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Spooky season is upon us
  • Updated

The Halloween season has arrived with activities planned for this weekend through Monday.

Most local communities have scheduled Trick-or-Treat for Halloween day on Monday, Oct. 31 — including Madison, Hanover and Patriot in Indiana and Bedford, Carrollton and Milton in Kentucky — all from 6-8 p.m. The only exception is Vevay, which will have Trick-or-Treat Saturday, Oct. 29 from 6-9 p.m.

The city of Madison’s Halloween Festival will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Bicentennial Park.

There will be a petting zoo with animals from Honey Hills Farm. Live entertainment for the family will include juggling and stilt walkers who will roam the park. Additionally, there will be balloon artists, airbrush tattoos, face painting, bouncy houses and game booths.

The city’s festival on Saturday will also hold costume contest for children in five different categories. Entrants will be judged on creativity, effort, presentation and originality. Participants must be checked in and lined up by 11:15 a.m. with ages 0-3 followed by ages 4-6 at 11:45 a.m., ages 7-9 at 12:15 p.m., ages 10-13 at 12:45 p.m. and a K9 contest at 1:15 p.m.

Here are some other Halloween activities throughout the area:

Jefferson County

Jefferson County 4-H Trick of Treat Drive-Through: Saturday, Oct. 29, 2-4:30 p.m., at Jefferson County Extension Office, 3767 West State Road 256, Madison, an event held by Jefferson County Purdue Extension with community groups invited to participate. Stay in your cars with headlights on traveling under 10 mph and collect treats with a bag or bucket. All community youth are invited.

Clifty Falls of Fear Haunted House: Friday, Oct. 28, and Saturday, Oct. 29, 8-11 p.m. at the Clifty Shelter. Admission is $10 per person with all proceeds going to the Friends of Clifty Falls State Park. Admission to the haunted house does not include gate fee to the park.

Madison City Campground: Saturday, Oct. 29, 6-8 p.m., at City of Madison Campground, 1003 East Vaughn Drive. Walk the campground in your best costumes as campers will be decorated for Halloween and be ready to hand out treats.

Hanover United Methodist Church Trunk or Treat: Sunday, Oct. 30, 4-5:30 p.m. at the church, 220 East Lagrange Road, Hanover. Games, snacks and candy will be available.

Trimble County

Halloween Boo-nanza at the Courthouse in Bedford: New Life Assembly of God will host its annual Halloween Boo-nanza with games and inflatables Monday, Oct. 31 from 6-8 p.m. including a Trunk or Treat on the Courthouse Square.

Palmyra Community Trunk or Treat: This event is Saturday, Oct. 29, 6 p.m., at 1066 Palmya Road in Bedford. Event includes Trunk or Treat and Movie.

Switzerland County

The Original Vevay Ghost Tour: The Walking Ghost Tour returns to Vevay on Friday, Oct. 28, and Sunday, Oct. 30, at 7 p.m. each night. Locations include the old jail, the Vevay Antique Mall/A Curiosity Emporium, the Historic Hoosier Theater and the second floor of Roxy’s. Stories of haunted events will be told at each locations. The tour departs from Vevay Vintage Prop and Shop, 321 Ferry Street, where tickets can be purchase. Tickets at $30 per person can also be purchased via phone at 812-493-9572. The event is a fund-raiser of the Hoosier Theater in Vevay.

Patriot Costume Contest: Monday, Oct. 31, 5:45 p.m., in the parking lot at the four-way stop, which will also be available to anyone who wants to Trunk or Treat.

Brushy Fork Trunk or Treat: Saturday, Oct. 29, from 2-4 p.m., at Brushy Fork Baptist Church, 12840 East Brushy Fork Road, Canaan.

Carroll County

A Harry Potter Halloween: Carrollton downtown merchants will host in and around Main Street beginning at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 28.

General Butler State Resort Park Haunted House: Friday and Saturday from 7-10 p.m. Tickets are $5 per person and may be purchased at the Mini Golf Hut near the front entrance of the park off of KY 227.

With All Hallows’ Eve just days away, the Halloween season is upon us. Children and adults alike are putting finishing touches on costumes and residents are decorating lawns and homes — like the two spooky sentries standing watch at this home at Poplar and Third streets in downtown Madison. The City of Madison’s Halloween Festival will be from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at Bicentennial Park and Trick-or-Treat will be from 6-8 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 31.

Dry conditions, outdoor fires keeping firefighters busy
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The area got its first rainfall in more than a month Tuesday night but that wasn’t enough to lift Jefferson County’s burn ban as restrictions remain in place due to extremely dry conditions still creating fire dangers.

