In a time of Covid-19, on-line appointments are essential and that applies to Kentucky Unemployment Insurance
Many will be happy to hear that you'll be able to resolve many of those Unemployment Insurance issues in-person at the local office in Paducah beginning next week. The office will open 'by appointment only' April 15. Unfortunately, the slots that were available April 15 through April 30 have already been filled.
The Kentucky Career Center in Paducah and across the state of Kentucky will open its doors to help resolve problems with the highly sought after benefits. Career centers have been closed to in-person help since Governor Matt Bevin shut them down in 2017.
Appointments must still be made on-line which may be a hardship for those without internet access. After securing an appointment, masks must be worn and there will be a temperature check before entering the building. You'll need to have your photo ID handy as well. If you don't have an appointment, you won't be allowed to enter the facility.
Opening the doors of a physical office is a sign of progress. As the COVID vaccine is made available to all adults, the ability to speak to a person about your benefits is another step closer to seeing light at the end of the tunnel.
Many have been waiting to hear about their claims since last year. It will be nice to have somewhere to go instead of having unanswered phone calls from the unemployment hotline.
If you didn't get an appointment this time around, keep checking with the office at kcc.ky.gov. If you're not in Paducah, you'll be able to find an unemployment office near you on this website. Just enter in the city and the information will be made available.
In case you haven’t heard, Paducah, KY is proposing a project that would allow restaurants, bars, or other hospitality venues to sell alcoholic beverages in specified to-go cups to patrons as they walk the streets of downtown Paducah. The project is the Entertainment Destination Center (EDC) and the idea is to draw people to the downtown area.
In 2016, the State of Kentucky passed legislation allowing municipalities to create Entertainment Destination Centers in tourism and convention districts. Paducah has proposed a large selection of downtown to be considered for this new tourist attraction.
The area would cover South 3rd Street around The Freight House Restaurant, pass the Carson Center, by the flood wall, to the Julian Carroll Convention Center. It would go up Broadway to 5th Street. The Lowertown residential area wouldn’t be part of the EDC.
The pandemic has negatively affected the restaurant industry. The city passed ordinances last summer that provided outdoor dining options to restaurants within city limits. Options that closed a couple of downtown streets allowing picnic table seating in designated areas. Some businesses converted, others didn’t.
Shandies, formerly C.C. Cohen, is one of three downtown restaurants that closed due to COVID-19 shuttering of businesses. Confleur and Dusty Dog were the other two that closed on Broadway.
What other U.S. cities allow drinking booze on the streets?
Memphis, Tennessee has the distinction of being exempt from Tennessee’s statewide ban on open containers. It’s a party on Beale Street. The city permits to-go cups to travel from one bar to the next. It’s a great time with all the ‘live’ music and festival celebrations during the summer months.
New Orleans or the ‘Big Easy’ is a free-for-all. Anyone of age can booze it up anywhere in the city. Most will walk up and down Bourbon Street and to various places within the French Quarter.
Fredericksburg, TX is the heart of Texas wine country. They only allow beer and wine to be served in the downtown area. It’s been very successful and brings in lots of tourism dollars.
Other towns that allow drinking in the streets have rules for those that imbibe such as abiding by ‘the last call for alcohol’, only one drink in a 16-ounce plastic cup, or keeping the boozy location to a confined area.
What is Paducah’s proposed plan?
The EDC would operate daily from 6 am to 3 am. This is the time participating businesses are open. The city would design the to-go cups for participating businesses. Right now, Paducah’s downtown area is a mix of restaurants and bars. Most bars serve light appetizers but their main source of income comes from drinks. Bars like Bourbon and Barrel, The Gorilla Bar, The Johnson Bar, and 1857 Hotel.
Drinks must stay within the Destination Center and are to be disposed of within the EDC. You can’t bring outside drinks into the EDC and the cups can’t be refilled.
What’s the process to become an EDC?
The plan was presented at the Paducah City Commissioners meeting held on Tuesday, March 24 by Business Development Specialist Kathryn Byers. An ordinance is expected to be adopted in April outlining the specifics authorizing the city to apply for an EDC through the Kentucky Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control.
