Do the right thing: Pay a living wage
I herald Gov. Steve Beshear's decision to raise the minimum wage of some state employees. He is absolutely correct that it's a disgrace to expect families to survive on $15,000 a year. Raising their pay is a moral imperative.
All government officials should ask themselves how long could they survive on $7.25 an hour. The cost of living continues to increase, while salaries remain the same. And government officials continue to think it is OK for people to survive on the same minimum wage. Many families are working two or three jobs to pay their normal living expenses.
How are families supposed to spend quality time raising their children to know there is a standard of learning, that there are consequences for the decisions they make in life, and to learn whether those decisions are right or wrong? No wonder there are generations of people being diagnosed as bipolar. I hope every business leader and local government will take a hard look at the facts. Paying people a living wage is not a fiscal backbreaker.
I hope the next governor will come in with the same degree of integrity and courage to do the right thing for the people.
Media unfairly target Bryan Station issues
As a proud student of Bryan Station High School, I offer a new perspective on the school's reputation for violence and misconduct. I feel that media outlets, including this paper, purposefully target these issues at my school, and fail to acknowledge when similar problems occur at other schools. When I searched "lexington school fight" on Kentucky.com, an article about Bryan Station was the first search result.
This is confusing, because I know that every public high school in this city deals with fighting and disobedience. In some cases, the fights that occur at other schools are much more brutal than anything I've ever seen at Bryan Station. Even still, we are the only one to make headlines. As a result, citizens view us in a negative way and continue to pin us to a false stereotype.
As a 2015 Governor's Scholar, I am proof that there is much more to Bryan Station than violence and misconduct. We have a beautiful school with amazing teachers and a beloved principal who is now retiring. All I ask of the Herald-Leader is to place less focus on the negativity in our school, and instead help us show the city that we are nothing close to our reputation.
Women need more than EPO protection
Again I mourn the death of a woman depending on an emergency protective order. An EPO is like a lock on a garage, it's only to keep a good person good. It does nothing to keep the bad person good. In domestic violence, it's your life they are going to take, not a lawn mower.
The EPO had not been served yet in this tragedy. I often wonder if it had been to protect a high-profile politician, if the perpetrator would be arrested on the spot.
Women need to put in writing the abuse they suffer and that they are afraid for their lives and feel the law is unable to protect them. You have the right to protect yourself under the "stand your ground" law. Fact is, if a person is set on killing you, no one, even the law, can keep this person away from you. You're on your own.
Therefore, get firearm training and a concealed-carry license. You have to be strong enough to save your own life and not depend on another person or the system. I speak from experience because it happened to me, and I had my Smith and Wesson with me at all times.
Remembering, blessing Carroll
America will miss Lexingtonian John Carroll, who died June 14. Carroll was quoted as saying the following in accepting the National Press Foundation's Editor of the Year award in 1998: "Today's journalists ... sense that newspaper work can, and should, be a wonderfully satisfying and entertaining way to engage the world and that in a free society there is no mightier sword than the written word."
God bless John Carroll. God bless his family. God bless America.
LGBT agenda to be treated as humans
The LGBT community has no hidden "agenda" as a recent letter writer has suggested. We are not going door to door trying to convert anyone. We only want to be recognized as fellow human beings who should have the same rights and privileges as others.
When my nephew's father chose not to be in the picture, I helped raise that sweet little baby and he turned out to be intelligent and heterosexual. Children will grow up to be who they were born to be.
As far as Agriculture Commissioner James Comer wondering why he lost votes in the Republican primary, I chose to go another route once he touted his desire to protect "traditional marriage." What is that? My partner and I have been in a devoted relationship for almost 19 years. That has been long enough for us to watch many of our friends and family "traditionally" marry and divorce, re-marry and divorce several times.
Yet we are denied the right to marry despite proving that what we have is traditional: love, commitment, devotion and monogamy.
June is Gay Pride Month. Please take a moment to let your gay friends and family members know that they are valued members of this community.
McConnell, Paul aid coal war on America
It is no surprise that Sens. Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul are complaining about presidential overreach under the Clean Water Act.
As usual, McConnell views any attempt to ensure that Americans have clean air or clean water as a war on coal.
Do McConnell and Paul consider Pope Francis' concern for the environment to mean the pope is also conducting a war on coal?
The recent column by McConnell and Paul offered the "cautionary tale" of farmer Andy Johnson but totally ignored another cautionary tale of America's largest coal company, Peabody Energy.
Peabody lacks sufficient funds or insurance to cover the cost for toxic cleanup of its mines, meaning the American taxpayer could get stuck with a cleanup bill costing billions of dollars.
If this is starting to sound like the financial collapse of 2008, consider that there is another $4 billion worth of toxic mine cleanups involving just the four largest coal companies who have walked away from their cleanup responsibilities. Coal's version of too big to fail is now too big to be held accountable.
Is this coal's war on America? If so, coal is in no danger of losing that war with allies like McConnell and Paul.
James F. Wisniewski
Paper's liberals too far out for Kentucky
Kudos to the letter writers in the May 17 edition who outed Tom Eblen and Larry Webster. I often wonder what planet Eblen, Webster, Larry Dale Keeling and Joel Pett live on, or come from.
Far-left liberals they are. And the Herald-Leader is far too liberal for a conservative commonwealth.
Mitt Romney beat Barack Obama by 23 percentage points in Kentucky and Mitch McConnell beat Alison Lundergan-Grimes by 15 points, even though liberals still won't acknowledge or accept it.
Do not give hate the last word, renounce racism, guns, violence
Once again our nation's soul has been wounded by an act of terror, a mass murder, a crime of hate. This time it was aimed at people of color and people of faith as they gathered in prayer.
Our hearts go out to our brothers and sisters of Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church around the world.
We remember these martyrs in prayer, knowing they have been received into the arms of mercy, as we pray that their loved ones be surrounded by consolation.
At baptism in our church we "renounce the evil powers of this world." Let us reaffirm our renunciation of the evil of racism. As the bishops of Atlanta and Georgia wrote, "The perpetrator was not born to hate."
Let us also renew our renunciation of America's inordinate love of guns and addiction to violence. This tragedy is one more incident in which a gun was used, not for self -defense, but for the slaughter of innocents. I pray we do not give death and hate the last word.
I urge all to reach out to neighbors across the divides of race or culture, to stand with those who mourn, and to recommit ourselves to healing the wounded places of our nation's soul.
The Rt. Rev . Douglas Hahn
Episcopal bishop of Lexington
People with guns kill people so get rid of the guns
Upon hearing of the horrible tragedy at the Charleston, S.C., African Methodist Episcopal Church, I immediately thought of the Blue Grass Trust for Historic Preservation's deTour program's wonderful tour of Lexington's AME church.
I remember the sweet, friendly, learned, intelligent and proud people who escorted us, knowing that the people in the Charleston church were much the same.
That really brings it home. All of this shooting makes no sense; whether it's a major event like this, or just the everyday run-of-the-mill, ho-hum murder we gloss over daily. What part of statistics don't our gun-loving brethren understand?
We have the highest murder rate by far in the world, and the highest gun possession rate to go with it.
They always say that guns don't kill people, but people kill people. Hello. It's people with guns who kill people. You can't get rid of the people, so get rid of the guns.