Years ago, vocational schools taught trades to students in mechanics, carpentry, electrical, and welding in order to prepare graduates to earn a paycheck. Through hands-on learning, students gained experience and were ready to go post-graduation. Today, the idea is the same, but the technology is a whole different ball game. Welcome to the 21st century.
The Paducah Innovation Hub is more than just a trade or technical school, it’s the future. The 100,000 square foot building will not only teach students, it will house the Paducah school board office, host boardroom meetings, provide abilities classrooms, offer large workshop areas, and other special spaces.
Paducah Tilghman classes started this past week and the Paducah Area Technology Center (ATC) classes will start September 28. Students from Paducah, McCracken County, St. Mary’s, Community Christian Academy, Graves County, Livingston County and home-schooled students can participate in the ATC programs.
ATC classes include auto body and technician, welding, carpentry, and health science. Students will be able to achieve various certifications from the ATC classes giving them a head start in the job market. Certifications in auto, welding, carpentry, and healthcare will be offered as well.
The two story Hub will also contain classes specific to Paducah Tilghman High School students. Classes like Navy ROTC, IT, engineering, physics, robotics, and art. There are two new programs that include a Federal Aviation Administration approved drone pilot’s license class and a virtual reality coding class.
Makerspace will be located at the ‘Hub.’ Former Paducah Middle School educator Timothy Franklin is the Director of the Makerspace program. Students from Kindergarten through 12th grade can participate. There are art programs, summer programs, community projects and planned adult programs.
The Paducah Innovation Hub is taking career preparation to a new level. The $24.3 million project was made possible through a $4.5 million state grant, $3.5 million in available PISD funds and $16.33 million in 20 year bonds sold by the Paducah Independent School District.
Events happening today, Monday, August 31, in Paducah, Kentucky
Noon to 1 p.m: Socially Distant Tour Stop - McCracken County Democrats
U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Amy McGrath ‘
1025 Jefferson Street
Ruth Baggett Gallery
Parking lot 'Meet and Greet'
1:30 p.m: Former UK Wildcat and NBA Star Rex Chapman and
U.S. Senate Democratic candidate Amy McGrath talk healthcare
Port of Paducah
300 South 3rd Street
4 - 6 p.m: Wetdown and Ceremony for Tower 6
Paducah Fire Department
Local school reports COVID-19 cases as others grapple with legal options to protect their districts
As the first local school reports multiple staff test positive for COVID-19, other school districts have either implemented a COVID-19 waiver or are considering their options.
Heath Elementary School was prepared to welcome students back to the classroom Tuesday, September 2. Due to the number of positive cases of staff members prior to in-person instruction, preschoolers through fifth grade will continue with online instruction until September 15. McCracken County Schools Superintendent Steven Carter sent out a letter to the Health Elementary School Families on Friday, August 28 sharing the change of plans.
The Marshall County School District is requiring students or legal guardians to sign a waiver that relinquishes the right to sue the district, the board or it’s employees, and any affiliates should a child contract COVID-19. The document states, ‘regardless of the actions, omissions, or negligence of the Released Parties,’ all parties are protected.
Other school districts are exploring legal options that would limit the school’s responsibility should a student become ill. Paducah City Schools indicated they’re exploring options as well as the McCracken County School District.
The Marshall schools’ waiver points out the potential dangers associated with contracting the virus. "It’s extremely contagious and dangerous and can result in a range of symptoms which include, but are not limited to, fever, shortness of breath, fatigue, loss of taste or smell, and nausea or vomiting. These symptoms can be mild or severe, sometimes resulting in death."
The waiver continues to explain the protocols put in place to keep students safe but clearly states words to the effect ‘enter at your own risk.’ Parents and students have an option to continue with virtual learning and if there’s any doubt about returning to campus, NIT is the best alternative.
Earlier this month, Governor Andy Beshear recommended schools wait until September 28 to resume in-person instruction. However, many parents and their communities wanted their children back in the classroom.
Several local attorneys have stated that this type of document wouldn’t hold up in a court of law. Regardless, Marshall County Schools were prompted by insurance carriers and their attorneys to construct the waiver and obtain parent signatures.
The letter to Health Families and the Marshall County School District waiver are both included in this article.
Local fire station number 5 to 'wetdown' the new high-tech fire truck on Monday
PADUCAH – The Paducah Fire Department is inviting the community to drive by Paducah Fire Station No. 5 located at 1714 Broadway for a Wetdown and Housing Ceremony for Tower 6, the department’s new platform fire truck which went into service this month. The ceremony will be at 4 p.m. on Monday, August 31. However, the truck will be parked for the community to view until 6 p.m.
