Letters to editor: Oct. 1

October 1, 2013 

Downtown district helps Boston maintain its beauty

In Tom Eblen's column on the creation of a downtown management district, he urged the Urban County Council to create a district for the purpose of creating natural beauty in the downtown area. Property owners in the district would provide the funding.

It was so refreshing to read that there might actually be something downtown other than pavers and concrete.

I recently spent a week in Boston, which has a program like the one proposed for Lexington. The beauty of its downtown is breathtaking. The area included not only flowers and shrubs but fountains and sculptures, bike racks, live music, farmers markets and, yes, even food trucks.

Copley Square, in front of our hotel, was alive with activity. As my friend and I ate breakfast one morning we looked across the street to a tiny narrow corner of a city block. A playground had been built with a painted mural on the building behind. Children with parents were enjoying time together.

On another note: Boston's historic buildings are not replaced with modern-day monstrosities. They are reused, revamped and enjoyed by all who visit.

During my plane ride home, I wondered how Lexington could achieve such beauty. I am happy to hear that conversation has started. I urge the council to act upon this proposal.

Downtown could be alive with people, affordable stores, businesses, Kentucky basketball fans and much more. Lexington has long wanted to attract more conferences and venues. Something as simple as beautification could make it a reality.

Linda Taylor

Lexington

Hail, a modern Moses

Allow me a few words on behalf of one candidate, who, like Moses, has led his people out of bondage into sight of the Promised Land. For 28 long years, in the face of pestilence, oppression and controversy, this modest, mild-mannered man has been the voice of reason and has given hope to the hopeless, counsel to the confused.

He was with President Richard Nixon when he lifted the yokr of conscription from the backs of the nation's young men.

He was with President Ronald Reagan when he proclaimed amnesty for the immigrant millions courageously seeking their promised land.

He was at President George W. Bush's elbow when he charged the Iraq venture on the next generation's credit card, preserving his generation's prosperity and peace of mind.

For 25 years he fought every agency involved in the military-industrial complex to free his state from the potential threat posed by the stockpile of poison gas.

The bright, beaming countenance of his early days has been creased by a thousand scars of battle waged against power brokers stalwartly supporting the status quo.

He has put people above party, principle over prejudice and public good over personal aggrandizement. His positive approach to every problem has unified our people and strengthened their resolve to find consensus at the heart of every complicated issue.

Respecting his reticence, I shall not call his name. Let every reader give witness to his fruitful contribution to the fullness of their past and the promise yet to be realized tomorrow.

Bob Heidel

Lexington

Piracy in the blood

International "Talk Like a Pirate Day," observed annually on Sept. 19, since 1995, had totally sailed by me, until reading the Herald-Leader article.

However, it has significance for me, since there is a pirate lurching in my distant ancestry: 17th century Englishman William Dampier (1651-1715).

Indeed, my cousin, Suzanne Dampier McGathey, (sister of Louie Dampier, of Rupp's Runts fame), a principle founder of the Dampier Family Genealogical group and compiler/editor of our quarterly newsletter, has titled it "The Buccaneer" after the famous pirate ancestor.

William Dampier, seafaring adventurer of the late 1600s (circumventing the world three times and the first Englishman to discover Australia), was not the stereotypical pirate, but as a keen observer of nature made many important discoveries of navigation, hydrology and science.

Dampier was a writer/publisher of numerous books (A New Journey Around the World, 1697) and a contemporary inspiration to the writings of Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels), and Daniel Defoe (Robinson Crusoe).

Dampier's considerable exploits attracted the attention of modern-day wife/husband authors, Diana and Michael Preston of London, who published in 2004, A Pirate of Exquisite Mind ... Explorer, Naturalist, and Buccaneer: The Life of William Dampier.

It is an excellent well-written book to learn, not only about his intriguing life, but much about the history and times of the pirate life and of pirate speech, as in Dampier's own words: "I may without vanity encourage the reader to expect many things wholly new."

Don J. Dampier

Georgetown

Beware of HPV vaccine

Teen girls and their parents should do their own investigating before signing up for Gardasil. This relatively new vaccine for which long-term effects are not yet known, targets four strains of the virus HPV and in doing so could prevent some types of cancer.

It sounds like a great idea and doctors are eager to recommend it. Information handed out by schools and doctors offices, as well as what can be found on Gardasil's official website describe side effects as mild, short-term and similar to that of other vaccinations.

In reality, adverse effects are much more prevalent.

Not only is fainting a regular occurrence at the time of vaccination, online searches reveal a vast number of cases in which girls suffer extensive, worsening, long-term and sometimes life-threatening conditions following the vaccine.

"Post-Gardasil Syndrome," as it has been coined, may not be something your doctor is aware of and perhaps in some cases there are other underlying causes of sickness. However, the seriousness of some symptoms and lasting side effects reported make it worth taking into consideration.

The HPV vaccine may well end up saving lives, but please take the time to educate yourself on the risks involved before sending your daughters to get the jab.

Megan Collins

Lexington

More than popped corn

The Blue Grass Council, Boy Scouts of America is launching its annual popcorn fund-raiser. Support in last year's sale helped our Scouts break all previous area records with more than $1 million in sales.

The sale is an opportunity for Cub and Boy Scouts to earn money to support their scouting adventures: going to camp, completing community service projects or participating in educational field trips.

Best of all, 70 percent of all proceeds support local Scouts. However, this is much more than a fund-raiser. This is an opportunity for our Scouts to learn life skills and develop confidence that will serve them and our community for the rest of their lives.

This allows real-life experiences of goal setting, planning, budgeting, marketing, salesmanship and public speaking at an age-appropriate level.

So when you see Scouts selling popcorn, remember that it's so much more than popcorn.

Philip Blankenship

Richmond

Correction

A Friday letter should have said that chemical weapons have been stored at Blue Grass Army Depot since 1944. We regret the typo.

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