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Hot business: Local company looks to fill need for temperature checks

As an experienced thermographer, Bowling Green’s John Harnage knows how to find hot spots in homes and commercial buildings. As a lifelong entrepreneur, he knows how to recognize what’s hot in the business world.

Now, amid perhaps the biggest business disruption since the Great Depression, Harnage is seizing an opportunity to marry those two passions and maybe make Bowling Green a hotbed for getting people back to work safely.

“Sixty days ago, sales of elevated body temperature systems were right at zero,” Harnage said. “Now everybody is going to need one.”

That epiphany came at about the time Harnage was celebrating his 50th birthday in March while wondering, like any business owner, if the coronavirus pandemic was going to ravage his fledgling Kentucky Thermal Institute.

Harnage started that enterprise in 2016, eventually setting up shop in the Small Business Accelerator at Western Kentucky University’s Center for Research and Development on Nashville Road.

Harnage and his three employees built a thriving business helping customers find problems with their electrical wiring, insulation and energy use.

“I was on cruise control, and we were headed for our best month ever,” Harnage said. “Then, like a balloon that pops, that was gone.”

It wasn’t the happiest of birthdays for Harnage. But he quickly found a new niche in the business of using thermal imaging to detect people with elevated body temperatures.

“The phone started ringing because our clients knew what we could do with thermal imaging,” Harnage said.

What Harnage’s company could do was meet a need that all businesses suddenly have: the ability to quickly and efficiently detect elevated body temperatures as one way of screening for the coronavirus.

Seemingly overnight, the Kentucky Thermal Institute found a growing demand for the products it carries in partnership with Flir Systems, a leading manufacturer of thermal imaging devices.

But Harnage wasn’t content to simply sell the devices to businesses, schools and restaurants. He wanted to put together a complete package for his clients that includes equipment, education and training.

“That’s what is going to separate us,” Harnage said. “We’re selling a system, not just a box. This is an opportunity for thermographers to be on the forefront.”

To help his customers get the training that will enable them to properly use the thermal imaging device, Harnage has opened a partnership with WKU to start an online education platform that will allow those who complete it to earn what he’s calling an “Elevated Body Temp Thermologist Certificate.”

Harnage believes such a system will allow companies and schools to use the equipment properly and get people back on the job. “Here in Bowling Green, we have the opportunity to lead the country in putting people back to work,” Harnage said. “We’ll probably do more educating than selling products.”

Bowling Green Area Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Ron Bunch believes Harnage and Kentucky Thermal Institute are on to something.

“What they’re offering will help businesses and help individuals feel more comfortable,” Bunch said. “That will help with the recovery. The partnership with WKU can create new career pathways and help businesses grow and stay safe.”

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

Playing for Mason Foundation makes $50K gift to CTES playground

From the basketball court dedicated in his honor to a character award that bears his name, the legacy of the late Mason Goodnight can be felt everywhere at Cumberland Trace Elementary School.

“His fingerprints are all over the place,” Wes Cottongim, the school’s principal, said of Mason, who was a fourth grade student at the school before he died from bacterial meningitis in 2017.

Now, thanks to a $50,000 donation from the Playing for Mason Foundation, that legacy will live on at the new Cumberland Trace Elementary School that is under construction and set to open in 2021.

The gift, made possible by an anonymous donor, will help cover the cost of a new, state-of-the-art playground at the school.

The Goodnight family has also committed to a $10,000 gift, paid over five years, to help fund the cost of the playground.

For Cottongim, the grant helps relieve a “tremendous” burden.

The school’s parent-teacher association has been selling commemorative bricks to help cover the cost of playground equipment, and every dollar counts, Cottongim said.

“It allows us to really move forward with other aspects of planning for the new school,” he said, adding the school is appreciative and humbled by the support.

To those who knew him best, Mason was in his element at recess, where he had the most fun.

