Update: US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals overturns lower court siding with Beshear to continue virtual learning
The ruling today overturns the lower court order citing Governor Beshear's Executive Order keeping kids home from school until December 13 was unconstitutional.
The Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled today, Sunday, November 29, in favor of Governor Andy Beshear's executive order to keep students home from school to learn virtually until December 13 to help stop the spread of COVID-19, the deadly disease that has killed over 250,000 U.S. citizens. The appeal was filed after a previous ruling on Friday from the lower court temporarily interrupting the Governor's order.
The case in the lower courts was filed by Danville Christian Academy, joined by Kentucky's Attorney General David Cameron, claiming that the order shouldn't pertain to religious schools on the grounds of their First Amendment rights.
Beshear tweeted earlier today regarding the ruling from the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Below is the tweet.
A local school in Paducah, St. Mary School System was set to send elementary students back to the classroom on Monday, November 30 as middle and high school students participated in virtual learning. The upperclassmen were scheduled to return to in-person learning on December 7.
If you would like to read the original article, follow this link: St. Mary School System sending K-5 back to the classroom on Monday
St. Mary's School System in Paducah set to return elementary students back to school on Monday despite the Governor's executive order after a ruling from the courts stating religious schools are exempt.
The St. Mary's School System in Paducah, Kentucky will return elementary students back to school on Monday, November 30 for in-person learning while middle and high school students will remain remote until December 7, according to St. Mary's administrators. This after a judge ruled that Governor Andy Beshear can't order religious schools to stop in-person instruction to protect against the spread of COVID-19. St. Mary's said they're following their sister schools in Owensboro's lead.
The Governor issued an executive order on November 18 requiring all public and private schools to halt in-person instruction until two COVID-19 cycles had passed. Essentially, middle schools and high schools were to return after the Christmas break and elementary schools could return December 7 if their county was no longer in the red zone. The order became in effect just before Thanksgiving break.
Two days after the executive order, Kentucky's Attorney General David Cameron joined a lawsuit led by Danville Christian Academy in the US District Court for the Eastern District claiming that the order shouldn't pertain to religious schools on the grounds of their First Amendment rights. Judge Gregory Van Tatenhoven ruled in favor of the Christian school.
An announcement was made on Friday by the Diocese in Owensboro, Kentucky (the school system to which St. Mary's belongs) regarding their stance. The superintendent of the Catholic schools said that they believed the state is doing what it believes to be in the best interest of the children. However, the diocese believes that their schools are equipped to handle the situation with students returning to school in a safe environment. The letter from the diocese is below.
Governor Beshear has filed a motion for an emergency appeal in the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals stating, "The District Court's Order exempting Danville Christian Academy and other religiously affiliated schools from these public health measures will cause substantial harm to the public that encounters the children and staff of these schools. At this point of the pandemic, in Boyle County, a gathering of 15 individuals, smaller than a class at Danville Christian Academy, has a 37% percent of including an individual with COVID-10. The risk increases with more people."
The day before Thanksgiving, the Purchase District Health Department is reporting the following:
McCracken County has 104 new positive cases of COVID-19. The total number of cases is 2,633 with 1,105 active cases, 33 hospitalized, and 32 deaths.
Ballard County has seven new positive cases. The total number of cases is 251, 79 active cases, and two deaths.
Carlisle County has three new cases, 209 total cases, 58 are active, and one death
Hickman County has 23 new cases, 202 total cases, 48 are active, two people are hospitalized, and six people have died.
Fulton County has no new cases., 257 total cases, 14 active cases, and eight deaths.
Help is on the way for local restaurants in Marshall County, Kentucky after indoor dining was halted across the state of Kentucky to help slow the spread of COVID-19, the virus that has killed over a quarter million people across the US. Indoor dining closures began last Friday evening and will continue until December 13, 2020 per Executive Order from Governor Andy Beshear.
Today, November 23, an Emergency Meeting of the Marshall County Fiscal Court was held to discuss signing an Emergency Executive Order by Judge Executive Kevin Neal. All commissioners supported the order that's designed to provide certain items of personal property to restaurants to encourage outdoor dining. Options like tents will be made available over the next several days and will be allotted through the Emergency Management office.
