David Brock, The Advocate Messenger

Danville City Commission accepted the resignation of Police Chief Jay Newell on Monday. Newell, who served as chief of the department for four years, was granted voluntary reassignment to his previous position as a patrol officer. He cited personal health concerns as the primary reason for the decision.

Some residents vented their ongoing frustrations Monday night during what at times was a raucous Danville City Commission meeting. The tone was set when local attorney Mark Morgan, who was listed as a speaker on the agenda, once again leveled accusations of selective code enforcement initiated against him by former Interim City Manager John W.D. Bowling and Mayor Bernie Hunstad.

As Danville begins its fifth month without a permanent city manager, the City Commission is back to reconsidering the use of an executive search firm. The commission heard a presentation Tuesday on a new benchmarking service provided by the Kentucky League of Cities and decided to compare the costs of an in-house search with the cost of contracting with several search firms that made their pitches in August.

A group dedicated to fostering friendship between Danville and Carrickfergus, Northern Ireland, hopes the bond could lead to a visit from some royal newlyweds. When Prince William and Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge were married in April, one of their three titles bestowed on them within the realm of Great Britain was Baron and Baroness of Carrickfergus. While the traditional gesture probably didn't register much with many observers, it gave some members of the Danville Sister Cities Commission a big idea.

Clay Jackson / The Advocate-Messenger

Danville has never had a shortage of transplants from other places, but several online and print publications recently have taken notice of what the town offers those who want enjoy a full and active lifestyle. The most attention has come from an article in this month's edition of Money magazine, which named Danville one of the top five places to retire in its print edition and included it among a list of 25 retirement destinations in an online list. The town also will be featured in Where to Retire magazine in November.

It hasn't taken long for Danville to write some history since going wet last year. In fact, the owners of the town's second and newest brewing operation will tell you last month's opening makes Danville the per-capita capital of microbrewing. "There is one brewery for every 7,500 people now," Lee Rossman said Tuesday, with a smile, before wife and co-owner Ashley added that this moves Danville slightly ahead of Portland, Ore.

The big show is planned for 2012, but a blast of fall weather and lower than usual turnout didn’t stop re-enactors from hunkering down on the grounds of Perryville Battlefield State Historic Site for the final commemoration before next year’s 150th anniversary of the Civil War battle.

Small deeds after a loss — a garage painted and a lawn mowed for a grieving mother. They were jobs Lou Ann Abbott’s late son, Tim, a basketball coach and educational aide, might have done, but they were finished Wednesday by his players. On the afternoon of Aug. 2, Burgin Independent School's first day of classes, Tim Abbott, 45, died of an apparent heart attack while walking his dogs at Millennium Park in Danville. The weeks that followed have brought sorrow and attempts at healing for those who loved him.

It looks as if the first part of the Danville city manager search will be conducted by a body of citizens and commissioners, but much of the process still remains uncertain. Mayor Bernie Hunstad’s proposal Monday would have included hiring an outside executive search firm as well as naming a seven-person citizens committee to provide oversight of the process. After a lengthy discussion, though, commissioners opted to start the search process without hiring a firm, instead leaving the initial search up to the committee.

Few political figures incite more interest than U.S. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., and his appearance Thursday in Danville didn't fail to draw crowds of both supporters and detractors. Paul was the featured speaker at the Danville-Boyle County Chamber of Commerce Public Policy Series luncheon at the Danville Country Club. He drew easily the largest crowd yet — well over 100 people — as well as the first throng of protestors to show up for one of the events.

Boyle County Senior Citizens Center may soon become a testing ground for using computer technology to bridge mental and generational divides for the elderly. On Tuesday, Jack York, founder and president of It’s Never 2 Late, gave a presentation for the staff and community members to show what his company has been doing at nursing homes for many years. The Colorado-based company uses 23-inch Hewlett Packard touch screens with large icons leading to interactive programs that can be accessed by even those with severe cases of dementia.

A gas leak at a construction site briefly shut down a Danville street Monday morning, forcing the evacuation of a nearby Centre College building and putting glass-blowing equipment in jeopardy. The street was shut down for about an hour, and the few people in the arts building, including Professor Stephen Rolfe Powell and one of his assistants, were evacuated.