Using social distancing, at 4 p.m. members of the Fire Department and the Paducah Board of Commissioners will welcome the newest addition to Paducah’s fleet. A wetdown ceremony is a tradition of fire departments across the country which involves spraying down a new apparatus, hand drying it, and then pushing it into the station. The tradition dates back to the late 1800’s when departments used horses to pull a fire apparatus to fires. After fighting the fire, the crews would wash and ready the horses and the apparatus in preparation for the next call. Then, they would push the apparatus into the station’s bay.
The 43-foot long Tower 6 replaces the Paducah Fire Department’s 1995 ladder truck. This new truck has a 2000 gallons per minute (gpm) pump. It’s more maneuverable in tight spaces with the need for only a 22-foot setback. Plus, it can operate 100 feet above ground or 20 feet below ground with rope rescue capability. The platform allows for a safe, secure area to fight fires, haul equipment, and conduct rescues without the need for a civilian to descend the ladder. The safety features for the firefighters include side impact protection.
The new truck is a 100’ Platform Aerial manufactured by Pierce Manufacturing in Appleton, Wisconsin.
Once upon a time, there was a dog named Brody. He could fly through the air with the greatest of ease that daring ‘young jack’ on the flying trapeze. Describing a dog like Brody is like describing the air that you breathe. He was a one-of-a-kind dog and sharing his ‘tale’ will be cathartic for me and potentially provide some solace for grieving pet owners.
Brody was one of those dogs that just happen in your life. It wasn’t planned or even conceived he would become such a permanent fixture in our lives. He was meant for someone else but granted to us. Brody was a special gift from God. It’s curious really, how animals find you or you find them. Just one of those twists of fate.
When Brody first came to live with our family, he was so small he could fit in the palm of your hand. When he ran, his front legs couldn’t keep up with the back legs causing him to flip and roll. He slept a lot and had the most wonderful smell. We all know that puppy smell (pause and take a deep breath).
Brody’s fur was white and tan and on the top of his head between his brow was a heart-shaped spot. We always thought the heart-shaped colored fur was a sign he was meant to be ours. He was always smiling. My husband called him ‘smiling jack’. And the dark eyebrows above his golden brown eyes reminded me of Groucho Marx.
Brody was a Jack Russell Terrier mix. The mixes are a cross between a Jack Russell Terrier and Chihuahua dog breeds. They are high energy, playful and overall friendly dogs. The mixes are short-legged and stocky with white fur and black or brown spots. According to Caesar Millan, the well-known Mexican-American dog trainer, he said when choosing a dog, don’t choose the breed, instead choose the dog’s energy level.
During the years our family loved Brody, there was a lot of turmoil. Unfortunately, it affected his behavior and he would ‘act’ on his anxieties by snapping at people. When dogs aren’t getting what they need from their humans, they misbehave. Brody would bite. Not all the time, but if you couldn’t ‘read his vibe’ you should be prepared to get bit. Other than the biting, he was a joy.
Playing fetch with a ball was his most favorite game. He could play catch for hours. The backyard was Brody’s basketball court. ‘Air Jordan’ had nothing on Brody’s hang-time. He was like an animated character that would suspend in time and just ‘be’. And if it was too cold, the ballgame moved inside.
The whole family was part of the team. We each took our turn pitching the ball but Brody was the star player. ‘The pitcher’ stood over the kitchen sink with a clear view of the ball field ‘family room’. The ‘all star’ Brody would bolt across the hardwood floors, around the table, jump onto the couch, and wait for the throw. He never missed a pitch. As soon as the ball was caught, back to the pitcher it would go only to resume play for another 50 plus games of fetch.
The Rainbow Bridge is a place that gives pet owners peace after discovering their pet isn’t going to survive a terminal illness or it’s ‘their time.’ The bridge is an ethereal overpass that connects heaven and earth. It’s a spot where owners and pets reunite for good after they’ve both passed away. It’s a beautiful, mythical place that gives comfort to owners after losing a pet.
The reassurance of imagining a wonderful field of grass where animals go to play with other animals is comforting. They play fetch and live without pain, fear, abuse, hunger, any of the bad things humans may have thrust upon them. Waiting for the day to reunite with their master or best friend.