The process is publicized with a 30 day comment period. Once this is handled, the city submits the application, probably in late April. The State visits Paducah to check things out in person. After the comment period is over and the plan is approved by the state, the city can start the project. The hope is to have the program going this summer.
Lowes Elementary School in Graves County to permanently close its doors.
Lowes Elementary in Graves County, Kentucky will close its doors this year. It's the decision of the Graves County Board of Education made Thursday evening, March 18 during a long meeting.
The Board voted four to one in favor of closing the school. Kenneth House was the only dissenting vote. With the final decision made, the school will close permanently on June 30, 2021.
At Thursday's meeting, there were people wearing Oppose to Close Lowes t-shirts in a last ditch effort to keep the school open. The Board followed Superintended Matt Madding's recommendation to shut the school down.
More than 200 students attend Lowes Elementary and will have to move to other schools within the district. Students also took to the podium at Thursday's meeting expressing the impact the closure will have on their family and friendships.
Superintendent Madding said any teacher tenured at Lowes will not be out of a job and will have the option to teach at one of the other schools in Graves County.
A letter will go out next week notifying parents of the Board's decision that will include information on which school their child will attend. Each family will receive the letter by U.S. mail (March 22-26) informing them of the recommendations for enrollment during the 2021-2022 school year.
K-6 will remain in elementary schools and 7th grade students will attend Graves County Middle School. Parents will have an opportunity for open enrollment for a different Graves County school.
If you don't receive your letter by March 29, contact Lowes Elementary for your child's information. Eight weeks are left in the school year. There will be an end of school and community event Mary 17 -21.
Lowes Elementary was one of the first schools in the area to enroll in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library Program. Almost all preschool children at Lowes are enrolled in the program. Preschoolers receive a free book every month until they're five years old. The program is designed to improve literacy and better prepare students for entering kindergarten.
Sharing stories, making suggestions, and expressing emotions at Paducah's Southside meeting
Southside residents and business owners attended their second public meeting, Thursday, March 11 to address concerns and suggest improvements for the once thriving community. The event was held at Soiree’s Events and Catering located on Irvin Cobb Drive in Paducah.
Earlier this month, the city held its strategic planning meeting identifying 12 priority items. Neighborhood Empowerment with specific attention to the Southside is one of 12.
Several speakers stood up to express their thoughts and feelings about the continued decline and lack of interest for Paducah’s Southside. Last week, approximately 100 people were in attendance. Thursday evening’s meeting was as successful with more great ideas proposed and heard.
Paducah Mayor George Bray said the city is looking at a new grant opportunity that's primary goal is to gather information on homes in the area for the purpose of being labeled historical markers. He said the grant was small but helpful and a place to start.
One of the speakers Thursday evening said she purchased a couple of abandoned houses on the Southside. One idea could be for the city to match funds to help renovate many of the dilapidated homes. The mayor said this is one of the ideas that’s ‘percolating’ right now.
Former city employee Tammara Tracy said the city needs to use ‘data to make decisions.’ She used the example of the Oakland A’s GM Billy Beane and the way he turned things around and revolutionized baseball. The speaker said this is how our leaders need to approach the Southside...by thinking outside the box.
One by one, speakers rose to the podium to share a story, make suggestions, or simply express feelings. One of the speakers said he has lived on the Southside much of his life. At one time, his neighborhood was full of homeowners. As the years have passed, neighbors have moved away or passed away and many of the homes were forgotten and left behind.
He said once abandoned, people scavenge the homes for copper pipes, even the duct work. All that’s left is an empty shell. Many of these homes had good bones. He wonders why so many are abandoned and why properties are unclaimed? He called his neighborhood a ‘ghost town’.
Oscar Cross Director Neil Clark said he grew up on the Southside. Growing up, he lived in several homes in various neighborhoods. Now, those homes have been demolished. He’s hoping for better ‘alignment and the potential to share the wealth together.’
Steve Ballard, owner of the Old Bait House on the Beltline said, “As a business owner, I'm committed to helping this side of town, we’re all committed.” He said businesses on the Southside want to help fund improvements. He suggested holding meetings outside of this forum for Southside commercial business owners.
