Clay, Capilouto wise voices on downtown project
Sports columnist John Clay, on May 25, said just about all that needs to be said on the question of renovating Rupp Arena.
Add to that the wise voice of University of Kentucky President Eli Capilouto who feels, like many of us, that money should be more wisely spent on UK academic programs and facilities. The better judgment is that the proposed project is unneeded right now.
The public knows this, too. A recent survey showed they have solidly rejected the proposal to spend millions of their money.
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There is one other reason not to do this project. Support of UK athletics programs has prospered over the years because of its wide appeal to the little guys in the stands from all over the state — people in towns and farms from Pikeville to Paducah.
Don't we all know these unheralded members of the Big Blue Nation who think nothing of driving hundreds of miles on slick roads to a wintertime, nighttime basketball game? In my 23 years as director of public relations at UK, I met many of these ardent and dedicated basketball fans.
Under the current proposal, ticket prices would have to go up and most of those previously available would end up in the hands of big businesses and corporations. The little guy would again be left out. In fact, under current conditions it is already turning that way.
So keep writing, John Clay. You and our sterling new UK president are leading us on the right track.
Glass arena won't blend
Congratulations to University of Kentucky president Eli Capilouto for his recent letter concerning the proposals for Rupp Arena and the convention center. The letter cast a huge spotlight on the use of millions for the desires of a minority in the Lexington area versus the needs of the general population.
For the majority of citizens, tickets for a UK basketball game are unattainable due to sellout crowds and ticket costs. With the new plan, ticket costs will skyrocket so only a minority will be able to afford them.
Lexington needs money for teachers, fire and police officers, filling the potholes and new parks. How about the needs for the poor and homeless? Also, almost every evening on local news, there is a new murder. Lexington leaders ought to be grateful for smaller conventions that return year after year. Consistency is a good thing.
The monster glass design of a renovated Rupp is another question altogether. Lexington is a lovely old city with beautiful buildings which should be treasured and expanded on with designs in keeping with its history. All that glass, which someone will have to clean, just doesn't fit in downtown Lexington.
UK wants to dictate all
This letter is in no way to be abusive to the University of Kentucky coaches, players or other students, but am I the only one who is fed up with the UK president and board relative to UK's commitment to the Rupp Arena project?
Is the president lazy, ignorant or just apathetic about committing to the UK share of that project?
He appears to think that UK is the only game in town, and that UK can dictate what other people think, do or pay for.
It has been the taxpayers who have paid extensively for much of UK, including the president's salary and benefits. It has been the taxpayers who have paid for the police and fire professionals to protect businesses and homes around UK.
I would like the illustrious president and board of UK — The Next Great University — to tell all of us where will UK play basketball if it is not at Rupp Arena? Will it play at the old coliseum on the campus?
The message from the University of Kentucky president's response to the downtown plan: "Welcome to the University of Kentucky, home of Lexington."
Ideas for 21c museum
At last week's Urban County Council meeting, Craig Greenberg, president of 21c Museum Hotel, proposed contacting the local Tourism and Convention bureau regarding management of the museum portion of this new facility.
I suggest an alternative — LexArts. As an established arts-based organization, this would be a far better choice. Also, the University of Kentucky has an academic major for arts management, and the museum could provide an excellent opportunity for internships.
I do hope this museum will regularly include the works of Kentucky artists and craftspersons. The commonwealth is home to many gifted individuals.
Member, Bluegrass Printmakers Cooperative
EKU mistreated lab TAs
At Model Laboratory's recent graduation ceremony, Eastern Kentucky University President Michael Benson challenged high school graduates to work hard, take responsibility and show respect to all — no matter their age or station in life.
He suggested, given privileges similar to those he received, they too may earn a degree from Oxford or Harvard.
Hours before Benson delivered that speech, EKU callously terminated 17 teaching assistants without explanation. Some had worked at Model for nearly two decades. All of those fired were dedicated to the school's mission to provide an outstanding education to its pre-K to 12th grade students.
While the 17 fired may reapply for 12 positions, many were told upon dismissal that they will not qualify because they lack the appropriate degree or certification.
Teaching assistants do far more than make copies and fetch coffee. For extremely meager pay, these educators provide individual instruction and attention to students.
They serve critical needs and provide services that many teachers do not have time or resources to provide given their class sizes.
Those fired contributed to Model's proud track record; it consistently ranks among the highest in state testing and routinely sends 90 to 100 percent of graduates to college well prepared.
Current and would-be Model Lab parents should question where EKU's priorities lie. Given the terminations, providing an exemplary education to their children may not cap the list.
Setting EKU's motivations aside, these hardworking and dedicated assistants were due more respect than EKU elected to afford them.
Please, get real in ads
You would be doing your readers a great service if you offered some perspective and fact-checking on the growing number of ridiculous political ads.
I keep seeing a woman named Patty Breeze in an ad saying that the Affordable Care Act is hurting small businesses in Kentucky.
With whom did she check? People I know who own small businesses just laugh at this claim.
The Republicans are acting like the present administration is directly attacking our state with measures that are intended to help the environment and provide health care.
They are treating Obamacare as a disaster while the rest of the country praises Kentucky for a successful implementation.
The so-called war on coal? Why would a sitting president declare war on an industry? It's imperative that we address the growing climate crisis and find cleaner sources of energy.
And trust me, nobody is coming to get your guns. A very modest attempt to require universal background checks was stymied by the National Rifle Association, even though most citizens approved of it.
I hope voters in Kentucky will not be swayed by these scare tactics.
For several years it has been a sticking point with me that schools are allowed to pick and choose which federal holidays on which to have school.
For example, some schools will have school on Veterans Day and Presidents Day, but will not have school on Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
A few years ago, the Herald-Leader castigated those schools who chose to have school on MLK Day, and printed their names on the front of the paper.
I wonder why such a fuss has not been made about those schools who chose to have school on Memorial Day this year to make up for snow days.
Jessica Whiteford Townsend
Honor vets appropriately
We should be grateful every day to our family and friends serving in the military and thank them for preserving the freedoms we enjoy.
We have two distinct holidays to honor people who have served or lost their lives in defense of our freedoms. Veterans Day honors those who served and Memorial Day honors those who paid the ultimate sacrifice.
Why then would radio stations encourage people to leave messages concerning loved ones currently serving and have those messages played on the air on a holiday established to honor those lost?
Could it be the staff and management of these stations don't know the difference? That wouldn't surprise me. I've heard speeches from governors and presidents who confuse these days as well.
Let's educate ourselves: Thank those currently serving every day, honor living veterans on Veterans Day and honor those lost on Memorial Day.