Letters to the editor: Oct. 13

October 13, 2012 

  • Election letters

    Letters about candidates in the Nov. 6 election are limited to 150 words and must be received by 5 p.m. Monday. Letters from candidates, their campaign staffs and family members will not be published.

Leaders, if not media, address mental illness

This week is National Mental Illness Awareness Week.

On Monday at the main library, the documentary Stopping the Revolving Door was shown and a panel discussion followed. Mayor Jim Gray gave the opening remarks. This event was sponsored by Lexington NAMI (National Alliance for Mental Illness). They did a great job in assembling a noteworthy panel that understands the plight of the mentally ill.

It was somewhat disheartening that there was no local media attention, given the impact of this problem on our community and the stature of the people assembled for the panel. Ignorance is the primary reason mental health care receives little funding and results in great costs to society. (i.e., imprisoning the mentally ill).

Often politicians don't realize that there are times when their constituents are grossly ignorant of a pervasive problem. When that happens, they should lead and educate. I'm very grateful that we live in a city where our mayor, at least one judge, Kim Wilkie, (I'm sure there are others) and our county sheriff, Kathy Witt, are willing to come together to discuss these problems.

If you or someone dear to you has a mental illness, NAMI is a great resource. And lastly, please contact your political representatives to let them know that you support sufficient funding for mental health care.

David Fitts


Join the Big Ten

You live where you can't raise many vegetables and too far from a good farmers market, so you have slim pickings when you get there. Another good farmers market now opens up closer to home offering a better chance of success. What should you do? Duh!

This is the situation facing the athletic program at the University of Kentucky. The sensible solution is to dump the Southeastern Conference and join the Big Ten.

In football the Wildcats would have a much better chance competing against Illinois, Indiana, Northwestern and others than they now do against the deep South.

As a bonus the basketball season would be enhanced as well with stronger competition than that offered by the South, where football is everything and round balls are for sissies.

Once the basketball crazies learn that exciting competitive games are better than routs, even at the risk of actually losing a game or two, we would all like the new alignment.

Could it be done? Why not? Schools across the land are jumping conferences like fleas on a hound dog, with no regard to geography. For Kentucky, the schools of the Big Ten are at least as close as those south of here, recruiting should be more fruitful, and the Herald-Leader would learn that the Ohio River is not the northern border of the United States.

Wouldn't this be better than grousing unfairly about Joker Phillips and his staff and players?

Ernie Henninger


Replace Phillips

Please start Big Blue Madness in September from now on so the Herald-Leader can have something to write about and our local news stations can talk about something else.

If I hear one more time about how unpopular Barack Obama is in Kentucky, I'll scream. Really. A black man not popular in Kentucky? Wow, What a shock. John McCain won by almost as much in Kentucky as he did in his own home state of Arizona. We make Mississippi look like California.

Say whatever you want, everything in Kentucky is about race. And that's both ways. Racism is not limited to one color. If a white man used Andy Barr's "he's one of us" commercials in New York, they would be run out of town. But not in Kentucky. If Joker Phillips was coaching anywhere else, he would have been fired. But not in Kentucky. That would look too much like we got rid of him because he's black and not because he's a terrible coach. Which he is.

People who claim to be color blinded are just blind. I see color. I embrace color. United we stand. Divided we fall.

Michael Aaron Givens


Learn about spina bifida

October is Spina Bifida Awareness Month. Spina bifida is the most common permanently disabling birth defect, affecting 166,000 Americans. Kentucky has a very high rate.

Spina bifida is a birth defect that results in the spinal cord protruding from a baby's back. The back can be surgically closed before or after birth, but damage to the spinal cord can cause paralysis, hydrocephalus (fluid on the brain), bowel and bladder issues, and other challenges.

No one knows what causes spina bifida, but women can reduce their risk by up to 70 percent by taking 400 mcg of folic acid daily for three months prior to conception. Every woman of childbearing age should take a daily multivitamin.

There is a wide range of outcomes. Some use wheelchairs; others use braces, crutches or walkers; and some walk independently. The majority have normal intelligence but can have learning challenges. Spina bifida is only one part of them and does not define them. They can become teachers, doctors, musicians, athletes, parents or anything they want to be.

The Spina Bifida Association of Kentucky is the resource center for more than 800 affected families in Kentucky and Southern Indiana. Our mission is to promote the prevention of spina bifida and enhance the lives of all affected. We provide playgroups and camps for children, educational classes for parents, life skills classes for teens and young adults, a financial assistance fund, and much more.

If you would like to learn more, visit Sbak.org.

Colleen Payne


Loud and unclear

Remember when Mitt Romney was a mild-mannered man who did not have a clue what his plans would be if he were elected president? Well, somebody must have told him that if he yelled and shouted maybe nobody would notice that he still did not have a clue as to what he would do if he were elected president.

John Wolff Jr.


Winning presentation

On Mitt Romney's debate performance: Bad ideas, misinformation, vague generalities — all well presented.

Michael Kennedy


Too much coal

I am tired of the lies coming from the Barr camp about coal miners. We are interested in what he would do for this district if elected.

Heath Lovell is vice president of a coal company. Yes, he was a miner but now he is not, so it is disingenuous for him to appear in (unused and new) mining clothes.

There are more UPS employees in Louisville than there are coal miners in this state (20,000 versus 14,000). If coal mining is such a boon, why is Eastern Kentucky the poorest part of the state?

There are no coal mines in Ben Chandler's district so why is Andy Barr running these commercials? Bringing a guy in from Western Kentucky to rant about an issue that is not relevant to the people of this district just shows that Barr has no program or ideas.

David Wachtel


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