“There are two threads,” said Mayor Bray. “There’s neighborhood development and the business side.” He told business owners that ‘the city will get behind you.’
Pastor Charles Dunbar took to the podium. He said he would like to see an entrepreneurial program developed. Also, low interest loans and grant opportunities. He wants to ‘build people up and transform lives.’ He would like to see training for the youth to get jobs.
Mayor Bray said, “We all love Paducah and we all love community.” As the city begins to pull together information from the last two meetings and start to formulate a plan, they hope to see the Southside transform into a thriving business community where citizens are proud of their neighborhoods and happy to be part of a town called Paducah.
Dealing with the immediate crisis in Murray, KY prompts a trip from the Governor
Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear witnessed an aerial view of the water damage from an estimated 5 to 6 1/2 inches of rain that fell Sunday on an already saturated earth. Governor Beshear discussed his 'birds eye' view at the press conference earlier this morning, Tuesday, March 2. He said, "I was able to assess how quickly it (the water) came and how quickly the water receded. The bridges that will need to be replaced. An incredible event happened here."
Beshear said he really appreciated the efforts made by the city of Murray, Calloway County, and emergency management in this time of need. He said, "How we show up in a time of need says a lot. This is one of those times of need. This year has been one of those times in need."
The governor said the flash flooding in Murray doesn't allow the benefit of 'pushing the pause button'. "There's been lots of structural damage but no loss of life," said Beshear. Crews are working to remove debris, clear the roads, and restore power.
On Sunday, Beshear signed a state of emergency order for the city of Murray. The governor said that after Sunday's rain, there were 29 counties and seven cities in need of assistance. He said it may take some time and a good written plan but the hope is to qualify for a national declaration from the president of the U.S. It would be ideal to have federal and state help.
Judge Executive Kenneth Imes was the next to speak. He said that within a two hour window after he signed the executive order, the governor signed off on it. "I appreciate the speed at which you've (the governor) handled this and the resources made available," said Imes.
Mayor Bob Rogers said, "As you drive through town you won't see much debris on the streets, the damage is in the houses, businesses, and apartment buildings. People are sweeping out mud. This happens at a time when businesses have been closed. They're struggling."
MSU President Dr. Bob Jackson said he's grateful for the help and support given by the governor's office. He mentioned the fact that western Kentucky, specifically Murray, is 275 miles from the Capitol in Frankfort, Kentucky. Governor Beshear made it a point to say earlier in his comments how important it was for him to come and assess the damage himself. The good people of western Kentucky need to know they aren't forgotten and are important.
Governor Beshear arriving in Murray, KY to assess the damage caused by Sunday's flooding.
Readin' and 'ritin' and 'rithmetic begins four days a week in-person instruction March 2 at McCracken County Schools
Four days a week in-person learning starts week of March 1
Beginning the week of March 1, McCracken County Schools will start in-person instruction Tuesday through Friday. Mondays will be used for virtual days.
Today, February 19, 650 McCracken County School teachers, administrators, and staff will get their booster COVID-19 vaccination. Having received their second shot has helped to prompt the board of education to unanimously vote to bring students back into the classroom.
Here's a message from the McCracken County Schools Superintendent Steven Carter
Starting the week of March 1, we will begin offering in-person learning four days a week, Tuesday through Friday, with Mondays reserved for virtual learning and deep cleaning of school buildings.
We’ve been monitoring local Covid-19 data closely, preparing for the time we could safely return to more frequent in-person learning. That time finally came. McCracken County is no longer “in the red,” with an incidence rate of 12. This means McCracken’s seen only 12 average new daily cases for every 100,000 residents over the last seven days.
Friday afternoon 650 school staff will receive their second dose of the vaccine, further improving conditions in our schools to allow for safe, in-person learning. We are beyond grateful to Baptist Health and the team of school nurses, staff and administrators who made this unprecedented vaccination effort possible.
We will continue our current hybrid schedule until the week of March 1 to allow time for staff inoculations to take full effect. We’re so excited to welcome our kids back to school more often, and to finish out the school year strong.
Families will still have the option of all-virtual learning for their children through the end of the school year. In our school buildings we’ll continue following the state’s Healthy at School guidelines, and we’ll work closely with the Purchase District Health Department to monitor Covid-19 locally.
