Letters to the Editor
Main Street in Paintsville is probably the worst street in town.
From the landmark swinging bridge, which our city leaders neglected (along with the red caboose) to where the road joins with Euclid Avenue, is probably the worst street in town.
Letters to the Editor
Contact Your Legislators
On Sunday, Feb. 8, 2017, the Lexington Herald published a report on the front page concerning the torture and abuse of an 8-year-old child by her father Julio Valladares and his live-in girlfriend, Linda Richmond.
The 8-year-old girl was catatonic, unable to move or speak, terribly malnourished and covered in bruises and sores, when she was wheeled into Kentucky Children’s Hospital in October 2014, three days before her 9th birthday.
It was determined that her father and Richmond, for months, tortured the girl to the point of death in the privacy of their home in Berea. The girl’s father, Valladares, was allowed to remove the child from public school, even though school employees twice reported the girl’s injuries to social workers.
The child was kept naked to humiliate her, made to sleep on the floor in her own feces, starved and beaten with a large leather belt. She was also forced to take cold showers throughout the day and night.
Senate Bill 181 was filed on Feb. 14, 2017 by Senate Minority Leader Ray Jones of Pikeville. Under the bill, parents who have a substantiated instance of child abuse or neglect would not be allowed to remove their children from public school without court approval.
Once children are taken from school, they often become invisible to the outside world, often to be tortured or even die. The number of child abuse and neglect reports that are substantiated in Kentucky has climbed from 9,934 in 2012 to 15,378 in 2016.
Please contact Senate Judiciary Chairman Whitney Westerfield on a toll-free message line in Frankfort, at 1(800) 372-7181, and request a hearing on Senate Bill 181 before the end of the current legislative session.
Letters to the Editor
On November 8, 2016, America avoided a landfill. A “basket of deplorables” defeated the me-first politicians in Washington and the arrogance that had presumed their continuation.
Moreover, the election unveiled the “only real threat” to America. Over 65 million voters knowingly voted for an ethics-challenged candidate. During her 12 years on the public payroll, she and Bill earned $163 million in speaking fees plus her tax-paid salary, $2.1 million.
Capitol Hill has apparently become an ethics-free zone. The majority of long-sitting politicians in Congress became millionaires in Congress. Consequently, America is $19.9 trillion in debt, her integrity is compromised in every Cabinet, and 43.1 million of her citizens live in poverty. Word limit prohibits listing the multitude of her other problems attributable to their me-first leadership.
Enter Trump with an idea that was originated and carried out by our founding fathers. They were the first to put America first, to the chagrin of King George III.
From day one, Trump opponents were “sickened” by him. Since the electoral-vote tally, their sore-loser examples, which taint impressionable youth, confirm they are still nauseated. Hopefully, for America’s sake, an 8-year regimen of “America first” will cure their nausea and neutralize the “only real threat.”
Letters to the Editor
To the City of Paintsville (the one it concerns),
Terry E. Ward served his country for 20 years in the National Guard, also as a city policeman for Paintsville and a deputy sheriff, EMT, paramedic and fireman, to which he was proud.
In the blizzard of 1994, he save a baby’s life and was honored and presented with a medal for this deed. He also helped a lot of people around here. He was from and raised in the city of Paintsville, and lived here all his life until the last few years.
Thanks to you, the City of Paintsville (you know who you are), you ran him out of his home town. He was always there when someone needed him for help in any way with a smile on his face.
I give you a “NO THANKS!!!”
After taking care of his step-dad with cancer until he died in Terry’s arms; going to his baby brother after he was shot in the head (only to see him die); sent him to do a check on his sister only to find her dead; and losing his friend Christa as well as others, his problems began. You turned your backs on him. He needed help and reached out, only to be railroaded out.
Now for all of the ones who worked with him, side by side, and paid their respect; to you I have the utmost respect. EMT, paramedics, firefighters, rescue squad and city policemen. Thank you for his final call of #113 - all the family wasn’t asked and wanted it. The same for his military rights. Terry earned them, but didn’t get them.
It is so sad what Paintsville has come to. You, City of Paintsville, were the reason he gave up on himself. He was railroaded out of Paintsville to a place where no one knew him for who he was and did not care and would not give him any help. You should be happy now, for he is dead and he took your secrets to the grave with him, and can no longer tell on you.
You know who you are. When you lay your head down to sleep, I pray you dream of what you have done to him as well as others.
His last job as a constable for District 2 took him down. Now his family has no closure, for as you know, he was cremated.
Toby Ward on behalf of the Ward family
Letters to the Editor
The 12th Annual Johnson Central Hall of Fame ceremony was held January 14 at the high school. It was a wonderful evening of uniting past and present Hall of Fame members.
