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Owensboro GREATER



Your Community. Your College.


individual lives touched since 1987

How many do you know?

KENTUCKY COMMUNITY & TECHNICAL COLLEGE SYSTEM OCTC is an equal opportunity employer and educational institution.



O All

About Owensboro


The Greater Owensboro Annual Magazine is a publication of the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce with advertising and editorial produced by the Messenger-Inquirer Advertising Faye Murry

Advertising Director

Editorial Jacqueline Jordan Editor

Jenny Sevcik

Photography Editor

John Dunham Gary Emord-Netzley Staff Photographers

John Shelton Graphic Designer

Joy Campbell Keith Lawrence Rich Suwanski Angela Oliver Beth Noffsinger Steve Vied Jim Mayse Reporters

Greater Owensboro U.S.A. is published annually by the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce P.O. Box 825 Owensboro, KY 42302 This edition was produced by the Messenger-Inquirer, Owensboro’s daily newspaper. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without permission from the Messenger-Inquirer. printed by

Greenwell-Chisholm Printing Co.

On the move! W

elcome to Owensboro! The best small city you’ll find... a 2013 All-American City! Greater Owensboro is on the move in 2014! Just a few of the great things happening in our All-American City: • A brand new Convention Center with a new hotel standing by its side, and another one emerging from the ground. • Downtown businesses thriving and growing, and more citizens taking up residence in our downtown. • A new hospital focused on patient care and top 2% in the nation quality. • Employers hiring and expanding their businesses throughout the Greater Owensboro region. • New roads being constructed to get more people and products in and out of our community. • Education at the forefront of all our minds, with exemplary secondary schools and colleges with diverse programs to advance our skills and development. It’s an amazing time to be a part of this community. We hope you’ll find the stories in this annual publication inspiring and a way for you to experience a small bit of all the activity in our community that we are so proud to call our own. Welcome to Owensboro — enjoy the time, talent and treasures of our community! Sincerely,

Amy Jackson President and CEO Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce

Chamber of Commerce Staff Amy Jackson, President Susan High, Accounting Manager Jamie Roby, Executive Assistant Jim DeMaio, Vice President - Membership Development 270-926-1860 •


Darrell Higginbotham, Independence Bank Community President 2014 Board Chairman Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce


All About Owensboro


All about Owensboro By the numbers At a glance


It’s an

On the move

Owensboro changes hands Ties that bind Leading Legend



Growing strong

time to

Interstate development Marina mania Powering growth

be a



Commitment to growth Educating design Hillview Farms Something old, something new

Business & Industry


of this

Learning here

Leader in Me Community Campus



Living here

Real estate options Wellness


Playing here

Retail revitalized Arts & Entertainment The Highlights Home-grown Hospitality



All About Owensboro


at a glance


• Owensboro is the industrial and cultural hub of western Kentucky. Located along the southern banks of the Ohio River, Owensboro is the fourthlargest city in terms of population in the Commonwealth of Kentucky. It is also centrally located to many of the largest metropolitan areas in the Midwest and the southern United States. Owensboro is located 32 miles southeast of Evansville, Ind.; 134 miles north of Nashville, Tenn.; 109 miles southwest of Louisville; 209 miles southeast of St. Louis and 209 miles southwest of Cincinnati.


• Between moderately cold winters and warm, humid summers, the greater Owensboro area experiences a wide temperature fluctuation. In the winter, the average temperature is 39.6 degrees, and in the summer 76.9 degrees is the estimated average. Temperatures are generally highest in July and August and lowest in January. The average annual rainfall for Daviess County is 44.27 inches. • Daviess County ranks first among Kentucky counties in total soybean production and third in total corn production. More than 84 percent of the land in Daviess County is devoted to agriculture. • The Owensboro area serves as the industrial hub of Western Kentucky, with major industries including aluminum, steel, distilling, mining, automotive manufacturing and natural gas transmission. Locally produced commodities include automotive components, meat products, smokeless tobacco, office furniture, spaghetti sauce, bourbon whiskey, chemicals, large steel vessels, grain processing, refined oil, paper, plastic extension and casement windows.

• Owensboro enjoys a diverse economic base. Of the 45,525 people who work in Daviess County, less than 25 percent work for the county’s 10 largest employers. • Residents of Greater Owensboro enjoy some of the lowest cost of living anywhere. In particular, the cost of utilities (electricity, water and sewer) are some of the lowest in the nation. • Owensboro is served by more than 150 Protestant churches of 22 different denominations, 18 Catholic churches and one Jewish Temple. • The greater Owensboro area has excellent public recreation facilities sponsored and maintained by the Owensboro Parks and Recreation Department and the Daviess County Parks and Recreation Department. • Owensboro boasts some of the best arts and cultural activities for a city its size in the country. Whether your interests lie in museums, music, art or theater, Owensboro has it.


All About Owensboro


Population Daviess County


Population of Owensboro


Percent unemployment rate, compared to 7.3% nationawide


Median household income

$110,000 Median home price


Percent below the national average for cost of living


percent of the U.S. population is within 600 miles of Owensboro Sources: U.S. Dept. of Commerce, Bureau of Labor Statistics, Kentucky Econominc Development Cabinet, 2013 National Cost of Living Index

Owensboro at a glance


On The Move


Commitment to Growth


wensboro has demonstrated a commitment to steady growth through an aggressive downtown revitalization project. With a focus on recreation and tourism, the revitalization includes a $68 million-renovation to the river-side Smothers Park, a sparking new convention center and hotels.


>> On The Move

new faces in key positions

Owensboro changing hands B y J o y C amp b e l l , J ac q u e l i n e J o r da n , K e i t h La w r e n c e , Rich S u w a n s ki a n d S t e v e Vi e d


n 2013, there were several new faces in major positions in the community. Larry Vick retired as superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools, and Nick Brake, president of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., was hired for the post. Brake left the EDC, and Madison Silvert, the EDC’s executive vice president, was promoted to president. Jeff Barber retired as president of Owensboro Health, and Philip Patterson was hired to succeed him. Ed Riney retired as president of

the Owensboro Riverport Authority, and Brian Wright was named as his successor. Karen Miller Porter retired as executive director of the OwensboroDaviess County Convention & Visi-

tors Bureau, and Shannon Wetzel was selected as the new executive director. Porter later became executive director of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, replacing Bill Price, who retired.


SINCE 1936


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>> On The Move

new faces in leadership Dr. Nick Brake Owensboro Public Schools Superintendent

Dr. Nick Brake, former president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., took the position of Owensboro Public Schools superintendent on July 1, 2013, and has already demonstrated a commitment to molding career-ready students. While Brake’s endeavor at the EDC was a detour from education, his strong education background made him well-suited for the position. Among his credentials include a Ph.D. in education administration, leadership and policy. And he holds a Rank I certification from Western Kentucky University in education administration. Along with the qualifications, he has experience on both the administrative and classroom sides of education. He was dean of technical programs at Owensboro Community & Technical College from 2002-2006, director of assessment, research and curriculum development at Daviess County Public Schools from 1998-2002 and taught social studies at Daviess County High School from 1991-1998. His time with the EDC no doubt served as an opportunity to get a feel for what local employers are expecting from high school graduates and the types of skills they will need to succeed in the Daviess County job market.

Philip Patters on Owensboro Health President/CEO

Philip Patterson was named Owensboro Health’s new president and CEO in August 2013. Patterson was the chief executive officer of the Bon Secours Charity Health System near New York City. Patterson replaced Jeff Barber, who announced his retirement last January. “I’m proud of the opportunity I’ve been given,” said Patterson, a Mobile, Ala., native. “The team (we have) has been doing wonderful work and has been recognized in patient outcomes and by (our) strong community presence.” Patterson was hired from a search that included 765 inquiries and applications for the position. Bon Secours Charity Health System serves more than 1 million people throughout the Hudson-Delaware valleys in a three-state region (New York, Pennsylvania and New Jersey). It includes three hospitals — Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Suffern, N.Y., Bon Secours Community Hospital in Port Jervis, N.Y., and St. Anthony Community Hospital in Warwick, N.Y. Patterson had been in that position since 2009, a job that included oversight and accountability for the operation and strategic direction of the 3,200-employee health system. Patterson led a financial turnaround at Bon Secours that included about $24 million in improvements in productivity, revenue cycle and nonlabor cost savings. 10 10

The three-year turnaround of Good Samaritan, the system’s flagship hospital, went from a $27 million loss to a $3 million net revenue gain. Previously, Patterson worked from 2003-09 at Allina Hospitals and Clinics, a not-for-profit health care system with 11 hospitals in Minneapolis. He served as vice president operations/chief operating officer at Mercy Hospital from 2006-09 and vice president operations at Mercy and Unity hospitals from 2003-05. Patterson served in executive positions with HealthSouth Hospital Corp. in Birmingham from 1997-2003. Before that, he was administrative director of physician practice enhancement and business development from 1994-97 at Ochsner Clinic in New Orleans. Patterson graduated from Auburn in 1991, earned a master of business administration at Alabama in 1993 and a master of health administration from Georgia State in 1996. “(We) wanted a transformational leader, and we feel like that’s what we got in Philip,” said Debbie Nunley, Owensboro Health board chairwoman.

Madison Silvert

>> On The Move

CEO, Greater Owensboro Ecomonic Development Corp.

Madison Silvert stepped into the role of president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. on the day he started his seventh year of working for the quasipublic agency. The Owensboro native served as the executive vice president and head of the EDC’s Emerging Ventures Center for Innovation before getting the opportunity to lead the organization, selected from a starting pool of 65 applicants. Silvert’s predecessor, Nick Brake, who left the job to become superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools, said he believes economic development has been a part of Silvert’s DNA for a long time. “There’s no question about his passion and commitment. I taught him in high school and saw some of that,” Brake said. “And when my wife worked at the chamber, he would contact her for materials about Owensboro. He was recruiting people at Centre to come to Owensboro.” Silvert worked with industry clients and with most other aspects of the agency, Brake said. Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly said Silvert will be great as the EDC president. “He’s a young fellow who had left Owensboro but came back,” Mattingly said. “He was in private business as an attorney and left that to go into public service. I think it’s excellent

that we were able to get him to go into that role.” Silvert graduated from Centre College in 1998 and earned a law degree from Brandeis School of Law in 2001. He has served as staff attorney for the Owensboro Metropolitan Planning Commission and was in private practice with Thacker, Bickel, Hodskins and Thacker in Owensboro. Before moving back to Owensboro, he was an attorney with Lynch, Cox, Gilman and Mahan in Louisville. Silvert and his wife, Amy, also an Owensboro native, have three children.

Sha nnon W etzel Executive Director, Convention & Visitors Bureau

Shannon Wetzel, who grew up in Owensboro but later moved to Nashville, came home in September 2013 as the new executive director of the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau. That mean she represents Owensboro’s $268.6 million — and growing — tourism industry. “It’s awesome,” Wetzel said of the new job. “I’m seeing partnerships between the CVB, the convention center, the (Greater Owensboro) Chamber of Commerce and the (Greater Owensboro) Economic Development Corp. Everybody is working together.” In the 1980s, when Wetzel was in high school, Owensboro was going through its roughest decade — a time when the city lost population and several major employers closed or downsized. But today, she said, “There is just so much going on. The riverfront and the convention center are major attractions. We get calls all the time for visitor’s guides from people all

over the country and outside the country. The word is getting out and people are hearing about Owensboro.” Wetzel grew up in the grocery business. Her father, the late Don Wetzel, was president and CEO of Wetzel’s Supermarkets until he sold it to Wyndall’s Enterprises in 1999. Wetzel said she started working in the family business when she was 14. “I can make a deli tray with the best of them,” she said with a

laugh. After graduating from Georgetown College with a degree in recreation and psychology, Wetzel worked for her family’s supermarkets until they were sold, then became a pharmaceutical representative for five years and a pharmaceutical recruiter for 18 months. Eight years ago, she joined Travis Chaney’s Dynamic Directions in Owensboro. In 2007, she moved to Nashville but continued to work for Dynamic Directions. Wetzel said she stayed close to Owensboro despite moving away. “My mother and sister still live here,” she said. “And my job brought me back four or five times a month.” The Owensboro she returned to is not the one she left, Wetzel said. “It is so exciting,” she said of the downtown revitalization. “I’m so thrilled to be a part of it.” Wetzel was a tennis star at Daviess County High School and Georgetown College. She said she’s excited that the city will soon have an indoor tennis facility and is rebuilding the tennis courts in Moreland Park. 11 11

>> On The Move

Bria n W right President and CEO of the Owensboro Riverport Authority

When 41-year-old Brian Wright stepped in as the new president and CEO of the Owensboro Riverport Authority in October 2013, it amounted to a homecoming, one that he had been longing for. A Daviess County native, Wright graduated from Owensboro Catholic High School in 1988, where he excelled in sports. At the time he was hired to lead the riverport, Wright was president of the board of the Bowling Green St. Vincent dePaul Store. Growing up, he attended SS. Joseph and Paul Catholic Church in Owensboro. He played football and baseball at OCHS and was on the Aces’ state championship baseball team in 1985. “This is something I’m truly, truly looking forward to,” Wright said when he was hired. Wright and wife Tina have three young daughters. He earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of Kentucky in 1994. One of his first jobs was at what is now Kimberly-Clark in Daviess County. Wright came to the riverport without experience in inter-modal transportation and no background in riverport operations. But he overcame that with his knowledge of logistics, finding efficiencies and employee management skills, riverport board chairman Rod Kuegel said. The force of Wright’s personality apparently impressed the ORA board as well. The membership voted 5-0 to hire him. “His personality is captivating,” Kuegel said upon Wright’s hiring. “He’s very, very intelligent. He’s

boiling over with character.” Kuegel predicted that Wright will be a visible and forceful participant in the community’s activities. “I think he will exemplify leadership in our community,” Kuegel said. “He will take part in a lot of activities. He will be a force at the (Greater Owensboro) Chamber of Commerce and at Rooster Booster meetings. The more he’s exposed and people get to know him, the more they will know what the board already knows about him.” Kuegel said the riverport has an important role in the community and the board wants its CEO to maintain a strong community presence. “Absolutely we do,” he said. “He’s not coming from Bowling Green not knowing what’s going on. He already knows what’s going on, and he wants to be involved.” Wright was logistics manager at the SCA Americas Personal Care manufacturing facility in Bowling Green before accepting the top job at the Owensboro terminal.

