Frankort State Journal. May 31, 2021.

Editorial: City-county dialogue needed on long list of topics

Franklin County Magistrate Michael Mueller’s recent call for more communication between city and county elected leaders on shared functions like economic development was music to our ears.

The Franklin County Fiscal Court and Frankfort City Commission should meet jointly at least twice a year to discuss shared priorities for the community. Keeping each other in the loop will prevent miscommunication such as what nearly derailed redevelopment of the former Capital Plaza land known as Parcels B and C.

Mueller should lead by example with his pet project: the county’s consideration of a large events venue at Lakeview Park.

Any first-rate replacement for the demolished Frankfort Convention Center will require the support of all local governmental entities. If it proves to be financially feasible at all, Frankfort and Franklin County can only afford to build and operate one such facility, so cooperation is essential.

To date, city government has been excluded from discussions about the project, which is being studied by an out-of-state consulting firm at a cost of nearly $200,000.

The fiscal court shouldn’t stop with the city commission in becoming more inclusive. Kentucky State University’s consideration of moving up to big-time sports competition — the National Collegiate Athletics Association’s Division 1 — could be enhanced by a first-rate arena in Frankfort.

KSU’s participation in the project just might be the ticket to state funding that would never happen if the county goes it alone on an events venue.

A multipurpose arena that hosted the Thorobreds’ indoor athletic events as well as community functions and tourist draws like concerts and rodeos just might generate enough revenue to fund its own operations and maintenance, taking pressure off property owners, who already carry one of the region’s highest tax burdens.

We support Mueller’s call for a joint discussion of future Kentucky Capital Development Corp. funding, but the agenda shouldn’t stop there. City-county dialogue is needed on a long list of topics.

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Somerset Commonwealth Journal. May 29, 2021.

Editorial: Somerset and Burnside have a lot to look forward to

Polls are always fun -- especially the non-controversial ones.

It’s even better when the topics are something we can all look forward to.

For the past couple of weeks, we asked our readers which community project currently in the works they are most looking forward to:

1. The winter ice skating rink at SomerSplash.

2. The rebirth of the Virginia Cinema.

3. Burnside’s bigger and better Christmas Island.

4. The Riverboat at Burnside Island.

It seems Burnside is getting plenty of love from our readers.

The Riverboat at Burnside Island was the winner with 35.9% of the respondents. It does sound like fun! Especially when we, as modern folk, get to enjoy the boat for recreation while celebrating its more practical place in history.

“In the early and mid-1900s, steamboats were a regular shipping option for products manufactured in old downtown Burnside,” said Burnside Tourism Director Frank Crabtree, Jr.. “There were seven industrial mills in the old Burnside prior to the creation of Lake Cumberland. Jobs were so plentiful that there was an old saying, ‘Don’t walk in downtown Burnside unless your looking for a job because they will put you to work!’”

But even then, Crabtree noted, recreational riverboats were part of the original master plan for the lake -- one aspect of the plan that’s never been realized. If Burnside has its way, that will soon change.

Crabtree said he spoke with local legislators about how to make this a reality, and would eventually reach an agreement with BB Riverboats, which operates vessels on the Ohio River, like the Belle of Cincinnati and River Queen.

It sounds like locals and tourists alike will soon be able to take winery cruises, jazz brunches, and more are all the sorts of things that BB Riverboats could potentially offer on Lake Cumberland, and Crabtree said it’s likely the boat will visit lake communities all over the region.

Coming in No. 2 in the voting at 30.6% is the rebirth of the beloved Virginia Cinema in downtown Somerset.

Soon the Virginia will be home to local theater events that will pump more life into the downtown area.

“To me, the Virginia has always been the heart of the city,” said John Alexander, a longtime proponent of resurrecting the Virginia. “It’s certainly my favorite spot in Somerset. My love of the movies makes me appreciate the cinema for what it was, and my love of live theater makes me hopeful for what it can be.”

At No. 3 (19.4%), Is the bigger and better Christmas Island at the General Burnside State Park. Once a staple during the holiday season in Pulaski County, the lights and displays have been packed away for two decades. But Crabtree wants to bring it back -- this time with more sophisticated, high-tech displays.

“One of the things we really took into consideration was to make the presentation different than the saturated market that it is right now,” said Crabtree. “We did a competitive analysis and gathered all the information on every light display in the Commonwealth -- the price structure, what they’re offering, (etc.). Our main goal was to create a different experience that was unique. Some of the technology we’re looking at right now is a lot more animated that what’s typically presented, the steel frame and LED lighting fixture. That will still be a component of it, but we also want to do a better presentation or a better show, much like watching a cartoon in real life.”

Plans are to have the new Christmas Island begin for the 2021 holiday season on November 18 and run until the first of the new year.

And bringing up the rear with a still very respectable 14.1% is the proposed ice skating rink at SomerSplash. Wouldn’t a skating rink and Christmas Village go well with Christmas Island?

We have some great projects on the rise in Pulaski County. It’s definitely an exciting time to live in Somerset, Kentucky.

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Ashland Daily Independent. May 27, 2021.

Editorial: Connecting with Zoom founder

A year and two months ago, Zoom was still fairly unknown even though it was founded in April 2011.

Eric Yuan certainly couldn’t have predicted how much his company would take off in 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic exponentially increased Zoom’s usefulness.

For two East Carter students to be a pair of only four selected to host an award celebration recognizing Yuan is quite a remarkable honor.

Yuan, the CEO and founder of Zoom Video Communications, Inc., earned the Reach the World’s 2021 Cronkite Award for Excellence in Storytelling.

McClain Dyer, a senior, and Brody Shearer, a freshman, hosted the celebration and even got to ask Yuan a question apiece.

Shearer said Yuan’s interests in math, engineering and businesses connected with him.

Dyer said Zoom and Reach the World enhanced his global knowledge and helped him apply knowledge he absorbed in the classroom to current events.

The Reach the World program has been an obvious benefit to East Carter students, based on what teacher Aundra Shearer indicated.

This latest opportunity helped put East Carter on the map in the eyes of the founder of one of the most successful companies in the world today.

This is more than just a nice accomplishment for Dyer and Shearer. It’s an experience they can carry with them and one that will help shape them as young men.

Fine job!

END

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