“We’re not going to lift it yet,” said Jefferson County Emergency Management Director Troy Morgan. “We just got four-tenths of an inch of rain Tuesday evening and that’s not near enough to make up for a drought like we’ve had.”

Local firefighters know well the dangers of the current dry conditions. They have been fighting fires in a Jefferson County woods most of this week in the 9000 block of West State Road 356 close to the Scott County line. The blaze was discovered Monday and firefighters were still putting out hot spots and flareups Wednesday, even after Tuesday’s rain.

Hanover Fire Chief Ron Kroger said the fire has impacted a total of 16 to 18 acres of woods. He said Lexington Volunteer Fire Department was called out around 9:30 a.m. Monday and witnessed a haze but wasn’t able to find the fire only to be called once when fire became more evident. Kent Fire Chief Brett Roberts said the Lexington fire department was called back still again, an hour before Kent Volunteer Fire Department responded at 2 p.m. Later, it was determined the fire was actually under the jurisdiction of the Hanover Township Volunteer Fire Department which also arrived on the scene to help fight the fire.

Kroger noted fire company territory lines are in close proximity in that area, and the wooded area was south of the State Road 356 in Saluda Township.

Roberts said it has been a challenge dealing with wooded area. The firefighters battled in the area from Monday afternoon to 9 p.m. when it became too unsafe to see above them due to the darkness. Fire lines had been established but the fire jumped over that, and firefighters were back on the scene at 7 a.m. Tuesday and continued to fight the blaze throughout the day.

Hanover was back at the woods Wednesday morning because of a tree that was on fire. Kroger noted that even after fires are put out there can be fire smoldering inside the trees that later rekindles into open flames. With so many trees in the woods, it’s difficult for the fire department to identify which trees are smoldering or to address them all. “We cut a lot down but we can’t get them all,” said Kroger.

In addition to the woods, Kroger said there was a junkyard in the woods with a variety of items including tires, automotive lubricants and more.

He thinks the property has an absentee landowner who died and possibly another person has been squatting at the site and living off the land and “trashed it all up.” Kroger speculated that the fire may have started from that person burning a campfire in the woods but so far they have not been able to make contact with the suspect who they think has been living on the property. “It’s not the first time” the fire department has been called out to those woods, Kroger said.

Kroger noted that wildland firefighters from Big Oaks National Wildlife Refuge were called to the scene because of their experience in fighting fires in the woods, and they have been a big help. Also assisting were Johnson Township and Vienna Township fire companies from Scott County, Deputy Volunteer Fire Department from Jefferson County and New Washington and Monroe Township fire companies from Clark County.

On Monday, a fire that originated from burning garbage the night resulted in a more dangerous fire when wind blew embers onto the grass and then a large wood pile at Turkey Branch Road near the intersection of China/Manville Road.

Madison Township Fire Chief Robert Black said the burning wood pile was about 15 to 20 feet from a shed and 50 feet away from a house, which he noted could have become even more dangerous and caused more damage if it had continued to spread. The fire, reported at 2:50 p.m., took about two hours to put out by Madison Township and Ryker’s Ridge fire departments.

Black noted that with the current drought conditions in Jefferson County, there is a ban on burning and “it’s not something to take lightly” because in those conditions fires can be severe and create serious damage.

Morgan said late Wednesday morning that the National Weather Service is forecasting more rain in Jefferson County on Sunday but an amount only expected to be similar to Tuesday’s rainfall. “It’s still very dry. We’re going to need a lot more rain a lot longer” in order to end the burn ban, he said, noting he’s aware that the burn ban is an inconvenience but it’s necessary for the “greater good ... We have had firefighters out 14 to 16 hours three days in a row this week.”

Prior to this week’s fires, firefighters were dealing with an even bigger blaze that began on the range at Jefferson Proving Ground at about 3:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Oct. 19. The fire broke out during standard training on the 50-acre Jefferson Range, located in the center of the Jefferson Proving Ground site, and now involves 500 acres mostly in the area around a Precision Guided Munitions Range located on Jefferson Range.

Helicopter rounds ignited light grasslands and leaves on Jefferson Range as well as a portion of Big Oaks National Wildlife Range (NWR) east of the range within the designated safety fan surrounding the range. Officials determined that the fires were within existing fire breaks and private land is not in jeopardy. Big Oaks NWR firefighters are currently monitoring and controlling the fires.

Wildland Firefighters from Big Oaks NWR conducted a burnout operation on Oct. 20 and will continue such tactics as needed to reinforce fire breaks. Currently the fire is 80% contained and is expected to produce smoke until rain arrives. The areas involved are periodically subject to control burns to reduce fuels and reduce the risk of severe wildfire.