“I’ve always at heart been in Owensboro.”

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The company makes personal care products, tissue and forest products sold in about 100 countries. It has 36,000 employees and nine manufacturing facilities across North America, with headquarters in Philadelphia. Riverport board member Ed Ray interviewed Wright and came away impressed. “I found he has a depth of experience in management and overall system coordination and development,” Ray said. “He also presents a very professional demeanor, which represents what the riverport wants in its CEO and its mission. What I like about Brian is he saw the strength of our professional staff, and his background demonstrates his capacity to use the professional staff to its maximum capacity.” Wright would have come home sooner, but as it turned out, he had to wait his turn. He interviewed for the riverport president position in 2008 when Ed Riney was hired and said he had wanted to return to Owensboro to raise his family and participate in the growth of the community for a long time. He worked for SCA for 16 years. “I’ve always at heart been in Owensboro,” he said. “With my experience at SCA, this was the right opportunity to make a real impact.”

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Ties That


ith generations-old family businesses, highly anticipated annual events and nationally-recognized dining mainstays, Owensboro teems with tradition. Locals and frequent visitors have established many places as favorites.

>> On The Move

But, with the success of new businesses that dare to venture into new territory in town, it has been proven that there’s room for new favorites. As Owensboro’s notoriety grows, many natives have returned and many out-of-towners have moved in to add to the city’s potential and to be part of that growth.

Sa lvado r Ze nde jas Carleos Food & Spirits brings diverse menu to Owensboro


alvador Zendejas excitedly describes the entrées and other dishes at his new restaurant as Cuban, Mexican, Thai, Mediterranean and Italian. Owensboro has plenty of Mexican, American and Italian offerings, he said. His cousin, who is a successful restaurant owner, helped him develop the blended menu idea, which he describes as a fusion of cultures. Zendejas opened Carleos in October, 2013, at 3118 Alvey Park Drive. “I wanted something stylish — something you would find outside Owensboro — but it’s here,” he said. Black table cloths and lowered lighting create a nice dinner atmosphere in the 120-seat restaurant. Even though some of the dishes are influenced by other cultures, Zendejas’ Mexican flair also is present. One best-seller — and one of Zendejas’ “five favorite dishes” — is Pampas Grill which is pork ribs, spicy with onions, bell peppers and cheese, “in a sizzling hot bowl, served with seasoned rice, refried beans and tortillas.” “You know people say it really falls off the bone, but I don’t advertise that,” Zendejas said. “I want people to see for themselves.” Another popular dish he said he has not seen featured at other places is Veneziano Crepes, which feature pork, spicy tomatillo sauce, cheese and sour cream, served with steamed broccoli. Zendejas’ Volcano Factory is served on a hot lava stone and finishes cooking at the table. It’s grilled chicken, chorizo, steak, shrimp, onions, bell peppers and cheese, with seasoned rice, refried beans and tortillas. Lomo Mechado is pork loin medallions stuffed with nuts, raisins and bacon with a mushroom sauce. “That’s my mom’s recipe and my favorite,” Zendejas

said. “I was surprised that it turned out to be a bestseller.” And Carleos’ Queso Fundido is served on fire. “It’s a good show,” he said. “We check first to make sure they know it will be on fire.” Other dishes include; Thai Pineapple Shrimp, Cuba Libre, and Portabello Pomodoro. The new restaurant also features appetizers, soups, salads, sandwiches and sides. Originally from Mexico, Zendejas moved to the U.S. in 1988. He lived in Brentwood, Tenn., and worked at the Macaroni Grill before returning to Mexico for a stint. In 2000, he relocated to Ft. Wayne, Ind., and worked for a cousin who operated Mexican restaurants. He moved to Owensboro in 2006.

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>> On The Move

Eric & Jason Kyle Red Pixel Studios continues to grow


wensboro brothers Eric and Jason Kyle used the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce directory when they first started Red Pixel Studios from a room in Eric’s home in 2001. They used the book to find Owensboro businesses that might be interested in their services, which at that time focused on print marketing and website design. After about eight months, the company was able to move out of its cramped confines, leasing its first of two downtown rentals in 2002 before purchasing its current East Third Street home in 2010. Over the past 12 years, Red Pixel Studio’s services have evolved, encompassing its original mission along with embracing the new technology of smartphone apps — and creating original products. Red Pixel Studios’ clients include schools, hospitals and tourism groups in the United States and reaching into Argentina. The company helps its clients with its print and digital identities, in some cases helping them improve their Facebook presence or their branding. Much of their work is still print-based marketing pieces, such as brochures or rack cards that travelers see in tourist destinations. Eric Kyle said Red Pixel Studios, a marketing design studio, still has many of the same clients it started with in 2001. “They are looking for a partner,

I believe, because honestly, a lot of people are intimidated by the technological aspects,” he said. “Print is not as intimidating, but when you start to get into Web databases, and even app development especially, that’s even more intimidating. They’re looking for somebody they can rely on, and we’ve always billed ourselves as a department within our client’s organization.” One of its innovations is the infoApp, which allows organizations to build a mobile marketing portfolio, making apps for Apple iOS and Android along with a mobile website, according to the company’s website. Red Pixel Studios does all of the design and development, Rob Howard, the company’s spokesman, wrote in an email, and the clients provide the content. “Clients are able to update their app instantly using a Web-based

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administration tool that we developed,” Howard wrote. InfoApp can be customized with a variety of modules, including a directory, contact information, Facebook updates and push notifications (which sends an alert to a person’s smartphone), according to Red Pixel Studios’ website. Red Pixel Studios also designed the RPS Real Estate app, which is available for Android and Apple products. The L. Steve Castlen Realtors app was a custom app, Jason Kyle said, that allows users to search listings, save their searches, select their favorite listings and send messages to specific agents. Red Pixel Studios has also designed several tourism websites and apps, including infoApps for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, Oldham County, Maysville and Kentucky Lake. Eric Kyle said clients can call Red Pixel Studios if they need help with a specific integration. “If you need help creating a message for a certain campaign, we can do that as well,” he said. “So we become almost a research and development department, but also a communications department for organizations who can’t afford necessarily to have those people full time.” “Typically they can’t hire one person who will have the skill set of seven,” Jason Kyle added. The company has seven full-time staff members including the brothers.

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>> On The Move

Ki r k Ki r k pat r ic k


irk Kirkpatrick, Owensboro’s toastmaster general, will be master of ceremonies at his final Rooster Booster Breakfast in Februar y. B y Rich S u w a n s ki

A true leading legend

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>> On The Move He said it’s an appropriate time to retire, with the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s meeting coming on the heels of the new convention center’s opening and the anticipated soaring reports in the state of the city and county speeches by the mayor and judge-executive, respectively. Also, “my 37-year contract is up,” said Kirkpatrick, ever the jokester and community promoter whose “Good News Phone” and “Top Five List” cap each breakfast. Kirkpatrick retired from Waxworks, where he was president of its video division, in 2013 after a 32-year run, but he isn’t disappearing from public view altogether. He will remain active with Friday After 5, a summer, weekly concert series, and other interests. However, Kirkpatrick’s easygoing, upbeat style will be missed at the hour-long, 7:30 a.m. monthly breakfasts. Kirkpatrick treats the Rooster Booster Breakfast as a show, preparing for each one at least two weeks in advance. “It’s a privilege to represent your

community in front of a large business organization that wants to give a good first impression to a visitor,” Kirkpatrick said. Chamber breakfasts attract upwards of 300 people now, a far cry from the 30 or so attendees that faced Kirkpatrick when he inherited the master of ceremonies post from Dr. Don Neel in 1977 as Neel moved on to chamber chairman.

“I tried to make things a little more entertaining, a little more fun,” Kirkpatrick said. “I was 23 or 24 and allowed to be off the rails a little bit.” At the time, the chamber crowd skewed older and more conservative, but Kirkpatrick felt more people should be involved. For the business community, he said, this was the place to be. Although he wouldn’t admit it, he helped bring them in.

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>> On The Move “We want to give people something informative and interesting and be done by 8:30 so they could get to work,” Kirkpatrick said. “The show was going to move along. There’s a script, but you never know what’s going to happen. “The key, though, was getting good guest speakers. People want to be in on the latest information from an authoritative source.” Kirkpatrick’s trademark “Good News Phone” appeared in the early 1980s when downtown was drying up — except for the Executive Inn Rivermont and its rousing shows — and business moved to south Frederica Street around Towne Square Mall. To perk things up, Kirkpatrick added a few items to celebrate every month, using his characteristic charm and wit. A phone rested near him at the podium and rang several times during the breakfast. When he answered, the “caller” would relay good news about the city, and Kirkpatrick informed the crowd. “A couple of the items are real and one is a joke,” he said.

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Then to combat people leaving the breakfast early, Kirkpatrick relied on his comedic skills to end the program with a “Top Five List” — chamberapproved jokes that were topical and gentle, so as not to offend. An ongoing joke involved former mayor Waitman Taylor, his age and the various jobs he’s held, a routine that Taylor enjoyed and frequently took part in. As attendance grew, guest speakers from outside the area marveled at the gathering. “They always ask, ‘Is there something else going on? Why are all these people here?’” said Kirkpatrick, noting that some other cities’ chamber events don’t draw as well. “I think it’s quite a tribute to Owensboro. It’s a great sign for the city.” Kirkpatrick never shied away from a microphone. He did two seasons of summer stock productions in Prestonsburg while at Owensboro High School, meeting Ron Palillo, who played class clown Arnold Horshack on “Welcome Back, Kotter,” and Jim Varney, who played bumpkin Ernest P. Worrell on “Hey, Vern. It’s Ernest.”

“Jim Varney taught me how to juggle, and I taught him a terrible Ed Sullivan impression,” Kirkpatrick said. Kirkpatrick liked radio and got a job at a college station before catching on with WVJS in Owensboro. “I had an outgoing personality, but in doing Rooster Booster, you don’t want to be a clown,” he said. “You want to give a professional appearance. You’re representing your community, and you don’t want to go for a cheap laugh.” One of the most memorable breakfasts for Kirkpatrick was in 1994, when his late father John Kirkpatrick led the Pledge of Allegiance 40 years after American troops liberated him from a Nazi prison camp. As he discussed approaching his last Rooster Booster Breakfast, Kirkpatrick said last year he doesn’t know who will follow him. “I don’t know if they’ll have two people, like a ‘Kelly and Regis’ thing, or have a different person each month, but it’s tremendous exposure for a young person,” he said. “It’s been an honor and privilege to do it.”


Growing Strong

Officials work to keep I-67 and I-69 road projects moving forward

Interstates hold possibilities By Joy Campbell


ighway accessibility ranks as the No. 1 factor in new industry site selection, according to the 2010 Area Development Corporate Survey included in the I-67 Development Corporation’s feasibility study. Owensboro-area leaders have said that statistic alone is a good reason for them to support longrange road projects such as I-67 and I-69. In the fall of 2013, leaders from chambers of commerce, cities, counties and states confirmed that both I-67 and I-69 could have tremendous economic development implications for communities along their paths.

