Thirty years later, air-traffic control faces same woes
I am a former air traffic controller who was fired by Reagan in 1981. ( Yes, one of those guys.) It is disgusting to see controllers today facing the same problems and issues that led to the strike 30 years ago. Staffing levels, shifts too close together and health insurance are the key issues.
Federal Aviation Administration officials put their heads in the sand, hoping the problems will just go away. They only have a knee-jerk reaction when problems are exposed to the public.
In addition, old equipment, some from World War II, is still in use at many facilities. FAA management has spent billions on new equipment development, but it keeps changing the requirements so modern and safer equipment never gets put into the field.
I was disappointed to see the head of the FAA resign over the last round of disclosures. I would have been more impressed had he announced sweeping changes in the system to deal with the problems and then made them happen.
Instead, he walked away and left it for a new director to deal with. His action is symptomatic of past and present FAA management.
The cure must come from the top down. A new director with extensive air traffic experience who will make the changes needed and be fully supported by both management and controllers must be found. Otherwise, our system will continue to limp along with Band-Aid fixes that will lead to certain disaster in the skies.
Better uses for money
To quote Captain Louis Renault in Casablanca "I'm shocked, shocked!" Spend $6.25 million for scoreboards and a sound system?
Just have Barney Miller's do the sound system. They'll do a quality job, it will be much less than $6.25 million and the money will all stay in Kentucky.
What are they thinking? A $6.25 million renovation to Commonwealth Stadium to add more advertising, neon lights running around the perimeter, a new scoreboard? Will this give us a better team? Give us a break.
I have been to the games and have never heard fans "demanding" these "renovations" as I've heard Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart say. The current sound system and cannon explosions already can be heard for several miles, waking sleeping babies and sending dogs into a frenzy.
Lets see, $6.25 million might be used to raise faculty salaries or could be used to reduce class size, would endow six faculty chairs — $6.25 million might even fund a full four-year scholarship program for math, science and English students who would, in return, pledge to teach for three years in rural Kentucky schools.
In this period in our history when education is the most pressing issue mentioned by every candidate at every level, what are they thinking?
No new arena
I don't think we need another sports center. Rupp Arena is still an excellent place for holding all the different events it hosts. Why do we need to replace it?
Cut through the fountain
I was pleased to see the April 20 editorial recommendation that a substantial section of the fountain along Vine Street, on the curved side of Triangle Park, be opened to foot traffic.
I work in Lexington and drive past Triangle Park frequently. I have long been struck by the extent to which the back wall of the fountain effectively blocks off access between the Lexington Center and Triangle Park, both physically and psychologically.
Anyone coming out of Lexington Center, instead of being presented with an invitation to stroll directly across the street into this wonderful park, has to walk all the way down to the intersection to even gain access.
This detrimental effect works in the other direction as well, as people patronizing the park are less likely to want to venture across Vine to the shops and attractions of Lexington Center.
I know many people are very fond of the fountain. But taking out the middle section could have a very beneficial effect on the whole dynamics between Lexington Center and Triangle Park.
Such a change would make even more sense if the Triangle Foundation succeeds in getting that section of Vine closed. It would be a terrible shame if actions were not taken now, when a major redesign of the park is under consideration, to make a change with the potential not only to significantly improve the urban street environment of downtown Lexington, but to benefit the economic vitality of Lexington Center as well.
No sandhill season
I saw the column in which the Department of Fish and Wildlife Resources attempted to make a case for hunting the sandhill crane. It made it sound like a done deal.
I don't think it would disturb me so much if it weren't for the eager anticipation the column conveyed.
In 2009, my wife and I enjoyed a Barren River State Resort Park sandhill crane weekend. A department representative was there, and at no time during his presentation did he mention a possible hunting season. Since this has been in the works for three years, he must have known.
Reading the column gave one the idea hunters had an active role in sandhill crane population recovery. In reality, hunters had an active role in their near extinction. That won't happen again, but do we have to hunt everything that breathes?
If there has to be a season, is it possible to include sandhill crane as "excellent table fare" at the Barren River lodge? This way we could experience the full flavor of the crane viewing weekend.
UK HealthCare's debt
The April 17 story concerning bad debt at University of Kentucky HealthCare, was intriguing. The article said UK's overall bad debt is higher than the national average because it serves a high percentage of poor, uninsured patients.
I thought this was the mission of a teaching hospital: to serve the poor and uninsured while training medical students. In The Fight for Education, Richard B. Gunderman states it thus: "Most patient care in teaching hospitals was charity care based on a social contract between medical schools and society.
This implicit contract stated that society would provide financial support to train the next generation of physicians and, in exchange, teaching hospitals would care for the medically indigent, the 'clinical material' on which medical students and residents learned how to practice high-quality medicine."
So where does bad debt come in? The federal government subsidizes hospitals to treat the indigent. And Medicaid is paying for others who qualify for it. And what of those who can't pay?
It appears the metamorphosis from an institution whose mission was to provide educational opportunity and care for the indigent to one whose mission is to make as much money as possible is complete.
Way to go, UK.