UK's new dorm design will degrade look of campus
There is one word for the proposed design of the dorm to be built on the University of Kentucky's campus: pathetic.
The proposed dorm completely fails to engage architecture in a serious way. The design not only denies architectural developments of the 20th and 21st centuries, it completely fails to examine and reinterpret ample historic precedents that could lend some integrity.
The appearance is of cheap multifamily housing, and it will degrade the campus horribly.
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The new dorm will conceal views of Haggin Hall, certainly not a masterwork but an honest expression of the architectural period in which it was built.
Such buildings add immeasurably to the quality of the campus by representing cultural history that is otherwise lost.
The cultural statement made by the new dorm is that we no longer care what we build, and we are ignorant of our own history.
I hope the university will reconsider whether they want such trash inflicted on the campus, and will ensure that their contractor takes architecture seriously.
Graham Pohl, Krisia Rosa and Clive Pohl
Pohl, Rosa, Pohl architectural firm
Loss of mountain hero
Michael Lee Mullins, executive director of the Hindman Settlement School, died last Sunday when the heart he had given in three decades of service to the people of his native mountains, finally wore out as he exercised in a gym.
He was 63, but when I met him he was 30 years old and capturing my attention for his advocacy of education, the arts and a better life at the grass roots of the region.
The son of a coal miner and the first of his family to graduate from college (earning two degrees), Mike had found his mission in rescuing the legendary settlement school (founded in 1902 when Knott County had no public system) from death by broken pipes and decayed buildings when he took charge in the winter of 1977.
He was creating a new role for the school, sending art and music teachers into the hollows and, later, establishing a food bank and bookmobile routes.
In a community of much poverty, "make do" or do without, he gave the people a higher vision by sponsoring performances of ballet companies, folk singers and classical guitarists.
Eventually he started a writer's workshop, featuring the presence of poet and storyteller James Still, and helped begin a tutorial program for dyslexic kids.
Where there was much exploitation in the region, Mike did nothing but good. He was a hero of Appalachia.
Former co-chair, Appalachian Regional Commission
Ky.'s playwright heritage
I began reading Tom Eblen's column on the great writers of Kentucky and was excited to see such an esteemed listing.
However, when I realized that the article did not include dramatic writers of any kind, I was saddened.
As a founding member, and current board member, of the Kentucky Playwrights' Workshop (with a current membership of more than 30 active playwrights), I would like to relay this list, albeit certainly partial, of this commonwealth's established playwrights and dramatic writers.
Included are Pulitzer Prize winner Marsha Norman; former artistic director of Actor's Theatre of Louisville and playwright Jon Jory; Frankfort's George C. Wolfe; Naomi Wallace, Suzan Lori-Parks, Sallie Bingham, Betty Peterson, George McGhee, Herman Ferrell, Nefertiti Burton and Heidi Saunders
There is the founder and current director of the Kentucky Women Playwrights' Seminar and winner of the Kentucky Foundation for Women's 2011 Sallie Bingham Award, Trish Ayers. We also boast screenwriter Jeffery Reddick, who originated the Final Destination franchise of films.
Frank X Walker and Silas House, both mentioned by Eblen, are also established playwrights. Eddie Kennedy, of Berea, has had many of his published plays made into films aired on KET.
Shan R. Ayers
Member, The Dramatists Guild of America
A fighter for workers
We worked with Charles Wells, who died in a house fire last week, through two campaigns to unionize University of Kentucky staff.
Charles never wavered in his support of working people, and he worked tirelessly in several venues to support workers throughout the state. The more contact we had with him, the more dedicated and focused we found him to be.
We consider ourselves very lucky to have known him and for what he taught about unions and labor relations. The most impassioned and moving speech about the rights of workers we ever heard was the one he made to the UK Staff Senate several years ago.
A bright light for all of us has been extinguished with his passing.
Odd UPike opposition
Maybe, I've finally figured this education game out here in Kentucky after living here 45 years.
I've often tried to justify for myself why Eastern Kentucky schools, most elementary and high schools, never appeared to me to be as thriving, up to date or as well furbished or funded as most schools in other areas of Kentucky.
After viewing many of Kentucky's legislators in Frankfort on TV last week so vehemently opposing a state college in Pikeville, one that could afford a more adequate, less costly education, geographically nearer, to many who so desperately appear to need it, it makes me question their motives.
On the other hand, how would one find workers with college training to work and ruin their health at hard labor in the coal mining business.
Oh heck, maybe I still haven't figured this out. Maybe one should check on the political contributions from Eastern Kentuckians first.
Margaret M. Long
No on goats
Regarding the story about efforts to change Lexington ordinances to allow goats: Lexington doesn't need goats in town.
I have raised goats for many years. They have a mind all of their own. They are all right in the country, but they are not right for urban life.
Willard Ashworth Jr.
In praise of the vulture
I really enjoyed the Feb. 19 article on turkey vultures. I've watched them for years in a variety of settings and marveled at their grace and control when soaring.
However, two of the four birds shown in the front page picture are black vultures, not turkey vultures.
The gist of the article applies equally to black and turkey vultures, but it would be nice to recognize that we have both species here.
News must be pretty thin if your lead story is an anthropocentric rant against vultures.
Far from being "pests," these impressive birds have an important role as scavengers/recyclers/waste cleanup.Too bad they can't be trained to clean up the tons of trash that we humans strew about the landscape.
What's the real pest here? To paraphrase Pogo, "We have met the blight on the landscape — and it is us"