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KDH acquisition by Norton not a done deal
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The acquisition of King’s Daughters’ Hospital by Norton Healthcare Inc. is moving closer to an agreement by the end of June, according to a report published in Louisville, but it’s not a done deal according to a spokesman for KDH.

Michael Gough, executive vice and chief operating officer for Norton Healthcare, addressed the proposed acquisition in an article that appeared in Louisville Business First last week, noting Norton is “moving ahead to where Norton Healthcare will be taking over the sponsorship of that hospital.”

However, Dave Ommen, KDH’s public information specialist, said Monday “no definite agreement” has been reached at this time even though KDH and non-profit Norton Healthcare have been exploring the possibility of a partnership since a letter of intent was signed in November.

“There has not been any change,” Ommen said. “The two sides continue to talk and look at various things. No final decision has been made. The process is ongoing. We have only had exploratory discussions since signing the letter of intent. How that partnerships shapes up or may work, there is no definite update to share.”

The headline on the Business First article was a more definitive, “Norton Healthcare to acquire Indiana hospital.”

“When I saw that headline, it was a little misleading,” said Ommen. “It was not fully accurate.”

The article also quoted Gough that, “There have been no showstoppers and we’re moving ahead to where Norton Healthcare will be taking over the sponsorship of that hospital and then, after we close, it will be part of the Norton system.”

If Norton is to take over KDH from the Bethany Circle of King’s Daughters’ of Madison Indiana Inc., KHD would become Norton King’s Daughters’ Hospital, according to the rticle.

Norton Healthcare operates six hospitals in Jefferson County, Kentucky, but KDH would be the first hospital that it owns and operates outside of Kentucky. However, Norton Healthcare has a joint venture with Brentwood, Tennessee-based LifePoint Health Inc. called the Regional Health Network that operates Scott Memorial Hospital in Scottsburg, Indiana, and Clark Memorial Hospital in Jeffersonville, Indiana.

In the article, Gough went on to say that KDH has “done done a great job in stand-alone. It’s one of those unusual situations where normally lots of systems will come to larger systems — not just here but in the U.S. — when they’re financially struggling, and they have to do something” ... KDH is “certainly is not in that position at all. They want the hospital in good hands for the long-term and the reason why they selected us, they tell us, is because of our long history and our missions, visions, values and our cultures lined up well.”

The federal Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services rate KDH five stars based on a five-star quality rating system. The article also listed public data showing KDH, a nonprofit, had revenue of $129 million in 2019 and $137 million in 2018 and posted profits of $3.9 million in 2019 and $10.9 million in 2018.

“The due diligence in a process like this continues,” Ommen said on the letter of intent between Norton and KDH. “There is no definite agreement.”

As part of the down-sizing at The Madison Courier — the printing press was removed and the warehouse cleared last month — the newspaper offices moving forward will occupy the north side of 310 West Street while the building’s owners are renovating the south side for potential new tenants. Part of that work involves removing wallpaper that had been on the business office walls the last 31 years — hung in November 1989 after most of the employees of the time had signed their names on the wall in sort of a time capsule. The names include Publisher Don Wallis and future Publisher Jane Wallis Jacobs as well as then Editor Graham Taylor and Advertising Director Pat Lanman. Most of the employees have long since moved on and many have died but there are three employees still with the newspaper — Mark Campbell, Robin Cull and Bob Demaree — with Campbell now serving as editor with 36 years at the paper, Cull as the IT systems manager with 34 years and Demaree a reporter in his third stint with the Courier and a combined 13 years.

Uncovering signs of history

Charlie’s Beat
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Mark and Julie Perkins are the textbook definition of the term “impresario.” If you don’t know the word, I’ll save you the trouble of looking it up: “A person who organizes and often finances concerts, plays or operas.”

In Europe back in the day, most of the great classical composers were supported by kings or nobility. In America’s great cities, the arts are often dependent on the largesse of wealthy families and captains of industry. In Vevay, Indiana, it’s Mark and Julie who stoke the fires of creative expression.

