Food stamps for soft drinks fuel illicit drug trade
The first of every month, all across Eastern Kentucky, customers purchase shopping carts full of soft drinks, pay with a SNAP (food stamp) card and then sell the pop for cash. Sometimes they sell to smaller stores at a price cheaper than the stores pay a distributor, and sometimes they sell directly to individuals. It's generally believed that this cash is used to buy drugs. Thus, the government Supplental Nutrition Aassistance program is subsidizing drug use.
Several weeks ago, I witnessed such a transaction at the Wal-Mart in Jackson. Two women came out of the store with two carts of pop. As they were loading it into their car, a man approached. Money changed hands, and the man walked away with two 12-packs.
States aren't allowed to exempt soft drinks from the list of food stamp-eligible items. Minnesota tried a few years ago, but that effort was shot down by the federal government. It will literally take an act of Congress to stop this abuse. Since Congressman Hal Rogers has been so involved in the battle against drug abuse through his Operation UNITE, this would be an ideal effort for him to champion.
I have no problems with SNAP recipients buying pop for personal consumption, but I do have a problem when they abuse the system at my expense as a taxpayer to support illegal drug abuse.
It's time to make some serious changes in the Kentucky House of Representatives. The latest fiasco with former Rep. Bob Arnold's apparent ability to run around grabbing legislative staffers' underwear without fear of retribution shows what this body has become under the leadership of Speaker Greg Stumbo, a Democrat.
Lack of direction was present earlier this year as well when Stumbo had the brilliant idea to use coal severance money for Rupp Arena. That sparked an outcry that can still be heard to the east. Stumbo tried to explain it away but the good folks in Kentucky just weren't buying.
Adding insult to injury, in Washington D.C., President Barack Obama and his Environmental Protection Agency have let loose a storm of regulations which have already cost more good Kentucky coal jobs and further reduced the amount the federal government will allow Kentucky to mine. I'm tired of them telling us how much to mine.
We have the opportunity next year to fix all the problems that have occurred during the tenure of Stumbo and the Democrats in the statehouse. It's time for Kentucky to take hold of our own future and stop allowing other folks to keep this state in the dark ages. Coal keeps the lights on, and we owe it to our next generations to move this state forward.
I urge my fellow Kentuckians to vote for Republicans in their statehouse races next year.
In September, the Lexington Philharmonic treated its audience to an outstanding opening night concert. I was pleased by Rich Copley's review of the concert as "cathartic" and a "season-opening spectacular." At the end of the review, Copley noted that it's "a shame we have to wait until November for a follow-up."
LexPhil is not taking a fall break during October. During its annual "Education Month" (which spans October to mid-November this year), LexPhil will bring live music to approximately 5,000 students and families throughout Central and Eastern Kentucky.
On Oct. 23 and 25, LexPhil will present three full-production Music Builds Discovery concerts to elementary and middle-school students from Central, Eastern and Southern Kentucky. During late October and early November, LexPhil ensembles will perform at all four elementary schools in Morgan County, an area still recovering from the tornado of March 2012. This school district has no music in its curriculum. LexPhil will also present Peanut Butter & Jelly concerts in Lexington and Mount Sterling, and a family concert in Lexington.
I applaud LexPhil for its dedication to music education. The importance of this work cannot be overstated, as students all over the state, especially in rural areas, are in need of the creative and critical thinking skills the arts can provide. Without the foundation of music and arts education, what reason will there be for future concerts like that on Sept. 20?
Education Chair, Lexington Philharmonic Board of Directors
A Sept. 20 letter concerning the Interstate 75 connector opponents was both juvenile and asinine. Insulting the folks who oppose the connector is something I would expect a fifth grader to do.
Furthermore, I'll try to explain to any fifth grader (or the writer) why the Paris Pike project was different than the proposed I-75 connector. First, Paris Pike was preexisting. It was simply expanded from two to four lanes. The proposed connector is an entirely new road which will require paving over hundreds of acres of farmland and wilderness.
Secondly, the I-75 connector, if built, will become a major truck route. Is Paris Pike a major truck route?
A third consideration is the destruction of the local environment. Building a bridge over the Kentucky River and the Palisades will destroy that portion of them. Once they're gone, they're gone forever. The last time I looked, the Palisades and Kentucky River were nowhere near Paris Pike.
No, the only similarity Paris Pike and the proposed I-75 connector share is the approximate length of each road.
Oh, and about that drive on Paris Pike being one of the prettiest in Kentucky. Meaning no disrespect to the folks in Bourbon County but, all the stone fences look "corporate," made by a few individuals.
But, hey, as long as the letter writer likes it, it must be OK. As he said, I must be one of those "nabobs of negativism."
Protect postal service
Six-day mail delivery is vital for Central Kentucky. The U.S. Postal Service is rooted in the Constitution. It is older than the country itself, does not receive one dime of taxpayer money and is fully funded by the sale of stamps and services.
USPS reported a first-quarter net operating profit of $100 million, including a nine percent increase in package delivery, mostly from ordering online. The Internet that was supposed to kill the postal service is increasing its revenues. The telegraph was also supposed to spell the demise of mail delivery. So where does the USPS' red ink come from? A 2006 law that requires the postal service to pre-fund health care for retirees 75 years in the future. This is an unfunded mandate.
Retirement funds for current employees are fully vested. Congress must eliminate this pre-funding which is a poison pill.
Kentucky depends upon the postal service to swiftly deliver letters, papers and packages. USPS has reacted to this pre-funding mandate by trying to cut a day of delivery and close our Nandino Boulevard mail processing center and move that mail to Knoxville. Ever been over Jellico Mountain on 1nterstate 75 in the winter?
Loss of Saturday delivery would also eliminate the country's largest food drive. Locally that would hurt, as one in seven Kentuckians need food assistance. Our federal reps need to vote to keep USPS vital for our future.
Robert P. McNulty