For more than three decades, Hayswood Hospital has stood abandoned on a hill overlooking downtown Maysville.

The old hospital has become a magnet for ghost hunters and adventurous kids. But issues with materials once used when it was a medical facility and asbestos used in the structure have complicated any attempts to clean up the property.

But those issues may soon be addressed now that the Hayswood property has been sold, officials said Friday.

The property was purchased by Stitch Up Properties LLC of Brandenburg, according to information from the Mason County Clerk’s office. Brian J. Stitch is listed as one of the officers and a purchase price of $50,000 was disclosed. Calls to Stitch’s phone were not returned by Friday afternoon.

Hayswood was built in the 1920s and renovated several times over the years, the last time in the 1970s. It was left empty in 1983 following the opening of Meadowview Regional Medical Center on Kentucky 9 AA Highway.

The property was originally purchased by Ester Johnson of Classic Properties in 1994 at a public auction for $42,000. Johnson, who had rehabbed the old Maysville High School building into apartments, said at the time she planned to renovate the Hayswood building into high end apartmetns. But funding for the project never came about although Johnson retained ownership.

In 2002, city officials talked about condemning the building and razing the structure, even though it was still under the ownership of Johnson and Classic Properties. At a cost of more than $1 million for asbestos abatement, the plan was abandoned. Later, there was talk of applying for a grant to pay the costs of the abatement but because it remained in private hands that never developed beyond the discussion stage.

In 2013, the property’s unpaid tax bill was sold to Tax Ease Lien Servicing for nearly $6,000 in unpaid property taxes from 2008 and 2009. Johnson, acting as E.D. Haye Inc., asked that the property be offered for auction but later withdrew the request.

The city has fielded complaints from residents of the downtown area about the building for years but has been unable to find a solution for the problem the building posses. Perhaps the latest development will change that, Maysville Mayor David Cartmell said.

“Anything is better than letting it sit there and deteriorate,” the mayor said. “Every sale brings an opportunity, especially as cheaply as it could be purchased.”

The hospital has earned so much notoriety on the internet among ghost hunters that is draws people who want to explore the abandoned building, Cartmell said. That means police officers spend time that could be better spent keeping people out of the empty, and even dangerous structure and chasing vandals away, he said.

The sale is also good news for people who live in the neighborhood where the hospital is located, Cartmell said. Rehabbing the property, considered an anchor property, should increase their property values, he said.

The unpleasant weather and high winds caused some power outages and downed trees for parts of Mason County over the weekend.

Mason County Emergency Management Director Clay Buser said power lines were knocked down and subsequently caused a loss of electricity in the Jersey Ridge area as well as the northeastern part of the county on Saturday.

Power to Jersey Ridge was out for most of the afternoon and evening, said Buser. It was restored some time last night by Kentucky Utilities.

The loss of power in the northeastern part of the county occurred some time Saturday night, around 9 to 10 p.m, and was caused by the second round of high winds, he said. It was also restored some time Saturday night by Fleming Mason Energy.

In one of the more unusual events, a full sized trampoline from someone’s yard took flight in the high winds Saturday and finally came to rest on top of a utility pole in the Orangeburg area, according to a social media post from the Orangeburg Volunteer Fire Department.

Buser also reported that trees had been uprooted within the city limits of Jersey Ridge as well, Kentucky 8 and the Rectorville-Plumville area.

Buser said that despite the downed trees and fallen lines, he had received no property damage reports.

In West Union, Ohio, Saturday afternoon, a blown and malfunctioning transformer also caused a loss of power to Walmart. The transformer was located in the Walmart parking lot. Police said that the main high voltage wire to the transformer was arcing and catching flame.

The parking lot was taped off by police and the West Union Police Department guarded the entrance to prevent the community from entering.

According to Lt. Ryan Myers of the West Union Police Department, this occurrence has happened to the transformer before.

RIPLEY, Ohio — Two village officials have resigned from their duties effective immediately as volatile contentions arise with newly elected mayor, Dallas Kratzer.

In his resignation letter, former Village Administrator Travis Dotson, said that he would not be able to continue as the administrator because it was clear that Kratzer did not value his input nor want his assistance.

