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13th annual Butterfly Festival a success
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On Saturday, the Oak Grove Tourism Commission hosted the 13th annual, award-winning Butterfly Festival at the War Memorial Walking Trail.

Despite the scattered showers Saturday, the festival attracted approximately 4,500 people, and the rain did not deter attendees.

“You guys coming out to support and the love for the butterflies is what made this event,” said Traci Cunningham, Executive Director of the Oak Grove Tourism Commission.

This year’s festival was an educational NASA theme, that included fire spinning, trampoline stunts, a galaxy globe performance by a motorcyclist and an aerialist, live robot, Oscar and a walking butterfly.

Many local businesses collaborated to provide activities such as face painting, obstacle courses, balloon artistry, a bubble zone, and a zipline provided by Southern Zip-line Company for the festival.

The festival also had many popular food truck vendors such as, Kona Ice, Chef Jamie’s, Chuckles Cuizine, Flying Cotton Candy and Say Cheese Please.

Milkweed & Honey farm out of Clarksville also provided a butterfly house to interact with cocoons, caterpillars and the butterflies.

The live butterfly release took place on the Viceroy berm, where approximately 1,800 butterflies were released.

“The butterflies will hang around for a little before beginning their migration to Mexico,” said Cunningham.

After the butterflies were released, the audience was able to hold, interact with, and photograph the butterflies.

Trail of Tears Pow Wow set to celebrate 35th festival
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There are many events around town this week for the community to attend.

Every year, on the first full weekend after Labor Day, the Trail of Tears Commission sponsors an intertribal Pow Wow at the park. A Pow Wow is a gathering of Native American people to celebrate their rich heritage, to socialize with old friends and make new ones. It is also an opportunity to expose non-Indians to centuries old traditions of various dances, Native American crafts, and to educate Pow Wow visitors with storytelling and Indian lore demonstrations.

On Saturday, Sept. 10 and Sunday, Sept. 11, the annual Trail of Tears Pow Wow will be held for the 35th year.

The community is welcomed both days from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.

There will be over $25,000 in prize money this year with presentations, traditional and fancy dances, tributes, instrument playing, food, and so much more.

Admission for adults will be $10, children ages 7-12 are $5, kids 6 and under are admitted free entrance.

Trail of Tears Historian Keistina Scott expressed happiness on the return of the Indian Pow wow.

“We welcome everybody to come out and have a good time.

“We have a traveler coming from Canada that will be in attendance this year. She will be presenting TP’s Plain Indians once used for shelter.

“Also on both days, our heritage center will be open for the little ones to join in craft days from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday. This will be free for the kids to attend but donations are greatly appreciated. We will have many crafts from face paintings, feather hangings and many more crafts inside the cabin. This year will be a great time for the community to attend and we look forward seeing everybody come out,” said Scott

This historic park is one of the few documented sites of the actual trail and campsites used during the forced removal of the Cherokee people to “Indian Territory”. It was used as an encampment in 1838 and 1839. This park is the burial site for two Cherokee Chiefs.

The Trail of Trails brings people of all ages out to enjoy the festival and to remember those who once settled in Hopkinsville.

Visit Hopkinsville’s Executive Director, Brooke Jung also expressed excitement for this year’s Trail of Tears Indian Pow Wow.

“We are so excited about this meaningful and insightful event held in our community. We give thanks for each tribute being paid. We welcome visitors across the country as well as our locals to join in the festivities this weekend,” said Jung.

The weather calls for rain this weekend so be sure to wear your raincoat and rain boots. This weekend will be full of celebration whether the rain comes down or passes over. The community is welcomed to join the historic grounds for another annual celebration.

Learn more history about the Trail of Tears online:

Bids for new high school expected in 6 months
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The Christian County Public Schools board voted to officially approve the contract to hire Alliance Corporation to serve as the construction manager for the high school consolidation on Thursday, and the vice president of the company said that if everything goes well, the will be ready to go out for bids again in the winter.

“We’re estimating probably six months of redesign,” Alliance vice president Tim Geegan said at Thursday’s board meeting. “In a perfect world, I would like for this to be ready to go out on the street (for bids) in February so that we can start site work the first of April — somewhere in that time frame.”

The board had previously chosen to put out the bids for the Hopkinsville-Christian County Academy through the use of a general contractor instead of a construction manager.

And when those bids came in last month, they were much higher than anticipated. Only two companies (A&K Construction and DW Wilburn) submitted bids, both for around $200 million. Those bids were rejected by the board because of the high cost.

Geegan said that meetings have already begun to try and find ways to bring the project under the budget of approximately $120 million.

“The long and short is — we’ve got to cut $80 million out of this job. And that’s got to come from everywhere,” Geegan said. “We want the best that we can help you provide. What we’ve got to do is look at every aspect of that project and get down to the bare bones, as in — this is what we need. It’s going to be new. It’s going to be a beautiful project, we just have to get the base bid in place under budget and then we can look at some alternatives to put some niceties back into it.”

Geegan added that all aspects of the project will be examined in order to get it under budget.

“Everything is going to be scrutinized and looked at,” Geegan said. “This is a huge challenge, but I’m sure we can do it,” Geegan said.

According to the contract that the board approved, the substantial completion date of the project will be April of 2026 — three years after the expected start of construction.

The school board emphasized again that Alliance Corporation will not receive any compensation until the bids are successfully approved under budget.

“If the bids come back in excess of our available funds, there is no fee,” school board attorney Jack Lackey said.

Fiscal Court approves vehicles for new SROs
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The Christian County Fiscal Court approved the purchase of six new vehicles for the Sheriff’s Department at a special-called meeting on Sept. 1.

“We had to hire five new SROs (school resource officers) for the schools, and so they need equipment and vehicles,” said Sheriff Tyler DeArmond.

The sheriff informed the court that the bid process is not from the state contract holder, but is $100 dollars cheaper per vehicle compared to the state contract price.

“And they are on the lot, the state contract holder does not have any vehicles on their lot, these cars are ready to go,” said DeArmond.

DeArmond also informed the court of a vehicle that was totaled by a tornado in Pembroke and insurance collections were received in the amount of $29,503 for that vehicle.

According to the sheriff, one of the vehicles will be used for the county coroner and will be paid in cash, leaving financing for one of the vehicles. The vehicles used by the SROs will need to be equipped which could cost up to $8,000.

“If you recall we surplus a bunch of property a few weeks ago and put it at an auction and the majority of proceeds is going to go to equipping these cars,” said DeArmond.

The new SROs were hired after the Christian County Public School board voted to place one on every school campus in the district beginning this school year.

This brought the number of officers contracted with the district from eight to 13 SROs. Because of that, the district gained compliance with House Bill 63, which was signed into law in April and required SROs on all school campuses by Aug. 1.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, the Davis Road extension was also approved by Fiscal Court, creating a fourth entrance for improved line of sight safety.