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F-S Industrial Authority purchases 187 acres for industry growth

The Franklin-Simpson Industrial Authority has recently purchased 187 acres to create a new industrial park for the community.

The new park, which will be known as the Stone-Givens Industrial Park is located on Highway 100 approximately one mile from Exit 6 at Interstate 65. It is adjacent to the Henderson Industrial Park which is located just west of the new development.

The site is already zoned for industries and distribution facilities. The Franklin-Simpson Industrial Authority is currently applying for a matching grant through the Economic Development Administration which will help develop needed infrastructure for the park. This would include industrial access roads plus water and sewer lines for the entire 187 acres.

“This new industrial park is named in honor of former Representative Wilson Stone and State Senator David Givens,” Chairman of the Franklin Simpson-Industrial Authority Gary Broady said. “These two gentlemen have worked tirelessly together to secure funding to help build roads and utility lines for the numerous industries in our other industrial parks. It is only fitting that our new 187-acre site be named in their honor.”

“I am very excited about the additional land we will have to market in our community,” Mayor Larry Dixon said. “The Henderson Industrial Park in recent years has had phenomenal success and we are pleased to develop another site that we can market to new and expanding companies. It is important to have industrial land readily available for companies looking at our area.”

“The new Stone-Givens Industrial Park is a huge addition for our county,” Simpson County Judge/Executive Mason Barnes said. “We can now offer large tracts of land again to major industries that are looking to locate in this region of Kentucky. The quality jobs that have been brought by industries to our other parks have led to a lot of positive growth for our county. I am really pleased that we have more sites that will ultimately create many more jobs in our county.”

It is expected that the new Stone-Givens Industrial Park will have roads and other infrastructure in place by the summer of 2022. For more information about the new Stone-Givens Industrial Park or the Franklin/Simpson County community please contact Dennis Griffin at 270-586-4477 or at fsindustry@bellsouth.net.

Sandford Duncan Inn offering historical tours through October

Work is underway to make the Sandford Duncan Inn on U.S. 31-W, just south of the I-65 interchange, a tourist attraction and a site for future festivals.

The site hosted public tours during live racing at Kentucky Downs in September and remains open for tours Thursdays and Fridays through October from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. each day. There currently is no charge to take a tour.

“This has just been a delight to get to work with the Sandford Duncan Inn, which if you don’t know is a house that was built in the early 1800s. It was actually a tavern and a place where people could spend the night, so it was an inn, a hotel kind of place, Simpson County Tourism Director Amy Ellis said. “It was known for the stagecoaches that would stop there and you could grab a bite to eat or have a drink. Upstairs was the inn part of it where you could pay a small price and spend the night. The inn is still there. Over the years they built a house around it. At some point there was a grant that was given to the county and they renovated it and put it back like it was originally.”

In November 2020 Nicky Hughes, of Franklin, asked Ellis what the plans were for the Sandford Duncan Inn and said he would like to do something there, and have some kind of presence there.

A Sept. 2 story about the Inn in the Franklin Favorite said Hughes worked for over 30 years with the Kentucky Historical Society

Ellis said Hughes brought her a proposal and she talked with the county about making it a tourist attraction.

The Sandford Duncan Inn is owned by Simpson County Fiscal Court and operated by the Simpson County Tourism office.

“The story behind the Sandford Duncan Inn is, that is where the duels were fought in Simpson County,” Ellis said.

Ellis also said she was not taught that in schools and credited her time working at the Franklin Favorite for learning about the history of the site.

“The fact that it is still standing is amazing and it’s a big part of Simpson County’s history and its unique to us in Simpson County,” she said.

Ellis talked with Marc Dottore, owner of Dueling Grounds Distillery in Franklin, about trying to get the Inn back up and operating as a partnership with the distillery.

The bourbon produced at Dueling Ground Distillery is named “Linkumpinch,” which was the name of the farm where the Sandford Duncan Inn is located.

It was decided to open for tours during the six live racing dates at Kentucky Downs in September due to the crowds.

Dueling Grounds Distillery hosted a pop-up shop inside the Inn during the tours that provided information about the distillery, which is on the Kentucky Craft Bourbon Tour.

“We jumped into action pretty quickly, we have some new items there,” Ellis said. “Nicky (Hughes) bought some pieces of furniture. We swapped some things around out there to make it very authentic. Nicky did a lot of research so that he is able to give the tours. We did a little renovation on the rock house behind it as far as cleaning it out and making it a little more tour friendly.”

There is no electricity and heat at the Inn and due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, tours will temporarily end after October.

Ellis said preparations are being made for a grand opening in April 2022 when tours will resume.

Volunteers are needed to give regular tours at the site.

“Ultimately the goal is to have that as a solid attraction for history buffs to come and we are looking forward to possibly doing some festivals attached to that site where we can actually have a living history type festival where they can re enact the duel,” Ellis said. “I would like to see school kids, maybe we can get some field trips out there during that festival time with people making candles, blacksmiths, that type of thing. We’re really looking forward to that for next year. We’ll have a few fundraisers for that site, that kind of thing. General Sam Houston was one of the people who fought a dual out there. We’ve talked about actually doing a festival around Sept. 22 (Sam Houston Day).”

