Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: June 19

Giving sheriff control over jail not best course

As a correctional practitioner with more than 40 years experience, I read the recent article regarding the study conducted at the Fayette County Detention Center with interest.

While change in management may well be needed, I'm certain creating another level of oversight by a well-intentioned, but nonetheless unprepared individual, is not the solution.

Sheriff Kathy Witt has distinguished herself in many areas of law enforcement, but I see nothing in her background or record that would prepare her for the complexities of managing a large metropolitan jail. There are significant differences in policing and working the jail.

If jailer Ron Bishop has to go, that should be a decision of the Commissioner of Public Safety. Was he not hired to provide oversight for all public safety offices, including the jail? Don't add another layer of politics.

If another leader is needed at the jail, hire a corrections professional. Otherwise, give Bishop the tools to do the job and hold him accountable for results.

Tommy Norris


Put Brown in charge

If Sheriff Kathy Witt thinks she found low morale at the Fayette County Detention Center she should check the Sheriff's Office for low morale. The best person to run the jail is already working for Mayor Jim Gray. He is mayoral adviser Glenn Brown, a former jailer.

Joe Catt

Retired sheriff captain


Kudos to caring leader

Bryan Station High students may know newly retired principal Gladys Peoples as a principled teacher, administrator and disciplinarian.

They may have cursed her, been grateful for her, honored her position or caused the winds of controversy to blow on issues that erupted throughout her administration.

However, in years to come, they will understand her goal was to shape them into all they could be. She was determined that they could pull through — even when they didn't want to.

She sensed the pain of those who felt isolated. She saw their hidden talent, where they could go if they just turned around.

She watched those who thrived tap into their value and recognize their identity. They were hope for her heart. Others just might make it through when they would acknowledge the emotional needs of those who could fall through the cracks.

Other students just tried to plow through the day. Peoples led teachers and counselors in the effort to bring out the best in each.

For this mother of many, it was all about hope, encouragement, advancement, relationship and trust. For this doctor of education, it was about standing for excellence.

Peoples' work says: "Grab ahold, don't let go. Stand for the truth of your identity. Declare education as the weapon of your warfare. Walk uprightly."

To the new principal and teachers: Carry on. Walk into the new day of more hope.

To students: Rise. Become. Work together. Turn around. Create this era for the good of all.

To Peoples: "Success as you follow your heart."

Lyn Williamson


Art, yes; graffiti, no

The recent report on graffiti in Lexington caught my attention as a result of my recent trip to Italy.

Arriving in Rome late and making my first trip to the streets the next morning, I was astonished by the amount of graffiti on every open and flat surface in the city.

In the tour sections of Vatican City and museums, it was controlled. But it just shocked me that it had clearly gotten out of hand.

I was an art teacher for 20 years and even I have a line that designates art form and creativity from vandalism. Rome is truly a beautiful city. A number of world sites are dedicated to bringing attention to the marking of this great city of art.

Lexington should be proactive and head off the process with determination. You have a beautiful city.

Take lessons from other great cities and keep it that way.

Bob Howard


UK's corporate search

Remember the song, "I was country before country was cool'"? The rewrite here is: "We were public before public wasn't the rule."

The search for the University of Kentucky president was outsourced to a business to conduct and to make decisions in secret — advertising, recruiting, vetting, narrowing the search, establishing salary levels, recommending secwrecy down to a "one and done" candidate.

This outsourcing could not speak for the voices of and participation by faculty, students and staff during the process.

Nor did the process allow consideration by public taxpayers and media doing their own candidate vetting.

The search process was purely and simply a business decision based on a business model for universities. It appears to be a national trend.

UK has important and influential medical, research and athletic models. But its core is academics. This academic mission can be, and has been, weakened by use of a business model for important decisions, including self-governance by the academic body.

And it will be worsened by a state legislature that lessens financial support of its major university.

The quality of Kentucky citizens' lives depends on important, consequential decisions made by the leadership of Kentucky and its major public flagship research university.

