Mount Everest getting 3G before Owensboro

 Just how remote is Owensboro anyway?

The Himalayas are getting 3G service before we do.

The New York Times reported this week: “The Hindustan Times carried a small news item the other day that, depending on your perspective, is good news or a sign of the apocalypse. It reported that a Nepali telecommunications firm had just started providing third-generation mobile network service, or 3G, at the summit of Mount Everest, the world’s tallest mountain, to “allow thousands of climbers and trekkers who throng the region every year access to high-speed Internet and video calls using their mobile phones.”

AT&T says Owensboro is supposed to get 3G service by the end of the year.

Until then, head for Mount Everest to make a call.


Guthrie will be in Owensboro Aug. 30

U.S. Rep. Brett Guthrie, a Bowling Green Republican, will host an “America Speaking Out” town hall meeting at Western Kentucky University’s Owensboro campus on Aug.30.

The meeting, which is open to the public, is scheduled from noon to 1:30 p.m. at 4821 New Hartford Road.
America Speaking Out is an initiative of House Republicans.

“After collecting ideas and solutions, I will be talking about what I have heard from across the district and nation and invite individuals to discuss these top issues with me,” Guthrie said in a news release.

Paducah downtown wins national honor

Owensboro is spending $120 million on its downtown to bring it back to life. But Paducah is already reaping national honors for its Main Street program.

Here’s a news release from the National Trust for Historic Preservation:

WASHINGTON, D.C. (May 5, 2010) — Yesterday, the National Trust for Historic Preservation announced that Paducah Renaissance Alliance in Paducah, Ky., is a winner of the 2010 Great American Main Street Awards® (GAMSA).

Distinguishing itself by focusing on incentives and the arts as a revitalization strategy, Paducah Renaissance Alliance was honored at the Main Street Awards Ceremony during the National Main Streets Conference in Oklahoma City, Okla. The National Trust Main Street Center’s annual GAMSA winners are recognized for their exceptional accomplishments in revitalizing the nation’s historic and traditional Main Street commercial districts by using the proven Main Street Four-Point Approach®.

To celebrate the achievement, a public reception will take place at 1:30 p.m. (CDT) Friday, May 7 at Paducah’s downtown gazebo, located at the corner of 2nd and Broadway streets.

Paducah Main Street’s Artist Relocation Program has proven to be a hugely successful revitalization strategy – one that has been emulated by many other cities. By offering artists from across the U.S. attractive financial incentives to rehabilitate historic homes and buildings for living and working space, the city now has a critical mass of creative residents and related galleries, arts-related businesses, and an arts school.

Dramatically improving quality of life and the local economy, Paducah Renaissance Alliance’s efforts have yielded a net gain of 234 new businesses and 1,000 new jobs.

“Paducah boasts nearly $200 million in yearly tourism income from its strong arts and cultural district. That’s an impressive figure for a city of 26,000 people,” said Doug Loescher, director of the National Trust Main Street Center. “Paducah Renaissance Alliance has reversed years of negative public perceptions by creating a ‘historically hip’ downtown filled with beautiful buildings and exciting attractions. Paducah raises the bar for maintaining an authentic community while becoming a major tourist destination.”

Paducah is one of more than 80 Kentucky communities working in partnership with the Kentucky Main Street Program, the oldest statewide Main Street revitalization program in the nation, administered by the Kentucky Heritage Council/State Historic Preservation Office.

Since the program was established in 1979, more than $3.5 billion in public-private funding has been reinvested back into the state’s economy.

In 2009 alone, Kentucky Main Street and Renaissance on Main programs reported more than $350 million invested in downtowns through these programs, representing:  1,971 net jobs in Main Street districts;  377 new businesses created; and  417 downtown buildings rehabilitated.

According to Chris Black, “As chairman of the Kentucky Heritage Council and a resident of Paducah, I am proud and thrilled that my hometown has been recognized for its efforts in becoming a center for cultural arts through preservation and redevelopment of Paducah’s Downtown and LowerTown neighborhoods. This prestigious award represents decades of work and commitment by many thousands of volunteers and our entire community, and recognizes the leadership of the Kentucky Main Street Program.”

