Preserve Bluegrass farms; bring jobs to the mountains
After reading the Aug. 21, editorial entitled, "Foal decline may alter land use" and then the Sept. 5 response from Ralph A. Ruschell, "Redirect land-use thinking," I'd like to offer a suggestion.
Ruschell suggests using protected farmland for business and industry. Not a good idea.
I understand completely people wanting to preserve their beautiful horse farms. It's part of their heritage. God blessed this land well.
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In Southeastern Kentucky, we're also trying to save our heritage — our beautiful mountains and precious drinking water.
We have thousands of unused acres of land where surface mining has already been completed. We've lost our heritage in these areas already. Hence, my suggestion: Maybe Ruschell and his business buddies should check out the new prime, mined land of Southeastern Kentucky. It's a no brainer.
Everything from golf courses to car factories could be built on this land (or so we are told). Maybe the farmland of Central Kentucky can be protected, even if King Coal and the politicians will not stop destruction of our mountains and water.
By the way, we have thousands of unemployed folks in our area who could use these jobs. We have a very good variety of folks here in Southeastern Kentucky who can handle the jobs industry could provide.
When you stop and think of it, many of the employees at the car factory and other places in Central Kentucky are former mountain folks.
I have had numerous opportunities to travel through the new double diamond, single bypass, triple back-flip intersection at Harrodsburg and New Circle Roads, and I don't understand what people are griping about.
If you think about it, it's just like the kiddie turnpike rides at Kings Island or other amusement parks where you can recall fond memories of trips with children or grandchildren. A metal barrier in the middle to keep the cars in line would be even better.
In addition, it's incredibly safe. You normally can't travel at more than 5 mph, so the likelihood of a serious crash is practically non-existent.
How could this possibly be any better? All of the whiners out there should be thanking the folks who designed this intersection.
There is one teeny area of possible improvement. If the primary intent was to make left turns easier and faster, why can't you turn left on red?
Push for cleaner air
At a time when more and more people are thankfully becoming concerned about our environment, it is a shame that our own president should choose not to defend the air we breathe.
We need to protect our world. To make decisions based not on our well-being but on gross profit is so disheartening. The Obama administration is upholding the same smog standards we've had for decades — the same standards his Environmental Protection Agency chief said most likely violated the Clean Air Act.
Please, Mr. President: Let us all breathe clean air and sleep peacefully at night.
Christopher M. Franklin
Honor a hero
How about it University of Kentucky officials? In the midst of the millions of dollars spent for athletics, new buildings and in furtherance of building goodwill, could you find the resources to provide a full scholarship (including costs of books, housing, meals, etc.) for the Kentucky citizen who is the most positive face of this state and a national hero: Marine Sgt. Dakota Meyer? Who deserves it more?
In reference to the Medal Of Honor presented to Sgt. Dakota Meyer of Adair County, all I can say is that he is one hell of a man.
Charles L. Christopher
In search of statesmen
During a recent trip to Oregon, I read of the death of Sen. Mark Hatfield, and I wondered: Has it now become impossible to elect a statesman, one whose main concern is the welfare of the country, not that of corporate sponsors?
If, indeed, public approval of Congress is at an all-time low (13 percent, according to Gallup), why did we elect them in the first place? Did the current Congress create us, the electorate, by trivializing politics to attack ads and sound bites? Or did we create it, by allowing those techniques to win elections?
As the noise machines crank up once again, how I would welcome a candidate who encouraged thought and reflection, rather than used fear and anger to manipulate our unthinking beliefs.
Hold firm against debt
Hooray for the first-term politicians who refused to walk in lockstep with the old incumbents during the debt-ceiling negotiations. Their refusal demonstrated an intelligent sensitvity to our $14.6 trillion debt and $1.2 trillion deficit.
Right after the Senate passed the debt-ceiling increase, Sen, Lindsey Graham demonstrated the sensitivity that has led America to the brink of destruction.
The Republican senator from South Carolina complained about how America had not taken advantage of the Arab Spring. He was especially distressed over the missed opportunity to promote democracy in Eygpt.
Listening to Graham, one would think America has a budget surplus, no debt and no problems at home. The interviewer should have asked him to quote the article, section and clause of our Constitution that gives Congress permission to spend American lives and tax dollars promoting democracy inside other sovereign nations.
Remember George W. Bush? He professed to have a mandate from God to spread democracy around the world. Not counting the lives his mandate has cost to date, Americans yet unborn will have tax withheld from their paychecks to finish paying for his nonsense.
Only the electorate can stop the foolishness in Congress, which currently has a job approval rating of 12 percent. By all that is right, no less than 88 percent of the politicians on Capitol Hill should be fired in 2012, and senators not up for reelection should be impeached for incompetence.
If the status quo survives 2012, say goodbye to the America envisioned by our founding fathers.
Kindness reflects on city
Recently, when I visited a friend in Lexington, we attended a Woodsongs concert at the Kentucky Theatre. My friend has a wheelchair to facilitate her mobility, and we had done our homework to be sure the theater was wheelchair accessible, with all the construction happening in that area.
However, when we arrived, there were areas of gravel and dirt that had to be navigated to enter the theatre. As we were deciding what to do next, a gentleman and his college-age grandson walked up and picked up the wheelchair with my friend in it and carried her across the problem area. Then we had the pleasure of visiting with them in the ticket line.
After the concert, we were nearing the gravel, and we heard their voices behind us telling us that they were coming.