"During this time when so many of our local restaurants are struggling to remain in business due to these orders from the Governor, we have to come together to step up and help in any way we can. Some of these small businesses don't have drive- thru capability or outdoor seating like the larger chain restaurants have. This is so much harder for them and their employees to overcome." said Neal.
Restaurants in Marshall County who would like more information about options can contact the Marshall County Emergency Management office at 270-527-4739.
Christmas in the Trees reversible parade in Paducah, Kentucky happening December 5 from 5:30 pm to 9:30 pm. Floats to have music, lights and decorated Christmas trees.
The reversible parade is happening in Paducah on December 5 and there's no better time to get your group together and plan for a COVID-19 socially-distanced Christmas event. The Parks and Recreation Department in Paducah is accepting applications for your float entry which will take place in the middle of town at Bob Noble Park in Paducah.
What is a reverse parade or an inverted parade? It's a stationary parade. Instead of the floats passing by excited parade goers on the street, the public will drive-by the floats.
There's a limit to the number of floats to keep CDC compliant. Once entries top 42, that's it. The deadline is November 30 at 5 pm to fill out the submission forms and participate as a parade float.
On Saturday, December 5, the drive-thru parade begins at 5:30 pm and ends at 9:30 pm. The entire community is invited to view the sparkling event. If you're familiar with the Christmas lights and decorations inside Noble Park and the whimsical characters and child-like fun, imagine the excitement it will bring to all those that attend on Saturday.
Attendees will enter the park at H.C. Mathis Drive and continue through Noble Park to exit at Cairo Road. The floats will be lined up along Noble Park Trace Road. There will be a balloon display as well. Fascinating balloon creations will greet you at the entrance and say goodbye as you exit the park. And, Santa Claus will be checking his naughty and nice list as well as making a special appearance.
Some of the float requirements include music, lights, and a Christmas tree. There's no electricity on site so floats will need to be powered by generators. The judging for the parade entries will be at 4 p.m. on December 5 with the following float categories: themed, religious, school, and musical.
The full list of guidelines and the application to enter a float for the Christmas in the Trees event can be found at http://paducahky.gov/christmas-float-event. For more information about Parks Department-related activities, call 270-444-8508 or visit us online at www.paducahky.gov.
Bring in the New Year in your pjs and purchase a New Year's Eve Home Party Pack from the Charity League of Paducah raising funds for Easterseals West Kentucky
The Charity League of Paducah will bring in the New Year COVID-19 style. The spread of the coronavirus is hampering the ability for local charitable organizations to raise money for nonprofits and the Charity League of Paducah is no different. Each year, the League plans a New Year’s Eve bash that raises money for Easterseals West Kentucky. Last year, they raised approximately $25,000.
This year, the party will be celebrated in the comfort of one's home compliments of the Charity League of Paducah and several local sponsors. The transformation from eveningwear to pjs will ‘party on’ with a New Year’s Eve Home Party Pack.
Local sponsors like Wagner Wine & Spirits will be the Champagne Toast Sponsor. They’ll be responsible for ‘poppin’ the cork on the bubbly spirits while participants bring in the year at home. Another local company, Chambers Roofing Company will contribute to the New Year’s Eve Party Packs. I don’t believe a new roof is one of the party favors, however, there will be other goodies contributed by the local company.
The cancelation of Snowball 2020 was decided sometime around the first of November. With that difficult decision, ideas to replace the highly-successful annual party were in the works. Thankfully, the alternative plan came together quickly.
The Easterseals of West Kentucky is the primary non-profit beneficiary of the fundraiser and the need is great. The mission of the nonprofit is to enhance the quality of life for children and adults of all abilities promoting personal development, independence, inclusion, and equality.
There will be three different party packs sold and filled with New Year’s Eve supplies like champagne, flutes, snacks, sweets, party hands and more.
First is the Banterra Bank VIP “Bank on New Beginnings” party pack for $250. Second is the Paducah Bank ‘Happy WOWYear’ party pack for $150. Third is the Chambers Roofing ‘Raise the Roof’ party pack for $100.