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Growing Strong

I-67 is a four-lane, limited access highway which runs from Interstate 65 in Nashville to Interstate I-96 in western Michigan and includes a stretch from Bowling Green through Owensboro. I-69 stretches 2,680 miles from Michigan to Texas and will follow the Pennyrile, Western Kentucky and Purchase parkways from Henderson to Fulton through Madisonville and Eddyville. The Audubon Parkway in Daviess County will be designated a spur — or connector — to I-69. “Both of these projects are critically important for the competitiveness of our infrastructure,” said Madison Silvert, president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. “Data for economic growth along interstate corridors can’t be questioned.” In 2007, a dozen chambers of commerce in 10 western Kentucky counties formed an alliance called Chamber Leadership Initiatives for Northwestern Kentucky, or C-LINK, and quickly settled on the comple-

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tion of Interstate 69 as its top federal and state legislative initiative. C-LINK members have used their combined clout to keep the focus on I-69.   I-69 A day-long conference tagged “I-69: Our Road to the Future,” took place Oct. 15, 2013, in Madisonville. A delegation from Owensboro that included chamber members, Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly and county commissioner George Wathen attended the session. “I-69 has been a priority for the county, the chamber and C-LINK for several years,” Mattingly said before the meeting. “I think some may have thought that because of I-67 and our desire to have an interstate in Daviess County, our support for I-69 has waned somewhat.” Not so, Mattingly said. He went to the conference to show strong support for the road project. C-LINK organized the meeting to show elected leaders, economic development and transportation offi-

cials and chamber members how I-69 could benefit their communities. “I-69 is going to be a reality in our state, so as a region, we need to start thinking about how we can best leverage this new connection Kentucky will have to the rest of the country,” said Lee Lingo, the president of the Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, in promoting the conference. Lingo also is a C-LINK staff member. Kentucky is among the most active of the seven states touched by the I-69 route, according to C-LINK. The state has earmarked $130 million in the current six-year road plan to upgrade parts of the three parkways to Interstate standards and rename them as I-69. Already more than 55 miles of the Western Kentucky Parkway and Interstate 24 in Hopkins, Caldwell and Lyon counties are designated as I-69. I-67 Last spring, Amy Jackson, president and CEO of the Greater

Owensboro Chamber of Commerce, and Nick Brake, the former president and CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., joined a large Kentucky-Indiana I-67 delegation for a Washington, D.C. lobbying trip. The goal was to position both of those road projects for the future and keep them on the Kentucky and Indiana lawmakers’ radar. Owensboro and Daviess County governments pitched in $25,000 each for the I-67 Development Corporation’s feasibility study, and the chamber and EDC also made contributions. That study confirmed that the corridor could result in a significant economic boost to the entire region from more jobs, transportation savings and industry output. The 38-mile, southern Indiana/ central Kentucky stretch of I-67 would leverage several recently completed transportation investments — namely the I-69 corridor in southern Indiana, the new Owensboro bypass extension and the William H. Natcher Bridge — by bringing traffic into the new highways from other parts of southwest Indiana and western Kentucky. The I-67 link also would provide an alternate and less congested route from Nashville to Indianapolis — avoiding the busy I-65 path through Louisville. The feasibility study shows that the economic gains would be direct — from more jobs and increased industry output — and indirect — from the ripple effect throughout communities. Ohio County Judge-Executive David Johnston and Hartford Mayor Charlotte Hendricks have both said I-67 could help Ohio County with industrial development. The county’s industrial park is right off the Natcher parkway. I-69 and I-67 are important for the region’s competitiveness, Silvert said. “We are about a day’s drive to 60 percent of the U.S. population. To have those interstates would mean greater access,” he said. “Logistics firms are looking for interstate access.”

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Growing Strong

Owensboro examines boating culture Study will measure feasibility of English Park marina B y S t e v e Vi e d


ong before the new Smothers Park opened in 2012, and before anyone had an inkling of what an Owensboro Convention Center would look like, plans were being made to bring something new and useful to Owensboro’s riverfront. In 2005, three years before a downtown revitalization masterplan was presented, members of the local boating community outlined 10 things they would like to see in a new city-owned boat ramp at English Park. Two years later, in December 2007, the ribbon was cut on the

$4.3 million ramp, parking areas and scenic overlook built by Deig Brothers Construction of Evansville. At the time, Tony Cecil, who was the city’s operations manager, said the only feature on the boaters’ list that wasn’t included was dredging for the construction of an inland marina at the site. Now the idea of building an inland marina at English Park has returned. It’s not a new idea. Indeed, for decades, at least back to the 1960s, the idea of building a marina on the Owensboro riverfront has come up over and over again, and many studies and cost estimates have been produced. This time Owensboro Mayor Ron Payne wants the city to complete a design for a large, protected, inland marina. In September 2013, the city commission amended the 2013-14 city budget to spend up to $95,000 to study the feasibility of building a protected, inland marina at English Park.

Companies were solicited to perform that study this spring, City Manager Bill Parrish said. The study will include a business plan for operating the marina and identifying funding sources. In pushing for a marina, Payne said the amount of Owensboro boat traffic on the Ohio River in Owensboro has created a need — and by designing a marina, the city will be ready when the opportunity comes to build it. And while a small marina or courtesy dock may eventually be built on the Ohio River beneath the new Holiday Inn and condo development near the former Executive Inn Rivermont site, the city still needs a full-blown marina at English Park, with the possible addition of indoor warehouse storage of boats on the park’s upper level, Payne said. This latest marina study will look at costs and location for a protected inland marina where boats can be left all year, Parrish said, rather than a 25 25


Growing Strong

seasonal dock. English Park has a large, concrete wharf on the river, left over from the time when a dam crossed the Ohio River. That structure could provide the breakwater protection for a marina with boat slips installed behind it, Payne said. The next step would be authorization for a marina design, followed by finding the money to build it. “This is about a marina’s benefit to the city,” Payne said when the city commission approved the study. “That river is a highway. There’s traffic on it all the time. All you have to do is look at Friday After 5 (a weekly summer concert series) and see all those boats. If we can draw them in, that’s an economic benefit. It is definitely something we need to kick the tires on. There’s a lot of questions that have to be answered, but that doesn’t mean we don’t need to study it.” A review of previous MessengerInquirer articles about an Owensboro marina revealed the following: • During the 1966 legislative session in Frankfort, Wendell Ford, then a freshman state senator, pushed a

resolution through the Senate calling for a study of building a state park in Daviess County that would include a marina on the Ohio River and a lodge in the Bon Harbor Hills. • In 1978, the Scarborough-Riverside Plan called for increasing the size of 14-acre English Park and building a riverfront bicycle/pedestrian path called RiverLane, a marina, an amphitheater and a lookout point. • In 1987, the Strategies for Tomorrow study said “The riverfront is woefully underutilized.” It proposed a marina at English Park and a fountain in Smothers Park along with putting riverfront utilities underground.

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• The 1990 UK Landscape Architecture Study called for the development of Yellow Banks Island with a marina and recreational facilities. • In 1991 a brainstorming session conducted by The Waterfront Center — an independent not-forprofit Washington, D.C., consulting firm — came up with the ideas of a floating restaurant, a 300-boat marina, a concrete platform suspended over the Ohio River similar to Louisville’s Belvedere, an all-faiths chapel and maritime museum, a bridge lit up like a Christmas tree and a walkway stretching east to Owensboro Municipal Utilities’ Elmer Smith power plant, where it would end at a new park designed around a babbling brook created with diverted discharge from the power plant. • In 1991, then-Mayor David Adkisson asked the state to dig an inland harbor for a marina as it moved dirt for a new four-lane section of U.S. 60 and an approach to the William H. Natcher Bridge. • In 1994, the English Park Master Plan was created by HNTB Corp. of

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Louisville and Indianapolis to come up with ideas for improving the riverfront park property the city acquired when the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers dynamited Lock and Dam 46 in 1975. Recommendations included building earthen terraces on the ends of the concrete bleachers to create a true amphitheater, developing a marina on the west end of the park and a sailboat launching facility on the east end and creating a 2,000-foot-long walkway beneath the riverbanks from English Park to downtown. • In August 1999, the city asked state government for $7.18 million to develop a 100-slip marina at English Park, a river walk between downtown and English Park, a downtown amphitheater and improvements to the English Park amphitheater. The following year, then-Executive Inn owner John Bays contracted with a local company to build and operate Executive Marina, a 50-slip facility just west of the Showroom Lounge. • In December 2001, the city’s new riverfront development master plan called for a $9.2 million, 130-slip marina and other enhancements at English Park.

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Growing Strong

ENERGY EFFIECENT U of L-based agency does energy audits By Jim Mayse


usinesses worried about how much their utility bills are cutting into their profit margins can receive help from a University of Louisville agency that specializes in finding ways businesses can improve their energy efficiency. The Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center, a nonprofit organization that is part of U of L’s school of engineering, conducts energy audits for small businesses and large industries. At no cost, KPPC officials will study the business in detail and will come back with a list of recommendations that, if followed, will cut the business’ energy use and curb its utility bills. Cam Metcalf, executive director of KPPC, said the agency provided the funding in 2012 through a grant from the federal Department of Energy. Although that funding expired, the agency will continue offering energy audits through a new program where KPPC will study a business’ productivity, energy use and waste. “We’re continuing to do energy efficiency (audits), but we can tie it in better for the client” by studying the business’s productivity and pollution at the same time, Metcalf said. KPPC is not a regulatory agency, so businesses are free to choose to follow or disregard as many of the agency’s recommendations as they like. Since it was created in 1994, KPPC has conducted energy audits on about 780 businesses and has found $18 billion in potential energy savings, according to KPPC’s website. One Owensboro business that decided it needed KPPC’s help was the MessengerInquirer. Mike Weafer, the newspaper’s general manager, said the company decided to receive a KPPC energy audit after the company’s utility bills increased in 2010. “We were getting charged with having a poor power factor,” Weafer said.

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The Kentucky Pollution Prevention Center conducts energy, pollution and effiicency audits for Kentucky businesses at no cost. The results help busineses curb energy use and utility bills.

According to the Energy In Motion website, the power factor is “a measure of how efficiently energy is being consumed.” After learning of the service from OMU, Weafer contacted the Pollution Prevention Center. KPPC officials came to Owensboro and conducted the energy audit on the newspaper facility on Frederica Street in 2011. Weafer said he was impressed by the depth and scope of the energy audit. “They were pretty thorough” during the audit, Weafer said. “They asked for productions stats. It was a top-level audit.” KPPC officials also compiled information from OMU on the company’s energy and water use and examined the M-I’s machinery and lighting before making their recommendations. “We ask for 12 months of utility bills,” Metcalf said. The agency examines the bills to make sure the business is being charged correctly for energy usage, Metcalf said. “We have found errors in some of the utility bill analysis,” Metcalf said. “We’ve certainly had companies where we found $38,000 problems.” The on-site assessment includes an examination of almost every process that uses energy, Metcalf said. Some items, such as compressors, are examined with ultrasounds to determine if they are leaking. Compressor leaks

> are often easily fixed and can save a company a lot of money, he said. “They followed up (the audit) with a number of things we could do to improve our power factor and our energy consumption,” Weafer said. The recommendations ranged from the very large — such as replacing the building’s air conditioners — to the very small and easy to do, he said. “(They asked), ‘why do you have the lights on in your vending machines?’” Weafer said. Like other businesses that receive a KPPC audit, M-I officials decided to implement some of the agency’s recommendations, disregard others and defer a few to a possible later date, Weafer said. “We focused a lot of our efforts on (improving efficiency in) our air compressors,” he said. The paper has also followed KPPC’s recommendation of installing light fixtures that are more

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energy efficient, Weafer said. Because the newspaper’s power needs fluctuate, gauging the amount of money saved by improving efficiency has been difficult, Weafer said. But he says officials believe there has been a power — and cost — savings. “When they say a fluorescent light uses less energy (than an incandescent light), it does,” Weafer said. “I know every (change) was real and made a difference.” Metcalf said the agency will now perform “E-3” audits, where they examine productivity, energy use and the amount of pollution generated through production. The E-3 program is funded through federal grants from agencies such as the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy. “You have to look at every step of the production process,” Metcalf said. “We are trying to be on the cutting edge.”

Growing Strong

To receive an energy, pollution and efficiency audit, contact KPPC at (502) 852-0965.

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Business & Industry $

Boardwalk pipeline commits to downtown with office B y S t e v e Vi e d


here is nothing remotely accidental about the decision by Boardwalk Pipeline Partners to move its Owensboro headquarters of Texas Gas Transmission from 3800 Frederica St. to 600 W. Second St. Downtown Owensboro is in the midst of a dramatic revitalization and simply put, Boardwalk Pipeline Partners wanted to be a part of it. “We are excited about this groundbreaking and excited about being part of this revitalization effort in downtown Owensboro,” Jamie Buskill, Boardwalk Partners’ chief financial officer, senior vice president and treasurer, said in mid-August of 2012 when construction began. A year and four days later, more than 200 Texas Gas employees moved into the two-story, 60,000-squarefoot office building that faces the Owensboro Convention Center. The Texas Gas headquarters sits within sight of the Hampton Inn & Suites Hotel, built at the cost of $20 million, and the $15 million Holiday Inn Owensboro Riverfront hotel, which is under construction. Both hotels, as well as the convention center, overlook the Ohio River. To their east, Smothers Park — open now for a year and a half — stretches for four blocks along the riverfront. When Mayor Ron Payne thinks about the Texas Gas move, one thing comes to mind: “They are still here.” “For a long time,” the mayor said, “there were con-


cerns they wouldn’t stay. That was my fear, that they would take those jobs to Houston (Boardwalk Pipeline Partners is headquartered in Houston, Texas). So there is a dual benefit. “No. 1, they are still here and committed to staying here. No. 2 is the 230 jobs in our downtown. It is really exciting to see that. I’m so pleased and relieved they are downtown and committed to be here for years to come.” The decision by Boardwalk Pipeline Partners to move its Owensboro operations to the West Second Street address was based on more than just wanting to be part of the explosion in downtown redevelopment. It was also rooted in the company’s long Owensboro history and the desire to build on that legacy. That was made obvious by Buskill’s words when construction on the new building was just beginning. Texas Gas has had a presence in Owensboro since the company’s inception in the late 1940s. In fact, the company’s first office was downtown, at 416 W. Third St. The headquarters moved to 3800 Frederica St. in 1962. “If you look out, it’s quite remarkable what you’re seeing take place,” Buskill said at the groundbreaking for the new Texas Gas headquarters. “As a company, we celebrate a new chapter in the history of Texas Gas. If you look at that history through the years we’ve been owned by a lot different people — CSX, Transco, Williams and now Boardwalk. Yet if you look at each of those owners, they see value in a having a signifi-

