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Biscuit, rides and vendors return for ham festival
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In the shadow of the Bank of Cadiz, Starr Ames stood near a table laden with the colors of fall and talked of ham and biscuits, the generosity of local businesses and the 45th Annual Trigg County Country Ham Festival.

“This is the fun part of my days,” said Ames, who was in charge of creating the world’s largest country ham and biscuit at the 2021 festival.

Ames began preparing on Thursday for the biscuit’s arrival. Local businesses donated items like gloves and wraps for the biscuits, and Ames got things ready a little at a time.

The ham festival saw a return to the community on Friday and Saturday in downtown Cadiz after being canceled in 2020 because of COVID-19.

“I’m hoping we have a pretty good turnout this year,” Ames said early on Saturday.

She noted that it had been a crazy morning as she and others from Helping Hands of Trigg County, the agency that oversees the biscuit, busied themselves with preparing it.

Kneaded by hand and rolled out into a large 10 1/2-foot round pan, the biscuit came out of the oven before midday on Saturday.

Divided into a thousand smaller biscuits, it was coupled with country ham and sold to hungry festival-goers who lined up down the street for a chance to sample a taste.

The biscuit had already been the subject of much discussion, with people dropping by the Helping Hands booth on Friday to ask about it.

Organizers said the ham festival’s first day saw good crowds, with about half the people coming from the local community and the other half including people from out of town.

“I thought we had a really good crowd,” Renaissance on Main Executive Director Darlene Butts said of the attendance on Friday, especially since it was the first day of the event after a year’s hiatus, she said.

City Clerk Barbie Johnson said vendors reported that the festival’s first day was their biggest ever in terms of the money they made.

The event’s T-shirts almost sold out Friday, according to Butts, who said people were excited about the return of the ham festival.

She added that parents were able to bring their kids Saturday since they weren’t working, and Butts predicted that final numbers on the festival’s second day would double the attendance on the first day of the event.

Vendor Pat Puckett of Crafty Hands, which sold handmade crafts, novelty items and jewelry, said she did see people returning to the festival as it opened on Friday and hoped to see some good crowds on Saturday.

“We enjoy doing the craft shows and, plus, just being out with people,” Puckett said.

Cadiz resident Tammy Cothran, who came on both Friday and Saturday, noted that it was wonderful to have the festival back this year.

She enjoys the vendor booths and the food and especially liked the car show this past weekend with its old cars and motorcycles.

“I love it,” Cothran noted. “I just love everything about the ham festival.”

Melinda Rathmann came with her grandchildren, who liked the rides, and one man who preferred not to give his name said he likes everything the festival offers.

“I hope they do it every year,” he said.

Angel Burden of Leitchfield set up her booth downtown displayed with the Rada knives she sells, eager for another year at the festival.

She’d set up her Rada Knives for You booth for the first time in 2019 and was looking forward to returning before the pandemic.

Burden did well with her sales two years ago and said she was impressed with the number of people who visited her booth this past weekend.

“I personally think they’re the best knives, and most of my customers think they’re the best knives you can get,” Burden noted.

Over at the Helping Hands tent, Phil Graham awaited the arrival of the world’s largest ham and biscuit, urging festival-goers to enjoy the ham festival. . . and to come get a biscuit.

On Saturday morning, it was organized chaos at the tent, according to Graham.

He said people were having to re-learn things that they’d forgotten after baking the famed biscuit at the festival two years ago.

Rick Bragg, “the gentleman driving the forklift” that takes the biscuit in and out of the oversized oven, was new to the job this year.

“We hope he won’t drop the biscuit where it doesn’t go,” quipped Graham, who serves on the Helping Hands board of directors.

But all went well, and in 2021,the ham festival’s hungry visitors got their biscuits.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Parrent, Fowler honored with festival awards
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Thursday morning saw the community kick off the 45th Annual Trigg County Country Ham Festival with an awards presentation at the Renaissance Stage in downtown Cadiz, two long years since its last festival.

A small crowd of supporters assembled to listen as Cadiz Mayor Todd King revealed the honorees.

His voice broke as he shared the attributes of Casey Parrent, the recipient of the festival’s inaugural Spirit of Cadiz Award and again, as he announced the name of Kerry Fowler, the city’s retired public works director who received the Marvin Broadbent Jr./George Bleidt Spirit of the Ham Festival Award.

“I feel that these two individuals are some of the greatest assets to our city,” the mayor observed of Parrent and Fowler as he talked from the Renaissance Stage. “They both have enormous pride for our community and have gone above and beyond in numerous ways.”

Farm broadcaster Alan Watts of WKDZ Radio introduced the Farmer of the Year, Steven Hargis, a Trigg County farmer that Watts said raises row crops on his property in Trigg and Christian counties.

Watts noted that Hargis is also an active volunteer, among other things frequently mowing the yard at his church and helping with its Bible school program. He further noted that Hargis and his wife, Annette Hargis, have a daughter and son-in-law, Betsy and Jason Shemwell, and two grandchildren.

