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Letters to the Editor
Message still relevant

Dear Editor,

I would like to share the following speech given by Principal Jody McLoud before a Roane County High School football game on Sept. 1, 2000 :
“It has always been the custom at Roane County High School football games to say a prayer and play the National Anthem to honor God and Country.
Due to a recent ruling by the Supreme Court, I am told that saying a prayer is a violation of Federal Case law.
As I understand the law at this time, I can use this public facility to approve of sexual perversion and call it an alternate lifestyle, and if someone is offended, that’s okay.
I can use it to condone sexual promiscuity by dispensing condoms and calling it safe sex. If someone is offended, that’s okay.
I can even use this public facility to present the merits of killing an unborn baby as a viable means of birth control. If someone is offended, it’s no problem.
I can designate a school day as earth day and involve students in activities to religiously worship and praise the goddess, mother earth, and call it ecology.
I can use literature, videos and presentations in the classroom that depict people with strong, traditional, Christian convictions as simple minded and ignorant and call it enlightenment.
However, if anyone uses this facility to honor God and ask Him to bless this event with safety and good sportsmanship, Federal Case law is violated.
This appears to be inconsistent at best, and at worst, diabolical.
Apparently, we are to be tolerant of everything and anyone except God and His Commandments.
Nevertheless, as a school principal, I frequently ask staff and students to abide by rules which they do not necessarily agree. For me to do otherwise would be inconsistent at best, and at worst, hypocritical. I suffer from that affliction enough unintentionally. I certainly do not need to add an intentional transgression.
For this reason, I shall render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s and refrain from praying at this time. However, if you feel inspired to honor, praise and thank God, and ask Him in the name of Jesus to bless this event, please feel free to do so. As far as I know, that’s not against the law — yet.”
And ... one by one, the people in the stands bowed their heads, held hands with one another, and began to pray. They prayed in the stands. They prayed in the team huddles. They prayed at the concession stand. And they prayed in the announcer’s box. The only place they didn’t pray was in the Supreme Court of the United States of America — the seat of “justice” in the one nation under God.
Somehow, Kingston, Tennessee, remembered what so many have forgotten ... we are given the Freedom OF religion, not the Freedom FROM religion.

Marvin McFaddin
Paintsville, Ky.

Letters to the Editor
Women voters important

Dear Editor:

Seventeen times, Mitch McConnell has voted against raising the minimum wage, he has vowed that he won’t let it change on his watch ... however, he has voted every time for raising his own wage. McConnell has voted four times against equal pay for women that are doing the same jobs as men.
McConnell voted against reinstating the Violence Against Women Act.
McConnell voted against the farm bill and farmers subsidizing our school lunch programs with good healthy food. Mitch voted against senior citizens living on social security. The list goes on and on of what Mitch McConnell has done to you and not done for you.
McConnell has a deceptive ad out, trying to make women voters believe that he cares about them. Yes, he cares about you so much that he has fixed it so you — the middle-class women and men — can pay the U.S. tax bills while big corporate and billionaires get off with paying zero or almost no taxes. Mitch has large financial rewards for them; they fund his election campaign in exchange for corporate tax loop holes, while he gives you and me the shaft!
McConnell also voted against healthcare facilities for our veterans and he killed a bill that would have put 42 billion dollars into veterans’ healthcare. During the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, Mitch voted against upgrading the armor on military Humvees and transport trucks that would protect them against roadside bombs. Mitch is a pathetic example of a real man.
Women voters can ditch Mitch!
Let’s do it!

