Calipari visits the Capital
John Calipari made the rounds in Washington D.C. this past week in support of his friends, Kelly and Joe Craft. Kelly Knight Craft was recently named as President’s Trump’s pick as ambassador to Canada. The Wildcat head coach met with Kentucky politicians Mitch McConnell, Rand Paul, and Andy Barr and also attended a dinner with the Craft’s at the Vice President’s residence.
Kelly Knight Craft, a former Republican consultant, and her billionaire husband are the University of Kentucky’s biggest donors. Joe Craft became a household name in the Big Blue Nation in 2008 when UK’s $30 million state-of-the-art basketball practice facility was named after him following his $6 million donation. Joe and Kelly also donated $4.5 million to the Kentucky basketball team’s dormitory and nearly $5 million to the new football training facility.
Joe Craft, a native of Hazard, graduated from UK in 1972 with a degree in accounting followed by a law degree in 1976. He is the CEO of the coal conglomerate, Alliance Resource Partners.
Kelly Craft is a native of Glasgow, Kentucky and also a graduate of U.K. She previously served as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations and is currently a member of the University of Kentucky’s board of directors.
Craft will assume the position of ambassador following a senate confirmation hearing.
Rupp renovation plans revealed
Plans were released this past week for the expansion of the Lexington Convention Center which will include a new exterior for Rupp Arena and renovations to the upper level inside the arena. The new exterior will feature transparent glass walls to replace the current brown metal covering. The upper level benches will be replaced with chair-backed seating and include four hospitality suites.
The Convention Center expansion project is scheduled coincide with the city’s new Town Branch Commons, a 2.5 mile linear park running through the city center. The two projects’ combined will provide a nearly $350 million facelift to downtown Lexington. The Rupp Arena renovations are scheduled to begin in January of 2018 and be completed in 2020.
Joe B. Hall’s Cynthiana Mural
Cynthiana’s favorite son, Joe B. Hall, will be featured in a new mural on Main Street in his hometown. The 35-foot tall painting is nearing completion by painter Sergio Odeith. The Portuguese artist previously painted a Walking Dead themed mural to honor the show’s creator’s who also hail from Cynthiana.
The famed Kentucky coach will turn 89 years old in November.