Letters to the Editor

7/11/10 Letters

Get rid of 'rotten apples'of college sports

As someone who taught at the University of Kentucky for close to 40 years, I completely agree with professor William Maloney's June 27 commentary suggesting that there is a disconnect between college level sports and the real mission of higher education — to educate.

However, I am not sure that a complete divorce from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and all associated sports is the answer.

During my years with UK, I taught physiology to many student athletes and the vast majority were serious about their educations and put student before athlete in student-athlete.

The glaring exception was men's basketball. I remember only one "student" from this program and as I recall he slept during class while his tutor took notes.

As I see it, the men's basketball program is the rotten apple that spoils the barrel of quality UK student-athletes.

But rather than tossing out the entire barrel by divorcing ourselves completely from the NCAA, let's focus on the rotten apples, in particular the one-and-done players who, as Maloney accurately put it, make a mockery of the concept of student-athlete.

I suggest that college administrations work with the NCAA to correct the problems responsible for enabling certain players to operate as semi-pros rather than true student-athletes.

Daniel Richardson


Celebrate UK draftees

To those who whine and complain about the University of Kentucky having five players taken in the first round of the NBA Draft: Shut up!

What about this scenario: John Wall plays three more years and on the last semester of the fourth year he suffers a broken leg or torn knee and is non-draftable.

He would still get to use crutches to walk across the stage and get his diploma. Then he would look in the paper for jobs that thousands of other people are doing.

And that endorsement deal from Reebok would never have happened. So, his Mom wouldn't get her new house. If he couldn't get a job he might have to move back in with her.

If players are good enough to get drafted in the first round where they are guaranteed a job, they can always go back and get their degrees. But could they get a better-paying job?

As for Coach John Calipari saying that was the greatest day in UK basketball history: It was. We made history. National championships are won by some school every single year. They are great, but they don't always translate into good jobs for the young players who participate.

Sure, players like Cameron Mills and Richie Farmer get their time in the spotlight of a national championship. But I'm sure if they could have had their choice they would have preferred getting drafted in the first round.

Faye Rice


Measuring success

Imagine the flack that former University of Kentucky basketball coach Tubby Smith would have caught if he had five first-round NBA draft picks and didn't at least get to the Final Four.

Oh, and we didn't have to constantly look over our shoulder at the NCAA. Just a thought.

Jerry Dean


Barriers to wheelchairs

Having lived in Lexington for 14 years, I was shocked to learn that faulty design often inhibits the city's handicapped.

There are more than 42,000 individuals in Fayette County living with disabilities, yet in just one downtown block, countless barriers prevent those in wheelchairs from maneuvering the streets including misplaced curb-cuts, slanted sidewalks, heavy pull doors without handicapped buttons, uneven bricks and poorly designed wheelchair ramps.

Each of these small barriers add up quickly, making it difficult and sometimes entirely impossible for a disabled individual to traverse downtown.

It is atrocious that citizens would be effectively barred from entering shopping centers such as Victorian Square simply because of carelessness of design.

Next time you are downtown, imagine yourself in a wheelchair. How would you prevent yourself from being carried by momentum into the middle of oncoming traffic in the instance of a misplaced curb-cut?

What would you have to do to enter businesses such as Starbucks and Sawyers and even the Opera House?

What in your daily routine would you be forced to change if you were living with a disability?

To find out more information about the barriers faced by the disabled and ways in which you can help, visit the Project Easy Access Lexington (PEAL) Web site at www.pealarchive.blogspot.com.

It is up to us to ensure that each member of this city has equal opportunity to enjoy his or her home.

Macy Early


Fine example

When I read the Merlene Davis column about Aaron Gerard Mosley of Bluegrass Youth for Christ, I was wonderfully surprised. I have heard so much about him; I would love to meet him because it's men like him who are brightening our future.

I know a young man he mentors who could do some great things in his life if it weren't for his current influences.

This young man, who refers to me as his aunt, has needed a figure like him in his life since he was a child, and I am so grateful to him for being the man that Mosley is.

I thank Mosley for all he is doing for our youth and may God bless him and his wonderful wife, mother, and children.

Samantha Rodarte


Great performances

Kudos to the University of Kentucky for the "Jewel in June," otherwise known as "It's a Grand Night for Singing."

Those of us who attend every year are never disappointed by the quality of the performances. Some brought tears to my eyes this year, they were so beautiful.

A heartfelt thank you. And sold out audiences are a good sign I'm not alone.

Nancy Mueller


Unfair spotlight

I am at a loss as to why the Herald-Leader felt compelled to run the story on the financial woes of Dermontti Dawson.

This story is not newsworthy and certainly did not belong on the front page.

Since returning to the Lexington area, Dawson has done everything in his power to make this community and the lives of children better.

He invested in Jessamine County where he lives and developed several retail properties there.