“I have a limited amount of time that I can devote to Ripley. It would not benefit the village if I were to continue in an adversarial relationship with the mayor,” said Dotson.

Dotson said in the letter that he had been prepared to resign following a rather disputatious meeting with Kratzer on Jan. 3. Over the course of an hour, the mayor acted aggressively and attempted to intimidate Dotson, according to the letter.

“Dallas arrived and was upset that I was in his office, [he] became aggressive immediately and attempted to intimidate me. He was offended that I would suggest that the administrator needing an office was more important than the mayor needing an office, and stated that I was never here anyway,” said Dotson.

“He stated that he expected me to be there to greet him on the morning of Jan. 2. He stated that I was an outsider and was really not welcome here and that I did not have any idea what the people of Ripley wanted. He stated that he was unsure of my motives [and] was skeptical that I was here to help improve the village,” said Dotson.

In the letter of resignation, Dotson also said that Kratzer told him that he had instructed the employees to report to him, and to “not worry about [Dotson].” Kratzer also said that Dotson was not accomplishing anything and that he knew more after 24 hours on the job than Dotson was able to gather in a month. Dotson said Kratzer told him that he should not have been hired and that the administrator should be a resident of the village.

“We discussed the garbage. He wanted to know what I thought about it. I told him that I thought it would be in the best interest of the village to switch to Rumpke, but that I felt like council was not ready to make that move and that it was their decision. He responded, ‘I feel, I feel, I don’t care what you feel’. He stated that I was kicking the can down by the road by not switching to Rumpke. I stated that it was not my decision. He stated that I was responsible [for] sending unsafe garbage trucks out on to the streets,” said Dotson.

Following the encounter, Dotson spoke with Tom Mayes, the village solicitor. Mayes suggested that he schedule a meeting where he, Dotson and Kratzer could sit down to try and reconcile their differences. Dotson said that unfortunately, that was not possible.

Despite the circumstances, Dotson said in his letter that he has been truly humbled by the warm reception that he had received from the residents of the village.

“There are so many residents who are working hard to make this village a better place, and I truly hope they find success. I would like to thank you for allowing me the opportunity to assist the Village of Ripley as its administrator. I have enjoyed my time there. I believe that Ripley is a special place and has great potential,” he said.

Dotson said if there was a change in leadership or the village needed assistance in the future, to not hesitate to contact him.

On Jan. 10, a letter of resignation from Thomas Mays was written to Kratzer. The letter was formally typed with a header that read “McConn, Cutrell, Purdy and Mayes: Attorneys-at-Law.”

“Please accept this letter as written notice that I am resigning as the village solicitor, effective immediately. Given the attitude of the new administration, I do not feel that I am in a position to effectively represent the village,” Mayes wrote.

“I highly recommend that the search for a solicitor start immediately,” he said. Mayes said he will assist in any way possible and be available to whomever the council hires to answer questions and provide insight to the village’s unique legal needs.

“I want to thank you and council for permitting me the opportunity to serve the village and its residents. I certainly wish you, council and the residents of the Village of Ripley the very best in the future,” said Mayes.

Kyle Caudill of Morehead is an inventor, a businessman, a teacher, a tool designer, a machinist and a big fan of Maysville Community and Technical College.

Not only did he get his education at what is now the Rowan Campus of MCTC in machine tool technology, now called computerized manufacturing and machining, he learned how to weld and fabricate with metal, among other skills.

Kyle Caudill the machinist put that expertise and experience to work for Bluegrass Manufacturing in Lexington, locally for Morehead Machining, for Toyota in Georgetown and in a millwright apprenticeship that further broadened his skillset and intensified his interest in lean manufacturing.

“My late father, Chester Caudill, was a master carpenter and he strongly encouraged me to do that apprenticeship just in case my other plans didn’t work out,” Kyle recalls. “I am grateful for his good advice then because that experience helped me hone my blueprint skills which are so critical in what I am doing now in design, machining and fabrication.”

Today, Kyle Caudill the businessman is president of his family-owned company, 4C-Innovations, LLC. He is managing a thriving, growing enterprise that literally is on the cutting edge in agriculture for organic crops and the hemp industry through the manufacture of the “Hemp Hawk.”

