EMS deserves hospital's thanks, financial support
I read with interest the "Thank You" ad in the Herald-Leader during National EMS week from Central Baptist Hospital to EMS providers. Having experienced our EMS providers in action, I wholeheartedly agree that thanks are in order.
Lexington is fortunate to have EMS as part of our fire department. Supporting our police and fire departments through the city's general fund makes good sense as these are the most critical services a government should provide.
General fund money comes primarily from payroll taxes and net profits tax. It also includes property tax. Like all employees, hospital employees contribute to the general fund through payroll tax. Businesses contribute through net profits tax. Property owners contribute through property tax. But as a non-profit, CBH contributes nothing.
Yet, hospitals are one of the largest beneficiaries of general fund services. Nationwide, 40 percent or more of the beds in a hospital are filled through ER admissions. In Lexington, it's safe to assume that many were transported by our local EMS.
While Lexington is struggling to provide critical services like EMS, Baptist Healthcare Systems Inc., which owns CBH, reported gross receipts of $9.3 billion for the 2009 fiscal year. During this period, its five highest compensated employees received over $5 million.
Thank you, indeed.
Lexington's non-profit hospitals should follow the lead of non-profit hospitals around the country and voluntarily make payments in lieu of taxes. Otherwise, Lexington should do as communities in 11 other states have done: Reconsider the privileged tax status of local non-profit hospitals.
Steve-O is a hero
Thanks for your great piece on the one and only Steve-O.
Steve-O is known for his out-there antics, but this vegan comic has done so much charitable work on behalf of animals. Not only has he denounced the cruel treatment of animals in the Ringling Bros. Circus, he has teamed with People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals to perform and appear in provocative, quirky and serious ads that send messages decrying the use of fur and other animal skins in fashion. He's let students know that they can refuse to cut up the bodies of dead animals in dissection labs. He's used his public appearances as opportunities to speak up for animals who are in trouble, including leading a protest outside Canada's Edmonton Valley Zoo, which keeps an old and ailing elephant, Lucy, in isolation.
He calls himself a jackass, but for the animals, he's a hero.
Live within means, KU
Kentucky Utilities, owned by PPL Corp. of Allentown, Pa., is to ask the Public Service Commission for a 6.5 percent rate increase to cover upgrades, including a call center to reduce complaints and "to pay for a series of generation and transmission upgrades made in recent years."
Why haven't they planned for the upgrades themselves? It is up to you and me to plan our own upgrades — car, refrigerator, etc. It is up to KU to include upgrade planning in its budget. Needing a better complaint call center speaks for itself.
Kentucky Utilities is a private company owned by a Pennsylvania company, and private companies should pay for their own upgrades. Instead, the PSC in the past has meekly cut the request and given KU what they probably wanted in the first place.
An investigation of the salaries of the higher officials of KU (PPL) should be made. Perhaps the lifestyles of board leaders and the PSC commissioners should also be investigated in view of the actions of a recent agriculture commissioner.
Changes necessary for the health of our citizens should have been anticipated and welcomed by KU (PPL) as part of their planned expenses. A 6 percent increase now and again may not be of a concern to these fat cats, but why should the people of Kentucky absorb it? If KU (PPL) can't run their business like a business, perhaps they have no right to keep on bleeding our citizens.
Tapped out father-in-law
State Sen. David Williams, better known as the Burkesville bully, is cooking up another scheme to buy the attorney general's election for his wife, but I doubt his father-in-law has enough money left after all he spent trying to get him elected governor.
Owen D. Humphress
Live the gospel
I want to commend Elder James McDonald for his commentary of June 18 regarding the Emmanuel Apostolic Church and its outreach ministry Community Inn. He quoted the chairman of the Board of Adjustment as saying they "left us to think this was going to be a Sunday-go-to-meeting church."
Louis Stout, we have plenty of Sunday-go-to-meeting churches in Lexington and the Bluegrass area; what we need are more "live the Gospel seven-days-a-week churches."
Thank God for churches like Emmanuel Apostolic.
Rev. John C. Curtis
Praise for Wayne Smith
Wayne B. Smith is the retired founding senior minister of the Southland Christian Church. I have observed his productive life for the past 42 years and am convinced that he is a genuine Christian who deserves our sincere and all-inclusive respect. I have met him but he may not know my name.
Space does not permit enumerating all his attributes and accolades. Over the years he has demonstrated boldness and courage behind the pulpit, before the press and in countless other ways. He is a people person. He is drawn to people and they are drawn to him.
He is a persuasive communicator and encourager, is energetic, friendly, generous almost to a fault and renowned for his humor and laughter. He is known for his integrity, long-lasting loyalty, insistence on restoration, sincerity, truthfulness, vision and an almost superhuman visitation schedule.
He upholds old-fashion traditional Christian values, yet acknowledges inevitable contemporary changes. He is a conservative and driven one-of-a-kind unforgettable person. In fact, there may never be another Wayne B. Smith.
Let's not overlook, however, his wonderful and faithful wife, Marge Smith.
The two have blended into a cohesive and very effective unit.
Richard "Dick" Rothman