Food service will continue to deliver meals to all students on Mondays. In addition, meals will be delivered to all virtual students each Wednesday and Friday. Students who are 100% virtual will need to sign-up at this link for meal delivery-https://www.mccracken.kyschools.us/FoodService1.aspx
We’re so thankful for the chance to see students in school, nearly full-time, and we plan to make the absolute most of it. One of the many lessons this year has taught us is that our time together is precious.
Stay safe and take care. Warmer days are ahead!
Steven T. Carter, Superintendent
McCracken County Public Schools
The Paducah Board of Education met Tuesday evening during a special called meeting. Members then went into executive session to go over personnel issues.
The last time the board met in executive session was December 11, 2020. The special called meeting was to address Dr. Donald Shively's blackface photo from a Halloween party nearly two decades ago. The board voted, with the exception of James Hudson who abstained, and the four remaining members agreed to 40 days of unpaid leave. The reprimand of 40 days without pay takes place over the next two school years.
The board was in executive session for three hours to discuss personnel issues. There was no action taken. Executive sessions are closed meetings, therefore, the public nor the media were privy to the content of those discussions.
If you would like to read more pertaining to the incident concerning the blackface Halloween photo, click on any of the following links:
Paducah Superintendent interviews with local television station about racially-insensitive Halloween photo
Board member have no plans to fire Shively as the Kentucky Department of Education learns of racially-insensitive photo
Statement release Monday from Shively on plans to make amends
A petition to remove Shively if circulating on the local NAACP Facebook page
Organized protest set for Sunday to remove Shively
It's the battle of the petitions, to keep or not to keep Shively
Protestors gather on Sunday at PTHS
Paducah Board of Education releases statement to address community concerns
No immediate action is taken after the first executive session
The racially-insensitive photo translates into 40 days unpaid leave
A billboard on the busiest street in Paducah calls for Shively's termination
McCracken County School System kicked off its #STICKIT2COVID vaccination campaign last week. Paducah Public Schools, Community Christian Academy and St. Mary School System will start their vaccinations this week. Three school systems in Graves County started vaccinating last week however, half are deferring their inoculations to senior residents in the county.
The COVID-19 vaccine is definitely the talk of the town. And we're talking about EVERY town. With the slower than expected rollout of the number or vaccines available, it's good to see our local school employees in western Kentucky getting vaccinated. I believe we're all ready to see some action and seeing pictures of the process is reassuring.
McCracken County School employees received their vaccinations this past week. Baptist Health Paducah partnered with the school system to administer the COVID-19 vaccine. To date, 650 doses of the Moderna vaccine were administered at two locations: McCracken County High School and the Reidland School gymnasium. Teachers, administrators, custodians, classified staff, substitute teachers, school volunteers, and board members got a chance to STOP the SPREAD.
This week, Baptist Health plans to administer 350 doses of the Moderna vaccine to Paducah Public Schools staff, Community Christian Academy, and St. Mary School Systems. Vaccinations will take place on the campus of Paducah Tilghman High School at the Innovation Hub.
Three schools in Graves County started vaccinations last week. As the Graves County Health Department started administering the shot, at least half of the school personnel deferred their inoculation to senior residents of the county. There were 700 vaccines allotted for school personnel and according to Graves County Health Department Director Noel Coplen only half were administered.
The three schools include Graves County Schools, Mayfield Independent Schools, and Northside Baptist Christian Schools. Currently 1,400 seniors have been vaccinated in the county. More vaccines are expected in the next three weeks. Healthcare personnel and emergency personnel that received their shot in December are expected to receive the booster soon.
As we wait for our turn to be vaccinated, its good to see the process working. Be it slower than expected, we hold out hope that the inoculations will beat COVID and relief is closer at hand.
The theme of this year's local election is to be good stewards of tax payer dollars
Mayfield is the county seat of Graves County located on the southwest border of Kentucky.
The theme for this year's local elections rallied on the contenders' ability to reroute spending or even save a buck or two. In Graves County, Kentucky, one election held this past fall is a direct result of this new focus of being cautious in spending taxpayer dollars.
