Kentucky turning its back on own horse industry
When we speak of gaming, or lack of it, in Kentucky, it really hits hard. Five years ago I moved my family and business to Kentucky. I took the gamble that Kentuckians would never turn their backs on the sport that it is so famous for.
I have experience in the gaming industry, having lived 15 years in Nevada. My success in that enabled me to pursue my dream of becoming a Kentucky horseman.
My time in Nevada also showed me how people lived and thrived in a community built with gaming. I took pride in an industry that gave back so much to everyone — schools, jobs, churches and small and large businesses. The whole state bloomed with life and benefits for all.
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While our politicians continue to fight over gaming, Kentucky has gone from the horse capital of America to a state that does not support its own racetracks, where horsemen can no longer make a decent living.
My home track, Turfway Park, can no longer remain open as a training facility this summer due to lack of funds, even with trainers paying stall rent.
Therefore, we and our employees, owners and families will have to relocate to other states just to survive until the fall meet when Turfway can reopen.
With Kentucky and Kentuckians struggling so hard these days, I am in shock at the deplorable behavior of our state leaders.
Gaming would provide an economic boost of hundreds of millions of dollars for all of Kentucky.
Casinos for colleges
Show me the money. Should casino gambling ever become a part of the Kentucky economy, I want to know where the bulk of the money will go.
If it's to enhance the well-shod of the horse industry, why bother to make it shoddier? I realize the stature of the horse industry in Kentucky, but also know the riches that many in the business hold; if they can't subsist in the capitalist system which we exhort, let only the well-managed ones survive.
Further, why subsidize one industry over another? Kentucky cattle farmers raise the most of any state east of the Mississippi; could they use some help?
Education is pushed as bettering the future for all and the University of Pikeville is being considered for public university status.
If casino gambling is ever approved, let's affiliate one casino with each public university or a combination, adding UPike. (However, keep each casino 60 miles away from a university so as not to distract the students.)
The universities would be assigned a geographic area. They could set up administrations for the casinos and all net money assigned to the educational needs of all in the area, whether university, technical, high or elementary school.
Eric L Hatton
Downtown retail is key
In response to the letters regarding the task force's vision for downtown, I agree that Wal-Mart, Meijer, Kohls, etc., will not locate downtown.
While all the establishments in Hamburg and Fayette Mall fulfill a need for the populace, there is a desire for shops and restaurants that are more diverse and local.
The future of downtown retailing is closely tied to more hotel rooms and urban housing that encompasses single family dwellings, condos and clean, well-maintained rentals.
Not many great cities are defined by their suburban malls, and most visitors are looking for something unique to the area when they choose their restaurants.
Attracting tourists, young educated professionals and creative thinkers to Lexington can only be achieved by ensuring that downtown is a work in progress (and dreamers are essential to progress).
As the owner of a Jefferson Street restaurant, I salute those who preceded me. I took the leap because they proved a variety of businesses could thrive downtown.
Lexington's most unique attractions (the universities, Rupp Arena, Keeneland, the bourbon industry, the Kentucky Theater, the Opera House and Gratz Park, among others) have all evolved over the years.
While I know our goals may seem lofty to some, to have Lexington be defined by Fayette Mall and Hamburg Place without alternatives seems a shame.
Sheriff's office obsolete
I am absolutely appalled to read on Jan. 22 that a Fayette County sheriff's deputy could be tipping off registered sex offenders to unannounced visits from law enforcement.
It's even more appalling to read that Sheriff Kathy Witt would write a letter to the head of another law enforcement agency, not releasing documents that pertained to the registered sex offenders being possibly forewarned of these visits.
The action by Witt really doesn't surprise me; she wants to make herself look good in the print and visual media. It does, however, make me wonder what she does have covered up in her office.
I think it's time that the federal government step in to review this matter.
As a citizen and a taxpayer in Fayette County, I feel it's time the office of sheriff in Fayette County be abolished.
Or, if that's not possible (because of all the politics), it should have its authority to police restricted to courthouse property only.
Lexington-Fayette County has a very capable police department and, along with federal law enforcement, I see no justification to keep electing a sheriff in Fayette County.
James Jeffrey Coleman
Not a violation
Sen. Mitch McConnell and some of his fellow Republicans would like us to believe that requiring religious institutions to offer insurance plans that cover contraception is a violation of religious freedom.
But here is what Justice Antonin Scalia wrote in the 1990 decision, Employment Division, Department of Human Resources of Oregon v. Smith:
"It is a permissible reading of the [free exercise clause] ... to say that if prohibiting the exercise of religion is not the object of the [law] but merely the incidental effect of a generally applicable and otherwise valid provision, the First Amendment has not been offended. ... To make an individual's obligation to obey such a law contingent upon the law's coincidence with his religious beliefs, except where the State's interest is 'compelling' — permitting him, by virtue of his beliefs, 'to become a law unto himself' ... — contradicts both constitutional tradition and common sense.' To adopt a true 'compelling interest' requirement for laws that affect religious practice would lead towards anarchy."
Note that this opinion was issued by one of the most conservative members of the U.S. Supreme Court.
This country has made a decision that health insurance should be offered through employers. As long as we maintain that system, we cannot have employers imposing their religious beliefs on their employees.
The insurance benefits belong to the employees, not the employers, and employees should have the ability to use them for their health needs as they see fit.