I would like to extend a special THANK YOU to Bob and Tom Hutchison and McDonald’s of East Kentucky for their sponsorship of the Johnson Central Hall of Fame and the annual induction ceremony. Without this generous support, it would be impossible to have such an outstanding evening of recognition.
I would also like to express gratitude to the numerous staff members and students who worked tirelessly to plan such a fantastic evening.
Finally, I would like to thank all of the people who took time to gather information and nominate staff members, coaches and former graduates for the Hall of Fame. This reflects our main goal of connecting former graduates with the school community and to recognize individuals who have made significant accomplishments either during high school or after graduation.
Johnson County Schools
Low Wages Cost All Kentuckians
Last week, the Kentucky General Assembly passed several “emergency” measures that will surely lower wages for Kentucky workers. One of these, known as a “right to work” law, prohibits the requiring of union membership as a condition of employment. The other repealed the prevailing wage provision that helps keep construction wages strong. Defenders of these moves, Governor Matt Bevin first and foremost, praised them as measures that “will be transformative in the way Kentucky competes economically.” But Bevin’s assertions display more a devotion to a damaging ideology, rather than a commitment to fact or broad economic understanding about the many ways low wages hurt all Kentuckians.
Bevin and his cohort maintain that low wages attract businesses, which want to maximize profits by paying as little for labor as possible. Let’s look at his evidence. Bevin cites the creation of 20,000 more jobs last year in right-to-work Tennessee than in Kentucky. Frankly, that’s a breathtaking misrepresentation. Tennessee has a population 50 percent greater than Kentucky’s. Kentucky has come closer to recovering jobs lost in the recession of 2007 than any of its right-to-work neighbors, according to a report from the Kentucky Center for Economic Policy (kypolicy.org). In a recent ranking of all 50 states’ economies, six of the bottom ten were right-to-work states.
Consider how low wages hurt the economy. A healthy economy needs consumers—people able to buy the cars, gas, beauty salon visits, restaurant meals, clothes, and furniture that businesses sell. But the working poor can barely afford to meet the basic financial obligations of life—housing, food, and utilities. They have nothing left to contribute to the cycle of production and consumption that characterizes a thriving economy. The shuttered downtown buildings in many Kentucky communities bear witness to the impact of local incomes already insufficient to support small businesses.
Governor Bevin cites a savings to taxpayers, through repealing the requirement to pay the prevailing wage on public projects, of as much as $136.8 million. Perhaps—but that savings comes with other costs that the Governor ignores. $136.8 million amounts to a little more than $1 million, on average, in each of Kentucky’s 120 counties. That is $1million in lost wages to hard-working Kentuckians. The loss will hurt not just those families, but their larger communities as well. How many of our counties, already desperately in need of economic stimulus, can afford to lose another $1 million in purchases of restaurant meals, clothes, or family outings? And this raw economic cost doesn’t include the price in human denigration.
But the high cost of low wages multiplies much further. What taxpayers save in workers’ wages, they may spend on assistance programs to help those low-wage workers survive. The working poor often require public assistance in the form of food stamps and other aid; the medical bills they incur but cannot pay drive up the price of healthcare for everyone else. Furthermore, when corporations and manufacturers pay low wages, selling us the line that they can’t possibly pay more and remain profitable, they effectively ask the rest of us to shoulder their obligations to their workers. Taxpayer dollars should fund roads, schools, and local law enforcement, not subsidize that profits of corporate America.
The cascading effects of low wages can’t all be described in this short piece. But consider one more: low wages hurt public education. Studies demonstrate conclusively that children raised in poverty start with huge disadvantages in school. ACT and SAT test scores correlate more consistently with parental income than any other factor. Poverty negatively impacts children’s ability to learn, and America’s high poverty rates lie at the core of its poor educational showing against other developed countries. The most reliable strategy to improve school performance is simply to support Kentucky’s families with the security of an adequate and dependable living.
Governor Bevin could take a lesson in job creation from the work of former Kentucky governor Martha Layne Collins. Collins lured a Toyota assembly plant to Scott County in 1985. One of the state’s biggest economic boons of the last 30 years, Toyota has created thousands of good-paying jobs, generated increased revenue for the state, enticed one hundred more Japanese-owned companies here, and returned 35 percent on Kentucky’s initial investment. Collins’ enormous accomplishment required substantial hard work by her administration. It did not rely on a magic-bullet economic theory that hurts ordinary workers.
Unfortunately too many of us accept the ideology that low wages and poverty are a necessary—even American—fact of life. It’s an ideology with little evidence to support it. But it does serves the powerful while hurting everyone else. Don’t be fooled.
Associate Professor of History, Eastern Kentucky University