Jef Goodnight, Mason’s father, can think of no better way to honor his son’s memory than to dedicate a playground – where children run and play – in his name.

“That was Mason,” said Jef Goodnight, who remembers his son as a caring boy who made a point of including others.

“He never got in trouble, and he never wanted to disappoint anybody,” Jef Goodnight said. “I know that he is smiling down, knowing that we have done this with this foundation in his name.”

Jef and his wife, Janna, have continued to stay involved in their son’s school. Each year, they help give an award to two sixth grade students, a boy and a girl, who exemplify some of Mason’s hallmark qualities – kindness, respect, humility and character.

This latest gift is an outgrowth of the gratitude Jef Goodnight said his family feels for the support they’ve received from the community during a difficult loss.

“For us to give back to this community … it really, really warms our hearts,” he said.

– To help support the fundraiser for Cumberland Trace’s new playground, visit the website at bit.ly/ 2Twhcjf.

Mason Goodnight, a student at Cumberland Trace Elementary School, died from bacterial meningitis in 2017.

Warren County's virus death total rises to five

Two more coronavirus-related deaths in Warren County – the county’s fourth and fifth to date – were announced Thursday by the Barren River District Health Department.

The first virus-related death in Barren County was also announced Thursday, along with a new death in Simpson County, to bring the total in the department’s eight-county region to 27. In all, there are now nine confirmed deaths in Edmonson County, six in Butler, five in Warren, three in both Simpson and Logan and one in Barren.

Overall cases in the health department’s district have risen to 1,356, including 879 in Warren, 209 in Butler, 112 in Logan, 54 in Edmonson, 43 in Simpson, 34 in Barren, 20 in Hart and five in Metcalfe. Of those, 478 people have reportedly recovered.

Meanwhile, the Barren River Area Development District’s COVID-19 Dashboard, which uses data from the state Department of Public Health, showed 1,408 cases Thursday in its 10-county region. Those include 878 in Warren, 218 in Butler, 108 in Logan, 51 in Edmonson, 44 in Allen, 43 in Simpson, 38 in Barren, 17 in Hart, seven in Monroe and four in Metcalfe.

In his daily briefing Thursday in Frankfort, Gov. Andy Beshear said there are now 8,286 coronavirus cases statewide, 135 of which are newly confirmed, and 111 are probable. The state’s virus-related death toll rose to 386, with 10 newly confirmed and one probable.

Of the 8,286 total cases, at least 3,008 have recovered, 47 are currently hospitalized and 92 are in intensive care.

Meanwhile, Cabinet for Health and Family Services Secretary Eric Friedlander announced in-home child care may reopen June 8, and center-based, licensed child care programs may reopen to all families June 15.

“Child care is one of the areas we know is critical to reopening the economy. It is critical to parents and has been critical to our essential workers,” he said. “It’s always a balance between protecting ourselves and our families and going back to being Healthy at Work.”

He said child care providers will be provided additional funding for both cleaning and personal protective equipment.

Under the state’s Healthy at Work guidelines for child care programs, groups should have a maximum size of 10 children and shouldn’t be combined with others.

Staffers in charge should remain with the same group all day.

Playground time should be staggered between groups, field trips and centerwide family events should be eliminated and “centralized” drop-off and pick-up locations should be used.

Additionally, any adult in a child care program must wear a face mask. Children ages 5 or younger should not, and older children may wear them if able. The full list of guidelines is available at kycovid19.ky.gov.

Beginning May 23, Friedlander said families with students eligible for free or reduced-price meals may receive up to $313.50 per child in food assistance through a federal coronavirus relief program.

Beshear also announced restaurants reopening Friday may increase indoor capacity from 33 percent to 50 percent June 29. Bars can also reopen and groups of 50 or fewer people may congregate again July 29.

“Based on the numbers we are seeing right now, we think we will be responsible and that we can hit it at that time,” Beshear said. “It all depends on how good we do at being Healthy at Work.”

