April 2: Letters to the editor

April 2, 2013 

Boone Creek's history should preclude park

I don't see what the fuss is all about. The Boone Creek Gorge is part of the Boone Creek Rural Historic District, which represents 4,060 acres. The historic district was placed on the National Register in 1994. This should have put the skids to the proposal for an eco-tourism park.

Boone Creek is a piece of wilderness explored by Daniel Boone himself. It is a piece of land that links us to our past. We as a community have already committed this land for preservation, not exploitation. This piece of nature must be passed on to future generations unspoiled by commercialism.

National Register placement requires local approval by the Historic Preservation Commission, at the state level by the Kentucky State Historic Preservation Office, and at the national level by the Department of the Interior's National Parks Service, keeper of the registry. A lot of work by a lot of people went into preserving Boone Creek in its wild state.

In 2011, the Kentucky Tourism Development Finance Authority approved a $250,000 small business loan to Boone Creek Properties LLC for an adventure tourism project in southern Fayette County. Why did a state agency approve a loan to build an adventure tourism park in the middle of the Boone Creek Rural Historic District?

How did we let our policy go from conservation to exploitation in 17 years?

Remember the Army Corps of Engineers' plan for flooding Red River Gorge?

Dean Crawford

Lexington


Patient protection?

I'm always amazed at the length to which the well-financed for-profit nursing home industry will go to increase its already exorbitant bottom line, often at the expense of the well-being of the very people it claims to serve — its residents.

Lois Pemble, in her submission to the Herald-Leader, did an excellent job of detailing critical issues surrounding the care of our 25,000 forgotten Kentuckians.

But to really see what's happening you just have to be there. As a long-term primary caregiver to a dear family member, I have seen terrible things:

■ Patients hit and scolded.

■ Patients left with wet or soiled garments for hours.

■ Call buttons left unanswered because staff is watching a ball game.

■ Patients drugged up on weekends to compensate for reduced staffing.

■ Untrained people trying to perform tasks that affect health and well-being.

■ And the No. 1 problem, lack of adequate staffing.

To the people who are dedicated to doing all they can working for nursing homes, thanks.

Someday we're all going to reside in a nursing home or be a caretaker for someone who does.

When that happens, do you really want a nursing home- initiated law such as Senate Bill 9 to require you to go through a nursing home lobbyist-initiated arbitration process?

Not me.

Russ Lay

Kentuckians for Nursing Home Reform member

Lexington


End the war — on drugs

Our government and law enforcement have interfered in the doctor/patient relationship and have made it nearly impossible for people in pain to get pain medicine. Now they are whining about an increase in heroin use. What did they expect?

The war on drugs has failed for this exact reason; it is like squeezing a balloon in one spot only to find that another spot has expanded. The government and police have now created a heroin problem in Kentucky because they have intimidated doctors and forced them to stop prescribing pain medicine.

Enough of this stupid war on drugs. Our government is wasting millions of dollars in Kentucky trying to control personal behavior, and it will, of course, fail, as it has for the last 50 years. Keep the government out of our personal lives by ending the war on drugs. The war on drugs has eroded our personal freedoms, expanded government, and stuffed our prisons and courts with nonviolent people. Big government and its law enforcement goons need to get out of our doctors' offices and our homes.

Now, of course, they will demand even more money to fight the new heroin "epidemic" that they created. Drugs are simply a supply and demand situation; it is capitalism 101. Get the government out of our doctors' offices.

Ellen McGrady

Lexington


Right move on pensions

The Kentucky legislature should be applauded for taking significant steps toward meaningful pension reform. By approving a plan that requires the legislature to provide the state's full annual contributions to the pension system and putting newly hired employees in a defined contribution pension system, Kentucky is moving away from an inherently flawed defined benefit pension plan.

Last week's action came at the right time considering that public pension reform is urgently needed as the state's pension funding problem was affecting its credit rating. Standard & Poor's Ratings Services lowered the state's financial outlook to "negative," down from "stable," because lawmakers had not taken any action to reform the state's pension system. Kentucky faces an unfunded liability of $47 billion, by State Budget Solutions calculations.

Defined benefit plans are the main driver of the pension funding crisis. Defined benefit plans are available to 84 percent of state and local employees with access to a retirement benefit. Underfunding, as has been the case in Kentucky, carries immediate consequences for all citizens, as higher annual costs are beginning to crowd out other budget priorities.

State Budget Solutions is pleased to see Kentucky moving away from the flawed, risky defined benefit models. While doing so for new hires is a step in the right direction, we are hopeful that the state will someday consider moving all public employees, not just new hires, into a defined contribution pension plan.

Bob Williams

State Budget Solutions president

Alexandria, Va.


Clinton had warnings

The recent letter titled "Benghazi not worst" failed to present the complete picture concerning Sen. Rand Paul's statement that Hillary Clinton, as secretary of state, should have been removed from her position because of her failure to act in the Benghazi affair.

All the previous disasters, such as 9/11, listed in the letter were not preceded by at least three warnings to the State Department.

1. Clinton knew the British Embassy and the Red Cross had left Benghazi because it was unsafe.

2. Surely Clinton knew that a big hole had been blown in the embassy a few months before.

3. The ambassador himself notified her office that he desperately needed immediate help.

In response, Clinton was either indifferent, incompetent or negligent.

Paul deserves credit for having the courage to point out that Clinton should have been dismissed from her post.

In order for us to succeed in the future, we must learn from the past.

Neita Falkner

Lexington

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