The history of the Charity League of Paducah began in 1928 when a group of six women wanted to raise $150 to purchase a couch and chair for the Friendly Home for Children. From that meeting, the first ‘Snowball was thrown’. The same group of women held four Snowballs and in 1932, the Charity League of Paducah was established.
Their first project was the Lending Library located in Rudy’s Department Store nicknamed, “The Macy’s of Paducah”. The 1937 flood claimed the beautiful, exquisite store and the Lending Library project moved to the Charity League House. Other fundraisers were created throughout the years and in 1952, a variety show ‘the follies’ raised money and donated funds to the construction of the West Kentucky Easter Seals Center. If you would like to read more about the history of the Charity League of Paducah, follow this link: https://paducahcharityleague.com/history/
Paducah is fortunate to have a group of dedicated women raising money for those in need. To purchase a party pack or make a monetary donation, contact Hillary Landry, Charity League President at charityleagueofpaducah@ gmail.com. All orders must be placed by December 4.
No immediate action after executive session regarding Superintendent Donald Shively
Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively addressing the school board members and the community virtually from his home after testing positive for COVID-19.
The Paducah Independent School District Board of Education called a special meeting Monday evening to hear parent/community comments regarding Superintendent Shively as well as listen to Shively address the board and concerned parents/citizens.
After the special meeting, a regular meeting followed. Due to COVID-19, the in-person meeting was closed to the public. A virtual meeting replaced the physical meeting and was livestreamed on the Paducah Board of Education Facebook page and the Paducah Tilghman High School web page.
The special meeting prior to the regularly scheduled meeting was to allow members of the community to share comments with the board regarding Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively's circulated Halloween party photo from 2002. The photo pictured Shively in blackface, do-rag, gold chain, and PTHS football shirt.
After the parents and concerned citizens shared their thoughts and opinions, Shively addressed the board and those watching virtually. He began by saying, "I'd like the opportunity to share what I've been trying to do." First, he apologized for the 'horrible and hurtful' act and expressed the numerous times he's asked for forgiveness and hopes that one day he'll be forgiven.
Shively said he's committed to a dialogue and has met with Tilghman students in-person and virtually. He's spoken with faculty and staff members across the district so all could 'share what they wanted to share.' He said, " Two weeks ago last Monday, I cleared my calendar from eight in the morning until six at night for parents or groups of parents that wanted to talk." There have been talks with community leaders and community groups across Paducah either in-person, by email, text, or phone calls.
Shively said there are things he's learned through these conversations. "I chose to get into education; it's about helping others and you dedicate your professional life to doing that." He continued, "Now, with what's happened, with what's come to light, the choice I made seeing how you can hurt people and destroy trust is just heartbreaking."
The superintendent estimated he'd spent 100 hours of communication and dialogue discussing the situation and he believes he has a much better understanding of the pain and hurt his actions caused.
He believes there needs to be more discussions on race and racism within the community. Shively said he's been questioned on how did this happen? Why did you make this decision? He's tried to understand how this must feel knowing he can't walk in their shoes. There's been trust broken and he understands. In the end, 'it's always been about what's best for the students.'
Members of the Board have said they won't be making any immediate decisions on Shively's future at Paducah Public Schools. One of the board members Mary Hunter Hancock said the board has received 139 messages with different ideas on Shively's future with Paducah Public Schools. Some have said remove Shively, some suggest reprimanding him, while others want to retain him.
Regardless of tonight's events, the superintendent will remain the leader of the Paducah Public Schools at present. If you would like to read comments from parents and members of the community, go to the Paducah Public Schools Facebook page.
Superintendent Donald Shively tests positive for COVID-19 and virtual learning continues for PPS
Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively along with 30 other Paducah Public Schools employees have COVID-19 related quarantines. Shively has tested positive for the virus but not all employees are dealing with the same circumstance.
The announcement came on Wednesday by a school district spokesman. Of the 30 quarantined staff members, some will be quarantined due to the exposure to the virus. Others are caring for family members that have tested positive while some have tested positive.
