Cave City explores community events


 

BY GINA KINSLOW gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes.com

 

CAVE CITY — A group of about 15 people turned out for a town hall meeting Thursday night to discuss projects and events for the upcoming summer and fall.

Some of the ideas discussed were monthly, summer concerts, a Fourth of July Parade and continuation of Cave City Proud Days.

“One thing we are including is we are going to try to expand our community garden,” said Mayor Dwayne Hatcher. “We have some folks who have consented to let us use some of their land.”

The community garden project is being spearheaded by Councilman Gary “Doc” Hogan.

“We are probably gong to try to increase the number of plots we have down at E.P. Terry Estates,” Hogan said, adding there is also plans to till a few acres for the planting of fruits and vegetables, such as sweet corn, watermelons and cantaloupes, that can’t be easily grown in garden boxes. “We found someone who is going to let us use their land. The city is going to provide some of the equipment (for the garden).”

The project will not only help reduce grocery bills for E.P.Terry residents, but Hogan said it will also provide them with a more healthy diet.

He would like for the project to be a learning experience for children, so they may understand that their food doesn’t come just from the grocery store.

“We are taking orders from people of what they are wanting to grow,” Hogan said.

He urges those wanting to participate to contact Cave City City Hall at 270-773-2188.

There are plans for another town hall meeting, which has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on March 9. The location for the meeting will be announced at a later date.

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New exhibits place Mammoth Cave’s history in perspective


  • Aaron Mudd
  • Sep 24, 2016
  • New exhibits place Mammoth Cave's history in perspective

    CAVE CITY — Two new exhibits at the Mammoth Cave Area Welcome Center in Cave City are revealing what life was like before Mammoth Cave National Park was founded. 

    The exhibits tell the story of fierce competition among cave owners during the 1920s, popularly known as the “Cave Wars,” and the death of cave explorer Floyd Collins, whose entrapment in Sand Cave became a national sensation. 

    Sharon Tabor, who heads the Cave City Tourist and Convention Commission, said the exhibits are meant to show the link between both stories and “tell a story before it’s forgotten.”

    “There’s a whole generation that’s dying out that remembers the Cave Wars,” Tabor said. “We’re just trying to convey the rest of the story.” 

    The exhibits are tucked into two corners of the welcome center and feature historical photographs with lengthy captions, old documents and newspaper clippings and a “lamb leg”-shaped rock said to be similar to the rock that trapped Collins, among other artifacts. 

    Exhibit hours are from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. on Sundays through October. Admission is free. 

    “You can’t hardly tell one story without telling the other,” Tabor said while pointing out objects on display. “The Cave Wars are very integral to the story of Floyd Collins.” 

    Formal guided tours began in Mammoth Cave as far back as 1816, according to an information pamphlet available at the exhibit. Reportedly the world’s biggest cave, it was privately owned for 125 years and became quite lucrative. 

    Its success tempted rivals to seek out their own caves to make their own fortunes. Rivals would place misleading signs for tourists, pose as policemen to divert visitors and heckle rivaling tours, among other ploys. A popular tactic involved “cappers” who would stand by the road and flag down automobiles with their hats, ultimately aiming to lead them away from Mammoth Cave to their own attractions. 

    It was this promise of fortune that got Collins into caving, Tabor said. 

    “His whole goal was to make his family rich,” she said. 

    The family cave, called Crystal Cave, was too far from the main road and didn’t bring in much money. That pushed Collins to find a more profitable “show” cave, so he explored Sand Cave in 1925. 

    Collins became trapped in the cave after knocking over some stones while climbing back out. Collins, who went alone without telling anyone, was eventually found by family, and the rescue effort stretched into an 18-day publicity circus. Rescuers tried digging, hacking and drilling a new shaft, but a second collapse sealed Collins in his tomb. His body was later put in a glass-topped coffin in Crystal Cave for display, only for it to be stolen and later recovered, missing one leg. 

    David Kem, a former Mammoth Cave guide, found a passion for studying history after finding the name of a relative carved on a cave wall. 

    “The history of Mammoth Cave is definitely what makes it special,” he said. “The marks that they’ve left on the cave are preserved forever.”