“Paducah has been working with the Kentucky Main Street Program for more than 20 years and has done some really creative work, particularly with the Artist Relocation Program and streetscape project, which have brought excitement back to their downtown and riverfront areas and make it a very vibrant city,” said Mark Dennen, Kentucky Heritage Council executive director and state historic preservation officer.

Public Life Foundation wants to know what you would like to see downtown

The Public Life Foundation of Owensboro is conducting an online survey to see what people want to see downtown.

Participants in the 2007 “We the People” Town Meeting ranked the “transformation” of downtown Owensboro as one of their top community priorities, the PLFO said.

Since then, the organization says, “ambitious plans have been developed, land has been acquired and a hotel developer has been secured. There are plans for an expanded riverfront park, convention center, market square plaza, traffic improvements, arts academy and more.”

There are both public and private sector dimensions to the plan, the PLFO says.

But ultimately, it says, “the success of the plan will have a great deal to do with the types of uses that succeed in space in the historic core of downtown and along the riverfront: retail shops, restaurants, businesses and services. These could be tenants or property owners involved in new ventures, those that relocate or expand to downtown from other areas of our community, or those that relocate or expand from outside our community.”

The online survey asks, “Who or what would you like to see occupy space or build new in our downtown?”

To participate in the survey, go to

“You just throw it away”

Snow was on county officials’ minds Tuesday as the Daviess Fiscal Court meeting began to wrap up.
Judge-Executive Reid Haire turned to Treasurer Jim Hendrix and asked how much the county had already spent on road salt this winter.

“$65,000 so far, out of a $70,000 budget,” Hendrix reported.

“The bad thing is,” Haire said, “you just throw it away. Once you use it, it’s gone.”

Three potential brands for Owensboro unveiled

Three new taglines, one of which could help identify the Owensboro community in coming years, were unveiled Wednesday as a branding initiative by local government and business organizations continues to move forward. 

“It’s looking at what attracts you to the community, what the strengths are and what the needs are,” said Nick Brake, president/CEO of the Greater Owensboro Economic Development Corp., about the initiative. 

The three brands being offered to the public are:

The public will have the chance to weigh in over the next month on the three brands at and see potential advertisements featuring each of the brands. 

The three possible brands all come from the idea of Owensboro as a community some might not know much about, but where there is a lot to offer, Brake said. 

“It’s seen as a place with a lot of virtues, but that it was relatively unknown,” Brake said. “Our brand needs to convey the message that we have a story to tell and you need to find out what’s going on here.”

Any thoughts on the three options being put out there? Feel free to comment below. 

And read more about the initiative in Thursday’s Messenger-Inquirer.

Louisville, Lexington facing budget woes, but Owensboro faring well, so far

Mark Hebert with WHAS-TV is reporting that Louisville Mayor Jerry Abramson is preparing to announce budget cuts because of a downturn in occupational tax revenues. 

In Lexington, city officials are grappling with possible layoffs in the police and fire departments to try to counter an expected $20 million jump in pension costs next year, according to the Herald-Leader

State government and Gov. Steve Beshear are in the midst of developing a plan to deal with an expected $300 million shortfall this fiscal year, and Tom Loftus reports today that budget cuts will be difficult for agencies that already trimmed spending earlier this year.

But J.T. Fulkerson, finance director for the city of Owensboro, said Friday that this city is faring better than others as the economy turns south. 

Occupational tax revenues collected in Owensboro through the end of October were 4.6 percent ahead of budget and more than 6 percent higher during the same period last year. Expenditures have also been kept under budget so far, Fulkerson said.

“By having a diverse base with no extremely large employers that are usually impacted severely in these types of downturns, we have not in the past experienced these kind of unpleasant events,” Fulkerson said. “We may not have had the growth we would like to have had, but we have not had a slowing down of our occupational or net profits returns.”

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