What is it about "going public" that boards and officials don't or won't understand? UK's search blackout is conspicuous by comparison to that of the well-publicized one for a new school superintendent in Fayette County.

Ramona Rush


Don't blame the meat

The recent outbreak of E. coli in Germany is very serious and deserves coverage by the Herald-Leader. Efforts to alert the public of potential food safety issues are critical and in the public's interest.

However, the June 8 article "Number of rare E. coli cases rose last year, officials say" (June 8) would lead readers to think that beef consumption was the sole cause of E. coli infection, when in fact the outbreak in Germany has focused on the consumption of raw vegetables as the likely source.

Proper washing and preparation of raw vegetables is just as important in the prevention of foodborne illnesses as the proper cooking of ground beef, but it rarely receives the same attention.

As we enter the summer grilling season let's review the proper cooking techniques for beef.

Ground beef, regardless of the source (commodity, all-natural, organic, locally grown freezer beef, restaurant) should be cooked to at least 160° F, internal temperature. Never thaw and re-freeze any meat products.

Steaks that have been cooked, to any degree, are safe from E. coli and other pathogens since bacteria are only present on the surface of whole muscle cuts and are killed when exposed to heat.

So if you like your New York strip on the rare side, eat it with confidence and enjoy.

If you decide you would like some lettuce and tomato on your burger, or a salad with your steak, be sure that you properly wash these items.

We applaud the Herald-Leader for its concern for public safety, but we encourage it to publish information that does not mislead or point the finger at a convenient scapegoat.

Darrh Bullock

Professor, Extension Beef Specialist

Gregg Rentfrow

Assistant Professor, Extension Meats Specialist

Animal and Food Sciences Department

University of Kentucky

Sexist speech incites

I was appalled by the June 12 commentary by Charlotte Allen of the Manhattan Institute, in which she defends the right of fraternity boys to march chanting "No means yes; yes means anal."

Her take on this is that the chant is covered under constitutional free-speech freedom, and she seems to think that this was just a boyish prank, since the marchers did not actually have contact with the freshman girls in the nearby dorm.

Wrong. This was meant to intimidate and to frighten. The boys did not need physical contact; they were quite able to put the fear of rape into any girl who heard them.

This sort of thing is, in fact, an incitement to rape, just as marching and chanting "Set fire to the theater" or "Take a gun and shoot up the classroom" are incitements to pyromania or homicide. This sort of utterance is not, and should not be, protected.

"No means yes" is one of the most dangerous attitudes possible among boys and men. Do I think that these boys had rape in mind? Possibly not. But the girls would have been made afraid of that very thing. Suspension of the fraternity might be enough to push the chanters toward maturity and into thinking before they speak, which is a necessary process.

Being at the university is supposed to help students think critically before they take action, something that these frat boys are sorely in need of.

Penalizing this kind of atrocious behavior should have no effect on academic freedom, which, as a long-time academic, I value greatly. Allen mourns the possibility of such a penalty destroying "fraternity culture." I do not believe that anyone wants to do that, but if threatening rape is part of that culture, then something needs to be changed drastically.

These frat pledges refer to themselves as men. It is high time that they all started learning what being a real man entails.

Dorothy Carter


Wonderful role model

While most of the news we are bombarded with today is either about the horrors of war, the ongoing antics of our "great" politicians and so on, it is so refreshing to occasionally read a story like the one in the June 8 paper about the 17-year-old young man who stepped up to the plate to save his family's business while still trying to earn his high school diploma.

He surely was taught at an early age the true value of life and how to keep his priorities in order. My hat is off to Wade Poor for a job well done.

He surely will succeed in whatever he pursues. I know his parents are very proud of him. May God continue to bless his life.

Mary Jo Hilen


Sad loss

He was just a boy from Mousie, Ky. When he became a man he never forgot his roots. Through his words and pictures ran the music of Mousie — a tiny, mountain community that nurtured a gifted author, illustrator, artist.