The poem originated in the 1980’s with some confusion as to the author (hence unknown author). The person with a copyright for one of the versions is Paul C. Dahm. He’s one of three authors that claimed to have written the poem and one of three that wrote books in the 1990’s about pet loss.
The books opened a whole new dialogue for grieving pet owners. There were websites created to help with the loss of the pet. Wallace Sife, one of those claiming to have written the poem, started an organization called Association of Pet Loss and Bereavement and wrote the book entitled “The Loss of Pet”. It wasn’t until the books on bereavement were published that pet owners were set free to grieve without shame or judgement.
Today, veterinarian clinics are ‘on board’ with the whole pet bereavement thing. If a beloved pet needs ‘end of life’ care, the clinics are very accommodating. Candles are lit in honor of furry friends and a quiet place is provided, either at the clinic or at the owner’s home. It’s truly one of the most difficult, yet necessary practices pet owners have to endure.
That’s exactly how Brody’s story ended. He had a tumor the size of a cantaloupe on his spleen and ‘mets’ on his lungs. Metastasis or ‘mets’ is the spread of cancer from one body part to another to form secondary tumors. The veterinarian said it was highly unlikely he would survive the surgery and would most likely bleed out on the table. He was in pain. It was an incredibly difficult decision. Brody was 11 ½ years old.
A friend of mine recently lost her Jack Russell mix and shared her pain and love for ‘Sophie’ on social media. Actually, her son shared his grief and I happened to be online that night. His grief really resonated with me. Sophie was the same age as Brody, a mix-breed, and very loved. As my friend’s son was grieving, I shared my experience about losing Brody. I told him he would be sad for a while and the hole in his heart will always remain. However, as time passes, the loss will hurt less and he’ll start to remember the joy she brought to his life. Memories will be good memories.
Remembering our pets and the possibility of meeting them again at The Rainbow Bridge is a wonderfully, imaginative end to life’s journey. A bridge where ‘there’s plenty of food, water and sunshine, and our friends are warm and comfortable.’ Personally, I can’t think of a better ending.
orThe Cairo Bridge that connects western Kentucky to Southern Illinois is opening five days ahead of schedule after being closed for almost four weeks. Having traveled the bridge many times, it's like a lifeline to (not only Cairo) but to Southeast Missouri and beyond.
The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said the Ohio River bridge had been scheduled to open August 31. The bridge serves as a north to south connection for U.S. 51 between Wickliffe, Kentucky to Cairo, Illinois. It's also an east to west transportation corridor for U.S. 60 and U.S. 62. 7,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily. If you're wanting to head over to Cape Girardeau, Sikeston, or Poplar Bluff, Missouri, (leading to the Ozarks) this is the route.
The cabinet says the contractor plans to reopen the bridge to one-lane traffic sometime Wednesday. The bridge will continue to be restricted with alternating flow controlled by an automated signal until around Oct. 1.
One lane traffic isn't ideal, but the alternative route can take quite a bit longer to navigate. I'm sure those that have used the bridge for decades will be very happy to see it taking on traffic once again, even if it's only 50% until October.
For the first time since the shuttering of theaters, Cinemark Theatre in Paducah will open its doors on Tuesday, August 25. With new protocols in place, the theater will have two new movies and a private watch party for eager moviegoers.
‘Unhinged’ starring Russell Crowe is a thriller about a man at the end of his rope. After a seemingly innocent encounter with a mom and son on the interstate, a switch is flipped and takes a turn for the worst. Crowe morphs into a psycho road-raged maniac on steroids. The trailer portrays Crowe as a man completely out of control terrorizing a mother and son and anyone that gets in his way.
If ‘Unhinged’ doesn’t fit the bill, the second movie ‘Words on the Bathroom Walls’ is about love-struck teenagers. The youths are new to school and find themselves in similar predicaments. Both are schizophrenic and are trying to find their way in life. While searching, they fall in love. Fortunately, moviegoers have a choice between two very different flicks.
After shutting down theatres due to the pandemic, the road to reopening has been long and slow. A summer without blockbuster movies on the ‘big screen’ is like ham without eggs. Streaming services have really stepped up during COVID-19. The movie industry is hoping to catch the tail end of summer and make a strong showing before movies are released for the holidays.