Hargis previously worked at U.S. Tobacco, Crop Production Services and Southern States in Cadiz.

The mayor noted that Parrent, who recently left her job as director of the city’s Renaissance on Main program, has worked tirelessly to bring light to the downtown and has brought lots of smiles to the community, doing everything from ice skating with youngsters dressed as the Grinch to writing replies to their Santa letters and hopping around in the Easter Bunny costume during that holiday.

King said no job was too large or too small for Parrent.

“(Her) handiwork can be admired in the decorations downtown and on the Renaissance Stage,” the mayor noted. “You can see the pride in every little detail.

“Even with COVID,” King continued, “(she) still made it possible to enjoy Farmer’s Market and Halloween Safe Night by creating a drive-thru for those events.”

The mayor said Fowler has never missed a ham festival and has volunteered countless hours in many different capacities through the years. He said Fowler, who announced his retirement earlier this year, has served on the ham festival committee for years and was chairman of the committee for two consecutive years.

“Those same two years (Fowler) won the Grand Champion ham,” King said. “(He) was instrumental in starting the fireworks show, has provided sound for the entertainment and recruited entertainment. During this year’s service, (he) was even in the group that started this very award.”

The mayor said officials could not think of anyone more deserving of the award than Fowler, and he noted that Fowler has played a major role in the success of the festival through the years.

“We appreciate his hard work and dedication,” King said of Fowler.

The mayor explained that the Spirit of Cadiz Award will be given each year to a person who has a true love for the city, has made strides in helping the city flourish and has a deep sense of community. The Broadbent/Bleidt Award is given to someone who embodies the true spirit of the ham festival, King said.

Thursday’s awards presentation was the first event for this year’s revived ham festival, which was on hiatus last year because of the coronavirus outbreak. A breakfast normally hosted by the Trigg County Chamber of Commerce to usher in the festival was canceled this year due to COVID-19.

The chamber did sponsor last week’s awards ceremony at the stage.

King noted that organizers made some changes to the festival so events could be spread out more and would allow for proper social distancing. He said organizers were excited about the festival’s return.

“Thank you for joining us today,” he said during the awards. “I appreciate everybody coming out.”

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Court approves contract for cable service
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Trigg County Fiscal Court has approved a 10-year, non-exclusive contract with Mediacom to provide cable service in the local community.

Magistrates voted in favor of the ordinance on first reading at the court’s regular meeting on Oct. 4 at the Trigg County Courthouse.

Trigg County Judge-Executive Hollis Alexander said the ordinance is the same as the court passed about five years ago with Mediacom, and he noted that competition will still be “wide open” for other cable companies.

“It allows them the right to operate upon our right-of-way and run their cable above our roadways,” the judge-executive said.

According to the ordinance, Trigg County is granting to Mediacom a non-exclusive franchise that authorizes the company to construct and operate a cable system “in, along, among, upon, across, above, over, under or in any manner connected with public ways within the service area” and to install and maintain facilities and equipment that may be necessary for the services it provides.

Magistrate Alana Dunn shared concerns she has about the height of the company’s lines and asked that Mediacom make sure its lines are the standard height, or 14 feet above ground, if they are going to span over driveways and over entranceways into fields.

“We’ve run into several instances with Mediacom where their lines sag and we, unfortunately, hit them,” Dunn said, noting that she didn’t see anything in the ordinance that would hold the company accountable for maintaining the 14-foot height.

Alexander said he would look into the matter before a second reading on the ordinance.

He said a second reading of the document will take place in about a month, giving time for it to be published in the newspaper.

“We’ll try to get some of these questions answered and clarified (and) maybe have a representative here if somebody wants to address some of these concerns,” he said.

The court approved the ordinance, with Magistrate Larry Lawrence voting against it.

Alexander also updated the court about plans for a new rescue building in the county.

He said a speaker will be on hand in a couple of weeks to speak to magistrates about how the county can move forward with that project.

The judge said a piece of property in front of the Trigg County Road Department garage has been leveled and brought up to grade in preparation for the new rescue facility.

He said most of the funds for building the rescue facility will come from the ARPA appropriation, i.e., American Rescue Plan Act.

“I think it’s a good time to move forward with that,” Alexander said. “I believe, if it’s possible, as much as that money as we can keep in our local community to our local contractors and people is the way I’d like to try to do that.”

He said officials are talking about a design and build project to bring the facility to fruition.