Those previous controlled burns have successfully reduced the severity of the current fires but there are potentially other dangers involved

“I want to caution residents who have respiratory difficulties to stay inside and motorists to be aware of potential visibility hazards while they travel on the local roads,” Refuge Manager Joe Robb stated,

Jefferson Range provides simulated real-world training missions considered critical for military personnel. The nature of the training involves ordnance that can ignite light grassland and leaves. Lt. Col. Ryan Harvey, Jefferson Range, stated that “I want to thank Big Oaks NWR firefighters and my staff for their dedication and professionalism during these operations. I understand the communities concerns, but we are confident these fires are contained.”

In other first responder calls, Madison Township Fire Department was assisted by Ryker’s Ridge Fire Department and Madison Rescue 6 on Saturday to rescue a 60-year-old woman on Trail 2 near Trail 8 at Clifty Falls State Park. The women was hiking when she was unable to proceed, becoming light headed following a light breakfast that morning. A stokes basket was needed to assist her from the trail, but once the rescue was complete, she was able to recover and did not seek further medical attention.

SW schools asked to help alleviate traffic congestion
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With traffic issues a consistent problem during times of arrival and departure from Southwestern Jefferson County Schools, a suggestion for a circle driveway on the south side of the elementary school was made by Hanover Town Council President Kenny Garrett at Monday’s meeting of the Southwestern School Board.

Garrett said the recommendation was his idea to alleviate the traffic congestion, which he said is essential to be addressed in order for future growth to come to Hanover. “We’ve got to get our streets cleaned up. I can’t convince anyone that it’s a good thing (to bring investment to Hanover) if we’ve got cars piled up on our streets.”

Garrett’s suggestion was to erect a fence on the south side of the Southwestern Elementary playground and then create a circle drive to take cars that back up on Main Cross Street to the south side of the school. Garrett noted that a new 91-acre subdivision is under consideration in the vicinity of Meadow Lane but before than can happen there must be efforts to alleviate some of the traffic congestion. Beyond that, Garrett noted there are safety factors involved because with traffic backed up, access for emergency vehicles like ambulances, fire and police is challenged during busy traffic times.

Garrett noted the traffic issues have been a problem for a long time, but “times have have changed and it could possibly get worse in the future. It’s something I want you to think about and consider.” He noted a new subdivision would put more children in Southwestern schools at a time when the attendance is in decline.

Garrett said he’s proud to be Southwestern High School graduate and loves Hanover, “and will never leave this town but I just think there’s still room for growth. I think we need to visualize that and seek what we need to do to make that growth happen. It’s right there, and we just need to make some changes, and some really good things can happen.”

The board did not respond to Garrett’s requeston Monday but Southwestern Superintendent Jeffrey Bates answered questions about the issue after the meeting. Bates said the traffic has been an issue that the school corporation has been challenged to resolve for a long time. “It’s something that we’ll take another look at,” he said, but they have to consider what’s feasible.

Garrett also provided an update on developments at Hanover Parks, which was recently awarded a Land and Water Conservation Grant with part of the plan to replace the current tennis courts at Hanover Community Park. Garrett noted that cracks in the courts were repaired in 2014 but were back by 2018.

“Those courts have been there many, many years since I was in school when I played on them” in the 1980s, Garrett said. He noted it is time put in new courts and the cost is estimated at $187,544 with a 25-year guarantee with no cracking from Tennis Technology Inc. of Louisville.

Garrett requested the school corporation — Southwestern uses the courts for it practices and home matches — provide funding for nets, posts and fencing around the courts at a cost of $29,500 which would be needed by the spring of 2023.

Garrett said when teams come to play the Rebels “I want it to look good, I want it to look presentable. I want them to say this is a nice facility.”

No decision was made by the board but school corporation treasurer Laura Boldery will check to see if funding is available.

In other business

• Adopted a budget totaling $16,462,889 with a total tax rate of 1.6555 that will now be reviewed by the Department of Local Government Finance for approval by the end of the year. “This is advertised high. It will come down after DLGF gets done going over everything,” said Boldery, noting the budget can be decreased but it can never be increased.

• Approved allowing elementary students and staff to participate in Dimes for Dreams, a fundraiser for the Jefferson County Veterans Christmas tree and a free book giveaway for youth coming to Holly Jolly Christmas Celebration in December. Narci Burress, one of the organizers of the Hanover holiday events, said that classrooms that want to participate will collect dimes from Oct. 31 through Nov. 10.

HDBR tables COA for Lanthier storage containers
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Madison’s Historic Board of Review on Monday tabled an application by Tami Hagemier and Lanthier Winery & Distillery for a Certificate of Appropriateness to install several shipping containers on site as storage for the wine and spirits produced and sold by that business.