Alma Cowles
Bowling Green

Letters to the Editor
Your healthcare decisions matter

Dear Editor,
The Affordable Care Act has dramatically impacted the delivery of health care services across the country and this region. The impact has been both good and bad for eastern Kentucky’s doctors and hospitals. One thing that hasn’t changed is community based organizations like Highlands Health System, which remains committed to meeting the health care needs of our region.
It is great so many more Kentuckians have access to Medicaid coverage but if payment practices of the managed care organizations do not improve soon, our region risks losing skilled doctors and essential services. In Kentucky, rural hospitals and doctors have been negatively impacted by Medicaid Managed Care Organizations that claim they manage care of their members. The truth is there is little care management occurring in our region. Instead, local doctors and hospitals have to fight for timely and appropriate payment for their services. Often, patients are unaware of this dynamic. Patients can make a difference as some plans are more conscience about paying providers appropriately than others. People should carefully consider their choice of plans and take into consideration the long term impact their selection of plans has on our regional health care system. Open enrollment in the Medicaid program will begin in October and November.
The pressures on our local hospital and doctors are very real. Recently, Highlands completed negotiations with its union. To the credit of Highlands’ employees, they recognized the pressures caused by the state’s new Medicaid program and our distressed local economy. The employees of Highlands demonstrated great insight and sacrifice by increasing their out of pocket expenses for health coverage. This was done in part to preserve jobs and also to assure this region continues to have a vibrant hospital that delivers low cost and high quality care. Highlands employees come primarily from Floyd, Johnson, Martin, and Magoffin counties. They know firsthand the important role a hospital plays in the overall health of our economy. It is important our region support their sacrifice and choose to use their local not-for-profit hospital. Our 600 employees and 250 doctors are committed to you and the vitality of the region.

Harold C. Warman, Jr., FACHE
President & CEO, Highlands Health System
Prestonsburg, Ky.

Letters to the Editor
Class of ‘69 thanks Ramada staff

Dear Editor,
On behalf of the Paintsville High School Class of 1969, we want to express a big “thank you” to staff of the Ramada Inn of Paintsville. A special “thank you” to Mika VanHoose and the employees for the beautifully decorated room and their gracious service. You made our reunion special and we truly appreciated all the hard work everyone put into making the day memorable.
Thank You!
Selene Blanton
Thelma, Ky.

Come to church

Dear Editor,
To the citizens of Paintsville and Johnson County — young and old — once again, God has spared our fair city from death and destruction.
Why did He spare us? There are saved, born again, praying Christians in the City of Paintsville and in Johnson County. God heard our prayers and spared us.
I believe I would be held accountable to God if I did not warn you that there is a Heaven to gain and a Hell to shun.
Don’t you know that’s what our pastor preaches at our Freewill Baptist Church on the corner of Third and West Street?
Don’t you know he preaches the birth, death, and resurrection of our blessed Savior, JESUS CHRIST, and that Heaven is real and Hell is HOT.
Come and visit our church. I believe you will be glad you did.

Marvin McFaddin
Paintsville, Ky.

Letters to the Editor
Threat to America

Dear Editor:

Our elected leaders in Washington are the only serious threats to America.
China will have a larger Navy than America in six years. While our elected leaders built bridges to nowhere, the Chinese were building warships paid for by American taxpayers. From January 1 through August 31, 2014, interest on our debt was $411,217,855,816.94 cents. That amount times six years will pay for China’s navel expansion and buy munitions for the other nations that hold our debt and old grudges.
Our elected leaders see grave danger in Americans with valid passports returning home from terroristic groups, but they have never seen any actionable danger in the aliens who have crossed our borders by the millions without a passport. Given their selective eyesight, it was only dumb luck that fence-jumper Omar Gonzalez was not wearing a bomb when he entered the White House recently, and only dumb luck will prevent another 9/11-like disaster, not their due diligence.
Beware of good economic reports before midterm elections, and expect a change in ISIS strategy after the votes are counted. Our elected leaders are already lobbying for boots on the ground. “Bombing is a limited strategy,” they say. “Ground forces will have to mop up, and mop-up can’t wait a year while we train indigenous personnel to fight.” What nonsense!
Indigenous factions have fought one another in the Middle East since God promised Abram a great nation in Genesis 12:2, and we have fought them for 13 years at a cost of 7,000 lives, 42,000 heavy wounds, and a projected $3.7 trillion. What did those three payments buy? More of the same. Only the names have changed.
When will our elected leaders end their stupidity and brainwashing lies? Simple, only when the electorate and the “sentinels of democracy” fulfill their duties as envisioned by our founding fathers.