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Danville has another interim city manager. After almost two hours in executive session Monday, the City Commission unanimously approved hiring Ron Scott to take over the position left vacant when John W.D. Bowling resigned last week. Scott, who moved from Frankfort to a farm on U.S. 127 in 1993, worked for the Kentucky League of Cities for 26 years, including 15 years as the assistant executive director and director of insurance and risk management. Since retiring from KLC in 2001, he has worked as a contract lobbyist for Preservation Kentucky.

UPDATE: Interim City Manager John W.D. Bowling stepped down from the position Tuesday, saying he feared for his safety after a threat was made on his life, but an attorney who said he represents the man accused of making the threat claims his client is innocent. Attorney Ephraim Helton of Danville, who also represented Paul Stansbury during his dismissal as city manager earlier this year, said late Tuesday that the perceived threat in question was actually only banter between employees.

As he walked around a busy construction site on a sunny day this week, Northpoint Training Center Warden Steve Haney acknowledged how fresh the memories of the fiery night in 2009 still seem. "It's hard to believe it's almost been two years, it really is," Haney said during a tour of the rebuilding project. No serious injuries or deaths were reported, but six buildings, including the kitchen, canteen, and multipurpose buildings burned and had to be razed. There was also significant damage to several of the dorms.

Centre College is moving forward with plans to locate two new sports fields on land once occupied by some agricultural landmarks. In the last several months, the college has acquired the former Boyle County Stockyards and Farmers Tobacco Warehouse No. 1 sites. Michael Strysick, Centre’s director of communications, said plans include a multipurpose field that could serve as a playing surface for sports, including field hockey and lacrosse, on the corner of Dillehay and Hope streets.

After decades of prohibition, the second Boyle County city in less than two years will vote whether to go wet this October. Boyle Judge-Executive Harold McKinney has signed an order certifying that the petition seeking alcohol sales was valid and setting Tuesday, Oct. 4, as the election date.

Clay Jackson / The Advocate Messenger

For something that melts rather quickly, Mom Blakeman's Creamed Pull Candy has showed remarkable staying power. "It is really still the best kept secret anywhere," said Pam Williams, who runs the store and the company's day-to-day operations. "It's also one of the most unique candies anywhere." The secret was out Friday as those responsible for maintaining the legacy of Lancaster's buttery smooth signature confection celebrated the product's 50th birthday with a packed party at the current store where the candy is now made and sold.

Clay Jackson / The Advocate-Messenger

As area building projects have ground to a halt over the last few years, Danville's Centre College has only seemed to pick up the pace of property acquisition and new development. Most recently, the college purchased the Hope Street properties long occupied by Boyle County Stockyards, which has already been razed, and Farmers Tobacco Warehouse Number 1, still in the demolition process.

A petition is circulating at local gas stations that seeks to legalize alcohol sales in the Boyle County town of Junction City, taking advantage of the city’s recent upgrade in classification. If the petition is certified by the county clerk and judge-executive, residents would vote later this year on whether to become fully wet, allowing for licenses including retail beer and package liquor.

If the walls of the soon-to-be toppled Farmers Tobacco Warehouse No. 1 in Danville could talk, their stories would fill volumes. Owner Jerry Rankin has heard most of them over the years. “This has just been a special place,” Rankin said. Rankin confirmed Tuesday that a deal with Centre College is being finalized that will sell the landmark that has stood on the corner of Russell and Hope streets since 1927. He declined to discuss the specifics of the sale until it is finalized, only saying Centre paid a fair price for the property. Demolition is set to begin early next week.

Danville City Commission approved a release agreement with Paul Stansbury at a Friday afternoon meeting that will pay the former city manager a year of salary and benefits worth a total of about $116,000.
Stansbury — who had been suspended pending a final resolution on his termination — will receive remaining sick time and vacation time, totalling about $11,000, and his $80,000 annual salary in two lump sum payments of $40,000. The first payment will come within 21 days and the second during January of 2012.