Currently, 70% of theaters across the country are open. This past weekend, three movies, including ‘Unhinged’ and “Words on the Bathroom Walls’ were released in cities and states across the country. The third movie is ‘Cut Throat City.’ Cinemark chose not to show the third movie and opted for a private party theme instead. Somewhere between 100 - 200 locations were slated to open over the weekend with procedures in place to increase cleaning, reduce seating, and ensure safety protocols.
The private watch party at Cinemark in Paducah is offering a private auditorium for you and 19 of your closest friends. Party-goers get to choose a movie from one of the fan favorites. The private auditoriums are for invited guests only and cost $99 per showing.
For the movies on tap this Tuesday, a show about unbridled rage may seem like an odd choice of genres. Movie executives said this type of movie struck a chord. It’s about giving the audience what they want and a movie about pent up rage gets top billing. In sharp contrast, the movie about young love will meet the needs of young adults. Movie experts hope the powerful content will speak to today’s youth suffering from mental illness.
Cinemark Theaters said as they begin to fully open the theatre, the number one priority is the health and safety of its customers. Auditoriums will be disinfected daily. Seats will be cleaned in between each showing. Sanitizer and wipes will be placed throughout the theater. Employees will wear mandatory protective gear, have temperature checks, and will participate in new, enhanced training.
For guests, auditorium seating will be reduced, there will be contactless ticketing, and staggering showtimes. Guests will be required to wear masks. For more information on the safety protocols at Cinemark Theaters, go to their website at cinemark.com.
McCracken County Library providing virtual outreach service to teachers and parents
Blaze from movie scene using aerial fire trucks.
Facebook pictures of new Pierce aerial platform fire truck in Paducah, Kentucky
Firefighters run into burning buildings, perform heroic rescues, put their lives on the line everyday. First responders potentially face death each time they put on the uniform and the commitment required both mentally and physically to carry out such a responsibility is undeniable.
It takes a special person to answer an unselfish calling and the career path isn’t for the weak and weary. Firefighters are made of the right stuff. They aren’t invincible but they’re up to the task. Part of the city’s responsibility to the firefighters is to supply them with the best and most advanced equipment on the market.
In the next several weeks, Paducah fire fighters will be working with a technologically superior Pierce aerial platform fire truck. The state-of-the-art truck will replace a 1994 ladder truck that will be sold at auction after the new truck and firefighters are trained and ready to go.
It’s been over two decades since the department has needed to replace a firetruck. Though the aerial truck cost $1.2 million, the new technology will provide better safety for firefighters and those in need of rescuing. The Department expects the remaining trucks to stay operational for at least another 10 years meaning a large purchase won’t be needed for quite sometime.
Due to COVID-19, Station Five on Broadway in Paducah, Kentucky has been the team of firefighters that have trained on the new platform truck. The Broadway station is the base of operation for the truck and the team, along with those that would replace them in an emergency or during their time off, and will be the first to operate the Pierce truck.
Chief Steve Kyle said the platform truck is unlike any other (all others are ladder trucks). The capabilities extended to this particular truck will make a difference, not only putting out fires but rescue missions as well.
Some of the amenities include the size of the truck. The Pierce fire truck is smaller allowing for reduced clearance needed to park the truck. This means easier access in tighter environments.
There’s a Stokes basket which attaches directly to the platform to assist injured victims. It’s a device used to immobilize as well as transport a victim over various terrain. With the Stokes basket, victims will not need to travel up and down a ladder to reach safety.
The controls mounted on the platform will improve safety measures for the firemen. The new technology will require skill and training. Abrupt stops and starts can send a jolt through those on the platform. The new technology improves safety with smoother starts and stops, as well as increased speed when raising or lowering the platform.
If there’s an evening situation, the truck is equipped with LED lighting for high illumination. Blazes in the middle of the night can be more dangerous if first responders are unable to access their surroundings.
The new truck can pump 2,000 gallons of water per minute and is equipped with two nozzles mounted on the platform. Having two nozzles will enable firefighters to attack a blaze from both sides of a burning structure.
Hats off to the men and women that fight fires and rescue victims. Not enough can be said for the firefighters that perform this task for a living. It’s no small sacrifice and one not be taken for granted.
Rising COVID-19 positive cases impact back to school plans for Calloway County Schools
With the rising number of positive COVID-19 tests and subsequent deaths in Calloway County, the Calloway County School District has sought guidance for in-person and online education from a number of credible sources. Josh McKeel, director of pupil services said administrators have been collaborating with the Calloway County Health Department, various medical professionals, educators, principles and staff regarding best practices for the August 24 start date.
