Fayette schools start early, have too many off days
There must be some valid reasons for starting the Fayette County Public Schools year so early, on Aug. 11, but I cannot envision how they would outweigh the negatives.
First of all, it's 100 degrees outside and the air conditioners at the schools must be costing a fortune to run, not to mention the dangers extreme weather can cause. Isn't it likely that a longer school year costs more than a more condensed one?
It cannot be a good learning environment when weeks are interrupted with days off. Do they really need to take off on Presidents Day? Excluding nationally recognized holidays, I counted 22 no-school days last year. Some were teacher service days and others were wrapped around Christmas break, but did there really need to be so many days off?
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I must admit, I am less concerned about the reason for the early start than I am with just wanting a longer summer for my kids and myself.
A few years ago, North Carolina decided that public school start dates could be no earlier than Labor Day. Somehow this helps the economy, in part by extending vacationers' opportunities.
Perhaps I should be spouting off about a more substantial issue, but I have a feeling I am not alone. Maybe I will cool off when summer ends.
School bus drivers inconsiderate
Lexington school bus drivers seem to enjoy their power trip in the mornings. Recently, I had the pleasure of sitting and waiting for a school bus to pull the stop sign while the driver had a conversation with a parent. The child had already boarded the bus and was seated, but the driver continued to hold the stop sign out, keeping all of us waiting for no reason at all.
I've also been needlessly stopped before, waiting for all the children to sit down before the driver would pull the stop sign in. I can understand not wanting to drive away without all the children being seated, but you could at least close the stop sign so traffic could move.
And the rule about having to stop at all railroad crossings is ancient. In this day and age of well-lit and gated crossings, do they really have to stop, open the door and listen for a train? If this were 1970, maybe. But not in 2010. And if we're really worried that crossing lights and gates might not work, then we have even bigger problems.
After retiring from 20 years of law enforcement and believing crime does not pay, my mind has been changed by Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine's "get out of jail free card" to the Airport 4. I just might start a new career.
Fed up with justice system
In regard to Fayette Circuit Judge Pamela Goodwine's sentencing of former Blue Grass Airport chief Michael Gobb: I, like many other citizens, agree with prosecutor Ray Larson's comment that "the public is becoming increasingly discouraged that people do not suffer consequences for violating our laws."
So let me get this straight:
Goodwine served on an airport advisory committee for two years. At some meetings, the defendants were present but she doesn't remember meeting any of them? It's OK if John Q. Public steals money as long as it's a first offense and he's drunk?
Why did Larson, who seemingly does not agree with the judge's sentencing, not object to her being able to sentence Gobb, especially after she let the other three walk?
And about the comment that it wasn't tax money the airport officials stole: It was taxpayers' money that funded the state investigation into the spending, but I guess that is just the cost of justice.
Goodwine may not be intimidated by the press, but I would recommend that she and Larson and all lawmakers take serious note that the public is far beyond "becoming discouraged" with our legal system.
State fair ignores obesity problems
Even though Kentucky is ranked No. 1 in obesity and poor health, the Kentucky State Fair people must have missed those sorry stats.
First, they publish a newspaper insert that proclaims "11 days dedicated entirely to 'Hey, let's deep fry this.'" Then, they proudly crow about the Krispy Kreme cheeseburger as their next great menu item.
Way to go, fair officials. You want to keep Kentucky No. 1 in the death-spiral categories while hoping the fair can pack as many porcine citizens into the grounds to eat all the fried crud they can stuff into their maws.
Moderate voice of Islam
Fox News, Rush Limbaugh and the GOP want you to believe Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf is a dangerous radical. He is and always has been a voice for peace and moderation.
He joined President George W. Bush to work as a bridge between the United States and the Muslim world. After the 9/11 tragedy, he worked for the FBI to uncover terrorist threats. He's on our side.
The center he wants to build near Ground Zero is not a mosque. It is a community center with a basketball court and culinary school. Yes, there is space set aside for prayer. Last I heard, we are allowed to pray to the god of our choice.
Please read the Feb. 23, 2003, speech he gave at the Daniel Pearl Memorial at B'nai Jeshurun, then ask yourself: are these the words of a dangerous radical? Don't fall for election-year pandering.
Sacrifice for sake of art
I read with interest the Aug. 14 piece about the stately burr oak that fell, crushing an alleged sculpture being installed beneath it at Loudon House.
Obviously, the venerable tree was a better judge of art than the powers that be at Loudon House and, insulted by having such an eyesore foisted upon it, it sacrificed itself to destroy it.
Chandler must explain his vote
Is Ben Chandler running for Kentucky attorney general in 2010 or Congress?
The congressman's first ads on TV are all about his duties as attorney general of Kentucky six or seven years ago.
Why doesn't he brag about his accomplishment as Kentucky's 6th District congressman?
Maybe he hasn't done anything to boast about. On the other hand, he could do a town hall meeting to explain his decision to vote on cap-and-trade energy legislation, which is better defined as "cap and tax."
John Wall chair in chemistry?
Wouldn't it be a nice gesture if the University of Kentucky's five first-round picks in this year's National Basketball Association draft pooled resources and endowed a chair in an area other than athletics?
It would be a wonderful way for them to show their appreciation to taxpayers for paying their tuition and to the university for giving them the opportunity and exposure to ensure success in their chosen careers.
By endowing a chair in a non-athletic field, they would show a commitment to UK's efforts to be a Top 20 academic institution and show how our devotion to sports can help reach that lofty status.
Leon M. Cooper
Clinton criticism off the mark
A recent letter writer spoke about Bill Clinton showing his "true colors" of hypocrisy by spending $2 million on his daughter's wedding.
My first response is: "How terrible. A father wants to give his daughter the best wedding he can afford. That's just awful. No other father with any sense would do that, surely."
Then I glanced at the article one page after the letter.
It said Clinton is helping to raise $3 million to help hearing-impaired children right here in our own neighborhood.
I would call that act a show of "true colors."
Reason for government mistrust
Regarding the July 28 story about the bump in the road at the intersection of Maxwell Street and Limestone: This location, as well as High Street and Limestone, presents a dangerous situation.
Why did our local government allow this to happen? It is apparent from the lower parts of the road that this could cause damage to the vehicles as well as to the road itself with the deep scars left behind.
This is taxpayers' money being put to use in a manner that is unacceptable.
If this performance was for me, I would not pay those doing the work, as the job is incomplete and dangerous.
This is just another example of the government not doing its work, and why the general populace does not trust government of any type, national or local.
Ben C. Kaufmann