No state support for Ark ParkI am a Christian and a pastor, and I am adamantly opposed to the use of tax incentives for the construction of an Ark Park in Grant County.
When the co-founder of the project asks for $18.25 million of public favor in order to float his boat, then says that "there will be an effort to present the Gospel at the park," that sounds like religious favoritism and proselytizing to me.
He and his investors have every right to build whatever religious theme park they want, but they don't have a right to siphon off the resources of taxpayers to do it. I strongly suspect that this move by the Tourism Development Authority will ultimately be declared unconstitutional, wasting precious time and tax monies for legal fees, hearings and other needless activities.
The First Amendment disallows "an establishment of religion," and the use of our state's tax incentives for this obviously sectarian purpose appears to be in blatant violation.
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Religious freedom and its corollary, the separation of church and state, continue to serve all of our citizenry — believers and non-believers. Tax support for this project would breach the wall of such important separation, and it should not be granted.
Sports wag UK dog
Two recent University of Kentucky events underscore the athletics department tail's wagging of the university's dog.
Coach Matthew Mitchell's very generous pledge of $1 million goes entirely to the athletics department. That amount is 10 times his still-generous donation to the academic side in 2012. Then the $210 million deal with JMI Sports benefits only the athletic department.
There are at least two contrasting historical examples of interest. The often-controversial Indiana basketball coach Bob Knight donated the entire proceeds of his annual lucrative shoe contract to the university library.
NBC's arrangement to telecast Notre Dame's home football games provides about $14 million to the general fund of the university to be used for undergraduate financial aid, none of which goes to athletic scholarships. No donations to the Notre Dame athletic department are mandated for football season ticket holders.
UK President Eli Capilouto seems to have his priorities properly aligned. It remains to be seen whether he can maintain that stance against the prevailing tide which essentially forced out former president David Roselle, thought by many to be the best UK president in recent memory.
Now that the long-awaited construction of the Isaac Murphy Park is under way, the sidewalk along Third Street has been ripped out and a sign directs pedestrians to use the sidewalk on the other side of the street.
But how are pedestrians supposed to get across the street? There's no crosswalk or signal, and the traffic coming to Third Street from inbound Winchester/Midland has a perpetual green light. Not only do those vehicles not stop, they tend to speed, and the sight lines are not very good.
While a quick and agile pedestrian could manage to cross the street there, it's not safe at all. Why was this not considered by the city before construction started?
Suggestion: Block off four or five feet along the curb on that side of the street to be used as a pedestrian passage, similar to what has been done on Main Street at Upper. The lanes might have to be narrowed a bit to allow it, but there appears to be room. Also, lower the speed limit there, and enforce it. Otherwise, I hope the city has money to deal with the lawsuit that would be sure to follow a pedestrian getting run over.
UK's lack of imagination dooms irreplaceable architecture
Imagine that the University of Kentucky's Young library held irreplaceable rare books that had been owned by Abraham Lincoln. Or that a trophy case contained one-of-a-kind mementos from Wah Jones, Adoph Rupp and Bear Bryant. Then imagine that there is no more space to add new books and trophies. Is there any doubt that all of the brain power at UK would figure out a way to accommodate the books and trophies?
But, UK had no interest in preserving one of the most architecturally and historically significant structures on its campus. The Wenner-Gren Research Laboratory building was completed in 1940 and was one of only a handful of existing Kentucky buildings designed in the Streamline-Moderne architectural style.
Combine that with the fact that this building housed cutting-edge aeronautical test labs, including training chimpanzees for space travel, and was designed by UK's own Ernst Johnson, and it is beyond doubt that this is irreplaceable. But, all the brain power at UK could not figure out a way to preserve Wenner-Gren and build a new science building. So, UK will destroy it, all because of a lack of imagination and respect for Lexington's history — at a university that purportedly aspires to reach top 20 status.
John R. Rhorer Jr.
Chair, LFUCG Historic Preservation Commission
Speak out against postal plan
As a retired postal employee who worked 34 years at the Lexington mail-sorting facility, I am absolutely opposed to closing this plant. When postal officials tell you that previous consolidations have been seamless and customers have not noticed a change, they are misleading you.
Think about it. Louisville, Knoxville, Nashville, Charleston facilities will always work their own customers' mail first, leaving Lexington mail to be worked last.
While the Lexington plant sorts its mail overnight now, it most likely will be the following day. For management, it has always been, and will always be, a numbers game.
Closing the mail-sorting facility will result in the following:
■ Mail will be delayed two to four days or more.
■ Large postal operations will have to use overtime hours to work larger volumes.
■ 290 postal employees and their families' lives will be disrupted forever.
■ City government and schools will lose untold dollars of tax revenue.
Let elected officials know closing this facility is unacceptable. Bigger is not better.
Higher cost, slower service
Now, a letter mailed in Paris before 3 p.m. could be received in Lexington the next day. However if the same letter is mailed from Cynthiana, it takes three or four days because it must first go to a Cincinnati distribution center.
Now we are going to send mail addressed to a Lexington address to Louisville to be distributed. How long will it take to get to its intended recipient?
In 1954, my parents moved to Shawhan in northern Bourbon County, which had a railroad station and its own post office. The train from Cynthiana to Paris would slow down at Shawhan and throw off a leather pouch with mail. If you mailed a letter in Cynthiana before the morning train you would receive it in Shawhan within a two- or three-hour time frame. And, if I am not mistaken, a stamp cost 3 cents. Now we are paying 49 cents for a stamp and it will take four or five days for a letter to be delivered.
I would vote to return mail delivery to the railroads where possible. The present system is not working, is costing postal employees their jobs and is a big waste of time.
Dorothy Jo Mastin
Postal Service driven into peril
Now that the Nandino Post Office is on the list to be consolidated, Sen. Mitch McConnell and Rep. Andy Barr are all aflutter with concern. Maybe if they had done something to help the Postal Service, instead of driving it into financial peril, the 290-plus jobs would not be on the line. Sen. Rand Paul has been missing in action regarding this issue. The post office is just a part of that "big government" they rail against.