Letters to editor: July 10

July 10, 2013 

Parents thank NIH, McConnell, for diabetes research

The Centers for Disease Control and National Institute of Health statistics show that between 2001 and 2009 there was a 23 percent increase in type 1 diabetes (T1D) among American youth. I hate to think of my daughter as a statistic, but she is among those 23 percent.

This disease requires constant attention to fluctuating blood sugar levels that can cause dangerous complications including blindness, kidney disease and even amputations. I cannot remember a time when I haven't worried about what might happen when I'm not there in case her blood sugar levels go too high or too low.

Thanks to diabetes research, particularly the Special Diabetes Program (SDP), there is greater hope for my daughter and others with T1D. Sen. Mitch McConnell led the way in supporting the renewal of the SDP, a key research program that is helping us better understand what triggers the disease, develop new technologies to manage it and gets us closer to a cure.

I'm hopeful that there is a better life awaiting my daughter — after all, 85 percent of people now living with T1D are adults. Also, tax dollars could be saved by reducing complications that greatly add to health care costs, including Medicare.

I am grateful for the SDP that is giving my daughter and others with T1D a better life ahead, and helping parents like me worry a little less about their future.

Paula Fairchild

Paintsville


Don't ignore past

A letter writer recently wrote of his opposition to a proposed monument of a Confederate soldier with ties to Hardin County.

It's easy to see that there are strong opinions on the war and how it should be remembered. The writer would have us cast the legacy of the Confederacy into the "bowels of history." Great metaphor, but neither practical nor advisable.

If we followed the logic of that premise, then we should just forget Hitler's extermination of Jews. Same for Stalin's "purges" of the military and other segments of the Soviet Union's population that might have opposed the dictator. We need to remember such atrocities and strive to never repeat them.

Regarding the Civil War, even General Robert E. Lee wrestled with his decision to leave the U.S. Army to fight for the Confederacy, and this highlights the strong emotional ties and stubborn loyalty that many Americans of that era had for their home states.

I also respectfully disagree with the contention that the goal of the Confederacy was to destroy America. Each side had a vested interest in their economic and social futures, hence the clash of the industrial North and the agrarian South, which had used slavery as a crutch to produce cotton and other cash crops.

I do agree that we, as a nation, need to improve race relations but I have to wonder how the writer's idea of racial progress would be implemented and just what it would entail.

John Wells

Midway


Swampy Kool-Aid

With every passing day, I become more convinced that Washington, D.C. is just a swamp that sucks in incompetent people who then proceed to make careers out of creating messes while claiming to have the answers to fix them.

The media and others who are supposed to be the watchdogs of our government have abdicated their assigned role in recent years and are now as much a part of the problem as are the politicians.

The recent flood of Washington scandals is a case in point.

Just like those career politicians who have so thirstily drunk of the D.C. Kool-Aid, the media hammer away at the whistleblowers while doing everything in their power to protect and defend lawbreakers within the government.

Jim Hayden

Lexington


Equality under law

On June 25, five of nine U.S. Supreme Court justices ruled in favor of non-traditional marriage.

The decision was the only logical ruling. Our founders knew to survive as a nation the people would have to be equal without regard to race, religion or ancestry.

The ruling should awaken members of Congress, the media and the American people that there is no need to return to the 1965 Voting Rights Act. The Declaration of Independence, written by our country's third president, Thomas Jefferson, conveyed the true feelings of our founders.

Jefferson's female companion following his wife's death, his wife's half sister, was of mixed race. A black slave. From the movie, Lincoln, the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee's live-in companion was of mixed race. A black American.

For those racist family members in red states, too many families' ancestry, mine included, includes Native Americans and Melungeons. With my limited vocabulary, I am attempting to say the United States of America was founded as a constitutional Republic, a government of the people.

Billy Ray Wilson

London


Education ideas

I am writing to address several factors in education. I suggest to Scott County schools:

• De-emphasizing standardized testing for gifted or advanced-placement students. These tests are designed for students of average intellect only, and therefore cannot accurately evaluate someone of higher capabilities. These tests cause unnecessary stress and reveal very little about a student's potential.

These tests are given with a perturbing frequency. Perhaps other methods, such as color therapy, mnemonics and acronyms, would enable students to learn better and faster.

• Reducing homework. England and Japan have banned homework for elementary students, and require little homework for older students. There has been much skepticism on the effects of homework overload, and those concerns are valid. Excessive homework is not only strenuous, but can have negative effects on children and adolescents.

• Scattering school breaks. Summer vacation is a vast 10-week period. Dispersing these breaks throughout the year would spark motivation and prevent information retained from disintegrating.

If these changes were implemented, I'm sure it would have a profound effect on the system as we know it.

Kimberlyn Caywood

Georgetown


Excess student debt

I hope that those reading Herald-Leader staff writer Linda Blackford's excellent piece about the ongoing University of Kentucky budget and tuition problem did not miss a paragraph on the second page.

There, a study of the class of 2006 mentioned that 52.6 percent graduated with "some debt," an average of $25,611, which was about the national average at that time. That is some debt.

Seven years later, I am sure a lot of Kentuckians would be interested in knowing the percentages of students who graduate with debt, the average debt for the class of 2013 and what the projections are for the coming years.

Admitting more out-of-state students is a grand plan at present, but UK is the commonwealth's flagship university, and admitting more of them to fill up the stands at Rupp Arena, which is being improved with coal tax money, seems a bit contrived.

Perhaps it would be money better spent to keep tuition costs stable and admit more Kentucky high school graduates who are being priced out of attending Kentucky's flagship, land-grant university.

William E. Ellis

Richmond

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