Centre gift will increase access to higher ed
Thanks to the Herald-Leader for the congratulations expressed in its Aug. 1 editorial. The gift from the A. Eugene Brockman Charitable Trust is cause for celebration by Centre College and all of Kentucky.
The editorial rightly expresses concern about access to higher education, but implies that the Brockman Scholars Program will do little to address that concern. I know that the editorial staff would not want to leave that mistaken impression.
Centre has a long commitment to Kentucky, with more than half of its students from the commonwealth. Also, two-thirds of Centre students receive need-based financial aid, a number well above many other nationally-ranked liberal arts colleges, making Centre distinctive as a place of high opportunity and high achievement. That culture and the demographics of our student body ensure that the program will provide significant assistance to students with financial need, including Kentuckians.
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It is correct that some merit scholarships do not improve educational attainment, just not so in this case. The merit upon which the Brockman Scholars will be selected includes demonstrated hard work, leadership and creative thinking, qualities found at all income levels.
Also, discussions of educational attainment should include the quality of the college experience. The Brockman Scholars Program will be a "game-changer," especially for the young people who would not otherwise have access to the preparation for leadership and service that happens in remarkable ways at Centre.
These young people will be difference-makers as they create positive change for our state, nation and world.
John A. Roush
President, Centre College
Overly should defend Fayette
Who is standing up for Fayette County? In the state legislative redistricting plan, that question has become increasingly difficult to answer.
According to the 2010 census, Fayette County is entitled to seven state representatives. However, this year, House Bill 2 reduced Fayette County to only six representatives, some of whom do not even solely represent Fayette County. Lexingtonians should be outraged.
Where are our county's leaders? Why are they not standing up and claiming our full representation?
Last year, Sen. Kathy Stein championed Fayette County after partisan redistricting moved her seat outside Fayette County. When Stein took her argument to court, the justice system agreed that Fayette County was not being represented fairly in our state legislature, and her seat was restored.
Now, politicians in Frankfort have devised a new plan to erode Fayette County's influence again. I hope that Rep. Sannie Overly, a member of House leadership, will join Stein in fighting for Fayette County to receive the representation it deserves.
Members of the both political parties were elected to serve the people and to stand up for our interests. They should do the right thing.
Obamacare helps coal miners
Sen. Mitch McConnell proclaims to be fighting the "War on Coal" and protecting the jobs of coal workers. He is also staunchly opposed to and favors repealing Obamacare.
Actually the coal industry is declining simply because coal has been mined in this region for such a long time that many of the thickest, most easily accessible coal reserves have already been mined out. What hasn't declined is the rate at which coal miners are suffering from the disabling condition of black lung or pneumoconiosis.
Black lung health protections used to exist but were removed in 1981 when the ailment was thought to be waning. However, the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health estimates that cases of black lung have doubled since 1995 and more than 10,000 miners have died from the disease in the last decade. Under Section 1556 of Obamacare, the sufferers of black lung will have their benefits restored and expanded. Black lung benefits have also been amended so that a widow is automatically entitled to benefits if the miner had been awarded them at the time of his death.
How can McConnell really care so much about coal jobs while at the same time fighting to eliminate the health and disability benefits that are so vital to the workers and their families who have fallen ill or died from working in coal?
Ann Ross will be missed
Ann Ross was a good friend, mentor and ceaseless advocate for the empowerment of women and not afraid to state her views on social and political subjects. I was fortunate to be a fellow club member and collaborator for many years. Ann, a charter member of our Suburban Woman's Club of Lexington, worked tirelessly over the years, filling most of the club's offices at one time or another. Ann was active in the success of Suburban Woman's Club's long-running Open Horse Farm Tour and this year's fund-raiser, "50 years of Celebrating the Bluegrass." The goal was to raise money for various charities and to provide scholarship funds for non-traditional students.
Ann's vision was to start the Great Seal Project, a curriculum-based program on citizenship presented to area fifth-graders. The program is based on the Great Seal of the United States, including its history, development, symbolism and values. The program also covers U.S. immigration history and an immigrant's journey towards citizenship.
Ann Ross, who died last week, will be missed not only by her wonderful family and many admiring friends but also by the entire community.
Oresta "Rusty" Hale