    His interest prompted him to write “The Kentucky Cave Wars.” He recently did a book signing at the exhibits. 

    “It’s nice that they’re taking effort to not only tell the story of Floyd Collins … but they’re also tying in the story of the lesser known Cave Wars, which explains what Floyd was up to.”

    Mammoth Cave’s unique history, he said, only makes it more worthy of preserving. 

    — Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @BGDN_edbeat or visit bgdailynews.com.

    CONTINUE READING…

    Apathy could end some cave city Kentucky events


    Cave City Proud Days 2014

     

    By GINA KINSLOW gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes.com 9 hrs ago

    CAVE CITY — Fewer than 10 people attended what was supposed to be a town hall meeting Thursday night at city hall in Cave City.

    The purpose of the meeting was to discuss upcoming events, including a summer concert series and the Proud Days Festival, but what those who turned out for the meeting ended up talking about was growing apathy among townspeople, the Cave City Chamber of Commerce and the Cave City Convention Center.

    Over time, fewer and fewer people volunteer to help with events, and those who have been involved say they need more assistance.

    “I don’t understand how or why they expect us to do everything,” said Robert Smith, city code enforcement officer.

    Smith continued he would like to see more Cave City citizens, as well as members of the local chamber of commerce and others get involved and help with events, because if they don’t, the events may have to be canceled.

    Mayor Dwayne Hatcher agreed with Smith and said, “Everything you said is true.”

    “The apathy is just getting worse and worse,” said Cave City councilman Seaborn Ellzey.

    The group discussed making some changes, such as the location of the summer concert series. Instead of holding it downtown, there was discussion of it taking place closer to hotels so tourists can walk to the concerts, or possibly having a concert at the ballpark off Mammoth Cave Street.

    After meeting for 30 minutes, the group decided to meet again in two weeks at 6 p.m. on March 31 to provide a chance for more people to attend and get involved in making plans for upcoming events.

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    Bill would dip into tourism funding


  • BY GINA KINSLOW gkinslow@glasgowdailytimes.com
  • Feb 29, 2016
  •  

    Image result for cave city ky

     

    GLASGOW — A piece of legislation now being considered by the State Senate will allow a restaurant tax of 3 percent or less to be levied on all cities and merged governments, and for the revenue collected from the tax to be distributed between the tax jurisdiction and the relevant tourist and convention commission.

    Currently, Kentucky Revised Statute 91A.400 only allows fourth and fifth class cities to levy a restaurant tax that is not to exceed 3 percent of the retails sales made by the cities’ restaurants. All revenue collected from the tax is to be appropriated to the tourist and convention commission established by the city.

    If Senate Bill 166 passes, only 25 percent of the tax revenue will go to the tourist and convention commissions.

    The Kentucky League of Cities supports the legislation, and according to J.D. Chaney, deputy executive director of the organization, cities are having a difficult time handing over monies generated by the levying of restaurant taxes to non-elected boards, such as the tourist and convention commissions, which make decisions on promotional efforts for tourism.

    “They (cities) actually want to construct something, operate something and maintain something that is useful to draw people into their communities and benefit their citizens,” he said. “We think it restores accountability back to the elected officials. … It also eliminates the net profits and gross receipts tax which are paid by the restaurants if the cities elects, it doesn’t require them to enact (a restaurant tax).

    “So they would be choosing, if (cities) enact a restaurant tax, they can no longer collect net profits or gross receipts occupational taxes directly from the restaurant.”

    Chaney continued that the state has no compensation-based taxation element in the menu of options beside the restaurant tax.

    “This provides an element to also collect revenues from people coming into the community who don’t necessarily live there, which is also an attractive revenue option for cities,” he said.

    Not all favor the proposal

    Officials with the Kentucky Travel Industry Association are opposed to Senate Bill 166.