Hagemier, representing the business, said the containers would be located at the northeast and west corners of a site the Lanthier purchased in 2021 at 701 West First Street for the purpose of building a warehouse adjacent to the winery and distillery to keep up with the company’s growing business.

The property is zoned heavy manufacturing dating back to its previous use as a coal yard when Madison’s riverfront included coal and scrap businesses and shipping facilities utilizing the Ohio River and Madison Railroad. More recently, the area has consistently been converted to greenspace and residential housing due to its location in the flood plain and proximity to city parks, historic sites and a riverwalk that is popular with local residents and tourists.

It was that reason cited by members of the Madison Board of Zoning Appeals when they rejected Lanthier’s application for the warehouse in July 2021. Not allowed to build on the property, the owners then came before the city’s Historic Board of Review (HDBR) in November 2021 asking for permission to use the area proposed for the warehouse for parking and temporary storage.

The HDBR came into that 2021 meeting with only four voting members in attendance — three members of the seven-person board were absent — which would have required all four to vote in opposition to block the application. The board members voted 2-2 so the application passed with recommendations that Lanthier construct a retaining wall in an area subject to erosion that had been excavated as part a cleanup of the former coal yard.

On Monday, Lanthier’s ownership was back before the HDBR seeking permission to locate shipping containers on site with additional site preparation, landscaping and painting of the units to be less obtrusive. According to Hagemier, the company would still prefer to build a warehouse on the site — but now not within the next 5 years — but the shipping containers will do the job in conjunction with a second site Lanthier is currently developing in the town of Hanover. The company is required to have secured storage for its alcohol products and Lanther is producing more and more every day.

She said the plan is to create a permanent, more stable place for the containers but still have the ability to move containers in and out of the area or product from one container to another.

She added that since Lanthier has approval to use the site as a parking lot, the other option would be to use semi trailers as on-site storage that can be moved in and out as needed but the higher profile of the trailers would be more obtrusive than the lower profile shipping containers — about 2 to 3 feet higher.

According to Hagemier, the plan is that by using the lower containers and proper landscaping, the area where the storage and parking is located will be less noticeable from nearby streets. She said once Lanthier’s building is finished in Hanover, the area in Madison could be used more as an event area.

A few residents spoke against the application, citing that Lanthier has not lived up to terms of its other application to construct a retaining wall and landscape the area to obstruct the view of the gravel area used for parking and currently two containers. Hagemier said the owners have consulted experts and opted for a fabric barrier that functions like a retaining wall and, in the end, could be a better look than riprap and other materials used for retention.

She added that the business hopes to eventually plant low growing junipers or perennials in the area as well as red bud trees and forsythias in other areas to provide year around color and a visual barrier to the proposed area, which is located well below street level.

Mike Pittman, a member of the HDBR who opposed Lanthier’s earlier application, questioned allowing a storage unit like a shipping container, containing alcohol products, in the flood plain where high water has been known to dislodge structures and send them crashing into other property and downriver.

Hagemier said she has researched the elevation and flood records and consulted experts, including the city’s building inspector, and the area would be secure from all but historic flooding and even then the point of the containers is they can be transported.

“Lanthier Winery is the first business to go under water when there is flooding,” Hagemier said, noting the owners are well aware of flood issues and have taken precautions in the past to deal with that. “We’ve got a lot of experience.”

Neighboring property owner Charles Ricketts noted the city’s ordinance requires a 100-foot setback for such uses and the Lanthier lot is only 90-feet wide. He also added that while the site is zoned heavy industry it adjoins more restrictive zones. He added that the ordinance the HDBR follows specifies that the “more restrictive” zone can be applied in such applications and urged the HDBR to do that in this application.

Hagemier said Lanthier had hoped to build a warehouse and now wants to use the shipping containers but if the application is rejected the business will opt for semi trailers. She said she has documentation of permission to use the site for parking and approval for the proposed use in the flood plain. She said she was willing to provide HDBR with that documentation if necessary.

In the end, the HDBR voted 4-1 to table the application for additional review in November with board member Carol Ann Rogers casting the opposing vote.

Mayor Bob Courtney attended the meeting but did not speak publicly. However, when contacted for comment later, he said the issue is part of Madison’s efforts to balance history, aesthetics and residential and business investment in the community.

“Madison has many different zoning classifications and a beautiful historic district. As the community grows, it’s not uncommon for different property types to encroach on one another. Keeping Madison beautiful and attracting and/or protecting investment is only possible when neighbors can work together to resolve their differences,” Courtney said.