No justification for hunting bears with dogs
I was the target of Kentucky's first recorded predatory bear attack, in which I sustained recoverable injuries. Since that was cited in the Feb. 4 Herald-Leader article, "Bear-hunting with dogs proposed" as partial justification for this activity, I must protest publicly.
This proposal is from Karen Waldrop, director of wildlife for the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission. Waldrop is mistaken in her assumptions and recommendations.
I have read much of bear management science since my encounter and have corresponded with some of the world's principal bear experts.
The 110 years of fatal bear-attack statistics reveal 63 people were killed in 59 incidents. Contrary to common belief, male bears were far more likely to launch a deadly attack than were females, even those with young.
A black bear attack is so rare that the risk of dying in a car accident on the way to the woods is 31,000 times greater than that of being killed by a bear.
Sanctioning hunters to terrorize black bears that have the misfortune of crossing their paths accomplishes nothing useful, certainly not public protection. The likelihood that a hunter will cross the path of a potentially dangerous bear and impart a memorable lesson strains belief. We don't harass all neighborhood dogs when one dog bites someone.
Bears bulk up for hibernation in August. Disrupting their feeding may well condemn some to starvation later in winter.
Waldrop should channel her energies into educating people on how to coexist with bears. The woods belong to bears, too.
Cutting the line
AT&T's president in Kentucky, Mary Pat Regan, paints a bright picture (Kentucky Voices, Feb. 28) of Kentucky's future if we free telephone companies from state regulation. She praises the deregulation from 2006, and pushes for a bill currently before the legislature, SB 135.
The company would like to be free of its obligation to provide affordable basic service. Under SB 135, AT&T and others would have no obligation to serve any customer or prospective customer after June 30, 2013. Even before that, the rates for basic local exchange service would become "market-based and not subject to [Public Service] Commission jurisdiction."
This might not hurt customers who want premium services or have access to competitors, but it would hurt those who live in rural places where the phone company has a monopoly. AT&T may well price basic phone service out of reach. It is a step backward, from the ideal of universal service to one of maximum competition for high-end urban customers.
On our country road, there is no home cellphone reception, cable or DSL. No competition. The phone line is our lifeline. We, customers of BellSouth, now AT&T, have paid for this line over years and decades.
Repair and maintenance already suffered after the 2006 deregulation. An outage routinely leaves us without service for a week or more. Our rates increased by $3 in January with virtually no notice, and without explanation.
If SB 135 passes, AT&T could quit offering a low-cost basic plan or simply quit serving us altogether.
In response to the recent commentary, "Investing in startups a path for Ky. growth," I would like to make reference to Kentucky Crafted: The Market this weekend at the Lexington Convention Center. This state-sponsored event very much represents the type of investment the state makes that has provided support to small artisan producers to launch or sustain their businesses.
Since 1981, the Market has provided a venue for its artisans to sell to retail stores throughout the country as well as to the public. In recent years, the Market was expanded to include Kentucky food producers in association with the Kentucky Department of Agriculture.
It is coordinated by the Kentucky Crafted Program of the Kentucky Arts Council, Tourism, Arts and Humanities Cabinet. I retired three years ago as one of the staff who helped to orchestrate the Market and other initiatives.
Many of its small producers can attest to the value of the Market for getting their businesses off the ground with orders from retail establishments and to the value of subsequent markets in helping sustain them each year.
Kentucky Crafted: The Market is an event that could fly under the radar as "just another craft show" but it has literally gotten many small businesses off the ground and brought documented revenue dollars into the state. If you're looking for examples of successful state support, I would recommend you look no further.
As an employee of the Nursing Home Ombudsman Agency I have advocated for many years for nursing home residents. It is essential that the rights of this population be protected.
The proposed House Bill 361 would deny residents the right to pursue civil damages unless the issue of neglect, abuse or exploitation had first been filtered through a medical review board.
Do the elderly deserve this? They have fought wars, worked in mines, farmed the land and fed, educated and clothed the very legislators who propose this bill.
Please speak out against this violation of the rights of the elderly unless you, too, wish to someday be denied this and who knows what other constitutional rights.