Boone Creek canopy tour can deal with concerns
There has been much discourse on the proposed Boone Creek canopy tour project. I have no connection to the project, but I have a new perspective to add to the discussion.
Recently, I had the opportunity to undertake a similar canopy tour in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
The arguments against the project can be categorized into three general complaints: it's potentially bad for the environment, medical access is difficult, and it's not included in the city plan.
Never miss a local story.
In Mexico, the tour organizer uses money from the tours to protect and restore hundreds of acres in the Sierra Madres.
It's in their financial interest to preserve the environmental beauty that visitors come to see. The stated goal of the Boone Creek project is to accomplish the same thing here.
Opponents are correct in that it would be difficult for medical personnel to reach an injured guest. However, the base camp in Puerto Vallarta is more than an hour by truck and boat from the nearest hospital. Unlike Boone Creek, there is no medical helicopter available.
Why hasn't this been a problem? Canopy tour operators take safety seriously; it's bad for business to injure your guests, even if there is medical care nearby.
Finally, opponents complain that it would be an "amusement park," which is outside of the city's master plan.
It makes no sense to block this project merely because some political appointees failed to predict the idea 30 years ago. This complaint has an easy solution: update the master plan.
Aid volunteer firefighters
In reading online about the lack of volunteer firefighters in Eastern Kentucky, I found some information lacking. As a volunteer firefighter for almost 38 years I feel as if I can speak with some authority.
In this busy world, the demographics have changed. For years departments were staffed with local workers and shopkeepers who left their jobs and closed their shops until the emergency was mitigated.
Look at those communities now. There are no small shops and few employers are willing to allow their employees to leave to help their fellow citizens.
I find this last group puzzling since they depend on that department to protect their facilities and to help keep their fire insurance premiums affordable.
Fire departments are an invisible benefit to local communities. No one cares about us unless we're needed. In other words, until your house is on fire or you're pinned in the wreckage of a vehicle, we're an unnecessary expense.
The last thing judge-executives and mayors want is to support anything that costs small amounts of money with little political gain. They want to put forth the minimum effort to say they do have some semblance of protection.
In my volunteer department we have a dedicated core of some of the finest volunteer firefighters I've ever seen.
Since 1963 our department has never failed to respond, which is a remarkable feat, yet local politicians are doing their best to dismantle our department and will probably succeed. I not only read this article, I'm living it.
Priorities put in print
National, world and business news have been crammed into one page each, but the Herald-Leader can spare two full pages on several days for "photo pages" for University of Kentucky basketball?
Is this the future of daily newspaper journalism — replacing information and perspective with posters?
Bravo, UK theater
I just saw an incredible production of the Pulitzer Prize-winning play August: Osage County at University of Kentucky's Guignol Theatre.
Acting, set, direction were top-notch. A full evening of terrific theater. Lexington is lucky to have this talented group. Congratulations.
A loud and clear victory
Change. We finally brought change. Kentucky football brought change in snapping the 26-year-old curse against our arch-rival Tennessee, and a few deaf fans brought change to their Kentucky football experience.
After the lawsuit was settled, in the case of Charles Mitchell vs. The University of Kentucky, there was a sense of relief not only for me but the entire deaf community.
UK will now implement closed-captioning on scoreboards and ribbon boards, as well as the televisions in the concourse areas, for the 2012 football season.
As a fellow deaf myself, I have never been more pleased with the way this case was handled, by both parties. It was even more exciting to see my friend and member of our "Tailgate Crew," Mitchell, fight for something we all believe in, equal access.
There are several points in a game where penalties, plays and announcements are made that we are not able to hear. Now we will no longer wonder who just made that tackle or be forced to ask another fan what the referee just said.
I hope this causes more universities, colleges and other sporting venues to take notice. Allow every one of your fans the same entertainment value. Equal access.
We can't hear you but we can read your actions loud and clear.
Can't afford UPike
The commonwealth is reducing funds for its state-supported institutions of higher education.
Yet there are some in Kentucky's legislature who would add the University of Pikeville, now a private institution, as our newest state-supported university. How can we add a new higher education institution when we can't, or don't, adequately fund those now in existence?
Don't let the creative accounting by some sway support towards this proposal. The addition of UPike would cost the citizens of Kentucky tens of millions (maybe even more than $100 million) in just a few years.
Clyde I. James