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Chautauqua's Kelly years were sometimes smooth, sometimes very rocky. Initially accusations rumbled regarding kickbacks from food vendors who needed to pay an “additional fee” to the gentlemen coordinating the food court area at the time. (He is deceased now) His wife not only sat on the Chautauqua committee but also had a seat on the newly formed 3 (?) Member Jefferson County Board of Tourism. She was on the board at the time her brother was terminated for unprofessional behavior at a state event & voted to replace him with her friend Linda Lytle (yes Marks ex). Some say she was appointed as a favor to Mark, others because she was a friend of the board member. Regardless, Linda was promoted from part time secretary to CVB Director and it was during her tenure that accusations of misappropriation of funds became almost tornadic. Eventually, accusations of funds being peeled off the event for personal use by the CVB were volleyed about loudly at several meetings. I know this because my husband joined Cliff (think nice old guy, music, Handel’s Messisah- deceased) were the ones who spoke adamantly against misappropriation & referenced documents & records that were at best “murky” but actually evidenced probable mismanagement. At the time we had been asked to sit on the committee & our business became the events largest sponsor. To this day I own several years of original works & signed prints. None the less, after repeated efforts to address “missing money”, we were no longer welcome; Cliff & 2 other committee members resigned as well. We took our major sponsorship with us but remain proud of the fact we were able to help save one of Madison’s most cherished festivals.
Over the years Georgie began to be concerned about similar issues as Dixie had. Squabbles became out right wars with home owners who couldn’t even access their drive ways; area historic sites were less than pleased when promises were made then broken. Our business was continuing to celebrate our anniversary as we had during the Dixie Days. We are heading into our 25th year. The community owned event is maybe 23 or 24 years old. From time to time the festival under Georgie & with support from the CVB/Linda would harass us as well. Overtime, we like most of the event neighbors grew tired of the bullying. But things did fall to a quiet a few years before Georgie retired. The usual candidates were considered for the Chautauqua chair, someone local, no experience & with a cranky attitude. They certainly found her . The job as chair of the committee was split between the two persons who hold it to this day. One young woman is mostly accepted the other is often called the “red headed – beetch” – I call her the “Little Redheaded Girl” (LRHG for short) because I simply can’t remember her name. It’s true I threw her off my property after she stood in my business lied, threatened & attempted to intimidate me. I was not the only person upset & neighborhood complaints sharply escalated as the festival took a steep decline. By the way the VM Director Thomas did not hire the LRHG, she inherited her along with a mountain of repeated mismanagement consequences & harsh public outcry on many issues, not just Chautauqua.


Added: November 13, 2018
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I would hope most would know but apparently not all do, that I use no fewer than 3 (three) sources for responses. In the case of the festival fiascos- I used volunteers as sources from each event; I also gleaned information from the events face book pages & reviewed any "google" information that popped up & spoke with the director & various board members.Keep in mind, opinions vary but as we know facts do not. I try to keep to the facts because I am aware that some are unhappy with the decisions regarding in-house festival coordinators.

SOOOO, in the beginning there was the Christmas Tour & for years it was coordinated by the historic sites with the CVB under Linda Lytle who was promoted from relief secretary to director after a qualified director was terminated due to conduct issues at a state meeting. That would be almost 23-24 years ago. Regatta was still running very well with minimal if any support from the CVB but the city was pitching in lots of freebies to help the event function well. The city continues to support festivals by installing fencing, picnic tables, trash cans & pickups & extra police presence when feasible & safe for the community. Tax payers pick up the cost & city crews work hard & long to “get the job done.”

23-24 years ago Chautauqua was a for profit-private event owned by Dixie McDonough (sp). Dixie packed up in a fit due to her distress that "other things were going on"- meaning yard sales, vendor space set up outside the festival & even food vendors who weren't part of the "authorized" festival. She approached then Mayor Huntington who tried to work with her; there was consideration of a possible yard sale permit but eventually city council turned it down because-well private property is private property & it remained under control of owners even if Dixie didn't like it. So, Dixie left the following year. I know this because when we opened our business we worked with Dixie for a year to resolve issues created by her Chautuaqua. Dixie was very kind & supportive. However the event became CVB owned & operated & was formed during Dixie's last official festival in town. CVB staff scurried about the festival reassuring vendors there would be a festival net year & Madison would continue to host a "Chautauqua". A battle ensued between the CVB & Dixie who had trademarked several versions of Madison Chautauqua of the Arts. Essentially Dixie left town because she believed “other things” were not only distracting from her event but several were impairing her revenue. Dixie tried unsuccessfully to replicate her Madison event in both Columbus & Greensburg. She is now deceased. Georgie Kelly was appointed to run the event & was paid a salary & benefits at the time. Georgie was considered qualified because she had ran a successful Christmas show in Louisville for several years but to my knowledge didn’t hold a degree in event management, marketing, community relations or other related field. IMO- the lack of diverse experience & field related education caused much of Georgie’s eventual struggles.