The Mayfield City Council elected two representatives who will take the place of former city council members, Phil Myers and Nate Cox. Newly-elected members are Lauren Carr and Johnny Jackson.
This will be Carr's first time to serve in an elected position. Currently, she writes grants as a project coordinator for the Graves County Agency for Substance Abuse Policy and Prevention or ASAP. She believes her skill as a grant writer will help the city receive more funding and in turn, save the city money.
Jackson has previously served the city as councilman. He was prompted by friends and neighbors to jump back into politics to encourage being a good steward of money.
Being a good steward is more than just spending money. It's about applying it to things you care about and your neighbor cares about. Entrusting tax payer dollars to those that will spend it wisely and save where they can. Jackson previously served on the city council for 16 years. The new city council members will be sworn in Monday, January 11, 2021.
Graves County School Board has a new elected board member. Joni Goodman. She beat out long time chair and board member Jim Wurth in November's election. She will be sworn in on Thursday, January 7. Goodman said she's humbled and ran the race to answer God's call. She will join reelected board members Kenneth House and Ronnie Holmes.
Spring semester begins at West Kentucky Community and Technical College on January 11, 2021. Beginning Monday, January 4 through Friday, January 8, students will be able to register for classes if they haven't already done so.
Students that postponed college in the fall due to the pandemic may be more comfortable taking classes this spring. WKCTC has worked hard implementing safety measures to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.
After all, safety is the first priority for students, faculty and staff and this spring semester will be no different. The semester will follow the same three-pronged approach as fall semester 2020. Following the safety guidelines set forth by the state of Kentucky, the Centers for Disease Control, and the WKCTC campus, this system promotes a safe and healthy way to learn. It's a combination of face-to-face classes, hybrid and virtual learning.
Face-to-face classes will have a strong online element to the courses structure. By being prepared with a course that is 'COVID-19' ready, this will give students peace of mind knowing that courses can easily switch to online learning. Last fall, there were minimum disruptions on the campus due to COVID-19 infections. If students were asked to quarantine, it was handled on a class by class basis. Measures were in place for contact tracing and all seemed to go smoothly the entire semester.
The second option for scheduling spring classes is the hybrid course. This course is approximately 50% online and 50% in a face-to-face setting. And, of course, there's the 100% online learning.
Classes will be socially-distanced, as they were this past fall. Students and faculty will wear masks. With socially-distanced courses, there are fewer students in each classroom providing the utmost safety as we continue to wrestle with the pandemic.
If finances are an issue, there's a new scholarship opportunity called Work Ready Kentucky (WRKS) that offers up to 60 hours of free tuition for anyone who hasn't earned an associates degree. The scholarship covers areas such as healthcare, manufacturing, business, IT, construction or skilled trades, and transportation and logistics. If you would like more information on the scholarship program there's a hotline number at 833-711-WRKS or go to the website at https://workreadykentucky.com/.
Paducah Mayor George Bray and the 43rd commission are sworn in and ready to work
George Bray, the 40th mayor of Paducah, was sworn in Monday to begin his four year term on January 1, 2021. The inauguration of Bray and the 43rd city commission was held at City Hall late in the afternoon with family members and a few special friends. The event was televised and a link to the telecast was provided on the city’s website.
After over a year working on the campaign, Bray is very excited to ‘hit the ground running.’ He said, “Under my leadership the city will provide citizens with more ways than ever to stay informed as we redesign and launch an enhanced communication approach.”
Bray has always touted Paducah as a safe place to raise a family and a great community to live in. He’s said time and time again that he’s proud to call Paducah home.
The 43rd commission was also sworn in on Monday. Commissioners Sandra Wilson, Raynarldo Henderson, David Guess, and Carol Gault all took the oath of office and are ready for new beginnings.
Wilson is mayor-pro tem and will serve for the fifth consecutive year on the commission. Both Guess and Gault have served as commissioners previously. Henderson is the ‘new kid on the block’. This will be his first successful attempt at winning the office. On Henderson’s Facebook page he stated, “I’m looking forward to working with Mayor George Bray and this great team!”
The first city commission meeting will be held on January 12, 2021.