“We’re not musically talented ourselves,” explains Julie. “But music is very important to us, and we want to be a part of it. Supporting local musicians and hosting shows is what we can do to make it happen.”

The performances take place in their spacious Victorian home in downtown Vevay, a place they have affectionately named Big Blue. “We visited Vevay on a vacation trip back in 2006,” explains Mark. “Within hours of exploring the town I was saying ‘I wanna buy a house here!’ By 2008 we’d found and bought Big Blue and we started coming over pretty much every weekend while I was still working. Now I’ve retired and we’re here full time.”

“We were having our first Halloween party in the house,” recalls Julie. “And I thought, why not see if we can host a live band in here? Our parlor is really big, and it opens to several other rooms. We had about 20 people that night and I could see the potential.

“Since that first show, what’s it been, 13 years now, we’ve probably had about 100 music shows. Most of them are themed shows, like 60s or 70s or 80s, or Yacht Rock, or whatever we can think of. We like to dress up, and so do our friends.”

Mark continues, “We can fit about 60 people in the house listening to the music, but between our big front porch and our back deck and the pool area out back, it’s not unusual to host 80 or so. People say the house feels like an old friend, it’s comfortable and low key. Musicians love playing here, the vibe is so intimate and warm.”

“Our very first musical talent was Daryl Hewitt,” says Julie. “We’d met him in Madison at the old Riverhouse Bar and started talking about him coming to Big Blue to play. He’s played many times since then, too many to count. Daryl is kind of our house band, you might say.

“We’ve also featured Anthony Ray Wright and the Girton boys a lot, they are from Vevay. Michael Kruse is a regular, and Kathy Holcomb. Joe and Heidi DeVito, who go by the name Glad Janice, debuted their act here. But probably our biggest name we’ve had is guitar legend Tyler Mac. He’s from Pendleton, Indiana, but he lives in Pensacola these days.”

“Obviously this is not a for-profit enterprise,” interjects Mark. “We do it for the love of music and to help energize the town. Everybody pitches in to pay the band, and it all works out. But it’s worth every penny. Just seeing the collaboration and the jams that can develop. Seeing such talented musicians having a great time and engaging with the audience. It’s something we love doing and we’re committed to it.”

“Other people in Vevay have discovered that it’s possible to bring live music into your home,” says Julie. “And I would say the same thing to our many Madison friends, too. It doesn’t have to be super expensive or complicated. Just hire a local musician or band, Madison sure has plenty to choose from, and invite your friends over for a party. Nothing is more fun or rewarding!”


It’s finally getting warm enough to get up off your COVID Couch and start getting out there to see live music in Madison! The three main downtown music venues are all back online (Thomas Family, The Taproom, and Mad Paddle) with consistent weekend music, and the other venues like The Broadway, Riverboat Inn and soon The Lighthouse will be kicking in too. The great thing about most of these venues is they have outdoor seating options as it gets warmer, so even though COVID should still be a caution when it comes to indoor activities, you can sit out in the open air and start living the music life again! I’ll see you out there, supporting Indiana’s Music City.

Charlie Rohlfing is a retired advertising man and partner in The Red Bicycle Hall music venue. Look for his distinctive fedora bobbing above the crowd, anywhere live local music is happening.

This Week in Music

Thursday, April 1

Mad Paddle Brewery — Tracy & Elaine

Elks Lodge — Leah Pruett

Friday, April 2

Mad Paddle Brewery — Brother John Kattke

Off-Broadway Taproom — Matt Moore

Saturday, April 3

Mad Paddle Brewery — Jay & Those Other Guys

Thomas Family Winery — Matt Stokes

Off-Broadway Taproom — Charlsee Gandee

Good Friday closings
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The Jefferson County Courthouse, Madison City Hall and Hanover Town Hall, as well as all county and city offices and most services, are closed on Friday April 2, to observe Good Friday.

Madison’s Transfer Station will reopen on Saturday, April 3, from 8 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. For more information, call the Madison Street Department at 812-265-8304.