$ Business & Industry cant presence in Owensboro. There’s more than luck as to why that is. It’s due to dedicated employees who have demonstrated time and time again the value they bring to the organization.” The two-story building on the old Don Moore Chevrolet-Cadillac property at 600 W. Second St. was developed by Riverfront JAM LLC, which is leasing it to Texas Gas. In early 2012, developers Jack Wells and Matt Hayden of Riverfront JAM and other private developers involved announced details of a $44 million downtown project involving public and private property. In addition to the Texas Gas building, a four- to five-story Holiday Inn with up to 120 rooms overlooking the Ohio River was announced, along with a condominium project and a marina. Bringing the new Boardwalk Pipeline Partners-Texas Gas headquarters to downtown required quite a collaboration involving the company, the developer, the city of Owensboro, the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. and even the Owensboro Public Schools district. Riverfront JAM, which already owned the West Second Street property, bought the former Texas Gas building on south Frederica and 30-plus acres, with the understanding that Owensboro Public Schools would in turn buy the property for $3 million for use as a school. The final piece of the puzzle fell in place when Riverfront JAM sold a vacant lot at 614 W. Third St. to Economic Development Properties LLC for $400,000. Economic Development Properties, formerly known as Owensboro-Daviess County Industry Inc., is the property arm of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp. (EDC) and is used to market available sites. The property, which sits between Walnut and Cedar streets, was developed into a parking lot to be shared by Texas Gas for employee parking and as parking for the Owensboro Convention Center and by the public after business hours. The groundbreaking was attended by about 100 people and was cause for celebration by Owensboro

Mayor Ron Payne, Daviess County Judge-Executive Al Mattingly and various other officials, business people and residents. Mattingly said at the time Boardwalk Pipeline Partners’ decision to return to downtown Owensboro affirmed what the city and county was doing by revitalizing downtown. Wells said the development group looked at nine local possible locations for the Texas Gas headquarters building before settling on the West Second

Street site. “It’s the front door of the new convention center and the riverfront,” Wells said. “It has history.” Payne said he hopes to talk to Boardwalk Partners officials about expanding the company’s presence in Owensboro. “That’s the next issue I’d like to have dialogue about,” he said. “What could we do? Maybe they could bring some of their other operations to Owensboro.”


$ Business & Industry

Educating designers RBS Design Group architects Mike Ranney, from left, Craig Thomas and Jim Ivy meet on Aug. 9, in a conference room at their Harvard Drive office.

RBS Design Group finds calling in education B y B e t h Noff s i n g e r


BS Design, which celebrated its 35th anniversary in 2013, lists on its website more than 30 early-learning centers and elementary, middle and high school and college construction and renovation projects in which it has been involved. “Our founding partners realized there was a great market across the state in educational facilities,” said Jim Ivy, vice president of RBS. “Early on in the history of RBS, they decided the educational market would be a great market to get into. It’s proven to be so.” Ivy is one of three principal architects at RBS Design. The others are company President Mike Ranney, son of founding partner Otto Ranney, and Craig Thomas, principal-in-charge. Architect Otto Ranney started the firm in 1978 with Terry Blake, partnering with him a year later. 32 32

After the firm opened as Ranney and Blake Architects, it merged with Strehl Engineering in 1984, according to RBS Design’s website, at which time the firm became known as Ranney Blake & Strehl, Architecture and Engineering. In 1995, the website states, Mike Ranney joined the partnership and later that same year, Ranney Blake & Strehl merged with Ivy/Thomas to become RBS Design Group, PSC. In 2006, founder Otto Ranney retired, followed by Blake in 2009. RBS has been a medium-sized firm over the years, with about 13 employees working for the business at a given time. Technology has allowed the firm to expand the number of projects on which it can work, Thomas said, also helping RBS diversify the types of projects it can do. Ivy attributed RBS Design Group’s success over the years to the firm’s customer service. The architects work closely with clients during the design

phase, and while many architects visit a project site once a month after construction has started, its architects like to visit sites on a weekly basis. “I think it’s our service that’s helped us out,” Ivy said. The firm was also recognized in 2013 for one of its educational facilities — the Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center in Henderson County. That facility was named an “outstanding building,” Ivy said, by “American School & University” magazine, which, according to the magazine’s website, “since 1928 ... has been the information source for education facilities and business professionals — serving the nation’s K-12 and higher-education administrators responsible for the planning, design, construction, retrofit, operations, maintenance and management of education facilities.” Recognition of outstanding buildings is a November 2013 feature of the publication, Ivy said.

$ Business & Industry

RBS Design Group put a wow factor in the entrance hallway when they designed Adair County Elementary School, adding a school bus to the hall. Craig Thomas, one of three principal architects at the firm, said they found an old bus, cut it in half and put it in the hallway.

RBS has been recognized by “American School & University” on several occasions, he said. Photos of the Thelma B. Johnson Early Learning Center on the RBS website show hallways featuring bright, primary colors, including floorto-ceiling blue, yellow and red crayons in a hallway. The enclosed courtyard features a small playground with several pieces of equipment surrounded by a circular path. The RBS website features photographs of many of its projects across all sectors. The firm designs both new projects that will be built from the ground up and renovations of existing spaces. Its religious projects have included the Brescia University Chapel, the Owensboro Christian Church Family Life Center and the Calhoun Baptist

Church New Christian Life Center. RBS designed the restoration of the sanctuary of Third Baptist Church after it was heavily damaged by a tornado in October 2007. Civic projects include renovating the Muhlenberg County Courthouse, the Owensboro Museum of Science and History and the Central City Library. Local education projects include the Soenneker Hall Auditorium at Owensboro Catholic High School, the Brescia University Campus Center and the Kentucky Wesleyan College/Owensboro Catholic High School Skyboxes. RBS has done some work with a private developer as part of Owensboro’s downtown revitalization, Ivy said, and the company would like to get more involved with work there. “We want to continue to serve our clients in the way that we have in the

past,” he said of the firm’s goals. “We also want to look out at some potential new markets. There’s a lot going on in our city that we’d like to be involved in. We’re recognized across the state as one of the leading school architects. “We’d like to establish ourselves a little more locally as good architects, as well.”

RBS Design Group is at 723 Harvard Drive. For more information, call 683-1158 or visit

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$ Business & Industry

Hill view Farms makes eating local easy B y K e i t h La w r e n c e


im Gilles — James Francis Gilles III — is the fourth generation of his family to farm land along Lee Rudy Road just west of Owensboro — an enterprise started by his great-grandfather, Frank, in the late-19th century. Today, the family raises 20 acres of tobacco, 600 acres of beans, 600 acres of corn and 150 head of purebred Black Angus cattle on another 300 acres. The farms stretch from Lee Rudy Road just west of Graystone Estates to the Audubon Parkway and beyond. Gilles’ grandfather, Jim Gilles Sr., began breeding Black Angus cattle — beef cattle developed from cattle native to the counties of Aberdeenshire and Angus in Scotland — on the farm in 1956. His father, Jimmy Gilles, continued to develop the herd, now recognized as one of the oldest Black Angus herds in the state. “Angus and Herefords were the popular breeds in 1956,” Jimmy Gilles says. “I don’t know why he (his father) chose Black Angus. But it was a good choice.” Last May, Jim Gilles, 25, took the family business one step farther, cre34 34

ating his own label “Hill View Farms Meats’ Premium Angus Beef.” It features a silhouette of a Black Angus cow with the company name across it. In 1978, the American Angus Association set up its “Certified Angus Beef” brand in an effort to promote the idea that Angus beef was a higher quality than beef from other breeds of cattle. Raising cattle is a 365-day-a-year job, Jimmy Gilles said. “Livestock doesn’t care what day it is,” he said. “They want to be fed.” “We raise females and sell the bulls,” Jim Gilles said. “We’ve been improving the genetics of our herd for years. Each generation is superior to the past.” He sells his beef directly to homes and restaurants. “I think his beef is awesome,” said

Matt Weafer, chef at the Campbell Club, who started buying Hill View Farms Meats in August. “It has beautiful marbling,” Weafer said. “It cooks tender, and there’s not much fat. The flavor is good and clean. You know it’s hormone free. You don’t know for sure what you’re getting at a big box store.” “I can taste the difference in my meat,” Jim Gilles said. “It ranges from 80-percent to 90-percent lean. You can soak up the grease with one paper towel. It’s lean, but it’s still flavorful, too. We have people who say they haven’t eaten beef for awhile. They try our beef, and they come back for more.” Weafer said, “When you handle it and see it prepared, you can tell the difference between it and a lot of other beef.” “The marbling in the meat gives it more taste, and it makes it more tender,” Jim Gilles said. “All our meat is antibiotic- and growth hormone-free. Our cows are pampered as much as you can pamper livestock. They get all the feed, grass and hay they want.” The cows go to the slaughterhouse — Hampton’s Meat Processing in Hopkinsville — when they’re 12 to 13 months old and weigh between 1,200 and 1,300 pounds.

“That’s when they have enough weight, and the meat is marbled,� Jim Gilles said. “The older they get, the tougher the meat is.� His business is an extension of his father’s. “My dad has been selling beef quarters, halves and whole beef for more than six years,� Jim Gilles said. “But a lot of people have smaller families and don’t need that much meat.� He sells five pounds of ground chuck for $25, 12 pounds of roast for $74 and quarter-pound hamburger patties in a box of five for $8.75. Gilles also offers such specials as The Cowpoke — a 10-pound box for $87 that includes one roast, two sirloin steaks, two rib-eye steaks and five pounds of ground chuck. Other specials are on Hill View Farms Meats’ Facebook page. Gilles began selling meat at the Owensboro Regional Farmers’ Market last year. “That’s gone very well,� he said. “Meat is a new venture for the market.� He also worked out an arrangement with Suzanne Cecil White, director of operations for Cecil Farms Produce, to deliver his beef to customers on her home-delivery produce route. “I had seen this (home delivery) in a couple of places,� Gilles said. “I saw it at UK when I was there, and it worked.� In June, Hill View Farms Meats was named best food exhibitor at the Greater Owensboro Chamber of Commerce’s 10th annual Owensboro Has It! business expo.

After graduating from the University of Kentucky in 2010, Gilles worked for an equipment manufacturer in Indianapolis for a while. “I was on the road a lot,� he said. “I got to see a lot of places. But I like this better. I like the pace of things here and being my own boss.� Gilles started working with cattle — showing them at fairs — when he was about 6 or 7 years old and continued until he was a freshman in high school. He hopes to expand his operations to include pork in the near future. “We wouldn’t raise the hogs,� Gilles said. “We’ll buy them from friends in the hog business. And I’d like to expand more at the farmers market. I couldn’t take WIC (Women, Infants and Children) checks this year, but I want to add that.� And he hopes to sell to more restaurants in the future. “That has a lot of potential, but they want large quantities,� Gilles said. “I’m not in any grocery stores yet either. They want a large amount, and I’m not there yet.�

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$ Business & Industry

This historic home at Frederica Street and Griffith Avenue will house the local office of Mattingly Ford Title & Closing company.

Old buildings often perfect for new ideas B y S t e v e Vi e d a n d B e t h Noff s i n g e r


historic home at the corner of Frederica Street and Griffith Avenue got a makeover in late 2013. The 4,000-square-foot brick house was getting a new roof and windows along with a new parking lot as Mattingly Ford Title & Closing prepared to move its offices to the Victorian home with the goal of opening its new location in early 2014. “Our idea was to get onto Frederica,” said Brian Flaherty, an

Attorney Brian Flaherty, who is the president and CEO of Mattingly Ford Title & Closing’s local office, shows a solid-wood pocket door in the historic home at the corner of Frederica Street and Griffith Avenue.

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attorney and president and CEO of Mattingly Ford’s local office. “Get closer to downtown. And just to be more centrally located, I guess.” Mattingly Ford Title Service, according to its website, “is a full-service regional title company with a staff of 30 very experienced real estate professionals, including four real estate attorneys.” The company is based out of Louisville, and one of its founders, Dennis Lee Mattingly, is an Owensboro native who now lives in Prospect. The company’s other offices are in Elizabethtown, Fort Mitchell and New Albany, Ind. Mattingly Ford’s Owensboro office opened in November 2010, with some of the legal work being handled at other locations until Flaherty retired from the FBI in 2012. The company performs title searches. It can do 30-year title searches on residential property and 60-year title searches on commercial property. It looks for liens, encumbrances, easements or other issues that could restrict the property in anyway, writes up a report and submits that title to the lender. It also works with Realtors, loan officers and potential property owners on closing real estate transactions. “The closing table is the last act of a business transaction to buy real estate,” Flaherty said. “What better place to finalize ... your deal than here at a closing table in a historic home” that’s been remodeled on Owensboro’s main thoroughfare. Mattingly Ford’s Owensboro office has operated out of a strip mall in the 3500 block Frederica Street, where its neighbors included a restaurant and retail locations. Flaherty said customers would sometimes complain about a lack of parking because of its neighbors. Another reason for the move, Flaherty said, is that, to Mattingly Ford, renting a spot isn’t an established business location. “We wanted a place to call our own,” he said. “Some place closer to downtown.” Mary Ellen Hayden, director of business development for the local Mattingly Ford, found the home. “We want to offer pretty much the best location and the best environment for our clients,” she said. “To us, what better way to do it than a historical home in Owensboro.”

