Letters to the Editor

Letters to the editor: April 23

Free film shows women leading on the environment

In the documentary, Arise, MacArthur Fellow Majora Carter pronounces her vision for "greening the ghetto": "Economic empowerment of women as they understand environmental issues in their community will help our planet move in a more sustainable direction."

These words infuse each of the views writer-directors Lori Joyce and Candice Orlando give us of how women across the globe engender social and environmental justice.

The movie, part of the Good Foods Board Film Series, will be shown for free at the downtown Lexington Public Library tonight from 6 to 9, followed by a question-and-answer session.

In Arise, we catch a glimpse of Kenya's Green Belt initiative, in which women reforest mountaintops in order to cache and purify groundwater, which they use to irrigate gardens in the valleys. We see eco-feminist Vandana Shiva's seed-saving farm in Dehradun, India.

Native American rights activist Winona LaDuke projects a vision for a green economy that fully utilizes local energy sources as well as women's power to maintain cultural practices and make community-minded decisions.

Urban farm activist Beverly Grant recounts the moment she realized the injustice of her community's reliance on an industrial food system that limits access to healthy foods. And she got to work, establishing farmers' markets and working to transform yards and lots into gardens.

Arise offers a much-needed glimpse at the mosaic of solutions women have devised to reclaim or reinforce their stewardship. In so doing, it invites us to imagine how we, too, will arise — wake up, stand up and start from the ground up.

Leah Bayens


$25 helmet saves lives

If you ride a bike and purchase and wear a $25 bike helmet, that seemingly insignificant investment could save your life in the event of a crash.

We experienced three very serious bicycle crashes in Lexington between August and October 2012. In all three cases, the riders were not wearing helmets.

The first crash occurred in early August, shortly before school started. The 15-year-old young woman involved was very seriously injured and spent months in the hospital and in rehabilitation, mainly because of the head injury she sustained. Many people believe her recovery to be a miracle.

The riders in the next two crashes were not so fortunate and, in both cases, they were men associated with bike shops in town. One was 53; the other, 41. Working or volunteering in a bike shop, as each of them did, shouldn't they have known better than to be riding without a helmet?

Shouldn't they have known that $25 could have saved their lives? Please let us learn from their omission.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration states that, in the event of a crash, wearing a helmet can reduce your risk of sustaining serious head or brain injury by 85 percent.

We are developing a great biking culture in Lexington. Let's make it a safe one.

Kim Browning


Update the definition

Marriage, as defined over thousands of years by hundreds of cultures is archaic. Human rights should be equal for all. Men and women should have a right to marry any other, to file joint income tax returns and receive federal benefits.

Elderly folk could marry others of any gender, have federal benefits, joint tax return savings, separate wills, and change partners as needed. Surely, the Supreme Court will find the U.S. Constitution allows these human rights.

Rex J. Phillips


Some in GOP know

Why the Republicans lost:

Republican Gov. Bobby Jindal of Louisiana says the GOP can't be the party of stupid.

Republican Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey says the red-state lawmakers who denied timely aid after Hurricane Sandy are recipient states that get more than they give in federal aid.

Republican U.S. Rep. Peter King of New York said anyone from the states devastated by Sandy who would even think about supporting this Congress should have their head examined.

Mitt Romney says he likes being able to fire people. Me too; I hired George H.W. Bush in 1988. I fired him in 1992 and hired Bill Clinton. Best staffing decision I ever made.

Republicans have utterly paralyzed the nation and united everyone else against them. This having been accomplished, they want to finish off our government. They want to privatize the U.S. Postal Service, displacing thousands of disabled veterans who depend on these good jobs. Slowing down the mail, slowing down the economy.

Republicans think it's great to finish off unions, shut down the government and arm the racist right and anti-government militias.

A great Republican president once said "to stand in silence when we should all be protesting makes cowards of men" and "the cost of freedom is vigilance." I wonder if the party of Abraham Lincoln knows who said these words.

Mark Benchoff


Hunting wildcats, in Ky.?

Recently, while watching Kentucky Afield on KET, I was surprised to learn that wildcats were on the Kentucky "hit list" to kill or trap.

I found the method of trapping being proposed to be repulsive and outdated. Using steel-jawed traps is one of the most crippling, inhumane methods of capture and/or kill.

If indeed, these cunning champions of the wild are to be taken from us, the use of live trapping should replace an unnecessarily crippling mode.

There seems to be this challenge among some to take pleasure in the thrill when killing with little or no regard to preservation of these unique, highly evolved mammals.

Have we forgotten the pride we once had in "Colonel," our beloved UK mascot?

If so, shame on us. We can do better than that in Kentucky.

Bill Barkley


Worth a shot

To all readers, please consult your doctor about the advisability of taking a shingles shot. I am not a medical doctor, but I can tell you a cautionary tale.

I had chickenpox when I was two and shingles when I was 65. However, shingles does not just affect elderly people. I met a young lady who had shingles when she was 23 and had never had chickenpox.

In October, one day I was healthy and the next I had shingles in my eyes and was bedridden. The entire right side of my body was affected. My eye was swollen shut. My stamina and ability to walk were impaired.

I am grateful that my eyesight and mobility have returned, but I still have difficulty with both and use a walker. My memory is still impaired and I lost two months of my life. All I remember is the excruciating pain.

I have many people to thank for my recovery, especially those who checked every day to be certain I had taken my medicine, since I could not read the labels on my medicine bottles. They literally saved my life.

To all, please consult your doctor about how to avoid the shingles.

Ruth Sebastian