Inauguration ceremony for Paducah's Mayor-elect George Bray and new commissioners Monday, December 28
Mayor Elect George Bray
Commissioners-elect: Sandra Wilson, David Guess, Carol Gault, Raynarldo Henderson
From the City of Paducah's Facebook page
The official inauguration ceremony for the Paducah Board of Commissioners will be Monday, December 28 at 4:30 p.m. in the atrium of City Hall. The oaths of office will be administered to Mayor-elect George P. Bray and Commissioners-elect Sandra Wilson, Raynarldo Henderson, David Guess, and Carol C. Gault.
The ceremony is closed to the public. The media is permitted to attend the inauguration at City Hall, and each elected official has invited a limited number of family members to support them during the ceremony. The public is invited to view the live stream of the ceremony by watching Government 11 (for Comcast subscribers) or Youtube at https://youtu.be/Cgd-5A7yLK4.
The inauguration ceremony includes the posting of colors by members of the Paducah Police and Fire Departments, the singing of “The Star-Spangled Banner” by Kentucky Supreme Court Justice Christopher Shea Nickell, and the invocation by Senior Pastor Nathan Joyce of Heartland Church.
The Board officially begins its term on January 1, 2021.
Psalm 18:28 “You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.”
Funeral services for Robert and his wife Connie Coleman will be Thursday, December 17, 2020. Robert Coleman was 88 years old when he passed away on Friday, November 20. His wife Constance Lee Harris Coleman was 83 when she passed away on November 10. Both were at Baptist Health Paducah.
The Coleman's were members of Washington Street Missionary Baptist Church. Robert served Paducah as a City Commissioner and Mayor Pro-Tem. Connie was an LPN for 50 years retiring from Lourdes Hospital. Both were members of the Paducah/McCracken County NAACP Chapter. Reverend Raynarldo Henderson will be officiating. For more information on the Paducah couple, follow the link: Pettus-Rowland Funeral Home.
Thursday, December 17, 2020
11:00 AM - 12:00 PM
Washington Street Missionary Baptist Church
721 Washington Street
Paducah, KY 42003
Thursday, December 17, 2020
12:00 PM - 1:30 PM
Washington Street Missionary Baptist Church
721 Washington Street
Paducah, KY 42003
The Peck Education Trail Ribbon Cutting Ceremony at Bob Noble Park will take place after the Coleman's Funeral Service.
PADUCAH – The public is invited to a ribbon cutting celebration on Thursday, December 17 at 2 p.m. for the Peck Education Trail in Bob Noble Park. Please note the time change for this event. It has been moved to the afternoon due to the funeral services for former City Commissioner Robert Coleman and his wife, Connie, which will be earlier that day.
There’s a new billboard on Park Avenue by Paducah Ford just before heading across the railroad overpass leading to Kentucky Oaks Mall. The billboard is calling for the termination of Paducah Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Donald Shively.
The billboard shows the photo of Shively in blackface while attending a Halloween party in 2002. In addition to blackface, Shively is wearing a gold chain, gold teeth, a do-rag and a Paducah Tilghman football shirt. At the time the picture was taken, Shively was a teacher at PTHS.
The photograph first circulated on social media in mid-October. Parents, members of the community, and the Paducah/McCracken NAACP Chapter members were very offended by the racially-insensitive photo. In fact, the Paducah School Board members called it ‘shocking’ in a statement released on Friday, December 11.
Less than two months ago, the Board engaged in several closed meetings to discuss Shively's actions. Open meetings were held as well to address the concerns and feelings of the students, parents and members of the community. The virtual meetings were meant to create a meaningful dialogue about racial inequality and injustices and to voice opinions on the matter.
After an executive meeting this past Friday, the Board voted to request that Superintendent Shively take a 40 day unpaid leave of absence and said he must undergo diversity training.
Shively has apologized numerous times since the photo was released. He has asked for forgiveness and has said he realizes the hurt caused to so many. The Board and many others believe in his sincerity and willingness to work hard to make things right.
Some people said it wasn’t enough. On the Facebook page of Andiomo White, he said, “When you go to the mall or Walmart today, look over at the billboard by the Ford Dealership. 40 Days is not enough and we won’t stop.”