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$ Business & Industry

The Miller House Restaurant, at fifth Street and JR Miller Boulevard, opened in 2009 after massive renovations.

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Restoration work on the house includes making a restroom compliant with the American with Disabilities Act, adding a wall and door and making a hallway, and stripping wallpaper from walls so they can be painted. The entrance will be on the Griffith Avenue side of the building. Its neighbor is the Jackson-Dowell law firm. Hayden has been doing research on the home, which was built in 1896. According to the titles, the residences now housing Mattingly Ford and the neighboring law firm were listed as being the Triplett Estate. The story is that a man had both homes built for his two daughters, but Hayden hasn’t been able to confirm that yet. Nancy Keeton previously operated businesses out of the home. Mattingly Ford will have better visibility at its new location, officials said. Flaherty said he believes it’s a more professional location for the business. “It’s the most prestigious corner in town, I think,” he said. • Of the many repurposed buildings in Owensboro, a notable example of a former home, actually a mansion, converted to a modern business use is The Miller House restaurant at East Fifth Street and J.R. Miller Boulevard. Opened in the fall of 2008 by Jeanne and Larry Kirk, the restaurant offers “casual-elegant” service. Built in 1905, the artificial stone house had fallen into serious neglect and sold for $45,000 to the Kirks, who spent about 10 times that much restoring the 7,700-square-foot structure that features 22 columns lining the front porch, two floors and a full basement. The Miller House celebrated its fifth anniversary last fall. Jeanne Kirk said she would encourage anyone to renovate an old house for a business use but would advise them to be very patient. “I’d absolutely give them the green light,” she said. “I just love old houses and preserving them. I love the old structure and the character. It makes it unique to be a house that is over 100 years old.” Jeanne Kirk said her husband more than she dealt with the many difficult construction issues the old house presented, but in the end, the process was worthwhile for the couple. “A lot of people ask does it look like we envisioned,” she said. “It absolutely does.”







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39 39

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z Learning here

• Daviess County Public Schools serve approximately 11,585 students in grades kindgergarten through 12th at 12 elementar y schools, three middle schools, two traditional high schools and one alternative high school. • Owensboro Public Schools serve approximately 4,990 students in grades preschool through 12th at five elementary schools, Owensboro Middle School, Owensboro High School and one alternative high school. • Owensboro Catholic Schools serve 1,345 students through Owensboro Catholic Elementary (two campuses serving kindergarten through third grade and fourth through sixth grade, respectively),

Owensboro Catholic Middle School and Owensboro Catholic High School. • There are five private schools ser ving the area: Heritage Christian School, Pre-school tthrough eighth grade; Majesty Academy, Kindergarten through 12th grade; Maximilian Montessori Academy and Triplett High School; St Mary of the Woods Grade School and Trinity High School in Whitesville. • Higher education institutions in the area include: Brescia University, Daymar College, Kentucky Wesleyan University, Owensboro Community and Technical College and Western Kentucky University - Owensboro.

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z Learning here

Sutton Elementary School principal Danna Johnson looks over the plan for the morning announcement team at the Lewis Lane school on Sept. 26. The morning announcement team prepares their routine on a daily basis, Johnson said. The team is just one way "The Leader in Me" program is incorporated into the students’ daily life at the school.

Local schools bring out the ‘leader in me’

B y B e t h Noff s i n g e r


tudents in both Owensboro and Daviess County public school systems are learning more about how to be leaders through a program based on Stephen Covey’s book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” “The Leader in Me” describes itself on its website as being “a wholeschool transformation model that acts like the operating system of a computer — it improves performance of all other programs.” Both local public school systems — Owensboro Public Schools and Daviess County Public Schools — are involved in the program. In DCPS, Country Heights, East View, Sorgho and Whitesville elementary schools implemented the program in the 2012 school year. In 2013, Audubon, Highland and Southern Oaks elementary schools, Daviess County Middle School and Beacon Central High School began utilizing “The Leader in Me.” Sutton Elementary is the only school in the OPS system fully using the initiative — which it started in 2013 — but other schools are already incorporating 42 42

aspects of “The Leader in Me” into their schools and are expected to fully participate in the coming years. Kristin Tines, guidance counselor at Sutton Elementary, learned about the program from her family in Bowling Green. Her nephews attended a school that implemented “The Leader in Me.” “I heard my nephews talking about ‘The Leader in Me,’” she said, “talking about the seven habits. I was just kind of amazed the way that they knew them and how they applied to their lives. I was just really impressed by that.” According to “The Leader In Me’s” website, the seven habits of happy kids are: be proactive; begin with the end in mind; put first things first; think winwin; seek first to understand, then to be understood; synergize and sharpen the saw. Tines and Sutton Principal Danna Johnson decided to learn more about the program and decided it was something from which their school could benefit. The duo attended a symposium about “The Leader in Me” in 2012, and the entire Sutton staff was educated on the program in the summer of 2013. “The training was all about our-

selves,” Tines said, “and learning things about ourselves and how the habits can improve our own lives — and therefore be able to teach through example with the kids. ... We see how we kind of needed that kind of structure in our character education program to be able to teach the value, to teach children to be responsible in kind of a structured way.” Tines teaches the seven habits in her guidance class, and over the course of a week, each class meets with her once. The lessons are geared toward the specific grade levels. The class studies a different activity each week through hands-on activities, songs and movie clips. The students love “The Leader in Me,” Tines said, and she receives feedback from parents who say their children have become more responsible since learning about the seven habits. “They get so proud of themselves when they can relate a habit,” Tines said. Whitesville Elementary School began “The Leader in Me” during the 2012 school year. Principal Cindy Appleby learned about the program at a conference. “Whitesville was doing great aca-

demically,” she said, “but to move our children to the next level, we were trying to find a way to motivate. ‘The Leader in Me’ seemed to give the ownership of learning back to kids. … (It’s a) much better fit than I even anticipated.” The school doesn’t have a class that focuses on “The Leader in Me” like Sutton. All seven habits are introduced at the beginning of the school year, then students in Whitesville spend three to four weeks on each habit, looking for examples and modeling each one of the habits. This is done through literature and through classroom work, Appleby said. “We tried to make it as engaging as we possibly could,” she said. In 2012, parents were taught about the program at meetings so they could talk to their children about the habits, and kids received T-shirts with the habits on them. “Anywhere you walk in this building, you’re going to see those habits and hear discussions going on,” Appleby said. “It’s about building a culture of leadership. What we’ve done, we’re turning the leadership over to the students. That’s what we want all students to be able to do.” Every student has a job in the classroom, and they make applications for leadership jobs, such as hall and walking track monitors. Students have leadership notebooks where they track their grades, behavior and attendance. Whitesville also has a “Lighthouse” team, a group of faculty members committed to seeing the school hits “Lighthouse” status. According to “The Leader in Me’s” website, “Lighthouse recognition comes because of the results a school is achieving and the impact it is having on staff, students, parents and the greater community.” It typically takes two to three years for a school to achieve “Lighthouse” status. It is reviewed on criteria, including: a “Lighthouse” team being created at the school; the school campus environment reinforces the model by adding leadership language displays; and bulletins in hallways and classrooms that emphasize individual worth and leadership principles and teachers integrate leadership language into school curriculum and instruction daily, according to the website. There have been fewer behavioral problems at Whitesville since the program was implemented.

z Learning here

Sutton Elementary School fourth-grader Elliot Tines, 10, collects books from kindergarden students on the morning of Sept. 26 at the Lewis Lane school. Tines is a member of the school’s safety patrol, which is one of the various jobs available for students, which correlates to the “Leader In Me” program.

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z Learning here

Madison Henderson, a Community Campus student from Hancock County High School, left, pins a pattern to a piece of fabric as instructor, Julia Ledford, right, works with Aqualyn Williams, another Community Campus student from Owensboro High School in the Humanities building at Owensboro Community and Technical College main campus. The students are taking a course titled Costuming and Make-up for the Stage. “These guys will finish the year with six credit hours at the college level,” Ledford said.

Community Campus Academies creating business/industry partnerships for skill-based learning B y J o y C amp b e l l


n a beautiful fall day in 2013, students from the region had a day off from school. But that did not stop 25 students from volunteering to participate in site visits to industries including MPD, where they toured the plant with engineers who demonstrated how they design, engineer and innovate parts and get them to market. “They learned from these engineers that good communication skills are just as important as their academic skills,” said Aaron Yeiser, engineering educator at the Science and Engineering Academy of Community Campus located at

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Apollo High School. “They were able to see, just like we practice in the classroom, how a product can help a human need.” Community Campus is a partnership between area school districts, colleges and businesses tasked with finding new ways to educate students. It is funded by the national education initiative Project Lead the Way. Areas include Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), Life Sciences, Theatre Arts, Business/Entrepreneurship and Construction, Energy and Trades. At MPD, the engineers showed them the company’s Breathalyzer product and discussed how they worked with law enforcement to improve it and how long it takes to

get to market. They also talked to students about radar versus laser. Yeiser’s students are engaged in skill-based learning, and the hands-on experiences with the engineers are part of that. Natalie Mountjoy’s students in the Community Campus’ Life Science Academy also are receiving opportunities to apply their skills as they are acquiring the subject matter knowledge. Skill-based learning allows students to work and think independently, but also to collaborate with other students and apply what they learn in real-life scenarios. “Anytime you can give students the opportunity to see the relevance of what they’re learning, the better it is for them,” said Nick

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Brake, superintendent of Owensboro Public Schools. “The Community Campus is part of Project Lead the Way, which is skill-based. Skill-based learning really brings to life college- and career-readiness.” Business, industry partners provide real-life experiences Community Campus originated with the Regional Alliance for Education, which is the framework for secondary and postsecondary education and business and community leaders to interface in a “classic model of business-education round table,” Brake said. Marcia Carpenter, the director of Community Campus, said the goal of the regional education alliance is to prepare students with the skills they need for tomorrow’s jobs. The “soft skills certification” now available at area high schools evolved from conversations between business and education representatives at alliance meetings. Those classes teach students how and why employers value employees who show up for work on

Century Aluminum's Hawesville smelter has been visited by students and educators participating in business and industry site visits hosted by the Regional Alliance for Education.

time, work as team members and solve problems, Carpenter said. The alliance hosts business and industry site visits for educators and students. Students and educators have visited U.S. Bank, Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, Metalsa, Century Aluminum and the skills-based training programs at OCTC’s Southeastern Campus, she said. “The foundation for Community Campus includes personalized, project-based learning as well

as team-building and problemsolving,” Carpenter said. “The ‘teacher’ assumes a facilitator role, and the learning environment mimics the workplace. Community Campus is a vehicle for channeling students into high demand skillsbased jobs.” School districts and colleges share instructors and laboratory resources for skills-based job training, she said. “Students from five school districts have an opportunity to prepare for high-demand health care and engineering jobs and received early college credit beginning in ninth grade,” Carpenter said. The business partners host hands-on field trip opportunities, serve as in-class experts and provide internships for the junior and senior years. Students make valuable connections MPD is one of the best industries in the region for providing handson opportunities to high school and college students, Yeiser said. Job shadowing in high school can lead to internships, he said. “And those students are first in line for jobs when they graduate from college,” he said. Yeiser’s students also have benefited from other business and industry partnerships including Modern Welding and THA/Tony Huff & Associates, an Owensboro engineering firm. About 50 students — freshmen and sophomores — are enrolled in the Life Science Academy based at Owensboro Community & Technical College. Recruitment at area middle schools for the next freshman class

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started in January. Most of Mountjoy’s students are pursuing some type of job in the medical field where the need is great, Mountjoy said. “In general, our curriculum is heavy in skill-based learning. Our students are exposed to real-world scenarios pretty much on a daily basis,� Mountjoy said. “It’s a combination of knowledge and skill-based. We still have a little bit of lecture.� Students routinely are sent off on their own for experiments. In one experiment, students collect and analyze data from unknown remains to try to determine the gender and ethnicity. In October 2013, Mountjoy’s students were engaged in a unit on diabetes. As part of that, students performed tests to diagnose diabetes. All of the experiments students perform are ones they may do if they worked in biomedicine, Mountjoy said. Mountjoy and Yeiser also introduce their students to professionals in their fields to help them learn about jobs and to help them in making career decisions. Mountjoy’s students have heard directly from the county coroner, a nurse from Owensboro Health, medical technicians and health department officials. They also have visited Owensboro Health Regional Hospital and Owensboro Heart and Vascular. Students also participate in community service projects such as a recent play through Owensboro Health that was a benefit for childhood obesity, Mountjoy said. “Through the play about combating childhood obesity, students see what a difference they can make in their own communities,� she said. “These students can lead their community to better health.� Mountjoy said the academies also are creating a community for students that could positively impact “brain drain,� the term used to describe when talented individuals leave the region for jobs. “Hopefully, with all of this exposure, they will start to create a network of individuals they can go back to and rely on,� she said. “And then maybe they will stay here.�

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Living here n


Real estate market offers variety By Beth Noffsinger


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hether someone is looking for country living or a taste of urban life, Owensboro and Daviess County offers a variety of housing options — all with the convenience of being about 15 minutes or less from retail centers, restaurants and businesses. Downtown revitalization has led to an increase in the housing options in downtown Owensboro. Condos have already opened in the Smith-Werner Building on Second Street near St. Ann Street. Larry and Rosemary Conder developed those condos as well as Court Place, a $3 million, four-story, 16,000-square-foot retail/condo complex at 124-126 W. Second St. — next to the Smith-Werner Building. Court Place features luxury condos on the second, third and fourth floors. Nona’s Downtown Market Kentucky Proud is on the first floor.  The couple also developed the Inquirer Building at Third and Allen streets, which features both retail and condos. Terry Woodward developed Parkside Place, which opened in the summer of 2013, at Second and Allen streets. It features six condos that range in size from 1,680 square feet to 1,740 square feet. Other condos are planned overlooking the Ohio River, near the Owensboro Convention Center. There are many subdivisions in both the city and county school districts, and there are many options for residents who want to live in rural parts of the county. The Wendell Ford Expressway, part of U.S. 60, allows easy access to much of Daviess County.  Steve Lewis, 2013 president of the Greater Owensboro Realtor As-

n Living here


sociation, expects Owensboro/Daviess County to remain a seller’s market in the coming year. The market for selling homes in the less than $150,000-range is just booming, Lewis, a Realtor at Re/Max, said at the end of the third quarter of 2013. Houses costing between $150,000 and $250,000 were still selling, though not moving as quickly as the lower market. The market above $250,000 is typically a slower market, Lewis said. “The buyer pool is a lot smaller for those pools than the others,” he said. Though rates crept up a bit in 2013, they balanced off and calmed everybody down, Lewis said. Daviess County survived the housing bubble burst, and Lewis attributed that to prices not getting out of control like they did in other areas. “Our prices, I think they stayed ... competitive, fairly within market value,” he said. When the bubble did burst, Lewis said, it just slowed sales down — there wasn’t a big loss in the value of homes.

Lewis anticipates the housing market remaining steady in Daviess County for 2014. It doesn’t appear that rates will creep up too high, he said, and housing sales in the area hadn’t slowed down much as fall approached. There has been a mix of clients purchasing brand new homes versus resales, but new construction prices have increased some in 2013, Lewis said, which is why resales were doing well. “We’re just hoping it keeps rolling,” he said. “It’s been fun.” In September 2013, 120 units with an average price of $121,604 were sold compared to 102 units with an average price of $115,923 in September 2012, according to data from the Realtor association. Construction on new homes in Owensboro/Daviess County is also seeing some improvement. It, too, took a hit during the recession and has been slow to recover. Owensboro was fortunate, said Richard Stallings, executive officer of the Home Builders Association of

Owensboro, because there was a lot of planned commercial projects in the area at the start of the economic downturn. The “commercial aspect helped the overall aspect of the community,” he said. “Residential took the biggest hit. It’s still in recovery mode.” But new, single-family residential home building has seen an uptick in the last two years, starting in May 2012. Figures in 2013 stayed neck and neck with the previous year before seeing a jump in August 2013, Stallings said. “We’re actually up, as far as the dollars go, it’s pretty significant,” he said. Though about the same number of homes have been built, the dollar amounts on the houses went up 10 to 15 percent in 2013. The trend is also for houses to get larger, rather than smaller, as first predicted after the economic downturn, Stallings said. Owensboro is listed on the National Association of Home Builders/ First American Improving Markets Index, which tracks housing markets throughout the country that are

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showing signs of improving economic health, according to the NAHB’s website. “The index measures three sets of independent monthly data — employment growth (Census), house price growth (Freddie Mac) and single-family housing growth (Census) — to identify the top improving markets,” the website states. Home values remain strong, Stallings said, and much of the new home growth is taking place in east Daviess County, especially around the Kentucky 54 corridor. Residential construction represents more than $40 million to the local economy annually.    

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n Living here


Joanne Masters looks out over downtown from the patio on the top of the Bates Building at 101 W. Second Street. Masters lives in one of six condos in the historic building. Masters and a couple who are living in another condo in the Bates building both hosted a gathering for their guests on the rooftop during the 2013 air show.


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Owensboro Health recruits physicians B y B e t h Noff s i n g e r


wensboro Health is the largest employer in Owensboro, with more than 3,400 employees in its system. It relies on a variety of collaborations for its success, including its employees going out into the community and OH’s work with local physician practices. OH implemented a community needs assessment plan, where it’s hoping to work with various organizations — including the city of Owensboro and Daviess County Fiscal Court — to address three areas of concern: substance abuse, access to care and obesity. “In as much as we are trying to increase the economic vitality of the community, we’re looking at several different avenues, and a lot of that revolves around physicians,” said Deborah Nunley, chairwoman of OH’s board of directors. Physician recruitment and collaborating with local physicians’ practices is important to OH. OH, which oper

ates Owensboro Health Regional Hospital along with numerous multicare facilities and specialty practices, serves an 11-county region. Owensboro Health Regional Hospital’s new, state-of-the-art facility opened on Pleasant Valley Road in June 2013. It employs physician recruiters whose sole job is to bring new doctors into Owensboro — many of whom will work at a practice with hospital rights, but not be employed by the hospital. Adding a new physician generates $300,000 in tax revenue for the community, Nunley said. “Each one of those practices on average creates an additional six to seven jobs in the community,” she said in early October. “We have about 20 doctors committed for this year, either started or signed up. Our five-year goal is to recruit a net gain of 25 physicians.” The one-year goal is to recruit a net gain of eight doctors and 10 physician extenders, such as nurse

“In as much as we are trying to increase the economic vitality of the community, we’re looking at several different avenues, and a lot of that revolves around physicians.” -Deborah Nunley,

chairwoman of OH’s board of directors. 59 59

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n Living here


practitioners and physician’s assistants. A residency program is also a new collaboration on the horizon at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital. “I think that’s going to be a huge boost to to this community,” Nunley said. “We’re exploring several different paths for establishing that program.” One possibility is establishing a residency program that would


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work in conjunction with the University of Kentucky or the University of Louisville to establish a community-based family medicine residency. Another possibility is a regional consortium with Indiana University’s medical school, which has a campus at the University of Southern Indiana in Evansville, St. Mary’s Medical Center and Deaconess Health System in Evansville and Jasper (Ind.) Memorial – – – – – – –

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Hospital. Nunley said officials hope either residency program would help retain physicians trained through Owensboro Health. In the consortium, she said, the residency program would have the capacity to train 120 doctors in five specialties. “That’s going to be huge. ... Physicians who are residents in a community typically stay there when they graduate,” Nunley said. A physician staying in a community generates an estimated $1.3 million in economic impact, she said.  “It’s a priority for this board to see this come to fruition,” Nunley said of the residency programs, “and we’re having some very important conversations with these different medical schools.” Doctors specializing in primary care, which includes family and internal medicine, is the priority for physician recruitment at OH, followed by neurology, psychiatry,

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vascular surgery, endocrinology and palliative care. “We actually know our particular needs in each one of those areas,” Nunley said. “They seem to be at the top of our list. We try to anticipate those areas of service where we may be losing a doctor within the next three or four years — create a learning curve for the new doctor before the senior doctor leaves.” Owensboro Health provides incentives to local practices to give to doctors they are trying to recruit. “We work in conjunction with these private practices to bring the appropriate doctors into the community to serve our public,” Nunley said. Physicians in private practices serve on a lot of leadership committees at Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, and they’re integrated into the hospital’s communication system. Many of them also use Epic, an electronic medical record program that OH uses. “Everybody has the opportunity to use it,” Nunley said. “Some of the practices have decided to use another type of IT communication, but they all understand that it’s key to be able to communicate quickly and efficiently among each other. It’s the way of health care today. Most of them are on board. The hospital has worked with them to get the systems in place to get them trained so they know how to function in that kind of communication system.” Owensboro Health’s goals include expanding its reach beyond the 11 counties it currently serves. “I think that brings credibility,” Nunley said. “It brings better health care. It makes Owensboro become a true regional health center, and I think that will bring more people into this community for their health care needs and provide more economic growth for all of the business providers — particularly the business providers here in Owensboro.”

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Festivals & recreation make Owensboro a destination

Bluegrass band G2, from Sweden, performs during the 10th annual ROMP: Bluegrass Root & Branches Festival at Yellow Creek Park.


B y J im M a y s e

ourism is a major Owensboro-area business, with an annual economic impact well over what people might expect. “In Daviess County, it’s in the neighborhood of $258 million annually,” said Sean Dysinger, tourism development director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau. The county’s tourism industry revolves around large, well-known festivals, sporting events and the city’s museum and fine arts centers. All of those pieces will play a role in attracting events to the Owensboro Convention Center. “If you’re a town like Owensboro that has things to

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do, it’s easier to get those conventions,” Dysinger said. “... When you put in quality of life considerations, we can be very competitive with places traditionally thought of” as convention destinations. The CVB measures tourism’s economic impact partly by surveying the number of booked hotel rooms during festivals and events. Dysinger said some of the biggest local events are the annual Big O Music Festival (a country music concert), the ROMP: Bluegrass Roots & Branches festival, the International Bar-B-Q Festival and Reid’s Orchard’s annual Apple Festival. Continues on page 76

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New Mom and Blossoms co-owner Jessica McKinley sorts through merchandise at the Frederica Street location. Blossoms opened a second store in the new Hampton Inn and Suites downtown in 2013.

Boutiques offer unique merchandise, shopping experience


By Angela Oliver

mid the banging of tools and the abundance of road closures because of construction for downtown developments, retailers waited patiently for the area to be complete. Though foot and motor traffic was low in some parts of downtown because of road work, the boutique owners said sales and interest have been consistent, as they aim to offer exclusive merchandise that gives shoppers grand and forward-thinking styles to match a city on the brink of vitality. Exposed brick walls and rustic, dark furniture give Bella Ragazza a warm feeling. Portraits of a fashion triumvirate — Jackie Kennedy Onassis, Audrey Hepburn and Diana, Princess of Wales — adorn the wall behind the check-out counter. “Even in different time periods, these women and their fashions are classic,” said Natasha Gaw, who owns the In addition to clothing, Bella Ragazza Boutique in downtown Owensboro also carries various accessories.

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Embellish owner Jennifer Tinius, left, helps a customer pick out an ensemble in her boutique at 115 East 18th Street in Owensboro.

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R Playing here boutique with her father and stepmother, Jimmy and Marti Gaw. “We offer that classy, timeless look here.” Gaw opened Bella Ragazza, Italian for “beautiful woman,” on May 25, 2013. It’s chiefly a women’s apparel boutique but also offers gifts for men and women along with home decor. Though construction along Second Street blocked potential patrons from walking or driving by the store in the fall of 2013, Gaw said she gains many new customers through online efforts. Bella Ragazza features themes each day on its Facebook page. “Monday is ‘New Week, New Arrivals’ so we show off our new inventory,” she said. The themes continue with “TwoWays Tuesday,” which shows how a garment can be worn two ways; “Working Woman Wednesday,” which shows business attire ideas; “Three Things Thursday,” which shows three pieces that can be worn together; “Fashion Forward Friday,” which shows adventurous outfit ideas; and “Spotlight Saturday,” which shows off a particular brand. The page also has must-have lists for the seasons. Bella Ragazza offers sizes 0 to 16. Gaw said she often makes special orders for customers and assures that the store serves many price points. “Boutique shopping is already unique,” she said. “I want women to come in here and feel special, feel exclusive and feel beautiful.” Gaw moved away after high school and has lived and worked in retail and buying in Lexington, Bowling Green, Jacksonville, Fla., Nashville and other cities. When her father told her of Owensboro’s plans for downtown, she decided to return home to be part of the plans. Many others were also eager to join the downtown retail scene. Boutiques include C-ing Polkadots, a whimsical arts, crafts and gifts boutique; Studio Slant, an art and jewelry boutique and gallery; and Simply Chic Home Accents. Debi Ford opened Simply Chic on West Third Street in 2012. The mother of three worked at Aleris for 19 years. “It was a big step leaving a salary and benefits and comfort,” she said, “but it’s one of the best decisions I’ve

ever made, and it’s been more successful than I thought.” Simply Chic offers furniture, rugs, wall hangings and other decor. Much of the merchandise, including candles, jewelry and soaps, is hand-made by local artisans. “We have things you usually wouldn’t see in Owensboro,” Ford said. Like Gaw, Ford said downtown retailers are a family. “We seem to complement each

other well,” Ford said. “If a customer is looking for something that I don’t have here, I can direct them to another boutique that has what they want. We work together because we don’t just want our stores to be destinations — we want the whole downtown to be a destination.” Downtown is contained by a railroad track. Just before the north side of the track sits Blossoms Apparel & Gifts, a boutique that has a bit more history in Owensboro.

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Paige Kuegel, left, and her mom Sandy Kuegel shop at Bella Ragazza Boutique at 120-A W. Second St. in downtown Owensboro. The shop carries apparel and accessories for women.