    “This is not the first time that legislation has been introduced and so the Kentucky Travel Industry Association has maintained a longstanding opposition to it, and the key and core reason is the bill says that up to 75 percent of restaurant tax money can be taken by the cities and city governments,” said Hank Phillips, president and CEO of KTIA. “A part of the bill is intended to make all cities eligible for the restaurant tax, and if that were to occur tourism commissions that got 25 percent of that tax in cities that enacted it, they would probably be happy with it, … however, what is the element within the bill that we find impossible to support is that the over 40 cities that already have the tax, the tourism commissions would be subject to a 75 percent reduction of their restaurant tax funds.”

    Phillips continued that it is very important to understand why the restaurant tax exists, and why it was enacted, which he said was for only the small towns to have.

    “The reason is the other source of revenue for funding local tourism efforts is a hotel tax. Typically, a fourth- and fifth-class have a relatively few number of hotels and hotel rooms from which to generate that tourism marketing money, so at a point in the past, quite a long time ago, the legislature said we need to help them generate some additional revenue to promote tourism in the small towns so let’s put in a restaurant tax that only the small towns are eligible for,” Phillips said.

    “The restaurant tax is absolutely dedicated to tourism and on that basis all of those moneys go to the tourism entity in the small town. That’s why these small tourism commissions, many of them if not most, would be devastated by a 75 percent reduction in their primary funding source.”

    Tourism reaction

    One area tourist commission that would be affected by the legislation if it is passed is the Munfordville Tourism Commission.

    Coni Shepperd, executive director of the Munfordville Tourism Commission, said she is hoping to work with Munfordville Mayor John Freeman on the issue. The Munfordville Tourism Commission is funded only by the city’s restaurant tax.

    “That would probably put us out of business,” she said. “We hope it goes nowhere.”

    The legislation would also affect the Cave City Tourism and Convention Commission.

    The Cave City City Council voted in June 2015 voted to raise the city’s restaurant tax from 1 to 3 percent. A portion of the tax revenue is used to fund a grant program to which local business owners can apply and use the money to promote their businesses, or for signage or beautification.

    “As a part of that, the tourist commission agreed to give a third of those funds to the city of Cave City,” said Sharon Tabor, executive director of the Cave City Tourism and Convention Commission. “That’s how we are getting the money for the 150th anniversary and the concert series.”

    The city of Cave City is celebrating its sesquicentennial this year, and as part of the celebration a concert series featuring performances by jazz pianist Bee Gee Adair, who is originally from Cave City, and bluegrass musician Ricky Skaggs will be held.

    “If for some reason the restaurant tax initiative is approved by the House and the Senate, and if Cave City government decides to take that 75 percent that would take all of the increased tax money, plus a portion that we use for the convention center’s maintenance and upkeep,” Tabor said.

    Likely to move ahead?

    The sponsor of SB 166 is Sen. Jared Carpenter, R-Berea. According to Sen. David Givens, R-Greensburg, there’s a “significant” restaurant/tourism industry in the Berea/Richmond area and that is why Carpenter introduced the legislation.

    Givens said he believes Carpenter did so more or less to start a conversation than to see if the legislation would move all the way through the state legislature.

    The bill was introduced on Feb. 9 and sent to the State Senate’s Appropriations and Revenue Committee on Feb. 11.

    Givens does not anticipate the bill moving out of committee at this point.

    “It would be unusual in a budget session for us to pass a piece of legislation like that (because) the focus is going to be on the budget,” Givens said.

    As for whether he would ever support such a piece of legislation, Givens said, “I’m open to the conversation if it is part of a tax revenue neutral package. As a stand alone piece of legislation, it’s a little hard to support.”

    “Communities right now have some tools in the tool box to raise local revenues. A lot of those tools are either being under utilized because locals don’t want to vote a tax increase, or they are simply not feeling the need to raise taxes locally. So some of these pieces of legislation are actually efforts to cause us to give them a way to avoid making a tough vote. If locals want to raise taxes, they’ve got the ability to do it and they have the multiple means already.”

    CONTINUE READING…

    http://www.lrc.state.ky.us/record/16RS/SB166/bill.pdf

    Following a unanimous vote Monday night by City Council members, Cave City accepted a land donation of 40 acres, located beside the Cave City Convention Center


     

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    On December 16th, it was announced via WBKO Television News that the Gaunce family had donated a piece of land adjacent to the Cave City Convention Center, to be used for an Industrial Park for the City.

