Program shows juveniles don't have to be jailed
Preston Elrod's Dec. 12 op-ed addressed a critical concern in Kentucky regarding the ineffective practice of placing juvenile status offenders in detention centers.
Community-based programs can be much more effective in helping troubled youths and at less cost, but while Elrod suggests programs are not in existence, we'd like to point to our own that's currently doing just that in London.
For more than a decade, Sunrise Children's Services has operated the Youth Support Center in Laurel County. The courts refer young people there as an alternative to sending them to a detention center.
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These young people are required to attend their school during the day and are provided transportation to the center, where they get good meals, educational support, counseling, drug education and other programs designed to get them back on a positive track.
The program lasts up to 60 days, with regular follow-ups. Over 60 percent of those completing the program do not return to the court system. The cost of incarcerating a young person in a detention center is $210 per day. The daily cost of YSC's program is just $94,
Sunrise Children's Services began in 1869 as an orphanage for children left homeless after the Civil War. Today we operate a statewide network of foster homes and residential programs that serve all 120 counties. We echo the call for increased services for children that provide an alternative to placing them in detention centers. Our center is an example that alternatives not only exist, but work.
Dr. William Smithwick
President and CEO
Sunrise Children's Services
Your front-page article Dec. 25, "Bethlehem tradition," helped make Christmas 2011 a wonderful season full of the joy of the Lord Jesus.
I am a Christian and greatly appreciate the time, money and effort the people of Henry County put into the live nativity performance.
A tradition of over 50 years is a solid foundation for spreading the gospel of Jesus Christ.
I also read the fine letter Holly Henson wrote about Jess Correll's contribution to the arts and crafts of Kentucky. Correll has given many donations of thousands of dollars to help struggling churches throughout the state of Kentucky.
The Rev. Leroy Hammond
Bad holiday schedule
In all probability, at least half of Fayette County families were affected by the decision to make Jan. 2 the first of day of resuming classes.
Jan. 1 fell on a Sunday and normally a vacation day follows the next day. However, on that day — Jan. 2 — Fayette County's schools were in session.
Families that were out of town for Christmas break had to return to Lexington instead of being able to celebrate New Year's Eve away.
What a mistake. The schools give the children days off when the teachers need time to catch up and for other reasons. The one day extra for the Christmas break would not have interfered with administration of the system.
I cannot find or publish the words to tell the elected educators how wrong they were in scheduling the beginning of school on the vacation day after the Christmas break.
I hope for the sake of all the families in Fayette County that it will never happen again.
All parents who feel the same should contact their school administrators and board to voice their displeasure.
Walter C. Cox Jr.
Wrong to hunt cranes
A recent letter from a lady in Morehead concerning the Kentucky Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources Commission and the senseless slaughter of the sandhill cranes brought tears to my eyes.
Kentucky has a very bad reputation for lack of compassion for its domestic dogs and cats. We do not have the required shelter in so many of our counties even though they are to be provided by state statute.
To kill a bird that does not do harm and is lovely to see is senseless. I did not realize that we are the only state east of the Mississippi to allow the sandhill crane hunt.
I ask everyone to write letters again requesting immediate end to the slaughter.
I read in The St. Petersburg Times about the shooting of our sandhill cranes.
These are migratory birds that live in Tampa, Fla., after migrating from Canada. These slow-flying flocks (who hurt no one) nest here in central Florida in order to get away from the ice and snow.
So now, we have 332 "Kentucky Yankees" who have nothing better to do than swill their beer and empty their 12-gauges into the sky at slow-flying "V" formations of our cranes.
Well, that's not honorable hunting. That's the mark of hooligans and low-class thugs who consider themselves to be hunters. They're nothing but garbage.
The government of the state of Kentucky (by authorizing open season on our beautiful sandhill cranes) has shown itself in need of remedial psychiatric help.
We have a place for your Kentucky politicians, down here in Florida. We call it the Florida State "Crazy House," and I can assure you that it does exist.
Shame upon Kentucky, killers of our sandhill cranes.
G. Frank Brda
Spring Hill, Fla.
Unfair attack on hero
Shortly after Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer was awarded the Medal of Honor, your newspaper and the McClatchy Company decided to run a "hit piece."
First, let's put this whole matter in perspective. Meyer and his fellow Marines did not go to Afghanistan to seek glory. They volunteered because it was their duty as Marines.
They did their duty after being ambushed by a superior enemy force and risked their lives to bring their comrades to safety.
Secondly, anyone who has been in combat knows that one does not sit on a rock and observe what is happening during a firefight.
The so-called reporter's observation from the rock he must have been hiding under was limited, at best, and was refuted by numerous other personnel who had a better view from out in the open defending themselves.
Your reporter and your company chose not to follow in the footsteps of such war correspondents as Ernie Pyle, Ed Murrow, Walter Cronkite or even Andy Rooney, who extolled the feats of American fighting men.
Rather, he chose to try to make a name for himself at the expense of a true American hero. Such is the character of cowards, trying to drag another down to their level of cravenness.
Meanwhile, your newspaper chose to spread the story across the front page in bold, black headlines of a type unseen since the end of World War II. Several additional pages of your tabloid further enhanced your character assassination. Nice job.
Your actions are beneath contempt.
Paul J. Smith
What was the point of the revolting article about Dakota Meyer?
I have never seen another newspaper so full of meanness and spitefulness.