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Vicki Mills opened it on Yale Place about 10 years ago, but when she realized it didn’t get much attention from passing drivers, she moved it to 805 Frederica St. in 2009. Her daughter, Jessica McKinley, said sales have been up each year since the move. “We’re an alternative to the mall,” she said. “We have big-city lines right here in little Owensboro, so there’s no need to travel to find special things.” McKinley said Tom’s shoes, Moon & Lola jewelry and Frye boots are among the boutique’s top sellers. It also attracts out-of-town customers, she said. Though comfortable on the edge of downtown, McKinley said she’s proud of Blossoms’ second location that opened in the west wing of Hampton Inn & Suites. “That gets us a little closer to the action, the visitors, the conventions and that crowd,” she said. “We’re very excited about the downtown revitalization.” The owners said they’re happy to part of the downtown boutique scene, and they don’t worry about oversaturation or competition. “I think we all welcome retail neighbors,” McKinley said.

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the show goes on Area businesses are patrons of the arts B y B e t h Noff s i n g e r


wensboro is home to a vibrant arts and entertainment scene. Theater-lovers can attend the RiverPark Center, which hosts touring Broadway productions each year among other programming, or see community theater presented by Back Alley Musicals or Theater Workshop of Owensboro. The Owensboro Museum of Fine Art is the second largest art museum in the state — and the largest in western Kentucky. It boasts its own collection, and it curates exhibits throughout the year using works from its acquisitions and borrowing from other museums or private collections. Owensboro Dance Theatre presents two major productions each year, “The Nutcracker” and “In Concert.” The Owensboro Symphony Orchestra has an annual concert series. The International Bluegrass Music Museum hosts ROMP: Roots and Branches Festival, a bluegrass music fest that doubles as a fund

Top: Actors portraying nuns chat outside during dress rehearsal of "The Sound of Music" at the Theatre Workshop of Owensboro Opryhouse. Above: Fourth-grader Parker Freels watches Elizabeth Jones while learning the pizzicato technique on a violin at Newton Parrish Elementary School. Jones, with the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra, taught the children the basics of playing the violin through the symphony’s ‘Strings Attached’ program.

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A large crowd fills BB&T Plaza at the first Friday After 5 celebration of the season.

raiser for the museum. Most of these agencies also offer educational programming, either at their own facilities or in the local school systems. And many times, these arts organizations receive support from area businesses, including BB&T and Owensboro Health, to help them showcase their art in the community. Owensboro Health, which operates Owensboro Health Regional Hospital, is a large supporter of the arts. Each year, it provides arts and cultural grants to several organizations. It also has art by local and regional artists on display at the new hospital, which opened in June 2013. “It’s important to know that, as the largest employer certainly in the region, that we view being a good corporate citizen as a key component of our mission of improving the health — healing the sick and improving the health — of the community,” said Steve Johnson, OH’s executive director for community, government and legislative affairs. “Part of that is being a good corporate citizen — on that one vein, the arts are certainly an area we should support as a good corporate citizen.” Each year, Owensboro Health awards about $650,000 in grants to a variety of organizations through a com72 72

petitive grant program. Recipients range from social service agencies to arts organizations. Each applicant must outline how its organization will use the grant to support an identified health need, Johnson said. For fiscal year 2014, several arts and cultural groups and events received a total of $144,850 in grant money from the hospital. Grants were awarded to Friday After 5, a weekly, summer concert series; Back Alley Musicals; International Bluegrass Music Museum; city of Owensboro (for the Owensboro Air Show); Owensboro Dance Theatre; Owensboro Museum of Science and History; Owensboro Symphony Orchestra; RiverPark Center; and Owensboro Museum of Fine Art. When groups submit their grant proposals, Johnson said, they must demonstrate how their program or project is going to address an identified health need. The hospital focuses on access to care, obesity and substance abuse. The hospital then goes through a thorough review process of the grants. A group of about 20 individuals across the organization review and score social service organizations, Johnson said. Another group at the administrative level reviews the competitive arts funding grants. “We’re not bound by supporting the particular agency,” Johnson said. “We’re projects driven. We first look at what the health focus and event is. From there, we determine what the funding is going to be.” Having a quality arts and entertainment scene is key to recruiting physicians and executives to the community, as well, he said. “There’s no question that a vibrant arts and cultural (scene) is part of the mission of improving the health of the community,” Johnson said. “Arts and health has been shown to go hand-in-hand as far as healing the sick.” BB&T has long been a supporter of Owensboro arts organizations, going back to its predecessor, Area Bank Shares Corp., the holding company that owned Owensboro National Bank. “The reason why we do that is because we (feel) like the arts are an important part of the community,” said Scott McCain, market president for BB&T-Owensboro. “They serve several different facets. They are very important from an economic development perspective. They create placemaking, and they provide a lot of good family entertainment — and more importantly, arts education for our children.” BB&T has been a title sponsor for the RiverPark Center’s annual Broadway series since the program’s inception, which McCain said was a major endeavor for the bank. It has also supported programming at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, Owensboro Dance Theatre and the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra. It has supported many arts organizations for several years. “We’re just very proud to be associated with the RiverPark Center as well as the symphony, the art museum (and) Owensboro Dance Theatre,” McCain said. BB&T tries to provide the amount of support that arts agencies ask for, but that depends on the bank’s budget. Often, McCain said, they will go over budget on arts sponsorship.

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Back Alley Musicals presents “The Music Man” at the Riverpark Center.

“ ... What we’re donating to is the program as a whole,” he said. “We try to support that so they’ll have longevity and continue to be an important thread within the Owensboro community.” And the bank provides more than just financial support. Several bank employees, including McCain, are on boards of directors of local arts agencies or volunteer in other capacities. “There’s a number of man-hours that are also contributed in relation to our monetary contributions,” he said. “We think it’s very important that our people get involved hands on as well. ... It’s just always been very important for this bank to support not only the visual arts but the performing arts. ... We just feel like it’s an important part of our community, and I think we are very fortunate as a community of this size to have the quality of arts that we have.”

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THE OWENSBORO SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA Nicholas Palmer, Music Director and Conductor

(270) 684-0661 74 74

Jason Hayden, marketing director for the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, looks over a painting before wrapping it in protective materials so it can be shipped to the Duncan Center Museum and Art Gallery, in Greenvile as part of an on loan collection.

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Playgrounds. Bike trails. Spray parks. And so much more.

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Recreation? right here. • Adkisson Greenbelt Park — The 15-mile Adkisson Greenbelt Park links neighborhoods, parks and schools. The trails offer a 10-foot wide asphalt surface to easily accommodate pedestrians and bicyclists. For information on trail entries and routes, visit • Ben Hawes Park Golf Course — The park features an 18-hole regulation course, a 9-hole par 3 course and a driving range. The Pro Shop offers pull carts, golf cars and rental clubs plus golf apparel, clubs and balls. The public archery range at Ben Hawes Park is located near the Pro Shop. (270) 6877137. Continued from page 64 “Most of what we’ve done, since we lost the Executive Inn (Rivermont), has been event-driven,” Dysinger said. “... The Saturday night of the Big O Music Fest, we had 98-percent occupancy in our hotel rooms.” The occupancy rate for the Big O festival “is the highest I’ve seen since we started doing the reports,” Dysinger said. During the week of ROMP, hotel occupancy ranged between 80 and 82 percent, Dysinger said. Part of the reason so many hotel rooms were booked the weekend of ROMP is because there was a slow-pitch softball tournament in town as well, Dysinger said. 76 76

• Combest Pool — An Olympic-sized municipal pool. The facility offers certified lifeguards, public swimming, swim lessons for youths and adults, fitness and aquatics classes and private party rentals. 1530 McJohnson Ave.

• Cravens Pool — A municipal pool on the west side of Owensboro. The facility offers a showering mushroom and lily pads and ranges from 1-to 4.5feet deep. 2815 Cravens St.   • Edge Ice Center — The city’s recreational ice skating center. 1400 Hickman Ave. (270) 687-8720, or www.

In addition to festivals, a major Owensboro attraction is the International Bluegrass Music Museum, which draws people from well outside of the region. “We have buses of people coming in” to visit the museum, Dysinger said. Places such as the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art, the Owensboro Museum of Science and History and Western Kentucky Botanical Garden are also tourism draws. Visits to places like the museums and the garden increase when there are multi-day events in town, Dysinger said. “A visitor will spend approximately six hours every day doing whatever it was that brought them to town,” Dysinger said. “... There are quite a few hours (left) to visit the botanical

• Smothers Park — A river-side park that spans five city blocks. It includes three fountains, a cascading waterfall, sprawling playground, spraypark, concessions and more. Veteran’s Blvd. www.

• English Park Boat Ramp — The English Park Boat Ramp opened in 2008 as part of a major upgrade to the riverfront park. The ramp features a wide ramp, reserved parking for trailers and a dock. Hanning Lane. www.  • Hillcrest Golf Course — A yearround, nine-hole municipal golf course. 4346 Old Hartford Road. (270) 6878717  • Horse Fork Creek Park Soccer Complex — The park includes nine soccer fields and a walking trail. 3005 Fairview Drive.

garden, art museum and science and history museum.” The RiverPark Center helps increase tourism spending through events like its Broadway series, Dysinger said. In addition, the CVB markets events like Friday After 5, a weekly summer concert series held downtown, to draw people to town for weekend visits, Dysinger said. Although the city has multiple festivals and attractions to bring people to town, another important asset is downtown, which is undergoing a restoration that began with the redesign of Smothers Park, Dysinger said. “The downtown area in general has been a big draw for people coming into town,” he said.


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• Kendall-Perkins Park — A twoacre neighborhood park featuring a spray park, playground equipment, two lighted tennis courts and two lighted basketball courts. Home of the annual Dust Bowl basketball tournament. West Fifth Street.  • Legion Park — A 23.75-acre park includes two tennis courts, one lighted basketball court and Spray Park. Byers Avenue.  • Moreland Park Tennis Center — Contains 12 lighted tennis courts. Also home to the Moreland Park Tennis Association and the National Junior Tennis League. Owensboro Parks and Recreation Department provides tennis lessons during the spring, summer and fall. West Parrish Avenue.  • Owensboro Health HealthPark — An 110,000 square-foot exercise facility, which includes a cushioned indoor walking/running track, indoor lap pool, warm-water therapy pool, cardio and strength training equipment, enclosed free-weight area, racquetball courts, chapel and meditation garden and gymnasium. The facility also offers a wide range of therapeutic services. 1006 Ford Ave. (270) 688-5433  • Owensboro Family YMCA — Two facilities, at 900 Kentucky Parkway (full family facility) and at 650 Chuck Gray Court (adults only with childcare available), (270) 926-9622.

• Owensboro Softball Complex — Located in Jack C. Fisher Park, the complex features four lighted softball fields, a field house with concessions and announcer’s area. The park hosts many local, state, regional and national tournaments. 3900 West Fifth Street Road.  • Owensboro Sportscenter — The Owensboro Sportscenter is a 5,500-seat auditorium and arena. The Sportscenter is the home court for the Kentucky Wesleyan College basketball team. 1215 Hickman Ave.  • Panther Creek Park — Includes six baseball diamonds, walking trails, playground equipment and both open-air and enclosed picnic shelters. 5160 Wayne Bridge Road. • Thompson-Berry Soccer Complex — An 11 field soccer complex with picnic areas and concession facilities. Raven Drive off U.S. 60 West. • Waymond Morris Park Football Complex — Includes four lighted football fields, a seven-acre lake, a walking trail and concession facilities. 5200 Todd Bridge Road • Yellow Creek Park — A 152-acre park that includes a pioneer village, walking and nature trails, a disc golf course, basketball, tennis and volleyball courts and three baseball diamonds. 5710 Kentucky 144.

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• International Bluegrass Music Museum — The museum features exhibits of bluegrass memorabilia and the Bluegrass Hall of Fame. The museum also hosts music lessons, a music camp and other special events. 207 E. Second St., or (270) 926-7891

• RiverPark Center — Home of the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra and the summer “Friday After 5” free concert series. The center also hosts an annual Broadway series and holds free summer movies and other events. 101 Daviess St., or (270) 687-2770

• Owensboro Museum of Fine Art — The museum’s features include permanent exhibits, such as the stained glass collection; new exhibits are staged regularly. The museum also includes a children’s art laboratory and is home to the annual “Holiday Forest” Christmas tree exhibit. 901 Frederica St., or (270) 685-3181

• Theatre Workshop of Owensboro — TWO began its 50th season in September 2012. A community theater, it presents locally produced comedies, dramas and musicals as well as hosting drama camps for youths. It operates two theaters: the Trinity Centre, it’s main venue, and the TWO Opryhouse. 407 W. Fifth St., or (270) 683-5003

• Owensboro Museum of Science and History — The museum is the home of the SpeedZeum, an auto racing exhibit, the Coal Mine Gallery and the Wendell H. Ford Government Education Center. The museum also hosts regular children and family activities and other special events. 122 East Second St. or (270) 687-2732 • Owensboro Symphony Orchestra — The OSO season runs from September to April and includes a selection of classical music, opera and pops music. The symphony also stages its annual “Holiday Pops” concert in December and performs at the city’s Independence Day celebration and at the annual “Concert on the Lawn” at Kentucky Wesleyan College. 211 E. Second St. www. or (270) 684-0661 78 78

• Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, — A large garden that hosts special exhibits and events. The garden is also available for special events. 25 Carter Road, www.wkbg. org or (270) 852-8925 • Windy Hollow Speedway — A dirt oval track that hosts several classes of auto racing. The racing season at Windy Hollow Speedway runs from April to October. 4731 Windy Hollow Road, or (270) 785-4065 • Kentucky Motor Speedway — Hosts various classes of auto racing, including thunder stock, street stock, mini stock and pure stock classes. Season runs from April to late September. 8135 Haynes Station Road, Whitesville,

R Playing here • International Bar-B-Q Festival — Held the second weekend in May in downtown Owensboro, the festival is a giant cooking contest where both large church teams and small backyard cookers compete to see who can serve the best barbecued beef, chicken and mutton. The festival also includes children’s rides and games, a car show, a street fair and music on multiple stages.