Shafter Bailey
Lexington, KY

War on Coal

Dear Editor,

I was born in Letcher County in Southeast Kentucky, in the old company town of Jenkins on the border with Virginia.  My grandfather (he died of black lung) and his brothers were coal miners who lived and raised their families in coal camp houses without indoor plumbing, shopped at the company stores and had to grow their own food to survive.  My own family left Eastern Kentucky in 1963 so my father could find work.   We moved to Virginia and then Florida before returning in the early ‘70s to Whitesburg where I finished high school.  I worked on strip-mines in Letcher and Perry County in the ‘70s and early ‘80s, and I lived there into the ‘90s.  As a native East Kentuckian – one who’s worked in mining and industries peripheral to the mining industry, I am embarrassed for anyone from Kentucky or, more specifically, Eastern Kentucky, who has fallen for the lies or believes there really exists a ‘War on Coal.’ 
Anyone with any experience or history in the region knows coal has always been boom or bust, a cycle established over a century of coal operations. There have been prosperous times (the coal boom of the early ‘70s, when Pike County had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the nation), several mini-booms before and since.  But, more often, extended periods of “Bust,” periods of unemployment, deprivation, ‘on the dole,’ out-migration to places where jobs can be found … all those symptoms Eastern Kentucky experienced before and since Lyndon Johnson visited Mr. Fletcher in Pike County when he declared the War on Poverty.
A coal miner is a carpenter when the mines are closed or, if one is forced to, one leaves ‘home’ as did my family (it’s always home no matter how far you go away from the hills) to find work.  What this all means is, “Reading, Writing and Route 23” didn’t just happen since 2009 because Barak Obama was elected – that path to Ohio, Detroit or south and west was used for decades before he entered office.  It was written about in such novels as Harriet Simpson Arnow’s The Dollmaker, in song by Dwight Yoakam and in Harry Caudill’s many books about the negative impact of coal on the region and the political power coal wields in the Commonwealth.   Many, many factors effect that pattern of boom and bust and today’s economic problems are the result, exacerbated by the Great Recession.
Here’s a dose of reality: when George W. Bush came into office in 2001 there were 654 coal fired plants in this nation – and when he slithered out of office in 2009 there were 595.  Bush’s War on Coal?  When Mitch McConnell came into office three decades ago, there were almost 70,000 jobs in the coal industry nationally – now there is less than one-third that number. McConnell’s War on Coal?   
Go back a little further, to Charles Kuralt’s CBS documentary about ‘Christmas in Appalachia,’ in 1965, when, about 13 minutes into the video, Kuralt asked a store owner in Letcher County about jobs and unemployment in the area.  Why were so many without jobs, he asked? The store owner, seen giving credit to customers so they could survive, replied it was “machines,’ mechanization – the industry didn’t need as many workers.  That was in 1965 – it’s only become worse for miners with mountain top removal, continuous miners and the like.
Let’s talk about those plants McConnell claims he is worried about —- some of them were and are 80 years old, and closed through attrition.  Or because other forms of energy have become more available and less expensive.  Natural gas was over $15 per million BTU in 2005 – and today it’s about $4 per million BTU.  But then there may not be a market for the product. Arch Mineral in E. Kentucky laid off hundreds of miners this year and closed operations because of a glut in the metallurgical coal market.   Even as mine owners complained about the EPA, they were closing operating mines.  Obama’s War on Coal?
The need for someone to blame is perhaps natural – and Republicans and Mitch and Rand are quite willing to point to President Obama.  What Republicans, Mitch and Rand are not so willing to do is be honest with Kentuckians.  Time, technology, market forces, other forms of energy competing with coal – that’s reality, not the War on Coal myth manufactured by the industry and marketed by Republicans.  If Kentuckians fall for those lies this year, they have only themselves to blame for the consequences of that election and Kentucky’s time in the desert will be extended.

William R. Adkins
Williamstown, KY

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