- Associated Press - Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Recent editorials from Kentucky newspapers:


May 26

The Morehead (Kentucky) News on the Rowan County jail project:

Does Rowan County really need a jail four times larger than its existing lockup?

Can the county afford to spend as much as $20 million on a project that will consume its debt capacity for the next 20 years?

Why do we not know how much our property and/or payroll taxes will be increased to build and operate this mini-prison?

What assurances do we have that revenue from housing prisoners from other jurisdictions will pay for building and operating a bigger jail?

“Build it and they will come” was a great concept for a baseball movie but is it a feasible plan for constructing a 300-bed jail?

How many counties have signed contracts to send us their jail inmates over the 20 years it will take to retire the jail bonds?

Now that we are suing the Kentucky Department of Corrections, does it make sense to expect more state prisoners in the future?

Has the U. S. Marshals Service been asked about housing federal prisoners like they do in Carter County?

How much will it cost to pay and train the additional 40 employees estimated to staff a jail of this size?

Three of the five current members of Rowan Fiscal Court were not involved in starting this jail project two years ago. Are they asking these questions on behalf of county taxpayers?

How much would it cost the county to stop the jail project for further study to justify the largest capital project in the county’s history?

In closing, we ask the citizens of this county if what could be a $20 million jail is more important to your future than:

Wholesome recreational facilities for your families?

Modern, lifesaving equipment for our fire/rescue, law enforcement and EMS personnel?

Continued improvement of county roads and bridges?

Efforts to attract more good jobs to the community?




May 26

The Independent, Ashland, Kentucky, on the health of the state’s oldest residents:

Another nationwide study has Kentucky ranked near the bottom in a critical quality of life area. In this case, it is caring for the health of its oldest residents.

Only Oklahoma and Arkansas ranked below Kentucky in annual United Health Foundation’s America Health Rankings Senior Report: A Call to Action for Individuals and their Communities.

However despite its low marks when compared to other states, there were some positives in the latest annual report, even for Kentucky. Overall, the report showed positive trends for senior health, particularly in areas of seniors getting the right care in a setting of their choice.

The study also revealed seniors are experiencing lower hospital readmission rates and preventable hospitalization rates compared to last year. Hospice care use, however, has increased, along with the number of home health care workers.

Overall strengths for Kentucky included low prevalence of chronic drinking; low percentage of low-care nursing home residents and high flu vaccination coverage. However, two long-term health problems continue to plague senior citizens: a high prevalence of smoking and poor dental health. Kentucky continues to have among the highest percentage of adults who smoke, but that rate is declining even in the state where tobacco was once king. It is just that the smoking rate is dropping faster in most other states than it is in Kentucky. The adoption of a state ban on public smoking could encourage even more Kentuckians to kick the deadly tobacco habit making for a healthier state.

There is a direct link between the high rate of poverty in Kentucky and the poor dental health of its residents. Since tooth aches are considered painful but not deadly or even life threatening, low income families put their priorities in addressing more serious health problems while dental care takes a back seat. However, dental professionals are quick to point out that dental problems can lead to other health problems. Thus, the money saved by ignoring seemingly minor dental problems can be more than offset by the increased cost of treating health problems caused by poor dental care.

Dr. Julie Daftari, a market medical doctor for UH, said the report is useful for understanding where the state can improve in its medical care for senior citizens.

Among the other positives in the latest report include an 8.6 percent drop in preventable hospitalizations, which is an 11 percent decrease since 2011.

The study also indicated seniors are spending their last days in settings they prefer. Hospice care increased from 47.5 percent to 50.6 percent of decedents age 65 and older, while hospital deaths decreased from 25 percent to 22.8 percent of decedents.

The number of home health care workers increased 9.3 percent from last year, and seniors getting flu vaccines rose from 60.1 percent last year to 62.8 percent.

Despite being ranked so low, health care for senior citizens is improving in Kentucky. It is just that it has to improve at a much, much faster rate just to catch up with what is available in other states. Paying catch up is an old story in Kentucky, and frankly, we’re getting a little tired of it.




May 23

The Daily News, Bowling Green, Kentucky, on President Obama being no friend to police:

Police officers across this country should have everything they need to protect themselves and the citizens they are trying to protect and serve.

Whether it be batons, shields, machine guns, personnel carriers, Humvees, helmets, battering rams or camouflage uniforms, police officers should have access to this equipment.

After what we witnessed in Ferguson, Missouri, and more recently in Baltimore, where lawless thugs were throwing large rocks and large pieces of concrete at police officers, it is quite obvious they need these things to protect themselves from people who wish them harm.

Most would agree police need certain types of equipment to protect themselves, people and property during riots.

Apparently, President Barack Obama doesn’t see it this way.

It’s no surprise coming from a president who has made his disdain for law enforcement well known in his coded speeches about them. We believe that in Ferguson and in Baltimore, Obama added fuel to an already ongoing fire when he talked about how law enforcement doesn’t get along with minorities in their communities.

This is a questionable statement to begin with because in most cities, including Bowling Green, law enforcement and people of color have a good relationship.

As though Obama hasn’t made his disdain bad enough for law enforcement, he is taking it a step further by prohibiting the federal government from providing some military-style equipment to local departments and putting stricter controls on other weapons and gear distributed to law enforcement. Obama says the federal government will no longer provide armored vehicles that run on a tracked system instead of wheels, weaponized aircraft or vehicles, firearms or ammunition of .50 caliber or higher, grenade launchers, bayonets or camouflage uniforms.

To add insult to injury to these police departments, the federal government is trying to recall prohibited equipment the departments already possess.

Humvees, manned aircraft drones, specialized firearms, explosives, battering rams and riot batons, helmets and shields would come under tighter control.

Why don’t you go ahead and just take police officers’ pistols from them too while you are at it?

Obama is essentially tying one hand behind police officers’ backs with this absurd prohibition and tightening down on other items such as helmets, shields and riot batons.

These officers need a lot of the items that Obama is banning. With the policy change, Obama potentially is putting more police officers’ lives in danger.

It was interesting to see an interagency group found “substantial risk of misusing or overusing” items such as tracked armored vehicles, high-powered firearms and camouflage, behavior that could undermine trust in police, the group says.

Does anyone honestly believe people breaking the law in Ferguson or Baltimore were worried police officers were wearing camouflage or driving armored vehicles?

Of course not. They were too busy burning businesses down, throwing rocks at police and looting stores to get free merchandise.

Law enforcement has every right to be angry at this president. He has shown through this action and past statements that he is not their friend.

This latest action is just one more slap in the face to law enforcement, and we hope because of this misguided action by Obama, no officers’ lives are lost because they didn’t have the equipment they needed to protect themselves.

If they do because of this prohibition, Obama will own the responsibility.



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