• Friday After 5 — A weekly series of free summer concerts from May to Labor Day weekend at the RiverPark Center patio and other downtown stages. • Owensboro Regional Farmers Market — Open on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday mornings from spring to early fall in the parking lot of Owensboro Christian Church, 2818 New Hartford Road. • Summer Movies on the River — A free outdoor family movie night on the plaza at RiverPark Center. • Dazzling Daylily Festival — Features a national display garden of hybridized daylilies, tours, food and fun at the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden. (270) 852-8925 or • ROMP: Bluegrass Roots and Branches Festival — The International Bluegrass Music Museum’s annual bluegrass festival in June, featuring concerts and events at the museum and Yellow Creek Park. 1-888-MY BANJO or www. • Big O Music Fest — Annual country music festival, held at Reid’s Orchard in eastern Daviess County. • Family Freedom Fireworks Festival — A family celebration of Independence Day at Panther Creek Park. Typically held July 3. www.

• Celebration of the American Spirit — The city of Owensboro’s Independence Day celebration at English Park, featuring a fireworks extravaganza on the river and music by local artists and the Owensboro Symphony Orchestra.

• Owensboro Multicultural Festival — Offers a unique blending of cultures each August to educate and celebrate our diversity at First Presbyterian Church, 1328 Griffith Ave. (270) 684-1467 or www.

• The Daviess County Lions Club Fair — Held each July at the Lion’s Club fairgrounds in Philpot. The fair includes tractor pulls, beauty pageants, animals, rides and more. • Owensboro Dust Bowl — A nine-day outdoor basketball tournament held in July at Owensboro’s Kendall-Perkins Park. • Owensboro Symphony Orchestra’s Concert on the Lawn — Held each August on the lawn at Kentucky Wesleyan College on Frederica Street. • Patriot Days at Yellow Creek Park — Held in the park’s pioneer village. Features living history exhibits, colonial games, food and craft sales. www.friendsofpioneervillage. org • Scarecrow Festival — Held in September at the Western Kentucky Botanical Garden, 25 Carter Road. (270) 852-8925 or

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For more information about events happening in and around Owensboro, call the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau at 1-800-489-1131 (toll free) or go to • U.S. 60 Yard Sale — Held the first weekend in October, stretches from Union County to Meade County along U.S. 60. • Voices of Elmwood Cemetery — Hayride through Elmwood Cemetery, where actors portray residents who are buried in the cemetery. Sponsored by the Owensboro Museum of Science and History and the Daviess County Public Library. • Reid’s Orchard Apple Festival — Includes rides, games, food and activities at Reid’s Orchard, a 140 year-old orchard in eastern Daviess County. The festival is usually the third weekend in October. 4812 Kentucky 144. (270) 685-2444 or

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• Veterans Day Parade — Brings bands, floats, scout troops and organizations to downtown Owensboro to honor our veterans in November, usually the Saturday closest to Veterans Day.

• The Nutcracker — Owensboro Dance Theatre’s annual performance of the holiday ballet. Typically presented in early December at the RiverPark Center.

• Owensboro Christmas Parade — Typically held the Saturday before Thanksgiving in downtown Owensboro.

• Holiday Stroll enhances the holiday season at the beginning of December with live music and other activities and attractions at several locations in downtown Owensboro.

• Holiday Forest — An annual exhibit at the Owensboro Museum of Fine Art. The exhibit features Christmas trees and decorations designed by regional artists, civic groups and schools.

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Josh White works the front desk while talking with a customer at the Hampton Inn, 615 Salem Dr.

Tourism growth increases need for hospitality training B y K e i t h La w r e n c e


ast fall, the editors of ConventionSouth magazine announced their “South’s 20 Top Cities For Music & Meetings.” Most of the cities were places people would expect to find on such a list — Nashville, Memphis, New Orleans, Miami, the Mississippi Delta.

But many Owensboroans were surprised to find their city on the list. “We are very familiar with Owensboro,” ConventionSouth Editor Marlane Bundock said in an interview. “The new convention center and the new hotels will appeal to meeting planners. They’re looking for midsized, affordable destinations that are easily reached by car. And the city’s bluegrass heritage

should appeal to them.” The magazine also put the Owensboro Convention Center at No. 75 on its list of the 101 largest expo halls in the South — an area that includes Texas and Oklahoma as well as the Southeastern states. Dean Dennis, general manager of the Owensboro Convention Center, said it will hire live local bands and serve barbecue at opening receptions for conventions and meetings 81 81

R Playing here it books. “It’s an enticement to get people to book meetings here,” he said. Last year, the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau created the Owensboro Hospitality Association, which brings together all the businesses that are affected by tourism — including restaurants, attractions and hotels. The goal is to train frontline workers in all those places to welcome visitors and be able to tell them what’s happening in the city during their stay. Ruth Ann Dearness, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott and a CVB board member, said just before the Owensboro Air Show in September, “I was walking past our bar, and I heard one of our part-time bartenders tell somebody there was nothing to do in Owensboro, you need to go to Evansville.” That’s a message that Dearness and the CVB want to stop. “There is so much going on in Owensboro,” she said. “The day

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of the air show, I was invited to six community. different events in town.” “I can already see a change in Kirk Kirkpatrick how people is working with describe Owensthe CVB and the boro from a year Hospitality Assoago,” Kirkpatrick “I can already see ciation to provide said. a change in how training for the Dearness said people who the Hospitality people describe are likely to be Association has among the first about 35 active Owensboro from to greet visitors. participants. a year ago.” “I saw the “I’ve talked to results of hospiso many people tality training in from Evansville Denver last sumwho are commer,” he said. “They made you feel ing to Owensboro now because so important. It’s important that we of all the things happening here,” show great hospitality to visitors. Kirkpatrick said. “We’re an easy sell Every visitor needs to feel like a once people come here.” special guest.” He said, “I don’t think people Two years ago, Kirkpatrick said, understand what downtown will be there was a lot of anger in Owenslike in the next two years. It’s not boro about the riverfront that was even one-third finished now. It’s then under construction and about been a wonderful 16 months since the tax increase that paid for it. the park opened. But I don’t think But once Smothers Park opened downtown restaurants and other in August 2012, he said, people business have any idea what it’s goreacted with increased pride in the ing to be like when both hotels and

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R Playing here the convention center are open. There’s going to be so much traffic down there.” The convention center, with its 44,000-square-foot exhibit hall and an additional 48,000 square feet of meeting space, is slated to open Jan. 27. Its first event, the 40th annual Ag Expo, is scheduled two days later. And the center’s grand opening will follow on Jan. 31-Feb. 1. Laura Alexander, director of sales & marketing for the convention center, said in September that the facility had already booked 114 events through 2017. The first six months of 2014 will see $170,000 worth of business “and there are a couple of big things coming that we can’t announce yet,” she said. Conventions booked for 2014 include the Kentucky State Lions Club, the District 43E Lions Convention, the Kentucky Travel Industry Association Spring Travel Forum, the Kentucky Society of Association

Executives Convention, OMGcon (a convention for fans of anime and video games), the Healthcare Coalition Conference, the Democratic Woman’s Club of Kentucky and the Diocese of Owensboro Youth Conference. The 2014 lineup also includes the Outdoor Owensboro Hunting & Fishing Expo, Your Perfect Day Wedding & Prom Show, Owensboro Boat & Recreation Show, Home Builders Association of Owensboro Home & Garden Show, CRS Food Source Trade Show and Owensboro Area Quilter’s Guild show. Global Spectrum, which manages the center for the city, is also creating events of its own. That list includes Your Perfect Wedding & Prom Show, Better Your Backyard Expo, Kraftucky (Kentucky Arts & Crafts Show), a Super Bowl Party, Mardi Gras Party, St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, Mother’s Day Lunch, Tribute Band Tuesdays, Halloween Party, Festival of Trees and New Year’s Eve Bash.

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“Tribute Band Tuesdays is another community event for downtown,” Alexander said. “It will join with Friday After 5 and Downtown Date Night on Thursdays to bring people downtown. We’re planning those for June and October.” Plans are also being made for a New Year’s Eve Bash on Dec. 31, 2014, she said. Conventions that fill hotels bring the most money into a community. But Sean Dysinger, sales and tourism development director for the Owensboro-Daviess County Convention & Visitors Bureau, said, “some things will not necessarily put heads in beds at our hotels. But they create a feeling that there is always something going on in Owensboro, which helps build our brand.” He said, “These types of events bring people downtown. And while they’re downtown, they’re likely to shop and eat, which helps create more stores and restaurants, which help bring more people to town.”

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Advertiser index Ashley-Worth LLC............................................17 Associated Engineers Inc.................................16 Audubon Area Community Services Inc .......24 BB&T ................................................................87 Blossom's Apparel & Gifts ..............................68 Bridgepointe Church ........................................1 Brescia Univeristy . ..........................................46 CIty of Owensboro ...........................................3 Century Aluminum ...........................................9 Century 21 Partners........................................ 51 Courtyard By Marriot .....................................82 Daviess County Board of Education ..............47 Edward Jones .........................Inside back cover Elder Advantage LLC.......................................39 Fern Terra ........................................................61 Friends First Credit Union ..............................26 First Baptist Church . .......................................23 Glenn Funeral Home ......................................37 Green River Appliance ...................................21 Greenwell-Chilsom ...........................................2 Greg's Collision Center ...................................31 Gulfstream Comercial Services LLC ...............45 Haley McGinnis Funeral Home ......................22 Hampton Inn . .................................................84 Hartz Contracting LLC ....................................88 Hermitage Care and Rehabilitation ..............14 Hilliard Lyons . .................................................24 Hines Center . ..................................................83 Holiday Inn.......................................................82

Homes by Benny Clark ...................................54 Independence Bank . ......................................13 Jagoe Homes . .................................................57 James H Davis Funeral Home . .......................38 Johnson, Depp & Quisenberry..........................9 Just Rennies Cookie Company........................67 Kentucky Wesleyan College ..........................43 Kidstop Children’s Boutique...........................70 L Steve Castlen Realtors .................................56 Lance & Co Jewelers........................................69 Marcus W Bosley and Associates ...................17 Martin Custom Building Inc............................48 Mirko Pasta .....................................................66 Moonlite Bar-B-Q Inn .....................................69 Murphy Appliance ..........................................24 Murphy Excavating . .......................................19 Niteliters ..........................................................53 Norman King Electric .....................................31 Old Hickory Bar-B-Q .......................................83 Ole South Bar-B-Q ..........................................39 Owensboro Board of Education . ..................47 Owensboro Catholic Schools .........................47 Owensboro Christian Church . .......................37 Owensboro Community & Technical College ...............Inside front cover Owensboro-Daviess County Convention and Visitors Bureau ....................................27 Owensboro Dermatology ..............................61 Owensboro Health ...........................Back cover

Owensboro Health Healthpark .....................63 Owensboro Home Builder's Assoc ................55 Owensboro Municipal Utilities ......................20 Owensboro Museum of FIne Art . .................73 Owensboro Symphony Orchestra .................74 Physician's Affiliated Care PSC........................58 Pizzaroma . ......................................................75 Real Living Home Realty ............................... 52 Real Living Home Realty, Gordon Barnett . .49 Republic Bank .................................................67 RiverPark Center .............................................74 RBS Design Group............................................35 South Central Bank ........................................27 Southern Star Central Gas Pipeline ...............51 State Farm Insurance, Daniel Dick . ...............55 Thompson Homes Inc .....................................52 The Summit Country Club & Estates..............83 The Women's Pavillon PSC..............................62 Titan Contracting & Leasing Company Inc....23 Tom Blue Furniture & Sleep Shop...................69 Tony Clark Realtors . .......................................54 Twin Rivers Nursing & Rehabilitation............62 US Bank ...........................................................29 Ward Family Dentistry PSC..............................63 Wendell Foster Campus for Developmental Disabilities.........................60 Western Kentucky University Owensboro.....40

Serving a community means being a part of it. AT BB&T, WE SEE BANKING AS MORE THAN JUST BUSINESS. It’s about the very life of a community. A working commitment to the prosperity of our neighbors, friends, and families. So whether you’re seeking personal fi nance expertise, or financial business planning, come to BB&T. We invest in people. Visit any of our conveniently located branches in Owensboro, Whitesville or Calhoun, or call us at 270-926-3232.




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2014 Owensboro Magazine  
2014 Owensboro Magazine  

A look at Owensboro and all of the exciting things happening in 2014.