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Local movie theater reopening Friday

For five months, Showtime Cinemas has been closed thanks to COVID-19.

Friday, the doors will reopen to the public but with new cleaning and safety procedures in place.

“As we continue to monitor the health and safety of our teams, we will be cleaning and sanitizing more than ever,” Showtime Cinemas local general manager Rick Stanbrough said.

Customers will be required to wear a face mask to attend a show.

“Additionally, the following procedures will be in place: We will be operating at 50 percent capacity, groups will be permitted to sit together, and empty seats will be reserved between groups,” Stanbrough said.

Stanbrough is excited to bring shows back to the theater.

“I feel like opening the theater gives the community a sense of freedom back. I hope people can escape reality a little bit,” he said. “I have been getting really good feedback since we have been closed, so I feel everyone is excited to open back up.”

This weekend’s shows include “Inception,” “Goonies” and “Unhinged.”

There will be a new list of shows on Monday.

“We won’t be back to normal for a while, but we wanted to give the community an opportunity to see shows at the theater.”

Tickets for classic movies will be $5. Show times will be posted and will be twice daily Monday through Friday for evening shows. Additional shows will be added on Saturday and Sunday afternoons.

Concession sales will be limited during this time.

The theater is located at 2235 Park Road.

Addition of Thursday hours has helped Farmers Market

The Fayette County Farmers Market is growing with its two-day a week schedule.

Becky Marvel chairs the Fayette County Food Council, which brought the Farmers Market downtown to the courthouse parking lot five years ago. For the first three years, it was a Saturday morning market, with vendors selling produce and live plants, baked goods, and hand-crafted items.

The Farmers Market grew by adding Thursday evening hours in 2019. Organizers were cautious, hoping it would be successful. It is growing, Marvel said.

There are typically six to seven vendors on Thursday evenings and around 11 on Saturday mornings. Most vendors participate on only one day or the other, giving shoppers a variety to choose from.

“We have a woman from Cambridge City who makes amazing fruit pies and can only do Thursday evenings and the same goes for others who come Saturday,” Marvel said.

“We have a lot of produce. I think everyone planted a garden this year because they were home,” Marvel said.

COVID-19 has caused some issues for the market but it has been surprisingly busy.

“Things have changed because customers can’t taste things or sample them, which we all like to do. Business has picked up some I think, too, because people want to get out of the house and they do want to buy local,” Marvel said.

The market typically goes to the end of September but Marvel said there’s some talk of extending the season because some vendors might be bringing some new fall produce such as pumpkins.

Marvel hopes to find the market a permanent home. For some years before it moved downtown, it operated on Saturdays in a parking lot along Park Road.

“I feel we need to reach more people. It is amazing how many people don’t realize we have a Farmers Market. I think not having a physical sign that stays where the market meets hurts it. ... If you look at surrounding areas, they have an area designed for a Farmers Market. I am hoping with some of the downtown planning to include a Farmers Market area. We want to stay downtown for sure.”

The market is open in the courthouse parking lot from 4-7 p.m. Thursdays and 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays.

School board will have one race

There will be a contest in the Nov. 3 Fayette County School board election. In reporting the election ballot on Tuesday, the Connersville News-Examiner incorrectly reported the school board district in which one candidate lives.

In District 2, the board president, Leslie Jacobs, will face a challenge from Tim Bentley.

Bentley filed his nominating petition on Friday, Aug. 21, the final day to qualify for the ballot. Jacobs had filed her petition earlier.

The News-Examiner incorrectly reported that Bentley had filed for election from District 3, to replace Dr. Andrew Yaryan.

In District 3, Dr. Yaryan will continue to serve because no one else filed to election to that post. Dr. Yaryan had decided against seeking re-election, but state law holds that a board member must continue to serve until someone else qualifies and takes office.

Also in District 3, Mark Beard will continue to serve, having previously filed his nominating petition with the Fayette County Clerk’s office.

In District 1, Lori Savoy, the board vice president, has no opposition in the election and will continue to serve.

District 1 includes Fairview and Posey townships and Harrison Township precincts 5, 7 and 8.

District 2, includes Columbia, Jackson and Orange townships.

District 3 has four board members. The district includes much of the city of Connersville: Connersville Township precincts 1-10, 12 and 13, and Harrison Township 1-4 and 6.

District 4 includes Jennings and Waterloo townships, and precinct 11 in Connersville Township.

Three other school board positions – two from District 3 and one from District 4 – will be on the ballot in 2022.

Vigilance in following prevention guidelines can keep kids safe at school

For parents and children, the start of the 2020 school year comes filled with extra concern and anxiety because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

If parents and their children continue to be vigilant in all the prevention steps – hand washing, masking and social distancing – Dr. Thomas Huth says children in elementary and high school should be able to remain healthy and safe while the pandemic likely continues into the fall.

Dr. Huth, vice president of medical affairs at Reid Health, has tracked COVID-19 data since the pandemic began. He also leads a meeting twice a week with all regional health department officials where the data is reviewed and participants can share details about what’s going on in their communities and in their schools.

“The COVID-19 risk seems to be low for healthy people under 40, including children – but of course there are exceptions. Generally it’s around the same percentage as seasonal influenza,” he said.

Though since the outbreak hit the area, only one teen has been hospitalized at Reid Health – and the teen improved quickly – Dr. Huth notes an increased risk for some ethnic groups that still make following the guidelines imperative for everyone.

He says the information he monitors daily from national and international organizations indicates increased risk for Latino and African-American children, children with lung conditions, obesity or a history of premature birth.

The efforts to prevent the spread seem more challenging at the college level, he says.

“What I hear from health departments is that the plans for protection on college campuses are good. The problem is a sometimes lack of discipline of some students outside of the classroom, particularly off campus at bars and parties.”

Dr. Huth encourages parents to set the example for their children and teens by using masks properly, washing their hands frequently and practicing distancing – even in family gatherings. Some clusters of outbreaks in the region have followed family gatherings where the safety guidelines were not followed, he notes.

Younger children are also now believed to be less likely to be asymptomatic spreaders – people who show no symptoms but are still contagious to at-risk adults.

“Generally, the younger the child, the less likely. After age 10 though, it increases to the same likelihood of high schoolers and college age kids, who probably transmit it as readily as adults. But in no age group can we say there is not risk of transmission, so at all ages preventative measures must be taken.”

The measures are especially important for Latino and African-American children, who seem to be at somewhat higher risk – especially those with other chronic conditions.

“Though the risk is still relatively low, parents and children of all backgrounds must not let up with safety measures until COVID-19 is no longer a threat.”

Dr. Huth said regional school systems are all taking many steps to keep kids safe and working with their local health departments on any needs to isolate and quarantine when an infection is found.

“If everyone continues to follow the guidelines carefully, we believe this will help us avoid an upswing in COVID-19 cases.”