Farmer story part of effort to hurt campaign chances
As a state merit employee, I do not hold any animosity toward Agriculture Commissioner Richie Farmer for not voluntarily participating in the furloughs of state workers.
Instead, my anger is still directed toward Gov. Steve Beshear, who proposed the furloughs, implemented them through executive order and refuses to rescind them, despite the improving state revenue situation.
In fact, Beshear recently vetoed legislation that would have repealed the furloughs, and all indications are that he plans to continue them next fiscal year. I was pleased to hear Sen. David Williams say he opposed the furloughs and would have found other options to cut the state budget.
It's obvious this non-story about Farmer is yet another gambit in the Herald-Leader's attempt to torpedo the Williams-Farmer campaign.
Pieces about Williams' expenditures at his previous choices of entertainment venues and stories trying to prop up Phil Moffett's failing candidacy seek to drive a wedge between Kentucky conservative Republicans. Run a negative story about Farmer on a Saturday, print an editorial a few days later, then follow with a Larry Dale Keeling hit piece the following Sunday — your motives are crystal-clear.
I also have no problems with Williams having previously gambled in out-of-state casinos, yet opposing casino gambling in Kentucky. It's not unlike someone who drinks alcoholic beverages preferring that their home community remain dry.
These are not true campaign issues of importance to Kentuckians. They are straw men manufactured by the Herald-Leader in an attempt to discredit the Williams-Farmer campaign. I, for one, am not fooled.
Odd visit to Keeneland
I usually go to Keeneland once a year, and last Sunday's trip brought to light some negative aspects we hadn't experienced before. My husband thought it might be a great idea for us to valet park because I am recovering from a leg injury and still wear a boot.
We were told we cannot valet park — we were wearing blue jeans.
I couldn't help but laugh, and ask if the money changes to a different color if I were dressed differently. Our guests and I laughed it off and decided to just park. We parked at General Parking (we don't have a handicap sticker), so I walked.
It was a beautiful day and Military Day. Great to see our military; we cheered them and talked to them. As they were leaving, we clapped to show our thanks for all they do.
Out of the blue, this guy stepped in front of us and said, "This is why you vote Republican."
So on the same day, I was made to feel that my money was not good enough to pay for valet parking because I didn't dress up, I left with the impression that if I wanted a strong military and protection from terrorism (or whatever else he meant) I must vote Republican.
We had out-of-town guests, and I'm not sure they understand that our town is not so close-minded. We did have fun at Keeneland, but we left with a bad taste in our mouths.
Vision for downtown
As a local businessman who searched for a year and a half for suitable space for a retail market in downtown Lexington, I'll put forth my vision for the CentrePointe block.
When the block was leveled, downtown lost a substantial portion of its ground-floor space. These spaces are an absolute necessity for retail, restaurant and entertainment venues — the very types of businesses that draw people and create a vibrant and alive central city.
I envision two rows of buildings, with one facing Main and the other facing Vine. While each of these may be constructed as a single building (I'll leave that decision to the architects), the facades should look like several different adjoining buildings rather than one massive one. This would be in keeping with the surrounding architecture.
None of the individual units making up the Main or Vine frontage should be more than 10-12 stories, with some being only six to eight stories.
Running between the buildings on Main and the Vine, and connecting South Limestone and South Upper would be a pedestrian alley with courtyards for open air dining and music at the restaurants and taverns that would face Main and Vine.
Street vendors could set up food and flower carts at lunch, strolling musicians could entertain in the evenings and this could quickly become a gathering place for Lexington's citizens and visitors.
Let's be creative and develop something far more distinctive and useful than another massive structure towering over the landscape.
Danger of plastic bags
Judith Humble's informative April 14 commentary about our society's excessive use of plastic should have been front-page news.
I couldn't agree with her more.
As citizens of this fine commonwealth, it truly takes little effort to make small but positive environmental differences through our everyday actions.
Here are a couple of examples we can all easily do: Use cloth bags, not only at grocery stores but at all department stores; refill non-disposable water bottles; use your own take-home container when you eat in restaurants that serve more than you can eat, and so on. These small efforts could add up to a big effect.
Thanks to Humble for sharing the results of her research, and thanks, Herald-Leader, for publishing it. I hope to see more articles such as this in our Lexington newspaper.
Matter of priorities
What's wrong with this picture?
With gas at almost $4 a gallon, some people would rather drive farther than pay a dollar or two to use the Valley View Ferry. If that's the case, we don't need to be paying $40,000 while laying off city employees and cutting other services.
It is an amazing fact of life, and Easter affirms it: Extraordinary triumph can, and sometimes does, follow terrible tragedy.
The Sabbath that followed the Feast of Unleavened Bread was over. As it began to dawn on the first day of the week, two women, Mary Magdalene and another woman known only as "the other Mary," made their way through the narrow, dark and lonely streets of Jerusalem.
Dutifully, they made their way to the borrowed tomb just outside the city where, following his crucifixion, the body of their friend had been placed and the opening sealed with a large stone.
With spices they had prepared to anoint his body, one question troubled, but did not stop, them, "Who will roll the stone away from the entrance of the tomb?"
