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Hundreds attend WWII reenactment

The areas surrounding Phil Moore Park were seemingly transformed into World War II battlefields of south France on Saturday when the nonprofit Honoring Our Heroes hosted its third annual Operation Anvil World War II reenactment.

Nearly 200 reenactors from nine states came together to portray the German-led Axis forces and the U.S.-led Allied forces fighting battles that allowed France to be liberated from Nazi Germany in 1944.

“The first year we had about 61 reenactors, and today we have 180,” said Ron Cummings, executive director of Honoring our Heroes. “It’s grown a lot. We believe it’s important to keep history alive. These reenactors are committed to that, and they have researched their side. They understand their stuff.”

More than 1,000 spectators watched as participants used authentic uniforms and equipment to display the sights and sounds of war.

Blank rounds were used for ammunition, but real vehicles used during the battles of the time provided an authentic experience for attendees.

One highlight was the use of an operational Tiger tank used by the German army during WWII. Cummings said the tank was one of five left in the world.

“All the equipment that’s out here is all privately owned,” he said. “These are people who have committed financially to show what World War II is about. This is a way for us to show the whole community that this was a war that changed the world.”

Two reenactments were held on Saturday free of charge.

Between performances, Honoring our Heroes held a special ceremony to recognize veterans who were in present in the crowd.

All veterans recognized were presented medals and gift certificates to honor their service.

The public was also welcomed to walk through the mock war camps set up around the battlefield to meet and talk with the reenactors.

Hartsville, Tenn., native Tyler Reckner was one of the many actors who fought for the Allied forces during the battle.

He has participated in reenactments for more than six years after learning about them during his time with the Kentucky National Guard.

Reckner sees the showcase as a valuable experience for the community.

“It’s great for anyone really interested in history, and I’ve been a big history buff for years,” he said. “I get to actually live out the history that I have studied. It’s really important to keep stuff like this going because it keeps the history alive.”

Reckner said participants from the event previously met with veterans of the war to hear their personal stories from the war.

During the meet-and-greet time with the public, the actors passed along those tales to the public.

“It keeps stories alive that aren’t in the textbooks,” Reckner said. “It’s a way to keep their stories alive and not letting them fade out and die. You read a textbook, and you only get the highlights. You don’t get any of the detail of what it was like for soldiers.”

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.

Case against BG woman charged in deadly crash goes to grand jury

A grand jury will consider evidence against a Bowling Green woman accused of causing a fatal crash on Louisville Road.

Donna J. Myers, 54, appeared Friday in Warren District Court for a preliminary hearing in her criminal case. She is charged with murder, operating a motor vehicle while under the influence (second offense) and operating on a suspended/revoked license.

Police said Myers was behind the wheel of a 2013 Chevrolet Cruze that crashed into a moped driven by Jordan D. Spratt, 25, at Louisville Road near the River Street intersection Sept. 24.

Spratt was pronounced dead at an area hospital.

Myers, who is in the Warren County Regional Jail under a $100,000 cash bond, was brought into court in a wheelchair.

Detective Sean Johnson of the Bowling Green Police Department testified Friday that city police officers were called to the scene about 11:30 a.m.

Johnson said Spratt suffered a serious head injury and that a witness described seeing Myers driving with her head down just before the collision.

Police reported Myers appeared disoriented in the aftermath of the crash but initially denied having used any drugs or alcohol when she spoke with officers at the scene, Johnson said.

Myers was taken to The Medical Center, where efforts were made to take two blood samples from her for testing.

“My understanding was she was hesitant to sign the Medical Center consent form to do a blood draw,” Johnson said in describing what he encountered when he arrived at the hospital and met with Myers. “To me, she seemed to be slow and slurred in her speech.”

Myers eventually consented to the blood draws, which the Kentucky State Police will analyze.

Johnson testified that Myers gave conflicting accounts about her direction of travel on Louisville Road, but surveillance camera footage from a nearby business showed that she traveled north behind Spratt.

At the hospital, Myers maintained she did not use drugs or alcohol and had taken an antidepressant the night before, Johnson said.

When the detective challenged her account and told her she appeared impaired, Myers said, “I think I need a lawyer,” Johnson testified.

Later that day, Johnson was told Myers wanted to speak to him.

After she was advised of her rights, Myers admitted she was impaired, Johnson said.

“I asked her to elaborate and she said she had taken a generic roxy,” said Johnson, referring to the street name for a brand of oxycodone.

The detective said the drug had been cut with fentanyl and that Myers injected it.

A witness who reported seeing the crash told police she was in the left turn lane on Louisville Road at a red arrow, waiting to turn left onto River Street, when she saw Myers’ car run into Spratt’s moped, sending Spratt tumbling end over end in the air.

Surveillance footage from a nearby business appeared to confirm the witness’ account, Johnson said.

“You can see in the video a moped enter going as fast as it could possibly go and then Myers plows straight into the victim,” Johnson said. “If she was braking it was after she was out of frame of the camera.”

Warren District Judge Kim Geoghegan found probable cause to send the case to the grand jury.

– Follow courts reporter Justin Story on Twitter @jstorydailynews or visit bgdailynews.com.

Anti-masking tensions boil over in county school board meeting

Tensions boiled over during a Warren County Board of Education meeting as parents showed up to bicker with board members for continuing universal masking – despite evidence the policy has helped cut cases and quarantines and kept more children in school.

