Letters to the Editor
The Johnson County Fiscal Court and the Johnson County Judge/Executive and his staff extend their thanks and appreciation to all businesses and individuals who supported the efforts of those who worked during Commonwealth Cleanup on March 27 and 28.
The 2014 Commonwealth Cleanup was co-sponsored by the Kentucky Department of Highways. They were assisted in their cleanup efforts by the Johnson County Road Department; R.T. “Tucker” Daniel, Johnson County Judge/Executive; staff from the Judge’s Office; Doug Saylor, Johnson County Jailer; Big Sandy Regional Detention Center; Steve Rose, Constable; and Little Sandy Correctional Complex in Sandy Hook.
Special thanks to Paul B. Hall Regional Medical Center, Louisa Coca-Cola Bottling Co., Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, Wilma’s Restaurant, Mandarin House Restaurant, Little Caesars Pizza, Porky’s Pizza, Ramada Inn, Papa John’s Pizza, East End Pizza, Subway, Senior Citizens Center, Walmart, Food City, K-Mart, The Pepsi Bottling Co., Bob Evans, Kentucky Fried Chicken, and all other individuals and businesses for their donations of food, food related items, or drinks.
We sincerely appreciate the donations of time, food, and equipment by all individuals and businesses. All of these and others have supported us during this and previous cleanup efforts.
PRIDE Spring Cleanup in Johnson County begins on April 4. Numerous volunteers have already indicated their willingness to help but more is needed. If individuals or community groups want to get involved in this cleanup effort, please call the Judge’s Office at 789-2550, to schedule a cleanup event.
Coordinator Special Programs and Projects
Office of the Judge/Executive
See lunar eclipse Tuesday morning
During the early morning hours of April 15th, North America will be treated to a total lunar eclipse. The East Kentucky Science Center will hold a public observing session for this event.
An eclipse of the moon can only take place at full moon, and only if the moon passes through some portion of Earth’s shadow. The shadow is actually composed of two cone-shaped parts, one nested inside the other. The outer shadow or penumbra is a zone where Earth blocks some (but not all) of the sun’s rays. In contrast, the inner shadow or umbra is a region where Earth blocks all direct sunlight from reaching the moon.
The East Kentucky Science Center will be open from 1:30 AM until 5:30 AM for the public to come and observe the eclipse. We will have telescopes set up for observation, and we will also be doing some mini star talks and talks about the eclipse in the planetarium with the science center staff and Physics/Astronomy instructor, Garrison Turner.
As an added attraction, the planet Mars will be sitting next to the moon during the eclipse.
This event which is free of charge and weather permitting, is a cooperative effort between the East Kentucky Science Center and Big Sandy Community and Technical College Physics/Astronomy Instructor Garrison Turner.
For more information, contact the Science Center at 889-4809.
“Look to the Skies!”
Director, East Kentucky Science Center
Whatever happened to Bristle Buck?
Everyone knows as time goes by there’s things to look back to, a time, or place, or familiar face, or a memory of sweet value. Now everyone’s traveled most everywhere, since the time they grew up, but they never lived by better friends than the people in Bristle Buck.
Whatever happened to Bristle Buck? Do you remember when ... the kids all played out in the street, hide and go seek, kick the can, and the neighbors talked porch to porch, while children played their game. But Bristle Buck’s gone and the kids grew up, and it’ll never be the same.
Do you recall the old red bridge that stood at the end of the lane? That crossed the swamp to the other side, where young folks courted and had their fling. And everyone greeted everyone else, with a howdy, how you been? O, the good times in Bristle Buck, we’ll never see again.
What happened to the streets in Bristle Buck? Do you recall their names? These were Old Clay Corner, Kirk, and Vine, Peach and Rum ran off of Main, then Wood and Cherry led off from Third. And you can plainly see, it sounds just like an orchard tree, and it’s still sweet fruit to me.
And there’s Jack’s little grocery store, where the men all met at night, to chew, spit, and swap their tales. Sitting on the sidewalk under the light. And something else that I recall as I walk down Bristle Buck lane was the old stone wall in Bertha’s yard. O, I see it all so plain.
But the old landmarks that were so dear, the workers tore them down. The people are gone but not forgot. And Bristle Buck’s scattered all over town. Since everyone’s gone, their ghosts still roam. That’s all that’s left to see. But now and then I go back again, but only in memory.
