A nice hike starts new year on the right foot
Kudos to Cumberland Falls State Park for participating in the First Day Hikes national initiative Jan. 1. It was a wonderful way to start off a new year.
While January appears gray and cold to most of us, the hike through the forest was surprisingly verdant with hemlocks, rhododendron, mountain laurel and moss.
Although we started our hike in rainy conditions, very quickly we experienced blue skies and a gorgeous day to explore outdoor Kentucky.
Thanks again to the Kentucky Parks system. I hope to be spending Jan. 1, 2013, on an "unbridled adventure" hiking somewhere at one of our state parks.
Who'll protect us?
The Environmental Protection Agency was created to protect our environment and therefore our health.
Fossil fuels are wonderful financially for some, plus for our legislators who are owned by the coal companies.
Since 44 states depend on our coal we should be willing to sacrifice our health and heritage so they can save their mountains?
Oh, what the heck, we love dodging wire-laden retreads flying off the tires of coal trucks, coal dust blowing in the wind and other costs to taxpayers caused by the coal industry.
Only recently did we find out that American Electric Power has a huge holding pond for poisonous fly ash at our back door.
For 40 years this residue has been used to melt ice on our roads and added to concrete. The fine dust particles near the pond are a health hazard.
As for the scrubbers, long overdue, just another stalling tactic. More jobs could be created by using the sun, wind and water to create alternative energy, thus saving more jobs and our water, air and hills.
Some people will never understand the interconnection of the world, i.e., one letter writer's reference to saving "little bugs."
Ron Eller, Appalachian historian, recently had a program on TV. There the true cost of coal was well-illustrated by one who tells the truth.
Bring UPike into fold
During this session of the state legislature it would be a positive action to consider a true establishment of an Eastern Kentucky university at Pikeville, using the existing facilities of the University of Pikeville.
This would be rather fitting considering all of the money the state has collected over the years from the mining industry, and it would be returning these funds to their point of origin.
Powerball, greed to the max, changing it to $2 a pop. Better odds and bigger prizes, the rumors abound.
We don't need that, we need the money not to go to colleges but to feed and house the poor suckers out here starving to death and living in the elements who now won't be able to play because they only got a buck in hand, and they had to bum it from someone.
What's the point of wasting the money at the colleges? Somebody going to become a doc who is going to cure something for a change instead of putting us on the cable TV medical plan for life? Somebody going to become a lawyer for the good of their client without taking a big slice of the pie?
Sure, Powerball winners will have the "good times" while the U.N. grain trucks arrive here and the ensuing fight for a bite to eat.
Can you say bye Powerball and hello Mega Millions? To fight greed you should. Well, that is if you can bum a buck.
Floyd C. Shipley
Obama working on it
President Barack Obama and his wife are models for family values. He has humor and speaks well, either from script or teleprompter. He listens to both his military and his State Department.
After his inauguration he honored his vow to close Guantánamo by signing the order, but the action failed.
Obviously he is not an economist, for his plan to put future generations in debt by spending money to prime the pump did not lower unemployment.
He is getting troops out of Iraq, but leaving private contractors for security and maintenance of the largest diplomatic compound in any foreign country.
He wants the government to wipe out poverty.
He has not destroyed the Democratic Party, for many of us consider differences in ambition, initiative and effort to be significant. He may yet prevail.
Rex J. Phillips
Pay for play
I recognize Coach John Calipari's desire to have a lot of wins and few defeats when it comes time to select the seeds for the NCAA Tournament. Reducing the number of competitive games and adding more games with the outcome pre-determined would reduce the risk of having a few defeats and a lower seed.
However, as a person with season tickets for many years, I suggest that the athletics department needs to consider the entertainment value of this scheduling.
We come to be entertained by our team playing well against good competition, but when Kentucky is up 20 to 30 points by halftime, one actually begins to feel sympathy for the completely outclassed but game players who are the fodder for the better seed.
Fortunately, few of us are politicians. Consequently, there is a chance for a compromise to achieve the coach's goal and recognize its impact on the fan's entertainment.
Since the outcome is long over by halftime, I propose the athletics department reduce the price of those "games" to 50 percent of the regular ticket price. That might serve to satisfy many of the fans because they would recognize that the price appropriately fits the entertainment value.
Not buying it
We love our coach, but surely the BBN will just say "no thanks" when it comes to sipping Cal's Woe Is Our Schedule Kool-Aid.
By expanding next season's conference schedule to 18 games, we now must sacrifice two from the likes of Radford, Portland, UT-Chattanooga, Samford and Lamar. And let's replace Arkansa-Little Rock at Freedom Hall with an annual date versus Butler — a sure sellout.
Maybe next year our strength of schedule would then move into the top 150 (from current ranking of No. 168).
Come on — who really believes that a modest schedule upgrade would "put the program in jeopardy" of reaching our ultimate goal of playing in April?