House right to commit to end sexual harassment
On behalf of the Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs, I write in support of the women who are speaking out about their victimization by one of our state leaders, to thank House Speaker Greg Stumbo for his impassioned floor speech and to encourage state leadership to take this opportunity to address the pervasive problem of sexual violence.
Sexual harassment is emotionally and physically abusive and tolerance of or excuses for this abuse create a culture of violence. I want better for our commonwealth and I know our state leadership does as well.
A 2010 study by the Centers for Disease Control found that 812,000 Kentucky women have experienced sexual violence in their lifetime. Approximately 313,000 Kentucky men report having experienced sexual violence.
We know from numerous other studies that the trauma of sexual violence has real mental and physical health implications. We also know that early intervention and support for victims can mitigate the damage.
Thanks to the investment of the legislature for over 25 years, Kentucky has a network of 13 rape-crisis centers that work to ensure that women, men and children who have experienced sexual harassment, abuse or assault receive non-judgmental, confidential services and support.
The centers also provide training for professionals including nurses and law enforcement to improve systems response to victims. Together we can all work toward a world without sexual violence.
If you or someone you know has experienced sexual violence, we believe you and we can help. Call 1-800-656-HOPE for assistance.
Director, Kentucky Association of Sexual Assault Programs
A postal hero
My friend in Virginia who recently received a birthday card in an orange envelope was unaware of the drama behind its delivery, but I want the whole world to know what happened.
I was headed to the post office to mail the card (I had missed the mailman and didn't want the card to be late) when I noticed the mailman still in my neighborhood.
I pulled into a driveway behind him and hastily got out to hand him the card on the sidewalk. My car had slipped into reverse and was rolling into the street.
My effort to get in and stop it failed as the open door knocked me to the street, scraping my back as the car continued moving. Somehow he got into my car and stopped it. After assuring himself that I only suffered a scraped knee, he continued on his way.
So I say happy birthday to my Virginia friend and a grateful thank you to the fast-acting mailman who saved me, my car, his mail truck and whatever disasters a driverless car would have created.
Now that's what I call a hero.
Webb served this city
Don Webb may be gone, but he has left his mark. The media have paid honor to his memory, the Christian community has paid homage to his faithfulness to his God, and his friends and family have told of his great capacity for love.
Can you imagine Lexington without his dreams, his initiative, his commitment, his determination and his contributions? Nobody can.
Quietly he and his brother, Dudley, have not just changed the skyline but have created a vision for progress and accomplishment for all Lexington.
Very few people in Lexington are aware of the enormous contribution they have made. Carefully and methodically, they have paid attention to the needs of our community and addressed them with their imagination, their expertise, as well as their resources.
Whether it is real estate development, making surgery more available and practical, making the arts come alive or even providing better city transportation, the Webbs have made it their mission.
These are the men my grandmother would call the "city fathers." They have courage of conviction, can withstand the lack of understanding and the criticism of others who do not or cannot dream of a better Lexington. We pray that the brother and son, Woodford, will continue to carry the torch.
Thank you, Don Webb, for listening to your heart and your God, loving this particular town, the great university and its people enough to be such an amazing leader and giver. I know heaven opened its arms for your continued work for good.
Marian Moore Sims
Stop the pipeline
The Bluegrass Pipeline, proposed to be built by the Williams Co., would not be transporting natural gas, but hazardous by-products of natural gas extraction, including benzene, a known carcinogen which can cause death.
In the event of a leak or other accident the company would not send people to respond; that would be left to our own emergency responders, at our cost. Once these chemicals are in our limestone and water, it is too late.
This arrogant company has a very poor safety record with regard to explosions, leaks and length of response time. Don't take our word for it, just do a Google search on their safety record and what has happened in other states.
Kentuckians have nothing to gain from this pipeline, and much to lose. Individual landowners should not be put in the position of David vs. Goliath in defending their property from the alleged threat of eminent domain from a private company whose only motive is financial gain.
Legislation is needed to protect landowners and other citizens, as current laws and regulations do not cover this new type of pipeline. Contact your legislators and the governor to let them know they must take action.
Diane Simmons and Paul L. Andis
Not our money's worth
In a perfect world we might expect to have our elected congressmen and women move to Washington and stay at work for, perhaps, eight or 10 months of the year. They would be happy to live on their pay and never accept gifts.
They would run for re-election on their records of service and avoid personal attacks on others.
No bill would be burdened by unrelated riders and lobbyists would be permitted only one contact per elected official per session.
They would not spend any portion of their working time in Washington raising money for re-election.
Obviously we don't live in a perfect world.
Why can't we have a legislature made up of people who have an urge to serve which overrides partisanship and with a dedication like a physician serving patients in a primitive region of Africa?
We pay senators $174,000 (more for leaders) and allow them to earn 15 percent more and give them full health coverage. They are in session about 110 days. Even with two sessions, that leaves more than three months' vacation.
Multiply the total by 100 (two senators in each of 50 states) and add the salaries and expenses of the House, and then ask what they have accomplished this year.
We aren't getting our money's worth. No budget, no immigration legislation, no extension of the debt ceiling, no education bill, no jobs bill, no infrastructure bill, no move toward the perfect world outlined at the beginning of my letter.
How can we persuade Congress to do better? Maybe we should just start over with an entirely new set of employees.