The fact that some of his real estate investments went sour had nothing to do with him and everything to do with the economy and the soft real estate market.

Dawson is a man of integrity who uses his fame as a former Pittsburgh Steeler to help the less fortunate.

He started a foundation to help at-risk young people, routinely speaks to teens about the importance of working hard to make dreams come true, helped launch an event to benefit children with vision loss, participated in Kids' Day where more than 600 kids gathered for games and routinely supports the Children's Charity Golf Tournament by being a celebrity golfer.

Those accomplishments are the true measure of his character and should be counted as "newsworthy" since they affect many more people.

Mary Yohon


Settlers were not illegal

In Larry Dale Keeling's June 7 anti-Rand Paul column, he was feeling a tad bit guilty that he descended from the Jamestown, Va., settlement.

He was lamenting that his ancestors arrived uninvited and illegally. An exhaustive search of the Powhatan Tribe archives failed to find any immigration laws being violated by the settlers.

Uninvited? Absolutely. But illegal?

Keeling continues lamenting that "folks" now "returning" from south of the border to the lands that the Apache, Navajos and Peublos willingly gave these folks' forefathers are now called illegal.

Many books have been written and many movies filmed about how these native Americans welcomed the Spaniards with open arms as they arrived with invitations in hand. The Aztecs also welcomed the gracious Spaniards.

Even though Keeling's view of history seems tainted, he did touch upon what happens to a nation, its people and culture, when it does not control its borders.

David Denney


End tax-exempt status

In regards to Southland Christian Church's plans to buy the Lexington Mall property: It is nothing short of treason for a church to buy up expensive property, and remove it from the tax rolls, in a time of economic depression. The state is in dire need of all the tax money it can get.

It has always been immoral for churches to be exempt from taxation, and thereby force honest taxpayers to pay additional taxes to make up for the taxes churches do not pay.

That defeats entirely any claim of religious liberty in America. And to force non-superstitious Americans to pay additional taxes to support such an institution is absolutely criminal.

Emmett F. Fields


Teach kids to think

It is incomprehensible that the National Education Association believes that politicians can solve education problems.

They cannot even solve the nation's problems, because most of them have gone through the same educational process that has failed students for decades.

For a half-century, schools here in the United States have not been teaching independent analytical thinking which would lead to understanding reality.

Attention of politicians in Washington cannot improve student learning. Propaganda cannot produce serious analytic thinking.

Believing is not knowing the truth. Teachers and money are popular issues in education discussions, even though teacher training is failing.

Speaking for education does not improve learning. Teachers are assisting students to read and play games, ignoring the opportunity to inspire student's independent analytic thinking that would become the base for developing children's intellect.

Pentti Teraslinna


Technicalities of fraud

As a retiree who was a 16-year employee in the Division of Risk Management and a 29-year employee for the Urban County Government, I would like to comment on city auditor Bruce Sahli's statement regarding the technicality of fraud.

Who cares if the financial statements were not actually fraudulent? I am more interested in seeing if someone in government acted inappropriately when The Kentucky League of Cities was awarded the insurance contract in 2007.

Others within local governments had told me that the KLC people were "players" and to beware.

The legal definition of fraud is complex, and fraud is a specific offense. Fraud must be proven by showing that the defendant's actions involved five separate elements:

■ A false statement of a material fact.

■ Knowledge on the part of the defendant that the statement is untrue.

■ Intent on the part of the defendant to deceive the alleged victim.

■ Justifiable reliance by the alleged victim on the statement.

■ Injury to the alleged victim as a result.

In this case, the victim is hard to determine. The statements, if false and relied on, were made to the Urban County Council, but the victim would be the taxpayers who didn't get the best insurance possible for the dollars spent.

Maybe the city should replace the internal auditors with risk management director Patrick Johnston, who appears to be saving the city money and isn't hung up on technicalities.

Jo Kane


WEG parking challenges

Planners for the Alltech FEI World Equestrian Games need to seriously reconsider the plan to have all parking on a farm next to Kentucky Horse Park.

Not only would this virtually ensure serious traffic problems on Iron Works Pike and Newtown Pike but, in case of rain, the parking lot could quickly turn into a quagmire like the Ichthus Festival has experienced in its grass parking areas.

Utilizing existing firm ground parking at areas such as Keeneland and Fasig-Tipton and busing in people would eliminate both problems.

Kerry Fitzpatrick


While the situations aren't identical, there still should be some examination of how Lexington allows property owners to utilize their property. Should you want to park a few cars in your own yard for a few bucks during a football game, you can't do it.

But should you want to park thousands of cars in a field and charge ridiculous prices for it, that's fine. And the real issue here is larger than parking, it's the total and complete failure to plan for even the most obvious requirements of such an event.

Sadly, what started as "the world is coming to Lexington" has evolved into "we just hope someone actually shows up," because clearly the organizers couldn't lead a pack of starving wolves to raw meat.

Dave Robertson