Bowling Green Daily News. May 4, 2021.

Editorial: Wigwam Village project aims to preserve quirky slice of local history

Preservation of historic locations and notable landmarks that give southcentral Kentucky its unique character is an important endeavor, but it too often seems that such pursuits are not prioritized amid the march of progress and new development.

In Cave City, however, property owners Keith Stone and Megan Smith are trying to rehabilitate a venerable slice of local lore, which has also earned at least a little bit of national renown: Wigwam Village No. 2, the memorable roadside inn that has drawn visitors and onlookers to U.S. 31-W since 1937 and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

In a country that seems increasingly dominated by cookie-cutter hotels and motels along indistinguishable interstate exits, the Wigwam Village harkens back to an era of travel entirely unfamiliar to younger generations. So, even though the notion of a motel consisting of wigwam-shaped rooms is inherently silly, the ambitions of Stone and Smith are anything but frivolous. If they are successful in their aims – to restore the facility to its “1937 splendor,” as Stone puts it, while also adding modern touches that appeal to modern travelers – then they will achieve the best of both worlds: They will let visitors experience a taste of history in an environment entirely comfortable to contemporary life.

Stone and Smith have been at work since March, and they hosted a major event for the village Saturday, when they reintroduced its famed “Sleep in a Wigwam” sign after it was refurbished by Louisville’s Rueff Sign Co. That project received a financial boost from the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission. The commission’s involvement bodes well for the village’s prospects, since it suggests the entire community is interested in seeing the wigwams brought back to life.

“It’s such an icon for this area,” said Greg Davis, executive director for the commission. “One of the top questions we get when we go to conferences is if the wigwams are still there. It has been in need of repair. ... We’re very pleased to see it come back.”

Plenty of work remains, of course, but certain circumstances might be working in the new owners’ favor. For one thing, they seem perfectly suited for the tasks at hand: Stone has an architectural background, while Smith is interested in historic preservation. In addition, the timing might be right – as life in the United States slowly but surely comes back online following the long coronavirus shutdowns, people are itching to get out and explore. An unusual site (and sight) such as Wigwam Village No. 2 – it’s one of only three that is still standing, with the others in Arizona and California – would seem to an ideal destination for travelers drawn to the quirkier stops on the road.

We join the Cave City community in looking forward to the village’s future, and we wish Stone and Smith good luck and good fortune as they work toward their goals.

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Ashland Independent. April 28, 2021.

Editorial: Brighter, warmer days ahead

Tuesday brought a triple play of treats — temperatures in the 80s, an announcement of a local staple summer activity returning and more mask restrictions lifted.

COVID-19 isn’t squarely in the rear-view mirror, but it’s we’re gaining ground toward “normalcy.”

With each bit of positive news, there’s still some apprehension. We hesitate to become too excited because we became so accustomed to the one-step-forward-two-steps-back happenings of the last year-plus.

There are reasons for celebration, though, and much of this has been accomplished through concerted effort and diligence by Kentuckians under the leadership of Gov. Andy Beshear. Granted, a portion of the population has greeted his approach with grumbling and scrutiny throughout the pandemic, but ultimately his cautious, methodical strategy has paid off. He continues to push for widespread vaccination, which is obviously helping thwart the virus.

Beshear announced this week that Kentuckians are now not required to don masks at outdoor events with fewer than 1,000 people.

Ellen Keaton, Boyd County Fair’s president, welcomed the announcement, which coincidentally occurred just prior to her own revelation — that the Boyd County Fair will happen in 2021 (in August).

That figurative light at the end of the tunnel is within reach. Let’s enjoy this spring and summer while remaining vigilant in the fight against COVID-19.

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Frankort State Journal. April 29, 2021.

Editorial: Franklin County Health Department, partners taking COVID vaccine mobile

Hoping to reach pockets of the population that have yet to be inoculated against the coronavirus, the Franklin County Health Department announced this week that it is teaming up with community partners to offer four walk-up vaccination clinics next month.

One hundred doses of the recently “un-paused” Johnson & Johnson Janssen single-dose vaccine will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis with no appointment necessary. Registration will be done on site.

The health department will be using the Frankfort/Franklin County Emergency Management Mobile Command Center as its home base for the off-site vaccination clinics. Currently, anyone 16 years and older can receive a COVID-19 vaccine.

The walk-up vaccination events are planned from 4-6 p.m. on Wednesday at First United Methodist Church, 211 Washington St.; 1-3 p.m. on May 16 at First Corinthian Missionary Baptist Church, 214 Murray St.; 9-11 a.m. May 19 at South Frankfort Presbyterian Church, 244 Steele St.; and 4-6 p.m. May 19 at Paul Sawyier Public Library, 319 Wapping St.

We commend the health department, churches and the library for collaborating on an effort to bring the coronavirus vaccine to those who may not have access to it otherwise, including high-risk, low-income, minority and essential worker populations.

Mobile clinics tackle the challenges — such as transportation and mobility issues, limited access to medical care and vaccine centers, work and family schedules — that prevent folks from receiving the COVID-19 vaccine by conveniently bringing it to them.

“We look forward to serving our community and hopefully removing any technology or travel barriers by meeting the community where they are,” Brittany Parker, deputy director at the health department, told The State Journal on Wednesday.

According to the latest Centers for Disease Control and Prevention data, a total of 43.3% of Franklin Countians — slightly more than 22,000 — have been fully vaccinated. While Franklin County’s percentage ranks among the highest in the state, more progress is needed. In order to reach herd immunity, 70%-80% of the population must get vaccinated, experts say.

Every vaccine in an arm gets us closer to being done with this pandemic, and it is our hope that FCHD continues to partner with local churches and organizations to get a vaccine to everyone who wants one.

END