Whatever happened to Bristle Buck? She’s like a long lost friend, where the kids all played out in the street, hide and go seek and kick the can, And the neighbors talked from porch to porch, while the children played their game. Now Bristle Buck’s gone and the kids grew up, it’ll never be the same.
Written by: Retta McCloud, Judy Delong, and Family
Letters to the Editor
Advocate for Alzheimer’s research
On April 9, 2014, more than 800 people living with Alzheimer’s, caregivers, and advocates from across the nation will gather in Washington D.C. for the 26th annual Alzheimer’s Association Advocacy Forum. They will be representing millions of people impacted by Alzheimer’s across the country by engaging in the democratic process and appealing to members of Congress for action against Alzheimer’s disease.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association 2014 Alzheimer’s Disease Facts and Figures Report, there are more than five million Americans living with Alzheimer’s disease, including 67,000 here in Kentucky. Also, there are more than 15.5 million Americans caring for someone with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, including 267,000 in Kentucky.
In addition to the human toll, Alzheimer’s is currently the most expensive condition in the nation, costing $214 billion each year. Nearly one in every five dollars spent by Medicare is on people with Alzheimer’s or related dementia.
Alzheimer’s is currently the sixth leading cause of death in the U.S. and the only cause of death among the top ten without a way to prevent, stop, or even slow its progression. If we could eliminate Alzheimer’s tomorrow, we could save 500,000 lives every year.
As an Alzheimer’s Ambassador working in eastern Kentucky health field, I have seen both sides of Alzheimer’s. The professional side, where we attempt care for patients who currently have no hope to win against this disease as well as the personal side, where against all of my training and education, I couldn’t stop Alzheimer’s from taking my grandmother.
That is why I’m asking that during the week of April 9, that you call Congressman Hal Rogers and ask him to make Alzheimer’s disease a national priority. His office numbers are Washington D.C. (202) 225-4601; Somerset (606) 679-8346; Prestonsburg (606) 886-0844; and Hazard (606) 439-0784.
To learn how you can get involved in the fight against Alzheimer’s, visit alz.org.
Greg Gilbert, RN
Letters to the Editor
Free tire disposal
I would like to take this opportunity to invite everyone to participate in the Johnson County Waste Tire Collection Event, formerly known as Tire Amnesty. Free tire disposal will be available beginning on Thursday, April 10 through Saturday, April 12 at the State Highway Garage on SR 172. Tires will be accepted from 8:30 a.m. until 3:30 p.m. each day.
Tire retailers, scrap dealers, and salvage are ineligible. Tires excluded are foam and calcium filled, off-road construction, solid with or without press on rims or any with a bead greater than 1 3/4 inches. Additional questions can be addressed by contacting me at 789-2576.
Johnson County Fiscal Court
My 78-year-old mother has been a long-term Johnson County customer of Paintsville Utilities for city water. In approximately 30 years as a customer, she has paid her bill, in full and on time, an estimated 360 times. Recently she has been struggling with a myriad of health problems, including a stroke and a four-day emergency hospitalization for the treatment of a post-operative staph infection. During that time, she failed to pay her water bill of $22.09 amidst all the confusion of wound care, new medications, and recuperation. Twelve days after the due date her water was turned off without any advance notice.
Paintsville Utilities’ Delinquent Account Policy states in part, “At the conclusion of the 10th day of delinquency (the 25th of each month), utilities to the Customer shall be disconnected with meters being removed or locked and shall be classified as an inactive customer. No past due notices shall be sent to Customer to advise of the delinquency and/or of the intent to disconnect service.”
This policy is ridiculously punitive. It makes no allowance for the challenges of life, such as illness, death, or job loss.
I understand that Paintsville Utilities is a business not a charity but there should be some possibility of recognizing that sometimes there are extenuating life circumstances that temporarily intefere with the payment of one bill.
It would much more fair and humane if a warning and notice of intent to disconnect were printed on the next month’s bill with a shut-off date of the 15th of the month. This would not require employee time to call or issue notices of intent to disconnect and, therefore, would not incur extra expenses on behalf of Paintsville Utilities. It would only extend the window of payment opportunity by 20 days.
Had my mother had the opportunity to receive her second bill, she would have realized she had failed to pay the previous month and would have corrected the oversight on her next payment. Now, due to the current policy, she will have to pay an additional $40 to have her service restored.
A change in policy, such as that suggested previously, would give customers a limited opportunity to make things right and would avoid the use of personnel time and company resources to shut-off only to have to turn back on water service within a matter of days. The suggested new policy would adhere to business principles but be tempered with an ounce of compassion.