Added: November 13, 2018
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Per reader comment- I will send JB additional information about the Chautauqua Festival & proposed festival coordinator positions. If you are against this change, I understand & certainly its okay to question validity of comments and we should in this day & age. But, if you make a comment that requires me to give additional facts then please understand that many times those facts aren't very pretty. That said I will post almost 100% of the information I have. So expect a series of 5-6 posts. I will tackle Ribberfest and Riverfest separately as they are not as difficult to condense.

Added: November 13, 2018
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To Larry Wynn,
Thank you for taking the bait. I was hoping that you would step-up and respond. You are obviously a stand-up guy and I believe would do a great job as Mayor. I've believed that ever since your dealings with the City/County economic development proposal.

You just needed someone to challenge you.
Good Luck on your campaign! You have my vote and I will work tirelessly to support your campaign with neighbors and friends.


Added: November 13, 2018
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American Voter you got me to thinking a little bit:

What qualifications should you look for in a Mayor:

What are the candidates platforms, what do they hope to accomplish, what are their goals as Mayor?
(are they running on old agendas or someone else's coattails)

Do the candidates have the education and experience to achieve these goals?
(school or political background)

We need to know who these people are going to surround themselves with as far as their staff?
(buddy system or qualified people)

What do consider the top five problems with our city and how do they plan to attack those areas?
(Drugs, economy, homeless, crime, education) ???

Are they willing to meet with their constituents after they are elected?
(public meeting)

Are they will to listen or are they only interested in what the council and their appointed staff care about?

Bottom Line

Are the candidates Honest and ethical?

Are they good role models, do they set a good example??

Will they commit to work across party lines and include the "County" in collaboration?

Will they enact policies that will benefit "everybody"?

Will they surround themselves with smart , talented people or will they be so full of themselves that no body else matters?

These are just a few ideas and I am quite sure there are many , many more.

Since I'm not qualified I will quit rambling but leave you with a question.

Do either of the current candidates meet any, some or all of these short list of qualifications?

Enquiring minds want to know! Everybody have a great day!!!

Admin reply: Larry not only do I agree with the above but all the schooling and ass kissing is null and void if the candidate does not have common sense. I believe some of those who rushed to file are lacking most of the above and most of all common sense.

Larry, if you do decide to run I/we will support you. JB


Added: November 13, 2018
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I just want everybody to know that I'm not interested in running for mayor. I enjoy my job, coaching basketball at Southwestern and my farming. I am also quite sure my brother is really enjoying his work in Washington County at the prosecutors office and spending well deserved time with his beautiful family.

Now I will tell you "American voter" you hurt my feelings a little bit but I was still able to sleep last night. I hope you have a great day!!!


Added: November 13, 2018
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Berry and Cash should just go away like Hillary. They are done.

Added: November 13, 2018
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What qualifications did Welch have? A vet, out of town hearing aid sales and a failed dive of a restaurant that remains closed to this day? Andrew is a nice kid but is real wordy making excuses sound like action. Berry? A Democrat can't get elected in this town with all the national hate and resist rhetoric, unless unopposed. she takes credit for things she didn't do anyway and wasn't very well liked at county.

Admin reply: No need to bash Welch he has done more for all of us than any of the listed wannabees.


Added: November 13, 2018
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President Trump decided not to attend Veteran's Day observance at Arlington National Cemetery today. Sad.

Added: November 13, 2018
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Tami: Being close to the situation, it sounds like you got your info from VM. So it is partially correct but extremely skewed. There isn't a festival in town that is happy with the new director and when she "appoints" her "directors" to take over each of them, they will fail. If you are going to investigate, look further than one source. There is more going on than either you know, or that you are stating.

Added: November 13, 2018
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