Invented and sold by A-I Implements of Winchester and partially redesigned by Caudill at 4C-Innovations, the “Hawk” is pulled behind a tractor while its seated operators can cultivate up to four rows of hemp or other plants quickly and efficiently.

Caudill’s company currently is building 20 of the machines at the rate of two per week but likely will increase that pace when his firm moves into a larger facility now on the drawing board.

4C-Innovations also does machining work for several Fortune 500 companies in the automotive sector and Caudill has hired several MCTC graduates and students to develop their skills on CNC lathes, milling machines, routers, plasma cutters and other high-tech devices.

“We also are utilizing students from the MCTC welding program whenever possible to help fabricate parts of our products,” Caudill added. “That is another valuable, real-world work experience.”

He credits Mike Davis, his retired former professor at MCTC, with igniting his passion for high-tech entrepreneurship.

“Mike was always ahead of the curve in terms of new ideas in machining and that helped me to be alert to opportunities,” Caudill said. “Kenny Barnett, who replaced Mike, is doing much the same with his students today. I’m also impressed by the welding students of Nick Pecco.”

They also have patented a device for loading and unloading a pontoon boat to and from a trailer, as well as improving the design of a rubber-covered practice drumhead for young drummers.

“I just like the challenge of being innovative in finding better ways of getting things done, for work or play,” he said.

Kyle Caudill, the teacher, has taught several of his employees the basic skills of other crafts so they are cross-trained and able to step up in scheduling emergencies.

The name of 4C-Innovations, LLC, comes from the four Caudill family members involved originally – Kyle, his father Chester, his mother Imogene, and his brother Kevin.

RIPLEY, Ohio — Dallas Kratzer was elected Ripley Village Mayor on Dec. 10,and gracefully slid into the role on Jan. 1. He brings with him a background in law enforcement and leadership.

Mr. Kratzer was the sheriff of Clinton County for one full term from 1976 to 1981, but chose not to run for a second term. In the past he was a member of Ripley Village Council and decided he would like the opportunity to help make Ripley a better place for everyone and ran for the mayor’s seat.

“I am excited and proud to be mayor of Ripley,” Kratzer said. “I look forward to working with council on many ongoing projects and I campaigned that I would never give up on getting a grocery store back in this village, and that is my plan. I never say never.

“Once a store like our IGA Store closeds its doors for several years, it is really hard to bring it back. But I do plan on talking to the owner of that building as soon as I can. He is only one of a lot of people I’d like to have a one-on-one conversation with.”

Kratzer continued, “You know, I hear this, and I hear that about someone or some situation, but until I can discuss the options directly, I can’t truly say what can be done.”

Kratzer also said he has met with Ripley Police Chief Josh Miller on several occasions already and he feels he will be able to work well with Miller and they seem to have a good start.

“Having been in law enforcement in the past, I can see that officers today face different challenges than I did,” Kratzer said. “When I was a sheriff, anyone I dealt with, I pretty much had the expectation that the person was not carrying a gun. But today’s officers operate with the expectation that the person is carrying a gun.”

“I want it known that whatever I decide to do, it will be, only for the good of Ripley. I would also like to see the majority of our key people in the village have their residence in Ripley.”

Kratzer said he plans on running council meetings a little differently than they have been run in the past. For example, he said, specific topics being discussed will not run on and on during the meetings.

“Most issues will be decided within a committee then brought to full council for a vote,” Kratzer said. “Committee chair’s will make a recommendation to council, then be opened up for discussion and a vote.

“There is a book called Ohio Village Officer’s Handbook that spells out every possible phase of running a village like our little town. I would like to see each council member with a copy.”

Kratzer said he wants the village to stick to and use the Roberts Rules of Order which it approves each year. He also wants any and all visitors to the meeting to not only sign their names, but also the reason they want to speak at the meeting, that way council won’t be blind-sided and be better prepared to deal with an issue. Each guest will have a limit of five minutes, in most cases, to present their issue to council.

He said at each meeting on the agenda will be a specific time to discuss any old news still pending from back meetings.

“There will be no more kicking the can down the road, and no decision made on old issues,” Kratzer said. He said he plans on looking seriously into the village finances and get utility costs to the place they should be for a village the size of Ripley.

