Don't expand Ky.'s black-bear hunt
On Tuesday, the state legislature will hold a hearing that could determine the future of our state's black bear population. We have fewer than 400 black bears in Kentucky, but the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources has proposed new regulations to increase the number of bears that hunters are allowed to kill.
They also propose to hold the hunt earlier in the season, when mother bears with cubs are more vulnerable. And they want to allow hunters to run hounds on a significantly larger area than what's permitted now.
These proposals should be scrapped, and everyone who cares for wildlife in our state should take time to contact elected representatives and tell them to vote no. Kentucky's remaining wild bears don't deserve to be hounded into extinction.
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Only hunters have say
The involvement of the Humane Society of the United States in protesting the decision by the Kentucky Fish and Wildlife Commission to expand bear hunting highlights a major flaw in the composition of the commission. The commission is comprised solely of hunters and therefore represents only the hunting viewpoint.
Environmentalists, conservationists, wildlife biologists, animal welfare advocates and non-hunting recreational users have no vote in decisions made by Fish and Wildlife.
The commission is composed of nine people appointed by the governor, who selects members from a list of nominees presented to him by hunters. There is no opportunity for any organization to suggest a non-hunter.
No wonder Fish and Wildlife instituted a sandhill crane season several years ago over the vocal objections of Kentucky residents; only hunters got to vote on the decision.
Hunting is on the decline while non-hunting recreational enjoyment of wildlife is on the increase. Citizens need to demand that their elected representatives correct the imbalance on the current commission by legislating a committee composition that reflects the viewpoints of all Kentuckians, not just hunters.
Bad moves on city venues
In an op-ed piece about the old courthouse, I included the Opera House as an example of government making a bad decision by committing Lexington to a facility that could not be expanded. I was not criticizing the management and operation of the Opera House.
When it was built in 1886, it had 1,400 seats when there were only 20,000 people in Fayette County. Some of those seats were for the "underprivileged" blacks.
When the decision was made to restore the facility in 1976, our city had grown to 200,000 people, but the seats were reduced to 900 because of the constraints of the property. While segregation was no longer an issue, reduced seating comes at the expense of the less fortunate.
Today we have more than 300,000 people, but the Opera House cannot expand. Perhaps there is a long-range plan for a new performing arts facility that includes the Opera House continuing as a specialty venue.
Regarding the old courthouse, Mayor Jim Gray and the majority of the council have committed Lexington to preserving the building at tremendous initial costs and substantial recurring costs, without a business plan for its usage. That is government at its worst.
Fred A. Pope
Teach cursive writing
It was most appropriate to print the full Declaration of Independence on July 4 on the Opinions page. Drafted by Thomas Jefferson in June 1776, the literary style is impressive to scholars worldwide. The depth of meaning Jefferson expressed to the British crown, on behalf of his fellow traitors, is artistically penned in cursive handwriting, which isn't evident in the version printed in the paper.
Children today can no longer read the original masterpiece or other historical documents such as our Constitution and Bill of Rights.
Why? Our school systems have taken cursive handwriting out of the elementary curriculum. Perhaps the educational time was needed to teach more important topics, but I can't imagine what those are since penmanship among young adults and children has devolved into something that looks more akin to hieroglyphics.
When my mother sends her newest grandson a letter in cursive writing I have to read it to him, which is sad. We need to send a message to the new school superintendent and school board that cursive writing needs to return to the curriculum.
Otherwise, in another 10 years we'll be asking our soldiers to fight and die for historical documents they can't read.