    The land was valued at $650,000, a price Smith said the city never would have been able to afford on their own.

    Cave City did purchase a small section of land that joined the portion the Gaunce family gave them in hopes of building a nice  entrance to the industrial park, as well as fulfilling some requirements set by the State Highway Department.

    Robert Smith stated in that article that, “Cave City has always been known as a tourist town and up until this point that’s been really good for us; however, tourism industry has changed. We need an everyday tax base for us, we need jobs that people can go to without having to travel so far,”

    I would beg to differ with that argument because everywhere I look I see “help wanted” signs around the area.  There seems to be plenty of employment opportunities available for that type of work.  They do seem to be having a hard time filling those positions judging from the signs and advertisements that are all over the road and in the media as well.  One of the reasons for that is that every job is requiring a “drug test” be submitted before employment which, we all know, is biased against anyone who smokes Cannabis for any reason.

    So why do we need an Industrial Park sitting in the main area which is the “entrance” to the town of “Cave City”?  A place which has always been a tourist town and the place to go to see small town life and Nature as well?  A place that can’t fill all of the industrial type of jobs that it currently has, let alone more?  Doe’s anyone living in the Cave City area see a reason to build this Industrial Park for more jobs?  We need small shop owners and café’s to reopen in the area, as well as some types of agribusinesses, not factories or other monstrous businesses. 

    Per the report,  in a unanimous vote on December 14th, by the City Council members, Cave City chose to accept a land donation of 40 acres, located beside the Cave City Convention Center.  This gift was donated by the Gaunce family, who, incidentally , SOLD Cave City a small parcel of land adjacent to this property to be used for the “Entrance”.

    The City Council includes the following six members, according to the Cave City official website: Gary Hogan, Seaborn Ellzey, Gary Minor, Kevin Houchens, Denny Doyle and
    Steve Pedigo.  The Cave City Council Meeting is the second Monday of the Month, so the next meeting will be January 11th, 2016*. 

    The Glasgow Times reported that the property is actually owned by Wayne Gaunce, according to his son, Patrick. 

    “I guess if anything that should be said it should be that Cave City has been good to our family, and this is a small way that we can be good to Cave City,” said Patrick Gaunce.

    Additionally in the Glasgow Times,  Mayor Dwayne Hatcher said, “The main purpose I feel of government is to provide for the needs of the citizens,” said Mayor Dwayne Hatcher. “I feel like we have done that. Have we done everything that needs to be done?  No, but I think we have made progress and will continue to do so.”

    According to the same article in the Glasgow Times, in February, the city received a $100,000 grant from the Industrial Development Economic Authority of Glasgow-Barren County to use for the purpose of acquiring property and developing it into an industrial park.

    Why couldn’t the Gaunce family donate this land to Cave City ‘just because’?  In other words, why must it be used for an Industrial Park in the middle of a Tourist town?  Why does everything have to ‘progress’ to industrial?  How about we use the donated land and grant money to plant and promote ‘industrial Hemp farming’ on that property?  And the unoccupied property at the corner of 101 Broadway can be turned into a ‘Cannabis Café’ and by Spring of 2017 we will have a boom town in Kentucky with plenty of jobs for all of the people…even the ones that occasionally smoke Marijuana!

    Coming from a large city I have seen first hand the damage an industrialized zone does to residential areas.  It is not a pretty site to see.   The pollution is not wanted or needed here, (we get enough of Louisville’s already),  and even if the ‘business’ produces little to even no pollution of it’s own (which is doubtful), the extra exhaust from the traffic will be noticeable to say the least.  We need to protect the environment, the agricultural heritage and the people of Cave City. 

    Put some cow’s and Hemp on that land…. and keep the Industry out!

    Also of note,

    Posted: Friday, February 13, 2015 11:52 pm

    By JAMES BROWN / Glasgow Daily Times

    The IDEA board entered closed session to discuss property. The Infrastructure Committee of the Glasgow-Barren County Chamber of Commerce has identified property that could be developed for industrial needs. The committee members were on hand to give a presentation of those properties in closed session. LINK

     

     

    *Anyone interested in attending the Cave City Council Meeting on January 11th, 2016 please email me at shereekrider@usmjparty.com or contact me thru Facebook at THIS LINK.

