Letters to the Editor

Letters: Fight Hepatitis A; Kudos on water series; Wrong ruling on right to work; Cartoon insensitive

Shield public from Hep A

With the recent revelation that 12 million pounds of ground beef were recalled due to salmonella, it begs the question of how safe is our food.

At least 96 of 120 counties in Kentucky have reported Hepatitis A cases. All adults are being urged by the Centers for Disease Control to take the hepatitis vaccine.

But what about proactive measures to protect public safety? Why aren’t food handlers required to have blood-test screening to identify those with communicable disease, and how can food establishments not be held liable if they have no definitive means of ensuring their workers are not spreading disease?

It’s time for the Commonwealth of Kentucky to require blood-test screen health cards for everyone who touches our food.

Michael Brown

Cold Spring

Water series stirring

Thank you for publishing the three-part series, “Stirring the Waters,” about the plight of obtaining clean and safe water in Central Appalachia. The series is well researched and written and I hope that the authors have a Pulitzer in their future.

“Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of him self and his family...,” according to the United Nation’s Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Those who live in Central Appalachia have been enduring this scandal for decades, especially after the Martin County Coal slurry spill of October 2000, created by Massey Energy. The spill contaminated the land and water; citizens have to bring in bottled water to cook with, to drink and to wash. There has been little help from the federal government and token help from the state.

The water infrastructure is crumbling, and the people do not have the means to replace it. Appalachia contains some of the poorest counties in America. These people have literally given their lives so that we can have electricity. They deserve better. At the least, there should be a concentrated effort to repair their water infrastructure. I will remember this when I vote in 2020.

Diana Nave


School exit exam a failure

I worked in public education in California at the district, county and state levels before moving to Kentucky. In my time there, I watched a similar high school exit initiative, and its unintended consequences, play out.

California’s CAHSEE (California High School Exit Exam) assessed mastery of 8th through 10th grade English, language arts and math standards, just as is proposed for Kentucky students. Here were the effects:

Schools began to focus on basic skills and assessment at the expense of a full and rich education for all students. Resources were spent placing students into CAHSEE tracks and courses for remediation, including “boot camps,” creating curriculum guides and training teachers.

After several years, CAHSEE scores went up. But because the standards were below the 12th-grade college and career-ready expectations of high school graduation, readiness deficits didn’t change. Employers were still frustrated and colleges had to keep adding remediation courses. CAHSEE was eventually replaced.

The best way to ensure that students graduate from high school with the skills and knowledge they need to be successful is to support teachers in the classroom, provide quality professional development and create more school and workplace partnerships, instead of funding programs and initiatives that meet low bars.

Jan Stallones


Prevent Thorntons deal

The proposed purchase of Kentucky-based gas station and convenience store Thorntons by BP and a private investment firm is a bad deal for consumers and Attorney General Andy Beshear should oppose it.

BP, Marathon/Speedway and Shell already have near total control of the Lexington gas market and they set their prices accordingly: They all sell for the same price.

Meanwhile, tiny independent Spur sells gas in the Barbourville area for 20 to 30 cents less than the Lexington market every day. How can an independent undercut huge petroleum companies, with their vertical integration and massive buying power?

Protect consumers. Keep Thorntons independent.

Dave Cooper


Right-to-work ruling wrong

When the majority of the Kentucky Supreme Court assented to our state’s purposely misnamed right-to-work law a few weeks ago, they favored libertarian principles over democratic principles.

They could not see the compatibility of these values for some unknown reason. So, it appears these one-sided justices would like to rewrite President John F. Kennedy’s inspiring words something like this: “Ask not what you can do for your co-workers, ask for your free lunch instead.”

Everyone knows that some workers don’t want to pay anything to the labor union that represents their workplace, and the reason is obvious. Some people just want something for nothing.

If their employer tells them that they can have union rights and wages without paying their share of the contract negotiation costs, or their share of the costs of personal representation in individual cases, they will foolishly devour the proverbial free lunch.

On the other hand, many other workers willingly pay their share of these costs because they know the truth about these free lunches. They know the free food is poisoned with deceit. The more you eat, the more bargaining power you excrete. Eventually, your dignity is excreted too.

Tom Louderback


R.I.P.: Really insensitive Pett

Just when I thought Herald-Leader cartoonist Joel Pett couldn’t put any more venom from his pen to paper, there was the callous and inappropriate lampoon of former President George H.W. Bush one day after his state funeral.

I wonder how he’ll depict former President Jimmy Carter when he passes. Unlike the Dec. 6 cartoon, I’m sure he’ll draw the angels extolling all the great accomplishments of the Carter presidency. Oh wait, there were none, but I’m sure he’ll make up something.

David Carr