“The utility rates in our village should at least break even each month and that isn’t happening,” Mayor Kratzer said. “We have a dedicated water plant supervisor in Kerry Burns and he’s doing a wonderful job. He has his ideas on what’s needed and other people have their ideas. But until this village gets a study done on exactly what needs to be done, nothing is going to change.”

According to village fiscal officer Brooke Butcher, village administrator Travis Dotson is in the process of doing his own study for the village.

Kratzer went on to say he is very concerned over the dying downtown area of the village. He said even if its one building at a time, the downtown district must be revitalized.

“That river should be our gold mine, even if it’s just seasonal,” Kratzer said. “We have four amazing museums in our village, for a village our size, that’s a really big deal. We’re currently working on building a nice dock where people can come into our village from the river, but you can’t bring visitors into a town that every other building is empty and boarded up.”

Kratzer also said he believes the village needs a full time administrator, not a part-time administrator. The village should be run like a business. He said he is excited about his first meeting set for Tuesday, Jan. 14.

“Homeland Security recently put out a press release about this,” he said. “But, in their flyer, the money shown are larger bills. The bills we have here are $5 bills.”

“We don’t know if it is even a real credit card,” he said. “But, we’ve had two reports of people with cards opened in their names.”

Boggs said if anyone is concerned that this may have happened to them, he encourages them to call the credit reporting agencies to to put a watch on their Social Security numbers and run a credit check.

“They can check their report to see if anything has been opened in their name recently,” Boggs said. “If so, they can file a report with our office. Unfortunately, a lot of these scams originate overseas and it can be hard to track them, but we can still file a report.”

AUGUSTA — The 2020-2021 Augusta Independent School draft budget was approved during a regular meeting on Wednesday.

According to AIS Superintendent Lisa McCane, the draft budget is a preliminary projection for the fiscal year and is not finalized.

During the presentation on the budget, McCane said local tax revenues have increased by 3 percent. Tuition revenue is also projected to remain consistent with the current year of $15,600.

Total expenditures are budgeted to be $2.9 million. The fund balance is projected to be $509,409 with a contingency of 16.8 percent.

The board also approved a resolution accepting funds that were bequeathed to the district from the estate of a woman who once attended AIS.

“We were as surprised as anyone,” McCane said. “Mr. Litteral received a letter from an attorney with the estate of Linda Mills that she had bequeathed funds to the school district — 50 percent of her JP IRA account — and the only catch is that we don’t know how much it is.”

According to AIS Board Member Laura Bach, Linda Mills, who used to be Linda Wagel, was a graduate in the 1960s.

“She was a very popular lady in the 1960s and she loved the school very much,” Bach said. “She had no children and her husband died several years ago. I think it’s a wonderful thing.”

“I think it really speaks volumes when your deceased alumni think about your school to leave part of their estate,” she said. “I don’t think, in your larger school districts, you will have that kind of generosity. That’s just wonderful. Even if it is just $100 to $1,000, for them to think of us — that’s wonderful.”

At the meeting, McCane also informed board members about where the school district stands in regards to the residency dispute with Bracken County Schools.

“The only new information that I have is that Bracken County had filed the appeal after circuit court ruled in our favor,” McCane said. “They had filed an extension for their appeal, but apparently withdrew the extension and it’s my understanding their brief is due on the 10th. After that, the clock starts ticking. I don’t know for certain if it is 30 or 60 days that we should have some information there.”

The dispute has been ongoing for more than two years and began when Bracken County Superintendent Jeff Aulick requested a hearing with parents who had children attending AIS that he believed should be attending Bracken County Schools.

Findings from the hearings were sent to the Kentucky Department of Education and Education Commissioner Wayne Lewis ruled that AIS had “acted in bad faith.” His ruling was later upheld by the Kentucky Board of Education. In June, McCane and Aulick attended a hearing in Frankfort before 48th District Circuit Court Judge Thomas D. Wingate. In September, Wingate vacated the initial ruling by the KDE stating a lack of jurisdiction on KDE’s part.

— Election of board officers. Julie Moore is the new board chair, Dionne Laycock is the new board vice chair, McCane is the secretary and Tim Litteral is the treasurer.