I guess it comes down to what is more important. Treating customers fairly or enjoying the tidy profit stream that a $40 penalty creates?
Tutor Key, Ky.
Letters to the Editor
Supports change in Frankfort
Since 2002 citizens in southeastern Kentucky have not only been concerned about the fall in the coal industry and the drop of the education level, they have also been concerned with the rising level of drug manufacturing, sales, and the lack of jobs, which, in turn, decreases our already dwindling population. This, in turn, has made local residents believe that the president has a larger impact on our lives than our state and local governments do which is simply not true. An unemployment report for my county, Leslie, shows unemployment at 18 percent, the highest it has been since the Great Depression. This seems outrageous, especially when elected officials have stopped more bills than they have passed.
Since the recent recession, most major cities have begun bouncing back like they always do, unlike rural southeastern Kentucky whose dependency on coal has not improved at all. In fact, since the recession, this region has only declined economically. More and more citizens have no other recourse that to sign-up on government assistance programs. This would seem like an obvious emergency, but there has been no urgency or even interest in finding a solution. Instead, Frankfort Republicans call out the poor and say they love and receive a cushy life with government benefits.
Kentuckians here are proud people who would rather earn their keep, pay their bills, and improve our region. Food Stamps, Welfare, and the rest of the doles are not the easy way out, but they are the last resort to provide for hungry children and pay overdue electric bills, and mortgages. Since the economy has slumped, the percentage of people on these assistance programs has risen. I believe that incumbents have had more than enough time in Frankfort to improve southeastern Kentucky’s economy, improve education, and bring jobs to our region. To do this, bills have to be passed and work must be done, and all the hot air in the world won’t suffice for some solid action for the people of this district. But we have to make do with more empty promises, year after year. There is no sense of obligation or duty, apparently. How can incumbents be a voice of the people when they do not stand up for citizens?
The EPA has become its own powerhouse and practically shut the coal industry down. This leads to the domino effect by the coal companies laying off workers, less money going back into local business, and more people signing up on government assistance programs. Every non-coal industry in the area suffers when coal suffers. For instance, education is put at risk with more people moving away. Poor economies lead up to higher rates of drug use and domestic violence, which are growing afflictions in our region. The time for words has come and gone. The people need real change and a glimmer of hope. I have read the campaign positions of Jordan Bowling Palmer who has a large family in Senate District 30 and thus anchored to the District. He has a solid plan to fight the EPA, help small businesses, education, and the Kentucky Retirement System.
The time has come for new representation in Frankfort and I intend to vote for Jordan Bowling Palmer, the Democratic candidate for Senate District 30 and I encourage every citizen in Bell, Breathitt, Johnson, Leslie, Magoffin, and Perry counties to do the same.
Letters to the Editor
Forefathers did not foresee greed
Politicians in Congress and in the White House often lament, “We’re passing our debt along to our children and grandchildren” or “the full faith and credit of the United States must not be put at risk.” The frequency of their lamentations has reduced the two quotations to meaningless sounds that only convey their hypocrisy.
For example, the projected FY 2015 Federal Budget is $3.9 trillion with a deficit of $576 billion that, if enacted, will increase our debt to $19.1 trillion. As usual, the 2015 totals contain $6.4 billion for crony-bound earmarks. Do those totals, the nonessential earmarks, and the recent debt-ceiling increase suggest the politicians are sincerely concerned about “full faith and credit” or the enslaving debt they are passing along to “children and grandchildren”?
Hypocritical behavior, irresponsible legislation, adults acting like spoiled children who want their way or nothing, brazen violations of our Constitution, unresolved scandals, and tax-paid bureaucrats hiding behind the Fifth Amendment have become the norm on Capitol Hill just like the long-sitting politicians and their corporate paymasters want it. If honest expenditure of tax dollars would provide politicians with self-serving money and their paymasters with excessive profit, immorality and illegality would vanish overnight.
Where is Superman when we really need him? What about the Superman birthed in Independence Hall on September 9, 1787? Has he gone too? If he were still around, he could clean out a mere “den of thieves” in only one day. I refer to the electorate. Sadly, our founding fathers did not foresee that their Superman would ultimately become dependents of the government and subordinated to money-controlled, career politicians who would divide his allegiance and foster his indifference to “Truth, Justice, and the American Way!”