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Christmas parade returning after COVID pause

After last year’s event was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bowling Green-Warren County Jaycees Christmas Parade will return next month.

The parade is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. Dec. 4.

Parade Chairman Mary-John Carmon said the Jaycees hope for a record number of participants.

“We are really excited to be able to bring this back,” Carmon said. “Last year was tough on everyone, and we had to cancel at the last minute. Everyone is looking forward to getting that sense of normalcy back.”

She said the record number of participants was in 2019 with nearly 125 vehicles. Carmon said that number will be within reach this year.

The parade will start at the square at Main and College Street, cross over 12th Avenue and finish at State Street and Sixth Avenue.

For safety reasons, people are asked to stay close to the sidewalk. Carmon said recent construction on the sidewalks downtown will give spectators plenty of room to watch the parade.

“It’s usually pretty well-attended, and I think it is a great way to officially kick off the Christmas season,” Carmon said. “We have so many people who come together who participate, and it brings a palpable energy to the town. Obviously this year, we need a little Christmas. We are excited to be a part of that.”

Carmon encouraged anyone who attends the parade to stay downtown afterward that day to enjoy the SoKY Ice Rink.

The Life’s Better Together Miracle on College Street Mile will also make its in-person return Dec. 4 after last year’s event was held virtually.

The one-mile run/walk at 9 a.m. serves as the kickoff for the Christmas parade.

Presented by ServPro of Warren County, the event will begin at Fountain Square Park. Participants will go up College Street before taking two left turns and ending the route in front of Pye-Barker Fire & Safety on State Street.

Participants will then be treated to a pancake breakfast after the race.

Organizers expect 400 to 500 people to take part in the event, and all proceeds will go to the nonprofit Life’s Better Together’s mission of providing direct financial assistance and support to families with a child or a parent battling an illness.

“This race is very important for us because it’s such a visual competent of what we are about,” said Danette Idlett, executive director of Life’s Better Together. “We are excited to be back in person, and we are excited the parade is back as well. We appreciate each and every person who comes out to participate that Saturday.”

Idlett said they have a “large following” of competitive runners who want to know how fast they can run a mile, but people of all ages and speeds are welcome.

There will be awards for the top three male/female and under 12 boy/girl finishing times. There is a $100 reward for top overall male and female finishers with an additional $25 to the winner who breaks the course record, which is 4:46.

The “Miracle 3:59” will return this year as well. This quarter-mile race is specifically designed for those with a mental or physical disability and will begin at 9:30 a.m.

Registration was $20 per person before Nov. 1 and is now $25 per individual. Groups of four or more receive a 10% discount. To receive the discount, register as a team and discount will be applied at checkout.

Individuals can register at lifesbettertogether.org/2021-miracle-on-college-street-mile/ or they can register the morning of the race outside Bowling Green Ballpark.

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

The Hub development looks to add more apartments

Bowling Green’s newest upscale apartment complex may be upsizing – again.

Developer David Chandler has applied for a rezoning that would increase the number of apartments in the 103-acre The Hub residential and commercial development he is piecing together off Lovers Lane.

Chandler wants to rezone 9.86 acres along Hub Boulevard and Cooksey Lane from highway business to multi-family residential to develop 210 more apartments. That rezoning application will be heard Thursday by the City-County Planning Commission of Warren County.

The property behind the American Bank & Trust headquarters building and the Morgan Stanley building that’s under construction wouldn’t be the first multi-family addition since Chandler and his partners broke ground on the development.

In April, the Warren County Design Review Board approved adding 216 apartments to the original plan that called for 590. The latest rezoning would put the number of apartments in the development above 1,000, which Chandler said had been a possibility all along.

“This is kind of phase two (of the apartment complex),” Chandler said. “It was in the back of my mind all along.

“Phase one has been received very well. Everything we have with a certificate of occupancy is either occupied or leased.”

That demand for the apartments that range in size from one to three bedrooms and in rent from $800 to $1,400 a month can be chalked up to Bowling Green’s growth and to the nature of the development, Chandler said.

“Demand is good,” he said. “Also, this (The Hub) is a special product, a high-end product. People want to be here.”

Chandler said amenities for The Hub apartments that have been completed or are in the works include a putting green, a dog park, fire pits, a car wash and grilling stations.

This latest multi-family addition should take about 18 months to complete, Chandler estimated, although The Hub hasn’t been immune to the delays that have plagued building projects during the coronavirus pandemic.

“There are still construction issues out there,” he said. “Mostly price increases and supply chain delays.”

While the apartment piece of The Hub continues to grow, the development’s centerpiece and most visible aspect is still the five-story, 195-room Embassy Suites by Hilton hotel that is nearing completion.

“We would like to have the hotel open in May,” Chandler said.

The Embassy Suites will include a 6,000-square-foot Tony’s Steakhouse, an upscale eatery that Chandler expects to be a good fit for the development.

“We’re firming up the Tony’s architectural plans,” Chandler said. “We’ll be able to work on the hotel and restaurant concurrently.”

This rezoning for the apartment expansion, if approved by the planning commission, will go to the Bowling Green City Commission for final approval.

– Follow business reporter Don Sergent on Twitter @BGDNbusiness or visit bgdailynews.com.

Suspect in BG rape case pleads not guilty, has bond reduced

A man accused of sexually assaulting a 10-year-old girl was arraigned Monday and had his bond modified.