Ellis added that the Franklin Garden Club has said they would like to plant native Kentucky plants at the site, which also includes a cemetery.

“The cemetery on site there is where Sandford Duncan is buried and some of his children and his wife,” Ellis said. “Some of the tombstones are fallen over and need a little attention. Lou Ann Ferguson (who works with a local cemetery group) has volunteered to come and work on the cemetery.”

Ellis talked more about what is needed to get the Inn ready as a tourist attraction.

“If anybody has a love for the Sandford Duncan Inn, or history and is interested, what we really are going to need are some hands, some volunteers, ideas, anything, we won’t turn you away we need all the help we can get,” she said. “We’re not there to make lots of money, so any kind of admission we plan to do (beginning in April) will be minimal because our big thing is we want people to see the Inn and to learn about that part of history in Simpson County that is really, really cool and pretty unique.”

Habitat for Humanity names Hester as new director

Dana Hester was named the new executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Simpson County on Sept. 4.

Hester replaces Alan Bush, who served as executive director from 2017-2021.

“I was born and raised in Franklin,” Hester said. “I went to Franklin-Simpson High School and Western Kentucky University. I’m excited to be back in my hometown working for the mission that I’ve loved for several years now.”

Hester, who has served on the Habitat for Humanity of Simpson County as a board member, said she has volunteered for Habitat since 2005 and was the WKU campus chapter president from 2005-2009. She has had opportunities to build in multiple states, including Hawaii and internationally in the Dominican Republic and Honduras.

Habitat for Humanity of Simpson County is currently in construction for the Eversole family. Hester said the goal is to have the construction completed by the end of 2021.

The non-profit organization is currently seeking volunteers to help with the build construction. Hester said work skills are not required and anyone who is interested in attending is encouraged to send her an email.

Groups are welcome to assist and drop-off lunches are accepted for volunteers on construction days.

“I would like to get more community involvement in various demographics,” Hester said. “We want to increase our fundraising efforts so we can build more homes. Right now we build one a year so, we would like to increase that number.”

The Habitat for Humanity of Simpson County Warehouse Sale, which consists of new and used appliances and home décor, is scheduled for Oct. 14-15 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The 4th Annual Habitat Gala Benefiting Habitat for Humanity of Simpson County is set to take place on Feb. 19, 2022 at the Cornerstone building, 202 W. Kentucky Ave. The theme is Havana Nights. Ticket sales begin on Dec. 1, 2021.

Hester said once the build for the Eversole family is completed, Habitat will begin accepting family applications for future homes.

Habitat for Humanity of Simpson County is currently looking for new board members. Applications are available upon request.

For more information, visit the Habit for Humanity of Simpson County Facebook page, email hfhsimpsonco@gmail.com or call 270-586-6515.

Kentucky Department of Education releases annual School Report Card

The Kentucky Department of Education (KDE) released its annual School Report Card data on Sept. 29, as required by statute and under the federal, Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA).

Assessments were administered to Kentucky students during the spring of 2021, which was required by the United States Education Department (USED).

Since the COVID-19 pandemic affected many aspects of education in the 2020-2021 school year, KDE applied for and received a waiver from federal accountability. Therefore, school accountability indicators and ratings are not part of the 2020-2021 reporting. Since no data was reported for assessment and accountability in the 2019-2020 school year, certain trends and comparisons are not reported in the School Report Card.

Due to COVID-19, students faced learning disruptions, changes in the opportunities to learn, and a shortened assessment in 2021. Because of these challenges, direct comparisons of assessment data from prior years cannot be accurately made.

According to the report, 761 students attend Franklin-Simpson High School, which includes grades 9th through 12th. The breakdown includes economically disadvantaged percentages, demographic makeup, educational opportunities, including advanced coursework completion, a career technical education snapshot, a percentage of students who are participating in the gifted and talented program and school safety.

The report also touches on graduation rate indicators and how many students are involved in continuing education, employment or military service after graduation.

To see the School Report Card 2020-21 assessed student data for Simpson County Schools and the State can be found at the following website: https://www.kyschoo lreportcard.com/home? year=2021

Simpson County's COVID-19 cases surpass 3,000

Simpson County had 3,031 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the pandemic began in the Friday, Oct. 1 report issued by the Barren River District Health Department.

Simpson County’s cases include 2,639 recoveries and 46 deaths leaving 346 active cases.

There have been 48,849 cases in the eight counties served by the district health department, which includes 42,277 recoveries and 616 deaths leaving 5,956 active cases.

The district health department says 51.30% of Simpson County’s total population has a COVID-19 vaccine as of Oct. 1.

Those who have been vaccinated in Simpson County that are older than 18 is 64% and 89.56% are older than 65.