Kentucky lawmakers struck down a statewide school mask mandate but ultimately kicked the decision back to local school boards about whether to continue the policy.

The Bowling Green Independent School District and Warren County Public Schools opted to continue universal masking. With no coronavirus vaccine currently available to children younger than 12, both boards cited masking as their best option for keeping the virus from shuttering schools.

However, a group of public commenters saw things differently during Thursday’s Warren County Board of Education meeting, which was called to pass a $238 million working budget and other routine business items – not masks.

One woman urged the board to lift universal masking and “stand up to the pressure of medical tyranny and overreach.”

One man supported installing cameras in classrooms to deter teachers from veering from established curriculum and indoctrinating students, even though by his own words he was “citing no specific cases in Warren County.”

Another woman asked board members if they had “looked up Satanic rituals,” and she referenced the “Great Awakening,” a concept promoted by the fringe conspiracy theory Q-Anon. The woman warned of initiations into a “new global world order,” and she ended her remarks by yelling about “adrenochrome” – an imaginary, life-extending psychedelic that the conspiracy theory claims society’s elites harvest from terrified children.

At times, the meeting grew heated, with testy exchanges erupting between board members and those in attendance.

After one public commenter accused the board of not properly advertising the meeting during which it voted to continue universal masking in its schools, board Chairman Kerry Young explained that a notice was publicly advertised, including in the Daily News.

Young also pointed out that state lawmakers effectively required the decision to be made five working days after passing a bill that rendered a statewide school mask mandate null and void.

At this, a woman in the audience repeatedly chanted “Liar!” Young then firmly told those in attendance they would be removed if they continued to disrupt the meeting, though several in the audience carried on regardless at several points.

At another point in the meeting, a woman asked about a personnel issue involving a coach. Young briefly interjected to say that the district doesn’t comment on personnel issues as a matter of policy, then allowed the woman to finish out her allotted time.

Later in the meeting, as board members delivered their own comments, the same woman interrupted board member Amy Duvall, prompting another clamorous exchange as Young tried to quiet the disruption and restore decorum.

“This year has not been easy,” Duvall said, adding that’s she’s hopeful school will return to normal as quickly as possible so her son can take the ACT without having to wear a mask.

Several board members tried to level with those angry about the decision to prolong universal masking in schools.

Board member Lloyd Wiliford said he understood attendees’ frustrations, but added the board wasn’t “cowing” to any particular opinion and has tried to do what’s best for students.

“These are parents too up here on this board,” he said.

Board member Garry Chaffin thanked school staff for their sacrifices over the course of the pandemic, acknowledging how hard employees have had to work to keep schools open.

“Everybody that’s involved with Warren County Public Schools, it has been a heroic effort,” Chaffin said. “We’ve lost bus drivers to COVID this year. We’ve lost cafeteria workers to COVID this year, and many more. You know, this has been very difficult, but you out there that have made this possible to keep us going day-to-day – your efforts have not gone unnoticed.”

– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @NewsByAaron or visit bgdaily news.com.

COVID-19 patient dip continues at local hospitals

The Medical Center at Bowling Green reported Friday morning that it had 42 COVID-19 patients. That’s the lowest total since Aug. 13, when officials first said the hospital was operating at full capacity.

Med Center Health Executive Vice President Wade Stone said the number was down from 66 reported COVID-19 patients Sept. 24.

The drop from Sept. 24 is the highest weekly patient decrease at The Medical Center since the latest spike in cases first struck the region in late July.

“We are definitely moving in the right direction,” Stone said. “We are very encouraged by the number of COVID-19 patients going down. However, the most important thing from our perspective is for anyone who is unvaccinated to go and get the vaccine.”

Stone said of those 42 COVID patients, 81% were unvaccinated, 15 were in critical care and 14 were on a ventilator. One person in critical care was vaccinated, and one on a ventilator was vaccinated.

Of the 30 National Guard support staff members who have been assisting The Medical Center in non-clinical support capacities, 19 will stay to help the hospital through Oct. 13.

T.J. Regional Health Executive Vice President of Marketing Stacey Biggs said the Glasgow hospital had seen its third straight week of declining COVID-19 patients.

On Sept. 24., Biggs said the hospital had 31 COVID patients, but she said Friday that number was 25.

“It gives us a lot of hope to see that. It went down consistently every day this week,” Biggs said. “Critical care bed capacity is still very high along with our staff bed capacity. There are definite signs of hope, and things are looking up, but we aren’t out of the woods yet.”

Of those 25 patients, two are vaccinated, nine are in the ICU, eight are on a ventilator and one person in the ICU is vaccinated.

Biggs said a major concern is a potential spike after families return from fall break trips during the next few weeks.

She said the National Guard’s last day assisting the hospital was Thursday.

“We are so appreciative of their help over these past few weeks,” Biggs said. “It was a tremendous help to us during a very trying time.”

TriStar Greenview Regional Hospital continued to decline to provide updates.

The latest update from the Kentucky Cabinet for Health and Human Services on Friday showed all but eight counties in the state are marked red for having a “critical” COVID incidence rate.

Of the 10 counties in the Barren River region, only two had a vaccination rate of at least 50%: Simpson and Logan. Butler, Warren, Barren, Allen and Monroe counties all have a vaccination rate of at least 40%.

– Follow reporter John Reecer on Twitter @JReecerBGDN or visit bgdailynews.com.