The sign said that it's paid for by All of Us or None Louisville in partnership with the Community Coalition to End Racial Insensitivity in Education. In the same post on White’s Facebook page one of the comments asked, ‘Shouldn’t it say paid for by the parents and citizens?’ The billboard cost this group $825 and was placed to get a reaction.
Additionally, one of White’s Facebook friends said they were going to ‘push’ the story. It appears a message was sent to Shaun King, a Brooklyn based writer/activist that focuses on civil and human rights, racial injustice, and other similar matters. He’s the co-founder of Real Justice PAC. King uses social media to promote social justice causes.
On one of the local television anchors Facebook posts, the community is weighing in on the situation. Some have said things like, 'this is embarrassing Paducah, let the legal system handle this matter.' In response to this post, one of the comments said, 'What's embarrassing is having someone in our school system like Shively continue to teach our kids.' Feelings are mixed on this issue and it doesn't look like the pressure will let up anytime soon.
The racially insensitive Halloween photo translates into 40 days of unpaid leave
The Paducah Public Schools Board of Education released a public statement Friday, December 11 regarding Dr. Donald Shively and his current state of employment. Before reading the document in its entirety, School Board Chair Dr. Carl Lebuhn said, “Obviously, we’ve been through a lot the last couple of months. I’m going to read a statement from the Board. It’s three pages long.”
Click here to read the statement in its entirety. Paducah Board of Education Statement concerning Dr. Donald Shively.
After an executive meeting on Friday, The Paducah Board of Education voted to request that Superintendent Shively take 40 days of unpaid leave to obtain education, training, and community involvement on racial inequality.
On October 20, 2020 a photo of Shively began circulating on social media that was offensive, inappropriate and shocking (the Boards word). The picture was taken of Shively and a female companion in blackface at a Halloween party two decades ago. Shively was wearing a Paducah Tilghman football jersey, do-rag, and a gold chain around his neck.
Members of the Board were told by Shively in 2019 that the photo existed, however, Dr. Lebuhn read in his statement that none of the board members saw the actual photo at the time. In the statement it said, “The board members had their first opportunity to see the photo simultaneously with the public and the internet community when it was posted on social media October 20, 2020.”
The motion for the leave of absence was made by vice chairman Dr. Felix Akojie and seconded by board member Mary Hunter Hancock. The remaining board members voted yes for the unpaid leave with the exception of Dr. James Hudson who abstained.
This meeting occurred one day after hearing renewed calls from the Paducah/McCracken County Chapter of the NAACP asking for Shively’s resignation. It has been seven weeks since the local NAACP chapter first requested his removal after seeing the blackface photo appear on social media.
On Thursday, president of the local NAACP chapter J.W. Cleary said in a statement, “Since October of this year, Paducah Public Schools has been embroiled in the blackface incident regarding Dr. Shively. The Paducah Board of Education has met several times under closed executive session and has not provided any updates in regard to their decision on this very serious measure matter.”
“While understanding the executive sessions are classified and closed to the public, we are still calling for the resignation of Dr. Shively. We see it as the only viable way the district, its students, and the community can move forward.” The resignation of Shively isn’t the only interest of Cleary’s. The NAACP outlined seven steps it would like to see the Board initiate. (The seven steps are at the bottom of the article).
Around the time of the released statement from Cleary, the board members had announced a special meeting in executive session set for 4 pm on Friday at the Paducah Innovation Hub.
The 40 days of unpaid leave will consist of 20 days to be taken during the current school year and the remaining 20 days to be taken the following school year or 2021-2022.
In the statement from the Board, Shively will remain in his current role, but the Board’s evaluation of Shively should ‘focus more closely on his progress on areas such as cultural and racial sensitivity, empathetic communication, keener recognition of implicit bias, and a deeper understanding of issues concerning minority groups.’
The 40 days of unpaid leave is for Dr. Shively to attend training sessions in these areas determined by the Board, the Kentucky Educators Association, local leaders, and others.
To further assure the community that the Board is working to address equity and diversity issues, a contract is proposed to engage the University of Kentucky’s Education and Civil Rights Initiative to come up with a plan for the Paducah Public School District.
