Behind the scenes with sculptor of ‘iconic’ Secretariat monument coming to Lexington
Those of us that service the equine industry are fortunate to travel some of the most beautiful roads in Kentucky. The widening of Paris Pike was sorely needed and beautifully done. Now, arguably the second most scenic artery in the Bluegrass, Old Frankfort Pike, is being “beautified”. The roundabout at Old Frankfort and Alexandria is being decorated with rock walls on the corners and, I presume, a statue base in the center of the traffic circle that reads “Secretariat”.
Why Secretariat? He was foaled and raised in Virginia. He raced only once in Kentucky, in the 1973 Derby. Yes, he stood at stud and lived out his life in Kentucky, but at Claiborne Farm in Paris. Secretariat likely never set foot anywhere near Old Frankfort Pike. With all the farm history and the champions bred and raised along this road, surely something more appropriate could be used in this space. Perhaps a plaque, listing the names of the area’s champions, would give visitors an idea of the significance of this.
Surely no one in the horse business made the decision on Secretariat — maybe the city just got a good deal on a statue. Put it at the Bourbon County line on Paris Pike, not on Old Frankfort.
Dr. Chris Cahill, Lexington veterinarian
Caulk ‘prank’ misguided
The childish prank to post the photo of a dollar bill in Fayette County schools perfectly illustrates the misplaced priorities of the Fayette schools administration. Superintendent Manny Caulk show the first day of school to be defiantly cute. Rather than just comply with the law and get on with educating our children, he sure showed those cretins in Frankfort and a significant portion of taxpayers in Fayette County.
And it to make it all the more cute, as the dollar story ran in the Herald-Leader, the school board was holding a meeting to discuss raising our school taxes. How completely tone deaf.
Perhaps it’s all a game to Caulk. He apparently forgets that he works for all Fayette County citizens, not just the atheists.
Dave Rosenbaum, Lexington
Red flag laws help
We know 22,000 Americans die annually by gun suicide — 74 percent are white men — and studies show the risk of suicide by firearm triples for everyone in a household with an accessible firearm.
We know perpetrators of mass shootings often show prior warning signs. The Parkland high school shooter’s mother called law enforcement many times, and parents of the shooter in Isla Vista, California, in 2014 warned law enforcement about his suicidal and homicidal threats.
What Florida and California didn’t have then was a red flag law empowering family members or law enforcement to intervene when someone was at risk of suicide or of harming others. They had no avenue to seek emergency help, to petition judges to temporarily remove firearms from individuals in crisis and to initiate judicial due process. Contrary to an opinion piece published in the Herald-Leader, red flag laws do require that key due process.
After those shootings, Florida and California passed red flag laws. Right next door, Indiana’s gun suicide rate fell 7.5 percent in 10 years after a red flag law was passed.
I’m grateful, then, that Kentucky Sens. Morgan McGarvey, Paul Hornback, and Julie Raque Adams are crafting a red flag law to help Kentucky citizens in crisis.
Laura Johnsrude, Prospect, volunteer for Kentucky Moms Demand Action for Gun Sense in America
Violence the real issue
There is no gun problem in America. There may be a violence problem, but there is no gun problem.
We live in a world where wearing the wrong color clothing in the wrong place will get a person’s throat cut.
We live in a world where two people who have a dispute think the way to settle it is shoot each other at a party, usually harming bystanders.
We live in a world where violent offenders are released from prison after a few months because of prison overcrowding.
We live in a world where violent mentally ill people are released, not when their illness is cured, but when their parole is up for their crime.
We live in a world where political parties focus more on destroying each other, instead of working together to move the country forward.
There is no gun problem in America. It is a lie we are being told because the people telling us that don’t want to fix the violence problem.
It doesn’t benefit them politically. It would be hard work that comes at a cost, as the right thing often does. It may be they don’t know how to do it.
Will Norris, Flemingsburg
Railbird co-producer a helper
I write in support of the many good things David Helmers has done for Lexington over the years. Those include not just the Railbird music festival featured in your recent articles, but also his work for community radio, revitalizing the North Limestone neighborhood, his work for his church, and for various non-profits. I served on a board with him for several years and personally observed his countless hours of work, creative thought and expertise, all given for nothing other than the greater good. There was no financial reward, no prestige, no fame, no glory. Yet he served faithfully, month after month, year after year.
I thank the newspaper for its coverage of Railbird, which is the most recent example of what wonderful things can happen in Lexington when creative people come together, and I thank David Helmers for being one of those people.
Anne Chesnut, Lexington
Billing solution no fix
Doctors and medical providers strongly agree with the need to protect patients by ending surprise medical billing. However, the opinion piece by Stephanie Stumbo misleads readers about the causes of this pervasive problem, as well as the appropriate solution.
Stumbo accuses providers of price gouging when they bill out-of-network costs above the reimbursement rates paid by the federal government. However, providers typically lose money on government-backed reimbursements. The federal government itself projected that more than 80 percent of hospitals would lose money this year on Medicare reimbursements. Billing at the government rate is simply not realistic.
Insurers have pushed a surprise billing solution that gives them complete control over providers. Benchmarking the out-of-network reimbursement rate to an in-network rate allows insurers to drive both rates downward. A Navigant study found a quarter of Kentucky’s rural hospitals are at high financial risk. Significant cuts to reimbursements would be perilous for those hospitals and the communities they serve, leading to doctor shortages and lack of access to care.
California tried this approach. Insurers have already started canceling contracts with providers to drive rates downward. Surprise billing must end, but the solution advocated by insurance companies will only ensure that patients continue to suffer.
Dr. Steven Stack, Lexington, St. Joseph East emergency physician