After surveying parents several weeks ago, 68% plan for in-person teaching with 32% using online instruction. For those that plan to attend school, there are safety measures to be implemented.
Parents are to assess their own children at the start of each day on health matters. The staff will also self-monitor before reporting to work. For those students that ride the bus, there will be assigned seats. First through 12th grades will be required to wear a mask. Upon arriving at school, there will be temperature checks. Any student with 100.4 or higher will isolate at home.
While at school, if a student shows any signs of fever, potential rash, sweating, or overall just don’t feel well, the student will go to a quarantine room for further assessment.
Where possible, students will social distance six feet apart, providing ample space is available. For those that have the space, this will be a time when a student may take a break from wearing their mask. If space doesn’t permit, the masks must remain in place.
The plan is for students to eat lunch in the cafeteria. Disinfecting all common areas will happen daily. Teachers have access to cleaning supplies allowing each to disinfect their own classrooms and workspace.
KHSAA guidelines will be followed by the district. Students who choose to learn at home, won’t be participating in high-touch sports, however, there will be some consideration for low-contact sports.
For grades K - 5, teachers will record a number of lessons via video. Teachers miss their students and students miss their teachers. Video-imaging can help bridge this disconnect. Those that don’t have internet access may pick up a disc at the school to learn at home.
There are roughly 2,800 students in attendance at Calloway County schools. Administrators believe that encouraging students to learn in the classroom is the best option for quality education. From a mental health perspective, it’s believed that some social interaction with peers is better for a student's emotional well-being. Ultimately, parents make the final decision, as they should. Parents know their children best.
The complete plan is available by clicking this link to Calloway County schools back to school plan.
Greenway Phase V connecting N. Water St. to Paducah Transient Boat Dock is moving forward
Pictures: Construction for Phase V of the Greenway Trail project today
Starting May of this year, a project that is expected to be completed by Labor Day is moving forward. Most of the large construction vehicles have completed their portion of the project and now it's getting down to the details. Construction along the floodwall at N. Water St and Jefferson and adjacent to the Farmer's Market will provide a needed connection along the route.
The Greenway Trail Phase V project will further extend the trail along the riverfront to Jefferson Street and greatly enhance Schultz Park.
Last fall, a ribbon cutting ceremony was held for the Greenway Trail Phase IV project which extended the trail from Campbell Street to the Transient Boat Dock. This phase included a separate Greenway Trail path for pedestrians and roadwork improvements through Schultz Park.
Greenway Trail Phase V is funded primarily with a Transportation Enhancement Grant administered by the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet.
The votes are in and after 10,000 surveys sent to McCracken County schools and Paducah city schools’ families, 6,200 will be returning to the classroom for in-person instruction. Surveys sent out a few weeks ago, asked parents how they preferred their child to learn this fall, either through online learning or in-person.
Both McCracken County Superintendent Steve Carter and Paducah City Superintendent Donald Shively agreed that the goal was to have as many students learn in the classroom as safely as possible. .
McCracken County schools have seen a 70-75% return from the survey while Paducah city schools still has surveys out. Of the 75% returned surveys, 49% prefer in-classroom instruction
Walking the halls will be different. With tighter quarters, students and faculty will be required to wear masks. When sitting down, students will be socially-distanced and have an opportunity to ‘take a break’ from wearing a mask if needed. Asking a student to wear a mask all day while in school could be daunting but students and faculty will be asked to wear them as much as possible while in their seats.
McCracken County schools will be in session five days a week. The Non-Traditional Instruction (NTI) will be different compared to the shuttering in March. They’ll be using ‘Google Classroom.’ There are different programs that will be utilized such as Class-Dojo and Edgenuity for grades 6 - 12. Edgenuity offers a flexible learning model and curriculum in ELA, math, social studies, science, and world languages. This program is also an NCAA-approved curriculum. All online courses will meet Clearinghouse requirements.
The Paducah city schools will have one-day home instruction for all students. There will be no paper packets, all learning will be online. There will be videos to watch at home, as well as other modes of learning.
During the time when teachers participate in professional training, teachers will be instructed on video-taping lessons and student teaching strategies. Professional days are typically eight days in length. Teachers will have to balance both online learning and in-person learning. It’s a balancing act.
McCracken County teachers will report on August 6 and the city will report on August 10. Student start dates are August 24 and 26, respectively.
St. Mary schools will have all students returning to the classroom. There’s plenty of room for social distancing. The start date for students is to be determined.