On wheels? Then put on your safety helmet
Sunny skies and warm days bring adult and child alike out to play. Let's make this a safe year by putting on those helmets when we bike, skateboard and drive scooters and all terrain vehicles (ATVs).
Children need to have helmets even when they are on their tricycles. Children will not resist wearing helmets if adults set a good example by wearing helmets themselves. Most serious and fatal head injuries could be prevented if parents would just spend $15-$20 for a helmet.
Many people go to great lengths to protect their material valuables, but seem unconcerned about protecting their greatest jewels — their children. Not only must a helmet be worn, it must be worn correctly. It is the frontal area of the brain that usually takes the impact in a crash, so the helmet needs to sit forward, just above the eyebrows. Observe the way athletes and soldiers wear their helmets.
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Please, don't put it off and don't let those children get back on the bikes, boards, scooters or ATVs until there is a helmet on every head. Remember, a helmet sitting in the closet won't save a loved one.
In praise of journalists
Life is full of transitions. As youngsters, we often fail to understand this. Upon graduating from high school, we begin to grasp the impact of some of these transitions.
Drat, another momentous transition may be upon us all! This has to do with newspapers.
I rise to praise journalists, reporters and editors and to remind their critics of an enormous fact: The American effort in democracy would have failed long ago if newspapers, editors, columnists and reporters had not been on the job.
History records the many instances of peoples saying, "Give us a king." Kings seem to prefer "spin doctors" more than journalists. Spin doctors add layers of clothing while journalists tend to remove "coverings" of public figures and politicians.
I cannot grasp why we were not taught in school and even in churches and the public square to appreciate the importance of journalism in making all aspects of our society workable and livable.
Of course, observing journalism at work (or politics) is rather like, as the cliché has it, watching sausage being made. Human affairs always become complex due to the complicated conditions and the mixed motivations of the people involved.
One also thinks of the great traditions of journalism in this state with the Bingham family (who formerly owned many media outlets including Louisville's The Courier-Journal) and many others. I also think of Al Smith and his Comment on Kentucky on the Kentucky Educational Television network as well.
Thanks to Smith, and all those journalists that made it possible. We miss you.
Proctor S. Burress
Keep Ewan a school
Lexington businessman Bill Meade said he is open to ideas for the old Julia R. Ewan elementary school he purchased last month. How about a private, well-disciplined, uniform-wearing school?
It's all right there: location, location. Flip some trees, throw on some paint.
Cut off charity calls
My wife and I receive, on average, about 15 phone calls per month related to charity requests for contributions. Most, not all, suggest a specific amount to be contributed which, to my wife's credit, is always denied with a direction to, "Send me an envelope and I'll send what I can afford."
We are on the do-not-call list but it does not include "charitable calls."
How does one eliminate these calls? They seem to be random as to time of day as well as days of the week, including Saturdays and Sundays. Somewhere down the line, enough is enough.
No more concrete
Is anyone out there paying attention? Last year, downtown folks were asked what we felt about closing Cheapside Street so we could enjoy the park.
Recentlly. I watched the formerly grassy Cheapside Park being poured over with cement. How long ago was it that Lexington Tree City USA was cut down on Main Street? Did I really hear that our greenspace-concerned government has prohibited (stormwater-retaining) trees from retention basins?
Yes, it is nice for local farmers to sell their produce on warm Saturday mornings, but we could have developed around the already concrete transit center area for that purpose on the buses' slow days.
Oh yes (alternatively?), there's a big hole downtown that looks suspiciously like Wallace Wilkinson's World Trade Center hole we tolerated for years.
Then, I walked up to the Lexington History Museum receptionist's desk and offered a suggestion, paraphrasing singer/songwriter Joni Mitchell, that we plant a few trees inside the museum, and charge a buck and a half, so our kids could see 'em.
Policy exposes poor kids
In Bourbon County someone is lying down on the job. A recent e-mail to parents informing them of balances owed for school lunches may lead to labeling some children as poor.
Someone was supposed to be collecting lunch bills on a monthly basis. However, someone did not do that job, and now the balances due have spiraled out of control to a point where they cannot be paid by the average, economically hurting family.
They say in this e-mail that if you do not have this balance paid by a certain date, your child will still receive lunch, but it will consist of a cheese sandwich and a drink. These poor children will be labeled and ridiculed for being poor as they sit and eat their cheese sandwiches.
I realize cuts are being made everywhere in these hard times, but why the children? What have they done? Poor children have a hard enough time in schools anyway, from having too few clothes to worn-out shoes. But now, the ones in Bourbon County will be out in the open with a mere cheese sandwich. All the other kids in the school system will be making fun of them because their parents are going through hard times.
The parents probably could have paid the monthly lunch balances if they had only known, but now their children will pay the price.
Something rotten at UK
In Kentucky, the private sector is cutting everywhere, but governments are not. They are raising taxes on anything that does not move.
The University of Kentucky gave $4 million a year for a coach. The Herald-Leader had five days of front-page coverage plus inside pages. People are hungry, homeless, without medical care and UK gives $4 million for a coach? I don't care what the jocks at UK say, something here is very wrong.