Students will continue to learn virtually from November 16 through November 20 based on recommendations by the Purchase District Health Department because of the rise in positive cases in the community, said Paducah Public Schools Wayne Waldon. There will be students that will have NIT days on November 23 and 24 as well. Schools will be closed in observance of the Thanksgiving holiday November 25 - 27.
The Tornado takeout meal program will deliver once a week on Thursdays, providing six days' worth of meals for those under the age of 18.
During a special called meeting on Wednesday, November 11, a decision was made that students at McCracken County Schools will continue to learn virtually into December. The announcement was made by Superintendent Steve Carter who shared some of the districts COVID-19 numbers with the board.
Carter said, "What's going on in our community filters into our buildings." The rise in cases in McCracken County since November are being reflected in the rise in numbers within the walls of our schools in McCracken County.
There were 2,700 new positive CoV-2 cases reported in Kentucky by Governor Andy Beshear on Wednesday. This is the reason for the called meeting and the continuation of virtual learning in the McCracken County School District.
The positive cases are undeniable and Carter made special note of it. It's the belief of the leaders of the school system that keeping students' mental health at the forefront is crucial. The spread of the virus must be squashed. Carter said, "But it's got to be in a safe, controlled, very tight process."
Kentucky's positivity rate is 8.12% inching closer and closer to the numbers of the neighboring state of Illinois. The hope is that this time of virtual learning will help get the virus exposure under control.
The school district for McCracken County will continue to track the COVID-19 numbers within the district for future decisions on when students can safely return to the classroom. Board members of the school district will continue to follow the numbers in our area.
The City of Paducah and several organizations that have planned Veteran's Day events tomorrow. The annual Veterans' Day Parade in Paducah will not take place this year due to the high incidence of COVID-19 in our area.
The first event is the Veterans' Day Sunrise Reveille. It will take place at the corner of Broadway and Water Street beginning at 6 am. Reveille will be played as the flag rises by members of the US Coast Guard. Traffic will be halted at the Gazebo on Broadway. Social distancing and masks are advised.
"I love this holiday," said City Manager Jim Arndt. "It's a powerful way for recognizing our active and former members of the military. I urge everyone to take some time on Veterans' Day to thank veterans for their service."
There will be an unveiling of an American flag mural at second and Broadway on Veteran's Day in downtown Paducah. It's part of the Quilt City USA mural series created by Melinda Bula of El Dorado Hills, California and painted by Stefanie Graves, Cowango Studios in Paducah. The unveiling will take place at 11 am at the floodwall adjacent to the Schroeder Expo Center and Julian Carroll Convention Center at 415 Park Street. It's requested that participants remain in their vehicles during the official unveiling.
The McCracken County Public Library is holding a virtual Veterans' Day event at 7 pm tomorrow. The event will be led by Colonel Fred Johnson retired US Army. Johnson is the author of Five Wars: A Soldier's Journey to Peace. Deployments include Iraq, Afghanistan, and Bosnia.
There will be a Distinguished Veteran Award, Patriot Award, and essay winners announced tomorrow brought to you by the City of Paducah and WPSD.
The coronavirus is raging through the Midwest and Kentucky isn't being sparred. Thursday, Governor Andy Beshear reported 2,318 new COVID-19 cases in Kentucky, the second largest number since reporting positive results. Granted, 1,400 positive cases where from a backlog of cases in Fayette County.
Currently, there are 1,102 hospitalized patients due to COVID-19 including 281 in intensive care units and 129 on ventilators in Kentucky. The numbers are continuing to rise as the state's positivity rate is now 6.5%. There were 20 reported deaths on Thursday.
Out of 120 counties, 80 of them are in the red zone due to high coronavirus incidence rates. Now is the time to wear masks, wash your hands, social distance, and do all that we can as Kentuckians to slow/stop the spread. See below for additional recommendations to follow during this critical time.
Paducah Public Schools has decided to join McCracken County Schools and begin virtual learning today, Friday, November 6 in response to recommendations set forth by the Purchase Area Health Department.
There will be some students in our area that will struggle with virtual learning. School systems are still waiting on computers to be delivered. In addition to lack of equipment, some student's don't have the internet in their homes. Increasing broadband access across the state was a big political issue in western Kentucky this election. One yet to be resolved.
