Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor: Aug. 11

Clear-cutting wreaks havoc on Kentucky's land

There is a greater disaster going on in Kentucky than the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

A comment of one of my patients caught my attention. He described the devastation happening to the mountainsides in southeastern Kentucky where he lives that is caused by clear-cut timbering. "It's just horrible," is all he could say. The place where he was born, raised and resides is being ruined.

A year ago, I had a similar feeling when pallet-company loggers came and did clear-cut logging on a 50-acre tract of woods in our hollow in Lincoln County.

It ruined the land, messed up the watershed and destroyed some of the best hunting around. A prominent local dairy farmer described it as "rape."

When I contacted the person who bought the land in order to sell the wood on it, he said he couldn't care less. Everyone, from the local conservation officer to the state's forestry department, said that there was nothing they could do because of Kentucky's weak timbering laws.

This is happening more and more all over the state. Some estimates state that 30 acres of Kentucky woodlands are being lost daily without anything being replanted to replace them.

The time has come for new laws to protect the land and the future of our state.

One can only wonder if the recent flooding was all the worse because of the destruction of the watersheds from unchecked logging.

Barry White

Waynesburg

Elderly care good

I am a nursing home administrator with 25 years experience in the long-term care industry, 17 years of that as an administrator. I have found that most people in the long-term care industry are of the finest caliber. They are kind, compassionate and love what they do, which is taking care of the elderly.

The nursing home industry has had many negative articles written about it regarding abuse and neglect. But abuse and neglect are not tolerated in the industry.

Each facility has policies and procedures that include screening potential employees, training employees, prevention methods, identification of events, investigation of alleged violations, protecting residents during an investigation and reporting to appropriate agencies. The industry is highly regulated by state and federal guidelines. Inspectors, through a rigid survey process, determine if a facility provides the highest quality of care for the residents. If facilities do not meet the criteria for quality of care, deficiencies are cited.

Very few positive articles have been written about the nursing home industry. This facility receives positive feedback through cards and letters written by families and residents. We have quarterly care-plan meetings for families and residents and an open-door policy for residents and families to come in at any time and just visit.

Long-term care facilities are essential to the elderly population. It is unfortunate that more often than not, the focus is on a small percentage of negative events versus the many positives that occur every day.

Dena Bryant

Administrator, Green Acres Health CareMayfield

Anti-Obama slant

I want to respond to a July 21 commentary by Cal Thomas ("America made a mistake it must not repeat").

It is obvious that Thomas does not favor President Barack Obama's re-election, but his presentation is biased and one-sided. For example, when he talks about "opportunity, not guaranteed outcomes," doesn't Obama favor that? Where is Thomas' evidence that Obama doesn't? Thomas also refers to the notion that the Obama people do not consider record debt to be a problem. Again, where is his evidence to support that point?

Clearly, Obama has placed his priorities on getting the economy moving again and, in my view, he will tackle the debt at a later date.

There is no question that government spending has increased under Obama, but Thomas seems to discount such a policy as a way of energizing the economy. (Why can't it, as well as private spending?)

The unregulated cowboy-capitalism that preceded Obama nearly brought this country the Great Depression No. 2, and Obama was left to deal with the aftereffects.

Harry Toder

Professor, St. Catharine CollegeSt. Catharine

Congress out of touch

The congressional delay in extending benefits to unemployed Americans not only put our country back on the path toward a total economic collapse but also created psychological devastation and depression.

While Republicans and Democrats agreed they needed to extend unemployment benefits, they spent more than a month arguing and bickering before actually doing it. All the while, many of the unemployed did not have any income to pay their bills, much less to put food on their tables.

It is one thing to lose a high-paying job and have to sell everything you have worked hard for just to survive. But it's another thing to be denied the next-to-nothing unemployment benefit check that allows your family to keep its home and eat until you are able to find new employment.

It is apparent that Congress is detached from the American people whom it serves, and it is a travesty that people are suffering because of its political games.

Then again, how could these millionaire congressmen be able to relate to the hardships of middle-class Americans unless they themselves have had to live from paycheck to paycheck, unsure if they will have enough to provide for their families?

The effect of this depressed economic community is going to touch the lives of all Americans and even the world, employed as well as unemployed, rich as well as poor, unless people stand up and reverse the course of this sinking ship.

David Atwell

Lexington

Appoint judges

As an attorney who has practiced for more than 50 years, litigating in many of the courts across Kentucky, I agree completely with the editorial advocating appointment of judges for state courts.

Having a bipartisan panel that consists of both attorneys and non-lawyers representing equally both major political parties, screening applicants by studying resumes and interviewing applicants to fill judicial vacancies would be a significant improvement to the present system.

The system currently forces judicial candidates to become politicians, spending time and money to convince voters he or she would make the best judge. In most elections, the majority of the voters have little or no objective criteria to determine which candidate is best suited for the job.

There are many attorneys with the intellect, experience and temperament to be good judges who would apply to be appointed to that position, but are unwilling to enter a political contest to become judge.

Having a judicial system run by the best legal minds should be a priority for the public. From my experience as a litigating attorney, many of the elected judges do a good job.

But over the years I have witnessed too many who did not, either because they lacked the ability to be a good judge or were perhaps more concerned with being re-elected than being impartial in their decisions.

Appointment of judges should reduce such incidents.

Arthur L. Brooks

Lexington

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