     

     

    Information obtained from these links:

    A year to remember for Cave City

    Donation sets Cave City on track for new Industrial Park

    Development Economic Authority of Glasgow-Barren County

    Glasgow/Barren Co. IDEA

    Incentive Programs

    Floyd Collins, Wayne Gaunce are inducted into Hall of Fame

    Gaunce Management Inc.

    Houchens Industries Inc.

    Barren County Property Valuation Administrator

    Cave City receives $100K grant

    Open casting call for movie shot in Cave City


    Cave City 9.28.13 114

    Kirby Adams, @kirbylouisville 1:47 p.m. EDT September 29, 2015

    Do you think you have what it takes to make it in the movies or become a movie star?

    Rossetti Productions, which has produced 15 feature films, is gearing up to start production on their next movie right here in Kentucky.

    “The Christmas Reunion” will be shot entirely in Cave City this winter and Rossetti Productions will be holding an open casting call in Cave City to possibly fill some of the remaining roles in the movie.

    The open casting call will be held from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Friday, Oct. 2 at the Cave City Convention Center, 502 Mammoth Cave St., Cave City, Ky.

    Production on “The Christmas Reunion” is slated to begin in early December, with release of the movie planned for the 2016 Christmas season.

    More information about the rolls being cast and audition information at www.facebook.com/thechristmasreunionmovie.

    Find Kirby Adams at kadams@courier-journal.com

    CONTINUE READING…

    Funtown Mountain owner tells his side of the story (arrested for Marijuana in Louisville, Ky)


    Will Russell drives a trolley away from Funtown Mountain on Thursday

     

    Posted: Friday, July 17, 2015 12:01 am

    BY GINA KINSLOW / Glasgow Daily Times

    CAVE CITY — Police were called to Funtown Mountain on Thursday, after responding to two separate calls there Wednesday.

    The police received a 911 call around 11 a.m. Thursday regarding a disturbance.

    “When we arrived there wasn’t one,” said Police Chief Jeff Wright. “Everything seemed to be normal.”

    All three calls were regarding Will Russell, owner of Funtown Mountain, who was allegedly damaging property in the attraction’s gift shop.

    Russell spoke to media on Thursday as he sat in a red, white and blue lawn chair in front of the gift shop.

    He told members of the media from the Glasgow Daily Times and WDRB – a television news station in Louisville – he had been detained most of the week in handcuffs.

    He indicated he sustained injuries when he was arrested last weekend during The Lebowski Fest in Louisville.

    Russell was charged with possession of marijuana, menacing and resisting arrest Saturday. He was arrested at Executive Strike & Spare, a bowling alley where the fest was celebrated, the Daily Times previously reported.

    On Thursday, Russell said he broke 19 years of sobriety during the weekend event when he accepted a beer from someone in the parking lot of the bowling alley.

    He also said police found him smoking a corn cob pipe.

    When asked if he was smoking marijuana, Russell said he didn’t know what the substance was.

    “It was green and it smelled a little bit like cotton candy. It was probably bluegrass, you know Kentucky bluegrass or hemp or something like that,” he said. “There’s a lot of names for it.”

    Russell said he suffers from a bipolar condition and is taking medication. He also told reporters he was under the care of a psychiatrist and had been seeing the same physician for 20 years.

    He said he had been hospitalized last year.

    “I was given electric shock therapy. I have no short-term memory,” he said. “It’s been fine. I’ve got a lot of people to help me keep track of things.”

    On Wednesday, after the second time police were summoned to Funtown Mountain, Russell was taken to a facility in Bowling Green.

    Russell wrote about the incident on his personal Facebook page, and talked about it on Thursday with reporters.

    “They interviewed me. They determined I was not a threat to myself or anyone else,” he said. “So, they let me go.”

    Russell said he was dropped off at the White Squirrel Brewery in Bowling Green, where he was given a free hot dog and French fries, before being sent on his way.