I was very impressed and blessed by the kindness of these two gentlemen, and it has left me with the permanent image of Lexington as a great place to live. I also thought what a great example the grandfather was to his grandson, teaching him compassion and responsibility.
The newspaper is filled with many negative and unpleasant items every day, and I am sending this letter to accentuate the positive. I sincerely hope the two gentlemen who blessed our night will read it.
Sharon Pudlo Horseman
Stadium display downplaysUK football legends
As a former Wildcat and a season ticket holder since 1957, I have spent many pleasant hours in Commonwealth Stadium.
It has always been an uplifting experience to walk into that stadium and look across at the Circle of Honor on which the names of many of our football greats are inscribed.
Names like Lou Michaels, George Blanda, Babe Parilli, Bob Gain, Art Still, Steve Meilinger, Howard Schnellenberger, Coach Blanton Collier and, of course, Coach Bear Bryant, the greatest.
When I entered the stadium for the first time this season, I was shocked to see what can only be described as a psychedelic, cartoonish billboard of some sort which is not only distracting but also obscures those names.
With the stroke of a pen, the athletics director of the University of Kentucky has made a decision which does away with part of our history and heritage.
As we continue to recruit and train young men for our football team, it is important to honor the memory, and continue the tradition, of those who gave a great deal to make Kentucky competitive in the SEC.
If this decision is not reversible, what's next? Removing the retired jerseys from Rupp Arena? I would encourage those of you in the Big Blue Nation to express your opinion directly to the UK athletics director and the president.
Upon entering Commonwealth Stadium last week, the first thing I noticed was that advertising boards had replaced the names of former All-American University of Kentucky players. Upon questioning a UK official, I was told to look at the flags at the top of the second deck. Even with binoculars, it was hard for me to read the names of former players.
What a slap in the face it must have been for the likes of Babe Parilli, Bob Gain and Joe Federspiel, etc. to see they had been moved to a location above the cheap seats.
Oh I know the reason for the move: the almighty dollar.
And now we talk about a new basketball arena that we do not need. It's all about one-upping Louisville and, yes, the almighty dollar.
Robert B. Russell-Tutty
Scoreboard may be a danger
The University of Kentucky's new $6 million scoreboard with all of its bells and whistles — including a digital ribbon board that surrounds the interior of the seating bowl with intermittent flashing light-emitting diode (LED) displays — made its debut at the first home football game against Central Michigan.
According to UK Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart, the new Daktronics system is an "outstanding audio-visual experience ... one that is among the biggest and best in all of college football."
Unfortunately, displays featuring patterns of flashing lights and repetitive pattern images may trigger seizures in people who are photosensitive. Manufacturers of video games often put a warning to this effect on their products.
At the Louisville game, a young man sitting in front of us suffered a seizure right before halftime. Thankfully, UK's EMS personnel were there to administer to him. He left the stadium on a stretcher.
On the same day in the Minneapolis TCF Bank Stadium, Minnesota coach Jerry Kill suffered a seizure in the closing minutes of their game with New Mexico.
While the coach has a history of seizures, the stadium boasts a $9 million scoreboard, which was also designed and built by Daktronics. UK needs to be proactive and eliminate or temper the use of these flashing LEDs. Do nothing, and the price of the new scoreboard may well exceed $6 million.
If indeed the actions of leaders mirror the culture of an organization, then the recent decision to hire the daughter of University of Kentucky Athletics Director Mitch Barnhart as a graduate assistant in the athletics department is a prime example of power and arrogance gone amok.
It's a bit of stretch to believe that he cannot afford to pay for his daughter's education. After all, his salary is exponentially higher than that of parents of some financially challenged UK graduate students who also applied for the job.
This decision adds to the now-weekly listing of the unbridled audacity bouncing out of Barnhart's Joe Craft Center fortress, to include his staffer who bullied the UK student press, his heavy-handed remarks about the future of Rupp Arena.
Under Barnhart, the "House that Rupp built" has become the situation room and may well become a house of cards. After all, at UK, the tail wags the Cats.
And besides that, the NCAA and ethics in college athletics is an oxymoron, anyway.
Polk S. O'Neal
Get out of bed with Big Coal
In response to the recent Faces of Coal sponsorship of the University of Kentucky-University of Louisville football game, I would like to point out that it is not just environmental groups that find this sponsorship disagreeable, but health groups as well.
You wouldn't see a cigarette company sponsoring a football game. So why would anyone think it is appropriate that the coal industry — an industry that contributes to devastating illnesses and premature deaths all over the country — is an appropriate sponsor?
Pollution from coal plants causes serious damage to the respiratory and cardiovascular systems. UK might as well just write soot, arsenic and mercury across the field because, for years, that's what the coal industry has been exposing us to with little regard for health implications.
The Kentucky Coal Association is welcoming this sponsorship because it wants people to learn more about coal.
But it had better not count its chickens before they hatch. Communities dealing with these health issues are even more committed to fighting for clean air and safe water.
Kentucky Environmental Foundation
I want the University of Kentucky to stop accepting contributions from the coal industry and focus on education and renewable, sustainable solutions to our energy crisis.
Once our mountains are gone, they're gone. Once the coal is gone, it's gone. And the land and water left behind are ruined and people are left to suffer. UK could be at the forefront of research for renewable energy and regain its footing as an academic leader. Please break the ties with coal and do what's right for UK's reputation and Kentucky's population.