The Courthouse and city and town halls will reopen on Monday.

Additionally, Girls Inc. will be closed to members on Friday, April 2.

SW schools join ESA, voucher opposition
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Southwestern-Jefferson County Consolidated Schools on Monday joined more than 170 school boards in Indiana that have adopted resolutions opposing House Bill 1005, Senate Bill 413, and other legislation seeking to establish Education Savings Accounts (ESAs) and expand vouchers.

The resolution — the same one adopted by the Madison Consolidated School Board at a meeting earlier this month — states “the costs of Education Savings Accounts and school vouchers are covered exclusively by our state’s school tuition support fund, further providing fewer public dollars to fund our public schools and increase teacher salaries.”

“This makes our stance public,” said Southwestern school board president Rick Stockdale.

Meanwhile, the Peace of Prince Catholic Schools Commission announced recently its support for the legislation, noting the bills expand educational opportunities.

In other business:

• Superintendent Jeffrey Bates said interviews are underway for a new middle school principal. First round interviews are taking place this week with plans to interview the top three candidates next week. The position will be open when current Principal Jason Watson transitions to his new role as assistant superintendent. Once the new principal is hired and begins duties at the start of the 2021-2022 school year, Watson will assume duties full-time as assistant superintendent.

• Awarded a bid for school bus block heaters to North Electric of Scottsburg for $15,877. The bid was slightly higher than a $15,749 offer by Biehle Electric of Seymour. However, Bates said the two bids were close enough that it was decided to go with North Electric because “we have dealt with them in the past, and have been very pleased with their work.” One other bid was from Miller Electric of Louisville for $18,122.

• Awarded bids to seal cracks, apply a seal coat and do striping work on the elementary, middle school and high school parking lots to Commonwealth Paving of Louisville at a cost of $19,250 for the elementary school and $32,900 for the middle and high school. The other bid was from Sedam Contracting of Hanover at $25,617 for the elementary school and $55,917 for the middle and high school.

• Agreed to purchase a 2021 school bus at a cost of $120,644. Laura Boldery, corporation treasurer, noted the Wilson Center obtains all bus bids for the school corporation and that Midwest offered the lowest price at $120,644. Other bids were Kerlin at $121,945 and MacAllister at $126,046.

• Approved two-year extensions for nine contract bus drivers. Boldery noted one bus drivers, Jerry Adams, is retiring. She said the school corporation will take over that route, and then re-evaluate whether in the future to add another contract route.

• Honored Linda Shepherd, central office administrative assistant, on her retirement after 43 years with the school corporation. Shepherd, who has been employed by Southwestern since 1978, said she has “worked with a lot of great people. I enjoyed it, but I am looking forward to retirement. I will always be a Rebel.”

• Accepted the retirement of Randy Brinson as full-time custodian effective Nov. 7. Brinson had requested working nine months as a part-time employee beginning Jan. 3. Accepted the resignation of Hailey Young as custodian effective March 18. Hired Haley Garrett as assistant girls varsity tennis coach.

• Approved a request by agriculture teacher and FFA advisor Wesley Powell to attend an instructor field school on small engine technology July 20-22 at Southern Arkansas University in Magnolia, Arkansas. The fee for the conference is $500 with lodging at $238. Bates noted that participants of the workshop learn engine technology and receive actual engines for use in the classroom.

“He will be able to bring the engines back to use in the classroom and put back together,” said Bates, who noted that the value of the engines more than makes up for the cost of the workshop.

The board also approved a request for Dawn Moore to attend a virtual State Board of Accounts (SBOC) Extra-Curricular Account (ECA) workshop at a cost of $50.

• High School Principal Matt Owens congratulated the Southwestern boys basketball team for advancing to the regional finals. He added that Monday was Southwestern’s first baseball game of the season, which he said is “more significant than normal because last year we did not have spring sports” due to COVID-19.

• Elementary School Principal Robert Adams announced that Kindergarten pre-registration is Thursday, April 15, from noon to 6 p.m. in the elementary school gym.