Ark theme park will offer good-paying jobs, improve Ky. economy
Being involved in the theme park industry for three decades, I want to point out that tourism is one of the most dynamic industries a state can pursue.
The Ark Encounter, for which I am a consultant, will attract over 80 percent of its guests from out of state, thus providing Kentucky an excellent opportunity for the hospitality industry to capitalize upon the influx of visitors.
The result will be an increase in employment during the $150 million construction phase and the future years of operation.
The Ark Encounter will employ more than 900 people in full- and part-time positions. More than 500 associates will be full-time, including more than 100 salaried positions ranging from $30,000 to $100,000 annually, and the rest averaging more than $24,000 annually, plus excellent benefits.
The ripple effect of the first year in job creation will be over 14,000 new jobs.
The Tourism Development Act provides an incentive to attract investments for tourism projects without burdening the state's residents by allowing qualifying projects to recapture up to 25 percent of the cost of the project development through the sales tax generated.
The Ark Encounter clearly qualifies for this incentive under the guidelines of the act. The Ark Encounter is a for-profit, limited liability company owned by a group of private investors which has contracted with a subsidiary of Answers in Genesis, Inc., to provide oversight of the daily operations.
I trust this clears up some confusion that the Herald-Leader's editorial might have created.
President, Nehemiah Group
What of Kentucky Kingdom?
I read and hear about Gov. Steve Beshear's support for the construction of a faith-based theme park proposed for Grant County. Interesting. But why does a park need to be faith-based? I thought amusement parks were supposed to be fun. As a matter of fact, I don't remember any discussion of roller coasters and stuff like that.
By the way, doesn't the state already own an amusement park?
The Kentucky Kingdom park in Louisville, as I understand it, is a $200 million dollar facility that could be producing tax revenue for the state, but instead is sitting there doing nothing since its closure by Six Flags early this year.
Kentucky Kingdom is already built, so let's get that park back into operation instead of throwing tax incentives at a project that is not only still on the drawing board but also is a problem in so many ways.
Once upon a time, I was taught that "appearances are reality until proven otherwise." Do we need to stick a big ol' boat in that big pool at Kentucky Kingdom for the state to get behind the effort to reopen it? Or is it going to be a wasted resource?
Having read the recent article on the pending DREAM Act and its impact on local student Jennifer Abreu, I have questions and comments.
According to the time line, Abreu came legally to the United States with her father in 2004 at age 13. In 2008 her father returned to Brazil, leaving his 17-year-old minor daughter here. Who was the guardian?
Her visa was terminated and green card application denied. Two years later, she is arrested for missing an immigration hearing because "she did not receive the notice because it was sent to a former address."
Was it not her and her guardian's responsibility to keep immigration officials informed? She graduates from a local high school and enrolls in college.
On her application, did she have to list her citizenship and if so, did she list Brazil or U.S.? If she listed Brazil, didn't she have to file appropriate forms as an international student?
Abreu stated, "The whole immigration system is broken." But what I see broken are the laws of the United States which Abreu, her father, her guardian in the U.S. may have violated. I do not view her as an "undocumented student." Rather I see her as an illegal alien who should have returned to her country of citizenship when her visa expired.
It is regrettable that, as a minor, she was assisted by adults in her family and in our educational system in breaking these laws and thus finds herself in this predicament now.
Real story on spider bite
I am the mail carrier who was recently bitten by the spider. Unfortunately, people who don't know what they are talking about have made a lot of accusations. No one has contacted me for any kind of approval to report this news.
I never stated that it was a brown recluse spider. I have been told by three doctors that I was bitten by a poisonous spider, possibly a brown recluse.
Whatever type of spider it was, I am the one with a severe hole in my hand — not in the arm as stated in the report. People insert their hands, not arms, into mailboxes.
I am the one receiving treatment and on high doses of antibiotics, going to the doctor every other day to have the wound flushed and cleaned. I could have nerve damage to my hand.
So if someone would like to talk to the victim, feel free to contact me. My poor customers were terrified and thought I was in critical condition because of news reports.
Unemployment aid abused
It is a well known and highly accurate assumption that people always make choices in an effort to maximize their own utility level.
Therefore, it is completely rational that, if given the opportunity, some individuals will take advantage of unemployment insurance because the alternative to working makes them happier.
An example of this is when laid-off mothers and fathers choose to put little effort into finding a new job so they can spend more time at home with their family.
Though no one wants to be the bearer of bad news, especially when each of us wishes for the same thing, the problem with this is how much it costs businesses and the government to support people who act in this manner.
Unemployment insurance serves a great purpose. Without it, many hard-working Americans would suffer tremendous losses.
However, there is a considerable amount of research stating that increases in the length of unemployment insurance benefits only cause the number of people receiving benefits to increase.
They willingly chose to milk the system for a longer period of time.
By adding a low permanent wage tax to those on unemployment, offering a re-employment bonus and decreasing the time period for which benefits are paid, an optimal level of unemployment insurance is achieved.
It is time for America to start spending its money more effectively.
Asking for it
Naming Hal Rogers chairperson of the House Appropriations Committee is like putting the fox in charge of the chicken house.
James A. Johnson
Way to coach
I have raised my two sons, now 20 and 16, to know there are consequences for their actions — whether good or bad.
Thank you to University of Kentucky football coach Joker Phillips for living that out, too.
Gift for Williams
I hope someone will give a copy of The Diary of Anne Frank to state Senate President David Williams this Christmas.
He'd love it. A lot of people were checking papers in her day, too.