Keep schools open on primary elections or learning loses
On Tuesday, May 19, schools across the commonwealth were closed, as mandated by law, because of the primary election. In Owensboro, this means 17,800 students lost valuable instruction time and most of their families were compelled to make child-care arrangements on a day when fewer than 8,300 local residents made it to the polls.
KRS 158.070 was amended in the recent legislative session to allow districts where no schools serve as polling places to remain open. However, 25 schools in the Daviess County, Owensboro and parochial school systems serve as polls for 41 precincts.
I appreciate the service of our county clerks and local election officials and know that schools have traditionally served our communities in this way. However, if primary elections with such low turnout disrupt schools and families during prime instruction season, it's time for a change. In some cases, including ours, this date fell during our state mandated testing window.
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State Rep. Bart Rowland and Sen. Joe Bowen were part of the effort to amend the law. Now it's time for all legislators to consider a more thorough resolution — one that would provide flexibility to find ways to keep schools open on primary election days.
Suckers for Wildcat signings
Now that the gang known as the Sayonara Seven has hightailed it out of town toward the richer gold fields of the NBA or, more likely, the D-league or Turkish pro league, I was wondering if your dogged, intrepid, investigative sports writers could report on the final take on the Great Autograph Heist of 2015.
I only ask to settle a wager with a friend. He bet that it was the largest pillaging of Kentucky citizens since the John Hunt Morgan raid during the Civil War. I disagree. I think it will be a pale comparison to any session of the state legislature.
I was heartened to read that some of the lucre made its way, Robin Hood-like, to the needy. I bet Mother Harrison will fondly remember BBN every time she starts that baby up. Odd, though, that the twins didn't opt for a Toyota or Corvette, since many employees of those companies were unwitting, or witless, contributors.
'Obama' racist code in E. Ky.
The May 17 cartoon to the editor by Kenn Johnson of Mount Sterling about the GOP gubernatorial candidates running against President Barack Obama, points out that the party has gotten around using the n-word by replacing it with our president's name. The strategy took over Eastern Kentucky and more.
I don't agree with everything Obama has done, but I respect him and his name. How about if we used Sen. Mitch McConnell's name as a derogatory term? I do.
Art events underpublicized
I read that one of Kentucky's preeminent female folk artists, Minnie Adkins, would visit Lexington and exhibit her works during the May 15 Gallery Hop. But when I went to look for the venue online, information about this was nowhere to be found.
I checked LexGo, GalleryHopLex.com, Ann Tower Gallery (where her works have been exhibited), Carnegie Center for Literacy and Learning, and Googled "Minnie Adkins Lexington." Nothing. Only through the knowledge of an artist friend I phoned did I learn that the event was at the Carnegie Center.
Fewer than 20 people were present for this great artist's whittling demonstration and talk. If an artist takes the trouble to prepare a public presentation and travels to our city, it should be broadly advertised, or at least come up on an Internet search.
This is not the first time I have been unable to find art events on one of the above websites. Art promoters: Get your act together and promote this state's fine artists through that great medium, the Internet.
Coercion empties churches
USA Today reported on the Pew Research Center study, which found that 29.4 percent of Americans do not consider themselves Christian and have no religious affiliation.
Despite Fox News, Mike Huckabee and Bill O'Reilly constantly complaining the government and President Barack Obama are waging war on Christians, individuals, not government, are abandoning Christianity — up 8 percent from seven years ago.
Pew also reported 2 percent of evangelicals have also dropped out of Christianity because they objected to its alignment with the conservative political agenda. Pew found the "nones" are now the second-largest group behind evangelicals
Those clamoring for government to reinforce America as a Christian nation should consider the backlash coercion produces. Pew also found that, for every convert to Christianity, four leave the religion, which becomes unsustainable because millennials are the largest group leaving.
Politicians should also re-think passing religious-motivated legislation merely to score them points with religious conservatives. One third of this nation does not consider themselves Christian, and of those with a religious affiliation, only 20 percent call themselves conservative.
James F. Wisniewski
Preserve modern buildings
Much has been written recently about preserving architect Charlie Bayless' Peoples Bank building by moving it to a new location. I support those efforts and thank Robert Langley for making the option available. That building is notable for the "folded plate" vaulted concrete roof which provides its distinctive, mid-century modern appearance.
That style of roof was first used in Lexington in 1960 by architect Ernst Johnson and by me for Frank Collins of the drive-under entrance canopy of Eastland Bowling Lanes and then by architects Norm Chrisman and Ken Miller in 1962 for the Southern Hills Methodist Church. Both buildings are still in use and will remain standing,
Unlike the bank building, both of these buildings won Kentucky Society of Architects Design Awards at the time — Eastland Bowling in 1961 and Southern Hills Methodist in 1963.
Certainly, it would serve the community well to preserve as much of our mid-century modern architectural heritage as is practical.
I suggest that we would be much-better served to identify all of those buildings before they become threatened.
Byron F. Romanowitz
Convert UK dorm towers
There's a golden opportunity for the University of Kentucky to pay back taxpayer monies by converting Kirwin and Blanding towers to affordable living apartments for retired and current professors and staff.
If UK can spend millions tearing down the towers, the money can better be used for renovation. Rentals can be opened up to other retired community members, if room is available. The rent money can be directed to reducing student tuition.
UK once considered a retirement villa at Brannon Crossing. That fell through as it should have since it was presented by representatives who came across like snake-oil salesmen.