— McCane announcing the Read to Achieve grant will continue. The grant allows the district to have the reading intervention program.

— McCane announcing the middle school had 100 percent attendance on high attendance day. The school won $500 for it.

A former mayor is among those who have filed for four slots on Maysville City Commission, according to information from Mason County Clerk Stephanie Schumacher.

Nine candidates filed meaning they slate of commissioner candidates will appear in the May primary ballot, she said. The top eight will transfer to the November ballot with the top four winning election.

Among those who filed by the 4 p.m., deadline Friday are incumbent commissioners Victor McKay, Jeff Brammer, Kelly Ashley and Andrew Wood; former mayor David Cartmell; along with John J.C. Bess, David C. Doyle, Stephanie McCoy Gastauer and Ann Brammer.

A third person has filed to become a candidate for the Kentucky House of Representatives 70th District seat.

Rob Conn of Flemingsburg, a Republican, joins Craig Miller of Augusta and William Lawrence of Maysville in the race to replace John Sims Jr. who has said he will not run for reelection.

Miller is the lone Democrat in the Primary Election and as such will automatically be on the November General Election ballot. He will face off against Connor Lawrence, both Republicans. The winner of that race will be decided in the May Primary Election.

Friday was the final day for candidates to declare and file papers with the Secretary of State or their county clerk, in the case of local races.

In the Fourth District, U.S. Congressman Thomas Massie of Garrison will face opposition in the primary race from Todd V. McMurtry of Covington. The top vote-getter in that contest will face the winner of the Democratic primary — either Shannon Fabst of Hebron or Alexandra Owensby of Fort Thomas.

WEST UNION, Ohio — The main high voltage wire to a transformer in the Walmart parking lot began arcing and catching flame on Saturday, said officials.

According to Lt. Ryan Myers of the West Union Police Department, this occurrence has happened to the transformer before.

According to a representative of AEP, who declined to disclose her name, the power is expected to be restored by 4 p.m. The outage reason is listed as a “line down.”

State highway crews will temporarily close part of Kentucky 1448 (Stone Lick Road) in Mason County next week to install a drainage pipe under the highway, officials with the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet said Friday.

Beginning at 8 a.m., Monday, Jan. 13, crews will close Kentucky 1448 at milepoint 3 between the Colliver Drive loop entrances to replace the culvert. The road will remain closed until about 3:30 p.m., with local traffic only permitted past the Kentucky 3313 (Taylor Mill Road) and Kentucky 9 AA Highway intersections.

Detour signs will not be posted due to the short duration of the work, but traffic can use Kentucky 9 and Kentucky 3313 to reroute during the closure.

Road work schedules are subject to change depending on weather conditions. Motorists are asked to heed all warning signs, slow down in work zones and remain aware of workers and construction equipment when traveling.

Longtime Maysville-Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Vicki Steigleder has announced her retirement.

In a letter addressed to Chamber Board Chair Gerry Schumacher, Steigleder said she will be leaving her post on June 30.

“I have truly enjoyed working for the Chamber for the last 16 1/2 years and the opportunities afforded me to work with a variety of businesses and their employees,” Steigleder said.

Steigleder said in the letter that she and her husband, Steve, are ready to enter a new phase of their lives.

“Steve and I are ready to move on to the next chapter in our lives and plan to move to Texas where we can be closer to our children and grandchildren,” Steigleder said.

“It has been a privilege to represent Maysville and Mason County on many levels,” she said. “I know that the many friendships I have made will last well into the future.”

“We are at once delighted and disheartened to announce that Vicki Steigleder is retiring effective June 30, 2020. Vicki has been a tremendous leader for the Maysville-Mason County Area Chamber of Commerce. She has brought the Chamber up to the 21st Century with her tireless works and efforts,” he said.

Schumacher said the Chamber’s board of directors will meet to begin the search for a new executive director.

“The executive team will meet soon to get a list of candidates to review,” he said. The goal is to fill the position so someone is ready to step in quickly upon Steigleder’s retirement.

With her retirement nearly six months in the future, Steigleder said she still has goals for her tenure at the Chamber,.

“I still have things that I want to accomplish in the first six months of 2020 and look forward to working with you all,” she said in her letter.

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