A reporter asked if hospitals are paid more through Medicare or Medicaid if a patient is diagnosed with the virus or is on a ventilator.

Kentucky Public Health Commissioner Dr. Steven Stack said the payment rates for federal funding and private insurers are already set “globally or negotiated as part of a contract.”

Friedlander added that “we haven’t seen any of that.”

In response to a question about a U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website revision stating the virus “does not spread easily” from touching surfaces or from animals to people, Beshear said that’s good news.

“Cleaning is still really important for a number of reasons, and people shouldn’t be lulled into a false security,” he said.

Another reporter asked about U.S. Sen. Mitch McConnell’s desire to end the extra $600-a-week federal unemployment benefit in the next coronavirus relief bill because in some cases it is paying people more to remain unemployed than they would earn if they went back to work.

“I think we’re gonna have plenty of people ready to go back to work. What I want to make sure is that people who need help are getting help … I’m not for cutting the benefits that they are getting at this time,” Beshear said.

He was also asked if there is pressure to find another way for Kentuckians to vote in the upcoming primary election amid President Donald Trump’s recent criticism of mail-in absentee ballots.

“It was a bipartisan agreement between myself and the secretary of state … I believe tomorrow the portal will go live for absentee ballots,” he said.

“It will be the safest way to vote here in June.”

– Follow multimedia journalist Emily Zantow on Twitter @EmilyZantowNews or visit bgdailynews.com.

Suspect in BG double slaying brought to Warren County

A Bowling Green man under indictment in a 2018 double homicide has been brought back to the area from another detention facility.

Juan Paulo Flores-Jarada, 38, was booked Wednesday into the Warren County Regional Jail and served with the indictment charging him with two counts of murder.

Flores-Jarada is accused of causing the deaths of Deloris Hampton-Stacker, 62, and Karen L. Burks, 53, whose bodies were found Dec. 11, 2018, inside Burks’ residence at 2108 Rock Creek Drive, Apt. 2.

The indictment alleges the two women died from multiple sharp force injuries inflicted by Flores-Jarada.

An investigation by the Bowling Green Police Department led to a Warren County grand jury returning the indictment in January after hearing testimony from BGPD Detective Kyle Scharlow.

Before being transferred to the Warren County jail, Flores-Jarada was being held in a West Virginia prison on unrelated charges, according to the BGPD.

Flores-Jarada is anticipated to be arraigned in the near future in Warren Circuit Court, Warren County Commonwealth’s Attorney Chris Cohron said in a text message.

In December 2018, city police were called to Burks’ apartment regarding an unknown trouble.

When officers arrived, they were met by a woman who reported that someone was lying against the back door of the apartment and appeared to be surrounded by blood, according to a city police report.

Police later identified the victim found against the door as Burks.

The back door was unlocked, but police were unable to fully open it because of the weight of the body against the door.

Officers went to the front door and found it locked and with blood on the handle, according to city police.

BGPD officers forced entry into the apartment and located the bodies. Stacker was found lying in the living room, covered in blood, police records show.

Flores-Jarada was arrested in April 2019 by BGPD on unrelated charges after a traffic stop.

He was determined by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement officials to be in the U.S. illegally and would go on to be charged in federal court with a count of illegal reentry after deportation/removal.

Federal court records showed Flores-Jarada had been previously deported twice, including once in 2008 after a federal conviction in Texas for conspiring to import marijuana.

Flores-Jarada pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to the illegal reentry charge and was sentenced in January to 10 months in prison.

“Prior removals, a federal felony conviction and subsequent contact with law enforcement have done little to deter the defendant from illegally entering the United States and committing additional crimes,” Assistant U.S. Attorney Leigh Ann Dycus said in a sentencing memorandum in the federal case that was filed Jan. 14, eight days before Flores-Jarada was charged with two counts of murder.

Flores-Jarada is jailed under a $500,000 cash bond.

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