Letters to the Editor: April 18

April 18, 2013 

Sewage overflowed in a Lexington backyard on March 18.

U.S. getting blowback from terrorism it inflicts

All of us were shocked by the bombing at the Boston Marathon. Naturally, our hearts go out to all the victims and their families. A day that began in joy and celebration ended in complete tragedy. What can be more painful than losing a loved one — especially a child?

It remains to be seen whether U.S. officials will connect the bombing with foreign or domestic terrorists or whether it was a criminal act by some insane individual.

In either case, the tragedy brings home the destruction and terror that U.S. policy inflicts each day on unsuspecting civilians in places like Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Somalia and Yemen.

Pakistani events, Yemeni celebrations that begin in joy and high spirits routinely end in tears and mourning as drones drop from the sky without warning or as doors are kicked in by rampaging American soldiers shouting vile curses.

In fact, next to the havoc, murder, torture and sheer cruelty of U.S. policy, what happened in Boston hardly deserves a mention. (Actually, most of U.S.-caused terror gets no mention in our press at all.)

There is only one way to avoid recurrence of such disaster: reject empire.

That means living within our means; respecting human rights and international law; abjuring militarism; stopping the torture; closing the secret prisons; remanding drone policy; and actually being who we claim to be in the world.

Until we make such reforms, Boston Marathon mayhem will continue to represent our collective destiny.

Mike Rivage-Seul

Berea


Homeless need help

I am enrolled in Julius Marks Elementary. For a couple of months we have been studying homelessness. We have learned lots of things, such as 20,000 homeless die in poverty each year in the United States.

They have to worry about their next meal in addition to their safety. In my opinion the attacker of a homeless person should take on extra charges in court.

So I am writing this letter to you and these are my reasons:

1) The homeless don't have the capability of helping themselves.

2) They are most likely to be more vulnerable to violence than others.

3) There are few places that provide free health care for the homeless and others in poverty.

If I put my opinion in your newspaper, then maybe there will be a person who stands up for these people and helps.

A man named Joe Hisel came and spoke to us. He came from the formerly homeless and was a drug addict. He said "people used me." He was often hurt. Many people act as if the homeless are animals.

David Christiansen, executive director of Central Kentucky Housing, had an article in your paper on Sept. 10. He wrote about demonizing the homeless and a 61-year-old man who was set on fire. Who would attack an elder like that? Who would give an elder that much disrespect?

Zachary Potter

Lexington


Too much wasted food

Michelle Obama and Nickelodeon are pushing kids to eat healthfully. Homeless people should have the same privilege.

Many homeless people die every year because they don't get any nutrients from healthy foods. One-fifth of people who go through a food line are children.

In the Herald-Leader of Aug. 22 I found that Americans are throwing out nearly every other bite of food, wasting up to 40 percent of the country's supply of food each year.

Also the article said, "an average family of four squanders $2,275 in food each year, or 20 pounds per person per month."

If we donate food to food banks, it will affect the community by keeping homeless people from getting sick or dying each year. I want to encourage Lexington citizens to donate food to food banks and shelters.

Personally, I've seen a homeless man lying on a bench who hasn't eaten in 2½ days. I couldn't do anything. He told me, "I will make it; don't worry, little boy." I hope this man does make it out of poverty.

One of my lunch ladies showed us that two trash cans filled with healthy foods are wasted at our school, Julius Marks, and this is just breakfast. We should donate this wasted food to homeless shelters or food banks.

Diego Rafael Gudino-Ramirez

Lexington


Share the burden

Looking over Mayor Jim Gray's proposed budget for the next fiscal year, I wondered why we need to create another city department to deal with the homeless issue.

It's at $120,000 now, but you can bet it will be more in years to come. Can't the homeless issue be handled by the existing Lexington Housing Authority? Isn't that what they do? Just wondering.

Ray Depa

Lexington


City must be priority on basic services

In the March 18 paper there was a column by businessman Bret Melrose opposing a local option sales tax in which he mentioned the critical needs in Lexington were police and fire protection and sewer repairs. I would add street repairs.

Meanwhile, our local politicians have big plans for Town Branch. I believe the Town Branch Commons Project is an obvious waste of tax money. Not only will it be exposing polluted water, if not sewage, for kids to wade in, but it also will take away a significant amount of parking for events at Rupp Arena and the Convention Center.

If the city has excess money, why don't they fix the sewage problem in my backyard? An improved sanitary sewer (an oxymoron if I ever heard one) project ended in our backyard in the summer of 2001 that was to fix the problem. A half-inch thick sewer liner was installed, reducing the diameter by one inch, and ever since this "fix," at least three times a year, during a heavy rain, raw sewage and likely water pumped out of basements into the sewer system, blows off the sewer lids and spews out hundreds if not thousands of gallons per minute.

This sewage runs directly into the adjacent creek. I have included a photo of one event that occurred March 18. This was the second time this occurred in 2013. This is a violation of Environmental Protection Agency rules and should stop.

Richard Barnhisel

Lexington

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