Children's author Paul Brett Johnson, who died June 1, made Kentucky proud. Those who were privileged to know him wondered at the humility and self-deprecating humor that could co-exist with such gifts.

The Cow Who Wouldn't Come Down, Gertrude, might just decide to fly again and join her creator in the next life. Those of us here are richer for knowing Paul and will never forget the generous, kind life he laid down in Kentucky.

Jerrie Oughton

Washington, N.C.

Flooding woes

I would like to know if the Mississippi River is through flooding so they can get this nasty, stinking water — infested with sewage and God only knows what else — drained out of Morgan County.

I have had to live with this across the road from my home for over three months, and I can tell you it is not pleasant.

Fields have been destroyed and yet no one cares, while Rowan County below the dam is nice and clean and hasn't had any flooding.

Counties around us get funding for cleanup while my health and that of my family has suffered because of this filthy water. The bugs here are breeding out of control; the air is rancid yet no assistance has been forthcoming.

Well, I have a nice big mouth and I intend to use it, and the videos I have will back me up. I feel for the people whose homes have been destroyed, but don't make us suffer for their decision to live next to the big rivers.

So, whether I want to or not, I have had nasty lakefront views because of their decisions. Is that fair to force us to flood because of their decisions? I think not.

Peggy Trimble

West Liberty

Obama not immune to challenge

Joel Pett's May 20 cartoon was not funny or amusing. In the punch line — "Why are you even mounting a challenge?" — he tried to make President Barack Obama sound like a Republican. That part is too funny.

He is the most left-wing, socialist president that this country has ever had. I think it obvious why we are mounting a challenge. We still are in a democratic republic, are we not?

Is Pett suggesting Obama become supreme leader, a dictator? That is downright scary. You leftists have to be stopped. This country is in trouble, and we will take it back from the Marxist regime that we are under.

Randy Lampe

Loveland, Ohio

No disrespect intended

In response to a June 5 letter: The intent of my May 29 Cartoon to the Editor (focused on the devastation in Joplin, Mo.) was also to raise awareness as to how our brave Guardsmen and women serving stateside, devote as much blood, sweat and tears as those who serve overseas.

Certainly, not the opposite.

Thinking I'd completely missed the mark, I polled a few unbiased colleagues who, to my relief, understood what my cartoon was saying. Nonetheless, I appreciate and try to learn from all feedback, be it positive or negative. Thus, as I tackle future drawings, the letter writer has given me reason to focus more precisely on how I translate my ideas to paper.

While there is the strong possibility the writer may not appreciate some of my future cartoons, I'd prefer that it be for the right reasons.

Remi Bellocq


Hunters are wildlife protectors

I have enjoyed sandhill cranes for years, particularly the fall migrations seen in Wisconsin, Indiana and Kentucky. The hoots as they ascend an updraft and sail south to another updraft are inspiring. I am also in favor of hunting cranes. The big fault in your recent editorial, and in Joel Pett's June 3 cartoon, is the fantasy claiming non-hunters have supported wildlife management, or that they will in the future.

Species that have returned to viable populations will continue to need human intervention, including hunting some species. Otherwise, it is very possible for there to be more cranes than habitat on breeding grounds near the Great Lakes or on wintering grounds on the Gulf Coast or both.

Who watches out for the habitats other than wildlife biologists paid by hunter-generated tax dollars? Millions of dollars are needed annually for habitat management, more to acquire habitat for a larger population, and the dollars have not come from non-hunters but from taxes and fees asked for and paid by hunters and anglers.

Otherwise there would already be funding for the many species declining in population, such as young-forest birds and prairie species, now that cutting trees is greatly restricted on national forests and more private land is converted to fields and lawns. Those activities are also human intervention, as is the obvious shortage of crane winter habitat on the Gulf Coast, where I have seen juvenile sandhill cranes begging for food at a recreation area, as if they were park squirrels, not wild birds.

Larry D. Martoglio