Facebook page

An Owensboro man says he was fired after reporting racial discrimination by a co-worker.

Jamar Jackson, an African-American told the local NAACP that he was fired after being called the n-word by a coworker, who is white, while working at a local Walmart.

  

Owensboro NAACP President Rhondalyn Randolph said her office has received three similar allegations this year about hate speech made while on the job.


owensborosportscenter.com

An Owensboro attorney is asking the city commission to reconsider allowing an upcoming gun show in light of the many mass shootings across the country.     

Owensboro attorney Clay Wilkey said he’s familiar with a law passed by the General Assembly in 2012 that prohibits city or county governments from passing legislation that infringes on a Kentucky citizen’s right to purchase or carry a firearm. But Wilkey said he has concerns about what’s called the “gun show loophole.”

“I thought it was perhaps in poor taste that the city would play host to a gun show where anybody that has $6 to buy an admission ticket and has a Kentucky ID can go into the Sportscenter, and walk out with a firearm, without any requirement that a background check be done,” said Wilkey. 


Becca Schimmel/WKU Public Radio

If you live in Owensboro or Daviess County and have thoughts about the area’s transportation needs, now’s the time to sound off.

Residents are being asked to fill out a seven-question survey that will help the local Metropolitan Planning Organization prioritize both short-term and long-term transportation goals.

Some of the questions on the survey involve residents’ opinions on the construction of new roads, bicycle lanes, and public transit options.

Tom Lovett is with the Green River Area Development District, which is overseeing the survey. He said he’s trying to cast as wide a net as possible to ensure he hears from as many residents as possible.

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