In other business:

  • Fiscal court approved a motion to surplus a 50A Farmall tractor and trade it in toward the purchase of an FA75R4 tractor that will be used by the Trigg County Recreation Complex. Alexander said last week that the complex had been without a tractor for six weeks. Cost of the tractor is $27,000, and the 50A has a trade-in value of $7,500, the judge said.
  • The court approved a list of expenditures for the past two weeks that totaled $229,971.71 and included $5,000 to Audas Environmental for cleaning the ventilation and HVAC systems at the Trigg County Justice Center, $4,970 to Bluegrass Truck and Trailer for repairs to a Gradall, $32,220 to Hamby Construction Inc., for work on Donnie Lane and $2,574.06 to Leon Riley Ford Inc., for repairs to a fuel pump on the 2016 Ford Explorer at the Trigg County Sheriff’s Office.
  • Trigg County Treasurer Lucy Kyler said the county spent more than $10,000 last year on road signs, not including time, to replace others that had been stolen in the community. The judge-executive said that amount may also include barricades and other items, in addition to the signs.
  • Magistrates approved a motion to purchase a truck for emergency management from Wildcat Chevrolet at a cost of $45,475. Federal Emergency Management will reimburse the county for half that cost, and the vehicle currently being used by the local emergency management will be sent to the Trigg County Senior Citizens Center.
  • Alexander reminded everyone that a tire roundup is slated for 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Oct. 14 and 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Oct. 15. The event will be at the Trigg County Road Department, and no appointments are needed.
  • The judge-executive said chip and seal crews are now out and working on the roads. He said paving with Rogers Group will start the last of this month or first of next month.
  • Additionally, Alexander said state transportation officials are working on the last leg of U.S. 68, and local officials have been asked to let the state know if something hasn’t been addressed once the work is done. Magistrates previously had shared concerns about grass needing mowing and other issues.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.

Council approves car for police
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Cadiz City Council has approved the purchase of a vehicle for the Cadiz Police Department after Police Chief Duncan Wiggins expressed concern during last week’s council meeting about needing a vehicle.

Speaking at the Oct. 5th meeting, Wiggins told the council his department hasn’t bought a police car since 2018 and has two right now that have quite a few miles on them.

One has 150,000 on it, he said, while the other vehicle has more than 110,000 miles.

Wiggins said vehicles become unsafe after they accumulate 125,000 or 130,000 miles.

“Most of the fleet is doing really well,” the chief noted to council members. “Most of them have somewhere under 60,000. The majority of them have under 60,000 miles.

“But it’s getting to that point where we haven’t purchased a police car in over three years,” he continued. “Since I’ve been chief of police, we have not purchased a police car, and what we’re asking now is that the council take that into consideration.”

Wiggins said his department wanted to purchase a car before the end of the year, and council members approved the purchase of a Ford Interceptor at a cost Wiggins said is $5,000 less than the $42,000 Tahoe police package.

Wiggins said he prefers the Interceptor.

The police chief also gave the council a report on the police department’s September activities, noting that the month was a pretty busy one for the department.

He noted that the department opened 56 criminal cases last month, arrested 17 people and responded to 517 calls for service.

Officers stopped 15 vehicles and issued 26 citations. They worked 19 traffic accidents, including one injury accident and a fatality.

Code enforcement opened 11 cases and closed 13 cases and to date has collected $2,150 in fines, according to the chief.

Wiggins further added that the police department has one position open, leaving the department with eight officers including himself and a code enforcement officer.

Public Works Director Craig Oakley also spoke to the council, reporting that his department has gotten its sewer profile complete at the Pennyrile Area Development District office, meaning public works can hopefully pursue funding for some sewer lines.

Oakley said he is working with PADD officials to seek funding for the project, which would address improvements for a 2,600-foot line at a cost of about $190 per foot.

He added that right-of-way mowing, the last for 2021 on U.S. 68, was to begin this week.

Following that project, Oakley said leaf pickup will probably start in a few weeks.

“That’ll probably take us on through the winter with leaf pickup,” the director said.

Cadiz Mayor Todd King introduced Darlene Butts, the city’s new Main Street director, who said she was excited about working with the city and had lots of goals and plans in mind.

“The sky’s the limit,” Butts told council members last week. “I’m hoping that we can see a whole generation take over, and maybe put a little bit in the past, to make this a city that people want to come to and be proud of it. I want our citizens to be proud of it.”

In other business:

  • City Attorney Allen Wilson recommended that the city consider being a part of a settlement related to ongoing litigation involving the opioid epidemic. He said the city might receive some funds from that settlement. Council members accepted his recommendation and voted in favor of a measure to take part in the settlement.
  • Cadiz City Clerk Barbie Johnson shared information on the Cadiz-Trigg County Parks and Recreation, noting that Director Jeff Hunter had 98 football players and 53 cheerleaders. She said the players have completed four games and have four to go. Football wraps up the last weekend in November. Registration for basketball was to begin last week and will continue through Nov. 5. Johnson said basketball practices will start t
  • he third week of October while the games will start the second week in November.
  • The council approved ad valorem tax rates for the 2021 year of 0.253 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for real property and 0.2165 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for personal property. Additionally, the council approved a motor vehicle tax rate for 2021 of 26.20 cents per $100 of assessed valuation for each vehicle licensed by a city resident. The rates were approved on first and second readings during special meetings Sept. 21-22.

Reach Tonya S. Grace at 270-887-3240 or tgrace@kentuckynewera.com.