McCracken County Schools said the increase in the number of staff members in quarantine is the reason the school district is switching to all virtual learning.
Both district plan to reevaluate virtual instruction on a weekly basis. The next review is scheduled for November 13.
Recommendations for slowing the spread of COVID-19:
Employers should allow employees to work form home when possible.
Government offices that don't provide critical services nee to operate virtually.
Reduce in-person shopping; order online or pickup curbside.
Order take-out; avoid dining in restaurants and bars.
Prioritize businesses that follow and enforce the mask mandate and other guidelines
Don't host or attend gatherings of any size.
Avoid non-essential activities outside your home.
Reduce overall activity and contacts, follow existing guidance, including the 10 Steps to Defeat COVID-19.
Barbecue on the River Executive Director, David Boggs, was sentenced to eight years in jail after stealing more than $29,000 from the fundraising event. Boggs was charged with theft by unlawful taking.
Boggs' pastor and sister spoke on his behalf asking for his sentence to be probated. The request was denied.
Also speaking at the sentencing was Boggs himself. The defendant said he was embarrassed. He apologized to his friends and members of the Barbecue on the River and said he failed them.
The judge considered probation for Boggs, but felt the time should fit the crime. The judge believed it was necessary for him to go to jail.
This year's Barbecue on the River was canceled due to COVID-19. An alternative to the event took place in the form of a pick-up/delivery scenario. The fundraiser dubbed 'Barbecue off the River' raised money for various charities this past September.
Barbecue on the River 2021 dates have been announced. The dates for next year's fundraiser are September 23 - 25.
Paducah Board of Education releases a statement Monday to address community concerns
The Board is in the process of reviewing emails, texts, phone calls, conversations, and letters received after the 2002 Halloween photo was released two weeks ago on social media of Paducah Superintendent Shively in blackface while at a party.
At least 100 protestors gathered Sunday at PTHS demanding Superintendent Shively's removal
The ongoing protest demanding to remove Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Donald Shively and members of the board of education continued Sunday at Paducah Tlighman High School in Paducah, Kentucky. Approximately 100 protestors marched in front of the high school with signs calling for removal and to get out and vote.
The protests and marches stem from a photo that circulated on social media a couple of weeks ago picturing Shively and one other in blackface at a Halloween party in 2002. Shively was wearing a Paducah Tilghman Tornado shirt, gold chain around his neck, and a do-rag. The woman in the picture had an Afro hairstyle and a padded bottom. The caricatures representing African-American students have upset students, parents, and the community.
Robert Shy, founder of 3E Leadership Academy was at the protest and shared his thoughts with WKY Community Living. The Academy is an organization that’s goal is to increase the academic level of students in Paducah and surrounding areas. It’s focus is to help students prepare for college or any post-secondary educational institutions.
“Many of Dr. Shively’s supporters state they want him to stay because he has brought many diversity programs to the district and student achievement has increased. That was going to happen regardless of who was in charge because the percentage of minority students has increased tremendously over the last seven years. The achievement increases are faux.” said Shy.
“There’s a school within a school at Paducah Middle School and Paducah Tilghman. There’s a school for the middle class and well-to-do students and there’s a school for the poor and African-American students. There’s tremendous segregation within our segregated schools and African-American students aren’t performing well. The achievement gap has increased. The Nation’s Report Card which is a great evaluation of state’s and school districts backs this statement up.”
Shy believes that if the sole purpose to keep Shively on as superintendent is because he’s helped advance African-American students academically, that’s simply not the case and he should be removed from his position.
The leader of the protest was Martaj Marks, a recent Paducah Tilghman graduate. Melinda Jones, a former employee of the Paducah Public Schools was also an organizer of Sunday’s march.
Speakers at the event were Martaj Marks, parents Melinda Jones, Randy and Michelle Marshall and several high school students. Both black and white students represented those in favor of dismissal.
According to Shy, there were no opposing parties at the march. He said the main message from the gathering was that ‘kids are being failed by the superintendent and the board of education. Both need to resign.’