Isias Hernandez, 37, of Bowling Green, appeared in Warren Circuit Court on charges of first-degree rape (victim less than 12 years of age), first-degree unlawful transaction with a minor, first-degree sexual abuse (victim less than 12 years of age), procuring or promoting the use of a minor (sexual offense) and custodial interference.

A not guilty plea was entered on Hernandez’s behalf by his attorney, David Cole.

Hernandez was arrested Sept. 5 after Bowling Green Police Department officers responded to a North Sunrise Drive residence.

The mother of the 10-year-old woke up that morning and realized the child was not in the home. She looked out the window and saw Hernandez’s vehicle parked in her driveway, court records said.

After walking outside, the mother saw Hernandez on top of the 10-year-old in the backseat of the vehicle with his pants off, an arrest citation said.

Questioned by police, Hernandez acknowledged the 10-year-old was in his vehicle, but “it wasn’t how it looked,” BGPD Detective Ryan Dillon said in Hernandez’s arrest citation.

Hernandez was jailed on a $50,000 cash bond, but Cole argued for a reduction to $10,000 cash.

Cole said the 10-year-old didn’t mention being sexually assaulted when police questioned her initially, and the allegation did not surface until she was interviewed by medical personnel at a hospital where she was taken for treatment.

Hernandez’s arrest citation said the girl reported that Hernandez took off her pants and then his own pants, adding that she did not want to elaborate.

A rape kit that was performed as part of the investigation revealed no evidence of sexual assault, Cole said.

Warren County Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney Daniel “Tres” Miller clarified that the rape kit did not produce evidence of physical trauma to the hymen.

Cole’s investigation has turned up a potential defense.

“I personally talked to a witness who said she overheard (the 10-year-old’s) mother and aunt trying to extort money from (Hernandez) and would get him in trouble if he didn’t pay,” Cole said.

Warren Circuit Judge John Grise said the charges were serious but added that an assessment of Hernandez by pretrial services showed a low probability that he would miss court dates or leave the area if he were released on bond.

“I think a $10,000 cash bond is a very substantial bond,” Grise said.

The first-degree rape count is punishable by 20 years to life in prison.

If released, Hernandez would be required to live with a friend in Bowling Green who Cole said would be willing to house Hernandez. The bond forbids Hernandez from having contact with any minors unrelated to him.

Grise set a pretrial conference for Dec. 20.

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

Biden signs $1T infrastructure bill with bipartisan audience

WASHINGTON – President Joe Biden signed his $1 trillion infrastructure deal into law Monday.

The president hopes to use the law to build back his popularity, which has taken a hit amid rising inflation and his inability to shake the public health and economic risks from COVID-19.

“My message to the American people is this: America is moving again and your life is going to change for the better,” Biden said on the White House lawn.

The final measure whittled down much of his initial vision to invest in roads, bridges, water systems, broadband, ports, electric vehicles and the power grid. Yet the administration hopes to sell the new law as a success that bridged partisan divides and will elevate the country with clean drinking water, high-speed internet and a shift away from fossil fuels.

“Too often in Washington – the reason we don’t get things done is because we insist on getting everything we want,” Biden said. “With this law, we focused on getting things done. I ran for president because the only way to move our country forward is through compromise and consensus.”

Biden will get outside Washington to sell the plan more broadly in coming days.

He intends go to New Hampshire on Tuesday to visit a bridge on the state’s “red list” for repair, and he will go to Detroit on Wednesday for a stop at General Motors’ electric vehicle assembly plant, while other officials also fan out across the country. The president went to the Port of Baltimore last week to highlight how the supply-chain investments from the law could limit inflation and strengthen supply chains, a key concern of Americans who are dealing with higher prices.

“We see this as is an opportunity because we know that the president’s agenda is quite popular,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said Monday before the signing. The outreach to voters can move “beyond the legislative process to talk about how this is going to help them. And we’re hoping that’s going to have an impact.”

Biden held off on signing the infrastructure deal after it passed Nov. 5 until legislators would be back from a congressional recess. On Sunday night before the signing, the White House announced Mitch Landrieu, the former New Orleans mayor, would help manage and coordinate the implementation of the infrastructure spending.

The gathering Monday on the White House lawn was celebratory with an upbeat brass band and peppy speeches, a contrast to the drama and tensions when the fate of the package was in doubt for several months. The speakers lauded the measure for creating jobs, combatting inflation and responding to the needs of voters.

Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican who helped negotiate the package, celebrated Biden’s willingness to jettison much of his initial proposal to help bring GOP lawmakers on board. Portman credited then-President Donald Trump for raising awareness about infrastructure.

“The approach from the center out should be the norm, not the exception,” Portman said.

In order to achieve a deal, the president had to cut back his initial ambition to spend $2.3 trillion on infrastructure by more than half. The bill that becomes law Monday in reality includes about $550 billion in new spending over 10 years, since some of the expenditures in the package were already planned.

The agreement ultimately got support from 19 Senate Republicans, including Senate GOP leader Mitch McConnell. Thirteen House Republicans also voted for the infrastructure bill.

McConnell said the country “desperately needs” the new infrastructure money, but he skipped Monday’s signing ceremony, telling WHAS radio in Louisville that he had “other things” to do.