Upon entering the tomb, they were greeted by comforting words from a stranger, "Don't be afraid." Then came the amazing words, "He is not here; he has risen."
It was unreal. It was startling, indeed. The tomb was empty. The body they had come to anoint was not there, but the grave clothes were. As Mary stood outside the tomb crying, she sensed a presence that spoke reassuringly, "Mary."
Immediately, she knew. Her friend had been raised from the dead and was present to comfort and reassure her. The joyous message of Easter is powerful. Life can be good. Beyond tragedy, there is triumph.
No 'gold standard'
Thank you, John Clay, for calling it like it is in your column, "Rupp Arena is good enough for Kentucky."
The desire for a "gold standard" arena by University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart is more about want than need, and of course, a few that want to keep up with the Joneses — in this case, Louisville.
Over the years, we have been sold on the notion to replace the old with the new — bigger is better, never to remodel as we would our own homes. But then, that is easy to do when you are spending someone else's money.
Obviously, the likely push for a new arena will come from politicians with the justification of job creation and economic benefit (i.e. preferred seats) and from those who stand most to benefit: UK, specific downtown businesses (hotels, restaurants, parking facilities, area shops) and season ticket holders.
I am a season ticket holder and feel those who benefit the most should ultimately bear the cost to upgrade Rupp Arena or build a new venue.
That burden should not fall on all taxpayers, many of whom have never stepped foot in Rupp Arena or the civic center. Finally, I hope those unlikely to benefit (the majority) are represented on the 45-member task force appointed by Mayor Jim Gray.
Have our Lexington leaders lost their minds? Would they seriously consider abandoning their huge, beautiful arena, leaving it to become a massive, empty eyesore in the middle of their town?
Then, they would pay $350,000 for an unnecessary study. We don't need a study. We know a boondoggle when we see one.
Then, they would build a new arena at a cost of a zillion dollars. Even if it were paid for totally with donations, it's such a wrong message to send just now. We are supposed to be cutting costs everywhere, even on necessities, so certainly on trivial things.
Of course, University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart thinks it would be great. It's his life they're talking about. That's like asking the cat if he would like fatter mice in the barn.
New president's mission
Realizing the citizens of Kentucky are not worthy of knowing the finalists for the next president of the University of Kentucky, I only hope the anointed person will value the concept of institutional control of the athletics program.
It is unfortunate enough that UK has lost its moral compass in that, with the apparent blessing of the current president, the institution that aspires to be one of the Top 20 public research universities in the country now recruits some student-athletes to be one-year students.
Well, that's life when the tail wags the cat. So, now it appears the UK athletics program wants to decide how Kentucky tax dollars (lots of those dollars) can best be spent — the "gold standard" basketball arena.
Shame on Mayor Jim Gray, for thinking to ask Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, Mr. Gold Standard, what he wants. I urge the next president to get ahold of the cat and straighten out that tail. The new president might even ask President Lee T. Todd Jr. if he would like to take his buddy Barnhart along as he rides into the sunset.
Rupp already great
I read the article recently about maintaining the "gold standard" and keeping up with the Joneses (Louisville's new Yum Center). Rupp Arena may have fallen behind the times and does not sparkle like a Yum Center, but why does it have to?
Rupp is one of the toughest places for a visiting team to come in and get away with a win. So, it does not have those splendid luxury boxes and is lacking NBA glitz and glam. But we are also talking about Lexington, not Los Angeles, New York City or, for that fact, Louisville.
Though we may think of ourselves as cosmopolitan, we are still a moderate-sized market that may not be able to financially support building an improved Rupp Arena or Commonwealth Stadium in today's tough economic climate.
The oversized 45-member mayoral committee needs to ask tough questions before agreeing blindly, as some city leaders did on the now-defunct CentrePointe fiasco.
Will they level more downtown buildings only to leave it as another empty city block that grows nice grass? Are we going to do this project the right way, for the right reasons?
Let us not get caught up with keeping up with the Joneses just for the sake of being chic and trendy and at the expense of the taxpayers of this city and of this state. You have to be able to justify the need versus the cost.
The gold standard was built in downtown Lexington in 1976. Do we need to spend more?
With Bob Knight's comments about the University of Kentucky's prolific record of one-and-doners, the Big Blue Nation finds itself smack dab in the middle of what is sure to be a long, dramatic battle over whether college basketball players should be able to leave school after one year.
On one hand, it seems strange to tell someone he cannot use his talents right away just because a rule says so. On the other, for most of us who want a good paying, professional career, we have to get a degree in something before we enter that career.
You cannot blame the kids; they are only doing what they have to in order to get where they should have already been. With that said, there is a fine line between doing what is best for you and "sacrificing" for a greater good or accomplishment.
Coach John Calipari is quick to argue he encourages players to seek out what is best for them and their families, which is good to some degree. But deep down, there is no denying that is inherently selfish.
Perhaps those who fight for our country would argue that being shot at is not best for them or their families, but they do it because it is best for something bigger than themselves. UK basketball is in no way more important than the freedom of this country, but sometimes not doing what is best for you actually makes you more valuable than any draft spot or shoe contract could ever do.