Gatton Academy of Mathematics and Science earned first place after a grueling round of multiple-choice and short- answer science questions Friday at the Department of Energy Regional Science Bowl at West Kentucky Community & Technical College.
The team was competing against Calloway County High School, which took home second place. Paducah Tilghman High School won third.
Nineteen teams from 14 western Kentucky schools, including home schools, participated in the regional competition. Questions covered a range of scientific topics, such as physics, biology and math.
Buzz Smith, co-coordinator of the event, said he was impressed by the students’ intelligence.
“Each school picks the best and the brightest,” he said.
‘Beat Beethoven!’ run
The Paducah Symphony Orchestra will hold its second annual “Beat Beethoven!” 5K run and walk at Shelter 10 of Noble Park on March 16. Registration is open until March 14.
This run ties in the music of “Beethoven’s 5th Symphony” and other music education elements. The goal is to complete the course before the music ends, beating Beethoven. Prizes will be awarded to participants who do.
Participants of all ages and abilities are invited to walk or run to the sounds of the musical masterpiece. Race day registration will begin at 7:30 a.m. The 5K run begins at 9 a.m., followed by the one-mile youth run at 10 a.m. Pre-registration for the 5K is $25. Race day 5K registration is $30. Youth run registration is $15.
Runners may register online at PaducahSymphony.org.
Website service bolsters
alerts for McCracken
It is on the eve of the most active storm season for western Kentucky that McCracken County officials launched McCrackenAlert.com. The website will add to the area’s wealth of weather and emergency alert systems, but McCracken County Emergency Management Director Paul Carter doesn’t mind the redundancy.
“It’s just another backup, maybe after you have turned off the television for the night or you silenced your radios to go to bed,” Carter said. “This will knock right at your door — or in this case it will send you a text message or call you — to tell you that you should be alert.”
The website’s main page has an option to check boxes for natural disaster alerts, law enforcement alerts or community information notifications. There are boxes at the bottom to enter a phone number, and once all information is verified the company will issue an automated confirmation call. Carter and his team have the option to issue notifications via text message or voice calls.
While there are alert systems in place already — there are weather alerts available through the National Weather Service, phone apps that warn of impending danger and weather radios are popular in the area — McCracken’s new alert system will differ in that it offers community alerts as well. The sheriff’s department will be able to issue crime or missing person alerts. Both emergency personnel and deputies will be able to issue information about wrecks in the county and detours to avoid traffic.
Saturday delivery might cease
Longer delivery times and fewer employee hours loom as the immediate effects in Paducah if the U.S. Postal Service is allowed to discontinue Saturday mail delivery.
The Postal Service said that it plans to cut back to five-day-a-week deliveries beginning in August for everything except packages to stem its financial losses.
If Congress allows the change, Paducahans sending mail on Friday will not have it delivered until Monday, said Gerl McKinney, the local American Postal Workers Union president in Paducah. McKinney said he was offered and accepted an early retirement package effective Friday, but he retained his union membership and presidency. He said seven others in the Paducah post office accepted similar packages, as did three of the four clerks in the Benton post office, a sign of further belt tightening.
The proposed change will cut carrier hours, and possibly carrier positions, McKinney said.
McKinney said workers have been told the Paducah Processing and Distribution Center remains likely to close in January 2014 and its services will be consolidated with a distribution center in Evansville, Ind.
If that happens, another day will be tacked onto locals’ deliveries, meaning Paducahans will have to send mail on Thursday for Monday delivery, McKinney said.
The Postal Service is an independent agency that doesn’t receive tax dollars for its day-to-day operations, but it is subject to congressional control.
The change could present challenges and opportunities for competitors.
“While it is too early to say precisely what the eventual impact to FedEx would be from the U.S. Postal Service’s proposed Saturday delivery changes, it appears the effect would be minimal,” said Jess Bunn, a FedEx spokesperson in an emailed statement. “FedEx has an outstanding business relationship with the USPS, both as a customer and a supplier, and looks forward to its continuation.”