Be good neighbor: shovel sidewalks
Kentucky has seen the last snow for a while. However, those who choose to walk or run for exercise when it snows in Lexington face great danger. The snow isn't the danger. Risk comes from uncleared sidewalks causing snow to become sheets of ice.
Bad neighbors don't keep their sidewalks cleared. At least think of the children having to get to and from school bus stops. Every time we have a heavy snow, someone complains their street hasn't been cleared. Yet, you never see one sidewalk on their street cleared.
Lexington isn't like New York or Chicago that usually get snow every winter. Those cities invest in more snow removal equipment and personnel to clear streets. However, unlike Lexington, property owners get fined if they don't clear snow from their sidewalks.
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Before complaining, at least do your due diligence by clearing your sidewalks and fire hydrants.
Instead of complaining, start working with the city to come up with an incentive to develop a neighborhood association to seek bids for snow removal and contract with someone to do it.
Or, should Lexington's answer be high fines for uncleared sidewalks so they can afford more equipment and personnel to clear your street?
Plants use less water
The debate over how much water it takes to grow an almond barely mentions that 47 percent of California's water footprint is for meat and dairy. It takes 23 gallons of water to produce one ounce of almonds but Americans eat less than one ounce per day.
One ounce of beef requires 106 gallons and the average American eats about 12 ounces of meat daily. Even for calories and grams of protein produced per quantity of water, plant foods are much more water efficient than animal foods.
Showering one minute less saves 2.5 gallons. Not watering your lawn saves 48 gallons. A meat-eater requires 1,000 gallons per day for producing their food, but a vegan requires 400 gallons.
The 2015 Dietary Guidelines Committee encourages eating more plant foods and fewer animal foods for a healthy weight and to prevent disease. As a registered dietitian nutritionist, I encourage Kentuckians and all Americans to consider moving towards a plant-based diet for their own health and our nation's sustainability.
Some might wonder how the so-called right-to-work campaign in Kentucky this year got started. We have been a free bargaining state for a long time. What's different?
The campaign was born in Michigan in 2012 when labor unions there made a political mistake. They promoted a voter initiative to add collective bargaining rights to the state constitution, and it failed miserably.
Apparently Michigan's union leaders had been emboldened by the success of the affirmative action voter initiative in 2006, and the defeat of the Colorado right-to-work amendment in 2008. But they misinterpreted public anger over the decline of the auto industry.
Realizing that public support for labor unions had weakened considerably, Michigan Republicans pressed their advantage and enacted a right-to-work law a few months later. (Police and firefighter unions who tend to support Republican candidates were excluded.) Republicans in nearby states followed suit. Now, Kentucky.
The most effective right of workers in most states is the right to collective bargaining. Other workers are defaulted to the at-will employment doctrine, which grants all rights to the employer. Punishing all labor unions for the problems of the auto industry is like fouling our own drinking water.
Lawless in D.C.
In our nation's capital, they seem to give out get-out-of-jail-free cards like candy. They obey the laws they want and don't enforce the ones they don't like.
If the average person were given a subpoena and failed to do what it said, guess where they would end up? In D.C. they use their card. If the average person took money because of their position it would be conflict of interest; in Washington it's called doing business as usual.
I think it is time we remember that the people there work for us and not we for them. We pay the bills with our tax dollars.
Make them accountable. Research the truth yourself. Do not listen to the news media because they only give one side of the story, theirs.
If we fill mailboxes, emails, answering machines, and tie up their lines, things will start to change. If not, Washington will keep printing their cards and we, the people, will pay the price.
Harry Van Epps