The seven steps requested by the Paducah/McCracken County NAACP Chapter:
Conduct an independent cultural audit of its schools.
Provide annual mandatory implicit bias and racial sensitivity training.
Commit to diverse hiring at all levels.
Conduct an annual review of student practices that demonstrate equity in closing the achievement gap.
Commit to training diverse candidates for leadership positions.
Employ a district diversity and inclusion officer to focus on recruiting minority candidates.
Christmas is a time for bright lights, holiday greetings, shopping, family gatherings, and the list goes on and on. One of the most important Christmas remembrances is that of the baby Jesus and the reason for the season. This year's season is unlike any other. The pandemic has taken lives, livelihoods, and life as we know it.
There’s a Paducah nonprofit organization that's working hard to spread a little cheer this holiday with the project Season’s Eatings. In collaboration with a few area businesses and other nonprofit groups, Project Pomona, a local organization is planning to provide food for those in need by feeding 1,000 people on Christmas Eve.
Owner of Fresh Foodies Mindy Carroll is one of the partner businesses. Carroll said, “We are one of the pickup locations. There are four so we should have around 250 meals. Our goal is 1,000 total meals for the day.”
Bryant Hileman is the organizer of the event and founder of Project Pomona. The nonprofit typically provides free weekly meals at the library. Due to the pandemic, those meals have stopped. Wanting to do something special for Christmas, Season’s Eatings was born.
The meals will be given on a first-come first-serve basis. The four locations are Fresh Foodies at 532 Nroth 32nd Street, the McCracken County Public Library at 555 Washington Street, Paducah Beer Werks at 301 North Fourth Street, and Family Service Society at 827 Joe Clifton Drive. Meals will be available by walk-up or drive-thru. The main thing is to wear your masks and practice social distancing.
Fresh Foodies will be cooking and donating the sides. Carroll said, “I have collected donations to pay for the food and will be serving green beans, cornbread casserole, and rolls. We’ll begin providing the meals at 11 am on Christmas Eve.” Carroll said this is the fourth of fifth time Fresh Foodies has participated in events like this one.
There will be a team of volunteers 'slow-cooking' a variety of meats at Kirchhoff’s Bakery the day before the event. The meat is paid for by funds collected by Hileman’s efforts. Fresh produce will be available at the library and canned goods donated from a Paducah Beer Works donation drive will be given out at the brewery.
The event’s coordinator, Hileman has nearly reached his collection goal of $1,500. If more is donated, there will be more meals to offer on Christmas Eve. If you’re interested in volunteering or contributing to the fund, go to the Seasons Eatings Project Pomona’s Facebook page.
Carroll’s business Fresh Foodies promotes healthy eating and her wish is for everyone to get a tasty, healthy meal. Carroll said, “I want to be a part of any opportunity to help the community with food insecurity.” Fresh Foodies has survived the second round of restaurant closings by thinking outside the box. She said, “We are breaking even and staying open!”
What a treasure it is to find those willing to push a little harder, spend an extra moment, and stretch their dollars and cents to help those in need. After all, that’s the true spirit of Christmas.
Matthew 1:23 "Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel." Luke 2:7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
Broadway United Methodist Church in Paducah created a 'live' nativity scene for those who wanted to experiene the 'true' meaning of Christmas. This year's nativity scene was witnessed by drive-thru only due to COVID-19.
As you can see, the 'live' display portrays, Mary, Joseph and the baby Jesus surrounded by the barn animals, magi, and shepherds. This year's portrayals of Mary and Joseph are people from the same household. On the church's Facebook page, one couple portrayed Mary and Joseph for 30 minutes and another couple took over for the next half hour and so on.
Tonight's drive thru display took place from 6 pm to 8 pm in front of Broadway United Methodist Church in downtown Paducah.
Tonight's participants included:
6 to 6:30 - Josh and Randa Gooud
6:30 - 7 - Annalee and Ethan Johnson
7 - 7:30 - Bidwell Family
7:30 - 8 Bonnie Atkins
The church sent out a big thank you to all those that participated including the staff, children. youth and congregation. The display is a wonderful way to kick-off the Christmas season. No word yet if the church will have another 'live' nativity this year.
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.