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    State approves $250,000 loan for Cave City attraction


    Posted: Wednesday, February 25, 2015 9:30 am

    By MONICA SPEES mspees@bgdailynews.com |

    A Louisville man who wants to purchase a Cave City attraction received a $250,000 loan from the state Tuesday.

    The Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved a $250,000 loan from the Kentucky Tourism Development Loan Program to Land of Tomorrow Productions by a 3-0 vote. Land of Tomorrow Productions is the Louisville-based entity involved in the purchase of Cave City’s Guntown Mountain.

    Will Russell, proprietor of WHY Louisville and founder of Lebowski Fest, was the applicant contact for the loan, according to the application obtained by the Daily News. Russell, who intends to turn Guntown Mountain into Funtown Mountain, said he was not present at Tuesday’s meeting.

    It is a 15-year loan at 6 percent, said Gil Lawson, executive director of the office of communications at the KTDFA. “The loan does not go through until after they close on the property,” Lawson said.

    Russell said the closing date is set for March 31.

    Representatives from Land of Tomorrow Productions presented the proposal for Funtown Mountain to the KTDFA, of which four of the board’s seven members were present. The board went into closed session to discuss confidential financial information, Lawson said. Three of the four members voted – the chairman does not vote unless there is a tie.

    All financial information, including source of equity, was redacted from the application. Certain amounts in inventory valuation from WHY Louisville Inc. and equity against a house in Louisville are listed on the application as collateral offered for the project.

    The market value of the property before liens was established Jan. 27 as $1 million, according to the application. Guntown Mountain includes more than a dozen buildings on 28 acres.

    The proposed timeline of the project begins with a groundbreaking April 1 and a gradual opening of other operations between June and the end of the year, including a gift shop, cafe, Haunted Hotel, putt-putt, saloon, museum and road completion according to the application. A grand opening is proposed for June 1, 2016.

    Upon closing, “Land of Tomorrow Productions LLC will be the names lessee on the existing lease to the 28 acres divided in three tracts until 2049,” according to the application. The lease is still under negotiation, and “intended agreement may involve a sublease for Hillbilly Tea Shack in the space next to the gift shop with 5-10 year term with a revenue sharing with Land of Tomorrow Productions,” according to the application.

    Tourco Inc. is the current licensee of Guntown Mountain. JB Enterprises of Cave City owns all 100 shares of stock of Tourco Inc.

    Russell’s plans for the longtime roadside attraction include a new zipline and a new sound system and lights in the Lucky Lady Saloon. Russell also wants to turn the Opera House into a theater with hologram capabilities that would allow him to project performances of musicians, comedians and actors onto the stage. Russell has plans for a pop culture museum on the property that would include a prop from the film “Big Trouble in Little China” and a wax figure wearing Col. Harland Sanders’ trademark white suit.

    Russell intends to replace the cowboys and gunfights from Guntown Mountain with clowns as part of the Funtown Mountain image.

    “The missions of Funtown Mountain are to bring jobs and commerce to Cave City, elevate the reputation of Kentucky and offer affordable amusements for families,” according to the application.

    Other than WHY Louisville and Lebowski Fest, Russell has attempted other attraction events. Pee Wee Over Louisville, founded in 2012, was meant to be an event that celebrated the Paul Reubens character Pee-Wee Herman. The event was canceled and was never affiliated with Reubens, according to the event’s Facebook page, which has 4,056 Likes. An article on Today.com and in The Courier-Journal in 2013 that was linked from the Facebook page states that Russell received a cease and desist letter from Reubens requesting that the event be canceled.

    Russell also had plans to build an attraction called Kentucky Rushmore, which was conceived as a fake mountain with the faces of famous Kentuckians on it, according to the Kentucky Rushmore Facebook page. The mountain didn’t come to fruition, but a mural of Kentucky Rushmore – with the faces of Muhammad Ali, Abraham Lincoln, Sanders and Secretariat – is painted on the side of WHY Louisville’s building.

    — Follow business beat reporter Monica Spees on Twitter at twitter.com/BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

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